Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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Follow Friday: Mattress food art

Apparently my Follow Fridays are all about food art now. Whatever, it’s pretty cool. Check out this artist, Lor-K, who turns abandoned mattresses into food (and other stuff).


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Will new nutrition labels make us all thinner?

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Not to be negative, but I saw this headline: How much will new nutrition labels help fight obesity and I immediately said “not at all” (in my head because I was at work and our office is open-concept).

I know the new (American) nutrition facts panel is supposed to help curb obesity because they’ve made the calories so damn big but personally I think it’s not going to help anyone to lose any weight. If people are counting calories and trying to lose weight making them bigger isn’t going to make weight loss any easier. If someone’s not counting calories it’s unlikely that a big bold calorie count is going to prompt them to change their minds about their purchases. I also think the emphasis on calories is not beneficial to anyone.

Yes, lots of people find calorie counting helpful when they’re trying to lose weight. I still yearn for a simpler time when we didn’t need this information. When we didn’t rely to heavily on prepackaged foods that managed to jam in so many calories and so few nutrients. Personally, I think that, for the average consumer, the ingredients label is where they should be looking more often than the nutrition facts panel. The NFP doesn’t tell you anything about what’s in the food you’re potentially putting in your mouth. It just tells you about the artful mastery of the manufacturer who wants to make sure you buy into the charade of fortified highly processed products as healthy choices.

Putting calories front and centre puts a negative lens on food. It takes away from food tasting good, being pleasurable, and providing us with energy and puts the emphasis on guilt and shame. Neither of which are things we should be associating with food.

Rather than focusing our efforts on fighting against obesity we should be fighting for health.


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Follow Friday: @chefjacqueslamerde

This Wired article in one of my google alerts alerted (hmm… could probably do with a synonym there) me to this hilarious Instagram account. It was created by a real chef as a parody of the pretentious world of gourmet food.

How could you not love things like this dish made of “elite fish imported from Sweden”?

WHEN U HAVE SOIGNÉ INGREDIENTS, U RLLY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO JUST LET THAT FOOD SPEAK 2 UR GUESTS MOUTH FOR U. U MITE NEED TO ADD A BIT OF FANCY MOSS, OR MAYBE A LITTLE ASH BUT IN GENERAL U JUST NEED SOME TWEEZERS AND A LITTLE RESTRAINT!!!! JOSE AND I CREATED THIS DISH AROUND SOME PRETTY ELITE FISH WE GOT IMPORTED FROM SWEDEN!!!! WE MADE A SIMPLE CEVICHE OUT OF THESE *SWEDISH FISH* USING SOME OF THAT GREEN MEXICAN GATORADE, AND THEN ADDED LTD EDITION BANANA BERRY MINIONS CEREAL, SOME MINI EGGS AND JUST KIND OF SORTED IT ON A PUDDLE OF FROSTIN WE MADE BLUE BECAUSE CONCEPTUALLY IT MADE A RESONATION W/ US!!!!! FUN DIP POWDER BRO DUST!!!!! #soigné #theartofplating #cheflyfe #tweezers #fourmagazine #wildchefs #hashtagfood #swedishfish #yearofthecrudo #minieggs #yassssss #minions #bananaberry #fundip #likmaid

A photo posted by @chefjacqueslamerde on

or this beautiful Velveeta plate?

SUMTIMES WHEN IM PLATIN ITS LIKE MY BRAIN HAS A MIND OF ITS OWN AND ILL START W/ ONE INGREDIENT IM FOCUSSED ON, BUT BY THE TIME IM DONE THERE WILL BE LIKE 3 FOAMS, 14 FUNCTIONAL GARNISHES AND 2 FLUID GELS AND EVEN THO IT LOOKS AMAZIN, AND SO SO SOIGNÉ, I KNO I NEED 2 JUST THROW THE PLATE AGAINST THE WALL AND TRY AGAIN.  TONITES SPEC IS A TRIBUTE TO 1 OF MY FAVE INGREDIENTS AND IT WAS RLLY HARD FOR ME 2 NOT START TWEEZIN ON ALL KINDS OF ADDITIONS, BUT U KNO WUT BROS??? WHEN UR WORKIN W/ A GREAT PRODUCT, EVERYTHING U ADD UR ACTUALLY TAKIN AWAY FROM ITS OVERALL CRED.  SOMETIMES THE LOUDEST SHOUT IS ACTUALLY A WHISPER!!!!!!! VELVEETA BRICK CUT INTO THE SHAPE OF A CIRCLE, VELVEETA FOAM, DEHYDRATED VELVEETA SLICE TUILE, VELVEETA CREMA, VELVEETA FONDUE, CRUSHED UP CHEEZE SANDWICH CRACKER SOIL, EDIBLE FLOWERS!!!!! #100psoigné #theartofplating #gastroart #plateswagger #chefart #foodie #velveeta #negativespace #tweezers #foodporn #sponsored #liquidgold #YAAASSSSS

