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Food for thought

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Food for thought

An interview with local dietician and fitness trainer

These days our diet seems to be all we hear about. It’s one of our society’s main concerns and we are bombarded daily by the dos and don’ts and the never-ending list of diets that we must try. The health industry is an ever-growing business and it’s easy to see why. We do after all want to be healthier, and for those involved in competitive sports, diet and exercise can be the difference between staying competitive or not and whether we win or lose. However, the cost for dieticians and fitness coaches can be astronomical and for students, that isn’t always feasible. But what if there were someone only blocks from MacEwan University that can help, and at times offer services for free?

Emilia Heiman, BSc., RD, a dietician, works with Loblaws and holds free classes a couple of times a month. Heiman provides lessons on nutrition and hosts a cooking class, with each of these sessions occurring once per month. She works out of different locations, but the closest is City Market on 104 Ave. in the Brewery District, just minutes from MacEwan. Heiman, who graduated from the University of Alberta, has credentials to back up her work and almost four years of experience, which is especially important in an era where so-called fitness and diet coaches pop up everywhere with no actual education in the field.

I had the pleasure of experiencing one of her classes, and it was very educational. This particular class was on sugar. Heiman provided a sample (apple cider in this case) to show us how one can make a version of the classic without added sugar and still have a drink that tastes amazing. After the presentation, there was a tour through the aisles to educate us on how to look for hidden sugars in our favourite foods and how to make healthier choices without sacrificing taste. Heiman had a wealth of knowledge to offer, complete with informative handouts and answers to our questions. It was well worth the hour, and the fact that the class was free was a true gift.

Heiman works hard as a health and wellness ambassador, dispelling confusion about healthy eating through her workshops. She is also a fitness instructor, giving her an upper hand when helping her clients meet their goals.

When asked what is the most important thing people needed to know, Heiman said it’s a misconception that “eating healthy is all about eating salads. Yes, we eat for hunger, but we also eat for pleasure. It is OK to indulge sometimes. It’s all about balance.”

Along with her scheduled free classes, Heiman takes requests for group tours or classes and offers one-on-one sessions at a cost to the client. However, it is imperative to know that some health benefits cover dieticians, so it might be worthwhile to look into your own benefits to see if you might be able to take advantage of this perk.

As far as meals go, Heiman offers help in the form of delicious, healthy recipes and tips on making your favorite meals healthier. She also suggests that the most important tool to have in a kitchen, whether you’re a student or a family, is an Instant Pot. Heiman says that you can use it for everything from making rice or yogurt all the way to pressure cooking and slow cooking meals, making it the most versatile item out there today. In a world where we are increasingly busy, meal planning and an Instant Pot could be the answer to eating healthier and not spending so much time in the kitchen. For those of us struggling with the planning part, a visit with a dietician might be just what the doctor ordered, so to speak.

For more information or an appointment with Emilia Heiman, check out this site or contact the Loblaws City Market.


Photography edited and supplied.