Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quinoa Breakfast

I searched old blog posts for this recipe yesterday, but it seems that I haven't shared it with you yet!  I enjoy it every once in a while to mix up my morning routine.  I cook the quinoa according to the directions, but I tend to add whatever fruit and nuts I have around.  This morning I added about 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds and 5 or 6 pecan halves.  Feel free to get creative with it!


Cold Quinoa Salad

4 Servings

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup quinoa, (dry measure), well rinsed and drained
1 large   apple, diced
60 ml cranberry, dried, sweetened, optional
4 tbsp chopped walnuts
2 cups yogurt, fruit or vanilla, fat-free or low-fat

Place water, apple juice, cinnamon and rinsed quinoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed, approximately 15 minutes.

Cool, transfer quinoa to a large mixing bowl and refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour.

Add apples, dried cranberries and walnuts to quinoa. Mix well. Fold in yogurt. Serve immediately.

Steph Wheler, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Warm Drink on a Chilly Day

It's time for another Q's Day post! 

I know we've been lucky in Saskatoon and the weather has been quite mild for November.  However, I still find that there's a chill in the air.  My neck feels cold without a scarf and my hands seek out the warmth of gloves or mitts.  Whether or not you are experiencing that, I thought of today's question when I walked my dog this morning. 

Today I would like to know what warm drink you enjoy in the cold months of the year?

I typically go for green tea, but I find that in the winter I like something creamier, so I'll make chai or earl grey tea and add skim milk...mmmm.

Remember, on Q's Day you can post any questions, comments, answers, recipes, links, etc. that you want to share with the Nutrishus community!

Stay warm!
Steph Wheler, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Monday, November 28, 2011

More on Additives & Preservatives

I feel like our conversation about additives and preservatives could go on and on.  I will strive to come back to it from time to time, as well as continue to help you make healthy choices (which potentially reduce your intake of additives and preservatives).  It's still up to you to decide what is right for you and what you can do in your home or when you eat at other locations.  A dietitian can provide the information and help you change your behaviours, but you are still making the final decisions!

Coincidentally, EatRightOntario dietitians posted an article on additives and preservatives today.  They provided a brief list of some common food additives and what foods they might be found in.  Basically, the message is to buy as fresh as you can, stick to simple ingredients, and make it a priority to prepare your own meals.

Have a nutrishus week!

Steph Wheler, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Q's Day - Holiday Treats

The Americans are preparing for Thanksgiving and we Canadians are already in the Christmas mood.  I know we have staff parties, family gatherings, and evenings with friends planned.  Around the holiday season there are often lots of different foods and drinks available.  With the holidays in mind, this Qs Day I thought I would ask:

What is your favourite holiday treat?

I enjoy family favourites like short bread, sandwich cookies, ginger snaps, and caramel corn.

Steph Wheler, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Don't forget about our holiday promotion - give the gift of nutrition this year!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wise Comforts

Earlier this week I took part in a twitter chat focused on modifying comfort foods to be healthier.  I received lots of great ideas to use in the kitchen (and likely share with you).  Oddly enough, the next day it snowed and got cold - actually starting to feel like winter here.  I know it made me start thinking about warm foods I wanted to have.  I really wanted hot chocolate yesterday which inspired me to show you a comparison of some warm drinks (I made mine at home in case you were wondering).

Since McDonalds has been strongly advertising their McCafe beverages, I thought I would take a look at them.  Some of you may prefer not to know what you're getting, but I like to be informed.  As always, I am not saying you can never have the higher Calorie, fat, or sugar option, but choose wisely, choose appropriate portions, and consider how frequently you indulge yourself.  Fluid Calories can add up quite quickly without us even noticing.  If you are choosing black coffee or tea and adding your own cream and sugar, remember that a sugar packet is about 15 Calories (from 4-5g of sugar), and a half and half creamer is also about 15 Calories (with 2g of fat).

This chart below shows the Calories, fat (g), and sugar (g) for size medium with skim milk from the McDonalds Nutrition Calculator.  Going with 2% milk add about 40-50 Calories to each drink.

Steph Wheler, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Fat (g)
Sugar (g)
Caramel Cappuccino
Vanilla Cappuccino
Caramel Latte
Deluxe Hot Chocolate
Vanilla Latte

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Picking Packaged Foods

We've been talking lots about grocery shopping, reading labels, processed foods, and additives.  One key to remember is that foods have different levels of processing.  If a food is not in it's whole, natural, raw form it has undergone some form of processing.  Thus, not ALL processed foods are bad for you - think natural nut butter, dried fruit, olive oil, whole wheat bread/pasta/rice, frozen fruits and vegetables, etc.  

Food processing was originally designed to make foods last longer (and in some cases it's still used for that).  Think of pickling, canning, salting, smoking, and pasteurizing for example.  These processes allowed people to eat foods even when they were out of season and kept them from spoiling.  However, it seems that processing continues, but we also have access to food every time we turn around!

