Speaker 1: this
Speaker 2: is LifeSpeak
Speaker 1: a podcast about well
Speaker 2: being mental
Speaker 1: health and
Speaker 2: building resilience
Speaker 1: through knowledge. Here's Marianne Wisenthal, I'm
Speaker 2: speaking today
Speaker 1: with registered
Speaker 2: dietitian and
Speaker 1: nutritionist, Nishta Saxena
Speaker 2: a well known nutrition
Speaker 1: mythbuster Nishta
Speaker 2: focuses on pediatric and family nutrition
Speaker 1: in her private practice. She empowers
Speaker 2: families to lead
Speaker 1: healthier lives by promoting
Speaker 2: evidence based nutrition
Speaker 1: and a common sense
Speaker 2: approach. Nishta joins me
Speaker 1: today from Toronto
Speaker 2: Canada. Welcome to the Life Speak
Speaker 1: podcast. Hi, Marianne is so wonderful to be here. Thank you so much.
Speaker 2: You use the
Speaker 1: term empowered
Speaker 2: eating. What do you mean by that? How do we get to be empowered
Speaker 1: eaters?
Speaker 1: Yeah, so empower eating to me, really means having a great connection with food and your body. I think that when especially at these times in life and in these recent years it's been very, very hard to have connection with food and there's a lot of messaging that we receive
Speaker 1: from all different sources. I actually call it bad culture,
Speaker 1: that kind of dis empowers us when it comes to our relationship with food. So when I say an empowered eater, I'm really talking about someone that can understand how a variety of foods can fit into their life. They don't have lots of strong emotional attachment to food. They understand how food works in their body, they feel connected to food,
Speaker 1: They can prepare food.
Speaker 1: They're putting food in their body and they're really feeling good about it. So the empowerment comes from both the emotional as well as the physical connection to food. So that's really the kind of eater we want to raise when we're raising Children.
Speaker 2: You've been working as a dietician and nutritionist
Speaker 1: for over
Speaker 2: 15 years. What are some common issues that you see among families that you
Speaker 1: work with in your private
Speaker 2: practice? Vibrant nutrition.
Speaker 1: Yes, I have been doing this for a very long time. And what's very interesting is I've worked with the families from all around the world over 100 different countries
Speaker 1: and the thing I find miraculous is the problems are really all the same. So many families are struggling with, first of all learning actual basic nutrition of, you know, what are some of the best things they should be feeding their kids or what are some of the best foods to have in the household to help nourish them as a family. Oftentimes before we have Children, we may be eating in a really different way than we do need to eat once we have Children in our household and we're working together as a family unit.
Speaker 1: So things like, you know, their Children being resistant or picky to food, that's a very common complaint, low variety families that get into a rut and they're constantly eating the same foods over and over and they're actually not getting that nutrition density. Sometimes families are struggling with time and ease of preparation of food
Speaker 1: and so they're relying on a lot of processed food and this could be something that causes issues over time as well.
Speaker 1: One of the biggest things that I help people with is actually myth busting because there's so much misinformation out there on social media, regular media, just through the grapevine and I spend a lot of time working with families busting those myths when they become, you know, afraid of food, concerned about foods, overthinking food. So those are some of the main problems that I've helped families with over the years.
Speaker 1: Let's
Speaker 2: go back to picky
Speaker 1: eating picky
Speaker 2: eating is, you know, something that parents joke about, but it's really stressful when you have a kid who's a picky eater.
Speaker 1: Absolutely. And I think it's probably when it comes to parents reaching out to me to work with me. One of, if not the top concern that they have now, the interesting thing about picky eating that I think a lot of parents and families don't think about is the instant thought is, hey, I've made this food, I've made some notes and broccoli or some vegetables. My child's not eating that.
Speaker 1: You know, they need to eat their vegetables. Why is this happening?
Speaker 1: I've got to fix this or my kids used to eat vegetables and now they don't or protein foods and we've got to fix this because it's a big problem. So the parents are really viewing it as a problem because the child is not putting that food into their body and they're scared, they're scared that their child is not going to grow or do well in school and they'll be affected by this lack of vegetables or sort of nutritious food,
Speaker 1: while the flip side of it is oftentimes then the way their parents are thinking about their kids as they feed them actually changes the pattern of how they eat, the words they use when they feed their kids. The foods they offer, everything can kind of get messed up by the mindset a parent has when they think of their child as a picky eater. So you're right, the stress is multi factorial, it's the stress of a parent thinking, oh no, my child's not going to grow properly.
