By Miranda Massie on March 4, 2019
Nourishment goes beyond nutrition, beyond food labels, calories and superfoods. Nourishment is a mental, physical and even spiritual state where we feel fulfilled, satiated and whole. Our modern lives often have us running to and from commitments, engaging with fast-paced technology and navigating personal and professional demands. This leaves little time to think of food as anything but the fuel to help get us there. In the spirit of Nutrition Month, I’m providing a little ‘food for thought’ (pun-intended), some simple steps to support feeling nourished.
1. Practice gratitude
At the start of a meal, take a quick moment to consider where your food came from. Picture who had to work in order for the food to land on your plate. In that moment, pause and say thank you.
Why: Gratitude supports mental health and wellbeing, and slowing down supports healthy digestion.
2. Don’t forget your liquids
The body needs food to function, but it needs hydration to survive. To ensure that you are hydrated throughout the day, try water tracking and reminder apps, incorporating beverages into your daily routine (before breakfast, before bed, with all meals), and using a favourite water bottle.
Why: 60% of our bodies are made up of water, which needs to be replenished in order to support many important health functions.
3. Prioritize sleep
Set up a sleep routine and do your best to keep it consistent. Try setting a reminder to go to bed at the same time each day, invest in comfortable sheets, limit caffeine consumption and avoid technology before bed.
Why: Sleep and nutrition go hand in hand. Our diet can positively or negatively impact our quality of sleep, and our sleep patterns can result in irregular or overindulgent eating habits.
4. Identify what brings you comfort
For me, comfort food includes cheesy pasta, salt and vinegar potato chips and wine. We all deserve to indulge once in a while: it’s important. However, we should also be aware that we define these foods as ‘comfort’. We often use these foods as a way to avoid dealing with challenging people, situations or emotions. By identifying the foods that you crave the most, it brings awareness to the emotions driving the eating.
Why: Being more mindful of why and when we reach for certain foods can interrupt habits and enable portion control and increased self-awareness.
5. Listen to your body
Pay attention to subtle signs your body might be telling you about your diet. Consider writing them down or tracking them over time. Have a headache? Your body might need more water or perhaps you’ve been drinking sugary beverages. Experiencing a gastro-intestinal issue? This could indicate an allergy or a need for more fibre-rich foods. Skin inflammation? This might indicate a food intolerance.
Why: Getting to know your body’s rhythms can help catch an issue, challenge or allergy early, leading to increased physical comfort and piece of mind.
This month, I encourage you to look beyond nutrition and reflect on what helps you feel nourished. This may mean eating meals with friends, establishing a new bedtime routine or even indulging in your favourite comfort foods (just to make sure they’re still as delicious as you remember).
You can also read more about strategies to help you feel nourished.
All my best,
Posted in Editorial, Miranda Massie, Nutrition | Tagged comfort, editorial, gratitude, mental health, nourishment, Nutrition, nutrition month, physical health, sleep, tips, tricks, UBC, water | 2 Responses
By Melissa Lafrance on October 3, 2018
Food is one of the most basic needs for our survival and health, but it also involves sharing, celebrating and demonstrating our care for others, and supporting our social connections and traditions. Food and social interactions often go hand in hand and nourishing ourselves can also cultivate our social supports.
Week 1: Holiday meal ideas and making social connections
What better way to show gratitude towards your loved ones than preparing a delicious Thanksgiving meal? Here are some ideas to help you prepare a holiday feast:
- Build your menu with these Thanksgiving recipes (Greatist)
- If turkey’s not your thing, try these vegetarian recipes instead (Food Network)
The holidays can be a difficult time, especially for older citizens or those without family around. Consider volunteering on a farm: you’ll be supporting a good cause and meeting new people. Check out the upcoming volunteer opportunities at the UBC Farm, as well as other opportunities to socialize and give back on local farms.
