Let’s Talk About Healthy Eating and Nutrition Trends

Chef Timothy Schoonmaker, MBA, CEC, WCEC,  CCA, CDM, CFPP, MCFE, FMP

Kate Kolb:

Well, welcome back to our newest episode of Centra Scripts. We’re going to be talking today a little bit about nutrition month. The month of March is nutrition month, and so we’re going to discuss a little bit about that today. And I’ve invited Tim Schoonmaker here with us today to talk about his expertise in his field as a chef, and also how that relates to our hospital system here. So Tim, thank you so much for agreeing to come and talk to me. And could you just let us know a little bit about yourself, and kind of your background and what brought you here?

Tim Schoonmaker:

Sure. So I’ve been with Centra now for almost four years this May. I have spent 20 years in healthcare food service. So, I’ve been doing this for a little while. I started when I was 12.

Kate Kolb:

That works well, yeah.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Works real well. But no, all kidding aside, 20 years in healthcare food service. My background is as a chef. I went to school for culinary, ended up going back and getting a master’s in hospitality just so I had a little bit more of a well-rounded education. But I’m a certified executive chef, certified culinary administrator and some other certifications that are relevant to the industry, just to kind of show that just because I’m in healthcare doesn’t mean that I’m only preparing healthcare type foods. I am a chef and that’s how I was trained, and can hold my own in any of the top restaurants or hotels around.

Kate Kolb:

For sure. And let me just put out here for our listeners that you are well decorated in your competitions that you’ve been in. Have won even just in the past year have some titles that have been added to you for that. So congratulations on those wins as well. So Tim, tell me a little bit about why this field of food and culinary arts, where’s your passion for that come from?

Tim Schoonmaker:

For me, food was always something that you grew up around. If you think of all of your family events, baby showers for example, after a baby is born, birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, even in death, everything is surrounded by food. And so food becomes your life whether you realize it or not. And so for me, I decided to go into culinary because I had that passion for food and really how it brings people together. And so, I always joke around and say, when you’re younger and your parents would tell you, that’s what’s for dinner, and if you don’t like it, starve to death. So I joked around and said, well, I’m going to be a chef, then I can cook my own food.

Kate Kolb:

Perfect. There you go.

Tim Schoonmaker:

So, I’m sure my mother would laugh. But it’s true, food is all around us. And it was my passion and something I’ve always kind of gone towards and still continue towards today, constantly learning about food, and trends, and where we’re heading in terms of innovation. And then, of course, bringing in different aspect to healthcare.

Kate Kolb:

Right. Yeah. Which I love and I think that you’ve done just a tremendous job in the last four years here at Centra with bringing that passion to what you do. So we appreciate you greatly for that. Well, so we are here today because of this month that has been dedicated to National Nutrition Month. And the 2020 motto, if you will, for this month is, eat right bite by bite. And so we’re just going to take a little bit of time and kind of talk through some of this approach to food in and out of healthcare, and some trends and things like that. But why do you think that it’s important to even have a month like this at all?

Tim Schoonmaker:

So National Nutrition Month is something that has continued to gain in popularity, not just in healthcare, but overall to really bring an awareness to making sure that you’re eating the right things and eating a balanced diet. So years ago there used to be the food pyramid – if you remember at the bottom was all the fruits and the vegetables that you should eat lots of, and then all the fatty, good food was at the top. And so we’ve evolved and gotten away from that and gone more towards the plate. And so you look at what a plate looks like and kind of dividing that plate up, and how much of it should be dedicated to grains and to whole fruits and vegetables, and then even to proteins. And so we’ve seen over the years that evolve and our tastes need to evolve with that. And so I think National Nutrition Month does a great job of kind of bringing that to the forefront, getting us to realize and understand why it’s important that we watch what we eat. And I do like this year’s theme bite by bite, because when you think about it, once you’ve eaten, it’s tough to go back and reverse it. You’re doing that damage, or not if you’re eating healthy, which is a good thing. But every bite you take is making decisions for not only the near future but also your health in the far future.

