Roanna Martin

"make [food] simple and let things taste of what they are." {Curnonsky}

Sprouts Day 5

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These photos were taken last night…

Things are a bit steamy in the tower- I believe that has something to do with the photosynthesis going on. One of my biologist friends might be able to correct me on that, though! The sprouts are just about to the top of their trays, so I think they will be placed in the fridge tonight.

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I continue to harvest a little bit at a time. Last night a little bit of each sprouts were stuffed inside a pita bread with tuna salad. I make my tuna salad with tuna packed in water, chopped celery, plain (homemade) nonfat yogurt, and simple seasonings like celery seed, paprika, pepper, garlic, and minute sprinkle of salt. It’s a great high-protein meal. 

Broccoli

Broccoli

Alfalfa

Alfalfa

Mung Beans

Mung Beans

The mung beans have a tendency to get pretty long, stringy, and a bit tough. This might be because as I am taking out sprouts, the remaining ones have more room to grow. I don’t particularly like the stringy texture, so sometimes I’ll chop them before adding them to dishes.

Last week I made some mung bean “pancakes”- pretty much just an omelet. I haven’t quite come up with a plan for these yet.

Does anyone care to share their favorite ways to eat sprouts?

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Case Study: Anorexia Nervosa

As a culminating experience of my recent clinical rotation, I compiled and presented a case study with the dietitians at the facility.

If you would like to learn more about this critically ill patient that I was able to work with over the course of the rotation, feel free to look through the presentation.

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/roannamartin/anorexia-nervosa-case-study&#8221; title=”Anorexia Nervosa Case Study” target=”_blank”>Anorexia Nervosa Case Study</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/roannamartin&#8221; target=”_blank”>Roanna Martin</a></strong> </div>


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December 5: World Soil Day

Soil. Ground. Dirt.

It’s really all about the dirt. The brown stuff that we walk on, brush off our shoes before we go inside, and even scold our children for playing in. (Side note:  I grew up playing outside on my parent’s farm. I was not scolded for playing in the dirt, unless I was wearing my going-away clothes. Once I even made cookies out of mud and my cousin ate them. Literally. I learned to embrace soil at a young age).

Humans grow and are nourished by food, and food is grown in and nourished by the soil. Therefore we, as humans, owe some respect to this beautiful brown substance.

M.S. Swaminathan, an Indian geneticist, states it this way:

“Soil anaemia also breeds human anaemia. Micronutrient deficiency in the soil results in micronutrient malnutrition in people, since crops grown on such soils tend to be deficient in the nutrients needed to fight hidden hunger. (…) Managing our soil and water resources in a sustainable and equitable manner needs a new political vision.”

In 2010, the National Nutrition Month theme for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the ADA at that time) was “Nutrition from the Ground Up”. I was a big fan of that theme.
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By treasuring our soil, we are preserving a precious resource. One of the ways that we can accomplish this is through recycling our food by composting. Fruit and vegetable scraps, paper, even lint from your dryer can be turned back into soil through natural biological processes.
When I moved into an apartment for grad school, I knew that I wanted to avoid throwing food scraps into the trash and the resulting greenhouse gases produced by such actions. So, I began researching options for composting in a small space, and I ended up with a vermicomposting system. Basically, it’s a plastic tub with worms in it where I throw my fruit and vegetable scraps for the worms to eat and produce worm castings, which are incredibly nutrient rich.
The other day I decided to empty out all of the chocolate brown goodness into my garden to prepare it for next year’s growing season.
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This is what the remains of my summer garden looked like:
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I emptied the few remaining beets out of my garden, and proceeded to work the worm castings into my soil.
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And here’s the finished product.
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If you notice, my Swiss Chard is still thriving because of the mild weather thus far. I tear off a leaf or so and cut it up in my meals- I love having fresh greens in December!


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Delicata Squash: A Template

Who wants to know what I ate for dinner tonight? Well, I didn’t really think anyone would… but Emily encouraged me to blog about this, so here goes:

For $2 at the Morgantown Farmers’ Market on Sunday, I picked up a wee little gem: a Delicata Squash.

Photo Courtesy of Serious Eats

They are typically about 5 or 6 inches long, and 2 or 3 inches in diameter, and make a perfect meal for two people.

I first discovered the beauty of cooking with these fall vegetables last year, at which point I called them: “My New Favorite Convenience Food” on my previous blog. 

