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Monday, March 27, 2017

Dogs and Anthropologists...(Book Reviews)

Hello, happy Monday morning! Its another wet, grey day here. Blech! So its a good time to discuss one of my favorite things: books!

I have been so busy trying to keep up with the book reviews that I am committed to doing for publishers, that I haven't shared what I've been reading for my own pleasure in a long while.

But believe me, no matter what, I am pretty much always reading something! So many books, so little time...

I have enjoyed the last two so much, I thought I would share.

The first is Fifteen Dogs, by Canadian writer, Andre Alexis.



When my mom first gave it to me and said it was written from dogs' perspective, I balked. I couldn't imagine finding it interesting. I am a cat person after all!

But after overcoming my prejudice, I decided to give it a try. Its about 15 dogs that are given human-like brains (and therefore cognitive abilities, intellect and emotions). I loved it!

I actually think that dog lovers may not like it because its a pretty cynical perspective on what dogs think of humans.

In any case, read it, its awesome.

The other recent gem I read was Euphoria, by Lily King.



It is loosely based on experiences of anthropologist Margaret Mead and others, though it is a fictional story. Having always found anthropology fascinating, I also adored this book, though it is also a love story as well.

Both are short reads, so perfect for a vacation if you are planning a little spring getaway.

I hope you'll give them a try.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Think Macro, Not Micro for Better Health


Happy Friday and Happy Spring! It actually felt like spring on Tuesday, but now we have reverted back to winter. No surprise, as Toronto doesn't really get 'real' spring until May most of the time.

So, does spring make you think of spring cleaning your lifestyle? Starting a new diet, fitness program or giving up an unhealthy habit? Read this before you start the latest trend (and, of course, skip the cleanses and detoxes!!).

There are a billion theories out there about how best to be your physical best: Eat keto, eat Paleo, eat vegan, eat alkaline, don't eat after 6pm, juice, don't drink juice, do cardio, don't do cardio, lift heavy weights, only do body weight exercises, drink red wine, don't drink at all, no wheat, no gluten, whole grains, do intense exercise, just aim for 10,000 steps, etc., etc., etc.

A lot of people get so confused they don't even know where to start when it comes to improving their health!

The most important things you can do are the big-picture habits, which you've probably heard me tell you a million times:

1. Exercise regularly (who cares what kind, just do something and do it consistently!)

2. Sleep enough and practice healthy sleep hygiene

3. Eat real food, not processed (omnivore, locavore, vegetarian, vegan, whatever) and aim for 10 (yes 10!) servings of veggies and fruit daily, homemade, not from a restaurant

4. Don't smoke and minimize alcohol consumption

Its up to you to figure out a way to incorporate these habits into your life in a way you enjoy. If you try something (low carb, crossfit, whatever, whatever) that makes you miserable, than you won't stick with it. Its about being the healthiest you, you can be and enjoy life and be consistent.

So thi

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Going Semi-Paperless

As you know, I am a traditionalist when it comes to reading. I want paper! I don't own a Kindle, and don't want one. I like hard copy magazines and newspapers please!

Unfortunately, I am apparently in the minority as everything nowadays is going digital. Not only is this due to demand, but also cost. Its cheaper to publish stuff online so paper stuff is getting more and more expensive.

Because of the high cost, Adam has been bugging me for years to allow him to cancel our newspaper deliveries for Globe and Mail and Toronto Star, and start getting the digital versions instead. Noooo!

I've kicked up a big fuss because I just can't imagine enjoying scrolling through the paper on a device while having breakfast. It didn't help that Adam told me to check out Star Touch, the Toronto Star's new online subscription service, which is horrid. I hate it. Its not even the same content as the print version. Forget it, no way.



Fortunately, the online version of the Globe you can subscribe for is EXACTLY the same as print, and even appears the same way on the screen. Okay, compromise. We are now getting the Star in print, and the Globe online only.


But should there come a day when the stop selling books and magazines in print, I will launch a revolution!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Freeze Dried Fruits from Mixit.ca


Good morning! Welcome to a new week, and the first day of spring.

What are you having for breakfast? Please say it isn't sugary cereal! Nothing wrong with some good whole grains for breakfast, just ditch the sugar. You can customize one yourself at Mixit.ca, which now has more options...

I have always adored dried fruit. I used to seriously eat pounds of dried pineapple. Our local market would let us buy it in 20 lb bags from them at wholesale price, it was awesome! My first pregnancy turned me off it and since going sugar-free I haven't looked back. I still occasionally indulge in unsweetened varieties like apricots, raisins, dates, figs and prunes, but lets face it, dried fruit should be eaten in moderation not just because they are super high in natural sugar and calories, but they can do major damage to your teeth and, um, your digestive tract, in large quantities.

An increasingly popular alternative to dried fruit is freeze dried fruit. It is much lower in calories, usually unsweetened and not as risky for your teeth or tummy. Though after eating a bag of freeze dried blueberries on the plane once, I can tell you that they can get pretty messy (my hand was purple for 2 days!).

As a fan of yummy, crispy freeze dried fruit, I was thrilled to give Mixit.ca's new line of them a try. They have a good selection including strawberries, raspberries, orange, mango, banana, blackberries and peaches.

Since I choose my mix for the girls' tastes last time, I made this one all about me. I selected their high fibre oatmeal as a base and then went right for the freeze fried fruits and got them all except orange and banana.

Wouldn't you know it, when it arrived, the girls complained about how unfair it is that I was saving this one for myself! I haven't decided yet if I will share with those rat bags what is left.

I tried it mixed with vanilla yogurt and blueberries and love, love, love it! My favorite things are the freeze dried berries, which I find have much more flavour than the other fruits.



