Posts Tagged ‘monitor’

The 12 Days of Christmas Remix

December 5th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Hem hem hem…. Ok my cherished T & T followers. Another year is zipping by and the Christmas season is in full swing! Let’s sing along from the same proverbial song-sheet to get through to the other end the same jean size, shall we?

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

One Daily BreakfastSuccessful losers say and research shows it’s the most important meal of the day. Don’t miss it!

Two Little SnacksKeeping your hunger at bay will really help you from feeling ravenous and overeating.

Three Square MealsHaving a regular eating routine with balanced meals helps you fire on all cylinders while kicking hunger to the curb. Remember that hunger management project you started in November?

Four Small PlatesKeeping your eyes on your serving size by using smaller plates is an easy way to help you eat less over the holidays and everyday!

Five Quiet MomentsLet stress flow away when you find quiet times to ponder life and all it’s wonders. Ummmmmm.

Six Times a Movin’Keeping regularly active (at least six, five minute intervals of moving daily) and even taking it up a notch this time of year to offset any extra nibbling will help you burn any extra calories, keep on track, feel fit and even ease stress.

Seven Beauty SleepsGetting enough zzzzz’s helps with appetite control and allows you to be more productive. Nitey nite.

Eight Mugs a Chuggin’Always keep that water goblet of life half full and by your side. Sip, sip, sip to my Lou throughout the day to stay well hydrated. Infuse your water with fresh mint, zesty citrus or frozen berries. Bottoms UP!

Nine Ladies DancingRocking around the clock at your Christmas party like it’s 1999 will help you burn baby burn 276 calories an hour!! Bye bye extra serving of Christmas trifle calories…..

Ten Fruit & VegEating your quota of these puppies everyday will help fill you up and ease those extras out because you’re simply feeling full. Poof, like magic!

Eleven Saboteurs to Deal WithPrepare yourself with how you’re going to deal with food pushing saboteurs. Take the high road with a polite “no thank you” and HO HO HOld the attitude!

Twelve Drummers Drummin’ Marching to the beat of your own drum puts you in the dietary drivers seat. Stick with it soul sister, you’ll be glad you did!

Ok folks, if you follow this beat for the coming weeks you’ll be in good shape and feeling extra cheer by New Year. Equip yourself with my e-book for more healthy and stealthy tips for 2017.

God bless us every one!

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Unchain the Nutrition Facts, Chain Restaurants!

April 15th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

I woke up this morning reading about “….why health advocates want calorie counts on your menu and in your face” on the CBC website. Ahhh yes, my favourite subject “menu labelling” on a sunny Friday. Who needs an espresso to wake up with when there’s a headline like that – thank you world!

Fact: Ontario chain restaurants must post calorie counts on menus by 2017. In my opinion this move is ‘good from far, but FAR from good’. Hear me out will you??

Food Package Labelling – Canadians and Americans have been exposed to and are used to having the accessible array of nutritional information on food package labels for over a decade. Industry’s argument that giving more information than only calories will cause confusion is a foot dragging tactic that makes no sense whatsoever. This information is NOT new. As a consumer and health expert, I’m left scratching my head wondering why the food package sector needs to disclose all of this information and the fast food sector does not. There are people who want this information, need it and use it.

Why is the Fast Food Sector exempt? Because of this lack of convenient disclosure of nutritional information, the fast food sector is like the wild west. If you have read any of my posts on this topic one thing will jump out at you in spades: the numbers are absurdly astronomical. Check these posts out: Mulling Over Menus; Blizzard to Cool You; Summertime ScoopAwareness is Bliss. When this array of information is eventually disclosed in an open and user-friendly fashion, this sector will be motivated to reformulate their offerings. So mandating disclosure of this information is good for consumers who seek it and good for everyone else because in time I’d wager many of the offerings’ nutritional info will improve and be easier to swallow…. on many levels.

