Clean Eating at Costco

Costco shop

The first time i went to Costco was with my husband when i moved to Canada and we walked out spending hundreds of dollars – i was in shock. I didn’t go back for a long time as it was just the 2 of us and we didn’t eat alot of the food there but in the last few years since our family has grown it has become one of my favourite places to shop for groceries.

They have begun to dip their toes in the world of real food and clean eating and so I thought it was time i share my Costco shopping list with you.

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Anything goes here as it is all REAL FOOD!

Meat/Poultry/Seafood

  • They do organic chicken & beef but I still tend to get my meat from local farms in our area.

Cooler Items

  • Fontaine Hummus
  • Happy Planet Soups
  • Dr Brew or GTs Kombucha
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Butter
  • Almond Milk
  • Babybel
  • Cheese
  • Goat Cheese

Freezer Items

  • Frozen Fruit (I love the Nature’s Touch brand)
  • Frozen Vegetables
  • Frozen Edamame
  • Smoked Salmon

Breads

  • Silver Hills Sprouted Grain bread
  • Stonemill bread
  • Ozery Bakery Morning Rounds & Pita

Snack Foods

  • Simply Protein Bars
  • Kind Bars
  • Prana Trail Mix (Kilimanjaro is my favourite!)
  • R W Garcia Beet or Turmeric Crackers
  • Mary’s Organic Crackers
  • Kale Chips
  • Coconut Slices

Dry Goods

  • Tru Roots Ancient Grain Pasta
  • GoGo Quinoa Pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Chickpea or Bean Pasta
  • Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats
  • Bean Soup Mix
  • Dried Fruit (figs, dates, raisins, apricots)
  • Dutch Processed Baking Cocoa
  • Almond Flour
  • Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • Chia Seed
  • Hemp Seed
  • Flaxseed
  • Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • Raw Cashews
  • Raw Almonds
  • Almond Butter
  • Crofters Jam
  • Unsweetened Applesauce
  • Organic Diced Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Tomato Sauce (Passata in the glass jar)
  • Coconut Milk
  • Black Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Light Tuna
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Chosen Foods or Primal Mayo
  • San J Tamari Sauce
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Spices

I think that’s it for now, the great thing is that every time i hit Costco, which is normally every 3 months or so, there is always something new. What are your favourite Costco finds? Hit reply and let me know I would love to find out if i’m missing out on something delicious?

Now you guys know by now that peaches are my favourite fruit but apples come a very close second with honeycrisp being at the top of my list! We are right in the middle of apple season so I thought I would share my recipe for Slow Cooker Applesauce, it’s super easy and way tastier than the versions you find in the stores. I’ll be sharing lots of other apple recipes soon, stay tuned!

Advertisements

What is Intermittent Fasting?

If you follow the health or weight loss trends then you’ve probably heard of intermittent fasting, but do you know what it means?

To be honest, when i first heard the term i was “here we go, another fasting/detox diet” but I was wrong. Once i did my research and found out what it was all about it sparked my interest and thought it was worth a try.

Intermittent Fasting is exactly what the name implies, it’s fasting but not continuously. It is NOT a diet. By fasting for a period of time each day it allows your glucose and glycogen stores to be fully utilized before the next meal is eaten. There are different opinions on how long this takes but it’s generally between 12 and 16 hours. For example, if you don’t eat between 8pm and 8am then you have completed 12 hours of intermittent fasting.

There are some other popular ways of fasting. One is called the “Warrior Diet” and involves all your daily eating is carried out in a four-hour window, leaving 20 hours for fastingThere is also “5:2 fasting” where eating is done in a 12 hour period daily (e.g., between 8:00 AM and PM) for five days weekly, with an all-day fast performed on two, non-consecutive days (e.g., Tuesday and Thursday) weekly. These can often be too extreme for beginners so I would definitely ease in by starting with a daily 12 hour fast.

