5 Ways to BOOST Metabolism Naturally

January 12th, 2010

Here is a quick summary of some key items you want to keep in your kitchen as they are not only healthy but can help you keep a good metabolism. Now note – if you decide to live on the couch and become a movie bump-kin these suggestions will not really help.  You must move those legs too as muscle burns more calories than fat.

1 lb muscle – burns upwards of 50 calories a day

1 lb fat – burns about 2-3 calories a day


Keep in your pantry:

  1. Matcha Green Tea Powder – 1/2 tsp a day (every day) has shown to increase metabolism by 35-40% as the polyphenols increase the brain chemical noradrenaline which increases heat production within our fat – this burns more calories naturally.
  2. Spicy Foods such as cayenne, chili peppers etc. – these cause more ‘inner heat’ in our body and then cooling down process takes energy which gives a small (and short) metabolism boost.
  3. Cold Water – one study in Germany showed 90 minutes after drinking water a boost of 24% above the average rate happened.
  4. Cinnamon
  5. Kelp – contains iodine which is a crucial component of thyroid hormones; the thyroid gland controls over all body metabolism and temperature.

Updated Pregnancy Guidelines

November 27th, 2009

pregnancy3Health Canada has just released their new recommended weight gain during pregnancy guidelines.  The changes include just how much weight you should gain weekly during pregnancy basing everything on what your pre-pregnancy BMI is.

BMI is a measurement of your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared.  

Recommendations as follows:

BMI<18.5  Gain 28-40 lbs total 

BMI 18.5-24.9 gain 25-25 lbs total

BMI 25-29.9 gain 15-25 lbs total

BMI >30 gain 11-20 lbs total

More information can be found under Health Canada including recommendations on multiple fetuses.

It is still recommended not to focus on losing weight during pregnancy as we want to make sure the fetus stays healthy. Instead, if you weigh more than what what is recommended (or personally desired) the suggestion is to lose weight before pregnancy as that will help not only you but the baby’s health as well.  If you gain more weekly weight than what is recommended it is simply a time to take a look at what you are eating. It is easy to make cutbacks especially when you know where those extra calories are coming from. If you notice the Twizzler bag is emptying fast then it is time to cut back or say ‘no more’ to the licorice cravings.

Happy baby planning!

Sporting Event Food

November 26th, 2009

Whether it is the Grey Cup, Stanley Cup or any playoff sporting event many of us invite friends or family over to feast and folly over athletes sweating for a win.  With these ’sports feasts’ come many calories and usually fat that we often do not think about as we are busy visiting or waving pom-poms on the side lines of the couch.

One of my favorites is a nacho platter – with melted cheese layered between the chips.  Not surprising – this platter alone camps in at about 1500 calories and then do not forget about the full fledged sour cream and maybe guacamole.  As for the fat – it is so out of this world it is hard for me to even out a guess at it – but yes the chips and cheese alone make your heart cry out in future agony.  

Here are some tips to make that NACHO PLATTER healthier:Nachos


  • Use baked tortilla chips – this saves about 100 calories and 6 grams of fat per every 8-10 chips.  My personally favorite is Guiltless Gourmet now found in many grocery stores and is always guaranteed in at health food stores. They have a few different kinds to pick from and the yellow corn work well as a nacho or dip chip.
  • Find lower fat versions of cheese – many shoppers avoid to look at this important detail on cheese. Shop for ones that are less than 22% M.F. and that always includes Part Skim Mozzarella, Ricotta, Goat and a new part skim Cheddar cheese.
  • Lower fat sour cream – and a great way to cut back some fat there is to make the blend yourself of a 50:50 of sour cream and plain yoghurt.  Adding some spice like chili powder can add a nice touch.
  • Sprinkle some diced veggies on your creation – tomato and green pepper taste great. 


Another side tip is always sit closer to the vegetable appetizers versus any other snack item. If it is out of reach you are more likely to take a pass.  Another trick is to keep some water or a lower calorie beverage in one hand as people find they eat more with 2 free hands versus 1.  When your hands are occupied it is hard to eat and a great easy tip to apply.

Go Team Go!

Armor Your Body with Defense

November 5th, 2009

With the state of alarm over the swine flu it seems everyone is second guessing their strategies on how they truly can keep their bodies strong.  We have all heard the ‘hand-washing’ routine which is VITAL to everyone but there too are other things you can do to to not only strengthen your immune system but cut down on bug exposure.

