Saturday, May 31, 2014


I enjoy reading Dr. Yoni Freedhoff's tweets and postings on his blog site (  Dr. Freedhoff is a family physician and an expert on weight management.  Several months ago I bought his 2014 book called 'The Diet Fix'.

The book is divided into three sections: an overview, a 10 day reset program and implementation.  Dr. Freedhoff doesn't advocate one diet over another.  He does group the various popular current diets and explains how to use reset principles to reset any diet.

So what are reset principles?  He presents a 10 day reset plan to help you set patterns to make any diet you choose to follow be more successful.  The plan over 10 days includes:
1. Gearing up
2. Diarizing
3. Banishing hunger
4. Cooking
5. Thinking
6. Exercising
7. Indulging
8. Eating out
9. Setting goals
10. Troubleshooting and moving forward

There are a number of things that I liked about the book.  It presents short case studies of people who have struggled to lose weight; the Doctor explains that real life does include chocolate; on each of the 10 days you review a 'start and an end of the day checklist' which makes you think about the day ahead and then review what happened; and, the implementation plan covers eight areas - diet, live, eat, move, think, weigh, heal and parent.

Dr. Freedhoff reviews a number of diets and doesn't pick the best diet.  In fact, he describes that we are all different and there are pros and cons and health benefits to every diet. The fact is that you have to like the way you are eating in order to eat that way forever.  I also liked another point he made which says 'the more weight you'd like to permanently lose, the more of your life you'll need to permanently change'.  He also says we need to aim for the healthiest life we can enjoy, not the healthiest life we can tolerate.  I could go on further and provide more nuggets of observations he makes but I will leave it at that.

If you want to read a realistic book about breaking the cycle of traumatic dieting, I recommend this book.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


A friend of mine was recommending this bread she makes and she sent me the internet link to get the recipe.  It is a gluten free bread made with oats, flax, nuts and seeds as the main ingredients.  What is great about the bread is that you mix it up in the loaf pan.  It needs to sit for at least two hours and can sit overnight before it is baked.

The blog site where I found this recipe is called My new roots.   The author of the blog site is Sarah Britton and she is based in Copenhagen, Denmark.  I have spent a little bit of time looking at the various recipes and the photographs are stunning.  She is a holistic nutritionist and received her certification attending a one year program in Toronto, Canada.   Using a good camera does make a difference with the quality of your photographs.

I am providing the original recipe from the blog site.  I made some modifications.  I added an egg to the wet mixture.  I didn't have flax seeds but had ground flax so I used the same amount and added 1/2 cup of ground flax.  You will have to add at least half a cup to a cup more water to the recipe as ground flax seed is more absorbing.  I don't have a silicon loaf pan and used instead a regular non-stick bread loaf pan.  I baked the bread for about 50 minutes in the loaf pan.  I am tempted to buy a silicon loaf pan as one can never have enough gadgets and baking tools in your kitchen.  I mixed up the loaf at suppertime and let it sit overnight on the counter, covered with plastic wrap and baked it in the morning.  You need to let the bread cool on a rack before slicing it.  For breakfast this morning, I toasted two slices and put a piece of cheese on top.  The bread is very delicious and filling.

Dry ingredients mixed in the non-stick pan

The wet and dry ingredients have just been mixed and now it will sit to thicken.

Ready to sample.

The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread
Makes 1 loaf

1 cup  sunflower seeds
½ cup flax seeds
½ cup hazelnuts or almonds
1 ½ cups rolled oats
2 tbsp chia seeds
4 tbsp psyllium seed husks (3 tbsp if using psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp. if using coarse salt)
1 tbsp maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia)
3 tbsp melted coconut oil or ghee
1 ½ cups water


1. In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well.  Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup.  Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable).  Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.  Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight.  To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it it.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.

3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).

4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


I bought this book. 'the End of Dieting' by Joel Fuhrman several weeks ago.  I have another one of his books called 'Eat to Live' which was written in 2003 and revised in 2011.  I have the original edition. Both books are based on a plant based diet which includes consuming nutrient dense food.  Other books written by Dr. Fuhrman include 'The End of Diabetes'. 'Super Immunity' and 'Eat for Health'.   Dr. Fuhrman is a U.S. board certified family physician and researcher who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional and natural methods.  He has over three decades of experience.

