Posts Tagged ‘pattern’

Want to reframe? Make a small change!

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

I have written many times that it’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad world. Last season it was BREXIT, this season the Gong Show to the south….. Somehow it feels like it’s the end of the world, good grief. Quite serendipitously, I was hanging out in the Algarve, Portugal where centuries ago it was believed that the world was flat. I stood near that very edge, hmmmm.

Alas, I decided to crawl out from under the bed and face the world again. Sometimes when you feel there is little you can control, taking charge even in a small way can be uplifting. We’re staring down yet another Christmas season, followed by New Years resolution time. I say get back to that 100 Meal Journey started this past March and make a little change for the better. Are you with me?

Truth be told, I was so enthusiastic about the whole 100 Meal Journey concept that as March meandered to April, May, June with a fast forward to today the cumulative changes made have me feeling better, more energized and in better shape. Consider these ideas:

Be Adventurous
Who doesn’t love an adventure let alone someone who is adventurous? Gear up to trying something new.  Try a new recipe, such as Tangine cooking or this savoury tomato soup served with gourmet grilled cheese. How about some yummy satisfying salads to enjoy for lunch instead of fast food. Check out even more ideas.

Seal it with a KISS – better Hunger Management
Keep it simple, sweetie! Start by managing your hunger better. NO you are not going to start a diet – coconut water, eating raw or a cleanse are NOT what’s on tap now or ever. Avert your thoughts from dieting for good!
1) More Protein & Fibre at Meals – Instead of taking away food which will make you hungry, add in satisfying choices that help manage hunger optimally and make you feel fuller longer. Work in more dairy products at meals or snacks. Add nuts and/or seeds to salads. Use dinner leftovers of meat, fish or chicken in lunches in wraps or sandwiches. Include eggs as a powerhouse of protein. Up the ante on using more pulses like chick peas or lentils and choose whole grains more often.

2) Slow Down Your Eating Pace – Doing the “whoa horsey” by slowing down, tasting and enjoying food is essential. Experiencing the feeling of fullness and stopping when you begin to feel satisfied, instead of eating like a buzz saw will help you eat less almost effortlessly.

3) Strategic Snacking – If you find you’re usually ravenous at mealtime, work in a small snack or two each day in-between meal to help take the edge off. Managing your hunger more strategically will help you slow down your pace too. Forget the vending machine and choose a fresh fruit, some cut up veggies or have a handful of unsalted nuts as your perfect go-to snack.

Awareness is Bliss
Time for a reality check! Get back to facing the scale and weighing yourself regularly. Then make a routine of checking the number a few times each week. Awareness (not ignorance) is bliss!

Remember folks, one month meanders into another, then seasons come and go. We’re staring down another new year. Take it easy on yourself and embrace a small change for the next 100 meals to a healthier you. Today is a perfect day to press the re-start button!

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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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Lunch Improv 2 Ways

February 10th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Here’s My Lunch Improv to Try!
There has been much debate about which meal of the day is most important. Breakfast usually hogs the spotlight given it provides get up and go to start the day. While dinner is our meal to help us ease into the evening. Lunch often gets glossed over, yet it is no less important than any other. In fact, lunch can help revive that get up and go that got up and went boosting your afternoon productivity!

I wrote in my ebook Skinny On Slim how I shifted my noon-time nosh-fest some years back. The short story is that I now choose a 3-salad combo with one side of plain Greek-style yoghurt another side of low fat cottage cheese. One of the salad choices always contains pulses (chick peas, beans or lentils) to further pump up the protein and one always has some nuts or seeds. This routinely satisfies my hunger, fills me up, tastes great, yet doesn’t leave me needing to nod off like Dilbert as the clock ticks by late afternoon.

