Monthly Archives: February 2018

Izac and Lisa: In It Together

  • When Izac and Lisa first came to me, Izac was curious about the Keto diet. We started by putting a focus on the quality of the food they were eating and then slowly worked out way towards a keto lifestyle. I suspected Izac was carbohydrate sensitive and that a high fat and protein diet might suit him. It was decided they would do Keto for a few weeks but not use it as a long term life change. In this testimony they share the valuable lessons they learned while trying the keto lifestyle. Both Izac and Lisa lost weight, increased their energy and learned about portion control. Keto is not a good fit for everyone, we are all unique and need our own approach to food. I hope you enjoy reading about their experience!


Lisa’s background:
My family is Italian, so eating meals together has always been important. Whenever we have a social gathering, you can count on there being a variety of delicious foods to eat and a lot of them. Portion sizes are large and we are encouraged to “mangia, mangia” (eat, eat).

This summer, after getting married and moving in together, my husband and I wanted to start our life together on the right foot. Going from eating as part of a larger family, to preparing our own meals for two, we wanted to make informed food decisions. We are also fortunate to have a health benefits plan that recognizes nutritionists, so we contacted Charity.

Izac’s background:
Reflecting on my childhood, I realise how lucky I was to be born and raised in a diverse community. I have Tamil heritage but grew up in Kenya, East Africa. I know everyone’s path in life is unique. I lived in a household whose pantry was mainly organic and contained no processed food. Having grown up there made me develop a diversified food palate. That being said, even though I had fresh food all the time, my portion sizes were huge! When I moved to Canada I wanted to turn a new leaf and live an active lifestyle. Working in the Navy always meant I was on the move.


Combined lessons learned:
I (Lisa) realized that I was snacking a lot in the evenings and eating a lot of processed snacks out of boredom. Once we moved into our own apartment, I quickly realized that if we didn’t have a certain type of food in the house, I couldn’t eat it. We drastically reduced the amount of pre-packaged treats in the house and increased the veggies and nuts. I could still feel satisfied without all of the extra calories and sugars. Initially, changing our eating habits had a bit of an extra cost for things such as healthier oils. But once we had our cupboards and fridge stocked properly, it was affordable and easy to maintain.

Right after Christmas, we went on the keto diet for one month. This is a low carb (5%), high fat (70%) diet. At first I was a huge skeptic, I did not think it was possible to feel full with only that small amount of carbs or eat that much fat and still be “healthy.” Honestly, I was lost. The first thing that I learned was that it is essential to meal plan in order to be successful. We would spend some time each evening planning out our meals on MyFitnessPal for the following day. We could play around with the measurements for all of our food until we got the macros that we wanted. This way, our macros were fulfilled and our calorie intake was where we wanted it to be. My biggest surprise is how full I was while eating what I considered to be small portions. I found that the quantity of food that I was eating was smaller, yet I was feeling full because I was eating smarter. Also, because I planned all of my food and snacks the day before, I was less likely to snack out of boredom. I knew that what I had planned out was enough to satisfy my hunger and fuel my body. I really started to think of food in terms of health benefits and energy instead of just eating because it was meal time.

My (Izac) biggest lesson has been to listen to my body in terms of what feels right. Rather than eating certain foods because they are traditionally paired together, I have realized that I control what is on my plate and can make substitutions that agree with my stomach. I have had to reduce or cut certain foods out of my diet because I do not feel well after eating them.

Portion control has also been a game changer for me. Particularly when on the keto diet, a kitchen weighing scale was crucial. Measuring out each quantity of food means that I know the exact portion I am eating. If I am still hungry after eating a serving of a meal, I know I can add more vegetables to feel satisfied.

I highly recommend to anyone who is looking to make a change to start by filling their kitchen with the foods that they want to eat. There are many great recipes online and on social media for each type of food plan/diet, they are a wonderful source of inspiration! Also, use an app, find a friend or someone in your house to take on these lifestyle changes with. When you have support, you’re more likely to encourage each other and stay accountable.

Kick That Sugar Addiction to the Curb

I realize that a sugar addiction is not on the same level as an alcohol or drug addiction, but the sad truth is we still have a big problem. If you bought it in a package, chances are it contains added sugar. Food that we have long assumed was healthy for us is now being altered for palatability by adding sweetener. If you want to decrease the amount of sugar you eat, it is no longer as simple as just cutting out candy. Today I want to go over some steps you can take to decrease your sugar intake and hopefully set you on the path to food freedom.

