Theresa Albert | My Friend In Food My Friend In Food Fri, 08 Feb 2013 18:48:55 +0000 en hourly 1 Medjool Date Power Balls Fri, 08 Feb 2013 17:44:43 +0000 Theresa Albert . Continue Reading...]]> As a new runner, I am on a mission to  find a way to support my exercise without drinking and eating processed and sugar laden energy packs and sports drinks.

What I have discovered is that I do need a pre-run, low Glycemic Index, nugget of a power snack.  Then, I discovered that these balls are the perfect thing to keep in my purse to perk me up from any 3 pm slump or high demand, low energy day.

psst…kids like them too!

1 cup (250 mL) raw almonds

16 Natural Delights Medjool Dates, pitted

Water, for blending

½ cup (125 mL) shredded unsweetened coconut

1/3 cup (75 mL) raw almond butter or coconut butter

3 tbsp (45 mL) cocoa powder

1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon


Pulse almonds in a food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer to a bowl.


Pulse dates in food processor until almost smooth, adding up to 3 tbsp (45 mL) water as needed to help blend.


Add almonds back to food processor with coconut, almond butter, cocoa powder and cinnamon and pulse, scraping down mixture in bowl with a wooden spoon as needed until completely incorporated.


Transfer to a large bowl. Scoop mixture into 2tbsp (30 mL) balls, rolling with your hands; place balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate.


Makes 18 Balls

Note: consider scraping the paste into a sandwich bag and watering down with water to make into a homemade “power pack” for long runs. Perfect replenishment, no fake or processed junk. Or as a post workout snack, they provide just enough carb to full the muscles, good fats to ease inflammation and some protein to speed recovery

Recipe and photo source: Natural Delights Medjool Dates


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Cabbage Soup Mon, 04 Feb 2013 16:38:45 +0000 Theresa Albert . Continue Reading...]]> You know how you look in the fridge just before shopping day and you are dying for soup but you don’t think you have anything to make some with?

This recipe comes together effortlessly and is a great warmer upper as an appetizer or a whole lunch.
Serving Size  : 12-14     Preparation Time 20 minutes

2  teaspoons  butter
1 onion — chopped
3 cups  salsa
1  liter  chicken broth — homemade or low salt
3 cups  shredded cabbage
1  cup  white wine
2  ounces  salami — optional

Top with a dollop of dill herbed goats cheese.

Melt butter and cook onions until soft.

Stir in salsa and broth and bring to a boil.

Add cabbage and simmer for 15 minutes

Stir in wine and  chop salami if using and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Freeze in glass jars


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Valentine’s Mexican Cocoa Mon, 04 Feb 2013 16:19:46 +0000 Theresa Albert . Continue Reading...]]> February is a bad month for blues and blahs. Luckily, Valentines day brings bags of chocolate that will add pounds to despair!

It doesn’t have to be this, there is a way to have your cake and eat it too. Mexican Cocoa is a zippy, power packed pick me up that can be tossed together in a pretty jar.  Keep yours on the counter and give a few away to the ones you love.

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup powdered milk

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

pinch cayenne

3/4 cup chopped Mexican dark chocolate

Cinnamon sticks

Layer into a glass jar for gift giving.

To make a cup: stir ingredients together well in jar. Scoop one or two tablespoons into a cup, pour one or two tablespoons of boiling water into mug and stir into a paste. Fill cup with more water. Optional: top with milk or cream

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Disgusting Food TV Mon, 04 Feb 2013 14:08:49 +0000 Theresa Albert . Continue Reading...]]> As if the disgusting North American amusement of eating contests isn’t bad enough, we now have a whole new TV program to show the world how abhorrently we are out of touch with food. Get Stuffed  takes our sickness to a whole new level by pitting competitors against one another in any manner of “food offs”. The loser is treated to the most high fat, deep fried, multi-thousand calorie meal that the winner can imagine.  The whole show from start to finish makes me sick.

In a recent episode two “friends” challenge eat other to a “bobbing for pig’s feet” contest.  The camera zooms in on pig’s feet resting against a wall, complete with flies buzzing and ants crawling.  Truly, this is not something that looks humane, never mind for human consumption.  Then we see the hooves in clear plastic buckets and our stars on their knees ready to shove their faces into cold water and grab a hoof with their teeth only to fling it out of the bucket.  Apparently, the object of bobbage is slippery so we cut to a local giving sage advice with the poorest grammar “ya jus gots ta grab at the toes to get a good grip” or some similar barely understandable sentence.  Luckily, our producers realize the necessity of subtitles!

Then we are treated to a belly flop contest into a mud pit.

The loser is then “forced” to eat the local platter of deep fried stuff topped with deep fried crap covered in deep fried ikk. She says “it’s ok, I love deep fried food” and proceeds to debase herself with shoving it in and rubbing it on her face.

