Your kitchen cupboards cannot lie

Teaching her clients to become food detectives has earned Debra Basch some enemies,.

Teaching her clients to become food detectives has earned Debra Basch some enemies,.

The personal fitness trainer and holistic nutritionist says she has had clients over the past 10 years who were working out, but weren’t losing weight or lowering their cholesterol. Plus they lacked energy.

“So I decided to go where the crime originated — their homes,” says the Toronto mother of two.

And what Basch found was one dirty little secret after another in the kitchens of those who agreed to participate in the makeover.

“In one kitchen cupboard, I discovered what I call a pandemic of puddings, chocolate bars, cookies and things that will last forever should they run out of fresh food,” she says. “And I thought, ‘I’ve lost this person for life.”’

Basch says she understands it is human nature for people to underestimate how much they eat and overestimate how much exercise they are doing.

“But at the end of the day the scales don’t lie or the pants don’t fit, and that tells the real truth.”

Her approach is to suggest to a client that she would like to spend about 90 minutes at their home to do some sleuthing and set parameters in how far the client will let her go in purging certain products.

She finds a gentle touch is best. In most kitchens, Basch will find boxes of sugary cereals aimed at children, “but you don’t see steel-cut oats or whole-grain cereals,” she says. “But I put the blame on the manufacturer, not my client,” she says.

She aims to make them aware of the high sodium and sugar content in processed products such as dried instant soups and some canned foods.

“I just say, ‘this is something you and your family should never be eating.”’

One of the problems is that people don’t take the time to read the labels on food packages, she says.

To demonstrate what she thinks her clients should be eating, Basch brings samples of empty boxes and containers from healthy products, such as whole-grain cereals, natural peanut butter rather than the high-sugar and sodium-rich commercial variety, probiotic and low-fat yogurts rather than high-sugar and -fat types, brown rice instead of heavily refined rice and whole-grain pasta.

“They usually buy into it, especially when I say to start out slowly,” she explains.

But she’s had clients tell her she can’t toss out a certain food because it is tantamount to wasting money.

“We get very attached to our food and we get defensive if it is taken away,” says Basch. “Most people would rather I look into their underwear drawer than their kitchen cupboards.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy speaks to his players during the team's practice Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CF Montreal puts on a show, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 in MLS season opener

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — CF Montreal, carving open Toronto FC’s defence, cruised… Continue reading

Demonstrators using umbrellas as shields approach a point in a perimeter security fence during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Journalists allege police harassment at Minnesota protests

Some journalists covering protests over the police fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,… Continue reading

A container ship is docked in the Port of Montreal, Wednesday, February 17, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Montreal dockworkers begin weekend strikes as talks drag on

MONTREAL — Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal kicked off a series… Continue reading

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Most Read