Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One

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Back to Oz-ish

Gail Blog

My brilliant Frousin + Kiwi

I’ve been a little obsessed with travel and other pursuits, but from time to time, I’m going to revisit why I started this blog – overall health, and Dr. Oz.  This was written months ago, but I couldn’t figure out when to post it.  Now seemed like as good a time as any before I start a slew of travel related posts.
Dr. Oz provides his viewers with a lot of advice on nutrition.  I have tested some of his advice from time to time, but have found a number of places where there are inconsistencies.  One day, he’ll recommend something as a super food and the next day, he’s moved on to something else.  There are a couple of times where I’ve just disagreed with him – like recommending coconut oil where there is no scientific evidence that it has any health benefits.  In fact, there are more studies that suggest it’s high levels of saturated fat can actually do you more harm than good.  Before I try any more of his recommendations, I thought I’d speak to a trained dietician – and why not go to one that I know, trust and love – my cousin Gail!  You may remember her from previous blogs since I’ve turned to her before.  We sat down over Italian so that I could get answers to my latest barrage of questions.
First off, I’ve noticed a lot of people giving advice on nutrition.  Can you tell me what the difference is between a dietician and a nutritionist?
Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, even you.  It’s not a protected title.  Dietitians have a license protected title.  In order to be a dietician, you need to have a degree and have completed an internship of one year including clinical, foodservice and community work.  We have to write a test (usually 6 hours) based on the standards of the province that we are practicing in.  Dietitians have to upkeep our knowledge and belong to the College of Dietitians which is there for the public’s protection.  We, as dietitians, have to stay on top of studies and understand the most up to date information in our field and it must be practice specific.
A nutritionist is someone that can, for example, read a food label, but they do not understand the science behind it.  In the USA, dietitians are called nutritionists so that’s also where some of the confusion lies.
So, I can be a nutritionist in Canada?
When should you reach out to either?
A nutritionist is cheaper for a reason.  It’s like going to a holistic doctor versus a medical doctor.  The content of education is different.  A registered dietician bases opinion on scientific data driven by studies.  They are not trying to sell anything like supplements or cleanses.  A nutritionist isn’t covered by medical plans.  A dietitian can be covered by OHIP (or other provincial equivalents) for specific conditions or consultations but if you are consulting them privately, it can be expensive.
You can consult a dietitian when you want to make lifestyle adjustments with diet, and this isn’t just for weight loss.  Weight loss may be a by product of the plan, but medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer,  IBS, Crohn’s or any psychiatric conditions (eating disorders) can benefit from a dietitian.
Is there a danger or risk to seeing a nutritionist?
Yes, particularly if they are recommending fad diets, selling products, creating fear of certain foods or touting elimination diets that have no scientific validity.  They can sometimes offer poor advice that could cause long term problems.  Dietitians often have to deal with issues caused by unsound advice from people calling themselves nutritionists.
What are the ethical standards for a dietician?
There is a huge list of ethical standards.  In Ontario, we are governed by the College of Dietitians of Ontario.  We are covered under the Health Care Professionals Act (the same act that covers psychologists).
What is the worst piece of advice that you’ve seen a nutritionist provide?
Telling people to go on elimination diets is a huge issue.  There are no tested studies and there is no validity to them.  Once you end up eliminating foods that you may not be allergic too, people often get confused and no longer know what to eat.
So what do you think about Dr. Oz?  I know, we’ve talked about this before…
Don’t watch Dr. Oz!  He has a certain pressure to sell his show and it shows in his advice!
For more valuable advice, including Gail’s healthy take on body image, check out her blog on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gailkardishRD/

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I Have A Pulse and I’m Proud!


Image courtesy of Google Images.

I was scanning doctoroz.com for something new and fresh to blog about when I came across “Dr. Oz’s New Health Rules” – check it out to try some of the tests on yourself http://www.doctoroz.com/gallery/dr-ozs-new-health-rules.  They are three simple things to try to help you gauge how healthy you are and to prevent dehydration.  Here is a quick snap shot:

