Tag Archives: Nutrition

Get Excited About Asparagus!

Eating local and fresh is not only fantastic for the environment but it also makes for much tastier meals! There are numerous fresh and local fruits and vegetables harvested in our community – asparagus being one of our favourite! The fleshy green spears of asparagus are both succulent and tender and have been considered a delicacy since ancient times. Asparagus is also known for its healing properties and high nutrient content. Start experimenting with asparagus and make it a great addition to your meals!

Heart Health

Asparagus are especially high in folate. Folate is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system. Just one serving of asparagus supplies almost 66% of the daily recommended intake of folate.

A Natural Diuretic

Asparagus is a very good source of potassium (288 mg per cup) and quite low in sodium (19.8 mg per cup). Its mineral content, combined with an active amino acid in asparagus, asparagine, gives asparagus a diuretic effect. Historically, asparagus has been used to treat problems involving swelling, such as arthritis and rheumatism, and may also be useful for PMS-related water retention.

Food for Healthy Gut Flora

Asparagus contains a special kind of carbohydrate called inulin which is a health-promoting friendly bacteria in our large intestine. When our diet contains good amounts of friendly bacteria the digestive system works smoothly.

A Birth Defect Fighter

Eat lots of asparagus if you’re thinking about becoming pregnant or are in the early stages of pregnancy. A cup of asparagus supplies approximately 263 mcg of folate, a B-vitamin essential for proper nervous system development. Inadequate folate during pregnancy has been linked to several birth defects, including neural tube defects like spina bifida.

For more information on asparagus and for delicious recipes visit the official Ontario website for asparagus.

Start Your Own Food Revolution

So, if you haven’t been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution it is a must see. Tune in Friday’s at 9pm on ABC.

For those of you who haven’t heard of this program, Jamie Oliver is better know as the “Naked Chef”. He has created a revolution in the school programs at home in England, and has now brought the project to one of the unhealthiest cities in America.

As you can imagine, he gets a lot of resistance and has great struggles trying to get these kids to eat “real food”.    The kids are currently on a school lunch program and are being fed pizza and strawberry milk for breakfast and then pizza or chicken nuggets again at lunch.  Of course all of these meals are processed containing a whole list of additives not to mention vast amounts of sugar and salt.

Jamie’s mission is to get “real food” back into the school cafeterias which includes meals like pasta, with a meat sauce that is full of vegetables and real chicken or sloppy joes made of unprocessed beef and vegetables and even mac and cheese…but the homemade kind not from a box. He even admits that the meals are sometimes not the “best” choices but they are better than the stuff they are currently eating.

There have been 3-4 clips in this series so far that I have found fascinating and wanted to share them with you

Is That Chicken?

In one of the first episodes, Jamie does an experiment where he takes a chicken and explains to a group of 6-7 kids where processed chicken nuggets come from. He takes a whole chicken and cuts off the legs and breasts, explains these are the good parts and sets them aside. What is left is the carcass, bones, fat, cartilage..and he takes all of this and cuts it up and places it in a food processor. At this point the kids are screaming and totally grossed out. Jamie explains that these are the ingredients they are eating when they consume chicken nuggets. Then he takes the “mash” and combines this with flour, fillers, and spices to make it taste good, forms them into patties and fries them with a coating.

The kids are watching this whole process, and at the end he asks for a show of hands as to who would eat this.

Even though 3 minutes before they were disgusted by the “mash”, every child put up their hand that they would still eat the chicken nugget. Gross!

The point being, we really have to focus on educating our kids about what is actually in our food as when this food comes in pretty packages they are disconnected from what they are actually eating. This goes for adults too.

What is a Vegetable?

Along this same line, Jamie went into the classroom and was trying to get kids to identify vegetables.  While the kids had no problem recognizing things like French fries and pizza – not one single child was able to identify a carrot, potato, eggplant, broccoli etc.

Come Over To The Common Sense Corner

Jamie has his meals going up against the regular school lunch program. On this particular day, he made a pasta that included 7 different kids of vegetables, and that was going up against a burger and fries with the “option” of a side salad.

The supervisor pulled Jamie aside and said that according to standards there wasn’t enough vegetable in his meal. The policy required that you need 1 ½ cups, and even though there were 7 different kinds of vegetables in the pasta there wasn’t 1 ½ cups. When he questioned where the vegetables were in the regular school program dish the answer was the French fries and the option the kids had for the side salad (even though not one child was in the salad line).

