52 weeks of good health....

every week I will share with you a tip to improve your eating habits or lifestyle to help you reach maximum energy levels and increase overall physical and emotional health.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Clean Eating Apples and Yams

Here's a great healthy alternative to candied yams...taken from the Gracious Pantry BLog (http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-apples-and-yams/)

Ingredients:

2 very large yams
2 apples
1 tbsp. Molasses
2 tbsp. Agave or maple syrup
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. corn starch
1/2 cup prepared orange juice (no added sugar)
2 tbsp. walnuts – chopped

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Boil your yams with the skins on for about 40 minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool. Peel your yams and your apples. Remove the core as well. If you have an apple peeler, all the better as it will do both jobs at once! Slice your yams and apples about 1/4 inch thick. Spray a casserole dish with a light coat of olive oil. Then, layer your apples and yams in rows. In a sauce pot, combine your remaining ingredients (except the walnuts) using a whisk. Be sure to dissolve your corn starch so you don’t have any clumps. Heat as you whisk until the sauce is nice and thick. Pour sauce over yams and apples and top with walnuts. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Staying Healthy this Holiday Season

Now that the holiday season is upon us, many people are trying to figure out how to enjoy themselves without overindulging at parties and getting run down from squeezing in too many festive activities. Here are a few tips to keep you feeling healthy, while still being able to have fun!



  1. Get your greens - wake up in the morning with the intention of either having some greens in the form of a salad or smoothie. Keep veggies pre-cut in your fridge to help avoid making excuses about not having time to throw something together. This should help prevent you from grabbing fast food on your way home from shopping.
  2. Get enough sleep - most of us will have some late night parties to attend, but make sure to try to maintain your regular sleep schedule as much as possible.
  3. Find time for exercise - even on Christmas day you should be able to find time to take a walk; suggest heading out before dinner with other family members; this will also help you avoid pre-dinner snacking.
  4. Avoid grazing - allow yourself to enjoy some holiday appies and treats, but limit yourself to a plateful. If you fill a little plate when arriving at the party and graze off of that all night, it'll help you keep track of how much you've eaten.
  5. Construct a healthy holiday menu - if you are hosting a get together or dinner, make sure to include healthy alternatives to the heavy, high fat dishes. It's a great opportunity to introduce your friends and family to some great vegetarian and raw food dishes, that taste great!
  6. Go easy on the alcohol - if you are choosing to indulge in desserts, having a drink or two less than you normally would is a great way to balance out your caloric intake for that day.
Staying healthy during the holidays is entirely possible, with a little preparation and self control!

In good health,
Wendy


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Healthy Snacking



Most of us snack during the day...and there's nothing wrong with snacking, if you're snacking for the right reasons. Snacking can bridge that gap between meals, so that you don't experience that blood sugar drop that can lead you to unhealthy meal choices.

There are some things you want to consider to make sure that you are getting everything out of your snack and that you are not just mindlessly binging. Snacks should be considered as an important part of your daily food intake; not just a chance to have a treat. Before you reach for a snack, there are a few things to consider:

  1. what have you already eaten for the day? Was your breakfast lacking a certain nutrient? Have you had enough fibre or calcium? Snacks are a great way to ensure that you are getting all the proper vitamins and minerals that you need to stay healthy.
  2. why are you snacking? Is it out of boredom or because of a craving? If you find that you are having certain cravings every afternoon, you might want to look at what you are eating for lunch...it could be that you are missing balance in your lunch time meal leading to cravings later on.
  3. don't plan on hanging around, snacking in the kitchen...this is a recipe for trouble, as you will often find yourself reaching for "just one more piece", if it's available. As with any other meal, go sit down somewhere and be mindful of what you're eating.
  4. choose slow to digest foods; complex carbs, protein, fibre...something that will fill you up and not leave you looking for more. You want to make sure that you will be ready to eat when the next meal time comes around.

