Archive for July, 2010

Write it Down, Make a List, Check it Twice

July 16th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , ,

Testing, testing, that’s a big part of life, isn’t it, even after school is over? We test ourselves, kids test their boundaries, parents test our loyalty, spouses test our accounting prowess and mothers-in-laws test us too, “Is that new?”

Going through peri-menopause, I’ve found my memory’s been tested. You know the drill – having something on the tip of your tongue and you forget as plain as day what it was – a name, a story, your keys, where you put your purse, your trend of thought. I never forget to eat though. Who are those people who forget to eat?? I digress. I was at the grocery store yesterday with my list, no less and wrote “salad ingredients”. Yes, I forgot the lettuce – ARG!

So I told my trusty doctor about my memory lapses asking if I should be taking Ginko-Baloba, Rose Hips or do I need an MRI of my brain. Help me get the fog out of there and quick.

So she said, “Ok, I’m going to do a little test with you. In the next minute, I want you to name as many farm animals as you can think of”. She poises herself looking at the second hand of her watch then glancing up at me for my readiness.

I sit there perplexed thinking, “Hey lady, I’m a city girl with a science degree. Sure, our cottage used to be beside Elmer’s farm…..we did visit Uncle Mike’s farm in Saskatchewan once….and I kind of remember that Old McDonald’s Farm song……”

She looks at me ” and start NOW!” – she starts counting as I begin….

I say “cow, pig, chicken, goose……(I remember the kittens on Elmer’s farm, does that count?), kitten (she lets me off the hook), dog…..(“and a quack, quack there”), duck, goat, (hmmmm I have an alligator golf head cover, does that count….or is that a reptile? I’m not sure), alligator (she lets me off the hook again), (what’s the other one that looks like an alligator but has side teeth? I can’t remember), snake?, llamba, (“and a bah, bah here”), lamb, ostrich (that was on the menu of the restaurant we were at this weekend), crocodile (Aha), giraffe (she looks at me perturbed), bull (we used to drive by a farm going to the cottage with The Lazy Bull on their front lawn), chicken….

She chimes in “you SAID chicken” (ok she’s older than me, I thought she wouldn’t remember), “ok and TIME”…..I passed the test.

Ok so she assessed me falling “within normal limits” for memory for my age. Phew. That’s music to my ears. It doesn’t help me when I’m standing in the grocery store with a blank look, thinking “did I need soap or toothepaste?”…..anyways, what was I saying??

Oh yah, April 11th’s post was “Grocery Shopping Gamble – Foundation of Success” a must read if you’re a newby of Thick & Thin AND want a good chuckle. Making a list and checking it twice isn’t only good advice for Santa Clause, but for you before you go out to grocery shop. Be specific!!

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Monitor the Monitor

July 15th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Well that’s it. I just read about a study that reports teens spending an inordinate amount of time in front of their monitors (TV’s and computers). The headline screamed “Seven hours a day!!” That’s almost what our normal work day clocks in at.

There was a bit of “old news” reported on issues we know are abysmally true already – poor health, climbing obesity rates, with expected long term effects on mental health and cognitive function, not to mention poor socialization. I wrote about screen time April 15th. Now they’re reporting kids self-reported feelings of unhappiness, loss of sleep and poor health. I thought the MO of kids was happiness, abounding energy and the best health ever, no?

If I play “spin the bottle” on this to find out the guilty party it might end up pointing at those parents not having a handle on what their kids are doing. It would seem that parents are the ultimate enablers – mostly for good, but sometimes well, not as good. We enable our kids to do many things. But how’s putting their own TV and computer in their rooms without limits. Pretty soon bedroom doors will have a slot where you can slide their meals in and dirty dishes out. How about installing a vending machine too? Knock, knock “….honey I’m here to fill up your…..” TIME!!

Am I old fashioned or is this turning into a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World, right before our eyes?? Ok, maybe a bit of both. Perhaps a new reality TV show is in order starring my Mother with her blessed wooden spoon surprising unsuspecting families – TA DA, showing them a little old fashioned “NO MEANS NO” and “SHUT THAT IDIOT BOX OFF”!! Trust me, you don’t want to get punked with this new strategy, truly.

It would certainly help to monitor your monitors and unplug the GD things if they have problems complying.

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Say Olé to Food Revolution Quesadillas

July 14th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , ,

Want a quickie….recipe that is? Well here’s a fast and easy recipe that you can make as simply as you want or as complicated.


tortilla shells (vary the types, whole grain, pesto, tomato basil, flax, plain)

grated cheese (monterey jack, cheddar, mixture of whatever you have on hand)

marinated pepper rings or cut up marinated artichokes

leftover cooked cut up skinless chicken or beef (optional)


On your clean, dry counter surface line up as many tortilla shells as you plan on making (use 2 per serving). On each shell add the ingredients evenly on the shell leaving the edges of each shell bare. Put a tortilla shell on top of each. They are ready to cook.

