Month: January 2013

Eat at Home. Part 3

If you need more reasons to try eating at home more, consider the cost and your ability to control the ingredients.

For good quality food, it is, without a doubt, cheaper to make it at home. Good quality doesn’t necessarily mean organic, it simply means free from fillers, preservatives and has minimal processing done to it. These are all harmful to the body and can overload it with toxins, hindering weight loss efforts.

Take out or restaurant food is almost always too high in salt. I don’t believe it is necessary to eliminate salt in your home cooking, you will never use as much as you would find in a restaurant. You know you will use pure fats, even if they are good saturated fats, such as coconut, and you won’t use sugar just to make it taste good. If you  do need to add a sweetener, you can choose a more natural one, such as maple syrup, and it is unlikely you will oversweeten it.

By compiling your meals at home, you can add in good ingredients, such as vegetables. For instance, a pizza made at home can have tons of veggies on it. No matter where you order a pizza from, they always seem to skimp on the veggies.

The homemade pizza can have a base made of flour, water, oil, salt and yeast. Nothing more is needed. The sauce would have strained tomatoes (from a jar), garlic, onions, salt, pepper and herbs. Again, nothing more needed. It is up to you how much cheese you add. More veggies and less cheese will make it just as tasty but with far less calories.

The result? A delicious … hot… pizza that cost next to nothing to make.

Pizza crust (in a bread machine)

1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

Add ingredients in order.

Pizza Sauce

Saute one half chopped onion in a pan until soft. Add 1 crushed garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add one jar of strained tomatoes (Passata) and 1/2 tsp salt, pepper and whatever dried herbs you fancy. Oregano, basil or herbs de provence are good choices. Simmer for 30 minutes, let cool and spread on the pizza crust.

Add toppings (chopped pepper, sauteed mushrooms, sliced zucchini, raw or sauteed red onion, sliced tomato, artichokes, goat cheese are some of my favourite).

Bake at 425ºF on a pizza tray for about 15 minutes (or until base is cooked). Top with sprinkled mozzarella and cook for a further 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Next Post: Eating Out; Part 1


Eat at Home. Part 2.

Eating at home makes it easier to control your portion sizes. It is also easier to “trick your mind” into thinking you are eating more

Using smaller plates and utensils will make your meals seem larger than they actually are. You will also take smaller mouthfuls. Imagine eating cereal with a teaspoon instead of a regular spoon. It takes a few minutes for the body to register it is full. It’s easy to continue eating when you are actually full but don’t yet realize it. Using smaller utensils forces you to eat slower.

Take a look at these 2 plates. Both have the same amount on them, one grain serving as recommended by Canada’s Food Guide. Which one would you choose?



Next Post: Eat at Home; Part 3

Eat at Home. Part 1.

The more often you eat out, the easier it is to gain weight. The automatic thought here is the fact that restaurant food is usually higher in calories, fat and sodium. While this is true, it also adjusts your thinking of what a normal portion size might be. If you are used to massive burritos, 15″ pizzas and half pound burgers, your portion sizes are going to look puny at home.

If you do the majority of your eating at home, your automatic reaction switches when you see restaurant portions. Instead of looking at your home portions as small, you look at your restaurant portion as huge.

Next Post: Eat at Home; Part 2

A Natural Workout

Mother Nature brings us our very own workout during the winter months. Shovelling snow. It’s an all round workout, especially the upper body. Don’t wait for somebody else to do it, get out yourself and enjoy the benefits. Fresh air that is invigorating, a free workout and a favour to your elderly neighbours and stroller pushing neighbours who will appreciate a cleared path.

Kids? Older kids can help but always love to be outside in the snow. It is a lot of fun for small children too, bundle them up well and they’ll goof around in the piles. Afterwards, you can join in the fun and build a snowman with them. It’ll really boost your mood and they’ll love it.

But if they really complain, get out while they are napping or in school.

Next Post: Eat at Home; Part 1

Get Outside

We have just passed the “most depressing day of the year” on January 21st. It’s apparently the dead of winter at the moment. So why do I feel like the worst is over by now? I think this is such a great time of year as you can visibly see the days getting longer.

