Archive for July, 2012

Flex Your Plan

July 8th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , ,

It drives me nuts when I read about the optimal time to exercise is when the robins are finding worms before the sun rises. I’m sure there are other studies that claim that 4:30am is an optimal time for sleep. For me the sleep study wins hands down.

There should be a law of the land saying that studies should only make realistic and practical claims for we the consumer, otherwise, keep your findings to yourself. In any 24 hour day finding 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there to add up to 60 minutes of accumulated activity is something to strive for. That goes for kids and adults alike.

Some months ago a special person gave me a pedometer. Being a walker I was intrigued to find out how many steps I accumulated in the day. Truth be told it was less than I had originally thought and in this instance “less is NOT more”, if you catch my drift.

I have two half time jobs where I sit in front of a computer screen – one from home and the other downtown where I take public transit. At first I established generally what my baseline amount of steps taken for the different workdays. After I heard that my seventy-something aged Auntie Ang takes more than 10,000 steps a day I worked in ways to move more. Gotta love the competitive spirit!

Every so often I put that pedometer on to shake up my activity awareness. It’s so easy to use the excuse in the heat of the summer that it’s too hot to go outside and play. There are many ways to get moved inside and out. You don’t have to do the 5am shuffle if you prefer to count sheep. But you should consider finding a baker’s dozen of 5 minute intervals to get homo erectus and move.

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Hey Foood

July 5th, 2012 No Comments Tags: ,

Hey food,
Don’t let me down
You should be full of
Vitamins and minerals
Remember, the less it’s processed is best
And more of that really is, oh so much be-e-e-tter

And any time you can refrain, try food for your brain
Don’t carry the guilt, cause all foods fit
Well you know that it’s a fool who is too strict
So make your diet a little broader

Hey food, don’t call it “bad”
Take out a fast food, once in a whi-i-i-i-le
Remember to leave the guilt then tomorrow you’ll eat oh so much better
Better, better, better, better, better, better OHHHHHH

Na na na, na na na na, nana na na, hey food…..

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Super Eating Habits

July 4th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Food is more than mere nutrients. YES we need all of the macro and micronutrients to be healthy; however, how we eat is almost as important as what we eat. Listen up!!

Grab & Go’s NOT the Way to Go – A lot has been written about the time crunch we’re in these days. For many, ”grab and go” is the approach people take for some meals like breakfast or dinner while the main “appliance” seems to be the electric window in our automobiles. Eating on the run with distractions has many pitfalls. For starters, routinely eating this way can result in overeating. Think about it. It takes approximately 20 minutes for satiety to register when eating, you know “I’ve have had enough and feel full”. Scarfing down meals while driving or watching TV has you concentrating on your activity at hand not cuing in on your satiety cues. Eating needs and deserves your full attention, not only from a satiety standpoint but also from an enjoyment standpoint.

Missing Meals is a Really Bad Deal – For some getting extra zzzz’s in the morning by sleeping in and missing breakfast is how they start the day. Others get so entrenched in their work that they’ll work through lunch and miss it. Others still consume the vast proportion of their food at dinner and into the evening once their daily activities are done. There are definite perils of having an irregular eating pattern. Breakfast certainly IS the most important meal of the day. You put gas in your car before you start the ignition, right? Well the same principles apply for you starting your day with key foods at breakfast that serves as your fuel in the morning.

Our bodies are complex organisms, which adapt to the circumstances they find themselves in. When food isn’t eaten in regular intervals when needed most, our bodies go “on alert” into self-preservation mode and will “lower its inherent thermostat” by lowering the metabolic rate. By doing this the body will hold onto extra food as fat while in this mode. Everyone sleeps in now and then or takes the occasional later lunch, but when you routinely have an irregular meal and snack pattern your body will rebel the way it knows how, through self-preservation. This practice has nothing to do with food itself and everything to do with your meal pattern.

Finally, experts are so focused on various nutrients and miss the forest for the proverbial trees. Eating good food and enjoying it to the max is certainly one of life’s joys. Eating with others is another. There is literature that shows eating family meals, connecting with one another has far reaching psycho-social benefits outside of the vitamins and minerals the food provides.

