I had the great honor of interviewing 2 lovely ladies about nutrition and I got to ask questions on this topic. I had the great honor of interviewing 2 lovely ladies about nutrition and I got to ask questions on this topic.
Disclaimer: All information shared from this blog post is from a student studying nutrition and a certified holistic nutritionist. The information is meant to help and if you are wanting to make a change in your life regarding nutrition, the final decision is ultimately up to you.
Words can’t even begin to express how thankful I am to Marwa and Lindsay for opening up to me and allowing me to share their stories while letting me get to pick both of their brains about nutrition. I have definitely learned a lot and so will anyone who is reading this will too!
My first interview was with Marwa Hammoud from Lebanon who is a student studying nutrition. The reason she has decided to take on learning this is for the sole reason of being a food lover with a bad relationship with food.
While studying nutrition, she found out her bad relationship with food was, in fact, an eating disorder. From a young age, Marwa was bullied at school which made her seek food for comfort. The binge eating disorder also is known as emotional eating. The process in which you tend to eat away your emotions up until the point of discomfort and it hurts to breathe.
Her mother sensed at the time she was going through a difficult time and wanted to help her daughter, but Marwa denied it which lead to her being alone with this problem.
She didn’t look at anyone for recovery. Her strength came from within as she knew she had it to help herself get out of that dark path.
When Marwa chose nutrition, she was excited about learning how to improve herself and stay motivated. She created an Instagram account to help share her information on what works for her and empower others on their nutrition journey.
Before studying nutrition she would rarely be caught eating fruits and vegetables. Marwa learned that food is not the enemy and eating healthy is not boring. It made her expand in her passion for food and cooking, but what she loves most of all about nutrition is how you can get people who are frustrated so excited and motivated with a few encouraging words.
Giving hope to people again. Engaging with them in conversation about their strategies and what to do is just really fun and inspiring for both. Marwa might not be a registered nutritionist yet but she has done a few talks to know it is her passion.
Question 1: What are all the eating disorders out there? How can you tell if someone has it?
Marwa: All eating disorders though they may act differently are based on distorted body image and a bad relationship with food in which one obsesses over the caloric and nutritional content of the food. There are 3 types of eating disorders; binge eating, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa.
- Binge Eating is eating your emotions up until the point where it hurts to breathe and you temporarily forget your problems.
- Anorexia is when you stop eating to feel in control of your body in the hopes of losing more weight.
- Bulimia is close to binging, the only difference is bulimics tend to purge after eating by vomiting or excessive use of laxatives and such.
Knowing if you’ve got an eating disorder comes from observing your eating habits:
- Do you skip meals?
- Do you rarely eat or eat all the time?
- Do you eat all the time or stop eating at all when feeling emotional or overwhelmed?
- Do you feel guilty when you eat?
- Would you rather eat in secret because you feel embarrassed or ashamed?
- Do you feel out of control when you eat or too much in control that you don’t enjoy food at all?
- Do you feel like you need to punish yourself after eating? With like fasting or vomiting?
All these questions once answered can give an insight on what eating disorder one has if they do have one.
Question 2: What qualifies for a healthy diet?
Marwa: A healthy diet is based on balance. The balance between food groups. Balance in the intake. It’s knowing that food is not good or bad. It is important to pay attention to portion size so as to take action of added and hidden calories.
A healthy diet best consists of 3 main meals and 2 snacks. While knowing the difference between hunger and boredom. You do that by drinking water and doing a small activity in that process you either forget you were hungry or not which means you really do need to eat.
A healthy diet needs adequate hydration about 2-3 L to flush out toxins and aid in weight loss.
To have carbs protein and fat at each meal. Make fruits and vegetables a priority before making a place for some chocolate.
To know your body signals when to eat and when to stop eating, while understanding that you can have a cookie every now and then, there is no need to eat the whole cookie box in one go then feel guilty and punish yourself by restriction because that will only end up in more overeating later on and possibly to the development of eating disorders especially binge eating.
