Nutrition

Put Down Your Scale And Pick Up Your Fork

Today I was scrolling through Instagram under the tag #weightloss. Once a month or so I look through some posts linked to popular tags to see what’s going on in the minds of people in the health and fitness community. Today I stumbled across an Instagram user who was asking for weight loss help. She was restricting herself to 1300 calories a day and noticed the scale had stopped moving. I shouldn’t be surprised that people are still using calorie restriction to lose weight, but I am.

Weight loss is so much more than energy out > energy in.

For years we have been told that to lose weight we need to go on a diet that decreases our calorie intake to less than the calories we burn. Guess what, we have gotten fatter. If eating fewer calories worked for everybody, by now we should have a skinny population. I’m not saying nobody has lost weight on a restricted diet, but I do not think it is a healthy or safe option.

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Your Body Is Not Stupid

Our bodies job is to stay alive. It will do everything it possibly can to keep working. This is why we see people live through unthinkable circumstances and long-term illness. When you restrict your calories to less than your body needs, you may initially lose weight. Over time your body starts to think you aren’t going to feed it and it adjusts to keep you alive. It slows down energy systems and other biological processes to conserve enough energy to keep functioning. When this happens, the weight stops coming off, and many people will further restrict their diet, this either goes on until the person is severely ill or, in most cases, gives up and returns to their previous lifestyle. This leads to years of yo-yo dieting further confusing the bodies processes and sometimes causing long-term damage. This is the same for people who eat way more than their body needs, the safest response is for the body to store it as fat. Your body can’t let all that free sugar hang out in your blood stream, it must do something about it.

Put Down The Scale

Guess what, that number is JUST a number. There are so many variables that go into what you weigh. If you can’t look at yourself objectively, the scale will work against you. There is nothing wrong with using it as a tool of measurement, but it should never be used as a tool of destruction. Your motivation needs to come from something deeper than wanting to look a certain way. It needs to come from something inside you saying, “I want to be better.”

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Pick Up Your Fork

I want you to pick up your fork and eat your way to better health. I want you to choose whole foods that leave you feeling satisfied at the end of the meal. I want you to include a healthy source of fat to help curb cravings. I want you to eat lots and lots of vegetables so that your body gets the nutrients it needs to function properly. Weight loss is a side effect of good health, it isn’t the cause. Look at yourself in the mirror and accept where you’re at, and then strive to be better. Love yourself but never give up on improving. Fix your health, and the weight will come off on its own. You can read what I recommend you eat here.

Individualized Nutrition

As human beings, we are all unique. Not one is like the other. Why then do we constantly try to copy one another? Our DNA is unlike any other person on earth, but we tend to treat ourselves like we are all the same. We assume that if it works for one person, it should work for everyone. Some general principals work for everyone but to achieve optimal health, you need to find what works for you. Your nutrition plan shouldn’t look exactly like anyone else’s. The foods your body loves/hates are not going to be the same. I am gluten free, that doesn’t mean you should all be gluten-free. I have a friend who can’t eat tomatoes, I didn’t stop eating them just because she did. Therefore, I find out as much as possible about my clients. I want to know how you feel after you eat. I want to know how you sleep at night. I want to know how stressful your job is. These things change the nutrition plan I prescribe. Don’t put yourself in a box, or on a diet, just because other people do.

Eat Your Veggies!

Charity

 

 

 

The Day After Thanksgiving

I don’t know about you, but I find the gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas kind of awkward. We enjoy a long weekend full of Turkey, and other festive foods, and less than 12 weeks later we spend roughly two weeks doing it again. It’s easy to just tell myself that I might as well just do/eat what I want until Christmas is over. Why not just start fresh January 1st? After all, it is baggy sweater season! But that would mean I’ve missed out on 3 months worth of self improvement. You can make a huge difference in your health with three months of time.

