Friday, July 22, 2016

Mommy, You Are Beautiful

Dear Mommy,

Just as you have set the children down for a moment of rest, after wiping peanut butter off of every flat surface in the kitchen and putting the fourth load of laundry to wash again because it was forgotten in the washer and has now become musty smelling… I want to remind you that you are beautiful.

The work that is done behind the scenes just so life can run smoothly is important work. Did you learn this juggling act in school? Probably not. Did you learn the art of nursing a baby while helping your 2-year-old go potty and in the midst of sing-alongs with your 4-year-old? Not likely. But here you are, doing important work.

“The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” ~William Ross Wallace.

It is a season. Those years when your little ones are growing, developing and formulating their perspective of the world will pass by in the blink of an eye, so slow down and just be in that season. There will never be anyone better at being your children’s mother than you. It doesn’t mean it is easy. It requires waking up a bit earlier than the brood to spend some time in prayer, collecting your thoughts and even getting in some exercise. This sounds like a tall order, especially if you are still waking up in the middle of the night with babies, but trust me, the discipline of an early alarm clock for precious quiet time will save your sanity. You will find that you can get a better grip on your day, your spirit and your health when you put this little tip into practice.

It is not selfish, it is self-preservation. Keep your own cup full so that you can pour out love and goodness to your babies.

Society has changed so much in the past few decades and stay-at-home-moms now seem to be viewed as those who have a luxurious privilege, but truthfully, who better than a child’s mother to know the heart of a child and guide the shaping of their character? Today’s families are so busy and often juggle the caretaking responsibilities of the children. Everyone thinks someone else is watching the littles and frequently the needful guiding hand is not available to truly help the child arrive safely to adulthood.

I won’t pretend that I understand your family dynamics, or what best fits your finances, but I will tell you this, you will never regret dedicating your time to be fully present during the young years of your child(ren)’s lives. Fulfillment in a career can come at a different time in life. Does it mean that you cannot have your own personal interests? I don’t think so. Those motherhood years can be ones that you develop skills in cooking, organizing, writing, gardening, floral arranging, teaching (you are teaching your children every day- degree or not), photography, sewing and even develop leadership skills as you volunteer for organizations pertaining to your children’s activities. When my children were very young, I would go to the library and check out every book I could get my hands on in a particular subject, like floral arranging or bread-making, and use resources at home to hone these new skills. Those were some of the most enriching years. The children often learned right alongside of me.

Perhaps not a one will read this simple musing, but the thought begged to be written out. Mommies are irreplaceable. If you are having a difficult day, or it seems like you will never find yourself again amongst the endless duties of mommy-hood, rest assured, this is a season, and you are doing the most important work of your life.

Tasha Brickhouse, RD, LD/N 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Are you thinking about becoming a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist?


A Commentary on Eastern Michigan University’s 

Distance Coordinated Program in Dietetics

When I first started exploring the idea of going into the field of nutrition, I had a rather large
Study, study, study...
misconception of just how much of an education base was required to function as a nutrition professional. I mean, after all, there seems to be nutrition gurus everywhere with very little in the way of formal training. But then I learned about the risk of practicing nutrition without being fully credentialed as a Registered Dietitian through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; understanding specific disease risks and conditions is essential to applying nutrition therapy. It was clear that I wanted to provide the most accurate, evidence-based care for future patients and clients.

In my previous blog post, Road to R.D., I shared the history of my decision to study nutrition and how I selected Eastern Michigan University’s Distance Coordinated Program in Dietetics. Since that post, I have successfully graduated from the program with my B.S. in Dietetics, Summa Cum Laude, I have successfully passed the Registered Dietitian Exam and obtained my State of Florida license to practice as a Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist.

For those who are interested in pursuing the field of dietetics, you might find my experience to be helpful when planning your path… and so I write…

In the last post, I left off right when I had been accepted into the dietetics program, which was a 2-year (Junior & Senior year) program. The Coordinated Program at EMU can also be a Master’s level program, including additional coursework, but also provides the required ACEND approved curriculum just the same. Upon completion, this qualifies the student to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registry board exam. To give you an idea of how this program works, all of the coursework is completed online while the 1200 hour supervised practice requirement is coordinated by the student in facilities local to the student. This requires making connections with local dietitians in each of the required fields and ensuring that the proper facility agreements are completed. I cannot say enough good things about this program, especially if you are not in the vicinity of a university with a dietetics program. The distance option is so convenient. However, this program is made for the detail oriented, self-motivated, technologically savvy student. If you can learn via web lectures, power-point presentations and can navigate Office software, Adobe and such, you can do this program.

