Archive for April, 2012

Healthy Shmelthy

April 29th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , ,

There are expert committees struck who have spent countless hours defining “healthy” as it pertains to food. What constitutes healthy? I organized a think tank on this very topic some years ago with a multi-sectoral audience. With hundreds of thousands of product sku’s lining the aisles in the grocery store a groundswell of need for this emerged to deal with those products in the grey zone.

There are however some products that the majority of people don’t even need to question whether it’s healthy or not, well except for one person – who is the claimant of a $2 million dollar class action suit from Nutella. If I have said it once, I have said it a million times, “it’s a mad mad mad mad mad mad world”. After reading this in the paper, I am confirming this notion.

We are lucky in Canada to have regulations around food product labels for industry to disclose in a systematic way what is contained in their products. Every citizen can then look on the nutrition facts panel to judge for themselves if any product is suitable for their own consumption.

Then there are the marketing campaigns that aren’t closely regulated. From Redbull that drink that “gives you wings” (not to mention insomnia from all of the caffeine), to Nutella that’s touted as part of a healthy breakfast (if you take your multivitamin with it). We also have those commercials who sell high fat fast food with skinny models. As if? How about fast food commercials that they make a visual connection to a traditional farmers field instead of the factory farm where the products originated? Are these images up for a class action suit too?

Food for thought while living in this mad mad mad mad mad mad world…..

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Posted in Francy Rants, Nutrition News, Policy for the People, Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

Lunging for Fab Abs – I’ll Squat to That!

April 26th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , ,

It’s been a few weeks now since I read about the benefits of incorporating lunges and squats into your exercise repertoire. I finally got back on track a few months back with my 9-minute mat routine of bends, stretches, arm weights, bent knee push ups and ab crunches. I do this 4-5 times per week. It doesn’t take much time yet has myriad benefits for my aging body.

I thought, ok how am I going to work these in without feeling I’m overdoing it. I decided to do these when I return from my walk. I stay at the front door with my running shoes on and slowly do 10 lunges and 15 squats. And voila, in no time I’m done.

Boy, I can really feel the positive effects right to the core, literally! I feel stronger and more toned around the equator PLUS doing these helps my balance, so I feel less wobbly. Cheers to that!

While you’re sprucing up your repertoire consider trying something new such as lunges and squats to tone by. You’ll be glad you did!

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Posted in Miss Behavin' | No Comments »

Nan’s Food Revolution Ooo Oooo Oooo Veal Stew

April 24th, 2012 No Comments Tags: ,

I say ooo oooo oooo to whatever Nan cooks. She dropped this pot of heaven over when we returned home from being away. What a delight!!

1 lb cubed veal, removing visible fat
22 oz stewed tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basit
1 tsp garlic
1 pound, washed pared green and yellow string beans
4-5 medium potatoes, washed, peeled, cubed
salt and pepper to taste

In a large heavy pot add oil and heat to medium, high. Brown the veal, seasoning to taste. Add tomatoes and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover pot with a lid and lower heat. Simmer for 40 minutes. Serve piping hot with a crusty bun.

This is one tasty dish that can be made with veal, beef or pork. Consider forgoing meat and add beans. It’s a hearty stew that fills you up with goodness. When it’s delivered from Nan it fills you up with love too!! You can make a big batch and refrigerate to have the following day or freeze and defrost when needed. Tip your hat to Nan for sharing yet another of her secret recipes. I am one lucky daughter, that’s for darn sure. :-)

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Posted in Food Revolution Recipes | No Comments »

Best Food Forward – Pro-Protein

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

People often debate which of the macronutrients to favor when you’re embarking on a weight loss regimen. The truth be told all are imperative – protein, fat and carbohydrate. None should be avoided. Eating mixed meals with all macronutrients helps your blood sugar rise and fall more gradually and for a longer duration.

Ensuring you eat enough protein at each meal and even at snacks will help alleviate that rumbly tumbly because protein provides better satiety. Better satiety means you’ll stay on track and not run off the rails.

Let me count the ways to encourage you to include sound choices in your diet:
• Enjoy skim milk with meals
• Nibble on a handful of unsalted mixed nuts for a snack
• Add a hard boiled egg or cheese pieces to salads
• Beef up your diet with beans of any variety – garbanzos, kidney beans, lentils or peas
• Cut up left over beef, chicken or pork to be used in sandwiches
• Snack on a yoghurt to take the edge off of your appetite before dinner

Eat a balanced diet and ensure you don’t skimp on the protein. This spring, put you best food forward!

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

What on Earth?

April 22nd, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Happy earth day.

