Monthly Archives

October 2018

Belly Bloating: Doc Shares What To Eat And What To Avoid

By | Nutrition

By Dr. Niket Sonpal

Regardless of weight or body type, it’s common to see some belly bloat. The foods we choose, how we’re digesting and simply the air we’re swallowing, can all add up to feeling and looking bloated. To help us keep our bellies as bloat free as possible, is Dr. Niket Sonpal, Adjunct Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Board Certified in Internal Medicine specializing in gastroenterology, digestive health and nutrition, who shares what to eat and what to avoid, and why.

“It’s really important to pay attention to bloat, especially when it either comes on suddenly or is prolonged with pain. It is possible to develop an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine which gives that distended belly and full feeling,” explains Dr. Sonpal.

The discomfort caused by bloating is a fixable issue. Watching the choices you are making and the way your body is reacting to them is key.

According to Dr. Sonpal, here are some foods to steer clear of when it comes to banishing the bloat.

1. Simple Carbs

The general population is aware that foods like soft drinks, sweets, desserts, and white bread are not conducive to a healthy diet. Simple carbs are processed into the bloodstream very quickly and have little nutritional value other than the energy they add to your body. When there is an overflow of energy being stored in your body versus what you are burning, you begin to gain weight and feel bloated.

2. Processed starches

Limiting pasta or bread to a once per week treat can really make an impact when addressing bloat. These foods are like sponges when it comes to water.
When you cut starches, you’ll notice bloat minimizes pretty quickly.

3. Sugar substitutes and faux sweeteners

Here’s the catch, you may think you’re doing the right thing by opting for “fat-free” or “sugar-free” food options that say they are “derived from real sugar.” Dr. Sonpal clarifies that these kinds of sugars are actually low-digestible carbohydrates. Our bodies metabolize them differently due to their chemical structure leaving them hanging around in our small intestine, leading to bloat.

4. Raw cauliflower (and other uncooked cruciferous vegetables)

Cauliflower has become the “it” vegetable because it takes on the flavor of anything it’s mixed with. We see recipes for cauliflower mashed, cauliflower pizza, fried “rice,” and even mac and cheese; all created with cauliflower as the main ingredient. When cooked, these vegetables are great sources of nutrition and fine side dish substitutes for pasta, rice, and potatoes. However, when cauliflower is chopped up and eaten raw, along with kale, broccoli and brussels sprouts, you can expect bloating to occur. Cooking is key!

5. Salt

If you want to reduce water retention, which always leads to a bloated stomach, cut out the salt. In fact, if you have a lunchtime meal you can significantly reduce the bloat and puffiness simply by avoiding salty foods for the remainder of the day. People who are mindful of their salt intake, prepare their own foods and avoid things like canned soups, chips, bacon, sausage, and lunch meats will look and feel leaner.

What not to fear:

1. Ripe Bananas!

What’s not to love about bananas. You can grab one on the go, they are high in potassium, which is another thing that rids water retention.

2. Cucumbers

They’re known to reduce swelling and contain the flavonoid antioxidant, quercetin. Cool, crisp, and delicious they’re common to salads and they can also be eaten solo as a snack. You can also add them to water.

3. Watermelon

Chunks of watermelon are low calorie and very low in sugar.

Watermelons are mostly water — about 92 percent — but this refreshing fruit is soaked with nutrients. Each juicy bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants, and amino acids. There’s even a modest amount of potassium.

4. Fermented Foods

Kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and kombucha are all good sources of fermented food. These high probiotic, bacteria-friendly foods are key to maximizing digestion and maintaining a healthy gut.

5. Drink water and green tea!

Since carbonated beverages contribute to bloat, stick to water and flavored teas. Sipping on these beverages throughout the day keeps the digestive system moving. When you are water deprived, your body will hold on to the water already in your body without excretion, leading to bloating.

