Thursday, August 11, 2011

Black Raspberries as a Sunscreen?

Recent research from the University of Wisconsin, has found that compounds found in black raspberries may be capable of preventing cancer in the skin when it's exposed to sunlight.

What does that mean? Well, since everyday we expose our skin to ultraviolet radiation (sunlight) it's great to have your skin as protected as possible. Sure, broad rimmed hats and sunscreen are helpful, but you can arm your skin with nutrients that will target and neutralize any harmful compounds (including free radicals) that may form in your skin when it is exposed to sunlight. Nutrients found in black raspberries though do even more. They can reduce the creation of NP-kappa, a compound that is known to be a part of cancer, that can form in the skin.

What about strawberries or blueberries? Sure, these berries are packed with lots of healthy nutrients but, they simply don't have the same effects as black raspberries in laboratory tests.

What do you do to protect your skin this summer? Ever thought about lathering your skin with orange juice? Okay, sure that's not a great idea but your skin looses vitamin C as it is exposed to sunlight - and vitamin C is a major component of collagen - the scaffolding of your skin (no scaffolding = wrinkles).

My Confession? I can be terrible about remembering to bring a hat with me when I'm taking my daughter to the park or heading out for a run. But, packing my plate with colourful foods packed with lots of skin-supporting nutrients I can feel a little better.

What's your best tip for beautiful summer skin?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Healthy BBQ Ideas

Yahoo! The heat is here and it's time to stoke up the bar-b-ques and pour ice into our drinks. It's summertime - and, here are some great items to add to your next BBQ menu.

Delicious Discs
Dice the following foods into discs. Brush them on both sides with a bit of olive oil and BBQ until desired softness. It brings out a smoky, sweet flavour in these healthy food items...a nice change to the everyday boring burger affair.
- Pineapple, carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, eggplant, parsnips...(any more ideas...let us know.)

More Delicious BBQ Items to Try
Drizzle a little olive oil on these tasty foods and give your mouth a new summer favourite!
Cherry tomatoes on the vine, peaches (cut in half), hot peppers, mushrooms, corn in the husk.

And, don't forget broccoli. Chop it up with some cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, butter, salt and pepper and wrap into a flat package with aluminum foil...heat until desired tenderness.

My Confession - sure, I am well aware of the health concerns with eating BBQ'd blackened foods - and you should be too. Studies show that cancerous compounds can be found on blackened or charred BBQ foods. Even the best BBQ master can burn the odd piece so keep your eyes open...and, maybe cut those off.

And, be savvy. Eating BBQ foods everyday is not a great idea. If you are at risk (particularly breastfeeding women as these compounds are transferred into breast milk) it might be best to avoid BBQ feasts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Say "YES" To Food

Most of our daily food choices are about saying "no". No, I can't eat gluten. No, I shouldn't eat ice cream and cake. No, that's not a healthy choice, I shouldn't eat that, or this. Why has making food choices turned so negative? Society is full of media reports about which foods you should NOT eat, and marketing companies convincing us that certain foods are BAD choices. What happened to being excited about what you eat? Food should be fun. We should be spending our days saying, "YES! I'll eat that!"

Shout out "YES" to an afternoon snack of yogurt. Lick your lips when looking at fresh fruit at the market this summer. Smile when you sit down at the table and feast your eyes on the delicious colourful dinner plate in front of you. Feel good about your food. And, enjoy every bite.

So, take a pack with me. No longer will we suffer in the pantry of NO. No longer will our food decisions be haunted with negativity and darkness. Instead, we will smile when we see a food we are going to eat. We will rejoice in excitement about saying YES to a food. Make a pack that your diet will become fun, positive and exciting. Change around your mentality about food. Say "yes" to food.

My Confession of the Day? To keep my food experiences positive, I fill my fridge with all YES foods, so there is never the opportunity to say NO. And, sure - I may have baked some cookies on the weekend but I see them as a YES food. Instead of telling myself all day, NO - don't eat those...I say, YES, I can enjoy one cookie after dinner with my herbal tea - why not, right? Food is supposed to be fun. We eat every day - why not enjoy the experience.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Healthy Summer BBQs

Summer fun always includes good friends, good food and bbqs! When bringing out the BBQ this summer here are some tips to make it a little healthier:

1. Use dry rubs versus wet, gooey sauces - they tend to blacken less.

2. Don't eat black - the black char on your meat or veg is not healthy for you.

3. Avoid the BBQ if you're pregnant or breastfeeding - some concerns exist around the consumption of harmful compounds on blackened BBQ foods.

