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Dishing It Up on Supplements

Dietary Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing It Up on Supplementssupplements are big business. According to Types of Supplements: 2022–2023 Trends, a report from NutraScience Labs, the global market is projected to increase to US$272.4 billion by 2028. Regulatory practices vary widely [click here re: Canadian regulation of natural health products] and there have been reports of supplement companies making unfounded health claims. Some investigations have uncovered products that don’t contain the active ingredients they claim to (either in the labelled quantity or at all). And, as with any lucrative industry, it has its share of promoters who are motivated as much (or more) by boosting profits as by improving the health of the consumer. Also of concern is the misconception that supplements can do no harm because they are “natural” and readily available. But they can do harm if not taken appropriately, negatively interacting with prescription or other medications, for example.

Caveats aside, however, there is a place for high quality supplements when used judiciously. They come in a wide variety of formulations (and quality) so it is a good idea to first speak with a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner who will be able to ensure you have no contraindications for use and advise you on the formulation, dosage and duration of use that will work best for you. And always inform your doctor(s) and pharmacist of any and all nutritional supplements you are taking.

Food first, supplements second

One last comment before diving into the stories. Improving your diet should always come first. Whole foods contain multiple nutrients with synergistic effects that make them not only more readily absorbed by your body but also more effective. Supplements have their place, but they cannot match the effectiveness of foods and should never be considered an appropriate substitute for a poor diet.

Below are some recent stories of interest as well as a handout on how to read labels. The final story is about hydration. This may seem out of place but many common complaints, such as headache, muscle cramps, low energy and so forth, might well be improved by proper hydration. This, along with eating nutritious whole foods, will do more to improve your health than a whole handful of supplements, not to mention it will be less expensive.

This month in Dishing It Up on Supplements …

  • People With Cancer Should Be Wary of Taking Dietary Supplements
  • 11 Supplements That May Be Worth Taking
  • Don’t Rely on Amazon for Legitimate Supplements, Study Finds
  • How to read a supplement label
  • How staying properly hydrated may help you live healthier, longer

Read on for a bite-sized summary and links for each story …

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Eat anything you want. Just cook it yourself.

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Eat Anything You Want Just Cook It YourselfHappy New Year! As holiday feasting has come to a close along with 2022, thoughts have likely turned toward New Year’s resolutions to be healthier and/or lose weight in 2023. The plethora of diets out there (Mediterranean, DASH, Paleo, Keto, Low FODMAP, Vegan, Low Carb-High Fat, Low Fat-High Carb, MIND, Weight Watchers and many more) can easily have you calorie counting, confused and stressing over micro-managing your macro-nutrients (“gee, how many grams of fat, protein and carbs should I eat?“).

So let’s cut straight to today’s pearl of dietary wisdom, expressed so eloquently by New York Times bestselling author Michael Pollan and captured succinctly in this 3-minute videoEat anything you want. Just cook it yourself. Seriously, people overcomplicate matters. I promise you that this single step of cooking your own food will advance you leaps and bounds toward a healthier you.

And I want to help. Members of The Nutritional Reset community receive delicious, nutritious and simple recipes throughout the year to inspire home cooking. So if you aren’t already a member, sign up here for free. And then, go ahead and eat anything you want. Just cook it yourself. Read on for more about why this is so important and for my special offer: invite your friends to join The Nutritional Reset Community and I will send each of you my Big Batches for Buddies recipe collection to inspire you in the kitchen.

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The Greatest Gift

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail The Greatest GiftWe’re in the bell lap of 2022 and the holiday season is officially in top gear. A few years ago I offered up some timeless tips on how to Feast Festively Without Piling on the Pounds, which you may wish to revisit. This year, however, I thought I’d do something different and jumpstart the season with some holiday wisdom by way of analogy. During the gift-giving season, I think this analogy really drives home the point that a healthy body is truly the greatest gift of all.

I hope the perspective it offers will help you navigate the holidays as you make choices about what you eat and how you spend your time. Staying healthy has a lot to do with eating nutritiously, yes. But it also involves prioritizing exercise, rest/recovery and mental health. And if there is one thing I’m discovering as the years tick by, it’s that my body is less forgiving than it used to be. It is far better to avoid the “potholes” in the first place! Because, truly, the gift of a healthy body is the greatest gift you can give yourself this holiday season! And be sure to read to the end of the post for my personal gift to you – my collection of Healthy Holiday Recipes.

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Dishing It Up On Snacking

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing It Up on Snacking

Do you find that once the snow flies you drift into snacking and wanting to eat more? I do. Perhaps winter’s chilly temperatures trigger biological changes that stimulate hunger and increase cravings for more energy-dense foods. Call it an evolutionary drive to fatten us up to survive harsher conditions.

Another theory points to the fewer daylight hours. Sunlight is a cue for the brain to release serotonin, a mood-boosting neurotransmitter. So perhaps the relative lack of sunlight in winter prompts cravings for carbohydrates, which also stimulate the release of serotonin. People tend to be most vulnerable to snacking in the early evening, as darkness falls. And in winter, the window of time between dusk and dinner gets larger. If you snack mindlessly during this time, you just might get larger too. 😉

So this month I’m dishing it up on snacking. I’ll touch on the science of snacking, what to snack on when a snack makes sense and the type of “snacks” that are always A-OK!

