Let’s Talk About Menopause!

They say there are two things you can be sure of in life – death and taxes. However as women, we get a bonus third thing we can be sure of – menopause. Yay! Lucky us! Menopause is defined as “occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period and marks the end of menstrual cycles.”

Such a simple definition obviously doesn’t capture the scope of this “change” women endure. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s and even into your 60s and beyond.

Some women are thrilled about the idea of no more monthly periods including cramping, headaches and inconvenience. They can also have copious amounts of sex without having to worry about pregnancy. It is a time where we have earned our womanly stripes and are more proud, confident and sure of ourselves than ever before. However some women are saddened by the idea of going through menopause because they feel like they may no longer be vital, fertile and sexual. I would argue this with the fact that Christie Brinkley is 61, Elle Macpherson is 51, Sofia Vergara is 44 and Jennifer Lopez is 48 this year! This is a sexy group of potentially menopausal women!

Besides having to come to grips with the idea of menopause, there is also the “in your face” physical symptoms that can sometimes be nearly unbearable. The physical symptoms include the infamous hot flashes, irregular periods, vaginal dryness, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, mood changes, weight gain and slowed metabolism, thinning hair, dry skin and loss of breast fullness. Sounds fun right?! OMG!

Here are some symptoms (listed below) that you may experience in the thick of menopause and some ideas for relief. The reliefs listed are ones outside of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT). MHT is an option that may alieve many symptoms of menopause. Be sure to discuss any of these options with your doctor prior to implementing them.

Hot flashes – Be cognizant of what trigger these – spicy food, alcohol, caffeine or stress – and avoid them if possible. Also do whatever else you would do in the middle of a heat wave of summer – fans, relaxing and “breathing”, dressing in layers etc… Consider taking black cohosh. It is said to be beneficial in easing feelings of depression as well as regulating body temperature.

Vaginal dryness – As mentioned above, just because you are menopausal, doesn’t mean you can’t or don’t want to get it on! So if you do experience dryness, there are lots of great lubes out there. I would suggest buying one at a sex toy store rather than the pharmacy – they have way more options there for you to use. Using a water based one is also where it’s at. If the over the counter variety don’t do the trick, talk to your doctor.

Problems sleeping – Everything’s better with a good night’s sleep. One of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep is to be physically active. But don’t do this close to bedtime as it might make you more awake. Also, avoid working or “screen time” right before bedtime, caffeine after noon, and avoid alcohol close to bedtime.

Mood swings – Great! So as if we weren’t hormonal enough before menopause!?! If you are experiencing mood swings, getting enough sleep, reducing your stress and staying physically active will help ease your stress. Depression is another common side effect of menopause. If this is a new condition for you or is exasperated by menopause, talk to your doctor.

Here are a few other ideas that could help…

Healthy lifestyle – Menopause is another instance when proper nutrition and exercise are paramount in achieving benefits to your body and relief of symptoms.

Support – Consider joining an “in person” or online support group for women who are going through the same things as you.

Yoga – Continual evidence supports the notion that yoga can help relieve irritability and depression brought on by menopause. Women report that yoga relaxation and stretching techniques help stabilize their moods while improving their overall well-being.

Mindful Breathing – Another great idea to incorporate into your life is meditation (menopausal or not!). Meditation and “mindful breathing” can help calm your mind and any anxiety you feel including during times of hot flashes. It will also allow you time to decompress, destress and relax.

Acupuncture – Some women swear by acupuncture as a great treatment and alternative to hormone therapy for menopausal depression and hot flashes.

Supplements and Herbs – In addition to Black Cohosh, you may want to incorporate St. John’s Wort and Ginseng into your regimen. St. John’s wort is said to be an effective treatment for menopausal mood swings, improved sleep, relaxation, and reducing mild depression and anxiety. Ask your doctor before you begin taking St. John’s wort, as it might interact with other medications. Ginseng may be used to treat menopausal symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and stress.

Luckily we are in the best time in history to go through menopause. We know more about menopause now than ever – including best ways to relieve symptoms!

Everyone’s journey through the “change” (for the better) is different. For some, it’s hell and for others it’s a cake walk. Hopefully yours is the latter. If not, hopefully this blog will help you find some relief or at least have some solid options to consider and talk about – with your circle of “people” and with your doctor. I also hope you to consider the notion that menopause isn’t a curse, but rather it’s an end to cramps, bloating, tampons and headaches! That it is a path to freedom! Let’s all see this as a graduation – you made it through the trenches and now you can soar.

