Archive for the ‘Edit-Storial By A Foodie’ Category

Family Table

April 22nd, 2015 4 Comments Tags: , , ,

I’ve been thinking about the importance of the family table lately, hmmmm. A lot is learned there believe it or not. It’s so simple really – it’s an assembly of furniture – table and chairs, usually an overhead light. But set that table, put on some background music and arrange the food, family and friends and you’ve created a dynamic place that’s wonderfully complex.

It’s a time to break bread, literally or figuratively. A time to focus on what’s important. Fill up on food and stories – old and new. Nothing like rehashing the old hash for the umteenth time…

I remember when I was young having dinner at my Grandma’s house on Sevenoaks. Everyone was always welcome. My Mom upheld that same tradition when on some Sunday’s we’d keep making more room, extending the table further for people who were welcome at our family table. My Ukrainian Connection enjoys the same pleasure with many memories at their family table. I love that table scene on The Grinch Who Stole Christmas because it reminds me of the many fond memories of family gatherings around our family table – now at my home, still at my Mom’s, Mother Dearest’s, sisters’ too and of course my Uncle Jay’s…

I was reflecting more deeply about what I have learned through the years:

  • Keep the peace at the family table
  • Share a piece at the family table
  • Make conversation at the family table
  • Try something new at the family table
  • Pitch in around the family table
  • Learn to listen at the family table
  • Show appreciation to the hostess and host at the family table
  • Welcome everyone around the family table

You know there’s a slew of literature touting the benefits of the “family meal” for kids, linking the following which is so compelling (adapted from Dietitians of Canada, Nutrition Month 2014 material):

  • Improved food choices
  • Better nutrient intakes
  • Healthier weights
  • Reduced risk for eating disorders
  • Better social adjustment; and,
  • Improved school performance

If your schedule has gotten the better of you where this family tradition has slipped away you might want to slip it right back into your routine. Make it a priority. I don’t know about you, but after a busy day I need to “find my center”. Well it’s easily found by breaking bread together around the family table.

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Treat Your Body Right, Build a Healthy Lifestyle

February 25th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

When you’re in good health it’s easy to take it for granted. That ability to take on the day like a bull fighter is great. When you’re totally on your game it’s a snap to add more “to-do’s” to your day because you have the time and zest to do them. You embrace your day effortlessly with vim and vigour.

Take a few weeks ago; I joined a special someone on a business trip to Geneva. My down time was spent taking long walks in the old town, along the serene Lake Geneva looking for Shania Twain, meandering near the United Nations building and more. Each evening was spent taking another stroll to and from dinner, not giving walking an extra few miles a second thought. We probably clocked 7 to 11 miles each day to’ing and fro’ing.

Coming home on the plane I sat near a fellow who coughed the entire flight. I was doomed. The next day I succumbed to this year’s flu bug, UG. I truly can’t remember the last time I was so sick. You know the score, high fever, achy muscles, a splitting head ache and left with little energy even to sip water. I turned from a free spirit who could walk 10 miles in a day to a shut in who was winded after shuffling 10 steps, what gives!

It got me thinking about what a blessing good health truly is. During one of my usual daily Twittersphere scans I read a brash tweet that read “I know what’s good for my health and choose NOT to do it.” Hmmmm, I thought how strange it is to deliberately do the opposite of what’s good for me. As I recuperated that week how good it felt to do things that made me feel better. As I tend to say, “don’t mess with the machine!

It was wonderful to regain my energy to bundle up and head out for a daily walk again. It felt great to unravel my mat to bend and stretch and reach for the stars. I also listened attentively to my body’s cues for the whole foods it craved to help whip my systems back into shape – one day I yearned for homemade apple sauce; another homemade soup; then to eggs and toast; to fresh berries and plain Greek-style yogurt. I knew I was really coming around when I pined for ribs!

Establishing a healthy lifestyle is the best gift you can give yourself. Having it helps you be the best you can absolutely be. Your body truly is your temple, so treat it right!

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One Plan to Rule them All?

January 20th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , ,

We all wish that there was one simple plan to guide us to nutritional nirvana, don’t we? If there were, we wouldn’t have a perplexing global obesity epidemic on our hands. You’ve heard that saying “viva la difference”. It’s true, we are all so different, so how can one plan be “it” for all of us. Simply put, it cannot.

1,000 Ways to Do the Same Thing Right – I have learned from counselling numerous families that there are a thousand ways to do the same thing right. When someone tells me they lost weight following Weight Watchers and someone else touts positive results by embracing Bob Greene’s regimen, I say “good for you!”. I believe the essence of success lies in owning whatever plan you choose and superimposing it into your everyday life. It may sound cliche, but it’s true.

