Archive for September, 2011

Finding Francy

September 28th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Well that’s it, my place of work has closed its doors, sending me out in the unemployment line of life. I must say in my 24 years of working I have not yet met such a circumstance. I do believe I’ve ducked a few times though, avoiding the evil eye of the job cutter along the way.

As odd as it sounds I did not meet the news with grim worry or shame, but with wonder and hope. Hmmmmm, I know I sound so Polly-Anna’ish, but the day this was decided Rev Run’s message read:

Good morning. It really doesn’t matter the size of your next step. What matters is the direction. (Ralph Marston)
God is Love
Rev Run

Too weird, does this guy know what I’m going through or what??!! But really folks, the world is your oyster. After every ending there IS a new beginning. Before any of this went down out of the blue I was contacted by someone who I used to work with. Hmmmmm. I do believe in serendipity and going with the flow. That call just put an exclamation point on things!!

I have pulled up my socks and reminded myself of my gifts and abilities that even in this new economic era there is still work and I will find my way. In the meantime I can write more, get into better shape, syndicate some blog stories, nab a few contracts, take some golf lessons (my putting could clearly benefit), try some new recipes and perhaps sleep in now and then. As of today, I spoke to a real editor. How great is that??!! Everything does happen for a reason and while I figure out the details of my next step I will truly enjoy my journey and land on my feet like I always do.

Well I don’t believe I’ve ever been lost, but through this change I have been given the time to be found…..more deeply. My circumstance truly is a blessing in disguise on this highway of life. Right now I’m simply idling in a parking lot!

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Take the Path of Least Resistance

September 27th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I was reading a series of articles touting what the most important behavioural changes are one should make to promote weight loss. One said walk 500 more steps a day, another said eat 250 calories less a day, still another says to get enough sleep and the list goes on and on. TIME!! Who’s right??

I think it’s up to “we the people” to decide what’s doable for us, don’t you think?? I have written time and time again that it takes about 21 days for a newly adapted behaviour to become second nature. Also, we mere mortals can take on doing 1 to 3 new changes at once. And if we keep at it consistently we can make anywhere from 17 to 52 tweaks each year. How powerful is that??

I would encourage you to make a long list of possible activity and eating changes you feel pertain to you in YOUR world. This blog literally has hundreds to thousands of tips and tricks to consider. Go ahead and enlist the support of a dietitian if you want help to get organized. If you have mastered the behaviour you’ve committed to changing after the 21 day period then add something new. If you haven’t, keep on truckin’ and working at it until you’ve mastered it, then move on.

Aim to make changes on both sides of the energy equation to burn more calories and consumer a smidgen less. Choose those ideas that seem a cinch to change first. Why not take the path of least resistance rather than the road less travelled??

I remember when I counselled patients suggesting this approach. One pitfall for many was the consumption of sugared drinks whether soda pop or juice. Once this was changed over to the sugar-free varieties and eating real fruit weight feel off for many people. This easy change can get the weight loss off to a perfect start and help build enthusiasm with having positive results.

I find once people get energized and start feeling much better about new-found behaviours the momentum can really build …..eventually to a healthier you. I think the scientists are all right. We the people simply have to figure out what’s right for each of us. We can overcome!!

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Food Revolution – PRESTO Pesto Sauce

September 26th, 2011 No Comments Tags: ,

I love the versatility of a pesto sauce. You can add it to pasta, spread it on flatbread or bread dough and make “dough OH so very dear”!! You can marinate various meats with it. The possibilities span your imagination. It packs a flavour punch like nothing else. And for me it is easy to make – yes a very important element of any recipe!!

Ingredients
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 garlic clove quartered
1/2 cup basil (or 2 Tbsp dried)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Instructions
Prepare all ingredients and add to your blender or food processor. I usually throw in a handful of pine nuts. Cover and blend at medium speed until well mixed. Voila! Refrigerate or freeze. Mix well before using.

Commentary
I love having some of this tasty sauce on hand to change up the pasta saucy scene. Add this to spaghetti and sprinkle some parmesan and serve with a side salad for a perfect weeknight dinner.

Roll out some pizza dough and spread it over, adding fresh herbs and spices on hand along with some favourite cooked veggies, sprinkle some cheeses and bake at 425 degrees F like you would a pizza and you have food for the gods and goddesses in your household!!

