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Nutrition Expert Offers Advice

Nutrition Expert Offers Advice

University of Florida’s Kara Shelnutt provides parents with tips for healthy eating to excite kids

Use these tips from nutrition expert Kara Shelnutt to pack a healthy school lunch that your kids will love.

As soon as August rolls around, back-to-school reminders are everywhere you look. Still, as television ads and department stores are there to help you buy the latest backpack or the perfect first-day-of-school-outfit, what about the lunchbox? Filling it with something that’s kid-friendly and healthy can be a challenge, which is why University of Florida nutrition expert Kara Shelnutt has created a list of tips for parents.

As a registered dietician, Shelnutt works as an assistant professor and extension nutrition specialist. She received her BS and PhD in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida.

Shelnutt’s recommendations to get children to eat healthy at school include the following:

Spruce up the everyday sandwich. An easy way to do this is to cut out the sandwich with a fun cookie cutter shape. Williams-Sonoma offers everything from safari animals to Star Wars characters.

Switch all grains to whole — but don’t feel like bread is the only option. Whole wheat varieties are available for bagels, pita pockets, and tortillas, as well, just to name a few.

Join the dark side, when it comes to lettuce. A deeper-colored leaf means more nutritional value.

Get your kid involved. When children are involved in selecting ingredients at the supermarket, they’re more likely to eat and enjoy what’s in their brown bag at lunch. Create a customized trail mix by touring through the nut and dried fruit aisle, or switch it up from the usual apple by picking out a new fruits to try from the produce aisle.


The Ellyn Satter Institute

Ellyn Satter has devoted her long career to uplifting the mealtime experience. She teaches parents how to transform family meals into joyful, healthful, struggle-free events, free from drama and conflict. She teaches individuals with weight issues how to release themselves from the grip of guilt and shame in their relationship with food. She has developed simple yet profound models for feeding your family and feeding yourself, validated them through research, and passed along her approaches to healthcare professionals and educators around the world. This website is evidence of her commitment to helping other incorporate the Satter principles into their practice and teaching. Ellyn Satter’s transformative work changes lives.

Every year the Ellyn Satter Institute helps tens of thousands of parents, grandparents, children, teens, adults, and health professionals reimagine and reshape anxiety-infused relationships with food into joyful journeys of healthful well-being. We teach the evidence-based Satter Feeding Dynamics Model and Satter Eating Competence Model, and we support individuals, parents, and professionals in the models’ implementation through education, consulting, mentoring, and publishing.

Our mission is to transform lives by furthering Ellyn Satter’s models for positive and joyful eating and feeding.


I am glad you found your way to this site. It probably means that you are aware of the importance of nutrition for your pet family. Appropriate nutrition plays an important role in a long, healthy, life for your dog or cat. Pet Nutrition Consulting offers compassionate, qualified advice, based on years of experience.

You entrust the life of your pet to those who supply your pet’s food. Take the time to be certain that the food you buy or the person you obtain nutrition advice from is qualified and unbiased.

Research shows that proper nutrition can increase the average life span of a dog up to two years. Pet Nutrition Consulting can complement regular veterinary treatment with supportive nutrition. Are you doing all you can?

Warm regards,
Susan Lauten, PhD
Pet Nutrition Consulting

  • Diets and advice for dogs and cats with medical issues
  • Custom tailored nutrition for dogs and cats living with cancer or other long term illness
  • Analysis of current feeding program for healthy dogs and cats (Is your home cooked diet complete and balanced?)
  • Brief telephone consultations for those who just have questions or need advice
  • Analysis of current raw diet feeding programs for healthy dogs and cats
  • Supplementation for optimal health
  • Balanced home-cooked diet formulations
  • Follow-up consultations for ongoing medical conditions, critical care nutrition, and after-care once at home are offered. Someone is available 24/7 for those who need immediate and continued assistance

No medical advice can be provided by Pet Nutrition Consulting.

Please contact your veterinarian for all medical related questions.

Pet Nutrition Consulting will work with your veterinarian to provide optimal nutrition for your pet family’s health problems.

