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Nutrition Q & A

Hi There πŸ™‚ Happy Wednesday!

I been receiving a lot of nutrition questions from readers so I decided to start a question and answer post. Per request, I am keeping those who ask the questions anonymous. If you have any questions for me… you can email me here πŸ™‚

Q: Is it important to take a daily multivitamin?

A: I view a multivitamin as a good insurance plan. It should not replace your daily intake of fruits and veggies, but it’s a great way to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.

Q: What made you decide to become a dietitian? I read about your struggle with food… is that why? What’s your educational background?

A: Ironically, my struggle with food and weight insecurities didn’t start until I was in college studying to become a dietitian. I decided to go into nutrition because of my strong family history of cancer and diabetes. I was diagnosed with a very rare form of ovarian cancer at the very young age of 9. After a year of chemotherapy treatment, I am very happy to be in remission for 24 years now. Growing up, I wanted to do everything I could to make sure the cancer never came back. That’s where my love of nutrition came in. I learned on my own that proper diet and exercise was and still is the best preventative medicine out there! I still carry that passion today and am grateful that I get to share my knowledge each day. As far as my educational background goes, I have a bachelor’s degree in Food & Nutrition Science from Texas A&M – Kingsville and a masters degree in Clinical Nutrition from Texas Women’s University. I completed my dietetic internship in Houston, Texas.

Q: I struggle with a large appetite and feeling hungry most of the day. I eat whole grains, healthy fats, adequate protein, and drink 8+ cups of water/day. I try to eat slowly with minimal distractions so I can focus on my food. I have a desk job, but typically exercise 30 minutes to one hour every day after work. Do you have any tips or suggestions so I don’t feel hungry all the time?

A: It’s really hard to answer this question without know what your meals consist of, or knowing what your current weight is. The first thing that comes to mind is how much food you are eating at each meal. Are your meals large enough? Also, there is a difference between “appetite” and “hunger”. It’s very important to distinguish the difference between the two. Hunger refers to a physical discomfort caused by the lack of food. One common sign is a rumbling stomach. This rumbling can be accompanied by a feeling of lightheadedness and weakness. Hunger only occurs after an extended period of time since eating. Appetite is more like a desire for food, or a craving that may be prompted by the sight or smell of food. Passing a bakery and getting the smell of freshly baked bread, or seeing the dessert-trolley in a restaurant, are typical examples. In this case, we are not really hungry, but mistake the urge or craving as hunger. My best advice is to try to spread out your meals and decipher if it’s true hunger, or a craving that’s making you want more food. If you need more help, just send me an email :).

Q: I am interested in lowering my cholesterol since it is high but my HDL is very good, says my OB-GYN nurse practitioner. I also need to lose a very more lbs. Any advice?

A: Congrats on having a high HDL! That’s great! From my experience, clients who start to lose weight will see a decrease in their total cholesterol. There are those occasions where genetics play in and no matter how healthy we eat or how much weight we lose, our cholesterol remains high. In terms of eating to lose weight and lower your cholesterol, it all about making the right food choices coupled with portion control. A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats is key. Minimizing your intake of refined sugar is extremely important as well. This includes candies, cakes, cookies, donuts, etc…

Q: Hello there! I was just introduced to your website, and I think it’s fantastic! I take long and intense dance classes several days a week, and as a result I often wake up the next morning with incredibly sore muscles, even though I am really good about stretching, I do have a food-related question involving sore muscles and exercise… I was told that certain foods such as bananas help relieve sore muscles when eaten before and after exercising…what are your thoughts on this, is it true? If so, what other foods may help? Are there specific items I can include in my diet to help my body perform at its best for long workouts?

A: Bananas are a potassium rich food. Symptoms of deficiency of potassium in the diet include diarrhea, vomiting, weak muscles, breathing abnormality, hypokalemia, and more. Those who have a potassium deficiency may often have muscle cramping (like a Charlie horse). As far as sore muscles… this can be caused by a couple of things. You may be pushing your body differently with each dance class. When you use new muscles, you will most likely feel sore. One thing that can attribute to sore muscles is dehydration. You want to make sure you keep yourself well hydrated before, during, and after your dance classes. As far as nutrition goes, fueling properly for long workouts is extremely important! If you don’t fuel properly, you will feel week. Getting proper amounts of carbohydrates, protein, and fat is vital. Potassium rich foods include the bright colors fruits and veggies, as well as dark green veggies. Some examples are: Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Brazil Nuts, Brown Rice, Cantaloupe, Figs, Honeydew, Kiwi, Legumes, Lima beans, Milk, Oranges, Orange Juice, Peaches, Potatoes, Prunes, Rasins, Roasted Peanuts with skin, Spinach, Squash, Vegetable Juices, Wheat Bread, White Rice, Winter Squash, Yogurt

Q: Hi, I have been reading your blog for a while now and really appreciate the great information. I have a question I hope you can help me with. I recently gained back the 40 lbs I lost (and kept off for 5 yrs) plus another 10. My workouts are stellar but I know I am eating too much and not always the right foods. I want to lose the weight again but am lacking the motivation to get started. I already feel defeated because it’s so overwhelming. I know the thing that will get me motivated will be results, but I have such little patience! What can I do to get some quick results that will keep me pushing towards me goal?

