The Truth About Nutrition: How to Tell Fact from Fiction

The Truth About Nutrition: How to Tell Fact from Fiction

In a world bombarded with health trends and “miracle” cures, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of spending huge amounts of money on tests, therapies, and products promising a healthier, happier life.

Some areas that have gained popularity recently are food sensitivity tests, detoxification programs, and supplements for just about every ailment under the sun. Plus, with social media having a prominent place in most of our lives, we’re now subjected to anecdotal therapies touted by social media influencers and celebrities.

Before you empty your wallet, it’s important to understand the truth about nutrition and how to tell fact from fiction. This blog post will review current nutrition trends and provide tips for determining whether these investments are genuinely beneficial or merely a waste of your hard-earned money.

The Truth About Nutrition: It’s Not One-Size-Fits-All

Each person’s body responds differently to food choices, and what benefits one person might not suit another. Factors such as age, gender, cultural background, and specific health conditions all play an important role in shaping nutritional needs. What many wellness trends fail to consider is that every person has unique needs.

 

Food Sensitivity Tests

Food sensitivity tests, often marketed as the key to unlocking hidden health issues, have become increasingly popular in recent years. While many people genuinely suffer from food intolerances or allergies, the reliability of many commercially available tests is questionable. 

One of the most popular food sensitivity tests is IgG testing. However, this test doesn’t actually test for food sensitivity – it just tells you if you’ve eaten a certain food recently. The danger of using IgG testing to diagnose food sensitivities and intolerances is that you may end up being told to avoid a long list of foods that you’re actually not sensitive to.

To learn more about food sensitivity tests, check out my recent blog post about food sensitivity tests and testing for FODMAP intolerance.

 

Instead of relying on these tests, consult with a qualified healthcare professional like a registered dietitian who can help you identify and address which foods are causing your symptoms. 

 

Anecdotal Therapies: The Dangers of Unsubstantiated Claims

In the pursuit of wellness, people often turn to anecdotal therapies – treatments based on personal stories rather than scientific evidence. While some people may experience positive results, it’s important to remember that individual stories are not the same as robust scientific evidence.

 

Paying for treatments that lack a solid research foundation can lead to wasted money and false hope. Before investing time and money into treatments that are only backed by personal stories, try to find information from scientific studies or government websites, which are more credible sources of information. When in doubt, seek guidance from healthcare professionals to ensure a more reliable and informed approach to health.

 

Celebrity Endorsements

In the age of social media, celebrity endorsements can turn almost any product or service into a trend – especially in the health and wellness industry. While it’s natural to be drawn to the lifestyles of the rich and famous, it’s important to approach celebrity-endorsed products with a healthy dose of skepticism.

 

Celebrities often have access to personal trainers, nutritionists, and wellness experts that most people can only dream of. What works for them may not be suitable for the average person. Additionally, celebrity endorsements are often motivated by financial gain rather than genuine belief in how well a product works.

 

Functional Medicine

In the ever-changing healthcare landscape, functional medicine has gained popularity as an alternative approach to traditional medical practices. Functional medicine takes a holistic, whole-body approach to health and well-being. It focuses on treating the root causes of disease and personalizing treatments to each patient.

If you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner, it’s important to ensure they’re properly certified. To find a regulated functional medicine practitioner, use the “find a practitioner” search function on The Institute for Functional Medicine website. This ensures that your practitioner has undergone functional medicine training through education programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). 

 

Detox Programs and Supplements

Detox programs often market themselves as a quick fix to rid the body of accumulated toxins. However, the body has its own natural detoxification processes through the liver and kidneys. In contrast, commercial detox plans lack scientific evidence. Extreme detox diets, such as juice cleanses, fasting, or programs that include laxatives, can lead to nutrient deficiencies, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances.

 

Just as there isn’t a lot of evidence to support detox programs, many supplements on the market lack scientific validation. Some may even contain undisclosed ingredients, inconsistent dosages, or harmful ingredients, posing health risks rather than benefits. Following supplement trends without proper research can lead to wasted money and potential harm.

 

Identifying Nutrition Misinformation

There’s no question about it – identifying nutrition misinformation can be challenging. There is a wealth of information available online, and not all of it is accurate. Here are five tips to help you navigate the maze of nutrition information and help you make informed choices about your health.

