Tip Tuesday: Consumption

Have you ever had a green smoothie? Or any smoothie for that matter? I’ve recently been replacing meals with smoothies as they are convenient, quick, and provide most of the nutrients I need.

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For example, this morning I had a smoothie made with:

2 cups strawberries
1 cup pineapple
1 cup water
1/2 banana
1 cup spinach
1 cup kale
1tsp spirulina
1tbs chia seeds

Sometimes my friends look at me with my smoothie and ask “Is that all you’re going to have?!” Yes, it’s just a drink but if you really think about it, you’re body is consuming ALL that food! It’s not just a drink, it’s a blend of fruits and veggies all packed in a cup. This is how smoothies, shakes, and other supplements can be meal replacers. You’re body is essentially intaking all those nutrients in liquid form. Easy and quick to consume. Adding ingredients like chia seeds and flax seeds also help make you full longer.

So next time you feel like all you’re having is just a smoothie, try laying out all the ingredients that go into your smoothie before blending to have an idea of what you’re actually consuming.

 

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Food Fact Friday: Produce codes

Ever wonder what those stickers on your produce mean? Maybe they’re an indication of where your fruit or veggie came from? Or perhaps how they were grown?

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The number on these stickers is called PLU (Price Look-Up) code. (credit: Consumer Reports)

  • A five-digit number that starts with a 9 means the item is organic.
  • A four-digit code beginning with a 3 or a 4 means the produce is probably conventionally grown. For example, regular small lemons sold in the U.S. are labeled 4033, large are 4053; small organic lemons are coded 94033, large are 94053.
  • A five-digit code that starts with an 8 means the item is genetically modified (it has genes from other organisms). You won’t see many of those because only genetically modified versions of cornsoybeans, canola, cotton, papaya, and squash are now widely sold. And because PLU codes aren’t mandatory, companies can label those items as conventional. The problem is that although an estimated 60 to 70 percent of food items sold, including packaged goods, have genetically modified ingredients, little is known about the long-term effects of consuming them, and concerns have been raised about an increase in allergies and other health issues. For more info, visit the Non-GMO Shopping Guide website.

Next time you pick up a veggie and wonder why it’s so abnormally big, maybe turn it over to look at the sticker. For more information regarding the regulation of PLU codes visit Canadian Products Marketing Association.

Scallion pancakes

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (I substituted with 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup room temperature water
3 stalks of scallion (or green onion)
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
salt & pepper

Instructions:

1. Whisk flour and salt in a bowl.
2. Add water to flour and salt mixture.
3. Using your fingers, slowly combine the flour and water. If the dough is dry or not coming together, slowly add 1 tsp of water at a time until you can form a ball.
4. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Kneed the dough for about 5 minutes.
5. Use plastic wrap and cover the dough. Let it rest at room temperature for about 30 mins.
6. Divide the dough into fours. Work each section at a time and keep the other pieces covered to prevent from drying out.
7. Use a rolling pin and roll the dough out to about 7″ discs.
8. Lightly brush with toasted sesame oil. Sprinkle about 2 tbs of scallions and a dash of salt & pepper.
9. Roll the dough, like a cigarette, then coil it into a spiral, tucking the tail end underneath. Roll this out to about ¼” thick (to get a disc about 5″ across). Set aside and cover, while you roll out the remaining dough pieces. (See the step-by-step pictures above).
10. Fry 1 pancake at a time, in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, using about 1 tbs olive oil per pancake, until golden brown on each side, 1½ – 2 minutes per side.

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Banana nut bar

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Ingredients:

1 ripe banana
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 sunflower seeds
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup pecans
1/3 cup sundried cranberries (or any dried fruits)
2 tbs almond butter
2 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs cinnamon
1tbs honey

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Place on wax paper and form into any shape you would like.
3. Depending on how thick you’ve formed the bar, bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Cool for 30 mins before cutting into pieces.

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I treat these as energy bars. Great for a mid-afternoon snack when you’re starting to head bob at the desk or need a boost of energy before workouts.

Dr. Oz 3 day detox cleanse

I recently completed the Dr. Oz 3 day cleanse. I began this cleanse as a challenge for myself to see if I would feel any better and hopefully lose some weight.

I must admit I didn’t follow the cleanse to the T as I substituted some of the ingredients with what I already had in my fridge.

Dr. Oz's 3-Day Detox Cleanse One-Sheet

Day 1

Morning detox tea – It was a bit difficult for me to have tea in the morning so I generally have it after my breakfast. I also skipped the stevia as I didn’t feel like I needed it.