Increase Your Intake of Healthy Fat

When you are full and satisfied you are less likely to have cravings. Often, we cave in to a sugary treat because we have not eaten enough earlier in the day. Our bodies need calories for energy, if we do not eat enough calories we are going to crave fast sugar. Increasing your intake of fat to 20-30% or more of your daily intake has many health benefits, one of them being a better balance in blood sugar. This is easy to do by adding in foods such as nut butter, avocados and coconut oil.


Check Nutrition Labels

Chances are you are eating a lot more sugar than you are aware of. Always check the nutrition label for the amount of sugar per grams. One rule of thumb I follow is to not buy anything that has added sugar in it unless I’m having it as a treat. Not eating added sugar leaves you with only the naturally occurring sugar in your food. Many of our cereals, granola bars, snack packs, bread, crackers and yogurt cups contain added sugar. Even peanut butter can have added high-fructose corn syrup!


Make Water Your Liquid of Choice

Not only does water make up most of the human body, it also contains no calories and no sugar. You cannot go wrong when drinking water. If you find yourself digging through the fridge for a glass of juice or a can of pop, you should ask yourself a few questions. First, ask yourself if you had enough water for that day. Next, ask yourself if you’ve eaten enough for the day. Lacking in these areas may cause unnecessary sugar cravings. I also suggest giving up the diet soda, artificial sweeteners do nothing good for the body, they may be worse than sugar.


One Day at a Time

This isn’t going to happen over night but if you focus on one change at a time you will start to create habits. Look at food as delicious fuel for your body, some fuel is superior to others. Whenever possible, choose food that you know gives your body good fuel.


Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, says it well: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.” Follow these instructions most of the time and you will be building a good base.

Eat Your Veggies!


*Need help getting your nutrition on track? Send me an email at

Are Your Hormones Making You Crazy?

This is something I have a lot of personal experience with and something I think needs to be talked about more. Todays post is focused on helping you identify possible hormone imbalances. Hormones can be a touchy subject but we all have to deal with them every single day. It would be easy to write about this topic for the next 10 posts but for today I am going to focus on estrogen and cortisol.


Estrogen dominance has become a common diagnosis in women. Estrogen at high levels is toxic to our health. Some of the symptoms of Estrogen Dominance are lower libido, irregular and abnormal menstrual cycles, water retention, breast swelling, acne and weight gain. These are common complaints I hear from women every day! Many of them just assume that this is part of their physiology. Often times the use of the birth control pill can aggravate these symptoms! Many young teenage girls are offered birth control as a solution to their period pain, this sets them up for long term hormone disruption. Often our bodies are not receiving the support they need and hormone therapy can further confuse us. I personally experienced this while on birth control, I thought I was losing my mind. My mood was all over the place, I ate enough for two people and I carried around a significant amount of water weight. I was put on the pill to help treat my painful periods, when in reality the cause of my painful periods should have been addressed. I’m not saying this is everyone’s story but it is a common one. This leads me to hormone disruptors.


Phytoestrogens and Chemicals

We are constantly being exposed to phytoestrogens and other hormone affecting substances. Something as simple as our daily makeup routine can be leaking chemicals into our body. We are constantly putting things in, and on, our bodies that change our hormonal balance. We also live in a world full of pollution. The scariest part is that most of us don’t even realize that these hormonal disruptions aren’t natural. You aren’t supposed to feel like crap when you have your period. Sure you may be a bit tired but acne, cramps and digestive disturbances shouldn’t be accepted as a normal occurrence. Having trouble losing weight? Your hormones could be the culprit. Being aware, and eliminating, as many toxins as possible from your home is a good place to start.


Cortisol is also known as the bodies stress hormone. When our body senses a stressor, cortisol is released to help the body fight the perceived stress. If you experience chronic stress, such as in the workplace, your body will eventually stop producing cortisol resulting in burnout. Cortisol levels are supposed to spike in the morning upon waking and slowly decrease throughout the day. This helps maintain regular sleeping patterns. With the fast paced, high stress lifestyles we live today many people do not have a proper cortisol pattern.


Symptoms of high cortisol are:

Severe Fatigue

weight gain


mood swings


high blood pressure

Symptoms of low cortisol are:

severe fatigue

weight loss

low blood sugar

low blood pressure


You may have noticed one commonality, severe fatigue. Cortisol levels that are too high or too low both cause fatigue. Fatigue should not be a daily occurrence. If you have recently travelled or had a longer day than usual, then fatigue makes sense. Your daily life should not exhaust you.


What Do I Do About It?

If you recognize yourself in the above symptoms, there is still hope! With the proper nutrition and lifestyle changes, you can rewire your body back to its proper hormone balance. A diet high in nutrient-dense food, and low in processed food, not only supports your hormones but also lowers your cortisol levels. Learning to handle stress is also important. Talking to a counsellor, participating in physical activity ,or even just taking time to write down your worries can all help lower your perceived stress. I also recommend getting rid of as many chemical-containing products as possible. This can be done slowly over time.

