3 Reasons To Stop Eating Cereal… And What To Replace It With

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You wake up late because you had a horrible night’s sleep, so instead of taking the extra 3 minutes to have eggs or make a shake you quickly chug down a bowl of cereal or eat a bagel (same as cereal).

The box of cereal claimed that it was whole grain (as was the bagel) so you wrongly believe that it must be an okay choice. You grab your large cup of coffee with 2 milks and 2 sugars and head to the office.

What happens at 10:00am?

The familiar feeling of hunger sets in around mid-morning. You walk to the office kitchen to grab your fat-free, fruit flavored yogurt for 60 calories and take another cup of coffee.

By lunch all you can think about is either a burger with fries or a big plate of Thai noodles (you get the point).

Why? Have you ever stopped to think about why you crave what you crave?

Let’s work through the 3 reasons to ditch cereal once and for all. *Note the reference to cereal is a general example. Replace cereal with whatever processed carb you choose for breakfast (whole wheat toast, English muffin, breakfast bar, etc.)

Reason # 1: Cereal promotes fast carbohydrate metabolism

When we consume high impact carbs (cereals, whole wheat, processed carbs) without adding in a significant amount of protein or fat the carb is quickly digested into glucose.

When carbs digest quickly into glucose your pancreas is forced to secrete insulin (fat storing hormone). Since most of us are sedentary we don’t need the energy from the carb we just ate. Our muscle cells are full with glucose waiting to be used so insulin deposits the glucose (carbs) to your fat cells for later use (which we never use).

Reason # 2: Processed cereals increase food cravings

Using the logic listed in reason # 1 we can better understand cravings. When you choose fast digesting carbs your blood sugar levels increase quickly and drop quickly.

When your blood sugar levels drop your body sends you a craving to regulate them again. It’s a physiological response that is intense and hard to ignore.

Reason # 3: Cereals lack protein and fat

Starting your day with a breakfast high in protein and fat helps to regulate blood sugar and keep you satisfied. Protein supports your immune system and keeps energy levels stable. Fats are important for proper hormonal function and balance.

When your breakfast choices are made up of processed carbs such as muffins, refined breads, sugary cereals then you are setting yourself up for food cravings, energy lows and a day long battle with your will power.

Instead, check out 4 of my favourite breakfasts below to help balance those hormones and curb those cravings.

Breakfast # 1

2 whole eggs (scrambled)
2 handfuls of chopped kale or spinach (cooked with the eggs)
1 tsp of coconut oil or butter
1 slice of sprouted grain bread – I LOVE Silver Hills brand
¼ – ½ of an avocado mashed
1 cup berries (any kind)

 

  • Preheat pan over medium heat, add 1 tsp of coconut oil.
  • Whisk the 2 eggs in a bowl and add the 2 handfuls of green.
  • Pour into the pan and scramble.
  • Toast the bread and then top with the mashed avocado and scrambled eggs.
  • Enjoy with the berries on the side.

 

Breakfast # 2

1 scoop of protein powder – I LOVE Genuine Health Fermented Greens Protein (if you don’t want to use protein powder, add ¼ cup hemp seeds)
1 cup unsweetened almond, cashew or coconut milk (add more if desired)
1 cup frozen berries
1 tbsp of chia seeds
½ tsp cinnamon
2 handfuls of spinach

  • Blend and enjoy.

Breakfast # 3

½ cup steel cut or slow cooking oats (plain) (cooked)
¼ cup unsweetened almond, cashew or coconut milk (to mix with oats)
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1 tbsp of hemp seeds
1 scoop of protein powder (mixed into oats)
½ cup of berries

  • Cook the oats as per the package instructions.
  • Once cooked, protein powder (as per instructions below), almond milk, chia, hemp and berries. Enjoy!

Tip: How to mix protein powder into oatmeal

  1. Start with 2 tbsp of warm (not boiling) water or milk in a bowl.
  2. Pour a scoop of protein powder into the bowl and mix until smooth.
  3. If the consistency is too clumpy, add small amounts of water or milk until it mixes smooth.
  4. Once the oatmeal is cooked or warmed, add the warm protein mixture to the oatmeal.
  5. Stir until blended.