  • Take your pulse daily to check for irregularity.  If you have any irregularities, then see your doctor right away.  I checked mine and it was boringly steady but maybe just a tad fast.  If you have never taken your pulse before, or just don’t think you have one (believe me, I’ve questioned whether some people were truly alive before, they were just so sedate) it’s easy!  I usually check my wrist (your radial artery if you are a fancy pants).  It’s on the thumb side just at the base where the wrist meets the base of your hitchhiker digit (sorry, I just didn’t want to repeat thumb twice in the same sentence).  Use the pads of two fingers and you should find it quickly.  If you can’t find it, keep trying by moving your fingers slightly up or down.  There is a slight hollow where I find mine.  If you still can’t find it, you are hopeless and should be ashamed.  Or you can just Google how to take it.
  • Throw out BMI and try Dr. Oz’s Body Quotient.  Dr. Oz’s equation takes things like your age and weight distribution into account in his equation.  This includes waist circumference because we all know that belly fat is bad fat.  Of course, that’s where I gain my weight lucky me!  Your number should be 0 but if it’s not (and mine isn’t) – all hope is not lost, you just have try Dr. Oz’s belly melt which I’ll blog about another day.
  • Drink when you are thirsty.  This is a simple little trick, but it makes perfect sense instead of following the 8 glasses of water a day.  That old tip doesn’t take into account things like heat, exercise and I’m sure that a bigger person may need more water than a smaller person – it can’t be one size fits all.  By drinking when you are thirsty, you are letting your body dictate when it’s the right time to take a drink, not trying to use some arbitrary number.  This makes perfect sense to me – thanks Dr. Oz!

I am in so much pain today – my massage therapist told me that my back is a bit of a mess, but I can still find things to be grateful for.  Today, I’m grateful that I was able to book a getaway to visit friends in North Carolina.  I’ve never been there, so I’m really excited, but even more excited about seeing people that I only get to see once a year.

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Don’t Hate the Whiz-ard, Hate the Game


Image courtesy of hlntv.com

I wish that I didn’t have to interrupt my fun summer topic to write about something more serious, but I would be a bad Oz blogger if I didn’t comment on the recent scolding of Dr. Oz at a meeting of the US Senate’s Consumer Protection Panel.  More specifically, he was called out on some of the weight loss aids that he showcases from time to time on “The Dr. Oz Show.”  Oz, himself, admits that his language when speaking about these aids can be “flowery”.  He also promised to include a list of supplements that he honestly believes works on his website.  He says that he believes in the supplements that he talks about and even gets his family to try them but was fairly contrite by the end of the hearing.  If you look at his appearance during the panel, he looks over-tired and stressed and maybe a little in need of his own advice.

So what do I think?  I think that as a physician, Dr. Oz has a responsibility to do no harm to his patients.  Unfortunately, through TV, print and his website, his patients are now not just in his examining room – they come to him from living rooms all around the world and he now has become the people’s doctor.  I understand, from my years of working in TV, that he probably heard about many of these weight loss aids from segment producers who thought it would be good TV – a quick bang for the viewer’s buck with the ultimate goal of getting people to watch the show and let the content get you hooked into become a regular viewer.  We all love a quick fix and this is what gets people interested in the show.  The reality is, if you do a lot of reading, from Dr. Oz himself, and many of the experts on his show, there is no quick fix.  Take a look at this video about the latest and greatest in weight-loss, Garcinia Cambogia, http://www.doctoroz.com/video-series/supplement-score-card?video_id=3302688594001

Pretty interesting isn’t it?  Bryce Wylde isn’t fully supporting the supplement even though it enjoyed some positive feedback on the show.  What does this say to the audience?  It says DO YOUR HOMEWORK!  If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Don’t just depend on Dr. Oz to be your one and only source of information.  Consult with your doctor.  Double check information on the web.  Be your own health care advocate.  I can tell you from experience that Dr. Oz has a lot of really great information available and it has made a positive impact on how I feel.  He also has some information that I completely disagree with including making coconut oil a daily part of your diet.  For my thoughts – check here https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/cuckoo-for-coconut-oil-no-way/.  If you don’t feel like re-reading it – I can tell you, I gave Dr. Oz a big shame on you (as well as some naturopaths) for ever promoting this as something remotely healthy for you.  

Am I going to give up on Dr. Oz’s advice?  No – there is a lot of good there – I’ve been reading a lot of what he puts out there.  You have to know how to sift through the sensational though to get to the practical. There is a lot of worthwhile information out there – you just have to get over the desire for things to work overnight, because they won’t.  You also have to consider a couple of things if you are going to what Dr. Oz says to heart.  He is a a cardiothoracic surgeon – he had amazing knowledge in this field.  He is not a registered dietician.  He also doesn’t have a weight problem, so many of the supplements that he touts, he has never had to take. You have to take what he says with a grain of salt and cross reference it to see if there is any medical efficacy to what he is talking about.  Without scientific evidence and my doctor’s approval, I wouldn’t try any of these health care supplements.





