It’s been a little over a year since I posted a blog. I just wasn’t really certain what I wanted to blog about. I didn’t want to be set on blogging about just nutrition. Yes nutrition is a big part of my life. I try to eat healthy and instill healthy eating into my kids, even if they are 3 and 1.
I have had some people ask me how I get my son, Tyler, to eat healthy. First, I should start by saying that Tyler will eat a whole red or orange pepper like you would eat an apple. People are amazed that a 3 year old would do that. This past summer we went to the farmers market in our city. Tyler saw a green pepper with some red on it and wanted it. So we bought it for him. It was a huge pepper. He started eating it on the way back to the car. As we were walking people kept saying look at that boy eating that pepper. It’s not everyday you see a 3 year old eating a pepper like and apple. To me its normal.
Tyler will ask me for frozen vegetables to eat all the time. Why he likes them frozen instead of cooked is beyond me. When Tyler was a baby I tried not to give him any sweets until his first birthday. I think I was pretty successful in doing so. I didn’t do anything really special when he was a baby, food wise. I did the normal cereal then vegetables, fruit and then meats. I would give him vegatables and fruit for lunch and dinner along with whatever we were eating. He would sometimes get fruit as a snack as well. One of the things to eating healthy is not having junk food or sweets in your house. We rarely have sweet and junk food at our house. I don’t want you to think that we never eat sweets or junk food, we do, just not every day. Moderation is key. Now that Tyler is three, almost 4, he still asks for fruits and vegetables for a snack, oh and cheese. He has rarely if ever asked me for candy or junk food. I hope that my daughter, Ariana, will have the same eating habits as him.
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Calcium plays a very important role in our bodies. It is a mineral we need each day. Calcium makes up about 99% in our bones and teeth and the other 1% is found in the blood and soft tissue. Adequate calcium intake is essential for maintaining healthy bones. If calcium intake is inadequate the body will demineralize our bones to maintain normal blood calcium levels. When calcium levels are inadequate it is considered a deficiency. Low blood calcium levels usually implies abnormal parathyroid function and is rarely due to low dietary intake. Chronic kidney disease, vitamin D deficiency, and low magnesium levels, that occur mainly due to alcoholism, can cause low calcium levels in the blood. Vitamin D is needed for optimal calcium absorption. That is why most calcium supplements contain vitamin D. The recommended amount of calcium for children ages 1-3 are 500mg/d, ages 4-8 800mg/d, ages 9-18 1300mg/d, for adults up to age 50 you need 1000mg/d, 51 and older need 1200mg/d, during pregnancy women need 1300mg/d if under 18 and if they are older than 18 they need 1000mg/d.
There are many good sources of calcium. It is best to obtain as much calcium from foods since calcium in foods is accompanied by other nutrients. Good sources of calcium include milk, cheeses, yogurt, tofu, spinach, rhubarb, white beans, kale, pinto beans red beans and broccoli.
My family goes through 3 gallons of milk a week. I personally am not a big milk drinker. I only have about a glass of milk a day with my dinner. I do take a calcium supplement because I know that I don’t get enough calcium through the foods I eat. I will eat yogurt but I can get tired of eating it. Now my son and husband will drink milk plain with no food or anything. I can’t do that. I don’t care for the taste of it. There is nothing wrong with taking a supplement. If you do take calcium supplements make sure to take it with food and not to take it with a multivitamin. The reason is that food helps calcium get absorbed better in your body. The iron in a multivitamin will prevent calcium from being absorbed properly. So just try to remember those tips if you take a supplement. Not everyone needs a supplement.
