Saturday, July 31, 2010

Physical Fitness

You may feel you've been doing great with weight loss so far especially all without a vigorous workout plan in place, and wonder why you should have to introduce a fitness program at this time. I'll tell you why. So far you've learned a lot about food especial the benefits of a clean diet and all of the changes you've made have already brought you great results, you are sleeping better, losing weight and best of all feeling better about yourself.
Now nourishing your body of course is vital but so is keeping up your strength and vitality through physical activity.
So before we begin tomorrow. I need you to start a new page in your log and do the following assignment. See you tomorrow!

Assignment: Target Heart Rate (THR)
It's important to know your THR and the calculation is easy.
220 - your age= your target heart rate
Make a note of that number. It is your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
Then multiply your (MHR) 0.6 for your lowest range on the scale (note this number in your log).
Next multiple your MHR by 0.8 (or 0.9 if you are pretty fit)  to get the highest range on your work out scale, also make a note of this number in your log. Between these last two numbers is the zone in which you want to work.
If you are less fit you should start near the bottom end of the zone. Don't worry there are still many benefits to be gained a this end of the scale!

Friday, July 30, 2010


Where to begin when there is so much to say?
I know when I walk into a gym to meet a client the amount of people I see on the treadmills that spend an entire hour on it never cease to amaze me! ...and I don't mean that in a good way.
I'm not saying that cardio is dead. After all I am a Certified Zumba Instructor and have taught Zumba classes back to back. I think a warm up on the treadmill before your work out is great.
...but those of you who use it as your only form of working out 5 days a week are really wasting your time and money on your gym membership.
If you are doing it and not losing weight or just maintaining there is a reason for that.
Your body can quickly adapt to what you do on a daily basis on a treadmill and plateau if you don't challenge yourself. Too much cardio can also cause overuse and injury to joints. Plus there is so many better ways to maximize your time in the gym! That hour you spend on the treadmill in a nice slow pace, telling yourself that you are losing so much  fat and building beautiful leg muscles as you have your iPod playing in your ears or are watching TV is a myth.
That much cardio on a treadmill is a waste of time and you could be reaping so many more rewards in that hour doing other things in the gym like lifting weights. 
Cardio is not necessary for losing weight but certainly can help you to. It also is good for your heart. Yet what I am talking about is the craziness I often see at the gym. Girls chit-chatting with each other comparing manicures as they 'work-out' on the treadmill. The ones who are furiously texting away as they go for their slow 'run' on the treadmill. Then get off wiping away the invisible sweat into their towels and then I am sure head off to Starbucks before they go shopping too.
If you want to continue burning even when you leave the gym then start a weight training program! Don't be intimidated by the weights or those using them. In just the first few weeks of strength training you can increase your muscular strength 50%! You won't get that on a treadmill!
Muscles burn more fat! So even after you leave the gym you are still burning body fat even at rest.So what am I saying? That lifting weights gives you a metabolic spike for approximately an hour after a workout because your body is trying hard to help your muscles recover. That means you can burn an additional 25% of the calories you just did at the gym at home!  The more muscle you have the more calories you'll burn without a change to your diet!
The physical results are better when you lift weights, but if you still want your cardio then do it smart.
Workout within your target heart rate (220 - your age= Max heart rate. Then stay within 60-85% keeping your heart rate in mind).
Know the right amount to do. Too much can cause joint damage or cause you to lose muscle.
I always say, you can't flex cardio!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

When Healthy Food is Really Junk Food

As a Fitness Professional let me tell you a secret as to why you are still hanging on to a few pounds.

Normally prior to meeting with clients or early in our training stages I have them keep a food log for me to get an idea of what their diet and lifestyle is like.

A certain percentage of them will brag to me about how they eat a very healthy diet and are excited to show me their food journals.

Well guess what? Most of those vary ones are not eating a healthy diet and I'll tell you why.

I am actually going to use a page from Ryan D.'s food log. It's a typical entry in his log and he's fine with me sharing this with you since he's come a long way from these "healthy" days. For those of you who know the Ryan I am talking about, he's a big guy, with a big appetite, and often people approach him in the gym for advice simply because of his physique.

3 egg whites, scrambled
2 slices of toast (when asked this was white bread)
Orange juice

Kelloggs All Bran Bar or Nutri-grain bar

Low Fat wheat crust pepperoni pizza (From Frozen) or 2 Whoppers

Salad (prepackaged)
Ranch dressing
Tim Horton's large double-double

BBQ'd steak
Potato with melted cheese

Cap'n Crunch Cereal with skim milk

Let's look at the good things on this list. Ryan was eating many meals throughout the day which is great. He was also having a big breakfast. Now the thought of eating eggs makes me ill, but this was Ryan's favourite form of morning protein. So after giving him my thoughts on why I thought he shouldn't eat eggs, I went on to tell him if he was going to continue eating eggs that he was throwing away the main protein (the yokes) by eating only the whites. His reason for tossing the yokes was for cholesterol reasons. When he learned that is where all the nutrients were and asked why he was afraid of cholesterol from eggs but not the cholesterol from chicken (and other meats) he was left with a lot to think about.