Before you cook these take out a box of baking soda for fire safety purposes. It never hurts to be too careful. Take out a pan big enough to put them all in as you prepare them, one by one. Preheat your oven to 325F degrees. Have a cutting board on hand, oven mits, frying pan, lifter and large knife. Turn on your oven fan. Ok, let the cooking begin!!

Add ~teaspoon or so of canola oil on the bottom of your teflon frying pan and heat to medium high. Carefully transfer your first quesadilla to the pan. With a your turner, press down on the top moving it around the pan in a circle as cheese melts. When the bottom has browned, flip the quesadilla over. It’s all in the wrist!! Press down on it, keeping it moving like you did for the first side. When browned turn off the element and remove the pan from the hot element. Transfer the cooked quesadilla to the cutting board. Cut it in quarters and put it on the oven pan and transfer it to the oven. Repeat this process until each are cooked.

Serve these with salsa, low fat sour cream (0-2% fat) and a side salad. A crisp glass of Pinot Gris helps them taste even better!! They warm up perfectly as lunchtime leftovers the following day. They freeze well too, so while I prepare these, I always make extra to have some at a later date.


Just a few more details:

  • Firstly, I use canola oil because these are being cooked at high temperatures. It works much better than olive oil, but has the same health benefits. Olive oil isn’t always the best one to use, especially when cooking at high heat.
  • Be careful how much oil you pour into the pan. Oil is ~125 calories per tablespoon so you can’t be too liberal with this. A few extra glugs of the canola oil jug can put a monkey wrench into your energy intake.
  • You’re working with hot oil so don’t take your eye off what you’re doing for one second. If the phone rings, don’t stop for it. Isn’t that why you have an answering function!!??
  • I find that as the pan heats up the cheese doesn’t always melt all of the way through while the shell browns. This is why I transfer them to the heated oven, to finish the melting job.
  • For each side of the Quesadilla I use a different kind of shell. It makes it look and taste more interesting. Also, I use extra hot marinated pepper rings that gives them a zinger of a taste.
  • You know the post I made on June 28 when I talked about putting a portion of my meat serving in the freezer if it was too large. This is one of the many instances I use those leftovers. They really come in handy to add a special element to other dishes (like these Quesadillas).

Do you have a different way you make yours?? Let me know.

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Go With It

July 13th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

I’m a big believer that you need to be flexible with your plans as life unfolds. Do you over think things? Take this morning, for example. I have a busy day at work but love to start it off with a walk. I woke up early without an alarm – sweet. But it was threatening rain. Instead of mulling over all of the options “Should I? Shouldn’t I? Will I have time for a shower? Will I have time to make lunch?…” I just rolled out of bed and went with it.

Some years ago one of my sisters told me that I wasn’t very flexible. Even though I felt miffed at the time I knew deep down she was right and I took it to heart. Yes it’s important to schedule many things into our lives, but there are times you just need to go with the flow. Today was one of those days.

When it comes to my activity plans I have a variety of activities that I personally classify as exercise. When I was young I would schedule things until the cows came home. Now I simply look for a window of opportunity for today and go with it.

By the end of my walk it started to rain. Perfect timing for hopping into the shower. Thanks Mother Nature!!

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Follow the Loser – Tips & Tricks to Succeed By

July 12th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A good friend and colleague of mine, Cara Rosenbloom and I conducted a survey on successful weight losers a few years ago. These women told us lots of juicy stuff pertaining to their secrets of successful losing. Each week I plan on covering this very topic in some shape or form, so do share this T & T link with people who you know are interested.

One of the questions we asked was about the top tips and tricks they used to maintain the weight they lost. Here are some popular strategies they shared with us:

Have A Positive Attitude – Never Give Up

“It’s a lifestyle not a competition” one woman wrote. Setting your sights on the long haul keeps successful losers in the game. A positive approach is the best offence for dealing with challenges like a birthday dinner to the office eating saboteur.

Be Flexible with Your Plans

“Stop calling it a diet!” another woman wrote. Ensure your eating pattern is consistent (no meal skipping). This will ensure you don’t feel overly hungry. We all know the effect of that, don’t we?? Being too rigid doesn’t help if you’re on vacation, eating out or presented with an unexpected social situation. You don’t want to miss out on living because you’re watching what you’re eating.

Deal with Emotional Eating

Be gentle but honest with yourself” one woman suggested. A number of respondents felt that journaling helped them heighten their awareness of what they were eating and able to identify particular issues they encountered. Let’s face it, from when we were young food has been used to sooth us, show love and much more. If you know your emotions get in the way of weight loss success the sooner you deal with it the better.

