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About Diane Henderiks
Diane Henderiks, R.D., Dietitian in the Kitchen™ & True Citrus Consulting Nutritionist began her career with four medical offices in Monmouth County, NJ. She then became a dietary & culinary consultant to Fortune 500 companies, a lecturer, product manufacturer, restaurateur and cookbook author. Visit www.dishwithdiane.com to learn more about Diane, read more recipes and see her product line.
Your Food & Nutrition Questions Answered.
What is one of the worst dieting myths?
Skipping breakfast saves calories and helps you lose weight. This actually works against your body natural desire for fuel upon waking and can cause weight gain. What dieting habit can harm you the most? Diet pills...there is no quick fix and they can be dangerous.
Can metabolism be changed at all? Is there any way to speed it up?
Eating regularly (something at least every 3 hours) keeps the metabolism going. Strength training builds muscle (lean body tissue) which is metabolically active meaning you will continue to burn calories even at rest. Why does metabolism slow with age? Loss of lean body mass and many people become more inactive.
Do the Recommended Daily Intake numbers for vitamins and minerals refer to what you should be getting from foods or what you should take as supplements?
Food is always the best source to meet your vitamin and mineral needs. I have no problem with a daily multivitamin and say that it "takes the question mark out of your dinner plate".
I'm not actively dieting, but I do often go for low fat or non fat versions of different foods. But I'm not sure whether I should be feeding this stuff to my kids, considering the chemicals and artificial ingredients in them.
The closer you keep to nature with food choices the better. Opt for foods that are not processed and do not contain artificial ingredients and items on the label that you can't pronounce or have never seen.
My child loves candy and I'm trying to find a healthy substitute that is similar in smell and taste but without all the sugar. Any ideas?
My kids like 100% all natural fruit roll ups and fruit snacks with no added sugar but remember they are still a source of sugar and should be portioned. Also, semi-sweet or dark chocolate dipped fresh and dried fruits, vanilla wafers, whole grain pretzels and healthy snacks.
What is the healthiest oil to use for cooking?
There are many healthy oils to choose from when cooking. My top choices are peanut, safflower, sunflower, olive, canola. The more omega 3 in an oil, the more heat will damage these benficial fatty acids.
Lately I have noticed that some products are using stevia as a sweetener. Can you please tell me a bit about stevia? How does it compare to other sweeteners (i.e. White sugar or honey)?
I grow stevia in my garden! Stevia is a leaf on a plant that is a member of the daisy family. Stevia is delicious and a safe, all natural alternative to unhealthy artificial sweeteners.
Do smoothies with frozen fruits have the same antioxidant content as fresh fruit? If not what occurs in the freezing process that changes the content?
The antioxidant content of frozen fruit may be slightly lower but more important is that you are eating fruit! Choose frozen fruit with no added sugars or sauces and select a variety of different fruits to maximize nutrition. Try throwing some veggies in your smoothies with the fruit.
I have trouble controlling my portion sizes mostly because I eat so fast. How do I slow myself down after years of racing to finish my plate?
Believe it or not the best way is to start counting chews to see just how fast you are actually eating. Also, take smaller portions at first, eat slowly then wait about 15 minutes to see if you are satisfied.
I've read that dietary fiber absorbs some of the fat that would normally be absorbed by the body. If this is true, would it be better for me to eat a salad before or after my main meal?
Dietary fiber does not absorb fat but does slow down the digestion and absorbtion of it. Eating a salad before the meal can help you feel more satisfied and will possibly help you to eat less at the main meal.
I'm obese and I’m trying to lose weight, but the problem is I don’t eat meat at all or most veggies. My diet is mostly pastas, fruit and breads. What should I do?
It's difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle when you limit the variety of foods you will eat. The good thing about veggies is that the "non-starchy" ones are very low in calories and high in fiber, which is great because they fill you up without packing on pounds. I suggest that you pick up a cookbook or going online to test out some recipes. There are many delicious ways to prepare veggies like roasting, grilling and stir frying that I am certain will surprise your palate. As for not eating meat - that's ok as long as you have other good sources of protein. Keep in mind that a serving of pasta is 1/2 cup cooked which is about 100 calories.
Which veggies are to be eaten raw? Which ones need to be cooked? And at what temperature since heat destroys the enzymes and nutrients?
As part of a healthy diet, how much (quantity) Fish, Pork, Chicken and Beef should I consume every week? What portion size of each do you recommend?
A portion of meat or fish is about 3 ounces or the size of a deck of cards. Fish, poultry and beans are your best bets. There really is no definite answer for the recommended portion size since the amount of protein you need is calculated based on body weight. The formula is 0.8 grams for each kilogram of body weight.
I tend to get overwhelmed by the all of the different choices in the cereal aisle. How do I determine which are the best to eat as part of a healthy & balanced breakfast?
