Tag Archives: sodium

Eat better than your cat.

You are what you eat … no seriously you are….

I was standing in a particularly slow line at the grocery store this morning and overheard the women in front of me chatting with the cashier about the cat food she was buying.  She was remarking that it was good she had a coupon because the cat food was a little more expensive but she lived alone and her cat was her friend and companion and was worth the extra money spent on a “better-for-it” food.  Ok, makes sense.  Then I looked down at what was on the belt and noticed what she was buying – the cat food, was indeed a higher end brand  but the rest of the “people food” was all garbage…. Keeping in mind this women lives alone, she was buying 13, yes 1. 3. full sized bags of assorted chips, 3 containers of chip dip, 2 boxes of granola bars, juices, a case of pop, and multiple boxes of premade process crap  umm I mean “food” (term used loosely here) like frozen dinners, breaded sodium and fat filled stuffed chicken (ahem again – term used loosely) breast, nuggets, pizzas and other assorted frozen non food.

Do see anything wrong with this picture? Why is her pet worth spending more on than herself?   Now this women was a heavyset women, and was huffing and puffing and out of breath shuffling her groceries around and heaving them into the grocery cart.  Now I am not here to judge about weight – its not about weight – its about health.   All I could think of to myself was – that women has 1 bag of frozen corn and that’s the only vegetable she is buying  (and really lets face it – its really more of a starch then a veggie) and not one fresh  or frozen fruit!  Then to top it all off – when all was said and done the cashier announced “OK, that comes to $161. 91 – I just about fell over!  I mean, I did our main grocery shopping for our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 young kids)  the other day, and spent $111 and change.  However we bought, meat (real meat), lots of fresh veggies, fruit, toilet paper, milk, cheese, butter, etc etc. real food – yup I will say it again REAL. FOOD.

OK, I get that not everyone likes to cook  – or cooks for a living like I do. However there are alternatives out there, people and businesses like mine (Joy In Your Kitchen) – I make homemade fully cooked meals from whole foods and deliver them frozen – but there are also so many things you can do yourself with little to no effort to make a healthy meal quickly.  In the time it takes to bake one of those pre-made breaded chicken “breasts” stuffed with broccoli and cheddar, you could bake a real chicken breast, with freshly squeezed lime juice and sprinkled with chili flakes, steam some broccoli throw on some rice (NOT that instant crap – brown or long grain is great – or try jasmine or basmati rice – I use our rice cooker to make it easy peasy- chuck the rice and water (or use chicken stock) in close the lid and forget it) or quinoa and make a salad.  Heck – don’t want to go to the trouble of buying all the ingredients for a salad – buy a salad in a bag complete with dressing!  Better yet – forgo the typically fat laden dressing (you know the creamy stuff),  add a bit of feta cheese to the salad (it keeps FOREVER in the fridge) and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.  Save yourself a whole lot of calories and saturated fats and feel better.  If you use this type of eating as fuel for your body – doesn’t it just make sense that your engine (body) will run cleaner?  Naturally flush the toxins out, and sustain a healthier and happier lifestyle – I mean who wants to huff and puff hauling groceries?  Even better add a little exercise (consult your doctor first before starting any exercise program) – baby steps – go for a walk then shovel the driveway, heck – pay things forward – surprise your neighbour and shovel their driveway!  Go tobogganing with the kids – or with your friends (who cares if your 40 – tobogganing is fun!) and walk up the hill, walk the dog, try out snow shoeing or cross country skiing.  Not an outdoor person?  Go to the mall and walk around it (briskly) for 25-45 minutes (you can go shopping later –  this is about continual movement), go to YouTube and search Yoga or Pilates – do some poses, buy a exercise DVD, join a class, try swimming, aquafit or walking the lengths of the pool (in the water).   Maybe you can only get moving for 5 or 10 mins at first  – that’s fine, DO IT!   I promise if you keep it up and eat cleaner you will be able to do 10 mins, then 15, then 20 and so on and so on.  Make your mind up and do it – get a friend to promise to motivate each other – heck write to me! Because no matter who you are or what you do, have or have not done in the past – you deserve it …. yes … even more so than your cat. 🙂

Easy Baked (or Grilled) Chicken Meal … or make it into a two-fer!
(sorry guys, I didn’t have time to take any pictures today!) 

Chicken & Quinoa Meal 1
1-2 chicken breast (or however many you need for you or your family)
1 lime
chili flakes to taste
Quinoa (you can get it at the grocery store typically near the rice or the Bulk Barn)
1 lemon
Broccoli – fresh is best but get the frozen kind if you don’t want to deal with fresh
optional – dried cranberries or crasions
optional – feta cheese
bag of salad
balsamic vinegar (the older its aged the sweeter it is)

Equipment needed:  1 manual juicer (I think it makes it easier – you don’t have to use but they cost about $1 at the Dollar Store) and a cookie sheet or baking pan. 1 saucepan.

squeeze the juice out of the lime -pour over chicken breast, sprinkle with chili flakes (no you don’t need salt TRUST ME – this is good just like this)  bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear (internal temperature is 165-170).
*tip: if you are not using a juicer to juice the lime or lemon, roll it on the counter a few times before cutting in half – you will get more juice this way.

Meanwhile just before chicken is done, set a pot of water (amount specific to the quinoa directions) to boil on the stovetop, add lemon to water (or use chicken stock), add broccoli and boil for 2 min, add quinoa to broccoli pot (cook according to directions), add cranberries or craisons and (optional) a bit of feta cheese,  just before serving, and fluff with fork or mix together. Dump some of your bag of salad into a bowl, add some feta if you like, top with balsamic vinegar. Voila dinner is served – 2 pots/pans, 1 dish, fork and knife. pretty easy eh?

Meal 2
Wait – have extra Quinoa? Don’t toss it out yet! Throw in some parsley, spinach and feta and make it into a salad for the next day’s lunch or dinner! Extra chicken throw that in too?  Or make extra chicken while you are cooking anyway and throw it into a wrap with and feta some of the bagged salad for lunch or dinner.

*Quinoa Tip 1:  if you are cooking quinoa on its own, you can play with flavours by adding different juices (from the fruit not from the bottle) like oranges, lemons or limes, chop up some pecan or almonds, substitute chicken (or vegetable) stock for water, add different spices play with different options till you find something you like!
* Quinoa Tip 2: rinse the quinoa before cooking to prevent bitterness – if you are losing it down the sink put it in a sifter (like for flour) and gently run the water over it

*To get more of the skinny (haha) on quinoa -check this article out.

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From my kitchen to yours, happy and healthy eating!

Is Take-Out (Away) – Fast Food really that bad for you?

Ok, if you know me at all by now you’ll know my answer by no question is YES, all caps, bolded letters YES!! Now to prove my point I went out and did a little research and entered the results here.

First I went to a certain taco joint with a freaky little Chihuahua making a run for the border, and ate what I would have eaten previous to avoiding fast food: 2 Mexi Melts made with beans instead of meat and a nacho’s supreme (or whatever the damn thing is called now), with a Dr Pepper.

While ordering: Wow, this is going to be great –  I am so looking forward to eating some yummy fast food”
While Paying :”Holy crap this is expensive – did I really just spend $9???”
Walking to table:”mmmm this smells good”
Unwrapping & eating: “can’t wait”
2 minutes after first bite: “Wow this is salty -I’m really glad I ordered a drink”
10 minutes after finishing: “Huh, that wasn’t as good as I remembered it being”, followed by “Wow , I’m still really thirsty”
In the car on my way home: “Huh, I feel like my belly is bloated out to here (imaginary hand waving in front of my belly) – maybe I should have walked the 5  km instead of driven”.
5 minutes later: – “O ya I definitely should have walked– boy I’m still really  thirsty.”
1 hour later: “Wow, I think I need a nap, but first I’m going to get another glass of water”

What the?  I used to LOVE (all caps LOVE) that fast food – now it just reminds me of a bad blind date “Not what I hoped for but about what I expected” 🙂

So I decided to “get the goods” so to speak and actually compare the nutritional “buzz words” floating about in conjunction with other fast, convenience or take out foods. Even I was a little astounded at the findings.  To give you some perspective I have included the following:

 “Recommended daily sodium according to Doctor Tylus  of Hamilton, ON 1000 mg for children aged 1 to 3
1200 mg for children aged 4 to 8
1500 mg for people aged 9 to 50
1300 mg for adults aged 51 to 70
1200 mg for seniors aged 70+

Now lets take a look at some of the most popular fast – convenience foods around (below you’ll find a chart comparing some of my dishes that I sell through my Joy In Your Kitchen business as thaw – heat and serve as a comparison.

