Category Archives: Wellness

Categories Free Resources, How To’s, Wellness

How to Maintain a Healthy Relationship with Food

We often talk about our body using the car analogy – “Fuel your body”, “treat your body as if it was a luxury car”, “you can’t run on an empty tank” etc.
While these are great analogies, still a car is a machine. We have emotions and we do not just eat food for energy.
Now more than ever, we consume foods that nourish an emotional, social or psychological aspect of our life, and that’s okay. It may become a bit of an issue when these are the main, or only, motivators to eat.
Creating a healthy relationship with food takes a conscious effort. Whether you have been feeling a bit out of touch with your personal relationship with food, or need a boost to make some improvements, here are 5 practices to consider:

1. And the prize goes to...

As a kid, did your parents promise you dessert only if you finished your broccoli? Alongside the good intentions, this innocent sentence may have instilled in our brain that sweets and desserts are a reward. So now that we are all grown up, we can put in some work and gradually erase that message, while making our own rules which support a healthier approach to foods.

2. A relaxed approach.

A relaxed approach to eating does not mean you can eat whatever you want any time and throw away all your health goals. A less restrictive approach enables you to eat when you are hungry, enjoy some birthday cake if you want to, and not to beat yourself up for deviating from your eating pattern. It allows you to see food both as an energy source and as pleasure. Imagine a long road with little stops on the way where we get to take a break and once we’re ready, go back to our main road.

3. What are you craving?

The media and some health professionals tell us it is beneficial to replace the “real thing” with alternatives or “healthier” options to what we really crave. Cravings are caused by a variety of reasons. Some may be physical, emotional, psychological or a combination of these. Yet, it is okay to crave a chocolate chip cookie and eat exactly that, instead of going for a more nourishing choice which may or may not fullfill that craving. We may end up consuming more foods which do not satisfy the craving because we really wanted a chocolate chip cookie. If we consciously practice listening to our body and removing guilt, we can find that place where we can eat the cookie, enjoy it and move on with our life.

4. That hungry feeling.

Our magnificent body communicates with us regularly. Sometimes in more than one way. We would highly benefit from listening and embracing what it tells us. Being in tune with our hunger cues can help us eat when we are hungry and stop eating when we are satisfied. However, how many times have we eaten because of social pressure, something smelled really good or it was lunchtime but we were not really hungry yet? Or, maybe the opposite – have we suppress our appetite because we were busy, it was too early or too late, we just had a snack etc. Reconnecting to the feeling of subtle hunger and satiety is something we need to mindfully practice and accept as the cues to help us decide whether to eat or not.

5. Allow flexibility.

There are so many different weight-loss diets out there, of which the majority are too restrictive, making them unsustainable. Some may cause us to put back the weight, and some affect us in a negative way to the point we develop unhealthy relationships with food. Being flexible with food choices allows us to maintain a certain way of eating while permitting ourselves to deviate from it when we want to. A romantic dinner that involves a scrumptious dessert, a glass of wine with girlfriends once in a while, or occasionally replacing a healthy meal with a take-out order because we are too exhausted to cook. Allowing flexibility in our way of eating will support a less strict approach to eating and will assist with a healthier relationship with food, long-term.

Categories Free Resources, Wellness

Is breakfast that important?

Have you heard these before:
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”
“Having breakfast will keep you properly fueled all day long”
“Eating breakfast can help with weight loss”
There are probably many more sayings, expressions and slogans we heard throughout our lives.
So let’s see what we should really know about breakfast.

What is breakfast?

As implied, having breakfast normally breaks our fast. As most of us sleep during the night, and will not eat during that time, our body would normally be in a fasted state during these hours. Therefore, the first food we consume after that fasting period will break the fast.

Is there an ideal time to break a fast?

Well, yes and no. Some people will benefit from eating soon after waking up, some would do better waiting a bit and some would max this process to their advantage by fasting for a few hours before their first bite.
The test of time, the effect on our energy levels, hormones, our overall health and many more factors, all come into play when it comes to one’s ideal breakfast time.

