Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness

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Yogurt Bran Muffins

Janet’s Yogurt Bran Muffins


1 cup yogurt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup cooking oil

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 cup All-bran cereal

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup berries, raisins, or chopped fruit


285 grams yogurt

1 teaspoon baking soda

119 ml cooking oil

150 grams brown sugar

1 egg

80 grams All-bran cereal

125 grams flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup berries, raisins, or chopped fruit



  • Combine yogurt and soda in large bowl.
  • Mix oil, sugar, egg, and bran in second bowl.
  • Add yogurt to bran mixture.
  • Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold in fruit.
  • Bake in lightly greased muffin tins at 350F for 20-25 minutes or until done.

Not suitable for those on a gluten-free diet or with an egg or dairy allergy.

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Black Bean Brownies

These super healthy black bean brownies are the ultra fudgy and decadent chocolate treat.

Cook Time – 15 minutes

Yield 9 – 12 brownies


  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well) (250g after draining)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (10g)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (40g) (See nutrition link below for substitutions)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave (75g)
  • pinch uncut stevia OR 2 tbsp sugar (or omit and increase maple syrup to 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil (40g) (See nutrition link for substitution notes)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips (Not optional. Omit at your own risk)
  • optional: more chips, for presentation


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. (A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a good food processor. )

Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan.
Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top.

Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. If they still look a bit undercooked, you can place them in the fridge overnight and they will magically firm up!

Makes 9-12 brownies.

Serve them first, and then reveal the secret ingredient. 🙂 In all the times I’ve served bean desserts, not one single person who didn’t know beforehand has ever guessed!

Black Bean Brownies: Calories and Nutrition Facts

Per Black Bean Brownie:

  • Calories: 115
  • Fat: 5.5g
  • Carbs: 15g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 2.5g
  • Weight Watchers Points Plus: 3 points

Above nutrition information was calculated using gram measurements and DOES include all of the chocolate chips (which you should include too!). This recipe is gluten-free as long as you make sure to buy certified-gf quick oats, baking powder, and pure vanilla extract.

source: chocolatecoveredkatie.com

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Fun Fact Friday

  • The downside of being shy is that people misjudge you as thinking you’re better than others just because you’re quiet.
  • 91% people skip the first slice of bread, just because it’s ugly.
  • Popcorn is by far the healthiest snack. It builds bone, muscle, tissue, aids digestion, and is good for the teeth.
  • Generally, you should never forget what a person says to you when angry because that’s when the truth finally comes out.
  • According to a study, wishing someone luck makes them do better.
  • A sleeping human brain can still understand the words being spoken around it.
  • Bottling up your emotions can lead to depression.
  • Studies have found that smiling is 69% more attractive than wearing makeup.
  • It only takes 0.2 seconds to fall in love.
  • Focusing primarily on the person you’re talking to rather than yourself and the impression you’re making lessens social anxiety.


Happy Friday  🙂


source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


I Changed My Fuel And It Changed My Health’s Trajectory

All calories are not equal. Yet we continue to count them in hopes of managing weight and health. Correcting this flawed thinking will forever change your relationship with food, calories and your weight. Changing your fuel just may change your health trajectory.

Consider the significance of changing the fuel you use in your body. It could make the difference between getting promoted, being injury and illness free, lean and healthy, and even finding romance (or not). It can, and I am living proof. When I began to think of calories as more than just a number, I lost 84 pounds, reclaimed my health and looked years younger. When I only counted calories, not considering their source, I was obese and unwell.

Many know the value of this truth about calories. Professional athletes serve as ideal evidence for this argument. The difference between first and last place is often seconds of strength, endurance and power. Having the correct balance of healthy fuel in the body can change a non-medalling effort to a gold medal day. The rituals of professional athletes on competition day extend beyond wearing lucky underwear to consuming the exact meal at the perfect time to fuel their success.

Still not sure?

Think about your own body. When we ingest junk food full of empty calories and quick-burning sugar, we get an immediate high followed by a sweat-soaked crash that sends us looking for a comfy place. Productivity grinds to a halt, our focus and attention is compromised and our body is unable to regulate blood sugar, spiraling us on a roller coaster of sugar cravings and crashes. Weight gain is often the result.

Now think about your body on a good day. A day where you started with a nourishing breakfast loaded with protein, fibre, good fat and healthy carbohydrates – maybe it was a vegetable omelet with a side of salsa and avocado, and a glass of water. Your breakfast is followed by a healthy snack before lunch, a well-balanced lunch and a clean snack mid-afternoon, and then a small but nutritious dinner. Your day was productive, your focus outstanding, you were accomplished and others noticed. You were mentally fit, but your body felt different, too. Energized, supported and able to meet your physical and mental needs for the day, your body reigned supreme.

