Prevention

Wednesday, 23 January 2019 20:23

5 Recommendations for a Healthy New Year

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Does it seem like the years fly by faster each year?  Sometimes I can't believe how fast they go by, and this year is no exception.  We get wrapped up in our schedules, and before we know it, we're making holiday plans again with our loved ones.  
 
Same goes for New Year's Resolutions.  We proudly proclaim them at the beginning of each year with the best of intentions.  We really mean to accomplish them, but nearly all of them fall flat before Spring even hits.  
 
There are many reasons why this happens.  To stick with your resolutions, you’ve got to be realistic about your goals. Here are some tips for creating resolutions you’ll actually keep so that when New Year’s rolls around again, you can try making a new resolution instead of the same ones year after year.
 
1. Set up a reward
Whatever you’ve decided, be it weight loss or quitting smoking or even both, you’re more likely to make a positive change in your behavior if you have a reward waiting down the line. Make your goals manageable, also. Saying that you just want to lose weight has no direction which is why this goal always fizzles out. Make checkpoints along the way if you're going to see those results, and make those rewards unrelated to food. 
 
2. Pair up with your pals
Getting together with friends to better yourselves is an excellent way to build up your new good habits. Whether it’s taking a class together at the gym or learning a new craft like painting or pottery, teaming up with your friends will make it much more likely you won’t give up on your goals. 
 
3. Keep a written record
Writing down your resolutions makes it more front and centre in your mind. In fact, starting a journal around your resolutions is highly recommended. You can write what you’ve done each day to get to that goal. 
 
4. Dissect your resolutions into tangible goals
If you’re serious about achieving your resolutions, before the ball drops, write out your resolutions. Then, dissect them into what you’re going to do to get there. So, if your goal is to lose 50 pounds, write down what you’re going to do to get there on a daily basis. You can commit to 15 minutes of exercise per day to start and then increase it at a checkpoint. You can also commit to swapping out some unhealthy items every week. Doing it this way will help you make the changes you want to see. 
 
5. Share your resolutions
If you really want to succeed, tell your friends and family about your resolutions before New Year’s Eve. You will find much support and possibly teammates to take along for the journey.
 
Don’t let another year of unresolved resolutions fly by. Make 2019 your year, it’s entirely within your reach.  What are you excited about in the new year?  Hit reply and let me know, I’d love to hear from you.
 
Friday, 18 January 2019 19:15

Breaking Habits vs. Starting New Habits

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Breaking habits can be even harder than starting new habits -- wouldn't you agree?  Especially when those habits are related to your health.  If you tend to gravitate toward unhealthy junk foods, it can be a considerable struggle to change your eating habits to incorporate healthier items.  
 
There are a few reasons why this is so difficult to do, and even better, there are several tricks you can implement to get over that hump.
 
Today we're speaking specifically to breaking the junk food habit and beginning to eat more whole foods...
 
Go gradually with your cutbacks 
Junk food is loaded with sugar, and your body gets hooked on it.  Start by cutting down on these junk foods that are currently in your diet. You’ll get less of a high from them, and you’ll be more likely to stick to your healthy eating goals. Start by taking the sugar out of your coffee, or by switching out your snacks each day with a healthy snack.  Whatever small step you choose, stick with it until you're comfortable with your new healthy habit -- then move on to your next healthy habit.  It works like a charm! 
 
Never buy foods with more than five ingredients
In the supermarket, you should mainly roam the fresh aisles where the produce and unprocessed foods are. However, there are still staples you’ll need from the inner aisles. Read those labels when you find items in those inner aisles, and try to find the healthiest option possible of what you're shopping for -- the fewer ingredients and the more you can pronounce those ingredients, the better.  
 
Add more colors and textures to your plate
A salad is impossible to eat if you just throw soggy lettuce in a bowl. Instead, make it a rainbow of colors and a playground of textures. Add tomatoes, colorful peppers, crunchy nuts, and even a bit of goat cheese to please your palate.
 
Break your bad habit cycles
If you always ventured to the vending machine at work in the mid-afternoon, break the association with that by starting a healthier habit. Take a walk that keeps you away from that vending machine, for example. It will only take a few weeks to replace that old bad habit with a good one, and you'll be feeling so good about your swapped habit that you'll be ready to tackle your next habit swap. 
 
Make healthy foods more accessible
You’re more likely to eat right when you’ve got a healthy snack ready to go. Bag up portions of mixed nuts, make your own trail mix, and keep cut up veggies with hummus around and you’ll always have a healthy go-to snack.
 
