#FatblasterFriday | Reading nutrition labels for fat loss

In a perfect world, reading nutrition labels would be an unnecessary skill. We’d have unlimited time and resources to grow, raise, purchase and prepare whole, unprocessed foods for ourselves and our families. Foods that don’t require nutrition labels or ingredient lists.

reading nutrition labels for fat loss

In reality, time and money are sometimes short and prepackaged products occasionally end up coming home from the grocery store with us.

While processed foods are typically not the best choices for weight or fat loss, you can minimize their damage on your diet by learning a few tips for reading nutrition labels!

Reading nutrition labels for fat loss

1. Don’t just look at calories. Pay attention to serving size as well. Integrating the two will give you a sense of how calorically dense a product is. When the ratio of calories to serving size is large (i.e., a lot of calories for only a bite or two), you may find yourself eating a larger portion, and hence more calories, than you planned on.

reading nutrition labels for fat loss

2. Scan for added sugar. Have a look at the total grams of sugar per serving. Regardless of where it comes from, sugar has an impact on your blood sugar levels and consequently, the hormones that regulate fat storage. Don’t stop at the nutrition label. Check the ingredient list for other forms of sugar and fake sugars, including (but not limited to) glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, cane sugar, beet sugar, sucralose, aspartame, liquid and alcohol sugars, brown sugar and molasses. How many can you find in the ingredient list below? Need some extra tips for reducing your sugar consumption?)

reading nutrition labels for fat loss

3. Feel fuller with fiber. Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in fiber. While whole grain products are fiber rich, they’re also quite high in sugar, thereby blunting the insulin response and encouraging fat storage. I aim for a minimum of 30 g of dietary fiber each and every day.

4. Take a pass on the salt.  Sodium causes the body to retain excess water and interrupts nervous system function, thereby reducing the body’s ability to shed fat. It’s also implicated in heart disease and stroke. Look for products that have less than 200 mg per serving. Resist the temptation to add an extra dash or two at dinner.

reading nutrition labels for fat loss

5. Don’t assume that low fat is better. For many years, dietary fat was thought to be the primary contributor to obesity. As a result, many food manufacturers rushed to create ‘low fat’, ‘fat free’ and ‘lite’ versions of their products. However, in order for those products to remain palatable to consumers (fat is what gives much of food it’s taste), extra sugars (real and fake) were added to the formula. Turns out that dietary fat actually aids in weight loss, in particular when the fats consumed are monounsaturated (for example avocado, macadamia and hazelnuts, olive oil). Be wary of trading fat for sugar when selecting lower fat options…

6. Unpronounceable ingredients? Leave it on the shelf! All of my children learned this tip around the time they learned to read. Grocery shopping trips became so much easier when all I had to say when asked the question “Can we buy this?” was “Can you read me the ingredient list?” They knew that if it was unpronounceable them, we’d be leaving it on the shelf! (Of course, now that they’re older and become avid readers, this tip doesn’t work quite as well…)

Do you regularly read nutrition labels?

What are some things you look for when deciding whether to purchase prepackaged foods?

Disclaimer: I am a Certified Personal Trainer not a Registered Dietician or Nutritionist. The tips above are merely suggestions that I use myself and share with interested clients. For an individualized meal plan that addresses YOUR dietary needs and goals, please see a nutrition professional.

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10 Reasons Why You’re Not Getting Results in the Gym

It’s the third week of January (or at least it was when I first wrote this post 😉 )

Congratulations! You’ve been sticking to your new year’s goal of exercising regularly and cleaning up your diet. Three to 4 quality workouts a week and lots of veggies, fruits, lean protein and healthy fats.

Yet why, when you look in the mirror, do you see the very same body that you saw before Christmas staring back at you?

not getting results in the gym

Why are you not getting results in the gym?

1. You haven’t been on your program long enough. It’s simply too soon. You’ve only been working on a new program for 2 or 3 weeks. While you’re probably feeling stronger and most likely lifting heavier weights, you have yet to see that muscle definition you crave and the scale hasn’t budged.

