Archive for June, 2013

Intolerant of False Intolerances

June 28th, 2013 2 Comments Tags: , ,

I took a walk in the rain today and got to thinking about food intolerances, hmmmmm. It seems almost everyone I know is intolerant to one thing or another. Gluten seems to be the craze du jour, but there are other easy targets as well, lactose is on some lists, one nut or another, eggs and more.

I find so many people blame food for everything that ails them. We are in fact homo sapiens who move through life interacting with our world around us in many ways. There’s the air we breath, cleaners and detergents we use, not to mention the chemical warfare we gals do to our hair with colour treatments, plus the creams and emollients we adorn our bodies with and that’s just for starters. Whenever I garden and get too close to some of my cedars I get a blotchy skin rash. It clears in a day or two and I don’t give it another thought.

Just because you have a slight rash on your arm doesn’t mean it’s caused by the gluten in your food. Mild tummy upset after your neighbourhood barbecue may not be caused by the lactose in the wholesome glass of skim milk or egg you had at breakfast.

If you do have various symptoms and suspect you may have an allergy or intolerance get it checked out by an expert – a real one with a medical degree, then take it from there. You may short change yourself in the nutrition department when you self diagnose. Don’t do it to yourself.

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Posted in Edit-Storial By A Foodie, Foodie Fundamentals, Francy Rants | 2 Comments »

Hockey’s On Ice! How’s Your Activity Routine Shaping UP?

June 26th, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ok so this hockey season is now officially over; one of the shortest season ever, ending on the heels of July amidst steamy heat. The truth be told the only ice I want this time of year is in cube form floating in my drink or a slab I can lie on to make a pretend snow angel to cool down after taking a long walk….. ahhhhh.

Nadal’s knocked out of Wimbledon while Raonic remains; the Blue Jays are as hot as Toronto’s temperature….. mostly. Does a day every go by when there isn’t one sport or another on the tube to watch rather than join in and do?!

I’ll divulge when the closing hockey game started I bolted for the door and out for an evening stroll. With all of the back biting and fighting is it any different than the Desperate Housewives with a dash of testosterone throne in?! It’s so easy to get sucked into a routine that snuffs out your activity good intentions. Whether the excuse is wanting to watch show after show or game after game; or hibernating because it’s too cold and now it’s too hot; or rain is threatening the excuse list is lengthening. The hammer needs to come down on all of these reasons not to move altogether; pronto already.

Good intentions turn into action when you take the first step, literally. Don’t give it another thought. Here are some tips to win the argument over inertia and get moving:

  • Don’t hesitate, just GO – deafen that devilish voice trying to thwart your activity efforts
  • Take an umbrella or a raincoat to keep you dry if it’s raining, you won’t melt!
  • Drink your fluids before you set out and/or bring a portable water bottle when it’s sweltering (don’t forget your sunscreen)
  • Set your phone or clock alarm to when you made your goal time in your day to move – let that be your wake up call and refer back to point 1!
  • PVR your favourite television shows and watch ‘em when you return (commercial free… bonus!)
  • Chunk down 15 minute intervals and sneak them into to your day to move more – your new movement movement!! (as described in )

Ponder how much of your valuable time is eaten up with time wasters each day – gabbing on the phone, gossiping by the water cooler, scrolling through Facebook ad nausium, ditto for Twitter and more. Sitting it touted as the risk factor du jour for some time now and it’s summer folks. If you say you’re too busy to find a measly 30 minutes each day for activity or exercise count up all of that time you find yourself whittling away…. Let’s turn the beat around and get constructive with your time usage to move more.

It’ll be easier to keep it up by autumn.

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Monitoring In Good Measure

June 24th, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Successful weight losers have many stealthy and healthy tricks to help them maintain their weight. One of these is keeping a “handle on their handles” and monitoring their weight. I divulged a steamy personal secret in my e-book Skinny On Slim about how I broke off my relationship with my bathroom scale after a long sultry affair…. If you have said “Hasta La Vista Baby!” to your bathroom scale take heart, you can also monitor your dimensions by monitoring your waist circumference, hmmmm.

Truth be told my doctor whips out that measuring tape every visit of my annual physical. It’s an easy measure for you to take as well if you divorced your scale like me. A general rule of thumb for women is to measure in less than 35″(89cm) and for men less than 40″ (102cm).

If you currently look down and can’t get a clear glimpse of your feet it may be time to set a goal or two to whittle down that truck to get you into a safe measurement zone. Measures above these benchmark numbers may increase your risk factor for heart disease. Why gamble with your health and make some stealthy and healthy changes in your repertoire like the successful weight losers do? Remember awareness is bliss!

Find out more by reading Skinny on Slim and take advantage of the summer promo for a limited time. Also available on i-Books, Kobo/Chapters, Barnes & Noble, Diesel and Sony.

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The Longest Day of Play

June 21st, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

It’s the longest day
Of sun for play
So get outside
And plan to stay

Get some fresh air
Without a care
To get a move on
So enjoy and share!