 

Check the Source

Look for information from reputable sources such as government health agencies, academic institutions, and registered dietitians. Be cautious of information from personal blogs, social media influencers, or websites that are trying to sell you something. Peer-reviewed journals and established health organizations are generally more reliable.

 

Evaluate the Evidence

Examine the quality and quantity of evidence that supports the nutrition claim. Anecdotes (personal stories) or single studies may not provide enough evidence to support a claim. Scientific consensus is often built on multiple well-designed studies over time. Be wary of sensationalized claims not supported by a large body of evidence.

 

Beware of Red Flags

Be skeptical of extreme or miraculous claims, especially those promising quick fixes or magical solutions. Watch out for phrases such as “miracle cure,” “guaranteed results,” or “secret ingredient.” Additionally, be cautious of information that relies heavily on personal testimonials rather than scientific evidence.

 

Consider the Context

Nutrition is incredibly complex, and it’s rare to find a one-size-fits-all solution. Be cautious of advice that oversimplifies nutrition or demonizes entire food groups. Individual dietary needs can vary based on factors such as age, health status, and lifestyle. A balanced and varied diet is generally more sustainable and beneficial than extreme or restrictive approaches.

 

Consult Multiple Sources

Cross-reference information from different reliable sources to ensure consistency and accuracy. If a nutrition claim is legitimate, it should be supported by multiple reputable sources. Be wary if the information is only found on one website or if it contradicts widely accepted scientific knowledge.

The truth about nutrition infographic

Final Thoughts

The truth about nutrition is that there is no one-size-fits-all, “perfect” solution. Everyone’s needs are unique, and it’s important to seek out treatments that take your individual health challenges into account.

 

Remember that nutrition science constantly evolves, and recommendations may change based on new research. Stay informed by regularly checking updates from reputable sources to ensure that your understanding of nutrition is based on the most current evidence. If in doubt, speaking with a registered dietitian or other healthcare professional can provide personalized guidance tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

 

If you’re struggling with health issues and aren’t sure what treatment is best for you, a registered dietitian can help. Click here to book a free 15-minute call with Keren to discuss your concerns and determine whether you’re a good fit to work together.

Fonio: An Ancient Grain and Nutrient Powerhouse

Fonio: An Ancient Grain and Nutrient Powerhouse

If you’re on a gluten-free diet, you might experience feelings of isolation, restriction, or confusion as you’re constantly checking food labels and memorizing which ingredients to avoid. As wheat is off-limits on a gluten-free diet, finding a suitable replacement becomes crucial. Quinoa, one of the most popular gluten-free grains, is commonly found in gluten-free products. 

But what if you dislike quinoa?

During a recent conversation with a client regarding plant-based, gluten-free options, she confessed her distaste for quinoa. Despite feeling obligated to enjoy it, she couldn’t stand the taste. Since she missed eating couscous on her gluten-free diet, I, being naturally curious, looked for new and healthy alternatives. My search criteria were straightforward: the foods must be minimally processed, nutritious, and as close to their natural form as possible. 

 

Grains Around the World

Did you know that there are over 50,000 known edible plants in the world? Corn, wheat, and rice make up more than two-thirds of the world’s supply of plant-sourced foods. According to Healthline, nine popular naturally gluten-free grains are sorghum, quinoa, millet, oats, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, corn, and brown rice.  Check out which ones are the best in my blog 6 Best Gluten Free Grains.

 

During my quest for substitutes for quinoa, I stumbled upon fonio, which was unfamiliar to me until then. Fonio has been a fundamental food source in West Africa for over 5000 years. Fonio, a naturally gluten0free grain from the millet family, is commonly known as “hungry rice,” or “acha” by Ghanians, and “po tolo” by the Dogons of Mali.

 

Fonio (Digitaria exilis and Digitaria iburua) is thought to be the oldest African cereal. For thousands of years, West Africans have cultivated it across the dry savannas. It looks like sand, has a mild nutty flavour and is finer than couscous.

 

Nutritional Advantages of Fonio

FonioQuinoaCouscousCream of WheatWhite RiceBrown rice
Size1/4 cup dry1/4 cup dry1/4 cup dry1/4 cup dry1/4 cup dry1/4 cup dry
Grams464543424650
Calorie160160163157171190
Fat (g)030102
Carbohydrate (g)373133323839
Fibre (g)132212
Protein (g)366434
Iron (mg)1.121.80.4712.130.740.72
Gluten-freeYesYesNoNoYesYes

 

These grains have comparable nutritional profiles, which makes them great replacements for wheat-based grains. Couscous and Cream of Wheat, both wheat-derived, are unsuitable for gluten-free diets, making fonio a desirable alternative.

