Archive for the ‘Edit-Storial By A Foodie’ Category

Create a Ripple of Positive Change this #NutritionMonth

March 8th, 2018 No Comments
Food has limitless potential. Since #NutritionMonth’s official launch on March 1st, I have pondered what all of this means to me more deeply, hmmmm. I have an interesting perspective, as I run the campaign. I feel like an osprey in her nest that looks out watching it unfold: fellow colleagues using and sharing the resources in their respective circles in their own way making it come to life.

I marvel at the reach and breadth of every aspect of the campaign – there is pick up in hospitals, health clinics, public health departments, health organizations, professional organizations, human resource departments, government offices, fitness clubs, schools, universities, colleges, farmer’s markets, grocery stores, companies and soars on social media and in the press. I feel heartened with what I observe. Each person who takes part creates ripples in the sea of positive change, resulting in a nutrition tsunami!

I am in awe of my RD colleague’s enthusiasm influencing change from coast to coast – their events, connections with others, their commitment, their enthusiasm. If anyone ever says to me that 1 person cannot make a difference, I scoff. My experience running Nutrition Month has demonstrated time and time again that when you collectively combine everyone’s efforts you synergize the outcome with compound interest.

I witnessed one such highlight recently from Adrianna Smallwood’s team, one of the Regional Representatives in Newfoundland. She tweeted:

Thank you Mayor Carol McDonald!!! Not only did the Town of @PCSPnl proclaim March #NutritionMonth but they also adopted a Healthy Eating Policy for the Town during their Council Meeting last night! Amazing work @PCSPnl ! @EatGreatNL @DietitiansCAN @Sust_Nutrition

Now that’s the power of what one team can do – influence positive change, especially policy – amen sisters! By the way, this Newfoundland team applied and successfully received numerous proclamations in their region for Nutrition Month and Dietitians Day. I am lucky to work with all of the fabulous teams from coast to coast.

I know the line “Stronger Together” might sound cliché; nonetheless, I witness this each and every year as people join in. It certainly is true.

If you haven’t joined in Nutrition Month yet, consider taking part even in some small way. You can influence people in YOUR circle. What are you waiting for? Share how Canadians can Unlock the Potential of Food. Start with you and your family, your neighbour, your workplace. Just start! Together we are helping Canadians discover the potential of food to enhance lives, improve health, inspire children, fuel activities and bring people together. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Be the positive change our profession needs right now. Find out more:

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Vanity UN-fair

January 19th, 2018 No Comments
I have been preparing a ‘Tee Talk’ presentation for Markland Wood Golf Club patrons. It got me thinking about questions I may get asked. I plan to address controllable risk factors in the introduction but I’m sure people will be especially interested in food and nutrition measures to stay ‘forever young’. Being north of 50 this is top of mind for me as well.

There’s rarely a week that goes by that we don’t hear about magical elixirs, tablets, lotions and potions for anti-aging – that “Genie in a Bottle” with a premium price tag with false promises. I love Tim Caulfield’s series “A User’s Guide to Cheating Death” and his book “Is Gwennth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? (spoiler alert: yes she is!) where he exposes the ugly side of the evidence-free beauty industry preying on your vanity while thinning your wallet.

When I think more deeply about anti-aging from a nutrition perspective what’s most important is working on your bodacious body from the inside, rather than simply covering up flaws on the outside. Think about it folks. There are an array of controllable risk factors that inherently promote youth without the fanfare although working on them is certainly aspirational. These include not smoking, being active (and sitting less), eating healthy, managing alcohol, sleeping enough and managing stress.

In December the Heart & Stroke Foundation released a study showing that Canadians consume almost 50% of their energy from ultra-processed foods, big sigh. How on earth can anyone expect to find the fountain of youth at the bottom of a bag of Doritos? You simply cannot. Moreover, adding a daily serving of any superfood will not optimally protect you if you regularly smoke, consume excess junk and alcohol and more. Catch my drift?

I broke off my relationship with those special products, magical lotion and skin elixirs. Hasta la vista, baby; my face hasn’t cracked yet!