Question 3: A person is out at a restaurant with family or friends then how do they avoid over eating because they see everyone else is eating away?
- Order their favourite meals and share half of it with someone or order a takeaway box and portion half of example the burger meal. In that way, they would be having their favourite meals without consuming so many calories. Besides, it’s the first 3 bites that matter for the taste and enjoyment of food.
After that eating becomes an automated process. This is known as the 3 bite rule but it just proves that a person can eat half his plate and take the rest with him for dinner. In that case, they would have halved this large amount of calories over 2 meals instead of 1
- Taking your time while eating. Give the stomach time to send the full signal before you start overeating. When people eat quickly they feel so overwhelmingly full later because they never waited for the stomach to process it slowly and tell them when to stop. Putting down the fork between bites can help with taking it slow.
- Drinking water before during and after eating. To drink before is to ready your stomach for what’s to come as well as it helps with consuming less food. During can help with slowing the person down (no the myth of drinking water at meals being bad for digestion is false, it actually aids in digestion)
- After one finishes their portion if they still feel hungry then it might be the stomach hasn’t had enough time to send a signal (the stomach takes up to 20 mins to send the I’m full signal) and so drinking water can help fill up the person up until they decide if it’s enough or they are still hungry.
- Eat your vegetables first. Get the bulk of the vegetables in first as it can fill a person up on fiber and prevent the overeating.
Question 4: What are your favourite healthy meals that would keep someone who is always on the go feeling full and energized?
- Eggs. The perfect protein meal and they’re filling and one can have them fried with 1 Tsp of oil or boiled with an avocado on toast also you can make dozen egg cups in the oven and store them in the fridge for a week of quick to grab breakfast.
- Peanut butter and banana or turkey and mustard on toast.
- Oatmeal. There are just so many delicious ways to eat oatmeal other than cooking it with water and milk and topping it with every fruit there is one can use it to make fill you up.
- Snacks, like breakfast muffins these are perfect for people always on the go.
- Energy balls that can last you a week on the go, another and that’s my favourite being 1/4 a cup of oats with 1 tbsp honey and 1 tbsp cacao. Such a yummy sweet snack!
- Grilled chicken is so delicious and filling while being low in fat. One can have up to 90-120g of grilled chicken. Chicken can be cooked overnight or early in the morning and doesn’t take too long. Turkey and crab can help fill a person up on protein while reducing fat intake.
- Vegetables don’t have to be eaten plain! You can make some dips for them or cook them in the oven with whatever spices you please.
- My fruits I like to have with cinnamon in smoothies with yogurt and vanilla or cacao or sometimes with peanut butter. These options are quick to make and can be packed in a box on the go.
Question 5: What are your thoughts on meal planning?
Marwa: Meal planning is actually a positive habit and nutritionists recommend it all the time. I myself sometimes plan my meals and find that when I know what I’m going to eat there’s rarely a chance in which I might overeat. It helps the person stay on track while giving delicious options that they picked themselves.
Question 6: Counting kilograms, good or bad thing?
Marwa: That one thing that drives everyone insane. I can tell nobody enjoys it. However here’s why you shouldn’t always rely on the scale. 1 kg of fat is 3 times the size of 1 kg of muscles so imagine if someone went down 4kgs of fat and gained 5 kgs of muscle they’d be fretting about how they gained 1 kg when they’ve changed their eating habits and have been training hard, but all their clothes fit way better now and they feel and look better.
Taking your clothes as a means of measurement would be better than succumbing to the scale. Unless it was a bioelectrical impedance scale that is actually found in a nutrition clinic and tells you how much fat and muscles you’ve got. Other than that scale it is not recommended.
Question 7: A person is a vegan who enjoys peanut butter, cashew butter and almond butter but experiences stomach aches. What do they do? Any suggestions?