My Top 10 Items for a Healthy Kitchen

easy-kitchen-tips-to-cook-food-fast-and-yummy
When first starting out on your healthy journey, your kitchen cupboards and fridge might need a makeover. Taking out the high-sugar, high sodium and processed foods is a great start, but there are some really healthy additions to make as well. Here is my list of top 10 favorite staple items that every healthy kitchen should have.

1. Turmeric – Turmeric has many benefits to your body and brain. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, is good for your heart, and has been shown in some studies to prevent and sometimes even treat cancer. It is also great for your brain as it helps with depression, helps prevent Alzheimer’s, and aids in warding off age-related diseases. I find the taste quite mild, so I put it on everything – toast, eggs, chicken, and in health shakes.

2. Raw Organic Coconut Oil – I am mildly obsessed with this one. It has tremendous benefits to your insides and out. I have used it with various skin issues including sunburns, eczema and cradle cap. I put it all over my body once a week for a deep moisturizing effect, and it does wonders for fine lines in your face. I cook with it constantly, or just eat a tablespoon of it. In terms of internal health, coconut oil is good for your brain, can help your body burn fat, can help prevent infections, and can help improve blood cholesterol levels.

3. Ground Flax Seed – With so many seeds out there to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which one is the best for you. As each of us has different needs and goals, I would suggest incorporating flax, hemp and/or chia seeds into your diet. You can sprinkle them on cereal, into a shake or in your eggs. I personally choose ground flax seed because of it is high in anti-oxidants, has cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits, potential cancer prevention and digestive health promotion.

4. Organic Hemp Oil – Years ago I had issues with allergies that had me focus more on my liver health. A few things were suggested, including organic hemp oil. A tablespoon in the morning really seems to make a difference to keep my allergies in check and provide additional support for overall liver health. In addition, hemp oil is great for your brain, heart, hair, skin and nails, all while supporting the immune system and maintaining hormonal balance.

5. Cayenne Pepper – I love spicy food. The hotter the better! So this one is an easy addition for me. I sprinkle cayenne pepper on my eggs, chicken, roasted veggies – everywhere! Spicy food is a great way to boost your metabolism, and in turn lose weight. What else is great about it? It has antibacterial qualities so can help your body avoid infection, is great for your digestive system, and keeps your blood pressure in check. Pretty terrific for a little spice!

6. Beets – definitely one of my favorite foods. Other than the fact that they are a tasty vegetable, they are really great for you too. The have high immune-system boosting qualities due to their high vitamin C and magnesium content. They can boost your stamina in the gym, fight inflammation, are terrific for your digestive health and have anti-cancer properties. They are a high-sugar vegetable so if you are diabetic, definitely talk with your doctor before consuming too many beets.

7. Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar – this one can be a hard one to swallow. Similar to coconut oil, this one is great for you inside and out. It can be used to treat sunburns, acne, and other skin conditions. Drinking this every day can help detoxify your liver, help with weight loss, help balance your body’s pH level, and can help keep candida at bay. It is important to use only raw organic versions. My favorite is Bragg’s Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar that you can purchase at most major grocery store chains. Two tablespoons with a full glass of water to dilute it is key.

8. Greens – When grocery shopping, my cart can sometimes be mistaken for a leprechaun. Some of my favorite green veggies are spinach, bok choy, avocado, kale, brussels sprouts, and broccoli. I eat them every single day. If you are worried about not getting your greens in every day, but want to ensure you reap the benefits, there are some terrific supplement options you can try. My two favorites are Green Envy, which is a quick shot in the morning, and Magnum Performance Greens that you mix with water and tastes delicious.

9. Garlic – Garlic has been used for centuries to treat colds and infections. Fresh, raw, crushed garlic is the best way for it to be absorbed by your body. Garlic can reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and reduce your risk of heart disease. Studies have shown it to be good for your brain while fighting off dementia and Alzheimer’s. Other health benefits include being good for your overall bone health, help you live longer, and recently studies have shown it can help with erectile dysfunction. Garlic can be used when cooking vegetables or meat, and to pack some extra flavor when making salad dressings and soups. If you’re getting sick, I would suggest taking 1-2 crushed garlic cloves before bed. It really does help!

10. Berries – Blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries – so many to choose from with tremendous health benefits for each. Berries taste great on their own, or adding them to a shake, yogurt or cereal. Berries are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, are great for your skin and can boost your immune system.