 

Breakfast #4

½ cup plain Greek yogurt (or coconut yogurt)
¼ cup granola (home-made is always best but if in a rush, I LOVE Nature’s Path granola)
3 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cup raspberries or blueberries

  • Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy!

 

All of these choices can be partially or fully made ahead of time. They are quick and simple to make. Best of all when you eat breakfasts like the ones listed above you won’t experience intense food cravings, you will feel full, have more energy and be able to make better food choices throughout the day.

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Campus Living – Eating Well Away From Home

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It may only seems like yesterday that you sent your little ones off for their first day at Kindergarten but this Fall it’s time for them to begin new adventures. Some are headed off to College or University this September and others have found jobs and are ready to leave the nest. It is with this in mind that I wanted to offer a little advice on eating well away from home.

Here’s the scoop, great minds and bodies are not fueled on macaroni & cheese, pizza, burgers and candy! When you eat ‘junk’ food on a regular basis, you begin to feel a little like ‘junk’. A wise person once said, “You are what you eat.” There is a lot of truth to that statement.

Food is our fuel. What we choose to eat affects how well we sleep, pay attention in class, get tasks done, and the strength of our immune system. Many young adults when leaving home for the first time will binge eat some of the foods that they wouldn’t normally have had access to on a daily basis simply because it is available. This can lead to unwanted weight gain, skin eruptions and digestive issues.

Here are a few things to ask them to keep in mind before packing their bags:

  • If you are going to school and will be eating on campus, look up menus ahead of time. Having a chance to get used to what is offered will give you time to plan out your weekly routine a little before arriving. It might even mean saving a little extra cash. Perhaps your school has special features each day that are a value priced. If pizza is your most favourite food in the world, plan to eat that no more than once per week and opt for the veggie slice.
  • Just because sweets and treats are available all day long doesn’t mean that you should eat it at every meal. Pick one or two days of the week to eat a dessert type item. Enjoy it earlier in the day so as to burn off that extra sugar.
  • Become familiar with local grocery stores. Download an app on your phone that allows you to view fliers based on the postal code you enter. This way you’ll know what is on sale and even be able to price match at certain stores.
  • Do you have a favourite home cooked meal? Make sure you learn how to cook it before you leave home. Making it yourself will give you that taste of home when far away or having a crummy day. Even if you are in residence and unable to cook, one of your new friend’s is bound to have access to a kitchen.
  • Don’t have a kitchen? Find out ahead of time if you can bring along a kettle and a small personal blender. With these two simple appliances you can make hot drinks, (this will save you a heap of money if you like coffee, tea or hot chocolate), oatmeal, smoothies and guacamole. Will you have access to a microwave and fridge with freezer? If so, why not bring some frozen family favourites to school. Pop them in the microwave and you have a quick and healthy meal. Avoid purchasing store bought frozen foods as they are often quite high in sodium, fat, sugar and empty calories – even the healthy looking ones.
  • Go every week to the grocery store and pick up a few healthy choices. Bananas, apples, pears, oranges and grapes make for a healthy and budget friendly snack and helps you get in your fruit for the day. If you have access to a fridge, stock it with carrots, cucumbers, peppers, baby spinach, healthy salad dressing, hummus, white cheese, milk and a little 100% juice. Pick up a box of whole grain crackers and raw nut butter. Now you have the makings of a few different healthy snacks – veggies & hummus, salad, cheese or nut butter & crackers and smoothies. Don’t forget to pack a cutting board, a small paring knife and a container to store your veggies in.
  • Avoid the late night trips out for wings or pizza. Eating those types of food right before bed is asking for disrupted sleep, indigestion and extra pounds. Instead, try having those foods sporadically and earlier in the day. Completely denying those types of food may make you crave it all the more. Allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy once in awhile as long as you are eating healthy most of the time.
  • Instead of late night snacking, have something mid-evening such as apple slices with almond butter, guacamole with pepper strips, a handful of nuts with blueberries or plain Greek yogurt with strawberries. Got a hot air popcorn popper? It is a great way to meet new friends! There is nothing like the smell of fresh popcorn to bring people out of their rooms looking for you!

This is an exciting time in your child’s life! There will be great days and their fair share of challenges. No one said being growing up is easy but it sure is an adventure – let’s just try to encourage them to eat well while you are doing it!

