Ask the Nutritionist | Melanie Beasley, RD, LD

By Jackie Cartier
March 7, 2017

An ongoing theme in our blog is asking our knowledgeable nutritionists their tips and tricks. Everything from how they make real food fast, easy and delicious, to the best success stories they've been a part of. Anything you'd like to ask a nutritionist? Let us know in the comments below! In the meantime, take a look at what Melanie, our newest Nutritional Weight & Wellness nutritionist, had to say!

bios_Melanie_Beasley_Large.jpgWhen did you realize the power of real food?

There was a turning point in my life where seeking wellness, health and just plain relief became my focus. This journey began the year that I had five surgeries that started with a ruptured disc and continued with a battle with cancer. I was very sick with chronic infections, migraines, exhaustion, urinary tract infections and acid reflux. I was on a cocktail of prescription medications. They continued to treat the symptoms without finding the cause. When I was finally diagnosed with a multitude of food allergies and an intolerance to sugar I was relieved...and then a bit panicked about what to eat. Here I was, a dietitian allergic to wheat, gluten, chocolate, soy, corn, cow's milk (dairy), goat milk and some tree nuts. I took the challenge and removed the allergens from my diet, began eating simple food and found relief! I was off three prescription medications in just six weeks! I continue to be gluten, dairy and chocolate free eating the Weight & Wellness Way.

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

My biggest food struggle is appetizer dips at parties. If I start eating those junkie snacks it takes me several days to eliminate food cravings. I have learned to just not go down a long trail of poor eating. It only results in pain and illness for me. I treasure feeling energetic and healthy!

5-questions-melanie_sidebar.jpgWhat is the most frequent question you hear from clients?

I encounter so many clients who are overwhelmed with changes in their dietary patterns. I tell them it is like eating an elephant, strange metaphor but stick with me – it seems overwhelming, but one bite at a time and you have him eaten. If they plan for success they will be successful. As their health improves from the simple foods they are eating, then they can then make some creative meals. Until then don't get complicated, keep it simple.

What do you do for an easy grab and go meal when you're pinched for time?

My easy grab and go snack is a frozen smoothie. I triple the smoothie recipe and add three cups of kale or spinach leaves. Then I split the smoothies up into mason jars and put them in the freezer. I use them for icepacks in my lunch and by the time it is snack time, they are thawed and ready to drink.

What's one of your favorite client success stories?

I had a client that came in with a recent 50-pound weight gain, skin rashes and tremendous anxiety. We removed gluten, dairy and sugar from her diet, the sources of her food intolerances. We also problem-solved eating in balance with her busy lifestyle. She began to cry... with happiness! She said it was the first time she felt heard and had hope. What a privilege to be a part of my clients' health journey.

Thanks for sharing, Melanie! Read what our other nutritionists share what they wished more people knew about nutrition, why slow weight loss is best and so much more. If you want to start your own success story, we encourage you to make a nutrition counselling appointment today.

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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

Comments

Ambrosia
Hi my boyfriend and i live a 2nd shift life. He works until midnight then wants a big dinner when he comes home and even though I'm a homemaker I keep the same hours. Because he also wants a big meal before he starts work and goes to sleep shortly after "dinner" (usually 130/2am) I find us both getting heavier. I'm wondering what lighter types of dinners I can make that will fill you and promote weight loss during sleep?
March 16, 2017 at 9:25 pm

admin

Eating a large meal before bed can take a toll on good quality sleep. It is a little known fact that gravity and movement after a meal are important for proper digestion.  A large meal that incorporates meats and other proteins can “energize” us and for some create sleep disturbances.  I would recommend the larger meal or “dinner” if you will would be eaten a few hours before your boyfriend comes home (packed for work) and a light snack together such as berries and real cream or a small apple with peanut butter would be the bedtime snack you share together.  Living the second shift can be challenging nutritionally for many people.  If you find yourself gaining weight due to life circumstances I would suggest an appointment with one of our nutritionists to dig a little deeper into the root causes and solutions.

