Tag Archives: diet

Survey Sez!

It’s FRI-day!! And no one wants to think on a Friday.

[Tangent: best game show ever was Family Feud – yup, even better than The Price Is Right. I even had a play-at-home cardboard and paper version of FF when I was little!]

So let’s do a survey. It’s been a whole one week + since the last one, so let’s hop to it.

This ABC-style questionnaire is a popular one of late in the blog world. I found it first on Janetha‘s website, but Angela and Gabriela (among others) also have shared their answers.

A is for Apple. What’s your favourite variety? I ♥ apples a lot! I like any and all crisp, crunchy, hard apples. At the top of my list: Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith; Red Delicious if they’re crisp and sweet (they can be mealy and mushy). In my fridge right now…

royal gala (L), fuji (R)

B is for Bread. Regardless of nutrition, calories, or whole grains, what is your favourite type of which to have a big slice? Preferring GF carb choices, I didn’t like rice bread all that much. But I do love the rice bagels (hey, also a B-word!) from Healthy Foods and More. Here are two more breads that stand out in my mind: my Auntie Anne’s homemade bread that she always served with dinner when we were over, and Beer Bread – this one was an oft-made recipe when we were teens. It went exceptionally well with BBQ’d steak and caesar salad. [I thought I had the recipe, but I can’t find it – it’s so good, I would have posted the how-to’s right here, right now. You’ll just have to trust me on this!].

C is for Cereal. What is your favourite kind currently? (just one!).

No fair! With a cupboard like this…

cereal space is full to capacity, right now!

…and, clearly, a refined cereal palate, this is a near-impossible question to answer. But I’ll go with Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins.

D is for Donuts. What kind do you fancy? Hmmm…another toughie. In general terms, anything with chocolate; specifically, chocolate glazed from Tim Horton’s.

E is for Eggs. How would you like yours prepared? Poached if I don’t have to do it; microwaved-scrambled if I do have to make them.

F is for Fat-Free. What is your favourite fat-free product? This salad dressing:

i never vary my choice

The Brother and I simply call it “Red.”

G is for Groceries. Where do you purchase yours? I live right across the street from Valumart, so 80-90% of my food purchases are made there. However, I also frequent health food stores and the market, when I can. Rarely do I drive anywhere to get groceries, which is kinda cool.

H is for Hot Beverages. What is your favourite hot drink? Haha! Had you asked me in early January, I would have replied, “I do not like hot beverages.” But since then…the previously dormant inner coffee giant has roared to life. Coffee it is! [Specifically, Starbucks Via individual packs].

I is for Ice Cream. Pick a favourite flavour and add a fun topping. Since childhood, I have loved chocolate chip ice cream. The best, to this day, remains Baskin Robbins. (BR even beats my Marble Slab cone). Let’s sprinkle on rainbow sprinkles for some fun.

J is for Jams or Jellies. Do you eat them, and if so, what flavour and kind? I don’t favour jams nor jellies. How can I be my mother’s daughter?!

K is for Kashi. Name your favourite Kashi Product. Kashi Go Lean Crunch [A cereal question? If there was a buzzer involved in this quiz, I’da been Quick Lightening in my response!]

L is for Lunch. What is yours today? Well, it’s < 7 a.m., so yesterday’s lunch (at the store): cottage cheese; rice bagel; apple with peanut butter; nuts and chocolate chips.

M is for Microwave. What is your favourite microwave meal or snack? Breakfast!! Oatmeal cooked in the microwave with peanut butter then spooned on top.

N is for Nutrients. Do you like carbs, proteins or fats best? Carbs! Specifically veggies, fruit and cereal.

O is for Oil. What kind do you like to use? Canola. Healthy and mild in flavour.

P is for Protein. How do you get yours? Here’s my five most frequent sources: tofu, seafood, cottage cheese, peanut butter, eggs.

Q is for Quaker. How do you like your oats? I like GF oats microwaved with peanut butter. [Dad would have a much more in-depth answer to this question. He is Hot Cereal King].

R is for Roasting. What is your favourite thing to roast? Can I say my skin? As in being outside in the sun?! Joke! I love portabella mushrooms, roasted.

