A Battle Worth Fighting

April 12, 2014

When I ask my clients to describe their relationship with food, I often wonder what emotions and feelings come to them when they initially read the question. If someone had asked me the same thing years ago I don't even know where I would have started. Now I could write an entire book on this topic! 

In the name of a concise take home message, lets talk about food battles that are WORTH fighting. For example, what is the point of food in the first place? Sustenance, enjoyment, taste, regeneration, social connection, the list goes on. 

Simplifying my relationship with food has done wonders for my enjoyment, comfort and physical results. If you have read my story, then you know that while I have always enjoyed food, it wasn't always a harmonious relationship. In the past I ate mindlessly, felt guilt and even confusion with what choices to make. Count calories? Eat low fat? Eat a whole foods diet?

Over the years I managed to find what worked for me. The greatest thing is that YOU get to decide the best diet for you. The one that leaves you satisfied with taste, amount of food and physical results. Satisfaction is not eating everything you want, it is eating foods that make you feel great mentally, physically and emotionally.

Just like you do with your loved ones, there are some battles that are worth fighting and some that are not. Sometimes the amount of effort you put in will not reap the rewards you desire. Here are some of the battles that I think are worth fighting for:

Stop labelling foods good or bad.

Once I stopped labelling pizza as bad and spinach as good it gave me way more satisfaction and freedom with my food choices. Pizza tastes good to me! I don't want to feel badly for eating it, but I also want to see results physically. I pack my day with foods that give me energy and leave me feeling great like salads, scrambles, smoothies and enough water so that when I do have pizza I really enjoy it without any guilt at all. 

Eat protein at every meal or snack.

The bottom line is protein helps to keep you full, maintain muscle mass and control the hormones insulin and cortisol. I am not talking about eating a steak three times a day. Choose eggs, fish, quinoa, hemp seeds, chicken etc. Adequate amounts of protein help to prevent cravings and energy highs and lows too.

How much is enough? Health Canada describes the minimum amount of protein intake to be 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. If you are active, it should be at least 1.2 grams per kilogram. Ex. An active individual weighing 60kg would have a daily protein goal of 72 grams. 

Find easy ways to eat vegetables every single day.

Cut them up ahead of time on Sundays. Buy pre-cut veggies at the store. Pick 3 green vegetables you love and eat lots of them. Put butter on them for heaven's sake. Make vegetables enjoyable and prioritize them. They are low in calories, high in fibre, full of vitamins and will keep you lean.

Avoid deprivation and find a treat that works for you.

If the path you are currently on is leaving you feeling deprived an unexcited about food, here's a news flash: it will end in a sad binge and a teary phone call with your bestie. Have a couple squares of dark chocolate, harness your willpower and order a kids size blizzard.

Notice if your indulgences actually satisfy you. If a couple squares of chocolate takes the edge off and allows you to enjoy vegetables and lean protein for dinner, that is a win!

Find a treat that tastes great and enjoy it mindfully. Having a treat regularly (I try 2-3 days between treats) will actually HELP you stay on track. 

The take home message is we need to eat to stay full and satisfied. Perfection with eating simply does not exist, and if you think it does it is fleeting anyways! Take a long term view, fight the battles worth fighting and you will experience joy & satisfaction with food.

Lana xox

 

Easy Protein Pancakes

April 12, 2014

At the beginning of the day our body needs protein for fullness, carbohydrates for energy and concentration plus a little bit of convenience. These easy protein pancakes are quick, filling and made of real ingredients. 

Ingredients:

1 cup egg whites

1/3 cup old fashioned oats

sprinkle of cinnamon

There are two options for combining the ingredients; you can place in a small bowl and stir, or place in a blender and blend! If you choose the stirring option, you will experience that the egg white 'runs' a bit when poured in the pan. Not to worry, simply spread the oats around a bit and all is well. Cook for 2 minutes per side and top with fresh berries.

Big Crunch Salad

April 10, 2014

This has quickly become one of our fan favourites. I can't tell you how happy it makes me that my reader's favourite salad has kale and brussels sprouts as the base! Both are a cruciferous vegetables (along with cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and more) which are high in fibre, super filling, have a ton of anti-cancer properties and loads of vitamins. Increasing your intake of cruciferous vegetables weekly can help to maintain a lean physique as they are filling with a relatively low calorie content.

