Should industry fund nutrition research?

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Recently I attended a Functional Foods Symposium and a guest speaker there had a talk regarding the food industry and nutrition research. His talk got me thinking about whether or not ‘industry funded research’ in the field of nutrition is a good thing or a bad thing.

What do I mean by industry funded nutrition research?

Well, things like the dairy industry funding studies to show if milk is good for this that or the other, bean growers funding studies that prove chickpeas can carry label claims (i.e. good source of protein),  or flax growers funding studies that determine if flax consumption lowers blood pressure. It could also mean big companies like Coca Cola or Nestle funding different kinds of studies. The food industry may be supporting the research in its entirety, or they may be supporting with a portion of the funds required to complete the study (with the other portion more than likely coming from the government). The types of research funded by industry branches across lots of areas, but it could all possibly lead to bias.

Credibility is always an issue with industry funded research because the public (who may not know any better) may not know that some of the studies talked about in the media are funded by industry, and they may take them as peer-reviewed scientific research. Alternatively, the public might say “Industry shouldn’t fund research – we can’t trust it because they’re biased.” While this an opinion, I don’t think its a legitimate one in all cases.

Lets take chickpeas for an example. Beans are good for you, we know that. However…someone still needs to pay for the research to be done so that food companies/manufacturers can claim their chickpea product is ‘good source of protein,” and if the government can’t fund this research where will the money come from? In my opinion this is a good place for unbiased industry funded research – an outside group can conduct research on a product to see if it meets the label claim parameters.

Things get a bit fuzzy when large corporations begin to fund studies, particularly big food companies like beverage makers and Big Agriculture, like the Dairy or Beef Industry. While this research shouldn’t be immediately dismissed it should be looked at with a close eye (like all research!).

I think industry funded research has a time and a place, but I also think that it should be looked at with a critical eye and conflicts of interest and funding sources should be stated (which they usually are). I think this kind of critical eye should apply to all research, especially when the media gets involved because they usually twist the results in a certain way to make a news story.

Moral of the story: Don’t believe everything you hear, but don’t immediately discredit industry funded research!

Here’s what Marion Nestle is saying about this issue.

How do you feel about industry funded research? Do you see it as critical in our food environment?

Five Things Friday 07-25-2014

WOW has it been a busy week! I didn’t even get a chance to post an additional blog post this week. Bad blogger over here. To be fair I’ve been super busy working on my Thesis Proposal (31 pages!?). On top of that A’s parents are here from Toronto so we’ve been really busy visiting with them and eating lots and lots of food. Big shout out to Clare for hosting this weeks Five Things Friday and I hope you have a great weekend!

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Five Four Things I Ate

Cheese, cheese, and more cheese. We’ve had cheese plates this week, cheese on pasta, and fresh mozzarella by the knife-ful (yes I know I shouldn’t eat off a knife).

Zucchini sauteed with sundried tomatoes. I really thought I hated sundried tomatoes, that was until I ate this. A’s mom prepared it and was it delicious. The tomatoes softened a bit from the moisture in the zucchini and it was AMAZE.

Eggs for breakfast served on a bed of spinach. Realllly fancy in the morning.

More Baked Expectations cake, but this time for my step dad’s birthday. It was chocolate cake with chocolate icing and a layer of bananas hiding in the middle. SO GOOD.

 

Five Things Making Me Happy

Hot weather! I was able to escape to the lake on Saturday and it was so nice. We went swimming and laid in the sun while reading. It was the most relaxing Sunday spent outside.

The arrival of my Foodie Pen Pal Box! I can’t wait to show you guys the goods! My pen pal did an awesome job putting it together.

Making progress on my proposal.. seriously the only thing I’ve been doing – I even dream about it.

Bey and Jay on Sunday! Woooop wooooop.

Not having to cook a lot this week. While I really enjoy spending time in the kitchen, it’s really nice to not have to cook sometimes. We’ve had dinner plans for most nights this week.

Five Great Reads

On a side note…. I’m going camping in Minnesota next weekend and we’re doing all the grocery shopping in the states before we get to the camp site. Does anyone have any tips for grocery shopping in the states for camping?? I think we’ll be hitting a Super Target, which I am familiar with, but I’m not sure about their organic meat/veggie selection. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!!

Five Things Friday 07-18-2014

Hello and Happy Friday! Another week has come and gone, I hope you’ve been enjoying the warm weather and the farmers market! I’m looking forward to the weekend and to getting some solid preparation done on my proposal today so that I can write my butt off next week. Is it crazy to have a first draft done in 3 months? It’s too soon to set that as a goal but we’ll see how it goes today and how much more research I need to do before I can write. Moving along, because you don’t want to hear me rant about my thesis proposal…..A BIG Thanks to Clare for hosting this weeks Five Things, hope you enjoy!

