Get your weekly dose of science-based nutritional tips and plant-based recipes.

Hello! I’m Chana, founder of Fueled by Science.

Whether you are grocery shopping, cooking dinner, or eating out, I can help you make choices that align with your priorities.

I can also help you answer the age old question: “what’s for dinner?”.

All are welcome – from vegan, plant-based, flexitarian, reducetarian, dairy-free, to omnivorous.


Chana Davis, PhD

Caffeine is one of the world's most widely consumed drugs, yet many of us don’t think of ourselves as users. Is caffeine safe? Like any chemical, the dose makes the poison. 🍵 . . There is something special about the ritual, the taste, and the buzz that comes with my morning cuppa. It marks the moment my day truly begins. Today, I savoured an orange pekoe tea with homemade cashew cream. On work days, I go for a matcha latte (w/ almond milk) or a half-caf Americano misto (w/almond or oat milk). . Sometimes, my intake creeps up on me and it takes a toll. I feel less serene, more irritable and anxious (especially when with kids on the weekends). I have trouble sleeping and wake with a mild headache that magically disappears post-caffeine. . How much caffeine is okay? . The scientific consensus, based on animal and human studies, is that up to 6 mg/kg per day is "safe" for adults and about 2.5 mg/kg per day for kids. This means 360 mg per day (60 kg x 6 mg/kg) for me and 75 mg per day for my 8 year old son (30 kg x 2.5 mg/kg)."Safe" means no evidence of long term harm (i.e. cardiovascular health, bone density, cancer, or fertility). . Yet, we can still be "safe" from long term harm and experience downsides, as I described above. The levels here are much more personal, as we metabolize caffeine at a different rates. . My husband can conk out after a double espresso whereas I would never dare to drink black tea after 1pm. I even think carefully about chocolate. . In some respects, you need to listen to your body… but you also need to know what to look for. If you are experiencing restlessness, insomnia, upset stomach, irritability, headaches, frequent urination and shakiness, try looking at your caffeine intake. Try cutting it in half (at least) for starters. They may get worse but should subside by day 3. . How much is in your cuppa? . ☕️Brewed Coffee (tall) – 150-200 mg (Starbucks grande = 330 mg!) ☕️Americano (2 shots) – 150 mg (Grande = 3 shots) 🍵Matcha (1 scoop)- 60 mg (Starbucks grande = 80 mg) 🍵Black tea – 25-60 mg (*varies with steeping time) . Thanks @scimoms for covering this topic! . #fueledbyscience #caffeine

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Looking for simple ways to give your family’s diet a health boost? My girlfriend posed this question today and this is the first thing that came to mind: . ⭐️Swap refined grains for whole grains⭐️ . Why? The main reason is the fiber content. I can’t overstate how valuable fiber is for your health. 🌱It keeps you regular. 🌱It feeds the “good bugs” in your gut, who return the favour by producing SCFAs which help keep your gut wall intact, and has a positive domino effect. 🌱 It keeps you and your kids energized and satiated for longer. 🌱It dampens the blood sugar spike…provided the fiber is intrinsic (vs added). . The second reason is that many micronutrients that are lost when the outer layer is stripped. That said, many refined grains have them added back in (some food processing can be beneficial!) . Here are some swaps to consider: 🍏Refined breakfast cereal => oatmeal (or fiber-dense wheat or bran cereal). Throw in some hemp seeds and berries.🍓 🍏White / multigrain bread* => 100% whole wheat – seeds are a bonus). Serve with unsweetened nut butter. 🍏White tortilla => whole wheat. Serve with refined beans and salsa🍅 🍏White rice => brown rice or quinoa. Serve with glory bowl 🥰 🍏White pasta => whole wheat (or a mix!). Serve with pesto. . *Bread shopping tip: Many multigrain breads are mostly white flour. Look for at least 3 grams of fiber per slice (100 calories). . Can I rant about pasta alternatives for a moment?! I have tried so so many and they all fall short. Black bean, edamame, quinoa… So far the most acceptable are cauliflower and whole wheat. Even those only fly with a heavy sauce, like pesto. Mixing white and whole is another option. . Any hidden gems out there?? What are your fave alternatives to refined white grains, especially pasta? . . . #fueledbyscience #healthychoices #wholegrains #kidfriendlymeals #healthykidsfood #healthyfamilymeals #foodchoices #eatmoreplants #highfiberdiet #eatplants #diettips #feedyourgutbugs #goodbacteria #gutmicrobiome #microbiome