Week 2: Comforting meals, fall produce and farmers markets
- Savour the fall flavours and make use of the bountiful array of in-season fall produce in BC
- Get to know your local farmers markets and buy farm-fresh ingredients in your community
- Use Eating Well’s healthy soup and stew recipes to stock your freezer for easy and quick dinners
Week 3: Rethink your drink
This fall, UBC launches a Healthy Beverage Initiative (HBI) to promote healthy beverage consumption. The focus is on educating the UBC community about the health impacts of beverage choices and promoting healthier drink options, particularly water.
Developed by the UBC Food and Nutrition Working Group and other key supporters, which includes faculty, staff and student stakeholders from both campuses, the HBI exemplifies UBC’s commitment to wellbeing through the Okanagan Charter. For more information about the UBC Healthy Beverage Initiative, visit UBC Wellbeing or check out this Ubyssey article.
To help you rethink your drink, here are some low-sugar beverage options and ideas:
- Find out why tap water is best to quench your thirst (UBC Food Services)
- Jazz up your water with fruits, vegetables and herbs thanks to these flavoured water recipes(Food Network)
- Try no-sugar-added iced tea(Eating Well)
- If you are hosting a meeting, consider getting a water jug dispenser and providing reusable cups
Week 4: Quality meal times
Eating behaviour is strongly influenced by the social contexts we find ourselves in1. We often model behaviours of the people we eat with and the social environment/context. Nourish your relationships through quality meal times.
- Check out how eating together is great for team building and improving productivity (Cornell University)
- Learn how meal times can enhance mental health (The Vanier Institute of the Family)
By Melissa Lafrance on September 11, 2018
September is here, and so is back-to-school time. This month, we offer ideas, recipes and tips that are as stress-free as possible.
Food fuels our bodies, including our brains. Nourishing ourselves with good quality foods will help ensure peak cognitive function. It starts with a fortifying breakfast, then a recharging lunch, followed by a delicious supper, with balancing snacks to keep us going throughout the day.
Week 1: Be breakfast ready
Breakfasts that include foods with a low glycemic index 1 will produce a slower rise and lower peak in blood glucose concentration after eating. Your first meal of the day can include carbohydrates such as low-in-sugar breakfast cereals, oatmeal or whole grain toast combined with some protein such as a plain dairy or non-dairy product, eggs and nut butters to keep you satiated for longer. Here are some breakfast options to try:
- No-fuss breakfasts (Melissa Baker, Manager of Nutrition & Wellbeing at UBC SHHS)
- Healthy breakfast ideas for busy mornings (Healthy Families BC)
- 34 healthy breakfasts for busy mornings (Greatist)
- Freezer-friendly breakfast sandwiches (Damn Delicious)
- Freezer-friendly spinach feta breakfast wraps (Kitchn)
- A week’s worth of oatmeal in jars (Kitchn)
Week 2: Transform leftovers into tomorrow’s lunch
With a bit of planning and making extra food when you do have time to cook or prep meals, you can transform leftovers into tomorrow’s lunch. Try doubling up on recipes so you have enough portions for a couple of lunches. It shouldn’t add any cooking/prep time.
Be prepared with these recipes, tips and healthy lunch spots:
- 15 kitchen staples to help you whip up a healthy meal (Melissa Baker)
- 13 hacks for quick lunches (Spud)
- Need to buy lunch? Find out what’s open on the Vancouver campus.
- Mouth-watering healthy lunch ideas for work (EatingWell)
Week 3: Who’s ready for snacks?
Avoid the mid-morning or mid-day run to the vending machine by incorporating healthy snacks that include a minimum of two food groups. That will help reduce the sugar spike and impending crash from eating highly processed, carbohydrate-based, easy-to-grab snacks.
Week 4: Home-Cooked Meals
How often do you get home after work, starving and with no idea what to make for dinner?
- Explore meal planners, including Martha Stewart’s Grocery Bag Weekly Meal Planner. You’ll get recipes for dinner (and possibly leftovers for lunch), grocery lists and the confidence to whip up simple meals.
Here are some time-saving tips:
- Wash, chop and store fresh veggies and fruit once or twice a week to minimize cooking and prep time on other days.
- Make grains galore. Cook extra whole grains or other sides and store portioned leftovers in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for up to a month. That way, you’ll be ready when you need a healthy meal in a hurry.
