What You Must Know About Your Nutrition!

A while back I wrote a blog post about the current nutrition issues I was facing at the time. So many of you responded with positive words of both encouragement and advice.

One particular comment however, caught my eye:


She did say to ask if I had any questions, so I took her up on her offer.

Brie McGrievy is a registered dietician and holds her doctorate in nutrition. Currently, she is right up the road from me at the University Of South Carolina. I took that as a sign so asked if she would agree to be a guest on What The Fitness.

I don’t know if she knew what she was getting into, but she graciously agreed and here we are today.

Brie answered all of my questions not just on veganism, but also on “dieting” in general. We covered a ton of amazing material and the time flew by. I wish I had more time to pick her brain, as she knew what she was talking about.

Perhaps a lunch trip to Columbia will be in my future?

If you want to know more about nutrition, if you’re curious if what you’re doing is right/wrong/almost there, or if you’re trying to lose weight and want some tips… listen to this podcast!

Seriously, there is a little something for all of us! I may not be “vegan” any longer but I do appreciate a good plant based diet, and a better understanding of fuel.

Show Notes:

I can’t possibly cover everything here that we discussed (that would take up a chapter) but I can highlight some important points!

When it comes to trying to lose weight, what’s the one thing that most women do wrong?

They shun carbohydrates.


We still live in a time that thinks carbs are the devil when it comes to our waistline. But remember that there are so many healthy carb options that by neglected can hurt your nutrition.

—> Vegetables are carbs! Fruits are carbs! Beans are carbs!

Don’t avoid them, just reach for the unprocessed, all natural options. Processed anything is bad.

The Weight Loss Formula

Brie shared this awesome “guestimate” for how many calories you should be consuming if trying to lose weight. For most (not all) women, just take your weight and add a zero to it. This is a good indicator for caloric daily intake.

Daily Calories = Your Weight x 10

So if you weight 145 pounds, your daily allowance should be around 1450 calories. As you lose weight, this number will change. But that’s why it’s so vital to be working at simultaneously to help keep your metabolism from slowing down.

The Iron Issue

Of course we couldn’t talk without iron being brought up. That’s the topic that brought us together after all!

Brie stressed that not all vegans have issues with iron. Because I am so active, it’s likely that my iron requirement is much higher than the average woman and therefore it makes it a lot harder to get from diet alone.

Supplementing is suggested for most (I’m just hard headed). But some non-heme (plant based) iron sources include:

  • Soybeans
  • Lentils
  • Spinach
  • Enriched cereals/grains
  • Tempeh
  • Nuts
  • Peas
  • Prunes

These are just a few examples

She also stressed that absorption can be affected by caffeine and helped by Vitamin C. So if you start your morning with a big cup of coffee, like me, you might want to hold off taking an iron supplement. Really, it’s best taken at night anyways since it can bother your stomach a bit.

Is The Sun Shining? 

It’s winter, I know you’re aware of that but are you aware that you are likely not getting enough sunlight to help produce Vitamin D? Even if you’re outside a lot, if you’re up north, then the sun’s rays are strong enough to put the body into Vitamin D production mode. Unfortunately, we can’t get it in our diet, so ask your doctor about a supplement.

And finally…

The Age Old “Got Milk?” Question

Even though I am happily enjoying eggs, fish and wild game, I am pretty strong about staying away from dairy. Why? Well… here’s my whole opinion.

We won’t go there today, but I did bring it up with Brie to get her opinion.

Brie agrees that humans do not need milk beyond infancy. That’s the purpose of milk, to help a baby grow and develop, right?

She also things that the milk corporation did a really fabulous job at pushing the whole calcium thing on society and in schools. But here’s the thing… a balanced diet gets PLENTY of calcium naturally.

We stopped it there, as it’s really an individual decision and I try not to get all preachy here on the blog.

This isn’t all that we talked about, but it’s a lot of the meat! I strong encourage you to listen in when you the the opportunity. If you would like to connect with Dr. Brie, you can find her on Twitter @BrieMcGrievy

Thanks Brie!

And as always, if you have any suggestions for future What The Fitness episodes, please don’t be shy! Share below.

What’s your biggest personal issue when it comes to eating a healthy diet?


  • I can’t wait to listen to the podcast! I love learning about nutrition.

    • It’s a good one! You’ll love it!

  • i would starve on that guesstimate of calories!

    • I’m the same and we covered that in the talk. You’re an exception to the rule 🙂

      • totally agree that is way too low

        eating low calories is one of the main reasons people fail at losing weight…their bodies are starving for nutrients.

        • Yup, I agree. And we talked about that in the podcast. 🙂
          Did you girls get hit last night in NC with this ice and mess?

