The "Whiz-ard" That Is Dr. Oz

Following Dr. Oz's Advice For A Year

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Volunteering is Good for Your Health?


According to, “…people who do volunteer work for 2 or more hours per week have lower rates of depression and heart disease, live happier more fulfilled lives, have greater self-esteem and greater function ability, especially for older adults.”  I don’t volunteer as much as I used to, in fact, the last few years, it’s just been once or twice a year.  Every year, except for one – last year, when I had a terrible cold – my bestie and I travel to our friend Paula’s place to wrap gifts for The Boys and Girls Club.  It’s a pretty basic thing to do, takes around 4-ish hours or so – sometimes longer depending on how many people volunteer, and you end up helping, in a very small way, make people’s lives a little easier.  This year, there were fewer corporate sponsors.  It’s so sad – I mean, I understand that there are needy people all over the world, and many worthy charities, but I also think it’s important to assist and aid people in your own communities.  This particular charity provides needy kids of all ages, from infant to teen, with the essentials that they need to get through a Canadian Winter.  The kids get a winter coat and boots, an outfit, shoes if they need them, pyjamas, underwear, socks, mittens, a hat and a special request item like a toy. One year, when I was reading what the “dream item” was, it ended up being pencils and a backpack.  How sad is it that a child’s deepest wish is to have the basics that they need for school?

According to the article on Dr. Oz’s site, “When you focus on helping others, you are less likely to focus on your own troubles. And if your volunteer work happens to be with people who are ill, disabled or underprivileged, it can put challenges in your own life in perspective.”  It’s so true.  In 2003, a family member became very ill, and I was worried constantly.  At this point in time, I was volunteering weekly with an after-school program at work.  The kids would come each week for 60-90 minutes to be tutored.  We were each paired up with a child.  I can tell you, that it was like going to the gym – I’d dread it all day, then, after the session, I’d be invigorated.  It also made me realize, that although I was having a difficult time, that spending some of my energy focusing on someone else, made me feel better, and it showed me that no matter how difficult life gets, that you can make a difference.  The kids were special.  Some needed more help than others, but most were just looking for undivided attention from an adult.  I did this every week for three years and to this day, it’s one of my proudest accomplishments.

I hope to volunteer more in 2015.  I may not be able to commit to weekly volunteering, but one of my resolutions is to commit to at least 12 times in the year.  Today, I am grateful to Paula for having a group of people invade her house every year to wrap gifts, for arranging everything and for being an overall inspiration of how someone can make people’s lives better.  I’m also grateful to get to partner with my bestie –  the photo was taken today as we plower (or plodded) through the gift wrapping.  The holidays, regardless of what your background is, can be difficult.  Volunteering is a way to connect with others and get out of the “poor me” rut that we all can get into.

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A Dose of Holiday Gratitude


My “reflective” photo

The holidays make people reflect about what they are grateful for and Dr. Oz and Deepak Chopra, my homeboys, buds, brothers from other mothers, etc. recommend you state what tickles you to remind yourself of all of the good in the world.  I do this quite often in my blog, while others, I’m not naming names (Shoe) keep a journal.  I’d like to give you a dose of what I feel grateful for at this moment in time:

  • I found this Sesame Street video on my cousin’s Facebook page.  If you can’t feel grateful for the Yippers, well, I don’t know what you can be grateful for
  • There was a huge snow storm in Toronto, and unlike previous years, we didn’t have to call out the army to dig us out #torontostrong
  • I was grateful that although I cancelled plans on a friend who lives just too far away, I ended up getting a dinner invitation to my mother’s – timing is everything
  • I’m grateful that I got to see my Mommy AND she was finally able to sew a button on my winter coat for me – it’s been hanging over my head for months
  • I’m grateful that I got to see my niece AND I found out that she too can sew a button – it’s always good to have a back up
  • I’m grateful that I got to see my oldest sister today AND I know that she can sew a button.  It’s all about connections
  • I’m grateful that I got to speak to my middle sister AND I suspect that she can sew a button.  I need to know that I’m surrounded by domestic goddesses since I’ll never be one
  • I’m grateful that I got a seat on the subway, and my coat was so thick, it didn’t matter if it was warm or not
  • I’m grateful that I got another gift off of my list – wasn’t that a Hall and Oates’ song?  “Because your gift, your gift is on my list” – oh it’s “Your Kiss is On My List” – silly me
  • I’m grateful that I had the time to blog today
  • I’m grateful that today, one person got exactly what I was saying
  • I’m grateful that I got to see “The Mindy Project” last night and that it was basically picked up for a full season
  • I’m grateful that in 6 business days, I’ll have two weeks off!!!!
  • I’m grateful that I got to shop my mother’s pantry because it saved me a trip to the store.  I’m also grateful that I have a mother who is generous enough to let me shop the pantry, although, if she would let me organize each shelf alphabetically by product, it would make me so happy.  She won’t – weird – because she’s type A too
  • I’m grateful that I’ve committed to getting my Christmas cards written over the weekend – I’d be even more grateful if I had someone to write them for me – everyone always calls me to translate my chicken scratch.  I’m also grateful that I buy my cards on Boxing Day so that I never need to worry about having enough for the holidays