Kate Kolb:

Yeah, very true. I think that that is definitely a concept that they are trying to bring out this year for sure. I know in past years they’ve kind of honed in on certain aspects of nutrition, or very particular types of things with the plate, or different things that they’re doing. And so this year, kind of taking that holistic approach to what are the healthy things that we choose to put into our mouths and what are the habits that we create for that has been pretty huge. You’ve talked about your passion as a chef, how does this fit into what you do in your occupation and how you approach it?

Tim Schoonmaker:

And so in healthcare, I think it’s very important. We’re the ones that really need to get this out in the forefront. You may not see this if you go to a local restaurant, you’re not going to see happy National Nutrition Month. So it is something that’s kind of unique to our segment, but it’s important that we push this forward. And for me it’s important that we don’t just say, okay, here’s a pretty board, here’s some posters, and here’s what you should eat and here’s what you shouldn’t eat. But literally incorporate what we should be doing into what we’re serving. So, more whole grains, and more vegetables and more fruits, and really putting them at the forefront and not just an apple is an apple. How can you transform that apple into a salad, or maybe mix it with a vegetable so you’re incorporating more of it into your diet versus just having an apple for a snack.

Tim Schoonmaker:

And that’s probably not the best example, but it just kind of gives you the thought of how we have to think in terms of moving these sort of ideas forward. And so, normally for National Nutrition Month, we’ll do a couple of samples along with whatever it might be for that month for the theme. Last year we did spinach salad, for example. And so we showed what an appropriate portion of spinach salad would be and some of the components you could put with it, like strawberries, and Mandarin oranges, and feta cheese, and chicken or shrimp, and kind of build that plate, so to speak, into a more nutritious meal. We find that malnutrition can go both ways. You can be overnourished, eating too much, eating too many calories, and you can be undernourished where you’re not eating enough calories. And so that’s a huge problem that we face, not only worldwide but here in our community. So this month helps bring together the awareness for that, and realize that there is such a thing as overeating and there is such a thing as not eating the right foods. And so we try to bring that to the forefront, really give real good examples of that and work with our dietetic team on doing this.

Kate Kolb:

Yeah. Which I think is great. I think that’s kind of where this whole concept comes from. You mentioned the word awareness, and I think that’s something that even just in this podcast in general, what we’re trying to bring about is this awareness to this conversation of health and wellness in our lives, and what that looks like, and how it reflects through the different portions of our lives and that sort of thing. And so let’s talk a little bit about that because there might be some people that are listening right now and they’re like, wow, he’s this credentialed chef, and it’s great and he’s got this training. But what does that have to do with healthcare, food, and healthcare? And maybe they’re thinking it’s just hospital food. And let’s be honest, there are jokes all over the place about, oh, the hospital food, it’s right up there with school cafeteria food and everything. So, talk a little bit about that in terms of why is there a culinary art to the art of hospital food?

Tim Schoonmaker:

And that’s a great question and I get asked that a lot, is why out of all the things you could have done, why on earth did you go into healthcare? And so, I’ve had the privilege of being able to work in a different hospital setting. Small hospitals, large hospitals, in big cities such as Miami and Jacksonville, Florida, and then in small towns maybe outside of Orlando, I worked at a small hospital out there. And then, of course, coming here, which we have such a large variety of facilities. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that you can give people access to all of the healthy food in the world, whether it’s through government funding or just handing out the food through food pantries or whatever it may be. But if the person at the other end doesn’t know what to do with it, you’re not helping anything, you’re just contributing to the problem of malnutrition, and obesity and diabetes.

Tim Schoonmaker:

So, one of the things that I’ve really kind of grown a passion for is looking at how we get access to these types of foods, but also the educational piece behind it. And I really see that as my role and my team’s role in healthcare is showing people how to cook things the right way and know what to do with them. So if somebody, let’s say we have fresh beets, and you have 20 pounds and you give them away to people, do people know what to do with those beets? You know they’re healthy for you, they’re full of iron, they’re full of vitamins, full of minerals, but do you know what to do with them? Do you just cut them up and eat them on a salad or do you cook them? Can you incorporate them into other things? So, I really think that as a chef, it is my responsibility to not just prepare those foods, but show how to do it and really take on that educational role. And healthcare food does get a bad rep.

