Canadians are probably all aware of this, but for those of you International readers, I will share that there was a mass shooting here in Toronto last week. It happened on a Sunday at 1030pm, when many folks were out enjoying a warm summer evening. It also happened 2 blocks from my brother's house.
Many people were injured, some very seriously, and 2 were killed including an 18-year-old woman, and 10-year-old girl.
Not only the city, but I think the whole country is shocked, especially after the van attack that left many dead here just last April.
So when I was asked to post information about this yoga class taking place tomorrow in honor of the victims of the shooting, I was happy to oblige. If you live in the city, do think of dropping in.
A result of this incident, Canada is thinking of banning the sale of hand guns altogether. Maybe some day the country down south will do the same (yeah right!).
Monday, July 30, 2018
Monday, July 23, 2018
They say that as you get older you get worse at regulating your body temperature. This is bad news for me, because my whole life I have been too hot most of the time. Now its out of control. Basically between April and November I am a sweaty mess. And yes, I live in Canada. We get freakin' hot, humid summers folks.
I have also found that what I eat makes a big different to how I feel in different seasons. I crave hearty, warming meals in the dead of winter (I do occasionally get cold too), and cool, refreshing foods in the summer. This salad is one of my favorites because it is light, hydrating, and satisfying. I am not a big melon fan, but I do like watermelon in salads. If you don't like tofu, you can use feta cheese, which is also amazing in this salad (along with kalamata olives!), but the tofu boosts the protein even more. If you can find it, use this Soyganic brand tofu. IT IS THE BOMB:
Besides how yummy and nutritious it is, this recipe is also quick and easy to make. You have to try it!
Watermelon, Cucumber and Smoked Tofu Salad
4 cups seedless watermelon, diced
1 English cucumber, sliced
1 box smoked tofu, diced
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Chili lime salt, to taste
Toss everything together. Eat.
Monday, July 16, 2018
I freakin' love honey. And as I've written about in past posts, I tend to be loyal to the honey I grew up with, produced on an apiary near my hometown. Its fantastic, and I've never found a honey as good!
But over the past few years I've heard all the talk about manuka honey and wondered what all the fuss is about. So I was happy to agree to sample some from Comvita.
Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand and comes from manuka trees. It is valued for its antimicrobial activity and unique flavour.
Comvita brand manuka honey has a UMF® license with the UMFHA (Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association). In addition, genuine UMF® Manuka Honey complies with all five of the following criteria:
1. UMF® is clearly stated on the front label
2. It is packed into jars and labelled in New Zealand
3. It is from a New Zealand company licensed by UMFHA to use the name UMF®
4. It has the UMF® licensee’s name on the front label
5. It has a rating of UMF® 5+ or more.
The UMF® trademark is a quality trademark that is internationally verified and recognised. It is backed by an industry quality standard, independent audits and a network of accredited laboratories around the world. You can be sure that you are buying the best quality Manuka honey and your rights as a consumer are protected.
The number rating (5+) represents three chemical markers that indicate the content of this honey to ensure purity and quality. This includes the key chemical markers DHA, MGO, and Leptosperin (antibacterial components). Apparently, manuka honey has more powerful antimicrobial activity than other types of honey. It is used to prevent infection topically to wounds, and for treatment of various infections and for ulcers. One study found that, despite manuka honey being a source of sugar, it also reduces plaque and gingivitis.
Though you should not give kids under 1 year honey of any kind, after that, its generally recommended as a remedy for sore throats and coughs for children, since they cannot take conventional medications. Conveniently, Big A has had a cold and when the jar from Comvita arrived, she'd lost her voice. She was happy to swallow a spoonful of the manuka honey to see if it would help soothe her throat. Almost immediately she felt some relief, and by the next morning, she had most of her voice back. This is an anecdotal experience, of course, but consistent with research on its therapeutic properties.
Of course, it can also be used as a sweetener in your tea, yogurt, on toast, etc.
In terms of how it tastes? Yummo!! Very different from my honey, but its amber in colour, and thick and creamy, with a really rich, floral flavour. I definitely like it a lot. Adam doesn't really like honey, and Big A doesn't use it that often, so it will probably be Little A and I who consume most of it.
Just keep in mind that while honey may have therapeutic properties, it is still pretty much sugar. It may not be safe for anyone with diabetes or blood sugar issues. It is also high in calories, at 60 calories a tbsp, so best to consume in moderation.
