Alcohol for Health?

Alcohol for Health?

Here to talk to you about happy hour today!
One of my favorite macronutrients (second to carbs): alcohol. I was shocked to find out that alcohol is considered a macro, along with protein, carbs, and fat, NOT because it’s nutritious (spoiler: it’s not), but because it’s consumed in large amounts. oops.

What is moderation?

Moderate drinking is 1 drink/day for women, and 2 drinks/day for men, not because the laws of drinking are sexist, but because men typically have more lean body mass, which makes the alcohol easier to metabolize.

It has suddenly occurred to me how remarkably basic I am, struck by the realization of HOW MANY PRETTY DRINK PHOTOS I have taken over the years…cheers?!

What’s considered “a drink”?

I didn’t make the rules, Sandy; The CDC did, and they say that a drink is:
– 12 oz of beer with 5% alcohol content, or
– 8 oz of malt liquor
– 5 oz wine
-1.5 oz of 80 proof distilled spirits or liquor, like whiskey, gin, rum, or vodka

What’s heavy drinking?
-more than 8 drinks/week for women
-more than 15 drinks/week for men
^that seems unfair, right? But I digress.

What’s binge drinking?
-more than 4 drinks in a single occasion for women
-more than 5 drinks in a single occasion for me

I was also mildly taken aback when I read THAT ^ was what was considered binge drinking. In my earlier twenties, I spent so much time technically binge drinking on patios, at the beach, while studying, etc. Also- if you think you’re being easy on your liver by binge drinking, but not heavy drinking over time- that is incorrect! When we get drunk, we activate a secondary system in our liver called the MEOS pathway to metabolize alcohol- this takes a LOT of energy, and our bodies preferentially metabolize alcohol over pain meds, etc to remove it from our body as efficiently as possible. This will enable meds to remain in your body longer since your body is a little preoccupied with getting rid of the alcohol, so be vigilant! Know if your meds are metabolized by your liver before drinking. Does your RX bottle warn you about drinking? Part of drinking is being responsible, and that includes knowing how your medications work in your body.

I have since slowed down substantially on drinking; it disagrees with my ulcerative colitis situation on many occasions (alcohol kills GI cells!), and I’m at point where I’d rather be pain-free than buzzed. Plus, as it turns out, combating depression and anxiety with alcohol is maybe not the best idea.
*laughs nervously*



But I thought red wine was good for you?


Not untrue! This study mentions resveratrol and potentially other polyphenols in wine that have anti-inflammatory benefits. However, there is no evidence that you should start drinking if you don’t- you can achieve health with a mostly healthy, consistent diet alone, without help from alcohol. Similar results were found in this study– where the good parts of wine alone weren’t helpful in improving longevity, cancer outcomes, or inflammation with a Western (aka mostly American) diet. Bottom line: red wine, in combination with a healthy overall diet, like the Mediterranean diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, is beneficial for overall and cardiovascular health, but not wine by itself.

red wine + healthy diet with fruits, veggies, whole grains = healthy
red wine + cheeseburgers + fries + rarely if ever fruits, veggies, whole grains = not ideal for health
-we can’t rely on red wine alone to save our diets and remove our risk factors for diseases, sadly.

And if there’s a takeaway from this post- it’s everything in moderation. I even defined moderation for you! Technically, the CDC did, but you can reference it here. 🙂

Unfortunately, I haven’t found any studies about the health effects of margaritas. But when I do, you’ll be the first to know. Who knows, maybe margaritas are the next superfoods smoothie?!
Here’s to wishful thinking.

Cheers!

For more info about alcohol from the CDC









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The Suckage of My Twenties

I consider myself to be a chaser of silver-linings. I’m not comfortable in the dark and twisty, and I’m not a super-fan of hangin’ out by myself, even though I am workin’ on it. I can mentally muster the strength to find the good in the bad most days.

For my twenties as a whole? NAH. Pass.

I’m 27. I’m fully confident to report that my twenties have sucked.
SO MUCH SUCKAGE.
The curated world of instagram, with the influencers and their crystals and their latte art, really wants you to know that life is rainbows, but I’m giving myself (and anyone else who needs it) permission: it’s cool if life sucks sometimes. xo. I mean- it’s not cool. It’s miserable.
But it’s common, it’s life, and you’re not alone in the suckage.

