Thirsty Thursday!


Today is #ThirstyThursday and we’re discussing hydration! Water makes up about 60% of your body, and is lost throughout the day in your breath, your sweat, your urine and even your bowel movements.

Benefits of staying hydrated:

  • Flushes out toxins
  • Delivers nutrients throughout the body
  • Maintains body temperature
  • Aids digestion
  • Can suppress appetite
  • Healthy skin

But the recommendations for water intake can get a little confusing. We’ve all heard of the eight 8-ounce glasses per day (totaling 1.9 liters). Then there is the recommendation to divide your weight in half to get the number of total ounces to drink per day. Or should we follow the RDA for water intake (13 cups or 3 liters for men, and 9 cups or 2.2 liters for women)? And what about the food we eat, should we account for the water content of food? And do other liquids count towards the total ounces?

Food accounts for approximately 20% of your fluid intake. High water weight foods include fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumber and spinach. Other liquids, such as coffee, tea, juice and yes, even alcoholic drinks, can count towards your fluid intake. However, be sure to stay mindful of the dehydrating effects of diuretics, such as caffeine and alcohol.

While there may not be the perfect amount of water for each person to drink, there are some signs of dehydration to keep an eye out for. If you experience one or more of these symptoms on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to increase your water intake!

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Mind fog
  • Fatigue

However you do it, it’s a good idea to drink plenty of water. When should you increase your fluid intake? During periods of exercise, illness, pregnancy, and breast-feeding, as well as under altered environmental conditions. Heat and humidity, indoor heat during the winter, and elevation changes can all affect your hydration needs. A well hydrated body is capable of performing its required functions efficiently and fluidly ;)

Stay thirsty, my friends!

Additional resources:

Walking – Even a Little Will Get You Long Way

An article was recently published in HealthyDay news about how two minutes of walking or low-intensity exercise (like gardening or cleaning) may decrease adverse health effects of prolonged sitting. The article states that 80% of Americans do not meet the minimum recommended level of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week; additionally, a sedentary lifestyle that involves sitting for prolonged periods has an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, premature death, and diabetes.
What struck me about this article is where it states merely two minutes every waking hour of walking is enough to lessen the risk of these chronic diseases by as much as 33%. Finding time to actually “workout” is hard for many people due to a variety of reasons: too busy, too difficult, etcetera. However, if you are able to start someone off with two minutes every hour of even walking can make exercise seem less daunting. Eventually, this person may progress to being able to engage in light activity for two minutes every hour in addition to doing 2.5 hours of activity every week.

I believe I will find the information in this article very useful in nutrition counseling. After all, nutrition counseling is about finding out what your patient is willing to do and helping them find their motivation to improve and progress in a positive way. By breaking exercise from an intimidating barrier into smaller increments to the extent where a patient feels like, “Hey, maybe I can do this” or “Maybe I can give this a shot” will be more effective in the long run than immediately trying to get someone to exercise an hour a day. Here is the link to the article if you would like to check it out:

Something else that is related to the impact of walking is the documentary The Walking Revolution which details the lifestyle changes of Americans and how the convenience of our environment are impacting our health. It is a strong documentary that I found really motivating and helped me become more aware of how active I am throughout the day, and not only when I dedicate an hour or so to doing so. Click the picture below to watch the documentary:


5 Tips for Successful Meal Planning

weekly-meal-planningMeal planning can be pretty tough. Sometimes it seems impossible to find the time to plan, prep, and execute. The truth is, it isn’t impossible at all. In fact, it is very possible! Here are a couple of tips that can help you avoid falling into common pitfalls of that come with the territory of meal planning:

1. Make food you will want to eat. This one seems pretty obvious, but it is really important to be realistic about the kinds of food you will want for the entire week. It can get pretty tiring having oatmeal every morning and salad for lunch every day. As long as you spruce it up and keep it interesting, you will be more inclined to stick to your plan!
Things to consider: Do you have a special recipe you wanted to try? Are you craving something? Most importantly, is your week extra busy? If so, you might want to think of recipes that are fast and easy, especially for the weekdays. Note: having a list of ~20 recipes is extremely helpful.


2. A well-balanced diet starts at the grocery store, so when creating your grocery list make sure there are components from all food groups. You don’t have to have a recipe for every item you buy, but have an idea of when you will eat the food you purchase. Example: is the fruit you buy for a snack and/or a topping for oatmeal? Also, consider what is on sale, in s

eason, and if you have coupons for an item to be more budget-friendly.