Top Ten Food Swaps for Healthy Living

Grocery

When we think about eating healthier and more nutritionally dense food, often people think about it being restrictive. They think about all the massive changes they need to make to their current eating habits, and all the things they can no longer enjoy. There needs to be a major shift in mentality if you truly want your food habits to become healthy long-term. You need to think about all of the things you are adding to your body to nourish and care for your cells. You need to think about how great you will feel from eating healthy – increased energy, better mood, and slimmer waistline. I would suggest that for anyone who wants to put their nutrition at the forefront, to do away with the word ‘diet’, as this constitutes a concept of it being temporary and restrictive. Rather, change the wording and mentality to eating healthy – because your body deserves it.

When first starting out, there are some simple changes you can do that can make a huge difference. Here is my list of ten food swaps to get your nutrition working for you today!

  1. Ditch the Soda. Both regular and diet soda can wreak havoc on your health. Soda is loaded with sugar or aspartame, phosphoric acid and caffeine all having various adverse health effects. Drinking soda can lead to obesity, is bad for your teeth, and can lead to dehydration. Swap it for infused water, which is simply water with fruit, lemons and/or herbs such as peppermint or cilantro. There are tons of recipes online for different flavors, or just put your favorite berries or citrus flavors in your water bottle.
  2. Ditch the Flavor Shots in Your Water. Staying hydrated throughout the day is very important, especially in the summer. But adding a quick squeeze of high sugar or aspartame-loaded flavor combats the goodness of the water. Instead, opt for infused fruit water or consider adding a splash of chlorophyll, apple cider vinegar or kombucha. All of these additions have different health benefits and can be purchased at your favorite health food store.
  3. Buy Ready to Eat Veggies. Do you ever throw out vegetables that you haven’t got around to eating? If you’re anything like me, this drives you nuts! It is literally throwing money into the garbage. Although ready to eat veggies (pre-cut, pre-washed) are slightly more expensive, if you eat them instead of tossing them in the trash, it ends up working out. With busy schedules sometimes we don’t have time for a lot of food preparation, so if you can grab some carrots or broccoli that are ready to go, you may tend to eat more of them.
  4. Swap Your Dips. Who doesn’t love a great dip with their snacks? These are often loaded with unwanted calories, sugar and bad fats. But the idea of dry broccoli is definitely not winning me over. Instead, try using salsa or hummus. If you really have a craving for something creamier, swap your sour cream for Greek yogurt.
  5. Swap the Whites for Browns. This one is huge! If you are currently eating white rice, white bread, white pasta, white flour, crackers, cereal…its time has come to an end! Loaded with sugar, these trigger a release of insulin and an hour or two later your hunger returns. This can lead to diabetes, obesity and issues with your heart health. Instead opt for whole grain foods such as whole grain bread, pasta, flour and cereal.
  6. Swap Your Cooking Oils. Sometimes it’s not just about what you’re eating but what you’re cooking it in. If you are currently using margarine or any type of vegetable oil (canola, soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, peanut oils) it is time for change! Swap any of these out for either raw organic coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Swap Your Flavored Yogurt. Often flavored yogurt is full of sugar in the fruit mixture at the bottom. Instead, opt for plain yogurt and mix in your own fresh fruit. Adding blueberries, raspberries or even banana brings the same amount of delicious flavor and has the nutritional benefits of fresh fruit, without the same sugar content.
  8. Swap Out the Creamy Soup – I love soup! In fact I could probably have it every day and never get bored. Processed soups are often loaded with sodium and items I have never heard of in the ingredient list (I mean really, what is ‘monosodium glutamate’ anyway?). If you are having soup, try swapping out cream-based soups for tomato-based or broth soup. Making soups at home is a great way to bring a healthier soup to the dinner table.
  9. Swap Out Your Sandwich Meat. I gave up processed deli meats a few years ago when learning about the adverse health issues that have been studied on the effects of eating this food long-term. Studies have shows eating deli meats can cause cardiovascular issues and an increase risk for certain types of cancer. Swap out your bologna, pepperoni and turkey breast for pieces of meat from the bone such as chicken or turkey.
  10. Swap Out Regular Ground Beef. An easy switch when strolling through the meat aisle is choosing extra lean ground beef opposed to regular ground beef. If beef is not on your menu, try extra lean ground chicken or turkey.

Remember it is not about denying yourself the things you love, rather making slight adjustments and adding healthy and nutritionally dense food to your plate.

Protein My Way

PWM-logo

 

Three things I love: Winnipeg, Family and Health! Apparently I am in good company.  I am so excited to hear that a local Winnipeg family – Bryce, Graham and Erin Folster, along with Derek Penner – have created something truly unique and needed in the Canadian – and world-wide market. They have created Protein My Way – a protein shake vending machine company to bring healthy and nutritious beverages to the masses. I think that this is exactly what is missing in so many places – schools, hospitals, community centers, and anywhere you have vending machines.

