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The odds are you have a cell phone. Even more likely, you may not have an ordinary cell phone but a smart phone. Your smart phone is not just smart but the smartest new phone on the market. There are all sorts of trends and fads in our culture today that we have completely embraced.

There is one fad I can never seem to wrap my head around and that is the IPHONE. They release a new edition every year, from the IPOD to the IPHONE to the IPAD, and soon to the IWATCH. We love the latest tech fad. What IPHONE number are we on now? Six? As a poor college student, I have yet to move past the lowly IPHONE 4.

We want to buy every device as soon as it comes out. And you know what we find out? It often doesn’t work the way it was originally promised! We will find bug after bug after bug and have to wait until the company gives a new update to fix everything that is wrong with it! Fads often don’t deliver as they are promised. There are countless external fads we could list, but I want to talk about things that affect us internally

As a dietetics student, the number one question I am asked is, “how can I lose weight fast?”

My answer often leaves puzzled looks across the faces of my friends and family. My answer is always the same solution: a well-balanced diet, portion control, and some form of physical activity. It seems too simple. So much so, that immediately I am then asked a question about a “new diet” that promises quick weight loss.

Unfortunately, these fad diets deliver quick weight loss at the expense of leaving out major food groups. They achieve their results by recommending excess consumption of certain food groups at the expense of other food groups. In the short-term, this can seem nutritious, but in the long term the results can be vicious. Our bodies are made up of tons of vitamins, minerals, and water. It is not nutritious to eliminate an entire food group from your diet. Each food group plays a vital role in maintaining optimum health. Our bodies need them.

You may read about fad diets in magazines, or hear about them on television shows, such as Doctor Oz. But how do you spot a fad diet? What are the things to look for? I have listed some criteria to follow when trying to figure out if a certain diet is wholesome or simply a fad. Remember, when choosing a diet to follow, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

· The majority of fad diets restrict a food group. A wholesome diet includes dairy, grains, fruit, vegetables and protein.

· Fad diets promote rapid weight loss, typically more than 2lbs per week. A healthy weight loss is 1-2lbs per week.

· Fad diets promote certain foods that will burn fat. Physical activity will do the same.

· A lot of fad diets are not created by professionals. They typically do not have credible scientific research to back up their claims. Look at the author’s title and see if it was created by a professional, such as a registered dietitian or by a person with no education in the dietetic profession.

· Most fad diets have a laundry list of certain foods that need to be eaten at specific times. A well balanced diet will have all 5 food groups at each meal time.

I was curious as to what the latest fads were for this year. So I typed in the Google search bar, fads and trends in 2014. The first couple of links were for home improvements and hair styles. It didn’t shock me too much when I got to the 4th link which was top diet fads. I’m going to share with you 2 of the most popular fad diets I ran across for this year.

1. Gluten-Free Diet

People that need to follow a gluten-free diet are those that have celiac disease or gluten intolerance. But it is becoming a new trend for people to adopt this diet to lose weight. Foods that contain wheat, barley and rye are avoided with the diet.


· This diet is that it includes whole foods. It promotes the intake of vegetables, fruits, beans, dairy, and healthy fats.

· The foods that are suggested for this diet are foods that typically are not packaged and/or processed; therefore they might be lower in sodium and additives.


· By avoiding whole wheat products one is decreasing the amount of nutrients they are ingesting.

· A large portion of gluten-free packaged foods have a higher sugar and fat content.

2. Paleo Diet

This diet is also known as the caveman diet. This diet is a little different than most fad diets that promote weight loss. It is suggested that this diet will increase athletic performance and could eliminate acne.


· This diet promotes the consumption of lean meats, seafood, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and physical activity.

· It also encourages eliminating processed foods, which can decrease the amount of sugar and sodium in the diet.


· This diet eliminates 2 food groups completely, whole grains and dairy. Creating an imbalance of nutrients.

· Foods to avoid eating: whole grains, starchy vegetables, beans/legumes, all dairy products. All of these foods are essential for a well-balanced diet.

· Higher in protein and decreasing amount of carbohydrates.

· This diet can be expensive to follow.

Most fad diets promote the intake of fruits and vegetables, which is a good thing because most Americans do not consume enough in their daily diets. But it is not the best choice to eliminate food groups from your daily diet. Overall, if you want to lose weight or enhance athletic performance, don’t be vicious to your body by eliminating food groups. Stay nutritious by following the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate. You can enhance your diet by focusing on fruit, varying your veggies, making half your grains whole, going lean with protein and getting your calcium rich foods. For more information on food groups and food within those groups, you can visit

Have you tried a fad diet?

