Lisa Lagasse

Lisa Lagasse

Charleswood community correspondent

Lisa Lagasse is a registered dietitian and community correspondent for Charleswood. Email her at Charleswoodres@gmail.com or find her on Twitter: @LisaRD42324393

Recent articles of Lisa Lagasse

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and nutrition

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Preview

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and nutrition

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022

Fortunately, in my career I have only come across a few patients diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous New York Yankees baseball player who died in 1941.

However, the impact of ALS has hit closer to home for me after having an uncle diagnosed with it. Much remains medically unknown about this disease, but it is estimated that five to 10 per cent of patients get ALS due to heredity. It is a progressive nervous system disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in loss of muscle control. Eventually, it affects mobility, speech, nutritional intakes and breathing. Unfortunately, it remains incurable but there are some promising treatments under study.

Symptoms of ALS include difficulty with walking and the basic activities of daily living, such as dressing brushing teeth, etc. These eventually lead to tripping and falls, muscle weakness, slurred speech, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), muscle cramping, and cognitive and behavioral changes. ALS causes nerve cells (motor neurons) to die, and the brain and spinal cord cannot send messages to muscles. The complexity of the nervous system makes treating and managing ALS very difficult. ALS is most common in those 40 to 60 years of age and affects men more than women. A multidisciplinary, team-based approach is required to manage ALS. This includes not only MDs but also dietitians, speech language pathologists, occupational therapist, physiotherapists, and social workers.

In terms of nutrition, it is important to focus on combating malnutrition, dehydration, reducing the risks of aspiration pneumonia (food going into the lungs) and choking. Texture-modified diets are often required, along with nutritional supplementation. Many patients will go for swallowing tests such as a video fluoroscopy to see what type of diet texture is required. As the disease progresses, many will be unable to swallow, and an enteral feed may be considered. Also known as a tube feed, this is where a tube is inserted into the stomach or small intestine and a nutritional formula is delivered via a pump feeding system. Medications can also be delivered via the feeding tube. A registered dietitian will calculate the amount of formula required based on height, weight, lab data, calorie, protein, and hydration needs, etc. Enteral feeds can be flexible with both intermittent and continuous feeding times based on the individual’s preferences and routines.

Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022

Fortunately, in my career I have only come across a few patients diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous New York Yankees baseball player who died in 1941.

However, the impact of ALS has hit closer to home for me after having an uncle diagnosed with it. Much remains medically unknown about this disease, but it is estimated that five to 10 per cent of patients get ALS due to heredity. It is a progressive nervous system disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in loss of muscle control. Eventually, it affects mobility, speech, nutritional intakes and breathing. Unfortunately, it remains incurable but there are some promising treatments under study.

Symptoms of ALS include difficulty with walking and the basic activities of daily living, such as dressing brushing teeth, etc. These eventually lead to tripping and falls, muscle weakness, slurred speech, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), muscle cramping, and cognitive and behavioral changes. ALS causes nerve cells (motor neurons) to die, and the brain and spinal cord cannot send messages to muscles. The complexity of the nervous system makes treating and managing ALS very difficult. ALS is most common in those 40 to 60 years of age and affects men more than women. A multidisciplinary, team-based approach is required to manage ALS. This includes not only MDs but also dietitians, speech language pathologists, occupational therapist, physiotherapists, and social workers.

In terms of nutrition, it is important to focus on combating malnutrition, dehydration, reducing the risks of aspiration pneumonia (food going into the lungs) and choking. Texture-modified diets are often required, along with nutritional supplementation. Many patients will go for swallowing tests such as a video fluoroscopy to see what type of diet texture is required. As the disease progresses, many will be unable to swallow, and an enteral feed may be considered. Also known as a tube feed, this is where a tube is inserted into the stomach or small intestine and a nutritional formula is delivered via a pump feeding system. Medications can also be delivered via the feeding tube. A registered dietitian will calculate the amount of formula required based on height, weight, lab data, calorie, protein, and hydration needs, etc. Enteral feeds can be flexible with both intermittent and continuous feeding times based on the individual’s preferences and routines.

Probiotics and your gastrointestinal health

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Preview

Probiotics and your gastrointestinal health

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Friday, Jun. 17, 2022

Over the last several years, there has been a lot of attention focused on the use of supplemental probiotics to help alleviate gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel diseases, mainly Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The market for over-the-counter probiotics for consumers has exploded and some people take them for prevention even if they have no diagnosis of a GI disorder. I would not recommend this.

