Decorate Your Plate

Superfood me!

photo 2For a nutritionist, the word “superfood” is kind of a double edge sword. I, for one, am excited about this new trend, and encourage people to eat superfoods. I can only hope my new term “superfood me” one day grows to be as well known as “supersize me”. On the flip side, I fear that following this trend, without educating oneself, can actually lead to nutritional deficiency, allergies and binge eating. Yet, I understand that not everyone has the time or ability to learn about, and stay up to date with all the nutritional information out there… the truth is, they really don’t have to go that far to be healthy. There’s a trick to knowing if a food is a superfood, and you’re in luck because I’m about to share it with you. Now you don’t have to be a nutritionist, doctor, scientist, or journalist to be the first to know if something you are eating qualifies as a superfood. The most important thing to remember is that there is no one food coming to save you, no one nutrient that holds the key to a long, healthy life. When it comes to making the right food choices, the key ingredient is the spice of life- variety.

Superfood: A nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.

That’s it! Any nutrient-rich food qualifies as a superfood. So what is a really good indication if a food is nutrient-rich?


No, not like smarties 🙂

photo-31Live, whole-foods, vibrant in color are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, amino acids, and fibre, all of which are especially beneficial to your health. Each color is unique in the essential nutrients it contains (for example, orange foods indicate a presence of beta-carotene. In your body, beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A–an essential nutrient for your eyesight and a powerful antioxidant) for this reason, to help avoid nutritional deficiencies and to ensure a wholesome, balanced diet, it is important to incorporate an abundance of all colors of the rainbow. When preparing each meal, one of my main goals is to decorate my plate with a prism of colours; greens, blue, yellow, red, orange, purple and so on. The more chromatic your plate, the more superfoods it contains and the more bountiful in essential nutrients. Of course, not every plate needs to contain all the colours, but as a general rule, I like to aim to consume all these colors in the span of a day.

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Interior designers would agree with me that decorating is not limited to color. Additionally, adding an array of textures as you design your plate (ex. crunchy or chewy) plays a critical role in helping you feel satiated, invariably reducing food cravings after your meal. You often see an example of this in restaurants, when you order a salad, you may notice it is garnished with nuts, seeds or dried fruits.

Have fun with your meals, it’s not about labelling foods as “good” or “bad” and it’s not about counting calories. Fruits and vegetables are vibrant in color, high in nutrients and relatively low in calories. If your plate is mainly white, beige or brown, then it’s likely lacking a medley of nutrients. Mix it up!

Decorate your plate is part 2 of 5 simple ideas that changed the way I eat. Adding colour and texture to your diet is so elementary even a child could do it. In fact it’s an exciting, guilt-free way to introduce healthy eating habits to your children too.

I am looking forward to hearing if any of you implement these ideas and how they work for you. I invite you to repost or share with friends if you feel they may benefit from any of these posts. I am learning as you are, so your feedback on the blog is really appreciated by me and by other readers. Feel free to comment directly on the blog 🙂



5 Simple ideas that changed the way I eat.

As a nutritionist, I do my best to practice what I preach and exercise all the tools I have learned in my studies.  Of course, like everyone else, I have days where I eat things that I know I shouldn’t be eating, but for the most part I make my best effort to be as healthy as I can be.   People often make comments about how “good”  I am or they say things like “you have so much willpower, I could never do that.”   The truth is I haven’t always been this way… In fact I started out on the opposite end of the spectrum… it was not an uncommon practice for me to eat ice-cream for breakfast.   It took years of learning about nutrition, the body, and lifestyle choices to get this far and I still have a ways to go.   I went from a junk-foodoholic, to what some people would describe as a health nut.  Day to day it appeared as if nothing was changing, but as I look back everything is different.   I would like to share 5 of the simplest ideas that largely changed the way I eat.

These 5 ideas will be spread out over 5 separate posts.  If any of it resonates with you, then I encourage you to try each one as we go along.   And of course your feedback is always appreciated.


What incredibly addictive substance is hard, white, crystal like structure; rots your teeth; and according to Psychology Today, gets you hooked through invoking a feeling of euphoria triggered by dopamine, the pleasure-inducing chemical in our brain?   Well if you guessed CRACK, you’d be wrong, cause I was talking about SUGAR.

I know what you are thinking, in my title it said “simple ideas” and we all know cutting sugar from your diet is as simple as shoving a pencil through your own eye.

Morning coffee with sugar and a low-fat muffin with extra sugar.

Healthy mid-day veggie snack, dipped in a sugary salad dressing.

Lunch: a cup of liquid sugar  (Pop or juice)  to wash down two slices of bread (baked with sugar) stuffed with some kind of luncheon meat containing sugar.

Dinner: something sprinkled, dipped, coated or marinated in sugar, with a side of something else sprinkled, dipped, coated or marinated in sugar… and don’t forget your pop.

Dessert: I think it’s safe to assume there is going to be some sugar.

