My Top 5 Food Dislikes

While I am far from a picky eater, there are a few foods that absolutely make my stomach churn.

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One night at work, the vegetables served at dinner were beets and asparagus. I thought to myself “well, if this was me, I would only be eating meat tonight” because I hate both of those vegetables. It really got the wheels turning as to what other foods I don’t like, and thus this blog post was born!

Let the countdown begin!

#5 – Asparagus / Organ meats (it’s a tie!) 

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When I was younger my Mom tried to pass off asparagus as beans. It worked for a while but I eventually caught on! It has such a weird flavour to me, and is so darn chewy and stringy.

I also do not enjoy organ meats. They are not staples in my family’s diet, but my parents do enjoy liver on rare occasions and I have tried a bite before. Not only does it smell like mouldy socks when cooking, but the texture….*shudders*. Embarrassingly enough, I found out just a few years ago that my Mom cooks up the neck and heart from our Thanksgiving turkey and adds it to her homemade turkey soup. I always wondered why there were funny tasting bits of “turkey” in there! Moms are so sneaky!!! I can’t say that I will be doing the same with my future turkeys!

#4 – Seafood

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Seafood is a huge no-go, except for tuna, salmon and imitation crab (does this mean I’d like real crab?) Even then I have to be in the right mood to have any of those, and those moments are rare. Seafood is just not my favourite. It is so……fishy. Yuck.

#3 – Olives

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It is SO weird to me how people can eat olives straight, like grapes. I have never been able to get into their flavour.

#2 – Spicy Food / Curry

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Spicy food is completely out of the question. I enjoy food with spices for flavour (except curry – horrible horrible stuff), but I do not enjoy spices for hotness. They do not feel right in my stomach, nor do I enjoy breathing fire after meals. Recently my Mom wanted to try some jalapeños in her homemade spaghetti sauce and it was awful (Sorry Mom). I think that meal sat in my throat for a full 24 hours after eating it. Spicy and me are not meant to be!

#1 – Beets

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Without question, the number one spot is reserved for beets. They taste like complete and utter dirt to me…literally. When I was younger, the rule in my house was “clear your plate before you leave the table” but let me tell you, no amount of butter or ketchup could make me eat those beets any faster, or disguise their dirt flavour. It was always a struggle to choke them down so I could leave the dinner table. They are the worst!

Surprised that brussels sprouts aren’t on the list? Me too! I had actually never had them before until a few years ago when my Aunt made this brussels sprouts/apple/almond dish for Christmas. Surprisingly, the brussels sprouts tasted okay! That being said, I haven’t had them since, or had them in any other form, so my evaluation might be a little skewed, but cooked right they seem okay. They’re definitely not my first choice for a vegetable though.

What’s on your top five food dislike list? Would you like to see a “favourites” list?

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Fed Up (2014) – Movie Review

Happy New Year! I’m a little late to the party, I know. Okay…a lot late. Nevertheless, there is nothing like starting out the New Year with some thought-provoking information, and I have just that for you today!

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Narrated by news anchor Katie Couric, the 2014 documentary Fed Up looks at the current obesity epidemic in the United States, and suggests sugar as a primary contributor.

How can this be? Surely if we just cut out those “junk” foods from our diet that are high in sugar we’ll be okay…right?

The problem is that sugar isn’t just in “junk” foods. In the average American grocery store, there are more than 600,000 food items. Over 80% of them have added sugar. EIGHTY PERCENT. Crickey! We also have to consider all the processed starches like white bread, white rice, potato products, breakfast cereals, etc. because these kinds of products are instantly digested into glucose (sugar) in our bodies. One of the speakers in Fed Up put it really well. He said: “You can eat a bowl of cornflakes with no added sugar, or you can eat a bowl of sugar with no added cornflakes and they might taste different, but below the neck, they’re metabolically the same.”

That definitely makes you think twice, doesn’t it?

So how does sugar relate to obesity? Here’s a little of the science behind this theory.

The sweet part of sugar (fructose) can only be processed in the liver. This means that when we consume large amounts of sugar, we are actually overloading our liver, and preventing it from processing all that sugar. Luckily, our pancreas is able to step in and lend a hand. It reacts to the high levels of sugar by producing excess amounts of insulin, which is the energy storage hormone. So what does insulin turn excess sugar into for storage? You guessed it – fat! This is why sugar is thought to be contributing to the obesity epidemic.

The film also follows three young teens and shows the struggles they face being obese. Fourteen year old Joe has to get a bariatric surgery in order to lose weight and improve his health. Yes, FOURTEEN. How can we let this happen?!?!? As Dr. David Ludwig put it in the movie, “What does it say about our society that we would rather send our children to such mutilating procedures like bariatric surgery but yet lack the political will to properly fund things like school nutrition and ban junk food advertising to children?”  Definitely not right!

