Seventh Day Adventist’s Mindful Practices


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Original Image by Bobbi Bowers via Flickr

 

By: Nikki Nies

While studying for my RD exam, I’ve come across and have been quizzed on various ethnic cultures and dietary restrictions. As you have seen, I’ve read more about dietary practices during the Lenten season and have delved further into what Kosher really means. Up until now, I’ve had a pretty good idea about what those dietary practices entailed, but the diet of Seventh Day Adventist is foreign to me. Do you feel the same way? Not quite sure what Seventh Day Adventist means?

Join me in the fun of learning all the details now! While the Seventh Day Adventist church promotes autonomy, the relationships in the church are meant to call one another higher, to live as positive examples of God’s love and devotion. In regards to diet and health, this means:

  • Gluttony and excess are to limited
  • The key to wellness is balance and temperance
  • Limit alcohol, tobacco and mind altering drugs, which can affect clear minds and wise choices
  • It’s believed a well balanced vegetarian diet that emphasizes legumes, whole grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables and sources of vitamin B12 will promote optimal health
  • Like the MyPlate guidelines, Adventists are advised to limit processed foods, sugar, sugar substitutes and food additives.

To remind you, a vegetarian diet has more benefits than the costs of the abstinence of meat. A vegetarian diet continues to provide evidence of lower risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes,obesity and/or high blood pressure.

Being vegetarian isn’t a requirement to be part of the Seventh Day Adventist church, yet many of the church go beyond the vegetarian diet,either eating raw foods or vegan. One of its founders, ellen White’s vision for the Seventh Day Adventist included eight principles for a healthy lifestyle: fresh air, sunshine, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, nutrition, water and trust in a divine power. The second part of the White’s vision included the establishment and devotion of health reform, health education and treating the ill in a new way.

As you can see, Seventh Day Adventist’s dietary practices are very similar to those of vegetarians, if not more strict. I’m proud to see the founder, White’s vision and principles for the church have been upheld since inception in the 1860s. For any of you that are practicing Seventh Day Adventist’s are there any key practices that I’ve missed? What personal practices do you follow in your daily life?

Sources: http://www.adventist.org/vitality/health/

http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/ http://www.seventhdayadventistdiet.com/

https://www.adventistarchives.org/fundamental-beliefs-of-seventh-day-adventists.pdf

5:2 Diet


595194-4544-50By: Nicole Arcilla

We live in a society where everything is wanted and everything is wanted immediately. People are constantly looking for those immediate results, a quick fix, something FAST. So naturally, we have “The Fast Diet” on the rise. The Fast Diet, more commonly known as the 5:2 diet, works like this:

5 days of “normal eating” – in essence, eat as you please. Pick up an extra dessert. Or five.

2 days of fasting where calorie consumption is reduced to a mere 500 calories for women, and 600 calories for men.

The 5:2 Diet is also the parent of the Fast Beach Diet – or a more updated version of the 5:2 Diet. The Fast Beach Diet is an intensified version of the 5:2 Diet and focuses on short-term dieting with a promise of a 12 pound weight loss in six weeks. The difference is that even on the non-fasting days, dieters should still slightly moderate their eating and incorporate more exercise. Additionally, and as the name suggests, the six week diet is meant to be implemented in the spring and early summer months to get ready for a “beach body”. Mimi Spencer, author of the Fast Beach Diet and co-author of the Fast Diet, also states that her diet can be used as a “primer” or even “boot camp” for the 5:2 Diet. In essence it’s a way to give you that extra push and get you ready to use the 5:2 Diet on a more long-term basis.

There are definitely some blaringly obvious pros and cons to these diets, but let’s go through a more complete list.

Pros:

You choose your own schedule. You get to decide on what days you will eat freely, and what two days is best for you to fast. You don’t even have to repeat the schedule week after week. You can change up your two restricting days each week. The one thing to note however, is that your fasting days should never be done consecutively.

Never give up any social events to avoid food. It can be hard sometimes to hang out with friends when you’re dieting. Going out means exposing yourself to more temptations, but with the 5:2 diet, that may never have to happen.

