3 Things That Should Make You Question Nutrition Information

Recently I attended an event where there was a speaker doing a presentation on nutrition. Right off the bat I noticed her credentials on the screen: a non-science, non-nutrition bachelor degree and a personal training specialization that doesn’t delve too much into nutrition as far as I know. I raised my eyebrow at this, but settled back in my chair and decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.

If you had been watching me while I watched her presentation, it probably would have been amusing. I’m pretty sure I was squirming in my seat and sitting on my hands so that I didn’t give into my strong urge to speak up and challenge her information. But I like to consider myself at least somewhat socially graceful, so I bit my tongue and did nothing.

But those of you who know me know that I can’t really do nothing about this sort of thing. So almost immediately after getting home from the event, I wrote this post on 3 things that should make you question nutrition information. I know the audience that night will likely never see this post, but it makes me feel slightly more at ease to at least know I’m putting this out there.

(Note: The Dietitians of Canada recently released this fantastic news release on 5 tips to spot misinformation. I originally had all of these points written out in my post, but when I realized the overlap, I decided to just link to their post instead and focus on my other points!)

1. They use fear tactics

Extreme claims about nutrition and health are definite attention grabbers. But truths can get stretched or entirely fabricated altogether, especially when real scientific evidence isn’t considered (see #3). If you don’t see a reputable reference for the extreme claim, take it with a grain of salt – actually, take it with a grain of salt anyways – and question why they are using these fear tactics. Are they just trying to be dramatic or is that fear tactic followed by a solution (a book, diet plan, etc) that you can convieniently purchase from the person? If it’s the latter, run away!

2. They have no formal training in science or nutrition

The human body is complicated. I studied it for 7 years in school and internship and still don’t fully understand it. So how can someone who has no formal education in science or nutrition understand it? Sorry but they can’t. It’s this incomplete understanding of the human body that leads to all the absurd notions and fad diets that sound like they could be true, but aren’t because they fail to consider the complete picture (i.e. the alkaline diet).

3. They reference books rather than reputable studies

Books are not evidence. The internet is not evidence. That charismatic doctor on TV is not evidence. The only real, solid evidence comes from scientific studies that are peer-reviewed and published in scientific journals (being able to understand those studies is key too because different types of studies provide different quality of evidence!).

So don’t let yourself be duped! Next time you’re exposed to nutrition information, keep these 3 things in mind (plus the 5 great tips from the Dietitians of Canada) to decide whether to believe what you’re being told.

3 Things That Should Make You Question Nutrition Information


Filed under nutrition

Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Feta

I’m a firm believer in second chances.

Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Feta. A healthy vegetarian dinner on the table in just 30 minutes!

Because sometimes when we decide we don’t like something, all we need to do is change it up a bit and see it in a new light. Take one of my best friends, Lauren, for example. We didn’t like each other in 4th grade because she thought I swooped in and stole her best friend when I started as a new student at the school. But when we realized how much we had in common (read: we’re both big dorks), we became inseparable.

I also thought I didn’t like working out. For a couple years in university when I first started exercising, I thought that meant I had to do hour long cardio workouts – I mean duh, that’s what all the magazines recommended. Well I soon realized that sucked and I didn’t enjoy it at all. But then I started exploring the weights section at GoodLife Fitness and found out I actually really enjoyed strength training – so that is now what I base the majority of my workouts around and I (almost) aways look forward to it.

What does this all have to do with pasta you might be wondering? I’m getting around to my point!

Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Feta. A healthy vegetarian dinner on the table in just 30 minutes!

See JZ doesn’t like tomatoes or bell peppers. He’ll eat things like pasta sauce and chili, but fresh tomato salads, sun dried tomatoes, and grilled peppers are out of the question. Which is a shame because I live for these foods around this time of year! I didn’t give up hope though – I knew there must be a way to slowly break down his food barriers. So inspired by a class I was teaching on homemade pesto at work, I decided to puree these forbidden fruits into a pesto-like paste.

I tossed it with some whole grain spaghettini and threw in some feta and arugula, then set the plate down in front of him, hoping my disguised tomatoes and peppers would pass by undetected by his scrutinous tastebuds. I bit my nails nervously and stared at him intently as he took his first bite. He had a look of concentration on his face as he chewed, swallowed, and looked up to meet my eyes. “This is really good” he said.

Hallelujah! I just may make a tomato and pepper lover out of him yet.

Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Feta. A healthy vegetarian dinner on the table in just 30 minutes!

Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Feta
Prep time
Total time
Yield: 4-6 servings
  • ¾ cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1 red pepper, roasted and peeled (about ¾ cup)
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp + ⅛ tsp salt
  • 12 oz whole grain pasta noodle of your choice
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2-3 cups baby arugula
  1. In a food processor, combine the sun dried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, pine nuts, olive oil, and salt. Run the food processor until it is a paste, but still has some small chunks in it.
  2. Toss the paste with 12 oz of your favourite cooked pasta noodle and divide into bowls. Top with crumbled feta cheese and fresh baby arugula

This post was written as a part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program, however all opinions expressed are my own.


Filed under recipe

Late Summer Vegetable Recipes I’m Loving

I go crazy for this time of year. Maybe literally. Almost every Saturday this summer I’ve been in my car by 6:45 am to head to the St. Jacob’s Farmers Market – is that crazy? I’ll let you decide.

late summer vegetables

But the excitement of picking out new fruits and vegetables for the week is enough to drag me out of bed at that hour (and it helps that I’m naturally an early riser anways). Especially now that it’s the peak time for some of my late summer favourites like tomatoes and zucchini! Truth be told I rarely even bat an eye at some of these vegetables the other 9-10 months of the year, but the second they hit farmers markets, I’m all over them. You can’t beat that fresh local flavour!

Tomatoes have been finding their way into simple salads, always with some form of cheese (I’m having a bit of a love affair with fior de latte at the moment). Zucchini grated into patties and pan fried so that they become deliciously crispy. Peppers and eggplant roasted until they become soft and slightly charred. And corn – well I keep meaning to make corn patties or something, but it’s just so good eaten plain right off the cob!

roasted red peppers

If you’re in need of some more inspiration, here’s what I’ve been cooking with summer’s bounty lately:

tomatoes and peppers 

Caprese Salad with Grilled Peppers via Jamie Oliver
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Smoky Cumin Dressing via Yummy Beet
Tomato Eggplant Stew over Parmesan Polenta via Snixy Kitchen
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta (recipe coming soon!)

summer squash 

Summer Squash Gratin with Gruyere and Salsa Verde via Smitten Kitchen
Shaved Summer Squash Salad via Bon Appetit
Zucchini Fritters via Clean Eats, Fast Feets
Arugula Pesto and Zucchini Pizza with Chevre


Farro Salad with Beet Greens and Sun Dried Tomatoes via Brooklyn Supper
Golden Beet Salad with Orange Miso Dressing via Oh She Glows
Balsamic Glazed Beets via The Washington Post

miscellaneous late summer vegetables 

Sweet Potato, Corn, and Feta Salad via What’s Gabby Cooking
Smoked Trout and Summer Bean Salad via Fine Cooking


Filed under recipe round up