First, what are probiotics? They are made up of live microorganisms (good bacteria) that can help to improve gut health. Some are comprised of lactobacillus others of bifidobacterium. However, not everyone should be using them. Those with compromised immune systems or who are critically ill should not use probiotics.

Furthermore, a full assessment of medical tests, exams, nutritional intakes, and even mental health should be reviewed when dealing with GI disorders. IBS, for example, is a combination of gut-brain interactions. There are different types of IBS, and each has a different treatment path depending on symptoms present.

Friday, Jun. 17, 2022

Yogurt is a fabulous food source of probiotics.

Nutrition and your mental health

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Preview

Nutrition and your mental health

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Wednesday, May. 18, 2022

May is Mental Health Awareness month and at no time has this been more significant with Canadians being profoundly affected by the restraints of COVID-19 over the past two years.

Lockdown restrictions combined with fear have had a detrimental effect for many, with statistics proving increased substance abuse and suicides. Unfortunately, many Canadians suffer with some form of mental illness, with mood and anxiety disorders being the most common, encompassing depression, bipolar disorders and substance abuse.

Does nutrition play a role in mental health? The short answer is yes.

Research links show that poor nutritional choices can increase risk factors for anxiety and depression disorders. Overeating, comfort eating and under-eating not only affect mental health but also physical and overall medical health as well.

Wednesday, May. 18, 2022

May is Mental Health Awareness month and at no time has this been more significant with Canadians being profoundly affected by the restraints of COVID-19 over the past two years.

Lockdown restrictions combined with fear have had a detrimental effect for many, with statistics proving increased substance abuse and suicides. Unfortunately, many Canadians suffer with some form of mental illness, with mood and anxiety disorders being the most common, encompassing depression, bipolar disorders and substance abuse.

Does nutrition play a role in mental health? The short answer is yes.

Research links show that poor nutritional choices can increase risk factors for anxiety and depression disorders. Overeating, comfort eating and under-eating not only affect mental health but also physical and overall medical health as well.

Did you know March was nutrition month?

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Preview

Did you know March was nutrition month?

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Friday, Mar. 25, 2022

Dietitians of Canada’s theme this year is “Ingredients for a healthier tomorrow.”

The focus is on actions, advocacy and awareness that will help change our food systems for a healthier future. For me, being sensitive to animal welfare, I would like to see improved animal conditions on production farms throughout Canada and the world. Animals should be free to move and roam, have decent and comfortable shelter, have outdoor time and proper safeguards which all help to ensure safety of the food supply.

The Winnipeg Humane Society has a list of animal-friendly restaurants and suppliers titled Humane Food that is a great resource to check out. You can find it here: www.winnipeghumanesociety.ca/animal-issues/humane-food/

Choosing a well-balanced diet helps give you diversity but keeps you healthy. Remember that varied food choices will help you meet your vitamin and nutritional requirements. Add vegetarian entrees a few times a week to your menu planning. With the high cost of food becoming a factor in dietary choice, it is important to note that you do not have to buy the most expensive foods to eat healthy. Know your food prices. Look at store flyers for sales and make a list before you go shopping to avoid impulse purchases. Using frozen or even canned versions of items can save on costs. Buy in bulk. Use generic brands. Don’t use recipes that ask for special ingredients that you may never use again.

Friday, Mar. 25, 2022

Casseroles, stews and hearty soups made in a slow cooker or crockpot can help stretch your food dollars.

A view from the front lines

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Preview

A view from the front lines

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022

As I came into work recently at Oakview Place, one of the COVID-19 screeners said I looked sad.

I took a moment to reflect on that. I am not sad; I am simply exhausted, as are my co-workers and residents, with this ongoing and never-ending pandemic.

Unfortunately, our facility, like many, is back into COVID-19 outbreak mode but we are slowly recuperating. This time around seems worse than the first because we have not completely returned to the staffing levels or enjoyed the normalcy that we had prior to March 2020. Thus this wave seems much more tiring and difficult.

Nurses, health care aides and many other staff are working extra hours and weekends to ensure residents are cared for. Administration and scheduling staff have made tireless efforts to get in extra staff. The hardest part is that residents are confined to their rooms, creating social isolation.

Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022

Winnipeg Free Press photo archive
Staff and residents at Oakview Place are doing their best cope during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Be aware of your cholesterol profile

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Preview

Be aware of your cholesterol profile

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

People often ask me what they can do to lower their cholesterol levels.

Blood cholesterol is a waxy substance produced mostly by our liver and makes up 80 per cent of the cholesterol in your bloodstream. A small amount of cholesterol is absorbed from the foods we eat. Our bodies do require cholesterol but having too much can lead to problems such as plaque deposits in arteries.

There are two types of cholesterol. High density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as the “good” cholesterol that carries the bad cholesterol from your arteries to the liver for disposal. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol carries cholesterol from your liver to your body’s cells. If you have too much LDL cholesterol it can build up in your arteries and may lead to a heart attack or stroke.

When looking at your cholesterol profile, you want to have more good than bad cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol is found in foods of animal origin, such as meats, eggs and dairy products. By contrast, plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables do not contain cholesterol.

Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

Dreamstime.com
Adding soluble fibre to your diet in the form of apples, for example, can help you reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

Nutritional advice to help avoid osteoporosis

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Preview

Nutritional advice to help avoid osteoporosis

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

Osteoporosis is a serious disease defined as “porous” or “brittle” bones — meaning that you have less bone mass ,which can lead to weakness and fractures.

After age 50, one in four women and one in eight men will develop osteoporosis. For the elderly, a hip fracture can often be fatal.

However, developing osteoporosis is not inevitable and we can do things to help prevent it throughout our lifetime. Smoking and alcohol can negatively impact bone mass, while regular exercise and healthy eating can help save your bones.

If you are good to go by your health care provider, walking, skating and aerobic activities along with challenging exercise, such as weightlifting or using resistance bands, can help keep your muscles and bones strong. If balance is an issue, yoga and tai-chi can help.

Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

Dreamstime.com
Including calcium and vitamin D in your diet can help prevent osteoporosis.

Enjoy fall festivities without overindulging

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Preview

Enjoy fall festivities without overindulging

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Friday, Oct. 22, 2021

Fall is here and with it comes Thanksgiving and Halloween, two festivities which often involve an overindulgence of fatty and sugary foods and beverages.

Try enjoying smaller portions, to stop eating when you are full and incorporate some low-fat recipes into your special meals and treats. For Halloween, instead of candies and to change things up, try giving out some non-food items such as crayons, pencils or even a toothbrush.

A great fall recipe to make is homemade butternut squash soup and it is so easy to make. All you need is the following:

• One medium sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped;

Friday, Oct. 22, 2021

Dreamstime.com
Correspondent Lisa Lagasse writes that the first Halloween jack-o'-lanterns were carved from turnips. Pumpkins, though, are much larger and more effective.

Teach children the basics of good nutrition

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Preview

Teach children the basics of good nutrition

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Friday, Sep. 24, 2021

With children back in school, I thought that I would touch upon some basic nutrition considerations for those hungry minds.

While this school year, like the past two, will prove to have many challenges with the pandemic still swirling around us, good eating habits and learning to make healthy choices early in life have great benefit down the road as adults.

Breakfast is by far the most important meas of the day and it helps your child grow and learn. Before the kids head out, focus on feeding them whole grain cereals and  breads (avoid the candy cereals loaded with sugar), homemade muffins, or even experimenting with flatbreads or pitas. Try adding fresh, canned or dried fruits, lower fat dairy such as yogurt or cottage cheese and natural peanut butter (if not allergic) to boost their morning protein intake.

Try making time for breakfast by having nutritious, easy to consume items on hand. Packing hearty and healthy lunches also pays dividends. When packing a lunch, ensure that cold food is kept cold and hot foods are kept hot with the use of ice packs and/or Thermoses.

Friday, Sep. 24, 2021

Dreamstime.com
As your kids are learning at school, they can also learn the basics of good nutrition through what you choose to feed them at home and in their school lunches.

A visit to Canmore is well worth it

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A visit to Canmore is well worth it

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Friday, Aug. 20, 2021

With the Canada-U.S. border closed, our plans to visit relatives in the U.S. were postponed and we had to think of some alternatives.

Luckily, my husband has an aunt Joan who lives in Canmore, Alta., and we thought that would make a nice alternative - and it did not disappoint.

We followed the Trans-Canada Highway and made some interesting stops along the way, such as Indian Head, Sask., with its fabulous bakery and Moose Jaw, where we lucked out on a last minute, reasonably priced hotel stay at the Temple Gardens spa resort.

