Tag Archives: diet

How Parenting Changed Everything

Once upon a time, I was busy.  I worked full time, participated in not one, not two, but three team sports.  I walked the dog, I cooked, I cleaned, I did the laundry and grocery shopped, I prepped meals for days in advance, I did it all! I was Superwoman and conquering the world.  And then it happened, I had a kid.

Once my daughter came along, the entire world as I knew it changed.  At the beginning it’s all about the physical world around you.  You’re no longer working and are suddenly up two, three, four times a night to feed this screaming little “bundle of joy”.  You’re tired, you eat anything that’s easy to grab with one hand, and you watch horrible daytime TV without even realizing you’re doing it.  What you may not see immediately is that your emotional world has completely shifted as well.  You’ve put this new tiny person before yourself.  Baby always eats first, sometimes two and three feedings go by before you even have time to drink your cold decaffeinated coffee.  The fur-baby that was rapidly demoted to dog waits to go outside as patiently as she can, and when you stop long enough to notice what smells, you realize you haven’t had a shower in three days.  Myself, I’d stopped working out regularly, ate fast, prepackaged and processed foods, and didn’t sleep nearly enough to get as much cleaning, laundry, etc… done in a day as I could.

Of course it gets better, but the theme stays the same unless you acknowledge and change it.  The kid(s) is always going to be number one now, but part of making sure that you’re being the best parent you can be is to take care of yourself.  That looks different in each of our individual lives.  I chose to return to work on a part-time basis and I’m lucky that this was an option with my employer.  Of course there are days where I’d do anything to be in a quiet office with a Starbucks, but overall I feel like I have found my balance.

My balance looks like this: I’m a full time parent with a little bit of help.  We don’t have family living close by for assistance, so YMCA Child Minding sees my daughter twice a week.  This allows me to get in two solid gym workouts a week, all my other workouts happen at home – that’s my “me” time.  She participates in activities twice a week, and I try to schedule those on days where I’m already at the YMCA to give us some free time other days.  We camp, hike, and bike as a family so she sees an active family lifestyle every day.  Although she’s still pretty small (just two), I let her cook with me.  I feel like this teaches her that we cook healthy meals together at home.  I work three to four evenings when my husband gets home from work which allows me to still have time to be me instead of Mommy.  I’m able to utilize my education and to socialize with adults and not have the conversation turn into whatever the heck Curious George got himself into that morning.  I also let perfection go, I no longer live in a pristine house – it’s messy (not dirty!) and cluttered with toys.  Now my home is filled with love and laughter, so that’s a trade off I accept happily.

What do you miss? What is it that you slowly gave up but didn’t even realize until now?  What are you going to take time to do for you and only you?

Whatever your situation is, I’m here to tell you that you need, and I mean NEED to take that time for yourself.  Life is really busy if you let it be, and finding balance is an absolute essential to having your life be a happy one.


Clean It Up

Eating clean means different things to different people.  For some clean eating may mean a vegetarian or vegan diet, switching to gluten free, removing processed foods, or choosing organics.  For some, eating clean can be as simple as removing junk food like chips and candies from our diets.

Eating clean is subjective, and is based on what our current diet is.  For me, clean eating is all in the pronunciation.  Being able to pronounce all of the ingredients in what I eat, and knowing what each ingredient is.  When I think of clean, I always think of water, water washes away the dirt and grime on our cars, our floors, our clothes so it stands to reason water will wash the toxins out of our body as well.

Any change that you can make towards cleaning up your dietary intake is a positive one.  Remember that it doesn’t have to be a huge change, and that small steps forward are more successful changes than making a drastic change all at once.

Drink up!


One Step at a Time

What a great day to change your life.  So where do you start?

Part One – Overhauling Your Dietary Habits

This is a huge piece to the wellness puzzle, and oh my goodness is there ever a TON of conflicting information out there.  It’s impossible to be able to tell the good information from the not-so-good sometimes, especially with all the different “fad” diets, cleanses, and restrictions that affect our eating habits.  The resource that is recommended by Health Canada is Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating which includes examples of what foods fit into each of four food groups.  It also offers tips on how to eat optimally for your age and gender, beginning at age two (younger children should follow the advice of their family physician to ensure all health requirements are being met). 

Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating also gives examples of proper portion sizes.  The reality is that we could actually be over or under-eating certain foods and not even know it.  Did you know that one bagel is actually two servings of grain products?  That two eggs is one serving of Meat and Alternatives? That half a cup of pure fruit juice is one serving?  I have personally found it helpful to have a food scale in my home.  Having the visual really helped me to learn what a single portion looks like, and has helped me to ensure that myself as well as my entire family is eating a healthy and balanced diet.  So much information is available just by going to:

www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/order-commander/index-eng.php

Real change takes work, commitment, and willpower.   Dietary habits are life-long habits which you have become accustomed to from a young age, and it can be difficult to learn a different eating culture.  Changing small things (to start!) can help to find long-term success.  A few tips that you can do to get started are:

  • Choose whole grain bread products over white, it will help you feel full longer
  • Increase water consumption – drink a glass of water before you eat a meal
  • Choose vegetables and fruit more often than juice
  • Trim visible fats from your meat and remove the skin from poultry
  • Try something new!  Tofu, quinoa, soy, brown rice, lentils etc. might sound bizarre to you, but you might amaze yourself with the items that you actually like!

It is important to note that that specialized diets do have a place in wellness, however if you are restricting anything from your diet (ie: dairy, gluten/wheat, sugar) My advice is to have a registered dietician or physician’s recommendation and guidance to do so safely. 

Bon Appetit!


Ready for a New Fitness Challenge?

Step up your game with one of our new fitness & wellness classes at Saddletowne YMCA in 2016:

Obstacle Race Training

This is a great class to take whether you are looking for a program that will challenge you in different ways, push you past a fitness plateau or help prepare you for an actual Obstacle Race for the first or fiftieth time! This class will cover muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, balance, agility and grip strength with a variety of drills that will take you out of your comfort zone and drive your fitness to the next level. In addition to studio, track and weight floor work, certain classes may include workouts on the climbing wall, in the swimming pool or outdoors to improve your fitness in a range of environments and modalities.

Mondays | Starts Jan 11 | 5:30-6:30pm | M $90 NM $126 | 9 classes | Barcode# 107157
Wednesdays | Starts Jan 13 | 6:30-7:30pm | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107158
Fridays | Starts Jan 15 | 10:30-11:30am | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107159

Sport Conditioning

Are you passionate about sports? Do you want to build strength and stamina to improve your game? This class will provide sports-based exercises and drills to help you increase muscular strength & endurance, coordination, agility, quickness and stability to improve your sport performance. Exercises and drills will be determined based on the interests and needs of the group, according to their sport(s) of preference.

Thursdays | Starts Jan 14 | 7:00-8:00pm | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107161
Fridays | Starts Jan 15 | 5:15-6:15pm | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107163
Sundays | Starts Jan 17 | 5:30-6:30pm | M $90 NM $126 | 9 classes | Barcode# 107162

Advanced Conditioning

Are you tired of machines and dumbbells? This class will teach you about different training techniques and equipment that can be used to take your workout to the next level. Learn how to use things like Kettlebell, TRX and Battleropes with proper form and apply principles of HIIT (high intensity interval training) for optimal efficiency. Step out of the rut with Advanced Conditioning!

Tuesdays | Starts Jan 12 | 7:30-8:30pm | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107121
Wednesdays | Starts Jan 13 | 9:15-10:15am | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107160

Nutrition 101: 7 Keys to Eating for Good Health

Are you wanting to make changes to your eating habits but are unsure where to start? Have you tried dieting and found that you were left feeling hungry and unsatisfied? Are you aware of the changes you want to make but just need a bit of extra support getting there? Are you confused by all of the conflicting nutrition information and advice being dished out by the media?

If any of these situations apply to you, this is a course you won’t want to miss! Facilitated by a Registered Dietician, this course will introduce you to simple dietary changes you can adopt that will make the most difference to your health, along with practical strategies for doing so. The science behind the information will be explored to help clarify nutritional advice and dispel the myths. In addition, you will have the opportunity to keep a personal food journal and receive weekly feedback and support on your progress and challenges over this 8-week program to give you the best chances for success in reaching your goals.

Saturdays | Starts Jan 16 | 9:30-10:30am | M $80 NM $112 | 8 classes | Barcode# 111873


Shawnessy YMCA Grade 6 NSTEP Healthy eating workshop.

20150214_154326

Last Saturday February 14th 2015 Shawnessy YMCA hosted our monthly Calgary Flames Grade 6 Member healthy eating workshop with our partners NSTEP.

The kids had requested being able to make healthy chicken nuggets, made with home-style ingredients and no preservatives. They really enjoyed the outcome!

 

20150214_160153

 

After splitting into groups the kids each got to try cracking eggs (only one went on the floor!), cutting up the chicken and using the oven.

