Thursday, September 29, 2011

Super Running Chestnut Exercise Walk

The sun is shining, and the horse chestnuts are falling. This morning we were all up earlier than usual, and this provided us a great opportunity to go a little further on our morning walk. We headed straight to the Big Park, and showed Phatdogg how we get our horse chestnuts.

For those of you unfamiliar with them, they are not edible (unless you are a squirrel), and they make great conkers (if you’re from the United Kingdom). I like them because they can provide a lovely autumn centerpiece, thrown all in a pretty jar or vase. Princess likes them because you have to squish the pod to get them out (later in the season, they pop out when the pods fall to the ground), and they’re pretty to look at. Last year, we engraved them, added a hook, and they were little ornament/key chains for the various family members, (for Christmas gifts from Princess).

Once that part of the walk was done, we headed home. With Princess leading the way home in our “super running chestnut exercise walk”. Those were her words exactly. That’s the kind of exercise I like. With the weather a bit cooler, I made a nice tomato based soup yesterday, and pleased to say Princess LOVED IT! I feel fortunate that she loves vegetables, and soup. I try to make sure she has a bit of all the food groups and portions of her servings at each meal time, but over the last few days, she has been saying that she is still hungry. At 4, the serving sizes go up by one for fruit/veg. and grain, so I have been giving her bit more in those two if she is hungry.

Below you will see a selection of the meals Princess has enjoyed. Whole wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce. -- 1 egg, 1/2 serving of cheese, crackers, and 1 serving of vegetables. -- Salad (1 serving of veg/fruit) with a 1/2 serving of mixed beans and cheese, 1/2 serving side of toasted tortilla. -- 1/2 serving of chicken, rice, and 1 serving each of strawberries and carrots, dips for veg and chicken.
Here are the chestnuts collected and Princess playing in the dirt. It's nice to play outside.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rain and Pizza

The rain has come, announcing autumns arrival. Our early morning walk was cut short today. With a wind warning in effect, Princess had a bit of a battle holding on to her umbrella, and it was too much to manage Outlaw, my umbrella and Princess' needs.  Seems to me that a solution (at least on the days when there is a wind warning on top of a rainy day), is for either I or Phatdogg to walk the dog solo, and for Princess and I to head out for some puddle jumping later in the day. I quite like the rain, as does she, so that shouldn't be a problem.

The pizza was on account of a weekend trip away for Phatdogg. He came home Sunday, famished and wanting to order in.  I originally said I would pass, but after a nice long walk with Princess and Outlaw, I decided to enjoy it as a treat. (not just for eating but for not preparing dinner too!)  I enjoyed the pizza, but felt a bit guilty eating it.  I did find it a bit heavy, but that didn't stop me from having some leftovers for lunch today too.  I worked in the grain, milk, meat and veg servings it would be onto our charts.  I feel like it's a bit of a waste of servings, having the pizza, because it takes up so many servings, but you only get a couple of pieces. I won't even comment on the oil or fat that it would contain. 

Now, we have made pizza at home, below is the recipe that we got from Mannie -thanks!


1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 cup milk, I use 1 %
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Combine all ingredients, knead about 7 times, add a little extra dusting of flour if too tacky. Wrap in plastic wrap for about 30-45 mins to rest and rise a little, this makes it easier to stretch out on the pizza pan.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Spray pizza pan with a little cooking spray. Take your dough and plop it in the middle of your pan, with your hand, flatten it out and gently spread it towards the edges, going over the edge by about 1", this will allow you to put a ring of cheese if desired (try Monteray Jack) around then fold the crust over the cheese and seal it in, you can go just to the edge if you don't want the stuffed crust. Spread pizza sauce on the dough, or homemade salsa, sprinkle some cheese, put your toppings on and then more cheese.
Place pizza on middle rack in preheated oven for 30 mins.


Friday, September 23, 2011

The Vitamin Answer (sorry, honey)

Phatdogg here, with my thoughts on the whole vitamin thing.

I believe that vitamins are no good for you at all.  I think that our bodies have a natural regulatory system built in so that when we are in need of a specific vitamin or mineral we will have a craving for say tomato or broccoli.  I think that most people are out of touch with their bodies though; we don't eat properly, we don't get enough exercise.  These types of activities I believe lead to us feeling "heavy" and a whole host of other things (including being overweight, and having an impact on our emotional status).

I believe that having a vitamin supplement will just overload one vitamin at the expense of the other... for example perhaps an overload of Vitamin E will create a deficiency in Vitamin B.  Furthermore I think that if we keep taking vitamins for a long enough period of time we are likely to develop a physical dependency on them.  Meaning our bodies will not be able to use the natural version of the Vitamin as efficiently as it once did.