Recipes provided are complete and balanced for your pet’s medical condition when prepared according to recipe instructions, using the specific supplements listed. Pet Nutrition Consulting is not liable for any damages with respect to ingredient or supplement selection, food preparation, food handling and storage and feeding methods of any recipe.


Awesome Wild Leek Recipes

Leek Immune Soup

From MeghanTelpner.com

This vegan soup also has the immune-boosting power of shiitake mushrooms and another anti-inflammatory ingredient: nettles! Get the recipe.

Five Ways to Preserve and Enjoy Wild Leeks

From MeghanTelpner.com

Looking for some more wild leek inspiration? In this post, you’ll find five fabulous ways to use ’em, along with five healthy recipes to boot. Get the recipes.

Wild Leek Powder

From Well Preserved.ca

Dehydrate your wild leeks and what you’re left with is a beautifully flavourful seasoning that you can use in a variety of your favourite dishes. Get the recipe.

Spring Green Skillet

From Charlotte Au Chocolate

We are big fans around here of one pot meals that are full, flavourful and mix in loads of texture and flavours. This one here is a total winner. Get the recipe.

Wild Leek-Infused Vinegar

From Well Preserved.ca

Ever thought about adding a sweet and onion-y punch to your vinegar? This wild leek-infused vinegar is a breeze – simply slice the ends and pop them in a vinegar bottle, and then wait for the goodness to seep through. Get the recipe.

Savory Steel Cut Oats with Ramps

From SimpleBites.net

Ever thought of adding wild leeks to a bowl of oatmeal? You should! Savory oatmeals are the best – and this beautiful recipe is just another way to enjoy wild leeks while they last. Get the recipe.

Wild and Wonderful Ramp Chowder

From Health Starts In The Kitchen

This chowder takes wild leeks to the next level – and there is a dairy-free option here, too, which we love! Get the recipe.

Wild leeks are one of the many wild foods that have amazing healthy benefits to them. Discover more of our 10 favourite wild foods here.

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5 responses to &ldquo Best Wild Leek Recipes &rdquo

I have access to wild leeks (ramps) and harvest a years supply, each year. I also transplant for a continuing harvest. My question is in regards to the leaves and stem. first are they harmful raw or are you to cook them first, for a medicinal purpose I have an old remedy I use fro stomach upset ,that ùi know works. .So are there any other remedies that you lknow ofè Thanks Alf.

I’m not familiar with too many remedies aside from basic soups, pestos and other culinary uses. And you can absolutely enjoy them raw!

My wife and I will frequently chow down on a raw ramps in the woods while we are foraging. The answer is no, they are perfectly safe to eat raw. However they are very strong when eaten that way.

Most of what I have read is and will be useful .. Thanks

Oh.. I and my most of my family eat them raw and cooked in scrabbled eggs,along with the soups.
Thank you


Healthy Weight

How can I burn off my stored body fat?

We all need some body fat, but if stored fat is excessive it may increase risk of diet-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. This is particularly true if excess fat is in the abdominal area. According to the CDC, a body mass index, or BMI, of 25 or higher is an indication that your weight may be unhealthy. Also, a waist circumference of over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women indicates excessive abdominal fat if BMI is 25 or higher. Calculate your BMI and find information on measuring your waist size from CDC.

The best strategy for losing excess weight and stored body fat involves calorie reduction, increased physical activity, and a behavior change plan. See Interested in Losing Weight? from Nutrition.gov to learn more.

How many calories do I need to burn to lose a pound of weight?

You need to burn off 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. This translates into a reduction of 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound in a week, or 1000 calories per day to lose 2 pounds in a week. (1-2 pounds per week is generally considered to be a safe rate of weight loss.) This can be achieved by eating fewer calories or using up more through physical activity. A combination of both is best. See CDC's Finding a Balance website to learn more.

I'm on a diet to lose weight. Do I still need to exercise?

Physical activity is a key component of helping you move toward a healthier weight, as it can help you achieve the appropriate calorie balance. People who exercise regularly may be more likely to keep the weight from coming back after losing weight. Check out the following resources on physical activity:

I would like to gain weight. How can I do this in a healthy manner?

