Monthly Archives: November 2012

The 80/20 Rule for Lifelong Nutrition

Recently, at All Canadian Fitness we hosted Andrea Thatcher who is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer.  Andrea is also the author of “In One End and Out the Other”, an intensive guide to everyday nutrition.  It was a really great evening of learning and discussion with some of our personal trainers.

Andrea is a passionate speaker and a strong advocate for natural nutrition.  She refers frequently to the genius of Mother Nature.  The more “natural” a food is, the better.  One of the things that I really liked about her message was that she told us right at the beginning that there will probably be times when she is speaking that we’ll probably be thinking that she’s full of ……!

Andrea has strong opinions and she likes to rattle cages.

As we spoke about designing healthy eating plans, the importance of “Certified” organic foods, stabilizing blood sugar and a whole bunch of other things, there was one bit of wisdom that really resonated with us.

Andrea’s most important tool to help anyone succeed at eating healthy for life is what she calls the 80/20 Rule.  80% of the time make your food choices from Certified Organic sources for meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and grains (specifically quinoa, oats or brown rice).  Avoid packaged, processed foods with preservatives, nitrates, colours etc…  The other 20% of the time, eat for pleasure, for social reasons, for convenience or to feed your “soul”.

How refreshing is that?  No hard and fast “all or nothing” rules.  Just do the absolute best you can “most” of the time and then enjoy yourself “some” of the time.  You can’t fail because perfection shouldn’t be the goal in the first place.

The really incredible part of the rule is that if you follow the 80/20 rule, it means that 73 days out of the year are part of your 20%!  5 out of 28 meals per week or 1 complete pleasure day per week.  It hardly seems restrictive when you think of it in those terms.  You can also think of the 80/20 rule as a way of looking at your plate.  80% of your plate should be made up of the “good stuff” and 20% of the “fun stuff”.

The key is to do this guilt free!  Feeling guilty after eating brings about a whole other set of issues that aren’t good for your body, your mind or your spirit.

“There is absolutely room in a healthy diet for convenience, boredom, habit or comfort.  Simply be aware of what you are eating, and strive to make healthy choices 80% of the time.”

….thank you Andrea!



Eat (or drink) Your Veggies

We all know that we need to get more vegetables in our diets.  It’s something we’ve been told since we were little kids.  Whether the advice is coming from national nutrition organizations or from your mom, the advice is sound.

Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, they are high in fibre and (unlike fruits), they are low in sugar.  It’s a no brainer.  You should be eating lots of veggies.  I even know a prominent nutritionist who teaches people that eating healthy can be as simple as following his “5 words formula” ie:  Eat Some Food, Mostly Vegetables.  If, every time you eat, you eat “mostly vegetables”, you’ll be well on your way to the ideal diet.

Having said all of the above, I am constantly shocked and amazed when I check client’s food journals and they’ve consumed ONE SINGLE serving of vegetables over two entire days!  An eating style like that will surely lead to problems over time (And may be the reason that they came to me in the first place!).

We’re busy, we don’t like cooking, we don’t want to think… blah, blah, blah.  EAT YOUR VEGGIES!!!  The more colour the better.  Iceberg lettuce and cucumbers are neutral at best.  They aren’t bad for you, but, they really don’t contribute much to your overall healthy eating plan.  Red peppers, yellow beans, green broccoli, DARK leafy spinach.  The more colour that a vegetable has (excepting cauliflower and cabbage), the more nutrients that veggie has.

Here are 5 ways that you can, painlessly and easily, get more vegetables in your diet.

1-  Add washed baby spinach to your sandwiches.  Put them in a wrap with your favourite meat and add a handful of leaves to your regular mixed salad.

2-  Blend kale or spinach into a protein smoothie along with some fruit.  The sugar and taste of the fruit make the spinach or kale virtually tasteless.  Try almond milk, frozen strawberries, a handful of kale and vanilla whey protein powder (Isagenix “Isalean Pro” is my favourite).

3-  Add frozen mixed vegetables into soups that you make or even healthy canned soups that you buy.  Same goes for stew.  Kick up the nutrient content while adding zero work.

4-  Sautee mushrooms, peppers and onions before adding scrambled eggs to your frying pan to make a really “fancy” omelette worthy of Sunday brunch.

5-  If you are a “pepperoni pizza” person, experiment with at least one vegetable topping each time you order. Pizza can be complete junk food (pepperoni only on white flour crust) or can actually be very healthy (all vegetable toppings on thin whole wheat or muti-grain crust).  You don’t have to go all the way at once, just start moving in the direction of “better”.

The Day After Halloween

It’s the day after Halloween!  Did you eat too many “mini” chocolate bars?  Are you bloated from all of the salt in the chips that you ate?  If you are, you’re not alone.  Lots of people give in (and that’s okay).  The right thing, NOW,  is not too panic.  Don’t feel like you have to purge or cleanse or start a crazy fad diet.
Just get back to doing the right things.
Eat in a way that supports metabolism and stable blood sugar.  Drink water, eat your vegetables and make sure that you’re eating enough protein.
Here’s an example of a day of eating for me.  You’ll, obviously, adjust based on your activity, body weight and preferences.  Essentially, I try to eat every 3 to 3 1/2 hours and consume protein with vegetables or fruit every time that I eat.  Starches sort of take care of themselves without much thought.  See if you can come up with a similar outline for yourself as a “perfect day” template!
4:35am-  Oatmeal with maple syrup, spoonful of peanut butter.  Coffee.  1 scoop of Ionix (from Isagenix) Multi vitamin/ anti-oxidant powder with water.
7:30am-  Isagenix- Isalean Chocolate Shake with 1 banana.
10:30am-  Salmon sandwich with green pepper strips on whole wheat.  Yogourt.  Green apple.  Coffee.
1:30pm-  Vegetable soup.  Homemade protein bar from Goodness Me!
5pm-  Roast chicken from the grocery store.  Whole wheat baguette with real butter.  Mixed salad with homemade olive oil dressing.  Sliced peaches.
8:30pm-  Kashi Go Lean high protein cereal with 1% milk.