Some Books to Keep in Mind

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food fight

Like a true dietetics nerd I’ve been reading some of the most influential and popular dieting books including: Michael Pollan’s ‘In Defence of Food’ and Rosemary Stanton’s ‘The Diet Dilemma’. I was happy to find surprisingly little repetition between the two titles. I’ll share my brief thoughts on them…

“In Defence of Food” by Michael Pollen starts with the line‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’

While the words at the start of Pollen’s book may not be 100% accurate, omitting some complexities of the modern healthy diet, they are generally correct. For instance where to healthy fats fit in, such as Fish, Eggs, and dairy?

Other than that, Pollen puts a good case forward. He writes so convincingly, with evidence to back his every word, that it was difficult to approach the book critically. I enjoyed the read, even being an almost-dietitian. I think story-telling is important with any book, and maybe even more so with titles that interact with the reader in this way. Books that ask the reader to do something need to be engaging and this one was.

Rosemary Stanton’s ‘The Diet Dilemma’. 

This book seems to have one purpose; to educate. This is the reason that I didn’t finish the book and was uninterested most of the time. I suspect that I’m clearly not the target audience which is why I’ve had such a strong reaction! I can see someone who is either preparing to attend, or who has just attended a dietitian consultation to be the target. The book serves as a crash-course in dieting and all the problems that dieters face. But it’s presented in a way that would be interesting if you had been living under a rock, or have had no reason to diet ever.

While this book is very good, I dislike the writing style and for me it lacks narrative.

Final Word

One last point. Books such as these can be great tools, but nothing more. They can put your fears at ease before meeting a dietitian or help you stay on track, but ultimately they are flawed. Often intensive one-on-one help is needed to make the enormous life changes described in these books.

 

Until next time

Jack

Please remember that I’m a dietetics STUDENT, so none of my opinions should be trusted! PLEASE consult an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) or your GP before applying anything discussed in this blog to your diet or exercise regime

 

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Product Review:Tinned fruit

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blueberries

Price: $4.07 / 415g ($0.98 / 100g)

Nutrition: per 70mL serve: Energy = 271kJ; Sugar = 10.3g; Sodium = 10mg.

Verdict: Canned varieties should be drained as most of the sugar is contained in the liquid. Opt for ‘In Juice’ over ‘In Syrup’.

You might have guessed now that some canned fruits are more appealing than others, a can of peaches is far more appealing than strawberries for example. The point is that there’s no reason not to incorporate things like canned peaches and canned/frozen blueberries when the fresh stuff is out of season or out of your price range. Remember that you could be doing your body a favour if theses are fruits you usually aren’t eating. We need to be consuming a variety of colours!

Product Review: Macro Quinoa Snack-pot

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IMG_1418Price: $2.50 / 110g  ($2.27 / 100g)

 Brand: Woolworths macro. Not much to say, other than this is their specialty and certified organic range.

Verdict: Yuck! That was my first reaction to this product. After doing some thinking I feel now that the product has been stripped on any fun to appeal to the heath-conscious crowd who are likely to pick this up and go straight to the NIP (nutrition info panel). I could only have a few spoons before adding a little something to sweeten it. Once I did that it was edible. Definitely not something I’m willing to buy again, unfortunately. If you can stomach it, or can come up with a better way to serve I’d love to know. There is value in this product, it provides over 100% of the daily wholegrain goal and is a source of dietary fibre.

 *** This item appears to be no longer available***

Mindless Eating

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Brian Wansink’s ‘Mindless Eating’

mindless

Okay I’m cutting straight to the point, if your interested in food and how it controls us then read this book! 

Suggestions for avoiding mindless eating:

  • Find something else to occupy yourself. Ask yourself “what are my interests?”
  • Plating up 20% less will not leave you hungry, it may not even be missed. Of course this is a bit harder if you’re serving yourself.
  • Speaking of servings, the book suggests taking only preserved plates to the table rather than serving bowls. This way you have to go back for seconds in needed.
  • Keep empty packaging on the table until you’re done eating, this will act as a visual cue to your brain that you have in fact been eating and that you’ll start feeling full soon.
  • drink from tall skinny glasses rather than short fat ones. We perceive vertical objects to hold more volume than horizontal ones. Try drawing two equal lines, one horizontal and anothervertical starting in the middle of the horizontal one. It appears that the vertical is longer, even though it is not.  
  • Try to not use the four unhelpful and unhealthy food tool extremes. Do not use food or eating as a reward or punishment, or as a form of guilt or comfort. Easier said than done I’m afraid!