That’s about all that I’m grateful for – but not so bad, since it covers off only one day.  Until next time, I remain

Gratefully yours,



4 Tips to Staying Healthy and More!


I always make New Year’s Resolutions and was looking for something to inspire me for 2015.  I know, they are usually unrealistic, but I try to make my resolutions “objectives”, meaning that they are measurable.  I came across an old interview with Dr. Oz on a local Hawaiian newscast and he had 4 tips for staying healthy that seem like a pretty solid starting point for my 2015 list:

  1. Get some physical activity daily – and even better if it’s vigorous.  He doesn’t mean you have to exercise 7 days a week, but make sure that you are doing something to develop your strength.  As we age, we are more prone to falling and strength training (even just carrying a heavy grocery order) can help you avoid falls.  I really have to worry about this – I’m a klutz  – and can find a pothole to trip over even on the smoothest sidewalk.  I’ve mentioned before that  Oops is my middle name.  Point taken Dr. Oz – I’m seeing my trainer 3 times this week to get the ball rolling on this one.
  2. Eat whole foods.  This basically means food in their original forms.  This means eat broccoli, not cream of broccoli soup.  I love veggies, so it’s not an issue for me.  I did eat a frozen dinner last week, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.  In general, since March, I’ve been much more mindful of eating whole foods, and even try to be careful to buy foods that are GMO free where possible.  I’m turning into one of those people that I used to mock, but you gotta do what you gotta do…I silently mock myself when I buy organic, GMO free peanut butter if it makes you feel better.
  3. Be thoughtful about the relationships that you have.  We all need to do a better job with this.  I know I try as hard as possible to be a good friend and family member, but I can’t be perfect – no one can.  Lately I haven’t been perfect about keeping in touch – work gets in the way but that’s a whole other blog topic. On brighter note, I have bumped into a lot of people from the past and have been reconnecting with them – it’s been really nice.
  4. You have a purpose and vision in life – basically some life goals.  I’m type A – DUH of course I have them, but I think one of the things that I have realized is that career-wise, I’ve really reached all of the goals that I’ve set for myself so perhaps it’s time to focus on something else.  Health has been a bigger priority and this blog has been a tool to help me make attaining optimum health one of my “purposes” in life.

That’s it – just 4 easy little steps and I expect to see all of you at my 100th birthday party.

In other visions for myself, if you think that I’ve given up decluttering just because I haven’t been writing about it weekly, think again.  Today, I decluttered my wallet, getting rid of 67 (that’s not a typo) receipts and 2 loyalty cards.  I had one in there for a bagel shop – buy 12 bagels with cream cheese, get one free.  I’ve had one bagel with cream cheese in general and from there in particular in 2 years.  At that rate, it would take me 24 years to get the free bagel – not worth the space it was taking in my wallet.  I’m going to be more discerning about which cards that I take…my wallet will thank me.  I also sold 3 items on Kijiji totalling $100!!!!  I got rid of 2 purses and one pair of sunglasses and best of all – they are no longer taking up space in my house.  If you are making it a resolution (or objective) to declutter – consider selling some of your “in mint condition” household items and clothing – even just some knick knacks that are turning into dust collectors – your trash is someone else’s treasure.  I’ll write some tips on how to use these services at a later date.