S is for Sandwich. What is your favourite kind? DEFINITELY the ‘wich I had at thrive juice bar when I went there with Angela and Odette. It was a grilled portabello, tempeh and spinach sandwich on a GF bun. Note to self: go back there asap.

T is for Travel. How do you handle eating while travelling? On a plane, small snacks frequently as I can get a nauseous stomach easily.

U is for Unique. What is one of your weirdest food combos? Oh, this one is easy: a can of tuna mixed in a flavoured yogurt cup (like Danon or Silhouette). I used to eat this at the store all the time and everyone sneered at it – til they tried it, then they’d report back that it was delicious. AND I got the idea from the Food Network!

V is for Vitamins. What do you take? I take Vitamin C (chewable), Calcium (chewable) – – > because they taste good. Also glucosamine – taken that for years.

W is for Wasabi – yea or nay? Never had it, so I guess that’s a nay!

X is for X-Ray. If we x-rayed your belly right now, what food would we see? Since it’s < 7 a.m., you’d find leftovers from last night’s dinner!

Y is for Youth. What food reminds you of your childhood? Boy, have you got 30 minutes? The stories and items I could recount…! Here are five: homemade hamburgers; homemade macaroni and cheese; homemade cookies; homemade blueberry pie; homemade iced tea.

Z is for zucchini. How do you prepare it? Rinse it under cold water, cut into rings, eat raw (dipped in “Red!”)

Wow – that ended up being longer than I anticipated! It’s actually almost breakfast time!…

Take the first two letters of your first name, and answer those questions! I’d be CEREAL and APPLES for Cathy!

Best game show ever?? Can you believe I’ve never watched Wheel of Fortune!

Gluten Free: The Way to Be?

Happy Friday, dear friends!

Today I have three new-to-me food products to share with you.

Before we get to the reviews, a bit of background: over the past ten years or so, I have dabbled in trying a wheat-free diet. Some times are more strict, others more lenient – it’s been pretty sporadic. Overall, the trend for me is that a diet high in gluten containing products (ie anything wheat-based) does adversely affect my system. How? For me, lots of gluten consumption (cereals, bagels, bread, pasta, baked treats) brings on:

  • bloating
  • gassiness (sure you wanted to know that one!)
  • general digestive unhappiness

In the past, I’ve noticed much relief in sticking with corn, oat or rice based products. For example, let’s talk about cereal since it’s a subject near and dear to my heart! Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, even sugared cereals like Cap’n Crunch and Frosted Flakes go down much easier than either Shreddies or All-Bran – those two are no bueno, as Gina (Fitnessista) would say!  

For the past couple of weeks, then, I’ve made three dietary swaps:

1) OUT with Quaker 100% whole grain oatmeal and IN with Only Oats Quick Oats (manufactured by Avena foods in Regina, Saskatchewan).

[Sidenote: until a few months ago, I was under the impression that oatmeal was gluten free (GF). However…

“What about oats?…The problem is possible contamination of oats with other gluten-containing grains.” (source)

Many thanks to Dorry who also discusses a gluten-free diet on her blog, today! That’s where I found the information, above].

purchased at eating well organically, uptown waterloo

First Impression: love the dainty flakes! much smaller in size than Quaker oats.

Price: I was paying $3.69 at Valumart for a box of 12 x individual Quaker 100% oats sachets. My GF bag cost $3.99. At first, I thought that was a bit expensive; however, now I realize just how many servings I am getting out of the bag, and it’s turned out to be more economical by far than the way I was purchasing Quaker.

Taste: the very same as Quaker

Digestability: awesome: no bloating, gas or rumbles

Rating Overall: A+

Try Again? Definitely. Permanent switch predicted.

2) OUT with wheat-based cereals, IN with GF cereals

I’ve tried a number of specifically GF cereals in the past, particularly corn flakes, as well as other varieties picked up at health food stores. But I had never tried:

yes, they're targeted for kids, but when has that ever stopped me before!

First Impression: these look like Kix! (a product not found in Canada, but that I just enjoyed in Aruba last week). The sweet coating (from sugar cane juice, primarily) reminds me of a less-sugared Corn Pops cereal.

Price: $5.39 for a 284 g box – not cheap, but breakfast cereals in general are not that economical a purchase.

