Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

*recipe is vegan & gluten free*

Autumn. A favorite, comforting season easing us back into the cold winter months. The colors are pretty, the smells are crisp, and the food is comforting. This recipe is proof you don’t need much effort nor junk to have the fall feels.


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 4-5 stalks celery
  • 1 c. (approx) carrots
  • 1 c. quinoa
  • 1 c. lentils [of choice]
  • 4 c. vegetable broth/stock
  • 4 c. water
  • dried italian herbs

Directions:

IMG_7632

  1. Dice onion finely, chop celery into bite-sized pieces, and chop carrots into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a Dutch oven (or large pot), heat a liberal amount of olive oil on medium-high heat.
  3. After warm, add carrots and celery. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. After about 5 minutes, add onion. Continue to cook until celery is translucent and onion begins browning [add more oil if necessary].
  5. Add broth, water, lentils, and quinoa, and Italian herbs.
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Quinoa’s edges will begin to turn white.
  8. Serve immediate or store in the fridge for up to 1 week. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_3302
Stella thinks you will love it too!ย 

Happy eating!

xx,
M

1C1686E9-E5AE-4F2E-8FA8-225C62017DB6.JPG

A year ago, I said I would never run more than a 10K. In fact, I said I would probably never run a 10K again. My story of how I got here fully expresses how proper training and diet wins. Every. Single. Time. The human body isย amazing.ย This is my story of getting from the beginning of my running experience – where running made me feel sick – to finishing my first half marathon feeling great ๐Ÿ˜€

12 weeks out:

I registered for the race and began the Hal Higdon’s “Novice 1” Half Marathon Training plan. My runner friends gave me advice throughout this process and I cannot thank them enough. The most important piece I retained was toย never skimp on long runs.ย They are the most important in conditioning yourself for the endurance you will sustain. Since the race was in my hometown, my hospital offered a 50% off discount for employees – making it that much more worthwhile.

The training process:

IMG_2384
blisters? Keep going. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The runs themselves continued getting easier, but were never easy. My training plan started out with 2 miles 2x/week then 4 mile long run on Sunday. That occured for 2 consecutive weeks, then the following week, add half a mile, and a mile to the long run (again for two weeks). I did this with a combination of 2 days of cross train/week and 2 rest days/week. Each week, the mileage was increasing – where I was reaching 7, 8, 9, and closed it off with 10 before the race. I stuck to the plan as closely as I could keeping in mind taking more rest days if necessary. One thing I can pride myself on is listening to my body and not exerting it. If I needed an extra rest day, I’d take one.

My crosses were either gentle rounds of tennis, or cycling. From my understanding, the purpose of cross training is to keep the heart rate up while giving your body a break from the repetitive physical nature of running.

I loved this training plan and I think it was the perfect starting point for myself as an extremelyย novice runner. In fact, it is formulated for newbies like myself. The next half I run, I plan on doing the novice II plan.

I tried to run in either the morning, before it got too hot & humid, or in the late afternoon/evening, knowing full-well that I do not tolerate heat well. As a whole, this worked well. The only aspect I think I would’ve changed is being able to run in the morning more often, when races are held, but it is difficult when you’re a student, an intern, and you work. ๐Ÿ˜€

Throughout this training process, I discovered what to eat, when to eat, and experimented with different foods. For me, and knowing full-well that every human body is different, it was a process. Before most of my runs, I simply ate a package of fruit snacks. Yes, they’re highly processed, have a ton of corn syrup, and have slim toย none in terms of nutritional benefits. However, because they are simply sugar, they make for quick energy that is readily available for the body and doesn’t usually upset the stomach. After my long runs were starting to get longer, I tried Bolt energy chews – much better ingredients, maltodextrin, green tea extract (a small caffeine boost). They consistently worked for me and I would recommend them to other athletes both personally and professionally. After getting down to the end, on my 8, 9, and 10 mile runs, I tried Clif’s “shot” energy gels after mile 6 consistenly. These easily dissolve in your mouth and realistically, do not require any chewing – making it easy to “eat” mid-run.

As a whole, I tried keeping my diet as “clean” as possible, especially throughout the month of September leading up to the race. This included avoiding alcohol, fried foods, pizza, and eating less dairy. I consumed aย lot of carbs – bagels, bread, rice, and starchy vegetables as well as lean protein (chicken, fish, beans), and plenty of other vegetables. I usually ran 2 hours after eating a full meal and tolerated this well.

