Don’t Let the Door Hit You on Your Way Out!

Before I had my third child, I admittedly used to (quietly) mommy shame a few moms out there that were super excited about the first day back to school. I wondered why they didn’t want to spend as much time with their kids as possible. Because before you know it, they’ll be too cool for you and busy with friends, school, sport and everything but you. 

Didn’t they enjoy making all of those special summer memories with their kids? Ice cream runs, trips to the beach, water balloon fights, lazy days, camping, picnics, movie nights? I secretly thought that maybe they shouldn’t have had kids if they didn’t want to spend time with them.  

Well that was then.  My opinion on this topic has since changed – drastically!  After having my third child things have changed in my mindset on it all.  I am now on the other side of the fence. I understand why businesses market to parents with the comparison of back to school with the joy of Christmas – “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”  I now get it.  It really IS wonderful.  Don’t get me wrong – I love my kids more than I could have ever imagined AND I love spending quality time with them. It’s wonderful because at the end of the nine weeks (but who’s counting?!) of summer break, I’m totally exhausted and dreaming of getting back into a normal schedule and routine.  

Summer break is amazing because we get to do all of those super fun things with our kids that we can’t normally do throughout the cold depressing winter. But the fun times are in between days of anxiety, stress and exhaustion.  It’s a job in and of itself juggling what the plan is for childcare while you work or finding things to keep them busy and entertained so they don’t and spend 12 hours a day on their electronic devices. 

Whether you are working full time and have your kids in daycare or sport and activity camps, or you’re a stay at home parent who now needs to be a nine-week full time entertainer, the struggle is real. Sunday Mimosas seem to be a bit of a need to help you from going bonkers – and don’t worry, there is no judgement on that or on the parents who sneak in a cooler to the splash pad. I get it. Big time. 

Even for those parents with teenagers – they are still having to drive here and there and make sure that they’re not either burning the house down, having people over or spending 25 hours a day on their phones or gaming device.

Then there’s the whole food thing. I remember being so excited at the end of the school year about not having to make lunches for July and August. This was an illusion because since the first day off, I started to wish I had to make ONLY one lunch and two snacks for school.  This summer felt like I was making morning snack, breakfast, brunch, snack, lunch, snack, another snack and then dinner – and then two more snacks!!  Seriously?! Where do you put all this food?! You’re 50 pounds…do you have a hollow leg? 

So this September, I joined the moms I secretly shamed and honestly didn’t even care that it was the end of summer.  I was just so excited to be able to get us all into a normal routine. I’m now singing the praises of Back to School!

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Baru Rubs & Sauces

With Barbeque Season officially here, the timing could not have been better to try what is now my new favourite seasonings! I had been so bored with my regular “go-to” menu and was looking for something to “spice things up” without going completely off what I know how to cook. 

Here’s where Baru Rubs and Sauces steps in! Baru is a Vancouver-based company started three years ago by two BFFs – Zeta Newis and Nina Lafleur – as a spin off of the successful Kitsilano restaurant – Baru Latino.   Part of what makes their products so unique is that they are a small batch, handmade producer based out of an award winning restaurant.  Who wouldn’t want to bring this deliciousness home for their own daily consumption?

I think I may personally love the business for the fact that the co-owners are women, BFFs, foodies and Canadian.  Nina Lafleur attributes their success to their belief in  “fresh, healthy, tasty ingredients and a commitment to our customers”

The friends’ love for food and cooking is evident in their products.  They want to make healthy, fresh and delicious food for friends and family. This is something I completely relate to. “Food is family, friends, and community. It is something that unites us all. With our products, you are able to sample foods which are inspired from different areas of the world, take them home and try new things.”

Having tried all of the rubs and hot sauces, I have to say that they are as unique and diverse as my own family.  Their “Hot’R Sauce – Even Hotter” is, by far, my husband’s favourite he’s ever tried.  Having spent 6 years in the Caribbean, the flavour takes him back.  He LOVES hot sauces – but this one isn’t just hot, it’s packed with flavour.  He said “it’s the habenero…I can taste it in the sauce”.  When I asked him more about what he thought, he said “it’s all gone. We NEED to get more!” For this discerning hot sauce fan, this is the greatest compliment.

