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…continued

Once I’ve decided what I want (see previous post), I start to think about situations where I’ll have the opportunity to stuff my face:

· Treats at the office
· Xmas parties
· Xmas Dinner
· Office Parties
· Open Houses
· Dinner Parties
· Family gatherings
· Treats around the house
· Gifts that are treats

Then I think about the food that will be available at these events and whether I’ll want to enjoy it.

Stop and consider: Is It Worth It?

I ask myself:

  • Is stuffing my face for the month of December worth the extra pounds at the end?
  • How will I feel January 1st with an extra X pounds on my frame?
  • Was it really that enjoyable?
  • Were those delectable treats delectable at all?
  • At the end of Christmas dinner, how do I want to feel?
  • Do I want to have to undo my button and zipper?
  • Do I want to feel bloated and sick?
  • Do I really need to eat more than one plate full of Xmas dinner?
  • Is it actually more enjoyable when I eat more?

Is It Crap?

  • What are the ingredients in that tasty morsel?
  • Is it actually tasty & delicious or am I eating it out of: boredom? something to do? unconsciousness? feeling uncomfortable at a party? obligation?
  • Is it made with artificial flavour and hydrogenated oil? Or is it real made with natural ingredients?
  • What are natural ingredients? If I can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it means then it’s crap. Pretty simple, huh!?
  • How do I know it’s crap if it’s on a platter and there is no package to read? I look it over, does it look like it’s made from natural ingredients or from a package? If it’s homemade chances, are it’s not crap. If it looks like it’s from a package, chances are it’s crap. The more I check the ingredients, in general, the more I have learned to tell the difference and taste the difference. You will be amazed at the difference once you get into it.
  • I consider how I will feel after I eat it. Crap makes me feel like crap.

Be picky!

Be choosy!

Don’t eat crap!

Trust me it’s not worth it.

Just eat food you love and enjoy.

Attitude:

This is a big one. Once you’ve decided on what you want, embrace it. What you think and say to yourself after that is everything. If you start to lament that you’re on a “diet”, that you can’t eat this or that, that you wish you could but you don’t want to gain weight, then you’re hooped, it’ll be difficult to stick to your plan.

Focus on the positive.

Focus on what you’re having instead of what you’re not having. With the right attitude you won’t miss a thing and enjoy what you have.

to be continued….

Holiday Eating Strategies

We’re coming into the time of year where every where we turn there are chocolates, cookies, candies, cakes and more. It’s sooo easy to indulge! Then there’s the parties, family gatherings and to top it off New Years!

So every holiday season one can easily gain a few pounds and then some. If I gain weight, I feel  disappointed with myself for my lack of self-control. It could take me months, if not the whole year, to get the extra pounds off. And now as I’m getting older I’m finding it more difficult to get it off, it just may not come off at all.

This can be a slippery slope because as the years pass,  without even really realizing it, we can gain a considerable amount of weight which can negatively affect our health. That’s why it’s important to keep it in control.

Losing five pounds feels manageable but losing twenty or thirty pounds can feel daunting. You want to nip it in the bud.

So I try to catch myself and say, “Enough! This is not working for me. It’s making me unhappy and does not feel good”.

So I devise a plan….

PREPARE

When I know there’s a special occasion or season coming up that may involve overeating on my part I begin to prepare my mind and my body.

Mind

I spend time thinking about how I feel when I overeat:

  • the bloating
  • my clothes tight and uncomfortable
  • the break-outs from the chocolate and extra fat
  • the frustration & disappointment with myself for not having the will power to stop eating
  • the effort it will take to get the extra weight off

Then, I make a decision about what I want:

  • I do not want to gain weight
  • I do not want to feel bloated and over-stuffed from overeating
  • I want to enjoy, guilt-free, delicious food that I love
  • I do not want to put crap into my body
  • I do not want to feel disappointed with myself
  • I want to feel good and be proud of myself