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5 Things I Ate

Pulled Pork. Sunday I made a pork roast in the slow cooker with intentions to turn it into stew. I left it all day in there with herbs, spices, celery, and carrots and when we came back to it it fell apart like no ones business. A whipped up some home made BBQ sauce and we had pulled pork minus the bun!

Chilli. Sunday was a big cooking day for us because we also made a HUGE pot of chilli. We clearly didn’t want to cook again this week. I made up the recipe as I went and it turned out amazing and not too spicy.

Cheesecake. Monday night we went on an impromptu date night to Baked Expectations. I usually get a Shmoo Torte (because when I go all out, I go all out), but the strawberry cheese cake really called out to me. It was WAY better than A’s banana cake.

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Grilled veggies. Now that summer is here we get to enjoy grilled veggies regularly. We’ve tried bok choy, sweet potatoes, zucchini, eggplant x2, and red peppers.

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Toast from our new toaster + sunbutter as I’m typing this post. I’ve never owned a toaster before, just a toaster oven so this is a new experience for me. They’re so quick!

5 Things Making Me Happy

Bike rides! I’m getting so much more comfortable riding my bike in the city and you can go quite a few kilometers without even getting tired. We already biked to Assiniboine Park which is about a 14km trek there and back.

Eating lunches outside. The weather was lovely this week and I got to eat out side, mostly with great company, several times!

St. Norbert’s Farmers Market. I picked up a whole whack load of things including rainbow chard, peas!!, young celery, and a beautiful eggplant.

Germany winning the World Cup! Yes, that was like a week ago, no I’m never going to forget.

Trip Planning! I’m not going to say where we’re off too until we book it, but I am VERY excited.

5 Awesome Reads

Hope you all have a great weekend!

What was your week like? What was the best thing you ate?

Curry Cauliflower Carrot Soup

On a rainy day there is nothing better than a mug of soup. Yes, I did say mug, because I often eat my soup out of mugs – oversized ones of course. I actually prefer mug-bowl hybrids because they are huge but they also have a handle. Anyone else with me? I made this fantastic soup that I adapted from The Kitchn and it was amazing. The original recipe was only a cauliflower soup but I decided to include carrots for colour and because I had about 40 going bad in the fridge. I hope you enjoy!

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Curry Cauliflower Carrot Soup

Adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients

2 Tbsp Canola Oil (or other oil for frying)
1 Large onion diced
2 Garlic Cloves minced
1 Box (900mL) No Salt Added Vegetable Broth
2 Cups Water
1 Large head of cauliflower, cut or broken into pieces
4 Carrots, cut into pieces
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 Tsp Coriander
1/2 Tsp Turmeric
1 1/4 Tsp Cumin
1 Cup Coconut Milk
Optional: Garnishes – I used pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Method

1. In a large soup pot add oil and onions and sauté until translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.

IMG_22642. In the meantime, prepare cauliflower and carrots and add to the pot followed by the vegetable stock, water, and spices. I also added a pinch of salt as well.

 

IMG_22723. Bring this pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes or until the carrots and cauliflower are softened.

4. Once soft, you can serve the soup as is or blend it in batches using a blender or take the emersion blender right to the pot. I made sure to sample the soup here here before I blended it ot make sure the spices were alright – I added a pinch more salt and freshly ground black pepper.

IMG_2279Make sure to serve it in an awesome goose mug-cup hybrid. Bon appetit!

This is one of my very first recipes, so please be kind! What’s your favourite kind of soup? Do you add toppings to your soups?

 

Five Things Friday 07-11-2014

It’s Friday! I hope you all had a productive week like I did. My thesis proposal is coming along slowly but surely and I CANNOT WAIT for it to be done…in September? Maybe? Oy.. Anyways I’m really looking forward to this weekend! We’re going to a Goldeyes game tonight which is the closest team to the NBL we’ve got. They’re actually in the American baseball league or something so they play teams from Minnesota, North Dakota, and Illinois (maybe? – I could also be making this up). All I know is they have beer and I can eat sunflower seeds. Hope you all have a great weekend and here’s a little taste of what I’ve been up to this week .Thanks to Clare for hosting Five  Things Friday! Enjoy!

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5 Things I Ate

Smoothies! I’ve been missing these guys, but I had two this week! I had a TON of greens to use up and I also tossed in some blueberries/strawberries, a slice of lemon (skin and all), hemp hearts, chia seeds, and a banana.

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Grilled sweet potatoes. I had never tried to grill them before but they turned out awesome! I want to try grilling peaches next.

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Apricots. I saw them at the grocery store this week and I knew I had to have them. It was unfortunate though because the first one I ate was so far from ripe it was a struggle to eat it. I have no idea why I tried to eat it, it was hard as a rock.

