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Monday, November 26, 2018

Nature's Touch Frozen Fruit: Product Review

I have written many a post about how important I think it is to use your freezer to maintain a healthy diet and to reduce food waste.

I don't mean buying processed frozen foods. I mean making food in big batches and freezing, freezing leftovers, etc.

The one type of frozen food I buy often is frozen fruit. I buy a few types of frozen veggies too (green beans, peas, Brussels sprouts, etc.) but I buy a ton of frozen fruit. I use it for compotes, salads, and baking, and Adam and the girls use it for smoothies and snacking. It is particularly useful in the summer when a lot of the fruit we eat is not in season, and since frozen fruit (and veggies) is always picked fresh and ripe, its very nutritious (the same is not true for canned produce).

So when Nature's Touch offered to send me samples of their products, I immediately jumped at the chance. They sent 2 of their newest products,

Grapes-To-Go!




and Strawberry-Rhubarb Harvest


The grapes come as 5 individual packages in a bag you can take for snacking. Unfortunately, 3 of the bags had opened and all the grapes were at the bottom of the bag. This feature, in my opinion, is unnecessary, especially now that we are more conscious of trying to reduce single use plastics. Its just as easy to grab a handful and put it in a reusable container to take on the go.

While some kids might love taking these bags for lunch, my weirdo kids don't like grapes. I like them in savoury dishes, so I will use them for that purpose. But in any case, the grapes were firm, sweet and juicy, yummy frozen or thawed.

I love the Strawberry-Rhubarb Harvest mix because its such a great combo and its so hard to find rhubarb in winter.

I used it to make a strawberry rhubarb balsamic salad dressing and tossed it over wilted kale, roasted beets and goat cheese. Delish!

The company sells products in Taiwan, Japan, Australia, US and Canada. Apparently, their head office is in Montreal, QC.

They source their produce from a variety of places but I don't think you can assume its local, if that's something that is a concern to you. Most of their products are organic and they are all non-GMO.

Do I recommend Nature's Touch products? Absolutely! I think its a great idea to keep your freezer stocked with healthy staples, and frozen produce is one of the best.

Disclosure: Nature's Touch sent me product samples to try but all opinions on this blog are my own.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Endure: Book Review


A few years ago I reviewed a book, Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights? written by a high school classmate of Adam, physiologist and journalist, Alex Hutchinson.

I very much liked that book so was eager to read his latest one, Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance. Adam purchased it and read it first and after raving about how well it is written, gave it to me to read.

This book is all about the factors that affect human physical performance. If you are an endurance athlete of any kind, either professionally or even just recreationally, than you must read this book. Even if you are not, in fact, even if you do no physical activity at all and the closest you get to sports is watching them on TV with beer in hand, you will still enjoy this book.

That is what I liked best about Endure: Alex manages to make the science interesting and proves himself as a story teller. He weaves in engaging tales about arctic explorers from a century ago, elite athletes from today, as well as his own personal experiences being a competitive runner.

The book has 3 parts:

Part 1: Mind and Muscle (dominate theories)
Part 2: Limits (pain, muscle, oxygen, heat, thirst, fuel)
Part 3: Limit Breakers (brain training, brain stimulation and belief)

If you think you know everything about physical limits, this book will likely prove you wrong. The theory about lactic acid build up that many people in the field still adhere to has been disproved. New research in this area is far more complicated and fascinating. I don't want to give away everything, but lets just say this book provides further evidence that mind and body are one. It is also good for debunking a lot of myths about products and practices that supposedly affect performance.

I also find it fascinating to read about some of these extreme endurance athletes, who run like 100 miles without rest, not sleeping for days. Its totally insane to me but also amazing at the same time.

Usually I reserve bed time reading for fiction as its my zone out/chill out time, but this book was such an easy read and so compelling, I read it before bed and found myself staying awake longer because I didn't want to put it down.

Read this book!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Seabuck Wonders Ultimate Hair, Skin & Nails: Product Review


I have reviewed a number of Seabuck Wonders products over the past few years and am generally very impressed with them. This one is no exception.

Ultimate Hair, Skin & Nails is a combination of Omega-7 from organic sea buckthorn berry oil and sea buckthorn seed oil plus biotin and vitamin E.