Next let's look at the granola bars. This is another area that puts people in a false sense of belief that they are eating healthy. These sugary snacks are full of UNhealthy ingredients! Take a look at the filling: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP, BLUEBERRY PUREE CONCENTRATE, GLYCERIN, SUGAR, WATER, SODIUM ALGINATE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, METHYLCELLULOSE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, MALIC ACID, RED #40, BLUE #1.
This is just the filling! The ingredients list in this product and in most of his foods were incredibly long and unhealthy!
It's hard when foods are sold to us as a health food but are really nothing more than glorified junk food. Especially when one is trying to eat better and lose weight. So again I encourage you to read the labels and not to believe the hype. Just because you are told it's good for you doesn't mean that it is. Just as foods with various health check labels. People will see the symbol and believe they are being told the truth that these foods are great for you. Yet I've seen them on the most sugary, fatty foods out there! Read your labels, not the pretty packaging or what the commercials have promoted.

His lunch again was a long list of foods he couldn't even pronounce or identify. Frozen pizzas can be some of the worst stuff out there for you. You are so much better off to make your own with fresh veggies on top.

Look over his day he also consumed more coffee than he needed in his diet, and coffee at nigh is never a good thing.

As bodybuilder he needed to clean up his diet and have better sources of protein. He also needed bigger better meals. Now this is another thread entirely and I don't want to get off topic. I do want to point out that certain foods that are sold to you on the premise that they are health foods and are helping you get fit and stay healthy are not always true.

Ryan believed that granola bars were good for him and a great snack on the go. That his low fat frozen pizzas were healthy. That his Burger King burgers were great because they were 'flame broiled' and not fried. The amounts caffeine were keeping him pumped up and fueled. I thought it was cute that here there was this big body builder munching on Cap'n Crunch cereal for a night time snack. However, the ingredients in that was sugar, more sugar, food dyes, and preservatives. Again sold as a health food because the vitamins and minerals it contains along with corn.

 I am thrilled to say Ryan's diet has come a long way! He feels better and his energy level  has increased from healthy foods instead of coffee, which he now only has in the morning. He makes his own granola bars once a month from whole grains, nuts and seeds along with protein powder which all his gym friends love. Ryan D.also makes his own pizzas and salads now. Substituting his high fat ranch dressing with a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar mix.

He still likes his evening cereal in front of  the TV but now is enjoying healthy cereals with almond milk.
Way to go Ryan, and thanks for letting us use you in this thread!!

Remember because it says healthy on the label doesn't mean it's not junk!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Questions & Answers III

Q: I am having a hard time getting more fibre into my diet. How can I increase my intake?

A: You are not alone. I find a lot of people often overlook fibre in their diet and are uncertain of sources and how to increase. Also, many don't find most fibrous foods to be tasty. So here are a few suggestions:
1. Eat foods with higher sources of fibre to meet your requirements
2. Start your day with fiver. I would recommend oatmeal. If you find summer too hot to eat this for breakfast there are also many cold cereals that are high in fiber.
3. Toss fibre into a shake or smoothie to take on the go

Q: What do you think about hemp protein?
A:  Hemp protein is a great alkaline forming food to add to your diet! It contains all the amino acids and is easy to digest! It's also a complete protein with Omega 3 & 6 so I say go for it! It's a staple in my home.

Q: This isn't really a questions but I'll try to make it one to see if you will post a reply. I don't agree with you about plant protein. I think meat as a source of protein is superior and that you say plant protein is simply because you are vegetarian.So to make this a question other than saving the animals why would plant protein be better? (I do hope you will publish this one)

A: I know that less than 5% of Canadians are vegan so it's hard for the greater population raised on meat to believe that it isn't the best source of protein. That being said worldwide health experts are slowly starting to see the benefits of plant protein and are starting to recommend it as a source for a healthy diet. This even includes the World Health Organization (WHO).
With out giving reasons for the animals how about reasons for health? Often when people are diagnosed with cancer their doctor recommendations are to cut out meat (and dairy) and introduce other sources of protein (plant). Plant based proteins help prevent cancer, obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other illness.
I will send you some informative links privately as to many other reasons plant protein is superior. Thank you for making your opinion a question.

Q: How do I get on your list for phone consults? I'm not sure I understand how that works.

A: Hi! I was going to post more information on this tomorrow but I'll just post it here in reply to your question.
When the post comes out on August 1 all you need to do is send me an email with the title of the post (this way you can't send an email earlier than when it's posted to be one of the first five) and a few lines as to why you should get the free phone consultations. It's as simple as that.
Good luck!

Remember August 1st is the beginning of our fitness journey and blog entries will no longer be on a daily basis.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ten Tips to Trim the Fat

If you are trying to lose weight here are some tips you may want to implement in your life.

