Tag: diet (page 1 of 10)

Plan ahead to stick to your diet

You’ve probably heard that it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission, right?

Wrong. At least when it comes to sticking to a weight loss plan. Continue reading

February Detox

Dear Karen,

Only a month after everyone else, I decided to begin my yearly detox in February.   February’s a great month to tackle New Year’s resolutions, as by this time, no one’s piping up with didn’t you say you were on a diet?,  or whatever happened to you going to the gym?  I thought you were doing that this month.  Schmucks.

To do this, I needed to find a week where there was no husband around.  I didn’t want to have to watch him eat steak and drink red wine;  I’m sure he didn’t want to watch me eating quinoa and drinking wheatgrass shots, either. Continue reading

Soylent: Food-like substance of the future?

Dear Wendy,

Have you ever wondered, “Gee, what would it be like to never have to eat again?”

Yeah, me neither.

But apparently the question occurred to a 25-year-old guy named Rob Rhinehart, who wanted to escape the hassle of shopping for, preparing, and eating food so he could concentrate on more important things, like working on software and stuff. He started researching the nutritional needs of humans, sent away for the various raw chemical components, and started building the perfect human food.

Ultimately, he came up with a powdered substance that he mixed with water (and in a later iteration, with oil) in a blender, and hey, presto! He had a glassful of something that has been described as a cross between thin pancake batter, cream of wheat, and Metamucil. And then he decided to live on it.

He had invented…(wait for it)…Soylent.

Yes, you read right: just like the 1973 Charlton Heston sci-fi flick, Soylent Green. Except that Rhinehart’s version isn’t actually made of human flesh. Imagine my relief.

Here’s part of his account of his first month living exclusively on Soylent:

I feel like the six million dollar man. My physique has noticeably improved, my skin is clearer, my teeth whiter, my hair thicker and my dandruff gone. My resting heart rate is lower, I haven’t felt the least bit sickly, rare for me this time of year. I’ve had a common skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris since birth. That was gone by day 9. I used to run less than a mile at the gym, now I can run 7. I have more energy than I know what to do with. On day 4 I caught myself balancing on the curb and jumping on and off the sidewalk when crossing the street like I used to do when I was a kid. People gave me strange looks but I just smiled back. Even my scars look better.

My mental performance is also higher. My inbox and to-do list quickly emptied. I ‘get’ new concepts in my reading faster than before and can read my textbooks twice as long without mental fatigue.


Soylent–part of your busy lifestyle! (Image: Wikipedia)

Rhinehart is now selling Soylent, in elegantly simple packaging, via a Shopify store (which is only of interest to me since Adrian is one of their ops guys)—apparently you can purchase it via subscription, and it’s selling pretty briskly.

I should be clear that I’ve never tasted Soylent, and I have absolutely nothing against it. While the concept—of creating a food out of chemicals rather than plant and/or animal matter—is interesting, I’m left to wonder what it would be like to simply forego “real” food for the rest of my life, in favour of Metamucil-tinged pancake batter.

To be fair, Rhinehart says he only drinks Soylent most of the time. Every now and then he indulges in “recreational food,” which he says he enjoys all the more because it’s a novelty. Well yeah, no kidding.

I think if I were living on a steady diet of grainy pancake batter, I might look forward to the occasional respite, too.

Fortunately, I don’t have to, because a brave young man from The Guardian has done it for me: here’s his video account of a week on Soylent. His verdict: he was hungry, irritable, and gassy, and couldn’t wait to finish his self-imposed Soylent-only diet. Well, sign me up!

Although I’m not really keen to give it a go, I’m fascinated by the Soylent phenomenon: what would compel some people to decide that acquiring, preparing, and eating food is just simply too much bother? Rhinehart predicts that we’re undergoing a separation between “food as recreation” and “food as utilitarian,” and I can see where he’s coming from.

What do you think? Would you be willing to stop eating food in favour of the convenience of a “meal in a glass”?

Enquiring minds want to know!







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Weight loss after 50: “Fed Up” tells the story Big Food doesn’t want us to hear

Dear Wendy,

For ages now, I’ve been wittering on about how the mega-corporations that comprise the food industry—”Big Food” for short—are fueling the obesity crisis.

