First Day of Food Management Practicum

thphljkwpwIt seems so unreal that I am at the point in my education and journey of becoming a Dietetic Technician to begin my practicums (internships). It has been a long, stressful, and exciting learning journey over the past two years in the field of biology, health, and nutrition. My first practicum is Food Management. I am nervous, mostly I am excited to meet new people and to have the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to real life events.  My Food Management Practicum is at St. Joseph Hospital. Which for me was a perfect fit, because I’ve wanted to experience working in a hospital. Not only that, the location is within the area I travel to often. (SCORE)!  

A practicum is not considered free labor, it allows students the opportunity to learn hands-on. It allows students to gain experiences that textbooks cannot teach. In my field, we have a total of three practicums. Food Management, Clinical Nutrition, and Community Nutrition. The three practicums are different, which gives students a feel of what they like best or least.  

I believe I prepared myself well for my first day at St. Joseph by printing all of the assignments to make a portfolio. I also read all of the assignments to know what was expected from me. To my surprise the Registered Dietitian (Preceptor) I will be working with was well prepared as well. My preceptor has taken many students from the college I attend in the past, so she was familiar with our assignments. She had a calendar of activities I will be doing my first month. Also, I provided my Preceptor with my list of assignments and she wanted to go over all of them to ensure she didn’t miss anything. (Thank goodness I was prepared)!   

My first day lasted 1 ½ hours. We talked about policy and procedures, dress code, and expectations. I was given a tour of the whole Food and Nutrition Services Department. I was introduced to all of the Managers. To my surprise, I ran into a classmate that graduated the previous year, who now works there along two other classmates. It was nice to see a familiar face.  

 I will have the opportunity to explore each section within the Food and Nutrition Services Department. I truly believe that I am going to enjoy this experience. Most of all, I want to be a sponge to learn all that I can.

Close to my Journey of Becoming a Dietetic Technician



I just got approved by the Director of the Dietetic Program that I can begin my practicums next semester. It has been a battle to get to this point. It took two years of classes, drug test, criminal background check, and a series of immunization shots.

I am so excited right now because this means I can apply class room knowledge to real life situations. This also means, after next semester I will have two more practicums to complete then I can GRADUATE!!!!

When Diets Die

You not only have the best of intentions, but you’ve also got a solid plan — and you thought you had a steel will to match. So why can’t you just stick to your stinking diet?


As a reader of Oxygen, you’re probably not planning to become a contestant on the next season of The Biggest Loser. But we all know that sometimes life can throw us curveballs — job changes, kids, relationship upheavals — that can throw us off our game for a while. And when the dust finally settles, we find ourselves needing to get back into fighting trim.

So what’s a girl to do when that happens? That’s right: Go on a diet. We’re not talking a crazy fad diet — as a fitness-minded woman, you know you can’t survive on 500 calories a day or cut entire food groups out of your life and actually be successful over the long haul. You know you need small, frequent meals with lots of protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. So why are you having trouble just doing it?

The problem, says Gregg Steinberg, a sports psychologist in Nashville, Tenn., and author of Full Throttle (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2009), is probably somewhere between your mind and your emotions. “You have to be aware of your emotions and what’s creating your habit,” he explains. “You have to know, ‘When I’m stressed, I like to eat.’ ‘When some adverse thing happens to me at work, I just shut down.’ So the first step is to be aware of our emotions and how they’ve driven our habits in a certain direction.”

Because everyone (no, it’s not just you!) tends to fall back into old patterns under pressure, the key to long-lasting change is creating new habits to carry you through the tough moments. That means recognizing, again, the emotional state you’re in, but then intentionally creating a positive link between it and the new behavior you’re trying to make habitual. “Everyone is going to get stressed, have bad days, feel de-motivated sometimes,” Steinberg says. But by linking negative emotions to positive habits — going to the gym or taking a walk — “then we create a healthy lifestyle that will last for the rest of our lives. They aren’t just diets,” he says. “They’re habits that become lasting change.”