1. Consume 5-6  meals a day. Yes you heard right! This will help boost your body's metabolic rate.

2. Reduce your sugar consumption

3. Hire a personal Trainer

4. Introduce a cardio work out at least 3 times a week of at least 30 minutes each.

5.  Drinks lots of water

6. Get a good night's sleep

7. Exercise portion control on your plate

8. Set realistic goals

9. Increase fibre and decrease/avoid trans fats

10. Keep a food and exercise journal

We have another Question & Answer post coming soon so again feel free to submit  your questions!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A New Section for Your Log

You have been keeping many records in your log (food, sleep, feelings) and good for you!

Now I need you to keep one more. A fitness log.
I know you will probably think this is one more hassle from me that you don't want but it can really help you keep on track!
There are so many benefits to keeping a work out log but one of the best is it can be a wonderful confidence booster! You will be able to look back and see your progress! You'll be able to see how far you've come.
Also in keeping a fitness journal you'll think twice about skipping a work out when you know you'll have nothing to report as an entry that day.
We start on August 1 and here is how you might want as the headers at the top of a basic fitness log:
So get ready to start your log!
You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I'll be taking you through some training in a little over a week.

I want to familiarize you with a few simple terms.

First, I want to address a couple of emails I received in case it applies to more of you planning on following the program. I know a couple of you are planning on joining the gym though this is not a necessary step at all to do this work out as I have mentioned previously.

Still for the two that I know are definitely joining as per emails I want to reinforce what I said to you privately here for others, and that is, DON'T be intimidated by the gym environment or worried by those working out around you.

I want you to focus on yourself and your goals that brought you there. chances are no one is really watching you anyhow as they are busy with their own program.

The first set of terminology I want you to be familiar with is "sets" and "reps".


a 'rep' is simply short for repetition. It will refer to the amount of times you lift the weight once.


a 'set' is the number of reps you perform in a row.

An example would be if you lift a weight 15 times, then take a break, then repeat this again 15 times, you will have just completed 2 'sets' of 15 'reps'.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Food Addictions

Are you addicted to food? Do you eat under stress? Do you feel comfort from food? Maybe you eat when not hungry, or feel your self-esteem is linked to your weight? Do you eat in secret or feel guilty after you eat? What about when you are full, if there is still food on your plate is it hard for you to push it away?

Food addictions and emotional eating can be real problems. Especially if you are depressed or overweight and constantly turn to food for comfort. After all food doesn't judge you and it's always there for you. In return food addicts make excuses for their behaviour. "I had a hard day I deserve it" "Well just one piece everyone else is having some"

So how do you break the habit and begin to cure yourself? Unhealthy eating habits can be hard to break.

First thing is to recognize that you are an emotional eater.

Second, try to understand your relationship with food. Often people need help with this step by seeking professional help. Especially if this eating disorder stems form something in your childhood.

A third thing I would recommend is spotting the triggers that send you into an unhealthy eating spiral. This way you can help manage your stress in better ways.

Visualize yourself eating healthy and eat regular satisfying meals. Best of all try not to store the bad foods that are your temptations.

Journal your feeling and habits around food, including the excuses you make to eat. Remember that food is the number one mood altering substance! If you are addicted to food, often eating doesn't make you feel better, and if you look back on what you ate and it wasn't healthy you may even feel guilty which could further lead to more eating. It can be a vicious cycle. So if you find yourself in this group please let someone know and seek help.
 Food should be enjoyable , but never an unhealthy addiction.

Friday, July 23, 2010


As a mom of two I know how important sleep is and how out of sorts one can feel when you don't get enough. ...but how much sleep is enough?
The standard recommendation is at least 8 hours, though i do believe some of us, myself included, could do with a lot more.
Failing to get enough sleep leads to aging, fatigue, shortened life span, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and the list goes on.
I'm not a fan of legal drugs so I'll share with you a few natural wonders that can help you catch a few zzzz's.

  • Chamomile tea
  • A warm bath
  • Valerian root
  • A spritz of lavender to your pillow

What to Avoid:
  • Here I am again saying to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugar as they all interfere with sleep.
  • Naps during the day
  • Try not to have a TV or computer in the bedroom

Other things you may want to try include:
  • Yoga
  • Meditation and relaxation techniques
  • Sleeping in  a dark room

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Let's Get Ready!

As you know the physical can be as important as the nutritional in achieving your goals.

So far most of our focus has been on diet, again that is because I truly believe a lot of your goals can be reached just by making the changes to what you eat and how eat.

In August we are going to begin focusing more on your work-outs.

So here are a few things you may want to purchase if you don't already have them.

-Weights (2.5, 5 or 10 pounds all depending on your strength)
-Exercise bands
-Yoga mat
-Comfy work out clothes
-Cross trainers

Now most of the exercises I'll be assigning you will be using your body weight. I am hoping that you can do these physical assignments without thinking you need to go to the gym or need to build one in your home.

In fact if you are not doing these exercises indoors you'll be doing them with me outdoors! You'll be learning to play again as we return to the park! Monkey bars make great chin up bars, benches are great steppers, and the hills are great for cardio!

So get ready, August is almost here!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Go Green!


Today I want you to try going green with a healthy green smoothie.

It can be all fruit (green apples, kiwi, pears, honeydew, etc.) or all veggies (Kale, spinach, romaine, etc. ) or a combination of the two.