Here are some common places Germs live that you may not even think of:

  1. Grocery Carts - please do take advantage of the sanitizer wipes by the carts as these push carts or the ones you carry.  A study in 2007 reported 2/3 of these carts are packed with fecal bacteria which shockingly hold more bacteria than the average public bathroom.  Not something you want your apples to rest on!
  2. Gym Equipment - again REALLY was your hands a few times after you have completed your work out.  Too – get in the habit of not touching your face during your workout as we get in the habit of wiping sweat off our face with our newly dirtied hands.
  3. Lemon wedges in your drink – next time you are in a restaurant take a pass on the added lemon in your water.  Not only do these lemons not get washed, but are handled and placed in your drink by dirty waiters and bartenders hands.  70% of lemons contain disease-causing microbes such as E. Coli and fecal bacteria. Mmm… I’m thirsty!
  4. Computer Keyboards – these are shown to have 2x more germs that public water fountains.  This means weekly disinfect your keyboard (or piano, or phone etc) with a sprayed wipe with either pure vinegar or some type of disinfectant.

Now after you have cut back your germ exposure it is time to equip yourself on being strong.  Here are some things you want to increase in your daily eatings…..

  • Probiotics - I am talking about enteric covered probiotics that assured to make the 40 foot journey. If you cannot get pharmaceutical grade – Probiotic Pearls are my second favourite.
  • Garlic - Allicin is the key ingredient that fights infection and bacteria.  It increases both our T-lymphocytes and macrophages which act as our bodies defence against bugs.  2 Cloves each day into some type of cooking has found to do the trick.
  • Vitamin C – this increases the amount of white blood cells your body produces (your immune fighting cells)  which help fight off any foreign invader.  It also increases our own production of antibodies that prevent the entry of viruses such as any flu.  Stock up on citrus fruits, peaches, strawberries and capsule Vitamin C.
  • Omega 3 Fats (think Fish, Salba, Flax, Walnuts) – these increase our bodies phagocytes which are a form of white blood cells that literally eat up bacteria. They are like the little pacman that chew up our bad bugs that cause our bodies harm.  My tip – get at least one of these daily.

Click here for a great immune boosting shake to start your day.  Consider adding 1 cup of spinach too for an extra health kick!


Comfort Food

November 5th, 2009

Have you ever had a day when you just wanted hot food that made you feel so cozy and comfortable?  These foods we tend to refer to as ‘comfort food.’

The University of Illinois conducted surveys to learn more about what foods people tend to lean on for comfort.  Here are some things they found:

  • 40% of foods were meats, main dishes, soups usually home made
  • the top 3 foods for women were ice cream, chocolate and cookies
  • the top 3 foods for men were ice cream, soup, pizza and pasta

Science Daily reported a study co-authored by a Cornell food marketing expert to measure what mood triggers our desire to have comfort food.  Two movies were chosen – ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ (the funny move) and ‘Love Story’ (a sad movie) and measured the amount of hot buttered salty popcorn and seedless grapes that were eaten.  The results reveled that those who watched ‘Love Story’ ate 36% more popcorn  than those who watched the upbeat film.  

One interesting point on comfort food is it is often something that brings about a feeling from our past.  When you were young and were feeling under the weather did your mom make you chicken noodle soup?  If so, you think of chicken noodle soup when you are not feeling so good not because it cures you, but rather makes you feel good or loved.

Here are some simple ‘comfort’ swaps you can do to make healthier choices:

  • Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream at 300 calories per half cup – for Breyers Fat Free Cookies and cream at 110 calories per half cup
  • McCain French Fries – for Mann’s Sweet Potato at only 60 Calories and 250% your daily Vitamin A and 3 grams of fiber
  • Carnation Rich Hot chocolate with 2% – with 1 cup Skim milk, 1.5 tbsp cocoa and 2 tsp agave nectar

If you are looking for a hot dish to serve to your family for a comfort food fix – check out this Chili Recipe – packed with almost 7 grams of fiber which will not only satisfy your appetite but keep your bowels in motion.  


Halloween Calories

October 23rd, 2009

The time of year draws near where many of us seem to continue to sneak little mini treats from our give away bowl for ourselves.  Sometimes we eat more ‘mini’s than we actually give out!

All those fun-sized little bars and baggies come at a cost – Sugar Calories – which always finds our waistband.

