The Strike Sugar Movement starts tomorrow…Are you In?

As a follower of this blog you probably have heard me mention Tosca Reno author of The Eat Clean Diet and all around phenomenal woman.  (Yes I have a straight woman crush on her, what of it!) . For the month of September she is having a Strike Sugar Challenge. This means NO SUGAR (the white refined kind that is). If you can get some suga from a cutie you met at the pub, go for it and let’s hope he goes right for the thighs!

I’ve decided to join the Strike Sugar Movement because I really need to kick my chocolate covered blueberries habit, bad day or a good day I can eat a whole bag of these tasty delights, which negates all my efforts at the gym and in Muay Thai class.

I am daring YOU to take the Strike Sugar challenge with me. For the month of September NO Sugar, that means no Timbits, ice cream, chocolate blueberries, gum, soda, muffins, cakes, donuts etc … If you have to question whether something has sugar in it; it probably does so don’t eat it.

Get as many friends as you can to join the Strike Sugar Movement with you, share your tips with us and we will do the same. Summer is over, time to get back on track with the healthy habits. No excuses!

Good Luck and remember you’re not alone!

Do you need to break up with your food?

This blog post is probably not going to help my single status but I think this is something that needs to be shared. In the past couple of years I have developed food intolerances.

Food intolerance – Occur when the body is unable to deal with a certain type of foodstuff. This is usually because the body doesn’t produce enough of the particular chemical or enzyme that’s needed for digestion of that food.

My definition of a food intolerance would be uncontrollable passing of gas. Stomach bloating so bad that people will ask ‘So when are you due?’ thinking that you’re ready to give birth that second. Stomach cramps that have you doubled over in pain and praying that you will let rip the mother of all farts in hope of alleviating some of the pain. You smell like you’re a rotting on the inside. Granted anything coming out of your ass generally does not smell good but if you are having a reaction to your food it’s like rotten garbage sitting in the sun for weeks on end. Weight gain, some people are lucky and experience weigh loss but not this gal! You go from extreme bouts of constipation to 20 minutes bathroom sprints for a day maybe two. The bathroom sprints make you happy you are having a movement but by trip number 3 you begin to wonder just how full of shit you really are.

Two years back I was in my night school class studying Nutritional Symptomology when we started discussing the difference between food allergies and intolerances. As the teacher was going through the symptoms of an intolerance I realized he was talking about my issues. Finally it made sense, but the big question now was what am I intolerant to?

One way to find out if you have intolerances is to do an elimination diet. Eliminate the following foods Eggs, Dairy (includes cheese, yogurt, butter, chocolate), Soy, nuts, wheat and sweeteners; since they are the biggest culprits for food allergies and intolerances. Then slowly add them back into your diet and see if you have symptoms, remember you do not get an immediate reaction, you may feel symptoms the next day or even two days later.

Or you can visit a naturopath and get a get a blood test that specifically tests for food intolerances. Our doctors test for allergies not intolerances. This blood test can be costly but it’s a quick way to see what your issue are. This is the route that I went and I found out that I am intolerant to dairy, eggs, corn, kidney beans, almonds, and brewer’s yeast. I’m not gonna lie I shed a tear over this because this was going to change my life. Brewer’s yeast I love a cold beer on the patio in the summer sun with friends, DAIRY can anyone live without it!

When I eliminated these foods I felt great, got my will to live back (okay I’m just being dramatic) but I did feel like a new person. I even noticed that my skin looked better, I had more energy and my mood did not fluctuate. Hey when you are not walking around like a 9 month pregnant women waiting for the mother of all farts to be released; you are going to feel nothing but happy thoughts.

However I have relapsed, I am back to where I started and I feel awful. It’s hard when you’re single and a big part of your social life is having dinners and drinks with the girls every month, in the summer it’s about every two weeks. So YES I relapsed somewhere between the beers, poutine and nachos I hit rock bottom. I need to break up with my food once again. I know some of my friends find it hard to believe that beer and cheese  are my issues but it’s the sad cold truth. I also know it is hard to understand until you go through it. As much as I love those things I HAVE to give them up! It’s for my health and well-being.

On the plus side I will lose the extra weight I have gained, my skin will glow, I will not look preggo and no longer will I be spewing toxic fumes from my ass. It all good! I’ll miss my cheese and beer but I will get over it, they are not things I have every day and I can switch to wine right?

