As registered dietitians, we're required to log a certain number of continuing education credits every five years. This requirement keeps us current with research in our field, and in a bustling city such as Chicago, there are never shortages of options for us to get our hours.
Once we registered, we were given a delicious buffet breakfast that was sponsored by the Egg Nutrition Center. I should have taken a picture of my plate, but it included scrambled eggs (makes sense), shredded hash browns with bell peppers, bacon, sausage, croissants, fresh fruit, and coffee. We dove right into the lectures once we finished our breakfasts and had minimal breaks from 8am-2 pm. This was tolling at times, and we were very hungry since we didn't get lunch (just a few snacks from vendors). Regardless, the benefits outweighed the costs.
I'll hopefully have access to the slides soon and will be able to write more about what we learned. The egg and cholesterol lecture, even though it was sponsored by the Egg Nutrition Center and had me worried that it would be overtly bias, was informative and confirmed what I already believe about eggs: whole eggs are very nutritious foods and eating eggs generally does not affect your blood cholesterol. A small percentage of the population are considered to be "hyper-responders" to dietary cholesterol, and these people are difficult to pinpoint unless they are in clinical studies. The jury is also out on whether diabetics need to watch their intake of egg yolks.
We also heard good lectures on gut microbiota and alternate day fasting. There is still so much research that needs to be done on gut microbiota (or the bacteria that lives in our intestines that is good for our health), but recent studies on mice have shown that lean and obese bodies have different compositions of gut bacteria. Our diet can largely affect that. Also, taking prebiotics and probiotics are most likely good for us, but there is not one best type to take. Eating fermented foods (which contain probiotics), such as yogurt, kefir, kambucha, tempeh, miso, and others are good, but there may also be benefits from taking tablets.
The lecturer for the alternate day fasting research was our Vitamins and Minerals professor at University of Illinois at Chicago, so my school friends and I were pretty pumped to hear her speak. I'll probably write another post about her research in the future, but I have been fascinated in the past (from her research) to hear about how eating approximately 1/4 of a person's calorie needs on fasting days (average of 500 calories per day) and eating unrestricted on the other days could lead to successful and manageable weight loss in obese, sedentary individuals. Now that I think about it, it may be easier to eat very light three days per week (and normally the rest of the week) than to constantly restrict my caloric intake every single day. There is still more research required for alternative day fasting, and if you're interested in trying this for yourself, I would highly recommend discussing this with your doctor and seeing a dietitian first!
We also heard from six panel speakers (one of them was an author of Too Busy to Diet), and then, completely ravenous and slightly stir-crazy, we headed back to the city. My carpool party made a quick stop at L'Patron for tacos once we got back into the city, and then I was dropped off at home. I only had enough time to change, fix my hair and makeup, and put a few layers of polish on my nails before it was time for the next event.
My parents were staying in the city for their birthdays (my dad is March 4th; my mom is March 6th), and my brother Jon decided to take us to The Aviary for drinks before dinner. It was so generous of him, and I had some of the best drinks I've ever had. I'm used to going to hole-in-the-wall neighborhood bars and buying the beers on special, so this place was up about 100 notches from that.
This place creates drinkable art in a glass. My first drink (pictured above) was called Up the Ice Ante, which contained oat, horchata, and peach. Our server told us that it was going to taste like the milk in the cereal bowl after finishing Cinnamon Life cereal (or Cinnamon Toast Crunch, as my brother said), and he was exactly right. I also nibbled on the ice cubes once I finished the liquid portion, and they were intensely flavored with components from the drink. Until Saturday night, I had never eaten an ice cube that tasted like a cinnamon peach pie.
Aviary-goers tend to visit for drinks prior to going to Next next door, but we went to a different, more normally-priced restaurant for dinner. While I can't say that I'll go back to the Aviary soon (I would really love to, but my preferred drinks are $5), I would certainly go back there for a special occasion. I'm very happy that I got to experience it. It was a treat. We also did a larger family celebration in the suburbs on Sunday night for my parents and my grandma (her birthday is today!). We have a lot of birthdays this month!
On Sunday morning, I laced up my running shoes and hit the pavement for an easy four-mile run. It was 39 degrees by the time I left the house, and I was perfectly comfortable in running capris and long-sleeved pullover. I wanted to do my first lakefront run of 2016, so I headed east to Lake Michigan. It's about 1.1 miles from my house to the lakefront trail. Since it was Sunday morning, I was weaving my way in and out of brunch enthusiasts and small children on scooters. I also had to jog in place at some stoplights. Once I got to the park lands, though, I didn't have to worry about traffic lights anymore.
Total miles logged this week: 7 (3 on treadmill on Tuesday; 4 outside yesterday).
Goal for next week: 7-8.
Have a great start to the week, friends!