Are Food Cravings Ruining Your Life?

You’ve just spent the last 2 weeks following your nutrition plan and are finally making progress in the fat loss department. You have more energy. You sleep better, wake up feeling rested and are even contemplating starting an exercise program.

Although you’ve had a rough day and missed your afternoon snack you have successfully held out against stopping on your way home from work for take out food. You walk in the door and bam, there is a hot pizza waiting for you on the table because no one made dinner.

Now what?

Your inner voice says, screw it. One or two pieces can’t hurt, can it? I’ve had a rough day and I’ve lost 3 pounds. I deserve a treat.

You bite into the hot gooey delicious cheesy pizza and automatically feel relaxed and soothed. You breathe a contented sigh of relief as you dig into another slice. I’ll start again tomorrow you think to yourself.

Sound familiar?

Replace the pizza for a bagel, a doughnut, a slice of cake, a chocolate bar or bottle of wine.

Will power has nothing to do with avoiding your cravings and to give into them is not a character flaw. Let me explain to you the anatomy of a food craving because once you understand just how powerful some of these foods can be you can then put together an action plan to get rid of your cravings once and for all.

Have you noticed that we only crave certain foods? I highly doubt you’ve ever had a craving for steamed broccoli and tilapia. Just like alcohol, nicotine and caffeine affect your brain certain foods do too, just in a more subtle way. The chemical makeup of certain foods reacts in your body just like an addictive drug would.

While we may enjoy certain foods we only crave for 4 foods; 1) sugar and starchy foods that quickly turn into sugar 2) chocolate 3) cheese 4) red meat.

Let’s start with sugar and starchy foods. The sensation of sugar on your tongue triggers the release of opiates in your brain. Opiates are natural painkillers similar to the endorphins you get after intense cardiovascular exercise. Opiates signal the release of dopamine, a brain chemical responsible for the feeling of pleasure.

Your brain remembers the food and activity you were doing when dopamine was released and sets a daily alarm to go off and nag at you until you engage in eating that food again so that more dopamine can be released. Exactly like a drug addiction.

Sugar-fat mixes like cake, cookies and fried foods seem to have an even more powerful opiate effect. This is a dangerous combo since sugar lures in your bloodstream and the fatty grease packs on the pounds.

Chocolate is a quadruple threat. Not only does it contain opiates but it also contains stimulants called theobromine and phenylethylamine along with caffeine all of which are addictive. Isn’t chocolate good for you?

Yes and no. Unprocessed organic cocoa holds the health benefits so having an ounce of 70% or higher dark chocolate on occasion is ok. If you find that you crave chocolate then no, it’s not good for you.

Do you crave cheese?

Cheese is the one food that people have a hard time getting away from. There are opiates in cheese called casomorphins. These opiates turn into beads in the digestive tract and get absorbed by your blood stream. As the name caso – morphine implies they are casein-derived morphine like compounds.

You might recognize the morphine like side effects of cheese, which is constipation. Have you ever had to take painkillers and got all bunged up? The same thing happens when you consume cheese, unless you are severally lactose intolerant and then you can’t seem to leave the bathroom.

A lot of men seem to crave red meat. Opiates are in red meat too. If you think about the foods that are often paired with red meat, wine (sugar), potatoes and bread it’s a dinner filled with pain killing mood enhancing foods.

So what do you do?

  1. Front load your day with fiber. Fiber helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and fill up your stomach so you feel full for a longer period of time. Try adding 2 tbsp of chia seeds to your regular breakfast meal.
  2. Avoid getting hungry. Hunger fuels cravings. Make sure to always have a snack on you. A hard-boiled egg, an apple, an orange or 10-15 nuts will do the trick.
  3. Don’t restrict calories. Low calories dieters are more likely to binge.
  4. Create a pattern interrupt. If you have a craving at the same time everyday do something different during that time. Schedule an activity that interrupts that normal pattern of behavior.
  5. Get lots of sleep. Only during sleep can you properly reset your hormones and craving centers in your brain. Try to get at least 7 hours of quality sleep every night.

If cravings are taking over your life and causing you to fail at your fat loss attempts then give me a call so I can help you break your food addictions.