Now for the rubs… I have a mixed crew of test subjects and palets … I like spice and flavour, my husband likes HOT and flavour and my daughters like flavour packed spices without the HOT.  The girls favourite was the Chimichurri Rub.  I marinated chicken in the recommended mix of (olive oil) and rub before cooking.  They actually fought over the last piece and asked to have it for lunch!  Success!

I love the fact that these rubs are packed with flavour, not just sauce or salt. I also love that they give suggestions to how to use them – I didn’t even think of using it as a marinade! Baru hit the nail on the head with their focus on putting ethnicity and global tastes into a product.  It goes outside my own personal usual “go-to’s” – which I love!  I can’t wait to try these rubs on fish!  And steak is a “no-brainer”.    

Currently their products are only sold in retail stores in BC but they are wanting to expand outside of the province. Luckily for me, five of their products (including the coveted Hot’R Sauce!) are available online and can be shipped anywhere in the world. Currently their offering free shipping in Canada for orders over $30. Yippee!

I’m happy that I was able to try Baru’s products – not only to have a future Father’s Day gift idea, but also to help me break out of my usual fare of seasoning-free kid cooking to a kid and adult-approved cooking environment!

If you are interested learning more about or trying the Baru Rubs & Sauces yourself this BBQ season (or anytime really!), please visit their website: https://www.barurubsandsauces.com.

Mommy Shaming

I am a perfect Mom. I have developed the most ideal way to raise children to be brilliant, talented, athletic and well-adjusted. These are two sentences that no Mom will ever speak.  Many Moms think that they are fabulous and actually are quite incredible. However, no Mom in her right mind would ever claim to be perfect, know it all, or have all the answers.

So the question becomes, why do Moms so harshly criticize other Moms? If we are being truthful, we are all guilty of this.  I have found myself thinking that Mom A should be more affectionate or Mom B should have her kids eat more healthy foods or Mom C should have more discipline. But why do I do this? Why do any of us?

I know that I have been the subject of “mom shaming” and it’s ridiculously annoying! A few months after my son was born, a little girl saw my son with a soother in his mouth. She quickly notified her Mom about the soother and pointed it out to her. This girl’s Mom said “oh yes, that is a soother. We don’t believe in those for XX (her son).” Are you kidding me!?  I was so pissed off that I wanted to slug her! Who did she think she was passing judgement on me and my decision to give my son a soother? Just because you don’t give your kids a soother, doesn’t mean that I’m a bad Mom for giving one to mine!

I am sure every mother has been a victim of, and guilty of, Mommy shaming. Perhaps not as openly or vocal as this example, but still shaming, none the less.

As Moms we make decisions each and every day about how to raise our kids. Unless we are doing physical or emotional harm to our children, it is really only our decision as to how to raise them. There are so many things that come into each and every decision regarding how to raise our kids. Some of which include how we were raised ourselves, our social circle, our religious beliefs and our morals.

The great thing about the world though is that there are so many different ways to do things and we are free to make decisions as we see fit. My hope is that we are all doing our best with the hand we’ve been given. That said, here are a few topics that I think we need to be more open-minded about when it comes to our children:

