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Friday, March 31, 2017

Go Run Lites: Product Review


TGI Friday!

Thankfully now that its spring, there is more daylight. But even so, if you are like Adam and I, and you are a super early bird, it still may be dark when you open your eyes, especially if its to fit in an early morning workout. It stays light later now that its spring, but if you work into the early evening, you may also find yourself leaving at the end of the day after the sun has gone down. Or, if the weather is terrible like it is today (raining, cold and dark), then you may see no daylight at all!

Not only can the dark be depressing, it is also an additional safety risk, especially if you live in a place like Toronto, where the roads are like the wild west. Pedestrian and cyclist deaths are at an all time high. It is absolutely critical that if you are going outside for a run, walk or bike ride, whether its for fitness or your daily commute, you make sure you are damn well visible to drivers.

Go Run Lites are gloves and mittens made for active folks, that have bright LED rechargeable lights that fit right in them to aid your visibility. Recently they sent me a pair of their fleece mittens to try and I think they are fantastic.

The size medium are a bit big for me, but they also sent the liners for added warmth. The mittens are super soft and warm, which is perfect for cycling around here in cold weather. The lights velcro into the top of them and are at least as bright, if not brighter than any bike lights that I have owned.

I am thinking it might be wise to get Adam a pair of the lighter weight gloves since he runs outside in the warmer months, but starts so early it is pretty dark out.

Do I recommend these products? Absolutely! Great idea, and great quality.

Now go get outside, be active, and have a happy, healthy and SAFE weekend!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Behind the Scenes at HLL



Happy hump day! Ready for the weekend yet?

Life here has been up and down lately. Sound familiar? When is it not really?

On the upside, I am in the midst of making some rather significant structural changes to my counselling practice that I am excited about, including renting an office space in my favorite neighbourhood in Toronto (the Annex), which also happens to be extremely convenient and close to home. One of the many benefits is that it will be much easier for me to bike to and from work when the weather cooperates.

I completed the 2nd part of my EMDR training and just have a few more group consultations before I get my certificate. Yeah, I am already seeing great results of incorporating this therapy into my practice.

I also made a somewhat radical change to my hair style: I got a fringe! The kids are iffy about it, but most people have been very complimentary. Hey, its cheaper than botox and it hides my forehead wrinkles!!

On the downside, my headaches have been frequent and unrelenting lately. These have been going on since 1998 for goodness sakes! I have tried everything, and absolutely nothing helps. Not any pain relievers (Tylenol 3, Naproxen, Celebrex, Imitrex, etc., etc.), not nasal sprays to clear my sinuses, not ice packs to my head, not standing in ice water (yes, I really tried that!), not menthol rubbed between my eye brows, not antihistamines, not decongestants, nothing! My doctor has now labelled them as atypical migraines, but really we don't know what they are. Maybe allergy related, but I don't respond to antihistamines, nor can we identify what I am allergic to on scratch tests (though clearly I am reacting to something because I am always congested). The could also be weather/pressure related. The past few weeks have been really bad. After a client recently told me she got relief from chronic headaches through botox treatment (for headaches, not for wrinkles), I went straight to the doctor to discuss this option.

Actually, my doctor is on mat leave, but her replacement (nice dude), agreed it seemed like a good alternative to try since nothing else has worked and gave me a referral to a headache specialist at Women's College Hospital. Problem is, its going to be months before I get an appointment. At the time, I thought I could handle that, but, now, I'm praying every day they'll call with the appointment, because I am having headaches almost daily.

Nevertheless, this stuff doesn't have me down that much. We've all got our challenges and this is definitely one of mine, but it could be a heck of a lot worse. Though I might struggle to agree with that on a really bad headache day!

Keep truckin' with me, because we all have our struggles, but I'll get through it all, and so will you!

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!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Where the Ryka Shoes

Good morning and welcome to Friday. You made it through another week!

So after my post about my new Hoka shoes, Adam called me out. He asked why I would wear runners for all my workouts when I only run once a week (I've been doing it since the fall to keep some endurance work in my routine), and spend the rest of the time weight training and HIIT, with a lot of lateral movements.

Its a good question. Especially since I should really know better. Before I had the girls, when I taught fitness classes on a regular basis, I had several pairs of shoes, which I rotated, depending on the type of activity. I was very careful to wear running shoes only for running, and fitness shoes for my aerobics classes. I guess after I had the kids and stopped teaching and started working out at home instead, it felt too indulgent to have several different pairs of shoes. It didn't matter so much when I was mostly using our treadmill and stairmaster, but now that I do mostly HIIT workouts with a lot of martial arts moves and lateral movement, running shoes really aren't ideal.

