By: Nikki Nies

I’ve written much about bananas in the past.  Not only are they a nutrient pact fruit, but an AWESOME, convenient snack.  I’m sure like many, the first thing I think about in regards to bananas are that they’re  potassium rich.  However, after spurting out that commonly known about bananas, I don’t know many other facts about bananas at the tip of my tongue.  So, off to do some research!

Here’s what I’ve gathered:

Bananas are harvested all year round and belong to the Musaceae family, along with plantains. Banana plants can grow from 10-26 feet.

Benefits: banana

  • Provides high energy
  • Helps maintain normal blood pressure and heart function
  • May help promote bone health
  •  Soothing protection against ulcers–antacid effects
  • Can replenish electrolytes–rich in potassium–which can help with diarrhea
  • Contains pectin, which is a soluable fiber, that can ease constipation
  • Contains resistant starch
  • With high levels of tryptophan that is converted to serotonin, can help ease depressive symptoms
  • Can prevent work out or night cramps
  • Strengthens blood, which can reduce anemic effects due to high levels of iron found in bananas
  • B vitamin rich–great for coping with withdrawal of smoking, if needed
  • Reduces nausea from morning sickness
  • When eaten prior to a work out, can help sustain energy and reduce chances of low blood sugar
  • At a less ripe stage, listed as low as 30 on glycemic index
  • May lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD)
  • Promotes kidney health

You can’t get much better than a banana.  They’re so versatile and can be used in many healthy treats.  Currently, I’ve got all my bananas frozen in the freezer, ready to be grabbed for a smoothie!

Sources: http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/25-powerful-reasons-to-eat-bananas



Disordered Eating


By: Nikki Nies

Every one knows someone who has struggled with a daily eating habit, even if a loved one hasn’t been officially labeled as to have an eating disorder.  One doesn’t have to be classified as struggling with an eating disorder to seek help.

In actuality, there’s an additional term, disordered eating, which isn’t as publicly recognized. Disordered Eating.

Disordered eating is eating in a way that could or does harm you physically or psychological

The cause of disordered eating may be due to the desire to lose weight, attempt to achieve unrealistic body ideals, genetic factors, trauma, mental illness, childhood family patterns, medical condition,a way to handle stress and/or manage weight.  Disordered eating habits can occur in “waves” or occur for long periods of time.

Indicators of disordered eating may include:

  • Overexercising
  • Fasting or juice cleanses to lose weight
  • Following strict food rules
  • Eliminating an entire food group from diet (i.e. carbohydrates) besides for religious, cultural or preexisting reasons (vegetarian)
  • Eating the same “safe” foods daily
  • Extreme calorie counting and/or restriction
  • Thinking about food more than 50% of the time
  • Lying about how much was consumed
  • Bingeing or vomiting
  • Smoking for weight loss
  • Intentionally skipping meals or “forgetting to eat”
  • Consuming a lot of low cal or no cal foods
  • Weighing oneself obsessively
  • Adopting a new diet solely for weight loss (i.e. becoming a vegan)
  • Visiting pro-bulimia or pro-anorexia websites
  • Consistently overeating when not hungry
  • Strong fear of gaining 5 lbs.
  • “Dieting” for more than 3/4 of one’s life
  • Use of diet pills and/or laxatives

What’s the difference between disordered eating and eating disorders, you ask? Well, an eating disorder can be classified as disordered eating, but disordered eating isn’t always recognized as an eating disorder. Disordered eating is not easily defined either.

Disordered eating can lead to early onset of osteoporosis, muscle cramps, headaches, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, poor sleep quality, weight gain and/or lead to an eating disorder (i.e. anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder or Eating Disorder Otherwise Not Specified).

Check out my secondary blog, No DEED Goes Unnoticed, which is about Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders (DEED)at nodeedgoesunnoticed.wordpress.com.  If you or a loved one is struggling with disordered eating there are numerous resources waiting to help you.  Every situation and individual is different and deserves specialized attention to problem at hand.  Check out a thorough list of available resources at http://nodeedgoesunnoticed.wordpress.com/resources/

If this information could help a loved one, please pass on in a kindly manner.  Thank you.

