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How Not To Gain The COVID 19

Medcan’s top weight management, food and nutrition experts discuss eating and the pandemic

Our relationship with food has changed since social distancing began. We’re eating in more. We’re worrying about lines at the grocery store. And maybe, just maybe, we’re indulging more. So we gathered some of Medcan’s top experts in food, nutrition and weight management and asked them to talk about the new reality.

First up is our director of weight management, Dr. David Macklin, in a YouTube webinar with Medcan Media’s Chris Shulgan.

Next, we had Leslie Beck and Jason Smidt talk about our evolving relationship with food in the pandemic. Leslie Beck is the nutrition columnist for The Globe and Mail and Medcan’s director of food and nutrition. Jason Smidt is the executive chef of Nourish by Medcan, our food delivery service.


Here are three of the many tips that came up through the course of the webinar and podcast. Visit Medcan’s YouTube page for archived recordings of past webinars, and view upcoming webinars at our events calendar. Listen to other episodes of Medcan podcasts at, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Play.

Dr. Macklin argues that those of us who struggle with our weight do so because of the body’s underlying neurological processes. The problem has more to do with the brain’s reward circuitry, and less to do with diet and exercise. “Struggling with our weight is the leading preventable cause of death and disability on the planet,” says Dr. Macklin. Yet the medical community, he says, provides people for whom weight management is a problem with unhelpful, broad advice, like, eat less and move more. Dr. Macklin argues that a nuanced understanding of what’s actually going on in the brain can help — and he provides a helpful guide to that information through his webinar.

Leslie Beck underscores the importance of a healthy food routine. Some of her clients describe morning food routines that see them get up, turn on the news, work on their computers and then not eat breakfast until 10 or 11 in the morning — and even then, they’re mostly snacking. Instead, Leslie suggests eating a healthy breakfast. That fuels your body — and it gets you into a schedule. She also suggests meal planning as a food-management strategy through the pandemic, particularly as everyone tries to minimize the number of times they have to go the grocery store. I get my clients to plan their meals around healthy protein foods,” Leslie says, mentioning in particular protein foods like tofu, dried or canned beans and lentils, as well as canned salmon or tuna and frozen edamame, which last longer than fresh options.

Along those lines, Nourish by Medcan executive chef Jason Smidt suggests being creative with batch cooking sessions. He’ll take carrot, onion and celery and create a mirepoix, known as French cooking’s holy trinity and an important base of many delicious dishes, including the tomato sauces that Smidt will create for his kids. He’ll also toss a whole chicken into a big cooking pot and boil it up with some bay leaves, some celery, garlic and onions, even a fennel bulb and maybe a corn on the cob. Boil and reduce that to create chicken stock that can be frozen to use later in any number of sauces. It also yields the white and dark meat that can later be used for things like chicken pot pies.


Follow Dr. David Macklin on Twitter @davidmacklinmd. Follow Leslie Beck on Twitter @LeslieBeckRD and Jason Smidt on Instagram @nourishchefjay. View the Nourish by Medcan menu. Eat Move Think host Shaun Francis is Medcan’s CEO and chair. Follow him on Twitter @shauncfrancis. Connect with him on LinkedIn. And follow him on Instagram @shauncfrancis.

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