3. Don’t plan a meal to cook for every day of the week. If you can recycle leftovers or ingredients, you can save both time, money, and room in your fridge. Example: think of meals that have ingredients in common; if you made grilled chicken on Monday, make enough so that you can chop up leftovers for a chicken salad for lunch on Tuesday or shred the meat for tacos a later night in the week.

4. FREEZE! Make extra servings of a dish on a day you have more time to cook. For example, if you made a huge pot of soup, you can freeze it in individual freezer bags or heavy-weight/ air-tight containers. For portion control or an easy packed lunch, you can even freeze them into individual servings. This helps prevent waste and is a useful tool for saving food that you might not have eaten before it goes bad.

5. Give yourself some wiggle room. If you planned to cook one night and were just too exhausted and bought take-out or just reheated leftovers – it’s no big deal! Just switch up the days in your meal plan so that you can cook what you planned later. Try to keep your plan flexible and don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t stick to what you planned.

Meal planning, like most things, gets better with practice. The more you try to do it, the better you get at it! I’m sure you will even develop your own little tricks and methods that work for you. If you do have some other tips, please mention them in the comments to share with other readers!

Is Immigration Reform Causing a Shortage of Workers in Agriculture and Affecting Our Food Supply?

Immigration has always been a troubling subject for both Americans and immigrants themselves. It affect the country as a whole whether you believe for the the better or worse, but it seems to perhaps be the biggest factor in the world of agriculture. In an article called, Farmers Fear Legal Status For Workers Would Lead Them Off The Farm, not only can it affect the agriculture world if most of our immigrant workers are deported, but now them gaining residency and citizenship is also a threat seeing that they can now find better opportunities for themselves.

A melon farmer, Stephen Patricio, from the central valley has this exact concern when it comes to his illegal immigrant workers. He states in the article that he feels guilty that they are treated poorly for wanting to gain a better life for their families here in the U.S. but he is also worried that with citizenship from the state they will all decide that they can do much better than being a simple farm worker. Another fellow farmer, Manuel Cunha, who is based in Fresno is also stating that if farm workers leave to find better jobs now that they can have residency and job security, he is afraid that he will lose all his workers. For this, situation they want to get a guest worker program started where immigrants can come work as a guest, but not be given legal status.

Not every farmer blames immigration reform as a reason for losing workers and some try to focus on ways of giving the workers a better job stability in order to keep them from leaving. The guest worker program  has yet to pass, but it seems that no matter what the situation is with immigration laws, it looks like it will always affect someone in a good way or a bad way.

What’s your opinion on the subject?
To read more on the subject, go to

Applying to Dietetic Internships: What I Learned

The dietetic internship is something I had heard about since I was a freshman. I assumed it would be straightforward and something relatively simple to do, but I was wrong. Not that being wrong is bad. I think that applying to dietetic internships (DIs) is completely doable, but I think it would have been helpful to know what I know now – which is why I want to share it with you all!

** Disclaimer: These tips are from my personal experience alone and may have been different for others.


Tip #1: It’s never too early to get started:

  • Essentially, by the time application period rolls around you should have enough experience on your resume to make you an attractive candidate. Experience is a broad category – do not limit yourself to work and school. Volunteering, helping out with a club or a professor, major projects you have done in class, or extra applicable classes you took are all things that should be included in your application. Keeping track of all you have done is also helpful so when the time comes to apply you have records of involvement at your disposal.
  • You may want to start thinking of who you want to write your letters of recommendation before the application period begins. You want someone who knows you well, who writes well, and can really speak about your strengths. A minimum of three is required, but you can do more if you want to have a specific person write a letter for a specific DI. It is common courtesy (and to your benefit) to give your letter of rec writer a good amount of time to formulate a strong letter.
  • Transcripts are also something to think about ahead of time. If the application opens in December, you want to request your transcripts ASAP because sometimes schools take long to process and send out transcripts. Additionally, you have to request transcripts from each school you attended. For example, if you transferred from a community college to a university, you will need official transcripts directly sent from both schools to DICAS.

Tip #2: Guidance is goodness:

  • The application process can be quite tricky on its own. Not only do you have to apply on DICAS, you have to go to the matching system on D&D, but also submit (via mail or online – depends on the internship) supplemental application materials to the program to which you are applying. Taking a class such as FN 431 offered at Cal Poly Pomona is a great way to break down the application process so that it seems slightly less daunting. I personally enjoyed the Q&A style of that class because our professor was able to just answer any questions we had about the matching process. She also brought in guest speakers who were internship coordinators.
  • Going to DI Open Houses is also a good way to know details of what each internship entails, what sort of qualities they are looking for in applications, and if the internship is even right for you! It is helpful to be able to network and talk to current interns as well to get a better idea of what their experiences were like when they applied and got accepted.

