Alabama Dietetic Association Annual Meeting

Hello friends! As always, Happy National Nutrition Month! Once again, I’ve left our annual Alabama Dietetic Association meeting recharged and excited about learning new ideas and catching up with old colleagues and friends. This was an extra exciting year for me to participate not only as an attendee but also as a speaker in one of the breakout sessions to share the efforts of the Alabama Obesity Task Force that you might remember me mentioning last year.

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I’m excited for my upcoming posts, especially since I’ll be talking in detail about some of the yummy and interesting items I found at the Food and Nutrition Expo geared towards our school nutrition folks. I honestly probably ate my weight in commercially prepared whole grain pizza and pastas. All of the different products out to meet the USDA school nutrition guidelines blew my mind and made me wish we had some of these products when I was in school.

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Another highlight of the meeting was getting to listen to and meet Kathleen Zelman, registered dietitian and Nutrition Director for WebMD. After meeting Ellie Krieger in the fall, I feel like my bucket list of meeting all-star dietitians is slowly but surely getting checked off. I loved Kathleen’s inspiration and reminder that as a dietitian, we live in a world where we are constantly competing with the pretty and famous about nutrition advice. As a registered dietitian, we definitely have to stand our ground as the most qualified in providing nutrition advice. I could go on my personal soap box about this so I am glad that Kathleen reminded both students and seasoned RDs about this.

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Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD,LD

Last, but not least, our state association was able to celebrate Alabama’s very own, Evelyn Crayton, Ed.D, RD,LD as newly elected president-elect of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Super proud to be a dietitian in Alabama…such an exciting time for our state!

Dr. Evelyn Crayton during the ALDA Business Meeting Luncheon

Dr. Evelyn Crayton during the ALDA Business Meeting Luncheon

Okay folks, I think that’s all I’ve got for now. I’ve got some upcoming posts on some featured products from the Food Expo that I don’t think you want to miss 🙂

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“Hot” Chocolate

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Happy Thursday friends! How many of you like your chocolate hot? And by hot, I mean spicy. If you do, then my little sweet treat today might hit the spot. I’ve been super stressed at work lately with all the activities coming up, and a coworker/angel decided to provide me with a delicious piece of chocolate. She said, “this looked like something you’d enjoy” and boy was she right. I’ve never had any of the Chuao Chocolatier products but had the pleasure of trying the spicy maya mini chocolate bar today.

After getting the initial taste of dark chocolate, I started feeling the sensation of heat from the chile and cayenne, and cinnamon undertones. I always enjoy high quality small bits of chocolate because you can really savor them and get some enjoyment from such a small amount. For only 50 calories, this was pretty delicious and satisfying 🙂

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For my chocolate lovers out there, what’s your favorite brand and flavor of high quality chocolate? Let’s sound off!


I’m Still Alive!

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Howdy ho readers! To say that I have been absent for a bit would be quite the understatement. On the next to last day of the first month of 2014, I am making it a mission to get back on track with writing frequently. February and March will prove to be quite the rigorous months ahead, but I wanted to take some time this evening to play a little catch up on life so here goes:

First off, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas holiday. It was quite the holiday memory for our family. My parents and brother decided to go to New Jersey to spend Christmas with my mom’s side of the family which left all of our Christmas festivities focused on my husband’s side of the family which was great since we didn’t get to see them while spending Thanksgiving in Michigan in November.

Me and Hubs at Christmas

Me and Hubs at Christmas

On Christmas day we had a delicious brunch at my mother-in-law’s house. A few of my friends from high school were also having a get together on Christmas night for everyone to catch up. Since my parents were in New Jersey/New York for Christmas, I did not have original plans to drive the 2 1/2 hours to my hometown of Fort Payne, AL. However, I really wanted to see my friends and decided drive up that early evening to see my gals. My husband and I had driven separate cars to my MIL’s and I was set to drive his car up to see my friends. After stopping at the gas station near my MIL’s, I hopped on the interstate and was ready to go. After driving for about half a mile, I started to hear a “thud” noise followed by witnessing the entire tread/tire fly off of one of the wheels and shoot across to the far left lane of the interstate. I don’t know how I managed to avoid hitting all of the other cars around me, but I made it to the right shoulder and immediately called my husband hoping that he was still close by with his family. Fifteen minutes later, my husband rushed over in my Camry to fetch the “runaway” tire tread and then back over to me to put the donut on the car. He was quite perplexed since the tire was <1 year old. We found out later from the tire place that it was a defective tire (SCARY). After he fixed the donut, I told him I just wanted to drive back home to Tuscaloosa. He reminded me how little often I get to see my friends and encouraged me to drive my Camry up to Fort Payne.

