Are You a Graduate Student with a Special Diet?

Are You a Graduate Student with a Special Diet?

In the nutrition world, there is a lot of discussion if going on a gluten free diet is really necessary for peoples’ health. For people with celiac disease, it is medically necessary and for people with a gluten sensitivity, it is advised to avoid certain gluten containing foods. For me personally, having celiac disease, I miss crispy French bread and NYC style pizza but my body is happier now that I am not eating gluten/wheat.

For years I went to many doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with my body. Everyone thought I had seasonal allergies and no one thought to take a blood test! Anyway, long story short, I was tested for every allergy under the sun where I live in Europe. In 2011, I was finally correctly diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Celiac Disease. I also have several other allergies: peanuts (legume family), all nuts, apricots, peaches, celery, paprika and chamomile to name a few! It is a bit challenging to eat and be sure that I am not eating something that would harm me. Both Celiac Disease and the nut allergy I have to carry an epinephrine pen because of the severity of the immune response my body does when the food enters my body.

So, what is celiac disease? “Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small finger like projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.” (Celiac Disease Foundation,

“Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. People living gluten-free must avoid foods with wheat, rye and barley, such as bread and beer. Ingesting small amounts of gluten, like crumbs from a cutting board or toaster, can trigger small intestine damage.” (Celiac Disease Foundation,

Should you be concerned that you have Celiac Disease? No, this is a hereditary disease but if you are worried that you may have an allergy or an intolerance. You should check with your doctor and get tested.


What Canisius College has to offer students on special diets:

There are icons to help you choose the right foods for you on the “what’s on the menu” link on you D2L dashboard

Balanced SustainabilityVeganVegetarian

or you can access the special diet page at

Use this symbol when you are on a gluten/wheat free diet or look at the product and make sure its states that it is certified gluten free.

I wish I could attend Canisius College’s fantastic dining facilities. There are so many options for people with special diets and requests or concerns can be brought up to the dining hall staff at anytime.

In my undergrad, it was hard because the special diets weren’t common in 2002 and I had to get a lot of my food from care packages.

If you are on a special diet: always read the food product labels so you know it’s safe for you and if you don’t feel a food is safe for than don’t eat it.

How many have tried the vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options at Canisius College? Are they good? What are your favorites? I would love to hear what you recommend?

Nutrition Food Hacks for the Graduate Student

Nutrition Food Hacks for the Graduate Student

Many graduate students are juggling school, job, family life, social life, exercise, internships and sleep time. How do we all fit this in and still get a balanced diet? Are you falling short for quick meals and convenience? Or are you getting well balanced meals in? It is tricky for time management on all these aspects of our life but the food aspect shouldn’t be sacrificed to consume a quick meal that lacks the nutrients that you need for a balanced diet.

Some tips I have listed below to help you get a balanced meal and still have time for your graduate papers!

Graduate Nutrition Food Hacks:

  • Do you own a crock pot? If not? I’d recommend on getting one. They do all the work for you and you can set them to cook even when you are not at home. Good for chilli, roasts, soups, pulled pork and more. Here is a site to look at some awesome recipes for your new crock pot 🙂
  • Try to pair your veggies with protein to get a healthy energy boost. Baby carrots with peanut butter- great in between meal snack to keep your metabolism going!
  • Egg cups baked in the oven using a muffin tray which you can prepare the night before and this would make a great breakfast. Here is a recipe for egg, sausage, spinach and cheese! Yum.
  • My favorite hack is HUMMUS! So easy to make and so many varieties that you can design to fit you palette. This would also be good with veggie pairing for protein. Don’t be afraid of carbs! Your body needs this too! Try Wheat thins with your hummus or another whole grain cracker. Great beginner hummus recipes can be found on this Imgur post: & this amazing site for hummus (this site shows the breakdown of nutrition and protein with hummus and some really cool recipes. A rookie mistake in making hummus and forgetting to buy tahini paste (sesame paste). This is the glue that keeps the chickpeas together. You need at most 2 table spoons of tahini paste. (make sure to mix it well before measuring).
  • Health Benefits Of Hummus

    Yummy Hummus!

  • Rice Cooker! This does all the work for you and can make rice for several meals! I would recommend Zojirushi as a great rice cooker to have. Stir fry is super easy to do with the rice!
  • If you can’t kick the pizza habit; try adding extra greens on top like arugula or throw on a veggie like mushrooms. If you can make each slice heartier/healthier you will be fuller faster and you will eat less of the pizza in a meal setting.

I interviewed a few friends of mine that have been through graduate school all ready and they recommended:

  • Prepare ahead of time. Sunday’s are a great down day and you could make meals for the rest of the week like casseroles.
  • A Hawaiian dish called Loco Moco. This dish of either beef or chicken patty top with one egg over white rice and smother in gravy.
  • Going to all campus events that offered free food!

