Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A New Era for Nutrition & Dietetics?

By Angela Farris

The American Dietetic Association is the largest network of nutrition and food experts in the world. Since its inception in 1917, ADA has grown to over seventy thousand members1. Besides credentialing Registered Dietitians and Dietitian Technicians, ADA publishes a monthly peer-reviewed journal (JADA) and runs a non-profit charity (ADAF) to support research and educational programs in the field.

This year ADA held its annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo September 24-27 in San Diego. During the opening remarks ADA's current president Sylvia Escott-Stump announced a name change to the organization – the American Dietetic Association will be the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, effective January 2012.

Why the name change? Changing the name emphasizes a dietitian’s role in overall nutritional health in addition to dietetics. In my opinion, nutrition is also much better understood to most of the population than dietetics. "By adding nutrition to our name, we communicate our capacity for translating nutrition science into healthier lifestyles for everyone. Keeping dietetics supports our history as a food and science-based profession. Thus, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics quickly and accurately communicates our identity—who we are and what we do," said Escott-Stump, ADA president2.

A lot goes into a name change – for one, the acronym! No more ADA, which was easily confused with the American Diabetes Association or American Dental Association. Goodbye ADA, hello AND. This new acronym will likely trickle down:

Name Before….& After?

  1. Journal of the American Dietetic Association (JADA)Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (JAND)?
  2. Maryland State Dietetic Association (MDA)the Maryland Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (MAND)?
  3. My alma mater, West Virginia University Student Dietetic Association (WVU-SDA)West Virginia Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WVU-SAND)?

I asked fellow interns their take on the new name and the overall consensus was positive. I'm curious to see if the name change will influence the structure of the organization. One thing is for sure: it marks a new era for nutrition and dietetics. I feel lucky to be starting my career as a dietitian during this revitalization. What are your opinions on ADA's name change?


1ADA’s website, 2Press Release

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meet the Current Class!

We are finally able to put up a group picture!

From left to right: Joyce Hornick, Betanya Alemu, Marion Viglietta, Angela Farris, Erika Wincheski, Emily Izer, Sasha Bard, Ashley Chrisinger, Rachel Coury and Lauren Hogan.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

When Nutrition and Blogging Collide

Currently, I am wrapping up the last week of my information technology rotation at the USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center. In the past five weeks, I spent much of my time managing online content, learning the mechanics behind databases, and referencing consumer questions. I must add that my knowledge and understanding of social media outlets reached new heights during this rotation. I can officially say that I am a bona fide tweeter, blogger, and on the verge of hosting an e-Portfolio! However, today I want to tackle the topic of blogging and why there are over 156 million people running their own blog sites.

If blogging is new to you, you are probably wondering what it is and what's the big fuss about? Good news--you are not alone! This will be my first published blog, and I'm here to give you the 411. Let's begin with the terminology. The word "blog" comes from the combination of two words, web and log. It simply implies the act of sharing one's thoughts and opinions with a virtual audience. While most blogs contain primarily text, there are an array of different types of blogs such as podcasts, which offer audio content or microblogs, such as Twitter that offers much less content . When I entered the realm of the blogosphere, I discovered things got a little more hairy. The blogosphere is a community of blogs connected by a particular topic and comments or blogrolls. Lastly, a blogroll refers to a list of favorite blogs that may be recommended by the host blogger.

So, what happens when nutrition and blogging collide? There are just as many perks for the reader as there are for the blogger. See why below:

Top Five Reasons to Follow Nutrition Blogs:
  • Provides a great resource for current events
  • Translates complex nutrition jargon into consumer lingo
  • Offers creative recipe ideas
  • Transforms readers into savvy consumers of nutrition info and products
  • Makes for fun reading!
Top Five Incentives to Blog about Nutrition:
  • Allows the dietitian to connect with a broader audience
  • Creates a two-way conversation between the blogger and readers
  • Provides the blogger with opportunities to review new products and get paid to do it
  • Enhances the blogger's professional presence
  • Costs nothing and easy to do daily! 

