Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Why do we eat more than what we should when we go to "an all you can eat buffet" or when we go out for chinese food or when we dish out too much ice cream into a large cereal bowl and then add chocolate sauce?  In the May edition of Nutrition Action Health Letter, an article written by Brian Wansink, explains about the external cues that make us overeat.  Mr. Wansink has written a book on this topic "Mindless Eating - Why We Eat More Than We Think".

There are a number of things that caught my attention in this article.  Things we need to think about include:
  • Of course we overeat because of feeling emotional, or we had a horrible day, or we were bored, or we were feeling blue.  But there are other things that influence us.
  • We eat more candies when the candy jar is closer to our work desk and if they are in a clear bowl.
  • A descriptive name to describe a dish is more appetizing than a plain name and we would choose to eat an entree with a fancier name.
  • Eating slower translates into eating fewer calories.
  • Use smaller plates, smaller bowls and smaller forks.  If you serve the same quantity of food on a larger or smaller plate, it will appear as more food served on a smaller plate.  This does work for me.
  • If you are a woman and following another woman in front of you in a buffet line, you will mimic more the portion she takes than if you were following a guy.  I know that I am more aware of what I am eating if I am following someone in the buffet line who is careful about what they are eating. 
  • We underestimate the calories we are eating if the food is labelled low fat or low calorie.  Plus we eat more as we feel the food has less calories.  
  • We can always find a way to rationalize to eat more.
  • People eat food that is on table more frequently than food that is off the table.  Leave the salad and vegetables on the table and the meat and carbohydrates on the counter or stove.  Make it more difficult to take second helpings.   
The article provides some material for self reflection and questions you need to ask yourself when you find you are overeating or just mindless eating.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I have joined the tweeting and twittering universe!  If you want to follow me, I am listed as "louiseandlife".

My tweets will be focussed on food and provide a quick snapshot. I have been highlighting the juices I or the DH are making using the new juicer.  The DH just made a juice using pineapple and limes.  It was tangy and quite refreshing.  Definitely worth making again.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Traceability in the agriculture/food industry has been around for a number of years.  Using a traceability system, the animal, plant or fish is tagged with an unique code from where it was grown on a farm or fished from the water and information on further processing and handling is added along the food chain to this code.  By the time the food product ends up in your kitchen you can trace its travel from farm or water to your plate.

Recently I bought two halibut steaks at a local grocery store which had a traceability code on the package.  I was able to find out the name of the fisherman who caught the halibut, the date, the name of his boat, where it was caught, the location where the boat docked and the fish was unloaded, the location, name of the processing plant and the date it was processed.   All told it took three days from when it was caught to when I purchased it at the grocery store.  In tracing the travel of this halibut steak, pictures and maps were provided as context.  This is pretty good as I live quite a distance from the ocean.

Details on package about traceability.

I used a simple recipe to make the fish.  Details are found under the cations of each photo.

Place the fish on a piece of parchment paper. Chop part of a green onion and place on top of the fish.

Add some Mrs Dash herb mixture to the fish.

Add a slice of lemon.

Wrap fish in the parchment paper, place on a baking tray and bake at 375 degrees F for 22 minutes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


In my continued quest for quinoa recipes, my sister-in-law provided me with a recipe she recently made. The quinoa salad was a hit at her kitchen table.  I made it and also quite like it.  I made a few additions/alterations to the recipe.  It was also nice to use fresh basil from the garden.  You can substitute parsley or cilantro for the basil.


1 cup quinoa                                                    
2 cups water
19 oz can chick peas, drained                          
1/3 English cucumber, diced
1 tomato, chopped 
1 green onion, diced
½ yellow or other colored pepper, chopped                                          
½ cup Feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped or 2 tsp dried                          
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice                                   
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp cumin                                                      
pinch cayenne pepper (optional) or regular ground pepper to taste

Place the quinoa and water in a medium size pot.  Heat to boil and then simmer for 12 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked.  Let cool. 

In a mixing bowl add the quinoa, vegetables, basil and feta cheese.  In a small bowl mix the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, garlic and ground pepper.  Add the dressing to the salad and mix.  Serves 6 to 7.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I am enjoying the new juicer that we recently purchased and the DH and I are trying out some new recipes.  I haven't yet made a fruit based juice.  While grocery shopping today we bought a box of mangoes and a bag of limes so some experimentation will start.  Today I made a carrot cleanser and the following ingredients make enough for one glass.  If making for two people you need to double it which I did.  This recipe is rated good for detox, immunity energy, digestion and skin.  I do find that having one glass of juice is quite filling and I am not looking to eat anything else for awhile.

3 carrots
1/2 apple
1/2 beet
1 stalk of celery
2 large kale leaves
1 small piece of ginger

Vegetables, apple and ginger are washed and ready to be juiced.

Top view of the glass of juice. 

Front view of the glass of juice.  The beet and carrots give the juice its dark hue.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


When my four legged companion and I go walking along the creek, I am always on the look out for the beavers who live in the creek.  I am not sure how big the family is but based on sightings I am guessing it could be three.  

These beavers are quite industrious and always working.  I know they are destructive to the popular trees and willows growing by the banks of creek.  I have had the chance to watch the beavers swimming by as I am walking on the footpath that follows the creek.  When a beaver realizes I am close to them, it will loudly slap the water with its tail and slip underwater and swim a short distance before resurfacing.  I have attached some photos from recent walks. 