So, of course when I hear about a new company or product, my question is always “Why”? Why this idea? Why now? How did this idea come about? The answer starts from a simple car ride. These hockey playing Charleswood brothers were driving home from the gym one day when they wanted to get a protein shake. There was nothing convenient that was not only packed with protein but also low in sugar. This discussion inspired the future and development of Protein My Way.

What fueled the inspiration was that both Bryce and Graham noticed a lack of healthy and convenient food items in many of Winnipeg’s local fitness facilities. “The frustration I came across was the lack of nutrition in facilities that promoted healthy living.” So instead of sitting around and wishing for change, they sprung into action.

The Folster family is not alone in wanting change. Although vending machines are synonymous with offering products such as cookies, candy, chips and sugary beverages, the last ten years has seen a shift. Vending machines have been diversifying their offerings following a change in consumer snacking preferences coupled with technology advancements in the vending industry. More consumers are wanting healthier alternatives more readily available and are willing to pay more for those alternatives.

The family has poured their blood, sweat, tears and funding into Protein My Way (“PMW”). They must be on the right track with something unique and innovative because the Canadian National Research Council has also supported the funding to make this product a reality. It has brought together two mega industries, health and wellness and vending machines. There is no other like PMW on the market – providing a convenient, healthy, high protein drink 24/7 in any location.

In keeping with their commitment to health, Protein My Way has gone one step further. They have created their own protein powder used in all machines, which is one of the healthiest on the market. It is no wonder with all of this uniqueness coupled with consumer trends, that machines have already began selling in Canada, the United States and the Middle East in gyms, hotels, airports, offices and schools.

Not only do I love this company for its innovation and its strong family base but also their values when it comes to sport and fitness. “We truly believe any child in sport has a way better chance in growing up to be a more confident, and healthier-minded individual.  This is where my brother and I knew we could make a difference,” says Bryce.  So cool.

I am so excited about this technology and extremely proud that these are Winnipeggers and Canadians that are making strides in the area of healthy living. I can’t wait to try my own PMW at my gym! If this is something you’d like to see in your kids’ school or your gym, contact them at www.proteinmyway.com or let us know in the comments below and we’ll help start the conversation.

Check out the article about Protein My Way in the Winnipeg Free Press.

 

How To Start Loving Your Body

love-your-bod-image-61

Do you ever have one of those days where you think ‘wow my body feels great today…I wonder what I weigh?’ to only step on the scale to get disappointed? You gained 5 pounds and you just don’t understand how you can feel so good yet the scale is telling you not to.

Do you ever have one of those days where you look in the mirror and don’t like the way that your tummy isn’t flat or the way your thighs look or the way your butt just isn’t high enough? But yesterday, you looked amazing so what happened over night?

Do you ever have one of those days that you go to the gym and you are feeling so great about yourself until a 20-something girl in a sports bra and booty shorts shows up and your mindset changes to how far away you are from where you want to be?

You’re not alone. In fact, over 90% of women have a ‘I hate my body’ moment EVERY SINGLE DAY. 90 PERCENT!!

Well we need to change this. NOW. And this week’s blog is dedicated to a few suggestions on how you can start loving your body immediately.

  1. Throw away your scale. Seriously. Who cares what the number is? Are you competing in a kickboxing match? No. So who cares if you are up or down a few pounds. If you look in the mirror and feel great, that’s what counts. A number is just a number.
  2. What mirror do you find yourself doing the most negative body talk in? That mirror needs to start showing you some love. Grab an old lipstick or a sharpee and make a huge pink heart with three things you love about the way you look. That mirror needs to tell you how beautiful you are even when you don’t see it.
  3. Take naked pictures of yourself. This one might be a stretch for some of you, but honestly, when your body is feeling so hot, snap a pic. Lying down, standing up, from behind, the front or the side – or maybe all of these. On the days where your body isn’t feeling the love, go back through your photos and reassure yourself how hot you really are. And if you’re thinking – ‘my profile pic on social media does this’ – it’s not the same. Loving your body in its raw naked state versus covered up is not the same. We need to start loving our bodies without the layers.
  4. When you find yourself over-analyzing your body, stop and quickly shift your focus to the three things you love the most about yourself. Not only is this good for your head game, but positive body thinking attracts a positive body image. And if you can’t think of three things that are gorgeous about you, ask your friends, your boyfriend, your kids. Make a list. Refer back to it. YOU ARE GORGEOUS in every size, shape and color.
  5. Think about the place that you feel your absolute best self, and start to spend more time there. For me, it’s the gym. I wear gym gear that I feel good about my body in, I workout hard, and I am yet to leave saying ‘wow, what a waste of time’. As you start to put yourself in locations that feel good to your soul, you’ll start to hopefully love yourself a bit more.
  6. Be the friend that makes everyone feel like they are the best human to walk the planet. I don’t have a plethora of friends, but I do know that all of them know how much I love them. I tell them often and I tell them why. Everyone loves to feel loved and connected, and it is our job to help the people in our circles feel incredible. One of my favorite things to do is write emails to my friends on my Top 10 Favorite Things About YOU. I would suggest doing this exercise to those you love starting today. And let’s make sure you are on that list of people first.

