Sunday, 31 January 2010

Beautiful Bloggers

This is a bit of a different post for me but wanted to say that I've been having so much fun connecting with so many different people with similar interests in food, nutrition and health. I've learned so much and enjoy reading all your blogs and tweets!
A few days ago, I received the Beautiful Blogger Award from Kristen, from the beautiful blog Swanky Nutrition. Thanks Kristen!
So... I'm supposed to share 7 things about me, and pass this award on to 7 beautiful bloggers. So... here we go!

1. I'm from Montreal- I completed my degree in dietetics there. We're lucky, we have an integrated internship program. Many of you dietitians had to apply to get an internship and, from what I've heard, it's very competitive, and you usually have to re-locate. For us, it was simply part of our 3.5 year program.... I'm not sure why more schools don't have this...

2. After graduating, I worked in Ottawa (the capital of Canada) for 7 years- most of this time on a study called the Thin Gene Study. We were interested in why people can eat whatever they want and still stay thin. If we could identify the "thin gene", maybe it could give us more information on the genetics of obesity. I recruited over 1000 thin people- it was fun! The data is still being analyzed...

3. I just recently moved to Toronto to go back to school- a master's in Nutrition Communication. It's been pretty challenging to go back to school after about 8 years! It's kind of like riding a bike though, you just get back into it. Maybe like riding a bike uphill... school's tough!

4. My dad and two of his brothers are runners- good runners. I'm not a good runner, but picked it up when I was in University, and have run a few half-marathons and two marathons. I love running and get out most days, even in -20 degree (Celcius) weather!

5. My dad is French Canadian and my mom is East Indian (was born in E. Africa). She moved to Montreal (after completing her nursing school in England) and had to take French classes.... he was her teacher!

6. I have a twin sister, Vanessa. We're not identical, but people can easily tell we're twins. We do have the exact same voice though. Once, I left myself a message on my answering machine to remind myself of something... when I got home later that day and listened to my messages, I thought my sister had called me! Oops!
(Here's a very old picture of me (right), Vanessa (left), and our cute younger sister, Ingrid, in the middle)

7. Because my mom was learning French when we were born, both my parents spoke to us only in French. We didn't know a word of English until the age of 4. There are some tapes of us speaking English then, and we have a very thick French accent- it's cute! Now, my sisters, my mom, and I speak English to each other, but we all speak French to my dad.

The 7 Beautiful Blogs I nominate (It was tough only picking 7 but I searched your blogs and tried to nominate blogs I didn't think had been nominated!)

My beautiful sister, Ingrid- I's Love
Kati- Around the Plate
Christine- Fresh Local and Best
Alanna- The Vegan Dietitian
Rebecca- Chow and Chatter
Sheryl- E2 Eating and Exercise for Optimal Fitness
Jaime- Embracing Balance

Speaking of Jaime- she's giving away a pair of Olympic mittens!! Visit her blog for more info.
The mittens sold out in most places before the holidays... and I wasn't able to find a pair. I'm very excited about this contest... thanks Jaime! :)

Hope you're having a great Sunday!

Friday, 29 January 2010

Does your pee stink after eating asparagus?

This is a re-post... I thought I'd occasionally re-post some older entries because... it's Friday and I'm lazy!!
Hope you're having a great Friday!

After eating asparagus, some people's urine has a very distinct, stinky smell.

Asparagus contains a compound called mercaptan.
The smelly pee is a result of this compound being broken down in your digestive system.
However, not everyone has the gene for the enzyme that breaks down mercaptan. If your body doesn't break it down, your pee won't be stinky after eating asaragus.

One British study, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, found that 46% of British people tested had stinky pee after eating asparagus while 100% of French people did .
Another study of a random sample of 115 people showed that 40% had stinky pee.

Interestingly, another study found that we can't all smell stinky pee- regardless of whether we're stinkers or non-stinkers!

So... some people don't break down mercaptan (are non-stinkers) but can smell it in other people's urine (I fall in this category), while other non-stinkers can't smell anything. Some break down the compound and therefore are stinkers, and can smell it, but other stinkers are unable to detect the smell in in their urine or in urine that others had identified as "outright putrid".

