The 5 Most Common Food & Diet Questions Answered

Is coffee bad for you? What about wine? Today Guest Editor Sarah Adler answers the top 5 food and diet FAQs from clients and readers.

Image Credit: Dominik Martin

Have you ever wondered what coffee really does to your body or when is the best time to eat breakfast (we were surprised!)? You are not alone, friends! As a nutritionist Food & Drink Guest Editor Sarah Adler has been asked every question about diet and food imaginable. Today she shares answers to the top five FAQs she hears from clients and readers alike - read on to see if your questions made the list!

1. You've mentioned that one of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking oatmeal and cereal are healthy breakfast options. You say they are processed. So, what do you eat for breakfast?

I love this question. First things first- I’d say, #1, make sure you are actually hungry before you eat. I don’t care what time of day that is or what meal it’s supposed to be. If you’re not hungry, your body is not ready to eat or deal with food yet.

If you are hungry, I love green smoothies (check out my cinnamon green and peanut butter date versions from the cookbook), but fried or scrambled eggs, an avocado half with sea salt and pepper, sliced turkey with mustard or hummus, or leftovers from the night before. If you just need something small, a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts or ½ banana with sunflower seed butter are all great options.

2. Is coffee bad for you? What do you think about it? Do you drink it ?

Yes, I do drink coffee, but not everyday. Probably 1-2 times a week and usually as my weekend treat, or on long long days when I need an extra boost. I get that there are certain times and phases in our lives when we need coffee more than others ( for example, the cookbook wouldn’t be here today without a lot of cold brew, let’s be honest). But, for today’s purposes, I’m just talking about the chronic, everyday sort of consumption.

Coffee itself is not inherently bad for you. What matters more is 1) how your body reacts to it and 2) what symptoms you might be trying to cover up by consuming it daily. I don’t mean that in a bad way - more often than not, people need coffee because they are tired.

So they drink it, but drinking it actually affects their hormones, nervous system, digestive system, immune system too and sleep cycles- even if the coffee itself left their body earlier in the day.

This inevitably creates more restless sleep at night. Which means more coffee is needed in the morning just to feel somewhat awake. It’s a vicious cycle and it can get harder as your body acclimates to the caffeine - you find yourself needing more and more.

The perfect amount is the amount you can drink without having restless sleep. Not the other way around. Test it out! You may need a few days to sleep more at night so you can switch up that cycle and feel like coffee is a bonus boost that complements your body waking naturally, instead of the one thing prying your eyes open in the morning.

3. How about wine?

Wine is the same thing. Technically yes, it’s a real food. Or drink. But everyone’s body reacts differently to it. I always tell my clients to test out how they feel with red wine vs white wine vs sparkling vs rose. It can be a crazy difference between varieties.

Again, like coffee, if you’re using it to cover up or treat other things in life (being stressed, bored, tired, it’s just a routine you do everynight, to help you sleep, etc), then that’s something else to look at on a deeper level. But, to celebrate the big and little pleasures of life, it’s perfect when done mindfully and joyfully.

4. What is the best kind of milk to drink? I’m confused.

If you can tolerate dairy, organic, grass-fed whole milk is by far the least processed and the easiest for the body to absorb. Same with real cream. The reduced fat stuff is totally processed and can mess with your body’s internal hunger regulation signals and ability to burn fat the right way. Tricky, right? We’ve always been taught the opposite.

If you can’t tolerate dairy, making your own almond, cashew or hemp milk is the next best option ( I have a video and recipe for easy homemade hemp milk on my blog). If you are short on time, the refrigerated almond milk, or hemp or hazelnut milks are best.

But, whatever you do, stay away from the soy milk my darlings. It’s the most processed of all, can mess with your lady hormones and most of it is genetically modified which can cause major digestive stress.

5. What are the best snacks on the go?

Avocado, turkey slices, kale chips, nuts, dried fruit, coconut oil popcorn, dried tomatoes. And you know, WATER. If you are eating good meals and still have the urge to snack, you are probably just dehydrated. Luckily hydration is an art form that you can easily cultivate in your life! Get a beautiful water bottle with a straw and take it with you everywhere. Make it a normal part of your day, and you may be surprised by the impact it makes on your mood, your sleep and overall life!

p.s. Did Sarah answer your lingering diet and nutrition questions? If not, leave them in the comments and we will respond directly!