Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Hold the trick on treats this Halloween!

October 28th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

The tweet fest has been mounting about whether to give kids healthy treats or toys at Halloween, hmmmm. Is that an oxymoron – “healthy treats”? I call that a “trick” in the “trick or treat” declaration, wouldn’t you?

Look folks, Halloween comes but once a year. It’s fun to celebrate a spirited day, dress up funny and shell out. Why suck the fun out of it? Truth be told, it’s a perfect time of year to put your relationship with food to the test…

Food means so much more than simply the vitamins and minerals it contains, but has a place within our social and psychological fabric. Kids are sharp as tacks being intuitive, sometimes more than we adults ever realize. When we the “gate keepers” take the “treat” out of “trick or treat” kids get the message that you’re telling them that something is bad about that. When you head down that road, it’s a slippery slope in a negative direction. Kids who live in “cleansed” environments without any goodies could go into “food seeking” mode and will gorge on treats when they eventually get them. Some studies have shown this. The unintended consequence could result in psychological eating issues which could shackle them in a vortex of disordered eating for decades. Lighten up!

Ideally we all want kids to establish a positive relationship with food or as I like to say “a love affair” described in my e-book. This involves eating and enjoying food, some treats in moderation, guilt free. This is not a black or white issue, but grey. When we deem foods by our actions as “bad” the unintended consequences could be staggering. That’s not the goal is it: to create a negative situation by being so virtuous?

I usually wait until the day before the big day to pick up my treats. You name it, I get it – potato chips, Cheetos, chocolate bars, candy, the full court press of offerings. It’s Halloween folks, kids don’t want “healthy treats” and neither do I as I sit at the door when the tykes drop by. Save the bridge games for the old folks home! What kind of trick is that? A very bad one! This is one of those occasions to take part in and have fun – nibble, nosh and be merry. When the sugar rush wears off, it’ll be time for school and work so enjoy!
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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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Weight Loss Through the Years & What YOU Can Do

October 7th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Perhaps you read some of the headlines recently on why losing weight today is harder to do than 30 years ago. Hmmm, I thought, just what people need, are more reasons to give up on their journey from Fat City to Slim Town, what gives? I must say I read those articles with dismay, not really agreeing with all of their rationale. I feel there are other reasons why we may be having a more challenging time trying to lose weight. So here’s my take on what I feel the more relevant issues are and what YOU can do about it:

Mindless Eating – We are a people who multitask in a rush rush rush culture. Eating and drinking or consuming no longer only happen at the kitchen table with family, don’t you wish. A lot of consuming happens with distractions – while driving, while working, while watching TV. We now have cup holders in our vehicles that can hold a mega sized slurp-ee or specialty coffee that was never conceived back in the ’80′s. When scientists study what people actually consume – those tasty morsels that are consumed mindlessly don’t get recorded. Our bodies haven’t evolved into a mystery system I suspect. We just can’t remember those dang items consumed while doing other things and they really add up.
What can you do? Work on eating and drinking mindfully without distractions. Make a pact to eat, drink and be merry with your undivided attention. You’ll probably enjoy it more when you do. Awareness certainly is bliss!

Size Matters – This axiom has many applications… In the world of food and eating over the years we know that serving sizes have mushroomed to much larger portions – from cans of pop, to muffins, bagels, combo meals, to mega sized family packs of food – so much comes super sized you almost feel like you’re on the set of “Honey I shrunk the kids” in those big box Club stores! Kitchen cupboards are built differently to hold all of this super sized stuff. Over the decades of consuming the same items that are now 30% larger, it is no surprise if you’ve tipped the scale by the same percent.
What can you do? Start by choosing to consume most of your food off of smaller “salad sized” plates sitting down. While you’re at it, slow down your eating pace and experience yourself feeling satisfied. Get in the habit of making half your plate veggies and fruit throughout the day which is one of my many healthy and stealthy strategies in my ebook.

Easy Button Overload & Life’s Conveniences – On the other side of the energy equation, our lives have morphed into being able to press the “easy button” for everything. There are so many cozy conveniences from electric garage door openers, to moving sidewalks, to drive through’s, to the channel changer for the idiot box. You can say we now live on Easy Street which isn’t a word of a lie! Pair that up with our sitting epidemic and we have become so efficient we’re burning up less calories because of all of these conveniences. Good grief.
What can you do? Work on ways of moving more: take the stairs when you can, park further away, use active transport when you are planning activities close to home, work in 15 minute intervals of movement consciously and aim for an hour a day everyday.

