Food – none of us can go without it! But how does the way in which we think about food impact our diet? Are you someone who just sees food as body fuel, or do the different tastes, textures and nutritional values of food excite you? In today’s health conscious world, I would think that most of us fall into the latter group. If you want to achieve your diet goals quicker, then you need to clearly understand you relationship with food.

Eat and Burn

In its simplest form, food gives our body the calories it needs to run on a daily basis. When there are too few calories, the body looks to its own reserves. When there are too many calories, the body puts them away in storage (i.e. as body fat). On a purely mathematical level, so long as we burn as much as we consume, we are not going to produce excess body fat. So yes it is possible to eat junk food and stay thin but we also know that what food we eat can be as important as how much food we eat.

Food Fanatics

Not all foods are created equal. It would be nonsense to say that a caramel flapjack and an organic apple containing the same number of calories are of equal health benefit. At the ‘eat and burn’ basic level then yes they might provide our body with the same number of calories but substance is surely just as important. We have all learned that the organic apple is bursting with healthy goodness, whilst the flapjack will be laden with sugar and other nutritional nastiness.

The food world has gone crazy over the past few years. Every other program on television is a cooking program. But why are we so obsessed? It is just body fuel at the end of the day…

I have to admit, I am a modern day ‘foodie’. I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen and I strongly believe in the health benefits of natural food. In my eyes, there is nothing wrong with this, food has the fantastic ability of making us happy so let’s take advantage. However, you need to be aware of your root relationship with food. There is definitely a risk of obsessing over food. Such obsession may manifest itself as punishing yourself for eating ‘junk’ food, a lifetime of calorie counting, or possibly worse. We each have unique relationships with food and to get the most from food we should strip away the layers and get to the bottom of what and why. Why did you have to eat popcorn whilst watching that movie yesterday evening? Why did you have to drink alcohol when socialising last week? It is good to sit back and think about our food choices so we understand why we made them and can enjoy those choices instead of feeling guilty about them!

Strategies to Avoid Food Obsession and Achieve Your Diet Goals

As we are dependent upon food for survival, all of us have a relationship with food.

Here are a few ideas to help you find out, change, and nurture your food relationship.

  • Make a Black, Grey, White list of foods you commonly eat. Black for the least healthy, White for the most. Then keep it in your kitchen, making sure that your cupboards are full of those foods on the White list (typically fresh fruit, vegetables, unsalted nuts and seeds, whilst trying to cut out those on the Black list (basically anything processed containing sugar, as well as alcohol and if you follow the Paleo diet, then all grains too). To take things further, you can keep a score board to measure how many food items from each colour group you are eating – monitoring your results forces the truth upon you, so there is nowhere to hide!
  • Work out what type of food personality you are. Do this by clearly identifying what you enjoy about food. For me, I know that eating healthily will make me feel happy but so does the odd treat. I have a soft spot for beer and ice cream (not together though!), so I indulge in these things every now and again. It may be that you enjoy a certain type of cuisine, or need to eat every two hours. Being aware of your food personality will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in your diet, which you can then address sensibly instead of obsessively.
  • Be wise about food availability – possibly the most important factor in keeping a healthy diet is to always have the healthy food readily to hand. Most people resort to less healthy foods because they are so accessible. A little bit of effort on your part and healthy food can be fast food in any hectic lifestyle. Prepare your healthy food in advance and keep stock levels high (i.e. always have fresh fruit and vegetables at the ready).
  • Equally, if it isn’t in your house in the first place then you can’t eat it! If you don’t have very strong willpower, avoid the lethal step of bringing junk foods into your home. Too often I have picked things up and thought it would be saved for a rainy day but the evenings are full of temptation and before you know it that treat is in your belly. I know that keeping sweet food in the house can undo my healthy eating, so it’s best kept out most of the time.

Free Your Food, Do Not Trap it with Rules

The key to making healthy eating a lifestyle choice and not a short term diet is to make it fun and enjoyable, not boring and burdensome! I think adopting a ‘rule free’ food psychology is more realistic than to simply ban certain foods altogether. To be truthful, we all fall off the healthy eating bandwagon. In my eyes, this can be a good thing providing that you that you do enjoy your treats (e.g. cake) that you consume otherwise what is the point!? Don’t worry and just get right back on track instead of dwelling on that junk food.

Please find more information about the ability of food to change your mood on my website, where I have given examples of foods that could help you achieve your diet goals.

Luke Moghaddas-Davies – A fitness enthusiast who has trained for over 12 years and believes everyone should take ownership of their health and achieve their fitness goals – no excuses! By making healthy living more realistic, and for me that means ‘rule free’, I know how to stay lean and fit for life not just for summer!

