health · nutrition · running · wellness

full fat dairy – data, hormones and athletes

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about the resurgence of full fat dairy products, which have been increasingly trendy in the past couple of years. I think the trends stem in part from the hype on some recent studies coming out showing lower incidence of certain chronic diseases with consumption of full fat dairy vs. non fat, but more relevant to probably most people reading this is the relationship between full fat dairy intake, fertility and female reproductive hormones in general.  And adding to that, the impact this relationship could have on some of the effects of disordered eating and chronic under-fueling in athletes. There is also the very simple aspect of taste and the satisfaction factor, but first…

Let’s look at the general data
A couple of years ago a study came out associating consumption of full fat dairy products with lower incidence of type 2 diabetes, and others associating full fat dairy intake with lower incidence of central adiposity and cardiometabolic risk. While these studies do not prove cause and effect, they do add to a growing body of evidence that dairy fat might not be as detrimental to health as was one believed.

full fat yogurt bowl with all the fruits & granola!

There are probably a few “whys” here. The more complex hypothesis revolves around the metabolic effect of specific fatty acids found primarily in dairy and their role in things like muscle glucose uptake. The less complex one is more focused on the satisfaction factor and overall satiety after meals, in which fat is so extremely helpful. Were the subjects in the study who were regularly eating full fat dairy eating less overall because they were more satiated after their meals? That’s possible too. I know for me and a lot of people I work with, having a container of nonfat flavored yogurt doesn’t do much in the satisfaction department and often can be a snack that leads to another snack (and maybe another snack) until the satisfaction factor is met. On the other hand, with some whole milk yogurt or cheese, and it doesn’t take much to feel satiated. Without getting into a debate on sugar content (that’s probably a whole different post) the main difference here is fat.

Dairy and lady hormones
There is a TON of research on dairy and women’s health. I’m pretty well-versed on the data involving breast cancer due to my full time job – in short, despite what “What the Health” says, a few servings of dairy per day is absolutely fine in women with breast cancer – but I’ve also been delving into the relationship between dairy and female reproductive hormones too. This is due in large part because of the disruptive effect disordered eating can have on the female reproductive system and the strategies I use to help others overcome this. In other words, full fat dairy can be a tool in the toolbox to help those with disordered eating and resulting amenorrhea regain regular menstruation. Here’s a bit on how…

the best vehicle for cheese, always

Backing up a bit
Amenorrhea, or specifically functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA) in this case, is the absence of a menstrual period caused by a chronic energy deficiency. This is either due to insufficient caloric intake, excessive energy expenditure or both. Stress can also cause FHA, and often times it’s a combination of all of the above. Here is a great study on just how much of an impact FHA can have on our health, both in the short and long term, and like I mentioned in my last post, not having a period is not normal. It’s the body’s way of telling us something is wrong and to fix it, please. There are a lot of factors that go into healing ones relationship with food and exercise, not just to reverse FHA and obtain better physical health, but also to live more of a happy, balanced life. That’s probably a whole series of posts and I don’t want to belittle the complexity of it all, but my purpose today is to focus on one small component that could be helpful (and most definitely delicious) in talking about full fat dairy.

So let’s talk data. A prospective cohort study from The Nurses Health Study II found that 1-2 servings of full fat dairy per day, including whole milk, 4% (or full fat) yogurt and cottage cheese seemed to be protective against infertility by supporting ovulation. Other studies have also had similar findings in that infertility was less likely in those who consumed full fat dairy regularly. Another study found high fat dairy intake was associated with an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH) concentrations, in which levels are typically low in women with FHA. Data like this makes a good case for recommending full fat dairy, or switching from non fat to full fat dairy, in women with FHA. The bummer is that to date*, there really isn’t much research directly looking at a possible benefit of full fat dairy products in women with FHA. So for now I’m relying on this possible effect on fertility and hormones in general, as these are both key factors with FHA.