The Other Holy Grail - The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) tracks key details of people who have lost weight successfully and kept it off for two years or more; as I tend to call them “successful losers”. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t go to Bernie Madoff for financial advise, but would listen to a successful guru like Arlene Dickinson, wouldn’t you? The NWCR found that 45% of their study sample lost weight on their own plan while 55% lost weight with the help of some type of program. As I said, there are many ways of doing the same thing right.

Own It! – If you want my wisdom on what could be helpful for you, be an active participant in whatever you decide to do. If you want an easy-peasy plan, start right where you are and try to move a few small steps for the better, such as trying the 3 x 3. It’s kind of like dietary Snakes and Ladders where you do your best to land on the ladders as you progress! For me, many years ago, I wasn’t willing to “give up” any of my favourite food, but I was willing to work on small behavioural changes bit by bit. Examples included slowing down my eating pace, focusing on my degree of fullness and only having one serving of each type of food at meals (if I wanted seconds and was still hungry I’d have more veggies). I also made a pact that I would commit to a slow weight loss. After all, what’s the rush!

Biology & Physiology Prevail! – The other important element is that whatever regimen you choose, it needs to be in alignment with basic biology. Some people like the sound of a new fangled plan because it’s novel, in vogue and has cache. The last time I checked the fundamentals of biology and physiology, they haven’t changed….. for thousands of years. I’ll break it to you, our bodies need all nutrients consistently to function optimally. Period. Some people gloss over this important fact, yet it is essential to our health and well being. Ensure your plan is balanced nutritionally whatever you choose. Follow the manual and don’t mess with the machine… your bodacious body!

Save the date? NOT! – Also, dash the notion of losing weight by a certain date, occasion or season. Stay in the moment and do the best you can do “just for today”. When we focus on all of our “todays” all of the tomorrow will fall into place sooner or later. If you need a breather and want to work on maintaining for a while, take the time and do this the last time… ever!

Follow the Loser! – Check out the National Weight Control Registry for more information and learn from those who have succeeded already. It’s a perfect place to start! If you want some reinforcements, check out my ebook Skinny On Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

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Go Team…. Team Darko’s Best Tournament Yet!

August 25th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Another year has come and gone. That special nephew of mine who’s part of Team Darko organized an even bigger and more successful fund raiser golf event in memory of their fave fab university friend Darko. They pulled up again in their party bus but it was all business as they raised more funds for the Miracle Network.

Mother Nature was threatening rain but lost her battle as the sun peered through the clouds and the butterflies fluttered about while everyone finished the final 9 holes. More teams than ever signed up, played and donated for such a worthy cause.

Can I be more proud of these twenty somethings who seem like they can run this event with their eyes closed and their hearts wide open? I don’t think so! It warmed my heart to see so many people take part from near and far. It was terrific to see these kids form families of their own as they grow in number as the circle of life turns. With these types taking charge our future is bright as they lead our society as our new “We Generation”.

Thanks Team Darko for inspiring me, yet again, this fine summer’s weekend. I salute you all. And remember “No giving up EVER!” DD

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Genie Out of a Bottle

July 7th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

Genie Bouchard is my inspiration for this fine Monday motivation. I’m sure she’s yours too! The Wimbledon fortnight was topped off with Genie in the ladies final, Vasek Pospisil winning the men’s doubles final, while Milos Raonic was in the men’s semi’s. How uncharacteristically, unapologetically Canadian with the red and white splattered on the various draw sheets. You see, I grew up playing competitive tennis (a different brand of course) so my household’s interest was piqued this fine weekend.

I loved the display of confidence, finesse, strength and determination sprinkled with polite classiness out on centre court. There is more that goes into 1 match than you can ever imagine. The hours of practice, training, commitment, family support and mental workouts to reach that point and continue to rise like a sphinx from clay dust is astounding. It got me thinking about each and every one of us. Most not professional athletes (or even close) but each with a little bit of Genie bottled up inside of us ready to splurt out, hmmmmmm.

Even though I retired my racket some time ago, my exercise routine has morphed over the decades. I did my best way back when but my frame was no longer able to endure that side-to-side, up-and-back play so I have subbed in an activity repertoire that fits my age, lifestyle, helps my flexibility, strength and fitness which I commit to each and every season of the year. In my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books I talk about building a love affair with activity and exercise, that I speak of first hand. How’s your relationship with your routine shaping up this summer?

Our bodies were meant to move. So if you’ve been a winning spectator lately watching more soccer, tennis, football, baseball and the like than getting outside to play yourself, unleash your inner Genie and make a pact to get and keep moving today and every day.

And to Genie, Milos and Vasek, thanks for being such fabulous role models and inspirations to us all. You’re world-class winners in my book, eh!

