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Tania Gustafson
Tania Gustafson, Nutritionist & Fitness Coach (IBNFC)
Tania Gustafson, Nutritionist & Fitness Coach (IBNFC)


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Small changes make a huge difference..

With the kids out of school and the Okanagan summer heat back in full force, camping trips, backyard BBQ parties and organizing guest rooms for family and friends coming to stay are in full swing. And food is a big part of all of these. In addition to the fresh, local produce our Valley is known for, ice cream, wine tastings, and s'mores also often become regular fare throughout the summer months. In order to still keep treats on the menu and pounds off your waist, try these simple summer hacks and food swaps.

1. Make your own ice cream and frozen treats. Blending frozen, sliced bananas with cocoa powder and a little stevia or maple syrup makes a great chocolate ice cream. Swirl in some peanut butter and you've got a real taste treat. Or blend up almond or coconut milk with fresh local berries, a dollop of greek yogurt and freeze in a popsicle mould for healthy, delicious popsicles. Throw in a scoop of vanilla protein powder to either recipe and your kids can literally have ice cream for breakfast and popsicles for lunch when it's too hot to cook. Not only is this healthy, and saves you money, it's something you and your kids can do together.

2. Eat before wine tasting. Scheduling your wine tasting to directly follow a meal. When you fuel up with clean healthy proteins like chicken, fish or grass fed beef, good fats such as avocado or olive oil and choose loads of leafy greens and vegetables as your carb, you body is better able to metabolize the alcohol and prevent fat storage.

3. Pack it right. Whenever we head out on the boat, out for a hike or out of town to go camping, what we eat is determined by what we brought with us. I'm not suggesting we ditch all the traditional camping and picnic-type foods, but there are definitely ways to make them healthier. Ditch the traditional, vacuumed sealed tubes of mystery meat you'll find in the grocery store in favour of a gluten free, 100 percent real meat smokie. The elk or turkey smokies from Johnny's Meats here in Kelowna are my favourite.

4. Drink lots of water. When we're a quart low, sometimes our body sends us a hunger signal rather than a thirst signal, causing a person to eat when they really should be drinking. Staying hydrated will quench those signals and you won't be as likely to eat the extra calories.

5. Celebrate with fruit cake. And no, not the kind topped with marzipan and famous for being re-gifted. Watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, can all be used to create a “cake” that's refreshing, delicious and helps you burn fat. Simply removed the rind or skin from your chosen fruit (I like watermelon) and shape fruit to resemble a round layer cake. Slice as if it were a cake, pat sections dry and put back together. Open a can (you may need more than one) of chilled, 100 percent pure coconut milk and scoop out the “butter”. Whip with a little vanilla and use it to “frost” the watermelon cake. Decorate the top with fresh berries, sides with slivered almonds and serve. Fresh, sweet and creamy, perfect for that backyard BBQ or when family comes to visit. Fantastic swap for shortcake.

6. S'mores. What can I say, if you're a camper s'mores are just part of the deal. The simplest way to decrease the sugar and add a few nutrients to these iconic camping morsels is to swap out the marshmallow for a chunk of banana and opt for a chunk of dark chocolate over milk chocolate. I know some people who even make their own oatmeal cookies to replace the graham cracker as well for a total gluten free and gourmet version.

Let's face it, gatherings are all about the food. And with so many opportunities to get together during the summer, having a few food strategies in place will help you keep off those extra pounds that you may not otherwise notice until fall. This summer, why not try a few of these suggestions or create some of your own healthy hacks for your family? Please share your swaps on our 8 Weeks is All it Takes group or on my FIT Nutrition Facebook page. I'd love to know your favourites.

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What You Do Daily Matters

Last week I attended a celebration of life for a former colleague. A teacher whom I worked alongside in my days as an Education Assistant several years ago. She was only 62 and passed away just 3 months after being diagnosed with cancer. Approaching retirement with plans already laid out to help and serve others, simply far too young. It's events like this that really make people wonder about their own lives.

Most often, the ones we consider to have died pre-maturely often made poor health choices and as a result, struggled with their health prior to any terminal diagnosis or sudden fatal episode. It seem to be much less of a shock to process news that your neighbour who is 50 pounds overweight and smoked for 20 years suffered a massive heart attack, than it is to comprehend how an otherwise-healthy gym teacher could be diagnosed with cancer and be gone inside of three months. And when things like this do happen, some people wrongly adopt the ”Why bother?” attitude. “Why should I bother, eating healthy/exercising/eliminating stress etc.? That teacher was pretty healthy and it didn't do any good.” Or did it?

