Meal Prepping for Night Shifts

It is always a good thing to start Monday off right. One way to do so? Plan for your entire week. So I am prepping for my  night shift next weekend (I work in an ER, so we are open 24/7) and I have been thinking about what I want to eat. I will work Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 7 pm to 7 am. I switch between day shift and night shift, every other month. As soon as you get used to one then it is time to switch to the other. The best thing that works for me is to completely flip my schedule.

My routine starts at 6 pm when I wake up, get ready and go downstairs for breakfast. I will pack my lunch and snacks as well. On night shift, I tend to eat less, no clue why.

I will eat breakfast, a piece of fruit for a snack around 11 pm or 12 am, lunch around 3 am and maybe another snack such as cucumber or pistachios before I go home at 7 am. I also love to keep a bag of popcorn in my drawer that I can pop if I get some serious cravings, because who doesn’t love popcorn, especially late at night.

I don’t usually eat dinner when I go home in the morning, I lay there and watch some TV until I fall asleep.

Since I do not eat dinner during these shifts I try to focus on what I want for my lunches. My days off leading up to a long weekend, I will cook and prep all my meals. It always helps me to write up a meal plan, even if I don’t stick to it.

First off, I love pasta, so don’t be surprised if you see it in my meals a lot. It’s my go-to, guilty pleasure, comfort food. Especially when you throw in some butter, garlic and mozzarella. Keep it simple.

Second, I love love love tea! It has so many good nutrients that can help your metabolism and there is a tea for every mood! Plus who wants to drink water all the time. It’s so boring. I drink tea all day every day. I typically drink green tea with mint. If you can get loose leaf, it is always better but I go with Bigelow because I live in a small town. That does not leave me with a lot of options as far as grocery stores, but when I go ‘home’ to Dallas/Fort Worth I always hit up Sprouts, Central Market, and Whole Foods.

Side note, I AM NOT AFRAID OF LEFTOVERS! I can show you how to overcome that fear too!

Friday’s Plan:

Breakfast                                                                                                                                Scrambled eggs, and some sliced fruit. I have strawberries and I will throw some grapes in too.

Snack                                                                                                                                                     Apple. My favorite is Granny Smith. I love the tartness but sometimes I will eat a Gala if there is one lying around at work.

Lunch                                                                                                                                                   Pasta Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake. I actually got this recipe from Kayla Itsines. She is amazing and a perfect example of eating healthy and balanced. This recipe consists of making a roux and adding in steamed broccoli, cauliflower and al dente pasta. I have attached the link to the recipe below:

https://www.kaylaitsines.com/blogs/recipe/109167110-broccoli-and-cauliflower-pasta-bake

Late Night Snack                                                                                                                         Cucumber. This is my go to snack late in my shift. It is palate cleansing and hydrating. I find that I tend to eat more and snack more if I have a food taste in my mouth. For example, we keep cookie dough in the freezer and yes sometimes I sneak a piece or two. However, I always want to keep going back for more if I have that aftertaste in my mouth, especially on night shift, I want all the cookie dough. I do keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in my purse if I ever feel the need to clean up a bit.

Saturday’s Plan:

Breakfast                                                                                                                                                 For breakfast today I am feeling something not to heavy and I can have a smoothie at work. So I will go with toast and peanut butter. Then I sprinkle chia seeds on top. Yum!

Snack                                                                                                                                                   Smoothie. I was talking earlier about shopping at grocery stores in DFW. Well there is a Sprouts right by my Dad’s house and they have the best cheap produce. The quality is just as good as the farmers market and the pricing is great too. I stock up on fruit and buy enough to get me through til the next time. Then I go home, slice it up, and freeze it. It is perfect for smoothies, fruit and yogurt, and fruit compote (which I pair with vanilla ice cream and oats!) Today’s smoothie I am feeling peach, banana and strawberry paired with Greek yogurt and a splash of milk.