The downside to snacking

We’ve all heard the fat loss advice that snacking is supposed to be great for the metabolism…but have you taken it too far?
In other words, your excessive snacking may be killing your fat loss results.

Let’s face it; there are only so many extra calories that the body can take before it adds those on as unwanted fat.

Even if you’re eating perfectly healthy meals and putting in your time at the gym, if your snacking is out of control then your results will be disappointing.

Here’s what you need to know to avoid The Snack Trap:

1) Calories Count. Even when you’re snacking on “healthy” food, you’ve got to keep track of how many calories that you’re taking in. Almonds are healthy, but if you down 400 extra calories (about 40-50 almonds) in them you’ll quickly gain weight.

2) Fill Up on Protein & Fat. A lot of well-meaning people are still afraid of fat. They think that if their snack is high in fat then it will end up on their body as fat. This is simply not true. Healthy fat, such as avocado or walnuts, are a wonderful thing to snack on as it fills you up and keeps you full longer.

3) Avoid Sugar Calories. Sugar is an awful thing to snack on when weight loss is your goal. Refined sugar is a catalyst for fat storage, so avoid any snack that contains sugar. Remember that eating sugar will satiate your hunger for a very short period of time, and then you’ll quickly be hungry again.

4) Don’t Be Fooled By 100-Calorie Packs. A popular marketing technique is to package junk food into 100-calorie packs. These could be crackers, cookies, chips…basically any guilty snack food you could think of. The premise is that since you’re only eating 100 calories, the snack is healthy. I’m sorry, folks, but eating 100 calories of junk food is not a healthy snack. You are better off avoiding the junk completely and eating something wholesome.

5) Use the ‘Is It Real’ Test. As a rule of thumb, you should use the “Is it real?” test when deciding if a snack is worth eating. The test goes like this: If your snack can go bad, then it’s good for you. If your snack can’t go bad, then it’s bad for you. The idea is to eat fresh, real foods that are unprocessed and wholesome. These real foods are naturally filled with fiber, vitamins, and minerals and will assist you in achieving your fitness goals.

6) Avoid Refined Carbohydrates. Processed and refined carbohydrates make up the bulk of popular snack foods. Take a look around the snack isle at the grocery store and you will see that most packaged snacks are made with grains. When your goal is to lose weight and increase lean muscle then eating refined grains will work against you. If you only take one tip away from this article, let it be to remove grain-based snacks from your life. This single change could very well recharge your weight loss.

Now you know how to snack in a healthy way that will not derail your fat loss goals.

If you aren’t sure what you should be snacking on,

email kitty@Pro-ActiveNutrition.ca and I will set you up with a complimentary meal plan.

Healthy Snacks For Faster Fat loss

Go in any snack aisle and you’ll find fatty, calorie-rich foods that taste great but do no good for your good health. Finding a healthy snack can be difficult.

It’s even harder to find a snack that not only curbs your hunger, but keeps your carb cravings in check and keeps you feeling full until your next meal.

When lunch is still two hours away, what can you eat that will fill you up without adding too many calories? Don’t let your good dieting intentions fall by the wayside every time you feel those hunger pangs.

Manage your hunger and prevent binging by keeping healthy snack options readily available.

The key to a healthy, filling snack is a combination of foods high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Wondering how to get that combo? You’ve come to the right place for answers!

Filling Up on Fiber

Add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your diet by snacking on fruits and vegetables. Women under 50 should eat at least 25 grams of fiber a day and men under 50 should aim for 38 grams. Women over 50 should get 21 grams of fiber and men over 50 should get 30 grams. Fiber-filled snacks are a great way to get your recommended daily amount of fiber.

As an added benefit, the sweetness of fruit may help satisfy your sweet tooth. Keep in mind that dried fruit is higher in calories than fresh fruit. A cup of grapes contain 100 calories while a quarter cup of raisins contain the same amount of calories. Vegetables have even fewer calories than fruit, but are generally not as filling.

Unrefined whole grains are another great source of fiber. Whole grains are also high in complex carbohydrates, which specialize in giving you energy. Look for whole-grain options of crackers, bread, cereals, brown rice, and pastas. If you’re watching your carb count, be careful to limit your snack to one serving of whole grains so you don’t overdo it.

