Holiday Health Tips

It’s that time of year again – the holiday season! There is a festive feeling in the air, the lights make everything look so alive, and parties are well underway. With all of the chocolates, sweets, dinners, parties and drinking going on, it’s really easy to pack on a few extra pounds over the holidays. Now I am one to indulge and enjoy too, but have a few handy tricks of the trade to make sure I stay on track with my health goals throughout this time of year.

 

At the Office

I have worked in office spaces before where all of your clients want to send a sweet something to the team to say happy holidays. Next thing you know there are twenty different boxes of chocolates, candy canes galore, and enough shortbread cookies to feed an army. The temptations are endless. A chocolate here and a cookie there can really add up throughout the day. I find the easiest way to avoid this is to not see it. If your work area is close to the ‘snack table’ see if anyone minds if you move it. That way every time you get up you don’t grab a treat. Not possible? Give yourself a daily maximum. That might be three treats a day, and you can have them all together or throughout, but make sure you’re not grabbing for a goodie every time you leave your desk.

Potlucks at this time of year are also a big office favorite. Everyone likes to bring their favorite holiday dish which usually consists of something sweet, something rich, or something fattening. Make your dish something healthy. And if that turns you off, make one healthy and one not-so-much. I always like bringing a great vegetable dish. You might be surprised by how many others also crave something with some nutrition to add to the table. Pick and choose between the unhealthy items – try to pick only your favorites rather than one of everything.

 

At Home

Our family has always been one to get together around the holidays and enjoy each other’s company surrounded by delicious food and drinks. It is a time that everyone tends to have a bit of a break from work, school and life. Similar rules from the office potluck would apply to eating at your favorite cousin’s house. Yes – the food is delicious. But you don’t have to walk out of there feeling like you’re going to explode. Be mindful of your choices and be mindful of your eating. Eat until you are no longer hungry rather than until you are stuffed. Choose two types of desserts rather than one of each. And get up and move around. I find right after a big meal playing with the kids or dogs around the house takes your mind off of having another plate, and helps your body digest your food better rather than sitting motionless.

Around your own house, try to best maintain your nutritional routine. If this time of year brings more guests around, and perhaps in turn a few more alcoholic beverages, choose wisely. Try to keep it to a realistic number and don’t drink high calorie drinks. Everyone loves a Bailey’s and coffee or a Rum and Eggnog on Christmas morning but those are loaded with calories. One or two might be a great festive move, but drinking them like they are water will have your caloric intake through the roof.

 

Holiday Parties

Work holiday parties are always fun. It gives the team a chance to get together outside of the office and connect on things other than work. Whether you are a team of ten or 500, the camaraderie that can develop at these events is terrific. I always find that there is so much food to be had. Finger foods and appetizers while people are first arriving, followed by a soup and or salad, followed by the main course and then dessert. I definitely encourage everyone to indulge once in a while, but remember you are eating for one. The appetizers can really put things over the top. Eat the same amount of food that you would normally eat. At home, I don’t have six or seven appys before dinner. Try to make smart choices about the options you choose and the number of them that you choose.

Another great tip is that if you know you are going to be eating a large meal that night, be mindful of your meals throughout the day. Perhaps have a salad for lunch, and stick to fruit and eggs for the morning. Try your best to keep your caloric intake as it normally is.

 

The Gym

No, there are no holiday parties happening here but that doesn’t mean forget about your workouts for a couple of weeks. This time of year can be really busy with events, shopping and having fun. And because we are all eating a bit off of our usual program, sticking to your gym routine is really important. Find the time. Make it a priority throughout the holidays. It is as important in December as it is when you are making your New Years’ resolutions in January. Remember – summer bodies are made in the winter!

 

I hope this gives you a few things to consider when you are out and about this holiday season. I encourage you to eat well, be merry and enjoy your time with your family and friends.