Kate Kolb:

It does.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Unfortunately. In many cases it’s commoditized. We live in a contract world where food is just kind of, this is what you have available, try to fit it into this model. And that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to turn it up a notch to bring awareness to what we do and show off what we went to school for. And we have a lot of different things that we’re trained on, whether it’s classical cuisine or international cuisine, and really take what we have and bring that here to our facilities. So, bringing in different ingredients, or doing demos and showing people how to cook foods a certain way, doing newscasts, bringing new technology to the table, opening up an awareness. Maybe you bring in food vendors or partners that you work with and show the awareness of what we do. Yes, here’s what we serve, here’s where it came from, and here’s what you can do with it. So it’s one thing to see it here, it’s another thing to take it, and learn more and incorporate it as part of your diet.

Kate Kolb:

Right. Exactly. I want to sidebar something you just said here and pull it back in a little bit. You mentioned technology and one of the newest things that has just occurred actually just happened at Lynchburg General Hospital with the micro farm-

Tim Schoonmaker:

Yeah, the micro farm.

Kate Kolb:

… garden that’s happening over there. It is so cool. And if you haven’t had a chance to go over there and see it or be in the hospital to see that, it’s just a really neat thing that you guys have brought in and used for this creation of food that you’re creating. Can you talk a little bit about what it is and what you’re doing with it?

Tim Schoonmaker:

Sure. Yep. So the micro-farm was a concept that was created by some UVA graduates, and the idea was to bring a sustainable food source to folks that live in the Middle East who are in a very food insecure or war-torn zone, and how to teach them to have a safe supply of foods so that they could at least have some nourishment. And so the farms were created for lettuce, and herbs and some of the stuff that would be good for them, and in an environment that is kind of foolproof. It’s set up for them, they really don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to worry about unsafe water sources, you don’t have to worry about minerals or adding vitamins to the lettuce to make it grow. So, that’s where that concept came from. And we learned about it through a former business partner of ours who started working with this company and we decided that it would be a good fit for us. As we look towards really having a sustainable food source, knowing where our food comes from, and then being able to serve it, literally taking it out of the garden one day and putting it into the cafe, the salad bar the next day. So it’s been pretty interesting to see how that has evolved. We’ve grown close to 500 pounds of lettuce in just over a couple of months.

Kate Kolb:

That’s amazing. And yeah, and if you haven’t had the opportunity to see it, we will link a story to our blog too to make sure that you can read a little bit more about that. But it’s very space-aged looking, it’s very technologically advanced, but it’s doing just really cool things to bring some of that fresh produce literally right into the hospital.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Yeah. And people look forward to it. When they see me out there working, they know that at lunchtime … I try to do it in the morning so that by lunch it’s out there and cleaned and ready to go. And it usually doesn’t last more than a couple hours.

Kate Kolb:

Right. Yeah. So very cool. Just a little bit of a progressive thing that you guys are bringing to that conversation as well. Let’s talk a little bit too about this concept, because I think some people are like, oh, hospital food. Okay, so it’s the food that we take our patients and that sort of thing. But there’s kind of a twofold approach to what you all are doing. You’re providing patient meals, of course for those who are here, but you’re also offering quite an extensive offering of food options for families and friends who are also spending time at the hospital that might not be that patient. So talk a little bit about kind of the line between those two scenarios and kind of what goes into that for development?

Tim Schoonmaker:

Sure. And so our patient meal program, we still don’t really have a good word out that we do room service. We offer room service where patients can order off of a restaurant-style menu. We actually revise that menu or update the menu every year based on the patient feedback. And so that allows patients to order what they want when they want it. So the concept behind that and the development behind room service is you need the proper nourishment in order to heal. If you are sick, your defense mechanisms are down, your immunity is down and food will help you get better. It helps you feel better, it helps your mood. Again, it goes back to the celebrations and kind of how food is really every part of your life. So, the room service program is designed around that.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Now, sometimes people are put on diets that are very restrictive, so it may restrict some of the items you can get. And we try to work around that and build some food items so that it fits within that diet, but it doesn’t always work. But we try to accommodate as much as we can, and we constantly change that menu just to make sure that, again, we’re offering the best products, the right products at least for the patient side. And then the other side of that is our cafe. We actually have three sides because there’s a catering component as well. So the catering component, we pretty much do anything and everything. Any menu that somebody wants, you can do anything for a price, right?