I am now dreaming up other ways to use it and am thinking that making a fruity oatmeal cookie might be in order!

In any case, if you are looking for a healthy snack or yummy breakfast treat, customize yourself a cereal mix and Mixit.ca . Its pretty lux, so if its beyond your own budget, I think it makes a great gift for the special cereal lover in your life.

Disclosure: Mixit.ca sent me a complimentary sample, but all opinions on this blog are my own.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Revisiting the Asylum


No I wasn't locked up in the looney bin...yet!

I dug out my Asylum series, which is the sequel to the Insanity exercise program by Shaun T.

When I first tried it I found it frustrating, not just because its tough, but we didn't really have enough room in our gym area, the way it was set up before our home renos. Also, the agility ladder, which is used a lot would slip and slide around on the carpeting, and I was always having to stop and adjust it.

But a few weeks ago I pulled out the ladder to use with my personal training client, and suddenly realized I hadn't tried it again since we fixed up the basement.

I decided to do the Game Day workout, which is the longest one (60 minutes) and see if it was doable in our new space. I am happy to say, yes it is! The ladder doesn't move around on the rubber flooring, and there is now plenty of space.

As for the workout itself? Very challenging! It uses different exercises to mimic drills or moves from various sports. Tough for a person like me who sucks at almost all sports, but I like it because at least it is, for the most part, easy to follow (no fancy dance moves!). If you want something that is not at all like a traditional aerobics class, you may like this, but it definitely is not for the newbie exerciser.
The drills can be pretty intense and the work intervals several minutes long, rather than 30-60 seconds in most of the HIIT training workouts I do. But I loved it, so I am definitely bringing these DVDs back into rotation!

If you don't exercise, its never to late to start. The health (physical and mental) are endless. Doing ANYTHING is better than nothing, so find something you enjoy and just....DO....a ditty ditty dumb ditty do (sorry quoting Nike just isn't my style).

Have a happy St. Patrick's Day and a happy, healthy weekend. I work late tonight, so no green beer for me...maybe tomorrow (beer but not green that is!). I work all weekend actually, so I know its going to fly by. I'll be back Monday and I hope you will too!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

You Can't Beat Beets!

If its cold and grey (and white...its snowing here!) and you feel the need for some colour in your life. There is no better way to do it than with beets.

I have always enjoyed beets, but lately I have become addicted.

Its all thanks to my lovely, generous neighbour, who always shares the goodies from her organics boxes with me. The last couple shares have involved 2 lb bags of locally grown beets.

Just look at these gorgeous babies before they've been roasted!


My favorite way to prepare them is simply peeling them, cutting, tossing with apple cider vinegar, and roasting. They are like candy!

This salad I made recently with the beets, veggies, goat cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette (made with konjac powder) was absolutely divine!


Not only are they sweet and delicious, but beets are packed with health benefits. They are a great source of fibre, folate, manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C. They have been shown to improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and enhance athletic performance, thanks to their high nitrate content. One cup of beets has only 58 calories, and provides 2 grams of protein.
So go ahead and indulge. Just don't indulge too much like I did...they are high in fibre! Also, be prepared to have a lot of pink and purple tinted, um, stuff, for the next couple of days. But, really, its worth it.

I have shared this post with Urban Naturale's Plant-Based Pot-Luck.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Spring 2017 Favorites

Okay, yes, it isn't really spring yet, but I am optimistic it will happen soon. Like by May at least!

Here are some of the things I am enjoying right now...

Lemon Water

I have replaced some of the cold drinks I consume during the day (i.e. coffee frappes, soda stream carbonated water with stevia/flavours, etc.) with lemon water. I absolutely adore it!


The key is to squeeze juice out of the lemon first before dropping it in. Also, the longer it sits, the better it tastes. At the of the day, I eat the lemon slice. Maybe I'm weird, but I love that.

Sweet Potatoes

I have always loved sweet potatoes, but during my pregnancies, my tastes really shifted and those changes lasted a while. I suddenly craved white potatoes and red meat over sweet potatoes and fish. But I have reverted back and now I am all about the sweet potatoes. Combined with all the squash and carrots I eat, its amazing I am not bright orange like Donald Trump (who Little A says looks like a big Cheeto).

I have been eating them whole steamed, tossed with cider vinegar and cinnamon and roasted (as they are in the photo), and as a base for chocolate protein mousse. Really, I love it any way you can prepare it!

Trader Joe's Chili Lime Seasoning

Now that I am back to loving fish again (I'll take it over red meat any day!), I am using this seasoning I got at Trader Joe's in Florida, all the time.


Its got just the right level of spice and salt. I don't add anything else to the fish, just a sprinkle of this stuff and its awesome!

Green P Parking App

If you live in Toronto, you have to have this App! You know I mean it since I am not really an app user. Like this is basically one of the only apps I use period.  You can park and start walking away towards your destination and just plug in the location code. Then choose your duration and it automatically charges your credit card.


Its so amazing when I have a client session run late. Instead of panicking and sprinting to my car, I can just put a few more minutes on my 'meter'.

If you don't live in Toronto, maybe they have something similar where you live.

Ombrelle Weightless Face Lotion

This stuff is the absolute bomb!


I wear sunscreen on my face every day all year. And you should too! I put it on first, before I put on any makeup in the morning.

This stuff has an SPF of 60, but is so light, yet smoothing and moisturizing at the same time. I absolutely love it, I don't think I will ever use another sunscreen on my face!!

Its a cold, gray Monday and I am going on week 3 of having chronic headaches. Its times like these when the simple pleasures matter the most. Enjoy your simple pleasures and have a great day!