Archive for August, 2012

Grocery Cart Smarts & Your Weight

August 31st, 2012 No Comments Tags: , ,

When I grocery shop I often notice people mulling around in a daze as they face myriad products and decisions. It helps to keep your wits about you with some tips and tricks top of mind when you grocery shop that can help your wallet and your weight.

Club Packs O Snacks
Before you go think long and hard about whether you are truly saving moula when purchasing those jumbo pillow sacks of snacks, “in case company drops in”. Who’s been eating this stuff, company? Perhaps not. Yes it’s true there are economies of scale when buying large quantities. What is the net result on YOUR scale? If that needle points to a higher and higher number what have you really saved? Think about it.

Losing the Hunger Games
Now you’re heading to the store. The first rule of thumb is to have a snack before you set out. A rumbly tumbly might find you strolling up and down aisles that you hadn’t previously planned. Products might find their way in your cart. Beware of these hunger games! You’re the one who loses, so does your budget.

Will that be cash?
Paying with cash makes you mindful of what you’re buying. It’s easy to drive your cart off course and fill up on features and nifty items. When you pay by debit you barely need to give those extra items another thought. However, when you only have a limited amount of moula you need to stick to your plan.

Be smart with your cart and give more thought to these finer shopping points. Making a paradigm shift can help you buy less (with less waste) and help you keep your waist. A good triple whammy that’s for sure.

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Overworked & Underplayed

August 28th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Sometimes the speed of that rat race climbs putting the kibosh on your karma. Stress can mount, life gets serious and you might feel like a gasket or two’s gonna blow. Well it’s times like these that you’ve gotta take that bull by the horns and shift the balance to chill.

Pause that Refreshes – find a moment here or there to be alone and decompress, mini time outs can help you zone in

Turn Up the Tunes – lift your spirits by turning up your favourite tunes, getting all jiggy with it can make a world of difference

Get High in Five – get high over 5 minutes of exercise – walk a block, do jumping jacks, ride your bike, run to the mailbox, those endorphins will make you feel good all over

Get Your Zzzzz’s - try to lay your noodle down and get a good night’s sleep, you’ll be better equipped to take on the world

Fun Factor – work in burst of fun to bring you joy and lift your spirits, don’t take it all so seriously!

When you realize you need better balance in your life, work in a few ways to kickstart your karma and get your groove back! Hey, the long weekend’s looming so make some plans.

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Keeping the Spirit Alive

August 26th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , ,

I couldn’t be any more proud of a certain nephew of mine and his friends aka “Team Darko”. These “cream of the croppers”, mid-twenty somethings banned together to organize a fab fundraiser for their university friend who passed away some years ago. Actually, truth be told they have organized one fundraiser or another just about each year since his passing to keep his spirit alive.

It seemed like almost a hundred people came out to join in the event – a golf shotgun tourney. The sky was blue, the temp was up as butterflies fluttered around. Fun was had by all, that’s for sure.

I must admit I had a lump in my throat a few times during the event for many reasons. Seeing all of these grown up kids giving unselfishly of their time and money for a worthy cause was truly inspiring. It seems everybody’s so busy running around doing so much these days – who has any extra time to devote to such things? Many are complaining about how tight budgets are too. Nonetheless this gang gave their time, money, spirit and creativity so unselfishly.

Yes there are leaders among us you might not necessarily spot in a crowd. This group transformed the reputation of the “Me Generation” to the “We Generation” on that fine day. Yes a group who could have come up with a hundred legitimate excuses why they couldn’t organize this, stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam out of the park.

Thanks Team Darko for inspiring me this fine summer’s weekend. And remember “No giving up EVER!” DD

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Love Your Anti’s

August 24th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , ,

A lot has been studied on the benefits of antioxidants in their natural form. I know I sound like a broken record encouraging you to have your 5 – 10 a day of fruits and veggies, but it’s for the good of your health and wellness, that’s for sure. I enjoy mine every day!

Some people think that by supplementing with tablets will get your requirements covered, but research findings don’t support this. They don’t compare. There are certainly benefits when you eat your “anti’s” rather than taking supplements of them. Nothing like real food to serve and protect you while supporting you.

Have them infiltrate your plate throughout the day by having a fruit at each meal and as your go to snack support – your first line of offence to be your defence with free radicals. This time of year there’s so much choice in the produce department it’s staggering – berries, apricots, broccoli, melon, peppers, tomatoes and more.

Focus on good food instead of the minutia of minerals and vitamins and your diet will surely benefit.

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Stress Tab

August 21st, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Look left and look right and it seems like so many people are plagued with too much stress. I recently found myself in the thick of things on Stress Avenue first hand and got reflecting about how to manage it better.

Talk About It, Then Park It – Talk with your confidant about your concerns to get them off your chest, then park it. Dwelling on your problems and complaining incessantly can make a bigger mountain out of your situation and keep you in neutral, instead of working on moving forward.

Look for the Silver Lining – Take stock in the positives in any bad situation because truly there’s always someone worse off than you. Look around then look up!

Get Moving – Getting moving can help you burn off steam and is a great outlet.

Sip a Tea – Finding a relaxing moment with a cuppa-tea can help reduce stress and tension with those natural elements – ahhhh.

Have a Chuckle – Turn on the Comedy station and have a good belly laugh or watch a funny movie.

Change Your Focus – Stop dwelling on “poor you” and change your focus to help lift your spirits. Help someone who needs it – that’ll change your focus pretty quick.

Stay in the Moment – Thinking too far ahead of your problem can be overwhelming, focus on the positive and the here and now. Keep going!

Everyone has stress in their life and no one can escape it. Find ways to manage it optimally to help get you through the rough spots.