Taste is King, Adds Caloric Sting!Food scientists have revolutionized taste perfection helping food companies find your bliss point in a vast array of ultra-processed food products. Who doesn’t want food to taste great? No one, that’s who! Let’s get real though, read the package labels and menu choices on-line to find out what’s in your food. Yes it might taste deadly, but it might just be addictive with all of the sugar, salt and fat added to it. I suggest you take my Eating Satisfaction Test and you may find that some of your favourite foods fall off your fave list.
What can you do? Get back to nature and eat more whole foods. The less packaged and ultra processed foods you and your family consume, the better. While you’re at it take my Eating Satisfaction Test!

Immediate Gratification – We the people have become so used to rewarding ourselves for every little thing we do with immediate gratification. We want everything NOW already. Yesterday is even better! And when it comes to taking the time to lose that 10 pounds we gained during the summer we want it to happen in a week. Stop the madness! If it took you 3 months to let 10 pounds sneak up on your back side it will likely take that amount of time to lose it. If you want to follow simple human biological principles, losing weight permanently FAST is next to impossible. Give a realistic game plan consideration.
What can you do? Get real and understand losing weight will be slow, but with small changes that stick, you can keep it off. Work in a reasonable system of rewards that are not food or drink related. Build a repertoire of behaviour that keep you motivated without needing to spend a slew of dough or eating some for that matter!

Final Word – Just because some experts tell you losing weight is harder to do these days doesn’t mean you need to throw up your hands and throw in the towel. Don’t give up and work on small changes that add up. In the process learn to enjoy your food and activity more. Tune out the negative nellies and know that you can do better when you’re aware of these modern day barriers. Kick them to the curb! So go on, take your lifestyle by the horns this fall in a positive direction!

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Posted in Eating Vortex, Edit-Storial By A Foodie, Nutrition News, Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

Fall Forward 6 Ways

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

We all know the saying “Spring Forward, Fall Back”. I am a contrarian on that. Once fall hits, I get that motivational New Year’s feeling, don’t you? I yearn to dial it up a notch to move forward with fresh thinking, goals and plans as the new season arrives. Care to join me?

Last week I blogged about part of a conversation I had with a book reader of mine. Paige and I conversed a few times and she mentioned something about what she experienced so far in her quest to get healthier that I wanted to share with you.

During the goal making process, as my readers take the step to make changes in their diet, attitude and life I suggest they not even consider “food related” goals at first and focus on behaviour instead. Take the pressure off! I based this recommendation on my own experience. When I embarked on my very last journey from Fat City to Slim Town that shift in thinking helped tremendously. For me, it was so freeing to allow all food to fit and focus on improving aspects of my eating behaviour. In time I lost the guilt, the food and eating preoccupations along with weight. Those changes alone are worth working on and will help you find some peace from all of those struggles.

Until I did that I never quite realized how much energy I wasted on obsessing over food and eating. To say it was exorbitant is an understatement. So in my exchange with Paige, she exclaimed, “What a revelation!” about how not making food-related goals was for her. Does this strike a cord in you?

So with fall upon us, plan to fall forward, not backward into hibernation mode, into couch potato-dom, into draw-stringed waistbands and slump wear. Make plans to fall forward to progress your lifestyle goals to help you dial it up a notch. Start by shifting your focus. Take the pressure off and make goals that aren’t food or weight related. How novel is that? Very! Here are 6 ways to fall forward:

One – Here’s a fresh idea: Kick food-guilt to the curb once and for all and find practical tips galore in my book to get er done! Create a love affair with food and eating by allowing all food to fit.

Two - Keep the lovin’ alive by creating another love affair with activity and exercise by making moves you enjoy. Your routine shouldn’t be your punishment. Have fun already!

Three – Identify the food and eating knots that bind you by keeping a journal. Practice the 3 R’s – review, reflect, reframe each week to eventually free yourself from these negative, energy sucking relationships forever.

Four – Get real this fall and take your lifestyle by the horns by making systematic small goals doing the 3 x 3 and rewarding yourself throughout. Try a new approach.

Five – Work on staying stoked with myriad motivations to keep you in the game from when you start throughout the process, whatever your goals might be.

Six – Get reading Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books to help you find perspective, provide a slew of tips and be your support with you’re own RD and friend in your back pocket.

Unshackle yourself from mainstream “diet” thinking and focus your energy on living better! Experience your own revelation! Isn’t that what you really want – peace, not war? Let the changing leaves be a sign that it’s time to make positive shifts today. Join me in a fresh journey and fall forward!

