March 2014

Calcium Does a Body Good: Are you getting enough?

milk

Image courtesy of artur84/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This past Fall/Winter I was working towards a personal goal of running a marathon; I was making great progress until I suffered a show-stopping injury.

Something that plagues many athletes, namely runners, is an injury called a stress fracture. In layman’s terms, it’s a crack in the bone often caused by overuse; the muscles tire and the bones absorb the extra shock.

Though there is no direct correlation between calcium intake and stress fractures this experience did cause me to take a closer look at the subject of bone health, specifically my own.

CALCIUM: QUANTITY VS QUALITY

Doctors recommend 1,000mg – 1,200mg of calcium every day (for women) paired with 1000mg of Vitamin D to aide in calcium absorption, however it’s not quite as simple drinking four glasses of milk per day.

Vanessa Case, Registered Holistic Nutritionist at Our Natural Connection says that it is no longer an issue of how much calcium we are consuming but rather what our overall diet looks like and how well we absorb nutrients.

We know that in Asian countries osteoporosis is a rare condition and yet dairy product is very minimal in the Asian diet. Here in the Western world, we experience the opposite; our calcium intake is among the highest in the world as are bone fractures due to Osteoporosis. Does this make any sense? No? Then where does the answer lie? – Vanessa Case, RHN

A BALANCED DIET

Bok Choy

Image courtesy of SOMMAI / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Case goes on to share that the Standard American Diet is full of acidic foods like refined carbohydrates, processed foods, animal protein, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. When the majority of our diet tends to lean towards the acidic side of the scale, our bodies try to minimize the impact of an acidic diet by pulling alkalizing minerals (like calcium) from the bone in order to “buffer” or “neutralize” the body’s acid base balance (pH). Combine that with low quality calcium sources and poor digestion and you have a recipe for bone disaster.

She recommends a low acid, bone-building diet full of quality calcium rich foods including:

  • Raw nuts and seeds like almonds, chia, walnuts, black sesame seeds
  • Alkalizing fruits and vegetables like deep leafy greens (collard and mustard greens, kale, bok choy) broccoli
  • Homemade bone broths
  • Beans and legumes

A BALANCED LIFESTYLE

While Vanessa shares important information that assists in proper calcium nutrition, I will be the first to admit that when my life gets hectic (which is quite often) my eating habits are among the first to go. When this happens it’s hard to get the daily nutritional requirements.

On the other hand, even when eating a diet full of the items Vanessa mentioned but monitoring caloric intake for weight loss, I still find myself at a deficit when it comes to calcium. Based on her information, it may not matter as long as my body is doing a good job at absorbing what I take in but with my recent injury I don’t want to take a chance.

ARBONNE ESSENTIALS WOMEN’S CALCIUM PLUS

Arbonne Calcium Plus

One of the first things I did after learning of my injury was to begin research on a good quality calcium supplement. As Vanessa says, “Stick to food as much as possible and bring in a quality calcium based supplement where needed, to do just that, supplement what you aren’t naturally getting from your food.”

She goes on to say that “…many calcium supplements are just that…calcium. Calcium needs its cofactors naturally found in combination in nature (sisters and brothers) to be metabolized, absorbed, and utilized by the body; Magnesium, vitamin D and zinc to name a few.”

Vanessa does not endorse one particular supplement however through my research I found that the Arbonne Essentials line offers a Women’s Calcium Plus supplement that combines calcium with its co-factors and this achieves what Vanessa recommends.

Each Arbonne Essentials Women’s Calcium Plus tablet contains:

    • Calcium (calcium phosphate, dibasic, calcium citrate) – 200 mg
    • Red Clover flower powder extract – 100 mg
    • Phosphorus – 83.3 mg
    • Magnesium – 33.3 mg
    • Vitamin C – 20 mg
    • Vitamin D – 4.2 mcg

The recommended daily dose is three tablets a day and each bottle comes with enough for a one month’s supply for $36.00. Because I am only slightly short on my calcium intake, I have been taking just one a day to help supplement what I’m already getting in my diet.

ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH?

It’s hard to tell if you’re getting enough of the required calcium and the right kind, so my suggestion is to download a nutrition tracking app (like My Fitness Pal) and monitor it for a week. If you’re falling short like I was, I highly recommend a supplement like the Arbonne Women’s Calcium Plus.

For more information on this product and other Arbonne’s Essential supplements, contact Melissa Ublanksy, Arbonne Independent Consultant or follow her on Facebook.

To connect with Vanessa Case, RHN visit her on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

What is your favourite calcium-rich food? How do you ensure you’re getting enough?

City Mom

Eat This, Not This: The Best Damn Sweet Potato Fries

Clean Eating Sweet Potato Fries

In the past four weeks, I have lost eight pounds simply by changing my eating habits. With a surgery and leg injury, I have spent the past six months being fairly inactive and consequently my eating habits suffered.