  • To breastfeed or not to breastfeed.  – News flash!! Not every woman is ABLE to breastfeed so don’t be so quick to judge someone that doesn’t. There is a reason why there used to be “wet nurses” – this is not because someone today doesn’t want to do it.
  • “We don’t believe in TV” – This is another gem statement. I’m thrilled for you if you don’t have your children watch TV. But don’t judge me because mine do.
  • Stay at Home vs. Working Moms. – This one’s a doozy! I see the benefits to kids on both sides. But regardless, chances are if moms are working or if they are staying home, it is a choice based on their family’s needs or beliefs and what is best for everyone involved.
  • Disciplining in public – we have all seen that kid that is losing her mind in the middle of the aisle in the grocery store. Chances are you may have thought – what a spoiled brat! Or…why are you taking your kid out if she’s tired and cranky? Or… judging based on what discipline method is used or if none is being done by the parent. However, next time, take a minute to think about it – you have no clue what this situation is. Perhaps the child is throwing a tantrum because her Mom won’t get her a new toy. But what if it is a behavioral condition or problem? What if this is the only time this Mom can go shopping because she works two jobs and has to drag her tired kid with her? No matter what the reason, it sucks. Having a child have a tantrum in public is the WORST! No matter what you do, chances are you’ll look like a brutal mid-evil demon witch lady or you’ll look like a lackadaisical nit wit. Either way, take pity on this poor mother. Because even if she brought this on herself, she’s dying of embarrassment so cut her some slack.

The list of topics to debate is endless. Unfortunately, so is the list of people willing to criticize – from older generations that did things differently to young kids that think they know it all and everyone in between. We only have control over our own individual reality. Hopefully we all make choices and parent or plan to parent based on what we think is best for our children. Let’s all recognize this and stop shaming and celebrate our right to choose to do things our own special way. 

 

 

 

Veggies 411

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Thank goodness for chefs!  They have made me fall in love with vegetables! No matter what restaurant you visit nowadays, you can find some truly decadent vegetables! Curried cauliflower, grilled brussel sprouts, roasted peppers, spinach salads, glazed carrots, barbequed asparagus or garlic anything! I LOVE my veggies!

We all know vegetables are good for you. But why? What do they actually do for your health? Well I am in no way a dietician or nutritionist but I certainly have done my research! After doing some digging, I have come up with a fairly comprehensive list of veggies, some of their “groupings” and their health benefits. I included some of the benefits of each vitamin or mineral as I go because I also am curious as to what each “does” for our health.

Within the list below, I am sure you will find a few that you can work into your daily diet – whether it is in a soup or a salad at lunch or as a yummy side at dinner. Make it happen. Not only will your health thank you but so will your taste buds!

Allium foods are the super flavors! They have natural antibiotic properties and can help boost immunity, reduce inflammation and fight infection. They include leeks, onions, shallots, scallions and garlic.

Asparagus is a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamins A, C, K and B complex – especially B6 and folic acid. Asparagus reduces inflammation and even fights depression.

Beans and peas are much higher in protein than other vegetables. This is why they are a great “meat” alternative for all those veg-heads out there! They also contain fiber, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.  They include peas, lentils, and beans – soybeans, lima, kidney and garbanzo.

Bell peppers are great sources of potassium, manganese (collagen production, blood sugar control, and bone production supporter), fiber and vitamins A, B, C and K. They also happen to have twice the vitamin C content of oranges and are packed with antioxidants.

Carrots are known to improve eyesight due to their high levels of carotenoids and vitamin A. But did you know that they also help protect against cancer? They’re also a good source of vitamins B, C and K, fiber, potassium, magnesium and folate.

Cruciferous vegetables are anti-aging and cancer fighting superheroes! They are packed with antioxidants and selenium, immune boosting phytonutrients, vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium, iron and folic acid Included in this group are broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and cabbage.

Dark green leafy vegetables are high in iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, carotenoids and B, C, E and K. Included in this group are kale, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, parsley and red/green lettuce.

  • Kale, (one cup of raw kale provides 460 percent of your daily vitamin K (prevents osteoporosis and aids in blood regulation and even reduces menstrual pain), 74 percent of your vitamin A and 107 percent of your vitamin C!
  • Spinach also offers an abundance of vitamin A (cancer fighter, eye support, skin protector and immunity builder) and folate too.

Eggplants are one of the best sources of antioxidants. Their high amount of soluble fiber contributes to healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Squash are rich in carotenoids (cancer and heart disease prevention), vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium and fiber.

