Archive for August, 2011

Ode to Indy & Me

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

It’s just another new day, there on the news
Everybody seems to be crying the blues

Another storm, another crisis
Day after day are stories just like this

No matter the weather or what the news brings
Today is the day we made vows with our rings

Binding our lives with commitments we made
Through the proverbial sunshine and proverbial rain

Our lives have taken some ebbs and some flows
25 years later, through our memories this shows

We are 2 separate people with 2 different ways
When mixed up together, quite a cocktail we’ve made!

With respect and courage, with love and with joy
A dash of humour, hard work, open mindedness and more

For better, for worse, with family and friends
If I were to do it all over, with you, I’d do it again

What we have is bigger than just you and just me
With sights set outward, to do what’s right we will be

My life is richer for having you in it
We’ve set our sights high with new goals to begin with…

Tomorrow’s a new day and I know it will be
A time to do good and create new opportunity

At the end of the day, come hell or high water
What’s important in life ? It’s the little things that matter!

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Stress, Eating & Rising Above It

August 28th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s a tell tale sign when the highlight of your week was having a colonoscopy – good grief. You got it folks, stress on stress with a side order of stress. It’s times like these when we have to bear down and find perspective, hmmmmmm.

Right out of the gate the first thing to do is double up on the Vitamin C’s and D’s. After all who needs to get worn down with a cold or flu in the summer. It’s so easy to turn to one of our best friends – double chocolate ripple ice cream with a side order of guilt.

I read about a study that looked at the stress and eating connection. They found that chemicals produced in the brain to control how the cells communicate, also regulate food consumption were negatively impacted by stress. Hmmmmm.

Despite these chemical findings, we can still take a behavioural approach to help get a handle on things. It’s important to do all you can to hold onto your routine as your saving grace. I have admitted many times that my walking routine is like my therapist without the bill when the hour is up. A perfect time to burn off steam, clear your head, focus on nature and open your heart to the Heavens. Yes there are birds of plenty, rabbits hop hop hopping along, the smell of fresh cut grass, kids playing, all this and more helping you make sense of any nonsense.

If you run to food and drink at the first sign of stress, consider other ways to sooth your soul – with music, a bike ride, finding a new recipe, drawing a bubble bath, having a mani- or pedicure, reading a magazine or book, gardening, phoning a friend, watching comedy, dawning something fab, buying a new lipstick and more. All no cal and all constructive that work in to anyone’s regimen and budget. We, the homo sapiens are higher beings, after all….apparently.

We need to remember that life isn’t always a carnival, but more like a roller coaster with ebbs and flows and ups and downs. One thing I know for sure is that every day IS a new frontier. Each chocked full of potential – a fresh page, a new start, with the hope of creating new opportunity. Upward and onward!!

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Cracked UP – Sunflower Seeds

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

I am continuing my nutty “Cracked Up” series. Today’s focus is the sunflower seed. A perfect snack with a multitude of nutritional benefits to boot. There are so many crummy snacks out there that tout many empty promises. But the sunflower seed is the real deal. You already know they are naturally nutrient rich if you are a longstanding T & T follower. A good source of protein and healthy fat. Have ‘em easy on the salt as I’m sure by now the salty stuff doesn’t taste quite as satisfying.

In addition to their great taste they are a fine source of vitamin E, magnesium, selenium all so fundamental to human health. Not to forget they are a fab fibre source.
These savoury seeds are rich in phytosterols with the eureka element of lowering cholesterol.

What I love most about snacking on these seeds in the shell is the fact you need to open each up and enjoy them one by one. You can’t woof down a fistful of these in the shell or you might be needing the heimlick manoeuvre before you’re done. As you enjoy each one you become mindful of how full you’re feeling. And that is a health benefit in itself with an inherent “woh horsey” button built right in. Now how great is that?? Very!!

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Food Revolution Double Berry Nut Crisp

August 23rd, 2011 No Comments Tags: ,

I made this yummy dessert for my company some time ago. A perfect way to end a special meal. Tastes great with anti-oxidants to boot. Who needs to know??!!

Ingredients

Filling
2 cups strawberries, washed, cored and quartered
4 cups frozen, thawed blueberries
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp finely grated orange peel

Topping
2/3 cup large-flake oats
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped nuts (almonds, or walnuts &/or pecans)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup butter, melted

Instructions

Filling
Preheat oven to 350F. Add all fruit to an 8 inch square baking dish and combine evenly. Drizzle vanilla over top. In a bowl, stir sugar, flour, cinnamon and peel and combine evenly. Sprinkle over the fruit and coat evenly. Even the surface by gently pressing down.

