Posts Tagged: Nutrition

Diabetes the next health crisis?

Diabetes is on the rise. The International Diabetes Federation says that the global burden of those living with this disease will surge from 382 million to 592 million by 2035 and that approximately one in ten people have or will have diabetes worldwide.  The age of onset is getting younger and younger with kids as young as 8 being diagnosed with what used to be called “adult onset diabetes” and is also known as Type 2 Diabetes. According to Health Canada nine out of ten people with diabetes have Type 2. The Canadian Diabetes Association estimates that 9 million Canadians have diabetes or pre-diabetes, many of them without the diabetes symptoms that would prompt them to get help.

Most of this disaster is preventable. Ignoring the problem will further burden individuals and their families as well as put additional strain our health care system. Today is the day to start making changes.  What causes Type 2 diabetes? Lifestyle choices have the biggest impact on preventing this disease that causes nerve and kidney damage as well as increased risk of liver and heart disease.  Diabetes prevention is that simple. Maintain a healthy weight to reduce your risk. Weight loss of just 10% of your current weight has a massive impact on your health.

Here are some ridiculously simple weight loss tips to help protect yourself:

  1. Get more sleep. A lack of sleep has a profound impact on weight gain, even or perhaps especially in children. Cut back on one superfluous activity each day (TV? Gaming? ) and go to bed.
  2. Simply dropping liquid calories from your day can make up the difference.  We drink 300-500 calories each day from beverages such as cream and sugar loaded coffee beverages, juice and pop.  Go for 50% reduction today. Ditch the soda, water down your juice and half the sugar in your java.  Go all the way ASAP!
  3. Implement NEAT in your life. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis. That simply means all the action you do in your day that isn’t actually working out.  Parking at the end of the lot and walking an extra 3 minutes actually saves you time trying to troll for that spot near the door. And, it pumps up your metabolism. Walking up or down a flight of stairs is more efficient that waiting for an elevator and goes a long way toward getting an extra 30 minutes of movement into your day. That is all you will need.
  4. Be sure you are getting enough fibre. Not only does it bulk up your stool, new evidence shows that a healthy gut converts fibre to a chemical called acetate which passes the blood brain barrier to activate the brain’s “full” sensors.
  5. Add chia to your day. This tiny, tasteless grain contains plenty of micronutrients plus is the best form of both fibres you can find.

 

Managing diabetes is a difficult, uphill battle but preventing it is almost completely within your control. Do you have any tips or a diabetic diet for weight loss to share?

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

How to make Fast and Frozen Fantastic!

Frozen food doesn’t have to be scary!

After you’ve juggled all of your to-dos for the day, and put out a few “fires” there are times when suppertime suddenly sneaks up on you, and you realize you haven’t prepared a thing. Usually this means panicking-and tossing whatever you have in the pantry and freezer together, shelving your healthy recipes for the night. But wait! Last minute meals can be healthy, even when they come from the freezer. Yes, that’s right…just make sure that your freezer is stocked with the following ingredients for and you can make healthy recipes for dinner in a flash.  Here are some dinner ideas:

Frozen shrimp or other cooked fish

  • Cooks in minutes, great for stir fries.
  • Cook ½ cup whole-wheat pasta per person. Drain. In a skillet sauté for 4 minutes: ½ cup scallops/shrimp per person, 1 cup frozen peas per person, 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil per person, 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese. Add the cooked pasta and mix.

Frozen Brussels sprouts

  • Steam and toss with dill.

Frozen broccoli

  • Simmer 2 cups of broccoli and one potato in one quart of broth. Purée to soup consistency. Stir in 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese.

Frozen soybeans/lima beans

  • Steam for 2 minutes. Add seasoned rice vinegar.
  • Makes a high-protein snack.

Frozen apple or pineapple juice concentrate

  • Use to replace some sugar in baked goods with real fruit sugar (see recipe below for Pantry/Freezer Apple Spice Muffins).

Frozen whole-wheat tortellini

  • Great as a small portion loaded up with veggies (crushed tomatoes, sliced pepper and onions, etc.

Frozen berries

  • Irreplaceable superfoods-smoothies/baking.

Frozen pizza

  • Thin-crust and whole-wheat: add seeds, veggies, etc

Here is one of my quick and easy chicken recipes that will make a healthy dinner in a snap!