Type 2 Diabetes, being overweight/obese, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, autoimmune disease, chronic stress, cancer, parkinson's, dementia, alzheimer's, heart disease, COPD, hypertension, stroke, arteriosclerosis are all known as lifestyle diseases because they are brought on by the way we live our lives. And while it's true that genetically speaking some people are more prone than others to some diseases due to their family history, make no mistake about it, our DNA determines only 30 percent of the outcome of our health. That leaves a whopping 70 percent we get to control. Why bother indeed.

Regardless whether we're only standing knee-deep in the family gene pool or treading water in the deep end, the fact of the matter is, we never really and truly know what's going on inside our bodies. But knowing you have that 70 percent control, I hope helps to shift the “Why bother?” to “It's no bother at all, I get to!” Those people we hear about, like the college student who had an aneurism on the basketball court or the marathoner who had a heart attack training for the big race, or even like my friend the PE teacher who got cancer, whether they knew about the 70 percent or not, consciously made healthy choices. But it's because of that 70 percent we know their healthy choices were not all for naught. Imagine how much shorter those lives would have been had they adopted “Why bother?” and not activated their 70 percent?

It's been said that there's a small demographic of people getting healthier as they age and I truly believe that. I also believe that it's not an exclusive club and anyone can join. The truth is, no one's getting out of this life alive so why not do as much living as you can while you're here.

Pat, there are no groups or things starting in the next little while, so would you please put my short bio back into the paper? Thanks!

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Let them eat carbs

Even if you're not interested or following anyone in nutrition, fitness or the health and wellness industry, chances are still that by now you've at least heard the word “Keto”. Short for Ketogenic, this diet that recommends removing almost all carbohydrates from your diet and replacing them with fats is being touted by many as the be-all end-all for weight loss. But is it really?

Let's start with the basics. All foods, regardless of what they are, will fall into one of three macronutrient categories; proteins, fats and carbohydrates (carbs). Feeding your body enough of each macronutrient on a daily basis is essential for good health and to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Protein is needed for growth, helps build and protect muscle mass, and is responsible for hormone and enzyme production, tissue repair as well as assists with immune function. Healthy fats support cell growth, protect organs, allow absorption of fat-soluable vitamins, give the body energy and help keep it warm. Carbs are the body's primary source of energy and are used to create glucose for fuel. Although many people think of carbs only as being bread, pasta, rice, potatoes or anything refined and processed, fruits and vegetables are also considered carbs – healthy carbs that provide our bodies with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

As defined by Webster's online, a Ketogenic diet is, “a diet supplying a large amount of fat and minimal amounts of carbohydrate and protein and used especially formerly in epilepsy to produce a ketosis and alter the degree of bodily alkalinity”. The Ketogenic diet was actually developed as a last resort in an effort to help control seizures in epileptic patients in lieu of, or with very little, medication. It's very restrictive, limiting carbohydrate intake to between five and ten percent of your daily intake (which equates to about one small banana per day total carbs), while increasing your fat intake to between 65 and 70 percent. Protein then makes up the remaining 20 to 30 percent. So how did a diet designed specifically to help epileptics become something people would try for weight loss? Let's go back a few decades...

More than a few decades ago scientists decided that too much fat in a person's diet wasn't healthy and began recommending whole grains (carbs) instead. Low-fat and fat-free foods quickly became the trend as North Americans began eating massive amounts of carbohydrates thinking they were being “healthy” by staying away from fat. As we have seen the obesity rates continue to climb since that era, clearly this was not a healthy move. What scientist failed to realize at the time was that carbohydrates, especially the processed carbs, are digested and enter the blood stream very quickly creating a spike in blood sugar. Every time the blood sugar spikes it also stores fat. Eating a fat and ideally a protein as well, with the carbohydrate actually helps slow down digestion and prevent that spike in blood sugar. And of course without the spike in blood sugar, no fat is stored. Take it one step further and replace the refined carbs (all those recommended whole-grain snacks still touted as “healthy”) with fresh fruits and veggies and your body's metabolism is now turned on and burning fat. The problem of obesity and being an overweight nation did not come from eating carbs, but rather eating too many processed and starchy carbs and/or failing to combine them with a protein and a healthy fat.