This is where we have to use our common sense, and agree that sometimes policy just doesn’t make sense. I bring this up as this happens a lot! We know in our heart of hearts what we should and shouldn’t be eating but we tend to rationalize. My favourite example of this is the whole grain fruit loops…we know this really isn’t great for us, yet we rationalize that at least it is whole grain, or reduced in sugar.

When presented with situations like this…no matter what the policy or label may claim we challenge you to put on your common sense hat!

Is That Milk?

The last one was probably the most mind blowing for me. The last episode had Jamie trying to feed the children plain milk instead of giving them the option to choose the strawberry or chocolate version.  Typically these flavoured milks have more sugar than a can of pop…and we know all of the problems that over 10tsp of sugar in one drink can have on a body, let alone a little body!  The rationalization for the flavoured milk still being offered was that it is better for a child to drink the sugar to make sure they get their calcium.

My jaw dropped to the floor!

We now know that sugar is one of the major driving forces of things like cardiovascular disease, inflammation, diabetes and now new research is pointing at Alzheimer’s as being the type 3 diabetes.  In addition, we know that calcium is leached in an acidic environment…and one of the number one acidic foods is sugar.

Again…here is where we need to advocate for and educate our children.

One of the teachers in this episode encouraged the children to choose the regular plain milk and explained why, and everyone in that class made the right choice in the cafeteria line.  It is up to us become educated ourselves, and then educate our children and given the choice they usually do make the right decision!

Your Own Food Revolution

To embark on your own Food Revolution…come to our Transformation Weekend on June 5/6, 2010.

2FOR1 special is on until May 7th!

For More Details click here now: http://www.lose-weight-waterloo.com/

Until Next Time…tune into Jamie’s Food Revolution.

Stay Vibrant

Robin and Kristijana

Do You Want More Energy?

Most people will reply YES!

Since energy is in such high demand it’s important to explore where our body’s energy comes from so we can figure out how we can get more.

Where does energy come from?

Energy is produced by the trillions of cells in our body, therefore in order to gain more energy we need to address the health of our cells.

There are three essential components that determine how well a cell functions:

  1. Oxygen
  2. Water and
  3. Elimination of Waste.


Oxygen is the source of all energy in the body. Without oxygen our cells wouldn’t be able to do any work. All metabolic processes in the body such as assimilation (absorption), elimination of waste, respiration, circulation and digestion requires energy.

So how do we get more oxygen?

The answer is simple, we need to breathe better, and by this I mean real deep diaphragmatic breathing – commonly practiced in yoga and meditation. Deep Breathing is simple and just practicing 10 deep breaths twice a day is a great start that only takes minutes out of your day, yet leaves you feeling much more energized.

To help you learn how to breathe deeply you can pick up CD’s or take yoga classes. You can also look on the web for videos that demonstrate diaphragmatic breathing. There are two videos that I found to be helpful in getting you starting on diaphragmatic breathing.

The first video explains the location of the diaphragm in the body and how it moves in relation to other organs.

The second video is a one minute demonstration of diaphragmatic breathing.

In addition to giving your cells an essential ingredient to make energy, diaphragmatic breathing is an excellent way to relax and calm down the nervous system. When you’re feeling stressed or anxious you can stop and take 10 deep diaphragmatic breathes essentially anywhere – your office desk, your car, in the elevator and so on.


The second ingredient necessary for your trillions of cells to produce energy is water.

Water is the most abundant substance in the body. Up to 70% of our body is made up of water; furthermore 70% of our planet is also made of water, so it only makes sense that we need a substantial intake of water daily for optimal cellular function. Water is the medium in which all cellular reactions occur, thus if we are dehydrated even slightly it reduces cellular function, hence reducing our overall energy.

The recommended daily intake of water is one half your body’s weight in ounces. For example, if you weight 200 lbs, half your weight would be 100 lbs, thus you would need 100 ounces of water daily. There are 8 ounces in one cup of water, or 32 ounces in a litre. Therefore a 200 lb individual would need to drink 3 litres of water daily to stay well hydrated.

So how do we get more water?

The best way to tackle your hydration is by observing the colour of your urine. If you urine is clear or faint light yellow and odourless you are well hydrated. If you find your urine to be darker yellow and has an odour it’s a good indication that you are dehydrated.