Gia
Hi. I have a question in regards to nutrition on a vegan diet/ lifestyle. I understand that b12 is an essential vitamin for good health and wellness. The only "natural" source source of b12 is through bacteria, and is found in dirt and soil. Over the many years of sanitization, there is not a very easy way of getting b12 without consuming meat and dairy. In fact, farm animals themselves get b12 from supplementation, and sometimes from eating their own feces. I was wondering if it would be safe and effective to just take a supplement instead of taking in this meat/dairy products long term since farm animals basically only have adequate levels of b12 because of supplementation themselves. Thank you so much for your time.
May 21, 2017 at 6:22 pm

admin

It always wonderful to see a listener that is doing her research and taking such a wonderful proactive stance in their own nutritional wellness. In regards to B12 I would agree with you that it is an essential vitamin for good health.

The best source is of course grass fed meats, organic eggs and dairy products.We always encourage food first as the proper micro and macronutrients are packed in our quality food sources.There are so many additional nutrition benefits to getting our B12 from food verses supplementation.  

As far as the supplementation for those individuals that are Vegan a Methylated B12 is an activated form that is readily available to the individual who has good gut health and require an additional amount of B12.

I hope this answers your question!

Melanie Beasley

Eric
Is it possible to take too much vitamin D3 per day by using supplements? Some friends at my gym use CLA + Carbitine, a weight-loss dietary supplement, that calls for 1 scoop (serving) in the morning and one at night. I'm reading up on it, and the product has 10,000 IU of vitamin d3 per serving. What is too much, and what should you be targeting for vitamin D consumption?
June 18, 2017 at 8:53 pm

admin

It is possible to get too much vitamin D in supplement form. We recommend to get your vitamin D levels tested routinely and based on the results, supplement accordingly to maintain a level close to 50. 

We know that if your D levels are too low or too high, you can have some negative symptoms. A typical maintenance dose would be 5,000 IU daily in the winter and 2,000 IU daily in the summer. Depending on what your current levels are, the 10,000 per day might be too much to take everyday. I hope this helps. 

 

Trisha
I have two questions. I read that it is better to eat a whole baked potato than the same potato mashed (no added butter, etc.) because mashing it releases sugar. Along the same line, I know it is better to eat fruit than to drink the juice alone. I make smoothies with frozen blackberries and skim milk plus sweetener. Is it seriously better to eat the berries? There is nothing left over and I still have the seeds and pulp in the smoothie. I am a diabetic and also trying to lose weight. Thank you so much.
August 17, 2017 at 4:48 pm

admin

I am so happy to hear that you are looking for ways to improve your diet and blood sugar control.  As a diabetic I am sure you understand the importance of maintaining healthy blood sugar balance through nutrition. 

Keep in mind that by the time we chew a bake potato  thoroughly we have essentially “mashed” the potato with our teeth.

These are great but very complex questions and I would recommend a consult with one of our nutritionists.  

Amber Johnson
I'm in healthcare and spend the majority of my day in the car driving from patient to patient. I'm interested in finding a meal plan that accommodates that sort of lifestyle and if you knew of any resources I could look at? I'm trying to lose weight and it's difficult to pack lunches when I have no access to a microwave and limited cooler space. Thanks!
August 19, 2017 at 9:20 am

admin

Thank you for reaching out to Nutritional Weight & Wellness! Finding a meal plan that works with a traveling profession can be challenging! However, we have several clientele with similar careers that have received excellent ideas and counseling from our nutritionists.  

Being a healthcare professional I am sure you are aware of the critical need for a wellness lifestyle. Prepping and preparing meals and snacks is essential for a healthy nutrition plan. If you need help with ideas hear are a few.

  • Use a large soft cooler that will accommodate a day of meals and snacks.  Such as Trader Joes.
  • Cook up a large batch of chicken breasts that have been cut into bite size pieces and frozen in 4 ounces freezer bags.
  • Raw veggies, olives and deli meat roll ups (with cream cheese and pickles) can be added to the cooler.
  • Small apples with baggies of nuts or sunflower seeds are a great grab and go snack.
  • Keep wet whips and several bottles of water in the car for easy clean up.

Need more ideas you can search or Podcasts on Dishing up Nutrition.  Since you are in your car it is a good reminder while you are traveling to care for others that your health is important too!

