Friday, March 30, 2012

Kale Craze

The end of Nutrition Month is here! I can't believe it’s already March 30th! This week has been exciting for Clinical Nutrition. Not only did we have a delicious Nutrition Month celebratory potluck (which I unfortunately neglected to take photos of), but we were also lucky to have Dr. Joe Schwartz join us as a guest speaker today. He was so informative and quite humorous... The perfect combo in my eyes! If you missed out, there is no need to worry! His talk was recorded so you can check it out later.

Back to the potluck... Katherine brought a kale and brussels sprout salad that was such a huge hit that there wasn't even any left for me to try! She circulated the recipe though, so I thought I'd share with all of you. A crowd pleaser amongst dietitians, nutrition technicians, interns and foodies... Must be a keeper! ;)

Katherine used:
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot (or red onion)
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated (or more)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunches of kale (about 1 1/2 pounds total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 12 Brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely grated sharp old cheese like parmesan
And mixed it up!

Some tidbits about kale:
  • Kale is packed with antioxidants!
  • It’s a source of beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and lutein.
  • Kale is actually a form of cabbage. 
  • Kale has a hearty taste and can be used to intensify the taste of salads (like Katherine’s).
  • Kale actually freezes well, unlike other greens. Freezing, even if it’s just for a few hours overnight can bring out a sweeter taste.
  • Kale has tough center stalks, so remove these before cooking.

Another recipe I have for you is a bean soup with kale (appropriate given this chilly weather!). This recipe makes about 8 servings and provides antioxidants, phytochemicals, fibre AND about 11g protein per serving.

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped raw kale
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cans of white beans, undrained
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tsp dried Italian herb seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped parsley

  1. In a large pot heat 1 Tbsp olive oil, and sauté 8 garlic cloves and 1 chopped onion. 
  2. Add kale in and sauté. 
  3. Add: 
    • 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
    • 2 cups of white beans (cannellini or navy)
    • 4 chopped plum tomatoes
    • 2 tsp of Italian herb seasoning
    • And some salt and pepper. Let that simmer for about 5 minutes. 
  4. In a blender, mix the rest of the beans and broth until smooth.
  5. Stir into the soup and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

Friday, March 23, 2012


I cannot believe it has been over a week since my last post! My apologies!

On the flip side, I have so much to share with you!

First of all, I would like to wish all of the dietitians at Sunnybrook a Happy (belated) Dietitians Day!!!  On Wednesday dietitians were celebrated as committed health care professionals and nutrition experts across the nation, not to mention at my sister’s desk! She is so fortunate to be so supported by her team!  Check out the photos below.  How cute is the spelling on the card?! 

Another exciting event that I would like to tell you about is the Fibrelicious Food Fiesta.  Three of our dietetic interns showed us how to conveniently and easily incorporate high fiber food choices into our daily diet.  Tanya, Abbey and Angie prepared three high fiber dishes: turkey balsamic onion quesadillas, spicy black bean soup, and dessert nachos.  Not only are the recipes quick and packed with fibre, but tasty too!

Sources of fibre include whole grain tortillas in the quesadillas and homemade nachos, berries, and black beans included in the soup. 

Why incorporate fibre?

Well, fibre helps:
o   Lower cholesterol
o   Control blood glucose
o   Regulate your bowels
o   Keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer periods of time

Tips to increase fibre intake:
o   Include whole grains into your diet
o   Substitute regular with whole wheat flour
o   Add high fibre cereal or flax to your favourite cereal
o   Consume a variety of fruits and veggies (including the skins and peels!)
o   Add beans, peas and lentils to soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes
o   Check the fibre content on food labels
It’s recommended that individual diets include 25-38 grams of fibre per day.  But remember, if you’re going to increase fibre in your diet, do so gradually and ensure you’re well hydrated! 

Monday, March 12, 2012


Happy Nutrition Month!  Each year, a new theme is selected by Dietitians of Canada.  This year, the theme is myth-busting, or “Get the real deal on your meal.” 

There are so many misconceptions regarding nutrition so I thought I’d provide you with a few nutrition myth-busting tidbits.  Here we go…

MYTH #1: Organic foods are the safest and healthiest choice. 

TRUTH: Both organic and non-organic foods are nutritious, safe to consume, and strictly regulated.  Sticking to an organic diet is an individual choice.  Keep in mind that nutritional value is impacted by a variety of factors, such as growing location and techniques, storage, shipping, and preparation (ie. cooking methods).  