Fonio is naturally gluten-free, with zero fat and a rich source of fibre, protein, iron, and zinc. Depending on how it’s prepared, fonio can be an excellents substitute for couscous or Cream of Wheat.

Furthermore, fonio’s amino acid content is noteworthy. Amino acids are the fundamental building blocks of protein. While most plant-based grains are deemed “incomplete proteins” due to lacking several amino acids, fonio contains eight of the nine essential amino acids. The only amino acid missing in fonio is lysine, which is abundant in other plant-based foods, including lentils, soy, black beans, peas, pumpkin seed, and tempeh. Combining fonio with lysine-rich foods elevates the protein quality of a fonio meal, resulting in a “complete protein” nutritional profile equivalent to that of an egg.

Fonio is also rich in methionine and cysteine, both crucial amino acids for human health. Additionally, fonio has a lower glycemic index than white rice, making it ideal for individuals with diabetes, as it doesn’t cause as much of a spike in blood sugar levels during digestion.

 

Culinary Uses for Fonio

How to Prepare Fonio

Fonio is very easy to prepare. Depending on the meal or recipe, fonio can be prepared by boiling or steaming. Steaming fonio leads to a couscous texture and is perfect in any grain recipe. It can also be consumed as a breakfast, side, or main recipe. It is delicious as a hot cereal and has a comparable texture to Cream of Wheat porridge. 

To prepare fonio, take two parts liquid (vegetable broth and water both work well) and one part fonio. Bring the liquid to a boil in a pot, then add the fonio. Mix well, cover the pot, and boil on low for five minutes. Then turn the stove off and let the fonio sit covered for an additional ten minutes. Once the ten minutes are up, remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and serve.

 

Where Can I Buy Fonio?

Pierre Thiam is a Senegalese, American restauranteur and former Iron Chef contestant has been working on bringing fonio to the American market. He published the cookbook, Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl that has some traditional fonio recipes. 

Fonio has great potential to help solve food and nutrition security we face, especially in this era of erratic climate change. In Canada, Farafena, a Vancouver company is bringing this nutrient-rich gluten-free alternative to North Americans. 

Farafena is a purpose-driven company that is improving the lives of female farmers and their families in Mali, West Africa. They work with about 1000 women from nine different villages in Mali, paying them directly for the crops they grow. 

Farafena sells fonio as a grain and flour and is available in the natural foods section at Loblaws, making it easily accessible. Check out their recipe page for some ideas on how to incorporate fonio into your meals. 

 

Final Thoughts

If you’re following a gluten-free diet but don’t like quinoa, fonio can be an excellent alternative. With a texture similar to couscous or Cream of Wheat, it’s an excellent addition to any meal.

Eating well with dietary restrictions shouldn’t be difficult or time-consuming. If you’re looking for expert advice on your dietary needs or if you are interested in a plant-based meal plan, check out my coaching or my personalized meal planning services. I also offer a one time, free consultation, for you and I to discuss your nutritional needs and whether or not we’re a good fit to work together.

What is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet, and Do I Need to Follow One?

What is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet, and Do I Need to Follow One?

Recently, I have been receiving many questions about anti-inflammatory diets. Clients have been told by their doctor, naturopath, or nutritionist that following an anti-inflammatory diet will help with their symptoms. Since many people aren’t familiar with what is an anti-inflammatory diet, their first instinct is to turn to Dr. Google.

 

Many people call me after googling their symptoms and the anti-inflammatory diet. When they Google it, they land on many different pages, including the Auto-Immune Protocol Diet (AIP), the Wahl’s Protocol, and the Mediterranean Diet. All of these diets are variations of the anti-inflammatory diet, so it can be confusing to know which one to follow. 

 

Today, we’ll review the basics of what is inflammation, how it affects the body, and whether an anti-inflammatory diet is right for you.

 

What is Inflammation? 

 

Before we dive into anti-inflammatory diets, it’s important to understand what inflammation is. Inflammation is a natural bodily response that is supposed to protect and heal your body. 

 

When your body experiences stress or identifies infections, irritants, or damaged cells, an inflammatory response is activated. The word inflammation comes from the Latin word “inflamme,” meaning “to set on fire.” This word was likely used to define inflammation because it describes the hallmark symptoms of inflammation – redness, swelling, heat, and pain.