Topping
Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Drizzle melted butter in and combine well. Sprinkle evenly over fruit.

Bake in the oven for 55 to 65 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and topping is browned. Serve warm with vanilla iced cream.

Commentary
MmmmMmmm talk about easy makin’ lovin’ spoonfuls. It was smiles all around. After all, all foods fit……

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California Dreamin’

August 21st, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Ever need to sooth your soul? Gotta make sense of the nonsense? Do some California dreamin’ then get there already. Take a ride down Highway 1 and the pieces of your scrambled puzzle can start to reassemble. The Cypress trees stand perfectly eschew. The well hydrated ice plants surge forth out of desert sand. There is never any ice, though. Even the weeds are beautiful in perfect splendour. I don’t think I’d choose to live on San Andreas Boulevard though….”Look honey, the city’s paving the road again….”

I have a lot on my mind lately, sorting out life’s ebbs and flows. Have been mulling over it all, day after day – thinking, mulling, mulling and thinking. Hit a highway cutoff leading to a beach, cliffs, water and a parachute surfer that helped me make sense of it all. As I walked toward the water, the wind was whistling, the waves were crashing, the sun was gleaming. Mother Nature was at her finest.

Ahhh this California, how I love thee. Even though Arnold Schwartzneger governs the state there’s nothing about it I don’t fancy….mostly. What’s not to love?? I trudged through the sand as the sun glistened on the Pacific Ocean as a parasailer found his groove. Maybe this is a piece of Heaven. I am sure of it. The weight on my mind started to lift…

Later we headed to a special early anniversary celebration dinner. Our 25th. Earlier this day we packed a day-bag with evening clothes. We arrived at our destination. I pull the bag out of the vehicle that has for some reason become unzipped…. Onto the cobble drive falls evening ware, undie’s, accessories and more. Good grief. I break into uncontrolled laughter that echoed into the foyer….with a sore tummy, tears, runny nose and giddiness only a 5 year old (cum 50) knows….into the evening… Slapstick at its finest. As we dress for the occasion I look in the mirror and realize my hair looks like the perfectness of a Cypress tree – all eschew…. Ahhh well, good thing our vision’s not as good as it used to be!!

Ahh yes, finding the child within…. During dinner we recounted the day, the sites, the drive, the scenery with colourful bliss. This is what fond memories are made of. I am sure of it.

Astalavista, BABY!!

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What’s in this Stuff Anyway?? Get Curious!!

August 18th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , ,

Knowledge is power, right? For many years a segment of our food supply, namely packaged goods have been mandated to provide a nutrition facts table with an array of nutritional information. When you deal with the masses of every age and stage and condition you need to cover your bases in terms of the information provided.

Over the years consumer understanding of this information has been studied. In some countries they even look for ways to simplify the many details on front of pack, realizing that less information for many, is more useful.

When you stand back, though you realize that you might be able to understand what’s in all this packaged food, but what’s in that other segment of our food supply, namely restaurant offerings? A news flash on this ran in the newspaper some time ago about nutritional information on some of these foods. Quite frankly, I was astounded by some of the details and I believe the general public would be as well. For example, I have a penchant for Pad Thai and I found that one restaurant’s dish had over 1,000 calories per serving. Who knew??

If something seemingly benign as Pad Thai had that amount of calories at one outlet I’d like to be aware of what’s in all food, like I can when I buy a packaged good. Now I won’t stop ordering this dish, but I’ll think about slowing down when I eat this, perhaps bring some home in a doggie bag and not hoover the whole dang thing down.

Eating outside the home is much more commonplace these days. With the obesity stats so extreme I think people deserve to know what’s in ALL of the food they purchase. It doesn’t hurt being curious. After all, as I often say, awareness is bliss!!

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Hail Waters – A Menu for Change

August 17th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

This month marks the 40th anniversary of Alice Waters food legacy that started with humble beginnings with the opening of her restaurant Chez Panisse. A role model extraordinaire who had vision and tenacity against all odds “back in the day”.

She continues to see her vision to fruition, which is:

  • Good healthful food is a right for all, especially children
  • A civil society is one that cooks and eats together
  • It starts with respect for local, organic ingredients

Pretty impressive thinking for a French culturel history grad, I must say. Even better doing it. So simple, yet so profound, like many important things in life. She led this “good local food” revolution. A pebble of an idea CAN lead to an avalanche of change. And that, Alice Waters did to today.

