Summertime Scoop – Go Figure!

July 25th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

I was scanning my Twitter feed recently and read a tweet by Tim Horton’s about “treating yourself to an Oreo Iced Cap”. On another occasion a tweet by 7-11 mentioned something about summer freebie drinks. I was intrigued, and not in a good way, hmmmmm. Feeling curious, I decided to do some number sleuthing, yet again, thinking about how people might be looking to “cool off” in the summer time and what these add up to in energy.

I get a bee in my bonnet about this sort of thing because there isn’t consistent menu labelling across Canada, if at all. Just like awareness is bliss by learning what’s in packaged food, finding this same information for fast food offerings requires a search team or an Ouija board to get the details. I have stood in line in a Starbucks in California and have changed my order because of the calorie information listed. We certainly need the basic information (if not more details) here, in the great not-so-white north. Don’t you think?

Here are some of my findings:

Tim Horton’s
Oreo Iced Cap (large) – 610 calories
Mango Pineapple Fruit Smoothie – 290 calories

7-11
Slurpee (42 oz) – 570 calories
Lemonade (12 oz) – 100 calories

Booster Juice
Ripped Berry (24 oz) – 526 calories
Mean Mocha (24 oz) – 724 calories
Acai High Impact (24 oz) – 540 calories
Tropical Tornado (24 oz) – 403 calories

My hair stands on end with numbers like these folks. Not only because most are so astronomically through the roof but also because who would ever think a super food drink such as acai would fare out so extremely high. Drinks are food too and don’t get exempt from your body’s energy balance mechanism because it’s a fluid. The fluid might wash through your kidneys, but the energy ALWAYS gets counted. There’s no white washing that system! I’m SURE people would make alternate choices if they knew this info upfront.

That 7-11 freebie Slurpee might not cost you any money while on special, but you certainly get more than you bargained for, that you may not have wanted in the first place. I’m sure you’ll choose to cool off with something OTHER than the Oreo Iced Cap from Tim’s too now that you know how many calories are in it.

If you just played a sweaty game of tennis or took a strenuous bike ride all of your positive efforts are negated by pouring these not-so-innocent bevy’s down your gullet if you choose to “treat” yourself. Stop the madness my maven!!

I’m sure now that you’re aware of what some of these contain it will get you to think about your drink before you unleash a cool one! Here’s a photo of a Citrus Smoothie I whipped up in 5 minutes flat with what I had on hand in my refrigerator – cool, refreshing, yummy, fast and easy to prepare.

If you want to read more about your drinks etc. check out my e-book Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books with healthy and stealthy ideas to help you make better choices more often.

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Sports Supports….

July 23rd, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I watched a rerun of a Marketplace show this past weekend with the spotlight on sports drinks, “nutrition” bars and shoes. How appropriate to rerun this in summer. Obviously, I have a particular interest in the sports drinks and bars. I have heard the claims that these products are backed by science, hmmmm.

I have often had “emperors new clothes” moments, scratching my head thinking, “…yes these drinks are backed by science to support athletes. But when I look right and look left in my neighbourhood, nary an athlete is in sight. What gives?” Tom Harrington, the show host, highlighted that a meagre 2% of our entire population are athletes.

It was eye opening to see his guest sports med doctor Greg Wells do bloodwork on “regular people” jogging for 45 minutes and elite athletes working out, after which time one thing was concluded, everybody needed to drink more water.

Those sports bars always make me wonder too, why eat such a thing when real food is in your midst? It was refreshing to hear our mega-medal olympian Clara Hughes say “eat real food”. Why choose something so concocted? It’s ridiculous!

I won’t get into the “shoe part” of the discussion. I did; however, buy myself new running shoes this year and was mystified by the wall-o-choices in the various stores I visited. Although I am a tortoise, I value supporting my aging feet. I was faced with the dilemma to go for the $175 pair with so many features or the $75 pair that felt just as comfy. Becoming wiser in my older age I went for the cheaper ones and figured if these fell apart I can get another pair and still have change in my pocket… They’re still doing fine.

So for you sports mavens out there – you might be an athlete in your mind, but reconsider the need to fall for these extra special products, get back to the basics and keep it real!

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Monday Motivation

July 21st, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Look up
Full cup
Sunshine
Sublime

Bird song
Days long
Warm days
Sun rays

Embrace
New pace
Outside
Don’t hide!

Produce
No excuse
Lots of choice
Let’s rejoice!

