Category Archives: Health

How to get more fruit into your diet without eating it.

How to get more fruit into your diet without eating it

How to get more fruit into your diet without eating it

I’m going to tell you a little secret about me, I don’t like to eat fruit. And it sucks because it’s so good for you. But I figured if I’m going to be a holistic nutritionist and get people to eat fruit, I better find a way to start eating it first.

So I turned to smoothies; a fantastic way to start the day because you can load it up with superfoods, throw a ton of fruit in there and still get the antioxidants you need.

Here’s my recipe: Continue reading

Why we should avoid cooking with olive oil!

Why we should avoid olive and cook with butter

Avoid cooking with unsaturated fats like olive, canola and grapeseed oil

You’ve probably heard that you should fry with grapeseed oil and sauté with olive oil because they have the highest smoke points, right? Well although those smoke points are correct, this has nothing to do with the actual safety of cooking with these oils. You see, heating unsaturated fats like olive, canola and grapeseed damages their omega fatty acids by changing their molecular structure to a point where they become bad for our health.

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Top 10 must see documentaries about food, animals and the environment!

  1. Food Inc.How industrial farming is making us sicker, fatter and poorer – and what you can do about it

If you eat food, you need to watch this film. This is a fantastic film about food issues with something in it for everyone.  It covers the drastic changes in the food industry since modern industrial farming began and how it affects our health and the environment but finishes with a positive look on companies doing things right. It will suck you in, shock you, disgust you, anger you, but most importantly, it will make you a better-informed consumer and allow you to have more control over what you put into your body. I can’t stress how important it is for people to watch this film.

Take-away: You can reduce 80% of e-coli in cows by switching their diet from corn to grass

Where to find: In videostores, on Netflix in the US or purchase it on Amazon.ca

 

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How I cured my allergies with the Master Cleanse

 

Master Cleanse success - I cured my seasonal allergies

(Details on special giveaway below)

This past week, I completed the 7-day master cleanse again for the second time. Why? Because I cured my seasonal allergies from doing it 2 years ago. That’s right, I haven’t had to take Claritin or Aerius in 2 years. Now that’s what I call preventative medicine!

To learn about the master cleanse, view all my video diaries from my 10-day master cleanse in 2009. You can also get the master cleanse recipe here.

First, let’s start with a recap of the master cleanse benefits: Continue reading

How I naturally lost 5 lbs and kept it off

Green tea, fruit and smaller meal sizes helped me lose 5lbs

It’s always those last 5lbs that are the hardest to lose, isn’t it? Muffin tops and spare tires seem to be an issue for a lot of people, that’s why I was so happy when I not only lost 5lbs, but kept it off. I didn’t go on a weight loss crusade per se, but rather implemented a few key changes into my lifestyle that lead to a great result.

Here is how I lost 5lbs:

  1. Drink green tea: I drank Electric Lemon green tea twice a day. I would drink it at 9am when I got to work, then re-infuse the tea leaves after lunch and drink it again. It would help curb cravings before lunch and around 4pm. I told David’s Tea, the shop where I bought my tea, about my weight loss and they said it was probably due to the ginger in it, although there doesn’t seem to be any scientific evidence proving this. There is evidence, however, that green tea speeds up your metabolism and helps you burn calories quicker. If you want to try, I suggest buying loose leaf green tea and infusing it in a tea strainer. Avoid teabags as they are lower in quality, don’t contain the best parts of the tea leaf and create waste.  Another benefit of drinking green tea is that I was able to give up coffee. Yes, there’s enough caffeine in it to help non-morning people like me.
  2. Eat fruit. This will probably come as a shock to you, at least it does to the people around me, but I don’t like to eat fruit. I started, moreover as an effort to not let the fruit I received in my organic baskets go to waste, by eating 2 fruits a day. I would eat an apple at lunch and a second fruit around 3pm or 4pm when I would start to get hunger cravings. I must admit though, it helped me fill up and ultimately, lead to my weight loss.
  3. Eat smaller food portions. I think it’s fair to say that restaurants and cafés give you double the servings we actually need. If I ate out at lunch, I would only eat half the sandwich (wrap or panini) and half the salad that would come with it. If, after eating I was still hungry, I would allow myself to finish the sandwich but generally I was fine. After one week, my appetite decreased and I was able to save the other half  for lunch the next day. If I brought food to work, I would eat a small meal with fruit for dessert and I was usually fine. If I wasn’t, I would eat a handful of nuts that I kept in my drawer.  About 20 minutes after I would finish eating, I would then brew my second cup of green tea. In general, it’s a good idea to wait until you’ve finished digesting before drinking so you don’t dilute your digestive acids or enzymes.

Public transport = additional weight loss:

Going to the gym can be hard to integrate into your lifestyle, but what about taking public transport? Although you might not realise it, you could actually add up to an hour’s worth of exercise each day just by walking to and from work with public transport. And since you actually have to “go to work” unlike the gym, you can naturally integrate this kind of exercise into your daily routine while walking to the bus stop/subway/metro station and back.

Personally, I get a good 40 minutes of walking in everyday going to and from the metro station to get to work. Not only does it help me wake me up or relax, it also helps me maintain my weight. And if you tend to be late in the morning like me, you’ll end up speed walking which will help you lose a few extra pounds since you’re heart rate up will increase. So you see, being green can also help you lose weight. 🙂

Lunchtime yoga:

I’ll admit it, I hate gyms and I’m not much of a sporty girl. In all fairness, it’s not so much the actual exercise that’s an issue, but rather the lack of motivation to get myself to the gym. So when my company offered lunchtime yoga courses, I had no excuse but to sign-up. Why not, I’m already there and it’s a lot easier than trying to find the motivation at 5pm when I’m tired, hungry and just want to go home. If your company doesn’t offer them, see if there are some studios around your place of work where they are offered. If not, you can always try to grab a few colleagues and do it on your own. It’s a quick and easy way to get some exercise in without a lot of hassle.

Why I chose to be vegetarian – An intimate look at my life

Lisa_pondering_vegetarianism

After a 52 comment debate on Facebook, I decided it was time to write about my favourite topic; vegetarianism.

Twelve years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting someone during a break in Spanish class that would come to have the most influence on my life ever, yet he will never know it. I wish I could remember more of what happened or who he was.

He mentioned he was vegetarian and me not understanding why anyone would be that, I asked why. He told me about A Diet for a New America and how this book changed his life. Curious, I asked my parents to get me it for Christmas.  My dad having owned several health food stores in Vancouver and knowing about it, concurred that it was indeed a must-read.

It was written by John Robbins, the son of one of the part-owners of the Baskin Robbins ice cream chain. It was the first book in the ’80’s I believe to expose factory farming to the public and the demise of the family farm.

Diet For A New America

Diet For A New America

I read it in between calls while working in a call centre and during nights after school. I wasn’t even half way through before I quit eating meat. I literally quit cold turkey; pun intended!

The book opened my eyes incredibly. I couldn’t believe the things they did to animals which were considered standard practice, like castrating piglets with scissors and docking their tails without any anesthesia. We wouldn’t dare do such things to dogs, so why is it ok for pigs? In the new age of farming, or rather factory farming, animals are nothing more than dollars signs, and treated like discarded broccoli.

It was the perfect book to read while going through business school. It taught me about how businesses try to keep sensitive information (like this) behind closed doors so the public never questions it.

When I started being a vegetarian, it was for animal rights reasons. I didn’t know there were health or environmental benefits at the time.

As a kid, I had always been curious about where our meat came from. My mom always reassured me that food animals were humanely killed and never suffered.  I never really bought that that though.  I mean, we are talking about killing here, how could that happen so peacefully in a dirty slaughterhouse? It’s not like the pigs and cows are jumping for joy on their way to be stabbed at the slaughterhouse.

I grew up with pets. They know damn well when something frightening is coming, like pulling the vacuum out of the closet or taking them to the vet. They react, whether by putting their tails between their legs or running away and hiding. Chickens, pigs and cows are no different. They are living beings after all.

Piglet tail docking without pain killers

Piglet tail docking without pain killers

About a year or two later, I had the pleasure of meeting Ingrid Newkirk, the founder of PETA who spoke at Concordia University in Montreal.

I remember walking into the theatre, passing some tables with vegan literature on them and saying to myself, “Pfff I’ll never become a vegan“. On my way out, I remember saying “F* now I have to be a vegan”.

Mother cow seperated from calf

I had never realized the link between milk and veal. Of course, it all makes sense now. The only reason cows produce milk is because they’re impregnated. How do you keep a cow lactating? Well, she has to give birth of course, and thus, the veal industry was created.

I’m proud to say I’ve never eaten veal in my life. My mom forbid it in our house saying that is where she drew the line at animal cruelty. Baby calves stolen away from their moms minutes after birth, chained to live in darkness and fed a diet to purposely make them anemic so their flesh would be tender. Ugh, the thought just disgusts me. Maybe it’s because I’m female and one day, I’ll have children, but I can’t imagine the pain and suffering the female cow goes through, losing her baby after she gives birth. So technically, if I continued to drink milk, I was being a hypocrite as that is what keeps the veal industry in business.

Welcome organic soy, rice and almond milk. And in case you thought dairy was necessary for calcium intake, dairy actually has little to no benefit preventing osteoporosis yet comes with a wealth of potential health concerns.

Several years later, I learned about the health and environmental benefits of a vegetarian diet. I also noticed the sharp increase in my immune system and the decrease in the number of colds I got.  To be honest, even if vegetarianism was harmful for the environment, I’d still do it for the animal factor, but the fact that it’s not only better for my health but also for the environment, just reinforces that I’m making the right decision.

