Archive for the ‘Foodie Fundamentals’ Category

Proverb: What has the potential to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and connect?

February 28th, 2018 No Comments Tags: , ,

I was pondering the Nutrition Month theme more deeply as I undertook weekend food prep recently – Unlock the Potential of Food. I decided to pull out my cauldron to make one of my favourite soup recipes – Acini di Pepe. I learned how to make this from my Mom. While that was bubbling I did other prep. As the windows got steamy my thoughts meandered back to when my nephew Christopher was a toddler. He uttered his first sentence as he enjoyed lovin’ spoonfuls of my Mom’s Acini di Pepe soup ‘More soup Sassy!’  like a baby robin feeding in the nest.

I love falling back on recipes that are tried-and-true family favourites to not only carry on generations of tradition, but also to create nourishing food that’s incredibly delicious. When it’s all whipped up using simple ingredients, you get something super. This past year we learned some of my Mother-in-law’s traditional Ukrainian fare – from pierogi to cabbage rolls and borscht. None of these recipes has more than 6 main ingredients but the taste explosion and pride is infinite.

When I cook it always make sense to make a cauldron full, to enjoy and share. I think of William Shakespeare’s famous line from Macbeth: Boil boil toil & trouble, Fire burn & cauldron bubble as it comes together on the stove. I’ll be sharing vats full with various family members who are recuperating. What better to rejuvenate with homemade fare that’s a complete meal. It not only nourishes but feeds your soul too, MmmMmmmmm.

We are celebrating my Mom’s 85 birthday too. Oh that Mother of mine, that cat with more than 9 lives. She has blessed our lives in so many ways and has rallied more than Chrissy Everett leaving my worry beads worn. I cherish getting together around the family table to break bread, especially to celebrate together.

Isn’t that great about food, it has the potential to fuel you, generates wonder as you discover it through cooking, sustains you to prevent disease and fosters healing and best of all it brings us together.

It’s like a wise ole proverb: what has the potential to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and connect? What else, but food!? Why don’t you join in this Nutrition Month 2018 and Unlock the Potential of Food in your household. Find out more: www.NutritionMonth2018.ca
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Vanity UN-fair

January 19th, 2018 No Comments
I have been preparing a ‘Tee Talk’ presentation for Markland Wood Golf Club patrons. It got me thinking about questions I may get asked. I plan to address controllable risk factors in the introduction but I’m sure people will be especially interested in food and nutrition measures to stay ‘forever young’. Being north of 50 this is top of mind for me as well.

There’s rarely a week that goes by that we don’t hear about magical elixirs, tablets, lotions and potions for anti-aging – that “Genie in a Bottle” with a premium price tag with false promises. I love Tim Caulfield’s series “A User’s Guide to Cheating Death” and his book “Is Gwennth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? (spoiler alert: yes she is!) where he exposes the ugly side of the evidence-free beauty industry preying on your vanity while thinning your wallet.

When I think more deeply about anti-aging from a nutrition perspective what’s most important is working on your bodacious body from the inside, rather than simply covering up flaws on the outside. Think about it folks. There are an array of controllable risk factors that inherently promote youth without the fanfare although working on them is certainly aspirational. These include not smoking, being active (and sitting less), eating healthy, managing alcohol, sleeping enough and managing stress.

In December the Heart & Stroke Foundation released a study showing that Canadians consume almost 50% of their energy from ultra-processed foods, big sigh. How on earth can anyone expect to find the fountain of youth at the bottom of a bag of Doritos? You simply cannot. Moreover, adding a daily serving of any superfood will not optimally protect you if you regularly smoke, consume excess junk and alcohol and more. Catch my drift?

I broke off my relationship with those special products, magical lotion and skin elixirs. Hasta la vista, baby; my face hasn’t cracked yet!

Forget about turning your life on it’s head by trying the new keto-craze, going ‘clean’ or paleo. Work on the inside by enjoying nourishing whole foods, dialling down on ‘happy hour’, moving and chilling more and at the end of the day get your zzzzzz’s.

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Posted in Edit-Storial By A Foodie, Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

More Mother Nature Please…

December 30th, 2017 No Comments
While taking a walk on a snowy December day I pondered what to focus on in the coming year. Gone are the days of those New Year’s Resolutions that start with a sizzle and fizzle before the month ends. With fluttering snowflakes on my eyelashes and the whistling wind gusting through, I thought ‘AHA’ let’s get more Mother Nature in our days all the year through. Consider this:

Plants on Your Plate – If you haven’t tried dishing up half your plate with fruits and veggies every day, this is a perfect place to start. You can also include more of Mother Nature’s bounty like beans, peas and lentils in your repertoire too. Forget spending north of $100/ounce on magical anti aging cream to help you find the fountain of youth. Work on your inside instead. More plants will help you glow plus benefit your brain, your digestion and satiety. A healthy and stealthy strategy indeed!

