"The greatest wealth is health."

                           - Virgil (70-19 BCE)


In this issue of Live to Eat, for the first time ever, we will take a brief detour from our discussions of all things gastronomic and discuss the importance of physical activity.  After all, eating healthy is only half of the equation to staying healthy.  (Don’t think we’re completely unselfish in discussing this topic… we know that it is in our best interests to keep our customers healthy!)

We have enlisted the expertise of Doug Richards, MD, Dip Sport Med – former Team Physician of the Toronto Raptors and current Professor at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Physical Education and Health to shed some wisdom on the topic of physical activity and health.  And we know that words alone won’t get you in shape, so we have worked out a sweet deal with Totum Lifescience on your behalf… until April 30, 2006, you can join for 1 week and receive a 1 hour personal training session for free ($90 value! more details below).

And if that’s not enough to inspire you, this no doubt will… we’re very excited to officially kickstart the sign-up for Team Healthy Butcher – a road cycling group with planned regular rides throughout the summer that is absolutely free to join.  Spring is looming around the corner, this is your opportunity to dedicate yourself to a rapidly growing sport and get in shape! (more details below).

We hope you learn and are inspired by what Doug has to say, and as always, welcome your comments and questions – just email info@thehealthybutcher.com.




The Healthy Butcher is the most recent retail store in Canada to be awarded the Certified Organic seal. The butcher shop joins an elite group of retail outlets worldwide that effectively “close the loop” between the farmers and the point of retail. Essentially, this certification is an additional assurance to our customers that what we sell as organic is truly organic and not just a marketing gimmick. 

Click here to read our official Press Release




Easter falls on April 16 (Catholic/Western) / April 23 (Orthodox) & Passover falls on April 13.  Pre-order your lamb, turkey, brisket or unique game meats for your special gathering.  The earlier the better!  It's still not too late to order a whole Spring Lamb (25-30lb) for the most memorable roast of your life.





Enjoy a gourmet experience in your own home...

Our dinner kit includes everything you need. 

Orders must be made by Thursday, March 23. 

This week's menu includes:


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Mixed Olives, and Monforte Cheese

Spinach Salad with Pears, Local Oyster Mushrooms, and Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
Meatloaf with Roasted Root Vegetables, Braising Greens, and Tomato-Basil Sauce
Paula’s Chocolate and Chocolate Chip Biscotti



Join our road cycling club. This is a free, no obligation way to enjoy planned rides in your neighbourhood.  All levels are welcome.

The kick-off will be a 40km ride on Sunday, May 14 @ 8am starting from The Healthy Butcher’s storefront.

To learn more, click here: http://www.thehealthybutcher.com/team_healthy_butcher.html

or email: cycling@thehealthybutcher.com to sign-up.




Kickstart your spring training - try Totum Lifescience at 445 King St. West for one week PLUS have a 1 hour personal training session free!!  Totum’s viewpoint is that fitness is about improving your life in every possible dimension; whole health is not only an approach to fitness - it is a philosophy.  If their Forrest Hill or Rosedale locations are more convenient, they are offering a complimentary Personal Training session at either facility. Contact Tim Irvine at 416.925.5706 or email membership@totum.ca and mention "The Healthy Butcher promo".

Offers expires April 30, 2006.  www.totum.ca



By Doug Richards, MD, Dip Sport Med

There is no doubt that physical activity and good nutrition are the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle. It is difficult to study the effects of one without the other, as people who tend to be active tend to eat better, and vice versa. Healthy living is a package deal – part of a whole! Nonetheless, in this brief article, I’ll summarize our current understanding of the relationship between physical activity and health.


Too numerous to expand on here, the major health benefits of physical activity, independent of other lifestyle or health factors, are:

  • Increased lifespan / reduced all-cause death rates

  • Reduced rates of many diseases:

    • heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure

    • high cholesterol levels

    • obesity

    • type 2 diabetes mellitus

    • colon cancer, and possibly also cancer of the breast and prostate

    • osteoporosis

    • depression and anxiety disorders

  • Improved quality of life, mental function, and more independence in the elderly

  • Improved maternal and neonatal health when pregnant women are active

  • Improved academic performance in active school children


The only type of physical activity for which there is very convincing evidence of the above benefits is “aerobic” exercise. This doesn’t mean that you need to run out and buy nasty 1970’s leg warmers cast-off from an old 20 Minute Workout show. “Aerobic” activity is anything that gets your heart beating fast, at a rate that you can sustain for more than a few minutes. If you push too hard, such that you need to stop for a breather after a minute or two, then you have exceeded your “threshold”, and crossed into what is called “anaerobic” activity. There is much less evidence about the health benefits of this sort of anaerobic, maximal intensity exercise.

