Archive for May, 2011

The Other Energy Equation: Saving Gas & Spending Energy

May 31st, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Who haven’t you talked to lately about the price of gas? Your neighbour, your sister, your hairdresser, you name it everybody’s talking about it – yakity yak yak. If you’ve been holding out taking public transit now might just be the time to take the plunge and use it.

There are at many benefits of taking transit. The obvious one is using less dough on gas. The less obvious one is while you’re saving energy in your car, you’ll be using more by moving your own caboose, hmmmmmmmm.

Studies show that people who routinely take public transit use more calories up in the day and have a lower BMI. For those of us with a keen eye on that daily energy balancing act that’s definitely a good thing.

I don’t know about the traffic in your town, but in mine spring is a new season that blooms with construction galore. Not only is it a city that never sleeps, but it’s also a city that never moves…..on the roads cum parking lots, anyhow.

In one go you’ll be spending less on gas and using more energy on movement. That’s one energy equation that makes more than double the sense!!

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U-Turn on Salt – Finding More Thyme

May 30th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Continuing on the theme of making a u-turn on salt that I started some weeks back, during my busy time, I turn my attention to thyme. After all these days, couldn’t we all use a little bit more of it!! This stuff has taken over part of my garden so the Incredible Hulk could not yank it out, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I wasn’t planning to….. As the perennials are sprouting up in my garden so does the thyme.

Thyme is so very versatile. It blends well with the flavours of so many foods. For example all meats, stews, soups, stocks, herbed butters, flavoured vinegars, salads, chic peas, beans, lentils, cheese and eggs. It’s also a complementary flavourful assistant to myriad vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, carrots, eggplant, parsnips, leeks, mushrooms, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, sweet peppers, potatoes, spinach, corn, peas and rice. The quartet of lemon, garlic and basil with thyme makes your taste-buds sing. That’s one herb worth keeping close at hand when we’re trying to use less of the white stuff by reorienting our taste buds with spring-fresh herbs in our food.

Veal Chop Recipe Idea

I have used thyme, garlic, olive oil with a wee bit of salt and pepper to marinade veal chops for bar-be-queing. Very delightful!! An age old recipe that the best waiter who ever lived “Roberto” from Scaramouche Restaurant the night of our first anniversary back in 1987 told us about. We prepare this now and then in his fine memory. We were young back then celebrating at an upscale place, which was often met by other wait staff with poor attention because there was nary a grey hair between us. Not Roberto or the team, he treated us like gold, like any diner would deserve at any restaurant, especially a finer one. Still our favourite restaurant by far to celebrate special events, by a landslide….. Now we’re treated by Joel and Ian and greeted by Karl. How great!!

Remember to clip some thyme from your garden and bring it indoors to dry out for the next season change, not that we even want to think about that. It’s so wonderful using herb-treasures from your garden all year round when cooking, not only in spring and summer. Enjoy!!

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Bad Journalism’s the New Diet Enemy

May 29th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Well that did it. I recently read a newspaper article that tried to claim that the new “diet enemy” is eating fruit. Phooey I say, phooey. I think reading these sorts of articles are the enemy of the innocent dieter and consumer NOT eating fruit or any one type of food.

The author did a dastardly attempt to splice comments from experts to make a weak argument. I’m one of the lucky ones though, because I have a degree in science and one in nutrition so I can find perspective and move on. Then put the paper where it belongs – in the recycling bin or in the kitty litter box to make a perfect liner. Unfortunately the innocent consumer trying to make sense out of all of this nonsense doesn’t have that luxury and is left scratching their head in wonder….If I shouldn’t be eating fruit, what on earth should I be eating?? Hmmmmmmm

Consumer studies show that of all of the factors influencing food choice, taste reigns supreme. And if Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster who clearly could benefit from losing a few pounds by eating his quota of fruit daily read that article he might fool himself and stay on the cookie diet. The writer irresponsibly wrote “the worst thing you could do is sit down to a big bowl of fruit for dinner because that’s just going to turn into sugar by the end of the day…..you may as well have had doughnuts”. DOUGHNUTS. Holy Mary Mother of God…. The last time I checked the nutritional content of a doughnut (and that’s an oxymoron) there was no fiber, minimal nutrients and certainly no antioxidants for starters. And as far as planning a diet is concerned, we would eat a variety of food at dinner and all meals, not just one food type…..But why argue with an imbecile.

