Book Review - 10 Steps to Healthy Eating

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

With my Crohn's diagnosis, my focus has really shifted from not only maintaining my weight, but ensuring that I'm choosing foods that will nourish my body and promote healing. I've been seeing a naturopath and her suggestions have been incredibly helpful and insightful and I'm really starting to look at food in a different way. In the next couple of weeks I'm going to be doing food sensitivity testing to determine which foods I should be including and/or eliminating from my diet to help my gut stay happy!

With all that being said, I'm really trying to gather as much information as possible about food and healthy eating. As I'm sure you've come to learn, I really enjoy reading books on these topics, especially when the author's principles align with Weight Watchers. I was incredibly pleased to see references to the Weight Watchers program as early as page 12 of Leslie Beck's book 10 Steps to Healthy Eating. Leslie has a number of books out there and is one of Canada's leading nutritionists. I decided to purchase this book once I read what her ten steps were:

  1. Get ready to change your diet permanantly
  2. Eat enough protein
  3. Choose the right carbohydrates
  4. Eat more fruits and vegetables
  5. Choose healthier fats and oils
  6. Boost your vitamins and minerals
  7. Eat more often
  8. Don't forget about fluids
  9. Control your weight
  10. Be active every day

She goes into detail on each step and provides useful insight, information and examples to the reader. In the first section she talks about the importance of setting goals and getting motivated about changing the way you eat. She talks about enlisting support and setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable and realistic. At the beginning of each chapter there is a little quiz for the reader to test your knowledge and also quickly dispell some of the myths and preconceptions of each category (including True or False - eating carbohydrates causes you to gain weight in Chapter 3) She provides relevant examples for each topic which allows for easy adoption of the principles into the readers life (like charts on the fiber, cholesterol and calcium content in various food examples). At the end of each chapter she gives a list of tips, summarizes the key ideas in the chapter and how to include them in your lifestyle.

The book also includes a recipe section with recipes from the Canadian Living test kitchen. I haven't tried anything from the book yet, but it looks like there are some interesting recipes included along with a nutritional breakdown for each.

There was a quote in Chapter nine that explains Leslie's philosophy:

Everything you do to lose weight must be everything you do to keep it off

This guiding principle is something that I continue to tell my members on a weekly basis - it doesn't end when you get to Lifetime. There is no save button when you hit your goal weight. You need to imagine doing the things that you are doing right now for the rest of your life!

I'm very happy that I purchased this book and have learned a lot from it. I look forward to applying some of Leslie's ideas and I'm sure I will reference this book in the future. Be sure to check out her website as there is information about her other books, articles about nutrition, recipes, cookbook reviews and of course information about Leslie's nutritional consulting.

Brian Regan on Serving Sizes

Check out this clip of Brian Regan as he talks about serving sizes. Very funny.

Meal Plan - Week of January 25th

Monday, January 26, 2009

More rehearsal, more crock pot recipes. I went to the library on Thursday and took out the book 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes so this week I'm trying a few recipes from it. I'm excited!!
Sunday - Smackaroni & Cheese from ESBM (One of our favourite recipes)
Monday - Steak Fajitas on WW wraps
Tuesday - Slow Cooker Pork Teriyaki w/ sweet potatoes & corn
Wednesday - Cheesy White Chili w/ cauliflower (Slow Cooker)
Thursday - Mushroom recipe from new cookbook
Friday - TBD
Saturday - Slow Cooker Curry w/ brown rice from new Weight Watchers Magazine
Check out more meal plan ideas at

Recipe Recap - Week of January 18

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Another successful week in the crockpot. The week was moved around a bit based on our schedules, but I did get to most of the recipes.

Fiber One waffles - If you get to the US, pick up some of the Fiber One pancake mix and muffin mix. The pancake mix tastes great when made into waffles and has more fiber than the usual pancake mix. They were a little drier due to the fiber, but we enjoyed them with some light Becel & maple syrup.

Peach-blueberry muffins - These were so tasty and did great as a grab n go breakfast. I put them a tupperware in the freezer once they were cooled and took them out as we needed one. It kept them nice and fresh and I loved their low points value. A wonderful way to enjoy fruit!

Crockpot Salsa Chicken w/ brown rice - so easy and so tasty. I know that everyone has a variation on this recipe, but I have to say that it really works well in the crockpot. I loved all the black beans and corn and the salsa makes the chicken really moist. Joey and I both really enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the following day.