As someone with weak fingernails that frequently snag and tear, and hair that has never really recovered from having 2 children (less shiny, drier, cowlicks that never used to exist, and hair loss), I was eager to see if this supplement could make a difference.

Omega-7 is something I have tried before in their other products but I have never taken biotin.

Biotin naturally occurs in small amounts in bananas, eggs and milk. Biotin is an important component of enzymes in the body that break down fats, carbohydrates, and other substances in our body.

You can't really test for low biotin levels, but symptoms of a deficiency include thinning of the hair, red scaly rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth, depression, fatigue, hallucinations, and tingling of the arms and legs.

After a couple weeks of taking 2 softgels a day (the recommended amount) what I noticed is that my hair was not falling out as much. Lucky for me, my hair has not started thinning, so I guess I am growing hair at the same rate I am losing it. Nevertheless, my shedding is gross and annoying. I am regularly finding hairballs all over the house, and strands on my clothes and even in my food (YUCK!). I was suddenly able to brush my hair and flat iron it after my shower in the morning without having to sweep up hair afterwards. Wow!

Unfortunately, a few days after finishing the bottle, my hair started falling out more again. I gotta get me some more!

Apparently it takes up to a year to see any change in brittle nails so I can't speak to its efficacy for that.

So do I recommend this product? Absolutely! But always speak to your doctor or health care provider first before starting a new supplement to see if its appropriate for you.

Disclosure: I was sent this product to review but all opinions on this blog are my own.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Tex-Mex Diabetes Cooking: Book Review


As ya'll probably know, diabetes is a big freakin' problem in North America. Some people develop Type I, which is an autoimmune disease, during childhood, but you can develop this in adulthood too though rare (I have 2 clients who did).

Type II diabetes can be genetic but more often than not it is a lifestyle disease brought on by a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. While some people will have to eventually go on medication in order to manage it, others may be able to get in under control, or even into remission with lifestyle changes.

The American Diabetes Association recently published Tex Mex Diabetes Cooking, written by author Kelley Cleary Coffeen, PhD. The concept is excellent because North Americans, especially folks south of the border in the US, love their Tex Mex food!

Traditionally, Tex Mex can mean huge portions of rice, flour tortillas, meats, with everything smothered in cheese, guac and sour cream. But really, this cuisine can be lighter and very nutritious that what you find in the typical fast food version. Think lean meats, beans and fish and lots of veggies.

But if you feel that Tex Mex just isn't the same without all the high carb, high calorie goodies, than don't fret, you will still love the recipes in this book.

Coffeen clearly has a 'moderation' approach to nutrition. The book even has a section for cocktails if you can't imagine eating a taco without a Margarita.

First, I like that she starts in her introduction with  a discussion about the importance of drinking water and exercising for people with diabetes. Then, she has a section listing all the essential chili peppers, herbs and spices essential for Tex Mex cooking. Delicious food doesn't need sugar, salt and fat when you have so many other ways to add flavour! This section also includes general tips for cooking Tex Mex food for people with diabetes.

All recipes include prep and cooking times, serving size, choices/exchanges (starch, protein, etc.), and nutritional value per serving. There are only a few photos so don't expect visuals of each recipe.

Recipe sections include:

  • Bites and Starters
  • Salsas and More
  • Tortillas and Breads
  • Breakfast Favorites
  • Soups and Stews
  • Tostadas, Tacos, Tamales, Burritos, Enchiladas, and More
  • Savory Sides
  • Little Sweets

I am eager to try a number of the salsa and sauce recipes. Aside from the Mexican White Sauce, which uses mayo, most are light and healthy and sound super flavourful and delicious. Roasted Pineapple Salsa...OMG!!

Many recipes do have sour cream, avocados, and cheese, but use either reduced fat versions and/or lower quantities, so you will not feel deprived.

The homemade tortillas use whole wheat flour or part whole wheat (I would use ALL whole wheat and ditch the white altogether), or corn flour, which is a whole grain. The rice recipes offer the choice of brown or while. Go with brown!

There is a lot of variety in this recipe collection and definitely numerous dishes that will appeal to just about anyone.

Do I recommend this book? Absolutely. If you love Tex Mex food, and even if you do not have diabetes, but want to eat better, this book is a good bet.

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review but all opinions on this blog are my own.