Tomorrow better not be a snow day

I’m booked for a day of work tomorrow. The facts are these: if school is cancelled and there’s a snow day, I don’t get paid. If there is school, I do get paid.

Chewy and yummy.

You can imagine my conundrum, especially now that my teeth are falling out at the rate of one per decade. The more work I get, the less likely I am to be begging my dentist for mercy. Please don’t pull them out! Please! (Needless to say it’s been a dry spell for work. Not that I’m hoping for an epidemic of the bubonic plague or anything.)

Of course, the upside of my underemployment means free time to eat properly and go outdoors. And the weather has been heavenly: there’s been little snow and few days of bitter cold temperatures.

All month, I’ve been weighing myself regularly, hoping to see a change on the scale since I’ve started eating better. Finally (finally!) I have noticed a drop.

Three pounds! Huzzah!

It’s not a lot. Until you realize that involves thousands of calories not taken in.

My weight has yo-yoed several times throughout my life, with a gradual increase through my 20s. Thanks metabolism! University so didn’t help my bottom line. Or my bottom. Thanks Acadia! Then there’s that medication that further slows my metabolism. Danke!

Now I have no excuse to eat well and get moving. Well, except for money.

But that also means no eating out at all with the exception of ordering from the McDonalds Value Menu, comprised of smaller portioned foods. (I highly recommend the Junior Chicken, small coffee, and cranberry orange muffin. Total cost: $3.20. A reasonably cheap meal. Just try not to think of all the factory farming that’s involved in order to make it so thrifty.)

These are some more of my healthy eating makeovers. I feel that since I took Nutrition 101 at university, I’m an expert now.

Replacing white and brown sugar for maple syrup and honey. All sugar is sugar. However, maple syrup does have some nutritional benefit (namely manganese) and even better, when you use something as expensive as maple syrup, you use a lot less of it. I’ve also been cutting down on sugar in my cookie and muffin recipes. My morning coffee gets maple flakes.

Using canola oil for cooking and baking. Some nutritional types feel extra virgin coconut oil is superior to any other oil for cooking and baking. However, it’s full of saturated fat and I do have a family history of heart disease. So canola oil it is until it’s discovered coconut oil isn’t so bad for you. (Plus, it’s much cheaper for now.)

Making more food from scratch. Avoiding weird ingredients I can’t pronounce is probably a good thing. (Of course, that means for years I would’ve had to avoid cinnamon.) Huge fact: things from scratch taste better and are usually healthier (like my Chinese food). Win, win.

Filling up on nuts and seeds. They are high in fat and calories, but full of nutrients and protein. Keep the portion reasonable and it’s a great way to be satiated. Unless you’re allergic. I find nuts and seeds help me stay away from naughty foods like chips.

Eating more fruits and vegetables. Obviously this is a big one. It’s the hardest to do though.

Putting ground up flax seed in my cereal. I start out each day with a high fibre cereal with little sugar, then add two heaping tablespoons of ground up flax seed. Flax seed is full of goodness (and yes, fat, but GOOD fat) and makes your cereal more filling. Just get the ground up seeds because your body doesn’t digest whole ones so well.

Eating whole grains more often. Usually, I substitute whole wheat flour in most of my recipes, sometimes spelt and kamut. And oatmeal is one of my favourite whole grains, especially now that I’ve discovered steel cut oats. Take that Quaker and your flat oats!

So there you have it: some of my tips and tricks for eating better and following Canada’s Food Guide. Don’t forget to get moving while you’re at it.

And please. Don’t do any snow dances.

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