Protein Snack Options

While foods high in protein may contain more calories than fruits and vegetables, they’re still a vital part of a healthy, balanced diet. If you want to eat a snack that’ll satisfy your hunger and keep you feeling fuller for longer, nothing does it like protein. Great sources include milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, fish, meat, and poultry. But be careful! Filling as protein is, do your best to go with low-fat and lean options or your snack will only add to your waistline.

Healthy Fats

By now you know there is such a thing as healthy fat. Which ones are they? Plant-based  fats. Containing healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, nuts and nut butters are a great snacking option when eaten in moderation. All you need is just one ounce to curb those hunger pangs. Other sources of healthy fats include seeds, avocados, and coconuts.

A Combination

Now that you know the ingredients for a healthy, filling snack (fiber, protein, and healthy fat), it’s time to make some snack recipes. Get creative. Eat the foods you like, and be sure to include a variety of healthy foods for a balanced diet.

The following are a few examples of delicious, simple, filling snack combinations:

  • raw carrots with a hummus dip
  • apple slices (with the skins) dipped in natural peanut butter
  • banana slices in low-fat yogurt
  • berries with cottage cheese
  • raw veggie with a black bean dip
  • raw broccoli with cheese slices
  • a handful of pistachios with pear slices
  • almond butter spread on a rice cake
  • celery sticks with low-fat dressing
  • sunflower seeds with some grapes
  • a hard-boiled egg with orange slices
  • nitrate free deli meat with a slice of cheese
  • guacamole dip on whole grain crackers

Hungry yet? You know what to eat!


Keep in Mind…

Trying to lose weight? You can’t just track the calories you eat at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you don’t pay attention to how much you eat for snacks, you’re going to get nowhere fast! So keep track of your snacks and make adjustments to ensure you’re burning more calories than you’re eating.

If you need help to get you to a healthy meal plan based on your body’s needs and your lifestyle or to keep you accountable, contact me for a FREE Health Assessment

The Skinny on Super Bowl Sunday

For most people Super Bowl Sunday is like a religious holiday. We all have our favorite Super Bowl traditions with friends, family, booze and a TON of food. It’s an event looked forward to all year. It’s a day of competition, excitement, gluttony and excuses.

Collectively we will consume 11 million pounds of chips and 1.25 billion chicken wings on February 3rd alone.

Add up all of the calories you consume from chips, dips, pizza, wings and beer and Super Bowl Sunday turns into the second highest calorie consumption day falling right behind Thanksgiving.

So much for the New Years Resolutions!

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY SNACKS

  • 3 – 12oz Bud Light = 330
  • 7 Tortilla Chips = 140 calories
  • 12 Ruffles Chips = 160 calories
  • 4 Pigs in a blanket = 240 calories
  • 2 Tablespoons of dip = 90 calories
  • 12 Wings = 600 calories
  • 1 slice of Domino’s cheese pizza = 325 calories
  • 1 small cupcake = 220 calories

GRAND TOTAL = 2,105 CALORIES

Super Bowl Sunday is always followed up by the BUT KITTY Monday.

But Kitty, it was Super Bowl Sunday

But Kitty, I was a guest and there wasn’t anything I could eat

But Kitty, I only had a couple of bites

But Kitty, I don’t usually eat like that

But Kitty, I will start again today

But but but…

Instead of rationalizing all of those excuses as to why you just had to have that extra wing or slice of pizza why not do something different this year?

Why not take that same amount of energy and put it towards creating some tasty and nutritious alternatives on game day?

Let’s start with some easy food swaps

  • Garden Fresh Salsa instead of Tostitos salsa
  • Hummus instead of spinach and cheese dip
  • Lentil chips instead of Ruffles chips
  • Air popped popcorn instead of pretzels
  • Allegro 4% jalapeño and light Laughing Cow soft cheese with Mary’s crackers instead of full fat cheese & crackers

 

 

Super Bowl Sunday recipes

Southwestern Layered Bean Dip

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/southwestern_layered_bean_dip.html

Spinach and Kale Greek Yoghurt Dip

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/11/spinach-and-kale-greek-yogurt-dip/

Gluten Free Baked Chicken Fingers

http://withstyleandgraceblog.com/2012/07/17/gluten-free-chicken-tenders-or-fingers/

Kale and Swiss Chard Pesto

http://askgeorgie.com/kale-and-swiss-chard-pesto/

Eggplant Mini Pizzas

http://askgeorgie.com/eggplant/

Merry Super Bowl Sunday! Make it a healthy one!

