DASH Diet for Dummies® – An Interview With the Authors

DASH Diet for Dummies® - An Interview With the Authors

(Check out some recent info about DASH Is There a Best Diet? and The #1 Diet You Don’t Know About.)

It’s time for another Neily on Nutrition book series post together with Kristine James, featuring a book co-authored by my colleagues Cindy Kleckner, RDN, LD, FAND and Rosanne Rust, MS, RDN, LDN—DASH Diet for Dummies

Rosanne is co-author of several books in the John Wiley & Sons For Dummies® series, including DASH Diet for Dummies, Hypertension Cookbook for Dummies, Glycemic Index Cookbook For Dummies®, Calorie Counter Journal for Dummies®, and a chapter about Diet Quality and Sweeteners in the textbook Sucrose, Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, and Health.

Cindy has co-authored What’s Cooking at the Cooper Clinic and contributed nutrition chapters for Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper’s Overcoming Hypertension, Preventing Osteoporosis, and The New Aerobics for Women. She also co-authored (with Rosanne) Hypertension Cookbook for Dummies

Here is Kristine’s interview!

The book we are highlighting is DASH Diet for Dummies available in bookstores and Amazon.

What was your motivation?

Kristine: How has your professional experience as registered dietitian nutritionists and working with patients given you the motivation to write DASH Diet For Dummies®?

Rosanne: I believe knowledge is power. When a person is diagnosed with high blood pressure, or any form of heart disease or other diseases such as diabetes, understanding how the body works and what you can do to help yourself stay well is important.

I am fully aware of how much there is to know when a patient is diagnosed with a disease‎—and often, how much misinformation a patient has coming into the office. This motivated me to create information that is easy to understand, but comprehensive. I want consumers to have access to the facts. We collaborated with a cardiologist, so the book is the ultimate doctor’s visit with your Primary Care Physician! It’s everything your doctor wants you to know, but doesn’t have time to tell you.

DASH diet - penne pasta

Cindy’s Penne Pasta with Zucchini Yogurt Sauce and Walnuts

Cindy: When newly diagnosed, patients are hungry for information, for resources and how-to strategies for implementing the information. I was highly motivated to collaborate with my colleagues Rosanne Rust and Sarah Samaan to provide the most extensive information from medical background about the original clinical trials and medical information to practical tips on shopping and cooking.

The For Dummies® series provides all that and more from credible professionals. It’s wonderful to have one book to recommend patients providing information that is easy to read and implement.

Challenges people face with high blood pressure diagnosis

Kristine: What are two or three main challenges to eating well do people with high blood pressure face?

Cindy: Hearing a diagnosis from a physician and feeling they have to seek out information on how to deal with the challenges on their own. And misinformation. Many patients ask friends and family for advice and get so much conflicting information that they sometimes avoid making any necessary changes. Another challenge might be the person who primarily eats out in restaurants. They need guidance in making the best choices. Seeking out the

Chicken kabobs on the grill - awaiting Cindy's tzatziki sauce!

Chicken kabobs on the grill – awaiting Cindy’s tzatziki sauce!

services of a registered dietitian nutritionist would be most helpful.

Rosanne: Misinformation and lack of information. There are so many “sources” of diet information—television and radio shows, popular magazines—that skew the facts.

Everyone and anyone can comment about “diet” and the average person is bombarded with these soundbites every day, not to mention family “wives tales” or other thoughts on “the best diet”. So before one can make change in their diet, they have to accept much of what they thought was a heart-healthy diet, may or may not be true. It is a very small piece of the whole equation. Like most Americans, those with high blood pressure may have the biggest struggle with weight control.

What advice does the book offer to support optimal health?

Kristine: What advice does your book offer people with high blood pressure who hope to eat well to support optimal health?

Rosanne: Think about what to add to your diet, not what to take away! Often nutrition messages in popular media are very negative—“Don’t eat this” or messages imply that your diet must be “free” of something (fat-free, salt-free, gluten-free).

We want you to start thinking about adding foods to your diet, and encourage a lot of variety in what you eat—as well as learning how to include treats. Doesn’t a yogurt parfait sound good? Grilled beef and vegetable kabobs? A Chicken wrap with Peanut Sauce? French Market Frittata? Southwest Pasta Salad? There are lots of delicious choices on the DASH Diet, even when dining out.

Cindy: The primary message is a positive one—important foods to include and add to the diet as opposed to what to

In the kitchen with Cindy Kleckner

In the kitchen with Cindy Kleckner, co-author DASH Diet for Dummies and Hypertension Cookbook for Dummies

give up. This message resonates with all people to motivate positive behavior change. It incorporates a whole food approach that is widely available. An eating pattern focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. The ultimate goal is guiding the reader to long-term success.

Favorite DASH Diet tips

Kristine: Your book is loaded with such useful advice in bite-size pieces. What are some of your favorite tips?