What about Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting or IF basically means allowing ourselves a smaller window to consume foods during the day. Within a 24-hour period of time, a common window is 6-8 hours for food consumption, while the rest of the time would be for abstaining from eating. Does IF provide any health benefits? Some. To certain people. Is it something everyone should do? Nope. Is IF helpful with weight loss? If the caloric intake is smaller than the caloric expenditure, then yes, but in that sense, that would make IF no different than any other weight loss regime. Overall the best answer to these questions (and most nutrition questions) would be: It depends.

Will I be tired if I skip breakfast?

Another hard push on breakfast is the concern with energy levels throughout the day. We are concerned that by not having breakfast early enough, we may not be fueled properly to successfully go with our day. As we are all different, some people do not feel hungry in the mornings and imposing breakfast on their body may create certain discomfort. Others may feel more inclined to have a large, satisfying breakfast following which they do not feel hungry for long enough.

My key messages are:

  • Breakfast is the first meal that breaks the fast after a night’s sleep. It does not necessarily have a specific time attached to it. One can enjoy breakfast at 7 am and the other can equally benefit from it at 10 am or later. It changes from one person to another depending on a variety of factors and goals.
  • Having breakfast or not does not necessarily translate to weight management. For weight loss, we need to consume fewer calories than we expend, which can be reached in a variety of ways.
  • Our choice of eating schedule should match our goals, lifestyle choices, preferences, health, hormones and many other factors. As we are all different, there is no one plan that fits all.
  • Breakfast contents and sizes vary throughout the world from one culture to another and from one person to another. A proper breakfast would be a nourishing, healthy, satisfying one that will fit the individual, their lifestyle and goals. The timing of such a breakfast would be a personal choice as well, provided the individual is in an overall healthy state.
  • The quality of our breakfast and overall daily choices of foods are not less important than the timing. We should put an emphasis on the quality and quantity of foods we choose to eat, in addition to the timing.
Categories Free Resources, How To’s, Wellness

7 important things to know about protein intake

How much protein do we really need? How do we get enough of it? Should we follow a high-protein diet?
Protein is found in every cell of our body and has many functions. It is involved in many chemical reactions and is an important macronutrient for putting some meat on our bones, making blood, skin, hair, enzymes and more.
To keep our body in a healthy state, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) per day for an adult is 0.8 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight. However, depending on our sex, age, lifestyle, frequency and intensity of physical activity, goals and other factors, an individual may need more than that. Let’s look at some important points to consider:

1. Too much of a good thing

Although protein is an important macronutrient, the expression “the more, the better” does not apply to its daily intake. A healthy diet should consist of all 3 macronutrients which are properly balanced and designed to the individual and their personal goal.

2. Remember your personal goal

Different people may have different goals when it comes to weight management, health and fitness. If someone is a bodybuilder, while your lifestyle is sedentary, the amount of protein requirements will be substantially different for the two of you. Your protein intake should be matching your goals, life choices, biology and other factors. Remember we are not all the same.

3. Consider the source of protein

Protein can come from animal and plant foods. When choosing your protein, remember it comes in a package that normally includes other macronutrients or other characteristics. For example, animal protein such as beef, chicken, fish, dairy and eggs, will also include some fats. While fats are an important macronutrient, some animal protein provide high amounts of saturated fats aside from protein. Saturated fats should be consumed in moderation.
On the other hand, protein from plant sources may have a reduced bioavailability. Being aware of that and incorporating cooked veggies and grains into our food intake can help increase bioavailability.

4. Adjust the total food intake

When our goal is to maintain or lose bodyweight, whenever we increase the intake of a certain macronutrient, we should make adjustments so we do not consume more food than we require. Meaning, if you have not changed anything in your diet except increase your protein intake, you may experience some weight gain due to overconsmption of calories. Swapping foods can be a good solution in this case. For example, instead of snacking on a couple fruits, swap with a few carrot sticks and hummus dip, while maintaining a similar caloric amount.

