Saturday, November 26, 2011

UnDiet...Week 48

Santa is watching, UnDieters...drop that cookie!

Hello UnDieters! 

Just a few weeks to go in 2011...hope you are starting to enjoy the glitter of the holiday season without submitting to the all too pervasive stress of it all.

As the days get darker and we get more sedentary, I would like you to explore your nighttime noshing. Usually when we eat after dinner, it is for one of two reasons: we didn't eat nearly enough during the day or we are simply in the habit of snacking in front of the television. After a long day, we rush get dinner on, kids fed, bathed and tucked in and then we crash in front of the television to decompress. Potato chips in hand. And before you know it, you are passed out in front of The Office and the potato chips are gone. 

It is exactly this kind of behaviour that can result in massive weight gain over time. At night, we are less likely to need those extra calories we are ingesting and far less likely to burn them off if we eat them. This week, let's try and break from routine. If you want to eat after dinner, eat only vegetables. You still get to engage in what is probably a deeply engrained habit but you will be eating healthy, low calorie food that contributes to making you a healthier human. We can capitalize on our propensity to overeat and work towards getting our 10 daily servings of vegetables!

To make this task easier, as you grocery shop this weekend, buy extra vegetables and then wash and chop them right away. Place the chopped veggies in an airtight container in the fridge so that if you have a snack attack, you have emergency snacks at the ready.

Ever tried to overeat broccoli? Trust me, you will thank me later.

To your health,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

UnDiet...Week 47

Hello UnDieters!

Week 47....New Year's Day is just around the corner. Hopefully, with a year of UnDieting under your belt the one thing you won't be worried about come January 1st is how you are eating. This week I want to get you eating some more food to save your nutritional soul...greens.

"Kale!" is a routinely heard battle cry at the office. We shout "kale!" when things really rock. Don't laugh. Yes, I am a food geek. That is besides the point (or it is the point entirely.) Why should kale represent the height of my exuberance? Because kale and other greens are serious foodie medicine. So nutritious is it almost ridiculous to start naming names...all you really need to know is that you should eat greens every day. Even Canada's Food Guide, which is not always heralded as the most progressive of texts, recommends you get some daily greens. Who am I to argue?

Does a daily green food seem like an impossible task? Perhaps it is because you simply need more ideas on how to use them. First, let me start by counting the greens...

Black kale, purple kale, curly kale, red chard, rainbow chard, collard greens, mizuna, broccoli, bok choy, gai lan, beet greens, spinach, baby kale, arugula, broccolini, rapini, cilantro, parsley, basil, dandelion get the picture!

Next, here are 10 ideas on how you can use all of those delicious greens in your daily diet:

Steam collard leaves and use instead of tortillas.

Stew chard with onions and garlic as the base for a hearty winter soup.

Add de-stemmed black kale to a blueberry smoothie.

Saute your favourite green with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and chili flakes for a simply delicious side.

Make a salad with mizuna, baby spinach, cilantro and add Mexican flavours like chipotle simmered black beans, corn and queso fresco.

Stir fry gai lan with lots of garlic and add sriracha marinated tofu. Serve over rice noodles.

Layer steamed, sliced beet greens in a vegetarian lasagna.

Simmer broccolini with white beans, garlic and finish with lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Make kale chips with your favourite kale by tossing pieces with olive oil, salt and pepper and baking at 325 for 15-20 carefully!

Wrap dandelion greens with feta, pickled beets, hummus and grated carrot in a sprouted grain wrap.

See? It's easy being green...

Monday, November 7, 2011

UnDiet...Week 45

Hello UnDieters!

2011 is slowly drawing to a close and I want to ensure that all of you who have stuck with me through my ups and downs creating this Un-Diet plan finish off the year on solid footing. We have introduced so many different types of foods; skimmed the fat where it isn't necessary and added quality fats (by the measured spoonful, of course!) where they are. We have gotten up to our elbows in roughage and celebrated the harvest. So let's finish strong, with a focus on good food fundamentals. 

Last week, we revisited the apple (or pear) a day challenge and I do hope you can keep going with it throughout the balance of the year. For this week, I want to introduce a habit that is also worthy of maintaining for the last 7 weeks of the year at the very least. Could it really be only 7? 

Each time you sit down to eat, I am asking that you put your fork or spoon or chopsticks down in between bites. In our fastest-just-gets-there-fastest world, this seems almost ridiculous now. But what are we really rushing to accomplish? By physically getting in the way of hoovering your meal, you can stretch out the eating process for just a little longer. This is a good idea for your stress levels, your waist line and your overall health.

When the rest of our day is fast paced and stress filled, why not consider meal time as a break from the madness? If you are already making the commitment to nourish your body with food, why not go the extra step to truly nourish your body with a moment's respite from chaos? Doing so will actually help you maintain a healthy weight as well; eating slowly gives our body time to realize that it is full and satisfied before we over eat. A slower pace also helps promotes proper digestion and absorption of nutrients so that we derive all of the benefits of the food we eat and don't end up with an angry gas filled gut later on. We need a relaxed environment and state of mind for our body to do its best work.

So for the rest of the year, simply take a moment's pause. It's good for you. And if you want to be really bold, invite a friend to break bread with you. Use those pauses to reconnect.