Fuel with Nuts & Seeds – Gone are the tummy rumbling low fat days (thank goodness). Embrace the nutrient richness of nuts and seeds. They too come from Mother Earth and are great to nibble on salt free and roasted as snacks, in salads or stir fries.

Walk with Mother Nature – Get outside and play no matter what drama the weather station is dishing up. We are Canadian, eh?! Bundle up and find a path to meander along. Walking 30 minutes each day helps you inside and out, from head to toe, boosting your mood, helping you sleep, managing stress and refreshing your outlook. Who needs a trainer when Mother Nature can be your guide!

Acquaint Yourself with Mother Earth – It’s a big world out there, so plan a trip or excursion near or far on our grand planet. There are new customs to learn, languages to hear, cuisine to try, currencies to spend, wine to sip to enrich your perspective and embrace differences.

Support Mother Nature with Science – As the saying goes, “You can’t fool Mother Nature!” meaning she follows the laws of science whether you like it or not. So whatever you do or try this year, make sure it’s seeped in science because being a biological being your bodacious body depends on it – Don’t mess with the machine!

You can’t go wrong if your New Year focuses to get more of what Mother Nature has to offer in your life. Choose it. Embrace it. Prefer it. Respect it. Thrive with it.

Upward and onward from here!

 

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2017 Twelve Days of Christmas Remix

December 10th, 2017 No Comments

Hem hem hem…. Ok my cherished T & T followers. 2018 is almost upon us while the Christmas season is in full swing! Let’s sing along from the same proverbial song-sheet to get through to the New Year singing, fa la la la la, la la la la?

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

One Drummer Drumming – Marching to the beat of your own drum by being true to yourself is a perfect way to close out this year and start fresh the next. “To thy own self be true.”

Two Little Snacks – Keeping your hunger at bay will really help you from feeling ravenous which could result in over indulging.

Three Protein Servings – Having a regular eating routine with a small protein serving at each meal helps kick hunger to the curb.

Four Small Plates – Keeping your eyes on your serving size by using smaller plates can help you eat less over the holidays and everyday!

Five Comeback Lines – Prepare yourself with how you’re going to deal with food pushing saboteurs. Take the high road with a polite reply and HO HO HOld the attitude!

Six Times a Movin’ – Keeping regularly active (at least six, five-10 minute intervals of moving daily) and even taking it up a notch this time of year to offset any extra nibbling will help you burn any extra calories, keep on track, feel fit and even ease stress.

Seven Beauty Sleeps – Getting enough zzzzz’s helps with appetite control and allows you to be more productive. Nitey nite.

Eight Friends to Visit – Make an extra effort to reconnect with loved ones you haven’t seen in a while. Give yourself the gift of personal connectedness.

Nine Ladies Dancing – Rocking around the clock at your Christmas party like it’s 1999 will help you burn-baby-burn 276 calories an hour!

Ten Fruit & Veg – Eating your quota of these puppies everyday will help fill you up and ease those extras out because you’re simply feeling full. Poof, like magic!

Eleven Quiet Moments – Let stress flow away when you find quiet times to ponder life and all it’s wonders. Ummmmmm.

Twelve Times a Standin’ – Close all of your rings on your Apple Watch to combat ‘sitting disease’. “Time to stand up!”

Ok folks, if you follow this beat for the coming weeks you’ll be in better shape and feeling extra cheer by New Year for a happy Ho! Ho! Ho!, not a sour OH! OH! OH!

God bless us every one!

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Mirror mirror on the wall, which is the greatest superfood of all?? #NutritionMonth

March 30th, 2017 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Well folks, March is Nutrition Month. The theme this year is Take the Fight out of Food! Spot the problem. Get the facts. Seek support. Who doesn’t have a fight with food? Practically no one, that’s who!

I’m shining the spotlight on food fads. When I was a newly minted dietitian it seemed like some “people out there” in the “joe general public” followed food fads. But fast forward to today and many people I know are following so many misguided notions. Sadly the information highway is littered with “alternate facts” which are myths in disguise. Good grief…. Check out this three step approach:

Step 1: Spot the problem.
Let’s focus on super foods, shall we – one day the media goes cuckoo over coconut, the next season they go gaga over goji berries then on to accolades of acai, what gives? Reading and trying to follow these fads does one thing with certainty – they pack a punch on your pocketbook and create confusion for many consumers. One thing I know for sure is fundamental nutrition doesn’t go in and out of style like bell bottoms or platform shoes. Still wondering what food IS the greatest one of all?