Try adding some green herbs, liquids, or plants to spice it up like mint, chlorophyll, or basil.

Do your best to keep it all green today. That means no bananas, no mango, nothing unless it's green with the exception of water or ice.

Our bodies need the many nutrients found in green foods to thrive so pump up your system with one today and feel free to share what kind you had!

I think I'll make mine a spinach, kale, kiwi, honeydew and apple smoothie with chocolate mint from the garden!

There are so many benefits to drinking your fruits and veggies!
Go green!

That's your challenge for today.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Who Do You Want To Be?

Today you will begin becoming the person you want to be!
Do you need to gain weight? Lose weight? Build muscle?

What's holding you back from achieving your goals?

Go back to the page in your journal where you wrote about the future you. The one that starts now.

What changes do you need to make to be that person?
Is it simple as a haircut or a little more complicated like landing your dream job?

Maybe you are afraid to share your goals and achievements? If so why? If not how will you combat negative influences en route to becoming that person? How will you deal with people who tell you that your dreams are silly or unattainable?

Know you are capable!
See the unlimited possibilities of your future!

Pay attention to what matters to you on this path to the new you. Use positive self talk and challenge your boundaries.


Surround yourself with people who are supportive and link up with a buddy also following this program for encouragement.

Today you have a couple of assignments and I know you are ready for them.

Pull out your journal and complete the following:

Assignment #1

List 5 things you'd like to learn more about. Then feed your curiosity and learn something new.

Assignment #2

I want you to start paying attention to the quality of your life.

How do you show yourself you care?

Do you accept yourself as you are now in order to move forward to the new you?

What are you doing to create and live the life you dream of and want?


Take a walk alone with your thoughts and nature now that you've completed the above assignments.

I want you to use your willpower. I want you to believe in yourself! ...because I do!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Questions & Answers II

Here it is and looks like Q & A's might be a regular
posting as I couldn't get to all the questions you submitted. Most of these are your questions just "cut" and "pasted" without your names.

Q: Hi Sonia! I just started following your blog and love it! I'm a male over 40 and so is my waist. Will this work out starting in August help me trim my waist line down as well? I've lost 3 pounds already just by cutting down my sugar and red meat. I hope to drop another 30.

A: I like your sense of humour about it. If you've been following the blog and make the lifestyle changes then you are already seeing a difference in your weight (congrats on the 3 pounds!) and waist. Without knowing your personal details I can't say or advise that 30 more pounds will happen or is needed but the blog is about safely achieving your goals and if that is what your body needs we can certainly do it!

Q: Why all the free content? No one does this! I'm not complaining because it helps me, but why?

A: I've answered this question a few times already on Facebook and the simple answer is, it helps people. All I want to do it help people achieve their goals. If a free content blog does it, why not?

Q: How do i test to see if I am too acidosis or alkalosis?

A: Your doctor can test your blood or cells for this. If that's not possible you can look at doing a self urine or saliva test (though not the most accurate reading). If you are going to do a urine test I suggest first pee of the morning just as a woman would do for the best pregnancy test results. pH test strips can often be purchased at drugstores or health food stores.

Q: How will you be doing the fitness part of this? Or how will we be doing it?

A: I hope in the near future to be able to show you the exercises by creating videos and uploading them for you, but right now as I am on the mend it's just not possible. So for now the best I can do is give you a written description of the activity or exercise and hopefully add a few pictures.

Q: In one of your posts "Dairy Vs. Calcium" you are against cow's milk. What if it's raw organic unpasteurized milk?

A: I think no matter what type of cow's milk it is a very poor and unnecessary source of calcium for your body. I don't think it's natural in this day and age despite the many commercials saying otherwise. I'd suggest checking out a few sites that show how the milk is attained. What happens to the cow and just how natural that is for the cow.
I've attached a link to a recent article on milk and the myth of the happy cow. I hope you take some time to read it and watch the video.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sonia's 10 Tips for a Healthy Happy Life

1. Eat a wide variety of healthy fresh whole foods

2. Drink lots of water and get lots of sleep

3. Surround yourself with positive friends & family

4. Avoid processed, refined, artificial foods

5. Get spiritual and meditate

6. Eliminate or reduce sugar and caffeine

7. Get out doors

8. Laugh

9. Avoid foods you know your body is sensitive to

10. Do what you love and make others happy too!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Why I Talk About Being Alkaline

From the emails I've been getting this is obviously a new concept to many,and I am still being asked why this is important and if I can talk a bit more about it.

I talk about it in my blog about fertility ( and I will talk about it here, because it is that important.

Too much acid is extremely damaging to the body in so many ways. You can create acidic blood by your diet, medication, your lifestyle, etc.

So what is the range you want to stay in? Well it's actually a very narrow one on the pH scale. Between 7.35-7.45. Though you may see other ranges, this is the healthiest range to fall within. Being above or below this range can give you disease, cause infertility, and cause you to gain weight. In fact many studies show that cancer can't exist in an alkaline body!

