Sunday, May 15, 2011

So this is what a "day off" looks like!

Ah.... Sunday! If you've been following along this month (from the beginning of the month), you'll know that it was my intention to post daily about "eating clean". I'm not trying to lose weight, I'm trying to lose some body fat and get a little leaner for *ahem* something happening at the end of the month--and I'm also seeing if cleaning up my eating habits gives me more energy and how hard or easy this whole process is!

Anyone who knows me knows how busy I am--teaching classes, personal training sessions, teaching voice lessons, writing, roller derby reffing... oh yeah, I'm also in the process of recording a jazz/R&B cd. Busy!

So, I did have good intentions of posting daily and, along with sharing with you the daily trials and tribulations of this "cleaning up my eating habits" exercise, I wanted to post food facts and maybe recipes... I'm afraid I just get busy sometimes though and cannot be regular with this (the posting, that is ;-). Nevertheless, I'll continue...

Since my last post I think I've been pretty good about staying on track--not having my usual glass of wine with dinner during the week, drinking far more water, making an effort to "mix it up" a bit with snacking during the day--I've been having a half of a Cliff Bar before my morning workouts and picked up some low-fat cottage cheese to have for lunch... when I'm away from home (nearly every weekend), I choose sushi and try to pick healthy options where I can. I think I could write a book on trying to eat clean in shopping mall food courts though!

In any case... I'll continue to post as I can--and please let me know how you are doing and if you have any food questions!

Random Food Example of the Week: A couple of nights in the past week we had home made pizza--yummy! Thin whole grain crust piled with cooked ground turkey and veggies (mushrooms, peppers, artichoke hearts, fresh spinach, onions, sun dried tomatoes) topped with herbed feta--very little tomato sauce as a base... this pizza was big enough for 2 dinners for 2 of us!

Last night we were at a friends for dinner -- a very lovely organic chicken with roasted veggies, a green salad and french bread... and a glass or 2 of wine. Tonight we're out for dinner again... and watching hockey...

I have noticed that with this combination of drinking more water, remembering to take my vitamins, not consuming alcohol on weeknights and cutting out white flour and sugar; I seem to have slept much better in the past couple of weeks--and that has definitely given me more energy early in the day... I'm still pretty tired by late afternoon but I suppose that's to be expected when I'm doing as many classes as I am and sometimes staying up late.

One thing you may have noticed in my food entries is a lack of fruit. Unfortunately I have a sensitivity to acidic foods--something I share with everyone in my family--and find that eating those foods too often has undesirable effects :( Which is a drag because I LOVE oranges, apples, pineapples, strawberries... so I limit my intake of fruit although I do have a fair amount of dried fruit and eat blueberries and other berries as often as possible.

More later...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

*le sigh* It was a busy weekend. As for the "eating clean" ... well, let's just say I did the best I could considering I was out on the town and staying with a good friend... who loves to feed his guests... and he apparently loves to get up at 5 in the morning to take unbaked croissants out of the freezer so they'll rise by the time the guests get up so we can all have freshly baked pastries with our excellent coffee in the morning. In cases such as this manners take a front seat to personal food needs ;0

I did, however, manage to have only a couple of drinks the entire weekend despite being at a practice Friday night that ended in the curling club lounge, a derby bout Saturday night and an anniversary with my sweetie.

As for other food... hmmm... Saturday we went to a Chinese Won Ton place for lunch--shared a bowl of won ton and prawns with broccoli and rice--it was still pretty fat-laden... after the bout we went for sushi...

Sunday, after the crossant and coffee I visited Costco before heading to the ferry home... got a jar of organic almond butter and some Cliff Bars--one of which I had while waiting for the ferry--which was pretty much lunch.

This, to me, is the heart of Costco...
As I missed my anniversary with my sweetie on Saturday to ref at the TCRG bout in Vancouver, we went out for dinner on Sunday evening to Molly's Reach... I had a totally not clean eating approved lamb burger with half salad and half fries... also had a glass of wine.

Monday I was back on track with my usual breakfast... grilled cheese sandwich for lunch (not so bad on multi-grain bread in a non-stick pan) although regular cheese has a fair amount of fat.

Dinner was steamed wild rock fish (in a steamer pot with a little lemon, soy, chives and honey) with brown rice and steamed carrots and broccoli...

Friday, May 06, 2011


I'm heading off for a weekend in Vancouver of  skating/reffing... more when I get back--we'll see how I do through the after party ;-) l8tr sk8trs!

Thursday, May 05, 2011


If there's one thing I like, it's empirical evidence! With that in mind I'll share with you my starting digits (as of today at least as I didn't manage to do this on the 1st!). I'm not a calorie counter or someone who cares so much about weight in lbs., so I am not sharing with you my weight--suffice it to say my weight is what it should be for an active person of my age.

