Archive for January, 2012

I’m Down for More Brown

January 30th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , ,

I love a reminder of why we should get outside and play in the dead of winter: our brown fat gets kindling. I just read about a study published finding that one type of it gets turned on when people get cold, sucking fat from the body to fuel itself. Oh Mother Nature, how I love thee and your wonders!

One study showed that brown fat can burn ordinary fat. In fact “…when the cells run out of their own small repositories of fat, they suck fat out of the rest of the body.” Subjects in a study were put in a cold environment, not to the point of shivering. Their metabolic rates increased by 80% and kept the subjects warm.

In another study looking at a different type of brown fat found that exercise can make it appear, by turning ordinary white fat brown. Well sign me up to that plan, put me down for more brown. Makes me appreciate winter just a little more after reading that!

I would deduce then that exercising outside on a cold winter’s day could be a double whammy of sorts to burn baby burn. Despite the fact that amounts of brown fat vary widely among individuals and occurs minimally in obese individuals matters less knowing the joy a jaunt out in a winter wonderland can bring.

An other good reason to get out side and play!

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UNdisposable

January 29th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , ,

I was riding on the subway the other day and stood in front of a woman sitting crocheting. It got me thinking, hmmmmm. My eyes smiled as I watched her maneuver the windy needle and wool from her purse, as she sat lodged between others in transit. Was it a sweater she was creating? What was the pattern? Who was it for? Was it a Valentine’s gift perhaps? I looked away as she noticed me watching attentively.

My thoughts wandered to the past of my Grandma who used to crochet and knit. I remember leaning in her lap, looking up at her asking “Grandma will you crochet me a vest?” Our Matriarch with a multitude of grandchildren, and there I was opening the door to that slippery slope of an avalanche of requests. She never said “no”. I don’t believe that word was even in her vocabulary….well until some of my younger cousins came around :-)

Then my thoughts waned to the notion of how disposable everything is these days – from sweaters, to computers, to mobile phones, to TV sets, to shoes, to home furnishings, to jeans, to business suits, even relationships. Just because something is made in a far-away place doesn’t mean it’s any less special. For instance before Christmas my neighbourhood held a Christmas Caravan collecting nonperishable’s, gently used clothes and house wares for those in need. I went through drawers and closets and cupboards in every room of the house and gave away reams of stuff. And yes there was at least 1 sweater. And a crocheted one at that.

It made me mindful about the importance of being mindful about my stuff; about respecting it, treasuring it and treating it right. It got me thinking to change that “disposable” mindset on its head for people, places and things.

Enjoy the photo of my beloved Grandma – Katie, or as we would sing “Ka ka ka Katie”!. It would have been her birthday today  - Happy Birthday Gram xoxoxo

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Posted in Edit-Storial By A Foodie | No Comments »

Food Revolution Arugula Salad

January 25th, 2012 2 Comments Tags: , ,

Stuck in a rut making the same great salad day after day? Need a change? Give this green salad with a twist a try and you’ll revitalize your salad course at dinnertime or anytime.

Ingredients
cleaned arugula
white onion sliced thinly
cucumber pared, sliced and quartered
red grapefruit, peeled, skinned and cut in pieces
sliced toasted almonds
dried mango chopped in small pieces
goat’s cheese
salt and pepper to taste
balsamic vinegar
olive oil

Instructions
Prepare the ingredients using the amounts to your liking. Add to a salad bowl. Before serving season, add oil, vinegar and seasoning, toss and serve.

Commentary
I love changing things up to ward off boredom in the salad bowl. There are certainly a 1,000 ways to make your tossed salad right, that’s for sure!! Give this a try and let me know how it goes!!

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Posted in Food Revolution Recipes | 2 Comments »

Trade-off Turnaround – Alcohol Overhaul

January 24th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have written many times about the bevy’s we drink being food too. Those alcoholic ones put the “happy” in “happy hour”, but the can also put a ring around your trunk if you have too much, not to mention other health side effects.

Protein, carbohydrate and fat, plus alcohol are macronutrients that contain calories. Alcohol has more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrate. Here’s how each add up: protein has 4 calories/gram, carbohydrate also has 4 calories/gram whereas alcohol has 7 calories/gram and fat has 9 calories/gram. Hmmmm, good calorie tidbits to know…..

