My Journey to Becoming an RD

my journey to becoming an RD

Hi guys!

I hope you are having a wonderful week! I mentioned about a week ago on my Instagram that I wanted to start being more personal on here and share more of my experiences to give you a better sense of the person behind the blog. So I figured I would talk about how and why I decided to pursue a career in the field of nutrition and dietetics. The road that has led me to the career path of a registered dietitian has not been linear, to say the least. Just like every other first-time college student, I was overwhelmed by all the potential career choices I had right in front of me and at the age of 18, I could not pinpoint what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I always knew that whatever career path I chose had to deal with helping people because that has always brought me such joy and fulfillment. However, with so many careers that do just that, I was lost as to where to begin. I knew I was fascinated with the human body & all of its complex processes as I had taken an Anatomy & Physiology class right before graduating from high school but I didn’t know how that was going to translate into a career. I knew I was not interested in becoming a nurse because for one I am super squeamish with needles/ blood and two I am way too emotional to be a nurse. When the time came to put in my college applications, I decided to go with the major of Biology since I figured that could translate to just about any career within the healthcare field.

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Lessons of 2018

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a safe and fun-filled New Years Eve and are excited for a brand new start this coming year. Today officially marks Life at the Mesa’s 1st birthday as I released my very first blog post a year ago! My first ever blog post was my tips for sticking to your new year’s resolutions which seemed to go over very well with everyone. However, this year I wanted to do something a little bit different and that is to reflect on all the lessons I learned this past year. I think reflecting on the past sets you up for a truly fresh start to the new year as you revisit your successes as well as your failures. The first step to moving forward is to reevaluate your progress while also reanalyzing what you could do differently to get you that much closer to the best version of yourself.

Find a Work-Life Balance

2018 was a crazy yet exciting year as it was filled with many personal challenges as I struggled to maintain a healthy work/life balance. For much of this year, I struggled to give myself the time to unwind and enjoy the social aspects of my life.  There were days in which all I would do is spend 8+ hours at school and then 4-5 hours studying all while trying to work and run the blog. I would run from school to work to the computer to try to crank out content but as you can imagine, being so all over the place directly impacted my content on the blog. It took a while for me to realize that I needed to slow down and truthfully it wasn’t until November that I finally gave myself a break. November was a month filled with family gatherings which forced me to take a step back and reevaluate the course of my life. As much as I love to work on projects and give 150% in everything I do, I realized that I was lacking the simple things in life like my family and friends which was ultimately making me feel miserable. I found that the blog that used to bring me joy and happiness was making me feel awful because I began treating it like a job instead of an outlet to share my knowledge. So I decided from that day forward to take some time for myself and to allow myself to slow down. Now that it is the new year, I have to say that that was the best decision I could have made because now more than ever I feel inspired and driven to get back to doing what I love the most. I love connecting and sharing recipes with all of you but I always said I would never crank out content just for the sake of posting something.  My content is a reflection of who I am and I would never want to put anything I didn’t believe 110% in. With all that being said, I am ready now more than ever to give my all while also respecting my personal boundaries so that I can get the most out of my life.

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Healthy Banana Bars

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School is finally over and I cannot tell you how relieved I am. After a difficult semester, the first thing I wanted to do was get back into the kitchen to test out some new recipes! This is one of the many to come and let me just tell you, I cannot stop eating it. Guys, these banana bars are so addictive and have been approved by some of my toughest critics (thanks Adriana & Dan). Not only are these banana bars delicious but they are also surprisingly nutritious! Free of refined sugar and loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, this bar will make you think twice about healthy eating.

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Decoding the Nutrition Label

 

Within the realm of nutrition and health, there are so many products that claim to be “healthy”. How can you really tell whether or not a product is actually good for you? The answer lies on the box of the product in the format of what is known as the nutrition label. Every item that is sold for consumer consumption is required by law to highlight the nutrient breakdown. In other words, the nutrition label breaks down in detail the amounts of macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) within the product. The best way to take charge of your health is to familiarize yourself with reading and understanding the nutrition label. With that being said,  today I’ll be breaking down the information you need to be aware of and what exactly each area means.

