Tag Archives: Personal

Not settling

Hi everyone!

Times have been wild since I have last written. I have been working at the same primary care medical practice, went backpacking solo through Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru, completed a part time post-bachelors program, and have been experimenting with some other projects and goals. ;)

My two year anniversary at the practice is coming up soon, and I have been thinking a lot about what I have learned. My role has been something similar to a health coach, and I have worked with patients with a wide variety of conditions, goals, and personalities. These are people that are both just like you, and not at all, coming from every stage and experience of life.

I am fortunate to be able to get to know patients on a very personal level. I learn their stories, understand their environment, and listen to their struggles, triumphs and goals. This is one side of the equation of their reality. The other side is genetics and epigenetics (the nature in nature vs. nurture). All of these factors converge into a complex web that determines their health and disease state at the present moment.

You cannot know 95% of these things when you look at a person on the street or meet them at an event. It would be hard to know most of this stuff even if you had been known them for years, unless you have a medical background and ask a lot of personal questions… Being able to see how each side of a person, including their genetic and environmental history, lifestyle choices, motivators and challenges, interrelates with their medical pathophysiology has increased my compassion for others and understanding of the amount of power that people actually have to change.

It isn’t just medical conditions that have complex roots; it is every aspect of a person. Their personality, quirks, habits, and choices are all influenced by a multitude of factors. For example…

  • Mood disturbances and mental disorders are tied to neurotransmitter imbalances in the brain, which could be genetic, environmental, chemical, or even nutrition related (not adequate intake of necessary precursors)
  • People have varying levels of pain perception and stress tolerance due to stress exposure in utero
  • Overweight people may be more susceptible to overeating due to low dopamine or altered gut bacteria (ex: h. pylori in excess results in stomach ulcers, but a deficiency leads to a lack of leptin, which is responsible for satiety)
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity is influenced by the hormonal exposure in utero (and theoretically there are external factors that can alter this hormonal environment)
  • It is theorized that some mental issues, including chronic anxiety and poor self esteem, are related to lack of parental attachment in early life
  • Our diets play massive roles in our mood, energy level, sleep, immunity, health, weight, and daily choices. And our diets are massively influenced by our geography, early life experiences, parenting, and socioeconomic past and status.
  • Habitual drug or alcohol use can create a cycle involving neurotransmitters that makes it very difficult to break free of (but also- what spurred the first use? )

I think recognition of the influential unknowns also has huge implications for how we interpret and interact with others. With the understanding that each individual is the outcome of an extremely complex web of factors and events, we can have a bit more compassion for our fellow human beings . We are constantly being influenced and changing, and we can’t know what all of those factors are for ourselves (let alone others). More compassion from the acceptance of our ignorance and the complexity of nature v. nurture interactions, in combination with efforts to change what we aren’t content with, could bring about some seriously positive change in the world. Instead of judging other people (and ourselves!), we should try to be more accepting, while empowering others to make the changes they desire.

I have emphasized the complex roots of personalities and medical conditions in order to bring about compassion, not hopelessness. Most days, I hear someone somewhere saying that they have ‘always been’ a certain way. Whether it’s being overweight, anxious, depressed, or whatever, they appear resigned to this particular trait. It seems logical to me that the best way to change something is to get to the root of the problem, and so I have tried to trace back to the start of a certain problem, habit, or quality. Things quickly turn very murky, as there is not usually one answer.

What I have realized though, is that it does not matter.  There are countless elements that influence who we are that we cannot change. While you can’t change your early life development, genetics, or what others do to you, you can change what you do and how you think. After all, our bodies are made of the foods we eat, and our personas are made of  our actions, words, emotions and thoughts. We do not need to feel resigned to our condition. There are so many things (mental, physical, emotional, personality traits, habits, spiritual) that we can change and the tools are great and varying:

  • Sleep
  • Diet
  • Addressing medical conditions properly, proper medications
  • Probiotics (this can be complicated, different strains do many different things)
  • Supplements, herbs (with medical advising)
  • Therapy of all types
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
  • Meditation
  • Yoga, Tai Chi
  • Introspection, brain storming, goal setting and planning
  • Calendars and list making
  • Positive self talk, positive affirmations
  • Regular reminding self of values
  • Life coaches, health coaches, career coaches, advisors
  • Education, books, reading, studies

In summary, you are awesome. People are complicated with incredibly different life situations. Better to have compassion than pass judgement on others, and  focus on making the changes you wish to seek in yourself – because you can. I hope you all have an awesome Friday and weekend!