Visualizing the goal is also a helpful tool for lasting success. But instead of plastering your work space with photos of your favorite fitness model and using that as a visual motivator to remind you to lay off the receptionist’s candy jar when that 3 p.m. slump strikes, Steinberg suggests remembering very specifically a time when you were at your peak — reaching back to a tangible place in your past when you felt like you were “in the zone” instead of reaching forward to a place you’ve probably never been and can’t relate to on a personal level. “I ask people, ‘When you were the healthiest and had the greatest push toward health, what buzzwords come to mind?’ They might say, ‘Hawaii sunset.’ That implies when they felt at peace, weren’t stressed out. It relates to a time when they were at their best, so they can relive those same emotions,” Steinberg explains.

Once you identify what those buzzwords are for you, use them to push yourself in the right direction every time you’re tempted to fall back into old habits. The result will be positive reinforcement until you succeed in creating the new habit. “I have this thing called the ‘triad of greatness,’” Steinberg says. “You’re emotionally aware of your best state and the ones that create problems in your life; you prepare yourself to have the correct emotions; and then you create the right habits. You don’t raise your game under pressure — all the great ones fall back into their habits. And anyone can do that.”

Written by Karla Dial | April 05, 2016 / Published on Oxygen

Tis the Season for Acorn Squash

I made roasted acorn squash for the first time. The recipe was simple and easy but tasty. All I did was peal the outer layer, cut in half. Scoop out the seeds and cut into cubes. Coat cubes with olive oil, minced garlic, and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Toss, bake 350 for 30-45 min, until soft. The picture is not my picture, but it came out similar. I was unable to take a picture because we ate it too fast.


 Health Benefits of Acorn Squash by

Immune System Boost: Acorn Squash is a great source of vitamin C, which is one of the best ways to boost your immune system. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, stimulates the production of white blood cells, which defend the body from pathogens and other unwanted germs/microbes. Furthermore, vitamin C is an important part of the body’s development, in terms of muscle tissue, blood vessels, teeth, skin, and organs. Vitamin C also works as an antioxidant, helping to protect the body from more serious conditions, such as heart disease and certain cancers.

Improve Vision Health: Vitamin A is found in significant quantities in acorn squash, and while that isn’t an unusual vitamin to find, high levels mean high levels of beta carotene as well, which is a very good antioxidant to have in out system. Specifically, beta carotene has been directly linked to reducing oxidative stress in the eyes, which means that cataracts and macular degeneration can be prevented with proper intake of the vitamin A in acorn squash.

Skin Health: Along with protecting the eyes, vitamin A also plays an important role in maintaining skin health. The antioxidant compounds derived from vitamin A, as well as other vitamins found in acorn squash, ensure that the skin looks young and full of color, while also helping to eliminate blemishes and scars, speed the healing of wounds, and protect the skin from pathogens and premature aging.

Digestion and Diabetes: Perhaps the most significant component found in acorn squash is dietary fiber. A single serving of acorn squash contains 9 grams of fiber, which is more than 1/3 of the daily requirement. Fiber regulates our digestion by adding bulk to our bowel movements and eliminating constipation, diarrhea, cramping, and bloating. Furthermore, dietary fiber helps to regulate the levels of blood sugar in the body, thereby helping to prevent the development of diabetes, and also to help those suffering from diabetes with maintaining stable glucose levels. Finally, dietary fiber helps eliminate excess cholesterol in the body, thereby preventing atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular conditions like strokes and heart attacks.

Blood Pressure: The high content of potassium found in this delicious variety of squash means that blood pressure can be maintained at a safe level. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it relaxes blood vessels and arteries, thereby reducing stress on the heart and lowering blood pressure. Potassium also helps to regulate the fluid balance in the cells and tissues, boosting metabolic efficiency and keeping our enzymatic and cellular pathways functioning properly. Magnesium regulates the uptake of potassium, so the high content of magnesium in acorn squash makes these effects even stronger.

Strong Bones: Acorn Squash has a wide variety of minerals, including calcium, manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorous. Many of these minerals are integral parts in the development of new bones, as well as the regrowth and healing of the bone matter we already have. Sufficient mineral diversity in the body can help to prevent osteoporosis and ensure that our bones remain strong and functional well into our later years.

