Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Healthy Cocktails?

Summer is here - well that is when it isn't raining!  But regardless, the good weather makes most of us want to head for the nearest patio and knock back a few cold beers or maybe cocktails.  And I found this great recipe for a yummy cocktail, bursting with anti-oxidants and flavour -  to show you that drinking can actually be healthy(ish).

Berry Batida by Paul Abercrombie 
Makes: 1 serving
What To Buy:
1 ounce Cuca Fresca Premium Cachaca
1/4 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce simply syrup
8 organic raspberries
4 organic blackberries
2 healthy dashes Urban Moonshine Orange Bitters

How To Make It:
Muddle the berries in the shaker, then add all the other ingredients and shake well with ice. Fine strain into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass. Garnish with berries and a straw for stirring.

Check out the website for more great ideas.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fat British Kids

Would you let your kids eat 850 Mars Bars each year?  Its a pretty disgusting thought isn't it? But apparently that is what is happening in the UK.  On average kids there are spending £372 ($150) on sweets, crisps and cakes (translated for my North American friends thats candy and chips).

More than one in three British children aged five to 13 are already overweight or obese. 

I blame lazy parents for this, there is just no need for this to happen. Come on parents, cut out the ready meals, stop feeding your kids crap food every day - cook them a decent meal, buy them some fruit, educate them - guess what?  the kids will thank you for it.

 Here is the full article.

I also found this article about helping children understand the importance of healthy eating without nagging them or making them diet. Giving opportunities to kids to exercise and make good choices.

Monday, June 28, 2010

BOO!! I'm back.

Did you miss me?
Yes I took a week off from blogging and thoroughly enjoyed myself - spending it trying out some new recipes, cooking up some old favourites from the Motherland (that are not particularly healthy, but very tasty), also trying out some great workouts, check out the blog thoroughout the week for details.

A big bang(ers) favourite meal in my home.  My Mam would make this for me as a kid and I loved it, so the other day I whipped up a batch for the family and it was an instant hit.

Basically it is just breakfast sausages baked in the oven with yorkshire pudding mix.  Then served up with gravy and a huge heap of veggies.

Here is the recipe I used from Jamie Oliver.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Low Cholesterol Rocks!!

So I am not one to blow my own trumpet (ever!) and I am certainly not modest, but I am feeling pretty smug with myself at the moment and thought I would boast a little on my blog.

I had my annual physical at the docs this week and had the results of my cholesterol back. The doc claimed he had never seen such low numbers and said to continue doing whatever it is I am doing, because I pretty much couldn't get much better.

Phew!!! - now that I have exhausted my shameless praising of myself, I thought that I would do a little research and find out exactly what it is that I am doing that works!

Some enlightenment:

exercise: can raise the HDL and lower the LDL - which is the direction you need both to move in.
diet: the 2 main things that can effect your cholesterol levels are saturated fats and cholesterol from food (ie from animals).  One of the main causes of heart attacks in the USA are from over consumption of these two elements.  I know that I only eat a little meat, chicken and occasionally pork, and the only saturated fats I think I consume come from butter (I refuse to give that up). I also eat lots of good fats, omega 3, which are known to raise the HDL (good cholesterol) and reduce triglycerides.
stress levels: Stress over the long term has been shown in several studies to raise blood cholesterol levels. One way that stress may do this is by affecting your habits. For example, when some people are under stress, they console themselves by eating fatty foods.
genes:  it seems there is a form of genetic high cholesterol out there, but even if this doesn't exist in you, your genes can still influence your LDL (bad) levels. 
other influences: alcohol level, age and sex.

to summarise: eating well + exercising + staying relaxed = longevity and lower cholesterol!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Singing Sue's Cancer Battle

“I take nothing for granted. I now have only good days or great days.” Lance Armstrong

I think all of us at some stage in our lives have been affected by cancer, being a survivor or having lost loved ones. I know my family has experienced tragedy at the hands of this disease and I was recently reunited with an 'old friend' (hee hee - we are both heading for the naughty 40's) via facebook, who I discovered had been battling with breast cancer.