I have a lot to be grateful for this week.  I got to celebrate my nephew’s birthday with my family yesterday which was very nice – I’d write a big mushy article about him, but he won’t read it anyway – he’s 19 and not interested in reading this : )  My sister outdid herself with the brunch – down to the caramel apples she made for everyone.  So good – it’s almost a whole food – there was an apple in there buried under the caramel.  I also got to go to an annual Christmas party that my dear friend Shoe’s (not her real name) parents put on.  Her mother is Greek an one of the best cooks, aside from my mother, in Toronto, or quite possibly the world.  It is always a really nice time and an opportunity to have some interesting conversations with people that I sometimes only get to see once a year.  It’s so relaxed, not one of those parties where there is tension – just a fun night.  Thank you Shoe for always being a great friend and for including me and my sister every year.

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Merry Christmas – Yes I’m Going to Say It


I decided to go for the obvious…just in time for the holidays – I’ll be writing about all that’s fun and fabulous about the most wonderful time of the year.  This Jewess is going to check out what her favourite Muslim, Dr. Oz has to say about surviving the holidays – everything from healthy gift giving, spending time with loved ones, staying cold and flu free during the festive season and just anything that will inspire you to live a healthier life in 2015.  This is the last month of my year of living Oz-ily, and I’m getting a little teary-eyed.  It went by so very fast and I’ve loved writing for all of you, so for the first time, I’m not signing off with what I am grateful for – I’m opening with it.  I’m grateful to all of you for sticking with me this year.

Now on to my little soap box.  Our holiday, Chanukah will end just before Christmas – or as we like to say in our family, my sister Donna’s birthday.  Even though I do not celebrate it, I fully support and will wish anyone that I know who does partake – a very Merry Christmas.  There is nothing offensive to me about letting someone celebrate their holiday and I think it’s about time that we stop being so politically correct.  Wishing someone a happy holiday is just generic and should only be done if you don’t know what holiday the person in question celebrates.

Have we become so afraid of offending anyone that we end up offending everyone?  Let people enjoy their festive season.  What’s next – Santa Claus will be put on a diet and we’ll stop calling him “Jolly Old St. Nick” to “the very happy, mature Mr. Nicolas” because we don’t want to offend senior citizens?  I’m surprised Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is still popular, it clearly shows favouritism since Santa asked him with his nose so bright to guide his sleigh tonight.  Dasher, Dancer and Prancer’s parents are still complaining about it to the North Pole District School Board.  Are we going to be “Rocking Around the Holiday Tree?”  Is “Away in a Manager” going to be changed to “Away in Community Housing” since we don’t want to imply that there is any type of religious messaging in that Christmas Carol?

I think it’s time that we all stop being Scrooges, Grinches and the such.  I’m hoping that you are going to wish me a Happy Chanukah, because I’m definitely wishing all of my friends who celebrate it a very Merry Christmas and tough Christmas cookies if you don’t like it.

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Identifying with Stress

care bear

Courtesy of Google Images

I was thinking about stress all of this month – everything from the stupid stresses (warm seats on the subway) to ones that are more real.  The one thing that I noticed that I do, a lot, is generalize what is causing me stress.  I say (and have heard others say) – “Work is stressing me out” or a person is “stressing me out.”  Very general – right? Dealing with stress so that it doesn’t cause the inflammation that Dr. Oz has taught me to fear is important, and in some weird way, writing about it, when I can, has been cathartic.  Maybe it’s my “feditation” experience with frequent Oz guest, Deepak Chopra.  I call it feditation, because I am the worst meditator in the world.  I fall asleep because I usually do it at bed time, I worry that I’m not pronouncing the mantras correctly in my inside voice and I fear being a fake.  I do think taking the 20 minutes a day to do the Doprah 21 Day Meditation Experience does help me think about things in a different way.  I got a lot out of each of their small, daily lectures.  I think that’s how I came to the conclusion that I was generalizing my stress too much.  It’s time for me to makeover my thoughts.  Here are some examples:

The Before – Work is stressing me out

The Makeover Thought (AKA, recognizing what is causing these feelings) I find work is causing me to worry because…I’m in a new-ish role, in a new-ish department with a new-ish boss with a new-ish team.  My work load is very large and I put a lot of pressure on myself to excel.  I worry that when I get so busy that things will fall through the cracks and that I will disappoint people.  I have less free time and feel that I sometimes forget to reach out to people that matter to me because their emails get lost in the mess that is my inbox.