If you are only eating between a specific 8 or 12 hour period in the day, the key is to ensure that you eat sufficiently during that time. Just because you may be eating during a smaller window, that doesn’t give you permission to eat less or to not eat at all. If you are only going to have 2 meals a day then they need to be made of real nutrient rich food to nourish the body and be balanced (check out next weeks blog if you’re not sure what that means.)

Research is beginning to emerge on the benefits of this type of fasting in relation to weight loss, fasting glucose levels, gut microbiome and lifestyle habits such as sleep.

From my own personal experience, I have been doing 12 hour intermittent fasting for a few months now and have noticed that my blood sugar and hunger are definitely more under control i.e. I feel more satisfied and have less cravings and the quality of my sleep has also improved.

If you have tried intermittent fasting, I would love to hear from you with your thoughts?

In the meantime, check out my recipe for Instant Pot Meatballs – they are super easy and quick to make, the meatballs cooked in just 5 minutes, yes you heard right, 5 minutes. I couldn’t believe it either!

References:

https://blog.paleohacks.com/intermittent-fasting-benefits/#

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28715993

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5394735/

 

Medical Conditions & Weight Gain

If you have pounds that just won’t go anywhere no matter what you try, you may want to look into a few things that are medically related.

A common example is underactive thyroid. Thyroid hormone is closely related to metabolism, and a low functioning thyroid can mean a slower metabolism, translating into fewer calories burned.

Some women also retain weight because of estrogen-dominance and symptoms of estrogen dominance can include:

  • PMS
  • Too much body fat around the hips
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • History of gallstones, varicose veins, uterine fibroids, cervical dysplasia, endometriosis or ovarian cysts

Some medication can also lead to weight gain. That includes certain steroids, some antidepressants, anti-seizure medication, diabetes drugs, high blood pressure drugs, as well as certain heartburn drugs.

Of course, for anything related to prescription medication, make sure you discuss your condition with your doctor before making any decisions.

Food sensitivities can also cause the body to retain up to 5 – 8 pounds of water very rapidly. An elimination diet, with the guidance of a trained health professional such as myself, is a good way to find out if food sensitivities are causing weight gain for you. Some usual suspects include gluten, dairy, egg (egg white has higher allergenic potential than egg yolk), and soy.

If any of the above information relates to you, I highly recommend getting further testing through your local Naturopath such as Dr Danielle so you can pinpoint what your sensitivities are.

Has some of this information resonated with you? Are you ready to commit to improving your health but feel like you can’t do it on you own? I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to. Allow me to be your guide, mentor and coach to help you create a healthy lifestyle that you love and that is sustainable. Hit reply and let’s chat.

In the meantime, check out my recipe for 15 Minute Halibut with Dill Pesto. Enjoy!

Dangers of Restrictive Diet Programs

Losing weight using a restrictive diet program is not effective in the long run – most dieters gain back their weight and more, it can also be hazardous to your health.

If a certain food group is avoided, there can be a gap in the nutrition that the dieter is taking in, and this will create deficiency in the long run. Nutrient deficiency is one of the main causes of cravings, which of course can lead to binging and weight gain.

If calorie intake is restricted, the body will slow down metabolism, and when the diet program is over and food intake is back to normal, the body is not burning as much calories and the dieter will gain the weight back just by eating the normal amount.

Restricted caloric intake affects metabolism and can have an impact on thyroid function, and can potentially lead to hypothyroidism.

If body fat level drops too low, it can lead to irregular period (or absence of period altogether). This is caused by low estrogen level – which can also lead to osteoporosis.

Restrictive diets are also not sustainable. On the other hand, a balanced lifestyle that includes a variety of wholesome foods is sustainable, and is the best way to combat cravings (cravings often lead to weight gain).

A few dietary and lifestyle changes can lead to pleasurable and effortless weight loss that can bring you a lifetime of benefits and that is what i teach in my A Healthier You program that is now open for registration.

As it’s back to school/work week following the Summer break, I am sharing one of my simple, one pan meals to help you out on those crazy busy days. Click here to check out my One Pan Chicken, Golden Cauliflower & Carrot Fries.

Enjoy!

 

 

Can my Symptoms Actually be Food Intolerance?

