Health And Nutrition · My Life · RDN

What led me to where I am now?

Little did I know that one decision would change my entire life.

As a new freshman, barely entering college, I felt impressed to take a nutrition class with a particular teacher. I did so, and that started a lifelong friendship. I began working with her the next year as her teacher assistant, and throughout the past few years I have taught with her, reached out to and helped empower the students to find success in their study and application of nutrition, and have worked as a team with other in-class teacher assistants for the other sections of nutrition taught and have helped troubleshoot the challenges we encounter.

Through my experiences working with the professors in the on-campus Nutrition department, I have witnessed their love for their families as well as for their students. They care for the one and take the time to help them succeed. I also came to understand what I want to do with my career. Through my studies, I have had the privilege to help develop class worksheets and teaching materials to help students apply principles to help others through nutrition. Throughout my classes this past year, I have recognized a love for learning. Nutritional biochemistry has been one of my favorite classes so far. Human physiology fascinates me! I also survived my first Organic Chemistry class and fell in love with the principles. The Lord is helping me recognize that I can do hard things, including starting a family. I hope to continue to deepen my understanding and help others understand it as well.

My first priority is to be a mother. I want to make my home a safe haven for my husband and our future children, and I want to support them in reaching their full potential. Everything I am learning here in the university can help me as a full-time mother to my children as well as serve in the community. God is the best Public Health professional. He works with us individually, knows what we need and how we will respond best to it. I pray for the gift of discernment to understand the needs of my spouse and our future children so I can be a blessing to them.

Secondly, I want to apply what I am learning to help others gain greater health and wellness. My goal is to help individuals get off of unnecessary medication through lifestyle changes.

I would love to work with the Hispanic population, as well as individuals with Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. While serving a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I grew to love the Hispanic culture, and now I want to expand my Spanish and learn the medical vocabulary to expand my communications.

What is coming up next?

With my internship starting up this next week, I am excited to see how it is to be a  registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) working in the field (as I have seen how it is to be a RDN and teach at the college level, which I love to do) and certified diabetic educator, as that is another certification I have considered. I would love to be a professor or teacher someday.

I am looking into masters programs for public health and registered dietitian nutritionist, and I am completing the prerequisite classes for those programs. I have also considered becoming a Certified Medical Interpreter to help me learn the Spanish to communicate in the health field.

The Lord has played a huge role in my life. He has helped me recognize gifts I have been given to serve others, and I am humbled by the Lord’s hand guiding my path. I could not have come so far without the Lord’s help. I am grateful for His hand. My husband and I have been married for a month now, and we continue to learn more every day together. I’m learning how to cook for two people, and I have some fun to share here on this blog. Tune in soon for some challenges and recipes.

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college · Health And Nutrition

A Marvelous Creation

The more I learn about the body, the more I appreciate the marvelous creation it is. We are not a mistake. We were not made by chance. He designed and created our bodies so we could come to earth and gain experience. He wants us to become like Him. I am so grateful for my body and how amazing it truly is. Every second, the SA node cardiac cells of the right atrium (in the heart) depolarize and send action potential electrical currents, resulting in the contraction of the left and right atrium, which top off the ventricles with blood. The electrical current then travels down and back up the ventricles, causing them to depolarize and contract, allowing the blood to flow throughout the body. And that is just touching the tip of the iceberg of the wonders of the body. The human body is simply amazing. I love how this video shows the inner life of a cell — to think that goes on every minute of our lives is incredible. I am so grateful for my body and all the things it allows me to do and the things I can learn through it. 

I hope you are doing well!

with lots of hugs,

Kathleen

college · Health And Nutrition · My Life · wellness

Does Eating A Healthy Diet Cost More?

A few days ago my mother shared an article with me by the Harvard Gazette titled “Pinpointing the higher cost of a healthy diet.” 

In this news article posted earlier this month, the researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health examined the difference in cost between eating a nutritious diet and eating an unhealthy diet. Summarizing their results, they reported that “On average, a day’s worth of the healthiest diet patterns cost about $1.50 more per day than the least healthy ones. … Over the course of a year, $1.50/day more for eating a healthy diet would increase food costs for one person by about $550 per year.”

$550 per person per year is a lot of money. That extra cost could be really hard for some families.


I even witness this when I go out to eat at restaurants. The more healthful dishes at restaurants tend to be more expensive than the alternatives. This does not help invite families to adopt healthful lifestyles.

Not only does a healthy diet cost more, it can also require more time and effort to prepare. I find this up at college as well. When life gets hectic and stressful, it can be hard to find time for preparing healthful foods. However, these times are some of the most important times for me to eat healthfully so my body can run and heal efficiently.

Even though eating a nutritious diet can cost more, I believe the costs are worth it in the long run. As the researchers from Harvard discovered, the price difference “is very small in comparison to the economic costs of diet-related chronic diseases, which would be dramatically reduced by healthy diets.”