 

 

The Big “C” – What to Do When Your Friend or Family Member has Cancer

I’m fortunate enough to write this blog as someone who has not been diagnosed with “the Big C” so far in my life. I do, however, know too many people that I love who have been diagnosed. From my experiences with them and from what they have spoken to me about, I have come up with my own “do’s and don’ts list” when it comes dealing with someone that has cancer.

Do – know your relationship level with the person and act accordingly. If this person is a colleague at work and you are not very close, don’t sob on her lap about how awful this is and how bad you feel. Judge your relationship and act accordingly – even if it’s to just say how sorry you are to hear.

Don’t – just offer. DO! Don’t leave it up in the air or dependant on your friend to call if they want to talk. Call her. Text her. Email her – whatever. Just check in. And don’t offer to make a meal. Instead tell her you will make X and just to let her know when is a good night to drop it off. When you do drop it off, don’t stay. The reason most people turn down a meal is because they are in no mood to see people. Chances are they aren’t feeling well and the house is a mess. Don’t come in – even for a short visit. You could even just leave it on the front step with a note and leave after you ring the doorbell.

Don’t – take it personally. If she wants to open up and talk, great. If not, don’t get upset or hurt. You have no idea what she’s going through – even though you could imagine, you don’t know really know. Remember, this isn’t about you.

DO – Let her be sad, mad, angry, frustrated, regretful, blaming etc… This is her life. Getting this news changes everything. She’s allowed to feel all of these feelings.

Don’t – tell her it’s going to be fine. You have no grounds to say something like this. You don’t know. Hell, even the doctors sometimes don’t know.

Don’t – be a selfish asshole. A friend of mine told me about a time, when she had breast cancer, that her friend was over for dinner and kept whining about having to go on blood pressure or thyroid pills! She wouldn’t stop complaining about the fact that she would have to be on them for the rest of her life. OMG! It’s a PILL! My friend didn’t even know what her treatment or odds were like to live, and this twit is talking about her thyroid issue? Get a clue!

DO – be there. Whether it’s a phone call or to go for a spa day or to listen to her cry for 3 hours, just be there.

DO – learn about the disease. Each type of cancer is different and so are treatments. Take time to learn about the type of cancer so that you can be educated if and when you speak to her about it.

DO – share information. If you hear about a new treatment, drug, research or vitamins etc… let her know. Although it’s likely she knows all there is to know from googling the hell out of cancer, she may not have heard of your information. At the very least, she knows you care and are thinking of her.

DO – offer to help. Again depending on the relationship, offer to help drive to treatments or pick up kids from school, or make a meal or clean her bathroom. I find that offering this help to the spouse (if applicable) is most useful. This person is having to pick up the slack on top of having to deal with the illness as well. This person would be more likely to accept help than your friend – or at least that has been my experience.

DO – be positive and supportive. Don’t go overboard and be annoyingly positive – like everything is sunshine and lollipops. But do try to be a source of positivity and support. It has been proven that thinking positive and sending positive energy to injured body parts speeds healing. So try to encourage that.

DO – continue your normal relationship. Continue to celebrate birthdays, have girls’ night, watch The Bachelor, gossip about celebrities and more. Although having cancer has changed her life, it hasn’t ended it! She will likely want or need some sense of normalcy and distraction and a chance to just laugh and smile.

I know that some people may read this and agree or disagree. This is just what I, personally think is appropriate from my own experiences with family and friends. I’m hoping that you will never have to use this list because no one you know will ever get cancer. But if you do, this could be a good starting point on what to do next for your loved one.

How to Stay Active Going Back to School

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School is back in session! Many, ok likely all of us, parents are relieved that the pressure is off to keep our kids entertained and active. Chances are that your kids, as a part of a camp or not, have been pretty active this summer. Whether it was playing at the park, biking, swimming, soccer or canoeing with friends, they’ve been moving lots to stay healthy.

