Grab a buddy!

Original Image by Moyan Brenn via Flickr
Original Image by Moyan Brenn via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

How often do you postpone your workouts or allow yourself another slice of cake? Sometimes we all need a little extra reminder of what goals we are working towards.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the 17 Day Diet.  Although, I’m not a fan of diets, I must say, I’m slowly coming around with this diet.  Since starting the diet 8 weeks ago, my mother has lost 16 lbs.  Go mom!

I know how much progress she’s made because even though she’s states away, I always check in on how she’s doing and she’s always eager to tell me her latest amount of weight loss.  My point is, people get excited to share their latest milestones with friends and family.

Perhaps, a buddy is the push you need to be your healthiest self.  My friend, Lara loves to share a great workout she endured earlier in the day.  I can tell she revels in telling me how much she sweat.  So, grab a friend to be your buddy, who you keep updates on and who’s going to be supportive of your ups and downs.

My buddy’s states away, yet, with 21st century technology, I feel closer to my mother more than ever. So, what’re you waiting for? Grab a buddy!

Detecting Nutritional Deficiencies

Detecting Nutritional Deficiencies


The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not -Mark Twain

By: Nikki Nies

I don’t particularly agree with this quote, but when I saw it hanging in the Valley Hospital Kitchen 3 years ago, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

So many people associate health with “torture” and eating foods that one “might not want.” Everyone has their own journey with food.

I never would’ve guessed a year ago, I’d love guacomole as much as I do now.  My taste buds have definitely changed, for the better.  I’ve been exposed to some great flavors these past few months and I am still comfortable in my skin.

What’s the key? Moderation.

Yes, it’s good to know what foods should be limited, but to categorize healthy foods as a displeasure is not a healthy mindset.  Healthy food doesn’t have to be tasteless.  Actually, I’ve helped out on a number of cooking classes where the healthy food trumped the processed, generic junk food.

In this case, you can have your cake and eat it too.  No pun intended.

Enjoy the healthy foods, with a couple sweets here and there.  It can be doubly delicious if you give it a chance.  In fact, I like to disprove Mark Twain’s quote wrong on a daily basis.  Eat up!

Picture Source:

Can you take a compliment?

By: Nikki Nies

Although this video is a little over the top, it makes a great point. How do you respond when someone compliments you?

Perhaps, you find yourself saying something in return instead of a gracious “thank you.” By not accepting compliments can lead to a dangerous, self deprecating mind set. You may not agree with the compliment and only see your flaws, but your voiced opinion can become your inner opinion about yourself very quickly.

[We’re told] love yourself, but not too much. Be confident, but practice a style of humility this culture never requires of men. Believe in yourself, but never admit it out loud, lest you make another woman who doesn’t feel good about herself feel bad,” she says. “If you’re raised to think it’s arrogant to ever say something positive about yourself, it makes it hard to accept a compliment.

It’s easy to understand why some women struggle with a simple thank you.  In a world where too much or too little is quickly criticized, it’s okay to to show gratitude for compliments because those small beliefs can negatively or positively influence one’s future mindset.

Check out for the entire article.

Skip the Fork, Use Chopsticks

Original Image by THOR via Flickr
Original Image by THOR via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Did you know it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register you’re full?  Staying healthy isn’t only about eating the right kind of foods, but how much one eats as well.  If you’ve been struggling with portions or just want to regain your love of food without it controlling you, why not try your hand with chopsticks.

The use of chopsticks also improves hand eye coordination, brain development, improving self confidence and awareness and brings an added element to the dinner table.

For those not as skilled in the chopsticks department, it requires smaller bites and more time in between spoonfuls.  Need to brush up on your chopstick skills? Play around and give it a try!

 So, don’t limit the use of chopsticks to eating Asian cuisine.  Yes, you might get a few stares, but so what?  You’re not only mindfully eating you’re food, but you’re enjoying every bite!


Elucidating Nutrition Credentials

Original Image by Ted Eytan via Flickr
Original Image by Ted Eytan via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

When looking for nutrition advice who do you turn to? Do you feel overwhelmed when trying to gain advice from a reputable nutrition expert?  Today I’ve provided an overview on the many nutrition credentials that are available for those in the nutrition field.  Do you currently see a certified nutrition specialist?  Do you know what their credentials after their last name really mean?

Certified Nutrition Specialist
  • Must have master’s degree  in nutrition or doctorate in clinical health care from a regionally credited university
  • Must have spent at least 1000 hours of supervised experience
  • Must pass 4 hour board exams on medical nutrition therapy
  • Credentialed by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists
Certified Nutrition Consultant
  • Must have high school diploma or GED
  • Must complete 11 open book tests over 5 year span
  • Credentialed by the American Association of Nutrition Consultants, which oppose licensure and registration
Certified Health Coach
  • Certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition
  • Offers courses that cover 100 dietary theories
  • “Guide and mentor” clients to achieve personal welness goals
Certified Clinical Nutritionist
  • Requires a bachelor’s degree
  • Requires 900 hour internship
  • Requires 56 hours of online post graduate study in clinical nutrition or a master’s degree in human nutrition
  • Approach diet on an individual basis instead of adhering to standard recommendations
  • Often work in private practices or clinics
  • Credentialed by Clinical Nutrition Certification Board
Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)
  • Trained specifically to counsel diabetics on nutrition and exercise
Holistic nutritionist
  • Must have a degree from approved holistic nutrition program
  • 500 hours of professional experience in field
  • don’t necessarily follow government food pyramid guidelines or those promoted by health associations
  • do not practice medical nutrition therapy or diagnose disease
  • Certified by Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board—a division of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals
Registered Dietitian (RD)
  • At least a bachelor’s degree
  • Trained in all aspects of nutrition, food and medical nutrition therapy
  • Have spent at least 1200 hours in a dietetic internship through an accredited program
  • Credentialed by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)
  • New optional credential for existing RD’s
  • Enhances the RD brand and more accurately reflects to consumers who RDs are and what they do
  • Differentiates credential requirements and highlights that all RDs are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians
  • Communicates broader concept of wellness, including prevention of health conditions beyond MNT

After researching various credentials, it reminded the power of the letters next to someone’s name.  Like many. I always want the best.  What might be the best for me, might not be best guidance for someone else.  I suggest looking into who you want to take nutrition advice from, but most of all do you connect with them?  Helping one with nutrition is an mind and body treatment and you have to feel comfortable with whoever is helping you with the process.


