An Experiment with Death

I’m reading a lot about death right now.

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Photo by Mikes Photos on Pexels.com

Not for any deep reason- I haven’t experienced any loss, I don’t have any kind of illness, I just realized how little I’ve thought about death. There are some people who could argue that I don’t really have to worry about it and that’s okay, but I realized it’s better the devil you know rather than the one you don’t. It’s a personal thing- I just want to understand, to know more, especially because death and food go together.

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Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Pexels.com

There are stereotypes everywhere of casseroles and comfort foods during wakes and following funerals, deciding to stop eating, and how closely food is tied to our health. Almost anywhere you turn, there’s books about how to live longer, subvert disease, all through using the “power of nutrition”. 

But what is death and why are we so scared of it?

Learning about the things we know little about is a good way to broaden horizons, become more empathetic, and live in a way that seems more intentional than just letting information come to us in ways that just passively allow us to get an understanding of someone’s moment in time- through a quick post, a photo, a tweet, or a book, but I want to get a good idea of what the Western idea of ‘death’ tends towards.

I’ll be documenting my ideas here for sure in between internship posts, share what I’m reading, as well as field any comments, recommendations, or anything of the kind that I get via email or comment or social media.

Especially if you have any recommendations about readings, ideas, podcasts, about the link between food, death, and grief. A lot of the reads I have stocked up are more about death in general (right now I’m reading Natural Causes by Barbara Ehrenreich) and would love more ideas.

I definitely want to hear from you guys about this from you guys. What was an experience with death that shaped you?

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March & April Reading Round-Up!

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It’s been an interesting two months over here at Center Stage Nutrition. I’ve been losing time between work, celebrating matching (yay!), and actually trying to leave my house every now and again that advertising my blog has fallen by the wayside.

I’m actually not too sure how to feel about it. For a while, I’ve had other topics I’ve really wanted to write about, but haven’t really felt like I could write them here since I write a lot about teen health and wellness. Part of me wonders if I should open up my niche just a little bit while I go through my master’s program and internship, letting you guys see the process of an “RD2B” and figuring out what I want to do.

The other part of me is scared, for no good reason, about changing everything around. Maybe it is the idea of change. I’m still Em, I’m still writing here and interacting with you guys, but maybe the teen stuff can wait.

We’ll have to see!

My laptop randomly died last week (another shout out to my Nutrition Writer’s group, who was patient while I panicked during the meeting) so my content calendar is going to be off for a while. I thought I would do another reading round up post.

Books!

I’ve been on a self-help book kick lately, so I read:

How People Grow: What the Bible teaches us about personal growth 

And

Boundaries in Dating

You can read my review of Boundaries in Dating here, and I would recommend How People Grow for anyone who works with people. Even if you’re not particularly religious but go to church and pray sometimes, Grow is a great resource on how humans need support. Cloud and Townstead are Christian counselors, so their books have a great mix of psychology and theology.

I’m also currently reading When Breath Becomes Air, but I’m taking breaks because I learned my lesson after reading The Bright Hour: reading dying people’s memoirs needs to be a slow process so I don’t overwhelm myself with emotion.

Blog posts!

I’m tall and not middle aged, but I have worn heels in the past. So seeing Midlife Drama in Pyjamas post “Is this all worth it just to not be short?!” made me laugh. 

As always, Bite My Words with some wisdom regarding a new study done on how to get kids to eat more greens. 

This is also a great example of how studies are capable of being fallible and the importance of critically reading new research.

The Individuator wrote an interesting post about authenticity and speaking their mind to those who asked. What are your thoughts on this kind of openness?  As I get more comfortable to my coworkers I find I can be more of myself around them, but still tend to shut off. What about you?

Dances with Fat wrote a great piece about that new Amy Schumer movie called I Feel Pretty. 

(You can read the full article here)

My friend Jenna, who founded the Nutrition Writer’s Group, wrote a book review on the Bad Food Bible, and if you’re eyeing a new book to read, give Jenna’s review a look to see if you should pick up a copy of BFB!

That’s all from me today. As always, do your homework, eat a vegetable, and don’t forget to smile at someone today. See you soon!

 

Meeting Independence Halfway

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When I left the gym today and walked to my own car- the one I was paying for with my own money- and a thought popped into my head without prompting, as I jingled my keys:

Damn, I missed this independence.

Up at school I would have some semblance of independence. I lived in an apartment, could take public transport, and would often be on my own with my own agenda. It taught me how to be resilient, how to hold myself accountable, and most how to be by myself.

“Close enough to home that I can come back for a weekend if I need to, far enough away that I get the experience I need” is what I would tell people. By the time I was planning to transfer I knew it was time to spread my wings and go.

Of course, I still cried a lot when I left home. There’s a picture of my Dad and I crying, with me holding a replica of Sully’s clipboard in Monster’s Inc that had Boo’s door.

My friends in High School got a lot more independent a lot quicker than I did. Part of it was ADHD, which I know now, another part was I didn’t know if I was ready.

I get that it can be scary for parents- is it just a matter of time, or if we never let go, will our teen ever grow? Will they ever fly?

Only you can gauge for yourself what your teen is up for and what they want to do. When I write about my personal experience, know that this is coming from an undiagnosed ADHD adult who made it through adolescence alive and doing pretty dang well for herself. I’m here to help reassure you, guide you, advise you when I can.

Everyone works on different timelines, too. My brother became independent way before I did and even now, to me, he’s more emotionally and financially independent than I am (damn you, FAFSA). My sister is in between the two of us. But we all know she’ll get there eventually.

It’s in the independence where your teen figures out who they are and what they’re like. I learned that at school and camp, too.

For a while, I didn’t really like being alone. Part of it, I think, was because I didn’t really know what I was like. But as college went on, as I made mistakes and learned from them (sometimes calling my parents about the mistakes), who I am slowly became more and more clear.  Even things like having to get my own groceries and developing my own palette helped me slowly become the person I am today!

But I won’t pretend to know 100% who I am, or what I can do, because I don’t think that’s a question that will ever have a definite answer. Just like the physical growing pains that come with puberty, so too will the emotional and mental ones come along in their own time.

We just need to be patient for those who seem a bit behind the curve. There’s a fear, especially among people my age, that once you hit 25 you’re on the downhill slope when it comes to careers, love, family, goals.

It creates this anxiety and rush for everyone who thinks that there’s this drop off of options at 25. Because of that, I think people miss a lot of opportunities to grow. Patience, too, I think gets lost in the mix of growth.

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We see this in pervasive diet culture, in school choices, in athletics. This sense of “goals need to be met ASAP or else”, or “if I don’t get it now, I never will” seeps into how we see everything else. Dating, jobs, even just going through the Starbucks drive thru becomes a “how quickly can I get this thing I want”.

(No hate on Starbucks, you all know I love my lattes).

Setting up long term success is what goal setting is all about. Rather than a light at the end of the tunnels, goals should be more like street lamps: there to light the way and see where you’re going.

If I could go back in time to high school and tell my former self one thing, besides stop frying your hair, it would be to just chill and keep working. Things come with time. You will grow up. It’ll happen, you just have to keep working. Everything you want in life won’t come to you, but it will meet you half way.

What goals have you made recently? Have you achieved any of them?

As always, do your homework, eat a vegetable, and don’t forget to smile at someone today. See you soon!

Validating emotions, the Fitbit Versa, and some Gary Vee

Validating emotions,

We had a bit of an upset this past week at our home when my younger sister was told she would not be competing in state this year for her sport, Tae Kwon Do, after she had thought she would be able to go. My sister and I are often on similar wavelengths when it comes to emotions and how we express them, so when she got home after hearing the news we were all on comfort mode.

And, of course, a little bit of familial anger- something I suspect you’re not a stranger to. You know, when someone in your family is wronged and you can’t help but feel a little angry?

My sister took it in stride though and did what we had been raised to do- bitched about it for a while, then set a plan in motion to fix it. And she did it without blaming her coach or team, she took responsibility and went with it. She just needed some time. 

I feel like we discredit the importance of “venting” and “bitching” nowadays because of the over abundance of memes about wanting “positive vibes only”.

In trying to create a positive culture out of the ones filled with jokes about suicide, as well as a world where death feels like it’s lurking everywhere, we forget that people sometimes just want to talk about sad things and get them out into the void and move on to fix the problem.

I’ve been neglecting this question lately, but it’s always good to gauge where someone’s venting is going. “Do you want advice or to vent?” is a nice way to understand where the person you’re talking to is taking the discussion.

This somehow ties into being a nutrition care professional, and I’m learning about that as I go.

Other cool things about this week:

Fitbit is my ride-or-die watch company since like 3 years ago. I currently have the Charge HR with athletic tape holding the strap together (hey, it works), but I’ve also been looking to upgrade since I got this replacement Charge HR.

I tweeted about this today, but Fitbit has a great policy for returns/replacements and that’s kind of what’s been keeping me there for so long. And the fact they found my tweet without me “@-ing” their company means they’re somehow watching me.

Fitbit just announced a new smartwatch, the Versa, that will include menstrual cycle tracking and phone-free music. I’ll be interested to see if I can just use spotify, but considering my sport involves throwing weights over my head, not having to worry about my phone will be nice. As far as the cycle tracking, I currently use Clue, but anything to dial down my phone apps would be nice.

Here’s the article about the Versa.

Next Friday I’m doing a comparison post on Fitbit’s calorie tracker and MyFitnessPal’s!

I’m almost done reading all of Gary Vee’s works. Libby Rothschild made me aware of him a couple weeks back and I flew through “#AskGaryVee” and “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook!”. Currently reading “The Thank You Economy” and love it. I think it’s useful not just in an entrepreneur setting but everywhere- learning to listen carefully, build relationships, and put work into it.

Match day is coming fast. Two weeks from Sunday…fingers crossed for all my “RD2Bs” out there, and keep some fingers crossed for ya girl as well.

This is a much more laid back blog post so let me know what you think of these kinds of posts. The fun part about Center Stage Nutrition is that nothing is set in stone, and I’m here for you, so I want to hear what things you like and don’t like.

You can keep up with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

As always, do your homework, eat a vegetable, and don’t forget to smile at someone today. Bye!

Patience, jobs, and internships…oh my!

Today I want to talk about something I’ve been dealing with “behind the screen” for the past few months.

Patience, jobs, and internships- oh my!

While my first job is going fine, I discovered after graduation that there was a low enrollment number in the diabetes course I was supposed to teach. No one was at fault, and sometimes these things happen, but the hours I had weren’t enough to cover graduate school costs, a car, and groceries while living at home. So I set out in search of a second job to help supplement the one I have now.

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My fellow busybodies know that not having places to go can start to drive someone up the wall. I did my best to keep working in any way I could: I kept this blog up, which proved to be a benefit because there’s a lot of regular traffic here now- hi, daily visitor! I started learning everything I could about social media and how to market yourself to other people.

In the beginning it was difficult to know what I would be up against while I job searched in the “real world” vs my undergrad. I assumed that I would be frustrated, but in the end I would be fine- after all, I knew I’d have a job eventually, so why stress? I love working on this blog, writing, podcasting, creating stuff for you guys, so I thought that would help pass time.

(By the way, shameless plug, but have you listened to my podcast? They’re super short snippets of info that supplement the blog)

But it’s not that easy. After getting used to living on my own, buying my own groceries, and having an established routine at school, living at home was already an adjustment  and not having a regular paying job on top of that was stressful.

I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t know what to expect emotionally.

For the first few weeks I felt normal, fine, and a little bit relieved to have some time to relax.

For the next few I started feeling anxious and antsy, a bit “cabin-fever-y”. Living in the Midwest in the middle of frigid January (oh, how I miss my undergrad’s tunnels…) didn’t help.

By the time we got to February I was constantly depressed, like there was a cloud following me everywhere. I was reminded constantly that I didn’t have places I needed to go, and I felt lonely. I love my dogs, but I missed my friends at school.

I had to realize it was okay that I was looking for a job. I’m one of the lucky ones where my parents were just as upset about my hours as I was, in a “man, that sucks that that happened to you” way rather than a “what do you mean you’re not working!” way. They were patient while I sorted through the feelings and applied everywhere I could.

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I also had to realize that the depression I was feeling was okay too. Accepting that I was sad because I wasn’t working was one of the hardest parts of these past few months.

After weeks of nothing I finally broke down to my mom, crying and wondering if I would ever achieve anything, and while in the moment all these feelings felt real and painful, I knew they would pass.  Still, for the week following, I wondered if I would get anywhere.

Remember way back, when this blog was a baby, when I talked about resiliency? (Am I at the blogging stage yet where I cringe at my old posts? Or is there a time frame I’m still in? Is there a blog honeymoon stage? …Did I take my meds today?)

I had to remember those lessons too.

Sometimes we slip back and regress in the face of stress and disappointment. It can feel like you take 10 steps forward, 9 back, and you start to doubt if you were ever strong in the first place.

You just have to keep going. It sounds easy when you say it out loud or think it when things are going well, but over the past couple years, I’ve learned that waking up and filling out more applications, or waking up and job searching, is all you can do.

If you just wake up and feel depressed, that’s okay too.

Just keep going. One day at a time.

I just got a job as a diet clerk at a hospital, so I’m really excited to start getting more clinical experience before I hear back on my internship. I’ve turned in all the pre-hire paperwork and now, luckily, the waiting game is hearing my start date.

One day at a time.

Do your homework, eat a vegetable, and don’t forget to smile at someone today. Talk to you soon!

Em

4 things I learned recording my first podcast

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This week was exciting for two reasons:

One, I did my first presentation and it went pretty well.

Two, I started a podcast and while it has yet to have a name, I’m pretty darn proud of how I’m doing so far. I like writing the scripts and getting to chat- though I can understand the pressure people talk about when they mention that working solo can get daunting- it’s tough not having someone to play off of.

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This is me after 3 hours of recording

Both of these events taught me a lot, as far as the presentation goes I’ve already written about that. So here are 4 things I learned by starting a podcast:

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  1. Script it out

Now I’m a pretty thorough planner. I already have a content calendar getting me through May for this blog with lots of ideas for after that! But for some reason, the podcast came to me at random.

I had felt a bit like I was floundering with the blog and because I’m having a road block when it comes to vlogging, I began to feel like this blog wasn’t going to get anywhere. So a few nights ago, after publishing Nutrition Education and Teen Girls I thought about how I could dive deeper.

Then it hit me…Anchor! (And before you ask, I’m not sponsored, I found them a while back when I played around with the idea of a podcast a few months ago but tabled it due to time).

Thinking that it would be fun to give it a shot, I didn’t realize how recording, re-recording, and just writing an outline would still leave me up ish’s creek.

I needed a script.

By the time I realized I should script what I wanted to say, I was lucky enough to have already been recording for a while so I could just type up the bits I remembered that I said and liked, then flesh those out a bit more.

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  1. Check beforehand

Notice a bit of a pattern here?

I was looking forward to doing something similar to a live radio show, which Anchor used to offer, but their redesign made it so that it was solely focused on podcasting.

So, when it was T-minus one hour when I said I’d go live and noticed that wasn’t an option, I was scrambling to record so I would have something at the time I said.

I ended up being unable to make the deadline but now I know, right?

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  1. Patience

Despite a theatre and improv background, I still would stumble over my words and talk fast. I had to remind myself that the message would make more sense if I spoke slower and really tried to enunciate rather than just chatted into the mic.

I want there to be that casual ‘chat’ feel, but you still need to understand me to have that conversation!

Working hard to speak slowly, think about my opinions and feelings on the topic, and being patient when I made a mistake was something I learned the hard way.

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  1. Trying new things is fun!

I read The Healthy Maven’s post ‘Is Blogging Dead?”  and felt so comforted about my own doubts regarding my own blog. I had been feeling a little nervous that this wouldn’t pan out, and while I don’t do it for a job, shouting into a void only gets you so far.

It was Davida’s post that encouraged me to try new things, and to start living more so I have more to write about. And her advice about trying different avenues to reach different kinds of people gave me a bit of needed courage to try the podcast!

While these four things deal more with the podcast I created, they have a lot of weight as life lessons as well. Especially the whole ‘trying new things is fun’ and ‘patience’ one, amiright?

One of the coolest things about growing up is the ability to learn from mistakes and go on to make new ones to learn from. I know that as Center Stage grows and changes there’s going to be a lot of learning curves, and it’s more important to look at them with excitement like I did with the podcast rather than nervousness!

Mistakes happen, we just need to accept them and learn from them.

Leave a comment below to let me know what you learned this week!

Do your homework, eat a vegetable, and smile at someone if you can. Bye!