At the beginning of May I was offered an in-store, one-on-one consultation with a registered dietitian tailored to my health needs at my local Loblaw Store. I was very interested because I was having some nutrition struggles, so I jumped at the chance. This is a FREE service at Loblaw stores that is available to ANYONE!
In-store registered dietitians offer one-on-one consultations tailored to your health needs, including heart-healthy recipes, cooking classes, and food choices to help maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Plus, in-store pharmacists can help you track and monitor blood pressure, demonstrate how to use the in-store wellness machines and provide information on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Setting up my appointment with the registered dietitian, Karolina Otto, at the Real Canadian Superstore in Milton was easy – we exchanged a few emails and were able to find a time that works for both of us. Karolina is very responsive to emails and was very accommodating with my schedule. This is no easy feat because we are in the heart of softball season for all three of my daughters.
I met Karolina at her office in the store’s Pharmacy. It was on a busy Saturday morning – two of my daughters were in a softball tournament that weekend. We had been at the diamonds until 10:30 the night before, and were going to spend 10 am – 10:30 pm at the diamonds again (on Sunday we were at the diamonds from 10:30 am – 8 pm).
The first thing Karolina and I talked about was the challenges of making heart healthy food choices when your lifestyle resembles ours: school and work full time, sports (softball) every weeknight, and tournaments every weekend. While I wouldn’t change our lives, our very busy lifestyle doesn’t allow for much time for actual cooking. I get home from work at 5:45 pm and we have to be changed and ready for practices/games by 6:30 pm.
We also talked about me and my health history and family health history – did I have any health concerns? Do I have a family history of heart disease? Diabetes? Cancer? While my mom has cardiovascular disease and diabetes, my biggest complaint lately is being EXHAUSTED!
I had previously visited my family doctor because of my concerns with fatigue. My doctor had sent me for blood work and I had access to my results on my phone that I was able to share with Karolina. Both my doctor and Karolina confirmed that my fatigue was due to a busy lifestyle and nutritional deficiencies – low iron, low vitamin D.
After discussing my health history we discussed my eating habits and a typical day in my life. Get up eat breakfast, run, shower, change, drive to work, work, snack, work, lunch workout, eat lunch, work, snack, work, drive home & pick up kids, inhale a quick dinner/snack, coach softball, evening snack, bed.
We then had a discussion about cardiovascular health. Cardiovascular health refers to the health of our circulatory system, including the heart and blood vessels.
Did you know….
Cardiovascular diseases affect the circulatory system including the heart and blood vessels. These diseases are among the leading causes of death for Canadian women and men, despite being largely preventable.
Up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable by adopting healthy behaviours.
Healthy behaviours also delay the onset of heart disease or stroke by as much as 14 years.
We also discussed how nutrition and lifestyle influences cardiovascular health, what a typical meal looks like, the serving sizes, and good sources of protein, starches, fibre for cardiovascular health.
We learned that overall I’m a healthy eater, however throughout the day I don’t eat often enough, or enough food, hence by the time I get home from work and sports I’m legitimately hungry. I can reduce the feelings of hunger and my constant feelings of fatigue if I chose foods with less sugar, more protein and more fibre. Legumes would also be a nice addition to my diet.
Karolina introduced me to the wellness station at the store. This is a free tool to use that measures your resting heart rate, blood pressure, weight, body fat percentage, hydration level and body mass index so that you can monitor your own health and progress.
First you create an account so that on future visits you can log in to track your progress, then you let the machine guide you through the steps in measuring your data.
From the wellness station we learned that my blood pressure and resting heart rate are low – indicators that I have good cardiovascular health. This is something I want to maintain through nutrition and living active. Stress is another factor I should work on reducing.
Karolina then took me on a personalized guided tour of the grocery store to share with me their “Guiding Stars” program – this is a program created by Loblaw with third-party scientists and dietitians to rate food at the store based on the fat content (saturated fat vs unsaturated fat, trans fat etc), fibre content, sugar content and protein content. The higher the star rating, the better the nutritional value of the food.
Look for the stars on the price stickers!
As we toured and examined the stars, Karolina shared ways I could fit the products into my lifestyle – Karolina was very knowledgeable and creative! I loved that she took the time to really understand the challenges I face in feeding my family (and myself) foods for cardiovascular health. I’ve always been hesitant to go for a personalised nutrition consultation because I figured I’d be handed a bunch of healthy recipes that I would never have the time to make. While Karolina did provide me with recipes, she had hand picked ones that were more along the lines of assemble ingredients, refrigerate and eat later – recipes I could actually follow and use!
Karolina also introduced me to the cooking classes at the store:
And she let me try her mango overnight oats, these are amazing and thankfully she shared her recipe for them with me.
I thought I knew a lot about eating for cardiovascular health, but Karolina taught me many things I didn’t know. The two hours she spent with me was very informative – I can’t wait to try out her many recipes!
I learned that the following nutrition changes can help with the prevention of cardiovascular disease:
- reducing sodium intake
- incorporating more fruits and vegetables,
- incorporating lean meats and fish,
- incorporating whole grains,
- incorporating nuts and seeds, and
- incorporating lower-fat dairy products.
Cardiovascular diseases affect the circulatory system, including the heart and blood vessels, and are among the leading causes of death for Canadian men and women, despite being largely preventable.
Don’t skip a beat when it comes to heart health; nutrition & lifestyle changes you make now can help prevent issues later!
Book a free appointment with a registered dietitian & mention my blog for more information on foods that help to support good cardiovascular health, and while you’re there, visit the in-store pharmacist to help track and monitor your health and manage medications!
Have you ever had a one-on-one consultation with a Registered Dietitian?
Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by Loblaw Companies Limited, but like always, this is my honest opinion.