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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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“Go Outside & Play!” Let the Broken Record Play on…

July 28th, 2015 2 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Let the Broken Record Play on – Focus on Free Play

Oh for the love of child’s play and activity in the peak of the summertime. School’s out and it’s time to enjoy all that summer has to offer. It’s every parent’s challenge to keep kids engaged and busy so you don’t hear the common mantra “I’m bored” until it’s back to school in September.

Who doesn’t love summer? It’s a perfect time to start a “movement movement” (as I describe in my book) and make a pact for the kids and parents to get and keep more active. As I sit here and write I can hear the birds chirping under the clear blue sky. It’s as perfect as any movie set, even better because it’s real.

Let’s reverse the abysmal stat that shows only a small percentage of kids meet the benchmark of one measly hour of activity each day. Given it’s the peak of summer let’s adopt some new behaviours that we’ll work on this season and each one following! It takes a conscious effort to “get your party started” to get and keep moving. However, if everyone in the household does it together each can lift each other out of the “lazy” part of the “lazy hazy crazy days of summer”!

The best place to start is setting a few limits. As much as I’d be tempted to suggest you pop a tube in your TV to get the kids outside, that wouldn’t be fair, would it? Set some limits around the time the kids (young and older) sit in front of any screen – TV, computer, game devises, phones.

Get outside and enjoy free play – throw the ball, ride a bike, play on the swings in the park, jump rope, play tag or hide and seek, run through the sprinkler, hit a tennis ball on the wall, climb a tree, go for a walk, you name it, just let your imagination run wild along with you!

Let the Broken Record Play on – Do What I Do

On the theme of “playing on” let’s focus on being a role model. The stats show that a child is very likely to participate in “unorganized physical activities” at age 4, they are likely to still be participating at 17. Having active parents reinforces that in spades. As a parent you might be very good at wagging your finger and telling the kids what THEY should do. I suggest you stop and take stock of your own activity level, then look in the mirror and do the same to yourself if you indeed are not active.

Light Your Own Fire Within
I blog often about setting goals, re-evaluating your activity level and giving yourself a much needed kick in the back side to vamoose and get moving. I might write it for you, but I certainly do it for myself as well. We all have days we want to just lie around – you know, as the song says “those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer”. We need to change lazy to blazing by lighting a fire under ourselves.

Play Together
I have divulged that my parents were active when I was young. We all took part in various activities and sports, including some lifestyle sports. We did our share of playing as a family. The great thing about that is that we can still do some playing together when I fast forward today by taking a walk or playing golf.

Destress Valve
Truly though as life becomes more stressful, I find activity is a proverbial valve that helps it release. I cope better after I get back from a walk then have to face the music of real life. And how great is this time of year to better appreciate the birds singing, the gardens flourishing, the kids playing, the sun shining, fresh air blowing. What’s not to love about this scenario, start and continue.

Stealth Moves
I have written about ways to sneak in stealth activity in my book if you’re going through a super-duper busy time. The key is to find 10 minutes here, 5 minutes there, another 15 minutes somewhere else and before you know it, you’ve chocked up a half hour of moving. I’m a bad parker so I routinely park further away – that’s 5 minutes right out of the gate. To work in an extra walk I take my grocery bag under my arm and walk to the store at times. A great dovetail of a few activities at one time. Find some of your own stealth moves and get going to show the kids you are truly a gamer.

Let the Broken Record Play on – Organized Sport
Continuing on the theme of “playing on” let’s focus on signing the kids up for activities. Let’s take stock of the school year that just passed. Were you stretched so far because of all of the obligations that you allowed the kids commit to? Let’s try to take the pressure off.

Family DISFunctioning & Signing Up
Sometimes organized sports can add to an existing DIS organized household. And, many of these cost money to sign up for in addition to the uniforms, shoes, equipment and more. I AM all for sports and teams, don’t get me wrong. But it’s ok as a parent to fallow the field for a season and encourage the kids to enjoy free play. We sometimes get caught up in what other families in our neighbourhood are doing and sign the kids up out of guilt. Free play is a perfect activity. I’m in your corner.

Sporty Spice Through the Ages
If you DO have the time and the means, then go ahead and get the kids into activity programs and/or sports. Consider those that the kids can continue as lifelong activities in addition to the team sports. As an adult it’s not as easy to arrange a volley ball, base ball, soccer, ball hockey game when you need a dozen busy people to get together. If you have the flexibility consider getting your kids involved in tennis, squash, badminton, golf, bike riding, hiking, running, etc. which can be more easily continued through the lifespan.