- Slow saves time: consider using a slow cooker. Check out BBC good food’s vegetarian slow cooker recipes.
For those extra busy times when you don’t have time to grocery shop, consider online food ordering or meal delivery services. Here are some local options for online ordering:
By Melissa Lafrance on December 7, 2017
In December, we are highlighting winter produce, feeding yourself when you’ve caught a bug, and rethinking holiday eating. You won’t find your typical guide to healthy holiday eating here. We are all unique and some of us celebrate in different ways, so it’s important to savour those special moments, especially if your festivities revolve around food.
Each week in December, we will be sharing tips, recipes and ideas on how to nourish ourselves this winter and mindfully and positively enjoy holiday eating.
We are lucky enough to be able to enjoy great foods and flavourful ingredients – even through the chilly winter season.
Recipes and tips for using in-season produce:
- Check out EatingWell’s five healthy foods you can enjoy this winter.
- To find local foods grown in December, check out FarmFolk CityFolk’s seasonal food chart.
- Try Ina Garten’s simple roasted vegetable recipe. If you want, sprinkle some goat cheese on your finished dish.
- Buy what might be an odd-looking squash and inspire yourself to do something with it. “Ugly vegetables” are not just ornamental; you can actually eat them. Check out The Spruce’s website to see all the many winter squash and pumpkin varieties You’ll also find great recipes if you scroll all the way down the page.
If you’ve caught a cold or flu virus, it’s important to hydrate and get proper nutrition – even with a reduced appetite. Passing over food or skipping meals isn’t a recommended treatment for any illness. When you’re fighting infection, whether it be a cold or flu virus, you need extra calories to support a higher metabolic rate.
Here are some tips and recipes to help you combat the bug:
- Hydrate! Learn about WebMD’s best (and worst) drinks to have when battling a cold.
- Check out this classic chicken soup from EatingWell.
- Try making CookingLight’s flavourful quick chicken pho recipe.
- For when you have more energy to cook, consider Jamie Oliver’s collection of winter soup recipes.
Let’s reframe the way we view holiday eating: it’s not what you eat on a few special occasions; it’s about the healthy food choices you make between occasions. Therefore, if you are going to be miserable about not eating your grandma’s special cookie, eat the darn cookie and savour every bite!
- Read Psychology Today’s take on enjoying holiday eating. You might gain a few tips in the process.
This holiday season, leave the guilt aside and mindfully enjoy meals that not only nourish your body, but also feed your soul. It is perfectly okay to eat foods that are sweeter and richer (oilier or creamier).
If you choose to indulge a little, here are some tips on how to do it well and mindfully:
- Have a strategy to help with self-control. Check out Self’s 13 holiday healthy-eating tips from a registered dietitian.
- Check out Harvard Health’s blog post on 10 mindful eating tips.
Melissa Lafrance’s Tips of the Month & Favourite Potluck Recipes
When I have an upcoming event involving food, my strategy is to make healthy food choices on the day of so that I can have balance and fully enjoy occasional indulgences. If I arrive hungry, I can’t even focus on pre-dinner socializing because I’m so famished. So, I don’t skip meals and I eat a snack beforehand. If I’m bringing a prepared dish, I tend to focus on simple sides, salads or appetizers that include fresh fruits and veggies. I’m not saying this is the “right” way, but it works for me and maybe it will for you too!
Check out some of my favourite go-to recipes, including a classic one from my grandma:
- Spinach dip is a great go-to potluck dish. Try Cookspiration’s version with pumpernickel bread and a variety of veggies.
- Another winner is Smitten Kitchen’s broccoli slaw. (I usually omit the buttermilk and mayo, and use Vegenaise instead.)
- Check out Vegetarian Times’ rosemary whole-wheat stuffing with figs and hazelnuts. (I usually add finely chopped carrots and celery, a bit of allspice, and replace the port with extra broth.)
My Mémère’s (grandma’s) classic coleslaw recipe:
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ½ cup vinegar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp celery seeds
- 1 small green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1-2 celery stalks, chopped
- In a saucepan, bring the sugar, vinegar, oil, salt and celery seeds just to a boil to dissolve the sugar.
