Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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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

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Follow Friday: Local Food Week #LoveONTfood

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Local Food Week is coming up June 6-12th. I wanted to do something special to celebrate on the blog. After thinking about it I decided that I would take the week to feature stories from people working in various aspects of local food. As a Nova Scotian living in Ontario, and as I have readers from around the world, I didn’t want to limit the location for “local” food. After all, local means different things to different people and it’s very much relative to where you call home.

I put a call out on Twitter for submissions from people involved with food and I have some great guest posts lined-up for you. There’s still space for a few more though so I thought that I would put the call out to all of you. Are you a farmer? A cook? A restauranteur? A baker? A cookbook author? A food manufacturer? A food producer? A chef? A food bank or soup kitchen employee or volunteer? A brewmaster? Coffee roaster? etc. If you’re interested in writing a guest blog post to share your story/experience/opinion… please send me an email (dianamchard [at] gmail [dot] com), I’d love to give you the space here to share your story.


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Comparing apples to oranges

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Image by Timothy Neesam on Flickr used under a Creative Commons Licence

A couple of weeks ago I saw someone with “an interest in nutrition” (this according to their bio) attempting to argue with a dietitian on twitter about nutrition. She had posted something about whole grains (I can’t remember exactly what) and he had asserted that vegetables are a better source of fibre than grains and are therefore nutritionally superior. I bit my tongue and restrained my texting fingers as I didn’t want to get into a circular 140 character argument on twitter when I should have been going to bed. Instead I saved my ranting for you. You’re welcome.

I see the argument that vegetables are superior to grains as disingenuous. You remember the saying about comparing apples to oranges, right? Well, there’s a reason for that saying. It makes no sense to compare two things that are very different. Just like comparing apples to oranges is nonsensical, so is comparing vegetables to grains. Sure, some vegetables might have more fibre than some grains. But other vegetables have very little, and other grains have lots. We also don’t eat foods for single nutrients. There are different nutritional benefits to both grains and vegetables.

People often ask me if X vegetable is better than Y. The answer is pretty much always that they’re both good for different reasons. It’s like asking a parent which child they love more. I love all vegetables equally, but differently. Just because one vegetable has more vitamin C in it doesn’t make it better than another vegetable that may have more potassium.

We also don’t eat foods solely for their nutritional composition. Sometimes we actually eat them because they taste good! Eating doesn’t have to only be about what nutrients we can obtain from the food.

Eating isn’t a competition (unless you’re in an eating competition). It’s not an either or proposition. Foods work together to provide us with all of the nutrients we need. That can include both grains and vegetables.


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Hollywood juice bar owner’s diet analyzed

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Photo of Green Juice by Marten Persson on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons Licence.

In case you missed it last week, the Internets got their collective panties in a twist about this article sharing a typical day of food for the founder of Moon Juice.

Moon Juice, for those such as myself who are not in the know, is ostensibly the most popular juice bar in LA.

Pardon me for not being surprised that her diet includes ridiculous things that I’ve never heard of before and am not entirely convinced are actually food. Things like Brain Dust and quinton shots. Ugh.

People immediately began decrying her diet. Just for fun, I decided to do a completely unscientific analysis of the nutrient content of her food to see just how her food stacks up when compared to a diet of recognizable food items. I used the nutritional info listed for the products on the Moon Juice website where I could. For everything else I just googled for nutrition information. I only looked at macronutrients, so it remains to be told how nutritious her diet is in terms of micronutrients.

Breakfast: 307 kcal, 13g CHO, 17.5g fat, 27g protein, 7g fibre, 3g sugar

Snack: 284 kcal, 31.1g CHO, 12g fat, 2.5g fibre, 8g sugar, 9g protein

Lunch: 265 kcal, 20g fat, 10.7g CHO, 4g fibre, 5.9g sugar, 6.3g protein

Snack: 353 kcal, 36.9g CHO, 8.5g fibre, 21.7g sugar, 22.5g fat, 7g protein

Snack: 280 kcal, 30g CHO, 6g fibre, 6g sugar, 4g fat, 26g protein

Supper: 50 kcal, 9g CHO, 0.5g fibre, 0.7g sugar, 0.6g fat, 5g protein – Potentially an entire day’s worth of sodium in this meal alone!

Snack: (Nutrition info for Heart Tonic is unknown, estimating the nutrient values for the chocolate based on single servings of all the ingredients mentioned) 174 kcal, 5g CHO, 3g fibre, 4.5g fat, 21g protein – I find it hard to believe that this chocolate is remotely palatable without any added sugar but maybe that’s just me.

Totals for the day: 1713 kcal, 135.7g CHO, 81.1g fat, 101.3g protein, 31.5g fibre, 45.3g sugar

I must confess, I’m a little disappointed that her diet didn’t show any glaring imbalances. Overall, it’s maybe a little low in carbs, and a little high in protein and fat and sugar. But essentially, it’s actually fairly well balanced.

I would be a little concerned about calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 consumption for someone following this diet. Also, the sodium is quite high. Not knowing her energy requirements it’s hard to say whether or not 1700 kcal is adequate. That would depend on her height, weight, level of activity, and resting metabolic rate.

Even though this diet is not horribly balanced I still wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Why? Well, variety is very important in a balanced diet. Based on the fact that she seems to eat essentially the same things every day she’s quite likely not getting all of the micronutrients that she needs. She may also be getting excessive amounts of others through her supplements.

Speaking of the supplements, there’s quite a few ingredients in there that are questionable at best. I don’t think that anyone can say with any degree of certainty that they’re safe to consume on a regular basis. Although one can say with a fair degree of certainty that they won’t live up to the claims. They’re definitely not worth the hefty price tags. Although if you’re willing to spend $55 for a 25 serving jar of Brain Dust then you probably need all the help you can get maintaining “healthy systems for superior states of cognitive flow”.