 

Lunch                                                                                                                                           Chicken Fajitas! For my fajitas, I always prefer chicken because I kind of suck at cooking beef. I have a lot of pre-made seasonings that I make my self from scratch but you can use any type of seasoning for yours. I slice a chicken breast or two into thin pieces and toss with about 2 tsp of seasoning. I let that sit while I saute sliced onion and bell pepper (whichever color you prefer) with a little olive oil in a hot pan until they start to char. Then I transfer the peppers and onions from the pan to a storage container and toss the chicken into a pan. Once the chicken is cooked on the outside I add the pepper and onion and mix everything together. If you would like to add more seasoning, now is the time.

Late Night Snack                                                                                                                                   Carrot Sticks. Simple and crisp. Always go for a veggie as a snack. It helps to fight off the cravings, but of course I slip up. We have a black hole of a stock room filled to the brim with cookies, candy and chips. Now, I don’t drink soda so there is no problem there but who doesn’t want a piece of chocolate here and there. Oh and did I mention we bake fresh cookies too? You know what that means…cookie dough. That is also one of my weaknesses. It has its own freezer in the break-room. There really should be a padlock on it. Although, that might make me want it more.

Sunday’s Plan:

Breakfast                                                                                                                                                 Fage Greek Yogurt with frozen berries. I have blueberries raspberries and strawberries that I have left out during the day to thaw. When I wake up, it is so easy to scoop out about a half cup of Greek yogurt and add it to the berries. Mix it and see the beautiful swirls of purple and red. If you want some crunch you can add oats/granola and/or chia seeds.

Snack                                                                                                                                                          I love bringing a banana with some peanut butter. They make really small mason jars that I believe hold 4 oz. It is the perfect size container to put my homemade peanut butter in for travel.

Lunch

Goulash? I think yes. I have two recipes for goulash that I make; Hungarian and American. I typically save the Hungarian recipe for winter time because it is close to a beef stroganoff. The American version is ground beef with tomato sauce, chunks of tomato, bell pepper and I even throw in some carrot. My mom was always sneaking veggies in somewhere and now as an adult I think, “the more the better.” I cook the egg noodles in the tomato sauce to give them extra flavor and this goes great in a crock-pot. My crock-pot is my best friend. It is great in the winter time for soups and stews and it is perfect for my night shifts. I can throw everything in when i get home and it is all ready by the time I get up for work in the evenings. Night shift months are like hibernation for me. I go out less, I spend less money and I don’t really do much of anything even on my days off.

Late Night Snack                                                                                                                                   I know I said always pick a veggie for a snack but remember my weaknesses. Well here is another one: popcorn. It can be a healthy snack but I really think I could survive off it if I had to. When you were a kid, you know that awkward time after school when you’re starving because you probably didn’t eat enough lunch but your mom says it’s too early for dinner? I always ate a bag of lite butter or 94% fat free popcorn. It just became a habit. So I carry a bag of popcorn in my lunch bag every single day in case I get a bad late night craving.

These are all just simple ideas for snacks and easy meals. Meal prepping has become important in our society because we as human beings are either always on the go or too lazy to cook because you are so tired from always being on the go. If you get it all done at once when you are feeling motivational then you are rewarded when you are too tired to operate anything more than a microwave.

Advertisements

How Overworking Leads to Exhaustion

I’ve been working a lot of overtime lately and at first I was excited about it because, of course, my paycheck was bigger and better. Who wouldn’t be excited about extra money?

I am also pretty active. I use Kayla Itsines’ BBG/Sweat program which prompts me to work out almost every day. The week starts out on a Monday with light cardio and legs, Tuesday is more light cardio but I opt for spin class. On Wednesday I work my arms and back, and Thursday is more spin. Friday I work on my abs, Saturday I run or swim, and Sunday I stretch, roll and rest.

Yes, that’s a lot of working out. On top of that I work 48 hours one week, 36 the next AND I switch back and forth every month from night shift to day shift, AND I work 12 hour shifts. That makes me tired just typing all of that out. So this overtime we talked about. I was working about 50 hours a week for 6 weeks straight. My mood was changing constantly.