5. Get to know your protein powder

Some people may choose to incorporate protein powder into their food intake. While such powders are a great way to supplement our diet with protein and a great solution when you are in a hurry or on the go, we should learn what is really in our powder. Such powders may come from different sources (dairy, eggs, plant-based) and can often contain other ingredients such as vitamins and minerals, thickeners, added sugars or other sweeteners, as well as artificial flavouring. When choosing a protein powder, make sure to read the nutrition and ingredient labels first and see if you are okay with the final product.

6. High-protein diets

A very high-protein diet normally encourages an extremely low carb intake which may translate into overall minimal consumption of fruits and vegetables. While high-protein diets may offer certain benefits to certain people for a limited time period and under clinical supervision, studies have shown over and over again that daily consumption of enough fruits and vegetables contributes to our health in many ways and can be helpful and even preventative for many diseases.

7. Protein for vegetarians and vegans

Getting enough protein from non-animal sources is possible. Although a bit more planning may be required, achieving the protein intake requirements only through plant protein can be done. While vegetarians who eat dairy, eggs or fish can meet their protein intake requirements quite easily, vegans need to plan a bit more but can still get enough protein regularly. A common concern in some vegetarian diets or a vegan lifestyle is unintentionally creating a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals. If you plan to become a vegetarian or vegan, a professional nutritional guidance or in-depth planning should be done to avoid such deficiencies.

Categories Free Resources, Health Boosters, How To’s, Wellness

How to Make Healthier Choices on a Budget

A common misconception is that a healthy lifestyle is expensive and only a minority can afford it. Often, when picturing a healthy lifestyle, images of expensive gym memberships, pricey organic produce and some high-cost environmentally-conscious products. While there is definitely a lot of money in the health industry, the wonderful news is that living a healthier lifestyle can be done with little financial investment. In fact, you will find the investment is more of a time & effort one, rather than financial.

The important thing is to be willing to make small changes, start making them and keep consistent. With time, these can help you improve your current situation. It is the little changes we do that slowly and gradually impact our own lives for the better, our community and if we are patient enough, the environment we live in.

I came up with a list for you to have. You are more than welcome to adopt one or multiple suggestions. Please share this with people you think could benefit from it.

1. Cook more at home.

This will save you a lot of money and will provide you with more control over what goes into your food. Eating out or ordering take-out can add up in both money and less healthy choices.

2. Buy seasonal produce.

No one has to have grapes in the winter or oranges in the summer. Imported produce can be pricier and sometimes less nutritious due to longer storage and travel time. Someone has to pay the price of travel and storage and that would be you.

3. Make your own protein/granola/energy bars.

Most recipes available online are easy to follow and most bars freeze well. Most recipes use products that are available at home or can be found in any superstore. Keep a stash in the freezer for you to grab & go.

4. Try frozen veggies & fruits.

There are times throughout the year where the variety of fresh produce is small, or what is available is pricey. Frozen options can often be as nutritious as fresh, and it is better to choose frozen than to not have any fruits and veggies at all.

5. Go for daily walks.

Whether it is a long stroll or a short fast walk, with or without added weights, the benefits of walking are frequently underestimated. It is a great exercise, can be adjusted to any fitness level and can be done by most people year-round.

6. Reduce intake of expensive meats.

Instead of having beef, chicken, turkey or fish daily, consider replacing a few meals per week with a vegetarian option such as lentils and beans dishes, eggs or tofu.

7. At-home cosmetics.

Consider using good quality olive oil or coconut oil to replace some cosmetic products such as hair masks, makeup removers, lip balm and lotions. Often these oils are available at home and are a much cheaper and healthier option than chemically-heavy cosmetics.

8. Double up on your favourite dishes.

When cooking your own meal, consider doubling a recipe to freeze and enjoy later. It will save you time and effort and maybe even help you refrain from ordering take-out.

9. Online exercises library.

Search online for some safe, at-home exercises that require no special equipment or conditions, and use body weight and a small space. There are many completely free options out there that can fit any style and fitness level.

10. Relax for free.

Instead of going to an expensive spa or for pricey massages, try relaxation methods at home, such as meditation, listening to calming music, stretching and/or breathing techniques.