So what have you done for Mother Earth lately? When you read about our planet going to hell in a hand basket many of us are left feeling overwhelmed and helpless. It’s days like these that remind us that there are a multitude of ways to make a contribution.

  • Don’t wait participate – in your local recycling programs, join in and lead the way
  • Flick your switch – turn out the lights when you leave the room
  • Degrees of separation – ease up on the AC and heat a few degrees can really mean a lot
  • Shop smart – get your shopping mojo on by keeping reusable cloth grocery bags in your trunk
  • Stay informed – take your head out of the sand and read up

Every little bit helps. Consider joining in today and everyday to help leave the world a better place for generations to come.

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

Ready Boots….. Start Walkin’

April 18th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , ,

My transit routine was foiled this fine evening when I left work. One of the subway transit lines was shut down completely – oh my. I was left to get my boots to start walkin’ …..a mere three stops worth of steps. I must say some people looked dismayed with this business of putting one foot in front of the other. Imagine! Truth be told I’m glad I wasn’t wearing stilettos….

The sky was blue, the birds were singing. The gardens I passed were bursting with tulips and daffodils, how lovely. I strategically passed a few shops too, to see what’s in this spring. I’ll tell you what’s in this spring – walking, that’s what!

I hopped on the connecting subway line feeling refreshed and energized after having been plunked at my desk for the day. Hmmmm what a nice change. Why not get your boots and if you haven’t started already, start walkin’!!

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Posted in Miss Behavin' | No Comments »

Dashboard Dining – Done Like Dinner

April 17th, 2012 No Comments

It’s been said that the most popular appliance this era is the power window. Eating out, driving through and getting fast food has become a way of life for many. Whether your intention is to pick up a coffee or a family meal you can make wise choices.We can overcome!

It would be ideal to prepare food at home and take more control over what you’re preparing. Let’s face it, busy families have learned to rely on convenience. You can make it work for you if this is your way of life.

Eating out is a way of life this day and age and can be a part of a healthy regimen.  Planning is key though, as it is for many aspects of daily life to retrain your robot into making wise choices.

Scenario: You are skidaddling to the kids’ lessons and need to eat along the way because you came home too late to make dinner.

-> Tips for Immediate Help

  • If you are pulling up to the drive through lane to place your order you’re going to make some decisions on the fly.
  • Think with your head and not with your stomach.
  • You are the adult so make decisions for everybody. Don’t cave to your precocious 8 year old who can talk herself out of any difficult situation and get her way.
  • DO’s – Think about the food groups, prioritize in terms of low fat, save calories in the drink you choose and forget about economy. Your health is worth more than that.
  • DON’TS – Avoid fried choices and battered foods or everyone in the car can share one serving, you don’t need dessert on the fly.

-> Tips for Needing Help Soon

  • Ok, now really think. Often fast food outlets are situated in the same vicinity. Go to the one with the healthiest choices. Allow the kids choice sometimes but if their choices are wreaking havoc on your regimen step up to the plate and make more of the decisions. After all you hold the purse strings, right!
  • Discuss in the car on the way the options they can choose from. It’s best to get the decisions made before you’re at the window, including what you’re going to eat.

-> Let’s Plan Ahead

  • All foods can fit even fast food. Take time to visit the websites of the outlets you and your family frequent most and review the nutritional content of the offerings. Knowledge is power and pick and choose options wisely.
  • Take time to visit other fast food outlets site you may not have frequented. You might be surprised at the nutritional value of food from other places especially ethnic fare – Italian, Greek, Polish, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Mexican – you name it there are a lot of offerings. It is high time for you and your family to branch out and try other cuisine. People who say there aren’t a lot of choices when eating out haven’t done this exercise.
  • Eating fast food doesn’t imply you need to woof it down in 10 seconds flat. Driving and eating isn’t safe and is generally barbaric, so save it until you reach your destination. HOW you eat is as important as WHAT you eat so eating slowly, savoring the food and take your time.
  • Now, plan, plan and plan some more. If you do more eating at home you might be surprised at how much money and calories you’ll save. That money can be put toward rewards for you when you reach goals. Isn’t that a nice thought?

Food for Thought

Women who have lost weight successfully and maintained the weight loss plan their eating from week to week. Eating out is part of that planning process. If you truly enjoy eating at fast food outlets plan them in, enjoy the food and make it a positive experience. In North America today too many people woof down their food on the run. How does satiety ever register? Do you even taste the food? Now if you start taking your time eating this food it might not taste as delectable as you originally thought. Think about it.