Next you ask how do we get within this range. The best way and easiest way is with an alkalizing diet or eating alkalizing foods.

Of course these will be whole grains, veggies, especially the dark leafy ones, legumes, and fruits like bananas and cantaloupe (both in season). The highest acid forming foods are meat, dairy, and sugar.

All this being said it is not just our diet that can cause our bodies to be out of balance when it comes to pH levels. Your mood, personality, even culture can cause you to be too acidic or even alkaline.
For example if you are always angry or living in fear, your body becomes acidic. If you are happy and at peace you become more alkaline.

Fitness too plays a part. If you practice mindful fitness like yoga and t'ai chi this helps relax your body and again balances the pH levels.

We want to have healthy blood, healthy tissues all resulting in healthy bodies.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Two Weeks To Go!

In another two weeks we will start the physical component. Free phone consultations will be offered to the first 5 that contact me on Facebook when we launch the physical on August 1. Others can also get in on the phone consults at a discounted rate.
How are you doing with your activities and food?
If you've been following my recommendations to date, I am sure you've lost anywhere between 5-10 pounds and are feeling great!
If you haven't already you may want to take your before picture now.


Your new challenge will be to work in a salad a day for the next week.
Do not load it up with salad dressing please!

Feel free to post what you've put in it or even to upload pictures of your salads!

We've got another question and answer post coming up so feel free to continue sending me your questions and I'll try to tackle as many as I can.

Now is also a good time to order Vega off of the blog home page. It's on sale and for those who want a great fitness recovery drink, energy drink or protein shake it's the place to go. Order now and have it in time for when we begin our work-out posts!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Top Foods

Okay here we go, in response to your many emails about the foods I think you should have in your home right now, the following are either in season or readily available at your local outdoor or farmer's market.

-Summer Squash

Tastier and fresher now that they are in season or available go crazy because these foods are great for you! Incorporate them into salads, smoothies, stir fry or on the grill or munch on them just as they are!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010


How are you doing with breakfast? Are you making it a large meal in your day?

At a loss of what you should have for breakfast? This morning I had, oatmeal, fresh fruit, a smoothie, with Ezekiel bread toasted with almond butter. I'm set!

Breakfast should be one of your largest meals of the day because it's the longest period of time your body has gone without food. Likely you've not eaten for 8-12 hours after waking up and your body needs to refuel and get it's energy for the day.

I'm still getting emails requesting breakfast recipes so here is one more! I've done my best to give you measurements as you know I cook by eye and not by measuring cups and spoons.

Morning Crepes:

2 egg replacers

1 c. Soy milk or other non-dairy milk

1/3 c. water

1 c. flour

2Tbsp. sweetener

1 Tsp. vanilla

2 Tbsp vegan margarine

Whip in a mixing bowl, pour thinly into a hot pan. Keep an eye on these as they don't take long to cook! Then fill with your favourite fruit, or sauteed veggies. This is also a great recipe for dessert you can fill with sliced bananas and drizzle with warm vegan chocolate!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Negative Self-Talk

How much better would your life be without the negative self-talk? This is something we examine in the self-esteem portion of the MBC Challenge (

What do you believe is true about yourself?

You come into the work without these issues and low self-esteem, so where did they develop? Childhood? TV and media? High School? A negative relationship?

Surely however long it has been you don't want to continue this pattern for the rest of your life.

So how do you change your inner dialogue? How do you stop your ego from controlling you?
What makes you feel fulfilled inside? You've already created a list that describes you in a positive light. However, for many that is not enough.

Have you found your mission and purpose in life? Are you happy with your job, your relationship, your life? If not, what needs to change?
Who would you be without the negative self-talk? Who do you want to be?


Today I want you to write a letter to yourself about how great you are, all the things you've accomplished and still want to do.

Accept who you are in mind body and soul. Remember you are always growing and becoming aware of who you are supposed to be.

Until tomorrow,


Monday, July 12, 2010

Eating Out

A few people have emailed about eating out in Winnipeg and what my favourite restaurants are. A friendly website for finding vegetarian/vegan restaurants is:

In Winnipeg some of my top 3 favourite veggie friendly restaurants are:

Affinity Vegetarian Garden

Delicious Vegetarian Restaurant

East India Company

On the blog home page you will find a full list of restaurants that I have personally enjoyed both within Canada and Internationally. This by no means comes close to the complete list and keep checking back as I continue to update it.

Please feel free to share your favourite veggie restaurants with us in the comment section following this post.


Sunday, July 11, 2010


What is a vegan? What is a vegetarian? How are they similar or different?

What about a flexitarian?

There are so many types of Veggies out there and you will find most veggies will define for themselves what their being vegan or vegetarian means to them, but these are the most common definitions:


The strictest of all 'veggie' diets.

This is one who eats no animals or animal products.

Many take this diet into a lifestyle and philosophy and also do not wear animal products such as fur or leather and are animal advocates.


One who does not eat animals. No meat, fish, flesh. They may eat eggs and/or dairy.

Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian:

One who does not eat animals but will consume egg and dairy products.

