Subsistence nutritionist will talk healthy eating with workforce

DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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March is National Nutrition Month. And Starr Seip, a nutritionist at the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s Subsistence supply chain, will talk to employees about healthy eating at an event March 29.

National Nutrition Month event

Guest speaker: Starr Seip, Subsistence nutritionist

March 29 at 10 a.m.

Bldg. 6 auditorium

The DLA Troop Support Resiliency team is hosting the event. You can get to know Seip, who joined DLA Troop Support in February, through the Q&A below.

Q: Where do you work?

A: Standardization and cataloging branch of Subsistence’s supplies support division

Q: What’s your professional background?

A: Before joining DLA earlier this year, I was a clinical nutrition manager and patient service manager at Phoenixville Hospital for a year prior to coming here. I also held several other jobs: certified diabetes educator (11 years), outreach dietitian (5 years) and long term care dietitian (5 years).

I also serve in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard as a medical service officer. I started my military career as a combat medic before becoming a commissioned officer. I served in several positions over the past 30 years, such as platoon leader, medical operations, medical planner, medical battalion training site commander, clinical operations deputy commander, administration deputy commander and Pennsylvania Medical Detachment commander.

Q: Describe what you do at DLA?

A: My current job here at DLA is a nutritionist. I provide guidance to the cataloging branch on nutrition requirements for food items based on interpreting food labels. My additional duty is to provide nutritional guidance for the Joint Service Buyers Guide. This guide helps all the services qualify food quality for each vendor solicitation. I will also give nutritional presentations to DLA employees when needed.

Q: What got you interested in nutrition?

A: I was raised on a small farm in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. I understood where all my food came from and I knew exactly what was fed to our cattle, swine, chickens, ducks, etc. I was taught how to cook my food without a lot of additives. This knowledge and these skills came in handy because I was a long-distance runner and wanted to keep the nutrients in my food and not lose them in the cooking or processing of the food. I was also shocked on how many people did not understand how food fuels the soul and how it may help you or hurt you. I found myself continuing to educate individuals on what, when and how much to eat for optimal performance.

Q: What’s one major piece of nutrition advice that has changed in the past five to 10 years?

A: We changed from the food guide pyramid to choose-my plate-method. The pyramid emphasized the need for 6-10 servings of grain, 2 servings of fruit, 3 servings of vegetables, 3 servings of dairy and around 6 ounces of meat per day, while restricting fats, cakes and cookies.

Now, we follow the choose-my-plate method. This method emphasizes that we should have at least one serving from each food group at each meal. They also emphasize not consuming heavily processed foods — the fresher, the better — and drink and eat beverages and food with less sodium, saturated fat and added sugars. Also, we should be looking at the pattern of your food choices over a week and not just one day. Lastly, we should drink water instead of sugary drinks. Consume good fats and not just decrease saturated and trans fats.

Q: Where do you see nutrition headed in the next few years?

A: I foresee more people going to plant-based diet or the Mediterranean diet based on significant implications from the China Study.

Q: What are some good nutrition tips for workers in an office setting, like here at DLA Troop Support?

A: Take your time eating lunch and choose or pack foods that are less processed. If you like to snack, bring your own portioned out fresh foods that you can eat fairly quickly.

Q: What nutrition tips or rules do you personally struggle with and how do you try to face that challenge?

A: My biggest challenge would be trying to eat healthy while eating out at a restaurant. When I am at a restaurant, I ask a lot of questions on how the entrée is prepared and ask if I may have the food item be broiled or grilled verses fried. I also change the protein on the salad from beef/chicken to a salmon or tuna. I always ask for the additional salad dressing put on the side and butters, cheese and sour creams. I usually only eat half of what they give me.

Q: What do you hope to achieve at DLA Troop Support?

A: I hope to help educate all team members on the importance of eating healthier and how small changes in our food specifications may have a huge impact on our troops and their own health outcomes