Tag Archives: Healthy eating

Inflammation & Nutrition

Image: Shutterstock. Description: Selection of healthy food reducing chronic inflammation salmon fish avocado seeds nuts leafy green vegetables berries on a white rustic wooden table.

What is inflammation & why does it matter?

Inflammation is a natural and protective response by the body’s immune system to an injury, infection or harmful substances.  Symptoms of inflammation include redness, heat, swelling and pain.

There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Imagine cutting your finger or scraping your knee. What happens? The area turns red, is painful and perhaps starts swelling. This is acute inflammation – your immune system is sending white blood cells to your injured finger or knee to protect it. In this way, inflammation is helpful and essential and speeds up the healing process.

In contrast, chronic inflammation happens when the body continues to respond for a long time as if it was under attack by a foreign or unwanted substance. Chronic inflammation does not help the body because it fights against its own cells by mistake. Some diseases or medical conditions associated with inflammation are rheumatoid arthritis, where many joints throughout the body are permanently inflamed, psoriasis – a chronic skin disease, and inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.  These chronic inflammatory diseases can last for years or even a lifetime. Chronic inflammation also contributes to heart disease, type-2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and some allergic conditions.

What you can do about managing inflammation?

With all the conditions that involve inflammation, no wonder people are interested in food choices to help reduce ongoing harmful chronic inflammation. Overall good nutrition is key to enhancing immunity and providing antioxidants that lower the stress of inflammation. You may be wondering about specific foods that have been called out as part of the ‘anti-inflammatory diet’.   Here are FIVE types of foods to keep on top of your list that may help reduce chronic inflammation:

1.Foods rich in omega- 3 fats

  • Eat oily fish 2 – 3 times / week (salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, trout)
  • Replace regular eggs with omega-3 eggs
  • Choose plant-based sources of omega-3 fats including flax oil, ground flax seeds and walnuts

2.Antioxidant rich vegetables and fruit

  • Look for colour – dark green, red, orange, yellow, purple and blue – they are chock full of antioxidants
  • Enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruit everyday – make them half your plate at each meal

3. Fibre

  • Choose fibre rich foods such as vegetables, fruit, pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils) and whole grains. High fibre foods help support your gut health and nourish the beneficial bacteria that help fight inflammation and disease.

4. Herbs and spices

  • Add flavour with cinnamon, ginger and turmeric which seem to supress inflammation, but evidence is unclear about how often and how much to eat. Have fun exploring some dietitian approved recipes that enhance flavour with these herbs and spices.

5. Protein

  • Eat protein foods to build antibodies which play a role in supporting a healthy immune system. Include fatty fish (see tip #1 above) and lean white meat in your diet. Use cooking methods that do not char meat such as poaching, stewing, and steaming. Try acidic marinades such as lemon, lime vinegar or yogurt for a health and flavour boost. Acid ingredients tenderize meat and studies show that marinating meats may reduce harmful compounds that can form on meat exposed to high cooking temperatures.
  • Choose plant proteins including tofu, tempeh, edamame, beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds.

 Bottom line

There is no single anti-inflammatory or miracle food!  However, eating an overall healthy diet is an important way to help manage inflammation.  In addition,  getting enough sleep , engaging in regular physical activity as well as other lifestyle factors (such as NOT smoking)  have a direct impact on lowering inflammation.

A registered dietitian can break down the anti-inflammatory diet for you into easy-to-follow steps and provide you with a variety of enjoyable ways to eat well.  Contact us to find out more about our personalized nutrition counselling sessions.

 

Stop bodyweight bullying

Today is Pink Shirt Day with a focus on working together and treating others with dignity and respect. As a mom of three I have seen how kids are affected by bullying and how hurtful it is. As a dietitian I continue to see the harm done to kids by body weight comments and related bullying.  Both overweight and underweight children can fall victim of all kinds of bullying. Bodyweight bullying can easily happen even in the home environment.  Calling out a child on their body size or commenting on their food choices could damage a child’s healthy relationship food. The damage done by weight bullying can be more dangerous than the body weight itself.

