Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wish List

I have heard it many times before - I wish I had the energy to go to the gym like you do, I wish I had the energy to cook meals for my family, etc, etc.......
What people often fail to realize is that the energy often comes from those exact behaviours!  When you work out you feel energized and can enjoy other activities that fill your time.  When you eat healthy, eat out less, and choose convenience items less, you feel better because you're giving your body more of what it needs and less of what it doesn't (fat, sugar, salt).  Stop wishing and start doing - prioritize your health, schedule it into your day if needed!

Heading into the holidays, I often look at how we have conditioned ourselves - we go to a party and the party is about food and drinks.  Let's redefine that party - play games, get active with your group, enjoy a few items, but don't let that be the focus.  It takes time to change habits and adults are often very set in their ways, but do it for your health and the health of others.  We used to build snow forts, play hockey on the street, go skiing etc., but too often people eat, drink, go on the computer/ipad/smart phone and remain inactive.  Set a good example for the younger generation in your life and perhaps create a healthy holiday tradition that they will carry forward.

I will be having a very active holiday season, low intensity, but I'm planning on covering a lot of ground - we're going on a vacation and going to do lots of site seeing.  It makes it easy for me to avoid holiday temptations this year, but you can go out and enjoy the sites wherever you spend your holidays.  Have a photo contest and see who captures winter the best, enjoy the free skating at the Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink, grab a crazy carpet and hit the nearest hill - let your inner child shine through and change how you've come to define the holidays.

Since it's Q's Day - I'd like to know:

How do you stay energized through the busy holiday season?

Happy Tuesday,
Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Host With The Most (Healthy Food!)

Holiday party season is upon us.  Whether you're spending time with family, friends, or co-workers, there is sure to be an abundance of food and drinks.  The holiday season should be a time of happiness and celebration of a great 2012, but it doesn't have to be all about food.

Remember to enjoy the social aspects, get outdoors and enjoy the snow (we do have a lot of it now!) - go skiing, boarding, snow shoeing, sledding, skating, etc.  You can also encourage others in their health goals by giving cookbooks, workout DVDs or exercise equipment as a gift. 

Don't stress about the food temptations, instead have a plan and consider what you do all year as important.  You may want to limit your holiday indulgences to a few items or a few parties rather than overdoing it over the next month or so. 

If you're hosting you can offer healthier options to your guests (vegetables with dip, fruit skewers, shrimp with cocktail sauce, chicken skewers, low fat cheese, etc.).  You can also avoid tempting yourself by waiting to purchase the food for your party (I know you're trying to be organized, but if you start nibbling because it's in the house then don't bring it into the house!).  Wait to put snacks out until your guests arrive and then send care packages home with them so you aren't left with all the tempting leftovers.  This year I'm taking part in a cookie exchange and am looking forward to sharing mine with family and friends so I don't end up eating them all!

If you're attending a party, be prepared for a "food pushing" host and politely point out how amazing the food is.  Pace yourself and eat slowly, enjoy a glass of water between alcoholic beverages, and move away from the buffet table.  I read somewhere to "never eat on two feet" - take what you want to sample or share and then move away or you may end up overdoing it and noticing too late.  Arrive at the party with a plan (there's no reason to wait until January 1 for that healthy New Year's Resolution - start now). 

Take time during the day and busy shopping/errand running to enjoy a balanced breakfast so that you don't leave home hungry.  Carry a water bottle with you on your outings so that you don't get dehydrated - we sometimes confuse hunger and thirst and get so busy this time of year that we may forget that H2O!  Include a variety of vegetables and fruits with lean proteins early in your day if you're uncertain that they'll be available at the party you're attending.  Getting healthy foods into you can also help keep YOU healthy this holiday season - taking care of yourself also means getting adequate sleep!

Since it's Q's Day, I would like to know:

How do you stay healthy throughout the holiday season?

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pulses, Plants, and Prostates

Perhaps you or the men in your life are sporting a 'stache for Movember.  It's great to see people supporting men's health issues such as prostate cancer and bringing these issues to the forefront so that people feel comfortable talking about them.

As a dietitian, my first instinct is to look for ways to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and other chronic conditions with food.  It is often impossible to pinpoint one particular cause and as new research comes out, we may find new strategies.  However, often times the recommendations for one disease state are applicable to others, so we can all start eating to prevent disease and/or reduce our risk.   

To make the most of your food choices:
  • increase your intake of fruits and vegetables (include a variety of colours)
  • reduce your fat intake (this is also beneficial for heart health and weight management)
  • increase your intake of plant foods (vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, chickpeas, lentils...) and reduce your intake of animal foods (dairy, meat...); it's still important to get adequate calcium and vitamin D, just don't overdo it
  • include fish to make sure you're getting omega-3 fatty acids
  • if consuming alcohol, do so in moderation
  • increase your intake of isoflavones (soybeans, tofu, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts)
  • maintain a healthy diet
  • include regular activity/exercise
Certain foods may offer extra protection against prostate cancer including lycopene (found in tomatoes, tomato sauces, watermelon, grapefruit...), selenium (Brazil nuts, fish, poultry, sunflower seeds...), and vitamin E (vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables...).  As always, include a variety of different foods as no one food can give us everything we need.