There are a ton of variables that lead to the craving of sugar, but one of the most common and maybe easiest to manage is low-blood sugar.   When your blood sugar gets low, your brain sends some very powerful and impossible to resist signals for you to quickly eat something.  So, we do exactly that.. we tend to choose from the above meals, or something likened to them.  This is too much of a good thing, your blood doesn’t need all that much.  In fact, your blood only needs a very small amount at a time, even a tablespoon of extra sugar in your bloodstream can cause you to go into a diabetic coma.   After eating a sugary meal, we now have excessive,  toxic amount of sugar in our blood stream.   Once your body senses this extremely dangerous level of sugar in the blood, what happens next is–insulin (also known as the fat storing hormone…super awesome for us ladies! NOT!) comes to the rescue and saves you from what you just ate. Our bodies are really freaking cool this way.  They respond very quickly in this emergency state, buuuuuut, there’s always a but…Insulin rushes in and takes the toxic dose of sugar from your blood and stores it, mainly in the abdominal region, as you guessed it.. BELLY FAT!   What’s even more exciting is, when all that insulin is released, it can take with it from your blood, ALL the sugar you just ate.   Hey look, that takes you right back to where we started–low blood sugar again!  Don’t worry, it wasn’t a complete loss, you did gain all that super sexy abdominal fat. By now the low blood sugar has got your brain sending those oh so familiar signals, inducing cravings that seem near impossible to refrain… Good thing you packed that sugary mid-day snack.

The Point?

If you start your day with a huge hit of crack, chances are you’ll be hitting that crack-pipe all the live long day.

The sugar train works much the same.

Try a half-cup of fresh fruit (ex. grapefruit) or berries before you eat any meals of the day.   This will help bring your blood sugar to a safe level, which may reduce cravings and can quite possibly help you make better food choices for the duration of your day.

Unrefined, whole foods, like fruits and vegetables, are high in fibre, which slows down the release of glucose into your bloodstream.   Processed or refined foods (white sugar, sweeteners, white breads, pastas, packaged foods etc)  are striped of  their fibre, causing rapid spikes to your body glucose level, invariably leading to insulin release.

It is very important to refrain from baked goods, and heavy starchy or refined carbs, especially at breakfast.  Sure, you’re more likely to burn off these early-morning calories, but you’re also now highly likely to ride the sugar-coaster all day.

Vegetables all always a safe bet.

Physical exercise is an excellent way to help balance blood sugar levels, this is why we tend to have less food cravings when we are physically active.

The Top 2 Things I Have Learned From My Trip So Far

Here are the top two things I have learned since I arrived in Sydney.

#2.   Textbooks are not only great for learning things, but also awesome for killing cockroaches too.

This was a particularly fun and exciting lesson I learned while I was alone and in a brand new place today.

The How To Guide

Killing a cockroach in only thirteen easy steps:

Step 1.

Spot cockroach and make an annoying whiney sound.

Step 2.

Realize nobody is with you, so nobody can hear your annoying whiney sound and nobody is coming to help you.  This, like everything else on your trip, is up to you.

The Cockroach
The Cockroach

Step 3.

Get your priorities straight and take a picture of the cockroach for your girlfriends to see.

Step 4.
Have a conversation out loud with yourself and debate if you should figure out a way to save it and set it free, or if you should just stop stalling and kill the damn thing

Step 5.
Pace.  Repeatedly telling yourself to find a book.   “ok, a book, a book, a book, I just need a book.  I can do this, a book, what book should I use?  I just gotta get a book, I can do this…a book, a book.”

Step 6.

Oh come on, you know where your damn books are… just go get one.

Step 7.

Wrap the textbook in paper towel.

Step 8.

More paper towel.

Step 9.
Drop the textbook on the very large insect.

Step 10.
Repeat whiney noise when you realize you have to pick up the paper towel.    Bloody hell, just pick it up already.

Step 11

Pick up the paper towel and drop it again when you see your new dead friend splattered all over it.

Step 12.

Take another picture of what you have accomplished… your girlfriends would be proud.

Step 13.

Discard paper towel and cockroach.

I was very pleased with myself, I mean I am no expert, but I am thinking it takes most first timers at least 15-20 steps to kill their first cockroach.

The number 1 thing I would have to say I learned from being here is…

I have a profound respect for foreign immigrants!

Being in a new environment where you don’t have your support system and you really know nobody and nothing about the city is a challenge every single moment of the day…. AND I SPEAK ENGLISH!   Granted, nobody really understands anything I am saying with my Canadian accent.  They just stare at me, cock their heads, slightly drop their bottom jaw–so that their mouth is in a kind of O shape, squint their eyes (I’m not sure why the eye thing, they can see me just fine, I thought this was more of an ear thing) and wait for me to repeat what I am saying.  The few people who do understand me, initially disregard my questions and ask me what part of the states I am from.  But I mean eventually we get a conversation going and some friendly person helps me.   What do foreign immigrants who don’t speak English do?

Right about now I am feeling like a bit of an asshole for all the times I was annoyed when I called a restaurant and a foreigner answered the phone.    What was my problem?  At least they went out and got themselves a damn job, which is more than I can say for myself right now.   Yeah, yeah, I know I know, I’m going to school, but still, no more Mrs. Impatient Pants to the guy on the phone who is trying to learn English as fast as he possibly can, so he can get the hot-food delivered to her gluten-free, dairy-free majesty.

One of my wishes for myself during 2014 was to learn how to have more patience.    Lucky for me, so far, one of my wishes is coming true.  Damn it,  I knew I should have wished for a billion dollars.

Cheers from Sydney