There we enjoyed the mineral spa pool and also took a tour of the famous Al Capone tunnels that were used to ship booze during prohibition. Moose Jaw also boasts a very cute and old-fashioned downtown area with nice shops and restaurants.

Friday, Aug. 20, 2021

Photo by Lisa Lagasse
The views in Canmore are hard to beat, especially for flatlanders from the Prairies.

Breakfast is often the best meal of the day

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Preview

Breakfast is often the best meal of the day

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Monday, Jul. 26, 2021

For some, the thought of eating in the morning is a turn off. Grabbing a quick cup of coffee while heading out the door suffices at first but does not provide the fuel that we need.

Breakfast often conjures up thoughts of a big meal such as bacon and eggs, pancakes or waffles or having cereal with toast and fruit. For many busy people, trying to get the kids ready for school and prepping themselves to get to work, there simply is limited time to make the traditional breakfast meal that grandma used to do.

However, having something nutritious in the morning does not have to involve a big production and sit-down meal. It is important that we do incorporate food and beverage intakes in the morning to provide sufficient calories, proteins, vitamins and minerals to help us throughout our waking hours.

If you are not one to eat first thing when you get up, try staggering your schedule to allow yourself something to eat later in the morning. When people skip breakfast, they often eat more the rest of the day, particularly as they wind down later on. This creates an imbalance and can create problems.

Monday, Jul. 26, 2021

Dreamstime.com
If the thought of a big breakfast first thing in the morning turns you off, you should still try to start your food intake earlier in the day than lunchtime.

Nutrition guidelines for IBS sufferers

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Preview

Nutrition guidelines for IBS sufferers

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Friday, Jul. 2, 2021

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal condition that can cause bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation and cramping.

It can be exacerbated by stress, illness, and dietary habits or specific foods and beverages. IBS can be hard to diagnose because there are a lot of other diseases that have similar symptoms such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

If you are experiencing ongoing gastrointestinal upset, it is important to talk to your medical professional. Keep a journal of what you are eating and what your symptoms are so that it is easier to narrow in on what the problem may actually be.

Even some vitamin and mineral deficiencies such as vitamin B12 or a lactose intolerance can cause similar issues. When specific foods cause discomfort, it would be best to leave them out for a while and reintroduce in small quantities at a later date.

Friday, Jul. 2, 2021

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal condition that can cause bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation and cramping.

It can be exacerbated by stress, illness, and dietary habits or specific foods and beverages. IBS can be hard to diagnose because there are a lot of other diseases that have similar symptoms such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

If you are experiencing ongoing gastrointestinal upset, it is important to talk to your medical professional. Keep a journal of what you are eating and what your symptoms are so that it is easier to narrow in on what the problem may actually be.

Even some vitamin and mineral deficiencies such as vitamin B12 or a lactose intolerance can cause similar issues. When specific foods cause discomfort, it would be best to leave them out for a while and reintroduce in small quantities at a later date.

We should all watch our salt intake

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Preview

We should all watch our salt intake

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Tuesday, May. 4, 2021

Consuming a diet high in sodium can be harmful to your health.

High sodium foods are linked to an increase in blood pressure/hypertension, heart disease and stroke. A lot of high-salt foods also have high fat and caloric content so they will cause you to pack on the pounds.

Those diagnosed with congestive heart failure and fluid retention (edema) should also be careful how much salt they have in their diets. Health Canada’s recommendations is 1,500 to 2,300 mg per day of sodium.

That sounds like a lot but let’s put this into perspective. The following is a list of the sodium content of different foods:

Tuesday, May. 4, 2021

Dreamstime.com
It is always a good idea to avoid using salt as much as possible, and to always read the labels of the foods you buy.

The many benefits of flaxseed

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Preview

The many benefits of flaxseed

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Monday, Apr. 5, 2021

As a registered dietitian, I often have people ask me which foods I would recommend the most and my answer is always ground flaxseed.

This, to me, is a powerhouse food packed with tons of nutritional punch. It is easily available, economical and easy to incorporate into your diet and economical.

Flaxseed is grown right here in Manitoba and contains healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids and is a high source of omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains both soluble and insoluble fibre to help with regularity and heart disease. One tablespoon provides 2.2 grams of dietary fibre.

