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Showing posts with label Healthy Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Healthy Food. Show all posts

I don't like the word "Superfood"

Earlier today I removed all references in a guest post to the word "superfood" and replaced it with "useful food" or similar wording.

I made this change because I find that word "Superfood" to be problematic, because it tends to imply that the food is somehow special or magical. While it is true that many foods have special properties or have lots of specific nutrients or minerals, that trait of being useful in some way is pretty much universal of all vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, etc.

I also find that people in the food industry have a tendency to use the word "superfood" in the same way some people use the words:
  • new, or new and improved
  • exceptional
  • free, or hassle free
  • easy, or very easy
  • perfectly honest
  • results, or get results
  • sex, or sexy
  • love
  • discover
  • guarantee
  • health, or healthier
  • now, or immediately
  • best, or better
  • save, safety or safe
  • proven (Really? By whom?)

These advertising clichéd words are a problem within the food industry because they are being used to sell you on a product - and their usage annoys me and feels dishonest to me. This includes variations on the word like Superfruit or Super-Veggie.

With the word "Superfood" they basically just stuck the word Super on front of the word Food, and then used it as an advertising word to try and sell people on the concept that the food they are promoting is somehow special.

When you go to Wikipedia and look up superfood, here is the first paragraph:

Superfood is a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits.[1][2] The term is not in common use by dietitians and nutrition scientists, many of whom dispute that particular foods have the health benefits often claimed by their advocates. Catherine Collins, for instance, the chief dietitian at St George's Hospital in London has stated that "[t]he term 'superfoods' is at best meaningless and at worst harmful... There are so many wrong ideas about superfoods that I don't know where best to begin to dismantle the whole concept."[3]

 So clearly I am not alone in my assertion that the word Superfood is possibly harmful to the people who are tricked into thinking that various foods are "magically special".

I fully recommend reading the full Wiki entry on the topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superfood

Use of the word Superfood is also ever expanding. It is theoretically possible for people to use it to describe junk food.

"Look at our new high sodium potato chips! It is a superfood chockful of sodium and electrolytes! Great for replenishing after you exercise!"

See my point? All potato chips are high in sodium and potassium - which are technically useful to replenish sodium and potassium.

But do you actually need to replenish if you are done exercising? No. You don't. Your body will naturally replenish those things over time through your regular diet. Bananas and potatoes are both high in potassium. If you really needed more potassium, you could get it from a baked potato, banana, plantains, or various other foods.

A common example of a "superfood" used by the food industry is blueberries, despite being very average when compared to various other foods. So while blueberries are good for you, don't believe everything you read about their greatness.

5 Fruits that help you Slim Down

5 Fruits That Will Help You Lose Weight

Guest Post by Melissa.

Editor's Note - I removed all references to the word "superfood" and replaced it with "useful food" or similar wording. I find that word to be problematic, because it tends to imply that the food is somehow special or magical. While it is true that many foods have special properties or have lots of specific nutrients or minerals, that trait of being useful in some way is pretty much universal of all vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, etc. I also find that people have a tendency to use the word "superfood" in the same way some people use the words "new and improved", "exceptional", "hassle free", "perfectly honest", etc. As a result I have gone through the following guest post and removed any word I feel is unnecessary words designed to sell you on a product.

There is a myriad of ways to shed off your unwanted pounds and get back into shape.

Not all diets and slimming solutions, of course, are bound to work. Some might even leave you feeling hungrier and more miserable than ever.

The truth is, when it comes to weight loss, there are no shortcuts. If you really want to lose weight and keep it off, it’ll take commitment to a lifestyle change. This means eating more nutritious food, sticking with healthier food choices, and totally junking the junk food.

Moreover, to prevent further weight gain and support your weight loss goals, you’ll also need to include exercise or some form of physical activity in your plan.

When it comes to diet and weight loss, a boost in your daily fruit intake has proven beneficial as well.
Here are five fruits that you can incorporate into your daily diet to help you cut back on a few pounds.

Good Fat? Maybe, but overeating Avocados is still Fattening.
1. AVOCADO

Avocado has grown increasingly popular among the health-conscious over the years, for good reason.

Considered an useful food, avocado contains a variety of vitamins and minerals: vitamin K, folate,
vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium, to name a few, are all present in this fruit.

Avocado is also high in fat-- the good kind-- as it contains the same sort of fatty acids found in
olive oil, which makes it "heart friendly". This pear-shaped fruit can lower cholesterol levels,
prevent certain cancers, and protects the eyes.

Editor's Note - It is possible to become fat by eating too many avocados. Avocados have a bad rep amongst the vegan community because far too many vegans have become addicted to avocados as a source of energy/fat and end up gaining weight instead of losing any. I have known many vegan friends who ended up putting on weight because they got addicted to eating avocados every day, so be forewarned.

Compared with other fruit, avocado is loaded with fiber. Fiber helps speed up the metabolism
by burning fat and boosting your energy. This means avocado can help you feel full and satiated
longer, and thereby curbs your appetite.

Adding avocado to your diet is easy. One of the most popular recipes that requires avocado is
guacamole-- but if you don’t have the time to whip some up, you can always just mash the fruit
and spread it on your toast like butter, and you’re good to go.

2. WATERMELON

Watermelon is a fruit that you can eat while drinking it, or drink while eating it. Depending on
how you munch on it, you can even treat half of your face to an amusing wash as well.

This is because watermelon is about 92% water. This gives the fruit a refreshing feel that is
perfect for summer picnics and beach getaways.

Distantly related to cucumber, pumpkin, and squash, you can be sure that watermelon is likewise packed with nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene, antioxidants, and amino acids.

A two-cup serving of watermelon has about 15-20 milligrams of lycopene, a phytonutrient
known to promote healthy reactions in the body that can prevent heart, bone, and certain
cancers.

Let your watermelon fully ripen so that you get redder flesh. That way, you can optimize its
lycopene concentration. But don’t be quick to discount the rest of the fruit. The fruit is also rich
in fiber, which helps promote bowel movement. The white part near the rind is known to have
an amino acid that promotes better blood flow and circulation.

Since this fruit is devoid of fat, a serving equivalent to a cup will have only about 40 calories.
That means you can snack freely on it without the guilt. Use watermelon to make smoothies, juice, or
add it to a bed of greens to jazz up your salads.



3. APPLES

An apple a day does keep the doctor away. Or so the saying goes. And since it is such an amazing fruit, apples also keeps the extra pounds at bay.

Like the watermelon, the apple consists mainly of water. If you eat something that is water-rich,
chances are you will feel fuller. This puts off your appetite, thus reducing your cravings.
But that’s not all. Apples are low on the calories but high in fiber. A medium-sized apple, for
instance, only has 95 calories but its fiber content is 4 grams, which accounts for about 16% of
the recommended daily fiber intake for women, and 11% for men. This means apples are good
for your metabolic rate.

The nutrients in the apple can help with blood sugar control, mental health, and Alzheimer’s
disease, and can reduce the risk of mouth, ovarian, throat, and breast cancers with daily
consumption.

There are a lot of recipes and uses for the apple. But the easiest way is just to snack on it in
between meals-- peel included, since most of the nutrients are found in the skin.



4. GRAPEFRUIT

Grapefruit is one of the more popular weight-loss fruits. With colors ranging from white, yellow,
pink, and finally to a fully ripe red, its flavor varies from sour to sweet as well. It is a highly
nutritious fruit with low-calorie content.