Dance or swim
On a whim
Walk or run
Have some fun!

Fresh air
Can’t compare
Summer time
Feeling fine

Seize the week
No defeat
It’s up to you
What you choose to do!

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Double Your Fitness Fun, Double The Benefit

July 18th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Another interesting and insightful study came out of Brian Wansink’s Food & Brand Lab at Cornell recently, this time looking at activity and eating. Two studies were conducted with adults. The first had study subjects believe they were either going on a “scenic” walk or an “exercise” walk around a small lake. Following their walk they were given lunch. Those we were told they were on an “exercise” walk ate 35% more chocolate pudding for dessert than those told they were on a scenic walk.

In the second study adults were given a snack after a walk. Those told they were on an “exercise” walk ate twice more M&M’s calories than those told there were on a “scenic” walk. Hmmmm, no wonder I like to think of my routine as an activity rather than exercise. I have written many times and describe in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books to build a love affair with your activity routine.

Just the words “exercise”, “regimen”, “workout” bring a few beads of sweat to my forehead from my history of bad memories of gym class and being chosen last for dodge ball, being made to run around the track and the like. Do something you love that doesn’t feel like you’re punishing yourself. Your outlook to taking that approach could have double the benefit of getting and staying in shape AND not feeling you need to compensate and eat more.

Our bodies were meant to move – walk, saunter, garden, swim, jump, ride, dance, shimmy, samba, sache, shuffle, skate, slide, ski, sweep and enjoy it!

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Enable with the Food Label

July 16th, 2014 2 Comments Tags: , , ,

Health Canada is doing a “label-otomy” of sorts on food packages and the makeover plans are showing promise. I’m sure you’ve heard.

Here are 5 proposed changes that I think will help you in your quest to choose healthier food which being suggested:

1) Revise the serving size – it is being proposed that the serving sizes of similar foods be uniform so when you compare similar products it is easier to compare two labels. They are devising reference amounts of food that consumers usually eat.

2) Regroup nutrients of concern together – the nutritional information for fat, sugar and salt, for example will be listed in a group together rather than being spaced out on the nutrient list.

3) Lump together sugar – the ingredients which are sugar using various names on the label will be consolidated together so it is more clear all of the sources of added sugar, instead of these being spread out in the list for you to find.

4) Separate out added sugar – the panel will have the added sugar on a separate line, so that you don’t need an Ouija Board to figure out how much a serving contains.

5) Create a location near the table for cautionary messages – there will be one uniform place on the label where the producer will add any note of caution so you aren’t left playing Where’s Waldo? looking for this info.

Now What’s in All the Food Consumers Choose? It’s great to better equip yourself to make better choices, thank you Health Canada. Now, all we need to know is what’s in all of the restaurant food we’ve been eating. Don’t you think? Consumers deserve to know what’s in ALL of the food they eat whether it’s from the grocery store, the drive through or a restaurant. Wouldn’t you agree.

In my ebook Skinny on Slim The Little Black Dress of Diet Booksin Chapter 7 I suggest you try Fab 4 [not 44] food related changes and reading labels is one of them. I often drum home the adage that awareness is bliss so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I suggest you take the time to find out what’s in the food products you choose. Now’s as good a time as any to go over this again.

If you haven’t already got up close and personal with the food you choose, I suggest you book a time in your calendar to acquaint yourself with the nutrition facts panel and ingredient list right in the comfort of your own home. Check out what is really in every product that makes it in to your grocery cart, then home and eventually down your family’s gullet. Don’t miss anything – go through your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer and begin making decisions on how you can make a few changes when you shop next week. You’ll agree with me that awareness IS bliss.

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World Cup or Stein!

July 14th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , ,

World cup
Play tough
Suck it up
Need some luck

Yellow card
Play hard
Ref jarred
On guard

Head shot
Make it pop
Gotta stop!
Believe it or not

Long game
No shame
Who’s to blame?
Too tame

To and fro
Watch them go
Goetze he
Stole the show

Game’s done!
Germans won!
How fun!
Undone!

Get off the duff
Move that stuff
No guff
Enough’s enough!

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What’s so super about “super food”?

July 11th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve been doing some thinking about super food lately, hmmmmm. When I think about what’s been in vogue through the ages Popeye and spinach come to mind, pomegranate, acai too, blueberries, avocados, tomatoes, even carrots. When I stand back and think about how our bodacious body works, I have learned we need a wide array of elements, those vitamins and minerals, fibre and water to make our masterful machine fire on all cylinders. You can eat carrots until the cows come home and make your skin turn orange but that wouldn’t be very super, would it?