Drinks are food too

Have you walked down the beverage aisle in the grocery store lately? In some stores so many kinds of drinks appear in a number of aisles, that it’s staggering. In addition to that, the hot beverage industry has boomed with more drinks finding their way into many people’s diets, even school-aged children. The beverage industry has exploded across all product types; you’d think that all counties of mother earth have turned into deserts everywhere you live!

Drinks are food too; however, many people might forget this notion when they’re innocently washing down a meal with soda pop, sipping a specialty coffee with breakfast or quenching their thirst with tall glasses of fruit juice on a hot day. Drinks vary in calorie and nutritional content from no calories to over 500 calories in one serving, sometimes more. We need to remember to factor the beverages we drink in when we’re trying to consumer all of the food groups as the basis for our diet. If too many of these drinks have squeezed out important food choices, make a paradigm shift to squeeze the food you need back in to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs.

Having a good relationship with food is super

A lot has been written about relationships; not very much addresses our relationship with food. We read about epidemics and those “food demons”. One day its fat, the next it’s carbs while another focus is calories. Some foods are banished from school cafeterias, workplace lunches and vending machines. Both child and adult alike react the same way to this in our midst and psychologically, we want these “forbidden foods” so much more. In our mind we characterize them as “bad” food and when we eat them, many feel guilt as if they are bad for enjoying a treat. Stop the madness!!

All food should be enjoyed. Characterizing some foods as “bad” certainly isn’t super, in fact they can be detrimental to forming a positive relationship with food, guilt free. Yes we should be concentrating our eating efforts on the main food groups; however this should be balanced with the notion that “all foods fit” with mindfulness on moderation. Once we get that balancing act in line, we will surely find our super “happy place” where food, eating and nutrition intersect.

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Super Food-of-the-Month Blooper

July 1st, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Food glorious food: one day the media promotes the benefits of pomegranate, the next month they go gaga over exotic goji berries then on to accolades of acai berries. Reading and trying to follow these fads packs a punch on your pocketbook and creates confusion for many consumers. What food IS the greatest one of all? What’s the deal with these super  foods? What about the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” does that still hold true?

Eating from all groups of the Food Guide is Super

People in many corners of the globe have super food in their midst. They don’t need to look for food from the other side of the globe to find it. They are in your own backyard in the neighborhood you live. There are many foods in your grocery store that can be considered nutritional powerhouses. It can start simply with dialing back to your Canada’s Food Guide, and the food groups to find perspective. This is the basis for any healthy diet, but is often overlooked by media because the message is so basic yet so profound.

When Health Canada conducted the Canadian Community Health Survey in 2004 they found many Canadians, children included don’t eat enough dairy products and fruits and vegetables. That means a high percentage of Canadians aren’t getting what they need from 2 of the 4 food groups. Now that’s bad news! These food groups have characteristic nutritional profiles vital to our health and wellness, it’s staggering. If you are lacking in these groups and try to fill the gap with the most super of all super foods – you will still fall short in your overall nutritional needs if you are not eating what you need from all 4 food groups. One super duper food won’t be a quick fix to better your nutrient needs, that’s for sure.

Everyday Super-food Practices

In general the less processed food you consume the better when making balanced choices from the 4 food groups. To shine the spotlight on only a few wouldn’t be fair but for the sake of this article let’s do it.

When you meander through the grocery store there are aisles and aisles of food, it can really psych you out if you don’t have your wits about you. Getting back to basics with various practices in your own home can help you eat super every day and meet your nutritional requirements! For example:

1) Serve milk at every meal. This practice alone will ensure all members of your family meet the life supporting nutrients from this often missed out food group.

2) Have fruit at every meal plus make fruit the go-to food as the first line of snack defense when hungry in your day.

3) Serve 2 veggies every dinnertime.

4) Make you core food choices from the fab-4 food groups from Canada’s Food Guide.

Eating well can be as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4! These 4 basic practices will provide a world of good for you and your family as a basis for your super-eating plan. With our without super food in your diet, these 4 practices are profoundly important!

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