Kate Kolb:

Right. Right. Right.

Tim Schoonmaker:

So we try to be very open when it comes to catering and doing whatever we need. We’ve done weddings, we’ve done big physician parties, we’ve done big community events. So that’s always the fun stuff. And then the cafe side, the cafe side is kind of where we have our most creative, adaptive components to be able to kind of do whatever we want. We always try to have a lot of good healthy options, like a salad bar, your sandwich meats if you just want something light. We try to do comfort food. So if somebody wants meatloaf or spaghetti, we try not to do fried chicken, but sometimes we do hamburgers, that sort of thing. But we also do innovations, and innovations might be maybe it’s something special that month. So a spinach salad, or a five-grain salad, or an Asian bowl, or a burrito or a salad bowl. Just something different. We try to do different things for that.

Tim Schoonmaker:

And so, one of the cool parts a lot of people don’t realize is that once a month as a team, so all of our nutrition services, chefs and managers, we all get together once a month and we’ll try new products, we’ll bring different things in. We might invite a vendor to come in and meet with us. We might just order some different things that we’ve seen out and about in town, or if we travel maybe we see something really cool. So we’ll get together and we spend about an hour and a half where we sit down at a table, we come up with a plan, we go out, we cook stuff, we come back to the table and we try and evaluate things. And sometimes we try to invite other people in to say, hey, what is your thought about this? One of the recent things we looked at was chicken tenders. So chicken tenders, we sell hundreds of pounds a month of chicken tenders, and the one that we were using was discontinued. And so we had like 15 different ones come in and try to see what the best option was. And I mean, we had eaten more than our share of chicken tenders, but we wanted to make sure-

Kate Kolb:

You’re like, if I see another chicken tender it will not be soon enough.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Exactly. But we wanted to make sure we had the right one. And so we cooked them in the oven, we fried them, we used different technology to see what that finished product looks like, and then how would it turn out with our customers? So we do that once a month. And that’s, again, pretty unique to our business. You don’t see a lot of that out there, at least not in healthcare. But yeah, we have a lot of different areas that we sell and develop food. And so you kind of have to wear different hats at different times and be an advocate. If you’re looking at patient menus, you have to make sure that … And I love my dieticians, but sometimes they try to carry it too far. Let’s be more restrictive. And we say, yeah, when they go home are they going to eat like this? So let’s be realistic. Let’s try to push back a little bit and add a little bit more of, maybe it might be sodium or carbohydrates, just a little bit to help them be more realistic when that patient goes home.

Kate Kolb:

And I think that’s a very important piece to this component of everything is that collaborative effort that you guys are doing and that you’re providing that collaboration through both sides of those services. And that’s very evident in how you’re approaching all of these topics and how you take care of the patients as well. So, very cool. All right. So speaking of food and maybe fads and things that you’re learning about, or trends and things like that. Let’s kind of pivot topics here for just a second. And it is National Nutrition Month, and so a lot of times, a lot of people, this is sort of their wake up call to think, okay, I need to evaluate what I am eating in my life, maybe what my nutrition choices are. And let’s be honest, most people, the word diet starts flashing in front of their face.

Kate Kolb:

And it kind of coincides with that start of the year and everybody’s got their resolutions that they’re working on. And most people have probably quit their resolutions by March, so it’s a good time for it to start to kick back in. But let’s talk a little bit about during this month and maybe if you’re refocusing your life on this health and wellness idea of what it needs to look like holistically, the question that a lot of people will ask is, well, what about a diet? What is the best diet for me? There’s so many diets that floating around out there, they’re all kind of trendy. I don’t know which one. Let’s talk a little bit about that and see how you would approach that from that standpoint.

