a peek inside the fishbowl

02 Dec, 2010

“So do you want the good news, or the bad news?”

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

That’s exactly what Dr. Freedhoff (of Weighty Matters fame) said when I picked up the phone. He was the reason why The National was at my house the other day. (First written about here, and in a frazzled post here.)

I hardly know where to begin.

I will summarize our conversation thusly: the good news is that our family is healthy. The bad news is that our family has been deemed too healthy for national news. I spoke to the producer of the segment this afternoon, who, in fact, told me we were all “skinny.” The story they’re illustrating is about how, as a society, we’re (a) eating more and (b) the stuff we’re eating isn’t that great. The story really isn’t “what Canadians are eating” as I had understood. If the story was truly about what Canadians are eating they’d also be talking to families in different socio-economic groups from each coast… from Iqaluit (caribou steaks and fries anyone?) as well as Vancouver and PEI and somewhere in the middle. I thought the story was going to follow three families and what they ate, and then Dr. Freedhoff was going to swoop in and assess.

We’re not perfect, far from it, but I would have liked to make a point (one that needs to be made!) that parents CAN cook healthy meals from scratch for their families. We CAN focus on whole foods instead of junk foods. We CAN do it and it doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming. What we need to do is shift our priorities and focus on our health. Do you agree? Disagree?

I am not angry, just a little disappointed that we’ve ended up on the cutting room floor at this late stage in the game. But I do take comfort in the fact that we seem to be doing it right. Dr. Freedhoff has kindly agreed to look at our family food log anyway. I’m not sure what he’s going to say, because I’ve already been told it’s not very dramatic and won’t make for very good television. :)

Oy. When I think about all that time I spent measuring and weighing our food! And the time we spent with the cameraman and the reporter. AND MY POOR CLOSETS.

So. I have a digital kitchen scale to give away to one random Ottawa family. Who wants it? :)

35 Responses to "“So do you want the good news, or the bad news?”"

1 | Sherry

December 2nd, 2010 at 3:11 pm


That’s so illogical. Too healthy? If they want to talk about how Canadians are becoming unhealthy then a family like yours is EXACTLY what needs to be featured – you show that you don’t have to go completely nuts to provided balanced and healthy lifestyles.

What a weird ending. That’s exactly the kind of thing I want to see on TV really.

2 | Tiana

December 2nd, 2010 at 3:19 pm


Lame… but I’ll take your scale!

3 | Sue1788

December 2nd, 2010 at 3:23 pm


Take consolation in knowing that you’re doing it right and your family is healthy! Isn’t that what we strive for as parents? Congrats! Kinda sucks that you did all the prep for nothing.. c’est la vie.

Scale would make a great Xmas gift for my mom! I’d like it.

4 | Krista G

December 2nd, 2010 at 3:29 pm


That is awesome that you are doing so well. Don’t think about anything but that. You guys are eating rockstars! Too cool for TV, even :)

5 | Hellcat13

December 2nd, 2010 at 4:05 pm


Too bad. I was really looking forward to watching. I agree that it would have been nice to have different angles; proving that it is possible to be engaged and eat properly while not devoting every last second of your free time to it would have been a great way to offset the unhealthy examples and give tangible proof that a little extra effort goes a long way.

6 | Capital Mom

December 2nd, 2010 at 4:44 pm


That’s too bad. But really there is something comforting about know that one’s family doesn’t make good reality television. :-)

7 | Chrissy

December 2nd, 2010 at 5:14 pm


That is pretty disappointing. I would definitely like to have seen a busy family doing it right. There are so many people I know who claim to “not have the time/money” to eat and live healthy. I think it would be a great service to many Canadian families to see that it can be done. Have fun re-organizing your closets!

8 | andrea

December 2nd, 2010 at 5:15 pm


Ha! Yes, Capital Mom, it does. We are celebrating our good health with hot-air popped popcorn and mixed fruit and nut mix. :)

I will find out when the Fishbowl-free segment airs. I am curious to see who they found to replace us!

