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food-journal

Dietitian Diary: A Week with Viveca

Join Viveca as she recounts a week of eats and exercise!

Before I dive into my meals, in the spirit of being open, I wanted to start with a note on mental health. For those of you who have struggled emotionally with all of the challenges that this year has brought, know that I’m with you. It’s sure been a year. What’s been helping me cope is a combination of a wonderful support system in my family and boyfriend, quiet time for self-reflection (therapy, journaling, meditation), and spending as much time outdoors as I possibly can (…also disabling news alerts on my phone). I share this in an effort to reduce stigma and encourage an open dialogue around mental health (which is also very tied into our eating choices, exercise, sleep, etc.). If you find yourself struggling, please communicate with one of your providers if you need additional support, so we can connect you with the resources you need.

Thursday 10/29

I wake up at 6:15 and have a cup of coffee with half-and-half. I do a little reading and chores, and then head out for an 8 AM Orangetheory class. I’ve been dipping my toes back into in-person exercise (though I’m only comfortable with outdoor classes). Returning to these workouts after seven months of quarantine is humbling, but also feels fantastic. When I get back, I throw together a quick breakfast of oatmeal + chia seeds (done in the microwave), topped with sliced banana + blueberries, a small spoonful of PB, a splash of almond milk, and cinnamon. I eat it (not particularly mindfully) while starting work for the morning.

After my morning work/meetings, my boyfriend returns home (he’s a middle school teacher and has been transitioning to hybrid learning), and we head out for our weekly ritual of enjoying Thursday lunch at a favorite local cafe together. We walk over there and enjoy a quick lunch in the sunshine and then do a wider walking loop back along the waterfront (we’re fortunate to live a couple blocks from the beach in Pacifica). I have a crunchy salad of romaine topped with grilled chicken, fried onions and avocado, topped with balsamic and paired with an iced tea. I then dive into a busy afternoon with patients. I have a break mid-afternoon, so I get out for a walk by the pier and have a snack of a brown rice cake with PB and half an orange (so happy citrus is coming into season!). 

On Thursdays, we both finish work around 7 PM, so when we do our weekly shopping, we try to pick up something easy for these nights. In between appointments, I put some Amy’s veggie enchiladas in the oven (yes, dietitians eat convenience food), and my boyfriend doctors them up by adding some black beans and avocado. We start a movie and then go to bed on the early side.

Friday 10/30

I wake up at 5:15 – my first patient isn’t until 7, but I value the quiet work time before my clinical hours. I drink some coffee with half-and-half while I do some work and then start my morning of appointments. I’ve got a short break around 8 AM, so I run out to pick up a Spinach Feta & Egg White Wrap from a nearby Starbucks as little Friday treat. I forego a coffee drink because I’m already pretty caffeinated. I have another break mid-morning, so I head out for a chilly morning walk.

Late morning I get a little hungry but still have a stretch left in my clinical schedule, so I have a handful of blueberries and a cup of English breakfast tea + milk. I break for lunch and have an uninspired lunch of a tortilla (some kind of chia/flax blend I think?) wrap filled with PB and sliced strawberries, and a simple spinach salad with vinaigrette on the side. After lunch, I do a short and gentle yoga for migraines video (a fun gift of quarantine has been issues with chronic headaches). I finish my day of work, take a short nap and then head out for a longer walk by the water (I’m super sore from yesterday’s workout so have nothing more intense planned). Post-walk, I finish the other half of yesterday’s orange.

For dinner, we pick up Thai food from a favorite local spot. We get chicken pad thai and a basil beef dish, and I have some of both. After dinner, we bake a dark chocolate cake and decorate it for Halloween (not pictured because it looks like a second grade craft project). I have a piece of cake + small glass of milk while we watch an episode of The Twilight Zone to continue our festive evening.

Saturday 10/31

Halloween! I sleep in and wake up a little before 8 AM. I sip coffee with half-and-half while I do some reading and journaling. On Saturdays, we like to get coffee and walk by the pier, so we walk over to a local bakery. I have their lady grey tea (they brew their own blend and it’s delicious) with some steamed milk. Breakfast when we return is a couple sunny-side up eggs on a slice of toasted sourdough (we keep a loaf from a local bakery in the freezer), with some berries on the side.