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March-ing On

Wow – another month has ended already.  I can tell you, that this was the most challenging month in my little experiment to live Oz-ily.  It was also my most expensive month to date – I spent $252.60 – a whopping $150 in getting myself everything that I needed for Dr. Oz’s Two Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan and another $102.60 on Vitamin C serum.  No wonder Dr. Oz has a media empire – its expensive trying to emulate him. 

Let me relive March for a brief, shining moment.  Three interviews (thank you Gail, Cheryl and Dwayne), one cleanse, one diet revamp/mash up, 8.5 pounds lost, a new obession with probiotics, a prebiotic dabble, daily expressions of gratitude and a lovely few days of channeling Gwyneth Paltrow.  Please don’t let me every do anything this stupid again, at least until April.  Oh wait, isn’t that tomorrow? 

I also probably learned more this month than in any other month.  I’ve been keeping up with the good habits that I learned to help me sleep better (still not 100% there) and look better (I still look the same).  Now let’s add all of the dietary changes and knowledge that I have gained.  As I mentioned, the Dr. Oz plan is easy to follow, I’m hoping it decreased my blood sugars, but time will tell on that one.  I felt awful on this “cleanse” and if I ever did it again, yes I would eliminate bread, but I would add more grain – the brain fog was not worth it.  Remember, I gave it a C+ for a reason.  I’ve kept my bread eating to once a day (except today) but it truly is whole grain, organic bread now.  I’ve taken what I like about the Dr. Oz plan (the vegetables, nuts and less bread) and mashed it up with Dash – more whole grains and fruit.  I don’t really crave anything specific anymore, although I was kind of excited to add some mango to my salad tonight.  If I was still doing the Dr. Oz plan, that would have been a major no-no.  I’m still impressed with the probiotics – I just want to be more consistent about revving them up with prebiotics.  I am ok eating this way forever.  I did have frozen yogurt after my salad at dinner on Saturday night and nothing bad happened to me. I also watched everyone around me eating french fries (seriously – why are they called french fries?  There is nothing french about them).  You know what, it didn’t bother me – mostly because I tried one and it tasted kind of gross. 

I think the main thing that I took away from this month’s experiment is the same thing that I learn every single month since I’ve started following Dr. Oz’s advice.  You can change your habits – it’s not easy – don’t get me wrong, but it can be done.  The other key learning (I sound so smart when I say that – don’t I?) is exactly what my three interview subjects said – slow and steady wins the race.  That can mean different things to different people.  For me, it means that if I want to avoid taking medication, that I just have to continue on the path that I am on and if I should falter (sorry, Gwyneth took over for a second) or my road is diverged (UGH stop Gwynnie – I’m trying to get an important point across) or if I fail, if I succeed, at least I’ll live as I believed (now Whitney Houston?)…Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I am going to continue what I am doing, and if I have a bad day, well, that’s normal – no one is perfect, I just have to go back to my good habits the next day.  Do yourself a favour – don’t be an “I’ll start on Monday” person.  Monday never comes when it comes to people with grand ideas of changing their habits.  Start the very day you feel mentally ready.

Today, I am grateful for everything that I have learned this month and to the people whose insights made it much more fulfilling than just Dr. Oz could have made it.  Tomorrow is a new month, but don’t think you’ve heard the last of nutrition from me.  It’s all part of my master plan to find my way on the yellow brick road to good health.  So until April (that’s tomorrow – April Fools!), I am…

Gratefully yours,




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A DASH of Goop



Today, I must begin with what I am grateful for.  It is Gwyneth Paltrow.  Yes, the pretentious princess of all things Goop-y is what I am grateful for.  She allowed me to embrace my inner (and outer) pretention and will be my muse for this entry.  It happened with just a short title – Conscious Uncoupling.  Don’t get me wrong, I hate when a marriage ends, but who expects celebrity marriages to last and at ten years, Gwyneth and Chris Martin have practically been together forever.  What better way to announce the demise of their union with those words – I could not have written it better myself.  So today, I will be writing the entry with Paltrow poise.   I am also writing it with a fake British accent in case you were wondering.  I am listening to Shake Senora by Pitbull (I’m at the “My girl got a big old booty” part) – does that ruin my image? So catchy!   

It is with a heart full of sadness that I have decided to separate from overly processed food. I have been working hard for well over a dozen years, some of it with Lean Cuisines, some of it separated from frozen entrees, to see what might have been possible for dinner, and I have come to the conclusion that while I love frozen food, and yes even some canned soups very much we will remain separate. I am, however, and always will be fond of Diet Coke, and in many ways other artificial sweetners (although I cannot separate from Splenda). I am an eater, foremost, of incredibly wonderful vegetables and fruit and I ask for time and space and privacy to be respected at this difficult time. I have always eaten Lean Cusine and Healthy Gourmet privately, and I hope that as I consciously uncouple from all things frozen or not in season, I will be able to continue in the same manner.

