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Food For Thought

Catherine Burns
ISLAND LIFE COLUMNIST
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Catherine Burns (BA Hons, Dip ION) is a Nutritional Therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London, UK. After marrying her Bermudian husband and moving to the Island she worked in the worksite wellness field for seven years. She is currently the Managing Director of natural ltd - a nutrition consultancy offering preventive health solutions. Catherine has been running Nutrifit since 2007 and has been writing a weekly nutrition column for The Royal Gazette since 2005. Food for Thought began as a factual nutrition column that quickly took on some humour as stories of Catherine's domestic highs and lows crept in. Catherine is mum to two girls (1.5 and 4) who are often perfect examples of healthy living and occasionally the polar opposite. Catherine strives every day to nourish her daughters and to help people in Bermuda lead healthier lives. Please note that Catherine is not a Registered Dietitian. For contact details, go to www.natural.bm.

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  • New York: light bites, big city
    Jul 22, 2016 8:00 am

    New York: light bites, big city

    I’m sitting on a windowsill in New York, 53 floors up, gazing out at the most amazing view.

    There’s something magical about the city that never sleeps, and I will never get tired of watching the non-stop traffic and flickering lights.

    Fortunately, the children passed out long ago, tired out from museums and subways and shopping and ice cream. With them tucked away, relaxation has really set in.

    Yesterday we made our way...

  • Secrets behind a wild popsicle
    Jul 8, 2016 8:00 am

    Secrets behind a wild popsicle

    Little Belle has learnt to swim and we’re at that super-relaxing stage where she is afloat, but looks and sounds like she is drowning. She can do it but there is a lot of splashing and a kamikaze sense of abandon that makes me insanely nervous.

    There’s no such thing as a “relaxing time at the pool”, it’s all sideways conversations (that I never quite finish) while we track her progress. She’s on her way to becoming a little fish though,...

  • Keeping our cool through popsicle plan
    Jul 1, 2016 8:00 am

    Keeping our cool through popsicle plan

    Naughty Nana is back and arrived with four huge bars of chocolate for the girls … and so the naughtiness begins.

    School is officially out for the summer and it’s parties galore. Everywhere I look it’s pizza, popcorn, ice-cream and candy.

    In an effort to curb the sugar madness, I volunteered to bake healthy cookies for school. Of course, my best laid plans went awry and I screeched in through the gates with a shop-bought offering...

  • Omega-3 summer salad
    Jun 24, 2016 8:00 am

    Omega-3 summer salad

    Lately, the children have been very critical of my underwear. In the early-morning madness, I’m often flying up and down the stairs half-dressed and somehow, they find time to comment. Yesterday Belle asked me why it wasn’t matching. There was deep disapproval of the nude knickers and black bra. I don’t think I’ve been matching since 1999 (poor husband!) but, aside from that, there is always the white trousers-black top challenge to navigate.

  • Why all love should be treated equal
    Jun 17, 2016 8:00 am

    Why all love should be treated equal

    Stop the press. It seems the most effective form of contraception for the next generation may not be birth control pills or condoms, but instead, subjecting them to episodes of <i>Call the Midwife.</i>

    I didn’t hear little Belle creep downstairs after bedtime. I just turned around to find her standing behind me in the kitchen, staring wide-eyed at the Mac. Before I could shut down Netflix, she had witnessed two nuns...

  • Eight healthy eating tips for busy parents
    Jun 10, 2016 8:00 am

    Eight healthy eating tips for busy parents

    Just a few weeks until the end of term and I am clinging on for dear life. September started out so well. I was laying out uniforms the night before, diligently supervising homework, packing prize-winning lunches … where did it all go wrong?

    With just 19 days to go, I am pulling school shirts out of the wash, have lost the reading logs, can’t remember who needs what and have completely lost the plot when it comes to lunch.

    Last...

  • Reduce your family’s sugar intake
    May 27, 2016 8:00 am

    Reduce your family’s sugar intake

    A few days ago I made a video for Facebook with two kids (mine) and a dog (not mine). It was all about the Family Sugar Detox challenge that we have coming up.

    It’s based on the premise that we wouldn’t feed sugar to our pets, so why do we eat it ourselves? The “masterpiece” (hmmmm) is 91 seconds long. It involved two hours of practice and a few hundred takes and I now owe my friend Claire lunch — with wine!

    Also involved: cubes...