You'll hear comments like; “Carbs are the enemy....”, “Carbs make you gain weight...”, “Cut carbs if you want results...” from the Keto community, and if you've been eating a “healthy” diet of fat-free whole grains for the last decade and wondering why you can't shake the jiggly bits from around your middle you may be inclined to think carbs should be eliminated. But if carbs, fruits and vegetable carbs especially, give the body energy, and provide vitamins and minerals, etc., is Keto really something that will, a) allow people to get results and b) be something people can maintain for life..? Personally, I think not.

My advice has always been when looking to improve health or lose weight, ask yourself these questions; 1. Is what I'm about to do backed by science? 2. Does it make sense to me? 3. Would I put a child on this program? 4. Can I see myself doing this for life?

The Ketogenic diet does have science behind it for sure and as with all diets, the question isn't will you get results, but rather will you be able to maintain them for the rest of your life. In my mind giving up almost all fruits and veggies forever isn't something I could do. And I certainly would not consider restricting a child's fruits and veggies intake unless it was deemed medically necessary. Our bodies, growing bodies especially, need the nutrition. And supposing you did decide to try it for a short time, without a follow up plan once you stop, the weight will come right back on again.

Optimal health and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight rarely happens using a diet. In fact statistics say that less than one percent of people can maintain a diet for life. And that's were PFC every 3 comes in. A food-based program that teaches people how to stabilize blood sugar by eating a balance of a protein, fat and carb every three hours. Metabolism is turned on, stored fat is released and burned as energy, weight is lost, energy increases, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar decreases, immune function increases, hormones are balanced, focus and concentration is improved, depression is reduced, moods are regulated, all without eliminating an entire food group. What began in Canada and the US has developed into a global movement to restore health and end the dieting madness around the world. Currently, there are more than 500,000 people around the world today living PFC every 3 and loving their lives.

If you've tried to lose weight only to regain it, or have unresolved health issues, consider joining Tania's next 8 Weeks program. Classes begin June 25. Class size is limited, call 250.870.8719 or email to register.

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Europe Pt 2

Today marks the half-way point in our UK and European travels and I write this as we wait until it's time, once again, to head to the airport, this time flying from Cologne, Germany to Zurich, Switzerland. By the time this article hits the paper we will be with friends celebrating my husband's birthday and sending big hugs back home to our youngest daughter who shares the same birthday. Such exciting times indeed.

With all the excitement – friends, sightseeing, different food, activities, and even messages from home coming at different times of the day and night – and the longer you're away from home, it can be easy to let your regular fitness routine slide and even disappear altogether. So for those of you who are usually active and find you're missing the gym, exercise class or your hiking buddies or for those who would like to include some activity in their travel, I have a few suggestions.

1. Invest in and take a Fitbit or set up a step-tracking app on your phone. Begin using it a few weeks before you go so you can see how active you are normally and then set your daily goal accordingly. Fitbit will notify you when you have reached your daily goal. If you are staying with friends, do let them know you're not opposed to doing walking tours around the city rather than always taking public transport or driving. And as we've found out, there are a number of very good free walking tours in several cities, so you can save money and keep fit.

2. Build some time into your day three to five days per week to do some sort of travel workout wherever you are. Personally, I like to get it done before we go out for the day. Most days I do a 30 – 40 minute resistance band and body-weight workout- following by stretching - to satisfy the “weight lifting” portion of my workout. And once or twice per week I've been doing 30 minutes of yoga for a whole body stretch. I find it's helpful when sleeping in different beds and after long travel days.

3. Take the stairs. Booking a room a few floors up ensure that at least a few times per day the large leg muscles are activated for strength. Taking the stairs is an especially good idea if you have booked tours that require a fair bit of sitting.

4. Pack resist bands and a lacross or tennis ball with you. It's amazing how many strength exercises can be done using resist bands and your own body weight. Bands require almost no space in your luggage, they come in varying degrees of tension and simulate lifting weights. Examples can easily be found by googling, and I also have some posted on my YouTube channel as well. The other great thing I love about bands, is that you don't need a lot of space to get a good workout. A spot the size of a yoga mat is all you really need. So if your hotel or Airbnb doesn't have a gym, or you're staying with friends, you can easily do a workout in your room. As with any workout, remember to stretch. Both travelling and sitting for long periods, as well as excessive walking (especially climbing to the top of monuments as we've been doing) can cause leg muscles to tense up. Having some type of small ball you can sit and/or lay on will help massage it out.

