“No one food will make or break your diet”

Edwena is a Registered Dietitian who focuses on family health in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is young, excited and passionate about family health. She’s also the mother of two beautiful energetic boys and as if that doesn’t keep her busy enough she also has a private practice and various consultant roles.

edwena

Edwena, what is your biggest nutrition pet peeve?
Non-dietitians giving nutrition advice.

If you could sit down to a meal with anyone, who would it be?
Honestly, it’d be all of my aunts and my mother. This group of women is all so amazing at so many things. I haven’t had the opportunity to cook with them as much as I’d like. I have so much to learn from them so I’d like to spend more time in the kitchen with them learning new skills from each of them.

Do you have any horrible or hilarious cooking/eating experiences you’d like to share?
A few months ago I was hosting a dinner party and I managed to quadruple the amount of pepper meant to go in the pepper shrimp. It was insanely spicy. We guzzled pitchers and pitchers of water all night to be able to eat it.

What do you think the barriers to healthy eating are?
Time. We’re always on the go and people don’t make cooking a priority. Many people also don’t have enough cooking skills so it’s usually we don’t know how to cook, we don’t enjoy it or we don’t make the time to do it.

What do you think the government should be focusing on within the realm of public health and policy?
Two things, taxation on highly processed foods and sugar added beverages and we should be subsidizing the cost of fruits, vegetables, and healthy foods – especially those that are locally grown.

All time favorite food that other people would think is unhealthy?
Something that you probably miss … donairs! I love having a donair every now and then and when I do I don’t think twice about it or it’s healthfulness.

What diets do you loathe the most?
Well, I think I have more than one but probably the master cleanse. I think it’s a waste of time and money. Inevitably someone will lose weight quickly by doing this but it’s all water weight. Because it doesn’t actually teach you how to eat properly, people regain their lost weight and feel bad about themselves. It’s potentially dangerous as well.

Do you think one person can make a difference in public health policy change?
I do … Everyone can make an impact but we need more people to believe in that and join the collective efforts of individuals.

If you were going to be stuck on an island for months and you could bring an unlimited supply of 4 foods, what would they be?
This is so hard. I’d bring cheese and whole wheat bread because I could live off of them forever. I’d also bring wine and dark chocolate for my cravings.

What’s your favorite food/drink that The Food Babe says you shouldn’t consume?

I don’t follow her so I went online to look up what she says and her website was so difficult to even navigate. I found out that she is against tea if it’s not organic and from specific brands. I love my tea and no matter what she says I’ll continue to drink it!

What is your favorite thing to make in the kitchen?

Traditional Lebanese foods from recipes my mom has taught me to make. Lentils and rice, kafta and toum. Toum is our family favorite. (Edwena’s recipe for toum can be found here.)

Who is your favorite person to cook with?
My husband.

Is he a good cook?
He is … But what I really like is the environment he creates when we cook. He’ll have the music going and pour us each a glass of wine. We have great conversations while we’re cooking together.

Does your job get in the way of what you eat?
No, but that’s because I work from home frequently so I’m able to cook and meal prep when I am home. I have had hard times especially when I used to work on the road a lot but I’m a good planner.

If you could tell everyone a few words about nutrition what would you tell them?
Nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. No one food will make or break your diet [except for medical necessities like celiac disease, renal failure etc]. So, to keep it simple; eat whole foods, limit sugar and eat more vegetables and plants.

Everyone should learn to love food for all of its properties and for its nourishing factors. It tastes good and it brings people together, we should appreciate that. Food isn’t something that should be worshiped or demonized it should just be eaten and enjoyed. That’s how to have a healthy relationship with food.

Follow Edwena on facebook and twitter or visit her website for more information.

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