Something else we can’t overlook is the simple fact that full fat dairy is more calorically dense than non fat dairy, and can be so helpful in those with chronically insufficient energy intake and excessive energy expenditure. While oftentimes these two factors are intentional due to disordered eating, I’ve also seen endurance athletes without disordered eating have difficulty keeping up nutritionally with hard training. This can also cause an energy imbalance and resulting loss of a menstrual period, and just like I mentioned above, switching from non fat dairy to full fat can help bridge this energy gap.

And we can’t forget…
There’s also one thing the WSJ said that, although less scientific, makes a whole lot of sense. Full fat dairy products taste better! After a long stretch of a lower fat diet craze and “I don’t care how this tastes because it’s ‘healthy'” mindset, people are starting to change. Not only to do we know how important fat is in the diet, but we care more about how our foods taste. Adding to that, I also think the “satisfaction” factor after meals is something people are thinking about a bit more as intuitive and mindful eating become more popular. Food for thought, right?


*if you know of any research on FHA and full fat dairy specifically, please let me know!

**all thoughts here are my own and meant for educational purposes only. Probably about eleven people read this blog, so please don’t even suggest I’m being paid by any industry or company to write this. 

nutrition · running

marathon training nutrition do’s and don’ts

Between working with athletes training towards goal races and some media interviews, I’ve been talking a lot about fueling and nutrition during training lately. My knowledge on this topic has definitely changed and evolved since becoming a dietitian (about five years ago now, time flies!), and somehow running 11 marathons myself since 2010. Nutrition has always been a key player in my own running successes and failures (ahh, so many failures), and to a point I think I’ve been my own sports nutrition experiment of one. My learnings, combined with the latest literature and my experience with a big variety of athletes over the years has really helped me form a pretty solid set of nutrition do’s and don’ts during training. Keeping in mind, of course, that nutrition is very individual and there will always be exceptions to these rules (or, “rules”), but overall I think this list is relevant for most runners.

the morning after the marathon meal (sourdough french toast, yum!)

Do: eat carbohydrates. This sounds like a simple one, but I’m telling you, carbohydrates and carbohydrate-containing foods are still feared or vilified by runners all the time. This is in part a result of diet culture, but also because of the recent popularity of low carb or ketogenic diets for sports performance. I wrote a longer post about it here, but the bottom line is that carbohydrates are your body’s main and most preferred source of energy. Ketogenic or low carb diets have not been shown to be beneficial performance enhancers in the literature, despite some anecdotal stories to the contrary. If you’re going to be running  the mileage it takes to train for a marathon, your body needs carbohydrates to fuel these miles. Period, end of story. Without them, performance will suffer, the body will be extremely stressed and you will eventually feel like garbage.

Don’t: try to lose weight during marathon training. Or start training for a marathon with the primary goal of losing weight. While some people may inadvertently lose weight during marathon training, this should not be the primary goal. Restricting food intake while ramping up the miles takes the focus away from what the body physiologically needs – nourishment via protein, carbohydrates and fat – and puts it on numbers. Calories, grams, the scale.  Hunger levels inevitably increase during marathon training very simply because we need more energy to support lots of activity. Having a “diet” mindset of restricting energy (or calories) for weight loss when you’re becoming increasingly hungry from training can very easily cause bingeing, since the body’s physiologic need for energy will eventually override this “diet” mindset. This can create an endless cycle of restricting and bingeing, and also leads constant fatigue, poor sleep and injuries. Dieting during marathon training (or any time, that’s for another post!) can fuel an already unhealthy relationship with food or create one, and very often leads to disappointment on race day because the body is stressed and underfueled.

Do: listen to your body’s signals. Marathon training is stressful on the body, and every body handles this stress differently. Not better or worse, just differently. One fairly common manifestation of training stress, often accompanied by underfueling whether we mean to or not, is the loss of a menstrual period in females. This is not normal and it’s not something to ignore, even if it makes training “easier” or seems like evidence that you’re working hard (um, NO!). This is our body’s way of telling us that something is off, it doesn’t have enough energy to function on all cylinders and is slowing or shutting down the reproductive system to conserve energy as it’s not essential for living. I’m going to repeat myself again – this isn’t normal, guys. A missed period is a sign that you need to look at your training, your stress in general and your nutrition because something is not quite right (better yet, work with a dietitian who can help!). Not addressing the issues here can lead to bone loss and stress fractures, disordered eating and have long term health effects.