9 | bushidoka

December 2nd, 2010 at 7:19 pm


That’s crazy and irresponsible. For goodness sakes they are completely fabricating a story!!! Wow! I think it SHOULD be shown that some families are already doing it right, and here is how.

10 | Rae

December 2nd, 2010 at 7:24 pm


My son broke my analog scale a month ago. I use it for measuring meat for freezing. I would love the scale! :D

11 | Carla

December 2nd, 2010 at 7:28 pm


Sigh. Just goes to show how manufactured tv is these days, that you have to be extreme in some way to be on tv. Whatever happened to good news?
I have been wanting a digital scale for years but haven’t sprung for it. I love baking and sometimes the recipes that look great are in weight rather than cups/spoons so I have to let them go. I would love the scale!

12 | Chantal

December 2nd, 2010 at 7:33 pm


How disappointing! I am so sorry to hear that. Boooo the National!

13 | milkfacemama

December 2nd, 2010 at 8:44 pm


Lame. Lame that they weren’t straight about what they were really looking for, lame that they told you so late and extra lame that they’re going for sensationalism and not a balanced view.

14 | Alicia

December 2nd, 2010 at 9:28 pm


Ugh. I totally agree with you. Your family is exactly what they SHOULD be showing. One that makes healthy living a priority and to set an example. How sad.

15 | andrea

December 2nd, 2010 at 9:37 pm


I do understand where they’re coming from … they have some information based on some new hard data and the story wasn’t “What Canadians are eating” it’s “Canadians eat too much crap.” They are looking for people to illustrate that particular story. It turned out that I wasn’t one of them. And I’m ok with that! :)

16 | Alison in Ottawa

December 2nd, 2010 at 9:48 pm


I would like a digital scale to enhance my baking :) That would be great!

Do you think they would still give you the footage so you can at least view it for fun (and pretend you were on TV?) You could post it here and it would get quite a few viewers!

17 | bushidoka

December 2nd, 2010 at 9:53 pm


All you folks looking for a digital scale – there is a Starfrit model sold at Canadian Tire regular price 30 bucks. It goes on sale at least once or twice a year for 15 bucks, and at least once every 2 years for 10 bucks. A few weeks ago it was on for 10 bucks, but even at 30 bucks it is a really good scale. I calibrated mine against a commercial postal scale and it was only off 1 gram at 1kg, which is really good. I know literally dozens of people who have this scale (just about literally every homebrewer I know) and not a single complaint in years.

Let’s see if this link works

18 | Sasha

December 2nd, 2010 at 10:13 pm


I’m with Capital Mom on this one. Of all the reasons to get voted off the island, “you’re too good for us” ain’t bad.

19 | Liisa

December 2nd, 2010 at 10:27 pm


Congratulations on being cut (for that reason)!

I would LOVE a scale for my kitchen. And just in case I don’t win, thanks bushidoka for the tip on where to get a good deal on a decent one.

20 | Annie @ PhD in Parenting

December 2nd, 2010 at 11:00 pm


How frustrating.

That is a good fit with the post I’m writing on my blog right now, actually. I’m looking at how the media tends to want to display overly stereotyped extreme parenting styles and talk about how they are doing it wrong, rather than focus on the positives of the many, many families and many, many variations on parenting styles who are doing it right.

I thought the CBC was better than that. I guess not.

21 | canuck_grad

December 3rd, 2010 at 3:16 am


Even if the story is Canadians eat too much crap, I’m sure when he assesses he will talk about how they can improve. So they should still use your family/footage as an example of what the “after” picture should look like.

And I would love the scale too! I am in Nova Scotia, but my BFF lives in Ottawa and she is coming to visit me for X-mas, so she could take it to me!

22 | lacoop

December 3rd, 2010 at 7:53 am


Too funny. It only goes to show that most media are focused on their job, which is selling, and that means they want sensational stories. Perhaps if you had all fought at the table, and maybe Mark walked around in his underpants, and the girls were smoking cigarettes, then you would be interesting! Jersey Shore step aside, it is time for the Westboro Beach Bunch!