Exercise is supposed to give you an outlet for stress and endorphins to make you happy but I just want to sleep all the time. I didn’t want to go out and when I did want to go out I couldn’t because, ‘I need my eight hours.’ Well, at this point eight hours was not making me happy. I was eating horribly, if at all. I was snapping at my friends and my roommate even when they did nothing wrong and I was depressed. I would cry all the time and not even want to talk to my coworkers. I do reasonable well hiding it when talking to our customers but I was not happy.

I am happy now to say that I have had three days off and I got out of town and took my own mini vacation. I live in a small town called, Tyler. It is about 2 hours east of Dallas. I came out here for college and just never left. My dad lives in Mansfield (DFW metroplex). I ‘escape’ to his house when I can. He is out of town this weekend so it worked out perfectly.

I took this time to have some R&R that was much needed. I had dinner and drinks with friends. I had a wine tasting at my house with girls night and a Disney movie. Of course it involved popcorn with cookie dough and three girls piled in a king size bed. Now its time for another dinner and uptown with friends. Oh and did I mention shopping?! I always have to throw in shopping! The only thing I am missing is a glass of wine and a pedicure and I am in heaven. I certainly do believe in “retail therapy.”

So you see, you have to treat yourself sometimes. I don’t see how these women who have families and handle everything but leave no time for themselves do it, but PROPS TO YOU! Women are extraordinary in a way that is not fully known to mankind.

Students Give Solutions on Ending Racism

From the fighting in Detroit to the Baltimore riots, to the Charleston shooting, race related violence is sweeping across the nation. Those are just the highly publicized events, and does not include racism occurring on college campuses, in high schools, or even in middle schools. Incidents are happening around the nation that have Americans on the edge of their seats.

“Those situations that were race related really break my heart,” says concerned UT Tyler student Brittany King. This is a rising concern throughout the college campuses of Texas. The UT Austin students share their worries with the president of the college after having vandalized a Jefferson Davis statue. “Given Jefferson Davis’ vehement support for the institution of slavery and white supremacy, we believe this statue is not in line with the university’s core values—learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility,” according a letter written by the student of the UT Austin campus.

Life in a College Town
Despite the fact that most Americans are aware of the growing negative race-relations but they never think it will happen so close to them. Tyler law enforcement has to take into extra consideration the problems that arise, seeing that this is a college town – home to three colleges: University of Texas at Tyler, Texas College, and Tyler Junior College. Tyler has a population of about 200,000 people, 50 percent of that being Caucasian. The other 50 percent is split between minorities. That being said, Tyler has a pretty diverse population and even though the Caucasians are the majority, it’s not by much. However, living in a multicultural city does not necessarily guarantee peaceful relations.

Tyler, TX is split between the white side of town to the south, and the black side of town to the north. Since the university is toward the south, as well as the mall and restaurants, it makes that side of town more popular. “From what I have noticed the Longview/Tyler area does not have any above average racial issues,” says Mike Johnson, a Longview police officer. As far as positive or negative relationships between minority and majority populations, Tyler does not have any more violence-related racism problems than any other average city.

When searching for a place to live, you need to consider what will be the safest state/city. As a student looking to leave home to go to college you must also take dangerous locations into consideration. “Every time I tell people I go to school in Tyler they say, ‘Tyler is a racist city,’” says Khadijah Evans, Speech Communication major, UT Tyler. Racism is a vicious cycle that leads to violence and hate crimes.

Problems with Authority
The problems that arise when referring to minorities and authority are a touchy subject. It is a situation where people prefer to take sides. It is hard to be objective when talking about how minorities have distrust toward law enforcement. “As the holders of ultimate power, the police are responsible for easing tensions and improving community relations,” says Kevin Cokley, a UT Austin professor of educational psychology and African diaspora studies.