 

Inflammation occurs when your body’s tissues are injured (for example, by bacteria, toxins, or trauma). This causes the body to release chemicals that cause blood vessels to leak fluid into the surrounding tissues. This leads to swelling and is useful because it helps prevent the foreign substance from contacting the body tissues further.

 

One of the molecules responsible for signalling and regulating the inflammatory response are reactive oxygen species (ROS) or free radicals. Under normal circumstances, our body naturally balances free radicals (oxidants) with antioxidants (many of which come from the food we eat). When too many free radicals are produced, they can tip the balance and cause damage to healthy cells. 

Acute Inflammation vs. Chronic Inflammation

 Just like stress, your body’s inflammatory response can be acute or chronic.

 

Acute inflammation is short-lived. Physical signs of acute inflammation include redness, heat, swelling, pain, and loss of function. Acute inflammation can help the body to heal injuries and infections and is a useful physiological response.

 

In contrast, chronic inflammation sticks around for a long time. When the inflammatory response lasts for a long time, it can damage the body without any signs or symptoms. Chronic inflammation is often associated with chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and excess body weight. 

 

How to Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Once people learn about what inflammation is, many people ask – does reducing inflammation promote healing? Research studies have shown that improving nutrition and lifestyle can help reduce chronic inflammation and potentially improve symptoms of disease. 

 

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet

In its most basic sense, an anti-inflammatory diet is a diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables. This is important because fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants. Remember, an excess of free radicals or oxidants can result from chronic inflammation and damage your body tissues. Getting enough antioxidants can help counteract the effects of free radicals.  

 

The different versions of the anti-inflammatory diet, such as the Auto-Immune Protocol Diet (AIP), the Wahls Protocol and The Mediterranean diet, vary based on how restrictive they are. For example, the AIP diet, which is based on the idea that certain foods inflame your gut, excludes several foods from the diet, including:

 

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans and legumes
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Nightshade vegetables (like eggplants, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes)
  • Vegetable oils
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Food additives

 

The Wahl’s Protocol has similar restrictions to the AIP. 

 

Given how restrictive diets like the AIP diet and the Wahl’s Protocol are, it’s best to work with a registered dietitian if you’re thinking of following one. However, despite how restrictive some of them are, one thing that all these diets have in common is that they are all based on consuming whole, unprocessed foods. 

  

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is the most widely accepted diet by health care professionals. Research studies have proven its support in promoting health, improving mental wellbeing, and promoting a longer life.  Emerging research is also finding that it might even improving gastrointestinal symptoms in children and adults with irritable bowel syndrome.  Read more about the intersection between the Mediterranean diet and the low FODMAP diet here.

 

The Mediterranean diet includes lots of vegetables, fruits, and legumes. It also includes some fish, small amounts of red meat and poultry, whole grains, tree nuts, and dairy, as well as small amounts of olive oil, tea, cocoa, red wine, herbs, and spices. 

 

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and adverse effects of obesity, even without weight loss. One of the reasons it is thought to be so effective at treating chronic diseases is because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

 

Foods common in the Mediterranean diet contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods. These components include polyphenols, flavonoids, pigments, unsaturated fats (including omega-3s), vitamin E and selenium. High intakes of these compounds have been associated with reduced risk of chronic disease.

 

FUN FACT: Most people get the highest amount of dietary polyphenols from coffee and/or tea (but I don’t recommend a lot of cream and sugar).

 

Who Can the Anti-Inflammatory Diet Help? 

An anti-inflammatory diet can be used alongside other treatments for many conditions that involve chronic inflammation. These conditions include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Psoriasis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Lupus
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Asthma
  • Cardiovascular disease

Experts believe that inflammation plays a role in all the above conditions. Therefore, eating a diet that helps reduce inflammation may be an important component of treating these conditions.

Should I Follow the Anti-Inflammatory Diet or the Mediterranean Diet? 

Inflammation can be healthy when fighting an infection or healing a wound, but chronic inflammation is associated with many serious, chronic health conditions.

  

The good news is that there are several nutritional factors you can improve that may help reduce inflammation. Overall, you likely don’t need to follow a diet as restrictive as the AIP diet or the Wahl’s protocol. Instead, try to follow the principles of the Mediterranean diet like eating a wide variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fats from fish like salmon, olive oil, whole grains, and nuts and seeds.

