Why and How to Add Cold Brew To the Mix!

Original Image by Nina Nelson via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

I hope you enjoyed a coffee or two yesterday during #NationalCoffeeDay! I sure did! Is it just me or did the concept of cold brew coffee come out of no where? Not only is it all the craze at mainstream Starbucks, but local coffee shops seem to be popping up with the concept too. Perhaps, I’m late to the ballgame, but it’s evident this type of coffee is here to stay and I need to better understand not only the process, but the hows and whys.

Those new to the cold brew game may mistake it for the traditional iced coffee, but there is a difference! While iced coffee is made with hot brewed coffee’s that been cooled down, traditional cold brew coffee has been steeped in room temperature or chilled water, with the coffee infusing throughout the mixture over time. Fans of cold brew describe it as having a more mellow, less acidic taste, which is better for you teeth and those with heartburn may find cold brew options easier to digest.

Cold brew requires twice as much ground coffee to obtain the right flavor and caffeine, requiring shops to charge more for the extra labor and brew.  Yes, the first cold brew apparatus was created in 1964, but until the last couple of years, it’s been a niche or true coffee lover’s dream. While studies of cold brew’s benefits are still thimble, health claims state it contains less caffeine than iced and/or hot counterparts. When researchers used Starbucks’ regular coffee blend, the cold brew was found to have 40 mg of caffeine per 100 g while store brewed Starbucks coffee had 61 per 100 g. Why might you want to limit your caffeine intake you ask? According to the National Institutes of Health, large amounts can be a hindrance to women and children and lead to osteoporosis of fibrocystic disease.

Gone are the days where the barista asks if you want iced or hot coffee. Now with the cold brew option added to the mix, the options have multiplied ten fold.  Worried about how cold brew stacks up in comparison to regular hot or iced coffee, there are minor differences with neither coming out on top significantly more than another. So, if you’re up for it, take a sip of the

Sources: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/whatever-happened-to-plain-iced-coffee-cold-brew/2016/09/02/ecad64e0-5fe7-11e6-8e45-477372e89d78_story.html




Learn How to Train Yourself to Eat Only 2-3 Bites of Anything!

By: Nikki Nies

Original Image by houseofthailand.com via Flickr

I’ve touched on the topic of mindful eating before, but it’s such an easy tactic that it’s overlooked, it’s worth mentioning again! As a gal that can never say no to cookies and/or ice cream, I’m one of those people that needs tangible accountability practicals. Especially when it comes to ice cream cake!  I’m all about understanding the system and thought process of food and finding small ways you can have your cake and eat it too!

A 2013 Cornell study finds eating smaller portions of your favorite foods, such as chocolate and chips can provide the same satisfaction as a larger portion would.  Logically, it makes sense portion size has a direct impact on caloric consumption, but not on level of satisfaction. Your body and hunger cravings need less than you think! If you’re wanting to control your weight and cravings, take a small bite and wait 15 minutes and see if your stomach and head ‘need’ more.

This research supports the notion that eating for pleasure – hedonic hunger – is driven more by the availability of foods instead of the food already eaten,” said Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing at Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and a co-author of the study.

If cutting soda or sweets out of your daily life cold turkey isn’t realistic, which is understandable, combine your sugar craving with a healthy option. For example, dipping bananas in chocolate sauce or with peanut butter can be a great way to satiate cravings, while obtaining desired nutrients. Each individual’s food journey is unique and dietary changes need to be specific to overall feasibility. Removing sugar cold turkey may be necessary at the beginning, but once you’ve recognized how to gain more control over food choices, you can reintroduce it a little at a time. Maybe after a month of no ice cream, you allow yourself 1/2 cup twice a week.

Also, let’s talk quality! If you’re going to splurge on calories, pick high quality products that you can savor every bite.  Every once in a while, choose the perfect dark chocolate truffle that may set you back a few pennies instead of the ubiquitous Baby Ruth. So, what treats are you going to allot for the week? Think about what you can gain and lose–weight wise by using the above tactics!

Sources: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/savor-every-bite-with-mindful-eating/




How to savor every bite – Mindful eating 101




Challenge Yourself To Own Version of Elon Musk Challenge

By: Nikki Nies

This last year has a been a lot of self reflection and realization. I’m embracing more of who I am and am proud of the ideals I have formed. While we’re all works in progress, I’m grateful for the life experiences I’ve had and how I’ve learned how little I need to survive. I’m sure I’ve shared, but my time in grad school and my dietetic internship while grueling, was a turning point in my life. Not only did I become more comfortable in the kitchen due to the inability to eat out as much, but I became more eager and willing to have people over, fine tuning my hospitality skills and learning how to cater to food preferences and restrictions.