Tim Schoonmaker:

And you get asked that all the time. People will say, well, I’m on the keto diet. What do you think of that? Or I’m on South Beach Diet, what do you think of that? And the reality is is that there’s no one size fits all for diets. Everybody is unique. Everybody needs to have a different set of calories. My calorie intake is very different from your calorie intake, it’s very different from my teenager’s calorie intake needs. Everybody is different. So when people say, well, what diet is best for me? I don’t know what diet is best for you. It’s what makes you feel better, what makes you feel good, what gives you the right energy, what makes you get through the day without having headaches or feeling tired? Or when I go home I just want to sleep, or to take the stress eating triggers out, whatever that may be.

Tim Schoonmaker:

It’s important though when you look at a diet is to one, consult a physician. You don’t want to try to do things on your own. Definitely want to consult a physician. But really the best thing to do is to create a food diary for a few days before you decide what diet. And literally every single thing, whether it be a glass of water, a piece of gum, because gum has calories, even sugar-free gum has calories, so gum, that one cracker that you ate, whatever it is, you have to keep a food diary, and then you can look at it and you can say, okay, well. And your food diary should have the time. So, if you look at, well at 6 o’clock I had a cup of coffee, at 8 o’clock I had a muffin, at 10 o’clock I had another muffin, at 11 o’clock I had another cup of coffee, at noon I had lunch, at 1 o’clock I had an ice cream sandwich or something.

Tim Schoonmaker:

You can look and say, okay, well maybe my eating patterns don’t make sense and maybe I can squeeze all my meals into a certain time. Or maybe I’m eating a lot of empty calories like ice cream and muffins and I need to eat more whole foods, or grains, fruits, vegetables, and really incorporate that into what your diet plan would be. So if you had a muffin for breakfast and you didn’t feel too good by lunchtime, switch that out for oatmeal, and yogurt, and some nuts and fruit on top of your oatmeal, and did that make you feel better? And kind of develop a meal pattern or a meal diet based off of that. And I always say that that’s the best way to go. Really though, the biggest piece is your calories and really knowing what you should have for calories. I know that for me, I should have, based on my lifestyle, I should have between 800 and 1000 calories.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Now, not to pick on any place in particular, but you can drink 900 calories by going someplace in just a drink that you may think, what’s the harm in it? And so, that’s why a food diary is important and really knowing what your goal should be, and kind of what your triggers are to that. If you stress eat, what are your stresses? How can you help remove those stresses and keep your diet back on track. And it’s okay to say, you know what, that didn’t work for me. I need to go do something else and make those changes. It’s like recipes. Recipes are not written in stone. Recipes are meant to be changed and adapted. So if that’s what you need to do for your diet, then that’s what you need to do for your diet.

Kate Kolb:

And I think it’s important too, to mention here that the word diet has kind of gotten a bad rap-

Tim Schoonmaker:

It has. It has.

Kate Kolb:

… over the years. And I think people immediately think of that word and think very negatively towards it, and maybe even have a triggered reaction to that word. But when we’re talking diet, it’s not just what am I going to do to lose weight, or cut calories, or that sort of thing? Diet is the entirety of what you do with the food in your life, and how you interact with it, and have a relationship with it and that sort of thing.

Tim Schoonmaker:

And I always tell people too, one of the worst things you can do is go to the grocery store without a plan.

Kate Kolb:

Oh yes, yes. I’m raising my hand on that one. That has been my downfall many times.

Tim Schoonmaker:

If you go to the grocery store, hey, I’m going to stop at the store after work today and get what we need for the house, you will get 80% of stuff you don’t need 20% of what you do need.

Kate Kolb:

Right. Impulse buys every time. Yeah.

Tim Schoonmaker:

And usually, the impulse buys are not good choices. And even so, you may say, well, I’m buying it for the family and I won’t touch it. The reality is just having it there and knowing it’s there can be a trigger if you’re trying to lose weight or trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you have stuff in view that you shouldn’t have, then just don’t have it. And your wallet will thank you too.