Tip #3: Tailor it to fit

  • Not all internships are created equal. Each one has their own mission, concentration, and is looking for qualified individuals that match them. DICAS allows you to submit multiple personal statements and letters of recommendation, as well as to designate which statement or letter will go to which internship. It is a perfect way to really show that you did your research on the internship and to highlight the qualities you have that they want.

Tip #4: Stay positive

  • Not hearing back from an internship can be devastating, but it is important to remember that there is more than one road to get to where you want to be, just don’t stop moving toward that place.

Study: Vit A Supplementation and Immunoresponse During Pregnancy

Hello Food Digest readers!

I recently came across a study discussing the connection between vitamin A supplimentation. immunoresponses, and pregnancy that I felt was well worth sharing for consideration.

The nutrition journal was entitled ‘Vitamin A supplementation increases ratios of proinflammatory to anti-inflammatory cytokine responses in pregnancy and lactation’. Here they are discussing possible vitamin A nutrition therapies and how they might impact the immunoresponse of pregnant women who have been found to be vitamin A deficient. Initially, the article lays some ground work by explaining that a vitamin A deficiency is associated with alterations in the balance of type I (proinflammatory) and type II (anti-inflammatory) cytokine responses of the immune system, and that these alterations have the potential to make the body more susceptible to infections. It then highlights for us that this kind of immunocompromise is an especially sensitive topic during pregnancy because of the delicate balance between the type I and type II immune response which exists during this time. An imbalance either way can be detrimental. For example excessive proinflammatory immune responses could “damage the placentia leading to placential insufficiency, premature delivery and/or low birth weight babies”; or on the other had excessive anti-inflammatory immune responses can make the mother and fetus vulnerable to infections (especially, the article notes, in third world countries where vitamin A deficiencies and infectious threats are so high risk!). This second example would be especially concerning in certain regions like Africa where the threat of infectious disease such as Malaria are realistic threats and where the need for a proactive immune system during pregnancy is even more imperative.

The study in the article took a group of first time pregnant women who were vitamin A deficient and in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial gave half of the group vitamin A supplementation and half a placebo in order to observe immuno related outcomes. Ultimately they found that the ratio of IFN-y (proinflammatory cytokine) to IL-10 (anti-inflammatory cytokine) was “significantly higher in the vitamin A supplemented group compared to the placebo group in late pregnancy and at postpartom” (61% and 57%). In other words, the results of this study suggest that vitamin A supplementation does ‘tip the balance’ of cytokine responses in the proinflammatory direction, rather than the direction of the anti-inflammatory immunoresponse, allowing for a stronger fight against infection. With that said the article heeded caution and another reminder that this increase in ‘proinflammatory cytokines’ (via. vitamin A supplementation) could be both potentially beneficial and harmful depending on the case; but possibly most beneficial in groups with higher proinflammatory needs.

What we can conclude from this is that vitamin A supplementation therapies may be an especially appropriate nutrition intervention for pregnant women of low-income countries more vulnerable to infectious disease (such as women in Africa with the threat of Malaria, as previously mentioned). It is a low-cost readily available option, which has the potential to better support these specific groups of women when they are in need of it the most.

Another perfect example of why nutrition therapy  should never be generalized.  A specific group, often needs a specific therapy, for a specific reason.  Easy to forget, important to remember.

Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program

There are a plethora of government programs that provide food and nutrition assistance to those in need. WIC, SNAP, and Meals on Wheels are all popular examples of this. One less-known example is the Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program, aka EFNEP.

What is it?
EFNEP is a federal agency under the USDA, specifically under the Cooperative State Research, Education, & Extension Service (CSREES). It was started in 1965, a time where there were strong protest-clipart-PEOPLE21-11pushes for social reform and an established link between malnutrition and poverty. They serve all fifty states and territories (American Samoa, Guam, Micronesia, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, & the Virgin Islands), and their goal is to empower low-income individuals and families with the knowledge, skills, and desire to adopt and maintain a nutritious diet.

How does it work?
EFNEP works by receiving federal and state/ local government aid. County extension family and consumer science professionals (often a person with the degree – like an RD) are EFNEP coordinators. They will train peer educators (paraprofessionals) and volunteers  to teach EFNEP. These paraprofessionals & volunteers often live in the community in which they serve, making it convenient to recruit and receive referrals for families within the community. EFNEP divisions receive referrals from local schools and businesses, non-profit and faith-based organizations, and local SNAP and WIC offices.

children-eatingParaprofessionals can in a variety of methods: group, one-to-one situations, by mail, telephone, and mass media. They are set on developing understanding, awareness, and involvement in the educational program. There are adult and youth EFNEP programs; the adult EFNEP is a series of ~10-12 classes on better food choices, food safety/ storage, cooking skills, physical activity, and managing budget. The youth program mirrors the topics the adults have, but is presented in a more age-appropriate fashion.