Finally, never give up your favorite foods, period. The biggest and most obvious bonus.

Cons:

The 5:2 Diet encourages use of your BMI to determine what caloric intake is most appropriate for you. BMI is an unreliable tool for weight loss. Dietitians and most healthcare professionals will agree that using the BMI alone is not sufficient enough to create a weight loss goal. In fact, the 5:2 Diet official website actually warns individuals to take the BMI calculation with “grain of salt”.

The diet has an eerie similarity to binge eating. Granted not every dieter will binge eat on their non-fasting days, but for those who easily take instructions on to face value – it’s a great possibility. The 5:2 Diet claims that their form of fasting and dieting is much easier to comply with, but it may encourage a poor mindset where individuals will believe it is perfectly fine to fast for just a few days and resume eating a copious amount of unhealthy foods and calories.

unnamed (2)Eating at a caloric intake as low as 600 can be very dangerous, which is why the 5:2 Diet experts don’t encourage the two fasting days to be done consecutively. However, even done for just one day, this restriction can be dangerous. This small amount of calories can be easily consumed in one meal, so anyone partaking in this diet will have to be very careful of how to spread those calories throughout the day. Moreover, you have to be careful on what days you choose to fast. Weekends are undesirable, as most people go out to eat and don’t want to think about limiting their food. Weekdays can be just as hard – you need much more than 600 calories just to perform everyday tasks. If you’re going to work, you can expect your thinking process to be slightly slower, and perhaps your mood will go down too.

Bottom line: It’s a major plus that you are able to continue eating your favorite dishes. I’m a firm believer of never asking a future patient or client to give up their favorite foods and beverages (unless, of course it is a true life threatening risk) – everything in moderation, right? Right. Now, choosing the five days to eat as you please and then another two to restrict your calories? Not so much moderation there.

Overall, there is no evidence-based information to back up the effectiveness of these diets. Any diet that restricts calories and eating as extreme as these two diets will of course have its results, but not always good ones. However, let’s try to modify this diet a bit.

Let’s say you continue eating as you please for those five days, and then two days with restriction – but NOT focusing on the number of calories. Instead, on those two days, let’s replace your favorite, but not-so-healthy, dish with a healthier one. Then in a few weeks, let’s turn those two days into three or four days. Then the next week, five days, and so on.

Going cold turkey is hard. You’re familiar with a certain way of living for so long – it’s hard to give that up right away, and that’s okay. Instead, work your way up little by little. At the end of the day, you’re still doing SOMETHING. Just remember to keep going and you will get to that goal.

Photo Credit: Buzzle

Sources: http://resource.ancreative.co.uk/20sa0nodhdtwgcsks0c0wk8kc4wg4ks8/22-37056/1/scale/442/276

https://www.mccourtesy.com/uploads/600_Cal_snack_wrap[2].jpg

http://www.mamamia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/the-fast-diet.jpg

http://thefastdiet.co.uk/

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-52-diet

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/weight+loss/diets/experts+weigh+in+on+the+5+2+diet,31873

Trying to lose weight? Experts take aim at the 5:2 diet

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2015/jan/27/fasting-facts-is-the-52-diet-too-good-to-be-true

Healthy Eaters=Attuned Eaters


attuned-eatingBy: Nikki Nies

Healthy eaters=attuned eaters=you are tuned into what your body needs and wants, choosing foods that make you feel good while you are eating them and after. You don’t eat a lot of highly processed foods, and because of that don’t have a much of a taste for them. You cook at home frequently, even if it means preparing simple meals. You tend to use fresh, whole foods but don’t shy away from lightly processed convenience foods like canned beans and frozen vegetables to make life a little easier. When dining out, you intuitively stay close to your core healthy eating habits, making nutritious choices that still appeal to your taste buds, but aren’t afraid to splurge on special occasions.

Do you consider yourself an attuned eater? What benefits do you see with being a more attuned eater? What barriers in your life and/or environment limit your ability to be best attuned to your eating habits?Say no to diets once and for all, gaining more with fewer restrictions!