Do: plan post-run refueling. Lack of appetite is pretty common after a long run or tough workout, and it may take some runners an hour or two before they feel up to eating a meal. But this is too long! And one of the few instances where I’d say eating intuitively or mindfully isn’t the most beneficial because it’s important to take some nutrition in shortly after a hard effort regardless of hunger levels. This is because your body is the most efficient at restocking glycogen stores that were depleted during the run and your muscles more efficient at using protein to rebuild from the stress and damage of a hard run. A recent study even found that immediate ingestion of carbohydrates and protein after a hard run may create a more positive bone turnover balance (so, stronger bones!). Waiting a few hours before eating something after a run can cause lingering soreness, delay recovery and leave you feeling pretty crummy for the rest of the day. Getting some carbohydrates and protein into your system within about 30 minutes of finishing your run is a great goal to help maximize recovery, and it can be super simple. I often find it’s easier to drink than eat if your stomach is feeling a little off or you’re just not hungry, and something like a chocolate milk or smoothie with fruit and Greek yogurt work really well. Once your appetite kicks in, have that more substantial meal.

favorite “more substantial meal”

Don’t: compare your body, your running, your food choices, your fueling (etc.) to other runners. If you watch or run any race, you’ll notice that runners of all speeds come in all shapes and sizes. Even though the unreasonable standard that all good or fast runners have to be rail thin is starting to be challenged (this article by Allie Kiefer is awesome and so is she), it still exists. Getting hung up on what you “should” look like or what other runners look like, are eating or not eating and what their PRs are compared to yours can be so damaging and not very useful. The comparison trap can waste so much energy and brainspace that could be focused towards our own training (and living!). Every body is truly different – respect your own and what it can do for you, fuel it appropriately and you’ll absolutely run your best.

dogs · running

how this running injury is different

or alternate title: how I’m different and happen to have a running injury? I never thought I’d be sitting here in almost February writing about how I’m still not running from an injury that slowly crept up this past summer and then bit me hard in the ass (or foot) in early fall. Needless to say, it has been a minute since I’ve gone for a pain and care-free run. I also never thought I’d be sitting here at the same time, no plan for running in sight, saying I’m the more content and happy than I have been in a while.

reason #1

in the past, a lot of my happiness has been contingent upon my running. This is not good, I know, but it’s also reality and I know I’m not alone here. For me, I think the mindset of “athletics is everything” stemmed from being a gymnast for ten years and having that be THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE. When I wasn’t at the gym, I was thinking about gymnastics, practicing in my living room or watching elite gymnastic meets on repeat (via VHS. oh, the good old days). I loved the sport of gymnastics, I loved identifying myself as a gymnast and I loved the success I had with it. I also thrived on working really hard physically at something for specific goals. I feel the same way about running – there is something so satisfying about all the miles, sweat and pain with goal races and times in mind. It’s also a wonderful escape. Running and everything that goes along with it – the nutrition, the long runs, the extra sleep, exhaustion, training plans, the racing – can take up a lot of brain space if you let it. And just like I used gymnastics to get away from a pretty fraught adolescence, I definitely used running as an escape from lots of adulthood stressors. Changing careers and work stress in general, family drama, friends and relationships coming and going, trying to figure out life… it’s a lot. And when so many things around you are always changing you gravitate towards a constant that you know will make you feel good and more whole.

i think that’s fairly normal and it’s ok, to a point. But there comes a time when priorities have to shift, and it’s a lot easier to notice this when something happens outside of your control or there is an external stimulus of some sort. This could definitely be an injury, but big life changes and experiences can also shake things up in a way that helps you question your priorities. For me, it was a combination of a big change – getting Peanut – and the ongoing nature of my job in which I work with people who would give anything to be as healthy as I am with a running injury.

