Ask the Nutritionist | JoAnn, MPH, RD, LD

By Jackie Cartier
October 21, 2016


We’re back with another round of 5 questions with our Nutritional Weight & Wellness nutritionists, a chance to ask them the questions we don’t get to on Dishing Up Nutrition. Read on to see why JoAnn says slow weight loss is the best kind and two pretty stunning success stories.

Let’s get started! JoAnn.jpg

1. How did nutrition help your chronic back pain?

I have a history of back issues for the past 26 years, starting after my son was born. From back spasms to burning tingling pain, nerve damage, and my foot going numb at times everything hurt. My pain led me down the road of physical therapy and surgeries—but I had no idea that nutrition would be the key to help me heal. 

Until I started to work at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, I didn’t truly understand how eliminating grains (especially corn) and sugar could help. I increased my protein intake for muscle building, ate more vegetables, added more healing fats (butter, coconut oil, and olive oil), and eliminated trans-fats and sugar. Since I changed my eating, I’ve avoided chronic back pain and inflammation, done away with my arthritis and foot pain and greatly improved my digestive health. Daily life is a lot more comfortable with real food on my side!

2. What is your food struggle? What tricks do you use to avoid that issue?

My biggest food struggle is sugar, home baked sweets in particular. I grew up in a house where my mom loved to bake, and we all enjoyed eating her goodies! As an adult, I can’t have sweets in the house; they are just too tempting.

When family is around they often bring treats, and I try to send the leftovers home with them. When I am eating balanced I can avoid craving sweets, but if I slip up, the cravings are  back in full force, and I have a hard time stopping. In addition to the balanced eating plan, I have found the Nutritional Weight & Wellness blueberry muffin recipe (I sometimes make the muffins with pumpkin or bananas) is a great alternative. The muffins are low sugar, grain-free and have a small amount of real maple syrup. I keep them in the freezer so they are not too easy to grab.

3. What is the number one food that you’d suggest your clients stop eating?

Grains are number one. Most people don’t realize that grains turn to sugar as they digest. I often suggest that clients stop eating grains (including corn), sugar, and sometimes dairy. I don’t think anything surprises people as much as the corn since popcorn is often (wrongly) thought of as a diet food, and corn chips are often seen as a healthier snack. These foods always cause me extreme back pain, so with that experience I remind my arthritic clients how inflammatory grains and corn can be.

4.What is the number one weight loss misconception clients have?

The number one misconception is that weight loss should happen quickly. “I’m following the food plan and I’ve only lost a few pounds.” I often hear this, to which I respond that all progress is good. Losing a few pounds can happen fairly quickly for some people, but we have to remember how long it took to gain that weight. 

I always tell clients that slower weight loss is more permanent. Following the food plan and measuring and recording the foods you eat are very important. The weight loss will happen as your body begins to heal. As we continue to make changes, our metabolism begins to heal, and the results are well worth it in the end.

5. What are the most amazing success stories that you’ve been a part of?

I have witnessed many amazing success stories during my years at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, but I decided to narrow it down to two. The first is a male teen who came to me because he was having such severe migraines that he missed up to 20 days a month of school, causing him to fall behind. Within several weeks of working together, we discovered the foods he was sensitive to. When he eliminated those foods his attendance improved, his math grades went up significantly, he found it easier to concentrate, and he reduced his allergy medications, which turned out to be one of the issues. As the weeks went by, he determined that MSG was one of the biggest triggers for his migraines and learned which restaurants were safe and MSG free. I enjoyed working with him and seeing his personality emerge as he became more confident and took charge of this situation. He is now longboarding and starting driver’s education without worrying health issues will keep him down.

I am also extremely excited about my sister, Jennie, who has lost 37 pounds*. She went to her high school reunion recently where a few of her friends were envious and asked how she did it. While she has been a longtime Dishing Up Nutrition listener since I started working at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, she made a big commitment in January 2016 after watching our Mom give herself an insulin shot; it scared her. She gave up sugar, bread, most foods with gluten and started making recipes from the Nutritional Weight & Wellness website and cookbook. In just ten months, she looks like a new person, has fewer aches and pains, no cravings, no heartburn and no sinus issues. I have been amazed and proud to watch Jennie’s journey as she has accomplished so much!

We covered a lot today with JoAnn, but hardly got to everything. Let us know in the comments which questions you’d ask our next 5 questions with a nutritionist.

*Because everyone is unique, individual results vary.

About the author

Jackie Cartier is Content Strategy Manager for Nutritional Weight & Wellness. She was once a client, seeking natural solutions to her achy runner knees and hormonal imbalances. From then she was hooked and eventually ended up on their team, spreading the real food message on the blog and through social media. 

View all posts by Jackie Cartier


Hi, I did a genetic test and then ran the results through a program that suggested that I supplement with Methyl B12 and avoid Hydroxy B12 - what is the difference, and does it really matter "which" B12 I am getting?

November 14, 2016 at 7:32 am


Genetic testing can identify gene mutations that impact how efficiently different vitamins and minerals work in our body. Methylcobalamin (Methyl B12) is the form that can be used as a supplement for individuals that may otherwise have a hard time activating B12; simply put it is the form that is ready to work in the body. It all comes down to choosing the supplement that it going to work most efficiently for your metabolism.

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