Happy New Year!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the days of food, fun and holiday cheer are over. I want to paint a tough love picture for you. I can’t draw to save my life so I will draw you a word picture.

It’s January 3rd. Your alarm clock just went off and it’s time to go back to work. It’s dark and cold. Even though you have been off work for the last little while you easily slip right back into your daily routine. Nothing has changed, even though it’s a brand new year.

Three days into 2013 you are already feeling guilty because you promised yourself and your loved ones that this year would be different. That 2013 would mark the fresh start you need to shed those unwanted pounds, quit your bad habits, go to the gym, drink water, stop drinking pop, stop yelling at your kids or spouse, eat dinner at home more often and have broccoli once a day.

How are you going to make 2013 different then the years before or are you going to let the next 365 days go by without changing a thing?

Let me save you some time…
• There will NEVER be the right time to start
• You will always be busy
• Vacations, birthdays and weekends will never stop happening
• Until you change your eating habits you will always be too tired
• You don’t have to cook 3 meals…you should be able to lose fat and eat like a normal person
• It doesn’t matter that you don’t like to exercise…don’t do it then
• You will always have stress

Fast forward to December 31st 2103. You look in the mirror and nothing has changed. You are one year older, a couple pounds heavier and frustrated that you didn’t follow through on your goals

OR

You look in a mirror and don’t even recognize the person staring back at you. You’ve aged but you can’t tell. Your face is dramatically different. You stand up tall and smile. You achieved your goals and you deserve to be proud.

Ok. Tough love word picture over. You get the point. The best part of starting a new year is that it signifies a new beginning and a time for change.

Below are 3 changes that you can start to implement immediately.
1.Throw out all of the holiday sweets, treat and left over food immediately. Get rid of the sugar, processed foods and desserts that accompany the holidays.
2.Include a lean protein portion (3-5oz) at all three of your meals daily. The carbs should be side dish and not the main course.
3.Stop drinking beverages with calories. Ditch the pop, iced tea, fancy coffees, sweetened coffee or tea and juice. Replace the calories filled beverages with water.

We are here to support and encourage you. You should never feel like you have to go at this alone. All successful sports teams, athletes and business people have coaches, mentors, teachers and team behind them.

To help you do things differently this year join the Best Body Challenge 2013. For a little added motivation you could win a $500 shopping spree!
Register now!
http://pro-activenutrition.ca/best-body-challenge/
Happy New Year! We wish you a year filled with health, happiness and awesome (healthy) food!