Sue and I were firstly next door neighbours and best friends, then by marriage she became my cousin-in-law (I probably made that up) then over the years we lost touch and have recently caught up via the social media network.  It was great to reconnect with her, to find out she now has twin boys and newly married to boot - and also to find out her hard struggle with the disease.

Anybody who knows Sue, instantly loves her, she is just so bloody funny and has an amazing zest for life. She is now thankfully on the other side of the battle and definitely enjoys life to the fullest.

To raise awareness, Sue was interviewed by the local paper in the UK, and has given me the thumbs up to post her story here. She is truly inspiration and I am very proud to know her. Click here to read the full interview.

For more information on Breast Cancer in the UK visit, in Canada and in the USA

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Free Fabulous Food!!

Do you live in the downtown core of Toronto?
Do you like free food? 
Do you need some help getting the nutritional balance in your diet?

Well Ta-Dah!! here is the solution. Kyle Byron Nutrition has partnered up with a Red Seal chef to provide deliveries to your home.

If you would like to have 2 meals delivered to your home for 2 days - so yes 4 meals in total (I can see your mouth watering already) then simply leave me a comment telling me why you think you should win this prize.

Kyle will pick the winner from the comments on Sunday 20th June.

To view the menu and for more information about Kyles meal delivery service, click after the break.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hierarchy Of Fat Loss

I am posting this link because I think that everybody who exercises or is interesting in starting an exercise program MUST READ IT.

Alwyn Cosgrove is a sort Demigod to me and many others who incorporate resistance and metabolic training into their workouts.  After many years of experience training the average Joe Bloggs to top athletes, Alwyn has seen proven results in fat loss exercise programs and has detailed this in his brilliant article.

For those of you who are new to exercise and want to get started, please DO NOT start a running program and think this is how you are going to see quick results.  Instead of getting injured and seeing no improvement in your fat loss - read this article and then adopt the following hierarchy as the way you must always workout. Then and only then will you see the results you want in your body.

Alywns 5 Factors For Fat Loss Training:
1. Metabolic Resistance Training:  3 of my favourite words and my favourite way to exercise. I love it. And so does everybody else who I introduce this to.  This is how AC describes this type of workout:
"Our goal is to work every muscle group hard, frequently, and with an intensity that creates a massive “metabolic disturbance” or “afterburn” that leaves the metabolism elevated for several hours post-workout."

2. High Intensity Anaerobic Interval Training: Otherwise known to many of us as Hiits (High Intensity Interval Training)  why go for a 1 hour low intensity run, when  you can do a Hiit workout in 20 mins!   AC  "It burns more calories than steady state and elevates metabolism significantly more than other forms of cardio. The downside is that it flat-out sucks to do it!"
3. High Intensity Aerobic Interval Training: "essentially a lower intensity interval method where we use aerobic intervals."
4. Steady State High Intensity Aerobic Training: "Tool number four is just hard cardio work. This time we’re burning calories — we aren’t working hard enough to increase EPOC significantly or to do anything beyond the session itself. But calories do count. Burning another 300 or so calories per day will add up."
5. Steady State Low Intensity Aerobic Training: "There isn’t very much research showing that low intensity aerobic training actually results in very much additional fat loss, but you’re going to have to really work to convince me that moving more is going to hurt you when you’re in fat attack mode."

He then goes on to detail how to make this work within your time frame so that you get the BEST RESULTS for fat loss.

Enjoy this read, you won't regret it!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Playground Workouts

A few of the Mums from my sons school have been asking me how they can workout in the summer, when going to the gym will be difficult.  So myself and fitness goddess Jane, took the ladies through a workout which they can do anywhere.  I wanted to give them enough information that they feel they can do a quick session at home, in the hotel or on holiday.