I believe that there is a lot of money floating around the vitamin and supplement market.  Because of this money there are lobbyists, and advertisers, and marketers and lawyers, and yes even government bodies making a killing in this sector ... so I don't expect it to go away.  The only thing we as consumers can do is educate ourselves and decide accordingly....whether or not you adhere to the governmental recommendations is up to you.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Vitamin Question

Do we need supplemental vitamins? Searching through the Health Canada website (, the only additional vitamin recommended was vitamin D.  However, there are guidelines for this vitamin.  Taken from the site:

What are Health Canada's Existing Recommendations?
All Canadians
Currently, the advice contained in Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide recommends that all Canadians over the age of two, including pregnant and lactating women, consume 500mL (two cups) of milk or fortified soy beverages every day.  These foods are fortified with vitamin D.
Adults over the age of fifty
Health Canada recommends that, in addition to following Canada's Food Guide, everyone over the age of 50 should take a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU.
Health Canada recommends that all breastfed, healthy term babies receive a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU. Supplementation of the vitamin should begin at birth and continue until one year of age. This recommendation is to help reduce the risk of rickets, a disease that affects bone growth in children. Infants who are formula fed receive adequate vitamin D from formula.
The pharmacy aisles are filled with whole sections dedicated to supplemental vitamins and minerals.  You can choose from one-a-day multivitamins, determined by use on your age and sex, to specific vitamins and minerals (i.e. D, E and C to name a few).  I can only presume that we as consumers have been led to believe that these vitamins and minerals are essential for our overall health.  But if we are following our countries dietary and physical guidelines, we should be receiving the adequate amounts already.  Also, where does that leave those people, who have a regimen of specific supplements, that they say has improved their quality of life? Is it because their diet is lacking in these vitamins and minerals on account that they are not following the CFG, or are they eating right, but still not receiving the benefit of the nutrition, which could mean a trip to the doctor to find out the reason why? What are your thoughts on this matter? Sounds like a good poll question to me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


So the diet feels like it is just part of the daily process these days.  Having said that Bella and I were afforded a couple of nights without Princess this weekend and we went straight away to our favorite burger shack and had the most impressive burgers that we can think of in close vicinity (Burger Heaven -  Looking at the burger we can see the veggies which is good; but there was a lot more oil than we are used to eating.  I think that given the opportunity we would do exactly the same thing again, even knowing that we will feel "weighted" by the additional fat.  Got to live a little I figure, it's just if you are eating burgers 3 - 4 times per week it might be a little overboard.

The weather here is starting to change, I am still hoping that we can continue our morning exercise walks with little disruption through the winter, but the weather is going to be outright miserable sooner or later.  The Outlaw will be so drenched it will make us unmotivated to take her.  Ah well, cross that bridge when we get there.  Today I did a max push up test and got to 27.  I am sure that number is higher than if I had just tried the same thing 2 weeks ago.  I qualify for the toughest level of the training now, and if I manage to stay there on track I am just 4 weeks away from doing more than 60 consecutive push ups... now that is starting to sound impressive.

I also had a couple of beers this week.  I hope that I don't let the diet slip so much that I ruin what we are working toward.

Catch up with ya soon, Phatdogg

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Be Active!

From the CFG; "Canada's Physical Activity Guide recommends 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity into daily life for adults and at least 90 minutes a day for children and youth."

For our family, we have incorporated a family 'exercise' dog walk in the morning.  20 minutes of walking with a purpose.  Good for the whole family and the dog.  During the rest of the day, our other activities vary for the individual.  Phatdogg has a physical job, and has begun a program that will see him eventually doing 100 push ups a day.  I have been increasing my walking (with Princess and Outlaw in tow, more often than not), and doing some low impact stretches/exercises at night.  On top of these things, we try to spend our free family time being active outside; Frisbee tossing is the family's (and Princess') current favourite activity (even Outlaw has proved to be a Frisbee dog!).

A good example of our increased walking came about yesterday.  Outlaw needed a new bag of dog food.  The store where we get it is a 45 min. walk away, when walking with a pre-schooler and dog.  Typically, Princess and I would grab a ride on the bus, and when the weather turns nasty, we will probably do so again.  However, summer is waning, and taking advantage of the ability to walk there just seemed like a great adventure, and an even better idea.  Walking through the park, provided additional adventure, as we walked passed 4 coyotes. Big ones too! We may live in an urban community, but nature is never too far away.  Needless to say, we took an alternate route home. 2 hours there and back, with a small banana/water break when we picked up the food.  Princess never complains about walking this long or far, is that typical? I don't know.

We also passed by one of the local middle schools and saw a class coming out to take a run around the track.  I would say they were 12 yr olds.  I was surprised to see 1/2 of them didn't even run around 1/3 of the track before walking the rest of the way.  On our way back, they were paired up and tossing Frisbees.  This cemented school coolness for Princess obviously.  My observation cemented the need for us to instill the ethic of physical activity in our household.  I would like Princess to be in the half running around the entire track.    Thanks, Bella

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Eating Well Budget

Our grocery budget is $150 pr week.  All meals fall under this category, including eating out and take aways.  Depending on where you live, you may pay more or less on groceries, so determining the ideal dollar amount for your family will take some research and trial and error.  We make it easy for ourselves by having two weeks' worth of grocery money in a jar, "as seen on TV."  It's a lot harder to go out to a restaurant or order in a pizza when you have to take that money out of a jar, and see what's left for shopping in a grocery store. 

