Benefits of a food journal

Food Diary Can Keep You on Track

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just attempting to eat healthier, keeping a food journal can help you make positive changes. Writing down every snack, sip of soda, and carb that you consume will make you more accountable for what you are eating. Here are a few benefits of keeping a food diary.

Weight loss
Keeping a food diary can help reveal the unhealthy habits that are stopping you from losing weight. Writing down everything you eat will make you less likely to pick up the handful of M&M’s in the office or order the extra side of ranch for your salad. Often people forget about the little snacks that could potentially be keeping them from losing weight. Maintaining a food diary will help you say no to the extra calories that may be stunting your weight loss.

Detecting food intolerances
Food diaries can also help determine if you have a severe reaction to certain foods. In some cases, reactions to different foods can happen hours after the food has been consumed. Writing down what you eat and how you feel afterwards can help you realize what foods your body reacts negatively towards. If you feel bloated and nauseous after eating eggs, dairy, or gluten, then you may be intolerant to these foods.

Portion control
Keeping a food diary is also an excellent way to manage the portions of your food. It can be hard to control your portions when restaurants offer enormous plates, and gas stations have jumbo size cups for soda. Even cake tins and dinner plates are larger than ever. Using a food diary will keep you accountable for the size of your meals. Before starting your food diary do some research on the proper portion sizes, then base your meals off of the information you find.

Better nutrition
Keeping track of your every meal will reveal more than just calorie intake and food intolerances; it can also show whether you are eating enough of each food group. If your food diary consists of mainly carbohydrates and proteins, then you’re not getting the vitamins you need from fruits and vegetables. Keeping a food diary will allow you to analyze what foods you are not eating enough of, or which ones you’re eating too much.

Identifying triggers to unhealthy eating
It can be beneficial to jot down your location, time of day, and mood when keeping a food journal. Keeping track of these things can reveal how stress, work, or certain people affect your food choices. For example, if you reach for a candy bar each time you enter the office, then stressful environments may cause you to crave sugary foods. If you eat every meal standing up, then you’re probably rushing and eating more calories than if you sat down and took your time. Using a food diary to note certain triggers will help you get rid of the unhealthy habits.  

Now that you know some of the benefits to keeping a food journal, manage your progress easily  by using an app. There are some free apps available such as MyFitnessPal or WW (Weight Watchers).

Top 6 hunger tips

Hunger Tips

It can be hard not to overeat. You eat a healthy meal at home, think you’re doing well, then you head out (to almost any destination) and are surrounded by junk food. You get hungry, and pretty soon you’re at the local burger joint, diet forgotten.

Or maybe you stick to the “right” foods, but they’re just so good that you can’t have just one portion. We’ve all been there. That used to be me.

The following six tips can help you be healthier, enjoy meals more and curb your appetite throughout the day. 

1. ADD VINEGAR AND CINNAMON TO MEALS TO CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR

Looking to add some flavor to your food and noncaloric drinks? Forget the sugar; there are plenty of spices and flavors that will make your food both tastier and healthier. Vinegar, which has been shown to lower the glycemic index (which means you metabolize the food more slowly), adds acidic flavor to salad dressings, sauces and roasted veggies without a lot of calories.

For sweet-smelling warmth, add cinnamon to everything from coffee and smoothies to chili. Like vinegar, cinnamon slows the rate at which food transits from your stomach to your intestine — this keeps you full longer, and helps prevent the post-meal slump.

2. EAT WHEN YOU’RE NOT HUNGRY 

Instead of trying to resist hunger, beat it to the punch. If you eat when you’re either not hungry or only slightly hungry, you’ll eat less and tend to eat more slowly. Eating less throughout the day is great, but having more energy is certainly a nice bonus, too.

3. DRINK WATER, NOT LIQUID CALORIES

In addition to tiredness and brain fog, mild dehydration can cause a sensation that’s easily mistaken for hunger. On the other hand, liquid calories such as juices and sodas don’t fill you up, and their rapid digestion causes insulin spikes. So pass on the sweetened drinks and stick with sparkling or still water — you can flavor it with lemon, strawberries or cucumber if you want, but don’t pack your drinks full of calories.