4. Add some veg to the mix - sliced sweet potato, carrots, zucchini lightly brushed with olive oil are delicious. Keep the pieces big to help them from falling through the grates on the BBQ. For smaller vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, onions, mushrooms put them in an aluminum foil packet with a little oil (add a tsp of butter with a clove of garlic for a crowd favourite.)

5. Turn down the heat - cook your food a little slower and its more juicy, less burnt and delicious!

My Confession? I love to eat BBQ food. There is something so delicious and fun about it. But, I'm terrible for turning up the heat too high. Treat your BBQ more like an oven (slower, longer cooking times are generally easier to master and keep the food cooking the way you want it).

Have a favourite BBQ tip or recipe. Share it with us!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Natural Deodorant

Do they really work? And, how on earth are you supposed to know which is best?

Its summer time and that means deodorant has an all-time importance rating in your morning routine. And, if its not cutting it - you'll know quickly. So, here's some facts to get you on your way to armpit bliss.

Different Types of Deodorant
There are a few different types of deodorant. Anti-perspirants are designed to block the body's ability to sweat. This is usually done through the use of an aluminum based chemical. Is this safe? Well, the idea of using aluminum regularly on armpit tissue (which is home to lymph and mammary tissue) raises some concern among folks - but, no studies link it's use with disease. Mind you, research is limited to date.

Deodorants are designed to reduce bacteria growth in the armpit. Sweat doesn't actually smell! Its the bacteria that grows in the moist environment of the armpit that smells. Conventional deodorants use an anti-bacterial agent, and a fragrance. In terms of looking for "clean" deodorants and body products, fragrances are generally a BIG "no-no". Look for natural fragrances such as essential oils for a "cleaner" smell to your deodorant. Of note, conventional deodorants can also contain parabens - which are found in tumors...thus, these may be worth avoiding until we know more.

Natural deodorants can contain natural bacteria fighters like hops, salt, lemon oil, etc. They tend to be paraben free (but, read your labels), and contain natural fragrances. They come in sprays and roll-ons, and some are even sticks. Lots to choose from.

What's your favourite natural deodorant? Let me know.

My Confession - I've been using a mineral salt stick for over two years now - and, I love it! Mind you when it's really hot and humid out, my natural deodorant just doesn't cut it...but, that's okay - its hot out...who isn't sweating???

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beating the Summer Heat

It's summer. And, in some parts of the northern hemisphere its in full swing. Today, I am sitting in humid air that feels like 40 degrees C.  What are some strategies to beat the heat - au natural?

1. Drink plenty of fluids.
Get back into carrying a water bottle around with you. Drink, drink, drink. Fill the fridge with a pitcher of water, portable drinks, filled water bottles.

2. Freeze Treats
Place some treats in the freezer so you can enjoy a cold, healthy snack and avoid the less healthy alternatives like freezies and ice cream. Cut up watermelon, grapes and blueberries and freeze them. Delicious. Use all natural, pure juice to make popsicles. Make flavoured ice cubes to splash up your water.

3. Dress Right
Wear broad rimmed hats. Loose fitting cotton clothing. Wear sandals.

4. Enjoy it!
Pull out the lawn chairs, go for a stroll down by the water...and enjoy summer (in these Canadian parts it doesn't last very long).

My Confession - I don't do well in heat. I get headaches and can be cranky. That's because I don't drink enough and tend to forget to eat when I'm hot. Don't be like me...beat the heat.

Where does the time go?