Ingredients:

2 kale leaves

12 brussels sprouts

1/2 small purple cabbage

8 sundried tomatoes in oil

1 carrot

1/4 white onion

6 slices cooked bacon

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 lemon freshly juiced

balsamic reduction

To prepare; cook bacon in a frying pan, blot with a paper towel and let cool. Shred kale, brussels sprouts and cabbage into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Chop sundried tomatoes into small pieces and mix into bowl with fingers to coat salad mix with leftover oil. Finely chop carrot, onion and bacon, add to bowl. Toss in parmesan cheese. Drizzle lemon juice and balsamic reduction over top of salad and mix. This makes 3 large servings and keeps well for 2-3 days as the cruciferous veggies do not get soggy or wilted!

The Myth of Understanding

April 07, 2014

We all crave connection with those closest to us. Really, what we want to feel is that we are understood, like 'our people' know where we are coming from.

When I first started dating my fiancé we had a tumultuous relationship at times. With his life as a World Cup Ski Racer and mine as a 4th year university student, our schedules were anything but typical. He would come home from racing and have a hard time understanding why I couldn't 'just miss a day of school' or 'get someone to cover my shift at work' while I would be angry that despite our 8 hour time difference and all his pre-race preparations he couldn't just send me a note to say 'Hi'.

Eight years later we have certainly come a long way! We may or may not talk the day before a World Cup race and when he comes home he just lets me do my work and live my normal routine. One of the places that gave me the greatest strength was learning to be ok with what I was feeling and not 'needing him to understand me'. Today our relationship feels supportive rather than defensive.

This year I have the privilege of working with Jill Coleman, an international expert on Mindset and Female-specific fitness, as my coach. When I read her work, I feel a connection, like wow, she just gets me! Recently, Jill shared something on a blog that really caught my attention (as most of her posts do!) It was:

It is nobody's job to understand me.

Wow - I thought at first, 'that seems pretty lonely! No one to understand me?' And then I spent some time reflecting that the best parts of my relationship came from giving up my desire to be understood. I now live to fulfill my own purpose and let my man do that for himself too. 

I thought about the times I had spent justifying, defending and explaining my actions. I was so in my own head there was no space for compromise, working together or even listening to his perspective.

Effective listening is the key to understanding someone else.

Ok - I get that this seems intuitive, but have you ever been 'listening' to someone else and really all you are doing is thinking up what you are going to say back to them? Figuring out your next line? This leaves no room at all to hear what your loved ones are saying. Talk about lack of connection! 

Now I practice listening when someone else is talking, repeating back to them what I have heard them share and they often say - 'Yes! That is exactly how I feel!' Simple it is, but a good practice to use in all relationships, especially during arguments :)

When in doubt, empathize.

And then there will be times that you just simply do NOT understand where your loved ones are coming from. I would love to say I understand what it feels like to be off the podium by a one-hundredth of a second, or to be living out of a suitcase for 7 months of the year but that is just not my reality. We all have our own struggles and using empathy or the ability to see a situation from someone else's perspective is super powerful.

It truly is amazing, the amount of inner strength that you can find when you simply choose to accept where you are and if no one else 'gets it' - that is ok too!

Thanks for 'listening'

Lana

Sugar Snap Pea Salad

April 07, 2014

I am one blessed gal - my future mother in law Jane is kind, creative and a maven in the kitchen! (no, I am not trying to 'butter' her up, she knows how I feel). This week she shared with me a variation of Curtis Stone's Sugar Snap Pea Salad. Here is Jane's version:

Ingredients:

200 grams sugar snap peas (could also use snow peas)

1/3 cup finely sliced onion

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

8-10 very finely sliced cucumbers

1 radish very finely sliced

fresh ground black pepper

Serves 2

Saute the onions in olive oil until cooked, remove from heat and let cool. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the snap peas quickly, just for one minute. Drain the peas, immediately run under cold water and use a paper towel to dry. Combine peas, cooked onions, cucumbers, lemon juice, radish and pepper in a bowl and toss.

Great ways to add protein to this salad include a boiled egg, grilled chicken or even a sprinkle of hemp seeds.