Dietitian's Blog

The difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian?

Over the past few weeks I have been immersing myself in the nutrition world in the Okanagan. While much about being a dietitian is the same between here and Nova Scotia, one major difference exists. In Nova Scotia, only Registered Dietitians can call themselves ‘Nutritionists.’ Here in BC, anyone, quite literally, can claim the title ‘Nutritionist.’ What does that mean for clients? It means that if you seek out the services of a Nutritionist, you may not be getting someone most qualified to give nutrition advice.  For example, Registered Holistic Nutritionists, or “RHNs,” are not educated to the same standards as Registered Dietitians. RHNs may use the designation “Registered” in their title  because their program of study paid the required fee to Industry Canada to legally trademark the title of the program. However, RHNs are not regulated under the Health Professions Act.  Dietitians on the other hand must be part of a regulatory body, just like doctors, pharmacists and nurses. Dietitians are regulated under the Health Professions ActDietitians Regulation and the CDBC Bylaws. In order to become a Dietitian, an individual must complete at least 4 years of study in Science at an accredited University, followed by a year long internship, where the student gains experience in a variety of clinical settings both within and outside the hospital.  Many dietitians further their knowledge by pursuing a graduate degree, which provides a more in depth analysis of current nutrition knowledge and may help them focus on specialized areas within the dietetics field.  You certainly do not want to take short cuts with your health. When looking for nutritional advice, be sure to seek out a Registered Dietitian to guarantee you receive the highest quality care.  To learn more about Dietitians in BC, visit The College of Dietitians of British Columbia. 

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Eating mindfully

Mindful eating is a big part of my practice with clients. What is mindful eating you ask? It is the practice, quite simply, of honouring your body’s hunger and fullness cues. It’s about fueling your body with the food it needs to thrive, without questionning or second-guessing those urges. It’s not about using food to deal with emotions. It’s not about eating simply because there’s still food on the plate. It is also referred to as intuitive eating, meaning that it is eating according to physical needs. Many of us approach eating as a side project, something to be done while we catch up on emails, work, or our favourite television shows. But research shows that if we eat while we’re distracted, we tend to feel less satisifed with our meals and often eat up to 50% more! Mindful eaters are more likely to be at a healthy weight, less likely to suffer from eating disorders and overeating, and are more satisfied with their diets.  Here are some tips to approaching eating more mindfully:

  • Tune out distractions. Turn off the television, phone, computer and whatever else may distract you from the task of eating.
  • Focus on the flavours of the food and eat slowly to savour the moment.
  • Before eating, always check in to see if you’re truly hungry or simply looking for a way of escaping a particular emotion, such as boredom, anger, stress, loneliness.
  • While eating, check in with your level of fullness. Are you comfortably satisfied? Are you still hungry? Choose to stop eating or continue eating based on your answers to these questions.

To see if you are a mindful eater, take this quiz.

If you’d like guidance on becoming a more mindful eater, make an appointment today!

Navigating the holiday season

The season is rapidly approaching – the one where our pantries are filled with holiday baking and our weekends booked with dinner parties and family gatherings.  While I love this time of year and revel in the opportunity to share good food with those I love, there are ways to have your holiday cake and eat it too.  There’s a word that we throw around all too freely, but rarely give it the weight it deserves – moderation.  It’s not about denying yourself the pleasures of good food; rather it’s about being choosy.  Think of your calories like a budget – you want to get the most flavour and enjoyment while not spending more than you can afford.  That means choosing food that stimulates your senses and savouring each bite.  Here are 5 tips to keep in mind while we are soaking up all of the season’s offerings:

  1. Know when to indulge, and when to hold back.  When faced with a buffet of choices, fill up on turkey, ham, and veggies, but go easy on gravy, stuffing, and finger-foods.
  2. Feed your sweet tooth, not teeth.  It is very easy to think, “Oh I’ll just have a small taste of everything.” But before you know it, you’ve had an entire day’s worth of calories on one dessert plate.  Instead, choose the 2 sweets that look most appealing to you, and half each of them with a friend (that’s right, for the equivalent of ONE dessert). Remember that there is often more than one occasion to enjoy such delicacies, so choose the best of what each has to offer and truly enjoy it.
  3. Beware of high calorie drinks.  A traditional Rum and Egg Nog can cost you over 400 calories and almost 20 grams of fat! That’s more than a typical slice of pizza! Alternatively, opt for lower calorie mixers, such as a club soda, or cranberry juice mixed with water.  This will save you over 300 calories, and all the fat, which you can then put toward that dessert you’ve had your eye on all night.
  4. Never arrive to a party on an empty stomach.  That is like going to battle without a weapon.  Instead, have a light, high fibre snack 1-2 hours prior and drink at least 2 cups of water. A salad topped with a boiled egg, or a bowl of cereal with fruit and
    skim milk are great options.  That way, once you’re surrounded by temptation, you’re more likely to resist overindulging.
  5. Stay active! The holidays offer us plenty of opportunity to get moving, which will help us avoid the dreaded January weigh-in.  Instead of making the meal the focal point of the gathering, why not organize an ice skating party? Or make a family event out of snow shoeing.  Even a simple walk allows you time to catch up with friends and work off some calories at the same time.

Keep these tips in mind during the next few weeks, as you celebrate with family and friends.  Lose the all-or-none belief that you must either abstain from every delicacy offered or gorge on all that you can get your hands on.  Be selective.  Allow each flavour, and each moment, to linger just a little bit longer.

Will losing weight make you fat?

A new study found that frequent dieting puts people at greater risk of weight gain than non dieting. In fact, regular dieting was associated with greater weight gain than genetics. The study, which was published  in the International Journal of Obesity, looked at over 4000 twins and found that, in those twins who regularly dieted, their weights were significantly higher than the twin who did not reguarly diet. Studies that look at differences between twin sets are good at eliminating the effect of genetics, since both twins would have similar genes.

Now this study certainly does not mean we should throw caution to the wind and eat beyond our needs. However, it does indicate that frequent dieting can end up leaving you further from your weight goals. That is why I always work with my clients to make lifestyle changes. By making modest, but long-term, changes with eating and activity, you can reach a healthy weight, and stay at that healthy weight. Sure, quick fixes that offer big weight loss in a short amount of time might seem appealing, but if it’s only going to make it easier for you to gain weight in the future, is it really worth it?

Healthy Tips for the BBQ

By FWF Admin | Published June 17th, 2011

Even though we haven’t seen much of the sun here in Halifax, it is in fact summertime. One of my favourite parts of summer is the barbeques. But, did you know that cooking meats at high temperatures can increase carcinogen formation in the food?  That’s right, our favourite grilled meats, including fish, can bring with them a serving of cancer-causing compounds.  High consumption of barbecued and/or fried meats has been linked to increased risks of colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancers. But there are steps you can take to make those grilled meats healthier, without losing any of the taste.

  • Marinate the meats before grilling and/or wrap the meats with foil to stop the juices
    from hitting the flame directly.
  • Use lower temperatures when possible and/or cook at high temperatures for shorter
    periods. While it may sound unappetizing, cooking your meat for a couple of minutes in the microwave before putting it on the barbeque can drastically reduce the amount of carcinogens that are produced, without greatly altering the taste and texture.
  • Be sure to scrape off any charred bits that might be on the meat after it’s cooked.
  • Serve your grilled meats with a healthy portion of antioxidant-rich veggies to neutralize some of the risk from the grilled meats.

And remember, clean your barbeque regularly.  Happy grilling!