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The Dr. Oz Cause! Snakeoil or the Real Deal??

June 18th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , ,

The twitter sphere was chirping about Dr. Oz’s grilling by a senate subcommittee. It got me mulling all of this over, hmmmm. The crux of the offensive dissed his use of the term “miracle” when featuring any new products on his show. I get steaming mad when experts use this approach and even more irate when consumers fall for them looking for fairy dust to solve a problem when there is none. Instead of boring you with those gory details, let’s get our head around how to spot a snake oil salesman and how to spot the real deal:

Street Cred – When you hear about any magical claim ask yourself what the credentials are of the source of the information. In this case Dr. Oz is an MD, a heart surgeon to be exact. I have had many “emperor’s new clothes” moments when I’ve heard him talk about an array of topics from clearing nasal congestion to analyzing your poop wondering why in heaven’s name is he going there, he’s not a GP. Experts ought to stick to what they know.

Backed by Evidence – If you are planning to ingest anything into your bodacious body consider why you would do that? Is it backed by scientific evidence, or are there just loose testimonials touting it? “Here ye, here ye, on the topic of weight management if food, activity, eating pattern, behaviour and psychology aren’t part of the equation to solve it, don’t give it another thought!”

How the Body Works – Consider the basics of how your body works. Remember what I often exclaim in my e-book Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books – Don’t mess with the machine if it isn’t in-keeping with basic biology and physiology!!

Turn the Other Cheek & Save Your Moula – Every time you’re tempted to buy a magical remedy put these pennies in a piggy bank and spend it on a reward for yourself as you progress along your course to weight loss success, which I discuss in Chapter 6.

I have been fortunate to work with many fabulous professionals and MD’s in my career, including heart surgeons. It’s a great idea that each know the boundary around which they practice and avoid the fringes. I won’t be making any recommendations as an RD about putting in a stent, I promise!

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Abstract Thinking….

May 28th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

I visited the Stadel Museum of late while in Frankfurt. It got me thinking more abstractly about how obtuse I can be sometimes, hmmmm…. I love wandering around art galleries and museums. The inspiration from the creative works fills me up then settles deep into my bones.

Started off admiring the old greats from Renoir, Monet, Boticelli, then things got geometric when Picasso works appeared. There were interactive displays in some of the rooms, perhaps for the folks who feel the need to infuse themselves into the experience. I’m old fashioned I guess and am there to observe, enjoy and feel inspired. No, I refuse to lie down on the 4×4 plank of wood sideways on the floor in the middle of the room…

Then onto the modern section with lights beaming bright enough to do a photo shoot. There was a canvas painted entirely in black, another with stripes, one with a bunch of 1-foot long chop sticks protruding from the canvas that you might see on the ceiling of a guy’s dormitory, then I noticed a picture of a very long line hanging on the wall. I did a double take, thinking it was a bannister at first. I was left wondering what this masterpiece was called. Was it the “Starting Line”, perhaps the “Finish Line” or maybe the artist was a tennis player and it was the “Base Line” or “Service Line”, then things got a little bit giggly?! In one room was a yellow electrical cable hanging down from the light fixture on the ceiling, onto the floor into a spaghetti like pile. Hmmm, I thought maybe that’s called “Unfinished Work of the Electrician”…. perhaps it was…. tee hee.. Now I’m ready for Candid Camera to show up and get punked! Perhaps my laundry pile can pass as modern art.

Giddy and wandering, I finished meandering about then headed out for a walk by the river, then for some refreshing assorted fruit ices in an nearby square. I pondered more deeply about the modern art, especially that canvas painted only in black. I originally thought, “…humph, what nerve a person would have to paint such a picture and pass it off as a so-called masterpiece of art?” Then I thought “…well they DID do that and lo and behold, it’s hanging in a popular museum in Frankfurt!” Then I felt sheepishly about how obtusely reluctant I have been to fully promote my ebook, Skinny on Slim as my own professional art form of sorts. I could surely take a page out of that artist’s book for having such confidence. Sign me up for that chutzpa class, “how to stiffen your backbone and get more nerve in 10 easy steps!”

My thoughts shifted to our very lives. How each day we paint a proverbial picture as we meander through. Every deed and act, good or bad, small and grand, cowardly or confidently, all gets captured on our life’s canvas. What is yours looking like? Are you blending in timidly playing it safe or living life boldly and making a statement?

May your actions colour the canvas of your life inside the frame of your soul.

