June 5th, 2020

From Our Table: No diet at all is the best diet around

By Medicine Hat News on January 15, 2019.

Submitted Photo
Tortellini soup is shown in this udated photo. Joanne Smith writes "the soup will be sure to warm you from tip to toe on a chilly winter's day."

We are already halfway through January, can you believe it? I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. It was one of the quietest we’ve ever had and I actually ended up liking it much more then I was anticipating.

I recently read an article that I really enjoyed. It was regarding New Year’s goals and of course the ever popular goal to lose weight. It had a unique and refreshing perspective that focused on the very best diet around. It’s one that I’ve touched on before and believe very strongly in.

It’s called “No diet at all.”

It’s about eating and exercising as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. It’s balancing your life in positive ways to reduce stress.

This article touched on something really crazy — simply enjoying food, enjoying exercise and enjoying a healthy life with all the benefits that go with it.

We all have a relationship with food. Some eat when they’re stressed; some quit eating. Some overeat; some under eat. You get the idea. People’s obsession with thinness has driven them away from listening to their own body and even causes unnecessary anxiety about food. Many fear they will never be good enough, perfection is always just out of reach. In comes the billion dollar diet industry that feeds on this fear. However all the effort, deprivation, denial and money, lots of money, people put into these diets often lead to short term weight loss that is not permanent. It makes people feel like they’ve failed. A Globe and Mail article by Emma Waverman on intuitive eating quotes dietitian Dara Gurau, “As a dietitian it was frustrating to watch people fail. But you are not the failure, it’s the diet that failed you.”

But what if we just focused on having a positive relationship with food. What if we quit obsessing about food and constantly limiting it in a “self-created world” of denial and deprivation.

What if we ate when we were hungry and stopped when we were full. What if we just enjoyed all foods in moderation and practiced mindful eating where we really tasted the flavours and felt the texture of our food, eating slowly. What if our mindset was “I want to eat healthy foods because they provide the 50-plus nutrients my body needs, I feel good when I eat them and I choose food I enjoy eating. Instead of thinking I have to eat this healthy food?”

What if we just simply enjoyed the fact that we live in an amazing country that allows us access to so many fabulous food choices? Let’s just enjoy it.

Speaking of enjoying food, my friend Teresa shared a new family favourite recipe in her home.

It comes together quickly, has common ingredients, is full of flavour and super healthy. What more could you ask for? It will be sure to warm you from tip to toe on a chilly winters day. Enjoy!

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian

Tortellini Soup

2 Tbsp butter

1/4 cup finely minced onion

3 cloves garlic finely minced

1 can chick peas, drained

4 cups chicken broth

1-28oz can diced tomatoes

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2-3 cups finely chopped fresh spinach

2-3 cups cooked shredded or diced chicken (You could use frozen turkey leftovers from Christmas or a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is also a quick option)

9 ounce refrigerated tortellini of choice (cheese is good)

1 cup heavy cream

Grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large saucepan saute the onion and garlic in butter then add the chick peas. Cook stirring often until onions are tender.

2. Add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, spinach and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add tortellini and simmer for 10 additional minutes.

4. Serve with cream and Parmesan cheese so each person can add as much or as little as they like.

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