news & trends

The Science of Comfort Foods

aerial image of kitchen counter filled with baking supplies like flour, eggs, and measuring spoons

[Image: Piktochart]

Can you believe that we’re into week 11 of quarantine now? We’ve been seeing plenty of homemade comfort food pics posted on Instagram lately. In fact, the hashtag #QuarantineBaking has over 208 THOUSAND posts and the hashtag #ComfortFood has over 7.1 MILLLION posts.

There has been so much about comfort food lately in the news too:

  • In Toronto, Bradley Harder started the #PandemicPieProject – he’s baked over 200 pies and given them away to members in his community;
  • In Halifax, Amy Munch who owns Cake Babes, a wedding cake shop, has now baked over 2000 cupcakes and delivered them to front line workers; and
  • In Italy, an 84-year-old Grandma is on lighting up YouTube, demonstrating her recipe for Lockdown Lasagna.

Here are 4 reasons why you might be reaching for those comfort foods right now.

Watch our 1 minute video clip below about The Science of Comfort Foods!

 

1 – Comfort foods trigger dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends messages between the brain cells. Dopamine is all about motivation, reward and pleasure. It gives us a feel-good sensation. So when you eat a comfort food that tastes good and is rewarding, you get a rush of dopamine. Your brain remembers this connection between your behaviour (the comfort food you ate) and the reward (the positive feeling). You may be more motivated to continue that behaviour i.e. eat a comfort food because it gives you that feel-good reward. Some psychology researchers think that even ANTICIPATING eating certain foods generates dopamine. So just THINKING about eating a cinnamon bun or chocolate cake can trigger dopamine!

2 – Comfort foods gives us social connection

As a dietitian, I always say that food unites us. My dad is a chef and to me, food is an expression of love. I remember when Jamie Oliver was here in Toronto in 2015, promoting his new cookbook. When he stood up on stage, he said “Food can be a hug”.  Wow, don’t you agree – food can be as comforting as a hug. Some interesting research from the Universities of Tennessee and New York State in 2015 found that comfort foods remind us of our social relationships / and helps us feel less lonesome especially when we are isolated. Comfort foods offer a sense of belonging. So it makes sense that we’re turning to comfort foods during these times of quarantine and physical isolation. On top of that, baking and cooking together offers psychosocial benefits. Think of those virtual dinner parties or virtual cooking classes we’ve been taking – they keep us feeling connected even when we’re not physically together.

3 – Comfort foods are associated with positive memories and nostalgia

Very often, comfort foods remind us of our childhood or home or friends and family. Comfort foods may also be linked to special person like your mom, dad, Nona, Bubbe or Grandma. When we eat comfort foods, it brings pack happy memories from our past. Sometimes even the SMELL of comfort foods can trigger these positive memories. Psychological research shows that smells are powerfully linked to areas in the brain that are associated with memory and emotional experiences 

4 – Comfort foods can give us a little more certainty and routine.

In these times of uncertainty, making and eating comfort foods can offer a sense of structure and control. We have control over the foods we are making and eating, and we also have a little more control over how we feel. Our brain tells us that eating that piece of homemade bread or pasta will make us feel good.

 

If you’re eating for comfort, that’s completely OK. Be mindful of how often and how much. Practice other healthy lifestyle habits to beat stress – try yoga, meditation, a walk with the dog, listening to music or calling a friend. Stay safe and stay well!

 

By Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc, FDC – Co-founder n4nn

Be Well! Navigate the grocery aisles efficiently during COVID19

Getting in and out of a grocery store fast is more important than ever during the COVID19 pandemic. Health experts ask us to stay at home as much as possible which means limiting the number of shopping trips to a minimum. Once you arrive at the grocery store keeping a safe 6 foot distance from others is a new skill for many people including myself. It’s also important to navigate the aisles efficiently. Somehow it doesn’t seem OK any more to forget something and have to run back through the store to find it.

To help you stay well we created an efficient grocery shopping list. We really like this template because it prompts meal planning so you buy only what you need. We also limited the number of items to make your trip more manageable.   You’ll notice the list is organized in categories that follow the grocery store layout to help you get in and out of the store fast.

Here is how you can use it:

  1. Create a meal plan.
    Before going to the grocery store consider the meals you’d like to make in the upcoming week. Make a note of the most important items you need in case your trip is stressful and you don’t get through your whole shopping list.
  2. Complete your efficient grocery shopping list *
    Print out a copy of the Be Well! Efficient grocery shopping list (see link below) and keep it in your kitchen. You can ask others you live with to help complete the list so everyone contributes to the eating plan. When the list gets full, you’ll know it’s time to go shopping.
  3. Navigate the aisles efficiently
    When you arrive at the store pick the aisles with the least number of people and keep your physical distance 6 feet from others. Make your way through the store quickly and efficiently. Because your shopping list is short you won’t need a pen to check off the list.

Keep well and good luck grocery shopping!

* Print off your copy of the shopping list by clicking on this link and then the image.  Be Well! Efficient Grocery Shopping List N4NN dietitians

Watch our one minute VIDEO summary and tips on efficient grocery shopping here:

Dietitians’ tips to stay fueled and focused when working from home

 

desk with vase of flowers

 

The doorbell rings. The dog is barking. A load of laundry sits in the hallway. There can be a lot of distractions when working from home! Here are a few tips to help you stay fueled and focused.

Stick to a regular eating schedule. Get into a routine by eating your meals at the same times every day if possible. Routine gives us a little sense of control during these uncertain times. Plus, you’ll keep your energy levels steady to power through your work day. (Ditto the routine message for sleep and exercise.)

Cook extra for tomorrow’s lunch. Now that you and everyone else in your family are staying home, you’re likely eating all your meals at home too. No more lunch meetings or buying lunch at the food court. Plan to cook extra and portion them out so they’re ready to reheat for tomorrow’s lunch.

Snack on nourishing foods. During times of crisis, we all stress eat. Food can offer us both comfort and nourishment. Give yourself permission to enjoy ALL foods without guilt. If you’re finding that you’re frequently eating to deal with stress or emotions, reach out to a friend, family member or health professional for support.

Stay hydrated with water. By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Keep your water bottle nearby. Other beverages like coffee, tea and milk count towards your fluid intake too.

Take a break. Stand up and stretch. Do some shoulder rolls. Go out for a walk. This helps minimize mindless munching at your desk. To reduce eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Keep well, everyone!

 

Eating well during COVID-19

Sue Mah shares her tips on national TV to make the most of your food during times of COVID-19.

Watch Sue’s TV interview here with CTV Your Morning. 

 

TV host Lindsey Deluce interviewing dietitian Sue Mah in her kitchen

 

Buy foods with a long shelf life. Fresh, frozen and canned foods are all OK. Some ideas: fresh carrots, potatoes, squash, onions and parsnips; frozen fruit, veggies, meat and fish; canned fruit, veggies, beans, soup and pasta sauce; shelf-stable milk or non-dairy beverages. Having these foods can help you get through tough times in case you become sick and can’t leave your home. I write the best before date on a green piece of tape and stick it right on the can for easy visibility! (See my pantry photo below.)

