The month of March always excited me as it marks the beginning of a warmer spring season. As I entered into my profession I also learnt that the month which I’ve always anticipated is known to Registered Dietitians and Nutrition Educators as Nutrition Month. Throughout this month, nutrition professionals dedicate their energy towards bringing awareness and education to a particular topic. Every year a different theme is explored. This year the theme is: Unlock the potential of food - Realize the potential of food to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and bring us together.
What a wonderful holistic subject to discuss! Food is so much more than just a routine part of our daily lives. The food we choose to nourish our bodies plays a role in all aspects of our well-being. I strongly believe that each of us can find ourselves connected to one or more of the Nutrition Month 2018 concepts. When a human connection to a concept is established this naturally produces a deeper level of influence and importance for an individual.
For this article I took a different approach this time. I chose to communicate the topic through the words of ‘real’ people. I reached out to several individuals from all walks of life to get their input on what the topic means to them personally. The responses I received were phenomenal! Not only are their personal answers impressive, but I was also reminded to look at all facets of health with fresh eyes…and I think you will be too.
Adam Stuart- Hockey Player for Brest in the France2 League
“Staying energized for a pro hockey player is very important. I do this by eating frequently throughout the day, including my main meals, as well as smaller portions in between. I start my day with a morning practice or workout. Before I head out I like to get something in my stomach like yogurt bowl with cereal to fuel me through my workout. When I get home, I need to make sure I have a huge breakfast that is rich in protein. After breakfast, I continuously eat smaller meals throughout the day, along with constantly consuming water so I remain hydrated. I try to keep in my how important it is for me to be constantly fueling myself with high protein/carbs, after expending my energy daily with practices, workouts and games.
It's important for me to follow this regime because it allows me to feel my best every day. Everyone is different, and no one knows you as well as you know yourself, so it should be a priority to find something that works for you and allows you to stay disciplined.
Balance in life is the most important thing to keep in mind. Everyone is going to have those cheat days where a Big Mac is too good to say no to. However, as long as you're staying consistent in my opinion that's all that matters. I find surrounding myself with good options helps me. Instead of stocking the kitchen with chips and unhealthy snacks, I like to keep the cupboards stocked with nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and berries.”
Cheylynn Wyatt – Mompreneur
“Healthy food has become a big priority in my family’s life over the past few years as we learn about food sensitivities and restrictions. I have two daughters aged 1(nearly!) and 8. I quickly learned how crucially important it is to foster healthy eating habits early on to set-up my children for a healthier future.
One of the ways I’ve built a healthy food foundation for my older daughter, Cara, is to include her in meal prep. She loves to get her hands dirty in the kitchen and feel involved in the food preparation process. We look forward to this to not only spend time bonding with each other but looking at food as fuel. Every couple of weeks I have Cara look through recipes on the internet and cookbooks. Cara is given the welcomed responsibility of picking out a healthy recipe, making the shopping list, shopping for ingredients at the store, prepping the food and cooking it (of course with Moms help!). This is one of Cara’s favourite things to do and she looks at it as an activity and not a chore. Little does she know that in the midst of all the fun she is learning the essential skills of meal planning, shopping, and preparing food that will stay with her for life.”
Dr. Kelle Hurd – Resident at the University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine
“Being healthy is about having a strong physical, mental, and emotional state of health and that begins with how you choose to fuel your body. Choosing the right nutrients gets tricky when life gets busy and it’s easy to fall into bad habits either eating some with empty calories or arguably worse, not eating at all.
Our bodies can’t heal or fight disease when we have not maintained proper nutrition as macro and micronutrients are a foundation to cell recovery. Many illnesses I treat are directly associated to poor lifestyle and nutrition including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. In fact, a low sodium diet, high in protein and good fats (DASH diet) is still one of the best ways to lower blood pressure naturally.
Do I think good nutrition has the ability to prevent the development of chronic disease? Absolutely. However, as a society we are faced with the challenge of accessing affordable nutrition options at work, in schools, and in various communities.”
Cailyn Morash – Nutrition Educator for FoodImpact Inc.
“Food has the potential to heal. Food can heal emotional wounds by bringing friends and family together to share an experience. Whether it be gardening, prepping, or dining, food connects us all in some way. Then there is the other side of healing, where we turn to food to provide comfort. Think about how comfort foods make you feel when you consume them and which foods you’d consider comforting. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve curled up with a tub of ice cream after a bad day. But, and possibly most importantly, food physiologically heals.
As a Nutrition Educator, I have the opportunity to heal every day. It truly makes my heart full when a student catches up with me in the hall, holds up a food product and says “Miss Cailyn, is this healthy? Because I want to have ALL of my superpowers.” These are the moments that I embrace. It’s these learning experiences that reduce the risk of chronic disease. It’s all about making small, maintainable changes to your daily routine – nothing drastic. It’s about bringing fun back into the kitchen and being proud of what you’re putting into your body. Food heals. We just have to unleash its potential!”
Brett & Emily McDermott – Company Owners of Our Daily Brett in Calgary, AB
“Creating meals to share with family and friends is at the core of what we do at ODB. This is true of our dine-in and grab-and-go offerings alike. Recently, we obtained a liquor license and have been hosting more events at our harvest table such as wine and food tastings and a weekly "happy hour" every Friday evening that features small plates (designed for sharing) and a selection of natural wines. Because we have a single large harvest table at our market, any event we do involves gathering around a shared space and often results in new connections and getting to know the couple, person or people dining beside you.”
We all have the innate ability to unlock the potential of our food, as revealed above. I would like to thank all of my contributors! I truly appreciate your brilliance and your enthusiasm to share. Each of you are excellent role models who exemplify inspiring healthiness.
Remember that the concepts from Nutrition Month 2018 can last longer than a month; becoming a practice which can last a lifetime.
If you would like more information on Nutrition Month please visit: www.nutritionmonth2018.ca
Nutrition Educator, FoodImpact
B.Sc. Nutrition and Food Sciences
1. Dietitians of Canada 2018 - Unlock the Potential of Food. http://www.nutritionmonth2018.ca/