Before entering dental school, I worked as a registered dietitian. My life centered around health and wellness. I woke up at 5:15 a.m. every weekday to go to the gym. I meal-prepped every weekend. I spent a lot of my free time researching new health products, while also coming up with new ways to make traditional comfort foods healthier. My life focused on being healthy and learning new ways to help my patients eat better.
We know a tremendous amount about how our body works. We can identify important landmarks in the oral cavity, distinguish the differences between types of diseases and even recite step-by-step processes of metabolic reactions. With such a great deal to absorb and memorize, we sometimes need a reminder to observe the health of our own bodies. Staying physically and mentally active is an essential part of a student’s everyday life. But with classes, lab projects and a whole lot of studying, it can be easy to skip your standard gym workout or even a mundane run around the block.
I enjoy snacking. Even though I know all about tooth decay, there are still some times when I crave a sweet, sugary snack. It is important to remember that while those treats are accessible, comforting and delicious, they don’t always leave us in our best condition. The right snack can make a long study session a little more tolerable or provide a much needed energy boost to get through an evening of lab work. It’s obvious that fruits, vegetables and whole grains are the healthy options we should be striving for, but when you have these snacks is also important.
On January 1st of this past year, like millions of others around the country, I made the cliché New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and trim a few pounds. Sounds familiar, right? But this time, things were a bit different. I had just finished my first quarter of dental school, and the dreaded freshman 15 that I had so successfully avoided in college hit me like a dormant ton of bricks out for retribution. All those free slices of pizza from lunch-and-learns definitely didn’t help my cause.
As if school isn’t enough of a challenge already, how can dental students strike the right balance between work, nutrition and exercise to lead healthy lifestyles while maintaining good grades? As I worked through my resolution, I found that these two goals, living healthy and doing well in school, go hand-in-hand in a surprising way.
Think you know your food? Here are some dental facts related to a few everyday foods. Read on and let us know what dental-y food facts you’ve read in the comments section.