 Skillet Chicken

This meal comes together in a flash with barely the basics from the fridge. It is a fool proof, adaptive formula that can be cooked on the stovetop, stuffed into the oven or the whole skillet can go on the BBQ depending upon your gear and energy level. Just about any frozen veg does the trick, mix ‘em up if you have to. Any mustard flavour, and any jam or jelly works, water or broth can sub for wine…you really can’t mess this one up.  It is your go to “cook’s night off” solution.

 

Serving Size: 4     Preparation Time: 20 minutes

  • 4   boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 2 red pepper — sliced
  • 4 cups frozen broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper jelly
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon butter

 

Rub chicken breast with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper as you warm a cast iron skillet.

Add oil and brown chicken breasts on both sides for 2 minutes.

Add red peppers and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in broccoli. Mix in mustard and red pepper jelly, cover and allow to cook through for 10-15 minutes. Pour in wine, add butter and simmer for 1 minute to finish.

 

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

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Smoothies-Smooth or Stupid Move?

Should you be a smoothie monster? It’s true that you can hide a whole bunch of fruits and vegetables in any blender, even disguising spinach in this trendy drink. But while a few sips of this stuff may be worth a whole serving or two of fruits and vegetables, are they all they are still a healthy food?

It depends upon your goals.  While many weight loss regimes are touting smoothies as the holy grail amongst the myriad of weight loss tips, if you’re using a smoothie diet as your weight loss regime, you may actually be working against yourself.  Most contain 400 + of liquid calories and liquid calories are not processed by the brain as effectively as food that needs to be chewed.  You are made to sit down and work for your fuel, chewing sends the right satiety message to your body and brain.

Another issue with drinking your calories is that even healthy smoothies can be high in sugar.  Many have jumped on the green smoothie as a part of a healthy breakfast but most people put a high serving of fruits in their green drinks to disguise the taste of the veggies. All of that fruit equals sugar-(yes,even if it is all natural and from fruit). And fruit smoothies without veggies, can be high in calories and will spike blood sugar even higher. For healthy smoothie recipes, keep portions small and focus on proteins as well as nutrients from low cal vegetables.  Munch on handful of nuts to engage your brain and help beat the satiety odds, or add them to your smoothie.

If your goal is to smack as much into a kid’s mouth before rushing out the door, then the story is slightly different.  You still want to make sure they are only getting 1 or 2 servings of fruit, but because they can be very high in sugar you also want to focus on protein source.  Whey powder seems to be the most palatable for kids and many brands are now lactose free.  For vegetarian recipes, be sure to choose organic if you are using soy protein otherwise you are likely getting a genetically modified soy. Brown Rice and Pea protein are growing in popularity and are terrific sources too, albeit more expensive. Hemp protein can be gritty and green but it is a very nourishing option. It would be great to rotate your type of protein powder so you don’t get too much of a good thing, just be sure you choose a brand that doesn’t have sugar or other sweeteners since they add empty calories.

Another way to make healthy breakfast smoothies is to sneak in a few leaves of baby spinach, kale or even parsley or mint for some chlorophyll, fibre and phytonutrients. Add cinnamon for its anti-inflammatory properties and plain, unsweetened cocoa powder (great if you need to hide a color- if it looks chocolate, it is more likely to be accepted). Feel free to blend in some yogurt, Greek is best with its high protein count for protein smoothie recipes, but be sure to choose an unsweetened brand.

Here is a list of ingredients to make healthy smoothie recipes. Ask your child to circle their own concoction. You can’t really go wrong with mixing and matching fun and the process gives them some control over the outcome. And you know how I feel about giving the eating power back to the one who will have to manage it for life…right?

Follow these tips and a green smoothie really will be a part of a healthy breakfast. Bottoms up!

Liquid

Protein

Fruit

Veg

Flavourings

Milk Whey powder Berries Spinach Cinnamon
Almond milk Organic soy Banana baby kale Cocoa powder
Rice Milk Pea protein Pineapple parsley Vanilla extract
Greek Yogurt Hemp Protein applesauce carrot juice nutmeg
Coconut water Rice protein Cherries fennel fronds

 

About the Author:

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

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