5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet

5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet

Long, grey, cold winters can leave you stuck in a rut craving comfort food. What might make you feel good in winter and fall can leave you feeling heavy and lethargic in the warmer months, though.

Get a jump on summer with these five ways to spring clean your diet.

1. Clear Your Cupboards

If, like me, you turn into a bit of a squirrel in Fall and stock your pantry full to bursting, set aside a few hours and clear out your cupboards. Here’s how:

  1. Lay the complete contents of your cupboard on the kitchen island, counter, or floor to get a full view of your inventory.
  2. Check the expiry dates. Create a pile of food that needs to be used up sooner rather than later.
  3. Create another pile of  “cold-weather comfort food”, such as heavy soups, sauces, and cookies.
  4. To free up space in your cupboards for lighter, summer-friendly fare like quinoa and bulgur, consider donating your “cold-weather comfort food” pile to your local food bank.

Embrace Sunday Meal Prep 2. Embrace Sunday Meal Prep

If cooking a healthy dinner after a long work day is hard for you, try using Sundays for a bit of meal prep. This is as simple as planning a weekly menu and spending an hour or so chopping and bagging fresh vegetables for salads, soups, and stir-fries. This will help you throw together a healthy dinner every weeknight within a matter of minutes.

Meal prep can be done for breakfast too! To avoid picking up a coffee and Danish on the way to work, put together Mason jar smoothies or breakfast bowls for the week. Prepare your dry ingredients, such as PGX Satisfast Vegan Protein, spirulina powder, or another green food powder, in one large jar, then wash, peel, and bag up fresh fruit for each day. Then, every morning you can quickly put together a fresh, protein-and fibre-packed smoothie or healthy breakfast bowl!

3. Learn How to Make Salad Rolls

Salad rolls are easy, versatile, and fun! They’re also a great way to pack in your veggies and protein while keeping your calorie count in check.

  1. Thinly slice a heap of fresh veggies such as peppers, carrots, cucumber, and jicama and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  2. Whip up a peanut sauce with peanut butter, sesame oil, lemon juice, and a dash of soy sauce and store in a small Mason jar in the refrigerator.
  3. Soak rice noodles and drain
  4. Stir-fry choice of protein, such as strips of tofu
  5. Combine all ingredients onto rice paper, and roll!

Grow Your Own Herbs 4. Grow Your Own Herbs

Growing your own vegetables and fruits is very rewarding, but if it’s not how you want to spend your weekend or evenings, how about investing instead in some simple kitchen herbs? Nurturing herbs such as basil, dill, cilantro, and parsley, encourages us to eat them fresh. This not only adds nutrients to simple salads, soups, pasta, and other dishes, it adds flavour, allowing us to cut down on calorie-laden seasonings and sauces, helping to clean your diet.

5. Get Inspired!

If things have become a little humdrum in your kitchen, consider joining or forming a cookbook group. Choose a different recipe book each month and ask everyone to cook something from it for a group potluck. It’s a great way to sample new dishes, spend time with friends, and pick up a few new culinary skills along the way! If you’re forming your own group, consider choosing a theme that aligns with your health goals, such as whole food plant-based cuisine.

Switching things up for Spring can feel a bit daunting, so cookbook groups or visiting the farmers market are great ways to help clean your diet. Look out for fun, fresh, vibrant fruits and vegetables, such as fiddleheads, sorrel, heirloom tomatoes, fresh cherries and berries, and stock your refrigerator so you can snack with abandon this spring and summer!

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How to Build a Healthy Breakfast Bowl

How to Build a Healthy Breakfast Bowl

If there’s one trend that’s firing everyone up this year, it’s the bowl phenomenon. Smoothie bowls, lunch bowls, dragon bowls – it seems that this year the plate is passé. Serving breakfast in a bowl isn’t all that new to us, of course, but we can still stay on trend by learning how to build a healthy breakfast bowl.