To all my blog followers. Let me take a moment to apologize for going MIA on you. I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off (sorry, that's not a pretty image), trying to sell and buy a new home. Its amazing how life gets in the way sometimes :)  And, suddenly the time has past and you realize your blog has been sitting still. I'm back...and here we go...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Probiotic Yogurt

So, what's the deal with probiotic yogurt? Is it worth it? When the media had a hay-day with the debate about the validity of health claims made by some probiotic yogurt companies many people starting to think that probiotic yogurt wasn't worth it. But, it is! Probiotics are so helpful to your body. They help you better digest food, help nutrients get into your body, improve the health of your intestines (less bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea), support your immune system, reduce cholesterol re-uptake, reduce your toxin load...and more).  And, you don't get them anywhere else (unless you like to eat kefir, and other fermented foods often). Since you don't get probiotics in your diet anymore, your intestines are worse off as E. coli and other bad bugs get to live, flourish and spit out toxins. Not a pretty picture.

Probiotics are important and yogurt is a source. But, is there enough in there? Firstly, know that all yogurt has probiotics in it. Yes, even your standard organic plain yogurt contains probiotics. And, yogurt is such a healthy food choice. Please, don't stop eating yogurt! It contains protein (which most women do not get enough of), calcium and more! But, don't choose the yogurts with all the extras (sugar, flavouring, stabilizers) - yuck!  Now, if you want to use probiotics for a therapeutic effect (say, IBS or common cold prevention) there probably isn't enough probiotics in yogurt. My guess is you'll need about 300 cups of yogurt a day to get the amount of probiotics you'd find in a high quality, high potency probiotic supplement. On the other hand, the amount of probiotics in yogurt is still useful! It can help prevent bad bugs in check, improve some occassional constipation and the like. Plus, all the nutrients in yogurt (not to mention its great taste)!

My Confession? I use both! I take a probiotic supplement daily (one with lots of different strains and tons of CFUs) and I eat my yogurt too! As for my toddler, we mix in a probiotic powder into her yogurt to help keep her immune system in top shape for all the nasty bugs she encounters at school.  Oh, and please note that I'm the author of "Probiotic Rescue" (Wiley 2008)... I'm a probiotic geek.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Are Trans Fats Contributing to Infertility?

Trans fats may decrease sperm counts according to a new study out of Harvard. Rats fed a diet rich in trans fats had lower sperm counts. This isn't surprising as previous research has found that diets rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fats can improve sperm count.

What are trans fats?
Trans fats are commonly found in processed foods as they are very stable, increase product shelf life and have a great flavor and texture profile. Crackers, cookies, hot chocolate mix, fried foods and many other processed food items are sources of trans fats.

The 'bad' about trans fats:
Trans fatty acids raise serum levels of LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol), reduce levels of HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol), promote inflammation, may cause endothelial dysfunction (problem in the blood vessels), and their consumption is associated with cardiovascular diseases.  There are well-publicized bans of trans fats in places like New York City. Canada has issued mandatory trans fat labeling on food products. Currently, it is suggested that Canadians do not consume more than 10 grams of trans fat a day. Yet, Dr. Bruce Holub (a popular and well respected spokesperson for healthy fat consumption in Canada and retired professor at the University of Guelph) has been lobbying for lower trans fat consumption - as low as 2 grams per day per person.

My Confession of the Day
Trans fats scare me. They're like transport trucks on the highway (if the highway was your arteries). They are big, scary...and, if they get into trouble on the highway - you're in BIG trouble! I avoid trans fats as much as I can. But, yes - I do enjoy the occassional french fry, but only as a monthly treat.

Fertility and Sterility Volume 95, Issue 5, Pages 1794-1797 “Trans–fatty acid levels in sperm are associated with sperm concentration among men from an infertility clinic” J.E. Chavarro, J. Furtado, T.L. Toth , J. Ford, M. Keller, H. Campos, R. Hauser

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Heartburn - Natural Solutions to Cool the Burn

Heartburn can be painful, distracting and relentless. There are many over-the-counter products you can use to cool the burn: some neutralize the acid, others create an artificial barricade stopping acid from sneaking up into your esophagus (throat), and some drugs even shut down acid production.

Are there natural solutions to heartburn? Yes, there are some other options. You can try including natural enzymes into your diet to encourage proper digestion in your body. Enzyme supplements are plentiful at your local health retailer. Or, you can try probiotics. Sometimes heartburn is caused by a bacteria called H. pylori. A probiotic called L. reuteri has been shown in clinical trials to help kill off this bacteria and restore a healthy stomach. And, you can try deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) which actually works to solve the problem instead of mask it like other heartburn medications. Plus, its safe to use during pregnancy.