Marwa: Try to eat one type for a week to see if there is any irritation until finding the culprit and eliminates it from your diet. In that case, he or she might be allergic.
Question 8: Would you say it is wise for someone to eat meat who is on a diet? What are your thoughts on that?
Marwa: Of course it is fine as long as they remove the visible fat cause it’s saturated fat. Other than that meat is a great source of protein and will not only keep the person fuller for longer but the person will also expend more energy to digest it.
Question 9: If someone wants to feel more energetic, then what foods would you recommend for that?
Marwa: For high energy one’s diet should be 50% carbs 30% fat and 20%protein. (This is the normal and best diet for balance and energy) taking into consideration good sources of vitamins and minerals especially the likes of iron.
Iron deficient people often get exhausted quickly so to enhance absorption it is best to iron rich food such as meat, liver, and spinach be consumed with vitamin C. When someone is not energetic enough it’s mostly because of a nutrient deficiency that can be quickly solved by eating fruits and vegetables as well as carbohydrates such as oats and legumes.
Question 10: What are the benefits and disadvantages of someone who tends to eat spicy foods a lot?
Marwa: The advantages are that spices can help increase your metabolism and thus you burn more. Spices are also such a great way to enjoy your vegetables and get enough of them every day. They can help balance your blood sugar and some of them like ginger and rosemary can be beneficial for an upset and irritated stomach and lastly, they have antimicrobial properties that can help clean out your body and boost immunity.
Disadvantages of spices are increased sweating(although that means you’re burning more). Some people are sensitive to harsh spices and can get acne. Also, harsh spices such as paprika, black and white pepper and the likes can be very harmful to people with acid reflux known as GERD, heartburn, Hiatal hernia and diverticulitis (the pain becomes unbearable)
Question 11: What would you say to someone who is going through a hard time with their weight? Whether that might be the person is underweight, overweight or normal weight but has negative thoughts about themselves?
Marwa: I’ll tell them what I learned to remind myself. That everyone has their own journey and maybe some people lose weight quickly what matters is that you stay committed to yourself.
Say, for example, you slipped by eating or not eating remind yourself that it is not the end because giving up will only delay reaching that goal even more. Be easy on yourself because the pressure will only lead to cracking.
Learn the best things that work for you and make sure you love them. For example, some love cardio and get quick results with it others love weights and become shredded quickly. Find what’s best for you and do that, as long as you are enjoying it you will stay committed.
- Try different recipes and experiment with food. Ignore fad diets and false promising pills they will only set you up for failure.
- Drink lots of water and make sure you enjoy it! If you aren’t enjoying it mostly then you’re doing something wrong. Weight loss and healthy eating should not be torturous on the contrary, they should be the journey on which you find yourself.
Marwa’s Instagram account has full of fun, unique and delicious breakfast and snack ideas as well as offering support to others who have eating disorders: Instagram.com/coffee.clean.eats
Next up is Lindsay McDonald from the Niagara Region in Ontario Canada. She is a registered holistic nutritionist, holistic cancer practitioner, and live blood cell microscopist. What a mouthful!
Lindsay enrolled at the Canadian school of natural nutrition in 2010 and then went on to become certified in holistic cancer support.
Not always growing up eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. While she was in university, Lindsay gained a lot of weight and began seeing how living an unhealthy lifestyle was going to have a negative impact on her health.
She needed to make a change fast! Starting doing research about healthy living and nutrition and began her journey towards better health. Within a year Lindsay had lost over 50lbs by only changing what she was eating and she regained her energy and self-esteem.
In 2009, Linsday’s father passed away of cancer which gave her even more of a stronger push to find out how she could help empower others to live healthier to avoid going down the same road as her father.
Her goal is to provide education and guidance about the benefits and health impacts of proper nutrition. There are no miracle foods that will cure a disease but through optimal nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices, one may experience beneficial changes that will lead them towards the path to health and wellness, both mentally and physically.
