Life Lesson For Mommy #147:

WomanholdingDonut

Diabetes and Blood Pressure.

Diabetes and Blood Pressure stuff isn’t pleasant. Canada and the US has some of the highest rates of Diabetes among 34 developed countries. It’s not actually as shocking as you think though. Considering the lifestyle that most of us live. The foods we eat, the stress levels, time crunch, etc etc. But eating healthy has become a huge trend in the last decade, but it’s actually also become a lifestyle where we become foodies- which might not always be good. It’s good to love food and be passionate about it, but the downside is that we’re not really focusing on portion control and even though we may be making healthy food choices, we might be eating foods that are not helping our blood sugar or our blood pressure.

Fruit for example is sugar, though it’s not refined but eating too much isn’t a good idea. When I was pregnant with my daughter, at 5 months I became gestational- I couldn’t believe it. I was eating tons of good food, especially fruits. And that might have done me in. Don’t forget about the random bursts of sugar in the foods we eat- such as sauces, grilled chicken etc etc

Salt can sneak into any food, and you might not even know how much you’re eating. Roughly 2300mg of sodium (or 6 grams) is equal to 1 teaspoon of salt. We are only supposed to take in about 460mg of salt a day…that’s a big big difference.

Eating out, and eating foods that we may not realize has excess sugar  and salt could be all stacking against you. Everyone knows that chocolate bars are bad, but not many people know that sushi rice has sugar in it. Or that a lot of restaurants add sugar and salt into a lot of their foods to give it a balance of flavours – salty and sweet and it might not be obvious to your tongue. You might also not know that a lot of sauces like BBQ sauce has tons of sugar in it on top of tons of salt. Now imagine eating BBQ chicken salad at lunch- with all that extra sugar and salt going in.

Now salt doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels but you have other things to worry about for that- like blood pressure. Both are scary and have to be maintained properly. As a gift from my son’s delivery, I was diagnosed with Preclampsia and the high blood pressure is permanent for me since it runs in my genetics. I am on medication to control it, but the ideal would be to lose some weight and control my salt in take and perhaps even be medication free!

Reading Sneaky Labels

Salt and sugar is sneaky, and it’s literally in everything we buy. When I finally learned how to read labels, I realized damn, even healthy food has crazy amounts of salt and sugar. Even naturally occurring sugar and salt, is STILL sugar and salt and it still impacts your body. And a lot of people don’t know that. They think because the label says ‘no added sugar’ that means that it’s sugar free or the natural occurring sugar is somehow not going to do anything to your body. But it does, and it’s not good.

salt

So how does one make healthy choices with all these presumably healthy choices out there that have all these unhealthy amounts of sugar and salt in it? You’re probably thinking, well then I’ll  watch out for how much sugar  and salt I take in a day. That’s not how it works exactly. To avoid something like diabetes- like with any other illness, weight control, healthy eating habits and water is the best way to ward off health problems. And its difficult sometimes when you’re buying food at the grocery store or eating out, to know exactly how much sugar  and salt you’re taking in. Reading labels is a must and don’t just fixate on calories- look at the whole label especially sugar, sodium and carbs.

But with so many things to look out for, with so many options, and so many rules and things to keep in mind, how does one filter out and do a proper diet without having to insanely plan everything. Because lets face it, moms especially already have tons on our plate and sometimes we don’t always have time to make the perfect pinterest healthy meal. So we need something that is easy to plan and make.

And this is where the diabetic and Salt diet comes in. It’s a lifestyle change, but it’s exactly what we need in North America to get back on track to proper eating.

Eating Out, Even Healthy Can Be Bad

When I go out, it’s always big portions, tons of salt and sugar and tons of unhealthy fats. So that’s the first thing I had to eliminate. There is no ‘healthy’ restaurant. Even the uber vegan all organic GMO free restaurants have to use tons of sodium and sugar to make that food taste flavorful. Problem is you don’t know how much of it is in your meatless burger and baked sweet potato fries…

At least when you’re purchasing your food at a grocery store, you can see the full label and ingredients. But don’t be fooled with the ‘only 50 calories’ fluff, check out the sodium, carbs and sugar…you’ll see they make it up in crazy there…

Portion Control Is The Key!