let me explain. Adopting a rescue dog was a huge undertaking, and even though I honestly had no idea what I was getting into, I was committed. Taking Peanut to the park as much as I could, the only place she was comfortable at first because it wasn’t as loud and crazy as city streets, and slowly building her confidence became a priority. I was still running my usual amount, though not training for a marathon, but it wasn’t all I cared about. I had a tiny little dog that was terrified of life and totally dependent on me. For someone who has lived on my own for all of my adult life and was the appropriate amount of selfish, putting something first other than myself was a big shift. But it was also so easy, because I loved Peanut from the second I saw her and wanted to take the best care of her. Priorities shifted seamlessly. She also helped me see the value in intangible things that maybe I took for granted. Since adopting her, I’ve started valuing friendships and relationships a lot more (and make more time for them), and also appreciate small joys like being able to take a long walk in Central Park on an unseasonably warm day in January.

it’s so much easier to focus on what I can do (mostly all the things), as opposed to what I can’t (run) right now, because life just feels more full. Even though she can sit like a pro, I think I’ve learned way more from Peanut than she has from me.

dogs · nutrition · running

social media “detox” + presence

it’s been a little while again, but I’m still here. I so envy the people who write interesting and thought-provoking posts multiple times per week and still manage to have full time jobs and a life. Most days lately I feel like I’m barely managing the job part, running, sleeping and keeping Peanut alive let alone having an actual life. And that’s something I’d like to change.

keeping peanut alive: priority. and also: the cutest.

so little by little I’ve been trying to think of things that take up my time but may not be the best use of that time. The first and probably most important thing that came to mind was social media. It’s almost embarrassing to think about how much time my 3X year-old self has been spending scrolling through Instagram or other social media platforms lately, especially since Instagram added “stories.” My god are they a time suck. Last week I found myself getting more and more frustrated with some of the accounts I follow – dietitians fueling the prevalence of disordered eating and diet culture by showcasing their restrictive diets or talking incessantly about eating “clean,” other folks with a genuine interest in nutrition but lacking credentials/education/experience and completely misinterpreting research. This can easily influence hundreds of thousands of people, and makes me crazy in so many ways both personally and professionally. I’ve seen how this stuff can negatively affect my patients and clients and I know how it can negatively affect me.

so I went on a social media detox/cleanse
probably the only type of detox and cleanse I’d recommend, since our bodies’ physical detox system is pretty fantastic and thorough all on its own. I made a goal (and wrote it in my journal so I’d stick to it) of not checking any social media for 24 hours – from the time I woke up on Sunday until at least mid-morning on Monday. And it was hard! I caught myself a bunch of times thinking that I could just check this or that really quick, but then I really took a step back and asked myself – why? Does knowing what so-and-so is doing or posting really matter? Not really. Is it totally necessary to post a photo of my breakfast? Maybe not. And, do some posts have the ability to affect me negatively? Totally yes. I’m not immune to falling into the comparison trap – this person ran X amount of miles or did this workout, and I only did X, or this person ate a beautiful meal in their expensive, immaculate kitchen while wearing a cute outfit with their hair and nails done perfectly and here I am in my zero counter space 900 year-old appliance tiny kitchen lacking any natural light with my hair frizzing out of control in old gross running shorts eating a bunch of leftovers all mushed together.

i post pretty stuff sometimes, but the reality is that this becomes more of an un-beautiful (delicious) mush more often than not

so, the best solution here is probably to unfollow those accounts that bother me so much and impose some limits on how much I use social media. Duh. Then I won’t get frustrated and I’ll save time. Part of me still wants to be in the know as to what is being said “out there” because I’m bound to get questions from patients at some point about this stuff, but I think there are other ways to do this.