I used to buy the ready-made salads. But soon after this New Year I didn’t like the limited selection and mayo-laden choices, so I decided to move my cheese and try my hand at making a few simple ones. These combinations are a snap to prepare:

C’est Chick
Combine the following:
1 can chick peas, drained & rinsed (can sub in white beans or lentils)
chopped onion slice
chopped celery, radish &/or red pepper
dash of olive oil, season to your liking

Sunshine Carrot
Combine the following:
1 can crushed pineapple, drained well
3 carrots, peeled and grated
chopped onion slice
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries or dried or frozen cherries or raisins
dash of vinegar
season to your liking

Peck O Peppers
Combine the following:
2-3 red, orange or yellow peppers, washed, cored cut lengthwise
chopped onion slice
diced defrosted frozen mango or peach
dash of vinegar
season to your liking

Here are a few more lunch salads that I love:

These combos are fast and easy to make and keep well in air tight containers in your refrigerator. I make them on the weekend leaving the guess work about “what’s for lunch?” off the table entirely. Choose a different combination each week. They’re great for the whole family to enjoy.

Try your own lunchtime improv! Join me in making a few cinchy options.

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Posted in Food Revolution Recipes, Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Successful Loser Logic | No Comments »

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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Loving Lunch a Bunch this #NutritionMonth

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

I’ve been following the Dietitians of Canada theme of eating well at work as we sing along ‘Eating 9 to 5!’ throughout March, which is Nutrition Month. Statistics show that some love it and some leave it – 37% of Canadians say they prepare lunch at home while 36% admit to skipping it – good grief. If you want any hope to charge through the afternoon it’s a good idea to plug in your battery with nutrient rich choices. You don’t want to end up like Dilbert and be asleep in your cubicle in the afternoon, do you?

Here are top tips to help you get good grub in your tummy at lunch to revitalize your workday:

1. Give your lunch bag a one-two punch! Perk up your packed lunch with four tasty energizing options.

You’ll love these quick, simple and tasty make-and-take lunches:

  • Layer black bean dip, avocado and peppery arugula on a rustic whole-grain baguette for a simple sandwich with big flavour.
  • Pack hard-boiled eggs, cheese, fresh veggies, a few olives and whole-grain crackers for a super snack-like lunch.
  • Mix lentils, roasted sweet potato and red peppers, quinoa and a drizzle of lemony dressing for a protein-packed salad bowl.
  • Toss light tuna, snow peas and grape tomatoes with leftover whole grain pasta, basil-filled pesto and a pinch of chili flakes – this dish is great cold or heated.

2. Lunching at work? Think outside the cubicle. Start a healthy lunch club.

Want a healthy homemade lunch at work but don’t have time to make it? Form a lunch club with co-workers and take turns making and bringing a nutritious lunch.

Keep it simple with a salad, soup or sandwich club. You could also have fun with weekly themes, like cuisine from different cultures or dishes featuring specific nutrient-rich ingredients, such as legumes, cheese, barley or colourful vegetables.

Whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly, a workplace lunch club lets you enjoy a healthy homemade lunch and share good eating habits with your colleagues.

3. No time to pack lunch? Navigate the food court or cafeteria with dietitian-approved tips.

I spy with my little eye something that is healthier:

  • Want salad satisfaction? Choose dark leafy greens, colourful veggies, protein-packed legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and whole grains such as barley or quinoa. Drizzle dressing lightly.
  • Love pizza? Get a thin whole grain crust, load on the veggie toppings, stick to a single layer of cheese and steer clear of salty, high-fat meats.
  • Craving a sandwich? Choose whole grain bread. Double up on veggies. Skip deli meats – go grilled instead. Get spreads on the side and use just a little.
  • Satisfied by stir-fries? Ask for extra veggies and less sauce with your chicken, tofu or shrimp stir-fry. Choose brown rice instead of white.

4. Eating out at work? Make better choices with expert tips from dietitians.

Keep dietitians’ tried-and-true tips in mind when you’re eating out:

  • Downsize it. Ask for half-portions or save part of your meal for tomorrow’s lunch.
  • Choose steamed – or baked, broiled, grilled or roasted – instead of fried.
  • Double up on veggies. Choose leafy green salads or cooked veggies for sides. Pile veggies on your wrap, pizza or burger.
  • Don’t get too saucy! Salad dressings, spreads and sauces can add a lot of fat, calories and sodium. Get them on the side and use just enough for flavour.