The Breakfast Bowl The Breakfast Bowl

Throwing some cereal into a bowl and dowsing it in milk might seem fairly straightforward, but a satisfying, healthy, breakfast bowl requires a little creativity. Like so many things in life, building a good bowl is all about layering. You’ll want to factor in the density of ingredients, their crunchiness, moisture, and size so as to build a bowl that doesn’t disintegrate into a soggy mess. This is especially true if you’re creating a breakfast bowl to take to the office.

Try the following excellent breakfast bowl ingredients (listed from bowl bottom to top) for a healthy and delicious start to your day:

1. Cereal Bowl

  • Heritage grain cereal flakes (kamut, for example)
  • Homemade or store-bought granola (opt for sugar free or low sugar)
  • Seeds, such as hemp, chia, flax, pumpkin, and sunflower
  • Nuts, such as almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Dark chocolate chips or cocoa powder
  • Non-dairy unsweetened milk, such as soy, rice, hemp, oat, almond, coconut, or cashew

Mix a scoop of PGX Satisfast Whey Protein Drink Mix into your milk for extra protein and fibre to start your day off right!

2. Mango and Coconut Bowl

  • Almond yogurt
  • Bran flakes (unsweetened)
  • Chia seeds
  • Pistachios (raw, unsalted)
  • Fresh mango
  • Orange segments

3. Oatmeal Bowl

  • Oatmeal
  • Tofu puffs, smoked tofu, or split red lentils
  • Mushrooms (sliced portobellos, for example)
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Bok choi (lightly steamed or sauteed)
  • Nori (seaweed) strips
  • Hot sauce and/or soy sauce

4. Quinoa Bowl

  • Quinoa
  • Refried beans
  • Scallions
  • Fried tomatoes or salsa
  • Avocado slices
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds

Overnight Breakfast Bowls Overnight Breakfast Bowls

You could also opt for a healthy breakfast bowl that is partially made in the evening and then fully constructed in the morning. These are known as “overnight breakfast bowls!”

Wide-mouthed Mason jars are ideal for building a breakfast bowl to take with you, and for creating bowls for the whole family for the whole week. Have fun layering your dry ingredients, then store these in a cupboard until it is time to pop the lid. Pour over your favourite non-dairy milk and enjoy right from the jar, or sprinkle your breakfast fixings over some fresh coconut or almond yogurt once you get to the office!

Overnight Oats

  • Small oats
  • Chia seeds
  • Maple syrup
  • Mashed banana
  • Almond milk
  • Dash of salt
  • Granola clusters
  • Fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
  • Pumpkin seeds

Chia Pudding Bowl

  • Chia pudding
  • Coconut milk
  • Chia seeds
  • Agave
  • Kiwi slices
  • Banana slices
  • Raspberries
  • Shredded coconut
  • Cashew or peanut pieces

 

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4 Healthy and Protein Rich Eggless Breakfasts

4 Healthy and Protein Rich Eggless Breakfasts

Plant-based protein is becoming increasingly popular as more people recognize the potential health (and environmental) benefits of minimizing animal-derived foods.

If going vegan seems like a stretch, then start out simple with one of these four eggless breakfasts that are packed with protein and taste:

1. Chickpea Nomelette

Wonderfully versatile, chickpea nomelettes (a no-egg omelette) are easy to make and customize. Packed with protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients, this simple dish is made partially on the stove top and partially in the oven.

Below is the basic recipe for a nomelette.  I suggest a totally delicious combination of mushroom, rosemary, and leeks for your first nomelette go-round!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black salt (kala namak  provide an eggy flavour)
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Olive oil to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 °F

  1. Mix chickpea flour with water, turmeric, black salt, stock cube, and nutritional yeast.
  2. Let mixture stand while you sauté your chosen vegetables in a cast iron skillet with a little olive oil.
  3. Add the chickpea flour mixture to the pan and make sure the vegetables are evenly spread and well covered.
  4. Remove pan from heat and place in the oven, cooking for 2530 minutes.
  5. Let the nomelette stand for 5 minutes before turning it out and serving with sautéed greens.

You can find chickpea (gram) flour at many grocery stores, often alongside lentils and curry spices. Kala namak is typically found in Asian grocery stores or at specialty markets.