Speaker 1: And then there's the stress of the parent thinking, wow, I'm a terrible parent because my child doesn't eat these foods and then there's the dual stress of a child being like I'm stressed out because I don't like meals with my family because everybody is stressed out. So it's a very, very multilayered issue and it is probably one of the number one things I deal with, because you have to deal with all components of that picky eating process to really resolve it.
Speaker 1: In fact, I started a free facebook group for mothers who are struggling with picky eating exactly for this reason, because it's very hard to get correct information and it's hard to get support, to manage the stress and anxiety from both the parent perspective and the child's perspective.
Speaker 1: So
Speaker 2: what are you counseling
Speaker 1: parents
Speaker 2: to do when they're faced with a picky
Speaker 1: eater?
Speaker 1: I mean the first thing I would say is to really step back and take some deep breaths, remind yourself that you are not a bad parent because of how your child eats and the foods they choose to eat. And the third piece of just remind yourself that this is something that can change. It just requires consistency. Like so many things in our life,
Speaker 1: you know, whether it's piano practice or learning a new software, we have to be consistent or we're not going to get results. So some of the first things that I would work on our how the food is being presented, which foods are the ones that we want to work on, taking it very slow to work with a family on not first trying to get the child to eat, but actually having that food
Speaker 1: be a part of meals or even food play just interacting with food in a different way. We also do food Chaining to help with introducing new foods over time to parents, but really Marianne, it's funny a lot of parents do not expect we do a lot of mindset work because oftentimes our mindset as parents, how we think about food,
Speaker 1: how we think about what is happening to our child when they choose not to eat that. Can you list it? You know, some strong emotions, people can feel angry. Food costs are at an all time high, some parents can be very worried and anxious and frustrated about the cost of food and they can feel mostly I deal with mom's that
Speaker 1: I feel terrible. They think I'm a bad mother because my child is not eating
Speaker 1: and I really, really want to go deep and work with parents on that piece in my program because that is absolutely not true. You know, your mothering and your parenting, your love for your child is not represented by their food choices. That being said, it's definitely something that can change with consistent work.
Speaker 2: Tell me about what you mean by food play.
Speaker 1: Yeah. So food play is a really wonderful way to be able to introduce different food items to Children, but without the pressure of them eating that food. So I think a common mistake parents make is they think, okay, I want you to eat broccoli is just a classic example. Right? So I'm gonna put broccoli on your plate
Speaker 1: and I expect you to eat it. Well, that doesn't work very well. It's sort of,
Speaker 1: we know that you can't just have expectations of what your child is going to do because Children are really meant to be here to constantly have us question our expectations. So food play maybe a way that you're interacting with broccoli in a completely non mealtime or snack time related situation, you could literally take broccoli and use it as a paintbrush
Speaker 1: create like have a sit down craft time where instead of using regular paint bush or in addition to using regular paintbrushes, you have a stock of broccoli
Speaker 1: and your child is going to think depending on their age, you know, this is hilarious. My mom is painting something with a vegetable, why is she doing that? And part of the interaction through food play is something where there's no heightened emotion, there's no anxiety. The child isn't thinking to themselves, they're going to have to eat a piece of broccoli with paint all over it because that doesn't make any sense.
Speaker 1: They're just interacting with the food, touching it, experiencing it, smelling it and all of that type of exposure over time is something that has actually scientifically been shown to help increase the likelihood that your child will ever actually consume that as a food. Now that's one piece of how we work on picky eating, but it's a really important piece that most parents miss.
Speaker 1: It
Speaker 2: sort of takes the tension away from the vegetable
Speaker 1: totally. Yeah, and it takes away the expectation, if there's another thing I constantly work on with families around food
Speaker 1: and their relationship with food to become empowered.
Speaker 1: You have to let go of your expectations as parents. We don't want to expect that if we serve our child something they have to eat it. That's something that's going to cause a lot of friction. There is another way to think about this where you're not going to be disappointed after every meal and as a child speaking from a child's mind, you know, we can't expect to get
Speaker 1: ice cream and cupcakes or pasta every day because that would mean that our parents aren't really offering us the food. That's going to help build our body and our brain. So there's a lot of expectations that need to be managed at meal times for sure and food play really helps with buffering those expectations, adding fun and reducing stress.
Speaker 2: I often hear, oh they'll
Speaker 1: grow out of it, don't worry
Speaker 2: about it, they'll grow out of it.
Speaker 1: Oh big myth, total myth. And it's painful when I hear that. I do think that there is a huge again, the terminology uses bad culture and when I refer to culture, I'm not referring to a part of the world and referring to the culture of media, the culture of diet, culture, processed food culture, bad culture to think
Speaker 1: and an even bad parenting culture.
