Danielle Hamo Blog

Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Fiber and Protein synergy

Each meal and snack you have should have a protein and fiber component. Fiber and protein together have the best combination for keeping you full for the longest amount of time, and therefore allowing you to eat less food and lose weight. It is the basis for my weight loss plan. Use the below graphic to help you form snacks that contain both fiber and protein!





Going Vegetarian – all you need to know


Image courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

whether you are already vegetarian or thinking about switching, this article will give you information you need to know. From important nutrients and minerals, to health benefits, and tips and tricks!

Health Benefits of going vegetarian 

The vegetarian and vegan diet have vast amounts of health benefits. These benefits are also shown in semi-vegeterians, so even if you cannot cut out meat and fish completely, lowering to 1-2 times per week will greatly impact your health. A healthy vegetarian diet is more than just cutting out your meat, it requires thoughtful planning. A dietitian such as myself, can help you form a diet to make sure you get all the protein, vitamins, and minerals you need.

some health benefits include:

  • Reduced risk for heart disease
  • Reduced risk for heart attacks
  • Reduced risk for stroke
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Lower BMI and weight
  • Reduced risk for some types of cancers
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced risk for type 2 diabetes

Studies even showed 16% reduced mortality risk than none vegetarians.


Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  • Vegetarians require about 1 g/kg of protein per day (to calculate, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get kg of weight and that is the grams of protein per day you need, for example a 150 pound person weighs 68 kg and requires 68 grams of protein) 
  • Sources of protein for vegetarians include: Beans, peas, lentils, seeds, nuts, grains, edamame, tofu, and tempeh.
  • Legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils are a major part of a vegetarian diet. They are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants, healthy fats, and low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol.
  • To avoid digestion issues from legumes drain out the liquid it is soaked in in cans and rinse with fresh water. Soak dried beans 8-10 hours and rinse with fresh water before cooking. Also try taking enzymes such as bean-o prior to consumption.
  • The notion of eating “complementary protein” together at one meal to assure you get all amino acids is no longer supported, you may do so, but as long as you eat a variety of protein sources throughout the day your body will receive all the essential amino acids it needs.

Vitamins & Minerals of concern

There are 4 major micronutrients that you have to make sure you are getting, that is easy to be deficient in a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Vitamin D – If Dairy, yogurt, and cheese are apart of your diet, you can get enough from food. If you do not eat these foods or only small amounts consider vitamin D fortified orange juice and cereals. Being outside for 15 minutes a day in the sun also produces Vitamin D. Another option is supplements, and they are recommended at 100% the RDA for vegans and vegetarians who do not eat dairy. 

Iron – Vegetarian diet is deficient in iron, and even the iron it contains if less well absorbed than iron from animal sources. Cook using a cast iron skillet to increase your iron intake. Also, eat iron fortified cereals and soy products. Another tip is to eat iron with vitamin C containing foods, vitamin C aids in absorption of iron. Vitamin C containing foods include: broccoli, brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, and circus fruits. Iron congaing foods include: Beans, tomatoes, baked potatoes, soybeans, and pumpkin seeds. Do not take supplement of more than a 100% RDA of iron without doctor supervision. You can get too much iron, so try to get it from foods before resorting to supplements.

Calcium – You can get calcium from fairy, milk, and yogurt products. However if you do not consume these products you will need calcium fortified tofu and milk substitutes. Vegetarian sources of calcium include legumes, dark leafy vegetables, almonds, and sesame seeds. If you do not think you are getting enough calcium consider a calcium citrate supplement.

Vitamin B12 – A vegan and vegetarian diet is deficient in vitamin B12 and a supplement is recommended.

Additional resources: 

for more infomration download these if you are considering going vegetarian or vegan:

  1. Vegetarian starter kit from physician committee for responsible medicine – online download of this 16 page publication is available for free. http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vsk/vegetarian-starter-kit
  2. Vegan starter kit – vegankit.com 

Source: Today’s Dietitian

The importance of an Anti – Inflammatory Diet


source: http://www.drweil.com

source: http://www.drweil.com

Chronic inflammation in the body is the root cause of most chronic diseases

The anti – inflammatory diet is a general healthy diet that lowers your risk for cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases and promotes longevity

Foods to eat:

  • Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Flax seed oil – buy in the refrigerated, keep in the fridge, do not cook with it eat it raw
  • Flax meal – add to salads, smoothies, soups.
  • Salmon
  • Fish oil Supplements. 2 grams per day.
  • Curcumin & Turmeric. Add to chicken dishes, potatoes, soups.
  • Foods high in vitamin D. Salmon, Mackerel, Eggs, fortified low fat milk.
  • Kefir, plain and low-fat.
  • Flavanoids: Quercetin & Apigenin have been proven to be anti-inflammatory
  • Sources: Onions, Apples, Tea, Berries, Olives, Bananas, Lettuce, Plums, Red Wine, Celery, Lemons, Parsley, Oregano, Beets
  • Beets – High in betalains which are anti-inflammatory.
  • Olive oil – sauté, marinade, bake, and use as dressing
  • Whole leaf teas – Buy a strainer and make full leaf teas that do not come in a tea bag that come loose. You can buy this at whole foods

Complete the diet with:

  • All fresh fruits
  • All fresh or frozen vegetables
    • Eat raw, steamed, baked, broiled
    • Legumes – Beans, Lentils – high in fiber, high in protein, low in calories
    • Lean protein – tofu, boneless skinless chicken breast, fish: tilapia, branzino, snapper, tuna, salmon, sea bass
    • Whole grains – fiber you need is 30 grams per day
      • Farro (make a salad with it by adding veggies and some lemon and olive oil)
      • Quinoa
      • Bulgur
      • Whole wheat couscous
      • Whole wheat pasta (Barilla plus in yellow box)
      • Whole wheat couscous
      • Whole wheat Israeli couscous
      • Barley
      • Whole wheat bread
      • Gluten free bread – Udi’s brand. In the frozen section, pop into toaster
      • For sweeteners use agave syrup, turbinado sugar, or raw cane sugar and in small amounts.
      • Eggs – only up to one whole egg per day and the rest egg whites (mix one whole egg with 2-3 additional egg whites to make an omelet)

Foods to avoid that are pro-inflammatory: 

  • Foods high in omega 6

          Corn oil, Safflower oil, Sunflower oil, Soybean oil

◦       USE OLIVE OIL INSTEAD, which is a monounsaturated fatty acid.

  • Processed foods
  • Fried Foods (They will usually be fried in the above oils)

         French fries, Chicken nuggets, ect.

  • Commercial salad dressing (Main ingredient is oil high in omega 6)

◦       Instead try making dressing using olive oil and balsamic or olive oil and lemon dressing.

  • Margarine & Shortening
  • Store bought cakes and cookies
  • Avoid fatty meats like red meat and pork