Eat + Drink

5 Common Questions Asked First When Seeking Out a Nutritionist

Shanaz Kalantar: Wellness Consultant, Coordinator and Coach, Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor

1. How important is eating breakfast? I am never hungry in the mornings.
No one can ever tell you what is best for you! Breakfast time can be 7 am, 10 am or 2 pm depending on who you are and how you live your life. It is always important to listen to your body! That being said, there are a few questions I always ask my clients to help them gain some insight. 1) Are you drinking a caffeinated beverage first thing in the morning? Caffeine suppresses appetite which can take away your desire to want to eat breakfast. 2) Are you snacking really late at night before bed? If the body didn’t have enough fasted hours during the night, you might not feel hungry for breakfast first thing in the morning. 3) Are you overeating to make up for your lack of breakfast? If you're not eating enough calories during the day, it is likely you will over-eat and cause digestive stress during other meals. At the end of the day, you need to do what is best for you, but it is also important to scan your diet and see if there are any positive changes you can make to improve your overall health.  
2. Is the Keto diet good for fast weight loss? How about going Vegan or Paleo?
My answer will always be the same for trendy diet questions: Individual Wellness. There is not a ‘one size fits all’ principle when it comes to someone's nutrition. I can personally say that I have tried all three of these diets and combined what I have learned from each to make my own individual diet. When people ask what diet I follow, my response is ‘The Shaz Diet’. Finding your optimal nutrition plan is an endless journey as our bodies and lives are continuously changing. Do not be scared to experiment and enjoy the wellness journey.  
3. How do I find out what foods I am intolerant too?
There are a few ways to go about figuring out what foods you are intolerant too. You can either do an elimination diet or visit a naturopathic doctor to do a variety of tests for you. I believe the first and most important step in understanding how your body reacts to foods is starting a food log. It is much easier to help clients understand the reason for a random breakout or stomach ache if I have a detailed food log to look back on. I personally fill out my food log with as much information as possible including time of the meal, mood before eating, mood after eating, bowel movements, energy, appetite and overall emotions. With food logs, you are able to see trends, look for patterns and most likely answer some simple questions you had about your health.
4. Is it healthier to have juices or smoothies?
The answer to this question really depends on the individual and their nutritional needs. Juicing separates the fibre from the fruit/ vegetable while smoothies blend the entire fruit/vegetable. Therefore, juicing is easy to digest and extremely high in vitamins and minerals, but, can be high sugar. Smoothies, on the other hand, are high in fibre, don’t spike blood sugar as fast and are more filling. Depending on your goals and health status, the choice is up to you!
5. Do I need to count calories?
This is always a difficult question to answer. In university, I learned: ‘Weight management is a simple calculation of calories in and calories out. If you want to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories and burn more calories’. The problem with this is that counting calories are not simple, it is easy to become obsessed with numbers and typically leads to weight plateaus. I find it a lot more beneficial to work on lifestyle changes, eating whole foods and intuitive eating. It is important to find balance, make healthy eating enjoyable and practice mindful eating. Don’t count calories, count how many ingredients a product has. The smaller the list of ingredients, the better! Counting calories becomes irrelevant when your food doesn’t come with a label.   For more questions and tips- follow Shanaz on: Instagram @shaznesswellness Personal Trainer (Canfitpro), Fitness Instructor Specialist (Canfitpro), Certified Wellness Coordinator (Centennial College), BSc HKin (University of Ottawa)
Shanaz - Wellness Consultant