Category Archives: Diets

Plant-Based Nutrition, by Mackenzie Brenner, UNCG Nutrition Student

The adoption of a plant-based diet is ever increasing as the infinite list of benefits becomes more clear through research and personal experience. Whether it is decreasing greenhouse gas emissions or to consume more fiber and lower cholesterol, there are many reasons why someone might consider eliminating ultra-processed foods along with meat and dairy products. A plant-based diet consists of plant foods that are in their natural form and have undergone little-to-no processing. Nuts, beans, seeds, vegetables, fruits all contain not one, but an abundance of nutrients and benefits.

What’s all the hype about?

Nutrient-dense meals are the best choices for optimal nutrition, which is certain to be achieved if the meal is based on plants! All plants contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. Eating meals full of plants means becoming full with regular portion sizes, optimal nutrient levels, and maintaining a healthy weight.

How does a plant-based diet affect the #1 killer in the U.S.? It eliminates it. Plant-based nutrition is the ONLY diet proven to reverse heart disease! Along with CVD, research suggests improvements in:



High Cholesterol

Fatty-liver disease

Lung disease


Kidney Disease

Type II Diabetes

Things to consider:

-Vitamin B12 supplement is the only nutrient that must be supplemented. This can be done in vitamin form or in milks such as rice, almond, oat, or cashew milk.

-Fruits and vegetables contain lots of water, and will quickly make you full. Be sure to regularly hydrate throughout the day to achieve around 8 – 11 8-oz. cups of water to avoid dehydration.

-Get a variety of macronutrients by choosing from fats of avocado, nuts, and seeds. Get carbohydrates and fiber from grains such as oats, quinoa, barley, and brown rice. Achieve both fruits and vegetables by adding your favorites to meals in new ways!

Tips and suggestions:

*The free app “Daily Dozen” provides a checklist and suggestions in the various groups of berries, vegetables, grains, nuts, and water to display what you are getting enough of and what you need more of in your day of eating.


2 tablespoons chia seeds + 1 cup of almond milk = chia seed pudding

½ baked sweet potato + 2 Tbsp almond butter + ¼ cup berries = sweet potato toast


Chickpea Quinoa Bowl


*Personal favorite: Southwestern Avocado Salad


· 1 avocado, halved

· 1 clove garlic

· ½ teaspoon salt

· ½ teaspoon pepper

· ¼ cup olive oil

· 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro

· 1 lime, juiced


· 1 head lettuce, chopped

· 1 cup bell pepper, chopped

· ¼ cup fresh cilantro

· 15 oz black beans, 1 can

· ½ cup red onion, chopped

· 15 oz corn, 1 can

· ¼ cup scallion

· ¾ cup tomato, chopped


1. Add all dressing ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth.

2. In a large bowl add lettuce, peppers, cilantro, beans, onion, corn, green onion, and tomatoes.

3. Top with prepared dressing; toss to coat.

Begin your journey today!


Chickpea Quinoa bowl:

Soutwestern salad: dressing

Keep it Light When You Light the Grill by Lisa Johnson, RD.

Grilling season officially kicked-off last Memorial Weekend. Most of us love this time of year when the days are long, and we can be outdoors whipping up a quick meal after hours. Thankfully, grilling techniques have evolved so that we have learned to grill much more than ribs, burgers, and steaks. Now, entire meals are… Continue Reading

It’s Time to Give Bean Pasta a Try! by Cari Culp, RD

Legume pasta is all the rage these days and rightfully so! I have been having so much fun with it in the kitchen. I am frequently asked if veggie (tri-colored) pasta or whole wheat pasta is better than regular pasta. Well the answer is, not really. There is not much difference in the ingredients, total… Continue Reading

Magnesium, A Mighty Mineral by Lisa Johnson, RD

Magnesium shines as one of the body’s most essential minerals. It cofactors over 300 bodily functions to aid with bone health, blood pressure regulation, insulin sensitivity, heart health, colon health, and brain health. Deficiencies have been linked with depression as well as attention deficit disorder and sadly over 60% of the US population are deficient… Continue Reading

Ways to Eat More Vegetables by Lisa Johnson, RD

Spring has sprung which means the garden-fresh vegetable selections will be more plentiful. And, most people adapt to warmer months by lightening their load when it some to food choices. Spring cleaning isn’t just for our environment we know! The benefits of a lifestyle high in vegetables are well established. Any healthcare professional will encourage… Continue Reading

Cortisol, Inflammation, and Dietary Lifestyle by Lisa Johnson, RD

Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal glands in response to stress. The purpose of cortisol is to provide immediate blood glucose to fuel a “fight or flight” encounter. Under short-term stressful events including exercise, cortisol is a friendly hormone that aids your body’s adaption. The negative results from elevated cortisol levels occur… Continue Reading

Traditional Soda Bread Revised by Lisa Johnson, RD

Besides being a yeast-free alternative to bread, soda breads are very quick and easy to make. And, they can be quite nutritious. My favorite is a whole-grain, high-fiber bread made with whole wheat flour, oatmeal, bran, and flax meal. It takes 50 minutes from start to finish and is delicious any way you serve it,… Continue Reading

Freedom with Food by Lisa Johnson, RD

As we enter this new year, I want to address the importance of effective goal-setting. In order to stay on track in achieving positive outcome, you must clearly define your goals, and revisit them often. A common error in setting goals for health and wellness is making them results based. For instance, if my goal… Continue Reading

Healthy Bites For This Busy Holiday Season and Beyond, by Lisa Johnson, RD

By the time you read this, the doors have swung open and the race is on! The last few weeks of each year tend to be the most frantic as we aim to complete deadlines, strategize for the coming year, and celebrate where we’ve come with an abundance of food and giving. It’s a wonderful… Continue Reading

A Must Share by Lisa Johnson, RD

When you discover something that works, you must share. One of my new favorite meal-snack staples is a baked oatmeal casserole. Overnight oats became a rage because people need quick and healthy breakfast options. When preparing for the Mediterranean class, I discovered another baked version that I prefer. This healthy alternative makes a satisfying high… Continue Reading