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Do you ever feel like shouting your gratitude from the rooftops? . As my mom kicks off a new decade, I am feeling so grateful! This remarkable woman has raised four children and still plays an integral role in all of our lives – especially mine! For better or for worse, a mother’s job is never done…🤷🏻‍♀️ . ♥️Thank you for supporting me, encouraging me, and inspiring me daily. . ♥️Thank you for setting me up for a lifetime of healthy habits, including daily exercise, fresh air, and ample sleep – with help from a good book and dash of lavender! . ♥️Thank you for so many delicious plant-powered meals and for shaping my palate such that no dinner feels complete without a massive salad. . ♥️Thank you for teaching me that you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. . ♥️Thank you for instilling in me a love of learning. . ♥️Thank you for showing me that giving is better than receiving. . I love you to the moon!😘 . Chana . . . #fueledbyscience #gratitude #momlove #daughter #motherdaughter #lessonsfrommom #lifelessons #healthyhabits #healthystart #healthyeatinghabits

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Get the scoop on what these hot new plant burgers ARE and ARE NOT. Hear more tomorrow on @btvancouver. . 1) They ARE NOT a replacement for whole vegetables. . You should still aim to fill half your plate with whole fruits and veggies (Canada Food Guide♥️). Why? These burgers (like meat) are low in fiber, a critical nutrient for your gut and whole body health. Whole veggies are loaded with fiber, as well as a rainbow of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. . 2) They ARE a great source of important nutrients found in red meat, without some of the downsides. . Compared to typical ground beef (20% fat or more), these burgers offer the SAME amount of protein and iron for a similar number of calories (~250-280 calories). Many brands also provide vitamin B12 and zinc. . They are a number of minor health advantage, that I feel add up meaningfully: – slightly to moderately lower saturated fat content and potentially better type (coconut oil vs beef) – lower risk of infectious disease contamination (e.g. E. coli from slaughter houses) – potentially lower risk of cancer (red meat is a Class 2A "probable carcinogen" linked to colorectal cancer, with a strong mechanism related to high heat cooking; *at real-world doses*). . 3) They ARE safe. . The only real safety issue is allergenic potential, because of the legume content (soy or pea protein). These reactions are rare but may be severe. Caution is warranted. . Concerns about "chemicals" are unfounded. Every ingredient in these burgers is well understood and well tested. . Concerns about pesticides are equally unfounded. These burgers contain lower levels of pesticides than many organic fruits and veggies (not that those in conventional veggies are worrisome, either…). . 4) They ARE or ARE NOT a "healthy choice" depending on how you serve them. . All all-dressed fast-food burger delivers 900 calories and over 1,000 mg of sodium. Yet, less than one third of the calories and sodium are from the patty – the rest is from the toppings and bun. . For a healthy meal, grill at home, with sensible toppings and a large salad. . . Environment is another topic… @impossible_foods . #fueledbyscience #impossibleburger