Eating half a grapefruit each day ensures that you get all the health benefits that come with this
useful food. Grapefruit has an enzyme that helps kick-start your metabolism. Through a physical
activity like regular exercise, this enzyme is activated and transforms your body’s stored sugar
and fat into energy.

If you have tried all means to break up with your cellulite and you still have not been able to do
so, grapefruit just might do the trick. The bromelain in the grapefruit is known to crush cellulite
build-up. Grapefruit also contains antioxidants that neutralize carcinogens and flavonoids that
lessen the risk of ischemic stroke.

Grapefruit is best enjoyed as an alternative to desserts that are bad for you. It can be added to a
salad or used in a smoothie or a juice. You can also use grapefruit as an essential oil or seed
extracts.



A mixed bowl of berries and fruit.
5. BERRIES

Completing the list of weight loss- friendly fruits is the berry family. Helping you feel fuller longer for fewer calories, berries are also an antioxidant.

Editor's Note - Okay, so technically strawberries are not really berries because they are not part of the berry family - strawberries are part of the Rose family. But oranges, lemons, grapefruit, watermelons, tomatoes and avocados are technically member's of the berry family. Go figure. So if you were paying attention that means that 4 of the 5 "fruits" listed above are actually berries.

  • Raspberries are great for improving the metabolism and reducing total body fat, especially the
  • deep-seated belly fat.
  • A handful of blueberries can help regulate the insulin level for enhanced blood sugar control.
  • Blackberries are loaded with fiber, keeping you from feeling hungry.
Aside from their weight loss properties, various types of berries also aid in enhancing brain function, effectively managing diabetes, maintaining healthy bones, lowering blood pressure, and preventing urinary tract infection.

These berries can be eaten as they are or combined with other fruit to make a healthy smoothie. One of the best ways to enjoy them is through their infusion in water.

Set your fitness journey in motion by having your fill of these amazing fruits each day. But remember to always pair your fruit intake with the right diet, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle.

Sources

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jobe/2011/360257/
http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/fruits-to- eat-to- lose-weight- quickly/#gref
https://www.livescience.com/46019-watermelon- nutrition.html
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266886.php
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-proven- benefits-of- avocado
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270406.php
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/avocados-and- weight#section5
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267290.php
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-apples- affect-weight
https://draxe.com/grapefruit-benefits- weight-loss/
https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Ways-Grapefruit- Can-Help- You-Lose- Weight-26331222
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits- of-grapefruit
http://www.shape.com/blogs/weight-loss- coach/summers-secret- weight-loss- weapon
https://www.livestrong.com/article/540540-does- eating-berries- help-you- lose-weight/


Author's Bio: Melissa is a young and energetic writer, a mom to a sweet little boy, and a fur-mom to two perfect pooches. Before becoming the Associate Content Director for projectfemale.com, she was a journalist specializing in topics related to women in politics and policy affecting women.

5 Slimming Foods for a High Protein Diet

Guest Post by Henry V.

Eating healthy foods can greatly help in losing weight painlessly. Sometimes it is just a no-brainer when it comes to picking foods that you just know are good for you. Check out the foods below and get to know the evidence.

Many people use to hold misconception with the foods and weight loss. They often starve themselves and rush to lose weight quickly. But, this is the injustice and the mistake you commit to the body.

Our body needs to be fueled up with the nutritious food items to stay healthy and fit. So, eating sufficient food and consuming certain nutrients is not only essential for the better functioning of the body but also it promotes weight loss.

In the same way, protein is one of the most beneficial nutrients in the body. It is used for repairing muscle tissue and many of the other tissues in our body that suffer wear and tear.

How can Protein help you to lose weight?

Incorporating protein-rich food items to the diet eliminates the hunger pangs and makes you feel fuller for a longer period of time. When you are satiated, there are little chances that you crave for the junk foods and intake unnecessary calories.

Protein gives energy to the body, that ultimately helps in burning calories and growing muscles. This is the reason why protein supplements are consumed by the people going the gym.

Now that we have learned the benefits of protein in losing weight, let us check 5 protein-rich foods that would be helpful for being into toned shape.

Eggs

1 or 2 eggs a day would add a good amount of protein to your diet. Apart from the protein, eggs are a good source of vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin A, iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium.

This is the main reason behind the title awarded to the eggs as the healthiest food.

Legumes and Beans

Consuming legumes and beans are considered to be the best substitute to that of lean chicken. This is the main reason, why these foods are considered to be the richest source of protein for the vegetarians.

A half cup of cooked beans serves 7-10 grams of protein. Therefore, beans are considered as the superfood. Apart from being high in proteins, it has several other benefits that keep brain, heart, muscles and intestines healthy.

Pan Fried Lake Trout
Fish

Be it lean chicken, salmon, turkey, cod or tuna; they are the richest source of proteins. Every 100 grams of these food items contains approx. 40-55% of the protein which is quite more. This is not it! They are a prominent source of vitamin B12, vitamin B6, omega 3 fatty acids, and iron. Moreover, it has capability make you satisfied for protracted.

For obvious reasons you should try to avoid deep fried fish covered in batter, and also avoid fish that has a high mercury content. Lake fish (freshwater trout/salmon/catfish/crab/etc) is generally safer than oceanic fish (halibut/tuna/saltwater bass/shark/etc) when it comes to mercury content.

Low-fat Dairy (Milk, Yogurt)

Yes, your favorite food items are healthy in order to maintain a fit body.

A glass of low-fat milk a day feeds sufficient amount of protein that has fewest calories and highest amount of calcium in it. Whereas the appropriate proportion of cheese and cottage cheese would fuse additional protein to the body. (Avoid cheeses that have higher fat / higher salt content.)

Consuming 4 ounces of Greek yogurt feeds 6 grams of protein and brings in oodles of nutrients and healthy bacteria. It improves the digestion process. For added flavour / nutrition toss some berries in with the yogurt too.

Whey protein powder is technically made from milk whey, so it also falls into this category. Whey is a byproduct of making cheese. In its powder form it is usually used by bodybuilders, weightlifters and athletes - but their goals are not to lose weight, it is to bulk up in muscle. As such whey protein powder is handy if that is a person's goal, but if they want to slim down they would probably be better off avoiding the whey powder completely. Thus please use a dose of discretion.

Healthy Nuts

Almonds, cashews, and pistachios are considered to be some of the healthiest nuts as they are lowest in calories. Additionally, it contains 40% of the protein among all other nutrients. Dietary fibers, magnesium, and calcium in it, proves to be the companion nutrients that helps to maintain a flat belly.

In terms of protein content almonds, pistachios and cashews also have the highest protein content (in that order). Almonds have 21 grams of protein per 100 grams, whereas pistachios have 20, and cashews 18 grams respectively.

If you don't enjoy almonds, cashews, and pistachios, not to worry. Many other nuts are also pretty healthy to eat too, even though they will have slightly higher calories.

Conclusions

As everything in excess can be harmful, it is necessary to intake sufficient quantity of protein. If taken in the correct proportion with vegetables/fruits, then it would definitely promote the weight loss and help you in keeping your body in toned shape.

Considering above slimming foods that are high in protein won't bring any side effects. This is because they are natural sources of protein.

The Grace Diet

Your goal in the Grace Diet is to diet gracefully.

But what does that mean?

