Going to a nutritionist

Smoothies - full of goodness

Smoothies – full of goodness

Earlier this week I enjoyed going to see a local nutritionist.  This was a ‘first’ for me and didn’t quite know what to expect.  Providing I follow up on the advice and recommendations, I believe it is money well spent.  Here’s how it went….

My brief

What did I want to achieve?  Why was I going?  What was my problem? I was clear about this as I filled in the 12 page questionnaire, prior to my appointment.  I explained as I dutifully filled in my answers and asked for assistance on:

  • I said “I want to live an active life, in good health, for the next 50 years please” and I think I added something about this taking me to well over 100 years.  That will be enough for me, can’t imagine what society will be like then but I have doubts about still being able to ride a bike much once I’ve hit that kind of age.  I do want to carry on for as long as I can as cycling and running is an important feature of my life.
  • I suffer from cramp in my feet and legs – a solution is needed.  High 5 helps.  I have moaned, groaned and blogged about this before
  • I would like to protect myself from cancer.  We all hear much about this these days and I know I am not immune from this disease
  • I want to avoid heart problems, including high blood pressure and everything that’s entailed with that.  Previously my Doctor has suggested this needs attention.

The questionnaire

Filling in the (pre-consultation) questionnaire was pretty straight forward although one question stood out and took me by surprise.  It asked if I have any cravings for particular food and, if so, at what time of day.  I thought that was a curious question and, of course, I didn’t have any cravings.  I then paused and realised I did.  Suddenly I was craving PEANUT BUTTER!   More about that later on.

Meeting the nutritionist

Somehow the nutritionist I saw wasn’t quite what I was expecting: I was half expecting to see a slightly scary radical vegan, outspoken, rude, skinny-as-a-rake and sprinting up the stairs four steps at a time.  Instead the nutritionist was very normal, middle aged, well presented, very pleasant, quietly spoken and very unassuming.  This threw me a bit and perhaps disappointed but for no rational reason.

The consultation was fairly structured.  We chatted about my lifestyle, general health and the advantages of getting my nutrition right.  “Although” she said “your diet looks pretty good to me but I do have some suggestions which you might be interested in”.

Then we went through the 12 page questionnaire, elaborating on some points including the food craving bit.  I had said I often crave peanut butter in the evenings while I’m at home.  I always spread it on quite thickly and enjoy the taste.  She said this was okay, it was possible my body is genuinely craving something which is fulfilled by peanut butter, possibly the saltiness as a step towards addressing cramp issues.  Not sure.  Nevertheless it wasn’t a bad thing to crave and no obvious reason to stop doing this.  There was a word of caution though, and she asked what spread we use, or whether we use butter.  I explained it was normally Pure, the Soya daily-free variety.

“Oh, that’s not too bad, you could do worse.  Avoid margarines otherwise and besides, did you know margarine is only one molecule away from plastic?”.  We’re eating plastic? Eeeeek.

So it was nice to get the approval of my peanut butter cravings and I confirmed I can manage without margarine or even plastic on my home made bread.  I did say I sometimes have mayonnaise with peanut butter and it was clear she’d not heard of that weird combo before.

The recommendations for me!

This was the exciting bit.  The nutritionist had printed off some information sheets and some general ones from the internet; these were still very relevant.  I’m presuming they are accurate and sound, as there’s also a lot of nonsense published on-line.  So, the advice, some of the suggestions, some of the recommendations…..

  • Eat more vegetables.  This was a little surprising as I normally have my 8 to 10 portions each day, although more fruit than veggies.  We had a discussion about cooking as some foods (i.e. tomatoes) ardmore nutritious once they have been cooked.  This is because our digestion cannot extract all the nutrients out of some raw vegetables.
  • Drink more water and less caffeine.  Caffeine raises blood pressure.  Water is the best bet and I need to increase my intake
  • Consume more electrolytes to combat cramp, almost certainly the answer.  Suggestions made about foods containing magnesium and other minerals
  • Cut down on sugar.  Period.  This isn’t because I’m at all fat but because sugar is bad news for society, arguably the biggest killer of all.  Cancer cells feed on sugar and I didn’t know that before.  Going into further detail, when the body processes sugar, it draws on reserves of trace elements such as chromium, calcium, potassium and thiamin.  Even “good” sugars can cause problems.
  • Increase my intake of Omega 3.  Currently I reluctantly have a little fish about once a week, so now it looks as if I need to increase this further.  The nutritionist was very approving of including flaxseed in my morning muesli-based breakfast

I will try and blog again soon a little further and share some more details as it was really interesting.

Wrapping up for now, can I say I’d really recommend any of my readers thinking through the advantages of having a consultation with a nutritionist.  At £50 it gives good, personalised long-term advice and costs about the same as a decent pair of cycling shorts.  Food for thought?


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1 Response to Going to a nutritionist

  1. Pingback: Cycling, food and me 1 - The Cycle Hub

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