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Food Revolution Fast Food Summer Salad

August 19th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , ,

On those hot and hazy days of summer, it’s nice avoiding turning on the stove if you don’t have to. Instead, consider pulling out a salad bowl and adding a variety of handy produce already available in your fridge. You can cover all of the food groups if you mix it up right.

variety of lettuces
cherry tomatoes
sliced cucumber
chopped onion
slices of nectarine
cheese cubes
slivered almonds
salt and pepper to taste
balsamic vinegar
olive oil

Combine all ingredients, season to your liking then add a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss and serve. Enjoy with a crusty bun.

This makes a fast and easy meal when on the run. A perfect alternative to fast food. Use any sort of lettuce you have in your crisper. Feel free to add pitted olives. Use protein alternates such as a chopped hard boiled egg, left over cooked roast beef or chicken, even salmon or tuna. Change up the fruit to a Granny Smith apple, berries or apricot and the cheese to bocconcini, cheddar, asiago or goat’s cheese . There are many ways to make this. All taste delicious!

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Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine

August 16th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , ,

I’ve been thinking more deeply about our food after my family reunion in Canada’s breadbasket held in PA Saskatchewan. One morning I found myself admiring cousin Shelley’s garden, one her mother Anne would surely be proud of. She has row upon row of Mother Nature’s bounty from carrots, to beets, to herbs, tomatoes, greens, corn, potatoes and more.

I felt sheepish as thoughts of my meagre garden crossed my mind – a selection of herbs that is chronically nibbled on by my resident bunny rabbit. Hungry little beggar.

I have to admit I’m so used to seeing this all picked, washed and packaged up in my produce section of the grocery store with signs letting me know one head of lettuce from another. These days youngsters don’t even realize lettuce is grown in a head that needs to be washed. Does it emerge from the ground in a plastic sealed container with a variety of lettuces included?

I also pondered about the wonders of food that comes straight from the ground – yes our food is our medicine! It nourishes us with a wide array of vitamins and minerals, protects us with immunological benefits and energizes us to be the best we can be. Food surely is glorious, isn’t it? And the benefits we garner from it seem endless.

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Getting Up Close with Natural Nutrient Rich

August 14th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

Being out in the prairies plunked me up close and personal with our origins of food. We drove down dirt roads passing fields of wheat, barley, oats, canola and more. We spotted herds of cows and chicken coups. I had to chuckle having my grocery list at home with “canola oil”, “oatmeal”, “milk” and more as a reminder. This brought new meaning to me as “the hand that feeds you” are the farmers that make it happen for us, family members, no less. How that warms my heart.

This day and age youngsters and adults alike have lost touch with where our food comes from. On that fine day, I was surrounded with all that we eat ready for the harvest, almost.

We are also so caught up with food that’s so processed or designed specially for one thing or another. Nutrition is a science with a lot of grey-zone that the consumer gets confused with what on earth they ought to eat. I love the notion of Naturally Nutrient Rich because it’s all about eating foods that are chocked full of nutrients per calorie.

I wish those days of calorie or grams of fat or carb counting would end already. Our bodies need all of the vitamins and minerals to function optimally, not a bottle of water with some vitamins added – what gives?!

It’s time to put our thinking caps on to grasp the wider meaning of food and what we should eat and lose the narrow view of old fads. On my family reunion our last family dinner together we shared a pig roast as the sun set. Thank goodness I’m not a vegetarian! The buffet also had cream potatoes and dill pulled from cousin Shelley’s garden that day, yummy cabbage rolls and various veggie dishes galore. Talk about local. We got “the food miles” for that meal down to a few yards! How great is that?

You don’t need to visit a farm to get up close and personal with your food origins. But think about it now and then and make choices in the grocery store or market with more food in their original form to get that Naturally Nutrient Rich quotient maxed out for your health benefit.

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Contemplation about Hydration

August 12th, 2012 No Comments Tags:

Everybody has so many nutrition facts and foibles in their head it sometimes bogs us down. Being outside in the summer’s heat can take a toll on us. As we fade into the sunset when outside for a while we might forget to drink enough. As the fade begins we might think, hmmmm am I hungry, am I tired when what we really need is water, pure H2O.

During the olympics our thoughts might turn to sports drinks but let’s get real folks, does your performance of walking, golfing, gardening bike riding or strolling really warrant a sports drink? I stock chocolate milk in my fridge to sip on as a snack that works for me plus covers more of the vitamins and minerals that our bodies crave.

In the heat don’t forget to keep water at hand to drink, enjoy and rehydrate before we fade with the heat. It’s a perfect thirst quencher for we leisure activity folks.

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Olympic Flame of Motivation

August 9th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been doing more pondering about the various aspects of the Olympics and how they bring meaning to our lives. Take the flame for instance. It’s a perfect symbol of motivation as it travels over hills and dales, oceans and seas, towering snowcapped mountains and cavernous valleys four years to the host city. Each day that flame is lit represents that internal glow in our own lives to be better, go further, get stronger.

I chuckled when I did my mat routine recently with weights and flexibility exercises contrast to those buff beach volley-ball players in mind. I bent and stretched to just touch my toes and lifted those 8 pound weights tightening my core, cause I too can do just a little bit better.

I won’t be joining an iron man team any time soon because tortoises don’t qualify. I will however be more mindful of how I can do my body right one baby step at a time. Maybe I’ll take a stroll at lunch on a workday; perhaps I’ll forgo food offerings that aim to sweeten my work setting; how about getting down on my mat an extra day or two in the week to tighten my core or make my lunch with the seasonal fare adorning my fridge. More olympic food for thought, that’s for sure.

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