Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One


Plop Returns – Thank You Gwyneth Paltrow!

I’m going to start my entry today with what I am grateful for.  Today, I am grateful, once again, to Gwyneth Paltrow.  I’ve missed her so.  Whenever she opens her mouth, I realize how great my life is compared to the trials that she faces, each and every day in her so-called life.  Poor thing – she has so much stress, she definitely is riddled with inflammation.  I still think, based on her latest and greatest quotes, that we still have a lot in common and I’m going to take you through some of the goodies.  

  • “You come across [online comments] about yourself and about your friends, and it’s a very dehumanizing thing,” she shared. “It’s almost like how, in war, you go through this bloody, dehumanizing thing, and then something is defined out of it.”  I can totally relate to this!  I was at a dinner party recently, and I was, for the first time in my life, carving a chicken.  My “friend” took a picture of me doing this onerous task and captioned it “Jill?  Is that u?” and posted it on facebook.  It was dehumanizing in a way that I just can’t explain.  It wasn’t a true war like what Gwynnie has to go through.  It was just the raw animal power of knife going through chicken flesh.  Then to be mocked for it?  Dehumanizing.  Something did become defined out of it though – I learned that when at someone’s dinner party – don’t volunteer to cut the chicken, even if it’s on your plate.  I bet GP doesn’t cut up her own farm-raised, free range, antibiotic free, and flavour free chicken.  I hear you sister – social media is war
  • On The Met Gala: “I’m never going again. It was so un-fun. It was boiling. It was too crowded. I did not enjoy it at all.”  I know – being at an event where you get to where a couture gown must have been traumatic.  Poor thing.  I’ve had to go to a bar mitzvahs, weddings, kids’ birthday parties and even a baseball game or two where I felt exactly the same way – minus the couture, of course
  • “When I was twenty-one, a friend gave me a book called Diet for a New America by John Robbins, which exposed the brutal practices of American factory farms. That, coupled with a lecture from Leonardo DiCaprio (when he was nineteen and I was twenty-one) about how such animals are kept and processed, made me lose my desire for factory farm pork and beef right there.” [My Father’s Daughter]  I am an animal lover too!  I also think that they are treated horribly at factory farms and that we should be more conscious of being kind to all creatures great and small.  I, on the other-hand, received a lecture, not from Leo, but from a homeless man on the subway.  Incidentally, when I was 21, my friend gave me a wedgie – we all have our crosses to bear
  • “We’ve got a wood-burning pizza oven in the garden—a luxury, I know, but it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.” [My Father’s Daughter]  I have an old pizza box from 1999 next to my plant – kind of the same, no?  By the way, my plant’s name was Robert – like Robert Plant. The pizza was a good investment at the time, but thanks to Dr. Oz, it is just an occasional treat.  Can Gwynnie even eat pizza?  What if, perish the thought, she accidentally had canned cheese on it?  Her body would be in a state of war with itself
  • “I first had a version of this at a Japanese monastery during a silent retreat—don’t ask, it’s a long story.”  I can’t ask GP and you can’t answer if it was a silent retreat.  That’s our Gwyneth, such a silly little bear all stuffed with fluff
  • “You know, I use organic products, but I get [laser treatment]. It’s what makes life interesting, finding the balance between cigarettes and tofu.”  EXACTLY – it’s finding that balance that GP talks about, like our mayor, Rob Ford, with a crack pipe in one hand and a double cheeseburger in the other – all balanced!  I need to get more balance in my life
  • On aging, in 2002: “Beauty fades! I just turned 29, so I probably don’t have that many good years left in me.”  I am going to be celebrating the 15th anniversary of my 29th birthday.  I have no good years left in me.  I should have ended it all at 29 while I still had a life like Gwynnie.  We all know that life doesn’t begin at 30, it ends at 29
  • “One evening when I had my wood-burning stove going, I realized I hadn’t thought of dessert.”  One day, when I had my kettle boiling, I realized that I too, hadn’t thought about dessert – I just thought about how my dandelion tea was going to taste like dirt, but cleanse my liver #firstworldproblems