Quesadillas have always been one of my favourite meals and super quick and easy to make. Here’s my recipe for veggie & black bean quesadillas, print this off and give to your son/daughter before they leave. for school.

Veggie & Black Bean Quesadillas

Bell peppers, red onion, spinach, tomatoes (chopped)

Shredded Mexican cheese blend

Refried black beans or whole black beans (or shredded chicken can be substituted)

Taco seasoning (see below)

Parchment paper

High fiber tortillas

Salsa

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a small pan, heat beans over medium heat. Add taco seasoning to beans, stir until mixed through and heat for about 5 min until beans are cooked through.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Lay tortillas out on the baking sheet. On each tortilla, spread 1/4 cup beans, 2-3 Tbsp cheese, and veggies.
  • Fold tortillas over, and broil on low for 10 minutes or until tortillas are browned and crispy on top. Serve with salsa & enjoy!

If there is no oven available, these can be heated in a pan for 2-3 minutes each side until starting to brown.

Taco Seasoning

1 Tbsp chili powder

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

¼ tsp dried oregano

1 ½ tsp ground cumin½ tsp paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

 

How To Choose The Right Cooking Oil

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With so many different oils out there it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with which one to use. Here’s my guide to help you decode the labels and figure out what oils to buy and cook with.

Cooking With Oil

High Heat Cooking:

Heat oil until aromatic, then quickly add food. If heated until ripples form, oil is too hot and close to smoke point. Let cool, wipe out and start again. Another option is to cook with a small amount of water in the pan and then at the end of cooking, add the oil. This way the oil is not in contact with heat for very long and yet you can keep the flavor of the food.

  1. Coconut Oil: Contains mostly saturated fat and therefore highly stable at high temperatures. Lower in calories than most fats and oils because of high amount of medium- chain fatty acids that don’t get stored as fat but rather burned as energy.
  2. Butter: An animal fat, which is mostly saturated. Contains whey and casein; buy only organic, ideally grass-fed, raw is best.
  3. Ghee (clarified butter): Pure butterfat made from removing milk solids and water from butter (low heat and cheese cloth filter). Great for cooking since it is pure fat, with the milk proteins removed.
  4. Red Palm Oil — Red palm oil is made from the palm fruit instead of the palm kernel, and in its unrefined state, it is high in vitamin E and beta-carotene. It’s also stable under high heat and great for cooking.  Make sure when buying palm oil that it is certified sustainable.

Moderate Heat (Light Saute):

  1. Olive Oil: Olive oil is a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats but at temperatures over 200 it can oxidize, which is not good for the body so only use it for low-heat sauteing. Store in a tightly closed container, ideally colored glass, in a cool cupboard for up to a year.
  2. Sesame Oil (unrefined): Also very stable because it contains a high amount of natural antioxidant. Toasted is made from toasted seeds and is dark in color with a strong aroma. This oil can burn so use as a seasoning agent or garnish and it has a nice light flavor great for stir-fries.
  3. Canola/Rape Seed Oil: This oil is controversial because of its processing. Some people say that it needs to be avoided altogether because it is such a hard seed that getting the oil out requires a lot of processing. Also contains 10 percent omega-3 oils, which makes it very fragile. Others say it is OK for baking at low temperatures. Others say that in spite of omega-3 oils, it is able to withstand higher heat. If buying canola oil, make sure it’s either certified organic or part of the non-GMO project verified as canola is over 90% genetically modified

Cold Use/Raw (no cooking):

  1. Almond oil
  2. Avocado oil
  3. Grapeseed oil – this always used to be promoted as a healthy oil to cook with as it has a high smoke point but recently more studies are disputing this. Yes it does have a high smoke point but grapeseed oil is mostly polyunsaturated fats, which are unstable. It can oxidize easily when exposed to light, air and heat so is in fact very delicate.
  4. Hazelnut oil
  5. Pumpkin seed oil
  6. Flax seed oil
  7. Hemp seed oil
  8. Sunflower seed oil
  9. Walnut oil

Buying Oil: 

Oil should smell and taste like the food it came from. It should be stored in glass and should have a date of manufacture/best used by date.

