Multiculturalism Day and Mindful Eating on Leisure Talk 大城小聚 on Fairchild Television

Jun 27, 2017Media, Reflections

June 27th is Multiculturalism Day in Canada, a day important to me as a child of immigrant parents and a first generation Canadian. Multiculturalism has shaped Canadian food, culture and identity. I find Canada, in particular, Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area so fascinating because of the many communities who live together harmoniously and call this part of Ontario home.

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Growing up Chinese in a suburban community wasn’t always easy, especially in matters of food, race and identity. When 11-year-old Taiwanese boy Eddie Huang from ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat was teased for bringing “worms” (his Mom’s noodles) for lunch, the scene triggered my own experience when I brought my own “weird, smelly or gross” Chinese food to school. Similar to Eddie, my Mother started packing me “white people lunch,” which consisted of sandwiches, Dunkaroos and juice boxes so I could fit in with better with the white kids.

However in recent years, I have noticed a tremendous shift towards embracing different ethnic foods that were once though of as unpalatable in North America. Shows like Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown has shifted the culture of food in North America to embrace new and exotic cuisines not mainstream in the U.S. or in Canada. Talented Toronto-based writer Lorraine Chuen asked this profound question in her article, who gets the authority on ‘ethnic’ cuisine? In her thoughtful essay backed up by research and stats from The New York Times Food, she explains how chefs and foodies of colour are often excluded from the stories told about “mysterious and exciting” cuisines, urging media to include people of colour in the narrative.

 

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Dietitians Michelle and Lucia talking about the Hunger Scale in Mindful Eating.

The changing landscape of embracing unique and exotic foods I see as a two-fold. For one, I am happy that my Chinese food is no longer as gross as once thought of; and secondly, this trend has given space for others and myself with similar experiences to tell our stories about food, culture, nutrition and identity. Furthermore, it has allowed me to embrace my culture and help my own community eat well and live well.
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Host Leo Shiu, Michelle and Lucia on set of Leisure Talk

Last summer, I had the privilege and pleasure of being a Nutrition Guest Expert on Fairchild Television, Canada’s #1 national Chinese media network on the show Leisure Talk 大城小聚 with my friend and colleague Lucia Huang discussing mindful eating. You can watch the whole interview below. And because Fairchild TV is a national TV network, dietitian colleagues were able to also catch my interview when it aired across the country in Vancouver!

One of the amazing things about Canada is how you will find media networks that reflect the cultural diversity which make up this country.

The principles of mindful eating in Cantonese are the same for another interview I did on CHCH Morning Live. To find the tips for healthier eating, you can read the blog post here, or click the photo below:

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The Hunger Scale used in teaching mindful eating principles
As the landscape of Canada continues to change, I am fascinated by how food teaches us about community and belonging. In Adrienne Clarkson’s Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship, she describes the unique experience of being Canadian. Immigration, parliamentary democracy, volunteerism in Canada (necessary for a young nation) and the First Nations circle, which exemplifies notions of expansion and equality – are all quintessentially Canadian.

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Photo Credit: Amazon.ca
How food teaches us about belonging and culture is an area I will continue to explore, as I continuously learn more about my culture and those around me. That 13th day of November in 2002, when June 27th was marked Multiculturalism Day in Canada, provided a platform to officially celebrate all the cultures and differences that come together to make up one nation, which is what makes living in Canada so great today.

Meet Michelle

Welcome, I'm Michelle! I'm a TV and digital media registered dietitian and Asian cuisine content creator based out of Hamilton, ON Canada!

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