Archive for the ‘Francy Rants’ Category

Weight loss fast or slow? Changing habits is the way to go!

October 20th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I read the headline flurry about that study conducted deducing whether you lose weight at a fast or slow rate, people gain the weight back. Somehow I knew that UNsound sound bite would be retweeted by many, good grief.

I get my eyeballs frosted with studies AND reporting like this. Both groups of study subjects were put on diet regimens designed to lose weight quickly or slowly both groups using some degree of liquid meal replacements. The last time I checked I don’t believe Optifast was served at my Thanksgiving dinner last weekend, how about at yours? I describe in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books that before you try any diet make sure it passes the Thanksgiving Dinner Test. Hit the buzzer on these folks as they fail on all accounts.

If you talk to any Yo-Yo dieter I’m sure all will agree how easy it is to lose weight, as many admit “I’ve done it many times!” There’s a clue in that statement folks it’s the word “diet” because diets don’t work – period. If you do want to lose weight the secret is in your ability and commitment to change habits and your mindset for the better, for good. I discuss in my ebook details about the National Weight Control Registry of “Successful Weight Losers”, which is a perfect group to emulate if you want to do this.

I feel for people toying with the idea of changing their habits for the better who many now stop in their tracks and exclaim “forget about it!” after reading those headlines.

Let’s hope they find wisdom to embrace change one tiny step at a time so the pebbles of change turn into an avalanche of positive results in time. Don’t give up!

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Posted in Francy Rants, Miss Behavin', Nutrition News, Successful Loser Logic, Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

Who’s winning the war on “healthy” at schools? Garbage cans perhaps

October 17th, 2014 2 Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

I have been mulling over study findings showing healthy food served in school food service departments has been feeding the garbage pales since the school’s cleansing of less healthy food. These findings and a healthy debate with colleagues got me thinking more deeply and blogging about what might be happening in this regard.

I used to work with a passionate paediatrician Dr. Bob Hilliard many years ago at Sick Kids Hospital who often asked our team “Are we winning?” I have often asked myself this question through my career to do a gut check: are we are taking the right measures and achieving the planned outcomes? Are we winning?

I’ll be honest, my heart sank when I heard this study’s findings presented about healthy food wastage in school cafeterias, good grief. When I think about these kids having unique energy and nutrient needs, many going through growth spurts, I wonder what on earth are they eating to make up for what they’re discarding to fill that hunger void?

I recall having one-on-one sessions with teens many years ago who would openly admit to me that when they have a limited amount of money on hand what they seek is food that’ll fill the hunger void economically. The word “healthy” was rarely used to my recollection, sadly. Unfortunately, what they can afford are fast food offerings. So many schools I pass are surrounded by these places. So are we winning?

Could we the experts be exacerbating even worse eating habits after this less healthy food cleansing we’ve done in schools? I have heard about positive experiences where some schools had kids involved in the decision making of food service options. I love Brian Wansink’s healthy and stealthy approach to setting up a healthier cafeteria, described in his new book Slim By Design check it out.

The bottom line for me is the importance of doing further research on this to ensure there are no unintended consequences. After all we don’t want another wave of an epidemic on top of those we already have and add psychological eating issues to the mix, which would be more difficult to fix. For kid’s sake, let’s make sure we ARE winning and make necessary changes as needed.

Something to knaw on, that’s for sure….

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Posted in Francy Rants, Miss Behavin', Policy for the People | 2 Comments »

Gotta New Drug….Yet Again…

September 15th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I heard that the FDA just approved yet another new weight loss drug, sigh. Perhaps it should have been called Burn-Off-Alot! We live in a land where anything seems possible. We assume someday someone else will find something to help solve our dilemmas. The proverbial “they”….. Alas, “they” and we already know the solution to this problem – burn more calories than you consume, repeat day after day, month after month until your weight is where it ought to be? It’s reality, albeit a harsh one for some.

We can compare life to a game of Snakes and Ladders. Remember that one? You roll the dice, hit a good tile with a ladder on the game board and move ahead a bunch of spaces…get a bad roll and you hit a snake and fall behind a bunch of spaces. Well a drug like this is like hitting the tile with the snake that really looks like a ladder, which eventually turns into a snake. Got it? Every miracle weight loss solution is the same. Not a ladder to success but a snake of a deal wrought with failure….eventually.