How does it relate to RDs and/or nutrition students?
RDs are most often EFNEP coordinators – they have the responsibility of a particular region, setting up community programs, and training paraprofessionals. You do not have to be an RD to become an EFNEP coordinator, but you will most likely need a related degree.
Students: can use EFNEP for informational/ counseling resources as well as contact local coordinator if interested in becoming a paraprofessional.

I admire the program because they empower individuals by teaching life skills. When you teach someone to live more efficiently, it is one less thing to worry about and enables them to pursue other interests.

Pretty cool, huh? Check out their website for more information:

National Nutrition Month 2015



“Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle” is the theme for this years National Nutrition Month. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

For a brief history check out this link.

To celebrate this month’s theme, we have asked students at Cal Poly Pomona to share how they incorporate sound eating habits and regular physical activity into their lives or promote these lifestyle modifications to others.  So, you might be seeing some featured writers throughout the month.

How do you incorporate health into your lifestyle? Any tips you want to share?

I incorporate healthy eating habits by limiting eating restaurant food, avoiding the inner aisles of the grocery store when I shop, and packing lunches when I go to school or work.  I promote, and partake in physical activity, by walking my son to school (you would be surprised how many people walk that only live blocks away!), stretching, and being outdoors as much as possible.

Get in Touch With Your Community!



Ever wanted to branch out and find people outside of school that shared your interest in nutrition, health and cooking? Well now you can easily do just that! There are many different interest to choose from whether it is a certain type of exercise or certain types of dietary restrictions there is literally endless possibilities for you to interact with professionals and citizens in your community.

The first website is called meetups and is more community based, meaning it is like neighbors and fellow city residents getting together at a nearby place like a park or grocery store and depending on what type of group it is, you do a variety of activities or just  talk. For example, there is a group called Healthy eating at Whole Foods Market where a store chef gives you a tour of the store and helps you find healthy foods at affordable prices and gives you tips on how to make things for yourself and your family. There is also another group called ‘Walk the Pounds Off’ where a group of people trying to turn their lifestyle around meet at the beach and just take a morning walk. This website mainly has groups founded by someone in your nearby community and the meetups help keep you motivated because you are surrounded by people who are striving for the same goal as you.

The second website is called Healthy class and unlike Meetups it is based more on groups and classes held at hospitals and clinics. They have everything from support groups to support classes and even recommendations on books that deal with the subject you are interested in. Like the meetups website, this site also has a way to find groups in your community about specific topics. These groups are a bit different only because they are held in a more professional setting with actual certified doctors and nutritionist leading some classes and groups. Some of the classes offered are things such as Cooking demonstration for diabetics, a heart healthy diet class and they also have normal nutritional cooking classes for all. Also the support groups are they offer are groups such as low cost healthy eating, low sodium eating, and nutrition counseling where they are able to talk with other community members and discuss similar problems and give each other advice.

Both of these websites are great so if you are interested in expanding your involvement in the community these are two great ways to start!

The links are posted below.

Three Exotic Must-Try Tropical Fruits

Going on vacation is exciting, and so is the experience of trying new foods! Despite the globalization of many fruits and vegetables, there are still a plethora of fruits that are hard to find outside of the climate they are grown in.

Check out these must-try fruits found in tropical regions of the world. Keep an eye out for them next time you are abroad, or even if they have it at your local Asian grocery market.


Mangosteen – From Southeast Asia and grown in some parts of Columbia, India, and Puerto Rico, this fruit has a hard exterior, this fruit looks like something similar to a giant plum. Upon opening, there is a soft, edible inside that is segmented like a peeled orange. It has a luscious flavor and a soft, chewy texture with the perfect combination of sweet and tangy.

 Mountain apple

Mountain apples – Available throughout Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, the Pacific, as well as Central and South America, this fruit is present in most humid climates. It resembles a small, shiny radish that grows in bunches on a tree. They can also be described as seedless, leafless strawberries. Mountain apples have a pleasant crunchy texture that fills your mouth with a sweet, juicy flavor after one bite.


Rambutan – Often confused with lychee, this fruit is different in that an outer layer of soft spines protects it. Interestingly, rambutan does not produce its own ripening agent – meaning it has to be picked ripe, preferably still attached to a branch. It is found in the same areas as mountain apples. It has a mildly sweet flavor, soft flesh, and will make you want to eat an entire bag all by yourself.