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Monday, February 17, 2020

Incrediwear: Product Review


As an active family of four, we produce a ridiculous amount of laundry. We also suffer from the aches and pains that tend to go along with sports and fitness. For Adam and I its our daily workouts (and aging) that all too frequently lead to tendonitis or a muscle tweak. Big A dances for 5+ hours a week and does circus classes and Little A has soccer games and practices 3x a week and they often end up with sore muscles or a sprain. So we are no strangers to sports tape, topical pain creams and various body braces.

Recently, Incrediwear offered to send one of its injury braces for us to try. Since she overdid the trampoline training at circus camp last summer, Big A has had on and off issues with one of her ankles. At the time the pain was so bad, her doctor thought it might be a stress fracture, but it was then determined to be a sprain. Big A now finds if she is not careful, she can easily re-injure the area. So I requested an ankle brace she could try.

Incrediwear is distinguished from its competitors because it does not use compression but instead uses a fabric embedded with germanium and carbonized charcoal that is supposed to have therapeutic properties to help relieve pain and speed up injury recovery.

The key to Incrediwear's effectiveness is its ability to increase blood flow to the injured area:

"...Our technology incorporates semiconductor elements within our fabric that releases negative ions when stimulated by body heat. These negative ions activate cellular vibrations that increase blood flow and speed. Increasing circulation helps bring more oxygen and nutrients to the target area, which optimizes the body's natural healing process and accelerates recovery."

Now the website has lots of testimonials as does the material they sent me, but I was unable to find peer-reviewed scientific research on the products, but that's not surprise. Nevertheless, it is true that blood flow is essential for tissue repair and recovery.

Big A has been wearing the ankle brace for her dance classes for the past few weeks. What does she think? She loves it. She said it offers a lot of support while not feeling at all bulky. Her only complaint was the fluorescent orange logo on it...she doesn't like the colour 😀😀

So, do I recommend Incrediwear? Sure, why not? Anything that can help keep you active is worth it in my book. Looking through their product catalog, I am curious about their performance pants and circulation socks. I may just have to give them a try!

Monday, February 3, 2020

The Clean & Simple Diabetes Cookbook


If you do not know how to cook and would like to learn how to simple, health meals, thank look no further.

The Clean & Simple Diabetes Cookbook may be intended to help people cook diabetic-friendly meals, but really the book is good for anyone with little cooking experience who wants a step-by-step guide for creating nutritious recipes.

Published by the American Diabetes Association, and written by Dietitian, Jackie Newgent, the book is chock-full, not only of easy-to-prepare, tasty recipes, but also everything you need to know to get you started in the kitchen if you do not already have the basic knowledge and skills.

The chapter on a diabetes-friendly lifestyle provides advice some specific advice for diabetes but also some that really applies to everyone: exercise, choose whole grains, eat healthy fats, reduce sodium, and avoid sugary beverages.

There is a step-by-step guide on diabetic-friendly cooking, which, again, can really be utilized by anyone looking for a starting point for cooking healthy meals. It provides detailed information on stocking your fridge, pantry and freezer and which kitchen tools to have available. There is even a section on the proper way to cut garlic, onions, bell peppers, etc. and how to prepare hard boiled and fried eggs.

The first recipe section is 25 3-ingredient recipes for very simple snacks and meals. It includes things like Apple Stacks (apple, peanut butter and granola), Avocado & Hummus Toast, and Cheesy Sweet Potato Fries.

Newgent includes a section with advice on meal prepping. Do not underestimate the importance of this! One of the number one reasons my clients say they do not cook is they get home from work and are too tired, and/or unprepared. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

There is also 2 weeks of menus for a family of 4. I love this because most books do meal plans for one person since it is usually a 'diet'. It is so much more realistic to give people a plan that can include the whole family. Nevertheless, there is also 2 weeks of menus for a single person as well.

In terms of recipe chapters, this book has all your bases covered:


  • Appetizers and Snacks
  • One-dish Meals
  • Breakfasts
  • Plant-Based Mains
  • Fish & Shellfish Mains
  • Chicken & Turkey Mains
  • Side Salads
  • Savory Sides
  • Soups & Stews
  • Desserts & Drinks
Not all recipes have photos but there are several sections of photos in the book where certain ones are pictured.

