Let them eat cake! …at 2pm

I don’t know what kind of cake/pie this is….but I’m all in!

We all eat dessert, most of us love it and some of us LOOOOOOVE it, either way we are eating it.

I don’t let my kids eat sugary ice creams (vegan of course), cake, pie, and other decadent treats after supper. Of course there are special occasions like birthdays that allow for rule breaking but on the regular, this is not the time we have dessert.

Why not? …you might ask.

If you think of it, we eat dessert after supper because that is the tradition, that is what restaurants promote and that is what we grew up with and never gave it a second thought…. well I have arrived to provide thought and ruin your dessert! LOL

Would you eat or feed your child a few teaspoons of sugar after supper or before bed, maybe as a bedtime snack? This is literally what is happening with evening desserts. Of course I’m not talking about giving your kids a piece of fruit or maybe a toast with peanut butter and banana if they didn’t eat much supper. I’m talking about real dessert, the kind with ice cream, or chocolate, or whip cream or strawberry cake with pretzels…did you see that amazing picture?!?!

EVERYTHING we put into our body and our kids body needs to be cleaned and used or stored in some way.

My daughter asked me the other day, why we don’t eat dessert? I told her that we do eat dessert, we just eat it in the middle of the afternoon. See I’m the best mom ever! Dessert before supper!

(Insert 8 year old eye roll)

If we have something special we have it as an afternoon snack, after our lunch. This way our body has time to burn calories, it has a healthy dinner on the way to help with the clean up and plenty of time to finish digestion before we are in relax and recovery mode.

While we sleep our body is recovering from the assault that is suffered at our hands throughout the day. It is essentially cleaning up our mess and getting prepared for the day ahead.

I told my daughter, “imagine if I kissed you goodnight and then said now just mop the floor and then relax and I’ll see you in the morning”. She was like, “whaaaattt I can’t mop the floor at bedtime? I’ll be awake and it will be hard to fall asleep and then I won’t get enough sleep and I’ll be tired in the morning”. “Exactly my love, this is why we have dessert in the afternoon!”

We can’t make a mess late in the evening and expect our body to quickly clean it up, relax and recover….it just can’t do it.

You have the knowledge, it makes sense, you’re not taking anything away from yourself or anyone else. You have the choice and the power to follow blindly in the path of tradition and cultural norms or you can take this knowledge and apply it to your life and your kids life (if you have kids) and create a new path, a new tradition, a norm that promotes health, promotes relaxation in the body, promotes restful sleep and promotes recovery (our body’s natural state while we sleep).

A quick video chat…

This was actually from last year, but this is still true today, still how I feel and still a fact πŸ™‚

Car seats and hot dogs

Recently I was part of a discussion regarding car seats, obviously I am all for car seats, it was more regarding the rules, regulations and safety ratings. Saying I was part of the discussion is overstating my role and involvement, I simply asked a question. But by engaging I was able to read the passion and knowledge that many women had regarding this subject. And why wouldn’t they?! If there was ever something to become passionate about it is the safety of our children. There is nothing that we as parents hold more dear to us than our kids and we want to protect them as best we can.

Something else that stood out for me was the education regarding car seats that these women had sought out. When we become parents we have so much to learn and this particular group of women had not only done some of their own research they had reached out to a professional in the field of car seats for consultations and advice. Brilliant! (I didn’t even know this was a profession)

We buckle our kids in religiously without fail and without exception, we buy the appropriate buckle system for their height and weight because the consequences of not doing it every single time we get in the car is just too great to live with. These consequences are easy to fear because they will happen immediately, our child could become injured, disabled or worse (I can’t even think of it). But would we have the same diligence and zero tolerance for exceptions if the consequences were 20 or 30 years down the road?

If this isn’t the first time you’ve read a blog post from me you might be drawing the connection I am about to make…

We are in charge of that seat belt getting buckled just like we are in charge of breakfast, lunch and supper. We can’t be expected to know everything about everything and this is exactly why those parents in the car seat discussion had done some research and consulted a professional.

