Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One

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Plop Part Deux (Dos, Due, Zwei, Twee)


I’m disappointed in myself.  I have done something to you, my readers, that I despiseth.  I told a falsehood.  I said yesterday, that I would go back to writing about DASH like a good little Dr. Oz blogger.  Instead, I find myself, one last time, feeling the need to compare myself to Gwyneth Paltrow.  I can’t stop myself, it’s a painful addiction, but the first step is admitting that I have a problem.  It’s an unconscious uncoupling from the good angel sitting on my right shoulder telling me that it isn’t nice to make fun of those who are less fortunate than you.  I truly believe that if Gwyneth is less fortunate – we’ve already established that she works harder than I do.  She also hears voices in the rocks of Sedona and she would rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin…let’s find out some more ways that life is a bit more trying and some other words of wisdom in Plop Part Deux (I, like Gwyneth am fluent in a number of languages):

1)  “I am who I am. I can’t pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year.”  It’s really tough being a girl who doesn’t want to be rich or famous.  At least she is being true to herself.  I too am true to myself.  For instance, when I read my blog to my friend yesterday, I did it in a fake Britsh accent, then proceeded to laugh so hard at myself in a sound that can only be called “the hyena” that I cried, in public.  Nothing like being yourself, except, when you can learn how to not make a spectacle out of yourself in public.  Clearly, I am just learning but luckily, I have a role model in Gwynnie.  BTW – if she is an actress, shouldn’t she be able to pretend to be someone who makes $25,000 a year?  Isn’t that what acting is all about – pretending to be someone that you are not?

2)  “Beyoncé’s like, ‘Okay. The singing is great. But you’re not having any fun.’ She’s like, ‘Remember when we were at Jay’s concert and Panjabi MC comes on and you do your crazy Indian dance? Do that. Be you!’”  I know – me too – well, it’s not Beyoncé giving me the be you advice.  It’s usually a friend saying “Do that crazy Phoebe run of yours” – that’s Phoebe from friends – click on the link if you aren’t familiar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_0Ta_DIWuU, yes that’s how they want to see me run…only one problem – I’m not doing it on purpose, that’s just the way I run… and they are doing it so that they can laugh at me.

3)  “Sometimes Harvey Weinstein will let me use the Miramax jet if I’m opening a supermarket for him.”  OMG  – we have so much in common!  Sometimes, I will jet around a supermarket, picking up what I need for my Dr. Oz inspired eating!  Oh wait, is that not the same as Gwynnie jetting to a supermarket?

4)  “I would rather die than let my kid eat Cup-a-Soup.” Totally agree with her!  I don’t like this salty, fake soup either, and I too would rather leave a child motherless than let them eat this garbage.  Hey, Chris Martin – you can just raise those kids yourself if they are ever fed Cup-a-Soup!  As Dr. Oz would say, maybe she is catastrophizing?

5) “Some days I feel like everyone in my world has plugged themselves into my kidneys. I’m so tired.”  Me too!  OMG – I thought no one out there understood me.  Sometimes, I feel like people are plugging into my other body parts too, but that’s only when I have a creepy man standing too close to me on the subway.   Honestly, I just have no clue what she means…maybe she should look into her intense fatigue – but it’s likely because she works so much harder than almost any woman on the planet.

6) “One cold wintry day in London, I was dreaming about salad nicoise—one of my favorites.”  For me, one cold wintry day in Toronto, I was dreaming of summer – especially this LONG COLD WINTER.  I’m so done with it.  We are going to have to agree to disgree on this one Gwyneth!

7) “One year I was given a birthday present I’ll never forget — a cooking lesson from Jamie Oliver.”  One year, I too was given a birthday gift that I’ll never forget – it was the ugliest jade necklace that I’d ever seen – I have no clue what the person who gave it to me was thinking.   Bad idea!  I thought GP loved cooking though?

8) “I had my first bowl of gazpacho when I was fifteen in Spain, and the impression it made was a lasting one.”  Wow – I had my first bowl of gazpacho at my mother’s place in Toronto.  It left a lasting impression too.  I thought – why would anyone rave over cold tomato soup?  If you like it that much, just open a jar of Ragu sauce and throw in some ice cubes – why pretend it’s something that it isn’t (gourmet).

9) “He [Chris Martin] can’t have background music on. It has to be 100 percent of his attention. But if he isn’t at home, I turn on the hip-hop. I’m like a bad mutha rapping along to every word as I cook.”  I too need music when I cook.  I am also like a bad mutha tucker (excuse my language), it’s the urban Jill coming out to play.  I’m feeling like playing a little rap now myself, but I have Bruno Mars and Maroon 5 on now – so good!  Perhaps I can partake in some rap later and get jiggy wit it?

On that note, I will have to go back to the real point of my blog tomorrow, but I have enjoyed this brief interlude.

Today, I am grateful for all of the lovely comments, likes and follows I have received since I started writing my little blog.  I can’t tell you how much it means when I get that feedback.  So thank you for reading.

