3.14 – YES! It’s Pi(e) day!
This year, it falls on the second Wednesday of March, otherwise known as Dietitian’s Day. A day dedicated to celebrate dietitians as healthcare professionals, committed to using their specialized knowledge and skills in food and nutrition to improve the health of Canadians.
Though stemmed from home economics, our profession has grown to be something much bigger. Just as other healthcare professionals, we had to go through intensive education to ensure we are equipped with both foundational and practical knowledge to provide safe, competent and ethical nutrition care. Differentiating dietitian from nutritionists, we are regulated under provincial legislation, have to answer to a code of ethics and practice evidence-based nutrition which requires us to constantly build at our professional knowledge with continuing education.
For some reason, over the years and in the evolution of our profession, we’ve also acquired a “food police” kind of a reputation. Clients come in with a certain expectation that we will place judgement when doing dietary recalls… we’ve all heard something along these lines before:
Dietitian: “Tell me about your day and how food fits in, let’s start from the moment you wake up”.
Client: “Oh, I’ve been bad lately….I had dessert”
Or clients may underestimate food portions in fear of judgement by the dietitian. Oftentimes, the client themselves already passed judgement even before we’ve even started talking about food.
When I am invited to a potluck, there’s a certain expectation that what I will bring is something healthy. When there’s a social outing and pizza has been ordered, all eyes seem to turn and focus on me when I go for the second slice. It’s almost like they can smell my movements. Friends, family and even strangers comment on their food choices when around me – simply because of the nutrition knowledge and career I’ve chosen. But, wait a second, I never chose to be a “food police” – this badge? No thanks.
There’s already enough of food policing going around in people’s own heads, don’t need an actual person to be telling us a certain food is “good” or “bad”, “fattening”, or “a superfood”. Placing food into categories sets you up to pass judgement; you relate the ingestion of a certain “good” or “bad” food to a certain “good” or “bad” you. Choosing a food that’s deemed as a “guilty pleasure” insinuates that you should feel guilty about eating. And what about choosing foods that are deemed “healthy”? … Does that make you a better person to yourself? Or does that leave you feeling deprived, stressed and obsessed?
At the end of the day, food is “food“. It is not “good”, it is not “bad” – those are sticky name labels people have stuck on.
… And do you really want to take someone else’s word for it? Or follow the voice of your own gut? (Literally, ask your gut how it feels when you eat)
It nourishes our body and provides us with fuel, but it is also much more than that. Health is not brought upon by the food you choose alone. Health encompasses the competency to deal with stressors that impact physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, so that one can be free from or manage a disease. That is what our role as dietitians are. To be something more like a coach, empowering people to make choices based on their health and advocating for healthy relationships with food so that what you eat does not become an added stressor. Food does not define your character and does not affect your self-worth or morality.
Peel off those sticky name labels and stick to some of the voices that help regulate our eating you are born with: the internal hunger and satiety cues. Next time you pick up a slice of pizza, cut yourself and the pizza some slack – hold judgement and practice curious observation. What does that mean? Take a look at what you eat with awareness of how you physically feel rather than the emotional attachment that comes with judgement. Put your fork or spoon down between bites and check in with your gut, “how’re you feeling?”. Stop when your full and eat when you’re hungry. Don’t deprive yourself until you’re feeling too hungry to eat. Have you ever eaten so fast because you were hungry you didn’t even remember what the food tasted like? Take your time instead and savour each bite!
So here’s me in my dietitian voice asking:
“Would you like some Pi(e) with that?”
Trying to get away from the whole food police notion…. here’s a decadent triple-layer coconut chocolate pie recipe! This Pi(e) is neither “good” nor “bad” for you, it’s simply “delicious” – so hope you savour and enjoy it!
Coconut Chocolate Pi(e)
Makes 10 slices (1 x 9” pie).
Estimated Total Time: 2 hours (1 hour to set in fridge).
Preparation Time: 30 minutes. Cook Time: 15 minutes.
EQUIPMENT: HAND BLENDER OR FOOD PROCESSOR, SMALL POT, HEAT-PROOF BOWL, SPATULA, MEASURING CUP AND SPOONS, 9” BAKING PAN, WHISK.
Chocolate Coconut Crust
- 1 cup (250mL) Quick Oats
- Tip #1: Try using oats as an alternative to flour. It gives more satiety so you can be more satisfied with each bite!
- 1 cup (250mL) Almond, Blended until flour consistency (or a cup of any nut of your choice, blitzed on high speed with your hand blender would work as well)
- Tip #2: Blitzing up a bit of nuts adds a delicious hint of nutty flavour.
- 1/2 cup (125mL) shredded coconut, sweetened
- 3 Tbsp (45mL) cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 Tbsp flax seed, ground (optional for an extra bit of fiber)
- 2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
Creme au Tofu et au Chocolat Noir (Chocolate Silk Pie Filling)
- 300g Tofu, silken
- Tip #3: Tofu is a great source of protein! It’s also super versatile – meaning they can be great in savoury dishes, but also in desserts and smoothies to improve satiety.
- 100g Chocolate, dark (65-70%) – mine was semi-sweet, so I did not add any sweetener to this recipe
- 1/2 tsp coconut extract or Malibu (optional)
Dairy Free Chocolate Ganache
- 120g Chocolate, dark (65-70%)
- 1/4 cup (60mL) Coconut Milk
- Flavouring of your choice: Coconut extract (what I used for the pie recipe), Frangelico, Orange Essence are just some ideas to start
For the Crust
- Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.
- Place quick oats in a food processor or a hand blender and blitz until flour-like (about 1 minute).
- Add in almond or coconut flour, cocoa powder, coconut oil, flax seed (optional), molasses and water until combined.
- Mix in shredded coconuts and pour into a pie pan. Press into pan evenly with your hands.
- Bake at 350degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for use.
For Creme au Tofu et au Chocolat Noir (Chocolate Silk Pie Filling)
- Blend the tofu in a food processor or food blender until smooth (pudding-like texture).
- Place a small pot filled with water on the stove, and a heatproof bowl above to create a double broiler effect (this is to melt the chocolate without causing it to burn which will ruin the texture). Bring the water to a boil and turn the heat down to medium. Place the chocolate in the bowl above. Melt the chocolate while mixing until smooth (approximately 3-5 minutes).
- Gently pour the melted chocolate (and coconut extract or Malibu if you choose to use) into the tofu mixture and blend until combined (1-2 minutes).
Chocolate Coconut Ganache
- In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk to just under a boil. Turn heat off.
- Add chocolate and let sit for 1-2 minutes until soft.
- Gently stir until a smooth mixture forms.
- Set aside and let cool for 5 minutes.
This recipe will make plenty enough for the pie. But it is versatile and requires minimal ingredients, you can use on cake, cup cakes, use as a dip for fruit for treats.
Makes 1 decadent pie that serves approximately 10 servings and multiple bites of enjoyment. No guilt, just enjoy and savour every bite in good company.
- Pour chocolate-tofu mixture into the pie crust and smooth out with the flat-side of a spatula. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until tofu mixture is solidified.
- Gently pour 3/4 cup worth of chocolate ganache on the tofu mixture (just enough to cover the entire pie) and gently shake the pie pan until smooth.
- Place into refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Optional: Garnish with toasted coconut.
- Serve cold with a cup of your favourite tea and enjoy each bite!