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Monday, September 25, 2017

Feelin' the Texture


Oh my Monday! I say this not because it is Monday, but because we have been having endless days of 30 Celsius weather and our A/C is broken! Our air people came and patched it up as a temporary fix last Tuesday, but by Friday it conked out again. That means, for the whole weekend we fried our asses off! They are here now to install a new system, and all I have to say is that if it isn't fixed by tonight. I will seriously cry. Very hot tears!

Anyways...

As you know, I am a stalwart hardcopy reader. No Kindles, no e-readers, no reading things on devices, I like paper books, newspapers and magazines, thank you!

Paper books seem to be sticking around, but print magazines and newspapers have been dying for a while now, much to my dismay. As I wrote about a few months ago, we gave up and went digital for our Globe and Mail subscription and will be going to the PDF version of the Toronto Star soon. Its just becoming prohibitively expensive to buy the print versions!

I have always been a big print magazine subscriber. I love magazines! They are my guilty pleasure. No mindless drivel like People, or tabloids, however, absurdity like fashion magazines! No, I prefer 'lifestyle' magazines, particularly Canadian ones like Chatelaine, Canadian Living and Best Health. I also love Toronto Life, Today's Parent, and occasionally some of the fitness magazines like Women's Fitness and healthy cooking ones like Cooking Light and Clean Eating.

 Unfortunately, buying off the news stand is insanely expensive, and even getting subscriptions is increasingly costly. And then, after I read them, I feel guilty recycling them so I feel compelled to (a) keep them, (b) donate them/give them to a  friend, or (c) put them in the waiting room of my counselling office.

After renewing my Chatelaine magazine subscription last year I received a letter from them informing me that although I will not be getting any of my money back, they will now only be publishing it in print 6x a year. For compensation they sent me an ugly fuschia scarf. I don't wear scarves and I hate the colour fuschia! Then I received no magazines for almost an entire year, leading me to think I was never going to receive any. That was the final straw!

Sometimes, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

I signed up for Texture, the app that allows you access to a multitude of magazines online. Its only $9.99 a month, which is far less per year than what I was paying for just a few print subscriptions!

Though I still prefer reading print, I have to say, I am really enjoying my Texture subscription. It sucks down the power on my old Ipad super quickly, but I never run out of stuff to read, which is awesome. I am still getting used to reading off my Ipad while on the subway or bus, and trying not to feel self-conscious about looking like I am a digital junky like the rest of the world, but at least I am not reading off my phone. That's where I draw the line!

The other nice thing is that you get access to your account from 5 different devices so Adam and the girls have downloaded the app and are enjoying it too.

While I am pretty happy with Texture, don't even talk to me about reading books on a device, to me, that is just sacrilege!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Nerium International IllumaBoost Brightening & Shield: Product Review


You know I hate heat so usually avoid the sun, but the summers here are so brutal, you can hardly be outside for minutes without feeling like a roasted chicken (though with all the rain this year we got off thankfully easy...unfortunately, fall so far has felt more like summer 😠). Not only do I hate heat, but I am concerned about skin cancer, so I do everything possible to avoid skin damage from the sun. Even in winter I always have sunblock on my face. Three of my close friends have been diagnosed with basal cell carcinomas, and a woman I went to highschool with has had melanoma twice!!

I am also prone to getting uneven skin tone which can be exacerbated by the sun and UV damage. So I was thrilled to receive Nerium International IllumaBoostTM Brightening & Shield to try.

The product:

  • Works to brighten the skin’s appearance and help even skin tone
  • Helps shield the skin from environmental stressors
  • Helps plump and moisturize the skin
  • Fights the appearance of discoloration, uneven skin tone and skin damage caused by air pollution
  • Can be mixed with: Age-Defying Night and Day Creams, foundation or sunscreen
  • Is ideal for all skin types (dermatologist tested)

The key ingredients are:

Phytolumina
A proprietary blend of plant-based ingredients, alpinia officinarum root extract, physalis pubescens fruit juice and bidens pilosa extract, which helps skin look radiant and brighter.

Niacinamide
A well-known ingredient for more even-toned looking skin.

Kombucha Ferment
A unique ingredient derived from fermented tea that offers a host of skin benefits.

Green Tea
A well-known antioxidant that guards against environmental damage.

Glycerin
Derived from lipids, this skin humectant absorbs moisture and supports skins natural barrier.

Hydrolized Sodium Hyaluronate
Naturally present in the skin, it binds water to the skin for volume and firmness.

Alteromonas Ferment Extract
Helps shield skin from environmental stressors.

Is there research proving this product's efficacy? No, nor is there any for most non-prescription products. The only thing I can tell you is that my skin tone does seem more even than it does by the end of every summer, and even more importantly, I did not have any adverse reaction to it. I have super sensitive skin so products with a lot of active ingredients can often irritate it. The company did do its own 4-week consumer study, which they say upheld their claims.

Do I recommend IllumaBoostTM Brightening &Shield? Hey, if you're cool paying a premium for skin care products and you are concerned about environmental/UV damage to your skin, go for it! Just don't forget the sunblock!

