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Showing posts from July, 2016

The Coles Notes on Life

I haven't had a chance to write any personal posts in a while. I still don't have time to write one, so here is what's up in my world, point form version:

1. My practice is going well and I just started developing a collaboration with a women's health clinic that will utilize my psychotherapy skills as well as my fitness background.  Yay!

2. The children are making have made me crazy. They fight with each other constantly. I should buy them both boxing gloves and let them duke it out.

3. I just found out that my root canaled tooth is infected and will either have to be (a) re-root-canaled, or (b) extracted. F#CK!

4. We are about to start renos on our home.  The kitchen will be overhauled, the living/dining room re-furnished, re-painted and just entirely re-decorated.  The basement is being totally redone so that Adam's study will become a proper guest room, which we don't have right now, and the rec room/gym space will be made more functional (rubber gym floo…

Thai Mango & Tofu Salad

Happy Hump Day! We've got at least a week more of this absurdly hot, humid weather.  Definitely a good time for eating salad.  This recipe is one you have to try.

If you think salad is boring, this one will change your mind. It is so flavourful and delicious, your taste buds will dance.

Since I am not vegan, I used fish sauce in the dressing to provide that unique, umami flavour, but if you are vegan, substitute Asian plum vinegar for the fish sauce and it will still me awesome.

Thai Mango and Tofu Salad

Organic mixed greens (as much as you want), and/or rainbow slaw
1 cucumber, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced (I had none so I used grape tomatoes)
1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed mango chunks
A few handfuls fresh cilantro, chopped
1 350g block extra firm tofu, cubed


2-3 tbsp. peanut butter
1/4 cup fish sauce or plum vinegar
1/2 cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
Crushed chili flakes, to taste (optional)

Toss salad ingredients together in large serving bowl.  Whisk t…

The Best Grain-Free Family Meals on the Planet: Book Review

One of the many food groups often demonized by self-proclaimed health experts are grains.  The Paleos eschew them as do a lot of low-carb, high fat diet advocates.

Its bullshit.  I am not saying everyone should eat tons of grains.  As people age, they need fewer carbs and more protein to help prevent sarcopenia (muscle loss), and diabetics have to limit their carb intake, from not just grains, but all sources of carbs.   But it is not true that they are inherently bad for humans.  There are also huge differences between whole grains and the refined grains most North Americans eat. Also, its not a guaranteed way to lose weight as many grain-free products contain large quantities of high calorie nut and coconut products.

In any case, over the last several years I have gradually found myself eating much less grains and much more protein.  Its just what I crave.  I don't see myself ever giving up oats, however, I'm not a huge bread lover, and to my surprise, I've pretty much …

Bob's Super Smooth Vodka: Product Review

There is something I have no doubts about: Liquor and beer stores will never go out of business.  People love drinking alcohol.

I hope I don't have to tell you the social toll all this drinking takes? Oh, if I had a dime for every client I've seen who's life was practically ruined by drinking or by a loved one's drinking.

Yet, our society encourages drinking at every opportunity. Marijuana, oh no, stay away, but here, have another drink!

I think it hurt more than it helped when researchers came out and told us wine has health benefits.  By the way, those benefits were over-stated.  Somehow most folks are still completely oblivious to the fact that alcohol consumption is strongly linked with a whole host of cancers.

As I've said before, alcohol should be consumed in moderation and considered a 'treat'. 

Personally, I am not a big fan of wine, but I do love beer (good, craft beer!) and cider.  I am not a hard liquor drinker.  I don't really like how its…

Cheezy Hummus Collard Wrap

I am not a big bread person.  I know some people could live off it, but it doesn't do much for me.  I'd much rather get my carbs from things like oats, squash and sweet potatoes.  I do eat bread, but just not much of it compared to the SAD (Standard American Diet).  And definitely not any white bread.  I don't even understand why people like it. Blech!  For this reason alone, I love the idea of collard or lettuce wraps.  The focus can really be on the fillings.  Then I got thinking...Why not use a tastier carb and stuff it into the leaves as part of the wrap?  This was the epiphany I had one day while dreaming up lunch ideas for myself.  And that is how this scrumptious wrap was born.

The hummus recipe alone, is a real winner, so if you aren't into the collard wrap idea, at least try the hummus!  Its so yummy.  Combined with all the other ingredients, there is a symphony of flavours and textures: sweet, salty, tangy, creamy, crunchy...oh good! But, hey, if yo…

Time to Step it up!

I started doing group fitness classes in 9th grade.  Back then it was called aerobics.  So that was maybe 1988.  About a year later, step aerobics came on the scene.  For me, it was love at first step!

In 12th grade when I became certified as a fitness instructor, it was step that I was most keen on teaching.

Though I ended up teaching classes of all kinds over the years (muscle conditioning, boot camp, aerobics, spinning, stretch, etc.), step always remained my favorite. 

The step work in the Cathe DVDs I have (and, by the way, I still love these workouts!!), have reignited my obsession.  Its such a good workout, and its so much fun!! I don't understand why step has fallen out of fashion in the fitness world.  Just remember, the latest trends may be most current but that doesn't mean they're better than past trends.

I thought of trying some of Cathe's straight step workouts, but they looked really choreographed and is not what I'm looking for. My classes never h…

Explore Asian Ready-to-Heat Meals

Good morning and happy Friday!

If, like me, you love to peruse health food stores any chance you get, than you likely have seen, if not tried Explore Asian's line of bean pastas.

I used to buy them frequently until suddenly they got super expensive.  Like, WTF? They seriously seemed to double in price over night!

Anyways, they're awesome!  They're vegan, organic and gluten-free and have a wonderful firm texture.  I adore them.