Step 2: Get the facts.
You might have an urge to follow the “food fad du jour” with spring in the air. But remember, your bodacious body requires the entire array of nutrients every single day to run on all cylinders. The super foods I mentioned might be high in various nutrients, yet they cannot sustain life on their own – poof goes the magic! You still need to balance your nutritional requirements.

There are so many local foods that might not make it to the spotlight, yet are super just the same. Why not save your money and go loco over local every day of the year! Here are a few ideas:

  • Can’t beet a bargain! – Last year I found 10 pound bags of beets and carrots for under $5 in my grocery store. Every few months I haul one home, scrub ‘em up, roast, peel and freeze them in 1 pound bags. They are at my fingertips to make salads and add to dishes any old time.
  • Don’t be a diary contrarian! –  I am an self proclaimed dairy queen! Every week you’ll find milk, Greek yoghurt, various cheeses and even real iced cream in my grocery cart. Dairy’s nutrient richness fills any nutrient shortfall and tastes great. In my e-book Skinny on Slim, the little black dress of diet books, I suggest 4 NOT 44 changes to make to your diet. Check it out!
  • Finger on the pulse- Beans, peas and lentils are making their way to the centre of my plate more and more. There are so many delicious dishes that are also economical, it’s astounding! Give them a try!
  • Unpretentious potato – Sadly there are many unfounded starchy misconception about our PEI potatoes that need to end now.

Step 3: Seek support.
The bottom line: Make your diet super by ensuring it’s balanced. Save your money and find many nutrient rich foods right in your grocery store for a fraction of the cost of the marketed super food du jour, but with the many benefits for your body!

Do you want more advice? Find a dietitian near you: www.dietitians/find.ca

It’s not too late to take the pledge to Take the Fight out of Food! and subscribe to the e-News at www.NutritionMonth2017.ca

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Unchained

February 9th, 2017 2 Comments Tags: , , ,

I found myself on the quaint island of Malta recently. Time to dump the winter slump wrapped up with a side order of world chaos and fill my soul with peace and sumptuousness, ahhhhh.

Talk about well-timed. It’s a relief to be away from the epicentre of doom. In a mere two weeks there have been marches around the globe, wall-building plans and upheaval galore post-inauguration of Archie-Bunker-in-Chief. I shudder to think what the next 80 days will bring. It is a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad world, sadly. People will be getting their daily steps in though because of many marches to come (plan for the science march on Earth day!), but I digress.

Malta’s beautiful rocky, rolling hills, rugged cliffs and Mediterranean sea breeze are incredibly embracing. The northern countryside is dotted with yellow and white clad towns, family farms and an expanse of charm. The Maltese people are benevolent.

I love being in a place that’s perfectly unpretentious. There’s natural raw beauty, meandering trails and scrumptious, local, wholesome food with barely a restaurant chain in sight! Food miles are limited, spying a fishing boat in the blue yonder. It’s catch ended up on my plate. Nothing can be finer!

Well folks, next month T & T will feature the Nutrition Month theme – Take the Fight out of Food! Spot the problem. Get the facts. Seek support. The only food fights I’m having this week is what to choose from the nourishing offerings.

While the sequel to Alice in Wonderland meets Poltergeist unfolds, I’ll be chilling on this little isle of Heaven….

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The 12 Days of Christmas Remix

December 5th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Hem hem hem…. Ok my cherished T & T followers. Another year is zipping by and the Christmas season is in full swing! Let’s sing along from the same proverbial song-sheet to get through to the other end the same jean size, shall we?

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

One Daily BreakfastSuccessful losers say and research shows it’s the most important meal of the day. Don’t miss it!

Two Little SnacksKeeping your hunger at bay will really help you from feeling ravenous and overeating.

Three Square MealsHaving a regular eating routine with balanced meals helps you fire on all cylinders while kicking hunger to the curb. Remember that hunger management project you started in November?

Four Small PlatesKeeping your eyes on your serving size by using smaller plates is an easy way to help you eat less over the holidays and everyday!

Five Quiet MomentsLet stress flow away when you find quiet times to ponder life and all it’s wonders. Ummmmmm.

Six Times a Movin’Keeping regularly active (at least six, five minute intervals of moving daily) and even taking it up a notch this time of year to offset any extra nibbling will help you burn any extra calories, keep on track, feel fit and even ease stress.