Disclosure: The company sent me the product to try but all opinions on this blog are my own.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Well Nourished: Book Review


The causes of obesity are numerous. They also differ from person to person. Contributing factors include poverty, mental or physical illness, parents (their weight status, genetics, behaviour modelling, what they fed you, etc.), and, of course, lifestyle.

Another contributing factor is culture. You've heard me say it before, we live in an obesigenic culture (i.e. is encourages obesity). How does it do so? Here are a few ways:

1. Abundance of high calorie, highly processed food available 24/7, that is cheaper than healthier food;
2. Mechanization of physical tasks (you don't have to churn your own ice cream now, you just open the freezer);
3. Social cues encouraging us to consume (advertising, social pressure, etc.)
4. Focus on productivity/consumption/materialism at the expense of spiritual/emotional/psychological fulfillment
5. Fat phobia

Numbers 4 and 5 are what I believe fuels one cause of being overweight for a lot of people: emotional eating.

Our culture has created widespread depression and anxiety among even the privileged classes. Being the consumerist society we are, people are sold a bill of goods about what they should have/who they should be/what they should be doing, however, even if people achieve it all, they are left feeling empty. To fill the void, they turn to consumables such as alcohol, drugs, and FOOD and numb their negative emotions. Food, of course, has less stigma than the others, but is harder to control, because you can't abstain from eating. Nor can you really ever get away from food or encouragement to eat.

Our veneration of fat is an integral part of the vicious cycle people get stuck in with emotional eating. While food, in and of itself, isn't shameful, being fat certainly is! We treat overweight people terribly! Fat discrimination is rampant. Unfortunately, this means that individuals who are emotional eaters start to develop extreme guilt, shame and anxiety over it, especially if it contributes to weight gain (which is usually does!).

But one of the biggest things that stands in the emotional eater's way of getting control of it is the self-sabotage. Everyone wants and needs unconditional acceptance from loved ones. We don't want to feel we have to look a certain way to get it. So I find many of my clients develop so much anger and resentment over feeling shamed by their weight, that they continue the behaviour spitefully, almost out of rebellion. Unfortunately, they ultimately hurt themselves the most. I often wonder whether emotional eating would be as much of a problem if we lived in a culture of size acceptance. Unfortunately, I don't think we will ever know the answer to that!

The good news is, if you struggle with emotional eating, I have a book for you!  Well Nourished, was written by Andrea Lieberstein, a dietitian and mindfulness eating instructor, among other things, who resides in California (where else?).

The book is like a guide to develop nourishment within the realms that are relevant to our general sense of well-being and commitment. A dearth of these things is what I believe are huge contributors to emotional eating, She includes:

  • Physical nourishment
  • Emotional nourishment
  • Psychological nourishment
  • Social nourishment
  • Intellectual nourishment
  • Creative nourishment
  • Spiritual nourishment
  • Worldly nourishment
Now, if you are the scientific type, and this all sounds a bit to "energy and crystals" for you, fear not! What I love most about this book is that it doesn't just tell you what may be causing your emotional eating, it provides exercises and instructions for overcoming it by maximizing your nourishment in the defined areas.

I think this is a great book and I will definitely be recommending it to my emotional eating clients!

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




Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy New (School) Year!


Its almost a cliche to say, but, man did summer ever fly by!

My counselling practice was pretty busy all summer, which is fantastic, but also means I just cannot devote more time to posting here 😢😢

But I really can't complain, its been good. The girls were in camp almost the entire time. Mostly Harbourfront Kids Camp, but Little A also did a week of sleepaway camp, and loved it. She wants to go for a month next year. We gotta start saving now!! Both girls also went to Kingston and stayed with my parents last week. So last week was really the summer holiday for Adam and I. No driving the girls anywhere, no preparing food for them, no listening to them fighting...it was glorious!

Tomorrow Big A starts grade 6 and Little a starts grade 3. I am probably more nervous than they are. There will be more homework, and so many extracurriculars, that just thinking about coordinating everyone's schedules makes my head hurt! Big A insisted on having us sign her up for 4 different dance classes this year. Little A is doing gymnastics again, they both do swimming and Hebrew school too. Big A also joins virtually every school sports team and club.

Adam's work also gets crazy between now and the Christmas holidays, so I suspect somewhere around November we will all likely lose our minds. Then we'll go to Florida over the holidays.

Even more exciting is Adam and I finally booked our trip to Israel for February. This airplane hater is going to have to drug myself to sleep for the flight. I am already having nightmares about it. Nevertheless, I am excited. And no, we are not bringing the kids.

My 43rd birthday is coming up. Not a major milestone, and not a nice even number either. But the only alternative to aging for humans is not a good one, so I will take it. I am also grateful to be strong and healthy. Really strong. I can kick ass! I also feel like I have slipped into a more peaceful state of mind. I have finally been able to let go of a lot of the nagging woulda, shoulda, coulda, negative self-talk that used to consume me. That, I think, is the advantage of aging...the wisdom that comes with it!

So yay, for a new school year, another birthday and waking up each day to a new opportunity for health and happiness!