Keep a food inventory to remind you of what have. Go through your fridge, freezer and pantry. The kids can help with this too! Plan your meals using the foods you have on hand. Try new recipes using your pantry staples. Check best before dates and practice the “First In First Out” rule – use the foods that have the earliest best before date first. Circle or highlight items with an approaching best before date so you know to use them soon. Cross the items off the inventory as you use them so you know when you might need to buy more.

Wash your hands before and after cooking / eating. Wash all fresh fruits and veggies before eating, especially if you’re eating the skins. Cook foods to the right temperature. Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods, and use separate utensils / cutting boards for each. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours or freeze leftovers to eat later. Eat refrigerated leftovers within 3 days. For more food safety tips, go to Canadian Public Health Association. 

Don’t share eating utensils. Avoid sharing food from the same container (e.g. avoid sharing popcorn or grapes from the same bowl.) No double dipping please. 🙂 Wash utensils in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher.

Sue's pantry with best before dates labelled on cans

Sue’s pantry

 

Kids are Back to School…and Eating Better

\Young child washing veggies in the sink

Image source: Bigstock

With back to school, it’s time to get those lunch bags busy again. A recent study published in the Public Health Nutrition journal found that school kids are eating better than they did 15 years ago. But there’s still room for improvement.

The study, led by researchers at University of British Columbia, compared the diets of about 7,000 kids aged 6 to 17 between 2004 and 2015. The nutritional value of the foods were judged using the Canadian Healthy Eating Index, which considers 11 dietary components such as total vegetables and fruit, whole fruit, whole grain products, saturated fat and sodium.

Overall, there was a 13% improvement in the foods that kids were eating during the school day. Specifically, school kids were eating more vegetables and fruit, as well as eating fewer calories from “minimally nutritious foods” including sugary drinks and salty prepackaged choices.

That’s the good news, but we can do better. Kids still aren’t eating enough dark green and orange vegetables (important for folate and vitamin A) – think spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots and sweet potato. Kids are also falling short on whole fruit and whole grains.

Here’s what you can do:

• Get kids involved in the food experience.
Ask them to wash veggies, chop ingredients and help with the cooking. Bonus – kids are more likely to eat the meals that they’ve made.
Set them up for success. Make lunches together. Include a variety of fruit, veggies and whole grains. Keep portions manageable for your child’s appetite.
Be a great role model. Monkey see, monkey do. When you eat broccoli, there’s a better chance that junior will too.
• Advocate for healthy eating.
Canada is the only G7 country without a national school food program. With the upcoming federal election, let’s put this on the agenda to nourish our future generations.

Written by Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc, FDC – Registered Dietitian & Co-Founder Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists

Healthy Diets & Weight – Highlights from the Canadian Nutrition Society Conference

Highway Signpost Image with Health related wording

With the start of the new year, there’s always a buzz about diets and weight.
But what is really fact and what’s fiction? At the annual thematic conference of the Canadian Nutrition Society, researchers, physicians and dietitians shared their perspectives to deepen our understanding of this complex topic. Here is just a snapshot of our top takeaways from the event.

Links Between Mental Health and Obesity: from Biology to Behaviour
– Valerie Taylor, MD, PhD, FPCP, Professor & Chair of Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary

  • Mental illness such as bipolar and depression is linked with a 25-45% higher chance of obesity.
  • Late night sleeping leads to short sleep duration, which is associated with obesity. Reducing sleep by 2 hours lowers the levels of leptin (the hormone which makes us feel full). At the same time, levels of ghrelin increase (the hormone which makes us feel hungry).
  • Sleep loss is a new risk factor for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Diets and Body Weight Management: Trying to Make Sense of it All
– Eric Doucet, PhD, Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa

  • Calories still count in weight loss. Either you manipulate the macronutrients or restrict the caloric intake.
  • It’s very challenging to keep the weight off. Very often, most if not more of the weight lost is gained back over time.
  • Doucet’s research found that for every kg of weight loss, a person’s appetite increased by 100 calories per day.

Weight Loss and Client Centred Care: Perspectives in Nutrition Counselling
– Andrea Miller, MHSc, RD, Consulting Dietitian

  • When it comes to weight loss, most people are looking for a simple solution to a very complex problem.
  • Practice nutrition counselling without blame or judgement. Even dieting can sometimes improve a person’s nutrition and mindful eating behaviours.
  • Understand and listen to your client’s story about their weight and their relationship with food.

Turning the Tide with Health at Every Size – Time for Change
– Maria Ricupero, RD, Certified Diabetes Educator, Toronto General Hospital

  • Weight stigma includes: negative weight-related attitudes/beliefs/ assumptions/attitudes; unequal/unfair treatment of people due to their weight; social stereotypes and misconceptions about obesity.
  • Health at Every Size (HAES) is about: weight inclusivity, size acceptance, self-acceptance, body respect, well-being and healthy day-to-day behaviours whether weight changes or not.
  • Change the culture around weight rather than change our bodies. There can be health benefits without weight loss.

Kids on Diets: How the Culture of Fad Diets Influences Parental Feeding and Children’s Eating Behaviours
– Jess Haines, PhD, MHSc, RD, Associate Professor of Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph

  • Parents feel stigma when they have a child with overweight or obesity. 75% of these parents say that other family members make comments to them about their child’s weight. And 89% of these parents report negative feelings about themselves such as “I feel less of a mom.”
  • Focus on healthy behaviours for kids, not their weight as an outcome.
  • Healthy habits for kids include: Eat more meals together as a family, with the TV off; Set a bedtime routine aiming for 11 hours of sleep; Remove the TV from the room where your child sleeps; Limit TV time to less than 2 hours per day.

Written by: Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc, and Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc
– Co-Founders of Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists, nutrition experts and trailblazing dietitians who love food!

Questions, Comments? Contact Us

8 Ways to Get Through the Holiday Eating Fest!

Take a deep breath, it’s December! The countdown is on for the holiday parties, cheery celebrations and food fest overload. So what can you do to enjoy the joyous season yet not overindulge? Here are my top eight tips.

1. Give yourself permission to enjoy. First of all, let go of the guilt. Follow the 80-20 rule: 80% of the time, choose the healthy fare; 20% of the time, enjoy your favourite indulgences – in moderation.

2. Be a picky eater. Do a once over of all the choices. In your head, rate each dish as either “I must try this!” or as “I can pass on this today.” Then, take a small portion of your top five “must try” foods, including at least one veggie dish. Go back for seconds only if the food was WOW!

3. Tell a story. You’ve heard that saying, “No talking with your mouth full”? Put it into practice now. Set your fork down, chat with others and tell a story. This slows down your eating and allows time for your brain to register that you’re getting full.

4. Chew your food. Research shows that chewing food up to 40 times before swallowing may actually help you feel fuller and eat less. Alright, this may not apply to that tiny shrimp appetizer, but the point here is to pace yourself and savour every bite rather than wolf down your food.

5. Power on with protein. Eat protein at each meal. You’ll feel full for longer and have sustained energy to keep up with the holiday hustle and bustle. Remember that milk and milk products provide high-quality protein too and can be easily included at brekkie, lunch, dinner, snacks and yes, even desserts! If you’re looking for festive-coloured, protein-packed recipes, try a hearty Lentil Kale and Feta Salad, or this refreshing Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake with Raspberries – both from www.dairygoodness.ca.

6. Eat until you’re 80% full. This is a practice in mindful eating. At 80% full, you don’t feel stuffed and in fact, you could probably eat a few more bites. But you’re no longer hungry and you don’t have to loosen your belt. Over time, you’ll get accustomed to eating to the 80% mark which can be a bonus if you’re watching your waistline.

7. Hold your drink / cocktail in your dominant hand.
This makes it trickier (and messier) to eat with your non-dominant hand while you’re socializing. Stick to Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines: no more than 3 drinks for women and 4 drinks for men on any single occasion. For each alcoholic drink, have a non-alcoholic one.

8. Use smaller plates and glasses. The bigger the plate, the more food we’ll pile on it. Research also shows that we drink more from short, wide glasses rather than tall ones. So use the short glasses for water and save the tall glasses for cocktails and sweetened beverages.

All the best for a happy and healthy holiday season!

Sue & Lucia

(This story was written by Sue Mah, RD and originally appeared in the Toronto Sun, Dec 8, 2017.)

5 Learnings from the Food and Nutrition Forum, Royal Winter Fair

Do you love food and care about how it’s grown, handled and brought to market? We do! As part of staying on top of emerging trends and new research we joined experts in food and nutrition to engage in conversation at the Royal Winter Fair Food and Nutrition Forum.  As a Registered Dietitian, Lucia was invited to welcome delegates to a day of learning, getting ‘agricultured’ and celebrating the power of farming, food and nutrition.  Inspiring speakers included professors, farmers, authors, dietitians and home economists. Working hand in hand, our passion for wellness and good food united us all!

Here are 5 top learnings from the sessions:

  1. Farmers feed Cities
    An amazing panel of 3 women farmers shared about their lives and the challenges they face in working on their farms of grain, eggs & beef. Taking care of their land and livestock is a passion and a profession. Their stories showed how deeply they care about the work they do, and how much environmental stewardship matters to each of them.  Thank you Jenn Doleman, Tonya Havercamp and Sandra Vos for being the farmers who feed cities!
  2. Taking care of the planet
    Biodiversity & food production are deeply connected. Dr. Christian Artuso studies grassland birds and found that an important way to preserve their biodiversity is linked to cattle farming. His Grassland Bird studies are part of an award winning conservation movement in South America.
  3. Teach Food and Nutrition to Students
    Food and nutrition know-how are life skills with significant short and long term benefits. Although healthy lifestyle is a trend, it’s evident that many of today’s young Canadians lack even the most basic food preparation skills. Let’s give kids the best chance possible to nourish their bodies. An important consideration is expanding high school curriculum to include some mandatory food education. The Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA) calls on the Government of Ontario to make at least one food & nutrition course compulsory. To support this petition or for more information visit www.food-literacy.ca
  4. Translating the science – how to spot the fake news and alternative food facts.
    Bestselling Author, Dr Joe Schwarcz shared stories of science misuse. We were reminded that correlation is an easy sway for the scientifically challenged consumer and it does NOT mean cause and effect. His latest bookA Feast of Science is an entertaining read of fact vs fiction. To help you navigate through fake nutrition news reach out to your nearest Registered Dietitian, the experts who can translate the science of nutrition and help you unlock food’s potential to support healthy living.
  5. What’s next?
    Let’s keep the farm to table conversations going! The more we know about where our food comes from, how it’s grown and handled the more grounded we will be. We also love sharing credible insights and resources! Check out our blogs and writing at N4NN.ca and Contact us  about your questions on the power of food and its connection to health.

October 2018 is Workplace Wellness Month!

dietitian saves $99 2018      advice from RD's 2018

Did you know that Registered Dietitians are spearheading initiatives to improve the health of Canadians?  Research shows that every $1 invested in nutrition interventions can save the health care system up to $99 (Dietitians of Canada). We encourage you to increase access to dietitians in your workplace for better health, better care and better value. We can show you how!

productivityAsk a Dietitian about healthy habits that work

  • Keep up your energy to stay focused and meet your deadlines
  • Boost your concentration and productivity
  • Protect yourself from chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and even dental disease. 

Your Workplace Wellness Programs (WWP) are critical to help ensure employees have access to health promotion support that’s tailored to your work environments. RDs [Registered Dietitians] are an important source of credible, evidence based nutrition information that promotes health and wellness and the prevention and management of disease. Does your workplace wellness include this valuable healthcare practitioner? RDs are well governed and held accountable to the highest standards in their practice to translate the science of nutrition and deliver reliable, life changing advice.

Workplace wellness and nutrition programs are an investment in your employees’ health and well-being! Advice from RDs can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by 80%, diabetes by 60% and cancer by 40%. Work with us as your RDs to help you unlock the power of food and shape your healthy eating habits. We can help you build a workplace nutrition program and offer engaging, interactive seminars that will leave a lasting impression and inspire you towards your best health!

Contact us to get started! Book us for your next team meeting or wellness event and save 20%.
Promo Code: N4NN Workplace Wellness info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com

Beware of Free Food in the Workplace!

workplace conference eating

Does your workplace offer free food at meetings, events or in the common area? Turns out that all of this free food can be adding about 1,300 empty calories to your week!

A one of a kind study in the USA analyzed the food and beverage choices of over 5,000 employees who either purchased food from on-site vending machines or the cafeteria, or obtained food for free in common areas, at meetings or at workplace social events. The preliminary results, presented at last month’s meeting of the American Society of Nutrition, found that nearly 25% of the employees obtained food from work at least once a week which added up to almost 1,300 calories by the end of the week. The bad news is that the food and beverages tended to be high in empty calories which contain little to no nutrition. Even worse news is that over 70% of the calories consumed came from free food that was offered in the workplace such as pizza, soda, cookies, brownies, cake and candy.

Bottom line:
About 87% of Canadian employees have personal goals to eat healthier foods. Workplaces can play a huge role in helping employees eat better and improve their food habits. Start by creating a workplace healthy eating policy to ensure access and availability of healthy options in foodservice, vending machines and at workplace meetings / events. We can assess your current offerings and help you build and implement a winning workplace healthy eating policy that will boost productivity and performance! Contact us here or at info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com for more details and / or to book an inspiring workplace wellness presentation for your team.

The Future of Food – Five Trends with a Big Impact

future of food bill gates notes 2018-06-01_1-08-23

 

At the recent Food and Beverage Ontario Annual General Meeting in Toronto, we shared top trends that will have a big impact on the future of food – both in retail and foodservice. Here’s a snapshot of our expert dietitian insights.

1. Eating healthier is a universal goal for all Canadians

Food that tastes great and nourishes the body rank high on Canadians’ wish list. In designing menus, especially where calories are now displayed, foodservice teams and food makers can help make the calories count for health and wellness! To unlock the potential of food, consider a perfect pairing of a chef and registered dietitian for your next menu update.