Forget about turning your life on it’s head by trying the new keto-craze, going ‘clean’ or paleo. Work on the inside by enjoying nourishing whole foods, dialling down on ‘happy hour’, moving and chilling more and at the end of the day get your zzzzzz’s.

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More Mother Nature Please…

December 30th, 2017 No Comments
While taking a walk on a snowy December day I pondered what to focus on in the coming year. Gone are the days of those New Year’s Resolutions that start with a sizzle and fizzle before the month ends. With fluttering snowflakes on my eyelashes and the whistling wind gusting through, I thought ‘AHA’ let’s get more Mother Nature in our days all the year through. Consider this:

Plants on Your Plate – If you haven’t tried dishing up half your plate with fruits and veggies every day, this is a perfect place to start. You can also include more of Mother Nature’s bounty like beans, peas and lentils in your repertoire too. Forget spending north of $100/ounce on magical anti aging cream to help you find the fountain of youth. Work on your inside instead. More plants will help you glow plus benefit your brain, your digestion and satiety. A healthy and stealthy strategy indeed!

Fuel with Nuts & Seeds – Gone are the tummy rumbling low fat days (thank goodness). Embrace the nutrient richness of nuts and seeds. They too come from Mother Earth and are great to nibble on salt free and roasted as snacks, in salads or stir fries.

Walk with Mother Nature – Get outside and play no matter what drama the weather station is dishing up. We are Canadian, eh?! Bundle up and find a path to meander along. Walking 30 minutes each day helps you inside and out, from head to toe, boosting your mood, helping you sleep, managing stress and refreshing your outlook. Who needs a trainer when Mother Nature can be your guide!

Acquaint Yourself with Mother Earth – It’s a big world out there, so plan a trip or excursion near or far on our grand planet. There are new customs to learn, languages to hear, cuisine to try, currencies to spend, wine to sip to enrich your perspective and embrace differences.

Support Mother Nature with Science – As the saying goes, “You can’t fool Mother Nature!” meaning she follows the laws of science whether you like it or not. So whatever you do or try this year, make sure it’s seeped in science because being a biological being your bodacious body depends on it – Don’t mess with the machine!

You can’t go wrong if your New Year focuses to get more of what Mother Nature has to offer in your life. Choose it. Embrace it. Prefer it. Respect it. Thrive with it.

Upward and onward from here!


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Unapologetic Expert…Time to Speak UP

June 30th, 2017 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Canada Day is fast approaching, our 150th, no less. We Canadians are know for being polite, watching our p’s and q’s and for apologizing, “oops, sorry”. We are bombarded with an avalanche of misinformation almost everywhere we turn which has amped up over the decade… big sigh. Whether at the family table, the hair salon, social media or any sort of gathering with fellow humans, life feels like an information battlefield sometimes – one I prefer to retreat from.

Years ago when someone checked out alternative medicine as a last resort when everything else failed, I thought, “Why not, what harm could that do?” But fast forward to today and I know too many people who choose alternate therapies as their first line of treatment then bring in the “trained guns” – doctors, dietitians, for example – those of us who are registered professionals governed by a college to protect the public, when things goes south. Sadly many of us sit by in silence.

Case in point, I visited my neighbourhood salon recently. I asked a simple question “how are you?” and got a long and winding tale. Happy to be an ear, I heard about the plight of my stylist visiting a chiropractor for various ailments. I was told how this person tried various maneuvers, yada yada yada…. I was also told that before starting anything she had to sign a release form “in case I had a stroke or died”. Say what??!! Instead of sitting in silence I decided to politely weigh in. I asked whether her medical doctor requires her do the same thing and noted that if THEY did something wrong they could get their licence revoked, sued or charged. Then I asked “so why did you go in the first place?” and she told me “because it’s covered by my insurance”. Great big sigh.

Well my fellow experts, I say it’s time to break the silence and weigh in on such conversations. When everyone out there claims to be an expert, it’s time for the real experts speak up, unapologetically. You with me??

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My word for 2017 is ….

January 3rd, 2017 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have done a lot of soul searching this holiday season. As per my usual routine, I drafted a few New Year’s type blog posts. None have seen the light of day as they didn’t quite hit the mark for how I’ve been feeling lately. I have been inspired by what some people have chosen as “their key word” for 2017 though. That got me thinking more deeply, hmmmm.

