Steps to Take Towards a Healthier You

It may be difficult for some to believe, but the whole world is confronting an obesity crisis, and Canada is no exception. Statistics Canada released a report in 2015 containing data of self-reported overweight and obese adults in the country.
- According to the data, 20.2% of Canadians aged 18+ reported being obese.
- Men who reported being overweight ranked at a 40% rate, while the rate of overweight women was 27.5%.
Is it cause for concern?
If the rate of overweight and obese men and women continues to jump year on year as it has so far – the proportion of obese adults in Canada has doubled since 1980, while the proportion of obese children has seen a three-fold increase – then yes, we have cause for concern

Nutritional education is the first thing that helps people overcome obesity and being overweight.
These days, there are many online databases and forums that provide useful dietary advice and information on nutritional health.
But there is one thing more important than any others when setting out to fight obesity: visiting a doctor who specializes in obesity medicine. This is the first step. 
Why it’s important to check with a doctor first
Overweight and obesity are delicate subjects and there have been people who reported humiliating experiences, having felt that doctors treated them differently from normal weight people. It does unfortunately happen sometimes, but that shouldn’t discourage anyone from seeking adequate and professional counseling.
While people who simply want to lose a few extra pounds could do very well without any medical support, it’s more complicated in cases of obesity. We are already at a level that involves a number of health risks and proper advice is required to lose weight healthy, but also to maintain weight loss.

How to approach losing weight
It may be challenging to find that determination within you to help you set up a plan and stick to it. But it’s not impossible.
What often happens is that, once we develop a tendency to overeat, we grow accustomed to binge eating, and so our body and our mind have to work together towards changing both eating habits and the way we approach eating. Shop Canada Supermarkets Weekly Flyers to find great deals on fresh produce, fresh meats, seafood, and more.
Losing weight is as much about excess body fat and eating disorders as it is about addressing emotional eating or the root cause of obesity. Sometimes it’s all psychological factors, but obesity can be genetic or it can be related to medical problems as well.
Whichever the cause, the only healthy way to approach losing weight is making a commitment to change your lifestyle. This involves eating habits, being physically active and allowing mistakes. There will be moments when your diet is going to be on point for a long period of time only to find yourself falling off the track, and that’s OK. So long as you maintain your motivation you’ll find it easy to get back on track.

Foods to consume the most for weight loss:
Whole grains;
Fresh, natural juices;
Lean meat;

Some of the best Canadian producers of maple syrup

More than 65% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Canada and these are some of the best Canadian producers.

Pure maple syrup is the deliciousness that people wake up to, some every morning, others every Sunday. Pure Canadian maple syrup is used as a natural sweetener not only in Canada, but all over the world to substitute white sugar. Many people also use maple syrup to substitute other less-healthy liquid sweeteners such as molasses and corn syrup.
100% pure and natural maple syrup is a healthier choice to sugar for sure, but it is of course a sweetener itself, so it must be consumed in moderation.

Maple Syrup Production in Canada
About 65% of the maple syrup distributed all over the world is produced in Canada, and Quebec is the top-producing province, harvesting about 7.9 million gallons every year. 
A lot of what is being produced is exported to America and to about 50 different other countries, the growing demand in the past years determining producers to even send reserve supplies.

Some of Canada’s Best Maple Syrup Producers

Barkleyvale Farms – A maple producer in Ontario, Barkleyvale Farms is located in Dundas County and it has been a member of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association since 1979. 
They produce 100% pure Canadian maple syrup along with other maple products such as maple butter, maple vinegar, granulated maple sugar and maple leaf sugar.

Ferme Vifranc – In business for over 80 years, Ferme Vifranc started producing maple syrup for household and family needs at first, only later starting to sell maple syrup and other products too such as maple butter, maple candies, maple jelly and fruit syrup. They are a certified organic business based in Quebec.

Mohawk Valley Trading Company – From maple syrup and maple sugar to other natural products such as honey, handmade soaps and beeswax, Mohawk Valley is a warehouse type of business that sells products online. It is a member of the Maple Producers’ Association of Nova Scotia.

Three Bad Ingredients to Look Out For When Buying Ice Cream

If you too – like so many of us here – scoop out a bowl of ice cream more than a couple of times a week, then by all means make it real ice cream and not that frozen dessert that resembles ice cream but is often nothing more than a mass of vegetable fat.
What we call frozen dessert and what some food companies call frozen dessert nowadays is sometimes very different. You see, ice cream that contains more than four to six ingredients is no longer ice cream, but a sacrifice of quality that helps retailers keep prices down at the expense of your own health.