In my studio I use a bio-impedence scale to measure weight and body fat ratio (one of my clients has lovingly dubbed this the "porkometer"). As this is an upper-end, home-use scale and not a more commercial model, the results should really be taken only as a rough guide--there is a much higher degree of inaccuracy with these--but, if you do your testing at the same time of the day each time, before coffee  or other liquids and (if you're a woman who still has their cycle--I am through with those myself) at the same time in your monthly cycle, then it can be useful to see the differences over some period of time. I recently stepped onto a more commercial version of this scale at our local health fair and had pretty much the same result so I'm going to assume mine is relatively accurate.

This morning I weighed in at 19.7 % fat -- and this is a little lower than the healthy range for my age group (40 - 59 years). The healthy range for us is, apparently, 23 - 34% (ed: by "healthy" I mean "average"--not necessarily active). For men in this age group it's 11 - 22%. My bf, whose only exercise these days is occasional walks and short stints on our exercise bike weighed in at 23%. Women in the 20 - 39 years age group should be somewhere between 21 and 33%. Athletes (women) will sometimes be as low as 14% for women (any lower can be dangerous) and 8% for men. There are, of course, always exceptions to these rules.

From the American Council on Exercise:

General Body Fat Percentage Categories

Classification Women (% fat) Men (% fat)
Essential Fat 10-12% 2-4%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-25%
Obese 32% plus 25% plus

*American Council on Exercise

I'm going to see if I can move mine down a couple of percent over the remainder of the month--I'm also pushing myself a little harder in my workouts--which consist, this month, of 5 fitness classes per week, at least a couple of hours of roller skating and some additional weight training as time allows.

...oh, yeah, as for food yesterday...

Breakfast: switched to almond butter on my toast just to mix it up. Coffee.
Lunch: Oatmeal with blueberries, nuts and raw sugar.
Snack: 1 Tim Bit (they were sitting on the counter of my hairdressers! Couldn't avoid it!)
Snack: Yogurt with fruit on the bottom
Dinner: Chicken salad (chopped organic chicken breast, shredded carrot, organic greens, red pepper) spritzed with balsamic and olive oil; 2 slices of whole grain toast, 1 square of dark chocolate.... ;0

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Time fries... er, flies... when you're having fun!

First of all, what the heck did I do yesterday? There was quite a bit of running around followed by yoga in the evening and then a long stint on the couch watching The Voice--which I'm enjoying... as for food yesterday... hmmm...

I started with my usual toast and coffee and then off to pick up my first client...
... a lovely woman who is training for the Summer Special Olympics in Greece in a couple of months. I pick her up and take her home after her sessions but as soon as she's in my car when I pick her up, she asks if we can get coffee when we're done ;-) So our routine is to drop into the local Starbucks after her workout, where I get her a tall coffee and I sometimes get tea... and usually an oat bar. On this day I opted for only this picture.

It's lucky that I don't like most of their baked treats--they're just really not that good! ...except for the pumpkin scone which, although on the dry side, still manages to get my attention--it's just lucky they don't have them year-round! Here's a link to the calorie count/nutritional info -- this is for a "120" gram serving but I'd bet my muffin top that those servings are a lot bigger than that!

After dropping her off, I headed home and, for lunch, I went with a couple of eggs and the rest of the yam that I'd steamed the night before--ok, if I wanted to get really serious about "clean" I might have just eaten the egg whites. But that's just silly.

Headed off to my second client of the day who resides at an elderly care home and then to an appointment in Sechelt... after which I did stop for a Rooibos tea latte at Starbucks -- definately not clean-diet approved with a couple of shots of vanilla syrup...

For dinner I did a roasted organic chicken with celery, carrots, whole garlic cloves, and onions. I drizzled a small amount of olive oil over the veggies and used lots of herbs. I added mushrooms in the last 5 minutes. I had 1/2 a breast (skin removed) and my bf had a wing and drumstick and we saved the rest for today.
The vegetables do pick up some fat from the chicken during roasting--although organic chicken does not seem have as much fat as a regular one, so, to make this a really "clean" meal I could have roasted the vegetables separately but I love having everything in one dish... and it was really good.

...later I had a yogurt with fruit on the bottom... and a square of dark chocolate.

A couple of things I have also been doing in the last few days since starting this eating blog fest:

I've been making a concerted effort to drink more water... at LEAST 8 cups a day--I keep a filled Britta filter jug next to the kitchen sink with a glass and have a cup almost every time I go to the sink. Drinking water is so important--even more so when you're active!

According to Wiki (random search) it "is your body's most important nutrient, is involved in every bodily function, and makes up 70- 75% of your total body weight. Water helps you to maintain body temperature, metabolize body fat, aids in digestion, lubricates and cushions organs, transports nutrients, and flushes toxins from your body." Read the whole article here.

The other thing I've been doing is remembering to take a multi-vitamin and vitamin D supplement daily. I know many people recommend many things but I prefer to get my nutrients from natural sources. We don't, however, get enough sun most of the year here to absorb enough Vitamin D naturally, and *shrug* it never hurts to cover your bases with a multi-vitamin because, personally, I'm sure I'm not getting everything I need from the variety of food I eat.'s menu selections tomorrow as it's late and I also need to get more sleep these days!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Yesterday... all my troubles seemed so far away...