I find the most unfortunate part of this is that the user bares the brunt of the problems and feels something’s wrong with THEM when they yo-yo to lose then regain weight. How disheartening! The only thing wrong with this notion is the search for a miracle solution when there isn’t one.

The other thing we need to remember is we live in a land where ultra-slimness is idolized. I’m not sure if we even know what “normal weight” looks like if we bumped into it. I don’t know about advertisements you see, but the ones I see are chocked full of images of skinny wenches. Aren’t yours? Anorexia nervosa is NOT in, nor has it ever been. We’d all be better off finding a realistic comfortable weight to shoot for then stay there. Check out what the range of weight for your Body Mass Index is at the link in the right margin, be realistic and take it from there.

I can hear the laundry list of disclaimers already:

Burn-Off-Alot works best when you follow a 1,200 calorie/day diet and exercise 30-60 minutes/day. Avoid all fast food drive thrus while using Burn-Off-Alot. Avoid eating pillow sacks of junk food in front of the TV, especially after midnight or any serving the size of your head while taking Burn-Off-Alot, except a head of lettuce. Drink enough fluids while taking Burn-Off-Alot. Jumbo Slushies do not qualify as one of these fluids. Burn-Off-Alot may cause sensations of satiety (i.e. feelings of fullness) so stop eating when you feel this sensation. Keep out of reach of children, especially the skinny ones….

The next thing we know the competition will launch False-Hope-to-Slim then Skinny-Genie-Tonic with the claim “magic in a bottle”. Whatever you do, don’t fall for it….

Want more juicy details about what not to try with practical, real-life suggestions of what TO try, get my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

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Craving a Sound Sound-Bite….

September 5th, 2014 1 Comment Tags: , , , , ,

I’m having some cravings lately, for sound, reliable nutrition information – a REAL sound bite. Not those trivial sound bites we’re inundated with on social media that simply add to confusion of the topic of food and nutrition. This week was the diet face-off between Low Fat versus Low Carb diets, what gives?

When I sit back and mull all of this over I remind myself that nutrition is not black and white but mostly grey zone. There are many nuances that don’t lend themselves to straight “yes” and “no” or 1-sentence answers.

I can hear the groans already when I tout the moderation message, yet again. Sorry folks but I’ll bang that gong until your ears ring and it sinks in! The reality is our bodies NEED fat and carbs and the entire array of macro and micronutrients every single day with fluids and fiber to boot. We need fat, but not too much. We need carbs, but not too much. This sort of messaging albeit sound and reliable doesn’t cut it in the “sound bite” department of the editors.

Sadly, I’m not surprised that consumers become so confused sometimes to the point of exasperation morphing into anti-nutritionists in combat. Actually, I can hear them now “…just tell me what I’m supposed to do already!”

What I suggest you do is find a few reliable nutrition sources with credible degrees and credentials then tune out all of the noise. Then sink your teeth into REAL sound bites to help you on your personal health quest to get and stay on track.

Don’t forget an important rule of thumb in the process, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is….

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High Action Thriller Filler

September 3rd, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Another interesting study has been published by the Cornell Food & Brand Lab led by Dr. Brian Wansink. This time this savvy research team looked at various types of TV programming paired with eating. They found that people eat double while engrossed viewing a high action thriller, compared with watching a talk-show. They had the same findings whether they used M & M’s or with veggies. They also found people still ate 36% more when the volume was nixed on the thriller program. Hmmmm.

All of this got me thinking more deeply about eating with distractions which led me to impart 1 main message, and that is to avoid paired eating activities especially those involving TV viewing of any kind. One of the articles I read mentioned how it would be a good way to get “non veggie eating kids” to eat their veggies – NOT! That is a slippery slope of a strategy NOT to consider EVER as this would indelibly ingrain this bad habit.