Here are some other thought-provoking tidbits from the movie:

  • Between 1977 and 2000, Americans have doubled their daily intake in sugar
  • When you take the fat out of the food to make it “healthier”, it tastes like cardboard. The food industry knows this, so they dump in the sugar to make it taste better. So now they sell lower fat foods, but with higher sugar content. The thing is – junk food is still junk even if it’s less junky!!
  • In a recent study at Princeton University, 43 cocaine-addicted rats were given the choice between cocaine or sugar water over a 15-day period. 40/43 chose the sugar. Studies show that your brain lights up with sugar just like it does with cocaine or heroine.

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  • While food nutrition labels list government recommended daily amounts of various nutrients, when you look on any food label you will not find sugar listed with a % for the daily recommendation. I found this really interesting, so I looked up why this might be. The Government of Canada says that “sugar does not have a % daily value, because there is no recommended amount of sugar for a healthy population.” What?!?! How does this make sense given all the negative findings associated with sugar??
  • Congress classifies pizza as a vegetable if it contains a certain amount of tomato paste. SERIOUSLY?? I just….wow……
  • “I had no idea I’d be talking about weight gain and obesity my entire career” – Katie Couric.  I think this is such a profound statement and shows just how pressing an issue obesity really is! 
  • Many people think that if you are thin then you are healthy, but that’s not necessarily true. You can be fat on the inside and skinny on the outside, or metabolically obese but a normal weight. Being skinny-fat is equally as dangerous and leads to all the same consequences as fat-skinny, such as heart attack, strokes, cancer, dementia and diabetes.
  • Disease doesn’t happen with one meal, but it does happen with a thousand meals. Today, sugar is somehow a part of every single meal, meaning disease is imminent.
  • The most important thing you can do is cook and eat real food – Michael Pollan
  • It’s not an easy transition to real food. But it starts locally; really as locally as our fork. Everybody has a choice three times a day as to what they put on it. Make it good! I love this concept! 

Are you FED UP?

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*Since the release of Fed Up, there has been a lot of backlash about the movie and its supposed “misinformation”. The way I see it is that the writers have simply presented the information to the public and it is now up to the viewers to choose to believe it or not. I personally believe that there are MANY contributing factors to the obesity epidemic, and that sugar is most certainly one of them. 

Real Food IS Ingredients!

I love this explanation of “real” food!

Keep this in mind next time you go grocery shopping. Don’t buy “food.” Buy ingredients to MAKE food – REAL food!  11002512_799460696813664_5716701460726096491_n

So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog – Review

While grocery shopping last week, I made my way up and down each aisle scouting out the sales like usual. When I came to the dairy section, I noticed they had lactose-free yogurt, which I’d never seen there before. Unfortunately it was the So Delicious brand, which I’m not too fond of (you can read my review on it here). Disappointed with the yogurt situation, my eyes drifted upwards and noticed this Coconut Milk Nog by So Delicious. 

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With the holidays rapidly approaching, I thought I would treat myself so I picked up a carton. Last year I blogged about So Nice’s soynog and I almost grabbed it instead just because I knew it was good. However, after comparing the ingredients I stuck with my original decision to try the So Delicious brand. It had much more natural ingredients and far less ingredients in total, compared to the essay of chemical ingredients So Nice’s nog had.

Well, let me tell you that I could not be happier with my decision. So Nice has NOTHING on So Delicious and their coconut milk nog. Wowza! It took everything I had not to drink the whole carton at once!

Unbelievably creamy and flavourful, it tastes even better than normal eggnog in my opinion! I am definitely going to have to go back for more, especially considering they have two other flavours! I got the regular one, but they also had mint chocolate and pumpkin spice. Mmm mmm mmm!

What’s your favourite holiday beverage?

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UPDATE:

I’ve now tried all three holiday flavours and am a fan of two out of the three. I wasn’t totally overwhelmed by the chocolate mint one and found it quite watery compared to the creaminess of the ‘nog. It also was a little flat and could’ve used some more flavour in my opinion. The pumpkin spice on the other hand, YUM! Soooo creamy with the perfect amount of spice and flavour, just like the ‘nog. It was really hard not to drink the whole carton at once!

I’m already looking forward to next holiday season for more of So Delicious’ Holiday Beverages! :D

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Let Food Be Thy Medicine

I love all this “food for thought”!

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Jimmy Kimmel Asks Pedestrians “What Is Gluten?”

Has anyone seen this video from Jimmy Kimmel?

Me oh my.

