Nutrition Tips & Tricks

To Market, To Market

By Deanne Wiseman, RD, CHN

It’s farmer’s market season! And we love visiting our local markets all summer long. Besides seeing (but mostly tasting) the different produce that comes in each week, our family has fun meeting other community members, getting to know different vendors, and being entertained by great local talent. The benefits to buying local food are vast. Here are some to consider:

Flavour: when purchased locally, food doesn’t need to be packed up and shipped out for long travel times. Local crops are picked at peak ripeness, which equals peak flavour.

Nutrition: eating locally means eating seasonally, just as Mother Nature intended. Shorter travel times between harvest and consumption helps maintain food’s nutritional value.

Economy: when we buy from local farmers and producers the money gets reinvested close to home and in our communities.

Environment: the less distance between farm to your fork, the less energy used to get it there! Supporting local growers also helps maintain farmland and green spaces.

Community: local food growers and producers love to tell you about how their food was grown, harvested, or raised. Ask questions about their practices! When you know your farmer/butcher/baker, you know your food.

Checking out Calgary’s farmer’s markets and adding more local foods to your diet supports these benefits, and is super fun for the whole family!

Dashing Dishes is proud to support local small farmers and suppliers. We work daily with Community Foods, a local meat supplier that sources as much local product as possible. We are committed to using Alberta beef farmers and companies such as Brant Lake Wagyu, Pine Haven Grass Fed Beef and Benchmark Meats from the Lethbridge area. Our amazing pork comes from Alberta's own Platinum Alberta pork from central Alberta. Dashing Dishes is honoured to offer third-party audited Platinum Alberta natural chicken in addition to poultry from amazing farms, Maple Hill (British Columbia) and Granny's (Saskatchewan). Dashing Dishes is proud to serve our customers pork, beef and chicken that is raised humanely and naturally with no hormones, steroids or antibiotics. Each and every month we put together the best possible menu using exceptional quality meat from these local small suppliers and producers.

It Takes a Village

By Deanne Wiseman, RD, CHN

Mother’s Day is less than a week away and we’re celebrating big! Dashing Dishes is giving away a $165 gift certificate for four meals plus home delivery. We collaborated with some amazing local boss babes to give one lucky mama a thoughtfully chosen prize valued at $1750! This beautiful gift reflects what’s important in the postpartum period and babe’s first year – nourishment, community, support, and a little pampering too.

Head to our Instagram page for full details. Check out the wonderful companies we’ve teamed up with and their amazing gifts:

2 Peas in a Pod – Gift Certificate (value $50): Boutique-style clothing for Little Ones! Hand-made with LOVE by a Mama of two; floral prints, stunning details, and vintage inspired items!

Bright Beginnings – Mama + Me Nutrition Package (value $275): An in-depth nutrition + health assessment for both Mama + Baby! Includes an overview of premium prenatal or postpartum nutrition, necessary nutrients for nursing mothers, primary nutrients for baby (age-specific / as needed), extensive resources (informative handouts / recipes), Holistic Food Introductions eBooks for babies starting solids, customized nutrition + supplement plan.

Sacred Nest – Sealing Ceremony + Bengkung Belly Bind (value $250): A Sealing Ceremony is a wonderful reminder that we still need + deserve care while honoring the mother’s body after she has carried life. Package includes a heated oil rub down, followed by a sacred ceremonial tuck-in + bengkung belly bind to help maintain warmth + restore balance to the body.

Ella Bella Maternity & Nursing – Ella Bella Basics Maternity + Nursing Jumper PLUS $25 Gift Certificate (value $120): An absolute favourite from the Ella Bella Basics line; custom designed with mamas in mind! The jumper is an adorable pullover sweatshirt that’s comfortable, maternity friendly, and has easy nursing access from both sides.

Buttercream Clothing – Gift Certificate (value $50): Ethically made, Canadian clothing with Mamas + Women in mind!

Blissful Nights – Premium Package (value $400): Anyone dreaming of sleep? Andrea Galambos is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, and founder of Blissful Nights; she works with babies + young children between 0 – 6 years of age and provides sleep education + sleep shaping strategies offered for babies who are too young to coach (under 4.5 months). Package includes Comprehensive History Assessment, customized sleep plan, 90 minute consultation by Skype, FaceTime or phone, age-appropriate sleep education, 6 follow-up phone calls, 14 follow-up emails. Andrea’s goal is to establish long-term healthy sleep habits without leaving a Little One to Cry It Out.

Rumina Naturals – Earth inspired, thoughtfully crafted premium products for Mama + Baby (value $115): Nourish inside + out with our comprehensive prenatal vitamin, grass fed tallow cream, and certified organic diaper rash ointment; Womb to Grow Prenatal / Totally Tallow / Baby Rump Rub. Proudly Canadian.