  • oh yes, i am all about this Brie!!! well said and great suggestions. I try to elaborate the same info about b vitamins to my vegan clients.

    • So, I need you to write up a nutrition plan for my upcoming attempt at a PR 10k… k? Lol. You’ve got time for that, right?

  • Great advice. My husband and I were just talking about the carbs last night. Carbs get such a bad rap. Fruits and veggies people!

    • Totally on board with team fruits and veggies!

  • Can’t wait to listen to this later today (too bad I have meetings all morning and can’t). I have also heard that about caffeine inhibiting iron absorption, as well as calcium… like you I take mine at night also due to possible stomach issues. I haven’t had any but better safe than sorry. Plus, I take my calcium in the mornings and usually eat calcium rich foods (almond milk) or dairy (Greek yogurt- I don’t drink cow’s milk) at breakfast…. and of course morning coffee :). Usually at lunch I have veggies and fruits so it works better to take iron then. I also hope your levels are going up, sometimes it takes awhile but it is worth it. You will notice a difference after a few weeks.

    I would also starve on that guesstimate of calories and so would most short and small people :). But, I think for most who are actively trying to lose weight and need to for their health, that might be a good guideline.

    • I can tell my levels are still low (I’ll be revealing why I know in my next confessions post as it’s some what embarrassing) but I think they are def moving in the right direction! Yup, I’m with you, I can’t use the guestimate but i think it gives a great starting point for people who aren’t as active.

  • I am still stuck in the carb-fearing way of life but am working on getting past it. I remember when I first started seeing my nutritionist I learned beans had carbs. Suddenly I felt fear of a food I’d been eating without fear for months. I realized that was silly – what I was eating wasn’t going to change. Just my knowledge of what was in it! So whenever I feel carb fear perk up over a bean, I try to push that out of my head.
    I don’t necessarily agree with the whole multiply your weight by 10 thing for the amount of calories your body needs, but as long as people think of that as a general guidelines (+/- a bit) and not an all or nothing absolute, I think it could be a helpful trick to people trying to figure out how many calories they need in a day, especially if they have NO idea to start with.
    And yes I agree with you on the milk thing. Not that you should never drink it but I haven’t been drinking milk for awhile now because I get my calcium from so many other sources.

    • Don’t fear the carbs! I used to be the same way, and to be honest still have issues with starchy stuff and breads. But I am all about beans and fruit! The fiber is the key component to them.

  • Shannon

    Great Podcast! So informative. I had no idea spinach wasn’t a good source of calcium! You learn something new everyday.

    • I know! I was surprised too!

  • ani

    Weight x 10 to get estimated calories. That is terrible advice and i’m shocked you would even print that in your blog given your background. I see you put the blanket statement it applies to most women and “not all”. How about not many at all?!

    So disappointed to read this in your blog.

    • I’m sorry Ani. In the podcast Brie clarifies this as I was a bit skeptical as well. She states that this is based on real case studies (she works with clients every day) for women that aren’t active with intense exercise and need something easy to start with to get an understanding of where they should be. Of course this depends on where you are right now and your lifestyle which is why someone like myself couldn’t ever follow this advice. However, if I weighed 50 pounds more and wasn’t running and lifting weights on a day to day basis then yes this is scientifically backed helped information. Hope that clears things up.

  • Pretty excited to listen to this. Can’t wait! P.S. that interview went well. Keep our fingers crossed.

    • of course it went well! Yay

  • Sugar and reducing sugar intake in my biggest challenge. I eat a lot of different protein, veggies and fruits, but unfortunately, still too many foods with sugars and processed foods. Cutting back little by little….since November I have had only one diet coke (in 3 months !!) where as it was a daily drink for me. Have also cut out cooked / processed food … lots except for chocolate.

    Looking forward to hearing about your DSD experience

    • That’s great! Congrats on the soda cuts!

  • Bea

    Regarding milk, I agree. My doctor once told me that milk is for baby cows.

  • Debbi

    Sooo at 200 pounds the idea of 2000 calories seems way too much! I need to get this weight off though. I’m extremely tired most of the time. It’s really even hard for me to wake up in the morning. I had lost a lot of weight doing low-carb and now people say they’re okay? I focused on nice vegetables and meats and lost 60 pounds and I gained it back when I quit. 🙁 Any advice is appreciated. -Debbi

    • Debbie, the 2000 calories might not be off at all. I would first suggest track 2-3 days of your “normal” eating to get a baseline calories and from there subtracting 500. You can do it!
      The carb diet works for weight loss but over 90% of people gain it back since it’s not a diet you can continue with for longer than a few months. The real trick is to not follow a “diet” but look at what you’re doing now and focus on supplementing with all natural, healthy whole foods.

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