Relax and stay the course. Don’t expect to see bigger guns, tighter glutes or a smaller belly until you’ve been consistently and progressively training for at least 4 to 6 weeks.

2. You’ve been on your program too long. Although this is unlikely to be true for those of you just getting going (see point number 1), if you’ve been exercising regularly for awhile and haven’t changed your routine in a couple of months, you’ve probably stopped seeing results and may even be losing ground.

To continue to make progress, your body needs a change. New exercises, a new ordering of the old exercises, a different body part split, or at the very least, making the old program more challenging. Bodies are inherently efficient (or lazy, as it were), doing as little as they can in an attempt to protect and minimize energy expended.

3. You’re on the wrong program. Enrolling in a zumba class won’t help you build upper body strength. Single joint exercises performed with light weights won’t significantly contribute to weight loss. Matching the program to your individual fitness goals is key to getting the results you want in a reasonable amount of time.

Don’t know where to start? Hire a personal trainer to create a program specifically designed for YOU.

4. You’re not lifting heavy enough. If you want to build a stronger, leaner body, you must lift heavy. Not HEAVY, heavy, but HEAVIER than you think. The only way to stimulate muscle growth (and a leaner physique) is to work with loads that are heavier than your body is used to. Hint, if your handbag weighs 10 pounds, bicep curling with 5’s isn’t gonna build muscle.

5. You’re not lifting often enough. You need to train each body part at least once per week to see results. Any less and you’ll be hard pressed to increase the weight on any particular exercise. Weight training is based on the principle of progressive resistance; you need to keep making things more challenging to see changes in your physique. Most beginning lifters find that 3-4 days of strength training per week is ideal.

6. You’re lifting too often. Beware, when it comes to weight training, there IS too much of a good thing. Muscle fibres need time to rest and repair between workouts. That’s when growth occurs. Train too often and you risk injury, fatigue, failure to progress and sometimes even losing ground in the weight room. Overtraining is to be avoided.

7. You’re not eating the right food. Food is fuel, and as such, not all fuels are created equal. You’ve all heard the phrase ‘you can’t out train a bad diet’. It’s true. Your body needs lean protein, healthy fats, lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre and a bit of starchy carbohydrate to function well while you’re training as well as to translate that training into physical change.

8. You’re eating too much food. Even if your diet is ‘clean’, you may still be eating too much. Excess calories are stored as fat, regardless of whether they come from chicken breasts or donuts. Pay attention to portion control and resist the urge to use exercise to rationalize overeating.

9. You’re not eating enough food. It may sound counter-intuitive, but eating too little can be just as detrimental to your fitness goals as eating too much. Your body requires a certain number of calories each day just to carry out it’s basic functions. For most women, this number will be in the 1200-1400 calorie range. Eat less than this, for too long and your body will do everything it can to hold onto those energy stores. Starvation mode is to be avoided.

10. You’re paying attention to the wrong metrics. While the bathroom scale can give you a general indication of your health and fitness level, it is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to measuring progress in the gym. Why? Body weight can fluctuate by up to 5 pounds within a day, depending on when and what you’ve eaten, as well as how hydrated you are and what day of your cycle it is (why do we all jump on the scales first thing in the morning? It’s when we weigh the least!).

Better indicators of progress towards your goals include circumference measurements (abdomen, hips, thighs), body fat estimates, the fit of your clothes (use your favourite skinny jeans!), the weight you’re lifting in the gym, how many good form pushups you can do and how long you can go on the elliptical.

not getting results in the gym

Have you stopped getting results in the gym?

Do any of the items on my list sound like they could be the culprit?

Never fear. Those who add themselves to my e-newsletter list make better progress in the gym than those who don’t! (Actually, there’s no scientific data to back up this claim, but better to be safe than sorry… 😉 )

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5 tips for reducing sugar consumption

White sugar, brown sugar, icing sugar, maple syrup, chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, dried cranberries and graham cracker crumbs. Just a few of the sugar-laden ingredients that starred in my family’s holiday menus.