Tofu Scramble 2. Tofu Scramble

A classic dish that is, again, easy to make and easy to customize. I like my scrams to be on the drier side, meaning that I use firm tofu instead of softer tofu. I also pile in the nutritional yeast to add vitamins, umami, and extra protein. One of my favourite ways to make tofu scramble is to add a tablespoon of homemade or store-bought vegan pesto just before serving. Sun dried tomato tapenade is also a great option for a quick, flavourful scramble.

Ingredients

  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Zucchini
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Olive oil to taste
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 package of tofu
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Directions

  1. Sauté mushrooms, onions, and garlic in a little olive oil.
  2. Add tofu (scrunch it in the packet until there are no large chunks left) and fry until golden brown.
  3. Toss in diced zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes and cook until they soften.
  4. Add a handful of chopped kale and a dash of soy sauce and stir fry until the kale wilts.
  5. Remove from heat and add nutritional yeast.
  6. Serve with hash browns or whole grain toast.

3. Veg Benedict

If you’re missing Eggs Benny, we’ve got you covered. This tofu, cashew ricotta, Portobello Benedict with vegan hollandaise sauce should satisfy your cravings, and it is packed with protein and other nutrients to boot!

To Make the Ricotta:

  1. Soak a cup of cashews overnight, then drain.
  2. Add to a food processor with the juice of half a lemon, 1 clove of garlic, 2/3 tsp salt, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 cup fresh basil, and 1/2 cup kale.
  3. Blitz until everything is well combined.
  4. Save half of the ricotta and use the rest to make the cashew hollandaise sauce.

To Make the Cashew Hollandaise Sauce:

  1. Using half the homemade ricotta, add 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, 2 tsps mustard, 1/4 cup coconut milk, and 1/4 cup water.
  2. Gently heat, and stir often to avoid burning.

To Make the Veg Benedict:

  1. Sauté sliced Portobello mushrooms.
  2. Pan-sear a 1/2-inch thick round of tofu (you can use a cookie cutter to get a round).
  3. Toast an English muffin and spread ricotta on both halves.
  4. Layer them with tofu and Portobellos.
  5. Drizzle cashew hollandaise sauce over the top and enjoy!

Savoury Oatmeal and Lentils 4. Savoury Oatmeal and Lentils

If your morning walk, bike ride, or transit ride to work takes about 30 minutes, this next eggless breakfast idea is for you!

Savoury oatmeal (using quick cooking oats) or split red lentils is made using a thermos, boiling water, and a little patience. Save time in the morning by preparing your breakfast mix in advance.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of oats or lentils
  • Dehydrated vegetables (or fruit) cut into small pieces
  • A dash of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric

Directions

  1. Pour your dry mixture into a thermos.
  2. Add a cup of boiling water and stir quickly before sealing the thermos.
  3. By the time you arrive at work, your oats or lentils will be nicely cooked and ready to eat!
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How to Actually Stick to Your Goals

How to Actually Stick to Your Goals

The New Year offers us a great opportunity to embrace change. While around 50% of us make resolutions in January, barely any of us (a measly 8%!) maintain those changes for a year, let alone turn those changes into positive lifelong habits. Setting goals is admirable, but what does it take to actually stick to your goals?

Here are three big reasons why it can be hard to stick to your goals, along with some handy tips on how to set yourself up for success:

Making the Same Resolution Every Year 1. Making the Same Resolution Every Year

By making, and then breaking, the same goals over and over, you’re engaging in psychological sabotage. So if you find yourself stuck in a rut of making the same resolution every January 1st and not following through, it’s time for a change.

Take some time to think seriously about the change(s) you want to make and why. There’s no shame in admitting that some things just aren’t your priority and doing so can free up your mental energy to develop healthy habits that do work for you.

Alternative Approach

Does your typical new year resolution include fitness? Then think about what this really means to you. It’s likely to be different for everyone, and there are many ways to achieve this goal. For example:

  • Able to walk up stairs without feeling breathless
  • Run a 5 km charity race in under 45 minutes
  • Lift your own body weight at the gym
  • Able to keep up with the kids on their bikes while on vacation

Narrow in on a specific goal and use it to set a series of smaller, achievable targets, and create a plan to reach them. This is a great start to help enable you to stick to your goals!

