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Sea to Sky public health dietitian receives prestigious national honour


Above photo: Public Health Dietitian Gerry Kasten gets ready to cook in Vij's Kitchen.

Gerry Kasten, a public health dietitian who works in the Sea to Sky corridor, is this year's recipient of the Ryley-Jeffs Memorial Lecture Award by the Board of Directors of Dietitians of Canada (DC). The Ryley-Jeffs Award is the highest recognition that the Board of Dietitians of Canada can bestow on a DC member. Recipients exemplify dedication to the profession and a proven ability to chart new directions in the field of dietetics.

“This is really an honour, as I was nominated by colleagues, and chosen from amongst the nominees by a peer review panel. So not only a peer-driven award, but a chance to address peers on a topic close to my heart," says Gerry.

Gerry, who also teaches at UBC in the Faculty of Land and Food  Systems, will present the 2018 Ryley-Jeffs Memorial Lecture at the DC National Conference in Vancouver on June 8. His topic – “Listen… and Speak" –  will focus on weight bias and intersectionality and how to improve our current interventions to better support clients living in large bodies.

“Studies show that for people living in bigger bodies, discussions of weight  can result in the deferral of  a wide variety of preventive health care and behaviours – including getting a pap test, or trying to be active," says Gerry. “We are constantly barraged with negative messages about people in larger bodies. We need to change our framework in discussing body sizes. Through our current interventions, we're actually causing harm."

For nearly three decades, Gerry has been enhancing people's lives with practical advice on how to enjoy the deliciousness of food (see an original recipe below) to improve their health. His passion for advocacy has led him to be a trailblazer in public health nutrition, culinary arts, teaching and media. Google Gerry's name and you'll find pages and pages highlighting the many different activities he's involved in from the  welfare food challenge to household food insecurity and healthy cooking.

“I am so pleased that Gerry's passion and commitment to improving health through nutrition and healthy food choices has been recognized nationally," says Karin Olson, Chief Operating Officer, Coastal.  “We are so fortunate to have Gerry with us in VCH."

On top of his many roles and duties, Gerry is also the VCH rep on the Squamish Food Policy Council, and the Whistler Sustainability's Multidisciplinary Community Consultation about Food Sustainability for the Squamish Lillooet Regional District. But there is one activity he truly enjoys above the rest.

“That would be the regular day-to-day work of talking to parents about feeding their infants, and working with the Public Health Nurses," he says.

Gerry Kasten's kale stir-fry (Now published in a Dietitians of Canada cookbook):


  • 4 cups kale, tough ribs removed           
  • 2 leeks                                            
  • 2 tsp soy sauce 10 ml
  • ½ cup tahini 125 ml
  • 2 tsp hot pepper sauce 10 ml
  1. Julienne kale.
  2. Julienne leeks.
  3. Preheat a wok. Add about a tablespoon of a high smoke-point oil, like peanut or avocado oil. Let the oil get hot.
  4. Stir fry the leeks and kale about 2 minutes, then add soy sauce. Continue to stir fry until tender
  5. Add tahini and hot sauce.
SOURCE: Sea to Sky public health dietitian receives prestigious national honour ( )
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