Q&A With Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Angela Aladjem
March is National Nutrition Month, and we can’t think of a better time to take a serious look at our eating habits—especially with swimsuit season right around the corner. When it comes to health and fitness, the simple truth is that you can’t outrun a bad diet. But between macros, Keto, Paleo, Vegan and all the other diet trends du jour it can be overwhelming to know what to eat to meet your goals—but it doesn’t have to be. We asked Angela Aladjem, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with My Nutrition Studio to break it down for us and, as an added bonus, Angela is giving BodyArchitecture readers a FREE one hour session to assess your goals and create a personal nutrition plan that meets your needs ($100 value). Visit www.mynutritionstudio.com or call 210-320-0979 to get started.
BA: What is the difference between nutrition and dieting?
AA: I think of “diets” as something people plan for the short term, which is why they rarely work for people in the long run. Nutrition would be how you eat all the time, and hopefully it includes the basics of a healthy diet most of the time.
BA: What is the most common mistake you see people make when it comes to nutrition?
AA: People want to complicate things and they set these crazy expectations based on something they’ve seen on social media, or something they see a celebrity doing. When they can’t live up to the unrealistic standards they’ve set, they give up completely instead of just doing what they can each day. One bad meal doesn’t have to equal a bad day or week of eating, and a healthy diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple, healthy meals should be embraced. Elaborate meals and snacks are really unnecessary. Don’t make it harder than it is.
BA: What is your opinion on fad diets and trends like the current Keto obsession?
AA: First, these kinds of diets can be very restrictive and hard to keep up with—not to mention confusing. A true “ketogenic” diet is 80% fat and is supposed to be done under medical supervision with regular check-ins to make sure it isn’t affecting your liver or cardiovascular health. Most people just jump into the latest “buzz worthy” diet without consulting a professional first and seeing if it is a good fit for their current health and lifestyle. A lot of supplements and meal replacement shake programs that people see marketed on social media are not safe for people taking certain medications or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Never start a diet without consulting with your doctor first.
BA: So there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to diets or nutrition?
AA: No, not really. So much of what we do is different for each person. An athlete may need to pay more attention to macros for example, but your average person might have a hard time keeping up with all the measuring and counting. Usually, the best approach is trying to move towards a healthy, nutritious diet in small, manageable steps.
BA: So what are some small steps people can take this month to improve their overall nutrition?
AA: Focus on changing one or two things per week such as drinking more water, eliminating sodas, and adding in more fruits and veggies. Eat at home more, or meal prep and take your food to work. Instead of driving through Starbucks and getting a sugary coffee drink and pastry, try taking quick cooking oats, hard boiled eggs, nut butter on grain bread, or Greek yogurt topped with seeds. When you cook dinner at night, make a little extra so you can take the leftovers to lunch the next day. Cut up some vegetables, cook a protein, and portion things like hummus and guacamole in individual servings with some whole grain crackers and you can quickly put together a simple lunch that will keep you from making a bad choice at the drive-thru.
BA: How can working with a nutritionist help someone get on track?
AA: We provide education, and can work with your doctor to discuss your health history and concerns. We can help you navigate what will work best for you given your current state of health, and your current state in life. We also help provide accountability, which never hurts when you are trying to establish new habits.