2. Demographics

Kids, millennials and seniors all have unique nutritional needs. Schools and retirement/nursing homes are also regulated for the kinds of foods they can sell. Workplace wellness is catching up with guidelines on how to achieve better eating habits that can result in more productive workforce. Have you seen the ‘sell more’ and ‘sell less’ lists? Give us a shout – we can help!

3. Plant based eating

Pant foods are the mega trend. ‘Plan based diet” is one of the top google searches by Canadians 2017! Consumers are looking for more plant based menu items in foodservice as well. Don’t make the mistake of just removing the meat from your menu! Vegetarian meals should also be well balanced and include a minimum 20g protein per meal. Registered Dietitians have the tools and tips to help chefs make the switch to balanced vegetarian menu items.

4. New food regulations influence food choices

You may wonder who reads food labels anyway. Research shows that more than 2/3 of Canadians read food labels to help them decide which foods to buy and eat. Labels also provide highly credible & prominent information on foods. The New Nutrition Facts Label and proposed new Canada’s Food Guide focus on limiting saturated fat, salt and sugars. These tools are the foundation for nutrition communication and menu development in many institutions. What’s your plan to leverage the power of the label in marketing?

5. Grand designs & food halls

Foodservice is embracing showcase exhibition food prep to capture the excitement of cooking “onstage.” Open kitchens are transparent and underscore the consumers’ desire for fresh food. New grocery stores and food halls delight consumers with a mix of hot-food stations, ‘grab’n go’ items and ‘do it yourself bowls’. The future of eating out is personalized and tech savvy.

(Image Source: GatesNotes)

Workplace Wellness

Happy business colleagues having lunch on table at office cafete

Do you wish you had more energy at work? Do you find it tough to eat well on the job or during shift work? Do you want to be more efficient in using your talents to produce outstanding results? You’re not alone. These were just some of the challenges we heard from the attendees at this year’s Partners in Prevention Conference and Trade Show. As exhibitors for Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists, we were delighted to share our most popular presentation at the Healthy Living stage – “Top 5 Ways to Eat Better” – and had the chance to connect with workplace wellness leaders about food, nutrition, improved concentration and productivity.

Many of us spend eight hours a day – and probably more – at work, so let’s make them count for health and wellness!

Why Promote Wellness in the Workplace?*
Did you know that 57% of employees in Canada are living with at least one chronic condition such as high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol?** Good food builds healthier people and a healthier workplace. Worksite health promotion is an investment in your most important asset: your employees. Studies have shown that employees are more likely to be on the job and performing well when they are in optimal health. Benefits of implementing a wellness program include:
• Lower health care costs, due to a healthier workforce and improved disease management
• Enhanced recruiting by attracting the most talented workers
• Reduced absenteeism and improved productivity
• Improved on-the-job time utilization, decision-making and productivity
• Improved employee morale
• Reduction in turnover

As dietitians, we LOVE food! We’re credible experts who translate the science of nutrition and unlock the potential of food to support healthy living for Canadians. Book us for your next Lunch and Learn or Wellness Fair. Contact us with your wellness boosting food & menu questions – we can help! info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com

*Source: Mumby, Workplace Wellness
**Source: Chronic Disease in the Workplace: Focus on Prevention and Support

Innovation Unleashed – 5 hot topics from Canada’s largest foodservice trade event

rc show 2018

 

People LOVE food – it unites us all! The power of food is everywhere and the Restaurants Canada show Innovation Unleashed was a great place to discover fascinating insights on advances in the foodservice industry. We were there and connected with Operators, Presidents, Buyers, Agents, Chefs & more about key industry issues and the future of hospitality. #RCShow18

Here are the 5 hot topics that caught our interest as food and nutrition experts:

  1. Where does food come from? Local is by far still the biggest trend in restaurants today and expected to keep gaining momentum. Running a profitable restaurant, maintaining food costs, and satisfying the local trend is challenging for many businesses. Restaurants are discovering how to incorporate local ingredients to menu items  while boosting the bottom line.
  2. Why does food go to waste?  Stats are shocking…too much of the food cooked in restaurants is thrown away. What about grocery stores? Does food end up in the waste bin because it doesn’t look good? Consumers’ attention is moving beyond where food comes from to where food is going. With such tight margins let’s keep the food out of the trash bin. Speakers also discussed a “Feed it Forward Food Insecurity” option where safe, unused and unsold food destined for landfill could be donated to those who are hungry and in need of food aid.
  3. Wellness anyone? Want to make better-for-you foods and boost your sales with claims? There are labelling laws & science for that!  The power of good food and nutrition has a direct connection to health. Good energy, focus, concentration and productivity are all benefits of healthy food choices throughout the day. As dietitians, we translate the science of nutrition to unlock foods’ potential and support healthy living for Canadians. Call us with your wellness boosting food & menu questions – we can help!
  4. Beverage menu in focus. Coffee and tea are popular beverages among Canadians.  Research-based industry trends showed strong areas of opportunity for Restaurateurs, including the largely untapped world of decaf coffee and herbal tea. Tea and food pairing is a trending opportunity. The positive impact of Non-Alcoholic Cocktails can create memorable drinking experiences while striving for a more balanced lifestyle. Cheers to that – healthy hydration never looked better!
  5. Future of Food & Eating. Space research yields fascinating insights on innovation in the hospitality industry. Expert panelists discussed technology, new agriculture, experiential eating, personalized foods and more that will transform the future of everything edible.

For more foodservice trends and consumer insights that can elevate your business contact us info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com or join us at the 11th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course on April 18, 2018, University of Toronto. Register at www.NutritionForNONNutritionists.com

 

3 Tips to Overcoming Weight Bias

Did you know that weight bias and discrimination are real and rampant? A recent study looking at news stories in media found that 72% of images and 77% of videos stigmatized  people with obesity[1].  With so much weight bias in our society, what can we do to help?  As dietitians we reviewed the science and bring you these 3 tips to help stop the weight bias, with hopes that we can all make lasting positive change in response to weight shaming, stigma and discrimination. 

N4nn weight bias 2017 2017-11-26_20-25-57

  1. BECOME AWARE – Do you have a weight bias? A first step in addressing weight stigma is to become aware of our own potential attitudes and assumptions about body weight. What do you think and say about people with obesity? Did you know being called “fat” is the most common reason children are bullied?[2] A Harvard University survey reveals many people have an automatic preference for ‘thin people’ relative to ‘fat people’.[3] This survey is based on an Implicit-Association Test (IAT) that anyone can take, and measures the implicit attitudes and beliefs that people are either unwilling or unable to report. The WEIGHT-IAT asks you to distinguish images of people who are described as ‘obese’ or ‘fat’ and people who are ‘thin’. Try the IAT here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html – and select the Weight IAT to discover whether you have a hidden weight bias.
  1. SPEAK WITH COMPASSION Use words that hurt less. At a recent nutrition symposium, we learned about research that shows the choice of words we use can have different impacts on people with obesity. [4]

words we use obesity bias N4NN 2017 11-27_14-57-23

  • Body weight should not be a topic of social conversation. It’s a deeply personal subject for most people. Even as a health professional, ask permission to speak about body weight.
  • Use person first language rather than describe people by their disease. ex. Saying “a person with obesity” is person first langauge. Saying “an obese person” is not person first language. It’s the same way you would say a person “has a broken leg” rather than say they “are a broken leg.”
  1. SHOW RESPECT – Every body deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Are YOU ready to help STOP the weight bias? Here are some tips:
  • Notice weight shaming and speak up when you hear inappropriate comments or jokes. Talk about someone’s performance, enthusiasm or other positive attributes rather than talking about their weight. If you notice someone blaming a person for their weight, remind yourself and others “We don’t know their story, so don’t blame them for their size.”
  • Shift the focus from weight to health and well-being.
  • Adjust your attitude – if you change your thoughts, your feelings and actions will follow.[5]

The journey toward well-being starts with how we eat and dietitians have the knowledge, compassion and flexibility to help Canadians achieve their goals. If you have questions about food and health contact a Registered Dietitian for reliable, life-changing advice.