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Member Spotlight-Jason Black

The second time is the charm for Jason Black. He has, after one unsuccessful attempt, changed his lifestyle to one dedicated to health, fitness and a long life. Jason has been using our facilities for about a month and has lost 31 pounds; he started at 405 and now is at 374. I sat down with him and asked him some questions about his past lifestyle and his new one.

Jason admits to having bad eating habits throughout most of his life. In fact, he said the only time he can remember being in decent shape was the first couple years of high school when he was playing baseball. Besides fighting off the weight, Black has always had health problems that have made it harder to stay well and committed to a fit regimen.

As college sometime does, it brought out the worst in Jason’s eating habits. After tearing his MCL and later spraining his ankle, Jason found himself unable to work out or do much of any physical activity. At the same time, he started visiting buffets with his friends and say they were his “downfall.” Jason was also involved in numerous competitive eating contests, which helped pack on the pounds too, around 40 pounds total to be exact.

After college, Jason moved to Denver, Colorado and got the wakeup call he needed.

“I saw a doctor for a regular checkup and found out that I had diabetes and it was serious. My doctor told me I had 3 years to live if I didn’t change my lifestyle. So I had to change it, there was no other choice.”

Jason said being in Denver made it easier to change his lifestyle because of the frequency of health food and organic options. Plus, he said, working out was the norm; most everybody lived an active lifestyle. Jason also gave up soda and quit eating fast food, which he said made a huge difference.

After 2 years in Colorado, Jason trekked back to West Virginia, and that’s when things went downhill again.

“I gained 120 pounds in a year. I was watching my money, so I couldn’t afford a gym, and it was so much harder to find the healthy foods I had gotten used to in Colorado. And fast food is everywhere. It was too much.”

Once again, it took a serious wakeup call for Jason to get back on track. He realized he had no clothes that fit and even the simplest movements like standing up and sitting down were tough and painful. Jason also saw a picture of himself at his heaviest and knew something had to be done.


So he called his doctor in Colorado and explained the situation and asked for her advice.

“She asked me ‘Jason, what did I tell you about living?” and I answered ‘That I need to.”

Jason bought his membership at the Rec and started working out immediately. He also discovered the Nutribullet and began eating fruit and vegetable blends with total soy meal replacements for meals. His other favorite healthy foods include salads of any kind and grilled fish filets.

Jason’s least favorite part of working out?

“I guess it would be actually getting here to work out. Once I make it here, I’m good to go.”

Jason’s favorite part of working out?

“It’s such a great stress reliever. I just check everything at the door.”

My last question for Jason is one that we ask of all our Member Spotlights, “If you could talk to your former self, before you started your fitness journey, what would you say to yourself to encourage you to get started?”

Jason said showing him pictures of himself at his high and low weights would make more of an impact than words.

“If I could see myself at my worst, I would have the motivation to make a change.”

Jason’s total health goal is to weigh in around 260 pounds, but he says it really isn’t about the numbers or his physical appearance.

“I just want to be healthy and normal and do the things that normal people do. That’s all I want.”

**As of last week, Jason’s blood work came back fine and his blood sugar was regulated.

Way to go Jason! We love that you’ve persevered to accomplish the healthy lifestyle you want. Keep going!!

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Low Carb Cereal

Over the past 8-9 weeks, I have been on a low carb, high protein diet and working out with really heavy weights. The goal has been to replace some body fat with lean muscle, and lower my  body fat percentage. Easy, right?

Wrong. Changing the way you eat is really difficult, and the first couple weeks were filled with headaches and an overwhelming feeling of being tired. I was told the key tones were to blame for the headaches…now I’m blaming everything wrong in my life to these mysterious key tones.

I had to blog today and tell you about the one food that got me through this ordeal. Low carb cereal. That not really what it’s called, it’s just what I named it to distinguish it from all the sugary crap cereal that I have.


Here’s the recipe:

2 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup silvered almonds
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup sesame seeds raw
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut oil

Warm honey and coconut on stove top until melted together. Mix dry ingredients and oil and honey together. Pour out on a jelly roll pan with a silpat mat. Spread out.
Bake 45 minutes on 300; stir every 15 minutes. Let the cereal cool completely before you put it in an airtight container.

I’ve been making a batch every weekend!

I must give cred where cred is due- my friend Martha altered this recipe for the girls in my class before she shared it, so thank you Martha!!


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Best. Cereal. Ever. No Joke.

