Skip to content

MAHE Board Member Interview: Debora Durnin-Richards

We’re back for another instalment of our MAHE Board Member Interview series. Today we’re talking with Debora Durnin-Richards the Liaison for Farm to School & Fruit Share.

Debora 2013


Who are you and what do you do?

I am a Professional Home Economist currently working as the Chief Administrative Officer for our family renovation company – Kuypers Lane Creations. I also do consulting work when the topic and timing are suited to my schedule and lifestyle. So at present I am a member of the Agri-Food Research and Development Initiative Committee. Our work is to analyze scientific research applications and make recommendations for funding under the Growing Forward research and innovation programming. I am also working on a contract with the Province to assist the 2015 Rural Veterinary Task Force Committee. Their task is to review the current and future needs for veterinary services in rural Manitoba and to make recommendations to the provincial government regarding programming and funding.

I am married with two adult daughters. I love to host gatherings of family and friends around a dinner, bar-b-que, games night or home concert. My husband and I love to travel as well as enjoy the nature and pleasure of our home, yard and gardens.

How long have you been a MAHE member?

I have been a member of our home economics profession since I graduated and became a member of MAHE when it was first organized and recognized under The Professional Home Economists Act some 20+ years ago.

What do you enjoy most about being a MAHE member?

I love using the PHEc – the professional designation. It gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. Because of my work with MAHE over the years, I have also had many, many opportunities to describe, explain and discuss the profession of home economics. Being an active member, I really enjoy the interaction with other professionals at meetings, programs, events and celebrations.

What piece of advice could you offer to new PHEc’s or IPHE’s?

The practice of Home Economics is a much needed approach in today’s society. Home Economics/Human Ecology approaches individuals, families and society with an holistic view to goal setting and problem solving. Your job title does not have to be ‘Home Economist’ or ‘Human Ecologist’. The practice is relevant in almost any social enterprise, organization or arm of government. As a graduate, you can use your education and the home economics practice to promote your employment and career. Don’t be afraid to do so.

If you’re looking for more, please check our our last interview with Melissa Gabbs, Director of Public Relations. 

Share and Enjoy!

Sugar vs Artificial Sweeteners

Michael De Luca

Sugar has been around for a long time and used to sweeten many delicious food products. The production of sugar dates back to 300 A.D. when the product of sugar was first extracted from sugar cane in India. Due to the length of the extraction process sugar was considered to be an expensive spice. Along with sugar artificial sweeteners have exploded in the market.

Artificial sweeteners were created only 50 years ago, and have now become common place. Sweeteners are chemically manufactured from molecules. These sweeteners are used to replace the sweetness in common food products. Examples include baked goods, pop and processed foods. Artificial sweeteners have replaced two main types of sugar.

The two main types of sugar are refined and natural sugar. Refined sugar is made from sugar cane, sugar beets and corn. Sugar cane and sugar beets are processed to make table sugar. An example of a refined sugar would be white or brown sugar. Corn is processed to make high fructose corn syrup. This is a highly concentrated liquid sugar. High fructose corn syrup is used in foods like dipping sauces and beverages like soft drinks. Refined and natural sugars need to be consumed in moderation; they may even be hidden in foods that you would not even think. An example would be tomato sauce.
Natural sugars are found naturally in foods. Examples would be lactose in milk, honey, stevia, agave and maple syrup. Naturally occurring sugars can sometimes be considered healthier than processed sugars because they are often consumed with fibre.

The market is overwhelmed with artificial sweeteners. Three of the most popular ones are Acesulfame K, aspartame and saccharin. Acesulfame K is found in chewing gum, aspartame is found in soft drinks and saccharin is found in coffee sweeteners. There are no calories in these artificial sweeteners but they taste at least 200 times sweeter than refined or natural sugar. This may sound wonderful but artificial sweeteners have a drawback, they make you hungrier.

Which Sugars are the Most Sweet Compared to Calories per gram?

Type Sweetness Calories
Table Sugar 1 8
High Fructose Corn Syrup 1.5 3
Agave Syrup 1.5 3
Acesulfame k 200 0
Aspartame 200 0
Saccharin 200 0


Canada’s Food Guide doesn’t have a set recommendation for sugar or sweetener intake. Sugar of all types needs to be consumed in moderation. Health Canada is proposing to establish a percent daily value for sugar on our nutrition labels of no more than 100g per day for an average person. Sugar has been around for a long time and is here to stay. Therefore, we need to be mindful as a consumer to what we are eating, especially when it comes to sugar.


This article was written by Michael De Luca. Michael has always had a passion for food and nutrition. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Nutrition May 2015. He is currently working towards his professional designation and hopes to complete it before the end of this year. 

Share and Enjoy!

How Not to Share…Colds and Flu, That is!

By Millie Reynolds, Home Economist

Updated in July 2015 by the Manitoba Association of Home Economists

Fall is the season for catching colds and the flu! Needless to say, everyone would like to avoid “catching” these seasonal downers. Here are some hints that could lessen the chances of “the bug” getting ahold of you or you passing it on to others:

  • Wash hands frequently. Wet your hands with warm water. Apply soap. Wash the palms, the back of the hands, the wrists and between the fingers for 20 seconds, which is the length of time it takes to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. Rinse and dry hands. Turn off tap with the towel.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Hands should be washed before touching or preparing food, eating and after using the bathroom, handling garbage, cleaning and holding used tissue.
  • If you are not able to wash your hands with soap and water use a hand gel with 60% alcohol. Follow the same process as for washing hands with soap and water.
  • Cough into your sleeve or into a corner to avoid spreading the virus to your hands.
  • Toss used tissues into the garbage – don’t recycle!
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes. Your hands can either introduce the organisms to you or pick up the organisms from you to pass on to others.
  • If possible, refrain from touching things that others frequently touch such as door knobs, railings, and taps.
  • Do not share foods, food utensils, drink containers, water bottles, or eye or lip makeup.
  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating. Aside from having chemicals on them, they may have been the recipient of a sneeze or two when in the store.
  • Store toothbrushes so they do not touch each other. Avoid having the tube touch the toothbrush when its being loading with toothpaste. After you have recovered from the flu or a cold, throw away your toothbrush and use a new one.
  • Frequently clean the bathroom, kitchen counters and sink areas with household cleaners or a dilute bleach solution.
  • If you are ill, stay at home so you do not pass it on to others. Rest and drink plenty of fluids. If you have a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water (3 mL/1/2 tsp) salt in cup of water. See your doctor is symptoms persist more than a few days.


Saskatoon Health Region


Share and Enjoy!