Our twice weekly dessert night has morphed into a nightly event. Baked goods are nibbled with afternoon tea. Visits with friends and family always feature sweet over savoury. (And there may or may not be some Hallowe’en candy still lurking about…)

 

reducing sugar consumption

 

It’s time for the annual sugar detox! Want to know my 5 tips for reducing sugar consumption by your family?

  1. Get rid of all the remaining holiday baking. Dump it in the garbage and immediately take out the trash. Don’t give it away to friends (they don’t need it either). Don’t hide it in the freezer (it will tempt you daily). If you just can’t stand throwing food away, take all unopened items (boxes of chocolate, store bought cookies, baking ingredients) to your nearest food bank, pronto.
  2. Make a plan to give up dessert night for the remainder of the month. Replace ‘treats’ with fruit and yogurt. The goal here is to re-train your family’s palate. Expect some resistance. Even the sweetest of fruit tastes fairly bland after a regular diet of high fat, high sugar baked goods.
  3. Gradually transition them from prepackaged foods to ‘made from scratch’ alternatives. In my experience, slowly weaning my children off of store bought cereals and granola bars works better than going ‘cold turkey’. Once the boxes are empty,  scratch those items from your grocery list.
  4. Create readily available healthy snack alternatives. Buy an exquisite fruit bowl. Place it in the centre of your kitchen table and fill it with an assortment of ready-to-eat fruits. Encourage your children to help themselves. Take them grocery shopping with you (as painful as that may be…) and allow them to help choose their favourites. Be open to trying new things!
  5. Experiment with new, low or no-added sugar recipes. Thousands of delicious recipes can be found by searching Google and Pinterest for the terms ‘healthy desserts’, ‘low sugar recipes’, ‘no sugar baking’. Add these back in next month, after everyone’s taste buds have become accustomed to eating less sugar.

Don’t expect your family to embrace your attempts at reducing sugar consumption! My kids will complain loudly and frequently! But I love them enough to place their health above my (temporary) happiness.

Have you ever tried to cut back on your family’s sugar consumption?

What tips and tricks worked best? 

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Eat, drink and be merry | Christmas over fitness, not fitness over Christmas

Finally, Christmas eve is here.

fitness over Christmas

The presents are all wrapped (well almost). Christmas dinner has been prepped (except for dessert). All that’s left is spending time with family and friends, enjoying the tastes and traditions of the season. All of them.

In my house that includes chocolate fondue (with fruit and pound cake) on Christmas eve, eggs and bacon and cinnamon buns on Christmas morning and a turkey, with all the trimmings for an early Christmas dinner. And baking with the children!

fitness over Christmas

Lots of food, lots of fun and lots of time with my family.

Notice that I didn’t mention fitness at all. No exercise (formal exercise, that is) for this girl. Oh sure, they’ll be walks to see the neighbourhood lights, some Super Mario Bros. on the Wii, ice skating at the rec centre and perhaps a beach walk, weather permitting. But no trips to the gym or home workouts on Christmas Day or Boxing Day (and maybe not even for the rest of the week; shocking!).

I’m choosing Christmas over fitness (rather than fitness over Christmas) and I’m okay with that.

It’s not like I’ll lose the muscle definition or cardiovascular conditioning I’ve earned over the last twelve months. Exercise consistently and progressively for 50 weeks out of the year and you can afford some down time without fear of having to start all over. And it’s not like I plan on gorging myself with rich, calorie-laden indulgences. Just enough to feel like I’ve experienced the holidays fully.

Are you with me? Allow yourself some time away from the gym (no feeling guilty) enjoying the all-too-short season of family and festivity! The weights and treadmills and squat racks will still be there when we get back…

fitness over the holidays

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Tips and tricks to control the after-work munchies

Perhaps the hardest time of day to avoid mindless snacking is the hour or so between arriving home from work (or school) and putting dinner on the table. The ‘witching hour’, as it were.

control the after-work munchies

If I’ve been asked for suggestions once as to how to control the after-work munchies, I’ve been asked a thousand times.

