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Nutrition Tips

Providing Calcium without Dairy with Julia O’Loughlin

More and more children are developing allergies and sensitivities to dairy causing concern among parents that their children will have trouble receiving enough dietary calcium. Indeed, the quantity of calcium in dairy products is high, but the quality is questionable. How much calcium do we really absorb from milk? Not as much as most people think. Remember, we are what we absorb, not what we eat! Thankfully, there are many foods which, though contain a lower quantity of calcium, have calcium that is much more available to the body. These foods include:

  • Beans and nuts (particularly almonds, Brazil nuts, and walnuts)
  • Greens, especially broccoli, collards, chard, kale, parsley, watercress, spinach, and dandelion greens.
  • Okra
  • Sesame seeds and tahini
  • Soup made from a bone broth (be sure to add 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar to draw the calcium out of bones to make it available in the broth)
  • Seaweeds (particularly Wakame, Kombu and Hiziki)

For kids with dairy sensitivities or signs that an allergy is in a beginning stage, consider switching to goat’s milk dairy products. Goat’s milk is much closer to mother’s milk and has a significantly smaller chain of lactose then cow’s milk, making it easier for the body to breakdown, absorb and assimilate.

In addition to eating food sources with bioavailable calcium, it is also important to limit foods that negatively affect calcium balance in the body. These include:

  • Concentrated sugars (including honey)
  • Nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers)
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Vinegar (except apple cider vinegar)


How to Avoid Eating GMO Foods with Julia O’Loughlin, RHN

How to Avoid Eating GMO Foods:

The concern regarding GMO foods is increasing rapidly. More and more people are becoming aware of the high rate at which our foods are being genetically engineered and the potential negative impact these foods are having on our health. Many assume that these foods have been extensively tested, leading them to believe that GMO foods are safe. Tested for efficacy, yes; tested for human safety, no. I have heard the introduction of GMO foods be referred to as “the largest experiment to be done on mankind.” We are the guinea pigs! It is very difficult to determine whether you are purchasing and eating GMO foods as there is no labeling required. See below for a list of ways to enhance your consumer awareness to avoid purchasing GMO foods:

  • Avoid refined and packaged foods. Besides being poor for your health, they likely contain genetically modified ingredients.
  • Buy and eat organically grown foods and locally grown foods whenever possible.
  • Download “How to Avoid Genetically Engineered Food: A Greenpeace Shoppers Guide”
  • Buy products that are labeled “Non-GMO”
  • Soy, canola, corn and cotton are the largest GMO crops and should be avoided.
  • Involve yourself in the campaign to have GMO foods labeled. Demand from your government that GMO foods are labeled, join an activist organization, write a letter to your local newspaper, become informed and inform others!

Healthy Snacks for Back to School with Julia O’Loughlin, RHN

Back to school is around the corner! Mornings will get earlier, schedules will be more hectic and after schools snackers will be on the prowl. Kids function much better with a healthy diet, so now is the perfect time to start thinking about how to make your kid’s school snacks healthier.  Here are a few snack ideas to consider:

  • Homemade, nut-free granola with fruit and yogurt
  • Whole grain pita pocket stuffed with veggies, cheese and guacamole
  • Cut up veggie sticks with spinach hummus for dipping
  • Homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
  • Pumpkinseed butter and apple butter cracker sandwiches
  • Homemade banana blueberry muffins
  • Homemade granola bars or “dream bars”
  • Brown rice chips with Baba Ghanouj

12 Tips to Healthier Eating

Nutrition Tips with Julia O’Loughlin, RHN

  • Eat natural foods in their whole form – Honour the synergistic combinations of vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in whole foods
  • Eat organic foods – to avoid herbacides and pesticides
  • Eat seasonal foods – These foods are fresh, local and appropriate for seasonal requirements of the body
  • Eat fresh foods – nutrient levels peak at the time of harvest; fresher foods are more nutrient-rich
  • Eat a variety of foods and rotate them – to ensure all nutrients are acquired
  • Eat in moderation – smaller meals more frequently are preferable to 3 large meals per day as this is easier on the digestive system and increases metabolism
  • Don’t eat rushed, under stressful conditions, or in front of the television – we do not properly digest food under stressful conditions and thus, nutrients are not sufficiently absorbed
  • Participate in the preparation of your food as much as possible – get acquainted with the food you eat and connect with it
  • Avoid processed, refined, and “enriched” foods – these foods are nutrient deficient and lead to nutrient debt
  • Avoid foods cooked at very high temperatures (BBQ) – damages the nutrient quality of foods and produces free radicals
  • Use plenty of beneficial oils and avoid hazardous oils – Consume organic, cold-pressed, unrefined oils (coconut, olive, and flax are particularly useful), and avoid processed, hydrogenated oils, particularly those that have been heated at high temperatures (deep fried foods).  (Never heat polyunsaturated oils – flax oil, borage oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, and evening primrose oil)
  • Chew food thoroughly – digestion for carbohydrates begins in the mouth

Love your Liver!!

Nutrition Tips with Julia O’Loughlin, RHN

Did you know that the liver performs over 500 metabolic functions? Some of it’s most important functions include: processing digested food from the intestines,controlling levels of fats, amino acids and glucose in the blood , combating infections in the body, clearing the blood of particles and infections including bacteria, neutralizing and destroying drugs and toxins, manufacturing bile, storing iron, vitamins and other essential chemicals, breaking down food and turning it into energy,  manufacturing, breaking down and regulating numerous hormones including sex hormones, and making enzymes and proteins which are responsible for most chemical reactions in the body, for example those involved in blood clotting and repair of damaged tissues.

Be good to your liver by eating the following foods that help to cleanse, strengthen and tonnify this amazing organ:

Alfalfa, Amaranth, Apple, Artichoke, Asparagus, Beets, Blueberry, Cabbage, Carrot, Cayenne, Celery, Chicory, Chlorella, Cinnamon, Citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange), Dandelion greens, Ginger, Green beans, Kale, Leeks, Legumes, Lettuce, Lima beans, Olives and olive oil, Onion, Parsnip, Peas, Peppers, Plums, Quinoa, Raspberry, Rhubarb, Rutabaga, Sorrel, Spirulina, Strawberry, Turmeric, and Apple Cider Vinegar.

Truth in Labeling? Hidden MSG Ingredients

Nutrition Tips with Julia O’Loughlin, RHN
Did you know that there are over 30 names for MSG? Most people don’t, which is no coincidence! Manufacturers have become acutely aware that the preference of most consumers is to not have MSG in their food. The overwhelming response to this preference has unfortunately not been to remove it, but, rather, to hide it in a label that contains only ingredient names consumers will not recognize as containing MSG. Using this technique, products that do in fact contain MSG, can “legitimately” advertise “No MSG” or “No MSG Added.” See below for a list of MSG containing ingredients and read all labels before purchasing your food, even those that claim to be organic!

Food label names that always contain some MSG:

  • monosodium glutamate
  • hydrolyzed protein
  • monopotassium glutamate
  • textured protein
  • glutamate
  • hydrolyzed oat flour
  • glutamic acid
  • yeast nutrient
  • gelatin
  • autolyzed yeast
  • calcium caseinate
  • yeast extract
  • sodium caseinate
  • yeast food
  • natural flavouring