Numerous studies have been done looking at eating with distractions that show time and time again that viewers can eat so much more mindlessly. Think about it folks, we’ve all been caught at one time or another eating with distractions whether it was a mother-load-tub of popcorn at the movies or noshing while working. Instead of focusing on the wonderful food, taste and eating experience your focus is elsewhere and that’s just a crying shame because eating enjoyment is one of life’s simple pleasures.

The take away message on this is to avoid eating with distractions at all costs, whether it’s TV viewing, driving, working. Prepare a plate of fab food, sit down at a table, eat and enjoy!

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Fall Back to Basics – Back to School No Brainer

August 27th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Everything’s so “back to school” these days isn’t it? Everywhere you turn are advertisements, articles in magazines and newspapers, features on the radio. I don’t know but it’s all so last year and the year before and well 10 years before that, even older.

It seems all I ever read about is our society being so time starved coupled with kids who are enrolled in too many activities yet don’t know the basic life skills when they emerge from the teenage wormhole. I read for the umteenth time about “back to school lunch ideas”. Ho hum. Well do I have a lunch idea for you. Let’s get kids to prepare their OWN lunch!

My Mom has had a wondrous ability to set limits and teach my three sisters and me life skills. I remember going to the grocery store with my Mom, cooking and helping in the kitchen with my Mom and even making my own lunch. Really parents, it’s not a big deal. Calling Children’s Aid never crossed my mind all those years ago.

I think there needs to be a paradigm shift getting kids involved in household functions again, don’t you? Instead of running around driving kids to so many activities consider making time to just connect with each other and catch up.

Well parents this fall is a new chapter. Why not start a new trend getting your kids involved in the kitchen. No, you’re NOT mean by taking this step. Actually you’re short changing your kids by NOT getting them involved. Sure, Little Johnny might be able to play the trombone by the time he’s 20, but he won’t know how to make a scrambled egg or a sandwich….

Just like we teach our kids their ABC’s, we also need to teach them how to make a lunch, and oh, not one you order at the drive thru….

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Twitter Tattler – Sweet Goodness Give Me Fruit!

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

I was doing my daily scanning of the Twittersphere recently and read a tweet from a woman’s magazine about sugar and fruit, good grief. My eyeballs get frosted when this sort of negative messaging about amazing food gets airtime. What gives?

The author discussed high and low sugar levels in various fruits and even dared to mention some having as much sugar as a candy bar. Ya I know that sugar is the new villain on the block these days, but the last thing we want is for people to cut down on fruit because of it when it possesses so much goodness.

We all know that added sugar is in a variety of packaged foods and drinks and having too much of the white stuff isn’t a good thing. That’s what we need to cut back on, NOT fruit.

Before setting out to write this segment I took a snack break and washed a bowl of cherries, ahhh. How I love cherries in season. The first sighting of them in the grocery store makes my heart skip a beat with glee. That article noted 4 fruits with higher sugar content – cherries, figs, mangos and grapes. First of all folks I never judge any one food using 1 parameter, such as calories or sugar unless that’s all it contains. Mother Nature’s candy IS fruit and each type does contain natural sugar but so much more goodness in its natural form it’s ridiculous.

Cherubic Cherries – Take cherries for example they’re a good source of vitamin C and fibre and have shown they can alleviate inflammation. I love how these are eaten, one juicy morsel at a time around the seed, one by one. They can’t be gobbled down mindlessly or you could crack a tooth if you’re not careful.

Fabulous Figs - Then there are figs. I have fond memories of my Dad nurturing a fig tree in our yard growing up. These provide a good source of fibre plus iron, calcium and potassium plus polyphenols. I love enjoying figs on an antipasto platter or for dessert.

Magnificent Mangos – These are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A which can promote healthy skin plus benefit immune function. I enjoy sweet succulent mango in one of the lunch salads I have most days.

No Griping About Grapes – Lastly the grape is an excellent source of vitamin C, K and manganese with polyphenols. They’er a perfect snack – so portable, so tasty perking up your taste buds naturally.

I would never in a million years steer clear of these four fabulous fruits or any other for that matter. And neither should you. I don’t see any nutritional benefit from candy bars which were compared to some of these foods from the gods. Fruit helps fill you, taste delectable and are inherently lower in calories than other foods. They serve as an excellent snack and are my first line of defence for my hunger strategy offence. Enjoy all fruit each and every day.