Parents who are concerned about their child’s weight should consult with accredited health care professionals including a registered dietitian and address the issue with as much empathy as possible.

How can you help your child develop healthy habits?

You can play an important role in helping your child build healthy eating, drinking, physical activity, and sleep habits. Here are 5 tips to get you started:

  • Serve food ‘family style’ and allow children to serve themselves.
  • Put healthy foods in the fridge or on the counter where they are easy to see.
  • Eat family meals together as often as possible. Studies show eating together at least 5-7 times a week improves children’s health and behaviour.
  • Discourage eating in front of the television, computer, or other electronic device and have fewer meals ‘on the run’.
  • Don’t make your child clean his or her plate and don’t offer food or drinks as rewards.

Your child’s weight – helping without harming

Dietitian expert Ellyn Satter is a leader in child nutrition and her book ‘Your child’s weight – helping without harming’ has been a highly valued resource for parents and professionals.

Ellyn emphasizes good parenting with respect to the provision of food, feeding dynamics and physical activity.  The Satter model of “division of responsibility in feeding” is this:

  • Adults are responsible for the what, when and where of feeding
  • Children are responsible for the how much and whether of eating

Do you have questions about good nutrition and healthy eating? Connect with us! We offer expert personalized sessions to help you simplify eating and leverage the benefits of credible nutrition science. As dietitians we love food and look beyond the fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable, life-changing advice.

Contact us directly or complete this Nutrition Counselling Session Registration Form for your individualized nutrition coaching appointments in a virtual format.

 

Dietitian or Nutritionist? What’s the Difference?

There is often a mix-up about the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist.  Many people mistakenly use the terms “Dietitian” and “Nutritionist” interchangeably but there are big differences between the qualifications and the protection of your health. To be sure you are accessing the most qualified nutrition professional, look for the initials RD or PDt (DtP in French) after the health professional’s name or ask – are you a dietitian? Remember EVERY dietitian is also a nutritionist but NOT every nutritionist is a registered dietitian.

Let’s take a closer look at the important differences that can impact your health and wellness.

What is a Dietitian?

  • The title ‘Dietitian’ is protected by provincial laws across Canada just like a nurse, dentist, physician and pharmacist.
  • Dietitians are highly educated and trained. They have a university degree in foods and nutrition. After graduating they undergo comprehensive training, both on the job and in universities and then they have to pass a rigorous professional licensing exam.
  • Dietitians are the only regulated health professionals in the field of nutrition. This means that they must belong to a regulatory body and adhere to their standards, otherwise they will be penalized with legal action.
  • Regulated by a Health Professional College the public is protected and has access to accredited and licensed nutrition advice from Dietitians.
  • Dietitians are held accountable for safe, competent and ethical nutrition services throughout their career.

What is a Nutritionist*?

  • The title ‘Nutritionist’ is NOT protected by law so technically anyone can call themselves a nutritionist.
  • A Nutritionist’s education varies with different levels of training and knowledge. The title nutritionist is often used by those who have completed privately owned training programs that vary in length and rigor.
  • The risk is that unregulated people calling themselves ‘nutritionist’ can offer advice regardless of their education or training which could be dangerous. For example recommending vitamins, minerals herbal products regardless of their knowledge and training in this area could put the public at risk of nutrition misinformation that may result in health-related harm.
  • * In the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Quebec and Nova Scotia the title Nutritionist is also a protected title along with Dietitian.  If you live in these provinces, please refer to your provincial regulations for criteria or send us a question and we’ll be happy to direct you to the source information. Dietitians of Canada – The difference between a dietitian and nutritionist

Why Work with a Dietitian?

We are all hungry for information about nutrition and health, but not all advice out there is credible and evidence-based.  Think about it, you wouldn’t ask a celebrity how to build a safe bridge; you’d ask a professional engineer. You also wouldn’t ask any friend to fill your cavity, you’d ask a dentist. The same thinking should apply for nutrition advice. So dig a little deeper and look for credentials.

If you choose to work with a Dietitian you know they are qualified health professionals who give you life-changing advice for healthy living. Dietitians are passionate about the power of food and help unlock its power for your health and wellness.