Food has changed since we were kids and continues to change, the marketing industry has made sure of that. They have created confusion between cute food, beautiful food, healthy food, convenient food, quick food, etc. The lines are blurry and it can feel overwhelming and frustrating to know which exceptions are ok to make and which foods require a zero tolerance attitude.

I want to be really clear here that I am in no way parent shaming, I am simply pointing out that when we know how to protect our kids from danger we do it fiercely and unquestioningly. When it comes to food, so many parents just don’t have the information. There are a number of TOXIC cancer causing, diabetes creating, heart disease promoting foods out there that are being marketed to children. The consequences of feeding our kids these foods are 100% going to happen…we just wont see those consequences for 20-30 years.

Accidents are the 4th leading cause of death in Canada and when you break it down further vehicular accidents are actually the 9th leading cause of death in Canada. I’ll give you 3 guesses as the the top 3 causes….

  1. Cancer – related to the food we eat
  2. Heart Disease – related to the food we eat
  3. Stroke – related to the food we eat

Again I am an advocate for seatbelts and appropriately sized car seats. I am also an advocate for protecting the long term health of our children.

We need to learn how to protect the inside of their little bodies as fiercely as we protect the outside!

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

actual picture of a motivated “old dog” πŸ™‚

My answer to this is, “It depends on the motivation of the dog.”

Recently my father suffered a heart attack, actually he was told that he was living in a state of mild heart attack. He had lost the ability to enjoy the simple pleasures of his retirement such as walking his dog and working in his wood-working shop. The stairs in his 2-story home were were becoming an unsurmountable obstacle and his constant chest pain was not only worrying him but also depriving him of sleep.

Like any responsible person breathless from chest pain, he went to the hospital where he was given the terrible news of the progression of his heart condition and the even more terrible news of the open-heart surgery that was to follow. I am not about to say anything good about COVID-19 but it has provided a silver lining, a window in which I was asked to step in and create change! The surgery despite being deemed “necessary” by the cardiologist will have to wait its turn on the backlogged list.

Now, you might ask yourself how does the father of a plant-based nutritionist get himself into this heart attack situation in the first place… you’ll have to wait for the book to come out to get that answer! But seriously you can’t MAKE someone change, you can’t MAKE someone listen, all you can do is share the knowledge the best way you know how and it is up to them what to do with it.

Trust me I didn’t figure that out right away…

After many years of skepticism and my words falling on deaf ears I was being asked for help, of course I will help!

My father, the son of an artist and chicken butcher, at 71 years old, put his life in my hands and in the food that we ate together for 3 weeks. He is a 20 year diabetic, 11 of those years have been insulin dependent. He has experienced almost every diabetic disease progression that you read about in the text books. The man has suffered at the hands of his physicians and the bounty of pharmaceuticals prescribed to him. He has tried to advocate for himself, and only through his own voice has he found a balance between having some kind of quality of life and trying not succumb to the diseases that ravage his body. Never in the past 20 years of doctor appointments, specialist consultations and surgeries has he been told about the power of food to either contribute to or arrest the progression of these diseases he has been suffering from.

Until he was confronted with this news of open-heart surgery he was among the majority believing a plant-based diet to be extreme. He was worried for his grandchildren, wondering if they would grow healthy and strong as this way of eating was nothing like how he had been raised or how he raised me. What now feels extreme to him, is having his chest cracked open and if the food on his plate can prevent that then he was willing to give it a try.

I am writing this with 43 days of plant-based eating under my dad’s belt! I am EXTREMELY proud of my mom and him for jumping in with both feet! I taught them how to cook the kinds of foods that will not only fight this disease but in time reverse it and give my dad back the joys of his retirement that were slipping away. Change is hard for anyone and this kind of change and the trust the he put in me was momentous!

And he was hitting all the milestones!

He started to lose weight.

After just 8 days of plant-based eating his insulin was reduced by half (his call, not mine)( as a reminder, that is after 11 years of increased insulin use)

After about 15 days he walked his dog.

After 25 days he was working about 4-5 hours a day in his wood-working shop, walking up and down the stairs for lunch.

(Everyone is different and their body will heal and regenerate at a different rate, if you are taking medication you should always consult your doctor regarding any change in dosages and keep your doctor informed of your dietary changes. If you change your food, the body that they have prescribed the medication to, has changed.)