Only a few more weeks until the razors come out!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gadgets to Gather or Go?

Last year for Christmas I was treated to a Kitchenaid mixer - a great gift from my man and something I likely wouldn't have purchased for myself. 

I work with food, I love cooking, and I enjoy eating food.  So with Christmas in mind I'm starting to think of little gadgets I could ask for to help me complete or round out my kitchen.  I received lots of different items at my bridal shower in January, so I'm struggling to think of what I might be missing.  I think we even made my sister-in-law guess what the gadgets were for at her bridal shower!

It's the fine line between having items you may only ever use once and discovering that one piece that makes prepping that much easier and you wonder how you ever got by without it. 

From garlic peelers, banana guards, ramekins, food scales, pepper mills, food processors, and coffee presses to ninjabread men, there are so many items that can end up in your cupboards or collecting dust.  For fun gifts, I like items from Fred & friends because they can be practical as well as unique (ie ice cube trays and toothpick holders). 

According to TLC's Top 10 Must-have Cooking Tools, I am set.  They list:
  • strainer
  • wooden spoons
  • thermometer
  • peeler
  • whisk
  • kitchen shears
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • mixing bowls
  • cast iron skillets and pans
  • knives
So today, since it's Q's Day, I am asking:

What tool/gadget is a must-have in your kitchen?

Feel free to comment on an item you don't even know the purpose of or an item you know you could live without.

We use knives, cutting boards, and wooden spoons on an almost daily basis, but I probably don't need the citrus peeler that sits in my drawer.

Happy cooking!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Let's Get Comfortable

Whether you're dealing with a cold/flu, studying for mid-terms/finals or trying to stay warm, we often think of comfort foods.  Some comfort foods are reasonably healthy, but others may be high in Calories, sugar, fat, and/or salt.  Remembering to think 'big picture' we know that all foods can fit.  However, if you are home sick in bed or trying to cram all night, you still want to have energy and give your body the nutrients it needs to function at it's best. 

Think hearty chili or soup made with lean meat, beans, lentils, vegetables (potatoes, carrots, squash, peas, zucchini, tomatoes...) or amp up your mac and cheese with tuna and broccoli (for example).  Protein keeps us satisfied for longer and most of us aren't getting the recommended number of vegetable servings each day.  I will continue to say it, but yes "healthy food tastes great".  You may have to learn to use different herbs, spices, oils, and ingredients, but there are many ways to provide that warm, satisfied feeling without pulling out the ramen noodle soup, potato chips, or store bought cookies.

We have a sunny day today and our snow has almost melted, however we still know that winter is here.  With that in mind, today I'm asking:

What is your go-to comfort food?

I really enjoy soups this time of year.  This past Sunday I tried the recipe below - Beaker's Vegetable Barley Soup.  It used ingredients I already had in the house which I think counts as comfort food because then I didn't have to face winter layers and chilly winds.

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked barley
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with
1 zucchini, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans,
1 onion, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1. Pour the vegetable broth into a large pot. Add the barley, carrots, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, garbanzo beans, onion, and bay leaves. Season with garlic powder, sugar, salt, pepper, parsley, curry powder, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 90 minutes (I cooked it in the slow cooker on low for about 7-8 hours). The soup will be very thick. You may adjust by adding more broth or less barley if desired. Remove bay leaves before serving.    

Friday, October 26, 2012

So Many Reasons...

I wanted to share a recent news release from Dietitians of Canada regarding the OMA's call to action for food taxes, different labelling, etc.  Remember, as a parent you are a role model and there is not just one factor causing today's obesity issues, there are so many reasons....

Dietitians agree that action is needed now to support more children to have a healthy weight

Toronto, ON – October 24, 2012.  Dietitians of Canada, the professional association representing dietitians from coast to coast calls for policies and programs that make healthy foods more accessible to children where they live, learn and play. “We all need to eat healthy food to achieve and maintain good health, including a healthy body weight,” says Janice Macdonald, Director of Communications. “We want children to enjoy healthy food most of the time,” she adds. The Association is responding to the recent call for action by the Ontario Medical Association, for aggressive new measures, including taxes on junk food, restricting marketing of fatty and sugary foods to children and policies that would dictate changes in food labelling.

There is no one way to make healthy eating the norm. School nutrition policies make a difference by limiting the availability of low nutrient foods and those high in fat, sugar and salt while kids are at school. Expanding nutrition policies to include recreation centres and children’s sports events furthers the impact. Dietitians have called for stricter controls on the advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages to children. The current system of self-regulation, although a step in the right direction, does not go far enough. This system needs to apply consistent, science-based standards to determine what and how food and beverages are advertised. The Dietitians of Canada position on advertising of food to children and its views on other food and nutrition issues, are available at www.dietitians.ca under ‘Dietitians Views’.

