Shereen Jegtvig is a nutritional counselor for more than 15 years. She specializes in writing about healthy nutrition and dietary issues on the Internet.
Shereen was designated a Certified Nutrition Specialist by the American College of Nutrition (ACN) in 2000.
Currently she is the nutrition guide for About.com, owned by The New York Times.
Sheree Jegtvig n is also a member of the American Dietetic Association.
Shereen spends a lot of her time helping others to establish healthy eating habits, and she shares all of her knowledge and experiences on her About.com channel, along with some helpful tips and advice. We're very honored to have Shereen with us here today, so please enjoy this very special interview!
1. Shereen, we are so excited to have you speak with us today. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your experiences as a nutrition guide at About.com
I've been writing for About.com for over five years. Before that time, I practiced as a chiropractor for 16 years, and during that time I shifted my focus from the typical musculo-skeletel practice to a nutrition and natural medicine type of practice.
I saw how important eating a healthy diet was for all my patients and I shifted gears a bit to focus mainly on the foods we eat, with supplements being, well, supplemental to those foods.
Now I write full time. When I'm not writing for About.com, I'm busy with my two teenage children and and working on a degree in sustainable management.
2. You have a rich educational background along with 16 years of practice as a nutritionist and chiropractic physician. After becoming a health and nutrition writer do you feel that you have entered a totally new professional field or was it an opportunity for you to apply your previous experiences?
Both actually. I'm still helping people based on my education and experience, however writing is much different than being in a clinical practice.
A clinical practice involves working with patients and having a schedule. Writing involves a lot of creativity, working with editors and the publishing industry in general. It's an exciting field.
3. You have tons of great healthy nutrition tips that anyone can easily incorporate in his/her diet. Even so, you probably still receive many questions from your readers. What are their biggest concerns these days: weight loss, healthy recipes, etc?
Weight loss is the most common question, but right on it's heels are questions about trying to gain weight. There are lots of people who want to gain weight, but they feel rather left out because all the media focus is on weight loss.
There is also a lot of confusion on what's good and what's bad as far as foods go - that's why I like to try to make nutrition easier to understand.
4. Reading how your readers comment on your articles I see that many of them know pretty well what the healthy eating is all about. Do you think that there is positive change in Americans’ eating habits: we started paying more attention to what we eat and make healthier choices?
We know more about nutrition and eating, but I'm not convinced that people are making healthier choices yet. There are so many heavily-processed foods in the stores and huge portions of energy-dense foods served at restaurants.
I believe the rates of obesity in the US have leveled off, so maybe that's a good sign. I do have a lot of nutrition-savvy readers, which makes writing even more fun, but I still have a lot of work to do.
5. You are enrolled in Sustainable Management Program at the University of Wisconsin. Please tell us more about this program and what changes and/or challenges do you think we will face in our food industry and nutrition in the near future?
It's a one of a kind program and it focuses on how businesses can produce goods and services that people want without damaging the environment and wiping out our natural resources.
The food industry will have to deal with the movement towards being green, the growing trend in buying organic foods and eating locally-grown foods.
6. ‘Knowing is not enough – we must apply’ (Bruce Lee) I think this quote is very fitting when it comes to describing the lifestyles of many of us. Although we know what is good and what is not – we still continue eating at the fast foods places, skipping breakfasts and overeating. What would be your advice on how to move from knowing to applying our knowledge in nutrition?
This is the difficult part, isn't it? First, you learn what to do and you teach your friends and family members what you know, so they become part of your team.
Then you practice. I think healthful eating (and other lifestyle modifications) takes practice.
A person doesn't have to change their unhealthy diet into a perfect nutritionist's dream diet overnight. Take it one step at a time. Start with balancing your caloric intake with your activity level and your own need to gain or lose weight, then focus on eating healthier foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) and reduce the amounts of unhealthy foods you eat.
And it's okay to have a not-so-healthy eating day every now and then. It seems like people start a 'diet' with unrealistic expectations of what they can accomplish in a very short time, and once they fall off their diet, they give up completely and go back to how they ate before. It shouldn't be that way - start small and work toward a fully healthful diet.
7. My readers who too are trying to eat healthy and lose weight are probably eager to get an advice from a professional nutritionist like you. What would your first and foremost recommendation be for those who just became aware of their eating habits and want to change them for better?
Keep a food diary. People who keep track of the foods they eat have much more success losing weight and keeping it off. Plus you can see what types of foods you are eating. A food diary doesn't have to be fancy - even a small notebook will do - however there are many websites that offer calorie trackers.
Usually these sites will also help you determine how many calories you need, tell you if you are making healthy food choices and help you track your physical activity as well.
8. Aside from the nutrition guide for about.com you are also a health writer and a co-author of Superfoods For Dummies - a friendly guide that explains how to eat healthy. What are the highlights of this book and what do you like the most about your work?
Dr. Brent Agin and I wrote the book to explain the science behind the super, without making it complicated. My main goal was to write mostly about easy to find foods that are available in every grocery store rather than focusing on the exotics that come and go.
Foods like berries, carrots, broccoli, spinach, nuts and salmon are so easy to find. And delicious - we also included lots of superfoods recipes.
9. Thank you again Shereen for your participation. As our last question: what do you love the most about your current job at about.com and what direction do you see yourself heading in the future?
The best part of my job is the ability to help so many people - the feedback I get is very heart-warming. Nutrition is an important topic and the food and diet industry is always changing, so there are always lots of questions. I hope to write another book or two, but my real home is on the internet where people can find my articles with a click of the mouse.
Thanks so much to Shereen Jegtvig for sharing her thoughts and tips with us and giving us simple yet great dieting and weight loss advices.
Kudos to Shereen and her family!
Visit Shereen at About.com for more useful health eating and nutrition information.
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