My dad still has a long way to go, he isn’t out of the woods yet. He may go forward with the surgery and he may not, that will be his personal decision to make as we should all be free to make our own life and death decisions. You know what would be nice though, is if we could trust the people in “health care” to give us the full picture. Give us all the information and then we can make an informed decision. This unfortunately isn’t the case.

My dad like many others is confused. Confused as to how his doctor doesn’t have this powerful information regarding diet. Confused why he wasn’t presented with this option, never mind now in the face of major surgery, but years ago before the disease had progressed to this point. He is unnerved by the willingness of doctors to medicate and then cut. He has felt the power of food and seen the scientific results on his very own machine that calculates his blood-sugar. This isn’t theoretical to him, this is real.

It can be real for you too. Food has the power you give it. You either choose the food that fuels and heals your body or you choose the food that will direct you towards pharmaceuticals and the operating table. I recommend taking a serious look at your dinner table before the stroke, before the heart attack, before the loss of vision, before the nerve damage, before the cancer, before the type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

But if you decide to wait until after, I will be here. I will be here with information that will give you the power to heal yourself… if you’re lucky enough to get that second chance.

So old dog… what’s your motivation???

Plant-based/Vegan

do not try this at home!

As I am sure all of you who are reading this know, I am a practicing nutritionist. This means that I see clients and offer nutritional assessments, counselling and coaching. I am intensely passionate about nutrition and the value that each meal adds or subtracts from our health and our life.

Questioning what you are eating is a GREAT first step that many people don’t take. People take the power of food for granted and often only give the food they eat the credit of tasting good or satisfying a craving. For those of you that have connected the food you eat to your health BIG HIGH FIVE for giving food the credit it deserves.

I am a plant-based nutritionist for a reason, I have named myself “Plant Based Jenny” for a reason… and that reason is because when I studied nutrition no matter which book I read, “Eating Alive”, “The End of Food”, “The China Study”, “Healthy at 100”, “New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind”, and many more, it always came down to the same evidence based science. The human body is the healthiest, lives the longest, and maintains the most faculties on a plant-based low fat diet.

Let’s change gears for an example because people can get a bit sensitive when it comes to their food choices, habits and the consequences of their actions.

You have a HUGE bruise on your knee… you go to your doctor.

You: “Doc this bruise on my knee is killing me, I”m in pain all the time please help me!”

Doctor: “I’d love to help, it looks like you have been hitting your knee on the coffee table. Does that sound about right?”

You: “Yup, I hit it about 3 times a day.”

Doctor: “If you want the bruise to go away you need to stop hitting your knee on the coffee table.”

You: “Can I just hit is less maybe, hitting my knee is my favourite thing.”

Doctor: “Sure, but expect to still have a bruise on your knee, it will be smaller but it will never heal and you could possibly lose feeling in the rest of your leg.”

You: “But I came to you so that you could make the bruise go away. Can’t you do that?”

Doctor: “Nope, I can only guide you into making decisions that will allow the bruise to heal and not return. Only you can decide whether or not you will hit your knee again.”

As a nutritionist I’ve been trying to walk this line where people come to me because something is wrong, they feel crappy, they are tired, they have a food born illness such as diabetes mellitus, poor cardio vascular health, cancer, or are overweight BUT they don’t want to eat plant-based. People are convinced that diseases like these run in their family, but you know what runs in families… recipes, meals, food habits, tradition!

I’ve seen this movie and I’m pretty sure he isn’t giving the finger here!

I am a plant-based nutritionist because the ONLY diet that has been scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease in humans is a plant-based diet! I am not that interested in helping people keep small bruises on their knees. I am VERY interested in helping, guiding and coaching people to live a life free from bruised knees. I especially want children to not have bruised knees. Let’s start a new tradition, a tradition of knowledge and of healing and of health as we age.

I can’t say this enough…

Every time we eat and drink we are either feeding disease or fighting it. Our top 3 leading causes of death in Canada are PREVENTABLE food born illnesses!

Whole food plant-based eating can change this statistic. Stop hitting your knee, pay attention and start helping your body fight disease with every bite you take.