Here are some sample items and just how many calories are present:

M&M’s – 88 calorieshalloween-candy

Hershey Milk Chocolate – 67 calories

Butterfinger – 85 calories

Snickers Bar – 80 calories

Kit Kat – 73 calories

Lollypops – 60 calories

Candy Corn 11 pieces – 70 calories


The list can go much like the length of the candy isle.  As a ‘candy distributor’ every time we eat 3 Halloween mini items the calories add up to around 260 which really is the equivalence of a normal size chocolate bar!

Some tips on what you can buy to hand out instead of candy:

  • fun pencils
  • themed erasers
  • mini toys
  • rub on tattoos
  • stickers

And if you do want to give some edible item out consider better choices such as raisins, trail mix bags or even mini microwave popcorn bags as that has a bit of fiber.

Temptation tips!

1)  Make sure your meals and snacks are solid throughout the day. When we are not hungry it is much easier to say no to a food temptation.

2)  Buy items that you are not a fan of yourself so then it is easier to pass up.  

3)  Store these Halloween treats up high where you literally have to get a chair or ladder to reach them.  Sometimes when we fall weak in the knees doing an extra step (such as getting a chair to reach them) can turn us off entirely.  

4)  Make a concrete rule as to the number(s) of treat items you will have daily.  If you know you lack self discipline then make this number zero and do not use this strategy.

5)  Keep things like sugarless gum or crunchy snacks ready to go. If you have carrots washed, cut and ready or sliced fruit with maybe yoghurt to dip you are more prone to grabbing that when you are hungry than the halloween sugar candy.  Gum is something that can keep your mouth busy so you forget about eating.

6)  If you do go for Halloween treats skip the white chocolate ones and pick a dark chocolate one instead.  A good example is Dark Dove Squares.  Instead of caramel or peanut butter filled items pick either pure chocolate choices, or ones with real nuts or raisins. 

Happy Halloween everyone!

Natures Drink, Coconut Water

October 18th, 2009

New attention has been gathered around the liquid inside young green coconuts.  Note this fluid is not the same as the fluid in mature brown coconuts which we are accustomed to seeing.

Coconut water as it is called, is jam packed with minerals and electrolytes that can really give us better energy in our day.  I have just started recommending this as a fuel to some of my endurance athletes as its potassium levels far exceed that of current energy and electrolyte drinks and can really lessen any muscle twitches that occur over hours of sweat-like activity.


Some key points for you:

  • has more electrolytes in Sports drinks and fruits and vegetables
  • 1 cup = 46 calories
  • Glycemic Index of 3 (almost like water in having zero impact on your blood sugar)
  • natural diuretic
  • INCREASES METABOLISM – which helps with weight loss
  • boosts immunity (to protect you from colds, flu’s and H1N1)

What is even more interesting is it has the same electrolyte level as that of human blood plasma.  So you can think of this coconut water like that fluid in your blood.  On a history note, in World War 1, soldiers that needed blood transfusions due to battle field injury were given transfusions with coconut water to survive.

Next time you want something different than tea, coffee or your typical sports drink for your daily hike, ski, or run – consider coconut water and see how it can improve your performance.

An Insurance Policy on Fruits and Veggies

October 8th, 2009

NONE of us get the required amounts of fruits and veggies in each day.  The Heart and Stroke Foundation presented a report  a week ago that this is the FIRST TIME ever in history parents will out live their own children. Why? Lack of antioxidant power from whole raw food found in various fruits and vegetables.

Swallowing that news may be a bit tough but I have heavily researched what parents can do to provide a great insurance policy on overall antioxidant and fruit and vegetable benefits. Now – this by no means is saying do not eat fruits and veggies as we all should make a conscious effort on including them in our day as the fiber benefits are important. Even fresh produce is not the same nutrition wise as it was decades ago. Studies have shown large drops in 13 important nutrients; calcium, protein, phosphorus, iron, vitamin C and more from fruits and vegetables today versus the same plants in 1950. Reason being – nutrient depleted soil, mass production of produce, herbicides and pesticides, and lack of crop rotation. So in truth, even if we did up our fruits and vegetables a day (to even 10 servings) besides the fact that we would be full beyond belief we would not even get the nutrients they were intended to hold.

This year I started researching and using a product called Juice Plus +. To date it is the MOST extensively studied children’s product with over 100,00 kids in the study. Juice Plus + is a comprehensive blend of 17 fruits and vegetables encompassing whole food antioxidant support.