Sweet potatoes and yams are very rich in carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C (helps heal wounds, cancer prevention, prevent cataracts, reduce blood pressure, regulate blood sugar and even treat Parkinson’s disease!), potassium, iron and fiber.

So there you have it! You receive a slew of health benefits by eating these colourful delights! Ensure your plates are as colourful as possible to ensure you are getting enough of your veggies. Your Mom would be so proud!

If you enjoyed this blog or found it informative, you may want to check out some of our other nutrition blogs or sign up for our newsletter!

 

10 Things I’ve Learned Since Losing My Mom

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I lost my Mom to cancer in December 2013. It was a fast transition from illness to death. No matter how old you are, losing your Mom is a terrible thing. In looking at the positive side of things, I have put together a list of the things I’ve learned since losing my Mom.

1) No one is safe from cancer- my mom wasn’t a saint but she was pretty effing close. She was always giving of herself – she made everyone feel welcome and important. You just need to know that sometimes bad things happen to good people.

2) You must fight for the health care you want. You have to be your own advocate for your own care. Expect more of your health care team – ask lots of questions and don’t be satisfied with what they tell you if you need or want to know more.

3) “Everything happens for a reason” – I disagree. This is something people say in crappy or sad situations to perhaps make themselves feel better or see the light. But sometimes things don’t happen for a reason. Sometimes shit just happens.

4) Family is number ONE. My parents always stressed this. Sometimes friends come and go, but family is family. You can, and should, always be able to count on them. My Mom taught us to nurture these relationships and stress this point with my own kids.

5) People show their love in different ways. Some people are great with flowery words to express their love. Others show their love by doing and giving. My mom was a “gifter”- she loved to give gifts. She took time and pride in giving the best gifts. It was her way of showing how much she was thinking of you. This may be part of the reason she celebrated every single holiday, event or milestone. It was more opportunities to show her love. So remember that not everyone shows love in the same way, but if you are lucky enough to feel someone’s love, cherish it greatly.

6) Celebrate the little things. My Mom was the best at this. If we passed a swimming level – celebrate! If it was the day of the dead in Mexico…we should have a party for it! I love that!

7) Do things for your kids – with your time. It means more than anything money can buy. Volunteer at their school, go for a bike ride together, do crafts together, bake cookies, throw the football around. No one will ever remember how awesome it was that dad bought you an iPad or mom watched T.V. with you. But they will remember the way that you made them feel special, cherished and loved.

8) Have no regrets – don’t wait to take that trip, start that business or tell that special someone you love them – tomorrow may look very different than today. Our mom was our biggest supporter. No matter how crazy the idea would be, I can still hear her say ‘that’s a great idea! How can I help?’ She always believed in us and the notion of ‘going for it’.

9) Take care of yourself. Start today. You can do things starting now, no matter your age, your health or your lifestyle, to be a healthier and happier version of yourself.

10) Grieving is a process and is different for everyone. Respect others’ right to grieve their way and in their own time.

As sad as I am that I have lost my Mom – my son will never meet her, I will never see her warm smile or watch her laugh until she cries or go spring plant shopping with her or eat her amazing love-filled prime rib – I am so eternally grateful for the 38 years I was blessed to have her as my Mom. For not only did I have the lessons she taught me while she was here, but also those that I have learned from her passing.

Alzheimer’s – What you need to know.

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September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day. This disease may be one of the hardest to deal with as a family member. It is a disease that attacks the brain and can change the person you know and love into someone that doesn’t even know you. This must be emotionally draining for family and caregivers of the people with the disease.

So what is Alzheimer’s? It is the most common form of dementia (60-80% of cases) that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

In Canada, women make up 72% of Alzheimer’s patients.

Alzheimer’s has no cure. However, there are treatments available and support for caregivers. Although Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life.