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What if rather than waiting until January 1st, you made a change today? It doesn’t have to be a big change, it can be something as simple as committing to taking your dog for a walk every morning. What if next week you decided to pack a salad and grilled chicken for lunch instead of hitting up McDonald’s every day? What if the week after that you switched out one of your diet cokes for a water? Three weeks in you will have added in exercise, extra vegetables and cut back on something you’ve been trying to give up for months. You don’t have to decide to run a marathon or commit to the paleo diet! Instead you can commit to a 5 minute jog and adding in more vegetables.

Every day is an opportunity to make one good decision for yourself. Before you know it, one good decision becomes easy and you start making two. In three months you can look back and celebrate a whole bunch of small victories that have now become one big one!

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Last weekend I got contaminated. This is what my family says when one of us has eaten gluten, usually unknowingly. Because I have Celiac disease, this is a BIG deal. My immune system turned on me and I spent 3 days only getting the bare necessities done so I could lie down. I couldn’t eat much and I spent a lot of time sleeping. The worst part of being contaminated is I have panic attacks and suffer from anxiety. Anxiety so bad I have to fight to leave my apartment. I am anxious about seeing my own family and struggle with making decisions. I start to question every decision I’ve made and feel like the progress I’ve made has been ruined. After a few days the fog clears and I can at least think clearly, but the physical damage can take weeks to months to recover from. I have to be even more careful with what I eat, foods that wouldn’t normally bother me give me stomach aches and cause a rash to spread across my face. I used to sit and feel sorry for myself and take weeks to pick myself back up, but now I know its a waste of time. I need to get back to my workouts, increase my nutrients and get lots of rest.  Rather than wallow in self pity for three months and then experiencing it all over again at Christmas (it’s hard not to get contaminated at Christmas) I will focus on building my immune system back up so that when this happens again I am ready, rather than being torn down even further.

Maybe you’re reading this post thinking about how far you are from reaching your goal. Maybe it seems impossible. I want you to pull out a piece of paper and write down three small actions/changes that you can make today. These should be things you KNOW you can do. Put them somewhere you can see them. Start with action one, when it has become habit you are ready for action two. I have seen some amazing results from my clients these past few weeks, and many of the results are because of small changes that they have been consistent with. You can do it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Charity

How To Stuff The Turkey Without Stuffing Yourself

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! It has all the great food and visiting that Christmas has, but with less fuss and no presents (aka less stress). Before the weekend is upon us I want to help you strategize your Thanksgiving nutrition. I’m not going to tell you NOT to eat something, we all need a piece of pie. I just want to give you some tips that will keep you feeling well all weekend long! They are as follows:

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  1. Hog the vegetables. I mean it. March up to the Thanksgiving dinner buffet and fill at least half your plate with a variety of vegetables! Your family doesn’t cook anything but steamed carrots? Start a new tradition and bring a big salad, steamed broccoli or a delicious butternut squash.
  2. Have a healthy serving of Turkey. We don’t get turkey very often, which I find weird because it really is one of the most delicious birds. For some reason we are convinced they can only be eaten on holidays, but I digress. Turkey is a great source of protein, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B6 and niacin. Load up!
  3. Keep the grains to 1/2 a cup or less. Half a bun or half a cup of stuffing is plenty! Cutting back on the bread will save you room for dessert and prevent you from feeling “stuffed”
  4. Still have room on your plate? Choose something colorful! There are so many delicious dishes you can make with a variety of in season produce. I’ve linked to a few recipes below:
    1. Bacon wrapped squash,
    2. lentil and sweet potato casserole,
    3. zucchini pizza
  5. Eat mindfully. Take your time. Enjoy the food.

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Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy family and friends. That can be hard to do if your feeling overstuffed the whole time. If your looking for a delicious and nutritious pumpkin pie recipe, you can find my recipe here.

Eat your veggies and your pie!

Charity

Pumpkin Pie: Gluten And Dairy Free

As promised, here’s is my gluten and dairy free pumpkin pie. I am not a huge pumpkin fan, but many of my family members are, so I like to bring an allergy friendly pie. First you need to make the crust!