The WOW! Team

11 Tips to Staying Slim This Holiday Season

This is the time of year when insulin levels can sky rocket throwing your blood sugar levels all out of whack causing you to store the food you eat as fat. Your focus should be on eating balanced meals while consuming low glycemic foods if you want to avoid to typical 5-7 pound weight gain that accompanies all of the Yule-tide cheer.
There is something to celebrate other then the upcoming holidays…there are a number of food tips that will help you to lower the glycemic index of your meals or snacks to help stabilize blood sugar levels as well as simple food swaps that will help you keep your weight in check this holiday season.
  1. Add a high fiber choice to breakfast. Choose steel cut oats instead of quick cooking or instant oats. They are higher in fiber and lower on the glycemic index. Research shows that adding a high fiber choice to breakfast helps to cut hunger and cravings over the rest of the day. Make a batch on the weekend and warm it up in the morning for quick breakfast choice. A portion size is ½ cup cooked.
  2. Avoid having a fruit by itself. Pair your serving of fruit with 1 tablespoon of raw nut butter or an ounce of cheese. When you add a protein or a fat to with your fruit it helps to keep the glycemic index of the fruit down.
  3. If you drink alcohol then skip the starches. Pass on the rice, potatoes, bread and desserts. The alcohol counts as your carb for that meal since it digests as a carbohydrate.
  4. Choose a sprouted grain bread. My recommendation is Ezekiel from Food For Life. It’s best to avoid white and whole wheat 80% of the time. If you can’t find Ezekiel then Stonemill or Silver Hills is also a good choice. You want to look for breads that have less then 15-18 grams of carbohydrates per slice.
  5. Steer clear of fruit flavored yoghurts. The yoghurt isle is an overwhelming space. Stick to the basics. Low fat, plain yoghurt or low fat Greek yoghurt which is much higher in protein. If you need it flavored, add your own berries and vanilla extract.
  6. Be picky with cold cereals. If you must consume a cold cereal for breakfast choose Kashi Go Lean which is higher in protein or Fiber One which has 14 grams of fiber per serving. The secret to avoiding the insulin spike that comes along with most breakfast cereals is to add a hardboiled egg or some nuts to slow down the carbohydrate metabolism.
  7. Choose raw or lightly steamed vegetables over fully cooked. This tip depends on whether you can tolerate and digest raw vegetables. Raw or lightly steamed maintains the fiber and water content.
  8. Choose blackberries for dessert. Skip the banana or orange. Blackberries have 8 grams of fiber per cup and berries in general are lower on the glycemic index.
  9. Cook pasta and rice al dente. When you overcook your pasta, rice and potatoes it raises the glycemic index. Keep the starches firm to avoid the blood sugar spike.
  10. Add protein to your cake. This tip might sound odd but adding a small amount of protein slow downs the carbohydrate metabolism and helps to avoid the blood sugar spike that generally comes along with eating cake.
  11. Keep your daily calories in check. Although these tips help to control blood sugar and insulin spikes they do not negate tracking your food choices to ensure that you take in the appropriate amount of calories to avoid packing on the pounds.
If you are unsure whether you are making quality food choices that keep your blood sugar levels in check write down for 4 days during the week and 1 day on the weekend all the foods you eat and drink. 
Call me at 604-489-0200 to schedule your complimentary nutrition analysis so I can help you achieve your health and weight loss goals this holiday season.  

If you thought freezer foods were bad for you…think again!

Home cooking is starting to make a comeback but it’s not like the home cooked meal your grandmother used to make. If the words free-range, grass fed, antibiotic free, hormone free, organic, local and/or non-GMO are not somehow included in the dinner menu you are probably feeling a bit nutritiously inferior. Forget the all the hype and go old school, to the freezer section. It’s the ordinary frozen foods found right in your local grocery store that may end up being the healthiest and won’t break the bank account at the check out line.
What you may not know is that some frozen foods are actually better for you then the supposedly fresh ones. The flash freeze method was invented in the 1920’s. Before this vegetables were frozen at slow temperatures causing large ice crystals to form in food, damaging its fibrous and cellular structure and robbing it of taste and texture.
A man by the name of Clarence Birdseye created the flash freezing technique which freezes veggies superfast and keeps them super cold. This ensures that only small crystals form and preserve much of the vitamins and freshness.
Since the 1920’s technology has advanced and a couple of new tricks have been invented to improve quality. Blanching fruits and vegetables before freezing deactivates the oxidation process that causes browning, degrades colours and nutrient content. The best part is that blanching actually increases the fibrous content of the foods making it even better and lower glycemic.
The downside to blanching is that the water-soluble vitamins C and various B’s decrease in nutrient quality somewhat. Steaming is preferable to blanching before freezing but it’s more expensive which is why most manufactures don’t do it. This is where label reading comes in. The packaging should tell you the process that went into freezing. So keep an eye on brands that steam rather than blanch. It seems that all other vitamins and nutrients are not affected by flash freezing so you don’t have to feel like you are lacking in the nutrition department or guilty that you are feeding your family second grade food.
5 Tips For The Perfect Freezer Feast:
  1. Avoid the frozen fruits and vegetables with sauces, added spices, seasoning and sugars
  2. Stay away from bags with large icy chunks which means they’ve been thawed and refrozen
  3. No name brands are just as good as the brand name brands. Most of the time they are from the same farm as up scale brands, but packaged as lower end.
  4. To thaw vegetables leave them on the counter while you are cooking dinner. You can also lightly steam them instead of microwaving
  5. Add some variety to your frozen feast by choosing from the large variety of frozen choices
Top 10 Freezer Fruits and Vegetables
  1. Artichoke Hearts – At six grams of fiber per cup this sweet vegetable is a freezer front-runner.
  2. Berries – High in antioxidants and fiber, berries are always a nutritious choice but frozen berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or blackberries) should be a freezer staple.
  3. Brussels Sprouts – The cruciferous vegetable is jammed packed with nutrients including Vitamin C, folate, fiber and potassium.
  4. Mango – The tropical fruit cannot be found all year round. High in Vitamin C and B6 this frozen treat is a great addition to smoothies and salads.
  5. Spinach – The most popular frozen vegetable contains iron, folate, Vitamin A and K. A cup of frozen spinach is much for dense then the fresh that gives you more nutrition in every serving.
  6. Butternut Squash –Squash is filled with beta-carotene which is converted in the body to Vitamin A. Squash is also a great lower glycemic carbohydrate choice.
  7. Broccoli – There are only 41 calories in a cup of broccoli and 5 grams of fiber. Frozen broccoli doesn’t wilt and go brown making it last longer.
  8. Peas – A high fiber starchy vegetable that has 5 grams of fiber cup and 50% of your daily recommended Vitamin C. Peas are an excellent source of leutin which is an antioxidant known to help disease of the eye.
  9. Cherries – Usually only available in season these sweet treats are great for baking and putting into smoothies. Cherries are high in antioxidants and help to reduce gout and arthritis.
  10. Edamame (soy beans) – This one is best to get NON-GMO. Soy beans are a great portable afternoon snack high in protein and low glycemic carbohydrates.