5. Stay hydrated. Making sure to take and drink water as you're out and about is key. It's easy to get distracted by the sights and before you know it, hours have passed. My husband and I take water bottles when we head out for the day, sip on them as we are out and about and refill them at every opportunity.

Of course travel workouts are never the same as our regular exercise routines, but with a little creativity and planning you'll be able to maintain your fitness level and enjoy the energy it brings to your day. For more food and fitness travel ideas, and to join Tania in her #UKEurope2018 journey, like and follow FIT Nutrition on Facebook.

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UK and Europe 2018 - Pt 1

Stop over number two on our way to Edinburgh has me writing this in the Amsterdam airport. Unfortunately the only tulips I saw were from a flower cart vendor in the airport as we didn't have enough time to get out and explore. The real exploring will begin in Edinburgh and will include 12 cities throughout the UK and Europe with Madrid being our last stop before heading home. At five weeks, it does indeed qualify as an extended vacation. And with extended vacations there are always the chance of coming home with extra weight around the middle along with the extra luggage filled with souvenirs. With a little thought however, food can be enjoyed and treats can be had without having to undo the top button of your jeans on the fight home.

If you've been following my column for a while, you may remember me touching on this topic before as it's one that many can relate too. We've all taken short or average-length vacations without a second thought to our food, water, alcohol, sugar, etc., intake. And in all honesty, for most people throwing caution to the wind for a short time and then coming right back on track doesn't usually cause any long-term damage or ill effects. Extended vacations however are a whole new ball game

The problem arises when people keep the same mindset for long vacations as they have for short ones. The “I'm-on-holiday-so-I-get-to-eat-whatever-I-want” attitude becomes problematic when the vacation is no longer a week to 10 days, but extends past two weeks and for some even into several months. Anyone fortunate enough to be able to get away for these extended lengths of time, needs to switch from the “vacation” mindset to thoughts of “lifestyle”.

A vacation mindset says it's ok to eat out frequently, order extravagantly, have a few drinks (or a few more than usual), skip meals during the day to “save it for dinner”, etc., I'm sure you get the idea. Having a lifestyle mindset however, prompts us to try and maintain what we are currently doing at home. And even though some people's lifestyle thoughts when it comes to balancing food could use a good fridge clean, it's still much better than completely throwing caution to the wind and letting everything go.

This is the first extended vacation for my husband and I in a very long while. The last “long” vacation we took was 11 years ago when our kids were small. We piled everyone into the van, hitched up our tent trailer and took a 19 day road trip down to Disneyland, San Diego and back up through the Oregon Coast. Because our trailer had a stove and fridge, we had 3 meals per day at the trailer and took snacks for the in-between times. Those with kids can relate I'm sure. As our kids grow up, so do our holidays which often means staying out of the country for several months at a time. And as we accept this as a wonderful new addition to our lifestyle and incorporate into it the healthy habits we already have, these fun and exciting times add fun and happy memories to your life rather than weight around the middle and increasing cholesterol numbers.

Think about it. Those who take even a one-month vacation each year can still be eating poorly up to about 25 percent of the time or even more. Let's break it down. I think it's fair to say that most people eat out at least once per week. Not including the yearly one-month getaway that adds up to 48 occasions. Add in another once per month to account for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc., and that brings the total to 60. That equates to two months' worth of days where the average person is not eating as they think they should. Factor back in that yearly one-month vacation and you're now consuming a whopping three months' worth of off-plan days or cheat meals. Just think how these numbers can increase exponentially for snowbirds who head south for three, four or even six months.

So what can you do to enjoy your vacation and minimize any weight gain and negative impacts on health the vacation mindset can bring about? Here are three tips I'm using on my trip. 1. Know where you're going, what's available and where you can find it. For example if you're heading to a place you've never been before, plan to enjoy your off-plan meal(s) around an ethnic dish or trying a food famous to the region you're going to rather than just indulging in all the extras that seem to present themselves daily. Chances are, as you're looking forward to trying something new you'll be more likely to remain on-plan for the days leading up to it. 2. Cook when you can. I know, for some the entire idea of a vacation is to get away from that sort of thing but buying fresh, local fare and preparing it together can actually add to your overall experience. Throwing caution to the wind in favour of ordering and eating whatever you want can actually mitigate your relaxed mood and make it seem as if the somehow your vacation was less satisfying when you arrive home with a those extra pounds around your middle. 3. Take protein bars, a good protein shake powder and shaker bottles with you. Having an option for a quick, healthy meal while in airports or on tours prevents “hangry” travellers and will keep you from spending extra money on unhealthy fast-grab option.