Our NSTEP Healthy Eating workshop will be returning next month on march 14th 2015 and is open to all grade 6 members, to register simply email me with your name, phone number and any food allergy’s!

Philip Perryman

20150214_161234Youth Coordinator Shawnessy YMCA


Are you getting enough ‘sunshine’?

Believe it or not, Canadians have some of the lowest Vitamin D levels in the world with only 10% achieving the optimal level [9]. Commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is primarily absorbed through the skin. However at our elevation and longitude here in Calgary, the amount of time needed to spend with our skin exposed to the sun is far greater than most other places around the globe.

Not really a vitamin
Vitamin D isn’t technically a vitamin either. Vitamins are nutrients essential for sustaining life that are acquired through ingestion as they cannot be produced by the human body. As vitamin D can be absorbed through the skin then converts into a hormone (ultimately Calcitriol when combined with 7-dehydrocholesterol and processed through the liver and kidneys) for use in the body then it is not a vitamin by definition but more of a hormone precursor. Either way, the end product is a wonderful substance that is primarily responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphate which leads to stronger bones and teeth. It has also been linked to an increasing list of chronic health problems such as bowel and colonic cancer, arthritis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

What are the best sources?
Despite our geographical disadvantage, exposing your skin to the sun is still the most effective means of acquiring vitamin D (specifically, vitamin D3), especially during the noon hours when the UV index is at its peak. Because this is unfortunately impractical for a number of us, we must resort to foods and supplements to complete our recommended daily allowance (RDA). Egg yolks and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D (specifically, vitamin D2), all other common sources such as cow’s milk, infant formula and other beverages have vitamin D added (D2/D3). Even though these are reasonably good sources, it is likely that you will need to supplement with vitamin D which is easily done through pills, gels or liquids.

How much do I need?
The most accurate measure of vitamin D in your body is through blood work where the recommended volume of 25(OH)D is 100-150nmol/L [9]. This can typically be achieved by consuming between 1500-2000 IU per day (adult). Check the nutrition table on your vitamin D-fortified foods to calculate your intake or use an app such as www.dminder.info .

How Much is Too Much?
Upper limits (UL) for vitamin D vary quite a lot amongst the various institutions (between 4,000 and 10,000 IU) however the most consistent UL rest at around 1000 IU for infants, 2500 IU for children and 4000 IU for adults, including pregnant and lactating women [5].

Vitamin D and Testosterone
A widely-cited study conducted by a team from the Department of Internal Medicine at the Medical University of Graz, Austria (coincidentally the birthplace of Arnold Schwarzenegger), identified a significant increase in the amount of total, bioactive and free testosterone in a group of male subjects dosed with 3,332 IU of vitamin D per day for 1 year versus a placebo group which experienced no change [7]. Testosterone is vital for many daily functions in males and significant in supporting resistance and athletic training as well as sexual health.

Those most at risk of being deficient
The benefits of adequate vitamin D intake and the potential risks of being deficient extend beyond bone and dental health so it is important to know if you are at risk. A receptor recently identified in most tissue and cells in the human body adds credence to the argument for Calcitriol affecting a wide range of genetic and muscular functions. Those most at risk of complications arising from inadequate consumption are infants exclusively breastfeeding (breast milk is naturally low in vitamin D), adults over 50 (the skin becomes less adept at absorbing vitamin D from the sun), those with skin darkly pigmented with melanin (the skin is less able to create vitamin D from sun exposure), and those with medical conditions that affect the cells and organs e.g. Crohn’s, cystic fibrosis and celiac disease.

Too manageable to overlook
Although the upper and lower limits vary, the common thread is that we are almost universally deficient in our consumption of a vital nutrient that is very easy to address. A quick search of online pharmacies yields prices as low as $5 for a 3 month supply (2000 IU/day). With this level of accessibility and a low propensity for negative side effects, supplementing your diet with adequate levels of vitamin D makes too much sense to ignore. Get your sunshine today!

Geoff Starling
Strength & Conditioning Director
YMCA Eau Claire
gstarlin@calgary.ymca.ca


Are you getting enough ‘sunshine’?

Believe it or not, Canadians have some of the lowest Vitamin D levels in the world with only 10% achieving the optimal level [9]. Commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is primarily absorbed through the skin. However at our elevation and longitude here in Calgary, the amount of time needed to spend with our skin exposed to the sun is far greater than most other places around the globe.