2. Making Your Goals Too General

Nothing hampers success like a moving target, and most new year’s resolutions are vague and rather elusive. As noted above specificity is key, otherwise, how will you know when you’re on track or have achieved your goal?

Alternative Approach

SMART people know that acronyms can be a real help. As such, make sure your goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timeline

For example, instead of saying “I want to lose weight this year”, resolve to lose a realistic, achievable, safe amount of weight each week for the next 52 weeks. Better still, resolve to get your body fat percentage down by 10%.

Set up a way to measure your progress and figure out a plan to get you there. This could include cutting down portion sizes by a third, eating more plant foods to increase your fibre intake, or cutting out major sources of saturated fat and sugar.

3. Losing Track, and Motivation

Imagine your goal for the year is a town called “Happiness” far off in the distance. You can’t see the town’s lights yet, but you know it’s there and you want to find it. On January 1st you set off at full speed towards the horizon but you soon lose your way, forget where you started, grow dispirited, and end up snacking at a roadside fruit stand before heading back home.

Now, think about how you can develop a better (or any!) strategy to get to Happiness. Instead of just going full tilt without a plan, consult your map and lay out some goals. Get specific. Set up mile markers at reasonable points along that road and focus on those instead of the far off, and intimidating end goal. This works for fitness goals, spending goals, weight loss (or gain) goals, and also for career and relationship goals.

How to Set Specific Goals How to Set Specific Goals

As an example, if your dream goal is to run 15 km in less than 100 minutes in a November charity race, set yourself specific weekly running goals based on your current level of fitness† and a schedule you can stick to, such as the one outlined below.

By setting specific, realistic, achievable, measurable goals on a timeline, that 15 km charity run in under 100 minutes is totally doable, even for a novice runner.

Training Schedule for Novice Runner

For a novice runner, a training schedule needs to be detailed, such as the one below:

Weeks 1–10
  • Weeks 1 and 2: 1 km twice a week and 2 km on weekends
  • Weeks 3 and 4: 2 km twice a week and 3 km on weekends
  • Weeks 5 and 6: 3 km twice a week and 4 km on weekends
  • Weeks 7 and 8: 4 km twice a week and 5 km on weekends (celebrate your first 5 km run!)
  • Weeks 9 and 10: 5 km twice a week and 6 km on weekends
Weeks 11–21
  • Weeks 11 and 12: 6 km twice a week and 7 km on weekends
  • Week 13 (early April): 7 km twice a week and a 5 km charity race at the weekend
  • Week 14: 7 km twice a week and 8 km on weekends
  • Weeks 15 and 16: 8 km twice a week and 9 km on weekends
  • Weeks 17 and 18: 9 km twice a week and 10 km on weekends (celebrate your first 10 km run!)
  • Weeks 19, 20, and 21: 10 km twice a week and 11 km on weekends
Weeks 22–28
  • Week 22 (early June): 11 km twice a week and a 10 km charity run on the weekend
  • Weeks 23 and 24: 12 km twice a week and 13 km on the weekend
  • Weeks 25 and 26: 13 km twice a week and 14 km on the weekend
  • Weeks 27 and 28: 14 km twice a week and 15 km on the weekend (celebrate getting to 15 km!)
  • Weeks 29 and 30: 15 km twice a week and 16 km on the weekend
  • Weeks 31 to 36 (early September): 15 km three times a week (aim for a run-time of less than 140 minutes)
  • Weeks 37 to 42: 15 km three times a week (aim for a run-time of less than 120 minutes)
  • Weeks 43 to 45: 15 km three times a week (aim for a run-time of less than 100 minutes)
  • Week 46 (mid November): 15 km charity race (run time less than 100 minute).

You’re All Set!

The final thing to take note of is that getting fit and losing weight are two separate things. If you want to do both, tackle them as distinct goals with separate milestones and strategies. Also, be aware that getting fit means building muscle, which could mean you gain lean body weight. As such, a better goal pair would be to “run 10 km in under an hour” and “decrease body fat by 10%”.