Sedentary days

  • ½ cup 1% cottage cheese and a handful of sliced grapes/strawberries or small piece fruit
  • ½ cup sliced fruit or 1 whole piece of fruit & 15 almonds
  • ½ cup, low fat, plain yogurt & ¼ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup cooked Edamame & 1 orange
  • 1 pear & 15 TLC Honey Sesame crackers
  • 1 apple & 2 oz cheddar cheese or 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Kashi TLC granola trail mix bar (or homemade granola bar) & ½ cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 Plums & Nuts and seeds (small handful)
  • 1 cup snow peas & 3 tbsp hummus
Active Days

  • protein shake, with a banana
  • Hummus and pita (1/4 c hummus)
  • Peanut butter and banana on rice cakes
  • 1 small whole wheat tortilla, with 2 tbsp almond butter, roll up with ½ a banana
  • 4 ounces deli turkey, 1 soft cheese wedge and 1 apple
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Hardboiled egg and raw veggies with dip
In good health,
Wendy

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Take Time for Yourself

Today's blog post is a bit of a cop out...just a bit! My post this week is about taking time for yourself; meaning know when to sit back and just relax and enjoy yourself, instead of always pushing to get things done and trying to meet silly deadlines.

That being said, since today is my birthday and I'm in the midst of preparing for my daughter's birthday on Sunday (and seeing as it's a snow day, here in Squamish) I'm opting to take time for myself today!!

I'll be back next week, with a great tip and a tasty recipe, but for now...I'm going to go play with my dog in the snow!!

In good health,
Wendy

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Healthy Gift Giving

Tis the season...what are you shopping for this holiday season? Do you go out there with a plan or do you just purchase things at random? And what do you buy for the person who doesn't need anything?

There are lots of things you can purchase that will promote healthy living or help support your local economy and I've put together a small list of those things for you to keep in my, while you're shopping for the, "hard to shop for"!

  • This is the time of the year when all the Christmas fairs start popping up...have you always avoiding them thinking that they are just full of knitted doll clothes and crocheted socks? Well, check them out this year; it's a great place to buy locally made soaps and lotions, spices and of course, jewelery.
  • books on health; some good reads include In the Defense of Food, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Food and Healing and Food Inc - this is actually a DVD for people who don't enjoy reading.
  • how about a cooking book full of healthy recipes? Some of my faves are: Super Natural Cooking, Eat, Drink, Be Vegan and Rebar Modern Food Cookbook
  • handcrafted ceramic tea pot and tea cups, along with some loose leaf tea.
  • reusable water containers...some places are banning the sale of water to cut down on waste (which I think is great!), so you'll want to make sure to have a reusable bottle to bring your own water when you head out the door. These water bottles are cool and support a good cause.
  • alcohol is always an easy fall back gift option...you can make it healthier by purchasing a bottle of organic wine. Most liquor stores are carrying large selections to chose from these days.
  • and of course, if all else fails you can never go wrong with the gift of food! I love giving gift baskets filled with raw nuts and seeds, organic chocolate and a pack of coffee. Who would like to receive that??
Whatever it is you are shopping for, try to keep in mind how much packaging is used, whether the person will actually appreciate the gift (or whether it will end up in the landfill!) and how it will contribute to their own good health!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Boost up Your Immunity

It's that time of year again...the season's are changing, the weather's getting colder and coughs and sniffles must be right around the corner...right? No one likes to get sick or feel run down, so this year why don't you try to be proactive with your health and keep your immune system running at optimum performance. There are lots of natural ways to do this and if you've already been following many of my tips, then chances are you are already on your way!

pH Balance - I talked before about pH balance and the effect it has on your body; a good pH level supports healthy bacteria growth and wards off viruses. Approximately, 70% of our diet should come from alkaline foods and 30% acidic in order to maintain a balance. Eat veggies throughout the day, take a green supplement (a green drink a day has so many health benefits!), and avoid acid forming and acidic foods and your body's pH level will gradually be balanced.

Get a full nights sleep - sleep has been linked to hormone levels; including human growth hormone and the stress hormone, cortisol. When are bodies are stressed, it depresses our immune system.