Has this bravado of playing and eating with the reckless abandon of a Roman really become who we are? We watch this sh*t so they keep making it.  Does it get watched so we can feel better about ourselves? Is it like a train wreck that we can’t take our eyes from? There really are people starving right her under our noses and around the world, are we that insensitive to the importance of the sustenance of food? I just don’t get it.

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The Illustrated Step-By-Step Cook Wed, 23 Jan 2013 01:18:31 +0000 Jodi Lariviere . Continue Reading...]]> The Illustrated Step-By-Step Cook


Called the ‘modern day recipe bible’, The Illustrated Step-By-Step Cook book is a text book of information for those who lack comfort in the kitchen. With over 300 recipes, and multiple photos per recipe – this book shows you the proper cooking techniques for each dish.

Best of the Book

While the idea of having step-by-step guidance in photo form isn’t new (I love my copy of Jacques Pepin’s Complete Techniques), it is rarely seen in such a large, colour version which is really nice to follow along with. The amount and variety of recipes are also great for beginning cooks so they can easily follow along and gain confidence in the kitchen.

Needs Improvement

Some of the photos could have been a little nicer and I find that sometimes there was no photo at an instruction step where I would have liked one. But that was few and far between – for the most part it is a lovely guide.

Target Audience

This is a great reference and teaching book for those who are new to / or need instruction in the kitchen. A lovely jumping off point into a love affair with cooking!

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New Bariatric Tool is Ridic Mon, 21 Jan 2013 18:49:38 +0000 Theresa Albert . Continue Reading...]]> I know I am going to get it for saying so but I think that this new gastric gadget aspireassist  is ridiculous.  It appears that the gadget inserts a port that allows for some of the food that is consumed to be siphoned out before it is digested.  Sorry, but that sounds like something one would do under dire medical circumstances, a reverse feeding tube of sorts.  And, what happens to the nutrients from said food? I just think this is the wrong path.

I seriously doubt that a person who feels that they need this gadget is enjoying so much salad that they have to let some out.  Letting out some of the badness that is ingested doesn’t nourish the body. This just feels like another way to support disordered eating to me.

I get it that we may have collectively hit the point of no return and that weight loss is a massive hurdle that many can’t jump. I know the torment that obesity can cause, have watched many clients, friends and family struggle with weight loss plans that don’t work and leave them dejected.  The quick fix default just looks like more pain and trouble than the longer term, multi-pronged approach.

What’s required now is prevention, prevention, prevention. Let’s take a big picture view and stop feeding our kids poorly so they don’t also land in this situation. We need a strong government, involved manufacturers and food producers, caring caregivers, easy access to activity, an engaged population and affordable, fresh, real food for all.

Weight loss requires a mental health component, an activity component, a food component and, most importantly a supportive environment.  Embracing the kind of apparatus that this system provides is a slippery slope in the wrong direction.



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Peak in My Lunchbox Wed, 16 Jan 2013 21:53:08 +0000 Theresa Albert . Continue Reading...]]> This month, for my TV confessional, I was asked by Steven and Chris to share my personal lunchbox.  I have to say, this can be a bit scary because it isn’t always as perfect as it could be. That said, anything I pack is bound to be more healthy than caving in to less desirable foods at the drive through.

On a good day I like:

  • to have magic muesli before I leave the house
  • pack an am snack of dates with feta cheese
  • wrap last night’s salad and chicken in rice wraps for lunch
  • bring a couple of sleepnut cookies for an afternoon snack
  • have a couple of bottles of water on hand which I refill as I can

This tends to get me through the most harried of days.


Here is the clip…just fast forward to about minute 15…


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Why French Men Don’t Have Beer Bellies Wed, 16 Jan 2013 20:14:52 +0000 Theresa Albert . Continue Reading...]]> It is common knowledge that French women don’t get fat, but what about French men? And what are they doing that allows them to stay slender while drinking twice as much wine as North Americans and eating way more fatty foods.  More importantly…can you get away with it too?

The stats

Canada                                                                                                                   France

Obese Adults                                                       14.3 %                                         9.4%

Litres of Alcohol/person /yr                          7.8                                          14.8 L

Litres of beer/person/yr                                70                                               41

Litres Juice consumed/person/yr             52.6                                            23.5

Soft Drinks   L/person/yr                               119                                              37.2

Wine consumption L/person/yr                  10 L                                        47 L



There were no stats on consumption of potato chips, corn chips, red meat portion sizes or “snacks” but you can already see the trend developing.  They get away with it because they avoid the empty calories and blood sugar spiking evils of beer, juice and soft drinks and instead are still committed to real food, pleasurable meals and taking the time to eat.

Here is your swap sheet to enjoy the pleasures of the French as a North American Man:

  • Give up the beer. Switch to a maximum of 2 glasses of wine (preferably red) each day
  • Don’t snack. Have breakfast, lunch and dinner and a piece of cheese with fruit at night
  • Learn to love your coffee black or switch to tea. Drink up to 3 cups per day but get rid of the useless calories from cream and sugar. Toss out all liquid calories from juice or pop. Drink water, milk (2 cups/day) or wine.
  • Eat only grass fed beef or lamb and only  in portions the size of your palm and only twice per week
  • Eat lots of fish, grilled or baked
  • Have sex for exercise (there are very few gyms in France, my unscientific theory is that this is why)
  • Laugh, talk, think, learn. All of these pleasures will reduce the stress that creates belly fat.