Losing, gaining or staying at the same weight all depend on how many calories you eat and how many calories your body uses over time. If you eat more calories than you use, you will gain weight conversely, if you eat fewer calories than you use, you will lose weight. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Healthy Weight Gain website provides some information and advice on how to gain weight and remain healthy.

Because many Americans are overweight, there are many resources geared toward losing weight. Some of these resources explain the principles of weight balance and can provide guidance for you to gain weight in a healthy manner you will just need to focus on portion sizes for weight gain, rather than weight loss. One such resource is Aim for a Healthy Weight from the National Institute of Health’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. There are many other weight control resources on the Healthy Living and Weight section of Nutrition.gov.

If you would like personalized advice, or you want to know how many calories or what types of foods are best for you, Registered Dietitians (RD) are health professionals who can physically assess you and your needs. In the United States, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a referral service to registered dietitians. You can find a dietitian in your area by using the Find a Nutrition Expert online tool on their website.

I am a 42 year old female weighing 200 pounds and I am 5’5”. Can you provide a diet that will help me lose weight?

We are unable to provide nutrition counseling or create a personalized weight loss plan, however we can point you towards some interactive tools and information that may be helpful. Nutrition.gov’s Strategies for Success website contains a variety of credible weight management resources. In addition, the Body Weight Planner, from the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), allows users to make personalized calorie and physical activity plans to reach a goal weight within a specific time period and to maintain it afterwards.

If you would like a more specific meal plan and want to speak with a nutrition professional, ask your doctor to refer you to a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also has a Find a Nutrition Expert online tool that allows you to locate an RDN in your area.

How can I get enough nutrients without consuming too many calories?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages you to choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages to help achieve recommended nutrient intakes. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods can help you get the nutrients you need without excess calories. Avoid excess calories by limiting consumption of foods high in added sugars and solid fats, and alcoholic beverages these provide calories but are poor sources of essential nutrients. See USDA's MyPlate.gov to learn more about choosing nutrient-dense foods. And, because calorie intake must be balanced with physical activity to control weight, stay active. See the NIH Weight-Control Information Network's Tips to Help You Get Active.

When I eat more than I need what happens to the extra calories?

Consuming extra calories results in an accumulation of stored body fat and weight gain. This is true whether the excess calories come from protein, fat, carbohydrate, or alcohol. See CDC's Finding a Balance website to learn more about the calorie balance equation.


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7 Signs You're Getting Bad Nutrition Advice

There's tons of nutrition information swirling around and oftentimes you're left wondering what or who you should believe. Here are 7 signs that you’re receiving bad (and sometimes even dangerous) nutrition advice.

Nutrition advice should be based on significant scientific research that was conducted in peer-reviewed journals over months or even better, years. The majority of the research will back up a specific theory with a few straggler studies that may point at the other side. If you're being quoted a study, be sure what you are being told reflects all the research in that area. In addition, ask who sponsored the research as sponsored studies may be one sided. Oftentimes, this will raise a big red flag if someone hasn't done their homework.

You may find a diet or a diet expert with tons of followers who all swear that the diet plan or advice is THE BEST they ever followed. These folks will tell you how they lost hundreds of pounds—and that you will too.

Although it may sound like you MUST try it, it's important to remember that every person is different and has individualized needs. Some diets or advice may be not be safe for folks on certain medications or with certain diseases (like Parkinson's or diabetes), so you need to check with your doctor before trying anything new. It's also important to make sure the science is also there to back the advice up -- just relying on anecdotes just isn’t enough.

If someone's advising you to eliminate lots of foods or major food groups, run the other way. Every food group contains certain nutrients which enable our bodies to function properly. Someone who tells you to cut all fat or eliminate all carbs usually doesn’t understand how the human body works.

One food doesn’t have the super powers to help you shed weight. Healthy weight loss has to do with including a variety of foods with a wide range of nutrients in your diet. If you're being told to eat lots of one food, the nutrition advice is unsound.

