Wednesday, July 31, 2013


We continue to enjoy the beautiful Okanagan summer. It has been hot! Salads have been the centre of most meals for weeks now, and with so many different ways to make a salad, we aren't bored yet. It seems true that the more you eat, the more you crave. During my parents visit, I ate a lot less salad, and enjoyed baking, coffees, and take out for their brief visit. When they left, I definitely craved those things for a few days! We've settled back into our regular pattern of eating for the most part, and I'm feeling great.

This past weekend we only had a few sour cherries to process. We froze several bags and dried a bunch. The dried, tart cherries are amazing! It seems very few people know what to do with sour cherries, so if you find someone offering them up, say yes! (and call me, if you don't want to process them yourself!) They make better pies, crisps and cobblers than sweet cherries do, and if you have access to a dehydrator, dry as many as you can.

Nutritionally, both sweet and tart cherries are full of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals. Tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, the body's sleep hormone. Research finds that drinking tart cherry juice before bed helps you have a more restful sleep. They've also found tart cherry juice reduces post workout muscle inflammation, reduces uric acid and inflammation of gout, and possibly activates fat burning molecules.

Between training, beach suppers, work and family, summer is busy. But so worth it! I'll clean the house when fall comes! We have had about half our meals at the water's edge since the heat wave began. We pack healthy salads, fruit, tofu sandwiches or bean and nut balls. The kids eat more than at the table and we all feel refreshed when it's time to come home for bed. Happy Summer!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A quick update!

It's been busy here! Fruit season is upon us. We picked two huge bags of apricots early last week. I am now experimenting with sugarless canning and it seems to be going well. If my Home Economics roots serve me well, we will enjoy pure fruit preserves all winter long! Saturday we got cherries too, and with a new, faster pitter, a step up from the hand held, a few hours later most were frozen and processed. I also made a sugar free cherry preserve.

Sunday, my 6 year old was in the SunRype Kids Triathlon. He swam 25 m, Biked 1.5 km and ran 500m. It was one of the cutest events I've ever been to! Next year they both want to do it.

I also invented a raw chocolate chip cookie recipe. It needs a little refining to blog it, measurements weren't too precise. I'll make them again next week and share the recipe. But they were great!

I'm heading camping with the little boys for a night, the bag full of groceries does not scream dietitian!! I'll be supplementing the white hot dog buns, soy dogs, S'mores and chips with cherries, coleslaw and carrot sticks. It's one night, we should be okay.

More to come, I haven't forgotten the planned post on sweeteners and I'll likely do one on fats. Also, just got Michael Pollan's book "Cooked", and when I read a book, everyone around me is also "reading" the book. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

A healthy bar

It has been a busy week! We had my parents and neice and nephew visiting from Winnipeg. And my brother/client was here briefly before heading to Oregon to run the Mount Hood 50, Ultra event. It's a 50 mile race. He stuck to the pre-race carb loading plan i developed and felt strong during his event.

My week of training has been nothing in comparison! But I still feel like I'm training! My "easy" run for the week was on the flat lakeside in Peachland. I pushed my heavy 4 year old, while my speedy 6 year old biked ahead! After, we played at the playground and had a nice dip in the clear waters!

My "magic mile" was on a makeshift track at the Boys and Girls Club soccer pitch. Bumpy and not quite 400 metres around, it wasn't the fastest I've ever run! I warmed up with my brother, and my parents were here to babysit, so that was nice.

Sunday's long run was 800m repeats. I like it, just need to make the workout a little longer to get more miles in. I finished with a swim, and I can't get enough of that.

Again, all my workouts were an hour or less. I packed a recovery smoothie for after the Peachland run, only because I knew I wouldn't be anywhere near a kitchen afterwards. Otherwise, no special nutrition was required this week. Particularly because company for me means coffee stops and second breakfasts!

Here's a great bar I developed. Great pre/post workout, healthy and delicious.

Kelly's Healthy Bars:

1 cup chocolate chips, melted
1 cup dates, soaked overnight and pureed with about 1/4 cup of the soak water
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans (or cashews, or more pumpkin seeds or whatever!)

Melt chocolate chips, add date puree and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Spread in a 9x9 parchment lined pan and refridgerate for an hour or more before cutting into squares.

Monday, July 8, 2013

My weekend and an amazing supper

Another hot, beautiful weekend in the Okanagan! I love it here!