Aim to drink at least three-quarters of a gallon of water a day. Also, be sure to drink a glass about 20 minutes before each meal to take the edge of your appetite.

4. EAT SLOWLY

When you swallow food, there’s a sizable delay before you feel any satiation from it. This delay is usually between 10–30 minutes. Because of this delay, we tend to eat more food than we really need. And the faster we eat, the more we tend to consume, particularly later on in a meal.

The solution: Chew each bite 10 times. Following this simple rule will cause you to eat more slowly, allowing your mind to catch up to your stomach. You’ll also enjoy your food more when you take the time to savor it.

5. HAVE A SMALL, FLAVORLESS SNACK BETWEEN MEALS

This trick was discovered by the late Seth Roberts: What he did was consume a shot of olive oil or a glass of water with a tiny bit of sugar (an exception to the rule on sugared beverages above) between meals. A handful of unsalted almonds is a quirky and easy way to do this tip. Doing this once a day dramatically reduces appetite — this can be particularly true if you have a lot of weight to lose.

The reason this works: It apparently regulates ghrelin, a hunger hormone, by weakening flavor-calorie associations. For this to work, the snack must be bland, and you should consume nothing else but water for at least an hour before and after the snack.

6. TRY THE “FRONT DOOR SNACK TECHNIQUE”

Knowing that your willpower is reduced when you’re hungry, and there’s more tempting junk food outside the home than in it, you should fill up on healthy food before leaving home. Keep a healthy snack, such as jerky, almonds or kale chips, right next to your front door, and eat some before you leave home. This will cause healthy food to “crowd out” unhealthy food in your diet, and make it much easier to pass on the junk food.

Top tips to Getting Motivated to Workout

Getting Motivated to Workout

For many, the hardest part of working out is just getting to the gym.

Often, after a long day of work (plus a long commute), the only thing you feel like doing is relaxing. And if you have a busy family, you might have all kinds of obligations that keep you busy until you go to sleep.

So how do you find the motivation to exercise when it’s hard enough just to get started? Luckily, there are simple methods to start working out consistently, build new habits and overcome almost any obstacle in your journey.

MAKE SMALLER COMMITMENTS

Many people struggle to exercise because they choose massive, overwhelming goals. It’s nice to have big ambitions, but when you throw too much at yourself at once, you’re only setting yourself up for failure.

Instead, start with smaller goals to build momentum and confidence, and then give each one 100% effort. For example, instead of trying to eat healthfully 100% of the time (which can be tough if you’re just starting), start with just 80%.

Other great bite-sized goals include:

Running at a certain pace
Losing your first 5 pounds
Lifting a certain weight
Cooking a certain number of meals per week at home

REWARD YOURSELF

You already know smaller goals are better than trying to move hypothetical mountains. Once you actually achieve those goals, it’s important to reward yourself for your hard work.

Treat yourself to a day-trip to your favorite getaway, cool new workout clothes or tickets to your favorite show. Just make sure your reward doesn’t undo the health improvements you just made (That means limiting the ice cream reward after each tough workout!).

Rewards make fitness more fun, positive and motivating. Plus, the right incentive might be all you need to achieve incredible things.

FOCUS ON THE JOURNEY, NOT THE DESTINATION

Fitness is a long journey with many ups and downs, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an Olympic athlete. When you’re only focused on your goal, you’ll struggle. That’s because you might get frustrated if all your hard work and sacrifice still doesn’t help you achieve your desired results, which hurts your motivation and confidence.

Instead, turn your focus to the journey. Lean into the moments and efforts that lead to the goal: making sure you exercise enough each week, eat the right number of healthy meals, get the appropriate amount of sleep, etc.

When you concentrate on each step, your chances of reaching your destination are much higher.

FIND A FITNESS FRIEND 

Having a trusted friend join you in your fitness journey can make a huge difference in your success. Get them involved by going to the gym together or messaging each other when you’re about to work out. You can even keep each other accountable and give each other a kick in the backside when needed.

