Category: Health News


A small update

So for the last bit I’ve been working on a video series titled 1 min. to wellness. It’s a series of videos designed to give you a tip, inspiration, ideas, workout technique, news etc…that you can take and implement THAT DAY. My goal is to put them out 5 days per week. So starting monday I will be launching this video series. If there is a question you would like answered fire away with an email exhalemike@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to answer in a video.

This is a small segment from the label workshop. This particular segment cuts through the claim from maple leaf that their new natural selections line does not contain preservatives. This is just one of the things you will learn in this information packed workshop designed to help  you make better choices for you and your family

Have you ever looked at a food package and seen things such as ‘NATURAL’, ‘FAT-FREE’, ‘HELPS LOWER CHOLESTEROL’, ‘ADDED FIBRE’, ‘NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURS’?

For most of us label claims have fallen into the background. Have no fear though, studies from marketing companies advise food manufacturers on the best placement of the claims for maximum effect. So the question then becomes, what do they mean? Let’s look at the term ‘Natural’, or ‘Natural Ingredients’ or ‘Natural Flavours’. They all mean the same thing, nothing!

Here is a short list of SOME of the things Health Canada considers a natural process to your food.

  • Fumigation
  • Treatment with toxic gases (with no chemical change)
  • Smoking (with chemical addition)
  • Tenderizing (with chemical addition)

“The status of enzymatic flavours, processed flavours, reaction flavours or nature-identical flavours has not been established under these guidelines.”

All from Health Canada website

As you can see (especially if you go to their website) it’s all a word game, and in some cases no guidelines have been established. Knowing what you can trust and what you can not becomes tricky.

This was just a small example of what is permitted. Join me on Sept. 29th for a workshop on deciphering label claims, we will cover everything from how to read the label, how ingredient lists are structured, what label claims really mean and how they hide harmful and/or poor ingredients from excess salt and sugar to hidden MSG.

Tickets can be purchased directly through me, here online, at the door (rsvp exhalemike@gmail.com or Facebook )

Pre-registration will get you a free subscription to our new online video series starting next week titled 1 min to Wellness 1 minute tips ranging from food, wellness, fitness, stretching and more to help you make incremental positive changes to create a new lifestyle. Pre-registrants will also receive a video copy of the workshop.

Sept 29th @ Expressionz Cafe 9938 – 70th Avenue

With back to school right and my label reading workshop around the corner I figured I would kill two birds with one stone. This will cover some of the things you will learn in the workshop, and hopefully help you to make better choices for your kids, and yourself.

For the most part when sending a lunch to school we look for convenience, so for the sake of this article we will just be covering a few of the foods that we would take somewhere. So lets cover a few of the typical foods.

Chocolate milk: As the advertisement says, as much sugar as a glass of juice. A glass of juice has a lot of sugar, nearly as much as a pop. Just because juice is a natural drink doesn’t mean its not high in sugar. Juice is not the same as WHOLE fruit. Whether it’s real juice, flavoured “drink” or chocolate milk it’s loaded with sugar and should be limited.

Lunchables: These are the packs that usually have some crackers with “meat” or a fajita etc…I’m sure I could write a book on why these are absolutely horrible but the short version is, sodium, fat, synthetic ingredients, cancer causing additives. I know some have the health check logo, this scam will be covered in the workshop and is covered in a previous article HERE

Fruit cups: Seems like a decent snack, it’s fruit. The problem here though is twofold. One is the amount of toxic metals, yes toxic metals that are present (article here). The other issue is that they are usually packed in sugar, typically labeled as juices or syrup. Fruit is one of the most convenient go anywhere foods out there. Just take a whole peach, orange, apple etc…if you want a fruit cup type blend it takes 5 min. to chop up some fruit, toss it in a few cups/baggies and you have fruit cups for the whole week.