Not really a vitamin
Vitamin D isn’t technically a vitamin either. Vitamins are nutrients essential for sustaining life that are acquired through ingestion as they cannot be produced by the human body. As vitamin D can be absorbed through the skin then converts into a hormone (ultimately Calcitriol when combined with 7-dehydrocholesterol and processed through the liver and kidneys) for use in the body then it is not a vitamin by definition but more of a hormone precursor. Either way, the end product is a wonderful substance that is primarily responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphate which leads to stronger bones and teeth. It has also been linked to an increasing list of chronic health problems such as bowel and colonic cancer, arthritis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

What are the best sources?
Despite our geographical disadvantage, exposing your skin to the sun is still the most effective means of acquiring vitamin D (specifically, vitamin D3), especially during the noon hours when the UV index is at its peak. Because this is unfortunately impractical for a number of us, we must resort to foods and supplements to complete our recommended daily allowance (RDA). Egg yolks and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D (specifically, vitamin D2), all other common sources such as cow’s milk, infant formula and other beverages have vitamin D added (D2/D3). Even though these are reasonably good sources, it is likely that you will need to supplement with vitamin D which is easily done through pills, gels or liquids.

How much do I need?
The most accurate measure of vitamin D in your body is through blood work where the recommended volume of 25(OH)D is 100-150nmol/L [9]. This can typically be achieved by consuming between 1500-2000 IU per day (adult). Check the nutrition table on your vitamin D-fortified foods to calculate your intake or use an app such as www.dminder.info .

How Much is Too Much?
Upper limits (UL) for vitamin D vary quite a lot amongst the various institutions (between 4,000 and 10,000 IU) however the most consistent UL rest at around 1000 IU for infants, 2500 IU for children and 4000 IU for adults, including pregnant and lactating women [5].

Vitamin D and Testosterone
A widely-cited study conducted by a team from the Department of Internal Medicine at the Medical University of Graz, Austria (coincidentally the birthplace of Arnold Schwarzenegger), identified a significant increase in the amount of total, bioactive and free testosterone in a group of male subjects dosed with 3,332 IU of vitamin D per day for 1 year versus a placebo group which experienced no change [7]. Testosterone is vital for many daily functions in males and significant in supporting resistance and athletic training as well as sexual health.

Those most at risk of being deficient
The benefits of adequate vitamin D intake and the potential risks of being deficient extend beyond bone and dental health so it is important to know if you are at risk. A receptor recently identified in most tissue and cells in the human body adds credence to the argument for Calcitriol affecting a wide range of genetic and muscular functions. Those most at risk of complications arising from inadequate consumption are infants exclusively breastfeeding (breast milk is naturally low in vitamin D), adults over 50 (the skin becomes less adept at absorbing vitamin D from the sun), those with skin darkly pigmented with melanin (the skin is less able to create vitamin D from sun exposure), and those with medical conditions that affect the cells and organs e.g. Crohn’s, cystic fibrosis and celiac disease.

Too manageable to overlook
Although the upper and lower limits vary, the common thread is that we are almost universally deficient in our consumption of a vital nutrient that is very easy to address. A quick search of online pharmacies yields prices as low as $5 for a 3 month supply (2000 IU/day). With this level of accessibility and a low propensity for negative side effects, supplementing your diet with adequate levels of vitamin D makes too much sense to ignore. Get your sunshine today!

Geoff Starling
Strength & Conditioning Director
YMCA Eau Claire
gstarlin@calgary.ymca.ca


Healthy Eating Habits

A solid article with links to more ideas and tips on the PopSugar website about healthy eating habits. Here’s a bit from the article called Healthy Eating Habits That Make Dropping Pounds Easier by Leta Shy:

“As you slowly rid your diet of junk and sweets, you’ll notice a change: you actually start craving those healthy foods that you once shunned. And as you start fueling your body with nutrients and noticing how much better you feel, there’s a good chance you’ll lose weight, too.”

Read the article in full on the PopSugar website.

 


Teaching Kids Healthy Eating

Thank you to the WebMD website for this article called Healthy Eating Habits for your Child about teaching healthy eating habits to children and youth. It’s much easier than you think and encourages the entire family to think about health & wellness together!

Check out the article on the WebMD website. Here is a teaser:

“By teaching your children healthy eating habits, and modeling these behaviors in yourself, you can help your children maintain a healthy weight and normal growth. Also, the eating habits your children pick up when they are young will help them maintain a healthy lifestyle when they are adults.

Your child’s health care provider can evaluate your child’s weight and growth and let you know if your child needs to lose or gain weight or if any dietary changes need to be made.”


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