If you find yourself thirsty it’s an indication that you are dehydrated. Don’t wait to feel the thirst to drink water. You body usually sends out thirst signals well after the fact of dehydration.

In addition to drinking water you want to consume approximately 75% of your diet in the form of raw uncooked food due to its high water content. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and cold pressed oils.

Use freshly cut lemon or lime slices to spice up your water, oranges slices are very zesty and work well too. Over the summer months you can increase your water consumption through the use of herbal iced teas. As a rule of thumb, half of your daily water consumption should be in the form of pure water and half can be in other forms such as herbal or green tea.


The last component to producing optimal cellular energy is the ability of the cell to eliminate waste, also known as Detoxification.

Every cell in our body produces a natural waste as a bi-product of the work it does, and in order for the cell to be able to continue function optimally it has to remove that waste to make room for future waste. One of the biggest obstacles to detoxification and waste removal is that in addition to the natural waste our body produces, it’s also faces with environmental toxins and toxins from the food we eat and the water we drink, making it twice as hard to keep up with the detoxification process.

One of the most important components to waste removal is our lymphatic system. Stay tuned for the next blog which will discuss the lymphatic system in detail.

In order to support detox you need to:

  1. Do a couple of really good cleanses each year with the fall and spring being the best seasons to embark on a cleanse.
  2. Be putting healthy cleansing practices into everyday use to keep up with waste removal.

Some quick and easy tips on daily cleansing include:

  • Increase green leafy vegetable intake (green smoothies are fantastic – check out Newsletter 14 for recipes on green smoothies)
  • Eating whole foods
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Daily movement/exercise
  • Hot Yoga or Infrared saunas
  • Good quality fats – fish, nuts, seeds or supplements with a fish oil

In addition there are several things you want to avoid that hinder detoxification:

  • Processed foods
  • Fried foods and unhealthy fats
  • Sugar
  • Toxic exposure – chemical products such as house hold cleaner & beauty products, toothpaste, deodorant etc…

In Summary

In summary, if you want more energy and you want to get more out of your day with better focus and more motivation you need to respect and support all the trillions of cells in your body by increasing oxygen supply, water intake and supporting the removal of waste through daily detoxification!

The Truth on Energy Bars

As many of you have already watched, I had the opportunity to do a segment on CTV news on energy and sports bars. Since the aired segment was short, I thought I would expand on what to look for and what to stay away from.

In preparing for this talk, one of the things that I found most interesting is where these bars are located. The bars that I consider “healthy” were found in the health food section of the grocery store…I knew where those were. However, I had to go on a hunt for the other sports bars. You will never guess where I found those…that’s right, the pharmacy aisles. To the average consumer this is very confusing, as how could things in the pharmacy section be THAT bad!

Here are the things that you want to keep in mind when eating these bars:


All of these bars use sugar. It is just a matter of what type of sugar they are using. The purpose of most of these bars is to act as quick energy for athletics, so they use sugar such as maltodextrin, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and glucose to provide a powerful punch to the body and give it instant energy. The problem is, these sugars set off a cascade reaction in the body that causes inflammation and insulin levels to spike. So, while you may be getting a “punch” of energy during your workout, the question is…are you really gaining health?

What are these ingredients doing to your body long term? The answer is…nothing good!

Outside of athletics, the average person is using these as a snack thinking that it is a better choice than a chocolate bar. The problem is, the sugars in these bars are broken down and absorbed rapidly making it hard for the body to use all of this energy all at once. Instead, it conserves it for a later date…and it does so as body fat!

It has been shown that foods that contain high fructose corn syrup set off yet another hormonal cascade in the body that actually causing leptin resistance. Big deal! Well leptin is the hormone that is produced by your fat cell to signal your brain when it is full. So, these bars will actually make you feel hungrier causing you to want to eat more and more.

Look for these sugars in products – the are less inflammatory, have a lower glycemic index and send good messages to the body:

  • Dates, figs, raisins
  • Agave nectar
  • Organic brown rice syrup
  • Evapourated cane juice
  • Organic cane sugar
  • Honey


Most people know that hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats are not good for you. Long term use of these toxic and inflammatory fats has been linked to things like cardiovascular disease, obesity and high cholesterol.

Manufacturers have now become smarter, and have started using things called modified fats. While these may be better than the hydrogenated/trans fats, they are not much better and have still been linked to chronic disease.

Avoid anything that says – hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated or modified fats. 

