Monthly Archives: August 2012

cheesy bread and health

Not to confuse you, but today’s post contains 2 completely unrelated topics: my love for cheesy anything bread, and my battle for regular, routine physical activity to promote overall good health. I am not insinuating that cheesy bread promotes health, although it might promote mental health. A life without cheese or bread is not one worth living, in my humble opinion (I don’t know how those paleo folks do it…).

First… cheesy goodness

Have you ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse? If so, you might be familiar with those delicious, soft, chewy cheesy bread rolls that you are supplied with in endless quantities. I found the recipe today and am looking for an excuse to make them! And yes, as a vegetarian, I have been subjected to the extremely overpriced salad bar at numerous Brazilian steakhouses. The cheesy side dishes were the only redeeming quality of these visits.

Now… burn those calories

I started the Couch 2 5K program yesterday, after downloading the handy app. (This, of course, makes me feel validated to bake the previously mentioned cheesy bread). The app was great in that it allowed me to listen to my own music selection, and just chime in every 60 or 90 seconds and tell me to either start running or walking. I was dripping in sweat after the 30 minute workout, and have slightly sore quadriceps today, so I’ll take that as a success! (as a grad student success – I also was able to finish my class reading during the run/walk workout!)

In starting this C25K program, I feel the need to find a way to motivate me to see this program to completion. Two ideas are floating in my head. First is to sign up for a local 5K event in November. I should’ve been able to make it through the 8 week program by then, and even if I cannot run the whole 5K, I will be much more successful and confident than I am today!

I know from personal experience how motivating it is to already have a race in sight. I trained with Team in Training for 2 half-marathons (2008, 2009). I kept detailed workout logs, with each session documented (weather, attire, mileage, physical symptoms, etc). For anyone who knows me, this shouldn’t come as a surprise Smile


So, a race can be a great motivator, something to set your sights on for the long-term. But what about something to motivate you during the training process? When regular workouts are getting old/boring/time-consuming, and/or grad school becomes ever-more-intensive.

Well, having a team or a friend to workout with is always helpful. We call this accountability. And it certainly helped for my half-marathons. But right now, I don’t have that.

I’m considering an iPhone app called Gym-Pact, which uses financial incentives (i.e. the threat of taking your money away if you don’t workout) to keep you on track. You make a pact each week for how many workouts you plan to do, and how much money you’re willing to lose if you don’t. You then log in those workouts at your local gym (using GPS check-ins) and either make money if you successfully logged in enough workouts, or lose money if you fail. Where does the money come from? All the couch potatoes who don’t make it to the gym.

It’s grounded in wonderful behavioral economics theory (which we all know I love), which might actually be the biggest reason I’m considering it. haha. It’s not a method for getting rich or anything, but the threat of losing money is a powerful motivator, especially for poor graduate students!

I’ll keep you updated on how it goes…


Fall is Almost Here!

Is anyone else as excited as I am for the arrival of fall???

Currently, I am sitting in a starbucks, wearing a sweatshirt, sipping Pumpkin Spiced Latte (too rich for me to drink normally, but they handed out free samples, so I’m indulging with my vanilla latte), studying insulin signaling pathways. How wonderful this morning is….. (and even though I am not at all excited about 2 more semesters of biochemistry, at least we’re studying insulin right now, which makes me think of diabetes, which I love*, so it makes it bearable).

So, yes, fall is almost here. Classes started back this week, and I have a lighter course load this semester (3 classes for credit is sooo much more realistic in graduate school than the 5 I took this past spring!). I am most enjoying my health law class, as it is a complete break for all things nutrition and biochemistry, but so important to know and understand in our current political and healthcare climate. We have only had 2 classes thus far, and so many things are finally ‘clicking’ that I didn’t understand before! And no, it’s not like being in law school  (thank heavens). I have made some interesting comparisons however, between the business-school type of students in this class, to my nutrition cohort in all my other classes. First of all, there are men in this class! Crazy… that’s somewhat of a foreign concept in nutrition. Secondly, business students ALL seem to have mac computers, multi-task furiously throughout the duration of our classroom lectures, and DO NOT have water bottles planted at every desk like us nutrition students Smile

Some other things that I’m looking forward to with fall’s impending arrival:

  1. Bike Rides in cooler weather
  2. Sweaters and scarves
  3. Fall-scented candles
  4. Baking with pumpkin!
  5. The return of all my favorite TV shows
  6. Holiday planning

That’s all for now folks. Have a great weekend!

* Disclaimer: when I say I “love” Diabetes, I don’t wish the disease on anyone, but I find it fascinating to study and learn about. It’s also my favorite topic for nutrition counseling. For us Type-A / control freaks, this is the type of disease I can appreciate – something over which the patient has direct control and can measure direct effects of their lifestyle.

Book Review From the Desert

Greetings from Albuquerque! I am out here for the week visiting my sister, who just moved here for graduate school (apparently my path towards MPH had to be one-upped by a path towards PhD… haha).

I thought I would share with you a little review on the book I finished last night:



The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell was a great read. While it is a non-fiction book, it was immensely interesting to me, as it discusses how epidemics spread. And no, not just epidemics as in diseases, but any movement (fashion trends, smoking rates, successful marketing or educational campaigns, etc). He outlines the main reasons why some ‘epidemics’ are able to spread successfully, and why others fail, and then illustrates with case studies.

Having taken a few classes this past year that touched on epidemiology, social marketing, and successful public health communication, this book was a great compliment. Highly recommend!

I also packed another book of his to read, which I plan to start soon (if I can pull myself away from the London2012 excitement on the TV!)

I’ll be back later to share some of my adventures out in the desert!

Loving the Olympics

Hey all!

I have been thoroughly enjoying the Olympics, and I hope you have too. We started with a big gathering at my apartment to watch the opening ceremony, which involved 15 of my classmates and friends / significant others, lots of food, and an overwhelming amount of attention for Mr Harley.

So far, I think London has done a great job, and I’ve spent many an hour glued to my couch watching all the events. One of my classmates from middle school is an Olympic rower for Australia, so I’m hoping to catch her events!

I will say, however, that with this being the first summer Olympic games since social media exploded, it’s made for some interesting challenges. Namely, it’s impossible to wait for the evening NBC coverage without having already heard the results from facebook, twitter,, various blogs, friends, radio, etc. I feel like I need to step away from my computer and TV entirely until the games are over!


In other non-Olympic-related-news:

  • This week marks the end of my summer internship! I have had a great experience at a local non-profit here in Chapel Hill that works on public health / wellness initiatives, and am even starting to think about how it could form the basis of my Masters paper (which I really don’t want to start yet….)
  • I am having a new roommate move in to the apartment in the next week or so. She’s a high school English teacher who finished graduate school here at Carolina and seems like a great fit. Plus, Harley approved of her Smile
  • I’m heading to Albuquerque this weekend to visit my sister for a week! She just moved last week for her PhD program at UNM in anthropology. New Mexico is a new state for me, so I’m excited to see what’s around, spend time with my sister, nephew (Sullivan the fox-dog) and mother, who is still helping my sister get settled in.

Hopefully I can start more regularly blogging soon, folks! The summer was busier than anticipated during the week, with both a full-time internship and summer course, and my weekends were reserved for hanging out with the BF, so now I can hopefully get back in the blogging groove for the fall!

Have a great day!