I hope this gives you a new helpful tips on loving your naked body. For extra motivation and positive living tips, sign up for our newsletter here – www.eepurl.com/GHTT5

Ten Reasons To LOVE the Gym

Every day I wake up and tell myself three things that I am excited about, am looking forward to, or make me happy. This can include the little things like planting my summer garden to having a fun night out with friends to all the great things we are up to with Fit Communications. One thing that constantly comes up in my list is my time at the gym. I crave it. I need it. It makes me so happy to have such a healthy habit part of my life every day. So this week’s blog I thought I would share my Ten Reasons to LOVE the Gym.

  1. Days can be chaotic. I find that no matter what is happening in my day/week/life, heading to the gym for a workout makes it all better. Maybe it’s the endorphin release. Maybe it’s the time away from the choas. All I know is that after an hour doing physical activity, my perspective becomes clear. Everything is going to be alright.
  2. It’s FUN! Whether I am working out on my own or with my favorite gym buddy, it is always a good time. I manage to blast my gangster rap for one hour a day, dance in my head and pump iron. How can an hour be better?
  3. Me time. We all have tremendous obligations – work, kids, family, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, pets. You name it, there is usually someone or something needing you. This one hour allows for you to concentrate on just YOU. Making YOU the best you possible.
  4. Sometimes with outer strength, the inner strength appears. Have you ever had one of those days/weeks/months where you feel like things might be crumbling? I have. And here is what I know. When I go to the gym and spend an hour on getting my physical self stronger, my mental game becomes sharper. I am more focused. I am stronger. I feel I can take on whatever is coming my way.
  5. Increased energy. I often here people say they just don’t have the energy to workout. The fact is, the more you workout, the more energy you will have. If I miss a few days of the gym, I am sluggish. I have a renewed sense of energy – both physically and mentally – to keep the game on the go.
  6. Getting a hot bod. Let’s be honest. Working out (combined with good nutrition) makes your body look better. Whether you are looking to lose weight, gain muscle, tone up – the gym is where you can do it. You can literally change the shape of your body at the gym. No eating regime can do that. And who doesn’t want to look and feel hot in their body? Everyone has their own self-definition of what that looks or feels like, and as long as you feel great about you, that’s all that counts.
  7. Your health. Your health is up to you. If you want to live a longer, healthier life, being physically active is a key part to this. It has been shown to help with everything from cardio vascular disease to diabetes to cancer prevention. Choose YOU.
  8. Being a role model to those in your life. Do you know how good it feels when someone tells me they go to the gym more or lead a healthier lifestyle because I have motivated them in some way to do so? THAT is worth it all. To have family or friends or sometime complete strangers tell me that I am part of the reason for their motivation to live a healthier lifestyle?? Wow. The ultimate compliment. It is so true that to be inspired is one thing, but to be the inspiration is another. Try and be THAT to your circle.
  9. Being proud of yourself. I really am proud of the fact that I make my health, and therefore my workouts, a priority in my life. It makes me feel really good about myself. That might not be the secret to self esteem for everyone, but I know it helps. When you set your mind to making positive choices for yourself, you feel good about it. The universe has away of rewarding you. Be proud of what you do every day.
  10. A place to bond. I’m definitely not one to chat it up at the gym. But I do find that when I surround myself with like-minded people on a similar mission to me, I am continuously motivated. On any given day I can ask a number of friends or family to workout together. My social media feed is full of people working towards their healthy lifestyle goals. This is a way for us to feel connected. When you connect on a positive level with people, it allows for a continued sense of motivation.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog, let us know! We would love to hear your favorite reason for working out in the comments below. Or to read more blogs on sport, follow this link – http://fitcommunications.ca/category/sport/

Living With and Preventing Diabetes

Diabetes Photo

I used to think that people got diabetes from eating too much sugar – or so my grandmother used to tell me. I’m sure she did this so that I would stop eating candy! This is obviously not the reason why people get diabetes. (sorry Grandma!)  I became educated on diabetes when my Mom was diagnosed 3 years ago. Not only was this a stress by the shear medical implications of the disease, but also because it became a huge lifestyle change for my Mom.

