By: Joanne Smith, Certified Nutritional Practitioner
Welcome to my new nutrition blog! The foods I feature here will provide helpful, healthful nutritional information and tips to help you achieve optimal health and well-being. As someone who has lived with a spinal cord injury for 20 years, I fully understand the unique challenges of trying to stay healthy and living a full and active life with a chronic health condition. One of the keys to this delicate balance is proper nutrition.
Living with a disability or other health challenge can alter your metabolism significantly and this can contribute to the development of a host of other secondary health complications, which can negatively impact your independence. Incorporating whole foods into your diet is an important way to help maintain your health, improve daily functioning, reduce the secondary complications that come with living with a disability, minimize illness and maximize your potential.
Importance of Whole Foods
So what exactly are whole foods? They are foods that are as close to their original form as possible. These foods are free from processing, meaning they contain no additives, preservatives, antibiotics, hormones and other potentially toxic chemicals.
The first fantastic whole food I want you tell you about is Quinoa. Many of you have probably heard a lot about this an ancient grain lately and are wondering what the fuss is all about, right? To begin, Quinoa is a gluten-free, easily digestible grain, so it’s an ideal food for individuals with compromised digestive systems. It is also so nutrient dense that many of our earliest civilizations used it as their main food staple.
Battle Disease with Nutrient Dense Quinoa
Quinoa’s complete protein content can help tissue grow and repair itself, which in turn can prevent and/or heal serious wounds such as pressure sores. Its multitude of minerals such as, magnesium, iron and calcium help reduce the risk of health issues such as type 2 diabetes, anaemia and osteoporosis respectively.
Quinoa can help control cholesterol levels since it doesn’t contain any of this potential artery-clogging substance and has very little saturated fat. Its high fibre content can help eliminate toxins and improve bowel function, which in turn can help reduce the risk of cardio-vascular disease and some forms of cancer. And for those of you who may not be feeling a wee bit lethargic, quinoa’s rich source of Vitamin B’s can help boost your energy levels!
Easy to Prepare and Flexible
This light, fluffy grain with a somewhat nutty flavour needs only 15 minutes to cook. So not only is it faster to prepare than other grains like rice, but it’s also much more versatile. Enjoy it as a main or side dish by tossing in nuts, seeds, beans, fruits or vegetables or add it to soups and salads. The possibilities and health benefits of Quinoa are virtually endless!
If you have any nutritional questions, comments, tips or recipes to share, I’d love to hear from you! Just fill out the comment form below.
|A word from James:
I met Joanne Smith at a fundraising event for the Canadian Helen Keller Centre. She explained to me her expertise as a nutritionist and her experience writing for different publications. We quickly agreed that the Premier Homecare Services Blog would be a great forum for her work.
Take a minute to look over her biography (click here) to see why I feel that we are especially fortunate to receive nutritional advice from her, a proven expert.
She will continue to submit articles for the blog ongoing in the future and I will publish them regularly. For convenience, I have created a category (found on the navigation bar to the left) where one can find all her articles as they are released.
Joanne Smith B.A., BRT Dip., CNP
Joanne is a graduate of the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto. She also holds a degree in psychology from York University, and a diploma in radio & television broadcasting from Seneca College.
Joanne has dedicated her career to raising awareness of the issues concerning people with special health needs. As a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, she specializes in providing optimal nutritional health for people with chronic health conditions and disabilities.
Her expertise in the disability community comes from her personal experience of living with a spinal cord injury for over twenty years, as well as her role as a disability consultant for both the Toronto Board of Education and Air Canada, and her years as a Gemini award winning broadcaster who focused on telling in-depth stories about Canadians with disabilities.
Joanne’s passion for assisting others with special health needs has also been demonstrated through her years as a dedicated mentor and volunteer for the Canadian Paraplegic Association, Lyndhurst Rehabilitation Centre, Canadian Spinal Research Organization, Easter Seals and numerous other disability organizations across the country. Her commitment to raising awareness and improving the lives of Canadians with disabilities led to her receipt of the King Clancy Award in 2006, induction into Terry Fox Hall of Fame in 2007 and acceptance of the Gabriel Humanitarian Award in 2008.
Joanne fully understands the unique needs of people with disabilities and her nutritional consulting helps others live to their maximum potential. She currently operates her own nutritional consulting company in Toronto called Fruitful Elements, works as a Nutritionist for two neuro-physiotherapy clinics, teaches nutrition at The Canadian Helen Keller Centre and is a regular columnist for The Canadian Paraplegic Association’s Outspoken Magazine.
Once every quarter at Premier Homecare Services, we publish a newsletter that finds its way into the hands of thousands of people throughout the cities and communities in which we operate; industry professionals with whom we work alongside, the clients and the families to whom we provide our care. One of the articles in our latest edition – Spring 2009 – resulted in a curious coincidence.
An article in our newsletter titled, “Parenting your Parents: When the Roles Reverse”, provided some quick advice on caring for your aged parents. It was brought to our attention after we had already distributed the newsletters that a book existed with the same title.
The book, Parenting Your Parents, is coauthored by Dr. Michael Gordon and Bart J. Mindszenthy. Premier Homecare Services had never intended to plagiarize content for its newsletter so it was fortunate that I was able to speak to Dr. Gordon himself and clear things up after a short conversation.
It’s no surprise that he is an expert on the senior care topic. A practicing geriatrician at Toronto’s very own Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, Dr. Gordon also writes and speaks extensively on the increasingly complex issues of aging in our contemporary society. I asked whether he would like to field some questions for the blog and he happily agreed. The short exchange follows:
Q. How would you categorize the increasing numbers of the aged in Canadian society?
A. One could categorize it in many ways but first I have so say it is one of the great successes of modern society and modern medicine. We must learn to not look at the phenomenon in a negative light, which is a common practice in the media. Although a challenge to all modern societies, the fact is that individuals can expect a good chance at a long life with a great deal of independence, enjoyment and productivity and human satisfaction for many years – something that was relatively unheard of when I started my medical studies almost 50 years ago.
Q. In your practice what do you see as some of the greatest challenges in promoting the well being of seniors?
A. There are a number of challenges. The first is to help individuals at all ages fulfil their life goals as much as possible within the limits of their genetic, environmental, psychological and social make-up. Each of us receives our individual qualities and it is with these that we have to work. To promote good lifestyle practices is always worthwhile at all ages – of course within reason. For those with medical problems it is important to make sure whenever possible to identify them and determine the best combination of medical interventions that might be available to promote well being and personal satisfaction. Steps toward achieving the latter goal include that everyone involved understand their medical conditions, their medications and what they might do to achieve their personal goals.
Q. What would you say to the patients you treat and their families about how to achieve important late-life goals?
A. The single most important thing is to communicate openly and honestly about what it is you would want should things happen in the future when it might be possible that you can no longer care for yourself or make personal decisions. This does not have to be in a written form but in some way that those who will care for you know what matters most to you and that you can trust them to – as much as feasible – carry out your wishes to the best of their ability. After that is done, enjoy every minute that you have and make the best of what is going for you – a long life, for the most part, is an unbelievable blessing to all concerned, even when there are difficult problems and challenges.
To learn more about Dr. Michael Gordon’s work, including other books he has written, visit his personal website at http://www.drmichaelgordon.com/.
Parenting Your Parents has its own website too – http://www.parentingyourparents.ca/ – where visitors are invited to share their personal stories of care-giving.
Find a copy of Parenting Your Parents online for purchase at Indigo.ca – available here.
If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter or request a copy of the ‘Spring 2009’ issue, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone us at (416) 510-8848 or 1-877-884-1181.