Canadians should be aiming to have 25-30 grams of fibre in their diet each day but our average fibre intake is less than 15 grams per day. Two tablespoons per day of ground flaxseed can help lower your cholesterol levels. It is also linked to preventing some forms of cancers, such as colon and breast cancer by blocking tumours, lowering blood sugar levels to control diabetes and can help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

Monday, Apr. 5, 2021

Dreamstime.com
Ground flaxseed can be mixed in with your flour when baking, adding fibre to whatever you make.

Happy Nutrition Month!

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Preview

Happy Nutrition Month!

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2021

March is Nutrition Month and the Dietitians of Canada’s theme for the month is Good for you! Dietitians help you find your healthy.  

This theme focuses on people’s unique qualities, circumstances and conditions that shape the diversity of the foods we eat. It is important to consider culture, traditions and personal situations that influence how and what we eat. Healthy eating is not the same for everyone and what is good for you is not necessarily good for me.

There are many factors that affect our food intakes and how we live.

For example, with COVID-19 ongoing and with restrictions on how we live being implemented, the social and emotional elements of food and meals has been greatly affected. Over the Christmas holidays, family visits and gatherings were banned and this in turn had a huge impact on how we celebrated and felt about this usually joyous season.

Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2021

Dreamstime.com
March is Nutrition Month and the Dietitians of Canada’s theme for this year is Good for you! Dietitians help you find your healthy.

The importance of vitamin D

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Preview

The importance of vitamin D

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021

Sometimes known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D has been receiving a lot of attention in our COVID-19 world.

Vitamin D is very important in calcium absorption to help keep our teeth and bones strong but its benefits may be well beyond helping prevent osteoporosis. In seniors, especially those living in long-term care, daily supplementation of vitamin D could help reduce falls by 20 per cent.

Vitamin D has also been linked to reducing certain forms of cancer, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease and improving cognition. There have also been several studies during this pandemic that have shown the positive effect of vitamin D supplementation on reducing respiratory inflammation, particularly in those with vitamin D deficiencies, as well as overall improvement of COVID-19 symptoms. Further studies on this are ongoing.  

In Canada, due to our cold and harsh winters, many people have limited sun exposure, which naturally provides us with vitamin D. Food sources of vitamin D are limited to mostly fatty fish such as salmon and dairy products, so most individuals cannot consume enough vitamin D alone and supplementation is required.

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021

Dreamstime.com
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin.

Care home staff shone at Oakview Place

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Preview

Care home staff shone at Oakview Place

Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Monday, Jan. 11, 2021

There has been a lot of media scrutiny of long-term care facilities that have been in COVID-19 outbreaks. Some of it has been positive but a lot has shone a negative light on the shortcomings within some personal care homes.

I am a registered dietitian working in two large for-profit facilities, and the pandemic has been especially hard, especially at Extendicare Oakview Place.

Oakview Place’s COVID-19 outbreak began in November. Initially, only one or two residents tested positive but it spread rapidly. Thankfully, the outbreak was contained to the north side of the building.

The quick action and team efforts of all staff made a world of difference in ensuring that all residents received proper care, nourishment, support and protection. The regional director put out daily communications to family members and staff to keep everyone abreast of what was going on. Daily cleaning schedules were ramped up, all staff had access to personal protective equipment including N95 masks and strict screening criteria were (and always had been) implemented. Residents were immediately isolated to their rooms once they tested positive and units were closed.

Monday, Jan. 11, 2021

There has been a lot of media scrutiny of long-term care facilities that have been in COVID-19 outbreaks. Some of it has been positive but a lot has shone a negative light on the shortcomings within some personal care homes.

I am a registered dietitian working in two large for-profit facilities, and the pandemic has been especially hard, especially at Extendicare Oakview Place.

Oakview Place’s COVID-19 outbreak began in November. Initially, only one or two residents tested positive but it spread rapidly. Thankfully, the outbreak was contained to the north side of the building.

The quick action and team efforts of all staff made a world of difference in ensuring that all residents received proper care, nourishment, support and protection. The regional director put out daily communications to family members and staff to keep everyone abreast of what was going on. Daily cleaning schedules were ramped up, all staff had access to personal protective equipment including N95 masks and strict screening criteria were (and always had been) implemented. Residents were immediately isolated to their rooms once they tested positive and units were closed.

Adjusting to a new Halloween normal

By Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Preview

Adjusting to a new Halloween normal

By Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Monday, Oct. 26, 2020

Halloween is soon upon us and no doubt things will look a lot different this year with the COVID-19 pandemic still gripping Canada hard.