Literally eat what you want, but keep the size down! You have to look at your plate and see how much of this bad food is occupying your plate. For example, you can make a healthy pizza at home, with thin crust, low sodium pizza sauce, tons of veggeis and delicious cheese on top, but don’t think you can just chow down the whole pizza. That’s a lot of salt, sugar and carbs horking in all at once. Instead, 1 or 2 slices and a side of roasted veggies should fill up that plate. So you can have that slice of cake, but it better be an actual proper slice yo! LOL

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My Gestational Diabetic Diet

I felt really healthy and good during the time I was gestational- weird of me to say. But I had lost 20lbs alone from simply changing when and how much food I ate. Since then my weight has fluctuated with my anxiety and physical pain issues. And every time I reaffirmed to do better, I always fell off. But this time, I dug up my diabetic diet sheet and decided that I’m not going to fail this time! With diabetes running in my family, coupled with the fact that I was gestational diabetic with both pregnancies makes me a prime candidate in getting it- and I don’t want it. I already have blood pressure issues, I don’t want diabetes complicating my health and my life.

So here’s the diabetic diet. It’s no fancy gimmicks, no gym time, no 5 am runs, no stress. It’s easy and this diet can really force you to change your whole life just be simply changing your food, it can change your mental health too and a bonus it can change the health of your family 🙂

Some tips to go along with this meal planning sheet:

1) Eat on time! When you eat is just as important is how much you eat. Eating on time before you get hungry with small meals and snacks is not a new thing but it can change your food choices all day!
2) Portion control. Again not a new thing, but many people don’t realize that even sweet potatoes are a carb and turn into sugar. So now imagine if you’re eating some roasted sweet potatoes with rice? That’s  carb overload and basically a sugar overload.
3) You can’t just eat all the meat you want. Proteins are good for losing weight, and it’s better to up your protein and down your carb, but too much protein can have a bad affect on your health.
4) Beans and some veggies are carbs- yeah like chickpeas are good carbs and protein combo and can fill you up nice. But if you eat a can full…you might be in trouble.
5) Eat 2 handfuls of veggies before you eat your carb or main.

So here’s how you get started today:

First things first: GET RID OF ALL THE CRAP IN YOUR HOUSE!

I kid you not, you need to get rid of everything and anything that is processed, full of sugar, salt and carbs. I’m not just talking about candy bars, I’m talking about Sidekicks packages, I’m talking about canned tomatoes that have salt in it, healthy baked snacking chips are FULL of salt, etc etc you get the hint.
Don’t do it in steps- trust me that never works. Take a Saturday, tell the husband to bugger off with the children and you do an overhaul. Check the labels of everything.

Second: Buy ingredients to make things, not things that are already made. If it’s already made for you, it’s probably full of crap you shouldn’t be eating. I’m not saying cut out everything, but you should have 20% packaged in your grocery store cart and 80% ingredients you make things with.

Third: Spend 20 mins a day to look for easy healthy foods and baked goods on the internet and make a grocery list from that. You don’t have to preplan your week, but at least have staples in the pantry. Here is a grocery list to keep stocked up.
GroceryStapleList

Fourth: It’s not going to be hard, as long as you tell yourself everyday that your cravings can just go die! Having a partner, friend or group of people to support you helps tons!

Fifth: Keep a food journal! Everything you eat, write it down! Even the small handful of nuts or a healthy smoothie. All of it. It will help you keep track of how much you are actually consuming vs how much you think you are. Seeing how much you eat also helps the psychology of your brain to realize you are actually getting plenty of food.

Lastly: Water yourself! Drink a lot of water during your day. If you feel peckish for that something sweet, drink water. You can add different fruits and veggies to get the best flavours.