 

Final Thoughts

If integrating the Anti-Inflammatory Diet or The Mediterranean Diet is something you would like to know more about, let’s chat. For a quick anti-inflammatory meal plan, try out the free 3-day trial of my anti-inflammatory meal plans that are gluten-free, light on grains, light on dairy, and light on beans with a focus on high-quality fats. 

 

For a custom menu and coaching, I encourage you to book a free 15-minute consultation. I work with individuals, couples, and families looking for ways to integrate healthy and nutritional balanced meals into their lives. During our discussion, you can ask questions and discuss whether nutritional coaching or a meal plan is right for you. Book a time that works for your schedule by clicking here.

Personalized Nutrition: What foods are right for you?

Personalized Nutrition: What foods are right for you?

Do you ever wonder about what foods are right for you? Many of my clients come to me wondering this very thing.

 

My client Sandra found me online while searching for help with personalized meal planning. She had seen many different doctors and nutritionists and tried various diets and supplements over the years. However, she still felt tired and lethargic. The latest zero-sugar diet recommended to her was not working, and she was confused about what and when to eat.

 

Sandra’s nutritional history and story are similar to many of the clients I meet. Her fixation on “healthy eating” can be described as orthorexia. Orthorexia is a form of disordered eating and is defined as an obsession with “proper” eating.

 

Sandra came to me so fixated on “healthy eating” and finding what foods were best for her that her health and well-being suffered.

 

For many people, a fixation on “healthy eating” can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. But is finding out the specific foods that are best for us really as important as we think it is?

 

Today, we’ll explore the concept of personalized nutrition and review whether it’s necessary for our best health.

 

What is Personalized Nutrition?

As a Registered Dietitian, I combine your nutritional and medical history, relationship with food, and how you feel when you eat certain foods to create a personalized nutrition plan. It is a plan that is tailor-made for you!

 

Personalized nutrition plans can get even more specific by combining scientific research with information about your diet, medical health, genetic code, genetic code expression (epigenetics), blood biochemistry, reactions to the foods you eat, and analysis of your gut microbiota.

 

David Bosshart, keynote speaker at the 2018 Global Wellness Summit (GWS), states, “we are confused about what we eat, where we eat, and when to eat it. We define ourselves by what we eat, but even more so by what we don’t eat. Food may have moved to the center of our lives, but we are overwhelmed by our choices.”

  

According to the GWS, personalized nutrition combines medical science, technology, information, and artificial intelligence to develop a personalized nutrition prescription plan for our unique body.

 

This personalization isn’t so far off from what we already experience in our day-to-day lives. Netflix knows what shows we watch, how long and when we watch them.  Based on our watching patterns, Netflix suggests shows to us.

 

Similarly, Amazon tracks our purchase history and suggests similar items. Personalization saves us time and energy in searching for what we want.

 

Personalized nutrition asks, “what foods are right for me?”

 

But which tests are scientifically proven, and which are just gimmicks to sell people like Sandra more products that contribute to her treadmill of diets, fear, confusion, and orthorexia?

 

Should you get a hair analysis, live blood analysis, food sensitivity tests, genetic test, saliva test, or a gut microbiome tests? Each of these tests are accessible to us without seeing a medical doctor, but does that mean we should use them?

 

Three Popular Personalized Nutrition Tests

Nutrigenomics

Nutrigenomics is the scientific study of how a person’s genes interact with the nutrients consumed. Variations in your genes predict how your body may respond to certain nutrients. Nutrigenomics is especially focused on the prevention or treatment of different diseases.

 

How does it work?

 

First, you submit your genetic code (DNA), usually in the form of saliva or a cheek swab, to a genetics lab, such as Nutrigenomix or Biogeniq, for analysis. These companies then analyze your DNA compared to research studies in the field of nutrigenomics.

 

Once your genetic profile is analyzed and compared to the current research studies, you receive a personalized, detailed report that provides information about your health. Some examples of the information it provides you include how likely you are to gain weight, your likelihood of developing high blood pressure or high cholesterol, your caffeine tolerance, lactose intolerance, and gluten sensitivity.

 

What does this mean for you?

 

Well, this information allows you to tailor your diet to match your specific nutritional needs.

 

For example, the report may suggest that you have a gene that could lead to developing high cholesterol levels. A dietitian can help you choose a diet that can help regulate your cholesterol levels so that you can avoid having them become too high.