Parents are powerful role models and dietitians encourage parents and caregivers to get the whole family involved in meal planning, shopping and cooking. Eating together as a family as often as possible can result in healthier food choices and eating habits. For resources, tips and recipes to make the job of parents a little easier, visit ‘Your Health’ at www.dietitians.ca To find a dietitian, visit www.dietitians.ca/find

Dietitians of Canada (DC) is the national professional association for dietitians, representing more than 6000 members at the local, provincial and national levels.

For trusted information on nutrition and healthy eating, visit the Dietitians of Canada website at www.dietitians.ca

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Students Get Moving

The Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport has proclaimed October 14 - 20, 2012 as 'School Sport Week' in Saskatchewan. 

Increase the public’s awareness of the values of interscholastic athletic programs.  Schools are encouraged to set aside time during the week to acknowledge the Coaches, Officials, Student Athletes and Fans who contribute to the success of High School Sport in their community. An important aspect is to also recognize that High School Sport is an extension of the classroom and provides an opportunity for the education of leadership, teamwork, healthy lifestyles, motor skills, sportsmanship, ethics, and integrity.

National High School Activities Week was initiated in 1980 by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) as a means to promote the value of interscholastic activities. School Sport Canada has encouraged its provincial organizations to make schools across the country aware of the initiative. The NFHS highlights each day of School Sport Week as a means to promote the benefits of high school sport and recognize the many individuals involved in what some have come to call “The Other Half of Education”. The Government of Saskatchewan has proclaimed October 14 – 20 as School Sport Week in Saskatchewan.

Key Messages:
  • Extra-curricular activities are inherently educational.
  • Extra-curricular activities support the academic mission of schools.
  • Extra-curricular activities foster success in later life.
  • Participation in high school sport is a valuable part of the overall high school experience.
  • Participation in high school sport has promoted higher grades and better attendance.
  • Participation in extra-curricular programs yields positive results after high school.
  • Extra-curricular activities teach lessons that lead to better citizens.


Throughout October and November I am traveling around Saskatchewan to provide sport nutrition education to grade 6-12 students and athletes. 

Since it's q's day, I want to know:
How has your participation in sports and extra-curricular activities enhanced your life?

Have a great week and get moving!
Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Monday, October 1, 2012

Holiday Health

In Canada, Thanksgiving is almost here.  I feel like it seems early this year, but I guess that's because September just flew by.  We have the beautiful colours of Fall on our riverbank and a chill in the air to remind us that the season has changed.

I was on CTV Morning Live last week to discuss the Thanksgiving meal and healthy ways to approach the holiday long weekend.  In case you missed the segment, I wanted to share a few tips today.

First of all, it's important to remember that many traditional Thanksgiving foods are nutritious, you just have to remember to practice variety, moderation, and balance.  To make the most of the holidays, find ways to satisfy yourself without sabotaging yourself.  For many people this means aiming to maintain weight, because it can be hard to lose weight over the holidays.  Many people will gain a pound or so, but the trouble is that it will stick with them.  This can occur because our feasts can be upwards of 3000-4000 Calories at times.

Some basics to keep in mind:
  • keep active - enjoy a walk with family or friends, destress by getting out of the house and remembering that the holiday isn't just about FOOD
  • maintain a basic eating pattern - don't skip meals because then you will arrive for dinner very hungry and less able to make wise choices
  • feel free to modify recipes to reduce the fat, sugar, and salt - there are many ways to add flavours (onions, garlic, fresh herbs, cinnamon, lemon, lime...)
  • survey the dinner choices before you fill your plate; enjoy your favourites that come but once a year and don't waste Calories on food(s) you can have regularly
  • go easy on the alcohol and drink plenty of water instead
  • aim to fill half your plate with vegetables
It's also important to remember food safety, so here are guidelines from the USDA on how to thaw your turkey to prevent food borne illness:
  • refrigerator - allow 24 hours for every 4-5 lbs
  • sink - use cold water allowing 30 minutes per lb and change the water every 30 minutes (cook immediately after thawing)
  • microwave - check your owner's manual and cook immediately after thawing
 As far as food choices go, I also have a few tips for you to keep in mind:
  1. Pumpkin - rich in Beta-carotene which is a powerful antioxidant (aiding in vision, healthy immune system, healthy skin...) and present in Thanksgiving dessert as pie.  Pumpkin pie is often made with cream, so if making your own you can substitute low fat milk.  A graham cracker crust will also be fewer Calories that a pastry crust, but pumpkin still tends to be less than some varieties because it only has a bottom crust.  Skipping the whipped cream will also save you fat and extra Calories.  Note: you can also enjoy pumpkin in a soup to start your dinner.
  2. Turkey - is a lean source of protein; although the white meat is lower in Calories and fat, the dark meat is higher in some nutrients like iron.  The key is to go easy on portion size and remember that 1 serving is 75g or 2.5 ounces (a deck of cards).  Avoid the self basting turkeys since they've been infused with fat; you can baste with low sodium broth, wine, juice, etc. to further reduce Calories and fat.  
  3. Gravy - made from fat drippings and contains poultry juices so it will contain some nutrients.  Skim off the fat and season with herbs, spices, and pepper.  Again, portion control is key - no need to go swimming in gravy.
  4. Cranberries - contain antioxidants that protect the body's cells from damage and may help reduce your risk of chronic disease.  You can use fresh or dried ones in stuffing, salads, or sauce.  Canned sauces are typically high in sugar resulting in 1/4 cup = 110 Calories.  It's quite simple to make your own and then you can reduce the sugar by at least half.
  5. Potatoes - are high in potassium and fibre (if you leave the skins on).  When making mashed potatoes skip the cream and use low/no salt broth, garlic, and herbs for flavour.  Hold yourself to about 1/2 cup serving to make room for a variety of different coloured vegetables as well.  If using sweet potatoes try roasting with apple juice, a bit of oil, and white wine vinegar rather than smothering in brown sugar and marshmallows.
Include some great steamed or roasted green vegetables (beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.) and/or a green salad to start.  Remember that you can enjoy leftovers the next day, so you don't need to eat everything at dinner.

