Supporting Portland's Vegan, Vegetarian, and Veg-curious Community

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Northwest VEG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Portland, OR that works to educate and encourage people to make vegan choices for a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate world.
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Ask an RD: Alison Ozgur

March 1, 2012

Alison is a registered dietitian specializing in health and fitness nutrition. She has nearly twelve years of experience helping clients reach their nutrition and weight loss goals. Do you have a question for Alison? Email us at info@nwveg.org

Q: "I'd like to incorporate more whole foods into my diet. What are some of the best foods I should try to incorporate right away?"

A: You have made an excellent decision adding whole foods into your diet! Start by increasing your intake of fiber-rich foods. Excellent choices include: lentils, beans, wheat berries, oatmeal, and split peas.

Vegetables contain fiber as well and should also be increased. Make sure to include all colors of vegetables for maximum health benefits. Best choices include: kale, broccoli, purple cabbage, carrots, garlic, turnips, and red/orange/yellow peppers.

Q: "I'm a bit confused about Omega 3's. Should I just eat flax seeds and walnuts and other sources, or should I be supplementing with DHA and EPA?"

A: Omega-3 fatty acids are important in the normal functioning of all body tissues and therefore important to include in your daily diet. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a short-chain omega-3 that can be converted to EPA and DHA. It's found primarily in walnuts, seeds (flax, chia, and hemp), wheat germ, and some soy foods. A plant-based diet rich in nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and vegetables can help you achieve an adequate intake of fatty acids, so always eat a variety.

You may need to supplement if you have an elevated DHA/EPA requirement (pregnancy or lactation). Always consult your health care provider first. Look for a vegan supplement made from plant sources.

Alison Ozgur, R.D.: Alison is a Registered Dietitian specializing in health and fitness nutrition. She has nearly twelve years of experience helping clients reach their nutrition and weight loss goals. As an avid athlete, Alison practices what she teaches and believes that optimal plant-based nutrition sets the foundation for a lifetime of wellness and disease prevention. She inspires and motivates her clients to go beyond good and make their life magnificent.

Alison hosts monthly plant-based nutrition talks and grocery store tours at Whole Foods Market, and she is a Corporate and Continuing Education instructor at Clark College. She is the Washington and Oregon state coordinator for the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She volunteers as the local media spokesperson for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. She is co-author of the upcoming plant- based nutrition and fitness book, “Go Beyond Good.”

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