Our food budget has always been manageable, but I see how much more food we are eating, and how we aren't spending any more money than before.  We even had a small ($10) surplus last week. Typically, we would spend $40 a week on meat or fish.  That has dropped to about $10-$15.  As our portions are that much smaller, a ham, or roast lasts days longer.

The majority of foods permitted on CFG are unprocessed.  Buying fruits and vegetables that are in season not only makes sense, but keeps money in your pocket as the prices for these will generally be lower.  We have been thoroughly enjoying the berries and fruit available right now, and are researching the best options come winter, when fresh won't be available.  You will find your trips to the grocery store will exclude (for the most part), the inside aisles.  Our province includes a tax on groceries, in the simplest terms, those groceries that are highly processed (i.e. chips, frozen foods).  My last two shops had zero tax on the bill.  We all love not paying tax!

CFG not only seems to create a healthy lifestyle in regards to diet, but a much healthier lifestyle for your budget.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

About the right weight

So I (Phatdogg) have been hovering around 194-196 for the last week.  With my size (6'4") it gives me a Body Mass Index (BMI) that is healthy.  I have not been feeling hungry lately, but haven't seen improvement in my sleeping habits (which I have struggled with for a long time).

So in conjunction with the Canadian Food Guide diet plan that we are on, I am trying to increase the amount of exercise I am performing.  I am only making this transition slowly; so I don't have anything to brag about yet, but I do hope to see some differences in my body over time (maybe 6 months).

I did get some beef jerky today ... I looked at the serving size (15g) and determined I would count that as a meat serving for the day.  Bella made some kick-butt meatloaf that I ate for my other two servings of meat today, and now I am practicing discipline in not eating the entire pack of beef jerky (85g) which would be easy for me to do, as I have done it a number of times before.  The frightening read was the amount of sodium from 1 serving....17% of daily allowance.

Things are moving forward, I feel positive about the changes that we have made, and we aren't treating ourselves as often as any of us would like, but about once a week.  This week is my mother's birthday (12th) and Bella and my 4th anniversary (8th) ... two very good reasons to eat poorly, but we are going to split it down the middle and allow ourselves 1 treat for the week on Sunday the 11th...and we are going to stop there.

Catch up with you all soon, Phatdogg

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Eating Away from Home and Over-Indulging

Yesterday, we were invited over to a friend's home for a BBQ and good conversation.  Our newest challenge; how many servings of the four food groups were we about to eat or eating.  Not only was that foremost on our minds, but we enjoyed our fair share of libation, which is considered a sometime treat.

I (Bella) had made sure during the day, that I would go into the evening with at least 2 servings each of grain/and fruit-veggies.  (Phatdogg had the same idea).  Our friends presented a wonderful appetizer; a barbequed brie round on a cedar plank, with a tomato relish and crackers.  One word, Yummy!  The hardest part was stopping.  Over-indulging is easily the biggest challenge whenever one finds themselves eating away from home.  We are fortunate that these friends presented a healthy balance of food.  Dinner was barbeque pork, asparagus, raw veggies and salad.  Portioning out our plates was simple and without temptation as there were only nutritious options. 

As far as the libation was concerned, well, beer is good.  Especially when paired with good friends and good times.  Not much more to be said about that.  I believe the bigger part of this challenge will come when going out to a restaurant.  Control on serving size will be a matter of not eating everything that comes to the table,  choosing the right meal, and taking home leftovers.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Crying Household

In a matter of 10 minutes I have managed to make both Princess and Bella cry this morning.  I think that the prior post by Bella is a little too personal to be sharing over the internet.  Bella thinks the opposite.  I don't want this blog to turn into a 52 week journal about bowl movements (or lack there of) and other "personal" matters.  Bella believes that many people suffer from bowl movement problems based on diet and weight so the topic should be open for discussion ... my response is that a lot of female reproductive health is also based on diet, exercise and weight; but that I am not sharing intimate details of that side of our family life with the world.  Anyway, maybe there is a way to set up a vote, or poll or something.

Back to what I believe the posts should be about.

I have dropped about 7lbs in the week and a half that we have been following the food guide.  I am hoping that my weight will level off around 187lbs (yes, I am 6'4") which is my Body Mass Index (BMI) ideal weight.  I feel like I am wasting away a little.  Friends of mine keep offering me tasty treats like homemade cookies, and while I am ok to admit I am doing this anonymously online; I am not willing to tell my truck driving coworkers.

Short and sweet, that's it for now from me.