Johnson explains, “the situation will get better over time.” He goes more in depth saying, “It’s going to require trust from the overall community that police officers are here to help and to protect the public.” This corresponds with what Professor Cokley refers to about community relations and trust. “Relations between the police and communities of color will always be a litmus test of race relations. As long as racial minorities fear and mistrust law enforcement, democracy has failed to live up to its ideals,” says Cokley.

This applies to the nation as well as each individual community. Texas has had their own share of race-related problems these past few years with the McKinney police officer who assaulted the young African-American girl, as well as the Larry Jackson case, from 2013 where an unarmed African-American man was gunned down. This shows just how close to home these events can occur.

The Community’s Reaction
When members of the East Texas community were asked their opinions on racial relations in the area and across the nation, their responses were somewhat similar.

“If we all come together. If the people of each city gather peacefully, and really learn about each other. If we all see we really have the same goal, which is love. Regardless of race, religion, gender, etc. we all long for love. It’s human nature. So if we can get everyone to see that we aren’t so different after all, hopefully the hatred will end,” says Evans. Education is one solution to removing the stigma of this issue and improving relations.

Another student agrees that different is not bad, we just need to learn more about each other to better understand one another. “Nothing will improve unless everyone can get along regardless of race, religion, or anything else that makes someone different from someone else,” says UT Tyler student Brandon Barrett.

Even members of Law Enforcement agree that actions need to be taken in order for a change to be instituted. “Racial tensions between the Law Enforcement community and the general population are at an all-time low. I believe it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Right now we have officers that are being punished for doing their jobs not because they’re racist, but because they choose to wear a uniform that requires compliance and carries authority,” says Johnson. Americans need to be more aware of the reasons why we have the justice system and it’s purpose to protect us.

“For race relations to improve, more white Americans need to have the moral courage to acknowledge systemic racism, speak truth to power and most importantly take action and fight racial injustice. African Americans and other people of color should not automatically assume that the actions of police and white Americans are always motivated by racism,” says Cokley.

“I believe racial harmony can improve anywhere and everywhere! We should never cease in growing as an academic society and a welcoming city for many others to seek out the opportunities this nation can offer,” says Ruben Espiricueta, a UT Tyler junior, Mass Communication major. Being positive is one way to help end racism for good. As long as we have members of the community who believe that we can make our city a better place then we have a chance.

College Students Spend More Time in Cars than in Classrooms

The students heart races as she notices the time running out until the teacher marks her tardy. She struggles to find an empty spot as her car eats away at the gas, even though she is running out of as money, she finds it ridiculous  that this is where all the gas is being wasted. She searches but yet fails to find a spot. Finally after over 30 minutes of fighting she waits patiently for another student to slowly enter into their car and make a spot available.

She rushes to park and runs into class barely grabbing all her necessities.  As she runs into the classroom she notices that teacher had already started lecturing and a few other students trickled in.

Parking at University of Texas at Tyler 

Parking on college campuses have been frustrating and well understood. So many cars ad so little parking. The issue grows at the beginning and at the end of the semester when the majority of students are actually present to class. About 50% of the classmates are the only ones that are left by the end of the semester at many colleges.

College of Pharmacy being built it will have an impact on the students who are enrolled. The building being in the middle of the campus, there is no room for extra parking, and if there are it will be very little.

The enrollment is up by seven percent yet the parking lot does not increase. “Last year at this time the total headcount was 7,534 on the 12th class day, which is the fall census date.” says the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

Micaela Gonzales, 20, a student at UT-Dallas said the parking situation at her school “is a mess”.

“The parking lot has ruined entire days for me. It’s truly that stressful.” Gonzales even identified the financial aspect of parking on campus, indicating the high prices of parking permits not guaranteeing convenience.

“If you buy the cheap sticker, for about $90 for the year, you end up paying extra in gas each day as you drive around the parking lot for at least 15 minutes trying to find a spot or stalking someone as they walk to their car to take their,” Gonzales said.

“I think it would make more sense to have the parking be more of a first-come-first-serve type of system,” Gonzales said. “It seems like they’re simply just trying to make more money this way. Especially when you get $40 tickets for parking in a different colored parking spot.”