Although I have written a lot this past year, I have not posted much. Various family members have been experiencing their share of challenges, so my usual musings about food and nutrition didn’t quite feel right to post about in the grand scheme of things.

I did host a pre-Christmas get together with one of my sisters. I connected up with my many aunts to meet our new great nephew – Russel. I reflected on this get-together with awe about how lucky I am to have so many amazing women who are fabulous role models in my life in addition to my own Mom and Mom-in-law. Each has soldiered through their fair share of life’s challenges without the helicopter-type safety nets many young folks possess today. Yet each show up with smiles, love and enthusiasm, like always.

I am out at my hide-away as I write this and have been taking in the brisk winter outdoors with deeper reflection. On New Year’s Day I took the trek up snowy Knox Mountain. It’s is a love-hate thing – love it when I’m done and hate it while I’m trudging up…. a perfect way to contemplate life….

As I plodded along, it came to me: ROBUST!

  • This word sums up what my Moms and aunties have shown in their rich lives as they take on the world.
  • This explains the gumption you need to face an extreme challenge with courage, grit and a smile.
  • It goes deeper than merely “shaking a leg” in life, but losing one and making the best of it.
  • It’s what you need to break out of your routine and follow your dream.
  • It’s not spinning the yarn of mundane pettiness of the status quo, yet implies vitality & vigor, toughness & sturdiness, health & enthusiasm, to make a difference. Yes robust is my word this 2017.

May this word have meaning for you as you grab 2017 by the horns: Go forth and be ROBUST!

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Check, check….Time for a reality check

December 30th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

As the year comes to a close it’s only natural to ponder what was, what is and what could be for 2016. It helps to clear your head of all of the ‘would have’, ‘could have’, ‘should have’s’. We’re ready for a clean slate as the New Year rolls in, right? Instead of setting an array of unrealistic expectations and goals work on one thing – keeping it real.

A perfect place to start is readying yourself for the usual barrage of unsubstantiated health and nutrition information that bombards us. Like Tim Caulfield suggests, steer clear of bunk!

As I write this I reside in the ultra-contrived city of Las Vegas, adults’ very own Disney Land. My first impression is, “I’m not in Kansas anymore, Auntie M!” like Dorothy proclaimed in the Wizard of Oz. One of the many billboards I passed during my time here read “Make Better Choices.” I thought, hmmmm, I don’t think their definition of “better choices” is the same as mine….

“Keeping it real” is far from this place’s motto, from fake eyelashes, to volcano eruptions at the Mirage, to silicone implants and more. Every hour is happy hour it would seem. People here put photographs on their business cards. All of them seem to be missing one important element… that would be business attire….They even have a “Menage a Trois” wine. I expect the flavour floods your senses with hints of exotic spices with a strong oaky finish…. twice…. Ahhh I digress.

Yes, I have written many times that “awareness is bliss” and keeping it real is the name of the game. When you know better, you do better. Keep this in mind for the dawning of 2016 as you do your own reality check:

  • May the advice you find and follow be steeped in scientific evidence
  • If something seems too good to be true, realize it probably is, then forget about it, and
  • Work Mother Nature into your life regularly – on your plate, with your outdoor activities and with your de-stress strategies

Peace out.

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Mother Nature 3 Ways

November 19th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’m back. Back from Middle Earth, a driving tour that led me around New Zealand’s south island, ahhhh. I love getting away and being able to ponder life’s wonders.

During that time my soul was doused with a triple dose of Mother Nature. Being able to witness the splendour of Mount Cook with a back splash of cirrus clouds, to crystal blue glacier lakes, fjords of Milford Sound on a mysteriously rainy day, an end-to-end rainbow with 2 pots of gold, the glory of spring flowers, to Fangorn’s Forest all connected by rolling hills and flatlands of farmland with flocks of sheep dotting the countryside from coast to coast to coast. Nothing could be finer, truly. Middle Earth? It felt like living a fairy tale. There and back again with Bilbo Baggins of sorts…

As I reflect about what was most captivating aside from “nature in your face” was the (almost) absence of big corporate anything, met with warm and genuine hospitality of unpretentious New Zealanders. Rarely a logo, a billboard, a golden arch, a fancy handbag was sported with a casual, comfort and acceptance of being as you were whether at a gas station filling up or a dining room of a remote lodge. How refreshing.