Even big brand producers put things into ice cream that you wouldn’t believe. And right now in Canada, there is big demand for ice cream. There are festivals happening all around the country, we had National Ice Cream Day on July 17 and sales are sky rocketing in supermarkets and at ice cream parlors. For ice cream specials check the latest supermarket flyers.
So needless to say, we like our frozen desserts, but when it comes to the following ingredients, not so much. Here’s what to look out for in ice cream.

Palm kernel oil
If you eat dairy-free, then you might be OK with having coconut oil instead of milk in your ice cream. But palm kernel oil? This is a vegetable oil used widely in the packaged foods industry primarily because it is very efficient, very cheap to produce. One hectare of palm crop can produce over 3.7 tons of oil while the same hectare of sunflower crop will only produce 0.48. You do the math.
Palm kernel oil is different from palm oil in that it contains more saturated fats that are detrimental to our health and mostly known to cause cardiovascular problems. So not only is palm kernel oil bad for the environment, it also has negative effects on our well being.

Whey solids
Ice cream, real ice cream that is, is made with real dairies: real milk, real cream, real eggs. But nowadays the legal requirements for ice cream are so permissive that a product can contain no more than approximately 2.5% milk protein in some countries and still be labeled as ice cream. And that is not even protein from real milk sometimes. 
A whey solid is what is left after milk is turned into cheese and it is a milk replacement. The dairy industry used to dump this into rivers before starting to produce it in vast quantities as fillers for different products such as bakery goods and ice cream. 
Using whey solids or whey powder is of course cost efficient, which is why ice cream producers have been using it for about six decades now. And although the very same manufacturers will tell you how nutritious whey powder is, here’s the thing: it is a highly processed by-product that undergoes such a denatured processing phase that the body can hardly recognize it. It’s not at all healthy.

Among all the extras that ice cream contains nowadays, flavoring encompasses such a broad spectrum that you really need to read a label carefully. Nothing that says cherry flavoring, strawberry flavoring and the likes is anything close to real fruits most of the times. 
Ice cream producers can use the term 'flavoring' to hide a vast array of worrying ingredients and artificial flavors is unfortunately one of the key ingredients widely used in ice cream today.

Where to Buy Ethical Eggs in Canada

Many food-conscious Canadians pay attention to the food they’re buying, whether it’s healthy or not, whether there’s a better price at competitors, like checking prices from weekly flyers, or whether to stock up on best buys and so on. Grocery shopping for the health and cost-conscious Canadian can be daunting, of course, and the task only gets more difficult if you care about animal welfare. 

But you know that when you are buying cruelty-free products, you are doing well to animals worldwide, whether it’s buying cosmetics and personal care items that aren’t tested on animals or foods ethically sourced. So, daunting as the task is, you know ethical eating is worth it.

The thing about ethical eggs

There are so many types of eggs on the market nowadays that it really only makes it more confusing for shoppers to discern between ethical eggs and conventional eggs. Free range, pasture-raised, organic eggs – these are common labels that are supposed to tell you exactly what you are eating and how ethical your food.

The various approaches to egg labeling started when more people grew aware of battery hens. The inhumane treatment applied to chickens in factory farming that are raised for eggs and meat at such a large scale behooved many shoppers to adopt ethics of eating for a better world. People demanded more ethical choices and the egg industry provided. But not all ethical eggs are produced equally.
In Canada, as in most of the other countries in the world, over 90% of all eggs come from battery-confined hens. The rest are cage-free, free-run, free-range or organic eggs, so 10% of all egg production in Canada is more ethical than the counterpart. But more ethical isn’t 100% ethical, and more ethical options don’t necessarily favor the birds so much.

- Cage-free eggs – hens are not confined to battery cages, but they have no access to outdoor space, and can be fed hormones and given medication with consequences on the well being of the bird and the egg quality.
- Free-run eggs – hens are usually housed in concrete walls and flooring facilities where they are free to move around, but there is no access to the great outdoors and overcrowding can still be an issue.
- Free-range eggs: hens have some access to the great outdoors, but there are no regulations concerning the amount of time they spend outside or the quality of that time.
- Organic eggs: hens are provided with tolerable living conditions including access to the outdoors, and in addition they are fed organic feed.

Where to buy ethical eggs
The best places in Canada to buy ethical eggs are local farmers. In grocery stores, the best options are certified organic eggs.
Sourcing organic eggs or eggs from local farmers is a great way to make sure the eggs you buy were produced with as little impact to the environment as possible and that animals were treated ethically in the process. Because many terms in egg labeling are nothing but marketing strategies, buying local probably remains the best option since consumers may have a better chance of exploring the source and see for themselves how the eggs are produced.