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Is this gorgeous green smoothie healthy? Not according to the NOVA food guidelines, which label it "ultra-processed" thanks to gellan gum (a harmless emulsifier) in the almond milk. . The term "processed" has become a dirty word, one that sends health nuts running screaming. In some ways, this makes sense, as MOST whole foods are healthier than MOST processed foods. I'm a big fan of "eat mostly real food, not too much, mostly plants". . Yet, when we rely solely on the word "processed" to make our food choices, we can be misled. Not all whole foods are health boons. Some processed foods are nutrient rich, like infant formula. Most additives are completely harmless. . Painting all processed foods with the same brush is like using the word "chemical" as a dirty word. Hello, oxygen! . Instead, why not focus on direct measures of the things that matter to our health? Here are my big three questions: . 1) Safety – Are there any worrisome chemicals / doses (natural or synthetic!). Are there other risks (e.g. infectious diseases, allergies)? 2) Nutrients – Which desirable nutrients does the food deliver? How high is the nutrient density? What are the doses of undesirable nutrients (e.g. saturated fats and anti-nutrients)? What is the balance of beneficial versus not-so-beneficial nutrients? 3) Obesogenicity – What is the balance of nutrients that promote satiety (e.g. fiber, protein, water) to those that encourage over-consumption (e.g high sugar, fat, salt)?? . Through this lens, I rate an apple better than apple juice not "because it's unprocessed" but because it contains a highly beneficial nutrient that the juice does not: fiber. Similarly, I score whole oats more highly than flavoured instant oats, not "because it's unprocessed" but because the grain is intact and it’s lower in free sugars, which means a lower glycemic index and lower obesogenic potential. . Now, consider these "apples to zebras" comparisons. – Apple juice or an almond milk latte? – Cheese or a kale, banana, smoothie with a protein boost? – Bacon or a oatmeal with blueberry extract? . Your turn: which one is healthier and WHY? . @simpleveganblog ♥️ . . #fueledbyscience #foodscience #foodtech

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My foray into intermittent fasting is wrapping up and I have lots of juicy tidbits to share. First, I wanted to frame the discussion with some thoughts on the bigger picture. . When hubby and I decided to try 5:2 intermittent fasting, we didn't know what to expect. We were both pleasantly surprised with the results and found it gratifying to set a goal, stay the course, and crush it. . More profoundly, this experience helped me put the number on the scale in perspective. My life has not been transformed by dropping those pesky “last 5 pounds”. I am not living in a state of euphoria. I'm still the same highly imperfect person. . Most days, I let myself down in one way or another. I get impatient and raise my voice with my kids (I'm still kicking myself for over-reacting last night when my son "ignored" me). I don’t invest enough energy in my marriage. I let little things get me down. I am not great at practicing gratitude, despite having a ridiculously wonderful life. To top it all off, I get annoyed with myself for all of these failures, which only makes things worse. . Why can't I simply celebrate myself, and my life, imperfections and all? I don't have the answer but I assure you that losing weight is not it. Mental change is where the action is. . I don't know exactly what I'm trying to say, except that many of us (yours truly) could benefit from investing as much in our mental health, and our relationships, as we do in our physical health and appearance. If you can relate, I would love to hear your story. Undoubtedly, like weight management, there are no quick fixes and no one-size-fits-all solutions; lasting results require a lasting investment. . Thanks and hugs to my stellar instructor from @barebelleyvr for this morning's inspirational reading about self-love. Thanks, too, for the fun story photo! . . . #fueledbyscience #weightlossjourney #intermittentfasting #mentalhealth #wellness #selflove #weightlosstips

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Here today, gone tomorrow. This banana bread is a definite keeper. It's also a great example of the need for portion control, even for wholesome foods. I did not need to eat half a loaf last night! . I wasn't the only one pigging out, my kids loved it too. Seriously… we only have crumbs left, and it's only been 24 hours! . Recipe is not yet live on my website, but here's the gist of it: . 1. Take your favourite banana bread recipe – I ♥️ all things @hummusapien 2. Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour. 3. Cut the sugar / sweeteners in half (thanks to the bananas all you need is 1/4 cup maple syrup). 4. Add a bit of unsweetened applesauce if you want for extra moisture. 5. If you're really hard core, replace chocolate chips with hemp hearts (some might consider this sacrilegious!). Or, use both as done by @urhealthnut ! Genius!👏🏻 . PS Huge credit to our supernanny Paula who helped perfect this recipe! . Gorgeous photo credit to @urhealthnut . . . #fueledbyscience #healthytreats #veganbaking #egglessbaking #dairyfreebaking #plantbasedrecipes #hemphearts #bananabread #veganbananabread