Multiple Health Epidemics – You have been living under a rock if you didn’t know our world is facing multiple health epidemics. Knowing how many calories is in your food is a start, but we need full disclosure of chain restaurant offerings, the same as what’s on the food labels – why should we expect any less as consumers? The industry will argue about how difficult it is to make this info available. Please! Yes it’s true a menu cannot post nutrition facts tables with their menu board. Given human ingenuity however, I’d wager we can come up with a solution that is doable.

Consumers’ Changing Habits – Convenience and Fast Food – We know that consumers’ habits have changed dramatically being time starved and seeking convenience. We also know that people are eating out more and more where it has become routine and not just a treat. Because of this people really need to know what’s in their food if they want it. As I have often said – awareness is bliss. Anyone who has driven by a fast food restaurant at dawn or dusk has seen the drive thru line snake out of the parking lot. I don’t think the cars are empty, do you?

So folks, we need to keep banging the gong on this one. We deserve to know what’s in our food, the same information that is available on food package labels. Don’t settle for anything less.

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Does the Food Guide make my butt get fat?

April 8th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I have heard the debate about Canada’s Food Guide and whether it’s causing obesity. My initial thought about this (or any guide for that matter) is to remind myself that this tool is a guide. It is not a diet plan. It is not a prescription. It is not a meal plan. It’s a guide. A guide needs to be used like a guide, you know for guidance. The Apple dictionary’s definition of “guide” is “a thing that helps someone to form an opinion or make a decision or calculation”. If you want it customized for you, then make an appointment with a dietitian to make sense of it.

If you have ever created a nutrition-related handout for a subset of the population, it inevitably morphs into a more daunting task with the many permutations and combinations of considerations even if it’s intended for the most homogenous group of people. I like to remind myself that Canada’s Food Guide was created for over 30 million Canadians from the age of 2 years old and up, while the Food Pyramid in the US was created for over 300 million Americans. How different is its application in one household, let alone on one city block, yet this guide was designed for most of us from coast to coast to coast.

Put that nutritional nugget in your noodle folks. One food guide created for different ages and stages: growing children from toddlers to teens, adults aging, an array of cultures with varying beliefs and practices, likes and dislikes, living in urban or rural areas with different food availability, activity levels and more. I sometimes wonder why governments even go to such great lengths to create such guides. They are perfect fodder for the media, that I’m sure we can all agree on because inevitably there’ll be a nuance (or 10) someone doesn’t agree with….

I was surprised by the seemingly collective buy-in of Brazil’s Food Guide. For simplicity sake “The Brazilian” is broken down into 10 steps, as follows:

  1. Prepare meals using fresh and staple foods
  2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation
  3. Limit consumption of ready-to-eat food and drink products
  4. Eat at regular mealtimes and pay attention to your food instead of multitasking
  5. Eat with others whenever possible
  6. Buy food in shops and markets that offer a variety of fresh foods
  7. Develop, practise, share and enjoy your skills in food prep and cooking
  8. Decide as a family to share cooking responsibilities and dedicate enough time for healthy meals
  9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes. Avoid fast food chains.
  10. Be critical of food-industry advertising.

Headlines touted its simplicity with marvel and applause. It felt like a good start to me but I experienced that “good from far, but far from good” feeling, niggling in my gut. In fact, I had one of those “Emperors New Clothes” moments. Over the years I have helped people make sense of many kinds of diets and guidelines. I feel that if I was counseling someone using The Brazilian guide I’d face some push back because inevitably the overwhelmed client will look me straight in the eye and say “That’s all well and good, but what am I supposed to eat?” Consumers, especially the shoppers in the family, demand details!

I have written about and strongly believe that we should do all that the Brazilian guide outlines. I have articulated many times that HOW you eat is as important as WHAT you eat. But at some point a Food Guide needs to map out what and how much food to eat so the user isn’t groping in the dark. One of the things this guide is lacking is well, guidance on that. It reads more like a proclamation than a guide and could be considered the “Brazilian Food Commandments” of sorts! Consumers need specifics about food choice and serving sizes to ensure nutritional balance is achieved. If it doesn’t I’ll wager there’ll be another food-related epidemic looming right around the corner.

Perhaps we need to step back and figure out who is actually using this tool and how they interpret it. We certainly do live in different times. Alas, undertaking the redevelopment of this may be passé given current issues that have leached through our culture.

Back to the original question: does the food guide make my butt get fat? I have heard Dr. Diane Finegood make this exclamation many times about obesity “It isn’t rocket science. It’s more complex!” There are plenty of potential causative factors, such as:

• highly processed, cheap food being available everywhere you look
• the emergence of mindless eating
• eating patterns that have morphed with the insurgence of snacking
• eating out and using convenience foods have become routine
• serving sizes, food packages and dinner ware have burgeoned
• the proliferation of calorie laden beverages lining miles of aisles at the grocery store
• product reformulation to tantalize consumers bliss point making some highly processed, low nutrient dense food addictive
• cooking skills have done a disappearing act in people’s repertoire while traditional family recipe use is fading
• the rise of celebrity endorsed unscientific diets, products, fads, cleanses and supplements have infiltrated people’s lives like a bad boyfriend you can’t dump
• consumers adopting freakish foodie foible eccentricities and proclaiming them like a cult
• the built environment with the expansion of suburbia
• insidious marketing strategies that have permeated our lives
• featuring the “food demon du jour” by media adding to consumer fear and confusion
• society’s inception of the “busy contest” often resulting in a heightened degree of stress with negative metabolic consequences for some
• the multitude of everyday energy saving conveniences
• then there’s that other global epidemic, sitting disease.

Big sigh. Somehow it would seem the movie Wal-ii is coming true in technicolour…. good grief.

After considering this laundry of issues, somehow the aged and rusty Food Guide seems like it’s the least of consumers’ worries in the obesity department. Perhaps future iterations need to come with a consultation with an RD Life Coach and a side order of The Brazilian. Food for thought…

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Week 5: Make Small Changes Stick this #NutritionMonth!

March 25th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Lack of time, eating out, holidays, stress? We all have challenges that can sidetrack our healthy eating plans. Here are some strategies to help your small changes stick.

Planning how you’ll manage healthy-eating roadblocks before they happen is key to success.
Setbacks on a journey to healthier habits are a normal part of making changes. Knowing what some of your challenges are can help you be ready to deal with them. Get ready with a plan to manage detours:
• Think about what might get in your way of healthy eating.
• Brainstorm solutions to get around roadblocks.
• Put supportive strategies in place. Recruit family and friends to help on your path to a healthy you.
A slip in healthy eating habits is a learning opportunity. When it happens, review your plan, adjust as needed and get back on track.
For help staying motivated, get eaTracker at: www.eatracker.ca

Short on time? Be prepared with nourishing grab ‘n’ go foods, like yogurt, nuts and fruit.
Eating well doesn’t need to take a lot of time. A little planning helps you eat healthy, even on the run:
• Stock your kitchen with good-for-you snacks, like veggies, fruit, yogurt, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, seeds and whole grain crackers.
• Cook big batches of soup, stew or chili on weekends, then take a welcome cooking break on busy weekdays.
• Cook once. Eat twice. Make more food than you need for one meal and reinvent it for another.
• Shop for healthier convenience foods, such as frozen or pre-cut vegetables, plain frozen fish fillets, shredded cheese and canned lentils.

Stressed? Bored? Sad? Eating for reasons other than hunger can lead to mindless munching.
Do you ever find yourself eating, even when you’re not hungry? Do you eat when you are bored or distracted, like when watching TV? Do you eat to deal with stress or emotions? If so, you may be eating more than you think.
If you’re a mindless muncher, try putting these savvy strategies in place:
• Reduce boredom, sadness or stress by taking a brisk walk instead of nibbling.
• Eat mindfully. Don’t eat distracted. Make mealtimes screen-free, eat away from your desk and don’t snack while watching TV.

Menu minefield! Check restaurant nutrition info online to make better choices.
Eating out healthy can be challenging when faced with big portions, too few vegetables, indulgent desserts and too much fat, sugar and salt. Make better choices with these tips:
• Choose small or half-portions or save part of a big entrée for another meal.
• Ask for extra veggies on your wrap, pizza or burger. Replace white rice or pasta side dishes with steamed veggies.
• Ask for dressings and sauces on the side and add just enough for flavour.
• Love dessert? Go mini or get one dessert and several forks so you can share the great taste.