Today, in southern Ontario, it is a sunny, mild day. After some very cold weather, it feels very balmy. An ideal day for bundling up and enjoying the sun and crisp fresh air. Even 15 minutes will rejuvenate you and wake you up.

Next Post: A Natural Workout

A post about pop

A friend recently told me about her efforts to quit drinking Pepsi. She was complaining of headaches and cravings. I don’t know if you have ever tried it but I speak from experience when I say it is not as easy as it seems. In fact, it’s downright hard. Pop is highly addictive.

Cutting it out of your diet has no end of health benefits. The full sugar versions are obvious, 1 can of Coca-Cola contains 42g of sugar. That is 2g more than the recommended daily intake in just 1 can.

But switching to a diet version could be even more detrimental to your health and weight loss efforts than sticking to the original. Aside from the terrifying list of ingredients, which I’ll come to in a minute, an artificial sweetener still has an hormonal effort on the body much the same as sugar. The body recognizes something sweet coming in and assuming these are carbohydrates that need breaking down, releases insulin. This production of insulin lowers the blood sugar levels causing an increase in appetite. So even though you haven’t taken in any calories with the pop, you are now faced with a physical hunger where you will take in extra calories hindering your weight loss efforts.

Since my approach is a holistic way of finding your natural weight, there is no way that I want to direct to you this product even if it didn’t have this affect.

Diet pop contains:

1. Caramel colour: an artificial colour that is produced by sugars, ammonia and sulphites under high temperatures and pressure. Studies are revealing to have this ingredient to have carcinogenic effects. You don’t escape this with the sugared pop either, it’s a standard ingredient in all Coke and Pepsi products.

2. Phosphoric Acid: Again in the sugared versions as well, phosphoric acid is the component that cleans your pennies when you drop them into a glass of Coke. Nice. It is also linked to osteoporosis.

3. Aspartame: I don’t want this blog to be any kind of political sounding board but I do believe that aspartame is the most evil “food” allowed on the market. There is no doubt in my mind that it should be banned and I will never allow my children to go near it. Aspartame is found in an array of sugar free products, many marketed to children, and the links to many health problems cannot be disputed. Please don’t add this truly terrible chemical in your diet for any reason. If you want more information on aspartame, I suggest the book Sweetpoison by Janet Starr Hull (she has a website or read the article Aspartame: The Real Story by Annemarie Colbin found on her webiste

The remaining ingredients include carbonated water (fine), flavour, sodium benzoate and caffeine. These ones aren’t terrifying but do carry their own share of problems.

So check out my suggestions from January 5/6 for alternate drink options and prepare yourself for a few days of “detox effects”. Stick with it, it will pass and you won’t be tempted anymore.

Next Post: Get Outside

Workout Foods

Exercise is, of course, a vital component of a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight. But eating well to support your exercise regime is important to gain the best results and prevent injury.

Carbohydrates are your body’s main fuel, they provide energy to your muscles. Water is equally important to transport the nutrients. Before a workout, protein should be an accompaniment, complex carbohydrates should take the main stage. The best choices are fruits, wholegrains with tomato sauce, legumes, starchy vegetables, wholewheat pitas or bagels with honey or muesli.

These choices are fairly low in fat so you are not left feeling too full when you are working. But some is important to lengthen the time it takes for the carbs to digest.

It is best to workout about 4 hours after a main meal, 1 hour after a snack comprising of 200-300 calories.  An example of this would be 1 cup of plain yogurt and a medium banana or a handful of raisins or some carrots sticks with 1/2 pita dipped in 1/4 cup hummus.

Unless you are running a marathon, you don’t need to supplement during your workout but you do need to ensure you keep hydrated.  If you are training hard, choose a sports drink to replace your electrolytes and lower the risk of cramps. Also, test out different foods before a race so you know what works best for your body. Digestive problems with an incompatible food is not something you want to experience at this time.

After your workout, you need to replace your glycogen stores with a carbohydrate but now a protein is important. Proteins break down into amino acids which are the building blocks used to repair any muscle injuries or weaknesses that have come up during your workout. A peanut/almond butter sandwich or a yogurt is a good choice.

And don’t forget your water! Drink until you urinate every 2-3 hours and your urine is pale yellow and copious.

Happy training!

Next Post: A post about pop