Archive for June, 2015

“I hate summer!” said no one EVER!

June 24th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

I hate summer!
Said no one EVER!
Longer days
And better weather

Outdoor sports
Golf skorts
Bare feet and
Extreme weather reports!

Lovely breeze
Allergic sneeze?
Gardening and
Towering trees

Time to bike
Or take a hike
Roller blade or
Fly a kite

Take the #StepCountChallenge
And #SneakItIn
#MakeYourDayHarder
Hike up your routine!

Stay outdoors!
Try a new golf course
Take up tennis?
Perfect time to move more!

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Posted in Miss Behavin', Rhyme Time! | No Comments »

Take Me to Your Leader, a Father’s Day Tribute

June 19th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

I did some reminiscing about my Dad lately with Father’s Day right around the corner. He’s been such a positive force and stellar role model for me. This applies to all aspects of my life, but of course I’ll focus on the health related part, mostly. It’s a good time to toot his horn and turn the spotlight on my family’s silent soldier. He’s a silent soldier in part due to living in a household with 5 women who barely allowed him to get a word in edgewise…. When I hear about the importance of various family factors resulting in positive health outcomes for kids, it warms my heart to know how lucky I’ve been.

Family MealtimesHe knew about prioritizing what was important in life despite being a busy accountant (and still does). We consistently ate meals together as a family – breakfast and dinner. Fathers can play a very important role in the health of their family by scheduling work accordingly. It was our time to eat a home cooked meal together, catch up on our day and connect.

Family Activities – We learned activities we can all do together – tennis, swimming, badminton and made time to do them.

Leading by Example – He is a master time compartmentalizer even when work was super crazy. He had a very busy job yet always made time for physical activity. He was in good shape and used to jog a few miles a day and play squash. My sister and I took up jogging too, following his lead. We figured if He can do it, we can too!

Showing Tough Love, Setting Limits as a United Front – My Mom and Dad always worked as a team and he supported my Mom with the limit setting. They weren’t our best friends, they were our parents and secure enough not to cross that line.

Encouragement with a Reality Check – My Dad encouraged us to be the best we could be in whatever we chose to do in life. He didn’t flower up reality and would give you the straight goods when you needed it. He expected we get part time jobs and work, save money and pay for what we could. We learned the value of a dollar and not to spend what we didn’t have. All important life skills.

What does all of this have to do with eating and lifestyle… well, everything??!! When your life is properly balanced, wisely prioritized with good examples to follow it’s easier to make sound decisions. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book reflects how my Dad conducted his life naturally.

Thank you Dad for being such an amazing father and role model to me. I kept the family name as a testament of my pride for what you built on our branch of the family tree. You’re the best and I love you bushels full!

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Posted in Edit-Storial By A Foodie, Miss Behavin' | No Comments »

Proposed Food Label Changes – Good From Far BUT Far From Good

June 12th, 2015 1 Comment Tags: , , ,

Mandatory food product labelling in Canada was introduced many years ago. At a glance the Nutrition Facts panel and Ingredient List allow consumers to learn about what’s in the food they choose. Not all countries have mandatory food package labelling, so I feel lucky that Canada has this. Spoiler Alert! …. this information is still needed for restaurant food given consumers are eating out more than ever mounting a significant proportion of our intake. I have written in my ebook and this blog that awareness is bliss, simply put, people will do better when they know better.

The Nutrition Facts table has come under much scrutiny as it potentially confuses consumers. There was a public consultation on this last year and today Health Canada has announced this Canada Gazette 1 proposal of changes to the label. There is a 75 day response period where Canadians can provide comments on their proposal before it goes to the Canada Gazette 2 stage.

As I sat to pen my thoughts on Health Canada’s proposed changes to the food label, the skies became dark, thunder rumbled and rain teemed down. Here’s an overview of the main proposed changes that I feel Canadians really care about outlined in Dietitians of Canada’s press release:

  • Mandatory standardized serving sizes for the Nutrition Facts table
  • Improved legibility of the Ingredients list on the label with consistent placement for allergen information
  • Sugars grouped together in the Ingredient list plus a %Daily Value for total sugars in the Nutrition Facts table
  • Updated % Daily Values to reflect the most recent nutrient recommendations
  • An exemption for requiring a Nutrition Facts table on pre-packaged vegetables and fruits before making a Health Claim

Here are my preliminary thoughts:

Uniform Serving Size
Standardizing serving sizes is a great idea. This will make comparing various brands easier. I cannot stress enough, though, that we need to get this right.  We live in an era with multiple health epidemics – namely obesity and diabetes. If Health Canada rounds UP the sizes too much I fret what message this will give to consumers about diet quantity. I was at the Dietitians of Canada conference last week and an RD friend and colleague of mind said the company she works for is worried about this as some of the proposed serving sizes are too large. When big food industry is worried, then I become increasingly worried….