This is the meal schedule. You can print this one out

DiabeticDiet

Now go out there and be the best and awesome you!

Good Luck!
😀

Life Lesson for Mommy #146:

lunchbox

Bento Lunches!

My daughter has always been pretty good with food. But in the last year, since she started preschool, it’s been hard to get her to eat everything on her plate. Sometimes she just doesn’t want to eat, which is fine I don’t force her. But other times, she just doesn’t want to eat what I made and insists on eating something like ‘fries and pizza’.  I do make healthy pizza with small bits of green bell peppers, onions, loaded with garlic in the sauce and even olives, but I can’t make pizza every night. I had to think of a way to get her to eat her meals, good healthy meals that encourage her to try the food even if it’s not pizza and fries.

Then I discovered the bento lunch! It’s a concept in a lot of countries, China, Japan, India to name a few! But Japan’s bento for children is especially wonderful! It’s cute little food characters, appetizing arrangements and tons of colours and textures! I thought this might be it, this might help her to feel excited. And that’s just what happened! She was excited to show her friends her bento, and excited to eat it!

The first bento I made for my daughter!
The first bento I made for my daughter!

 

Food should be excited and appetizing! With awesome idea’s on pinterest and selection of different tools and tricks to help you make them, these bento’s are easy and fun to make and eat! I honestly find it relaxing to craft these bento’s for her because it got my creative juices flowing, and with awesome recipes online, it’s made packing her lunches easier then ever! It doesn’t take a ton of time as one might think.

Above is left over thin crust pizza I made with green bell peppers and pineapple and cheese, with baby carrots and cut up pieces of peach. That was my first time making one. Now I do more complicated stuff, rice stuffed inside with chicken, cheese, eggs, and whole slew of amazing stuff!

Eat me, I'm yummy!! >_<
Eat me, I’m yummy!! >_<

 

You can go on pinterest and see tons of great idea’s and recipes to make healthy lunches. Use leftovers from the night before and just revamp ’em to make cute, healthy and wonderful bento’s!

Some tips I recommend!

1) Use stainless steal, not plastic.
I’m not like a plastic nazi, but if you want to pack hot lunches, then go stainless steal.  I got this one for my daughter and this one for me.
I didn’t like the Hello Kitty one to be honest. Because it’s not already sectioned into compartments like the one I got for myself. I have to use cup cake liners to make the compartments- it is cute but I prefer it to be sectioned. I love mine, because it’s perfectly portioned and is great for if you want to stick to a diet! Also encourages you to pack a wide variety of fruits and veggies, and side dishes for a more complete and balanced meal.

2) Make awesome details!
Use small cookie cutters, bread molds and rice molds to make beautiful details! It doesn’t have to be fancy, if you have dollar store near you or better yet a Daiso store, it’s pretty affordable at 2 bucks a package. Or you can always try ebay or amazon.  Tons of options here

Cute details with seaweed and toothpicks!
Cute details with seaweed and toothpicks!


3) Use your leftovers.
Set aside a small portion of whatever you make for dinner to make your bento’s. It makes life a little easier. Made meat and potatoes last night? No problem, cut up the meat into cubes or pieces, cut up the potatoes, add some fun shaped pieces of cheese, carrots, broccoli florets. Cut up some fruit into cute shapes and BAM BENTO done!

4) Don’t throw the scrapes!
After you’ve cut your cheese, fruits or veggies into cute shapes, you always have pieces left. Don’t toss it, just eat it! No guilt at all! I always eat the pieces left over. I cut up some cheese and fruit and then chomp down on the little bits left.  Yummers! 🙂

5) Get your kids involved!
Give them slices of cheese and have them cut the pieces out. Got a bread mold, let them press the bread shape. There is always a small job they can do. I have my daughter wash the fruit, or pat the cucumbers dry etc  Give them some responsibility for their food.