My usual response? Grab an apple and some nuts. Nibble on some carrots and peppers. Sip a protein shake.

While these solutions work for me, many of my clients need alternatives that will work for them. So I asked some of my fellow FitFluential Ambassadors to share their tips and tricks to control the after-work munchies. (Thanks so much guys for your help; I’ll definitely be putting some of these suggestions to work myself!)

Here’s what they had to say!

  • …eat three snacks instead of a lunch and a snack. I eat a larger snack at 12,2, and 4. Breaking it up and eating every 2 hours really helps ~ Sara from The Paper Jellyfish
  • get up and walk around the office, house, block etc for five mins or do 5 mins of squats/crunches/pushups etc. Often times once they finish that they aren’t so “hungry’ for junk food. also, plan ahead w healthy snacks like almonds, fruit, etc. And big one: are you really hungry, or thirsty? Hydrate all day, often! ~ Shannon from badassfitness (love her blog name!)
  • …have some kind of tea or a handful of nuts to hold you over ~ Christy from ChocolateCoveredDiamonds (what’s not to like about that?)
  • …use a crock pot/slow cooker as much as possible. Have dinner ready. If you’re hungry, eat ~ Kerri from FitViews
  • …have an apple or carrots in the car on the way home so that when you get home you’re not starving ~ Jen from suchafunnyfat
  • I work til 530 and usually have a greek yogurt around 5pm and. That keeps me from eating my arm before dinner at 730 ~ Liana from RunToMunch
  • I always have a baggie of almonds with me to snack on to ward off binging on junk. Mini protein bars are another staple, especially on long days ~ Angela from solesisterontherun
  • …More times than not I’m not really hungry after I get home from work and before dinner but I almost always [think] I need to eat. It’s more like a want!  The only thing that has worked for me is to have a physical activity on my workout schedule for that time of day. My kids are usually doing homework and it’s too early to start dinner so I’m not taking away from family time. The key is to schedule something that is simple and not too time consuming. Maybe my 15 minute stretch routine or 25 minutes of yoga. And of course, there is always my beloved plank-a-day. 95% of the time it works like a charm. I can’t think of a single time my snack cravings continued afterward ~ Jill from jillconyers.com
  • …have a small snack of fresh fruit – like a small apple and then to drink a large glass of water.  That usually keeps me going during that time of day.  I’d suggest going for a walk, but I’m thinking that people arriving home from work don’t then have time to head out for a walk.  I also chew gum, sometimes that gets the juices flowing and also makes me think twice before grabbing a mindless snack ~ Carrie from familyfitnessfood 
  • This worked well!  Basically I packed myself a snack and then stayed AWAY from the kitchen!  There were a few times where I would head to the cabinet and I stopped myself and asked if I was really hungry.  More times than not I wasn’t! ~ Nancy from littlefancynancy
  • I am a mini meal eater so I am eating every 2-3 hours anyway. 🙂 I think a portion control of nuts – eat one at a time & chew all the way & that will take time. OR I sometimes have low sodium, no nitrate turkey slices & you can add a little salsa or homemade guac to them…. ~ Jody from Truth2BeingFit
  • This is always my challenging part of the day, for sure! I try to grab some almonds or some dates. Both are pretty filling and
    offer good nutrition and help me stay on track! ~ Amanda from MissZippy

Nancy also sent me the link to a post she wrote recently about the very same topic! Finding Food Habits. Go and have a look at how she’s been dealing with mindless eating and the after-work munchies!

Did you find something on this list that might help YOU?

Or other ideas that you’d like to share with ME?

Your comments make my day!

P.S. Two weeks ago I did an interview with a newspaper reporter. The topic was ‘pre- and post-workout nutrition’. One of the other trainers interviewed talked about mindless eating and late afternoon snacking. ‘Solving the exercise and food riddle’.