As a curator of Dr. Oz’s advice, I have chosen to reveal more of DASH to you, dear reader in the hopes that you too may learn the fabulosity that is eating all of the main food groups.  As I scribed in my blog-eth, you eat from all of the main food groups for this plan of wonderous abandonment.  The plan also is said to have many benefits including, “… preventing the onset of high blood pressure…reduces the occurence of heart attacks and strokes (by 18 and 24 percent respectively)…it reduces the risk of developing heart failure by 37 percent…it reduces the development of kidney stones by 45%…it reduces the risk of developing colon cancer by 20 percent…it reduces the risk of developing diabetes…it even helps people think more clearly (The DASH Diet for Weight Loss, pages 5-6).  I am thinking much more clearly now, and have not had any of the fuzziness that I had on the Oz plan and another plus is that it reduces the risk of developing diabetes.

The basic premise of DASH is Hi-Lo-Slo: High volume, Low Calorie, Slow to Eat.  Basically, healthy foods that are low in calories, yet with enough bulk to make you feel full and take you awhile to eat so that your fullness signal can be activated.  I wrote more specifics in Tuesday’s blog, but eating fresh fruit and vegetables is important, as well as whole grains and other healthy carbohydrates.  There is a lot of fibre in this diet, therefore you should satiate your thirst with a delightful glass of aqua (water).  You should also not hoover your food.  Oops – forgot my Goopiness for a minute!  Eat slowly, chewing eat bite 35 times (ok just slow down).  They also discuss CICO – calories in, calories out – this is how people gain, regulate or lose weight.  Sound familiar?   It’s because I was on a rant yesterday about how simple this all can be for the average person – there are always exceptions. 

There is a lot of content in this book.  Here is a link that explains the food plan very succinctly http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/dash-diet-explained.  I’ll provide some more details over the weekend, but as always, kindly check with your health care practioner (Gwyneth speak for doctor) before trying any new eating plan. 

Until later, I am Goopily Yours,





40 Weeks to Go!

Time flies when you are doing cleanses, eating nuts, taking probiotics, keeping your room cool, not making shampoo mohawks, grinding flax-seeds, reading Oz related books, taking zinc, Vitamin B and Vitamin D3…and so on.  All I have to say is Oz is tiring me out!  It’s fun though and it really has made me think more than I ever really wanted to about everything health related.  This past week was interesting as I further invested myself in the MASH plan for the rest of my life.   In addition, I’ve been laying the groundwork for April’s topic, but I won’t be revealing that until April Fool’s Day! I also had a reminder that not everyone loves Dr. Oz as much as I may.  My cousin, in a very simple way, explained a lot and helped me see where the Oz plan failed.

I think that the challenge that many of us face is that we complicate things.  In the words of the immortal Jillian Michaels the secret to losing weight and maintaining that weight loss and healthy lifestyle is to eat less and exercise more.  Sounds simple doesn’t it?  I often wonder why many people can’t just follow that advice, myself included.  Maybe it’s the environment that we live in – some people refuse to accept simplicity since we live in such a complicated world.  OH NO – shudders, I’m getting all deep and self-helpy.  It’s true though.  I’m miffinmuffinmuffitymoo years old now (that’s code for ladies do not reveal their ages).  I know – just a spring chicken or maybe just a chicken in general?  Think about it for a minute – most people who read this have access to their country’s food guides or pyramids (most of my readers are from Canada and the US).  My cousin, a registered dietician, even said that it’s important to eat from all of the food groups.  There are recommended serving sizes – again, it’s not rocket science.  I know that there are some people out there who have food sensitivities for sure (some serious like Celiac Disease), however just as surely as I know that, I also know that there are ways to still eat the nutrients and food groups that we need, even if certain foods may cause issues.

People always say that they don’t have time for exercise or the money to eat decent food.  We all find the time time to do things that we want to do, myself especially.  We can all spare 30 minutes to get a work out in.  The only time it’s not worth it is when you are injured.  In Canada, we have stores like No Frills (I like my frills and even I shop there when forced) where prices are better.  I rarely buy organic, and I’ve read enough about how the orchards where they grow organic fruits and vegetables are right next to where they have orchards with pesticides and I, for one, am ok with a few pesticides – who wants to eat a bug – shudders.  There are even lists of foods, like bananas and oranges that don’t need to be organic because they are encased in a peel.  I’ll include them in a future entry.  I know I’m being preachy, but it’s because I’m a new convert to this lifestyle – proof that you can teach an old (well, not that old) dog new tricks – and please no comments on the dog bit.

