Monday, September 29, 2014

Meal Planning Made Easy!

Eating healthy meals can be easy even when you're busy. All you need is a good plan. Spend a few minutes each week to plan your meals and snacks. This will help get meals on the table faster and save time and money.

Take the stress out of your meal planning and have the peace of mind that you are giving your family all the nutrition they need for lasting energy.

Tips for a well-stocked kitchen
A well-stocked kitchen is the best way to cook fast, healthy meals. Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with healthy foods that are lower in sodium and fat.

Vegetables and fruit:

Fresh fruit and vegetables - keep a colourful variety on hand
Frozen vegetables (without sauce) - peas, carrots, leafy greens (spinach, kale), broccoli, cauliflower
Frozen fruit - berries, mango
Canned vegetables - buy ones with less sodium and rinse well with water
Canned tomatoes - choose ones without added salt, or compare labels to find cans with the least amount of sodium
Jarred pasta sauce - look for sauces that are tomato-based with less than 15% DV of sodium per serving
Canned fruit (packed in juice, not syrup) - mandarin oranges, pears, peaches, pumpkin puree, pineapple
Dried fruit (without added sugar) - apples, raisins, dates, prunes, figs, cranberries, apricots

Grain products:

Whole grains - pasta, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, bulgur, oatmeal, pot barley
Whole grain bread - tortillas, sliced loaf, buns, pita
Cereal - choose ones that are whole grain with at least 4 grams of fibre per serving

Milk and alternatives:

Milk - lower fat milk (skim, 1% or 2%) or fortified soy beverage
Yogurt - Choose lower fat yogurt (2% or less) or Greek yogurt, which has double the amount of protein
Cheese - choose ones that are less than 20% milk fat

Meat and alternatives:

Canned or dry lentils and beans - buy different kinds to add to soups, stews and chili, and rinse canned varieties to reduce the sodium
Canned fish (packed in water, not oil) - salmon, sardines, tuna
Nuts and seeds (unsalted) - almonds, pistachios, walnuts,  pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
Hummus - great as a dip or sandwich spread
Nut butters - buy natural nut butters with no added salt or sugar
Eggs - they can be hard-boiled and kept with their shells on for up to one week in the fridge
Tofu - buy calcium-set tofu for bone-building benefits
Fish and shellfish - buy it plain, without breading
Ground beef, turkey, or chicken - keep for up to one month in the freezer and thaw overnight in the fridge
Meat and poultry - freeze in small portions for easy defrosting
Edamame - delicious soybeans that can be eaten as a snack or added to soups and stirfrys for extra protein

Spices and other flavour boosters:

Broth - select no salt added, or reduced sodium varieties
Oil - canola, olive, vegetable
Herbs, spices, and seasonings - basil, cayenne, chili powder, coriander, cumin, curry powder, oregano, paprika,  rosemary, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, onion powder, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, sodium-reduced soy sauce

Condiments/flavour enhancers - Dijon mustard, fresh salsa

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Bean To Avoid!

Image result for picture of baked beansWhile beans are actually one of the healthiest carbohydrate sources out there, loaded with fiber and protein, there's actually one variety of beans you should be AVOIDING at all costs: Baked Beans.

Fact is, manufacturers of commercial "baked beans" completely RUIN this health food by adding sugars and other artificial ingredients. Many brands are now even including high fructose corn syrup and numerous other corn ingredients, such as corn starch, in their products...bad news!

For example, a 1-cup serving of canned "baked beans" contains more than 20 grams of ADDED sugar on average while the same 1-cup serving of regular kidney beans, pinto beans, red beans, etc, contains only a gram or two of naturally occurring sugar.  BIG difference!

That said, when buying beans and adding them to your diet (which is actually a great choice), make sure to avoid commercial "baked beans" products and instead go with bean products that don't have all the harmful additives.

Some great varieties of beans and legumes are: Pinto Beans, Red Beans, Navy Beans, Lima Beans, Black Beans, Black-eyed Peas, Marrowfat Peas, Chickpeas, Butter Beans, Lentils

And there are even some natural packaged versions of the above listed beans and legumes that add a number of healthy and natural seasonings to spice them up a bit.

The lesson here is to avoid "baked beans" in favor of the plain stuff (which you can then spice up at home) and when buying anything packaged, take a good, hard look at the ingredients and nutrition facts.

If it's got added sugar and artificial ingredients, skip it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Perfectionism Doesn't Make You Perfect!

Perfectionism Kills Productivity!

Nothing but perfection may be spelled 'Paralysis.'
~ Winston Churchill
Do you suffer from perfectionism?

Not sure?

Do any of the following hit close to home? 

5 Signs Your A Perfectionist


You obsess over simple tasks. You're almost neurotic about planning and preparing for Every. Little. Thing.

Nothing is good enough. You spend copious amounts of time perfecting something, even at the expense of getting other stuff done.

'Go Big or Go Home Baby' is your motto. You either want to do it just right or not bother at all.