Christine
Every time I try to move away from carbs and eat meals that are full of veggies, I get awful bloating. I often forget that it will happen, and wonder why I appear to be gaining weight when I switch breads out for cauliflower. Then I will remember, and once I cut out the veggies, the bloating subsides. How can I eat for long-term health (less carbs) if the veggies I eat to fill me instead just make me constipated and bloated? (I am eating protein, but I want something besides just chicken or tofu in my meal, thus the veggies.)

Thanks!
September 14, 2017 at 8:17 pm

admin

It is great that you are trying to eat more vegetables! Vegetables can be a little bloating at first due to the fact that they are high in fiber and feed our natural probiotics that exist in our gastrointestinal tract. Usually when some begins adding vegetables and fibrous foods some gas and bloating is to be expected. However, it sounds like this has been an ongoing struggle for you and some digestive issues may be a problem. I would strongly suggest you make an appointment with one of the nutritionists here at Nutritional Weight & Wellness to help you find some solutions.  

Tim
I know that green tea is effective in helping to burn unwanted fat, I see all these things about green tea diets but what is the best way to drink green tea? Is it best to drink it once in the morning to start your day, or is it best to drink green tea throughout your day? Also how much should I drink and does it make a difference whether you drink it cold or warm?
September 21, 2017 at 12:29 pm

admin

Three cups of organic green tea per day may facilitate the burning of body fat. Green tea studies suggest it promotes the body’s ability to burn fat through thermogenesis and fat oxidation. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found the combination of polyphenols and caffeine from an extract of green tea resulted in a “significant increase” in energy used by the body.

Some studies show green tea improves insulin sensitivity and may help protect against diabetes and blood sugar imbalances. Keeping in mind a wellness eating plan is critical. A nutritionist at Nutritional Weight & Wellness can help with a balanced eating plan.

Green tea is a delicious, healthy drink that can be part of your daily diet. Its health benefits may be best realized when served hot with lemon but it can be enjoyed chilled or even iced. Remember it has some caffeine so it is best consumed before early afternoon to ensure it does not affect sleep!

Madi
In college we dont have a lot of fruits and vegetables so I have been supplementing with V8 smoothies. The only problem is that there is a lot of sugar in them- should I stop drinking them and basically lose my vegetable/ fruit intake?
September 29, 2017 at 12:53 pm

admin

Hi, I understand how difficult it can be for a college student to shop and carry quality ingredients in your busy schedule. You are right, many of the convenience vegetable drinks are very high in sugar and will cause inflammation and suppress immunity. However, stopping at the grocery store and making a few portable snacks would be in your best interest for your overall health. Portable fruits and veggies such as carrots, celery, small oranges and apples would be a better choice. Some small baggies of nuts and beef jerky (MSG free)  would also be some better options to offset hunger on campus.  Good luck this year with your college studies!

Rose
LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! The Dishing Up Nutrition podcast! I've been hooked on it now for almost a year and it has totally changed the way I eat. About 2 months ago my husband was diagnosed with diabetes and he to now is eating the health and wellness way. His blood A1C went from over 13 where he was having vision problems and other symptoms to 6.5 and he has lost 30 pounds. I'm so proud of him! (He is also on Metformin which his doctor may take him off.) One of the things I have never heard talked about on the program is BUCKWHEAT. I am on a kick with it myself, eating Bob's Mill organic hot creamy buckwheat cereal. I have also been buying buckwheat flour to make muffins and other treats to enjoy occasionally. (for a sweetener I use Stevia).
Was wondering if you could please shed some light and thoughts on buckwheat? Also, I've never seen any of your recipes include buckwheat.
Thank you so much,
Rose
September 30, 2017 at 8:53 am

admin

Wow! It is so exciting to hear the wonderful impact Dishing Up Nutrition has made in you and your husbands health!  Congratulations on the changes you both have made! Buckwheat is a wonderful seed that is often overlooked. It is has no relation to the wheat we are so familiar with and is actually gluten free. This makes buckwheat a wonderful alternative for people who are gluten and wheat sensitive. It is rich in many trace minerals, including manganese, magnesium and copper. It is also a good source of the B vitamins: B6, pantothenic acid, niacin, folate, thiamin and choline. Studies have shown it has been helpful in lowing blood sugar. Because it is not an ingredient we have not included it in any recipes but it is great to hear you have made it one of your favorite ingredients.