Two Days Before:

I ate a lower-fiber, higher carbohydrate diet consisting of a lot of white grains, less vegetables (and thoroughly cooked vegetables). Fiber is crucial to a balanced diet, as it adds roughage to the GI tract, ferments in the large intestine, and helps maintain a balance in the digestive tract. But if you are preparing for a race, especially with a sensitive stomach (like myself), reducing fiber can help TONS. Because that fermentation of the high fibrous foods takes more than 24 hours to digest, which can lead to GI upset and cramping. I had experienced both of these two things throughout my training process, so low fiber leading up to the race worked well for me.

I also upped my water intake as well and started adding Nuun electrolyte tablets to 16 oz of water. I rotated between water and electrolyte water. I also had plain black coffee (obviously).

IMG_2792
my roommate, Kai, the black lab mix, joined me for my last taper ๐Ÿ˜€

The Day Before:

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I drank 64 oz of water with 32 additional ounces of electrolytes + water. I ran one mile, and my roommate made roasted potatoes and white pasta. Nothing has ever tasted so good. I went to bed at 10 pm and slept through the night.

 

The Race:

IMG_4321

It was 29 degrees F. I woke at 6:00, drank 16 oz of water + electrolytes along with a tortilla with peanut butter. I also ate a pack of Bolt energy chews. I met up with my coworkers who were also running, and we made our way to the start.

I got to run with Alex & Matt until about mile 4, where they turned off to finish the 10K. After that point, I do not remember much. The neighborhoods were familiar, the streets I’ve driven on my entire life, but it is difficult to describe the thoughts and scenes you recall in those moments.

Reaching mile 7 was approaching a large incline on the Greenway of Grand Forks; I knew it was the turning point of the race, meaning more had been ran than there was left to run. Approaching mile 8, I slowly finished an energy gel and kept going.

At mile 9, I wished I had gone to the bathroom before the race started. Pausing my watch, I used the bathroom and got back on track. This set my time back more than I had planned for, but all I can attribute to this is knowing for the future. Oh well. What did I learn?ย Always use the bathroom prior to starting a race.ย Even if you think you it’s nervous energy causing the urge. Just go. ๐Ÿ™‚

Approaching mile 12, the very last full mile of the race, was perhaps the most difficult part of the entire race. Not even because it was the last, not because I was gassed, not even that I had never ran this distance before. I had trained, I was conditioned, I was ready for this!! It was however,ย the ever-so-slightly above freezing temperature, the wind chill, running south against a northern wind. I cranked up my music, (I believe Make Me Proud by Drake), and pictured my dad at the end waiting for me. Finally coming within sight of the finish was relieving, yet so far away.

Again, it is hard to recall the rest of what occured. I have never felt so relieved, energized, and proud. Seeing my Dad’s face at the end made me so happy. I was congratulated (and wished a Happy Birthday) from a large group of my ER coworkers volunteering as medics at the end – it made it so much better.

6BFDD7D2-3A10-4B2A-A970-9B6D2E4859A5.JPG
ER nurses & paramedics volunteering as medics – and greeting me at the end of the race ๐Ÿ™‚

The Next Few Days:

The day following the race, my quads and hip flexors were incredibly sore as predicted. But alongside the physical symptoms after having just ran 13.1 miles for the first time, I felt so many emotions. Is post-run depressions something real? In short, I felt like I needed to go for a run; what I had been doing for the past 12 weeks in training. It is difficult to come down from such a high after completing such a self-fulfilling feat. I laid low and took it easy that day which was exactly what I needed.

The Monday following, my friend and I signed up for another half. But do not worry. It isn’t until June. ๐Ÿ˜€ The only reason we registeredย soย early is it fills up within the first few minutes!!

What’s next?

Technically speaking, now that I am scheduled to run another race, I have an extra drive to stay in “running” shape. This is greatly hindered however, due to the weather in North Dakota. I still plan on running 3 miles (indoors) a few times a week along with strength training, and cross training through playing tennis and cycling. I also would love to incorporate more yoga into my fitness routine for mobility and strength.

A Special Thank You:

With everything I have accomplished so far (I am extremely blessed), I have realized how much support it takes to get to each these milestones. My parents, simply believing in me with each of these feats, and my Dad specifically waiting for me at the finish line of this race. My friends: Koryn, for making me dinner the night before, encouraging me throughout the process. Shelby, biking alongside my Sunday long runs (in the bitterly cold sometimes), Jenna, for giving me advice & encouragement throughout the process, Rachel, for your perspective and your experience. And everyone else along the way – your advice and positivity has helped me get to where I am now!


Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

A year ago, I said I would never run more than a 10K, and here I am. I ran a half marathon on my 23rd birthday – and this is not the end!

Thanks for reading and following along with my journey!

xx,

M

 

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I like food. I like food even more when it isn’t processed with unknown chemicals, added sugars & fats, and other compounds I’ve never heard of. You’re not going to believe how easy it is to make your own chips – perfect for dipping in salsa, hummus, or whatever tickles your fancy!

IMG_2619

For traditional pita chips… you will need:

  • 2 tortillas of choice – preferably whole wheat
  • dried Italian herbs
  • sea salt
  • olive oil

For cinnamon pita chips… you will need:

  • 2 tortillas of choice – preferably whole wheat
  • ground cinnamon
  • melted coconut oil

Directions:

  1. heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Take both tortillas and cut into triangles with a pizza cutter – like you would a pizza!
  3. Place tortilla triangles on a non-stick baking sheet
  4. Coat with olive oil OR coconut oil
  5. Dust with Italian herbs and sea salt OR ground cinnamon
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes – you will know they’re done when the edges start to get darker
  7. Serve with your favorite dip!

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Unprocess your food and enjoy!

xx,

M

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I personally don’t love mayo mixed with noodles, in fact, I don’t like mayo at all. But did you know that pasta salad does not have to be full of anything that’s rich in saturated fat? AND still be good? That’s why I came up with this recipe!

Roast veggies, cook pasta, toss together. It’s really that simple.

*Recipe is vegetarian & gluten free*

You will need:

  • 1 box high fiber, high protein pasta (such as Banza)
  • 1 large zucchini/summer squash
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • dried italian herbs
  • Parmesan shreds/shavings

Instructions:

  1. Roast vegetables! Slice zucchini and bell peppers into rounds and slices, respectively.
  2. Coat in cooking oil of choice and coat with s&p.
  3. Toss together and place in a 400 degree oven for about 15 mins.
  4. Boil water and cook pasta according to box directions.
  5. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.
  6. Cool roasted vegetables.
  7. Toss cooled vegetables in with cooled pasta, olive oil, and Italian herbs, and parmesan.
  8. Serve immediately if desired, otherwise it keeps will in the fridge for about a week. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy harvest!

xx,

M

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

That’s it. Zoodle season is here. Time to use up all the zucchini you have and make pad thai.

*This dish is… vegetarian, dairy free, and gluten free*

IMG_1968

You will need:

  • two raw zucchinis
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 carrot, chopped/julianned
  • 1/2 a large bell pepper (I used red) chopped/julienned
  • 1/2 c. snap or snow peas
  • about 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • low-sodium tamari/soy sauce/coconut aminos
  • 2 eggs
  • crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, cilantro, limes (all optional) for topping

IMG_2068 2

Directions:

  1. Spiralize zucchini.
  2. Chop up the garlic, carrots, and bell pepper.
  3. Heat sesame oil on medium heat.
  4. Add garlic, carrots, peas and bell pepper to pan. Add pepper and tamari as desired.
  5. Add zoodles to pan with other vegetables. Cook down until the zoodles are about half their original volume.
  6. Continue mixing vegetables together.
  7. In a separate pan, briefly scramble both eggs.
  8. Drain zoodle/vegetable mixture. Zucchini is a very water-dense vegetable so it will release a lot of fluid.
  9. Return to pan and mix in scrambled eggs.
  10. Top with crushed peanuts, limes/lime juice, sesame seeds, and cilantro if desired. Serve immediately, or pack away for a good work lunch. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

IMG_6842

Enjoy the zoodle season!

xx,

M

 

 

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

This summer provided me with plenty of opportunities both professionally and personally. These are the words behind my summer.

IMG_2068

  1. Diabetes.

The theme of my summer. Myย wonderful preceptor is a Certified Diabetes Educatorย and was gracious enough to ensure I learned from her.ย Diet. Medications. Carbohydrates. Being immersed in such a specialized area of practice will hopefully help me later on in my education. And with that, 60 grams of carbohydrates at each meal, and take 500 mg Metformin with meals 2x/day if you’re first diagnosed. Ok, it’s not THAT simple. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The largest contributor to the success of my internship was my preceptor. She is an amazing human being. She is working her “dream job” in this field, has ran marathons, and went back to school in her 60s. I absolutely adore her and aspire to be the kind of professional she is.

