why did I wait so long…

It is funny how life works. I have been on LinkedIN (yet another online networking community, mostly corporate professionals) for awhile, and never expected to get much out of it, although I am connected to a few people. Out of the blue, I got a request to connect from Trina Hoadley-Seaforth, who owns Seaforth Martial Arts Centre (SMAC) with her husband Gregory, who found me through a mutual friend, saying she was interested in referring clients to a Nutritionist. Well now, it seems the system can work – and a special thanks to Jill Murray who was the “friend in the middle”.

Trina invited me to a free event that SMAC was doing, a kind of martial arts fitness bootcamp for their friends, to give back, and raise awareness. In the past, to go to an event and be exposed to people I did not know, and be doing probably “embarrassing” things like kicking and punching and grunting would have been out of the question, but the new me was raring to go, especially since I have always been interested in martial arts.

fit-friends-of-smac-005-small.JPG This is me with BOB – SMAC’s body opponent bag, whom we were all asked to pose with. Trina and Gregory are great people, extremely friendly and talented. I was so impressed with the workout, and it was designed for you not only to sweat like crazy, but also have a ton of fun. We got to learn some basic moves like punching, ducking, kneeing, kicking, and the best for last – breaking a board. The fact that they added in the board breaking as a mental exercise in overcoming obstacles was great. After all martial arts is about the body and the mind, as well as the soul, and I felt that I had a complete workout of all three. Afterwards, I felt amazing!

fit-friends-of-smac-025-small.JPGHere I am kneeing Trevor, who took quite a beating from us. He never faltered through all that grabbing, pulling and kneeing – thanks Trevor!

SMAC is currently offering corporate bootcamps, private lessons, as well as a children’s program for 3-7 year olds called lil’ dragons, and also do children’s birthday parties.

I highly recommend checking out Seaforth Martial Arts Centre if you, your company or your child is interested in martial arts. It is a fun and intense form of fitness which goes hand in hand with nutrition for achieving improved health of your body, mind and soul.

a follow up to my guest piece on suite 101…

What a glorious morning – because the sky is so blue, the sun is so warm, and my guest piece about spring detoxing on suite101.com is up! Check it out here.

A big THANK YOU to Mary Luz, writer at suite101.com who I met through the Women’s Culinary Network. She writes for the food trends section, and has a lot of really interesting articles to peruse.

Now, there was a mention in the article of some great “detox” dishes: kale salad, beet salad, etc. You could make these at home, many recipes are available on the internet, or if you are out and about and need to grab a bite, these dishes can be found at Camros Organic Eatery on Hayden Street, just south of Yonge and Bloor in downtown Toronto. If you know me, I am sure you have heard me rave about this place – organic, healthy, tasty food, in a warm, enviting, eco-friendly place, run by an amazing family. I am collaborating with them on some interesting projects – stay tuned for more exciting news!

For those who are looking to buy some more natural wholesome foods, a great place to start is your local health food store, a nearby farmer’s market or even a Loblaws, which should have a natural and organic food section. (Also, several other big grocery chains like Dominion, Sobeys and Longos are bringing in more alternatives all the time.) Please watch out for the natural/organic product coupon book The Healthy Shopper which should be available in health food stores in April. For first time buyers, this is a great way to try something new, and save a few bucks.

Finally, I thought I would give you all a little crash course in label -reading: “natural” vs “organic”. I recently read through a great food magazine published by Wegman’s a big grocery chain in the US which is focused on wellness and high quality foods. They had a little piece describing “natural” and “organic” which I think makes it crystal clear:

“Natural Foods contain no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or additives, and are minimally processed. All organic foods are natural, but not all natural foods are organic. Natural foods can be grown by conventional methods. There is currently no government-approved definition of “natural” foods, except for meat.” (I am not sure about the meat thing in Canada.)

“Organic Foods are grown in greater harmony with nature, without using synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, or growth hormones. To be sure an item is the real thing, look for the USDA label – foods with this designation are certified to have been grown and processed according to the USDA Organic Standards, with inspections to verify organic authenticity.”

(from Menu, winter 2007, pg. 88 published by Wegmans)

So, now you know the difference but what do you buy? The best choice is always whatever works for you. Organic foods can be expensive, and organic does not always = healthy. Depending on your dietary needs, you have to take protein, carbohydrate, fat, sodium and sugar levels into account, no matter if the product is “natural” or “organic”. The easiest choice is to pick up items from your local farmer’s market from a vendor you trust.

If you are interested in a nutritional program due to a diagnosed condition, to effectively lose weight, or to prevent future health issues, please visit my website lemonholistic.com.

Now go outside and enjoy this glorious Friday!

If you have any comments about the spring detox article, Camros Organic Eatery, The Healthy Shopper book, or “natural” vs “organic”, I would love to hear from you!

speaking of lemon…

 

The other day I was in the store, loitering in the natural foods section, and was scanning the protein and meal replacement bars. I happened to notice the lemon Larabar, and thought – hey wouldn’t it be a neat idea to do a taste test of some lemon bars, since my company’s name is Lemon Holistic? The other one which caught my eye was the Luna Lemonzest bar. So, the candidates were chosen, and I promptly went home to try them out.

larabar.JPGFirst up was Larabar. WOW – right away I could smell real lemons, and I liked the look of the texture. Now, I have had both Larabars and Luna bars before, just not these flavours. On my first bite, I was impressed by the feel of the bar, almost like a kind of soft grahamy pie crust sensation. And the lemon flavour was very good – bright and citrusy.

luna.JPGNext was Luna. Not much smell, texture looked fun with the rice crispies, and there was a layer of white, which looked like yogurt coating on the bottom. After biting into it, I wondered where exactly the lemon taste was – there was a hint of a kind of muted lemon candy flavour. I inspected the bar more closely and saw there were little pieces of lemon jelly (like those fruit slices candy you can get) here and there.

The Luna bar is considered to be more of a nutritional supplement snack, as it has a lot of added vitamins and minerals, has 10 g of protein – but it has quite a bit of soy in it, plus added sweetener (brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice).

The Larabar has a similar calorie count, has 5 g of protein, and NO sodium, and a higher fat content (mostly good fat). The most impressive thing about Larabar, is their ingredient list:

DATES, CASHEWS, ALMONDS, LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, NATURAL LEMON FLAVOUR.

I have been in awe of this company for quite a while now, for the fact that they have managed to make a product with so few ingredients, and it tastes GREAT. Trust me when I say, I have had many, many protein/meal replacement/snack bars, and the Larabar has the best texture and taste of all the ones I have tried. It is truly “real food”. And to top it off, they have a line of chocolate snack bars called jocolat, which are also out of this world.

It is funny how the world works. This past weekend, when I worked at the Holistic Expo in Toronto, I got to meet David, one of the first Larabar team members, all the way up here from Denver, Colorado. We had a great conversation, and he gave me lots of samples (after I gushed to him about how much I love and respect his company). Larabar is truly in a league of their own in my opinion, and I hope you give them a try – my most recent tasting was of the cinnamon roll bar – equally amazing taste. They have a great website larabar.com where you can see their whole product line up and read the amazing story behind this company.

Luna and Clif bars are what I would consider second best as far as the snack bars go, after Larabar.

If you want to share your Larabar or Luna experiences, please leave me a comment!

cheap and cheerful quinoa lunch

 

What happens when you are working from home, get hungry, don’t have a car to go out, nothing in the fridge ready to eat, and no money to spend? This is what happens…

Lately everywhere I look, I see an article about quinoa. It is exciting that this seed (yes, it is a SEED not a grain!) is getting so much attention, as it is a great source of vegetarian protein, and is so easy to prepare. Just throw it in a pot with double the amount of water, bring to boil and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, you’re done. Then the magic happens – whatever flavour you want, build it into your quinoa. I knew I had some frozen broccoli, and that made me think of stir-fry flavours, so I found some arame seaweed and toasted black sesame seeds in the cupboard, along with toasted sesame oil, tamari soy sauce, rice vinegar, and ginger for a dressing. I tossed in some pepper flakes for some heat. This was a yummy and satisfying lunch, and I have to say I felt great for the rest of the afternoon. It must have been from the protein, plus the nutrients in the seaweed and sesame seeds, not to mention the broccoli. Sometimes, all you need to do is open your cupboard…