[1] Heuer C, Puhl R.  Obesity stigma in online news: A visual content analysis.   Journal of Health Communication.   2011

[2] Puhl, R. et.al Cross-national perspectives about weight-based bullying in youth: nature, extent and remedies. Pediatric Obesity, 2016

[3] Harvard University, Project Implicit Sourced Nov 2017 https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html

[4] Adapted from Puhl, Peterson, Luedicke 2013

[5] Michael Vallis, Canadian Obesity Network Presentation 2011

What’s the truth about Coconut Oil?

coconut oil N4NN newsletter

At our 10th annual N4NN course this year, participants asked many questions that you may be wondering about too. We’ve busted some myths that are worth sharing – for example, the facts about Coconut Oil!

 A lot of information is out there about coconut oil, leaving consumers confused about the truth. Since coconut oil comes from coconuts, it could have a nutty flavour and appear as liquid or semi-solid at room temperature. You may wish to use it in your cooking for its flavour or texture, but remember it’s still 100% fat so use in moderation!

The scientific research does not hold up sufficient evidence to say that coconut oil has health benefits. For heart health, studies show canola and olive oils are better for you.  Enjoy a small amount of healthy oils – 30 to 45 mL (2 to 3 Tbsp) – each day.

Do you have nutrition questions? Let us know and we’ll answer it in a future newsletter or in our social media postings. Follow us @NutritionTraining @SueMahRD  @LuciaWeilerRD

 

Is your food making you sick? Check out our top 5 tips to prevent food poisoning!

1 in 8 get food poisoning N4NN July 2017

One in eight Canadians get food poisoning each year according to a recent report by The Public Health Agency of Canada. So let’s brush up on food safety with our 5 top tips that can help protect you and your family from getting sick.

  1. CLEAN – Wash your hands, and we mean really wash your hands for 20 seconds using hot water and soap. This is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness! Remember to use hot water and soap to clean cutting boards, cooking utensils and counter surfaces
  2. SEPARATE – Don’t cross-contaminate ready to eat food. Keep fresh fruit and veggies separate from raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs in your fridge and when preparing food.
  3. COOK – You can NOT tell if a food is cooked by looking at it! The best way to tell if your food is cooked properly is to use a food thermometer. Look for these safe internal cooking temperatures:
    • medium rare steak 63 C (145 F)
    • your sausage or burger is done at 71 C (160 F)
    • chicken pieces 74 C (165 F)
    • whole poultry 85 C (185 F)
  4. CHILL – Keep cold foods cold at or below 4 C (40F). Storing your food properly is one of the key things you can do to protect yourself from food poisoning.
  5. MIND THE DANGER ZONE which is between 4 C (40 F) and 60 C (140 F). This is where most bacteria grow well. Toss out perishable foods that have been in the ‘danger zone’ for 4 hours or more. Perishable foods include (but are not limited to) fresh meat, poultry, fish, deli meats, dairy, eggs, all cooked foods, cut up fruit and vegetables.

Want to learn more about safe food handling practices? Contact us! We offer basic and advanced food safety training courses that can earn you a government approved certificate.

Free Exclusive Webinar – News in Nutrition Labelling!

N4NN DC webinar postcard

Eleven million Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes. The Glycemic Index (GI) may be useful to assist people with diabetes, or at risk of developing diabetes, pick foods that help them manage their blood sugar levels.

We’ve partnered with Diabetes Canada for an exclusive free webinar on nutrition labelling.

Join us on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @ 1-2 pm ET for a FREE Exclusive Webinar and be the first to learn about:
– Consumer behaviour trends related to nutrition labelling
– Diabetes Canada’s healthy eating strategy
– New research on Canadians’ understanding and perceptions of Glycemic Index and carbohydrates
– Glycemic Index labelling – an opportunity to influence consumer behaviour

Speakers:
Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc – Co-Founder, Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists
Lucia Weiler, BSc. RD, PHEc – Co-Founder, Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists
Joanne Lewis, RD, CDE – Director of Nutrition & Healthy Eating, Diabetes Canada
Seema Nagpal, BSc Pharm, MSc, PhD – Senior Leader Public Policy, Epidemiologist, Diabetes Canada

REGISTER NOW as spaces are limited! The webinar will be recorded and available to registrants.

 

Men’s Health Initiative

men's health

June is men’s health month and a terrific time to take a look at what we can do to encourage men to take care of their bodies. Did you know that among Canadian men, 29% are obese; 68% don’t eat healthy food; and 35% don’t get enough sleep? This shows that Canadian men aren’t as healthy as they could be, in part due to lifestyle choices that they make. But the good news is, says the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF), that men don’t have to change much to improve their physical health and wellness.  Canada’s Health Minister announced funding for the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF) to expand their Don’t Change Much initiative that helps Canadian men make simple lifestyle changes that can result in long-term benefits for individuals, families and communities. If you are looking to make healthy eating changes, consider seeking advice from a registered dietitian either in person or online. We look at the science that is beyond the fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable, life-changing advice that supports healthy living.  Here are some terrific links and a video with more information on men’s health:

http://dontchangemuch.ca/faqs/    www.Dietitians.ca;          www.ero.ca

Earlier this month, Sue joined Ben Mulroney on CTV Your Morning to talk about men’s nutrition. Check out her interview here:

Sue and Ben Mulroney N4NN June 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMJrLUcm_gQ

 

 

Congrats to Sue and Lucia

Sue win N4NN June 2017

Sue is an accomplished leader who is highly deserving of the honour presented to her by the Dietitian of Canada. Recognized by her peers, Sue received two awards: 2017 Dietitian of the Year by Dietitians of Canada Business & Industry Network and the Member Recognition Award for Innovation by Dietitians of Canada.  Sue translates the science of nutrition into easy advice that everyone can understand and she advances the dietetic profession as an acclaimed nutrition writer, nutrition trends expert, inspiring speaker and engaging media spokesperson. Her nutrition trend tips and insights are sought after by business leaders, entrepreneurs, and consumer and trade publications. Sue has helped fellow dietitians and hundreds of professionals leverage the power of good nutrition.

Lucia N4NN June 2017

Lucia is honoured to start a 4 year term as a Director of the Board, Dietitians of Canada. She was elected by her peers to this leadership role to represent members’ voice. Dietitians of Canada is one of the largest organizations of food and nutrition professionals in the world with over 5,000 members who are committed to advancing health through food and nutrition. In her role as a Board member, Lucia will help steer the organization by setting the strategic direction to raise the profile of the profession as the most trusted source of nutrition information, offer support in practice, and create new opportunities for growth, learning and development.