I don’t mean to bully Gwyneth, but seriously, the girl needs to learn how to keep her yap shut or hire a better publicist.  I’m sure I’ll be writing about her again soon.  Until then, I am…

Gratefully yours,


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So Long, Farewell…



You may wonder what a quote from Maya Angelou is doing on a blog about living a life the Oz way.  Well, I found this on his facebook page.  The research never ends in the quest towards better health.  I was going to be Academy Award style cheesy and post a picture with the year that Ms. Angelou was born with the year that she died, but that isn’t what the blog is about.  It’s about health, and more specifically, this month, inflammation.  Nothing can stress people out more than remembering the way someone made them feel – especially if that feeling was bad.  Maya Angelou had to face many problems, far greater than my own.  She did face them, and like Deepak Chopra, she is an inspiration, and further proof to me that you can be authentic and engaging and a visionary but at the same time, be quiet in your greatness.

This quote truly resonated with me.  First the bad – I’ve never forgotten how people have made me feel over the years.  Like many, I have been disappointed, and that has kept me up at night thinking why they acted the way that they did or if there was something within me that caused their reaction.  Then, I shrugged it off, realizing that I am perfect : )  No actually, what you realize, over time, is that the feelings will die down and become less important.  I’ve realized, that I can’t change what has happened in the past and stressing about it constantly really isn’t going to make it any better.  Sometimes, it is healthier to write things off as a life lesson. Remember, as the great lady said herself – “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Maya Angelou had many life lessons to share, and this quote is one.  Let’s look at it more positively – I’ll never forget the way that my grandmother made me feel when I was growing up.  It’s hard for me to write about her, so this will be brief.  She made me feel, that even during my most misunderstood, teenage years, that I had one person in the world who thought I was perfect.  Even when I went through my most awkward stage, she still lit up when she saw me (and my sisters and cousins).  In her eyes, her grandchildren could do no wrong.  People can give you feelings of warmth and security, which relieve stress.  I was also reminded about how much a small gesture can mean to someone.  I’ve written about random acts of kindness before and I will again.  It can mean so much to a friend, family member or stranger if they are having a bad day if someone shows that a bit of humanity.  I am reading a book, “The Autobiography of a Face” about a young woman who had Ewing’s Sarcoma (cancer of the jaw).   She was disfigured by the disease during her teenage years when everyone from children to adult either made her feel less than, made fun of her or stared at her.  Wouldn’t it be just as easy to be inspired by Maya Angelou and remember the next time you see someone less fortunate than you, that even if you don’t know them, you can impact the way that they feel about themselves.  Even if someone is a stranger, remember, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  Sometimes people have this story buried and they may need someone to listen to it.

Today, I am grateful that at I had the chance to see Maya Angelou speak.  She was inspiring, she was uplifting and she was a revelation.  As much as she will be missed, she won’t soon be forgotten.  Her last tweet was “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”  If there is life after death, I hope that is the voice that she is hearing.

Gratefully yours,





Overwhelmingly Stressed?


Courtesy of me!!!!!!!!!!

I’m not going to repeat my self and tell you that stress causes inflammation…oops I just did, but I just saw some interesting clips on doctoroz.com to help out if you are feeling overwhelmed.  The last few years have been a bit overwhelming for me, if truth be told.  Family illness and togetherness comes with it’s own set of feeling stress.  Worry is tough and worrying about a family member (maybe more than one) has become a regular part of my life.  I am close with my family, sure they drive me crazy, but whose doesn’t really?  When I was younger, I’d fixate on the perceived perfect families around me. I understand now, that was an illusion – that no family is perfect and I am grateful for the one that I have.  But, the worry…