Sources: http://www.nedc.com.au/disordered-eating





Oh, Osteoporosis


By: Nikki Nies

If one deconstructs the word osteoporosis it literally means porous bones (osteo=bones; porosis=porous).  Osteoporosis makes one’s bones weaker and more likely to break.  Not to generalize, but preventative advertisements usually target women as they are the predominant sex to have osteoporosis.

Identifying risk factors are important for prevention and to zero in on treatment options.

Risk Factors:

  • Small or thin frame
  • Older age
  • Caucasian or Asian ethnicity
  • Taking certain medications
  • Osteopenia–low bone density
  • Depends on how much bone mass one attained during youth
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Thyroid Problems: with too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss
  • Low calcium intake–contributes to diminished bone density and fractures
  • GI surgery–with a reduction in the size of one’s stomach or a bypass of intestines can decrease the size of the surface area available to absorb nutrients (i.e. calcium)
  • Eating disorders–anorexics have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis as there’s an overall decrease energy intake, which can cause reduce the amount of calcium consumed; can cause a cessation of menstruation–>weakens bones
  • Hormone levels–with a reduction in estrogen levels, increases one’s risk of developing osteoporosis
  • Steroid use–i.e. prednisone and cortisone; long term use can interfere with bone rebuilding process
  • Tobacco Use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Osteoporosis is called a silent disease, with symptoms not always clear.  The best way to diagnose someone is through a bone mineral density test.


  • Over time loss of height
  • Back pain
  • Stooped posture
  • Bone fractures


  • Exercise
  • Consuming calcium and vitamin D rich foods and/or supplements
  • Certain biphosphonates may slow the process of bone loss (i.e. Actonel, Binosto,Boniva and/or Fosamax)
  • Hormone Related Therapy
  • Prevent falls–wear low heeled shoes that are nonslip, keep brightly lit homes, prevent tripping over wires
  • Cessation of alcohol and/or smoking


Prevention: Eating a calcium and vitamin D rich diet, exercising regularly and not smoking can provide someone with the best chances not to develop osteoporosis.

Nothing in life is 100% certain, but by taking a proactive approach and reducing one’s controllable risk factors can decrease one’s chances of developing osteoporosis many folds.

Photo Credit: Bio News Texas and University of Maryland Medical Center 

Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/osteoporosis/DS00128







By: Nikki Nies

Founded in 1928, the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) is a non-profit organization that brings together superb researchers, clinical nutritionists and health professionals to increase the knowledge and awareness of nutrition of animals and humans.

By working amongst the best practitioners on international issues, emphasis can vary from broad to very specific information to enhance individual’s quality of life and knowledge.There’s certainly a place for everyone, from international members to students to minority affairs to young professionals.

Their mission statement is To develop and extend knowledge of nutrition of all species through fundamental, multidisciplinary, and clinical research; facilitate contact among investigators in nutrition, medicine and related fields of interest; support the dissemination and application of nutrition science to improve public health and clinical practice worldwide; promote graduate education and training of physicians in nutrition; provide reliable nutrition information to those who need it, and advocate for nutrition research and its application to development and implementation of policies and practices related to nutrition.

green peaYou can give donations, sponsors, donor recognition and/or be part of the Foundation, which would be greatly appreciated.  Currently, there are plans for Scientific Sessions & Annual Meeting at San Diego, California April 26th-30th, 2014.

You can apply to become a member of ASN .  While the cost may seem steep, the benefits are numerous.

Lastly, check out ASN’s blog! When you’ve got the time, play around the website and take advantage of the many resources ASN provides.  This organization can benefit those that are health conscious and like minded individuals in the health industry.  Don’t hesitate to gain more exposure to leading research and increase your knowledge.