The New Reality – I am pretty good at what I do, so maybe my best simply is enough and I have to accept that I can’t do everything.  I have to learn to delegate more and respond less.  The world isn’t going to end if I don’t get every single item off of my to-do list.  I also have to realize that I’ve achieved every career goal that I’ve set for myself and maybe it’s time to learn to be happy about that.

The Before – My family/friends stress me out

The Makeover Thought – I am worried about the health and happiness of the people in my life.

The New Reality – I can’t control whether people are healthy or happy, I can only control my reactions to them.

The Before – It’s a weekend, and other than going out and doing something fun, I haven’t been productive.

The Makeover Thought – I need to clean my apartment, run errands, get some stuff on Kijiji, go to the bank, dry cleaners, pick up a gift…and the list goes on and on.  How will I ever do everything?

The New Reality- I will get through the list, but maybe, every now and again, it’s ok to just veg out.

I think  being more specific about what’s been causing me stress, has made me feel better.  Maybe a little Deepak also helped.

Speaking of silly stress, I went to a Stevie Wonder concert with my frousin, GK, on Tuesday.  Stevie Wonder is one of the most talented people I’ve ever seen – there is no denying that.  The man plays the piano like a dream, the harmonica, and probably a slew of other instruments that I will never in a million years be able to master.  He is charming and inspirational and everything good.  People who were at the concert were glued to the stage….except me…I have to be honest, I didn’t know most of the music and I was getting  bored very fast and I love concerts.  Every time GK looked at me, I’d shrug my  shoulders.  I was counting the songs knowing that there were going to be 25 in total.  I was mentally calculating that each song was approximately 5 minutes in length and there were 15 left after Sir Duke (the only song that I knew before the intermission).  By the 8th song, GK texted me to ask if I was enjoying the concert, and as ashamed as I was to admit this, I wrote, “He’s very talented….but I wish I was at Pink!”  I felt like the most uncultured concert-goer in the world, but the fact of the matter is that she felt the same way!  There was a point where Stevie sang a really weird lyric and we both looked at each other and cracked up.  We decided to leave WAAAYYYY before the concert ended.  We were both stressed that the other would want to stay – sometimes, its best just to fess up.  It was so nice, and de-stressing, at that moment in time, to be understood.  This week, I’m grateful to GK for being my partner in the great Wonder escape and for just being fun to being around in general.

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The Stress of Blogging…And Other Stuff

I don’t think that blogging is all that stressful. In fact, I enjoy writing my blog.  I rarely get writer’s block.  Researching, checking out videos and other Oz-worthy information is a little stressful though, but not enough to add to inflammation in my potentially riddled body.  The only real stress is finding the time to blog…and the lack of really great recent Gwyneth Paltrow quotes.  I do have faith though, that I will always find the time to write and that Gwynnie will say something really dumb….soon.  I have to give her props for the Jailbird Cake in response to Martha Stewart’s own nastiness – there is nothing more stinging than a WASP feud (pun intended).  Check out the link  I personally will not be making this cake – it calls for a mix master and I don’t own one.  I’ve been banned from using the mixer at my mother’s house ever since the gingerbread man incident of 2008.  Talk about stress!  It was my first time using a mix master since I was a wee one and it was a bit of a disaster that resulted in a set of broken beaters and a warning never to touch my mother’s kitchen equipment again.  Since then, she has relented and lets me use the kettle and the dishwasher.  I’ve also been upgraded to stove top usage since I’m the only person in the family who can make a good pot of rice, but every time I even think about getting close the the mecca that is the mixer, I’m given a stern warning that it has to last the rest of my mother’s life and that she is down to her last set of beaters thanks to me.  OOOPS….sorry!

Getting back to the stress of blogging, most days, I barely have time to answer my work emails.  I’ve stopped answering most emails from friends just due to lack of time – sorry friends!  I still do get joy from writing my little blog so I do try to make an effort where I can.  Bizarre fact – last week, when I blogged just once, I had more views than almost any other week.  Another interesting fact if you do blog, and I’m not sure that this happens to everyone – I get WAAAAYYYY more views on weekdays than on weekends which is the best time for me to write.  Lesson – just get it over with during the week and party on during the weekends.  When I write about travel, I also get more followers…interesting….I love travel and could write about it every single day.