Don’t keep junk in the house
To make the switch complete, keeping those junky items out of your house is best. That way if you get a craving at midnight, you won’t be willing to run out and get it. You’ll train yourself to save sweets and treats for special occasions instead of for late night snacks.
 
Allow yourself to be disgusted
A great way to make the change to eating less processed foods is to really learn what’s in them. Go ahead, pull those packaged foods out and research the labels. Look up all the ingredients you can’t pronounce. They sound much less delicious now, don’t they?
 
Be patient and kind with yourself, too. Your inner voice needs your nurturing to make this change for the better. 
 
Need some gentle guidance?  Join my Online Program "Eating with Intention"
 
 
 
Tuesday, 01 January 2019 22:03

6 Ways to Stay Healthy Even When You Travel

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Whether holiday travel plans, vacations, or work has you on the road, it can certainly disrupt your usual routine and throw you off track. So how do you still get in a workout and eat right even when you’re miles away from home? 
 
It's absolutely possible with some intention setting and pre-planning.  You may have to be traveling, but taking the time to take care of you is critical no matter where you are.  Here’s how to do it without it feeling like a chore.
 
1. Check out your hotel’s fitness options
Most hotels have fitness centres or swimming pools. Find out what they contain before you book. If your company is footing the bill, you may not even have a say in where you stay, however knowing what exercise options you have available will allow you to keep a fitness plan while you’re traveling. Should there be no fitness room of any kind, you can stream videos in your room to exercise to or get in some walking as you explore the area you're visiting. 
 
2. Learn about the food in your destination
Most places will have healthy eating options, though they might not be as robust a selection as you’re used to. Find out what kind of food is available in your hotel and nearby. Some hotels have kitchenettes where you can cook your own food, which is an excellent option for keeping your own healthy foods on hand for your meals. 
 
3. Don’t just sit there
Long flights mean lots of sitting, which affects your circulation. Get up and move about the cabin and do some exercises while in your seat to battle it. Trapped in the airport from a delay? Get up and walk around a bit before returning to the gate. Incidentally, if you’re traveling internationally, moving about more will help you beat jet lag faster.  There's plenty to do and see in an airport, so have fun exploring and getting some extra steps in.
 
4. Stay hydrated
Water is essential when you’re flying. It might mean more trips to the lavatory, but without enough hydration, you may become dehydrated.  It's easy to slack off of water intake as you travel, but be extra mindful this year of staying hydrated along the way.
 
5. Adapt to the time zone
Even if you fly from one end of the country to the other, the time zones will play tricks on you. Eat all of your meals at the correct times in the time zone you’re in. If you’re not entirely hungry, eat a fibre-rich snack to help power you through.
 
6. Keep the right attitude
No matter where you are, even when your normal routine gets shaken up, always remember that a healthy and fit lifestyle isn’t just some short-term goal. It’s a way of life, and sometimes life has bumps in the road. Keeping that on your mind will help you make healthy choices. 
 
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself while away, but rather, make smart decisions. Small tweaks to your travel plans can show significant results, and I invite you to keep that in mind as you travel this season.  We often subscribe to the "all or nothing" mindset, but the sweet spot is right in the middle of all or nothing.  
Tuesday, 02 October 2018 17:50

Practical Ways to Be Healthy This Fall

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With back to school and cooler temperatures, fall is always the time of year when focusing on your health seems to be put on the back burner. You don’t have to let this busy time of year take the wind out of your sails though. There are certain things you can do to have a healthier fall for you and your family.
Saturday, 25 August 2018 16:51

Keeping Your Blood Sugar Stabilized Throughout the Day

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Avoiding Those Blood Sugar Crashes 
 
 
We've all had those moments where we waited too long to eat, and we struggle through a blood sugar crash where the hanger settles in and takes over.  You could feel lightheaded, shaky, and generally unwell -- so keeping your blood sugar stabilized throughout the day is a great way to have sustained energy, feel vibrant, and keep your body functioning optimally.  
 
Balancing your blood sugar is essential, and the longer you let your blood sugar run wild, the more likely your chances for developing a long-term problem can grow.  So how do you keep your blood sugar stabilized throughout the day? Follow these tips for blood sugar bliss. 
 
1. Eat foods that release energy slowly
Your regime should consist of foods that are low on the glycemic index. In other words, these foods release energy into your bloodstream slowly for more sustainability. Things like vegetables, legumes, berries, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are all excellent choices.
 