Food intolerances or “sensitivities” can affect you in so many ways and they’re a lot more common than most people think.

I’m not talking about anaphylaxis or immediate allergic reactions that involve an immune response. Those can be serious and life-threatening.  If you have any allergies, you need to steer clear of any traces of foods you are allergic to, and speak with your doctor or pharmacist about emergency medication, if necessary.

What I’m talking about, is an intolerance, meaning you do not tolerate a specific food very well and it causes immediate or chronic symptoms anywhere in the body. Symptoms can take hours or even days to show themselves. And symptoms can be located just about anywhere in the body.

This is what makes them so tricky to identify.

Symptoms of food intolerances

There are some common food intolerances that have immediate and terribly painful gastrointestinal symptoms, such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease. These can cause stomach pain, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea;  symptoms can start immediately after eating lactose or gluten.

On the other hand, other more insidious symptoms may not be linked to foods in an obvious way.

Symptoms like:

  • Chronic muscle or joint pain
  • Sweating, or increased heart rate or blood pressure
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Exhaustion after a good night’s sleep
  • Autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rashes or eczema
  • Inability to concentrate or feeling like your brain is “foggy”
  • Shortness of breath

If your body has trouble digesting specific foods, it can affect your hormones, metabolism, or even cause inflammation and result in any of the symptoms listed above. And these can affect any (or all) parts of the body, not just your gastrointestinal system.

How to prevent these intolerances

The main thing you can do is to figure out which foods or drinks you may be reacting to and stop ingesting them.

I know, I know…this sounds so simple, and yet it can be SO HARD.

The best way to identify your food/drink triggers is to eliminate them.

Yup, get rid of those offending foods/drinks. All traces of them, for three full weeks and monitor your symptoms.

If things get better, then you need to decide whether it’s worth it to stop ingesting them, or if you want to slowly introduce them back one at a time while still looking out to see if/when symptoms return.

Start Here: Two common food intolerances

Here are two of the most common triggers of food intolerances:

  • Lactose (in dairy – eliminate altogether, or look for a “lactose-free” label – try nut or coconut milk instead).
  • Gluten (in wheat, rye, and other common grains – look for a “gluten-free” label – try gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa & gluten-free oats).

This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good place to start because lactose intolerance is thought to affect up to 75% of people, while “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” can affect up to 13% of people.

So, if you can eliminate all traces of lactose and gluten for three weeks, it can confirm whether either or both of these, are a source of your symptoms.

Yes, dairy and grains are a part of many government-recommended food guidelines, but you absolutely can get all of the nutrients you need if you focus on replacing them with nutrient-dense foods.

A reliable way to monitor how you feel after eating certain foods is to track it. After every meal or snack, write down the foods you ate, and any symptoms so you can more easily spot trends.

Click here to download a free copy of my How Food Feels Journal to help you track.

And, as mentioned earlier, symptoms may not start immediately following a meal. You may find, for example, that you wake up with a headache the morning after eating bananas.

You might be surprised what links you can find if you track your food and symptoms well!

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you eliminate something, you need to make sure it’s not hiding in other foods, or the whole point of eliminating it for a few weeks is lost. Restaurant food, packaged foods, and sauces or dressings are notorious for adding ingredients that you’d never think are there. You know that sugar hides in almost everything, but did you also know that wheat is often added to processed meats and soy sauce, and lactose can even be found in some medications or supplements?

When in doubt you HAVE to ask the server in a restaurant about hidden ingredients, read labels, and consider cooking from scratch.

What if it doesn’t work?

If eliminating these two common food intolerances doesn’t work, then you can go one step further to eliminate all dairy (even lactose-free) and all grains (even gluten-free) for three weeks.

You may also choose to see your friendly Naturopath for food sensitivity testing. Dr Danielle Marchildon ND who i work with at Collective Health Clinic can arrange this testing for you.

If you are game for eliminating dairy from your diet click here for my recipes for my recipe for Homemade Almond Milk.  and Chocolate Almond milk they are super easy to make.

Enjoy!