Get enough protein - protein is the building block for a healthy body, mind and immune system. Diets low in protein are often higher in carbs; and too many refined carbs can spike the blood sugar, which can stress the immune system.

Avoid refined white sugar - if there is only one thing that you want to do to improve your immune system, this should be the one! It can rob your body of needed vitamins and minerals.

Include more fruits & vegetables - if you have not already increased your consumption of fruits and veg, this is a great time of year to do it, especially dark colour produce (which contain vitamin C and antioxidants). Your body will benefit from the additional vitamins and minerals, which will protect your immune system from damage from toxins.

Get outside - even in the cold weather, it's good to get outside, get some exercise and breathe some fresh air!

and lastly....

Nurture youself - since stress has such a negative impact on your immune system, it only makes sense to take care of yourself; indulge in that massage, have dinner with friends, take a hot bath. Pay attention to your body and make sure that you take a step back if you are starting to feel run down...when you're happy, you're actually less likely to get sick!

If you can pick at least 3 of these tips and stick to them, you will substantially improve your immunity!

In good health,
Wendy


Thursday, November 4, 2010

20 Quick Tips to keep you Healthy and Organized

Cook 2 batches of chicken breasts and freeze in 3oz or half chicken breast portions in small sandwich bags. They then can be grabbed easy for chicken wraps, salads, or to be used with rice or other dishes in a pinch

Cook a whole pot of Quinoa and freeze in ½ cup portions, again can be grabbed easy for snacks, lunches, breakfast etc, also freeze some in dinner size portions 2 cups to grab easy for dinners


3. Cook a pot of brown rice and freeze in ½ cup portions and dinner size portions for ease when preparing

4. Boil 6-8 eggs at a time and leave them in the fridge for snacks, salads, breakfasts etc

5. Make 2-3 batches of granola bars and cut and freeze

6. Make a huge batch of granola and freeze in bags to so you can grab it easily when you run out

7. Make a big container of whole grain cereal to use for breakfasts/snacks

8. After you get groceries put together a Tupperware container of vegetables so they are easy to grab for the week

9. After you get groceries make a fruit salad that will last 5 days to be used throughout the week when time is limited

10. Plan your grocery list and shop for everything you will need for the week, spend some time after pre-preparing things you will need, this will make cooking easy

11. You don’t need to order out...an easy egg omelette or frittata can be made in 5 minutes (using the veggies you already have cut up) and a spinach salad can be whipped up in minutes if you buy the prewashed spinach. Your dinner can be made and on the table in less time than it would take you to get your food delivered. Or you can easily grab some wraps and the chicken you have in the freezer and make quick quesadillas with chicken, spinach, peppers and salsa, served with a quick salad or some of the fruit salad you have in the fridge.

12. Make big batches of soup and chilli and freeze them in individual containers. Chili can also be used to top a salad with some baked pita chips, makes a quick and easy supper in a pinch.

13. When you have leftovers, freeze them, you can use them another time when time is of the essence

14. Low fat salad dressings make great quick sauces for stir fry’s and chicken and such keep a good stock.

15. Make a big batch of breakfast cookies and energy bars and freeze.

16. Make lots of trail mix as this is great to grab when you are in a hurry

17. Make a double batch of muffins and freeze.

18. Freeze bananas so you can always make a smoothie and not have to worry about having fresh ones on hand.

19. Buy frozen fruit in big bags to be used to in smoothies and to be used as a snack or breakfast with yogurt and granola.

20. Always have tuna and beans in the cupboard, a quick tuna casserole can be whipped up in no time, beans also are great for a protein that can be whipped up into a soup in 20 minutes (as long as you have a good stock of reduced sodium stock in your cupboard)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Supplements...yay or nay?

A lot of people ask me my opinion on taking supplements...which ones to take or if they should take any at all. I am a believer in supplements and I think that different people need different ones, depending on where they are in their life cycle. But, there are definitely a few that everyone can benefit from.

First, I'll discuss why I think that supplements are necessary; I often hear, "I eat really well, I don't really need to take vitamins". Well, here are a few reasons why you should reconsider that.