So do I recommend it? Absolutely!! Delicious and with some health benefits. But it doesn't come cheap. The company sells a kilogram of 5+ (it goes up to 20+ in strength) for $36 US (plus $38 shipping to Canada). I found it on Amazon.ca for us Canadians, but its even more expensive so better to buy direct.
Disclosure: The company sent us the product to test but all opinions on this blog are our own.
Monday, July 9, 2018
This past spring Big A turned 12 and Little A turned 9. Parenting is never easy, but I do feel its gotten less hard. Partially, its because the girls are older, and thankfully, within the past 6 months, they have FINALLY stopped fighting as much. They used to fight 24/7 and it drove Adam and I bonkers, so its a wonderful relief for us all. I have even witnessed moments of tenderness between them. Whoa, I thought I might never see the day!
Bit A graduated from Grade 6 and is heading to middle school in the fall, but she is very mature for her age, and as you can see, also looks much older than she is:
People often mistake her for being anywhere from 15-18! I guess its good that she also behaves like an older kid...sometimes! But she really has come a long way this past year. She is obsessed with music and sports (like her dad), does extremely well academically, and is a free thinker. She is confident but likes to spend time alone. If she isn't playing basketball with boys in the neighbourhood, she enjoys being alone in her room reading, or listening to music, or watching sports.
Little A is frighteningly smart, but also very mischievous and funny. She too is very confident, and a little too competitive. She doesn't want anything to do with boys, but loves hangin' with her girlfriends. Unlike her older sister, she is in no hurry to grow up. This makes her sometimes absolutely adorable, and sometimes completely infuriating - because she tries to get everyone to do everything for her always claiming she isn't big enough/old enough/doesn't know how, etc. But the little monkey makes my heart melt:
Both girls are involved in a million sports and activities and not afraid to try new things. This makes me so happy, because I was such a shy, insecure kid, and when I look back on my life, most of what I regret are missing out on opportunities because of it.
Little A left for sleepaway camp last week for the month. One of the many things I didn't do because of lack of confidence is go to sleepaway camp. Though that's not something I regret. Camp = bugs, no air conditioning, etc. Not my thing! But I am really proud of her for being so brave. The house is so quiet without her, I already miss her like crazy.
Some 80% or more of my counselling practice is working with infertility clients, so I am reminded on a daily basis how lucky I am go have these girls. I am so proud of how both of them are turning out. Not sure how a couple of goofballs like Adam and I pulled it off!
Monday, July 2, 2018
If you are a follower of everything Gwyneth Paltrow, (and really, who isn't?) than you have for sure heard of Tracy Anderson.
I'm joking, of course, if you are a GOOP fiend, you most likely don't read this blog as my penchant for empirical evidence clashes with her philosophy of claiming the most ridiculous things have health benefits (hello steaming your vagina???).
Anyways, Tracy Anderson is the celebrity fitness trainer that has her own *special* training method that will make you look like Gwyneth or Courtney Cox or any other waif-like Hollywood star (by the way, you actually need unusual genetics and a team of hired help to look like them). She also now has exclusive gyms around NYC, LA, The Hamptons, London, and Madrid. Oh, and the gyms also sell her branded nutrition bars and other merch.
I have heard much about the Tracy Anderson Method: high repetition, low weight kinda stuff so you don't 'bulk up' of course. Its not my kind of thing, I like lifting lots of heavy weight and I don't find it 'bulks' me. I often buy clothes in children's sizes if that tells you anything. But I have been very curious to try it, especially because I just like lots of variety in my workouts. It keeps things from getting boring. So when I saw this DVD: Tracy Anderson Targeted Boot Camp for like $9 on Amazon.ca, I couldn't resist.
So its 20 minutes of abs, 20 minutes of glutes, and 20 minutes of hip and thigh exercises, almost all on the mat. You can add ankle weights, and for the standing few exercise/stretches, you can use hand weights.
The thing I like is that the exercise aren't same old, same old. She kind of invents stuff so its unique. What I don't like is some of the moves are kind of awkward and hard to follow, and even with a folded over yoga mat, my knees didn't like having so much pressure on them for so long (next time I will try it with our thicker gym mat).
My impression is that these types of exercises are actually better for rehab type purposes than transforming you into looking like a Hollywood actor. If you have weakness in your core, glutes or hips, you may be able to improve performance, heal or prevent injuries by doing them regularly, but you are not going to drop 20 lbs and suddenly look like Courtney Cox.
I don't think I will be buying any more of her videos, but at least I now know what exactly Tracy Anderson's 'method' is.