Look for good fats – hemp oil, flax oil.


The old rule applies here…if you can’t pronounce something, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. Common additives on labels of bars are things like sodium benzoate which can cause skin rashes and aggravate asthma, and sulphites which are known to cause rashes, headaches, trigger IBS and aggravate asthmatic conditions. The other things to watch out for are natural and artificial flavours which are like the “mystery meat” of the additive world.


A typical snack should be anywhere from 180-220 calories. Most commercial bars are anywhere from 200-300 – so a snack would be ½ bar (**this depends on activity level, and if you are trying to lose or maintain weight). Keep in mind the calories, and how many serving sizes are in a bar (most calories are per bar…but just double check this).

I am not against the use of these bars, I just think people need to be aware what they are eating. Eating the right bar can provide you with a nutritious convenient snack but just make sure that you are eating good quality bars.

Examples of Nutritious Bars:

Lara, Vega, Elev8me, Luna, Gen Soy, Think Organic, Dr Weil, Perfect 10, Organics, Clif

Homemade Nut and Honey Energy Bars

This recipe was already posted, but it provides a great example of a homemade energy bar that can be made at home.

  • 1 cup oatmeal 300
  • 1 cup granola 300
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds 50
  • ¼ cup flax seeds 50
  • ½ cup wheat germ 100
  • ½ cup bran 100
  • ½ cup protein powder 20
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup maple syrup 400
  • ½ cup honey 480
  • 1 cup peanut butter 760
  • ½ cup pecans 400 
  • Optional ¼-1/2 cup coconut, raisins, dried fruit


  1. Grease pan, mix dry ingredients.
  2. Mix peanut butter, maple syrup and honey in a saucepan and stir until very hot, but do not boil
  3. Pour mix over dry ingredients
  4. Press into pan, and let sit 24 hours in the fridge
  5. Cut into individual bars, and wrap or store in container in fridge or freezer and the Enjoy!

Healthy Pet Food


My husband and I have a 8 year old Old English Sheepdog named Parker. Since he was little, we have raised him on premium whole dog food. He typically consumes Wysong or Fromm, but also likes the new food that Ellen Degeneras produced called Halo. Yes that is right…all the food that you shutter at when you get the bill at the cash register. The way I see it, I can’t feed myself well without feeding our 4 legged friend well too!!

So, the other night we were out at a friend’s house and Parker was there and we didn’t bring any food for him. So he had what I like to call the “McDonalds of dog food” … Caeser! Now he can typically switch between different brands of quality food all of the time and have absolutely no problem. But for 4 days after he ate the Caeser he had diarrhea. His diarrhea was so bad that he was waking me up all night long for 4 nights in a row. I finally had to feed him rice for 2 days to get it to calm down…the poor guy.

This experience just reaffirms why I pay the big price for quality food. It is the old saying, pay me now or pay me later!! He has been an extremely healthy dog, with very few health concerns and just like people – he is what he eats!!

If that is not enough to turn you around…keep reading (taken from 100 Year Lie by Randall Fitzgerald)

Four of the largest US pet food companies are subsidiaries of multinational corporations that also produce processed foods for humans. Americans spend almost $11 billion annually on pet food that has been made from scraps, rejects and wastes known as the 4D meat (dead, diseased, dying, disabled). It has been found that these meats are mixed with restaurant refuse, euthanized animals from shelters, sawdust, cooking grease and then mixed with colourings, preservatives and fat stabilizers.

Wet foods contain preservatives such as ethoxyquin, which allows the food to last for an eternity but has also been linked with cancer.

BHA and BHT are the most common stabilizers added to foods to prevent rancidity. These chemicals are known to cause liver, brain, reproductive and kidney problems. What about the food colourings added to these foods, since when does the dog care what colour his kibble is? Food colourings have been linked to a multitude of problems in humans from allergies to hyperactivity. It has been found that with respect to these chemical sensitivities…humans and animals are very similar.

If processed foods, hydrogenated fats and chemical additives are creating health problems in humans they are also affecting the health of our pets. I agree that the food is more expensive…but so are vet bills. Let’s start looking at preventative medicine for the whole family!! Your pet is worth it!!

Check out these local stores that carry great quality food

Bark and Fitz – http://www.barkandfitz.com
Global Pet Food – http://www.globalpetfoods.ca/home/home.htm
Creature Comfort – http://www.acreaturecomfort.com