This book focuses on consuming foods high in nutrient density which is more satisfying than foods high in calories.  The premise is that diets are doomed to fail as they are based on nonsustaining methods and short term fixes.  Dr. Fuhrman promotes nutrient dense foods such as vegetables, beans, nuts, fruit and seeds.  He calls it a nutritarian program.  Eat these foods and less bread, potato, and rice.

The core concept is that health equals nutrients divided by calories.  Calories come from three things - protein, fat and carbohydrates.  But there are also noncaloric nutrients found in plants that are beneficial and important to your health.  Noncaloric nutrients include vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals.  The doctor emphasizes that a high nutrient diet reduces one's need for high calorie, low nutrient foods.  You don't need to count calories.  People who are overweight struggle with sugar and fat cravings and physically feel the need for food.  But to beat food addiction you also have to beat emotional eating.  Dr. Fuhrman says that ice cream can be addictive but a peach is not.  The sugar and fat in ice cream makes you give up control.  Emotional eating is when you eat for comfort during moments of high stress or great difficulty.  Three essentials habits of health are nutrition, exercise and a positive mind set.  

Dr. Fuhrman evaluates five popular diets - the standard american diet, the paleo diet, the mediterranean diet, the wheat belly diet and low-fat veganism.  You will have to read the book to get his thoughts and criticisms on each of these diets.  It is quite fascinating.   

Dr. Fuhrman says we should stop looking for diets and just eat as healthy as possible.  Eat only for health.  His nutritarian diet plan has six basic guidelines:
1. Eat a large salad every day as your main dish.
2. Eat 1/2 a cup to one cup of beans a day.
3. Eat one large serving of steamed green vegetables a day.
4. Eat at least one ounce of nuts and seeds each day.
5. Eat mushrooms and onions every day.
6. Eat three fresh fruits a day. 

This style of eating does promote a limited or non consumption of animal products.  So could I follow it?  I do like eating some animal products including eggs and cheese.  There are days when I can be vegan and other days when I am an omnivore.  I do eat vegetables every day, but I don't think I want to eat mushrooms and onions every day.  The hypothesis set out in the book about how to eat healthy makes sense. It is all a matter of doing it.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


For at least five of the seven breakfasts I have each week I will make a smoothie.  If it is a work day,  I will make the smoothie at home and take it to work in a tall plastic cup that has a snap on lid.  It is always wise to have a secure lid for the plastic cup when juggling coffee, purse, briefcase and lunch bag to take to your office.

I decided today to audit all of the varieties of protein powders I have.  This photo does not include all of the different varieties that are in the cupboard.  I currently have six flavours - plain, vanilla,  chocolate, berry, lemon citrus and banana berry.  Of course, the accumulation of this spread of protein powders occurred over time.  The protein powders are different in their protein, fat and carbohydrate content.  I have become more conscious of protein, fat and carbohydrate grams since I started tracking what I eat on my fitness pal.  There are some varieties I prefer because of the lower carbohydrate content.  When you add things such as frozen fruit, peanut butter powder, hemp seed, chia seed or ground flax seed, it is not hard to increase the carbohydrate content of the smoothie.  When all done and ready to consume, the smoothie can contain over 30 plus grams of carbohydrate.   Looking for a protein powder that has lower carbohydrate levels makes it easier for me to keep within target levels that I try  to meet based on my fitness pal tracking for the day.  Yet I have to make sure that the protein powder has enough protein per serving.

The other reality is that one needs variety and having the same smoothie flavour every day loses its appeal over time.

I used to add almond milk or yogurt to my smoothie but I now just add water.  I realized that water was sufficient and that I didn't need to add yogurt or milk.  I will add a handful of spinach or kale to some of my smoothies.  It make me feel healthier adding some greens to the mixture.

I found that is does take some experimentation to figure out how much fruit and other ingredients you need to add to the protein powder and water in order to feel satisfied and know that the protein, fat and carbohydrate amounts in the smoothie will sustain you for several hours.  

There are all kinds of blenders that people use to make smoothies.  I have used a few different kinds.  My favourite is the Vitamix.  I can make a smoothie in the Vitamix that has the texture of a mousse.  The power and watts of the Vitamix creates a great smoothie.

However you make your smoothie, it doesn't need to be thought of as just for breakfast.  You can make smoothies that include celery, cucumber and kale or spinach, apple, hemp seed, coconut oil, frozen mango, orange juice, and vanilla protein powder that can be a lunch or supper meal.  There are many available recipes worth investigating.