MAKE INFORMED FOOD CHOICES THAT TASTE AND FEEL GOOD

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

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

My mission is to help others make deliciously well-informed food choices, through the lens of science.

I created Fueled by Science to share the deep scientific research behind my food choices, and to share my family’s favourite plant-based recipes.

This is not a place for miracle diets and superfoods. It’s a place where science rules supreme, and where shades of grey are welcome. It’s a resource to help you navigate the tradeoffs we make every time we shop and eat.

Whether you are vegan, plant-based, flexitarian, reducetarian, dairy-free and omnivorous, I invite you to join me and my family in eating consciously, and loving it.

Sincerely,

Chana Davis, PhD

Is organic wine better for your health? . Wine has been on my mind, and in my glass, these past few days in BC’s wine country. . One of the differences between organic and conventional crops is the type of pesticide allowed. Organic regulations prohibit use of most manmade chemicals (numerous exceptions are made). One of the off-limits chemicals is glyphosate, the active ingredient in the world most common weedkiller, Roundup. . Given this, it’s no surprise that glyphosate levels are higher in non-organic than organic wines (and many fruits and veggies). . Are the levels in conventional wine unsafe? Should you factor them into your wine choice? . My personal answer is no. I don’t view these levels as a safety concern. I would need to consume 800 standard bottles of wine per day (600 litres) to get into trouble from the glyphosate. It’s safe to say that the ethanol would get me first! . Here are the numbers: The worst wines come in at about 50 ppb or 50 parts per billion. This means 0.05 milligrams per litre (mg/L). . National and international safety bodies estimate that a conservative safe DAILY amount of glyphosate is 0.5 mg per kilogram. For a 60 kg adult female, such as myself, this means I would be wise to stay under 30 mg per day. I certainly won’t worry about a food or drink that comes in hundreds to thousands of times below this PER BOTTLE. . I want to add that I am all for voting with your dollar to support whichever farms you want to support, and that organic is defined by more than just pesticide use. However, it pains me to see people making their choices rooted in fears, not facts. This is where I hope to help. . I’ll leave you with this quote from Paracelsus: . All things are poison, and nothing is without poison, the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison. . In other words: the dose makes the poison! . . . #fueledbyscience #bcwine #bcwinecountry #winelover #foodsafety #factsnotfear #glyphosate #agriculture #viticulture #conventionallygrown #stopthefearmongering #smartchoices #smartfoodchoices #thedosemakesthepoison #foodfacts #fakenews #standupforscience #foodscience #sciencemom

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I don’t know who had more fun this morning – me riding waves for the first time in decades, or my kids watching me transform from tired Mama to gleeful sportster! We are all loving #okanaganlife . Vacations with kids may not be restful but they are worth it. I find they allow us to escape out usual identities and relationships, and broaden our horizons! . Something tells I’ll be feeling this a lot more tomorrow than I did back in my 20s…The joys of getting older 😉 . PS I not only made some new memories today but also some new mitochondria! I recommend geeking out with @peterattiamd and Dr. Vamsi Mootha, an expert in mitochondrial biology on The Drive podcast. I came away with yet another reason to prioritize staying active – as a means to keep my mitochondria young, vibrant, and abundant. . Hugs to my partner in crime and photographer @jereclay . . . #fueledbyscience #familyvacation #momlife #twinmomlife #exercisemotivation #fitnessmotivation #mitochondria #sciencegeek #geekout #geekmoms #geekmom #fitmom #activemom

