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Dishing It Up on Fads & Foolishness

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing It Up on Fads & FoolishnessAs today is April Fool’s Day, let’s foray into some fads and foolishness in the world of wellness. I hope you enjoy these stories! Though please take them with the proverbial grain of salt.

And remember that the best route to optimal health is to make long term, sustainable changes to your lifestyle, rather than pandering to fads. It is the distinctly un-faddish things – things like eating whole, unprocessed foods, more fruits and vegetables, moving your body throughout the day, getting your heart rate up regularly and sleeping well – that will make you healthier and happier. There are no quick fixes. Yes, it takes work. The rewards, however, are well worth it.

This month in Dishing It Up on Fads & Foolishness …

  • Heinz Launches New Hot Cross Bun Mayonnaise this Easter
  • Giant meatball with woolly mammoth DNA unveiled by cultured meat startup
  • Compostable takeout bowls contain ‘forever chemicals,’ study finds
  • Wellmania on Netflix
  • WeightWatchers going into prescription weight loss business with telehealth provider acquisition

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

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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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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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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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Dishing It Up on Aging

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing It Up on Aging

My wedding anniversary is coming up next week and, wow, twenty years has just flown by. So yes, it’s true, time flies when you are having fun!  And it is also true that aging is an inevitable part of life.

But aging is also a process and, while it cannot be reversed, we can make choices that may help slow this process down. So this month I’m dishing it up on aging!

And just in case you were wondering, no, that is not me and my husband in the photo. He still has more hair than that. 😉

Dishing It Up on Aging

  • Is there a cure for ageing?
  • 7 Signs Your Nutrition Isn’t On Track
  • Avoiding late-night meals may have anti-aging benefits
  • Alcohol consumption patterns and unhealthy aging among older lifetime drinkers
  • The Queen’s secret to ageing gracefully

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

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Dishing It Up on Forgetting

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing It Up on Forgetting

The theme of this month’s Dishing It Up newsletter evolved rather organically. First, as my level of busy-ness and business ramped up, I found I was forgetting to write the newsletter. Then, during a Pilates class, my instructor mentioned something about gluteal amnesia which piqued my interest since my glutes are certainly forgetting they exist. And there have been a few times in recent memory when I was sure I’d added certain items to my grocery delivery order but, it seems, I did not. I’ve either been forgetting things yet again or Fresh City is messing with my head and removing things without telling me.

So this month I thought I’d post a few items on forgetting and how to improve the situation. And I hope that, if and when you have some time this weekend, you’ll remember to read it. 😉


Dishing It Up on Forgetting

  • Optimal dose and type of exercise to improve cognitive function in older adults
  • Gluteal amnesia, aka ‘dead butt syndrome’
  • Sitting all day can cause ‘dead butt syndrome’. These exercises can help.
  • The best brain food to start your morning off right
  • Your brain needs you to focus on one thing at a time
  • Sleep, mental health and memory

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

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Dishing It Up for the Holidays

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing It Up for the HolidaysFor me, Christmas and clementines are inextricably linked.  The holidays in my family have always been heralded by the arrival of a crateful of clementines.  Although my mom made fantastic Yule logs, mince tarts and pies, my holiday treat of choice was a clementine with a few favourites from the splendid array of cookies she baked in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  My perfect plate included a chocolate yum yum, pecan puff, rum ball and a shortbread wreath.

While my mom passed away years ago, my happy memories of her and our Christmases cooking together remain.  As do the clementines.  But I’ve never mastered her cookies.  So these days I’m more likely to pair my clementines with super dark chocolate from Giddy Yo Yo and a few walnuts.  Clementines are great dipped in chocolate too, like this.  And I might add a Mabel’s shortbread (or two).

My darling clementine

But my darling clementines aren’t just for dessert any more.  I love to adorn a winter cheese board with them!  They are a classic with roast meats like duck, chicken or pork and work beautifully in tagines.  My traditional Christmas Eve tourtière wouldn’t be the same without the spinach, clementine and toasted almond salad I serve with it.  And the thick slices of Pulla Bread we enjoy Christmas morning (as a nod to my Finnish heritage), simply buttered and accompanied by a few clementines, starts the day in a festive way.  The mimosa helps too, though this year I might sip on this Clementine Fizz.  😉  Come the holidays, I’m always grateful for a crateful of clementines.  Read on for 41 more ideas of what you might do with yours.

Happy holidays!

Dishing It Up for the Holidays

  • Be grateful for a crateful of clementines
  • Fall in love with veggies for the holidays
  • How to De-Seed a Pomegranate
  • 7 Healthy Eating Habits for the Holidays
  • The 2021 Well Holiday Gift Guide from The New York Times

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Dishing It Up for July 2021

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing It Up







In this month’s issue of Dishing It Up…

  • Unlocking the ‘gut microbiome’ – and its massive significance to our health
  • 17 Healthy No-Prep Recipes for the Days When You Just Can’t
  • Rethinking Your Post-COVID Relationship With Booze
  • Toss your expired sunscreen and opt for physical over chemical products, B.C. doctor says
  • 5-Minute Breathing Exercises Can Lower BP, Heart Attack Risk

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Dishing It Up for May – The Spring Has Sprung Edition

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing It Up The Spring Has Sprung Edition

It feels like spring has finally sprung here in Toronto.  Temperatures are trending up, the sun is shining and blossoms and blooms adorn our trees and gardens with brilliant colour.  Above all, there’s a freshness and optimism in the air.

Likewise, I feel I’m finally emerging from hibernation too.  My energy is improving along with the weather and I’m super grateful to be out running after an injury-induced hiatus.  Also, I’ve had no added sugar or alcohol in my diet for nearly three weeks now, which has helped tremendously.  As has the wonderful company I’ve had in this over the past week with the folks in my I’m Sweet Enough 7-Day No Sugar Added Challenge.  Their camaraderie and humour has made climbing back up my sugary, slippery slope way more fun.

So I dedicate this edition of Dishing It Up to new friends, new beginnings and spring!

The Spring Has Sprung Edition

  • Bitter Tastes of Spring – Refreshing Greens from Dandelion to Radicchio
  • Early Risers: 6 Recipes With Spring Ingredients
  • Spring cleaning?  See Fewer People. Take Fewer Showers.
  • Make Your Mornings Magical
  • 7 Ways to Reinvigorate Your Spring Routine Using Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Dishing It Up for March 2021 – The Afternoon Tea Edition

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing it Up The Afternoon Tea Edition

I happen to be enjoying my afternoon cup of tea as I write this, which inspired me to create an Afternoon Tea Edition of Dishing It Up this month.  My afternoon tea ritual involves:

  • tea (obviously and always),
  • a treat (on occasion, though I seem to be finding more occasions as the pandemic wears on)
  • and usually some food porn (either in print or on video) to spark kitchen creativity.

Rarely, it evolves into an afternoon nap.  So, with my ritual as my guide, please sip, savour (and hopefully don’t snooze through) this Afternoon Tea Edition of Dishing It Up.

The Afternoon Tea Edition

  • Science Reveals Why Tea Is Good for Your Heart
  • Bake like it’s 1869 with Grainstorm
  • ‘Buttergate’ goes viral
  • Cook, Eat, Repeat
  • The science of siestas

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