Is the paleo diet right for you? My experience with going grain and dairy-free

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (you don’t? click on the links to the right to rectify that oversight 😉 ), you may have seen a few recent updates that included the hashtag #paleo or #paleo diet.

paleo diet

Now I’m not usually a ‘follow a diet’ kind of person. I eat healthily (most of the time) and know which foods are best for fuelling MY body. But after hearing all the hype about the paleo diet, I became curious and decided to give it a try.

The basics? Focus on lean protein (grass fed beef, free range poultry, eggs and wild fish are best), lots of vegetables, some fruit, and a moderate amount of healthy fats (including nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil); all the foods that our paloelithic ancestors would have had at their disposal. Avoid grains, dairy and refined sugars (including alcohol); none of which are thought to have been readily available prior to animal domestication and farming.

Really not a whole lot different from the way I typically eat. The only things I gave up were oatmeal (number one on my ‘desert island foods’ list), Greek yogurt, ancient grains bread and brown rice.

My reasons for trying the paleo diet?

  • I’d noticed that I’d been eating starchy carbs and sugary treats more often than normal; both of which give me that ‘3 months pregnant’ look (and I’m definitely NOT pregnant…)
  • I was tired of feeling hungry all the time (increasing fat and protein and decreasing grains and sugars is supposed to help keep you feeling full longer)
  • recently read William Davis’ book, Wheat Belly, and am alarmed at how different ‘modern’ wheat is from it’s ancestral form and how negatively it affects many people’s blood sugar levels (I worry about blood sugar regulation; there is a history of diabetes in my family)
  • I kept hearing about all the amazing changes other people experienced after they switched to a paleo diet; who doesn’t want to feel more energetic? have shinier hair and clearer skin? boost their libido?

What did I eat?

Breakfast was usually eggs and veggies. Somedays I had what I refer to as ‘fake cereal’; hemp hearts, fruit, nuts, coconut flakes and almond milk. Almost like granola, but not quite. I also experimented with ‘grain-free’ oatmeal. Cooked quinoa flakes are almost as good as the real thing. And pumpkin pancakes rock (although I think I tend to over-do it with the maple syrup, undermining the even-blood sugar goal of the paleo diet).

paleo diet

Lunch was always fresh veggies, fruit and lean protein. Some days I added leftover sweet potato or quinoa to the mix.

Dinner resembled lunch. Veggies, lean protein, some fat (in the form of avocado, olive oil and nuts) and some evenings, more sweet potato or quinoa.

paleo diet

I snacked on single serving tuna fish, hard boiled eggs, dried or fresh fruit, sliced veggies and my home-made nuts and seeds mix.

After 21 days of relatively strict adherence (I kept the non-fat milk in my morning latte), here’s what I noticed:

  • an almost complete loss of belly bloat within 4 days. I didn’t lose any weight (nor was I trying to), but I no longer looked pregnant. On the two occasions I indulged in wheat (whole grain tortillas on mexican food night and some super fresh, Italian cheese bread with another dinner, mmm…I can still smell it!) I experienced indigestion and bloating within the hour
  • reduced cravings for sugary treats by the end of the first week (I have eaten only 1 handful of chocolate chips in three weeks)
  • no desire at all for alcohol (thank goodness hubby is off wine these days too; alcohol is really a social thing for me)
  • occasional feelings of dizziness or vertigo. This was not at all related to needing to eat, as it was as likely to happen before a meal as after. Nor time-of-the month hormonal changes.
  • increased mid-morning hunger. Regardless of how big my breakfast was, I kept finding myself famished by snack time
  • decreased mid-afternoon hunger, resulting in less snacking before dinner time (hooray!)
  • general crabbiness and irritability for the first week to 10 days. I really wanted to blame it on PMS and my kids’ behaviour, but honestly, neither of those things had anything to do with it.

The verdict?