A few evenings ago I spread some on pork tenderloin before bar-be-quing and it tasted divine.

So, this fine recipe takes no time to make up and spruces foods up to the max, enjoy!!

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Sit Ye Down and Listen UP!!

September 25th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Often when people think about losing weight, a lot of focus goes on food and activity for obvious reasons. It is; however, as important to put our usual related behaviours under the microscope because the weight loss equation is much more complex.

Today’s focus is on where you do your eating: quite simply, sitting down to eat be it at your kitchen counter or gathering around a table is vital to your success. The secret to this weight loss nugget is having few distractions while eating such as watching the television or doing computer work while chowing down.

I have written many times about Dr. Brian Wansink’s wide array of wise research findings highlighting the “mindless eating” front and this tidbit goes along with that in spades.

Focusing in on hunger and satiety while eating is so vital, especially when we’re seeking to lose then maintain any weight loss. This is so basic yet so profound, so pull up a seat at the table and enjoy your food AND your family while you’re at it!!

Enjoy this photo. This was taken at RauDz Restaurant in Kelowna, B.C. during our first family dinner celebration of our 25th anniversary extravaganza weekend!!

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The Sugar Blues – Will that be 1 Lump or 2?

September 22nd, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Way back when it was fat, fat, fat, then it was carbs, carbs, carbs, then it was trans fat, trans fat, trans fat, then it was (and still is) salt, salt, salt, now it’s sugar. What gives?? I’m surprised citizens don’t throw up their hands in revolt then storm city hall, The White House or the parliament buildings in frustration.

I can decipher this stuff because I’m trained to as a registered dietitian. Many consumers’ patience is running thin with being given the skinny on so many aspects of nutrition. As I always say, take heart – WE WILL OVERCOME!!

A report was released this week by Statistics Canada providing an overview of how much sugar we eat. Guess what the punch-line was….we eat too much. Well isn’t that a surprise. The population average intake of added sugar is 21% while the WHO suggests 10%. Look folks put your calculators away and take stock as we tap into some common sense.

First of all take a good hard look at everyone in your household in terms of their weight status. If anybody’s overweight or obese it would be in your best interest to make some goals and change things up, not only in the sugar department but all aspects of eating and drinking. If your child is gaining weight too quickly as noted by a paediatrician using a growth chart cutting added sugar is a perfect place to start.

Second, if eating more healthily is on your radar, scan your home for food and drink with added sugar. The report showed that among adults for instance soda pop accounted for 13% of sugar intake while candy added 5%. Even though milk and fruit contain natural sugar don’t give cutting these another thought. Focus on changing the empty calorie foods that provide few if any nutrients.

A tweak here an alternative there and voila you’ve taken a few lumps for the team while barely noticing.

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What’s in this Fall? Autumn!!

September 21st, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I sensed autumn being ushered in on my morning walk. A refreshing breeze blew as the forelock on a maple tree rustled in the wind sporting an orangey hue. On the weekend I meandered past a home that had a cast-iron cauldron over a flame doing down one thing or another…..mmmm tomatoes I hoped…. How great is that??

A great time to reorganize your cave. How about the change over of your wardrobe of linens and cottons to velvets, cords and cable knits; from strappy sandals to fashion forward boots….all wrapped up in a scarf… Now that I’m 50 that bodes well on my neck…..

I have unearthed my apron making the likes of wholesome comfort food recipes such as pizza, eggplant sauce and a garlicy smooth pesto. Mmmmmm.

Daylight might be shorter having you long for fall fairs celebrating harvest. If there is any time of the year to support local, NOW is certainly the time. There is divinity in the available produce be it peaches, plums or apricots. Fill up your fruit bowl and enjoy. How do you love my new fruit bowl in this pic?? Just snagged it while visiting the Red Rooster Winery on the Naramata in the Okanagan……

For me, anytime is a perfect time to re-evaluate your eating and activity plan – but September is like a “new year” of sorts. With kids vamoosing where they belong back to school we can take stock, make stock and get ourselves unstuck, if you catch my drift.

For me fall is ALWAYS in – to harvest new goals and stock up on a new point of view. What are your plans this fall?? I’d like to know…….

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Take a Walk on the Wild Side

September 20th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

I watched the HBO special featuring Barbra Streisand the other evening. Gotta love how she sings anything, especially that Evergreen….la, la, la, la, la…. Got me thinking about Mother Nature.