If you want to talk more about making some nutrition and health changes, you can email me at Starting March 5th I have a 12-week individualized program starting. This would be a good program for anyone looking to make a big health change. You can check it out here.

Eat Your Veggies!



The Price of Having Abs

I chose this topic because of a trend I have noticed in social media. A big  fascination with abs has developed in the past few years. We’ve always considered abs a part of the elite fitness community but now the average joe can be found posting on Instagram about his pursuit of abs. At some point we decided that abs were the epitome of health. Many trainers jumped on the opportunity to make money and started developing “ab blasting workouts” and promising “abs in 10 minutes!” I want to share some truth bombs with you today.


Abs are more about body fat than exercise

You could have the most amazing abs in the world, but if you carry a certain amount of body fat you are not going to see them. They are going to hide under a layer of fat. This layer of fat might be a healthy amount that your body enjoys having. A lot of ab visibility also depends on where you carry your fat. I’ve known people with decent abs but thicker thighs. I’ve also knows people with belly fat who have skinny legs. On average men need to achieve a body fat percentage of less than 10% for visible abs and women need to achieve a body fat percentage of less than 20%. This varies person to person. While I do believe these are healthy percentages, they take a very committed and health minded person to achieve. Even then depending on body type you might be better off without them!

Just because you have abs doesn’t mean your fit

When I was ill, and underweight, I had abs. At 110lbs my stomach was supermodel ready. I felt terrible. I was skin and bones. The only reason you could see my abs was because I was 11% body fat, not because I worked hard. My core is much stronger now but my abs aren’t as visible. I am fitter than I have ever been but my abs don’t look like they did when I weighed 110lbs. We see this in sports all the time. The leanest person isn’t always the fittest person. Our bodies need a certain amount of body fat to be healthy and sometimes abs aren’t worth it. I do believe most people can have visible abs and still be at a healthy weight but there are always outliers.


Abs are made in the kitchen

When it comes down to it, your body fat percentage is most affected by what you eat. So many of the bodies problems can be sorted out with proper nutrition. When your nutrition is on point it makes exercising easier. Your body is better equipped to make adaptations when it is given the right fuel. This is unique to each person but here are some general guidelines for maintain a health body fat percentage:

  1. Vegetables should be your main food group. Vegetables are full of micronutrients and fiber. Fill up your plate!
  2. Always include a protein and a fat. Both these nutrients can help maintain hormones and blood sugar levels.
  3. Choose healthy carbs. Whenever possible choose a good source of carbohydrates such as fruit, sweet potato and squash. When choosing a grain, buy organic and whole grain as much as possible.

If abs are one of your goals I want to encourage you to earn them. Don’t starve yourself or exercise 5 hours a day hoping they will show up. It is more important that you find a balanced approach to health. Keeping your heart, lungs and muscles healthy should be a priority over the visibility of your abs. I’m going to be more impressed that you can do a pull-up then I am ever going to be by the aesthetic of your body. When your 80 years old your not going to care if you have abs, but you are going to care if you are too weak to pick up your great-grandchildren.

Eat Your Veggies!


New Program: Heart of An Athlete

Heart of An Athlete

When you think of the characteristics of an athlete, what do you think of? Maybe you think of strength, speed and flexibility. Maybe you picture a muscular and genetically superior individual. When you dig deep down inside an athletes heart, you are going to find the same thing that is in all of us. You are going to find a dream. If you dig deeper, you are going to find the commitment required to do whatever it takes to achieve that dream. You will also find a coach, someone who helps lay out a clear path to achieving that dream. Behind every great athlete is a great coach. 

 I want to be your coach. This is the most interactive program I have offered thus far, combining exercise and nutrition with weekly check-ins. You don’t have to have any previous experience, but you do need to have drive and commitment. Your nutrition and exercise plans will be designed to fit in with the craziness of your unique lifestyle.  I am only taking on 10 people for this program because I want to guarantee that you get the guidance you need.



Program includes:
12 weeks of Exercise Programming (individualized for the gym or at home)
12 weeks of Nutrition Planning+ Meal Plan (individualized)
A private members Facebook group
½ hour face to face check in every month
15 min check in by phone every week
Access to me via text and email

Cost: $499+ HST 

Can be broken into monthly payments via post-dated check $166.30 +tax (= $41 a week)Valued at Over $700

If  interested, please email


Gluten Free Pizza Bites

Happy National Pizza Day! I didn’t know that was even a thing until this morning, at which time I knew I had to participate. Pizza has been one of the few things I miss from my previous gluten filled life. I channeled my creativity for 30 minutes and came up with these tasty bite size treats!