I relished listening to the silent whispers of nature whether a waterfall, sweet bird songs, the bark of a seal or wind rustled leaves. I collected souvenirs of rocks from the blue pools, some feathers of a red hawk and twigs of a grand Cypress tree found on the grounds of Larnarch’s Castle. How odd for me being a self proclaimed Material Girl, nothing seemed finer than those treasures I stashed in my suitcase….

There aren’t words to fully express the magnificence of it all as I mull over the jarring sumptuousness of my experience.

Speaking of jarring. The reentry to reality after an overnight flight being coddled to a final dose of New Zealand congeniality to San Francisco had life’s BS meter off the charts experiencing a double whammy of Friday the 13th day of November, literally. Paris splattered the headlines, to the Ho Ho Ho of Christmas harriedness, to my twitter feed spewing with breaking news. What gives?

It has been a few days since arriving home, still feeling a sense of calm from Mother Nature’s sweet caress despite our world going postal yet again in spades, sadly. As I took my daily walk I pondered my feelings more deeply, hmmmm. A lightbulb went off, AHA!

What we all need in our lives is more of Mother Nature – that’s the answer! I hiked to the grocery store yesterday to pick up some of her bounty that landed on my dinner plate. I walked with her feeling the brisker breeze blowing through my hair and sauntering by the bare trees reaching up to the sky. I felt her sense of calm to douse the stress of our world’s madness helping to make sense of it all somehow.

As I pondered what I’d write about in the months ahead aiming to synthesize life down to its skivvies, it came to me: let’s get more of Mother Nature in our life through our food, with fun activity and with her sage counsel to manage stress for our soul.

Hmmm, Mother Nature 3-Ways, more on this to come, Through Thick & Thin…

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Weight Loss Through the Years & What YOU Can Do

October 7th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Perhaps you read some of the headlines recently on why losing weight today is harder to do than 30 years ago. Hmmm, I thought, just what people need, are more reasons to give up on their journey from Fat City to Slim Town, what gives? I must say I read those articles with dismay, not really agreeing with all of their rationale. I feel there are other reasons why we may be having a more challenging time trying to lose weight. So here’s my take on what I feel the more relevant issues are and what YOU can do about it:

Mindless Eating – We are a people who multitask in a rush rush rush culture. Eating and drinking or consuming no longer only happen at the kitchen table with family, don’t you wish. A lot of consuming happens with distractions – while driving, while working, while watching TV. We now have cup holders in our vehicles that can hold a mega sized slurp-ee or specialty coffee that was never conceived back in the ’80′s. When scientists study what people actually consume – those tasty morsels that are consumed mindlessly don’t get recorded. Our bodies haven’t evolved into a mystery system I suspect. We just can’t remember those dang items consumed while doing other things and they really add up.
What can you do? Work on eating and drinking mindfully without distractions. Make a pact to eat, drink and be merry with your undivided attention. You’ll probably enjoy it more when you do. Awareness certainly is bliss!

Size Matters – This axiom has many applications… In the world of food and eating over the years we know that serving sizes have mushroomed to much larger portions – from cans of pop, to muffins, bagels, combo meals, to mega sized family packs of food – so much comes super sized you almost feel like you’re on the set of “Honey I shrunk the kids” in those big box Club stores! Kitchen cupboards are built differently to hold all of this super sized stuff. Over the decades of consuming the same items that are now 30% larger, it is no surprise if you’ve tipped the scale by the same percent.
What can you do? Start by choosing to consume most of your food off of smaller “salad sized” plates sitting down. While you’re at it, slow down your eating pace and experience yourself feeling satisfied. Get in the habit of making half your plate veggies and fruit throughout the day which is one of my many healthy and stealthy strategies in my ebook.