Why Do You Self Sabotage?

How long have you been trying to lose those last 10 or 20 or 30 pounds? 

Been awhile now, hasn’t it?

You know how to lose weight – eat healthy and exercise – so why are you still living in a body that you’re disappointed with?

In my experience, people hold on to “unwanted” pounds for very specific reasons. These reasons are on a subconscious level, which is where things get tricky.

Self-sabotage is your subconscious mind’s way of protecting you.

Seems counterproductive, but it makes sense when you realize that it is a defense mechanism meant to keep things from changing.

Your conscious mind says it wants to lose weight to look and feel amazing, but your subconscious mind is pulling the strings behind the scenes, keeping your goals just out of reach.

As long as your subconscious mind thinks that you are safer being out-of-shape then you’ll be stuck.

Your most valiant efforts will be undermined by self-sabotage every single time.

But don’t give up.

There’s a way to turn everything around, and it all starts with finding out the reason that your subconscious mind equates being out-of-shape with being safe.

Once you turn the light on to that reason then it will no longer have any power over you.

So, lets dig around for your reason.

  • Do you believe… You don’t deserve it? Has someone in your life made you believe that you aren’t worthy of success? Or that they wouldn’t accept you if you were more successful than they are?
  • Do you believe… Change is bad? It’s common to fear the unknown, but this could very well be the reason that you’re not reaching your goal. Being comfortable with where you are today could be the reason that you sabotage your efforts to improve your life through change.
  • Do you believe…Success will bring loss? If you met your weight loss goal, would it bring out resentment and jealousy in your friends and family? Are you supposed to be the ‘screw-up’?
  • Do you believe…You’re not capable? Are you unable to imagine yourself at your goal weight? Does the possibility of achieving your goal not seem real?
Spend time diving into your own mind to discover why it is that you aren’t meeting your goals. Once your whole mind is primed for success, then nothing will be able to stop you.

What the mind believes the body achieves.

Quality food choices that prevent cravings and binging are a huge part of the equation when it comes to achieving weight loss.

I am passionate about seeing my clients achieve results – without wasting time, energy and effort on mistakes.

Call or email me today and we will get you started on a personalized nutrition program that is right for you.