Keleigh and I reunited in Phoenix both as vegetarians

Keleigh and I reunited in Phoenix both as vegetarians 10 years later

What’s funny is that most of my closest friends in life, when I met them 10 years later at my high school reunion in Vancouver or my college reunion in Phoenix, had also turned vegetarian, not to mention my sisters’ friends and my mom’s best friend. It seems so common to be vegetarian these days. I know so many and they’re normal people who wear make-up, party and work hard. The days of  vegetarianism being for the unshaven hippies are long gone.

Have I gone through awkward social moments? Absolutely! I’ve spent a lot of time in France and at fancy business dinners where you get the proverbial eyes being rolled at you or the ignorant questions like “But how do you get your protein” or what I like to call the caveman debate to which I like to reply, “Ever heard of evolution?“.

But these days, no matter what circle I’m in, I’m rarely the only vegetarian and most people are fairly educated on the topic, quick to ask questions like “Are you lacto-ovo?“, or  “Can you eat eggs?“. Now I get comments like “Ok, cool, have you tried “X” vegetarian restaurant” or “We love seitan” or “We really don’t eat that much meat!

Vegetarian food; just feels so right, so good for you, pure happiness

Vegetarian food; just feels so right, so good for you, pure happiness

To me it’s simple, if you don’t need meat to survive, can spare animal suffering and leave less of an ecological footprint on the planet, then why the hell wouldn’t you be vegetarian? Not to mention, you are so much healthier, sparing yourself from heart disease, high-cholesterol, certain cancers, (most notably colon and breast), high-blood pressure, kidney problems, antibiotics from dairy (makes you antibiotic resistant), growth hormones from meat (loads of side effects here like children going into puberty at 5), and pesticide residues (which lodge in your fat cells).

Then there are what I like to call the sexy side-effects. Since you no longer have meat rotting in you, you smell better and well, taste better!

For more info on vegetarianism, including recipes, visit goveg.org, watch The New York Times best-selling author Kelly Freston discuss vegan health benefits on Oprah or for a fun read by two ex-models, read The New York Times Best-seller Skinny Bitch.

The Results of the Master Cleanse

Urban Green Girl's Master Cleanse Results

Urban Green Girl's Master Cleanse Results

Three weeks have passed since I finished my master cleanse and I am ready to give you the results.

My skin didn’t clear up like I was hoping, so this just proves that it is, indeed, hormonal and stress related. Asides from having a huge feeling  of self accomplishment and pride, I did lose 7lbs overall, and this wasn’t even a goal. It has been 3 weeks since I finished, and this weight hasn’t come back. I have, however, been careful to not over eat since this was a good starting over point for me.

Pros:

  • Sense of accomplishment
  • Stable weight loss, 7lbs overall
  • Toxin removal
  • Better appreciation for food
  • Eat better (eat more grains)

Cons:

  • Did not clear my acne
  • Took 2-3 weeks to get my digestive system back to normal
  • Went on a food binge afterwards
  • No difference in energy levels or fatigue (but other facts explain this, like going to bed at 1am) Continue reading

Day 10 of the Master Cleanse – Breaking the fast

Urban Green Girl's first Orange juice

Urban Green Girl's first Orange juice

I made it, today is Day glass of 10! Phew I am tired and ready to start eating again. I did my second liver cleanse last night as my naturopath said it would be a good idea and I wanted to do a second one. This morning I passed a few, very tiny liver stones, but almost none I am happy to report. This means that the first liver cleanse I did in July got rid of almost everything and is also a testament to my healthy lifestyle.

Freshly squeezed orange juice

Freshly squeezed orange juice

Today at 2pm, I had a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice but it was a little hard to swallow at first. One hour later I was feeling stronger and able to drink more.

I made a delicious veggie soup for lunch with carrots, celery, herbs de provence, basil, red lentils and pearl barley. I regret having added the pearl barley though as I don’t think my digestive system was ready for it. I should have kept it more simple, veggie broth and vegetables.

Homemade veggie soup

Homemade veggie soup

For supper I had steamed vegetables, brown rice and a little spinach salad. Throughout the day though, I kept drinking the orange juice.

My digestive system doesn’t seem to be handling the food yet though.  I think I’m going to keep to soup broth, fruit and orange juice for the next few days. I am craving chewy things though like dried mango and licorice. Overall, I laid low today and watched movies in bed, as I was quite exhausted.

I can say though that my skin does look better following the master cleanse. I’ve read that breaking the fast is almost as important as the fast itself so I’ve decided to do a follow up report in one week when my digestive system should be back to tell you if I reached my objectives and if  it was worth drinking the lemonade diet for 10 days!

Day 6 on The Master Cleanse – Fed up of the lemonade

Today is day 6 of my master cleanse.

I’m fed up of drinking the lemonade. I’m dreaming of food, but not hungry. My sore throat is now a cold.

However, I’ve lost 12lbs. Part of this is fat, some is water and some is toxic matter that’s lodged in our digestive system which we can’t loose through dieting or exercise. Hopefully, this weight won’t come back.

Tips for fuzzy teeth – Brush with baking soda, it will help neutralize the acid in the lemons.