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Dishing It Up for April 2019

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing It UpDishing It Up serves up a selection of stories, studies & so on from the world of wellness & nutrition each month.


In this month’s issue of Dishing It Up…

Why Science Can’t Seem to Tell Us How to Eat Right
Obesity might soon replace tobacco as top cause of cancer…
Are meal delivery kits healthy?
Putting Down Your Phone May Help You Live Longer
The Breathing App / Resonance Breathing

Here’s a taste of each from the sampler platter…

Sampler Platter

Why Science Can’t Seem to Tell Us How to Eat Right
This is an interesting article from Web MD that spells out some of the challenges and shortcomings of nutritional research.  One particular issue is that many studies rely on observational research, which requires participants to recall what they ate well into the past.  “But some critics say this type of research is unreliable to the point of being useless — people barely remember what they ate for breakfast, much less how many times a week they ate broccoli last January”.  In fact, research that analyzed more than 60,000 people in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Studies database found that “the number of calories people said they ate were not enough to actually keep them alive” in many cases.  [From the study itself:  “Self-reported proxy-estimates for 42.5% of participants were below the level of energy intake needed to support a comatose patient’s survival.”]  All this to say that many studies need to be taken with a grain of, ahem, salt.  According to nutrition academic Marion Nestle, there’s one finding in nutrition research that seems certain: “People who eat vegetables are healthier than people who don’t, there’s incontrovertible evidence for that.”  Your mom was right all along!
April 22, 2019
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Obesity might soon replace tobacco as top cause of cancer, yet few are aware of the link
“Being obese and overweight — long implicated in heart disease and diabetes — has been associated in recent years with an increased risk of getting at least 13 types of cancer, including stomach, pancreatic, colorectal and liver malignancies, as well as postmenopausal breast cancer….The risk of cancer rises along with excess weight. ‘It does appear that the risk is greater the more obese you are’…. there is a link between being overweight and cancer, ‘but it is not as strong’…. People are considered overweight if they have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29, and obese if they have a BMI of 30 or more.”  You can calculate your BMI here.
April 15, 2019
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Are meal delivery kits healthy?
In my opinion, the best route to a healthy weight is to cook your own meals as much as possible.  While that is often challenging for busy people, there are services that can help, everything from menu planning services (shameless plug for my own meal planning service here) to meal kits, which provide recipes and their ingredients, often pre-prepped so you just need to cook it all up.  This article reviews many of the kits available to us in Canada.  Of them, I have personally used only Goodfood‘s Easy Prep Plan.  I order it on weeks when I am feeling overwhelmed or just want to take a meal planning vacation.  I was impressed that they offered a Low Carb option, which ensures that the meals have a hefty portion of those incontrovertibly health-promoting vegetables.  And by cooking them up at home, you can easily add even more vegetables (whereas my dinner out at a restaurant the other night had a paltry 10 or so thin green beans on the plate).  😉
April 24, 2019
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Putting Down Your Phone May Help You Live Longer
“By chronically raising levels of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, our phones may be threatening our health and shortening our lives…. Chronically elevated cortisol levels have been tied to an increased risk of serious health problems, including depression, obesity, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, fertility issues, high blood pressure, heart attack, dementia and stroke.”
April 24, 2019
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The Breathing App / Resonance Breathing
While not a news story, per se, I came across this while listening to a recent podcast with NYC yoga teacher and author Eddie Stern.  In it, he discussed his free app, The Breathing App, which guides the user in resonance breathing, a paced breathing exercise that balances the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) branches of the nervous system.  It helps us put the brake on the sympathetic overdrive syndrome (SOS) we so often find ourselves in.  This, in turn, helps to reduce stress and anxiety and improve digestion and sleep.  “Resonant breathing is like a stress reset button”, as Eddie puts it.  It is free, it is easy.  I encourage you to give it a try.  Doing this for even a few minutes before each meal will improve your digestion.  And it is a great way to prepare yourself for a restful night.
Read more…

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