Little Things You Can Do

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Back in the 70’s, when my Mom was in elementary school, only two kids in her school (of 444 pupils) were obese. Now, she’s shocked to see just how common the condition is.

Today, obesity is an epidemic. Heart disease is no longer reserved for the aged. It now shows up in children. Diabetes, once rare, is now commonplace. And allergies… most seem to be afflicted by them.

Something needs to change.

The good news is that each of us can make change for our own health. Scientists and doctors know diet, exercise, fresh air and rest all make a difference. They cost little to use. We can help ourselves and our families… and when we understand what to change we can do so much better.

This is why I’m so glad to see the release of Canada’s new Food Guide. It was unchanged for 75 years, yet a lot has been learned in that time. It’s now updated to reflect the improved understanding of the connection between health, nutrition and… the foods we eat.

It aims to address the dramatic increase in health issues over recent decades. The effects of how we’re eating, spending our time, and choosing to live is being revealed. In fact, the diabetes rate in Ontario, increased by 69% from 1995 to 2005 (as reported at That’s in just ten years! Today, Canada has the second highest rate for diabetes worldwide. (Only New Zealand is higher.)

Yet, 90% of cases are type 2. That’s good news. Type 2 is the kind that could be avoided or delayed with healthy eating as part of an active lifestyle. It’s been found to be so closely correlated with obesity that some now call it “diabesity”. (

It doesn’t have to be this way.

With good information we can conquer obesity, prevent heart disease, beat back diabetes and increase our energy levels so we live more fully. Having an updated Canada’s Food Guide is a good start.

And…it’s about time!

Here are the biggest the changes…

  • it recommends eating more vegetables and fruits
  • it includes beans and nuts in the meat and alternatives group
  • it recommends at least one serving of an orange vegetable daily
  • choose whole grains rather than more refined grain products (which are usually white)
  • include a small amount of unsaturated fats daily (2 to 3 Tablespoons)
  • consume at least one dark green vegetable every day

Now at, 7 to 10 servings daily for an adult… that looks like a lot of vegetables and fruits.

Vegetables & Fruits

children 4 – 6 servings

teens 7- 8 servings

adults 7 – 10 servings

What does a serving of Vegetables and Fruits look like?

  • Take a cup and fill it up with leafy greens and that’s one serving (250 mL)
  • cook those same greens or other vegetables and make that cup just half full (125mL)
  • For fresh, canned or frozen vegetables or fruit just fill that cup to half (125 mL)
  • A single fruit such as an apple or an orange

Now, remember it’s meant as a guide only, so don’t get hung up on measuring everything exactly. A cup of greens can vary in amount based on how much you pack it in. Not all apples, or other fruit are quite the same size. Overall though, it looks like the recommendation calls for our plate full of food to have more space alotted to fruits and vegetables than any one of the other three groups – about half the plate.

It also recommends limiting a few items such as high calorie beverages, high sugar foods such as candies, cakes, doughnuts and pastries. Hold the line on cookies, muffins, ice cream, frozen deserts, salty snacks. Replace fruit flavoured drinks with real fruit juice or a glass of clean refreshing water.

Does that sound like all the good stuff? It’s not so bad. ‘Diabesity’ and heart disease is worse.

Obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer and osteoporosis have become widespread health issues in our country. Not fun at all. The recommendations are there to help us all to reduce our risk for these conditions. The new Guide has been developed to help Canadians have better overall health and vitality.

What changes do you need to make?

If you have to… start small, rather than not at all … it’s your health. You have the power to effect change, and you’re the only one who can. If you can’t just switch cold turkey … pick one little thing to change and get started. Then stick with it until it’s a habit.

Then add another.

Start substituting a fresh baby carrot for a cookie in your child’s lunch. Grab an apple on the way out the door and forget the doughnut at the coffee shop. Cut the sugar in the coffee or go – ‘no sugar’. (You’ll save cash and no more sugar crash.) Have a glass of water instead of pop.

Into baking?

Try cutting the sugar or substituting with molasses or half as much honey. You can still have muffins or cakes with less bad sugar. Just do it for you and your loved ones. No one’s keeping score. It’s your health, and up to you.

If you’re not getting enough vegetables and fruits here are a few quick and easy ways to do that…

Little Things You Can Do To Get The Change You Want

  1. Opt for simple snacks such as carrots, celery, turnips, kohlrabi, radishes cut into sticks or sliced. Consider a whole fresh fruit such an apple, pear or banana. Put fresh grapes, blueberries, ground cherries or cherry tomatoes in a small sealed container. Carry these in a pack lunch and bypass the doughnuts and vending machines.
  2. If you find yourself rushed for time, preparing meals after a busy day at work, keep fresh premixed salad in your refridgerator. Just clean, spin or pat dry and add a little salad dressing.
  3. Schedule a meatless day once a week. Meatless Mondays anyone?
  4. Opt for a dish of beans and quinoa or some brown rice – these can even be prepared ahead of time and frozen for later use. You can find many good recipes with a quick search on Google. It’s likely to reduce you grocery bill a little too.
  5. Add a few leaves of fresh arugula, spinach, or peas shoots to your next burger on a bun, and have a fresh salad on the side.
  6. When you have your next barbecue include roasted kabobs made with chunks of vegetables roasted (zucchini, mushrooms, long slicing beans all work well for this).
  7. When preparing stir fries, think of meat as a condiment to add flavour rather than a main ingredient. Use more chunks of vegetables and chopped dark greens such as spinach, leaf celery, and kale.
  8. Take time to sit down and enjoy. Chew and savour every bite. Really taste it.


Now with our Hartshare veggie box program, it’s even easier to include more quality vegetables, fruits and beans for your new healthier diet. You can have fresh locally grown quality produce delivered right from our family farms to your door each week… and you can watch it grow week by week. Click here to learn more ( :

The supply’s limited because at Green Hart Farms, we eat what we grow and sell what we sow. Many enjoy the taste difference and freshness of Hartshares, but it’s also locally grown, preservative and pesticide free, non-gmo produce delivered just for you.

It’s one of the little things we’re doing to change the trends in health that we’re seeing. Will you help?


To your health,

From all of us at Green Hart Farms.


P.S. We’ve got most of the seed in the ground for our spring Hartshare veggie box program now and limited shares are available at this time. Being a six week program, it’s a great way to get started. Those subscribed to our spring program will have first priority to participate in the longer main season Hartshare veggie box program (we’ll be posting more on this later). The number of shares is limited as we put quality and freshness first. It’s all local, and most of what we sell we grow right here, on our farms, just outside New Hamburg, Ontario.

P.P.S. Got any questions? Or need to know more? Just email me at

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