After a wonderful evening of catching up, I left my friend Brittany’s house at 9:15 p.m. I debated on sleeping at my parents’ house and driving home the next day but figured I was caffeinated enough to make it home to my hubs and Lou. At about 10:20 p.m. as the only car on the interstate on Christmas night, a hugely massive 8 point buck ran into the front side of my Camry. I made a girly scream and then proceeded to veer off to the right shoulder. Smoke was coming from the front of my car and none of my lights worked. It took a bit of time for anyone to stop and I was a little nervous since the deer was still in the interstate and people were veering into the shoulder (barely missing my car) to avoid the deer carcass in the road. A man in a truck finally stopped and told me he had been traveling in the opposite direction when he saw me hit the deer. He removed the deer from the interstate and waited until I called the police to come help. About 15 minutes before my altercation with the deer, my husband had told me on the phone he was going to bed. I called him about 16 times before he sleepily answered the phone…surely confused by my hysterics while under the power of sleepiness. And after all was said and done, a tow truck came for my Camry and the nice driver took me to the only place open on a Christmas night: Waffle House. Since I was still quite a ways from Tuscaloosa and my hubs was driving his car that now had a donut on it, it took about 2 1/2 hours for him to come fetch me and take me home. Talk about a memorable Christmas 🙂

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My poor little Camry in all her glory at the body shop

Fast forward to January. After about 3 weeks in a rental car, my beautiful Camry is looking better than ever. During January I also had a personal surgery done which rendered me the most horrendous post-op nausea and no appetite to be found. Luckily today my appetite is better than ever, especially since we had a #snowpocalypse winter gridlock here in the state of Alabama. All is well now but many folks had to sleep in their vehicles or find shelters due to the treacherous travel conditions.

Our humble abode during the first day of snow on January 28th in Tuscaloosa, AL

Our humble abode during the first day of snow on January 28th in Tuscaloosa, AL

Okay, I think that is enough ramblings for now. I promise my actual food and nutrition posts will be back soon 🙂 For now, I will leave you with a couple of the images used in the “Awkward Family Photo” themed Christmas card sent to our friends and family this year 🙂

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One Year Anniversary {Personal Post}

Once again it has been a hot minute since my last post. I’ve been away on a small getaway to Charleston which has left me with exhaustion but plenty of yummy things to share this week. However, today I wanted to post pictures from my recent one year anniversary shoot with my husband. Being the food and dessert lover that I am, I had to incorporate some cupcakes! It was hard to choose the handful that would go on my final disc. These pictures were done by JWoodbery Photography who can also be found on facebook.

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Alabama Obesity Task Force

Hi friends! I apologize it’s been a week or so since my last post; life has been happening (my mom graduated from college after being primarily in the workforce for the past 20 years- yay! and it was 80’s day at work yesterday— see corresponding pictures 🙂 )  which has provided so much to write about but not enough time to actually be able to write! But today, I’d like to finally share an update, which majorly includes my involvement with the Alabama Obesity Task Force.

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So proud of my mom! Pictured from left to right: my dad, my mom, my little brother, me, and my husband (who is significantly taller than the rest of my family…might I add I’m wearing heels)

80's day at work...my husband said I look like an extra from Saved by the Bell/I need to audition for Hot Sundae.
80’s day at work…my husband said I look like an extra from Saved by the Bell/I need to audition for Hot Sundae.

On an exciting note, this past Tuesday I was inducted as chair of the Alabama Obesity Task Force. This is something I’ve been involved with as a dietitian since 2010. After serving as a general member, I’ve spent the past 2 years as chair/co-chair of our Student Engagement committee which strives to utilize college students as a resource to support and execute programs and political bills that encourage a healthier lifestyle for Alabamamians. On Tuesday however, I was honored and humble to be inducted as overall chair for our task force to serve the 2013-2014 term.

Since being involved with this group, many of my family and colleagues have been asking what exactly the task force is and how it came about. The establishment of this entity pre-dates me but was formed as part of a grant application to the CDC for Alabama to get funding for obesity prevention efforts.  In terms of  the mission of the task force, it strives to provide goals and objectives at various social-ecological levels including:

  • Education and Awareness
  • Lifestyle and Behavioral Choices
  • Community-based Environmental Strategies
  • School and Website Improvements
  • Policy Development or Changes

This has been an exciting time to be part of the task force especially since our committees have recently cranked out a worksite wellness guide for businesses to use and in October we will be holding a health summit inviting the community and school officials to learn about ways to partner to reduce obesity which will also include updates on recent research linking the positive effects of eating and exercise on brain function in school children 🙂

Though we have over 200 members in the organization, my goals this year include increasing our membership and the types of entities that are represented. Many of those on our task force represent school systems, local YMCA’s, health insurance officials, pharmacists, nurses, state health officials, and dietitians such as myself. Below is a picture of me and Michael Jackson (great name!) during the meeting Tuesday as he passed the torch of chair to me after serving his 2012-2013 term.

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Okay, these are my updates for now- I promise I’ll be posting some new things soon! In the meantime however, please check out my good friend Cindy’s site, Newlywed Nutrition, where I guest posted this week on the topic of Confessions of a NOT SO Susie Homemaker 🙂  🙂sheena homemaker1