Thursday, March 10, 2016

My Nutrition Voyage

So this year I decided to try out a new Curriculum, Nutrition Voyage with a class of 7th grade students.  It is a Team Nutrition Curriculum.

To start, I am not staff at the school. I come from an outside organization to hold a 1 hour nutrition class during the after school program time 3-4pm.  There is always staff on site, however I am to lead the lesson.

As part of the First Trek, the students are expected to keep a food diary.  The main problem with this was that seeing as I am only at the school the one day a week to teach for that one hour, I wasn't able to remind the students or follow up with them on their tracking.  Thankfully, my fellow educator Laura foresaw that some students may forget to fill it out so she made a sample Food Diary to use. The students were incredibly confused, had no idea how to fill in the page

Laura was to lead my next few classes, and felt like it was too difficult to continue and so she moved on to a couple of direct one-times, some of our go to curriculum. Blubber Burger, Rethink your drink type thing. She also spoke with the coordinator about how to make things work better in the future.

When I returned I was determined to try at least once more with the students

1. Because I am very stubborn
2. I think everyone deserves the opportunity to learn, and the more difficult it is, the better it feels when you do accomplish it.

So I focused on taking on the Second Trek, in which we are too conduct a survey of other students, then analyze and graph the data, and eventually create a poster board.  I split that into three days when we would be together and the end product was this

I feel as if the students really pulled together to gather the data, analyze and graph it, and eventually decorate and creat a poster to show the results of their survey.  It was very rewarding to see the end product and the quality of work these students are capable of when they put their minds to it. So overall, unless you can help them track their meals with the first track, I may advise to move onto the second track so they have something to show for it at the end of the sessions.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Monday, March 7, 2016

Savor the Flavor

When I think of Nutrition, my first though is healthy.

Few could say their first thought is flavor.

even fewer would say savor the flavor.

But the more I think of it, the more I appreciate the Savor the Flavor theme for National Nutrition Month.

It takes me back to when I first tried a salad without dressing (by dressing I mean dousing it with Ranch or Blue Cheese).

It was arugula salad, with freshly grated Parmesan, apple, and pine nuts with olive oil and lemon zest.

Not adding a ranch to cover the taste of the veggies really allowed me to savor the flavor of that salad, I grew to have a deep affinity for arugula for having so much flavor for such a small leafy green. I was able to appreciate what every ingredient added to this salad. The apple, lemon zest and olive oil added a freshness to balance it all out. I walked away thinking, OMG that salad was good, and so flavorful!

In nutrition, we often talk about using spices to bring flavor to dishes, rather than adding fat or salt. It's finding a different method to create satisfying dishes using other flavors and spices.

So I believe Savor the Flavor is incredibly appropriate as the theme for National Nutrition Month, because eating healthy is about eating food that tastes good, without all the unhealthy additives, but rather with adding in healthy flavors and truly savoring them.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

It's that time of the year again!!! National Nutrition Month!

For recipes go to foodlink's site

Be sure to #RocNNM and tag @foodlinkny with pics of your recipes!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The life of an Educator

It is very hard having an off day as an educator.
I swear it’s like those adolescent eyes can see right through you,
Like they can smell the fear and insecurity.
I had 24 thirteen year-old boys and girls looking at me earlier to provide a nutrition lesson, and I almost froze.
I heard the groans when I entered,
The whispering in Spanish, ¿Que hace ella aqui?
The catty remarks at how they will attempt to utterly disobey my every request.

They say vulnerability is the greatest measure of strength and courage. 
If one can be vulnerable, then they can truly grow and be better.
I don’t typically have a problem with this, as I am a firm believer that even mistakes contribute to the body of knowledge.

Brene Brown Ted Talk

But having a bad day is truly not an option as an educator.
You have to be ready, with extra activities or games,
Just in case you fail at facilitating a meaningful dialogue with students.

I know this.
Now if only I could apply this same principal to other parts of my life.
Be ready, for those moments when what you thought was enough isn’t.
Have a back up plan.
And a back up plan in case your back up plan fails.
After all, failure to plan is planning to fail right?

