Category Archives: Food


Permalink to WHEAT FREE ANYONE?

WHEAT FREE ANYONE?

Last Thursday my sister, brother-in-law and I went to see Dr. William Davis speak.  If the name Dr. William Davis doesn’t ring a bell then I’m sure his book “Wheat Belly” does.  Dr. Davis spoke for an hour about the evils of wheat.  Especially, our North American hybridized, high-yield, semi-dwarf version.  (Kind of sounds Halloweenish doesn’t it?)  Dr. Davis makes a very convincing argument that not only is today’s wheat causing ever expanding waist lines it’s also wreaking havoc on our health:

 “The wheat plant has been hybridized and crossbred to make it resistant to drought and fungi and to vastly increase yield per acre.  Agricultural geneticists have shown that wheat proteins undergo structural change with hybridization, and that the hybrid contains proteins that are found in neither parent plant…..we’ve created thousands of what I call Frankengrains over the past 50 years, using pretty extreme techniques, and their safety for human consumption has never been tested or even questioned.”  Dr. William Davis “Wheat Belly” excerpt from Maclean’s Magazine

In his book and on his blog Dr. Davis provides an extensive list of conditions and diseases from arthritis to ADHD that he believes are caused by wheat consumption.  Visit  http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/   for more information, but for the purposes of this blog I want to highlight three very compelling reasons to give up wheat:

Raises Blood Sugar – Just two slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar higher than a Snickers bar.  Davis calls our modern wheat a ‘supercarbohydrate’ because it is broken down so rapidly it spikes your blood sugar, as quickly as, eating pure sugar.  If blood sugar rises too quickly, your body secretes a greater amount of insulin in order to lower your blood sugar. Insulin helps bring sugar out of the bloodstream and it does this mainly by converting the excess sugar into fat.  When your blood sugar dips you may feel hungry, tired, cranky, and shaky and your brain feels foggy.  Your energy plummets and you need to get your energy back.  What do you do?  Instinctively you reach for something that’s going to squash your hunger and bring your blood sugar back up.  Crackers?  Cookies? Bagel?  Chocolate bar?   Once you start this cycle of sugar highs and lows you’ve stepped onto the ‘blood sugar roller coaster’ and unlike other roller coasters this one isn’t fun.   This roller coaster leads to weight gain, foul moods and disease.

Inflammation – Repeated insulin spiking leads to belly fat, insulin resistance, weight gain and disease. Insulin resistance creates an accumulation of visceral fat (the deep abdominal fat or organ fat).  This fat has a life of its own and sends out inflammatory signals into the bloodstream and this can cause: high blood sugar, high blood pressure and high triglycerides which can ncrease your risk for heart disease.

Gastrointestinal upset – Modern wheat can be difficult to digest and is a very common cause of food intolerances and sensitivities.  People who suffer painful digestive and intestinal upset such as:  acid reflux, irritable bowel disease, cramps, and bloating (to name a few) are often unaware that the toast they ate at breakfast, or the sandwich they had for lunch, may be the root cause of their intestinal woes.

What Dr. Davis had to say wasn’t news to me.  I know how damaging inflammation and blood sugar imbalances can be and I know how much better I feel and how much better my clothes fit when I avoid wheat. I always recommend my clients eliminate wheat and I have been witness to the positive changes they experience.  After a few wheat-free weeks they routinely lose weight, have less bloat, less acid reflux, better looking skin, slimmer waists and best of all – they feel great.

When you make a conscience effort to eliminate wheat you are forced to ‘think outside the box’.  You can no longer reach for your ‘go to’ breads, cereals and pastas.  You must think about alternative grains and start to read labels to identify hidden wheat ingredients.  You really have to avoid processed foods.  That’s what I love about giving up wheat.  Not only will you feel and look better – a whole new world of whole food awareness happens!