I feel sorry for the little ones who will not experience this fun time of year the way most of us remember it. Halloween was always one of my favourite childhood events and, growing up just outside Winnipeg, the small-town feel just made things more personable and safer.

In grade school, we always had wonderful Halloween parties and would get reflective pumpkin clip-ons to add to our costumes to alert drivers that we were on the streets. Some of us would have UNICEF boxes to collect some small change for the cause.

My mother always made us beautiful handmade costumes that should have been preserved but are unfortunately long gone. We would head out after supper with our best friends and always came home with loaded bags.

Monday, Oct. 26, 2020

Dreamstime.com
While the COVID-19 pandemic will make Halloween very different, here’s hoping that children and families will be able to have a good time.

The truths behind the gluten-free diet

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Preview

The truths behind the gluten-free diet

Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Monday, Sep. 21, 2020

The gluten-free diet has become popular but, unfortunately, this has been for all the wrong reasons.

Gluten-free diet restrictions should only be used with a confirmed diagnosis of celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis. Blood tests and an intestinal biopsy are used to diagnose celiac disease, which is an auto-immune disorder.

It is also important to note that if you suspect that if you believe you have celiac disease, you should not start a gluten-free diet before diagnosis, as this will skew your results. The signs and symptoms of celiac disease are broad and varied and certainly not limited to gastrointestinal discomfort. They can include anemia, weakness, weight loss, skin issues, bone and joint pain, infertility, migraines, depression, fluid retention and canker sores.

A gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis. Too often, people self -diagnose themselves and start a gluten-free diet when celiac disease may not be the issue at all. Gluten-free diets are also being used for weight loss purposes, which is not advised.

Monday, Sep. 21, 2020

The gluten-free diet has become popular but, unfortunately, this has been for all the wrong reasons.

Gluten-free diet restrictions should only be used with a confirmed diagnosis of celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis. Blood tests and an intestinal biopsy are used to diagnose celiac disease, which is an auto-immune disorder.

It is also important to note that if you suspect that if you believe you have celiac disease, you should not start a gluten-free diet before diagnosis, as this will skew your results. The signs and symptoms of celiac disease are broad and varied and certainly not limited to gastrointestinal discomfort. They can include anemia, weakness, weight loss, skin issues, bone and joint pain, infertility, migraines, depression, fluid retention and canker sores.

A gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis. Too often, people self -diagnose themselves and start a gluten-free diet when celiac disease may not be the issue at all. Gluten-free diets are also being used for weight loss purposes, which is not advised.

Fall is just around the corner

By Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Preview

Fall is just around the corner

By Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020

With summer starting to wind down and the school season around the corner, fall will soon be upon us.

Fall has always been one of my favourite seasons. The bugs are gone, we still have some nice weather and of course, those fall colours are beautiful. I remember one year visiting one of my aunts in Quebec over the Thanksgiving holiday and the yellow, orange and red landscape was breathtaking.

The one thing that I am not too crazy about is the amount of yard work required at this time of year. We have an exceptionally large yard in Charleswood with plenty of oak trees that shed their many leaves that do not typically breakdown anytime soon.

By the end of October, we can have close to 100 bags collected and I always think there must be a better way to do this besides cutting down the trees. If there is, I have not found it yet. We do find that a leaf blower makes a significant difference to at least collecting the leaves in one spot and then raking and bagging them.

Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020

With summer starting to wind down and the school season around the corner, fall will soon be upon us.

Fall has always been one of my favourite seasons. The bugs are gone, we still have some nice weather and of course, those fall colours are beautiful. I remember one year visiting one of my aunts in Quebec over the Thanksgiving holiday and the yellow, orange and red landscape was breathtaking.

The one thing that I am not too crazy about is the amount of yard work required at this time of year. We have an exceptionally large yard in Charleswood with plenty of oak trees that shed their many leaves that do not typically breakdown anytime soon.

By the end of October, we can have close to 100 bags collected and I always think there must be a better way to do this besides cutting down the trees. If there is, I have not found it yet. We do find that a leaf blower makes a significant difference to at least collecting the leaves in one spot and then raking and bagging them.

A close-to-home, lakeside vacation

By Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Preview

A close-to-home, lakeside vacation

By Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Monday, Jul. 27, 2020

Being on summer holidays sure took on a different spin this year.

