Writing Samples


Karpinkski, Christine. Sports Nutrition: A Handbook for Professionals. 2017. Print.

Greger, Micheal, MD. How Not to Die. 2015. Print

Norris, Jack and Messina, Virgina. Vegan for Life. 2011. Print

United States Department of Agriculture Nutrition Database. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/ Accessed June 27th, 2020.

Brandi makes sure her boy

gets plenty of water.

Water: Are You Getting Enough?
-by Brandi Givens, RDN, IBCLC

It’s warming up outside! Now is a great time to focus on keeping your family well hydrated. Many liquids and foods can count toward daily fluid needs, but water is almost always the best choice.

Many of us are dehydrated, and we don’t even know it. Dehydration can cause:

  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Crankiness
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Heart rate changes
  • Dizziness

How much is enough?

It’s important to drink whenever you feel thirsty. Some people don’t feel thirst, so it’s good to know general guidelines. Healthy liquids like water, milk, and 100% juice, and juicy foods including melons, cucumbers, applesauce, pears, grapes, kiwi, berries, oranges, peaches, and yogurt can count toward these recommendations:


IOM’s Adequate Intake of Liquid

1-7 year old child

About  5 ½-7 cups

Pregnant Moms

About  10-12 cups

Lactating Moms

About  16 cups


About  13 cups


About  9 cups

Many parents are using these fun ideas to help their kids enjoy drinking water:

  • Use fun-shaped ice cube trays – kids love to “make” ice (for young kids who could choke on ice, use a cup with a lid or straw.)
  • Freeze 100% juice-cubes to add to water
  • Keep a colorful pitcher of cold water in the fridge
  • Add fruit or cucumber slices to iced water
  • Let your child pick out a special cup or water bottle for water only
  • Offer a reusable straw with the water
  • Model, model, model! If your kids see you drinking water, they’re likely to drink it too!

Are you worried about getting enough electrolytes while being active in the heat? Keep in mind that water is still the best choice during short spurts of moderate exercise. Sports drinks will add calories which can possibly lead to unwanted weight gain. For most people, these drinks are only a good idea when exercising vigorously for over an hour. 


Dietary reference intakes for water, potassium, sodium, chloride and sulfate. Institute of Medicine. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/DRI//DRI_Water/73-185.pdf. Accessed March 2, 2010.

“Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day?” Mayo Clinic. 12 Oct 2011.

Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition, a dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Exercise Hydration. ADA, 2013. PDF





Healthy Bellies Right from the Start -by Brandi Givens, RD, IBCLC

New information about healthy bacteria in our bodies has led to interest in how the “good bugs” got there in the first place. We now know that vaginal delivery is an important first source; mom’s breastmilk is the second source, which can lead to a healthier immune system for a lifetime!

Probiotics- The Good Bugs

Recent studies have shown that human milk contains countless probiotics and other microbes including lactic acid bacteria, Immunoglobulin A, and bifidobacteria. These organisms support immune systems when babies are tiny and protect them from chronic illnesses later in life, benefits that  last well into adulthood.

Prebiotics- Food and Protection for the Good Bugs

Like any other living thing, our helpful bacteria need food too. The prebiotics found in breastmilk, specifically the oligosaccharides, help babies develop a healthy gut flora by:

  • Feeding the good bacteria
  • Blocking bad bacteria from attaching to baby’s intestines
  • Binding to harmful bacteria and toxins so that they can’t enter the rest of baby’s body

Do breastfed babies need probiotic supplementation?

Probiotic supplements are being added to many foods, including foods for infants and young children. This has led some moms to wonder if they should give probiotic supplements to their exclusively breastfed infants. A healthy breastfed infant gets all the probiotics needed from mother’s milk so there is no need to supplement.


Prebiotics in Human Milk: A Review.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17259094

The Prebiotic and Probiotic Properties in Human Milk: Implications for Infant Immune Development and Pediatric Asthma: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6095009/

Infant Microbiome Development: Mom Matters https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464665/

Mood and Food -by Brandi

Studies show that people who eat healthfully, feel better mentally. While no food is a replacement for therapy or medication when needed, eating a diet rich in the nutrients below may help with prevention of depression.

Healthy Fats: Healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids help the brain and nervous system run smoothly. Best Bet Foods: Walnuts, Flax Seed Meal, Sardines, and Salmon. Ask your WIC staff for a list of the safest fish to eat during pregnancy and beyond.  

Water: One symptom of dehydration is feeling tired, which can affect your mood. Best Bet: Water is best, but most drinks help including milk and juice. Pregnant and nursing moms require extra fluids.

Carbohydrates: Carbs have gotten a bad reputation because of recent fad diets. While certain populations may benefit from these diets, our brains are designed to use carbohydrates for fuel. Choosing carbohydrates which are high in fiber helps keep blood sugar steady, which can help us avoid mood swings. Best Bet Foods: Fruit, Whole Grains, and Vegetables.

Wide variety of Vitamins and Minerals: In some studies, people with depression have been found to be depleted of several vitamins and minerals. Our bodies process these nutrients best when they come from food. Scientists think that there are a great number of nutrients in food that we haven’t discovered yet. Think about your vitamin supplement as a back-up plan, not as your main source of nutrients. Best Bet: A plant-strong, varied diet, using the MyPlate model as a simple guide.


Mediterranean diet, stroke, cognitive impairment, and depression: A Meta Analysis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23720230

Effect of Change in Mood in High and Low Water Drinkers: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3984246/ 

Understanding Nutrition, Depression, and Mental Illness. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/

Brussels sprouts and exercise both help improve Brandi's mood.