Things to avoid when dealing with belly bloat include:

1. Drinking from a straw

The mechanisms of straws make it so that you suck air in to take sips of your drink. An excess of this can fill you up with air and cause bloating.

2. Sleeping right after eating

Many people get drowsy right after a meal. The best course of action is to go for a walk or do something that gives you a bit of energy and helps your body process your meal. Going to bed right after eating cripples your digestive process, slowing down the breakdown of your food.

3. Eating Too Rapidly

If you find yourself struggling with bloating, observing the pace at which you eat can help reduce the amount of air you intake while consuming the foods you love. Generally, taking more time to enjoy your meal will help to reduce this.

About the doctor:

Dr. Niket Sonpal is Adjunct Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Clinical instructor at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Brooklyn and on the board of the NY‐ American College of Physicians (NYACP). He is completing his Fellowship in Gastroenterology at Lenox and has spoken and presented at over 25 national and regional conferences on his research and is a regular participant in national courses.

Nutrition: Optimize Long-Term Health and Longevity

By | Nutrition

By Bruce Mylrea

At, we are passionate and committed to providing simple, useful, evidence based tools to improve nutrition and health. When attempting to change behavior as it relates to food and nutrition, one of the most effective tools has proven to be the traditional food log – “If you bite it, you write it”. This technique has proven to be useful in assisting some individuals to become more aware of how much, and what they are eating. However, food logging can be difficult, awkward, and very time consuming for most people, and is usually never fully employed or dropped early on in a individual’s journey to improved nutrition.   One of our key tenants in our One Day To Wellness certification is “simple, simple, simple”. If it is not easy to incorporate into your busy life, chances are it won’t be used at all or not for very long.

Our good friend Dr. Michael Greger and his team at, have developed a free app for your smart phone that eliminates the time-consuming hassle of the food log – The Daily Dozen. Based on years of accumulated un-biased scientific research, Dr. Greger and his research team have created a list of foods he recommends eating every day to optimize your long-term health and longevity. The foods, along with suggested quantities and personal favorites, are incorporated into this simple app that acts more like a reverse food plan. As you consume the foods throughout the day, you simply check off the box for each on the app. The goal is to consume the correct quantity of each of these foods until you have checked off all boxes. For example, Dr. Greger recommends at least one serving of cruciferous veggies and at least two servings of other greens per day. Serving sizes for greens are a half cup cooked, or full cup raw. In addition, each food category has a link to a short video highlighting the research that backs up the suggested food.

The Daily Dozen app provides the individual empowerment and motivation to consume the foods scientifically proven to be the most beneficial to our health. It’s the most effective nutritional behavioral change tool I have come across, and it’s FREE!

The app is designed for people who are in the process of transitioning to a more scientifically evidence based diet. Instead of dreading filling out a food log, the individual is now encouraged and motivated to make sure they consume all the foods (and beverages) listed in the app. Once the behavior has become internalized and habitual, you won’t need the app anymore because it’s done its job.

Finally, you can feel confident that Dr. Greger is providing you with the best possible information to date on the most important foods to include in your diet because is a strictly non-commercial, science based public service organization. That means they are not attempting to sell or market anything other than evidence-based nutritional information.

What’s the downside of downloading the app and giving it a try? None! Only an upside of improved health for you and your family.


Bruce Mylrea has a BA in Economics from the University of Florida, is a AFPA certified Holistic Nutritional Councilor, and is certified by ECornell in Plant Based Nutrition. Bruce’s passion and focus is reviewing and presenting the latest in strictly unbiased science based nutritional research.

Bruce and his wife, MIndy, have been partners in the fitness and wellness industry together for over 15 years. Bruce and Mindy are co-founders of the non-profit

Popcorn lovers rejoice – October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month

By | Nutrition

By Teri Gentes

It’s a proverbial snack for movie watchers, along with those watching their weight, and this air popped creation made with only five ingredients is popcorn perfection. It’s ever so easy, oh so yummy, and it delivers essential nutrients too. Like all my recipes, you can adapt it to meet your own taste preferences and play around with the spicing, creating a variety of choices that supersede what you’d find in the cinema. With the ever growing number of home theaters, it’s time to start making your own gourmet popcorn.

