Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC

It just occurred to me that I missed writing a blog about National Nutrition Month this year. National Nutrition Month was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a nutrition education and information campaign in 1980. Each year a new theme is selected.  

I read that this year’s national theme was “Celebrate a World of Flavors,” which shows that nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Long-stay residents particularly look forward to a variety of meals that explore different cultural backgrounds and food traditions and yet are centered in wellness and nutrition.

And the celebration encourages our dietary staff to create meals during this month for a healthier tomorrow. With bright food colors, pretty plating and cheerful place settings, we can make mealtime enticing again.

This year National Nutrition Month was all about achieving a healthy lifestyle in order to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic disease. However, in LTC we are already aware that we have residents with multiple chronic diseases but good nutrition does in fact reduce the consequences of these diseases. And for the most part, in our setting, we try to help our residents maintain weight. 

Now for me personally, I am trying to lose weight and I tried the keto diet. (Yes, all you registered dietitians, I know, I know…) But it sounded so cool. I was like, you mean, I can eat three-cheese omelets a day cooked in butter with a side of bacon and lose weight? Where do I sign up? And I did lose some weight but let’s be honest: Two months later, I was getting more than a bit grumpy. And I had an epiphany. I realized carbohydrates are what are holding civilization together! I needed carbs to be civil.  I think Putin could use some pancakes. Just saying.

But did you know that when you’re overweight, you snore? I didn’t until my husband let me know by almost rolling me out of bed one night. I was like, “Noooo, I don’t snore!” He was like, “You’re right, someone just let a black bear into the bedroom in the middle of Tampa, Florida, and it was growling.” 

So, then I started worrying about sleep apnea because I know that if you snore because you’re overweight, that’s a risk. So I asked him, “Did I stop breathing?” He was like, “When?” I said, “When I was snoring.” He answered, “Not until I put the pillow over your face to stop you from snoring!”

OK, so obviously I am just joking, but maintaining or losing weight to achieve good health has to be done through good nutrition. So, while late, thank you so much to dietitians and dietary staff for all you do. You keep us healthy.

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real-life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

 The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.