I know many people my age are dealing with parents and some level of forgetfulness. The obvious concern is that this may be the beginning of Alzheimer’s. However, almost 40% of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss. When there is no “underlying medical condition causing this memory loss, it is known as “age-associated memory impairment,” which is considered a part of the normal aging process.”

But how do you know what is normal aging “forgetfulness” and what is dementia? The Alzheimer Society of Canada http://www.alzheimer.ca/ has a list for you to help determine if behaviors are “normal” or if they are a reason for you or your loved one to seek medical advice.

Normal Aging  Dementia
· Not being able to remember details of a conversation or event that took place a year ago · Not being able to recall details of recent events or conversations
· Not being able to remember the name of an acquaintance · Not recognizing or knowing the names of family members
· Forgetting things and events occasionally ·Forgetting things or events more frequently
· Occasionally have difficulty finding words · Frequent pauses and substitutions when finding words
 · You are worried about your memory but your relatives are not · Your relatives are worried about your memory, but you are not aware of any problems

If you are worried about yourself or a loved one, the best advice is to ask your health professional. If you would like more information about support in your area, tips for coping with normal age-related memory difficulties and ongoing research, please visit www.alzheimerer.ca.

Long Term Athlete Development and the Canadian Sport for Life

kids in sportWhat the heck does Long Term Athlete Development mean? If you are in the world of sport like me or have children that are in sports, these words are thrown around a lot. However, many people use the phrases expecting that everyone must know what they mean! In this week’s blog, I try to give the “cole’s notes” version of what these are all about. There is so much to it all but hopefully this will give you a bit of an introduction and understanding.

In their own words, “Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L) is a movement to improve the quality of sport and physical activity in Canada through improved athlete training and better integration between all stakeholders in the sport system, including sport organizations, education, recreation and health.  A key feature of CS4L is Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD), a developmental pathway whereby athletes follow optimal training, competition, and recovery regimens from childhood through all phases of adulthood.”

It breaks down ages and stages of physical, social, cognitive and emotional development in order to maximize the performance of athletes over their lifespan. This isn’t just for elite athletes though. This is a road map for all kids as they move into adulthood. There are a number of different stages and factors that are included in the LTAD movement. All have that have different focuses and components in each. The first key factor is Physical Literacy. Basically it is focused on developing basic fitness skills that ALL kids should know how to do. The goal here is to have all kids be “physically literate”. It all depends though on the age, maturation and capacity of the children. It also depends on the culture and environment in which children are raised.

This whole “movement” started because coaches of Olympic and international level athletes were noticing that although a downhill skier could fly down a mountain over 100 miles an hour, he couldn’t do a forward roll. The question arose then as to why? Perhaps one of the reasons we hadn’t been on the podium on the world stage in sport had something to do with the fact that our athletes were not “physically literate”?

But why are our kids not physically literate? Whose “fault” is it and where “should” are kids be at – physically? Is it because of the lack of overall physical activity of our kids today? Is it a reduction in gym classes as a whole across Canada? Whose responsibility is it to ensure our kids are physically literate?

I know for myself, I believe that as a parent, it is my responsibility to ensure my kids are active. But what do parents – or caregivers need to know? I am not a scientist or a personal trainer or child life expert! Not many people are so we all need help. LTAD makes is “easier” for me to have a look to see if my kids are on the right path. Not because I want them to go to the Olympics, but because I want them to be confident in sports and physical activity – not only growing up but for the rest of their lives.

Being physically literate means that kids should be able to be “move with poise, confidence, competence and creativity in different physical environments (on the ground, both indoor and outdoor; in the air; in and on water; on snow and ice).” Running, jumping, catching, kicking, throwing, swinging and hitting are the basic fundamental sport skills. They allow children to play several sports with ease. Missing out on them can lead to a lifelong disconnect from recreation and sport.

There are different levels of each physical skill – from learning specific physical movements to mastering them. Only then can they make the shift from knowing how to do a physical skill to knowing how to do a “sport skill”. For example: learning to throw a softball using a pitching motion and aiming over home plate.