- Slice the cabbage, green onion and celery, and transfer to a large bowl.
- Carefully pour the hot liquid over the cabbage.
- Refrigerate until cooled and serve. The coleslaw is best when it has time to mellow. Enjoy!
By Melissa Lafrance on March 2, 2017
It’s March and we are celebrating nutrition month! Let’s get cooking and focus on improving our nutritional health by focusing on small changes each week. Explore healthy fats, ways to retain nutrients in vegetables, how to use sweet foods instead of sugars, and low-sodium recipes.
We need fats in our diets. To ensure we get more unsaturated fats, let’s try these recipes!
- Honey Grilled Salmon & Asparagus
- Fast Fish & Fresh Herb Veggie Packets
- Easy Homemade Vinaigrette
- Roasted Beet Hummus
Let’s explore recipes to maximize nutrient retention in vegetables.
- Stir-fried Vegetables
- Ways to Make Steamed Vegetables Taste Amazing
- Guide to Avoid Overcooking Vegetables
There are many sweet substitutes to refined white sugar. Or better yet, tasty foods and recipes with no added sugar.
Here are recipes using no sugar or naturally sweet food items:
Many Canadians consume too much sodium as a result of eating foods with high levels of sodium. Lowering sodium intake is easy, you just have to be aware of what is in your food.
Here low-sodium recipes and tips:
- Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
- Lentil & Soybean Salad with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette
- Learn Ways to Consume Less Sodium
Each week in March, we will be sharing tips, tricks, and information for improving nutrition. Become a UBC Health Contact to receive weekly reminders, tips and tricks.
By Colin Hearne on December 4, 2014
UBC’s Health, Wellbeing and Benefits team has a great line up of FREE activities and events coming up in the New Year. Sign up today for topics including The Toxin Myth, Nutrition vs. Nourishment, Ergo your Office: Getting smart with your Workspace, Office Ergo rep training, and more!
Part 1 of our ‘Debunking the Diet Series’ with Dr. Thara Vayali – The terms “toxin” and “detox” are commonly used in natural health and wellness lingo. Find out what it all really means and understand your body’s actual detoxification mechanisms. Learn what to look for in a safe “detox” plan and leave with three valid and useful diet and lifestyle changes that help you step into a cleaner, clearer new year. For more information, or to register, click here.
Join UBC Ergonomics Advisor Abigail Overduin in this 1hr tutorial combining a presentation and a practical session giving you the skills to optimize your office environment to improve comfort and reduce the risk of injury. For more information, or to register click here.
UBC Ergonomics strives to have an Office Ergonomics Representative for each department. We provide the training (one three-hour session) and material required for reps to promote, educate and ensure musculoskeletal health for employees in their departments. Office Ergo Reps are trained by the UBC Ergonomics Coordinator in simple computer workstation set-up, how to notice signs and symptoms of injuries from poor ergonomic set-up, and to control strategies to reduce or prevent symptoms. For more information , or to register click here.
Part 2 of our ‘Debunking the Diet Series’ with Dr. Thara Vayali – Every diet since the industrial age has villainized or glorified one nutrient over another. Join a discussion on diet trends through time and what elements of these diets do and do not work. Develop an understanding of the macronutrient balance required for a healthy body, so that you can better evaluate new diets. Leave with three dietary shifts you can make to find balance. For more information, or to register, click here.
Part 3 of our ‘Debunking the Diet Series’ with Dr. Thara Vayali – Superfoods are everywhere. Eat this, for that. How much? How long? For what end? Find out the components of nourishment, and learn the merits of 10 superfoods. Leave with three tools that help you shift from calories/nutrient counting into feeling nourished and making the most out of your food choices. For more information, or to register, click here.
Posted in Colin Hearne, Ergonomics, Events, Healthy UBC Initiatives, Mental Health, Nutrition, Physical Health | Tagged Ergonomics, fat, nourishment, Nutrition, office ergo, salt, Sugar, toxins, training | Leave a response