Sensational Simple Cheezie Popcorn (with a little spicy sass!)

  • Snack
  • Vegan; gluten, soy, nut free
  • Makes approx 6 cups


1/3 -1/2 cup organic non-GMO popcorn kernels

1-2 tbsp great quality olive oil (

¼ cup good tasting nutritional yeast

Unrefined Sea Salt and Cayenne Pepper, to taste


Flavor Options: Smoked paprika, Jerk, BBQ, curry, Tex-Mex, etc.

If you prefer a salty and sweet combo, drizzle your popcorn with a little maple syrup, quality olive or walnut oil, and sea salt to taste. You do need to eat this version more quickly, yet for most that’s not usually an issue!


  1. Preheat the popper if needed, place a large bowl beside the popper and pour organic kernels into the popcorn popper, popping until all the kernels are popped.
  2. As the kernels pop and spill into the bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and nutritional yeast, tossing well as the bowl fills. Once the popping is complete, add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, toss again and then sit down and indulge guilt-free.

Teri’s Healthy Tips:

  • Throw away any microwavable popcorn you may have lurking in your cupboard. The contents in that bag are a toxic chemical storm and the popping of it makes it even worse with the fumes it releases. The same issues arise with stove top oil-popped corn as well – the fats cooked at high temperatures release potentially toxic fumes. If you don’t have an air-popper, check out Salton. You’ll find these in stores such as Home Sense and Bath and Beyond, and you can order online at using terigentes15 for a 15% discount.
  • Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheese like flavor and is rich in B vitamins, 16 amino acids, the minerals chromium and phosphorus, and is a complete protein. It makes this popcorn a healthy sensation.


Teri is a devote foodie and ever finessing whole-self health and wellness warrior who loves life, nature, people and the fabulous blessing of feeling really good.  Share this with her on various social media platforms and on her in-the-works new website. Watch for her seasonal eating programs and a new cookbook coming soon. / /

Music Motivates Muscles: Being Licensed To Play is Good for Your Fitness Business

By | Healthy Living

By Leslie Craig, Vice President, Licensing, SOCAN

Can you imagine your cardio class without music? Probably not. Music and exercise are a natural fit. In fact, music helps you work out harder and longer, and better workouts mean happier and more motivated clients. It’s one thing to put music to work in your classes and at your gym, but another to use music responsibly.

If you play music in a public setting, you are required by law to compensate artists for it through fair licensing. For example, even if you pay for your streaming service or paid for your playlist, if you play that music for your clients, then you need to be licensed with SOCAN.

A license demonstrates to your clientele that music is a major part of your success and brand, and that you also run your fitness programs ethically and legally. It tells them that you make sure that those who create the music you play at your gym – Canada’s songwriters, composers, and music publishers – are compensated for their hard work.

Five reasons why being Licensed To Play is good for your fitness business:

  1. Licensed To Play is a mark of distinction and honour.

When you show that you support music creators by fairly compensating them for the work that is making your fitness business better, your clients think of you more positively.

  1. Customers are loyal to businesses that act ethically.

Research supports the fact that customers who believe that a business is acting ethically are more likely to trust that brand and be loyal to it. Your Licensed To Play sticker says that you are a responsible, ethical, and legal part of the music ecosystem.

  1. Music creators deserve to be compensated.

Your fair music license goes to those who make the music that makes your programs and classes better. This is their work, and SOCAN members rely on royalties from licenses to make a living.

  1. It’s the law.

That’s right. We don’t like getting heavy, but if you play music in a public setting you are required by law to compensate artists for it through fair licensing. So even if you pay for your streaming service or paid for your playlist, if you play that music for your clients, then you must be licensed with SOCAN.

