Saturday, October 29, 2016

Top Nutrition Advice from a Registered Dietitian

My wife, kids, and I recently attended a 2-hour food seminar with a registered dietician at our local Fresh St Market and learned a thing or two about healthy eating. Someone once said this about healthy eating and nutrition - that they are "already aware, and just need to implement it". I assume the "it" is the healthy eating part which to me means that until it is implemented, then they are eating less healthy in the meantime. I think this is where the extra learning comes in that comes with attending these quick seminars. If anything, learning that this is a way of life and not a form of diet is worth the cost of going to this very free seminar/tour.

DISCLAIMER: These are my own notes and may not be accurate and not necessarily reflect what the dietitian said. It's all reliant on my note-taking skills that day.

Eating out at restaurants = no.
Prepared foods = yes.
Eating well is not not expensive.
Plan on buying 5 dinners when you go grocery shopping and use your freezer often.
When food shopping, divide your list into categories like vegetables, proteins, carbs, grain, etc.

Follow the 80/20 rule.
Aim for 80% healthy eating and 20% not so healthy eating. Go for 7-8 servings of vegetables per day.
Carbs do not make you fat.
You should eat every 3-4 hours instead of big meals.
Combining carbs with protein helps anchor your energy.
Snack wisely and mindfully.
Fine to combine protein and carbs.
Eat colourful foods, with tons of orange and green.

Balanced meal = 3 to 4 food groups.
Fill half your plate with vegetables.
Quarter of your plate fill with meat, fish, and poultry.
Quarter fill with potatoes, rice, and pasta.
Go easy on processed deli meats because it increases chance of colorectal cancer.
All processed meats are the same regardless of preservation methods.

Gluten is not bad for you, it is protein and comes from wheat.
Just don't use white refined flour and go with whole wheat instead.
Organic foods is not healthier than conventional.
Buy frozen.

Coconut oil is not better than olive oil.
Stick with vegetable oil high in omega3.
Avocado oil is good because of high boiling point.
If you see oil start to smoke while cooking then start over with new batch.
LDL is only one marker for heart disease, there are many other markers. Triglycerides are a better marker.  Omega3 with dha are betters. Good fats - walnuts, almonds.

Cholesterol and fatty foods do not increase blood pressure.
No hydrogenated oils. Heating and cooling foods creates trans fat. Did not know that.
Eat more fatty fish like salmon and halibut. No deep fried foods, limit animal-based foods because that is where saturated fat comes from.
Plants have no saturated fats.
Fiber like apples, soy protein is good.
ApoA and ApoB shows particle sizes in LDL, better indicator.

GMOs do not cause allergies.
Genetic modifications are not labeled in foods but organic foods are never genetically modified if you want to be safe.

Limit 25-50g of sugar per day.
Honey and agave are not any better than sugar.
Healthy gut is important by following the three Fs (I forgot what they are).

Brown eggs are not healthier than white eggs. It's just the type of feed given to the hens.

Osteoporosis is not just an older lady disease.
We use calcium everyday, density of bones starts to go down after 34 years of age.
1000mg a day of calcium needed for under 50 year olds.
A glass of milk or milk substitute is about 300mg.

Multivitamins will not really improve your health.
You can change your metabolism.
Strength training at least twice a week.

Fat does not transform into muscle and vice versa.

Sea salt is not lower in sodium than table salt.
Don't need to do cleanses, it is not needed because our kidney and liver do all that work.

Final notes from the dietitian's presentation:
1)stick to Superfoods 2) revisit portions 3) reduce sugar  4) avoid transfat 4) reduce processed food 5) have vegetables - proteins and carbs - unprocessed- hydration - pleasurable

Keep a food journal.

Some great sites to be aware of when it comes to food journals and nutrition ideas:

Keep in mind H.A.L.T.S. (forgot what it each letter stands for).
No mindless eating, i.e. no tv while eating.

After the seminar, we walked around the Fresh St Market store and talked about the  different foods at various aisles.

Here are some more info I noted during all the tour:
VitaSupplements with Phytosterol lowers cholesterol by 15%.
Rule of thumb when consuming protein per day - 1.2g of protein per kg of weight.
Enriched wheat just means white refined bread, a no.
Naked bar cashew and dates.
Amaranth grain.
Dijon lemon oil.