The authors suggested that the ability to smell stinky urine is also genetically determined.

Don't be embarrassed if your urine smells after eating asparagus, you're definitely not alone and it's not a reason why you should avoid asparagus. Asparagus is great source of folic acid, B vitamins, fibre, and
one of the richest sources of rutin, a compound that strengthens capillary walls.

So... are you a stinker?

Tip: Asparagus won't last very long. To increase its storage time and keep it crisp, treat it like a bouquet of flowers: Trim the bottom of the stalks, place in a tall glass with a little water at the bottom, cover loosely with a plastic bag, keep in fridge.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Broccoli: The Miracle Food

I saw this commercial a few weeks ago and have been trying to find it to post for you- and I finally did! I can't embed it, but you must watch:
Click Here.

There's a series of these commercial in which Broccoli guy is oddly present in different "miraculous" situations, then chastises the people for using the word "miraculous", since nothing is more miraculous than "12 essential vitamins and minerals, all lovingly packed into these tiny little green trees".

I don't know who sponsors these ads- the website (Canadian), The Miracle Food, simply provides information about broccoli: a history of broccoli, nutritional information, recipes, and a list of health benefits.

I think these ads are great...

The food industry plays an important role in what we eat: "We're besieged, encouraged, to eat junk food", states Michael Jacobson, co-founder of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
Not only is processed junk food cheaper per calorie (thanks to government subsidizing corn and soybeans instead of fruits and vegetables), but it is heavily marketed, which leads people to buy it.

I just heard a stat that the average American child sees 10,000 food ads a year- the vast majority for these for high calorie, processed foods.

In her book What to Eat, professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, Dr. Marion Nestle explains that $36 Billion a year are spent on food and beverage marketing...
And how many fruits and vegetable commercials have you seen? Almost none.

Nestle partly attributes the fact that we're not eating enough fruits and vegetables to this lack of marketing. Did you know that one-third of all veggies consumed (in the States) come from just 3 sources: french fries, potato chips, and iceberg lettuce? Sad, eh?

And why is it we don't see fruit and vegetable ads?

Nestle explains that the fruit and vegetable industry is not a high profit one. You can't add value to fresh produce, the produce is perishable so it's more expensive to handle and store, companies are mainly small and independent.
So, there's not much money left for marketing.

So, I think it's great to see these commercials on TV, and I think that if there were more of them, we might start to see a difference in what we ate, and in our waist size.

What do you think?

I came across this great blog in which the author, and some of her readers, have differing opinions... check it out if you get a chance.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Dinner with Roger Ebert

What would you miss most, or remember most, if you couldn't eat or drink?

Film critic Roger Ebert was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002. He later underwent surgery and treatment for cancer in his salivary glands, and near his right jaw.
These surgeries resulted his inability to speak, eat or drink- he has a feeding tube.

In his very touching blog entry, Nil By Mouth, Roger Ebert tells his story of losing the ability to eat, drink, and speak... something that most of us just couldn't imagine.


I've been reading, in class, about the use of storytelling (aka the narrative) as a way for caregivers to better understand their clients, and as a way for individuals to understand, control, make sense of what's happening to them; as a way to cope, to heal. Another purpose of storytelling is to make the personal public- to connect with others, to share, to get others thinking and talking ("personal narratives energize public narratives"). Kind of describes a blog, right?

As you read Roger Ebert's story (or my summary, below), think about the role of storytelling:

If you have a journal or a blog (and blog about your life)... why? What does it bring to you?

If you don't write down your story- keep a journal, for example- do you think doing so would help you... cope with, understand, have control over.... certain situations in your life?

If you were to see a new health care provider- a doctor, dietitian, therapist etc.- would you feel more comfortable and honest telling them why you're there, or presenting them with a story? Which would represent you best?