 

The analysis will also give you an indication of your genetic risk for lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity. However, it is important to note that these tests are not diagnostic tests and cannot tell you if you have a specific disease such as Celiac disease.

 

Finally, it’s important to remember that our genetic tendencies toward certain diseases are not guaranteed. While nutrigenomics allows us to target certain aspects of our diet, it doesn’t eliminate the need for trial-and-error regarding diet and exercise.

 

Epigenetics and Nutrition

Epigenetics is another emerging area of science. It looks at gene expression and genetic information. Gene expression is the process by which the instructions in our DNA are used to create a functional product (such as a protein).

 

Epigenetics is the study of changes in cells that are caused by modification of gene expression. In other words, your genetic code does not change, but there are changes in the sequence and the expression of those genes in your body. Epigenetics examines why some genes are expressed (turned on) and some are not.

 

New research shows that diet can influence which genes are turned on and off. While this is an emerging area of study, it’s exciting to think that what we eat could potentially affect which genes are expressed. 

 

For more information, watch this excellent Ted Education video that explains what epigenetics is all about.  

 

Gut Microbiota Analysis 

Another exciting area of emerging research is the analysis of the unique bacteria and viruses living in your intestines. These gut microbes are essential for digesting food and processing energy and nutrients.  

 

Like with nutrigenomics, you supply a sample to a company like Viome or DayTwo. These companies have extensive databases of research studies and information. They analyze your unique microbes and run them against their database to provide you with information on how to improve your gut microbiota to reduce your risks of different diseases. 

 

What Does This All Mean?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is where science and technology intersect to make personalized nutrition recommendations.

 

AI is a computer science term that means that the combination of human data (your DNA or gut microbiota sample) and a machine (computer) database are used to make human predictions.

 

Before these large computer databases were developed, your doctor or healthcare provider provided personalized recommendations based on their training and research they had reviewed.

 

Now, with the creation of databases that can pull information together from unlimited sources, it is believed that AI can make better predictions than humans.

 

Do I Need This Information?

Technology is fast-moving, and access to information is literally at our fingertips. So, how do you navigate this fast-changing science, technology, and abundance of information?

 

Ask yourself these five important questions before you send your sample away:

 

  1. Why do I need this information?
  2. Will it improve my daily life and my health?
  3. What will I do with this information?
  4. Will this information empower me or confuse me?
  5. Am I committed to taking action on the results?

 

Does Personalized Nutrition Work?

My experience is that personalized meal and menu plans work, whether they are based on what you share with me or a scientific test.

 

When I work one-on-one with clients, they experience an overall improvement in their nutritional health because we focus on their unique needs and history with food.

 

When clients decide to go further with scientific tests, I can help them understand the personalized nutrition reports. Using personalized nutrition reports from companies like Nutrigenomix, I provide individualized nutrition meal plans and recommendations specific to my client’s needs. 

 

Do I Need a Registered Dietitian to Help Me Understand Personalized Nutrition Reports?

Yes and No. Science and technology are moving fast, information is increasing, algorithms are improving, and the science around AI is booming. But technology cannot give you the personalized relationship that you get from working with a Registered Dietitian.

 

You have a story, history, and narrative. Your life is not black and white! Working with a Registered Dietitian provides you with unique, individualized guidance.

 

If you do opt for tech-based health assistance, use the scientific and technology-based information responsibly. This means not leaving your nutrition up to supplements and food marketing and remembering that taking the emotion out of eating can lead to isolation and confusion.

  

Where Do I Go from Here? 

Interested in a personalized nutrition plan? Schedule a free consultation with me to discuss your specific nutritional needs and determine if personalized nutrition is what you need to make the right choices for your health. 

What is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet, and Do I Need to Follow One?

Anti-inflammatory diet, can it help me with inflammation?

Lately, I have been receiving calls with questions about Anti-inflammatory diets. Clients have been told by their Doctor, Nutritionist or Registered Dietitian that following an Anti-inflammatory diet will help with their symptoms. And the natural response to being told to change your diet, is to go to Dr. Google, right?

 

Many people call me after googling their symptoms and an anti-inflammatory diet. They land on many pages and ads for the Anti-inflammatory Paleo (AIP) Diet, The Wahls protocol and The Mediterranean diet, to name a few. And then it gets confusing for them, which is usually the reason for reaching out to me.