Each recipe includes ingredients, required kitchen tools, directions, tips, swaps, and nutritional information.

The recipes are definitely my jam. Healthy, simple, and flavourful. Pretty much how I mostly cook. Some examples are Ginger, Tempeh & Snow Pea Stir Fry,  Spice-Rubbed Salmon, Pan-Seared Tilapia, Black Beans & Mango Salad, Baja Turkey Burgers, Seasonal Mediterranean Farro Salad, Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, Tex-Mex Tortilla Soup, Peppermint Chocolate "Nice" Cream, Sweet Cherry Milkshake, and Blueberry Chia Smoothie.

Do I recommend this cookbook? Absolutely! This is a great resource for anyone with diabetes or a loved one with diabetes. It is also perfect for anyone wanting a detailed guide to getting started with healthy cooking.










Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Tel Aviv Market Salad


I named this salad the Tel Aviv Salad because it is inspired by a dish I had while we were in Israel (at a restaurant in the Tel Aviv Carmel Market).

The dish was roasted cauliflower with raisins in a beet tahini sauce...and there might have been some other things in it I am forgetting.

I have incorporated roasted cauliflower, beets and tahini, but also added a whole bunch of other middle eastern flavours too. It is absolutely delicious and you can eat it warm or cold.

Tel Aviv Market Salad

Salad

1 large bunch kale, chopped
4 beets, diced and roasted
2 heads cauliflower cut into florets and roasted
6-8 dried permimmons, diced (or 1/4 cup raisins)
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 can chickpeas, drained

Dressing

1/2 cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Season, to taste


Whisk together dressing and set aside.

Combine salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Drizzle dressing over top, toss and serve.


Monday, January 20, 2020

The Little Book of Game Changers



Feeling stressed? Too busy, spread to thin? Isn't everybody? Or do you suffer from anxiety. Always worrying, having difficulty concentrating, sleeping, relaxing.

As a psychotherapist I find the most common presenting issue my clients have is anxiety. Occasionally it's stress from some life circumstances. Stress and anxiety are not the same thing, but I will get to that later.

If you are looking for tips on managing stress and/or anxiety, than this little book may be helpful. The Little Book of Game Changers, written by Jessica Cording, is a straightforward guide to making small changes to your thinking and lifestyle that can assist with stress management and reducing anxiety.

Cording, a registered dietitian and health coach, has sections on mind, body and spirit. Chapters include topics ranging from self-reflection, to money management, to morning routines, to nutrition, to loneliness and food guilt.

Stress is a response to a 'threat' and anxiety is a reaction to stress.

The information is sound and Cording sights peer-reviewed research studies in her end notes. I particularly appreciate her mention of our tendency to use food and other external rewards far too often. We have moved from having cake once a year on our birthdays to every evening as a reward for just getting through the day (or wine, or chocolate, or whatever). Cording provides a number of other ways to truly reward ourselves in ways that nourish the mind, body and/or soul without having a negative impact on our health.

Cording's chapter on motivation has some interesting and creative ideas for how to boost it. I was very surprised and pleased that she includes a whole chapter on sunscreen! I'm obsessive about sun safety but most neglect it terribly. It's very important folks! I have had several friends who have had skin cancers already.

So do I recommend this book? I absolutely recommend it for someone who simply feels overwhelmed by their life. If, however, you are dealing with an anxiety disorder (generalized anxiety, panic, OCD, etc.) than this book may be useful for you, but it will not be the total solution to your problem. Those conditions can be quite serious and debilitating and usually requires intense therapy and/or medication.




Monday, January 6, 2020

No Resolutions for 2020



As a therapist and personal trainer, my advice to you is to never set new year's resolutions. I never do.

Why? Because it is not an effective way to make changes in your life. For anyone. Most of the time resolutions fail, and then people blame themselves and assume its because they are lazy, lack self-discipline, are worthless, etc. Then people have even less confidence the next time, which pretty much sets anyone up for failure before they even start.

