Tag Archives: eating

Fill ‘er Up!

You wouldn’t attempt to drive your car when it has no fuel.  You know better, and would make sure to put something in the tank before heading out even for a short trip around town, let along a long trip.

Food is our fuel, it’s our energy source that runs all of our body’s systems.  So why do we continually see people trying to workout without enough fuel in the tank? It’s important to make sure that you have a little something to eat before your workout – always.

Round It Out – Plan a pre-workout snack to have a protein, carb, and a fruit or vegetable.  Of course whatever you choose is going to depend on personal preferences, and any dietary restrictions you might have, but some of my favorite pre-workout dining includes milk, eggs, nut butters, cottage cheese, yogurt & granola.  All items high in protein that will help you to feel more satisfied yet keeping it light.  Morning-glory or Bran muffins, oatmeal with fruit or nuts, or high fiber cereals are all carbs that have whole or fuller grains to help you feel fuller without eating a large amount.  Bananas and apples are my favorite go-to fruits to round it out.  They are easy to take on the go, relatively mess-free and provide a decent amount of nutrients and fiber.  Mixed melon, cucumber, and mixed berries are a fresh,  light change as well.  Making a smoothie to go is also a great way to incorporate more than one of these nutrient groups together in a tasty way.  Try adding spinach for a high iron boost in a fruit/veg smoothie!

Did You Know? Cramping when running or swimming after eating a fuller meal is actually your body trying to digest that food.  The blood that supplying your body’s intestinal tract gets redirected to your arms and legs, and the food “stalls” in your intestines.

Don’t let your car sputter out, just make sure you put premium in!

One Step at a Time

What a great day to change your life.  So where do you start?

Part One – Overhauling Your Dietary Habits

This is a huge piece to the wellness puzzle, and oh my goodness is there ever a TON of conflicting information out there.  It’s impossible to be able to tell the good information from the not-so-good sometimes, especially with all the different “fad” diets, cleanses, and restrictions that affect our eating habits.  The resource that is recommended by Health Canada is Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating which includes examples of what foods fit into each of four food groups.  It also offers tips on how to eat optimally for your age and gender, beginning at age two (younger children should follow the advice of their family physician to ensure all health requirements are being met). 

Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating also gives examples of proper portion sizes.  The reality is that we could actually be over or under-eating certain foods and not even know it.  Did you know that one bagel is actually two servings of grain products?  That two eggs is one serving of Meat and Alternatives? That half a cup of pure fruit juice is one serving?  I have personally found it helpful to have a food scale in my home.  Having the visual really helped me to learn what a single portion looks like, and has helped me to ensure that myself as well as my entire family is eating a healthy and balanced diet.  So much information is available just by going to:


Real change takes work, commitment, and willpower.   Dietary habits are life-long habits which you have become accustomed to from a young age, and it can be difficult to learn a different eating culture.  Changing small things (to start!) can help to find long-term success.  A few tips that you can do to get started are:

  • Choose whole grain bread products over white, it will help you feel full longer
  • Increase water consumption – drink a glass of water before you eat a meal
  • Choose vegetables and fruit more often than juice
  • Trim visible fats from your meat and remove the skin from poultry
  • Try something new!  Tofu, quinoa, soy, brown rice, lentils etc. might sound bizarre to you, but you might amaze yourself with the items that you actually like!

It is important to note that that specialized diets do have a place in wellness, however if you are restricting anything from your diet (ie: dairy, gluten/wheat, sugar) My advice is to have a registered dietician or physician’s recommendation and guidance to do so safely. 

Bon Appetit!

Shawnessy YMCA Grade 6 NSTEP Healthy eating workshop.


Last Saturday February 14th 2015 Shawnessy YMCA hosted our monthly Calgary Flames Grade 6 Member healthy eating workshop with our partners NSTEP.

The kids had requested being able to make healthy chicken nuggets, made with home-style ingredients and no preservatives. They really enjoyed the outcome!




After splitting into groups the kids each got to try cracking eggs (only one went on the floor!), cutting up the chicken and using the oven.

Our NSTEP Healthy Eating workshop will be returning next month on march 14th 2015 and is open to all grade 6 members, to register simply email me with your name, phone number and any food allergy’s!

Philip Perryman

20150214_161234Youth Coordinator Shawnessy YMCA

Cost of Clean Eating

Written by Cassidy Sherrington, Shawnessy YMCA

Reaching for a bag of cookies appears to be a cheap and tasty option rather than fresh produce in the moment however in the long run fresh and nutritious options are the better choice.  If the produce or fresh meat section is new to you it can take some time and effort to understand your savings.

Start by pre-planning out your menu for the week. This way you can see which items are going to be used numerous times throughout the week and purchase them in bulk.  For example, chicken is a very popular and familiar protein choice, if you notice you are going to use it on numerous evenings buy a case from Safeway instead of single packs. Items you only need a small amount of you can purchase tablespoons to cups from the bulk bin.

Wholesome foods keep you fueled longer. Indulge on McDonalds for lunch and you will be hungry within an hour stopping off at Tim Horton’s and digging for your wallet again, have a nutritious and balanced meal for lunch and you will be full and energetic for hours.

Worried about wasting food when you cook a big batch of something? Use your freezer, not only do you save food but you are also prepped for those days you find yourself running out and want to opt for something unhealthy you can grab it and go. You can also utilize your freezer by purchasing meat and fruits that are on sale.