Type 2 Diabetes is a disease in which your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes. As a result, glucose (sugar) builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy.

Type 2 Diabetes comprises 90% of people with diabetes around the world, and is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity. Until recently, this type of diabetes was seen only in adults but it is now also occurring in children. In Canada, more than 3 million Canadians are living with diabetes and this number is expected to reach 3.7 million by 2020.

In my research, I found out that Manitoba is in a state of a diabetes epidemic. Manitoba has the second highest per capita rate of childhood Type 2 Diabetes in North America (not Type 1 – which is not linked to certain causes including lifestyle). Manitoba also has the highest rate in Canada – by a huge margin. This was incredibly alarming to learn. The questions then are why are people getting it? Can it be prevented and if you do have it, what do you do?

Apart from risk factors, you CAN do things to prevent Type 2 diabetes including maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical exercise and eating healthy.

If you are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, you can do things to live a long and healthy life. You need to keep your blood glucose (sugar) levels in your individual target range. You can do this by:

  • Eating healthy meals and snacks
  • Participating in regular physical activity
  • Monitoring your blood glucose (sugar) using a home blood glucose meter*
  • Working toward and maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Taking diabetes medications if prescribed by your doctor
  • Managing stress effectively

The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) recognizes that people living with Type 2 Diabetes need help. They need resources and information in order to live their best lives. As such, they are hosting a CDA Expo on Saturday April 23, 2016 from 9 – 1 at the Wellness Institute – 1075 Leila Ave.

“The CDA Expo is for people living with diabetes and those who support them, as well as for those who are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes” says Laryssa Sawchuk, Coordinator, Public Programs and Services Canadian Diabetes Association This free event is headlined by keynote speaker Dr. Ali Zentner, MD. There will also be a presentation from Dr. Kevin Saunders, MD, who is a family physician and the Medical Director of the Wellness Institute of Seven Oaks General Hospital.

According to Sawchuk, “the event offers practical and up-to-date tips on how to live a full and healthy life with diabetes.” As the focus of the Expo is on healthy eating, there will be the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of local chefs and nutrition experts.

I love that the focus of the Expo is on healthy eating! I also love that this is free for anyone to attend. So if you or someone you know has Type 2 Diabetes or is at risk, please share this information with them. It will be sure to inform and motivate them to make healthy changes in their lives. To register for the event go to diabetes.ca/expo or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).

At Fit Communications, we are on a mission to make Canadians healthier by spreading the word of health every day. We truly believe in community and supporting each other to be the healthiest and best we can all be. For more blogs about health and community please click here!

Budget Friendly Healthy Grocery Tips

Food_with_love

With the current price of food at its highest in history, and no signs of this slowing down anytime soon, this week’s blog looks at tips to eat healthy on a dime. There are lots of ways you can save money at the grocery store and still walk away with healthy, nutritionally dense food choices for you and your family. Here are a few of my favorite tips.

  1. Buy in bulk – whether it be at your local grocery store or specialty health food store, there are lots of healthy options in the bulk department. Chia and flax seed, whole grain pasta, lentils, spices – you name it, you can buy it in bulk. And not only are you saving some dough, you’re also saving the environment with less packaging.
  2. I know organic is typically more expensive. And although I find it to be a priority, everything does not have to be organic. A good rule of thumb is if it has a thick peel, you are good to go non-organic. Dr. Andrew Weil, one of my all-time favorite health gurus, names the ‘dirty dozen’ to always buy organic, and the ‘clean 15’ that you are okay to buy non-organic here.
  3. Keep your eye open for sales at your favorite health food store, grocery store or pharmacy for supplements on sale. In Winnipeg, Vita Health always has a flyer with items on sale and in-store specials that I love to take advantage of. Buy one, get one, or reduced prices on supplements happen all the time at supermarkets and large pharmacies…buy them on sale and you’re sure to save a buck.
  4. Collect points – shopping rewards, air miles, or in-store ‘bucks’…be sure to collect them. They really do add up. You might still pay regular price on your food, but if you can get a free flight at the end of the year or a bulk purchase percentage off, it is definitely worth it.
  5. Grow your own. If you can, you must! Plant a garden that you can eat from. In the winter of course this is a difficult one to start, but growing your own herbs year-round is something you can do. Once the spring hits be sure to plant lots of freezable options. This way you ensure pesticide free food while at the same time being able to eat at a significantly reduced cost. It is some work, but work you will most certainly enjoy the fruits of your labor.
  6. Community Gardens are a great way to get to know people in your neighborhood while at the same time save money. They work similar to a food swap – ‘I’ll trade you some tomatoes for some corn’ mentality. Find out if your area has one and get involved.
  7. Farmers Markets might be my all-time favorite place to be. Buying your organic produce from a farmer and his/her family feels great…and it’s cheaper too. I could easily spend $40 at a market and have fresh fruit and veggies for us all week.
  8. Cook for yourself. Be rid of the processed foods – they tend to be added with ‘food’ and ingredient items you don’t understand, are packaged incessantly, and are much more expensive. Have a day with friends where you make soups, sauces, dips and items that you can freeze. It is a fun day to spend with your buddies while making whole, natural, nutritious and delicious food. There are tons of recipes online to make anything and everything you can imagine.