Hopefully, you are now in-the-know about nutrition blogs and can decide for yourself who you want to follow. I've included a few from my blogroll that you might enjoy!

Dietitian on the Run

Food Insight

Write: Nutrition

Food Politics

She is Becoming Doughmesstic

Look for my web site in the future: Hogan Knows Food

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Difference Between Counseling and Telling People What To Do

For the past 20 years, I’ve been telling people what to do. I teach an aerobics class. At least twice a week, I’m telling 20-30 people what to do for a whole hour, and they listen. I say ZigZag forward left and they do it. I yell at them to do 4 more oblique crunches – and they do it. I encourage them to keep going. I say great job. They go home and they come back again for more.

I became a Mom. I now had new people to tell what to do. This one’s a little tougher. They don’t listen as much. But, I still tell them what to do – over and over and over again. Sometimes they act right away. Sometimes they’re a bit more stubborn. Sometimes I have to threaten to take something away. Sometimes I actually have to take something away. Bottom line is – they do what I tell them to do.

This past week, I got a new opportunity to tell people what to do. It wasn’t nearly as easy. I found it rather difficult. I started my first Dietetic Internship rotation at Moveable Feast in Baltimore. This nonprofit organization provides meals and groceries to people with HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, and blood cancers. They could easily give all of their clients the same balanced meals over and over again solely based on their medical conditions, but they don’t. They make home visits and call their clients. They perform nutritional assessments for their clients. They get updates about their medical conditions. They ask them how they are feeling. I got the opportunity during my rotation to help the Dietitians make phone calls to clients to perform nutritional assessments and then do a follow up counseling session. This was the hard part. In school, you get to practice going through the process of how to collect someone’s nutritional information to make an assessment of their diet, but you never get to counsel anyone. You may get the chance to perform simulated counseling through role playing or give dietary suggestions to someone you know, but this is nothing like telling someone you don’t know how they should eat or make changes to their diet. Helping someone with their food choices is completely different then telling somebody to do sit ups or clean their room.

Counseling is much more than telling someone what to do. If you approach it as just telling someone what to do, you won’t be good at it. As someone who has lots of experience telling people what to do, it would be easy to continue in this mode. To be good at counseling, I will have to step out of my comfort zone of just giving orders. I will have to learn to collect information while mentally making an assessment at the same time. This is not the same as forming a stereotype about the person or assuming they fit a certain eating personality. I have to build a rapport and trust with the person I am counseling. This is difficult in a face to face counseling session and even more difficult over the telephone. Counseling about dieting can involve quite a bit of detective work. You have to find out what the person is willing to change and what they will not. You have to make the goals very small to make the change as easy as possible. You need to be part detective and part psychologist.

I look forward to learning all of the nuances of effective counseling and I can only hope that I find the zone I need to be in to be good at it. I am comforted to know I will have a lot of good teachers along the way to help me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

Did you know that eating desserts can be part of a well-balanced diet?

For example, if you're trying to lose weight the first thing to go is often the sweets. But, it's human nature to crave what we can't have. So after several days (or hours, depending on your will power) of internal struggle trying to tell yourself, "I can't eat that cupcake for dessert because I have to fit into those skinny jeans," you eventually give in to the chocolaty goodness of a warm cupcake after dinner. And oh, does it taste good... But after the cupcake's been devoured and you stop to consider what just happened, you start feeling guilty for what you've done and decide that your new diet has been ruined.

Sound familiar?

Have you ever considered what the outcome might look like if you had just allowed yourself to eat the cupcake to begin with? Odds are it would look quite different.

That's because when we tell ourselves we can't have something it leads to feelings of deprivation. Deprivation leads us to crave the forbidden item. Most times the cravings become too strong for our will power to ignore and we eventually concede. When we give in to the craving we get a sense of relief, but after we feel regret and guilt. This entire scenario, when put into the context of weight loss, sets a person up for failure nine times out of ten.

In contrast, if we give ourselves permission to indulge in a sweet treat we can completely avoid the feelings of deprivation, cravings, and guilt that can ruin a diet.