  • I liked how (almost) following the paleo diet kept me from eating pre-packaged foods. It’s amazing how much of what we eat has wheat or some other grain in it
  • I was thrilled to see my ‘wheat belly’ disappear
  • I loved eating more fat than I usually do!
  • I disliked the dizzy spells and low energy during my morning workouts
  • My family didn’t appreciate ‘grumpy mommy’
  • I loved not feeling like I ‘needed’ something sweet with my coffee

In general, the paleo diet seems to work well for me. It’s certainly sustainable, but with a few minor tweaks. Over the next week or so I’ll be slowly adding oats (and Holy Crap cereal!) back to my morning meal. I’m hoping that the added energy and satiety they give me will not lead to belly bloat and carbohydrate cravings.

I’m also willing to break with the paleo diet to enjoy the occasional piece of chocolate cake and glass of wine; goodness knows I could have used one last week with all the back to school and activities chaos around my house!

P.S. I didn’t notice any change in my hair, skin or libido. I’ll keep you posted!

Have you tried the paleo diet?

I’d love to hear about YOUR experiences with it (and reasons for following it)!

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Create a visual fitness and food journal: Instagram for motivation and accountability

Love it or hate it, keeping a fitness and food journal is one of the keys to successful weight loss and weight loss maintenance.

Knowing that you have to write down everything you eat is strong motivation not to eat that package of Oreos. And being able to look back at your workouts to see how far you’ve come may be just the push you need to keep going.

Despite knowing the value of keeping a fitness and food journal, I never manage to stick with it for more than a few weeks. Why? Low fun factor, I reckon. (But also, I’ve never found a journal format that really works for me. Do you have a favourite? Share, please!)

Why not make it more fun?

Recently, I’ve discovered Instagram. Love, love, love this app!

Snap a pic with your smart phone, choose a visual effect, select a frame, write a description of your photo and upload. Almost immediately, you’ve shared your meal or workout with the world (or at least the people who follow you on social media…I’m fitknitchick_1 and I ALWAYS follow back!).

Add a hashtag or two (for example, #paleo or #cleaneating) and your photo will be included when other Instagrammer’s search for those terms.

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

Your friends and followers can ‘like’ your photo (I regularly check to see which of my Instagrams has the most likes!) and comment on it as well (comments make me swoon!).

Instagram makes it easy to share with your other social media peeps as well. Just click on the platforms you’d like the photo to be sent to (Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, Flicker and Foursquare, for now). And voila!

Once you’ve mastered Instagram, you’ll want to move up to InstaFrame so that you can include more than one image in each photo. I’m totally addicted to creating InstaFrame collages! The most recent version has at least 30 different possible configurations, depending on how many photos you’d like to include.

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

And best of all? You’re not limited to 140 characters! Try sending someone a recipe on Twitter; bet you can’t do it (even with very creative spelling and shortening of words!).

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

Why not use it to keep track of your workouts and daily eats?

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

Use Instagram to create a visual fitness and food journal. You’ll feel accountable to your followers and may even find motivation through their Instagram posts!

Plus, you never know when you’ll stumble across a new #cleaneating #paleo #vegan #glutenfree recipe!

Do you use Instagram or Instaframe?

What are your favourite things to take pictures of?

Are you currently using a fitness and food journal? What type?

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Tips for building a beautiful salad! Plus 5 salad recipes to make your very own

Those of you who’ve dined at my table know that I make a killer salad. I rarely follow salad recipes, preferring to follow my instincts and senses. Although I occasionally glean ideas from magazines and Pinterest, I usually end up modifying and substituting to get the exact dish I want!

tips for making beautiful saladsI do, however, follow a general set of principles that I’ve developed over years of daily salad making. Principles that are guided by texture, taste, juxtaposition and aesthetics. Call me the ‘salad whisperer’, if you will.

My salad recipe making “rules”?