The organization where I work conducted a unique study with consumers who took pictures and participated in activities around their food and eating for a few days. Among all of the new findings, we found the emergence of the “anti-nutritionist”. I do believe when I read rubbish like this, that is how one becomes an anti-nutritionist – irresponsible journalism that results in consumers throwing their hands up in surrender.

I have resorted to thinking that consumers should try to close off all media messaging and have 1 or 2 experts they garner advice from. Because truly folks, with headlines like this one we would be better off skipping to the horoscopes for more reliable information, don’t you think?? Mine was pretty bang on.

So folks, with advice like this don’t stop eating fruit, start a revolt and stop reading the newspaper.

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What I Know For Sure – Loving Yourself

May 26th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Well this is it. My final post paying special tribute to Oprah “What I Know For Sure”. You can say that it’s my O-mmage!! Funny I wrote this piece on the weekend and somehow feel in line with her sign-off message on her final show that aired yesterday. Today we’re focusing on loving ourselves, hmmmmmm.

We women are sometimes a real piece of work – me included. When we get out of our own way and learn to be good to ourselves the sky’s the limit and we can soar.

I get really tired of the “door-mat syndrome”, though. You know the type, the gal who never says no, runs themselves ragged, puts everyone else first. Yes, the first prize winner of the martyrdom contest. I am not suggesting becoming a selfish little imp – nay nay I say. We women behold some unique and powerful inherent qualities with our ability to connect deeply with others, care, be flexible and open minded that make us special.

Driven by the rush of where society is going, some of us have lost our way running on the treadmill of life. Finding ways to love yourself can fill up your spirit making you a more effective human being by doing so. Binge eating is a mechanism to fill your soul’s void with food, leaving you still feeling empty when you’re done. That, my friend is not love, is it? It’s a dead end means of trying to find it and one that needs help. Professional help.

There are numerous ways to care for yourself that doesn’t need to involve food. From making quiet time, taking a peaceful walk, having time in the garden or nature of any kind, to dawning an outfit that makes you feel your best, to listening to your favourite music, to simply putting on lip stick or getting a good hair cut and colour, to reaching out your hand and seeking help when you need it. And the list can go on and on.

What I know for sure about loving yourself is we need to take a time out now and then to take stock. Do you have a dull feeling of uncertainty in your gut because what you’re doing in life doesn’t match with your heart is telling you?? Yes that inner force and light Oprah talked about. Perhaps you’ve been marching to everybody else’s beat, except your very own drummer. When what you’re doing is set in the right principle you are surely on the right path. And working in ways to be good to yourself will set anything that’s wrong, right, no matter what.

We all have the power to do better, to know better, to sprinkle good in our own circles of influence to make our world a better place, to serve a higher purpose. Just like Glinda the Good Witch, yes somehow we’ve always known. It was nice to be reminded by our friend and sister Oprah, but we can do this on our own. Validate yourself then take flight.

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What I Know For Sure – About Food

May 25th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

As the final Oprah show airs, I continue paying my own tribute to O being the 3rd day in a row…… The theme today is on food, glorious food. Yes, Mother Nature’s bounty. As spring moves into summer we are clearly blessed by so much choice.

In the rush of everyday life many of us gloss over the devil that lies in those details. I fret that many have a hope to eat better “some time down the road”, but that day never seems to come. Are we getting all of the nutrients we need by eating on the run so much? I dare say that our nutritional requirements won’t get met with good intentions. I worry when we’re deficient in various nutrients we can try to eat and eat and eat to make right with what is wrong with us.

Many people fall short of meeting the requirements for fruits & vegetables and dairy products for example. I have written about this many times. Turning your diet around to have 5-10 a day of fruits & veggies and your 2-3 servings of dairy products could make a world of difference in the quantity of food you consume, your bodily functions to help in order to ultimately fire on all cylinders to get the most out of your day and life.

