This bird is enjoying people food...tortilla chips dropped while someone was eating lunch. It's calories for the bird, undeniably. It's an easy meal, and this bird and a few friends spent quite some time eating these crumbs. But while this bird may have gotten some carbohydrate energy from these crumbs, that's about all it got. To be honest, I don't know what the nutritional requirements are of this bird. It lives in Victoria, BC. It's got a pretty cushy winter compared to birds here in Alberta, so I would hazard a guess it doesn't need the same energy reserves that birds here would need to stay warm if they don't migrate. But still. I would be astonished if tortilla chip crumbs offered the same nutritional benefits as more traditional wild-forged food.
Here in the West we are most assuredly over-nourished. There has never been a time when food wasn't available for us in my lifetime. It may not be our favourite foods, or what we want to eat at the moment, but it is available. Consider famines that have stretched on for years in many parts of Africa. A complete and utter lack of food and drinking water have killed thousands of people, and yet we in the West throw out a third of what's produced and waste water like it's an endlessly renewable resource. It's heartbreaking and horrifying, and one of the reasons I started meal planning- food waste is something I'm very passionate about.
Just because we are over-nourished doesn't mean we are healthy, however. It's a common understanding that malnourished looks like skin stretched over rib cages and distended bellies such as this first picture of famine in East Africa.
Our malnourishment in North America takes on many different forms. We can look overweight or obese, we can look "average", or we can look thin or skinny. You won't necessarily see malnourishment on a person until it progresses past a certain point.
A person becomes overweight or obese due to our propensity to overeat and the easy availability of food. Serving size increases, a largely sedentary lifestyle, and the evil triplets of perceived affordability, convenience, and focused advertising have led to this growing issue. Sometimes this can be due to an eating disorder. You can read more about that here. Other people suffering from malnourishment look like everyone else, or are thin, underweight, or skinny. If they, too, aren't eating the variety of foods that our bodies require for optimal health, they can also suffer long term damage.
To return back to the example of that little bird, he may be eating too much of a single food, and not receiving the nutritional variety he requires to be a healthy little bird. Like him, we can eat too much of the same sorts of foods and prevent our bodies from acquiring the right kinds of nutrients. We may be suffering from a malabsorption disorder such as Crohn's or Celiac disease, or we may just be neglecting variety in our diets. Whatever the case, malnutrition is a serious concern that can lead to long-term quality of life issues.
I encourage you to take stock of your diet. Keep track of what you're eating, how much you're eating, and when you're eating. Log everything for a few weeks, a month. Make note of any physical symptoms you may experience but haven't noted before, and see if there's a pattern. Notice if you've got a well-balanced diet, or if you're overloaded in fats and refined carbohydrates. Once you have started tracking your intake, you will be better equipped to see changes you may need to make to your overall diet.
And like diet, movement is essential for our quality of life. If keeping track of your diet has you feeling motivated to continue with positive changes, you might want to consider a movement tracker. This article contains a link to one that is easy to use and comes with a plethora of helpful tips to begin your journey.
I wish you all the best, and have a great weekend, friends.
If you enjoyed this post, sign up for my newsletter here. I offer exclusive content, contests, and offers for my subscribers.
We arrived home from our wonderful vacation to an empty fridge (which I had left empty on purpose) and a busy week. I've been stretching the hours to find enough time to buy school supplies and clothes, get back-to-school haircuts, and get a large grocery shop done.
Here's my grocery list and dinner meal plan for the week. You'll notice a few shortcuts- not just carrots, but also matchstick carrots. Frozen pastry for the tourtiere, and bottled salad dressing. We already have enough meat and fish for the week in our freezer, so most of my shopping was re-stocking up on fresh fruit, vegetables, and dairy. After eating out a lot while on vacation I am most certainly happy to be back cooking in my kitchen. No more fast food! While I think my boys would happily eat hamburgers or chicken fingers and fries every day, I don't think i could have taken much more of that type of fare.
I've got a lot of photos to cull, and some stories to tell. I'm working on getting that done and have a draft post started and saved to share with you. I hope your summer was warm and wonderful, and I look forward to enjoying fall with you.
What's on your meal plan for the week?
All the best, friends.
You may also enjoy:
We drove to Vancouver Island for our family holiday this year. It took 2 days of driving each way, though it could have taken longer- accounting for construction, breaks, rest stops, and filling for gas, one day each direction was about 10.5 hours, and the other around 7. My general maximum time on the road is about 6 hours and then I get cranky.
But arriving on Vancouver Island and spending time soaking up the sun and inhaling the ocean breezes made the travel time worth it. We spent a lot of time on Mount Tolmie. The view was breathtaking all the time, even when it was foggy and grey. Sunsets there were incomparable. Morning coffee was even better with a view like that! Spending time with my brother and sister in law, getting to know my niece and nephew, and watching the kids enjoy the company of their cousins was the icing on the cake.
Unaccountably for me, the planner, we went without a plan. We woke up each morning and decided what we felt like doing that day. A couple of mornings we left the kids at my brother's home and wandered in downtown Victoria along the harbour or browsing shops for a couple of hours. We had coffee on Tolmie a few times. We took the boys to Port Angeles, WA for the day, and were gifted a Whale Watching tour for another. We saw 3 humpback whales, but no orcas.
We visited with old friends, enjoyed a meal and a few hours at and around Fisherman's Wharf, went fossil hunting, spent some time at Oak Bay Marina, and caught Pokemon everywhere we went. A few hours were spent at Beacon Hill Park, and while we ate our share of the usual fast food, we also enjoyed unique meals at places we haven't been before, such as West Coast Waffles.
I even shared an oyster with my husband at Smugglers Landing in Port Angeles. It wasn't as bad as I expected...but I'm not sure it's something I must eat again.
We earned our keep by helping out with groceries, cooking a few meals, giving my brother and his wife a couple of nights out by babysitting, and helping out with their dog. One morning we spent a couple of hours blackberry picking- that was an eye-opening experience. Those bushes are deadly! But it gave me an opportunity to do some #testkitchen #recipedevelopment while I was gone, and I developed a blackberry and maple pudding recipe just for my newsletter subscribers. I recreated it at home with raspberries, because I couldn't find blackberries. At least it's versatile! If you want in on that, I'd be happy to share that recipe with you! Sign up here :)
Our last day away we spent a few hours in Sooke honouring my dad in a ceremony off of Whiffen Spit. He passed away late November of last year and my step mom took the opportunity of all of us being together to set up a really lovely ceremony to say good bye. My dad had always loved the ocean, and it was the perfect place to honour his memory. Whiffen Spit was one of his favourite places to go,and while I'd never been there, I can see why. The kids all enjoyed looking out over the water and tossing stones into the ocean, and it was a really nice walk to get there. I enjoyed meeting family I hadn't met before. It was so good to see my stepbrother and my sister in law, and my stepmom was really happy to have us all together.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into our family holiday! How did you spend your summer vacation?
All the best, friends.
You may also enjoy:
I'm so excited to tell you that I will be a special guest speaker tomorrow on Tenacious Talks, a radio podcast hosted by Carrie-Ann Baron on the Tenacious Living Network.
The topic of our conversation is, of course, my love for food and how that relates to my expertise as a meal planner and nutrition consultant.
You can hear it tomorrow on the network's livestream (www.tlrstation.com) at 6:00am, 10:00am, 2:00pm, 4:00pm, and 8:00pm Mountain Time. If you're busy at those times you can still catch our chat any other time- it will be available as track #36 on demand here, and while you're there you can check out all her other podcast episodes. I'm also going to post the link on my home page.
I'm grateful to be a guest on the network which offers not only the on-demand library that I get to be a part of, but also free streaming radio talk shows hosted by personal development experts. You can also check them out on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and Blubrry by searching "Tenacious Living Network"
Travelling with kids puts a new spin on "hangry".