Be thankful for your health and all that your body does for you by providing it with activity and nourishment this holiday season!

Happy Thanksgiving,

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Living in Poor Health

From September 13-19, 2012, 26 high-profile Saskatoon individuals experienced food insecurity.  They received a food bank basket, a few pantry items/staples, and a $5 food budget for the week.  The participants were not allowed to eat out or accept free food/drink, but could use community meal programs to help them through their week.

This was the second year of the Food Basket Challenge, which is meant to create conversation, awareness, and relationships between those who live in poverty and those who do not.  While it is only one week, and the participants get to return to their lives at the end, I am sure they all learned something and perhaps that will be enough to start creating change so that people do not have to go without nourishment.  One of the main issues is Food Security - access at all times to safe, nutritious food to maintain health and activity.  

I was in touch with 2 participants (Jill Smith and Heather Morrison) on twitter as they were concerned about the nutritional implications of the challenge.  Heather recorded her daily intake on the challenge blog which allowed me to do a nutrient analysis.  Heather is gluten and lactose intolerant which definitely affects the food choices she makes on a daily basis - this can be a real concern for those who are struggling to get enough food, but also perhaps have restrictions which can reduce their already limited choices.  

Heather's basket included spinach, yogurt, strawberries, deli meat, potatoes, rice, applesauce, canned pears, canned corn, V8 juice, and yogurt.  The food basket is meant to last 2-3 days, but for many people it must last weeks.  For her pantry items she chose corn flour, salt, oil, honey, and ketchup.  She spent her $5 on eggs, beans, and apples.

There are so many factors to consider - Heather knew to budget her food so she meal planned for the week so as not to run out.  She also knew to spend her money on healthy foods that would provide nutrients (not just Calorie dense foods - burger, fries, pop, chocolate bar, etc.).  Heather also had the equipment and skills to make modified corn bread (with potato water as her liquid) and potato pancakes.  She was also able to use community meal programs, but some people may not have access to transportation to get to them, or may feel ashamed, etc. for needing to seek help.

I used the Dietitians of Canada EaTracker website to enter Heather's food.  The results are approximate because I didn't know the exact recipes/composition of her corn bread or potato pancakes, and borscht didn't exist in the database.  It still gives us a glimpse as to how much food she was getting (Calories) and what nutrients were lacking.

Depending on Heather's weight, height, age, and activity level she likely needs between 1900 - 2300 Calories per day and it is typically recommended that women do not go below 1200 Calories per day (or men below 1800) because it is too hard to meet nutrient requirements.  That being said, here is approximately how many Calories she received during her 6 day challenge:
Day 1: 982, Day 2 = 1054, Day 3 = 994, Day 4 = 1273, Day 5 = 1618, and Day 6 = 1308.  That is just the food energy, but due to a lack of choice and variety she was consistently low in certain nutrients.  Based on daily recommendations she was less than 50% for potassium, fibre, vitamin A, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin E, and iron on every day of the challenge.  Most days she exceeded her sodium requirements (too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure which is a risk factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease).  She met her vitamin C and most of her B vitamin requirements most days, although was low in folate a few times.  She also only met her protein requirements half of the days.

What are potential implications (chronic low intakes)?
Potassium - for control of fluid balance and blood pressure; allows nerves and muscles to work together.
Fibre - for a healthy digestive system, can help reduce blood cholesterol and control blood sugar levels, and can also help you feel full longer.
Vitamin A - important for healthy eyes; protects you from infection by keeping your skin and other body parts healthy, as well as promoting normal growth and development.
Calcium - for healthy bones and teeth; allows muscles and your heart to work properly.
Vitamin D - important for increased absorption of calcium and phosphorus to be deposited in bones and teeth; keeps your immune system healthy.
Vitamin E - also helps keep your immune system strong and is an antioxidant working to protect your cells from damage.
Iron - carries oxygen to all parts of your body and as such can prevent you from feeling tired/fatigued; iron deficiency anemia is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world (WHO).