A dietitian can help you to get back on healthy-eating track! To find a dietitian in your area, visit www.dietitian.ca/find.

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2016.ca

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Press the re-Start Button…

February 4th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

It seems as if I blinked and February rolled in. How are your New Year’s resolutions progressing? Have they morphed from intention to action? Sometimes life’s commitments get in the way of progress, but today is as good as any day to press the re-start button. Reframe your thinking by considering these ideas:

Just for Today – Shift your focus and work on your goal “just for today”. Eat just a little better and find opportunities to stand and move a little more, more often. Sometimes we psych ourselves out wanting a mountain of change by next month, next season, next birthday and more. By keeping your head in today, those goals will come to fruition down the road.

The Weigh In – Early in January, Dr. Brian Wansink reported on the importance of weighing in throughout the weeks post holiday noshing. Like I always say “awareness is bliss” and the scale never lies. I have taken heed of this advise and weigh ins have served as a reminder to nip the nosh-fest in the bud.

Work in Intervals - Time can be on your side when you find 5 minutes here, or 15 minutes there to move more. Forget about finding a full hour or more if you have been out of any activity routine. You can more easily add up these intervals to 30 – 60 minutes by sneaking your moves in. You may eventually feel so good you may schedule in more activity to move, to destress and energize yourself!

Plan a Small Change – Next month (March) is Nutrition Month. The theme is “Take a 100 meal journey. Make a small change one meal at a time.” While you’re working on doing just a little bit better, join in starting February 23, 2016 and Take the Pledge. While you’re at it find ideas, follow the weekly topics throughout March from “Get Ready!” “Quality Counts!” “Prioritize Portion Size!” “Try Something New!” to “Make it Stick!”

Instead of life getting in the way of your goals, let your goals get integrated in your life little by little by taking the first step.

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Best Face Forward!

January 6th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ahhh the New Year is upon us. As long as you’re on the green side of the grass things are looking up for you! This season is filled with opportunity that can help you sail into spring. A perfect way to start is to put your best face forward, so listen up:

Face the Cold – Hey baby, it might be cold outside, but working out in the colder temps may actually burn more calories. Don’t only face it, but embrace it! I’m sure more calorie burnage is in order post holiday noshing, don’t you think?

Face the Scale – Yes folks, you already know that awareness is bliss! Although I’ve scanned enough tweets about “don’t let a number define you” you still need to know where you stand. Let’s not poke our head in the sand and be oblivious if you have gained weight. If you slipped up a pound or 5, stopping this trend in it’s tracks is strategic. Lock and load yourself in your trusty iron-side jeans for the season and get a handle on your handles!

re-Face the Fridge – The old adage “out with the old and in with the new” certainly pertains to stocking your fridge up with tasty, healthy food and drink options. Out goes that jug of sangria, replaced with mint or berry infused water. Load up on an array of Mother Nature’s bounty – fruits and veggies and organize them “right in your face” so when your resolve is tanking with your blood sugar before dinner, perfect choices are right there and ripe for the taking.

Face the Facts – Let’s read and follow advise from reliable sources based in fact rather than fiction. We are biological beings that need all of the macro and micro nutrients regularly to function optimally. Be kind to your bodacious body! Don’t cut your nose off to spite your face by trying illogical schemes.

Face the Music – Find time to sooth that savage beast within bound by excess stress and work in ways to chill. Turn on your favourite tunes to help shake off the stress. You’ll be calmer, happier and more positive which is a great way to kick off the New Year.

Let’s face it folks, we can’t slow down time but we can embrace it with a positive outlook when we put our best face forward. Upward and onward ho!

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As the saying goes, “The whole is greater than the sum…”

October 23rd, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

We have all heard the saying “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This saying came to mind recently when the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s press release exclaimed “Cut the crap!” They revisited their nutritional recommendations for a healthy heart and slightly shifted their position suggesting we eat more whole foods and less highly processed, low nutrient junk food, AKA “crap”! How wise is that? Very!