What do you mean by “suckage”?


hospital suckage^

Well- living below the poverty line, being sick, taking jobs that are (by the best stretch of my imagination) SHITTTTTTTY, getting acquainted with managing anxiety, realizing that bills just never stop (especially medical bills. like…I just paid you. Why do I now owe $500 WITH health insurance?!). GAAAAADDAMMMMMIT.

evidence of shitty job

I frequently thank God for the future. I also thank God for the present, but I mean… the future has GOT to get better. I thank God for prosperity, and I hang visual reminders and affirmations on my wall. I move my body, eat good things, do the right stuff, and the present is still hard sometimes often.
I thank God for now, strength, resiliency, but I get excited to thank God for future job stress, future co-workers, for future kids, and a life that I have worked hard for (please see: twenties).

In the shower, where I do my best critical thinking, I visualize my mornings that I’m excited to have:
– humid morning long runs earlllllyyyy in the morning, getting into my car: an International Scout with a “Save the Dolphins” license plate. I have to turn the wipers on briefly because of the humidity (I love sweaty, humid, morning runs). My Scout looks like a beach cruiser, and that’s cool because it’s very Stacey- so very me. We live in Texas, because that’s where home is for both of us.
– I get home, and my Zack is waiting for me reading the paper or listening to news podcasts (because he already does this. He’s an old man that I love). He’s overwhelmed about his job(s) in a good way. I tell him that I need to hurry and get an article published for Runners World, because a deadline is approaching. I need to get my morning conquered before I leave for another job/dropping kids off places, etc. WE ARE LIVIN OUR CRAZY DREAMS.
– I visualize our kitchen in detail. It has a huge island, and it’s functional. We have a few moments together before kids wake up (I can hear moms laughing at me, but it’s my future on the BEST day, okay?!).

And I thank God for all the steps it takes to get to this ^ morning. I daydream about it so, so frequently. So, so often. I know being in the present moment is important, but I am a big believer in vivid day-dreams. I’m holding on to this one until it’s a real morning. I promise to update you when it is, but I’m going to need you to be patient with me, because I’m currently in the thick of my twenties, simultaneously wanting them to be over and not wanting to wish time away.

Here’s to overcoming the suckage…one daydream at a time.

Do your twenties suck too? Did they? Did you survive them? HOW?
Do you daydream, too?


More Cowbell

More Cowbell

I’ve got a fever…

If you don’t understand my humor, circa 2000 SNL…can we be friends?
Can we?

I hear people say “fruits and veggies don’t make me feel full.”
Here to tell ya…they’re not supposed to, sister!!!

Fruits and veggies are full of fiber, which can HELP us feel full and satiated, but fruits and veggies are carbs (hi- please keep carbs in your diet xoxo). One macronutrient alone won’t fill you up…not for very long, anyway.

If your snack looks like the above, you need more cowbell.

Image not mine- took from google images. Not sure if this disclaimer protects me from copyright infringement. 

YASSSSSSSS
More cowbell:

Fiber, fats, proteins, carbs = all the macros + fiber = more cowbell
Fiber, fats, proteins, carbs = high-octane fuel for that fine machine that is your body
Fiber, fats, proteins, carbs = the secret to keep you feelin’ full + fine longer

Pictured above
Fiber: pears, cucumber
Protein: chicken
Carbs: pears, cucumber
Fats: crunch PB

“But it’s just a snack”. But isn’t a snack supposed to be a pick-me-up? Wouldn’t you like to stay fuller longer so you don’t pick up a snack that you’re not enthusiastic to snack on that’s going to make you hungry in .2 seconds?

Yes. And the only cure…is more cowbell.

So…You Want to Be a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?

So…You Want to Be a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?

Happy National Nutrition Month! MARCH! Can it feel like Spring, already? To commence National Nutrition Month, I’m sharing some things about a profession I’m pretty stoked about: nutrition! Scroll down for more.

H O W

How to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN)? What is an RDN?