Most of these recommendations can take less than 15 minutes to prepare. If you want a meal of substance, I’d recommend the crock pot and the rice cooker to aid you in your busy life. Just the other day between two of my classes I was able to put a beef roast in my crock pot and it was ready at dinner time. My family had an amazing French Dip for dinner and I didn’t have to slave away in the kitchen for hours. The crock pot did everything for me. This website has a great French Dip recipe;

Slow Cooker French Dip

Show off your meals. Be proud of what you created with your crock pot. Trust me if you brought this French Dip recipe to work; everyone would be your new best friend!

I’d love to hear from you and what is your graduate nutrition food hack? What do you do for a balanced diet?




“Fat Tax”

Another discussion amongst those in my Nutrition class was concerning whether or not our government should place a “fat tax” on sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda.

Many agree to disagree, however I feel that this tax would be treated no differently than the taxes put on cigarettes. It has been known for years that cigarettes are unrewarding to our health, yet they are still sold to a number of consumers despite the increase in price. Now researchers are stating that the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages are impacting the prevalence of obesity, hence the reasoning for the “fat tax”. Well in my opinion sugar filled beverages are not the only cause of obesity. There are many fit individuals who consume soda and other sweetened beverages. The rise in obesity is plainly due to the overall increase in calorie consumption and the decrease in energy output (physical activity).

If the government wants to decrease the prevalence of obesity then they should start pushing for healthier foods within schools and eliminating soda from vending machines. They could also reach out to the parents and educate to them on how important exercise and healthy eating is on their children’s growth and development.

Next time you purchase a soda, ask yourself, how much would you pay to get that boost of dopamine.

Until next time!


Taking Sides

What are your thoughts about Orthorexia? Do you feel that it should be recognized as an eating disorder?

This interesting topic arose during our discussion post this week in my Nutrition class and to tell you the truth I had never heard of Orthorexia prior to this discussion.

Orthorexia is defined as a fixation of eating only pure, healthy, and natural foods. To break it down further orthos derives from the Greek language meaning “correct or right” while orexis means “appetite.”

After taking both sides of the discussion into account I have say that orthorexia should be recognized as an eating disorder and dieticians should be made aware of it. Like anorexia and obsessive-compulsive disorder, orthorexia is defined as having a sense of control. Most individuals with eating disorders have controlling personalities. This pattern of controlling what we consume really boils down to the “good” vs. “bad” foods, which is labeled by our society and other unreliable sources. Individuals with orthorexia eliminate “bad” foods from their diet, which most people believe are our carbohydrates, refined sugars, meats, trans fats, and processed foods. By eliminating these foods from our diets we are only setting ourselves up for malnourishment. These so called “bad” foods contain vitamins and nutrients that other foods cannot provide our bodies, therefore it is critical that we consume them in recommended amounts.

Just some food for thought! Until next time!


Back to work

And I thought switching gears was a break in itself….but I’m not going to complain having a week off of class was pretty nice! Wish I could’ve went someplace a little warmer than Buffalo…burrrr!!!

Nevertheless I spent most of my spring break at Buffalo Cardiology and Pulmonary Associates. Apart from my online class I have recently started one of the two possible internships for this program. So far I’m really enjoying my internship site. The facility is HUGE, to say the least, and everyone is more than welcoming. I’m currently interning in the Cardiac Rehabilitation center, working along side of the Exercise Physiologists. The patients we see are those who have just recently been released from the hospital after having bypass or open heart surgery. After receiving the ok from their doctor we formulate an exercise program to rehab them back to health. While the patients are exercising we frequently check their blood pressure and heart rate to make sure their levels are rising at a healthy level. We also have them hooked up to a monitoring system so we can regulate their EKG strips.

From what I can see the patients are showing tremendous progress and it brings me great joy knowing that I have helped in some way!

Until next time!



Part 2 of Spring!

Hello all! I’d first like to apologize things got pretty overwhelming last few weeks of EKG so I fell a little behind on my blogs. On a positive note were up and running again and beginning the second quarter of the semester. So last week we had our practical along with our final exam, which wrapped up EKG. Not going to lie I’m pretty excited to have my Tuesday and Thursday nights free again. If you have experienced a 5 hr class before you can understand my excitement haha. Besides the length of the class itself I really did enjoy EKG. The professor did an excellent job summarizing the majority of the information into a tight 8 week session and really worked with us to make sure we were fully understanding the concepts. I’m actually considering becoming an EKG technician now! Just another thing to add to my list of career possibilities. One things for sure this program has really opened my eyes to the multiple career opportunities I’ll have once I graduate.

Well now that EKG is over I have started yet another class….Nutrition 502! Nutrition has always been a passion of mine so I’m really excited about this class. I already have a basic knowledge about nutrition so I hope this class will further my education so I may utilized my counseling background to incorporate  some nutritional counseling into my career. Just have to wait and see!

Until next time.