Organic and nutritional baking supplies may look intimidating at first however a bag of whole wheat flour or extra virgin olive oil can last you for months. By having supplies on hand you will also be more inclined to make items such as pie crust or muffins from scratch which is cost effective and has a much higher nutritional value.

Healthcare Costs=Thousands

Price of Eating Clean=Priceless

Summer Nutrition

As summer season sneaks upon us there are endless nutritious options to choose from. This is the best time of year for all colors of the rainbow of fresh fruit and vegetables!

Tips and Tricks

Visit the Farmers Market: They have a ton of in season fresh summer fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries) and home grown vegetables (spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers). You will find a little trip to the farmers market may inspire you to try something new and because most of the selection is fresh and local you can avoid a large amount of additives and sodium!

Barbeque Fresh Fruit for Dessert: Pineapples, peaches and apricots are among the many fruits that are delicious items to grill; all you need to do is sprinkle a little bit of olive oil and place on the grill for a few minutes. The taste is rich and fulfilling while being nutritious. If you would like to indulge you can add a scoop of frozen yogurt or ice cream on top.

Hydrate: Summer is one of the most important times of year to make sure you have water before, during and after exercise as well as throughout your day. The body thrives on two liters of water per day to function at its optimal capability. If you wait until becoming thirsty you’ve waited too long. Thirst is an indicator that the body is dehydrated so make sure to be drinking water throughout your entire day. If you struggle with remembering, try labeling your water bottle to indicate target levels for consumption throughout the day or set your phone alarm to remind you every hour.

Engage in Food Prep: With longer sunny days most people want to spend the maximal amount of time outdoors and don’t want to think about cooking. Spend one afternoon each week in your kitchen prepping items, marinating and planning your weekly menu to make food prep more efficient. In the end, you’ll be able to grab and go without compromising nutrition.

Most off all enjoy your savory moments!

Cassidy Sherrington
Strength and Conditioning Director
YMCA Calgary
, Shawnessy

The Top 5 Things Not To Do In a Running Race: Lesson 5

The Top 5 Things Not To Do In a Running Race
The Tales and Lamentations of the Ill-Prepared Runner

Lesson 5 – Don’t Eat Too Much

Nutrition goes hand in hand with running. If you are eating improperly before or during a race, you may find yourself running into a few problems. In the spirit of this series about my tales and lamentations of running, I shall share a story with you, a tale of an upset and turbulent tummy.

It was the 2010 harvest half-marathon. The sun was shining on every runner who ran that beautiful course through Fish Creek Provincial Park. On a side note, that is my absolute favorite course. I have raced it once and ran it on my own time at least ten times over, excellent course! If you ever want to come run it with me, give me a call and we will party on the trails! Alright, where were we? Yes, Harvest half! Gorgeous day, but I came a little too prepared. I thought I would put a little rocket fuel in my system, be prepared with a wicked boost to carry me along! I had an immense number of power bars, and power gels! The contents of my waterpack looked like the evidence of Running Room robbery! Nevertheless, I was under the misconception that I needed all of this to fuel myself! The gun went off and I burned it off the line. I went up and down the hills like a champion, and then I made the mistake to pillage my robbery bag. I downed one powerbar, then another one. At 15 km, I ripped open two Powergels and swiftly ingested the contents with the might of Thor. I am heroic! I am fueled! I am ready to go! Soon after this, my stomach fluid turned from an elegant pond, calm and serene, to a storm on the high seas. My face went green and I felt my yellowing eyes bug out of head. I felt so nauseated, but purposed to not be one of those guys reproducing their breakfast on the side of the course. I thought happy thoughts of Pepto Bismol, Ginger Ale, and crackers. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Make it to the finish line! I completed the race in under 2 hours, but my stomach was less than pleased. However, I learned a great lesson that day!

My advice to you is to not eat too much during a race. Your body is expending a massive amount of energy to keep you moving and directing a lot of blood to your extremities and away from your digestive system. Digesting food is a major body function, and when you are running, the digestive system is not your body’s main concern. I suggest one or two
Powergel’s throughout the duration of a half-marathon or full marathon. Powerbars have never worked for me during a race, because they are too heavy, too much too digest. However, after the race they are excellent. Personally, I love the Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Plus Bar. In the words of the Lucky Charms Leprechaun, they are magically delicious.

Don’t eat too much before or during a race. You will not be able to perform to your maximum potential because your body will be conflicted between your circulatory system and your digestive system.

Running is beautiful; don’t mess with the Mona Lisa.

If you enjoyed reading this series, please comment below and let me know!

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University

Healthy Eating Habits

A solid article with links to more ideas and tips on the PopSugar website about healthy eating habits. Here’s a bit from the article called Healthy Eating Habits That Make Dropping Pounds Easier by Leta Shy:

“As you slowly rid your diet of junk and sweets, you’ll notice a change: you actually start craving those healthy foods that you once shunned. And as you start fueling your body with nutrients and noticing how much better you feel, there’s a good chance you’ll lose weight, too.”

Read the article in full on the PopSugar website.


Canned Foods: The Truth

In an article on the Prevention website, writer Emily Main takes a look at the nutritional value of canned foods and what they are really doing to you:

“Looking for a quick, easy dinner? Crack open a can of soup, and pour yourself a heaping helping of kidney problems. According to a new study published in the journal Kidney International, the chemical used to manufacture the linings of food cans could be harming your kidneys. Oh, and increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease at the same time.”

Read The Truth About Canned Foods on the Prevention website.