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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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Rather Than Count Calories, Make Calories Count

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Don't Count Calories, Make Calories CountYou might not expect to hear this from a nutritionist, but I ask my clients not to count calories.  Why is that, you might wonder.  After all, isn’t consuming fewer calories than you expend the magic formula for weight loss?   Well, it isn’t quite that simple.  For one, it is very difficult to accurately measure the calories we consume and expend. But what’s more important is that counting calories puts the focus in the wrong place.  Because it isn’t so much the amount of calories in a food but what your body does with the food that counts.  And, in that respect, foods of equal calories are not necessarily equal.

Just as no two people are the same.  Two people eating exactly the same food will extract different caloric value from it.  This is due to the complex interaction between the food (and how it’s prepared or processed), the intricacies of our own body’s digestive system and processes and the composition of our gut microbes.  Even identical twins may metabolize the same foods somewhat differently, as their gut microbes may differ.  If all this intrigues you, you might enjoy reading this article.  So, rather than count calories, I’d rather focus on making calories count.

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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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Cultivating Resilience

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Cultivating ResilienceI want to chat a bit today about resilience. Or to use a sailing metaphor, since I am learning to sail, keeping on an even keel in rough waters.  It’s something we tend not to think much about until we realize it’s lacking.  But it is hugely important to focus on and cultivate resilience each and every day.  I chose the world cultivate carefully as it means to develop a quality but also to prepare ground for sowing or planting.  Cultivating is careful tending to facilitate growth.  And isn’t that what life is all about?

This summer certainly didn’t shape up to be what I expected.  Nor did spring for that matter and I imagine autumn will follow suit.  In fact, the biggest belly laugh I had lately came in response to one of those coronavirus jokes circulating on the internet.  I’m paraphrasing here but it was something along the lines of “anyone who was asked in 2015 ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ was wrong”.  How true!

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