There's no magic pill or combo of pills that will solve your weight issues. If you're being told that emptying your wallet on a magic pill is the answer—be careful. First, the pills may react with your regular medications, which is potentially dangerous. Second, they're probably trying to make some money off of you, so beware.

Some hardcore diet pushers become extremely defensive when you try and tell them that you're not a believer. They'll tell you certain agencies don't want you to find out the "real truth" or "hidden secrets" because it'll prevent them from making money. Look for a professional who is credentialed and open to discussing various opinions.

If you're being promised quick weight loss (like 30 pounds in 2 weeks), be careful! These too-good-to-be-true promises can be a red flag for potentially dangerous weight loss efforts. According to the National Institute of Health, to healthfully lose weight you want to aim for 1 to 2 pounds per week. More than that is unsafe for your heart and folks tend to regain that weight just as quickly as they took it off.

Many folks call themselves a nutritionist (it's not a regulated term) but haven't had the same in-depth education as someone with a master's degree in nutrition and hands-on clinical experience as a registered dietitian (RD). A RD can work in conjunction with your medical doctor to ensure the advice and diet plan you're receiving is in line with your medical history and any medications, vitamins or herbal supplements you're on. Many registered dietitians accept medical insurance too. To find a registered dietitian in your area, go to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website and click on the green button that says "Find A Registered Dietitian."

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.


Your Nutrition Advice Won't Help if It's Not Culturally Sensitive

While nutrition is a science, food is personal, and healthy eating is a little bit different for everyone. There are so many factors that shape the way we eat—taste preferences, goals, schedules, food availability—and a person's cultural background has a huge impact on their relationship with food. The role of a registered dietitian is to counsel others on nutrition, so it's important that R.D.s be sensitive both to individual preferences and cultural differences when giving nutrition advice.

The thing is, when it comes to diversity, the nutrition field is lacking: Seventy-eight percent of all dietitians in the U.S. identify as white, according to the Commission of Dietetic Registration. There's also a lack of culturally diverse nutrition advice, both in official nutrition resources and in the media. Because of this, it's especially important that dietitians work to understand their clients' backgrounds and values around food, and that they give nutrition advice that's culturally sensitive and relevant.

To shed a little more light on a topic that's complicated and has so many implications, SELF asked seven registered dietitians from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds about the intersection of food and culture, why diversity in the nutrition field is so important, and how they work to give culturally sensitive nutrition advice in their own practices.

Although we have seen more people of color enter the field since I started practicing dietetics five years ago, the diversity rates are still abysmal and the inclusion needs to be happening at a faster pace. People often think of diversity as obligatory checkboxes without realizing that it actually enhances our organizations and makes us better providers. When more cultures are represented, we’re able to connect with patients on a more meaningful level.

Because of the lack of diversity in the field, health and nutrition resources are not always inclusive. For example, at one clinic I worked in, I had so many patients who recently immigrated to the United States from Guatemala, and contrary to the assumption of many health care providers, Spanish was not their first language, so providing wordy handouts in Spanish was useless to them. Because of this, we later created many handouts that were primarily photo-based instead of focusing so heavily on text. We need to be sensitive not only to language barriers but also to literacy levels in the materials we provide.

I think that when it comes to food and nutrition media, the problem is worse. Wellness is typically equated to a naturally thin, able-bodied, blonde woman striking yoga poses or drinking a green smoothie in a remodeled white kitchen. This is unfortunate because it excludes so many people who don’t identify with that narrative. We need to do a better job of including practitioners of color in the healthcare conversation by being inclusive when deciding who to invite to speak on panels or who to feature on our platforms.

I’ve worked in hospitals, private practice, community nutrition, and outpatient clinic settings and on average, about 60 to 75 percent of my clients have been women of color. So many of my patients are very appreciative to see a dietitian that looks like them and makes an attempt to understand their culture, food preferences and barriers to behavior changes. For example, many of my patients have an extremely limited income, and healthy foods like salmon and avocados may be too expensive for them to eat on a weekly basis. Likewise, it's common practice to recommend an outdoor walk as physical activity, but many providers don't realize that some people don’t feel safe walking around their neighborhoods after work.

