Thursday, January 10

Why "all natural" annoys me.

I believe that trying to eat organic food is a great thing.  A lot of people are more aware to all the chemicals, hormones, etc that are in processed food and are trying to avoid these things.  You have to be careful however, because some companies try to take advantage of people who are not as well informed as others by using the term "all natural."  This may make people believe they are making a good choice in buying their product and that it is free from chemicals, ethical, etc.  This is not always the case.

All natural is not organic.  The first thing you should understand is that, except for meat, "natural" doesn't have a set, strictly defined or regulated definition, while "organic" does.  When you see the word "natural" on food packaging, it can mean any number of different things, depending on where you live, who the manufacturer is and what store is carrying the product.  In fact, you might be surprised to learn what can be considered "natural."

Meat that is organic must be certified to meet stringent standards. The animals must be born and raised on certified organic pasture and fed only certified organic grain and grass. They can never receive any antibiotics or hormones, and they must have unrestricted access to the outdoors. These guidelines are subject to third-party verification and Organic Pesticides A unique two-way systemic control.

Standards for labelling meat as natural are much less stringent. "Natural" meat merely means that the meat is minimally processed, without flavorings, coloring, preservatives or synthetic additives. Note that this does not include hormones or antibiotics, which are permitted under USDA regulations, although individual producers may voluntarily choose to forgo use of these as well. The regulations do not address the animal's food or environment--there is no requirement that the animals have access to the outdoors, nor are they forbidden to consume animal byproducts. There is no third-party verification or tracking of natural cattle or other herds. They can be processed in factory feedlots.

So in other words, just because your meat comes with a little green leaf in the corner and new paper-bag coloured packaging doesn't mean that it's organic, ethical, and the same as your free range chicken farm down the road.  

This being said, eating all organic all the time can be expensive, and I believe every little bit helps.  So buying all natural beef is still better than buying mystery meat hot dogs filled with processed cheese, in my opinion.  Some people can become self righteous about eating organic, dairy and gluten-free diets and this is not great either.  If you are  sneering at people putting things in their grocery carts and running around calling everything poison you annoy me as well.    


Friday, December 28

Celebrities Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding is really popular with celebrities these days and I can't wait to try it when it gets a little warmer!

It’s still a bit of a cult, but more and more Hawaiians — and Canadians — are taking to this newest of water sports. It’s a sport Canadians could love, partly because it combines some of the gliding fun of surfing with the familiar feel of a paddle in the water. You can do it in the waves but it’s also a blast on flat water, you don’t have to catch a wave, which some people find hard to do. You can just paddle.

It’s a great way to get away from the beach and admire the views It’s quite popular in British Columbia, where stand-up boarders (there also are paddle boards where you kneel and paddle) can be found in and around Vancouver and Victoria and on lakes in and around Kelowna. There’s a company in Wasaga Beach that makes them, too, and there are regular races in California, North Carolina, Florida as well as rivers and lakes in Oregon and Nevada. You can even find events in Spain and Hamburg, Germany.

It is something that is a good workout and uses different muscles. With surfing it’s all in your shoulders and balancing. This is using your core stomach and back muscles and your legs and your arms, so it’s really good for you. It’s the closest thing to walking on the water, and you feel kind of above everyone and get a great view.

It’s damned hard work at first, but once you get the feel for the right position it’s pretty cool. You can motor along at a decent pace but also speed things up a bit. It’s a great cardio sport!!

It's a great date for an active couple my boyfriend would be out there catching waves, and me probably just paddling around! :)

Sunday, December 23

How to look thinner in your photos!

Take off those 10 extra pounds with simple steps...

1. Pull your chest forward and shoulders back. At the same time, suck in your stomach just a little bit. You don't want to seem like you can't breath, do these gently. At first I felt like I was showing off my breast but the pictures showed that when done very discreetly, you look 5 pounds lighter already (and this is just the first one).

2. Turn partially sideways to the camera, planting one foot in front of the other. Point your toe to the camera and place your weight on your back foot.

3. Your arms need to be doing something unless your one of those blessed women with tight triceps! Place your hands on your hips or hold them slightly away from your body. This will remove the flattening of the fat under your arms and make them appear much thinner in photos.

4. Elongate your neck a little (we don't want to seem like your searching for something) or pull your head forward slightly to reduce the look of a double chin.

5. This one is very important, have the "photographer" take the picture from above. If you're a hippy gal, the above angel reduces the enlarging of the hips in pictures. Do not allow pictures to be taken from below (this will add 20 pounds on any women or man!).

6. Try wearing black (this one is an old one but try a twist on it). Black isn't the only color that makes you look thinner, try wearing all one color; black, beige, brown. Stay away from "young" colors (pink) when testing the "all one color" technique.

7. Wear the same color as the background! This is a fairly new idea and is has mostly been used for portrait photography in the past year or so. You tend to blend and with all the other techniques above, these pictures come out amazing!

8. Another old but good technique is having a tan. Whether it be spray on or not, a slight tan reduces the appearance of dimples (we all know we have them!) and gives you a more toned look.

9. The most recent technique I learned on the Tyra banks show was that if you are going to stand facing straight into the camera, pull your butt back or arch your lower back very slightly to reduce the size of the hips and butt. Check out Tyra's “Fabulous Photo Friday” tips for taking great pictures, every time:
10. Buy some spanks, this wardrobe solution comfortably shapes problem areas and accentuates your waistline. Ideal for every occasion when you want to wow!

11. Last but not least on my list, is right before the picture, take a deep breath and let it out. Finish with a smile where your teeth part just a little. This will give the photo a nice and relaxed feel!

Holiday Weight loss Mistakes

1. You brush your teeth after a glass of wine (not a weight loss one but important!)

Do you rush to the bathroom at parties to scrub away red wine stains? You could actually be raising your risk for permanent staining. Wine's acidity (red or white) can dissolve tooth enamel, and brushing right away can contribute to erosion. 

Instead, she says, neutralize the acid by rinsing with a glass of water—and avoid staining in the first place by sipping and immediately swallowing your wine, rather than swishing it in your mouth.

2. You eat creamed spinach

While antioxidant-rich produce makes up the main component of this dish, it’s overwhelmed with high fat. 

Creamed spinach can contain up to 75% of your saturated fat for the day. Stay away from fruitcake, while you're at it. One slice can have more than 400 calories!!

3. You don’t eat before a party

If you know there's going to food and drinks at the office party tonight, you may think it's best to skip your healthy afternoon snack beforehand. It makes sense to arrive at a party a little hungry, but to come starving means a glass of wine and appetizers will lead to one big caloric nightmare. Besides, parties never start when they're supposed to, and you know there’s going to be some gooey, crunchy appetizer that will be your undoing. Solution: Taper your appetite by popping a handful of raw almonds before you leave your desk.

4. You plan your post-holiday cleanse

Advertisements for New Year's cleanses and detox diets will promise to rid you of your holiday weight gain. 

The problem is, severe calorie restrictions and juice-only plans can keep you from getting the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. If you're looking forward to a fresh and clean start in the New Year, consider a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead.

5. You skip red meat, but scarf down chicken and fish

Red meat has the most saturated fat, but skinless chicken breasts are not far behind—and actually have more cholesterol than red meat. 
Watch out for salmon, as well, which is full of healthy fats, but fats nonetheless. Even though they're healthy choices, they don't give you a pass to pig out. With all sources of animal protein, keep serving sizes in mind.

6. You stick with your regular workout

This may seem like a great way to combat excess holiday pounds but it could backfire if you find yourself running ragged trying to get everything done and then getting to the gym on top of it all. If your to-do list is already overflowing, don't add stress by forcing in a long workout that may interrupt more important health habits like getting enough sleep. 

Instead consider breaking up your usual 45-60 minute workout into split sessions—try a 15-minute strength routine in the morning before you hit the shower, a 15-minute walk at lunch and a 15-minute yoga flow to help relax you at the end of the day. You may find you are less stressed and still burning as many (if not more) calories than with your usual routine.

7. You vow to join a gym in January

The New Year is a time for personal reflection and setting goals for self-improvement. It also happens to be when gyms are most crowded, and the staff is busiest signing up new members. If you've been thinking about joining a fitness club, why not use a few of your days off in December to shop around? 

It is always wise to visit a gym to make sure it will work for you and you may get a better feel for the facilities during quieter hours, when you're not rushed to make a decision. Make sure the hours work with your schedule and the facility has the amenities—like childcare, a family discount, a pool, or personal trainers—that you desire.

8. You give yourself a cheat day ... or days

Maybe it starts with doughnuts at your breakfast meeting, or a cookie swap among coworkers. Then comes the holiday luncheon. By the time dinner rolls around, you figure you've already done enough damage—might as well finish the day off with the richest item on the menu, plus dessert. It's not just the calories that are the problem here, you're also psychologically allowing yourself future food deviations and setting yourself up for failure. 

Letting yourself splurge at truly special events is one thing, but don't allow yourself to make excuses for each and every mini holiday celebration. Have a plan and don't deviate. If you absolutely must have a dessert, take three bites and step away from the cookies.

9. You go crazy with the olive oil

Olive oil is full of healthy fats, and has no cholesterol and saturated fat the way butter does, so it can certainly be a healthier alternative in many holiday recipes. But before you dip another piece of bread or help yourself to another serving of olive oil-tossed potatoes, remember that it has just as many calories (120 per tablespoon) as any other kind of fat. 
Two tablespoons a day may lower your risk for heart disease, but more than that could contribute to weight gain.

10. You cook (and eat) lots of “light” recipes

If you can stick with a single serving, using lower fat or sugar can be a good way to keep your calories and fat count low when enjoying holiday treats. The trouble is, many people think to themselves, 'It's healthier or lower calorie, so I can have two or three ... or five of these.' They often end up eating as many calories as they would have if they had stuck with a smaller serving of the real deal. Knowing that piece of pie is rich and full of calories may make you more likely to enjoy every bite of a smaller serving instead of going with a much larger portion of the 'lighter' version.

11. You buy an "all natural" ham or turkey

There may be nothing wrong with meat labeled "all natural"— but unlike "organic" or "antibiotic-free," all natural simply means that your turkey, for example, doesn't contain artificial ingredients or colors, and has been "minimally processed." This term is open for interpretation; for example, poultry can be injected with sodium and water, and still be labeled "natural." (Check the fine print.)

If you're concerned about finding meat from an animal that was raised humanely and not treated with antibiotics or hormones, look for a certified organic label—or educate yourself about companies' farming practices and choose a brand you trust.

12. You swear you’ll have "just one"

You know the scenario: Your favorite coworker brings in fresh-baked gingerbread cookies and, to be polite, you have one. An hour later, as your blood sugar crashes, you visit the copy machine … and have another cookie. And the pattern continues, all. day. long. If you do breakfast and lunch right, you won't get those mid-morning or mid-afternoon cravings. If you need something to munch on mid-day, keep little baggies of raw almonds or apple slices with almond butter at your desk.

13. You obsess over (or avoid) the scale all month

So much food over the holidays may cause you to step on the scale several times a day—or to slide it under the bed and swear off until the New Year. 

Both policies can be detrimental to your weight and to your emotional wellbeing, studies show: If daily weigh-ins give you anxiety, consider cutting back to once a week. 

And to make sure your results are consistent, try to weigh yourself on the same scale and at the same time of day.

14. You skip breakfast or lunch

Banking your calories by skipping (or skimping) on meals so that you can eat more at a holiday dinner won't do your waistline any good; in fact, it's a great way to trigger overeating. 

Focus on eating filling, higher fiber foods at regular mealtimes—a fruit smoothie with spinach and protein powder for breakfast, for example, and a veggie-filled salad with lean protein for lunch—so you'll still be able to enjoy holiday meal (and treats!) later without going overboard.

Tuesday, December 18

Christmas Thinspo

Here's some Christmas Thinspiration / Fitspiration! 

Men's Holiday Looks

I actually had a good time looking at all the beautiful men while researching for this post! Here it is as promised: Some Men's Holiday Looks!