A photo posted by @chefjacqueslamerde on


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Grocery Store Lessons: Excel Naturally Sweetened Gum

Last week my friend Mark tweeted this:

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I think our fear of “unnatural” or “artificial” ingredients has gone too far. I’m generally one to go for real sugar any day over artificial sweeteners. I prefer the flavour and I’m of the opinion that a little of the “real” thing is better than a lot of the fake. In some case though it just doesn’t make sense to be choosing real sugar.

There is no benefit to choosing sugar-sweetened gum over gum sweetened with sugar alcohols. We know that sugar consumption, especially when in products that spend a long time in the mouth (such as gum) promotes the development of cavities. While xylitol (the sugar alcohol generally found in sugar-free gums) may not be the great cavity preventer it was originally touted as, it certainly doesn’t promote the development of cavities like sugary gum does.

It’s beyond me why anyone would think that a “natural” (and come on, how natural is commercial chewing gum anyway?) gum containing sugar is a superior choice over artificially sweetened gum. Shame on Excel for taking advantage of the fear of the “unnatural” by reverting to a product that is likely to incense dentists, dietitians, and doctors alike. File this product under another great example of a natural fallacy.


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Eating to change your eye colour

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I recently came across a post by David Wolfe (yeah, that guy) about the ability of a raw food diet to change your eye colour.

Apparently this is a thing ever since some raw food guru nutritionista chick made the claim that after changing from an unhealthy diet she cleared-up her constipation and her brown eyes became hazel/green.

Naturally I was skeptical. Even David Wolfe was. Yet, he somehow came to the conclusion that it was possible based on this article. The thing is, the article doesn’t actually support the claim that a raw food diet can change a person’s eye colour. It says that eye colour can change as we age, but this is generally referring to children, not adults and is unrelated to diet. It then carries on to state that significant changes in eye colour may be the result of a disease and anyone experiencing such changes should see an eye doctor. No mention of diet.

I did a little googling and found some other articles. None of which were written by anyone with any medical knowledge of eyes. Wolfe and this Vice article both mention “iridologists” which is pretty ridiculous. Iridologists are to optometry what phrenologists are to neurology. Essentially a great source of perhaps entertaining information but otherwise quackery. To be fair, even these iridologists seemed to think the notion of changing ones eye colour via diet was farfetched. Everything I could find through the googles was anecdotal.

I feel the need to voice my disappointment in seeing a dietitian’s name continually come-up in connection with this raw food eye colour change business. As dietitians we are obligated to provide evidence-based dietary advice. Neither advising people to choose a diet to change their eye colour, nor advocating for raw food diets for all are ethical for a member of our profession.

Next I turned to google scholar. Again, nothing. There is absolutely no scientific evidence of a relationship between diet and eye colour. Of course, it’s possible that, that research just hasn’t been done. And I will be happy to revise this post if a study is ever published showing that eye colour can be changed by switching to a raw food diet.

Even if eye colour can be changed by diet, who cares?! I mean, seriously. Having brown eyes does not mean that you eat unhealthily and are constipated. Having blue eyes doesn’t mean that you’re healthy and having regular bowel movements. Are we now judging a person’s health and habits based on eye colour? Could we get anymore superficial? Why would we want to go on an extreme diet just for the purpose of changing the colour of our eyes? A raw diet is not necessarily the healthiest choice. There are many reasons that we cook our food: to kill toxins and microorganisms, to increase absorption of nutrients, to improve palatability. Personally, I would rather keep my grey/blue eyes and enjoy my food.