If you would like to save a little money and make your own porridge here is one of my favorite recipes:

Buckwheat Porridge:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw buckwheat groats
  • 3 cups water
  • Liquid stevia
  • Powdered cardamom

Instructions:

  • Place buckwheat and water in a 1-quart sauce pan.
  • Heat on low 45 minutes or until a porridge-like consistency is reached.
  • Add stevia and cardamom to taste.
  • Serve plain or with unsweetened flax milk or unsweetened coconut yogurt.

Erin
I recently went vegetarian and want to make sure I’m getting my nutrition right. I’ve tried taking a B12 supplement a few times, but always get a headache right away. I do drink fortified soy milk. Is it possible that the headache is from too much B12 and that I get all I need from the soy milk? I want to make sure I don’t end up with a deficiency, but really don’t want to have to endure the headaches to get it.
October 2, 2017 at 8:00 pm

admin

Taking B12 is an excellent idea! Especially if you are avoiding the high quality protein we get from meat and fish.  I would make sure you are getting a quality well absorbed B12 supplement. Since B12 occurs naturally in our bodies it would be very rare to get a headache from the B12 itself.  Many supplements contain fillers that people are sensitive to, so be sure you are taking a good well absorbed one.  Soy milk can also have some poor additives and supplementation that could be causing a problem. Soy is one of the top 8 allergens in our country so perhaps remove that milk as well and see if you have relief.  Getting enough macro and micronutrients as a vegetarian can be a challenge!  I would recommend making an appointment with one of our nutritionists to ensure your diet is sufficient for health and wellness.

Carly
If a calorie counter that looks at height, weight, sex, lifestyle says I should be eating 1.5k calories daily to lose a pound a week, can I achieve this number by eating over that and subtracting with exercise to that number or should I only be eating 1.5k calories plus exercising?
October 5, 2017 at 12:57 am

admin

That is a very common question for people who are on calorie counting programs. Theoretically you can eat more calories if you exercise. Calories counted using calibrated programs and Apps are only as good at the source they were programed from and should never be the only consideration for healthy weight. 

However, at Nutritional Weight & Weellness we do not encourage calorie counting as much as the quality of foods you are eating and blood sugar balance for overall health. I would suggest you listen to our podcasts on weight reduction that can be found on our website under Dishing Up Nutrition.

Bev
Hi,
I'm a 63 yr old woman and would like to know why eating anything with refined sugar gives me hot flashes. Otherwise, I do not get them. Thanks!
October 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm

admin

A great question! This article, Hormones, Hot Flashes and Holiday Fare will help explain that as will this Dishing Up Nutrition podcast Menopause: Moods, Memory & More. 

Charlie
Hello,
I am a 26 yr old male seeking some advice on a sleep/nutrition question. I wake up at nearly the same time every morning (4:15 AM). I exercise 5 days/week and stick to a strict diet (fats before noon, carbs after noon/around workouts). I eat 4 meals/day, + a post exercise shake; approximately 2200 cal total. I have gone over all my supplements and the few meds I take with an MD sleep doctor, but we did not discuss diet. I can't help but wonder if an insulin/blood sugar shift is waking me up each morning. I have tested the idea and find that I am in fact able to sleep longer if I put some carbs and fat into my body 30 min before bed. I am finding it difficult to get a straight answer on what the best macronutrient combination is to keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the night, some have said healthy fats with carbs, others said protein with carbs, some say carbs with fiber, some just say straight protein. I'm also concerned that the wrong foods will put on unwanted weight. Can you shed some light on this for me? Perhaps provide me with an example?
October 16, 2017 at 11:12 am

admin

I would agree that there is very conflicting advice for nutrition and especially nutrition and sleep.

The first thing I always suggest is eating a bedtime snack that includes a healthy fat and a carbohydrate source (such as strawberries with cream or perhaps a half an apple with some almond butter, or half an avocado with some salsa). If your blood sugar crashes while you sleep, it can wake you from a sound sleep, but the combination of fat and carbohydrate will keep your blood sugar stable all night long. For some people animal proteins can be energizing at bedtime so I would suggest avoiding them after dinner.