Whether to garden
Ab crunches to harden
Those soften muscles
I beg your pardon!

Or take a walk
Catch up and talk
Stay out for longer
Of Mother Nature to stalk….

Plan to get in shape
It’s never too late
To shift your pattern
Start now! Don’t wait!

Whether you hit the gym
With her or him
Treat your body as temple
And read Skinny On Slim!

Get the summer promo on Skinny on Slim Also available on i-Books, Kobo/Chapters, Barnes & Noble, Diesel and Sony.

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Soaring in Seattle

June 19th, 2013 2 Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Well folks, the tectonic plates under my bella familia are shifting yet again. This time in a good way. My niece and her fiancé are moving to Seattle this very day. How very appropriate that they move on one of the longest days of the year, the summer solstice. My nick name for her is Sunshine. This day will be extra long too gaining 3 more hours from Winston Salem time zone to the west coast.

I got to thinking about life much deeper lately as this day has approached. Each and every one of us have to find our bliss in life. Take a chance. Follow your dreams. The safe route in life isn’t always the right route.

How wonderful it is to map out an adventure and get to experience it to the fullest. My almost new nephew got a job offer of his dreams after shifting programs at College. I get goosebumps just thinking about wishing and working diligently for something, then having it coming true. How sweet! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer fellow.

Sometimes we adults put on a pretty good act pretending we’ve got life all figured out. We read the manual, after all….. Well I’ll be the first to admit that I’m still figuring things out as I roll along life’s highway. And I think if people stopped for a bit to ponder this, got honest, many would agree. Cutting those apron strings is a good thing. How else are you going to soar in life??

Best of luck A & A, so long, farewell….. see you in a few weeks :-)

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Posted in Edit-Storial By A Foodie | 2 Comments »

Bubbling Mad Over Pop Ad

June 18th, 2013 2 Comments Tags: , ,

Have you seen the latest Coke advertisement on TV? It’s got me bubbling mad. It shows a variety of people doing various activities with the calories used then ends with the punch line that drinking 1 bottle of their product is 160 calories thinking people will be dumb enough to throw in the towel of their watchful efforts and give in to drink more. Funny none of the activities they showed were those that people do most, namely sit.

Let’s take one step back on this shall we. Let’s 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. And notice I used the word “food”. Brown bubbly fluid chocked full of sugar 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.

Next, I don’t want to have you starting that calorie counting exercise that’ll make you obsessive and drive you nuts. I can tell you that experts who do modelling of diets for various age levels and genders tell me there’s very little, if any, wiggle room of extra calories left when you factor in how little most people move these days to get the nutrition they need without going over on calories.

Let me tell you I don’t take lightly eating or drinking an extra 160 calories day after day, week after week, month after month either. In one year this’ll add up to an additional 17 pounds of weight gain. They don’t show a person with a bulging butt with extra junk in their trunk or another one with a tire around their mid-drift from taking in an excess amount on the commercial, do they? In addition if you end up cutting out fundamental nutrient rich food to fit this bottle of emptiness into your diet you will surely fall short in some essential vitamins and minerals or another, don’t you think? This is an equally negative scenario. Not to mention developing an addiction to it, which is doubly difficult to kick the habit when you feel your body crave for something so unnatural.

So folks this is when the remote control comes in handy. When this ad comes on change the channel and don’t give it another thought. Like I always say, lead don’t follow…..

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Posted in Edit-Storial By A Foodie, Francy Rants | 2 Comments »

Father Figure

June 15th, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Ahhh yes this day is approaching, the day we pay homage to our Dads – Father’s Day. Yes those foot soldiers, our providers, those silent partners – mostly due to the fact they can’t get a word in edge-wise deserve being put on a pedestal and spoiling. I have divulged that I have 3 sisters and my mom stacking the teams of 5 gals to 1 guy in our bella familia. He can barely get a word in edgewise and views his hearing loss as a blessing sometimes….

When I think of my Dad and how lucky I am because of him, my heart just melts. Little did I know that the big, burly guy with the deep voice and seemingly stern disposition was really a puff ball, pussy cat inside. Hmmm, something I learned when I grew up. I could have really taken advantage if I found out this gold nugget when I was younger, that’s for sure….

But when I read the research about the importance of parents’ roles and acting as role models to kids I realize his pivotal place in my own healthfulness. My Dad played an vital role in being there often, especially at mealtimes, breakfast and dinner. When I reflect on this important aspect of my life, this was definitely a constant when I grew up.

I also remember how my parents placed high importance of being active. My Dad practiced what he preached in spades. Even though he had a busy job with ebbs and flows he always kept active whether he jogged, played squash or tennis. One of my sis’ and I wanted to take up jogging. I remember his sage advise to support our quest. I also remember that he took us to the store to get proper shoes. Ha, what a funny memory. Back in 1970′s there were only 2 brands to choose from – Adidas or Reebok. Hmmmm decisions decisions. Nike, what was Nike?? Ahhhh I digress.