Combine the following:

1 cup of almond flour

1 cup of brown rice flour (you can do all almond if your avoiding grain)

1 egg

2TBSP of coconut oil (you can use butter if your not dairy free)

pinch of salt

mix together until you have a firm ball of dough. Press it into the pie pan until you have a thin layer of dough covering the dish.

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Next you need to make your filling! I roasted a pumpkin but you can used canned pumpkin as well.

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For the filling, combine the following:

1.5 cups of pureed pumpkin

3 eggs

1/2 can of full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup of honey OR maple syrup

1 TBSP ground cinaamon

1 TBSP ground nutmeg

pinch of salt

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Pour the filling into the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

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Let cool for 60 minutes and then serve with your favorite whipped cream substitute.  Pictured is coconut whipped cream.

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Enjoy your pie!

Charity

 

 

This Summer I Stopped Training

Hello Friends,

This summer was very different than the previous one. As of next month, I have been doing CrossFit for 8 years. It didn’t take me long to “drink the koolaid.” I was hooked almost instantly. CrossFit is structured in such a way that there is ALWAYS something you can be better at. It isn’t called a cult for nothing. It inspires you to show up over and over because there is always something you should work on. Eight years in and I still have things I can learn. I’ve made a lot of decisions this year that led to a lot of changes. One of the decisions was to treat summer like a rest. I wanted to focus on my business and enjoying the beautiful weather, rather than spending 2 hours a day in the gym. We had some big events this summer that required my time. So I told myself that I was going to cut back on the time I spent working out, and I did. I thought it was going to be really hard. I thought I was going to decide a  week in that I couldn’t do it and go running back to the barbell, that’s not what happened.

Instead I felt free, I had taken the pressure off of myself and I felt so good. I still worked out 2-3x a week for 45 minutes but that was the it. I realized that I had been focused on “keeping up” rather than improving myself. I had been in a competition mindset instead of a health mindset. I realized training to compete was great if you were willing to make it your priority, but I have other priorities right now and that’s ok too. I have my own business, a husband and a family that all deserve my attention more than a competition here and there. Guess what, I didn’t gain weight. I didn’t get slower. I didn’t get weaker. If anything I improved because of the rest. My body is at a point where 2 months off the schedule did not hurt me. I still ate whole foods and little sugar. I still focused on a good nights sleep. I still took my vitamins and drank lots of water but I worked out less. The last two weeks is the first time I’ve missed working out, I know its time to build some extra time back in. I’m not going back to 2 hours a day at this point, but I am going to commit to one hour 4-5x a week. Physical activity is so important to your health, but it doesn’t have to be your number one priority. If your exercising right, it should enhance everything else in your life. It should give you more energy to play with your kids. It should give you more patience at work. It should build you up not tear you down. If your life isn’t enhanced by your time in the gym, you need to asses why.

Sometimes we need to sit back and ask ourselves why we do what we do. Its ok to change your mind and set new goals. Its ok to not go to the gym every day. Its ok to enjoy a slice of birthday cake. Life is about finding a balance that works for you. What works for you may not work for someone else.

Eat Your Veggies!

Charity

 

Eatreal4life Free Food Guide

Last week I talked about the Canadian Food Guide. This week I’m sharing my own food guide! I’ve created an infographic to help simplify. Feel free to share with a friend!
I want to address one of the main differences between my food guide and the government’s. The government still recommends a high carb/low fat diet, but you will notice I recommend a more balanced approach with more fat, more vegetables, and less carbohydrates. I wouldn’t say it’s a low carb diet, it’s just lower than the Canadian food guide recommends. Recently, there is a lot of talk about inflammation. Inflammation is your body’s response to stress. Acute inflammation is good. If you break your leg and notice it’s red and swollen, this is a sign the immune system is doing its job. Chronic inflammation is when the body is dealing with inflammation all the time. If your broken leg was still just as swollen and red three weeks later, you would be concerned. While most of us don’t have swollen red limbs, our body does give us clear signs of inflammation. Some of them I’ve listed below:

Achy Joints
Headaches
Stomach Pains
Acne
Weight Gain
Low Energy
Slow Recovery
Frequent Colds/Flus
Water Retention
The list goes on and on…….