  1. Music adds value to your business.

Music is an emotionally-rooted medium that positively impacts behaviour and mood. When music isn’t there, we notice. Studies show again and again that businesses that use music reap rewards in higher traffic, greater customer satisfaction, and increased loyalty.

To learn more about SOCAN licensing, visit

Are you subscribed to a music supplier?

Did you know that music suppliers don’t cover SOCAN fees for music used in conjunction with physical exercise in various spaces, including dance schools, fitness centers, and gyms?  That means if you subscribe to a music streaming service, you still need a music license any time music is played in your facility or during your program, regardless of whether you hold individual classes. Your SOCAN music license demonstrates to your clientele that music is an essential part of your success and brand, and that you also run your gym and classes ethically and legally.


Leslie Craig is the Vice President of Licensing at SOCAN, a member-based organization that represents the performing right of more than 150,000 music creators and publishers. SOCAN licenses more than 100,000 businesses in Canada and distributes royalties to its members around the world.

Movement of the Month: Crossover Lunge to Curtsey Lunge

By | Movement

With Coach Kennedy

“How did you pick your exercise for the movement of the month,” my wife Natasha asks, “is it because of the Royal Family? I always think of them when I do my curtseys.” That’s cute. For almost a year now, she’s been working on her “transformation”.

She’s put her effort, time, and resources into growing her glutes, shoulders, abs and so on, re-shaping herself, and we’re currently a couple weeks out from the photoshoot to commemorate the effort. Diet has been adjusted, fat has been lost. I applaud her dedication and draw inspiration from it.

I find that while all forms of exercise have their place, there are moves that contribute to sport and life more directly than others, which leads me to the Movement of the Month.

This is an excellent exercise to challenge you in all planes of motion, frontal, sagittal and transverse, works on intermuscular (think quads coordinating with hamstrings) and intramuscular coordination (think about the individual muscle having to coordinate within itself). When we coordinate the body in this manner, it will lead to movement efficiency, so less energy is wasted, while increasing caloric expenditure. Think weight loss — clients can go longer before fatiguing.

How else can you benefit from this movement?

Transitional balance, the ability to stay balanced while moving into and out of different directions, as with walking.

There’s also deceleration. Think about the lower body having to slow your movement down. This means eccentric strength is being worked on. Think about the quads as you cross over and then curtsey behind. They need to slow the action down to control the movement. This helps with day-to-day activities like walking, lunging forward, and coming to sudden stops.

Also, it’s FUN and different, two considerations that may help clients stick with the effort; this in short means achieving their goals.

So with a nod to the Royal Family…(and to Natasha’s new curves);


Click here to view a video of this exercise.


Start: Begin by standing (feet about hip width apart, soft knees, CORE braced, shoulders in their set position – elevate, retract and pull straight down).

Phase #1:  From your starting position, take your left leg and cross it in front of your torso and then come down into a lunge. Hence, the crossover lunge portion. Remember to maintain a tall spine, look forward and always be sure to keep the front foot (left one in this case) completely on the ground. Visualize the foot as a tripod. The heel, the big toe knuckle and small toe knuckle must always maintain ground contact. The back foot heel will naturally come off the ground, but still maintain contact through the toes.

Phase #2: From this crossover lunge position, drive off the heel of the front foot (left foot in this case) and step back into your starting position.

Phase #3:  From your starting position take your right leg and cross it in behind your torso and come down into a lunge. Hence, the curtsey lunge portion. Remember to maintain a tall spine, look forward and always be sure to keep the front foot (left one in this case) completely on the ground. Visualize the foot as a tripod. The heel, the big toe knuckle and small toe knuckle must always maintain ground contact. The back foot heel will naturally come off the ground, but still maintain contact through the toes. Push off the front leg and step back into your starting position.

Phase #4: Repeat on the other side.