Planning is Key

“Make your grocery list and learn to read food labels” someone else noted. If you don’t have good food choices in your home and work it’s impossible to get and stay on track. Also, knowledge is power, so learning about what’s in your food is key.

Look Your Best

“Donate your large clothes” one woman highlighted. Once you’re “shrunk out of” your larger clothes why hold on to them, get rid of them?! Successful losers have told us when they look good, they feel good and when they feel good they eat better (posted on March 29).

Do you have any tips and tricks you’re willing to share? Come on, spill it…

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Women – Truly One of the World’s Wonders

July 11th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Today got me thinking about the wonders of women. My sister had an exquisite “high tea” shower for my new niece. How lovely it was. That’s the sister who threw the legendary party I wrote about on June 4th. From start to finish we spent our time catching up with family, friends and acquaintances with a special  focus on our new addition. Sparkling, warm smiles came down from Heaven from our late grandmothers leaving fabulous weather bestowed upon us.

I left feeling filled up from the love and support all round. Scanning the room of everyone young and less young reminded me of the power of women:

  • We work day and night (whether we’re at work or not)
  • We have children and help others with theirs
  • We glue our families together
  • We take a back seat while cheering on others
  • We support one another
  • We hold out a helping hand
  • We are our family’s conscience
  • We put the “neighbor” into our neighbourhood and “unity” into community
  • We leave a legacy of kindness, strength, endurance and patience to our families….my grandmothers did that’s for sure
  • We can do whatever we set our minds to because we can move mountains

As I ponder the new growth on our family tree it fills my heart with joy, love, wonder and happiness of how those women before us and those with us today help make our world such a wonderful place. Welcome to our family J-G :-)

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Faking It….

July 9th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

No, this isn’t about what you think…. Haven’t you watched enough World Cup Soccer to see the fake dives and flips of some of the players. They should surely get a red card for that move, don’t ya think? Whoever invented that vuvuzula horn should get 2 red cards. I find my ears have this low bee-buzzing sound that resembles that drone – zzzzzmmmmm. Will it be Spain or the Freaky-Deaky Dutch?? It should be exciting whoever wins!!

This theme got me thinking about the food we eat. I’m all for “low cal” this and “half fat” that, but I draw a line in the sand with the dawning of “pretend” foods – soya dogs, burgers and seafood for instance. I don’t know about you, but when I have a hankering for a juicy burger give me the real stuff, not some bad imitation. There’s a whole variety of foods for kids that include “fun” – like bright fluorescent colours, unique dispensing packages, ingredients that are longer than 8 letters but little in the line of “good for you”. Isn’t that why we need to eat??

We talked about eating instinctively on June 27. How will our instincts adapt to these imitations?? If any human being follows instincts when it comes to food, it’s little kids, even babies. If they’re going through a growth spurt they cry to feed more often. Growth spurts don’t stick to a schedule – just feed me already!! If it’s warmer outside they’ll want more fluids, naturally. And when you untie all of the emotions from the eating relationship, they will more often than not choose the foods their bodies yearn.

Just like calling “a spade, a spade”, let’s also call “a burger, a burger” and get back to basics with our food, shall we??

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Food Revolution Yummy & Easy Dinner Combos

July 8th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , ,

There are so many ways to make wise choices for fast and easy dinners in the week. I work so I want good food, easy and fast….and good, of course! I’m sure you do too!! With bar-be-que season heated up along with the temperatures, take full advantage of the many quick and easy dinner combos at your fingertips.

This photo shows a super lean bar-be-qued pork tenderloin, marinated beets with some goat’s cheese, corn on the cob and side salad. With Mother Nature’s bounty you can change up the protein portion to just about anything. Switch up tenderloin for pork chops, ribs or lean cuts of beef, chicken breast, salmon. Just mozy up the produce aisle and choose. I use a rub on these, but with all of the concern about salt these days, I put it on sparingly or use a pepper base kind which still tastes great. When bbq season’s over, you can whip these up in the oven with the same mouth watering results.

When I want to go meatless I’ll add cheeses to the salad, like bocconcini, mozzarella, asiago, feta or goat’s cheese. You can also add chopped up hard boiled eggs with that instead of the cheese to change it up. Check out my various salad recipes posted on June 22 & 23. The tomato salad was very popular among T & T readers!!

There are so many veggies to choose from the possibilities are endless – beets, peppers, spinach, potatoes, yams, corn on the cob, mushrooms. I find I get stuck in a rut buying the same things week after week. Try to change up the choice and colour combinations. This will add a new appeal, new tastes and nutrients too. Don’t be afraid to toss fruit into your veggies to jazz up the flavour further. Avocado, mango, strawberry, blueberry, cherries and pomegranate are fab additions to the mix and punch up the sweet taste. Who doesn’t like the taste of sweet?? A  sourpuss I guess!!

