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Cheesecake Extravaganza!

>> Sunday, December 27, 2009

The holidays are in full swing, and if your house is anything like ours, it's full of all sorts of well meaning, edible gifts from family and friends - chocolate, squares, cake... the list goes on! I've put most of ours in the freezer, but it is admittedly tough to ignore their existence. So, when the holiday goodies are calling your name, try this delectable diversion as a very tasty, very satisfying, but very healthy alternative.

You won't believe this until you try it. Trust me on this! Cottage cheese and a blender... it's a miracle! These treats are high in protein, which leaves you feeling full much longer than a sugary Christmas cookie.

Note: even better than a blender is a Magic Bullet - it is the perfect size to make these recipes, and you can store the cups you blend in directly in the fridge or freezer. We got ours at Canadian Tire for about $40.

Thank you to Cara's Cravings for the inspiration!



  • 10 oz (280g) 1% cottage cheese (salt free if you can find it)
  • 1.5 tbsp Kraft light smooth peanut butter
  • 2 packets of Splenda (1g each)
Blend all above until smooth. Put it in the freezer for about 45mins until it is semi-solidified and takes on a cheesecake consistency.

Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 160 calories, 4g fat, 17g protein!


  • 1/3 c blueberries (frozen)
  • 1/2 c (125g) 1% cottage cheese (salt free, if you can find it)
  • 2 packets of Splenda (1g each)
  • a dash of vanilla
Blend all above until smooth. Put it in the freezer for about a hour, until it is semi-solidified and takes on a cheesecake consistency.

Makes 1 serving: 100 cal, 1g fat, 14g protein.


  • 6 oz (180 g) 1% cottage cheese (salt free, if you can find it)
  • 1/4 c pumpking puree
  • about 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2-3 packets of Splenda (1g each)

Blend all above until smooth. Put it in the freezer for about a hour, until it is semi-solidified and takes on a cheesecake consistency.

Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 75 cal, 1g fat, 11g protein.

Dr. Sue © 2009


Breaking the Calorie Code on Alcohol

>> Monday, December 21, 2009

It's a well known fact that routine or excess alcohol consumption can lead to weight gain. But if you are going to choose the odd bevvy during the holiday season, is there one choice that is better than another? It's a bit challenging to find this information, as nutritional information is not laid out on the labels of most alcoholic products, and can even be hard to find on the internet.

There are two elements to consider regarding the drink itself, those being a) the type of alcohol, and b) the mix.

As far as the caloric content of the alcohol goes:

  • 1 can or bottle of beer (360 mL): 140 cal
  • 1 can/bottle of light beer (360 mL): 100 cal
  • 1 can/bottle of non alcoholic beer (360 mL) 50-75 cal
  • 1 glass of wine (5 oz): 105 cal
  • 1 glass of dessert wine (50z): 235 cal
  • 1 glass of non alcoholic wine (5oz) 10 cal
  • 1 cooler (360 mL): 310 cal
  • 1 light cooler (360 mL): 210 cal
  • 1.5 oz hard liquor: 100 cal
  • 1.5 oz liquer/cordial: 175 cal

As for the mixes, your best bet is a diet pop or club soda, which are calorie free. Others:

  • regular pop (8 oz): 85-120 cal
  • tonic water (8 oz): 85 cal
  • orange juice (8 oz): 110 cal
  • cranberry juice (8 oz): 110 cal
  • tomato juice (8 oz): 40 cal

One hundred extra calories per day results in a 10 lb weight gain in one year, so you can see that the above numbers can add up quickly. One rum and coke per day is 20 pounds on the bathroom scale over that year!

On top of that, alcohol decreases our inhibitions, which can often lead to overindulging on food simultaneously. Even worse, alcohol inhibits the ability of our livers to produce glucose, resulting in increased hunger and food consumption in an effort to maintain blood sugar levels.

The bottom line is that alcohol consumption should be in moderation for many reasons - only one of which is the additional calories. Note that if you choose to enjoy a small amount of alcohol, the daily intake should be limited to maximum 1 drink for women, and 2 drinks for men. For more information about the potential hazards of alcohol consumption, and to find out if a moderate intake is safe for you, speak to your doctor.

Dr. Sue © 2009


Winter Root Vegetable Fries!

>> Saturday, December 12, 2009

Carbohydrates are the part of a meal that it is too easy to eat too much of! A tasty, home baked bread disappears before you know it; a heaping pile of rice seems to dissolve on your plate; pasta glides down so easily you hardly have to chew!

