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The Uninvited Guest

It’s that time again where chocolate has never tasted more delicious, where Miss Vickie’s Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar chips have never screamed your name louder, where an empty box of Kleenex stands next to your couch after finishing an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, and where your second non-fat latte is waiting on your desk before your work day has even begun. It’s that time of the month, and if you’re a female, or you know a female, you know exactly what I’m referring to – premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Although a combination of factors like hormonal fluctuations can cause PMS, there is evidence to suggest that a woman’s diet may influence the development of, or be associated to, the symptoms of PMS. Women who consume well balanced and nutritious meals are more likely to attain the recommended amount of important nutrients. While certain nutrients (i.e. calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, magnesium) have been linked to reduce PMS symptoms (e.g. fluid retention, fatigue, irritability, abdominal cramping), other dietary factors (sugar, alcohol, caffeine and sodium intake) may be associated with worsening symptoms. So, what’s a girl to do when she has no energy and her cravings are out of control? Focus on small frequent well balanced meals with decreased intake of caffeine, salt and refined carbohydrates. Incorporate foods that are rich in calcium (e.g. low fat dairy products, dark leafy greens, nuts), vitamin D (e.g. fatty fish, eggs, fortified foods), magnesium (e.g. dark leafy greens, nuts, fish, avocados), riboflavin (e.g. fortified cereals, whole grains, low fat dairy products), thiamine (e.g. nuts, legumes, fortified cereals) and vitamin B6 (e.g. meat, poultry, whole grains, bananas). It can be difficult to achieve recommended amounts of certain nutrients through food alone (e.g. vitamin D) thus supplementation may be needed. Not sure if you are meeting your nutrient needs? Thinking about supplementing your diet? Do you suffer from chronic PMS? Connect with me – let’s talk nutrition.


Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Makes 4 servings


Cooking spray

300g extra lean chicken breast, diced

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 small white onion, diced

1/3 small red bell pepper, diced

40g unsalted peanuts

2 tbsp non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1.25c canned tomato sauce

0.5c water

4 large Iceberg lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry

8 tbsp non-fat sour cream

8 tbsp shredded, reduced fat, cheddar cheese

In a skillet, cook chicken on medium-high heat. When chicken is no longer pink, add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic powder and sea salt. Mix well to ensure chicken is evenly seasoned.

Add onions, red peppers, unsalted peanuts, Greek yogurt, tomato sauce and water to the chicken mixture and stir well. Cover and simmer on low for approximately 20-22 minutes.

Once cooked, divide mixture among the 4 lettuce leaves. Top each lettuce wrap with 2 tbsp of non-fat sour cream and 2 tbsp of shredded cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

PS: Each wrap provides approximately 150mg of calcium – how is that for increasing your calcium game?

Nutritional Information (per one lettuce wrap):

Energy: 240kcal Protein: 26g Fat:8g Carbohydrates: 14g Fibre:3g

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