 

AIP, The Wahls protocol and The Mediterranean diet are all variations of the Anti-inflammatory diet. But before, I get into explaining to you these diets, let’s go back to high school biochemistry.

 

What is Inflammation? 

 

Inflammation is a natural body response to protect and heal your body. 

When your body experiences stress or identifies infections, irritants, or damaged cells, an inflammatory response is activated. The word inflammation comes from the Latin word “inflammo,” meaning “I set alight, I ignite.”

 

What is the difference between Acute and chronic inflammation? 

 

Just like stress, your body’s inflammation response can be “acute” or “chronic.”

 

Acute inflammation is short-lived. Physical signs of acute inflammation include redness, heat, swelling, pain, and loss of function. Short durations of active inflammation can help the body to heal injuries and infections. 

 

Chronic inflammation sticks around for a long time. It can be silent and have no physical symptoms. When the inflammatory response lasts for a long time, it can damage the body over time, without any signs or symptoms at all. Chronic inflammation is often associated with several health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and excess body weight. 

 

How does inflammation work? 

 

1. Inflammation is a combination of your immune system’s response, blood vessels (arteries and veins) and other molecules called “free radicals” or also referred to as “oxidants.” Molecules are responsible for chemical reactions in the body. 

 

 

Oxidants are highly reactive molecules that help to fight infectious agents, but also help cells to communicate that it needs to heal. Our body naturally balances oxidants and antioxidants (that come from our food). However, with chronic inflammation, too many oxidants are produced in the body, and there are not enough “antioxidants” to counteract the response. Too many oxidants can tip the balance and cause damage to healthy cells.

 

How can you reduce chronic inflammation?  

 

Now that you are aware of your body’s natural response to inflammation, let’s discuss how you can reduce your chronic inflammation. Research studies have shown that improving nutrition and lifestyle can help reducing inflammation. The nutritional improvements include eating a healthy diet, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. 

 

The Anti-inflammatory diet

 

The Anti-inflammatory diet in the basic sense is a diet that includes a lot of vegetables, fruits focusing on antioxidants. Remember, antioxidants are needed to counteract the “oxidants” that created in your body as a result of inflammation. 

 

The different versions of the anti-inflammatory diet such as the Anti-inflammatory Paleo Diet, The Wahls protocol and The Mediterranean diet, have variations in diet restrictions. All these diets have one main thing in common; they are all based on eating whole real foods. 

 

Always remember that a nutritious diet for you will promote health, reduce your risk of many chronic diseases, and help reduce inflammation. All diet plans have restrictions, so it is essential to know which one fits best for your body. 

 

The Mediterranean Diet

 

The Mediterranean diet is the most widely accepted one by health care professionals. Research studies have proven its support in health-promoting, emotional well-being improving, and life-extending properties. 

 

The Mediterranean diet includes lots of vegetables, fruits, legumes; some fish, less red meat, whole grains, tree nuts, and dairy; and small amounts of olive oil, tea, cocoa, red wine, herbs, and spices. It is low in salt and has a low glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how foods affect blood sugar levels. A low glycemic index means that the food in the Meditarean diet does not raise blood sugar very high. 

 

The Mediterranean diet has shown to lower the risk of diabetes and adverse effects of obesity, even without weight loss. One of the reasons why it is thought to be because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

 

Foods common in the Mediterranean diet contain foods that are both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. The components of the food include polyphenols, flavonoids, pigments, unsaturated fats (including omega-3s), vitamin E and selenium. 

 

FUN FACT: Most people get the highest amount of dietary polyphenols from coffee and/or tea (but I don’t recommend a lot of cream and sugar).

 

Should I follow the Anti-inflammatory diet or the Mediterranean Diet? 

 

Inflammation can be healthy if it is fighting an infection or healing a wound, but chronic inflammation is associated with many serious conditions.

 

There are a lot of nutrition issues that can contribute to chronic diseases. There are several ways they can do this; inflammation is just one of them.

 

The good news is that there are are several nutritional factors you can improve. These include eating less sugars and starches, eating more fish, nuts and dietary fibre. Even when we look at individual components in a portion of food, we should keep in mind that it’s the whole diet that creates a positive change. The Anti-inflammatory Diet and the Mediterranean Diet are scientifically proven to help you with inflammation and contribute to a healthy diet. 

 

If integrating the Anti-inflammatory Diet or The Mediterranean Diet is something you would like to know more about, let’s chat. For a quick anti-inflammatory mean plan, try out the free 3-day trial of my anti-inflammatory meal plans that are gluten-free, light on grains, light on dairy, light on beans with focus on high-quality fats. 