Gratefully yours,






(image courtesy of http://www.freewebs.com/embroiderydesignstore/apps/photos../photo?photoid=92177108)

I just can’t help but be inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow.  For today only, and for one last blog, I chooseth to write in the voice of the hardest working mother in the stratosphere.  In fact, so inspired am I by her genius, that I decided to rename my blog Goop but realized that it was already taken by my muse.  I am renaming my blog Plop in her honour.  I am feeling rather out of sorts though – are Goop and Plop verbs or nouns?  You can make the argument that Goop is a noun, for example, “what is this goop on my plate?” but plop seems to be a verb.  I actually would prefer not to write a sentence containing plop – it is not lady-like.  Now on from such trivial matters to how Gwyneth inspires me and my journey on the road to good health. I thought that I would use some facts and quotes to illustrate our similarities:

1) Gwyneth’s middle name is Kate.  My middle name is Kate!  Oh wait – I don’t have a middle name – in fact my name is a four letter word – not that kind – oh never mind.  BAD EXAMPLE!

2) “Life is “different” when you have an “office job” because it’s “routine and you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening,”.   She is absolutely right.  I don’t know why mother’s all over the planet are so up in arms over this.  She has it much harder than most everyone.  She works, at most, in her supporting roles 782 hours a year (14 hour days x 8 weeks) while the average working woman works a minimum of 2080 hours over 52 weeks.  This of course doesn’t include commute time in a luxurious long vehicle (either a bus or a subway usually).  Although I am not a mother, I can only speak for myself when it comes to how much easier and more routine my job is than hers!  Why this week alone, I had to be up at 3:45am to be at a taping for our morning show with a client. The night before, I did make sure I was out of the office, but I had a client dinner (not complaining, our clients are lovely, but there is an expectation in my role that a few times a month you must entertain).  I started my day yesterday at 9am, but didn’t make plans for the evening since I knew that I would be at work late.  I am also heading into the office for a bit today (Saturday).  All very routine and simple – thank you Gwyneth, for reminding everyone how easy we have it compared to you.

3) I don’t hold on to fear as much as I used to, because I’ve learned a lot about genuinely not caring what strangers think about me. It’s very liberating. It’s very empowering, and I’ve learned a lot of that from Jay—Shawn Carter—Z, because his approach to life is very internal. It’s a very good lesson to learn.”  I KNOW right?  I used to hang on to fear too!  I used to totally be afraid of flying and bugs (all including spiders even though they are not technically in the same class, order and family as the lowly bug).  Oh, wait – I still am afraid of them. I don’t care about what strangers think though – and it is empowering, although I didn’t learn that from Jay-Z – I learned it from my Mom.  Oh, that seems so trite compared to Gwyneth.  SIGH.

4)  “I’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin.”  I too, would rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin – and I know just the Toronto mayor that can get us some Gwyneth!  Actually, I do love cheese but as per my Dr. Oz vow, it’s a treat only and I haven’t had any in four weeks.  My main source of dairy is and forevermore will be Greek yogurt.

5) “We’re human beings and the sun is the sun—how can it be bad for you? I don’t think anything that’s natural can be bad for you,”  How sage is her wisdom?  Nothing natural can be bad for you – so true.  Why opium is from poppies, therefore it is natural and no one would ever abuse opiates.  Sugar is natural and eating something so natural is great for you, isn’t it?  The sun is natural, and we do need a limited amount to get Vitamin D, but of course, the sun never causes skin cancer (Jill says sarcastically).  I choose to wear sunscreen (Dr. Oz approved) and also take D3 supplements as recommended by my “Whiz-ard”.

6) “When I pass a flowering zucchini plant in a garden, my heart skips a beat.”  When I pass zucchini in a grocery store – my heart skips a beat!  Not only is this little vegetable a big source of Vitamin C and other sources of nutrients, it’s also on Dr. Oz’s list of low glycemic vegetables!

7) “I’ll never forget it. I was starting to hike up the red rocks, and honestly, it was as if I heard the rock say, ‘You have the answers. You are your teacher.’ I thought I was having an auditory hallucination.”  I’ll never forget a trip that my friends and I took to The Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu several years ago (we all love the show).  I’m not a huge hiker and every day for 5 days in a row, they made us hike mountains.  At the end of the week, it was honestly as if I heard the waves of the ocean in the distance say to me “You are a schmuck – you are in total pain – what were you thinking? At least you didn’t sprain your ankle or get Lyme Disease.”  I thought I was having an auditory hallucination and then a month and a half later, my toe nail, blackened from the trauma of the hikes fell off and I knew that it was true.  Although Dr. Oz thinks exercise is important – so just find one that you will love and is in your skill set.  Clearly, I should stick to dance and working out with my trainer…indoors.

