Make August Your Awesome!

Follow me on Facebook or Twitter as I show you how to 'Make August your Awesome!': There'll be 31 days of top tips of Life Enrichment to improve every aspect of your health - from physical fitness and nutrition to self care, better relationships and even career...
Photobucket Photobucket 

The 'Healthy' way to drink soda!

Why would a health coach even condone such a thing you may be thinking. Well, if you don't drink soda you don't need to be told - and if you do drink soda you probably also don't need to be told, right! Yes, of course we all know soda has nothing to offer us in the way of nutrition, but I'm a realist and I know particularly at this time of year, it's one temptation too far for many of us. So if you must indulge, here are a few useful common sense tips to not moderating your intake;

Read and understand the label - know what the ingredients are and what they actually mean. Once you understand what's hiding behind those big words you may start to see it in a different light.

Commit to drinking at least the same amount of water both before and after. You never know, the water before may even satisfy you to the point you don't need the soda. The water afterward will go some small way to restoring the alkalinity in your body. Soda by it's very nature is extremely acidic.

Buy the smallest size you can - you'll often find that the craving can be satisfied with a small amount. So keep away from the bottles and the  new larger cans, you'll be surprised at the difference in calories, and more importantly, the sugar content.

Don't buy anything that calls itself 'DIET'. There is a mass of well researched evidence suggesting diet sodas not only add more weight than the originals, but they are actually full of chemicals that are far worse than sugar - all added so they can claim low or zero calories. If you're going to overload on sugar, as bad as that in itself is, at least keep it to real sugar.

Don't keep it in the house - and if you really must, don't keep it in the fridge. Don't make it easy for yourself to just grab a can and go; that 12 pack really won't last long in this weather. Try to keep it as a treat rather than your go-to drink of choice.

Stop there - having one can doesn't mean you have to throw away the rest of your good dietary habits. Don't let yourself spiral down and start adding other 'bad' things to your day.

And lastly, don't beat yourself up about it - you know you shouldn't drink it - but you did, so get over it! If you're going to drink it, you might as well at least enjoy it. Nutrition is only one part of health, don't let guilt ruin the rest of it...

Chewy chocolate Berry Delight snack

Ok, here's one of my favourite healthy snacks right now - and incredibly quick and easy to prepare - as in two mins!

Mix together and eat! Try using different proportions of each ingredient to suit your own taste. I personally find the cacao a little bitter which is why I use less of it and more coconut.


Healthy Recipe Blog Carnival - Chickpeas

Chickpeas are actually beans, garbanzo beans to give them their alternative name and although legumes, (as are peas) they are not technically peas - and they're certainly not chicks!

They are however, an awesome source of fibre with only two cups being an entire day's recommended amount. Chickpeas are low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals. They are also high in protein, manganese and iron and have a low glycemic index which means they are good for stabilizing blood sugar levels. They help lower LDL, (bad cholesterol) and in studies, have been proven to satiate appetites quicker than most sources of protein and keep us feeling fuller longer. Good for weight loss, intestinal health...whats not to love...?

And to top it all, chickpeas are hugely versatile, being used in anything from soups, salads, curries and even deserts - try toasting them in olive oil and turmeric for a healthy snack! In fact don't just take my word for it, here are a bunch of tasty recipes I've gathered together from other fans. Just remember though; they're not chicks and they're not peas... :-)

Chickpeas with Chermoula, tomatoes and Spinach by Emma from A Splash of Vanilla
Chana Masala from Hot Pot Cooking
Coconut Ginger Curry Brown Rice Bowl by Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers
Braised Coconut Spinach & Chickpeas with Lemon by Faith from The Kitchn

Chickpea Carrot & Date Tajine by Anna from Your Healthy Place
Chocolate Hummus by Stef from the Cupcake Project
Slow Cooker Moroccan Apricot Chicken by Heather from Shrinking Kitchen
Baked Chickpea Burgers by Lindsay from Vegan Yumminess

Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach & Chickpeas by gluten-free Goddess
Smoky Roasted Chicken with tomatoes and Chickpeas by Lynda from TasteFood
Roasted Chickpeas by Chanie from Busy in Brooklyn
Chocolate Peanut Butter Chickpea Cookies by Jessica from The Hungry Tortoise

Glycemic Index v Glycemic Load

Most people these days have heard of the term Glycemic Index as it seems to be bandied about by all sorts of health 'professionals' and other so called experts. So what's the real deal with the Glycemic Index and perhaps more importantly, the Glycemic Load of a food?

