Monday, February 25, 2013

Military Day at Walter Reed

by: Melissa Grindle

Today, the UMD dietetic interns and other internships in the MD/DC/VA area were invited to Military Day hosted at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda.  Having had the opportunity to meet some of the Army dietetic interns on past joint class days, I was excited to get to know more about their program and what experiences they have that are unique to their program.

Our day started off by learning about the Wounded Warrior and functional limb loss.  LTC Anne Andrews and Alison Linberg, DPT shared information on the treatment of amputee patients and the ongoing research in their lab.  Since they have a very specific patient population, younger and more conditioned, their research is able to help others who work with similar populations.

Next up, Elizabeth Moylan, MPH, RD introduced us the nutrition care that goes into working with patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post traumatic stress disorder.  She emphasized a high antioxidant diet and omega 3 fatty acids.  Ms. Moylan shared this video with us to help us understand how TBI occurs in combat.

Throughout the rest of the day, dietitians involved in the military shared their experiences.  CAPT Kristen Moe detailed her experience helping Hurricane Sandy victims in New York.  It was fascinating learning how the nutrition care process is completed during times of emergency.

My favorite lecture of the day had to do with CPT Tamara Osgood's deployment to Iraq in 2008 - 2009.  Her stories and experiences were eye-opening and helped me appreciate what our military does for us every single day.  CPT Osgood was stationed in Camp Bucca, Iraq where she dealt with coalition and detainee health.

At the end of the day, some of the Army dietetic interns shared experiences of joint field nutrition operations and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat).  They even shared a few with us to try!

I really enjoyed this class day!  Definitely eye opening and allowed us to understand other opportunities for dietitians.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Riderwood: A Chocolate Theme Meal to Come!

The start of February brought the end of my clinical rotations and the start of foodservice! For the next 4 weeks I will be at an independent senior living community where my partner, Mavis, and I planning a theme meal with for around 150 residents! With Valentine’s Day still fresh in the mind and March being National Chocolate Month we declared our theme of choice:

Chocolate, Chocolate, and more Chocolate.
We're Calling it a Chocolate Extravaganza! 
We will have both savory and sweet dishes all centered around chocolate!


In honor of the upcoming theme meal I thought it would be fun to delve into the health benefits of chocolate.

Not only is chocolate absolutely delicious it happened to have great nutritional value!

The medicinal uses for chocolate stem back to the Inca’s who considered it the drink of the god’s. Indeed the name of the cocoa tree: Theobroma cacao
 originated from the Greek words theo (God) and Broma (drink).

Today we know that chocolate contains phytochemicals that provide protective antioxidant properties in the human body.  In fact, cocoa and chocolate have the highest concentration flavonoids, plant based pigments that act as antioxidants, in commonly consumed foods. The predominant flavonoids in chocolate are called epicatechin and catechin. These flavonoids have an oxidative effect to combat free radicals, which protect the body from cardiovascular disease. They have also been shown to help the body use insulin more efficiently, to aid in controlling blood sugars, and to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood. Rough translation: chocolate is good for your heart.

It is important to keep in mind that not all chocolates are created equal in terms of their flavonoid content and overally healthful impact on the body. Cocoa naturally has a bitter taste from the Flavonols and often when it is processed it looses some of its health benefits. When your looking for healthy chocolate avoid Dutch processed chocolate because antioxidants are lost during the process. Also, the capacity for flavonols to raise the antioxidant level in the blood in diminished when it is combined with milk, which is why dark chocolate is getting all the health attention. Milk chocolate and white chocolate aren’t going to be much help to the heart. Finally, if you eat too much chocolate the added calories, sugar, and fat may negate the health benefits so moderation is key…easier said than done…I know.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

RDs Unite at Legislative Day

On February 13, 2013 I attended my first Legislative Day in Downtown Annapolis. For those of you that don’t know, Legislative Day is an annual event hosted by the Maryland Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (MAND). For 2 CEUs, you can learn how to effectively communicate with legislators, about current bills impacting your profession, and become an advocate for dietetics in the state of Maryland. Unfortunately, as an intern I’m not able to receive the CEUs just yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

At first, I didn’t know what to expect and was a bit nervous, as I’m not exactly “politically savvy.” However, you don’t need a background in politics to participate in the day’s events. In fact, the day began with speeches from Senator John Astle, and MAND’s lobbyist, Dan Doherty. They provided tips and suggestions for effectively communicating with legislators and gave an overview of the regulatory process from an insider’s point of view.

After learning how to communicate with legislators, it was time to learn about our “talking points,” or the bills impacting nutrition professionals. This was my favorite part of the day, as it highlighted the specific issues relevant to our profession and prepared us for the next part of the day—meeting with legislators.

Finally, it was time to put what we’d learned into practice. So we formed our designated groups and marched to the Senate House for our first appointment. Unfortunately, the senator was unavailable, but we were able to express our concerns to a member of their staff. The rest of the appointments continued without a hitch, and overall I feel that the legislator’s and their staff were very receptive to our concerns. I found this experience to be very empowering and I hope to attend next year’s Legislative Day. To conclude, I’ll leave you with some information regarding two bills I feel strongly about. 

1. Senate Bill 738 State Board of Physicians – Naturopathic Doctors
MAND Position
My Opinion
Adds Naturopathic Doctors the State Board of Physicians, & allows them to provide services, such as MNT.
Want “nutrition,” & “dietetics” removed from bill. Otherwise no position.
I agree with MAND, in that “dietetics,” directly conflicts with Registered Dietitians (copyrighted term).

 2. House Bill 1121 Health Occupations Dental Hygienists-Community Health & Wellness Acts
MAND Position
My Opinion
Allows dental hygienists to provide services including nutrition counseling at Community Health Centers.
Would support, only requests “nutrition counseling” be removed from the bill. But supports them providing oral health education.
I agree with MAND, but feel that the entire line “diet & nutritional counseling,” be removed. Also, I do not understand why they need to take weights, heights, & bp. 

What do you think of these bills?