As for food, you've probably already heard it all. Don't eat fatty, spicy and acidic foods. Eat smaller meals. Sit up after eating. Eat slower. Avoid alcohol. Don't exercise right after eating. Blah, blah, blah....

My Confession of the Day - I can suffer from heartburn sometimes too. Its usually caused by a change in lifestyle (particularly stress). So, if your stomach is giving you a burn these days, maybe try a little de-stress therapy like a good book, a yoga class, or a date out with a loved one.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Healthier Easter Treats for Kids

Hippitty comes the Easter bunny ...with his basket full of chocolate and candy. The sugar can turn your kids crazy. It can make adults irritable. And, can get you off your spring diet and cleansing routine. Do you want a healthier alternative to chocolate easter eggs this year? Here are some alternative ideas:

1) Non-chocolate/candy Easter Egg Hunt
Grab some plastic easter eggs at the dollar store that open. Fill them with healthier alternatives like a box of raisins, or real-fruit gummies (and, I mean real-fruit like Annie's Bunnies), nuts or pretzels.

2) Get Crafty
Stickers, colouring books, sidewalk chalk and crayons are always a great surprise for kids to find on their easter hunt. Plus, it helps keep them busy at the family dinner.

3) Make it Fun
Change the focus from getting a bunch of chocolate and candy to the annual easter egg hunt. Depending on the age of your children, either hid eggs in the open, in hard to find places...or, for your more savvy hunters you can create written clues as to where the next egg is hidden.

My Easter Confession?
The artificial additives in milk chocolate give me a headache so for years my mother-in-law has packed my easter basket with alternatives like gardening gloves, flower seeds...and, even a fun paper windmill. There is more to easter than a sugar-high.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Extreme Pantry Makeover

It's almost nine o'clock and you wander into the kitchen, flip on the light and find yourself digging in the panty. Oh, the dreaded pantry. Full of delicious treats, that you just can't resist. That bag of your favorite cookies. The box of sugary cereal. A crunchy bag of chips. The chocolate. All of which you shovel into your mouth as you make a slight moaning sound. Awe, how delicious. You lick your lips. Mmm. And, how satisfying. That's better. Just what you wanted.

And, then it hits you. You totally weren't supposed to eat that. The careful food choices you made all day - down the drain. The run you fit in before dawn this morning. Oh, how painful it was to get out of bed. Well, you'll doing that again tomorrow. Argh.

Maybe its time for an Extreme Pantry Makeover.

If its there, you'll eat it. Right!? Here's the plan. 1) Get rid of it. Either eat it all by the end of the weekend and enjoy every mouthful without guilt. Or, grab the garbage can  and through it all out now! Either way - it's your choice.  2) Make a vow to yourself. "I shall not bring these items into my home." To do that, you'll need to vow to "Never grocery shop hungry!" How do you do that? Simple. At the entry to the produce section of your grocery store, there are bean salads,  cute little take-away packages of fruit and other healthy prepared options. Grab one, open it and eat it. The price is on the top and won't change no matter how much of it you eat, so no worries - you're not stealing. (Not a bad idea to keep kids happy while in the store too).

Can't go cold turkey? Still need a pantry treat? Pick healthier snacks. Like salty chips. Grab some salty nuts at the bulk bin. Sure they're not the most healthy thing on earth, but its better. Sweets are your thing - get some fruit in the house (pineapple, berries, etc). Love ice cream - stock up on frozen yogurt or little yogurt cups (great for portion control).

My confession? Last night I gave myself a stomach ache by eating too much organic, fair trade, dark coconut chocolate while watching my favorite television show. Its not just about knowing you're not supposed to eat it, junk food is NOT good for you - and, after the moaning, lip licking, and the blood sugar can make you feel bad.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Herbal Cleansing...Your 101

Usually when a girlfriend passes on caffeinated and alcoholic drinks on girls night out, you start to wonder if she's pregnant. But, if its spring, she might be cleansing. Cleansing in the spring is very common. How do you cleanse? Well, most people use herbs to help stimulate the body's natural cleansing abilities.