It is essentially a slow gentle diet, one that anyone can do, and does not require huge amounts of willpower or crash dieting - just a small amount of willpower can get the job done, and a large dose of graceful patience. It involves slowly cutting back and/or avoiding foods you know are bad for you and embracing foods that are healthier, but going through this whole process slowly.

The principle of the diet is similar to the tradition of giving up something for Lent (the Sunday after Ash Wednesday). Except instead of giving up 1 thing per year, you are instead giving up / avoiding one thing per month, with cumulative results over a 12 month or longer period.

To start make a list of 12 foods you consume regularly that you know are unhealthy for you.

Example of 12 Foods to Avoid
  1. Soda Pop drinks
  2. Potato Chips
  3. Beer and/or Sugary Alcohol
  4. High Calorie White Bread
  5. Sugary Cookies
  6. Desserts in General (except on special occasions)
  7. Sugary/Salty Snacks
  8. Fatty Meat
  9. Coffee with Sugar/Cream
  10. Greasy hamburgers or greasy food in general
  11. Syrup on your pancakes
  12. Milk chocolate (high in sugar) / sugary chocolate bars
Then each month cut out one of those foods and start avoiding it. Simultaneously you substitute the food you are avoiding with something healthier.

For best results you should try to focus on foods that are high in calories, and replace that with a food that is lower in calories.

The Substitutions

For example lets say you drink a lot of Coca-Cola. One month you dump the Coca-Col and from then onward you only drink ice water (or Coke Zero, which has zero calories). Then each month you repeat the process, dumping one unhealthy food and substituting something that is healthier. This process over time slowly weans you off your addiction to sugary, salty and high calorie foods.

Examples of 12 Substitutions
  1. Ice Water instead of Soda Pop drinks
  2. Popcorn instead of Potato Chips
  3. Low Carb Beer instead of Beer and/or Sugary Alcohol
  4. Low Calorie Whole Wheat Bread instead of High Calorie White Bread
  5. Oatmeal Cookies instead of Sugary Cookies
  6. Fruits instead of Desserts in General (except on special occasions)
  7. Savoury Snacks instead of Sugary/Salty Snacks
  8. Lean Meat instead of Fatty Meat
  9. Tea or Black Coffee instead of Coffee with Sugar/Cream
  10. Healthy Non-Greasy Hamburgers/instead of Greasy hamburgers or greasy food in general
  11. Berries instead of Syrup on your pancakes
  12. Dark Chocolate instead of Milk chocolate (high in sugar) / sugary chocolate bars
 So why does the Grace Diet work?

Well for starters it is really easy to find the willpower to cut out 1 non-healthy food per month and gradually change your diet slowly over time. This makes the whole process easy. It is so easy you will probably never find a book on this diet either, because once you understand how the diet works, having a book about it is truly unnecessary.

Secondly, it is not a crash diet where you go from consuming all your usual foods to struggling to figure out what you are even allowed to eat / starving yourself and suffering from hunger pains / cravings. Instead the Grace Diet is a slow gradual process which allows you to wean yourself off the foods you need to avoid.

This whole replacement process requires you to make an effort to deliberately replace one food with another which is healthier, but fortunately this is comparatively easy because you are only replacing 1 food at a time - baby steps, one step at a time. That wee bit of willpower is all you really need to stick to.

The replacement food is important too; the diet isn't going to work if you get rid of Fatty Meat and you are not replacing it with Lean Meat, for example. If you skip finding a substitute then you could end up binging on something else that is equally bad or worse for you. You have to replace it with a healthier substitute that fulfills the craving.

Each time you switch foods you also need to avoid any temptations to binge on a food. Your goal essentially is to feel like you are eating normally. Thus binging on something you know is bad for you is definitely a no no.

Customization of the Grace Diet

For example lets say your doctor wants you to avoid salty foods. So you could customize this diet by avoiding 12 foods you know to be high in salt.

Or depending on how dire your situation is, 52 foods. Getting rid of 1 food per week, starting with the biggest sources of salt, and replacing it with a food your doctor would approve of.

Example Variations on the Grace Diet
  • The Beach Body Grace Diet - a faster version designed to get you ready for bikini season.
  • The Low Fat Grace Diet
  • The Low Sodium Grace Diet
  • The Low Sugar Grace Diet

Find a New Hobby

While doing all of this it is also recommended that you take up a new hobby. Whether it be painting, going for walks, doing nature photography, or trying a new sport. The goal of the new hobby is to take your mind off food cravings. Ideally try to find a hobby you can dive into and obsess over.

Eg. You could develop an obsession for the sport of archery.

Your choice of hobby is a matter of personal preference, and what you choose to do is less important than whether or not it does its job of causing you to forget about food cravings. Thus your new obsession should be something enjoyable. If your goal is weight loss, try to pick a hobby that involves cardio exercise.

End Goal of the Grace Diet

Keep getting rid of unhealthy foods until you reach your desired weight. So if you lose 50 lbs and go from 220 to 170, that is a good amount and you should be proud. If that is your desired weight then all you have to do afterwards is maintain your weight by continuing to eat what you now eat normally. You have achieved a balanced diet.

If you continue to lose weight later on, this might be due to you exercising more and/or a a faster metabolism.

If continued weight loss becomes a problem you can then re-add foods, similar to Reverse Dieting, until your weight stabilizes. So if you had given up bacon at an early stage of your Grace Diet, you can now re-add bacon to help stabilize your desired weight.

Please bear in mind muscle mass and bone density can also cause your weight to fluctuate. If you are weightlifting regularly then your muscle mass and bone density will go up, increasing your weight in the process. Such fluctuations are normal. Don't become discouraged if you see minor weight fluctuations up and down.

What do Competitive Archers eat before a Competition?

What Fuels Archery Professionals?

Guest Post by Robert Gate - February 2017.

When preparing for a tournament each archery professional has a different way to train and to prepare for the contest. This extends to the meal they eat before the match to prepare their bodies for the strain ahead. Each member of Team USA champion has a different way to use nutrition to feed their body and to calm their mind, and the following gives insight into the food groups and dining choices these archery athletes choose and why they choose them.

Notes
  • To gain extra energy many athletes will consume sugar, salt and electrolytes moments before a competition. This isn't limited to archery, but is found across many sports.
  • With archery what they eat can be tricky, as they don't want to consume anything that might make them jittery (like caffeine), which could spoil a shot by ruining their ability to remain calm and focused.
  • Archers also want to stay well hydrated. Dehydration (and over-hydration) can cause an archer to lose focus, become forgetful, and consequently ruin shots.

Photo: World Archery
Sarah Lance
  • Breakfast: fruit, bowl of cereal or bagel
  • Snacks: Crackers and carrots
  • Drinks: Gatorade or water
Sarah Lance prefers to maintain a similar diet on a shooting day as she does on a normal average day. Making large changes in her diet alters her ability to be able to control her movement and to steady her aim. Most often she chooses the healthy option of fruit for breakfast, or sometimes the more filling option of cereal or a bagel. She likes to snack throughout the day to maintain her strength and stamina and to keep hydrated she drinks water, Gatorade and sips some soda.