Mi & Fi – Gift Certificate (value $50): An online clothing store for babies + toddlers focusing on quality, and unique styles. Made in YYC. Made, with Love.

Our Little Village – Two tickets to any Mom’s Night Out event held at Dr. For Moms (value $80): Enjoy an evening out + take a date! Come to your choice of Mom’s Night Out events where you will be able to reconnect with yourself and other mamas. You will have the opportunity to learn from local educators + practitioners while they inspire you on topics relevant to motherhood. After the talk please enjoy food + drinks while shopping local momprenuers.

Jessie Mundell Fitness – Online Core + Floor Restore program (value $130): Jessie Mundell is a Kinesiologist and Fitness Coach who helps moms exercise effectively in pregnancy, postpartum, and through motherhood. She helps people through Cesarean and vaginal birth recoveries, and manage core and pelvic floor dysfunctions, such as incontinence, abdominal separation, and pelvic organ prolapse.

Oxeye Floral Co. – Pressed Floral Kimono (value $72): Pressed floral artwork put onto a beautiful chiffon Kimono for any occasion. These beauties are printed and made-with-so-much-love within Canada and are an all-season staple for all mamas!


In addition to these incredible local companies, check out some of our favourite boss babes. It’s not just about food – community is essential to us and we want to show some love to a few of our most inspiring friends and fellow YYC mompreneurs. These women are seriously rockin’ it!

Marlo Brausse – Barre Body Studio was started in May 2012 out of a community centre. Marlo’s dream of owning her own fitness studio came true in January 2013 after Marlo left her career as Assistant Chief Probation Officer with the Alberta government. As a mother of three (ages nine, six and three), Marlo is passionate about empowering others to live their best lives. We’re so happy to see she’s living hers. BBS has two locations (Ramsay and Bow Trail) and offers a variety of barre classes including Mom and Baby.

Tara Wilson – Pulse Studios is a place where everyone is welcome, a place where people come to be inspired and express their creativity, a place the Hip Hop community can call home, and a place to DANCE! For over seven years they’ve offered kids and adult hip hop and street dance classes, workshops, camps, private bookings, and performances. I met Tara almost 20 years ago when she taught my first hip hop class. The mother of four boys (her youngest are twins), she has the warmest heart that shines brightly through everything she does. Do you have a child that wants to dance? The kiddos (our seven- and five-year-old) LOVE practicing moves they learn in their breakdancing class.

Nicole Herrmann – WASHED + WORN online kids consignment has been in business for almost two years. Nicole and her business partner, Jodi, met when they joined a baby boot camp with their (now four-year-old) daughters. They bonded over their love of cute kids’ clothes and good deals and have been friends ever since. W+W offers simple and convenient online shopping for kids’ clothes. They provide clear photos, detailed descriptions of the clothing, and free pickup for consigned items. The environmental benefits of giving preloved clothing a second life (or third or fourth!) is so important to these mothers, and Mother Nature appreciates it!

Lastly, we’re sending so much love to all moms out there. To the world you are a mother, but to your family you are the world. xo

Put a Little Spring in your Diet

By Deanne Wiseman, RD, CHN

Spring is here! Well, technically anyway. Being in tune with Mother Nature calls on our own need to transition with the seasons. Coming out of winter – a time of staying inside and craving heavier and warmer foods – is the most important time of year to make some changes in your diet. Transitioning to a spring diet introduces a new variety of foods and nutrients. In addition, basing what we eat on what Mother Nature provides at this time of year can help our bodies maintain balance and strengthen our immune systems.

The spring season is all about renewal, regeneration, and cleansing. Just as we typically feel the need to do a “spring cleaning” in our homes, we must also clean out the most important place where you live – your body! Now I’m not suggesting you do a fad detox or cleanse. I’m referring to using real food to support our livers and our bodies’ natural detox systems. “Cleansing” foods are meant to shift the body from winter hibernation – when we typically consume more sugar, alcohol, and toxins – to spring blossoms!

So how do we know what spring foods to eat? The focus is on light and warm foods. A good place to start is your local farmer’s market or health food store. Buying foods that are local and in season makes sense for your wallet and supports the local economy too.

Here are a few main tips you can start today to put a little spring in your step:

1 Drink lemon water – start your day with a glass of water plus the juice of half a lemon. This helps stimulate the digestion process. About a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water will have the same effect. Be sure to drink or rinse your mouth with plain water after to decrease tooth enamel erosion.