Recently my health food store had a sale on their ready-to-heat line of noodle packs.  I'd never seen them before, but having been a fan of Tasty Bite meals as a grad student, I am not above trying this kind of thing.  In fact, I've been super busy lately and often in need of a meal I can prepare quickly or heat up at the office and these are perfect.

The noodles are precooked and mixed with a sauce, but junk-free.  The ingredient list is pretty clean.  I bought the soybean noodles with sundried tomato sauce, and though cane sugar is on the …

The Best Homemade Vegan Cheese & Ice Cream Recipes: Book Review

As I've made clear many times, I eat all food groups.  I'm not vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free or low carb. The only things I limit as much as possible are refined carbs, sugar and red meat.

Nevertheless, I am obsessed with vegan cheese.  Why? For one, I like them (I don't mean Daiya, which is just oils and starches, I mean like ones made from nuts or homemade substitutes). I think nutritional yeast is amazing.  In addition, since I have a husband who is both lactose intolerant and who adheres to a Kosher-style diet which means no dairy and meat products together, they come in handy when I'm cooking for us.

I've made all sorts of vegan cheese sauces and spreads, but have always wanted to try making hard vegan cheeses that can be sliced.  I haven't tried until recently because it just seems intimidating.  I finally gave it a shot but, instead, ended up with a thick spread (still yummy, but not what I was going for).

So when I was offered the chance t…


As expected the summer here in Toronto is annoying the shit out of me. Hot humid, weather. Crowds. Endless traffic.  Asshole drivers (22 pedestrians and cyclists were hit last week). The usual chaos created by our pathetic transit system.

Even being child-free last week (the girls were with my parents, and though Little A is home, Big A is there for another week), was hard to appreciate given the exhaustion and frustrations of daily life.  Adam and I ended up working more than normal and not taking any time off to do anything special. 

But this weekend was more than made up for it all.  I got to see 2 of my oldest and best friends!Because good friends are better than just about anything else.

Friday, Em, who I have known since kindergarten, came by, because she was in visiting family.  She lives in Vancouver so we only see each other about once a year.

Saturday, My friend Nettles (we have nicknames for each other) came by, because she is visiting from Minnesota.  I haven't seen…

Litehouse Guacamole Herb Blend

Whether you are into just gourmet cooking or healthy cooking, if you know what you're doing than you know how important herbs and spices are in the kitchen.  Using salt, fat and sugar, like food manufacturers do, only gets you so far.  If you are limiting your intake of the bad stuff, than the use of seasonings is even more important. 

As someone who loves big, bold flavours, I have always been a heavy user of herbs and spices.  Fresh herbs are indispensable but not always practical, so I make sure to have lots of dried ones on hand.  Quality really matters since old, stale ground herbs and spices will have little flavour or aroma.

Litehouse has a line of herbs and seasoning blends where you can actually identify the ingredients, like their Guacamole Herb Blend. In this case the ingredients include: Red Onions, Cilantro, Lemon Peel, Tomato, Red Chili, Garlic, Cumin.

Litehouse generously sent me 2 glass bottles of this new variety, which is non-GMO, and sodium- and gluten-free.  I…

Buckwheat Chia Pizza Crust

I don't get why people tend to be so obsessed with bread.

Ask anyone what their dietary weaknesses are and they are bound to mention bread of some kind. 

Now, bread isn't inherently unhealthy, but most people don't crave whole grain, sprouted bread.  They lust after soft, squishy white bread, buttery croissants, or crusty baguettes. 

Personally, bread just doesn't do it for me.  When I do eat it, I usually choose a very think, whole grain type in the form of pita, wrap or flat bread, so its presence is minimized and the toppings/fillings are what is most prominent. 

In any case, even for a bread lover, it seems silly nowadays to choose white varieties, when there are so many healthier and delicious types of bread to choose.  Even chain pizzerias offer whole grain crusts, which are a better option than the standard white.  Nevertheless, I always prefer to make everything homemade, including pizza.

I am always experimenting with pizza crust recipes, and this one is d…

FabUplus Magazine: Review

I haven't been shy about sharing my disdain for fashion magazines.  I think they are absurd.  Besides showcasing haute couture that, to me, is ridiculous (there is a point where art should not be worn on the body), and elitest (how many people can afford this stuff, really?), they also portray a very narrow standard of beauty for women.  Tall. Skinny. Mostly Caucasian. Oh, and young, as most of the models are like 14!

I do buy health/fitness magazines on occasion and have several subscriptions to Canadian lifestyle magazines.  But even these ones, despite articles about how to boost your health and self-esteem, tend to be extremely hypocritical because all the advertisements and fashion/beauty spreads contain all the same models as the fashion mags. 

It enrages me, however, I can't imagine how much it must enrage plus sized women who are almost non-existent in these magazines.  Nor are their needs often considered.  Many of the clothing lines may not have their size, nor, I …

I am Canadian!

Happy birthday to a most awesome country!

I renounced my U.S. citizenship a few years ago and, at the time, was somewhat ambivalent about it.

Well I am now very grateful I did.

Since Canada got rid of Stephen Harper and Toronto got rid of Rob Ford (RIP), Canada, at least in this area, has a renewed sense of optimism.  There is a greater sense of empathy, openness and tolerance, qualities Canada has always been known for, though we didn't live up to expectations and seemed to be moving in the opposite direction.

I am happy to say I have never been more proud to be a Canadian!

Yay to LGBTQ rights! Yay to strict gun laws! Yay to access to abortion! Yay to universal health care!

Yay to a country that produces some of the finest novelists, bands and musicians, actors and comedians. Oh, and yay to the best beer and maple syrup in the world!!