Happy Monday, friends and followers! Today, I’m back with a two part series that I think (hope!) that you will really enjoy. I reached out to some of my clients and friends and also spent some time thinking and today I’m here to share the questions that I get most as a nutritionist. What are the things I get asked about time and time again? What are some common misconceptions about health, wellness, weight-loss and nutrition?
I know you don’t all have easy access to someone like me and I also know that google can be overwhelming, and sometimes misleading. I’m here to help. I figured if it’s a question I’ve received over and over again, you might be interested in learning the answers too. You know where to find me if you have any additional follow up questions. Xx Janine
Q: Are fresh vegetables better for you than frozen vegetables? I’m constantly buying frozen vegetables like broccoli, peas and green beans to serve my family more quickly but I’m wondering if one is more “healthy” than the other?
A: Don’t fear the frozen! The nutritional value of frozen fruits and vegetables is absolutely comparable to that of fresh and in some cases, may even be higher. Produce that is frozen is processed immediately after harvesting so nutrient losses after picking is very minimal and depending on the produce, freezing an item may actually preserve some of the nutrient value and increase the availability of some nutrients to the body.
I LOVE having loads of frozen fruits and veggies stocked up in my freezer for easy access to making healthy soups, roasted veggies and smoothies. Ditch the misconception that frozen produce doesn’t stand up to fresh and stock up! Think about the wide variety of fruits and vegetables that you have access to year round thanks to the frozen produce section. An added bonus is that shopping the frozen produce section is economical too!
I do like to remind my client of one thing when choosing frozen fruits and veggies and that is to read labels carefully! Be sure that there is ONLY fruit or vegetables on the label and no added salt or sugar!
Q: What is the most important thing to keep in mind when grocery shopping?
A: This is a great question and a really important one to touch on because let’s face it, if you shop right, you will eat right!!! The first place to start is to NEVER, EVER shop hungry. We’ve all been there in aisle 4, starving and salivating and we’ve all made a stupid impulse purchase a time or two. If you must shop when you’re starving, I tell my clients to pack a little bag of nuts, a healthy snack to crunch on and get you through your shopping so that you can think clearly and make healthy choices.
A huge tip I also give my clients is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Think about it, all along the perimeter of the grocery store you find things like fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, fish. Fill your cart with foods you find on the perimeter and try to stay away from the center aisles where all the processed and packaged foods exist for the majority of the time.
Read labels and stock up 100% real foods. Choose 100% fruit juice, 100% whole grain. The fewer additives the better! I like to tell my clients to focus on purchasing items that contain less than five ingredients, no artificial ingredients and no ingredients that they can’t pronounce.
Lastly, take your children shopping. Teach them how important it is to make healthy choices. Let them be a part of the meal planning process. Let them see that usually the processed foods that target children are the LEAST healthy choice and why. The obesity epidemic in this country is out of control and I truly believe that if we teach our children very early on how to make healthy choices, it truly will help!
Q: Do think that cutting carbs is the key to weight-loss?
A: This is not an easy question! Without getting too technical and scientific and boring you all to death, I’ll give it a shot. High protein, low carb diets like KETO, Atkins, etc. cause rapid weight loss which really consists of the loss of lean muscle mass and lots of water. That of course looks great on the scale at first but is not a healthy road to weight loss.
Studies have shown that not only is the loss of lean muscle mass and water not healthy, it’s not a diet that most people can sustain for a long period of time. Therefore they fall off the wagon and immediately gain the weight they have lost back.
Most recently studies have shown that the greatest way to lose body fat, lose overall weight and maintain the weight loss is eating high quality carbs, good fats, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. I tell my clients all the time that a diet rich in “whole foods” and moderation is the key to success.
Carbs are not the devil! Remember you need carbs for your body to function correctly, you need carbs to lose weight, you need carbs to maintain your metabolism! However, you need quality carbs and proper portion sizes for your body and activity level.
A no carb diet will leave you feeling grumpy, tired, you will probably get a headache and that’s because your body is not receiving what it needs to function properly! Next week I will touch a little more on carbs and what I like to couple them with on a day to day basis but the short answer is that you need carbs to lose weight. It’s that simple. Make smart carb choices like fresh vegetables and fruits and whole grains and watch your portion size!
Q: What is the limit on the amount of sodium I should be consuming in one day? I often wake up swollen and puffy and even though I think I am eating “healthy”, I think I may be taking in too much sodium?
A: If you’ve been following along with me here for a while you know that I’ve had a serious issue with my blood pressure since I was 12 years old. As a child I was very ill and hospitalized because of it and therefore I have been living a very low sodium life almost forever!
First, sodium is an essential nutrient. But, vegetables and other natural foods easily provide the small amount of sodium you need on a daily basis. The thing about eating too much sodium is that you kind of know it right away. If you begin feeling swollen and bloated, your body is probably raising your blood pressure to push the excess fluid and salt out of your system. Too much salt leads to high blood pressure and high blood pressure can lead to stroke and heart attack.
I believe that ½ teaspoon of salt a day (maximum 1150 mg per day) is what our “normal” salt intake should look like. We can get most of this naturally from fruits, vegetables, lean meats and complex carbohydrates. If you’re serious about majorly lowering your salt intake. Google it. Check to see how much sodium a bowl of Greek yogurt has, etc. Read labels and stay within this perimeter.
I also tell my clients to STOP adding salt to their meals and to their cooking, and to order specifically when they dine out. Ask questions, tell waiters you are salt sensitive, ask them to make changes to your meal so that you feel better!
Because I have dealt with high blood pressure for so long I have learned how to live a delicious life without salt! Follow my cooking on Instagram, read my blog and you’ll see how delicious and easy living low salt can be!
Q: I know the importance of drinking water but I’m wondering if seltzer or carbonated water is as healthy and hydrating as regular flat water?
A: Yes! I love carbonated water and seltzer and yes it will hydrate you just as well as still water. But, there’s always a but, right? You have to be sure that the sparkling water that you are choosing is truly 100% water and carbonation and nothing else. No added sugars and flavorings, and no added sodium! You would be surprised to see that several seltzer companies add sodium to their water. Do your work and read the label!
I really love drinking seltzer water because sometimes getting all your water in on a daily basis is hard and lack luster! If you start to feel bloated or gassy on the carbonated water, drink it in moderation.
I’ll be back next week with part two of my most frequently asked questions. I hope you learned something today! Have a healthy week xx Janine