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me, the salt flats in Bolivia 

 

 

‘duck liver mousse?’ ‘omg so much vitamin A!’

It is almost Wednesday and that means I get to go home to Texas for a week! I’ve been looking forward to seeing family, high school friends, and eating Tex-Mex and BBQ for months now.

Today, though, was wonderful as well. I started the day off with the usual coffee and greek yogurt bowl and then headed to Crunch to workout.

This workout killed my glutes. If you want to build a booty, do this workout 2x a week and get at least a gram of protein per pound of goal weight per day.

  • Barbell squats, 5 sets 0f 15, 95#
  • Barbell lunges, 5 sets of 15 per leg, 65#
  • 100 incline situps
  • Barbell thrusts (where you do a bridge with a barbell laying over your hips), 4 sets of 15, 115#

For lunch, I made a quick, easy and paleo…

bacon butternut squash soup

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Recipe: serves 1

  • 2 cups roasted butternut squash
  • 1/2 tbsp grass fed butter
  • 1 slice bacon, crispy
  • 1/2 cup chicken or veggie broth (or more if desired)
  • 1 tbsp yellow onion
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • shake of salt
  • shake of freshly ground pepper
  • optional: for protein, once the soup is prepared, feel free to throw in grass fed beef, chicken, turkey, or even eggs!
  • optional: 1-2 tbsp almond or peanut butter to top (I loved the soup with almond butter)

Directions – Combine the squash, butter, bacon, broth, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Heat and add your protein and/or nut butter topping and enjoy!

After lunch, two my my closest friends from UC Davis came to visit and we went for a walk along the coast.

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nutrition biochemistry nerdz 4 lyfe.

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golden gate bridge

Afterwards, we went to State Bird Provisions for dinner. It is New American fusion served dim sum style, so you order lots of smaller plates. Very cool! I didn’t take any photos of dinner, but it was insanely delicious. We got

  • almond biscuits with duck liver mousse
  • hamachi spring rolls with persimmon
  • garlic bread with burrata
  • seafood salsa with avocado cream
  • glazed pork ribs with chard and togarashi (my fave!)
  • red trout with hazel and mandarin brown butter

Gah, I am salivating just rehashing the details. I should go pack. Have a wonderful  Wednesday!

killer bacon broccoli salad.

Hello everyone!

I seem to have a penchant for obnoxiously long domain names, as I have purchased TheInformedHealthNut.com as the new home for this blog!

So much has happened in the last month, I can’t even fathom it. I have now been working in the doctor office for almost two months and have really been enjoying it. Although, I definitely need to go work attire shopping. But with what time?!

Those work flats are not happening anymore, though. I was beginning to experience some foot pain (eek!), so I went to see a new orthopedic doctor here in the city. We determined that it was walking around the city in my work flats and lugging my laptop that was causing the pain. Thus, tennis shoes are now being worn with my work outfits when in public. So fashionable..

Speaking of work clothes, I now get to get paid to wear spandex and knee socks to work! Last night was my first shift at Crunch Fitness on New Montgomery. I will be working there part time as a personal trainer. The vibe is awesome. It is not too frou frou like some gyms in the city, but it is still a nice facility and very high energy. People go there to work out and make changes, not merely see and be seen. I am excited to fill up my schedule with clients and work with them on their fitness and nutrition! If you live in the Bay Area, come see me for a free hour evaluation and work out! One of the trainers asked me to give him a CrossFit style workout for him last night between clients, so I put him through this wretched little number:

5 Rounds For Time

  • 22 wall balls, 20# ball
  • 30 dumbbell snatches (15 per hand), 50# DB
  • 22 box jumps, 24 inches

As far as San Fran living, I have been doing as much as possible. My logic is that if I am going to pay enough in rent to sustain a family of 4 in the Midwest, than I better live the life of four people each month. Activities have included:

attending my first Giant’s game (going to the World Series!!!!) and watching the Blue Angels fly overhead

 Hardly Strictly bluegrass festival

hiking to the beach + exploring the Mission and most of the other ‘hoods

going to the flea market with Natalie + exploring several food and cultural festivals

I have surely bored you all to tears with all my talk of stress fractures, so I am going to sum this up as quickly as possible. At the beginning of October, I got the OK to lifting weights again. Have been loving it. Started to get a bit of foot pain, but not during workouts. Saw a doc and figured it out. Am currently lifting and being cautious. Get to add in some running in November. Get to add in CrossFit style workouts/ lifts in December. Done.