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The tragic story of a teenage boy who lost his vision due to his very limited diet of processed foods holds important lessons. . As reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a teenage boy dined for years on fries, potato chips, white bread, and processed meats. He favoured them because of their texture and refused to eat anything else. . This diet was severely lacking in B vitamins, which showed up first as fatigue, and led to severe (partially irreversible) loss of eyesight. . The boy suffered from Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), a pattern of restrictive dietary choices that hinders the body's ability to grow, develop and function. ARFID is often associated with sensory preferences, such as certain textures of food. People with autism spectrum conditions are at greater risk of ARFID, as are those with ADHD and intellectual disabilities. . While ARFID is uncommon, there are universal lessons in this tragedy: . 1. Take your micronutrients seriously. Arm yourself with education and do your best to foster a diverse diet. The importance of dietary diversity transcends the meat versus meatless divide, as shown by this restrictive omnivorous diet. . Vitamin B12 deficiency is serious business – symptoms are silent for years, but damage is often irreversible. B12 is made by bacteria and is found in certain seafood, beef, and dairy products. My plant-based peers can meet their needs through fortified foods (many soy and nut milks; most nutritional yeast) or a supplement. See my website for more resources. . 2. Seek support for highly restrictive eaters. Don't rely solely on your physician. Seek out a registered dietician and consider other experts like OTs, who can help address sensory issues. Act early and follow-up often. . 3. Don't judge the way other parents feed their children. Yes, we all need to work hard at providing healthy choices every day, and modeling healthy eating. Yet, the reality is that all we only control the options, not the choices. . I have no idea what this boy's parents tried. We cannot judge those whose shoes we haven’t walked in. . . . #fueledbyscience #pickyeaters #processedfood #vitaminb12

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When you hear the sizzle, inhale the aromas, and watch the browning, it’s hard to wrap your head around the 100% plant-based origins of the #impossibleburger . When they hit the shelves, don’t say I didn’t warn you! . . After the @thegoodfoodinstitute conference in SF, I scored a visit to @impossible_foods HQ. I watched raw ingredients become a tasty burger and donned a lab coat to geek out with the scientists🤓 . Three things really struck me: . ⭐️It takes more than flavour to create a stellar burger. From the mouthwatering anticipation, to the textures, aromas, and cooking transformation, Impossible stands out in nailing all aspects. . ⭐️Plant and animal burgers have a lot in common. They are made of proteins, fats, and connective tissue (binder), along with micronutrients and flavourful chemicals. . Here is Impossible’s recipe: 🌱Protein & texture: Soy protein isolate (the dried chewy stuff sold at a health food stores) 🌱Fats: coconut oil and sunflower oil 🌱Binders: methycellulose (plant cell walls) & food starch 🌱Other nutrients & flavours: Potato protein, vitamins, minerals, yeast extract 🌱Secret sauce: Heme (binds iron). Abundant in red meat. Impossible uses clever little yeast cells to make tons of soy leghemoglobin. . When it comes to process, the plant vs animal differences are striking. Impossible’s ingredients are mixed in a bowl, whereas beef is made through a series of chemical reactions inside a cow that transforms feed (i.e. grass, corn, soy, and more) into cellular building blocks. To consider beef as a single ingredient is to vastly underestimate its chemical complexity. P.S. Small chemical differences can be meaningful… more to come on this soon. . ⭐️Burgers are the tip of the iceberg. The sky’s the limit! . This space is exploding, from ice cream (lab-grown) to eggs (from mung beans). Impossible is working on fish and other meats, aiming to surpass meat. . As our options grow, so too must our understanding of processed food and health. We can’t blindly paint all processed foods with the same brush. Some will be healthier, some will not. Stay tuned … . . . #fueledbyscience #plantmeat

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