Health and fitness consciousness is nearly universal in nature; everywhere you turn, people are becoming concerned. For some people it is not so much a health issue as a desire to look like the latest super model or television star. The end result has been a surge in health spas, fitness centers and gyms popping up all over the world to cater to the needs of the health and fitness interested individuals. (more…)

Vegetarianism and raw food enthusiasts fall into many different groups with different theories of what kind of natural foods are best. Most vegetarians eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. Vegans eat no animal by-products at all, including dairy or eggs. Fruitarians eat primarily fruits. And some vegetarians eat only sprouts.
Sprouts are very nutritious because they contain all the elements a plant needs for life and growth. The endosperm of seed is the storehouse of carbohydrates, protein and oil. When the seed germinates, these become predigested amino acids and natural sugars upon which the plant embryo feeds to grow. This life force we eat is filled with energy which is capable of generating cells of the body and supplying us with new vigor and life. For this reason sprouts can retard the ageing process.

Sprouts contain goodly amounts of male and female hormones, as well, in their most easily assimilated form. Research shows that sprouts are among the highest food in vitamins. They are not only a low cost food but are also tasty and easy to grow. Children and the elderly can make sprouting a profitable hobby. All of us can profit from the boost to health they provide.

Almost any seed, grain or legume can be sprouted though some are tastier than others. You may try mung beans, alfalfa, wheat, peas, fenugreek, chickpeas, radish, fennel, celery seed, etc. These are most readily found in natural food stores. Remember to soak small seeds only for 4 hours and beans for 15 hours. You also can mix these seeds. Get a 2 liter wide-mouth jar and a piece of cheesecloth or old nylon stocking to fasten as a cover with a rubber band. Put seed into the jar as follows:
2 Tsps alfalfa, 2 Tsps radish or fenugreek, 1/4 cup lentils, 1/2 cup mung beans. Soak these seeds for 15 hours and drain the water. Afterwards rinse and drain well twice daily for about 3-5 days. If you wish to make larger amounts of sprouts, so you may share with others, place 2 cups of mixed seed into a large porcelain pot, in the bottom of which holes have been drilled for easy rinsing. Simply place underneath the faucet and rinse morning and evening with warm water. Cover with a plate. The seeds grow beautifully and abundantly in a few days.

The premise is simple. Take a chef, put him or her into the kitchen and watch them prepare their signature dishes. You might think that this would be boring after a bit but the public has proven this wrong.

Food cooking shows are the “in” thing right now. We love the idea of making food and combine it with reality television and suddenly we come back week after week to see what happens next.

Fox Network has uncovered a phenomenon with the cursing antics of Chef Gordon Ramsey. We cringe at his explosive attitude yet are somehow sympathetic at his attempts to turn would-be chefs into professionals.

We might not want to put ourselves on the line of fire but we love watching other contestants wither under his furious stare and tirades. Our kitchens may not be stocked with fois gras but we still take something away from each episode.

Food Network has a reality show titled “Who Wants to Be the Next Food Network Star” where amateur and professional cooks alike are given tasks to perform that somehow weed out the would-be television chefs from the rest.

We root for our favorite contestants as the season progresses until only one contestant remains. He or she is then given a food cooking show of their very own.

What is the fascination with meal preparation shows? Perhaps it is the ease at which dishes are prepared. It might be the professional cookware and charming personality of the hosts.

Some of the most popular meal preparation show hosts is not formally educated at cooking schools. Thus they give us hope that anyone can prepare delectable dishes from the comfort of their own home.

Whatever the reason behind our fascination, these shows has become an integral part of television viewing. As great chefs from the past such as Julia Child pass on, a new generation of friendly, knowledgeable faces comes to the forefront of culinary society.

Perhaps it is the grand showmanship of Emeril LaGasse yelling out “BAM” or Rachel Ray’s cute acronyms such as EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil); we are drawn to our television sets and the expanding culinary world.

As other television networks air cooking shows, especially ones where competition and cut throat antics by the participants are involved, we will continue to avidly watch food cooking shows.

I have learned through my business as a Newport Beach Personal Trainer that dieting is the number one obstacle most people have trouble overcoming while trying to get fit. Even people who are diligent exercisers, who hit the gym with full intensity and always make sure to get enough rest to recover, somehow usually find themselves a bit confused as to want constitutes a good diet. Even in cases when people feel confident that they know how to eat right, most have difficultly actually following a good diet.

Don’t Be Too Strict – If you decide that you are going to eat nothing but unsalted egg whites, carrots, and rice cakes until you reach your goal weight, you are setting yourself up for failure. A diet for weight loss should strike a good balance between food that is good for you and food that you can be happy with eating on regular basis. As a Newport Beach Personal Trainer, I have seen more diets fail because they are too strict than because of any other reason.

It’s a good strategy to designate a “cheat meal” every week. For one meal a week, you should allow yourself to eat whatever your heart desires, whether it be pizza, a cheeseburger and French fries, or a big meal of takeout Chinese food. One meal a week isn’t going to ruin your fitness plan, and a usual cheat meal can help you be on a regular diet without feeling deprived.