A goal properly set is halfway reached.
~Zig Ziglar

Body

I prepare by:

  • eating sensibly the days/week/month leading up to the event or season
  • cut starchy bloating foods like: rice, potatoes, muffins, bread, crackers
  • no junk food or treats
  • lots of vegetables, lean meats, salads & fruit
  • cut fat: no butter, fatty dressings, anything deep fried
  • portion control
  • extra workouts
  • at least 8 glasses of water a day

So I go into it feeling like I have lost a few pounds, my clothes feel looser.  I’m not a big fan of the weigh scale, so I don’t usually weigh myself. However, it can be helpful to gauge where you’re at but use it as a tool not a weapon.

How about you?

Get in touch with your body and how you feel. Take some time to think about what you want and set your own goals. The key is to making a conscious decision about what you want.

A goal without a plan is merely a wish.

To be continued…

Having a cold sucks!

Here are some strategies that have worked for me to recover quickly:

  1. I drink 2 litres of lukewarm water a day.  It’s a lot of water but I force myself to do it as I find it really speeds up the recovery process.  It feels like it’s flushing out the virus.  Why lukewarm?  This is something my acupuncturist taught me, our inner body is warm so it’s a bit of a shock to the system to receive cold water. Warm water blends right in  and it also helps with digestion.
  2. I double up on vitamin C to boost my immune system.
  3. I listen to my body and give it the rest it needs. If my body is aching for a nap, I take it when possible.
  4. If I’m really stuffed up and/or coughing and it’s preventing me from getting a good sleep I take a decongestant and/or cough suppressant. Getting a good nights sleep in essential for a quick recovery
  5. If I have the energy, I make a big pot of organic vegetable and chicken soup. It’s packed with nutrients and is so comforting. I live on it for a few days. It’s important that the soup have a protein.
  6. With a busy life it’s not always easy, but I try to do less and let myself be taken care of (doesn’t really happen – but I always hope, sometimes you have to ask).
  7. I eat natural sources of vitamin C; my favorites are oranges and kiwis.
  8. As always, don’t skip meals and eat healthy.
  9. I make a strong Chai tea from scratch (will send out recipe soon).

Some natural remedies I like:

For congestion and cough:

I love the Chinese herbal expectorant Nin Jiom, it’s become so popular that it’s now sold at Shopper’s Drug Mart. It really clears the chest.

 

For a sore throat:

I love Echinaforce Throat Spray.  I actually use it year round because my throat can get sore from teaching. The bottle has a long nozzle that can reaches the back of the throat, it’s so soothing.

(warning: tastes horrible)

I also love Ricola throat drops.

 

It’s that time of year again! Everywhere I turn I’m dodging coughing and sneezing.  If there’s one thing that’s a real drag, it’s getting sick.  It feels like such a waste of time lying around waiting to feel better.

Here are some strategies that have worked for me for not getting sick in the first place.  I rarely get sick so I think I can safely say it works.

Wash your hands often.  This is the most basic and most important.  Don’t let the germs get into your body in the first place.

  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home. I’ve gotten my whole family into this habit and it’s made a big difference. I recommend using moisturizer often so your hands don’t get dried out. Also I put hand moisturizer on before I go to sleep.
  • If you’re going to be eating food and touching it with your hands, make sure you wash your hands first!  Popcorn, chips, hot dog, hamburger, fries, apple, muffin, etc. It astounds me how often I see this not happening.
  • If you can, carry wet wipes with you (in your purse/bag) so you don’t always have to go off to the washroom to wash your hands.  When my son was a baby I got into the habit of carrying wet wipes with me and they were so handy it stuck.  Now whenever we’re eating out at a restaurant I hand out wet wipes to “wash” our hands before eating and at movies before we have popcorn or treats.  I also have a pack of wet wipes in the glove compartment of the car and in my gym bag.