Wherever you go and however long you choose to stay, building health and nutrition into your holiday ultimately makes them more enjoyable in the long run. More energy, save a little money and the only souvenirs you'll bring back will be in your suitcase, not around your waist. Next time watch for my tips on how to keep on track with fitness while you travel.

Like and follow FIT Nutrition on Facebook to join in my #UKEurope2018 journey!

Keep that Summer Shape all year long! Watch for Summer Shape-Up programs coming in June!
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6 Questions to Ask Yourself....

Last week I had a new client come in and during the course of our appointment and talking about food he posed the question, “When did the main focus of our food become entertainment and not on what's actually good for us?” Great question. Don't get me wrong, by no means am I implying that food should be dull, boring and tasteless, far from it. But as my client's question alluded to, there has definitely been a shift over the past few generations where the number one criteria that must be met before we put anything into our mouths is fun.

Take out, drive through, order in, super-sized, 2 for 1, coupon for a free dessert or sugary beverage, must-have sauces and dips, free toy and/or play area for kids, and so on means we don't have to cook, there's very little clean up, it's ready in a flash, kids are occupied, what's not to love about that? Human beings are inherently lazy. It's a fact. When an easier option presents itself, most are likely to take it without much in the way of second thoughts.

The whole “work smarter not harder” mantra many millennials have brought to the workplace is also being adopted by all age demographics in the kitchen as well. What's wrong with doing fewer dishes and having someone do the cooking for you? Nothing, if that someone's focus is health. Only then can we afford the luxury of constant convenience and fun when it comes to our food. The problem is that what's fun in the moment was designed for taste and convenience only, typically doing very little at best to nourish our bodies and create health. You may spend fewer hours in the kitchen now, but chances are you'll end up spending massive amounts of time and money years down the road trying to restore health, reverse disease and recreate healthy habits.

Now I'm not asking you give up all fun and convenience, move to a farm, plant a vegetable garden and never eat out again. I am however reminding you that when it comes right down to it, food is a business. If you read my last article you know exactly what I'm talking about. For those who missed it, suffice it to say that food companies are in business to generate revenue, not health. Bottom line, adding certain ingredients to foods to make it taste better or even become addictive, look more appealing, and extend shelf life, increases sales. And, using low-quality, nutrient deficient ingredients decreases expenses. When you put the two together, food companies stay in the black while our health is headed for red.

So, just how much convenience is convenient for our health? Ask yourself these questions to determine where you 1) Do I eat more meals out every week than I prepare at home? 2) Are fast and cheap the main criteria when ordering in or choosing a restaurant? 3) Do I pour a glass of wine or have a drink to unwind before dinner? 4) At home, do I prepare meals from a package more often than fresh? 5) Do I eat out for lunch more often than bringing one from home? 6) On extended vacations do I indulge as if it were a one or two week vacation? If you've answered yes to most of these questions, health has definitely been made to take a back seat to convenience.

The good news, is that for the most part, the health we are currently enjoying or suffering with is the sum total of the accumulation of our choices up to today. If those six questions had you feeling a little uncomfortable and your health is not where you'd like it to be, or even if you're just looking to be proactive in creating better health, it's time to make better choices. As long as people continue to give equal weight to “I want” and “I need” when it comes to their food choices, lifestyle diseases will continue to increase. Life, or lifestyle disease, it's all a choice.

If you're ready to start making some positive changes and Transform Your Health, go to For free tips, recipes and coaching videos, like and follow FIT Nutrition and join the 8 Weeks is All it Takes group on Facebook
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Unhealthy Economics

This past week I turned 50. And as a result, took a moment to reflect on where I was, where I am and where I'm going in terms of health. Everything I have ever done, or will ever be able to do, has and will be determined by my level of health. Eight years ago at a health and wellness convention a speaker boldly proclaimed from the stage, “There's a small demographic of people getting healthier as they age.” And I made the decision to be one of those people.

The speaker wasn't a health guru, scientist or supplement developer, he was an economist. Paul Zane Pilzer, professor of economics, author and advisor to two former US presidencies, shared how the subjects of economics and health are closely connected.

Pilzer shared his own health story – typical of many in their 40's and 50's today – of how in his mid-40's he found himself overweight with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and on the fast track to a heart attack - just like his father and his uncles. In an effort to try and avoid the same fate, Pilzer started looking at the business of health. What he found helped him to make decisions that turned his health around. Here's where the economics came in.

