Advice Column for Diets and Dieting | Solutions for
diet, nutrition, mindful eating, cooking healthy meals, motivation, healthy living & self-help.

Alternative Health Diet Nutrition Advice Column


KRS EDSTROM
Advice Columnist, Radio Host,
Speaker & Author

Alternative Health Diet Advice Columnist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear KRS,
I would like to try
to get pregnant in the near future and I was wondering about artificial sweeteners.  I use one packet in my one and only cup of coffee a day and I often chew sugarless gum during the day, which I notice contains saccharin. What are the downfalls or side effects of these during pregnancy? Thanks.
Artificial Sweetener Dilemma


Dear Worried,
Artificial sweeteners are just that - artificial. They are comprised of chemicals which the liver has to process or, worse, store. The body is not built to process chemicals and it is an unfair thing to ask of it. If it is bad for you, imagine how it can affect a tiny fetus trying to build itself. Try natural sweeteners such as stevia, molasses, honey or barleymalt.
KRS 

BACK TO TOP
BACK TO KRS EDSTROM ADVICE COLUMN MAIN PAGE


Dear KRS,
I am concerned
about a friend of mine. She walks a lot during the summer and last year lost a lot of weight walking. The problem is she gained it back again in the winter months, and this summer she plans to do the same thing she did last summer. Is putting on and losing weight so rapidly healthy?
Yo Yo Dieting Friend

Dear Yo Yo,
Gaining and losing weight repeatedly can play havoc with your metabolism and helps explain the sticky scale syndrome experienced by so many chronic dieters. However, walking is an excellent, safe way to lose weight.

Unfortunately, a change of weather is too often followed by a change in exercise and good diet motivation. Your friend needs to acknowledge the impending "brick wall" of fall schedules, weather and shorter daylight hours ahead and modify her exercise program accordingly. If she can figure a way to keep it up year round she won't have to take her body and mind through such an ongoing ordeal.

And now YOUR assignment: Resist the temptation to give friends (or family) unsolicited advice, even though your intentions are good. Everyone needs to learn her own lessons and uninvited advice is usually taken as criticism which only slows down the process. Worse, it can lose friends.
KRS

BACK TO TOP
BACK TO KRS EDSTROM ADVICE COLUMN MAIN PAGE


Dear KRS,
I am a 47
year old woman, who is about 50 pounds overweight. Many people I know seem to have adopted a high protein diet with little or no carbohydrates to lose weight. What are the pros and cons of this type of diet? I walk everyday, but I find it really hard to get the weight off. What would be the best weight loss regimen for me? 
- High Protein Curious

Dear Curious,
Let me put an end to your curiosity. Never eat a lop-sided, one-food group diet. It is unbalanced and potentially harmful long term. I don't care who says they lost tons of weight on it. Ask them again in about a month or two and they will have gained it back and then some - and at what cost to their health? 

You know what a healthful diet is by now - minimal animal products, lots of vegetables, whole grains, fruits and, past the age of 40, soy products (for hormonal balancing). Listen to your body to learn the proper ratio of these foods for your particular needs. 

One body may respond better to more animal protein intake while another feels better with a higher intake of whole grain combining. There are no short cuts - except eating less quantity of this wholesome diet. Keep up the walks, being sure you break a sweat. In fact, keep moving in any way you can throughout the day to maintain a high metabolism (to burn more calories and body fat). You will feel better and the weight will come off, perhaps more slowly than you would like, but it will happen.
KRS

BACK TO TOP
BACK TO KRS EDSTROM ADVICE COLUMN MAIN PAGE


Dear KRS,
I am a
single person and often have difficulty cooking healthy meals for one. I am so hungry when I get home from work that I often just throw something together quickly. Do you have any suggestions on pre-planning or making single serving portions?
Cooking for One

Dear Cooking For One,
The challenge in cooking for one may be more mental than anything else. Single people often have a hard time getting motivated to "make a big mess" for just one person. They say "It's just too much trouble." "Too much trouble to eat?" I ask my private clients with the same complaint. Then I ask whether they feel they DESERVE a nice tasting, nice looking healthful meal. I can elicit actual laughter if I suggest they light a candle, put on some music and use their best place setting. You pull out all the stops for guests, running to this store and that, collecting the very finest morsels to present to them on a silver platter. Don't you deserve that same treatment after a hard day's work or a fun day's play? Ponder the answer to that question and you may find yourself cooking up a storm before you know it. Tip: In the beginning stages of eating-alone-reform, I often suggest people assume the mentality of "cooking for company" - i.e. pretend someone is coming for dinner. Eventually the idea of treating yourself like a king/queen becomes more comfortable.