 

For a custom menu and coaching, I encourage you to book a free 15-minute consultation. I work with individuals, couples and families who are looking for ways to integrate healthy and nutritional balanced meals into their life. During our discussion, you can ask questions and discuss whether nutritional coaching or a meal plan is right for you. Book a time that works for your schedule by clicking here.

I ate too much sugar this summer

I ate too much sugar this summer

You are just coming back from a fantastic summer holiday. You are dreading back to school or back to work routines. Your clothes are feeling snug. The guilt about letting your food intake go over the summer, is setting in.

 

You find yourself googling your symptoms of being tired, lethargic and feeling fat, in search of a solution to these feelings. You believe that “letting go” over the summer months made you unhealthy because you ate too much sugar summer. Do you need a detox, do you need a diet?

 

You want to feel healthy, energetic and fit into your pre-summer clothes.

 

In your google search, you will undoubtedly find thousands of detox sugar-free diets. I am sure there is a diet for every symptom that you are feeling today. I am confident that you will lose weight on any diet restriction. I am also sure that you will gain back the weight if you ignore your lifestyle.

 

2 options to making a change today:

 

1.    Pick the first fad diet that you come across on google. You will start by restricting foods that may or not be the right choice for your health. You likely will lose weight at the beginning, but feelings of guilt will creep in when you crave or have a bite of the forbidden foods in your diet. Your health may be compromised with following restrictions not tailored to you, and when you stop following the “diet,” you will gain the lost weight back. This choice will keep you on the merry go round of gaining and losing weight, binging and restricting foods, feeling good and feeling terrible about how you look in the mirror. This is the “Free” option in terms of dollars but not in terms of your health.

2.    Adopt a healthy Lifestyle – You can evaluate your lifestyle and routine. You can work with a Registered Dietitian to help you understand the foods that are right and wrong for your individual health. You will lose weight and also make a positive change in your life and relationship with food. This option is not free in dollars but will be long-lasting to your health.

 

Do you need one-to-one help or a group program led by a Registered Dietitian?

 

  1. One-to-one help is for people who have multiple health conditions that require specific dietary restrictions. You have a lot of personal questions about your diet. You want individualized support and a plan that is tailored for your life.Group programs have several advantages beyond the affordability of cost. Group programs are en excellent way to improve your health CAPITAL.

 

  • Community support. A community group for daily accountability, training, and support.
  • Accountability to reach your goals Group Chats – support, accountability, images, share documents
  • Plan (meal plan, recipes, shopping lists, preparation schedule)
  • Intuitive eating. Nutrition recommendations with a focus on whole food nutrition, which will build your confidence in intuitive food choices.
  • Time management Nutritionally planned menus, recipes, grocery lists and preparation guides save you time.
  • Authority on your health. By asking questions that are important to your health, you become confident in your choices for a healthy lifestyle.
  • Lifestyle change – Lose weight by positively changing your relationship with food.

 

The alternative to doing nothing is Isolation, Failure, Poor Eating, Empty fridge, Food Waste, and ultimately continuing to feel unhealthy.

Meal plans need to be dynamic and adaptable. Downloading a meal plan with no support can be confusing. Meal plans supported by professional education from a Registered Dietitian will allow you to learn how to make food selections and dietary choices.

You know how people come home after a long day and stare at the fridge and wonder what is there to eat?
A great meal plan to reduce your anxiety and indecision about what to eat. Meal plans help you spend less time prepping and more time eating healthy with your family and friends. This is what Nancy had to say about our group meal plans.

 

“I have been working with Keren for meal planning services for the past year. Keren listened to my family’s preferences and has helped with providing us with an easy to follow menu plan that we have loved. It is hard to narrow down my favourite benefit of working with Keren – I have enjoyed her recipes and especially trying new things that have become favourites, and I love how easy it is to work with her! As a working parent, I appreciate not having to wonder “what are we going to eat?!” and instead love feeling prepared with healthy options for my family. Thank you, Keren!” -Nancy S.

 

The next LEAP group program starts Friday, September 13th. Register Now to get started on the right track this fall.

Register NOW!

 

Curious about the LEAP group meal plans?

 

Download my FREE 7-day end of summer meal plan to try out this week. This is a sample of the meal plans that I prepare for my group programs.

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