Not one of these swaps is a hardship, you don’t see “eat kale” or “take vitamins” or “pump iron” on this list.  There is a simple joie de vivre that comes with the French lifestyle that feeds everything else.  It goes something like this: Be moderate except in your love of life.



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Start Here-Best in Class Breakfast Sandwich Fri, 04 Jan 2013 15:35:46 +0000 Theresa Albert . Continue Reading...]]> I had a fabulous chat with Jason Marcks at WBEZ radio in Chicago.  He voiced the problems that most people have with New Years Resolutions.  No one really knows where to start. His personal issue is that he knows he is supposed to eat breakfast but with his schedule and his, erm, cravings, he always ends up at a drive through.

I have no problem with his four wheeling habit as long as he does it consciously.  Of course, I would prefer that he make Magic Muesli and eat that first or instead of, but I am still convinced that one can eat relatively decently no matter where you find yourself.  You simply have to compare.  No time to do that? Ok.  I will do it for you.

Drive-Thru breakfast can be a killer or a lifesaver because an early first meal will help you control blood sugar levels and caloric intake the rest of the day. Let’s face it, mornings are harried and cooking up a hot breakfast isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Snagging something through a window may be your only answer and in the spirit of judgement free nutritionism, here’s some help…

Best in Class:

*The trick is to avoid large carb (like monster bagels) and crappy fats (like sausage, margarine and “cheese”)

At McDonald’s

Try This:

Bacon and Egg McMuffin (no cheese, no margarine)

295 calories, 9 g of fat, 16 g protein, 740 mg sodium-ouch!


Breakfast burrito (no cheese)

250 calories, 12 g fat, 10 g protein, 700 mg sodium-ouch!

(PS, the espresso is pretty darn good and better for you than a cup full of cream and sugar)


At Tim Horton’s

Try This:

English muffin egg white/cheese sandwich

220 calories, 6 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, 590 mg sodium


Yogurt and Berries

180 calories, 2 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 45 mg sodium


400 calories, 8 grams of fat, 635 g sodium, 10 g protein


At Dunkin Donuts (for you Jason)

Egg and Ham on English Muffin

200 calories, 11 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, 620 mg sodium


At Subway

Egg White on 3’ flatbread (no cheese)

150 calories, 5 grams of fat 9 g protein, 580 sodium

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One Habit Can Change Your Life! Thu, 27 Dec 2012 22:01:18 +0000 Theresa Albert . Continue Reading...]]> This New Year your only resolution will be to change one habit. That’s it. And, if you do it well many, many other habits will follow and you won’t even have to think about it.  Want to know the secret?

All habits are created for the same reason and they can either serve you well or poorly says Charles Duhigg who wrote The Power of Habit. Either way, you have created them because there is some payoff. With negative habits, all “reasons” are excuses to justify that payoff so you can hate me (or Duhigg) if you want or you can choose to find another payoff.  It’s up to you. I will like you either way and remind you again on many occasions.


Choose the tough hotspot hurdle: your keystone habit.  See what your brain just did? It picked the hard one (Exercise? Give up chips?  No snacking after dinner? Eat more vegetables?) and then instantly rationalized why changing that habit won’t work for you. That excuse is your payoff. Figure out what you get out of that bad habit and we are getting somewhere. You are no different than anyone else, sorry.  The reasons are quite common:

  • Can’t get exercise, I have no time (try this…)
  • I’ve tried to give up chips before, it doesn’t last long
  • I get so hungry after dinner and besides, it is my only vice
  • I hate vegetables and they take so much time to prepare (try this…)

Rest assured, others have broken these habits and felt better for it, there is a cascade of positivity that happens when you overcome such hurdles. But there is a system that must be employed to be successful. It is simple.


Once you discover the payoff, you must replace the habit. Simple willpower in shutting it down doesn’t work.  This applies to every habit in your life and once you know how to manage it, you will know how to change just about everything from nail biting to back biting.


Now that you have chosen your replacement habit you need to give yourself a cue and a system to start the new habit. Pick the same time each day and do the new thing routinely. Leave your sneakers in full view, leave your veggies chopped and arranged at the front of the fridge. Do not “re-decide” each day. It isn’t an option. Exercise can start with a 5 minute walk to the mailbox but once you are there, you will find that you want to do one more lap. The trick is to never, ever let yourself off the hook for those 5 minutes. Ever. They will grow on their own.

This habit we have in North America of making resolutions and laughing at ourselves for breaking them is our collective way of accepting the status quo. But the cream of the crop manage to make enough change to stay on top. You can too.

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