another thing I’ve noticed lately, and especially during the social media “detox” is how much more present I felt without having my eyeballs glued to my phone every two seconds. Presence is something we talk about a lot at yoga and with meditation, and I’ve felt so out of touch with that these days – even during yoga class! So continuing the “detox” on a lower level, like only checking social media during certain times of day or a few times per day is something I’m working towards now and I’ve already noticed a difference this week. Like, I had time to write this post! So progress.

most nights I’ve been making time to do a bit of journaling as well, which easily fits into the time I used to spend perusing social media. It’s mostly a brain dump of the day or talking myself through any issues to help clear my mind before bed. Doesn’t seem like much, but I find it also helps me feel a bit more present and calm.  And I usually have the added bonus benefits of the journaling being done with a snuggly pup in my lap.

dogs · nutrition · running

catch up – nutrition news, running & puppies

I reallllly want to make posting a regular thing on here, but it will probably always be the first thing to go when life gets busy. And that’s ok, I have to be nice to myself on this one. Half-assing a blog post when I should be snuggling with Peanut on the couch isn’t useful for anyone anyways. But! Here I am with a little bit of time, so let’s catch up.

I was on a podcast!
I’ve recently gotten into podcasts – they make for some excellent walk to work or afternoon baking listening – and my favorites are of course running and/or nutrition-related. So I was super excited when Ali started her own podcast earlier this year, and it’s (not surprisingly) fantastic. She’s an excellent interviewer and always has interesting and inspiring guests. I’m lucky to have known Ali personally since our very early blogging days (in 2010, perhaps? WOW), and was super honored she asked me to be on the show last week. I love any excuse to talk about nutrition, my job, running and dogs and it was so nice to have an hour on the phone to talk to Ali, whom I don’t see very often anymore now that she’s an official New Jersey resident.

on the podcast we talked about my job, the difference between a registered dietitian, a nutritionist, a health coach (etc.) and why it’s so important to know the difference, did some nutrition myth-busting and also chatted running and rescue dogs. It was so, so fun and I’m thankful for anyone who listened already.

post-run overnight oats with all the fixings from the other day

the new york times wrote this
if you have ever been on any sort of “diet” (so, 99.9% of us, right?) this is such an important read. Actually, read this even if you are one of the few who has never been on a “diet”, because you likely know someone just like the author. Her first-hand account with chronic dieting and body image issues is heart-breaking and so common among the women I see and women in general. This kind of disordered eating (and yes, dieting can absolutely lead to disordered eating) is often overlooked in society today because it’s so normalized and accepted. But it’s not normal to categorize foods as “good” and “bad,” to restrict foods, food groups and calories, adhere to strict food “rules” and always be striving to try the next weight loss miracle. This passage especially got me: “I decided to stop dieting, but when I did, I realized I couldn’t. I didn’t know what or how to eat. I couldn’t fathom planning my food without thinking first about its ability to help or hinder a weight-loss effort.”  Having this sort of relationship with food is a terrible and unnecessary way to live your life, which food is and always will be, a big part of. It’s so hard to break out of, especially under the influence of social media, but it’s totally possible and so freeing (especially with the help of a non-diet dietitian!). I think surrounding yourself with positive and accepting people, messages and influencers is a great way to start. And be nice(r) to yourself!

running has been A+
maybe it’s the no pressure, not really training for anything mindset, but I’ve really been enjoying my runs lately. So much so, that I’ve been incorporating some regular workouts like weekday speedwork and a weekend tempo/long run combo. Right now my long runs (or “long runs” if you are reading this in the midst of marathon training) are about 12-13 miles, which is a nice happy place that doesn’t feel too long or take up too much time but also is significant and not easy. If that makes sense. I still want to do a few fall races – right now thinking of a 10 miler and a few half marathons – and see what happens. The no pressure mindset is key, though, and I don’t want to lose the simple enjoyment of running by making training super structured and rigid as I’ve done in the past.