Now that school has started, what’s your plan to keep that activity level up? Did you know that Health Canada recommends that children need to do 60 minutes of activity per day for optimal health? Did you also know that only 2% of girls and 8% of boys are achieving this number?? This is a shocking statistic!

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your kids are getting the 60 minutes a day at school or daycare. Gym class is likely only twice per six day cycle and when they do have the class, it will at most be 20 minutes of continuous activity. Although recess totals 60 minutes a day, what are the chances that your kids are sweating it out at all recesses? Could they be that kid trying to catch that frog they saw at the end of the yard or hitting a stick against a tree or sitting chatting about Shopkins, YouTube or which Marvel character rules the roost? Or they may be learning the latest hand shake or “stella ola ola.”  Chances are they aren’t running amok for even 20 minutes, let alone 60.

I know that in my house, I have things planned for the kids to stay active. There is, of course, the fear that you are over-scheduling your kids with after-school classes and activities. However, I would argue that if the kids aren’t doing something scheduled that is active, they will be sedentary – vegging out on their iPad, TVs, smartphones or video games. So one hour of activity a day is not going to be interfering with incredibly important intellectual developmental progress! In fact, kids that are involved in sports will gain much more than being fit. They will do better in school, learn time-management, and build confidence.

I am sure by now you are thinking that scheduling all of these activities must cost a fortune. To be honest, yes – some classes and activities do cost a big chunk of change. However, there are so many opportunities for free activities that you can take advantage of. Whether you only do free activities or add them as a compliment to your weekly fitness schedule, there are many quality and fun programs available.  Here are some examples of some good ones:

Free Swims: There are free swims at every City of Winnipeg swimming pool. Have a look online or call 311 to see when your local pool hosts theirs. Take advantage of Tuesday free swim right after school from 3:30-5:00 pm at Pan Am.

Free Skate: There is a free skate every day of the week at various City of Winnipeg facilities. No skates? Buy used skates! Try looking online on a buy and sell website, Play It Again Sports or garage sales!

Go for a walk or a run with your kids. It’s free and there is no scheduling required. Just get up and go! Not only will this be good exercise, but it will be an opportunity for you to connect and actually “talk” with your kids. Just make sure you leave your smart phone at home!

Go for a bike ride – until it snows! Same as the walk – no advanced preparation required! Ensure you are properly equipped with safety gear. i.e.: helmets and reflectors and bright clothing.

Fitness Journal for Girls – The Journal has loads of discounts for year-long or term sessions for new participants. There are also lots of free classes to take advantage of. Try a sport that you or your girl may not have considered. There are free boxing and CrossFit workouts, free basketball sessions, 50% off snow tubing, free teen fitness classes or kickboxing workouts, BOGO diving and many more discounts! You can get your pass here – they are BOGO this week too!

Take advantage of first FREE classes – do a mother/son, father/daughter or cross fit, kickboxing, or yoga! Not only will it be free, but it will be a fabulous way to spend quality time with your kids! If you both love it, you can sign up for a session! Kids see their parents as role models for life. It is a proven fact that if a parent has an active, fit lifestyle then their children are more likely to adopt the same habits for life.

Faith groups are “getting it” too. Youth for Christ on King Street has numerous of Free – $1 and $2 single sessions and $10/year activities for kids including drop in skateboarding, fitness programs and soccer. Amazing value!

School activities – There are a slew of before school, lunch break or after school activities to sign up for. Most are free for the kids that go to the school. Think gymnastics club, Zumba, running club, cross-country skiing, etc…

Finally, there are many associations and gyms that have special pricing for kids and families that want to join but may be in financially difficult positions. Best bet is to simply ask your local facility to see if they have such offers.

So if you haven’t book or scheduled your kids to the max this fall, don’t worry. As you can see, there are so many activities you can take advantage of so that your kids (and you too!) can get fit and make this the best and healthiest school year ever!

 

 

 

 

Protein My Way

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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.