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I try hard to keep breakfast and snacktime as wholesome as possible, especially on vacation, when we dial up the random treats and eat out. . Number one, is water. Lots💦 For munching: mixed nuts, veggies and hummus, local apples, and chia crackers. . When shopping for crackers, my main criterion is fiber content. I look for at least 1 grams of fiber for every 10 grams of carbs. Those that pass are either: A) made with mostly whole grains; B) have a solid dose of added seeds or nuts, or C) both A and B. . These crackers have 3 grams of fiber for 9 g carbs so pass with flying colours. I suspect that they owe most of their fiber to the chia seeds because they are made with “wheat flour”. This may sound like whole wheat, but it’s likely refined. . I also like the fact that they are made with olive oil. The oils I try to keep an eye on are saturated fats (palm, coconut) and anything partially hydrogenated. . You can use this same 10:1 fiber test on breads, cereals, and granola bars. It helps cuts through potentially misleading terms like multigrain (it doesn’t mean whole grain!) and “wheat flour” (does not equal whole wheat) . . . #fueledbyscience #healthycarbs #wholewheat #wheatflour #highfibre #fiber #healthysnacks #healthykidsnacks #numbersdontlie #foodchoices #foodshopping

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You know you're lucky when you are excited for Monday mornings. Sitting in a cozy cafe, researching the food choices we all need to make daily, is one of my happiest places. . My interests are constantly evolving as they reflect my personal journey. Here is a sneak preview of things to come: . ⭐️ Navigating the grocery store using #factsnotfear . I have looked at butter, olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil (and ruminant trans fats), and have a few more nuggets to share before moving on to other sections of the grocery store. . ⭐️ Diet fads. I love digging into the science behind food fads. I have experimented with time-restricted fasting and tried intermittent fasting for the first time last week. I am eager to share some of my research on how fasting compares to old school caloric restriction – and my personal experience. . ⭐️The scoop on plant-based and cell-based meat and dairy alternatives. I believe these products could play a valuable role in allowing meat and dairy lovers to have their cake and eat it too, with potential for a greener, cleaner, animal-friendly impact, but warrant a critical examination. I have been following this industry since my PhD advisor, Pat Brown, started the company that became @impossible_foods , and inspired me to go plant-based. . ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Lastly, I also wanted wanted to clarify something very important. The information I share is always rooted in my research and not influenced by industry sponsorships. I have no financial ties to the alt-meat industry, Big Ag, Big Dairy, Big Coconut… or any other industry! . My only sponsor is my hubby 😘 who I am so grateful for- he is supporting me in following my heart. . This week is family vacation so I won't be cranking out as much content as usual but I'll be checking in here and there. . 📸 @mwulff.7 @bespokevitality . . . #fueledbyscience #foodscience #foodchoices #bigag #foodshopping #groceryshopping #dairyindustry #dairyfree #altmeat #plantbasedmeat #cellbasedmeat #plantstrong #healthyfamilyfood #fasting #fastingforweightloss #intermittentfasting #trf #timerestrictedeating #mindfuleating

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Is canola oil healthy or harmful? . Canola oil was created in the 1970s (in Canada🇨🇦) by selectively breeding rape plants, an unfortunately named type of mustard (genus Brassica, like kale and broccoli). It was designed to drastically dial down two undesirable characters: glucosinolates and erucic acid. . The health news on canola is mixed. Good news first: . ⭐️ It’s budget-friendly, neutral tasting, and has a high smoke point. This makes it a safe choice for high heat cooking and baking. . ⭐️ The mix of fats in canola oil is generally favourable: ✅ Low in saturated fats ✅ Rich in omega-3 fatty acids (second to flax oil) ✅ Solid ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (about 2:1) . Now the bad news: . ⚖️ Lacking in other nutrients (versus seeds and nuts) ⚠️ Contains small amounts of trans fats WHEN REFINED. Say what?! Keep reading…the dose makes the poison! . Levels of trans fats in refined canola oil (and other refined oils) are in the same league as the ruminant trans fats found in beef and dairy – around 2-3% of total fats. The WHO suggests under 2 grams of trans fats per day – lower is better. This means above 5 Tbsp of canola oil (or butter) daily could mean trouble. Benefits of zero versus very low intake are unclear. . Canola haters have other health concerns that are not so valid, in my scientific opinion. . ❌ Fear of GMOs. There is nothing harmful about eating DNA that has a single gene altered. Period. ❌ Fear of pesticides. You would have to seriously chug canola oil daily to get into trouble with glyphosate. ❌ Fear of hexane. There is no evidence to substantiate any risk to consumer health when foods contain trace residual concentrations of hexane (0.8 parts per million). ❌Fear of euric acid. Levels of max 2% (average 0.6%) are so low that there is no plausible risk. . My bottom line: I view canola oil as healthy choice, in moderation. I use it for high-heat cooking and baking. I tend to use other unrefined oils for low heat cooking and salads. . . . #fueledbyscience #canola #canolaoil #goodfats #saturatedfats #badfat #transfats #oils #plantoils #plantnutrition #healthychoices #foodscience