†Always consult with a qualified health care practitioner if you are unsure before starting a new exercise program.

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The BMI Debate: What to Know

The BMI Debate: What to Know

What do a svelte, health-conscious athlete and a sedentary person weighing 200 lbs have in common? A high body mass index (or BMI).

This is no joke; athletes, fitness fanatics and those who are considered overweight or morbidly obese often have a similar BMI. You might find this surprising, but the real surprise should be that we’re still using this method to measure individual health.

The BMI debate rages on, so let’s find out what this calculation really measures and why we should take BMI with a pinch of (low-sodium) salt.

What Is BMI?

BMI was invented way back in the 19th Century by Adolphe Quetelet, a Belgian astronomer, mathematician, statistician, and sociologist. Quetelet wanted to devise a way to measure obesity in a population, and thus the body mass index was born.

The BMI is calculated by taking a person’s weight and comparing it to their height squared.  Like this:

  1. A person who is 5’10” and weighs 200 lbs has a BMI of 28.7
  2. A person who is 175 cm tall and weighs 65 kg has a BMI of 21.2.

These measurements put the first individual in the category of “overweight” and the second in the “normal” weight category.

Typically, BMI is classified into four groups:

  1. Underweight = <18.5
  2. Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
  3. Overweight = 25–29.9
  4. Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Problems With the BMI Problems with the BMI

The measurement fails to account for the degree to which fat, bone mass, and muscle contribute to overall body mass. Bones and muscle are denser than fat, so a person with strong bones and a good amount of muscle mass may have a similar BMI to someone with more porous bones and a high degree of body fat.

The bluntness of this tool has been noted time and again by physicians and others working in public health. BMI can be useful for measuring population health as it is unlikely that a high average BMI can be attributed to an incredibly toned and muscular population with strong bones. When it comes to individuals, however, BMI is largely unhelpful, so why is it so popular?

The easy answer, of course, is that the calculation is relatively simple and easy to figure out.

Confused Logic and the BMI

The BMI is uni-directional. This means that a person with a lot of body fat will probably have a high BMI, but that a person with a high BMI does not necessarily have a lot of body fat. At best, the tool is descriptive of something you probably already know. At worst, it’s thoroughly misleading and lazy.

Again, a high BMI could mean that an individual is overweight or obese. It could also mean that a person is fit and healthy, with plenty of muscle mass, strong bones, and little fat. Conversely, a person could have a low BMI because they are largely sedentary, have low muscle and bone mass, and/or are sick, but have a fairly high proportion of body fat.

Even the best-intentioned health authorities fall prey to the twisted logic of the BMI. The US Centers for Disease Control noted that “the BMI is a reliable indicator of body fatness for people.

So, what can we use instead of BMI as a fairly robust and simple measure of health?

Alternative to the BMI Alternative to the BMI

A better option is waist measurement (because central adiposity is highly correlated with poor health) and your waist to height ratio. Recommended waist sizes are as follows (and will vary for people of European, Asian, Indian, and African-American descent):

  • No more than 39 or 40 inches for men
  • No more than 34 or 35 inches for women.

To measure your waist, place a tape measure around the top of your hip bones at your lower back and around to the belly button.

For waist to height ratio, the aim is to have a waist circumference that is less than half of your height (i.e., 0.5). For example: if a person is 177.8 cm tall (around 5’10”), weighs 200 lbs, and has a waist size of 80 cm (around 31.5″) their BMI would be 28.7 and put them at the upper end of the overweight category. However, their waist-to-height ratio would 0.45, which is under the recommended 0.5 ratio.

 

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Healthy Living on a Budget: 4 Smart and Simple Tips

Healthy Living on a Budget: 4 Smart and Simple Tips

Raise the Rates campaigns have been in the news recently. While most of us are fortunate enough to not have to turn to the social safety net, it’s still important to know that healthy living on a budget is entirely possible. Keeping food costs low while looking after health is an essential life skill, but one that few of us are taught at school.

Here are four tips for healthy living on a budget to help your family practice mindful spending while prioritizing health:

Plan, plan, plan 1. Plan, Plan, Plan

It can’t be said enough. If you have a plan and stick to it, you can dramatically cut food waste and outlandish expenses.

