I didn’t think I could love anything like I love a kale Caesar but this asparagus salad comes real close. It’s all about textures – crisp panko crumbs, crunchy almonds and tendercrisp asparagus – and layers of flavour…from the salty tang of fried capers to umami-packed breadcrumbs and a punchy garlic vinaigrette.
It’s my take on the delicious asparagus salad from the Six Seasons cookbook, one of my forever faves.
Yes, there are three separate steps. But they’re all super quick…so don’t let that deter you! The whole shebang comes together in like 20 minutes and I promise, you’ve never been more excited to eat asparagus.
PSA: you don’t need to shoot ACV to fix your blood sugars.
I get it. We all love a low effort hack. But they don’t always work as advertised.
While some folks may make it seem like blood sugar response is predictable, it’s actually not. Your glycemic response to the same food can be different from day to day because of non-food factors like:
Also, we rarely eat a single food at a time. When we pair carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta or potatoes with fibre, protein, or a bit of acid…say a lentil bolognaise…those factors slow down the rate at which blood sugars rise without needing to gulp down a bunch of vinegar.
⚠️I feel like it needs to be said: the way a food effects your blood sugars IS NOT the same as it’s healthfulness.
Case in point: butter has no carbs and therefore a lower glycemic load than nutrient-dense blueberries.
And yet when we’re looking at the strategically selected output from someone’s glucose monitor, seeing a flat curve vs a “spike” makes us think the opposite.
If you don’t have blood sugar issues, and are generally eating a lot of whole plant foods, you really don’t need to worry about your blood sugars.
Of course, if you do have diabetes or pre-diabetes, or you know your dietary pattern is predominantly hyper-processed and refined carbohydrates, a dietitian can help you take a sane (and evidence-based) approach to getting you blood sugars on track. And you can save the ACV for a nice kale Caesar salad.
As a gut health dietitian, I’ve been working with probiotics for over a decade, so I have watched the conversation on probiotics go from skepticism to adoption back to skepticism.
Why so controversial? Well, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that talks a lot of science…but usually doesn’t offer products with actual human clinical trials to back them up. ⚠️
And there is a lot of back and forth in the research because unlike DHA or vitamin D, each strain – or combination of strains – of probiotics is totally unique. You can’t take the research from one strain and claim your strain works the same way.
Reviewing the research on probiotics is essentially comparing apples to oranges so in the systematic reviews and meta-analyses required to drive practice change, it leads to ‘heterogeneity’ that drives skepticism. And yet to say there is no research to support the use of probiotics is patently incorrect.
So…what does that mean for you? First things first: if you don’t have any gut issues, don’t go throwing a bunch of microbes in there for no reason.
If you have something going on, choose a probiotic with actual clinical trials (not just lab science) to show that it is useful in your condition. How to do that? Look it up on www.probioticchart.ca
Then, give that probiotic 12 weeks to make an impact.
If things have improved even by 25%, give it another 12 weeks and re-assess.
But after 12 weeks, if nothing has changed, it might be that A) that product was incompatible with your own gut microbes B) what you have going on isn’t as strongly related to your gut microbiome or C) it was a crap product in a cute package with really good marketing.
Have you ever tried a probiotic and it didn’t work, or it made things worse?
Avocado toast is great…but have you tried smashed pea toast??
It’s super satisfying because it’s packed with fibre and protein: a whopping 25 grams of protein when served on one piece of sprouted grain toast and 30 grams if you divide the mixture between two slices.
Plus, the combination of white beans and tahini gives you a boost of calcium too. 💪🏼
It’s an affordable lunch option that you’ll actually look forward to eating because it’s creamy and comforting and absolutely delicious.
So make it this weekend and get your lunch sorted for the whole dang week in just minutes. Full recipe in the link in my profile 👋
What’s the difference between hemp, chia and flax?
Hemp, chia and flax seeds all contain omega 3 fatty acids…but each one stands out for a different reason.
🌱 Flax: 1 tablespoon of flax contains 1.6 grams of omega 3 fatty acids…your entire daily requirement. It also contains 1.9 grams of fibre, including gel-forming soluble fibre which is why it makes a great egg replacement.
There are small amounts of iron and zinc but what sets flax apart from the other two are the lignans, special polyphenols that when converted by your gut microbiome have weak phytoestrogenic activity.
⚠️ Flax should always be ground so we can access its nutrition as it’s very hard exterior is difficult to breakdown.
🌱 Chia: the highest omega 3 content with 1.9 grams per tablespoon. Chia contains higher fibre – including gelling soluble fibre – at 3.7 grams with slightly higher amounts of zinc and iron and protein. For me, when you want soluble fibre, go for chia seeds.
🥣 Eat them hydrated – soaked in overnight oats, chia puddings, chia fresca, chia jam or yogurt.
🌱 Hemp: the lowest omega 3 content with 0.8 grams per tablespoon but it packs a big bunch in terms of minerals and protein.
1 tablespoon of hemp contains 1.3 mg of iron, 1 mg of zinc as well as a third of your daily manganese as well as 3.3 grams of protein.
When you want minerals and protein, go for hemp. They blend up perfectly to make hemp milk, in smoothies or you can replace ½ cup of flour in most cookie and quick bread recipes with hemp to boost omega 3, protein and minerals.
All 3 of these omega rich seeds are nutritious. I have all three in my kitchen, but I have to admit that I use hemp hearts most often because they lack the soluble fibre and therefore blend seamlessly into plant milks, smoothies and baking.
Many of us have intolerance type reactions to whole plant foods like legumes, vegetables and grains…which leads us to mistakenly believe that we have an outright intolerance to those foods or worse, that these foods are somehow bad for gut health.
Outside of celiac disease or acute flares of digestive issues like ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome, high fibre whole grains like wheat are actually foundational to building a healthy digestive tract.
Wheat contains multiple compounds that are directly beneficial to digestive health, like:
🧹 Insoluble fiber: insoluble fibre from wheat helps “sweep” the gut, improving timely elimination (AKA poop) as well as encouraging proper cell turnover in the gut lining to keep it strong and healthy.
⚡️ Polyphenols: polyphenols are powerful phytochemicals with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and - surprise - prebiotic benefits. Polyphenols are thought to boost beneficial bacteria in the gut such as Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium.
💨 Fermentable fibres: not all fibres are fermentable…and only fermentable fibres feed the gut microbiome! Wheat contains fermentable fibres that are well-researched prebiotics like fructans as well as arabinoxlyans, which have been shown to boost production of butyrate, an important short chain fatty acid for the gut-brain-immune axis.
I often hear that people feel they get enough fiber from vegetables, but you may be surprised to hear that’s not always the case.
For example, people following a strict gluten free diet - which would not restrict any fruit and vegetable intake - typically have low fiber intakes and increased risk of digestive issues like constipation (PMID: 34445038)
If you’ve been avoiding whole grains like wheat, you can rebuild your tolerance. Start low, go slow and be consistent. For example, enjoy just 1 slice of 100% whole grain wheat bread or a tablespoon of wheat germ daily. Once your gut has adjusted, you can add another serving.
The information on this site is intended as educational only and cannot replace one-on-one consultation with a registered dietitian.
We respectfully acknowledge that we live and work on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nation.