Nutrition

Learn more about Nutrition and it’s effect on living a healthy lifestyle. Nutrition is a factor in stress and weight gain.

Kick Your Cravings to the Curb

Cravings for TreatsCravings. We all get them. Those insidious little visits from our brains to our stomachs that beg for… chips!  Or chocolate! Or cheese and some of those tasty crackers that I know are in the cupboard. And those cravings can be responsible for a lot of the sugar and empty calories we consume throughout the day. They’re persistent when they come sneaking around demanding to be satisfied, but they can be beaten!
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Trim & Slim

Sugar has been directly linked to weight gain for both men and women. It is also the hidden culprit behind cravings. As we consciously change our diets and lessen the amount of sugars we consume, cravings too will subside.

Relax

One of the often overlooked causes of anxiety, panic attacks, and mood problems is imbalanced blood sugar. As sugar levels swing high and low, the body blasts out adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol to balance blood sugar levels so the brain doesn’t starve of glucose. By balancing sugars levels, in this case by limiting the amount we consume, adrenal hormones adrenalin and cortisol levels don’t bounce us all over the map. This also allows the adrenals to rest and lessens anxiety due to high levels of adrenaline circulating the body.

Panic attacks and anxiety are very common especially when blood glucose (sugar) levels are low, since it’s the adrenaline and cortisol that raise levels to safe levels. As we eliminate sugar from our diets, we eliminate the spikes of adrenaline and cortisol that counter the sugar crash.

Educate

Sugar comes in the obvious form of refined sugar and hidden as fructose in many prepared foods and as starch in carbs like potatoes, pasta and bread. Even high carb grains and legumes possess starches that break down to sugar. Sugar is present in everything from ketchup (each tbsp packs about 1 tsp of sugar or 2 cubes worth) to tomato soup (the whole can contains the equivalent of 7.5 tsp or 15 cubes worth)  and of course muffins (which pack on average, 10 tsp or 20 cubes worth). It’s important to read labels and educate yourself about where you’re getting your sugar. Maybe you’re not a junk food person, but maybe you’re picking up sugar from other sources you didn’t realize contained it.

You can find out more about sugar consumption and nutritional advice from Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD in her article Nutrition Guidelines: Are You Eating Too Much Sugar?

Mountain Trek SaladIt takes a little bit of commitment and some preparedness to do battle with sugar and your cravings but they can be beaten. So here are a few tips to keep you on the road to healthy eating and kick those cravings to the curb once and for all.

Replace your cravings with healthier food. Gotta have a snack? Grab some baby carrots or an apple, maybe some strawberries. Fruits and veggies are low in fat and generally lower in calories than meat and junk food.

When you feel a craving coming on between meals, wait 10 minutes. Most cravings last only a few minutes and then fade.

Replace your craving with an activity to occupy your mind. We of course recommend a hike but take the dog for a walk, dig in the garden or just get out of the house and run some errands.

Just don’t buy that stuff! Don’t bring junk food or other sugary foods into your home. If you don’t have quick access to it, it’s likely you won’t eat it.

Read the label. Educate yourself about the food you’re consuming and what it contains. You’ll be surprised what you find!

Use alternative sweeteners. When cooking, baking or making coffee, replace refined sugar with natural sweeteners like agave syrup, maple syrup or honey.

Reducing dairy = better weight loss

This morning was my last guiding day of the season here in British Columbia.  As we close up shop for the winter, we are already preparing for the Turkey Burner (our winter program) and the upcoming 2011 season.

It has been great to see the evolution of our program over ten years to where it is now – offering ever-better and always great weight loss.  One of the things we will continue to pursue to achieve the best weight loss possible is to reduce our dairy intake.  While the federal and regional dairy foundations have supported research exposing the greatness of dairy in weight loss, we’ve witnessed that reducing dairy here at Mountian Trek in fact reduces many people’s food sensitivities and hence their body weights.  Our kitchen manager and I have brainstormed more ideas to provide the 5-star spa cuisine you’ve all come to expect with even less dairy than ever…

(Let me just say that fresh, wild, smoked salmon prepared by the local First Nations peoples is going to be part of one of our fantastic trail snacks….:)


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

There are only TWO BAD FOODS

Sodas (pop) and artificial sweeteners (Aspartame and Splenda, or Sucralose)

Whoa, did I, as a registered Dietitian just write that? The position statement of both the Dietitians of Canada and of the American Dietetic Association is that Aspartame and Splenda are safe, acceptable sweeteners useful for weight loss. But when we graph the pop/soda consumption in the USA and Canada from 1970 till now, the increases in consumption are a mirror reflection of the increases in body weight and obesity observed in North America’s population.