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.nutritionmonth2015.ca.

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The Other 12 Days of Christmas

December 3rd, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

Ok my cherished T & T followers. Let’s all sing along together from the same proverbial song-sheet now that the Christmas season is in full swing, shall we? HmHmmHmm.

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

1 Daily Breakfast – Successful losers say and research shows it’s the most important meal of the day. Don’t miss it!

2 Little Snacks – Keeping your hunger at bay will really help you from feeling ravenous and overeating.

3 Square Meals – Having a regular eating routine with balanced meals helps your metabolism fire on all cylinders. A true gift to yourself.

4 Small Plates – Keeping an eye on your serving size by using smaller plates is an easy way to help you portion out less food and eat less over the holidays and everyday.

5 No-cal Drinks – Having enough fluids and focusing on eating your calories rather than drinking them helps fill you up and keeps you hydrated.

6 Times a Movin’ – Keeping regularly active and even taking it up a notch this time of year to offset any extra nibbling will help you burn extra calories, keep on track, feel fit and even ease stress.

7 Beauty Sleeps - Getting enough zzzzz’s helps with appetite regulation and allows you to be more productive. Nite nite.

8 Maids a Milkin’ – Including this perfect food into your regimen as a snack and with meals will add taste, protein and help satiety, not to mention a whole lot of nutritional goodness.

9 Ladies Dancing – Doing the hokey pokey at the holiday party will help you burn 276 calories an hour, by rockin’ round the clock! Bye bye trifle calories…..

10 Fruit & Veg – Eating your quota of these everyday helps fill you up while easing those extras out because you’re simply feeling full. Like magic.

11 Wipers Wipin’ – Doing housework isn’t all bad, you’ll burn 216 calories an hour while making your nest pristine for when company pops in unexpectedly.

12 Drummers Drummin’ – March to the beat of your own drum and don’t let those saboteurs change your plans gets you in the dietary drivers seat. Stick with it, 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, fa la la la la, la la la la!

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Food Cleansing or Conscience Cleansing?? Defect in the Cause and Effect

October 3rd, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I have been doing more thinking about kids, eating and the wrath of forbidden foods lately, hmmmmmm. You know what I’m talking about: totally removing high energy dense, low nutrient foods, aka junk. The intent usually has noble roots, wanting to do better for our kids as they mean the world to us. They are our future, after all. But extreme measures in this regard could create the opposite effect and even unintended consequences.

Being a paediatric dietitian many years ago I have learned the delicate balance of the feeding relationship with kids, not only focusing on “what” they eat but behaviour and “how” they eat in their food environment. Ellyn Satter, a guru on the subject has provided a multitude of sage advice on offering kids a variety of food which they choose “the what” and “the how much” to eat from your offering, ideally in a stress- and emotions-free place. Day by day kids’ eating waxes and wanes, sometimes eating more, sometimes less, soldiering on through food jags, pickiness and those “hollow leg” periods as they grow.

Food also means so much more than simply the vitamins and minerals it contains, but has a place within our social and physiological fabric. Kids are sharp as tacks too being intuitive, sometimes more than we adults ever realize. When we the “gate keepers” cleanse and purify our food environments or worse punish kids for eating treats, kids go into “food seeking” mode and will gorge on it when they get it. Research has shown this. This unintended consequence not only creates the opposite effect by ingraining food seeking behaviour of these foods but could result in psychological eating issues which could shackle kids in a vortex of disordered eating for decades.

A teacher once told me how they now catch kids in the bathroom stalls at school scarfing down Doritios. An act they often get punished for. In my day, kids would be caught smoking there. Good grief, times have changed. My Italian grandmothers would roll over in their graves if they knew kids got punished for being caught eating…..

