Ask A Nutritionist

Hey everyone, welcome back here today with my mom asking her 7 questions I have always wanted to ask. Please remember these are her opinions and what she has learned in her training.

Here’s Ask A Nutritionist

by Gabby & Mom (Carole)

  1. What is clean eating?

Some people believe it is a fad, that avoiding processed foods and eating only whole foods (unprocessed and unrefined) will offer certain benefits. Eating clean for some also excludes gluten, some grains, and dairy products; it also advocates using foods in its most natural state (Raw), now known as Raw foodism.

2. Why do people think they need dairy? Any replacements?

The general consensus in nutritional research is that diary is not necessary for most diets for optimal health, however mostly because of the way we were raised believes it is the easiest way to get the calcium, vitamin D, and protein the body needs. Numbers and taste are what some people look for when thinking about what can replace milk; in one cup of milk, there is approx. 149 calories, which breaks down to 8 grams of protein, and 8grams of fat. Alternatives such as Almond milk has approx. 39 calories, 1 gram of protein, and 2.5 g of fat. Soy Milk, with as much protein as whole milk, is also another choice recommended. Coconut milk used in cooking is most countries, is also very popular. Other options are rice, hemp, oat flax, cashew, and even tiger nut milk (not a nut but an edible tuber used for centuries in some ancient cultures).

3. How much should you eat in a day?

This is always the question of every generation. Growing up, we were told three meals a day, for healthy bones, then came counting calories which you consume according to your age, height, etc., so many factors including what medications you take. Then six small meals with two snacks! So what is an optimal meal? The science behind it has to do with metabolism, the thermic effect of food. So for all intended purposes, let your body direct your need for food. Eating correctly may help prevent many diseases of the body. So seek a certified nutritionist, keep a diary of what you eat, and when, that will also help you to understand what works best for you.

4. Can you eat too many fruits and vegetables? 

I want to scream no….. but in fact, you can. It is like a cake. Too much of a good thing can affect your health. You will have to take a considerable amount to see any ill effects seriously, but it is still not recommended. It is highly suggested that you have no more than 2 cups of fruit per day for your nutritional needs. Calorie wise certain starchy vegetables(such as potatoes, yams, corn, and beans) are harder to overeat, but for the other, go for it.

5. How much is too much caffeine? Any replacements?

According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 mg (4 cups) of caffeine, a day appears to be safe for a most healthy adult.  There are so many replacements, and it is easier to google than to try and name them all. I like a lovely Chai tea; I read about Golden milk, a very refreshing blend of ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and black pepper.

6. Are fermented foods good for your heart?

 There are hot health topics, and the results of the research have been promising. From reading the Healthline and what I have learned, it contains beneficial probiotics that can improve digestion, immunity, and even weight loss. The bacteria in our gut are essential for our health. Foods such as Sauerkraut, kimchi the refrigerated kind in-store have more probiotics, but there are many recipes online to make your own. Kefir, a fermented milk drink, is a drinkable yogurt full of calcium and probiotics, great for folks with lactose intolerance. Kombucha, Miso, and Tempeh are others to name a few. Please do your research.

7. Is meat essential?

I am not sure I am equipped to answer this question; I recently read an article entitled Meat: good or bad written by Dr. Spritzler; the paper looked at the health benefits and potential risks of eating Meat. As a ‘vegan in training’ for almost 20 years, I will ask you to do your research and find what works best for you. It was a choice that worked best for me. From low iron to dizzy spells, there are plenty of iron replacements.

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