Pesco-Vegetarian/ Pescatarian:

One who includes fish in their otherwise animal free diet.


One who eats meat on occasion but tries to maintain a vegetarian diet and lifestyle.

Please feel free to respond to our poll on our blog site home page about the type of veggie you are.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dairy vs. Calcium

"Milk it does a body good" and "Got milk?"are just some of the dairy industry's campaign slogans to get you believing your body needs milk.

So much so that even after a child is weaned, a mother believes her baby still needs milk, but not hers, instead the milk of an animal because somehow she's been trained to believe that this is best for her infant. How does this make sense? You stop giving your child your milk, but think giving your child the milk of another species is fine and needed.

Don't' get me wrong! I'm 100% for a mother breastfeeding her child her milk. I also strongly believe that milk from a naturally lactating cow is great, for her calf! However, even a calf doesn't continue to drink milk from it's own mother as it gets older. So, why do most humans think it's normal to drink cows milk throughout their life?

As with all mammals, mother's milk is intended for the baby, not the grown adult.

So many people experience such terrible reactions from cow's milk, and still even though their bodies are telling them no, they continue to drink it. Even those who are severely lactose intolerant make me shake my head as they pop pills to make it easier on their system and continue to down the stuff as they hold their stomachs in pain. The negative reaction to milk doesn't even need to be immediate or as severe for your body to be telling you this not right for you. Many experience awful acne, weight gain, ear aches (especially in children), inflammation, congestion. I remember way back in the day when I'd eat ice cream how I'd have small coughing fits, only to find out later that milk is mucous forming, that explained my reaction!

So what to do? Your body does need calcium. Well milk is not the only source of calcium as the dairy industry would hope you'd believe. In fact it's not even close to being the best source of calcium!

So what can I recommend for you to have with those cookies instead? Lot's! There is an endless choice of grain, vegetable, seed and nut milks that are so much healthier for you to consume and still get you calcium.

-Oat milk

-Soy milk

-Almond milk

-Rice milk

-Potato milk

-Hemp milk

...and most of these milks come in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry too!

Other sources of calcium include:

-Black strap molasses

-Most greens

-Many seeds and nuts like almonds

-Sea vegetables

-Beans and peas

So you see your options are almost endless AND healthy!


I would like you to experiment with alternative types of calcium this week and slowly start to make the change to these healthier options.

Friday, July 9, 2010

What Do You See In The Mirror?

You've been doing so well, but for some you still may not like what you see in the mirror.
So, how can you make yourself feel better today?
I want you to grab your journal and make a list of positive states that coincide with different parts of your life.
They might be things like:
- I am a mother and feel blessed and fulfilled
-I love to go roller blading it makes feel skillful and fit
-I am married to a man I love and who loves me
-I volunteer and this makes me feel useful and connected with my community
Your statements can be about anything related to your life as long as they are positive and help you feel more secure and happy.
Today I want you to think of yourself in the most positive and wonderful ways to enhance your quality of life.
Continue to add to this personal list as an ongoing exercise. It will make you smile and bring you up when you forget how amazing you truly are!

My Morning Scrambled Eggs:

Extra firm tofu
Olive oil
Scallion/green onion
Nutritional yeast
Soy sauce
I start by crumbling the tofu. I personally like a larger crumble. I set it aside and then pan fry my scallion, onions and mushrooms before adding my tofu. I toss these all together and then add the next ingredients to taste.

This great for the new or experimental vegan with mock sausages, toast and hash browns. Yum! I'm making myself hungry!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Read Your Labels When Shopping

The types of foods to buy, the exercises to do, it can all be confusing.
Stick with me and I hope to increase your knowledge about nutrition and fitness.

This week we will still focus on foods as you maintain your what is now your regular fitness activities, until we get into the physical component of this.

Today I want you to begin not just having one meatless meal a day, but also one day completely without meat. Remember this does not mean without protein, so be sure to replace the animal on your plate with a health plant protein instead.

I also want you to read the labels of the products you buy now. If the products contain saturated fat (which in most cases is from animals) I don't want you to buy it. So that would mean dairy, butter and ...does anyone really use this anymore? ...lard. The only exception to the saturated fat would be the highly controversial coconut oil and we will discuss the whys of this in the future.
In addition to avoiding saturated fats you want to make sure not to purchase foods high in trans fats either these tend to be the yummy foods that keep you fat (baked goods, cakes, cookies, donuts, etc.).
I've been getting many emails asking if you should be weighing yourself. This is up to you. If you want to do weekly weigh-ins go ahead ....but! ...if you are the type of person who lives and dies by the scale then stay away. Though I am sure you've already begun to drop some pounds just by dropping sugar, reducing meat and increasing your water intake for some it may not be the amount of pounds you've been hoping to see by now. Remember we've just begun. We are doing this the healthy way, and that this is not a diet but a new way to live. So be patient and proud! You've been doing amazing so far!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Checking In


You are still with me on this journey to optimal health and wellness.

How are you doing with your journaling?

Are you keeping up your activity level? Or better yet have you increased it? If you haven't found your ideal activity don't give up until you do find something you enjoy!

