Month: September 2013

Avoid Fast Food At Home

As our world gets faster and we have less and less time, we are continually looking for ways to cut back. I remember days when pretty much everything was cooked at 350°F. Nowadays, my temperature gets buzzed up to 425ºF. Sure it takes longer at a lower heat, but you retain more flavour and as it turns out, it’s better for you anyway.

Researchers have found that carcinogenic compounds (heterocyclic amines – HCAs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – PAHs) are created when meats are cooked at high temperatures. Nowadays when bacteria borne illness are more likely from our meats, it’s imperative that we cook them well. But cooking at a lower temperature does protect against this. So does marinating (July 21, A Better BBQ).

So if you are cooking with meat, slow down and turn down the oven or burner to give your food some flavour and you some protection against these compounds.


Photograph Your Food

Chatelaine Magazine came up with an awesome tip recently to help curb your appetite. Using the ever-ready camera on your smartphone, photograph each meal and keep it open at your next meal. Remembering (through visual prompting) what you already ate that day will keep your portion size in check at your next meal.

Thanks Chatelaine!


Restaurant Review – The Good Earth

I’ve never reviewed a restaurant before, here or anywhere else. The Good Earth in Beamsville, Ontario is a perfect place to start.
We went there for lunch to celebrate my husband’s birthday. It’s located in the Beamsville wine region, there’s nothing like enjoying lunch amongst the vines that provided the grapes for the wine you are drinking.

The setting is beautiful and the fact that the Good Earth is actually somebody’s home gives it a warm atmosphere but the food is really what makes me love this place.

The food is all sourced locally wherever possible. We started with the Fall Deli Board, a compilation of local meats, cheeses and marinated vegetables and a plate of fries and sweet potatoes that arrived with 3 homemade, unique dips. Both of us had the fish feature of the day, seared scallops on a bed of arugula, topped with quinoa, nuts and seeds, pomegranate and goat cheese. It was divine. We had ordered a lot of food by this stage but nothing was stopping me finishing this dish. The accompanying bottle of Cabernet Franc was as equally as good.

We did have our daughters with us and I love that this restaurant didn’t offer a children’s menu. I detest children’s menus. There is almost never a vegetable included, the only seasonings are salt and ketchup and almost all the dishes require deep frying. Eating in a restaurant is, to me, an experience to enjoy good food cooked by somebody far more talented that me. Why should children be deprived of this because they eat smaller portions? Today, my 2 enjoyed the deli board as much as we did and they shared a portion of mushroom and barley risotto and what they didn’t eat is sitting in our fridge right now.

I absolutely love they can experience good food and this certainly was. It was also reasonably priced. I’m not sure I could have asked for more.

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Signs of Good Digestion and Health

Regularly sipping water, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and limiting caffeine and alcohol intake will keep you well hydrated. And being well hydrated is one of the signs that you are taking care of your body and feeding it what it needs to maintain good health.

The body is constantly striving for balance. So many of our day to day activities knock that balance out so anything we can do to help it rebalance will ease the stress on the body. 

Urinating regularly (but not urgently and frequently) a copious amount of pale yellow is how you tell you are well hydrated. The more dehydrated you are, the darker the urine will be. The amount will be less as well.

Other signs that you are eating well and your body is healthy are:

Regular bowel movements (every day). Cleaning out waste on a regular basis prevents build up and unwanted calories and toxins to remain in the body. Processed foods are slow to move through the digestive tract, the more whole foods in your diet, the better the process of elimination.

Processed foods, sugar, caffeine and alcohol can wreck havoc with your moods and hormones. Anxiety can be aggravated by these foods. An even mood is definitely a symptom of a healthy body and good diet.

Your level of energy can tell you a lot about your state of health. It’s natural for your energy to slow down as the day progresses, as you prepare for sleep at the end of the day  but a middle of the day energy crash means you should revisit your diet from the day and choose slow-release foods, like whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables or nuts and seeds and eat them in small but regular amounts.

The hours during the night, when we sleep, are hours the body needs to rest. Not to be trying to digest foods that aren’t completely natural to us. Artificial ingredients, white flour, sugar and other processing can cause the digestive system to be working on overtime disturbing your sleep. If you want a good nights sleep, try eliminating these trouble foods.

We say the beauty comes from the inside and it definitely shows up on the skin. A healthy complexion cannot be bought, it can only come from a good diet. The same can be said for hair and nails. 

Annual physicals can catch any early signs of disease and give you a much better chance of treating it successfully. But these checkups also give you, hopefully, healthy numbers for blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you are giving your body what it needs, these numbers shouldn’t prove to be worrying.