Start by designating a time, perhaps before grocery shopping, to work out a meal plan for the week ahead. Write down all the groceries you need to meet that meal plan, and any pantry items that need refilling. Head to the store and only get what is on your list.

When planning, opt for meals you can prepare in bulk, such as chilli, soups, casseroles, or curry. This will allow you to take advantage of economy size packs, saving you money while cutting down on food waste. It’s also a big timesaver, as you can freeze extra batches for a quick meal later.

2. Shop the Edges

Hitting the grocery store with a list is one of the best ways to stay healthy on a budget, but it also pays to shop the edges at the store. In most large grocery stores, this means sticking to the fresh food aisles, bulk and dried goods, and the bakery.

If you know your kids get peckish and demanding at the store, plan distractions. This might mean taking a healthy snack for them to eat, or allowing them to listen to music through headphones. Whatever you do, don’t give them their own cart unless you assign them specific items to track down for you. This will also help avoid the middle of the grocery store where the highly processed and packaged foods tend to lay in wait.

Build stronger communities through food sharing 3. Build Stronger Communities through Sharing Food

If you’re shopping for just yourself or a small family, it can be hard to take advantage of bulk discounts. You may also find that without careful planning you tend to generate a lot of food waste. One way to tackle both costly problems is to set up a network of friends who share food.

This could mean forming an organized buying club that shops for specific goods at certain times of the year. It could also be a less formal arrangement where you take extra food over to a friend’s place to share when you have it. Or, it could simply be getting together with friends to cook a large, shared meal.

Preparing healthy communal meals can be a fun, social way to avoid the cost and temptation of restaurant fare. Sharing food is also a great way to form close friendships and build stronger communities, allowing everyone’s resources to stretch a little further when times are hard.

4. Pack a Picnic

Piggy-backing on the idea of sharing cooking responsibilities, packing a picnic is another great way to stay healthy on a budget. If you are going for a hike, a stroll in the park, a day at the beach, or even to the movies, packing your own snacks and meals is almost guaranteed to be cheaper and healthier than anything you pick up. Below are some great, healthy options for a picnic:

  • Homemade granola bars
  • Fruit
  • Raw veggies and hummus
  • Rice crackers with almond butter and banana slices
  • Homemade popcorn with nutritional yeast and olive oil

Whatever you choose to pack, you’ll be avoiding overpriced, heavily salted, fatty, and sugary food that can hurt your health and your bank balance.

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The Best Fresh Flavours for Fall Smoothies

The Best Fresh Flavours For Fall Smoothies

Smoothie fever typically kicks in at the height of summer when fresh fruits are in abundance. But what’s a smoothie fan to do once the colder weather arrives? Here are your best bets for fresh and delicious fall smoothies:

Fresh Fall Ingredients

Smoothies are a great way to pack in antioxidants and other nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables. From October to May, however, it can be slim pickings at the fruit stand, so you’ll need to get innovative if you want to maintain your smoothie habit.

Some top fruit and vegetable picks for fall and winter smoothies include:

  • Leafy greens
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Squash and pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Medlars
  • Quince

Fennel can also add a liquorice-like kick to your smoothies, while ginger offers warmth on those cooler mornings. The more adventurous among you might try tracking down some nettles and watercress or even rosehips to add some wild flavours to your morning cold-weather smoothie.

Fall Smoothie Combinations

apple and rhubarb Apple and Rhubarb

What flavours say Fall more than apple or rhubarb?

Throughout the Fall and Winter, you should still be able to find local apples and rhubarb. At first blush, you might not think rhubarb would be a great choice for a smoothie, but it mixes well with celery, kale, carrots, and winter greens, as does apple.

Dried Fruit and Nut Milk

Dried fruit can also be an excellent choice for smoothies made using almond milk or soy milk. Try blitzing a handful of cranberries with mandarin segments, almond milk, and chia seeds for a seasonal smoothie.

Fall Greens Fall Greens

Kale, celery, apple, and ginger is a delicious green smoothie combination. It also provides an excellent array of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients including calcium, quercetin, and vitamin C. What better way to start your morning than with a tasty, nutritious green smoothie!