Speaker 1: You know, Children are just sort of meant to be seen in her. I don't know, you kind of water them once in a while and they figure everything out that's ridiculous. If they are not shown different structures and routines and patterns that really build quality results. They will not know those things, They don't naturally know those things. It's actually very normal for Children to be
Speaker 1: hesitant around
Speaker 1: a new food item or a new color or a new smells and textures that is not actually an uncommon developmental piece, But the problem is again, our expectations are, oh, well, okay. They're just eating a lot of pasta and chicken nuggets and whatever, someday they'll eat broccoli. Well, no, they won't ever eat any of the foods you're hoping they'll lead
Speaker 1: if you don't actually integrate them into meals.
Speaker 1: If you don't eat them yourself, if you don't role play and make it an experience that's not based on forcefulness, but that's really based on being conscious. And again, those are tools that I go through with parents in terms of structure, repetition, what recipes you can use, how you can actually approach this. Children will definitely not outgrow picky eating if it is never addressed. And in fact,
Speaker 1: 20% of Children that are picky eaters at the age of eight will go on to be very picky adult eaters. And beyond that Marianne, I don't only just worked with typically developing Children. I do work with Children that unfortunately will go on to have resistant feeding disorders where there may be other factors at play, but they actually have an extremely limited diet. And so
Speaker 1: it's very important, just like education and in many other learning pillars, we know early intervention is very important right to help Children as they're learning the same thing is true of feeding. Early intervention is key when you want to start to shift Children's patterns when it comes to food.
Speaker 2: You have two school aged Children at home, what does meal time look like in your
Speaker 1: house? Honestly, I know everybody wants to know, oh, the dietician, what does she feed her kids? How do they eat? So I'm going to be totally honest. I have an eight year old and a 10 year old and they are not picky eaters. Okay. Now sometimes I say that parents will say, oh well you don't really know what it's like then I do
Speaker 1: because I have been practicing dietitian for 15 years. I've worked with thousands and thousands of families Now. Part of the reason I think my Children are not quote unquote picky is because I didn't have expectations when I fed them. I actually always included all of the foods from the get go that my husband and I
Speaker 1: enjoy, we enjoy cuisines from all around the world. I myself in south asian
Speaker 1: in my descent and I love all different types of South asian cuisine. It's a very cultural food for me. So I was definitely not going to be raising Children that were not able to tolerate or interested in foods from around the world, something I'm just passionate about. But when I would approach them to feed them or make meals, it just wasn't a big deal. There was definitely times at first when I might introduce a new vegetables like Okra
Speaker 1: and they may be like, oh the first time they had it, they were very young toddlers, but
Speaker 1: they, it adds and flows, but it doesn't mean that I don't offer that food anymore. It means that over time they'll understand, you know, these are all different kinds of vegetables and
Speaker 1: we eat all different kinds of food and I never pressured them to eat. I never forced them to eat. I never forced anything like that because I knew the ramifications of that meal times are generally really fun because we really like to joke around and we all have a pretty good sense of humor. Keeping things fun at the table really takes the pressure off.
Speaker 1: We don't talk about food.
Speaker 1: We don't talk about what we're eating. We don't talk about finishing her plate. We talk about other stuff, fun stuff. And I know what people are wondering. They're thinking, oh, she probably gives her kids, you know, broccoli every single night of course I include balanced meals, but we have all kinds of treats. We have treats in our household,
Speaker 1: Those can be in lunches. They could be as after dinner snacks. We have desserts regularly. We don't really call food dessert. I mean, I just think of it as it's just other food that happens to be higher in sugar. We definitely have things on rotation, cookies, baked goods. My kids like gelato and yeah, we even have some processed food snacks kicking around too. Sometimes we'll have chips and
Speaker 1: you know what sometimes I mean? These are foods that we definitely have around that my Children
Speaker 1: can regulate themselves with. And yes, I do eat take out. I'm kind of picky about the take out I eat. But what I'm trying to get at is the household and the family meals at my table are not completely health ified. Perfect. You know, only healthy foods. That's a huge mistake. When you're raising Children.