This month in Dishing It Up on Snacking …

  • The Science of Snacking
  • Snacks that Satisfy
  • Beware of health claims on foods (especially snack foods)
  • Try an ‘Activity Snack’
  • The 7 best short workouts for heart health, strength and mood

Read on for a bite-sized summary and links for each story …

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Moroccan Carrot, Chickpea & Halloumi Salad

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Moroccan Carrot, Chickpea & Halloumi Salad

One of the best things we can do for our health is to amp up our vegetable intake and replace simple carbohydrates with more complex ones. An easy way to accomplish this is to have a repertoire of simple yet tasty recipes that do just that. This Moroccan Carrot, Chickpea & Halloumi Salad is one of those recipes. It’s super simple, super delicious and super versatile.

Sign up to my newsletter today to receive the recipe for my Moroccan Carrot, Chickpea & Halloumi Salad.



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To D or not to D?

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail To D or Not to DTo D or not to D – that is the question. I’m referring, of course, to vitamin D and whether it’s a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement. Here are some multiple choice answers for you to ponder:

  • a) always
  • b) by no means
  • c) capsule form only
  • d) definitely in the dark days of winter!

So, to D or not to D. That is the question. And the answer is …
d) definitely in the dark days of winter.

Read on for more about why it’s important to supplement vitamin D.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte…Deconstructed

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Pumpkin Spice Latte

It’s hard to believe it’s October already. Yet the mornings are getting chillier and there’s an autumnal vibe about. We are coming into comfort food climate. With October hosting both Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en, thoughts turn to pumpkins and spice and all things nice. And who hasn’t been tempted at one time, or many, by a steamy Pumpkin Spice Latte on a cool fall afternoon?

While we know these concoctions aren’t exactly nutritious, it’s hard to say no. So I hope my recipe and what I’ve written below will convince you that making your own is a far better way to treat yourself. Sign up to my newsletter today to receive the recipe for my Pumpkin Spice Latte.

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Dishing It Up By Numbers

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing It Up by Numbers

You’ve heard of Paint by Numbers? Well, this month we’re Dishing It Up by Numbers.

While we’re in back-to-school mode and making our to-do lists (and since numbered lists seem super popular), I thought it would be fun to reflect on a number of ways we can hone healthier habits as we head into fall.

Dishing It Up by Numbers

  • Eight easy ways to be healthier right now
  • More than 6 drinks a week leads to higher health risks
  • 5 Good Habits That Might Cause Premature Aging
  • 4 Important Things We Get Wrong About Aging
  • Strength Training Can Help You Live Longer (2 sessions a week)
  • Power of the Streak: Could It Be Our Best Motivational Tool?

And I couldn’t finish this list without adding my own #1 for a little back-to-school homework:

  • Try 1 NEW VEGETABLE each and every week. How long you can keep your streak going?

Read on for a bite-sized summary and links for each story …

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Fennel & Arugula Salad with Chicken…Deconstructed

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Fennel and Arugula Salad with Chicken

In my last blog post, Tips for a Hot Bod, I mentioned dining out on salads and using your BBQ to avoid turning on your oven in the heat of sizzling summer. This Fennel & Arugula Salad with Chicken is a perfect example. It was a particular favourite of a recent client, too, so I thought I’d share it with you.

If you don’t have a BBQ or are too hot to use it, simply buy a rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breast from your grocer. Of course, if you are cooking chicken for another recipe, it’s a no-brainer to make extra so you can serve this salad for a subsequent lunch or dinner. Prefer a meatless meal? You can make this with white beans, chickpeas or tofu instead. If you eat seafood, poached salmon or shrimp work well here too.

Fennel is not the most attractive of vegetables so it often gets overlooked. And it’s Latin name, Foeniculum vulgare, isn’t much of an advertisement. The bulbs we buy are a variety called Florence fennel, which sounds far more pleasing. Read on for why this vegetable is more versatile than vulgar.

This salad makes for easy entertaining as you can prepare everything through Step 1 ahead of time. Then all you need to do just prior to serving is toss in pre-washed arugula and top it with slices of cooked chicken and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios. My client took it to a pot-luck book club event and she said it was a hit. It’s also great for picnics or to whip up while on a cottage vacation.

Speaking of which, I’ll be taking the remainder of the month off for my annual “no-blog Aug” vacation. 😉  I wish you a rollicking good rest of summer and see you in September!

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Tips for a Hot Bod

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Tips for a Hot BodIf you’re expecting this post to reveal a raft of diet and exercise tips to give you the hot bod of a swimsuit model, then you’ll be disappointed. Besides, most of them are digitally altered anyway (at least it certainly makes me feel better to think that). What I’m really on about is what you can do when your bod gets too hot since, as I write this, the temperature outside is a sweltering 31 degrees Celsius.

Summer sizzles, so I thought some tips for healthy hydration and cooling off a hot bod would be a hot topic. Particularly for those of us also in hot flash territory. 😉 I was lucky enough to be at a cottage in the Ottawa Valley for a few days during this heatwave and jumping in a spring-fed lake did wonders for beating the heat! But if you aren’t near a cooling body of water, then what?

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