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Information about fitness, health, nutrition and weight loss

Do you know of a new diet or fitness routine that you'd like us to review? Or perhaps you want to write a review yourself and see it in print! Got a great recipe you want to share? Let us know at

In this Section....

April Recipes - Click Here

April brings Spring showers and Easter!! That Easter bunny better have on his boots when he's delivering Easter eggs, or he's gonna have mildewed rabbit's feet - and that doesn't sound lucky for anyone! This month we have a yummy Easter dinner with ham and all the trimmings, and a sweet lemony treat for dessert!!! Invite the family over, you'll get a standing ovation for this meal. Happy Easter everyone!!!

We'd love to feature one of your favorite recipes in any one of our monthly issues, just send them on to us at Hope to hear from all of you in the following months!

New Feature! Each month we will feature a simple exercise you can do at home and without buying fancy expensive equipment. Click here to view this month's exercise.

20 Ways to Cut Fat in Cooking

When it comes to cutting fat, every little bit counts. If you're trying to cut your fat intake but don't like eating boiled chicken all the time, just use these 20 easy ways to cut down on fat when you're eating healthy.

  1. Use nonstick cooking spray instead of butter or oil; or at least choose liquid oils over solid fats (preferably canola oil or olive oil)
  2. Choose extra-lean meat and skinless chicken breasts
  3. Trim all visible fat from meat
  4. Grill, broil, bake, braise, steam, poach, slow-cook, and microwave foods instead of frying them. Sautéing is ok with minimal amounts of oil, or use nonstick spray, or broth instead
  5. Drain fat from cooked meats and blot them with kitchen paper if necessary
  6. Use vegetables, beans or whole grains to replace some of the meat content of burgers, meatloaf, and chili
  7. Coat chicken and fish in breadcrumbs rather than batter, and bake them instead of frying them
  8. Choose chicken or turkey sausages instead of pork or beef sausages
  9. Choose Canadian bacon or turkey bacon instead of regular bacon
  10. Use one egg and two egg whites per person in your favorite egg dishes or cakes; or cut fat and cholesterol completely by using egg substitute
  11. Substitute two meat dishes each week with fish or vegetarian meals
  12. Use fat-free chicken broth or fat-free milk in mashed potatoes, soups, gravies and stews
  13. Try fat-free evaporated milk in creamy soups and casseroles instead of heavy cream
  14. Top your pies or line your tarts with phyllo dough instead of regular pastry
  15. Oven-fry potatoes instead of making or buying French fries
  16. Use herbs, spices, fruits and salsas to flavor your food
  17. Substitute reduced fat cheeses for full-fat ones, and cut the amount you use
  18. Choose reduced fat sour cream or yogurt instead of full-fat versions for stews, dips, spreads, and dressings
  19. Use reduced fat or fat-free cream cheese instead of the regular version for cheesecakes
  20. Replace some of the fat in baked goods with applesauce, plain nonfat yogurt or low fat buttermilk

Submitted by: Maria Albus

Food as an Addiction

I was struck by the solid information presented in a recent review article in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). Dr Valerie Taylor and colleagues were summarizing one of the driving forces in the overconsumption of food. They felt that when overeating becomes compulsive it is often classified as a “food” addiction: a label which is both clinically and scientifically controversial.

However, it is important to understand the science behind food as an addiction, since it may help us to feel less guilty and it may also help guide us to solutions.

Traditionally, the term “addiction” was applied solely to the abuse of drugs that activate the brain’s mesolimbic reward pathways. In recent years, a broader conceptualization of addiction has emerged, and the term now includes so-called ‘behavioural addictions.’ This change has been based on research showing that the mesolimbic reward system is also activated by pleasurable behavioural activities. In fact, imaging studies have shown that specific areas of the mesolimbic system, such as the caudate nucleus, the hippocampus and the insula, are activated both by drugs and by food. Both also cause the release of striatal dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is an integral part of the reward system. Endogenous (ones that are naturally occurring in our brain), are another group of players in the reward pathways, and are also activated by drugs and by food (especially sweet foods) whereas the opioid blocker naltrexone has been shown to reduce cravings for both. Also if we block the endocannabinoid receptors (marijuana receptors) in the brain we can treat the cravings for some foods.

In an attempt to explain the motivation for some cases of compulsive overeating, researchers have proposed that highly palatable foods, such as those that are sweet, salty or high in fat, have the potential for abuse in a manner similar to conventional drugs. From an evolutionary perspective, it would have been highly adaptive for the consumption of food to be rewarding, especially in the case of foods rich in fat and sugar since they can be rapidly converted into energy. Thus, the reward pathway evolved to reinforce the motivation to engage in naturally rewarding behaviours such as eating, thereby promoting survival in times of famine. Unfortunately, over the past few generations food technologies have allowed the creation of foods that are calorie-dense, high-fat and high sugar (carbohydrate). Vulnerable individuals will misuse food.

Vulnerability may also stem from various personality traits. For example, obese individuals tend to be more sensitive to reward and punishment and to display more impulsive behaviours. For these individuals, the forces driving food consumption are likely to go beyond physiologic hunger. Highly palatable foods may produce pleasure and reduce pain in a manner similar to other addictive substances. We all know we can self medicate with food in response to depression, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger and interpersonal conflict.

As a society we must stop the ‘blame’ mentality that is applied to individuals with excess weight. It is a physiologic disorder. Eating behaviours are very complicated and sometimes the driving mechanism will feel beyond our control (as evidenced by the research above.)

Can we do anything? Certainly we can recognize that certain foods are triggers, and our desire for them is not abnormal. Do not feel guilty if you can’t get the idea of a cookie or ice cream or potato chips out of your head. It is not a sign of weakness; maybe you can think of this as the opioid centers of your brain being overactive. At that point, try to find solutions. Remove any and all trigger foods from the house. (Right now). Do something to physically or mentally remove yourself from the situation. Watch TV. Work on the computer. Go upstairs and read a book. Phone a friend. Go for a walk, or drive. We must try to settle that area of the brain down until the urge disappears.

It is very hard work, but you can do it. Just keep trying and don’t ever give up!

Written by: Dr Doug

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