Question 1: What would you say to someone who feels hungry at night and wants a late night snack? Or someone who feels hungrier than normal?
Lindsay: I’m not a fan of late night eating as our digestive system need to rest at night so that our bodies can repair and regenerate. If you must have a snack at night I would suggest something containing protein about 2 hours or so before going to bed to keep blood sugar from being too high in the am.
When we eat before bed our food does not get digested properly because our digestive system naturally slows down at night and, therefore, eating before bed might cause digestive upset and poor sleep.
Question 2: If someone wants to cut out dairy, then are there downsides of having bad bones when older?
Lindsay: Dairy is not necessary for strong bones. To the contrary, it actually causes bone loss and is associated with osteoporosis. Dairy is very acidic when out body digests it so it causes our body to leach calcium from our bones in order to neutralize the acid.
This is based on the theory of pH balance and how different foods are either acidic or alkaline once digested. The more acidic foods you eat the more your body has to compensate by removing calcium (strong alkaline mineral abundant into the body) from the bones to buffer the acid.
I haven’t had milk or ate dairy in over 7 years and my dental checkup is always amazing and I get told I have very strong teeth.
Question 3: Tell me about your practice?
Lindsay: When I work with clients I teach them to choose foods that are whole and unprocessed (do not come in a package). I also teach clients to read labels and identify toxic ingredients. Our fat cells absorb toxins in order to protect the body and when we consume too many toxic substances our fat cells swell up (making us fat). So the obvious thing to do would be to avoid toxins.
For people who have been consuming toxic processed foods their whole life, they also would want to do a cleanse/detox to help get the toxins out of the fat cells. A common side effect of detoxing/cleansing is weight loss.
Now if you’ve never cleansed before it is recommended to work with a practitioner like myself to make sure you are doing it safely. When it comes down to it our body needs protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to function properly and making sure we are getting it from healthy sources is the most important.
Lindsay: Vitamins – are known as the “energy” vitamin because they help the body convert carbs, protein, and fats into usable energy. Many processed foods are deficient in B vitamins due to the refining process and have synthetic B vitamins added back in. Nature put it in, we take it out, then we try to add it back in but fail miserably.
One B vitamin that stands out is B12 which is necessary for the formation of red blood cells. Many people are deficient in B12 due to the fact that it requires a lot of things for proper absorption and many people nowadays have a poor digestive function.
Unfortunately most sources of B12 come from animal products like milk, eggs, meat, fish, and poultry but like a mentioned it is hard to absorb anyways so I recommend most people to take a good quality B12 sublingual (under the tongue) supplement or go to their doctor and get B12 shots if they are very low in B12. Again it is best to get a blood test to see actual levels of B12.
Question 5: What are the best things to eat to help with osteoporosis?
Lindsay: In this situation, it is best to tell you what I would not recommend – a diet high in processed foods, a diet high in dairy and meat, being sedentary and being over weight. All of these factors combined are important when dealing with osteoporosis.
In general, I don’t like to focus on one nutrient (Calcium when it comes to bone health) or factor because in reality our body is very complex and many factors affect ours over all health.
A diet high in processed foods, refined sugar, dairy, and meat is very acid forming and will eventually lead to poor bone health among other health problems (diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart disease). This is because our body is designed to buffer acid waste build up in our body by pulling from our alkaline mineral reserves (Calcium the most abundant mineral in the body found in our bone) to neutralize the acid.
Statistics show that countries with the highest consumption of dairy and meat products often have high osteoporosis rates and the countries with lower dairy and meat tend to have lower osteoporosis rates. I believe the media has done a great job fueling our obsession with dairy by bombarding us with commercials about how we NEED dairy in order to have healthy bones, which is just not true! Who says Dairy is the best source of calcium anyways -The National Dairy Council?!?
Dairy is very hard for most people to digest anyways making it a poor choice in my opinion. There are many plant based sources of calcium that are significantly more nutrient dense than milk! For example, Spinach, Kale, Collard greens, Okra, beans and edamame (organic green soy beans) are all high in calcium but also provide many other vitamins and minerals needed for bone health.
