Health & Diet

Q & A With Dietitian And Author Desiree Nielsen


In the latest issue of Real Style Magazine, dietitian and author Desiree Nielsen talks healthy living, diets and her new cookbook. See an excerpt below.


Q: Plant based foods and diets have garnered much public interest and this year is no exception. With the rise of companies like Beyond Meat, it’s clear there is a market for plant-based foods and meat substitutes. What are your thoughts on this?  

A: As a vegetarian for over 20 years, I would never have imagined that plant-based eating would reach such a critical mass…and I’m thrilled. As a dietitian, I believe that the data on both personal and environmental health are strong enough to suggest that we should all be eating a more plant-based diet. Vegetarians and vegans are still a relatively small percentage of the population; so, the rise in plant-based foods really tells me that we are breaking with traditional food patterns that were heavily animal-focused. This is likely due to better awareness of the ethical and environmental impact of modern animal agriculture – but I also believe that our epidemic of chronic disease has led us to seek alternative ways of eating that can help us heal.


Q: What are some of the benefits one can expect when adding more plant-based foods to their diet?

A: I find that as my clients add in more whole plant foods, particularly when there is a focus on fruits and vegetables, energy levels and digestion shift quite quickly.  You just feel so much better, and lighter, when your gut is eliminating well – and when you are flooding your cells with nutrient-dense plant foods that optimize function. For some, skin issues can clear up as gut bacteria shift, blood sugar levels stabilize and inflammation decreases.

Most of us eat a pretty hyper-processed diet that is calorie-dense and nutrient-poor. We may get away with that when we are younger, but as you head north of 30, things really shift…and all it takes to feel better is to feed yourself well. 


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