Being the parent in the household allows you to make the decisions about when to eat in and when to eat out. Don’t be a doormat and cave in to your kids’ every whim when they’re trying to collect a complete set of toys with the SPECIAL meal. How kids eat now will teach them how and what to eat when they become independent so do them a favor and stand your ground.

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Best Food Forward – Blueberries & Your Brain

April 16th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , ,

Blueberries are your brain’s best friends. They have compounds that help improve memory, learning and more. Each berry is bursting with taste to tantalize your taste buds plus nutritional benefits galore.

They’re versatile to be incorporated into your diet any number of ways:
• Straight up as a fruit
• With your hot or cold cereal, yoghurt, pudding, ice cream
• In your salads
• Sauteed with meats, smothered in smoothies, mushed in muffins or pancakes or crushed in crumbles

Who needs to know what a super source they are in vitamins, unique compounds and fiber? Probably Mom’s that’s who! The next time I misplace my car keys I’ll reach for a handful of blueberries.

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Posted in Foodie Fundamentals, Nutrition News | No Comments »

Trying to Diet – Dying to Try It – Family Food Feud

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

What can I say about that mother who put her 7 year old on a diet written about in Vogue, but oy oy oy oy oy? Where do I begin? For starters this little gal has started early on the eating vortex diet roller coaster of life – poor bunny. I expect she will endure many mountains to climb on this front for years, decades and perhaps for life.

She might have lost some weight because of pressure from her mom, but she certainly lost the war on fat. Having a mother who is so fixated on food and calories will shackle her for a lifetime of guilt around weight and food, not to mention self esteem. She has been banned from enjoying pizza days with the other kids at school, an innocent hot chocolate or any food that uneducated people might refer to as “bad”. What she has learned is an attitude about food that is bad thanks to her caretaker mother.

The mother showered her with new dresses and stuff as a reward for losing weight. She has been robbed of the best reward of all – a positive relationship with food. Food glorious food that provide us with the nutrients we need to be healthy and grow. It can give us joy everyday; not if you’re fraught with guilt if you’re having a hankering for a cookie though. What gives??

There is certainly a right way of doing things and a wrong way of doing things and this mother’s approach was 100% wrong in every way, sadly. With the help of a pediatrician and experts who deal with kids and weight issues can certainly help kids get on the right track for life helping the family make small changes. As a child grows and maintains weight (or loses some) any 7 year old can grow into their weight while working on positive changes that can sustain them for a lifetime. Yes, slow and steady wins the race.

This gal could face eating and weight issues for life and most probably disordered eating. The literature shows that when kids or adults are tempted by forbidden foods they want it so much more. When they get a chance to eat this food they devour so much more to make up for the psychological angst of not being allowed it. An eating vortex for sure!

I woke up this morning with a bit of a food hangover myself, after having celebrated a special family birthday yesterday. There was food glorious food, wine and cake enjoyed by all without an ounce of guilt whatsoever. Today is a new day that will indeed be wine-less, cake-less and fried food-less, because I choose to lay low and eat plainer stuff to give my gut a break. Not because I am forbidden.

So trying to diet usually results in one thing – leaving you dying to try it and yearn for what you’re told you can’t have…. a negative downward spiral, that’s for sure.

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Posted in Eating Vortex, Francy Rants, Miss Behavin', Nutrition News | No Comments »

Going to a Party Party Top 10!

April 11th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

It’s garden party time folks. Time to put your game faces and party pants on to help your weight stay in check. Keep these pointers in your back pocket while you’re making your plans and say “bottoms up”. Here’s your top 10 list to stay in control:

1. Don’t go to the party hungry, have a snack before you leave the house to curb your appetite
2. Be a gracious guest and bring a food offering to the party, especially something divine and healthy
3. Wear an outfit that is cinched around your waist; you are more likely to eat like a moo moo when you wear a mu mu!
4. Make the first few drinks you have something bubbly… mineral water that is!
5. Scan the party scene to see what’s being served
6. Make a plan of what you’ll eat, nothing’s off limits but avoid choosing everything – aim to trade off
7. Be the DD and save a load of calories on bevy’s, if not decide on your upper limit say 2 glasses of wine and sip slowly – no guzzling please. You don’t want to be the talk of the party afterward now, do you?!
8. If you choose to have alcohol, begin when the food is served or you’ll send caution to the wind and forget you had any plans at all!
9. Focus on the social and fun aspects of the event and move the food around your dish, especially if your host is a food pusher saboteur
10. Up the ante on your exercise routine to work off the excess you consumed in the coming week and cut back a bit on your intake.

Keep in mind a little planning goes a long way. You can still party hearty and keep your diet in check. Oh double the joy!

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