MYTH #2: Avoid carbs if you want to lose weight.

TRUTH: Cutting carbs means cutting out beneficial whole grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, and legumes! Initial weight loss from omitting these items is usually a result of overall decreased intake.  Your best bet to lose weight and keep it off long-term is to exercise routinely and follow Canada’s Food Guide to help you appropriately balance your diet. 

MYTH #3: Everyone should eat a gluten-free diet.

TRUTH: Unless you have a gluten allergy, sensitivity, or celiac disease, you don’t need to avoid gluten.  Incorporate gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley and rye into your diet and remember to include whole grains.  

MYTH #4: There is no difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist.

TRUTH: Dietitians have specific training and are educated to advise you on food, nutrition and healthy eating.  “Registered Dietitian” is a protected term and Dietitians in Ontario are required to be a member of the College of Dietitians of Ontario.  The term “nutritionist” isn’t a protected term in many provinces.  For nutrition advice, you’re in the right place… dietitians are the best choice!

MYTH #5: Eating a lot of protein helps build muscle.

TRUTH: There are many elements needed to build muscle mass: strength training, protein, sufficient calories, recovery, and sleep (an hour of which we lost this weekend!).  Excessive protein intake will add extra calories but won’t necessarily transform you into the Hulk.  Most of us actually meet and even exceed protein requirements from our typical daily diet.  A tip for strength training athletes:  include a post-workout snack that incorporates protein.  Remember, sources of protein include lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, lower fat milk and alternatives, and legumes. 

Check back for some more myth-busting this month!

In the mean time, if you’re around the hospital, make sure to check out activities organized by our dietetic interns that will be taking place throughout the month.  Details can be found on the Sunnybrook website. 


March 13-15

Get Caught Eating
Your Fruits  & Veggies
March 15
Fibrelicious Food Fiesta
March 20
Fibrelicious Taste Test
March 30
Nutrition Myths Busted: A Talk by
Dr. Joe Schwarcz

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Valentine’s Day has just passed and I am still daydreaming of themed goodies! I cannot help but share photos of my indulgences.  

The cake I can’t take credit for, but the lollipops I can… and they were a huge hit with coworkers!  We can easily substitute some items on ingredients lists to improve the nutrient profile of these and other recipes.  

Instead of…

o   Replace up to half of the fat with unsweetened applesauce
o   Reduce the overall fat (without substitution) by ¼-
o   Replace butter with healthier fats such as nonhydrogenated margarines, olive, canola or soybean oils

o   Reduce overall sugar by ¼ to
o   Use sweet extracts and spices such as vanilla, almond, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
o   Replace sugar with sugar substitutes, such as Splenda® (equivalent conversions)

o   Replace one egg with half a banana mashed with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder  or 2 egg whites

o   Substitute up to half of white flour with whole wheat

Adapted from Dietitians of Canada’s “Recipe ‘Make-over’: How to make your recipes healthier”

Stay tuned for recipes, educational videos (posted on the bottom of the page), and updates on initiatives organized by our dietitians and dietetic interns, such as food demonstrations, Nutrition Month and other activities.


For my first post, I’d like to tell you a little about myself, explain my site ‘theme’ and set the stage for future entries.  I am a Clinical Dietitian here at Sunnybrook and first discovered blogging during my Masters in Nutrition Communications.  I consider myself a communicator, teacher, learner, sister, friend, snowboarder, music lover, dancer, chatterbox and… BLOGGER!!!  :D  I am really excited to get started!  Hopefully I can capture and hold the attention of some of you for at least a few posts! ;) 

Although I am a dietitian, this blog will not solely focus on healthy eating.  Food is a huge part of all of our lives.  At times when eating, we cannot help but indulge in delectable dishes and desserts without a care or concern beyond taste.  On the other hand, we are frequently tempted to analyze and inquire as to the recipe, ingredients and nutrient content.  Often, you can’t have one counterpart without the other- we sometimes need nutritious and delicious! So, it’s the ‘recipe’, or analytical, approach that I’ll try to focus on, but keep in mind that the scrumptious side may occasionally come out too!  

Please note that the intent of this blog is not to provide individual advice, but general food and nutrition ‘tips and tricks’.