 

Healthy Meals Under $20

HEALTHY (1)I heard an ad on the radio the other day from a grocery chain advertising that they have family meals for under $40 – hence “affordable”. I am not sure who is doing the grocery shopping for these families but I am pretty sure that most people would agree that a meal at home should not cost $40. In addition, I highly doubt that these meals are nutritious. I decided to challenge this $40 meal with making my meals for my family for under $20. This, of course, requires me to do all of the planning, preparation and cooking. However, I would argue that most of us have to do some level of planning, preparation and cooking when eating at home.

I have come up with my week-long “healthy under $20” meals that I am sure will meet the nutritional needs and taste buds of even the most picky of family members. I have tried to keep the meals fun and interesting and sight a bit of what makes each meal healthy.

Monday – Chicken Dinner:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts – chicken is packed with protein, phosphorus to keep bones healthy, niacin to help lower cholesterol and amino acids to help kids grow stronger and taller.
  • Steamed broccoli/brussel sprouts/cauliflower – 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
  • Baked potatoes – Potatoes, if cooked healthily, are good for you! They are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Potatoes and sweet potatoes fight cancer, control diabetes and help you maintain bone health.

Tuesday – Taco Tuesday:

  • Ground turkey or chicken – choose one of these two options instead of the traditional beef variety. Add low sodium taco season and it will be just a yummy as beef and a lot better for you.
  • Shredded choice of dark leafy green lettuce (instead of iceberg) as these high in iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, carotenoids and B, C, E and K.
  • Diced red or orange peppers – 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.
  • Tomatoes and salsa – tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, a potent antioxidant that may reduce cholesterol and protect against advanced-stage prostate cancer.
  • Whole grain wraps or hard shell tacos and shredded cheddar cheese.

Wednesday – Spaghetti Dinner:

Whole grain spaghetti or spaghettini with tomato sauce – choose a tomato based pasta sauce instead of cream-based. Not only will this be better for your waste-line but also for your health. When tomatoes are cooked, their antioxidant power is increased as it increases the amount of phytochemicals they contain. Add a side salad with choice of colourful toppings.

Thursday – Breakfast for dinner:

Eggs and ancient grain toast, grilled tomatoes and orange juice or a veggie packed omelet.

Eggs have been given a bad rap but they are really an amazing food – they are loaded with nutrients – you can even get omega enriched eggs now. They contain vitamin A, folate, vitamin B5, B12, B2, D, E, K, calcium, phosphorus and selenium.

Ancient grain breads have more protein, folate, magnesium, selenium, B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, fibre, and calcium than wheat.

Friday – Fish & Chips:

Your choice of fish and preparation – you can even do homemade and healthy “battered” fish. Fish is loaded with important nutrients such as omegas, protein, vitamin D and iodine.

Serve with baked yam fries. – 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.

Saturday – Pita Pizzas:

  • Start with whole wheat pita bread – The “whole wheat” label means the wheat in that product hasn’t been refined so healthy components like endosperm and bran are left intact. Unrefined products also have many more nutrients like B vitamins and trace metals like iron, zinc, and copper.
  • Top with tomato/pasta sauce, mushrooms (contain selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more), chicken, peppers, tomatoes, pineapple (contains a natural enzyme called bromelain, which helps digestion and may also help prevent blood clots, inhibit growth of cancer cells and speed wound healing), ham etc…and top with your favorite cheese.

Sunday – Stir fry:

Boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen stir fry veggies – frozen veggies are just as healthy as the fresh variety as they are flash frozen and all of the nutrients are preserved. Serve over and rice noodles or brown rice

 

Other ideas include roast chicken dinners, homemade soups, salads topped with chicken and baked whole wheat garlic toast. There are so many options. You are only limited by your imagination and, of course your family’s preferences.

So this week, challenge yourself to take the time to prepare some or all of these healthy meals for your family. You will be giving so much more than your gift of time, but the gift of health.