Here's your herbal cleansing 101:
Milk Thistle – (silymarin) protects liver from toxins and promotes new liver cell growth.
Tumeric – traditionally used for intestinal support.
Fennel – stimulates movement of food through the stomach and intestines.
Peppermint – traditionally used to sooth the digestive tract.
Psyllium - may help reduce cholesterol, regular glucose and keeps your intestines moving.
Cascara sagrada – used to relieve constipation (a bit aggressive...see below)

Note: Cascara sagrada irritates the colon to encourage emptying. This can be too much for some people. Alternatives such as magnesium hydroxide encourage water movement into the colon, stimulating it to empty.

Today, health retailers carry lots of cleansing-kits that combine these herbs for you. If you're looking for a non-kit cleanse option, try a high quality milk thistle (80% silymarin), with a bulking agent (psyllium, wheat bran) and something to help your colon move (cascara sagrada, magnesium hydroxide).

My Confession of the Day
Ha! Cleanin' out the old pipes, eh? That's something I encourage daily - I use probiotics that are rich in Bifidobacteria (their the "B." on your probiotic labels). Plus, ensuring my diet is rich in a variety of whole foods that are packed with firbe (e.g. nuts, seeds, vegetables) works great too. Why wait for spring to clean up - do it daily.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Is Food Gossip Affecting Your Health?

Let's get a grip on reality here. Sometimes we are so caught up in food gossip, we forget to stop and think it through.

When did a dried fruit become a bad food choice? "Oh, no.", a mother at the park said to me, "I don't give her raisins. They're full of sugar." You'll never know how hard I bit my tonge. I was dying to say, "What are you giving her instead? Fake-cheese flavour crackers? Yeah, sure...that makes sense."

When it comes to finding healthy snacks for your kids (and adults too), there are lots of options. But, don't loose sight of reality. You can argue that everything is a bad choice. We can even argue that fresh fruit contains pesticides!

Let's get real. Here's the good, better, best options for snacks at the playground (and the office).
The 'Okay': Snacks that say Made with Real Fruit
The 'Better': Organic raisin (miniboxes)
The 'Best': Fresh organic fruit
Note: 'Made with real fruit' does not mean it's fruit. It could mean that they simply use some fruit juice as flavouring. Be label savvy - read carefully.

My Confession...
Its so easy to get all swept up in food gossip. Oh, that's high in fat. Oh, that's full of sugar. Sure, even I, (with all my savvy food knowledge) can find myself nodding away with the mob at such comments. STOP! What nature makes is always best. Just because a package claims its better for you - it probably isn't. In fact, we'd all be better off (and the environment too) if we never ate things in pacakages again.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Don't Fear Mercury in Fish

The health benefits of eating fish far out-weigh the risks. And, the risks may be lower than you think.

 The New England Journal of Medicine (2011) recently reported, that there is no increase in cardiovascular risk to people who consume fish (and, this was a decent sized study; 170,000 participants).

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish have been associated with many health benefits including heart health, reduced inflammation (joint health), proper brain development and mood balance.

The most recent Dietary Guidelines (2010): Pregnant/breastfeeding women and young children should eat atleast 8 oz. of fish (about two servings) but, no more than 12 oz. per week. Note: these are American guidelines. A serving is about the size of a deck of cards.

Which fish is best?
Swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel and some shellfish tend to store more mercury than flesh fish (salmon, tuna). Salmon, tuna, sardines and anchoives are great sources of the key omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA.

My Confession of the Day - I am a strong believer in the benefits of fish. It is a great source of protein and good fats (nutritionally it is way better than your alternatives - a burger or even a chicken leg)! Sure, it can be a pain to cook. If you hate cooking it, than try a small can of tuna on top of a salad or, in a sandwich once a week. Then, you just need to cook one fresh fish serving a week..Voila, c'est facile!

Taking a quality fish oil supplement is a great idea too (which are guarenteed to be mercury free) - particularly for those of us with high cholesterol...but, that's another story.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Read This Blog!

Wow! A big thanks to all of my new readers. The number of readers has doubled each week this month! And, now is attracting readers from Canada, the United States, and Europe. Thanks for tuning in!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring "Cleansing"

Enough with the snow and wind chill. Bring on the warm weather. Its time for tulips, warm sun and...well, spring! And, with spring comes that urge to clean. Windows, closets and gardens aren't the only places many of you may be cleaning. Ever wondered about doing a spring "cleanse"?  Here's the 101 on spring cleansing.

