Category: Courses & training

Free Exclusive Webinar – News in Nutrition Labelling!

N4NN Diabetes Canada Webinar flyerEleven 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 webinar on nutrition labelling. Many professionals joined us on Oct 11, 2017 and were 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

The webinar will be recorded and available to registrants. Contact us for more information and availability.

n4nn logo jpeg    

 

Dietary tips for people with type 2 diabetes

one in three live with diabetes Feb 2017

Diabetes and PRE Diabetes affect many people. If you have diabetes or PRE-diabetes you know that managing the condition is key to your health and wellness. This however can be overwhelming and some people aren’t sure where to start or how to get back on track. The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with appropriate lifestyle changes. [1]

Food is a key component in managing diabetes so having a dietitian as part of your care team will help you achieve your health goals. [2]  There is not a simple ‘one-diet-fits’ all approach. A dietitian is a credible trusted nutrition expert who works with you to meet your individual goals. Here are 5 tips to help you manage diabetes.

  1. Focus on small gradual dietary changes that you can stick with.
  2. Keep portion sizes in check. Consider the plate method – making half your plate veggies.
  3. Understand carbohydrates – it’s not just sugars, but starch also breaks down to sugars!
  4. Monitory your blood sugar levels.
  5. Trust a Registered Dietitian with your nutritional health.  You can DO IT, ask for help when you need it.

[1] Today’s Dietitian (2017)
[2] Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month (2017)

Say no to food fads this #NutritionMonth *

nutrition month 2017 knocked out by info combo 2

Did you know that one in two Canadians get their food and nutrition information from the internet, social media and blogs?  Let’s face it. Not everything we read online is true. And while many of us know that, it’s still easy to be taken in by popular ideas we see online or hear from friends. How can we really separate food fact from fiction?

Misinformation affects many of Canadians, but there is a way to spot your problem and seek reliable facts to solve it. So if you’re wondering how to make sense of the nutrition advice you read online and want nutrition facts you can trust,  I’m going to walk you through an example of a three-step problem-solving approach that was developed for Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month 2017 campaign Take the Fight out of Food, which works quite well for nutritional concerns.

#1 Spot the problem: There is so much nutrition information online and you are not sure how to tell if something is a fad!

#2 Get the facts: You know that some websites are more reliable than others.  For example, a resource on the Dietitians of Canada website that can help you determine if facts you read online are accurate. You may read websites and absorb information, but not all of it may be true.  Be more critical and ask yourself these questions when reading a website:

  • Is the website promising a quick fix or a miracle cure?
  • Do I have reasons to mistrust the person, organization or company that runs the website?
  • Are they trying to sell me something instead of educating me?
  • Are the website writers unqualified to be giving me nutrition information?
  • Do they have facts that sound too good to be true?
  • Does the information come from personal opinions rather than scientific evidence?
  • Is the content missing reviews or verification by medical experts?
  • Are the website claims based on a single study that may draw the wrong conclusion?

Now if you know that if you answers “yes” to even some of these questions, the website may not be reliable.

#3 Seek support: You should not trust everyone who has an opinion about food and nutrition. Instead,  look for sites that aren’t trying to sell you something and that rely on science rather than opinions. Check the credentials of the writers, and look for sites written by regulated health professionals whose work is reviewed by other experts.

Don’t get knocked out by information overload! Find a dietitian at www.dietitians.ca/find for advice. You can also browse this website and here is a list of other sites which are filled with reliable information: 

www.dietitians.ca
www.eatrightontario.ca
www.healthlinkbc.ca
www.healthycanadians.gc.ca
www.dietitians.ca/Media/Member-Blogs.aspx

Do you have a food fight that you struggle with? Try the three-step approach to Take the Fight out of Food and make your commitment official at www.nutritionmonth2017.ca.

*Blog based on Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month 2017 resource. #NutritionMonth

Is Your Workplace a 4STAR Eating Environment?