~~HAPPY CANADA DAY~~

I was thinking that to be patriotic I will post about some kind of red and white food… first thing that came to mind are beets! So I’ll just talk about red food because I’m not in the mood to yell at you about sugar (white) right now and although beets (red) and cauliflower (white) are both great for you they aren’t really in business together when it comes to the functions they serve.

Beets come in a range of colours from yellow to orange to red and into purple. They are beautiful, sweet, delicious and best of all nutritious! Nothing beats a beet when it comes to cleaning out your organs! Toxins get into our bodies every time we eat, drink and breath and we rely primarily on our liver and kidneys to filter them out and keep us clean but what keeps our liver and kidneys clean? BEETS! …and dandelion and milk thistle but that’s another post.

Beets are a great detox food and if eaten on a regular basis they work well to keep our liver and kidneys healthy and functioning at the top of their game, not to mention giving us great skin and healthier arteries. There are a variety of ways to eat beets: boiled; steamed; pickled; fried; baked; grilled; in soup; in a drink; and any other way you might want to try! Of course some methods of preparing them are healthier than others but definitely eating them is healthier than not eating them πŸ™‚

Beets and Carrots

So at your Canada Day socially distanced family BBQ don’t forget your beets on the side of whatever celebratory choices you are making today!

Health Is Our Top Priority

“Our health is our top priority” sounds like a no-brainer statement. But I’m sure many of us would agree that it’s become far too easy for that statement not to be true. We have commitments, goals, jobs, sports, careers, loved ones…all of these have been made a priority and with good reason. The commitments we make fill us up somehow, otherwise we wouldn’t commit to them; the goals we set make us feel like we are successfully progressing through this one life that we get; our job provides stability and means; sports bring us joy and keep us young at heart; careers provide self esteem and financial gain; our loved ones provide support, love and spiritual fulfilment.

Now make a list of of what we have if we don’t have our health…

I can’t think of anything, can you?

This isn’t meant to be a guilt trip, I simply want to point out that typically as a society we take our health for granted. Often prioritizing things that without our health we would not have or be able to enjoy.

The good news is it’s only partially our fault!

Mass media and marketing has given us all permission to:

  1. eat on the go
  2. eat anywhere
  3. eat anything if we are “busy” and “on the go”
  4. grab a quick snack
  5. grab a quick coffee

snack, grab, grab, snack, take-out, take-out, frozen dinner!

If you are a busy professional, if you are a parent with multiple children, if you are a single parent, if you are a student, if you work on the road, if you are breathing in and out you have been given permission by popular culture to only consider your health once it is failing you.

We all have a minimum of 3 chances each day to determine whether we are feeding or fighting disease. We silently depend on our health to be there for us and our busy schedules. COVID-19 has brought us time. Time to re-prioritize and to drown out the marketing and the loud noise of popular culture. We have slowed down. We can see more clearly than ever that we need to make our health a priority so that we can enjoy the things that fill our bucket.

Stay home, choose your noise, and eat real food that take a bit of time to prepare. Food that goes bad in a week, food that will be the ounce of prevention that we all need right now because currently we don’t have the pound of cure.

It’s a personal choice…kids supplements

I was asked what I am giving my kids to boost their natural defence/immune system along with a diet of whole foods (obviously). I have chosen this particular supplement because it has not only Elderberry (a powerful antioxidant that supports immune function) it also contains Vitamin C and Zinc. It’s simple, powerful and also tastes good so it’s easy to get the kids to take it. A supplement is only great if your kids WANT to take it, we fight enough battles as parents πŸ™‚

Immunity Opportunity

I can’t decide if me blogging about the Coronavirus is white noise or if me blogging about easy snacks and kids lunches would be white noise in this pandemic?

There is a burning issue on my mind and so here you go…

The WHO has just declared Coronavirus (COVID 19) as a global pandemic. We are all listening intently for the professionals to give us advice on how to not catch and spread the disease. Tell us CDC and WHO, what are we to do?

You’ve heard all of the advice and I’m not here pretending to know anything about this disease.

There is a piece of this COVID 19 puzzle that is barely being talked about, in fact I just read a 10 page spreadsheet from the CDC regarding their advice on the virus and supporting and boosting your immune system wasn’t mentioned once!