I’m addicted to this stuff, and as you can see I made a little yoghurt bowl out of it. I have also enjoyed it with a few splashes of almond milk, which by the way… have any of you seen this in the store?

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Thank you again Gucci Kroger, for getting the Hint of Honey Almond Milk not long after I first heard of it. This stuff rocks.


Have you guys ever tried making your own cereal?

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Give a Little, Feed A Lot!


This week’s blog is slightly different than other blogs I’ve done previously. While I love sharing with you tips on how to incorporate healthy food choices during your daily lives, I believe it is crucial to give back to those in need so they can try to live a healthier life as well.

Food insecurity is a major issue that affects millions daily. In the U.S. alone, 1 in 4 children go hungry every day. A child that does not consume enough nutrients can have health issues, decreased physical development, and can suffer from negative effects on emotional and intellectual growth. Hunger not only affects children negatively, it also has a huge impact on our seniors.

Statistics show that 1 in 6 seniors go hungry every day. In West Virginia and Kentucky alone, there are a least 78,800 seniors that are living in poverty. Studies have shown that over 80% of seniors have at least one chronic health condition, thus calling for specific diets and/or medications to treat their illness. With high rates of poverty and chronic illnesses among our seniors, some are forced to choose where they spend their finances. According to Feeding America, 30% of seniors have no other option than to choose between food and their medications and 35% have to choose between food and utilities.


With so many suffering and in need, how can we help? By giving back! For every dollar that is donated to the Facing Hunger Food Bank located in Huntington, WV, seven meals can be distributed. That right! One dollar= seven meals. If you don’t have funds to donate, offer your time. You can volunteer at the food bank one time or volunteer on a regular basis. Another fun activity that helps is to create a food drive/fund competition between you and your friends.

For more information about the Facing Hunger Food Bank, please visit


If you are a member of the Marshall University community and are experiencing food insecurity, please visit the Marshall University Food Pantry located in the Student Center Basement. Their hours are Tuesday and Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM. They are there to provide food and grocery products.

So this month is all about giving back! I challenge you to donate your time, funds or a non-perishable food item. There will be a barrel in Prichard Hall on the 3rd floor by the elevator on September the 24th and 25th. Create a contest among your group of friends and donate! Don’t be vicious, TAKE ACTION and help someone else stay nutritious! – Christina

What have you done to help fight hunger?

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My weekly dilemma: To cook or not to cook. To cook.

I am in no way a chef, and because of that, I try to find recipes that are quick and easy. One of my newest finds is a YUMMY mango and black bean salsa that you can put over grilled chicken or eat with whole wheat tortilla chips. Both of which are really good for you!

For the chicken, I just grilled a chicken breast with a little salt, pepper, and garlic salt. If you want to marinate the chicken, that’s cool too, but I would recommend keeping it simple because the salsa is A LOT of flavor.

This particular salsa recipe came from, but I altered it a little bit for my personal taste.



Black Bean Mango Salsa

Ingredients (makes about 2 ½ cups):

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

2 tablespoons lime juice (to taste)

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt, to taste

1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced (more like 1 ½ for me)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

1 jalapeño, chopped (keep seeds if you want it spicy)

**I nixed the jalapeño for red peppers because I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy food. You could really use any variation of pepper depending on the amount of heat you want.



In a medium bowl, combine the red onion, lime juice, olive oil and season with salt, to taste. Mix well then combine with the remaining ingredients; refrigerate until ready to serve.

**This is the best part because all it requires you to do is chop veggies and mix everything together!



How do you feel about mangos? Have you ever made your own salsa?

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Tailgating the Healthy Game!

Last weekend a storm swept through Oxford, OH as the Miami (OH) RedHawks felt the ground beneath them shake. They were quickly left thunder struck (pun intended) by our own Thundering Herd. I am not an ESPN commentator or a football guru, but with a big win of 42-27, I do know that a celebration is in order!

For years, thousands of people have joined forces to build communities and support for their favorite teams. Parents, students, siblings, professors, and athletic lovers come together to boost team spirit before the big game. The most effective and reliable way to build a strong unit of support is to have a pre-game party…the glorious tailgating party!

When it comes to tailgating, you might think of a of college students burning couches and overindulging on alcoholic beverages. Granted most tailgate parties have games that incorporate alcohol, such as flip cup or beer pong. But, this doesn’t stand true to all team supporters on game day. A lot of people enjoy celebrating by cooking out, socializing and listening to music. There are multiple festivities that take place when it comes to tailgating and most tailgaters attend the game with a full tummy!