If any of this resonates with you I highly recommend you take the next step and get tested for food intolerances. Remember when you start feeling better still avoid those foods, because the symptoms will come back. Sadly when we are feeling good we forget what is was like when we weren’t feeling so great. Maybe take a picture of your bloated, pimply self and stick it on the fridge as a reminder and motivation.

Good Luck and remember you are not alone!






How much protein do we need?

There is so much information our there as to how much protein we should consume. I’ve been trying to figure it out for years now and some experts say to eat around 120 -150g daily and that is a lot for this gal. My goal is to get more lean muscle mass, and it is very important to get the right nutrients after a workout but I’ve been finding it very hard to get the correct information. I am currently taking sports nutrition and yesterday we discussed the role of protein for muscle development and repair. Here is what I found out and it actually makes sense to me. And I am happy to report that most of us do not need to eat 120 – 150g of protein for proper muscle growth and repair. Your protein requirements are based on your activity level and weight. Protein is important because it builds lean body mass, is needed for tissue repair. Also a small amount of protein is burned during physical activity.

So how much protein do you need?

For the general population the requirement is .8 grams of protein per Kilogram of bodyweight daily

Example: 68Kg (150 lbs) x .8 = 54.4g of protein daily

There are 4 calories per gram of protein. Example: 54.4 (grams of protein) x 4 (calories) = 217.60 protein calories. If you are following a 1500 calorie diet that is 15% of your total daily calories.

Convert pounds to Kilograms Calculator

Protein requirements for endurance athletes (marathon runners, tri-athletes etc) are 1.2g – 1.4g per kg daily.

Example: 68Kg (150 lbs) x 1.2 = 81.6g of protein
68Kg (150 lbs) x 1.4 = 95.2g of protein
Therefore a 150 lbs endurance athlete would need between 81 – 95g of protein

Protein requirements for strength athletes are 1.6g – 1.8g per kg daily

Example: 68Kg (150 lbs) x 1.6 = 108.8g of protein
68Kg (150 lbs) x 1.8 = 122.4g of protein
Therefore a 150 lbs strength athlete would need between 108 – 122g of protein

Now you may be asking yourself what category do I fall under? Things to consider are how many days do you work out, what type of training do you do? Are you a cardio queen? An iron sister? Or do you mix it up with cardio, weights etc.

For me, I work out 3 – 5 days a week. I do strength training, boxing and spin so my protein requirements are around 1.2g – 1.6g per kg per day.
So your meter of measurement falls between .8g (couch potato) – 1.8g (Hardcore body builder) try to estimate where you fall between that line.

If you work out 3 times a week 1.2g per kg would be a good protein intake.

Protein Supplements:

There are various protein supplements on the market and they have different effects on the body. (Listed in no particular order)

1) Casein: a milk protein that has good absorption levels due to extended exposure in the intestines. It is a time-released protein best taken at night or before going to bed. If you have a dairy intolerance then Casein needs to be avoided.

2) Soy or Vegetable: a protein that isolates and contains 90% pure protein. However be weary of Soy because it is one of the top 4 products that is GMO (genetically modified organisms). Make sure it’s coming from an organic soy source. Also Soy is a common intolerance for many people, so if you have too much of it, you could develop an intolerance. If you are vegetarian or have a dairy intolerance it is best to go with Vegetable based proteins.

3) Whey Isolate protein is the superstar of protein supplements; it has a full amino acid profile, is high in BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids). Whey Isolate yields a higher Whey protein fraction (90% of casein (milk protein) is taken out and there is no lactose so even if you have a dairy intolerance you can use a Whey Isolate supplement. Also if it is not an Isolate Whey protein it may contain wheat gluten, and other fillers. Whey Isolate is best right after your workout, or immediately upon rising because it digests fairly quickly and the absorption rate is high.

A great post workout snack would be an Apple with a protein shake (protein powder w/ water).

Food sources of Protein:

1 oz low fat tenderloin = 7.5g
1 oz wild game, venison etc = 8.5g

1 oz skinless chicken breast = 8g
1 oz deli style chicken breast = 5g
1 oz skinless turkey breast = 8g
1 oz deli style turkey breast = 5g

1 oz Bass (freshwater) = 6g
1 oz Cod = 7g
1 oz Halibut = 7g
1 oz Haddock = 7g
1 oz Herring = 6.5g
1 oz Mackerel = 7g
1 oz Salmon = 7.5g
1 oz sardines (oil based) = 6g
1 oz Sardines (water based) = 6g
1 oz Snapper = 7g
1 oz Tilapia = 5g
1 oz Trout = 7g
1 oz Tuna (fresh) = 8g
1 oz Tuna (oil based) = 7.5
1 oz Tuna (water based) = 6g