Having covered the psychological blocks to cooking for one, let me address the logistical blocks. I dedicate a whole section of my book Healthy, Wealthy & Wise to how to cook fast, delicious, economical, nutritious meals, appropriately titled "The Speed Cooking Plan." One of the concepts is to cook large amounts and then freeze it in serving sizes appropriate for your appetite. I call it "Freezer Stocking." It requires that perhaps once a week you cook something in large quantity. The idea is not that you then pull that same meal out seven nights in a row, but that you build a freezer supply of various meals. It works like magic if you do it right.
KRS

BACK TO TOP
BACK TO KRS EDSTROM ADVICE COLUMN MAIN PAGE


Dear KRS,
I run about 1.5 hours everyday, six days a week.  I eat a lot and get plenty of rest.   I was just wondering if there are any harmless vitamins I could be taking to give me more energy.  I already take vitamin C.
Can Vitamins Give Me Energy?


Dear Energy Seeker,
Energy doesn't come from a bottle.  However, what's in the bottle can gradually help correct internal imbalances and strengthen your system so that you will eventually have more energy. 

Yes, I suggest that people take vitamins, starting with a good multi-vitamin.  A good health food store generally has better variety and better quality selections than a drug store, and will be more likely to have qualified personnel to discuss your particular needs.  There are a number of good vitamin companies making quality formulas.   One of the key things to look for on the sometimes overwhelming list on the back of the bottle is at least 50 mg. of the B vitamins.  It's an easy check point to determine if the company is serious about the formula.

An hour and a half is a lot of running.  You might experiment with cutting down a bit and see if your energy increases.
KRS

BACK TO TOP
BACK TO KRS EDSTROM ADVICE COLUMN MAIN PAGE


Dear KRS, 
I love to snac
k. I work so I am able to control what I eat during the day but when I get home I am starving and love to eat snacks all night. Unfortunately, I love carbohydrates and they seem to be the only thing that makes me feel full. I eat healthy foods and seldom eat junk food. I have yogurt for breakfast and turkey sandwich or yogurt for lunch. What else can you suggest that I snack on? I would love to get your help.
Loves to Snack

Dear Loves to Snack,
Limited, healthful snacking is not necessarily a bad thing.  It can help keep blood sugar levels (and energy) stable so that you aren't as likely to overeat at meal times.   However, it sounds like you may be doing some "sport snacking" which can lead to excess weight.

Be sure you eat a well-balanced dinner when you get home.  This may help curb   the urge to "graze" all night long.  Then I would set reasonable limits on how often you allow yourself to snack, especially in the evening.  Stock up on snacks that don't tempt you to go back "for just one more."   Carbohydrates  are fine as long as they aren't refined, such as sweets, crackers and chips.  There are a lot of healthful snack options and I would encourage you to explore the shelves of a good health food store.  Some suggestions:  rice cakes, fruit juice sweetened cookies, baby carrots, popcorn.  Fruit is a good choice but may not satisfy you for as long as other selections.

BACK TO TOP
BACK TO KRS EDSTROM ADVICE COLUMN MAIN PAGE


Dear KRS,
Do you have any suggestions on how to include organic foods into your diet? My supermarket does not carry most of the ones I hear and read about.
Organic Lover


Dear Organic Lover,
While organic foods are still not abundant, even in larger cities, it's getting better.   Besides your local health food store, certain health-oriented chains such as Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats offer organic foods, especially produce.  I wouldn't expect regular grocery chains to pick up on this need in the immediate future.  But if enough requests are made, they may give it a try.  So make your voice heard!

BACK TO TOP
BACK TO KRS EDSTROM ADVICE COLUMN MAIN PAGE


Dear KRS,
Should you have 3 main meals or just one or two meals with snacks such as fruit, cheese and bread in-between?
3 Meals Necessary?


Dear 3 Meals,
Eating three meals per day is a good place to start when in doubt.  To many people this is a completely new concept.  They never think about guidelines and eat any time there is food around.  However, after making the simple switch to just three meals, many have impressive weight loss results. 