4StarFoodEnv_FacebookIconSquare (1)

According to a poll by Ipsos Reid, 45% of Canadians say that eating healthy meals and snacks while at work is challenging. A new healthy eating program called 4STAR offers a free tool kit to help improve food and nutrition choices in the workplace.

The 4STAR program aims to improve employee health and productivity, reduce costs and absenteeism associated with diet-related illness, and improve overall organizational performance. The concept and resources of the 4STAR program were led by Dr. Norm Campbell, who is Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control Initiative, funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada in partnership with the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health.

4STAR is built on the S-T-A-R principles which stand for:
– Staff-led policies – staff engagement and leadership is critical for the success of any workplace program
– Targeted, realistic improvements over time – with the aim to ensure that healthier food is available at the workplace for the long term
– Accessibility of healthy foods and beverages options – improved access to fresh fruits and veggies and reduced reliance on processed foods
– Reinforcement through promotional activities, communications and training – to help employees support and embrace the changes in the food environment

A workplace healthy eating program is a process, not an occurrence. Some of the known challenges of implementing such a program include inconsistent definitions of “healthy food”, large portions sizes and the fact that a positive food environment must be supported with employee education for successful behaviour change.

Not only does a healthy eating program improve employee health and productivity, but it also makes dollars and sense. As part of a workplace wellness program, a healthy eating program can save businesses up to four dollars for every one dollar invested.

Here’s what you can do to create a healthy food environment in your workplace:
– Start by taking the 4STAR quiz about healthy eating in your workplace
– Check out the resources from the 4STAR tool kit
Contact us! Dietitian-led workplace wellness initiatives have been shown to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 60%, lower heart disease risk by lowering blood pressure, and improve healthy eating behaviours like increasing vegetable, fruit and fibre intake. With our experience in workplace wellness programs and healthy eating campaigns, we can help you at all stages from program planning to implementation and evaluation. Our team building workshops and seminars will complement your workplace policies to improve the health and well-being of your employees.

 

2017 Top food and nutrition trends

2017’s top 10 fowhat's hotod and nutrition trends signal big changes for the year ahead and include a renewed focus on quality and enjoyment of food, sustainability, clean eating and influential new regulations. Read on for more of our expert advice on trends that will impact consumer food choices. Let us know what you think…

1. Clean Eating
Consumers demand to know exactly what is in their food and where it comes from so they can make informed choices that are in line with their values. For mindful decisions, the ingredient list, the food source and recipe composition are all becoming more significant factors.

2. Kids & Youth
Health Canada identified promoting the importance of healthy eating in children and youth a priority. Look for more resources, reports and dietary guidance to help establish healthy eating habits at an early age.

3. Enjoy food in the company of others
Food is a powerful way to connect with people which has benefits well beyond nutrition. We’ll see focus on bringing back the pleasure of everyday shared meals, cooking and conversation.

4. Sustainability
Taking care of the planet is a priority with a strong millennial focus. Look for ways to eliminate food waste, use up less than perfect looking fruit/veg, eat food before it spoils, package in compostable or biodegradable materials.

5. Protein Power
Protein continues to be a nutrient of great interest at every meal occasion, especially breakfast. Expect increased attention to plant based protein sources in healthy recipes such as tofu, nuts, seeds, pulses (dried beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas).

6. Food Security
Let’s recognize the importance of equitable access to affordable, wholesome, healthy foods and drinks for all Canadians. Supporting best health through good nutrition for everyone is driving a variety of new efforts.

7. Veggie Believers
Growth of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused foods are fueled by consumers looking for ways to boost their veggie intake at home and while eating out. Find more ways to make half your plate veggies.