I believe there is another seminar in November and January.

Monday, October 5, 2015

70 minutes to Complete a Normal Wash Cycle?

This is a part 2 of my efforts to fix my Whirlpool Washer and the dreaded F21 error code This code means there is a slow drain issue with the unit and that it could easily be fixed by emptying the contents of the lint trap or replace the motor. I have already removed all the contents of the lint trap (which had a lot of gunk buildup) but the F21 error continued to persist so I thought that the next logical thing to do is to replace the drain pump motor. Maybe the lint trap buildup just caused the motor to malfuntion.

The water pump part number 8540024 was replaced by part# W10130913 and I was able to source it cheaply from Walmart US for US$70. I could have purchased it from ReliableParts and have it shipped to the store which is close to my house but that would have set me back $173. I ordered thru Walmart US and had it shipped to my mailbox at Blaine via 5dPackages (they only charge $2 for packages under 30lbs). After picking up the package, I followed the instructions here to replace my old water pump. It was super easy.

The moment of truth came. We had enough dirty laundry to test the washer, to see if the F21 error had been resolved. Success! I no longer see this dreaded error but the clothes were still wet. It didn't spin at the end of the normal cycle (ran for 55 minutes) which is why I think the clothes are still wet. I set the dial to Drain/Spin cycle to see if I would have to replace the belt that makes the drum spin. This cycle takes 15 minutes to complete and it does spin quite fast. It even successfully drains the water and results in drier clothes.  Total wash time is 55+15=70 minutes.

Have you seen this before? I think there is sensor that is not calculating the load correctly and therefore not going into the final spin cycle. Haven't been able to find anything else about it on the interweb however. I think I'll let this one ride until it breaks again at which point I'll head over to The Brick for another front-load washer.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Engine Break Cable Replacement for my Lawn Mower

It's been more than 3 years since I had any issues with my 11A-410A552 MTD Yard Machine lawn mower (see previous history here so it must be time for it to give me some anti-love. The engine break cable broke this past week so I couldn't mow the lawn. It also broke a while back but I was able to jerry-rig a replacement by re-connecting the cut cables with some wires and super glue. Can't believe that it lasted for 3 years. Instead of doing the same fix this time, I gave in and bought a replacement engine break cable. I searched around the web for the correct part number to order from MTD's website or from Ebay but my lawn mower must have been made before 1996 because I can't find any manuals for it.  The closest I could find was from Sears with part#746-0551 but said it was a throttle cable. It didn't look right so I just went to CanadianTire and was lucky that MTD sold this part #746-0552 for $20 including tax. It was the exact cable I was looking for. Problem solved.

I can now get back to not mowing my lawn.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Race

I finally completed my first obstacle race called Rugged Maniac. It was a very easy race for me, at 5k in total and 25 obstacles. Perhaps it was because I was expecting it to be difficult like Tough Mudder or the Spartan race so I over trained for it. Or maybe it was just tailored to be an easy race with so that there is a repeat next year. Whatever it is, I had fun. 

I went with my friend Greg, Amy, Colin, and their friends this year. They live very close to the Cloverdale Fairgrounds so I just biked it to his house for an easy 6k ride just so I can get warmed up. After checking in, we immediately climbed a chest-high wall to get to the start of the race and this was great teaser. 

When our wave time started at 1pm, I immediately regretted wearing white socks as we start out with "shoe catcher" obstacle where you cross a mud pool and immediately find yourself knee-high in mud. One of my favorites was "the ringer" because I didn't think I could do it. I have a bad shoulder and didn't know I could swing across like a monkey over a puddle of brown water. I think it was thanks to losing so much weight that I was able to carry my body easily. 

Near the end, there was "the warped wall" which was a half-pipe and required a running start to get to the top of the wall. There were helping hands at the top to hoist you over the wall but I didn't need any help getting over. The key is to make sure your shoes aren't muddy or wet so that you have enough grip to propel yourself over the top. 