My weekdays start early and are generally quite busy--yesterday was one of those. I started off with a 6:30 am boot camp in my studio... now, when you're active you should eat something before you engage in a strenuous workout. For the last few months I have not eaten before my early morning class--that would be fine if I wasn't doing the entire class with the class... but I am, so it's just silly. The reason I stopped eating something beforehand was I usually rushed through my usual toast with peanut butter and coffee (at 6 am) before running off to my class and I would rather take a little time to enjoy my first (and only) coffee of the day. Clearly, I have to find something else to have before my class so that I have enough energy to get through it at the level I would like!

I always recommend people have something before working out--something that includes a small serving of carbs with a little protein and easy to digest--a piece of toast or a couple of crackers with peanut (or other nut) butter, an apple with peanut butter, a small amount of granola with milk or a granola bar... one suggestion from the nutrition class the other day was a half glass of fruit juice mixed with water.

So... class... toast and coffee... 2nd class at 10 am (covering for someone) at the local rec. centre before coming home and having "lunch" -- a bowl of oatmeal with organic blueberries (which I have on-hand frozen), a mix of nuts with dried cranberries and a little raw sugar...

In the afternoon I had a pedicure followed by a meeting at one of our most popular places for meeting... Wheatberries, an excellent bakery/coffee shop. And hence the reason for the muffin at the top of the post. It was maybe 3 hours after lunch and I was starving... I thought I would order soup while there but, alas, they were sold out... which leaves many choices of fabulous-looking muffins, scones, cookies, and cakes... all high-fat, sugary--and definitely not on the "clean" list--I LOVE their raspberry muffins and, had I not been trying to eat well this month, would have gotten a muffin or piece of carrot cake, but I settled for a less offensive decaf, skinny latte. So this experiment has already made me notice how often I go for those types of foods...

I did, however, go home and have another couple of pieces of whole grain toast with peanut butter (are we seeing a pattern here?) before heading off to class #3--Butts & Guts-- at 5:30 at the rec. centre.

I arrived back home after class and (a stop to vote) to make dinner--in my effort to eat more vegetables I chose some organic local greens spritzed with balsamic, a piece of halibut (grilled) topped with a teaspoon of sweet chili sauce, half a steamed yam and half a red pepper lightly sauteed (I used a little olive oil in a non-stick pan for the halibut and pepper).
Oops, slightly blurry...
Portion sizes are one of the biggest downfalls of our North American diet--it's important to remember that, for example, a single serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand--the portion size of my halibut yesterday was approximately 1 and a half that but it was actually the smallest piece available at the supermarket at the time... and I was starving. Lesson of the first two days is start stocking and carrying around healthy things to snack on during the day.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Day 1... (drum roll)

Ok, this was a tough day to start this in some ways. First of all, I was up at 4:30 am so that I could catch a 6:20 am ferry to Van. And I did not leave myself enough time to prepare any food to take with me--not even to throw some granola mix in a to-go container... I did, however, have my usual breakfast--a cup of coffee (with cream and raw sugar) and 2 pieces of multi-grain toast with peanut butter and a little honey...

...headed out to the league practice at UBC for 9am -- and no time (especially being on the bus) to stop anywhere--especially in light of the fact that I didn't have a clue where I was going so wanted to give myself plenty of time to find it. Getting off the bus there was a Shoppers Drug Mart that was luckily open so I grabbed a bottle of water and a bag of trail mix with cranberries... not the best but I knew that after a couple hours of skating I'd need something...

The cup is actually from the ferry on the way home--more water!
...after practice there was, coincidentally, a workshop on nutrition and injury prevention (which I'll say more about later--don't have time for a long post at the moment) at the new digs of -- we headed there, but on the way we stopped to pick up sushi--despite the abundance of white rice in the rolls, it's not a bad choice... and a side of gommae (spinach with a sesame sauce) and green tea...

After the workshop I strolled down Main Street for a while--funny how I notice the abundance of hamburger places, bakeries and coffee shops all of a sudden... I stopped for a skinny, decaf latte before heading out to do some shopping and heading home... decided to wait until I got home to have dinner--one of the things I was reminded about at the workshop was how I seldom eat the daily recommended servings of fruit and vegetables so, opted for a dinner of veggies and quinoa...
Above is my favorite appliance--it's a rice cooker which I use almost daily--it's also great for quinoa and oatmeal--this one also has a handy steamer which I use to steam veggies as my rice or quinoa is cooking--you could also use it for steamed fish dishes... doing carrots in it here...

...and some organic swiss chard--I just wash it and then throw it in a non-stick pan with the water on the leaves, a tiny bit of olive oil and some minced garlic and saute until the leaves are just wilted... season with lemon pepper...
...and that was it for dinner...

I did nibble that entire package of trail mix during the day... and, after dinner, had a square of dark chocolate.

And now off to prepare for an early morning (6:30 am) bootcamp class...