By now, we’re quite well-versed in the area of healthy eating. We know what foods are good for us, and we know why it's important to have a diet that’s rich in superfoods. What we could use help with is the how. How do we ensure we reach for nutrient-dense foods over less healthy options? How do we shop for superfoods on a budget? How do we avoid a #SadDeskLunch that makes us brave the iciest winds to replace said depressing lunch with a more enticing meal option from the greasy take-out joint across the street? To help us put our want for a healthier diet into action, we’re seeking expert advice from Registered Dietitian Julie Bednarski.
CL: How can we ensure we eat well?
JB: I always recommend keeping items in your kitchen that are high in fibre, protein and contain good fats. Healthy eating can be easy and cheap if you have the right ingredients on hand. Grains, including quinoa, brown rice, millet, oats and brown rice pasta, can be used to create many different types of meals from breakfast to dinner. These are high in fibre, contain protein and will keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. Canned beans, dried lentils, canned salmon, eggs, nuts/seeds and nut butters contain protein and healthy fats that will keep your body strong and brain healthy. Fruits and vegetables are essential for maintaining health and should be the star of every meal. Eating an array of colourful fruits or vegetables is important to ensure you are getting lots of different vitamins and minerals. My top fruits and vegetables to have in my kitchen are kale, blueberries, sweet potato, avocado, squash, beets, spinach, strawberries, kiwi, apples and arugula. Many of these are superfoods that are nutrient-rich and especially beneficial for health and well-being.
CL: How do we eat well on a budget? What are the top fruits and vegetables that should always be on our shopping lists?
JB: Kale, sweet potatoes, apples, canned tomatoes, broccoli, frozen berries and carrots. All of these foods are superfoods that contain an array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Incorporating these foods into each meal ensures that you’re getting the best value and nutrients for your body. Many of these foods are low in price and store well in your fridge or freezer.
CL: How can we guiltlessly eat packaged foods?
JB: Reading food labels is the easiest way to know what you can eat guilt-free. If you don’t know what an ingredient is or you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it. Look for products that have real ingredients—they can often be found in the organic section. Which leads me to my next point, look for organic or non-GMO food products as these items will have cleaner ingredients and less additives and preservatives.
CL: How can we prep food to help us eat healthier during the week?
JB: Eating healthy is all about planning ahead. Do all of your food shopping on the weekend so you aren’t rushed and make time to prep your ingredients in advance. My top tips for prepping on the weekend are:
1. Wash and chop all your vegetables, then place them into containers so that you have vegetables ready for salads and stir-fry dishes.
2. Make a large pot of quinoa or brown rice on the weekend to add to salads, soups, veggie bowls or to use as a side dish.
3. Roast a whole chicken or bake fish on the weekend to add protein to your meals throughout the week.
4. Make salad dressings in advance and store them in mason jars in the fridge, where they can last for over a week.
CL: How can we snack in a healthy way?
JB: Snacks that are high in fibre and protein and low in sugar are best. Finding ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your snacks ensures you’re eating a variety of vitamins and minerals throughout the day. My favourite go-to snacks are my very own Healthy Crunch kale chips, homemade trail mix with various nuts, seeds, dried chickpeas, apple with pumpkinseed butter and veggies with hummus.
CL: How can we organize our kitchens to help us make healthier choices?
JB: When hunger strikes, you’re more likely to reach for easy junk food instead of superfoods, especially if your kitchen is not properly organized. The first step is to avoid storing junk food in your cupboards or fridge. This will keep it out of sight and out of mind. Instead fill your cupboard with canned beans, grains (including quinoa and brown rice), nuts and seeds, and frozen vegetables. When you stock up, be careful not to overload your cupboard! It will make it difficult to see what ingredients you have and easy to fall off track. If you keep a moderate amount of these foods in your home you’ll find that they are easy to cook with, which will help you avoid the temptation to order-in.
For your fridge, store like-foods in the same place so you always know where to find them. Nutrient-packed greens should be together, proteins should be together and you should also have an area where you keep cut-up vegetables and fruit. When at the grocery store, avoid purchasing excessive amounts of food that will go bad if you do not eat them. Overstocking your fridge can be overwhelming, so it’s important to plan your meals in advance and only buy those ingredients.
CL: How can we avoid #SadDeskLunch?
JB: Prepping ingredients earlier in the week makes it easier to make a meal on the fly. I always recommend making mason jar salads that are jammed-packed with fibre and protein. These salads are quick and easy to make if you have ingredients all ready to go. In a mason jar, layer quinoa, chickpeas, spinach, cherry tomatoes, carrots, avocado, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. For your dressing, try mixing apple cider vinegar, flax seed oil, maple syrup, dill, mint, parsley and Himalayan pink salt—trust me, you’ll go from #SadDeskLunch to #FabDeskLunch!
