Yoga Today offers a free video every week. You have to register to see it, but the sign-up process is quick and painless. Their videos are set in beautiful outdoor locations, and the teachers often offer some words of wisdom. Their classes are often challenging and range from 50 to 60 minutes.
Hopefully these videos inspire you to exercise. I’m sure your body will thank you.
Sometimes I am asked, “Where can I find organic and gluten-free food?” I have listed some of the stores in Surrey, Vancouver and other communities in BC below. When I was dealing with food intolerances in 2003, many of these stores did not exist. Now you can find organic vegetables, gluten-free bread, coconut oil, chia seeds, and more at many local Save-on-Foods, Independent Stores, Superstores, Thrifty’s, IGAs, Safeways and Costco. London Drugs carries many good products for people with wheat-intolerance now as well. But the biggest variety is often at natural health food stores.
Health food stores are a good place to find less common foods (quinoa pasta, spelt flour, tapioca flour) so that you can add variety to your diet and avoid foods you are intolerant to. They are also a great place to buy healthier versions of some packaged foods. Keep in mind that even though they are selling it in a health food or natural food store, it may not be healthy for you or anyone else. Read the ingredients and ask questions if you’d like to learn more. Some of the stores below (like Choices, Stong’s and Donald’s Market) are regular grocery stores that have a large selection of organic goods on the shelf and a variety of organic fruit and vegetables.
In Surrey/Langley/White Rock:
Nature’s Fare – on 200th near Willowbrook Mall and near Johnston Rd in White Rock
Choices – in South Surrey on King George Hwy just north of 32nd Ave
Antony & Sons – in South Surrey at the corner of 32 Ave and 140th
Yogurt is thought of as a healthy food. It provides healthy bacteria, protein and calcium. Unfortunately most yogurt available in the grocery stores is not what I would consider healthy. When my older daughter was young I bought her yogurt tubes because she could take them to school and loved the taste. What I didn’t realize was how unhealthy they were because of the food colouring and sugar in them. I believe that yogurt is no longer a healthy food once you add those.
The bacteria in the yogurt helps keep our system in balance and helps us avoid sinus, ear and candida infections. The bacteria also decreases the amount of lactose in yogurt, which means that yogurt is easier to digest than milk. In my opinion, to buy the best yogurt:
artificial food colouring (“colour” as an ingredient, Yellow #5, Red #40, or Tartrazine)
sugar (on the ingredient list, not the nutritional panel that shows “sugars”)
aspartame, Splenda and other artificial sugars
additives or extra ingredients like cornstarch
yogurt sweetened with fruit juice or fruit
yogurt sweetened with honey or stevia
yogurt without colour, or coloured with beet juice or annatto
I buy plain yogurt and add fruit to it myself. I love plain yogurt with fresh raspberries or bananas. Sometimes I add homemade granola, raw nuts, pumpkin seeds or unsweetened coconut. I buy vanilla yogurt for my daughters occasionally, buying the ones with organic sugar so that the sweetener isn’t quite as processed.
I often keep an energy bar in my purse in case I am out longer than I expect to be. Yesterday my appointment went an hour longer than I thought it would and I was very hungry when I left. I saw fast food restaurants but nowhere nearby that had quick healthy food, so I ate the energy bar I had with me. Having a snack with me decreases the times that I eat food that I wish I shouldn’t have eaten. The energy bars I eat have good ingredients in them, test healthy for me, and are flavourful.
I like the taste and ingredients in Larabars (sweetened with only dates except for the chocolate chips in some bars), Taste of Nature bars (sweetened with agave), and Honeybars (sweetened with honey). I avoid bars with white sugar, artificial sweeteners, or chemicals in them. I choose bars that are sweetened with dates, brown rice syrup, agave syrup or honey. I used to love Kind bars, but unfortunately they changed the formula and they now have sugar as one of their sweeteners.
You can make your own healthy energy bars at home, which allows you to choose only ingredients you like, but I usually choose the convenience of buying bars that someone else has made.
I buy Taste of Nature bars at Costco or Nature’s Fare, Honeybars at IGA, and Larabars in Washington State. I like the lemon, lime and cherry flavours of Larabars and those are no longer available in Canada (please let me know if you see them in Canada and I’ll update this post!)