  • 5 ingredients maximum; I can’t stand a kitchen-sink salad. Too many flavours and consistencies vying for my attention. Simpler is always better and takes less time to prepare! (Hubby, are you paying attention???)
  • contrasting colours are key; choose at least two very different coloured ingredients to add visual interest and pique the diner’s curiosity. I love blueberries with spinach!
  • combine tender and crisp; different textures will add flavour and depth to your salad experience. Try pecans and goat cheese.
  • pair sweet with salty; these two opposing flavours work well when combined and are often synonymous with the ‘tender and crisp’ rule above. Strawberries and feta. Or cranberries and seaweed.
  • under-dress rather than drown; I used to be a ‘dressing on the side’ girl. Too many bad experiences with salads wilting in thick, sugary sauces. When done properly, a dressing enhances the primary flavours of the salad. Subtle is best, so use a light hand.
  • salads aren’t only side dishes; at lunchtime, a salad is usually my entire meal. To get me through the afternoon, it needs protein and sometimes a bit of starch. I often use : to ‘beef up’ my midday meal. Warm or cold, leftover chicken, fish or tofu can be a tasty addition to your greens!

Be creative! You’re really only limited by your imagination (and what’s in your fridge…)!

5 salad recipes – Use them as guidelines to create your personal signature salad

1. Spinach salad with strawberries or blueberries and feta

  • Ingredients: spinach, strawberries or blueberries, sliced mushrooms, crumbled feta chess and toasted almonds
  • Dressing: EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and balsamic vinegar (3:1); whisk and drizzle over top

salad recipes

 

2. Raw kale salad with sun-dried tomato and pine nuts

  • Ingredients: kale, sun-dried tomato slices, toasted pine nuts, sliced avocado
  • Dressing: EVOO, lemon juice, crushed garlic, cracked pepper and parmesan cheese

salad recipes

3. Mediterranean style veggies with boccincini

  • Ingredients: cucumbers, grape tomatoes, red peppers, sliced onions, boccincini rounds
  • Dressing: Basil pesto, EVOO, crushed garlic

salad recipes

4. Quinoa salad with chicken, kale and cranberries

  • Ingredients: cooked and cooled quinoa (leftovers are great), chicken breast chunks, blanched and cooled chopped kale, dried cranberries
  • Dressing: canola oil, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, crushed garlic

This salad is so good that I never remember to take a photo before I’m all finished!

5. Field greens with green onions, shrimp and sesame-citrus vinaigrette

  • Ingredients: field greens (including romaine, arugula, spinach), green onions, cooked and cooled shrimp, julienned peppers
  • Dressing: orange juice, sesame oil, crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger, toasted sesame seeds 

salad recipes

 

Do you have a ‘signature’ salad recipe? Tell me!

Better yet,  make one of the above your own and share your modifications and substitutions below!

Trigger foods: identify, remove and resist them to jump start weight loss

Do you remember that ad for Lay’s Potato Chips? “Bet you can’t eat just one”

As a teenager, my best friend and I would open a bag and dare each other to try. ‘Go on. Eat just one’. It was a contest that my girlfriend always lost. Chips were her trigger food. Not mine. I’m fully capable of resisting salty, it’s sugar that has me under it’s spell.

Although our trigger foods differed, what they, and all trigger foods have in common is the ability to set off a course of overeating, where control is lost and excessive amounts are eaten. (Does this sound familiar to you? Who’s nodding their head yes?)

For the most part, trigger foods are calorie-dense combinations of sugar and fat. Why? Sugar and fat trip the pleasure sensors in our brains. And happy brains want to stay happy regardless of how unhappy they’ll be at the end of the binge.

Your particular trigger foods aren’t necessarily your favourite foods. I love oatmeal, raspberries, chicken breasts and red peppers, but have never been tempted to eat any of them to the point of feeling sick.

Chocolate, on the other hand…

Want to jump start weight loss and improve your health and wellness?

  1. Identify your trigger foods.
  2. Remove them from your house. Not just your sight. Trigger foods call to you from the deepest, darkest recesses of your kitchen pantry.
  3. Resist purchasing them on your next grocery store trip. Ignore that little voice in the back of your head that tells you next time, you’ll really be able to stop at one. You won’t.
  4. Tell your friends and family not to tempt you with them. Sometimes those closest to us are the worst diet saboteurs.

What are your trigger foods?

Have you ever ‘gotten over’ a trigger food? That is, does a previous trigger food no longer have any affect on you? Can you now “eat just one”?