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?




Why Canisius?

Why Canisius?

What brought these students to Canisius?

…Was it fate?

…Was it the people? 

…Was it the program?

I asked a couple of our bloggers the simple question: Why Canisius?


Bryan M. - Sports Administration

“The first thing I looked for in applying to Grad School was the Sport Administration program. Did the school have one? What was it like? My goal is to coach hockey at the high school or college level, and if that’s going to be my full-time job I knew I needed a program which prepared me to manage people, budgets and facilities. I also wanted a school that would accept me with a journalism degree. Some MSA programs require a kinesiology background, which I don’t have. Last, but not least, I wanted a school with a true Catholic identity. The best times of my undergraduate career where when I was involved in an active campus ministry program, and I wanted to find that in grad school, too.”

~ Bryan M. – Sport Administration – Napa, CA







Christie - Applied Nutrition

“I went to the college graduate fair on Rhein Ordinance Barracks in Germany. Canisius College won my heart. Their entry requirements for the graduate program did not require a GRE or GMAT and they had online graduate programs. Another plus to Canisius College is that they are a “yellow ribbon” school. They are dedicated to veterans and military service members.
I am in my spring semester with the Applied Nutrition program. All my classes and teachers have been outstanding. I could not have selected a better school for my masters because Canisius College has opened so many doors for me already. I am waiting to see if I was selected for a peer review journal at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and also waiting to see if I got into an internship program at the military hospital here in Germany. None of this would have happened without the connections I have made here at Canisius.”

~ Christie. – Applied Nutrition – Germany


Melissa - Differentiated Instruction

“When I attended Canisius College’s graduate open house, I was nervous that it was finally time to be looking at graduate schools.  Will I make the right decision for which major I pursue?  Will I love Canisius as much as I loved my undergraduate school?  These were just some of the questions that were swirling around in my head.  Throughout that morning, I heard the different things that my major had to offer.  Not only was it a year long program, but there was no individual research paper, it was a group one!  The Differentiated Instruction program at Canisius was also pretty unique to the WNY area, being one of the only schools to have this program.  It was also an up and coming major for education students to pursue, because many schools were beginning to implement different D.I strategies in their schools.  After the information session, I was given a tour of the beautiful campus, reminding me even small schools can be located in the city.  I knew right then and there, this is the school I wanted to attend for my graduate studies.  So why Canisius?  Well, I think that when you find that perfect program, located on a beautiful campus, you just don’t turn that down.”

~ Melissa L. – Differentiated Instruction – Orchard Park, NY


Brandi - Clinical Mental Health Counseling

“I was looking for a program in counseling that was close to home and that I could finish within 2 years. When choosing between Medaille and Canisius, I ended up picking Canisius because the program was set up traditionally in that classes were offered full time and in the evenings. This would allow me to maintain my job (at the time) in Research and Development at Upstate Niagara Dairy Cooperative. When I got to Canisius, I found out that I was very lucky to have gone with this choice as the mental health counseling program at Canisius is CACREP accredited (unlike at Medaille). I know it sounds silly that I did not realize this was a factor until I came to graduate school, but I am very happy that it worked out this way! I would advise anyone looking into graduate education to be sure the programs they are considering are accredited by the appropriate bodies to ensure that their education counts! I’m very happy with the faculty and the quality of the education here at Canisius, and I’ve never looked back- I’m exactly where I want to be!”

~ Brandi S. – Mental Health Counseling – Buffalo, NY


“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller

Come be a leader at Canisius!


Living abroad and finding Canisius College

Living abroad and finding Canisius College

The search for the best graduate program that fits all the criteria in my life has been a three year search. I started with Canisius College’s online graduate studies program in September 2014. The program I am in is Applied Nutrition with a concentration in Obesity & Eating Disorders and I am a 100% happy with my decision to choose Canisius College.

I started looking for graduate programs back in 2011 but I was struggling with finding a program overseas (I reside in Germany) that fits everything I wanted in a future profession. I am currently a contractor for the United States Army and my husband who is a United Air force Service member suggested checking out one of the college fairs that we have here. So, in 2013 I went to the college graduate fair on Rhein Ordinance Barracks in Germany and found a few schools that I was interested in.

Canisius College won my heart. Their entry requirements for the graduate program did not require a GRE or GMAT (I don’t test well) and they had online graduate programs. A lot of the programs I had looked at had a hybrid/online format and I was worried how I’d swing that with living and working overseas. Another plus to Canisius College is that they are a “yellow ribbon” school. They are dedicated to veterans and military service members. Canisius ranks seventh among 50 northern regional universities according to the G.I job magazine & US news. I was able to use the GI bill to complete my master’s degree.Post-9/11 GI Bill Logo The veteran & financial aid staff at the school is outstanding. They have been a great support with all my concerns and questions since this was my first time using the GI bill. The veteran affairs department has lots of events and socials on the campus; this is something I wish I could attend.

I am in my spring semester with Canisius College and I have to say the teachers and their dedication in the Applied Nutrition program have been outstanding. My job in the army requires me to be ready for a temporary duty assignment (TDY) and the teachers have understood my situation with the military and I have been able to turn assignments in early or get advance notice on readings and projects.

If you are looking for a university that has versatile teachers, challenging courses to prepare you for career, online courses and excellent veteran support program, then Canisius College is for you!