When thinking of foods that are typically served at tailgates, the most common foods are hamburgers, hotdogs, baked beans and cold salads, such as potato salad or coleslaw. Oh, I almost forgot, those little pigs in a blanket and hot wings. The majority of game day foods are high in saturated fat and sodium, leaving us feeling bloated and sluggish. Needless to say if the Herd consumed these food choices on game day the outcome might have been different. Even fans need food choices that make them feel like winners!

Here are some recipes for dishes to help you ‘Tailgate the Healthy Game’


Buffalo Chicken Dip



· 10 oz. can of 98% fat-free white chicken

· 8 oz. (1 block) fat-free cream cheese

· ½ cup chopped green bell pepper

· ¼ cup chopped red onion

· ½ cup Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wings sauce

· ¼ cup shredded skim-milk cheddar cheese


Chop bell peppers and onions; drain can of chicken. Blend all ingredients except the shredded cheese. Spread the mixture into an oven safe baking dish and top off with the shredded cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until top is brown. Allow to slightly cool, serve with celery sticks, carrots, pretzels and/or your favorite whole grain chips.


7 Layer Dip



· 1 can black beans

· 1 cup avocado

· 1 cup salsa

· 1 lime

· 1 cup Greek yogurt

· ½ teaspoon Chipotle Chile powder

· 1 teaspoon garlic

· 1 teaspoon cumin

· ½ cup shredded skim-milk cheddar cheese

· 1 tomato diced

· ½ cup chopped cilantro


Drain and rinse black beans, puree with ½ cup salsa, chipotle powder, cumin, garlic and cilantro. Mix chopped avocado with lime juice; wash and chop tomato. In individual cups or 9×9 dish, layer beans, avocado, Greek yogurt, and salsa. Top with shredded cheese and tomatoes. Eat with your favorite pita, whole grain chip or vegetable.

Cold veggie pizza, fruit kabobs and fresh zucchini guacamole are other great party dishes! As you prepare for the next game day event remember this, if your team doesn’t win, things could get vicious, but during the pre-game you can stay nutritious!

What is your favorite tailgating dish?

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The College Experience…Health and Wellness Style

College is a time of freedom, for some, it’s the first time they’ve made decisions solely on their own. With freedom comes great responsibility…..and no, this isn’t a blog about schoolwork or academics….I’m talking about FOOD, HEALTH, and WELLNESS (fun topics). All of which have direct effects on mental health and success in school.


College Students’ Favorite Unhealthy Behaviors

**Let me preface this by saying I am a college student, and I am guilty of all these behaviors at one point or another. But I think it’s important to acknowledge that they really can hurt you in the long run, and the whole “I’m a college student with freedom” thing can be used to your advantage in a healthy way. And it’s never too late to start leading a healthier lifestyle!


1. Lack of Sleep: studying late, partying late, the dreaded “all-nighter”

2. Stress: Obviously, there is no way to avoid stress in college. IMPOSSIBLE. But you have to learn how to manage your stress (when/how do you accomplish tasks best)

3. Poor eating habits: If you have a university meal plan, dining options seem endless. With so many options, sometimes it’s hard to choose the healthy, nutritious options you need to be well. Plus, with all the fast food restaurants so close to campus, of course, it makes sense to make late-night runs for cheeseburgers and tacos. But try to limit your fast food intake and focus on getting your veggies and fruits…it will help you in the long run.


Tips From A Former Unhealthy Student

1. Find a workout/exercise plan that works for you and stick to it! Exercise is amazing at improving your mood, reducing stress, improving brain health, and helping with quality of sleep. The Rec Center is in such a convenient location on campus that it makes the workout process even easier. Plus, the Rec offers so many workout options no matter your interests that everyone can find a physical activity that works for them. #FindYourFit

2. Sleep. Is. Necessary. I get that issues pop up that work against your sleep pattern, and I know the weekends are more about having fun than sleeping, but if you can keep up with a 7-8 hour/night sleep schedule as much as possible, you will benefit, I promise. Also if you like to take naps like me, limit them to under an hour and don’t take them too late at night.

3. Nutrition/Food. It’s hard to stay super healthy in college, but you can do it. First, keep up with your vitamins, so you’re still getting nutrients you aren’t getting from dining hall food. Consume fruits and vegetables as much as possible. Most importantly, drink lots of water!


I modeled a lot of these tips off of a blog I recently read called “Student Health and Wellness Guide” from Online Colleges. It goes into more detail on nutrition, bad habits, and staying healthy in college. I recommend you all check it out!

Click here to visit the Blog!


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