Endurance Focused Lifting Workout

5 sets of:

  • 20 backsquats, 95#
  • 12 military presses, 45#

4 sets of: 

  • 20 deadlifts, 115#
  • 15 lateral DB raises, 10#

Between my two jobs, I now work from 10:3o am to 9 pm with a break to work out in there. Thus, I have to bring both my lunch and dinner with me each day. This is going to make recipe posts more difficult, but hopefully it will be a great way to learn how to make portable meals that are suitable for work  that are actually tasty and healthy. Expect that in the near future! A recent fave…

Addictive Bacon Broccoli Salad

Recipe: Serves 2 as a side

  • 3 cups raw broccoli, chopped
  • 2-3 slices of bacon
  • 3 tbsp sweet onion, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp light mayo
  • 1 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • salt, to taste

Directions – Cook the bacon in the microwave for 2 or 3 minutes, until very crispy. Lay on a paper towel to drain. Once cooled, crumble into bits. Combine the broccoli, bacon bits, diced onion, mayo, Greek yogurt, honey, apple cider vinegar, raisins, and salt in a bowl. Mix well. Taste and adjust to personal preference. Enjoy!

A day in the life: San Fran edition!

I am finally settling into a semi-regular routine here in the city, at least during the work week. I wake up and marvel at the amount of space I have. Compared to my old room, which was literally an oversized closet, my room is a yoga studio!

yes, my old Texas license plate was BJ5 6969. classy.

Before work, I have been making paleo-ified oatmeal for breakfast. Being the rebel that I am, I occasionally throw some oat bran in there. Many people say that the number one thing they miss when going paleo is their morning oatmeal… here is your solution!

Coconutmeal [Paleo Oatmeal]

Recipe: Serves 1 – low carb, paleo, grain, dairy and sugar free

  • 5 tbsp coconut flour (can substitute half oat bran if desired)
  • 2/3 cup water (can substitute in some coconut beverage)
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk or greek yogurt (I use yogurt for more protein)
  • 2 egg whites
  • optional: 1/2 scoop protein powder
  • 2 tbsp nut butter of choice, or other toppings
  • salt, to taste

Directions – Mix the coconut flour and oat bran, if using, with the water and microwave for ~110 seconds. It will look dry when you remove it from the microwave.  Add the yogurt or coconut milk and stir. Add the two egg whites and stir until completely combined.

 Microwave for another 30 seconds. If adding protein powder, add and stir. Do not microwave again, simply add a bit of salt and stir. Top with nut butter and enjoy!

After breakfast, I commute to work using the Muni bus system, which I LOVE. With an iphone, it is super easy to navigate. You can use the directions to determine which bus to take and download MuniApp in order to know exactly when the bus is coming. You will meet every kind of person on the bus. My favorites are the sullen teenagers blocking out the world via plastic white ear buds and the extremely vocal senior citizens that have been taking the same bus for 20 years and know all the drivers.

 

really excited to get dressed for work…

At work, I am Quant coach to some of Dr. A’s patients. A Quant coach is essentially a life coach, so I aim to help people target things in their life they want to change and discover patterns that they can manipulate to bring about those changes. Since the work is only part time, I am also applying to an awesome gym to be a personal trainer and/or nutritionist. Fingers crossed!

For lunch, I have been bringing boring salads. I need to step up my game in the mornings because when it’s lunch time I get excited to chow down and then remember that I threw together a half-assed lunch. They appear even more lame when I have to go out and bring back the office deliciously expensive foie gras burgers, ahi salads, and lobster mac n’ cheese.

Today’s salad was romaine with shredded carrots, roasted squash, a tomato, and grilled chicken with blue cheese dressing. On the side I had a juicy, organic fuji apple and my fave Kind bar.

After work, I typically go to whichever gym I am trying out and either swim or do my usual stress-fractured-lifting routine.

Also, a few of you have asked how about me feetsies (how sweet of you!) and I am coming up on three months of recovery. On Friday the 28th, I have the doctor appointment that is supposed to give me the okay to begin lifting, running, and whatevering again. Toes crossed.

Post-workout I had a nasty protein shake. I ordered some personalized protein powder from True Nutrition and made the mistake of using the “double flavor” option. All I can taste is aspartame, with a hint of cake batter. I think that is what an aluminum cake would taste like.

After all that, I usually try to explore a bit and study for my personal training exam, which I am taking this week. Alternatively, today I spent an hour guarding a parking space for my car while waiting for my roomie to return home to help me.

