{Eat for your Health} Obesity

Obesity. In my opinion, it’s the perfect chronic disease to end off this series with, since obesity has been linked to many other complications and diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. For the longest time {and even still, this is an issue!} there has been a stigma associated with obesity – that those struggling with obesity are lazy, or sluggish, or simply lack the motivation to get the weight off.   New research is demonstrating that obesity can also be influenced by genetic factors, building an increasingly strong case to support that obesity is indeed a disease and not just a lifestyle problem. In fact, in October, the Canadian Medical Association formally recognized obesity as a disease.

An individual is classified as obese if they have a BMI {Body Mass Index} of 30 of greater. Having a high BMI in conjunction with a large waist circumference {classified as greater than 102 cm for males and greater than 88 cm for females} puts an individual at a very high risk for other health problems and conditions. Obesity is becoming increasingly more prevalent in Canada, with the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey revealing that nearly a quarter {about 23%} of Canadians, aged 18 and older, are classified as obese, and an additional 36% were classified as overweight.

Obesity isn’t only a problem in Canada. Worldwide, the prevalence of obesity and overweight is increasing, advocating for more research and interventions to stop this trend in its tracks. If you want to read more about obesity at a global level, click here.

To tackle obesity, a coordinated effort is required from both public and private stakeholders, including government, multinational food companies, producers, food marketing, healthcare…and the list goes on! But the biggest changes can start with small efforts from every individual. Read on for some things to watch for in your own diet to help maintain a healthy weight, and promote a healthy lifestyle.

The Importance of Fibre

Canadians aren’t eating enough fibre. It’s not the most glamorous nutritional topic, by far, but it is so important when it comes to feeling full and satisfied. A healthy adult needs approximately 21-38 grams of fibre per day to promote digestive health and help prevent those sugar cravings that can sneak up on you! You don’t have to make drastic changes in your diet to add more beneficial fibre. Choose high fibre breakfast cereals instead of refined grains, look for more whole grain bread products, and eat lots of fibre rich vegetables, pulses, and legumes.

Unlimited Vegetables

Eating at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day not only fills you up with minimal calories, but also provides your body with important vitamins and minerals to keep everything running in tip top shape. Like we discussed earlier in the arthritis post (LINK TO POST), filling half of your plate with vegetables is a great trick to help you get those servings in each day, and help cut out some of the heavier foods that you might otherwise fill your plate with. Vegetables don’t have to be boring either! Roast them, grill them, throw them in a salad, mix them up in a smoothie, or even sneak them into homemade baked goods! The possibilities are endless, so I challenge you to learn to love your veggies! Find a cooking method that you love, and never be afraid to experiment! The worst thing that could happen is your dog ends up with your questionable flavour combination and gets a gourmet dinner!

Ditch Drinking Your Calories

This is a big one that I think is so important when it comes to watching how much we are eating and fueling up on the good stuff. I know everyone loves the candy cane, hazelnut, caramel butter, pick-your-flavour lattes, but the calories in these frothy drinks can be upwards of 500 calories! And because we can slurp it down quickly, often we are unaware of the amounts of empty calories {not to mention added sugars} that our body now has to find a way to store. Stick to water the majority of the time, and save the fancy drinks with the sugar syrups as rare treats.

Watch the Processed

Today, we live in what’s called an “obesogenic” environment, meaning we live in a world that encourages us to overindulge when we eat and exercise less. High fat, high sugar, high salt foods have been engineered to be highly palatable and over time we’ve wired our bodies to crave much more than we need to eat! This can wreak havoc on our waistlines, not to mention leaving us nutritionally deprived. My challenge to you is to take a step back from the pre-packaged, processed fast food and put the focus on eating real, wholesome food. Trust me, you’ll feel the difference!

Keeping It Mediterranean

It all circles back to a plant-based, whole food approach to eating. Keeping it real and fresh does wonders for your energy levels, your skin, your health, and your overall wellbeing! If you want to learn even more about the Mediterranean diet and its studied health benefits, click here.

Thanks for taking this #eatforyourhealth journey with me! Check out Bourbon + Honey (LINK TO POST) for the last meal plan of this series. Did you learn something new? Let me know in the comments below, or tag us on social media using #eatforhealth.

Take 2




{Eat for your Health} Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body cannot produce insulin or cannot use the insulin it’s producing properly. Insulin is the hormone in the body responsible for utilizing the sugars we eat in our food. Without adequate insulin {or a dulled response to it}, our body cannot use glucose, which is vital for our brains and our energy levels! Often, a debilitating disease, it can also be fatal. Diabetes can lead to high blood sugar levels if left unchecked, resulting in organ damage or damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the body.