 
Eating healthy can be done on a dime, and I promise that down the road your body and bank account will thank you for it.
If you enjoyed this blog, read more about our favorite nutritional tips.

Top Ten Favorite Green Foods For My Health

grains_n_greens_breakfast_bowl_1

In this week’s blog, I wanted to explore the concept behind ‘greens’. When grocery shopping this past week, I looked down at my cart and noticed that everything I had put in so far was green. I definitely eat a very healthy and balanced diet (including other colors of course!), although not everyone is on that same field. So this week’s blog is my Top Ten Favorite Green Foods, why I love them and why you should consider adding them to your daily nutrition routine.

1. Broccoli – this high fiber food truly is a super food. Broccoli lowers cholesterol, aids in digestion and naturally detoxes the body. Packed with Vitamins D, K and A this tasty vegetable has enormous anti-inflammatory benefits. Some people find it difficult to digest raw, so a light steam can help with that. I eat this daily with hummus or on it’s own.

2. Avocado – loaded with nutrients, this healthy fat is great for your heart, kidneys and overall cell function. Its ability to reduce inflammation has shown links to cancer reduction and help with arthritis. It is also high in fiber which can help with weight loss and keep your digestive system on track. Avocados also help your body absorb nutrients from other vegetables, meaning it works for you! I put avocado with my eggs every day. It’s also a great topper on salads, chicken, toast, or salmon.

3. Spinach – this delicious one is full of vitamins and minerals – everything from A, C, E and K, to protein and flavanoids to calcium, iron and magnesium. It’s basically loaded with good things for every part of your body. Great for your heart, brain, skin, hair and bones. I put spinach in my breakfast wrap every morning right before the eggs on top to give them a slight steam which adds even more benefits to spinach. A spinach salad for lunch is also a frequent occurrence in this household. Add with your favorite veggies, a few Hemp Hearts and some extra virgin olive oil…you are set. Added bonus? Eat spinach with a high vitamin C fruit such as berries to help pack even more of a punch.

4. Brussels Sprouts – everyone probably remembers having brussels sprouts as a kid and hating them. But they seem to have made a come back in my kitchen in more recent years. Packed with vitamins and minerals, they are noted as one of the top 20 healthiest foods by the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. Studies have shown links to fighting cancer, preventing diabetes, obesity and heart disease. They also increase your energy – so really how can you go wrong. After steaming these veggies I love to either roast them or toss them in a pan with extra virgin olive oil or raw organic coconut oil. It’s important to remember the foods we choose are important, but equally important is the way and in what we cook them.

5. Kale – with three grams of protein per serving, this high antioxidant super food is making its way to my fridge every week. It is said to be one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Studies have shown links to cancer fighting properties, cardiovascular strengthening and can help you lose weight. I find it a harder one to digest so a light steam or baking them in raw organic coconut oil in the oven is a great way to add this one to your day.

6. Bok Choy – as part of the cabbage family, bok choy is loaded with nutrients, omega 3s and anti-oxidants. Cancer prevention is often tied in studies to bok choy and other green leafy vegetables. I find this one great to chop up and add to stir fry. I also make a great cold salad with chickpeas, bok choy, yellow and red pepper and cucumbers. Delicious!

7. Aloe Vera – there are numerous health benefits to drinking aloe vera. A spoonful in the morning helps with digestion, antioxidant support, healthy immune system, reduces harmful toxins, increases nutrient absorption, balances stomach acidity and helps sooth muscle and joint discomfort. For more info on this morning move, see here.

8. Chlorophyll – liquid chlorophyll is an easy one to add to your water to dash into your day. It helps keep your red blood cells clean, healthy and plentiful by rebuilding and replenishing those cells. In such, our energy levels are boosted. Other benefits include detoxifying your liver, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-candida and promotes healthy iron levels. It helps build your blood. And if you think about that statement, your body completely depends on it.