Gonzales, who transferred to UT-Dallas from UT-Tyler, also compared the parking situation at both universities.

“While there were fewer parking spots at UT-Tyler, I appreciated the fact that all permits were the same price and all parking spots were available to everyone with a permit. It seemed to flow better. I never remember a time when I could not find a parking spot. I run into that problem all the time at UT-Dallas.”

The issues spreads beyond just the UT Tyler campus, but is an issues throughout other campuses in Texas.

Parking on Multiple College Campuses 

Allison Dodd, 21, a student at Texas A&M University, also has issues with the pricing of permits not reflecting the opportunities to find a convenient parking spot.

“It’s expensive. The cheapest one super far from any classes and most of them are $283 per year. If you can afford it, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can find a spot. It’s super crowded and half the time you drive around looking for a spot until you miss your class. That’s why I ultimately decided to take the bus.”

UT-Tyler President Dr. Rodney Mabry said the issues with on-campus parking is an issue he hears about on occasion and is something the university looks at improving each year.

“Over the past two years, we have made many changes in the amount of available campus parking. We have restriped parking lots to maximize the number of available spaces. We have implemented measures to encourage the use of underutilized lots. For example, with the purchase of Eagle’s Landing, we added 600 spaces. We have also implemented a shuttle system to help students get around campus faster.

“We have been considering some sort of parking structure for quite a few years now.”

“I encourage students to take advantage of the options we have made available. The shuttle service can be very helpful and we run those shuttles on a continuous loop so that you don’t have to wait long.”

“Most importantly, just give yourself a little extra time to find a spot before class.”

Parking is not only frustrating for the students but it is also frustrating for the staff members. If a person can not park then they cannot attend, and everyone that goes onto the campus is within walking distance of the campus.

Amanda Doyle a University of North Texas junior was informing about the parking issues on the college campus. When asked if there is enough parking for students and faculty Doyle responded with “not even close, faculty maybe, students, no.”

Doyle has class at different times throughout the day and finds a parking issues not matter the time.

Parking around the World 

Parking has been a part of the American culture since cars were available to the mass public and affordable, but recently there has been issues, beyond just college campuses, beyond garage parking, beyond event parking.

“Austin is on the forefront of ecofriendly living in the state of Texas. With its eco-friendly culture that encourages recycling, walking and biking instead of driving, and a strong emphasis on health and wellness, Austin is unparalleled compared to most similar cities in the world.” says Trey Cash an Austin resident, an Uber driver and who has been traveling back and forth between Austin Texas and Tyler Texas and a few other international locations.

The eco-friendliness in Austin is comparable to the rest of the world outside of the United States culture. Cash explains the situation between Austin and Medellin a country in Columbia,   “Amazingly, Medellin was extremely eco-friendly. They closed a major street every day for people to walk and bike. I was surprised to see how advanced Colombia is compared to Austin on an eco-friendly level.”

Trent Golden a World traveler and entrepreneur explains the eco-friendliness in California as more ahead of the economic game compared to Texas.

Students Having Difficulty Graduating on Time

       Getting good grades, making sure all necessary classes are complete and graduating within a four year period are goals that all college students hope to reach. More than ever, students across the nation are finding this goal difficult due to rising tuition costs, class scheduling conflicts and other factors. This is preventing many from graduating on time or even at all and many are trying to find ways to overcome these challenges.

To remedy the situation thousands of students are currently facing, one must figure out if more responsibility lies with advisors and school faculty or on the students themselves. In an article for CBS Money Watch, writer Lynn O’Shaughnessy points towards increasing costs as one major reason for students not graduating on time. The group Complete College America was quoted in the article as saying “Something is clearly wrong when the overwhelming majority of public colleges graduate less than 50 percent of their full-time students in four years.” O’Shaughnessy also pointed out how unavailable courses, students taking fewer than 15 hours per semester and uninformed advisors can accumulate and cause delays with graduation.