CS4L and LTAD have identified 13 fundamental movement skills that all kids should know how to do. They are categorized into locomotor/body skills, sending skills and receiving skills.

  • Locomotor and Body Skills: Walking, running, balance, skating/skiing, jumping, swimming, cycling and skipping.
  • Sending Skills: Throwing, kicking, striking
  • Receiving Skills: Catching, trapping

Children need to develop fundamental movement skills in a wide range of environments. As a parent you should question not only yourself but daycare providers, schools and sport organizations to make sure your children’s needs are met – including if they are physically active at least 30 minutes per day (toddlers) and 60 minutes per day (pre-schoolers). Do they play with a wide range of materials – balls (various types and sizes), beanbags, hoops etc… and are there places to climb, room to run and jump, places to throw and kick balls?

If you would like to find out more about the Long Term Athlete Development, please go to their website where I have sourced my information – http://canadiansportforlife.ca. It includes all of the information above as well as all of the stages and great information for parents, teachers, coaches, caregivers and anyone interested in sport and healthy living!

 

Sugar Sugar

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By now, most of us have heard that sugar is bad for you. But why? The evidence I have read to support why is staggering. We have all heard that sugar promotes tooth decay. However, this is only one of the tens of health problems sugar is linked to.

A hundred years ago, people consumed an average of 15 grams of sugar a day.  Today the average person consumes 73 grams of sugar, most of which is in the form of high fructose corn syrup – which is in most processed foods we buy.

Commonly used white sugar is bleached with chlorine bleach – which is an obvious dangerous substance to ingest.

Sugar has no essential nutrients. In fact, people who consume lots of sugar don’t have important nutrients they need, especially vitamins A, C, B12, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, chromium, copper, magnesium and iron. It also interferes in the absorption of minerals.

One of sugar’s main components is fructose, of which there is no physiological need. We can eat it in moderation – in fruit, for example, and our liver can metabolize it properly into glycogen. However, eating too much of it will result in it being stored as fat. This overload on the liver can result in fatty liver disease.

Diseases and Conditions Sugar is Linked to and Why:

High Blood Pressure: Sugar causes elevated uric acid levels which ultimately raise blood pressure (systolic/high number).

High Cholesterol: Sugar raises total cholesterol and triglycerides, increasing the bad cholesterol (LDLs) and decreasing the good cholesterol (HDLs) which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and cancer.

Inflammation: Sugar causes free radicals to form that cause inflammation in the body at the cellular level. This leads to changes in skin tone and appearance. Common effects include deep wrinkles, saggy skin, and dark circles under the eyes.

Immune system deficiency (arthritis, asthma and MS): Our immune functions are reduced after eating high sugar foods which makes the body more susceptible to infections. Sugar consumption lowers the white blood cell count, which in turn weakens your immune system.

Obesity:  By its rapid absorption, sugar promotes excessive food intake.  The body changes sugar into fat at much greater rates than it does starches.

Cancer:  Many studies have shown that people who eat a lot of sugar are at a much higher risk of getting cancer. Having constantly elevated insulin levels (a consequence of sugar consumption) can contribute to cancer. Diets high in sugar will increase free radicals and oxidative stress, basically setting the stage for the disease.  Cancer cells feed on sugar and need it to survive as cancer is uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells.

Additional Problems and Effects:

  • reactive hypoglycemia, Crohn’s Disease, and ulcerative colitis
  • food allergies
  • cataracts and nearsightedness
  • gallstones, appendicitis, hemorrhoids, varicose veins
  • epileptic seizures
  • emphysema, varicose veins, hormonal imbalance, kidney disease

How much is too much?

We all need some sugar to feed our body cells. However we need to limit our consumption of real sugar to less than 10 grams a day (over and above that which we normally get from fruits & vegetables). As mentioned above, with the development and overload of processed foods, most people’s intake of sugar is far above what is should be.

