Month: December 2013

Wrapping up the Year

As the New Year rolls around, so too does the advice on becoming healthy, eating right and losing weight. If you’ve been following this throughout the year, you will be one step ahead and in a great position to keep up the good habits to maintain good health.

We’ve all eaten our share of treats over the holidays (including me despite a nasty stomach bug since Christmas morning) but that’s the way life goes. It’s goes back to the 80/20 rule. We don’t have to deprive ourselves completely to enjoy a healthy figure and have enough energy.

It’s so much more than food. Our food choices are the result of our lifestyle. What we give priority to.

It’s the basics that are vital. Rest and sleep we are horrible at in this day and age. Giving priority to meals, particularly family meals is another important component we fall back on. Keeping hydrated and getting enough exercise and fresh air. Slowing down and being mindful of each moment is almost unheard of by many people.

Why have these become so unimportant when it’s clear they are backbone to our survival?

I hope by now that my daily input have helped you establish these daily habits enough that you will continue to do them without my support. But I’m not going far. My pledge was to post daily for 1 year. I did that and I loved it. I will continue to research, post and hopefully inspire you on a regular basis. There are certain components of this blog which I think I will continue for years to come, Zoë’s Kitchen, for one. I love that she has learnt so much, even if I haven’t included as much of that as I meant to.

I leave you to your New Year celebrations now. Thank you for reading and for your feedback. Whatever you got out of this, I am pretty sure I got more.

With love,
Annabel

 

2013 Worst Food of the Year

If you google Worst Food of 2013, you get an impressive variety of horrors straight from our southern neighbours. It’s hard to compete but we have a few of our own horrors. Here are my top 3:

1. The Cronut Burger

The most memorable horror food of the year was given to us by the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition for those who don’t live in the centre of the universe, sorry GTA).

I blogged about it on August 21. (https://onedayforchange.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/cronut-burger/)

If it wasn’t scary enough, it had some health issues, made a bunch of people sick and resulted in it’s booth being shut down. The only thing that saves this product completely taking over this post was that it was only ever going to be available for 2 weeks of the year even if it hadn’t made anybody sick.

2. Tim Horton’s Breakfast Sandwich
Some fast food items are obvious that they are a nutritional nightmare. Tim Horton’s isn’t always like that. But their Breakfast sandwich (admittedly introduced before 2013) is as bad, if not worse than some other choices. With the homestyle biscuit choice with sausage, this breakfast contains 31g of fat, 16g of which are saturated fat (20g is the daily limit). On top of that, it comes with a half day’s worth of sodium and very little beneficial nutrients.
We are a society of grab the breakfast on the run. Be careful of the choices, even the yogurts can be loaded with too much sugar. Instead take the time to eat (or at least prepare) a breakfast at home.

Lunchables-Downoads-Ingredient-List

3. Lunchables Uploaded
My favourite google find for the year. The ingredient list is quite unbelievable. Oscar Meyer’s Lunchables were a heavy feature in one of the books I read over the course of the year; Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss. Launched 30 years ago when mothers still trusted the Food Industry, they were a nutritional nightmare masqueraded as a healthy convenient option. Their reputation hasn’t changed much, although I think most people have now clued in, they are still a popular choice due to their convenience and kid appeal. (Personally I’d rather my kid refused lunch than ate that).

Lunchables Uploaded is a white tortilla wrap with chicken, processed cheese and salsa. It comes with Kool-Aid, Cheez-It crackers, Oreo cookies and – oh it’s all ok – some spring water. This is the ingredient list. I know you can’t read it but trust me, it’s as scary as it is long.

And honorable mention goes to the “Christmas Tinner”, a canned version of Christmas dinner introduced by a Gaming company in the UK. I hope it was a joke.

GAME_ChristmasTinn_2757572b

New Year Resolutions

You need some ideas for New Year resolutions? There are only a couple of days left before the end of the year so time to get the thinking cap on and figure out what you what to get out of 2014. There is some truth to the notion that the mindset you have entering the year can determine how the year goes.

Being mindful on a daily basis is definitely an ongoing resolution of mine. I know that it makes each day better and enhances my personal relationships when I am more mindful.

A personal project is something I took on at the beginning of last year (this blog) and it turned out wonderfully for me. If I had to cram in some time to do this blog for a few days on the run, I knew I was neglecting my health by running without stopping for too long. It became my personal guide.

My sister-in-law was telling me recently that she had knitted some infinity scarves as Christmas presents. She mentioned that she liked it for its meditative effect and it’s ability to stop her snacking while watching TV in the evening.

Dogowners get to go outside every day. It may not seem appealing at the time, but it is good to do. Just 15 minutes a day can rejuvenate you and increase your immune system. It’s particularly important to remember this when it’s tempting to hibernate during the winter months with the new electronic gadgets received over Christmas.

Of course, we can’t forget my all time favourite. Water, water, water!!!

If Jesus ate it, it’s probably ok

In one of my favourite nutrition books, In Defense of Food, the author Michael Pollen gives a  few simple guidelines to follow.

One of them, don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize. I like it’s simplicity to keep us away from processed foods.

One step further than that, I came across 5 foods that Jesus would have eaten (all of which I have talked about at some point during the year). That definitely surpasses Grandma!

  1. Pomegranates
  2. Olive oil
  3. Fish
  4. Wine – The red version, and not licence to drink a bottle a day!
  5. Figs – In a house I lived in as a child, there was a fig tree in the backyard. How I wish I had that now! Never appreciated it at the time.

A Day For Hot Chocolate

It’s been another day good for being outside. During the holidays, that calls for some hot chocolate. But you don’t need to buy a chemical concoction or a calorie laden version from a coffee shop, it’s easy to make at home.

For each cup you want to make, mix 1 tbsp cocoa powder with 2 tbsp sugar and a tiny pinch of salt. Mix in a tbsp or two of milk to create a paste.

Bring 1 cup of organic milk to a gentle simmer and add the chocolate mixture. Using a whisk, keep stirring until it’s all dissolved. Add a 1/4 tsp per cup of vanilla extract and pour into serving cups.

The protein in the milk provides all you need to use this as a satisfying mid-meal snack.

A Boxing Day Meal

It’s not totally known what the history of Boxing Day is. There are a number of theories, probably stemming from Britain since commonwealth countries celebrate it but the USA doesn’t.

I feel bad for them. It’s a great day – if you aren’t spending it in the mall that is. A day of pure laziness, outside if the weather permits, reading new books or hanging out with the kids excited about their new toys. As I see it too, you are off the hook in preparing a large meal. If you hosted Christmas Day, your reward is leftovers. Which, done right, can be better than the meal itself!

If you didn’t host, you can still make an easy meal. It’s the one time in the year that I buy a ham. I get a bone-in ham from the butcher and warm it up in a baking tray. It’s best to use a wire rack to keep the meat moist while cooking. You can add about a 1/2″ liquid in the bottom of the tray – today I just used water. Cover it with foil and cook for about 20 minutes per pound.

1/2 hour before cooking time finishes, brush a glaze on the ham. You can find lots of different ideas online, I like a really simple one mixing about 2 tbsps brown sugar with 2 tbsps honey and about a 1 tbsp mustard powder. You can keep basting it for the last half hour. It’s better if you do. I tend to forget to!

The ham only needs simple accompaniments. Some new potatoes with parsley and a little butter and something green. Broccoli or a green salad. Maybe some bread. Definitely bread with some cheese if you have guests.

Enjoy the extra time in the living room today!