On the other hand, at some point, each person should be able to make an honest assessment of what works best for him/her.  For many, the "grazing" technique you describe works best, as long as it's not used as an open-door policy of "any food, any time."  Finally, a little nutritional comment - I wouldn't include cheese on your "regular snack food" list (too much fat).

BACK TO TOP
BACK TO KRS EDSTROM ADVICE COLUMN MAIN PAGE


Dear Krs,
Every day
around 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. I always get hungry and start snacking on low fat and fat free foods and I can't stop. I feel like I never get full and I am always going back into the kitchen and looking for more. I usually end up eating until I feel like I am going to explode because I can't tell when I've had enough. Could you tell me what low fat snacks are out there that will fill me up after one serving?
Bingeing on Low Fat Foods

Dear Bingeing,
The low fat snacks that will fill you up and signal that you have had enough to eat are those that are nutritionally balanced and will supplement that which your body is lacking at that moment. People are often so preoccupied with the fat content of a food that they forget about the nutritional content. When your body gives you hunger signals it is actually giving you NUTRITIONAL requests. It is saying, "I'm running out of gas and I need some high octane fuel instead of junk, if you don't mind." Thinking we are fooling the system, we give it the equivalent of cardboard (in the form of low-fat junk foods filled with processed carbohydrates and very little nutritional value). The body continues to scream, "Get back to that refrigerator and try again - I've got a stomach full of cardboard here!" So off you run and let your mind continue to overrule your body as you stand in front of the refrigerator or cupboard. And so the cycle continues and the pounds accumulate (yes, you CAN gain weight on low fat foods). It is a very frustrating cycle that can be hard to figure out when you don't give your body equal time to speak.

You might argue that you are snacking on carrots and celery - not low-fat junk food. I would then probably suggest that you try something with a little more substance, such as a hardboiled egg or a few rice cakes with an all-fruit jam on top. The point is, that you ask your body what it really needs before you get to the kitchen. And make it a commitment to have the right healthful foods on hand.
KRS

BACK TO TOP
BACK TO KRS EDSTROM ADVICE COLUMN MAIN PAGE


Dear KRS,
I would like
to become a vegetarian. What are some easy and healthy ways to cut meat out of my diet? Thanks.
Vegetarian Beginner

Dear Vegetarian,
The main issue is to be sure that you get "complete" proteins in your diet. Specifically, by combining beans (soy, kidney, black beans and so on) with grains (brown rice, wheat, rye, etc.)you will get all the necessary amino acids that make up a complete animal protein. This has actually become easier since we've learned that the beans and grains can be spread throughout the day versus at the same meal. The ratio is approximately 1 part beans to 3 parts grains.

The meals are actually easier and less messy than animal protein meals, once you get the hang of it. For example, cook up a big batch of brown rice and keep some in your refrigerator and the rest in the freezer. You can do SO many things with this "base." One idea: Put a cup of rice on a plate and heat it up in the microwave. Then cover with any/all of the following: mixed baby (organic) greens, beans (black, soy, mixed, etc., right from the can), corn (raw, cut right off the cobb is a wonderful treat), tomatoes, avocados, roasted red peppers, cucumbers... You get the idea. Cover with balsamic vinaigrette and virgin olive oil (or, I like Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing). Sprinkle with a touch of feta if you like.

I could go on with my favorite ideas but check out some vegetarian cook books and you'll start collecting your own favorites that take very little effort. You might want to check out the queen of high protein, meatless cooking - Frances Moore Lappe - and her book Diet for a Small Planet. She really gets specific on which carbohydrates combine best with others and in what proportion. She takes it to a scientific level that is fascinating but a bit daunting if you are just starting. Don't worry about following it exactly - proportions don't have to be quite as regimented as the book implies to maintain good health.

Too often people don't get properly educated on how to eat vegetarian and they think that just by cutting out meat they are destined for the Healthy Eating Hall of Fame. Meanwhile they may be actually eating worse than before by munching on doughnuts and other high fat foods. Be intelligent but not fanatical and you will find it easier than you think. In eating a proper vegetarian diet you'll feel lighter, cleaner and more energetic (red meat takes a lot of digestive energy to process).
KRS

BACK TO TOP
BACK TO KRS EDSTROM ADVICE COLUMN MAIN PAGE


IN ASSOCIATION WITH

 

To Contact Us:
ContactUs@AskKRS.com


Before you use this site please read the disclaimer and copyright information.  
Your use of this site means you have read and accept these terms.  Thanks.
1999-2016 All rights reserved. Los Angeles, California