Yes Dads have a more important role than most Mom’s will make on, especially when the team of gals versus guys might be lopsided, like in my family. But don’t ever underestimate the influence you have on your families and your kids, not for one minute. Dads are the foundation of the family, our bedrock, our gut-check, our shoulder to be perched on during the parade or during a crisis. His hearing might be conveniently going, but his love, consistency, resolve and support never ever does. Always, solid as a rock.

Thanks Dad for everything. Half of my genes are from you. I can hear your voice when I get short on the phone when I’m at work. I dig for your resolve when I’m in a bind in life. I never give up and always land on my feet, no matter what. I make sure I make decisions in life with fairness and integrity with a kind and open heart. You have given so much to our bella familia and I hope in my life I can wave the family flag proudly as I carry the baton in my race of life. I love you Dad.

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Take It Outside

June 12th, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , ,

A little while ago I was in one of those low energy slumps, feeling tired and listless. I just came off a stint of business travel with a few full days of meeting burning the candle at both ends.

Despite how I was feeling I dragged my butt outside to mail a letter. The mailbox on my street is situated just close enough to spur me to meander outside yet far enough away to allow a burst of endorphins to keep me going. A healthy and stealthy trick to get moving and get the lead out.

Having extra caffeine or an energy drink is never an option for me. It’s so tempting these days to fall back on those quick fixes that are so addictive. Getting into Mother Nature’s playground has so much more to offer with positive side effects with a shot of Vitamin D to boot.

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50 Shades of Grey Matter

June 9th, 2013 3 Comments Tags: , ,

There are times when I feel I need to nurture my brain as I get older, worrying that my grey matter is dwindling – ug. There are times that I search for a word at the tip of my tongue that pops into my mind 3 hours after the conversation happened or I lose my train of thought mid sentence or forget your bank card pin when you’re down to your last 5 bucks and there are 5 impatient people standing in the line behind you – double ug.

I spend a lot of time talking about eating well, getting fit and keeping your heart healthy while not spending ample time on ways to nurture your noodle with 50 shades of grey matter – our bountiful brain!

Truth be told many of the foods I encourage you to include in your diet to keep you healthy do double time to benefit your brain too. My June 7, 2013 post provided a short list of foods to help your weight for example. Three of these are brain boosters too:

  • whole grains – whether as bread, noodles, cereals or crackers work them
  • fruits and veg – namely blueberries, black currants, tomatoes and broccoli
  • nuts – try the salt free variety and enjoy them as snacks, in salads or to add crunch in your stir fry or veggie dish

More Brain Boosters

While you’re at it try some oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers. Consider planting some sage in your herb garden and add it in some key dishes you make to mix flavours up a bit without all of that salt. A dash of this, a serving of that or a snack of the other can all work in your favour if you are working on being healthier from head to toe.

Our body surely is our temple and we need to nurture every part. Don’t forget the grey matter, it should be top of mind!

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Posted in Foodie Fundamentals | 3 Comments »

Fab Food Focus

June 7th, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

I spent a good part of a day reviewing the literature on obesity. I had to take a break and have a quick dinner with all of that food for thought – a handful of walnuts, another of pistachios, smoked salmon and brie on whole grain baguette, mixed salad, followed by a nectarine. Now I can think more clearly…. I was encouraged when I read about our need to focus on food and diet quality rather than specific nutrients – amen, natural nutrient richness is here to stay! I’ve been a dietitian for almost 26 years and have seen various food and nutrition fads come in and out of style like bell bottoms….

I was intrigued reviewing details zeroing in on weight change associated with increased daily servings of various foods. Although some seemed obvious, it was beneficial to see them listed in black and white, as I read it all over :-)

Weight Gainer No Brainers
Here is the list of foods that resulted in weight gain with increased servings of the following:

  • potato chips
  • fried potatoes
  • sweets and desserts
  • refined grains
  • sugar-sweetened drinks

Ponder this list and consider how your diet compares. Are you toying with the weight management gods hanging on to some or all of these foods gambling against the odds? Work in small changes to shift your diet in a different direction, don’t you think?

Slim Pickings
Here is the list of foods that resulted in weight loss with increased servings of the following:

  • vegetables
  • nuts
  • whole grains
  • fruits
  • yogurt

Listen up folks, if you haven’t added these wise foods into your repertoire if you’re trying to manage your weight, I suggest you write them on your grocery list and work them in ASAP. Why wait? Years ago I avoided nuts like the plague worrying about fat content. Silly me, I eventually saw the light and started working them in as a snack, without salt added or in salads and stir fries. I know I’ve been a broken record droning on about the importance of getting your 5-10 a day of fruits and veggies, dairy products (gotta love yogurt), plus bucking the trend, being unrefined and eating your grains “whole”.

Decide once and for all to put your focus on fab food and avoid goofy crazes, the more natural the better. Your weight and overall health could surely benefit when you do.

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