Definitions:

  1. Cold Pressed: This means extracted without using heat.
  2. Expeller Pressed: Extracted using a screw-type machine that presses the oil out. Can be done slowly, with very little heat or can be done quickly with lots of friction and high temperatures.
  3. Extra Virgin: The first cold pressing which contains the best tasting and most healthful oils. Must contain less than 1 percent acids. By definition, this is cold-pressed and first pressed, so don’t need to see these terms on the label. Must say 100% extra virgin, or may be a blend.
  4. Virgin: The first cold pressing, but can contain a little more acids than the extra-virgin (1-3 percent).
  5. High Oleic: Seeds that have been genetically manipulated to decrease the amount of essential fatty acids so that they have a longer shelf  life.
  6. Unrefined Oils: Are left in their state after pressing – no filtering. These oils tend to be more flavorful and richer in nutrients, however they have a very low smoke point.
  7. Refined: Oils have their impurities filtered out, to increase stability and allow for higher temperature cooking. The processing can use toxic solvents, caustic soda, bleaches and phosphoric acid.

My recipe for you this week is one of my favourite salad dressing recipes. It uses olive oil and hemp or flax oil so lots of beneficial omega 3 fats to nourish your body:

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (I like Braggs or Omega Nutrition brands)

1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 1/2 Tbsp hemp or flax oil

1 Tbsp honey

1 to 2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground fennel

  • Whisk all ingredients together and use on your favourite salad.

The 5 Fats You Should Be Eating

Whole and half avocado isolated on white.

Yes, we know, we’ve all heard it over and over… AVOID FAT…but what a lot of us don’t realize is that fat is a vital part of staying healthy with a balanced diet, it’s just the right kind of fat that’s important so here are my top 5 fats to include in your diet, starting today!

  1. Avocados are an excellent source of the heart healthy monounsaturated fat and protein.  The protein in avocados is more easily digested as it contains fiber, which also aids in keeping you full longer.
  • Oleic acid is the primary fatty acid in avocados and is shown to improve cardiovascular health.
  • They boost HDL (good cholesterol) levels which protect against damage from free radicals and help in preventing diabetes.
  • Phytosterols, one of the major fats in an avocado, aids in the reduction of inflammation, helping those with arthritis.

2. Coconut Oil seems to be the oil of the moment, but in fact, it’s been around for hundreds of years.  It is produced from the ‘meat’ of the coconut, and has a neutral flavour when used for food preparation. The many benefits of coconut oil include:

  • Coconut oil’s triglycerides (fatty acids) are shorter, and are metabolized differently, having positive effects on the brain, aiding in disorders such as Alzheimer’s or epilepsy.
  • The MCFAs (medium chain fatty acids) are digested and utilized differently than most They go directly to the liver where they are converted into energy and they help control blood sugar and are not stored as fat and ultimately leads to a reduction in fatty deposits and weight reduction
  • Lauric acid is a substance found only in breast milk and coconut oil. It’s a potent , anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral agent that can either kill or disrupt the growth of many viruses and Think of it as your #1 germ fighter. (Also great for combating yeast!)
  • Coconut oil appears to double the body’s ability to use antioxidant omega-3 fatty
  • Coconut oil is an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry There is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin with the application of coconut oil, making it a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.
  • Coconut oil has been shown to restore thyroid function, resulting in lean tissue and an increase in energy. This in turn has a positive effect on your metabolic rate.

3. Chia Seeds are from a plant in the mint family, and is native to Mexico and Guatemala.  They come in a variety of colours…white, black or dark brown…and come either whole or milled to use in many different preparations. Check out my recipe at the end of this blog for my strawberry chia pudding.

  • The tiny seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, almost 5 grams in a 1 ounce serving, which aids in brain health.
  • Chia seeds help fight belly fat by stabilizing blood sugar levels.
  • Loaded with 27% of your daily required amount of phosphorus, these seeds help to keep your bones and teeth healthy, as well as aiding with tissue repair.

4. Olive oil is a staple that everyone has in their panty, and over the years has been proven to be one of the healthier oils you should use in your daily diet.

  • The main type of fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids, which can help to lower your cholesterol as well as regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Olive oil is packed with polyphenols, an antioxidant that helps in protecting your cells from damage, as well as aiding in the reduction of inflammation in the body.
  • Consuming olive oil as a part of your balanced diet has been proven to help in preventing depression.