I have already told Adam he was right and he's already gloated, so moving on from that...

After our discussion, I immediately ordered a pair of fitness shoes from Ryka. Yes, I order shoes online...I do most shopping online because the malls in Toronto are nuts (i.e. too crowded!!), and the traffic to get there so bad, that I can't bear it. But this is one of the reasons I am brand loyal most of the time, I know from experience which shoes work for me and which ones don't. For example, Nike and Reebok are no-goes for me. But for fitness shoes/cross-trainers, Ryka and Avia have always worked well. They are what I always wore to teach fitness classes.

They arrived a few days later and the minute I slipped them on, I knew Adam was right (you already rubbed that in my face dear!). For the HIIT training I do, they are much better than runners. They have far more stability for the lateral movement thanks to a lower outsole and the fact that they mold very close to the foot. I used to wear high cuts for added stability for my ankles, but, actually, I think the low cuts are even more comfortable.

So I've swapped things up and now wear the Hokas just for running, and the Rykas for everything else. I really do feel like my performance is improved just by wearing them. Thanks Hubby!

Moral of the story is, there are certain things you should never cheap out on, and shoes is one of them. Our feet are so important to our health and mobility.

Aside from wearing the right shoes for your activity, also remember to get rid of worn shoes. If you have a high activity level like Adam and I, you should be replacing your athletic shoes on an annual basis. If you do a lot of endurance activity, possibly even more often!

We have a busy weekend ahead. I work tomorrow, the girls have all their activities (Adam spends all day Saturday driving them back and forth!), and Sunday evening we have friends coming for dinner. I also need to apply to have my passport renewed. I hate doing that kind of stuff! Thankfully, most of it can be done online now.

Have a lovely, happy, healthy weekend and take care of your tootsies!




Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Endometriosis Health & Diet Program: Book Review


Before becoming an infertility counsellor, I knew almost nothing about endometriosis. I am now, unfortunately, all to aware of this horrible disease because so many of my clients suffer from it. And suffer they do.

Endo is typically characterized by unbearable pelvic pain from anywhere from several days to several weeks per month, and extremely heavy menstrual bleeding. Women with endo are often incapacitated for at least several days per month, often experiencing dizziness, depression and vomiting as accompanying side effects. When not caught early on, endo can do severe damage to a woman's reproductive organs and cause permanent infertility.

What upsets me so much about endo is that most of my clients with it spend years going from one doctor to another looking for help and are usually brushed off and told to suck it up, that their symptoms are just typical menstrual cycle symptoms. They are not! This is just pure sexism and misogyny.

The tragedy is that most of my clients don't discover they have endo (because doctors are constantly telling them nothing is wrong!), until they are having difficulty conceiving, and by then often the endo is severe enough to have damaged their egg quality, and/or damaged their uterus, so that they either have to do IVF, use an egg donor and/or use a gestational carrier (surrogate). Like WTF?

Hopefully the way women with endo are treated by the medical community will change. One doctor, Dr. Andrew S. Cook, a physician in the U.S. specializes in treating endo and pelvic pain and has just written a book entitled: The Endometriosis Health and Diet Program.

Since for most of my clients endo is usually treated with surgery, I was very interested to review this book which takes a lifestyle approach to it.

The book contains 4 parts:

Part 1:
Chapters 1 and 2 define the disease, examine different causes of pelvic pain (not just endo), and describe the symptoms. Chapter 3 outlines ways to diagnose it, and Chapter 4 summarizes the leading theories about the causes. Chapter 5 goes through the various conventional medical treatments for endo from hormones, to surgery.

Part 2:
This part of the book covers lifestyle/environmental factors that may be associated with endo: Chapter 6 covers toxins, 7 stress, 8 sleep, 9 exercise, 10 energy, 11 herbal treatments and supplements.

Part 3:
Dr. Cook's 3 phase diet plan

Part 4:
Recipes

The chapters in Part 1 are clear and well organized and accessible even to those without much of a science or health background, though they are detailed and not dumbed down either. Cook does veer into territory that is a bit eyebrow raising for me, due to the relative lack of evidence. For example, there is a whole page about how wheat/gluten may cause health problems and there are no citations provided. It sounds like he just wrote out the Coles Notes version of Wheat Belly, a book which has been heavily criticized for its lack of credible evidence. Fortunately, in other areas of the book, footnotes show he is getting at least some info from peer-reviewed scientific journals.