If you can’t find a partner, try joining workout classes, bootcamp groups or running meetups to find new friends who share your goals.

SCHEDULE IT

It only takes a few seconds to add your workout to your calendar, but doing so goes a long way toward helping you build habits and stay consistent. When you put exercise into your calendar (no matter how short or long), you prioritize the workout in your day and it creates a mini-commitment to get it done. As a result, you have to schedule your appointments around your workouts — instead of the opposite — so you never run out of time by day’s end. This takes a lot of the obstacles out of exercise, which makes it easier to get it done.

CHANGE YOUR LANGUAGE

What you say carries more weight than you think. For example, do you ever say things (or hear other people say things) like:

I can’t do it.
I’m just no good at this.
It’s too hard.
I’ll never reach my goals.
Unfortunately, these phrases can limit your results and become self-fulfilling statements. Start being very careful and intentional with what you say (and think!), and try using more positive and empowering statements like:

I can do it.
I commit to becoming good at fitness.
It’s getting easier and easier every time.
I will reach my goals.
Change your thoughts, and you’ll change your results.

PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE

It’s normal to feel tired and unmotivated after a long day of work; it will be even harder when you have to drive home from work, find your workout clothes, find your workout shoes, get dressed in those workout clothes, grab water or a snack and then finally drive to the gym.

Instead, take the friction out of exercise. Have your gym bag with all your essentials packed and ready to go, and bring it with you to work so you don’t need to make an extra trip. If you want to jog before work, have your running shoes, clothes and nutrition laid out by your bed so you can do it first thing in the morning.

This goes a long way toward making life easier and helps keep your motivation levels high.

Tips to stick to your New Years resolutions

Tips to stick to your New Years resolutions

The holidays are barely over, and here you are thinking about letting that resolution sli-i-i-i-i-de. Don’t give up hope. Here’s some advice to keep you on track for a healthier, happier year.

First off, good for you for wanting to start the new year on the right foot. Whether you want to lose weight, exercise more or eat better, setting the intention to do so is the first step.

The next step? Making it stick. Unfortunately, the “doing it” part is almost always harder than the “wanting to do it” part. You can take comfort in knowing that 80 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions are already off track by the first week of February.

So, how can you join those successful 20 percenters?

Get specific.

Do you want to lose some vague amount of weight? Or do you want to lose 10 or 20 pounds? Without a clear goal in mind, you’ll never be able to achieve it.

Take baby steps.

If your resolution is a lofty one — say, hitting the gym five days a week when you’ve been a couch potato for the past 12 months — you may be setting yourself up for failure, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). A better and more achievable goal is to start small by aiming to work out twice a week in January, building up to three times a week in February and so on.

Rose Taroyan, MD, assistant professor of clinical family medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and a primary care physician at Keck Medicine of USC, suggests doing 30 minutes of daily activity and gradually working your way up. Dr. Taroyan says you can split these up into three 10-minute activities, such as walking the dog or doing yard work, as well as tying exercise to rewards, such as watching TV while on the treadmill.

In addition, she says, “Eating healthy is all about setting a dietary pattern to follow which becomes part of daily regimen. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables; limit sweets, sugar and saturated fats; cook at home; and eat smaller portions.”

Focus on one thing at a time.

Let’s say you made a bunch of resolutions: You want to eat better, exercise three times a week and stop biting your nails. There’s a good chance they will prove to be too much to handle all at once.

While some resolutions go hand-in-hand, such as eating better and losing weight, trying to fix every habit at the same time can prove impossible, says the APA. It’s better to pick your one main goal for now. You can always stop biting your nails in June.

Enlist friends and family.

You don’t need to make a major Facebook announcement that you’re determined to lose 20 pounds this year, but you should let a few trusted friends and close family members know that you’re serious about your goal — and ask for support. Perhaps your neighbour is game for morning walks once or twice a week, and your spouse can promise not to bring cookies or cake home from the store.

Ask for support.

