Month: February 2013

Support Buddies

I am so lucky to have a wonderful support group. Made up of moms who were pregnant at the same time as me. 18 months later we are still in touch and talk daily. We call ourselves the Oracle.

These women have given me more motivation and support than they could possibly know. My holistic lifestyle had suffered through pregnancy and the first year of trying to juggle 2 children. I needed help to get back on track. Their own stories of struggling to lose or maintain weight inspired this blog. And it’s rejuvenated me at the same time.

You don’t need a large group for support. Just one person who will help inspire and motivate you can be enough. Maybe that’s me here, maybe it’s a friend on the same journey or maybe it’s a larger group. Whoever it is, check in daily and you’ll see the small changes become a lifestyle.

Everybody else eats this way

It’s frustrating when you feel like you are the only one fighting against society and everybody else’s eating habits. Often the question runs through: If everyone else eats like this, why can’t I?

The truth is that we are all going to have to change our ways. Our bodies cannot sustain this intake, too much of the processed food is foreign to us and we are getting illnesses that are resulting purely from our diet. Heart disease, certain types of cancer, dementia, depression, stroke, anemia, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, acne, nerve damage, hypoglycemia, muscle cramps, fatigue and more, are all due to poor diet and lifestyle.

Obesity in Canada is reaching ridiculous figures. We are so used to being overweight that we don’t give it a second thought anymore.

Most frightening is that many of these diseases are affecting our children. Including obesity. Children don’t know how to cook, they don’t know how to make healthy choices and all too often they don’t even know the names of many fruits or vegetables. They can recognize Ronald McDonald before they can recognize the Prime Minister. If our diet is making us sick, what is it going to do to them?

Children see, children do. Even if you don’t have children yourself, your habits will affect somebody else’s child. They are all our future and we must teach them better ways. Teach them how to cook. Food is our fuel, their fuel and we don’t make it important enough.

I know, oh how I know, how hard it is to eat another way. But think of yourself as one step ahead. And protecting our future.

30 Different Foods

The average North American eats a rotation of 15 different foods. If we were to get all of the nutrients I’ve been talking about the last couple of days, we need to double that at least. A wide range of foods provides, not only a wide range of nutrients, but the ability to  assimilate those nutrients.

Making a smoothie in the morning is a fantastic opportunity to start the day off with a big variety. Since fresh berries aren’t available locally at this time of year, a frozen bag of berries is a good substitute and convenient as it can be kept on hand. My smoothies often don’t involve anything other than fruit and honey. But if I want it creamy, I add almond milk or avocado or almond butter if want to add some protein. Here’s one I made this morning as my youngest daughter woke with another cold. It is filled with Vitamin C thanks to the kiwis.

IMG_0090

Cold Beating Smoothie

8 kiwis (peeled and cored)
1 banana
1 small ripe avocado
1 orange
2 cups spinach
1 cup parsley
2 tbsp maple syrup

 Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until totally smooth. About 2 minutes on high.

Vitamin D

The days are getting longer but we are still in the depths of winter and it’s going to be a few months still before we can rely on the sun to get our daily dose of Vitamin D.

A supplement is a good idea during these months (go for 1,000 IUs) but you can also find it in sweet potatoes, fish, milk, eggs and vegetable oil. If you regularly take a fish oil supplement, switch to cod liver oil in the winter. Make sure it’s pharmaceutical grade to minimize toxins.

52 Different Nutrients

Remember, making a lifestyle change is the only way to lose and maintain your natural weight. Going back to your old ways of eating after a certain time of deprivation of a certain food group can lead to binge overeating and regaining the weight lost.  A balanced, whole foods diet that includes nutrient dense foods will enable to you to enjoy your food without feeling deprived because it is supplying your body cells with the nutrients they need.

A lack of nutrients to the cells can lead to cravings (for those missing nutrients) which then leads to overeating.

A total of 52 essential nutrients (that is, those that cannot be created by the body) are required every day. This intake can only be achieved with a well balanced diet that includes all the food groups and plenty of fruits and vegetables which contain the majority of these nutrients.

Simple Dinner

With the pantry stocked, it’s easy to create meals using ingredients you have on hand. This is one of my favourite go-to’s when I’m short of time and heavy on left overs or vegetables that are reaching the end of their prime.

This dish can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be using vegetables that you have on hand. I frequently make it with quinoa, red onion, broccoli and goat cheese that is only dressed with flax oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. It’s dinner in under 10 minutes (if you have a grain on hand or use couscous) and a great way to use up leftover grains and vegetables. The combinations are endless!

One-pot simple dinners

 Any mixture of vegetables on hand:

Root vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, beets etc.
Leafy green vegetables: kale, spinach, swiss chard, broccoli etc.
Squash: zucchini, butternut, acorn etc.
Garden veg: leeks, red onions, beans, asparagus, mushrooms etc.

Any grain or mixture of grains on hand:

Brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, couscous, barley, bulgur 

Any dressing made with ingredients on hand:

Oils: Flax, olive, hemp or other nut oil
Acid ingredients: Lemon juice and/or any vinegar
Flavours: Garlic, ginger, tamari, tahini, miso, dried or fresh herbs

Proteins:

Nuts: sliced almonds, walnuts or toasted pinenuts
Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds
Animal protein: Sliced chicken or turkey, hard boiled egg, cooked shrimp
Legumes: Cooked lentils/split peas, Eden Organic canned beans

Method:

Cook grain in water or stock (if available) for appropriate length of time.

Wash all vegetables and cut into bite-sized chunks or slices. Add vegetables to steamer in layers:

Bottom layer: hard vegetables such as: carrots, turnips, beets, brussel sprouts, potatoes, butternut squash and broccoli/cauliflower stems

Middle layer: soft vegetables: onions, leeks, broccoli/cauliflower tops, zucchini, celery, peppers and eggplant.

Top layer: leafy vegetables such as: kale, spinach, swiss chard and beet greens.

Steam vegetables for 5-10 minutes until tender. Remove from heat and mix together in the saucepan under the steamer or in a large bowl.  Pour over dressing (if using or available) or add in 2-3 tbsp oil, 1-2 tbsp tamari, a squeeze of lemon and freshly ground pepper.  Toss all ingredients to cover and serve over cooked grains, topped with protein ingredients.