This week, I spent $102.60 (including tax) on living the Oz way.  I bit the bullet and bought the Vitamin C serum that was given a thumbs up in “You Being Beautiful”.  It has 25% ascorbosilane so hopefully it’s good!  I promised to buy this last month and finally got around to it.  According to the book, Vitamin C serums are supposed to help protect the water soluable parts of your skin cells so you look less wrinkled and improve the formation of collagen and elastin.  I let you know if I notice any difference.

As always, I’ll end on a note of gratitude.  Today, I am grateful that I woke up before my alarm went off at 3:45am – doesn’t sound like something to be grateful for, but if I had slept in, or missed my alarm, there would be no end to the stress that I would have felt.

Gratefully Yours,


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I’ve promised for awhile now that I would write about the DASH Diet.  I can’t do it in one entry so I’ll start with some basic information and let you know what I am currently doing and what I am working toward.  Remember to speak to a health care professional before you start an eating plan.  I’m a bad example because I didn’t, that’s me Rebel Without a Clue – but I’m learning.

I’ve mentioned before that I am a bit type A…so in the past when I committed to a plan, I really committed to it.  I’m still the same, but I’m seeking, as my cousin so eloquently put it in Fact or Fad, a change in lifestyle.  I want to find a way to eat healthy, unprocessed foods in a way that I can sustain for the rest of my life.  I used to be the Queen of the Lean Cuisine (looove how that rhymes), but they are very high in sodium.  Again, I do not have high blood pressure now, but you never know what the future can bring and I am at a point where I’d like to know what is in my food. 

DASH is a scientifically based and well researched way of eating written by health care professionals and there is a lot of great content in the book including menus if you are confused.  It really is based on the food pyramid above.  In Canada, we use Canada’s Food Guide and this is almost the same thing.  Let me break this down to the most simple terms directly from “The Dash Diet for Weight Loss” (page 37).  I am trying to eat about 1600 calories a day so that I can be as active as possible.  Here is what that looks like in DASH terms (all quantities are per day):

1) 4 servings of vegetables, 2) 4 servings of fruit, 3) 6 servings of grain, 4) 2 servings of dairy, 5) 1.5 servings of protein, 6) 1/4 serving of nuts, seeds and legumes, 7) 1 serving of added fat, 8) 1/2 serving of sweets.

Pretty easy to follow and they recommend keeping a food diary and even have a page in the book that you can photocopy.  It’s a great, well-balanced plan, so why am I not 100% on board?  I’m still trying to let go of the Dr. Oz Two Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan not because I loved it so much, but it did become a habit.  I’m slowly trying to MASH the two together into a plan that is liveable.  Let me compare what I have been doing to DASH (item by item – per day):

1) I’ve been eating about 7-8 servings of low glycemic vegetables, 2) I’ve only been eating about 2-3 servings of fruit, 3) I have been eating 6 servings of grain, but keep in mind that the DASH serving size is much smaller than you think – a 130 calorie whole grain English muffin is two servings.  I only have one serving of bread; I eat whole grains like brown rice, kasha, quinoa, or barley to make up the rest of my servings, 4) I’ve been having a Greek yogurt every day like Dr. Oz wants me to and count the milk that I use in my tea and coffee as my other serving, 5) The protein is identical to Dr. Oz’s so I either have one big chicken breast or I have 3 ounces at lunch or 3 at dinner, 6) I probably eat 1.5 servings of nuts and legumes daily and I can’t see changing that since there are so many health benefits – keep in mind though, their serving sizes are small and you really have to stick with about 12-20 almonds along with a few other nuts, 7) 1 added serving of fat – again I’m close to this but not perfect because sometimes in addition to olive oil, I have a slice (only one) of avacado, 8) 1/2 serving of sweets – this I am more diligent about – I sometimes have low sugar jam on my peanut butter in the morning or I’ll have a very small piece of chocolate (literally 2 squares of dark chocolate or one 50 calories dark chocolate truffle and I’ve only done this twice in 3 weeks.