You procrastinate. A lot. Oh, I know, you plan on getting 'it' done. As soon as the perfect time arrives, right?

You noticed the error in the title of this list and it's driving you crazy.

The desire for perfection can drive one to heights of achievement.

It can also derail progress because perfection demands that you, and your work, be flawless ... always.

This is a ridiculously impossible goal to reach. And on some level, way down deep in your soul, you know this. And it's hurting you in many ways.

The ugly truth about perfectionism

Striving for perfection, rather than excellence often leads to ...
Lower productivity. Spending too much time on a project or task, trying to get it 'just right' prevents you from tending to other commitments, projects and tasks.

Procrastination. It's already hard to get stuff done if it needs to be perfect but the big problem happens when you don't even want to do something because making it perfect just feels too daunting.

Myopia (I know, big word). You're so caught up in details, minutiae and the end result, you're missing the bigger picture and the journey to get there. Are you even having fun along the way?

Stagnation of growth. You're stuck in regimented ways of doing things a particular way and there's just no other way to do it!

Perfectionism is a disabler - not an enabler. It is the enemy of getting stuff done.

Avoid the goal of perfection. Try this instead:

Use the 80/20 rule. Strive for getting it done 80%. I'm not saying only get it done to 80%, I'm saying get it done. That extra 20% spent 'perfecting' it is what you need to stop doing.

It's good enough.


It is.

Life is full of imperfection. It IS important to give your very best to achieve the possible best. I get it. But striving for perfection will  prevent YOU from being YOUR best.

Try this mantra when you catch yourself getting caught up in the vicious cycle of perfectionism:

Good Enough is my New Perfect!

Accept whatever it is you're obsessing about in all its perfect imperfection, let it go and then move on to the next exciting thing waiting for you.

Mange your perfectionist ways - get more done.

Now, get on with your day!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Your Own Personal Trainer

Back in the day, there were no personal trainers. If you needed to learn how to exercise, you got a subscription to one of a few well-known "muscle magazines" and read several issues from cover to cover. Then you joined a "Y" and began to discreetly observe what was going in the weight room, trying to match up what you had read in the magazine with what you were seeing in the gym. Eventually, you put together a series of exercises, sets, and reps that worked for you. Back then, any strength training program you developed would be strictly based on a seat-of-the-pants approach. You learned by trial and error.
Today there is a vast body of scientific literature focused on the various benefits of numerous forms and types of exercise.(1) However, scientific studies are not good at evaluating the how-to's of getting fit. Fortunately many informal resources are available, all intended to point you in the right direction. But not all of these resources are accurate or trustworthy, and the challenge is to identify a set of basic principles that will be applicable to your specific situation.
Firstly, before getting started you need to make sure that it's OK to actually get started. Let your  doctor (your family chiropractor, family physician, or internist) know what you're planning to do and have her tell you what you need to watch out for, if anything. Next, you need to make a commitment. Consistency is the key to deriving lasting value from exercise. Additionally, irregular exercise sessions will often lead to injury. If you're serious about getting fit, then make a commitment to yourself to participate in a 12-week program. At the end of 12 weeks, you'll evaluate how you feel, what you've accomplished, and whether you want to keep going. 
In terms of strength training (that is, weight lifting), three sessions per week is ideal. By doing "split routines" you can exercise all the major muscle groups each week. On one day you'll do exercises for the chest and back. Another day you'll do exercises for the legs. On the third day you'll focus on the shoulders, biceps, and triceps. This set of split routines will produce optimal results for many people.
Importantly, you'll be doing chest and triceps (and back and biceps) on different days, thus avoiding the potential for overwork and injury. But you may find that an alternate set of split routines works best for you. The key is to start slowly and build up strength gradually. Once you have some experience and an improved level of fitness, you may branch out and vary your basic routine, experimenting and seeing what works best for you. In terms of sets and repetitions (reps), three sets per exercise and eight to 12 repetitions per set represent the classical, tried and true method of getting fit and making gradual strength gains over time. For any strength training exercise, start with a weight at which you can do eight repetitions comfortably. This should be neither too easy, nor too difficult. Of course, it's far better to err on the side of caution. You never want to do too much too soon.
As you go along in your fitness program, you'll add core exercise routines (2) and aerobics exercise such as walking, swimming, biking, and running. If you work out slowly and gradually and maintain consistency, you'll have a great deal of fun and gain substantially improved levels of health and well-being. (3)
(1) Storer TW, et al: Effect of supervised, periodized exercise training vs. self-directed training on lean body mass and other fitness variables in health club members. J Strength Cond Res 28(7):1995-2006, 2014
(2) Kahle N, Tevald MA: Core muscle strengthening's improvement of balance performance in community-dwelling older adults: a pilot study. J Aging Phys Act 22(1):65-73, 2014
(3) Huffman KM, et al: Metabolite signatures of exercise training in human skeletal muscle relate to mitochondrial remodelling and cardiometabolic fitness. Diabetologia 2014 Aug 5. [Epub ahead of print]