Fast (Convenience) Food     vrs.   Joy In Your Kitchen – Heat & Serve

Contender One: Convenience Foods

  Fast Food (Drive Thru) Take-Out or Delivery Supermarket
2 pieces Fried Chicken
dinner with  med fries
Double Quarter
LB Burger with cheese
& Large Fries
2 Chicken Soft Taco’s
& cheesy fries
New York Style
Pepperoni Pizza
(2 Slices)
Fried Rice
Beef Broccol(15 oz)
Roasted Chicken
Wedges &   Mac.  Salad –
(1cup ckn + 4 wedges)
Pre Packaged
Lasagna3/4 LB
Calories 1440 1320 290 830  1360 720 798  459
Total Fat 79 g 72g 9g 40 g 48g 24g 35g 25.4 g
Saturated Fat 10 g 24 g 3g 19 g 22g 6g 10g 8.35 g
Cholesterol 160 150mg 20mg 85 mg 100mg 155mg 100mg 35 mg
Sodium 2860 mg 1740mg 1000mg 2620 mg 3540mg 1620mg 1750mg 1462 mg

Reminder Doctor Tylus   recommends no more than 1500mg daily sodium intake for most of our audience (ages 9-50).

Wow! There is not one choice in our Popular Fast Food/Take out menu that is below the recommended DAILY intake for any age group – let alone at just one meal!

Contender 2  Joy In Your Kitchen

Comparable Joy In Your Kitchen Dishes
3/4 LB
Thai Coconut
Basil Chicken
(1 cup serving)
2 Chicken
& Refried Beans
& Mexican Rice (combo)
Joy’s Signature
3/4 LB
Baked Beans(4oz)
Chicken breast &(1/4 c Joy of BBQ Sauce) 
Joy’s Pizza Dough,
Joy of Pasta  sauce,
& 1/4c mozzarella
(2 pc of lg pie)
Butternut Squash Soup (1c)
1/2 twice baked potato
(with cheese & broccoli) 
Calories 233 187 677 473 260 309.5 259
Total Fat 5g 12g 22 g 13 g 4g 10 g  6 g
Saturated Fat 1.1 g 7.9 g 8 g 3.7 g 1 g 6 g  3.4 g
Cholesterol 54mg 32.3 mg 82 mg 64 mg 3.6 mg 32.9 mg  15.4mg
Sodium 292 mg 683 mg 1332 mg 243 mg 942 mg 431 mg 854 mg


Other interesting facts:

From Livestrong.com

“Salt does not cause your body to gain or lose fat. In fact, salt has no calories. High consumption of salt only results in temporary weight gain as it causes your body to retain water. Conversely, low consumption of salt can result in temporary weight loss as it causes your body to expel water.

It is interesting to note that many crash diets which boast quick weight loss rely on foods with little or no salt content. The weight loss is mostly water, and as soon as you eat foods containing salt again you regain the weight.

A Word of Caution

Our opening paragraphs would lead you to believe that salt is of little concern in regards to long-term weight loss. In fact, a diet high in salt content can not only affect your blood pressure (see below), but is typically associated with weight gain.

The reason is that high levels of salt in our diets usually come from calorie dense, fiber poor, processed foods, like those found in fast food and restaurant meals, as well as on supermarket shelves. If you adhere to a low salt diet, it will likely consist of the lower calorie, healthier foods associated with weight loss.

Salt vrs Sodium

Though the terms are often used interchangeably, salt and sodium are not the same thing. Sodium, which is found naturally in most foods, accounts for approximately 40% of table salt. Therefore when salt is added to food, the sodium content increases by approximately 40% of the amount of salt added.”

Other Facts

Another Expert’s Opinion on why water is so important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle:

Proper hydration is one of the keys, not only to staying fit and healthy, but to looking and feeling our best, as well. Find out what Dr. Cousens, a renowned nutritionist, has to say about the connection between water and health. We also offer you a great formula for energizing the water you drink. It’s all here:

If you avoid dehydration, you can avoid overeating. As Dr. Cousens says, “When you start to hydrate by drinking enough water, then your appetite goes down because you’re actually fulfilling what your body needs—which is water. And that’s also a very powerful way to lose weight, but also, in a sense, the hydration makes everything, including your brain, work a lot better.”

So the next time you are thinking about “Just grabbing something to eat” – bypass the drive-thru, open your freezer and pop in your favourite Joy In Your Kitchen item, pour a tall glass of water and feel guilt free!

From My Kitchen to yours, Happy & Healthy Eating.


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