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Monday, August 26, 2019

The 15 Minute Rule for Forgiveness: Book Review


There is probably not a human being on earth who has not felt angered, let down, betrayed, etc. by someone in your life. If we have been hurt, it is not always easy to forgive, yet holding a grudge can do just as much or more harm to ourselves as it does to the other person. Anger, as they say, is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to drop dead.

Forgiving ourselves for mistakes can be just as challenging. Many of my clients struggle to forgive themselves for past decisions or actions. Unfortunately, it can significantly impair our ability to move forward in life unless we can let go.

So I was definitely intrigued when I was sent The 15 Minute Rule for Forgiveness by UK author and counsellor, Caroline Buchanan.

The title is a bit misleading. I initially thought it was claiming forgiveness can happen in 15 minutes. Which like a 6-week 6 pack, seems like an unrealistic goal, but it really just refers to a series of 15 minute writing and mental exercises that she asserts can help you work towards forgiveness.

Though the book is only just over 100 pages, it is broken into 16 chapters, almost all containing a 15 minute task to complete related to the subject of that particular chapter. It is pretty easy to read and succinct and covers both the process of forgiving others and forgiving oneself.

There is some sound wisdom in this book, such as examining all the benefits of forgiveness as well as addressing your perceived drawbacks and fears around forgiveness in terms of what it will mean for you or others. Buchanan also looks into the role of guilt and shame in forgiveness and encourages readers to acknowledge and let go of these barriers. Buchanan includes lots of case studies to illustrate her points.

Buchanan spends a lot of time on self-awareness and self-acceptance which is definitely critical, not just in the realm of forgiveness, but of overall emotional health as well.

One thing that I don't love about the book is Buchanan's assertion that even if we are not religious, we need to believe in a higher power. I get the value in spirituality but this is inevitably going to turn some people off.

Overall, the book may be useful for some people but it's hard to know for sure. It is not based on research, but, I think, a theory and program Buchanan has developed herself. There is no data to back its efficacy. Nevertheless, forgiveness and how to achieve it is definitely an area that deserves more attention.

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




Monday, August 12, 2019

Summer 2019 Favorites

I hate summer. If you like summer and love hot weather than I hate you too. Ha, just kidding. But I truly don't understand you. It feels like pure torture to me. I am dreaming of fresh autumn air.

Anyways, here are a few things currently making this summer more bearable for me.

To up the intensity of my workouts, I often put extra weight on my body. I don't mean eating lots of donuts. I mean using ankle or wrist weights, a weighted vest, etc. But for cardio, none of those options is always appropriate. One day I realized what would be ideal is a weighted belt. But is there such a thing? Oh yes, you can get them on Amazon.
I have been thrilled with this one. I like that it stays in place when you are doing things like burpees (unlike weighted vests that tend to shift around). It's loaded with 10lbs but you can remove some of the weights to make it lighter. I find it pretty comfortable and you can even lie on your back to do abs without it getting in the way (again, something I can't do with my weighted vest).

Of course, harder workouts mean more sweat. Usually we use all natural, biodegradable, (etc., etc.) laundry detergent, but I decided extreme heat calls for extreme measures and picked up this Persil Odor Fighter detergent. It definitely does the trick.


It smells good but doesn't leave your garments with an overpowering perfume smell.

Another 'joy' of summer is having to slather one's entire body in sunblock. I found this Neutragena zinc cream for face and I love it. It's not greasy and allows you to put your make up on over top without is sliding off your face.

Even in summer I try never to go over my 2 drinks per week limit. Besides, no matter how good it tastes going down, alcohol does not actually hydrate you, but actually does the opposite. So I always make sure to guzzle lots of liquid afterwards to counter act that.  One of my recent discoveries is this cider. The store that sells it, The Wine Store, just happens to have a location in my building where my office is located. Kind of tempting.


Though it's sweet from the pineapple flavour, I love it because of the tropical feel which seems appropriate in this weather which is basically tropical (apparently tropical fish can now be found swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of Canada due to climate change for goodness sakes!).

So there you are, that's how I am getting through this freakin' awful summer, which is apparently the new normal thanks to global warming, which means I will eventually have to move to the arctic...

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Crunchy Top Blueberry Muffins


Today its back to work after a Canadian long weekend. For some, its an opportunity to get outside in summer, go to a cottage or take part in the many festivals and activities around Toronto. But I hate that shit. Cottages are full of bugs, and summer is too hot and Toronto is too crowded and difficult to get around to make going to any festivals or attractions worth it (or remotely enjoyable). And no, my name is not the Grinch.

So on the day off yesterday, I went to the office in the morning and stayed at home, inside, in the air conditioning all afternoon. But I was sort of productive. I convinced Big A to do the Tracy Anderson fitness video I have with me. We had a lot of fun making fun of it (her boobs don't move even though it doesn't even look like she is wearing a bra...silicone perhaps?). I also agreed to bake with Little A. She had been pestering me to make "Crunchy Top Blueberry Muffins", which are essentially cake-like blueberry muffins with sugar on top to make it crunchy. Of course I found a way to make them much healthier than the muffins you would find at the bakery or coffee shop, but you kind of have to use sugar for the top. I did happen to have some organic cane sugar in the house that I use for making DIY beauty products. It isn't course, which would work even better but it did the trick.

Both kids love these muffins, in fact, Little A said they are so good, I must share them on the blog. So here is the recipe.

Crunchy Top Blueberry Muffins

2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp hot water)
2 cups milk or non-dairy milk
1/2 cup baking stevia or granulated xylitol or erythritol
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups whole grain flour
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/4 cup or so course sugar for sprinkling on top

Stir together milk and vinegar and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flax eggs, stevia, milk mixture and vanilla.

Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk until combined. Add dry ingredients to wet and fold until completely mixed. Stir in blueberries. Pour batter into greased muffin cups. Sprinkle the top of each one evenly with sugar. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Let cool and remove from pan. Makes 16 muffins.