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Apricot Oatmeal Bran Muffins

The new Dietitians of Canada cookbook, "Cook!" is out, in time for Nutrition Month! You can buy it on Amazon or Chapters. I have 4 recipes published in this book. This is one of my favorite muffin recipes, from my Great Aunt Joan. I often encourage clients to bake healthy muffins and cookies to have on had for snacks. This recipe is high in fibre and contains no white flour!

Apricot Oatmeal Bran Muffins

preheat oven to 375 degrees F

1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup boiling water
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/3 cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup chopped dried apricots

1) In a small bowl, stir together wheat bran and boiling water; set aside.
2) In a large bowl combine flour, oats, wheat germ, baking soda and salt.
3) In a med bowl, whisk together brown sugar, egg, buttermilk and oil until blended. Pour over flour mixture, along with bran mixture, and stir until just combined. Fold in apricots....

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Agave Nectar & "Natural" Sugars

For some reason, agave nectar still seems to have a health halo around it. My healthiest clients and friends that strive to eat whole and healthy foods often use agave instead of sugar. Yes, it sounds fancy and perhaps you have heard it has a lower glycemic index than sugar. That’s true. Even though it has the same amount of calories as sugar, it is 1.5 x sweeter than sugar, so you shouldn’t need to use as much. Which is great. But I still do not like agave. I bought some before doing any research a while back, and ended up giving it away.

Why? Yes, it is processed and it does not contain vitamins, minerals or antioxidants. And it contains more fructose that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Sources vary, but agave can be up to 90% fructose, where as HFCS is 55%. What’s wrong with fructose? Fructose can cause decreased glucose tolerance, high triglycerides and metabolic syndrome (which can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes). Considering that, if you eat a...

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Help, my baby is not eating enough!

Are you worried that your baby is not eating enough food? Wondering how they subsist mostly on milk (or even air?!) some days?

Or maybe you just came from a visit to the doctor or health nurse, and were concerned about your baby's (or toddler's or child's) growth. First of all, you are the parent. You know your baby best. Trust your baby - and you will do a great job! Often recommendations about how much your baby should be eating come from health care providers who are short on time and are just following the standard (and sometimes old) recommendations. Some are not parents themselves, or they may not be very familiar with current infant feeding practices.

It's common to see government-produced handouts with a days worth of food for the average baby or toddler. I have had many parents come to me, concerned that their baby isn't eating even close to the amounts listed in these guidelines. Heck, my 18 month old doesn't eat this much and some days my 5 year old doesn't either!


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Coconut Palm Sugar, Xylitol & Date Syrup Reviews

Coconut Palm Sugar
Coconut products have been hugely popular lately, from coconut water to oil to milk. Coconut palm sugar is a natural sweetener alternative. It is made from the nectar from the tree flowers. The Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations believes palm sweeteners are the most sustainable sweetener on the planet. It can be substituted 1:1 for sugar in recipes, as it is of similar sweetness to sugar. It is dark in colour and has a rich flavour, so may be a better substitute for brown sugar.

Coconut Palm sugar was given recently popularity due to a feature on the Dr OZ show, as can be seen here Dr Oz claims Coconut Palm sugar can stabilize your blood sugar and contains iron and vitamins. The blood sugar claims are an exaggeration. His chart may be accurate if you ate 100% pure coconut palm sugar vs 100% pure sugar all day. However, we eat these foods mixed in, and with other foods that effect blood sugars in different ways. For example, mixed with a latte,...

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Chia Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

This is one of our favorite muffin recipes. I keep a stock in the freezer for easy snacks of packing school lunches.




1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1.5 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter or non-hydrogenated margarine

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup (2-3 bananas) ripe mashed bananas

6 scoops Mila* (ground chia seed) OR ground flax

1 cup water


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare two small 12 cup muffin trays.

2) In a large bowl, mix together the two flours, salt and baking soda. Stir in chocolate chips.

3) Hydrate Mila with 1 cup water and let sit 5-10 mins (you can forget this if you are using ground flax).

4) Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a separate bowl.