If, even with your friends and family on board, you’re still finding it challenging to stay on track, consider joining a group of like-minded people (such as Weight Watchers or a weight-loss group at a hospital). It can be helpful to share your struggles and successes with like-minded people.

Cut yourself some slack.

If you didn’t make it to the gym twice this week or you gave into your craving for that brownie, don’t beat yourself up. You’re only human, and no one is perfect. Instead, remind yourself that you’ll do better at your next meal or make it back to the gym tomorrow. The important thing is not to let one slip-up derail your entire year. You’ve got this!

Source: Forbes.com

Bone Broth – Why You Should Drink It

Bone Broth – Why You Should Drink It

 

It may sound a bit strange to drink bone broth but once you start to understand the benefits you will want to drink it every day.

 

When you boil bones they release powerful nutrients like collagen, calcium, gelatin, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Consuming the nutrients helps boost health.

Now for the magical list of benefits:

  • heals a leaky gut
  • fights colds and flus
  • reduces inflammation
  • reduces joint pain
  • promotes strong bones
  • calms mind
  • improves sleep, memory and cognition
  • improves libido
  • helps PMS
  • helps with indigestion
  • helps with bloating
  • helps with brittle hair and nails
  • great detox
  • helps with muscle cramps
  • improves immune system
  • speeds up metabolism
  • helps digestion
  • it makes your skin glow
  • full of important minerals

And it is extremely economically friendly!

 

What are you waiting for? Go have some.

 

Get out our blog with the recipe to make your own Bone Broth!

 

How to drink more water

The best ways to drink more water

 

Do you drink enough water? Do you even know how much water is enough? First, take your body weight and divide by two, then that is the amount of ounces you need to be drinking every day.

 

  1. Drink out of a mug – Just try it! There is something very satisfying about drinking out of a mug
  2. Set higher goals – If you need to drink 8 glasses and you set your goal for 8 but only get in 6, then you’re behind. But if you set the goal to 10 glasses and only get 8 then you are right on track
  3. Warm it up – drink it warm and add some lemon and/or cinnamon.
  4. Big bottle – using a really big water bottle will help you drink more to keep emptying the bottle
  5. Use a bottle that has measurements – this will keep you on track because you can do the simple math to get you to your goals.
  6. Keep water where you are – keeping it in your sight or around you then you will be inclined to drink more water. Even on your night table beside the bed!
  7. Use an app – there are plenty of apps that you can download to keep track of your water intake
  8. Add hair elastics to your water bottle – using the hair elastics will keep track of the amount of times you refill your bottle
  9. Time stamp your day – by certain times in the day you have to have drank a certain amount of water.
  10. Drink after every bathroom break – You will be sure to drink lots of water this way
  11. Add flavour to your water – add some frozen fruit or a splash of lemon juice to give it some flavour
  12. Dilute sugary drinks with water and ice – This way you’re still getting the taste you want but you’re increasing your water too
  13. Choose sparkling water over pop – just choose water!

 

Water is so so important so whatever you need to do, just make sure you are drinking your water!!

How to get motivated!!

How to get motivated for 2017

Alright, New Year, New Me! That is all we are hearing right now. Let’s face it, getting out and working out probably isn’t high on the priority list even if you want it to be. So how can you change that?

  1. Find a friend or someone to be your accountability partner. Use this person as much as you can, tell each other when you are going to work out and check in and make sure they worked out. Or check in to see what they are eating.
  2. Plan your workout schedule ahead of time. Make it as important as a work meeting.
  3. Get competitive! Put a challenge out there. I know you’ve got some Facebook friends that would love to be in a challenge.
  4. Write down your goals and look at that list ALL THE TIME! Leave the list where you will see it all the time – the car, the fridge, the bathroom mirror. It’s not about shaming yourself but
  5. Follow a specific program. This can be a program designed by a trainer, like me, or by going to classes.
  6. Wear a fitness tracker. You can even challenge other people with them as well.
  7. Be specific with your goals!
  8. Book a workout with a trainer.
  9. Use your alarm clock. Get your workout done first thing in the morning before you can come up with a million excuses why you shouldn’t.
  10. Consider this your “me time”. This is all about you anyways!
  11. Listen to motivating music! Something that will make you want to move.
  12. Change your workout to your mood. Figure out what gets you through what and stick with that.
  13. Plan your workouts around your favourite shows. You won’t miss your shows so as soon as they are done, hit the gym!
  14. Most importantly, make it fun! Go somewhere that makes you want to go, somewhere you feel great and welcomed.