1 oz Clams = 7g
1 oz Crabmeat = 5.5g
1 oz Lobster = 5.5g
1 oz Scallops = 5g
1 oz shrimp = 6g

Eggs (boiled)
1 Whole Egg = 6g
2 Egg whites = 7g

Whey Protein Isolate
1 oz Organic low fat Cheese = 7g
¼ cup low fat cottage cheese = 7.5g
½ cup plain organic skim Yogurt = 7g

1 cup Quinoa Cooked (Gluten Free) = 9g
1 cup Millet Cooked (Gluten Free) = 6.1g
¼ cup Amaranth (Gluten Free) = 8g
¼ cup Buckwheat (Gluten Free) = 6g
¼ cup Oats = 6g

Beans and Lentils:
1 cup Lentils cooked = 18g
1 cup Black Beans cooked = 15g
1 cup Kidney Beans cooked = 13g
1 cup Pinto Beans cooked = 12g
1 cup Black-eyed peas cooked = 11g
1 cup Lima Beans cooked = 10g

Seeds and Nuts:
¼ cup Almonds = 7.6g
¼ cup Sunflower Seeds = 6g
¼ cup Cashews = 5g
¼ cup Walnuts = 3.8g

Soy / Other:

1 cup Tempeh = 41g
3 oz Seitan (a.k.a Wheat Meat) = 31g
4 oz Tofu firm = 11g
4 oz Tofu regular = 9g
1 cup Plain Soy Milk = 7g
6 oz plain soy yogurt = 6g
1 cup Soybeans cooked = 31g

The Classic Cinnabon

My Friend calls me this morning to tell me that she threw up; yes these are the calls that I get first thing in the morning. I ask why,  she tells me that she had bought a box of Cinnabon’s yesterday and she split one with her son this morning, and it made her sick. No wonder they are loaded with sugar and nothing good can come of eating one. It made me sick just thinking about eating something so sweet first thing in the morning. Now my curiosity so piqued so I had to find out how bad these things are:
The Classic Cinnabon has 813 calories, 32 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 5 grams of trans fat, 67 milligrams of cholesterol, 801 milligrams of sodium, 117 carbohydrates, 55 grams of sugar, 4 grams of fiber, 15 grams of protein
The average female diet should be between 1500 – 2200 calories depending on your fitness and activity level. One Cinnabon could possibly be half of your calories for the day.
Did you know that 55 grams of sugar is equivalent to 13 teaspoons, think about this; would you put 13 teaspoons of sugar in your Tea/Coffee? Would you eat 13 teaspoons of sugar, hopefully not, so why eat it in the form of a Cinnabon. I’m not trying to make my friend feel bad, but it helps to see exactly what is in some of our  treat foods. I believe it was the combination of  sugar and grease first thing in the morning that made her sick. Breakfast should be one of your best meals of the day, your should feel energized and ready to take on the world after eating a good breakfast not running to the bathroom.
Half a Cinnabon is  400 calories, 16 grams of fat,  27 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber and 7.5 grams of protein. 
Instead for 384 calories, 3 grams of fat, 7.4 grams of sugar, 14 grams of fiber and 38 grams of protein, my friend could have had 1 cup cottage cheese with 1 cup blackberries and 2 slices of Ezekiel or whole grain toast. NOW that is a breakfast. Not only is it low fat, high in protein it has half your fiber intake for the day.
If you’re struggling with healthy breakfast options there are lots of resource out there, here is the breakfast recipe link to the Eat Clean Diet web site . I also recommend the Eat Clean Diet Cookbook the recipes are so easy and delicious that even this Single Gal can make them successfully.

Good Luck and remember you are what you eat! So eat clean and be a high-powered machine rather than a slow-moving slug.

Certified Organic…

As part of my healthy lifestyle I try to eat organic foods as much as possible. I realize that most people when given the choice would prefer organic foods, seriously who wants chemicals on/in their food? However the drawback to buying organic is the cost, unfortunately we have to pay more for food that is Certified Organic. Ironic isn’t it that we have to pay more for foods to be grown the way nature intended without pesticides, insecticides and herbicides.