I usually like to plan a trip to the United States and did in fact have plans to visit relatives this year. However, with COVID-9 rampant in the United States, the Canada-U.S. border remains shut to any type of leisure travel. I guess there’s always next year.

Those I really feel sorry for are those who may not have a next year and whose plans being derailed. In any case, you have try to make the best of a difficult or disappointing situation so I did that with my husband. We decided to spend a good part of our vacation time at our seasonal site outside of Kenora, Ont.

The weather, unlike most years. was perfect. It was very sunny and hot and made swimming in the lake more like being in a pool. The scenery is breathtaking with the gorgeous evergreens and Canadian Shield surrounding the lake and campground. My favourite pastime when there is spotting loons on the lake and hearing their beautiful calls. We managed to take an afternoon drive out to Sioux Narrows and had lunch at a newer place called The Neighbourhood Cafe, which specializes in gourmet burgers. I tried their vegetarian burger with grilled zucchini, egg plant and portobello mushrooms with a very savoury sauce that was extremely tasty. The burgers are not cheap and run you anywhere from $14 to $18 but this is no ordinary burger joint.

Monday, Jul. 27, 2020

Photo by Lisa Lagasse
Loon-spotting at Lake of the Woods is a favourite vacation pastime of correspondent Lisa Lagasse. You can just see the head of a loon on the right-hand side of this photo.

Healthy eating while camping… it’s possible

By Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Preview

Healthy eating while camping… it’s possible

By Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Tuesday, Jun. 30, 2020

With the camping season upon us and things starting to slowly open up after the first wave of COVID-19, families, couples and pets are eager to get outside and enjoy the woods and fresh air.

During this time, healthy eating and snacking often goes by the wayside in favor of junky munchies, s’mores, hot dogs, smokies and booze.

While it is important to maintain some traditions, such as roasted marshmallows by the campfire, it is possible to make your camping meals and snacks healthier and tasty.

For example, rather than relying on having pop and juices on hand, try flavoured water (carbonated or not) or iced tea made with green tea, lemon and mint. Salads, oatmeal and parfaits in a jar made with low-fat dressings and yogurts make things instant and ready to go. (The Manitoba Dairy Farmers Association has some great recipe ideas to try out.)

Tuesday, Jun. 30, 2020

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Watching what you eat is possible when you’re camping.

Are you lactose intolerant?

By Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Preview

Are you lactose intolerant?

By Lisa Lagasse 3 minute read Tuesday, Jun. 2, 2020

Lactose intolerance is common in many people but that does not mean that you have to avoid all dairy products.

Lactose intolerance is very individualized. Milk contains a natural sugar called lactose. If you have an intolerance it is because you are not producing enough of the enzyme lactase to digest the lactose.

Common symptoms of lactose intolerance can include bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea and nausea. However, these symptoms can also be caused by other foods, medications or medical issues such as celiac disease.

In most cases, completely avoiding all dairy is not even necessary. The first step is to monitor your degree of tolerance. Keeping a food journal helps to accomplish this. Write down what you eat, the portion size and what your symptoms are. Introduce small amounts of dairy and keep track of your reactions.

Tuesday, Jun. 2, 2020

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There are many degrees of lactose intolerance. If you suspect you may be lactose intolerant, keep a food journal, gauge your reactions, and consult your docter as well as a reigistered dietitian.

No better time than now to eat well

By Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Preview

No better time than now to eat well

By Lisa Lagasse 2 minute read Monday, May. 4, 2020

While there is no one food or beverage that will stave off COVID-19, people with health complications do seem to be at risk to suffer the worst effects novel coronavirus.

The more severe the health complications, the greater the risk of a serious infection or even death.

Eating healthfully, of course, has a direct impact on health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and improving one’s immune system. Food is our fuel so it is important to choose a higher-grade fuel source as much as possible. This would include eating more whole grains, such as ground flaxseed and oats along with a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, strawberries, pineapples and green peppers are all good sources of vitamin C. Try to limit processed and packaged foods such as luncheon meats, sausages, and store-bought muffins, cookies and junk foods such as potato chips. Many of these items are high in salt, fat and sugar.

Making your own meals is always the first step to eating healthier. While grocery shopping now seems like quite a chore with social-distancing in place, it is wise to try to purchase extra items when possible to avoid going to the supermarket weekly.

Monday, May. 4, 2020

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You should always try to eat a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits such as oranges, strawberries and pineapples are all good sources of vitamin C.