A mother of two young children, a breastfeeding infant, and a near three-year-old Crystal, a clinical health psychologist with a Ph.D. (Mcgill) and is currently on maternity leave. Crystal conducts research in health and behavior change monitoring how to make these changes stick. As a mom, she says that she enjoys sharing her love of food with her children to help them have a healthy relationship with food. Her eldest loves all food and is frequently spotted in a stylish outfit pushing her own cart at the local grocery shop each week.
What does a healthy eating mean to you?
That’s such a broad question. To me, it means eating a deliciously varied diet with lots of home cooked meals.
What is your favorite food that people may consider unhealthy?
Home baked treats like cookies, cakes muffins and other baked goods depending on the day.
In your opinion what’s one of the biggest barriers we’re facing as a population to healthy eating?
Accessibility of affordable food, fear of the kitchen and not being brave enough to be creative with the foods that they have.
What do you think the government should be focusing on within the realm of public health and policy?
I’d love to see more grants to support gardens and green outdoor space so that families and people in the community can grow their own vegetables. We need to improve access to fresh local foods.
If you were going to be stuck on an island for months and you could bring an unlimited supply of 4 food staples, what would they be?
First off carrots, I think carrots are underrated: they’re affordable, they last a long time and you can do a lot with them. Next are lentils, I love lentils they pack such a nutritional punch. (She said that not me). A giant wheel of gruyere cheese and flour. I’m married to a Frenchman I need cheese and bread!
If you could get a message out to the general public about food, what would it be?
Get in the kitchen and start cooking. It doesn’t have to be hard to cook for yourself, stop eating so many packaged foods.
What is your favorite thing to make in the kitchen?
I’ve been saying make because I’ve secretly hoping someone will say love or babies or something exciting. No one has taken the bait yet…
Anything with my [almost] three year old.
Does she make a mess?
Well, she likes to make ‘side pancakes’. She basically hoards piles of flour in secret spots … They’re fun to find.
Do you have any horrible or hilarious cooking/eating experiences you’d like to share?
I learned french orally while living in Europe after graduating high school so I picked up a lot of slang without realizing that it was slang. I was out to dinner with my then-boyfriend and his family at a five-star fine dining restaurant. We were at a huge table with family, some I had never even met before so I was a little on edge. When the waiter came around to take our orders I ordered my meal and almost everyone started laughing hysterically, a few people just stared at me. My boyfriend leaned in and told me that I had just ordered ‘chicken titties’.
Needless to say, I know how to order the chicken breast main now…
If you could sit down to a meal with anyone who would choose?
Julia Child. I’d love to cook with her first. She’s so inspiring and I agree with her mindset about food, it all fits.
Biggest pet peeve related to nutrition?
I think everything in moderation is fine, especially if it’s homemade.
But I think there are a few fads that drive me crazy. When people choose to eliminate foods without a founded reason it can lead to unhealthy relationships with food. I think eating disorders [Orthorexia] are becoming more common as fad diets are seen more via social media.
What is your favorite holiday tradition linked with food?
Every year on the first snow we have fondue. I think the tradition started when I was living in Switzerland in 1998. It’s a bit of a frantic tradition. If it starts to snow we know it’s fondue night and our phones start to ring with all of our friends calling to see what time to come over. One year my husband was rushing home with the cheese and broke his foot.
Your favorite breakfast?
Hard boiled egg [until it’s powdery], granny smith apple, a big chunk of cheese and franks hot sauce. Lately, I’m adding in extra because I’m still nursing so I get to eat so many extra calories. I love it!
What is your go to breakfast?
Just what I said. I eat it every day. Hard boiled egg, granny smith apple, a big chunk of cheese and franks hot sauce.
How many days a week (if any) do you eat meat free?
We probably only eat meat two or three times a week, my husband works in climate change. As a family, we’ve recognized the importance of being mostly meat-free [with locally/ethically sourced meat] not only for health but also for the environment.