Category Archives: Sports & Nutrition

From Breastfeeding to Solids- Creative Problem Solving on a Different Level

brest-cereal copie

As a first time mom of an 8 month old, I spend most of my days making sure my little one gets enough sleep, and enough to eat. In doing so, when Laila turned 6 months old (and she started eating “table food”, as her dad calls it), I checked for portion sizes in the “From Tiny Tot to Toddler” book  written by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec. This book is given to all moms-to-be, at the hospital, or by their midwife, in Quebec. This book is quite helpful, it addresses all issues from insect bites, to cradle cap as well as growth and feeding issues such as breastfeeding, suggestions on introducing solids and suggested daily serving sizes.

 Now that Laila is 8 months old, I went back to the “From Tiny Tot to Toddler” book to see if I was feeding her something close to the suggested serving sizes. It is written that for a 7 to 9 month old baby, the daily serving of cereal should be between 8 and 12 tablespoons. Between 8 and 12 tablespoons!!! That’s a lot of cereal! First of all, I’ve looked everywhere to find a cereal that is as clean as possible (no soy, milk products, sugar, etc.), and I can’t find any. So my baby’s cereal contains soy lecithin, dicalcium phosphate and inulin. Second of all Laila REALLY doesn’t like to eat cereal, she’d rather eat my toast with almond butter. (which is what usually happens). She shares my toast, and I dip it in her cereal…

TinyTots

 And lastly, why would the Quebec government suggest (promote) such a large daily portion of cereal that is filled with additives, when, at the same time, they promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of the baby’s life? This seems contradictory to me. The Quebec government (at CLSCs, the hospital, etc.) pushes breastfeeding due to its nutritional benefits (it’s a complete food), it’s natural. “…human milk is the only milk that meets all a human baby’s nutrional and immune system needs.”, “From Tiny Tot to Toddler” book  written by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec. “We all know how breast milk protects babies from all kinds of diseases and that this protection may even last long after the breastfeeding has ceased. In fact research shows that breastfed babies have a reduced risk of many adult illnesses, including cancer.”http://www.amoils.com/health-blog/could-breast-milk-be-the-new-miracle-cure/  While ingredients found in baby cereal, such as soy, may CAUSE cancer.

So why does the same entity want my baby to eat 12 tablespoons of cereal (which is artificially manufactured, filled with soy products and other ingredients to make it a nutritionally whole food)? The only reason I could come up with is that since the general population has been so dumbed down, that in order to ensure that all babies get their daily value of vitamins and minerals, the government recommends that you stuff your baby with fortified cereal. We do it all the time in Urban Planning. Instead of taking the time to explain the impacts (advantages, disadvantages) of the action to the client, we just apply a formula that is one size fits all. The world would look a lot different if, in all fields, governmental and non-governmental entities and private firms and businesses would invest time and money in educating their clients. It is difficult to change a person’s mind. You have to first have an alternative solution and then you have to convince the person at the other end to change their perspective.

Is it really that hard to feed your little one a balanced diet? With a little creativity, your baby can get all the nutrition she needs from homemade, whole foods. Nature has provided us with a wide variety of great foods from which to choose. Preparing your baby’s food from scratch gives you control over what she puts in her body. It also gives you control over your environmental footprint, lets you be socially responsible by using your purchasing power (spending your money at organic or local businesses) and your whole family can eat one meal together.

So take the time to assemble your baby’s next meal with love, creativity and whole foods. This way you don’t have to poison her with artificially manufactured baby cereal. Below is a link to a website that has great baby food recipes.

Baby Whole Food Website

You Are What You Eat (Why Eat Organic, Non-GMO Foods)

GMOs http://www.infoogm.qc.ca/les-ogm/cest-quoi/

What is a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)?

When a gene from one organism is purposely moved to improve or change another organism in a laboratory, the result is a genetically modified organism (GMO). It is also sometimes called “transgenic” for transfer of genes.