An RDN is a food and nutrition expert who has successfully completed:
– a bachelor’s degree
– prerequisite coursework for a DPD or CP
– 1200 hours of supervised practice (dietetic internship)
– a national credentialing exam

There are a number of routes to becoming an RDN, but here’s the route I took/ am currently taking:
bachelor’s degree: check! B.A. in Sociology- note: the bachelor’s does NOT have to be in the field of nutrition, because beginning in 2024, a master’s will be required to sit for the credentialing exam.
– I worked full-time and took the prerequisites simultaneously, because I could not afford to up and quit my job. I took biochemistry, organic chemistry, chemistry 2 with the lab component, and nutrition through the lifespan one.semester.at.a.time. It took 5-ever, but I am told that it will be worth it. Plus, I didn’t accumulate additional debt from paying on a course or two at a time. Bonus: If you work for a hospital, a lot of them will pay for the prerequisites!  Look into their tuition-reimbursement programs and see!
-I enrolled in a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). A DPD is ONLY the coursework component to become a dietitian- not the internship. Think of the DPD as step 2 in the process after completion of prerequisites. I FULLY planned on working and going to school simultaneously like I had been doing, and then I was planning to apply for a dietetic internship (DI) later. Thankfully, I moved to a town with a Coordinated Program (CP) that combines the internship with the classwork.
-I’m currently completing the CP, and when it’s all done, I’ll have all my supervised practice AND some graduate degrees under my belt. Once I graduate, then I am eligible to sit for the CDR credentialing exam. Some states require additional licensure to be a licensed dietitian to practice (LD).

I wanted to be credentialed- that was important to me, because in order to work for the World Health Organization, hospitals, and community programs like WIC, even NASA…they require that RDN credential. Without the credential, the future seemed uncertain and volatile to me. If credentialing isn’t important, I suggest checking out programs in integrative nutrition. However, I don’t know if “nutritionist” will always be an option without pursuing the credential. Many people are advocating for the “nutritionist” title to be protected through the RDN credential, which can only be attained via the steps I listed at the top of this post. What I’m saying is, all dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians…make sense?

What does an RDN do?
Where are they?

Glad you asked! They work anywhere and everywhere! In gyms, hospitals, schools, corporate wellness, for NFL, the NHL, MLB teams, the Olympics, collegiate sports teams, community programs, in education/academia, for the NIH, the WHO, for THEMSELVES in private practice, in the media, and beyond. RDNs provide individualized, evidence-based nutritional counseling and medical nutrition therapy (MNT). RDNs take a scientific approach to health maintenance and prevention. RDNs can even join practice groups (DPG) and gain field-specific knowledge in areas like pediatrics, diabetes, integrative and functional medicine, culinary arts, and environmental hunger. Dietitians can even become board certified in sports nutrition, pediatrics, clinical nutrition, oncology, diabetes, and more!

^Texas Medical Center in Houston

What excites me about the field of nutrition?

I think there’s room for entrepreneurship and growth in the nutrition field. People are more interested in nutrition and disease prevention than ever, and the job growth for this field is exciting. I like the idea of piece-mealing a career that’s rooted in science, helpful for others in areas like counseling and education, and practical. There’s constantly new research being published to keep up with, and the science nerd in me loves that. I like that the field doesn’t have to be rigidly structured and black and white- there’s room for flexibility in nutrition…and I’m excited to see what that looks like in my own life as a professional.


Friendly Reminder about Healing

Friendly Reminder about Healing

Healing is.not.linear.

I have learned this with ups and downs of life with a chronic disease.
But this is especially difficult for me to remember with my mental health.

I struggle with anxiety and depression, and I’m currently wading through it with help from a number of healthcare professionals, people who support me, and the #1 role-player…myself!

I woke up a couple of days this week in a fog, sad, heavy…which is counter to my normal, healthy, chipper self. But I’m not apologizing for these bad days, and I’m taking them in stride, going to therapy, journaling, soul-searching, moving my body when I need to, being still when I need to, feeling all the feels, and not feeling bad for the bad days.

Growing up, I carried such guilt when I had a bad day, and my coping mechanism was pretending that everything was finnnnnne and grrrrrreat. I now know that I don’t owe anyone an apology for a bad day, not even myself.

I guess what I’m saying is- give yourself grace, because I’m working on giving myself grace:
-when I KNOW I’ve done everything to feel better; given myself the right amount of sleep, food, #self-care, and I still don’t feel better
-in the thick of it, in my lowest low, feeling like it will never pass. spoiler alert: it will- it’ll wash over
-when I’m panicked for no reason/ when I’m panicked for a real reason
-when I’m tired, weary, and downright depleated
-when I don’t accomplish everything…or anything on my to-do list

Healing is the ups, the downs, the peaks, valleys, rough parts, ins, outs, and all the in-between. But it’s the good stuff, too. I’d like to think the lowest lows help us feel the highest highs with even more intensity and gratitude.

