Sandra M. Grant P.Dt. - Registered Clinical Nutritionist
My Blog

December 2013

December

Hello again!

I've just returned from an absolutely beautiful morning of x-country skiing. Some might refer to it more as x-country shuffling, or hacking...but regardless of the level of gracefulness the scenery was breathtaking. The trees are so heavily covered with snow their bows bend downwards to form whimsical arches reflective of something we'd expect to see only in Narnia. 

Some of you might be out there doing the same thing, or perhaps you're sitting inside watching the flurry of activity in your back yard as the squirrels, chickadees and cardinals feast on your decorated Christmas tree. Whatever you're doing, I hope you are enjoying the season!

I had mentioned that I would post a recipe for home made dog biscuits, as our four legged friends are a huge part of the joy in our lives, and that's a large part of what this season is all about right? Celebrating those who bring joy and value into our lives!

So here we go. Kasha's peanut butter cookies recipe was initially developed for my late, great, dog Kasha,who had come down with congestive heart failure. Initially she needed a low sodium diet and when her disease progressed and she developed kidney disease from the meds she was taking, I adjusted the protein and sodium content of all her foods. By the end her cookies were about all she could eat. So they are low sodium and low protein and should only be given, as with all dog biscuits, as a treat! And yes, she looks very much like McDuff!

I have also added a recipe I found online called Salmon crack! I must admit I have yet to try it, but I will be doing so soon. 

Enjoy!

Kasha’s Peanut Butter Biscuits
 
¼ cup butter
¼ cup All natural Peanut butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup white flour
½ cup wheat germ
1 cup corn meal
 
Preheat oven to 375º.
Cream together the butter, peanut butter and sugar. Add the egg, vanilla (and ½ tsp. salt if adding) beat well.
Stir flour, wheat germ and corn meal together with a fork. Blend with other ingredients, adding a tablespoon or more of water if necessary to hold the mixture together.
Roll out and cut with cookie cutters.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Number made depends on the size of your cookie cutter.


Happy Holidays everyone! I wish you all the best in the New Year and may 2014 be filled with good health, laughter, love and adventure!

 

Holiday survival tips


T'is the season...

Studies show that most of us gain an average of 5 pounds over the holidays, which doesn’t sound that bad, except that as the years go by, 4,5,6 years later, we’ve gained 30 pounds and are wondering what the heck happened?! 
So I wanted to post a few tips early in the month to help get us through the holidays with as little damage as possible. Yes, I realize it is now December 14th and I might be a bit late but...I've been celebrating! Better late than never!


  • Don't tell yourself, "It's okay, it's the holidays". This opens the door to 6 wks of splurging. 
  • For the duration of the holidays, wear your snuggest clothes - no sweat clothes until January!  
  • Give it away! As your guests leave, give away leftovers or take them to work the next day.  
  • Don’t starve yourself before an event. Rich party foods will be even more tempting. 
  • Bank calories on party days by eating a lighter, low calorie lunch or dinner. 
  • For Pot luck parties, bring a low calorie, healthy dish. This way you know there will be least one healthy choice.
  • Buffet dinner? Make one complete tour around the buffet first, THEN go back and choose ONLY the items you really want. 
  • As obvious as it sounds, don't stand near the food table. 
  • Drink Smart: 1 glass of wine too many can easily undermine the best intentions. Make at least every other drink non-alcoholic. Lower fat eggnogs, “virgin” Caesars, sparkling water and cranberry juice are great choices in keeping with the season.  
  • Keep your eye on portion sizes – it’s often not what but how much we eat that makes a difference. Only the turkey should be stuffed!! 
  • Be watchful of tiny traps: Hors d'oeuvres are typically loaded with buttery, savory, cheesy ingredients meant to deliver a bite-sized flavor punch. 
  • Use cucumber slices, celery spears, broccoli flowerets, carrot curls or endive with a low fat dip such as hummus rather than chips and cream-laden dips.  
  • A beautiful array of exotic fresh fruits is a wonderful way to end a meal – pineapple, kiwi, mango, pomegranate, mandarin oranges and grapes are a feast for the eyes and taste buds.
  • Know your triggers and avoid them!
  • As a gift, consider edible arrangements. Delicious chocolate dipped fruit arrangements everyone loves! 
  • Give a gift of health that will last the whole year – an exercise ball is great for balance, x-country ski lessons or golf lessons for the duffer on your list; some light weights for strength training, a pedometer for someone who enjoys walking... 
  • And finally...make physical activity part of the holiday fun to provide a balance. Plan a cross-country ski afternoon or a hike combined with potluck with friends. Every day burn some calories, clear your head and de-stress from the season’s demands. That's it for now. Check back soon!   

 

December, Make it a stress free holiday season

The holiday season may be known as the most wonderful time of the year, but for many of us it is also notoriously stressful! The "to-do" list gets longer every week, and with each festive tune we hear, there's the reminder that we only have so many days left to get everything done! Why not do things differently this year and bring the fun back into the holidays! Life experiences provide us with cherished memories, many of which last long after that plaid scarf has been discarded. So skip the crowded malls, parking lots and scurrying scrooges and spend that time in a more meaningful way...sharing, laughing and making memories. In case you've lost track of how to do that, I have a few suggestions to get you started. If once you've read this, you have suggestions of your own to offer, please let me know. I would love to share your ideas.

Seek out icy thrills: Activites like skiing, skating, sledding and tubing aren't just great calorie burners, they're fun and exhilarating too! The fresh air gives you a sense of elation you just don't get from other work-outs. If they're a little too exciting for you, consider checking out the ice sculptures or try snowshoeing! Be sure to fill a pocket with bird seed to feed the chickadees along the way.



If it's raining, and outdoor activity isn't an option, then Decorate a christmas tree for the wildlife: Gather the kids, or a few friends, and decorate an outdoor tree for the wild life...or maybe just for the birds chipmunks and squirrels... It's easy and super fun!

Start with  Orange Cups: Cut oranges in half; scoop out fruit(use it in a smoothie). Make a handle for each cup by poking a small hole, one half inch from the rim on three sides. Push one end of an 8-inch-long ribbon into each hole; secure with a knot. Fill cups with birdseed or suet cakes. 

  



Edible Ornaments: Use raffia or rope to hang rice cakes, sliced pears, apples or start fruit (carambola). Tie a red or gold ribbon at the top of each fruit and voila! Edible ornaments! Try my favourite...Stuffed Pinecones: Melt 1 part peanut butter with 1 part lard (straight peanut butter is too hard for birds to swallow). Roll 2-inch-long (or larger) pinecones in this mixture then roll in birdseed before the fat hardens. Set on a cookie sheet to dry. Tie a raffia or ribbon hanger to the top of each cone. Peanut Strings. Make garland with peanuts (in the shell) and cranberries and wrap it around the tree. It will keep birds busy for weeks if the squirrels don't cut it down first! 
Then sit back and watch the flurry of activity as squirrels, chickadees, nuthatches, bluejays, woodpeckers and other seed eating birds scurry around the tree. Keep in mind though, that If you decide to do this,you should be consistent with your feeding. Birds will start to rely on you for part of their diet. A lack of food during a severe cold period or storm could result in tragedy for these beautiful little creatures.

For the gifts that you do need to purchase, consider upcycling. To visiting one of our many eco friendly shops click here

Next we will make healthy, wholesome peanut butter dog biscuits for woman's best friend, fun festive christmas mice and we'll learn tips on how to avoid adding on the pounds over the "festive' season". So check back soon!


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