Although it's ok to allow ourselves to enjoy desserts, there are certain things we can keep in mind that will allow us to enjoy them without stretching our waistlines:

  1. Enjoy a dessert with a friend. Sharing a dessert with someone is fun and you will consume half as much.

  2. Choose lower fat options for dessert. You won't feel guilty after eating Italian ice instead of triple fudge chocolate ice cream with rainbow sprinkles.

  3. Give and take with portions. If you do want to have a big piece of pie after dinner, eat smaller portions of your meal.

  4. Small yet satisfying. Sometimes all you need is a lifesaver or Hershey kiss to satisfy your sweet tooth.

  5. Don't forget the fruits. Desserts don't always have to be cookies, cakes and ice cream. Try a fruit salad or fruit smoothie instead.

The bottom line is: you can have your cake and eat it too.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Better Than Rosetta Stone: Bilingual in Three Weeks

I've gone twenty-two long years being technologically inept. I'm proud to say that I'm one of the last people to have a feature phone. (To those smart phone users - that's a phone that just makes calls and sends texts.) Rather than embracing the shift towards a technology-driven world, I have shied away and have stuck to my old ways. Just three weeks ago I entered the dietetic internship and plummeted head-first into cyberspace by starting to learn a new language: "techspeak".

On our third day of orientation we were given a tutorial on how to use twitter and were given the low down on twitter lingo. Did you know that retweet(RT) is to repeat or quote another's tweet? I didn't! Not only did this new information not make sense to me, but I didn't get the point. I thought the only people who tweeted were Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. Twitter actually has a purpose? It was time for me to buckle down and get with the program.

Next, we learned HTML. I'm sorry, "Hypertext Markup Language". Our instructor told us that if we were moving too slowly that we could go ahead in the handbook, but she wanted to move at a pace that everyone could follow. I could not follow. All of the a target="blank"s were making my head hurt. That night I went home and practiced everything we learned that day. Twice. HTML and coding were not going to be the end of me!

As we progressed through the internship I learned some interesting things. To solely English-speaking people "web crawlers" are most likely spiders or some sort of pest in the home. In "techspeak", however, it's the way in which Google and various other databases find websites using "keywords" or "tags". That would have been lost in translation to someone that wasn't rapidly learning "techspeak".

Fast-forward three weeks: I'm halfway through my first IT rotation at FNIC(Food and Nutrition Information Center) and am thriving. Creating spotlights on web pages: Check. Fixing broken links on the website: Check. Tweeting: Of course! Three weeks ago none of this made sense, but this has quickly turned me from ignorant to proficient in the cyber world. I'd like to think that I know everything that has to do with "techspeak", but I'm not quite fluent yet!

Until next time!
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Monday, September 12, 2011

My first rotation as a UMD Dietetic Intern

My first rotation was much anticipated; I could not tell if I was more excited or nervous to start clinical. However, once arriving it was a great feeling knowing that there are so many people support you and your efforts to succeed at a rotation site.

Day one was spent in the diet office, which really makes the whole food and nutrition segment of the hospital flow smoothly. They process all of the diet orders, nutrition consults, patient menus and any personal preferences or changes that need to be made within the hospital. Day two was where the fun really began. I got to put on my lab coat, attach my retractable name tag that gave me clearance to all of the floors and journey upstairs.

It was within the first hour that I realized that patients in real life are not what they were like in our case studies during our Clinical Nutrition or Medical Nutrition Therapy courses. I had a feeling that it was going to be this way, but I learned quickly that this was the reality of working in an acute care setting. I found that many of the patients did not have one chief complaint or just a few items in their past medical/surgical histories, they in fact had many more than you would imagine or like to see written down together.

In the last week and a half I have observed many nutrition consults and even completed some myself. I am excited to say that I am learning and re-learning old forgotten ideas and calculations much faster than I first thought I would (gold star for me) back on day two after being overwhelmed with all of the new information. I am very excited to continue my developing experience at the hospital and help patients recover better through nutritional interventions.