Beware if you’re being lured into the maze of ‘gluten free’ substitutes now on the market – don’t even consider them.   ‘Gluten Free’ is the current fad health claim.  It’s everywhere and there is an abundance of new gluten free ‘junk’ food in every grocery store.  Many of these foods replace wheat flour with powdered starches such as rice, tapioca, potato and corn starch.  These powdered starches are of questionable quality and they raise your raise your blood sugar faster and higher than the wheat flour they replaced.

When giving up wheat I urge you to think quality, whole grains and not processed food substitutes.  The ‘Wheat Belly’ protocol suggests for you to fully maximize blood sugar balance, and reap all the benefits of a wheat free life, you should significantly reduce all grain carbohydrates.  This will excel weight loss and it will help quickly reduce sugar/carbohydrate cravings.  Most of my clients find a complete elimination of grains too overwhelming to start, so unless you are diabetic or have other significant health challenges, you may find giving up wheat alone is enough to help you shed unwanted fat and gain energy and wellbeing.

If you’re thinking about giving up wheat and want some support join holihealth’s 30 Day Wheat Free Challenge on facebook.  The grand prize is a healthier trimmer you. There are no rules.  Just a group of people trying to give up wheat for 30 days.   I’ll post frequent helpful tips, hints, recipes and favourite products and we’ll get input from fellow challengers on their product finds, likes, dislikes and suggestions.  We’ll try to make giving up wheat fun and easy.  Come join us and you’ll have support for your first few weeks of navigating through a ‘wheat-free’ world.   Go to  holihealth – Nutrition & Lifestyle Trainers facebook page and join the event and make sure you hit ‘like’ to ensure you get all the healthy, helpful tips.  The challenge starts tomorrow November 1, 2013.

Visit holihealth regularly to learn more strategies for a holistic and preventative approach to wellbeing. If you would like help in learning how to implement and practice a healthy, holistic lifestyle please contact us info@holihealth.ca


Permalink to Small Steps Caesar Salad Dressing

Small Steps Caesar Salad Dressing

In 2009 when I went back to school to become a holistic nutritionist, my family had to endure numerous changes.  They found new food in the pantry, in their lunch bags and on the dinner table.  I always thought I was feeding my family “good” food, but I found the more I learned at school, the more adjustments I needed to make to our ‘standby’ meals.

Some adjustments were successful, but some were definite failures.  I learned the hard way, “healthy” Mac and Cheese does not constitute comfort food on a dark, rainy, November evening.

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Permalink to Do you have Questions about how to Eat Healthy?

Do you have Questions about how to Eat Healthy?

At holihealth, the people we meet have many questions with regards to how the eat healthy and feed their family nourishing foods at a reasonable price.

We get questions like:

Is it better to buy organic apples that have been shipped from the other side of the world (often New Zealand) or buy local non-organic fruit?

and

Is “orange” cheese REALLY that bad for my kids?

Quick answers:

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Permalink to How to be a Healthy Vegetarian (Why I am a Vegetarian Part II)

How to be a Healthy Vegetarian (Why I am a Vegetarian Part II)

Last week my blog focused on why I became a vegetarian and this week I want to focus on how to be a healthy vegetarian.

For me giving up meat was actually quite easy.  After reading Diet for A New America by John Robbins and learning about the treatment of animals intended for human consumption, I stopped eating meat fairly quickly.  Now, just because I stopped eating meat it didn’t mean that I was going to be any healthier.  There are many studies and it is broadly accepted in the medical and alternative health communities that, key point – done properly, a vegetarian diet is very healthy and in fact, beneficial for the environment, animal welfare, disease prevention and longevity.

So if simply cutting out meat doesn’t make you healthier, what does?

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Permalink to WHY I’M A VEGETARIAN

WHY I’M A VEGETARIAN

I’ve been meaning to write a blog about how to eat a healthy vegetarian diet for a while.