2. Snack healthfully between meals
If you find yourself grouchy after breakfast but before lunch, then it’s time to start packing yourself a healthy snack that will keep you feeling balanced and satisfied until your lunch break. A protein-rich serving of almonds is an excellent choice, and exceptionally easy to carry along with you. Choose wisely, and you’ll find the foods you eat to keep you adequately fueled for your day. 
 
3. Add protein to each meal 
When you eat protein, it helps signal to your brain that you’re full, making it one of the most important foods to eat. Protein can be found in many different foods eggs, almonds, broccoli, leafy greens, tuna, and lentils, to name a few.  Making sure each meal has protein will help you stay satisfied longer without those hunger pangs setting in too quickly.
 
4. Don’t skip breakfast
Your body needs a good start each morning. Fuel it up right by eating a healthy breakfast that includes a healthy fat and a protein. A good example is a hardboiled egg and an avocado. This combination keeps your blood sugar levels stabilized and starts your day off right.
 
5. Stay away from sugar and refined carbs
Anything with sugar and refined carbs is something you should be avoiding. Processed foods are lurking everywhere, and fill the majority of our grocery stores.  It can be challenging to ditch these entirely, but start one step at a time.  You'll notice a heap of difference once you fully get processed foods out of your kitchen, and things will taste ten times better, too! 
 
6. Say no to soda
Diet or regular, sodas are filled with sugar, preservatives and artificial sweeteners.  These chemically-created beverages are horrible for your health and will cause spikes in your blood sugar. While artificial sweeteners don’t contain glucose, they still produce the same effects on your blood sugar just like sugar does. Instead, make your own fruit-infused water to curb sweet cravings without harming your body, or crack open a sparkling soda water.
 
By watching out for these common blood sugar pitfalls, you can keep your body functioning optimally and feeling fantastic. 
 
Do you struggle with keeping your blood sugar stabilized throughout the day?   
Thursday, 23 March 2017 16:14

Maple syrup – a seasonal sweet treat

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Enjoying the sugary sap of a maple tree is a springtime ritual for many Canadian children. During the long winter, the maple tree has the unique characteristic of producing a supply of starch that acts as anti-freeze for its roots. When the snow starts to melt, water trickles into the roots and thus begins the flow of “sugar water” that will eventually be tapped. By mid-March, after the first thaw, the sap is freely flowing and will continue flowing through April. 
 
Families who make a day of visiting the sugar bush during the annual Maple Syrup Festival can go on a nature hike through a maple grove and learn about how trees are tapped to obtained this natural sweetener. Many tree farms also have wagon rides, a petting zoo and a gift shoppe to entice and amuse visitors. Then, after working up an appetite, people can enjoy a short stack of fluffy pancakes drizzled with maple syrup from the trees they just walked past!
 
Maple syrup is not only a local food, it's a natural wonder. Going on a guided tour of a sugar bush, one quickly begins to appreciate the laborious treat that is maple syrup. Amazingly, to make one bucket of grade A or grade B syrup that's good enough to eat, 40 buckets of clear sap need to be boiled down for several hours. 
 
It's this large-scale boiling process which produces the distinctive maple flavour. Straight out of the tree, the sap itself is actually rather bland and resembles spring water, making the sweetness of the final product even more awe-inspiring. The steam pouring from the large caldrons of boiling maple sugar water drift through the woods is enough to entice anyone to the sampling table. 
 
Maple syrup is a natural and nutritious alternative to refined white sugar or honey. Teaspoon to teaspoon, maple syrup contains fewer calories than honey and is a source of zinc, calcium, iron, B vitamins, and antioxidant manganese. 
 
Maple syrup is lower in calories than honey (only 17 calories per teaspoon) because it's only 60 percent sugar. Though calorie wise it's about the same as white cane sugar, the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals in maple syrup makes it nutritional superior. It's far from being “empty calories”. 
 
Maple syrup products can be purchased in most local grocery stores in Canada or from your local farmer's market.
Monday, 02 January 2017 14:05

3 Ways to Get Back on Track to Healthier Eating

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3 Ways To Get Back On Track To Healthy Eating
 
