Sunday, 31 May 2015


95% of weight loss programs fail in long term. Once we achieve the desired weight we  are faced with a dilemma. Keep limiting ourselves and not enjoy food or risk going back to the old ways. Hence the well known yo-yo effect.  Why people fail with sticking to the program? I think most are too limiting.  We can only eat certain foods, have to constantly count the calories or rely on prepared foods of questionable taste. If it was so delicious why would we go back to eating fries or pizza?Weight loss diets are designed for fast results rather than create lifestyle changes.
We all want quick working solution but how are we going to maintain our new, slim figures?

I believe that learning about foods and our bodies and applying this knowledge and common sense will bring long lasting results.

Once you realize the need to change your eating habits you will be able to avoid foods that are processed and seek out fresh, simple ingredients.

Why are processed food bad for us? During processing many compounds are removed or destroyed. Final product is often enriched by adding back vitamins and minerals.  Processed food does not contain fibre, enzymes and has very little nutrients. Even though fibre has no nutritional value it is essential for maintaining healthy colon and prevents sudden sugar spikes. Processed food contains artificial flavouring, colouring and preservatives.  They are usually high in fat, salt and refined sugar. All of which are highly addictive.

Did you know that sugar taps into the same part of the brain that creates pleasure response? The pleasure centre releases endorphins reducing feeling of stress. So it is only natural for us to desire foods that make us feel better on emotional level.

To find a way to healthy eating we need to retrain our taste buds from sweet or salty only, to more savoury flavors. It is going to take some getting used to. After all the taste that we acquire as children carries into adulthood. 

After I moved to Canada I experienced a bit of a culinary shock. I could not believe that mustard or beer could be sweet. And candy bars were beyond sweet.

The key to balanced diet is avoidance of junk food, eating smaller portions and eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. If weight loss is a goal, surprisingly, by eating healthy the weight usually drops. When you consume less calories than you spend it is a given.

I am sure you know it all as I have know it. Yet it was of no help to me. I felt completely lost as to how to effectively apply this knowledge and start feeling and looking better. While enjoying my meals too.

I found a way! Do not worry, I will share my experience with you.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Spring Salad in 5 minutes

 Too busy to prepare your own salad? Perhaps not. It took me 5 minutes to make this one.

It has been a staple for me in the last few weeks. Sometimes I skip radishes or replace cucumber with cherry tomatoes (saves time!). If you are trying to lose weight eat snap peas only 1 or 2 times a week.

3 leafs Romaine lettuce
½ medium bell pepper – any color but green
1-2 radishes
1/3 of long cucumber, diced
handful of cherry tomatoes or 1 medium one
handful of sweet snap peas

You can add hard boiled egg if you find that salad is not filling enough.
Feel free to mix and match the ingredients.

I must admit that I prefer creamy dressing with this salad and use store bough one (make sure to get one that is refrigerated).
I have an idea for a homemade dressing so stay tuned.

Time saving tips:
Boil your egg (or a couple as they last in a fridge) the night before.
After you buy radishes chop off the green part, wash and dry them and put in the container, cover. Store in the fridge. They will stay firm for 3-4 days easily.

I like to prepare my salads in the morning so the cut up veggies loose as little nutrients as possible. I put 1 table spoon of dressing in the container with salad and mix just before eating. Fewer boxes to wash.

Monday, 25 May 2015


What does it mean exactly?

Oxford dictionary defines it as “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” But there is another meaning: “a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.” The latter one seems to be what we use a lot these days.

Since I am generally healthy and love to eat, I am a proponent of balanced meals that do not exclude specific food groups. I realize that some may be less desirable than others, so I work on limiting those. Lately I have tried to focus on the source of food as much as on the food item itself.

I never understood the sense of keeping food journals until I tried it. All of the sudden it turned out that I did not eat nearly as much fruit or fresh vegetables as I thought.
I consumed too many starches and sugars. How I like my sugars! I am not ready to give it up completely, and as long as dessert is just a dessert, not a meal substitute, I think I will be just fine.
The key to being successful is mental focus.  Think of what you want to achieve, make a plan, and execute. Be realistic. Recognize what works for you. (I am one step at a time person).
Believe that you can do it.

Very important element in successful diet change is support from your family and friends. If you are the only one willing to get healthier that means that you have a big fight ahead of you. You will fight with yourself and outside influence as well.

When you eat well, your body will have more energy to function properly rather that spend it all on digestion. Even if you did not plan on losing weight, you may anyway, as the input has changed, your digestive tract works efficiently. You will feel and look better.

A very important element in diet is not only WHAT but HOW MUCH we eat. Ever been to a buffet? I am amazed by the amount of food on people’s plates. Do we really need to eat that much? No. But that is the society we live in. OVERSIZED.

If you feel that you pile your plate too high, use smaller one. Visually you still have heaping plate, but smaller portion.

These days we do not eat only for nourishment. Eating became social thing, we eat when under stress. We seek comfort in food. Eating whole container of ice cream feels good until all this sugar makes us tired with breakouts and the reason why we were stressed REMAINS.
Cooking simple, tasty dishes does not require a lot of skill or time. It can be easily achieved with good planning and a bit of practice.
Add a walk or two and you will be on your way to healthy lifestyle. 
And forger a DIET as a restrictive plan that you can not wait to abandon.

In my next post: “Why weight loss programs fail in the long term”

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

What is so good about bacteria?

Once you have cleansed your intestines of toxic material, your body will be able to digest and absorb all the nutrients from the food, and function more efficiently.
Your energy will increase. You may notice improvement in your skin since the amount of toxins released is drastically reduced, your pores are not being constantly clogged and skin is able to detox efficiently.