Taste: nice…but they don’t rock my world. I do like the crunch factor.

...but i prefer KIX! which are also GF, did ya know!

Digestability: wonderful: no bloating, gas or rumbles

Rating Overall: B

Try Again? likely not

3) OUT with whole wheat bread or bagels and IN with GF white rice bread:

i've never seen bread packaged this way! it's in like a plastic "box"

First Impression: these slices are TINY!!

yes, one slice is literally the size of the palm of my hand - is it bread or melba toast?!

Price: $4.99 and there are 13 slices in my loaf; definitely more cher than regular bread

Taste: absolutely wonderful – the bread is soft, the taste is mild, the texture is delightfully palatable (I’m keeping it in the freezer to stay fresh).

Digestability: divine: no bloating, gas or rumbles

Rating Overall: A- (the size factor is the only knock against this product)

Try Again? yes

Final Thoughts: I will continue to branch out into picking up more GF products, given the positive personal results experienced with switching to the oatmeal, cereal, and bread listed above. I do not plan to devote myself to seeking out a 100% GF diet at this time. A cookie here, a bowl of Kashi Go Lean Crunch there…a serving or two of gluten-containing products per day does not seem to affect me too negatively. I’m eager to do more experimentation, and try some more new-to-me items.

And a future step could include baking GF! Anyone up for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, hehe?!!


Tonight’s project: ripping back the front neckline on A’s sweater:

i'm blocking the front and back of the sweater right now, hence the pins you see there

Given that the neckband is a separate braid that you knit and then attach, I think the neck area needs to be slightly larger. Luckily, this is not a major fix – all in an evening’s work!

Any exciting Friday plans for you? Do enjoy!

Tomorrow is going to be Fashion Saturday!

Oprah Goes Vegan

I’m trying something new today with this post – let’s call it blogging in real time.  

I rarely watch Oprah, but today’s episode caught my interest: “Oprah and 378 Staffers Go Vegan: The One-Week Challenge.” I’m jotting notes during the show, then will do a quick edit at the end and add in links…then up she’ll go onto the website!

3:58 p.m. – TV on!

The challenge, as described by Oprah, is to consume nothing that comes from an animal for seven full days. Oprah invited the staff of Harpo Productions to participate, and 378 staffers volunteered. Day one – her staff receives gift bags from Whole Foods and Kashi – I’d be motivated to take on the challenge, too, after being bribed with gifties from these two healthy food Super Powers!

What I’m hoping to see in today’s show: how Oprah and her staff found the seven days’ experience most interests me. Did most people find it tough? easy? any cravings?

4:05 p.m. – first guest: Michael Pollan, Journalist and Food Expert

– he still eats meat 1-2 times a week, just is picky about where he gets it from

– the concern is with how much preventable disease Americans have, how much processed food is eaten

4:13 p.m. – tour of a meat processing plant. Lisa Ling reports from the Cargill slaughterhouse. The bolt to the head (to kill the cattle) is not shown, but the carcasses hanging from the ceiling, is. [I found this report to be respectful and fair journalism; rep from Cargill plant stresses that they never forget the dignity of the animal].

4:26 Oprah tries a variety of vegan snacks [they all look great!]

– Oprah can’t taste the broccoli in the smoothie! Oprah loves Kashi [can’t you see it? Ka-ching for Kashi sales!!]

4:27 p.m. guest Kathy Freston, author of “Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World

– where do you get your protein?? asks Oprah. Beans, legumes, tofu, seitan, tempeh, says Kathy. There are lots of options/sources.

4:33 p.m. Harpo Productions cafe is going to do Meatless Monday from now on. Kathy and Michael think this is a great way to ease into the lifestyle.

– Michael worries about the effect of veganism on farmers; also, he’s concerned that people will flip over to refined carbohydrates on a vegan diet, which in itself, is not healthy

– Kathy says it’s not her business to tell anyone how to eat

– Oprah’s not ready to commit to the whole thing; maybe she’ll be “vegan-ish!”

Humourous Moment I: Oprah asks director, Joe, how his bowel movements have been – “great!” says Joe [gee, thanks! TMI, much?!]

