A nutritionist is one of those friends you want to have in your contacts list. All of us on Team LC have been known to text our girl Kelly LeVeque of Be Well By Kelly with random questions while we’re standing in the middle of the grocery store aisle. “What were those raw vegan Paleo wraps you recommended again?” (They were these, by the way.) “Is this green juice really as healthy as it looks?” (Not if it’s full of sugar!) But, since not everyone has a nutritionist on hand, we asked Kelly to share her answers to six of our burning nutrition questions with everyone here on the site. As a part of Ask Me Anything August, we are excited to present this Q&A with Kelly today. Some of her answers might surprise you, and they’re almost guaranteed to change the way you eat…
1. Three big meals or several small meals a day?
Three meals a day! It absolutely depends on my client’s blood sugar, thyroid health and past dietary habits, but I am more often than not pulling clients back to three meals a day. I encourage my clients to eat to satiety and teach them to calm insulin and balance hormones naturally. All grazing does is leave you full of insulin (a hunger hormone that stops fat burning and makes you want to snack more). Excessive levels of insulin in your bloodstream can also indicate the first stage of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. My tip: Give your body a 4-6 hour break between meals and opt for three meals a day.
2. What are the absolute healthiest foods that you recommend eating daily?
Coldwater fish like sardines, salmon and mackerel are my go-tos for omega 3 fatty acids. With most Americans’ poor fatty acid ratios and rampant inflammation, it’s a daily recommendation for my clients. Dark leafy greens, cucumbers and lemons are also staples in my fridge. Alkaline, fiber-rich and full of water, these foods keep your internal ecosystem alive and well—not to mention they are full of vitamin C and antioxidants. Looking for fats and fiber? Coconut oil, avocados, and chia seeds keep my clients satisfied, insulin sensitive and regular (yep, I said it!).
3. How much does diet really play into healthy hair, clear skin, and strong nails?
Strong nails, shiny tresses and clear skin are primarily linked to the products you’re using, diet and/or hormones. For instance, a clear skin protocol at Be Well means we are eliminating estrogen-heavy foods like soy, inflammatory foods like dairy and excess sugar from our diets. Eighty percent of the time we can clear our skin with diet alone, but if we don’t see improvements in a few short months we run labs to check hormones.
4. Low-fat vs. low-carb diet for weight loss?
I am shocked that so many people are still counting calories, and specifically calories from fat. Fat doesn’t make you fat. A low simple carb, low sugar diet is best for weight loss, always. Carbs break down to glucose (blood sugar) causing insulin (a sugar storage hormone) to surge. Glucose must be stored in the body, and if you aren’t actively burning glycogen (stored glucose) from your muscle with exercise, the carbs you eat (or glucose) will be stored. When there is no room left for sugar in muscles and liver, excess blood sugar stores as fat. That said, make sure you’re filling your diet with my fab four: protein, fiber, greens and healthy fats.
5. What’s the one food you would tell your clients to stop eating?
Soy. The phytoestrogens in soy are stronger than many of us realize, with prevalent side effects including acne, hypothyroid, infertility and cancer. In my practice, I can think of one client in particular who completely cleared 12 years of persistent adult acne by simply removing soy. It’s the one food I can’t ignore.
6. What’s the one best piece of nutritional advice you can give?
The “diet” or “lifestyle” you choose now will probably change. Always continue to listen to your body. Also, don’t feel obligated to explain yourself or your choices, don’t preach, and don’t jump on quick fix fads.
Think of it this way: If Paleo, raw, vegan, and vegetarian diets were all designers, my body would be a boutique of my favorite pieces in each collection. Sometimes you just like one designer’s summer collection better, and then another designer’s collection the next season. But as long as you feel your best in what you’re wearing, that’s all that matters.
Above all else, love yourself and be well.
Do you have any questions you’d love to ask Kelly?
Leave them in the comments, and we might just continue our Ask a Nutritionist series next month!
XO Team LC