In your food log how many new and healthy changes have you made? Did you maybe experiment with a new plant protein or sweetener? Did you try going without meat for one meal a day? We want a smooth transition so take it slow. Too many or too hard a change can be a shock to the system for some people. Also I don't want you to feel like you've failed or to add extra stress when you are on this path to a healthier you.
Pat yourself on the back! I know you are doing a good job! Feel free to continue emailing me your questions and I"ll do my best to reply.
Until tomorrow,


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Questions & Answers

I've been receiving so many emails and phone calls with many questions on a variety of posts, so I am going to use today to reply to the questions that seem to keep repeating themselves. Let's get started.

Q: Why do you think that plant protein is better than animal protein?

A: For many reasons, plant protein is not taking a life, it's not filled with hormones, steroids, antibiotics, mercury and metals, it feels better, it's not in your system for days and most plant protein is not acid forming like meat. It's not difficult to digest (though some people have problems with soy, this is usually if they consume too much, have an allergy to it or are not eating organic soy). I could go on but I think I've given you enough to consider for now. :-)

Q: You mentioned either BMI or WHR can you help me? What is the right waist measurements?

A: If I understand your question correctly you want to know what you should aim for in waist size. For a woman it's no bigger than 32" and for a man no larger than 35". Some calculators allow for an inch or more in either direction.

Q: Are you taking on more Personal Training clients? I'd love you to train me.

A: I'm sorry to say that at this time I am not taking on new clients.

Q: Do I have to be vegan to follow your program?

A: No, but it certainly helps in feeling healthier and living a cleaner life. Being vegan also will help you to lose weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It's really one of the best decisions you can make for your health, for the animals and for the planet.

Q: Are there cookbooks you would recommend?

A: Yes! Please see the link at the top and bottom of the blog home page.

Q: In your post about protein shakes you talked about a lot of them being bad for you but you didn't give us any that you'd recommend, and I don't want a recipe. I want a powder I can take with me and add water too. Can you give me a brand name?

A: Good point! I didn't offer up any brand names as a healthy alternative and I should have. One that I use and recommend is Vega. The creator is both vegan and a Canadian athlete! He has many flavours to choose from as well. You can find it in most stores that carry protein powders.

Q: As a vegan/vegetarian do you worry about B12?

Short answer no? I've been living this healthy lifestyle for most of my life I am very aware of what foods contain B12. If you are new to becoming veggie (vegetarian or vegan) you may hear a lot about B12 as a scare tactic. There are many non-meat sources of B12 which I will list shortly or you can look into taking supplements. Other sources include nutritional yeast, miso, most fermented soy products.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

How Sweet It Is!

Sugar, syrups, sweeteners, substitutes ...what is best?

Do you know that most North Americans consume at least their body weight in sugar each year if not more!?

Personally I try to stay away from refined sugars, I don't use honey (yes the vegan thing, you do know honey is bee vomit right?) and I certainly don't touch chemicals called artificial sweeteners.

Sugar weakens your immune system and is linked to causing cancer and building up yeast in the body.

To follow along with me on this program you need to eliminate artificial sweeteners from your diet and we will talk more about sugar in future posts.

If I must use a sweetener and it depends on what I'm using it for, I do try to to lean towards "natural" sweeteners like maple syrup, agave nectar and stevia. However, these products are not for everyone. The good thing about these sweeteners is that other than being natural, they don't cause the crash you would get from refined sugars because of their glycemic index (GI).

Also because of the effect they can have on the body pregnant women and those trying to get pregnant should really watch their intake. For those who follow my fertility blog ( you know that I sent "Sarah" (not her real name) for many tests one of them being uric acid and to test her PH balance, to see if she was fructose sensitive and needed to stay under 25-30 grams a day and to see how acidic her body was.

Still just because something is "natural" does not necessarily mean it's good for you. For example the agave syrup that I like to use is not for everyone. It's high fructose which can lead to obesity (it's stored as fat), high blood pressure, diabetes and more. This doesn't mean these plant sugars don't have health properties, especially if consumed in small portions, they do.

Again as with any of these sweeteners it depends on brand, how they are processed, and what, if anything is added to them.

I like stevia. I think it is the safest alternative to refined sugar. Like agave nectar you can also get it in flavours like vanilla, hazelnut and English toffee for those who like to sweeten their "coffee".

So step one, I want you to stop using refined sugars, bee regurgitation (honey), and artificial sweeteners.

Step two, I want you to go out and purchase either Stevia or Agave Nectar and start experimenting with them in places you would normally use sugar or a sweetener.

We will be having a lot more conversations on sweeteners to come.

The cleaner your palate becomes the less you will feel the need to sweeten everything. For example you may begin to enjoy herbal teas for their natural flavour rather than the habit of sugaring it to make it taste good.

Ciao for now

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Meet Your Meat

Today I want to talk a bit about meat.

As most of you know I stopped eating meat as a teenager. It was an easy choice for me. Meat is not healthy for you, killing and torturing animals to feed our bellies is just unnecessary and mean in this day and age, and humans were not created as meat eaters.