It can be argued that sugar is only one of the culprits of many of the aforementioned health issues. However this is one that we can do something about. It isn’t about uncontrollable environmental poison, heredity, or lifestyle. We can all afford to eat less sugar. We need to do this and ensure we help our children do this in order to prevent diseases and conditions and lead healthier lives.

 

Get Girls In Sport – Fast and Female

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As you may have guessed from reading our blog, we are extremely passionate about girls and women in sport. We are excited and inspired by Chandra Crawford, 2006 Gold Medal winner at the Winter Olympics in Cross Country Skiing. She shares our passion for sport and is making the dreams of girls and women across our country into reality. Founded in 2005, Crawford’s not-for-profit Fast and Female (www.fastandfemale.com) will hold its first Winnipeg event on October 24, 2014 in conjunction with the 2014 Canadian Cyclocross Championships held at The Forks October 24-26. (http://www.fastandfemale.com/programs/fast-female-champ-chat-winnipeg-mb/) According to Crawford, ”we believe in the power of sport to improve self-confidence in girls. We believe in keeping girls healthy, happy and active through their teens.”

The Fast and Female Winnipeg event is intended for girls ages 9 to 19 involved in sport. The Fast and Female mantras are “spread the love” and “dominate the world”, which speak to both making the sport environment positive for girls and empowering them to unleash their full confidence and courage in anything they pursue in life.

The event will feature an evening of amazing inspiration, empowering physical activity (cycling or dryland), a fun dance, and autograph sessions with mountain bike world champion Catharine Pendrel and others. Parents and coaches are invited to attend the seminars that will address effective nutrition and sport psychology for female athletes. The event is open to individuals involved in ALL sports, and is hoping to attract up to 50 participants.

By age 14 girls are two times more likely to drop out of sports due to a lack of access to sporting opportunities, social stigma, decreased quality of experience, cost, and lack of positive role models. Chandra hopes to inspire girls across the country to stay in sport, and communities to further encourage program development for this age group.

There are specific ways to keep girls in sport. We need to change the attitudes about physical fitness. Girls need to know what it “really means” to be physically active – levels of intensity, duration etc… Also, they need to know that you don’t need to be an “athlete” to be fit. They need to learn about sports and games and rules of different sports so that they have more confidence to try different ones. Finally, it has to be challenging and interesting (keep it new and exciting) and that it’s not about being perfect but it is about having fun.

A few great examples of this happening in Winnipeg are Winnipeg Women’s Kickboxing (WWK) program for girls ages 11 – 14. The kickboxing club started this program knowing that there was a lack of sporting opportunities for girls and is having great success. Another sport is synchronized swimming – a sport which both of these FitComm Girls have loved. It has introductory programs for tweens and teens. It is a great sport that encourages fitness, creativity and fun. It is never too late to join. For more information on each of these please contact WWK’s Trisha Sammons at 204-930-6780 or Synchro Swim Manitoba at execdirector@synchromb.ca.

No matter what sport or fitness regime girls choose, it needs to be supported by friends and family. Know that not only will it increase their physical fitness and make them more apt to live a healthy adult life, but it will also improve confidence and self-esteem. These are all positives that every girl and woman should have in their lives.

Media Links:

Global News: www.globalnews/video

My Toba: www.mytoba/sports

 

High Blood Pressure? Try these “super” foods!

Dark Choc and Nuts

Why is it that no matter what ailment you are suffering from or disease you are trying to prevent, many of the items listed below are recommended. When researching how to lower blood pressure, the “usual suspects” were recommended.

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels. A person’s blood pressure is usually expressed in terms of the systolic pressure over diastolic pressure and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm HG). Normal resting blood pressure for an adult is approximately 120/80 mm Hg. High blood pressure is referred to as hypertension – stage 1 (140-159 and 90-99) and stage 2 (160+ and 100-109).

When diagnosed with high blood pressure, people are usually told to improve their diet and start exercising. Luckily, there are specific foods you can eat that will target high blood pressure and may even reverse the condition. It is no surprise that these foods also work to fight off diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

But how do they work, why are they recommended and how do you incorporate them into your daily routine?