My understanding is
Shame is about you.
Guilt is about the behavior.
Shame is focused on the person. 
"I failed, so I am a failure"
It is condemning and chronic.
It makes us think we aren't worthy.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Whole Wheat and the Gluten Free Experiment

I have heard so much about gluten-free eating from people whom I know do not have celiac's.  I decided to see what the hype was about and embark on a gluten free diet myself.  I decided to not use too many of the gluten-free substitute products, like the gluten free pastas and breads (although I did try some pretzels made with brown rice).

I will begin by saying that I did notice some improvements in my GI area, I felt more regular, experienced less cramps and less bloating.  Overall it seemed like my digestive system was at ease.  I was considering how much better I felt, while giving a presentation to a roomful of teens about making half their grains whole, and started feeling confused.  Could it be possible that what I learned in my years studying nutrition was wrong? Is gluten really bad? If so why am I teaching these kids that whole grain pasta, breads and cereals are good choices?

I went home and thought about the grains I normally eat, such as whole what english muffins, wheat bread, pitas, whole wheat tortillas, and wheat pasta. 

Then I considered what I had elected to replace them with including quinoa, beans, lentils, brown rice, wild rice. 

I quickly realized that most of the items I had chosen while gluten free were also minimally processed foods.  I wondered, is it actually the gluten that hurts people, or the heavily processed wheat products containing gluten?  Would the heavily process gluten products do the same?

Needless to say my experiment was inconclusive, although I have always believed in choosing minimally processed foods. However, it would not be accurate to draw a conclusion on one person's brief experience.  But that doesn't mean I won't share it. :)


Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day"

So in honor of National Nutrition Month, I have decided to blog about what "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day" means to me.

Eat Right
"Eat Right" to me is to choose food in it's simplest forms.  The less processed, the better.  Making most of your plate plant based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and unrefined grains, because the grains are fine just the way they are.

Your Way
We are experts in our own lives, no national organization can set guidelines appropriate for us as well as we are capable of doing. 'Your Way' means keeping the national standards in mind, however adjust them as you see fit to work in your life. Be realistic about what you are capable of implementing, and set limits on harmful dietary choices.

Every Day
It is very easy to do something perfectly for one day. However, as enthusiasm fades so does our ability to stick to what we were originally so determined to do.  It is especially hard to stick to doing something perfectly when you do it multiple times a day; on the go, in the office, with friends, with family. 'Every Day' means staying determined, knowing that your body is worth caring for because it's the only one you have.

"Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day" is a lifestyle change.  It is a decision to change the way we live, the way we eat, the way we look at food. We tend to categorize things in our head, in particular food, as bad food or good food. It is better to categorize food as either 'always food' and 'sometimes food', because not only is it more realistic, but it prevents you from feeling like you have already slipped back into old habits, or your old lifestyle.  Change doesn't occur overnight, and if we don't change the way we view food, we are robbing ourselves of the catalyst that can put this change in motion. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

National Nutrition Month

Happy National Nutrition month!!!

I thought I'd start by sharing some amazing websites for people looking to volunteer some of their time helping spread Nutrition knowledge.

No Kid Hungry - Share Our Strength is an amazing group,  I currentl;y volunteer through a program they offer, Cooking Matters and Cooking Matters at the Store.  They truly care about helping kids learn to prepare their own snack foods and meals and educating them on healthier choices!

SNAP - The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is formerly known as the foodstamp program, however they changed their name to emphasize that it is meant as a supplemental supply to your preexisting food budget, as well as to emphasize the Nutrition portion, to encourage healthier choices.  There are so many people who qualify and are lacking in funds to buy the appropriate amount of food, especially the elderly.  A key point to emphasize with the elderly is that they can designate a care taker or family member to use their SNAP card to get them the appropriate food.  The SNAP program is looking for volunteers to help with prescreening candidates to see if they are eligible.

The Hunger Study - Will be looking for people to help with anonymous surveys on tablets/computers at foodbanks from April to August 2013.  This will help foodbanks and soup kitchens get to know how to reach their targetted demographic more effectively, and reach out and provide nutritious food to the people who need it.

You can also volunteer at your local food bank or soup kitchen!

Again, Happy Nutrition Month and let's share our knowledge with others.