Cleansing generally means you're allowing your body a chance to clean up. It's like slowing down to clean off your desk at work. Every day your body has to deal with toxins in our air, food and cosmetics. Your skin, liver, kidneys and blood can't really keep up, so toxins build up in our body (similar to the pile of papers that continues to grow beside me on the desk).

First time cleansers may want to try a cleansing kit. Look for ones with milk thistle extract (silymarin 80%), as this liver supporting herb is key to a happy cleanse (note: the liver takes the toxins in your blood and puts them into your bile for excretion from your body).

Make sure there is lots of fibre in the kit (or in your diet) to help trap the toxin-filled bile. And, look for a cleanse with a colon-mover like cascara sagrada (or I perfer magnesium hydroxide as its less aggressive).

Meanwhile, try to eat a clean diet for the duration of the cleanse. Skip the lattes with whipped cream, and drive past the drive-thru. Try to eat organic. Drink lots of water. And, get lots of rest. And, don't worry, a good cleanse kit will not strap you to the porcelain thrown, or ask you to stand on your head.

My confession - I know the benefits of cleansing can include fewer headaches, a happier digestive system, more energy, clearer skin and more...but, I am terrible at remebering to do them twice a year (spring and fall) as most holistic folks suggest. Now, if there was only a "cleansing kit" for closets - that would be fantastic!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Eat Steak for a Quieter Baby?

Grab a knife ladies and beef-up your diets during your first trimester. A new study published in the journal of Early Human Development has reported that a mom's intake of vitamin B12 (found in meat) may affect how much her baby cries.

Here's more details...
Researchers in the Netherlands measured the amount of vitamin B12 (found in animal meat and products, and less prevalent in vegetarian foods) in the blood of approximately 3000 pregnant women at the end of their first trimester. The researchers then measured how much the babies cried after birth, and how long. Babies whose mothers had the lowest amounts of vitamin B12 in their blood stream during their first trimester, were eight times more likely to cry for prolonged periods of time.

What foods contain lots of Vitamin B12?
Fish, fortified cereals, yogurt, beef, chicken.

My Confession of the day? Always take science with a grain of salt.
Here's why. Sitting in an upbeat dinning room at a local restaurant, I was excited to spill the beans about my pregnancy to my childhood girlfriends, when the waiter came with a succulent slab of steak for dinner. I didn't bock at the plate. Instead, enjoyed every juicy bite despite comments from my already-mommy girlfriends about how they were almost vegetarians during their first trimesters. I was a meat-eating preggo and my daugther was not a crier. Mind you, some of my veggie-preggo friends also had happy babies. Its not a perfect science - there are many factors involved in why your baby might cry. If you're having trouble with a little one who is crying a lot try reading up on probiotics and colic, switch the formula you're using, ask for help, take time for yourself, and never give up.

For more great information on what to eat during pregnancy, check out my book "The 100 Healthiest Foods to Eat During Pregnancy" (Fairwinds 2009).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Guilty Eating

Why does food make us feel so guilty? It's not really fair.

It's Monday again. Anyone feeling a little guilty about what they ate this weekend?  Even if it was just one bad meal of pizza, wings and potatoe chips on Saturday night, we can be feeling terrible about falling off the healthy wagon. Do we feel the same amount of emotion about eating right? Maybe we should!

We should feel elated, joyful and excited everytime we eat something healthy. If we did, we'd be much happier people. If we did, we would spend most of our wakeful hours in a fantastic mood. Hmm, maybe that's some real food for thought!

My confession of the day - I am a nutritionist who doesn't feel very guilty about eating the odd unhealthy food. In fact, I like to use the "One Treat A Day" rule. I'm allowed one small guilty pleasure a day - but, without any guilt. Trust me - it works. Give it a try. I'm a terribly happy person because of it. Try it - and, go your food and your mood!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Buffet Blues

Many folks are heading to the sunny south to sit on the beach, soak in some sun rays and stuff their faces at the buffet. Beautiful displays of bountiful flavors, colours and textures. Buffets are home to thousands of options, leaving your mouth watering and stomach growling. But, will your buffet adventure leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable?