  • Is your wi-fi hurting your health?
    May 20, 2016 8:00 am

    Is your wi-fi hurting your health?

    Last week I made the mother of all shipping errors. I completely, totally, ballsed it up.

    I’d become worried about electromagnetic radiation (EMR) exposure from wi-fi and my mobile phone. So, after a glass of wine and a quick browse on Amazon, I decided that Himalayan salt lamps were the way to go. Apparently the negative ions they emit help to neutralise EMRs. So I ordered one for every room in the house, one for my office, one for...

  • Golden rules for a healthy smoothie
    May 13, 2016 8:00 am

    Golden rules for a healthy smoothie

    Last week, as I was reading Chloe a story, Belle pottered off to get a bedtime snack. She usually gets an apple or goat cheese (posh!), so I thought nothing of it.

    Once they were both tucked in I went downstairs to make lunch boxes and found a little trail of icing sugar all the way through the kitchen. Leaving sticky fingerprints in her wake, she had climbed on to the counter, reached up to the highest shelf in the cupboard, dug...

  • Top tips to help you tackle End-to-End
    May 6, 2016 8:00 am

    Top tips to help you tackle End-to-End

    This weekend my LH and a group of friends and colleagues will be cycling the XL Catlin Bermuda End-to-End dressed as Santa and his elves.

    Previously, they have done the same dressed as ballerinas, chickens, cave men, superheroes ... the list goes on. People are more interested in sponsoring when costumes are involved and so far their antics have raised more than $100,000 for Bermuda’s charities. It’s also livened up the dress-up box in...

  • How to follow through on fitness goals
    Apr 29, 2016 8:00 am

    How to follow through on fitness goals

    It’s week ten of Beat the Couch and we’re rapidly approaching race day on Sunday. It’s an exciting few days, with shirts arriving, medals landing and the couch-on-wheels making its way out of storage. We’ve dusted off the cobwebs and loosened up the wheels — a little like we’ve done with our runners. After months, years, or a lifetime of inactivity, our team is fitter and stronger and raring to go.

    While I’m confident we’re organised,...

  • Secret of healthy eating on a budget
    Apr 22, 2016 8:00 am

    Secret of healthy eating on a budget

    So this one is all about saving money, which the LH thinks is hysterical.

    Finances have never been my strong point.

    Most of my student debt was due to inappropriate outfits, ‘real food’ and cocktails. The real food I can justify (brain food!) the outfits and cocktails not so much …. Once I’d cleaned up my act and grown up, my accounting was still dicey. Belco shut off our electricity twice before I finally learnt my lesson. It...

  • Seven things you think are healthy but aren’t
    Apr 15, 2016 8:00 am

    Seven things you think are healthy but aren’t

    We’re cutting down on screen time after the holidays and my children gave me the full-on stink-eye tonight. The irony is, after a mad day at work, there is nothing I would like more than to switch on the TV.

    You mean I can unpack the groceries and sip a herbal tea in peace, while you are mesmerised by Angelina Ballerina? Sounds like heaven to me. But no, instead we all did the chores together. And by “together”, I mean that I did 99...

  • When salad goes wrong!
    Apr 8, 2016 8:00 am

    When salad goes wrong!

    I’m sitting at the dining room table trying to write this while Belle plays opposite me.

    She made edible slime at summer camp and I’m trying to talk her out of ingesting a large dose of Kool-Aid and Red 40.

    She also has three pots of glitter, some woodlice and a paintbrush. What could possibly go wrong? Hyperactive insects? I’m also discussing play-date dinner plans with a friend on text; we’re going for sound nutrition with...

  • Breakfast on the go can be healthy
    Mar 18, 2016 8:00 am

    Breakfast on the go can be healthy

    For the love of God, can someone cancel daylight savings? I know it’s good for farmers and great for commerce, but it’s like getting up in the dead of night. Nothing screams “you should be in bed” more than pitch-black skies outside your window.

    The lovely husband is extremely chirpy, but I am positively evil. Waking me up is like poking a tiger — and the children are worse.

    After all those sleepless nights it still seems crazy...

  • Dilute eating out with dinner at home
    Mar 11, 2016 8:00 am

    Dilute eating out with dinner at home

    International Women’s Day was this week and I celebrated by trying to handle a double work conflict with Chloe’s sports day. Technology is supposed to make life easier but when the calendars don’t sync on your phone and laptop, all hell breaks loose.