I want to be a sure, steady shoreline that can take on storms, and allow them to wash over. I watch the tide take the storms away, and when they come back, I’m still the shoreline, only this time- I can stand in the storm from a different vantage point from before, because I’m still the shore.
Is that cheesy?
I’m a cheese-ball, yall. I don’t care- this works for me, okay?

And remember- you’re never alone. People are healing all around you, including me.



Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

My smoothie game has been wicked strong lately.
But I promise not to bore you with all the reasons why
Make this, and thank me later.

1/2 C almond milk (malk brand)

1/2 C H2O

5 frozen wild cherries 

3 ice cubes

1 C frozen broccoli

1 heaping tbsp PB

2 tsp wild honey 

B L E N D

Note: You don’t need to add honey, or any sweetener for that matter, to smoothies when fruit is added. The fructose in the fruit is sufficient enough! But this honey was local, fresh, and delicious, and you better believe I enjoyed every last drop of it.

This smoothie has all the goods to keep you feelin’ full and fine:
Protein (PB + chia topping)
Fat (PB + Milk)
Fiber (broccoli + cherries)
Carbs (broccoli + cherries)

If you’re using this as a post-workout snack, your body needs carbs AND protein to recover optimally. Don’t fear those carbs, Sandra.

Also- I know people are on this whole “fruit is bad for you” craze, and that is BANANAS. Those aren’t your people. Fruit is SO SO rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are all GOOD for your body. As Americans, TRUST me when I say that fruit is the least of our problems. Added sugar? shoot, yeah. We could do a better job here…but don’t demonize fruit, I beg you.


Let me know what cha think of this recipe if you give it a shot!

P.S. THIS study talks about how tart cherry helps accelerate muscle recovery after exercise!

Feelin’ Myself on a Monday Morning

Feelin’ Myself on a Monday Morning

I keep reading books written by entrepreneurs, listening to podcasts by the greats like Oprah, and they all talk about taking control of your morning.

I’m not going to lie. There are some days that I don’t have a handle on things. I’ve been fighting through and sitting with depression and anxiety, and I’m not quite out of the hole and done healing just yet. On the bad days I am giving myself permission and grace to just have a bad day, pure and simple, free from guilt, and if that means that I need to sleep through the morning, or spend all day watching “How I Met Your Mother” re-runs, so be it.

But when I’m on my A-game and feelin’ like myself…I love the mornings. The whole world feels like it’s mine in the morning- unbothered by busy traffic, lines at coffee shops, or the sound of my phone going off. I love the gold light tones of the morning sun, the sound of the birds, and I wake up pretty damn chipper most days.

I have realized that it doesn’t take much to make me feel centered, but I understand what the greats are talking about…having control of my morning makes me feel empowered, fierce, beyonce-like, and ready to conquer the day.

What makes me feel centered and 100% myself? Oh- glad you asked.
music in the morning. Good stuff, like Creedence, Frank Sinatra, or lately I’ve been into Bob Seager (old soul here)
coffee– just a cup, maybe 12 oz if I’m feelin’ like I need a divine intervention. Pretty sure my resting heart-rate is something similar to a hummingbird’s, so I don’t over-do it.
movement. I’m a movement in the morning kind of person- but I understand that not everyone is like that. When I say “movement” I don’t mean crossfit- that’s not true to me, and I get stressed when people are yelling at me to move. I mean walking my dog, doing yoga on the back porch, hitting up a quick barre class, or going for a solo run.
stillness. Headspace app- thank you, Jesus.
creating. I need to write in the mornings. I need to journal, or blog, or hand-letter the shit out of something motivational, but I must create to feel 100%. If I have nothing to give, then I need to read something positive and fueling to my brain.
food. colorful and flavorful, sometimes in the form of a smoothie.

IMG_4436

Pictured above is my vision board in my home office/home gym/ bathroom. It’s a multi-purpose room, but I still set some real, attainable intention. I wrote affirmations that force me to look at them daily, and I printed out photos that remind me of who I am/want to be more of, goals, reminders, etc. If I don’t have visual aids to remind me to set intention and live my fullest freakin’ life, then I’m not sure if I’d remember to do it, and this helps me.

I also realized that I hate fake plants, but I’m keeping the guy anyway for now, because I’m not quite at a place in life where I can nurture a real plant hanging on my wall.

How do you set intention? What brings you back to feeling like yourself?