Staying on the theme of trading off, let’s look at how a few tweaks in your alcohol drink repertoire can help you tip the scale in your favour (plus provide more health benefits to boot) in the long run with this scenario:

  • Let say you drink a 12-pack of beer each week (which adds to your six pack!). Plus, let say you drink 2 glasses of wine each day. All averaged throughout the week.
  • You decide to scale that back in half (to help your six pack return!) for both of your favourite alcohol bevy’s – beer and wine.
  • The beer added 2,196 calories/week while the wine provided 1,260 calories/week. No small number, that’s for sure.Having fewer each week provides 1,098 calories/week of beer and 630 calories/week of wine. Yes a significant calorie savings.
  • The change in having fewer barley sandwiches can result in a 16-pound weight loss in a year! While the change in decreasing your wine-time can result in a 9-pound weight loss in a year! Changing both can add up to a 27 pound weight loss in total in 1 year.

Being more mindful and cutting back when say bottoms up can save you loads of calories, hands down. Not to mention the benefits to your liver and number brain cells saved!!

And what’s even more important, DON’T drink and drive…..

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Posted in Funnies By a Foodie, Miss Behavin', Successful Loser Logic | No Comments »

Cherish is the Word…

January 23rd, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been doing some New Year reorganizing around my cave. Funny when you look at your spaces with an objective eye you may notice some accumulation nation and junk piles galore. While thoughts wander to “how did THAT get THERE??” hmmmm.

I decided to follow that Nate Berkus’ old adage to surround yourself with stuff you love. For me, it’s about stuff I love and stuff I cherish. Stuff with meaning.

Indy’s Great Grandfather, named Gido made some wooden farm tools and a storage box eons ago. I decided to get all jiggy with the re-org and put such treasures in places of honour. Funny how an hour spent doing this can bring peace and serenity to a cozy corner. I did the same thing in my den.

The following week I was reaching for a water glass in my cupboard and spied an old tea pot. It read at the bottom “To Danny Love Auntie Nettie, 1960″. While the football playoffs were on I brought it to the family room and found a special nook to showcase it. Ahhhh Indy had a sparkle in his eye as I did more reshuffling of stuff.

As much as I love those redesigning spaces programs, I always find myself dismayed with all of this new stuff. It’s nice to look at, but the spaces are far from being treasured places. Like designing without meaning. So think about what you cherish and find places of honour for them. It’ll be your connection back in time to your ancestors and loved ones.

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Posted in Edit-Storial By A Foodie | No Comments »

Savour the Flavonoids

January 22nd, 2012 No Comments Tags: , ,

Some T & T followers tell me that I get a little repetitive about certain topics. Talking about having 5-10 fruits and veggies a day is one of my favourites. And yes, I’ll be diving in a bit more deeply on this again today. What can I say there are so many reasons to nosh on these puppies and aim to get your 5-10 a day, each and every day. Play it again Fran!!

I read about a study describing the benefits of flavonoids. They are found in fruits, veggies plus nuts, beans and lentils, cocoa, tea and red wine. Sign me up for more of these, that’s for sure! What’s not to love??

Having 150 mg each day can provide protection from cardiovascular death – heart attack or stroke. Even a little can provide protection. Foods with at least 50 mg per serving are: a small apple/orange/pear, 2/3 cup berries (blue or strawberries) or red grapes, 3/4 cup nuts, 1/2 cup black tea, 3.5 oz red wine or dark chocolate.

What I love about eating your daily quota of fruits and veggies is you feel full and satisfied so other foods are edged out of your diet, by choice. Yes behaviour modification at it’s finest! I must commend my mother-in-law who has finally take heed of my advice and is a healthy eating convert. Since July, 2011 she’s lost 1 to 2 pounds per week and is doing and looking great. As Indy says, she’s experiencing a renaissance as she gallops toward age 82!! She has a number of strategies but getting these fab foods is part of her secret.

What’s it gonna take for you to convert?? There are so many tasty choices you can savour the flavour AND the flavonoids!!