Top 3 tips to stay on track to your goals for 2017

Here they are, my top 3 tips to staying on track to your goals for 2017

  1. CLEAN OUT THOSE CUPBOARDS!! Go now! Right now! Get rid of all that crap that is taunting you in your cupboards. Anything that you know you will want to eat in a weak moment. You don’t need that stuff anyways.
  2. MEAL PREP!! Now, this is complicated to some people.  But it doesn’t have to be. Use your crockpot, it’ll take away so much work. Another easy trick is to cook one or two extra portions every time you make a meal then you can freeze it for another day.
  3. DRINK YOUR WATER!! Try drinking it out of a mug. I don’t know why it works but it’s more satisfying to drink out of a mug. Go try it!!

 

Guest Blogger: Nutrition Bites

It is true that it takes up to 30 minutes sometimes for an adult, to feel full after eating.  We have stomach sensors as well as all those brain signals that try sending messages for us to interpret and decide on how to handle each situation – including when to eat and stop eating. This depends on what it is (food, drink, mixed), how much they ate, how quickly they ate it as well as age and personal differences like size of stomach, emotions, pain tolerance and let’s be honest – mindfulness.

Mindfulness.  That buzz word goes around quite often now and it seems like, based on conversations I have had with others plus my experience in it, most do not understand it.  Being mindful is just noticing what is happening.  No judgement.  No emotion.  Just paying attention to cues (from your body in this topic) and then deciding with intent.  It’s no hippy answer or yoga lifestyle you have to have.  It’s just slowing down to pay attention to anything and everything (if you can) at any given time.  In this crazy busy world, it requires practice.  That being said, you need to start small and require constant reminders just like an alarm on your phone or scheduling a meeting.

It seems silly to do these things for eating.  It is supposed to be human nature to just eat.  How did it become so difficult to do what is supposed to be natural?  We live in a Western world where things are constantly done by other people: house builders, plumbers, farmers, dentists, etc.  But this extends to our food and eating behaviours.  For example: growing up in a mixed-ethnic home, I saw fruit farming as well as having my Italian barber-dad who came from Europe when he was 13 years old.  People talk about how Europe has it right with their Mediterranean diet and lifestyle.  What are we missing here that I see still to this day – we don’t even crack our own nuts!

Ready to eat almonds in a bag.
Ready to eat almonds in a bag.

I’m not kidding.  Yes, we have even found someone to crack our own walnuts, pecans, almonds etc.  I grew up with a nutcracker (it is not a ballet at Christmas time people!) and a bowl of varied nuts, but yes, at Christmas many times.  We sat around chatting, and having to “forage” and “process” our own food with friends and family at the table.  Experts say, nuts and seeds pack a great protein and healthy fat nutrition punch (part of the Mediterranean diet), yet we need to limit our servings sizes.  Well, I can tell you how the true Europeans do it: they have to spend time to get their food, and in the meantime, chat with their kids and neighbours – what we now call “building community and social support”.  It’s very difficult to over-consume nuts when you have to constantly be cracking them open to get the goodness (yet high in calories and fat) inside.  (They are healthy but in small quantities.)

I think we should go Back to the Basics (you will constantly hear that from me), and figure out why we eat so much but are so unhealthy and truly “empty” at times in a world that hands us everything on a silver platter, or in a grab-bag to go at a store a 2 minute drive away.

Here are my tips that might help you along – choose one or all of them to try.  It might lighten the load in more ways than one.