Photo Credit: Your Path to Fit 

Food & Nutrition Magazine


food-nutrition-mag-logoBy: Nikki Nies

Are you a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND)? AND is the largest American organization of food and nutrition professionals. If so, do you actively read their published Food & Nutrition Magazine? It’s a fantastic, evidence based bi monthly magazine that is created and written by Registered Dietitians Nutritionists (RDNs) for RDNs.

This magazine has a plethora of information, everything from food related movie reviews to a list of RDN-Approved Desserts to the exploration of the latest food trendsIMG_8456

Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Blog, Stone Soup, is a guest blog written by members of AND. Some of the latest posts include Shaved Carrot and Fennel Salad, how to get ready for National Kiwifruit Day and  Winter Running Essentials.

I’m a huge fan of Food & Nutrition magazine due to their immaculate content, collaborative efforts and last, but not least, their dazzling pictures. If you’re a fan of the magazine, why not try your hand at becoming more involved in the production and creation of the magazine? To pitch a story,  Food & Nutrition Magazine welcomes engaging, dynamic journalism about food and food trends, innovations in research and practice, and explorations of the cultural and social factors that shape Americans’ diets and health.

Photo Credit: Food & Nutrition Magazine

MSNW Thesis Presentation!


By: Nikki Nies IMG_8331

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to present my Master’s in Nutrition and Wellness thesis presentation with my fellow colleagues! With the generous help and mentoring from Dr. Bonnie Beezhold, we successfully presented on the Associations with stress: A cross-sectional comparison of wellness in older adults.  My main focus on the study was health and lifestyle factors’ affect on depressive symptoms of the two sites: vowed religious community and independent retirement community.

Background: In the U.S., we have an aging population; the U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2050, 20% of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65. According to the American Psychological Association, older adults are likely to report less stress than younger generations, but still report stress levels higher than what they think of as a healthy range. In older adults, increased stressful life events can lead to an increase in depressive symptoms.

Many lifestyle factors, including diet, can impact our mood and stress levels. Older adults do not meet dietary guidelines for their age, they often eat less fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and more total fat and saturated fat than recommended. Poor dietary choices in the elderly can have negative outcomes on physical and mental health. Aging is also associated with increasing BMI and body fat which are related to increased blood pressure, blood glucose and lipids.

We were given an opportunity through our contact with Father David to work with the Benedictine Monks at St. Procopius Abbey, the institution that founded our university. This is a group of older men who live in a cohesive community based in religious values. This opportunity made us curious about the impact of living environment on stress and other health and lifestyle factors, and so our research question was shaped by this population. Past literature indicated that a religious community can positively impact wellness, a 32 year follow up study of 144 nuns and 138 laypersons in Italy found that those living in a religious community had a more stable blood pressures, a common measure of stress, throughout the study compared to the control group. Another study, in the Netherlands focused on the relationship between a Monastic lifestyle and mortality. In the 1,523 Benedictine and Trappist Monks, the religious lifestyle was associated with longer life expectancy. Based on the previous literature, we hypothesized that older adults living in a vowed religious community would have less stress and healthier dimensions of mental and physical wellness than those living in a retirement community.

Major Results: When analyzing the data, we found that the distribution of the data was not normal therefore we used nonparamtetric tests to assess the data. The sample consisted of 67 independent older adults aged 65 years and older. Of whom, 52% were in the vowed religious community and 48% were living in the independent retirement community.  39% of our sample were men and 61% of our sample were women. 75% of our sample was white. Activity hours or hours spent related to paid work or volunteer hours was significantly different by group with a large effect size. The vowed religious community spent significantly more time in work-related activity than compared to the independent retirement community. Additionally, we hypothesized that the vowed religious community would have higher scores on the spirituality and well-being scale. Interestingly, no significant differences were observed by group. There was also no significant associations found with the social support scale.

Depression: 5.5% of older Americans have been diagnosed with depression. The DSM-V provides standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders.  In addition, past literature repeatedly finds women report more depression than men.  Symptoms include low mood, physical symptoms and evidence of chronic diseases. The consequences can be costly and serious. A quote that characterizes this condition well states, “…everyone feels blue sometimes, but depression is sadness that persists and interferes with daily life.”