Wansink doesn’t assume you’re looking for a diet and that you need strict rules to control your eating, he is merely a scientist doing his job; presenting the facts. It’s a great read which takes us behind the scenes of the food industry and the way in which food is marketed. It offers a unique perspective to food and what your eating without using your own intake as a case study, you don’t feel targeted or guilty for eating. 

While the author cannot disclose specific information about his various industry consults, he takes us into his world. Its the world of human eating behaviours, I was captivated and taken off-guard. I had thought I knew lots about the relationship humans have with food, but this book challenged my perceptions and I’m all the better for it. 

For instance imagine an elaborately planned dining room where soup bowls magically refill and eaters just keep on eating without knowing that they have consumed more! I thought for sure most people would notice that one but apparently we have more in common with the white lab rat than we’d like to think!

Anyway onto the crux of this book, there’s lots of value here, the hardest part is actually making steps to apply the ideas to your life. I think once you take the plunge it’ll get easier to take care of yourself and follow the basic principles the book outlines; I could say that about most diet books, only I wouldn’t call this a diet book per se. 

Until next time 

Jack

Please remember that I’m a dietetics STUDENT, so none of my opinions should be trusted! PLEASE consult an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) or your GP before applying anything discussed in this blog to your diet or exercise regime

Product Review: Quinoa Flakes

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flakes

Price: $7.49 / 350g ($2.14 / 100g)

Brand: macro

Woolworths macro. Not much to say, other than this is their specialty and certified organic range.

 

Nutrition in a 28g serve:445kj Energy, 3.2g protein, 19.3g carbs, 0.7g sugar, 1.7g fat, <5mg sodium.

Verdict: So… what can I say here. Quinoa is new and shiny, everyone who is cool is talking about it, but that doesn’t mean it tastes good. I know, blasphemy, I’m sharing an opinion not supported by pop culture. It is packed with protein, which is why it’s so filling.

I don’t have anything against quinoa and like to experiment with it. What I’m saying is that if you don’t like the taste then there is not much you can do about it (except for not eat it). If you eat oats in the morning or any other high fibre cereal then it’s best to stick with that when the alternative is a bowl of sugar with some quinoa on the side. At the same time, adding sweeteners is okay, but your choices matter.

Personally I like quinoa in savory things with lots of vegetables. I probably like it more this way because I cook the grains in stock rather than water so the bitterness of the quinoa is muted.

Share your quinoa experience as a comment!

Product Review: Mexican Tortilla Soup

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soupPrice: $3.50 / 400g ($ 0.88 / 100g)

 

Brand: Hansells All Natural

The New Zealand parent company of Alfa One, Aunt Betty’s, Hansells, Real Yoghurt, Vitafresh, Vitasport, Pane Toscano, Sucaryl and others. They’re best and originally known for their traditional steamed puddings, sold under the Aunt Betty’s brand in New Zealand and Australia.

 

Nutrition

Per serve: 697Kj Energy, 6.5g Protein, 3.9g fat, 26.3g Carbs, 5.2g Sugar, 6.8g Fibre, 820mg Sodium

 

Verdict: Firstly let me say how frustrating it is to see a product containing two serves which must be used immediately. What if I’m eating alone? Or what if my eating buddy doesn’t like Mexican Tortilla Soup in a pouch? The pouch really should be re-sealable. Of course I could decant half the packet into a container for refrigeration, but if I were able to put in that much effort I wouldn’t be eating pre-prepared soup now would I!

Other than the obvious shortcomings of the packaging, this product is delicious! Hansells lose points for excessive salt however. The excessive salt is especially a problem when you decide to eat the whole packet. I fate forced upon me by the people who decided against putting a seal on the pouch for reuse.

 

Product Review: Sesame Bar

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sesame bar

Product: Sesame Bar $0.90 /  45g ($ 2.00/ 100g)

Brand: Edens

A mystery as the company seems to have no online presence. If anyone knows about this company, please comment!

 

Nutrition

Each bar gives 728kj Energy, 2.5g Protein, 8.3g Fat, 20.8g sugar, 1.5g fibre, and 43mg sodium

Half a bar gives 364kj Energy, 1.25g Protein, 4.15g Fat, 10.4g sugar, 0.75g fibre, and 21mg sodium

 

Verdict: An old favorite which has been a joy to review. I hadn’t had one in about a year, I forgot how much I love them! While the bar is considered a single serve, it gives quite a lot of energy. I suggest eating it in two halves. Oh and another thing, if you’re unfortunate enough to have braces on your teeth as I do maybe cut it up first! I’m also pretty sure this isn’t a dentist-friendly product either, being quite sticky and sugary.

 The low sodium is a plus but the high sugar is a minus