Thanks to the great artists of old – Renoir and Monet who have inspired me during my museum visit. And for the modern painter who pulled off his prank with the black canvas as a master piece and got me thinking differently. A final thanks to Hans Georg for suggesting to visit the museum. It filled me up on many levels! Aviteze

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A Part of Me…

May 21st, 2014 2 Comments Tags: , , , ,

I found myself in flight again, watching the in-flight entertainment. This day I took a look at the TV documentaries and the Slow Food viewing choice piqued my interest. It required me to keep my reading glasses on because it was in Italian with English subtitles. There, a story unfolded about Carlo Petrini, the person who started the Slow Food movement decades ago in Italy.

I loved the romantic rhythmic Italian dialogue, despite the fact I couldn’t see all of the subtitles. I could certainly feel the passion. There was one part where Carlo was presenting to a group and joked that his Georgio Armani underwear costed more than the food he eats. He chided that his food ends up in his body, then as a part of him, while his underwear do not! It got me thinking more deeply about our intimate relationship with food to the extent that it ends up in each and every living cell of our bodies, hmmmmm.

Our body is a complex machine needing the entire array of vitamins, minerals, water and fibre to keep us running on all cylinders. And we need this on a regular basis, day in and day out. Keep this golden nutritional nugget in your noggin the next time you fathom to try a new fangled diet or cleanse that leaves out food groups, puts you in fasting mode or cleans you out leaving you more depleted that when you started. As I exclaim in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books don’t mess with the machine!

Give that more thought and ponder it for a while. Think about what goes into your pie hole and down your gullet. Knowing that every morsel ends up in every cell of your being as a significant part of you, what are your cells full of? Are they full of an array of naturally nutrient rich choices that fill you up and never let you down? Or are they full of emptiness from the array of fast and highly processed food choices you make. This notion helps you realize that you certainly ARE what you eat. You have a choice about what you’re full of. Deep wisdom to gnaw on, that’s for sure….

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A Wee Favour…Please Post a Book Review for Skinny on Slim

May 19th, 2014 No Comments Tags: ,

Ok folks I finally bit the bullet and am doing something I hate to do….I’m asking for a wee favour. I am asking you, yes you, to please go to any or all of the places my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books is sold and rate it. I don’t care what you write or how you rate it, but if you’ve taken the time to download it (and hundreds of you have), please take another moment to rate it AND while you’re at it, rate the ratings too. And ask a friend too…

Five stars or two stars
Loved it or hated it
Please go to the book sites and
Take the time to rate it!

Here are some handy links and tips to guide you to the various book sites where it’s available:

Here’s the link. Fast and easy to do, plus you can rate the ratings too.

Bring up iTunes on your various Apple device, got to the iTunes Store, then to “books”. In the “search” section paste in Skinny on Slim and my book will appear, among others with similar titles, click on the book cover and follow the instructions to rate it.

Here’s the link. I believe the steps are similar to Amazon.

Barnes & Noble
Here’s the link. I believe the steps are similar to Amazon.

Here’s the link.

Here’s the link. This is a site you can sign up for that provides you access to a numerous numbers of books. Paste the title in the search bar for Skinny on Slim to come up.

I lowered the price this spring to help get the word out as a great warm weather refresher to tone our habits and tush at the same time. I’m aiming to get about 30 ratings per site. Please share this with a friend to help me establish my goal, won’t you?

A most sincere “thank you” for all who helped already by writing a review, provided advice, rated comments and/or told a friend about it. I am most grateful for your support.

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April 14th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have had thoughts of momentum on my mind lately, hmmmm. With the Master’s golf tournament and the ebb and flow of the players on the leader board the mystery of momentum was impossible to ignore. With Adam Scott, then Bubba Watson, then newbies Jason Speith and Jonas Blixt to the seniors of Fred Couples and Migel Jimenez momentum ebbed and flowed until the green jacket was dawned at sunset for a perfect finish.

I did some food prep during the lovely afternoon prior to the Sunday t-off with the windows open so I could hear the birds sing. I witnessed that spring zing of momentum pass by my window spying walkers and joggers, cyclers and roller bladers, saunterers and runners. The robins, sparrows, squirrels, chipmunks and ducks have had a shot of it too guarding new territory, finding nuts and enjoying the thaw. It’s as if everyone’s creating their new spring movement movement, how perfect!

Our lives also have a characteristic ebb and flow affected by outside forces and our internal attitude. That’s what I love about spring as double digit temperatures dominate so does that positive momentum catapulting us off the couch to the great outdoors, ahhhh. While you’re shifting into a new found spring gear make a goal or two for the better throughout the month and the season to sustain this positive shift. Let’s make a pact together come sun, cloud, rain or wind to keep our momentum surging forward to surpass 30-minutes a day or more of moving for adults and for kids 60 minutes or more.

Now that the polar vortex is behind us, it’s our time to soar!

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