    Funnily enough, despite going for gold in the balloon-pop race, Chloe is most adamant that I’m there for the mums’ tug-of-war. Ah, if only she knew I’ve been doing that daily for the past...

  • Eggcellent rules for chocolate lovers
    Mar 4, 2016 8:00 am

    Eggcellent rules for chocolate lovers

    Mini Eggs have hit the shelves, checkouts and every inch of available retail space in Bermuda. They’re in grocery stores and gas stations island-wide.

    Ironically, they’re also at the pharmacy, so you can pick them up at the same time as your diabetes prescription or weight-loss accelerator. How is that for multitasking? Whichever marketing genius came up with the seasonal availability of Easter chocolate needs a pay rise from their...

  • Letting go of 100 per cent
    Feb 19, 2016 8:00 am

    Letting go of 100 per cent

    After strapping Belle into the back of the car today (the one thing she can’t do with a cast on her arm) I turned around and rushed face first into a lamp post.

    It’s amazing how my British upbringing kicked straight into gear — under my breath I unleashed every expletive I knew but pretended to passers-by that I was completely fine. I got into the car and the kids dried my embarrassed tears with sticky fingers and baby wipes. It took a...

  • Help children develop a good food philosophy
    Feb 12, 2016 8:00 am

    Help children develop a good food philosophy

    Half-term is here and, with it, a glitter explosion of epic proportions. I have an all-or-nothing approach to children’s crafts and am liberal with the supplies. But my real mistake was baking while the girls completed their masterpieces. I could barely yell “don’t take the lid off” across the kitchen before 47,000 particles of glitter became airborne. Ah well. Most things look better with glitter on them anyway.

    It was a lighthearted...

  • The hazards and highs of running
    Feb 5, 2016 8:00 am

    The hazards and highs of running

    Goodbye dry January, hello February! Thank God for that. I made it through with just a few slip-ups. I’m not a big drinker by any stretch — I peaked when I was exploring all my teenage freedom. At university, I founded the Blondes’ Cocktail Society with a friend to raise money for the Leukaemia Research Fund.

    All those sugary-sweet cocktails make me cringe now, and it seems ironic that we raised lots of money for cancer research by...

  • Can quick-fix shopping harm your health?
    Jan 29, 2016 8:00 am

    Can quick-fix shopping harm your health?

    OK, we need to have a word about those Tasty videos on Facebook. I know they look deliciously amazing, but sharing how to make a chocolate croissant pastry ring from instant dough and chocolate chips is mean.

    Yes, it looks delicious. Yes, it makes me want to lick my screen. But it’s a nutrition disaster, a heart attack on a plate, a fat-related train-wreck of epic proportions.

    So many people eat badly because it’s cheap, easy...

  • Top tips for your child’s lunch snacks
    Jan 22, 2016 8:00 am

    Top tips for your child’s lunch snacks

    I have a confession. I broke my dry January promise today.

    Not because of a celebration or a major disaster but because Belle spent her life savings on a dancing, musical elephant.

    We’d gone to Phoenix and despite being tempted by a series of cool geology toys (so close!) she sniffed out the elephant on a high shelf at the back of the shop.

    It shakes its head and sings, “Do your ears hang low?” I knew it would drive me...

  • A super healthy winter warmer
    Jan 15, 2016 8:00 am

    A super healthy winter warmer

    Really unsure how to get dressed at this time of year! Never feel like I can trust the forecast and always have to leave the house before the day has settled in. Some days I am freezing in flip-flops and other days I am sweating in my sweater. Is it winter or summer? God knows.

    Regardless, not knowing what to wear has added a new layer of the ridiculous to our farcical mornings at home. Two nights before Christmas, Ellie the cat broke...

  • Make this your healthiest year yet
    Jan 8, 2016 8:00 am

    Make this your healthiest year yet

    Happy new year! How are we all feeling this side of Christmas? I hope you had a wonderful time and still fit into your jeans.

    For two people with small children, I thought our celebrations were fairly rock‘n’roll. That was until I talked to Naughty Nana, who had been singing O Come All Ye Faithful around a bonfire with the guitarist from Black Sabbath. Amazing what they get up to in the Cotswolds.

    As usual, I slid down a...

  • Allergy-friendly sugar cookies
    Dec 18, 2015 8:00 am

    Allergy-friendly sugar cookies

    The supergranny effect is in full swing! The house is more organised, the kids are occupied, my shopping list once again reads gin, tonic and cheese. The favourite pastime seems to be gardening and we now have tomatoes, lettuce and basil on the go.