Dietitians are the most credible and trusted health professionals who promote health through food and nutrition. You can find out if your nutrition professional is a registered dietitian by checking the College of Dietitians Registry in your province or territory. Many dietitians are also found on the Dietitians of Canada website under ‘find a dietitian’.

As dietitians we are experts at translating the science to help people navigate their food and nutrition related health and wellness journey. Contact us with your questions! We’re ready to help.

Cauliflower lentil curry (or soup)

 

Are you looking to improve your plant based eating? Dietitian’s TIP 👉 Adding lentils is a simple way to boost plant protein. Here is adding a half a cup of red lentils to cauliflower curry. Instead of curry you can just use a veggie broth for a wonderful cauliflower soup. Shout out to me with your plant-based eating question!  I’m ready to support you with our new personalized nutrition coaching program!

Brief video download of cauliflower lentil curry recipe in progress

Recipe cauliflower & red lentils

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp ginger minced
2-3 TBsp curry powder**
1/2 cup red lentils rinsed & drained
5 cups cauliflower chopped
1.5 cups water
1 400ml can coconut milk **
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley chopped

** soup variation
⁃ omit curry powder
⁃ Omit coconut milk & use veggie broth instead

Method:

1. In a large pot heat up olive oil sautée onion and garlic for 5 min
2. Add ginger & curry powder cook for 3 min
3. Add cauliflower, lentils, water & coconut milk. Mix well & cook for 20 min
4. Serve & top w cilantro or parsley & Enjoy.

Five growing trends in food innovation

Our world is facing disruption and uncertainty. Yet in this changed world people seek to nourish their bodies to the best of their ability. Consumers have re-evaluated their food and nutrition priorities and in this post we take a closer look at what this means for your business. We joined virtual global conferences including SIAL 2020 and reviewed top notch research articles to study the future of food innovation.  Here is our translation of the 5 growing trends in food innovation that will impact all food and nutrition professionals for the next 5-10 years to come.

  1. Covid 19 disruption in food purchasing
  2. Clean label
  3. Plant based
  4. Food safety
  5. Well-being and immunity

1 Covid 19 disruption in food purchasing

Consumers are looking for new ways to meet their food needs. Less time spent in grocery stores and restaurants means convenience and personalized shopping is essential.

Digital-age solutions are transforming the way grocery stores, food retailers and restaurants operate. Pandemic-impacted brands must adapt and power through by branching out of traditional platforms to sustain consumer engagement.  Discount chains are offering more food brands and premium brands at better value. Have you seen groceries in dollar stores yet? They are priced as close to a dollar as possible.

The line between retail and restaurants continues to blur.  A completely new restaurant concept dubbed as a ‘dark kitchen’ or ‘virtual kitchen’ is rising. These kitchens sell meals exclusively through delivery – no eating in, seating or serving is involved.  Virtual kitchens cook purely for delivery so the food that is produced there must be transported and enjoyed elsewhere.  Third party delivery and distribution channels enable these food businesses to connect with consumers quickly and effectively.

2 Clean labels

Consumers continue to seek clean labels. Although undefined by regulators, shoppers consider ‘clean label foods’ to have familiar sounding ingredients and made simply using fewer ingredients.  Various claims are also sought after including ‘organic’, ‘free from’ and health-related benefits like reduced sugars. Product innovations across all categories are now sharing messages about minimal processing and fewer chemicals as consumers don’t want to see labels packed with additives to extend shelf life.  Some consumers are also evaluating foods’ environmental impact based on climate change and land / water use.

In our work with clients we collaborate with them to simplify food labels and provide meaningful, legally sound claims that address clean-label project goals.

3 Plant based

Gone are the days when plant based was just an ‘alternative’.  Plant-based foods are successfully crossing over into the mainstream and becoming a regular part of people’s diet.  More and more consumers are looking to limit meat or dairy intake based on deeply held values such as ‘eco-health’ or ethical reasons.

This macro trend is driving innovation for dairy and meat substitutes and fish/shellfish alternatives are expected to follow. The key ingredient of interest in food innovation for plant-based foods and beverages is protein, a trend that continues to remain strong.  Consider the variety and diversity of plant based sources of protein including a larger selection of grains and cereals. Consumers are also expecting great taste and an eating experience that is beyond imitation.