As funny as this video is, it is also a little embarrassing. It also serves as a great example of the “fad” side of eating gluten-free. These people are followers – they are eating gluten-free because everyone else is but have no idea what gluten even is or the real logic behind avoiding it! If someone told you eating only seaweed would make you live to be 100, would you jump on board without questioning it? I think not. Don’t be a follower! Make decisions for yourself, not based on everyone else’s experience. It’s okay to ask questions! Become informed!

Now, let’s clear some things up.

1) What is gluten?

Gluten is a glue-like (GLU-ten) protein compound that gives bread products and other baked goods their elasticity.

2) What products contain gluten?

As the one gentleman noted, gluten can be found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. However, gluten is also found in things like processed meats, salad dressing, gravy, soups, potato chips, and even beer! So if you are going gluten-free for health reasons, there are a lot of other foods you need to consider for elimination. (You can read more about eating gluten-free here!) 

3) Is there need for everyone to eat gluten-free?

No. There are people who have no choice but to eat gluten-free due to a serious illness called celiac disease. There are others who have a less severe reaction to gluten, similar to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and generally feel better eating gluten-free. Finally, there are others who have a true allergy to wheat products, similar to a peanut allergy. Outside of these actual health concerns, eating gluten-free may make you feel better, but it also might not.

4) Does gluten make you fat?

Not necessarily. Consuming gluten might contribute to weight gain BUT there are other food and lifestyle choices that should be considered first. (Gosh, if we followed all the gossip out there about foods that “make us fat,” we’d be left eating rocks!) Read some more misconceptions about gluten here

Now…all that being said, there are some discrepancies with the above information, particularly concerning the book The Wheat Belly. Dr. William Davis feels that “modern wheat is no more real wheat than a chimpanzee is an approximation of a human” and has concluded that wheat is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic. How can he make such conclusions? Well, when he asked his patients to give up wheat in order to improve their heart health, he found other unexpected health benefits associated with the elimination of wheat. (You can read about these benefits, as well as my thoughts on the book here!)

So, to gluten or not to gluten? Well, that’s up to you! You have to decide for yourself what food choices are important to you and what you feel is best for your body. Just please don’t base your decisions on what everyone else is doing or rumours you may have heard. Do some research and ask questions!

What are your thoughts on this video? Did you know what gluten was before reading this post? Do you think gluten is harmful to our health, even for those people without true health concerns? Why do you eat gluten-free?

5-Minute Paleo Breakfast Muffin

There are two girls that sit behind me in my one class and I’m really not sure how much they pay attention to the class because they’re always commenting on the food I bring for lunch.

Okay okay, I’m just kidding, I know they pay attention. They do comment on my lunch a lot though, which I find it a bit unusual because to me, I feel like I’m just eating normal food! I guess I’m more creative with my lunches than the average university student? In any case, last week we had a morning meeting for a group project, and their interest in my food never crossed my mind when I packed this muffin to bring with me. Well, as soon as I pulled it out it was all “oohs” and “aahs” and “what is that!?” I quickly explained what it was and the one girl frantically took notes so she could make it as soon as she got home that night. The following day she practically ran into our class waving a container at me and said “Look! I made the muffin last night and I made another one this morning! It’s SO good!” It was the cutest thing ever. I think it’s safe to say she liked it ;)

Quick and delicious, you will not be able to get enough of this simple recipe!

IMG_8660 I usually just slice the muffin and spread a little coconut oil on the two halves. It makes the muffin so moist and adds some extra yummy flavour! (I put a dollop of yogurt on top here, just for show.)

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Depending on the size of mug, measuring cup or bowl you use to cook it in, you can end up with a variety of different shaped muffins!

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This one looks seedy because the sunflower butter I used also had sesame seeds in it. Still delicious! 

5-Minute Paleo Microwave Muffin

  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut butter/almond butter/sunflower seed butter
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon/nutmeg/ginger/your desired spice (optional, however I generally always add some spice because sometimes the baking soda doesn’t mix that well and the muffin comes out with a bitter baking soda taste.)

Simply mix all ingredients in a mug, glass measuring cup or small glass/ceramic bowl and microwave on high for 5 minutes! (*Depending on the quality of your microwave, you may need less than or more than 5 minutes.)

*Don’t be alarmed if your muffin comes out a different colour than these pictures. The colour of the muffin depends on the kind of nut butter you use. Peanut butter gives a very light muffin, while almond butter and sunflower butter give a darker muffin.

The only thing I don’t like about this recipe, is that it requires the use of a microwave. I never used to care about the whole microwave/radiowave business, but the more I get into the health and wellness field, the more I feel that it’s probably not the best thing to be using. They’re just so darn convenient! Especially for this recipe! I MUST find a way to make it without a microwave!

Do you ever make muffins or cakes in-a-mug? How do you feel about microwaves?

New to Paleo? Read about the Paleo approach to eating here and read a Paleo testimony here!