In her book Go UnDiet, Gloria Tsang (Registered Dietitian, HealthCastle.com) advises people to UN-LOW.  When foods are labelled as low-fat or low-sugar they often contain other ingredients to simulate those that have been removed; they undergo more processing and become further from the original natural state.  The only "low" claim Gloria says is a positive one is low-sodium (salt). 

Gloria talks about highly processed foods that have had artificial ingredients added and/or have had fibre and nutrients removed.  Her tips to avoid some of the worst offenders include:
  • avoid products with cartoon characters on the box
  • avoid fat-free products
  • read ingredient lists; generally a shorter list is better than a longer list
  • choose fresh over convenient
  • consider if you could make it at home 
These are just a few ideas to help you become more aware of what goes into your house and into your body.  Start with one small step such as comparing the serving size of two similar products (or the sodium content, fibre content...).

Seek out a Dietitian if you need more specific information to help get you started on the road to a healthy future!

Steph Wheler
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Q's Day - Refrigerators

Today is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day in the USA.  I thought I would take this time to provide some food safety tips from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency:

Fridge and Freezer Checklist
Refrigeration slows down most bacterial growth while freezing can stop the growth of most bacteria. (But remember: refrigeration and freezing won't kill bacteria. Only proper cooking will do that!)
  • Don't let bacteria get a foothold! After you shop, immediately put away food that needs to be refrigerated or frozen.
  • Check the temperature of your fridge and freezer. Are they cold enough?
    • Set refrigerators at or below 4°C (40°F). Use a refrigerator thermometer to check the temperature.
    • Keep freezers at or below -18°C (0°F). Use a freezer thermometer to check the temperature.
  • Don't overload your fridge and freezer. Cool air must circulate freely to keep food properly chilled.
  • Clean the refrigerator and freezer regularly.
  • Bacteria can be carried in raw meat juices. Place raw meat, poultry and seafood in containers on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Use containers that are large enough to prevent raw juices from dripping onto or touching other food.
It seems that this holiday occurs to help Americans create room for Thanksgiving food and leftovers that will soon be around.  Since we've already celebrated Thanksgiving in Canada, take this time to look at the leftovers you've had for too long and throw them out.

Health Canada suggests:
  • Eat refrigerated leftovers within 2 to 3 days, or freeze them for later use.
  • Date leftovers to help identify the contents and to ensure they are not stored too long.
  • When in doubt, throw it out!
Since it is Q's Day, I am wondering:
- when was the last time you cleaned out your refrigerator?
- what scary old food did you find?

Steph Wheler, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Monday, November 14, 2011

Food Additives vs Processing Aids

If you are just starting to read food labels, check out other Nutrishus posts about using the % Daily Value and which nutrients to choose a little of and which to choose a lot of.  I'll be sure to keep posting about label reading to help you through the grocery store.

To help you start understand more details about additives and processing, I went to Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and the Canadian Department of Justice. 

The CFIA  Food and Drug Regulations defines a food additive as “any substance the use of which results, or may reasonably be expected to result, in it or its by-products becoming a part of or affecting the characteristics of a food.”  Food additives do not include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, spices, seasonings, agricultural chemicals, and food packaging materials. 

Permitted food additives, their allowable areas of use and maximum levels of use are listed in the Tables of Division 16 of the Food and Drug Regulations on Food Additives from the Canadian Department of Justice.  Food additives are considered to be ingredients in a final pre-packaged product. Added ingredients must be included in the list of ingredients and accompanied by nutrition facts table (with the exception of wax coating compounds and their components that are not required to be shown on the label of a prepackage fresh fruit or fresh vegetable as an ingredient or component thereof (Section B.01.008 (7), Food and Drug Regulations )). Additional information on the labelling requirements for fresh produce and added ingredients can be found in the CFIA Guide to Food Labeling and Advertising

The CFIA is responsible for the administration of food labelling policies related to misrepresentation and fraud in respect to food labelling, packaging and advertising, and the general agri-food and fish labelling provisions respecting grade, quality and composition specified in the Canada Agricultural Products Act (CAPA), the Meat Inspection Act (MIA) and the Fish Inspection Act (FIA). In addition, the CFIA has responsibility for the administration of the food-related provisions of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (CPLA), including basic food label information, net quantity, metrication and bilingual labelling.

So-called “processing aids” do not fit the definition of a food additive (Section B.01.001, Food and Drug Regulations).  This is because they are used early on in food processing, are not intended to be functional in the final food product, and leave no residues.   Because they are not food additives, they are not required to be declared in the List of Ingredients on the label of a pre-packaged food.

So, basically you will see food additives on a food label ingredient list, but you will not see processing aids. 
For some people it may be a matter of trusting government organizations that regulate our food, its labelling, and processing.  I am a fairly trusting person, but I also practice variety, moderation, and balance so that I don't get too much of a good or bad thing!

Come back to find out which packaged foods to avoid.

Steph Wheler, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching