Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Try This Tuesday: Exercise Patience and Faith

This can be so hard for us – especially when it comes to health, fitness, and wellness goals. However, being patient and holding faith WHILE taking the necessary actions and steps we need to take to get to our goals is so important. (And both do need to happen at the same time).

A lot of people quit “doing the things” too early because it FEELS like nothing is happening. It sometimes feels as though we aren’t reaping the rewards of what we’re doing because we cannot yet see the progress. However, I will remind you that the day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.  

Keep doing the things. Keep having the faith. Find people who help you ‘stay on path’ especially while the magic is happening…beneath the ground, in the soil, germinating, coming to the surface.

For me, there is no better analogy than planting seeds and waiting for them to appear: do the work in the present moment for payoffs in the future.

What seeds are YOU planting?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Try This Tuesday: Find Simple Solutions instead of Complicated Excuses

Let’s be honest with each other: the reason we haven’t achieved some of our goals is because we have found far too many excuses and not enough simple solutions.

Think back to a time when you’ve achieved something that you’re really proud of. I am willing to bet that it took some sacrifice and that there were obstacles ahead of you that you had to overcome. I am also willing to bet that you didn’t focus on complicated excuses and reasons as to why you couldn’t achieve it, and instead focused upon what steps you COULD take toward that goal.

Healthy lifestyles are no different. We all begin at different places, but the hard truth is that some people focus on the reasons why they “can’t” change, instead of the small actions that they could try to take instead. (See last week’s Try This Tuesday). Too often, I also find that people overcomplicate things, which only exacerbates the excuses.

Do you really need to go on a full-blown low-carb/keto diet? Or do you just need to start making better carb choices? Most people aren’t unhealthy because they’ve eaten too many sweet potatoes and too much brown rice. They’re unhealthy because most of their carb options have consisted of highly processed, fibreless, refined carbs. Start slowly upgrading your choices. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Do you really need a Glencoe membership and/or an expensive trainer to get fit? Or do you just need to start moving your body in whatever way you can? (What about dusting off an old exercise DVD to use in the comfort of your home?) Most people aren’t unhealthy because they aren’t coordinated enough to do Zumba! Instead, start by finding NEAT activities you can do on a daily basis (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) since most of us spend too much time on our derrieres most days anyway.

Maybe you do need that low-carb diet or that Glencoe membership, but the point is that if your goal is to get healthier, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from taking small actions TODAY to that end. Don’t try to overcomplicate things. Get creative and find simple solutions. Then, you’ll be more likely to actually do it!

Need accountability? Need a little support in developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Reach out! I LOVE helping my clients come up with small tweaks to help them maintain consistency and growth in their own health and nutrition goals.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Nutrition Bars

Thank you all for playing along in my bar challenge! It was, however, a bit of a trick question because comparing some of these to others wasn’t fair (protein bar to snack bar) and it’s true that I am definitely missing some other good options in the mix, such as RX bars and others like EPIC.

However, the point of this project was to create a lesson for my clients regarding reading labels and being keenly aware of choices we make when it comes to anything processed (i.e. other than whole foods).

I am a realist, and I too rely somewhat on convenience items like bars. And when a couple of my clients recently asked for my opinions on a bar they were eating, I told them what I liked about it, and what I didn’t. Then, it was up to them to decide if they wanted to include space for it in their diet.

The main takeaway here is that a lot of these bars are high in sugar, full of processed food by-products such as vegetable glycerin and manufactured “fibers” and also some not so great oils. It’s also important to consider other factors like the number of ingredients in each bar, the ORDER of ingredients, as well as how much fiber and protein they contain.

Are they all terrible? No. Are some better than others? For sure.

We need to remember that there is often a good purpose for these bars. If it’s a choice between using a bar to help you quell your “hanger” before you raid your pantry when you walk in the door after work, it’s a positive thing. If you choose a Larabar instead of a giant piece of cake, it’s a positive thing. If you’re out running errands and it’s a choice between going through the McDonalds drive-thru or having a bar, then I’d also say that was generally positive.

I am not going to demonize one over another because the truth is that most of them fall into a middle range of ok once in a while. There are so many personal preferences given the types of proteins available (vegan, whey, soy), individual taste and even cost.

Here are some guidelines when choosing bars (GENERALLY speaking):

Stay away from bars that list sugar as one of the first two or three ingredients; have more than 10 or so ingredients; have lots of ingredients that are unknown to you.

More often choose bars that: contain whole food ingredients; contain fiber; contain at least 10g of protein (for satiation); aren’t full of fake sweeteners.

Even better options: Your own nut/seed/dried fruit mixes; a handful of nuts and portable fruit (such as an apple or banana); air-popped popcorn; beef/turkey jerky; veggies and hummus; crackers and cheese; hard-boiled eggs.

So, having said all that, in my opinion, my own personal choice from all of these would have been the Meatbar, as unappetizing as it sounds. The reason I chose the Meatbar was because it is overall the least processed, contains an excellent source of protein (grass-fed beef) and the other ingredients are basically spices. It offers 12g of protein for a small amount of calories, and that would likely keep me satiated for a while. 

To be fair, I haven’t actually tried this bar, but I have tried an EPIC bar and another similar bar and really liked them. The Meatbar is apparently the first meat snack in the Canadian market in “bar” format, and it contains pasture raised, grass-fed beef. (NOTE: I did send the parent company, Greenspace Brands) an email to confirm where the beef is sourced, but haven't heard back yet). 

I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t mention that if you do choose a “meat” bar (or jerky), it’s ideal to ensure that the animals used in the making of these bars were ethically raised (on pasture) without the use of added hormones or antibiotics.  

So at the end of the day, you need to ask yourself what the goal is with the bar, if it makes sense to include it in your diet, and if you actually enjoy it (because in some cases, you’re just better off having a damned candy bar). Do your homework, read the labels, and if it works, include it in your diet – just don’t rely on bars to provide too much of your nutrition needs. Your body prefers what it knows: WHOLE foods ;)

Follow-Up Articles: 

Soluble Corn Fiber (Maltodextrin)

Soy Protein Issues

Curious to know what vegetable glycerin is?

What’s the deal with inulin?

Oligosaccharides (another sweetener)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Stacy’s Apple Pecan Breakfast Cookies


5-6 medjool dates (depending upon size)
2 apples (cored but skin on)
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
¼ cup almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

1 ¼ cup almond flour
1 cup instant oats (I used GF)
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
¼ cup ground flax
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1-2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder

¼ cup of chopped pecans + 12 whole for each cookie


1. Put first 7 ingredients into food processor. (You can use a stand mixer too, or even a hand mixer; but you will need to cut up the dates and apples very fine before hand. I like using the food processor because I only use one “bowl” to mix).

2. Mix all remaining dry ingredients together (except for nuts). Add to wet. Pulse or mix just until blended. Add in nuts. Mix gently one more time.

3. Get a big ice-cream scooper and scoop onto greased cookie sheet. Shape with spoon dipped in water. Top with a pecan. I get 12 out of this recipe.

4. Bake at 350 F for approximately 15 minutes. Let cool. Freeze and take them out as needed. Enjoy!

Try This Tuesday: Take the Next Possible Smallest Action!

Daunting. Overwhelming. Impossible. Too much. Too hard. Why even try?

I get it. Feelings like these are horrible and can stop us from taking action towards any goal. In fact, these feelings can also throw us into a tailspin of taking even worse actions because we develop the “f%#k it” mentality.

In order to move towards any goal though, we always need to be taking SOME step towards it, regardless of how small it might seem. The secret is to break that daunting, overwhelming, impossible goal into smaller, and smaller steps: steps that might seem like they aren’t even going to even a damned thing. But the truth is that these small steps become building blocks for larger ones. And we must begin somewhere. We must begin where we are.

Small steps mean different things for everyone. A small step towards eating healthier may mean starting to include a vegetable or two to your day when you haven’t been eating them at all. Maybe it means starting to walk around the block for 5 minutes a day because you haven’t done any exercise in years. And maybe, for another person, it means skipping late night snack sessions, only eating out twice a week instead of 5x/week or reducing the amount of simple carbs they eat in their already pretty healthy diet.

This is why it’s really important to a) determine what your goal IS and b) where you are starting from. Once you know that, you can begin to break down your goals into manageable sizes and begin the work. You’ll only make changes IF the actions you’re introducing stick. It’s far more important to start with small actions and build upon them, rather than ‘biting off’ more than you can chew and having nothing stick – the way typical “diets” work.

So what’s the next possible smallest action YOU can take today, towards YOUR goals? If it’s regarding nutrition, it could simply be messaging me for more information on my 12-week accountability coaching program. Start somewhere today, and don’t wait for another Monday!

Try This Tuesday: Exercise Patience and Faith

This can be so hard for us – especially when it comes to health, fitness, and wellness goals. However, being patient and ...