9. Green Tea – I’m not a huge fan of the taste, so when I find I’m ‘over it’ I simply supplement. This way I ensure I get the health benefits on the days I’m not drinking it. Numerous health benefits from this anti-oxidant super star include improved brain function, burns fat, lowers your risk of certain types of cancer, lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by protecting your brain, lowers your risk for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes, and promotes longevity. All that for a cup of tea? Do it!

10. Supplementing – now at the risk of this all sounding overwhelming, I wanted to give two suggestions of how to get your greens in when you don’t manage to eat them all. I have two absolute favorites. First is Green Envy. A one ounce shot in the morning gives you your greens for the day. That doesn’t mean go and eat fast food for the rest of it, but it is a great way to ensure your greens are in no matter what. This can be purchased at both Superstore and Costco. My second suggestion is my absolute favorite new obsession – Magnum Performance Greens. I mix this in my shaker with Spirulina and water while I work out. I have noticed a significant improvement is my energy maintenance while working out and my hair and nail health. I still ensure the above are on my plate every day, but this is truly a tasty added bonus. You can purchase it online or at many local health food stores.

If you enjoyed this blog, we have lots of great info every week on our dedicated health blog. Here are a few more articles you might enjoy about nutrition – www.fitcommunications.ca/category/nutrition

WHO Announcement – What It Means and How to Adjust

Bacon

The WHO (World Health Organization) broke many people’s hearts on October 26, 2015 when it announced that processed meats cause cancer. Who doesn’t love a great steak? Bacon and eggs? Jets Dog? Corned beef sandwich? Heck, even a turkey breast sandwich on rye? Yum!

Specifically, the WHO stated that eating processed meat such as sausages and ham causes cancer, while unprocessed red meat may also be carcinogenic. The WHO’s cancer research unit now classifies processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans” based on evidence from hundreds of studies, and linked it specifically to colon, or colorectal, cancer. The report outlined that eating 50 grams of processed meat each day — the equivalent of two slices of ham or a few slices of bacon — can increase the risk of these cancers by 18%.

To be fair, there are many other things can be just as, if not more harmful, than enjoying your Keg prime rib roast. By not exercising, having a diet lacking adequate fruit and vegetables, sun tanning and smoking can all increase your risk of getting cancer. This also doesn’t take into consideration other potential risk factors including gender, family history and age.

That said, now that we have this information, what do we do about it? To start with, we need to know what exactly is a “processed meat”?  The WHO defines processed meat as “any type of meat that is salted, cured or smoked to enhance its flavor or preserve it. Processed meat generally contains pork or beef, but may also contain poultry.” Red meat refers to “all types of mammalian muscle meat,” such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse and goat.

Sadly, my fear is that the people that will take this information to heart have likely already made this change to their diets. It has been suggested for years that eating too much red meat is not good for you. People should choose lean, unprocessed white meats and fish more often for overall better health. In addition, many of us already knew that bologna and other processed food are packed with chemicals to make them a) last longer and b) taste better. So those of us that already knew all of this will only be slightly affected by this announcement.

Will it really make a difference with the masses? If someone is driving thru a burger joint for the King Burger with Cheese, or are regularly frying up hamburger to add to a “Helper”, are they really going to stop these food choices because of this announcement? My fear is no. For there are so many other things that we know are killing us but people still continue to choose them as a part of their lives. Even if you are uneducated on the topic of health, you can pick up a package of cigarettes and see images of people and organs dying. But people still smoke. However, at least the information to try to make us healthier is out there.

Part of the problem with making the change into our daily routines is information and suggestions for realistic changes or substitutions. From school lunches to quick family meals, here are some suggestions for healthier alternatives to some of our newly “forbidden” foods.

Instead of: Bologna, salami or corned beef sandwiches

Try: Sliced chicken/turkey (unprocessed, not sandwich meat), tuna, cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches

Instead of: Hot dogs, hamburgers

Try: Homemade turkey, chicken or veggie burgers or dogs

Instead of: Hamburger helper with ground beef

Try: Hamburger helper with ground chicken or turkey or even Tuna Helper

Instead of: “lunchables”

Try: Homemade bento box! You can include a variety of healthy choices including veggies and dip, hummus and pita (a complete protein together), fruit and cheese.

Thankfully the WHO is looking out for us and continuing to help make us all healthier. At Fit Communications, we are trying to do the same thing for Canadians by sharing knowledge such as this announcement to help reach more people. Please share this blog post with others so that we can all work towards leading our healthiest lives.