From the Editor: Planting the Seed

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No matter how much we like to believe we are eating healthier, sometimes our actions belie our intentions. Sure, Canadians are more educated about healthy food choices — cognizant of the importance of eating an increased number of servings of fruits and veggies, fish and seafood. But, as much as we may know and understand this truth, do we always adhere to it? After all, who amongst us doesn’t like to indulge — even just a little a bit — when we dine out?
Interestingly, today’s consumers may opt for leafy greens at their favourite QSR at lunch but then they drench it with dressing and add fries to their order. They may skimp on the bread basket when dining out for dinner, but then succumb to the temptation of dessert. We may claim to eat well, but then load up on coffee and saturate it with cream and sugar. (According to statistics from the American Heart Association, cited in the July/August issue of Clean Eating magazine, Americans consume an average of 22 to 30 teaspoons of added sugar a day, instead of the recommended six for women and nine for men).
Still, despite the dichotomy, there are more, healthier alternatives than ever before. And, not so surprisingly, many of today’s changes are being fuelled by the millennial demographic, whose choices are often spurred by being ethically and environmentally minded. But, with so much healthy eating information being thrown at us, it’s sometimes challenging to make sense of the multiple messages we’re being fed. What is truly considered healthy? What does clean eating really mean? How important is it to eat organic products? And how relevant are calories as a true measurement of healthy eating? What can consumers really believe? With so much in flux, how should operators respond to the changing landscape? In this month’s Navigating Nutrition story, on p. 29, writer Sarah Hood takes a look at how foodservice operators are dealing with the myriad changes and deciphering the complexity of today’s marketplace.
Amidst the changing landscape, it’s not surprising that more operators are taking the lead in offering greater choice in this area. As an example, Toronto-based Chase Hospitality recently launched a new restaurant called Planta, which claims 25 per cent of its menu is plant-based. The restaurant, which opens this month, is evidence that more chefs are now planting the seed for change.
According to Micaela Cook Karlsen, a doctoral candidate in nutritional epidemiology and author of a new book called A Plant-based Life, there is growing evidence demonstrating the benefits of switching to a plant-based diet. “Going plant-based doesn’t mean you have to give up meat and chicken totally,” she says, “but if you make fruits and vegetables the main part of the meal, and use meat to support the menu, you’ll be on your way to a more plant-based diet,” she says, adding that plant-based diets give us the best chance for living a long, healthy life free of chronic diseases.”
And, who doesn’t want that?

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Rosanna Caira
Rosanna Caira is the editor and publisher of Kostuch Media’s Foodservice and Hospitality, and Hotelier magazines. In her capacity as editor of Canada’s two leading hospitality publications, Rosanna directs the editorial and graphic content of both publications, and is responsible for the editorial vision of the magazines, its five websites as well as the varied tertiary products including e-newsletters, supplements and special projects. In addition to her editorial duties, Rosanna also serves as publisher of the company, directing the strategic development of the Sales and Marketing, Production and Circulation departments. Rosanna is the face of the magazines, representing the publications at industry functions and speaking engagements. She serves on various committees and Boards, including the Board of Directors of the Canadian Hospitality Foundation. She is a recipient of the Ontario Hostelry’s Gold Award in the media category. In 2006, Rosanna was voted one of the 32 most successful women of Italian heritage in Canada. Rosanna is a graduate of Toronto’s York University, where she obtained a BA degree in English literature.

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