Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Experience is Everything

I remember being a dietetic intern and so afraid to step out on my own. Thinking that one of the doctors would not like my recommendation or that another more experience dietitian would find the constant need correct me. My husband and family would tell you that I have always been a very confident individual and there was nothing that would get in the way of Laura.  When I wanted something done, I did it or I found a way to get it done.

 As an intern at the Bay Pines VA Medical Center, my preceptors did an amazing job of giving us the knowledge and experience we needed to be exceptional dietitians! However, when my husband and I moved to Virginia, I found out I had a comfort zone. I had never lived this far from home, and nobody around me knew "I got my way" back home.  I wanted to hide my head, like a turtle in it's shell.  If you know me, you probably find this very hard to believe me, but it is true.  I started a knew job at a small hospital in Loudon,Virginia.  It was the perfect job for a new dietitian, the other dietitians took me under their wing, and I was able to build up my confidence once again. I started to gain more experience!

 I share this with you because without our experience and understanding of the individuals we work with, we cannot truly empathize with our patients or clients.  Each of us has a story to tell, and without these stories, we are nothing!  Our stories make us up as an individual person and also help us become one with each other. We cannot deny our past experiences, and we must embrace each new experience as a learning curve.

Yesterday, I had the honor to share my experience and knowledge of nutrition with some amazing women who are dealing with cancer or have dealt with cancer.  We started off the evening listening to Dr. Carlos Castillo with 21st Century Oncology of Jacksonville. It is not everyday that you have a physician who is passionate about the spiritual, nutritional, and physical components needed for healing before, during, and after cancer!  He is truly an amazing doctor.

 After a great night of talking nutrition, I woke up inspired to recreate an Arabic inspired lentil soup. Lentils are packed with protein, and fiber. Proteins are the building blocks that help your body heal and grow strong, especially when dealing with cancer!  I also added in some carrots and beet greens. which are packed with antioxidants benefits, anti-cancer benefits, and are the one of best-researched areas of health research with respect to dietary intake of carrots and beets. 

Lentil Soup with Beet Greens and Carrots

 2 Cups Lentils (any kind)

1 lbs Beet greens or other favorite greens such as mustard greens, spinach, or swiss chard
1 large Onion, chopped
1 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
Pepper and salt to taste
7 cups water
1/2 tsp cumin
2 bay leaves

1. Heat stock pot with 1 tbsp olive oil. Saute onion until opague. Add in Cumin. Saute for 1-2 minutes. 

2. Clean and wash lentils thoroughly. Add lentils and 7 cups water to pot, cover, and simmer for 30 mintues. 
3. Add in beet greens (or other green preferred), diced carrots, and 2 bay leaves to pot. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes, or until tender. 
4. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, and salt to taste in small bowl. Add mixture to soup and simmer for a few more minutes. 

To compliment my soup, I found a recipe on whole foods for 
Apple and Cheddar Whole Wheat Quesadillas and a green salad. Enjoy!