4:37 p.m. Real Life Moment: Staffer Monica gives a b!tchy opinion of her meatless burger; Kathy soothingly calms her, stating nothing is going to taste good if you’re addicted to fast food. It’s like trying to take alcohol away from an alcoholic.

4:41 p.m. Kathy’s easy alternatives for your family’s meals: Staffer Jill and her daughter go to Whole Foods for vegan options to thie supper staples: pizza and spaghetti with meat sauce. Kathy promotes the idea of leading in to a vegan lifestyle. Products Kathy suggests:

Daiya cheese [I’ve bought it! it IS delicious]

Gardein brand meat substitutes [the sodium would be my concern…]

Tofurkey sausages pulsed in food processor to make “meat sauce” for spaghetti

– soy, almond, rice milks [I love almond milk, although the nutrient stats cannot match organic cow’s milk, IMO]

Vegenaise [tried a sister product – tastes like mayo]

Earth Balance [tried it! does taste just like butter!]

[Very happy to see that the products mentioned on the show are readily available in my neighbourhood, despite the fact that I’m not in the U.S., and I do not have easy access to Whole Foods].

Humourous Moment II: Staffer Jill’s Family Feedback on the “meatless sauce:” husband: “it was awful.” son’s response to ‘did you like it?’ “NO!” (stated emphatically).

My opinion of this show: very balanced, fair look at both the benefits and downfalls of vegan and omnivore diets.

4:50 p.m. Feedback from the Staffers [this is what I was hoping for!…]: Kathy cheated on pizza; Lesia very excited to eat an egg tomorrow; Rich lost 11 pounds in one week – ate horribly before the challenge, now he doesn’t – migraines gone; Tommy lost 5 lbs, going to continue in to February [I want to hear Oprah’s opinion! She never does end up sharing how she fared…]

Staff stats: 444 lbs lost, 84 gained, record amount of tp used!!!

4:54 p.m. Michael speaks up, and is going to “cast a shadow on this ‘dietary revival meeting’ ” – there is nothing evil with meat, having it in your diet; Kathy agrees but eating meat “does not sit right with her soul.”

Humourous Moment III, from Michael: “Animals lead very happy lives, and have one bad day.”

Michael continues…How much meat to eat is different for everyone – it’s overwhelming the American diet, the system is brutal – need to reform the system.

4:58 p.m. Final shout-out to Kashi by Oprah [I really dislike blatant product placement]…

Oprah’s Final Thoughts: Be more conscious about where your food comes from. Decide what’s right for you and your family.

To close, Oprah mentions the latest books by Michael (Food Rules) and Kathy (The Veganist) – [These will now be on top of the Amazon/Chapters Best-Selling Lists by tomorrow morning, mark my words!]

My Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed watching this episode! Although not a regular viewer, I am an Oprah fan, and appreciate that when she publicizes a topic, people pay attention. I liked the balanced viewpoints (experts Michael vs Kathy), the respectful tone. It’s always hard to condense a rather broad topic – in this case, veganism – into a < 60 minute TV show, but I thought the end result was interesting and informative.

So…the million dollar question: Would I try a 7 day Vegan Challenge? Yes! Would I try to convince B to join with me? Double yes!

Hmmm, now that the wheels are turning…this could be a great New Experience, couldn’t it?? Watch out, B! 

Would YOU try a 7 Day Vegan Diet??

Kick-Off to Buyer Be-Aware Mondays!

Here’s a photo of our current peanut butter cupboard:

both b and i luuuv our nut butters

Sadly, you will note that the shelf no longer holds this divine gem:

Naturally More Natural Peanut Butter(source)

BEST. FIND. of my entire Florida trip. Haha: B is now hiking in Colorado…I wrote down the exact name, weight, lid colour, blood type of this peanut butter and begged him to please please PLEASE bring me some home, if at all possible. Fingers crossed although my chances stand at about 5%, I reckon). I’ll let you know!

Anyway: our #1 favourite of the options above is for sure the Kraft All-Natural peanut butter.

b devours it on toast with jam, i inhale it on apples

 We go through a jar about every 10-14 days. We’ve tried other all-natural brands, but love this one the best. Frankly, I was surprised as I was sure a little indie company would knock the socks off a corporate giant, but that’s the way our tastebuds vote!