Another basic way to look at Heather's intake is compared to Canada's Food Guide recommended servings.  For a woman age 19-50, she would need about 7-8 vegetables and fruit, 6-7 grain products, 2 milk and alternatives and 2 meat and alternatives.  However, most days she has the equivalent of 3 servings of vegetables and fruit, 5.5 servings of grain products, 0 milk and alternatives (yogurt in Tablespoons just doesn't add up to be enough), and 2 meat and alternatives. 

A chronic low intake of the nutrients listed above could lead to more colds, flus, and other disease states.  This can make is harder for people to go about their daily tasks (going to get food, searching for work, caring for family members, etc.).

You may choose not to eat certain foods or to include Calorie dense rather than nutrient dense foods at times, but for many people the CHOICE is gone and this can affect their health and ability to live their life.

Thanks for sharing your information Heather!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another Day, Another Diet?

If you read my blog often, you will know that my favourite words as a dietitian are VARIETY, MODERATION, and BALANCE.  I feel that those terms can be applied to our food choices so that we enjoy what we feed ourselves and don't feel deprived.  My nutrition intern Samantha was also thinking along those lines when she wrote the blog post below.  With Sam's post in mind and since it's Q's Day - I would like to know:

What do you label your eating pattern/diet?

Do we have to be on a diet to be healthy?
By Samantha Sielski, Dietetic Intern (for Steph Langdon, RD)

Every day I notice more people giving themselves a label to identify the type of food they eat – lacto-ovo vegetarian, vegan, pesco-vegetarian, gluten free, raw foods, etc.  Then they have this guilt run over their face and they add “but I eat cheese!”  Why do people put themselves through the cruelty of avoiding the foods they love, and then feel outrageously guilty for cheating on these favorite foods?  I swear sometimes that I need a psychology degree to work in the nutrition profession.

Hollywood bombards us with the newest, fad diets 24/7. But this is exactly what they are, a fad, which are difficult to sustain long term.  It is always interesting to hear what lactose free, raw, juice cleanse diet a client or family member is on next.  But does a person really need to be on any special diet to be healthy? 
My answer to this question is yes and no.  If you have a diagnosed allergy or disease such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease, then there are definitely foods you have to avoid.  Otherwise, if you are a perfectly healthy individual then there is no need to be on a restrictive diet, but this does not mean you can’t try a gluten free or vegan meal.  People actually do more damage to their digestive system when they are voluntarily jumping from food restriction to food restriction.  This is due to the fact that the healthy bacteria in your gut do not like the food rollercoaster you are putting it through. 

There are some great things we can take away from different ways of eating, such as incorporating a vegetarian meal into your otherwise carnivorous eating habits or experimenting with ancient grains.  Some of my best recipes are from a vegan website, but this does not mean I am a vegan.  It means I see the value in the variety that other ways of eating can add to my ever expanding food enjoyment.  I challenge you to eat what you love and experiment with new foods; don’t become a restrictive dieter!
Vegan Zucchini Bread (Source AllRecipes.com)
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    2 ripe bananas
    1/2 cup applesauce
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    3/4 cup brown sugar (reduced from original  
    1/2 cup white sugar (reduced from original recipe)
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    3 1/2 cups grated zucchini

Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease 2 8x4-inch loaf pans.

Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Beat the bananas, applesauce, vegetable oil, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon juice together in a separate large bowl. Beat the flour mixture into the banana mixture; add the zucchini and mix until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pans.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 60 to 90 minutes. Cool in the pans for 20 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. 

Thanks Sam!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

You're Grrrrrrrrrrrreat

Often times my husband's industry (advertizing) works against my industry (health and dietetics).  It's not him personally, but so many ads promote processed food, fad diets, and poor body images.  He recently shared Nike's Find Your Greatness campaign with me.  I love the concept, sort of like the Dove Beauty campaign.  Yes, these messages are meant to sell products, but they can also inspire people.

I am a former professional and national team athlete and within me is a drive to succeed - a drive to be great you could say.  I am very competitive and work everyday to be the best version of myself (ya, I'm a perfectionist which doesn't make for an easy life!).  I am constantly learning the importance of perspective because in my mind I will never be good enough - there are things I am good at, but am I great? 

We can ALL be great, I'm not sure why we try to all fit the same mold or definition though. Greatness is within your grasp, you're likely already great, but possibly don't know it!  So, since it's Q's Day I want to know:

What makes you great or what greatness are you striving for?

Have a GREAT day!

Steph Langdon (Wheler), RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Who, What, Where, When, Weekend?

I am amazed that it's September already!  Where has this year gone?  On Friday I suggested a long weekend with food, fitness, friends, and fun.  Since it's Q's Day, I want to know:

What did you eat Labour Day long weekend?

I was able to enjoy time with many different friends and family members.  We took in the Saskatoon Fireworks Festival from 2 different vantage points (East and West side).  I'm not much of a sparkly/glitzy person, but I do enjoy the simple pleasure of fireworks over the river on a beautiful Autumn evening (it was chilly, so I think it felt more like Fall than Summer).  