3 out of 5 adults have a chronic disease! Are you one of them?

chronic disease apr 2017

Did you know that 4 out of 5 Canadian adults are at risk for chronic disease, and 3 out of 5 Canadian adults actually live with a chronic disease? [1]  The top 4 chronic diseases in Canada are Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes and Chronic Respiratory disease. The good news is that 40% of cancers, 80% of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and respiratory disease are preventable by reducing common risk factors such as:

  • poor nutrition
  • lack of physical activity
  • smoking
  • harmful use of alcohol.

According to the World Health Organization, an unhealthy diet is one of the primary risk factors for chronic disease. Research shows that diet counselling makes a difference. For example, structured and intensive lifestyle interventions delivered by dietitians can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 60% in clients at risk.[2]

What can you do? 

  • Eat a nutritious and healthy diet, including lots of fruit and vegetables
  • Don’t smoke or use other forms of tobacco
  • Limit your alcohol consumption to Canada’s LOW risk drinking guidelines
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Get regular physical activity

How do you know which nutrition information to trust?

There is so much nutrition information out there that Canadians don’t know what to believe. It can be challenging to know which online nutrition information is credible and which is not. [3] For your food and nutrition questions – ask a Registered Dietitian. Registered Dietitians are the most trusted food and nutrition experts who are committed to helping Canadians enjoy safe, nutritious, affordable and healthy eating.  As nutrition experts, dietitians can help you decide on and find factual information that’s relevant to your health and wellness needs. Contact us or check out the ‘Your Health’ section at www.dietitians.ca.

 

[1] Chronic Disease Alliance Prevention Canada (2016)  http://www.cdpac.ca/media.php?mid=1411
[2] Dietitians of Canada, The impact of diet counselling (2015) https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Public/Chronic-Disease-2-pager.aspx
[3] Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month (2017) www.dietitians.ca

Take the fight out of food! How to spot credible nutrition info!

Nutrition month 2017 Sue & Lucia Pledge

Eating should be joyful and pleasurable, but it can also be frustrating and confusing. Take the online pledge to take the fight out of food. Find accurate information to help you make better decisions about food and take the fight out of your food struggles.

Did you know that almost half of Canadians (49%) get their food and nutrition information from the Internet, social media or blogs? Unfortunately, not all online information can be trusted. Here’s how to spot the most credible nutrition info.

1. Talk to a dietitian – the most credible food and nutrition experts. According to the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, Tracking Nutrition Trends 2015 report, only 20% of Canadians get their information from a dietitian. Yet, most Canadians (88%) say dietitians are credible sources of information. Contact us with your food and nutrition questions.

2. Ask questions. Evaluate online nutrition advice by asking:
• Who runs the website?
• Is the website trying to sell something?
• Does it sound too good to be true?
• Where does the information come from?
• Is the information based on more than one clinical study?
• Was the study done in animals or humans?
• Was the information / study reviewed by an editorial board?

3. Go to these trusted websites.
Some of our favourite information sources are:
Weiler Nutrition Communications Inc.
Nutrition Solutions Inc.
Dietitians of Canada
Eat Right Ontario
Healthy Canadians

4. Look for the Dietitians of Canada Member Blog badge
. We’ve met the blog criteria from our professional organization, and are proud to share our expert, credible, evidence-based insights!

DC member blog badge


This post has been adapted from Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.NutritionMonth2017.ca

New Nutrition Labels are Coming!

nutrition-labels-old-vs-new-bigger

After two years of public consultations, Health Canada has finalized the changes to the Nutrition Facts table and ingredients list on packaged foods. On December 14th, 2016, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health announced that these changes are all part of the strategy to help make healthy food choices the easy choice for all Canadians.

Here’s a quick at-a-glance comparison of the old versus the new Nutrition Facts table as well as Ingredients lists.

The new Nutrition Facts table places a greater emphasis on calories, potassium, calcium and iron. For the first time ever, total sugars will have a % Daily Value (%DV) set at 100 grams:

nutrition-labels-old-vs-new-bigger


All food colours will now be listed by their name rather than collectively listed as “colours”:

ingreds-list-new


Different types of sugars will still be individually identified, and will now also be grouped together as “Sugars”:

ingreds-list-sugars

The food industry has 5 years (until 2021) to make these changes, but you may start seeing new labels as early as next year.

Contact us at: Info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com for more information about these label changes and to discuss how the proposed regulatory changes to front-of-package labelling will impact your business.

New food guide consultations are open!

food-guide-consultationYou may have heard the big announcement that Health Canada is revising the Food Guide (CFG) and consultations are open for only 45 days until December 8th.  The last time CFG was changed was over 10 years ago so don’t miss this chance to let your voice be heard!

Why is CFG important?

CFG was, and will remain a key document that shapes the approach to healthy eating recommendations and policies in Canada, including nutrition education and menu planning. You know that nutrition science has evolved in the last 13 years.  We moved from ‘no fat’ or ‘low fat’ to good fat, from ‘low carb’ to high quality carbs, and at the end of the day more and more scientists agree that the overall dietary pattern is more important than any one food or nutrient. Of course, it’s a real challenge to translate complex science about nutrition into specific recommendations that meets the diverse needs of the Canadian population, but the new Food Guide revision set out to do just that. Let your voice be heard on how CFG can help you benefit from nutrition.

How to let your voice be heard!

We completed Canada’s Food Guide Workbook on line, which did not take very long, and we have a few tips for your consideration so you know what to expect when you participate.

The first question separates members of the general public from professionals who work in health, teaching or are representing an organization.  After a few more qualifying questions about who you are, the survey asks you to select 3 types of activities where you use healthy eating recommendations most often. The next set of questions are based on the 3 activities you just identified. They explore the type of guidance you find most valuable and the ways you would like recommendations presented. The final questions request you to rate the importance of a variety of topics related to healthy eating, including food enjoyment, eating patterns, security, environment, level of processing and sugars.

We encourage you to take the time and complete Canada’s Food Guide Workbook by December 8th. It’s your chance to influence the way Canadians will eat well for many years to come.

If you have any questions or comments on completing Canada’s Food Guide Workbook we’d be happy to hear from you!