  1. Most of the fruits and veggies we find on the grocery store shelves have been irradiated; meaning they have been treated to help prolong shelf life and delay ripening. Unfortunately, this process also destroys essential nutrients; especially water soluble vitamins and antioxidants.
  2. Aggressive farming, acid rains, use or artificial fertilizers and synthetic pesticides have caused soil depletion. These activities deplete the essential nutrients in the soil. As a result, nutritional values of fruits and vegetables are greatly reduced.
  3. Depending on your lifestyle or behaviour, you may need extra supplementation; athletes, pregnant or nursing women, or people who work in physically demanding occupations need them to make up for the extra nutrients that are being lost.
  4. Pesticides are often to destroy and control pests; according to the EPA, the health benefits of our fruits and vegetables are reduced by the use of pesticides.
These are the main reasons why I suggest using a good multivitamin. Other supplements most people will benefit from are Vitamin D (helps with prevention of diseases), Vitamin B Complex (beneficial for a healthy nervous system, good digestion and energy production) and Omega 3 fish oil (for reducing inflammation in the body).

In good health,
Wendy

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Setting a Health Goal

If you haven't already, setting a goal (or goals) is a great idea for either starting out on your road to good health, or getting back on track if you find you have lost your way.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed if you're making a goal that is either unattainable or unrealistic, so the best way is to start small and keep it simple.

If you've been making good progress, but have lapsed recently and are trying to get back on track, it can be helpful to set short term goals to get your motivation back. Plan on cutting out sugar for 2 weeks to a month, give up alcohol for a few weeks or make a commitment to not eat out for the next month or so. Once you see that your body is making some positive changes, you'll probably be more inclined to continue whatever new (good) habit you have committed to for the long term.

If you're starting from scratch, making one change at a time is your best bet for continued progress. Once you have adjusted to the first new change, introduce another one, then another (replace white rice with brown, adding a vegetarian meal to the menu once a week, cutting back on your sugar intake)...in a few months, you'll find you're eating healthier than you ever have.

I think that while it's great to want to lose weight, many people have greater success with setting up small lifestyle change goals, than weight loss specifically. As you achieve your health goals, you'll find your body changing and weight loss is commonly a result of that; as is a healthier heart, clearer skin and a better digestive track. Many times, specific number-oriented goals have little staying power.

Here are just a few ideas of great goals to work towards:
  • eat slowly and mindfully
  • try new vegetables
  • try new spices
  • learn new cooking techniques
  • experiment with seasonal produce
  • try recreating your favourite restaurant dish at home
  • eat out less
  • walk more
  • cut out the sugar in your morning coffee
  • pay more attention to food groups
  • don't feel guilty if life gets in the way of your goals...just refocus
  • make sleep a priority
  • don't wait till the beginning of next week...get back on track today!
In good health,
Wendy

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tips for a Healthy Fall

Many people find that they start gaining weight as soon as bathing suit season is over; here are some tips to help keep the weight off, so you don’t need to rely on your winter clothes to hide the extra pounds!

· Try eating in season; fall foods such as soups, stews and squashes are packed with fiber, beta carotene and vitamin C.

· Stews are hearty, but can also be fattening; make sure to use lots of vegetables and go light on the meat and potatoes, or change it up by using turkey and yams instead.

· Soups are a great fall food, but keep them healthy by avoiding heavy cream or cheese filled soups.

· Take advantage of the apple harvest by making applesauce, baked apples or eating them fresh off the tree; try to avoid the temptation of baking them into pies...however if you just can’t resist, try making a healthy apple crumble.

· Get outside and get moving; take advantage of the cooler temperatures and go for walks, bike rides or hikes through the woods to check out all the changing colours on the trees.

· As it starts getting darker earlier, enjoy the early morning sunlight to get out and get your workout in!

· Try not to get caught up in the new Fall TV lineup...and if you do, don’t get caught up snacking through your favourite shows! Remember to practice portion control.