Photo: World Archery
Braden Gellenthien
  • Breakfast: Salad
  • Lunch: Steak or grilled chicken
  • Snacks: Almonds, dried fruit, and Clif Bars
Braden Gellenthien likes to prepare for a tournament a week in advance. This includes making healthier food choices that will give his body the edge that it needs. During this period, he prepares all of his meals at home and grills his meat instead of frying it. This way his body is adjusted to his healthier life choices when the time comes for the archery contest. He makes sure all his nutrition is covered by including meats, fruits, and greens in his daily diet. The snacks are also natural, healthy and allow his body to feel light and agile.

Photo: World Archery
Erika Jones
  • Snacks: Subway, Pringles, and Oreos
Erika Jones prefers to take a more casual approach to meals at a tournament and eats what she wishes. This can be a healthy option or give in to her cravings and bring a snack higher in sugar and salt content.

Photo: World Archery
Lee Ford-Faherty
  • Snacks: Veggies and Carbs
  • Drinks: Powerade Zero
Lee Ford-Faherty bases her diet on the components that will give her the most energy. This includes a diet high in carbohydrates and protein which as an athlete she needs. She believes that it is possible to eat healthily wherever you are for the same cost as it would purchase a nutritionally deficient meal. She makes sure she gives her body the fuel it needs to perform and to give it the right balance of nutrients to maintain her endurance. She also gives her body a lot of fluid because it is quickly lost when standing in the heat of the sun. For this, she drinks Powerade Zero, which as well as hydrating her replaces vital electrolytes.

Photo: World Archery
Crystal Gauvin
  • Drink: Water
Crystal Gauvin’s main focus is to drink a lot of water to keep herself hydrated over long periods of standing. Nuun tablets can be placed in the water to replace electrolytes sweated out while shooting and also provides a sweeter taste to the drink. It is healthier than other sports drink options and still provides the hydration and energy that an athlete needs. She brings her cool water to a tournament to ensure she has a constant supply and as much as she feels she needs.

Photo: Sarah Bernstein
Ariel Gibilaro
  • Breakfast: Bagel with cream cheese or egg
  • Snacks: Chewy Bars and Crackers
  • Drink: Water
Ariel Gibilaro finds it difficult to keep to her usual eating routine when attending a tournament due to the traveling and the extended training involved. Long days at the tournament means most of her meals are snack sized and easy to carry. Chewy Bars and crackers can easily be carried with her and quickly eaten when she has a spare moment. One meal she tries to take regularly is her breakfast, which is a bagel spread with cream cheese or served with eggs for protein. To keep hydrated, she chooses water as the healthiest and most natural option.

Photo: archery.tv
Christie Colin
  • Dinner: Restaurant food
Christie Colin believes she deserves to have some fun after a hard day at a tournament. She likes to take her friends to The Olive Garden and restaurants and binge on carbohydrates.

Mackenzie Brown
Photo: Mackenzie Brown
  • Snacks: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Dinner: Italian
Mackenzie Brown brings pre-prepared snacks to tournaments with her, so she doesn’t have to worry while busy with the competition. These snacks on an international trip remind her of home and include the traditional American peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She treats herself before a ranking match to dinner at an Italian restaurant with pasta as the main course.

Photo: Dean Alberga
Reo Wilde
  • Dinner: McDonalds
Some less professional and unconventional athletes prefer a quick and easy alternative. Reo Wilde prefers to grab fast food before the tournament and he always relies on McDonalds to be there, wherever he is in the world.



Robert Gate is the founder of Archerytopic.com. He was enthusiastic about hunting from the first shot, from then he decided to become a pro hunter. If you find something helpful in his blog, he would be proud to hear from you.

The South Beach Diet and Four Other Fad Diets

Below is a list of Fad Diets, starting with the South Beach Diet - for which I keep seeing these annoying commercials for on cable TV.

#1.  Prepackaged Meal Plans

The South Beach Diet is a popular fad diet developed by Arthur Agatston and promoted in his 2003 book. These days the South Beach Diet has also expanded to the business of selling meals, just like Jenny Craig / Nutrisystem.

Like many meal-selling diets they sell the consumer / dieter prepackaged meals typically composed of lean protein, lots of vegetables and full grains.

In theory, the diets do work on the principle that the person only consumes the prepackaged food that is sold to them from the company - and cuts the total number of calories a person is eating while still providing all the nutrition an individual needs.

And the food is shipped to you via FedEx - at which point you have to ask, how good is the food if it is sent via a courier and not stored in a freezer en route???

$460 + shipping for four weeks of food - when people could just go buy healthy food at the grocery store for less and take cooking classes on how to make healthy food.

Price Comparisons

Jenny Craig - $15 Monthly fee + $25 Enrollment fee + the cost of food. Cost of food is $420 to $644 for 4 weeks. So it can be slightly less or possibly more than the South Beach Diet.

Nutrisystem - $275 to $577 for 4 weeks, depending upon promo deals and the menu chosen.

Conclusion - All these companies really want to do is sell you food for an outrageous price. What they really should all be doing is selling their food in grocery stores like other food manufacturers, but at a more reasonable price. That way everyone has the option to buy their food items, and at a reasonable price.

#2. Calorie Watching Point System

Weight Watchers has a number of similarities to Jenny Craig, but they don't actually sell you food. Instead they rely on meetings and hanging out with other people who are also going through the Weight Watchers program, and it involves a Point System for how much food you are allowed to eat.

Each day a dieter gets X number of points and they spend those points eating whatever they want, but they only have so many points to spend. Unhealthy foods cost more points. Healthier foods cost less points. Sounds easy, right?

Weight Watchers - $35 Signup fee + weekly fees of $3.45 to $8.67 per week, depending on whether you do online or in-person meetings.

So the meetings work a bit like Alcoholics Anonymous, except it is focused on people who have problems controlling their eating habits. Using the Point System, participants limit their daily intake of calories and use the online support system / meetings to gain positive reinforcement so that gain the mental courage and determination to stick with the diet.

Conclusion - The support system is really what the person is paying for. In theory people could get a lot of the same support from Weight Loss Facebook groups, Meetup Groups for people into dieting/exercising, and similar websites / organizations that operate for free and non-profit.

#3. The Glycemic Index Diet

In the G.I. Diet foods are assigned numbers according to their glycemic index (GI). The higher the GI number, the greater the blood-sugar response. Promoters of the diet claim that low GI foods, such as lentils, can help control your appetite because they're digested and absorbed more slowly - however there is a lack of research on this topic and no real proof that their a connection between lower glycemic levels in food and appetite suppression.

Part of the theory behind this diet is that some low GI foods are nutrient rich, high in fibre and contain unrefined sugars - however that isn't true for all foods. Some low GI foods are still really unhealthy for you. For example French Fries has a lower GI than a baked potato, but that doesn't mean they are good for you.

Conclusion - In theory this diet works some of the time, but it needs to be taken with a mental grain of salt and the wisdom to say no to foods a person knows to be unhealthy, which means it really comes down to moderation and willpower to make this diet successful.

#4. The Zero Carbs or Low Carbs Diet

Various low carb and zero carb diets include notables likes The Atkins Diet, however they all follow the same principle of pointing the blame at carbohydrates - which are frankly in almost everything. If it has carbon and water in the food, then it contains carbs.

It is basically just another way of steering people away from calories, as foods that contain lots of carbs tend to be high in calories - such as bread, pasta and rice.

Similar diets like the Paleo Diet (aka, the Caveman Diet) follows the principle of only eating foods that a caveman would eat, such as vegetables, berries, fruits and meat. Nothing processed and nothing baked (so no bread).