We enjoyed some great meals as well.  Lots of fresh fruit with Greek yogurt, brunch at Truffles where I enjoyed the very flavourful feature.  They had a great description, but it was something like - a poached egg with kale, cherried bacon, a garlic and tomato coulis, served on a biscuit.  That's how I like to indulge - with vegetables making an appearance and decadent flavours in a small portion.  There may have been a delicious latte too!

We also enjoyed roasted Parmesan zucchini from a recipe I found on Pinterest.  It is quick, simple, and tasty.  Preheat the oven to 400F, wash and chop your zucchini, place it on a cookie sheet, brush lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.   Cook for 10-15 minutes until cheese starts to brown, but zucchini is still tender.

I enjoyed some great walks - 3 greyhounds for one day made things a little more exciting than just having our Albert.  I did a little shopping with a girlfriend and started making plans for an upcoming vacation.  Being a 'do-er' I also minimized some clutter in the house, organized photos, and caught up on some reading.  Overall a September long weekend success if I say so myself!  Here's to a great September - I'm already looking forward to making warm soups as the temperatures continue to drop.

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Monday, August 27, 2012

Healthy Tips for Back to School

This morning I appeared on CTV Morning Live Saskatoon to discuss the dreaded 'Freshman 15'.  Surprising to some, most research doesn't show such a high weight increase in the first year of college/university.  On average, first year students gain 2.5-3.5 lbs, the problem is that it may continue throughout their studies and into their career (with females gaining 7-9 lbs and males 12-13 lbs over their college career).

Heading back to school is a great time to start thinking about building a new healthy habit.  University freshmen may not have great cooking skills, understand portion sizes, or realize the importance of healthy and nutritious foods.

Some of the challenges these students face include:
  • no longer having access to home cooked meals
  • increased freedom and independence over their food choices
  • consumption of liquid calories (alcohol, specialty coffees, pop, etc.) 
  • food available at every turn (cafes, restaurants, fast food, convenience stores, vending machines)
  • high stress levels (and potentially anxiety and homesickness) which can lead to emotional eating
  • decreased sleep (which can increase appetite and allow you more hours to eat)
  • decreased physical activity
  • a lack of cooking or food preparation skills
  • eating out more often (less control over what's in your food)
  • trying to eat on a tight budget
  • munching while late night studying or socializing
  • skipping meals (and overindulging later)
A great way to get started is to plan out a week of meals and snacks and get the appropriate groceries.  Shopping off a list helps you stay within a budget and make sure healthy options are available when hunger strikes.  It's also a good idea to pack snacks and/or lunch in your bag so you can eat between classes rather than end up always buying food or stopping at the vending machine.  If you are eating out, find ways to include vegetables - load up your pizza, pita, or sub, or hit the salad bar.  Don't attack a buffet unprepared - check out the options and then choose accordingly.  Once you know what's available on campus it's a good idea to have a plan in order to avoid temptation (ie. I'll get a made to order fajita, not a burger and fries).

When cooking for yourself it's great to have creative ways to use leftovers so that you don't feel like you're always eating the same thing.  This is also budget friendly and saves time.
  • rice - eat it hot, have it in a wrap, have it in a salad, or add it to soup
  • pasta - have it hot, have it in a salad
  • veggies - have them hot, have them with eggs as a frittata, have them in a salad or wrap 
Protein can be expensive, but you can include nut butters, canned fish, and/or beans for budget friendly options.

Still looking for a study snack?  Air-popped or microwave popcorn is a great way to get crunch.  A cup of popcorn is only about 30 Calories (vs 160 for potato chips).  Plus popcorn contains fibre, is a whole grain, and contains antioxidants (including some polyphenols not found in other vegetables and fruit).  Don't have an air popper?  Place 3-4 Tbsp of kernels in a brown paper bag, fold twice to seal and microwave for 1.5-2 minutes (depending on your microwave) until the popping slows.  Loads of butter and salt can negate the health benefits, so have fun with different herbs, spices, and seasonings (garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, cocoa powder, cinnamon, etc.) .  Plus remember to take a mental break from studying by being active and getting sleep.

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bowl of Flavours

My husband insisted that I share the Tom Yum Gai soup recipe that I use.  I first made it for a Thai night and will be making it to share with friends this weekend.  I think it really delivers on tasting sweet, salty, spicy, and sour.  It was a great experience for me as it was my first time cooking with kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass.

If you haven't cooked with some of these ingredients I have provided pictures to help you identify them in your local grocery store or market as well as an informative video on cooking with lemon grass.  I followed the lemongrass for soup demonstration from the video and removed the lemongrass and kafir lime leaves before serving.