Winners of the 2016 Grocery Innovations Show

Here are a few of the winning products, as selected by the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.

black-water

blk. Alkaline Mineral Water
blk. is a pure alkaline water that is infused with fulvic trace minerals.This beverage is naturally black with no artificial dyes or colouring. Fulvic acid (also called humic acid) occurs naturally in soil and sediment. Like all plain, unflavoured waters, blk has zero calories, zero sugar and zero caffeine.
My take: Tastes earthy. There are no human requirements for fulvic acid. Might make a good Halloween drink.

goh-goh-granola
goh-goh cereal
goh-goh cereal is made with air-dried milk. The first two ingredients are whole grain rolled oats and goh-goh whole milk powder. After adding water (warm or cold), the cereal is reconstituted. Available in two flavours: Honey, Hemp & Flax; and Raisin & Almond. A servings contains: 270-290 calories, 6-9 g fat, 43-45 g carbohydrates, 8-10 g protein, 3-4 g fibre, 15-20 g sugars and 10-15% DV (Daily Value) for calcium.
My take: Higher in sugars than I’d like, but tastes quite nice and is very filling. A novel idea for those who are camping, travelling or on the “goh”.

chickpea-beverage
Chickpea beverage
Made from organic chick peas, this is the first fortified chickpea beverage in the world. A serving (1 cup) contains: 70 calories, 2.5 g fat, 1 g omega-3 fat (from flaxseed oil), 2 g carbohydrate, 10 g protein, 0 g sugars and 30% DV (Daily Value) for calcium. (Vitamin D content not available.)
My take: Really does tastes like chickpeas. Contains more protein than other plant-based beverages such as almond beverage or rice beverage.

Feeding kids a vegan diet in Italy could be a crime

vegan-kid

The buzz:
Late last month, Italian Parliamentarian Elvira Savino proposed a bill that would hold parents legally responsible for feeding a vegan diet to children who are under the age of 16. A vegan diet excludes all animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs.

The bill was proposed after multiple cases of Italian infants were hospitalized for malnourishment presumably due to eating vegan diets. If the bill passes, parents who restrict their children to a vegan diet would face a year-long jail sentence. Should the child fall ill because of the diet, the sentence would increase to four years; and if the child dies, the jail term would rise to six years.

The Italian government has not been shy to step into people’s kitchens. Last year, an Italian court reportedly ordered a vegan mother to feed her son meat at least once a week after her divorced husband complained that the son wasn’t getting adequate nourishment. In 2015, a father was sentenced to nine months in prison after forcing his teen daughters to diet only on whole grains, cereals and veggies because he deemed them to be too fat.

Savino’s proposed bill will be debated later this year.

The science:

According to the Dietitians of Canada, vegan diets can lower your risk of many conditions including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. A healthy vegan diet includes a variety of grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes (dried peas, peas and lentils), seeds and nuts.

However, because a vegan diet excludes meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs, it may take some planning to get enough protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fats from foods and/or supplements.

Our expert POV:
A vegan diet may be appropriate for toddlers to teens with careful planning. The most important consideration at these ages is to ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need to grow and develop well.

Talk to a dietitian about vegan food sources for nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12 (which are typically found in meat, fish, poultry and eggs). Calcium and vitamin D are also essential for the development of strong bones and teeth, while omega-3 fats are essential for brain development and eye health.

With our training and experience in health promotion, we wonder if nutrition education for parents / caregivers would be more effective than this punitive legislation.

Dare to Compare: Chia Seeds versus Flax Seeds

Ever wonder what the difference is between these two tiny seeds?

What are they:

chia seeds
[Image source: Flickr]

Chia seeds are tiny white or black seeds that look like poppy seeds. They were first cultivated by the Aztec tribes in Mexico.

flax seed 2
[Image source: Flickr]

Flax seeds are flat, yellow or brown, oval shaped seeds that are about the size of a sesame seed. Brown flax seeds are grown right here in Canada, mainly in the western Prairies.


Nutrition and health benefits:

Chia seeds are filled with insoluble fibre. When mixed with water or fluids, chia seeds expand and swell to form a gel. Chia seeds are a source of heart-healthy plant-based omega-3 fats, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. When it comes to fibre, calcium and selenium, chia seeds win over flax seeds. (See comparison chart below.) Studies show many benefits to including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet, such as a reduction in blood cholesterol levels and the prevention of constipation.

Note: Chia seeds can thin your blood, as well as interact with medications and blood thinners such as Warfarin/Coumadin. If you are taking any types of these medications or any type of blood pressure medications, then please avoid chia seeds and talk to you doctor.

Flax seeds are hailed as a super source of plant-based omega-3 fats which is an important nutrient to help lower the risk of heart disease. With a similar nutrition profile to that of chia seeds, flax seeds are also a source of zinc and selenium, and a good source of magnesium. Flax seeds are one of the best food sources of lignans, which are a type of plant-based estrogen. Research suggests that these lignans may play a role in protecting against breast cancer.

chia vs flax chart BIGGER REV


How to include in a healthy diet:

Both chia seeds and flax seeds have a nutty flavour and can be easily added to your favourite dishes.

Chia seeds – Sprinkle into smoothies, cereal, yogurt, soups and salads. Try our yummy Chia Seed Pudding recipe or mix some chia seeds into muffin batter. Store chia seeds in a dark, cool place for a few months.

Flax seeds – Sprinkle over cereal or yogurt, or add them to pancake batter and meatballs. Whole flax seeds can be stored at room temperature for up to one year. Ground flax seeds are easier to digest. Grind your own flax seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor. Store ground flax seeds in an opaque container for up to three months.

Dietitian’s Tip: Enjoy a variety of foods and include chia seeds and/or flax seeds when you can. Leave us a comment and tell us how you love to use chia and flax!

Chia Breakfast for Champions

chia seed yogo cropped 2016Get this all star easy to follow Chia Seed Pudding recipe we love for breakfast! Make it the night before and boost it with your favourite fruit and nuts. Recipe adapted from The Food Network, courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis. [1]


Ingredients

1 cup milk or vanilla-flavored unsweetened almond milk
1 cup plain low-fat (2 percent) Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus 2-4 teaspoons for serving
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)

Directions

In a medium bowl, gently whisk the milk (or almond milk), yogurt, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, the vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon salt until just blended. Whisk in the chia seeds; let stand 30 minutes. Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, in a medium bowl, toss the berries with the remaining 2-4 teaspoons maple syrup. Mix in the almonds.

Spoon the pudding into 4 bowls or glasses; mound the berry mixture on top and serve.

Nutrition Information per serving:

Calories 201; Fat 8g; Protein 8g; Carbohydrate 25g; Sugar 16g

[1] http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/chia-seed-pudding.html?soc=socialsharingtw

 

Intermittent Fasting – the new weight loss trend?

Clock made of spoon and fork, isolated on white background

Fasting has been practiced for centuries around the world, typically for religious reasons. Now, intermittent fasting is becoming a trendy way to lose weight. But does it really work and should you try it?

There are a few variations of intermittent fasting:

Alternate day fasting was researched by Dr. Krista Varady who is an Associate Professor of Nutrition at the University of Illinois in Chicago. The idea is to alternate back and forth between eating about 500 calories one day and then eating a moderate high-fat diet the next day. In her research trials, she found that adults lost an average of 11 pounds in 12 weeks. Plus, the alternate day fasting lowered the participants’ levels of the “bad” LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol which helps to lower their overall risk for heart disease.

The 5:2 fasting diet is a modified version of the alternate day fasting diet. The general idea here, according to proponent Dr. Mark Mattson, is to eat no more than 500 calories on two non-consecutive days each week. On the other five days of the week, you can eat your usual diet. Mattson is a Professor of Neuroscience at the John Hopkins University. In his research, overweight and obese women who followed the 5:2 diet for six months lost just slightly more weight than women who were following a low calorie diet. Mattson is now exploring whether this diet can help improve brain health in seniors.

