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Dishing It Up on Forgetting

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing It Up on Forgetting

The theme of this month’s Dishing It Up newsletter evolved rather organically. First, as my level of busy-ness and business ramped up, I found I was forgetting to write the newsletter. Then, during a Pilates class, my instructor mentioned something about gluteal amnesia which piqued my interest since my glutes are certainly forgetting they exist. And there have been a few times in recent memory when I was sure I’d added certain items to my grocery delivery order but, it seems, I did not. I’ve either been forgetting things yet again or Fresh City is messing with my head and removing things without telling me.

So this month I thought I’d post a few items on forgetting and how to improve the situation. And I hope that, if and when you have some time this weekend, you’ll remember to read it. 😉

 

Dishing It Up on Forgetting

  • Optimal dose and type of exercise to improve cognitive function in older adults
  • Gluteal amnesia, aka ‘dead butt syndrome’
  • Sitting all day can cause ‘dead butt syndrome’. These exercises can help.
  • The best brain food to start your morning off right
  • Your brain needs you to focus on one thing at a time
  • Sleep, mental health and memory

Read on for a bite-sized summary and links for each story …

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Dishing It Up: It’s Never Too Late…to Learn Something New

Nonna Mia It's Never Too Late...to Learn Something New Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail

In my recent blog post, It’s Never Too Late…to Exercise, I put a spotlight on the amazing feats (and feet) of several female masters runners.  My hope was that their stories would inspire my readers to take steps (literally) to improve their physical fitness, no matter what their age.  After all, along with proper nutrition, exercising your body is vital for optimal health.

But so is exercising your mind.  And “research shows that acquiring additional skills can be a terrific way to keep an aging brain in shape” (quotation from the final story: Think You’re Too Old to Learn New Tricks?).  So this month’s edition of Dishing It Up features another group of inspirational people who have challenged themselves and learned new skills later in life.  My goal is to show, once again, that is it never too late…to learn something new.

It’s Never Too Late…to Learn Something New

  • Raffaella Tulipano, 82, Italian Cooking Sensation “Nonna Mia” (pictured above)
  • Natalie Levant, 89, Comedian
  • Giuseppe Paternò, 97, Graduate
  • Georgina Harwood, 100, Centenarian Skydiver and Shark Diver
  • Think You’re Too Old to Learn New Tricks?

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Sliding Down a Sugary, Slippery Slope

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Sliding Down a Sugary Slippery SlopeAre you sliding down a sugary, slippery slope?  You know the one I mean.  The one that begins innocently enough in the fall with a slice (or two) of Thanksgiving pecan or pumpkin pie and then a wee bit of Hallowe’en candy a few weeks later.  You gain momentum with heaping helpings of holiday treats followed by boxes of Valentine’s chocolate.  Before you know it, you’re gathering and gobbling the Easter bunny’s chocolate eggs (not to mention, if you love them as much as I do, hot cross buns).  Suddenly, you find yourself awash in sugar.  You have more of a sweet tooth than you used to and sugary treats have become a daily ritual, not just a holiday indulgence.

Does this sound familiar?  If so, you’ve just slid down a sugary, slippery slope.  I know I have.  Read on for more about how easy it is to do this and why you really, really want to climb back up.

And I hope you’ll join me for my I’m Sweet Enough 7-day No Sugar Added Challenge (more on this at the end of this post).

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Holly Jolly Brain Candy

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Holly Jolly Brain CandyMy Holly Jolly Brain Candy collection of confections is unapologetically chocolate-centric.  I’m a card-carrying chocoholic and, hey, if ever there was a time when we could use more chocolate, this is it!!  It’s natural to turn to sweet treats to cheer ourselves up in times of stress and holidays are often focused around feasting.  But as you know from my Food For Thought post, excess sugar (particularly refined sugar) leads to inflammation in the brain, not to mention the rest of you.  So rather than reach for commercially prepared, processed candies and confections, why not make your own?

These are all quite simple to make.  And instead of gobbling heaping helpings of refined sugars and poor quality ingredients, you feast on high quality dark chocolate and natural sugars like dates and maple syrup.  And they contain fibre and healthy fats.  Fibre is food for our gut microbes, which are involved in brain health and behaviour, including our reactions to stress and anxiety.  And both fibre and fat slow the digestion and absorption of sugar which helps keep your blood sugar stable.  And when it comes to the absorption of sugar into the blood, slow and steady wins the race!

Let’s compare Turtles and may the slowest Turtle win

Compare my Dark Chocolate Turtles to Nestlé TURTLES Classic Recipe, for example:

My Dark Chocolate Turtles:  Dark chocolate, dates, pecans.

Nestlé TURTLES Classic Recipe: Milk chocolate (sugar, modified milk ingredients, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, soy lecithin, natural vanilla flavour, salt), caramel (glucose, sugar, modified milk ingredients, water, modified palm oil, salt, natural vanilla flavour), pecans.  May contain peanuts and other tree nuts.

My turtle is an entirely different species.  Each one of my turtles has two grams of fibre where there is zero fibre in Nestlé TURTLES Classic Recipe.  And with mine there’s not a “modified” anything in sight.  Yes, they require a little more work than opening up a box, but not much more.  And that’s a good thing as you are less likely to mass produce them and binge.

These treats contain brain-boosting antioxidants, fibre, phytoestrogens and healthy fats from dark chocolate, dates, oats, chickpeas and nuts.  Read on for more about the brain-healthy benefits of dark chocolate and dates.

And if you don’t feel like cooking, simply serve up a spread of some of your finest dark chocolate, clementines and a bowl of whole nuts and get some exercise in with a nutcracker.  Decorate your platter with a few sprigs of holiday evergreenery and you have a quick, nutritious and festive treat!

I generally don’t encourage a lot of sweets because even natural sugars are still sugar.  But at this time of year, everyone indulges.  So I hope you choose instead to enjoy these healthier treats (in moderation of course, just as you would alcohol) so you don’t do your head in…or your waistline.  😉

Happy holidays to you and yours and wishing you all a healthy New Year!

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Holly Jolly Brain Candy

Dark Chocolate Turtles (I prefer these to Nestlé’s version as I can use superior quality dark chocolate and they are more nutritious; have some fun playing with the variations suggested in the notes or create your own classic recipe)

No Bake Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies (nothing but yummy chocolate, oats, coconut, vanilla and sea salt; make sure your vanilla doesn’t contain water or your melted chocolate will seize when you add it)

Coconut Chickpea Blondies (chickpeas, almond butter, maple syrup and cinnamon star in these scrumptious squares, making them higher in protein and fibre than in sugar; and if you don’t tell about the chickpeas, no one will ever guess, trust me)

Pistachio Pomegranate Bark (back by popular demand from my 2018 Holiday Collection, the ruby red pomegranate seeds, green pistachios and dusting of shredded coconut adorning this dark chocolate bark make a very festive presentation; and pistachios are one of the most vitamin B6-rich foods around, important for regulating mood; if you buy them in-shell you are less likely to overindulge)

Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s collection of confections today (as well as each menu of the month to come)!  

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Food for Thought: How Best to Feed Your Brain

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Food for Thought Feeding Your BrainAs 2020 comes to a close, I have been thinking a lot about my brain.  Partly because who among us hasn’t felt like we were losing our minds at some point during this pandemic year?  And partly because it feels like my brain has been misbehaving of late.  I recently read that up to 80 percent of women going through menopause (this includes me) have the potential to develop neurological symptoms (and an increased risk of dementia).  Food for thought.  And enough to send me to my library to refresh my memory on how best to feed your brain.

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