Chop the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.

Place both halves cut side down in a container with a little bit of water. Then either microwave the squash for about 4 or five minutes, or bake for about 15 minutes.

Then, turn the squash over so you have little “canoes”. Fill with items such as cooked beans, tomato chunks, cooked rice, cooked ground beef, sauteed onions, and whatever spices you please. This is a great way to use leftover chili, or pieces of chicken, or anything that’s in your fridge, really! Top with a sprinkle of reduced fat cheese.

Return to the microwave for five minutes or until contents are thoroughly heated and cheese is melted.

For those of you who like measurements and ingredients, here is what went into mine tonight.

Combine in bowl:

1 cup cooked kidney beans

1/2 c shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese (reserving a small amount to sprinkle on top)

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place mixture in partially cooked squash, and return to oven or microwave to finish cooking.

When you pull it out, top each half with 1/4 cup salsa.

 

 

When prepared this way, each squash half contains:

252 calories

6.4 g fat

34.8 g carbohydrates

10.2 g fiber

14.9 g protein

66.4% RDA of Vitamin A

(Nutrient Analysis: Recipes.Sparkpeople.com)

Winter squash is a more-than-excellent source of vitamin A, which is known to help promote and maintain healthy skin, teeth, connective tissues, and vision. So, rather than pay money to pop a pill, why not try some real food that’s super high in vitamins and minerals?


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The Role of the Clinical Dietitian

Many of you may wonder exactly what a dietitian in a hospital does. If you are admitted to the hospital, you may or may not see a dietitian, depending on your diagnosis and what happens to you over the course of your stay.

Here’s a meme which I think does a pretty good job of explaining the role of a dietitian.

 

(Image courtesy of fellow blogger HappyDietitian)

My friends may think I’m all about a perfectly balanced and healthy lifestyle, society may view me as someone who works in the media, patients view dietitians as policemen (the most common joke I hear when I walk into the room and ask if a patient is following any sort of diet at home: “Yeah- I’m on the ‘see-food’ diet. I see food and I eat it!”).

Doctors have a tendency to think of dietitians as food service workers. Although we do work alongside food service to provide nutritionally adequate meals to patients, we are not working in food service. I have a lot of respect for food service workers, to be sure! “Catering assistants” (also called “dietary aides” or other names depending on the facility) are sometimes the friendliest faces of the hospital to many patients, as they come to the room to take menus and bring trays.

And then of course, I like to think of myself as having hours to sit down and counsel patients, helping them to think through how to have optimal health and make changes to improve their dietary patterns.

In all reality, the past week and a half I have spent most of my time reading medical charts and running a calculator to assess the nutrient needs of patients. This week I am working in the ICU, so many of my patients are on tube feedings.

I read through the chart to find out what brought the patient to the hospital. Then I assess the calorie needs for the patient, based on their height, weight, and current condition. For example, patients that have traumatic brain injury have higher energy needs, and those with skin breakdown have elevated protein needs. I had learned the various needs for different conditions through classes, but it is extremely different when you have a real live person for whom you are calculating their nutrition!

Medical nutrition therapy is an integral part of the healing process, and it’s pretty neat to be a part of it.

Contrary to my opinion when I began my dietetic internship, I’m finding some aspects of clinical dietetics to be quite enjoyable. I suppose that is the purpose of this internship- to force myself to be exposed to various opportunities within the dietetics field where I might be able to work.

ps. The power is back on at my house! While I thoroughly enjoyed the “camping” experience, it’s nice to have modern amenities restored 🙂


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Food Safety During Power Outages

I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and talk about what everyone else has been talking about the past few days: Sandy. The “frankenstorm” that hit the northeast, leaving millions without power, has also hit the home where I live.
I woke up early yesterday morning to peek outside before reporting to the hospital for work, and being the snow-bunny that I am, my eyes were delighted with what they saw.
Before the busy-ness of the day started, I took a few moments just to savor the glorious white of the powdery film on the trees.  When I was little I would wake up EARLY on two hour delays to go out and play in the snow, and I am still a big fan of winter activities: cross country skiing and ice skating being at the top of the list. So although I’m not quite accustomed to a snowstorm at the end of October, I wasn’t completely opposed.
Then a resounding “CRACK” and a faint flash captured my attention. A limb fell in the front yard, and the “host dad” that I’m staying with attributed the flashes to exploding transformers.
The reality of a storm isn’t always pretty. And this is a record-breaker- I don’t have to pull together the stats for you- it’s all over the news.
And I’m sure it’s hit home for a lot of my readers, considering how widespread it was!
When refrigerator and freezer units lose power, temperature will rise, bringing food into the danger zonewhere bacteria  grow most rapidly.