Categories Free Resources, Wellness

What if I don’t like to exercise?

“I don’t like to exercise”. “I don’t have time to exercise”. “I can’t afford to go to the gym”. “I will never attend a gym class”. “I’m not comfortable with other people seeing me exercise”.
Maybe you resonate with one or more of these statements. You are not alone. Exercise, for many of us, can be attached to certain emotions that can detain us from doing physical activity although we all know it is one of the components of a healthy lifestyle. But when we are reluctant about it, some choose to completely stay away from exercise to avoid any challenges, discomfort, or even disappointments.

Physical activity can also bring up a certain image in our minds that makes it feel even less attainable. This lean, energetic, healthy-looking person with a zest for life, works out 5 days a week and always watches what they eat. That can be intimidating and might even make us feel more discouraged.
I get it.

But what if I told you there is an underrated way to keep active, without any special equipment, designated clothes, membership to any facility or a long commute?
What if I promised you no special skills are required?
What if I assured you anyone can do that anywhere, and anytime?
And, it can be as beneficial as many other forms of exercise!
Sounds good?
Keep reading.

One of the best, most underrated exercises which provide us with a wide variety of benefits and requires very little is walking.
All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes. That’s it.
You can have full control over how far you will walk, how long, how strenuous it would be, when, where, with a company or by yourself.

Still need a bit of a push? Here are some helpful points to keep in mind:

Energizing

A short walk outside in fresh air has been shown to increase energy levels and help with exhaustion. It might be the fresh air, the change of scenery, the increase in endorphins that help us feel happier or all of these together.

Social time

Need to catch up with a friend? You could go for a walk together. That could also help with accountability and encouragement.

Music to your ears

No time to listen to music, favourite podcast or audiobook? Go for a walk with your headphones and catch up on these on your walk.

Wintertime

Too cold in the winter or the pathways are icy? Try walking at the mall. No fresh air, but you still get the movement. You can do that on your way home from work.

Walk the dog

Having a dog can help us commit to going for a walk daily. Don’t have a dog? Imagine you have one to help you commit in the same way.

Emotional health

Studies show that walking in the fresh air can contribute to our emotional health.

Repetition is key

Going for walks daily can help your body get used to the new habit and crave it. After a while, you may notice that you need your walks and can’t wait to get out there.

Lower chance of injury

If you take the necessary precautions (ice, snow, rain, heat, traffic etc.), walking can be one of the safest forms of exercise.

Walk for sleep

Going for a walk can help with falling asleep faster and staying asleep. Make sure there is enough downtime between your walk and bedtime to allow the body to reduce endorphins and relax.

Enjoy your walk!

Categories Free PDFs, Free Resources, How To’s, Wellness

10 ways to reduce hair loss

10 Ways to
Reduce Hairloss After Our 40’s

As we advance in our age, many of us experience changes to our hair. Whether it is hormonal changes, stress, lifestyle and other choices, some have an impact on our hair. Here are a few ways to reduce hair loss and have beautiful hair.


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    Categories Free Resources, Wellness

    Webinar – To keto or not to keto?

    Keto is quite a trend now in the health and weight loss world. Are you considering giving it a try? Confused? Is it for you? Watch this webinar to get the information you need in order to make an informed decision.

    Categories Free Resources, Wellness

    Podcast interview – Sprinting Into Success

    I had the great pleasure and honour of being interviewed by a Canadian Olympic athlete, Esmie Lawrence, on her wonderful podcast – Sprinting to Success. Have a listen to this short session in which I talk about why I chose to work with women and provide some nutrition tips.

    Or on your preferred podcast channels:
    Apple

    Google

    Spotify

    Stitcher

    Or go to the interview on Esmie’s website:
    Esmie Lawrence website

    Categories Free PDFs, Free Resources, How To’s, Wellness

    6 Steps to Better Skin

    6 Steps to Better Skin

    Do you find yourself investing in cosmetics but not seeing the results you hoped for? Great looking, healthier skin starts from within. Here are 6 simple ways to practice regularly for more supple, radiant and glowing skin.


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