Speaker 1: All foods fit
Speaker 1: All different cultural foods. There's no diet that you need to follow. You just need to 80% of the time be offering whole foods and be very, very consistent and that's what I've done. So we have a lot of fun with lots of tasty food with lots of treats. But we also do get in the foods that we need to help our bodies grow and develop. It sounds like what
Speaker 2: you're saying is that you
Speaker 2: you don't make any foods
Speaker 1: forbidden. No, because
Speaker 2: when a food becomes forbidden,
Speaker 1: it's something I think I know when
Speaker 2: somebody tells me I
Speaker 1: can't eat something that
Speaker 2: makes me want to eat a
Speaker 1: 100% like absolutely nailed it on the head. And I do see this as a problem a lot as Children age. So when, you know, we have a two year old at home, a three year old, sure we're not sitting down with a bag of candy in front of our toddler usually
Speaker 1: because we would think, oh, well that's a really young child, they shouldn't have candy when you get into tweens and teens that's go time when it comes to like sugar and treats and slurpees. And it's just again, it's everywhere. Your child will see signs, everywhere. It's all over the media, it's all over advertisements. These really high energy foods, the more that you try to restrict and polarized call those foods bad, they're bad for you. You shouldn't have them. You can't have them. I've seen households where parents will not by any kind of sugar or anything other than hold food. I actually had a client I worked with at one time when I met her threat, something she wouldn't keep in her household because she thought of that as a treat because it had carbs. So that's a very concerning place to be.
Speaker 1: We moved her through that, don't worry.
Speaker 1: But the more that you forbid. Absolutely. And restrict and label food, the more that you actually will create polarization and that actually has been shown to cause Children to be even more interested in those foods and even more good
Speaker 2: food and bad food.
Speaker 1: Absolutely, Absolutely. And if you say to yourself, well, Halloween candy, okay, we just, you know,
Speaker 1: that's a regular event for a lot of families.
Speaker 1: And if you were to say, well, you can only have three or four pieces after. You're just collecting a pillowcase full of candy. It's just not gonna work. You have to have moments where you just give your child unrestricted access to some of these really high energy foods, you have to have them kicking around in your house where you're like, hey, we're going to have some peanut butter pie after dinner tonight and it's, you know, just full of sugar and
Speaker 1: cream and whatever else is in it. And what that actually does, it helps neutralize the way that your Children think about food, Children that have access to these high energy foods on a regular basis,
Speaker 1: not in huge quantities, they're still eating all the other good stuff and they're having regular, whole food meals, but when they get access to those other items, they actually are more able to self regulate
Speaker 1: around them. It's the kids and I've seen this so many times over and over where the household is, so we don't eat sugar, Sugar is toxic. These foods are bad. You only eat healthy foods, you're going to get fat. Oh, don't even get me started on that. If you eat too much of this adolescent bodies, we know they change really rapidly. The households that
Speaker 1: restrict are the ones that really create that negative Disempowered
Speaker 1: relationship with food. You have Children that are much more prone and likely to binge eat and potentially develop eating disorders. Unfortunately,
Speaker 1: I
Speaker 2: want to talk to you a bit more about that in a minute, but first I want to know what was eating and nutrition like in your
Speaker 1: house growing up.
Speaker 1: You know, I was really lucky and eating for me was always a very empowered experience and that is probably white. I will also say it was very natural for me to raise Children
Speaker 1: with positive eating patterns. So I do have to say I had an advantage. There had two parents and they were both excellent cooks. My mother was the daily cook, she was the like go time breakfast, lunch and most dinners. But my father would definitely step up and cook on special occasions and he would cook some of his mother's recipes from India. That were
Speaker 1: Really interesting. My parents are from two very different parts of India and so they have totally different languages and cuisines. But you know, I grew up in the 70s and 80s and we had a lot of processed food. Oh my goodness. I mean my parents were immigrants to Canada.
Speaker 1: Part of that process in the sixties they immigrated was to really like, hey, let's dig into all of this amazing Western
Speaker 1: culture and stuff like, you know, processed food and pop tarts or Mcdonald's or lucky charms, cereal or whatever. Right? It was a big new thing that did not exist in the country that they came from. So we definitely had a lot of processed food when I was a child. But the funny part about it was, it was not restricted.
Speaker 1: I mean my parents didn't buy it all the time, but it was around and they also cooked homemade meals like 34 nights a week, we would have leftovers other nights
Speaker 1: we definitely had our Mcdonald's, but
Speaker 1: in an interesting way it was regulated in a way where it was not restricted. We would sometimes have it. And as I grew up I had no craving for that at all because if I asked my parents for Mcdonald's, they would say, okay, yeah, sure let's pick up Mcdonald's. But then, you know, two weeks would go by and I would be eating homemade indian food for a while or
Speaker 1: actually my mother loved cooking cuisine from all around the world, all different kinds of cuisine. And so just with the connection of two whole food, we had family meals together, we would joke around a lot. My father being kind of a strict indian dad would kind of quiz us on our times tables and math. That was a little stressful. Sometimes the math, the intense math questions at dinner. But overall the memories I have of eating food in my household was the love and warmth with which it was prepared. The connection I had to my family when I would eat and the lack of restriction just made me understand there's sometimes I can have these crazy bowls of lucky charms and then
Speaker 1: other times I'm going to have shredded wheat and other times I'm going to have extra and it just really neutralized eating those high energy foods for me. So it was pretty ideal. I have to say
Speaker 2: was this always going to be a career path for you?