Steve Yoder, writer for the Fiscal Times had this to say about increasing tuition costs, “With the cost of tuition and student debt increasing, an extra year can tack on $16,140 in tuition, fees, and room and board at a four-year public university, and $36,993 at a four-year private college. Add the student’s lost year of income and the real price of an extra year can range from $45,000 to $90,000 or more a year.” Considering the typical college student brings in a lower income, this substantial increase in costs poses many problems, but increasing costs and students taking insufficient loads are not the only roadblocks to graduating on time.

In some cases the way prerequisite and follow-up classes are arranged causes for classes to be missed, and registering for unnecessary classes.  All the “stair stepping” classes are making it harder to graduate within the two years that are expected when college is started. According to CBS, in the United States only 50 out of the 580 public four-year institutes graduate the majority of their full-time students in four years. In order to be granted access to most upper division classes, a prerequisite class must be taken in order to take the upper division class. If you do not take the prerequisite, then you can take the class above it. Planning and lining up all the classes used to be a semester by semester ordeal, but now students may have to plan their entire college career before registering for any classes. If one class is missed, the entire year could be thrown off track.

This problem is only compounded when advisors and school faculty are ignored. One growing situation that makes signing up for prerequisites a major burden is a new trend happening across students called “self-advising.”

“You’d be surprised how many students do not bother to meet with their advisor, but rely instead on asking their peers what to take,” said Marsha Matthews, Assistant Chair Department of Communication and student advisor.

Students find peers with the same major and minor and compare schedules and see what should be taken and should not, but everyone’s situation is unique. One student who had to wait a year for specific course postponed his graduation date to take one class.  His case was unique yet, it was a frustrating situation.

“My first advisor that the university makes you go to didn’t tell me anything about it [the class]. Ultimately though, it was my responsibility to figure it out,” said Alec Bryant a former Mass Communication major.

Current Mass Communications major Zachary Lester is currently in the middle of dealing with these scheduling issues. Lester said he was not made aware of class conflicts “until half way through this last semester” and “it will delay my graduation until spring 2017.” When asked about how the situation began, Lester said “I talked to the advisers and said there are no substitutes for these classes so unless I want to change my track, there’s not anything I can do”.  He did offer up a potential solution for how schools can correct this problem.
He suggested they “Offer them during another semester as well [like in summer or online]”.

There are solutions to these conflicts and many students are now actively working with advisors and faculty more than ever to try to find a fast track to graduation, which does exist despite the doubt that thousands of students likely feel. Jon Arbuckle, instructor at Ivy Tech Community College understands that many new students feel anxious when registering and preparing for college life.

“We have their curriculum laid out from Day One; without these guidelines, students bounce around.” Arbuckle said in an article by Time writer Jon Marcus. Arbuckle also believes colleges overestimate the knowledge of some incoming students. Colleges “assume students coming in already know how to navigate the higher-education waters. But they don’t necessarily know that. Even the physical environment, just how it’s scattered—you’re taking a class in one building and another class in another building and your advisor is in another building.”

In an interview with Michael Millett, UT Tyler Student Advisor, he said “Some degree programs are just very tight. Meaning that specific courses must be taken in a specific order during a specific semester, or the student’s progress can get out of sequence.”

When asked about how to better plan classes and find a way to graduate sooner, he said “navigating a degree is not a straightforward process. For instance, many requirement categories can be satisfied by one of many different classes, even by an upper- or lower-division class. This is where your faculty advisors can help you the most. In other words, it is usually not in the student’s interest to lay out the program semester by semester, especially early in the student’s progress. Prerequisites, on the other hand, must be understood, and taken as soon as possible.”

37 years later

image

In honor of our triple crown winner, the first in 37 years. Being a true Kentuckian, I’ve never been so proud of a horse.

“Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting? He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength, and charges into the fray. He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his side, along with the the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground; he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.”

Job 39: 19-24

Game of Thrones

When your Feature Writing professor refers to Game of Thrones author, George R. R. Martin during class as how not to write a lead.