Allow me to end with a moment of gratitude.  Today, I am grateful for the inspiration that GP has provided me over the last two days.  I’ll be more serious tomorrow.  Promise…and until then,

I am gratefully yours,




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A DASH of Goop



Today, I must begin with what I am grateful for.  It is Gwyneth Paltrow.  Yes, the pretentious princess of all things Goop-y is what I am grateful for.  She allowed me to embrace my inner (and outer) pretention and will be my muse for this entry.  It happened with just a short title – Conscious Uncoupling.  Don’t get me wrong, I hate when a marriage ends, but who expects celebrity marriages to last and at ten years, Gwyneth and Chris Martin have practically been together forever.  What better way to announce the demise of their union with those words – I could not have written it better myself.  So today, I will be writing the entry with Paltrow poise.   I am also writing it with a fake British accent in case you were wondering.  I am listening to Shake Senora by Pitbull (I’m at the “My girl got a big old booty” part) – does that ruin my image? So catchy!   

It is with a heart full of sadness that I have decided to separate from overly processed food. I have been working hard for well over a dozen years, some of it with Lean Cuisines, some of it separated from frozen entrees, to see what might have been possible for dinner, and I have come to the conclusion that while I love frozen food, and yes even some canned soups very much we will remain separate. I am, however, and always will be fond of Diet Coke, and in many ways other artificial sweetners (although I cannot separate from Splenda). I am an eater, foremost, of incredibly wonderful vegetables and fruit and I ask for time and space and privacy to be respected at this difficult time. I have always eaten Lean Cusine and Healthy Gourmet privately, and I hope that as I consciously uncouple from all things frozen or not in season, I will be able to continue in the same manner.

As a curator of Dr. Oz’s advice, I have chosen to reveal more of DASH to you, dear reader in the hopes that you too may learn the fabulosity that is eating all of the main food groups.  As I scribed in my blog-eth, you eat from all of the main food groups for this plan of wonderous abandonment.  The plan also is said to have many benefits including, “… preventing the onset of high blood pressure…reduces the occurence of heart attacks and strokes (by 18 and 24 percent respectively)…it reduces the risk of developing heart failure by 37 percent…it reduces the development of kidney stones by 45%…it reduces the risk of developing colon cancer by 20 percent…it reduces the risk of developing diabetes…it even helps people think more clearly (The DASH Diet for Weight Loss, pages 5-6).  I am thinking much more clearly now, and have not had any of the fuzziness that I had on the Oz plan and another plus is that it reduces the risk of developing diabetes.

The basic premise of DASH is Hi-Lo-Slo: High volume, Low Calorie, Slow to Eat.  Basically, healthy foods that are low in calories, yet with enough bulk to make you feel full and take you awhile to eat so that your fullness signal can be activated.  I wrote more specifics in Tuesday’s blog, but eating fresh fruit and vegetables is important, as well as whole grains and other healthy carbohydrates.  There is a lot of fibre in this diet, therefore you should satiate your thirst with a delightful glass of aqua (water).  You should also not hoover your food.  Oops – forgot my Goopiness for a minute!  Eat slowly, chewing eat bite 35 times (ok just slow down).  They also discuss CICO – calories in, calories out – this is how people gain, regulate or lose weight.  Sound familiar?   It’s because I was on a rant yesterday about how simple this all can be for the average person – there are always exceptions. 

There is a lot of content in this book.  Here is a link that explains the food plan very succinctly http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/dash-diet-explained.  I’ll provide some more details over the weekend, but as always, kindly check with your health care practioner (Gwyneth speak for doctor) before trying any new eating plan. 

Until later, I am Goopily Yours,





40 Weeks to Go!

Time flies when you are doing cleanses, eating nuts, taking probiotics, keeping your room cool, not making shampoo mohawks, grinding flax-seeds, reading Oz related books, taking zinc, Vitamin B and Vitamin D3…and so on.  All I have to say is Oz is tiring me out!  It’s fun though and it really has made me think more than I ever really wanted to about everything health related.  This past week was interesting as I further invested myself in the MASH plan for the rest of my life.   In addition, I’ve been laying the groundwork for April’s topic, but I won’t be revealing that until April Fool’s Day! I also had a reminder that not everyone loves Dr. Oz as much as I may.  My cousin, in a very simple way, explained a lot and helped me see where the Oz plan failed.

I think that the challenge that many of us face is that we complicate things.  In the words of the immortal Jillian Michaels the secret to losing weight and maintaining that weight loss and healthy lifestyle is to eat less and exercise more.  Sounds simple doesn’t it?  I often wonder why many people can’t just follow that advice, myself included.  Maybe it’s the environment that we live in – some people refuse to accept simplicity since we live in such a complicated world.  OH NO – shudders, I’m getting all deep and self-helpy.  It’s true though.  I’m miffinmuffinmuffitymoo years old now (that’s code for ladies do not reveal their ages).  I know – just a spring chicken or maybe just a chicken in general?  Think about it for a minute – most people who read this have access to their country’s food guides or pyramids (most of my readers are from Canada and the US).  My cousin, a registered dietician, even said that it’s important to eat from all of the food groups.  There are recommended serving sizes – again, it’s not rocket science.  I know that there are some people out there who have food sensitivities for sure (some serious like Celiac Disease), however just as surely as I know that, I also know that there are ways to still eat the nutrients and food groups that we need, even if certain foods may cause issues.