Roger Ebert's Story (as summarized by me):

Ebert writes that he was never told that he might lose the ability to eat, drink or speak during his first surgery, and while subsequent surgeries were supposed to 'fix the problem', they failed... and, he recalls, "it gradually became clear that it wouldn't ever be right again. There wasn't some soul-dropping moment for that realization. It just...developed. I never felt hungry, I never felt thirsty, I wasn't angry because the doctors had done their best. But I went through a period of obsession about food and drink".

In his hospital room, he recounted his fantasies of drinking Root Beer to his brother-in-law and his wife, telling them that, for the first time in 60 years, he remembered, with complete clarity, driving with his father to the A&W Root Beer stand.

His brother-in-law, a religious man, interpreted Ebert's "story" in terms of his own faith, saying:

"Could be, when the Lord took away your drinking, he gave you back your memory".

Ebert states that: "those were the words I needed to hear. And from that time I began to replace what I had lost with what I remembered".

But while he could remember clearly the meal he regularly ordered at Steak n' Shake or the tastes and texture of the amazing "cheap" candy he used to buy, what he missed most about not eating was not the food, but the loss of dining. He ends his story:

"It may be personal, but for me, unless I'm alone, it doesn't involve dinner if it doesn't involve talking. The food and drink I can do without easily. The jokes, gossip, laughs, arguments and shared memories I miss. Sentences beginning with the words, "Remember that time?" I ran in crowds where anyone was likely to break out in a poetry recitation at any time. Me too. But not me anymore. So yes, it's sad. Maybe that's why I enjoy this blog. You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now".

Monday, 25 January 2010

It's my Blogiversary: Celebrating with cottonseed oil and some refelction!

My blog turns 2 today... I can't believe it... they grow up so fast!
I looked it up, and the traditional 2-year anniversary gift is cotton. So....

Did you know that Cottonseed oil accounts for only 5-6% of the American fat and oil market?
It's very low in the omega 3 fatty acid, making it a very stable frying oil at high temperatures. For this reason, and because it has a bland flavour, it's used often as a frying oil by the food industry.
Who knew?

In the last two years, what I've learned is that, both in the field of nutrition, and in my own life, there will always be surprises. There's a line from the movie the Truman Show when, in response to why Truman hadn't figured out he was an actor on a set, his "creator" responds:
"Because we always accept the reality of our surroundings, without question".

Well, this blog has allowed me to question... and what I learned has surprised me:

Caffeinated beverages, including coffee, can be used to meet your fluid requirements. It's not a major diuretic as we once thought.

Whole wheat is NOT a whole grain (in Canada).

A low carb, high fat diet may be what we should be recommending: it can control blood sugar and improve cholesterol level.

A grapefruit a day isn't as healthy as it sounds.

That cool, hip coffee shop in your neighbourhood may actually be a Starbucks, in disguise!

Exercise may not be the answer to weight loss.

Just because my dad is a runner, thin, and a vegetarian, doesn't mean he won't have a heart attack.

So... I continue to question and not just accept, I continue to try to keep an open-mind, and continue to share what I learn...

Thanks for learning with me, and teaching me, over these last 2 years!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Sodium Hype- Is it justified?

As predicted, sodium has become a major public health issue. In fact, the New York City Health Department just announced their initiative for restaurants and food manufacturers to voluntary reduce sodium in their food by 25% in the next 5 years.

But is the hype justified?

A recap of what we know

The research is clear. Salt increases blood pressure.


Only about 10-25% of North Americans are salt-sensitive (Another source states that its closer to 50%), meaning that salt will only increase the blood pressure of 10-25% of the population.

The research is also clear: High blood pressure is an important risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

But wait. Does that mean that salt causes heart attacks and strokes?

That’s the message that’s being thrown out there:

In Ottawa, the Canadian Stroke Network and Blood Pressure Canada teamed up to put ads on buses with the message: Sodium kills 30 Canadians a day.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a prominent nutrition advocacy group, have been very vocal in associating sodium intake with heart attacks and strokes, stating that a reduction in sodium can save 150,000 lives a year.

Just this week, a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine stating that reducing salt intake by 1200 mg a day (that’s quite a bit) could prevent up to 66,000 strokes, 120,000 new cases of heart disease, and 92,000 deaths a year.