Consider a healthy, heaping serving of root vegetables as your carbohydrate at dinner time. Laden with vitamins, minerals, and fibre, these veggies fill you up in a healthy way, without providing a lot in the way of calories (though it should be noted that they are NOT FreeVeg - they must be counted as carbs).

Here is a delicious recipe from my wonderful family in Denmark, where root vegetables are a staple of the winter diet. This dish tastes like french fries, with a sweet twist from the beets that make it simply outstanding!!


  • 300g parsnips, peeled and cut into french fry shapes
  • 500g red beets, peeled and cut into french fry shapes
  • 400g carrots, peeled and cut into french fry shapes
  • chili pepper flakes, garlic powder, thyme, pepper, and salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp canola oil
Mix oil together with veggies in a large bowl. Spread over a baking sheet covered in tin foil. Sprinkle spices over top. Place in 400F oven and bake for 45 minutes. Every 10-15 minutes, stir the veggies around to ensure they are baked evenly.

Serves 6, with 83 calories per serving!

Dr. Sue © 2009


Prevent Diabetes with Lifestyle: Study

>> Saturday, December 5, 2009

An important study was published in November 14th's edition of the Lancet medical journal, which proves that diabetes can be prevented with lifestyle changes, and that this benefit can persist over the long term.

This study is called the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcome Study (DPPOS), and is a follow up to the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program initial study (DPP) that was published in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The DPP was a study of over 3,000 prediabetics who were randomized to received either intensive lifestyle counseling, a diabetes medication called metformin, or placebo treatment, to see how effective these strategies were in preventing progression to full blown diabetes. The DPP trial was stopped prematurely, because the evidence for the superiority of the lifestyle intervention was already clear. After an average of 2.8 years, the lifestyle group had a 58% lower rate of development of diabetes than the placebo group, which was even better than the metformin treated group, who had a 31% lower rate of development of diabetes than placebo. Weight loss was also superior in the lifestyle group at 5.6kg, compared to 2.1kg in the metformin group, and 0.1kg in the placebo group.

In the DPPOS follow up study, all patients were offered lifestyle therapy, similar to the initial lifestyle group of the DPP, but in a less intense format. Placebo was stopped, and the metformin group continued their metformin.

During the 10 year follow up in the DPPOS, the original lifestyle group regained most of their weight, which may be related to the less intense nature of the DPPOS lifestyle program. Both the metformin and the original placebo groups lost a bit of weight (with the onset of the lifestyle program), but gained it back. As such, there was no significant difference in weight between the 3 groups at the end of the DPPOS.

However, despite there being no difference in weight, there continued to be an overall lower rate of onset of diabetes in the original lifestyle and metformin groups: they still had a 34% and 18% lower incidence of diabetes than the original placebo group, respectively. In other words, the original intensive lifestyle undertaken in the first 2.8 years of this study delayed diabetes onset by 4 years, and metformin delayed diabetes onset by 2 years.

Furthermore, although the overall diabetes incidence was highest in the placebo group, the rate of onset of diabetes in both the placebo and metformin groups fell to equal the rate of onset in the original lifestyle group, due to the institution of lifestyle therapy at the start of DPPOS. This points again towards the benefits of lifestyle in prevention of diabetes.

The bottom lines:

  • Effectively changing your lifestyle in favor of healthy eating and increasing exercise is beneficial to prevent diabetes.
  • The more intensive the support and counseling in making these changes, the more effective that program is to prevent diabetes.
  • Even if an intensive support program is not feasible for the very long term, the benefits of diabetes prevention during the time of the intense program are still maintained over the long term!
Dr. Sue © 2009



I am excited that you have arrived at my site, and I hope you are too - consider this the first step towards a Healthier New You!! As a medical doctor, Endocrinologist, and obesity specialist, I am absolutely passionate about helping people with weight management. Though there is certainly no magic cure for obesity, there IS a successful treatment plan out there for you - it is all about understanding the elements that contribute to your personal weight struggle, and then finding the treatment plan that suits your needs and your lifestyle. The way to finding your personal solution is to learn as much as you can about obesity: how our toxic environment has shaped us into an overweight society; the diversity of contributors to obesity; and what the treatment options out there are really all about. Knowledge Is Power!!

Are you ready to change your life? Let's begin our journey together, towards a healthier, happier you!!

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