There are multiple types of diabetes, but today I want to focus on the one that may be largely preventable, Type 2 Diabetes. In Type 2 Diabetes, the body builds up resistance to insulin as its cells become desensitized. To combat this insensitivity, the pancreas begins to pump out higher levels of insulin. Eventually, the pancreas can’t keep up and it becomes incredibly hard for the body to keep blood glucose at normal levels, resulting in the development of Type 2 Diabetes. In addition to the symptoms associated with the disease, Type 2 Diabetes also puts you at an increased risk for other chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

Managing a chronic disease can be difficult, and I am by no means a medical professional {at least, not yet! #goals} but I do know a thing or two about using nutrition to manage a chronic disease, so read on for some helpful tips when it comes to eating well with Type 2 Diabetes.

Using the G.I.:

The G.I. {or Glycemic Index} is a scale ranking carbohydrate-rich foods based on how they raise blood glucose {blood sugar} levels in comparison to a slice of white bread {which is always used as the control, or comparison food}. Individuals with diabetes can help to regulate their blood glucose levels by regularly choosing foods that rank lower on the G.I. scale. Foods that are considered “low” have a G.I. of 55 or less and include foods such as breads made with 100% stone ground whole wheat, barley, bulgur, and sweet potatoes. Foods that fall in the “medium” range of 56-69 on the Glycemic Index scale {which you should choose more often} include whole wheat, brown rice, and popcorn. Higher G.I. foods {with a G.I. of 70 or more} should be chosen less often, as they will cause they biggest spikes in blood glucose, putting the most strain on your body as it tries to deal with this sudden influx of glucose. High G.I. foods include white bread, short grain {or white} rice, potatoes, French fries, and crackers made with refined flour.

Limit the Saturated and Trans Fats

Like we talked about earlier, having diabetes can increase your risk for other problems such as heart disease. To help keep this risk as low as possible, limit your intake of saturated and trans fats. Last week, we talked about how to choose healthier sources of fat in your diet: check it out here (LINK TO POST). Other ways to limit your intake of saturated and trans fats include:

  • Choosing leaner cuts of meat – or, even better, swap out some of your weekly meat-containing meals for plant based alternatives for minimal fat and tons of fiber, vitamins, and minerals
  • Choosing lower fat dairy products
  • Use vegetable oils instead of solid fats, like butter, when cooking

Carbohydrate Counting

If you are living with diabetes, I’m sure you’ve heard of carb counting. By keeping track of the amount of carbohydrates {sugars and starches} you are eating in a day, you can help your body manage your blood sugar levels by spreading out your intake throughout the day. By knowing how to count carbs, you can prevent your blood sugar from spiking {i.e. when you eat too many carbs} or dipping too low {i.e. when you don’t eat enough carbs}.

When counting, one serving of carbohydrates is equal to 15 grams of carbs. Meeting with a Registered Dietitian can help you sort out carb counting to determine how best to spread out your meals throughout the day, as well as answer any questions you may have about carbs or added sugars you may have to help you make the right choices between products at the grocery store and when eating out.

Keeping it Mediterranean

By now, you saw this coming, didn’t you? By keeping your food focus on plant foods, you can easily implement these diet tips! The Mediterranean style of eating promotes foods lower in saturated and trans fats {as well as sodium – minimal processed foods!}. The emphasis on whole grains rather than refined grains will also mean you are regularly choosing lower G.I. foods that also boast a more rich nutrient profile. Pairing this pattern of eating with monitoring methods such as carbohydrate counting will ensure you are optimizing your nutrition to manage your disease.

Now, check out the meal plan for the week over at Bourbon + Honey (LINK TO POST)

Take 2


{Eat for your Health} Arthritis

Arthritis is a disease often affecting the weight-bearing joints of the body {the hips, knees, and spine} or non-weight-bearing joints such as the wrists and fingers. The word “arthritis” means inflammation of the joints, and refers to the pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joints associated with the disease. If this inflammation in the joints remains uncontrolled, permanent damage of the joints may occur, leading to disability.  There are over 100 different types of arthritis, with most falling into two categories:Read More »

Merry Christmas from Savour & Shine!

Merry Christmas everybody! I hope you have a magical season with family and friends.  Take time to enjoy and cherish and always remember the real reason for the season!

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Thank you all for your support of Savour & Shine this year, I can’t wait to share with you what I have planned for 2016!