Another HUGE portion that I was fortunate enough to gain from this internship was cultural competency. The majority of patients we served were from all different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Through this, I was able to learn about dietary patterns, foods, and a lot of food words in other languages. Culture is so important to consider when treating our patients. There is nothing like direct immersion in the field.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

2.ย  Vehicles.

With living in a different city this summer, I quickly learned that my car, granted to me at 16, was aging and wasn’t going to make the biweekly commute. My first car, (given the nickname Black Beauty, like the horse), was sold to another 16 year old girl this summer. And for me? I am now making my first car payments – ever. But it wasn’t that easy or simple.

My parents were kind enough to let me take their cars for my 70-mile commutes in the meantime. And parking my dad’s pickup at the downtown clinic I interned at wasn’t exactly the easiest or comfortable experience. I am that much more grateful for a nice, and reliable vehicle. I pray that my new car will hopefully last me for years upon years.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

3. Scrubs.

My friend and coworker has been nagging me for well over a year to watch the show Scrubs. I had a million excuses, but I finally caved. I am hooked. Part of it is how much Elliot reminds me of someone I know very well… ๐Ÿ˜€ Regardless, this show is part of how I wind down at night and I love it. PS, did you know Scrubs is ‘supposedly’ one of the most medically accurate TV shows?

IMG_2308

4. Balance.

Maybe not what you’re thinking. My weekdays were full of clinic patients doing health education (primarily diet), and my weekends were full of acute, fast-paced emergency room patients. The environments were polar opposites. And I didn’t really stop. Scrubs and tennis shoes then dresses and jewelry. STEMIs and strokes, then DASH diets. I was a machine this summer. This helped me to realize that in my professional life, I will seek a similar variety with the call, the emergency room, the high-acuity events, but ALSO, the education, and preventative aspect in the clinic. I cannot believe this was summer #5 in the ED!

IMG_1997

5. Beer.

The girl who has always hated on beer is also the girl who was open to try it. Yet still never liked it.ย Until this summer.ย I discovered I am a fan of ales – especially ones with citrus. If you have any recommendations, send them my way! I’m open to try any!

IMG_2041

6. Chipotle.

Nope, my hometown/college town does not have a Chipotle, believe it or not. The city I interned it, you better believe it did. This is my favorite quick food option. Brown rice, sofritas, black beans, extra lettuce, corn salsa, cheese, and……… GUAC. Until we are in the same city again, Chipotle. โค

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

7.ย  Soulmate.

I was so fortunate to be able to live with a friend from elementary school this summer. Bailey just graduated with her bachelor’s in dietetics, so you can imagine our in-depth discussions. We lifted heavy together, made dinner together, and ventured on the walking trails of the city. But beyond that, Bailey gave me a piece of mind among the chaos. She reminded me the importance of sleeping enough, allowing myself to take breaks, and overall, taking care of myself. She is a beautiful human being. We were destined to be friends. Bailey, I cannot thank you enough for making my summer the best way it could’ve been.

 

E63951BF-D8B4-460F-8B2E-B2343CA7B4B1.JPG

8. Road trip!

I got to visit one of my best friends from college in Duluth, MN for a long weekend (with my now reliable vehicle). We hiked in Gooseberry and ate really well. Jenna is now done with her first week of pharmacy school. You go girl. โค


The best growth I have experienced this summer were the things that were at first, out of my comfort zone. I had never lived in a different city, and I had never gotten to see MY OWN patients. Everything has flown by per usual, but looking back, despite all the work and time spent progressing I am so satisfied, and so happy. Here’s to the start my second week of my 5th year of undergrad! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanks for reading!

xx,

M

 

 

 

 

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

The emergency department doesn’t sleep, and quite frankly, my sleep schedule is consistent with the hours of my ED shifts. I work all of them. Day, evening, swing, unit clerk, tech, sitter, triage, 8s, 12s, 16s, and now, the occasional…night shift. And that’s the thing. I usually don’t work a stretch of nights. I’ve worked 1-2 in a row at most and transitioned back to normal, but not necessarily with ease!

In fact, I hadn’t pulled an all-nighter ONCE in my life until I worked my first night shift last summer… I was always the kid at sleepovers who wanted to go to bed before midnight. If I’m being honest, I dreaded this moment – the one where I had to work while the rest of the world sleeps. I didn’t want to mess with my sleep schedule, I didn’t know what to expect or how things are run, and I had a lot of anxiety about it.