Add in a dash of turmeric to bump up your antioxidant intake even further!

Pumpkin Spice

If the onset of fall weather has you craving a pumpkin spiced latte, why not make yourself a pumpkin cinnamon smoothie with cashew milk and fresh pumpkin instead?

With any of your smoothies, consider adding in a scoop of PGX protein powder to lower the glycemic index and increase your fibre intake, helping you to feel fuller for longer.

 

 

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How to Tell the Difference Between Cravings and Hunger

how to tell the difference between cravings and hunger

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not that tricky to tell the difference between cravings and hunger. For example, cravings rarely indicate an urgent need for a specific nutrient only found in, say, bacon.

What Are Cravings Anyway

While cravings don’t normally serve a purpose in terms of health, hunger is a necessary physiological response that ensures we seek out food to keep our bodies fuelled. Most cravings are not a sign that your body is lacking some particular nutrient. Instead, they are most likely borne of emotional hunger rather than physiological need.

To tell if your sudden desire to eat, for example, a bag of chips is a craving or real hunger, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is that particular food the only one that will satisfy your desire?
  • Does the desire persist even if you wait ten minutes, or try to distract yourself?
  • Is your stomach growling or feeling hollow?
  • Are you finding it hard to concentrate?
  • Do you have a headache, fatigue, or fogginess?

If the answer to the questions above is a resounding “yes” then it sounds like you’re hungry and might want to choose a healthier way to refuel than eating a bag of chips. If the answer to the questions is mainly a “no” then the desire is most likely a craving and will pass if given enough time.

Differentiate between cravings and hunger Learning to Differentiate Between Cravings and Hunger

Learning to tell the difference between hunger and cravings is important as it can help prevent eating an excess of foods that can sabotage good health. Many cravings are liable to get you into a little dietary trouble, and may make it difficult to manage your weight. Some cravings for specific foods, especially meat products, are somewhat misleading and actually belie a hunger for fats and protein.

However, some specific food cravings, like those for meat products, can actually belie a hunger for fats and protein. So the next time you get an urge for an ooey-gooey double bacon cheeseburger, try a peanut butter and jam sandwich, or an avocado, some fresh dates, and a handful of walnuts instead. This combination of fats, sugars, and proteins will satisfy your hunger without the adverse effects associated with red meat consumption.

Controlling Cravings

Assuming that there is no nutritional need prompting specific cravings, what can you do to help curb your cravings? Here are some simple suggestions that could make a difference:

Drink Water

If you feel an urge to eat between meals, drink a glass of water and wait ten minutes. If you’re still feeling the desire to eat, you’re probably hungry and should find something healthy to satisfy that hunger.

Choose Snacks Wisely

Good ideas for healthy snacks include nuts, seeds, vegetable sticks and hummus, flaxseed crackers and guacamole, and a banana or apple.

Don’t Buy the Foods You Crave

If your kitchen is packed with bags of chips, bars of chocolate, cakes, cookies, bacon, sausages, cheese and similar fatty, sugary, and generally unhealthy foods, you’re more likely to eat them. Avoid buying these foods or bringing them home and you’ll find yourself eating healthy foods instead.

Eat More Vegetables

Not only are vegetables packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, they are also a great source of water and fibre which help fill you up and reduce hunger, even when your appetite is enormous and you usually snack between meals.

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This patented complex fibre is made up of 100% natural, highly viscous polysaccharides which soak up water to expand in the stomach and create a feeling of fullness. As PGX helps to slow down digestion and the release of sugars from food, it supports healthy blood sugar levels.

 

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There’s a Lot to Love About Infused Water

There's a Lot to Love About Infused Water

There’s no doubt water is vital for human life, but many people struggle to get enough. For anyone who dislikes the taste of plain water, or who just wants to add extra nutrition to their day, infused water might be just the ticket.

Water and our Body Water and Our Body

The human body is made up of 50–75% water, with good old H20 vital for a host of bodily processes. We need water for regulating temperature, and for forming blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration.