Speaker 1: That's a great question. I always loved, I think it's not until I'm at this age now that I realized the trend of what I had always loved was connecting and communicating with people. I just didn't really realize how I would do that. Both of my parents were scientists and working in health and or science and so
Speaker 1: for me that was a huge part of the way I was brought up to think in a scientific way. So I was always interested in science, but for some reason when I would get into a lot of my heavy science courses, I felt that connection piece really missing, you know, I even tried to work in a lab and just sit there and do like western blot assays all day and I was like, oh my goodness, I can't sit here alone and not talk for
Speaker 1: 10 hours, it's just not me.
Speaker 1: So it took me a little bit of time, I did some hard science work that I did more work in like arts and communication because I did some double degrees and I found nutrition during that process was actually the marriage of art and science, it's the art of communication, behavioral therapies,
Speaker 1: and it's the science of nutrition and how to fix your body. So for me it came sort of during those university years that it really clicked, that's what I wanted to do because I love talking to people I love translating scientific information into digestible. It's a terrible pun, um digestible bits,
Speaker 1: sorry, I can't believe I just said that. And so yeah, I just think it came to me that way. I will also say my husband had an aunt and I'd never heard the word dietitian before and I remember at a christmas, some christmas celebration with his family when we were dating because we were dating very young,
Speaker 1: she mentioned, oh, I'm a registered dietitian and I've never even heard the term before, and I was like, what's that? And she described it to me and I was like, wow, that sounds really interesting and she was the very first person I knew and heard of and then I looked into it and started the process and here we are
Speaker 1: your work,
Speaker 2: you know, it helps to educate people, but also a big focus
Speaker 1: of your work
Speaker 2: is to help alleviate some of that guilt that
Speaker 1: parents feel about what their
Speaker 2: kids are eating. Do you think parents have become
Speaker 1: more anxious
Speaker 2: about food and feeding their kids than
Speaker 1: say our parents were
Speaker 1: 100,000%, yes, they are so much more anxious
Speaker 1: and there's a lot of factors into why that's happening. Our parents and our grandparents, frankly, I will tell you they didn't have the privilege to be very anxious about food really, A majority of past generations were in that survival mode, They were just happy to have food, they were happy to be able to
Speaker 1: get food for their family regardless of what it was
Speaker 1: and so it is a bit of a luxury in some ways in these generations to think about food so much. Now, I will certainly not say everyone has food access because they don't, but
Speaker 1: a lot of the parents and families that I work with that do have food access.
Speaker 1: The issue now has become, it's a total bombardment of information about food from all angles. Whereas our grandparents and parents, they were not on social media,
Speaker 1: they didn't go into mom facebook groups, there was no such thing. They didn't have cell phone and WhatsApp chats about what people were making for dinner. They didn't know much about things like you know, learning disorders, eating disorders, mood and mental health disorders, They didn't talk about any of those things. And now there is a beautiful advantage of,
Speaker 1: we do communicate more about so many concepts and items around food.
Speaker 1: But the over communication, the over information is totally overwhelming. The parents I work with from facebook groups instagram too,
Speaker 1: whatever their colleagues are doing with their kids to then what they're reading online about what they should do to what their doctor tells them
Speaker 1: any other health practitioners are telling them their personal trainer or someone they need at a gym.
Speaker 1: I mean it's just endless the amount of information you hear about food in a day. In fact, the average person is thinking and making about 300 decisions a day mentally about food. And the idea is
Speaker 1: because we have some, I want, I really want to be clear here. It's not everybody, but some people do have the privilege
Speaker 1: Of really picking and choosing the foods they eat. That overwhelm comes into their head immediately when they're shopping. I hear this all the time, I don't know which is the best Granola bar for my kids snack and why is there so many yogurts? What is with all these yogurts? Like there was two kinds of yogurt when I was a kid, it was like there's 150 kinds of yogurt now, why?
