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A Nutritional Sunday

Hiya! How was everyone’s weekend? Well for once, I was not working this weekend. No, I was not out painting the town red either. Rather, I was sitting in a classroom 9 hours a day for my Nutrition & Wellness course.

I’m doing it through CanFitPro, the same Canadian national certifying body as my personal training certification. With personal training, all I can do is give nutrition advice based on Canada’s Food Guide. With this certification, I’m allowed to give nutrition and lifestyle counselling, including individualized diet plans and recommendations. Plus, it gives me a little more authority on the subject!

I’ve always been a food and nutrition enthusiast, so I knew a lot going in. But there were a lot of things I learned this weekend in my course. Here are just a few of them :)


1. Protein not only helps in the growth and repair of tissues, but also regulates hormones. Protein is especially important for women in menopause and can help out with hot flashes.


2. Digestion of carbohydrates begins immediately in the mouth when our saliva hits it. Protein and fat don’t get digested until they hit the stomach.


3. Excess sugar gets a lot of blame in the recent increase in Type 2 Diabetes. But artificial sugars are just as much to blame! A study found that Diet Coke (not regular coke!) was a commonality in children who developed Diabetes after birth. What happens is when the sweet liquid hits your tongue, your brain sends a message to send out insulin to regulate sugar levels in your blood. Except there is no sugar in your blood! Thus your body’s ability to use insulin gets all screwed up. Enough to scare someone out of not only Diet Coke, but many sugar-free sweeteners!


4. A lot of people will skip carbs, or a morning snack, before working out so their body has no glucose to burn. The theory is, that instead of burning glucose (your body’s preferred energy source) it will instead burn up fat stores for energy. But burning fat without the presence of glucose also produces a waste product known as ketones.

Ketones are toxic. They alter the pH of blood and can result in coma or death. This is called ketosis and usually identified by an odour to the urine or breath similar to a combination of nail polish remover and ripe pineapple.


5. Trans fats come from a process called hydrogenation. It’s when hydrogen molecules are added to oils so they remain solid at room temperature. Margarine is the perfect example of this. But many foods have a “partially hydrogenated ____ oil” in them. Read labels carefully, especially on popcorn, nut butters (even almond and soy butter!) crackers and chips.

Vegetable shortening is another hydrogenated oil and found in many packaged baked goods and even homemade pie crusts!

Remember that the recommended trans fat limit per day is only 2g. My personal recommendation is none. And packaging laws are such that companies can claim 0g trans fat when there is under 0.5g. A small presence of trans fat can be okay, assuming you’re only having one serving and not eating other trans fats throughout your day!


**Bonus Lesson**

I apparently have a balanced, aka “neutral” body pH! Most people are typically acidic. High body acidity has been linked to many diseases and is the basis of a lot of nutritional theories. I have no idea how this happened as I eat dairy, animals and drink beer. Perhaps I really am just BalanceSusan :)


This is the first post in a new weekly series on nutrition and healthy eating. Sundays are now the day to take a look at what we’re eating and try to make good choices for the upcoming week!

Question of the Day: Any name ideas for this new series? “Nutrition Sundays” sounds l-a-m-e. Mystery prize for the person who comes up with the winning title!

Life in a Jar


Going through my food photos, I noticed this one from last week that I never shared with you. I swear, it’s not because I am ashamed of it.


That would be oatmeal in a Fluff jar topped with chocolate peanut butter and strawberries. The fluff melts and becomes a sweet syrup. SO good.

Apparently, oats in a jar continued to be a popular breakfast into this week.


Either that, or I have a tendency to blow through fluff and peanut butter at the same pace ;)


One of my pet peeves used to be the hard bits of nut butter at the bottom of the jar, but putting oatmeal in it solves that problem. What’s that purple stuff in there you ask?


Jam of course!! When you’re out of fluff, jam is the next best thing to pair with PB ;)

This morning I got a grip on myself and ate breakfast out of a bowl.


Yogurt with protein powder, dry oatmeal, cinnamon, blueberries, almond butter, and the kicker…


Mint. If I could keep plants in the house without killing them, mint would be my herb of choice. Not just for the mojitos, but it makes for an excellent yog-mess topper!


In a perfect world, blueberries would also be in season all year round ;)

You may recall that I tried fresh figs for the first time not that long ago, and wasn’t that impressed.

Well, those were black figs. This weekend I spotted some green figs and decided to give them another try.


Verdict? Much better! The center was a lot sweeter and more flavourful. Thumbs up!

I may not be baking much these days, but I sure am making lots of summery salads!


I meant for this to be a quinoa salad, but when I opened my cupboard all I had was pearl barley. I still think quinoa will be better, thus, that’s what I’m putting in the recipe ;)

Hearty Tofu Quinoa Summer Salad

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small sweet potato, cut in 1cm cubes
  • 1 15oz can black beans
  • 1 block tofu, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp dried chilis

Cook the quinoa, sweet potato and tofu in the water for around 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients and let chill in the fridge for several hours (one day is best to let the flavours come out!)


I tossed some of the leftovers with spinach, zucchini, green pepper and tomatoes today for lunch. Yumyum!! I am aalll about the protein packed summer salads these days ;)

Supper wasn’t quite as successful.


It started good – a Rowe Farms Italian Sausage on toasted rye bread from Brick Street Bread.


Both are exceptionally tasty, made better only by the addition of ketchup, mustard and sauerkraut.

But then there was this pile of green…


I normally love piles of green food. I though this frozen broccoli rapini would be no different. For lack of a better word, ick. It was chewy. Could not chew enough to swallow and the taste wasn’t that great. I get rapini is not one of those veggies that freezes well…


I also have some big news!!

Two pieces of news actually…

First, I finally picked out something to wear to the Healthy Living Summit Cocktail party.

Yes, this is big news :P

You have no idea how much mental energy I have put towards worrying about this stupid outfit. I am not a fashionista. Apart from whether or not it wicks moisture, I do not care about my clothing to any great extent. I think it comes more from the fact that I’m cheap and can’t bring myself to spend my hard-earned bucks on expensive pieces of material.

I had a few old dresses I thought I could wear to the event, but I didn’t feel right in any of them. And I’m all about feeling good in your own skin. You will have to wait till Friday to see my new $30 dress :)

Also, apparently everyone is wearing yoga pants during the sessions on Saturday. But I haven’t worn pants since I was in Alberta two months ago. I would have to disagree with the Gap and say that I do indeed look good in shorts. Anyone ever do yoga in jean shorts? :P


Okayokay, now on to the news that’s actually important…

I’m getting a Nutrition & Wellness Specialist certification!

This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a loooong time and the time is finally right. I’m doing it through Can-Fit-Pro, the same as my personal training certification. I’ll be given a textbook and take a weekend of classroom instruction at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition.

Right now, my hands are kind of tied as a personal trainer when it comes to nutrition advice. The new certification will allow me to give nutrition counselling and advising on top of creating fitness programs so my clients will sort of have the whole package. Diet is such a huge part of the fitness and health journey, it’s important that people get some info on that too!

My classes are in September and my exam in October. This is just another part of what will be a long education journey for me, I can’t wait! :)


Question of the Day: Are you a fashionista? What’s your favourite piece of fashion advice? One that I always follow is that I never show off my upper and lower parts at once. If I’m wearing a short skirt, then I pick a modest top. If I’m wearing a low-cut shirt, then I’ll go with something longer on the bottom.