My program began the Fall of 2014, but beforehand, we took a prep class, Fundamentals of Nutrition Therapy to get us ready for some of the medical terminology and the nutrition assessment process. This was helpful because when the classes began in September, we had a brief “boot-camp” prior to our 1-day per week clinical schedule and we needed to be prepared. The striking difference between the coordinated program and a typical internship is that we were learning all of the didactic material at the same time that we were completing our supervised practice hours, whereas, in an internship, the didactic work would have been completed before the student ever steps foot in a healthcare facility. The benefit that I saw in the Coordinated Program is that I was able to put in practice what I had learned right away, thereby solidifying my knowledge immediately. Initially, there was a bit of a learning curve because some of the RDs were not fully aware of my field knowledge base and anticipated that I would have the same understanding as an intern who had completed the didactic work. With a little clarification, they all were more than happy to adjust their method of instruction.

The first semester of the program was split between Nutrition Therapy (in an acute care setting) and Foodservice Management. My Nutrition Therapy Supervised Practice Hours were at a ~280 bed hospital and my Foodservice Management Supervised Practice Hours were completed at a ~70 bed long term care facility. Both of these locations were utilized for future rotations; I completed the long-term care supervised practice hours at the LTC facility and at the hospital, I completed half of a semester in Foodservice Management and again for Nutrition Therapy II in the final semester. In the first Spring (EMU called it WINTER), in addition to the LTC rotation, I worked with an outpatient office which was part of a local hospital. One of my special interests is in breastfeeding and lactation counseling, so as an added bonus, that hospital was hosting a weekly breastfeeding support group which was great experience working with mommies as they provided the first nutrition to their babies. It was a highlight!

During the second Fall, the focus was turned towards Community Nutrition in which the Supervised Practice hours were completed in a WIC facility in addition to 1-day events with Head Start, a Senior Center and an elementary school. Additionally, the second fall included a specialty rotation, in which I completed hours with an Oncology Dietitian who also was the Sports Dietitian for a local university and who was a monthly guest on a local talk radio program. Additional hours were completed with a private practice dietitian.  

Study on the beach, study in the car, study study over here, study everywhere...
All of these Supervised Practice Hours are in addition to at least 4 classes per semester. Determination and planning were my left and right arm to help wade through this intense program. Can I also include that this program occurred during my daughter’s final year of high school, my youngest son’s sophomore and junior years in high school (as a home schooler), and through my oldest son away at Bible College and then his wedding. Many of my schoolmates had families as well. There were a couple of super-moms with little children and I think they deserve an additional badge.

The coursework covered Nutrition Therapy I, II, II & IV, Food Systems Management, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Entrepreneurship, in addition to Seminar in Dietetics, Micronutrient and Macronutrient Metabolism, Food and Culture and Nutrition of the Lifecycle.
In all honesty, I would have never guessed that a dietitian would have so much training in Foodservice or that dietitians play such a vital role in critical care. Prior to my experience, it was difficult for me to handle any medically invasive intervention, including needles and wounds, but my preceptors were so amazing and they coordinated many valuable experiences for me such as being in the operating room during a quadruple bypass surgery, a gastric sleeve operation which included a cholecystectomy, I watched gastric band assessments, a bronchoscopy and I shadowed a wound nurse. To my great surprise, I was able to attend each event without any issue, primarily because I focused on the anatomical process that was taking place.  In each setting, I was able to see the importance of a dietitian in either the prevention or the treatment of the condition. Not enough can be said about how important preceptors are to the dietetic student/interns. My preceptors went out of their way to ensure that I gained the required knowledge and experience. Early in the process of preparing for the program, I began to volunteer with a newly forming local dietetics group and the dietitians from that group became my mentors, cheerleaders and now I can call them friends. For the upcoming membership year, I have the privilege to serve as the President-Elect of that same group.

Additionally, the EMU Dietetics Program Director, Lydia and the Clinical Coordinator, Diane, were absolutely amazing. When I think of all that had to go into preparing the students, keeping us on track with dates and requirements, all via the wonders of the internet, I am in awe with their dedication to the success of future dietitians.