What’s holding your plant-based food innovation back from crossing over to the mainstream? As dietitians and food experts we empower our clients to make plant-based foods an everyday healthy choice.

4 Food safety*

Ensuring high food safety standards is becoming a greater concern as people focus on keeping illnesses at bay.  Although there is no evidence to suggest that food is a likely source of transmission of the Covid19 virus it’s critical that all stakeholders protect food safety, animal health, plant health and market access. Everyone has a role to play to bolster and safeguard food. Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is committed to appropriate oversight of domestic production and imported food products. Agri-food stakeholders, including farmers are providing safe food for consumers and managing the supply chain. Culinary professionals and consumers should continue to follow good hygiene practices during food handling and preparation including:

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Clean and sanitize food preparation surfaces including chopping boards and countertops
  • Clean fruit and vegetables before eating, cutting, cooking and wash them under running water. (Do NOT use soap or detergents or other chemicals on food.)
  • Keep fruits and vegetables separate from raw foods that come from animals such as meat poultry and seafood. Avoid potential cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods
  • Cook meat thoroughly and use a meat thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperatures

More information about food safety is available at our previous post here or consult Health Canada’s website for food safety tips.

* Source: Health Canada, CFIA, CDC

5 Well-being & immunity

Research shows that many consumers have at least one health goal they are looking to reach and are actively seeking healthier foods.  Well-being is a common goal and functional ingredients, like prebiotic fiber and slow-release carbohydrates are setting the stage for wellness foods.  This is good news and we applaud food makers to evaluate and re-formulate as needed to provide healthier food choices and optimise nutrient density.
During the pandemic many consumers are seeking functional ingredients to boost immunity. Good nutrition is essential along the journey towards supporting immunity. There are many articles about how this claim will be growing in the future and we caution food makers in the way they approach immunity. Careful consideration must be given to maintaining the integrity and credibility of the statements as food makers formulate food and drinks to empower consumers’ lives. Contact us for credible and legally sound advice on food labelling and claims.

 

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Work with me! Nutrition Counselling Services – Unlock the power of food for your healthy living.

Do you have questions about good nutrition and healthy eating? Connect with us! We offer expert personalized sessions to help you simplify eating and leverage the benefits of credible nutrition science with professional support. As dietitians we love food and look beyond the fads and gimmicks to support you in your health goals. We unlock the power of food and deliver reliable, life-changing advice.

Click here to submit your interest in nutrition coaching appointments in a virtual format.

We offer gift certificates too – perfect for a friend or family member.  HOLIDAY BONUS OFFER – Purchase any counselling package and receive a 15% discount. Gift certificates available. Must purchase by December 11, 2020.

(NOTE: Registered Dietitian led Nutrition Counselling sessions are covered by many employee and private health insurance plans. Check with your plan provider for details on coverage for the cost of a Registered Dietitian / Nutritionist Services.)

Are you ready for virtual nutrition coaching appointments? We are open and ready to help!

Are you tired of food myths and ready for a positive change? Check out our dietitians’ blogs and recipes on this website to empower your healthy eating.

And, yes HANGRY is a real word. You may have seen hangry people who are ‘bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger’. Kids may also get hangry when they miss a meal.

Do you have questions about good nutrition and healthy eating? Shout out to us! We offer expert personalized sessions to help you simplify eating and keep ‘hangry’ away.

Contact us directly for your individualized nutrition coaching appointments in a virtual format. You can register at this link or Email:  Lucia@WeilerNutrition.com

Follow us on Instagram / Twitter @LuciaWeilerRD   LinkedIn 

 

 

Healthy eating on a budget

We heard from people who find it challenging to eat healthy on a budget. It’s such a great question and many folks, especially students, want to eat well and struggle with where to start.  Some of you may feel that you have no choice but to buy more expensive processed foods because you believe you can’t afford good nutrition.  There are many ways you can stretch your food dollar without sacrificing your health. Here are just FIVE tips to help you get started with making the most of your food dollar and eat well.