I love that Part 2 addresses all key aspects of wellness, including stress, sleep, exercise, etc. The section on herbal treatments and supplements is where I might advise caution. There is little research on these products for treating endo. Don't run out and start taking a daily cocktail of them before consulting your doctor and/or naturopath who is aware of your entire health history and knows what other meds you are taking (herbs and supplements can cause interactions). This is particularly important if you are trying to conceive or undergoing fertility treatments.

The diet plan in Part 3 starts as an elimination diet to see if particular things may be triggering your pelvic pain and endo symptoms. Phase 1 of the plan is not at all appropriate if you are vegetarian or vegan as the only allowable protein sources are meat and seafood. Aside from ghee, dairy is also off the table as are all grains (kinda sounds like a lot of trendy low-carb diets!).

After 1-2 months on Phase 1, Phase 2 reintroduces eggs, nuts, seeds, gluten-free grains, and lentils along with cheese and yogurt.

Following 4 weeks on Phase 2, Phase 3 brings back most whole foods as long as you tolerate them without any flare up of symptoms.

The actual meal plan is a bit problematic for me. First, the breakfasts are tiny. I starve just reading them. Secondly, again, not possible for vegans or vegetarians. Third, your daily snack is bone marrow broth. I will be honest, I hate broth! I also hate this stupid, hipster term for what is essentially bubby's chicken (or beef) soup!

There is nothing wrong with the recipes, though they tend to be really heavy on the coconut oil, which is also a much over-hyped trendy food. I would say, if you try this meal plan and are hungry, lower the amount of coconut oil (and/or ghee or other 'magical' fat sources) and you can add in other foods in larger quantity for the same number of calories.

Though obviously some things about this book irk me, I do recommend it for individuals struggling with endo or pelvic pain, if only because it may help you navigate through a hostile health care system. By educating yourself about the disease you can press for the treatment you need when met with resistance and claims that you are fine and it is all in your head.

The lifestyle suggestions are, for the most part, what we should all be doing: managing stress, eating whole foods, exercising, and getting adequate sleep. Perhaps these factors are even more important for women with endometriosis.

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review, but all opinions on this blog are my own.


Monday, March 6, 2017

FITJOY Protein Bar Review


Welcome to a new day and a new week. No better time to start taking better care of your body...you only get one!

If you want to start by finding a healthier alternative to your 3pm candy bar, look no further.

We recently received 2 new flavours of FITJOY Protein bars to try: Chocolate Raspberry and Cookies and Cream.

As usual, my family got their paws on them and I only got to see them briefly, before they were all devoured. I actually was given an Iced Cinnamon while at GNC a few months ago, that I was looking forward to trying, but Adam ended up taking it with him on a work trip. Sigh!

At least they all had the decency to give me their feedback, which was very very positive.

Big A ate the Raspberry Chocolate one. She made a face as she took the first few bites, explaining that it felt very sticky on her teeth, but eventually, she decided she loved it. Little A really liked it too, describing it as very chocolately, and very filling.

Little A loved the Cookies and Cream one even more, which she described as having a chocolate layer, a cookie dough layer, and then a dark chocolate, mini chocolate chip layer....pure heaven! Big A liked that one too, and so did Adam, who said it tasted like a malted milk chocolate bar.

I like that they have 20g of protein, are high in fibre and low in sugar. Here are the nutrition stats for Cookies and Cream flavour:

Serving Size: 1 bar (60g)
Servings Per Container:12
Amount/Serving
Calories230      
Calories from Fat80      
% Daily Value *
Total Fat9 g14%
Saturated Fat3.5 g18%
Trans Fat0 g      
Cholesterol10 mg3%
Sodium140 mg6%
Potassium160 mg5%
Total Carbohydrate25 g8%
Dietary Fiber10 g40%
Sugars5 g      
Protein20 g40%
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C0%
Calcium10%
Iron6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


Do I recommend these? Yes, as an occasional snack, when you are looking for something that will fill the hunger gap, and satisfy a sweet craving without breaking your calorie bank. Little A is already asking when we can get more. Just remember for kids, and adults with lower energy or protein needs, you may want to eat half the bar at a time.
Disclaimer: We were sent these bars to review, but all opinions on this blog are our own.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Goodbye Gardein!