Our bones are made up of more than just calcium as well – we also need protein to form bones but as I mentioned earlier I would recommend getting more protein from plant sources due to over consumption of meat being more acid forming. If you chose to eat meat I would limit it to a couple servings per week and make them high quality like wild caught salmon and free-range grass fed meats.
Stress is another thing that can cause our body to become more acidic and stress management is an important factor for over all health and wellness. I would suggest stress management techniques to help my client better deal with their current stresses in their life.
Question 6: What would you recommend to people who are always on the go?
Lindsay: First what I do is make a meal plan! If you don’t plan then plan to fail is my motto. When it comes to healthy eating having a plan is key to sticking to it. I use a template with Monday–Sunday with breakfast lunch and dinner and snacks. Fill it out each week and save them so then you have them to go back to in future weeks.
I will find and save healthy recipes online or in health magazines and use these for my weekly meal plans. The best part of doing this is you can also stick to a budget and you don’t waste as much food because you are only buying what you need for your meals that week.
If you prep food or meals ahead of time then you can just grab and go and not have to worry about having to stop at a fast food place.
Question 7: What foods would you suggest for people with busy lives?
Lindsay: Some easy things to have ready to go are mason jar salads (putting dressing in first so it’s on the bottom and then add all the salad ingredients into the jar put on the lid and your ready to go), homemade granola bars or protein balls, soaked over night oats and chopped up vegetables with healthy homemade dip and raw unsalted nuts or a health nut and seed cracker with hummus or salsa. You can also prepare larger amounts of food and pre-pack them in containers for the week so that it’s ready to go.
Question 8: Is it wise to eat meat when on a diet?
Lindsay: I do not recommend eating a lot of meat in general due to research showing the connection between high meat consumption and cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Meat (along with other animal products like dairy) is also very acid forming and contains very little vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and absolutely no fiber compared to plant based foods.
If someone is going to eat meat I would recommend choosing organic small/local farm raised animals and completely avoiding factory farmed conventional meats. Animals raised in factory farms are often fed massive amounts of antibiotics, hormones and GMO feed and are housed in appalling conditions.
I would also recommend that this is a small portion of their nutrition and that a wide variety of plant based foods make up the majority. Fiber is necessary for proper digestive function. Fiber comes from plants and keeps us full longer because it slows down digestion, keeps our bowels regular and stabilizes blood sugar. All of these things are necessary to maintain a healthy weight.
Question 9: What are your thoughts on dieting and counting calories?
Lindsay: I’d like to answer this question by saying first of all that I do not support being on a “diet” Dieting is a very poor way to try to lose weight because when most people stop the “diet” they end up gaining back the weight if not more weight than the lost.
When I finally realized I needed to do something about my weight when I was in my early 20’s and about 50lbs over weight I decided to research all I could about weight loss. What I found was that in order to have sustainable weight loss you NEED to change your lifestyle and not go on a “diet”.
It has been over 12 years now and I have kept the weight off (50+lbs) by following a holistic lifestyle of consuming whole foods, avoiding processed foods for the most part and taking care of my body.
Most diets ultimately fail because they only focus on restricting/counting calories and when this becomes too hard for one to keep doing they often go back to their old habits. I do NOT teach clients to count calories because I think that is useless. For example, an avocado has way more fat than a 100 calorie snack pack of cookies so does that mean the cookies are the “healthier” choice? No.
I don’t believe in weight-loss programs that teach calorie counting (weight watchers) because it does not teach the person to choose healthier foods it just focuses on the calorie content of the foods and not all calories are created equally.
Interested in knowing more about holistic nutrition? Lindsay offers in person or Skype consultations:
Connect with Lindsay via Facebook:
I would love to be able to interview people from all walks of life for my blog and gain more knowledge!
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