Trendy Foods: The Scoop on Coconut Water, Avocado, Eggs, Blueberries & Quinoa
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CL LogoRead my quotes from my interview with Hermione Wilson from Canadian Living:

Food fact or fiction? Five food trends deconstructed

By Hermione Wilson

Does coconut water really cure a hangover? Is it true that eating an egg is the equivalent of chowing down on a cheeseburger? Is quinoa really the perfect food? We’ve separated the fact from the fiction regarding five food fads.

coconut waterCoconut water

Feeling parched and looking for a thirst-quenching alternative to plain old water? Grabbing coconut water is a great way to stay hydrated. It’s chock-full of electrolytes and potassium, making it the perfect cure for a hangover, says Anar Allidina, a registered dietitian in Toronto. But watch out for the high sugar content of this natural drink, which some manufacturers top up with added sugar. Allidina recommends sticking to drinks that contain fewer than 12 grams of sugar. “Even though it’s organic, sugar is sugar,” she says.

Coconut water makes a good natural energy drink when you’re working out, so go ahead and bring it along on your morning run or to your weekly spinning class. But if you’re planning on running a marathon or taking part in another endurance activity, coconut water may not cut it. “Coconut water is lower in carbohydrates and sodium compared to traditional sports drinks formulated for performance,” says Andrea Holwegner, a Calgary-based dietitian and the president of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting.


HSN avocadoAvocados are high in fat, but luckily it’s the healthy kind – monounsaturated, to be exact. Diets high in monounsaturated fat can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health, says Holwegner. “You don’t get that good fat in a lot of foods,” says Allidina. She recommends substituting the cheese slices in your sandwiches with a layer of mashed avocado to reap the rewards of this healthful berry.

Just make sure you limit your consumption to a quarter of the creamy fruit per day, especially if you’re watching your weight. One avocado contains about 230 to 350 calories, says Holwegner.


brunch egg casseroleWhen you’re craving an omelette, don’t worry about omitting the yolk. Eggs are bursting with essential nutrients like vitamins A, D and E, protein, iron, folate, and choline – a neat little member of the B vitamin family that boosts brain function – but you need to eat the whole egg to get them.

Eggs do contain a minimal amount of saturated fats – 1.5 grams – but if you stick to the recommended two eggs per day, you should be fine. For those with a history of heart disease and high cholesterol, Allidina suggests limiting consumption to no more than four eggs a week. However, Holwegner says studies have shown an egg a day does not significantly increase risk of cardiovascular disease. Eggs are high in cholesterol as well, but “it’s not the cholesterol in foods that affects our blood cholesterol [levels], it’s the saturated fats,” says Allidina.


blueberriesLooking for a new anti-aging product? Look no further than these brightly coloured, antioxidant-rich berries. Recent studies have shown eating blueberries on a regular basis can improve memory and stave off Alzheimer’s disease. And if you’re looking to lose weight, blueberries contain plenty of fibre, which keeps you feeling full longer, notes Allidina.

If you have diabetes or are watching your blood sugar, however, you may want to consult a doctor or dietitian before adding a blueberry supplement to your diet, says Holwegner. Blueberry supplements have the potential to lower blood sugar levels.


quinoaVegetarians everywhere are singing the praises of the “mother of all grains,” and for good reason. Quinoa is a complete protein, says Allidina, who notes that’s usually only true of animal products. It’s high in fibre, promoting satiety, and makes a great alternative to rice and pastas, she says.

Quinoa is also low on the glycemic index, which means it releases glucose more slowly, causing a steadier blood sugar response. That’s good for your health, in general, and particularly good for controlling your blood sugar if you are diabetic, says Holwegner.

All five of these foods can be a powerful addition to most diets, but be wary of hero worship. Instead of latching on to one, try them all. “Having foods in combination maximizes the nutritional benefits you’re giving yourself,” says Allidina. Holwegner agrees: “I personally don’t think there is one superfood, only super diets. Variety is the spice of life.”

Learn more about foods fads, including five weight-loss myths.

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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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