Monday, January 2, 2017

Nutrition and Fitness 101

Happy New Year Everyone!

With all of us in the throes of the holiday-binge-eating hangover, it’s time to talk nutrition. Many of us will vow to eat healthier and exercise more in the New Year and peddlers of gym memberships and fad diets will be ready to jump on us like carnivores on red meat.

I am not a Nutritionist nor am I a Dietician, Fitness Expert, or Doctor.

I am someone with enough health problems to see a doctor and dietician regularly and I’m a food blogger who researches the heck out of everything I post.

I am also fed up with all the bullshit going around about nutrition, weight loss, and health. Go into any major bookstore and try to find a book on these subjects. At least half of them are not about nutrition but about pushing fad diets that have little to no basis in actual nutritional needs.

Contrary to popular belief, nutrition is not all that complicated.

You want to eat healthy?

Stick to whole grains, lean proteins, and make sure at least half of what you eat consists of fruits and vegetables.


That’s a guaranteed path to giving up your diet and binge eating, bringing you right back to the weight and state of health you started in.

Like all things that matter, your health requires work, dedication and maintenance.

Eat the unhealthy stuff you love, but do it less and in smaller amounts, and where possible, substitute something bad for something slightly LESS bad.

I’m not talking about switching from full fat products to low fat ones. As Michael Moss points out in his book, Salt Sugar Fat, food companies will generally add sugar and/or salt to products they’ve cut the fat from in order to maintain the item’s flavor.

I’m talking about substituting the smart way.

If you love chocolate but generally go for the milk chocolate bar packed with sugar, switch it out for dark chocolate. It will satisfy your chocolate craving but because you don’t enjoy the taste as much, you’ll eat less of it.

Measure your cooking ingredients to control the amount of fat, sugar and salt you use. Measuring gives you control and allows you to be fully conscious of how much you’re adding, making you less inclined to put too much.

You may not like the taste at first but your body, taste buds included, is incredibly adaptable. You’ll soon lose taste for things with too much salt, sugar, and fat, and crave the healthier stuff you never knew you needed.

Wondering about the potential evils of gluten, carbs, dairy, or sweeteners or think you might be allergic or intolerant of something like lactose?

Don’t buy into the propaganda of fad diet pushers.


Same goes for any nutritional lifestyle change you consider, like going vegetarian or vegan.

Your doctor knows about what’s good for you and is legally obligated to stay up to date on this stuff. They’ll be able to tell if you shouldn’t eat something because it hurts you, and they’ll be able to give you tips about what to substitute for what you’re cutting from your diet so you don’t get sick.

Want to lose weight and build muscle?


Despite what your gym bunny friends and relatives will say, you don’t need a gym for this.

There are tons of workout videos on Youtube that are made to accommodate any home environment or fitness need from high impact to low and quiet to noisy that will usually only require the most basic equipment like a couple of hand weights and something you can use as a matt (like an old blanket).

If you can’t work out at home, go for a brisk walk and/or take up an outdoor sport. The fresh air and sunshine will do almost as much for you as the exercise itself and boost your mood too!

If you have a public pool near you, cool off in the summer while getting your workout at the same time.

Shoot for at least 15 to 20 minutes of moderate exercise at least 3 times a week. Moderate exercise includes chores like cleaning the kitchen and mopping the floors – if it’s an activity that gets your heart rate up but you can still talk while you’re doing it, it counts. If you think you can take more, take more, but don’t hurt yourself.

With the North American economy and employment rates far from optimal, in 2017 let’s aim to be healthier in a smarter, more budget-conscious way.


-Samantha R. Gold

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