We all understand that purchasing food is indeed a business transaction and someone is making money. And of course the more we consume, the more we buy, the more we buy, the more those in the food business make. But you can't get people to eat more than they need or want, right? Wrong. Everyday people eat food they wish they hadn't, in quantities they never imagined they could put away and later wonder why they did it. Food is big business and it continues to expand, the waistlines of people in North America are proof. Pilzer went on to explain how this is happening.

We all have something called a satiety level. When our satiety level with a particular food is reached, we stop eating that particular food. For example, say you've never eaten an orange before and someone gives you one to try. You bite into a fresh, juicy, sweet, ripe orange and it tastes amazing. You love it. You're offered a second orange and you take it. Same thing, you dive right in, juice is running down your chin, it's amazing. You're offered a third orange and you eat that too, although less enthusiastically. It's good, but now you've had enough. Even though you'd never had an orange before now, you're not going to want to eat another orange right now. Tomorrow, maybe. Next week, for sure. But today your body is saying “I've had enough.”. The only way for companies to sell more food to someone that has had enough, is to bypass their satiety level. And that's exactly what they are doing.

What I heard next shocked and appalled me. As someone who worked with major food corporations to help increase their bottom line, Pilzer shared that the economics of the food industry are structured solely to generate sales and increase profits. For example, companies would conduct tests to determine the satiety levels for their product. They would then put strategies in place that would encourage the consumer to ignore the “I'm done” signal from the brain.

For instance, if it was determined that a person is satisfied after consuming an eight ounce individual bag of potato chips that comes as a side for your sandwich, the company will manufacture manufacture the bags at six ounces in an effort to get you to purchase another bag. Fast food restaurants work with chemists to make food addictive and therefore encouraging that upgrade to a larger order. In addition, food containing “empty calories” fills the hunger gap but does nothing to nourish our bodies. It's no wonder people are hungry again only an hour or two after a fast food meal. Keeping the nutritional value low or non-existent, allows costs to be kept low as well. And where do mal-nourished, overweight people who want a “good deal” on lunch go? Back to the fast food places.

Other factors weigh in as well. A basic sales principle is that it's always easier to market to an existing customer than to create a new customer. With that in mind, most marketing is directed to the overweight and obese population. An overweight person takes up the same number of spaces in the parking lot, they still only use one chair per person inside the restaurant, but an overweight person will typically order 25 percent more than someone of average weight.

Pilzer reminded the audience at this point that, shocking as these scenarios are, companies are not doing these things to be evil, they are doing it to make money. After all, it is a business, remember?

My point in telling this story today is that I am a firm believer that when we know better we do better. When we know things are being added to our food to alter our choices, when we understand that eating for convenience leaves us malnourished, and when we know the food industry's focus is on increasing revenue, we can decide to make choices that will increase our health. I can honestly say I am healthier, fitter and stronger than I was 10 years ago. It's not an exclusive club. You just have to decide to join.
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Is Your Warning Light On?

Our bodies are truly amazing. Created for durability and meant to last despite what we have done, will do or continue to put ourselves through, we are designed to heal. Just like the paper cut that closes up or the broken arm where pieces of bone grown back together, the rate at which the healing takes place depends on how we respond. We all likely know someone who fractured or broke something and didn't realize it. Rather than acknowledge the pain, limited movement, extreme bruising, swelling etc., as a sign it may actually be broken and then visit the doctor right away, some decide to “tough it out” or “wait and see”. Imagine how much longer and more complicated the healing process becomes when the person finally does go to get it checked and as a result of waiting, doctors now must re-break and then reset the bone in order for it to heal properly. And all because they ignored the warning signs their body was providing.

Just like pain, bruising, and swelling were signs of a broken arm, our bodies provide warning signs to let us know when something is going on inside that we need to start paying more attention to. But are we? People often live for years with warning signs, not even realizing there's anything wrong. If you're wondering how someone could fail to recognize when our body is telling us something is wrong, it's like putting a frog in hot water. If you dropped a frog into a pot of boiling water he would immediately jump out. However, if you put a frog in a pot of room-temperature water, then slowly heat it to the boiling point, the frog stays put and eventually dies. As the temperature increased gradually the frog's body adjusted to the heat of the water, preventing it from seeing the danger. Many people in North America right now are just like the frog – up to their eyeballs in hot water and not realizing how much trouble they're actually in.

