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What Foods are Truly Good for Us?

Q: In today’s world, healthy foods information inundates the marketplace. There is more confusion than clarity with ever contradictory findings and claims. Foods we thought were good for us may not be that healthy after all. How does one make discerning decisions in the midst of all this contradictory chaos?

Teri Gentes
Wellness and
Nutrition Consultant
A: With over 80% of nutritional know-how coming from the media and marketplace, it’s no wonder most of us are at a complete loss when it comes to knowing what “healthy” eating really is. Society’s dietary guidelines have been influenced for decades by governing bodies ever pressured by industry lobbyists. The irony of abiding by these rules is both the escalating rates of disease and powerful research demonstrating how this affluent dietary approach relates to our most deadly diseases.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of “The China Study”, shares over four decades of biomedical research including findings from a twenty-seven year laboratory program. His research funded by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research dispels long held beliefs of the “healthy diet”. The results of his research demonstrate that heart disease, diabetes and obesity can be reversed by a healthy diet. Various cancers, autoimmune diseases, bone and kidney health, vision and age related brain disorders are also influenced by one’s diet. In plain English – diet can help accelerate or prevent diseases.


  • Higher protein intake equates to better health

  • The best “quality” protein comes from animal sources

  • Dairy is the best source of calcium


  • Experts tell us to limit daily protein to approximately 15 to 20% of our daily food intake. The RDA suggests 10%; World Health Organization and American Dietetic Association suggest 5% provides all we need. The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) recommends consumption of 0.4–0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight for exercise levels ranging from sporadically active to very active. The high end of this protein range is about 15% of total calories.

  • Average North American intake is currently 30% of caloric intake.

  • Dr. Campbell’s findings: a 5% dietary protein intake turned cancer genes off whereas 20% turned cancer genes on.

  • Animal proteins: fiber-less, high in saturated fats. They are related to dietary diseases including heart disease (increase levels of LDL – bad cholesterol) and cancer.

  • Numerous scientific studies relate dairy consumption (a high protein food) to health issues including arthritis, asthma, diabetes, ear infections, allergies/intolerances, gout, kidney stones, iron deficiencies, prostrate/ breast/colon cancers and digestive disorders.

  • Societies with a high consumption of protein are challenged with osteoporosis.

  • Excellent sources of calcium include: dark leafy greens, legumes, almonds, Chia and sesame seeds, Tempeh, tofu, Nori leaves, Amaranth, nuts, black strap molasses, and figs.

  • Fake fats (trans-fats) and sugar substitutes wreak havoc upon your health.  Healthy fats are essential to your overall health and necessary for certain vitamin metabolism and absorption.

  • Chemicals and preservatives found in ‘fake’ fats and sugars, processed foods, flavors, colors, fragrances and packaging are neuro-toxins compromising health.

  • Sugar is a highly addictive, an over refined and over consumed product that leeches nutrients from your very own tissues.

  • The average North American consumes over 90 pounds of added sugar each year – approx. 2.5 lbs per week. These empty calories are nutrient thieves.

    The guidelines below will assist you on your way to better health.


  • Fresh, perishable, local and organic when possible

  • Vegetarian meals and a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits

  • Dark leafy greens, veggies, legumes, fruits - high in fiber, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

  • Whole Grain unrefined cereals, flours, sprouted grain breads, gluten-free pastas, quinoa, buckwheat, bean and brown rice

  • Dairy alternatives: almond, rice, hemp, quinoa, oat and organic soymilk.

  • Healthy fats - Essential Omega 3’s aid in fat metabolism. Good sources include raw nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, avocados, quality oils such as cold pressed hemp, flax, Chia, walnut, olive, grapeseed and macadamia.

  • Plant based proteins - beans/ legumes, organic soy, Tempeh, nuts, seeds, sprouts, shitake mushrooms, whole grain pastas, quinoa, kamut and wheat germ

  • Preservative-free baked goods including sprouted whole grain breads

  • Choose wholesome snacks: raw nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, sunflower, hemp and pumpkin seeds. Vegetables and fruit, all natural bars, dried fruit.

  • Natural nut or seed butters for protein, good fats and fiber. Mash avocados or roasted garlic with olive oil for a health infused butter alternative.

