The nutritionist also cured my life-long insomnia. For the first time, I am permanently free of sleeping pills. I’ll follow-up with another post on that topic.
There seem to be a lot of health coaches out there, but why I like my nutritionist is because she has the right credentials: Registered Dietitian (RD) and Masters in Public Health (MPH) from my own alma mater UC Berkeley.
I had two appointments with her: a general assessment and me asking questions, then a follow-up to review blood work I submitted to test my neurotransmitters and how to correct my sleep problem. And now, I’m cured!
For my first appointment, she had me step on a scale that spit out a bunch of measurements. I was fully clothed except for shoes and had just eaten an In-n-Out burger and was munching on cookies in her waiting room prior to weigh-in. She said she has a lot of clients who come first thing in the morning and strip naked to minimize their weight.
My Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is 1,079 kcal which is the minimum number of calories needed daily, otherwise my body will get thrown off-track. She does not recommend fasting of any kind (i.e., intermittent fasting or even fasting for religious reasons) if it compromises your BMR. When appetite is suppressed, metabolism is reduced. You would double your BMR to maintain your weight.
I walked her through what I typically eat:
- Breakfast: Starbucks venti hot chocolate extra whipped cream
- Lunch: In-n-Out burger, burrito supreme or deli sandwich
- Snack: chocolate chip cookie, ice-cream or chocolate
- Dinner: salad or cheese/deli meat/crackers
She was concerned about the daily hot chocolate, but then I told her that I had to have it. I can’t beat the convenience of a ready-made “meal.” Plus Starbucks makes it so easy to pickup before work with their mobile app. She said that’s fine if that’s my non-negotiable. But then I can’t go on to have cookies and ice-cream later on in the day, every single day!
I mentioned that I’m all about data, and she said that research shows a link between Alzheimers and sugar. So reduce sugar intake. Also, sugar is inflammatory and travels to the brain.
I asked why there are so many people who are anti-dairy which she said is silly. There are people who are lactose-intolerant, but otherwise the only objectionable thing to dairy is that it can be a bit inflammatory and can cause sinus infection issues. I asked about the impact of hormones in milk and she said as long as you buy organic milk, there are no hormones. Doesn’t matter what brand. We’re strict about giving Franco only organic milk.
She didn’t like how often I eat burgers because it’s high in salt and nitrates, greasy and processed. I then said I also go to the deli and she said all that meat is processed too.
She encouraged me to add more variety and she told me how to structure my meals: a balance of fat, carbs and protein. I then asked her to walk me through ordering at certain restaurants.
- Mexican food is great because of how easy it is to mix and match. Carbs: rice or beans. Protein: carne asada or carnitas. Fat: avocado.
- Italian food: skip the pasta, go for the secondi.
I don’t drink caffeine (coffee or tea) and I asked if I get any brownie points for that. Nope. She said that caffeine is actually good for the body in small amounts.
I mentioned that I used to be able to drink a few glasses of wine daily, but had been getting headaches with even one glass of wine. She said try switching to white wine, which I have, and that has helped. White wine doesn’t have sulfites which can cause headaches. However red wine is more beneficial to drink than white wine.
I asked for power foods to eat and she said nuts, frittatas, Icelandic yogurt and salad. The yogurt should not have any sugar in it. Most flavored yogurt does. She’s a fan of Viking and Siggi’s brand yogurts (unflavored with no sugar). Add berries and nuts for taste. Salads with grilled veggies or chard and protein are good. No on Caesar salad. Yes on Cobb salad.
Healthy gut = Healthy body
Some things that help with gut health:
- Psyllium husk is fiber that helps with stool regularity.
- Apple cider vinegar with hot water and a shake of cayenne pepper is a good gentle cleanse.
- Colonic is a quick way of doing a cleanse.
- Probiotics help too.
When she’s sick, she takes Airborne and gives it to her kids too. Other things that help with immunity:
- Zinc (best)
- Vitamins C&E
- Ginger reduces inflammation
Keep an eye out on my follow-up post on how a nutritionist solved my insomnia.