First of all we need to understand that when any type of carbohydrates are digested, sugar in the form of glucose enters the bloodstream. The brain then tells the body to produce insulin which allows the sugar to get to the muscles where it is needed. Insulin also helps bring sugar out of the bloodstream by converting the excess sugar into fat and storing it in the body. The Glycemic Index, (GI) of a food is a measurement of the rate in which the sugar enters the bloodstream. The higher the GI, the faster the sugar enters the blood. The trouble with a higher GI is the pancreas releases more insulin than it would otherwise, this creates a drastic lowering of blood sugar levels which 'scares' the brain into thinking it is about to starve so therefore more of the sugar gets stored as fat - usually belly fat!

GI is scored on a scale from 0 - 100, but here's where it gets interesting; carrots have a GI of 40 - 45! So does that mean eating carrots will make us fat? No, of course not because although the sugar from a carrot enters the bloodstream very quickly, there is very little sugar in carrots in the first place. And this is where the Glycemic Load, (GL) comes in; the GL of a food takes into account not only the speed of which the sugar enters the bloodstream, but also the amount of sugar in the food in the first place. So although our friendly carrot has a high GI, it has a low GL due to the low sugar content.

So be very aware when you read about certain foods having a low of high GI; check the GL first - advertisers are very clever about sharing just the information they want you to know. And just so you know, glycemic load is also a case of the the lower the better. To work out the glycemic load of a food, you need to multiply the GI by the amount of grams of carbohydrates and divide by 100. Here's a great explanation of how to work out the GL of your food. 

Sun Catcher Organic Farm Tour

Lots of people talk about doing farm tours and in particularly organic farm tours, so recently I decided to go and do my own. All in the name of research of course and nothing to do with all the fresh produce sampling ;-)

I'd seen Sun Catcher Farms at the local farmers' market here in Lake Country and met Tony Cetinski, the owner so I decided enough procrastinating, now was the time to check it out for myself.

It is a relatively small farm on just under 8 acres of what is the oldest farm land in The Okanagan Valley and has been certified organic for more than a dozen years now. They mostly supply to high end quality restaurants and Urban Harvest, the organic produce delivery people my wife and I always use in the winter when the farmers' markets are not operating. I found it fascinating to learn more about organic farming practices which is much much more than just a case of not spraying the crops. Tony likes to call it good farming practice which sums it all up very well and includes everything from organic seeds and fertilizer, to the correct cleaning products and working closely with the neighbouring farms to ensure integrity of his crops. It also includes such ethics as sustainable farming, rather than producing the largest crop from the smallest effort, a practice that many of the large agri-businesses seem to follow. He even has uncultivated strips of land between his crops to provide a natural home for the good bugs and insects that are needed to keep the bad ones away. There's a lot more to organic farming than meets the eye and I strongly encourage anyone who wants to know why it seems more expensive in the short term than so called 'conventional farming' to check and read this simply explained layman's guide to organic farming in BC. My own take on this is fundamentally a nutritional one; to get the same, (if it's even possible) amount of nutritional value from 'conventionally' farmed food as we can from organic produce, we would have to eat and therefore buy so much more than we need. This really is a case of 'Less is More'!

And if you're reading this and you're local to The Okanagan have a think about this; our valley can provide almost everything we need to live well and eat healthily for many generations to come, if we let it! We need to stop thinking of the short term savings and think more about the future of where we live, after all, we live here for a reason don't we?