  • Unpasteurized local honey, real maple syrup, black strap molasses, sucanet, coconut sugar, stevia and pureed fruits.

  • Drink more water with fresh lemon juice, mint leaves or a few slices of ginger.

    We are constantly flooded with new findings and recommendations on proper nutrition. It is difficult navigating through the maze of research. Incorporating the above foods will not only improve your health but it will also increase your energy and productivity.

    Teri R. Gentes is a Wellness and Nutrition Consultant and can be reached at Website:

    Better Business Writing: The Ongoing Challenge

    Q: In our office, we spend a lot of time writing anything from simple emails to complex reports. We are well-educated but often criticized for being over-complicated and spending too much time writing. How can we improve the quality of our writing and save time doing it?

    David Newby, COO
    Group Inc.
    A: What does a business reader expect? Today’s readers are overloaded. For many, there is only time to skim read. Key messages must grab their attention, appeal to their own biases in terms of style, choice of words and visuals and meet their expectations by answering their questions fully, simply and clearly.

    What makes writing such a challenge for so many?

    It is important to become a subject-matter specialist in the workplace. However, we must also remember that knowledge is only useful if it can be communicated effectively.

    It’s easy to forget this in a busy workplace. But those who believe they are most highly valued for showing only how much knowledge they have can easily fall into the trap of spending huge amounts of time crafting messages as a means of proving themselves. They forget the reader and therefore expose themselves to criticism that they spent too much time writing something that didn’t meet expectations.

    What are the benefits of being “reader-oriented”?

    A mastery of reader-oriented business writing offers real opportunities to demonstrate your professional credibility. You will also have your recommendations considered seriously, sell your ideas and products and most importantly, build effective business relationships with your key stakeholders.

    How do you convert readers into fans?

    Whether writing emails or complex reports, here are a few ideas to show your real value to your readers:

    – Remember your goal

    Your most important goal is to have your key messages read and understood! Before you start writing, be very clear about the expectations of the reader. Ask yourself what the reader is hoping to be able to do as a result of your writing. Keep this clearly in mind as you compose and your message will demonstrate your understanding of the reader’s needs.

    – Keep it simple

    Use language that will make sense to the reader. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to show how clever you are with big words and complicated sentences!

    – Like your reader

    Keep a positive and helpful frame of mind when writing. Your tone will transfer into your text and this will affect your word choice. This is particularly important in email writing where relationships can be won or lost by your tone. If you are irritated, the tone will appear in your email and you will likely irritate your reader.

    – Keep your sentences and paragraphs short

    Visual layout is important. A page full of text with no breaks is daunting and likely to be ignored. Use bullets, numbers and headings to break up the task for the reader and to lead them to key messages.

    How do you save time in writing?

    – Follow the process of professional writers

    Planning, drafting and editing are the main phases when writing complex documents.

    1. Planning - Professionals may spend around 50% of their time planning. Before they start to write, they will typically aim to get all their thoughts out of their heads, organized initially around “clusters” (topics, categories, main ideas). Only then will they link ideas, prioritize and finally structure their ideas in a more linear way.

    Clustering is a very useful technique as a starting point as it frees you from the chains of linear thinking. You don’t feel the need to finish one thought before moving onto the next. This enables you to be more creative and productive and less likely to suffer from writer’s block. Think of clustering as a form of brainstorming for writers; all ideas are welcomed and written down without judgment.

    2. Writing – Professionals will treat this as a “drafting” phase and may only spend around 15%-20% of their time here. The idea of drafting is to write without worrying about perfection. Assuming you have spent the time planning properly, you can formulate a draft document very quickly.

    3. Editing – Professionals will spend upwards of 30% of their time editing. Obsessively fine-tuning grammar, style, word choice, sentence length etc., they are constantly focused on the expectations of the reader and aligning these with their own goals.

    Always keep in mind that readers are overloaded. We must remain sympathetic to that challenge and do everything we can to help them. If we get it right, our readers will be delighted. They will in turn value us and our ideas even more highly…. and that is always good!

    David Newby is COO at Promomedia Group Inc. and can be reached via email at

    NOTE: David Newby will be presenting on Communication: Getting Your Message Across at the Ottawa One Day Conference on April 18, 2013. Click here for more details

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