I know in my last post I discussed why food shouldn't be the "cure all". I still stand by that. However, after a couple of long days of travel with some significant meltdowns I'm more aware of the signs of low blood sugar related tantrums. Experiencing them first hand gives me a new appreciation for teachers who work with these little balls of energy all day, every day.
Some common signs of blood-sugar related "hangriness" include:
Filling up with high glycemic foods (such as the above examples) doesn't keep them happy for long. These foods typically lack fibre, which means they digest quickly and can leave the person feeling worse than before. This is due to an insulin spke that occurs after ingesting foods that are high in refined carbohydrates- white flour and loaded with sugar are the usual suspects.
I'm writing this as much for me as for my readers. We had a long drive here, which means a long drive home. Avoiding similar hangry outbreaks will make a much more pleasant drive.
Some of the ways we can avoid these types of meltdowns begin with common sense. I did pack snacks for the kids between stops, but most of them began and ended with high-gi foods- I know better, but they're so much easier to pack and distribute in the car. I think there is room for easier snacks- let's be realistic about the trials of long car rides- but if we support those higher in refined carb foods with a good variety of healthier choices, the sugar spikes and insulin crashes will be significantly reduced.
My plan for the way back has shifted as I think about it. We'll probably follow the same path we took to get here, which means being on the road for about 7 hours the first day, and 10.5 the second- 9.5 of that is driving time, with a few breaks scattered throughout. We have a plug-in cooler, which we'll load up and store on the seat between the kids if we can. We will stock it with sliced whole-grain cheese and meat and plain old peanut butter and jam sandwiches, sliced apples, cheese strings, baby carrots, snap peas, and yogurt. We'll throw in some nuts and raisins, dry cheerios, and bottled water, too. For the less than stellar choices they can eat a granola bar, crackers, or snack bags of potato chips.
On our way down we stopped at whatever random town we were passing through when we were hungry, which meant we ate at Tim Hortons, Wendys, or McDonalds.
Hopefully the way back is more relaxed and less hangry than the way here! What have your experiences looked like?
Enjoy your weekend, friends.
Comfort food- it's a common concept in the world, isn't it? We end a significant relationship, and drown our sorrows in ice cream, chocolate, and/or alcohol. Or perhaps we are sick, get up on the wrong side of the bed, or feel whatever somewhat negative emotion, and we turn to food. Sometimes we choose healthier options, like chicken noodle soup. But often less than stellar choices, such as fried chicken, poutine, or pizza, make it into our bellies. Even though this is something I'm aware of, I can tell you from personal experience that food is often something I turn to "for comfort".
I try, as a parent, not to equate food with emotional upheaval but it's an uphill battle. Our society uses food for everything- celebration to mourning, reward for a job well done to coping with tragedy. Yesterday my youngest son was feeling sad because his older brother didn't want to play. I can understand the big brother's choices - I used to find it a hassle to play with my little brother, and there were far fewer years between us - but my youngest son felt sad and heartbroken.
I snuggled with him on the couch and asked if he wanted to go out with me to run errands and stop for a cookie. "Cookies won't make it better, mom". "No," I said, "I know. But it's a special treat for you and mom. We get to spend some time together and, after we get our work done, I'll have a coffee and you can have a cookie and some milk before we come home". He agreed to come with me although he was quick to remind me that it wasn't as much fun as playing with his brother. And I know that but it was all I could think of at that moment to stop him from crying so hard.
I know, I know. I used food not only as a treat, but also as an emotional respite. However, after thinking about it for the last day I can't come up with another solution. I don't think it's my job to try to make him happy all the time. I know we need to equip our kids with the ability to recognize emotions, accept them, and find a way to deal with them. Overall he is pretty good at it - he recognizes feelings as they happen, such as anger, disappointment, happiness, and sadness. He can assess situations and identify what other people are feeling. It's difficult to teach our kids how to deal with emotions, especially the negative ones, in a healthy way when I myself am still learning these lessons.
I don't have a ready answer but I think just being aware of the issue is a step in the right direction. If any of you have any suggestions or comments that relate to the tendency to self-medicate with food I would be happy to hear them and share them.
All the best, friends!