Water helps us flush out undesirable chemicals, lubricate joints and mucous membranes, prevent occasional constipation, and keep skin firm and plump. It also helps dissolve minerals so the body can use them properly.

The Benefits of Infused Water The Benefits of Infused Water

Infusing water with fruits, vegetables, and herbs can increase its palatability, encouraging us to drink more. It can also add a few extra nutrients to our diet, without the added calories that come with many store-bought flavoured beverages.

Because infused water requires considerably less fruit than fruit or vegetable juice, it can help you cut back on cost, time, energy, and waste. And, infused water made naturally at home is far superior to products made with artificial colours, flavours, and sweeteners.

Depending on what you choose to infuse your water with, the resulting liquid may have an alkalizing effect on your body, which helps support the body’s optimal pH for good health. However, with infused water, you’re not going to get the same fibre as you would from actually eating fruit. Nevertheless, infused water has some added dietary value, and can help you and your family stay hydrated throughout the day.

How to Infuse Water How to Infuse Water

To make infused water, add sliced fruits and vegetables to a pitcher of ordinary tap or filtered water. Place the pitcher in your refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. The phytochemicals will leach from the produce into the water, adding flavour and nutrients, including antioxidants.

Some great options (and a few of my favourite combos) for infusing water include:

  • Cucumber slices and fresh mint
  • Lemon and lime slices
  • Strawberry and orange slices
  • Basil and carrot
  • Watermelon
  • Peach
  • Grapes
  • Blueberry and ginger root

If you have an abundance of any particular fruit, consider freezing it to use as “ice cubes” for a cold, infused water treat!

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How to Establish Healthy Habits for Back to School

image-blog-PGX-nHow to Establish Healthy Habits for Back to School-20160901

For many of us, heading back to school means we’re establishing a new routine to carry us through the next ten months! While this might sound daunting, it’s actually a great opportunity to throw out old unhealthy habits and start anew.

If it’s on your to-do list to get fit, lose a little weight, learn a new skill or make other changes in your life, this is the time! The beauty of September is that everything is in flux, so it’s easier than usual to break free of a vicious cycle. Here are a few ideas to help you build healthy habits to carry you through the school year:

Re-think Packed Lunches

kidlunch

If you have kids, the way you shop for groceries will most likely change once they go back to school. Take a few minutes to really think about the food choices you’re making as these will carry you through until next summer.

Instead of combing the aisle for perceived healthy, pre-packaged snacks for lunchboxes, can you build in time to your weekly schedule to make healthy, home made snacks with the kids instead? Some great, easy options for healthy home made snacks are:

  • Granola bars
  • Granola
  • Energy balls
  • Muffins
  • Fruit leather

Embrace Modern Conveniences

Consider signing up for a weekly home delivery grocery service. Not only is it super convenient, but it will force you to set aside time each week to plan your meals and be thoughtful about what you really need, better enabling you to plan for the week ahead and buy healthy foods.

Make the Best of a Busy Schedule

momrun

While you’re signing the kids up for their extracurricular activities, see if there’s anything close by that you can also engage in. If your kids are playing soccer, is there a track at the same field you can jog around? If your kids are at swimming lessons, is there a gym in the same building where you can work out?

Make Healthy Habits a Goal

momswim

Stop focusing on things like a target weight or running 5k in under 30 minutes and start concentrating instead on simply sticking to healthy habits. Going for a jog twice a week and cycling to work every other day is much more manageable than trying to stick to an intensive training program that requires you to find ten extra hours a week to run in pursuit of a half marathon.

Likewise, focusing on a singular goal, like losing 10 lbs, can easily lead to unhealthy yo-yo dieting. You’re more likely to eat poorly and starve yourself to achieve your goal, then simply regain all that weight (and more!) once you go back to a standard unhealthy diet.

Instead of putting all this stress on mind and body, change your mindset to one where eating your 8 fruits and vegetables a day is the equivalent of brushing your teeth. We barely have to muster any effort to brush our teeth because it is such an ingrained habit. Establish the attitude where healthy eating and exercise are just a routine part of your day and you’ll conserve the mental energy you usually use up trying to motivate yourself to go to the gym.

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