 
Feeling bad about overeating on the holiday? Don’t worry about it! It’s good to indulge every once in a while – everything in moderation, including moderation! The trick now is to get back on track as soon as possible and return to your normal healthy routine.
One day of over doing it can send your hormones and metabolism into a tizzy as it tries to process the onslaught of calories. This can directly affect the hormone insulin because the pancreas goes into overdrive to break down the excess blood sugar. This can leave you with a food hangover- and with symptoms like drowsiness, dizziness, and an unsettled stomach.
Another hormone that becomes messed up is leptin. When you overeat, your body is unable to recognize when it is legitimately full and it is harder to feel satiated. Occasionally, this can actually work to your benefit because higher leptin levels lead your body to think it is lacking food and can cause the release of fat from cells to provide energy.
We should see how many calories there are in a holiday meal.
May I present the average Christmas dinner- turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, pie, ice cream, and wine- you are looking at about 2,500 calories and more than 100 g of fat! And that is without going for seconds!
Like I said, it is okay to overdo it from time to time, if you know how to get back on track. Here are some “day after” tips for you to try:
 
1. Eat some Salad
Do yourself a favour and buy a large package of the pre-washed baby lettuce greens and whip up a large batch of salad dressing. If you make it easier on yourself, by having the ingredients on hand and ready to go, you might feel more compelled to eat a healthy lunch and dinner. To complete the meal using the greens, add a hard-boiled egg or some lean protein – like white turkey meat or chevre (goat cheese). Top your big salad with some grated carrot and then sprinkle on some pumpkin seeds.
 
2. Drink some tea
Holiday meals, though delicious, can also be salty. High-sodium foods can cause weight gain and register as increased poundage on the scale – all because of water retention. Weight gain from water retention is temporary because your kidneys can flush excess sodium from your body. One way to jumpstart this process is by drinking a detox tea that is designed to get things moving. I like the effect of dandelion tea because it flushes out the excess sodium and also improves transit time – meaning your colon will also be flushed – and then you can flush the toilet! Healthy elimination is the first step to getting rid of toxins and losing excess fat.
 
3. Go for a walk
Chances are your exercise routine was put on hold over the holiday too! While you might not want to get out and move it after dinner (what with the turkey coma and all), going for a walk the next day can give you the motivation you need to get back on track with your exercise program. It is a wonderful time of year to get out to see the snow covered trees and hear the crunch of the snow beneath your feet, de-stress, and appreciate nature with its fresh crisp air.
 
That’s it – 3 simple steps to return to healthy eating– salads, tea, and walking. Getting and staying on track is important in balancing hormones, losing weight and feeling great. 
Saturday, 31 December 2016 15:47

Are You Getting Enough Fibre?

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A general recommendation for adults is 25-35 grams of dietary fibre per day. Children need fibre too, different amounts depending on the child's age and how much they eat.
 
When increasing the fibre in your diet, start gradually. Too much fibre too quickly can cause discomfort.  
 
Remember to drink plenty of fluids daily with a high fibre diet, fluids help your body to use fibre properly.
 
Here are some quick and easy ways to boost your fibre intake:
 
1. Start your day with a fibre-rich cereal: oat bran, bran flakes or oatmeal.
2. Top off your high-fibre cereal with a scoop of raisins, a sliced banana or some orange sections.
3. Take a high-fibre bran or oatmeal muffin to lunch. It's even better if it contains fruit like apples, apricots, raisins or dates.
4. Fibre-boost your salads with carrots, apple slices, dried fruit, raw broccoli and cauliflower pieces, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and kidney beans. You can also add ground flax seed or chia as a topper.
5. Choose whole grain breads as often as possible.
6. Load up your plate with extra vegetables.
7. Work some beans and peas into your meals; try split pea soup, baked beans, three-bean salad or chili.
8. Try hummus (chickpea spread) in a pita pocket; have lima beans for dinner.
9. Add green peas to casseroles, stir-fry meals, rice or noodles.
10. Boost the fibre in casseroles and mixed dishes by tossing in a handful of oat bran, wheat bran or a crunchy high-fibre cereal.
11. Snack on fibre-filled fruits: pears, raspberries, apples, oranges, nectarines and bananas.
12. Have a sweet tooth? Cookies such as sultana raisin cookies or fig bars offer some fibre. A real winner is a homemade oatmeal and raisin cookie.
13. When a recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, use whole grains like Spelt, Kamut or whole wheat 
14. Whenever possible, for maximum fibre, eat the whole fruit or vegetable (including its skin).
 
Remember:
* Increase the fibre in your diet slowly. Eat fibre often to reduce gas and bloating.
* Drink at least six to eight cups (2 L) of fluid such as water, juice, milk, or soup each day. Fibre holds fluid, which keeps stools soft.
* Eat regular meals and snacks to keep food moving through your bowel.
* Establish a routine and allow enough time for bowel movements.
* Exercise - physical activity promotes regular bowel function.
 