Anyone else who runs a business might stop there, given the challenges. She could have focused on starting a chain for the sake of making more moula. But not Alice. She started a foundation called the Edible Schoolyard National. A grassroots concept getting kids involved in food from the ground up. Yes, pun is definitely intended!! Teaching kids where food comes from and what to do with it once it’s pulled out of the ground is pivotal to having a positive relationship and appreciation for food. This is the essence of a REAL happy meal, don’t you think??

Despite the rising cost of food, North America has loads of cheap and plentiful grub, much of it so refined it barely resembles the “food glorious food” from whence it came.

Yes Alice Waters’ life IS her message. She’s an plum example for all of us to follow. An inspiration. To lead not follow. To create a wholesome vision to better the world. To carve a dream to fruition. To continue pushing the envelope for the greater good. Hail Alice on her anniversary.

May her vision make us more aware of what positive acts we can do for our society. Bravo!!

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Plan for Success

August 16th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Ever asked someone who succeeded at something important how they did it?? Well I’ll tell you one thing for sure, they didn’t dilly dally around like a pinball in a pinball game. They got there with a plan. Oh for the love of planning. The cornerstone to success. Yes the devil is in all of the details.

I love this time of year as we approach “back to school” time. Because in the calendar year, this marks another mini-new year. The start of a new season and time of year. A great time to pull up your proverbial socks. Make a few goals and tighten the screws. If you have a game plan to better health and wellness review it and evaluate your progress to date. If you don’t, it’s a perfect time to make one.

Are you and members of your household moving in the right direction on the health front?? Are you making goals that better all members or are you following the neighbourhood pack and taking the willy nilly approach?

What is your dream for you and your family?? Is it to be healthier and to connect more often and more deeply?? If so you may want to nix the fallback plan of ordering in or hitting the drive through as often as you did in the past. A great way for everyone to connect is to plan and make meals together and sit down and enjoy. How perfect is that??!!

How about your activity level?? Are the kids thumbs in great shape from texting 143 times a day while their mid drifts are protruding? Take a good hard look to see what condition your condition is in. I find I’m more lax with my mat routine that includes my flexibility exercises, ab crunches, push ups and weights. To retrain my robot I put my mat in my path to get me back on track.

There are truly a multitude of positive behaviours you can do to better your health and your families. It’ll all start with a plan. Start making yours today. Happy Mini-New Year!!

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Cracked UP – Humble Hazelnuts

August 14th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Oh for the love of nuts. Those crunchy morsels so naturally nutrient rich. A good source of protein and healthy fat. These make a nice snack or a perfect accompaniment with other dishes such as salads or cereal. I am continuing this Cracked UP series focusing on the benefits of nuts in the diet and today’s focus is the humble hazelnut.

In addition to their great taste they are a fine source of vitamin E, magnesium, folate and B vitamins plus minerals that lower blood pressure. Not to forget they are a fab fibre source.

Studies tout the benefits of phytochemicals and health which have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases. Compared to other tree nuts hazelnuts have the highest of one of the compounds proanthorcyanidin.

Try these nuggets in the natural, roasted or blanched form. Make a habit of including nuts in your diet if you have not yet adopted these into your repertoire. What are you waiting for??!!

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Eating In-between Meals – The Other Intercourse

August 11th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

I was doing some reading about current consumer trends in food and eating this year and mulled over the topic of snacking – that other intercourse, hmmmmmm. With the tight economy research shows that 78% of snacking happens at home while 22% away from home. Some consumers (4/10) are looking for health benefits in their snack of choice while most still look for a sweet bite that satisfies.

The busy multi-tasker is looking for handheld items to nosh on-the-go (37%). Is there an app for that?? I can see it now, a portable feedbag strung onto one’s mouth, around the ears tied at the back of the head. Will that work?? Yes, the epitome of convenience.

Energy shots are gaining ground (50%). I have said this many time, if people only slept through the night and limited their caffeine intake (not in that order) there wouldn’t be a need for the “pick me up” of energy shots. Also, with an obesity epidemic, simply do the abdominal pinch test and consider that pinch your very own energy shot….. something to consider burning some time soon.

The good news is 67% of consumers are spending more time at home entertaining, while 20% buy gourmet snacks and 34% buy specialty items.

Whatever you’re doing around snacking make sure you take the time to taste and enjoy it. Successful weight losers swear by eating 3 meals and 2 small snacks each day that keep the tummy rumbling at bay. Aim to get a few combined food groups as you snack with protein in the mix to help stabilize your blood sugar level and keep it from plunging quickly AND keep you satisfied.

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