Graduation was a sweet time for the distance students who were able to travel to Michigan for the ceremony as well as a celebration ceremony thrown by Lydia and Diane. That weekend was the first time that I was able to meet any of the professors and staff as well as the other students who attended. For over 4 years, I had been in communication with the EMU staff, either preparing for the program or during, so meeting everyone face-to-face was a momentous event. I am so thankful for the opportunity to attend.

#EMU Class of 2016!
I cannot end this commentary without infusing the significance of faith during this process. I truly did not know or believe that I could complete such rigorous course of study, but I truly had to place my trust in God and recognize that His strength was more than sufficient, even in the times when I was so very weak. He taught me so many side-lessons in the process.

If you are considering the field of dietetics and you have questions about EMU’s program, please leave me a note in the comments and I will be glad to help.

In a future post, I will share how I prepared for the RD exam and what I used to study.  

Tasha Brickhouse, RD, LD/N

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Guest Bloggin' over on Stone Soup, a Food and Nutrition Magazine Blog

Polish Cabbage Rolls!

Do you need some comfort food to get through this Winter Saturday? Try this and get a belly full of vegetables and whole grain, to boot!

Head over to the Stone Soup blog for the recipe! Leave some feedback and let me know how you like it!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Guest-bloggin' over on ApostolicSportswear | Wearing an orange ASW skirt for #HungerAction Day!

Apostolic SportsWear
Featuring one of Apostolic SportsWear Skirts!
It is no secret.
I am a running-skirt kinda girl. My sweet friend Teresa was probably one of the forerunners of modest active skirt-makers and she has stayed true to her passion. A bit of her passion has spilled over to her ultra-creative daughter Hannah, who is maintaining the family business website Apostolic SportsWear.

Hannah asked me if I would write a little diddy about some of the physical benefits of exercise, aside from a smaller number on the scale or in the tag of your clothes.

Jump over to their blog and read about Perking you up with a fresh cup of...Exercise? Leave a little feedback and share on your favorite social media if you know someone who could use a little pick-me-up!

So do you want to know why I am wearing orange today? September is #HungerAction month which is an initiative to encourage folks to donate non-perishable goods to their local food banks. September 3rd is a day to wear orange signifying your action on hunger.

Did you know that 1 in 6 Americans struggle with hunger? As summer comes to a close, many food banks have run very low on their supplies due to increased needs while the children are out of school. Locally, the Pentecostals of Deland is hosting a food drive throughout the month of September to benefit local needs and contribute to The Neighborhood Center in Deland. Our church has 5 key missions in a Whole Life Challenge for the year 2015. Two of them are Feeding the Whole Man and Serving the Whole Community. I cannot think of a better way to actively contribute to these vital mission points. We welcome your donation of non-perishable food items during our service times:

Sunday 10am and 6pm
Wednesday 7:30pm (except the 3rd Wednesday when groups meet in homes)

If you are not in the Volusia County area, I encourage you to reach out to your local food banks and donate. They can always use your help!

As always, be well...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tasha's Cucumber Salsa

Keeps perfectly for up to 1 week... you can put it on top of spring mix, in a pita, add cold quinoa or brown rice or just eat it as is...

Summer cucumber salsa:
5 Kirby cukes,
1 pkg of grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
1 red pepper-chopped
1 green pepper
2 fresh corn off the cob (raw)
1 red onion, 1 can of drained black beans
1 can of drained white beans (optional, could also use garbanzo beans)
1 handful of chopped cilantro
about 3-4 tbsp your favorite vinegar (white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar)
The juice of 1 lime
Sprinkle with sea salt...

Chop veggies in bite size pieces... Let sit for about an hour so it can mingle. Gets more yummy overnight.

-Much love,

Friday, March 6, 2015

Praying the Hedge of Protection

Praying the Hedge of Protection

photo credit: Google Images, Creative Commons
Recently, The Lord has been reminding me about some areas of vulnerability in life, kids, family and such. In times past, these concerns would become debilitating, wondering how to prevent calamity, or struggle. Somewhere along the line, someone (it may have been God himself) spoke in my heart about praying a hedge of protection around my family, my home, my husband. During these times of prayer, I could visualize The Lord creating this great protective hedge that brought safety and was guarded by angels on every corner. 