Tips to Eat More … Mindfully

  1. Cook foods from scratch. It helps you decide what you want, plan in advance and once you realize what goes into your food – you will actively choose healthier options.  It’s hard to do that with a frozen pizza or instant microwave dinner that doesn’t give you the option of hold the olives, or add the broccoli you do actually love.  And appreciating the end result will allow you to savour it more and longer.
  2. Eat spicy foods – This goes to the principal of classic “waiting to eat” tips ex: put your fork down in between bites, or chewing 25 times each piece of food – but this is definitely something that will remind you to be mindful as the hotter the food, the more likely you are to drink tons of water (added bonus of hydrating and filling your tummy and helping digestion). So kick up the heat, and savour the flavour.  (Ex: cayenne, chili, fajita and Cajun blends, even curry or ginger can work! But hot sauces can do the trick too.)IMG_1574

  3. Size matters! Eat on smaller plates – use lunch or small dessert plates – you can’t eat as much if you have nowhere to put it… but then move on to idea #4.

    IMG_1573
    Three different sized plates and two different sizes of spoons and forks. Size matters: choose smaller to eat slower and mindfully.
  4. Go back for seconds! Take half of what you think you want, or if following step #3 – you have to choose to serve yourself more. And better yet, keep seconds on the stove so you have to get up and decide on more food.  Or food safety – package up leftovers and straight to the fridge, so then you have to wait to reheat food to have another serving.
  5. Talk without your mouth full – practice your table etiquette (great for new graduates or families with children) and slow the process so you can listen to your fullness meter. As well, talking helps encourage positive relationships and will actually decrease emotional eating for those more susceptible to eating when lonely or upset.
  6.   Eat your veggies first – the heavy fibre will send quicker signals to your brain to stop eating. They are filled with vitamins and minerals but less calories by weight than say cookies.
  7.  
     And of course, crack your own nuts! Take time to process them yourself.  You will eat less, and appreciate the work that goes into them more.  And to have another serving of a food that you have to cut or chop, or crack, means that you will have to think before you want to do the work for another, however many calories and grams of fat, even good ones.

As a conclusion (geeze that sounds like a grade 3 “hamburger” paragraph – it should be a sandwich maybe instead for healthy marketing purposes), I do not say in this crazy time to not buy a fruit tray already cut up for you.  It’s still healthy, absolutely.  And you might reach for chips instead if you don’t have something healthy and readily available and in your face when you open the fridge.  Definitely buy the fruit and veggie trays if that is the case.  And if you have ready to eat “junk” in the house combined with minimal impulse control, this might not work either if that is your default.

Yet, if you want to get away from the costly pre-prepared and processed foods that help us to eat mindlessly (and way more than we usually need!), try some of the tips above to really choose what you feed your body (and soul).  Now, let’s get nuts and get crackin’!

 

Let’s get nuts and get crackin’: Tips to eat more mindfully but less in “weight”

20 snacks that will help curb your hunger!

So you are SO hungry, you want a snack, but what will you have?? Here are 20 snacks to help curb your hunger!

  1. Yogurt – this is the perfect snack any time of the day
  2. Oranges – perfect on the go snack
  3. Oatmeal – slow burning carb to keep you full longer
  4. Watermelon – Awesome on a hot summer day
  5. Protein bars – easy, quick snack for when you’re in a hurry
  6. Apricots – an apricot only have 17 calories! (whaaaaat??)
  7. Pretzels – they are low in fat
  8. Carrots – well, who doesn’t like carrots?
  9. Almonds – they are a great source of B vitamins
  10. Bananas – easy, no mess snack
  11. Grapes – we all know what grapes make 😉
  12. Edamame – it’s a great source of protein
  13. Hummus – contains about 20 essential amino acids
  14. Cottage cheese – by weight it is 10% protein
  15. Apples – you have so many options with apples!
  16. String cheese – you get about 25% of your daily value of calcium
  17. Kale Chips – come on, it is kale!
  18. Fruit smoothies – you can get 50% your daily vitamins in one of these bad boys!
  19. Popcorn – Great night time snack
  20. Sunflower Seeds – They are 20% protein by weight