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Showing posts from May, 2015


Babies are a topic of discussion frequently in my life.  This shouldn't be surprising since at least 80% of my counselling practice clients are infertility/ART patients.

While I am admittedly obsessed with babies, this wasn't always the case.  As a kid I loved them, but then through my 20s I could not have had less interest in babies.  At 30 I decided I was ready to have my own babies, but even then, I wasn't particularly interested in other people's babies.

Now that my kids are bigger (although at 6, Little A is still cuddly and squishy to me!), I have developed an absolute baby obsession. I have finally become one of those people who wants to hold every baby and cuddle and squeeze and kiss them.  Its kind of weird!

Don't get me wrong, I DON'T WANT ANY MORE BABIES OF MY OWN!  But man, I've gone from a cat-obsessed woman to a baby-obsessed woman.  When people post baby pics on Facebook, I'm dying.  And I do sometimes miss the baby cuddles, giggles, etc…

Reprogram Your Life: Book Review

Recently I was sent Reprogram Your Life: Bioscience for a Healthier You, by Dr. Steven Willey, MD. What struck me first was just how big the book is.  The hard cover is 293 pages, including the index.  But really, if you are going to reprogram your life, you have to cover a lot of ground.  And cover a lot of ground this book does.

Unlike many of the health books I review that focus exclusively on one thing (fitness, or diet, or stress management, etc.), this one covers it all, and does it very well.

That being said, if you are starting from ground zero, knowing nothing about health and wellness, than I advise you to take your time with this book so you have time to digest it all and not become overwhelmed.  There is a fair amount of science in it, so if you are not interested in the hows or whys, you will probably be tempted to skim parts of it.  But honestly, it seems to me we should all be aware of how our bodies work and the effect our lifestyle choices have on our bodies, don'…

The Healthy Living Exchange in Support of Sick Kids Hospital

Pamper your body, mind and soul while helping the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto!  Wellness spa, Soul 7 is hosting a Healthy Living Exchange on June 6th from 10am to 6pm. 

Location: 17 Yorkville Avenue, Suite 100.

Events & Activities: Products and services focusing on healthy living, complementary therapies, optimal nutrition, healthy aging, and fitness will be showcased.

Admission is FREE with any donation to the Hospital for Sick Children!

Personally, I can't wait to check out this fantastic event.  For more info, click here.

Mighty Greens Superfood Blend: Product Review

A while back I reviewed a couple of products sent to me by Pines, a company that is dedicated to selling top quality superfoods.  I love throwing a spoonful of their wheatgrass powder or beet juice powder into a recipe and knowing me and my family are getting an awesome nutrition boost.  So I was thrilled when they sent me a sample of their Mighty Greens Superfood Blend and asked me to come up with a recipe idea with it.

This product has just 30 calories in a tablespoon along with 3 grams of fibre, 2 grams of protein and a butt-load of vitamins and minerals. It is organic, non-GMO, gluten-free and raw.  If you are a smoothie person, this is the perfect addition to throw into your blender.  You could also use it in salad dressings, but knowing my crowd, I decided to concoct a dessert with it.  I can't tell you how quickly these disappeared, and my poor kids have no clue just how healthy these treats are! I think this recipe is a definite keeper.  Hop on over to my website to check…

Page Turners

I have a few more books to recommend, thanks to my book club.  Last month we did The Orphan Train, which was really good.

I am just amazed that such a significant piece of American history is so unknown!  Definitely worth the read.

Even more awesome though, is this book we read for our next meeting, All the Light We Cannot See:

Honestly, its just a coincidence that so far we seem to be choosing historical novels, but I don't mind.  I am particularly obsessed with World War II history and fiction set during the war.  Most of the stuff I've read is related to the Holocaust and written from the perspective of victims.  This book is from the perspective of Europeans caught up in the war - 2 youth - one German, one French.  Although its entirely fictional, it did still introduce various aspects of the war experience, and places, that I wasn't previously aware of.  Anyways, even if you aren't interested in the history, this is such an amazing book, you definitely have to rea…

You are Not Lazy!

Most people (except my husband who is super-human) avoid certain activities because, they tell themselves and others, they are lazy.

What does it mean to be lazy? Laziness, according to Wikipedia is:

...a disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to do so. It is often used as a pejorative; related terms for a person seen to be lazy include couch potato, slacker, and bludger.

There is no doubt that laziness has negative connotations that are deeply ingrained in our culture.  It is, after all, one of the 7 deadly sins according to the Catholic tradition.  And in our competitive, capitalist society, we are obsessed with 'doing' as opposed to just 'being'. Most of us feel guilt if we are not constantly busy and being productive.

In any case, I often find with my clients that they attribute their refusal to adopt healthy living habits, such as exercise or cooking meals, to laziness, which they seem to assume is a stable personality trait.  Unfortunat…

CLIF Organic Trail Mix Bars: Product Review

Adam is a classic nosher. He loves to nibble all day, especially when he is at the office.  He tries to eat as healthy as possible and indulge his sweet cravings with things that are somewhat nutritious.  So when a generous selection of CLIF's new Organic Trail Mix Bars were sent to us, I knew he was the one to give them a try.  That being said, the kids whined about not being able to get in on the fun.  But Adam usually keeps several boxes of snack bars handy at his desk, so he could compare them to the others he usually buys.