Cindy: Ways to reduce stress and encourage positive thinking, tips for making goals that promote behavior change and having a food first mentality.


  1. It’s best to eat food, not take supplements or powders. Whole foods are very different from supplements, offering Mother Nature’s goodness in a balanced package.
  2. Breads contribute quite a bit of sodium to the diet. Processed items such as refrigerator rolls, baking mixes, frozen pie crusts, contribute even more.
  3. It’s not as hard as you think to include blood-pressure-lowering low fat dairy: Try a cup of 1% milk with breakfast, 6 ounces yogurt for a midday snack, a scoop of cottage cheese on your salad at lunch, and one scoop of frozen yogurt or ice cream for dessert after dinner.
  4. Our book covers grocery store tips including how to do DASH on a budget.
  5. A small amount of grated cheese can pump up the flavor of your veggies or side dishes.
  6. Roasting vegetables brings out the natural sugars—delicious and easy.
    We include lots of lunchbox tips too.
  7. How to plan ahead, and create easy lunches to-go.
Favorite super foods

Kristine: Neily’s philosophy is not based on ‘superfoods’ that many pseudo-nutritionists swear by, but more on super foods that make up a super diet. For example Neily can’t live without some things like milk and if she were to be deserted on an island that would be one thing she would want (of course, there is refrigeration on her island, her fantasy island). If you had access to only 3-5 things what would your choices be?

Cindy's Seared Scallops with Pistachio Sauce

Cindy’s Seared Scallops with Pistachio Sauce

Cindy: I enjoy all food but couldn’t live without seafood (perfect for island lifestyle) and fruit. I have to admit I love such a variety of food and would have a difficult time limiting myself to a few.

I enjoy flavor and lots of texture that provides satiety and a party in my mouth. I would have to have ingredients that make food taste fabulous like herbs, spices and aromatic vegetables.

Rosanne: Cheese, nuts, bread, and berries. I love cheese, and a hard cheese would keep a while—but maybe not on an island (unless it’s Neily’s fantasy island where there is refrigeration :)). Cheese contributes both protein and calcium, and requires no cooking! Nuts are high in protein, and fiber. They are an excellent high-energy snack—a little goes a long way.

I love good, crusty bread. So if I could have a variety of whole grain breads, and a good crusty French baguette available, I’d be set. Berries are loaded with vitamin C, potassium, and other phytochemicals—healthy substances found in deep-colored fruits and veggies. They also require no peeling, coring, or seeding, and have little to no waste.

And of course, you can’t live without water. Nothing beats it as a thirst-quencher. It’s best to include at least 3 glasses of plain water every day in addition to other calorie-free liquids you may consume—plain coffee, tea, diet soda, flavored waters.

Kristine: Thank you so much Cindy and Rosanne for the interview! Again, Cindy’s and Rosanne’s book, DASH Diet for Dummies

We also like to feature some of the recipes from Cindy from some of Neily’s previous blogs. Please see the links below for some delicious and healthy recipes. Also click on the pictures above and they’ll take you to the posts.

Author Rosanne Rust

Rosanne Rust profile picMeet Rosanne Rust, a registered, licensed dietitian-nutritionist with nearly 30 years of experience across a broad scope of practice in the nutrition field. As a Nutrition Communications Consultant, Rosanne aims to help consumers make sense of science by creating reasonable messages that can help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Rosanne’s specialty areas include cardiovascular health, weight management, and sugar science.

Author Cindy KlecknerCindy Kleckner profile pic

Meet Cindy Kleckner, a registered and licensed dietitian and culinary expert for the Cooper Fitness Center Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas. Cindy helps clients improve diet and enjoy optimal health by combining the science of nutrition with the art of culinary in Cooper’s state-of-the-art Teaching Kitchen. She is an Adjunct Professor and teaches Nutrition at the Collin College Institute for Hospitality and Culinary Education.

A specialist in cardiovascular, corporate wellness, weight management, sports and culinary nutrition, Cindy received her Bachelor of Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and completed her dietetic internship at Texas Health Resources (formerly Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas).

She is a former President of the Dallas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic and Media Spokesperson of the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Cindy is active in her profession in many specialty groups, including Food and Culinary Professionals, Nutrition Entrepreneurs and Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition Dietetic Practice Groups. Cindy was recently recognized by the Academy as a Fellow recognizing her professional accomplishments and commitment to the field of dietetics.

Cindy works individually with clients as a nutrition coach and in groups through her high energy presentations, culinary demonstrations and Kitchen Boot Camps to educate, inspire and entertain. Her passion is to translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for busy people to help motivate positive behavior change.

I hope you enjoyed the second Neily on Nutrition interview series—check back soon for the next one!

– Kristine James Kristine James Headshot


  1. Neva Cochran

    Great interview of two of my fave RDNs and friends, Kristine! Love this book.

    • Neily

      Super – glad you liked it Neva! Two of my favorite colleagues as well. Terrific book…and GREAT ‘diet.’


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