And then there is the Raw Food Diet - which takes the Paleo Diet one step further, but also cuts only a lot of meat that would normally be cooked. So instead a person is reduced to only eating any fruit or vegetable (and possibly raw sushi) that is uncooked and heated no more than 48 degrees Celsius.

However all three of these diets say it is okay to eat avocados - a very fatty fruit - and various other foods that are not healthy either.

The principle of all three diets, Atkins, Paleo and Raw Food is to steer people away from high carb foods like bread, pasta, rice, etc. However the body still needs carbs for energy. You cannot get rid of them completely, plus carbs expand in your belly and make a person "feel full", which in turn reduces a person's appetite.

Conclusion - So eating carbs is technically okay, but it comes back to the moderation and willpower issue again. People can potentially get weight loss success with these diets, but they have to do it smart and the question then becomes, what now after they lose the weight?

#5. Reverse Dieting

Okay, so technically this is not a Fad Diet. I snuck this one in year because almost no one ever does this. Reverse Dieting is what you SHOULD be doing after you successfully lose weight.

You have lost the weight already, but how do you keep it off instead of yo-yo-ing back to your previous weight?

That is where Reverse Dieting comes in, and sadly almost nobody does this - which is why many people end up regaining weight and seeing weight fluctuations over the course of years.

Your goal during Reverse Dieting is to stabilize your eating habits and your weight so that they become a constant. This process takes months to achieve.

After completing a diet a person typically returns to older eating habits, but their stomach is still roughly the same size as it used to be. Unless they somehow lost weight slowly and gradually, their stomach is probably still the same size. They need to continue eating lesser amounts of food until their stomach shrinks down to a size that matches their new body.

One way to do this is to count calories and incrementally increase the amount of food a person eats only their body-weight stabilizes.

Example

If a person was eating 1400 calories per day and losing 1 lb of fat per week and then they reach their desired weight. Their old diet was 2500 to 2800 calories per day, which was clearly way too much. If they just went back to their old diet, they would end up regaining the weight in a hurry.

Instead, knowing how much they were consuming during the diet they should now incrementally increase their diet until their weight stabilizes, such as increases it to 1500 calories per day for 1 month and keeping a record of their weight fluctuations during that month.

At the end of the month they see that they have still lost a few pounds of fat, which means they need to incrementally increase their diet again, this time to 1600 calories per day.

The goal then is to keep doing this each month until their weight stops fluctuating and remains a constant.

Once the constant has been reached a person should keep track of their calories for 6 months or more so that their stomach and eating habits permanently adjust to their new diet. Thus their diet becomes complete.

Conclusion - A key component of Reverse Dieting is maintenance and vigilance. All other diets are basically useless unless a person also learns how to keep the weight off and maintain their ideal weight.

The No Added Sugar and No Alcohol Diet

Part of the problem is that sugar / alcohol are commonplace.
A few days ago I came across a video from Denmark about a Danish guy in his 20s who went on a No Added Sugar and No Alcohol Diet for 30 days. You can see the video at the bottom.

Please note that the diet doesn't mean cutting out sugar entirely. It just means "no added sugar".

eg. Ketchup has a lot of added sugar. Corn syrup is basically pure sugar, so anything with added sugar, glucose or fructose should be avoided. The sugars naturally found inside whole grains, fruits and veggies, perfectly normal to have.

Initially I thought it would be an interesting experiment to do - to see how much difference it would make, and compare it to my previous 30 Days as a Vegetarian. However the realities of the diet and my busy lifestyle later convinced me that now was not the time to be doing such an experiment. From Spring to Autumn I have a fairly busy schedule and am heading to work, working, coming home from work, going to social events, attending social events, coming home from social events, plus all the other menial tasks. You know, like sleeping, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry.

Cutting out alcohol completely is a doable task. And perhaps I will do that eventually - just as soon as we run out of leftover wine from my wedding in 2016. We have started giving bottles away...

But the No Added Sugar part is really tricky.
  • It means no buying anything from Tim Hortons/etc on the way to work.
  • It means no buying a burger or pizza on the way to social events.
  • It means no bread - because it is basically impossible to find sugarless bread unless you bake it yourself.
  • It means I will need to make and pack lunches all the time, because any food purchased in restaurants likely has at least some added sugar. (Even a salad will have sugar in the salad dressing.)
  • It means very careful grocery shopping.
  • It means extra time requirements for food preparation both for food at home and food packed for lunches.
And right now with a pregnant wife in the house, if I value my life and my marriage, now is not the time to be experimenting with the menu.

So instead I have adopted a different approach. I am working on my cooking skills instead, as fatherhood is in my future and I should brush up on my skills. A diet that isn't practical for me right now doesn't really make sense.

But what about other people who have more spare time to try out this diet?

The Danish guy in the video looks like he is already pretty athletic and probably already eats reasonably healthy food. He even has abs. So it seems like an unfair test in some ways.

I am very curious about how the diet would help someone who isn't in their 20s and already fit.  I want to see how this diet would work on someone who is in their 40s or 50s, and is overweight due to eating comparatively unhealthy foods.

That to me would be the true "acid test" to see how well this diet really works.

The No Added Sugar / No Alcohol Diet has been compared to various detox diets - the kind that follow the logic that if you aren't eating certain foods over a longer time period that your body will detoxify itself from various toxins in your system.

However your body already does this, primarily through your liver. What an useful organ the liver is. The problem really is when people get too many toxins in their system and their liver cannot handle it all. Hence liver cancer and similar ailments.

Still, less sugar in the body is still healthier regardless. The trick here is that our bodies can make its own sugar. We don't actually need to eat sugar to live. Our body can make sugar itself.

Can you guess which of our body parts makes sugar?

Scroll below the video to see which one it is!




The Liver!

What an amazing organ.

In addition to filtering out toxins like alcohol, the liver both stores and produces sugar. The liver acts as the body's glucose (or fuel) reservoir, and helps to keep your circulating blood sugar levels and other body fuels steady and constant. The liver both stores and manufactures glucose depending upon the body's need.

So really the above diet should be called The Healthy Liver Diet, as that is clearly what it is designed to do.

I would be curious to see what the diet would do to help people who are the early stages of liver disease. Help it, certainly. But by how much? Is it a viable treatment or just part of a range of things a person should be doing when they are in the early stages?

A low sugar diet is still a good thing obviously. As is cutting out alcohol, but sometimes people have to make personal health choices that are practical and make sense for YOU, not just because the latest fad diet says so.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries for Valentines

Valentines is fast approaching and it is a time when many people gift chocolate to their sweethearts. And while the sentiment is sweet, store-bought chocolate candy that’s made with refined sugar tebds to cause weight gain and an energy crash.

So why not eat something healthier that has less sugar and still shows your affection?

There are many ways to make your own chocolate treats at home using unsweetened chocolate and a touch of wholesome sweeteners. Below is a recipe for Chocolate Dipped Strawberries that does not contain any refined sugar. Give it a try and see how delicious this healthier chocolate treat is...

Here’s what you need to make 4 Chocolate Dipped Strawberries:

  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate pieces or bar
  • ¼ teaspoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon raw honey
  • liquid stevia or other equivalent sweetener (eg. maple syrup)
  • 4 large, ripe strawberries, chilled

Combine the chocolate, coconut oil and honey in a pan over low heat. Stir until fully melted. Add sweetener (stevia, maple syrup, etc) in a small amount for sweetness. You will have to decide how much or how little you want to use. Since this is your first time making this, I recommend a tiny amount for now and in the future you can adjust the recipe.