The most important thing to do is find a healthy cereal that you enjoy the taste of or you won't continue to eat it. Look for whole grain as the first ingredient, no trans fat or hydrogenated oils, little to no added sugar (20% of calories at the most in sugar and 5 grams of fiber or more). Try to choose those without added dried fruits and nuts - it's best to add your own.
Is late night eating really that bad?
By the time late night eating comes into play most people have already consumed their recommended calories for the day and late night choices tend to be high in sugar and/or fat. Late night eating can also disrupt sleep because food is not metabolized as efficiently as it is during the day while you are moving around. If you must eat something late at night try to keep it under 200 calories.
I tend to rely on coffee to get me through the day. What are some healthier alternatives to give me the energy I need?
Food = fuel = energy! My top suggestions are:
- Don't skip breakfast and choose a balance of complex carbs and protein.
- Consume 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day to keep metabolism going.
- Avoid refined sugars. You may feel a quick burst of energy but you will feel the lows as strongly as the highs.
- Get enough sleep.
- Avoid fat laden foods.
- Drink lots of water.
I have diabetes, as well as high cholesterol. I take medication for both. I'm not sure what type of food plan would be best to follow. Sugar-free/low sugar products seem to have more fat. Low fat/fat free products seem to have more sugar. I would love to find a food plan with a daily menu of proper foods. Any suggestions?
What makes a good fish oil supplement? What are some brands that you recommend?
- Includes a combination of dha and epa
- should not smell too fishy
- source should be from salmon, tuna, sardines or anchovies
- should say guaranteed 100% pure
As a woman, what specific foods should I incorporate into my diet to promote long term health?
Lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, omega 3, beans, yogurt (with live cultures) and/or kefir, berries, concord grapes, and cruciferous veggies like broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
Do you know anything about coconut oil? I've seen a couple of blogs tout its health benefits, but I also thought I remembered coconut oil's healthiness being debated a while back.
Coconut oil is a saturated fat but studies are showing that different types of saturated fat behave differently. According to Thomas Brenna, a professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University who has extensively reviewed the literature on coconut oil, a considerable part of its stigma can be traced to one major factor. “Most of the studies involving coconut oil were done with partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which researchers used because they needed to raise the cholesterol levels of their rabbits in order to collect certain data,” Dr. Brenna said. “virgin coconut oil, which has not been chemically treated, is a different thing in terms of a health risk perspective. And maybe it isn’t so bad for you after all.” Coconut oil is still a saturated fat so I recommend to keep use of coconut oil to a minimum until further research is done. Saturated fat should contribute to less than 10% of your daily calories.
I have been following the 17 day diet and each morning you are to cut a lemon in half and squeeze it into a cup of warm water. This is suppose to kick start your day. I was wondering if I put a True Lemon packet in a cup of warm water would be the same?
There have been numerous uses of lemon in water from diuretic, digestion helper, weight loss aid, liver cleanser and many others. My thought is that if it helps you to drink more water than go for it! True lemon is made from lemons and is a perfect and convenient swap for fresh lemon.
Do you find that IBS suffers tend to be bothered by True Products? I have tried other brands (Crystal Light Naturals and Mio Liquid Water Enhancer) that have caused bloating.
I have never heard any complaints about bowel concerns with true lemon products and do not anticipate ever hearing that. Again, true products are all natural and should not cause the bloating.
I know that Citric acid is found naturally in lemons but is it a bad thing to consume large amounts of this? I have heard it referred to as a negative ingredient in things like flavored drinks and waters. I try to drink alkaline waters to keep my blood pH as alkaline as possible and I know that lemon Juice can aid in bringing the blood pH to its natural alkaline state, despite its acidity. How will the citric acid in True Lemon products affect my body, especially the pH of my blood?
Citric acid is known as an alkalinizing agent, which means it neutralizes extra acid in the blood and urine - this is a good thing. Used in moderation, citric acid is a healthy dietary supplement.
I read that lemon juice, when added to tea, increases antioxidant effect - as opposed to milk, which decreases it. Does True Lemon give the same benefit when added to tea?
Absolutely...it is made from lemons :)
Given our busy schedule and budget constraints, what are the top 3 things I should focus on to keep myself and my family healthy?
Eat local and seasonal. Make 50% of your dinner plate veggies and or fruit. Try meatless meals.
Do you have any suggestions for ingredient substitutions to make everyday recipes healthier?
Low sodium broths for added oil. Fresh and dried herbs, spices, citrus juices and true products in place of added salt. Beans, lentils, quorn for meat in dishes.
What is your advice for dealing with kids who are picky eaters?
Be persistent but not insistent! Continue to offer new foods even if they just take a bite. They will come around, but do not only serve the foods they are used to...mix it up!
