Dr. Joe Schwarcz: The Right Chemistry

I recently attended a book signing by Cote Saint Luc’s very own Dr. Joe Schwarcz. Dr. Joe, as he is affectionately known by students and admirers alike, has a new book entitled The Right Chemistry.  It is his 13th book and it takes the ‘‘mistry” out of chemistry. The Right Chemistry is filled with wonderful vignettes about science written with humour and interesting facts.   As Dr. Joe always says “You need the sugar to make the medicine go down!”

Dr. Joe is known for making chemistry fun, fascinating and accessible to the masses.  Dr. Joe teaches chemistry at McGill and is noted for his interesting lectures.  He also gives talks to the regular folks too, like his monthly Mondays at the Cote Saint Luc Eleanor London Library called Science Demystified.

Over the years Dr. Joe has become a kind of watchdog for the quack science that has emerged more rapidly and venomously than ever before.  This is probably due to the advent of the internet, email, social media etc.   A lot of the claptrap out there is attached to health claims from disease curing foods to the evils of plastics.  Chances are if you have a question about something you got in an email or saw on the internet then Dr. Joe has already received an email about it.  According to Dr. Joe, many of these questions can be answered with one word: Nonsense!  Why? Because you need properly conducted scientific studies that are evidenced based to promote accurate health information.

Nutrition is a hot topic these days.  It seems like one day eggs are the devil and the next day they are the star.  Butter recently made a comeback while sugar is the new evil.  Dr. Joe is an encyclopedia of science but especially so with nutrition.  He sifts through all the garbage and promotes only evidence based nutrition information. He says that you can’t go wrong if you eat your fruits and veggies.

Dr. Joe has a handful of recipes he created with some well studied ingredients.  I am pleased to say that Dr. Joe has given me permission to post these recipes. Watch for them over the next few weeks.

Most of these recipes can be found in their cooked form at my neighbourhood fruit and vegetable store called Quality Fruits.  As local lore has it, Dr. Joe’s vegetarian goulash was created as a joke.  These days you can often find Dr. Joe doing quality control and tasting the wonderful foods.  If you happen to see Dr. Joe at Quality don’t hesitate to go up to him and say hi.  He will not bigfoot you and will gladly answer that burning question you have about blueberry enzymes curing your gout.

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Telus Sucks & Apple Here We Come

Technology plays a huge role in what I do for a living.  I input all client information into my computer and then I complete a consultation report after I have a met with the person a few times.  I mail or fax a copy of these reports to the client’s doctor.  In the olden days dietitians would hand write these reports for their patients medical charts. Some dietitians, especially in hospitals, still do this.  My handwriting is terrible and I wouldn’t think to insult a doctor with it.  Besides, a crisp white printed report just looks so professional.  That’s the minimal use of technology for my job.

I have found new ways to use technology to improve my business and communicate with clients.  For example, this blog is a new form of communication that is accessible to anyone. I love writing and I love nutrition so this medium is perfect for me.  It’s amazing how I can keep a public dialog about my thoughts on nutrition.  I would like to publicly thank Barry Martin from Hypenotic in Toronto for pretty much making me do this.

My favourite use of technology revolves around my mobile phone.  I have a Blackberry and I use Blackberry messenger (BBM) with my friends and clients.  I have a few clients whom I am in regular contact with because of this medium.  One woman uses BBM to send me pictures of her food before she eats it.  She needs help with portion control and sending me pictures is useful to her in many ways. She has someone to be accountable to, plus she is learning about healthy eating.  She is slowly gaining confidence with her meal planning and caloric amounts.  This has resulted in tremendous weight loss for her. Another client regularly e-mails me his food diary.  I pick it up on my Blackberry and can comment almost right away.

My mobile phone is my business phone.  All inquiries go to this line.  Between the BBM, SMS (texting), email and the actual phone this device is essential to my business. Unfortunately, I have been having a lot of problems with the said phone.  Mainly, dropped calls and slow data transfers.  It seems as technology advances the need to upgrade regularly is crucial.  I thought it was reasonable to upgrade every 3 years but I think I am wrong.  My handset clearly needs to be replaced and since it’s for business it’s a requirement.

I called Telus, the company I use for mobile purposes, for help on the matter.  I explained the situation and that I have been a loyal customer for over 12 years.  You would think they would cut me a break with all their ridiculous fees just to upgrade.  I am willing to pay for a new phone but to pay more for my data plan because of a new handset and to pay a fee for the privilege of upgrading then another for transfering?  C’mon Telus that’s no way to treat your customers. Were does this leave me?  It leaves me until August when my contract is up with Telus and I can finally take my business elsewhere along with my husband’s mobile plan.

In the meantime, I am thinking up new ways to improve my business with what is available.  I am seriously considering jumping on the Mac bandwagon and finally picking up an iPhone this summer.  I have been told there is a superior camera on this device that enables one to take amazing pictures and HD video.  I can imagine the possibilities for nutrition blogging, mass emailing clients and simply recording life.  I would love to experiment with the apps and find suitable ones that are useful for nutrition purposes.

My kids are learning on iMacs at their school.  At this point, our home computer is struggling to survive.  There is no more doubt in my mind an iMac will be coming to our house.  I have never really used one before but I am sure by the time we get one my kids will be able to teach me everything I need to know.  Trevor wants to write a cookbook and I can imagine how much fun we will have doing that on a Mac.  Is Apple really the future?