Line a small plate with parchment paper. Dip the strawberries 75% of the way into the chocolate, withdraw and place on the prepared plate. If you have extra chocolate left over drizzle it over the strawberries so that none is wasted.

Chill until serving. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis: One serving (two chocolate dipped strawberries) equals: 89 calories, 8g fat, 7g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, 4mg sodium, 3g fiber, and 2g protein.

Notes

If you multiply the above recipe you can make 8, 12, 16 or more strawberries so you can share with family and friends. In which case you can even arrange them on a platter or in a bowl.

If you use white chocolate instead you can also create white chocolate dipped strawberries, and using the leftover chocolate in the pan you can drizzle white chocolate on the brown, and brown chocolate on the white, to create strawberries with stripes on them.

Happy and Healthy Valentines!

Submitted to CardioTrek.ca courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com. Edited by Charles.

Tips to Lose Weight at Work

TIPS TO LOSE WEIGHT AT WORK

By Beth Martel

Losing weight is hard work, particularly when you have a full time job you are trying to handle. If you truly want to shed those extra pounds, you are going to have to put a significant amount of time and effort into it, and in today’s crazy world of unexpected overtime and unprecedented employer demands, most people simply don’t have any time to set aside for a work out, nor do they have the energy it takes to follow a strict, healthy diet.

However, there are a lot of ways you can lose weight while you are at work without affecting your productivity in any way! Let’s start with how you can exercise a little at work to boost your fitness levels.

See 12 Things to do during your Lunch Hour
Office Exercises

Most of your work day is spent sitting at your desk, and this sedentary lifestyle is what leads to weight gain. However, there are a bunch of exercises you can do without even getting up from your workspace. Side to side stretched and torso rotations are a great example, as both can be done while seated and are great at burning off belly fat.

You can also do some seated leg raises by tucking your knees into your chest using the strength of your abs. This helps to tone your body and helps burn those pesky calories. If you want to exercise your arms you can use a stress ball throughout the day, and if you want something a little more intense you can use some light dumbbells during those inevitable five minute breaks you will often take.

See The Toronto Bicycle Trail Challenge
A Fitter Commute

There are a bunch of other things you can do outside of your desk. If you drive to work, consider getting a bicycle and using that instead. This will help you get some great exercise every morning! Even if you shift to public transport, this would often involve a lot more activity as you would have to walk to bus stops instead of just sitting in a car.

Taking the stairs is an underrated method of losing weight. Even if your office is on a high floor, you can take the stairs for a couple of floors and take the elevator the rest of the way.

See 100 Healthy Snacks
Your Work Diet

What you eat at work can also really impact your weight loss. Snacking is a great way to keep your energy levels up during the work day, but if you switch out the chips and candy for something wholesome like apple or celery with peanut butter you can end up avoiding a lot of unnecessary calories. Super foods like yogurt can help to boost your metabolism as well, and are a great source of energy so you would find your hunger satisfied.

Overall, losing weight at work can be easy as long as you are willing to make these little changes to you routine. You aren’t going to need to set any time aside at all if you just put a little effort into being active.

Author Biography

This post was written by Beth Martel. She is a mother of two, a medical professional and a humanitarian. She blogs at www.HealthyRecharge.com.

Check out a recent article by Beth Martel in which she discusses three of the best yet affordable running shoes that help you run with comfort and at your best by visiting www.healthyrecharge.com/affordable-running-shoes/.

Exercising and Dehydration Vs Over-Hydration

Is it possible to drink too much water while exercising?

The short answer is Yes.

It is rather difficult, but still possible. All that is really needed is for a person to think they are dehydrated, drink too much water, and keep drinking because they think the symptoms they are experiencing are from dehydration - when in fact the symptoms of over-hydration are remarkably similar to dehydration.

The long answer requires us to explain the effects of dehydration and over hydration, especially the symptoms.
Dehydration is caused by the excessive loss of water from the body, which causes a rise in blood sodium levels. Since dehydration is most often caused by excessive sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea, water loss is usually accompanied by a deficiency of electrolytes.
Mild to moderate dehydration symptoms
  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output
  • No wet diapers for three hours for infants
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheaded
Severe dehydration symptoms
  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
  • Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
  • Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be darker than normal
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn't "bounce back" when pinched into a fold
  • In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby's head
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • No tears when crying
  • Fever
  • In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness
Over-Hydration is an excess of water in the body. People can develop over-hydration if they have a disorder that decreases the body's ability to excrete water or increases the body's tendency to retain water. Drinking too much water rarely causes over-hydration because normal kidneys easily excrete excess water.

Mild to moderate over-hydration symptoms
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache
  • changes in mental state (confusion or disorientation)
 Severe over-hydration symptoms
  • dangerously low levels of sodium in the blood (hyponatremia)
  • muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
  • seizures
  • unconsciousness
  • coma

Preventing Over-Hydration

Endurance athletes such as long distance runners can reduce the risk of over-hydration by weighing themselves before and after a race to determine how much water they have lost and need to replenish.

Individuals exercising should avoid drinking more than one liter per hour of fluid. Drinking more fluids before and during a race or an intensive athletic exertion can also help you avoid the need to drink too much water afterwards. Sports beverages that contain the electrolytes sodium and potassium are also recommended, as both are lost in sweat.

If you have an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, or kidney problems, talk to your doctor about the best treatments for those conditions. If you experience excessive thirst or an overly strong urge to drink water, contact your doctor before you develop symptoms - it could indicate a problem that requires treatment and careful monitoring.

Drink healthy!

I Love Eggs

Back on January 5th I was contacted by CBC's Marketplace regarding being a taste tester for an upcoming episode on the topic of eggs...

Mmm... eggs...

[The episode in question, "The Egg Crackdown", aired on March 11th on CBC and can currently be seen on the cbc.ca website or if you have a TV streaming service.]

Basically what they want to determine is whether eggs have any nutritional differences or taste better if they are:

Organic / Pesticide Free
Free Range
Pasture Fed Hens
Grass Fed Hens
Grain Fed Hens
Antibiotics Free
Steroids Free
Hormone Free
Etc
Etc

And I said, sure, absolutely. Free eggs to eat? Certainly I shall take part in this taste test.

Apparently they found my website because they were looking for people in Toronto who really love eggs. And they found my website because of some past comments I made about the number of eggs I eat in a week.

During and after the filming of the episode I had a number of thoughts concerning the whole issue of the "welfare of chickens", primarily in relation to an egg farmer who was also one of the taste testers in our group...

Let me put it this way...

Egg farmers are not Satan worshipers who torture chickens in order to get them to lay more eggs and kill chickens maliciously - or whatever PETA / animal rights activists are claiming that they do to chickens.

Quite the opposite.

Happy Chickens Lay More Eggs.

That was the egg farmer's chief contention. If chickens are kept warm, well fed, protected from the elements and predators (foxes, raccoons, etc) then they lay more eggs. The happier and more well fed the chickens are, the more eggs they lay.

So from the egg farmer's perspective his goals are to keep the chickens inside where they are both warm and protected from the elements / predators (because sick or dead chickens don't lay eggs) and to keep them well fed.