Seven Beauty SleepsGetting enough zzzzz’s helps with appetite control and allows you to be more productive. Nitey nite.

Eight Mugs a Chuggin’Always keep that water goblet of life half full and by your side. Sip, sip, sip to my Lou throughout the day to stay well hydrated. Infuse your water with fresh mint, zesty citrus or frozen berries. Bottoms UP!

Nine Ladies DancingRocking around the clock at your Christmas party like it’s 1999 will help you burn baby burn 276 calories an hour!! Bye bye extra serving of Christmas trifle calories…..

Ten Fruit & VegEating your quota of these puppies everyday will help fill you up and ease those extras out because you’re simply feeling full. Poof, like magic!

Eleven Saboteurs to Deal WithPrepare yourself with how you’re going to deal with food pushing saboteurs. Take the high road with a polite “no thank you” and HO HO HOld the attitude!

Twelve Drummers Drummin’ Marching to the beat of your own drum puts you in the dietary drivers seat. Stick with it soul sister, you’ll be glad you did!

Ok folks, if you follow this beat for the coming weeks you’ll be in good shape and feeling extra cheer by New Year. Equip yourself with my e-book for more healthy and stealthy tips for 2017.

God bless us every one!

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Posted in Eating Vortex, Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Successful Loser Logic, Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

Want to reframe? Make a small change!

November 25th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I have written many times that it’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad world. Last season it was BREXIT, this season the Gong Show to the south….. Somehow it feels like it’s the end of the world, good grief. Quite serendipitously, I was hanging out in the Algarve, Portugal where centuries ago it was believed that the world was flat. I stood near that very edge, hmmmm.

Alas, I decided to crawl out from under the bed and face the world again. Sometimes when you feel there is little you can control, taking charge even in a small way can be uplifting. We’re staring down yet another Christmas season, followed by New Years resolution time. I say get back to that 100 Meal Journey started this past March and make a little change for the better. Are you with me?

Truth be told, I was so enthusiastic about the whole 100 Meal Journey concept that as March meandered to April, May, June with a fast forward to today the cumulative changes made have me feeling better, more energized and in better shape. Consider these ideas:

Be Adventurous
Who doesn’t love an adventure let alone someone who is adventurous? Gear up to trying something new.  Try a new recipe, such as Tangine cooking or this savoury tomato soup served with gourmet grilled cheese. How about some yummy satisfying salads to enjoy for lunch instead of fast food. Check out even more ideas.

Seal it with a KISS – better Hunger Management
Keep it simple, sweetie! Start by managing your hunger better. NO you are not going to start a diet – coconut water, eating raw or a cleanse are NOT what’s on tap now or ever. Avert your thoughts from dieting for good!
1) More Protein & Fibre at Meals – Instead of taking away food which will make you hungry, add in satisfying choices that help manage hunger optimally and make you feel fuller longer. Work in more dairy products at meals or snacks. Add nuts and/or seeds to salads. Use dinner leftovers of meat, fish or chicken in lunches in wraps or sandwiches. Include eggs as a powerhouse of protein. Up the ante on using more pulses like chick peas or lentils and choose whole grains more often.

2) Slow Down Your Eating Pace – Doing the “whoa horsey” by slowing down, tasting and enjoying food is essential. Experiencing the feeling of fullness and stopping when you begin to feel satisfied, instead of eating like a buzz saw will help you eat less almost effortlessly.

3) Strategic Snacking – If you find you’re usually ravenous at mealtime, work in a small snack or two each day in-between meal to help take the edge off. Managing your hunger more strategically will help you slow down your pace too. Forget the vending machine and choose a fresh fruit, some cut up veggies or have a handful of unsalted nuts as your perfect go-to snack.

Awareness is Bliss
Time for a reality check! Get back to facing the scale and weighing yourself regularly. Then make a routine of checking the number a few times each week. Awareness (not ignorance) is bliss!

Remember folks, one month meanders into another, then seasons come and go. We’re staring down another new year. Take it easy on yourself and embrace a small change for the next 100 meals to a healthier you. Today is a perfect day to press the re-start button!