Whole Grains – Whole grains are grains that are still completely intact and have not been refined to remove the bran and germ. Whole grains retain the entire grain kernel, making them high in fiber and other nutrients. The high level of potassium and magnesium in whole grains is linked to lower blood pressure.

Breakfast: oatmeal or oat bran muffins for breakfast.                    
Lunch: healthy sandwiches made on whole grain bread for lunch.

Low-Fat Dairy – Dairy products are high in both calcium and vitamin D. These two nutrients boost each other’s health benefit and are more powerful at lowering blood pressure when consumed together. A calcium deficiency can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure.

Breakfast: try skim milk with a whole grain cereal.                      
Lunch: stir in fruit and granola with low-fat yogurt.

Spinach -It’s full of magnesium and folate which are both powerful tools in fighting high blood pressure.

Breakfast: add some fresh spinach leaves to an egg white and turkey wrap.  Add some salsa for a an added kick of flavour and antioxidants!
Lunch/Dinner: Add fresh or packaged spinach leaves to just about any lunch salad and replace lettuce on sandwiches with fresh spinach leaves Toss some spinach leaves with other fresh veggies and add them to pasta dishes for a healthy dinner main.

Nuts, Seeds and Beans – Unsalted sunflower seeds and other nuts are also full of magnesium. Beans are also high in potassium and fiber, and the combination of nutrients found in beans make them an excellent choice to help lower blood pressure.

Lunch: Nuts, seeds and beans can all easily be added to salads, soups and sandwiches.
Snacks: Edamame, soybeans that are still in the pod, can be boiled in minutes and taste great eaten straight out of the pod.

Bananas – An excellent source of potassium, bananas can significantly impact blood pressure levels. When your potassium levels fall below recommended levels, your body will hang onto sodium, which raises blood pressure. However, the opposite is true! When potassium levels are high, the body will release stores of sodium.

Breakfast: Eating bananas is quick and easy – add sliced bananas to whole grain cereal or oatmeal or add to protein shakes or smoothies.                 
Lunch: For a healthy mid-day snack, add top whole grain bread with some peanut butter and banana slices.

Baked Potatoes – YES! Baked potatoes!! Potatoes are fat-free and cholesterol-free, and are a rich source of magnesium and fiber. Much like bananas, baked potatoes pack a whopping punch of potassium into every serving. Eating baked potatoes can help lower blood pressure by helping to keep potassium levels high and sodium levels low.

Lunch/Dinner: Enjoy baked potatoes alone, or with a spoonful of fat-free sour cream. For added flavor, add some fresh minced garlic or freshly chopped chives. For added protein, top with cooked ground turkey – yum!

Dark Chocolate – Again a big YES! Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate is very high in antioxidants and vital nutrients. Just one ½ ounce serving of dark chocolate a day may help to bring blood pressure levels back down to the normal range – which is like an invitation to eat it!

Snacks: Dark chocolate bars or grate some chocolate shavings over fat-free yogurt, fat-free ice cream or decaffeinated tea. Don’t go crazy here though. As this is high calories, it can be too much of a good thing!

Green Tea – The theory is that the polyphenols in tea are high in antioxidants that help protect the heart and fight off free radicals that can elevate blood pressure.

Breakfast: Try a cup of hot green tea in place of your morning coffee.

Avocados – Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat, which are high in antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin B6, magnesium and folic acid. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas. This combination of nutrients is what makes avocados a healthy blood pressure lowering food.

Lunch: Add slices to salads, sandwiches and wraps.
Snacks: Mash up some avocados and add some fresh diced tomatoes, fresh garlic and lime juice to make yummy and anti-oxidant rich guacamole.

As you can see, there are many foods that may help lower your blood pressure. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s orders for treatment. However, you can try adding these foods for either a natural remedy or to build on your existing treatment. Not only for your blood pressure but for overall good health!