Sounds good but the thing is, all of these numbers are actually just predictions based on the role of sodium on blood pressure.

Why didn’t they look at the direct role of sodium on heart attacks, stroke or death? Because that data isn't really available.

Review of the research on sodium and heart disease or death

Some fellow students and I decided to do a thorough review of the scientific literature to see if sound research had looked at the role of sodium on death, heart disease or strokes.

What we found was pretty surprising: there are very few studies looking at this direct association; only 4 in the last 10 years, in fact!

And what these 4 studies found wasn’t as clear cut as has been reported:

One study found that the higher the sodium intake, the higher the incidence of heart disease, however, the study had many limitations.

Another study also found that the higher the sodium intake, the higher the incidence of heart disease... but only in overweight people.

Interestingly, two (1,2) studies found that the higher the sodium intake, the lower the incidence of heart disease and death! (so, the lower the sodium intake, the higher the incidence of heart disease and death!)

Clearly, more research needs to be done before directly associating sodium with heart disease.

Update: Turns out that, according to the CSPI, Michael H. Alderman, an author of the aforementioned articles (1,2), is a consultant for the Salt Institute. Click here to read a great piece on the controversy over sodium-and-health papers.

What else do we know?

We know that we’re eating too much salt.

If you’re healthy, you need only 1200-1500mg sodium/day.

The upper tolerable level (the maximum you should eat) is 2300mg/day.

The average North American consumes a whopping 3000-4000mg/day.

80% of this sodium is not coming from the salt-shaker, but is in processed foods.

What does this all mean?

We are, as a population, eating too much salt.

Will a population-wide sodium reduction initiative result in lowering blood pressure? Yes, in some people.

Will a population-wide sodium reduction initiative result in less heart attacks, strokes and death? We really can’t say.

Obviously, it won't harm our health...

But would spending the energy and resources to, instead, focus on initiatives to reduce obesity rates or to make healthy foods more affordable than fast/junk food have a greater, more important, impact on our health?

What do you think?

Sodium-lowering tips

Click Here for some ways you can take matters in your own hands and reduce the sodium in your diet.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Telling People to Eat Fruits and Vegetables Isn’t Enough Anymore

While the role of a Dietitian has always been pretty clear to me, it has been put into question recently (I guess that's what happens when you go back to school...).

Dietitians, as stated by Dietitians of Canada (the “nation-wide voice of Dietitians”) , are trained to advise on diet, food and nutrition.

Simple, right? We study nutrition for 3-4 years , making us experts in the field of nutrition, and therefore able to advise, counsel and educate our clients on what food choices can best help them meet their health needs and goals.

Well, some argue that this is kind of presumptuous: who are dietitians to blindly tell you that you should be eating fruits and vegetables to decrease your cancer risk? What makes them the expert of you?

This is Hogwash...Right?

Firstly, on a one-on-one basis, a good Dietitian wouldn’t assume that she's an “expert of you” and wouldn’t simply tell you what to eat. She’ll get a good picture of what’s going on in your life first: learn about your culture and how you eat, ask about your health and learn about your family and their health, ask you what your health and nutrition concerns are, how you’re coping financially, etc. She’ll ask you lots of questions and use this information when making her suggestions.

At the public health level though, we have to use our expertise to educate the public about what they should be eating, right? In this case, it makes sense to send the message “increase your fruit and vegetable intake to decrease your cancer risk”.

Not so, according to some. Not holistic enough. Still too presumptuous.

I admit, I thought this was all hogwash... until I read an article called ‘Public Health Nutrition and Food Policy”.

It basically says that campaigns that target the individual, telling them to eat more of this, less of that, exercise more, weigh this much, etc., miss the mark. By putting the onus on the individual, we’re not dealing with the bigger issues like:

Why is broccoli more expensive than a hamburger? Why is it that we don’t really know where our food comes from? Why do very few Big Food corporations monopolize all our food and control their prices? Why is it that in 2 of the richest countries in the world, 15% of American households (17 million), and 9% of Canadian households (1.1 million) worry about where their next meal is coming from? Why are there are 800 million people hungry on this planet and 1 billion overweight?