I am getting closer to DASH, but I think for now, I’m going to stick to what I’m doing – it seems to be working and I feel so much better than I did on the 2 Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan.  I’ll provide more insight into DASH tomorrow.  Today, I am grateful that I got to meet up with a lovely client for dinner – it was really nice to see her – it had been awhile.  I have to be up at 3:45 tomorrow for work, so not really happy about that so I must DASH off.  In spite of things…

I am gratefully yours,


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Fact or Fad (Part 2)


As I mentioned yesterday, I interviewed my cousin Gail Kardish, a Registered Dietician, about all things Oz.  I got her expert opinion of Dr. Oz’s Two Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan, the DASH Diet, and found out why Registered Dieticians hate my “Whiz-ard”.  If you didn’t get a chance to check it out, here is the link https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/fact-or-fad-part-1/ now on to Part 2!

Q: A lot of people have a lot of success with Weight Watchers and the points system – what are your thoughts?

A: The old Weight Watchers system was a great diet.  The new plan sets some people up to play the system.  For example, instead of eating nutritionally balanced food, some people will take all of their points for the day, and have one gigantic piece of chocolate cake.  It’s perfectly legal, but not the best choice.

Note from Jill – the old system included all of the basic food groups and a limited amount of optional calories.  Each week, new foods were introduced and you received a few more optional calories.  You had boxes to check off indicating that you had eaten a serving from that particular food group.  You also had to check off whether you ate your optional calories and drank 6-8 glasses of water.  This diet was amazing and the one where I kept weight off for almost a decade.  It was more about serving size versus points and it was really about a lifestyle choice, not a diet.  I’ve tried the new system, I did well, but the point counting got to be too much.  I know it does work for a lot of people though.

Q: How about the new trend where celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow offer nutritional advice (side note, I’m not a Gwynnie fan)?

A: I hate Gwyneth Paltrow (can you tell we are related?).  Don’t even try to do what celebrities do!  A lot of what they put out there is untrue and not substantiated by any credible sources.  They are also air brushed in photos which sets up a standard that the average women can’t live up to.   What they put out there is not reality.  They have chefs and personal trainers whose job it is to ensure that they are in good shape.

Q:  Moving on to my favourite new topic – probiotics.  As a registered dietician, what do you think of them?  Can you stay on them indefinitely?

A: They are still fairly new, but there is research that supports their claims.  It is possible, in some people, that they may have a placebo effect. So far, from what I’ve seen, they won’t hurt you, and may help with certain conditions and you can stay on them indefinitely.  A lot of people find them unaffordable, so I suggest kefir (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir) – it’s a good source of probiotics and is much cheaper than taking a capsule.  (Note from Jill – I’d rather go without probiotics than eat kefir, but good suggestion Gail!).

Q: Ok – give me the skinny on cleanses – are you in favour or not?

A:  I am absolutely, 100% against cleanses (as are most registered dieticians).  I believe in a lifestyle not a diet or cleanses to maintain or achieve good health.  A cleanse is a quick fix and you lose all of the perceived benefits almost immediately when it ends.  Keep in mind that your body detoxifies itself and is set up perfectly to do this through organs like the liver and your kidneys.  As soon as the cleanse is over, most people go back to the same habits and theoretically, you are “re-toxifying” yourself.  They are dangerous, in many cases, as you are losing a lot of water which throws your electrolyte balances off. Some cleanses even use laxatives, which, over time, can result in a lazy bowel and some people become reliant on them causing permanant damage.  As a registered dietician working at a hospital, I see people in the Emergency Room as a direct result of doing a cleanse.  Keep in mind that you aren’t losing all of those calories either when you use a laxative cleanse.  By the time everything reaches your colon, the small intestine has already absorbed the calories and nutrients so you are only really losing electrolytes and fluids.  Even if you aren’t using a laxative based cleanse, there is no long term benefit and you are missing out on important nutrients that all of the main food groups have to offer.

Q: What is the key takeaway for the reader?

A: There are no quick fixes.  You should be eating from all of the food groups to be in optimal health.  Most people, if they diet, will eventually gain all back all of their weight and then some.  Unless you make the decision to commit to a healthy lifestyle, the changes that are required to maintain a healthy weight can’t be maintained.  No one is perfect, as I mentioned before, you have to give in to cravings occasionally so that they don’t turn from a treat into a binge.  Make small changes to get yourself started and then keep going.

