Archive for the ‘Nutrition News’ Category

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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Posted in Foodie Fundamentals, Francy Rants, Nutrition News | No Comments »

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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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 3 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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Posted in Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Nutrition News, Policy for the People | 3 Comments »

Fitness Grade Tanking? Go Outside and Play!

May 30th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

This Friday’s “f” word is about fitness, or shall I divulge, a lack thereof….good grief. Yet another report card has been released on how poorly Canadian kids are doing in the fitness department. To spare you the gory details the results aren’t good, yet again. There has been a cultural shift to driving kids everywhere and sign the little beggars up for organized sports, leaving them lagging yet again on the everyday fitness front, what gives?

I wish the powers that be could give my Mom – that wooden spoon wielding Mother warrior, the official role of Chief Limit-Setting Officer of all the land. Her piercing decry “GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!” still rings in my ears from when I was young. As I write this, I’m yearning to get outside to get the cobwebs out after a long day of clickity clicking on my computer keys.

All of my school days included two walks to and from school – one in the morning and back for lunch, then back and forth again, a mile each way, neither uphill! My bicycle riding skills were on the wobbly side, but my legs worked pretty well. I never froze with the cold or melted with the rain and I live to tell the tale. Nor did I need a water bottle and snack. Just there and back again twice, like Bilbo Baggins.

Mom put tight limits on the boob-tube watching too, so I have fond memories of watching The Flintstones after lunch and Get Smart before dinner. In the evenings we went out to play when homework was done then back inside when the street lights came on. It was like clockwork.

We did get signed up for lessons for swimming, skating, tennis and the like but that filled other leisure time gaps.

Now north of 50 I have established a love affair with my activity as I explain in my ebook, Skinny on Slim, the Little Black Dress of Diet Books. It’s certainly not extreme, but more on the stealthy side where I sneak it in here and there, rarely missing a day. The bottom line is I do it and I enjoy it. No I don’t feel the burn, yet I do feel the yearn if I miss it!

I think my Mom’d be up for the job of Chief Limit-Setting Officer of all the land. She’s certainly a role model as a Mother of 4 way back when, all of us who continue to get out for our daily walks – doing our personal march of the penguins to today….
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Hopping Down the Bunny Trail – Chocolate & BMI

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

I recently read about a study touting that people who ate chocolate regularly had lower BMI’s. Oh my!! Just in time for Easter, hippity hop down the bunny trail.

When I think about this dynamic my thoughts focus on our relationship with food and allowing all food to fit. No foods that are deprived. Nutrient balance is the key. Just think about it. When a food is forbidden we want it so much more and when we get it, often overdo it, eating it in excess. It’s the excess part that contributes to an increased BMI, that’s for sure. Let’s not kid ourselves on that. I discuss this in my e-book Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

If you want a bite of chocolate have it. A piece of it or two, not a meter high bunny with the big long ears. Of all of the relationships to work on (other than that with family) is that with your food – eat it, savour it, enjoy it, respect it and allow it. Create a love affair with it. When all is said and done you won’t be driven to binge to make up for what you can’t have, because you can have it.

Get that taste out of your mouth and be done with it!

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Be a SMART-y Pants with Goal Making!

September 2nd, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

I read a wise article a while back about setting goals which inspired me, hmmmmm. I did some reflecting on whether I’ve been a compliant patient over the years and it got me scratching my head, saying “welllll…..” I’ll give you an example. Some years back I was the clinical dietitian in a paediatric Lipid Clinic, intimately aware of what my team was suggesting to families.

I recall having my own bloodwork taken and my HDL cholesterol (the good one) was borderline on the low side. I was aghast and miffed! Moi? I was definitely very active but my Mom had an aorta bypass operation in her early forties. I used that as my personal excuse that there was nothing I could do… surely. When I reflect more deeply about this I remember being a consummate snacker of crackers back then. A seemingly benign food at the time. This was the era when trans fat was in a lot of our foods in Canada. Even those crackers which were lower in overall fat, what they did contain was trans fat – the worst fat of all. Who was I kidding other than myself? I ended that love affair with this food altogether while our food supply in Canada has morphed to having much less of this horrid fat to affect us negatively. My HDL’s are back to normal.

Ok back to my story line, the article I was reading made a point to encourage people to make “SMART” goals which means those that are Specific, Measurable, Actionable and Realistic and if/when followed subscribe to a planned Timeline. I love to put this into the “Just for Today” context as well to help anyone make the first step to a positive change. It’s too easy to throw ourselves under the proverbial bus by making goals too lofty it’s intimidating to even start. Also, we often look so far into the future we give ourselves heart palpitations feeling psyched out before we even begin.

I’m a big believer we need to make a variety of goals to help reinforce positive change and get into the habit of rewarding ourselves for our achievements which makes us feel motivated. Who doesn’t love a fist pump to our self esteem? No one, that’s who!!