People always say that they don’t have time for exercise or the money to eat decent food.  We all find the time time to do things that we want to do, myself especially.  We can all spare 30 minutes to get a work out in.  The only time it’s not worth it is when you are injured.  In Canada, we have stores like No Frills (I like my frills and even I shop there when forced) where prices are better.  I rarely buy organic, and I’ve read enough about how the orchards where they grow organic fruits and vegetables are right next to where they have orchards with pesticides and I, for one, am ok with a few pesticides – who wants to eat a bug – shudders.  There are even lists of foods, like bananas and oranges that don’t need to be organic because they are encased in a peel.  I’ll include them in a future entry.  I know I’m being preachy, but it’s because I’m a new convert to this lifestyle – proof that you can teach an old (well, not that old) dog new tricks – and please no comments on the dog bit.

This week, I spent $102.60 (including tax) on living the Oz way.  I bit the bullet and bought the Vitamin C serum that was given a thumbs up in “You Being Beautiful”.  It has 25% ascorbosilane so hopefully it’s good!  I promised to buy this last month and finally got around to it.  According to the book, Vitamin C serums are supposed to help protect the water soluable parts of your skin cells so you look less wrinkled and improve the formation of collagen and elastin.  I let you know if I notice any difference.

As always, I’ll end on a note of gratitude.  Today, I am grateful that I woke up before my alarm went off at 3:45am – doesn’t sound like something to be grateful for, but if I had slept in, or missed my alarm, there would be no end to the stress that I would have felt.

Gratefully Yours,


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I’ve promised for awhile now that I would write about the DASH Diet.  I can’t do it in one entry so I’ll start with some basic information and let you know what I am currently doing and what I am working toward.  Remember to speak to a health care professional before you start an eating plan.  I’m a bad example because I didn’t, that’s me Rebel Without a Clue – but I’m learning.

I’ve mentioned before that I am a bit type A…so in the past when I committed to a plan, I really committed to it.  I’m still the same, but I’m seeking, as my cousin so eloquently put it in Fact or Fad, a change in lifestyle.  I want to find a way to eat healthy, unprocessed foods in a way that I can sustain for the rest of my life.  I used to be the Queen of the Lean Cuisine (looove how that rhymes), but they are very high in sodium.  Again, I do not have high blood pressure now, but you never know what the future can bring and I am at a point where I’d like to know what is in my food. 

DASH is a scientifically based and well researched way of eating written by health care professionals and there is a lot of great content in the book including menus if you are confused.  It really is based on the food pyramid above.  In Canada, we use Canada’s Food Guide and this is almost the same thing.  Let me break this down to the most simple terms directly from “The Dash Diet for Weight Loss” (page 37).  I am trying to eat about 1600 calories a day so that I can be as active as possible.  Here is what that looks like in DASH terms (all quantities are per day):

1) 4 servings of vegetables, 2) 4 servings of fruit, 3) 6 servings of grain, 4) 2 servings of dairy, 5) 1.5 servings of protein, 6) 1/4 serving of nuts, seeds and legumes, 7) 1 serving of added fat, 8) 1/2 serving of sweets.

Pretty easy to follow and they recommend keeping a food diary and even have a page in the book that you can photocopy.  It’s a great, well-balanced plan, so why am I not 100% on board?  I’m still trying to let go of the Dr. Oz Two Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan not because I loved it so much, but it did become a habit.  I’m slowly trying to MASH the two together into a plan that is liveable.  Let me compare what I have been doing to DASH (item by item – per day):

1) I’ve been eating about 7-8 servings of low glycemic vegetables, 2) I’ve only been eating about 2-3 servings of fruit, 3) I have been eating 6 servings of grain, but keep in mind that the DASH serving size is much smaller than you think – a 130 calorie whole grain English muffin is two servings.  I only have one serving of bread; I eat whole grains like brown rice, kasha, quinoa, or barley to make up the rest of my servings, 4) I’ve been having a Greek yogurt every day like Dr. Oz wants me to and count the milk that I use in my tea and coffee as my other serving, 5) The protein is identical to Dr. Oz’s so I either have one big chicken breast or I have 3 ounces at lunch or 3 at dinner, 6) I probably eat 1.5 servings of nuts and legumes daily and I can’t see changing that since there are so many health benefits – keep in mind though, their serving sizes are small and you really have to stick with about 12-20 almonds along with a few other nuts, 7) 1 added serving of fat – again I’m close to this but not perfect because sometimes in addition to olive oil, I have a slice (only one) of avacado, 8) 1/2 serving of sweets – this I am more diligent about – I sometimes have low sugar jam on my peanut butter in the morning or I’ll have a very small piece of chocolate (literally 2 squares of dark chocolate or one 50 calories dark chocolate truffle and I’ve only done this twice in 3 weeks.

I am getting closer to DASH, but I think for now, I’m going to stick to what I’m doing – it seems to be working and I feel so much better than I did on the 2 Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan.  I’ll provide more insight into DASH tomorrow.  Today, I am grateful that I got to meet up with a lovely client for dinner – it was really nice to see her – it had been awhile.  I have to be up at 3:45 tomorrow for work, so not really happy about that so I must DASH off.  In spite of things…

I am gratefully yours,


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Fact or Fad (Part 2)


As I mentioned yesterday, I interviewed my cousin Gail Kardish, a Registered Dietician, about all things Oz.  I got her expert opinion of Dr. Oz’s Two Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan, the DASH Diet, and found out why Registered Dieticians hate my “Whiz-ard”.  If you didn’t get a chance to check it out, here is the link https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/fact-or-fad-part-1/ now on to Part 2!

Q: A lot of people have a lot of success with Weight Watchers and the points system – what are your thoughts?

A: The old Weight Watchers system was a great diet.  The new plan sets some people up to play the system.  For example, instead of eating nutritionally balanced food, some people will take all of their points for the day, and have one gigantic piece of chocolate cake.  It’s perfectly legal, but not the best choice.

Note from Jill – the old system included all of the basic food groups and a limited amount of optional calories.  Each week, new foods were introduced and you received a few more optional calories.  You had boxes to check off indicating that you had eaten a serving from that particular food group.  You also had to check off whether you ate your optional calories and drank 6-8 glasses of water.  This diet was amazing and the one where I kept weight off for almost a decade.  It was more about serving size versus points and it was really about a lifestyle choice, not a diet.  I’ve tried the new system, I did well, but the point counting got to be too much.  I know it does work for a lot of people though.

Q: How about the new trend where celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow offer nutritional advice (side note, I’m not a Gwynnie fan)?

A: I hate Gwyneth Paltrow (can you tell we are related?).  Don’t even try to do what celebrities do!  A lot of what they put out there is untrue and not substantiated by any credible sources.  They are also air brushed in photos which sets up a standard that the average women can’t live up to.   What they put out there is not reality.  They have chefs and personal trainers whose job it is to ensure that they are in good shape.

Q:  Moving on to my favourite new topic – probiotics.  As a registered dietician, what do you think of them?  Can you stay on them indefinitely?

A: They are still fairly new, but there is research that supports their claims.  It is possible, in some people, that they may have a placebo effect. So far, from what I’ve seen, they won’t hurt you, and may help with certain conditions and you can stay on them indefinitely.  A lot of people find them unaffordable, so I suggest kefir (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir) – it’s a good source of probiotics and is much cheaper than taking a capsule.  (Note from Jill – I’d rather go without probiotics than eat kefir, but good suggestion Gail!).

Q: Ok – give me the skinny on cleanses – are you in favour or not?

A:  I am absolutely, 100% against cleanses (as are most registered dieticians).  I believe in a lifestyle not a diet or cleanses to maintain or achieve good health.  A cleanse is a quick fix and you lose all of the perceived benefits almost immediately when it ends.  Keep in mind that your body detoxifies itself and is set up perfectly to do this through organs like the liver and your kidneys.  As soon as the cleanse is over, most people go back to the same habits and theoretically, you are “re-toxifying” yourself.  They are dangerous, in many cases, as you are losing a lot of water which throws your electrolyte balances off. Some cleanses even use laxatives, which, over time, can result in a lazy bowel and some people become reliant on them causing permanant damage.  As a registered dietician working at a hospital, I see people in the Emergency Room as a direct result of doing a cleanse.  Keep in mind that you aren’t losing all of those calories either when you use a laxative cleanse.  By the time everything reaches your colon, the small intestine has already absorbed the calories and nutrients so you are only really losing electrolytes and fluids.  Even if you aren’t using a laxative based cleanse, there is no long term benefit and you are missing out on important nutrients that all of the main food groups have to offer.

Q: What is the key takeaway for the reader?

A: There are no quick fixes.  You should be eating from all of the food groups to be in optimal health.  Most people, if they diet, will eventually gain all back all of their weight and then some.  Unless you make the decision to commit to a healthy lifestyle, the changes that are required to maintain a healthy weight can’t be maintained.  No one is perfect, as I mentioned before, you have to give in to cravings occasionally so that they don’t turn from a treat into a binge.  Make small changes to get yourself started and then keep going.

