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.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How to achieve stellar digestion...

The following is a summary of guidelines that help to create the optimum conditions for digestion. By following these steps, you will be allowing your own processes of digestion, absorption, elimination and intestinal immunity to work as efficiently as possible.


  • Eat only when genuinely hungry
  • Have the largest meal in the middle of the day
  • Spend at least 30 minutes eating each meal
  • Allow no more than 3.5 hours between main meals
  • Have 3 main meals and 2 snacks each day
  • Consume nothing after 9:00pm

Setting the Mood

  • Do not eat when angry, anxious, upset, bored or overtired
  • Eat with congenial company in pleasant conversation or eat alone in contemplative silence or with pleasant music
  • Avoid reading, watching TV or arguing while eating


  • Eat slowly, chewing food thoroughly
  • Take time to enjoy the taste, texture, and aromas of the food
  • Swallow only when eat mouthful has turned to paste
  • Eat only enough to feel good. Never stuff yourself

Food Selection

  • Drink two litres of good quality water daily
  • Be sure to consume 25 – 30 grams of fibre each day
  • Avoid processed foods, refined sugars and flours
  • Consume alcohol and caffeine sparingly, if at all
  • Suspect allergy/intolerance to any food to which one has addictive cravings or to any that produces excess mucus, or gastrointestinal stress of any kind.
  • Observe you’re body’s reactions to lactose, gluten and wheat

Food Combining

  • Do not combine sugars with proteins or fats at the same meal
  • Have fruits/juices 30 minutes before or three hours after meals
  • Do not drink liquids during meals, as they dilute stomach acids. Drink at the end of the meal only.


  • Take a good quality multi-vitamin/mineral supplement
  • Support digestive weaknesses by taking digestive enzyme supplements.
In good health,

Recipe of the Week

I always seem to be looking for a quick side dish recipe to bring to people houses for dinners. Seeing as summer is finally here and BBQ season has begun, here's one of my favourites for you to try. Quick, easy, delicious...and you can usually find all these ingredients on hand!

Fruited Couscous Salad


  • 3 cups couscous
  • 4 ½ cups chicken broth, or water, boiling
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried apricots, diced
  • ¾ cup toasted almonds
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 green onions, sliced thin
  • ¾ cup mint leaves, chopped


  1. In a large bowl combine the couscous and boiling broth/water. Cover and allow to steam for five minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork, breaking apart clumps.
  2. Stir in cranberries, apricots, and almonds, and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, wisk together the lemon zest, one half of the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Drizzle mixture over the couscous and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as desired.
  5. Before serving, add green onion and mint leaves.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Natural mood enhancers

We’ve all been there....you wake up in the morning and just don’t feel yourself; cranky, grouchy...most people will reach for their morning caffeine fix when this happens, but that’s not always the best idea. Here are a few things that you should reach for when you're feeling like you need a little pick me up:

Apples: apples may not contain caffeine, but they contain glucose and glucose will help fuel your brain, helping you wake up.

Leafy Greens:Many depressed people are deficient in folate. This essential mineral is abundant in green leafy vegetables like kale. Other sources include orange juice, lentils, corn, asparagus, peas, nuts, and seeds.

Carbs:Eat a diet that emphasizes carbohydrates. Meals that are especially rich in carbs have been associated with a calming, relaxing effect. Carbohydrate rich foods allow the amino acid tryptophan to enter the brain where it is then used to make serotonin. Feel-good food choices include whole grain pasta, breads, grains, cereals, fruits, and juices....no refined stuff!

Fish: Aim to eat fish at least three times a week. Researchers found that people who ate fish less than once a week had a 31 per cent higher incidence of mild to moderate depression than people who ate fish more often. Albacore tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel are top choices. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to normal brain function, and may influence serotonin production.

Tryptophan:Found in turkey and other animal products, this amino acid is needed to make the mood-critical neurotransmitter serotonin. Research indicates that tryptophan can help induce sleep, and may play a role in treating certain types of depression.

Supplements: B-complex and Omega 3

And a few things you should avoid:

Caffeine:If you drink coffee or pop, cut back or give it up. Research links caffeine, which suppresses serotonin production, to depression.

Sweets:When some sugar-sensitive people eat large quantities of sweets, they may experience an energetic “high” followed by a “low” with weakness and “jitters” when the sugar is metabolized. Limiting sugar consumption helps stabilize your mood.

Mind over mood; here are 4 ways to use mindfulness to change your mood:

  1. Sit alone in a quiet room and focus on your breathe for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Focus on one task at a time; avoid multi tasking when you're feeling blue.
  3. Don't get distracted during mealtime; practice mindful eating.
  4. Go for a mindful walk; let your thoughts go and focus on your breathing, smells and how the ground feels below your feet.
In good health,

Monday, May 10, 2010

No blog post this week....

I was away at a wedding over the weekend and didn't get a chance to update my blog. Apologies for anyone who was looking for a new tip....watch for this weeks tip on improving your mood!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Going Gluten Free

What is gluten, and why is it a problem? Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains such as barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and sometimes oats (because wheat and oat fields are often rotated). It is extremely difficult to digest, and when an intolerance to it develops due to over-consumption or heredity, it irritates the lining of the intestinal walls, destroying the cilia that absorb nutrients, and causing inflammation and irritation of the bowels.

People decide to go gluten free for different reasons – some for health reasons, some for better digestion; whatever your reason, it can be confusing and hard knowing where to start. When starting out, the best thing to do is keep it simple. There are a lot of whole, natural foods that are gluten free and if you are already following a good, wholesome diet then you may already be closer then you think to becoming gluten free.

While going gluten free may seem daunting, keep in mind that aside from the obvious foods you must avoid (bread, muffins, cookies, crackers, etc...), if you avoid processed, packaged foods, junk food, fast food – basically any food with ingredients that have names you cannot pronounce – you will be on the right track.


This is where trouble lays for many people; finding foods to eat on the go that are gluten free and healthy. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • · Organic plain yogurt with chopped fruit or fruit preserves stirred in.
  • · Rice cakes with all natural nut butter (almond, walnut, cashew) and a dab of honey.
  • · Veggies with homemade hummus.
  • · Sliced cheddar cheese with a handful of grapes or an apple.
  • · Nuts and raisins.
  • · Fruit
  • · Smoothies

Remember, it can take anywhere from 2 weeks up to a month to adjust to living gluten free. During this time, you might want to avoid the gluten free products that will replace your regular wheat products. They definitely taste different then wheat and many people have trouble adjusting to the taste. But, once you have gone a couple of weeks without wheat, your taste buds will be more willing to accept the new flavours.

For more information and a complete list of foods to avoid, visit http://www.celiac.ca/

In good health,