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Is coconut oil healthy or harmful? . I’ll start with the punchline: I feel very comfortable enjoying coconut oil – in moderation. I wouldn't want to consume large amounts daily, but I also wouldn't completely shun any food that contains it. I also wouldn't go out of my way to add it to my diet. . Here are three related reasons underlying my caution – and that of experts like the American Heart Association: . ⚠️ Compared to polyunsaturated plant oils, coconut oil raises levels of LDL "bad cholesterol", which is a strong predictor of heart health. ⚠️ Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats to the tune of 80-90%. Replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats is a big win for heart health. . Coconut oil does have a few good things going for it. . ✅ It raises "good" HDL cholesterol. ✅ It contains MCTs (medium chain trigylcerides), which may be more favourable than the LCT (long chain triglycerides) abundant in most animal products. They are metabolized quickly in your liver. . Yet, it would be a mistake to equate MCT oil with coconut oil as these fats are just part of the mix: . ~12% of the total fats are clearly medium chain (length 8-10 carbons) = MCTs ~30% are long (length 14-18 carbons) = LCTs ~50% are intermediate length (12 carbons = lauric acid). This fat can be metabolized either as an MCTs or an LCT. ~8% are unsaturated fats. . ⚠️ Caveat: The strength of the evidence around coconut oil and health is weak to moderate (small studies, short term, imperfectly controlled). I’m taking a cautious stance . Last but not least, I should mention that the fat profile of virgin and refined coconut oil (aka copra oil) are not notably different. They do, however, differ in micronutrients. . If you're looking for black and white answers, sorry, but you're in the wrong place! . . . #fueledbyscience #coconut #goodfats #hearthealthy #hearthealthyfood #smartfoodchoices #coconutoil #healthyornot

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First we had meatless meat, now we have cowless dairy! The world's first truly faux-dairy ice cream is out. It's not made from plants. It's made in a lab by a startup called @perfectdayfoods . Before you dismiss this as “ugh”, hear me out. . This company wants you to be able to enjoy the unique taste and texture of dairy with a smaller environmental footprint and no cows torn away from their calves and turned into milk machines. . At the heart of the matter is a technique called microbial fermentation. You feed raw ingredients (amino acids) to specialized microbes, and they spit out milk proteins: whey and casein. You purify the proteins away from the microbes, and mix them with the other ingredients: fats, sugars and whatever micronutrients you want. . Similar methods have been used for decades to make protein-based medicines like insulin, as well as food ingredients like chymotrypsin, an enzyme used in cheese production (much better alternative to rennet: aka calf stomach lining) . Is it healthy? For now, it's safe to assume that it's no different than cow ice cream – a treat to enjoy in moderation. Since they are building it from the ground up they improve on milk. They have already opted for lactose free. Down the road I expect to see other tweaks to improve the health profile, such as dialing down saturated fats and ruminant trans fats. . I'm standing by waiting for the fear-mongering to start. I expect it will lean heavily on the naturalistic fallacy: that all things from nature are pure and good and that all things made in a lab are bad and unhealthy. . I am equally keen to see how this product is received in the vegan community. I for one, would be happy to enjoy it fearlessly – in moderation. . . . #fueledbyscience #veganinnovation #dairyfree #dairyfreeicecream #nicecream #mooless #veganfood #vegannews #vegantreats #dairyfreeicecream #foodfear #foodtech #factsnotfear #reducetarian #flexitariandiet #ecofood #foodtech

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