Recently, a meta-analysis completed by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found this:

“Coronary artery disease pathogenesis and treatment urgently requires a paradigm shift. Despite popular belief among doctors and the public, the conceptual model of dietary saturated fat clogging a pipe is just plain wrong. A landmark systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies showed no association between saturated fat consumption and (1) all-cause mortality, (2) coronary heart disease (CHD), (3) CHD mortality, (4) ischaemic stroke or (5) type 2 diabetes in healthy adults.1 Similarly in the secondary prevention of CHD there is no benefit from reduced fat, including saturated fat, on myocardial infarction, cardiovascular or all-cause mortality.”

The belief that a high fat diet can clog your arteries has been challenged and disproven over and over, and yet many people are still avoiding fat and choosing to eat a high carbohydrate diet. Considering the longer we have followed the high carb/low fat diet, the sicker we have become, you would think that by now the food guide would have made some adjustments. Hopefully the new one does! The article went on to say:

“In comparison with advice to follow a ‘low fat’ diet (37% fat), an energy-unrestricted Mediterranean diet (41% fat) supplemented with at least four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or a handful of nuts (PREDIMED) achieved a significant 30% (number needed to treat (NNT)=61) reduction in cardiovascular events in over 7500 high-risk patients.”

You can read more about it here

A high fat diet has shown to decrease heart related events, not increase them! We need fat to fight inflammation! I chose averages for the servings. Each person is unique so there is no one diet that will fit all. Obviously the lower end is for smaller people and the higher for larger. If I can recommend one thing you should take from this, it is to eat whole food and little sugar. I don’t recommend avoiding saturated fat, which means you will get a fair amount of fat in your meat. I’m not saying you should drink the stuff, but I’m not recommending you avoid meat because of it. The food guide I have designed is about balance, but it is also about decreasing inflammation and giving the body the micro and macronutrients it needs. I am not funded by any organization and gain nothing by making these recommendations. As always, if you have a pre-existing condition/take any medications you should contact your health professional before making any changes!

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Eat Your Veggies!

Charity

Pumkin Gnocchi

This is the easiest recipe EVER! I was so excited that it turned out. I had received a pumpkin in my veggie box and didn’t want it to rot. I have made gnocci with sweet potato before and figured this couldn’t be much different. I decided to do marinara and meatballs to go with it, I would also recommend a brown butter sauce.

What you will need:

1 small-medium size pumpkin (3/4 cup of puree makes two servings)

3/4 cup of flour (I used brown rice flour)

1 egg

 

Step 1

Set the oven to 400 degrees. Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the interior. I recommend keeping the seeds and giving them a good roast, they are delicious! Cover the interior with 1tsp of oil and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 min or until the interior is soft.

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Step 2

Scoop out the cooked pumpkin leaving behind the pumpkin shell. You can puree the interior if you like, but I just mashed it with a fork.

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Step 3

Add in the flour and the egg and mix until you have a smooth dough. I added a little extra flour as I went, the dough is very sticky.

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Step 4

Create a ball of dough in your hands and roll out on a floured surface. Use your hands, not a rolling pin. Then cut into bite size cubes.

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Step 5

Press lightly with a fork to get your typical gnocchi look! Bring a pot of water to a boil and place gnocchi in the pot. It only takes a few minutes to reach the desired texture. I boiled the gnocchi for 5 minutes.

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Step 6

Add desired sauce and protein! I also added fresh basil, it paired nicely with the pumpkin flavor! ENJOY!

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