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Posted in Foodie Fundamentals, Nutrition News, Successful Loser Logic | No Comments »

Food Revolution Scalloped Potatoes

January 19th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , ,

Change is good. As much as I love my Spudnik Potatoes posted in the Food Revolution recipes many moons ago, I enjoyed this new addition to my ‘tater repertoire. I served this with cornish hens, a salad with a few veggies on the side as a Sunday dinner to bond by. Add some engaging conversation, holiday planning and humour and you’ve got a fine family din din.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp butter or soft tub margarine

1 onion thinly sliced
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 yellow flesh potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13×9 glass baking dish.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 8 minutes or until they start to brown. Add the vinegar, boil, stirring and scraping up the brown bits until evaporated. Whisk the flour into the milk, then gradually pour into the pot, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes or until bubbling and thickens. Remove from heat, stir in parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add in the potatoes, toss gently to coat in the sauce. Spread evenly into the prepared dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes or until golden and bubbling and potatoes are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Commentary
I love trying out a new recipe in the New Year or any time. My family doesn’t mind being ginea pigs when it turns out well. YES, it was smiles all around and we had leftovers to use one work night following.

Give these a try and let me know how it goes!!

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Trade-off Turnaround – Food Label Reading

January 17th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

A study came out some time ago showing that people who got in the habit of reading food labels lost weight. As I often say, when we know better we do better. This theme of trading off started a few months ago, let’s review this food label reading scenario and how it can work for you:

  • Ok, so you want to take a month and become aware of the calories in the food your family routinely eats. You start reviewing the food labels of the products you have in your pantry, fridge AND look up what’s in the food from restaurants you frequent.
  • You realize AHA! There are many better alternatives and decide you will gradually choose better options from this day forward. That’s the spirit!!
  • Here are some ideas: transition from 2% milk to 1% milk then to skim milk; change from cream soups to hearty bean and/or vegetable soups; choose smaller wholegrain buns from the humungo ones you usually get; scale back from the pillow sack of potato chips to the regular family size bag; etc.
  • For you who are aiming to lose weight, save yourself 250 calories each day from your masterful awareness exercise.
  • This overhaul can result in a 25-pound weight loss in a year! How great is that? VERY!!

Yes folks, awareness IS bliss!

 

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Joy Meter

January 16th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I took a walk in the snow the other day, that first snowfall of the season. All bundled up I meandered along my usual route in my neighbourhood. Ahhh the snow that fell on my nose and eyelashes, got me thinking about things that bring me joy, hmmmmm.

Fluttering snow brings me joy

The clicking cardinal flying from treetop to treetop brings me joy

A bowl of steaming soup on a cold winter’s day

A funny e-mail from a friend

A cheque in the mail as a new contractor

A check off my loooooong to-do list

A blazing fire

Catching up with my confidant over roast chicken and Burrowing Owl

A long distance call from Indy while travelling on business

Planning weekend fun

Organizing a family dinner

Remembering a special birthday

Getting the laundry done before the weekend starts

Reminiscing about our 25th Anniversary extravaganza

Looking ahead to a family reunion…..

Many simple things bring me joy and thoughts of these warm my heart as my toes thawed after arriving home from my walk. Turn those January blahs, into the January AHA’s!! while you think about things that bring you joy.

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Posted in Edit-Storial By A Foodie | No Comments »

Soup Savvy

January 15th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Our temperature took a nose dive. It was Mother Nature’s nudge to find an old boot and a big stock pot and make some soup already! Today I made Mother Dearest’s Beef Barley Soup, posted in the Food Revolution Recipe category some time ago. It’s easier to make than pie and ohhhh soooo yummy.

It’s one of those stealth “weight friendly” foods that helps keep your appetite in check. The literature shows that starting your meal with a steaming bowl of soup helps fill you up leaving you to eat less your main meal. I love this barley soup with a meal or with crusty bread AS a meal. It is one savvy food that’s soothing and satisfying at the same time.

Ahhh soup, what is it about having a big old cauldron bubbling on your stove on a cold winter’s day that’s so soothing. Maybe it helps conjure up past memories of my Mom making some. When I was a kid I used to walk to and from school plus home again for lunch – imagine! I loved having a bowl of soup and a sandwich. When I was done I’d go catch an episode of The Flintstones then would walk back to school!! Those were the days, yes indeed :-)

If you’re still waiting for your nudge from Mother Nature, consider this post yours. Work some soup in your meal repertoire as one stealth way to manage your waistline and connect to the past. Enjoy!

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