Photo Credit: Nutrition and Diet Consultation 

Sources: http://www.nutrition.org/about-asn/


The Female Athlete Triad


By: Nikki Nies

Life consists of the constant struggle to maintain balance in life.  Everything from balancing work, daily chores and sleep to balancing relationships with friends and families.  There also needs to be a constant balance between healthy activities.  Often times, athletes are told by coaches or are self-motivated to lose weight for the hopes of better performance.  Not to generalize, but female athlete triad is sometimes found in cross country running, gymnastics, and figure skating as these sports require “leaner” body compositions.

While regular exercise is necessary to maintain health, the consequences of overexercising should not be discounted.  With extreme exercise regimes, there is a higher risk of doing more harm than good.  Such consequences can lead to a combination of three conditions: disordered eating, osteoporosis and amenorrhea, which collectively is called the female athlete triad.  One does not need to have all three conditions occurring simultaneously for alarm.

  1. Disordered Eating: can range from bulimia to the restriction to certain food groups to calcium-supplements-benefits-and-side-effectslimiting daily calorie intake
  2. Osteoporosis: can be caused by low calcium intake and low estrogen levels; defined as the weakening of the bones due to improper bone formation or loss of bone density; can lead to stress fractures or injury
  3. Amenorrhea: absence of menstruation for 3 or more consecutive months;  symptoms: hair loss, headache, vision change, excess facial hair and/or milky nipple discharge; can be caused by excessive exercise without enough calories consumed to compensate for calories expended

The Female Athlete Triad may also occur in conjunction with an eating disorder.  It’s imperative if a friend, teammate, child or sibling is displaying the following symptoms, to not disregard them:

  • Brittle hair or nails
  • Chest pain and/or heart irregularities
  • Sensitivity to cold
  •  Using laxatives
  • Dental cavities–tooth enamel may be worn away due to vomiting
  • Continues with dieting even with weight loss
  • Preoccupation with food and weight

To definitively diagnose someone with athlete triad one has to be properly screened through a list of Q&A and screenings by a physician.

NPPA_100111_pg23_table2_lgWith hectic schedules, it can be easy to overlook possible symptoms of female athlete triad, but it’s critical to be aware of symptoms.  Working with a therapist, physician and dietitian may be helpful for those diagnosed with Female Athlete Triad.

If this information could help a loved one, please pass on in a kindly manner.  Thank you. 

Photo Credit: AlgaeCal 

Sources: https://wsr.byu.edu/disorderedeating






Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit


By: Nikki Nies

Check out this dramatic transformation of Drew Manning, a fitness trainer.  To better understand his clients and to partake in the physical, emotional and mental changes one undergoes when gaining and then losing weight, changes Manning’s eyes for the good.

He’s come out with a book called Fit2Fat2Fit: The Unexpected Lessons from Gaining and Losing 75 lbs on Purpose, which can be found on amazon.com or in Barnes & Nobles.  I’m looking to read his book soon.  While I’m not always the biggest fan of personal trainers.  The sacrifice and devotion he put into this experience is admirable.

Photo Credit: Red Cafe

Making Groceries Last!


By: Nikki Nies

There’s nothing worse than having to throw out produce from your fridge because you didn’t use it in time.  Not only is it throwing money down the drain, but for me it’s gut wrenching.  Saving money doesn’t have to stop at the register of the grocery store, you can save a lot of money with some easy adjustments to your routine, you can increase the longevity of many of you grocery items.

Not to mention, it’s more environmentally friendly to be conscious of what you use and it reduces your overall carbon footprint.