When people hear I am a Holistic Nutritionist they often assume I’m a vegetarian or vegan.  While the practice of Holistic Nutrition doesn’t necessarily promote a vegetarian diet, it does promote eating whole foods as close to nature as possible and preferably organic.  We suggest our clients eat less meat, preferably no red meat or pork, from farms where animals are humanely treated and fed their natural diet and organic if possible.

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Permalink to SUPER DELICIOUS VEGAN PATES

SUPER DELICIOUS VEGAN PATES

Last week I was invited to two events where I needed to bring an appetizer.

I always feel, as a nutritionist, the expectation for me to provide a healthy appetizer is quite high.  Whether this is true or not, it doesn’t matter, because I always want to serve healthy, delicious food.  By the way, ‘healthy and delicious’ do not have to be mutually exclusive and these two recipes are proof.

I prepared and brought with me SunSpread Pate as well as Gourmet Pumpkin and Sunflower Seed Pate .

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Permalink to 11 Ways to Save Money on Your Food Bill

11 Ways to Save Money on Your Food Bill

Many of you may have seen the news report this morning about an RBC study which found that “… 91% of respondents to the survey said they have taken notice of rising food prices and are being more budget oriented as a result”.  The complete article is available at http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/05/16/business-rbc-food.html

The report also said that “Currently, the average Canadian family spends $411 a month on groceries. Ontario holds the lowest average spending at $379 per month, while Quebec spends the highest amount in Canada, an average of $448 per month.”

I am in a household of 6 and I can tell you, our food bill is far more than $448 per month.  Granted the average family is fewer than 6 people, but here are some of the strategies we use that really do make a big difference to our food bill:

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Permalink to Flying.. Just Plane Fun

Flying.. Just Plane Fun

I once had a t-shirt that said “flying is just plane fun”.  Truly, I did.  I used to do a lot of flying in small single engine planes and I loved it! Fast forward twenty something years and I think flying is anything but fun.  More importantly, I think air travel can be stressful and hard on your health.

The other day I was speaking with a friend of mine and she was telling me about her experience flying from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Toronto.  Her story started when she was notified at the airport that her flight would be a bit late.  Well as can often happen, a ‘bit late’ turned out to be a few hours late.  When she did finally board the plane she had a horrible headache and needed to take a sinus tablet before take-off. At the first opportunity she asked the flight attendant for a glass of water.  Now, I know flight attendants are frazzled by this point because they’re dealing with passengers who are upset, tired, hungry and thirsty.  Not to mention, ‘the happiest ones’, who just missed their connection.  I’m also willing to guess their blood sugar has dipped and these once happy passengers are now cranky.  So ultimately my friend didn’t get her water until after takeoff. She learned that you can’t count on being served anything before takeoff.

Why tell this story?  Well, in my former career, before I was a holistic nutritionist, I worked for a large company and had to fly for business most weeks of the year.  I learned the hard way about the ins and outs of surviving air travel.

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Permalink to My go to meal – Plan B made with Love (Tomato Soup)

My go to meal – Plan B made with Love (Tomato Soup)

Have you ever tasted food made with love?

It’s like a good nights sleep, you know it when you’ve had it.

Dad’s barbequed salmon he caught himself, Auntie Mary’s spaghetti with meatballs, or Gramma’s tomatoes fresh from her garden picked on a hot summer afternoon.

Remember the taste of the warm flavours and the richness on your palate as you savour the chef’s joy of sharing and nourishing those they love.

I know my family can taste the difference between a meal I prepare with passion and energy versus a meal I throw together because I have to.

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Permalink to Sometimes I Amaze Even Myself with Pad Thai

Sometimes I Amaze Even Myself with Pad Thai

I love to cook, shop for food, find new ingredients, chop, sauté, watch and taste as colours and flavours melt together to create something wonderful and soothing.

I must confess, however, that I find it impossible to follow a recipe. In my world, a recipe is a guideline where the ingredients and amounts are meant to be altered.  My alterations can depend on anything from my mood, to my taste buds, to the weather outside, to what I have or don’t have on hand and or I may just have to add a new item I found at the market that day.

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