HG chicken strips, HG Lord of the Onion Rings, & steamed broccoli - We loved these!! I've made the chicken strips before, but this was my first try at the onion rings. Other posters I know have had some trouble with the onion rings, but I really liked how they turned out. It felt like we were eating fast food without the guilt. We also had a variety of dipping sauces available to make the meal even more fun. These didn't make it into the lunch boxes the next day because there was none left!!

Crockpot pork chops with cremini mushrooms w/ baby potatoes
- This was a WW recipes that a friend gave to me. It was good, although the pork chops were a little bit dry. I think next time I would put them at the bottom of the pot so they were covered with the gravy. Despite being dry, Joey enjoyed the sauce and all the mushrooms.

4 (1/4 lb) boneless pork loin chops
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 can reduced sodium, reduced fat condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/4 c. water
4 carrots, chopped
1/4 lb fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1. Sprinkle the pork chops with the salt and pepper. Spray a non-stick skillet with non-stick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and cook until browned, about 2 minutes on each side.

2. Combine the soup, water, carrots and mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, and thyme in a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker; mix well. Place the pork chops on top of the vegetable mixture. Cook,covered until the pork and vegetables are for-tender, 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.

Per serving: (1 pork chop and 1/2 cup vegetables) 230 Calories, 8 g Fat, 3 g Fiber

Polynesian Chicken
- Another excellent recipe from Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health. The pineapple was delcious and the chicken just fell apart. Wonderful the next day. I will definitely make this again.

Stuffed Peppers - I had made these before so I knew they were going to be good. I ended up making them on Saturday as Joey wasn't home for dinner on Thursday and we went out on Friday. These peppers are so easy to make and they taste incredible and have a really low Points value. They smell fantastic as they cook and we really like to have them with a bit of sour cream on top. One is more than enough for me!! I like to make them with a variety of coloured peppers. Really really good. Joey says it's his favourite crockpot recipe yet!

Meal Plan - Week of January 18

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Another busy week of rehearsals is ahead of me, which means another Crock Pot heavy meal plan. I have to say that I am in love with my crock pot. It makes my life so much easier. I usually prep everything the night before, put it in the fridge and then turn it on the morning before work. I was talking to one of my coworkers about my love of the crockpot and she brought me a bunch of recipes from a Weight Watchers cookbook!! So excited to try some of them out.

Breakfasts - Fiber One waffles, fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, Peach-blueberry muffins

Lunches - leftovers & soups from last week

Sunday - Crockpot Salsa Chicken w/ brown rice
Monday - HG chicken strips, HG Lord of the Onion Rings, & steamed broccoli
Tuesday - Crockpot pork chops with cremini mushrooms w/ baby potatoes
Wednesday - Polynesian Chicken
Thursday - Stuffed Peppers (This is such a great recipe - so yummy)
Friday - Steak fajitas on Weight Watchers wraps w/ salad
Saturday - TBD - probably dinner out

As always you can check out more meal plans at Org Junkie

Recipe Recap - Week of January 11

Friday, January 16, 2009

Now that I'm posting my weekly menu, I thought it would be good form to let you know about the recipes that are new and how they worked out for me. There's a few factors that I'll take into consideration:
  • Was the recipe comprehensive and easy to assemble?
  • Did I like it?
  • Did Joey like it?
  • Was it good when reheated?
Chicken Cacciatore - This was a very simple recipe to make and the ingredients were easily found. I didn't cut up the chicken but instead placed them in the slow cooker whole. It tasted wonderful. Joey enjoyed his for dinner over some egg noodles, while I opted for tofu shirataki noodles. We both loved the sauce and the chicken was very moist and just fell apart. We enjoyed it for lunch the next day with some crumbled WW Pretzel Thins. A definite hit.

Taco Soup - We both really enjoyed this recipe. It reminded me of a taco-inspired chili. The only item that I didn't include was the ranch seasoning as I couldn't find it. It makes many servings and it's a wonderful hearty meal, especially in this cold weather. Great with some low fat sour cream and shredded cheese or bread.

Slow Cooker Polynesian Chicken - I didn't get to make this as we decided to take advantage of my later call to rehearsal. We had chicken souvlaki with Greek salad instead. I will make this soon.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup - Joey liked this and I didn't. I expected more of a creamy black bean soup and this didn't do it for me. Joey liked all the components, but said that he prefers a tomato based soup or a creamy soup. I am on the hunt for a creamy black bean soup. Please post if you have such a recipe. I will let Joey finish this batch off.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken - I took the chicken out of the freezer for this tonight. I will let you know how it goes! Seems simple and I'm sure it will be yummy.