I know I’m not alone in realizing this: bloggers like Dr. Yoni Freedhoff at Weighty Matters and Dr. Arya Sharma at Dr. Sharma’s Obesity Notes have talked about the obesogenic environment created by a food industry that (among other things) laces about 80% of its products with sugar, salt, and/or fat.

Movies and books like Super-Size Me have addressed the fast food industry, one aspect of Big Food, but the bigger problem is this: when we eat food that we don’t cook ourselves, we are turning over our nutritional decisions to mega-corporations whose primary objective is to manufacture food that is cheap, convenient, and full of things that keep us coming back for more.

alt="IMAGE-fed-up-documentary-diabetes-food-industry"They couldn’t care less whether it happens to be healthy, and in the vast majority of cases, it isn’t.

Now, a documentary film has been released that addresses the role of Big Food in the obesity epidemic that has been sweeping the developed world.

Fed Up, a film from Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar-winning producer of An Inconvenient Truth) and director Stephanie Soechtig says, “Everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong….Fed Up will change the way you eat forever.”

The film was released yesterday, and you can bet I’ll be heading out to watch it as soon as it hits Ottawa. Meanwhile, here’s the trailer:

If this doesn’t horrify and anger us—all of us—into action, I’m not sure what will.

Love, Karen


Weight loss after 50: Kick-ass breakfasts keep you on track all day

Dear Wendy,

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: when our health teachers insisted that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, they were not in any way kidding. A great high-protein breakfast not only gives you the energy you need, but it makes it much easier to sail through the dreaded late afternoon munchies.

A couple of years ago I was having real trouble getting through the afternoons, even though I was doing all the things I was supposed to: I was eating 3 meals of at least 350 calories apiece, and 2 or 3 snacks of at least 150 calories. I was making sure not to go too long without eating—3 hours at the very most.

But still, I found that about an hour after my afternoon snack, my stomach would start growling, and it was really tough to hang in until suppertime.


Nothing happens without this.

I went over my food diary with my nutritionist, and he spotted the problem immediately: my breakfasts were kind of wimpy in the protein department. He suggested I bump up the protein component to at least 20 grams. I was skeptical, as I couldn’t see how what I ate first thing in the morning could possibly affect how I felt by late afternoon.

But I did it anyway…and the results were almost instantaneous.

Building a healthy, high-protein breakfast turned out to be less of a challenge than I’d feared, so I thought I’d share a couple of my favourite recipes with you. Keep in mind that my brain doesn’t really kick into gear until after my first (or sometimes second) cup of coffee, so I prefer to keep my breakfasts simple to prepare.

Breakfast 1: High-protein oatmeal

This is my current favourite. I use either steel-cut oats (which takes longer to cook, but has a nice nutty flavour) or a blend of old-fashioned oats (not the instant kind), rye, barley, spelt, millet, flaxseed, and quinoa. But I think any whole-grain oat would do quite nicely.

  • 1/3 c. oatmeal
  • Water to cook, as per package directions
  • 1 scoop of whey protein powder
  • 3/4 cup of frozen raspberries (or fresh, if they’re in season)

I cook the oatmeal according to directions—4 minutes in the microwave for the oat/grain blend, 15 minutes for the steel-cut oats. Then I stir in the scoop of whey protein (the brand I use has 30 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar). If the mixture is too sticky, I add a tablespoon or two of 1% milk. Then I stir in the raspberries.

I’m not adding a picture, because the mixture looks vile, and you’d immediately be convinced that a) I’ve lost my ever-lovin’ mind, and b) you would never eat that in a million gazillion years. But it actually tastes great…and best of all, it staves off the late-afternoon munchies.

Breakfast 2: High-protein cold cereal


Rachel calls this hamster food. I call it a great start to my day.


This one is even easier to prepare.

  • 1 cup high-protein cereal, like Kashi GoLean or GoLean Crunch
  • 1/3 cup 1% milk (because I think skim milk is gross)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat, no-sugar Greek-style yogurt (beware the flavoured ones, which often contain sugar)
  • 3/4 cup berries, or a sliced peach, or whatever takes my fancy that day

I’m not going to spell out the preparation here. I think we can figure it out, right?

I know some people who like to get their morning protein in the form of smoothies, and that’s fine too. Whatever works for you.

But my point is: eat protein, as much as you can, within an hour or so of waking up. You’ll thank yourself later in the day.





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