Dinners have been very simple, healthy and tasty.

1 small sweet potato mashed with 2 Tbsp almond and peanut butter and topped with scrambled eggs, bacon, onions, and mushrooms

sauteed onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and kale scrambled with 3 egg whites and 2 whole eggs and topped with lots of mozzarella cheese (salsa and sour cream sometimes too!)

After dinner I always have some kind of yogurt bowl. I like to tell myself its to help heal my bones, but it’s really just to satiate my dairy urges. At least suboxone isn’t prescribed for that kind of addiction!

guns n’ ice cream  [Humphrey Slocombe peanut butter bacon brittle banana, to be specific]

And that was..

[gluten free] zucchini banana walnut chocolate chip bread

Good news! I found an apartment that I adore in San Francisco. It is located near the upper heart of the city, in exactly the area that I was hoping for. It’s an easy bus ride to my internship, and right in the middle of all the various hoods for good shopping, food, and going out. And the best part? My new room mates seem like the kind of girls I can really be friends with! I have heard (and experienced) a million Craigslist nightmare stories, but I don’t think this will be one. Fingers crossed! I move Thursday, so until then I will be cleaning and seeing as many people as I can. The food that will be consumed is sure to be bizarre – everyone just loves the task of finishing up all the random items in the freezer and cabinets. Should make for an awesome What I Ate Wednesday ;). If I have internet that is…  my previous roommate shut off the internet without warning, so I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop at the moment. I used to go nuts for their banana nut bread. My obsession progressed to the point that I would call to find out e x a c t l y when it would be out of the oven and I would plan my coffee shop studying around that time. That is, until I finally mastered making it myself. Except my version is gluten free and healthier, but just as delicious and comforting – promise!

[gluten free] zucchini banana walnut chocolate chip bread

Recipe: Makes 10 servings – Gluten free, sugar free (optional)

Wet ingredients

  • 1 cup zuchinni, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar or NuNaturals Baking Blend
  • 1 tbsp molasses

Dry ingredients

  • 1   cups oat flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup ground flax
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup chocolate chips (depends on your taste)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup walnuts (depends on your taste)

Directions – Preheat the oven to 350. Grate the zucchini and lay on a clean dish towel. Place another dish towel on top and press the water from the zucchini. Add all of the wet ingredients to a bowl and mix well. In another bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour the wet overt the dry and lightly mix with a spatula until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and it passes the tooth pick test.

 

Benefits

Flax * high in B vitamins, magnesium, and f-f-f-fiber! It has more omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants than any grain!

Walnuts * a good source of 0mega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts have been found to decrease LDL cholesterol, decrease inflammation, improve endothelial cell function, and decrease risk of excessive blood clotting, all of which decrease heart disease risk. They may also help reduce metabolic syndrome symptoms and decrease tummy fat. They are rich in antioxidants and may help protect against some cancers.

Bananas * High in potassium which helps the body eliminate excess salt and water (good for bloating)! Also help prevent muscular cramps and improve blood circulation. Bananas are high in zinc, which is key for healthy hair. They have also been linked to the prevention of stomach ulcers because they protect the stomach mucous layer. They are high in vitamins C and A, and phosphorus (which helps improve memory).

Cinnamon * High in antioxidants and also aids in controlling blood sugar levels. Why does blood sugar matter? Spikes in blood sugar are bad for your health because they cause your body to increase insulin production. Insulin, among many other things, tells your body to store fat. Therefore, eating a sugary/high-in-simple-carbohydrate meal = blood sugar spike = insulin spike = store fat. Even worse, years of insulin spikes can lead to insulin resistance, which can then lead to diabetes.

Also!

I still have 5 more weeks before I can get back into lifting and Crossfit, but I did go to UCD Crossfit yesterday for a goodbye workout. Jonji and the guys changed up the workout so I could participate and it was hard. It felt good to get my heart rate up like that again!

Foot Injury-Friendly Crossfit WOD

  • 2000m rowing warmup

4 Minute Tabatas: 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, 8x. Do 4 minutes of the tabata pushups, take a 1 minute rest, then 4 minutes of the tabata situps, 1 minute rest, etc.. 

  • Pushups
  • GHD situps
  • Ring rows
  • Back/hip extensions

Injury or not, I think you should give this one a try. Have a lovely Monday!! 

coconut water pong and the invention of dub step.