In terms of stress relief, my daily Deepak Chopra/Oprah 21 Day Meditation Experience is going off just as expected – I listen raptly as DOprah speaks and as soon as it’s time to meditate, I lose it.  Fortunately, Deepak always assures me that the goal isn’t perfection.  I’m sad that it’s winding up but to tide me over, I’m reading Chopra’s “The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire”.  It makes me feel deep that I’m reading it!  It’s actually really well written – it’s all about the role of coincidence in your life.  Ever read the bore that is “The Celestine Prophecy”?  That book lost me after chapter one which was the only good chapter in the whole book.  It was all about coincidence (just that chapter) – I blocked out the rest of the book since it qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.  Chopra’s book on the other hand, is all about coincidence – it’s the central theme – with some quantum physics to make you feel especially smart.  He explains everything so well, it doesn’t even lose me when he starts talking about molecules and atoms – check it out if you are interested in the topic.  You won’t be disappointed unless you only like horror and chick-lit – then you are out of luck.

Last but not least, a moment of gratitude.  Today I am grateful to my over 70 year old mother (I’m not going to share her full age – that’s a not very carefully guarded secret).  My poor little mother who has health issues of her own, got up and offered a heavily pregnant woman a seat on Toronto’s subway.  I sat comfortably watching this, thinking – YAY Mom!  Give up your seat instead of me…just kidding – I wasn’t even there.  I just can’t believe that people today let my mother give up her seat while they sat there.  It’s common courtesy to give up your seat for an elder, a pregnant woman, someone that is blind, uses a cane, is in a walker, etc.  I see people everyday pretend to be asleep or lost in their book so that they can stay comfy.  All I have to say is shame on you!  Let’s be a little kinder to one another, and offer someone who needs to rest a place to do it and not make someone who isn’t old at all (like my Mummy) but who may be more advanced in years than you, give up hers.

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Southern Fried and Dignified


As part of my plan to de-stress a bit, I went away to North Carolina to visit my good friend Claudette.  The Type A in me usually does my research on any destination that I go to.  This time, I decided to do no research.  I was simply putting my faith in a local who knew exactly what she was doing and I LOVED the experience.  Instead of doing every touristy thing out there, I got to experience Winston Salem and the surrounding counties the way they were meant to be seen – almost like a local.  I felt at one with the people in this lovely little place.  I think I was meant to live in the south.  I loved the pink cowboy hat I tried on, the hospitality, the fact that my hair was bigger and bouncier there and the fact that I felt really understood by the women there.  I was chatting with some people at a restaurant (they are so friendly there, which I love) – I told them about my HORRIBLE experience at a Pittsburgh Steelers game last year  when my Longchamps purse was cruelly (and unusually) taken from me and I was forced to put the contents of my bag in a hideous Steelers clear plastic bag and they were outraged.  I was told that no one takes a Southern Ladies’ pocketbook – nobody – I felt like I had come home.   If I have to beg, borrow or steal (not Steeler) –  no one will ever take my pocketbook again!


Dr. Oz has a black Labrador Retriever and has commented on the stress relief that pets provide.  My friend had a beautiful Golden Retriever/Labrador Retriever cross.  It was just the sweetest dog ever (aside from the dog that I grew up with) and having the chance to be around a dog for 3 days was also very soothing.  This dog loved attention, but was so gentle.  He was an 80 pound marshmallow.


It was also nice to go to a place where the pace was slower.  Just being able to stroll instead of rushing from place to place was nice.  The only complaints?  Hot tea is not a big deal there and I’m a tea drinker.  Sweet tea to me is just torture in a glass, I’m a British subject  and I need a steamy hot beverage.  It was also unseasonably cold, but you can’t control the weather.  It’s a small price to pay for the fabulous experience that I had.  Check out some of my favourite pics…


Old Salem


Old Salem


Chapel Hill (UNC)

So what am I grateful for?  That’s simple.  I’m grateful I got to see my friends – I even got to catch up with a friend from junior high who happened to live in a nearby town.  I was touched that she drove all the way out to see me.  I’m grateful that Claudette took us to such great places.  I’m grateful that I had a chance to spend time with such a special doggy and I’m grateful that I had a chance to get away from it all for a few days.


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