5. Hemp Oil is one of the newer oils to hit fame, but its health properties are proven.  It is extracted from the hemp plant.  Cold pressed oil has a nutty flavour, but when refined it becomes much milder in taste.

  • Hemp seed oil contains the lowest amount of unsaturated fats of all the plant oils, which makes it a heart healthy fat.
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 are perfectly balanced in this oil, making it a great source of essential fatty acids.
  • Hemp oil is made up of 25% protein, and compared to other oils, it provides amino acids and the protein needed by your body without the addition of unwanted calories.

So remember, not all fats are created equal.  Add some ‘healthy’ fat to your diet and you’ll reap the benefits. Stay tuned for my blog next week where I will give you my guide to buying and cooking with oils.

Strawberry Chia Pudding

2 cups fresh strawberries, washed and stems removed

1 ½ cups coconut milk

2-3 Tbsp raw honey or maple syrup.

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

¾ tsp finely grated lime zest

1/2 cup chia seeds

  • Put the strawberries, coconut milk, honey, vanilla and lime zest in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add more honey if needed.
  • Put the chia seeds in a large bowl and pour the strawberry mix on top and whisk thoroughly. Let it stand for 10 minutes then whisk again.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 2-3 days. Stir the pudding before serving. The longer it sits, the thicker the pudding will become. If it is too thick, just add a little water.
  • Spoon into bowls and top with fresh strawberry slices.

My First Canadian Camping Experience

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Growing up in England, camping was never a family tradition. I can only remember camping out a couple of times in my life so when my husband suggested we join our good friends and go camping as a family, my immediate reaction was to say hell no but after some persuading and promise of a blow up mattress for me to sleep on, I agreed.

I was truly spoilt as my first Canadian camping experience took me to Kilber Provincial Park and it was so beautiful. One of my favourite parts of the trip was when I woke up the first morning and looked up and I could see the blue sky and trees through the top of the tent, what a great way to start the day.

I knew while preparing for this trip that alot of the traditional camping food is not the healthiest but as you can’t take the Nutritionist out of me I still wanted these few days away to be relatively healthy so I thought I would share with you the food that made the cut for the Grime & Morrow camping trip.

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal with maple syrup & fresh fruit (pre-cut melon & berries)
  • Eggs, bacon, fresh fruit
  • Other great alternatives would be Greek yogurt, granola & fruit or pre-made chia pudding

Lunch

  • Bakery bought fresh dinner rolls with nitrate free luncheon meat
  • 100% beef all natural hotdogs from Lifechoices
  • Pre-cut veggies & Hummus
  • Another great lunch alternative would be a hearty salad made with quinoa, beans or whole-grain pasta salad, i think i will do this next time.

Dinner

  • Beef & shrimp tacos with salsa, home-made aioli and corn slow-cooked over the fire
  • Ribs (cooked on Dave`s smoker we brought with us) with potatoes & Super Seven Kale Salad

Snacks

  • Homemade banana bread
  • Neal Brothers Cheese Twists
  • Neal Brothers Blue Corn Tortillas
  • Home-made Salsa (checkout the recipe below)
  • Apple & almond butter
  • A home-made trail mix would be another great option for a healthy snack with some raw nuts & seeds, dried fruit and even some dark chocolate chips thrown in.

I can’t lie, there was a bag of Doritos, some juice and some S’mores thrown in too but hey, you should all know by now that I am about balance and a big believer in the 80/20 rule. Be good 80% of the time and the other 20% shouldn’t be enough to tip the scales on your health.

I have included one of the only photos i took while camping of Dave and our boys fishing. I would have taken more but my phone died very early on and to be honest, it was nice to be away from technology and be totally present with my family & friends and take in the beautiful surroundings. Just don’t tell Dave how much I enjoyed myself otherwise he will be planning our whole Summer camping next year and I’m not quite sure I’m ready for that yet 🙂

Salsa

3 medium tomatoes

1/2 cup cilantro

2 garlic cloves

1 small red onion

juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper

Combine the above ingredients in your food processor or high powered blender and pulse until mixed and to your desired consistency, i like my chunky!