 

References:

http://www.dietvsdisease.org/11-warning-signs-you-have-a-food-intolerance/

https://authoritynutrition.com/lactose-intolerance-101/

https://authoritynutrition.com/signs-you-are-gluten-intolerant/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/food-sensitivities-health-infographic

5 Weight-Loss Friendly Snacks You Will Love

The words “weight-loss” and “snacks” often appear in the same sentence.

But that might also bring thoughts of “tasteless,” “cardboard,” and “completely unsatisfying.”

Right?

Let me give you my best weight-loss friendly snacks that aren’t just nutritious but also delicious!

What’s my criteria you ask?

They have to be nutrient-dense whole foods where a little goes a long way;  foods that contain fiber and/or protein.

1.Nuts

nuts and seed collection (cashew, pecan, hazelnut,pine nuts, pea

It’s true – nuts contain calories and fat, but they are NOT fattening!

Well, I’m not talking about the “honey roasted” ones, of course. Those probably are fattening.

Studies show that people who eat nuts tend to be healthier and leaner.

By the way, nuts also contain protein and fiber, which means a small amount can go pretty far in terms of filling you up. Not to mention the vitamins and minerals you can get from nuts.

Did you know that almonds have been shown to help with weight loss? At least 10% of the fat in them is not absorbed by the body, and almonds can also help to boost your metabolism!

Snack Ideas:  Pair them up with fresh fruit – cashews & raspberries are my favourite! Make up your own trail mix with your favourite nuts & seeds, even add a little dried fruit or dark chocolate to spruce it up. Add nut butter to apples or inside dates.

2. Fruit

Strawberries At Farmer's Market

As with nuts, studies show that people who tend to eat more fruit, tend to be healthier. (I’m sure you’re not too surprised!)

Yes, fresh fruit contains sugar, but whole fruits (I’m not talking juice or sweetened dried fruit) also contain a fair bit of water and fiber; not to mention their nutritional value with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And fresh fruit is low in calories.

Fiber is something that not only helps to fill you up (known as the “satiety factor”) but also helps to slow the release of the fruit sugar into your bloodstream and reduce the notorious “blood sugar spike.”

Win-win!

Try a variety of fruit (apples, pears, berries, etc.) and pair that with a handful of nuts or you just grab a peach dive right in. Peach season is my favourite, the kids & I just can’t get enough of them, if i had to pick a favourite fruit this would be eat – local, fresh, juicy peaches. If i am not eating them on their own, i am adding them to smoothies, coconut yogurt and salads. Check out my recipe for Peach & Sweet Potato Salad below.

Snack Ideas: Well, the obvious is to just eat real fruit. If you can’t do fresh? Try dried or frozen. Plus, they’re already chopped for you. My kids love frozen mango & cherries. Pair an apple with cheddar cheese. Some frozen blueberries with plain Greek yogurt & honey. Wrap some prosciutto around a peach or pear or another of my favourites fill some dates with natural almond butter.

3. Chia seeds

This is one of my personal favourites.

Chia is not only high in fibre (I mean HIGH in fibre), but it also contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids (yes THOSE omega-3s!). As well as antioxidants, calcium, and magnesium.

Can you see how awesome these tiny guys are?

They also absorb a lot of liquid, so by soaking them for a few minutes, they make a thick pudding (that is delicious and fills you up).

Snack Idea: Put two tablespoons in a bowl with ½ cup of coconut milk and wait a few minutes. Add in some berries, chopped fruit or nuts, and/or cinnamon and enjoy. Also check out my recipe below!

4. Boiled or poached eggs

Half Boiled Eggs

Eggs are packed with nutrition and most of it is in the yolk.

They contain a lot of high-quality protein and a good amount of vitamins and minerals.

And recent research shows that the cholesterol in the yolks is NOT associated with high elevated cholesterol or heart disease risk.

Yup, you read that right!

Tip: Boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in your fridge for a super-quick (and nutritious) snack!