Don’t touch stuff:

  • Don’t touch your face unless your hands are clean.  Don’t rub your eyes, scratch your ear, put your fingers on your mouth unless you’ve washed you hands.  If you can’t wash your hands use a tissue (carry those mini tissue packs with you) or a shirt sleeve to wipe your eye, etc.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand, not only are you taking in germs by putting your hand on your mouth, you are also putting germs on your hand that you will be spreading around when you touch things. Be considerate of others!
  • Press the elevator button with your elbow.
  • Cover your hand with your sleeve to open the doors or, when available, use the wheelchair accessible automatic door – press it with your elbow or your hip.

Take Vitamin C daily.  Boost your immunity so if your body takes in a germ it can fight it off.  Double up if you’re feeling run down or you’ve been in contact with a sick person.

Drink lots of water.  I aim for 8 glasses a day.  It flushes toxins and germs out of your system plus so much more.

Don’t let yourself get run down:

  • Monitor your sleep.  Aim for at least 8 hours a night.  Make up for lost sleep with a nap if you can.  Before you go to bed, make note of what time you have to get up and turn out the light at least 8 hours before.
  • Don’t skip meals and get really hungry, you’re immunity goes down and you’re more susceptible to catching germs.
  • Eat nutrient rich food to boost your immunity:  vegetables, fruits and low fat proteins (meat, fish, chicken, beans, eggs).

Be in touch with how you feel. I can always tell when I may be getting sick; I feel tired and run down and I usually have a headache. This is my body sending me a signal, if I hear it I can prevent myself from getting sick.  I listen to what my body is telling me and take these steps to thwart the virus from taking hold:

  • If possible, I take a nap.  If I don’t have time, I have a short rest; 10 minutes on the couch or just sitting still and focusing on relaxing.
  • I boost my water intake to 2 litres a day.
  • I double my Vitamin C
  • I eat extra healthy.
  • Strangely my body craves a “Power Muffin” from Whole Foods, this seems to be the tell tale sign for me. This is a super rich muffin packed with lots of nutrients.  It’s practically a meal in itself, I would say it’s 400 – 500 calories.  Not something to eat often.
  • Don’t let yourself get cold for too long. The bodies energy goes into trying to warm us up and our immunity goes down.
  • For me, feeling chilly when I’m not in a chilly place is a sign that I’m coming down with something. I make sure to make an effort to warm up; I bundle up more, drink hot drinks, go to the sauna or have a hot bath until I no longer feel cold.
  • I would say 99% of the time I’m able to prevent myself from getting sick, usually within a day I feel back to normal.

Next week:  How To Get Better Fast When You’re Sick

My Breakfast Smoothie

Finally, here is my first recipe!

(as some of you have been requesting)

While doing some research for a blog post, I realized I was not getting enough protein. So I decided to try the infamous breakfast protein shake.

It took me a while to find a protein powder that was gluten-free, dairy free, (mostly) organic and that also did not taste like cardboard, as some do.

Then it took some testing to find a combination that tasted good.

Now I love it!

It’s very filling and sets me up for the day. When I don’t have it for breakfast I find I am hungry all day. I find starting the day with protein and then having protein at every meal keeps me satiated. If you find that you are often hungry consider upping your protein intake.

I don’t know of any other way to get this much protein at breakfast – well maybe eggs and turkey bacon, but that feels so heavy and is a lot more cumbersome to prepare.

The smoothie is pretty big and filling so I have half and then I bring the other half to have after the first class I teach in the morning.

Ingredients

1 cup organic vanilla almond milk – 30 calories (Costco)

1/2 organic banana – 50 calories (Whole Foods)

1 tbsp organic hemp oil (for shiny hair)  – 120 calories (Whole Foods)

1 tbsp organic chia seeds gives it nice thick consistency – 50 calories/2 g protein (Costco)

1/3 cup organic frozen berries – 20 calories (Costco)

1 scoop Kaizen Vegan Chocolate Protein Powder – 160 calories/25 g protein (Whole Foods)

Total calories: 430

Total protein: 27 g

I put everything in my Bullet blender except the frozen berries and protein powder, I let it sit for about 15 minutes so the Chia seeds soften.

