Author Archives: Marilyn Magaram Center, Registered Dietitian

Sodium: There Can Be Too Much of a Good Thing

By: Nikki Vaspra, B.S.N., CSUN Dietetic Intern Cohort 2019-2020

Sodium is an essential nutrient that is involved in the regulation of fluid and electrolyte balance in the body, along with blood pressure. Sodium balance in the body is influenced by water and regulated by the kidneys. Some people may consume too much, however, leading to a variety of health issues like kidney disease, gastric cancer, osteoporosis, and hypertension.1

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That’s My Jam: Fit Jam and Matador Marmalade

By: Jason Garvin, CSUN Dietetic Intern Cohort 2019-2020

Image Credit: Marilyn Magaram Center

Looking for a sweet spread without all the added sugar and calories? The Marilyn Magaram Center (MMC) has two new concoctions to tempt your palate! First up is the Matador Marmalade, which has been reformulated as a reduced sugar option. This tasty spread is filled with Valencia oranges hand-picked from CSUN’s own historic Orange Grove!1 The Orange Grove predates the establishment of the university in 1958 and has been a fixture on the campus ever since.1 Sustainability is always at the forefront of everything we do here at CSUN, and this marmalade continues that tradition. MMC Director Dr. Annette Besnilian states, “Matador Marmalade was created out of the idea that a product made by students, for students, could generate school spirit and add to the university’s great legacy.”2 This is one of the MMC’s finest products and definitely expands on our legacy.

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Should You Go Organic?

By Alejandra Gordillo, MS, DTR

Organic produce has become increasingly popular to purchase due to its perceived health benefits. There are many assumptions that due to its organic label, it is more beneficial to human health. There is currently no strong evidence that shows that organic produce is any more nutritious than conventionally-grown produce. However, there are several factors as to why a person may choose to buy organic. 

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Diet and Recipe Analysis

By: Karim Damji, CSUN Dietetic Intern

Image: VICUSCHKA/Shutterstock

If you are considering changing your diet, it is important to get a clear picture of what your current diet looks like. However, this can be quite a challenging task. Try this challenge: list every single item and portion you consumed yesterday. That includes the bite sized candy in the afternoon, the teaspoon of sugar you added in your coffee, and the two slices of cheddar cheese in your sandwich. Relying on memory may not give you an accurate picture of your diet. This is why food diaries are ideal; they take memory out of the equation. Even better, 3-day recalls allow individuals to be able to record 2 weekdays, and a weekend, representing a complete picture of their diet. Additionally, 3-day recalls have been shown to be a more accurate picture of diet than a traditional food frequency questionnaire1.

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Thrive with Diabetes

By: Sophia Villicana, CSUN Dietetic Intern

Image: Kateryna Novikova/Shutterstock

What if I said, if you learn how to self-manage your diabetes you reduce your risk of further complications? Living with type 2 diabetes can be challenging when you are on your own, but with further education and support it can be adapted into your lifestyle. “About 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes and 114 million are at risk for developing the devastating complications.”1 Reduce the chance of being one of those 114 million people by learning about diabetes and how to cope with it. After being diagnosed with diabetes an educator comes in and briefly teaches you about foods you cannot eat, how to monitor your blood glucose, and then they are out the door. Does this sound familiar? Having in-depth education is essential when being diagnosed with diabetes or any other disease since it does require self-care.

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Cooking At Home

Image: Toa Heftiba/Unsplash

By: Nadia Bedrosian, CSUN Dietetic Intern

Cooking at home is an excellent way to save money on food and can be beneficial to your health. When you cook at home you are able to adjust ingredients to meet your taste preferences and health needs.

Still, there can be barriers to cooking at home. Researchers found that university students were found to enjoy cooking and eating with roommates, but felt barriers to cooking included: limited culinary experience, limited access to healthy ingredients, limited finances, and limited time. 1 

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Nutrition Counseling with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

By: Evangeline (Minying) Li, CSUN Dietetic Intern

Image: LanaSweet/Shutterstock

Diet plays an essential role in chronic disease prevention and management. Nutrition counseling can help individuals meet their health goals and improve conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.1 The Marilyn Magaram Center (MMC) offers a variety of products and services to promote health and nutrition. Today, we are going to explore one of the most popular services at the MMC – Nutrition Counseling. 

Nutrition Counseling is a personalized one-on-one counseling session with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). RDNs are health professionals that are knowledgeable in nutritional science, medical nutrition therapy and food science.2 

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Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes

By: Bryan Rosales, CSUN Dietetic Intern


According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over eighty-four million Americans are currently diagnosed with prediabetes. That is 1 out of every 3 adults, and from those 84 million, 9 out of 10 have no clue that they have it. This occurs due to prediabetes, in general, not having signs or symptoms. If the individual does not improve their lifestyle habits, they run the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) within 5 years of being diagnosed as a prediabetic. Being prediabetic means that your blood glucose (sugar) level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be considered T2D, and if properly managed, could be reversed back to a normal range. Consequently, once an individual has reached a diagnosis of T2D, they are required to purchase the necessary medication that was an estimated $7,900 per person in the year of 2012.1

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Dandelion Greens: An Urban Delicacy

By: Jason Garvin, CSUN Dietetic Intern

Image: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Move over kale, there’s a new powerhouse green in town! Kale has long been the go-to leafy green for healthy eaters, but research shows that the dandelion plant (taraxacum officinale) may pack equal amounts of nutrients.1 The sustainability and weed-like disposition of the dandelion is what makes it an intriguing option as a food source. The dandelion plant grows easily in many climates and can readily be found in urban settings.2 This is no ordinary weed though, nutrient density testing shows high levels of B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, carotenoids, and xanthophylls.1,3 Some other greens still pack more nutrient density than the dandelion, but those plants may not grow with the same ease and likely cannot be harvested from the confines of your front yard!

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Small Changes Add Up to Big Achievements

By: Nadia Bedrosian, CSUN Dietetic Intern

Image: Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock

You’ve seen it before, friends and family doting themselves to a new routine at the start of the new year, month, or on a Monday. They say, “Tomorrow is a new day, I will start then.” Whether it’s a fitness routine or a nutrition routine most people jump in head first with an all or nothing mindset. If making drastic changes was easy, there wouldn’t be such a market for gimmicky weight loss plans.

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