How To Eat Pasta and Not Get Fat

Most people who are trying to lose weight stay away from pasta. Pasta and meat sauce is staple in my house and I don’t know what I would do without it. My kids might starve too. I’ve heard time and time again from clients “I can’t eat pasta…I’m on a diet”.
Guess what? That’s a myth. You can eat pasta EVEN when you are trying to lose weight. Below are 3 + 1 types of pasta’s that are perfect for you if you are a pasta lover.
Buckwheat Soba Noodles                                                                                                                                                                         Soba noodles are a type of Japanese noodles that are made from buckwheat. The benefit of consuming buckwheat soba noodles is that buckwheat has the second highest protein content after oats. Additionally, it is a complete protein and gluten free. Buckwheat has also been shown in research studies to help lower cholesterol, prevent gallstones and lower blood glucose levels. WARNING: Some soba noodles are not made with 100% buckwheat. Some have 80% buckwheat and 20% wheat so be sure to check the label.
Black Bean Spaghetti
Before you make a face…it’s delicious. Not grainy or gritty at all. It has 20g of protein and only 2 ingredients. Black beans and water. It has 187 calories per serving. Did I mention 20g of protein per serving. It’s hard to impossible to find in a regular grocery store and it’s much more expensive then regular pasta but totally worth the price tag. Here is a link so you can buy it off amazon. Yes, buy your pasta online. http://www.amazon.com/Exas-Spaghetti-Black-Bean-7-05-Ounce/dp/B004JXXVFU
 
Shirataki Noodles
It has only 4 grams of carbs. It takes like rice noodles you find in Japanese soups. This product is best in soup or stir-fried. I’ve actually never had it with tomato sauce so I can’t comment on how spaghetti like it is. It takes on the taste of whatever sauce you are cooking with. Rinse the noodles really, really well before you cook them.
Spaghetti Squash; Pasta Like Bonus
This is the best option if you want to stay away from grain all together. Spaghetti squash is very easy to cook and is only 42 calories per cup. It contains a lot of water and 2 grams of fiber per cup. It’s filling and tastes great with meat sauce.
Additional Tips:
  1. Remember to add a lean protein to your dish
  2. Cruciferous vegetables like steamed broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts are a great addition
  3. Make sure you have the proper portion size of pasta and use it as a side dish, not a main course

MoVember – Prostate Cancer Awareness

In this day and age everyone knows someone affected by cancer. With our modern diets full of foods high in unhealthy fats, refined simple sugars, high levels of sodium and toxic additives resulting in higher then normal levels of body fat we put ourselves at greater risk for developing life threatening but preventable diseases including cancer.
During the month of November hundreds of thousands Mo bro’s (and Mo sista’s) grow mustaches to raise awareness for prostate cancer and men’s health. Movember has become a movement raising over 125 million dollars towards various prostate cancer charities and men’s health initiatives.
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among Canadian men. One in 7 men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime and one in 28 will die of it1. Research has proven that nutrition choices and exercise can reduce the development of inflammation, one of the most known causes of prostate cancer. Reducing your levels of inflammation will greatly decrease your risk of developing prostate cancer and other serious diseases. Inflammatory cells have been found in virtually all prostate cancer tissue that has been removed surgically.
Let’s try to understand the harmful effects of inflammation a bit better. Your body is like an army ready to wage war on anything that invades the system, specifically inflammation. Think of your immune system as the soldiers of the army, ready to fight on a moments notice. When there is an incoming threat from an enemy like bacteria or higher then normal levels of hormones, the soldiers mobilize and attack the harmful invader. The soldiers are actually your white blood cells and instead of bullets they release oxygen and nitrogen radicals to help kill the invaders.
The war zone occurs when you have a constant threat, excess body fat, poor nutrition choices, chronically high levels of stress, poor sleep and are taking in an overload of toxins from your environment. In order to protect the system, soldiers are left behind, and remain unchecked while the same beneficial oxygen radicals that are designed to kill the invaders can break down normal tissue and promote cancer cell growth.
Another war gone terribly wrong.
There is no ONE right way to reduce inflammation and oxidation in the body to bring down inflammation levels. Follow the do and don’t suggestions below to improve your nutrition choices and add in daily exercise so you can avoid your body having to wage an unnecessary war.
THE DO’S
Do have 5 – 8 Servings Per Day of Antioxidant Rich Foods
Antioxidants are mostly found in colourful fruits and vegetables. You get the best bang for your buck when you eat them raw (except tomato products). A standard serving size is about 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked. Think of the size of a softball or your hand closed into a fist.

Organizing antioxidants by colour group is the easiest way to make sure you eat a variety of them.


