She wrote the book – literally — on healthy eating! Catherine Saxelby is a well-respected APD, blogger and media food commentator. But wait, there’s more: she’s also an award-winning author who’s been releasing books on all aspects of nutrition for over three decades now (her first, “Nutrition for Life”, was in 1986).

Catherine has now re-introduced an updated version of her classic “Complete Food and Nutrition Companion” for today’s changing times. We recently chatted to her about the impetus behind this revision, what’s new in it – and why you need this book on your bookshelf, stat!

1. Catherine, what inspired you to author an updated version for 2018 – was it based on reader feedback, cultural shifts or other factors?

Things had changed in the world of food and nutrition, and the first edition from 2012 was getting a tad out of date. So, this revised version was inspired by factors such as food trends today and consumers wanting more info that I knew wasn’t in the original book.

2. What are the key updates from the original edition?

I inserted new sections on coconut, including coconut fat and coconut sugar (which I get asked about a lot); hemp; lupin; the downside of raw milk, due to the death of a child in Victoria in 2014; the demise of the red Heart Foundation Tick, combined with the rise of the Health Star Ratings; and folate.

Plus, I’ve updated the whole of the text to better reflect today’s nutrition thinking, e.g., discretionary foods, plant-based diets,eating less sugar, additives and which to avoid, diet for better mental health, vegan eating, low FODMAP diets, food waste, the ketogenic diet,  intermittent fasting, Paleo eating, seasonal eating, fructose and obesity, the decline in light and low-fat foods. And let’s not forget the end of diets and dieting for weight loss.

3. What gaps exist in the nutrition bookshelf that this new text fills?

There are many nutrition books from the UK and the USA, but few by Australian authors (as our market is a small one by comparison) and even fewer by qualified dietitians. I wanted to change that! So, I love finding a book with Australian stats and local food brands in it. Plus, I get a thrill to know that my book supports local Australian bookshops and publishers.

4. Among its many audiences, we see this as an important text for new dietitians starting out in their career. What advice would you offer to this group on how to get the most out of your book?

Use it as a quick reference book. Also, it helps you put information into language you can use with the general public – it’s not a book for a health professional. Just remember that it’s my interpretation of nutrition issues, and yours may be different to mine: e.g., I am not a vegan, but I understand the desire to prevent cruelty to farm animals and to improve the planet – even though these are not nutrition  issues, but ethical issues. A vegan dietitian would have a different take on these topics.

5. What do you enjoy most about being an author?

Not much, as it’s long hours of solitary work. I need to double-check everything I write to make sure I’ve quoted my sources correctly. And I always get questions that I cannot answer – which I guess is grist for the mill! But still hard to swallow – I guess that’s the complexity of foods and individuals.


Click here to learn more and purchase Catherine’s book.

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