Purchase Foods that are both Healthy and Convenient – When given the choice between a pizza that they can pop in the microwave and eat in three minutes and a vegetable medley that requires one to break out the knives and cutting board to make, most people are going to choose the pizza. There are just not enough hours in a day to be able to dedicate a significant chunk of time to preparing food.

So you aren’t tempted to sacrifice your health for the sake of convenience, make sure there are lots of ready-to-eat healthy foods in your cupboard and freezer. Stock up on canned soups that have a lot of good vegetables in them. Buy whole-grain wraps that you can use to make a healthy burrito. And frozen vegetables are fantastic because they only require a couple minutes of pan-frying to be ready.

Handle Stress without Food – A surprisingly large number of people turn to food when trying to deal with stress at work or home. The desire to deal with stress with fatty or sweet foods usually intensifies when someone switches to a healthy diet. Head this off by finding ways you can handle stressful occurrences without food. Try to engage in your favorite hobby when you feel stress creeping up on you. Or you can try drinking flavored zero calorie tea.

Limit Booze – It’s pretty common for people to diet smart all week long, then cut loose on the weekends, have a bunch of drinks, and wonder why they aren’t making much progress.

Excess alcohol can disrupt a diet a number of ways. First of all, alcohol usually comes with a bunch of calories. A bottle of Heineken has about a hundred and fifty calories. So if you down four of those in the course of an evening, it’s like eating an entire large meal. Secondly, your body has to burn off all the alcohol in your body before it can go back to burning fat, so it can delay the weight loss process. And thirdly, alcohol can interrupt protein synthesis, which can delay the muscle building process. There’s nothing wrong with a drink now and then, heck, I’m a Newport Beach Personal Trainer, and I like to imbibe now and then. But binging too often can cause serious interruptions in your fitness progress.

If the durian season arrives, durian lovers will certainly vying for the most delicious durian hunting. Many vendors hawking durian durian-duriannya whether in the streets or even in the supermarket.

In order for us as durian lovers are not disappointed with the taste of durian that we buy, we should consider the tips choose a good durian following.

See the fruit shape
When we are confused to choose the good and the bad durian, durian fruit tips on choosing the first we have seen in addition to considering the taste is by looking at the shape of fruit duriannya. Choose durian durian shaped bulat.Biasanya form that is not going to have a browse round a thick fruit, small grain, and sweet.

See skin
Choose a durian fruit whose skin is not defective. Durian skin defects due to rotten or eaten by caterpillars then most of the content in it is not too sweet and even sour. Then if thorn duriannya big, we will be easy to open.

Duri Durian
Durian thorn it can be used as an indicator of the right to see the quality of the content / duriannya fruit. Choose form a large durian and length as well as dull. Usually this type of durian flesh will show the contents of a thick, sweet, and the meat is dry.

The smell of durian
Tips on choosing the most familiar durian fruit and is often done by paar lovers are of the smell of durian fruit. If the durian fruit has a sweet aroma and is usually cooked and seared flesh will be nice and soft. Sebailknya, if odorless durian or durian less fragrant it is not perfect ripening.

Durian shake
Use your hands to shake the durian fruit you choose. If fruit vibrate when you shake, this means that you choose to have durian flesh is dry and overcooked.

This is because the durian flesh is dry and mature skin will be separated from the inner wall. And tips latter is the durian hit with the butt of the knife. If reads ‘buk buk buk’ it is overcooked and dry durian.

The history of coffee has a rich and fascinating tradition, resulting in gourmet coffee available to you in your kitchen or at your favorite coffee house.

Coffee dates back to the 9th century. Today, a good cup of coffee ties our world together in ways that are truly amazing through the years.

The Origin of Coffee

No one knows how coffee was discovered. One popular legend says coffee was discovered by an Arabian shepherd named Kaldi who found his goats prancing around a shrub bearing bright red fruit. He tasted the fruit and experienced the same energy.

Kaldi shared his discovery with the local monks, and they used the fruit to stay awake during long hours of prayer. The “mysterious red fruit” spread to monasteries all over the world, starting the relationship between the church and coffee that has lasted for centuries.

Coffee is mentioned in writings as early as the 10th century, and historians since then have followed coffee’s history and use throughout the world.

In 1471, not long before Columbus left to discover America, the first coffee house opened in Constantinople. The merchant trade of Venice brought coffee to Italy, where the first European coffee shop opened in 1645. Coffee houses spread throughout Europe and England and later to America. By 1675, there were over 3,000 coffee houses in England, demonstrating coffee’s tremendous appeal so many years ago.

As coffee production started around the world in different tropical regions, the growing conditions produced new and distinctive flavors. Various cultures invented new ways of enjoying coffee, and starting new traditions.