We used the Geriatric Depression Scale 15 questionnaire (GDS-15) as it’s been identified as appropriate to use with older adults to successfully diagnose depression, but has high reliability and validity.  The fifteen questions are scored based on a point system, with a higher GDS score indicative of depression. 7.6% of our participants reported depression, which was higher than the overall reported depression for older adults in America at 5.5%.

Based on review of literature, we wanted to investigate whether reported depressive symptoms differed between the two major living sites.  Our hypothesis was that older adults living in a vowed religious environment would report less depression. We conducted a Mann-Whitney U test and found there was a significant difference between the living groups, with the vowed religious group reported a higher mean depression score than the community group, indicating they were more depressed. The null hypothesis was rejected. Since research shows that depression differs by gender, we conducted another test by gender, but there was NO difference in depression scores when we compared males and females in the whole sample (p=.297).

We went on to investigate relationships between depressive symptoms and health and lifestyle factors since there is a lot of research showing depression is multifactorial. We conducted Pearson’s correlations with higher GDS scores and the significant correlations are shown here. Depression scores were associated with associated with higher perceived stress, and negatively associated with social support, indicating that as stress increased, depression increased, and as social support decreased, depression increased. Depression scores were also associated with living in the vowed religious community. The alternative hypothesis was accepted. Again, depression is usually associated with gender, but in this population it was not.

Since these factors were significantly related to the GDS scores, we conducted a multiple linear regression to investigate how much of the variance in depression scores we observed between living groups. We entered perceived stress, social support, and living environment into the regression model, and found that 21% of the variance in depression scores between the two living groups was explained. Perceived stress makes the strongest unique contribution, and is the only statistically significant contribution to depression scores when gender and social support are controlled for. Perceived stress uniquely explained 8% of the total variance in depression scores in our population. The alternative hypothesis was accepted.

So coming back to our result of the vowed religious group reporting significantly more depression based on what we measured, we ran correlations with depression scores in the vowed religious group alone, and found that as stress and trans fat intake increased, depressive symptoms increased. Furthermore, those that consume a large amount of trans fats have been found to have a 48% risk of depression due to the low grade inflammatory status and endothelial dysfunction (Villegas et al., 2011).re

These results show  a linear relationship between these variables and we cannot draw causal conclusions.  Therefore, my null hypothesis was rejected.

Our study was the first to compare levels of depression in different cohesive environments in older adults, surprisingly, our vowed religious participants reported more depression than those living in a retirement community. We obviously did not measure all factors related to development of depression, but did find stress was a contributor. For example, in study led by Fagundes et al. they evaluated relationships between depressive symptoms and stress-induced inflammation. Of the 138 participants, the more depressive symptoms produced more interleukin-6 in response to the stressor.

Another study led by Aziz et al., 2013 looked at how perceived stress, social support and home based physical activity affect older adults’ fatigue, loneliness and depression on 163 participants. The findings indicated higher social support predicted lower levels of loneliness, fatigue and depression.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that the vowed religious community had a lower level of wellness than the independent retirement community. They consumed more sweets, drank less alcohol, reported more depression & had higher body fat & heart rates. Spirituality was similar in both environments, and that factor was the biggest predictor of lower stress. Dietary practices may also be related to lower stress, such as eating less sweets, getting more vitamin D and drinking responsibly.

While there is still work to be done on the manuscript, it was a great relief to get this portion of the thesis complete! We want to thank all the participants, the Benedictine Nutrition department and Dr. Bonnie Beezhold for their extensive involvement!

Photo Credit: Highland Hospital and Fairfield County 

Healthy Pasta Alternatives


Original Image by Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr
Original Image by Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Love the taste of pasta, yet struggle to eat a balanced diet?  Switch up your meals with healthier pasta options and pair with your favorite vegetables and seasonings.Whether you’re trying to limit your refined carbohydrates and/or increase  whole grains and vegetable intake, by making some small changes, you can still enjoy some great tasting dishes!