One easy rule of thumb gives an easy guide to whether what you are doing is “aerobic”.  The Goode-Merton “breath test” is this: when you reach a level of exercise at which you can easily hear yourself breathing, you are crossing the threshold into anaerobic activity.

So, aerobic activities can include just about anything (walking, cycling, swimming, jogging, skating, rowing… the list is endless), so long as you perform whatever it is at an appropriate intensity. Make your heart beat faster than normal, but such that you are not breathing very hard, and such that you can keep it up for more than a few minutes consecutively.


Some thirty years ago, fitness experts at the Cooper Institute in Dallas came up with the “FIT Principle” as a guide: Frequency = 3 times weekly, Intensity = 70% of maximum heart rate, Time = 30 minutes. Since then, we have learned a lot more. 

We now know that the health benefits listed above begin to appear with just a little exercise (500 kcal/week). This amount can be accomplished just by choosing to walk or ride your bike to work or stores instead of driving; taking the stairs instead of an elevator; and so on. We call this “active living” as opposed to “prescriptive exercise” as seen in a “prescription” like the FIT Principle.

Having said that, it appears that more is better. 1000 kcal/week (3 half-hour activities at moderate intensity) of exercise reduces death rates by 30%. 2,000 kcal/week (daily half-hour activities at moderate intensity) goes even further.  At some point, too much of a good thing is bad. There is some evidence that more than a couple of hours of exercise daily starts causing problems, particularly if it is too intense, (not to mention if it is violent in nature).


Living in a more active way (getting rid of that car, or leaving it in the garage; buying and using a bike at low intensity; choosing to walk) is something anyone can do.  If you plan to start a more vigourous program, particularly if you have any existing health issues or concerns, it is advisable to consult a health professional to make sure what you are planning is safe.

Whatever it is you choose to do, be it walk up more stairs or join the Team Healthy Butcher cycling team, have fun!

Doug Richards, MD, Dip Sport Med

  • Medical Director, David L. MacIntosh Sport Medicine Clinic, University of Toronto

  • Assistant Professor, Faculty of Physical Education and Health, University of Toronto

  • Current Team Physician of National Women’s Basketball Team, National Volleyball Beach Teams, and Varsity Blues Intercollegiate Teams

  • Former Team Physician of the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club, 1995-2004

  • Regular Customer, The Healthy Butcher, 2005-present

To learn more about your Maximum Heart Rate and determine your target heart rate for aerobic activity visit: http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/hrm1.htm or http://www.briancalkins.com/HeartRate.htm

While it’s beyond our scope in this newsletter to cite all of the relevant scientific literature on the topic of physical activity and health, readers interested in exploring the evidence for themselves are directed to the two largest published reviews on the topic, considered the current authoritative summary statements in the scholarly community: the Report of the Surgeon General in 1996 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1996), and the consensus statement of an international symposium held on the topic in Hockley Valley, Ontario in 2001 (Kesaniemi 2001).


To access past issues of live to eat? Click here.




Interested in having a gourmet restaurant experience in the comfort of your own home? 

The Healthy Butcher's Executive Chef Ezra Title will perform his culinary magic for

gatherings of 6-12 people.  For pricing info, email info@thehealthybutcher.com.


This was the menu he "performed" last week:


Selection of Amuses Bouches

Marinated Prawns with Avocado Mousse, Kumquat Gastrique, Basil Pistou & Brioche Croutons

Yukon Gold Potato Gnocchi with Hedgehog Mushrooms & Black Truffle Nage

Pan Roasted Red Snapper with Romano Bean Stew, Tomato Confit, Black Olives & Preserved Lemon

Seared and Confit Healthy Butcher Pekin Duck with Caramelized Salsify, Rutabaga Puree & Porcini Jus

Monforte’s Paradiso Cheese with Shallot Confit, Apple Cider Glaze & Candied Walnuts

Almond Panna Cotta with Espresso Granita & Chocolate Sorbet

Whenever possible ingredients are sourced from

local producers who practice sustainable growing methods


The Healthy Butcher is located at 565 Queen St. West, in downtown Toronto

To contact us, call 416-ORGANIC or visit our web page.

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