And have fun! I learned to really appreciate food and relax. It’s creative, fun and healthy- both mentally and physically! You are what you eat and I want my daughter to be cute and healthy 😉

Good Luck!
😀

Life Lesson for Mommy #31:

froot loop

Sugary Summer Treats.

It’s not yet Halloween- we’re off by a few months. But it’s summer time and this time of year can be just as sugary as Halloween. It’s very normal to treat your kids to delicious fruits, cakes, and BBQ favorites and sugary drinks; but maybe ease back and redefine what’s normal for your family’s summer.

Hidden behind the ‘real fruit juice’ and ‘sugar free’ are harmful ingredients that can lead your child to some issues down the road. High Corn Fructose syrup, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, GMO fruits, sugar- the list really goes on. If you can’t say the ingredients name, nor know what it is just by reading the ingredient- you have a bad product.

Having that much sugar in a kids system can really make them hyper and make it harder for them to fall asleep and stay asleep. So below are some helpful tips on how to give them that sugar fix without over doing the sugar.

1) Make your own treats: Bake your own cakes and deserts where you can control how much sugar you use. You can try a variety of substitutes, like apple sauce, cream cheese, real fruits instead of jams and low glycemic index sugars like coconut palm sugar.

2) Fruits = Sugar still. Although it’s natural, it can still bring on the sugar buzz in children. So keep an eye on how much sugary fruits you’re allowing the kids to chow down on. Melons and watery fruits like watermelon are great for the summer. Yes they are sugary, but they are also watery and have loads of antioxidants and blood circulating goodness. A great trick to making them think they had more then they think is to cut the fruit into small slices or pieces- it’s easier to eat and gives the impression of eating more.

3) Fusing water. Going to drink some water? Why not infuse your water with veggies, ginger, lemons, mints and other flavours. There are tons of great recipes online for great tasting water.

4) Sneak in some Veggies. It might be hard to make pasta during a BBQ, but pasta salads with grated carrots, zucchini’s, and bell peppers are fantastic as a side dish. Make some tatziki with dill, cucumbers, garlic and mint- a great dipping sauce for spicy BBQ’s meats and kids love it! Have some crowd and kid favorites like carrots and celery cut and easy to munch. As kids play you can hand them a stick or 2.

4) Use garlic, ginger, herbs, lemon, and other flavours to marinate your meat. BBQ sauces often have tons of sugars and other ingredients no one can spell- which is your warning lights about what’s in them. Dyes, sugar, and carbohydrates your kid doesn’t need. So flavour your food, not drown it in sauce. If you really want that saucy flavour, slap on at the end of the cooking process so you’re not basting it constantly in sugar or serve as a dipping sauce.

5) Say no to Soda’s and sugary fruit juices! This year, why not make your own juice or smoothies instead of buying poisonous carbonated drinks like Pepsi or coke. Don’t hand out juice packs to your kids, make smoothies with real fruit, cream and milk, with some veggies if you can, even if they eat next to nothing, you know they got something real and not processed.

6) Do a late lunch BBQ or early dinner. This will help your kids to burn off the extra sugar they had, and still be ready for bed on time. Giving a ‘after dinner’ desert can keep them up, not to mention bad for them to eat and sleep with all that sugar still breaking down in them. So try to have your parties earlier in the day.

7) If you do have a dinner BBQ, limit the sugar intake greatly by not baking sweet treats- just give them cut fruits dipped in a little homemade chocolate. This is great party pleaser and great for kids. Instead of a large cupcake baked with all purpose flour, sugar, heavy icing; a few fruits dipped lightly in chocolate is not as bad.

8) Have games ready! The best way to burn off that sugar is to have activities for the kids ready- a mini pool, arts table, games, soccer ball, bubbles etc Let your imagination fly!

And the last tip, is to have fun! If you plan ahead and have things ready, keeping the kids in mind, you’ll have a worry free BBQ that didn’t shoot up their blood sugars.

Good Luck!
😀