Confession time: I passed my RD exam and as of Monday at 3pm and am officially a Registered Dietitian!
The test itself was a doozy- full of very subjective “pick the best answer” type of questions. I can learn facts and formulas, and I have a hefty repertoire of critical thinking skills but when it came to this test, my own current profession as a food service manager and even my past personal experience interning as a clinical RD at Kaiser led me to choose answers I believed to be true. The majority of the time, they weren’t.
To give you an example, one question during an Academy’s practice test asked “how do you cook cabbage?” The answer choices were all over the board but the “correct answer” was to cook it in a large amount of water. I was so frustrated- I cook cabbage at work in a million different ways; sure sometimes I braise it, but sometimes I grill the leaves or sometimes I don’t even cook it at all. I would say the majority of the time, I shred cabbage and then pan fry it. SO, basically, I had to chuck my own knowledge out the window and start over from scratch. It wasn’t about any of the skills and insight I had painstakingly collected getting my degree, I simply had to learn how to take this test. So, that’s what I did.
To say I studied hard to relearn “new” material *emphasis on the quotation marks* is an understatement- I dedicated almost every ounce of my free time studying.
The morning of the test I had a little avocado toast and a lot of coffee. I showed up looking cool as a cucumber despite the fact that on the inside everything was on fire and my brain was a bucket full of gooey mush- it probably looked like a side of guac in there.
I sat down: here we go, 125-145 multiple choice questions depending on how well I do…the test will shut off at question 125 if I pass with flying colors. I started off pretty confidently; I actually knew about the first 10 questions automatically as they were mostly factual. But by question 35 my confidence was plummeting and my perspiration escalating and to make matters worse, the person next to me was clearly taking a different exam and clobbering the keyboard so loudly I couldn’t focus. I raised my hand and an angel that was the test proctor brought me a pair of headphones. I’m actually not sure if that was a help or hindrance because from that point on, all I could hear was the loud THUMP of my own heartbeat as it raced faster and faster.
By question 78, I realized I was actually running out of time- I only had 45 minutes left! My heart started beating so loudly I thought for sure everyone else in the room taking an exam could hear it. I started flying through those questions, clicking automatically on the first one I saw that could be correct (which is literally the opposite of how you are supposed to take this test) and I knew deep down in my heart of hearts I was going to fail. I got to question 125 with 6 minutes left and the screen went white. My heart dropped. I was then prompted to take a survey of 10 questions which I can literally not tell you anything about because my heart was pounding and I was wondering in the back of my head, “wait, did I just pass?” The screen went white again and up popped a page that said “Congratulations.” I almost broke out into tears and when the test proctor collected my scratch paper she looked alarmed and said, “you can stop shakin’ now honey.” I ran out of the test center (okay, first I stopped to pee, duh) and called Burrito Lover to gush about the good news. The world gained an RD, who while shaky and crying, really really earned it and is really really proud.
So there you have it- how this RD came to be. Next up: the art of souping, because after the stress that the past several months has brought, I have to relearn how to unwind and nourish myself. What better time than now as the weather gets darker, colder, and wetter? I’ve had a slight obsession lately with playing with the natural pigments of food and so I bring you this gorgeous purple soup. It’s velvety rich texture, hearty zesty flavor, and rich bold color are undeniably unique and delicious.
^ Unnecessarily large purple sweet potato. Like, why tho?
Anywho, purple sweet potatoes are blended up with purple cauliflower, purple carrots, and red onion to give your bowl a huge blast of anthocyanins. Research has shown these flavonoids (which give fruits and veggies their bright purple/red colors) have demonstrable effects such as reducing blood pressure, improving eyesight, and serving as anti-inflammatories.
Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and as you start getting ready to dust off those Thanksgiving pants in the closet, do yourself a favor and nourish your body, mind, and soul with this soup bowl.
Purple Sweet Potato Curry Soup
Makes: 4-6 servings
- 2 1/2 cups peeled & chopped purple sweet potato
- 4 cups purple cauliflower florets
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 red onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Thai chilis, minced (can also use serrano…optional if ya like spicy)
- 3 small-medium purple carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- Salt & black pepper
- 6 cups vegetable broth + 1 cup of water
- 1 cup plain 2% or whole Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced
- Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sweet potatoes and cauliflower on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until veggies are tender but not cooked completely through. Remove from oven when done.
- Heat a large pot over medium and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss in onion and saute for 3 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and chilis (if using) and saute another minute. Then add carrots, curry powder, cumin, a dash of salt and pepper, and cook another 3 minutes until carrots start to become a bit tender.
- Add cooked cauliflower florets and sweet potatoes into the pot. Pour broth and water in and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat when done.
- Next, use an immersion blender or work in batches using a high powered blender and puree until smooth. Taste and see if it needs more salt, pepper, curry powder, or cumin (or all of the above!)
- Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, dill, and mint as well as a pinch of salt together in a bowl.
- To serve, swirl in a couple spoonfuls of yogurt into each bowl and enjoy.