When taking Juice plus +…berries-on-white_h528nb

  • 70% of kids ate more fruits and vegetables
  • 79% of kids drank more water
  • kids sick 74% LESS
  • 61% of kids scored better in school

Even adults had amazing improvements:

  • 79% of adults ate more fruits and veggies , drank more water and ate less fast food, soft drinks and sugar beverages
  • 53% less prescription medication
  • 62% less days missed at work due to being ’sick’

Why such amazing results we ask? It is real food, real antioxidants with real research. My husband and I both have noticed amazing changes in our body, our aches, our skin and our immune health. Click here to learn more. Another great perk (besides savings in less doctor visits, medications, and less work missed) is your child can participate in the study and take the product for free, with either mom or dad taking the product themselves.

Real food gives real results.

Thanksgiving on the WAIST

October 1st, 2009

Thanksgiving is a time of year we come to appreciate what we have. With the family festivities comes tables amongst tables of food choices that make us waddle out the front door.

What are some things we can do to keep the calorie content down?

  • wear fitted clothing (when our clothes are a bit snug on us we are already uncomfortable and this is a mindless way to keep the calories down)
  • have a protein or fiber rich snack before you go
  • examples: cottage cheese with raspberries or baby carrots with nut butter
  • only do 1 helping of the meal – NO SECONDS
  • mentally prep your brain before you go on what item or drink you would like to have. This does not mean you can have all treats but pick the one you really enjoy and stick to just that. Bites of everything really add up fast.
  • put your fork down between bites (you eat less this way and allow your brain to find the feeling of fullness sooner)
  • make it a point of moving your feet the day of and day before the activity (any extra calories burned are great)

Ways your food items add up:pumpkin-pie-3

1 slice pumpkin pie with with ice cream = 400 calories

Mashed potatoes and 1/2 cup stuffing with gravy = 500 calories

A dinner roll = 150 calories

    … with butter = 200 calories

Want a healthier turkey stuffing – at only 100 calories per 1/2 cup?

Click here…


Some holiday meals can impress upon your body over 3,000 Calories!  In short – be aware of every bite.  Happy Turkey Time!

Getting More Sleep

September 30th, 2009


woman_insomniaIt is common for many of us to experience occurrences of poor sleep.  With work projects adding up or children events in every district it can be hard to keep up to daily demands.

There are a few things that can be stealing sleep hours from you.  


1) Do a stress level check.

If you find your brain is having a hard time shutting off – high cortisol could be the culprit.  Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands and gives us energy for emergency situations.  With high stress over an enxtended period of time cortisol continues to be produced at higher levels than normal which keeps our brain going even at the wee hours of the night.  Two herbs that have been used for thousands of years in cortisol management are Magnolia and Phellodendron.

2) Caffeine

Caffeine in any form can linger in our bodies for up to 12 hours whether it be from coffee, tea, chocolate or pop.  Make it a goal to not have any caffeine after lunch and see how you do.

3) Energy Drinks

These cold beverages do not only have caffeine but taurine also.  Taurine is an amino acid that gives you an alert state. My advice: say no.

4) Tyramine

This is another amino acid that gives release to a brain stimulant called nor-epinephrine.  Nor-epinephrine gives you energy which can keep you awake.  Foods you find this in you can avoid in the supper hour (or evening) – pork products, tomatoes, red wine, peppers, smoked meat, chocolate and fish.

5) Spicy Food

Spicy herbs or seasonings can lead to indigestion or heartburn which can be very difficult to sleep through.  Try to keep the spicy bites for earlier in the day.

6) Speed eating and or heavy food

The faster we eat the more gas we produce (as we tend to swallow air) and this can cause many digestive disturbances.  Have you ever had a buffet meal and had huge belly aches right after?  The smartest advice is to keep your supper meal light and really sit back to enjoy it. One great tip is to put your fork down in between bites as this gives you no choice but to slow down.


Some foods can help give you better sleep as the power of tryptophan can work sleep wonders

.  Ideas you may want to add in:

  • lower fat dairy (cottage cheese, milk)
  • Hummus or lentils
  • Sesame and or sunflower seeds
  • Hazelnuts and or peanuts
  • Whole grains

Some quick easy examples:

Ryvita crackers with nut butter and sprinkled sesame seeds


Hazelnuts with yoghurt

Warm milk

Banana with natural nut butter

5 Whole Grain crackers with hummus