Our IMMUNE SYSTEM needs some airtime!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you can be immune to the virus, but supporting your immune system and preparing your body to fight, possibly the biggest battle that it will have to fight, can’t be bad advice!

The first question that was asked by governments when this virus was discovered was “when will the vaccine be ready?“.

Do you know what a vaccine does?

It creates an immune response on a very low level so that we don’t get sick but we have activated and taught our immune army to fight this particular disease. Our immune system is the one doing the work this is why immune compromised people don’t get vaccines, and they don’t give people vaccines when they already have a cold or flu.

This virus is picking off the weak, the compromised, the unhealthy. Conditions that suppress your immune response are:

  • high stress
  • sleep deprived
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • cardio vascular disease
  • cancer

Your immune system starts with your gut bacteria, your gut bacteria provides the strength and foundation of your systemic health. You can change your gut bacteria and boost your immune system in just 14 days! 14 days is NOT VERY LONG, this is your typical all-inclusive vacation!

If you needed a push to change your habits, if you needed yet another reason to eat for health, longevity and strength then let the Coronavirus be that push. Don’t sit on the sidelines washing your hands with soap and sanitizer waiting to see if you get it and how your system handles it.

Ok, WASH YOUR HANDS…obviously that is a good idea

But take some immune system action! Give your body the tools that is needs to thrive and survive! What do you have to lose?

  • Supplement during this time of extra caution – zinc, oil of oregano, colloidal silver, anti-oxidants, elderberry, vitamin C, astragalus, ashwaghanda, vitamin D3, B-complex, vitamin E (just pick 2 or 3, it’s all about support!)
  • Cut out the dairy – dairy causes an inflammatory reaction in your body and you don’t need your body fighting anything else right now. It also increases excess mucus in your soft tissue (membranes) which is precisely what you don’t need right now. STOP creating unnecessary work for your body.
  • Don’t freak out about the virus, take 10 deep breaths as many times a day as possible because it literally changes your brain chemistry and lowers the cortisol in your body. When Cortisol ( the stress hormone) is high, immunity is compromised.
  • Meat releases cortisol into your blood stream… I’m just going to hope you can connect the dots with this one
  • Get enough sleep! This is your body’s best way to recover so allow it the time that it needs. Don’t watch that extra episode, go to bed!
  • hydrate, Hydrate, HYDRATE – your body depends on fluid to flush out toxins and maintain optimal organ function
  • Eliminate processed sugar, refined carbohydrates and artificial colours and flavours (this is just shit your body has to deal with and does it really need a distraction like eliminating yellow E102?) These create the immune compromising gut bacteria you don’t want.

I’m just going to make sure that I’ve really made my point here – global pandemic sounds a bit apocalyptic and who am I to judge – maybe it is?! But the strong will survive so make yourself strong. You have the power to do at least that. You can do that for your kids, for your family and for yourself – put your mask on first and force the masks onto the ones you love πŸ™‚

LOVE YOU!

Goals, Desires, Dreams…

We all have goals, we all have desires and call me an optimist but I hope we all have dreams. This sounds magical but let’s take it to the dark side and look a little deeper.

How long have you had these goals?

Why haven’t you attained or achieved what you desire?

How close are you to making your dreams a reality?

I am asking you because this is a HOT TOPIC in my life right now. Maybe you are like me and you have evolving dreams, desires and goals. And maybe you are also like me and aren’t always 100% sure what the path is to achieving these.

I would love to see your thoughts on these questions in the comments. It can be scary and sometimes when we tell ourselves the truth or be too honest with ourselves it can hurt a little. If you feel more comfortable to chat with me privately send me a message. In our heart of hearts we want to be great, do great and feel great but sometimes we can get in our own way. Let’s get out of the way and turn the dreaming into doing.

Maybe it’s diet, maybe it’s exercise, maybe it’s career, maybe it’s a new parenting style, maybe it’s a new relationship. Doing is doing and roadblocks can be so similar despite the goals/dreams being different.

So comment or send a message, either way I would love to hear your struggles and achievements. I’m always ready to learn something πŸ™‚