Late morning, we head over to Berkeley for a mini day trip. My boyfriend is a Cal grad and has been wanting to show me around. We grab lunch at a cute cafe, and I have a tuna salad with lots of tasty toppings (pictured below) and an Arnold Palmer. We then go for a long walk on campus and downtown (not sure how long but I end the day at about 6.5 miles on my Fitbit). We finish up our wanderings with an ice cream – I go for a single scoop of chocolate peanut butter cup. We head back to Pacifica, and the rest of my afternoon is filled with an afternoon nap, some tea + milk and reading on the couch. We talk a short walk to watch the sunset, and then we make dinner: brown rice jambalaya (not authentic but delicious) with spicy chicken sausage and shrimp. We finish our evening with more of The Twilight Zone and a small piece of Halloween cake.

Sunday 11/1

I wake up around 7 AM, which feels like 8 AM due to the time change. I start my day with my usual coffee with half-and-half. Breakfast around 9 AM is oatmeal with chia seeds, topped with blueberries, a small spoonful of PB, dark chocolate chips and a splash of almond milk. We do a couple hours of work (my boyfriend is also a part-time grad student and I do some additional part-time consulting work) then meal plan and grocery shop for the week. I have a cup of tea + milk and a handful of blueberries to tide me over, then lunch when we return is Thai leftovers.

In the afternoon we go for a beautiful hike in the San Pedro Valley. We hike for a couple hours, a little less than 5 miles with some good climbs and gorgeous views. When we return, I have a snack of tea + milk (a staple) and some sharp cheddar with rosemary crackers. On Sunday nights, we like to make pizza with fresh dough to close out the weekend. Tonight’s creation is a produce drawer cleanout veggie pizza. I have a couple pieces topped with parmesan + red pepper flakes. We close the night with a movie and small piece of Halloween cake.

Monday 11/2

I wake up around 6:30 and drink some coffee + half-and-half. I then do a 60-minute Mindful Vinyasa video through a Marin-based yoga studio I love, who post their classes for free on their IG account (@soulsticemindbodyspa). Breakfast is egg, cheese, and salsa wrap with a side of berries (it’s a little rich for me, so I get through 75%). 

Lunch (consumed in two installments, with the other half around 2 PM because my appetite is a little off today) is leftover jambalaya with half an apple. Before starting my afternoon of patients, we go for a walk by the pier. After my afternoon of patients, we make a dinner of crispy baked tofu with soba noodles and steamed broccoli, paired with homemade peanut sauce. Photo (in terrible lighting) below!

Tuesday 11/3

6:30 AM alarm, followed by coffee with half-and-half and a beautiful chilly beach run. Breakfast around 9:30 is Greek yogurt + sliced banana + berries + walnuts. Lunch later during our weekly clinical meeting is the last of the jambalaya mixed with some Amy’s veg chili, topped with a spoonful of Greek yogurt. After my lunch, I take a 20-minute walk down to the pier. Later in the afternoon, I have ½ apple with peanut butter.

After work, I walk down to the water to catch the sunset. To distract ourselves from Election Day anxiety, we decide to go out to dinner to Sam’s Chowder House in HMB (it’s been on the list but is always too crowded on the weekends). We each order a cup of chowder and split a lobster roll. I don’t touch my cup of Manhattan-style chowder because the roll is super filling, so I take it home with me.

Wednesday 11/4

6:30 alarm, followed by coffee with half-and-half. Election anxiety is HIGH this morning, so I’m grateful that I pre-booked an (outdoor) Orangetheory class to distract myself and release some pent-up nerves. After another tough class, I have the same Greek yogurt breakfast as yesterday with an additional sprinkle of dark chocolate chips. 

Later lunch around 2:30 is yesterday’s Manhattan-style chowder, which I bulk up with some steamed rainbow cauliflower from our freezer veggie stash. There’s less soup left over than I remembered so I also have a few rosemary crackers with sharp cheddar. On an afternoon break, I take a short walk down to the water. 

Early evening I have ½ apple with peanut butter to tide me over until I finish with patients at 7 PM. My boyfriend has an evening commitment so we pass like ships in the night, but he cooks me a Dr. Praeger’s Quinoa Black Bean Burger (a weeknight staple for us), which I have on a sprouted wheat English muffin topped with avocado, spinach, and pickles.

Some snapshots of the week:

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