bite my words

Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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Follow Friday: Zero-waste supermarket

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Germany is opening the first zero-waste supermarket: Original Unverpackt this summer. I LOVE this idea! I’m not sure how it will work for selling liquids (like milk) or semi-solids (like yoghurt) or frozen products but… Aside from these questions, it seems like an awesome idea.

Unfortunately, in Canada, we seem to be moving in the opposite direction. To save time people are buying more pre-washed and chopped produce. I cringe every time I walk past the cello-wrapped asparagus on the styrofoam tray. Why did someone decide that was a good idea? Asparagus will last for less time when stored like that than it will standing up in water like it was always sold in the past. And don’t even get me started on the vast quantity of perfectly good food that gets composted (at least it doesn’t go in the garbage anymore) just because its best before date is looming. Come on Canada, let’s take a page out of Germany’s book and try to reduce food waste at all levels.


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Monsanto, GMOs, and a dose of condescention

I bit my tongue the other day when I was reading a deluge of tweets insulting people who were participating in the March Against Monsanto. I found the tweets offensive because they presumed that only farmers have the right to decide if genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are worthy of entry into the food supply. They also presumed that people who were marching against Monsanto were only concerned about GMOs and were ignorant of science. Someone actually said that, as long as you have enough to eat, you have no right to complain about or question the food system. Seriously? I think that we should question everything. As long as I’m putting food into my body I would like to feel confident that it’s safe, nutrient rich, and delicious. Of course, GMO is not the only concern when it comes to safety, the centralization of our food supply and the diminished capacity of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are probably more concerning to me. As is the declining number of farms and farmers across the country.

To be honest, I take exception to both extremes. My concern with Monsanto is that they force farmers to become reliant on them for seeds. Patenting seeds is terrifying to me. We should not be allowing one company to have so much control over our food supply. My concern with GMOs is that we don’t know what the long-term impact of their introduction to the ecosystem will be. We don’t know what effect these new plants and animals (so far just salmon has been applied for approval in Canada but we’ve seen other experimental animals around the world) will have on the other plants and animals. There could be serious implications for biodiversity. We also don’t know what the long-term implications of consuming these GMOs will be. Sorry if short-term mouse studies don’t convince me of the safety of these new foods for human consumption throughout our lives.

Okay, now for the other extreme. We have research conducted on tumour-prone mice intended to demonstrate that GMOs will give us cancer. Lots of photos like this:

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And this:

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No, that one’s no GMO, but the extreme anti-GMO camp tends toward chemophobia and seems to lack an understanding of the fact that everything is comprised of chemicals. So what that ants aren’t into the artificially sweetened candy. That must mean that it’s toxic. Except, there are many foods, including lots of vegetables, that ants would not recognize as food.

While I am clearly wary of GMOs, I don’t see attacking each other and dismissing arguments out of hand as beneficial to either side. It’s making me want to tune out both camps and start my own subsistence farm in a very isolated location.


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Sugar and obesity

Letsblameobesityon

I don’t dispute the fact that most of us likely consume too much sugar. As with too much of anything it’s also likely doing more harm than good. However, I do take exception to the sentiment I’ve seen from some vocal supporters of Action On Sugar on twitter. There’s the dichotomy that you’re either with them or against them. Along with that, there’s the implication that any dietitians questioning the assertion that sugar is toxic must be in the pocket of the food industry.

Why can’t it be possible that some of us think there’s a middle ground? That perhaps, as with other nutrients before (e.g. fat, salt, carbs) it will turn out that there is nothing intrinsically harmful about sugar, and that some dietary sugar is perfectly safe as part of a healthy diet.

I resent the implication that if I dare to question the sensibility of demonizing sugar that I must be brainwashed by the food industry. After the harm we’ve seen done by demonizing nutrients in the past, you would think that we would have learned our lesson. The likelihood that a single nutrient, such as sugar, is the cause of the obesity epidemic is extremely unlikely. Reformulating products is not the solution. We’ll probably just end-up replacing sugar with something that will turn out to be even worse for us. Instead, we should be teaching people to cook and to consume fewer highly processed calorie-dense, nutrient-light foods.


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What I Ate Wednesday: the late edition

I was excited when Helen of Food & Nonsense tagged me to participate in What I Ate Wednesday, the RD edition last week. Then, yesterday, I clued in that I was meant to post what I ate on Wednesday and not what I ate on Wednesday on Thursday. Oops. So… After a day of eating, here’s what I had:

Breakfast was after my marathon training (5 mile run + strength training – focus was on chest and glutes today)

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I had some frozen blueberries, a sliced kiwi, plain Greek yoghurt, and home-made tropical granola. Yummy and filling!

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Lunch was leftovers. That’s how I roll. The chef was super jelly.

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Just a wee snack mid-afternoon.

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Was my “evening” to work (10-7) so I wanted something quick and easy when I got home (the house husband was also working so wasn’t home to cook me supper). Loaded on some veg, black beans, and cheese, made a quick guacamole, and had some habanero salsa for dipping.

And, of course, beverages…

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This wasn’t an entirely typical day for me. I usually work 8-5 so I tend to have a mid-morning snack and often forego an afternoon snack. I nearly always have leftovers for lunch but what they consist of varies. I could probably have done with some more veg (who can’t?) but otherwise I’m not too judgemental of this day of food.

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The WIAW Dietitian Tag! #WIAWRD

This blog post is a part of a ‘dietitian tag’ to see what other registered dietitians from around the world really eat!

To carry on this tag all you need to do is:

1) Copy and paste this orange section (marked within the ******) to the bottom of your WIAW blog post.

2) Tweet/Facebook the link using the hashtag #WIAWRD (What I Ate Wednesday Registered Dietitian).

3) Add your blog post link into the section below.

4) ‘Tag’ 2-3 other dietitians to carry on the tag via email! - I tag

Mark McGill (twitter: @markjmcgill) at http://glipho.com/markjmcgillrd (Ontario, Canada)

Emma Holly (twitter and instagram: @dietitianeats) (Alberta, Canada)

Previous WIAW Blog Posts (add yours here along with where you’re from!):

Nic’s Nutrition – Weekend Edition (West Yorkshire, UK)

Gemma Critchley, Dietitian Without Borders (Liverpool, UK)

Nics Nutrition – Week Day Edition (West Yorkshire, UK)

Helen West, Food & Nonsense (Uluwatu, Bali)

Diana Chard, Bite My Words (Nova Scotia, Canada)

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