Monthly Archives: May 2020

Barbecue Season 101

BBQ season is upon us!! Which means burgers and booze are in the air! But don’t worry, we can help you stay on track with your health goals this summer. Follow these tips to keep your waistline in check!

Say goodbye to the usual hotdogs and hamburgers! Upgrade your mains to chicken, turkey skewers, fish packed in foil, shrimp, or even marinated tofu! These healthier options will take your BBQ to the next level. Focus on veggies by trying to make vegetables take up half your plate. Assembling veggie kabobs is an easy way to keep veggies in their place (try cherry tomatoes, zucchini chunks, pepper slices and mushrooms).

When buying foods such as burgers, veggie burgers or pre-marinated skewers choose ones that have more iron and lower amounts of saturated and trans fat and sodium. And when buying buns, always go with whole grain! Be aware of the sodium content when buying marinades, BBQ sauces, and condiments. Choose brands that have lower amounts of sodium.

When choosing snacks veggies and dip are a good idea. Store-bought dips can save you time, but be sure to chose ones that have lots of fibre and calcium, and less sodium and saturated and trans fat.

Important reminder! The serving size isn’t necessarily the portion you should eat. The serving size is the quantity of food used to calculate the numbers in the Nutrition Facts Label. Be sure to check the serving size and compare it to how much you are planning on eating. If you eat double the serving size, then you’ll need to double the calories and the amount of nutrients listed.

When it comes to drinks, keep it simple. A pitcher of water with lemon, lime or fruit slices can freshen up any barbecue! And we can’t forget about dessert! Try grilled fruit with plain yogurt!

8 Reasons to not take the summer off

The sound of kids playing outside, the familiar smell of a barbecue, the temptation for ice cream… these all point to one thing: summer! While summer is arguably the best time of year, it also poses challenges for many of us in our fitness and nutrition journeys. For a variety of reasons, staying on track in the summer can be much more difficult than other times of the year. Things like going on vacation, dinner parties, spending the day at the beach, and barbecues can pose challenges that do not arise in other times of the year. Because of these temptations, it is common to want to take the summer off. At first glance, this may seem like a win-win: you can enjoy all the things that summer has to offer ‘guilt-free’, and get back on track in the fall! However, unfortunately, reality does not quite work that way, as you might expect (womp womp). While it is (very!) important to enjoy the summer months, it is equally as important to stay on track— your future, autumn self will thank you! Here are some reasons why maintaining and not gaining is your best plan of attack for the summer time.

Taking the summer off changes your mindset from lifestyle to diet.

The premise of Simply For Life is that it is a lifestyle, not a quick-fix! If you decide to take a break from that lifestyle, it may feel more like a diet when you return to it. If you need to, make small adjustments throughout the summer, but keep the overall lifestyle the same.

It may reverse all the progress you’ve made so far.

If you take the summer off, there is a chance that you will take some major steps backward in your nutritional and/or fitness journey. Then, after the summer, you will simply be repeating the progress you’ve already made— you’ll be catching back up instead of continuing to move forward. As we like to say, ‘don’t let your vacation put your health back to work’!

You made the habits, don’t break ‘em!

This goes hand-in-hand with reason #2—you’ve made progress with your habit formations as well! Any fitness and nutrition journey is largely mental—changing your lifestyle and habits is no easy feat. Think about the differences in your day-to-day life now compared to before you started; if you take the summer off, you may completely revert to your old ways.

You’ll feel better.

Think about how you feel right now. Now think about how you felt before you started this journey. You’re doing some pretty amazing things for yourself right now, and how you feel (physically and mentally) is a reflection of that. Your body will react to any major changes that you make to your diet, and you will likely feel accordingly. Therefore, if you start to incorporate less than great food continuously into your diet, you will definitely feel less than great!

Cravings, cravings, cravings!

Depending on where you’re at in your health journey, you may have noticed that you’re not craving some of the foods that you used to. If you go back to eating (or drinking!) these foods, your body will want more. This may result in having to cleanse and phase these foods out for a second (or third) time. Do yourself a favour and stick to the plan, while allowing yourself treats and rewards instead of completely reverting back to old habits.

Don’t deviate from structure.

As humans, we crave a certain amount of structure. This structure enables us to be productive and stay on track. However, many of us need some accountability to stick to our routine. This is where your nutritional consultant will come into play—they will provide you with the tools to stick to your plan and provide a source of accountability throughout the summer. As we know, once we get ‘off the rails’, it’s harder to get back on the train!

Practice makes progress.

Like anything in life, a healthy lifestyle takes practice. The more you work on it, the easier it becomes. Unfortunately, it’s not the same as riding a bike—if you stop practicing, you won’t just be able to pick it back up and continue like you never stopped. If you take a lengthy break, your progress will not only come to a halt, but it will likely reverse. Keep practicing and you will keep progressing!

Maintain don’t gain.

You may need to acquire this mentality throughout the summer. Stay on track, but allow yourself small treats. Even if you don’t lose any weight over the summer, it’s better than taking the summer off completely. As my old gymnastics coach used to say, it’s all about balance!

Have an excellent summer!

Milk Thistle to aid your body’s natural ability to detox – 4 Key benefits

Milk thistle is a plant native to the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. The leaves have white marks on them, which is how the plant got its name. It was found to have a flavonoid in the seeds called silymarin, which has a regenerative effect on liver tissue.

Milk thistle & detoxification

According to studies, milk thistle may protect the cells of the liver by blocking the entrance of harmful toxins and helping remove these toxins from liver cells. Milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant, which works to maintain health and energy by protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals, which can injure healthy cells and tissues.

Milk thistle contains a mixture of several related compounds called silymarin. Silymarin promotes detoxification by several different mechanisms. The antioxidant capacity of silymarin can lower the liver oxidative stress associated with toxin metabolism and has the effect of conserving glutathione levels. Glutathione is an extremely important as an essential antioxidant, detoxifier, and immune system booster.

Milk thistle benefits:

1. Cell Protection: Directly aids liver cells by binding to the outside of cells and blocking the entrance of certain toxins. In addition, toxins that are already in liver cells are neutralized by silymarin. These actions also help protect against dangerous chemicals, such as carbon tetrachloride, alcohol, acetaminophen, and some commonly prescribed medications.

2. Boosts Antioxidant Activity: It is particularly useful for increasing production of glutathione—a powerful antioxidant produced by the body, as well as increasing the levels of other antioxidants, such as superoxide dismutase.

3.. Cell Regeneration: Alcohol abuse, chronic hepatitis, and even commonly prescribed drugs, such as cholesterol-lowering medications and antidepressants, can injure liver cells. Silymarin has the unique ability to help regenerate damaged liver cells.

4. Anti-fibrotic Actions: Fibrosis is a process that occurs in the liver cells due to inflammation. The most common contributors to this process are alcohol abuse and chronic viral hepatitis (both B and C). By acting as a blocker, silymarin not only helps maintain liver health, but slows the progression of irreversible liver damage, also known as cirrhosis.

**Milk thistle is generally regarded as safe. Side effects are usually mild and may involve stomach upset and diarrhea. Do not take milk thistle if you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, chamomile, yarrow, or daisies.