I have several curses. One is that I am always destined to have really bad luck with Toronto's public transportation system. There is always some problem, delay or crisis when I am trying to get somewhere. Its almost impossible for me to go anywhere in this frickin city without arriving furious, frustrated and seething.

One of my other curses is that products I like, whether they be food, cosmetics or whatever, stop being made. Its happened to me so many times I've lost count. Adam points out that this is just because I am weird and clearly my preferences are not shared by the majority of other people. Fair enough.

But this latest incidence of losing loved products (yes products, meaning multiple!), is apparently not because of low demand, but because of a 'production problem', or so the company says.

I'm talking about Gardein, which makes some of my most favorite vegan meat products.

As you know, I am an omnivore, but I do try to to eat veggie somewhat, and, frankly, I love me some good veggie meat! I absolutely ADORE Gardein's Beefless Tips and Meatless Balls! Like I like them more than the meat equivalents!

I started getting suspicious when I noticed they were no longer on the shelves at a few places around here. Given my history with disappearing favorite products, I immediately suspected the worst, and, unfortunately, was right. A quick visit to their Facebook page, where many Canadians were posting questions about why the products were no longer available, were being met with obnoxiously chipper responses from the company citing the production problem as the reason, and comforting us that they would still be continuing to sell about 5 of their products in Canada (none of which I eat) or we could buy the products online (from a U.S. company where they cost twice what they cost in store, not including shipping!).

Well, that's the end of it for me. I'm not going to spend a ridiculous amount of money to buy them online (though admittedly I am tempted to take a trip across the border and fill my trunk...). What pisses me off the most is that the company is Canadian! But now, they are only selling the majority of their products in the U.S. Go F yourself Gardein!

I will console myself with the fact that I've managed to move on from all my other long lost favorite products and lived to tell the tale. I suppose I will survive this too.

While we may no longer have Beefless Tips here in Canada, we still have universal health care, gay marriage, abortion, and all sorts of other good things. So there's that.

I scoured all the stores that used to carry my Gardein favorites and managed to snag 4 additional bags of Beefless tips (I still have one bag of Beefless Tips in my freezer...it may get eaten this weekend). I also bought a package of their veggie burgers that I haven't tried before. I didn't manage to get any Meatless Balls.

Happy Friday folks. Go have yourself a great weekend, and if you're in the U.S. eat some Beefless Tips or Meatless Balls and think of me.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Scramble


Happy hump day! Stuck for a meal idea today? This one works for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

One of my favorite quick, healthy and satisfying meals is a scramble. Basically I throw in a shit-load of veggies, often some meat/veggie meat and/or cheese, spices and seasonings and egg whites and scramble it all up.

If you are vegan, you could still make it by replacing the eggs with either mashed tofu, or chickpea flour.

What's great is how versatile it is. You can so many different things to it, you never have to make it the same way twice!

I use egg whites because I already tend to eat at least 6 whole eggs a week, but feel free to use whole eggs, if you prefer.

The basic recipe is saute your ingredients (veggies, whatever else) in a large non-stick skillet.  Add 1 cup egg whites and cover skillet until egg whites are almost completely cooked. Add in cheese, if using, and cover until melted. Serve!

Here are flavour ideas:

Mexican

  • Diced zucchini and/or peppers
  • Chicken sausage (optional)
  • Cider vinegar
  • Garlic, cumin
  • Salsa
  • Cheese (optional)
Italian
  • Eggplant, peppers, etc.
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Garlic, fresh or dried herbs
  • Tomato paste
  • Cheese (optional)
Indian

  • Kale or spinach, onion
  • Cider vinegar
  • Tumeric, garam masala, cayenne 
  • Coconut milk
  • Chickpeas (optional)

Mediterranean


  • Kalamata olives
  • Red onion, spinach
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Garlic, herbs
  • Tomato paste
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Feta cheese (optional)
Pizza
  • Peppers, mushrooms, spinach, etc.
  • Tomato paste
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Garlic, oregano
  • Veggie pepperoni or sausage (optional)
Brunch
  • Arugula, green onions, fresh dill, etc.
  • Smoked salmon
  • Cream cheese (optional)
Taco
  • Ground chicken or turkey (or crumbled tempeh)
  • Chili seasoning, cumin, etc.
  • Garlic, onions
  • Fresh tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, etc.
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Cheese (optional)
However you choose to make it, throw in a whole ton of veggies to increase volume, keep you full, and maximize nutrition!

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