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Scan for Solutions: Nutrition Facts for Chain Restaurant Food

June 23rd, 2016 No Comments

The pendulum has swung from consumers eating at home most of the time to eating out of the home more. I recently read that Americans are spending more on restaurants than groceries, big sigh. Back in the day eating out was considered an occasional treat. Fast forward to today and it has become a regular part of people’s eating routine. I was taking a stroll before dinner recently and heard one young girl call to her neighbour to “come outside and play’. She was met with the response, “No I need to go inside, we’re ordering dinner!” OUCH. Welcome to 2016 I guess. Time for a moment of silence…

Anyone who follows T & T will recall my stand on this issue. Some may even call me a broken record (or worse)…. All I want is for consumers to have access to the same food offering nutrition info that packaged foods provide with the nutrition facts panel. Knowledge is power and people do better when they know better. Here are a few of my posts:

I can relate though. Although I value eating nourishing home-prepared food regularly, I’ll confess that I travel a lot and consume my fair share of restaurant meals. Because of the frequency of eating out, it isn’t necessarily an indulgent treat. I aim to eat as healthfully as I can, trading off and making better choices. I’m lucky that I have a degree in nutrition and am a registered dietitian. Consumers don’t have this luxury. It is helpful that people who actively want to know what’s in their food have been used to accessing the nutrition facts panel when grocery shopping for well over a decade now.

Half of Canadians over the age of 20 live with a chronic disease like diabetes or heart disease and four out of five are at risk, with diet and lifestyle being major factors. Now that people are eating out more now than ever it’s time to reconsider making this info – and not only calories – available for consumers.

We also live in an era with technological advances up the wazoo. I can now pay for a quart of milk with my Apple Watch for goodness sake. So when I hear the chain restaurant industry drag their feet and exclaim how they would only confuse consumers by providing the nutritional profile of their offerings I say “bupkis”! Of course you can’t display a nutrition facts panel on a jammed menu board, but with human ingenuity there are certainly viable solutions.

I was in a small fishing town in Italy in May and enjoyed dinner at a tiny restaurant. On each table a scan icon similar to this image was burned in the wood that accessed their website. Upon scanning it, I had an AHA moment: Perhaps scan technology can be available for people to view chain restaurant food offerings before they get in line to order!

Not only are people spending more of their money on eating out, they have health conditions which can be helped by better nutrition. When this info – especially the astronomically negative content is central in the public eye, the offerings will be reformulated. Yes another reason to mandate this info be available.

Come on folks, it’s 2016 – certainly there are solutions for making nutrient profiles available and accessible to consumers. Where there’s a will there’s a way!

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Posted in Eating Vortex, Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Policy for the People, Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

Activity Calories or Nutrient Richness?

May 20th, 2016 No Comments

I have been following the debate about adding how much activity it takes to burn a serving of packaged food to labels lately. I mulled this over while on a two hour hike from Monterosso to Vernazza, Italy recently, hmmmmm. These two quaint towns were connected by a long trail that snaked over and around hills, dales and mountains, through vineyards, lemon orchards, ascending and descending ancient stone stairways and more. When it was all said and done my activity app indicated that I took over 17,000 steps and climbed the equivalent of 99 flights of stairs, burning 575 active calories that day – phew. My quads were singing opera and my body was crying for more than just calories….

Anyone who knows me will recall that I have used active calorie figures to illustrate key points in various blog posts: ‘Blizzard to cool you’ and ’Summertime Scoop’. I have written extensively that awareness is bliss. However, when all is said and done, I am a strong advocate that there is certainly more to food than simply the calories.

By taking this narrow minded view, it’s easy to overlook the important functions of every macro and micronutrient, mineral, fibre and water that our bodacious bodies require to function optimally every single day. Each cell has a vital role to play. When you think about it, our relationship with food is the most intimate. It has life, health and wellness sustaining roles from the billions of reactions that occur as we go about our day. Each cell doesn’t only rely on energy, but also a wide array of nutrients to make our masterful machine hum.

By only focusing on calories in food we could inadvertently over simplify some bargaining to cut back. For example, you might choose diet soda pop to drink at mealtime as a quick way to save energy instead of a glass of milk. Let’s compare the two: that brown bubbly no cal drink is a concoction made in a great big vat with only the ability to hydrate you. Although the company calls it “the real thing” it is far from real, in any natural sense. Compare it with a glass of milk, which is also hydrating. In addition to the fluid, it is a powerhouse of nutrient richness – with easily absorbed calcium, Vitamin D, satiating protein, plus a vast array of 12 essential nutrients. Talk about choosing your calories wisely! From a nutrient richness point of view, milk beats diet pop hands down.

So if you keep your abacus close-by only counting calories instead of your variety of nutrients from naturally nutrient rich foods, you’re really short changing your well being where your overall nutritional status is concerned. Adding active calories to burn a serving of food doesn’t tell you how nourishing a food is and could give consumers the wrong message. If you like a numbers game, count your nutrients. While you’re at it count your blessings too. Your body, mind and spirit will surely be filled up to be the absolute best it can be. You can count on that!

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