Kaffir Lime Leaves
Shiitake Mushrooms

Prep Time: 18 minutes 

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: MAKES 3-4 Servings


  • 6 cups good-quality (strong) chicken stock
  • 1-2 boneless chicken breasts or 3-4 thighs, sliced, OR 1-2 cups roasted chicken or turkey
  • 1 fresh lemongrass stalk, OR 2 Tbsp. frozen/bottled prepared lemongrass
  • 4 kaffir limes leaves (fresh, frozen, or dried) OR substitute 1 tsp. lime zest
  • 6-8 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, grated
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 fresh red or green chilies, finely sliced, OR substitute 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. dried crushed chili (chili flakes)
  • 1 tomato, chopped into wedges or chunks
  • optional: 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 can good-quality (thick) coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. sugar, to taste
  • 3 spring (green) onions, sliced
  • handful fresh coriander and/or basil


  1. Place chicken stock in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. If you have leftover chicken or turkey bones, add those too.
  2. Add the lemongrass and bring to a boil. If using fresh lemongrass, slice and mince only the lower half of the stalk, then slice upper half into 3-4 inch segments and add to the soup pot.
  3. Add fresh chicken (or leftover chicken or turkey), kaffir lime leaves/lime zest, galangal or ginger, garlic, chili, plus mushrooms and celery. Bring soup back up to boiling then reduce to medium heat, simmering 6-8 minutes, or until chicken is cooked.
  4. Add tomatoes and bell pepper (if using) and simmer 2 more minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to low and add coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice and sugar. Simmer gently 1-2 minutes while you taste-test the soup. Tip: Look for a balance between spicy, sour, salty, and sweet flavors. Start with salty, adding more fish sauce if not salty or flavorful enough. If too salty or sweet, add more lime juice. If too sour, add more sugar. If too spicy, or if you'd like it creamier, add more coconut milk. If not spicy enough, add more chili.
  6. Ladle soup into serving bowls. Sprinkle over a little fresh coriander or basil, plus spring onions. 
I hope you enjoy it!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to Brown Bagging it?

Starting to think about going back to school?  You need supplies, but you also need to feed yourself to have the energy to learn and be active after class.  Whether you are going back to school, university, or sending your kids, the pantry should get some school supplies too.

I'll be on Saskatoon's CTV Morning Live Monday August 27 around 8:37am to discuss healthy choices and avoiding the "freshman 15".  Since it's Q's Day, today I want to know:

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to packing your lunch?

Have a great afternoon,
Steph Langdon (Wheler), RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Feasting at Folkfest

Saskatoon's annual Folkfest event starts tomorrow and goes until Saturday night (August 16-18).  I have enjoyed attending the different pavilions over the years to experience different cultures and sample their delicious/traditional cuisines. I also find it's a great time with friends and you're sure to run into someone that you know.

As someone who truly enjoys traveling (and food) I am always intrigued by different cultures and I love to learn about their different dishes, spices, etc.  If you're trying to stay on track and keep good nutrition in mind I have a few tips for you to consider. 

  • First of all I recommend checking out the Folkfest website as some of the pavillions provide a brief list of the food(s) available.  This can help you plan your route if there is a particular food that you want to track down.  It is also beneficial to help create your plan - How many foods will you try?  What will you pass on so that you can have what you really want at the next location?  When will you go?
  • Decide how many options/foods you will allow yourself for the night - create a budget and stick to it.
  • It's important to still eat in a varied and balanced way before you arrive.  This will help you meet some of your nutritional requirements and ensure that you don't show up over-hungry.  Don't skip meals to save those calories for an over-indulgence later that night.  Chance are that you will be so hungry that you'll end up consuming way more than you planned.  This is why it's important to figure out when you want to go.
  • Aim to arrive hydrated and continue to enjoy water throughout your Folkfest experience.  It will quench your thirst for zero calories.
  • Enjoy some foods that may be new to you, but don't forget that can also include whole grains and vegetables or fruit.  
  • Try to limit fried foods and go light on sauces. 
  • Share - often the first bite or two tastes the best, so share with a friend so that you're able to enjoy more variety later.
  • Enjoy yourself (don't stuff yourself) and get back to your routine the next day/meal.
Have a great time!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Memory Lane

Quite often we get too busy with work and other commitments that we forget to have fun.  Think about the simple pleasures in life (a sunset, a walk on the beach, good company, a bike ride) and what you used to enjoy doing - or perhaps you're still finding that fun in your adult life!

I grew up near the Forestry Farm and so we would go for picnics, play in the park, or walk around checking out the animals.  I also remember field trips to Wanuskewin Heritage Park and Beaver Creek Conservation Area with my classmates.  We have such great parks and river trails in Saskatoon, but we sometimes forget to use them.  We almost need to think of ourselves as a tourist in our own city to remember all the great sites and activities.

We went for a walk/hike at Beaver Creek last weekend with a couple of friends and it inspired today's Q's Day:

What was your favourite childhood activity?

We used to think of things as activities rather than exercise - even just the term affects the level of fun.  Why aren't you still doing that activity?   

Share your activities, comments, questions, answers, etc.
I'd love to hear from you,

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Splurges

Saskatoon's summer festivals continue.  My husband and I roamed around the Saskatoon Fringe Festival yesterday afternoon.  It was great to see people outside (walking, biking) enjoying the great weather and getting a bit of exercise.  I honestly haven't ever been to one of the shows, but have fun watching the buskers and checking out the booths.  The fringe runs until Saturday (the 11th). 