Bridging the gap between Parliament and fashion, UK Prime Minister Theresa May will be the first British head of state to be featured within the pages of the U.S. edition of Vogue.
Who says Americans have all the fun? Following in the footsteps of Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, British Prime Minister Theresa May will be featured in the April issue of U.S. Vogue and–politics aside–we can't wait to see the glossy spread.
Shot by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz, and accompanied by an interview, the photoshoot reportedly took place at May's official country residence, Chequers, according to the Telegraph. While the UK's only other female leader, Margaret Thatcher, posed for British Vogue several times during her tenure, May will be pioneering the trans-Atlantic jump.
Vogue has increasingly become more political and may be looking for another female political head to rally behind, after they formally backed–for the first time in history–U.S. candidate Hillary Clinton. The exclusive may also come in handy with presenting a more personable image, suggests a source for The Sun, for her official visit with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in May.
Since stepping into office six months ago after the historic and polarizing Brexit vote, May has been regarded for her love of fashion–notably for head-turning footwear. She even listed a lifetime's subscription to Vogue magazine as her luxury item when she appeared on a BBC radio show, according to the Independent. Proving that being a woman in high-political office and great style are not mutually exclusive, May has said, “I like clothes and I like shoes. One of the challenges for women in the workplace is to be ourselves, and I say you can be clever and like clothes. You can have a career and like clothes.”
Not everyone is applauding the fashion move. The criticism has been heavy on social media, where people are labelling the Vogue appearance as trivial, particularly in the midst of a still very sensitive fallout from the summer Brexit vote.
Boundary breaking, indeed.
[thread] Theresa May posing for Vogue is a double edged sword, and it's hard to know how to feel about it.— Sam 💋 (@Little_Fickle) January 16, 2017
I'd rather see a Prime Minister sort out our NHS cover in Britain than the Vogue cover in America https://t.co/gbISDaQe2m— John Prescott (@johnprescott) January 15, 2017
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it can be difficult to take a step back and focus on ourselves—but scheduling a little me time is essential for our mental health.
So much to do, so little time. There’s always a good reason not to take time to recharge your batteries. But it isn’t a luxury: It’s a necessity. "Relaxation is not a frivolous pleasure," says Louise Handfield-Champagne, a Montreal-based psychologist. "It’s vital to our health." Among other things, it reduces blood pressure and decreases muscle tension. Here’s how to overcome six common justifications we give for not relaxing. Now’s the time to stop making excuses!
1. "I’d love to recharge, but I don’t know how."
You have good intentions. You try to take time out for yourself, but nothing seems to work. You just can’t find the right formula. Why is it so hard? Maybe it’s because we get caught up in our obligations and become disconnected from what we find pleasurable. Or perhaps we’re so busy ensuring other people’s happiness that we forget what we need ourselves.
Try this: Figure out what works for you. How? Whenever you feel good, take a mental snapshot of that moment. "Also think about what you used to do when you were young, when you had more free time, or about what you like to do when you’re on vacation," suggests Marie-Claude Lamarche, a psychologist in Montreal.
2. "Recharging is good for other people. I don’t have to do it."
Whether it’s because you’re passionate about your work or because you measure your self-worth by how much you accomplish in a day, you may feel that taking time out just for you is a waste of time. However, if you love your work and hope to continue doing it for a long time, it’s important to regularly take breaks. "It is unrealistic to believe that you don’t need to relax. That’s like saying that you don’t need to eat or sleep," says Lamarche.
Try this: Seek out interests outside of work. If you’re the competitive type, think about a team sport. Do you eat lunch at your desk? Big mistake! Your lunch hour is the perfect time to unplug. Taking a midday break will make you more productive for the rest of the afternoon.
Still need convincing you should take a breather? "Try a few different forms of relaxation," suggests Marie-Claude Pélissier, a Montreal-based psychologist. "It’s a good way to test your theory." You might be surprised at how refreshed and revived you feel after meditating for just a few minutes or striking a yoga pose or two at your desk.
3. "To unwind, I can just turn on the TV or the computer."
After a busy day, you like to simply zone out. But when you get off the couch four hours later, worries resurface, tensions return and you feel just as stressed as you did before.
"Channel surfing is far from relaxing: We’re bombarded with information and images," says Pélissier. Sometimes we watch TV because we don’t know what else to do with ourselves or we lack the motivation to do something more constructive. It takes a lot more effort to go for a walk than to reach for the remote.
Try this: Assess how you feel after turning off the TV. Are you energized and less stressed, or do you simply feel lethargic? If watching your favourite show has a positive effect on your mood, this form of relaxation may be effective for you. If it doesn’t, keep trying different activities until you find something that leaves you in a happy frame of mind. Or use a timer to remind yourself to get off the couch as soon as your favourite show is over.
4. "I’m not into taking yoga classes."
These days relaxation classes are all the rage. One of your neighbours might swear by yoga, while another might find peace in meditation. The key is to discover an activity that suits you; if it doesn’t, doing it may feel more like a burden than a pleasure. Taking time out for yourself should not be a chore.
Try this: Before you run out to sign up for the latest class, figure out what truly interests you. "To unwind, you don’t have to take a structured class or take off a full hour," notes Lamarche. "You have to find something that is easy and enjoyable for you." If you fancy yourself an amateur chef, try out a new recipe for your unsuspecting family. Or crank up the Michael Bublé and dance around the living room for 15 minutes - no lessons required.
5. "My mind never stops."
You know which activities are conducive to relaxation, but your mind won’t quit racing, leaving you thinking about the next item on your to-do list. Whether you’re taking a hot bath, seeing a movie or working out, in your head you’re still figuring out what to make for dinner, when to hem your son’s new pants or what to clean out of the front closet.
Some people live in a constant state of anxiety, imagining countless scenarios, obsessing over every possibility and being afraid to overlook something. But our brains need rest, too. "If your mind never stops racing, that’s a red flag," says Handfield-Champagne. "You need to put on the brakes." An athlete who never takes a break from training risks serious injury. The same holds true for "mental athletes," whose wheels never stop turning.
Try this: "Repetitive activities that don’t require much thought are beneficial because they’re almost hypnotic," says Lamarche. "We do them automatically, while continuing to think, but at some point we finally disengage." Such activities include knitting, walking, painting and kneading bread. "Weeding the garden can be very therapeutic. You don’t have to think or problem-solve, yet you’re accomplishing a concrete task," says Lamarche.
6. "I’ll rest when the cleaning is done, when I finish this important file, when the children are grown…."
Do you view time out for yourself as a reward? It isn’t necessarily so. If you believe that you have to earn the right to relax, you might have trouble unwinding when you really need to. You’ll find it hard to justify taking time out when two baskets of laundry are staring you in the face. If you wait for the ideal time to relax, it might never happen.
Try this: Tell yourself that it’s better to take a short break than to wait for the right time to take a long one. Start by scheduling a short pause in your day - and always keeping the appointment. "Simply taking three long, deep breaths is sometimes enough," says Handfield-Champagne.
You can also use transitions between daily activities as opportunities to take a few minutes for yourself. Getting into relaxation mode may simply mean spending 10 minutes writing in a journal before preparing dinner.
Executive assistant Linda Gill was worried frills would be too much volume—we proved her wrong.
Photography by Carlyle Routh. Hair by Jukka/Davines/Plutino Group. Makeup by Jodi Urichuk/Bite Beauty/Plutino Group.
Have you ever flirted with the idea of trying a daring style but weren't quite sure how to pull it off? We found six women who were intrigued by a trend they usually avoid, then we gave them the support and style advice to help them make it their own. Here, executive assistant Linda Gill tries ruffles on for size—despite her fear that they would be overwhelming.
After nearly a decadelong hiatus, flirty, structured and seriously romantic ruffles have gathered momentum as the "it" detail of the season. At its core, flounces of fabric are classic, a seemingly natural fit for Linda's traditional-with-a-twist style. But a ruffle, especially on a blouse, leaves her with mixed emotions. "I love ruffles because they're so feminine, but they can be overpowering," says Linda. "I'm big-busted, and I think they accentuate that area."
Blouse, $295, pinktartan.ca. Pants, $175, scotch-soda.com. Earrings, jenny-bird.ca. Bracelet, clutch and shoes, banarepublic.ca.
If you have a larger bust, wearing ruffles is entirely possible—and it can look incredibly chic. The trick is placement: Avoid ruffles at or around the bustline, since they can add extra bulk; instead, look for an open neckline with vertical ruffles or follow our lead and pick a blouse with tiered ruffles on the sleeves. Counteract the soft flounces with a structured pair of trousers in a wild print or a vibrant colour; an unexpected shade like fuchsia or bright orange can make all the difference in transforming ruffles from precious to powerful.
Shop the trend:
Exposed-shoulder blouse, $30, hm.com/ca
Halter dress, $75, reitman.com
Tunic, $30, marshalls.ca
One-shoulder blouse, $98, anthropologie.com
Shirt with ruffle sleeves, $20, zara.ca
Vince Camuto sleeveless ruffle top, $96, nordstrom.com
Banas dress, $145, aritzia.com
Dress, $125, loft.com
Peplum ruffle top, $70, rw-co.ca
Satin fluted dress, $148, frenchconnection.com