Sandwich: Since peanut butter is already off the table lets examine lunch meat. The nitrites and nitrates in lunch meat are now thought to be more carcinogenic than cigarettes. They are sky high in sodium; sometimes a days worth. They also are high in fat, even the ones that claim 98% fat free. Another topic to be covered in the workshop is comparing apples to apples. When they say 98% fat free they are comparing WEIGHT, not CALORIES. 2g of fat is equal to 18 calories. The 100g serving of lunch meat has a ton of filler ingredients that have no caloric value, the typical calorie count is around 60. That would mean it is nearly 1/3 fat….do not be fooled by “natural selections”…cancerous nitrites and nitrates are in the liquid smoke product. Just because it says no added nitrites and nitrates does not mean they aren’t there. These additives are easily and legally hidden.

Obviously I can’t cover every possible lunch scenario (I left out chips and other junk food hoping it’s an obvious no no), I also left out the disaster that is school cafeteria lunches. That is  a whole separate article. The most important thing to understand is that label and box top claims are not what they are cracked up to be. Which is a big reason for the workshop, it will be Sept. 29th at 7pm at Expressionz Cafe in Edmonton. Full details will be posted later in the week.

Do not sacrifice convenience for health. If you have any questions about any of this or related subjects please send an email. I’ll do my best to answer any and all questions.

On Sept. 29th I’ll be doing a workshop on the 3 things you need to know when reading food labels. One of the topics covered will be label logos and health claims. CBC marketplace did a great expose on the Health Check fraud, I mean logo. There is a video you can play, but I can’t seem to embed it.

http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/2008/01/23/hyping_health/

Last week I posted a great BBC piece on child labour and fair trade issues in cocoa farms in Africa. Yesterday I had a chance encounter with James a fair trade cocoa farmer from Ghana. I did a quick interview with him about what fair trade means for him and his family.

I am working on a captioned version, should be ready in a day or so.

So I just saw the CBC Marketplace episode about Herbal Magic. It exposes Herbal Magic as what it is, a very over priced diet industry scam. It is said that in North America the diet industry is worth roughly $50 Billion. Herbal Magic is going to run you somewhere in the area of $5000 for the year to lose weight, and with a 900 calorie diet plan of course you’re going to lose weight. You are also going to gain it all back.
What troubled me most about the episode was it’s constant reference to the fact that most of their supplements were NOT regulated by health Canada, the implied meaning of course is that if health Canada hasn’t approved it then it is not safe or must not work, and if they have approved it then it must work. The CBC is a government funded broadcasting network and this becomes nothing but a positive PR job for new incoming legislation about natural health products.

Without going to far off the deep end with a rant I will say that health Canada, like the FDA, has other factors coming into their decision making as to which products get passed and which do not.

Check the webite http://www.suspendandreview.com/ it gets deep into the subject of the Canadian regulations and the incoming legislation. As well it’s worth investigating Codex Alimentarius, see an article at http://www.vitalitymagazine.com/node/310 .

So often I sit down and talk to clients and one of the first things I ask is “what are you trying to achieve?”. Most often the answer is weight loss. The thing about that answer is that it is meaningless. If weight loss was that important to you it would have happened long ago. Now don’t get me wrong, weight loss probably is A goal, but it’s not THE goal.

The real goal is usually something along the lines of:

  • run a marathon
  • feel sexy for my spouse
  • feel confident in my body
  • keep up with my grandkids
  • live longer
  • reduce chronic pain

All of these things can be achieved THROUGH weight loss, yet weight loss is not the goal, it is the vehicle. If you want to make any sort of lasting change in your physical or mental well being you need to really think about WHY you want to lose weight. THEN comes the HOW.

If you need any help figuring out your why drop me a line here and we can figure it out.

One thing many people don’t realize is that most of the worlds chocolate is produced using child slave labour. Watch this report from the BBC as they go undercover.

Click here for the rest of the series.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcMn6mEwU_8

http://www.eventbrite.com/event/797222514

10 sessions of Personal Training are available.

Purchase as many or as few as you want at 50% off of the single session rate.

Maybe you need a good butt kicking, a program tweak or you just want to give training a try.

As a personal trainer and nutritionist I can go over your workout and your nutrition or we can look at creating a program just for you.

Schedule is flexible we will book YOUR times.