My Thoughts:

My cousin makes a ton of sense, and I agree with her about mostly everything.  She also warned me about the Bernstein Diet – it’s not healthy or sustainable.  There are always exceptions to every rule though.  I gave Dr. Oz a C+ for his Rapid Weight Loss Plan because I had brain fog, there were mornings where I felt nauseous (maybe it was the electrolyte immbalance that my cousin was talking about) and because I couldn’t exercise.  There were things that we both liked about his plan, but I think I’ll concentrate on the MASH Lifestyle Plan which I’ll write about tomorrow – taking the best of Dr. Oz and DASH.  I also totally agree with what she said about cleanses.  I know that a lot of people won’t agree with me (or her) and that’s their right, but I can only write about my own personal experience and thoughts, and give you the best advice that I can based on a professional’s opinion.  Make that two professionals, since my trainer told me that no person who has a career in fitness would ever recommend a cleanse or any eating plan where you cannot exercise.

I can understand why, as a health care professional, she would have some issues with what Dr. Oz is putting out there.  I have personally learned a lot and have gotten a lot of benefits from his advice, but keep in mind I sift through a lot of detail until I find what I am looking for.  My typical blog entry, no matter how simple the topic, is about an hour of research.  Most days, it’s a lot more.  I made the error of changing my diet without speaking to a professional.  After speaking with my cousin, at some point, I’m going to speak to a Registered Dietician and seek my doctor’s advice about what I have been doing.  Check your benefits to see if you are covered, they are a great resource.

I would like to close with a little moment of gratitude.  Today, I am truly grateful to my cousin for being such a great interview subject.  I am also grateful that her entry was my most read blog to date.  Gail, you were an amazing interview subject and I hope that you will let me interview you again in the future.  Until then, I am…

Gratefully Yours,


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Fact or Fad? (Part 1)


I decided to check in with my cousin, Gail Kardish, a Registered Dietician, about Dr. Oz’s Two-Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan and the DASH Diet which I have yet to really delve into.  Gail is an oxymoron; sweet yet feisty,  adorable and innocent looking (she has dimples) but with a wicked sense of humour, extremely intelligent but knows how to have fun, and is youthful with an old soul.  By the way, as cute as she is, Gail preferred that I use a photo of her new budgie, Kiwi because she loves to show him off.  Gail shared my love of all things Disney and even though she’s one of my youngest cousins of our immediate family group, she’s savvy and really knows her stuff.  I knew that she was the right person to talk to about all things Oz when I saw an e-card on her facebook profile that said, “For Registered Dietician Day this year, we’d all like our gift this year to be the death of Dr. Oz.”  I don’t think that they mean that literally, but it is nice to get a fresh perspective on the good doctor.  She had so much great information, that I’m splitting her interview into two entries.

Q: Do Registered Dietician’s really hate Dr. Oz or is that a joke?  If so, why?

A: YES!  Dr. Oz does not have a nutritional background, yet he gives out dietary advice with no scientific data to support him.  Remember, all of the sound advice he gives at times, a Registered Dietician will provide as well, only the advice will be customized for the patient.  His advice can be based on fads not facts that have complete scientific evidence to back them up.  Dieticians that work with patients that have eating disorders don’t like him because he advises plans where you completely avoid certain food groups which is dangerous and contradicts sound nutritional advice.  Even Naturopaths dislike what he has to say.  One of the biggest challenges is that people take Dr. Oz at his word and he knows that and is abusing that power.

Q:  Let’s break down the 2 Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan item by item and get your thoughts…

A: The hot water and lemon is there to make you pee which starts off your day with losing valuable electrolytes (they regulate our nerve and muscle function, our body’s hydration, blood pH, blood pressure, and the rebuilding of damaged tissue).

The smoothie is fine, but requires protein powder.  This powder may not get absorbed as well as protein from other food based sources.

Green tea, eating healthy fats and the Low-GI vegetables both sound good.  Six ounces of protein may not be enough though.  You also do not get the recommended daily allowance of dairy.  There clearly are not enough carbs on the diet.  About 55% of your diet should come from carbohydrates – they are really important.  Overall, there are much healthier ways to improve your diet and promote weight loss.  With this plan, you are mostly losing liquids and when you start eating normally, you will gain back the weight that you lost.

Q:  How about the DASH Diet?  What are you thoughts on that plan?

A: It’s been awhile since I looked at DASH, but it is scientifically based and a much more balanced diet.  It includes all of the major food groups and you get the benefits of the nutrients that each food group has to offer.  The calories seem low to me (note – I mentioned to Gail that 1400-1600 calories were my aim) though on this diet.  The average healthy, sedentary women needs 2000 calories a day simply to maintain her weight.  You should never go lower than 1200 calories a day or try to lose more than  1-2 pounds a week.  Each person needs a specific plan.  The plan does have the benefit of small “cheats”.  You can’t completely eliminate your favourite foods from your diet because one day, you’ll go crazy and you’ll wind up binging instead of just satisfying the craving that you do have.

Q: DASH for the average person, suggests that you have 4 servings of fruit a day and 4 servings of vegetables.  Isn’t that a little high for fruit and a little low for vegetables?