There are different ways of moving genes to produce desirable traits. For both plants and animals, one of the more traditional ways is through selective breeding. For example, a plant with a desired trait is chosen and bred to produce more plants with the desirable trait. More recently with the advancement of technology is another technique. This technique is applied in the laboratory where genes that express the desired trait is physically moved or added to a new plant to enhance the trait in that plant. Plants produced with this technology are transgenic. Often, this process is performed on crops to produce insect or herbicide resistant plants, they are referred to as Genetically Modified Crops (GM crops).

(Source:   http://www.bt.ucsd.edu/gmo.html)

Risks to human health

Allergenicity. As a matter of principle, the transfer of genes from commonly allergenic foods is discouraged unless it can be demonstrated that the protein product of the transferred gene is not allergenic. While traditionally developed foods are not generally tested for allergenicity, protocols for tests for GM foods have been evaluated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WHO. No allergic effects have been found relative to GM foods currently on the market.

Gene transfer. Gene transfer from GM foods to cells of the body or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract would cause concern if the transferred genetic material adversely affects human health. This would be particularly relevant if antibiotic resistance genes, used in creating GMOs, were to be transferred. Although the probability of transfer is low, the use of technology without antibiotic resistance genes has been encouraged by a recent FAO/WHO expert panel.

Outcrossing. The movement of genes from GM plants into conventional crops or related species in the wild (referred to as “outcrossing”), as well as the mixing of crops derived from conventional seeds with those grown using GM crops, may have an indirect effect on food safety and food security. This risk is real, as was shown when traces of a maize type which was only approved for feed use appeared in maize products for human consumption in the United States of America. Several countries have adopted strategies to reduce mixing, including a clear separation of the fields within which GM crops and conventional crops are grown.

Risks to the environment

Issues of concern include: the capability of the GMO to escape and potentially introduce the engineered genes into wild populations; the persistence of the gene after the GMO has been harvested; the susceptibility of non-target organisms (e.g. insects which are not pests) to the gene product; the stability of the gene; the reduction in the spectrum of other plants including loss of biodiversity; and increased use of chemicals in agriculture. The environmental safety aspects of GM crops vary considerably according to local conditions.

Current investigations focus on: the potentially detrimental effect on beneficial insects or a faster induction of resistant insects; the potential generation of new plant pathogens; the potential detrimental consequences for plant biodiversity and wildlife, and a decreased use of the important practice of crop rotation in certain local situations; and the movement of herbicide resistance genes to other plants.

(Source: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/)

How do GMOs affect farmers?
Corporations are producing sterile terminator seeds or Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTS), a class of genetic engineering technologies that produce seeds with sterile offspring. Farmers can’t use these seeds from their harvest; they will rot in the fields. Terminator seeds are a threat to the food security for 1.4 billion people who depend on the seeds from the previous year’s crops.

There is a global moratorium on terminator technology, and it has already been banned by Brazil and India. Greenpeace says it is time for Canada — a major proponent of terminator seeds — to halt this dangerous technology.

(Source: http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/ge/Learn-about/)

Because GMOs are novel life forms, biotechnology companies have been able to obtain patents with which to restrict their use. As a result, the companies that make GMOs now have the power to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields. GMOs therefore pose a serious threat to farmer sovereignty and to the national food security of any country where they are grown, including the United States.

(Source: http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/)

To learn how to avoid GM foods click on the link below:

http://gmoguide.greenpeace.ca/shoppers_guide.pdf

My Favourite Summer Vegetables- Fennel and Swiss Chard (Separately, not together)

For the past 3 years, we have been receiving an organic vegetable basket through Equiterre’s CSA network. This network lets people become partners with a local farm by pre-ordering a basket of vegetables to be delivered to a drop-off point each week in the summer and fall. This model encourages farmers by letting them share the risks of farming with consumers, who, in turn, benefit from garden-fresh produce that is in line with their values.

We also get a winter basket, once every two weeks from November to March, consisting mainly of root vegetables. Our farm is “Les jardins du petit tremble”. You can look them up on the internet to sign up or just to get more information.

Inspired by the great weather we’ve been having these past couple of days; I want to share 2 recipes with you.