Time-restricted eating is another type of intermittent fasting where you only eat during a small window of time. This includes ideas such as a longer nighttime fast (for example, not eating from 7 pm to 6 am) or eating just one big meal a day instead of three typical meals. Animals who fast in these ways do lose weight, but there are hardly any scientific studies with people.

Here’s our advice:

1. Intermittent fasting is not easy.
In fact, 10 to 20% of participants who try intermittent fasting find it too difficult and quickly stopped. Those who stick with the diets admit that it is very challenging for at least the first few weeks.
2. Intermittent fasting isn’t a miracle weight loss cure. The studies show that you can lose about the same amount of weight whether you fast intermittently or just cut back on calories every day.
3. Intermittent fasting is NOT for everyone. For example, if you are pregnant, underweight or have type 2 diabetes, then intermittent fasting is not suitable and can be dangerous for you.
4. The best “diet” is the one you can stick with for the rest of your life. Healthy eating is about enjoyment, not deprivation. If you’re interested in trying intermittent fasting, perhaps start with the least extreme option of extending your nighttime fast. Think of the motto “Done after dinner.” Eat your dinner and then skip any bedtime snack. Refuel with a good breakfast in the morning.
5. Talk to a registered dietitian for safe and expert advice on diets and weight loss.

Sports Nutrition – top tips for athletes

running sports nutrition July 2016 flickr image
[Image source: Flickr]

The Rio Olympics are ON! We’re amazed at the commitment and performance of the athletes. You may know that sporting activities are enhanced by well-chosen nutrition strategies. Did you ever wonder what the top evidence-based nutrition tips are for athletes that help drive their best performance? Earlier this year, Dietitians of Canada published a summary of the latest scientific evidence in sports nutrition.[1] Whether you are a ‘weekend’ athlete or training for challenging events, here are our top tips that could help your performance be at its best.

Top tips for sports nutrition

  • Carboydrates are the key fuel for energy and eating them in balanced amounts is important to perform at your best. Studies show that during exercise that lasts longer than one hour eating carbohydrates increase endurance capacity which means you can cycle, run or play hockey longer and not run out of steam.
    Dietitians Tip: carbohydrate intake is not necessary if you exercise for less than 45 minutes. However, if you exercise with intensity for more than an hour but less than 2.5 hours in one duration, do consume about 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour. Many athletes use sports drinks or gels to top up their carbs during performance. It’s important for athletes to identify a personal plan that best meets their individual needs for energy, hydration and stomach comfort.
  • Protein builds muscle and performance. Eating the right amount of protein at the right time has critical implications for athletes. There is strong evidence that among athletes and recreationally active adults, eating protein (examples are egg, milk, casein, whey, lean meat) within the first two hours after exercise will boost the body’s muscle building capacity.
    Dietitian’s Tip: to build muscle eat 0.25-0.3 g protein/kg body weight (equivalent to 15-25 g of protein for most athletes) within the first two hours after exercise and as part of meals every three to five hours. If you are interested in protein supplements, whey is best since it’s a fast absorbing high quality protein. Very high protein intakes (ex. more than 40 grams per meal) after exercise will not boost muscle building further.
  • Hydration is important because during exercise your body loses extra water through sweat and could become de-hydrated. In sweat your body also loses minerals such as sodium and some potassium, calcium, and magnesium.  Depending on the sport or exercise you do, you could lose anywhere from 0.3 to 2.4 L (about 1¼ to 10 cups) of sweat per hour! Dehydration places strain on your body and you could get over-heated tired and hurt your performance.  Be sure to top up on fluids when you’re feeling thirsty and look for signs of dehydration such as dizziness, headache and muscle cramps.  The ‘pee test’ is a good way to check your hydration before exercise.  Aim for urine that is a pale yellow colour.
    Dietitian’s Tip: To stay well hydrated plan strategies for your fluid management before, during, and after exercise.  For example, drink water throughout the day and before exercise, drink 1-2 cups of fluid. Studies show that during exercise beverages with added flavour or sports drinks (which have added flavour, carbohydrate and electrolytes like sodium and potassium), generally result greater consumption and therefore better maintenance of hydration during intense exercise than plain water.[2]
  • Registered Dietitians are the most trusted nutrition experts to help you with your personalized nutrition plan that’s needed for top performance.  If you would like help with your eating pattern, a Registered Dietitian can assess your diet and give you recommendations  ‘for the appropriate type, amount, and timing of intake of food, fluids, and supplements to promote your optimal health and performance across different scenarios of training and competitive sport.’  You can access the position paper on Nutrition and Athletic Performance at: www.dietitians.ca/sports

[1] Dietitians of Canada (2016) Nutrition for Athletic Performance,  www.dietitians.ca/sports

[2] Dietitians of Canada (2014) Sports Hydration  http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Sports-Nutrition-(Adult)/Sports-Hydration.aspx

 

Bridging the Gap between Nutrition Science and Culinary Arts

ambition nutrition June 2016

We recently attended the AMBITION NUTRITION conference  at George Brown College in Toronto where academic professionals, dietitians, culinary experts, and industry leaders joined for an interactive day to examine the gaps and opportunities that exist between research, education, nutrition, diet, and culinary arts. Here are some of the top insights posted on twitter by thought leaders at #AmbitionNutrition…

  • “Public is confused about #nutrition says @Dmozaffarian” @SueMahRD
  • “@davidludwigmd advice is to replace highly processed casrbs we healthy fats #weightloss” by @SueMahRD
  • “Lets fall in love with food again! @MichaelMossC” by @SueMahRD
  • “Nutrition is emotional & personal – 1 person 1 meal at a time struggle” by @LuciaWeilerRD
  • “Food is #1 cause of poor health in the world-yet NOT on e-health record-pay more attention 2 diet 4 health @Dmozaffarian” by ‏@LuciaWeilerRD
  • “Diet quality is the driving force behind obesity” @Dmozaffarian by @JenniferSygo
  •  “Eat less and move more” advice (is too simple and) does not work!…” by‏ @JarRraSummer
  •  “Let’s not vilify foods & stop focusing on the bad ~ let’s flip this & add more good “back to basics” food to our day.” ‏@MairlynSmith
  • “Your diet is like dating. You have to get to know your diet or it will never last.” @DougMcNish
  • “It’s not the “bad” in the diet that causes problems. It’s too little of the “good” – Eat veg fish beans @Dmozaffarian” ‏@CaraRosenbloom
  • “It is all about the quality of your diet not calories in/out when it comes to wt loss & risk of disease @Dmozaffarian” by @ShaunaLindzonRD
  • “Villifying any food may be the gateway to orthorexia @JennSygo” by ‏@TrishBitesLife
  • “Creating a healthy and positive food environment has to come from the policy level, not the individual level.” @ConfessionsRD
  • “Good point re: menu labelling – may cause people to choose lower cal options regardless of their quality @Dmozaffarian” ‏by @chelseaallenrd
  • “Cilantro haters is not your fault! Blame the Soapy taste on your genes!” @elsohemy by @LuciaWeilerRD
  • “ Chefs make nutrition recos come to life! Dietitian says pick your fave veg oil!” by @LuciaWeilerRD