Speaker 1: What are all the differences? So
Speaker 1: Marketing, advertising, social media, the bad culture as I call it has really, really entered our brain and it has increased anxiety, I would say 300%.
Speaker 1: We know that for a fact during this period of time, in the past two years, anxiety around food as well as actual eating disorders have spiked by almost 50%. And that can be for a variety of reasons parents are also anxious because most parents, of course we want the very best for our Children and the cost of food has skyrocketed.
Speaker 1: And so it's become sometimes
Speaker 1: a picking and choosing, you know, like where should I spend my dollars to give my kids the best I can and where can I sort of pull back and understand that I can still get great nutrition and still get great meals out of this type of. It's very confusing to know that difference now because the cost of food has changed so dramatically,
Speaker 1: It's increased almost 18% in the past three years, which is like a new text
Speaker 1: you talk about
Speaker 2: the past two years, which is,
Speaker 1: you know, the pandemic
Speaker 2: period, how has the
Speaker 1: pandemic impacted our
Speaker 2: relationship with food?
Speaker 1: I think we're actually only starting to see now after two years in the next five years, there will be a ton of research done. It has profoundly impacted us on every level when it comes to our relationship with food.
Speaker 1: It's impacted in positive but
Speaker 1: also in negative ways. So it's affected not only obviously the amount and the timing of when we eat both, like parents and Children in the household because there was many months where people were all together in one household. So all of those mechanical parts about food have changed, but also just even
Speaker 1: people kind of disconnecting
Speaker 1: from how food is affecting them because of the high levels of stress, deep anxiety, deep depression that people have gone through in the past two years has caused a huge spike in emotionally driven eating and Children, let's face it mary ann our Children are growing during those two years for some Children, those were very, very important years
Speaker 1: where there was meant to be a normal, huge growth in their body weight in their bone mass and the organ size,
Speaker 1: but because they were very sedentary and in their household, they may have grown in a different way than their parents have expected. And now that's caused a real cause of stress. I see a lot of families because they are very concerned about how their Children grew in those two years and other concerns of parents themselves. The average
Speaker 1: Canadian is thought to have gained
Speaker 1: £30 during the pandemic.
Speaker 1: Now that could be affected by multiple things. Also not moving and not going anywhere was a huge impact.
Speaker 1: So those are some of the negatives. I mean, maybe people were driven in the first part of the pandemic to comfort food, moving away from things because they were just, you know, fear will always drive us to want to comfort ourselves. It's a normal reaction.
Speaker 1: The negative effect of that unfortunately is people that didn't have an empowered relationship, may have had some disordered eating patterns or were on the borderline, the pandemic was like lighter fluid and we did see a 50% increase in eating disorders and that includes adults and teenagers and Children. And so
Speaker 1: that is a very unfortunate side effect that we're unpacking. Now some of the positives though, I will say is there was a lot of people that all of a sudden realized, you know what I'm spending a ton of money on take out here, we're going to have to cook some more meals at home just by virtue of the fact of not leaving.
Speaker 1: And so for a proportion of families, they did actually start to eat meals together, they never might have because of a commute or one parent was home, the other parent wasn't
Speaker 1: sports activities and after school activities for kids were gone. So there was more time to spend around the table together. Maybe some Children and families I've talked to, the Children were more involved in cooking than they ever have been. People on average, they say people developed one new recipe per month that they were
Speaker 1: able to kind of,
Speaker 1: you know, no, and be connected to the pandemic. And then generally if you're cooking at home you're probably eating more whole food. And so that was something that could have been positive in terms of the pandemic as well. So it's really something we're going to learn more and more about in the next few years.
Speaker 1: How
Speaker 2: do you think nutrition can
Speaker 1: help support our
Speaker 2: mental health?
Speaker 1: Oh, I think it has a huge impact and it does in many ways it can support mental health in the sense that
Speaker 1: obviously certain foods really support our brain and our gut function. And so having a diet that is rich in the plant compounds in the bio active compounds vitamins, minerals and healthy fats and proteins
Speaker 1: as well as healthy carbs, those high value foods, nutrient dense foods, they can completely provide our brain in our gut, what they need to function optimally, which can definitely improve mood. So there's been many studies looking at,
Speaker 1: you know, from severe mental health issues such as schizophrenia, through to mild and moderate anxiety and depression that have shown when diet quality improves, symptoms are reduced in some cases, in mild mental health issues can be totally alleviated. So it's absolutely crucial that the majority of what we eat is whole food. It doesn't mean we have to eat
Speaker 1: the most expensive whole food either. There are ways to do this
Speaker 1: in a less expensive fashion. I won't say in a cheap way because I don't think that's actually true anymore. But the other way it can affect us is eating regular balanced meals, meals that are more rich in fiber with healthier proteins can actually make us feel fuller. They can ask us to question when we want to binge or emotionally eat.