Most people only consider the more serious health events like heart attack, stroke, or cancer as a warning and the right time to make some changes. Far from it. Having a heart attack, stroke or being diagnosed with cancer is not a warning. It is something that happens when we ignore the warnings. Like the water temperature rising, warning signs are subtle, continuous over time, giving the illusion it's something that just naturally happens as we age. The truth however, is that when we take warning signs seriously and do what's necessary to eliminate them, we effectively turn off the heat and keep ourselves out of hot water.

So, what are some of the warning signs? Things like heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, dry skin, eczema, acne sugar cravings, salt cravings, arthritis, aches and pains, swollen hands and feet, discoloration in feet and lower leg, depression, anxiety, mood swings, sudden weight loss or weight gain, cramps, low immune system, allergies, low sex drive, headaches, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated sugar levels, are all cause for concern. You may be shocked to learn that these conditions people live with on a daily basis and have come to accept as normal, are definitely not.

A warning sign showing up in your body is like the 'check engine' light coming on in our car. It's there to indicate something inside, or associated with the engine, is not functioning as it should. We all know that ignoring that red light and continuing to drive for any length of time without getting the car serviced never ends well. In fact, if left too long, the engine may seize up and stop running altogether – a much bigger problem than simply having it checked when the warning light came on in the first place. Same goes for our health.

Our bodies are designed to heal. And when we are aware that something in our body is functioning a little differently or feeling 'not quite right', pay attention. All conditions, good and bad, are created mostly by what we do – directly and indirectly – to our bodies. None of them came out of nowhere, regardless of how it may surprise you at the time. The good news is, that if these conditions were created, then they can also be reversed.

If you or anyone you know has been living with the warning light on, you're invited to book your free health assessment with Tania today call 250.870.8719 or online and get yourself out of hot water.

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Or does it?

“Show me the five people you hang around the most and I'll show you your future.” I'm not 100 percent certain who originally said this, but I do remember hearing it for the first time at an entrepreneurial event where business people from around North America came together to learn the ins and outs of successfully growing a business. The quote implies that the people we allow into our circle of influence do exactly that – influence us. And, depending on who we have allowed in and how they are influencing us would then determine the growth, or not, of our businesses. Anyone in business knows this to be true, but did you know the same principle applies to our health as well?

I remember years ago reading a cartoon published in the health section of the newspaper. It showed a doctor talking with his patient addressing the issue of high cholesterol where the doctor says, “The problem is not necessarily that high cholesterol runs in your family, it's that no one in your family runs.” Although we all laugh, this analogy rings with more truth than most people realize.

For decades, each generation has been under the impression that if some direct relation in the family tree had a particular disease or disorder, they would someday be plagued with it as well. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, allergies, etc., are all said to “run in the family”. Science now tells us that our DNA plays a much smaller role than we originally thought in determining what runs in our families. In fact only about 30 percent of our DNA actually determines the outcome of our health. The other 70 percent is all up to us. So, if we control 70 percent of the outcome of our health, why do so many people struggle with health? Frankly, it is because we control that 70 percent. The fact of the matter is, the majority of people aren't aware they have very much, if any control whatsoever, let alone a whopping 70 percent. How we handle stress, what we eat, how much and how well we sleep, whether we have a positive or negative mindset, how much water we consume, environmental factors at home and work, exercise, etc., are only a few of what makes up that 70 percent.

Going back to who we surround ourselves with, the constants, at least in our formative years, are our families. As we grow, we learn through osmosis – watching, copying and doing what goes on around us, often times without ever being specifically taught. Besides breathing, sleeping and the elimination of waste, everything we know including habits, was learned. We copy what we see the people around us continually do – consciously or unconsciously - and these learned behaviours if not interrupted, then often become life-long habits. We not only inherit DNA from our family, we also inherit their habits. And like the cartoon illustrates, when your family has habits that are not consistent with creating optimal health, we are more likely to struggle with lifestyle diseases and believe we have no control over how to change it. I'm here to tell you that couldn't be farther from the truth.

In business, when we look around and discover that the people we've allowed into our circle of influence aren't helping us move forward, we distance ourselves and begin to seek out people to connect with and organizations to join that are more aligned with our goals, values and beliefs. With family, it's not quite that simple. Kicking your family to the curb because they eat sugary breakfast cereals and bring home takeout 3 times per week for dinner is not realistic. But realizing those choices created a learning environment which fostered habits that resulted in poor health, and then deciding to kick those to the curb is something we all can do. And when we make better choices, we are creating an environment that allows our children and subsequent generations to inherit not only our DNA but also the good habits and good health that now runs in your family.