Kate Kolb:

It’s so true. Yeah. We’ve talked a little bit about this in other formats too where that new, well it’s not even that new anymore, but more people are doing it now where you order your groceries and have them delivered to your car. And it’s such an easier way to make sure that you’re getting exactly what you need and nothing more, and you’re not doing those impulse buys. So that’s another option for sure. But yeah, just want to make sure that we’re emphasizing that the entire point of this month and this conversation is not to figure out what fad diet works for you or even present that word in a negative way, but it’s all about getting healthy and having a healthy relationship with that food.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Yeah. And making sure you’re getting the proper nourishment for what you need to be productive and maintain the lifestyle that you should be, whether it’s your BMI, your body mass index, or if you’re diabetic living healthy or not making your diabetes worse, or if you have heart health problems, making sure that you’re keeping your heart stronger. Because I know from other podcasts that once the damage is done to your heart, it’s tough to fix it, if not impossible. So you have to maintain things. Same thing with brain else.

Kate Kolb:

Yeah. And it’s the same thing that we would do with our cars or any other piece of equipment. You maintain those things in order to have them have the best life and longest life as possible. And so these bodies that we walk around in every single day, they are our vehicles for life. And so that’s an important way to approach that as well. So, okay. I do want to talk about one fad, for lack of a better term, that we have seen floating around. And actually, I’ve actually been in the cafeteria here at Virginia Baptist and I heard people ask questions about this. There are a lot of trends that are going on with food right now where it’s like, oh, it’s the meatless trend. You’re supposed to cut meat out of everything now. Talk a little bit about these things. There’s even this concept of the Impossible Burger that you and I mentioned a little bit when we were talking offline. What are your thoughts on some things like this that are more trendy, and how they’re approaching food and what you do with them?

Tim Schoonmaker:

And so there’s a lot of really good trendy foods out there. Before I talk about the Impossible Burger, there’s some products out there that are really game-changers in terms of what I look at in food. So, pasta sometimes gets that bad rap because it’s all carbs, and you think of spaghetti, and you think of sauce, and meatballs and heavy food or heavy meals. There’s a couple of new options out there. There’s an edamame pasta.

Kate Kolb:

Really?

Tim Schoonmaker:

Yes. It is made from edamame and it is really good. Now, again, it’s a brain trickery thing, because your mind is thinking spaghetti but it’s not spaghetti. So at first, it might be like, well this isn’t spaghetti. But edamame pasta is amazing. It cooks just like normal pasta would, but the flavor profile on it is a hundred times more than what pasta is. And you don’t need to put it with a spaghetti sauce. You can put it with fresh tomatoes, or make a nice pesto sauce, or just saute it with some olive oil and some herbs and it’s amazing. And it has protein in it, a lot of nutrients. It’s really good. There’s another product out there that’s a heart of palm pasta.

Kate Kolb:

I have heard of that one. I have not tried it yet.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Which again, same concept. It’s really, really good. And then my favorite is the zoodles.

Kate Kolb:

Yes. Which we love here.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Yes.

Kate Kolb:

We get those in the cafe here all the time.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Centra loves zoodles.

Kate Kolb:

So good.

Tim Schoonmaker:

We actually yesterday did a little healthy eating demonstration with the school system here. We had the kids do a little mystery basket competition, but the base for their mystery basket was the zoodles. So they had to make zoodles and then they could do whatever they wanted. And some of the creativity from the students is amazing.

Kate Kolb:

Now, if somebody doesn’t know what a zoodle is, you’re going to need to define that for us.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Gotcha. So zoodles are, it’s squash and zucchini, yellow squash and zucchini. And there’s a nice little zoodler tool out there that’s relatively cheap. You can get it on any of the websites and some of the local stores carry them. But it’s a little crank and it literally turns the zucchini and the squash into noodles. And so again, it’s thinking it’s spaghetti.

Kate Kolb:

I just think it’s fun to say that word.

Tim Schoonmaker:

It is.

Kate Kolb:

So I feel like I just eat them because it’s fun to say.

Tim Schoonmaker:

And they’re really good. So, there’s all these products out there that you can substitute. These are new things that are coming out, like whole grains. Using black chickpeas on the market now making a hummus with those. Or quinoa, or any whole grains and using that in substitution of pasta or any refined starch. Those are all trends that are getting you more nutrients, less calories, healthier diet. And then there’s the Impossible Burger.