If you enjoyed this blog, you may be interested in reading some of our other blogs focusing on nutrition or sign up for our newsletter!

How To Start Loving Your Body

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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

GMO 101

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A breakfast consisting of corn flaked cereal with low fat milk and a side of cut up papaya sounds pretty darn healthy doesn’t it? Well, think again. Thanks to GMOs you are likely eating herbicide and pesticide-laced foods wrecking havoc on your health. But what are GMOs? GMO foods or Genetically Modified Organisms are foods produced from organisms that have had changes to their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering techniques allow for the introduction of new traits as well as greater control over traits than previous methods such as selective breeding.

GMO crops were first introduced in the 1990s with the Flavr Savr tomato. It was supposed to have delayed ripening properties. This invention of GMOs was thought to perhaps be the answer to end world hunger. This is because the crops could be made to resist pesticides and therefore could increase their yields and decrease costs. However, as we still have world hunger, this was obviously not the case. Instead, the bugs and weeds, like many organisms through time and evolution – learn. They learned to become resistant to the chemicals that were dousing on the crops. This then led to increased use of the chemicals to try to battle these enlightened bugs and weeds. And as I’m sure you know, the more chemicals sprayed on our foods, the worse they are for our health.

Genetically modified foods (GMO foods) have been shown to cause harm to humans, animals, and the environment, and despite growing opposition, more and more foods continue to be genetically altered. The harmful health effects vary from increased allergic reactions to increased direct and indirect cancer rates. They have also shown to cause birth defects, infertility, accelerated aging and immune problems.  They may also reduce antibiotic effectiveness due to consumption through both vegetables and milk. Each year there are many more studies and results published that contribute to the evidence that GMOs are harmful to humans.

“The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on ‘Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.’ They called for a moratorium on GM foods, long-term independent studies, and labeling.” (Institute for Responsible Technology)

With all of this undeniable evidence stacking up, there has been mounting pressure for Canada to, at the very least, have mandatory labeling of GMO foods and to even ban GMO food production and imports altogether. Unfortunately, Canada is behind the 8-ball on this one. We are one of only a few developed nations in the world that don’t have either of these yet.

Because we have no laws requiring labelling of GMO foods, we are left to fend for ourselves. Without education, how would you know if you are eating a GMO or not? For example, the corn you are buying at the grocery store, unless organic, is probably a GMO. Same goes for your zucchini, squash and papaya! And here you thought you were doing great buying fruits and veggies! Well, so did I.

The only sure way to ensure you are eating non-GMO is to look for the certification and logo “Non-GMO Verified Project” and/or it is certified 100% organic – this is different from simply being labelled “organic” or “made with organic ingredients.” You can find these at some of the big chain grocery stores. Another option is to check local farmers’ produce or markets where you can be ensured that the crops aren’t GMO. Finally, your best bet is to start organic gardening to grow your own produce.

If you can’t do any of the above options – whether due to cost, time of year or your location, then you can at least avoid the products that are the worst GMO foods for you. Here is the list:

Corn – It is one of the most prominent GMO foods. GMO corn has been tied to a number of different numerous health issues including weight gain and organ disruption. You can’t simply think about corn as the corn on the cob you buy at the store. Also remember that these products are based on GM corn: corn flakes, corn chips, cornstarch, corn syrup, corn oil, corn ingredients in processed foods, glucose, fructose, eggs, milk and meat (as these are fed to livestock and cows).

Canola – One of the most chemically altered foods and the second highest GM crop in Canada, canola oil is obtained from grapeseed through a series of chemical actions. Included here are products such as canola oil, margarine and some honeys.

Soy – It is modified to resist herbicides. Monsanto (GMO superstar) still controls the soy market and approximately 90 percent of soy is being genetically engineered to resist Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. In one single year, 2006, there was 96.7 million pounds of glyphosate sprayed on soybeans alone. Included in this list of things to avoid are: tofu, soy oil, soy protein, soy lecithin, soy beverages, soy puddings and egg, milk and meat (as GM grains are fed to livestock and cows).