Even as a Single Gal I find the cost of buying all organic a bit much even for one person, so I can imagine how much of a strain that can be for a family of 5. For those of you that have the luxury of a backyard and a green thumb I would highly recommend planting a garden, this way you can have fresh veggies daily. Have you ever eaten a tomato from the garden? It’s pure heaven. Now for those of you that do not have yards and would like to buy organic when your budget allows here is a list of fruits and veggies in which the highest pesticide levels are found. For us this mean these are the items we should buy organically if the option is there:

Apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, raspberries, spinach, strawberries, butter, all berries, and peanuts. Corn & soy should be on your list of organics as well because these two items are known to be highly GMO (genetically modified organisms). This means the genetic material has been altered using the genetic engineering techniques.

Items that have the lowest pesticide levels that can be lower on your organics list are:

Asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapples and sweet peas.

I believe times are changing. The more we educate and become aware of what’s being done to our food the better our purchasing decisions will be. Once the demand grows the cost of organics will go down because of the supply and demand principle. Purchase something organic today and taste the difference!

Tips to keep you forever young…

The older I get the more I keep hearing act your age. What does act your age mean? I tend to hear this when I doing something deemed crazy (getting a black eye trying to snowboard) or silly (dancing in the grocery store singing the peaches and plums song to my mom). Does getting older mean we have to lose our sense of fun? Absolutely not! Being young at heart will also keep you young on the outside. Look at Diane Keaton at age 64 she is lovely, to me this women is ageless. Her agelessness comes from her attitude, she’s funny, charming, and has a great outlook on life. Getting older should not be a battle to look forever 21. Society should celebrate the beauty of age, not shun it because the harsh reality is you cannot avoid it.

Here are some tips to help us grow old with ease and agelessness:

  • Think young. Develop an ‘ageless attitude about yourself and everything you do
  • Act young. Do things that are fun. Find the fun in what you are already doing. I plan to learn to play the drums this summer
  • Exercise regularly – exercise does not have to mean the gym, play with your kids, go for walks, go dancing with the girls, all movement is good movement.
  • Rest often. Take ‘Power” naps everyday
  • Drink 2 – 3 liters of water daily (this is the fountain of youth ladies)
  • Start each day by drinking the juice of ½ a lemon added to a cup of warm water – to help cleanse the digestive tract, liver and kidneys.
  • Consume organic foods whenever possible
  • Make high quality protein a priority in your diet
  • Consume fish regularly
  • Avoid adulterated fats (e.g., margarine, shortening, hydrogenated fats/oils)
  • Eat four cups of vegetables daily, preferably raw or lightly steamed – at least two cups which are greens vegetables.
  • Replace white flour and white rice products with 100% whole grain counterparts
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Consume alcohol in moderation if at all
  • Avoid concentrated and refined sugars of all kinds

Now if you have laugh lines be happy because that means you are always smiling. The little crinkles around the eyes mean you have a sense of mischief. Think about those lines differently because they tell the story of your life. Embrace them, love who you are and keep smiling no matter what life throws at you. Now go act your age, by that I mean take a pole dancing class, swing on a swing, dance until the wee hours of the morning, whatever makes you laugh and feel young at heart just do it!!


How to ease PMS

Have you ever had one of those months when you experience all the symptoms of PMS? Where you are so bloated people ask how far along you are, or your boobs are so sore that even wearing a bra hurts. Than there are the cramps that have you doubled over in pain and wishing death to all men. My favorite is the uncontrollable cravings for chocolate and fried foods because this just leads to zits. Oh joy, now we have been transformed into a pregnant prepubescent teen with french fry grease running down our chin. So naturally that just puts you in a fowl mood, and I pity the man that says ‘What’s your problem are you PMSing?” Word of advice for the men out there if you have made the mistake of uttering those words, run! Run fast, your life depends on it.
Now ladies we do not have to go through this every month, diet is the key to have a non-eventful period. Here are some steps that you can take to help ease these symptoms:

Foods to avoid

  •  To prevent bloating a looking like you are in your second trimester, avoid sodium. Eliminate salt, red meats, processed and junk foods at the very least one week before your period.
  •  To ease breast tenderness avoid caffeine. Caffeine also acts as a diuretic and can deplete many important nutrients.
  •  Eat fewer dairy products. Sorry ladies this means you have to cut down on the cheese, at least for the week before and the week of. Oh while we are at it you should cut down on the wine (actually all alcohol) and sugars in any form. These foods cause valuable electrolytes to be lost through urination.