Which veggies are to be eaten raw? Which ones need to be cooked? And at what temperature since heat destroys the enzymes and nutrients?
The fact that you are eating veggies is wonderful whether raw or cooked! The cooking technique can reduce the retention of nutrients so choose steaming quickly or blanching. For some veggies like onions and garlic, the nutritional value is enhanced by cooking. Bottom line is to enjoy both raw and cooked veggies.
I was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure, and I’m not sure what to do. My grandmother had this problem, and her doctor told her not to eat any salt. What can I do to lower my blood pressure?
The best guideline is get to a healthy weight, exercise daily and follow a diet like the "dash diet". "The dash diet encourages individuals to increase the consumption of vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products while decreasing the consumption of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. The diet is rich in minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium and is also high in protein and fiber. Sweets, junk food, and sodas are not to be consumed on a daily basis and are discouraged overall."
I constantly crave sugar. I know that some of these are symptoms of diabetes, but could something else be the cause?
Craving sugary foods is normal but if it persists to the point where it interferes with your daily life than you should contact your doctor. Some other causes can be hormones, restrictive dieting, depression, anxiety, and boredom.
What’s the one thing I can do that would make the biggest positive difference to my health?
Eat as close to nature as possible! This means eating fresh fruits and veggies, low-fat dairy, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, lean meats, poultry and fish, small portions of whole grains, lots of water and eliminate processed foods. You will see a noticeable difference in the way you feel, think, and look.
How to I determine which vitamins I need to take? I am in my 30’s, I eat pretty healthy, and take a multi-vitamin. Should I be taking other vitamins too?
Eating a varied diet of healthy foods and taking a multi-vitamin is a great daily combination. Additional supplements are needed if there is a deficiency in your body and your doctor can determine that with you.
Should my teenagers take a multivitamin?
Studies have shown that adolescents who take multi-vitamins have healthier dietary and lifestyle behaviors. Keep in mind that taking a multi-vitamin is not a substitute for eating healthy, it just takes the question mark out of your dinner plate.
What are the fruits and vegetables that I should pay extra to buy organic?
There are a group of fruits and veggies that I call the “Filthy Fourteen” which are 14 fruits and veggies that absorb the most pesticides and are worth being your first pick when choosing to add organics to the grocery cart.
Diane Henderik’s Filthy Fourteen
- Bell Peppers
- Imported Grapes
- Red Raspberries
How much water do you really need to drink each day? Is it possible to drink too much?
Doctors recommend around nine 8oz. glasses per day for women and around thirteen 8oz glasses for men. It is possible to drink too much water but the amount needed to be dangerous is incredibly high and would have to be intentional. The rule is to let thirst be your guide and try to reach the recommended amounts.
What foods are the best to eat pre and post workout? How long before and after?
First of all, you never want to exercise on an empty stomach! One to two hours before the workout, choose a combination of good quality carbohydrates and lean protein like a slice of whole grain bread with natural peanut butter, unsweetened cereal with low-fat milk or a hardboiled egg and a piece of fruit. Within thirty minutes after the workout, choose the same healthy combination of good quality carbohydrates and lean protein.
Is all fiber created equal? If I don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables can I take one of those fiber pills and get my fiber that way?
All fiber is not created equal. There is soluble and insoluble fiber which occur naturally in fruits, veggies, and whole grains. These types of fiber help you feel satisfied, regular, and may help with weight loss, blood pressure, and cholesterol. “Pill or Powder” fiber does not offer the same benefits of the fiber you get in real food.
I’ve read that you should only eat wild salmon, not farm raised Atlantic salmon. Does this mean that if I’m eating out and all they have is farm raised salmon, I shouldn’t order it? Is eating farm raised salmon really worse than eating a steak?
Salmon is one of the best sources of heart and brain healthy Omega-3 fats. Wild salmon is my first choice, but the benefits of eating salmon outweigh the risks of not eating any salmon. The unhealthy compounds found in farm raised fish are found in the fat so trim as much skin and fat off as possible and cook by poaching, grilling, roasting, and boiling which are the healthiest culinary techniques.
Does drinking low-calorie lemonade count towards drinking 8 glasses of water per day?
Absolutely! But, be sure to check what the “low calorie” means! Avoid those with artificial flavorings and look for all natural ingredients.
I don’t think my 3 year-old eats enough, despite that I put three healthy meals in front of her every day. Should I be worried?
Don’t worry if it seems that she is not eating enough at one meal. The amount of food over the course of the day is what matters with the little ones. If she is losing weight or there are medical issues, check with the doctor. In general, many young children are testing out foods and parent’s patience. Be persistent when offering foods, but not insistent, and most kids will make up for the missed meals by days end.
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