Actually, a study was done showing that walking on the wild-side, outdoors makes you feel oh so much better than working out in the gym. Both make you equally fit but taking it outside puts you in a better frame of mind. Oh that Mother Nature and her sneaky tricks!!

I turned 50 this year so age, time and getting the most out of life has bubbled up to my conscienceness. Last week we were back in our favourite stomping grounds in Kelowna, BC celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary with family and friends. My cottage-loving nephews call The Okanagan Valley “BC’s Muskoka on steroids” and boy are they ever right. A walk to the elusive Paul’s Tomb aside Mount Knox puts the “leaf” back in “relief” or “raise” in the rays of sunlight or the “oh dear” when you witness a family of deer :-)

Yup this pic is me with family posing along the Kettle Valley Trestles, one of the places we trekked while together. It’s a “must visit” if you’re in K-town. Just what a family-city girl yearns for, that’s for sure.

So if you have the opportunity to go outside and play, don’t even think twice and vamoose out on the wild side. You’ll be feeling so much better when you return.

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Variety May NOT Be the Spice of Life

September 19th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

Oh for the love of routine. I’ve been a travelling willbury over the past few weeks and I’m now back in the saddle at home. Although change is good I do; however, like getting back to basics where my eating routine is concerned. And, research confirms this – some benefits of monotony.

A recent study was done giving research study participants the same food for lunch for 5 days in a row. Hmmm sounds like my routine….. They found by the 5th day they ate much less of the food offering, up to 20% fewer calories. Hey, that’s no small amount when you add it up week after week and month after month!! The researchers call this behavioural shift habituation. Essentially the volunteers get used to what’s being served due to the mealtime monotony and end up eating less. How’s that for another stealth eating tip??!!

We live in a world where the variety of choices can be staggering for many items, especially food. I know full well while being away the wonders of having too much choice. It can get you right in the belt buckle AND the pants…….. if you catch my drift.

Why not save variety for dinner time and leave breakfast and lunch meals more predictable?? I’m back to my bowl-o-porridge at breakfast with a fruit snack then my mixed lunch salads, yoghurt, cottage cheese and more fruit. Just like Josh Groban sings “(it) fills me UUUUUPPPP” and I don’t overdo it.

This strategy helps you stay on track day in and day out. Now that’s not such a bad thing this time of year before we go to hibernate, is it??!!

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Fork Logic

September 18th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Eating out is much more common these days, despite what consumers care to admit. Who doesn’t love to be treated now and then?? I know I do. Keeping your weight in check while enjoying your meals out of the home can be a challenge for many. There are a slew of stealth tips to keep in mind to help you through the tough slog of wining and dining. Take heart and we will overcome!!

A recent study found that diners at an Italian restaurant who used a larger fork ate less. The researchers noted this is applicable for large servings on large plates. Hmmmmm, who knew??

When eating out there are a few things we can try to control, but the serving size of the offerings is not one of them. Using the grande fork is one stealth strategy to keep in mind in this setting. You can also aim to have a mini snack before you go out to curb your appetite and order your meal before the wine starts flowing.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE bringing home a doggie bag. I ate out last night and did the “whooo-horsey” after eating half of my entree – yay yay I say!! I can include the leftovers with lunch or another dinner. Ahh yes, the meal that keeps on giving. Ok, so call me the Duchess of Fork, I don’t mind!

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Tres Chick

September 13th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Oh for the love of the chickpeas. Tres chick, I say!! Research shows that adding about a half cup to your diet each day can stave off your cravings for salty, sugary and fatty treats.

In one study, participants included these garbanzos as part of their daily regimen for a 4 week timeframe using various recipes. Not only did the participants notice less hunger and lower calorie intake but they also ate less of the junky snacks to boot. How’s that for a triple sow cow that benefits you right in the gut??!!

Researchers attribute this triple-edge benefit to higher fibre content. Fibre shmiber, whatever the reason I can tell you first hand this works for me. I have divulged that part of my lunch consists of a mixture of a few salads that always include beans and/or legumes. I also have yoghurt, cottage cheese and a few fruits. Even if I start out hungry as a wolf before lunch I end up a tamed beast by the time I have finished.

There are so many ways to include these or any bean in your diet regimen. Check out the “food revolution recipe” category for more ideas.

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