The healthy inside means healthy outside.

I have mentioned before that the cleansing process should be done over longer period of time. There are two reasons.
The toxic waste was accumulated over time and trying to get rid of it quickly is not a safe thing to do.  Even when detoxifying slowly you may experience headaches or breakouts. When done it too quickly and you may end up feeling sick.
Efficient cleanse needs to be a longer process. Same as losing weight. Cannot be done overnight.

While you are doing a cleanse, the bacteria in the intestines, both good and bad gets eliminated. You need to restore your bacterial flora to normal levels.
A healthy person should have around 80% of good bacteria. When this number diminishes it means that the healthy balance is disrupted. Our defense system becomes weakened and loses the ability to fight infections efficiently.

To restore the balance we need probiotics. They help improve digestion, absorption of nutrients, help increase energy levels.

When shopping for probiotics pay attention not only to high culture count but also to variety of strains. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum are helpful in promoting immunity and fighting candidiasis. Look for live strains of bacteria. I take my probiotics every morning.
Kefir or fermented foods like sauerkraut are also beneficial to reestablishing healthy balance.

I remember as kids we would pop in to a corner store for a pickle or an apple as a snack. 

Oh, we did chase ice-cream truck as well. Unknowingly, we kept ourselves healthy by not sticking to one food group and being active.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Beauty comes from within.

Or at least I hope so.

What we eat is very important, but what I did not know is that we may be eating well and still not getting full nutritional benefits. How is it possible? Absorption.

Nutrients from the food are absorbed into our blood stream by villi that line inside walls of small intestine. If the intestine gets clogged with undigested food waste than the vitamins and nutrients pass by without being fully utilized. A good bacterium that helps with digestion gets killed off. 
Foods that contain additives, refined sugar, cow’s milk and white flour are among those causing clogging. All this accumulated matter helps with yeast growth. Since yeast needs sugar to thrive, it tells body to provide more of it. We develop cravings to feed the yeast.

Until the intestines get clean the absorption process is limited.  Simple elimination process is not enough. 

Yeast overgrowth – Candidiasis – may result in tiredness, poor digestion, gassiness, heartburn, sugar cravings, frequent headaches, vaginal infections, dizziness, poor memory, hay fever, habitual coughing, catching colds easily, skin rash, psoriasis, athlete’s foot.

I remember the first time I did a cleanse. The results were amazing. My energy levels increased. No more “foggy” brain. I was able to focus and did not suffer the late afternoon crashes, when I could barely stay awake.
That was when my days started with a cup of coffee and a muffin. Store bought. No bran.

I have made small adjustments like not eating muffins or doughnuts for breakfast, reduced my sugar in coffee, incorporated more greens in my diet. It does not look like a huge difference but it felt like it when I was struggling to change my morning sugary routine.

After a few weeks I have noticed that my craving subsided. Before the cleanse I would eat anything as long as it was sweet. Afterwards, I could control myself and leave sugar cubes alone.

Make no mistake, you are not going to feel great for long if you go back to your old eating habits. 

To keep on feeling and looking great there needs to be a lifestyle change. Doing a cleanse was a first step to feeling energized and light. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Change. Part Three

Only 5% of people actually make change in their life. And I understand perfectly well why so few. 
We feel safer with what we know. Even if we are not happy, the thought of a change frightens us. Not knowing what the future will be like holds us back. The fear of the unknown can be paralyzing.
We have been taught from the early age to follow the rules. To be reliable and diligent workers. To have steady jobs. To avoid risks, invest our money safely.

After a while this complacency transfers to all aspects of our lives.  Cooking the same dishes, going to the same places and doing the same things over and over. I get it. There is no work involved any more. Just do as you always did. Yup. As a tired, working mother, I get it.

The creativity and imagination that we have possessed as children gets lost.
The pressure to do as others do is overwhelming.
Truthfully, I do not think it is easy to find yourself again. It is worth trying though.
What have you got to lose?

Spring is a wonderful time to reflect and make change. If you feel you are READY, take that first step. However small, it will take you great distance.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Change. Part Two

At around the same time as we were facing dietary challenges, my daughter developed severe skin irritation that just would not get better. Ointments with steroids for a young child did not make me happy. So we used them only when necessary.  Finding cause is one thing but temporary relief was of paramount importance. 
Reading labels on products, not understanding what the ingredients are, not knowing what they do and if they are potentially harmful was extremely stressful. Learning takes time, time that I did not have. This long process thankfully brought desired effect in finding an ingredient that was causing the problem.
Once again the curiosity to find out more was ignited. Why do we poison our bodies for no reason?

I do not wish for anyone to have to go through their loved ones illness to prompt them to make change. I guess, I needed such big push to get going.

One day I look to replace a fruit, next eliminate harsh chemicals and on the third I work on a personal improvement. One thing leads to another.

The first step was the most difficult.  Now the change is ON.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Change. Part One

I am a creature of habit. I like things done just so because it makes things easier.

I did not realize how hard it will be to make a change to one’s diet. It was not for me, but everything from planning the meals to shopping and preparing them was my responsibility.
To simplify things I put our whole family on the same plan. The problem was that any healthy food seemed to be on a forbidden list! Was I going to make us all sick?

After about 3 months, when I got used to using new ingredients, we all breathed a sigh of relief and those that could, went back to eating oranges and tomatoes.

It was an extremely important experience that altered my way of thinking. It forced me to make change and stick to it. It was easier since it was not I, who needed it, but it showed me that I can do whatever needs doing.

All it takes is applying your mind to it. Unfortunately that is the hardest part.

So here I am, hoping that this blog will be a reflection of the changes and the learning  in myself and my family members.