When you are ready to change a habit, it is easiest to see how you are doing if you track your progress. If you set a goal of going to they gym four times a week, writing down the days that you go will help you to appreciate your efforts when you are doing what you planned, and motivate you to go one more time if you have not yet met your goal for the week.
Two iPhone apps that help:
MyFitnessPal allows you to record your exercise, water intake, and food that you’ve eaten. It calculates how many calories you have burned in exercise compared to how many calories you have eaten. Although weight loss is not a simple math equation, it can help you become more aware of what you are doing. The library of food choices is excellent. I was able to type in Key Lime Larabar and Happy Planet Thai Coconut Soup, and found that another user had already entered the calories, protein grams and vitamin percentages. There is a social component if you choose to use it, to allow you to add friends or strangers to cheer you on as you develop new habits.
Diet & Food Tracker by SparkPeople allows you to do similar logging, but doesn’t have quite as good a library of food choices. They have a large group of contributors to their main SparkPeople website, with lots of inspiring ideas.
The apps are also available for Android phones and Blackberry. You can also use just your computer to track your progress and connect with other people.
Have you used either of these? If so, what is your experience with them?
After visiting my naturopath at Living Wellness Center, I stopped in at a new health food store that has not yet officially opened. Almost everything in their store is organic and some is unique to the area. It is called Antony & Sons, and is located in Elgin Corners – the corner of 32nd & 140th in South Surrey. I recommend that you stop by if you live in the area or if you are heading out to Crescent Beach. They have excellent prices on fresh organic produce (98c/lb for organic oranges!) and great prices on the food on the shelf. In addition to the oranges and some basics, I bought some dried tart cherries, which I have only seen in health food stores south of the border. They also have unpasteurized raw almonds, which are hard to find. It is a family-run store with very knowledgeable and friendly owners.
When my older daughter was on an anti-Candida diet to clear up some health problems, I needed to get creative to find foods she could take to school to eat and that she was willing to eat. To improve her health she was temporarily avoiding wheat, corn, dairy, ham, beef, white sugar, food colouring and other foods. The school does not allow peanuts or nuts because some kids in the school have severe allergies. One of the meals she liked (and still likes) is bean and cheese quesadillas.
1 rice tortilla, thawed (either in the fridge, or on the frying pan before the oil is added)
grated cheese (dairy cheese, goat cheese or non-dairy cheese)
canned Romano beans (drained and rinsed)
cilantro (optional – my daughter didn’t want it)
dash cumin (optional)
Heat frying pan on medium. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the hot pan. Add thawed rice tortilla. Spoon beans onto one side and top with grated cheese. If desired, add cumin and/or cilantro. Fold tortilla in half over beans and cheese. Squish down with potato masher or frying pan flipper. Wait until it browns, then flip over. Remove when both sides are lightly browned and crisp. Cut into three triangles and enjoy!
It is natural to want to avoid pain. We usually do not like feeling sad, lonely, overwhelmed or anxious. It becomes a bigger problem though when we eat because we are feeling sad, even though we are not hungry. Have you ever grabbed a bag of chips, something chocolate, or a baked treat because you thought it might make you feel good? It may not even have been at a conscious level. Perhaps you were looking for the sugar rush, the taste you enjoyed last time, the carbohydrate high, or the memory of something that comforted you as a child. Unfortunately the pleasure only lasts a short time and then the feelings that you haven’t dealt with come back again. The food you ate may end up adding to your size.
Many people avoid their feelings with:
Healthier ways to deal with your feelings:
noticing what you are feeling, acknowledging it and letting it go
tapping on your upper chest with your fingers where Tarzan used to pound his chest and breathing deeply
On cold days I sometimes have homemade oatmeal for breakfast. If I wanted to take the time to make it in the healthiest way, I would cook slow cooking oats in a pot on the stove. Usually I want it quickly, so I pour boiling hot water over quick oats. Technically those are supposed to be cooked on the stove too, but I find they cook enough for my taste with the hot water. Here is a recipe for the oatmeal I made several times in the past couple of weeks:
1/2 cup quick oats or instant oats
1/2 cup water
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1/2 pear, diced
7 almonds, chopped
dash of cinnamon
The fiber from the oatmeal and the protein from the almonds keeps me full all morning.