So what’s a Dietitian to do?

While we still need to advise, educate, and promote good nutrition, and interpret new related research, our role is bigger than that. We need to get involved at the policy level.

Easier said than done, I know.

As a start, if you're Canadian, asking the Federal government to regulate trans fats in foods is one way to get involved in policy (See yesterday's post!). Hopefully I'll learn of more ways we can get involved that I can share with you... and let me know if you know of any.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Trans Fats Still A Problem...But You Can Do Something About It!

You remember Trans Fats, right?

If not, scroll down for a quick recap!

Denmark and Switzerland have trans fat regulations, as do some American states, including California and New York. While Canada was the first country to make trans fat-labeling mandatory, we haven't been as progressive (except BC, that implemented trans fat regulations in Sept 2009).
The extent of the government's action plan was to ask food companies to voluntarily reduce trans fats from their products in 2 years. That was in 2007.

It's 2010.. so where are we with the voluntarily reductions?

According to the Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation... not very far.
While some food companies have taken steps to remove trans fats, many still haven't, and there's still too much trans fats in out food... especially baked products.

What You Can Do:

Clearly, voluntary reductions are getting us nowhere. According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, Canada urgently needs Federal trans fat regulations "to protect our children and all Canadians".

To this end, they've prepared a simple letter that you can forward to the Federal Health Minister, your local MP, and the Prime Minister.

It's so simple. If you're Canadian, you just have to fill in your contact info and click "send".

Click Here
to see, and send, the letter. (Thanks to my friend, Lindsay, for bringing this to my attention!).

Click Here for the Top 10 reasons why the Federal Government should implement Trans Fat regulations.

Trans Fats... A Recap

What's a trans fat?
It's the product of taking a healthy liquid oil and pumping it with hydrogen (hydrogenation). This makes this oil spreadable.

Why are they bad?
They not only increase your "lousy" LDL cholesterol but also lower your "healthy" HDL cholesterol. They also increase triglycerides (fat in your blood) and increase the formation of blockages in your heart blood vessels.

How much should you have?
The average Canadian is eating 10 grams trans fats a day! According to Health Canada, we should limit our intake to less than 2 grams a day. According to me, you should aim for closer to 0 grams!!

How do you know you're eating trans fats?
Read the labels! All labels have trans fats on the nutrition information table. Look for products with 0g
Be aware that, in Canada, companies only have to label a product as having trans fats if the serving contains more than 0.2 grams. (In the States, only if there's more than 0.5 grams trans fats/serving!).
So you must read through the ingredient list. If you see the following ingredients, the product contains trans fats:
hydrogenated oil, partially hydrogenated oil, shortening.

Click HERE for more information.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Weight Around the World

Did you know that this week is Healthy Weight Week?
January 17-23rd is a week to celebrate healthy weight- whatever your healthy weight is for you- and healthy, diet-free, eating.
Today is an extra special day too because it's also 'Get Rid of Fad Diets' day!

Our society is definitely too obsessed with achieving a specific weight- which is why we need reminders like these 'holidays' (there's also 'No Diet Day' May 6th!)-
but looks like we're not alone. Reader's Digest polled 16, 000 people in 16 countries about weight and diet.

This is what they found:

Who's Trying to Lose Weight?


83% of Finns said they've tried to lose weight. The US and Canada aren't far behind....

The Country Where Wives Most Want Their Husbands to Lose Weight


51% (more than half!) of married American women wish their husbands were thinner.

The Country Where Husbands Most Want Their Wives to Lose Weight


48% of Indian men said they're dissatisfied with the shape of their spouse (46% of Indian women say the same of their husbands though!).

In the States, 47 % of married American men wanted their wives to lose weight.

What Country Feels the Most Pressure to be Thin?


What Country Pops the Most Diet Pills?

While Brazilians' pill popping doubled between 2001-2005, China takes this one with 37% of Chinese admitting to taking weight loss pills.
19% of American said they have taken weight loss pills.