Ideally we all want kids to establish a positive relationship with food or as I describe in my e-book “establish a love affair with food”. This involves coming together, eating and enjoying food, some treats, guilt free. This is not a black or white issue, not all or none, but grey zone. When we deem foods as forbidden or shame anyone when “caught in the act” of eating it, the unintended consequences could be staggering. That’s not the goal is it: to create a bad situation by being so virtuous?

Our collective conscience might feel clear when we applaud total removal and cleansing of every treat in kids environments. Consequently this may certainly be creating a bigger problem: a defect in the cause and effect, don’t you think? Some food for thought to digest as Halloween approaches….

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New Shoes

September 17th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Bought some new shoes
That I’m gonna use
To get me around
No more making an excuse

A new gift to me
New model arrived Friday
Light, sturdy and slick
Fun to help me do my shtick

Got a headache from all the spin
A wall of shoes, where do I begin?
Just wanna walk without pain
Get me through heat, sleet and rain

Choices galore
Every colour and more
Rocker sole and higher heel
Bigger toe box is part of the deal

Finally chose a pair
Can hardly wait to wear
To take me near and far
My goal? Time to raise the bar!

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What’s so super about “super food”?

July 11th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve been doing some thinking about super food lately, hmmmmm. When I think about what’s been in vogue through the ages Popeye and spinach come to mind, pomegranate, acai too, blueberries, avocados, tomatoes, even carrots. When I stand back and think about how our bodacious body works, I have learned we need a wide array of elements, those vitamins and minerals, fibre and water to make our masterful machine fire on all cylinders. You can eat carrots until the cows come home and make your skin turn orange but that wouldn’t be very super, would it?

Here’s what I think is super:

Super Routine – Our body works more efficiently when we eat and drink throughout the day such as having 3 meals and a few small snacks. Fasting or going hours on end inconsistently without eating puts your body on fasting alert which is exactly what you don’t want it to do. Practice a predictable routine and your body will love you back.

Super Balance – Unlike a car that only uses petrol, our body needs all of the vitamins and minerals, fibre plus water with a good mix of protein, fat and carbohydrates. There is not 1 superfood that will provide all of this, so why keep searching for it. I’m all for trying new healthy foods but work them into a mixed diet and solid repertoire.

Super Attitude – I write a lot about establishing a love affair with food, explained in more detail in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books where all foods fit. It’s a mindset of acceptance that kicks guilt to the curb – where it belongs.

Super Hydration – We need our fluids consistently to keep all systems functioning optimally as well. Water is the golden standard. Keep in mind caffeine and alcohol have diuretic properties so if you choose to have these, do so in moderation. Also, most food is water based and contributes to your hydration to some degree.

Super Moves – We can talk about food and drink all we like, but remember our bodies were meant to move. Get active every single day!

Super Sleep – Like every masterful machine, our body needs an appropriate amount of sleep and downtime to regenerate. If you DON’T snooze you will certainly lose!

So folks, go ahead and ride the waves of super foods coming our way. I love them all. But be mindful of choosing these in the context of balance which our bodacious body requires.

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Daily Grind Rhyme

June 16th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Another week has come and gone
The birds did chirp
The sun has shone

Decisions made to fill me up
A walk at dawn
My water cup

Of fruits & veg, 5 to 10 a day
And dairy too
Hey that’s ok!

Eating pattern to stay on track
3 balanced meals, plus
A few small snacks

Steer clear of fast food and of junk
That’s NOT real food
And adds to your trunk!

Protein at meals keeps hunger away
All those vit’s and min’s
And health will stay

Remember that your body’s your temple
And that’s a fact
Plain and simple

Keep building up your muscle mass
Being good and strong
Ups your thermostat

Nothing feels better than being fit
Everything you do
Makes a difference to it!

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Posted in Foodie Fundamentals, Funnies By a Foodie, Miss Behavin', Rhyme Time! | No Comments »