Coffee Making Through the Years

How we roast, grind and brew coffee has changed tremendously over the years. At first, coffee was boiled after being crushed by a mortar and pestle, as it still done with Turkish coffee.

Drip brewing started around 1800 in France, about the same time as percolators were invented also. Vacuum coffee makers were invented in 1840 to brew coffee that was clear and without sediment. By the end of the 19th century, espresso machines were developed for brewing coffee through the pressure method. Paper filters were invented by Melitta Benz in 1908. She and her husband patented them and started the Melitta family coffee business, which their grandchildren continue to this day.

Drip coffee makers for home use in the United States became popular after the Mr. Coffee coffee maker was introduced in 1972. Prior to that time, most coffee at home was made with a percolator, either electric or on the stove top.

The rise of the corner gourmet coffee house in America is an even more recent event. Founded in 1971, Starbucks popularized dark, gourmet coffee and expanded on a massive scale in the 1990’s. Now there are 16,000 stores worldwide, including 11,000 in the United States and 1,000 in Canada. This rise in gourmet coffee houses has brought a new coffee lifestyle to American society, greatly increasing expectations for coffee quality.

Growing Coffee Around the World

From coffee’s start in the Arabian peninsula, coffee has become one of the largest commercial crops grown around the world.  Coffees are grown in tropical and subtropical areas, including some of the most impoverished areas of the world. The traditional coffee production areas in are in South America (with Brazil and Columbia as the two largest coffee producers in the world), Africa (primarily East Africa) and Indonesia. Other areas grow coffees that have become prized, including Jamaica, Hawaii, Australia, India, and Costa Rica, winning the hearts of coffee aficionados worldwide.

Gourmet Coffee Today

In general, the coffee beans from from Central and South America are known for their mild yet potent flavor. East African and Arabian coffee beans are known for their intense flavor and bright acidity.  Indonesian coffee beans produce smooth, rich and low acid flavors.

Coffee has brought amazing changes to our society and our world in the past 1,100 years. Coffee continues to span the globe, connecting us with people far away. The coffee in your cup came from beans grown in an exotic location far away and transported around the world to you.

What will be next for coffee? Who knows, so enjoy your cup of gourmet coffee and the rich tradition that goes with it!

The ever growing problem of childhood obesity is challenging community based and commercial organizations. The health care industry is very concerned about this “epidemic” because the cost of care for these children continues to rise, and will continue to increase as these children grow into adulthood. Across Canada, 1 in 4 children are considered overweight or obese according to the Ontario Medical Association. What can be done?

Family cycling together – staying fit and having fun!There are a variety of factors that contribute to obesity in children. These include genetic, environmental, behavioural and social issues. It’s not just a matter of over eating or under exercising or a lack of willpower and self control. However, if the problem is going to be addressed, it does come down to personal and family commitment to making a change.

So, what can you do if you have a child struggling with their weight? The approach I would recommend comes down to food, fitness and fun for the whole family. This could be a significant lifestyle shift but if you’re concerned about your child’s health, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Here are some tips.

  • Avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast.
  • Work on incorporating more home made meals into your diet instead of eating out or using heavily processed foods for major meals.
  • Try to include foods from at least 3 of the four main food groups in each meal. Plan meals and snacks so you’re choosing a variety of nutritious, tasty foods.
  • Limit the serving sizes of snacks and limit snacks to 1 or 2 per day. Choose things like fresh fruit and yogurt or cheese, a muffin or cereal with milk.
  • Allow your child to enjoy their favourite foods in moderation.

Of course, exercise and overall activity level is equally important as how many calories your child consumes. We all know we should be more active for our general health and well being. Here are some activity suggestions.

  • Encourage your child to aim for at least 30 minutes of vigorous activity 5 days a week.
  • For family activities, choose a variety your family will enjoy.
  • Choose activities that can be done from home like walking, cycling, hiking and playing games outdoors.
  • Limit screen time (television, video games and computer time) to less than 2 hours per day.
  • If your child has a television in their bedroom, remove it. A research study showed children with a TV in their room watched close to 5 hours more programming than those without.
  • Exercise with your child and set a good example for them. Community or in home exercise programs are an ideal solution.

As you can see, dealing with childhood obesity requires a lifestyle change for the family. You can not expect your child to do everything on their own. Your role as a parent is to support your child’s change to a healthier lifestyle. Ultimately it will benefit your entire family for years to come.

For most of us, choosing to be fit is more a test of will than a one time decision. Being “fit” covers a change in our lifestyle much more than just embarking upon a new exercise or diet program. For me, the choice came about 15 years ago. I was about 24 years old when friends of mine convinced me to start going to the gym as a group. At that time, I knew I didn’t really like the way I looked, so I thought it would be a good idea. How hard could it be? Well, it didn’t take long before I knew the answer to that question. (more…)