We hung out in the playground after school, with all the kids too.  Jane and I did a general conditioning class, based on a circuit training format.  The only props we brought along were battling ropes and a resistance band for chin-ups, all the other exercises were using done using body-weight.

We had so much fun, the kids even joined in occasionally.  And it was really cool to see these women working their butts off - I think they surprised themselves at how hard they could work and how empowering some of the exercises were.

The workout ended with the kids doing a tug-of-war and the parents doing a tabata session.

Click here for copy of the workout. Print it out and use it whenever you know you can't make it to the gym.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Are you upset? There might be a movie for you!

Cheaper than therapy.

Can't get over your X?
Plot - guy moves away to make it big and his GF back home disses him.
Turnaround - guy keeps getting out there and eventually gets Heather Graham
Moral - be yourself but still try some new things. Dance lessons come in handy.
You will feel - super confident

You feel unfulfilled?
Dirty Dancing
Plot - loser girl becomes the star and gets a cool BF
Turnaround - girl is in the right place at the right time. Free dance lessons with Patrick.
Moral - take a risk when you've got an expert helping you. Also don't put baby in the corner.
You will feel - like trying something outrageous

You feel defeated?
Rocky III
Plot - boxer makes a comeback
Turnaround - admits his fears and reinvents himself thanks to his wife and old rival Apollo Creed
Moral - A man can change. once again dancing is key.
You will feel - compelled to exercise

You've always got something to prove?
Top Gun
Plot - cocky pilot digs a hole for himself but then saves the day and gets the girl
Turnaround - forgives himself for killing his best friend AND for not being as good as his dad!
Moral - Don't worry about your family's rep. Being cocky isn't the answer (unless it's in a bar). Also stay fit in case a volleyball game breaks out.
You will feel - like asking out the next hot person you see

You hate everyone?
Remember the Titans
Plot - forced integrated football team in the 60's overcomes racism to win it all
Turnaround - a bit of success and locker-room speeches gels the team
Moral - don't judge a book by its cover. Put your best attributes on offense and defence. Blitz all night!
You will feel - like having a barbeque with the neighbours

The world is against you?
The Pursuit of Happiness
Plot - other than getting an internship, the world craps all over this guy
Turnaround - no turnaround. Day after day this guy works his ass off and nothing goes right, until the end of course.
Moral - work your ass off every day for a year and the world will bend to your will.
You will feel - sad remembering all the shit you've been through but then motivated

You are too cocky?
Terry or the 1980's original
Plot - true story of 22 year old Terry Fox who dies while trying to cure cancer by running across Canada with one leg and a malfunctioning prosthetic.
Turnaround - He inspires over $500 million in donations
Moral - one person can make a difference.
You will feel - like you've done very little with your life, but there's still time

You don't fit in and no one loves you?
Million Dollar Baby
Plot - white trash girl has a dream to be a fighter despite zero support from anyone and abuse from her family
Turnaround - crotchety boxing coach hesitant to see another fighter get hurt, takes her on as a student
Moral - Do what you love and you'll find love (of yourself, for yourself and for hitting people). Also protect yourself at all times.
You will feel - like joining a new gym and maybe forgiving someone.

Check back next week for an amazing giveaway from Kyle Byron Nutrition that will get your taste-buds tingling!

Kyle Byron

BSc Human Nutrition (Hons.)
Certified Personal Trainer
BA (Hons.)
Expertise and support make results easy


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Women are the future - so invest in them!

And that comes straight from the UN top dog Ban ki-Moon.  The Secretary General thinks that investing our money in the health and welfare of women and children is imperative for our futures. He is calling on all governments to make this happen by 2015.

What does this mean? Relatively simple practices and technologies save lives, he said. Blood tests, consultation with a doctor and qualified help at the birth, basic antibiotics, blood transfusions and a safe operating room can almost eliminate the risk of death.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will spend $1.5 billion over five years to support maternal and child health projects such as family planning, nutrition and health care for pregnant women, newborns and children in India, Ethiopia and other countries. 