I add mixed berries to my morning oatmeal, enjoy a banana mid morning, plus a seasonal fruit during late afternoon’s “witches hour” that tides me over to dinner time. I add fruit to salad to punch up the flavour.

Choose Mother Nature’s candy – fruit throughout your day. I discuss a Fab Four Food Changes to make in my ebook, Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books. Check it out.

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POP Goes the Weasel….What are you pouring down your gullet?

August 1st, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

So a study came out a little while ago touting soda pop’s help with weight loss. Guess who sponsored the research? Those who follow me have heard me recommend eating your calories rather than drinking your calories, as explained in Skinny On Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books. True! I made that transition in my journey decades ago from regular pop to diet. In time I thought about what I was pouring down my gullet more deeply, hmmmm. Now I keep it simple and sip on water all day. But that’s just me…

Let’s take one step back on food and drink and remind ourselves that there is more to our food than simply the calories. Food contains macronutrients – protein, fat and carbohydrate and a myriad of micronutrients from Vitamin A through zinc all needed to help our “body as temple” function optimally.

Notice I used the word “food”. Brown bubbly fluid chocked full of sweetener and caffeine concocted by a chemist to tailor a bliss point just right to tantalize your tastebuds made in a great big vat in a factory isn’t food. Not to mention the addictive qualities of this. For some being hooked on it may make it doubly difficult to kick the habit when you feel your body crave for something so unnatural. Get hooked on phonics, or love perhaps!

So folks treat your body as a temple the way it was meant to be treated. Be mindful of every sip, nibble and nosh that goes into your pie hole. It all ends up in each and every cell of your being in no time…

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Summertime Scoop – Frozen Reality

July 4th, 2014 1 Comment 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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Posted in Foodie Fundamentals, Francy Rants | 1 Comment »

Pulp non-Fiction, Think About Your Drink!

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

While grocery shopping recently I mistakenly wandered up and down the seemingly mile-long beverage aisles, zigging and zagging the river of empty calories that flowed in those parts, swoooosh. Ok folks I haven’t railed on about what we drink in a long time. Since warmer temperatures are sneaking up on us, I thought I’d plant the seed of drinking wisdom in your noggin before you stock up at a grocery store near you.

The plethora of bevy’s that have infiltrated our lives are staggering from hot beverages, to cold, to bubbly, to flat. I say it’s time we wake up on this and dial it back, don’t you think?

Fruit Fix – Fruit juice and drinks have a health halo like no other. They tantalize your sweet-loving taste buds but fall flat on the fiber front and more. Get in the habit of eating your fruit rather than drinking your fruit. It’s way too easy to guzzle back a few 8 ounce glasses of juice which adds up to 4 fruit servings. Eating fruit helps fill you up and never lets you down. Nix that fluid fruit juice fix now!

Burst of Effervescence - How I love to rail on about soda – pop goes the weasel! Oh ye sweetened vat of food calorie nothingness that makes me crave gallons upon gallons, glug, glut, glug. It’s time to cave to the craving and put a lid on this nasty habit. Choose mineral water instead and add mint, lemons, limes or even a freshly cut cucumber and keep jugfuls in your fridge.

Blender Bender – If you are a ole smoothie lover, make a U-turn at the fast food smoothie counter and make a vat of your own. Add fruit, yogurt, skim milk and more to create a perfect fast and hearty meal or snack. Check out my Food Revolution Recipe section for a few smoothie recipes.

Caffeine Kick – Do you wonder why you and/or your kids count so many sheep at night trying to fall asleep? Maybe it’s the caffeine that has infiltrated your drinking repertoire that’s keeping you up at night, a baaaaahd habit indeed. Awareness is bliss remember! Evaluate how much your getting and cut back if you’re indeed overdoing it.

White Wonder – Milk is a white knight of beverages that is so versatile and nutrient rich it’s ridiculous. Kick hunger and nutrient emptiness to the curb with this bold bevy and include it at mealtimes every day.

Are you now soaking up some beverage wisdom? Read more about this in my e-book Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books. Before you stock up on liquid emptiness for the whole family think about your drink and be wise without compromise!

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