Hey WholeWheatOrBusters! Let’s be real here, I need to change the name of this blog. And buy my own domain. Wheat is now a foreign object in my diet, making occasional appearances for special occasions and bizarre cravings. If anyone comes up with a name that I love… I’ll send you a care package full of edible goodies.

This weekend had it’s ups and downs. On the up side, I hung out with friends, both new and old, and went floating down a beautiful river for several hours. Some of my guy friends also created a non-drinking game that combines getting swole with beer pong and coconut water. Coconut water pong, if you will. And every time you time the other team makes a cup, you and your partner must do 8 pull ups or air squats. I did 48 pulls ups that night. Still sore.

On the down side, our house was intruded upon and they stole my house mate’s laptop as well as my wallet and ipod. Our town is so small and… cute… that Kathleen and I don’t always lock the door. Obviously, we have learned our lesson.  Everything is replaceable, except my wallet. It was my deceased father’s and meant more to me than basically anything I own. When my family passed it down to me, I knew I could keep it in a box – safe and sound – for the rest of my life. Or I could actually use it. Knowing full well that I would likely lose or damage it one day, I chose to use the wallet. Everyday it served as a physical reminder of him. However, besides the wallet, everything else is just stuff and doesn’t really mean anything. Stuff is replaceable and it doesn’t bring happiness anyway. When was the last time you bought something that brought you lasting happiness? I can’t think of a time. Also, the robber is apparently a raging alcoholic, because on his way out, he also stole my room mates handle of gin. Who does that?!?

Besides the wallet, I also had to say some hard good byes this weekend. :( It has been helpful to remember that no good bye is necessarily forever until it is t h e     t i m e.

I also got my first MRI!

I am pretty sure the inventors of dubstep drew their inspiration from being forced into the giant magnet machine a few too many times. For an hour, I could feel tingling in my feet and the blaring beat of the machine piercing through my ear plugs and headphones. Granted, the headphones were cheap and a measly donut of foam was supposed to block out the sound. I am pretty sure a major hospital can afford some nice Bose noise cancellation headphones – but whatevs, I got my dubstep on.

I am still limited in my working out (no running, jumping, olympic lifting), but have gotten to add in squats and deadlifts to my regimen.

HALLELUJAH BABY JESUS HAS RISENNNNN! 

Foot Injury-Safe Workout #4

  • Bench press, 65 lbs, 3 rounds until failure
  • Military press 50 lbs, 3 rounds until failure
  • GHD Abs with 3 kg ball, 3 rounds of 12
  • Pull ups + hanging tricep dips, 3 rounds until failure
  • Sit ups + side bend abs holding 45 lb plate, 3 rounds of 12 per side
  • 1 more round of each until failure

Food wise, I am on a salad kick for lunch because it is steaming hot here. I have had this one three days in a row, which is weird. I am finally over it, but I think you should get on it. Asap.

The flavors come together in a totally unexpected and awesome way. I seriously recommend you give this one a shot. The brasil nuts and toasted coconut are optional, but they definitely take it to another level.

Tropical Summer Market Salad

Recipe: Serves 1

  • 3 cups mache
  • handful sugar snap peas, halved
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, diced
  • handful sprouts
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 oz goat cheese
  • 2 brasil nuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mango, cubed
  • 1 tbsp shredded, toasted coconut

Directions – Dice the cucumber and snap the snap peas into bite size pieces. In a large bowl, add the mache, snap peas, cucumber, and sprouts. Drizzle the olive oil and apple cider vinegar over it. Sprinkle on the salt and fresh pepper. Mix. Add the goat cheese and cubed mango and toss again. Scrape onto a dish or bowl. Top with chopped basil nuts and a dash of toasted coconut. Eat with a side of protein!!!!! Enjoy.

Benefits:

Mache * has a crazy amount of vitamin folic acid (B9) for a leafy green, as well as vitamin C, and potassium! Plus its weirdly delicious. Try it!

Sprouts * has 50x the antioxidant sulfurophane contained in broccoli

Sugar Snap Peas * a tasty source of fiber for regularity, as well as a good source of  vitamin K, B6, and vitamin C. Vitamin K plays a key role in calcium absorption, along with vitamin D.

Mango * high in vitamins A, C, K, E, and potassium, magnesium, and selenium. Also contains the antioxidant beta carotene, a carotenoid! Mangoes are high in fiber due to their pectin content, which has been associated with lower cholesterol levels and reduced risk for cancer.