A: You can easily eat more vegetables and most vegetables are generally considered “free” foods for most eating plans.  The problem is that vegetables can fill you up and a lot of people eat them at the expense of the other food groups losing out on the nutritional benefits that the other food groups have to offer.  The number of fruit servings  are fine.  People are afraid of eating fruit because of the natural sugars.  The fibre in fruit counteracts the spikes in your blood sugar.  Fruit juice doesn’t have fibre and can cause these spikes.

Tomorrow, I’ll share Gail’s thoughts on Weight Watchers, cleanses and other things Oz.

Today, I am grateful that my brilliant cousin gave up so much of her time to answer all of my questions so thoughtfully.  Until tomorrow, I am…

Gratefully yours,



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Bananas About Prebiotics


I’ve been doing a lot of reading about probiotics – the super hero when it comes to everything good and healthy in your body.  As I mentioned in previous entries, these fiesty little bacterial strains do everything from keeping your intestinal flora balanced (I love saying intestinal flora) to helping with acne – yes!  Did you know that according to Dr. Oz, there are studies that also prove that probiotics can also help with weight loss?  They even help fight inflammation!  Seriously, I’m going to do an entry or two on inflammation – it’s so general and I speak to “believers” in holistic and natural medicine and their eyes literally glaze over when they talk about it, but I suspect that some of those believers may also be like me and not know exactly what this means to us. I’m not suggesting that it doesn’t exist and I’m not even suggesting that following natural medicine is hooey, on the contrary, I think there are benefits to be found with both traditional and natural medicine. I do find, however, that a lot of people throw around buzz words without understanding what they truly mean and just blindly follow the information that they are given. 

Rant for today over, now back to prebiotics…There just isn’t as much information on them as there is on their more bacteria filled cousins – probiotics.  Even Dr. Oz has a limited amount, basically just stating that they help build good bacteria for your gut.  I did find the following statement on doctoroz.com with respect to prebiotics:  “the food that the “good bugs” need present in our diet in order to thrive and inhibit the growth of undesirable “bad” bacteria”.  Basically, as great as probiotics are, you need prebiotics to ensure that the bad bacteria in your gut doesn’t overwhelm the good bacteria and prebiotics help with this.

Just a reminder, prebiotic rich foods include bananas, honey, whole grains, onions and garlic.  A lot of these foods are easy to get into your diet.  According to “You Being Beautiful”, “…eating a banana every day facilitates cross talk amongst your brain cells and the effects of seratonin and its precursors)…may mean that eating a banana a day can keep the therapist away by preventing recurring minor depression.  Plus coffee and bananas are our largest source of antioxidants”.  That sounds like a fruit with a lot of appeal (pun intended).  So basically, having a banana with honey is good for you – sign me up.  With respect to their remark about depression, I still think therapy is a good idea if you need it, so take that comment with a grain of salt. I don’t think that the simple cure for depression is a banana.  It’s interesting, to note that on Dr. Oz’s Two Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan that bananas were one of two fruits that you need to buy for the smoothie (berries are the other).  Obvioiusly he’s a fan.

As I wait for my bananas to ripen, I just want to take a moment to express what I am grateful for today.  I am grateful that it’s Saturday and that I could get up and write this early in the morning instead of at night.  I am also grateful that prebiotic rich foods do not include snails, liver or goat’s milk – otherwise I’d have to take my chances.  A lot to be grateful for….

Gratefully yours,


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Ode To Probiotics


Image courtesy of naturalhealthsource.com

Today, I was reading the first issue of “Dr. Oz, The Good Life” and low and behold, there was a little article called “Beating Belly Troubles”.  It was like a sign from the big yellow brick road in the sky – something was telling me that I need to learn even more about belly bacteria and probiotics.  I even found a nifty picture that I included above on a website – that’s really what probiotic bacteria looks like, I’m sure of it!  The article contained a section on how to choose a supplement which would have come in handy had I read it before buying.  Incidentally, I picked up Health Balance Complete Probiotic at Costco – it’s their own brand.  Since the damage was done, I figured that I should just check it out and see if I made a good choice.