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Many people ask me what a dietitian does. Really if you’re a dietitian you can work in many places. You can work in the school as a food service director, work in a hospital, nursing home, dialysis center, in a doctor’s office or work for yourself. If all really depends on the person. I personally am I clinical dietitian and I work in the hospital. I also work in a high risk OB clinic. I get asked all the time what I do. First off in the high risk clinic I see all the diabetic patients. They could have type I or type II or have gestational diabetes. Most of the time these women’s diabetes are uncontrolled. I will go and speak with the patient and provide them a meal plan to follow that helps to balance their carbohydrate intake throughout the day. I will follow them throughout their pregnancy and check their blood sugars and their diet. Now in the hospital, or the inpatient setting, it’s different. Yes I may do some meal planning with diabetics, but not often. I cover all the floors in the hospital from renal, cardiac, stroke, orthopedic, OB/GYN, cancer, surgery, and some ICU. Every floor is different. I pretty much talk with the patient to see how they are eating and if they need a supplement, like Ensure, Boost, etc. There are some patient who are on alternative nutrition, which is tube feeds, TPN or total parental nutrition or PPN peripheral parental nutrition. I manage all of them. I calculate the total calorie and protein needs of each patient. I spend a good portion of my day looking up the patient information and charting. But in a nut shell that’s what I do.
This past weekend my family and I went to the Circleville Pumpkin show. There were huge pumpkins weighing in over 1400 pounds. There were pumpkins everywhere. They had so much pumpkin food from pumpkin donuts, pie, cheesecake to pumpkin waffles. You name it and they could probably make it with pumpkin. We didn’t sample much of the food though. The only thing we did try was a pumpkin donut. It was pretty good, you couldn’t really taste the pumpkin in it. The pumpkin helps to keep it moist. Now as all of these people at the show are eating pumpkin I doubt they know the health benefits of pumpkin. The orange color of pumpkins should be a dead give away that pumpkins are loaded with beta-carotene. Beta-carotene can help offer protection against some degenerative aging diseases. In 1 cup of boiled pumpkin and drained there are 49 calories, 2 grams of protein and zero fat. There are tons of recipes were pumpkin can be added. One of my favorites is pumpkin bread! So go ahead and try a pumpkin recipe.
This topic has been on my mind for quite sometime now, every since I had children and decided to breastfeed. Which is best breastfeeding or formula? The great debate among many people. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Some of the advantages to breastfeeding are it is bacteriologically safe, always fresh, contains antibodies and immune cells for baby, it is always the right temperature, cost-effective, convenient, baby is less likely to be over-fed and it provides close mother-child contact just to name a few. Breastfeeding can help to lower the risk of the mother getting breast cancer and also helps the mother get back to her pre-pregancy weight sooner. Some disadvantages to breastfeeding are not always publicly accepted and the mother always has to be available to feed the baby unless she pumps a bottle before hand. Now on to formula advantages: anyone can feed the baby and it is easier to go out. Some the disadvantages are cost, you need to warm the bottles, you need to have all the bottles and formula with you all the time, baby may not tolerate formula as well and you need to make sure everything is measured right so baby gets the right nutrients.
I knew that I was going to breastfeed even before I was pregnant. I just knew that it was the best thing for me and the baby. When I was pregnant no one told me which is better or even the advantages and disadvantages. Had I not taken nutrition classes I probably wouldn’t have known all the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby. All through my pregnancies and hospital stays I did not have any one person talk with me about breastfeeding. I had nurses and doctors ask if I was going to and when I said “yes” they just left it at that. But for some reason when I did say “yes” I still received formula and coupons for formula in the mail and at the hospital. Now I’m sure the formula companies provide those for free but I’m never going to use them. How is that promoting breastfeeding when hospitals and doctor offices are providing all these free cans of formula and coupons for formula? I don’t understand the reasoning behind it. So now I have 3 cans of formula that will never be used. If none of my new mothers or pregnant moms need it I’m just going to donate it to the food bank.
I do understand that there are some circumstances where a mother cannot breastfeed. I am not trying to tell anyone which is best. It is a personal decision. Breastfeeding is not easy. I just about gave up on it within the first couple of weeks with my first child. I thought that breastfeeding would be a breeze, but boy was I wrong. I had no clue what I was doing and he didn’t know what he was doing either. Nobody tells you about the engorgement, sore nipples or the leaky boobs. Breastfeeding isn’t pretty at times. But I am glad that I stuck with it. It helped to create a tight bond with my son and now my daughter. Once I got the hang of it, it was a breeze. Yeah the middle of the night feedings suck but well worth it. No matter what a mother decides to do, she is a mother and that bond with her child will last forever!