These hedges are Biblical. Job 1:10 says," Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land." The enemy knew that this hedge made Job untouchable. 

Here is an interesting thought though: is a hedge stronger than a wall? Or a fortress? The Bible says that "He is my refuge and my fortress" Psalms 91:2, but why is there an emphasis on a hedge? 

A hedge is alive and has to be cared for, maintained, pruned so it will thicken and protect. Prayer is that care and attention that keeps the hedge alive and strong. Shaken but not destroyed in a storm. 

Your prayer do matter, they are heard and do make an impact.

Blessings to you~

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mind Over Matter | On the Road to Sweet Success

In the trenches of the No Sugar Challenge, one might think that there is nothing but survival as we muster the strength to forage for food not laden in the sweet stuff, however, the taste of sweet success is not served on a silver spoon. It is the taste of victory...

Meet Kristina, a new friend of mine. In mid April, she posted in a local running Facebook group that she was looking for a running buddy in my city. I NEVER respond to this sort of thing... call me shy, backward, whatever, but it is just not like me. I decided to comment and say that I was in the area, so we met at a local coffee shop the next day to get to know one another. From the first meeting, I could tell that Kristina was a fun-loving, super dedicated working momma. It wasn't hard to find common ground in our love for family and the all-too-real struggle to bounce-back-after baby (her second baby was born in October of 2013). She told me that she began running (and completed 3 5k's) before her recent pregnancy and was ready to jump back in. We wasted no time, and planned our first run the next day on April 15. 

Let's just face it, folks, runner's anxiety is real. "I wonder if they are the same pace as me. Will I be able to keep up? Will I die from lack of oxygen? What if I have to walk and they don't." Even my BFF, Darcy, says I make her anxious when we run, and I PROMISE, that is the last thing I am trying to do. This "runner's anxiety" has kept me a lone runner for the first 2 1/2 years of my running habit. It can keep you from really enjoying the company and safety of others, and create all sorts of unhealthy "comparison conversations" in your head. The truth of the matter is, everyone starts somewhere. If you start where you are now, just think of where you will be in 1 year, 2 years, 3 years!

If Kristina had any of these apprehensions, she surely hid it well. Our first run was an interval set, with a 16:39 min/mi pace. The greatest milestone of the day was for her to make the decision to get dressed, put her shoes on and drive to my house, and run with someone that she hardly even knew. It was that day that she clothed herself with determination, and now she is on her way. 

The following week, she moved and had to take a week off of running. That sort of thing could derail anyone's efforts in a new lifestyle change, but not Kristina! This gal works full time, has a 4 year old and an 8 month old, handled a move, spends the weekends living a full family life, and yet, her mind is set on accomplishing the goal of running and greater health. 

Each time we have met, we have stretched the running intervals a little longer. The first goal was to reach running a full 1 mile without stopping. Imagine my hysterical surprise when partway through our first full mile she turns into full coach mode, saying, "Tasha, keep going, don't stop, you better not slow down!"... lol... Boy, I'm glad she was there to keep me motivated! :-) Every time we talk about visualizing the progress for the future months, I tell her to imagine what her family Christmas pictures will look like, and her response is, "I'm going to rock those pictures, look at me now!" So much fun to see a go-get-it personality in action. 

This morning was a particularly monumental day for Kristina. We are almost halfway through the 30 day No Sugar Challenge, and she discovered that she is down 10 lbs! Whoop whoop! Not only that, but our last full run interval on Tuesday was 1.28 miles with an average of 13:33 min/mi pace, and today, she rocked out a full 2 mi run with a 13 min/mi pace! When we hit the 1.5 mi mark and she kept running, I had a feeling that she already had a goal in mind, and she did! For the most part, I have tried to give Kristina a couple options each running session as to how to reach the next goal level. Sometimes it is based on length of intervals, sometimes it is "run to the next stop sign." Almost always, she has exceeded the goal based on something she has made up in her own mind. Her motto, "Mind over Matter" presses her on to her next goal, despite what her body may fee like. I respect the fact that Kristina stretches her own abilities without setting the bar so high that it is unattainable. 

It is so exciting to see the transformation within Kristina and this is just the beginning! Share this and follow along as we watch this crazy girl in action!!

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.