How Close to 120/80 Are You?

By: Nikki Nies

Original Image by Morgan via Flickr
Original Image by Morgan via Flickr

I’ve talked about blood pressure numerous times on this blog.  The negative impact of high blood pressure on one’s overall health, including increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, end stage renal disease and the association with sodium intake.

However it’s come to my attention that the concept of blood pressure is not as common knowledge as I’ve believed it as.  As a nutrition student, it’s become ingrained in me “120/80, 120/80”, which is the ideal standard for blood pressure.  I was recently taking my blood pressure, which was 99/57 :D, and my friend who’s not a nutrition student asked if that was good?

I was surprised to hear her ask that, since it is below the recommended normal range, but her question put it in perspective the lack of “common” knowledge there is amount blood pressure.  So, I apologize for this late post on the overview of blood pressure, but here’s the breakdown.

It’s been found that at least 33% of Americans have high blood pressure and that it’s an ever increasing health problem.  It’s been coined as a “silent killer” as people with hypertension (HTN) can go years with hypertension asymptomatic and have a heart attack, that seems out of no where.

Systolic blood pressure is the contraction phase of the cardiac cycle, with it 140 mm Hg or higher.  The diastolic blood pressure is the pressure during the relaxation phase of the cardiac cycle.  It’ll have to be 90 mm Hg or higher.


Risk factors of HTN:

  • Black race
  • Youth
  • Male gender
  • Persistent diastolic pressure >115 mm Hg
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Hypercholesteremia
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Evidence of end organ damage

Adverse Prognosis with HTN

  • Cardiac—cardiac enlargement, electrocardiographic signs of ischemia or left ventricular strain, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure
  • Renal—retinal exudates and hemorrhages, papilledema
  • Nervous  System—cerebrovascular accident

The best way to have optimal blood pressure is to check one’s blood pressure regularly, exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, increase physical activity,  adopt some of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet suggestions and maintain a balanced life.

Check out previous blog posts on “Getting Salty, Physical Objectives of 2020, The Thyroid, Soy it Up, etc.” regarding blood pressure.


She Put the Lime in the Coconut

By: Nikki Nies

Not only does this song cease to put me in a good mood, but can help you remember to grab coconut water on your way out of the grocery store.

It might sound corny, but this song will stay in your head, trust me. There was a recent wave of interest in the purchase and the consumption of coconut water.

I, myself, have had to force myself to drink water, as it doesn’t come second nature to me. I’ve always been a fan of coconut anything, when the coconut craze arrived, I was excited to jump on board.

Although it’ll never completely replace pure water, coconut water’s a great addition to one’s every day drinking habits.  As with food or beverage, moderation is key.


Original Image by ficusdesk via Flickr
Original Image by ficusdesk via Flickr
  • Low in calories
  • Naturally fat and cholesterol free
  • Contains more potassium than 4 bananas–great source of electrolytes
  • With extra consumption of electrolytes, can decrease risk of kidney stones
  • Natural diuretic
  • Reduces cravings, keeping one full
  • Good source of B vitamins–niacin, riboflavin, pyrodoxine, thiamin, etc.
  • Has anti viral and anti bacterial properties
  • Helps repair nail growth
  • Contains cytokinins, which have been declared great for skin and has anti aging benefits
  • Can counteract hypertension
  • Doesn’t contain artificial flavoring
  • Contains easily digestible carbohydrates
  • Great replacement for sugary fruit juices and sodas
  • Convenient drink on the go

If it means grabbing some lime or cracking your own coconut, be my guest!  Need help deciding which one to buy?  If you’ve got the time, experiment with several brands, my personal favorite, Vita Coco, which has been named “best for kids.”


It’s Always an Occasion for an Omelette!

By: Nikki Nies

Original Image by dailyfood via Flickr
Original Image by dailyfood via Flickr

Getting tired of your breakfast staples of milk and cereal or yogurt?  Not sure if you’re consuming your daily recommended servings?  Well, let’s kill 2 birds with one stone and incorporate omelettes into everyday meals.  They’re quick and easy to make, with flavors to appease any palette.

Next time you’re whipping up an omelette, try your hand at using:

  • Vegetables: spinach, lettuce, mushrooms, onions—green, red, or yellow, tomatoes,asparagus
  • Fruit: strawberries, pineapples, blueberries, apples, raspberries, melons
  • Protein: Bacon, used sparingly, sausage, chicken turkey, salmon, steak, ham, shrimp, Greek yogurt, sour cream
  • Cheese: cheddar, Swiss, muenster, brie, goat cheese, American cheese, feta and/or pepper jack
  • Spices and extras: garlic, Prosciutto, salsa, oregano, parsley, basil, pesto,dill, capers, cinnamon, brown sugar, sesame oil, etc.

I’m sure there’s additional food items that I haven’t included, but the sky’s the limit when it comes to omelettes.  They’re quick and easy to make, while ensuring one’s consuming the recommended servings of fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy and grains.

Check the web for more recipe ideas or look in your fridge and cupboards for creative combination ideas.  Get cookin’!