Foods and supplements to add:

  •  Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, chicken, turkey and fish. Have high protein snacks between meals.
  • Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day
  • Take a calcium/magnesium supplement this will help with breast tenderness
  • Vitamin B complex this helps regulate moods and reduces stress
  • Invest in a good quality multi vitamin

Lastly get regular exercise. Exercise increases the oxygen levels in the blood, which helps in nutrient absorption and efficient elimination of toxins from the body. It also helps keep hormone levels more stable and the men in your life safe.

Let me know if this info was helpful and if there is anything that you would like to see for future Nutrition/Health tips.



Getting in those Skinny Jeans…

Winter is officially over!!!! It’s is now spring, and you haven’t worn your skinny jeans all winter and now they are a bit tighter than you remember. Did you wash them in hot water? Chances are not! You have probably gained that dreaded winter weight which most of us do; it is the law of nature. Our bodies go into survival mode; centuries ago there was a time when winter would bring great famines. Human beings over time have adapted to that possibility by storing extra fat to survive those harsh winter months. Now in the year 2010, famines in North America are a thing of the past, but our bodies are still hanging on to the fat. We also tend to eat more comfort food than usual because we have those big beautiful sweaters to hide any new bulges. Now we enter panic mode, and obsess over our muffin top. First ladies, don’t panic and throw out those skinny jeans just yet. It is not that warm out there, so we can still camouflage the troubled spots and work on our diet in the meantime.
I’m on my way to becoming a CNP (Certified Nutritional Practitioner) and weekly I will be sharing tips and health advice with you, because I believe health first before all else. We are nothing if we do not have our health, also how will you be able to go on that date if you don’t feel well. Our goal is to obtain optimal health and losing the extra 5 -10 pounds is just an added bonus. Now that being said lets discuss how we can get back into those skinny jeans.
1)       Water, Water, Water drink at least 3 liters of water day, I know in the winter it’s harder to do because of the cold, we’d rather have something warm and comforting to drink. Now that spring is here it’s time to get back into the habit of drinking water. Yes you will be running to the bathroom every hour but that will get under control as your body adjusts to the increase of water consumption. Not only does water keep your weight under control, it flushes the toxins from your body, and it makes your skin supple and glowing. My belief is that water is the fountain of youth; think about it, what do you find at a fountain? WATER!
2)       Fiber – Aim for 30 – 50 grams of fiber a day. The normal SAD (Standard American diet) gets about 15 grams of fiber a day. Fiber rich foods leave you feeling full and satisfied longer, this will help with over eating. In order to avoid bloating and other digestive discomfort (gas) increase your fiber intake slowly by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Good fiber sources are apples, avocado, bananas, berries, beans, lentils and greens like spinach, kale and collards.
3)       Healthy Fats (EFA’s Essential Fatty Acids) -Yes we need fat! Over the years we have been bombarded with Fat Free this and Fat Free that. We’ve obsessed over how much fat was in something rather than what we are actually eating. Most fat free products compensate for the reduced fat with increased sugar and refined carbohydrates. Healthy fat sources are Olive oil (extra virgin or virgin), olives, avocados, almonds, peanuts, sesame oil, pecans, pistachio nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, etc. Also Flax seed, flax oil, chia seeds, and Salba are also great sources of EFA’s and added fiber.
4)       Exercise – Get a least 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you are new to fitness take it slow, start with daily walks. Now that the weather is nice there is no excuse not to take a nice walk around the neighborhood. For the Single Gals this will be a good chance to meet a cute jogger, stop him and chat him up about his favorite jogging trails or the size of shoes if you should feel so bold. For the ladies like me that have been exercising for years but have hit that dreaded plateau I highly recommend getting a trainer. I have one and he is great, I love working out again. If you can’t afford a trainer then change your routine, try new classes at the gym, or start jogging.
These tips are the basics to getting on the path to better health and getting into those skinny jeans again. Try this tomorrow, have a Spinach smoothie for breakfast and add flax seed. Lunch can be a salad of mixed greens with cherry tomatoes, red pepper, chicken breast and some feta cheese, mixed with an olive oil vinaigrette dressing. For dinner sauté some rapini in olive oil and garlic, add Shrimp, red peppers, then mix in Quinoa and spice it anyway you like. Potein, fiber filled, healthy fat recipes are the way to go. Then try and add two fruit snacks for the day and take a walk around the neighborhood. You’ve just had yourself a healthy day…see how easy that was!
Good Luck Ladies and I hope to see you strutting your stuff this summer.
Let me know how it goes.
Cheers to Good Health!
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