Want to lose 5 pounds this week? Stop eating meat! Do you know meat stays in your body for up to 3 days!? ...and if you are eating meat every meal, every day, ...well you do the math of how much decaying animal is currently plugging up your intestines.

Meat eaters have an intestinal track that is 3 times their body length so that they can have rotting flesh quickly pass through their systems. Humans, like other non-meat eaters have a track more than 10 times their body length. Also meat eaters have a stomach acid 20 times stronger than our to break down meat protein.

I want you to try to go at least one meal a day without eating meat for this month. For some the easiest meal to do this with is breakfast. If it's easier to do this at lunch or dinner, consider a pasta dinner, or replacing your meat protein with a plant protein. Another option though not one I recommend on a regular basis, is using mock meats which can be readily found at any health food store or most grocery stores in the freezer or produce section. This way you can have your favourite recipes with mock ground beef, chicken, mock burgers, hot dogs, etc. you get the idea. These mock meats are made with soy or vegetable protein but are still highly processed and I want to eventually steer you away from processed foods.

Now I'm not expecting you to become a vegetarian or vegan, but I do want you to be aware of what meat does to your body and where your meat comes from. So this will not be our last discussion on the topic.

I want you to spend the time to watch the video below. I know many meat eaters envision cows and chickens living free and happy on a large farm, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Still other meat eaters don't even make the association between what was once a living animal to what is on their BBQ or plate. Please feel free to post your comments or email me on your thoughts after watching the video.

Friday, July 2, 2010



I hope you've been doing well.

Do you know that even if you are eating a fairly healthy diet the portions you eat at each meal can lead to your undoing? Since many people are uncertain as to what a single serving is I'll give you the most simple guideline to go by, and that is no portion should be bigger than your fist or your palm. This will apply to your proteins and carbs that are not hight in fiber. I don't normally assign a portion to fruits & veggies, but all things in moderation.

I encourage you to use smaller plates for your meals such as a 9" dinner plate. Unlike the 11" or 12" plates you find in most restaurants.

Yesterday I mentioned that I don't count calories, as fashionable as it might be, and that is because if you eat the healthy diet we will be discussing in future posts you don't have to worry about counting them.

I also want to briefly touch on water. You may have heard you should drink 8-10 glasses a day, normally this is a good guideline to follow. However, it really depends on where you live, how active you are and your body size, also whether you are male or female. For men the recommendation is 13 cups and for women 9. I normally drink about a cup of water an hour because of my activity level.

Assignment: I want you to now plan out some meals for the upcoming days. Planning helps you to create healthier meals and avoid picking up or ordering in. Also experiment with a new plant protein such as tofu (maybe in a stir fry) or almond butter (great on toast)!
We will get into recommended food soon.

After posting the recipe for my Apple Pie & Ice Cream smoothie I received a lot of emails asking if I could continue to post different recipes for smoothies and other goodies. So I will do my best. Today is another smoothie recipe.

I Want Brownies!


Soy milk

Raw cocoa

Carob or vegan chocolate chips

Nuts (optional)

crushed ice



Soon we will be getting into the physical component. I strongly recommend meeting with your physician and discussing your plans to start this program with them.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Food & Fighting Cravings

If you really want to lose weight this time I'll help you, but we have to look at what you eat. If you've been following along day by day then you've started a food log.

Pull it out.

How much of what you've been eating has been processed foods? If you are like most people probably a good portion of it has been. So many people eat out of packages, tins and from fast food restaurants they have forgotten what real food is.

These foods with shelf lives that seem to last forever are high in sodium, trans fats and sugar. This is a big part of the reason why people are overweight. Food is now so far from it's natural source, if it even comes from one, that it's killing us. The worst part is many kids are growing up on the diet of cheese strings, McDonald's, pop and other processed foods it's messing them up physically and mentally.

If a great great grand parent were alive to see these packaged products how many would they actually recognize as food? Eggs come in liquid form in a box, oatmeal comes in a bar, water now comes in a wide range of colours, sugar in pretty pink and blue packages that increase cravings. It's insane!

Let's go back to your food log.

How many times did you go to Tim Horton's or Starbucks? How many times did you actually cook a meal with grains and vegetables? How often did you eat a raw piece of fruit or munch on some raw veggies? What about fibre? Fibre cleans the toxins out of the body, it fills you up and keeps your metabolic rate in check. It is also what will help you lose weight!

Later this month we will discuss portions, water and why I don't count calories. For now I want you to keep on with your log and if you are having craving for foods you know you don't want to write down later in your log as consumed, try these tips.


-I find if I brush my teeth I often no longer crave eating something I don't need to consume.

-If you just must have that favourite dessert turn it into a healthy smoothie. This is something else I do.

For example, if you are craving apple pie and ice cream make it into a cold milkshake-like smoothie so you still get the chill of the ice cream and the flavour of the apple pie.

Sonia's Apple Pie & Ice Cream Smoothie:

Chopped apple

Almond milk

Non-dairy ice cream



Agave nectar

Blend and enjoy!