Cancer Prevention: Antioxidants are found in many foods, but acorn squash is particularly fortunate to have very high levels of vitamin C and beta carotene, two very effective antioxidant compounds. This means that free radicals can more easily be neutralized before causing mutations in healthy cells. Along with preventing various types of cancer, antioxidants like those found in acorn squash also prevent cognitive disorders, premature, aging, and a range of other serious health conditions that are often associated with oxidative stress from free radicals.

A Final Word of Caution: Acorn squash is very high in carbohydrates, and while there aren’t any simple sugars in acorn squash, as you would normally find in carbohydrates, they still fill the body up in terms of calories. Those on low-carb diets should probably choose another fruit to complement their dietary restrictions.

Commit to”Dining In” on Family & Consumer Sciences Day, December 3, 2016!


December 3rd is the birth date of Ellen H Swallow Richards, founder of Home Economics in the United States. She dedicated her life to applying scientific principles to domestic topics such as:

  • Nutrition
  • Whole foods
  • Clothing
  • Fitness
  • Sanitation, etc

Her lifelong work crated the “American Home Economics Association” in 1908. In 1994 the name was changed to “American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS).

In honor of Ellen’s hard work, accomplishments, and vision. AAFCS has launched a campaign encouraging families to eat a healthy meal at home together.

The campaign is called “NATIONAL DINING-IN DAY

As some of you may know there are several health crisis and environmental concerns in American and around the word.

Overweight and obesity health epidemic

  • More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese
  • Half of all American adults have one or more preventable, diet-related disease.
  • Nearly one in three youth ages 2 – 19 are overweight or obese

Environmental Concerns

The concerning problem is land fields filled with food waste generates methane gas as it decomposes. Methane gas absorbs the sun’s heat, warming the atmosphere. Which is devastating to our climate. In order to contribute to the impact of climate change we can find ways to cut back on food waste. Since restaurants are one of the biggest contributors to food waste, dining in at home will help.

Some benefits of “Dining In”

  • Contributes to less food waste
  • Decrease the likelihood your family will be overweight or obese
  • More likely to eat healthy foods
  • Save your family money
  • Improve family relationships
  • Opportunity for children to learn communication skills, social skills, and table manners


Click here to find out how to get involved!

Shawn Stevenson: Sleep Smarter Book Launch Party!

Adrien and I was honored to meet and attend Shawn Stevenson’s Sleep Smarter book launch party in St. Louis. If you are not familiar with Shawn Stevenson, you are truly missing out. Shawn Stevenson is a graduate of University of Missouri, St. Louis. He studied business, biology, and kinesiology. He is also the founder of The Health Model Show. The Health Model Show has been featured as the #1 health podcast on iTunes with millions of viewers around the world.

I first heard about Shawn from his Health Model Show Facebook page. From there I decided to check out his podcast to see what he talks about. At first I thought he would be just another “health freak”. Boy, was I in for a surprise. I listened to episode 144: Mind Over Medicine with Dr. Lissa Rankin and it was truly soul changing. That podcast was so powerfully inspiring, I bought Dr. Lissa Rankin’s book “The Anatomy of a Calling”, which talks about finding your life’s purpose. I wanted to hear more, so I started listening to several other podcast from The Health Model Show. Being a part-time student, full-time employee, and a family, time is not my friend. However, I made time to listen to Shawn. I would listen to Shawn in my car during travel time and on my Bluetooth speaker while cooking dinner.

As you may know, I am currently in school to become a Dietitian. Which means I am not only learning about which foods are healthy vs the unhealthy foods. I am also learning the biological and scientific approach and effects that foods and lifestyle have on the body, most importantly health. When listening to Shawn’s podcast, I surprised to hear him apply biology and science to his topics. Which coincide with what I am learning in my studies. He has a range of topics from dealing with stress, creating healthy habits, weight loss vs fat loss, and the benefits of sleep. His podcast are entertaining, easy to comprehend with an added spice of humor.

Adrien getting his book signed.

I have heard and I am sure you have heard that sleep is important to health. Although we have heard that over and over, do you truly understand why and how? Because, I don’t. Well, now we all have access to a book that will give us all a better understanding about the importance of a good night’s rest.

Below are two links where you can find the book and a link to Shawn’s website. On his website you will also find his book tour dates. If he will be in your area, buy your tickets. Invest in you!!!!

The Health Model Show Website

Sleep Smarter Book