I try to start every session by asking what the patient wants to get out of the visit, so that they drive the conversation. I also make sure to ask them about what they eat in a typical day, what their food preferences and dislikes are, their financial limitations when it comes to a food budget, where they shop, and what are their time constraints. This way I can work with them to create a plan that fits into their budget, time constraints, preferences, and cultural norms. I also love knowing where they shop so I can make specific recommendations based on proximity, especially for those with limited mobility.

When I immigrated to the U.S from Japan at age 11, the culture shock I experienced with the food offered at school was more jarring to me than not being able to communicate with my classmates due to the language barrier. In fact, this experience is what first made me want to become a dietitian.

A person's ethnic and cultural background has a huge impact on their relationship with food. Food is what builds our bodies, but it also shapes our culture. It plays a role in many aspects of our lives: physically, mentally, and spiritually. We eat to nourish and comfort ourselves, we share food with friends and family, and we offer foods to our God(s). As a dietitian, it's important to know not only what you clients eat, but also to understand the role that food plays in their culture, as this often shapes their beliefs about health and medicine, as well. In Japan, for example, many of us believe that certain foods have medicinal properties, and we look at food as the first line of defense against disease.

I keep in contact with R.D.s from diverse backgrounds, and I'm the diversity chair for Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine. When I see clients from different backgrounds, it can be helpful to consult other R.D.s for professional advice on how to best help and relate to them. I make a point to listen to my clients' specific questions and concerns, because it's my experience that not many healthcare professionals have time to do this. I'm also very aware that both being sick and maintaining health can be difficult in a country where you're in the minority, so I always acknowledge this struggle. I’d like to see more R.D.s and other healthcare professionals collaborating with a diverse network of peers, as I believe this is an important part of helping patients establish healthy habits that align with their values and traditions.

I have my own private practice in Northern Virginia (the D.C. area), which is very diverse, and my clientele is not predominantly Muslim. I focus primarily on helping patients who suffer from specific digestive conditions, poor thyroid health, autoimmune conditions, food sensitivities, and few others problems that span all races, religions, and genders.

My Muslim female clients definitely feel a level of comfort when working with me, but I feel women in general identify with each other, as we all face many of the same challenges, regardless of our race or religion. The physical stress of childbirth, family values, juggling work and life, and prioritizing others before our health are all conversations I have with most of my female clients. I focus on how similar we are, not how different, and I have had amazing relationships with clients of all ethnic and religious backgrounds.

When I do presentations and talks, or when I create content for my website and social media, I make sure that I include images of people from different ethnic backgrounds. During my private patient sessions, I try to learn about each patient's culture, food preferences, and what matters most to them. People like to share and talk about these things, and just being receptive to hearing their stories and their foods improves rapport and trust, both which are important in any coaching relationship. I do feel a connection with my patients who grew up in other parts of the world, whether in Asian, African, European, or South American countries—there's always something we miss about home! I've also learned recipes from patients and taught them to others, like a savory breakfast pancake recipe from a South Asian patient. She makes a batter from eggs and chickpea flour, adds vegetables, and eats it for breakfast. That's a creative new meal idea!

It's been incredibly frustrating to not have more people of color within the field of nutrition. Thinking back on my days as a student, I felt isolated within the program and felt like I couldn't really connect with most of the students or staff. I envisioned graduate school being this enriching experience, where I would develop strong bonds with future colleagues. Sadly, this wasn't the case, mostly because I felt really uncomfortable being one of the only students of color on a campus in Harlem, New York (the irony). Now that I'm a registered dietitian, some of those frustrations remain, but I feel more supported because I've been intentional about seeking connections with a diverse network of dietitians.

Ninety-nine percent of my clients are people of color, and about 70 percent of those clients are women. In my clinical practice, I work mainly with Latino immigrants, many of whom are undocumented. I try to be as present as possible when listening to clients' experiences and stories, and use that to inform our counseling sessions. This acknowledgement goes a long way in developing a strong relationship. Being able to speak their language and empathize with their experiences is an incredibly valuable tool during sessions. This adds to the connection and comfort they have with me as their provider, which in turn leads to better health outcomes.

