Meet the Bloggers

Nicci BDSC01219rown, MS, RD works as a nutrition communications specialist for FoodMinds, LLC in Chicago. She serves as the Assistant Blog Editor for CAND and has been a blog contributor since 2012. Nicci is a graduate of Rush University Medical Center’s combined Masters of Nutrition and Dietetic Internship and is also a proud graduate of The Ohio State University. Connect with Nicci on Twitter and Instagram (@NicciBrownRD) or, if you have any questions or comments or would like to be a student contributor to the CAND blog, feel free to contact her at  View all of Nicci’s posts here.

IMG_2307Liana Akkawi graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Benedictine University and completed her Dietetic Internship at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL. She serves on the board for South Suburban Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Chicago Food and Nutrition Network.  Liana has a passion for preventing illness and disease by practicing feasibly healthy and FUN eating habits. She also strongly believes in moderation rather than omitting major food groups. Liana currently works as a Medical Nutrition Specialist at Lincare Holdings Inc. in Willowbrook, IL.  When not working, she enjoys throwing together new recipes in the kitchen, traveling, biking along the Chicago lakefront when weather permits, and boxing. Feel free to contact Liana at


greeceMaggy Boyd is a nutrition graduate student at the University of Illinois- Chicago Masters Coordinated Program, studying to become a Registered Dietitian. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from the University of California- Los Angeles and performed as a NCAA student-athlete on the Women’s Diving Team. In addition, Maggy contributes her knowledge in the nutrition and fitness world through her website ( and Instagram (@Nutritiousfoodie), where she enjoys posting simple, creative, and healthy recipes.


KasKasiaia Ciaston currently works as a Clinical Dietitian at Loyola University Medical Center, specializing in work with kidney transplant candidates/recipients. Previously she worked as the Lead Dietitian for Lifetime Fitness in Vernon Hills. She is a graduate of Loyola University’s combined Master of Science and Dietetic Internship program. She completed her BS in dietetics and minor in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Champaign. Go Illini! Her special interests include physical fitness, metabolism, sports nutrition, weight management, GI disorders, nutrition support, and positive lifestyle modifications that can help prevent and/or manage disease. View all of Kasia’s posts here.

Kristen Johnson

Kristen Johnson, RD, LDN, ACE-PT is a graduate from Western Michigan University with Bachelor degrees in both Exercise Science and Dietetics. She has been a Certified Personal Trainer for over 6 years, helping individuals achieve their fitness goals along with a healthy lifestyle. Kristen completed her Dietetic Internship at Spectrum Health, Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2010. She is now working as a Registered Dietitian and Healthy Living Advisor at Meijer. Her goal at Meijer is to help consumers achieve a healthier and happier life through nutrition and exercise. Kristen is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as the Chicago Food & Nutrition Network. She also attends many community events in the local area creating relationships and partnerships with other health care professionals. Kristen loves to travel, experiment with healthy food in the kitchen, workout for fun, and spend time with family and friends. View all of Kristen’s posts here.



164918_10201136048427620_463801039_nNikki Nies is a dietetic intern and a May 2013 graduate of Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ with a degree in Nutrition and Food Science and a Concentration in Dietetics. She recently moved to the greater Chicago area to complete the combined dietetic internship and Master’s program at Benedictine University. She has developed a passion for educating others and increasing their awareness on everything nutrition. She loves that one does not have to trade flavor for health – there’s so many delicious, easy ways to incorporate fun meals into everyday life. If she can help shed light on small lifestyle changes people can make that will change their lives, that reward is immeasurable.



headshot 6Malak Saddy is a Registered Dietitian and works full time at Center for Discovery in Glenview, IL providing nutrition counseling to adolescents with eating disorders. She received her Bachelors of Science in Dietetics from Michigan State University and completed her dietetic internship at Keene State College in Keene, NH. She credits her mother, a “health nut,” for instilling the love of nutritious food in her and its importance to overall well-being. This nutritional awareness stuck with her and propelled her to become a Registered Dietitian. Malak has over five years experience in nutrition counseling, weight management, food cultures, and integrative nutrition education. She has traveled extensively around the world and appreciates different cultures. She is passionate about providing individualized nutrition care and counseling support to patients and clients of all age, while being compassionate and empathetic to their needs. View all of Malak’s posts here.


photoAnnica Shumny received her Bachelors of Science in Nutritional Science with a Certificate in Alternative Nutrition from California State University, Los Angeles and completed her dietetic internship and Master of Science in Dietetics from Loyola University Chicago. She passed her RD exam in July 2012 and now works for a clinical research organization in Chicago as a Registered Dietitian/Clinical Research Coordinator. Annica enjoys keeping up with the latest-and-greatest nutrition research, practicing moderation, brunch, and fiber. View all of Annica’s posts here.


tessTess Sutter is a recent graduate of the combined dietetic internship/Master’s program at Rush University Medical Center.  Tess currently works as a Registered Dietitian for US Foods in Rosemont, Illinois.  She is also involved in community based research.  Her main interests include corporate health and wellness and pediatric nutrition, specifically overweight and obese children.  Tess is into running and recently completed the Chicago Marathon.  When she is not working, she enjoys hanging out with her fluffy friend Chandler the cat. You can view all of Tess’s posts here.


Taylor WolframTaylor Wolfram serves as Manager of Evidence-Based Practice for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics where she manages EAL projects and is involved in a wide variety of research initiatives. She also sees private clients on her own time. She is passionate about plant-based nutrition, strength training, and getting in sunrise walks and runs along Lake Michigan. She loves ethnic food (Ethiopian and Vietnamese are her favorites) and enjoys cooking at home. She has one kitty and while she loves dogs equally, her city lifestyle will not allow a pup right now. Chicago is her favorite city and she is thankful to call it home! You can view all of Taylor’s posts here.