  1. The first thing that they suggest is telling your doctor if you are planning on taking one.  Oops – blush – didn’t mention it, but I have to make an appointment in April, so I will! 
  2. The next step is to know the code so that you are taking a probiotic that will restore order to your otherwise disorderly belly.  Looks like I get a check but more on that soon!
  3. Next, they suggest that adults should take at least one billion cells (why is it that I picture Mike Myers as Dr. Evil from Austin Powers going one billion cells with his little finger next to his mouth).  Check!  My supplements have billions!  It’s go big or go home!
  4. Look online – I went to ConsumerLab.com and Probiotic.org to find out more.  The Health Balance brand isn’t reviewed, so I looked at the medicinal ingredients to see if I was getting some bang for my 30 bucks.  Mine contain: Lactobacillus casei (supposed to help with Diverticulitis – too challenging to get into, let’s just say pain in your gut and it also helps prevent diarrhea); Bifidobacterium breve (helps with issues associated with antibiotics and prevent yeast infections in women plus helps break down food for digestion); Bifidobacterium longum (“very helpful because it maintains a normal digestive tract, inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, and also boosts the immune system.”(2) Other benefits of B. longum include, “diarrhea prevention in antibiotic treated patients, cholesterol reduction, alleviation of lactose intolerance symptoms, immune stimulation, and cancer prevention.” – source probiotic.org); Lactobacillus rhamnosus (helps with immunity, helps prevent intestinal and urinary tract infections plus helps with dairy digestion – this one is a goody!); Lactobacillus plantarum (“been shown to be an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and colitis. It has the ability to destroy pathogens and to preserve critical nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. It has also shown the rare ability to produce L. lysine, a beneficial amino acid.” Source probiotic.org); Lactobacillus helveticus (…”may help lower blood pressure, increase calcium absorption, decrease arterial stiffness, and increase bone mineral content/density.” Source probiotic.org); Lactobacillus acidophilus (helps with IBS, yeast infections, lactose intolerance, high cholesterol and a host of other health issues).
  5. Check the expiration – mine are good until September of 2015 – another check.
  6. Keep them cool and dry – they suggest when in doubt refrigerate which I do – so check! 
  7. Track how you’re doing – I don’t do this, but as I’ve mentioned time and again, my belly is feeling much better.  I don’t deserve a check, but I don’t think I deserve a big red X either.

All in all, I’m very pleased with my selection.  So pleased, that I thought I would entertain you with a little poem…

Ode to Probiotics

Probiotics help to balance my intestinal flora,

And no that isn’t a plant in Bora Bora.

Probiotics make me smile even though I have no dimples,

Since they’ve played a big part in helping with my pimples.

Probiotics help keep my stomach from making me go ooo,

In fact, they even help me go woo hoo (you thought I was going to say poo – fooled you didn’t I?)

Probiotics have really helped my tummy,

Kind of like Dr. Oz’s detox broth made by my Mummy. 

Probiotics, I’ll take them daily,

Maybe they’ll speed me up and make me less snailey (it’s a word, I’m almost sure of it).

I didn’t forget my gratitide journal – today, I’m grateful that I’m not really a poet – it’s tough to always rhyme and I’ve never been big on haiku.  I’m also grateful that aside from those of you who are laughing at me, c’mon, admit it, there is one friend that is “highly evolved” and will appreciate my little ode. 

Gratefully yours,


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41 Weeks To Go and A Birthday


I have a cousin, who is also one of my closest friends.  In fact, we call each other “frousin” – a combo of friend and cousin – isn’t that cute?  Come on, you know that’s a bit of an “Awwwww” moment!  Anyway, today is his birthday, I’m not going to mention which one, but he is younger than me so it’s not an embarassing age.  He is my concert buddy, a recent and future trip buddy (I’m the planner, the itinerary keeper and the social committee – I’m still not clear on what his role is), my partner in culinary crime and no that doesn’t mean we are “Cereal Killers” – get it????   He is just all around a great guy and today I’m grateful that I have him as a frousin and that I get to wish him the happiest of birthdays.  Plus, I get to test if he actually reads my blog – I’m not just writing this out of the goodness of my heart.

Now back to our story.  I have 41 weeks left in my year of living the Dr. Oz way.  It’s going by a little too fast for me.  When I started this blog back in January, I had no idea what to expect.  I didn’t know if it would make any type of difference to how I lived my life – I thought maybe I’d read a couple of articles on his website, finally have an excuse to buy Oprah magazine, watch a little of his show and finally crack open a couple of his books.  I’ve been surprised by what I’ve learned and the changes that I have made.  I’ve learned a lot about what works for me and what doesn’t.  I’ve also discovered a small window into what I hope is a lifetime of good health.  Do I think that Dr. Oz is the be all and end all?  Hell, yeah!  OK, kidding.  I think he has a lot of great information, but as with everything you have to sift through a lot of it to get to the nugget that will work best for you.  I also keep in mind that some of his information may conflict with what he may have already covered, but again, that’s where you have to be involved in your own health and wellness.  Remeber Oz haters, the guy has to cover a lot of content to keep viewers tuning in – and most people who watch a health show are going to be most interested in diet and quick fixes.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news though – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there are no quick fixes. 

This has been a relatively cheap week for me since I refuse to count groceries as part of my weekly totals. I’ve actually spent nothing – all of my supplements are paid for with the Dr. Oz 2 Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan and I’m done with almond milk for the time being.  Hooray for me!  I think or at least, I hope that you could tell from my entry yesterday that I am fascinated by how much better probiotics have been making me feel.  Tomorrow, I’m going to dig a little deeper and see if the type that I selected gives me all of the benefits that I need.  I’m also going to get the skinny on prebiotics and how the two work together.  Until then….

I am gratefully yours,