Brasil Nuts * is THE RICHEST source of selenium of all natural foods! Just 1-2 nuts per day contains all the daily required selenium you need, which may help prevent skin cancer. I get at least one a day!

and that was…

Cheesy Apple Bacon Muffins [gluten free]

This blog used to basically be a muffin blog. I ate a muffin a day. Muffins and eggs, muffins and greek yogurt, muffins for dessert, muffins for snack.

And then I got muffined out.

And then I got more paleo.

And now the muffins are back.

Cheesy Apple Bacon Muffins

Recipe: Makes 6 muffins – Gluten free, Primal adaptable, Sugar free

  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (you can make your own!)
  • 1/4 cup real or sugar-free maple syrup (depending on your needs…and politics)
  • 1 cup diced pink lady apple
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded + extra for topping
  • 4 slices crispy bacon, nitrate free
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Primal version: 6 eggs and 1/2 cup coconut flour, no oat flour.

Directions – Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Microwave the bacon until crispy, about 5-6 minutes. Pour the grease into a jar and lay the bacon on a paper towel to dry. Dice the pink lady apple and set aside. Grate the cheddar cheese and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the coconut flour. Add the oat flour (I simply ground up oats in a blender until powdery) and maple syrup (I use Joseph’s Sugar Free with malitol) and beat again. Sprinkle the salt and baking soda over the batter and stir. Crumble the bacon into chunks and bits. Fold the apples, cheese, and bacon into the batter. Bake for ~20 minutes, or until the muffins have risen and are just lightly browned.

come to mama.

bacon never looked so cute

I’m on a bit of a life high right now. Yesterday was my first day at my LINC (low income housing) volunteer position. I got there early and helped my supervisor set up the room for the after school/summer program for the kids. The kids trickled in around 2:15 and had Enrichment until 4. I helped the cutest pair of 6 year old twins I have ever seen with their reading and writing. One of them has an afro mohawk and was really into his work and getting as far through the workbook as possible. The other was completely disinterested in working and just kept gazing off at the other kids who had already finished. He simply didn’t believe in himself! He thought everything was too hard for him. I kept telling him that he could do it – he could do whatever he wanted to accomplish as long as he didn’t give up and worked at it. We got through a few pages, but then it was snack time. During snack, my supervisor introduced me and we had the kids go around and introduce themselves. They ranged in age from 6 to 14 and were all very lively. Next, I had an hour to teach them anything. I started out with asking them to name a food they like and a food they don’t like.

They liked chicken, carrots, pizza, mashed potatos, tamales, fish, and chocolate. They didnt like broccoli, sea food, peppers, peas, onions and more broccoli.

Next, I asked them to name a food they thought was healthy and a food they thought “wasn’t good for them.” They thought carrots, lettuce, broccoli, watermelon, and olives (?!) were healthy. They thought cake, chocolate, gravy, bacon, cupcakes, ribs, and pizza was not good for them. I told them that we needed to move ribs to the good list because it was such a great source of protein.   That lead to a great little conversation on why and how protein helps us grow up and get stronger.

The main thing I wanted to get out of this first session was seeing how much they knew about the food groups, what the thought was healthy versus not, and what kinds of foods they liked.

The most successful part of the lesson was when I asked them to look at the list of foods they said were bad for them and figure out what the cake, chocolate, and cupcakes had in common. Silence. Eventually, one of the older boys screeched SUGAR!!!

 I asked them why sugar was bad for them… Silence again. Come on you guys, why is sugar bad for you? A boy in a 49ers hat raised his hand and mumbled “because it makes you fat.” This gave me a way to talk about how eating too much sugar and not moving around enough can make us gain weight because our cells aren’t eating all of the food we are giving them. The more we move around, the more our cells will eat the food that we eat.  It we eat too much sugar and don’t do anything, the food will become fat on our bodies. Also, sugar may give us energy at first, but then it will make us sleepy and leave us with less energy than we had before. They all seemed to understand and were particularly interested in why sugar leaves us tired and why protein helps us get stronger. I did my best! They also wanted to know what was wrong with my foot (I didn’t drink enough milk and yogurt growing up and didn’t wear proper shoes to work out in) and what that thing on my arm was (its a machine that measures my heart rate and steps every day to make sure I am active enough). 

I have three more sessions with them, so I’m thinking of theming one veggies, one fruits, and one protein/dairy. I contacted Chobani and they are going to send me yogurt to give the kids! I am so excited – I am sure that none of them have been exposed to greek yogurt!

Thank you to the couple of you that gave me suggestions. I really appreciate it. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!