Exercise Protocol: This can be done for reps or timed depending on its purpose.  It is considered a main movement in your exercise program, but if unloaded it can also be used as a prepping movement.

Apply the exercise based on your client’s fitness level.  In other words, regress and progress as required.

Click here to view a video of this exercise.


Kennedy Lodato (Coach Kennedy) is a 27-year veteran of the fitness industry. He has spent 16 years as a Trainer and 11 years educating in the fitness fndustry.  Before pursuing the role of fitness educator, he occupied the positions of Personal Trainer, Sport Conditioning Coach, Personal Trainer Manager and Fitness Programs Coordinator at Ryerson University.  Kennedy is a three-time recipient of the canfitpro PRO TRAINER of The Year Award and an instructor for various industry companies. For more information, visit

What’s healthier, grass-fed or grain-fed beef?

By | Nutrition

By Carol Harrison, RD

All beef is naturally nutrient-rich, high in iron, zinc, B vitamins, and hunger-curbing protein; but how are grass-fed and grain-fed beef different, and is one more nutritious than the other? Bottom line: the nutrition differences are arguably not significant enough to make a marked difference in your overall health.

After weaning, all cattle start out on pasture eating grass.

The distinction between grass and grain-fed cattle comes down to how they are “finished,” or their diet before market.

At about three to four months before market, grain-fed cattle gradually transition from pasture to grain-feed (corn or barley) in feedlots such as barns or fenced-in areas.

Grass-fed cattle will continue their life on fresh, dried or fermented grasses. Compared to grain fed, grass-fed cattle take longer to get to market weight, thus the higher price point.

Yes, grass fed beef is leaner, but not by much.

Studies have found grass-fed beef is leaner by about two to four grams of fat per 100 grams of trimmed meat (a little more than one 75 gram serving, the size of a deck of cards). In the context of the total diet, however, that amount is unlikely to have an impact on overall health. Further, many assume all the fat in beef is saturated, however, half the fat in beef is monounsaturated, the same type of fat found in olive oil. And keep in mind, trimmed sirloin steak is just as lean as skinless chicken breast.

Neither grass nor grain-fed beef are a significant source of omega-3 fats.

Bottom line: yes, grass-fed beef has more omega-3 fats than grain- fed beef, but regardless, they are both poor sources of omega-3 fats. Choosing grass or grain-fed beef as a source of omega-3 fats is misguided. Instead, choose omega-3 rich foods like fatty fish, flax oil, walnuts or hemps seeds.

No significant differences in cholesterol or nutrients.

In the majority of studies reviewed, there were no differences in the level of cholesterol or in nutrients such as zinc and iron. There were small differences in vitamin B, potassium and calcium, but again, nothing meaningful in the context of the total diet.

Take home advice from a dietitian.

For most Canadians, a focus on building a healthy plate would do more to improve health than any one isolated change, such as choosing grass over grain-fed beef. That’s because on average 50% of the calories in the Canadian diet come from ultra-processed food such as sweet baked goods, fast food, pop, and salty snack foods.

Replacing these foods with naturally nutrient-rich choices, or food closest to its natural state, is a worthwhile goal.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner, build a healthy plate with:

  • ½ vegetables and fruit (fresh and frozen);
  • ¼ quality protein (beef, fish, lentils, nuts, beans), and;
  • ¼ whole grains (barley, brown rice)

For nutrition advice you can trust visit


Carol is a registered dietitian who loves her daily workouts! She has a food nutrition communications company in Toronto. Follow Carol on Twitter and IG:  @greatmealideas




Healthy Hydrating: Drinking Container Hygiene

By | Nutrition

By Assata McKenzie

I once had a client that complained about drinking water. Let’s call her Elle. Elle said she really didn’t enjoy drinking water during or even after our workout sessions because she didn’t like the taste. She explained that she didn’t feel refreshed after consuming water and she hated the smell of her water. In fact, it was the smell of her water that turned her off the most she said. When I questioned her further, she admitted that she had not cleaned her bottle since she purchased it over three months ago.