· Consider trying light therapy; there has been a connection between lack of sunlight and depression. Since mild depression can increase your cravings for carbs, some people find that using a full spectrum light box can help beat the winter blues.

In good health,

Wendy

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thanksgiving is upon us, here in Canada and if you're preparing a big, turkey feast for your loved ones here are a few alternatives you may want to consider to keep your meal on the clean eating side of healthy!!

If your meal calls for:

Healthier Alternative

Condensed whole milk or Evaporated Milk

Evaporated Skim Milk (less fat)

Cream for soups

Pureed starchy vegetables, silken tofu or coconut milk (less fat)

Cream cheese

Low fat cottage cheese, pureed until smooth (cream cheese has very little nutritional value; cottage cheese is higher in nutrients, like calcium)

Sour cream

Plain organic yogurt (sour cream is high in saturated fat, yogurt gives you the benefits of probiotics)

Ground beef

Lean ground beef or ground turkey (lower in saturated fat and cholesterol)

All purpose flour

Whole grain flour (you may only need ½ as much) (high in fibre)

Dry bread crumbs

Rolled oats or ground whole grain bread crusts (high in fibre)

Enriched pastas

Whole wheat pasta or Kamut pasta (high in fibre)

Pie crust

Graham cracker crust (lower in saturated fat)

White bread

Whole wheat or sprouted bread (higher in nutrients, such as fibre)

White rice

Brown rice, wild rice (higher in nutrients, such as fibre)

Iceburg lettuce

Arugula, spinach, field greens, kale, mustard greens (higher in nutrients)

Mashed potatoes

Mashed yams or sweet potatoes (higher in nutrients, such as Vitamin A, C and iron)

Cool whip

Whipping cream(higher in nutrients; Cool whip has very little nutritional value)

Margarine in baked goods

Butter or coconut oil (margarine is hydrogenated; butter is better nutritionally, when used in moderation)

Remember, it's a time for giving thanks and being grateful for what we have in our lives...let's all be thankful for our good health and be thankful that we have the knowledge to make healthy choices every day!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

In good health,

Wendy


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quick, Healthy Meal Ideas


One reason why people end up eating so unhealthy is because of a lack of time...you rush off to work in the morning, forgetting to take anything out for dinner; then get home after working all day, thinking that you might as well just order out (or eat the Mac & Cheese that's in your cupboard!), so you can sit down and relax.

Well, with just a little bit of planning and some inspiration, you can have tasty, healthy food made and on the table in less time than it would take you to get your food delivered!

An easy egg omelette or frittata can be made in 5 minutes (after you get groceries put together a Tupperware container of vegetables so they are easy to grab for the week) and a spinach salad can be whipped up in minutes if you buy the prewashed spinach.

Or you can easily grab some wraps and the chicken you have in the freezer (Cook 2 batches of chicken breasts when you get home from the grocery store and freeze in 3oz or half chicken breast portions in small sandwich bags) and make quick quesedillas with chicken, spinach, peppers and salsa, served with a quick salad or some of the fruit salad you have in the fridge.

Make big batches of soup and chili and freeze them in individual containers. Chili can also be used to top a salad with some baked pita chips, makes a quick and easy supper in a pinch.

When you have left overs, freeze them, you can use them another time when time is of the essence.

Left over pasta can be put in an egg frittata, make a great dinner and the pasta comes out a little crunchy which is great (sauté the pasta with some garlic and peppers, and maybe tomatoes if you like and then add your eggs and put it in the oven for 10 minutes, add some light shredded cheese near the end and broil until melted.

Tofu stir fries in minutes, if you are in a hurry, stir fry some tofu with garlic in some olive oil, and add some broccoli slaw salad mix then add Kraft Asian salad dressing and put it on top of the rice or quinoa you already have in the freezer. Serve with raw veggies from the fridge.


Always have tuna and beans in the cupboard, a quick tuna casserole can be whipped up in no time, beans also are great for a protein that can be whipped up into a soup in 20 minutes (as long as you have a good stock of reduced sodium stock in your cupboard).


In good health,

Wendy