Healthy Pasta Alternatives

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Black bean spaghetti
  • Broccoli Slaw
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Soybean pasta
  • Sprouted wheatgrass
  • Farro pasta
  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Soba Noodles
  • Shirataki Noodles
Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves:8Ingredients:

  • 3 small heads cauliflower
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ c. heavy cream
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. Chop cauliflower. Bring vegetable broth to a boil over medium-high heat and add cauliflower.  Cook until cauliflower is soft, ~15 minutes.
  2. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute 4-5 minutes or until soft.
  3. Transfer cauliflower to a blender with about 2 cups of broth. Add sautéed garlic, salt, nutmeg and black pepper and puree until smooth .Stream olive oil into blender and add more broth or water if too thick.
  4. When smooth, transfer back to butter/garlic skillet and add cream over low heat
Adapted from Pinch of Yum

Make It Yours: Cauliflower is an underutilized food in the kitchen, yet you should always have it on hand! Besides using as a healthy pasta alternative, use cauliflower to make pizza crust, cauliflower mash, replace chicken, cauliflower rice burrito bowl, cauliflower mac and cheese, cauliflower tots, cauliflower breads rolls, cauliflower calzones and/or baked breaded cauliflower “mozzarella” sticks.

Health Benefits of cauliflower:

Original Image by dollen via Flickr
Original Image by dollen via Flickr
  • Rich in fiber, which helps stay full longer and eases digestion
  • Folate rich to form red blood cells
  • Rich in vitamin C, which protects the immune system during cold and flu season
  • Rich in vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting
  • Full of potassium, which helps regulated blood pressure
  • Good source of manganese, which helps nerves function properly
  • Increases HDL cholesterol—“good” cholesterol à reduces risk of stroke
  • Has anti carcinogenic effects—antioxidant rich
  • Helps unborn babies develop properly
  • Low calorie
  • Fat free
  • Vegetarian source of omega 3 fatty acids
  • Improves healthy cell growth
  • Assists with kidney and bladder disorders
  • Blood and liver detoxifier

Customizing Pasta Alternatives: Now that you’ve ventured out and tried non grain pasta, don’t stop there! Add more color, flavor and nutrients to your meal with the addition of your favorite vegetables and seasonings: asparagus, broccoli or broccoli rabe, spinach, arugula, mushrooms, limes, carrots, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, corn, artichokes, pesto, garlic and/or onions.

What’re your favorite pasta add ins? Suggestions for how to make regular dishes more exciting?

Low Cholesterol Diet


By: Nikki Niesshutterstock_57921664

While it’s been pounded into our heads the notion of “good” vs. “bad” fats, we shouldn’t overlook such labels as they’re for valid measure.  Yes, fats can be used as a type of energy source for the body, but it’s the primary source of the energy and like any subject matter, too much is harmful.  In regards to our bodies, too much fat has a direct correlation with one’s risk for heart disease and/or stroke. Old news, right?

Fat intake’s contribution to cardiovascular disease(s) may be old news, but why does our society struggle with that news? peppers-betaPerhaps, you need a fresh thought on the concepts.  Not keen on the guidelines for a low cholesterol diet? Limit cholesterol, duh! Yet, there’s more to it than that.  Actually, there’s two tiers of the cholesterol diet, which was created by the National Cholesterol education Program (NCeP).  The two low cholesterol guidelines continue to emphasize: low sodium, decreased total fat and saturated fat, decreased dietary cholesterol, increased fiber and complex carbs and decreased energy intake to obtain and/or maintain a healthy body weight.

I’m not a fan of the word “diet”, but that’s how dietary guidelines are phrased.  Therefore, Step 1 is composed of dietary changes to reduce cholesterol levels for those over the age of 2.  Step 2 of the cholesterol diet consists of more stringent limitations and is more appropriate for those with a current and/or past heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol or evidence of atherosclerosis–clog in arteries.

Photo Credit:Disease Proof and Women’s Fitness UK

Sources: http://www.gatewayhealth.com/images/uploads/general/36_-_Low_Cholesterol_Diet.pdf