Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

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Easter is for chocolate

Happy Easter (to those who celebrate)! Personally I’m in it for the chocolate.

Lately there’s been much made of a study indicating that chocolate is now a miracle weight loss food. No need for me to point out the flaws of this study as Yoni Freedhoff has already done so. There are no magic weight loss foods. Even though eating chocolate is not going to magically help you lose weight, and eating too much of it will likely cause you to gain weight, it can still be a part of a healthy diet.

Your best bets for Easter chocolate are those that are high in cacao (the actual cocoa bean). Try to find dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cacao. Cacao is a great source of magnesium which is important for muscle and nerve function. Cacao contains many other nutrients such as calcium, iron, and several B vitamins. A lot of research has been done on the health benefits of chocolate and results indicate that dark chocolate may be beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease and depression. However, because chocolate, in the forms that we usually consume it, can be high in fat in sugar it’s important not to overdo it. One ounce at a time is plenty.

Another consideration to keep in mind when choosing chocolate is whether or not it’s fair trade. Fair trade means that all of the workers who worked to produce your chocolate were paid a decent wage. Choosing fair trade chocolate means that you can enjoy your treat knowing that people were not exploited for your benefit.

If you’re going to do Easter treats, do them right. Skip the jelly beans and “peeps” which are just sugar, colour, and various chemicals. Go for good quality chocolate.


Easter Eggs

Looking for a way to use the eggs from your decorated Easter egg shells? Why not try making a frittata for bunch? Frittatas are an easy way to use eggs. Just sauté what ever vegetables you like, or have on hand, in a cast iron frying pan. I like to use things like asparagus, mushrooms, and spinach. You might also want to boil a couple of new potatoes. While the veggies are cooking, beat together 6-8 eggs, fresh ground pepper and a dash of basil. Once the potatoes are cooked, slice and distribute evenly in the pan with the veg. Pour the eggs over top and reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook for a few minutes and then sprinkle with feta or goat’s cheese and pop in the oven on the centre rack with the broiler on. Continue to cook until eggs are set and bubbly. Cut into slices and serve with a side salad and toast, or other desired brunch items. Oh, and of course coffee.

Eggs have been much maligned over the years. Primarily due to their cholesterol content. However, dietary cholesterol intake actually has very little impact on blood cholesterol levels and even those with high LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) can safely consume up to two eggs per week. Those of us with healthy cholesterol levels can consume up to one egg a day. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, iron, vitamin D, and vitamin A, among other nutrients. Try to buy free-range organic eggs but don’t bother with the omega-3 eggs. Those hens are fed a diet high in flax seed to boost the omega-3 levels in the eggs. The slight increase in omega-3s in those eggs is offset by the increase in price. You’re better off consuming the ground flax yourself and consuming other better food sources of omega-3s such as fatty fish (e.g. Atlantic salmon, mackerel, and sardines).