peanut is a doggy school graduate
peanut graduated from her six week adult doggy training class with flying colors. She passed her “test,” where she had to do all of the commands we learned, on the first try. I was and am such a proud dog mom. She has come so far in the past six months, and this class was perfect to help build her confidence and learn some basic commands. The class was at Petco, and I highly recommend for anyone with a similar rescue dog situation.

is there anything cuter?

other stuff to talk about (help!)
I feel like there is so much nutrition-related stuff I want to write about that I don’t know where to start! If you’ve made it this far in the post (anyone? Bueller?), I’d love to hear what nutrition topics you’d like to hear about. I need some inspiration!

nutrition · running

endurance sports and low carb/ketogenic diets

I almost don’t want to mention this for fear or “jinxing”, but my running has been feeling good lately. Even in the almost constant gross heat and humidity, the miles have flowed a lot better than they have in a while. I don’t think it’s real rocket science as to why – I’ve been taking it easier, running with no pressure, resting a bit more and doing other things like yoga, barre and nothing. I liken this to taking a running “chill pill” and I think it’s sort of working.

because I was feeling all the feels about running this past weekend, I decided to go on a longer run down the West Side Highway and Hudson River Park. I love running down there, but usually only do so when marathon training because it’s an out and back run and takes a long time. The solution? Take my metro card and subway back home when I felt like it and was near a subway. I’ve actually never done that before because I don’t really like being soaked with sweat far away from home and always end up getting cold. But! YOLO, right? So I headed out for what I thought would be 10 or so miles without any fluids (there are tons of fountains) or nutrition (usually don’t use this for runs under 12-13 miles).

happy place. but from the winter/spring of 2016 as I usually don’t like taking my phone out mid-run

it was such a beautiful morning and I loved being out there without any sort of pacing plan or route. After about 8 or 9 miles my energy started getting a bit low, which is pretty normal for me these days since I take Peanut for a walk before my runs now and haven’t really nailed a new pre-run fueling plan. My usual half a banana doesn’t really cut it so much anymore. So, ok. Low energy, no fuel, but I had a credit card and an idea of where I could get the subway and a snack. The only thing is that it was a bit far away – I was downtown near Battery Park and the WTC and I wanted to be in Union Square. Those three or so miles uptown were tough, and as I neared my destination my legs felt more and more like heavy bricks. I felt so depleted, and I probably used my last glycogen store as I triumphantly pulled up to the Juice Generation on 18th street. All I could think about was slurping down something cold and sweet, and decided on an acai bowl because I’ve been wanting to try one for a while.

hit the spot in a major way.

and all this got me thinking of another nutrition trend I just can’t get down with, and that is endurance athletes going on “ketogenic” diets. One principle of the diet is basically running on the depleted state that I unintentionally ended my run on Sunday. It’s miserable. And I’d hate for anyone to purposefully do that to themselves under the false belief that it’s going to help them get that PR.

what exactly is a ketogenic diet?
these are diets very low in carbohydrate, low in protein and very high in fat, with the goal of putting the body into ketosis. This is when there is a build-up of acids called ketones in the body, as a result of burning fat stores in the absence of glucose. A true ketogenic diet is something like 5 percent carbohydrate, which is very hard to do unless you’re eating butter and cheese all day and have some direction from a dietitian. In fact, most athletes who say they are on a ketogenic diet are often just on a low carbohydrate, high fat diet because they are consuming too many carbohydrates to achieve ketosis. That said, though, they are still consuming far too little carbohydrates to fuel their activity!

so what is the point?
there has been some recent hype touting performance enhancements achieved by drastically cutting carbohydrates and increasing fats, with the idea being the body will burn more fat as fuel. We don’t necessarily need to achieve ketosis to do this. The body has limitless stores of fat and very limited stores of glycogen, so this is thought to be a much more efficient fuel source and one that can help us go longer, faster. It sounds good on paper, at least.