The beavers keep busy trying to dam the creek.  

The same dam observed from a different angle. 

The beaver den/house.

Another picture of the beaver house.

One of the beavers swimming by.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


A number of years ago the DH bought a fancy dancy expensive juicer.  It is a great juicer, rather on the large size and to take it apart to clean is frustrating and involves many steps.  Because it is not easy to use, we have tended to let it occupy space on my kitchen storage shelves in the basement.

Earlier this year, my sister-in-law told me about the Breville juicer she bought and how much she is enjoying it.  The juicer is highly recommended by others and has good customer ratings.  After doing some research, we purchased the same Breville juicer.  It is easy to use and also to dissemble for cleaning.  We already have several juicing books so there is no end to a variety of juice blends that we can start to make.  As soon as we got the juicer home, out of the box, cleaned and onto the kitchen counter, the juicing started.  The machine is quite powerful and when the switched was flipped to high, I jumped from the power of the machine pushing the pulp into the holding container.

The photos below show what ingredients I used in the juicer.  After having two classes of juice, I am quite full and don't have room for anything else at the moment.  I am sure I will develop some favorite blends and make those more often.   I do plan to make some greens based blends and will use some of the swiss chard that is growing in my garden.

A picture of the juicer on the box it came in.

The juicer has three major components - on the left is where the pulp collects, the middle is the actual juicer and the container on the right is where the juice flows into. 

The first juice I made included apples, celery, carrots, ginger and parsley.

The finished product.

The second juice was apples, beets, carrots, ginger and cilantro.

The finished product.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


It has been awhile since I have made muffins.  I came across this recipe in a Moosewood Restaurant cookbook.  These muffins have just a hint of sweetness.  This recipe is low fat and unsweetened applesauce is used as a substitute for additional fat and sugar.  I used dry sweetened cranberries which also provides some sugar.  I used whole wheat flour instead of white flour to increase the fiber content.   The DH likes these muffins so they are a keeper.



2 cups of flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
½ cup milk or soy milk or almond milk
2 tbsp oil such as olive oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup cranberries


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.   Prepare the muffin tins with paper liners, cooking spray or a light coating of oil. 

In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. 

In another bowl, beat the egg and then add the milk, oil, brown sugar, applesauce and cranberries.   

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Spoon the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.

Adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Since obtaining a rebounder or mini-trampoline, I have been rebounding (which is jumping/bouncing) about five times a week.  It has been giving me a cardiovascular workout and at the same time you feel like you are having fun and that you are a kid and just playing.

For more than half of my weekly sessions, I incorporate two pounds weights, holding one in each hand.  Using weights increases your heart rate faster and also adds a bit more depth to the exercises.  Depending on the exercise, I will move my hands while holding the weights in the same direction as my feet.  For example, doing jumping jacks with your feet moving in and out, you hold your arms bent at the elbow, in front of your stomach or halfway between your stomach and chest, palms facing in and as your feet move to the outside, your arms move in the same direction.  Another example is jumping straight up and down and doing hammer curls or biceps curls with your arms.  You can also move your arms and not hold the weights.  You do need to develop a rhythm in order to help coordinate your feet and arm movements.

A recent article in the Globe and Mail by Kathleen Trotter highlighted some different ways you can use rebounding in your exercise routine.  Examples include doing three sets of six minutes of rebounding with four minutes of walking or running up the stairs in your home after each set.  Rebounding sets can include easy running, high knees, jumping jacks and kicking your bum.  A second way to rebound is to incorporate it into circuit training.  A third way is to use a rebounder as a warm up before doing weights. Ms. Trotter also highlighted the added bonus of rebounding to improve your lymphatic system.  The lymphatic system is a network of tissues, organs and vessels which helps maintain your fluid balance, cleans body fluids of foreign matter and provides immune cells for defence.

Up until recently I had been rebounding in my bare feet.  Upon reading another article, I decided to try wearing a light pair of track shoes I once used for speed training as part of my running program.  I have found that wearing these shoes have provided me with some additional stability and protection of my ankles.  Another important thing to do while rebounding is to keep your gaze forward and not focus your attention on your feet as this will affect your balance.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Recently I finished reading this book, The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.  It was first printed in hardcover in 2008 and the paperback edition was released in 2009.  This book is fiction and based on two stories, one occurring in the 1800s and the other one occurring in 2004.  The stories are separated by chapters and it is not hard to follow the intertwining narratives.  The common link is plural marriages, the Mormon Church, family linkages, faith, women caught up in a number of circumstances and Utah.   

The story that takes place in the 1800's is a narrative by Ann Eliza Young who was the 19th wife of Brigham Young.  Brigham Young was the prophet and leader of the Mormon Church.  She writes about her life and her expulsion from the church.  The second story is about a murder involving a polygamist family.  The narrative is by Jordan Scott, a young man who was kick out of the Church community, and gets involved trying to help his mother who is accused of killing his father.   His mother is part of a polygamist family.  

This book is interesting for a number of reasons.  Though it is fiction, it does go into detail about Brigham Young and how he organized the Mormon Church; plural wives and how the household functions if a number of wives are living in the same house; how children fit into the family unit; religious beliefs; and, two good stories.

If you are looking for an interesting book to read this summer while lounging in the summer shade, I would recommend The 19th Wife.