There are two types of buffet eaters: The Grazer and The Creator. The Grazer likes to try a little of this, and a little of that. The Creator finds the various parts to create a meal (e.g. smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese, tomato slices and onion). Which are you?

The Grazer may get lucky with a combination of food choices that sits well in their stomach. But, not likely. The Creator may fair better - that is only if they stick to one plate...many creators go back for more. Its just so hard to resist!

My confession today - I'm a creator who is really a grazer since I just can't stop at one plate. And, everytime I go to a buffet - I regret it.

A Solution - pack lots of probiotics and enzymes into your beach bag this March Break.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You Really Are What You Eat!

We can all hear our mom's saying it, "You are what you eat!". But, is there more truth to this saying than you may have originally thought? Donuts are round and dense. Gravy is dull looking and slow moving. Celery is crisp, slender and sturdy. Fish is quick and agile. Hmm...maybe we really are what we eat.

Sure, we all know that after stuffing our faces with with a super sized burger and fries we tend to feel sleepy, stuffed and sluggish. But, after tuna sandwich with some cheese and veggies on a delicious, fresh hunk of bread we feel satisfied, positive and refueled. So, what's do you feel like having for lunch today?

My confession of the day - I just can't bring myself to eat at super size places.I know too much about what it does to your insides. Yes, its true...ignorance is bliss! Too bad I don't have that luxury.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Do People Honestly Want to Eat Better - or Not?

Why is it that people don't eat right? You all ask me questions (daily) about which food is better for you. The information is there for you. Is food and nutrition just to complicated? 

There is so much to think about when it comes to your diet. It could take up all of your brain power for an entire day. How many calories are you supposed to eat in a day? Which fats should you eat and which should you avoid (cholesterol, trans fats and omegas)?  Are you getting enough vitamin C? Vitamin D?  What about anti-aging foods - do they really work and how much of those do I need to eat to stop my wrinkles from getting any deeper?

Then, add on any regular health issues like constipation or fatigue and you're left pondering fibre intake and caffeine consuption. And, the icing on the cake for some people are health concerns like a risk of heart disease...or worse, like having to eat a diet to control diabetes, or conquer a food allergy.  It's overwhelming.

What do you think? Do you think people honestly want to know how to eat better or, do we ask nutrition questions, and read nutrition blogs because its a fad? Do you actually follow through with nutriton advice or, does it just get thrown into your overflowing cart of nutrition facts that you try to push through the grocery store aisle...and, then you go ahead and buy a package of brownies anyways. Argh!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Feeding Your Kids - What a Battle!

Probably one of the most common questions I get as a nutritionist are from mom's wondering how to get their kids to eat better. It may be a baby starting its first foods, a picky toddler who won't sit still to eat, or a 11 year old boy who won't touch his vegetables. It can be an everyday struggle to get your children to eat right.

It is your job to offer your children a choice of healthy foods. It is your children's job to decide how much if any they are going to eat. The trick is - don't give in. Keep offering healthy options. Eventually they will realize that chocolate puffs and cookies aren't on mom's menu, and start to eat the healthy foods you're offering.

Make it fun... use colour to brighten up their plates (ah-ha...I may be tricking you into getting more fruits and vegetables on their plates)...dips are always a fun addition to any kid's eating experience... make fun shapes out of foods.

And, most of all - eat too! Sit with your kids and eat the same things they are. They look up to you (even if they are in the midst of a stint of misbehaviour). They will follow your lead.

...heck, I followed my mom's lead. I used to think there was something wrong with butter as my mom never used it. Then I realized she was just trying to keep her waistline under control by avoiding "added-calories" such as adding butter on toast and potatoes.

My confession of today? I totally indulge in butter on my toast sometimes. It is delicious! And, in fact, its a better choice than margarine (but, everything in moderation of course).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Food in the News....

The evening news loves to tell us tales about food and health. Its a hot topic everywhere you look. Except, frequently the information contradicts itself. This really irritates me! Yes, my confession today - even I get sucked into watching the food story of the night on the evening news wondering, "Is that really true?". But, luckily, I'm trained on how to research and find the truth...