Follow these five simple nutritional tips that will change your day from mediocre to outstanding.

1. Eat 6 small meals daily.

Our body runs best when it can not only predict its next meal, but receive nutritious support. Every meal should be comprised of quality foods that represent protein, good fat and nutritious carbs. I find that my own body works best on complex carbohydrates like leafy green vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds – I encourage you to try it out for yourself.

2. Always include good fats in each meal/snack.

Every cell in the body, including the brain, is made of fat, yet we often avoid fat because we think it will make us fat. Fat however, is critical in keeping the body healthy. Without sufficient fat, the metabolic rate slows, the brain begins to shrink and our ability to repair the body is jeopardized. Good fats are easy to consume once we know what they are. These include healthy oils such as olive and coconut oil, nuts and seeds, and nutritious fruit such as avocados. Including a handful of almonds with your meal or snack, allows you to get protein, healthy fat, fibre and complex carbohydrates in one place.

probiotics yogurt


3. Eat breakfast daily.

A nutritious breakfast is not coffee paired with pastry made from processed flour and sugar. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it sets the tone for the entire day. Would you drive to work without gas or leave the house without shoes? The answer to both of those questions is likely no. I ask then, why would you make your body starve for nutrition first thing in the morning and ask it to do work, be productive and help you achieve success? Easy breakfast ideas can include smoothies or leftovers from the night before. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it has to be fuel.

4. Drink two to three litres of water daily.

Water is the number one deficiency in the world – we are constantly losing water not only from the obvious things like sweat, but also from the not so obvious: stress, processed foods, sugar, juices, caffeine, and all the work our brains are doing to keep us moving each day. The most abundant, accessible nutrient in North America is the one that we often forget about but is critical to our success. A dehydrated plant doesn’t grow and repair, and neither does a dehydrated body.

5. BYOS – Bring Your Own Snacks.

I get you, hunger sets in and the choices around you aren’t ideal so you reach for whatever seems to be the healthiest and hope for the best. Instead of hoping, change your trajectory and your outcome by packing your own snacks. My cooler/lunch bag contains portable items I can rely on to give me excellent fuel – hard-boiled eggs, hummus and cut veggies, or sliced apples and almond butter. Some people like to make a large lunch and break it into two portions, one for lunch and the other for an afternoon snack. Find a system that works for you and start today.

Lastly, because I know that these tips are going to make you feel fantastic, I want you to do something before you start. Take a pen and a paper (or take out your mobile phone) and write down how you feel today, what you ate, what your sleep was like, how you feel about your body, how you fit into your clothes, how productive you were at work and what your vision for the future is. Then follow these tips for three weeks and revisit what you wrote.

07/19/2016        Tosca Reno        NYT Best selling author, founder Eat Clean revolution and motivational speaker.
Follow Tosca Reno on Twitter: www.twitter.com/toscareno

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Improve Your Eating Habits Without Drastically Changing Your Behaviour

Angela Mulholland, Staff writer      Thursday, May 21, 2015

When we choose to wolf down a bag of tortilla chips instead of an apple, it’s probably not because we don’t know the apple would have been the healthier choice. The chips were easier to grab and we didn’t give it a whole lot of thought.

So if we want to start eating better, the healthy choices have to be just as mindlessly easy to grab.

Brian Wansink, Ph.D., the director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, has spent decades studying why we make the eating choices we do. He’s found the key to getting people to choose healthy foods over unhealthy ones is not about willpower or arming them with nutrition knowledge; it’s simply about making sure good foods are convenient (C), attractive (A) and normal (N).

Wansink calls it the CAN Approach. In a new paper published in Psychology & Marketing, he reviewed more than 110 studies and found that those approaches that were most effective at guiding people to healthier choices used at least one of the three keys of the CAN Approach.

In his most recent book, “Slim By Design,” Wansink argues that making a few changes to your routine and a few areas of your home will be a lot easier than trying to stick to a diet.

“People are terrible at making big changes,” Wansink told CTVNews.ca in a recent phone interview. “But we find if people are perseverant with these small changes for 25 days, they lose an average of 1.4 lbs month.”

That might not sound like a lot of weight, “but that’s more than they will lose by going on a diet,” says Wansink. And, he says, these are meant to be small, permanent behaviour changes that will encourage healthier eating over the long term.

So here are a few tweaks you can make right now at home based on Wansink’s ideas to push yourself toward healthy eating, no willpower required.


• Put fruit in a bowl on the counter: Simply putting fruit where you’ll see it will help to remind you to grab a piece before heading out the door to work or school.