Sugar – Almost 100% of all of the white sugar beets grown in Canada are Monsanto’s GM herbicide-tolerant Roundup Ready sugar beets. I’m OK with losing this one – as white sugar is cancer feeder anyhow.

Aspartame – Aspartame is a toxic additive and it is created with genetically modified bacteria.

Papayas – GMO papayas have been grown in Hawaii for consumption since 1999. Although imported to Canada and the U.S. they can’t be sold to countries in the European Union.

Peas – Peas that have been genetically modified have been found to cause immune responses in mice and possibly even in humans. A gene from kidney beans was inserted into the peas creating a protein that functions as a pesticide.

Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Tomatoes – these have all been modified to resist viruses and have longer shelf-life.

Dairy, Eggs and Meat – Your dairy, eggs and meat products may contain growth hormones – this is aside from GM grains the animals are fed. Purchasing these items as organic is key.

Finally, steer clear from pre-made canned soups and frozen foods.

So there you have it. Scary, isn’t it!? I know that I have had my eyes opened to just how important it is to know where your food comes from. My hope is that the more people know about this, the more likely we will have pressure put on our government to work on protecting us from harmful GMO foods and in turn work on making the organic healthy foods more affordable for all.

As with previous blogs about health, we have to be in the driver’s seat of our own health and wellness. That includes learning as much as we can in order to make informed decisions for us and our families. If you feel that this blog has helped you in your own journey toward healthy living, you may be interested in ready more of our blogs on nutrition and health or sign up for our newsletter!

Sources: naturalnews.com, naturalsociety.com, gmoinquiry.ca, Institute for Responsible Technology

 

Fitness Journal for Girls

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The Fitness Journal for Girls launched Monday, May 16, 2016 in support of girls in Winnipeg being active in sport, fitness and health. Over twenty local businesses and sport organizations have come together in the Fitness Journal for Girls to help girls in Winnipeg curb the national trend of dropping out of sports. The Fitness Journal for Girls is a year-round guide to everything fun and fitness in Winnipeg.  The Journal is geared to girls ages 5 – 15 to try new sports and activities throughout Winnipeg, have weekly summer challenges to get active and win prizes, and Journal about their healthy lifestyle, increased self-esteem and positive outlook on health.

As founders of the Fitness Journal for Girls, we (Allison Gervais and Andrea Katz) created the Fitness Journal for Girls after learning that girls are up to six times more likely to drop out of sport in Canada than are boys (according to the Women’s Sport Center). Reasons for this include lack of positive female role models in sport, cost, transportation and safety issues, lack of access, social stigma of being a female athlete (‘tomboy’ or ‘butch’) and a decreased quality experience.

Mark Arndt from Tennis Manitoba and proud supporter of this initiative says, “Tennis Canada is in the process of rolling out a nation-wide campaign that focuses on increased participation among kids – especially girls. A participation gap exists among girls aged 8 – 16. Tennis Manitoba is confident this [Fitness Journal for Girls] initiative will help reach goals and, more importantly, increase and maintain activity levels for girls.”

There are over twenty local businesses and sport organizations within the Journal providing summer challenges and discounts on their programming to girls who purchase a book. Activities within the Journal for the girls include kickboxing, tennis, triathlon, swimming, wakeboarding, snowtubing, crossfit, ringette and many more.

The cost of the Journal is $20 and can be purchased on-line at fitcommunications.ca/fitnessjournalforgirls or at Aevi Boutique – 1580 Taylor Avenue. The purchase price includes all taxes and shipping. It is a great gift to give a young girl in your life – whether for a birthday, a grad or just ‘because’. What other gift provides the gift of fitness, health and self-esteem? Get yours today!

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.