Fibre is important to eliminate constipation and increase our feeling of satiety so we don't eat as much.  It will also aid in sweeping the colon of toxins. 
 
Saturday, 24 December 2016 14:59

6 Ways to Avoid the Winter Flu

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Avoid Sugar
Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness, including the flu. It is especially imperative to avoid sugar if you feel you are coming down with something, but keeping sugar out of your diet for the long haul will do wonders for your health and make your body stronger, which will make it harder for the flu to bother you.
 
Get Enough Rest
Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. 
 
Eat Garlic Regularly
Garlic is a triple-whammy: it’s antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal. Garlic is one food that you should be eating every day. 
 
Don’t Let Stress Become Overwhelming
We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. It has been estimated that up to 90 percent of illness and disease is stress-related.
 
Exercise
When you exercise you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of fighting an illness before it has a chance to spread. In a sense, exercising helps your immune system to be more efficient in weeding out and acting upon viruses and diseases. 
 
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. If your immune system is strong, it should be able to fight off the virus if it does enter your body, but washing your hands provides a bit of extra protection.
Monday, 23 November 2015 18:54

Echinacea and Vitamin C- Do they work?

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This is the time of year when everyone is rushing out to get the Flu shot. Doctor's offices are filled with people who are scared of getting sick. Getting a needle is much easier than changing your diet and making healthier choices…right?

Your immune system works hard for your 24/7, 365 days per year. It doesn’t get a break or a chance to take a vacation. Are you doing what you can to support your hard working immune system?

Ever wondered how your immune system actually works and what specific foods or nutrients can strengthen it. I can tell you one thing for sure…all the Vitamin C and Echinacea in the world won’t do it!

Grab a cup of Green Tea and read the story of your good ol’ immune system.

The immune centres of your body are located in the tonsils, thymus, spleen, and bone marrow. These are like the army command stations housing the first line of defense soldiers ready to fight against the enemy invaders (bacteria).

From these command centres the soldiers (immune cells) cruise around your body, looking for the enemy invaders. The evil enemies are foreign bodies or antigens commonly disguised as viruses, bacteria and even pollen. 

When the enemy (disease) is found by your army of immune cells, the method of attack depends both on the disease and on the particular immune cell.

Phagocytes, a type of white blood cell, are the front line killers and are sent to engulf, absorb, or eat the enemy invaders. Phagocytes make the enemy disappear by consuming the dead cells and play an important role in allowing the war wounds to heal.

Lymphocytes, second in command, attack and destroy the disease enemy by creating antibodies and tag the cell with an antigen to be attacked later should there be another enemy invasion.

After defeating a particular disease, the lymphocytes will keep a profile of the enemy and remember the disease throughout your life. Should it appear again, they will quickly eliminate it.

The memory effect of immune cells is the premise behind vaccines. A vaccine injects weakened antigens into the body so your immune system can practice remembering and attacking this weakened form of defense.

Vaccines are effective because whenever the same type of enemy disease enter your body; your immune system draws upon its memory to send out second in command lymphocyte soldiers to quickly defeat it. At some point, though, the soldiers are replaced and the profile isn’t passed down. It’s like your immune system gets a bit of dementia and forgets about the antigen. Vaccines are not life long!

In addition to quality sleep, reducing stress levels and exercising, there are certain micronutrients that can help your army of immune fighters. Unfortunately, there is not one single vitamin or mineral; contrary to popular belief that will strengthen your immune system so drowning yourself in Vitamin C this winter won’t work.

Vitamin A plays a key role in production of white blood cells, vital for fighting off infection. Vitamin A foods include carrots, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin C can help boost the immune system, particularly in endurance athletes and those undergoing physical stress. Vitamin C foods include chilies, guavas, bell peppers, broccoli, papayas, and strawberries.

Zinc, among other immune functions, is necessary for the creation and activation of lymphocytes. Zinc has also been shown to help alleviate symptoms of the common cold, and may even accelerate the time to recover. High zinc foods include Oysters, wheat germ, sesame , pumpkin seeds and squash seeds, peanuts, and dark chocolate.

Vitamin D. Vitamin D, which is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight, signals an antimicrobial response to bacteria. Foods high in vitamin D are white mushrooms, cod liver oil, fish, Oysters and eggs. Vitamin D is fat-soluble which means you need fat to absorb it.

Probiotics Beneficial bacteria have a lifelong, powerful effect on your gut's immune system and your systemic immune system as well.  The bacteria play a crucial role in the development and operation of the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract.  They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens.