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!

 

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!

Nutrition education and teen girls

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For the first time in a long while I had a really week last week.

I had a job interview for a diet clerk job at a hospital some ways away in the morning, I volunteered at my old middle school in the afternoon, and I attended an orientation on human trafficking and how to spot it in the evening.

Not only did I get some good old highway driving in (#suburbiaproblems), but I also biked somewhere for the first time since November. And it wasn’t like my campus biking- this was about 20 minutes of biking through an upper-middle class town while dodging guys in small cars, with darkened windows, wearing HEADPHONES.

Come on, y’all. Please don’t tell me you’re wearing those while you drive. Think of the children.  (And me…please)

That’s why I didn’t write this post on last week- I was out and about for a while. My dogs didn’t like it one bit. Friday was another weird day for me- Grandma came over, and I even went to a theatre performance based off of the stories of male prostitutes in Chicago.

But I did want to address this article, because I was so so happy to see it show up on my Google alerts.

Malnutrition Deeply, an offset of the website News Deeply, published an article the other day titled “Nutrition Community ‘Leaving Adolescent Girls Behind’.”  It’s an interview with Dr. Marie T. Ruel, who is the director of Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division for the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Her main philosophy is that women are often left behind once past what’s called their first 1,000 days, which is the period in which health practitioners work to protect newborns and infants against malnutrition while they grow.

Other points about the interview include agriculture, value chains, and how to urge government intervention. It’s a great read and you should spend some time with it.

Adolescent Nutrition

I think the reason Dr. Ruel discusses nutrition intervention for adolescents designated female at birth/capable of child-bearing because of a few things:

  • Society’s outlook on how teen girls eat
  • The importance of pre-conception nutrition for a healthy pregnancy
  • Nutrition intervention in general towards teens

When talking about this article with people, I noted something my Dad mentioned: when someone mentions they have two teen boys, the joke is ‘How do you keep food in the house’, whereas with girls…you can’t really say that.

Even though all teens are growing at the same rate, it’s only okay for boys to eat to fuel growth spurts. Girls, both through peer and media influence, are already being told they need to eat less and that “fat” is a bad thing.

Using nutrition intervention for teen girls, letting them know it’s OKAY to eat, and that they must eat, already puts us on the right path for helping teenagers have a healthy puberty and adjust to being body positive, intuitively eating adults.

In general, nutrition intervention in teens seems to fall by the wayside compared to adult and child nutrition. Think of the nutrition education you had in school- was it one unit, maybe two in health class? What resources did you have?

Compared to childhood nutrition, where there are a lot of books and resources and TV shows for kids, and adults, who have blogs, dietitians, books geared toward them- teens don’t get much.

And we could save them a lot of stress in adulthood by teaching them now.

What do you guys think? Do you think we need more nutrition education at home, or should the school be more active?

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The Next Chapter//December Reads

December Reads I have my very first business trip this month. The idea that I’m heading out of state for job training brings up the quote from the movie A Christmas Story:

“Honors and benefits, already at the age of nine!”

I really do feel like a nine-year-old kid. I only just graduated from college. It feels like I need to be doing something else than what I’m doing. Writing a blog, weightlifting, waiting to hear back on graduate schools/applying for the dietetic internship, and working a job in my field? It all sounds like someone else’s life.

What about you guys? Does anything in this New Year really stick out to you as new and exciting, something you’re excited to try?

 

On the Bookshelf

Today I want to cover what books I’m reading and to hear about what books you guys are reading. I’ve already published some of my Goodreads reviews.

To prepare for my job as a diabetes lifestyle coach, I’ve read:

  • 21 things to know about diabetes and nutrition, by Cassandra L. Verdi MPH RD CDE and Stephanie A. Dunbar, MPH RD CDE

This is a great introductory look at the relationship between nutrition and diabetes, and where to get started when it comes to nutrition. While my work will primarily be with patients who are prediabetic, I still wanted to make sure that I brushed up on diabetes and nutrition guidelines before I started training. This was a pretty quick read, too.

  • Eat what you love, Love what you eat with diabetes by Michelle May MD and Megrette Fletcher, Med, RD, CDE

This book was recommended in an Intuitive Eating group I’m a part of on Facebook. A member had asked about books that have an Intuitive Eating aproach to diabetes care and this was the one people brought up the most. I appreciate the non-judgmental, every food has its place look at diabetes nutrition and friendly way material is presented in this book. I’ve been taking notes on how this book approaches eating, nutrition, and movement to help improve my vocabulary for when I do presentations to my group!

To better my writing, I’m reading:

  • Ready, aim, specialize! By Kelly James-Enger

I don’t know about you beans, but when I’m learning a new topic I really need all the info laid out in front of me before I dive in. I’ve read a lot of blogs about freelancing, but Ready, aim really helped me figure out the basic-basics of freelancing and specializing. This book also helps you recognize things in your life you can use as writing topics, and even lists resources to help you find experts to quote. This was another quick read!

  • You can’t make this stuff up: the complete guide to writing creative nonfiction […] By Lee Gutkind

I just started this book today (1/2) but creative nonfiction has always interested me as a writing medium. I’ll keep you updated on this, but so far I really like it!

Other books I’m reading are:

  • Hunger by Roxane Gay (FINALLY!!!)
  • Walden by Thoreau
  • Motivational Interviewing in Nutrition and Fitness by Dawn Clifford and Laura Curtis

What are you reading? If you’re on Goodreads, drop your profile below so I can follow you and get some more reading recs!