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Hope for a Healthier Quebec

Isabelle huot's mission is our wellbeing

By Jason Santerre

She's our most famous nutritionist. For nearly two decades now, Isabelle Huot, whether on television, radio or in print, has preached the virtues of healthy eating. The registered dietician, best-selling author, and entrepreneur sat down with us to discuss her career, the challenges women face in today's workforce, and simple ways Quebecers can eat better.

Montréal enSanté: You’re involved in so many projects. What’s your motivation to stay so busy?

Isabelle Huot: Every day is different. One morning I'm filming, then I'm at the office taking care of business, and then it's an evening of networking. On the weekends, I'm writing books or articles since it's the only free time for me in the week.

MES: Do you have a mandate or mission in helping people?

IH: I wanted to give back very early on and I still do it. My friends call me “the missionary” or Mother Teresa. I always think of others first. Hunger, disease, and poverty affect me deeply. Today I am involved with The Breakfast Club of Canada, Moisson Montréal food bank, the Sodexo Foundation, and I am the new president of the Telus Community Investment Committee for Montreal. We support several organizations that reach out to youth via health, the environment, and the arts.

MES: Let’s talk about Kilo Solution. What’s your mission?

IH: I founded Kilo Solution in 2009. I had worked in media for over 15 years and, as we all know, media people are always sitting on an ejection seat. That goes double for a woman in her 40s. So I wanted to secure my future.

My weight-loss books (Kilo Cardio and Kilo Solution) were a source of motivation for many Quebecers, several of whom asked me for help with the recipes that required a lot of prep time. So I decided to create the recipes myself. And that’s how Kilo Solution was born. The mission is to help Quebecers lose weight in a healthy manner without powdered proteins or vitamin supplements.

MES: In your opinion, why are so many Quebecers overweight and even obese compared to 20 years ago?

IH: One in two Quebecers is overweight or obese. The causes are myriad. We move less, we eat portions that are too big, and we don’t listen to signals of satiety. We live at a fast pace and so we turn to meals rich in fat, sugar, and salt.

MES: Because this is our “Women’s Health” issue, what’s the best advice you would give a young woman joining the workforce today?

IH: Women have access to a truly inspiring network. I’m thinking in particular of the Réseau des Femmes d'Affaires in Quebec or Leaders in Women or Women in Mind. It’s about women helping women. As far as advice goes, I would say to women to believe in themselves because women are organized and that helps make speedy advancement in the business world possible. Women must dream and give themselves every tool they need to accomplish their goals. Everything is possible!

MES: Three things everyone should do every day for a healthier lifestyle.

IH: Half of every plate should be vegetables. It’s the top recommendation for cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of cancer, reducing the risk of diabetes and having a healthy weight.

Cut back on liquid calories. It’s better to eat your calories than drink them. Forget sweet drinks. I’m actually in favour of taxation on these beverages. Taxes could be used to provide subsidies for the purchase of fruit and vegetables.

Stop snacking at night. This is a time when people eat without real hunger. Nibbling while watching TV is a habit that must stop.

MES: What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to daily nutrition?

IH: Believing everything on the internet without verifying the information with experts. There are so many people who talk about nutrition now that consumers no longer know whom to believe. Reliable sources (nutritionists, doctors, gastroenterologists) should be relied upon. People don’t read nutritional labels often enough. For example, I prefer a soft bar that contains more calories but displays a healthier list of ingredients than a bar that is low in calories but comes without fibre and is loaded with additives.

 

Summer 2017, Vol 9 N°3

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