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Nutrition Tips from Joy Kiddie

EATING HEALTHY – Nutrition tips

By Joy Y. Kiddie, MSc, RD

Registered Dietitian, Teamworks Health Clinic


“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” ~Michael Pollan (Professor of Journalism, UC Berkeley)

This quote, while incredibly simple, summarizes some of the best concepts in healthy eating.

  • “Eat food” means just that; eat real food; vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, meat and poultry (or alternatives). Eating real food; the kind that even your grandparents would have recognized as food, usually means that most of your grocery store shopping will occur around the edges of the store in the produce department, meat and fish department and dairy department.

Reading labels on anything in a package is another way of determining if the product in your hands is real food. A simple rule of thumb is if you can’t pronounce the ingredient in the food or it has more than 5 ingredients, it probably isn’t real food.


Knowing which real foods to eat and how many times a day can be determined from one’s age, height, current weight and activity level and any stress factors, such as recovery from illness or injury. This is where I come in.  There is no ‘one size fits all’ diet for all men or women of a certain age.  Everyone’s need for protein, carbohydrate and fat (called macronutrients) is different and so are their needs for vitamins and minerals (called micronutrients). Besides, everyone has different food likes and dislikes so food choices need to take this, as well as a person’s lifestyle, into account. I design customized meal plans that are just for you and keep them as closed to how you like to eat as possible.

  • “Not too much” is all about portions; but how much is too much?  “Portion Distortion” is when over-sized portions of food look normal and this is often the result of becoming accustomed to the servings received in restaurants.  Research has found that people will eat whatever is on their plate without thinking about the number of serving sizes that are actually in front of them, so being aware of “how much” food is a serving is important.

When I design a customized meal plan for people, I teach them visual measures which are simple and very accurate ways to estimate “how much” without the need to weigh and measure!


The Okinawan Japanese have an expression “hara hachi bu” which means “eat until eight parts full”. Stopping at 80% capacity makes sense because the stomach’s stretch receptors take about 20 minutes to tell the body that how full it is.

  • “Mostly plants” means that most of what one eats should come from non-animal sources, including vegetables and fruit, grains, nuts and seeds.

While fruit and vegetables contain many of the same nutrients, research has found that healthier diets contain considerably more vegetables than fruit.  But are all vegetables considered equal?  According to Canada’s Food Guide, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, yams and peas are placed in the same category as leafy greens, zucchini and green beans, but it is probably pretty obvious that 5-10 servings a day of vegetables comprised of potatoes, yams, peas and corn is not equivalent to 5-10 servings of leafy greens, salad, grilled roasted eggplant and artichokes.


That is one of the reasons that I teach portions based on food exchanges rather than Canada’s Food Guide. Having half your carbs as nutrient-rich starchy vegetables provides your body with vitamins and minerals such as potassium and vitamin A as well as a great source of naturally occurring anti-oxidants, lacking in breads, pasta and grains. Another added benefit of using food exchanges is that there is no need to weight and measure food; an ounce of any kind of protein (meat, fish, poultry, egg or cheese) is 1 serving, whereas Canada’s Food Guide has a different serving size for each of these. How on earth is one supposed to remember?


Don’t eat food from animal sources?  No problem!  There are many ways to obtain the same nutrients from vegetarian sources.


Want to know more?  I offer a ½ hour free consultation designed to answer your questions and how I can help you meet your health and nutrition goals. Why not call 604-428-3006 and book yours today?

Our collective of highly qualified and accredited healthcare practitioners share a passion for professional collaboration and comprehensive patient care. Come and meet us at the clinic.