  1. Plan your meals
    Planning menus ahead lets you buy just what you need and stay on budget. It’s also a good way to avoid wasted food and help you lower you food costs. Planning reduces the time and stress of unplanned shopping trips and last minute dilemmas ‘what’s for dinner’. Before you go shopping think about what foods you’d like to eat/prepare. Know your food budget and adjust your menus as needed.
  2. Prepare a shopping list.
    Studies show that keeping a running grocery list is a great way to stay on track – it jogs your memory, saves money at the store, saves time too. It also keeps you from buying what you don’t need. Bottom line: Write a list and STICK TO IT.
    During Covid 19 many people prefer a paper list so they don’t have to handle their phones in the grocery store. When you prepare your list organize the items you need by category to match the store layout – for example, produce for veg and fruit, dairy, meat, bakery , frozen and grocery. We created this terrific Be Well Efficient shopping list that you can download from our website to help create your shopping list. Clicking on this link and then the image for your copy of the Be Well! Efficient Grocery Shopping List by L.Weiler RD
  3. Stock up on healthy staples that are on sale.
    Check for grocery store deals. Look for healthy food items on sale – fresh or frozen vegetables, fruit, canned beans, canned fish and meats and poultry. Dried foods are also budget friendly like dried beans, pasta, rice and oatmeal & they keep for a long time. If you like quiona buy it on SALE. Take advantage of local / seasonal produce. The price may be lower depending on where you shop. Fruits and vegetables are frozen at their peak of freshness so they are just as nutritious as fresh. You can easily add frozen or canned veggies to main dishes like casseroles and stews. You can also use frozen fruits in oatmeal, yogurt, baking and smoothies. Great choices include any dark green or orange like edamame (which are soybeans that boost protein content), peas and carrots or dark coloured berries.
  4. Cook once eat twice.
    Plan meals to make more than what you need today and enjoy the leftovers in another meal the next day. Cook extra whole grains like quinoa or barley for dinner and make a salad bowl recipe for lunch. If you eat meat and find lean cuts on sale consider buying a bit extra, roasting it and then incorporate it into another meal later. Look for recipes from Registered Dietitians that give you tips for using leftovers in your next meal.
  5. Store food properly
    Which uneaten food do you throw out most often?  Did you know that the most wasted foods in Canadian households are vegetables (30%), fruit (15%), and leftovers (13%) of total waste. So if you toss vegetables and fruit or leftovers in the trash then you’re like many Canadians. By eating the food you buy and storing it properly you will save money and reduce waste. If you find it challenging to be mindful of food storage here are some tips you could consider:
    • Butternut squash and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of the antioxidant beta carotene. They’ll last for at least two weeks.
    • Leafy greens tend to wilt within a week. So, shop and plan your menu accordingly.
    • Apples spoil 10 times faster in the fruit bowl than in the fridge.
    • Potatoes like a cool, dark spot so they don’t soften and sprout.
    • Keep cooked food in the fridge for 3-4 days and if you can’t eat it, freeze it for later use.

Visit our website for more tips and insights. Follow us on IG! @LuciaWeilerRD @Nutrition4NonNutritionists

5 tips for engaging online meetings

Online get-togethers are the new normal way of working and socializing. You’ve probably become quite savvy with the technology whether it’s for work meetings or connecting with friends. But are you participating in virtual meetings with flare? As a consulting dietitian, teacher and facilitator I also pivoted to going fully online. Our team is creating even better content to inform, educate and engage with people. In addition to leveraging technology we also focus on building the human connections that are so very important at this time. Here are 5 tips to help you build engaging meetings online.