I didn't get the timing chip this year but the clock at the finish line said it took me 1 hour to complete the race. I don't think I'll time myself in future Rugged Maniac races because this was all just for fun just like the Color Me Rad 5k race earlier this year. I would definitely do it again and just wished more of my family and friends would join in. It was probably the $100 price tag at the gate or the prospect of getting injured that deterred many. I say stop whining, get over that obstacle, and let's get rugged!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Love-Hate Relationship with my Bike

I purchased the SC 700C Solaris Hybrid bicycle over 3 months ago at a discount and was super excited to start getting fit. It helped with my daily dose of exercise, clocking in at 22 km per day on my bike commute. I have been riding to/from skytrain station from Monday to Friday for the past 3 months and love it.

Just like wearing my Fitbit Flex consistently, I have gotten used to this routine and love my bike that way. I hate my bike when it affects my routine and takes me off-kilter. I have already had numerous issues with the front and rear derailers so I had tons of practice adjusting it so that it's perfect. The bike also does not go as fast as other bikes because I see riders easily pass me on similar routes using other hybrids. It just seems to lack efficiency which is actually better for me because I end up exerting more effort on a 40 minute bike route. Using Endmondo on my phone, I average around 17 km/hr using this bike and that's on a good day when all my muscles are at peak performance.

The other day, the rear tires were deflated so I had to miss 2 days of bike commute until I was able to get to patching the hole. It was the same hole as before so I knew exactly where to look but still it was a nuisance. Last week, the right pedals wore out because they were made of plastic but I didn't expect 3 months. So I went back to the store and requested for a warranty replacement of the right pedal which I easily got. A few days later however, the left pedal also started to break apart so I again went back to claim another parts replacement which was a little more difficult. I had to explain to the sales person that I could put on the pedal myself without having to wait on Thursdays for the technician to do it for me. Regardless, I now have replacement pedals which should last me until end of September.

It is a love-hate relationship I have with my bike. I hope this bike holds for at least a year until I buy a more efficient road bike.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Daily Bike Route Errday Errday

Here is my new daily bike route to and from work (marked in blue). The distance is approximately 11 km and it takes me about 45 minutes to complete one way. That's a solid 22 km with the return trip daily, if the weather plays nice. The terrain is not quite flat and has some slight inclines (shown in the pop out) so it takes some getting used to. I plan to cut down the time to 30 minutes hopefully in 3 months time, but for now I'm just happy to be able to complete a day of cycling.

Monday, April 20, 2015

How I Improved on my 10K Race Results

We just finished running the Vancouver Sun Run this past weekend and am happy to see that I improved significantly from last year's Sun Run race results by 9 minutes. It took me 52 minutes to complete a 10K run!

I ran the Granville Island 10K Turkey Trot last November and finished that in 55 minutes but I also don't think a 10km route for one event equals a different event in terms of time it takes to complete. So looking strictly at the stats for the Sun Run, I also dropped to being in the top 22 percentile for my age category instead of being in the 50 percentile from last year and the years before that. It must have been 4 years since I was able to run the Sun Run in under an hour so I begin to think what it was that let me break out of the cycle.

Lose Weight 
I weighed close to about 170lbs every year that I ran the Sun Run, except this 2015. I lost about 12lbs to prepare for the race through a combination of daily exercise and diet. I would say it's the diet that actually helped me get over losing the last 5lbs. I looked at the Whole30 program which focused on reducing carb intake, and this helped a lot I'm currently trying to understand how to decipher the ingredients in the food I eat, specifically which powerbars are good to have when the hunger-cravings kick in.

Improve Endurance 
Reducing weight helped build my endurance by being able to easily carry my body through 8km runs around the Stanley Park Lagoon every other day. I find that I am able to get back to my normal at rest heart beat much quicker now and I attribute to having more endurance through constant training. I insert swimming and cardiovascular workout at the YMCA gym in between to help reduce wear-and-tear on my knees.

Get Home to Son's Birthday Party 
My son had a 12:30pm birthday party the same day as the Sun Run so I had to make sure I finished in record time so that I can get home to help out with the preparations. It would have been in very poor taste if I missed it.

Regardless, you should find your own motivation for beating your previous year's Sun Run time. To find out about your race results in 2015, go to