5) Beat in eggs one at a time.

6) Add mashed bananas and vanilla to the moist mixture.

7) Add the hydrated Mila (or flax) to the mixture and blend with a mixer.

8) Add the...

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Supplement Review: Juice Plus

As a part of my review on supplements, I am going to start with Juice Plus. Most of you have probably heard of Juice Plus, know someone who sells it, or have seen it at a tradefair.

What it is:

The Juice Plus slogan is: "The next best thing to fruits and vegetables." Canadians don't eat enough fruits and vegetables. And the most commonly consumed vegetable is potatoes! Juice Plus contains concentrates from 17 fruits, veggies and grains (capsules or chews) in Garden Blend, Orchard Blend and Vineyard Blend.


1) One major advantage of Juice Plus is that it is just fruits and veggies, with no isolated vitamins and minerals. The phytochemicals in foods work synergystically and you can't add them all to a traditional vitamin. Because of this, I like the idea of a whole foods supplement.

2) Juice Plus also has an impressive amount of quality research studies to support that the antioxidants are absorbed, it reduces oxidative stress, helps protect DNA and cardiovascular health and...

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Supplement Review: USANA

supplement review usana Oct 11, 2018

What it isUSANA Health Sciences has been in the direct sales market since 1992. I've been approached by reps in the past to check out their products, and have always declined. Until I ran into a dietitian selling them, and read her story about how her family eats well, but these supplements really increased their energy level. I trust dietitians. I'm also a tired mom - who doesn't want more energy?! So I thought it couldn't hurt to finally try out their multivitamins for myself.

The Mega Antioxidant and Multimineral Plus is the USANA multivitamin mix. It comes  in 2 bottles and you take 2 pills from each, twice a day.

Pros: 1) has independent ratings of vitamins. They test that the supplement contains the amount of ingredient it claims, that the vitamin disintegrates and that the supplement wasn't lead contaminated (none were, except one supplement for pets). USANA was approved (although it exceeds the Upper Limit for niacin and folic acid). As far...

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Is Homemade Infant Formula Safe?

More than once I have been asked: “I can’t breastfeed, can I make my baby homemade infant formula instead of buying commercial formula?” It’s a very simple answer (although I will provide you with other alternatives) –N.O.

Despite what your chiropractor or naturopath says, it is not safe. A nephrologist knows that new infants have troubles digesting the large proteins in cow’s milk. The chiropractor? Does not know, but claims to know. Side note: Homemade or “natural” formulas are not appropriate for infants. I have seen them lead to bowel growth problems in the short term and the long-term consequences are unknown. Puleeeeze make sure you are getting very important nutrition information for your infant from someone who knows what they are talking about (a pediatrician or pediatric dietitian). It could save your baby’s life.

Ok, off of that rant. Weston Price Foundation has popular homemade baby formula recipes. One, which is...

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Should you Delay Introducing Grains to your Baby?

I keep on hearing around the internet that babies should not be fed grains before age 1. Maybe age 2.  The reason given is that until that age, babies don’t make enough amylase, an enzyme that digests complex carbohydrates. Sounds scientific. But what about the complex carbs in fruits and veggies. I’ve never heard to delay vegetables…this theory sounds like a bit fishy. A shoot-off from the anti-grain-diet popularity in the adult world. Which is a bit sad, really. Transferring the newest fad diet onto our babies?! But maybe there is proof of this. Although I haven’t seen one reference on the opinion blogs I read on this topic, so I am skeptical. But if there is, I certainly want to know, as a mom of young kids and dietitian specializing in babies! So here’s what I found out.

Amylase is present in saliva as well as produced by the pancreas. To look first at salivary amylase, it’s important to know that very little digestion occurs in the...

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Babyled Weaning on Global Calgary

Check out my appearance on Global Calgary for Calgary's Child Magazine. I was discussing Babyled Weaning including why you would choose this method of introducing solids, the risks and how to alleviate them, and some good starter foods:

If you want to learn more, click here to sign up for my free webinar: How to Get Started With Babyled Weaning.

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