• Re-arrange the fridge: True, veggies and fruit last longer in the crisper drawers, but if you can’t see them, chances are you’ll forget about them. Food and Brand Lab researchers who asked participants to re-arrange their fridges to put the healthiest stuff on the middle and top shelves found that the volunteers ate three times as many fruits and vegetables after just one week.

• Cut up fruit for your kids: Wansink’s research has found that kids don’t really like biting into big pieces of fruit: it’s too big for their mouths; they have missing teeth; the fruit gets in their braces or it’s just too messy. But cut up that fruit into cute, bite-sized pieces and fruit suddenly becomes a lot easier for kids to eat.

• Cook in big batches: If you make extra meals and freeze them in small portions, it becomes a lot easier to re-heat leftovers after a busy day than ordering pizza

• Make less-healthy snacks inconvenient: We tend to be lazy when we’re looking for snacks. So placing snack items in the back of a cupboard, out of reach — or better yet, in a faraway room like the laundry room — makes it a lot less convenient and gives us time to think about whether we’re really hungry or just bored.

• Buy portion-sized snacks: Wansink’s research has shown that snackers will eat fewer calories and still be satisfied if they eat snacks from small packages. Yes, we could always grab a second bag, but research shows we generally don’t make the effort.



• Make your meals more colourful: Colourful meals are more attractive meals, Wansink’s research has shown. He’s found that adults like to see at least three colours on their plates, while children prefer even more — six colours or more. Simple ways to add colour could involve tossing in chopped green and red peppers to rice, or making salads more colurful by adding in tomatoes, fruits, and seeds.

• Use colourful plates: One easy way to add colour to meals is through our plates. But be careful. Wansink’s lab has found that when food is the same colour as the plate, we tend not to see how big our serving is and serve ourselves about 20 per cent more than when there’s a lot of contrast between the food and the plate.

• Give food a descriptive name: Adults know that a dish described as Fresh Linguini with Creamy Alfredo sounds a lot more appealing than Pasta with White Sauce. The same holds true for kids. Wansink has found that when vegetables are given fun names such as X-Ray Vision Carrots, or Power Punch Broccoli, or Silly Dilly Green Beans, kids think of these foods as fun and will gobble them up.

• Add a garnish: You wouldn’t think that a parsley sprig would do much, but studies have shown that people rate a dish higher if it comes beautifully arranged with a garnish than if the same food is served plain. “It’s funny, isn’t it,” says Wansink, “but a garnish also makes people rate the meal as lower calorie too, which is even funnier, really.”


• Ask the kids what Batman would eat: A Food and Brand Lab study shows that when young children believe that a favorite character would choose a healthy food over a less healthy choice, they see that food is normal and choose to eat it too.

• Set an example for the kids: When kids see their parents eating a variety of healthy foods and trying new things, they will see these eating habits as normal too. Same goes for treats: when they’re at home only on special occasions, that too sets the norm for kids.

• Set new meal traditions: Make healthy foods a normal part of every meal by setting up new habits such as starting every dinner with a salad, or ending every meal with fresh fruit. Or begin weekly traditions such as Smoothie Sundays or Stir-fry Saturdays.

• Use smaller plates: The Cornell Food lab has found that people lose all perspective about portion size when they use a large plate. Not only do they help themselves to more, they believe they’ve eaten less than they have. Making a slightly smaller plate the norm is an easy way to keep your portion sizes under control.

• Ordering first when you dine out: By going first and choosing a light entree without an appetizer, you’ll set the “norm” of the meal and your dinner companies are more likely to follow suit. At buffet-style restaurants, make it a practice to sit far from the buffet. Wansink’s research has found that overweight people tend to face the buffet, watching other diners who then make it seem the norm to go back for third or fourth servings. Stay near the window and you’ll likely eat less.

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4 Tricks to Avoid the Afternoon Slump

How to steer clear of the late afternoon coffee and cookie trap

By Natalie Ruskin, CBC News       Posted: May 08, 2015 

CBC Health spoke with registered dietitian Cara Rosenbloom and naturopath Hilary Booth.

Choose your lunch wisely

What you eat for lunch directly impacts how you feel later in the afternoon. Many people eat a high carbohydrate lunch but don’t include enough protein. You’ll experience a slump and feel more fatigue later if you’re just eating carbs. Protein is the nutrient that makes you feel fuller longer and also helps carbs break down more slowly so that you feel energized longer.

When you choose your lunch, consider including a good source of protein such as lean chicken, fish or tofu.  Try to include a healthy source of fat, like avocado or almonds. And equally important, select complex carbs like brown rice or sweet potatoes to provide sustained energy rather than white rice or refined carbs like pasta or bread.