Love the ingredient list:

100% select roasted peanuts

That’s right – one ingredient. Sodium? 0 mg. no added sugars, zero preservatives. Taste? Fantabulous!

So last week, it was time to purchase yet another jar of our p.b at Valumart.

Whoa-ho! What have we here? My little eye spied this new-to-me product:

let's check this out, said i!...

My initial thoughts were: ok! whipped p.b.! sounds healthy…let’s check the stats:

70 cals/tablespoon, zero trans fat...all good...


let's read through that ingredient list...

First, be aware there is 60 mg of sodium/serving. Not bad – in the States, I honestly was rather dumb-founded by some of the sodium levels in the brands I found (100+/tablespoon in some cases) – but when you can get zero, why do you need 60 mg?…Now sorry for the fuzzy photo, above, but I hope you can at least make out that there is more than one ingredient in that list. In fact, here IS the list: select roasted peanuts, soybean oil, sugar, corn dextrin, hydrogenated vegetable oil, salt, fancy molasses. That’s a lotta extras! (And THIS is cool! Read the link and you’ll find that “…corn dextrin also serves as a glue. In fact, it’s the glue that you find on the back of envelopes.”) Think I’ll stick with the one ingredient p.b., thanks!

This is kind of cool, too. I went to the Kraft website, searched “whipped peanut butter,” and this is what I found: information and nutrition on the whipped p.b. but they provide no list of ingredients!!!

There’s a high probability that the casual shopper will see the product, think “Oh, whipped = healthier, I’m gonna grab this!” without noticing that the ingredient list is not all that pure…

So, welcome to the initial post for Buyer Be-Aware Mondays! I’m genuinely intrigued by the worlds of marketing, advertising, and consumer awareness, and will be examining a product or claim that I come across each week. (For example, remember when I found the Eat Pray Love book in Florida – $1 for the trade paperback with Julia Roberts on the cover as opposed to the trade paperback without).

 I decided to call this Buyer Be-Aware instead of BEWARE because my intent is not to cast judgement or push my opinion on anyone; by being informed, however, we can make choices that best suit our interests and priorities.

Coming up! A Financial Post! (No, not that one, haha!) 🙂

Am I Allowed to Grunt While I Do That?

Among the many diets vying for your attention is the Paleo Diet. You can read more about it here, or I can summarize by asking you one question. Basically, if you are going to follow the Paleo way of eating, before inserting anything into your mouth, you must ask yourself, “Would a caveman have eaten this blueberry/Cheeto/sushi roll?” If the answer is yes, go right ahead and munch away. If the answer is no, you must immediately drop whatever you are holding and run far, far away.

So this morning as I was pounding away, up/down up/down on my Stairmaster, the thought crossed my mind that this Stairmastering is such a manufactured movement. Don’t get me wrong: I adore my Stairmaster with a deep, abiding and passionate love. In case of fire, I would shriek and scream and make Brad toss my Stairmaster onto his back before we race out of our burning condo. So would a caveman have Stairmastered? Not on your life. He wouldn’t have had real stairs to lumber up, let alone fake, manufactured ones.

If the Paleo diet is all about eating foods that existed thousands of years ago, let’s ponder what a Paleo Exercise Regime would be like. Let’s do a list of “IN” paleo exercises and “OUT” paleo exercises. Then we’ll conclude whether a Paleo Exercise Diet is feasible for us in 2010. So remember, our main question is: would PaleoMan (or PaleoWoMan) have been able to do this exercise?

“IN” Paleo exercises:”

  • running (yea!)
  • walking
  • swimming (open water only, no chlorinated pools)
  • weights (as in hoisting a baby, gathering wood)
  • stretching (as in reaching to pluck fruit from a tree)

“OUT” Paleo exercises:

  • all cardio gym equipment (elliptical machine, Stairmaster, recumbant bike, stationary bike)
  • outdoor cycling
  • skiing
  • weightlifting/body sculpting/Zoomba class
  • Yogalates

Are Paleo workouts do-able for us? Not so much, I fear…unless you live on an organic farm and have innumerable hours to spend on earth-centric workouts. And remember: to be truly hardcore, you’ll have to do it all barefoot!…but I’ll debate that touchy topic another day…