Cleanliness was also an issue for him. Not just because clean chickens are healthier and lay more eggs, but because the smell of chicken **** is not something very pleasant to be smelling.

During the blind taste test we were asked to rank the eggs by how good they tasted (and in my case I also ranked the eggs by how salty they tasted, how bland they tasted and any other notes I felt was important) and which ones we thought were conventionally laid in egg factory barns where the chickens are kept safe in cages, and which eggs we thought were organic, free range and pasture-fed.

Now lets explain the differences...

Conventional eggs are laid in modern egg barns, wherein thousands of chickens are kept in cages and their eggs are collected daily. They are kept warm, watered and well fed through automated feeders and have their cages cleaned daily. They are also often subject to antibiotics to keep them from getting sick.

Organic eggs are from chickens are still kept in cages just like conventional chickens, but are fed organic-grown chicken feed which is supposedly free from pesticides, but might still have pesticides on the chicken feed in the event that neighbouring farms sprayed their crops with pesticides and the wind carried the pesticide.

Free range or free run eggs come from chickens that are allowed to roam around inside the barn and part of the farmyard that is fenced in. The idea here is that the chickens get more variety into their diet, but are still being fed chicken feed in addition to whatever they manage to eat outside.

Pasture eggs are from pasture-fed chickens who get all or most of their food from living outdoors. This means they are more prone to diseases and predators, but they are getting the most abundant variety of food.

Next, my results during the blind taste test.

A - Tasted bland. This one came last in terms of taste.

B - Saltier and tastier. Tied with D for 3rd place.

C - Way tastier. This one came in 1st in terms of taste.

D - Saltier and tastier. In my opinion B and D tasted almost exactly the same, tied for 3rd. D tasted slightly less saltier than B.

E - A little bland. I ranked this one 5th place.

F - Way tastier. Practically tied with C in my opinion, but I could only pick 1 so I gave this one 2nd place.

And now the results...

A was a conventional white egg grown in a factory barn.

B was a free run brown egg. This explains why it tasted better than A. It was 3rd best nutrition wise.

C was a pasture-fed brown egg. It was actually the 2nd best in terms of which was the healthiest.

D was a conventional white egg grown in a factory barn, but from a different brand than A.

E was an organic brown egg, and the 3rd worst in terms of nutritional content.

F was a pasture-fed brown egg. It was the #1 healthiest of all we tested, although almost tied with C.

So my taste buds felt vindicated at least. I had chosen the top two tastiest and healthiest eggs.

I was expecting A and E to be the conventional eggs, but I was surprised to learn it was A and D who were conventional, and that E tasted so bland that it is basically indistinguishable from conventional eggs - proof that feeding chickens organic chicken feed doesn't make their eggs taste any better.

The three best tasting being the free run and the pasture eggs were also the tastiest and healthiest. However they are also the most expensive.

All of the eggs from the different brands were also tested in a lab and the lab results showed that they were all accurate as to their labels with respect to fat content, sodium content, protein content, etc.

So there are health reasons and culinary reasons why you might choose tastier/healthier eggs to eat.

However for people on a budget, regular conventional eggs are still pretty healthy anyway. They're still good for you regardless.

And as for the chicken lovers who want their chickens to be able to roam free, to be organic, hormone and antibiotics free, I am sorry, but you people need to realize that making chickens sick and having them die of diseases or being eaten by foxes is only going to make the foxes happy. Yes, the eggs are healthier and tastier, but you need to be praising these eggs for the right reasons.

Also if your primary goal is the ethics of "animal cruelty" maybe you should stop eating eggs and meat altogether and just become a vegan. I have past posts on this topic if this is something that interests you. eg. See my 30 Days as a Vegetarian posts from 2015.

Worrying about these things when egg farmers know the truth is clearly not going to help you.

Having both participated in the filming / taste test, and also having seen the show after it aired, it is clear that how much free space chickens need to be happy is a matter of debate.

Happy Chickens Lay More Eggs.

So really it all comes down to personal preference. Do you want to pay more for tastier eggs or are you on a budget and just want more eggs for your dollar?

My logic goes like this: If I can get twice as many conventional eggs for the same price people pay for other eggs, I will probably choose the double-eggs approach. More protein for me.

If clients ask me "Which eggs are the healthiest?" I will of course answer that pasture-fed chickens have the tastiest eggs and are healthier, however I will also ask them how many they like to eat at once and whether they can see themselves eating extra just for the extra protein. In which case, they have a decision to make. Healthier eggs or extra protein? Or both? Or maybe supplement your diet with multivitamins?

I am less worried about the taste because I always add spices anyway.

Which begs a good question... How healthy are spices? Which spices are the best for you to eat? Which ones taste the best? Is there a correlation between the healthiest spices and the tastiest spices? Is too much pepper bad for me?

On a side topic, maybe CBC's Marketplace could do an episode in the future about sheep farms in Canada and the practice of butchering lambs for food. I currently eat lamb maybe once every two months, but given the option of eating mutton instead I would prefer to eat mutton. I may not be worried about the welfare of chickens, but I am curious about these young lambs being killed.

Happy and Healthy Eating!

Gardening - A Weight Loss Exercise Plan + Diet

Gardening can be a fascinating topic for some people - or really boring to anyone who has zero interest in plants. But if you are fascinated with the idea of growing your own food, I want to propose the following Exercise Plan / Diet.

The goal essentially is to grow your own food in your backyard. This will require lots of work (exercise), careful planning, time, cooking/baking skills, and a dose of determination.

I recommend planting the following, which I have listed in order of spectrum because I think it would be nice to have a garden that is ordered by colour:

Red Beats
Radishes
Tomatoes
Raspberries (Requires more space.)
Strawberries
Mini Red Potatoes (Smaller than regular potatoes, but tastier.)
Red Peppers
Carrots
Orange Peppers
Yellow Peppers (Because it is nice to have variety.)
Sweet Corn (Requires more space.)
Green Beans
Broccoli
Peas
Lettuce (There are many different kinds of lettuce, I recommend planting 3 different kinds so you have variety.)
Watermelons (Green on the outside, red on the inside.)
Herbs (There are likewise many different herbs, such as basil, parsley, cloves, dill, etc. They are commonly used as spices, not as a main dish.)
Cucumbers
Blueberries
Purple Cabbage
Purple Cauliflower
Eggplant
Garlic
Onions
Mushrooms

I recommend against planting anything huge like squash or pumpkins, because those plants take up a lot of space. So unless you have tonnes of space, you should focus on plants that produce more food for their smaller area. This is similar to the Sweet Corn above, which does take up more space, except that pumpkins and squash take up a LOT of space. Also don't expect to be growing any huge "prize winning pumpkins" on your first try. Most likely they will be quite small. (Also who wants to eat that much pumpkin???)

I also recommend against planting white or yellow potatoes, which contain a lot of starch and starch is fattening. I includes the Mini Red Potatoes above for variety and also because they taste better.

Baked mini red potatoes are also very tasty. Just bake on a pan, add some spices and yum!


Once you've got your garden growing your next step is to eat what you've grown. Some of that may require learning some new cooking / baking skills, but honestly the internet and youtube has lots of recipes for you to explore. Make a mistake? Oh well, you will know better next time.

The end goal is that you will be eating more healthy food that you've grown yourself - which often tastes better than anything found in a store.