Here’s what I think is super:

Super Routine – Our body works more efficiently when we eat and drink throughout the day such as having 3 meals and a few small snacks. Fasting or going hours on end inconsistently without eating puts your body on fasting alert which is exactly what you don’t want it to do. Practice a predictable routine and your body will love you back.

Super Balance – Unlike a car that only uses petrol, our body needs all of the vitamins and minerals, fibre plus water with a good mix of protein, fat and carbohydrates. There is not 1 superfood that will provide all of this, so why keep searching for it. I’m all for trying new healthy foods but work them into a mixed diet and solid repertoire.

Super Attitude – I write a lot about establishing a love affair with food, explained in more detail in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books where all foods fit. It’s a mindset of acceptance that kicks guilt to the curb – where it belongs.

Super Hydration – We need our fluids consistently to keep all systems functioning optimally as well. Water is the golden standard. Keep in mind caffeine and alcohol have diuretic properties so if you choose to have these, do so in moderation. Also, most food is water based and contributes to your hydration to some degree.

Super Moves – We can talk about food and drink all we like, but remember our bodies were meant to move. Get active every single day!

Super Sleep – Like every masterful machine, our body needs an appropriate amount of sleep and downtime to regenerate. If you DON’T snooze you will certainly lose!

So folks, go ahead and ride the waves of super foods coming our way. I love them all. But be mindful of choosing these in the context of balance which our bodacious body requires.

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What’s sweet, savoury, creamy and tart that goes crunch??

July 9th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

What’s sweet, savoury, creamy and tart that goes crunch?? Dessert you say? No, it’s salad, my salad! I have proclaimed myself as the best salad maker in all of the land. I make it every night and it disappears like a magician’s bunny rabbit – poof! Never a morsel left when I have company either. To me, salad should taste delectable like dessert. If you have “veggie haters” in your household, give this a try. Here are some salad basics:

Veggie Might? – Every salad has a base of fresh crunchy lettuce. I choose a different variety every week to keep things interesting in my bowl. Sometimes I use a spring mix, sometimes I feel like something bitter and use baby spinach or arugula other times romaine. I always slip in an extra veggie by adding in peeled English cucumber cubes.

Sweet Dream Believer – I add 3 sources of sweetness – multicoloured mini tomatoes, cut up fruit in season – pomegranate, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, plum, nectarine, apple, grapes, mango, grapefruit or pear; and cut up dried fruit – cherries, cranberries, blueberries or raisins.

Pucker Power – Add in some sharp cheese to make you pucker – whether it’s some shredded asiago or Romano, crumbled feta or goat’s cheese.

Crunch & Munch – Sprinkle some unsalted toasted nuts to your mix – slivered almonds, soy nuts, pumpkin or sesame seeds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans or pine nuts.

Put Some Bite in Your Bark – Include some sliced Spanish onion that adds punch to your pucker!

Get UNDressed – Grind some fresh pepper and add a dash of salt then drizzle on balsamic vinegar and olive oil. There’s no need for a plethora of bottled dressings.

Mix it up well like the Tazmanian Devil did on the Bugs Bunny Show. The cheese will add a creamy mouthfeel, while the the dried cherries will leave an endnote of cinnamon on your palate. Every forkful is a taste explosion with sweet, savoury, creamy, tartness that goes crunch! This combination will turn a veggie hater into a greens keeper who will beg for it every night. That’s the best part!

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Genie Out of a Bottle

July 7th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

Genie Bouchard is my inspiration for this fine Monday motivation. I’m sure she’s yours too! The Wimbledon fortnight was topped off with Genie in the ladies final, Vasek Pospisil winning the men’s doubles final, while Milos Raonic was in the men’s semi’s. How uncharacteristically, unapologetically Canadian with the red and white splattered on the various draw sheets. You see, I grew up playing competitive tennis (a different brand of course) so my household’s interest was piqued this fine weekend.

I loved the display of confidence, finesse, strength and determination sprinkled with polite classiness out on centre court. There is more that goes into 1 match than you can ever imagine. The hours of practice, training, commitment, family support and mental workouts to reach that point and continue to rise like a sphinx from clay dust is astounding. It got me thinking about each and every one of us. Most not professional athletes (or even close) but each with a little bit of Genie bottled up inside of us ready to splurt out, hmmmmmm.

