Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Why I Visited A Dietitian

Why I visited a dietitian at our local supermarket? 

I consider myself fairly knowledgeable when it comes to nutrition. After all, I have an undergraduate degree in health education, a graduate degree in higher education, with a certification as a nutritional consultant (ND).

However, with all the hype on what to eat and all the books and blogs that range from Paleo to Vegan, I was beginning to want some straight down to earth new ideas!

Free Services 

Surprisingly, many of the larger chain supermarkets in our area have started to employ dietitians who teach classes, meet with customers individually to address personal needs, and give food demonstrations - all for free. 

I decided to make an appointment for a free personal consultation. I didn't expect much- in fact I didn't expect the dietician to know much about vegan/vegetarian eating.

Was I ever wrong!

I told her I was trying to transition from a vegetarian diet to more of a vegan diet. I explained that I wanted to cut down on the cheese and eggs in my diet. But vegan food often translates into higher carbohydrate foods. My concern was my weight gain- so I needed ideas !!

What did she suggest? 

 Samantha emphasized that it was important not to eliminate any food group. She explained that each food group (fat/protein/ carbs) has it's own job to do in the body. If you cut out carbohydrates which the brain uses for fuel, the fat will have to convert to energy for the brain while the original job that the fat was supposed to perform for the body is never addressed. If you eliminate carbs or fat long enough, you can create an imbalance in the body. 

Simple- but it made sense!! 

So we explored ideas for meals that included some protein, some good fat, and some good carbohydrates at every meal- 

The dietician introduced me to five gluten-free foods that I was familiar with  but had not been using: 

Hemp seed hearts- high in fiber, omega 3's, GLA. Add to smoothies, desserts, breakfast etc.

Nutritional yeast - high in B-12 which a vegan diet often lacks- taste like cheese and can be added to recipes. Tastes somewhat like cheese and can be added to casseroles, sprinkled on veggies, or added to any savory recipe.

Watercress- a little used super green that is great in salads, smoothies, or sandwiches. Very high in nutrients and taste great on some gluten-free bread and vegan cream cheese.

Tempeh-  a vegan alternative that is high in protein. I bought a package and I haven't used it yet. Use as a side or added to vegetables like tofu.

Peanut butter powder- This is my favorite!! peanut butter with the fat is removed- she adds to smoothies and oatmeal- I created a vegan chocolate pudding recipe that is quick and very tasty; Although I've never used this powder before, I really like it and 2 Tablespoons is only 50 calories = 1 point on WW. I add it to desserts , banana bread, puddings, etc. 

Samantha also introduced me to Ripple Milk- a vegan milk alternative made from pea protein  and is gluten free- a glass has 8 grams of protein as opposed to almond milk that has only 1 gram of protein. I haven't really seen it in the stores lately.

In addition, she shared a recipe for overnight peanut butter banana oatmeal that sounded really yummy!!   I had been using my own recipe for creamy overnight oats but liked the idea of the peanut butter..

We discussed breakfast ideas and general lunch and dinner ideas- Although it wasn't specific, she shared two blogs that she thought had great vegan or easy to make vegan ideas. #Oh She Glows which has always been a favorite of mine and #NutritionStripped  which was new to me. ( she shared some of her favorite recipes from the blogs like cauliflower Alfredo and some crispy quinoa baked tofu.  She also gave me lots of recipe handouts booklets with some interesting recipes developed by the store chain ( Shoprite) 

Samantha was knowledgeable, interesting, and fun. She is a yoga instructor in addition to working as the dietitian at Shoprite in Yardley, Pa.  Before I completed my appointment, Samantha helped me find all the items in the store that we talked about. I had been shopping at the Shoprite since they opened a few years ago and had no idea they sold hemp seed hearts, chia seeds, and nutritional yeast in their bulk sections- I was able to get a small amount of each to give them a try! 

I considered it a worthwhile hour and half of my time and look forward to implementing many of her suggestions.!  Thanks Samantha!! ( the photo is not Samantha - it is another dietitian)

#vegan #glutenfree  #breakfast  #dietitian


  1. Well, your body can make carbs from protein for brain fuel. These days I am cutting down carbs, but still eat lots lots lots lots of veggies, so my body won't miss trace minerals and vitamins. Love nutritional yeast, esp. loving them all over my salads :-) Do get the nonfortified one :-))

  2. I love hemp hearts and nutritional yeast makes dairy-free recipes so much better. I especially like how nutritional yeast (aka "noosh") makes cashew "cheese" so creamy and cheesy.



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