23 | coffee with julie

December 3rd, 2010 at 10:07 am


I have to admit that I kind of wondered about your family participating when I read the descriptor from the show saying that they are looking for families that “tend to value convenience in their meals.” That word “convenience” made me think that they are looking for families who buy pre-made, frozen or takeout food for “convenience.”

But I agree that it would be nice to round out the show with a family that IS able to make meals from scratch in a convenient way. We eat meals from scratch at least 5 or 6 nights of the week (and one night is takeout) — and we’re a family of two working parents. It can be done. And we, like you, believe it’s an important priority. Our house may be a total and utter mess, but our kids eat meals from whole foods! :)

24 | Vicky

December 3rd, 2010 at 11:00 am


How disappointing for you guys! I’d love the food scale, would help me get back on track with weight watchers for losingitinottawa!

25 | Cari

December 3rd, 2010 at 4:57 pm


I guess bad news brings in more viewers than good news. :-(

I’d love to have your scale. How much cheese is 2 oz anyways? :-)

26 | Cath in Ottawa

December 4th, 2010 at 2:28 pm


I totally agree about the media portrayal of extremes only … but the scale would be fantastic! Thanks!

27 | andrea

December 5th, 2010 at 6:58 pm


Thanks all. I’m over it now. :)
Alison in Ottawa – I’m not convinced anyone here would want to see the raw footage of me and my family. Also, I was told afterwards that it was HD. (!) Goodness. People do not need to see my pores. ;)

I realize that I didn’t set an end date for the scale giveaway, so I’m going to give people until noon December 6 to drop their name in here to win it.

I should mention that the reason I’m giving it away is because I already have one. But it is a handy little thing!

28 | Mary @ Parenthood

December 6th, 2010 at 12:57 pm


Hoping I’m squeaking in before the deadline! I currently have absconded with my mom’s scale while she’s in Portugal but I have to give it back in January so I’d love to win my own! If not, the Cdn Tire one looks interesting too!

29 | Mary @ Parenthood

December 6th, 2010 at 12:59 pm


Hey! Your server doesn’t have daylight savings time or something. Because it’s definitely not nearly 1pm yet!

30 | andrea

December 6th, 2010 at 4:03 pm


The winner of the scale is comment #14 – Alicia – who wrote:

“Ugh. I totally agree with you. Your family is exactly what they SHOULD be showing. One that makes healthy living a priority and to set an example. How sad.”

Congratulations! And thank you all for your feedback. It’s always appreciated.

31 | kev

December 7th, 2010 at 10:32 pm


It could be worse, you could be in it still… like… us. I’m hoping it’ll be interesting; I know I eat poorly, and the logging exercise has been eye-opening and interesting, and it has been informative. The bit about how we’re eating more and how it’s unhealthy is news to me, so that’ll be a good convo topic tomorrow.

32 | kev

December 7th, 2010 at 10:35 pm


err… the focus of the segment being on how we’re eating more and how it’s mostly unhealthy is news to me. a little apprehensive now, especially after explaining how I can cook three hot dogs in less than 3 minutes. ah well, fun times ahead :)

33 | Micheline Turnau

December 8th, 2010 at 2:55 pm


It would have been great to see your family so that there could be a more complete picture with regards to the reality.

34 | The kickoff post of my “no whites diet” - no sugar and no flour. >> a peek inside the fishbowl

January 3rd, 2011 at 1:27 pm


[…] a food and mood journal. If there’s anything I learned from our week of food-logging for The National Segment That Never Happened (speaking of which, you can catch it here) it’s that food logging WORKS. I am just not sure […]

35 | Reduced-sodium taco recipe, er, assembly >> a peek inside the fishbowl

April 18th, 2011 at 1:18 pm


[…] Remember that CBC National segment that my family was supposed to be on (written about here and here)? It aired back in January and is online […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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