Original Image by Ashley via Flickr

Since I was restricted to eating at home and being creative to a small budget, that was my version of Elon Musk challenge. If you haven’t heard of this challenge, I hope you take a few minutes to learn how this 17 year old man lived off $1/day for a month to see if he had what it takes to become an entrepreneur. It’s certainly not the most exciting challenge to take on, but it’s an eye opener and helps you realize how little you really need in life and how much excess we have. Yes, I don’t know your social status or income level, but it’s a humbling experience to see how well you really are and how when funds are tight, you can make it stretch and work.

Now working at Christian Care Center, I’m grateful to not have to be so cognizant of every penny, but I didn’t want to lose that sense of minimalism or gratitude that was ingrained in me during school. I often times partake in the Pantry Challeng, testing how I can repurpose different foods, stocking up on ugly fruits and vegetables and how I can take advantage of Aldi’s remarkable deals.

If you’re up for the challenge, the Elon Musk challenge will require some planning, but I hope you try it, even for a week! Yes, Elon’s challenge stemmed from his curiousity if he could financially make it as an entrepreneur, but no matter what your reasoning is, it’s a great challenge to better understand your mindset and where your values and priorities are. Perhaps, you’ll realize how much you eat out and want to revert back to more homemade meals or recognizing how much food and money you truly throw out!

Please share with us how you plan to incorporate any or all of this challenge into your life @WeDishNutrition! I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from all of you!

Sources: http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-challenge-food-budget-2016-2



How Billionaire Elon Musk Once Lived on $1 a Day

Thank You MyFitnessPal For Helping Me Get Back on Track

By: Nikki Nies

Previously, in my post Where I’ve Been and Where I Want To Be, I had touched on my praises for MyFitnessPal, but since I continue to proudly use it and it has made me more aware of my ever present need to input my food intake, I believe it deserves a bit more attention than a sentence. In the last couple months of using it, I’m proud to say that I haven’t missed a meal–inputting all of my intake, while not always the best meal choices, but it truly has become a part of  my daily routine and habit.

Original Image by slj tribe via Flickr

Sometimes it can seem hard to gauge servings, but I’ve recently purchased a food scale and I keep my measuring cups within reach. I haven’t found using measuring cups as a limiting part of eating, but it helps me be more aware of what a true serving is and just how much I can eat! If I’m going to input my daily meals, might as well do it accurately right?

Another facet of MyFitnessPal I applaud is the ability to input recipes that I’ve followed whether I’ve retrieved from a blog or the ability to input homemade recipes. Prior to uploading recipe to MyFitnessPal it’ll give a breakdown of the ingredients and confirm the use of the said ingredients. I recently made a tzatziki salad, with the original recipe calling for generic Greek yogurt, but with the abundance of available ingredients, I was able to input the Aldi Friendly Farms Greek yogurt I use and it provided a more accurate picture of what I’m using and slashed the calories! I love that you can scan the bar code of products too if you’re not wanting to manually input too.

I do have to admit, there have been times where I’ve checked out the calories, fat, protein and sugar content of foods and opted not to eat it after seeing the astronomical numbers. Yes, I don’t want to be limiting myself when it comes to food, but MyFitnessPal is doing it’s job in making me more aware of what I should and shouldn’t eat. Again, while a lot of people focus on meeting their caloric needs, since using the app, I’ve become more aware of meeting and staying within my fat recommendations. I love nuts and can quickly overeat them if I’m not careful, but since using the app, I’ve been able to cut down while not feeling deprived.

While I’m sure MyFitnessPal step counter isn’t as accurate as a Fitbit, as it counts steps with any ‘motion’ and I don’t always have my phone with me, it’s been a great test run to see how much I actually move. With my desk job, I’ve made more of an effort to get moving, including starting to walk on my lunch with my coworkers versus eating at my desk! I

How My Budget Turned Me Into a Semi-Vegetarian

By: Nikki Nies

Original Image by Meal Makeover Moms via Flickr

People are always surprised to learn I’ve only been cooking for the last couple years since it’s become a huge part of my life–when I’m not cooking, I’m meal planning, when I’m not meal planning I’m grocery shopping and when I’m not grocery shopping I’m looking up at the latest food trends. It wasn’t until I hit grad school, where money was extremely limited that I was forced to cook for myself, learn how to be a hostess, cater to dietary restrictions (e.g. gluten free) and how to meal plan and prep. While some may look at those times as a struggle, I found cooking to be a source of entertainment and as we all know it’s a great way to bring people together.

Due to my competitive nature and eagerness to have fun in all I do, I made it a game to see how little I could spend on groceries while still eating ‘well.’ This is where more plant based foods came into the picture, with me realizing I could get more bang for my buck while eating adequate sources of protein, I quickly switched over to more plant based proteins. For example, at H Mart, I just bought 12 slices of tofu for $4.99, you can’t beat that price! That tofu will last me a good couple weeks and will allow me to make a variety of dishes I’ve been wanting, such as Tofu and Mushroom Miso Soup.