Speaker 1: They can make it more clear to us when we are struggling with difficult emotions.
Speaker 1: And that can also help if you're able to listen to your body and being more intuitive
Speaker 1: that can go a long way to helping you resolve and understand any mental health or mood disorder or condition that you're struggling with. So the more regulated and scheduled you are with your eating and your nutrition, the more whole foods you're actually putting into your body, the more that you're going to be able to tease out, where are these mood swings
Speaker 1: happening or
Speaker 1: where am I most emotionally label? Where am I being triggered? It can go a long way to helping you see what you really do need support with from everything, supplements, therapy, medications. Um and they do work together. One really last interesting piece about eating well and whole food.
Speaker 1: There was a study that was just done that showed psychiatric medications actually work better
Speaker 1: in bodies that are more well nursed. So it isn't just a matter of
Speaker 1: Yeah, of course, we all want to eat a whole food diet and eat less processed food. It's actually that when we do that and we're using medication to support us in our mental health, that medication actually works better. So that is a really fascinating new findings of how food can impact mental health.
Speaker 2: You know, we're told so many things by the
Speaker 1: media about what
Speaker 2: we should be eating, eating clean, cutting out carbs cutting out
Speaker 1: sugar.
Speaker 2: Where can people
Speaker 1: find real
Speaker 2: solid information
Speaker 1: about
Speaker 2: what's true and what's not true?
Speaker 1: I mean, this is a really great question. I think it is not an easy answer because there isn't one repository where we know we can go and just get the information we need. It just simply doesn't exist. The reason it doesn't exist.
Speaker 1: But I'll give you some positives here is because the answer to sort of
Speaker 1: what are myths about food and diet that you hear or what is the best food or diet that you should eat? The answer is different for everyone. This is actually what we're learning more and more in nutrition in science and neutron genomics epi genetics, the way we're learning about our body and our relationship to food. So
Speaker 1: you really do first have to look at, who am I trying to get this information about? Is it about a middle aged woman? Is it about a toddler? Is it about an infant? Is it about an elderly male person? Because that's going to really tell you
Speaker 1: the first place you need to look for information. Always go to the science. But I'm going to be honest with you mary ann science randomized controlled trials and things like this are not often studied in nutrition because food is so much more complex. It's very difficult to do human randomized control trials with nutrition. It's not a pill. People know they're eating broccoli.
Speaker 1: So a lot of the ways that we look at
Speaker 1: nutrition and valid information come from observational studies, case reports in a culmination of data over time. So you really do have to be careful where you look. My first best piece of advice is if you're looking at a website or social media counter, et cetera, are they selling something related to the answer you're looking for.
Speaker 1: So you just really it doesn't mean
Speaker 1: and full disclosure. I mean I I work with people, right? I I'm not a charity, My services do have a fee. And so you could say, well, niche when I go to your instagram then that must mean I can't trust you. That's not really what I mean. But you have to really look at why is this person
Speaker 1: suggesting this information? If they're telling you you have to have a great fruit every day or you gonna die? Well what are they saying? And then if you look lower and it's like, oh can't get grapefruit every day. That's okay. I sell grapefruit pills like that. That's a little bit of a red flag like, oh or if it says, oh you know in your in your fifties as a woman,
Speaker 1: you have to have a waist circumference. That's this big. And if you don't
Speaker 1: you're going to have dimension heart disease and diabetes and then it's anything, oh no, my waist circumference is bigger than that. And then says no problem. We have an app that can fix that and we'll put you on this thing and all you have to do is sign up here. So you really want to also just be critical about where you're looking for information
Speaker 1: many times information that is promoted through academic institutions regulated institutions. There's some great ones in the US and Canada I won't mention their names, but they're well known to be
Speaker 1: doing research and also, you know, very valid places to find information. I think some professional bodies like for a specific disease process. You know, bodies that are not for profit agencies that are working to educate people about like liver health or there's some great kids organizations, Baby center's a really popular one where it's
Speaker 1: all sorts of information about raising Children and whatnot. And there's nutrition there. I do think there is some excellent information on social media. I actually do. I think it's just it's very difficult to find
Speaker 1: good accounts you want to look at, you know, why is this person saying this? Why are they telling me this information essentially? And you can always cross check it right? You should be able to see information in multiple places to know whether or not. It's true. The one thing I will say is there is no one best diet. So there's no one best diet for Children. There's no one best diet for men or women.
