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January 8, 2013

Food For Thought

The Common Conversation

One of the most common questions people will ask at a party is “what do you do?” With that, there are certain questions that then follow. For example, teachers get asked what they teach; writers get asked what they write; real estate agents get asked if they do residential or commercial; and professional athletes get asked what sport they play.

Being a nutritionist I usually get asked, “what do you eat?”, “are you a vegetarian?”, and those usually lead to a whole discussion of other common questions.

I recently had another one of these familiar conversations with someone that I met at the gym. I have outlined some of what we discussed below.

The Conversation

David: Is it weird that I’m drinking water out of a 2 litre coke bottle?

JG: No, but I would invest in a stainless steel or glass bottle…

David: …yeah, yeah, I know. The plastic isn’t good to drink out of. But don’t worry, I only use it once and then throw it away.

JG: That’s better than using it all of the time, but it’s still going to leach some toxins like Bisphenol A into your water. BPA is very much like estrogen in the way it acts in the body.

David: There are so many toxins everywhere, isn’t it just useless to try and avoid them all? Can we really actually do anything to protect ourselves?

JG: Absolutely! Yes, there are many toxins in our environment. And, yes, there are many we can’t actually control. But there are also many that we can control. And in doing the best we can to eliminate these toxins, we give our body the best chance possible to prevent environmentally influenced diseases such as cancer.

David, do you own a car?

David: Yes.

JG: Do you change your filters and oil, rustproof, get tune-ups, clean the interior, and touch up the paint; all to lengthen the life and functionality of the car? Or, do you just say “I can’t really control the road conditions, weather, and wear and tear, so I’ll let the life of my car just run it’s course.”

David: Of course I take care of my car.

JG: Isn’t your body your vehicle that should be maintained with the best food and lifestyle?

David: But I really like sinking my teeth into a nice juicy burger. I know it’s bad for me but it just tastes so good.

JG: So eat it! Just make sure you’re eating meat from an organic grass-fed cow. We don’t have to completely eliminate the foods we love. A common misconception about healthy living and eating is that it’s a deprivation lifestyle. This could not be further from the truth. Most things that people deem as unhealthy can be made using healthy ingredients. There’s a great burger place in the east end of Toronto called No Bull Burgers and they’ll make you an organic burger with a gluten-free bun.  It’s delicious and healthy.

One of my wife’s specialties is taking unhealthy recipes and making them healthy. She’s made healthy chips, cookies, cake, cracker jacks, rice crispy squares, sweet potato fries, mashed “potato”, pizza, and brownies.

David: That sounds great. But I don’t know how to cook.

JG: Guess what, no one was born with a chef’s hat on their head and spatula in hand. Just like any skill, cooking can be learned. It is way easier than most people think.

David: Alright Josh, you’ve convinced me that eating healthy might not be as difficult as I thought. Are there any courses I can take or websites I can find recipes?

JG: There’s plenty of great places. Here are some of my favourites:

David: It was great meeting you, Josh. Thank you for the information.

JG: My pleasure, David.