Colour

Examples

Antioxidants

Tips

Red

Tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon

Lycopene

Cooked tomatoes have more concentrated levels of lycopepne

Red/Purple

Pomegranates, grapes, cranberries, plums, berries

Anthocyanins

Inhibit inflammation and reduce bacteria in the urinary tract

Orange

Carrots, mangoes, apricots, cantaloupes, pumpkin, sweet potato

Alpha and beta carotines

Beneficial for eye sight

Orange/Yellow

Oranges, peaches, papaya, nectarines

Beta-cryptoxanthin

Avoid the juice, eat the fruit

Yellow/Green

Spinach, collard, yellow corn, green peas, avocado, honeydew melon

Lutein and zeaxanthin

Lowers risk of cataracts and macular degeneration

Green

Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, kale

Sulphoraphane, isothiocyanates, indoles

Produces enzyme in liver that breaks down carcinogens

White/Green

Garlic, onion, asparagus, shallots, leek, chive

Allyl sulfides

Bacteria killing on a cellular level


There are a number of fruits and vegetables that don’t quite fit into the colour scheme that are health promoting and should still be eaten on a regular basis.


Celery: Contains salicylic acid, which is the active ingredient in aspirin and has been used for centuries to reduce headaches.

Mushrooms: A group of plant foods with beneficial effects on the immune system at the level of the intestines.


Do Buy Your Fruits and Vegetables From The Local Farm

The soil that the fruits and vegetables grow in matters. If the soil is sick, the vegetables and fruits will not provide you with the nutrients you need. You can tell if the produce had to take a trip to get to your supermarket by the colour of the fruit or vegetable. Out of season fruits and vegetables that are shipped into grocery stores have higher levels of pesticides and undergo a ripening process that changes the natural chemical structure of the fruit or vegetable.

Tomatoes for example, need to be firm to be shipped by truck. They are picked before they are ripe and undergo a ripening process where the helpless tomato is blasted with ethylene gas, a substance normally produced by the tomato as a signal to ripen. While artificially ripening, the lycopene compounds accumulate. When the artificial ripening process stops the formation of lycopene stops. The colour of store bought tomatoes is usually washed out compared to that of the farm tomato because of the shortened ripening process.


Do Build Strong Muscles

Resistance training for 30 – 60 minutes on most days of the week is the best way to reduce your levels of body fat, bring down inflammation and improve your body composition and metabolism.

Lean muscle mass naturally decreases with age, BUT by choosing a combination of cardiovascular and resistance training exercises you can ensure that your body stays strong and healthy. Pick activities you like to do and schedule them into your daily routine.

Part of building strong muscles is ensuring you get enough quality protein in your diet. It’s best to choose lean sources like white meat chicken or turkey,  ocean caught fish, beans/lentils and NON-GMO fermented soy. Whole eggs might not be a lean source of protein, but is still a great choice.


THE DON’TS

Don’t overcook or charbroil your meat on high heat

A carcinogen is a chemical that directly or indirectly causes or leads to a more aggressive form of cancer. Cooking any meat on a high heat produces a set of carcinogens called heterocyclic amines. Also, charbroiling any type of meat with the skin in tact produces a different set of carcinogens.
It is very difficult to avoid the literally thousands of toxic chemicals and carcinogens in our society, but when you know better you do better!
Better Cooking Methods:
  • Marinate meat and cook on medium heat turning frequently to avoid overcooking
  • Baking, steaming or stir frying
Don’t Consume Excess Sugar
I’m sure this isn’t news and if it is; what rock are you living under? Consuming excess simple, processed sugars isn’t just detrimental to your weight. Aside from Type II Diabetes, heart disease, lowered immune function and poor body composition sugar is a prime energy source for all cancers including prostate cancer.
The Prostate Cancer reports that most normal cells can adapt to an environment low in sugar and use other energy sources – a process developed through evolution when people would go through periods of starvation. However, cancer, which grows faster then normal cells, does not have the same ability to adapt to low sugar environments.
What does this mean? The more excess sugar is consumed, the more the tumor is stimulated and the faster is grows.
Cut the excess sugar intake. It doesn’t provide you with nutrition and it detracts from your health. If you are looking for a sweet fix have a piece of fruit instead.
Key Points to Remember
  1. Oxidation and Inflammation play key roles in the development of prostate cancer
  2. Have 5 – 8 servings of colourful and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables daily
  3. Buy most of your produce from your local farmer
  4. Bake, steam or stir fry lean protein choices
  5. Avoid eating excess sugar