Even though I retired my racket some time ago, my exercise routine has morphed over the decades. I did my best way back when but my frame was no longer able to endure that side-to-side, up-and-back play so I have subbed in an activity repertoire that fits my age, lifestyle, helps my flexibility, strength and fitness which I commit to each and every season of the year. In my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books I talk about building a love affair with activity and exercise, that I speak of first hand. How’s your relationship with your routine shaping up this summer?

Our bodies were meant to move. So if you’ve been a winning spectator lately watching more soccer, tennis, football, baseball and the like than getting outside to play yourself, unleash your inner Genie and make a pact to get and keep moving today and every day.

And to Genie, Milos and Vasek, thanks for being such fabulous role models and inspirations to us all. You’re world-class winners in my book, eh!

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Summertime Scoop – Frozen Reality

July 4th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ahhh it’s summer. I found myself meandering down the ice cream aisle of the grocery store and figured, hmmmm, now’s as good a time as any to write about our love affair with ice cream, MmmMmMmmm. Just last week, I was taking transit downtown and sat across from a grown lad holding one of those gi-normous cups with a lid with a straw that stood straight, a blizzard of sorts. Awareness is bliss about the nutritional value of those seasonal treats that can’t be beat!

Here’s a loose listing of the some of the large choices from DQ with numbers knocked out of the stratosphere. Yes folks, take a moment from your busy routine to scan what these goblets of goo contain. None of these are top grade choices from moi, even when I proclaim “all foods fit” – after consuming any of these you will edge out the calories for much real food in your day. Don’t kid yourself and let these numbers wash over you before you get in the car to go yonder for an icy treat. Let hell freeze over first!

Don’t let the “Health” Blizzard fool you my fine friend. There is no health halo on this master blaster with over 1,000 calories in a serving, 50 g fat and 28 tsp sugar. As the late John Pinette would say “nay nay I say”!! Keep in mind that a 3 oz steak has 174 calories and 9 g fat. And if you think you’ll be virtuous and watch everyone nosh and order a latte, check out those numbers below, these are not even a little bit good. Take a gander:

Blizzard Treats – Turtle Pecan Cluster – large 1330 calories, 67 g fat, 120 g sugar (24 tsp)

Shake it UP – Malt Peanut Butter – large 1350 calories, 72 g fat, 107 g sugar (21.5 tsp)

Arctic Rush Freeze – all flavours large is 600 calories, 15 g fat, 93 gm sugar (18.5 tsp)

Lemonade Chiller – strawberry, large 720 calories, 0 g fat, 179 gm sugar (36 tsp)

Mocha MooLatte – large, 830 calories, 30 g fat, 114 g sugar (23 tsp)

DON’T BE FOOLED, NOTHING HEALTY IN THIS CUP!
Health Blizzard – large, 1150 calories, 50 g fat, 140 g sugar (28 tsp)

My Mother often had a saying about “getting a taste out of her mouth” at a certain time of the month. So if you must choose a treat try ordering the kiddie cone and live large getting it dipped it in chocolate. I have fond memories trying to eat this treat when I was young slow enough not to get “brain freeze” but fast enough so the chocolate wouldn’t melt all over my hand, down my chin and onto my t-shirt…

TRY THE OCCASIONAL:
Chocolate dipped cone – Kids’ – 220 calories, 9 g fat, 20 g sugar (4 tsp)

SHARE THE OCCASIONAL:
Banana Split – 530 calories, 13 gm fat, 75 g sugar (13 tsp)

During the summer I occasionally buy some individually wrapped ice cream treats. I love an ice cream sandwich now and then or a mint chocolate chip bar to get that taste out of MY mouth. It doesn’t get me tempted to run after the ice cream truck in my neighbourhood or hop in the car and drive to a DQ now that these numbers are indelible on my mind. I don’t give it another thought. Neither should you! When on my western homebase in Kelowna, BC I’ll visit Moo-Licks for a scoop or two during my stay.

OCCASIONAL SPLURGE
Orange Creamsicle – 100 calories/bar

Ice Cream Sandwich – 150 calories/sandwich

Good Humour Snack pops (100 calories/pop)

Klondike cones – 270 calories, 12 g fat, 24 g sugar (5 tsp)

When I say all foods fit I mean a snack sized morsel, once in a while, such as 1-2 small treats each week – sit, savour and enjoy then forget about it. There are many summertime joys. Remember, there’s more to life than stuffing your face!

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