Sunday was long run day again. I had an 8 mile/13 km run scheduled. It was not crazy sunny when I was leaving (I did try leave earlier, but the little boys found me before I left and delayed departure.) After a quick breakfast (rolled oats, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, soy milk, agave, cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate chips, raisins and fresh cherries! Yum!), I managed to get out around 7:30.

Originally I had planned to drive down to the water front and run there, to reward myself with a dip after the run. But it seemed cloudy and cooler, so I just ran from home. 6.5 km down hill, followed by 6.5 km back up hill- filled with regret that there was no lake at the end of the run! Halfway through I had a gel- the run was over an hour. And I drank a slightly watered down sports drink, 500 ml, just because I'm very thirsty.

Getting home, we decided coffee and fresh cinnamon rolls on the balcony were in order. So for my immediate recovery food, I had a spoonful of peanut butter and finished my sports drink while I baked up the rolls. (recipe here:

I also had an almond, cherry, peach, Vega smoothie. And for supper, delicious "Chickpea Pumpkin Seed Burgers", from Dreena Burton, homemade buns, giant salad, snow peas and roasted salad turnips (why not? Oil, salt, garlic, red onion and diced, white salad turnips). I plan to do an entire post on radishes, turnips and other forgotten vegetable gems! And I'm just wrapping up research on a post on sugars and sweetners. I could probably research it for life, but I'll stick to a couple of days of reserach and give you some food for thought!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

This week in half marathon training

Another week of training is under my belt, and I'm starting to feel like I'm training. This past weekend had me doing 800 metre repeats, something I've never done before. And I liked it!

As far as fuelling my training, nothing special was really required. All my workouts were under an hour, and none of them were less than 8 hours apart, so glycogen restoring wasn't really a concern. Some of my workouts were also timed with meals, so the meal can serve as recovery.

It has me thinking, so much of what we read on nutrition for training and exercise is really geared towards elite athletes. In an average person, working out for an hour a day does not require any special nutrition strategies. It is very individualized, which is why it's great to talk to a dietitian. When I see somebody complete a 45 minute workout and hour before lunch and their next workout is 2 days away, they don't need a 400 calorie protein shake right after the workout. If you've had a full breakfast, and your workout follows closely, but is only an hour long and you take a day off between workouts, you don't need a special snack for that workout. If lunch is 4 hours away, you may want something regardless, because getting too hungry may lead to less healthy choices, but in terms of glycogen restoration, you don't need to do anything special. Yes, glycogen restoration is accelerated in the first hour. But 24 hours later, it's a wash. This info on glycogen restoration is great for tournaments, people doing multiple sessions in a day, or those with a high training volume and daily workouts. For the rest of us, there's a chance it's interfering with our weight loss goals.

For me, today I ran 40 minutes after breakfast. I knew I was spending the rest of the day at the beach and that lunch was several hours away, so I had a smoothie on the way to the beach. It helped me play with my kids for a bit before I needed my lunch. And I know my body, I'm hungrier in the morning. The other day, I had a 40 minute run in the morning, but nothing scheduled the next day, so I had nothing until lunch and I was fine. Get to know your body and what helps you feel best, talk to a dietitian about your training schedule and goals. There is no single answer to a training diet.

What are we supposed to do??

As a dietitian, particularly one in private practice, I spend a large part of my day reading articles. Those in the popular press and peer reviewed, scientific journal articles. The goal is that when people ask me about a diet or a study, I'll know what they're talking about, and I'll be able to back it up or dispute it with solid science.

In the last week, the following topics have come across my desk, all backed by a scientific study: Skipping breakfast won't make you fat, Eating breakfast will keep you slim, Three meals a day is best for health, 6 mini meals a day is best for health, intermittent fasting will keep you slim, frequent meals charges up your metabolism... So what are you supposed to do??

If you look at most of these studies, the bottom line is always that if you eat fewer calories then you burn, you'll lose weight. If three meals fits into your schedule, then have three well planned meals a day. If you'd prefer 5 or 6 mini meals, then plan that and have snacks prepared. The problem people run into is when their meals are unplanned, whether it is an unplanned snack or an unplanned stop for fast food at 6:00 because you got too hungry and didn't know what was for supper. Generally, this leads to overeating, cravings for less healthy foods and lower nutrient intakes. (Not too many people stand starving in front of the fridge and grab a bunch of vegetables to devour mindlessly).

Plan your day, eat mindfully, eat slowly, choose foods you enjoy.. Follow a pattern of eating you can sustain for life, don't diet. And eat more vegetables and fruit.