The topic will also be discussed at the forthcoming G8 Summit, where Prime Minister Harper has said there will be a focus on global maternal and reproductive health.

read here for the full article


Friday, June 4, 2010

Do Do Do The Dukan Diet

or maybe don't do it!!
You need to decide for yourself.  Again as usual I give a big sigh and think, not another fad diet, why don't people just eat healthy, real food - I could start promoting Michael Pollen again right now! 

The Dukan Diet seems to be taking over as the next big thing since Atkins. As with most new diets this too has a celebrity following, namley J-Lo and Gisele Bundchen. The diet is broken down into 4 stages;

THE ATTACK PHASE: An initial attack phase led by the "pure protein diet" that creates a stunning kick-start, almost as quickly as fasting or powdered protein diets but without their drawbacks.

THE CRUISE PHASE: A cruise phase led by an "alternating protein" diet, which allows you to reach your chosen weight non-stop in one go. 

THE CONSOLIDATION PHASE: A consolidation phase when the weight you have achieved is consolidated, a phase designed to prevent the rebound effect that occurs after any rapid weight-loss. This is a period of high vulnerability when the body has a tendency to very easily regain those lost pounds. It has a very precise time-scale: 5 days for every pound lost.

THE STABILIZATION PHASE: inally, and most importantly, permanent stabilization based on a simple, safety measure, that is easy to follow but indispensable if the weight loss is to be maintained: the Dukan Diet has to be followed one set day per week for the rest of your life. This rule is indeed strict and non-negotiable, but it is sufficiently specific and effective that it can be adhered to over such a long period of time.

My fellow fitness blogger over at Healthy Habits has written more on the subject if you are interested.

Has anybody tried this diet yet? Is anybody interested in trying it and telling me the results?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Say NO To Fake Meat!

A couple of my friends were making homemade sausages today - totally from scratch, mincing their own meat and making their own links. It sounds complicated and I am interested to see the results, especially as I tend to avoid sausages.  I can't stand not knowing what goes into them, especially when I come across a strange white lumpy bit that I fear might be testicle or worse!!

I then came across an interesting article directly linking (no pun intended) processed meats to increased risk of heart attacks and diabetes.  When researchers from Harvard checked out the nutrients in red meats and processed meats, they had similar saturated fat and cholesterol levels, but processed meats had on average 50% more nitrate preservatives.  Nitrates being shown to increase artery clogging and reduce glucose tolerance, both risks for these diseases.

I think I will stick to my no eating sausage and crap meat policy - and wait patiently for my sample of home-made variety. (hopefully my friends will read this blog)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Big Red

I bought a birthday card for a friend recently with the following quote from Roseanne Barr:
"Women complain about PMS, but I think of it as the ony time of the month when I can be myself".
(Not sure my husband would agree with that!!)

There are so many birth control methods out there at the moment. I personally don't like using them, I hated the effects of the synthetic hormones  - my body didn't feel natural.  One of the side effects of my old contraception was my lack of periods, I basically missed my periods for a year or two. This was nice for the practical side of life, but what was that doing to my body? My doctor reassured me this was ok, but I worried about things like osteoporsis, fertility issues and the general problems associated with having too many extra hormones swimming around inside of me.

I read recently in the Healthy Bitch Daily all about this subject and I find it interesting that some women may actually chose their birth control purely based on the premise they will lose their monthly cycle.

Mother nature now rules in my household!!

image from

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Take The Tummy Test

Do you avoid spicy foods before bedtime to fight off nightmares? Do you chew gum to help you digest food? What about your 'number 2's - should you go everyday?

There are so many old wives tales out there its hard to know what's true anymore - check out this cool quiz from Womens Health magazine to see if you are a tummy trooper or maybe you need a gut-check-up!
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