I give a lot of tips around making goals you can achieve in my e-book Skinny On Slim on Amazon. Also available on i-Books, Kobo/Chapters, Barnes & Noble, Diesel and Sony.

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Raise your spirits? Drinking alcohol & eating…..

August 23rd, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

It has been said many times when you eat or drink more calories than you burn you gain weight. Although it seems like such a simple phenomenon, it really is far from it. Take drinking alcohol for example, I just read about a study looking at food and drink intakes of men and women who drink moderately. They showed that men consumed an additional 433 calories on days they drank moderately while women ate 300 extra.

Let’s do some math, shall we: say men drink moderately 2 days each week and overdo it by 433 calories each time while women do the same for 300 each time. In one year men could gain 13 pounds and women 9 pounds. This scenario certainly is conservative keeping in mind the multitude of “drinking opportunities”: business travel, biz lunches and biz dinners, vacations, long weekend celebrations, special occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, New Year, not to mention special family special times like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, then there are TGIF’s or a pick me up after a bummer of a day. Have I made my point? Adding alcohol to your diet without precautionary restraints is like adding gasoline to your bar-be-que and yes soul sister, it can really blow!

Some experts feel dieters should go the “Prohibition” route and dry out while trying to lose weight. I’m a big believer in learning how to handle eating and drinking challenges head on, because in life you’ll need to face these eventually, so why not start today. Also, why miss out and hide away from the joys of life?

Who doesn’t know that feeling of “throwing caution to the wind” where your diet is concerned (among other things) after that first few sips of your icy pinot gris while enjoying it to the max in an outdoor cafe near you. Although it’s easier than pie to overdo it during that time of “lower restraint” I mapped out a cheat sheet of sorts of “Strategies to Dine Out By” in Chapter 9 “Handling Curveballs & Challenges” in Skinny on Slim. Check it out, won’t you?

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

Putting Portion & Balance into Perspective

July 31st, 2013 2 Comments Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on various topics like “the evils of sugar”; “ghastly gluten”; “freakin’ fats and oils” and more. When I do this sort of reading I put the issues into focus as I think about my food loving family’s diet and general consumers, hmmmmm. Where’s that tub of ice cream?

I have to tell you I really can’t stand demonizing any food or nutrient unless it’s true poison. I worry people either become food phobic and eliminate all kinds of foods or they throw up their hands in defeat and proclaim “forget about it”, then abandon all healthy eating efforts. Moreover, some people are tempted to get more of what they’re not suppose to – our child within is relentless. Research has shown this. Can you relate?

Then I read an enlightening article about a journalist’s experience in Paris realizing people there aren’t fat, well, other than the tourist – pardon monsieur! For me this article hit the nail on the head of my core belief on all of this: it’s about balance in life – a little dab of butter, a sweetie for dessert, a splash of wine with dinner, a fresh crusty baguette at lunch, walking from point “a” to point “b” with many points in-between. I was in Paris last September and it is certainly a city worth having a love affair with – there were dabs and noshes and splashes to be had along with long walks to-ing and fro-ing, nothing in extreme, except for some shopping perhaps….

I’m not saying to throw caution to the wind because many solid studies do show that consumers are eating the sweet stuff in excess and the outcome’s not pretty. Other studies show fruits and veggie consumption which has been abysmal for years is on the decline – ug. There are oodles of evidence on how inactive kids and adults alike are. What I am saying is: is to eat food, real food from all of the food groups to nourish our bodies with every vitamin and mineral, macro and micro nutrient so we can run on all cylinders. Our masterful machine “body as temple” requires this. Check the manual! And do what our bodies were built to do – move every single day.

Balance. That’s what the world needs now to help us put our portions into perspective: “balance sweet balance”. Once we get this right perhaps we can start to lick some of the epidemics we face.

What does Barry White sing, “too much of anything’s just not good for you baby….”

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Time to Table the Menu Label

February 27th, 2013 No Comments

I love reading study results that pump up my enthusiasm! I recently read about a study conducted looking at Menu Labelling. Menu labelling as you’d might surmise is providing some details about the food listed on a menu in a restaurant.

The study tested two groups, one that did not receive any information about the food they were ordering and another group who did. The first group ordered a meal that averaged 817 calories and ate 765 calories worth while the enlightened group ate 696 calories worth.

You might not think this is any big deal, but for people who frequent these places for regular fare it can really add up in one year. It’s all about awareness and that’s exactly what the consumers need, more now than ever.

Sadly, restaurants are not yet required to provided this much needed information to it’s clientele. It’s becoming so apparent that more and more people eat out much more regularly so this aspect of people’s diet is no longer a treat and has become a routine. Consumers vastly under report this “eating out” activity when surveyed though. Who then is keeping these outlets open may I ask?? Are those empty cars in the long drive thru’s that I pass when I head home to cook a meal??

Consumers have been given detailed information on the packaged food they choose for eons now. Why then is this other segment of the food industry not held to the same degree of accountability?? Consumers deserve to know because when they do better when they know. There’s no time like the present!

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