We got one of each of their dark chocolate varieties, as well as a coconut almond peanut flavour.  Adam found them filling, thanks to the fibre, and taste-wise, he liked the dark chocolate cherry almond kind best, as he found it sweetest (he has a big sweet tooth).  His only complaint is that they are pretty hard when cold, but when warm they get sticky (he hates getting his fingers sticky when working on the computer).

Basically, if you are looking for a …

Healthy Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

Little A calls this a Wedgie Salad, ha ha! 

I can't remember the last time I ever bought iceberg lettuce, but its so refreshing I had a craving.  Its not something I typically go out of my way to eat because its not as nutritious as a lot of other veggies.  But since I probably eat more cruciferous and leafy green vegetables than most humans on this planet (or so I am told), I think I can afford to eat it once and a while.  While iceberg lettuce might be light, this is a very satisfying, hearty salad that you can have as a main course.  While it tastes rich and decadent, its actually light on calories and oil-free.  Its also got lots of protein power and a little nutrition boost from the grape tomatoes.  The dressing is incredibly flavourful and zingy, I think I'm in love with it.  This is a perfect dish for a hot day, served either as a first course or your main.

Wedge Salad

1 iceberg lettuce, outer leaves and core removed, cut into 4 wedges
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved

End of an Era

Why hello...did we miss Monday?  Oh yeah, it was a long its only a 4 day week.  Don't you love that?  We had an awesome 3 days off that were both productive and fun.  I worked Saturday and then while Little A was on a playdate the rest of us trekked up to a fitness equipment store so Adam could choose a spin bike.  Yep, we're now going to have one at home!  More about that later.  Sunday after my spin class at the JCC we did a family trip to Costco.  Yes, going to Costco is an outing for us!  We all love it there, but man, it was totally nuts there.  Then we came home and cleaned up the front and back yard.  I hate doing it, but it had to be done.  I weeded the front, which was covered in dandelions, weeded the back garden, which really has nothing growing in it anymore since every winter more and more of our raspberry bushes seem to die, we raked leaves, and put out the old play house, basketball net and kiddie lawn chair onto the front in hopes that folks would…

Finding the Sun through the Clouds

Wow man, it is so easy to look around at the tragedy and heartache that occurs everyday (train crashes and earthquakes this week!), and conclude that the world is one big awful place.

As a counsellor, its sometimes easy for me start feeling that way too.  I hear so many stories about the unbelievable loss, abuse, and disappointments people face and I sometimes start to feel defeated.  Just last week I had a couple in their 40s who's only child, a 15-year-old daughter, had recently been killed in a tragic accident.  As the wife sobbed, I could see how deep her pain is.  I could only imagine.  Something happening to one of my kids is by far the worst thing I can think of.  I would rather die right this minute.  The fact that people are actually able to even put one foot in front of the other and keep breathing after such as loss is amazing.  Also, last week a mother (who I didn't know personally) in our community, who's kids used to go to my kids' school, passed away a…

House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodles: Product Review

As you know, I am a huge fan of shirataki noodles.  In fact, it was my discovery of shirataki noodles that led to my discovery of the konjac plant, and all the other things you can do with the flour make from it, which led me to start my new business!

That being said, I almost exclusively eat the Asian style ones made only from konjac flour, and rarely eat the Italian/American style ones made with tofu.  I just haven't had great luck with them, partly because I have yet to create a recipe that I really love.  Nevertheless, when I was offered samples of House Foods' version, I decided to give them a shot.

Not only was I quite impressed with them, I came up with a pretty awesome recipe that may just get added into the regular rotation!

So, if you haven't tried shirataki noodles yet, here is why you should:

Compared with regular grain or starch noodles, they are significantly lower in calories and carbs (and calorie and carb-free if you go with the konjac flour only kind!);Sh…

WIAW: My Lat is a Pain in the Butt

This is a post about yummy things (Thank you Peas & Crayons for hosting another WIAW), but I can't help but bitch about my latissimus dorsi muscle.  I pulled it somehow (as usual I don't know exactly how I hurt myself), and its been incredibly annoying.  The lat is a major muscle in the mid back, in case you didn't know, and pulling it hurts like all get out, and is very inconvenient.  Because of where its located and where it attaches, etc., I found it impossible not to trigger the pain when it was at its worst...even inhaling hurt.  Not to mention I couldn't do my usual workouts.  On Sunday, my only gym day where I lift heavy weights and use all the big equipment we don't have at home before teaching my spinning class, I was useless.  Even holding dumbbells in the opposite hand pulled the muscle so lower body work was tough too.  I ended up only being able to do circuits of light nautilus, and had to skip a whole bunch of back and chest machines that I would …

Promoting a Healthy Body Image in Our Daughters

Image source

As a woman, a therapist and a mom of two girls, I am intensely aware of how important a role I have in helping my kids develop a healthy body image.  My own mother didn't do a great job.  She said some pretty stupid things, likely because her own mother was very critical of weight and appearance.  She also openly dieted and tried to lose weight herself my entire childhood, which is modelling unhealthy behaviour for children.  I also got pressure from my grandmother who I remember saying to me many times, "You don't want to be fat when you grow up."  Nevertheless, I have many clients who have experienced far worse from their parents, comments about weight and appearance that can really be classified as emotional abuse.  And the effects of these experiences can last forever.

I always resolved to do a better job with my own children in this regard, but I have to admit its tough. Because of my focus on health and nutrition, I have to bite my tongue all the t…

Acid Trip: Health Benefits of Vinegar

Photo source
If you have been following this blog for a while and pay attention to the recipes, than you know I am a heavy user of vinegars in my cooking.

Vinegar has to be one of my favorite condiments.  There are so many types of vinegar, it adds so much flavour, and is essentially calorie, fat and sodium free!  Vinegar also has positive effects on blood sugar, some varieties contain anti-oxidants, and there is some evidence it may even have anti-carcinogenic properties.  Oh, and it also makes a great non-toxic cleaner for around your house.

Here is a general guide how to use different kinds of vinegar (provided by Whole Foods):

Asian vinegar: While early Westerners were fussing over sour wine, the Chinese and Japanese were perfecting the art of making vinegar from alcohol created from whole grains. Choices in this category—which includes rice and plum vinegars—range from quite savory to mild and sweet so experiment with using them in salad dressings, sauces, or as condiments on fish,…

Treat a Mom (With Cancer) this Mother's Day!

Growing up we never celebrated Mother's Day or Father's Day as my parents hate maudlin stuff and they just saw these holidays as ploys by card and candy companies to make more money.

In contrast, they have always been a big deal in Adam's family.  Given the struggles we had to have our children, I happily embraced the whole celebrating parenthood once I was a parent.  Also, Adam has always spoiled me rotten on Mother's Day by giving me a shopping spree.  Who can pass that up?

That being said, it really shouldn't be about the material stuff since family is about not about that stuff.  Family is about loving, caring, giving and nurturing.  So when the Nanny Angel Network asked if I would share this post for them today, I wholeheartedly agreed.

In case you missed my posts about them last year, here is some info about the Nanny Angel Network (NAN):

The Nanny Angel Network (NAN) is a registered charity and the only organization of its kind in Canada to provide free in-ho…

No Time For Diets: Book Review

Well, this book review will be brief.  Not just because the book is short, but because I have very little to say about it.  You know, as your mother always said, "If you don't have anything nice to say..."

No Time for Diets is written by a registered dietician in the U.S. with many years of experience, so I had hope, when it was sent to me for review, that it would be a sensible guide for people looking to lose and manage their weight in a healthy way.

The book is self published by author, L. Raynes, and while I have no problem with self-publishing, I think a manuscript being sold on Amazon and other places, should at least be edited by someone who knows what they're doing!  Not only is the book repetitive (like she could have fit all the unique relevant points into 9 rather than 129 pages), but there are numerous grammatical errors and typos.  Not cool!

The title also doesn't seem to really represent what the book is about...although its really tough to know wha…

Boston Strong!

Adam and I had the best time in Boston last weekend and it was the perfect balance of exploration and activity, and just self-indulgent relaxation.

In the past, when we would visit cities, I would schedule us to the max.  I always worried that I would never have a chance to get back there again, so I would try to pack in as many sites and experiences as possible.  While it was always fun, it also left us drained...particularly the time we went to San Francisco and went everywhere (over those darn hills!) by foot.  We were absolutely spent when we got home, which made it not at all a physical or mental break.  Now in my old age state of maturity and wisdom, I realize there is value in just taking it easy when on holiday.  So that is just what we did!

We stayed at the lovely Revere Hotel, which had great service and facilities (I was most impressed with their toiletries  - 2 types of shampoo, conditioner and body wash to choose from, along with hand soap and hand lotion - all in big bo…

Malaysian Curried Almonds

I'm back!

Adam and I had a little getaway in Boston.  It was a belated 40th birthday present to me.

Why Boston?  Because I am obsessed with exploring cities and the more historic, the better (and we can't afford Europe or anywhere that far).  Adam was born in Boston and has been there a bunch of times, but me, never.  My grandparents had a summer home in the Berkshires, but I never wanted to drive into the city because I used to get uber car sick.

I'll describe our trip tomorrow, but lets just say, a little R&R was exactly what we both needed.  We both probably slept more in the 3 nights we were there, than we usually do in a whole week!

Now on to a little spicy snack recipe...

Malaysian curry powder is both sweet and spicy, and highly aromatic.  I love it.  One of the best things about Toronto is the diversity of food that is available.  If you have the time to go looking, you can find just about anything.  I get my Malaysian curry spice blend from House of Spice, he…