One Inspiring Lady

I've had the pleasure of meeting quite a few of the amazing gals on the 20's boards. Last fall I had the opportunity to meet the wonderful and inspiring Jessica. Jess rejoined Weight Watchers last year and has been a force to be reckoned with ever since! To date she's lost an incredible 24 lbs on program. She has amazing dedication to the program and her weekly activity routine.

Each week Jess does videos on her youtube channel. She talks to her viewers about her weekly weigh ins, talks about successes and challenges she's having and also does tip videos with ideas on topics like working out, dining out, staying motivated etc.

Jess rocks.

I love her determination and overall upbeat and positive attitude. It's definitely contagious. She always has great things to say to people when they are feeling frustrated with their journey and her commitment to the working out (hot yoga, spinning, body pump, pilates etc.) encourages the rest of us!

My idea for writing this Jess love post today was based on something Jess wrote on the boards the other day that really resonated with me:

A week is 21 meals, if you mess up one meal, it's NOT a big deal! And it doesn't mean you messed up your whole week! Instead of giving up for the week, track, move on and stay OP

I try to get this message across to my members all the time and I thought it was a great way to think about it.

I'm so excited for Jess to get to goal and I feel incredibly lucky to know her and have her as a friend. Love you Jess!!!

Menu Plan - Week of January 11

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's been a very busy 2009 so far! I went back to work this week and I also started rehearsals for my new show. With everything that has been going on, meal planning has become even more important than normal. You'll notice that my slow cooker is being used a lot! It's made preparation so amazing and easy... because at the end of a long day I don't want to come home and cook!

Breakfasts - cereal w/ 1%, smoothies, yogurt w/ fruit, oatmeal

Lunches - leftovers of whatever I'm cooking for dinner the night before

Monday - Chicken Cacciatore w/ salad and whole wheat pasta (recipe also in Best Eats)
Tuesday - Taco Soup w/ low fat sour cream & shredded low fat cheddar cheese
Wednesday - Slow Cooker Polynesian Chicken w/ brown rice (from Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health)
Thursday - Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
Friday - TBD -
Saturday - Crockpot Salsa Chicken with brown rice

Snacks - fresh fruit, yogurt, applesauce, edamame, McCain's Cheesecake singles, SmartOnes Strawberry Shortcakes, Nature Valley Fiber Source bars, All-Bran bars, WW Pretzel Thins or WW 1 point peanut butter bars

Check out some other meal plans for the week at

Look what I got!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Merry Christmas to me! Today we went and picked out my new Crock Pot and I'm really excited! My first attempt at dinner cooked in the slow cooker is going to be Thai Curry from an amazing blog I found yesterday - A Year of Crockpotting. The author of the blog was on the Rachael Ray show recently and it was a recipe that Rachael gave her. I'm excited to try it and I'll let you know how it goes!

I came across another great blog yesterday called $5 Dinners. She's got great ideas for meal planning on a budget, so be sure to check it out!

If you have any tried and true slow cooker recipes please send them to me or post them in a comment!

New Year Book Review - Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! I'm happy to be writing my first post for 2009!

I had a very low key New Year's Eve. I took a walk with Joey and after lunch we ended up at one of my favourite stores in the city - BMV at Bloor and Spadina. If you've never been to this store - please go! It's a huge used bookstore with a wide selection of books, dvds, comics, cds all at fantastic prices. I rarely walk out of there empty handed. I often find books that are nearly new that I've been holding at a new bookstore or checking out on Amazon. Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health... and Don't Forget the Chocolate is no exception. I've nearly bought this book at least twice at Book City so I'm very excited to have found it at BMV for $11.99!

Since I had no major plans last night, I curled up on the couch next to Joey and the cats while watching the various NYE countdowns and simply devoured this book. I find food and nutrition so interesting and I loved all that I can learn from this incredibly well written book. The book goes through various food groups and talks about the benefits of each. It aligns extremely well with the Weight Watchers Good Health Guidelines and all throughout the night I kept reading quotes from various sections about studies done in the world to Joey because I found them so interesting. In the back there are a lot of recipes that encorporate Liz Pearson's nutritional know-how with Mairlyn Smith culinary expertise.

The book is filled with lists including tips for healthy eating in a hectic world, tips for eating out, info on sodium and fats as well as what to look for in a nutritional information label. I love how much information is doled out in an easy to read format with humor strewn in for good mix. The recipes look to be simple and quick and include nutritional information for easy Points calculations.

I know that I'm going to continue to read and reference this book in the future and I look forward to trying out a lot of the recipes!

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