Life Lessons in Sport
I will divulge that I played competitive tennis when I was a teen. When I reflect on that experience I realize that I learned many worthwhile life lessons. I learned that life isn’t always fair even when you do your best. I learned that some people (including parents) cheat to get ahead. I learned how to lose graciously. I learned more from losing than I did from winning. I was a slow starter on the court and learned how to bear down and take it up a notch right when my opponent thought they had the win in the bag….. I also learned that through life people don’t change all that much – from the sand box to the court to the office cubicle. I’m wiser from the experience and that’s a good thing.

Do it, Do it, Do it ’til You’re Satisfied!
You who know me well by this point know my view on this. Doing something is better than doing nothing so just get started already. Do something you enjoy and encourage the same for your kids. Avoid living your glory days through your kids in sports. You had your childhood and they have theirs and never the two shall meet. Follow their lead and gently encourage their participation in something they can call their own and enjoy.

Let the Broken Record Play on – Rainy Day Play

Continuing on the theme of “playing on” let’s focus on changing plans on a rainy day. Ahh yes just when I blathered on about getting active in the summer a thunder storm blows through! It’s times like these that reminds me how important it is to be flexible with our plans. Nothings carved in stone unless Mother Nature has the chisel.

Rules of Thumb
The first thing to remember on the weather change-up is that in most places it usually doesn’t rain all day, every day. So do try to get out when it’s over. Second thing is to remember that safety comes first, stay inside or ensure you take cover when there’s an electrical storm with thunder and lightning. And finally, rain without thunder storms won’t make you melt if you get sprinkled with rain. Really!

I rather enjoy walking in the rain. I have not melted yet. I have a trusty raincoat with a hood and it travels with me to many places to shelter me from the rain. Your kids won’t melt either and may love splashing in puddles and carrying on.

Board Game Help Ward off Boredom
I know a teacher who divulged that kids who’ve grown up without playing board games have more trouble with simple life skill, such as adding the dots on a couple of dice, for example. On a rainy day drag out some old games, blow the dust off of the boxes and get playing. When you get right down and think about it there’s a social aspect to game playing in addition to the simple counting thing, plus following directions “Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass Go and do not collect $200″. Like Snakes and Ladders we all have to cope in life with slipping on a proverbial banana peel, or a snake that sends you back 15 steps, only to recover in the near future. Yes, a metaphor of life.

If you have the odd rainy day inside, aim to get out when you can then play outside longer tomorrow when the sky clears.

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Posted in Miss Behavin' | 2 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 »

Work on Your 6-Pact!

April 15th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I love this time of year, it’s so full of possibilities. The weather cannot be used any longer as an excuse not to get outside and play so vamoose out already if you have not already done so. Also that barbecue is beckoning, your friendly appliance to whip up something lean with a plethora if nutrient rich side dishes to drool over.

Follow the Rainbow – Get in the habit of enjoying half your plate of fruits and veggies throughout the day including every colour of the rainbow. Try berries on your cereal, an array of veggies at lunch with a number of delicious side dishes at dinner. Snack on fresh fruit in between meals. Rich produce fills you up and never lets you down – a healthy and stealthy approach to filling you up. The positive results by having more fruits & veggies is your pot of gold at the end of the your lifestyle rainbow!

Count Your Nutrients – Choose more food fresh from the farm. Your first clue will be noticing fewer processed packaged foods in your grocery cart. Savour the flavour of a variety of dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt, smaller servings of meat, fish and poultry. Include some peas, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds in your regimen with whole grains in bread and pasta. All of these are chocked full of nutrient goodness it’s ridiculous!

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth – Did someone say sweet?? Everyone loves something sweet, even though we’re trying to have less of the white stuff. Here are easy taste pleasers to add to your grocery cart and incorporate into your repertoire – sweet potatoes, red peppers, crunchy carrots, beets, fresh fruit, dried fruit to add in salads.

Behaving Goodly – Zero in on one eating foible to work on whether it’s slowing down your eating pace, or paying attention to your food by sitting down or noshing without distractions. Consider trying to focus on hunger and fullness every time you eat with the aim to stop when you begin to feel full. Some of us just rifle through our food like a buzz saw and are in the habit of eating past that cue. It’s a perfect time to rein it in!

Muscle Preservation Project – Yes cardio is important, but working on strength training and flexibility are too. I talk about investing 16 minutes every 2nd day into your hourglass in my ebook. My routine includes bends, stretches, lunges, squats, push ups, sit ups, even burpees to preserve my muscle mass, tone and strength for greater ease of everyday activity. If I can do it, so can you!

In a rut? Get help! – If you’ve been spinning your wheels read my ebook Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books to give you a few ideas to break out of your funk. If that doesn’t work seek help. You’re surrounded by it!

Work on your six pact folks. Start with these or create a list of your own. There is simply no excuse not to!

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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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