A healthier diet helps promote better sleep, more sustained energy throughout the day, higher levels of immunity, faster healing, and more strength. In addition, this can lead to fewer sick days, taken from work, fewer doctor visits, and fewer medical bills and pricey medications. These benefits can help offset the higher cost of healthier food. As Benjamin Franklin once related: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Nonetheless, are there ways we can cut down on the costs of healthful foods?

Here are my tips on saving money and time for buying and preparing healthful foods.

1. Keep it simple.

When you’re in a rush, you don’t have to spend hours preparing a four-course meal. I love meals that can be quickly thrown together based on what I have on hand. When throwing together a meal, I try to have: a vegetable(s), a fruit, whole grain/starchy veg, protein (usually beans since they’re cheaper than meat), and a source of healthful fat in every meal. Lentils, whole grain pasta, mixed vegetables, and marinara sauce. Lentil soup, spinach, orange. Soymilk, apple, kale, ground flaxseed, oatmeal, etc. It doesn’t have to be fancy.

2. Prepare foods ahead of time.

If weekends are the time you have to make some things, prepare your meals a week ahead to help with the craziness later in the week. This is one reasons why I love my crock pot and Rubbermaid containers. I can prepare a meal earlier in the day and have dinner cooking for me while I’m at class. I can also prepare my own beans instead of buying the canned beans. One bag of dry beans gets me over eight cans worth of beans for a mere fraction of the cost.

3. Have easy and healthy snacks on hand and available.

I always have fresh fruits and vegetables on hand. I also like to keep some Progresso Lentil Soup on hand, as well as homemade hummus. If I want a quick meal/snack, I grab my container of hummus and Ziploc bags of veggies and dig in while reading or working on a school assignment.

4. Cut, prepare, and cook things yourself at home.

Instead of spending the extra money on pre-cut vegetables and fruit, you can cut your own baby carrots, celery sticks, cauliflower florets, apple slices, etc. A head of lettuce only takes a couple minutes to be chopped at home instead of spending twice as much on a pre-chopped bag. Carrots can be sliced into sticks, as well as celery into celery sticks. Beans can be prepared in a slow cooker or on the stove. (One bag of dry beans can make multiple cans worth of beans for a fraction of the cost.)

5. Eat at home. Make your own version of “fast food” meals.

Sadly, the more healthful dishes at the restaurants cost more than preparing the food at home. One thing I love to do is make “copycats” at home of certain foods I love from stores and restaurants. (For example, my Panera Inspired Black Bean Soup, my Great Harvest Inspired Honey Whole Wheat Bread, Great Harvest Inspired Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, homemade soft serve, granola bars, etc.)

6. Check the sales at the grocery store!

If one of your staples goes on sale, stock up on it (if you know you’ll use it and it can store well)! Check the sales, compare to generic versions, and purchase produce closer in season.

7. Go to the store with a list.

This helps me stay focused while I’m walking the aisles of the stores and helps me get in, get out, and have a few moments at home to chop, bag, and put things away. This also helps when I’m planning my meals for the week.

8. Use coupons smartly.

Coupons are great for products you already use, but sometimes coupons aren’t worth it. Sometimes the coupons would just make your bill larger without buying you the things you really need. Sometimes the generic version is still cheaper than the name brand with a coupon.

9. If you buy frozen vegetables, buy the LARGE bags.

Typically these are cheaper, and you can use Ziploc bags to divide the large bag into smaller and easier to use servings.

10. Don’t buy things you won’t use.

This last semester I bought a jar of salsa that I figured I’d use some time or another, but I NEVER used it. I didn’t even want it. If you won’t use a large bag of something before it goes bad, don’t buy it. Buy what you know you will use and pass the rest.

11. Make large batches.

If I’m going to spend time preparing a meal, I like to prepare certain foods in large batches (like lentils, black beans, chickpeas, grains, soups, etc.) and store the extras in the fridge for the next few days. This helps when life gets hectic. I can grab a container of this and a container of that, throw in a vegetable or fruit and call it a meal.

12. Use smart tools.

With a little creativity you can make meals cheaper at home instead of spending a fortune at the store.

  1. I love using a misting spray bottle to make my own homemade non-stick cooking spray. Pour the oil into the spray bottle along with some water, shake, and mist over the skillet. Much cheaper and environmentally friendly than the alternative, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to put together or use.
  2. In addition to my crock pot and blender, I love my microwave steamer – While my pasta is cooking on the stove, I can steam my vegetables in the microwave. Much more compact than taking out a large steamer. It’s also faster, cooking my vegetables in half the time.

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What are your thoughts on the higher costs of eating healthy diets?

Is the extra $1.50 per person per day worth it?

What are ways you save money while eating healthfully?

What is one of your goals for this coming new year? (Happy 2014!)

with lots of hugs,

Kathleen