A: I wish I could give you an answer for some quick results… but when it comes to healthy weight loss, there is really no such thing. The first thing that needs to be done is to recognize why you gained back the 40+ pounds. Once you recognize and address that reason, it will make it easier for you to move forward. It can be very overwhelming when it comes to losing weight, but instead of looking at total number of pounds you want to lose, break it down into small goals. Permanent weight loss involves patience. Lack of patience is one of the main reasons we tend to gravitate towards quick fix programs. Do something each day that will push you towards the right direction. If you haven’t been exercising, set a small exercise goal each day. Set a goal to eat breakfast each day, or to not mindlessly snack between meals. More importantly, tell yourself you are going to take it one day at a time, one meal at a time. Little by little, the weight will come off. If you have anymore questions, I’m happy to help!

Got a question for Weekly Bite?Β Β Submit your questions here and I’ll put it in the next Q&A.

17 Responses

  1. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman said on May 26, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Estela, I can’t believe all you went through as a child. Wow, you’re so strong and positive. I’m so glad it’s been 24 years without a problem!

  2. Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries said on May 26, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Oh my gosh…I had no idea of the things you endured at such a young age. You are so strong! That’s truly amazing. God bless you for being here and sharing your story πŸ™‚

  3. Jessica @ How Sweet said on May 26, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Umm, how did I not know this! That is so scary. No wonder you have a passion for nutrition. Makes me love you even more!

  4. Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) said on May 26, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Wow, that’s an incredible story. So glad you have been cancer-free for all this time! I agree, nutrition plays a big role in helping preventing a lot of cancers and other sicknesses. My grandmother had cervical cancer when she was 38, she just turned 70 the other day. πŸ™‚ Hooray for kicking cancer’s butt!


  5. Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly said on May 26, 2010 at 8:51 am

    What a great Q&A! I had no idea you beat cancer…rock on! That is amazing!

  6. adrienmelaine said on May 26, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    I loved this post- I’m sorry to hear that you had to deal with cancer at 9- and ovarian none the less- I would think that it’s pretty rare. Thank you for sharing your story- and your passion for nutrition (and normalcy)

  7. Gelareh @ Nutritious Foodie said on May 26, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    This was great not only did I learn about nutrition I also learned more about you. Sorry to hear you had to go through chemo at an early age of 9 but am very glad that you have been and are healthy now. πŸ™‚

  8. Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) said on May 26, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Wow Estela, great post! You are a champion surviving cancer and coming out on top. I could not agree more about diet and exercise being the best for health and preventative measures! I have always been interested in health and nutrition, but when I went through having a tumor removed from my abdomen, I really took my focus higher. Not that we can control things like this, but we can come out stronger when we focus on making ourselves better! Love this post!

  9. katie said on May 26, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    LOVE THESE Q AND A’s girl! so sorry ive been so busy and need to catch up on your blog..ive missed you!

  10. Emily (A Nutritionist Eats) said on May 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Loved hearing why you got into Nutrition!

  11. Nicole @ Making Good Choices said on May 26, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    I love this question and answer post! I can’t believe you had cancer at 9 – I can imagine why you have such a passion for nutrition and living a healthy life. THanks for sharing with us!

  12. Danielle (Runs on Green) said on May 26, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I had no idea you had cancer as a child. I’m glad to hear you’ve been in remission for 24 years! Thanks for sharing all the info πŸ™‚

  13. sophia said on May 26, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Wow, Estela…my admiration for you has only grown more. You’ve struggled, fought, and conquered. You’re amazing.

  14. The Candid RD said on May 26, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    GREAT answers! And, great idea for a post.
    I have the same opinion about multvitamins. I recommend them to most people, but nothing else, and nothing with > 100% DV of anything, in fact I prefer less. You should get the majority of your nutrients from FOOD! And good food of course, that you enjoy πŸ™‚

  15. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said on May 27, 2010 at 2:29 am

    my question is would you like to answer all the questions from readers i get every day on their GI and bowel and colon health to help w/ yoga to help conceiving a child as a raw vegan to help with their abusive relationship with their mother. I get about 10 a day like this. Oh the joys…Id be glad to pass them to you b/c you clearly know what you’re talking about from this great post πŸ™‚

  16. Nicole, RD said on May 27, 2010 at 8:26 am

    I love this Q&A! Great responses!

    And I didn’t know you were a cancer survivor – rock on!

  17. Mo@MommyRD said on May 27, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Wow, I just love this post. It’s amazing to learn of the past lives of each other. What an amazing thing you’ve conquered at such a young age.