For the Dough: 

3/4 cup of almond flour

3/4 cup of white rice flour

2 eggs (and a yolk for sealing the edges)

2 TBSP of melted coconut oil

Salt and Pepper to taste



1/4 cup of Pizza Sauce of choice

1/4 cup of chopped Pepperoni

1/4 cup of chopped Green Onions

Cheese is optional. I did mine without and they still tasted great!

Mix all your dough ingredients together until you can form a ball. Dust a piece of parchment paper with some extra rice flour and roll the dough out. You can decide how thick you want your bites to be but I preferred thinner. Cut into small squares, mine were about 1-1.5 inches in length and width. Place the squares onto a parchment lined baking sheet. This recipe makes 18-20 bites. You should have 36-40 squares cut out of your dough.

Next place a small spoonful of sauce onto each square. I then added some chopped up pepperoni and green onion. Just a few pieces go a long way! Next, place the top layer of dough over the toppings. You will need to press around the edges with your fingers to help seal the bites. Don’t worry if some sauce gets pressed out.

The final step its to seal the edges with some egg yolk. I find using a brush the easiest way to do this. Paint the edges of your bites with the egg yolk. If you use too much you will be able to peel the excess egg off after cooking. Next, place them in the oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.


They taste amazing dipped in some extra sauce! I hope you enjoy National Pizza Day!

Eat Your Veggies!



Sylvia Cormier: Listen To Your Body

Growing up my family was a meat and potatoes family, and then everything left over was dinner the next night. There weren’t any discussions on healthy eating until you learned in school about the 4 food groups. But as everyone can relate not everyone embraces or can afford that methodology. I lived on my own for quite some time so balance meals weren’t in the books there either. I substituted cigarettes for food. I continued down this path for a long time. My husband and I worked to get balance meals on the table for the kids but I never took my own health into consideration.

This all started because I knew I had to quit smoking, one day I just realized that I’m not healthy and not doing good at all. I wanted to be able to be healthy for my boys and when I want to be around for grandkids! It wasn’t until I quit smoking that I realized things had to change. I was gaining weight fast so I joined a gym and worked out. That wasn’t enough I was not losing weight and not having the energy I needed. Next I attempted a shakes program where I only had one meal a day and shakes for breakfast, and lunch with snacks in the morning and afternoon. That worked for a few months I lost weight and felt great, and then it was as if my body shut down and the shakes just made me sick. In hindsight, I should have looked at elimination at that point since the shakes were milk based.

I’ve been to the doctors many times explaining how I’m gaining weight and I’m so tired all the time and we did some tests and nothing was conclusive. Went to an allergist and nothing came out of that. I heard about a natural path and the difference she has made for a friend that has had stomach issues for a long time. After seeing my results from her I was floored. The biggest things I needed to eliminate were Dairy and gluten. She said I would see results within a few days of cutting out dairy. Well she was right. I honestly thought the aches and pains in my muscles and joints was…well I’m getting old. Nope so not the case. After being off dairy for a few days I found that I don’t sit there on the couch in agony because my calves are aching or my knees are aching. It’s nothing like workout ache either it’s so painful and just takes your breath away. I haven’t had that ache since I cut it all out. It’s amazing what a difference listening to your body makes.
Today I work really hard to have a balanced diet. I take time to plan my meals. My breakfast during the week 99% of the time is a shake because it’s a hectic time for me and I need to get something in me so it’s quick. I pack 2 snacks one for morning and one for afternoon and honestly I put a reminder in my calendar at work to remind me to have that snack. I know my body needs fuel and I get so busy sometimes I don’t stop to eat. For supper my husband and I usually tag team the decisions. Lately I’ve been making more use of my crockpot. I know if I don’t plan something I’m going to eat on the fly. When you have so many dietary restrictions eating on the fly is bad and difficult to do. If I have to my usual go to is eggs. I’ll whip together an omelet or fried eggs with veggies on the side.

I asked Sylvia what advice she would offer others who are considering making a change, here are her answers:

1. My first piece of advice is Do it when you are ready to put in the time and effort to do it. You don’t want to sort of do it because that leaves too much room for error and then you get frustrated and you quit.

2. Have some support to help you (Charity!!) someone that understands how hard it is and the benefits of it.

3. I found on Pinterest there is a way to select things you are avoiding so if you have a craving for a certain meal you can tell it no dairy no gluten and it will give you options. Give it time.

4. Don’t expect results right away. It’s just like working out, you know it takes time even though you wish it didn’t

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