Arthritis and Running

We’ve invited readers to send in topic suggestions for this column, and we received this question from David: “Is it possible to run or jog when one has a chronic and painful condition of the knee, like arthritis?”

To begin, there are many causes for “arthritis.” I’m using quotation marks since the patient has to be satisfied that the diagnosis of arthritis is correct in the first place. Arthritis of the knee should definitely be confirmed before any alterations of activity or lifestyle are made. Continue reading “Arthritis and Running”

Eating Well as a Vegetarian Athlete

by Lisa Podlecki

Athletes may choose to eat vegetarian or vegan for a variety of reasons, such as environmental considerations, animal welfare, personal preference, and/or religion. While eating a well-balanced vegetarian diet can have a number of positive health outcomes—including lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension—athletes may also believe that becoming vegetarian may be a way to lose weight, improve their performance and help with recovery. As with any diet, cutting out a particular food group can result in insufficient calorie and nutrient intake, which may lead to potential nutritional deficiencies and decreased performance. With the proper guidance, however, vegetarian athletes can be just as strong and healthy!

Continue reading “Eating Well as a Vegetarian Athlete”

Are processed meat-alternatives good replacements for those looking to limit or avoid animal protein?

by Tara Postnikoff

There are many meat-alternative products on the market today, with brand names like Beyond Meat, Tofurky and Boca Burger. For people looking to remove animal products from their current diet, these types of products are offered as a substitute for burgers, ground meats, deli meats and other traditional meat products.

As with conventional packaged meats, many meat-alternative products are heavily processed. Unfortunately, pre-packaged products tend to be high in sodium, preservatives and artificial flavours and thus should be eaten sparingly. For a balanced diet, choose foods that are as minimally processed as possible. Continue reading “Are processed meat-alternatives good replacements for those looking to limit or avoid animal protein?”

Four Ways to Boost Your Family’s Activity Level

by Don Zabloski

When it comes to being active as a family, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Every family is unique and will make active choices that work for them. Some families may thrive on friendly competition, while others prefer not to keep score. One family may choose to devote themselves to a beloved sport, while another finds that they thrive in a variety of activities. Here are some active suggestions to try on for size with your team.

1. Tackle a new challenge
Trying something completely new can be energizing. It could be learning to cross-country ski on a nature trail or working up the courage to jump off the diving board at the community pool. Brainstorm activities you’ve never tried but always wanted to—how about bowling, archery, mini-golf or trampolining? Spend a weekend afternoon at the local recreation centre as a family, experiencing all that it has to offer for adults and kids alike. Or, head outside to the local park for a walk, run, hike or scavenger hunt. Continue reading “Four Ways to Boost Your Family’s Activity Level”

Why It’s Better to Over-Fuel Than Under-Fuel

by Megan Kuikman, RD

Most athletes are concerned about how nutrition can help them recover faster, perform better or reach an ideal body composition. However, adequate calorie intake should be a main focus for all athletes, as the negative consequences of under-fuelling can be more detrimental than over-fuelling.

Under-fuelling means not eating enough calories to cover the calories burned through exercise, plus the calories to simply get through the day. Energy from calories is required for the heart to beat, for the lungs to breathe and for the brain to think. Even if a person was to sleep all day, they would still require calories. If not enough calories are consumed, there are metabolic and hormonal changes that occur (in both females and males) that are detrimental to one’s health. Continue reading “Why It’s Better to Over-Fuel Than Under-Fuel”

Are smoothies a healthy option for the whole family?

by Tara Postnikoff

Smoothies are an amazing way to get a lot of nutrition in a convenient and tasty way. They can be customized to suit your mood, tastes and nutritional needs. They are great for breakfast, a quick meal, or as a pre or post run snack. The most common concern with smoothies–the homemade versions and especially the store-bought ones–is the high sugar content.

One way to boost the nutritional content of your smoothie is to add protein powder, as well as some additional ingredients to make it a balanced meal. This can make it easier to boost your protein levels throughout the day if you are not getting enough from real foods. However, it is important to know that protein powders are a processed form of protein and should be considered a supplement to the diet; in other words, you should not get all your protein from a powder. Continue reading “Are smoothies a healthy option for the whole family?”

Coconut Oil: Should You Switch?

by Jen Rawson, RD

For a long time, olive oil was king of the cooking oils. Due to its widespread use in the Mediterranean diet (largely regarded as one of the healthiest eating patterns), it quickly became “the” oil to use in cooking. But in the past few years, our views on fats have changed. Suddenly, butter is back, along with highly-touted products like avocado oil, sunflower oil, flaxseed oil and grapeseed oil. But no oil saw as much hype as coconut oil, with claims to reduce weight and waist circumference, strengthen the immune system, give you glowing skin, and even prevent Alzheimer’s disease. So, is coconut oil the miracle cure it’s claimed to be, or has the media buzz overshadowed the science?

Continue reading “Coconut Oil: Should You Switch?”

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Truffles

by Charmaine Broughton

Maybe you’d like to create a homemade gift from the kitchen. Or, maybe you’re like me and are thinking: I just ran 10K in two feet of snow – I deserve a sweet treat! Either way, I’ve got you covered with this delicious recipe from the Peanut Bureau of Canada. Peanuts are loaded with fibre and plant protein, plus they contain heart-healthy fats.

Addictive, decadent and perfect for sharing. These delicious, melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake truffles are a perfect treat for your loved ones or yourself! Continue reading “Peanut Butter Cheesecake Truffles”

Let’s Get the Kids Running

by Randy Brookes

There’s no question that physical activity is crucial for children. Not only does it strengthen a child’s muscles and bones, and prevent excessive weight gain, but it also improves brain function and helps maintain emotional and mental wellbeing.

Yet, the latest findings of the ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth gave Canadian kids a grade of D+ for their overall level of physical activity. Researchers concluded that only 35% of children ages of 5 to 17 are getting the recommended physical activity levels for their age groups. This pattern of inactivity is having dire consequences, with Statistics Canada noting that 30% of 5 to 17 year olds are overweight or obese, putting them at a higher risk of asthma, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Continue reading “Let’s Get the Kids Running”

Taking Stock

by Don Zabloski

The start of a new year naturally leads to reflecting on past accomplishments and setting goals for the year ahead. As a family, it can be a good time to celebrate things that are going well—and possibly press the “reset” button to correct any habits that may have slipped. For example, are all family members making a consistent effort be active and healthy? And, does everyone understand why it’s important to make that commitment?

As with all things, parents need to model positive behaviours and attitudes about healthy and active living. Of course, you have to take care of yourself before you can expect to take care of others. What will you do—or what are you already doing—to renew your physical and mental health? Continue reading “Taking Stock”