April 19, 2015

I'm moving!! Find me on: www.champagnenutrition.com

The most exciting announcement I'm thrilled to make: I am launching a new blog. This was not an easy decision; I've had Becomingginger for years, since I took an elective at Bastyr University called "Writing in Nutrition and Health". At that time, I thought that blogs were just platforms where people talked about themselves - boring! Our professor had us start our own blogs and I launched Becomingginger which was originally about becoming a dietitian and also working on my own food journey and healthier eating.I found that blogging is a wonderful way to share information and learn from others as well. It is an interesting creative platforms that  I have found very helpful to me in finding my voice and what type of topics I wanted to share with all of you. I love writing recipes, answering questions people send me about food and nutrition, debunking diets and discussing other hot topics in nutrition news. I have had some really nice feedback about the topics I talk about and how open I am about being a dietitian who eats out a lot and loves pizza in addition to an interest in general nutrition and wellness. I don't want to lose that - I'll always be the same but I am no longer "becoming" Ginger. I have been feeling the need to re-brand and start fresh for awhile now and there have been a lot of people who have helped me and supported me on this new path.

I have now officially launched my new site and transitioned my current social media platforms to ChampagneNutrition. You can find me at my new website and blog www.champagnenutrition.com, on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

There's a lot of transition happening right now so this move feels very right to me. I'm finishing my term as President of the Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and starting a national position as Chair-Elect for the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group.  I have been chosen as a State Media Representative for Chicago, Illinois starting in June and I will be embarking on teaching some classes at a private University this fall. Lots of change feels great and best of all, it is SPRING. I hope you'll join me on my new site as I continue to share nutrition information with all of you! 

April 8, 2015

Celebrating National Preceptor Month:an Internship Manager's Perspective

  1. a teacher or instructor.

April is National Preceptor Month which feels very fitting because I am rotating Chicago-area interns one after the other right now at work. As our internship manager, I collaborate with local universities and dietetic internship programs as well as individual students and distance programs to schedule as many interns as we can comfortably take throughout the year; I'm generally booking at least 6 months ahead at any given time. Because the Block Center is an outpatient cancer center I get students interested in that type of work as well as those who want to learn more about cooking and culinary skills and those who want the unique experience of integrative nutrition education or learning more about supplements or plant-based diets.

One of the things that makes dietitians so specially trained as nutrition experts is supervised rotations through medical clinics, hospitals, schools and community programs during their internship. Having been an intern myself not too long ago, I create internship experiences based on what I remember working (or not working) when I was in my rotations. My clinic has a relatively small staff with only four dietitians and we are really, really busy all the time. I strictly take only one intern at a time because my philosophy is that an internship rotation should be mutually beneficial: helpful to the staff to have the extra assistance and educational with skill building for the intern. My interns help us by cooking and organizing in the kitchen, they do research projects for us and make patient handouts. Right now, my team needs to know more about Essential Oils and the MTHFR genetic mutation because this is coming up with my patients so my interns do projects that educate both our staff and patients. For the intern experience, they get to borrow all of my books and resources, receive access to Natural Medicine's Database for projects, and sit in on all of our consults with debriefing after each one; they also get to sit in on consults with the rest of the integrative staff. We always include them in all of our meetings and treat them like they are a part of our team while they're here because they really are, whether they are with us for a week or several months.

The "intern" desk 
I enjoy having my interns so much. I hope they learn skills from me and my dietitians that open their eyes to nutrition work they might not previously have considered or even known about. I hope that my "supplement skeptics" leave more open-minded than when they arrived and that everyone who comes through my center sees the power that nutrition can have on successful cancer treatment. I often get thank-you letters in the mail or on an intern's last day - I keep them all. In closing, a word from a wonderful student I was honored to work with:

"I haven't fully expressed my gratitude to you. As Mr. William Arthur Ward once said, 'Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it'. The impact you have had on me is immeasurable. I want to express my deepest gratitude for believe in me. You have been an excellent inspiration for me, inspiring me to pursue my goals with hard work and dedication."

March 31, 2015

Simple Cherry-Coconut Granola

I just felt like granola today...it's spring sort of but cool out so something comfy sounded good. Making granola literally takes about 5 minutes and you can modify any recipe based on the ingredients you have on hand. The basic granola recipe includes combining oats and other favorite dry ingredients, then mixing in an oil and sweetener combo (maple syrup is my preference). Then you bake and serve or save. Granola freezes very well and also makes nice gifts. This simple recipe would be fun to make with children as well. Feel free to adjust sweetener down if needed as adding flavors like vanilla extract, coconut flakes and spices contributes a depth of taste so you might not need as much sweetness. Have fun! 

Simple Cherry-Coconut Granola                                         


4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¾ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup canola or sunflower oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ cup unsweetened dried cherries (can sub dried cranberries, raisins or chopped apricots)

1.      Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350° F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.      Combine oats, almonds, pistachios, coconut, cinnamon, salt and cardamom in a large boil. Combine maple syrup, oil and vanilla then fold into dry mixture. Spread onto the prepared sheet and bake 15 minutes, stir and then cook 15 minutes more. Granola should be slightly browned but monitor it closely so it doesn't burn.

3.      Cool granola for 10-30 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl and stir in the dried cherries and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to one month. Also freezes well.

*Original recipe by Ginger Hultin 3/31/15