Well, well, well, what a breath of fresh air these well thought out, new recommendations are for everyone! Over the past decades the masses have complicated matters of the heart and the diet, transforming the innocent act of eating into such a complicated affair. We got to focusing too much on micronutrients, while losing the essence and joy of food and eating somehow. It’s time to put “the bread” back into “breaking bread together”!

I am not proclaiming that nutrients in the food don’t matter. Our masterful machines – our bodacious bodies need all nutrients to function optimally. Changing our focus to one overarching goal – to consume mostly whole foods in a balanced fashion, is sage advise. Aiming to cook these whole foods at home more often can be life changing and for some life saving.

Instead of needing to remember a wide array of complicated food and nutrition rules – “…more of this, less of that, this percentage of the other… ” you simply have to ask yourself, “Is this a whole food or not?” When you look in your fridge, freezer, pantry and grocery list you can easily see if you are on the right track. Make small changes to move in the direction of eating whole foods more often in balanced proportions.

A few weeks back I made a vat of tomato eggplant sauce and froze it in smaller containers. Last week I made a lasagne with ground beef & mushrooms, spinach & ricotta and noodles using that trusty tomato sauce. This week I assembled this cinchy dinner of smoked salmon & brie, whole grain bread with a side salad. Next week I plan to create some calzones and dip them into my tomato sauce. Trust me, I am no Julia Childs and approach this to make food prep as easy and enjoyable as possible.

It’s helpful to take stock of your whole food enjoyment right now. If you have been falling short during this harvest season get a move on to your grocery store or market and load up.

Because it’s true, the whole IS greater than the sum of its parts. Eating more home-prepared, whole foods is better for you than consuming your nutrients from a bottle or elixir and following a plethora of illogical food rules, don’t you think?

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To Snack or Not to Snack? Managing your Hunger Games

September 18th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I recently received this message from a book reader of mine. She gave me permission to blog about it to help others who might have similar issues managing hunger.

Dear T & T,
I just finished your book, Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books and thought it had a lot of great tips. I have started journalling and have set some 3×3 goals for myself. I have a question about how to strike a balance between only eating when I’m hungry and eating to ensure I won’t be too hungry at a later time (to ensure no pig outs happen when serious hunger hits). For example, I tend to workout after work but before dinner. So I will have a snack around 4pm to give me plenty of energy for a solid workout and I’m not dying for dinner right after. But sometimes I am not really hungry when it’s snack time. One of my goals, is to focus on what actual hunger is, and I worry that snacking like this may impede that. Any thoughts?

Dear PO,

You bring up an excellent point about managing hunger with a busy routine. First of all major props to you for working out, keep up the good work on that! Being active is beneficial for you on sooooo many levels. Learning about your own hunger and fullness cues takes time and is a huge balancing act AND certainly worth the effort to work on.

If you’re not hungry at 4pm I suggest you forgo having a snack. It is, however, totally trial and error. Keep yourself equipped with fruit for afterward – a perfect post-workout and pre-dinner snack so you’re not ravenous when you get home. I think marketing ingrains in our heads that we need a pre and/or post workout snack even though we’re not elite athletes. Follow your cues and act accordingly.

Also I find different times of the month like when I’m PMS’ing I feel more hungry. If that’s the case I’ll have a snack. Fruit is my go-to option or a handful of unsalted nuts if I need more staying power. Boredom can do the same thing with playing funny mind tricks disguised as hunger when it isn’t! Reviewing the 3 R’s (review, reflect, reframe) from your journal and observing the patterns will help you figure out true hunger. Plus it will help you with to how better you manage hunger. I find when I’m ravenous it’s too easy to automatically overeat so my personal trick is to avoid getting to that point. Easier said than done, but an ongoing goal. It’s a true balancing act and takes time to figure out and manage.