All that exercise from tilling, planting, weeding, harvesting means you will have shed some pounds over the course of Spring to Autumn. Once you've harvested the food at various stages during the year you will reap the benefits of eating lots of healthy vegetables - whether they be the form of salads, stews, soups, berries with yogurt, on pizza, juicing, or whatever recipes you decide to cook up with them.

The end result is if you treat your garden as both an exercise plan and a diet plan, you are guaranteed to become a healthier weight / a healthier person in the process.

I also recommend weening yourself off sugary drinks and high sugar / high cholesterol snacks. Some foods are so addictive that people will get into a habit of eating them at a specific time every day and if they do not then they get cravings for sugary things at that time of day. (This happens to me every year when I visit my parents and my mother sends me home with bags full of cookies, squares, etc - and I end up developing a sugar craving during a particular hour of the day afterwards due to snacking on them that part of the day. Fortunately I eventually run out of them and the craving is forced to go into decline.)

There are three ways to ween yourself off addictive foods:

1. Eat less of them and stop buying them, you will eventually have to stop because you run out.

2. Go cold turkey, meaning cut yourself off from them completely. This is trickier because if they're in your cupboard / freezer you either have to ignore they are there or thrown them out. Option 1 suddenly looks more appealing, yes?

3. Eat berries. Berries have natural sugars in them, so they will fulfill your craving for sugar but you are switching your addiction from one food to a different food. Other foods that are also higher in sugar are: grapes, mangos, bananas, cherries, apples, pears, kiwis and pineapple. By replacing your addiction with something healthier this is a good way to ween yourself off sugary foods and make a gradual switch towards healthier options.


The Perfect Pregnancy Diet – Getting The Best Prenatal Nutrition

Okay, so the title here is a bit misleading.
There is no such thing as a ‘perfect pregnancy diet’. Every pregnancy is different, every mother has different nutritional needs in the first place, and every fetus will demand different things. However, there are a few rules of thumb which, if followed, can help you and your baby to get the very best start on your parenting journey!

Here’s what and what not to consume while you’re expecting.

DO EAT

Folate and Folic acid. Folate and folic acid are B vitamins which can help to prevent birth defects. Brain and spinal abnormalities in babies have been linked to maternal B vitamin deficiencies. Ideally, folic acid should be consumed if you’re trying to get pregnant, as well as during pregnancy. You’ll need about 800mcg each day during the conception period and during your pregnancy. Good sources of folate and folic acid include:
  • Cereal – some fortified cereals contain 100% of your recommended daily folate intake.
  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Oranges
  • Peanuts
  • Multivitamins – But be sure that they’re made by a trusted supplier!
Calcium. Calcium is not only great for helping your baby’s bones to develop as they should. It also keeps your own circulatory, nervous, muscular and immune systems in great running order. You’ll want to get around 1000 mg of calcium a day during pregnancy, slightly more if you’re a younger mother. Good sources of calcium include:
  • Fortified cereals
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
If you’re lactose intolerant or simply don’t eat dairy products, don’t despair! You can also get plenty of calcium from the following non-dairy sources:
  • Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Orange juice
  • Multivitamins or Calcium supplements
Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium, which – as mentioned above – is great for helping your baby develop a nice, strong skeleton and good teeth. However, Vitamin D is also thought to have a role to play in our moods - people with a good amount of vitamin D tend to be happier, while people with a deficiency tend to feel depressed. Given that pregnancy can be a time of intense mood swings, anything which helps to balance your emotions has to be a bonus! Some scientists even believe that keeping your Vitamin D levels topped up can help reduce your risk of developing postpartum depression. Sources of vitamin D include:
  • Natural light – Vitamin D is most commonly absorbed through the skin in the form of sunlight. Thus you’re likely to absorb less Vitamin D in low light conditions (during the winter this sometimes leads to the "Winter Blues"), so it might be worth indulging in some of the following alternatives as well!
  • Salmon
  • Fortified juice
  • Fortified cereals
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Multivitamins
Protein. Protein is the substance by which our bodies and the bodies of our babies grow bodily tissue - not just muscle tissue. It’s particularly important during the second and third trimesters, when your baby’s body goes through a period of accelerated growth. You’ll want around 71 grams a day, from good, healthy sources (don’t max out on the protein shakes!). Here are a few ideas for getting your daily protein:
  • Peanut butter – healthy and delicious!
  • Cottage cheese
  • White meat – chicken breast is a great, healthy source of protein
  • Salmon
  • Lentils
  • Milk
  • Eggs
Iron. Iron will keep the blood which carries nutrients to your baby in great shape. It will also help your baby to develop a healthy heart, and give their circulatory system the best start it could possibly have. Low iron levels are also associated with feelings of sluggishness, low energy, irritability, and increased risk of infection. During pregnancy, your need for iron nearly doubles. Given that many of us are iron-deficient anyway without realizing it, it’s probably a good idea to pay considerable attention to the iron in your diet! Good sources of iron include:
  • Fortified cereals
  • Multivitamins
  • Kidney beans
  • Spinach
  • Lean red meat – lean beef is an excellent source of iron, but be careful not to be overenthusiastic with your red meat consumption! As we’ll explain in a moment, too much red meat during pregnancy can have unwanted side effects.
  • Dark turkey meat
DON’T EAT (OR DRINK!)

Soft And Mould-Ripened Cheeses. Sorry, soft-cheese addicts. Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola, Danish blue, Roquefort…they’re all out while you’re pregnant. Why? Because the delicious mould in these cheeses may contain a bacteria known as ‘Listeria’ which can cause miscarriage and stillbirth. No after-dinner indulgence is worth that. Hard cheeses aren’t so dangerous, as they have less bacteria-harboring water within them. If you really do love your soft cheeses, then it should be safe to eat them if you cook them first.

Raw Eggs. Raw eggs, and foods containing raw eggs (mayonnaise for example) can pass on salmonella. This has the potential of seriously harming your baby. Avoid – it’s just not worth the risk!

Pate. Even vegetable pates can contain the aforementioned listeria bacteria. With soft cheese and pate off the list, the list of things to smear on crackers during pregnancy is disappointingly short. It’s worth forgoing your spread-based indulgences for nine months, though, for the sake of a healthy baby.

Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a valuable and healthy vitamin – but too much of it during pregnancy can cause liver toxicity and birth defects. While you do need Vitamin A in order to help your baby develop properly, going out of your way to seek it out could become problematic. Carotenoid-containing veg like carrots, kale, and so on will give you all the Vitamin A you need (and don’t worry about overdoing it with these!) Sources of Vitamin A to avoid include:
  • Liver
  • Multivitamins with a high concentration of Vitamin A
  • The prescription drug Isotretinoin, or Accutane.
  • Anything containing Retinol
Oily Fish. Some types of oily fish such as shark, marlin, tuna and swordfish contain high levels of mercury, which can cause problems with your baby’s developing nervous system.

Caffeine. You don't have to cut out caffeine altogether, but do try to limit how much of it you consume. High maternal caffeine consumption has been linked to low birth weights, and a growing body of evidence is linking serious coffee habits with miscarriage in early pregnancy. 

Alcohol. We all know by now that drinking during pregnancy can damage your baby’s developing body, and leave them with serious deformities. The liver is one of the last organs to develop, so fetuses have no real way of processing alcohol. A baby exposed to too much alcohol in the womb may grow up with learning difficulties and cognitive abnormalities. It’s best all round to have a sober nine months.
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