  1. Open with a smile
    Whether you are using video or only audio your smile will carry in your voice. Positivity catches on and no matter what you say your tone is more upbeat and friendly when you say it with a smile.
  2. Start with a welcoming icebreaker activity
    A quick opening activity is a terrific way to strengthen relationships and build goodwill. Give your team members a chance to find connections and discover common ground. Food and nutrition topics naturally lend themselves to positive conversation starters that everyone can relate to.
  3. Use people’s names in conversation
    People pay attention to the sound of their name more than any other word in a conversation. When you use someone’s name it makes them feel valued and important.
  4. Mind the time
    Did you know most people’s attention span is about 20 minutes? With so many obligations to juggle, directing everyone’s focus to the purpose of the meeting encourages participation. Create an agenda to help make the most of your time together and meet the needs of people on the call.
  5. Show appreciation
    Saying thank you is a powerful acknowledgement of another person’s efforts. Being grateful has potential health benefits as well. During these changing times showing support and appreciation is good practice for everyone.

Ask us about how to add flare to your meetings, boost engagement and build stronger teams. We offer lunch and learn sessions and provide professional resources.

Nutrition & Immunity Challenge – Covid19

Your immune system is always on guard against attacks on your body. Attacks could come in many forms including virus, bacteria or even cancer cells. If your immune system trips up, you could become more vulnerable and even ill. In terms of nutrition, there are many nutrients that are involved with the normal functioning of the immune system. The immune system is sophisticated ‘team’ with many ‘players’ involved. The best performance in defending your body happens when all ‘players are present’ and ready to do their job. That is why health experts recommend to promote your own immunity follow an overall healthy eating plan.

With Covid19 there seem to be a lot of questions about nutrition and immunity so here is a closer look at the basics.

  • No diet, supplement will cure or prevent disease. Good hygiene practice and physical distancing remain the best means of avoiding COVID19 infection.
  • Almost all nutrients help the immune system in one way or another; however some nutrient deficiencies may be more harmful to immunity than others. Malnutrition and deficient intakes of many vitamins and minerals are associated with lower disease resistance. Among the nutrients well recognized for their roles in building immunity are Protein, Zinc, Vitamins A, C and E. Below we profile these nutrients of interest that support general immunity but emphasize the bottom line:  Eat a variety of healthy foods each day in order to support immune function.

Protein:

Protein helps build and repair body tissues and forms antibodies. Antibodies are protective proteins produced by the immune system to fight foreign substances in the body.

Eat protein foods at each meal. Recommendations for most adults are to aim for 20-30 grams of protein at every meal. Examples of protein rich foods include fish, shellfish, poultry, lean meat, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), tofu (edamame), eggs, nuts, seeds, greek yogurt and cottage cheese.

Vitamins and Minerals:

All vitamins and minerals promote good health and many protect against infection and diseases. Research suggests that certain vitamins and minerals may have bigger roles in immune health. Examples include Zinc, Vitamins A, C, E. For most people, however, there is no good evidence that taking more of these nutrients than what you can get from a varied healthy diet will improve your immune system. For reference, here is some information about vitamins/minerals of interest for immune health.

    • Zinc:
      A wide variety of foods contain zinc. By far, oysters have more zinc per serving than any other food. More good sources of zinc are lean meats, fish or poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, cereals (fortified) and dairy products
    • Vitamin A:
      Vitamin A is naturally present in many foods and most people get enough Vitamin A from the foods they eat. The most active form is retinol, a fat soluble vitamin found in animal foods such as meat, poultry, fish and dairy products. Beta carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body is found in yellow, orange and dark green vegetables and fruits.
    • Vitamin C:
      Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid is found in fruits and vegetables. Among its many other roles, Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that helps protect cells against damage. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin C by eating a variety of foods including citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit). Red and green peppers and kiwifruit also have a lot of vitamin C as do other fruits and vegetables.
    • Vitamin E:
      Vitamin E is found in many foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant that helps protect the tissues from damage. Rich sources of Vitamin E include vegetable oils (wheat germ, sunflower, safflower), nuts (peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds), seeds (sunflower), fortified cereals.

Watch my one minute VIDEO summary and tips on the immunity challenge here:

Ask us about how to add flare to your meetings, boost engagement and build stronger teams. We offer lunch and learn sessions and provide professional resources.

Sources:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) 2020 Health Information Facts
  • Health Canada (2019) Nutrient Function Claims
  • Duyff Academy of Food and Nutrition (2017) Complete Food & Nutrition Guide
  • Sizer et al (2017) Nutrition Concepts and Controversies