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Recipe: Green Smoothies

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One of the most popular “health” foods are green smoothies. While they may be convenient and quick when on the go, not all green smoothies are all that healthy. In fact, many green smoothies are loaded with sugar to compensate for the added vegetables. Although fruits are a healthy choice, they are naturally high in sugar so just like any other sweets, they should be eaten in moderation. Fruits are usually better as a snack in between meals when paired along with a source of fat and protein. When too much fruit is added to a smoothie, it can spike blood sugar levels which will ultimately make you crash. For that reason, I have created two smoothie options that contain both protein and fat to help counter-balance that blood sugar spike. Whether you like fruity smoothies or creamy smoothies, I’m sure that you will find one of two of these recipes will help to satisfy your craving. Both of these recipes contain spinach which is high in vitamins A, C, K, and the mineral folate. These smoothies are very filling and are best suited for a meal replacement.


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Recipe: Panko Crusted Cauliflower

 

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Hi guys! So I know it’s been awhile since my last blog post, but thank you for being so patient with me. Today I’ll be sharing with you one of my pride and joys and that is my recipe for panko-crusted cauliflower. Growing up, my mom used to make panko crusted chicken and I was obsessed. But as I got older and became more health conscientious I realized her pan-frying method maybe wasn’t the healthiest approach. But because I loved my mom’s recipe so much I was determined to find a healthier alternative that was as equally delicious. That’s when this recipe was born. This is one of my all-time favorite ways to prepare cauliflower because it is filing and so satisfying. The crunch from the panko makes all the difference and it is truly one to try out. These are amazing tossed in just about any sauce you can imagine and are a lighter option for chicken strips and/or nuggets. The flavor combinations are endless and you can use them to top a salad, add to a wrap, or just eat as finger food. Before we get into the recipe, here’s a little background on the star of the show-cauliflower.

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Simple Snack Solutions

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Snacking in between meals is extremely important to help maintain a steady flow of energy and to help boost your metabolism. If our blood sugar levels drop too low, we may feel dizzy, nauseous, or light-headed which in turn will cause our bodies to slow our metabolism.  By having “smart snacks” on hand, you can help to boost your dwindling energy levels throughout the day. “Smart snacks” are those that combine a serving of carbs, fat, and protein to help steady our energy levels. Carbohydrates like fruits, veggies, and granola provide the body with a burst of energy. Meanwhile, protein and fat sources like eggs, peanut butter, and hummus help to curb and keep hunger at bay. Down below I’ve included further detail on why these snack options are worth trying out.

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Eating Healthy on a Budget

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If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the phrase “eating healthy is expensive” I would have been a millionaire by now.  But I’m not, I’m a post-grad student trying to show you that eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. The truth is, the things that are costing you the most money are more than likely the items that are most unhealthy for you like chips, cookies, or frozen dinners. Down below I’ve included my top 6 tips for eating healthy on a budget. These are things I do every time I go grocery shopping that have helped me to lower my food expenses and waste.

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Recipe: Pesto Ricotta Stuffed Shells

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A few weeks back I created a poll on my Instagram (@lifeatthemesa) asking you guys if you would be interested in my tofu ricotta stuffed shells and the vast majority of you said yes and it is finally here! It took some extra time but after making a few additional tweaks this recipe is perfection. I once made this for my mom without telling her what the shells were stuffed with and she didn’t even detect it. For those of you who voted no for the recipe, I highly encourage you to abandon the assumption of tofu being bland and give this recipe a go. I promise you will not be disappointed.  Now, without further ado here is my pesto tofu ricotta recipe.

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Power in Protein

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Since I first began my journey to a career in the field of nutrition, many of the questions I’ve been asked revolve around protein.  Protein is the most sought after macronutrient by athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness fanatics because of its role in building muscle. However, the role of protein goes far beyond building muscle and extends into just about every square inch of our body.  Protein plays a role in:

  • Formation of muscles, bones, blood, skin, and cartilage
  • Production of hormones, vitamins, and enzymes
  • Building and repairing tissues

Unlike carbs and fat, protein is not stored in the body for later use and must be supplied through your diet on a daily basis.  While most people get more than enough protein in their diet, it’s not just about the quantity but more importantly the quality.

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