Fennel Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 tablespoon ground red pepper
  • 12 (2 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut in thirds lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large bulbs fennel, cut in half and cut into 1/2-inch slices crosswise
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can Campbell’s® Condensed French Onion Soup
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro leaves
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

Directions

  1. Stir the cumin, paprika and red pepper in a small bowl. Season the chicken with the cumin mixture.
  2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until well browned, stirring occasionally. Remove the chicken from the skillet.
  3. Add the fennel to the skillet and cook for 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir the soup, lemon juice and chickpeas in the skillet and heat to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the parsley and lemon zest just before serving.

Footnotes

  • Recipe Tips:
  • Easy Substitution: You may substitute 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into quarters lengthwise, for the chicken thighs in this recipe.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/west-african-style-chicken-and-fennel-stew/

Swiss Chard with Feta Cheese

The red stems and green leaves of Swiss chard may hint at Christmas, but once you taste them with feta and currants, you’ll want to cook this dish throughout the winter.

Yield: Makes 4 servings
Active Time: 15 min
Total Time: 20 min

Ingredients

  • 1 lb swiss chard
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dried currants
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions

  1. Cut stems and center ribs from chard, discarding any tough parts near base, then cut stems and ribs crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Coarsely chop leaves.
  2. Cook garlic in oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add chard stems and ribs, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes.
  4. Add currants and cook, stirring, until plump, about 1 minute.
  5. Add chard leaves and water and increase heat to moderate, then cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until leaves are tender, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in feta

Read more http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/printerfriendly/Braised-Swiss-Chard-with-Currants-and-Feta-236676#ixzz28kpmS9sj

Sheppard’sPie- Our Favourite Autumn Dish

As I was eating the last of our Sheppard’s Pie, I just asked my boyfriend (Steve): Do they have Sheppard’s Pie In “The States”? In French it’s called “Paté chinois” because it was a staple food for the Chinese railroad workers here in Quebec. …

Steve absolutely loves Sheppard’s Pie! He prefers a slightly harder crust than the soft mashed potatoes. We had lunch after a meeting at “Fit For Life” on St Laurent Street in Montreal and the Chief (She) said; that she mixes both Sweet Potatoes and White potatoes to make the crust. I used the recipe soon after for dinner at home. Now Steve’s more than hooked. Shepard’s Pie:
 

How to Eat to Live- I’am Smoothie

Introducing Goarana brand 100% organic guarana powder
 
Guarana Herb:
Raw guarana is a term given to the powder or syrup made from the seed of the guarana plant. The guarana plant is grown in South American, primarily Brazil. Raw guarana is believed to increase energy levels and is found in a wide variety of energy drinks and teas. Its use dates back many centuries to ancient South American Indians who used it as a remedy for a variety of conditions. Studies show that the effects of raw guarana may be greater than those of many other natural stimulants. The concentration of caffeine in the seeds is known to be significantly greater than what is normally found in coffee. Research does seem to indicate that it may improve energy and alertness. It is also believed to be a metabolic booster that may aid in weight loss. Today, guarana is used for weight loss, to enhance athletic performance, as a stimulant to reduce mental and physical fatigue, to treat low blood pressure, joint pain, backache, fever and heat stress.
*Side effects of raw guarana can be dangerous, especially if too much is consumed. People with health conditions relating to the heart or circulatory system, as well as women who are pregnant, should consult a physician before using it.Raw guarana can cause elevated blood pressure, tremors, trouble sleeping, and rapid heartbeat. Reference Source: The Wise Geek
 To purchase/ order Goarana brand guarana powder conact Groupe dE Mossi at demossi@primus.ca
 
I am sharing a smoothie recepie so you can enjoy guarana without the bitter taste.

Berry Boost Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 frozen Banana

3 hanful frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)

1 fresh mango

2 tablespoons plain greek yogourt

4 tablespoons hemp protein

250 ml unsweetened almond milk

ice

4g guarana powder

Put all the ingredient in the blender and blend for about 120 seconds. If the consistancy is too thick, just add some water until you reach the desired consistancy.