but that’s really all it is, and it’s not for lack of research. If an individual begins consuming a low carbohydrate, high fat diet, the body will physiologically adapt by increasing fat oxidation and reducing carbohydrate utilization. But while our capacity to use fat for energy enhances when we have consistently limited carbohydrate stores, this does not translate to a better performance in endurance events. There is a lot of recent research to back this up. If we train our body to use a less-preferred source of fuel (fat), it will also do so during an endurance event like a marathon. The problem is that all it really wants is carbohydrates, which it has adapted to use less of. Even if you carbohydrate load in the few days before said event, the body remains less efficient at using glycogen stores once it adapts to using more fat.

one of my fave carbohydrate forms – toast!

more research
this study is the most recent and thorough I’ve read, and I had the pleasure of listening to one of the study investigators – Dr. Hawley – speak at FNCE last year. He talked about the study a bit (it had yet to be published) and gave such compelling evidence as to how and why low carbohydrate, high fat and/or ketogenic diets just don’t work for endurance athletes. His study used elite race walkers who were all put on the same intense training program, but one group followed a low carbohydrate, high fat diet, another a high carbohydrate diet and another a periodized carbohydrate diet (still high in carb, just spread out differently during the day). At the end of the training program, all athletes had improved aerobic capacity, but only the high carb and periodized groups experienced an improvement in race performance (a timed 10K). This is because, as I mentioned above, when we adapt to a high fat diet by increasing fat oxidation, we also adapt by using less carbohydrates and reduce carbohydrate oxidation. It’s this adaptation that limits performance capacity.

another important point is that our brain and central nervous system also depend on glucose (what carbohydrates are broken down into) to function. And if we are in a state of depletion, we also may not be thinking clearly. This can effect things like pacing, perceived effort and even simple decision making during a race. Not really a recipe for success, right?

in conclusion…
still, the anecdotal evidence persists and with the help of social media, one or two “success” stories can and has snowballed into a real trend. I don’t think this one will last forever, though, with science firmly rooted against it. And because even anecdotally, if you look at the plates of most top endurance athletes, they are more often than not generous on the carbohydrate front. And that is for good reason.



dogs · nutrition · running

day in the life

in thinking about the blog posts I like to read the most, the more personal ones usually come up. I really admire people who just put it all out there in the internets, and while I don’t think I’ll ever quite get there (consider yourselves lucky…), a “day in the life” kind of post seemed like a fun idea. I picked last Thursday because it contained a little bit of everything work-wise and was non-stop busy until around 8:00 p.m., which is pretty typical lately. Here we gooooo.

5:30 a.m. wake up right before my alarm and Peanut staring at me from her “spot” in my/our bed above my pillows. I like this spot because she is comfy and there is little chance I can roll over on her. She sneezes and it’s too cute, and we snuggle for a few minutes before getting up. I’m reading Rebecca Scritchfield’s new book Body Kindness, and the chapter I read before bed the night before was all about sleep. So naturally, I think too much about how important sleep is and couldn’t fall or stay asleep. Oh well.

she woke up like this

6:15 a.m. we are back from our walk around the neighborhood and I feed Peanut her breakfast before heading out for my run. She is excited for breakfast and then not excited that I am leaving, but Mommy wants to run. I have about half a banana with some peanut butter and head out. This was a cool-ish morning and I felt pretty good. As I come out of my sleepy haze about 2 miles in, I remember that I have an interview with Runner’s World about marathon fueling (!!) and think of things I want to say. And also pinch myself because, #livingthedream. I see my friend Baker just after I get pooped on by a bird. That’s good luck, right? I ran for a little more than an hour, which is my current happy place.

7:30 a.m. get home and say hi to Peanut, quickly shower and make breakfast.

sprouted grain toast, greek yogurt, berries, nuts butter, more berries and coffeeeeeee

8:45 a.m. after getting ready, practicing Peanut’s new commands (we are learning the simple stuff like sit and stay during our weekly training class), checking emails and watching a little Today, we head out to daycare.

9:00 a.m. drop Peanut off at daycare. We just started going this week and I was so nervous that she wouldn’t make dog friends or there would be a mean dog or she would hate it. But, so far so good. I say goodbye to her and get a little too emotional when leaving. I am an unapologetically crazy dog mom and I’m ok with it.