No other food, product, or habit shows as precise a correlation to our society’s weight gain as soda consumption

Interestingly, diet sodas are the populations’ leading source of aspartame, high fructose corn syrup and now Splenda, or Sucralose.   Regardless of whether diet or regular soft drinks are consumed, the result has been the same – predictable weight gain in the 400 million Americans and Canadians in direct relation to soda consumption.   In research, correlation does not mean cause, however, 400 million people over 40 years of empirical measurements showing this matched, direct relationship is very, very convincing.

Why is this?  It appears that the chemical salts that makeup sodas are the main culprit – they inhibit the ‘detox effect.’

Detox is the successful excretion of various heavy metals, chemicals and the like from fat cells. If we are unable to unload and excrete these things, we maintain a higher fat mass in our bodies.  Thus, soda and artificial sweetener consumption means you maintain more fat mass since you are prevented from excreting the things that help create and maintain the fat cell in the first place. So, regardless of whether or not the soda has calories, the mechanisms of fat storage from sodas are also the result of chemical interference in our fat storage system.

Our advice: avoid sodas of any kind as much as possible.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

Burn more fat: Skip Breakfast before workout (WRONG)

We saw an article on Yahoo! news describing a study in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. Whilst the catchy headline told me to skip breakfast, the research data did nothing to persuade me to give up breakfast before exercising. The study looked at only 7 healthy and fit youths, with only 4 of the youths showing only a marginal increase in fat loss but ALL the youths measuring poorer athletic performance compared to their established athletic norms.

Read more about the importance of eating breakfast and the effects meal timing has on our metabolism.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

It’s not what you get too much of but what you get too little of…

And what do we want to be getting more of in our diets? Plants, in all the colors of the rainbow and lots of them. Benefits…too numerous to mention such as increases in energy, fewer digestive issues, “feeling better and lighter” etc. Plants are loaded with things called antioxidants which are basically like pac men gobbling up things called free radicals which left to their own devices cause cells to break down. All these antioxidants also help reduce inflammation (see previous blog) and creates a strong immune system.

And remember the secret at Mountain Trek for those of you who have been with us…salad dressings. Dressing up your veggies creates a whole taste experience to have with your greens. Making your own is the best but supermarkets are carrying more “healthy” pre-made dressings.

My Year of Eating Less Meat

One of my New Year’s resolutions (besides mastering the use of chopsticks), is to reduce and possibly eliminate my consumption of meat and poultry. I’m not a high consumer of meat, never have been and I always considered myself a compassionate carnivore; I buy and eat only organic meats and eat only wild fish. It’s not for ethical or environmental reasons I’m doing this (although I am aware of the impact of consuming meat has on the earth) it’s more like my body is telling me this. Each time I go to the market looking at the array of meat I can buy, I just can’t do it, doesn’t feel right. No sound reason for it, it just is. I’ve never gone fully vegetarian probably never will I’ll be more like quasi-vegetarian. I think that would best describe what my goal is this year to be a quasi-vegetarian. Sometimes eat meat more likely not.

Legumes, lentils and beans always come to mind as a meat substitute (I can’t eat soya products). Endless cookbooks on the variations of what to do with them like veggie burgers, chili, and simply adding them in a salad. I did experiment with lentils, made the MT Captain Ainsworth soup, sans the turkey adding in cooked lentils instead. Wow! What a pleasant and satisfying soup! I had worried that not using the turkey juices would lessen the taste but was mistaken. I made the soup again (I’m invested in cooking most of MT recipes for the upcoming soon to be published official MT cookbook..watch for it) this time I added in a can of pre-made dal which again pleasantly surprised me on how awesome it tasted.

And then there’s quinoa. Challenged like the rest of the population in what to eat for breakfast, quinoa will make for a delicious and warm breakfast. It’s actually a seed not a grain and reportedly yields 18 grams per cooked cup (in case you are counting). I’m even considering using quinoa for sushi rolls but that will be another cooking adventure.

I’m excited about my entry to the semi-vegetarian world. I’ve always known about the beans, lentils etc, but to be honest with you, I was a bit lazy on tackling them thinking it would be time consuming and perhaps, not that appealing. I love proving myself wrong.

I’ll keep you posted on my new found culinary discoveries, my disasters and my pleasures.

till then…signing off..jp..who still is clumsy using chopsticks but committed.