What have you tried new that you’re willing to share??

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Unplugged in a Power Out Situation

July 7th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Our power went out for a few hours the other day. We’re in prime ultra-heat time taking it’s toll on our local energy grid. The few hours of the outage reminded me of the importance of taking down time to regroup and find your zen.

In this instance we were forced to unplug from the world. Even my crackberry experienced issues, so no phone, computer, radio, TV, AC, microwave – you name it, we didn’t have it. Alas, it was after the work day…. I decided to take a rest and recharge my battery. It ceases to amaze me how freeing it is to force yourself to wind down temporarily. You can think about:

  • What’s important and what’s not
  • What is yearning in your heart
  • What that niggling thought is in the back of your mind
  • What the solution is to that problem at work, aha!
  • What you forgot to remember….
  • What you need to forget….

My hubby boy is the adult ADHD poster man-child connected to computers, phones, cyborg phone ear pieces, monitors, TV’s (sports, sports and more sports, then news and more news), Doodle Jump…. He even settled down and chilled a bit, revved up and raring to go when the power was restored.

Use any opportunity to find your Zen Zone to get your head around what in life you need to do to point your internal compass in the right direction. Our power out experience was a reminder of the importance to take the time to regroup and power up the mind. You don’t need your own power to blow, just the time to commit to unplug.

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Follow the Loser – Principles to Succeed By

July 6th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I mentor people who want to become RD’s (registered dietitians) as their career path. I spend an inordinate amount of time explaining what makes us tick. The same thing goes for people who aspire to be a successful weight loser (which I fondly refer to as “successful loser”) – find out what makes them tick, then act like them. What you’re really doing here is adapting key behaviours and habits that promote weight loss and maintenance success.

The link to the right for the National Weight Loss Registry keeps close tabs on these keys to success so I thought I’d fill you in about some of their key findings. I wrote about Kirstie Alley yesterday, as one of many people who would benefit from stepping back and approaching weight loss using a long range holistic approach. Experiencing this yo-yo weight phenomenon has negative physical AND psychological effects. The last thing we need are more issues in our lives, don’t you think? If you dig your heels in and would prefer not to follow basic principles to become a successful loser I suggest you hold the phone on trying until you get your head around it.

Consistent Eating Pattern – Breakfast Rules

78% of successful losers eat breakfast every day. Yes I know our mothers and teachers have told us so and our natural reaction is to buck the trend, but this is based in sound science. You can’t fight Mother Nature, don’t even try. Perhaps we’ve forgotten we are biological beings and our form of “gasoline” to drive our body is food. Because we’re so complex we CAN function without breakfast, but over time our internal thermostat will get bunged up. I don’t know about you, but at age 49 I don’t want to mess with my metabolism more than aging is already doing. Do eat/drink breakfast every day and if you can make choices from 2-3 of the food groups, even better. We function optimally when we eat 4-6 times per day.

Monitor, Monitor, Monitor – Reality Check

75% of successful losers weigh themselves at least once a week. This is simply keeping tabs on where you’re at. Whether it’s on a Monday, before and after a vacation or during “eating seasons” like Christmas time it’s important to let it all hang out and weigh in on reality. I’ve confessed to not owning a scale. I use my trusty jeans as my reality check and get weighed at my annual physical. However you choose to monitor your weight, keeping tabs on yourself will help you keep your behaviour in check.

Screen Time Booby Trap

62% of successful losers watch less than 10 hours of TV per week. This is tied in with the next behavior. The more sitting around you do it is more difficulty you’ll have becoming a successful loser. If you like a show at 7pm and another at 9pm do something in between to avoid the full court press of couch potato-dom. For many, eating while watching the boob tube is common booby trap. This is one eating vortex you should REALLY avoid.

Off the Duff

90% of successful losers exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day. We need to get moving, even more now than ever. I discussed that there are so many devices that allow for an uber-convenient lifestyle cum energy saver, we really need to offset this with moving more. I don’t care what it is but vamoose already – walk, jog, bike ride, garden, putter, clean, just get in off the duff and move more today and every day. If finding the time is a problem for you, break it down into 15 or 20 minute intervals. This was discussed on the March 23 post. Find a few of those pearls of time each day, and “check mate” you’ve done it for another day.

Unlocking the keys to successful weight loss and maintenance is an important way to set you up to succeed for today and for good. Keep in mind that this process is not magical or mystical, like we wish. If it took you a long time to gain weight, the same will hold true for losing it. Success is based on sustained behavioural changes over time. So, set your sights into the future and focus on your goals for today and remember: Persistence pays off.

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