It’s a worthwhile effort to discern what actual hunger is for you as well. There are times when my tummy plays gypsy music disguised as hunger, esp post vacation and what I actually need to do is to get back on track, ensure I drink my fluids (water at my workstation), eat more fruits and veggies, choose a balanced diet including enough protein at each meal while I retrain those stomach stretch receptors to snap back to normal. As I like to say: Awareness is bliss! Keep me posted on your progress and let me know if you have further questions.

Nutritionally yours,
T & T

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Follow the Loser – Dining Out…

August 27th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Summer and the fun that comes with it isn’t over yet! I’m sure there is more dining out to come in the near and far future. I thought it would be timely to tap into our successful weight loser logic on strategies they use when eating out.  Continuing on the “successful weight loser” theme written about in July, here are more juicy tips, this time about dining out.

My good friend and colleague Cara Rosenbloom and I conducted a survey on successful weight losers a few years ago. These women provided pearls of wisdom on many aspects of their lives and today the spotlight is on how they approach dining out:

  • I do my homework before I go to the restaurant by looking up nutritional information and decide what I’ll order. This takes the guess work out for when I get there.
  • The portions have gotten out of hand. I either choose something from the kids menu or I just cut my plate in half and eat that portion only, bringing the rest home.
  • I eat lighter during the day. If I’ve over-indulged, I try and cut back the next day, and increase my activity level.
  • If there’s wine at the meal, I have a spritzer first, or alternate drinks with sparkling water. I choose to spend the calories on the food rather than the beverages. If I do choose to have wine, I’ll begin drinking it after the food arrives.
  • I have found that because I have maintained my weight for about 6 years now, that I don’t have to think about controlling my appetite. I use strategies that have become second nature to me such as make sure to put down my fork and talk to the company I am with.
  • I stop and monitor if I am hungry and decide if I will continue eating or not.
  • I box up any extra food left and take home for someone else to eat, or for my lunch the next day.
  • I am watchful of portion sizes. I don’t mind asking for a container to take the remainder home.
  • Serving size is my biggest challenge. I try to eat slowly and talk lots!
  • I try to take an extra walk during the day. I am to eat less and keep busy during the day , plus I drink lots of water.
  • I wear a fitted waistband!
  • I try to avoid being overly hungry for the meal. I’ll eat something before I leave home like a piece of fruit, or some yogurt, or even some bean salad so it will stay in your system for a while. So if I’m not that hungry I’ll eat less.

If you’re eating out way more than usual, paying attention to the finer details will surely help you manage keeping a handle on your handles and your weight more effectively while getting maximal enjoyment from eating out.

Check out Chapter 9 in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books with an array of tips and tricks for “Facing Routine Curveballs and Challenges” that everyday life brings. Cheers!

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Shades of Grey 5 MORE Ways

February 18th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Thought I’d follow that “shades of grey” theme from last week. There certainly are a multitude of grey zone issues in the realm of food and nutrition. I thought I’d feature a few more for you to digest!

Test, Test, Put Your Favourite Food to My Eating Satisfaction Test - Gotta love a test involving savouring your most favourite food, right? I used to be in love with anything deep fried, salted that went CRUNCH, until I put it to this test and it fell off my favourite food list. Go figure! My love of pie however, has endured…

Thoughts on Healthy – Everyone who eats is a self promoted nutrition expert, it would seem. From, “Eat your carrots!” to “Don’t let Timbits touch your lips!” and more. What’s my favourite line of singer Barry White “…too much of anything’s not good for you baby….” Right on Barry!

Weighing in on “Full” – Why is it that fullness and satiety are so elusive and ever changing? Here are some tips to help you get more satisfaction with less which’ll bring you double the joy AND more eating enjoyment!

Grey Matter Matters! – This is less about grey zone and  more about grey matter…I write on about eating well and getting fit, but alas I have spent too little time writing about ways to nurture your noodle – your bountiful brain. Grey matter should be top of mind!

What’s the best diet out there? – This is “greyist” question of them all! What can I say in short: own it, stick with science, don’t mess with the machine, follow the loser and enjoy the journey!

So there you have it folks, another smattering of grey zone food and nutrition issues to mull over as February rolls on. Anyone can manage in the absolutes of black and white, but the grey zone is where real complexities lie.
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