Speaking of worry – how about a job market where options are shrinking and demands are maximizing?  I love my job – truly.  I am never bored – I often get to do really cool things, it’s creative, I’m constantly learning…but the demands are even greater than the reward.  I went to the doctor for my first physical in the fall.  My blackberry (again, please don’t make fun of my little device) rang as my doctor came to get me.  It was my client.  I told him that I would call him back, that I was at the doctor.  He wanted to know when… Here is what I said, “I’m not sure, I’m hoping to be in the office in an hour and I’ll be sure to call you just as soon as I get there.”  Here was my dream reply, “As soon as the doctor finishes my pap smear – I could stay on the phone if you’d like.”  He really is a lovely guy – but like most people – he wants what he wants when he wants it.  Part of my problem is that I’m a natural people pleaser and want people to have a good experience if they are working with me. In this case, I should have put my needs first and let the call go into voice mail.  That was my choice.  Which leads to something that I learned from Dr. Oz.  When you are Type A (which I am) you feel the need to control everything.  The truth is, you really control nothing.  Control, like a David Copperfield magic trick, is just an illusion, because we don’t have control, what we have are choices.

Dr. Oz’s brilliant guest told a control freak to name 3 things that she had control over and she would get $3,000.  She had answers, but instead of being things that she truly had control over, she was told that these things were choices.  I thought I at least had control over things like my health, but the truth is, I can make choices that will optimize it or make it worse.  Control over my thoughts?  Hogwash, my mind wanders more than I care to admit, and I am one of those people that can do a few things at once.  I can choose to focus though.  This is so painful for little old me to admit.  The guest (I’ll look up his name) had three steps to decreasing stress:

  1. Let go of the illusion of control – as I mention above, we just don’t have any.  You can say that you can control how you communicate with someone.  Na-ah – that’s a choice silly!
  2. Stress is self-created.  You don’t manage stress, you have to prevent it and you can do this by remembering that stress is a learned behaviour.  I’ll have to  ponder this a bit..I’d also add that it’s a reactionary behaviour.  You become stressed at times, by a situation, not just by learning.
  3. Examine your belief system, not others.  Have integrity and don’t judge.  We can all be judge-y wudge-y, but you can choose to mind your own business.  I say live and let live.There are too many people who sit in judgement of others and they are usually the sexist, egotistical, lying, bullying bigots of the world.  I’m going to make sure that I don’t join their ranks.

He also mentioned that when you are stressed, you aren’t enjoying your life.  I’m going to think about what he said and take time to smell the flowers.  I posted the ocean picture above because that’s where I feel the most calm.  I don’t even love a beach holiday – I find it stressful doing nothing, but I really do love the ocean…maybe it was from growing up in Atlantic Canada.  I’m going to have to work on de-stressing, but that, like everything else that I have been learning, will be a process.

Until next time, I am…

Gratefully yours,


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Sigh – Stress




Image courtesy of diversifiedhealth.ca

Thanks to Dr. Oz, I’m now aware that stress causes inflammation in my body.  There are ways that your body shows you that it’s stressed and let me tell you, they are all unpleasant.  Here is what the good doctor highlighted in a recent episode of his show:

  • Thinning hair – we aren’t talking male pattern baldness, we are speaking about women with thick heads of hair losing more than the usual 100-125 hairs a day.  You can tell by looking at the drain or your hairbrush.  Fortunately, if it isn’t because of a typical medical condition, it can be helped by coping with your stress.  If you continue to lose hair, you should see a doctor.  I thought my hair was getting thinner, but I think it had more to do with highlighting my hair.  I’m going to do highlights 6 months of the year and simply dye it the other six months to keep it healthy.  I also noticed a difference once I started taking iron – it helped too.
  • Stomach Aches – your tummy is one of the first places that the body shows stress.  This is because of surging hormones that change how the stomach and small intestines work.  This can cause unpleasant side effects like diarrhea and cramps.  I personally get the odd tummy ache with stress, but I get nauseous and thoughts start racing through my head.  They kind of do that on a normal day too, but these thoughts are all about what I have to do and they don’t calm down until I feel like I have a handle on what needs to be done and sometimes this takes days.  Again, this is just your body’s way to telling you to cope with your stress.  
  • Redness and rashes – this includes breakouts on the chin too – hello – were you talking about me Dr. Oz?  He spoke about the fact that stress brings on inflammation and more stress=more inflammation.  The inflammation damages your skin cells which is the perfect environment for your pores to clog up.  He recommends using moisturizer whether your skin is oily or not.  I do this – and believe me, it hasn’t helped.  I am going to a dermatologist to see what else I can do, I’ve been on antibiotics for years and they aren’t much of a help.  i refuse to take Accutane and the change in weather has caused another flare up – boo!

