9 Nutrition Tips with Leah Silberman for National Nutrition Month

As you may or may not know, March is National Nutrition Month! And if you're a member of our P.volve Streamer's Facebook group, you'd definitely know that we've been dropping interview clips with Leah Silberman, registered dietitian and founder of Tovita Nutrition, all month long. 

There's no denying that having a clean, wholesome diet is essential to achieving any fitness goal, whether that's to tone up, lose weight, gain weight, or simply maintain good health. What isn't so clear is what exactly that means.

Rachel sat down with Leah to cut through the clutter and get back to the basics of a healthy diet. In the videos, Rachel asks some of your (and our!) most pressing nutrition questions, and we've written out the biggest takeaways below!

1. What foods should we be having in our daily diet?
A plant-centered diet consisting of high quality fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds is key! This is where we get all our vital antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

If you choose to incorporate animal proteins, ensure they are hormone and antibiotic-free. Labels are super important here, so you want to make sure you're buying organic, grass-fed beef, organic and free-range chicken, organic cage-free eggs, and wild caught fish. 

2. There seem to be so many rules around fruit-- what's the deal? 
Fruit is incredible! It's important to eat a variety of fruits, as they all contain different nutrients. Some are also higher in fiber while others are more hydrating. Berries are one of the best fruits you can have, as they are packed with fiber and antioxidants-- hence their rich color! 

One thing to note is that many fruits are high in natural sugar (which isn't a bad thing!), so when having it as a snack you will want to pair it with a healthy fat or protein like nut butter to slow blood sugar and insulin. This will also keep you satiated longer!

3. What about veggies?
Again, get a variety! While pretty much all veggies contain a good amount of fiber, green leafy veggies will be high in different nutrients than, say, root veggies like potatoes and squashes. It's important to consume the whole spectrum to get all that we need. 

4. Why do some veggies cause issues like bloating?
Being that vegetables, and particularly cruciferous veggies, are high in fiber, consuming large quantities can be hard on anyone's system especially if they aren't used to having them on a daily basis. 

If this sounds like you, the best way to manage the bloat is to ensure those veggies are cooked (roasted, boiled, steamed, baked, or grilled) as they are easier to digest, and to start small to build up a tolerance. 

5. On that note, what is best-- cooked or raw?
There really is no "best" or "worst," especially as some veggies are more nutrient dense when cooked verses raw, and vice versa!

It also depends on the individual, as some people are much better able to tolerate raw veggies while others just can't break it down enough to get the nutrients from it. Experiment with what works for you and however you will enjoy them the most will be the best for you!

6. How much fiber do we need? How much is too much?

The goal is to eat as much fiber as you can, at least 25g per day for women and 38g for men. Unfortunately, the average person today is only getting about 15g per day.

There isn't really such a thing as too much fiber. That said, if you are only used to getting 15 grams or less in an average day and you start trying to double that, you're likely going to get some digestive upset! 

7. What is the best way to get more fiber, and what are some tips to build the tolerance?

The best sources of fiber will be high quality plant foods, so add those in wherever you can. Berries, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, you can't really go wrong!

For example, if you have oatmeal every day, simply add in some berries and chia seeds to add fiber as well as healthy fats to make it a more well-rounded meal.

8. What should we be avoiding in our diet?

The top things to look out for are high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and anything with artificial food coloring (check your fingers and color of your tongue after eating packaged foods-- there could be remnants of food dyes!). Processed lunch meats are often packaged with a lot of preservatives and additives, so you have to be careful there as well. Lastly, be cognizant of consuming too many refined grains (think "white" foods) that have been stripped of the most fibrous, nutrient-dense parts of the crop.

9. When looking at nutrition labels, what should we pay attention to?

Ensure you can read and pronounce all the ingredients on a food label. If you can't pronounce it, toss it!

When it comes to looking at the numbers, you want to be collectively looking at the full nutrient profile, meaning the fat, carb, fiber, and protein content rather than just zeroing in on one number. This is particularly true when it comes to calories-- if you're eating a well-balanced diet of high quality wholesome foods, calories are the least important thing to look at!

To catch the full interview with even more Q&As, head over to the P.volve Streamer's Facebook group!

Find more of Leah by visiting Tovitanutrition.com and following @tovitanutrition on Instagram. 
To learn even more P.volve nutrition tips and some of Rachel & P's favorite recipes, visit the P.volve Youtube Channel.