Plan ahead for snacks

Steer clear of the late afternoon coffee and cookie trap by preparing your snack in anticipation of the slump. We automatically crave sugar when we feel depleted because sugar provides instant energy. For a snack that sustains energy and delivers better nutrition, think along the lines of raisins with almonds, Greek yogurt with fruit, or hummus with vegetables.


Increase your water intake

Hydrate! People often confuse hunger cravings with actual thirst. Staying hydrated helps you avoid that sleepy feeling. Adequate water intake is important for cognitive performance, weight loss and chronic disease prevention among other benefits. Make a cup of tea or enjoy water with cucumber, lemon or mint. Keep the beverage unsweetened.

There is not a single level of water intake that can be recommended for everyone: the amount depends on several factors such as metabolism and environmental conditions. What’s important is to remember your body needs water so don’t neglect this vital fluid.

Get outside and move your body

Sitting indoors all day drains energy. Make sure to get up and stretch every hour — stand up during phone calls or do a few stretches at your desk. Step outside even for five minutes to get some fresh air and take a walk. Fresh air, natural light and movement improves cardiovascular and cognitive function so that when you’re back in the office you’ll be more energized and creative.

What is it about natural light that makes us feel better? Direct sunlight exposure increases vitamin D which improves mood. The Canadian Cancer Society suggests that a “few minutes a day of unprotected sun exposure is usually all some people need to get enough vitamin D.”

source: www.cbc.ca


9 Rules Of Smart Snacking


As a health and nutrition consultant, two big questions I’m always asked are: When should I snack? and What should I snack on? Snacking often ends up being more like erratic eating so here are some tips to help you snack smartly:

1. Snack when your hunger is real.

When there is too much time between meals, you might need a bite to hold you over. The stomach takes three to four hours to empty, so if your next meal is five hours away, eat a little. If you under-eat or wait too long, watch out for over-snacking. You don’t want a snack to turn into brunch or dinner.

2. Snack when your blood sugar is low.

How can you tell? If your meals are high in starch or sugar, you might get low blood sugar shortly after eating, a swing that can make you feel falsely hungry. If you have the condition hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), you may feel nauseous without much warning. A small bite will raise your blood sugar level. Choose a food-based snack, like an apple or a carrot. Something sugary will only keep the imbalance going.

3. Snack when you’re running out of fuel.

This is different from low blood sugar. You can feel super tired when your meal did not provide enough calories. Calories are a measure of the energy available for you to use, so under-eating can leave you flat, causing you to run on adrenaline. Many go for coffee to push through. Not recommended!

4. Avoid daylong snacking.

Grazing is not the same as snacking all day. Grazing means splitting your good-food meals into smaller servings. Daylong snacking is having several snacks in addition to regular sized meals. Neither approach is ideal, since our digestive system and blood sugar balance thrive when we fast between meals. It’s best to give your stomach time to empty before eating, so a snack is just to hold you over!

5. Don’t snack when you’re bored, sad, mad, or scared.

Think of emotional snacking as the grown-up version of a pacifier. Eating calms us down, helps distract us, or even numbs us from experiencing our emotions. But it’s not a solution. Use your self-compassion to avoid snacking in those situations. Acknowledge how you feel; it will help you use love-power instead of willpower. I call it “Positive Restraint.”

6. Snack mindfully.

Our habits can get in the way when we want to make healthy changes. They’re difficult to change because it is their nature to be automatic. Bring mindfulness to your habits by starting to notice your triggers. At 4pm., do you go to the office kitchen for a treat? The time has become a trigger and you react by seeking a snack without considering if you need it or not. Start changing the habit by drinking a glass of water or cup of tea instead.

7. My mantra is: food first!

For a healthy snack, think food first: Cutting up an apple and serving it in a bowl makes it feel more like a treat and encourages you to pause and to eat mindfully. You can use almond butter, which adds protein and good fats, on apple slices to create a more substantial snack. Other real-food options are soup, sweet potato, avocado, carrot, hummus, or for a sweetness snack; try these oatballs. Smoothies can also work as long as they are not all fruit. Try a green (or any vegetable-based) smoothie like this one with berry and beet.

8. Keep it real, even when you’re on the go.

Eating whole fruit and nuts is better than bars made from fruit and nuts, though not as convenient. Many snack bars are glorified candy bars. Read the first three to five ingredients on the label; they represent the bulk of what you’re eating. If the list starts with sugar, skip it. My favorite trail mix is dry-roasted root vegetables (carrots and sweet potato) with nuts. I love pistachios because they are so high in antioxidants.

9. Plan ahead. Don’t expect to find nutritious food and snacks on the road.

Bring healthy bites with you. Little containers and pouches will help secure them in your bag. If you were taking care of a baby, you’d bring good food, so “baby yourself” and make sure you will have a proper snack or mini-meal when you need it.