2 Eat your greens – we start to crave salads this time of year for a reason! Bitter greens (arugula, spring mix, spinach and kale), herbs (cilantro, parsley, dill, oregano), and sprouts are great for supporting the liver.

3 Include lighter and leaner protein – poultry, light fish, and legumes are lower in those heavy fats we craved in winter. Try our Puerto Rican Chicken on April’s menu!

4 Add liver-supporting roots – Garlic, onion, turmeric, and ginger help your body’s natural detoxification process. Our Garlic Herb Shrimp or Mango Chicken Stir Fry with a green salad makes perfect spring dishes!

Mother Nature has purpose in what she provides at each seasonal shift. Our bodies rely on these gifts to maintain balance and vitality. Change up what you eat this season and listen to your body’s natural cravings. By adding a little spring in your diet, you can also put some spring in your step!

Preparing for Postpartum with Prepared Meals

By Deanne Wiseman, RD, CHN

We recently welcomed our second daughter into the world. The past six weeks have been a beautiful, sometimes overwhelming blur. Between the baby books, prenatal classes, and lists of things a newborn needs, one preparation has helped the most in my recovery and our adjustment to a family of four – nourishing meals made with love.

The postpartum period (particularly the first 40 days) is a sacred time and is often referred to as the “fourth trimester.” No matter how pregnancy or labour goes, our bodies need time to recover and replenish. Not allowing this time to truly nourish ourselves can leave us depleted at some point – even if it’s years down the road.

On average, exclusively breastfeeding moms make ~780 ml of breast milk per day! That’s almost 600 extra calories we need through healthy balanced meals to be able to keep up with the demand. We need to eat a variety of whole foods, small frequent meals full of fibre and protein, stay hydrated, and sleep whenever possible! One of the biggest changes new moms face is finding the time and energy for preparing foods. Consuming balanced meals and nourishing with whole foods is priority. We still need healthy fats, high quality protein, plenty of fibre, and adequate hydration just as we did in pregnancy. Not to mention, the rest of the family needs that too!

Being a new parent is all-consuming. Breast feeding or not, most women barely remember to eat, let alone have time and energy to prepare and cook three balanced meals daily with a newborn. When the casseroles and muffins from visitors run out, having quick, easy, nutritious, and flavourful meals is crucial to nourishing yourself so you can nourish your baby. Having a stocked freezer and foods that are easy to prepare (for dad or even older kids) can make a world of difference to shorten recovery time and feed your new family without feeling totally depleted. At Dashing Dishes we take care of all the shopping and chopping so you can take care of more important matters. Dashing Dishes also carries gift certificates in any denomination and makes an amazing shower or new baby gift.

Bringing New Flavours into the New Year

By Deanne Wiseman, RD, CHN

Many of us will wake up on Boxing Day with our homes full of love, new gifts and toys, and definitely fridges packed with leftover food. Just because Christmas dinner is over, the delicious flavours of the season can be carried into the new year – and it doesn’t have to mean eating turkey sandwiches until 2018. Here are a few ways to creatively use up those festive leftovers and avoid contributing to the already huge food waste problem we face:


Roasted vegetables


Or combine the three above leftovers with:

  • Your favourite leafy greens and a vinaigrette for a fresh satisfying salad
  • Your favourite whole grain (like brown rice, quinoa, couscous), avocado, beans, and salsa for a Mexican-inspired protein bowl

Let’s end the year on a good note by reducing food waste and turning some of those common leftovers into new and interesting dishes. We wish you and your family an abundant holiday season, with full bellies and full hearts. xo

A Little Help from Your Friends at Dashing Dishes

By Deanne Wiseman, RD, CHN

A few weeks ago, out of nowhere, I got hit hard with shingles. The intense and indescribable pain thankfully only lasted one week. I was 30 weeks pregnant, exhausted, and solo parenting our toddler for four days while my husband was away working and studying. Looking back on this week got me thinking about how lucky I am to have such great support, and how on Earth we would have made it through the week without help with meals. Our family cooked for us, we had dropped off dinners from friends and neighbours, and simple Dashing Dishes meals I managed to muster just enough energy to throw into a crockpot.

Nourishing ourselves becomes extra important but so much harder to do when we are sick, have a newborn baby, or perhaps stressing out big time during final exams. Having a stocked freezer and foods that are nutritious yet easy to prepare can make a world of difference to shorten recovery time, nourish a new family, or get through exams without feeling totally depleted.

For the recovering person/new mama/student in your life who could use some support to prepare meals and nourish themselves for whatever reason, what’s better than the gift of great food? We take care of all the shopping and chopping so you or your loved ones can take care of more important matters. Dashing Dishes also offers gift certificates in any denomination, all year round. Because let’s face it, we could all use a little help sometimes.