Thanks to Tony from Suncatcher Farm to taking time out of his day to show us around, and to Lisa from Urban Harvest for organising the tour!

Follow InSpiral Coaching on Bloglovin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

With the demise of Google Reader at the beginning of the week Bloglovin is a great alternative - I'd love for you to follow me on Bloglovin (and of course on any other reader of your choice!)

FitBloggin' 2013

Wow, what a blast! Just got back from a long weekend in Portland for the 'FitBloggin' 2013' convention. A long old drive, as in 12 hours each way but worth every minute of it; also worth every penny of the ridiculously great value $200 registration.
Copyright Carrie D Photography

The convention/conference is so well put together every year by Roni Noone who originally blogged about her own weight loss journey. Now though it is for anyone who blogs on any subject related to health and fitness; there's so much to learn and many people can make serious money from writing blogs!

The event was sponsored by, amongst others, Reebok - to the tune of a new pair of crossfit shoes for everyone there, and Nutrilite who are a supplements specialist company. They took anyone who was interested, on a tour of one of their farms and as cynical as I am, I have to say I was mightily impressed with their set up and their work ethics. Everything is grown and tended pretty much by hand in a big organic valley up in the hills above the stunning Columbia River Gorge. I was pleasantly surprised by the total lack of sales talk - just some good healthy nutrition advice that no one could disagree with. They fed us a delicious packed lunch on the way there and on the way back we stopped at the 3 Rivers Grill in Hood River for undoubtedly the best meal of the weekend, all paid for by Nutrilite - I won't even go into the amount of product they gave away during the weekend...
Trout Lake Farm and Steak at the 3 Rivers Grill

The convention itself was broken down into classes and lectures on everything from recovery nutrition, how to deal with injuries, the physiological barriers people trying to lose weight often face, to presentations on photography and video for the purpose of blogging. There were so many different classes that there were usually two or three choices for each time period. Lots of good useful information of how to blog better and how to turn blogging into a paying business.
Helen & I getting our Crossfit WOD in, and me trying out the Jumpsport trampolines

And of course, like any good get together of like minded people, there was the social aspects; from the amazingly plush 'Nines Hotel' with its excellent rates for us and its rooftop bar overlooking Portland, to the constant supply of food and snacks, to the inevitable end of conference party on the Saturday night. Lots of strangers became friends, much networking was done and many promises to return, (to wherever it may be...cough..Austin...cough!) next year was enjoyed by everyone there.
Small Group Discussion on setting Health & Fitness goals

A fantastic weekend and thanks to all concerned - which are too many to list, but to name just a few;
Amanda from Click the Good News & Grow Soul Beautiful who led a photography walk and workshop, Lisa from Healthy Dose Media talking about video SEO, Charissa from Colourful Palate who passed out plentiful samples of her favourite Spirulina, Suzan from talking about Adrenal fatigue, Phyllis from, and of course Roni - conference organiser extrordinaire.

If you'd like to read more on any of the sessions they were all LiveBlogged by attendees - check out the FitBloggin website and you'll see the whole list of sessions.

July's featured ingredient...

If you'd like to take part in July's Healthy Recipe Blog Carnival then read on....

The next Blog Carnival will be published on Monday 15th July, 2013

July's featured ingredient is CHICKPEAS! 
(Also known as Garbanzo Beans!)

If you've got a great recipe to share that contains chickpeas then why not submit it?! All submissions must be received by the deadline of Friday 12th July to be included. 

Here's how it works;

Each month I pick a particular ingredient that all recipes should feature and anyone that would like to participate can link up their favourite/best recipe for inclusion.

On blog carnival day I publish a blog post featuring that ingredient with fun and factual information about it and link all submitted recipes in one convenient place. All recipes will give full credit to the author and link back to your own blog or recipe site so everyone will need to visit your site to view the full recipe details. Your recipe can be something you posted today or a year ago – it doesn't matter, but they must appear on your blog with a full ingredient list, directions and at least one photo (because everyone loves seeing pics don’t they?!

Sign up and join us HERE!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...