Saturday, November 30, 2013

Photos from lately

I've been working hard on wrapping up some assignments from the first half of my dietetic internship. Here are a few photos from campus and also a box I painted for my preceptor/mentor.

Does this look like an orange?

For those that don't know about the process of becoming an Registered Dietitian (RD) here's how it goes:
1. Receive an undergraduate degree from a DPD approved program. 
2. During your senior year you apply to internships- Internships are incredibly competitive. Across the country there are about 250* and each has between 2-20 spots available. There are a few thousand people applying every year so the national placement right is about 50/50. 
-Because of it's level of competition you're expected to apply to multiple internships- you rank them according to where you want to go the most. The internship ranks applicant in the same manner. Through a computer matching process your either matched...or are told to "try again next year kiddo!"

The internship itself varies. But they all have supervised practice in clinical, community, and foodservice. For example mine is 10 months with a research emphasis in the first half. You do not get paid, in fact you get to pay them a lot of money. Overall it's a very intense learning experience with competencies that must be met in order to receive a certificate at the end of it. 

Once you finish 10 months of supervised practice you register to take a national exam. If you pass you are a Registered Dietitian and mean something to the world of nutrition! 

This is why people like Dr. Oz or bloggers that say they are "nutritionists/nutrition specialists" without a degree irritate me (Yes, I know Dr. Oz is a doctor...but his doctorate is not in nutrition). I imagine they are smart people, at least some of them, but they did not have 5+ years of education specific to nutrition. Nor do they have the training to critically analyze a research paper or health claim to determine if it's a bunch of bologna or not. I do sympathize with individuals that cannot afford to complete an internship and have a degree but can't call themselves a dietitian. It stinks to go through 4 years of school and realize your degree means little without a few letters behind it. But even after a few months of this makes a tremendous difference in being able to navigate the nutrition world. 

So if you're ever reading an article about nutrition, especially one with shocking! claims- please look to see who wrote it!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Huffpost Canada on Paleo diet

"The paleo diet is basically a fantasy, according to Dr. Marlene Zuk" is personally my favorite line. Albeit it warrants an explanation- which you can find in the rest of the article.

A Registered Dietitian wrote it. As she summarized at the end a lot of research is ongoing- there really is no proof this diet is superior to any other. Calories in = calories out people.

What frustrates me is that the "creator" of the diet makes some bold claims that are based on some weak studies.

Food Science: How cookies are made

Found this on "Tai-wiki-widbee" and it is the dreamiest piece of food animation I've seen in some time. Also very accurate!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Secrets to photographing food

National Geographic Kids wrote an article detailing how food stylists make food look so tasty in magazines.

Not included in the article is how ice cream is often whipped crisco and powdered sugar since it won't melt. What's interesting is that according to this article by the Art Institute truth in advertising laws from the Federal Trade Commission prohibit specific substitutions. Campbell's soup was in the hot seat for putting marbles at the bottom of bowls so the vegetables didn't sink down.

I think with the increase in food blogs photos taken at home and are equally gorgeous and less manipulated. Then again I'm not in other bloggers homes making sure they're not just painting raw chicken carcasses to make it look good. You never know what people do behind closed doors.

Also with Thanksgiving coming up I will be doing a new dessert soon. After my soup fiasco I'm resorting to what I know best- spiked blood glucose and chocolate.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Brain-Gut Connection

A small study from UCLA revealed consuming probiotics affects multiple areas of the brain linked to cognition. Investigating bacteria in the human body and health is becoming a popular research topic.

"The discovery that changing the bacterial environment, or microbiota, in the gut can affect the brain carries significant implications for future research that could point the way toward dietary or drug interventions to improve brain function, the researchers said."

The article reminded me of a TEDTalk by Heribert Watzke about "The brain in your gut"
Interestingly enough Watzke works for Nestle in Switzerland. The UCLA research was funded by the Danone institute.

Liz Wolfe- Photography

Liz Wolfe create some of the most enchanting photos from food. The album "Happiness is Contagious" is just full of things peculiar and beautiful.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pumpkin Soup: In the pumpkin!

Last weekend I tried making soup in a pumpkin. It was honestly an epic fail. It was my first time using dried beans and even after soaking them and cooking them for 1.5 hours they were still ummm...a little crunchy.

Outside of that I didn't get that wonderful pumpkin puree, thick, delicious product shown in other photos. I think those people cheated. I know it's still a pretty serving vessel so maybe I'll cop out next time and just transfer it to the pumpkin at the end.

I'd give you the recipe but really I'd recommend using Alton Brown's.

Using the tinfoil as handles was very helpful. It turns out while baking the pumpkin shrinks a bit and without the foil the lid would have fallen into the soup!

The soup contained corn, beans, and pumpkin- also known as "The Three Sisters" in Native American culture. Together these plants formed a symbiotic relationship. The corn stalks allowed the beans to grow upward while providing shade for the squash. The squash also kept the soil moist and protected. It was common for Native Americans to plant a fish underneath plants to provide more nutrients as well.

Case Study: Man ferments alcohol in stomach = forever drunk

"Auto-brewery syndrome" is a rare phenomenon where excess yeast in the gut causes food to be fermented, creating alcohol. This poor guy blew a 0.41 without drinking alcohol! The few articles I looked at said the yeast was in the stomach. Go-go microbes!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Home-made Granola Bars

The Pennsylvania Nutrition Program has a carrot granola bar recipe I tried out for work. It's easier than you'd expect and there are carrots which is an added bonus.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Heat honey and peanut butter in a sauce pan to melt.

3. Add oatmeal, craisins, carrots, stir until combined.

4. Pour concoction into baking pan/sheet, press down. Bake for 25 minutes

I was impatient and didn't let the bars cool before eating a few with hot apple cider.
IF you let them sit they do get a lot more bar like. This would be a good breakfast treat too.

Depending on how thick you want the bars to be you may want a bigger pan and increase the cooking time. The ones I made were pretty thick. 

Throw back bonus: using juicer pulp is an option too!

Serving size: 1 bar. Yield: 12 bars.
Nutrition Information: Calories-160, calories from fat 60, total fat 6g, saturated fat 1.5g, cholesterol 0mg, sodium 5mg, total carbohydrate 25g, dietary fiber 2g, sugar 15g, protein 4g.