Interview With Healthy Gourmet's Julie Daniluk
Education and Advocacy Julie Daniluk, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and TV show co-host of The Oprah Winfrey Network’s Healthy Gourmet, champions for women’s specific nutritional needs and encourages great eating habits for your best 2015.
Many women are overwhelmed by their busy lives. How do you eat well while on the go?
I rely on pre-prepared basics. And then I add the extra flavour. I really encourage people to buy prewashed organic greens, and organic frozen stir-fry mixes where all the veggies come prepared for you — all you have to do is stir-fry them up. Also, grain-free granola, or really delicious, 100 percent natural, nut and seed bars for your purse; making sure that you always have instant food. We rely on instant junk food, why not rely on instant health food?
Can you explain inflammation and the toll it takes on a woman’s body?
Absolutely. Inflammation is your body’s emergency healing response. It happens when you have an attack from an ‘incoming invader’. The incoming invader can be an irritant, something you’re severely allergic to, it can be something that’s toxic- say there’s mercury in the fish that you just ate, or it can also be an infectious agent.
So say you ate something that causes you food poisoning, it will cause inflammation inside your body, and if we can push out the incoming invaders with beautiful anti-inflammatory food, we can turn around inflammation. We can quench the fire of inflammation using anti-inflammatory foods.
What’s your best advice to women battling cravings during PMS or times of stress?
You’re often craving fats because your body requires omega-3s to balance your hormones. So go after seeds. Say you’re craving chocolate, you could eat a really good quality chocolate covered almond so that you’re giving yourself the good oil and magnesium to help you through that stressful period. Avoid saying,
“I’m never going to give into my cravings,” which doesn’t work, as you end up having really bad binges instead. We can give you something healthy that’s also extremely joyful. So I would choose my chocolate covered almond example because it’s high in magnesium, and your body craves magnesium from the chocolate to help you with your cramps. If we can give you lots of nutrition inside delicious foods, that’s often my solution.
"One of my favourites is sesame seeds, because they are extremely high in calcium and they provide three times more calcium than a glass of milk."
Which treats are fine in moderation, and what would you steer clear of altogether?
Seventy to 80 percent dark chocolate is incredibly soul-satisfying, and more women crave chocolate than any other flavour. So we should probably give women something they love. Consider that the higher the number you see on the package- when you see 70 percent, 80 percent cocoa, indicates the percentage of fat, and that would mean it’s lower in sugar. Go for a high percentage of cocoa — I would love to see people start to reduce their sugars.
And if you go for chocolate, please go for chocolate that’s sweetened with other things besides sugar. You can look for coconut sweetened chocolate, you can look for honey-sweetened chocolate, or you can go for stevia sweetened chocolate. It’s really nice to find those alternative sweeteners. What I want you to steer clear of all together, is white sugar. Because white sugar causes direct inflammation, and it’s proven to cause hormonal imbalance, it’s going to cause hormonal disruption, and often cause you to directly gain weight.
Women’s hormones are in constant flux — how does diet factor in or affect fluctuations?
Deep-fried foods disrupt our delicate hormonal balance and cause excessive menstrual cramps. High carbohydrate consumption and drinking alcohol can slow off your hormones. So those are the two biggies that I want people to be mindful of, especially through this holiday season.
How should diet evolve as a woman ages?
In younger years we have to focus on iron-rich foods, because we menstruate every month. And then as a woman goes into menopause, we absolutely have to focus on calcium-rich foods, because we are trying to build bones as we age. So we want to really focus on extra mineral-rich foods. One of my favourites is sesame seeds, because they are extremely high in calcium and they provide three times more calcium than a glass of milk.
Do you have suggested dietary remedies for hot flashes and night sweats?
One of the best ones is sage. Did you know that sage is incredible for reducing night sweats? You can make a tea out of it, you can take it in capsules, you can also focus on having lots of sage in your cooking — it’s fantastic.
What’s the one New Year’s resolution you wish Canadian women would adopt in terms of diet?
Instead of dieting, I would love for them to embrace the anti-inflammatory limit. Which is basically adopting seven to 10 veggies and fruits a day as your goal. So you can do that on your smartphone, where you start to keep track of how many veggies you’ve had per day.
And remember, a serving is just a cup of salad or half a cup of broccoli, and that’s incredibly easy for meeting your veggie quota for the day. And when reach your maximum veggies, you have so many vitamins in your body that you feel fantastic.