All the salads. I was not joking when I said we had an excess of greens. I’m pretty sure we had a salad for dinner every night from Sunday to Wednesday.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash. I made a whole one last night and used half of it to make a side dish for supper (sauté it with onions, mushrooms, black beans and spices) but I still have the other half in the fridge – oh the opportunity!

5 Things Making Me Happy

A new foodie pen pal! I’m headed to the Farmers Market this weekend to pick up some goods – that’s like two things making me happy, I LOOOOVVE the Farmers Market.

Scoring the winning point in our ultimate game on Tuesday! It was a set up, I didn’t deserve it, but it’s mine anyways!

Planning summer adventures. Looks like I may be headed to America twice this summer. You better believe I’ll be stocking up on Justin’s and La Croix.

The baseball game tonight! I’m excited to see some #bestschoolfriends that I haven’t seen in a while.

GERMANY MAKING IT TO THE FINALS! I’ll be busy Sunday fyi.

5 FANTASTIC Reads

What were the hi-lights of your week? Whats on tap for the weekend?

 

The Best Healthy Road Trip Snacks

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Road trips are my favourite. I love being out on the open highway (the prairies give new meaning to open highway). I love exploring new places and seeing new things, and I love being outside. Most of the road trips I take are to go to the beach or hiking, somewhere awesome and outside, so road trips always excite me.

I love making road trip snacks almost as much as I love road trips themselves and I prepare them days ahead if I know I’m planning a road trip. The snack’s I’m sharing with you today won’t take days to prepare but they’re so delicious they may not last as long as you anticipated. Here are my 4 favourite (healthy) road trip snacks.

Curry Trail Mix – From The Vegan Stoner.

Hold up, lets talk about this stuff for a minute. Ok, so you throw all the stuff together, in the container you’re going to travel with, add some spices and it’s done – and it’s amaze-balls?! You need to try it because it’s so easy (and curry raisins taste strangely good).

Quinoa Breakfast Bars aka granola bars – Lean Green Bean

I make these guys every week. Not only are they a great breakfast and pre/post gym snack, but they’re an awesome road trip snack! Another recipe I’ve been meaning to try is over at Oh She Glows. These bars are both filled with lots of protein + fibre to keep you full until your reach your destination/next stop.

Fresh fruit.

Specifically low mess like bananas berries peaches and basically anything else where you could throw the remnants out the window and know your providing some fertilizer to the side of the road. (Am I the only one who thinks this?)

Endurance Crackers

(+ lots of water) These crackers are from Oh She Glows and are so easy to make. Just make sure to store them in a rigid container and not a Ziploc bag because they will crumble into a million pieces.

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Things I avoid out of convenience:

Yogurt. Usually don’t have the car space for a cooler or it’s packed away in the back full of things like bacon and quinoa salad for our arrival. Plus yogurt = mess, and I don’t like mess.

Chips. Mess + not filling, means you’ll be covered in crumbs and trying to eat every last one.

Sugar sweetened beverages. I’m talking pop/soda/cola/vitamin water, etc. They usually make me more hungry so I just stick to water and coffee (especially for the early morning stretches!).

What are your favourite road trip snacks? What snacks do you try to avoid?

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Five Things Friday 07-04-2014

Happy 4th of July American Friends! What a great week this has been for me – 3 day work week and it’s already Friday. It’s a shame we had such terrible weather this week/last weekend but at least A and I had the opportunity to rearrange our apartment (and it looks amazing now). We’re missing the rest of his wine glasses but we have a home lined up for them in our huge Ikea bookshelf right beside the 4 bottles of wine and one bottle of bubbly. I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Big thank-you to Clare over at Fitting It All In for hosting Five Things Friday!

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Five Things I Ate

Avocado on toast. Every. Single. Day. After reading the million and millions of good things Jennifer Sygo had to say about them in Unmasking Super Foods I don’t feel so bad eating 1+ per day!

Carrot Cauliflower Curry Soup – Amaze. Recipe soon.

 

Homemade Pizza! A and I busted out the Joy of Cooking this weekend for our pizza recipe. We improved it by using only bread flour and whole wheat. That baby was dense – good thing we made em’ thin crust.

Bacon. On everything. On the pizza, for breakfast, with roasted potatoes. Nothing says camping like bacon.

Grilled vegetables! We finally got some propane and were able to grill zucchini and red peppers. To die for.

Five Things Making Me Happy

Eating lunch outside yesterday – in the grass! Hello summer, where have you been? Plus we had a potluck with amazing food.

Our new apartment rearrangement. So much more light, and space!

Sim City 4 – because I literally played it all weekend.

Homemade meatballs. I’m getting better at making them but I need to keep track of all the spices I use. No two batches are the same.

A trip to Costco! – Finally got some more quinoa and also picked up lean ground turkey, and some veggies!

Five Awesome Reads

Hope you have a great weekend!

What was your favourite part of the week? What do you have going on this weekend?