Click Here for the full article.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Exercise won't make you thin... will it make you fat?!

We learn that the more we exercise, the skinnier we'll be... so we go to the gym- 45 million Americans have a gym membership- or try to get out and do something... and feel guilty if we don't.
The media and shows like the Biggest Loser focus on exercise for weight loss... and it seems to work, right? Not quite.

Time magazine published a great article this past summer: Why Exercise Won't Make you Thin.

The article quotes the Chair in Diabetes and Metabolism at Louisiana State University, Eric Ravussin, as saying:
"In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless."

Pretty shocking statement, eh?

The article outlines a study that found that children that were more active ate more- 100 calories more than they had burned.

It mentions another study that found that overweight people burned more calories a day than 'normal'-weight people.

Hmm. Can that be right?

Just a few days ago, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published its report. They found that obesity rates in the States have plateaued in the last decade. That said, we know that we're bigger now than we ever were- 68% of Americans are overweight and 34% are obese!
We've been led to believe this is happening because we're lazy and sedentary. But maybe that's not it at all.

A 2008 study found that the number of calories we spend a day hasn't changes since the 1980s! But we're fatter than we were in the 80s.... hmmmm.
What's crazier is that the same study found that our caloric expenditure is not significantly different that people in the "Third World"! But we know we're bigger than people in developing countries!

Another study looked at the effect of exercise on weight:
464 post-menopausal women exercised under supervision for 72, 136 or 192 minutes per week, at moderate intensity, on a treadmill or bike, for 6 months.

While fitness improved for those that exercised longer, weight was a different story:

The 72mins/week group lost about 1.3kg,
The 136mins/week group lost about 1.9kg, and
the 192 mins/week group? Same as the 72mins/wk group- they only lost 1.3kg!


Most likely, they were compensating for the extra exercise by eating more.

The Time article points to different studies showing that when we exercise more, we tend to eat more... too much more.

Remember that picture of Bill Clinton stopping in at McDonald's after a jog?

What's surprising is how fast those calories add on.

Let's say you go for a 6km (3.75 mile) run at a decent 5.5 min/km (9 min/mile) pace (and you weigh 140lbs). You burn about 430 calories.

It's a hot day.. you rehydrate by drinking half your Gatorade bottle (500 mL). On the way home, you stop by Starbucks and grab a medium cafe latte with skim and a low-fat muffin... you earned it, right?

You've already consumed 570 calories- 140 calories MORE than you spent! And, chances are, you'll eat more when you go home and you'll probably be more sedentary the rest of the day.

But Doesn't Muscle Burn More Calories Than Fat?

We've learned that exercise builds muscle and that the more muscle you have, the more calories you'll burn. True... but it's not as much as we thought.
1 lbs fat burns 2 calories ; 1 lbs muscle burns 6 calories.
So if you work out like crazy and manage to convert 10lbs of fat to muscle (most of us will never achieve this, btw), you'll only burn an extra 40 calories a day- that's only 4 jelly beans- worth of calories. Not much.

Is it better to stay at home and not exercise? Is exercise making us fat?

Well... exercise is still good for us.
It's good for our bones, it's good for our heart, our lungs, our circulatory system. Exercise increases our good cholesterol, protecting us from strokes and heart attacks. It can help prevent certain types of cancers. It's a mood-elevator, makes us feel better, more alert.

If weight loss is a goal, exercise can be the instigator to eating better... and, in that way can help with weight loss. However, it's the calories we consume (or don't) that will make a difference in our weight... not the exercise.

Excercise won't cause you to gain weight, per se....but the extra calories you eat as a result of exercise will.
We need to be very aware that exercise isn't an excuse to eat foods we normally wouldn't eat (or in quantities we normally wouldn't). It's also not an excuse to be lazy the rest of the day.

Diet Vs. Exercise

If you need more evidence, check out the clip below: Diet vs. Exercise.
What he says is true: "You can't out-train a bad diet"
(btw- I don't agree at all with his statement that "cardio is a joke"- as mentioned above, there are many benefit to all kinds of exercise).

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Can you do more curl-ups than the average Canadian?

What % of Canadian women 20-39 years do you think CAN'T do a single ‘partial curl-up?

One partial curl-up: you’re on your back, knees bent, arms along your side. Lift your head and torso up, and go down slowly without touching your head to the ground.

The Study

The Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) was just published – the Stats Canada study is the first one to properly assess the health and fitness of Canadians since 1981.

Earlier similar studies have relied on self-reported information, which, as we know, isn’t very accurate. This one actually weighed, measured and tested about 5000 Canadians, aged 6-79, from 15 different locations across the country. Weight, height, body fat, waist circumference, and blood pressure were measured, and strength, flexibility and aerobic tests were conducted.

What researchers found? Bad news...

Obesity is on the rise and fitness levels are on the decline.

37% of Canadian adults are currently overweight and 24% are obese.

Waist circumference is usually a better indicator of health risk... and it has been increasing since 1981.

In the 20-39 year old group, the % of Canadians with a waist circumference purring them at high health risk (over 87 cm or 34 inches for women and 101 cm or 40 inches) more than quadrupled: from 5% to 21% in men and from 6% to 31% in women!

In the 40- 69 year old group, it more than doubled.


Among kids and teenagers, 17% were overweight and 9% obese, and the number of them that have too high waist circumferences tripled in the last 25 years!

Triple Eek!

BMIs were significantly lower, in all age groups, than our American neighbours’, except for teenagers and older adults 60-79 years old (Canadians still had lower BMIs, but the difference wasn’t significant).

Across the board, we’re also less fit than we were 25 years ago.

The craziest finding, in my opinion... and to answer the question above...

37% of women 20-39 could not do one single partial curl-up!!

59% of women aged 40-59 and a whopping 86% aged 60-69 could not do a single partial curl-up!

(Those that were able to do 25 partial curl ups: 31% 20-39 years old; 13% 40-59 years old, and 4% 60-69 years old).

Men:10% of men 20-29, 29% 40-59, and 69% 60-69 could not do a single partial curl up.

(Those that were able to do 25 partial curl ups: 55% of men 20-39 years old; 36% 40-59 years old, and 12% 60-69 years old).

This is not good news.

You try it now... how many partial curl ups can you do??

Friday, 15 January 2010

I'm on Twitter!

I'm on Twitter... yup, moving with the times... or trying to!!
We'll see how this works...

Anybody else on twitter?!
Let me know... I'll follow you! :)

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Can you guess the 11 Best Foods you aren't eating?!

Man oh man. I need to get my blogging butt into gear and not let too much time pass between blog posts... Sorry! :)

The NY Times recently re-published an article that first appeared in June 2008- it was one of the Times' most viewed stories of 2009.
The title: " The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating".

Now, the guy they interviewed for this info is Jonny Bowden. He's not a Registered Dietitian (RD)- your best bet for sound nutrition advice- but a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS).

Sidebar: A Brief Note About Credentials:

The title Dietitian and RD is protected by law. A person with this title has obtained a university degree specializing in nutrition, from an accredited university, and has practical training. Their training meets national standards and they are members of regulatory bodies.

The CNS title is not protected by law. In order to obtain this title, you need to have an advanced degree (not necessarily in nutrition though- Mr. Bowden has a master's in psychology). You have to pass an exam and have a certain number of hours of supervised experience in nutrition.

Back to the article...

While I wouldn't pinpoint specific foods you should be eating to be healthy, since you know we all need a variety of foods..., the list does highlight some healthy foods that we don't always think of including in our shopping carts..

So, before reading further, see if you can guess the "11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating"!

(Scroll down to see how many you got right!).


In no specific order....



Swiss Chard

Cinnamon (My Note: only anectodal evidence suggests that cinnamon may help control blood sugar- this hasn't been proven with scientific research!).

Pomegranate juice


Pumpkin seeds


Canned Pumpkin (My Note: make sure there's no added sugar by reading the ingredient list- the only ingredient should be pumpkin!).

What do you think of the list?
Do these foods make their way into your grocery cart occasionally?

Click here to read the article (thanks James!).