Also, the further away we move to eating a plethora of processed food from natural food the less good you’re doing for yourself – excess preservatives, additives, colourings, caffeine day after day was not what our digestive system signed up for when we came into being. We seem to pay more heed to helping the environment, than our own internal one. I say, let’s get our priorities straight and work on both!!

What I know for sure is that you can’t fool Mother Nature. When it comes to food it was meant in it’s most primordial, natural form. Not something processed using a fluorescent colour with a few vitamins added in. Make a regular goal to move your cheese and try a new kind of food in its natural form – a fruit, a vegetable, a nut, a type of cheese and more. Commit to trying it, tasting it, respecting it with an open mind and most of all enjoy it. See how your body responds when you make this shift to more natural food. It will certainly smile back at you when you do. Because in the end, you are allowing your body do what it was meant to do – process and use Mother Nature’s bounty.

A Word About the O-Age….

I hope you get a chance to view today’s final Oprah show. How lucky have we been to live in the O-Age, to be inspired, taught, entertained and blessed over the past 25 years with topics that cover all corners of our lives….and then some? Very lucky, that’s how…… I hope we use this day as a springboard for continued growth which is what we continually seek. Are you with me??

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What I Know For Sure – On Outlook and Perseverance

May 24th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

I continue to pay my T & T special tribute to Oprah on this final week of her show using the mag theme “What I Know For Sure” in the context of trying to be the best you can be. Did you catch yesterday’s show?? How many tissues did you use?? Today’s theme is on your outlook and perseverance. These final shows of Oprah have highlighted the many unique and special guests of hers who help ground me in my everyday life. Those who go on, despite the odds.

I get inspired by people with a sunny disposition and diligent approach to everyday life and burst through barriers you would never dream they could. It makes me reflect and take stock of my own situation. Many of us don’t realize we have been granted so many opportunities and privileges just by existing in an era of time and in a country where you can surpass your hopes and dreams if you play your cards right. You can certainly “dream  the impossible dream” and make it come true.

Instead, some people groan and complain about their half empty cup when indeed there are people in this world whose cup is totally empty, yet they persevere with a smile and hope for a new day. Simply turn on the news and actually listen to other situations then kick yourself in the pants and move forward.

What I know for sure folks is that the world certainly IS our oyster. We just need to figure out how to get the darn thing open then the sky’s the limit. While you’re at it, don’t forget to reach out your hand to someone else.

How about that Beyonce on Monday’s show, huh?? I’ve been singing “Who Won the World – GIRLS!!” all day long. I’m glad I can’t get it out of my head! Golly, if I tried some  of her moves I think I’d dislodge a hip :-)

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What I Know For Sure – About Activity

May 23rd, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

This week, I am paying a special tribute to Oprah on her final week of her show by using the mag theme “What I Know For Sure” in the context of trying to be the best you can be. Today’s theme is on activity and exercise or simply moving more. I recommend to all T & T readers to watch the movie Wall-ii for starters. Hmmmmm

Through the ages our society has created so many conveniences that year by year, decade by decade we the people are becoming one with our easy chairs. Not good!! You know the old adage “if you don’t use it you’ll lose it”. Yes I do believe that applies to our bodies.

Our bodies are complex bio-organisms that were build to move. Move, reach, jump, dance, saunter, stand, stretch, walk, ride, run, mosey – just get your can off the couch and into motion. Getting that circulation and muscles moving is not only good for your body, but for your mind and spirit as well. Science has proven this.

What I really know for sure about activity is that when I exercise regularly I eat better as if there is a magical connection that shifts you into a proper gear. Moreover when I exercise and eat right and feel better and want to express it by dressing my best for the situation. That indeed will surely lift your spirits further. All you have to do is decide to take the first step. After putting one foot in front of the other it truly does get easier and easier. Now vamoose!!

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What I Know For Sure – About Eating

May 22nd, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

This week, I am paying a special tribute to Oprah on her final week of her show by using the mag theme “What I Know For Sure” in the context of trying to be the best you can be. This first theme is about eating. When I read the many dismaying stats on obesity, diabetes and diet related diseases I sometimes feel discouraged.