8. Digestive Health – Feed Your Fiber Famished Gut!
Keeping your gut healthy involves eating probiotics that feed the friendly bacteria that live in your intestine. Canadians get less than half of the daily recommended amount of fibre, so look for more tips on boosting fibre intake, specifically probiotic type fibres for digestive health. More information is available on probiotic fibres at http://bit.ly/2jPasvW 

9. New Food Labels and Claims
Health Canada through a commitment to transparency and ongoing regulatory modernization is revamping the packaged food label and Canada’s Food Guide. Calories, sugars, fat are focus on packaged foods and calories are required on restaurant chain menus. Check CFIA guidelines for any statements that may be made about the nutritional value of foods or menu items to help you avoid any violations.

10. Dietitians are Most Trusted Experts in Food & Nutrition
Many Canadians get their food and nutrition information from the ‘Wild Wild Web” of the internet which has so much misinformation. Instead, look to dietitians, the most trusted experts in food and nutrition. We do the hard work of studying the evidence, reviewing the research and translating the science to credible recommendations that you can use.

Let’s start a conversation! Join me at  our 10th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists Course  on April 26th 2017 University of Toronto

Prebiotics – Feed your fibre famished gut

gut health 2017

Canadians are fibre famished! On average we get only HALF of the recommended 25 to 38 grams of fibre per day. Most people could benefit from increasing their fiber intake, and to help maintain gut health focus on including foods that contain fibres that are also prebiotics.

What is a prebiotic? 

Prebiotics are a type of food, mostly fibre that is beneficial for our good gut bacteria. Prebiotics provide fuel for good bacteria which live in our gut to support health.

NOT ALL fibres are pre-biotic!  Probiotics are ingredients that naturally contain food for healthy gut bacteria.  To be classified as a prebiotic, the fibre must[1]:

  1. ESCAPE digestion (pass through the stomach undigested) and
  2. Be able to be FERMENTED by the bacteria in the gut
  3. Stimulate the growth and/or activity of certain ‘good’ bacteria in the large intestine.

Which foods are naturally high in prebiotics?

Dietary fibre classified as having high prebiotic effects includes inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (fructans , FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS).  See below for examples of foods that are naturally high in prebiotics.

 

Examples of foods that are naturally high in prebiotics[2]
Vegetables: Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, garlic, onion, leek, shallots, spring onion, asparagus, beetroot, fennel bulb, green peas, snow peas, sweetcorn, savoy cabbage
Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans
Fruit: Custard apples, nectarines, white peaches, persimmon, tamarillo, watermelon, rambutan, grapefruit, pomegranate.  Dried fruit (eg. dates, figs)
Bread/cereals/snacks: Barley, rye bread, rye crackers, pasta, gnocchi, couscous, wheat bran, wheat bread, oats
Nuts and seeds: Cashews, pistachio nuts

 

[1] Krause 2017 & MedMonash.Edu

[2] MedMonash.Edu

Be Good to Your Gut

gut-health-n4nn-2016-jpgJoin us at the Microbiota Summit on Nov 7th!
RD Lucia Weiler teams up with Chef Eric Deletroz to dish out healthy advice, one bite at a time!

Two out of three Canadians experience digestive health problems every year.  For some people it’s just uncomfortable for a while, but for others it’s a chronic, painful or even life threatening condition. Researchers are looking at ways to keep your gut healthy and are discovering the significant impact of microorganisms that call your gut home.

Did know your body is home to trillions of microorganisms? The human gut in fact has its own microorganism colonies made up of mainly bacteria that are living and working in your body to help keep you healthy. Gut microorganisms are an exciting leading area of research and we are seeing the emergence of a movement on how gut microorganisms impact lifelong health.

On Monday Nov 7th, 2017, the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation (CDHF) is hosting a special education summit on gut health in Toronto for professionals and consumers. Registered Dietitian Lucia Weiler will be teaming up with Chef Eric Deletroz at the event to showcase healthy eating and cooking tips to improve your gut health. Our session will help you discover what to eat for digestive health & how to feed the microorganism world within you. Join us to learn more!