Speaker 1: There's no one best diet for families. You can eat many, many different ways
Speaker 1: and be healthy and well nourished and feel awesome. So that right there should take care of a lot of information as much as I love our health care providers as I am one as much as I love the teams we surround ourselves with as much as we love our mom friends.
Speaker 2: Right? You
Speaker 1: have to. There's, I would always question information coming from a single individual because
Speaker 1: that doesn't necessarily mean it works on a population level. It doesn't necessarily in a scientifically valid.
Speaker 1: So you really want to be wary when you know a colleague, a relative, your cousin, your mother, your mother in law, your girlfriend is like, oh you should do this. Of course, maybe they have a great idea and maybe there is some actual validity to it, but do some of your own research and really try and look then ask questions.
Speaker 1: And if you ask the same question to many people and you're getting some of that same information coming back, that's a good sign that it's a valid piece of information. And my number one recommendation, what am I going to say is ask a professional like myself as a dietitian. All I've studied is you know, nutrition and health for almost a decade. I studied for eight years to do what I do now.
Speaker 1: And so that's one of my favorite things to do is help support families with gaining the right information for themselves and their kids when it comes to nutrition.
Speaker 1: What
Speaker 2: makes you feel hopeful and optimistic during these
Speaker 1: difficult times? You know, I think what makes me feel hopeful is that this has been a very polarizing period of time and so there's two ways to look at that. You can look and say like, wow, there's a whole set of circumstances and people and reactions here
Speaker 1: that have been really disappointing
Speaker 1: on the flip side of that we have seen, wow, there's been a whole set of people and values and reactions and actions that are very inspiring. And so the thing that keeps me optimistic is that there is still a lot of that in the world, there is a lot of people who care, there are people who want to make the world better, want to have a great
Speaker 1: life. They want to raise their Children consciously and with love and care,
Speaker 1: they want everyone in the world to have equity. You really saw that, you know, um instead of everyone just being in the haze of their regular day to day, I think if Covid had never happened, we wouldn't have not have been questioned ourselves and been
Speaker 1: asked to bring it to the front and say like which side are you on? Are you on the side that wants to make the world a better place or are you bless on that side. So the optimism I feel is knowing that there are a lot of people that really do want great change and want to protect
Speaker 1: themselves, but in a community oriented way and want to raise their kids in a, in a way that the world is just a better place and they're teaching their Children that that's what keeps me optimistic. Also just thinking about how much more you appreciate the things you could do for the past two years, Holy cannoli So,
Speaker 1: I mean, I gotta tell you mary and I'm not a person that loves flying in general, I love wherever I'm going, I love to get there and enjoy the new destination, but maybe traveling is not my favorite experience and I even, I want to travel even I want to travel because knowing, you know, when our um some of these things we take for granted
Speaker 1: have been removed and then you get them back, it's like very, very exciting to see what you can really be grateful for in a day and how grateful we actually do need to be every day for the things that we have that are absolutely not promised to us, you know,
Speaker 2: Absolutely, and we become more grateful for the little things in the day.
Speaker 1: Oh, 100% and I think I have personally been grateful. I know this will be a strange thing to say
Speaker 1: as an entrepreneur, I've always been able to have a flexible schedule and I do see my Children often, but you know, my husband and I are both very busy with their careers. I have actually enjoyed and been grateful for being with my Children more because there's something that's really interesting about parenting is a grind, right, parenting can be really hard the day in the day of
Speaker 1: the teeth brushing in the bedtime and the meals, especially if you're not enjoying meals or you have picky eaters um can be stressful
Speaker 1: and when you have that extra little bit of time to actually sit and chat with your kids, you know, as they're getting older and hear their thoughts and opinions and just have that stretches of time where there really wasn't the ability to rush around. I have really been extremely grateful for that and I think I hope a lot of other families have felt that as much as we're happier kids are
Speaker 1: off doing, doing the things they should be doing now, school and activities. I was really grateful for that and it actually made me feel very optimistic to get to know my Children in a different way during these pandemic times so
Speaker 2: people can find you on your website vibrant nutrition dot com
Speaker 1: and
Speaker 2: on your facebook page.
Speaker 1: Yes, absolutely.
Speaker 2: It's been so nice talking to you today. Thank you so much.
Speaker 1: Thank you so much Marianne. It was such a great pleasure to be here. I appreciate it
Speaker 2: for more about this
Speaker 1: episode. Go to life speak dot com
Speaker 2: Flash podcast.
Speaker 2: Yeah.