9:15 a.m. stop at Whole Foods to buy the perishable ingredients for my meal prep class at work that night, like veggies, shrimp and tempeh. I do one of these classes every month or so for my patients and it’s super fun. I’m not allowed to use heat because it’s a fire hazard, so thinking of things to make requires some creativity. Tonight we’re making Vietnamese spring rolls with a peanut dipping sauce and I’m pumped.

9:45 a.m. arrive at work. Check my patient schedule and the treatment schedule of ladies receiving chemo that day to see if there is anyone I need to follow up with. I don’t have anyone until noon so I prep for my Runner’s World interview at 10:30.

11:10 a.m. the interview went well (I think, stay tuned for the October issue!). I head to the hospital cafeteria for lunch because I’m usually always starving by 11:00 a.m. and that’s when they switch over to lunch. Get my usual and head back to my office.

greens, tuna, avocado (brought from home), broccoli, chickpeas, quinoa salad and baked sweet potato

12:00 p.m. after having lunch at my desk reading some articles, I head down to our chemo suites to see a few patients. A lot of my work is with women who have already undergone treatment for breast cancer and who are doing very well. They are survivors and they are all amazing. Another good chunk of my work is with ladies currently undergoing treatment (i.e., chemotherapy), and while the day to day mix changes, today was a mostly treatment day.

1:00 p.m. run upstairs to meet a dietetic intern who will be with me for the afternoon. I love having interns and always find myself talking non-stop about all things nutrition and breast cancer I want them to learn. It’s also interesting to hear what they’re doing during their internship, since most of them that come to the hospital were in the same internship I did. Still not nearly enough talk on intuitive eating and embracing a non-diet practice, but hopefully we’ll get there.

2:30 p.m. we see another patient after picking her up some fruit ice from the cafeteria, and then get to work on some meal prep class prep. Ha. Today this was basically chopping a lot of vegetables, putting down table cloths, that kind of stuff.

3:30 p.m. leave work to pick Peanut up at daycare, take her for a little walk and feed her dinner before heading back into work for my class. I live about 25 minute walk away and am usually too stubborn to take a cab or even Uber, so walking wins. Before heading back, I inhale some whole milk Greek yogurt and Purely Elizabeth granola (my fave, so good) straight from the 32 ounce yogurt container and remember that I forgot to have a snack in the afternoon.

5:00 p.m. get back to work and finish prepping, check some emails and do some other admin things.

6:00 p.m. my class starts and I’ve got about 15 ladies participating. They are skeptical at the preparation of rice paper for the rolls, but they go with it and it actually works! I am relieved. I usually talk a bit about nutrition as we’re preparing our meals, so we touch on things like cruciferous veggies (we had some cabbage) and healthy fats (in the peanut sauce!). We also have shrimp for the rolls and I ensure them that although shrimp does contain cholesterol, it’s absolutely fine to eat and won’t affect blood cholesterol. Ditto for eggs. I love telling people they can eat eggs. We chat, we eat, and start to clean up.


7:30 p.m. I save the cutting boards and knives to clean the next day and make sure the conference room (where I have my classes) is clean. Head out into the gloriously lovely summer evening and walk home with my intern, who was a huge help.

8:00 p.m. try not to think about how tired I am and take Peanut for her last walk of the day. I wish she could tell me about the friends she is making at daycare and if she likes it or not, and then think that I worry too much about her having human feelings. She tries to say hi to another dog on the walk and I think daycare is making her more brave and social. Hooray! When we get home, I have more yogurt and granola because I was talking too much to eat enough during the class. Typical. Peanut looks at me with her little puppy dog eyes and I give her some yogurt.

impossible to resist

9:00 p.m. we wind down and get ready for bed. I remember to do some journaling, and then we get into bed while I read a bit more Body Kindness before shutting the lights off. Thankfully, this chapter was not on sleep and I drift off instantly.