Breakfast – the smoothie is delicious and kept me full all morning! I would have it around 7:30am and wouldn’t experience any hunger until 11:30am – 12:00pm.

Lunch – This has got to be by far the most disgusting thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. The recipe yields a LOT. It was so bad I actually couldn’t drink it at work and had to wait until after I got home to hopefully make it taste better with some added fruits. I went home and added a cup of strawberries and 1 mango which still made it taste volatile. There was so much to drink that I actually had it for the next 2 days.

Snack – my lunch smoothie was my snack and it kept me full enough that I didn’t need to have dinner

Day 2

I only had 3 smoothies – breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also managed to work out for about an hour with cardio and weight training. I wasn’t tired but after my workout I usually replenish myself with some high protein foods such as cottage cheese however, in this case, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to take. I just showered and went to bed feeling the workout was quite ineffective.

Day 3

I had 3 smoothies on my last day. I must admit, I had a macaron making class with a few girlfriends and had some treats – 1 macaron, 1 truffle, and 1 lemon meringue during our get together.

Overall, the cleanse made me less toned. I had to pee more often and the colour of it was yellow. I drink about 2 – 3 litres of water regularly so usually it’s quite clear. I lost about 2.5 but felt like most of it was muscle mass.

Personally, I wouldn’t do the cleanse again as it didn’t make me feel any different from my regular eating habits. And the weight loss didn’t make up for the muslces gained from all those gym sessions!

For more information on the cleanse: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/dr-ozs-3-day-detox-cleanse-one-sheet

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Food Fact Friday: Eggs

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Are eggs bad for you? High in cholesterol and fat? The truth is, the yolks are the real powerhouse of nutrients in an egg. Its nutrients range from vitamins A, D, E, several B vitamins and choline to minerals such as calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc and selenium. Additionally, egg yolks are high in protein and carbohydrates, making them an ideal food for energy needs.

However, the good does come with some bad. The yolk contains more than half of the entire egg’s calories as well as all the fats and cholesterol.

I wouldn’t suggest consuming more than 2 eggs a day and although we see more recipes calling for just egg whites, I don’t recommend throwing out the yolk to reduce your calorie intake either! Egg yolks are not bad just like how chocolate is not bad for your health however, everything in moderation won’t hurt your diet.

If you’re really looking to cut the fat and cholesterol but still want a good source of protein, I suggest purchasing carton egg whites. Make sure the ingredient label reads 100% egg whites. They’re versatile and ready to use.

Feature Friday: Be beautiful super salad

This recipe was introduced to me at my monthly potluck we have in the office. It’s super simple to make and sits well for the next 2 days as the flavours marry together even more. The original recipe is from Daily Bites Blog which features a variety of delicious healthy recipes.

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1 pound brussel sprouts, trimmed, outer leaves removed
2 large carrots grated
1 large diced apple
1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
2 tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbs honey
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil (I used one infused with sundried tomatoes for more flavour)
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 tbs ground ginger
sea sald & pepper to taste

It’s so good I had a big bowl of it for dinner!

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Tip Tuesday: Read your ingredient labels!

I can’t seem to stress this enough. In food labeling today, marketing plays a key role in effecting purchasing behaviour. Food companies spend millions of dollars on product display, brand, labeling, and key words that essentially play a part in our buying decisions whether it is providing a “ligther”, “heathlier”, “low calorie” option, bare in mind that it’s all marketing!

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For example, this nutribar weight loss plan bar that I found at a local Pharmasave. Its a “meal replacement” and marketed a as a good contributor if you’re trying to lose weight. At the bottom it says”Sweetened with sugar, glucose, maltitol, honey & sorbitol”. Excuse me but did it just list a whole bunch of sugar and artificial sweeteners?

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Unfortunately I was unable to capture the nutrition label however, I don’t expect it to be anything great for your diet just by looking at the ingredients. No 1. ingredient is protein blend and No. 2 chocolate flavoured coating which sugar is the main ingredient.

We all know what sugar does to you. Sugar spikes your insulin causing your body to store fat. This box of chocolately goodness is quite deceiving isn’t it? If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t just read the food packages. Make sure to also check the ingredients.

Meal prep Monday

I have recently began meal prepping and I must say it is more work than I had anticipated. I have very limited space to work with which may contribute to a longer prep time however, I can’t stress enough that it is well worth the effort!

Meal prepping helps eliminate the everyday questions of “what should I eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner?”

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If you’re always on the go, always “too busy” but would like to eat healthier, I would definitely suggest meal prepping.