5. Vegetables

Organic vegetables on a stand at a farmers market with a sign re

I don’t need to tell you how great these are for you, but just maybe I need to sell you on the delicious “snackability” of these nutrition powerhouses.

Veggies contain fibre and water to help fill you up, and you don’t need me to tell you about their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, right?

You can easily open a bag of baby carrots and/or cherry tomatoes and give them a quick rinse (they’re already bite-sized).

Snack Idea: Use some hummus or gaucamole as a dip or put some nut butter on celery.

Conclusion:

Go ahead and try one, or more, of these healthy snacks. Prepare them the night before if you need to. They will not be “tasteless,” like “cardboard,” or “completely unsatisfying.” Trust me.

As a little bonus, I have included 2 recipes this week a great healthy snack of Banana Chia Crisps. and my Peach & Sweet Potato Salad. Let me know what you think of them.

 

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-most-weight-loss-friendly-foods/

https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/almonds/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/almonds/

https://authoritynutrition.com/is-fruit-good-or-bad-for-your-health/

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/best-fruits-diabetics/

https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/apples/

https://authoritynutrition.com/fresh-vs-frozen-fruit-and-vegetables/

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/eggs/

What Are Your Cravings Trying To Tell You?

A few years ago cravings ruled my life. I was constantly craving sugar or bread and even wine but despite how much i ate/drank i was never satisfied, i still wanted more.

At the time, i didn’t understand that my body was trying to tell me something. Symptoms are our bodies language and cravings are a symptom. It could be caused by nutritional deficiencies, hunger or emotions. Either way, honor your cravings by getting to the root cause, and find out what your body really needs.

Yin/Yang Imbalance

First, let’s look at the concept of Yin/Yang balance.

Eating foods that throw our body out of balance can create food cravings. It is very helpful to look at this idea under the lens of Yin/Yang balance. We can put all our foods along the Yin/Yang spectrum. Yin foods are the ones that are cool and expanding in nature, while Yang foods are ones that are warm and contracting in nature.

When we eat too much Yang foods – such as red meat, salt and egg, our body will want some Yin foods to restore balance. Sugar and alcohol are extreme Yin foods that our body would usually crave.

Armed with this knowledge, you can reduce your sugar cravings by eating less extreme yang foods and instead, choose foods that are more neutral on the spectrum. Examples are whole grains, fish, sea vegetables, beans, root vegetables, and squash.

Energy Quick Fix

Cravings for sugar or refined carbohydrates can happen when our body needs a quick energy fix. Our body can extract energy from sugar very quickly, and is therefore the “food of choice” when a quick fix is needed.

To avoid the need for an energy quick fix, eat for sustained energy. Eat meals that are low in glycemic load – whole unprocessed foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and beans are great choices. They are high in fiber, which moderates the speed at which the sugar is absorbed by the body. Also, make sure you include a moderate amount of good fat and lean protein to slow down stomach emptying and increase satiety.

To support the body’s energy production, increase intake of foods rich in vitamin Bs – they are vital in our body’s energy production cycle. Good choices are whole grains, wheat germ, and brewer’s yeast.

Nutrient Deficiency

Cravings can be a sign of nutrient deficiency. Cravings for different flavor or texture can translate to a lack of various nutrients such as chromium, sulfur and tryptophan.

Tryptophan is an amino acid readily available in animal foods, eggs, dairy products, and some nuts and seeds, and is particularly rich in turkey meat.

Low Protein Intake

If you have a relatively low protein diet and tend to crave sugar and feel fatigue easily, try increasing your protein intake, or experiment with the type of protein in your diet.

Besides meat, fish and milk, you can try nuts and seeds, good quality cheese in moderate amount, as well as eggs, yogurt and beans. For vegetarians, and particularly vegan, pay more attention to food combining to get a complete protein profile from various plant sources.

Dehydration

Cravings can be caused by dehydration. Our body often misinterprets the sensation of thirst and translates that into hunger. Next time when you feel your cravings coming on, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes, and see if you are still hungry.

Click here for my Turkey & Quinoa Zucchini Boats recipe.

Enjoy!