Let's talk about an example of a confusing 'Food in the News' - Vitamin E - is it good for you, or bad? Nutritionist know vitamin E is a vital nutrient that has many roles in the body including being a powerful antioxidant (prevents damage by free radicals). Yet, a while back there was a large study that suggested vitamin E supplements may increase your risk of death. The truth? The study participants all had major diseases and thus a naturally elevated risk of death - the news reporters misunderstood the study and reported it inaccurately. Vitamin E is good for you. Feel free to dig into some nuts, seeds and whole grains to get lots of this great vitamin.

So, for some fun, I've just added a "Food in the News Today" so you can see what's the latest news on food and nutrition. When contradictory stories come along I'll try to get you the 'low-down', the 'real-deal', the 'honest-truth' on the matter. If you beat me to finding a confounding food story - ask me about it, and I'll get digging.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tales from the Heart

I know some of you prefer to boycott Valentine's Day, claiming its another Hallmark/Consumer-ism holiday. But, I'm draped in red and pink today. I am a sucker for the sweetheart, romance of Valentine's Day.

Matters of the Heart
...its nice to have a day that reminds us to tell the people in our lives how much we love them. Sure, it would be nice if we didn't need a holiday to remind us to do kind things for our loved ones. As it would be lovely, if we didn't need death to remind us to never take the people in our lives for granted. But, sadly - life doesn't always work that way.  If you dress in red today or not, maybe take the idea of being kind to your loved ones with you into the rest of the other days of the year.

Confession of the Day
My confession today? Well, I'm not just a sucker for the romance of Valentine's day. I also love the sweet treats that come with it. I love the strawberries, dark chocolate and red candies. Since, this holiday is supposed to be all about your heart, feel good about those strawberries and dark chocolate you're devouring, as they contain lots of powerful antioxidants that support your body. But, the cinnamon hearts and cupcakes are bad news for your cardiovascular system. I know, you're thinking its the cholesterol and trans fat you really need to worry about. But, newer research is suggesting that consuming simple sugars such as those found in sweet treats are also very bad for your heart as they trigger inflammation.

Love your heart never gets a vacation.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Needing a little inspiration

There are times in life, when even the best of us need a little inspiration. Its amazing how some days you can take on the world. Projects seem to just fly off your To-Do List, all the lights are green on your way to the office and, the day just pleasantly runs along until its suddenly time to go home and enjoy your evening. Yet, there are other days when the clock seems to tick at an irritatingly slow pace, your lust for life is missing in action. You start to wonder why inspiration is like the wind - some days it blows hard enough to knock your hat off, and others it is so calm it's erie.

No matter what kind of day you're having today, never fear - the wind is always there even if you can't seem to find it. Your kite will fly high again another day. And, if your lucky and today your kite is being pulled along by the wind, smile, and be sure to enjoy it.

You may find your inspiration for life comes and goes. And, fittingly so, your inspiration to eat well and exercise will too. So, if today a salad sounds like the most delicious thing on earth - go with it and feel enlightened about your choice. Alternatively, if today a salad sounds like tasteless cardboard with zero enjoyment don't beat yourself up, like inspiration for life your inspiration to eat right will waver too.

What's eating you today? If its your inspiration - just remind yourself, we all have those days and this too will pass.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's Eating You Today?

Many of us simply don't think about food. Its plentiful. And, its easy to find. No matter where you are reading this, I'd wager a bet that there is food accessible to you within a few hundred feet.

Food is just food. But, when you really stop and think about it, food is terribly complicated. Not only is it linked with your waist line, its linked to your health and your mood. And, we need to eat - for many of us thats 6 times a day. Food is a BIG part of our day.

Now, on the other hand, some of us think about food TOO much! It takes up most of our waking hours, and even some we should be sleeping. For some food is a challenge (allergies, food preferences, medical conditions, eating disorders), to others its not. What to eat? What not to eat? It can take over your life.

I'm starting this blog to help figure out what's eating us today?  It can be so many things. Are you worried about your cholesterol? Aging rapidly? Feeling sluggish? Have kids and not sure what is best? Maybe you're an athlete and need some help? Or, maybe I'm just doing this to rank about silly food things that are eating me today! For example, as I sit here at the local mall food court, I just saw a mom buy her 2 and 4 year old girls an ice cream cone - sure, that might seem like a regular occurence but its 10:30 a.m.!!! What happened to an apple or banana as a morning snack?

Well, I suppose we are what we eat.