If the bedtime snack is not enough help, I suggest you take 400-600mg of Magnesium Glycinate. Myself or one of our nutritionists are always available for an appointment should you need further support.

Sue
Hello,

I'm a 20 year old female and I would like some help with understanding my metabolism. I am 5'5 and 135 lbs. I have an athletic body type with an average amount of body fat and more than average muscle than most women my age. I exercise about 5 times a week for at least an hour and also get 8 hours of sleep on average. I was wondering how it is possible that I eat so much. I can eat 2500-3000 calories a day and spend an enormous amount of money on groceries (about $500/month) without buying expensive foods. I eat very healthy and track my macros but I'm concerned with the amount that I eat. I don't seem to have one of those naturally super skinny body types that can eat anything and everything they want without gaining weight because I am not as lean as I could be for the amount of training I do. I usually eat 4-5 meals a day and every time I eat it is because I am truly hungry. Why is it so hard for me to hold myself back from eating food when it seems like I am really eating too much for a person my size and I continue to not lean out?

Thank you,
Sue
October 22, 2017 at 4:15 pm

admin

Wow, you sound extremely committed to your work outs and your overall health! In reading your question it sounds like you are expending quite a bit of energy in your work outs and your body needs the fuel from food to continue such a rigorous lifestyle. Here at Nutritional Weight & Wellness we encourage eating several times a day to keep your metabolism and energy in good working order. However, it is the type of food and the combination of protein, vegetable carbs and healthy fats that determines the outcome in health and energy. I would suggest an appointment with me or one of the nutritionists here at Nutrition Weight & Wellness, we do phone or in-person nutrition consultations, to evaluate and possibly make some suggestions to your lifestyle and intake. Congratulations on taking such a proactive interest in your health. Making a few changes will only further your progress.

Danah
I mostly only eat poultry. If I am going over to somone house and they cook pork or beef, I don't want to be rude so I have a very small portion. Should I be taking an Iron supplement? Thank you
November 6, 2017 at 5:40 pm

admin

That is a great question and it is frequently asked by individuals who do not eat red meat.

There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is derived from hemoglobin. It is found in animal foods that originally contained hemoglobin, such as red meats, fish, and poultry (meat, poultry, and seafood contain both heme and non-heme iron). Your body absorbs the most iron from heme sources. Most non-heme iron is from plant sources.

 Good sources of heme iron that are not red meat include:

  • 3 ounces of clams, mollusks, or mussels
  • 3 ounces of oysters
  • 3 ounces of canned sardines, canned in oil

 Very good sources of non-heme include:

  • 1 cup of cooked beans
  • 1 ounce of pumpkin, sesame, or squash seeds
  • 1/2 cup of canned lima beans, red kidney beans, or chickpeas
  • 1 medium baked potato
  • 1/4 cup of wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup of cooked split peas
  • 1 ounce of peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, roasted almonds, roasted cashews, or sunflower seeds
  • 1 medium stalk of broccoli
  • 1 cup of raw spinach

Some foods can help your body absorb iron from iron-rich foods; others can hinder it. To absorb the most iron from the foods you eat, avoid drinking coffee or tea or consuming calcium-rich foods or drinks with meals containing iron-rich foods. To improve your absorption of iron, eat it along with a good source of vitamin C, such as orange juice, broccoli, or strawberries, or eat non-heme iron foods with a food from the meat, fish, and poultry group. You can also cook your acidic foods like spaghetti sauce in cast iron skillets to increase the iron content of foods.

If you are having difficulty getting enough iron through food you made need supplementation. However, always speak to your doctor about being tested first.  Minimal amounts of iron are excreted from the body and can become too high with supplementation. Although iron toxicity from food sources is extremely rare. If you have any further questions or nutritional needs, it is good to speak with one of our nutritionists who are happy to help you to achieve nutritional wellness!

Susan Pickus
Have you heard of Step One Foods? And if you have do you recommend them?
November 7, 2017 at 4:13 pm

admin

Our nutritionist had never heard of them, but did a quick search and the ingredients look OK, but it would still be considered a processed food. Best to stick to as much real food as possible. 

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