Not all my meals have been plant based. I vividly remember when skinless boneless chicken breasts were well over $2/lb. Therefore, I opted for buying 4 whole chickens, teaching myself how to cut, debone and trim the fat off chickens. That was a sight to see!


I’m never been one for eating tons of pasta or bread, but I’ve always made sure my plates were filled with large chunks of meat and protein. Adopting a more plant based diet took some time to adapt, but my taste buds adjusted well and I feel a lot healthier.

It’s been almost two years since graduating, but I’m proud to say I’ve maintained a lot of the same culinary practices. I only buy meat if there’s discount sale at Kroger and always stock up on dry legumes–such as lentils and black beans. Whenever I am dining out, I’m not afraid to try the steak or the seafood option as I know it’d be harder for me to prepare at home. I’m grateful my budget constraints made me think out of the box and I feel more liberated than ever to be able to make different types of food. What culinary changes have you made over the years? Perhaps it was due to food restrictions or budget like me, but I look forward to hearing about it!

Sources: http://www.peta.org/living/food/making-transition-vegetarian/ideas-vegetarian-living/vegetarian-eating-budget/

Grocery Hacks: 6 Money-Saving Tricks for the Vegetarian Athlete on a Budget



Take Action on Big Soda!

Original Image by Alexis Nyal via Flickr

Think the beverage industry randomly decides what drinks to offer and have your best interest in sight? Think again! The beverage industry spends over $12 billion a YEAR marketing its products to youth and families. In other words, that’s 1 million every hour per day! Even though soda only adds and exacerbates one’s risk for diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease, cancer, obesity, sexual dysfunction and/or premature death, by using the 3Ms, marketing, money and misinformation, unfortunately consumers are bombarded with pleas to buy soda.

Breakdown of the 3Ms:

  • Marketing: African American and Latino youth are targeted, with teens seeing 80-90% more TV ads for sugar sweetened beverages than Caucasian peers. More than $28 million is spent per year targeting this population, with the help of celebrity endorsements. Additionally, cartoon characters are often times used to lure kids in, with Coca Cola placing more than 38 million ads on children’s websites in 2013. Coca Cola has announced Vision 2020, its plan to double its business by that year. This aggressive plan will be targeting mostly Latino and African American communities in the U.S. and abroad.

In the words of Coca Cola’s Chief Marketing Officer Bea Perez: “We know that 86 percent of the growth through 2020 for Coca-Cola’s youth target market will come from multicultural consumers, especially Hispanic, and focusing on this segment is critical to the company’s future growth.” 

  • Money: Beverage companies fund studies finding ‘…no conclusive link between obesity and sugary drinks.’ Coincidence? I think not! Furthermore,from 2007-2013 lobbysites from Pepsico, American Beverage Association and Coca Cola gave $100 million+ to directly linfluence policy makers and local government and through philanthropy ‘selfish giving’ gives beverage companies an ‘in’ to non profit companies (e.g. Pepsi and Dr. Pepper gave $200,000 to Feeding America), making consumers link these brands to health and wellness, instead of illness and obesity. Over time, this gains public trust and goodwill, which in turn increases their sales and profits.
  • Misinformation: While a balanced diet is recommended for all, soda executives want us to think they care about conusmers’ health, making ‘healthier’ drinks and advertising with false health claims.


Beverage companies states parents and individuals are responsible for choosing healthy options, however, they’re all about the profit. Learn how you can be part of the change and take action against beverage companies:

  1. Tweet and/or email soda executives, such as @Pepsi and/or @CocaCola and let them know what you think!
  2. Contact pharmacies, such as Walgreens and urge them to keep check out lanes healthier! While pharmacies should be a safe haven, providing tools that actually help us stay our best version of ourselves, by placing soda and candy at checkout leads to unplanned, impulse purchases.
  3. Watch and share videos to witness the youth of The Bigger Picture Project in action. Use YouTube’s < Share feature to email and share!
  4. Learn about public policy and legislation campaigns to better understand the politics and logistics to being part of the wave of change.
  5. Urge FDA to switch from grams to teaspoons when declaring sugar content.By using standard jargon across the board, this will clear up confusion. The World Health Organization recommends the average person should consume no mNew Postore than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day.


With consumption of sugary drinks doubling in the last 3 decades, health care costs and chronic disease rising, the time is now to take action!

Sources:https://www.cspinet.org/new/pdf/facts-on-sugar-drink-marketing.pdf http://www.opentruthnow.org/how-they-target-us/