Culture and ethnicity are intertwined with food. Food connects people to their childhood, family, and cultural traditions. With that being said, it's incredibly important that people of color understand that sacrificing their food and culture is not necessary for achieving good health. Oftentimes, I get clients who feel defeated because they don't want to leave behind the tortillas or plantains, but think it's something they have to do in the name of good health. I use this as an opportunity to shift the conversation, and provide education on all the amazing foods they can enjoy, that not only benefit their health, but are also culturally relevant. Also, I aim to develop recipes and nutrition content that are accessible to people who may not have a specialty market in their neighborhood. I stick with simple, basic, whole foods you can typically find in any local supermarket and try to stay away from using overpriced ingredients. I make it a point to ask clients what cultural foods they enjoy, and work with them to incorporate these foods in ways that are balanced and satisfying.

Living in Toronto, I've always worked with a diverse group of dietitians, and I'm constantly learning from people of different cultural backgrounds, whether they're fellow R.D.s, clients, chefs, or my culinary students. If you work with food, whether it's as a chef or an R.D., your own cultural background is significant. In a way, it's an area of expertise, and having a unique background can help you stand out and really engage with clients from similar backgrounds. In my experience, my South Asian students and clients are appreciative that I understand their language and cultural cuisine. My parents migrated to Canada from Pakistan, so I can also relate to the challenges that come along with this, as well, especially as it pertains to changes in lifestyle.

As a health-care provider in Toronto, I feel we have come a long way and are really trying to cater to high-risk cultural populations that are more prone to certain chronic diseases, like diabetes. But, I think more can be done to translate health and nutrition resources into other languages, and to incorporate into them a more culturally diverse range of foods. For example, Health Canada's current food guide doesn't include many diverse ethnic foods in its examples of healthy eating patterns, even though we have such a large multicultural population. I feel that it's important to change this, especially since new migrants from around the world may not realize how incorporating a more westernized lifestyle can really effect health outcomes.

Because I have worked with such a multicultural population—as a dietitian and professor of nutrition—I'm always trying to learn as much as I can about the traditions, foods, and health practices of different cultures. I try and provide as much research-based information on the benefits and potential harms of foods that are significant in a client's cultural cuisine so that they can modify these foods to make them healthier, instead of suggesting that they stop eating them. For example, when I'm working with clients in the South Asian community, I emphasize the health benefits of the spices such as turmeric used in traditional curries, but recommend cooking these curries with less oil or ghee.

I live in Philadelphia, which to me is truly the city of brotherly love. Most people here are progressive and cultured—they embrace different cuisines no matter what their ethnicity, and love the booming food scene here. I think it's important for dietitians to understand the foundations of different ethnic food cultures, especially in diverse areas like this. At Drexel University, where I studied nutrition, learning how how to be a culturally sensitive dietitian was strongly emphasized in our curriculum. All students in the nutrition program had to take a cultural diversity class and a food course called Foods and Nutrition of World Cultures. Each week a different person was assigned a country and tasked to research the country's cuisine, develop a menu, and cook for the class.


Stay tuned for series two of the Parkinson’s Life podcast

The award-winning Parkinson’s Life podcast is back this month. Helping to amplify the voices of the international Parkinson’s community, the podcast has so far reached more than 12,000 people around the world. Thanks to the support of pharmaceutical companies, and the backing of a grant from the Boston Scientific Foundation Europe, the second series will bring together people with Parkinson’s disease and experts in their field to explore topics such as sleep hygiene, exercise and mental health, and to offer advice to listeners. Sandrine Bazile, president of the Boston Scientific Foundation Europe, says: “We fully support this project because it mirrors perfectly our mission to improve patient wellbeing using innovative solutions. We believe in the importance of the [Parkinson’s Life] podcast series, with its aim to improve the information and education available to people with Parkinson’s and their families – to help them live life to the full.”