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Ring in the New Year with Dry January

Classic Virgin SangriaThis may seem oxymoronic on what is traditionally a heavy drinking day but one of the best ways to ring in a happy and healthy new year is to stop drinking alcohol, or certainly to drink less.  Personally, I find it easier to not drink at all than to stop at one.  So, to use an apt holiday metaphor, I advocate quitting cold turkey* with Dry January.

We are most successful at making change where we can objectively measure improvement.  Declaring “I will drink less this year” will, in all likelihood, achieve nothing.  But if you give yourself an explicit goal and commit to tracking your alcohol consumption to see how you stack up, you will vastly improve your odds of success.  This is where Dry January comes in.

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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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Beans, Beans, They’re Good For Your Heart!

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Beans Beans They Are Good For Your HeartBeans, beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you… Well, you know the rhyme.  Their flatulent effect is the stuff of legend.  But not many folks are as aware of how heart-healthy beans are.  So I thought it high time to write a post on the benefits of beans for cardiovascular health.  And anyone who knows me knows why this is a topic near and dear to my heart.

With the recent demonization of carbohydrates and great swathes of the populace adopting the ketogenic diet, it seems we may be forgetting that carbs are not all created equal.  Yes, sugar, white rice, white flour, processed baked goods and their ilk should definitely be only occasional indulgences.  But as I said in the post for my Winter Warm Up Menu, vegetables and fruits are carbs as well, and these are about the only foods undisputed by experts to be absolutely healthy for you.

So drastically reducing all carbs is akin to throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.  I think the healthiest diet is a prudent, personalized mix of healthy carbs, protein and fats.  Think of them as three legs of a stool – without one leg, there is no balance.  And beans are undeniably in the healthy carb camp.

Surprisingly, when I advise my clients to add even a modicum of beans to their diet, I get more push-back than when I ask them to forgo their beloved crusty white baguettes.  Pretty much everyone complains about flatulence.  But here’s the thing.  As well as providing heart-healthy antioxidant power and fibre, the nutrient profile of beans is chock-full of energy promoting B-vitamins.  So beans really do help put the wind in your sails!  As for that other wind, there is a lot we can do about that, so I invite you to read on.

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