    I only hope they survive my lack of gardening skills and Julian the ginger cat. He likes to sit in the plant pots and pee in them I suspect. Salad anyone?

    Meanwhile, the girls have...

  • Healthy stocking stuffers
    Dec 11, 2015 8:00 am

    Healthy stocking stuffers

    I have a diary entry today that says “clean like a mad woman”. Somehow my mum’s visit has crept up on me and I only have one small cleaning window before she arrives.

    If only I had to clean one small window everything would be fine. Instead I need to clean EVERYTHING — from the ceiling fans to the baseboards, underneath the cutlery trays and behind the toaster. There’s no real need to look behind the toaster, but she will! I have one...

  • Top tips to help prevent or manage hangovers
    Dec 4, 2015 8:00 am

    Top tips to help prevent or manage hangovers

    Day four of Elf on the Shelf and so far I haven’t managed to mess it up. Move the elf too early and any late-night adventurers will spot the pre-emptive strike, or worse, catch you in the act.

    I threw our elf into the kitchen sink one night to avoid being caught red-handed. He swam among the suds with some dirty wooden spoons while I settled Belle back into bed.

    But if you leave the elf til later, the danger is you’ll forget...

  • Christmas salad packs a flavourful punch
    Nov 27, 2015 8:00 am

    Christmas salad packs a flavourful punch

    Ho ho ho, the Christmas season is upon us! I know this because Phoenix has been overrun by enormous tins of Quality Street.

    We’re talking a wall-to-wall invasion of chocolate. It makes me sweat a little just walking past this national flirtation with diabetes.

    I mean, I know it’s Christmas and it’s a treat … but unless serious complications like erectile dysfunction, kidney disease and amputation count as a “treat” too, I think...

  • Top tips for dinner-table harmony
    Nov 13, 2015 8:00 am

    Top tips for dinner-table harmony

    Wednesday night I went to a friend’s house to help her “bedazzle” some tutus for a dance recital.

    This involved sticking teeny tiny crystals on to netting with a hot glue gun. I can’t decide if the wine was a help or a hindrance.

    It stopped me being obsessive about spacing things perfectly, but I burnt every single finger in the process. We all know we shouldn’t drink and drive, but perhaps we shouldn’t drink and glue either.

  • Is nutrition a health and safety issue?
    Nov 6, 2015 8:00 am

    Is nutrition a health and safety issue?

    I have a little mantra — comparison is the thief of joy — and I have to remind myself of it often. Half-term was a perfect example. I’d taken the week off to hang out with the kids as I’d been working so many evenings. The girls are 7 and 5 now and I really love this age. Sure there are some meltdowns (mainly mine, ha ha) but they are great company.

    In my head, it was all fun and laughter with lots of lazy mornings and afternoon...

  • Can red meat cause cancer? A voice of reason
    Oct 30, 2015 8:00 am

    Can red meat cause cancer? A voice of reason

    Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll know that earlier this week the World Health Organisation declared processed meat as definitively carcinogenic to humans and red meat as “probably” carcinogenic. Within hours my inbox had exploded and my intern Sarah checked in to test the waters. She’s aware that I have a deep affection for bacon. Obviously I love kale and quinoa and broccoli too, but I love them best with bacon. It’s an...

  • Pumpkins offer more than Hallowe’en decor
    Oct 16, 2015 8:00 am

    Pumpkins offer more than Hallowe’en decor

    Hallowe’en is on the horizon and I am getting excited. The costumes are on their way. Chloe is still a raccoon but Belle, who changes her mind at the speed of light, is going to be a rainbow monster. If you don’t know what a rainbow monster is, you are not alone, but rest assured it exists. Imagine the cast of Monsters Inc attending a gay pride parade and you will be somewhere on the spectrum.

    Between all the costumes and trick or...

  • Ditch mayo with this Green Goddess Dressing
    Oct 9, 2015 8:00 am

    Ditch mayo with this Green Goddess Dressing

    Most of us are busy … crazy busy. It’s not helped by the fact that “busy” isn’t cool any more. We’re realising that yes, busy often means successful, but it can also mean overstretched and less focused. If you, like me, sometimes feel like you’re standing in the middle of a swirling vortex with all the different components of “life” circling around you at high speed, then maybe it’s time to slow on down. The problem is finding the time to...

