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