Easy Button Overload & Life’s Conveniences – On the other side of the energy equation, our lives have morphed into being able to press the “easy button” for everything. There are so many cozy conveniences from electric garage door openers, to moving sidewalks, to drive through’s, to the channel changer for the idiot box. You can say we now live on Easy Street which isn’t a word of a lie! Pair that up with our sitting epidemic and we have become so efficient we’re burning up less calories because of all of these conveniences. Good grief.
What can you do? Work on ways of moving more: take the stairs when you can, park further away, use active transport when you are planning activities close to home, work in 15 minute intervals of movement consciously and aim for an hour a day everyday.

Taste is King, Adds Caloric Sting!Food scientists have revolutionized taste perfection helping food companies find your bliss point in a vast array of ultra-processed food products. Who doesn’t want food to taste great? No one, that’s who! Let’s get real though, read the package labels and menu choices on-line to find out what’s in your food. Yes it might taste deadly, but it might just be addictive with all of the sugar, salt and fat added to it. I suggest you take my Eating Satisfaction Test and you may find that some of your favourite foods fall off your fave list.
What can you do? Get back to nature and eat more whole foods. The less packaged and ultra processed foods you and your family consume, the better. While you’re at it take my Eating Satisfaction Test!

Immediate Gratification – We the people have become so used to rewarding ourselves for every little thing we do with immediate gratification. We want everything NOW already. Yesterday is even better! And when it comes to taking the time to lose that 10 pounds we gained during the summer we want it to happen in a week. Stop the madness! If it took you 3 months to let 10 pounds sneak up on your back side it will likely take that amount of time to lose it. If you want to follow simple human biological principles, losing weight permanently FAST is next to impossible. Give a realistic game plan consideration.
What can you do? Get real and understand losing weight will be slow, but with small changes that stick, you can keep it off. Work in a reasonable system of rewards that are not food or drink related. Build a repertoire of behaviour that keep you motivated without needing to spend a slew of dough or eating some for that matter!

Final Word – Just because some experts tell you losing weight is harder to do these days doesn’t mean you need to throw up your hands and throw in the towel. Don’t give up and work on small changes that add up. In the process learn to enjoy your food and activity more. Tune out the negative nellies and know that you can do better when you’re aware of these modern day barriers. Kick them to the curb! So go on, take your lifestyle by the horns this fall in a positive direction!

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Who can you trust in this mad mad mad world of misinformation?

September 30th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , ,

I have written in my book that it can be a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World when it comes to the smelly heap of food and nutrition misinformation these days. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to believe. Sadly, many innocent consumers don’t only waste their hard earned money on crack-pot, unnecessary products but also harm themselves physically by trying some of these schemes.

I recently recounted a story I heard in my blog post “Clean Up on Aisle 3“. I heard about a woman who tried a cleanse, limiting her to only drink a high-priced, special elixir to help her find her fountain of youth. After a month on this bevy blaster her hair started falling out. That wasn’t exactly the special side effect she was seeking, good grief. That’s what happens when you don’t deliver all the nutrients your body needs consistently – it eventually breaks down.

Unfortunately the wisdom of eating a balanced diet and regular food can seem so unsexy and highly underrated when indeed this nugget is truly the Holy Grail… The moral of that story – don’t mess with the machine – your bodacious body, as I have written many times and explain in my ebook, Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

Dietitians of Canada has some pointers to help Canadians sort through the noise to find the best available nutrition information.

Here are five tips to spot misinformation:

  • Is the person or product promising a quick fix like fast weight-loss or a miracle cure? If it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is! Making changes to your health means a commitment to eating well and exercising regularly. Check out the ‘Your Health’ section at
  • Are they trying to sell you products such as special foods or supplements instead of teaching you how to make better food choices at home, at play, at work or while eating out?
  • Do they provide information based on personal stories rather than on facts? Although it’s nice to hear about a success story from a celebrity, it’s not proof that something works or is true. Nutrition advice should be based on the best available scientific research. Dietitians are university trained, regulated health professionals who use tools such as PEN® to make sure they are basing their advice on the best available information.
  • Is their claim based on a single study or a few research studies? Were the studies with animals or humans? Are you similar to the humans that were studied (age, gender etc.)? The stronger the study design, and the more studies available that draw the same conclusions, the stronger the evidence that something it true.
  • What are the person’s qualifications? Think about it: You wouldn’t ask a celebrity how to build a safe bridge, you’d ask a professional engineer. You also wouldn’t ask a celebrity to fill your cavity, you’d ask a dentist. The same thinking should apply for nutrition advice. Dig a little deeper and ask for credentials. The title dietitian is protected by law, just like a nurse, dentist or pharmacist. Look for the initials “RD or PDt” to identify a registered dietitian.