  • Time to embrace superfoods
    Oct 2, 2015 8:00 am

    Time to embrace superfoods

    The lovely husband is overseas again and I would like to say things have been going smoothly … yet one Emergency Room trip and a Watlington water overflow would suggest otherwise.

    Over the weekend I had decided to top up the tank. If only I had looked at the radar and spotted the mini-monsoon on the way.

    But I didn’t and the tank was low so I let it run overnight. I then left for the usual Saturday morning activity juggle, but...

  • Healthier muffins to tempt your taste buds
    Sep 25, 2015 8:00 am

    Healthier muffins to tempt your taste buds

    Feeding children is a minefield. Mainly because we give them “children’s food” rather than just “food” in general.

    Do you ever wonder if cave babies rejected the sustenance their parents dragged in? I doubt there were many fussy eaters in our hunter-gathering days.

    And yet, in these relative times of plenty, most of us find ourselves worrying about what our children will choose to eat, rather than whether or not we can feed them...

  • Low-sugar snacks for adults
    Sep 18, 2015 8:00 am

    Low-sugar snacks for adults

    October is nearly here, which is a surprise as I am pretty sure it was January yesterday.

    Life is flying by way too fast — especially with my littles being not-so-little. I am seriously enjoying their company these days.

    “Stop growing!” I’ve asked. “We can’t, mummy. You feed us too many vegetables.” And so my words come back to haunt me ….

    There are obviously days when I chase my girls up the stairs to bed.

  • Sugar-free after-school snacks
    Sep 11, 2015 8:00 am

    Sugar-free after-school snacks

    Facebook is awash with back-to-school photos and it’s hard not to feel the love. There’s so much pride and affection tallied on there, it almost drowns out the collective sigh of relief: to all our amazing teachers, tag, you’re it!

    My girls are literally leaping out of the car to discover what’s new in their day. They equally gleefully jump back in to tell me all about it. And because we car pool, the stories are told at deafening...

  • Nutrition advice to help your child sleep
    Sep 4, 2015 8:00 am

    Nutrition advice to help your child sleep

    The lovely husband is away on a business trip to Costa Rica. I know it’s all meetings and hard work, but I cannot help feeling a little jealous. And he gets to sleep star-shaped in a hotel bed.

    True, I can sleep star-shaped in ours, but last night’s peace was interrupted by a certain small person.

    I took the short-term-gain, long-term-mistake route and threw back the covers. I then spent four hours being pushed off the bed and...

  • Healthy eating – tips for keeping it simple
    Aug 28, 2015 8:00 am

    Healthy eating – tips for keeping it simple

    There are good surprises and bad surprises involved in parenting. Bad surprises include the green slime in a newborn’s diaper and the staggering reach of projectile vomit. Good surprises include the fiercely unconditional love and the moment you realise your kids feel the exact same way about you. Warm hugs with sleepy bedheads are also pretty amazing. One thing is for sure, life will never be the same. And neither will your handbag.

  • Bean brownies even picky eaters will love
    Aug 21, 2015 8:00 am

    Bean brownies even picky eaters will love

    I have always been an awkward dancer. A trusty glass of bubbles helps, but I’ve never dashed on to an empty dance floor. I am most comfortable in the middle of a sweaty mob where there is barely any room between bodies and a simple shimmy will do.

    I am not being modest. When your friend leans over with the tip, “less elbows, more ass”, you know you’re not knocking it out of the park.

    I was once laughed off the dance floor at a...

  • Home-baking a summer hit with little ones
    Aug 14, 2015 8:00 am

    Home-baking a summer hit with little ones

    A short note from me this week as I’m reporting from the trenches of Natural Kids camp. Twenty-seven hilarious children, five amazing staff, toys and books galore ... it is so much fun and the most exhausting thing I do all year.

    Once upon a time a group of scientists had a legendary multisport athlete (Jim Thorpe) mimic the activity of a toddler. He couldn’t keep up. Now I know why. I am not sure how all the teachers out there do it.

  • Treat yourself — with a little bacon
    Jul 29, 2015 8:00 am

    Treat yourself — with a little bacon

    By the time you read this I’ll have been in France for a few weeks, spending quality time with my kids and drinking lots of red wine (funny how those two seem to go together).

    We’re celebrating my dad’s 70th birthday with family from England, Hungary, France and Australia, so it will be a crazy gathering and I can’t wait!

    We’ve been counting down the days for months so it’s strange to think that by the time this prints we’ll be...

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