My Thoughts:

My cousin makes a ton of sense, and I agree with her about mostly everything.  She also warned me about the Bernstein Diet – it’s not healthy or sustainable.  There are always exceptions to every rule though.  I gave Dr. Oz a C+ for his Rapid Weight Loss Plan because I had brain fog, there were mornings where I felt nauseous (maybe it was the electrolyte immbalance that my cousin was talking about) and because I couldn’t exercise.  There were things that we both liked about his plan, but I think I’ll concentrate on the MASH Lifestyle Plan which I’ll write about tomorrow – taking the best of Dr. Oz and DASH.  I also totally agree with what she said about cleanses.  I know that a lot of people won’t agree with me (or her) and that’s their right, but I can only write about my own personal experience and thoughts, and give you the best advice that I can based on a professional’s opinion.  Make that two professionals, since my trainer told me that no person who has a career in fitness would ever recommend a cleanse or any eating plan where you cannot exercise.

I can understand why, as a health care professional, she would have some issues with what Dr. Oz is putting out there.  I have personally learned a lot and have gotten a lot of benefits from his advice, but keep in mind I sift through a lot of detail until I find what I am looking for.  My typical blog entry, no matter how simple the topic, is about an hour of research.  Most days, it’s a lot more.  I made the error of changing my diet without speaking to a professional.  After speaking with my cousin, at some point, I’m going to speak to a Registered Dietician and seek my doctor’s advice about what I have been doing.  Check your benefits to see if you are covered, they are a great resource.

I would like to close with a little moment of gratitude.  Today, I am truly grateful to my cousin for being such a great interview subject.  I am also grateful that her entry was my most read blog to date.  Gail, you were an amazing interview subject and I hope that you will let me interview you again in the future.  Until then, I am…

Gratefully Yours,


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Fact or Fad? (Part 1)


I decided to check in with my cousin, Gail Kardish, a Registered Dietician, about Dr. Oz’s Two-Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan and the DASH Diet which I have yet to really delve into.  Gail is an oxymoron; sweet yet feisty,  adorable and innocent looking (she has dimples) but with a wicked sense of humour, extremely intelligent but knows how to have fun, and is youthful with an old soul.  By the way, as cute as she is, Gail preferred that I use a photo of her new budgie, Kiwi because she loves to show him off.  Gail shared my love of all things Disney and even though she’s one of my youngest cousins of our immediate family group, she’s savvy and really knows her stuff.  I knew that she was the right person to talk to about all things Oz when I saw an e-card on her facebook profile that said, “For Registered Dietician Day this year, we’d all like our gift this year to be the death of Dr. Oz.”  I don’t think that they mean that literally, but it is nice to get a fresh perspective on the good doctor.  She had so much great information, that I’m splitting her interview into two entries.

Q: Do Registered Dietician’s really hate Dr. Oz or is that a joke?  If so, why?

A: YES!  Dr. Oz does not have a nutritional background, yet he gives out dietary advice with no scientific data to support him.  Remember, all of the sound advice he gives at times, a Registered Dietician will provide as well, only the advice will be customized for the patient.  His advice can be based on fads not facts that have complete scientific evidence to back them up.  Dieticians that work with patients that have eating disorders don’t like him because he advises plans where you completely avoid certain food groups which is dangerous and contradicts sound nutritional advice.  Even Naturopaths dislike what he has to say.  One of the biggest challenges is that people take Dr. Oz at his word and he knows that and is abusing that power.

Q:  Let’s break down the 2 Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan item by item and get your thoughts…

A: The hot water and lemon is there to make you pee which starts off your day with losing valuable electrolytes (they regulate our nerve and muscle function, our body’s hydration, blood pH, blood pressure, and the rebuilding of damaged tissue).

The smoothie is fine, but requires protein powder.  This powder may not get absorbed as well as protein from other food based sources.

Green tea, eating healthy fats and the Low-GI vegetables both sound good.  Six ounces of protein may not be enough though.  You also do not get the recommended daily allowance of dairy.  There clearly are not enough carbs on the diet.  About 55% of your diet should come from carbohydrates – they are really important.  Overall, there are much healthier ways to improve your diet and promote weight loss.  With this plan, you are mostly losing liquids and when you start eating normally, you will gain back the weight that you lost.

Q:  How about the DASH Diet?  What are you thoughts on that plan?

A: It’s been awhile since I looked at DASH, but it is scientifically based and a much more balanced diet.  It includes all of the major food groups and you get the benefits of the nutrients that each food group has to offer.  The calories seem low to me (note – I mentioned to Gail that 1400-1600 calories were my aim) though on this diet.  The average healthy, sedentary women needs 2000 calories a day simply to maintain her weight.  You should never go lower than 1200 calories a day or try to lose more than  1-2 pounds a week.  Each person needs a specific plan.  The plan does have the benefit of small “cheats”.  You can’t completely eliminate your favourite foods from your diet because one day, you’ll go crazy and you’ll wind up binging instead of just satisfying the craving that you do have.