On one hand, changing my eating hasn’t been that hard; I’m fairly educated on proper nutrition and I was following the Dr. Sara Detox Plan. On the other hand it has been difficult; old habits die-hard.

I’ll be the first to admit that there is no healthy eating plan that is going to become habit for me if I’m always hungry or if I completely restrict myself from comfort-type foods.

To avoid a slip I make sure to have one ‘cheat day’ a week and to replace fulfilling foods with clean and healthy alternatives.

EAT THIS NOT THIS

French Fries

Image courtesy of Keerati/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

French fries: every salty-food-lover’s nemesis. They’re greasy, salty and (temporarily) filling but they don’t offer much in the nutrition category and they’re full of preservatives, additives and fat. So instead of eating this, why not eat this?

THE BEST DAMN SWEET POTATO FRIES

4.8 from 6 reviews
The Best Damn Sweet Potato Fries
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Clean Recipes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 or 2
 
A healthy version of the fast food favourite; these sweet potato fries are easy to make, tasty and filling!
Ingredients
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet potato
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 C
  2. Thoroughly wash the sweet potato and leave skin on
  3. Cut potato in 1.5 cm slices, then cut each slice into "fries"
  4. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil
  5. Sprinkle with sea salt and toss
  6. Sprinkle with chili powder and toss some more
  7. Arrange fries in one layer on a cookie sheet and place on middle oven rack
  8. Bake for 20 minutes
  9. Remove tray from oven and switch oven to high broil setting
  10. Flip fries and place back in oven on middle oven rack for 3 to 5 minutes
  11. Watch fries so they do not burn.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1.5 cups Calories: 224 Fat: 14 g Saturated fat: 2 g Unsaturated fat: 10 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 25 g Sugar: 13 g Sodium: 632 mg Fiber: 4 g Protein: 2 g Cholesterol: 0 g

MAKING THE COMPARISON

If you take a typical serving of fast food french fries and compare the nutritional value to that of these sweet potato fries you will see some significant differences. The calories (224 vs 500) and fat are two that stand out most.

Note that the fats in the sweet potato fries are the “good” kinds of fats(monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease).

Next you will notice the vitamin content is significantly higher in the homemade fries versus the fast food kind. As well, the nutritional information for the fast food fries does not include the salt added after the cooking process.

And lastly, the carb content is quite a bit higher in the fast food version. If you are trying to stick to a low-cal diet that includes a proper portion of all the essentials (carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals) you want to pack as much nutrition into each bite you take!

NutritionalInfo

Note: nutritional value does not include dipping sauce as shown in the photo.

What types of foods can you not live without and ones you’d like to find a healthier version of?

City Mom

Get Vacation Ready With Deals from @JoeFresh

Joe Fresh Spring Summer
Whether you’re heading off for the perfect winter vacay or getting stocked up for the summer, Joe Fresh has us covered for our kid’s wardrobe needs. From bathing suits to shorts, dresses to flip-flops and everything in between, there are some great deals to take advantage of this March.

I’m a huge fan of Joe Fresh for my whole family but especially for Little S’ clothing. Not only is their line affordable and stylish but its durable too. Little S always outgrows her Joe Fresh clothes before they wear out on her; this is a must for children’s clothing!

THE DEALS

Joe Fresh 2 for 20

For a limited time you can make vacation preparation even more fun and wallet-friendly by taking advantage of these deals with Joe Fresh:

• Boys & Girls shorts 2 for $20
• Girls Flip-Flops $5
• All Toddler and Kids Swimwear under $15
• Summer Hats $5

You’ll also find other in store pricing (dependent on location) like girls peplum tanks for $10, T-Shirts for $8 and other budget-friendly price points.

GETTING READY FOR FLA

Joe Fresh Kids

We are heading to Florida this spring and with a growing child, of course she needs all new summer clothes. It was a lot of fun picking out her outfits at Joe Fresh. I must admit, I like shopping for Little S more than I do for myself.

Joe Fresh Swimwear Under $15

When the deals are that good (like at Joe Fresh) you can get a really good haul for not a lot of money. In total I spent $114 but with the deal $10 Joe Fresh Gift Card (spend $50 and get a $10 gift card) I got $10 back, so in total I spent $104. Note: deal ends March 21, 2014.

For that amount, I was able to buy four outfits for Little S as well as a bathing suit, scarf, flip-flops and a sun hat. I don’t know about you, but in my opinion this is awesome value and makes buying a new wardrobe every season very affordable!

Are you heading away for spring vacation? Do you need to stock up on a new summer wardrobe for your  kids?

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post in the form of product, however these views are completely my own. I loooove Joe Fresh!

City Mom

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