Is Flu Really a Season?

By Deanne Wiseman, RD, CHN

We often refer to this time of year as “flu season” – when the weather gets colder, the days are shorter, and the number of influenza outbreaks increase. We spend less time outdoors and being active, have less access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and tend to crave and eat more sugar (hello Halloween and Christmas parties!). Is it by coincidence? I think not. With these assaults to our immunity, taking care of our bodies (and our children’s) is even more essential at this time of year. Here are some ways to keep our immune systems strong naturally:

1. Eat more vegetables, fruit, herbs and spices – green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C, which is necessary to support immunity. Garlic and onion contain antibacterial, antiviral, and immune boosting properties. Spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne are warming and grounding. Our popular Vegetable Makhani in Creamy Cashew Sauce is a dish that combines vitamin-rich veggies with comforting spices!

2. Reduce sugar – consuming too much added sugar suppresses the immune system. This negative effect can begin less than 30 minutes after ingesting and can last for four hours or more.

3. Stay well hydrated – although you might feel less thirsty than in the summer months, our bodies are still two-thirds water! Staying hydrated keeps our protective mucosal membrane barrier healthy and strong.

4. Wash your hands – after using the washroom, coughing/sneezing/blowing your nose, being in public places, and before and after eating.

5. Manage stress – when cortisol (the stress hormone) increases, immunity decreases. Let Dashing Dishes help keep those cortisol levels in check!

6. Get enough sleep – go to bed and wake up at the same time each day if possible. Aim for eight hours – this is when your immune system replenishes. Again, let Dashing Dishes help make mealtimes easier so you can rest and restore!

May you and your family stay healthy and strong this “season”!

Back to School and Back to Basics

By Deanne Wiseman, RD, CHN

I love the summer months – spending as much time as possible outdoors and soaking in the sun and abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. As a Dietitian and Holistic Nutritionist, I encourage eating locally and seasonally as much as possible. This way of eating makes so much sense because it allows Mother Nature to guide the way we eat. Foods are fresher, unprocessed, tastier, and provide higher nutrients and variety. Eating seasonally and locally is more powerful than trying to stick to a diet, eating a few particular foods because we hear they are “good for us,” or eating the exact same thing every day all year.

But let’s be real. We live in Calgary (or at least Canada) and we all know that with back-to-school come cooler days, changing colours and oftentimes, bringing out the winter gear. So how can we take advantage of the current produce wealth before the white stuff is on the ground and nothing really grows? Get back to basics with food preservation, which has been around for many, many years. In particular, let’s focus on FREEZING YOUR FOOD!

You can find a plethora of information and how-to’s on the Internet for preserving food. Although I love the processes of canning, pickling, and dehydrating, sometimes I simply don’t have the time. Freezing foods is quick, easy, and can be done while re-loading your freezer with Dashing Dishes meals! A few tips about freezing:

  • Veggies and fruits contain important enzymes that continue to break down (i.e. spoil) food after it has been picked/harvested. Inactivate these enzymes by blanching vegetables (placing in boiling water or steam for a short time) or adding ascorbic acid/vitamin C (lemon juice for example) to most fruit.
  • Use appropriate freezing packages and materials. This is a great way to reuse extra plastic freezer bags from your Dashing Dishes meals.
  • A full freezer (at least ¾ full) uses less energy than an empty one. Keep your freezer stocked with frozen berries, herbs, sauces, and of course, Dashing Dishes!

Berries are full of anti-aging and immune-boosting antioxidants. Including berries in smoothies, breakfast bowls, or baking is a great way to get these powerful antioxidants all year round. Buy them fresh from local farmers’ markets (or better yet – pick your own) while you still can!

Cooking with herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro, and oregano is a great way to flavour foods without salt. Herbs are also another source of those wonderful antioxidants! We were lucky to receive TONS of fresh basil grown by our lovely next-door neighbours.

It’s apple season! Did you know over 150 varieties of apples grow in Calgary alone?! Everybody knows someone with an apple tree. If you don’t have a tree of your own, see if you and/or your kids can help pick for a friend, neighbour or elder in your community and share the wealth! I like to chop them up and cook them down with a touch of maple syrup and squeeze of lemon juice. Then I freeze in batches to use in baking, as a topping on yogurt or oatmeal, or to use as an accompaniment to the many Dashing Dishes pork meals (Apricot & Ginger Glazed Pork Tenderloin, Maple Glazed Pork and Roasted Pork with Delicious Date Sauce, to name a few).

We’re already half way through September but most of us can use simple food preservation techniques, like freezing, to enjoy the taste and nutrition of my favourite season, well into the winter. I hope you’ll do a little freezing of your own this month!

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