Sour About Sugar Labelling
In last year’s consultation with Canadians the notion of having an extra line on the Nutrition Facts table to highlight added sugar was a fabulous idea. Sadly though, this did not make the cut in today’s recommendation. What they have proposed appears more confusing to me as an RD and probably to consumers at large.

Firstly, cutting back on added sugar has been raised as an issue by none other than the World Health Organization and the Heart & Stroke Foundation suggesting no more than 6-12 teaspoons of added sugar daily. Our current labels AND the proposed labels make it impossible to discern the amount of added sugar in any product.

Right now the ingredient list positions ingredients from most to least by weight. Consumers can review that to get an idea what the product is made of. In terms of sugars in various forms they are scattered among the list based on amounts. What has been proposed is to group them all together in a bracket in the list. That is all fine and good to do this but consumers still don’t know how much added sugar is actually in the product. I fret for a product like milk which has natural lactose that people might cut back because they’re not really sure.

Also, adding a % Daily Value after sugar on the panel sends me the message “…that although 15% might be deemed as “a lot” I can have more to make it to 100%…” when this is the last thing we want consumers to think. If consumers are told simply by WHO and HSF to eat no more than 6-12 teaspoons of added sugar each day throw them a bone and help them discern this without the need to play Where’s Waldo? making it impossible to figure out. At least in Where’s Waldo? you can eventually find him, on the label you have no clue whatsoever….

What Can YOU DO?
Take advantage of the comment period and weigh in on these recommendations by August 26, 2015 when our window of opportunity closes. Don’t lose heart!

I love our country but it’s times like these I find myself saying “OH Cana-DUH”! Let’s get this right, shall we?

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Posted in Foodie Fundamentals, Francy Rants, Policy for the People | 1 Comment »

A Wee Nudge to Help Me Budge

June 3rd, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ahh for the love of keeping active.  It’s a perfect time of year to get yourself outside to play, don’t you think? The temperature is lovely, the days are lighter longer and the possibilities are endless. I admitted in a recent post that I am a self proclaimed tortoise of sorts. My motto is “slow and steady wins the race…. my race.” Although I’m delighted when others make lofty activity goals, my heart sinks when they fall off the wagon for months on end until they get inspired again. From a behavioural standpoint it helps to create a love affair with activity so you look forward to doing it daily, weekly, monthly and throughout every season, not just spring and summer.

Healthy & Stealthy Interval Training – I know I sound like a broken record when I encourage you to do your “interval training” by finding a few 15 minute intervals every day to move more, creating your own “movement movement”. Easy peasy, right? Why make it so hard on yourself? I found just the tech toy that provides a wee nudge to help you budge, so listen up!

Get Moving with Tech Support – I got my hands on a sporty Apple watch recently. My tech support has been in India lately so I’ve fumbled around with it at the start. I instantly took to the Activity App features. Although I’m already inclined to move each day, since sporting it, my watch serves as my personal conscience and coach especially when I’ve become engrossed in long bouts of sitting at my computer.

Activity App to Nudge You – The Activity App touts “Live a better day by achieving 3 daily fitness goals.” These include goals to move (in calories), to exercise (in time) and to stand for one minute (number of times/day). The first day I wore it I received a gentle nudge on my wrist with a message “Time to stand!” When I complied, I received a follow up message “You did it!” How great is that? Very!

Friendly Reminders from Your Personal Coach – At various intervals in the day I receive updates on how my activity goals are progressing. I just received a nudge that I was at 57% of my Move goal encouraging me that I was “…having a solid day. Keep it going into the evening…” One evening I received an update showing me that I hadn’t yet reached my daily activity goal. Instead of settling in to couch-potato-dom I snuck out for an evening stroll that was both refreshing and enjoyable and not the least bit onerous.

I particularly like this because for me, like for many people, time can simply slip through your fingers with good intentions. Good intentions don’t get results, actions do! These reminders help you find another 15 minutes to move so your daily goals are met, very healthy and stealthy! At the end of my first week of wearing it, I received a summary of my performance. In my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books I discuss the importance of doing the 3 R’s - Review, Reflect, Reframe so good on you #AppleWatch. This summary helps me to make activity goals for the coming week after reviewing and reflecting what I actually achieved.

I am not, nor will I ever be an Iron Woman Viking, but I walk and work out regularly so I can face each day with zest. This new toy gives me an elevated level of mindfulness with encouragement to motivate me “just for today“.

I am enamoured with these friendly reminders to help me fight inclinations of inertia, like a supportive personal coach. All it’s taken is a wee nudge to help me budge! Is it time to stand up again?

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Posted in Miss Behavin' | No Comments »