Q: DASH for the average person, suggests that you have 4 servings of fruit a day and 4 servings of vegetables.  Isn’t that a little high for fruit and a little low for vegetables?

A: You can easily eat more vegetables and most vegetables are generally considered “free” foods for most eating plans.  The problem is that vegetables can fill you up and a lot of people eat them at the expense of the other food groups losing out on the nutritional benefits that the other food groups have to offer.  The number of fruit servings  are fine.  People are afraid of eating fruit because of the natural sugars.  The fibre in fruit counteracts the spikes in your blood sugar.  Fruit juice doesn’t have fibre and can cause these spikes.

Tomorrow, I’ll share Gail’s thoughts on Weight Watchers, cleanses and other things Oz.

Today, I am grateful that my brilliant cousin gave up so much of her time to answer all of my questions so thoughtfully.  Until tomorrow, I am…

Gratefully yours,




I’m Pro-Probiotic and a Mash Up


This morning was day two of having bread – but only for breakfast.  An organic, multi-grain English muffin with peanut butter to be exact and I discovered something tragic, painful, even horrifying. Bread causes me to have heartburn. Cue the violins as I sing “All By Myself”…by myself.  I’ll be hosting a telethon titled a “Gluten Free World”, with a single profound tear rolling down my cheek in the spot promoting it.  I think filming it in black and white will create an emotional connection to the viewer at home.  Maybe I’ve worked in TV for too many years because I can totally visualize the script…Dr. Oz – help!!!!!!!!!!   Well, in the words of the good doctor, perhaps I shouldn’t catastrophize.  OK – three deep cleansing breaths and I should be fine.  Seriously, though, it’s nice to know that is part of why I have been suffering – silently of course – since I keep a stiff upper lip when it comes to discomfort. 

I discovered something else about myself.  I’m not ready to completely give up on Dr. Oz’s Two-Week Rapid Weight Loss plan.  Sure, I’ve modified it, or rather mashed it with a dose of Dash – the diet, not the sprint.  I will write more about the Dash plan, but let me tell you why the hardest part of love, I mean, eating plans is letting go.  When you have followed a plan for two entire weeks, it borders on habit.  There is a comfort in knowing what and how much to eat.  It’s almost second nature.  As much as there were things that I did not like about the plan, there were things that worked.  The modifications that I made are simple – bread for one meal (a serving not a loaf), a full cup of brown rice at dinner (instead of 1/2 a cup) and fruit in the afternoon for a snack.  Eating more grains and fruit is part of Dash – but focusing on vegetables, keeping dairy to Greek yogurt and eating nuts is pure Oz.  The six ounces of meat that I ate both days is a meeting of the two plans and you know what?  I sort of like it.  The idea of starting and planning a new way of eating was kind of stressing me out, so for this week, as I get to know Dash a little better, I think I’ll keep this up.

One habit that I will also keep up is taking probiotics in the morning in the form of a supplement.  In the past, I’ve only used them when I’ve been on an antibiotic (something I’ve only taken 3 times in my adult life).  As I mentioned, my tummy feels a lot better and I think it’s in large part to taking the daily supplement.  If you aren’t sure what a probiotic is, they are “…essential to basic human nutrition. Probiotics are live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to the beneficial microorganisms naturally found in the human gut. These “good bacteria” are used to prevent and alleviate many different conditions, but particularly those that affect the gastrointestinal tract.” (from doctoroz.com)  Here is a link to a handy article on his site – http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/fact-sheet-probiotics.  You can get them from food, but it’s just as easy to take a supplement.  I would talk to your family doctor before you start taking one just to be safe.

One concern that I had was how long that I could safely stay on them.  I couldn’t find the answer on doctoroz.com, but Dr. Andrew Weil, a contributor to the website and genius in his own right says that you can stay on them indefinitely.  I am going to check in with my doctor in April to see what she has to say about it though.  Dr. Oz also recommends eating prebiotic rich foods to help “super-charge” your probiotics.  Some good sources include bananas, whole grains, honey (yum), garlic and onions.  Just don’t breathe on anyone after eating your garlic covered banana.  I’ll be including more bananas and whole grains into my diet.

To end the day, I’m grateful to the person who discovered probiotics.  Whoever you are – thank you – my intestinal flora is at one with the rest of the flora and fauna growing inside of me.  Kind of creepy when you think about it – huh?  On that note, I am gratefully yours…Jill.