Kate Kolb:

Yeah. Please explain this. Because when you first sent this to me, I was like, what is an Impossible Burger? I’m completely intrigued at this point.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Somebody somewhere decided that growing, I call it fake meat, but using plant-based products, they created lab-based plant-based products, formed them into burger patties, and have added some different vitamins and minerals so that they taste like meat.

Kate Kolb:

Interesting.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Very interesting. So, and you’re seeing even there’s a fast-food chain now that has chicken, using impossible chicken. So it’s all the same type of product. It’s all plant-based or soy-based for the most part. There’s some other ingredients. What I tell everybody, I’m not a fan of fake meat. I don’t care what you call it, meat is there for a reason and it has its purpose in your diet. Granted, if that’s all you’re eating, it’s probably not healthy. But again, it goes back to our earlier conversation of doing what’s right for you and for your health. But, I always tell everybody, when you look at things like Impossible Burgers or any of those plant-based products that are out there now is to look at the label, read what those ingredients are.

Tim Schoonmaker:

And so I always throw in a little example. Nutrition labels have continued to evolve over the years. The new nutrition labels that just came out, so I think it’s one more year or two more years until it’s mandated that every product has these new labels on them, but the new label now takes into consideration what a typical person eats in one sitting. So for example, bags of potato chips. Somebody might eat the entire bag, all however many, 12 ounces I think are in a bag. So the nutrition factor, the nutrition label will read the factors if you eat the whole bag and then if you eat the one serving you’re supposed to eat. So, kind of gives you a little bit more of an educational tool, but also all the ingredients are on there. So with anything, I always say look at the ingredients, look and see what it’s made out of. If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

Kate Kolb:

Right. That’s just a good rule of thumb to follow for sure.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Exactly.

Kate Kolb:

That’s awesome. Well, I had no idea that there was anything called that at all or that they were even doing that with meat. So, I guess it’s not meat, but with plant-based things. So that’s very intriguing. Well, we are going to wrap up here now, and I’m going to give you the final word here. So is there anything else that you would say, I cannot leave this podcast today without imparting this knowledge to people for nutrition month?

Tim Schoonmaker:

Again, it’s an awareness. It’s the time to reflect on what it is that you’re eating, it’s the time to make those changes or at least come up with a plan. By now most resolutions are gone. We’re back to stress eating and dealing with a lot of those stressors in life that have left us for a couple of months and now they’re back. So, now’s a good time to go back and evaluate what you’re eating. Again, food journals are great. Keep track of what you’re eating and just really look at the big picture. What are your goals? Are your goals to maintain weight, are your goals to lose weight? In some cases, it may be to gain weight. And so, you have to set those goals. Be realistic. Look at what you’re eating, what you should be eating, what you shouldn’t be eating, and look at the big picture and start to take it one at a time and improve your nutrition.

Kate Kolb:

Yeah. And I think again, the important thing to remember is it’s all a process and it’s not going to change overnight. And so all those tips that you’re sharing, just to give yourself a little bit of grace as you do them because it’s going to take a little time to implement too.

Tim Schoonmaker:

And also too, I tell people, if you go to the grocery store, and it doesn’t matter which one you go to, go into the produce section and just stop and look. Stand there, look around, look at all the different things that are there. If there’s something you’ve never tried or you don’t know what it tastes like, buy it, try it. Internet is a great thing. Look it up. See what is out there. Try it, cook it. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it again. But at least it’s something else to try.

Kate Kolb:

Awesome. Well, there you go. That’s our challenge for the day. We’re all going to go to the grocery store and pick something that we’ve never had and we’re going to try it because Chef Tim told us too. So Tim, thank you so much for being here today and for all these insights into not only the month but what you’re doing here with Centra and with the hospital system as a whole. So, we appreciate you being here, and please stay tuned for our next podcast coming up in just a few weeks.

Tim Schoonmaker:

Thank you.

Try Chef Tim’s delicious original recipes here:

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