The Saskatoon Ex starts today for all the ride lovers!  It runs until Sunday (the 12th).  I didn't grow up going to the Ex and have probably only been 3 or 4 times in my life, so it's not really an event I feel I'm missing out on.  I know many people also go for the shows, musicians, and food. 

The food of course is what gets my attention.  Think elephant ears, spudnuts, cotton candy, sausage on a bun, or whatever nostalgic foods remind you of your childhood.  This is where we can get caught eating for psychological reasons, not physical hunger.  As I'm sure you're aware, these foods tend to be high in fat, sugar, salt, or all three (and low or lacking in nutritional value). 

In the same way that I advise having a plan before heading to a Christmas party, it's also a good idea to have a plan before heading into an area full of potentially tempting foods.  I was actually amazed at how many food vendors were out at the fringe!  If this is your one time a year to have an elephant ear, then have it, enjoy it, savour it, and get back to your healthy eating pattern.  Don't deprive yourself, but don't eat half a dozen either!  Decide what you will allow yourself (ie. I'll have 2 items) and stick to that plan.  Make sure you eat before you go so that you're not starving (and more likely to make a less healthy choice), and include vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and low fat protein in your other meals to help reach your daily requirements.

Health Castle has a great post on carnival foods with the take-aways being:
  • Don't show up hungry
  • Split an order with someone else
  • Find a comfortable spot to sit down and enjoy these treats
  • Open your eyes to other food possibilities beyond the "traditional" carnival far
  • Finally, put it all in context. Indulging in some treats during one visit to the fair probably won't do much harm, but if you are spending a week at an amusement park, "sprinkle out" the treats throughout the visit instead of gobbling them up for every meal. 
So since it's Q's Day, I would like to know:

What is your summer food splurge?

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Friday, August 3, 2012

Love the Long Weekend

Many people look forward to weekends in the summer to escape to the lake/cottage.  When the weather has been so beautiful and hot it's not hard to see why they want to be near a body of water to cool off.  Then, every once in awhile we get the pleasure of a long weekend - an extra day of R & R (although I know I'm not good at resting and relaxing; likely reading and running errands for me!). 

With hopes for a sunny weekend, I'm sure that people are looking forward to eating outside and using the barbeque.  We recently tried kabobs that my mom likes to make.  They are very delicious and a great way to make sure vegetables show up at your barbeque!  She uses a recipe (see below) from AllRecipes and adapts it based on what she has or can find. 

Happy August Long!
Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Mushroom Kabobs

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Ready In: 40 Minutes
Servings: 4
3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Preheat grill for medium heat.
2. Thread mushrooms and peppers alternately on skewers.
3. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Brush mushrooms and peppers with this flavored oil.
4. Brush grate with oil, and place kabobs on the grill. Baste frequently with oil mixture. Cook for about 4 to 6 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender and thoroughly cooked.     

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Beautiful Bodies

I was recently shown photos of different athletes from a variety of sports (above).  The photo shoot was done by Howard Schatz and can serve as a reminder that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.  A number on the scale does not determine how healthy you are and it should not determine whether you're going to have a good or bad day.  We are all unique and our bodies have different strengths and capabilities.  Focus on being fit, moving your body, providing yourself with nourishing food, and being at peace with yourself. 

Since we're in the midst of the 2012 Olympics I thought this would be a great photo to share.  As you watch the athletes I'm sure you have noticed different shapes and sizes in different sports, and even in the same event.  Think of the volleyball libero versus the middle blocker for example.   

I know we're suffering with a high rate of overweight and obesity, but we've also set ourselves up to have unrealistic expectations.  People don't go to bed skinny and wake up fat, but they're also not all going to be airbrushed and appear on the cover of Vogue.  I feel that I resemble an athlete (because I was/am one) more than a model, but that gives me strength and energy to enjoy my life.

Celebrate your body and what it can do for you - celebrate by taking it for a walk or a bike ride (I do love non-food rewards!).

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Signature Dish

My husband and I both love to cook and we love sharing food with friends.  Whether we go out for a nice meal, attend a cooking class together, or host a potluck, it's always interesting to see what people like to make and eat.  This summer we've been planning an August food evening with a group of friends.  The hosts will be preparing their signature dishes (shrimp appetizer, ribs, and caesar salad - yum) and we will all bring something to add. 

This talk of signature/famous dishes got me wondering if I have one.  I try to experiment in the kitchen and use new recipes all the time.  At one point I know I wanted to get really good at making soup (since homemade is just so much tastier and typically healthier!).  My husband has pretty much mastered chili and gets rave reviews when he serves it to a large group.  I don't think I have one dish that I'm known for (yet!).  I do enjoy making muffins, roast chicken, soup, and vegetable dishes (someone has to make sure they're included!). 

Since it's Q's Day I am asking:

Do you have a signature dish?

If you feel like sharing the recipe I know I would love to hear it.

Enjoy your last day of July 2012,

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching