Real Education Creates Empowerment and Self-Esteem in Kids

Last week’s NEDIC Conference in Toronto
Since attending a recent conference on Eating Disorders, and listening to poignant talks about body image and self-esteem, I was waiting for one of these brilliant doctors and speakers to mention the importance of teaching and learning – about the body, about food, about the way it all intertwines into how we think, act, and feel. When I speak of education, I am referring to uncovering the true science. I am talking about honest education.

WE create kids’ Curiosity about food science. If we CARE to.
Kids start school at 4 or 5 years old, and are in school until seventeen, at which point they make choices about their learning, the careers they want to pursue, or simply the things about which they are curious. But when they are young, it is adults who decide what is important. To assume that frustrations and obsessions about food and the body in later years is somehow NOT related to the LACK of importance we (adults) place on it from a young age, is bogus. Computers and technology are rated as highly useful for kids, from as young an age as possible. If you can push a button, you can work a computer. While you guzzle fruit loops and milk.

We have an IPAD app. for everything.
The same way kids find all the apps on their IPADs interesting, so too might they find all the workings of the body to be quite fascinating. Apparently, grown-ups don’t deem it to be so important to learn. Unless the Dairy Board can profit from it. At the conference, I was pleasantly surprised (at first glance) to see that there was a booth for Educating Teachers about how to teach nutrition. But when I went onto the website…, I almost gagged at the audacity of it. The Dairy Board was pumping out its self-promoting information under the term “education”.

Sugar (lactose)and processed foods negatively impact the brain. AND the body.
This is too boring a topic to teach, apparently. Or perhaps the Dairy Board has never deemed it valuable for profit purposes. Let’s NOT teach kids science. Lets teach them to drink milk…oh, and chocolate milk.

Real information on how to take care of themselves is the most empowering life tool we can offer kids…who eventually become youth, preoccupied with the science of food and how it works in the body they have never REALLY learned about. How about empowering them with comprehensive information as a ticket to self-esteem, rather than spoon-feeding tidbits of untruths that lead to blanks in their guidebook for how to care best for the body they have?

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“Pop This Pill for Perfect Health”


“Too often, medical guidelines for physicians are written by researchers who receive some form of compensation from pharmaceutical companies,”

says Alan Cassels, a pharmaceutical policy researcher at the University of Victoria
It’s bad enough that the drug companies and scientists are lying in the same bed, but it is scary when doctors also crawl under the covers. In a culture where the doctors orders are abided to as bible, AND where an individual’s life is the hot potato being tossed about, is there not a responsibility resting on everyone’s shoulders – drug companies, researchers, and physicians alike?

drugs and profit

 Apparently not. Profit is the sought after end-result. The determinant of success is NOT whether the drug is actually helpful, it seems, but rather, how well it is pushed and how much it profits.

Don’t eat less sugar. Just eat more Statins.

The world’s most prescribed drug, statins are promoted as “preventative medicine”, as a way to lower the risks associated with high cholesterol. Excuse me? It is a known fact that cholesterol levels IMMEDIATELY drop with a reduction in carbohydrates, calories, and unhealthy trans-fats. Weight loss actually has the greatest influence on reducing LDL and overall cholesterol levels. Preventative medicine means avoiding putting some things into your mouth (sugars, drugs) and replacing them with good things (greens, good fats).

Of course, it’s understandable that we are so terrified of cholesterol. It has been drilled into our heads, the same way that “high carbohydrate, low-fat” was forced into our brains, leading us to the growing diabetes and obesity epidemics we now suffer from as a society.

Last week, in the Globe and Mail, Adriana Barton writes, “Statins have been prescribed to people as a common drug, with side effects ranging from cognitive problems, muscle pain, and increased risk of diabetes.” What would possess doctors and drug companies to encourage us to pop potentially harmful pills instead of making positive dietary changes?”

Until we really take the science seriously and make the concerted effort to understand what is really going on in the body, we will continue to fill drug companies’ plump wallets as they do their job to keep us plump and popping pills.

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We need a food guide that won’t make us fat.

Our nation needs a new food guide, one that can be taught in schools, posted on billboards, forced on the food industry, integrated into grocery stores, handed out in doctor’s offices, stuck on fridges, made into kid’s board games…
Most importantly, we need a guide that has health as its goal, and, if followed, will keep weight and insulin levels down and diabetes at bay.

A food guide MUST provide honest and practical information to people. Since we have no courses in school that clearly teach the science of food and the body, the only country-wide reference we have is this one guide. With increasing obesity and diabetes across the country, it’s time to take a closer look at what is missing in people’s understanding. While the marketing and manipulation prowess of the food industry certainly holds the reigns when it comes to how and why we eat, there are many people who turn to government sources for the correct information on how to eat in a way that is “healthy”. What we have now is nonsense, no matter how closely it is followed.

The current food guide is divided into four main sections :

1. Fruits and Vegetables
2. Grains
3. Milk and Alternatives
4. Meat and Alternatives

Within each of the four categories, size and number of portions per day are recommended, depending on age and sex. What the guide fails to mention is that THREE of the four categories break down into a form of sugar (glucose, fructose, and galactose). While milk has a modest amount of protein and a small amount of fat, it too is mostly sugar, in the form of lactose. Knowing that an excess of carbohydrates (sugars) leads to high insulin levels, fat storage, and obesity, you have to wonder… Why not create a food guide that divides food into its rightful categories: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. THEN, suggest the amounts of each that constitute a balanced meal or snack. Calories per serving must also be shown, with visuals so people can see how a meal they deem to be “healthy” is really not.

In a proper food guide, an explanation of carbohydrates would be given, along with comparisons in terms of weight to grams of sugar. This would be an eye opener. The difference between half a cup of grain and five cups of green vegetables, for example.The grains contain a third more calories and carbohydrates, while the amount of fibre, vitamins, alkaline minerals, and water is far greater in the greens. Without question, more nutrition density and less calorie density is the ideal way to eat. This is especially true when it comes down to carbohydrates, since the insulin factor can not be ignored. Eating vegetables instead of grains gives you more bang for your buck, while keeping you leaner and less hungry. This is a fact. The notion of obtaining more nutrition and less caloric energy from food is a smart way to eat, not a diet.

If the goal of our current food guide is to hook us on sugar and make us fat, it is doing a sweet job.

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Wrapping Your Head Around Weight Loss

One of the most powerful opponents to your weight loss campaign is your own brain. No matter how healthful or desirable it IS to shed the fat that is weighing you (and your life) down, your mind will tell you otherwise. There is a psychological component to weight loss that can not be overlooked. Ignoring it won’t work. Facing it head-on WILL. No matter how well you comprehend the science of food and the body, no matter how much you want to drop the weight, your brain will fight you. So, sit it down and set it straight.
Losing weight – especially losing a fair amount of weight – can be a terrifying undertaking for people. You feel it is doomed from the start. Another diet tried and tossed aside. Back to square one again. Eventually the fear of failing at losing weight is more powerful than the desire to change. Earlier this week, I had an enlightening conversation with a woman I have been working with for some time. She spoke to me about the fear that surrounds losing weight – the fear of eating very little, of depriving herself, the fear of starving. Subconsciously, it was a fear that she would feel “without”, of being “at a loss”, or that it was somehow “harmful” to deprive her body of food. Intertwined with these raw human feelings, was the real worry – of not succeeding in achieving this goal…once again. The brain wants to run away from what it has not done “well” at. It doesn’t want to experience failure, again. A proud – and frozen – perfectionist.
So, we looked at it from another perspective. The brain doesn’t want to fail – which is silly, but it’s fine. The real fact of the matter is that you WANT to lose weight. And not only that. You take immense pride in taking care of yourself, your health, your life. So, let’s give that brain a better attitude about what weight loss really is. It’s a DARN GOOD thing for you.
And another thing for perfectionists (I’m one). Learn what to do and then STEP ASIDE. The chemical reactions that happen in the body when you TRANSFORM your storage into energy (rather than your food) is NOT something YOU have to be responsible for. It happens on it’s own. Your cells will USE your fat stores as fuel – readily and gratefully. Like my chocolate labrador, the body’s cells are content with ANY source of nourishment. Even if it’s been sitting in storage for awhile. Your job is to simply believe in the process, recognize WHY you are choosing to change your eating, and then live each day with a lot less food and a lot more vigour.
The brain is afraid of failing. Fair enough. But once you’re done listening to it, talk it down, and then get on your way. As the expression goes…..


Posted in back to basics, brain, calorie burning, calories, fat burning, globe and mail, mindful, nervous system, power, self-care, walking, weight gain, weight loss, weightloss | 2 Comments

Don’t Blow it after Breakfast.


Now that you’ve decided to give up glucose for breakfast, you may be experiencing some guilt for abandoning the starving cereal makers. Fret not – since most sweets and snacks have the same ingredients as cereal, new concoctions of corn syrup and processed grains will hit the shelves in new colourful boxes, in different sections of the grocery store. Like Magic. Just don’t let if be YOU who eats those 100 calorie granola bars or “gluten-free” cookies.

But don’t expect your brain not to crave them. Initially, it will. Just continue to ignore Tinkerbell’s taunting and she will soon tire of hissing sweet temptations into your ear.

While you are running on a deficit, the way to appease your brain is to feed it a bit of fat as snacks. Contrary to the carbohydrates (as low calorie as they may be) that you may be craving, small doses of healthy fat will prevent cortisol and insulin from banishing all weight loss efforts. Eventually, your brain will learn the game. But every time you give it sugar you will once again be lured back into the carbohydrate-craving game that caused you grief in the first place. Outwit your urges, recognizing them for what they are.

Keep in mind that as you are losing weight, the last thing you want to do is shovel too much food in. Remind yourself that body fat stores WILL ONLY be burned as energy if you allow the process to happen. Yes, you DO want snacks, but just enough to prevent craving and crashing, not enough to keep your body ‘s storage untouched.

A list of my recommended snacks are:

1. Kale chips -make your own, by rubbing 1tbsp mixed olive oil and hot oil onto a bunch of washed kale leaves, spread on a baking sheet and baked in the oven at 350 for 10 or so minutes. You can also buy a small bag of them – like the spicy lime ones in the photo below – a mere 30 calories, 2 grams carbohydrate, for $7.00 ! Good for you, yes, But you pay for their goodness in gold. Make your own.

2. Boiled eggs – If you aren’t having eggs at breakfast, they are the snack that packs the most nutrition into a portable bite. Don’t worry about the cholesterol – it is insulin and carbohydrates that have lead to your cholesterol levels. Eggs are a source of all the amino acids, lutein, fat, and iron.

3. Nuts – my only warning with nuts is to MEASURE them. As wonderfully nutritious as they are, you will never lose a pound if you are eating your days worth of fuel in a couple unconscious handfuls of nuts. 1/4 cup is 200 calories. You don’t have to eat them all, have a couple, wait. You will be surprised at how much you will eat when you aren’t paying mind to why you are eating. This is not to say that food is not a delight, but keep the science of weight loss in mind now that you are starting to understand it. You can still savour food while eating less of it.

4. Dark, DARK chocolate – This is one I suggest for people as a mid-afternoon snack or after dinner treat. As long as you are buying the 70-90% stuff, you will NOT be getting a sugar rush from it. The cocoa butter is terrific for satiating and stabilizing blood sugar, while giving you that punch of chocolate you love. Two 85% Lindt squares are a mere 120 calories and 5 grams carbohydrates, so not a bad option.


Posted in blood sugar, brain, bread, breakfast, burning, calorie burning, carbohydrates, cereal, cortisol, eggs, fat, fat burning, food, globe and mail, glycemic index, insulin, ladylean's greens, nuts, protein, snacks, Uncategorized, unsaturated fat, weight gain, weight loss, weightloss | 10 Comments

Ladylean’s Recipe Photos

Photos of my recent recipes

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Do you ever feel like you’re chasing your tail trying to lose weight?

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