But surprisingly enough, the girl who was dreading nights ended up enjoying night shift – would maybe go as far to sayย preferring it!! Much of my anxiety with these stemmed from not knowing what to expect. When will I take my break? How busy is it during the night? What if I get too tired to function? From someone who had no idea what they were doing, or what to expect, here’s how I can ease YOUR way into nights – all the things I wish I had been told.


BEFORE night shift:

  1. Shower & brush your teeth.

For no other reasons besides the fact that a shower wakes you up, makes you feel clean & refreshed, and smelling good throughout the rest of your shift. Before my first night shift, I forgot to brush my teeth that night. TMI…? yup. I wish someone had told me that it makes a huge difference. But that’s why I blog. ๐Ÿ˜‰

2. Glasses > contacts.

If you wear glasses/contacts, take your contacts out and swap for your specs. Tired eyes are not fun, but they’re even worse when you have contacts in. Just do yourself a favor and wear your glasses!

3. Don’t bother wearing makeup.

Ladies, if you happen to meet your future spouse on night shift, I guarantee he/she will not care what you look like either. This gives your skin a chance to breathe. Even though you’re not “supposed to,” rubbing your eyes feels great, too. Just be comfortable and moisturize your face well. ๐Ÿ˜€


DURING night shift:

  1. There are less people around.

Guess what? At 3 am, there aren’t as many people roaming the hallways of the hospital. Most people in the world are sleeping. Now, no guarantees here, but this usually means you have less patients, too. You tend to be a little more “free.” For me, this means wearing a sweatshirt over my scrubs to stay warm and taking a 4 am coffee break.

2. Eat when you’re hungry.

Don’t eat because you feel you have to take a break at a certain time. I usually don’t bring a full “meal” with when I work nights. Instead, my go-tos are usually:

  • a banana
  • a protein bar
  • water/sparkling water
  • raw, chopped up veggies – like bell peppers!

In fact, I find myself feeling the need to eat, but when listening to my body, I’m not actually hungry. Eating small snacks throughout will make you less full overall and probably decrease your chance of feeling nauseous in the middle of the night, like we have all experienced. Oh, and drink lots of water to stay hydrated.

3. It’s a normal shift.

Sure, you’re working when the world sleeps, but (especially) if you’re in the emergency department too, it’s just like any other shift. I am assigned the same tasks as I’d carry out during a day shift. The ER is a well-oiled machine that functions 24/7. The only difference with night shift is that you’re working in the middle of the night. This is great to tell yourself if you’re any bit anxious about how the night will go.


IMG_1886
Stella was yawning too. Or maybeย just that happy to see me when I got off work.

 

AFTER night shift:

1. Brush your teeth and shower.

Yup, you probably just did this before your shift. Get those hospital germs off before you sleep. Wash your face and hair, and brush your teeth. In other words, make sure you take care of yourself.

2.ย  Sleep for 4 hours.

Yes, 4 hours. Think of this like a nap. If you feel ok, get up and go do things. Make lunch, exercise, do what you have to do. If you’re too tired to function, sleep for a few more hours or watch an episode or two of The Office or Grey’s Anatomy until you can get up to “normal” human function. This is hard on your body – it doesn’t like to be awake throughout the night, after all! Be nice to yourself, too.

3. Melatonin.ย 

There it is. If I know I’m going to have trouble falling asleep, I will take 2.5-3 mg of melatonin anyway. But after a night shift or two, I take 5 mg (the max dosage recommended dose one should take is 6 mg) about 2 hours before I want to be sleeping. It knocks me out and keeps me asleep. I usually feel great when I wake up. Because your sleep schedule is all out of whack now, I take half that dosage of melatonin (2.5 mg) the following night. I’ve had no problems since. ๐Ÿ™‚

What else?

  • The environment seems to be much more relaxed. My department turns the lights down in the nurses’ station, we wear jackets to stay warm, and
  • It’s a lot easier when youย go into work if it’s bright out. My department doesn’t have windows, so if I go in when it’s bright outside, it never really “feels” like nighttime. That’s because of the melatonin production secreted by the pineal gland in our brains. Melatonin is released when the receptors in our eyes pick up light. Science is cool.

 

pineal gland
It’s a tiny little structure!!!

 


And with that, I present to you, the night shift, as told by the non-night-shifter. Comments? Questions? Feedback? Shoot me a message!

All my love,

xx,

M