If you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, and ready to optimize your 70 percent to take back control of your health, go to and book your complimentary health assessment today.

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PFC Balance is the Way to Go

Simply put, macronutrients (macros) is the term used to include all the food that we need to eat each day in order to live. Macros are made up of three categories, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Some people like to add alcohol as a separate, fourth category, but since it is still a carbohydrate, I prefer to include with carbs and just stick with three. Macros also determine how many calories we eat. Totalling the caloric count from each macro category is where those calories come from that so many people still worry about, obsess over, and count. The good news is that when you understand what macros are and what they actually do, you'll never have to count calories again.

In case you hadn't already noticed, the proteins, fats and carbs that make up macros sound just like the PFC's I refer to so many times. In fact, they are one in the same. Phrases like “balancing your macros” and “eating PFC ever 3” are interchangeable. It doesn't really matter how you say it, what matters is when you do it right, you get results. So, if macros encompass all foods, and they are made up of only three categories, then everything we eat also must fall into one of those three categories. Let's break it down and learn exactly what a protein, fat and carbohydrate really is.

Proteins are our body's building blocks, essential for building muscle, bone, cartilage, skin and blood. Hair and nails are made almost entirely of protein. It's also essential for building and repairing tissue, hormones and other bodily chemicals. And unlike fats and carbohydrates, proteins cannot be stored in the body for future use so making sure to include enough is essential to maintain good overall health. Protein is also a key component in stabilizing blood sugar as it is digested slowly, helping to keep blood sugar levels in check. Meats and all animal products (eggs, yogurt, butter, cheese, milk) along with quinoa, hemp and chia are all sources of complete protein and contain all the essential amino acids our bodies need but are unable to produce naturally.

Fats help proteins do their job properly. They also help regulate growth, immune function, reproduction and parts of our basic metabolism. Good fats are a source of omegas which support heart health and cognitive function, assist in absorption of fat-soluable vitamins, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, boost immunity, improve skin and have anti-aging properties. And contrary to what you may think, we need to consume fat to burn fat. In fact, the whole low-fat movement that began years ago is actually what sparked the increase in obesity rates in North America. Not all fats are created equally. however and choosing healthy fats like avocado, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, hemp hearts, pumpkin seed, flax seed, nuts, natural nut butters, etc., while avoiding unhealthy food-like substances like vegetable shortening, vegetable oils, margarine, will ensure your body and brain both get what they need.

Carbohydrates are the body's first energy source. Without them, the body would be forced to take protein from the muscles to use as fuel, effectively eating it's own muscle and slowing down metabolism as a result. Definitely not something anyone would want to have happen. Low and no-carb diets seem to be quite popular at the moment, however eliminating an entire food group in an effort to lose weight not only slows down metabolism, it can leave the body deficient in essential vitamins and minerals found in the fruits and veggies that are not being eaten. And yes fruits and veggies are carbohydrates - the ones we should be eating. Processed and starchy carbs such as bread, pasta, cereal, soda, juice, sugar, alcohol, white potatoes, corn, white rice and really almost anything that comes in a package, box, bag, bottle, can, or wrapper can safely be omitted. In fact I encourage you to omit as many of these as possible and replace them with whole, single ingredient carbs that come conveniently packaged in their own wrappers – fruits and veggies. You'll soon notice many positive changes in your body as well as improved health in areas you've likely never even considered.

As you can see, macros do matter. All are necessary and all provide the greatest benefit for our bodies when put together in a way that balances the body and stabilizes blood sugar. Macro balancing, or as I like to say PFC every 3, done intentionally and consistently creates homeostasis (balance) within the body and allows all systems and hormones to function optimally. It is in this place of balance that we can thrive. Immune function improves, energy levels increase, depression and mood swings are decreased, blood pressure and cholesterol come down, sugar cravings are eliminated, hormones are balanced, digestion is improved, acid reflux is decreased, joint pain decreases, sleep improves, metabolism is turned on and burning fat, and excess weight is lost.

This is not a definitive list and the more clients I coach and the more people I meet living PFC every 3, the more wonderful stories I hear of how people are making small changes and experiencing significant results. There is a small demographic of people getting healthier as they age. The good news is, it's not an exclusive club and everyone is welcome to join.

For more information on how you can age more healthfully, book your complimentary 30 health assessment with Tania today. Call 250.870.8719 to book or go online at
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