To register for the Microbiota Summit:

  1. Health Care Professional Session: Discover the World Within – Understanding how the Human Microbiota Impacts lifelong health.12:30-5:30 pm in Toronto. Design Exchange, Toronto, Ontario.http://cdhf.ca/en/events/microbiota-summit-for-health-care-professionals
  2.  Consumer directed education session “Healthy Gut Summit’ is also available to help Canadians attain – and maintain — a happy, healthy gut. The session is FREE, but registration is required.http://cdhf.ca/en/events/healthy-gut-summit  Mon. Nov 7. 2016 | 7 – 9pm | Design Exchange Centre | Toronto, Ontario

October is Workplace Wellness Month!

workplace-wellnessIf you find it hard to eat well at work, you’re not alone. Research from an Ipsos Reid poll conducted for Dietitians of Canada finds that 45% of Canadians say that eating healthy meals and snacks while at work is challenging.  As Registered Dietitians and nutrition experts, we know first hand the many benefits of eating well at work:

  • gives you energy to be stay focused and meet your deadlines
  • boosts your concentration and productivity
  • protects you from chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and even dental disease.

Here’s what you can do to improve your eating habits at work:

  1. Load up of vegetables and fruit. Pack your own fruit and veggie snacks so you’re not tempted by a vending machine or cafeteria.
  2. Bring healthy snacks for meetings. Instead of donuts and muffins, offer vegetables and fruit more often and have some whole grain products available.
  3. Bring your own lunch to work instead of eating at the fast food court.  Packing your lunch is both a healthy and saves you money. Also, chances are, the portion sizes you pack are more reasonable!
  4. Satisfy your thirst with water. At meetings serve plain water in pitchers. For flavour boost add lemon, lime or cucumbers. Keep a water bottle on your desk.
  5. Choose to be active. Have a walking meeting around the block or have an activity break instead of a coffee break. Active living is not only healthy but also stimulates creativity!

Keep it going! Workplace wellness and nutrition programs are an investment in your employees’ health and well-being! 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!

Let us know if you’d like some help with adding some punch to your lunch!

Sports Nutrition – top tips for athletes

sports 5 best squareThe 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 read on for tips that could help your performance be 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 furhter.
  • 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

What’s the REAL healthy Mediterranean-style diet?

eggplant 1May was International Mediterranean Diet Month and the perfect time to explore the secrets of a diet-lifestyle that is connected to many health benefits including increased quality of life and lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. In search of inspiration I traveled to Italy as Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist faculty with 30 HUMBER College students, 2 chefs to teach and learn about the healthy Mediterranean diet. For 2 weeks we visited farms, cooking schools and restaurants to explore culinary tips. (You can see our journey on twitter and facebook LuciaWeilerRD #HRTItaly2016)

I was surprised to learn how many people were mixed up about what is the REAL healthy Mediterranean-style diet. Fix the mix-up with my 6-point checklist.

Tasty Italian food such as pizza, pasta (which we love to enjoy from time to time as well) is not the real pattern of a healthy Mediterranean-style diet. The healthy Mediterranean diet is the traditional eating pattern of those who live along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a culturally diverse region with over 20 countries including Italy, Greece, Spain, France, and North African countries. This classic Mediterranean-style of eating was one of the three approaches for healthy eating recommended by the latest USDA Dietary Guidelines. Here is our 6-point checklist to recognize a Healthy Mediterranean-style diet that is based on nutrient dense, quality food.

  1. Plant based, using vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes.
  2. Olive oil (which is high in monounsaturated fat) is a key ingredient
  3. Moderate fish / meat consumption
  4. Flavour boost from lemon, garlic, herbs, cheese, yogurt
  5. Wine with meals in low to moderate amounts
  6. Food and meals are enjoyed in the company of family, friends or community

Interested in learning more about the Mediterranean-style diet? Contact me for tips from our culinary travels and recipe collections. For starters try this “Memories of Italy” healthy snack: sliced pears topped with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese chunks and walnuts, drizzled with aged traditional balsamic vinegar (not the popular store variety). walnut cheese balsamic vinegar drizzle