  1. Ethylene Gas Guardian (EGG): by purchasing a EGG for approximately $25, this product will absorb ethylene that is commonly produced by fruits and vegetables; can be placed directly in your produce drawer; may keep produce fresh 3x longer
  2. Familiarize yourself with produce and meat expiration dates.  Here’s a quick list http://www.ziploc.com/ShelfLife/Pages/Default.aspx
  3. Don’t cut fruits and vegetables until intended use.  Barry Swanson, a food scientist from Washington State University says “As soon as you start pulling fruits and vegetables apart, you’ve broken cells, and microorganisms start to grow” herbsavor2
  4. Put bread in the fridge or freezer–espeically if bread will not be used within the next few days.  Best method: 1/2 in fridge; 1/2 in freezer
  5. Invest in herb savor: By purchasing a herb savor, it can increase shelf life up to 3 weeks
  6. By placing onions in panty hose, onions can last up to 8 months! Make sure to tie knots in between onions!
  7. Freeze completely dry  green onions in a plastic water bottle.
  8. Make a vinegar solution to preserve berries; one part vinegar (white or apple cider) and ten parts water; raspberries will last a week or more; strawberries may last 2 weeks without getting moldy and soft
  9. By keeping the pit of guacamole and spraying leftovers with cooking spray can increase the longevity of guacamole enhanced-buzz-26423-1350935074-3
  10. Keep onions and potatoes in separate storage; place separately in a cool,dry place
  11. Wrap celery, broccoli and lettuce in aluminum foil before placing in fridge; may stay fresher up to 4 weeks
  12. Place ginger in the freezer; will make it easier to grate; lasts longer
  13. Keep mushrooms in paper, not plastic bag; can be placed in fridge or dry, cool place
  14. Freeze and preserve fresh herbs in olive oil and place in ice cube trays; best for rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano
  15.  Place unripe tomatoes stem down in a paper bag or in a single layer cardboard box until ripened; once ripe, tomatoes should be kept at room temperature, away from sunlight; overly ripe tomatoes should be placed in fridge

I hope some of these tips can increase the shelf life of some of your food.  I’m sure you’ve developed some creative ways to preserve your food for later use as well.  What’re some tips that work for you?

Sources: http://magazine.foxnews.com/at-home/12-tricks-make-groceries-last-longer-and-save-cash








By: Nikki Nies

Sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption is the largest contributing factor to childhood obesity.  SSB includes soda, fruit drinks, fruit juice, energy drinks, sports drinks, flavored milk and are the unnecessary consumption of added carbohydrates for flavoring.  High consumption of SSB increases risk for metabolic syndrome and chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Risk factors for increased consumption of SSB:

  •  Sedentary lifestyle: With increased sedentary activities such as TV watching and computer use comes mindless consumption of SSB; an increased opportunity to overeat and additional exposure to food advertisements
  •  Access at school: 68% of students consume SSB through vending machines, cafeteria and events in the classroom; Approximately 145 kcal could be saved by limiting intake of SSB at school; amount of SSB consumed is inversely related to the quality of SSB policies in schools
  •  Parental Influence:parents are “gatekeepers” of SSB consumption at home; children of lower educated mothers are 1.7 times more likely to consume SSB than those with higher educated mothers; parents are key players in the prevention and change of consumption of SSB
  • Ethic and Socioeconomic Disparities: Lower household income is independently associated with increased consumption of SSB; among children ages 6-11, Latino and black children have an increased overall consumption of SSB compared to white children of the same age

Negative Consequences:

  • Altered milk consumption: with increased consumption of SSB comes decreased consumption of milk; Kids who drink SSB instead of milk are missing out in vital nutrients such as Calcium and Vitamin D which can lead to bone disease later on; when available, two thirds of school children prefer flavored and sweetened milks instead plain low fat milk
  • Other food consumption:increased consumption of SSB leads to increased consumption of higher energy dense foods such as pizza, burgers, fried potatoes and snack foods; heavy consumers of SSB have an increased consumption of food, they also have a decreased consumption of non-sugar sweetened beverages such as milk and water

The risk factors and consequences of SSB are multifaceted.  By understanding why adults and children consume SSB in exorbitant amounts will provide great groundwork on how to best intervene and provide increased awareness on why people can’t stay away from sugar sweetened beverages.


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