Here are some recommendations from the USDA for after a power outage:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
  • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours unopened, and a full freezer can maintain temp for about 48 hours (24 hours if half full) and you keep the door closed.
  • The following perishable foods should be discarded after 4 hours without power:
    • meat
    • poultry
    • fish
    • soft cheeses
    • milk
    • leftovers
    • deli items
  • Food can be safely refrozen if it still has ice crystals, or is lower than 40 degrees Farenheit.

My recommendation is that if you have some meat that has thawed  to just above 40 and your power has come back on, go ahead and cook it up, and then quickly chill and refreeze it. It’s no different than if you had intentionally been defrosting meat to cook.
Here’s a picture of the fridge- which was without power for more than 4 hours. The only things we left in the fridge were things that don’t really need to be stored below 40 degrees, such as carrots, bread, apples, condiments, etc (and my “host dad’s” bottled Starbucks cappucino!).


If the weather is less than 40 degrees outside, and you have a safe place to keep food where animals won’t get to it- you can set food outside for a short while (This statement is not taken from the USDA- this is my own common sense speaking).
And what exactly does one eat during a power outage? Well, last night we fired up the grill for some fantastic turkey burgers, and the grill even has a gas burner so we were able to cook up some green beans, and finish off the lettuce that was in the fridge.
Don’t take any chances- never taste food to test safety. If in doubt, throw it out!

Food safety recommendations courtesy of the WVU Extension Service.

ps. To write this post I visited a nearby Panera (we’re still without power!), and a lot of others here are without power as well. For example, there’s a little 4-year-old girl singing a song about “Susy has power”… And there’s a long line- I don’t usually go out to eat during the week, but the staff are yelling “No more potato soup!” Everyone’s ready for some hot and tasty food, and a warm place to enjoy it.


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The Ornish Spectrum: Sustainable Lifestyle Choices that Lead to Better Health

One of the things that I have noticed in my study of nutrition is that many people are looking for a quick fix. 

A magic food that melts away fat, or a special diet that will be completely composed of desserts but will result in complete and optimal health. But a one-time choice isn’t going to make or break your health. It’s all about the little things. Your character is not defined by how you respond to one event, but in how you respond to the little choices in life.

This concept has been well grasped and even documented by Dr. Dean Ornish, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and the founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute. The research and documentation behind his program is what makes it some remarkable- it’s hard to collect solid evidence about lifestyle choices, and this doctor has done it. Patients in a randomized controlled trial lost an average of 24 lbs over one year, and maintained a 12 lb weight loss after 5 years. To read more about Ornish’s approach, take a look at his article published in the New York Times last month.

Dr. Ornish created an intensive lifestyle change program that has been shown to reverse heart disease, and a spin-off of this is the “Ornish Spectrum”, which is available to those who are interested in lowering their risk for developing heart disease.

The program encompasses 4 elements of life:

What you eat

How much activity you have

How you respond to stress

How much love and support you have

The hospital where I am currently interning offers a Dean Ornish Program for reversal of heart disease. This incredible program is covered by major insurance companies, and offers over 100 hours of intensive compassionate care to each participant. Two days a week, participants gather for an hour of exercise, an hour of stress management, an hour of group therapy and relationship building, and an hour of food. 

This evening I was able to participate in the hour of food. It was pretty spectacular. There were a handful of participants enjoying healthful foods that fit within the Ornish guidelines, sharing their personal experiences of purchasing these foods at the grocery store (one woman found a great deal on veggie burgers at Sams club!), and listening to a Registered Dietitian share helpful meal planning and shopping tips.

It was truly a nurturing and supportive environment, and I can see why the program is so effective.

The meal ended on a sweet note- with some fantastic little chocolate cupcakes.

Sweet treats are fine- in moderation 🙂

If you want to know more about the highly structured Dr. Dean Ornish Program for reversal of heart disease, you can check out my friend Mary’s awesome post, or visit the Dean Ornish website.