The problem is people usually make resolutions around things they believe they 'should' do. But 'shoulding' is not usually a driver of action. Even if you really want a particular outcome (lose weight, spend less, etc.), unless you are 100% committed to the process required to achieve that outcome, you are never going to see it through to fruition. I see this all the time with clients of mine who say they want to see a change in themselves of their life, but really are unwilling to make the behavioural or perspective changes that are necessary to make it happen.

Listen, if you are really committed to pursuing some goal, you won't wait until January 1st to take action. So get off the resolution bandwagon. We could all make improvements to ourselves, and our lives, but don't set some sort of goal because you believe you 'should', you are enough as you are. We humans are all flawed but that does not mean we lack worth. So if you set an intention for 2020, make sure you want to embark on the journey and not just miraculously end up at the destination without putting in the work. If you don't want to put in the work, don't bother and simply accept yourself for making this decision.


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Quest for Yummy Protein Bars

Most people I know hate protein bars. Adam and I love them. They are convenient and satisfying for us weight lifting folks.

Some are truly terrible taste-wise, and many are far from healthy. For the most part, I stick with Quest Bars or Costco's protein bars and I probably eat 3-5 a week max (except when we travel I tend to eat them more so I don't ever get hangry).

Recently I tried 2 new (to me) Quest bar flavours because I found them on major sale (they are bloody expensive!).

First, was Mint Chocolate Chunk.


The base of the bar is chocolate and then there are crumbly chocolate cookie pieces and green mint chunks. The base is okay and I like the mint chunks but I could do without the cookie pieces. They are kind of tasteless. Overall, I did like this bar a lot, but after I finished the first box I bought, I had enough and gave the whole second box to Adam.

Next I had to try Pumpkin Pie.


I have a cinnamon/spice addiction so I was very curious how these would taste. Whelp, they don't really taste like pumpkin, pie or pumpkin spice. I don't know, to be honest, what they taste like. But I like them. Similar to the birthday cake variety, they are a soft bar with a frosting-like coating.

I won't buy these again but I do have to eat them all myself as they are not likely something either Adam nor the children will like. I'm okay with that, but will go back to my Costco bars which I think I like better than all Quest bars anyways.

I am offline for the holidays and will be back in January. Have a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Winter 2019 Favorites

It seems like winter has come early this year. Though I don't mind winter nearly as much as most people - since I hate summer and hot weather - it's still been disappointing because it means that autumn, my absolute favorite season, was cut short.

No matter what the season, its important to fill your life with little pleasures, so here are ones I am enjoying right now.

Once it gets dark before I leave the office, its very important for me to be visible on my bicycle while going home in the evenings. I was sent Runlites mittens to review a few years back, and I have to tell you, I adore them! The lights are extremely bright, and I love that they are rechargeable. They came with thin glove inserts but I lost one last winter, and, besides, they weren't warm enough for Canadian winters. So when it is super cold, I wear another pair of gloves or mittens underneath.

I am often stopped by other cyclists or pedestrians who comment on how awesome they are.

I am also taking advantage of root vegetable season given my obsession with these yummies. My newest discovery is honeynut squash.

They are like butternut squash only smaller, sweeter and with a thinner edible skin (i.e. extra fiber!).

Though I always read tons and listen to podcasts (when doing meal prep or cooking), in the cold weather, there is definitely nothing I love more than hanging out at home and getting cozy with something great to listen to or read.

Recently, I discovered a new, awesome podcast called "Science VS" which is right up my alley.


It provides all the latest empirical evidence on a wide variety of medical, environmental and mental health issues. And it's clever and witty.

Finally, I have been reading novels by author, Alice Hoffman for the last 5 years. Every book I read by her absolutely blows my mind. They are fantastic. Lucky for all of us, she is quite prolific and has a long list of books she has written.


I cannot recommend her work enough!! The Museum or Extraordinary Things was the first of hers I read, but so far, I have adored every single one since.

If you dread the winter months, try to make the most of it by finding little pleasures to enjoy 😊