Awash yourself with wisdom people. Trust an RD!

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Clean UP on Aisle 3!

July 13th, 2015 No Comments Tags: ,

Did you read the article that appeared in the Globe & Mail last week about nutrition experts on staff in grocery stores? The writer made a boo boo lumping unregulated nutritionists together with Registered Dietitians while asking the question “…is their advice hurting more than helping?” hmmmm. It sparked a flurry of chatter among my fellow RD nutrition expert compadres. Truth be told, I had a case of indigestion reading it while trying to enjoy my breakfast. I have done my share of pondering, now it’s time to weigh in…

I cannot think of a more brilliant concept than having nutrition experts – Registered Dietitians in the grocery store setting, bravo! It’s the one place where the rubber meets the road to support optimal food choice propping up the health and well being of you and your family. Many times have I spied customers who look bewildered comparing products trying to figure out which choice is better.

I love the Metro “My Healthy Plate” program with a smile-symbol system right on the product shelves denoting what’s good and what’s better of the rows of offerings. It’s a solid scheme based on current scientific criteria mapped out by a team of sharp-minded dietitians. This system takes the guess-work out of grocery shopping by helping you make better food choices in every aisle of the grocery store. All of the nutrition figuring has been done for you, simply grab and go.

I get my knickers in a knot when unregulated nutritionists with healthy sounding titles promote unproven concepts tied to herbals, supplements, high priced organics and gluten free for non-celiacs. It bothers me to think that innocent consumers, especially seniors are being nudged into spending hard earned dollars on products they don’t need. It is THAT type of advice that is hurting more than helping.

Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. These days it seems that every second youthful-looking person is starting their own blog and tweeting all sorts of non-sense. Gwyneth Paltrow is a perfect example. Just because someone eats, bakes, takes a few courses, watches Dr. Oz and surfs the net doesn’t make them an expert of any kind. If something sounds too good to be true, remember… it is. To spot these imposters I wish you could just listen for that quacking sound, but alas it isn’t that simple.

What I have learned over the years is that young bodies can really take a beating when trying seemingly innocuous products. Beware though, because as we age our magical machine can’t hold up quite as well and things eventually start to break down.

Case in point, I heard a story about a woman who tried a cleanse, limiting her to only drink a high-priced, special elixir to help her find her fountain of youth. After a month on this bevy blaster her hair started falling out. That wasn’t exactly the special side effect she was seeking, good grief. That’s what happens when you don’t deliver all the nutrients your body needs consistently – it eventually breaks down. Unfortunately the wisdom of eating a balanced diet and regular food can seem unsexy and highly underrated when indeed this nugget is truly the Holy Grail… The moral of that story – don’t mess with the machine – your bodacious body, as I have written many times and explain in my ebook, Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

Some nutritionists spew all kinds of folksy stuff. Make sure whoever gives you advice can back up what they’re preaching using scientific evidence and NOT the popular press. If someone tells you “…well back on the farm eons ago everyone ate all ..… blah blah blah blah”. I love a good fairy tail too, but in reality the life expectancy back then was much lower than it is now thanks to the advances in modern medicine.

Listen folks, I am now north of 50 and I’m not talking latitude here, but age. I realize how important it is for me to rely on accredited, well-trained professionals to treat my body right. After all, your body IS your temple. If you want to shop around for different shoes or styles, go for it. But when it comes to your health heed the advice of accredited health professional like Registered Dietitians any time you can get it. The years of training, high standards and demands for them to consistently stay in the know to allow them to be registered by an accredited college to protect the public holds them to a higher standard. Isn’t that what you want? Why settle for anything less?

The next time you go to the grocery store make it a point to ask for a session with a Registered Dietitian. I’d like to hear on the overhead speaker “Call the Dietitian for clean up on aisle 3!”; yes clean up the misconceptions on food and nutrition issues that lurk in every aisle…

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