From the minute infants emerge from the womb, feeding and suckling is inherently instinctual. I scratch my head wondering how that wee little baby who knew naturally how to eat reaches adulthood without a gal-darn clue about eating whatsoever. What gives?? From super sizing, to fun foods, to relying on convenient everything, to continual guzzling gi-normous drinks filled with caffeine and sugar – really folks, what went oh so very wrong from then to now. Hmmmmmm

Respect for our bodies, our food and our family’s nourishment is quintessential in the quest to eating right. I’m sure of it. I sometimes wonder if we need to shut off all messaging about food and nutrition and find 1 or 2 very reliable sources and stick with them for advice might help avoid confusion. Eating right involves more about getting and staying in touch with our instincts than using your head which is crammed with so many facts and figures you sometimes don’t know where to start.

What I also know for sure about eating is that there is more involved in the process than simply nourishment through connecting with others. Even if it is simply a quiet meal alone, that time is precious, don’t you think? Also, the many positive behaviours around eating written many times on this blog and by Dr. Brian Wansink has so much wisdom people ought to sit up and listen to help make things right. Finally, eating should be one of life’s joys devoid of negative emotion, guilt or shame.

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One of Those Days

May 19th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Ever had one of those days in one of those weeks?? You know the type. Some of the balls you’ve been juggling in the air are about to fall on your head. The thought of long weekend golfing has been washed away thanks to more of Mother Nature’s rain. The competing priorities on your to-do list have been superseded by yet another set of priorities as the list grows. And on it goes….. on and on. What gives??

During those times when a dark cloud seems to be hovering endlessly over your head I like to look to little things. You know, life’s little simple pleasures. In amongst all of the mayhem I saw 3 spunky yellow birds while taking my early morning walk. I saw a rabbit. Rev Run’s message today was called “Begin” and read: Good morning. It really doesn’t matter the size of your next step.. What matters is the direction. (Ralph Marston) God is Love, Rev Run

Despite going head to head on some matters, there were some angels with kind words out of the blue. A few dinner offers were confirmed. A new opportunity. A spouse’s gentle support. For dinner last night I defrosted some of my Mom’s sauce and made a salad because I could use some of Mom’s lovin’ to help me through today. Yes it’s the little things. Pop an extra vitamin C and D, blow some dust off a bottle of wine and find something to celebrate. Surely it’s happy hour somewhere??!!

Ya days like this come and go. Clouds eventually clear and at times have a silver lining. Family and good friends are for keeps to brighten up the day and help lift the load. So over the long weekend make the best of it. Make time to walk, garden, read, write, sleep in, eat out, decompress, reconnect and most of all enjoy!! I know I will….

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Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

May 18th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , ,

There is clearly a new social norm afoot these days… unfortunately. I was dining out with my beau a few Saturday nights ago. As other couples rolled in to the restaurant for a late-night weekend dinner, first to my right, then to my left then over yonder this younger set chose to place their cell phone on the table close at hand, like I would do with a fancy clutch purse. Hmmmmmmm

I dared to sneak a peak to my left and found both parties strumming the “wheel of messages” on their i-Phone 4′s like they were strumming a guitar. I thought “What on earth ARE you doing?? You are sitting across from your supposed “better half”, prime time on the weekend and there you are, looking to get validated with an idle text “see you there!”; an Oprah “weekly update” perhaps; a Daily Word from Rev Run “Free Your Mind” Good morning. Do your best and forget the rest! God is Love, Rev Run; or spam squared.” What gives??

Ok so I hear it’s the “we generation” or is it really the “Wii” generation who need to keep occupied with technology? On prime time Saturday evening who are you going to hear from who’s more important than who you’re with?? Clearly Oprah needs to have a reality show about manners in this new era and punk the likes of these couples who surrounded me openly scanning their messages for a better offer. My chicken was amazing, but I wasn’t about to tweet about it!!

With the way tech is going these couples will need to book a table for 4 if they decide to start hauling out their i-Pads, computers, iRobots and the like to help keep their minds and thumbs occupied between courses. How about catching up and striking up a conversation?

Why not just keep your eyes on the prize folks and love the one you’re with??

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