Elle felt, as many of us may have, that because there’s only water being placed in our water bottle there is no real need for cleaning. However, don’t you think contaminants are lurking from our own bacteria?  And when our bottle touches the surface of our water source, don’t you think that’s another source of bacterial growth because other water bottles could have touched that same surface before us?

Look at it this way, you wouldn’t like to eat a delicious meal from an unwashed plate, would you? If your answer is no, then why are most of us drinking our water from unwashed water bottles?

If we want to be truly healthy, then our drinking container should also be healthy.

Whether your drinking container is plastic, glass or stainless steel, and no matter what the nozzle of your chosen bottle is (straw, sport cap push-pull or wide mouth), these simple steps will help you keep your drinking container healthy and bacteria free.

  1. Clean your drinking container at the end of the day/after each use. Our mouths and hands are home to thousands of bacteria. Transference of bacteria to our drinking container is normal. However, the build-up of bacteria on the lip of our drinking container could be smelly and eventually harmful.
    • Use a mild soap with water solution when cleaning your drinking container and let it air dry.
  2. Use bottle brushes to clean your drinking container. Various sizes of brushes should be used for the various sections of your bottle.
    • Remember to clean your water bottle straw or nozzle, both inside and out.
    • Clean and rinse both the inside and the outside of your drinking container.
    • Clean all the crevices of your drinking container too. In fact, the more crevices your drinking container has, the more in-depth your cleaning will have to be. Keep this in mind when purchasing your next water bottle.
  3. Consider your water source and be very aware of the point where a drinking container could physically touch your source of water. For example, consider using water fountains with more hands free options. This will decrease the chance of cross contamination with the lip/entrance of your drinking container and the drinking container of the person ahead of you.

Hydrating should be a pleasurable, refreshing experience. When drinking from your drinking container, there should never be a weird smell or weird taste to your water. Weird smell and/or taste may be a sign of bacterial growth.

Following the simple tips above worked for my client Elle. Now she drinks more water because she cleans her drinking container regularly (I actually bought her a set of water bottle brushes from the dollar store and she says they’re the best). Consider sharing these tips with your fitness friends so they too can experience healthy hydrating.


Assata is passionately in love with all things fitness! She is a certified fitness professional and wellness consultant and she has been working in the corporate and commercial fitness industry for more than 10 years.

Graduating with a B.A. from the University of Toronto and a postgraduate diploma in workplace wellness and health promotion, Assata has made a career of helping others meet their fitness and wellness goals

MEET OUR MEMBERS: Jennifer O’Neill

By | Healthy Living

Why did you choose canfitpro?

It was recommended by an employer. I also liked how nationally recognized it was as a certification.

What is your “why”. Why have you chosen this profession?

When I was little I loved sports. I begged my parents to register me for multiple sports and tried out for teams at school but could never keep up. When I was 14 I was diagnosed with a heart condition called WPW. This condition would allow my heart to beat well over 350 bpm during exercise which would cause dizziness and cause me to sit out. Hence why I was never able to compete when I was in school. I was the kid picking daises during soccer because running made me dizzy and sick. By the time I had three heart surgeries to correct the condition I didn’t have the physical literacy skills of sports that I failed to gain as a kid so fitness classes became my sport. I would ride my bike to the gym 5 days/week to attend a variety of fitness classes. When I was 18 I decided I was ready to get certified. I started with my local YMCA certification then in 2004 received my FIS with canfitpro. In 2013 I became a PRO TRAINER and I still teach fitness classes and manage an entire fitness facility at Wilfrid Laurier University where I love to inspire 19-22year olds to get into the industry.

What gets you excited to go to work each day?

Working at a University, it is the energy of the students that makes me excited to go to work. Their passion and excitement because they are so new to fitness is contagious.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Working with people. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I love to also teach new skills and watch students and participants master new moves.