When I’m ready to have it I add the frozen berries and protein powder and blend for a bit longer than you would think (1 full minute) so it has a really smooth whippy dessert-like consistency.

I find it’s hard to digest the protein so I take a digestive enzyme capsule from Whole Foods with it.

Once in a blue moon if I don’t have time for a meal I will have it as a meal for lunch or dinner.

Let me know if you try it!

Have you ever read the ingredients on a candy bar?

The main ingredient of concern (among many) is hydrogenated vegetable oil.

It’s oil that’s been treated with hydrogen, if you can believe it, to make it stronger. This way when items are shipped they do not break as easily. The problem is, this oil does not break down in our bodies. In fact, we are not able to digest it at all so it sticks to our arteries collecting dust until there’s enough of it there to to block the artery all together. The only way to remove it is surgically, that is if it doesn’t cause a heart attack first!

Hydrogenated oil is also known as “trans fats” and it’s become common to see food items marked “0 trans fats”. Unfortunately this cannot be trusted. Since I always read ingredient labels I was surprised to read “hydrogenated oil” on an ingredient list on a product that was labelled “0 trans fats”. “How strange”, I thought to myself, so I called Health Canada to get to the bottom of it. Turns out Health Canada allows companies to label an item “0 trans fats” when it has under certain amount of hydrogenated oil. Can you believe it!? So always read the ingredient list even if it says “0 trans fats” (be aware that this oil is sometimes listed as “modified oil”).

This time of year those evil little candy bars seem to be everywhere. We see them in a bowl at the reception desk or in the lunch room, tempting us to have one. After all, they’re so small and cute, they can’t do that much harm, we tell ourselves.

But really, think about it, do you really want to eat this thing that is packed with artificial flavours and hydrogenated oil?! Is it really worth it?!

Ask yourself:

Is It Crap?

What are the ingredients in that tasty morsel?
Is it actually tasty & delicious or am I eating it out of: boredom? something to do? unconsciousness? feeling uncomfortable? obligation?
Is it made with artificial flavour and hydrogenated oil? Or is it real made with natural ingredients?
What are natural ingredients you wonder? If you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it means then it’s crap. Pretty simple, huh!?
Consider how you will feel after you eat it: Crap makes you feel like crap!

Be picky! Be choosy! Don’t eat crap! Trust me it’s not worth it.

You are an adult and you can go and buy yourself some candy whenever you want.

If you really are craving a treat go buy yourself something made with real wholesome ingredients. Go to a real chocolate store or Whole Foods, there are so many choices now. You can get chocolate made with real cocoa, cheesies made with real cheese, organic popcorn that is not packed with yellow dye, homemade cookies, there’s so much out there if you really want it. You will start to be able to tell the difference between real and fake food and pretty soon you’ll have hard time eating the “crap” because it tastes like, well, crap.

Don’t eat crap!

FOR KIDS:

After I had my son and he was old enough to participate in Halloween I got worried thinking about all the hydrogenated oil, artificial flavours, dyes and general crap that would be going into his body with all that Halloween candy.

So this is what I did:

I let him have all the candy he wanted on Halloween night and the day after.
I explained to him my concerns about the candy and how bad it was.
I offered to trade his candy bag for a toy (he LOVED the idea!).

If he was feeling really sad about giving up his candy then I’d get him a few treats made with wholesome ingredients.
Get the candy out of the house, out of sight, out of mind. If you stash it or you might eat it!

What to do with the candy? Leave it the alley, take it to your office, community centre, food bank or just throw it away, it’s garbage anyway.

This commercial illustrates so succinctly what we sometimes do when it comes to food (or sometimes it’s shopping). For me it’s boredom that does it.

I hope you will take one minute to watch it.