Stress is a killer – literally, and we all need to figure out ways to cope.  Normally, I can deal with it, but according to what my skin is telling me, I need to try harder.  I’ll put it on my to do list!  It’s a little full right now, but what’s one more item?

Today, I am grateful that I get to go to a party – I love socializing and seeing friends is supposed to lower your stress.  Until tomorrow, I am…

Gratefully yours,


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I Don’t Want to Stress You Out…


YAY – this is tagged already so I don’t have to credit it!

Dr. Oz mentions that stress is a contributor to inflammation in your body and all sorts of nasty diseases.  It can impact your quality of life, cause insomnia and all sorts of other behaviours that generally don’t make us pleasant to be around.  Let’s face it, we all deal with some sort of stress on a daily basis.  It manifests itself differently in different people.  For me, I lose sleep, get headaches, irritable, nauseated, and feel an intense need to sit on my what will become of me couch to think about what will become of me.  The things that stress me out are illness in the family, work and my overall Type A perfectionism that I should try to get in check, but I have to many other things on my to do list to get to it.  I don’t know about you, but I really never appreciated how easy life was when I was a kid.  I miss those days.  Now, a day doesn’t go by when I don’t have to do something or be somewhere.  When I relax, I feel guilty, even though I need to at times.  We live in an age when everything is too immediate.  Technology makes our lives more convenient but it means we never turn ourselves off.  I am the proud owner of 4 phone numbers: home phone (that I’d love to get rid of), personal cell, work phone and work cell.  I have a blackberry and an iPad and 2 laptops (one for work and one for home).  I took a technology break on Saturday, because even I realize that this is a bit much.  OK – I didn’t turn on my laptop or iPad, but my blackberry was by my side the whole time – I need some connection to the outside world and I had to make plans for Saturday night.

I thought about something when I was taking a mini-break.  Are we truly connecting with people just because we are connected all of the time?  Even I find it strange when I find myself smiling at my cell phone because I’ve received a funny BBM from a friend or I vent to another about a bad day at the office.  I think that over time we have become more stressed because now we have no excuse to enjoy our lives thanks to Silicon Valley.  Just think about it for a second – a friend can’t reach you by phone or cell, so they text you.  You don’t answer, so they BBM you.  You don’t answer immediately so they try Facetime.  Still no response?  How about a little email, Twitter or Facebook?  If several hours go by, you get an angry text asking you what your problem is or a sad emoji wondering if your friendship is over all because your cell phone battery died or you just needed a little time to yourself.  We aren’t allowed that anymore because we have become an immediate gratification society.  We lose touch with one another because we don’t talk anymore.  We hide behind a device instead of conversing.  I’m guilty as charged and I can’t picture reforming anytime soon, but I have friends that I still call or they call me and after a phone conversation, I feel much more connected with them.

Technology has added more fun to communication and made it more affordable – hello Skype and Facetime.  It has also taken away from us though.  You rarely get a surprise call anymore because you have call display.  If you meet a cute boy (or girl), and they say they’ll call and they don’t – it’s not likely that they lost your number – they are just not that into you.  You don’t need to sit beside the phone waiting for them to call you since your phone is always with you.  Someone can always get in touch with me through one of my 4 email addresses too!  One for work, one for managing my blog, one professional/Twitter/Linked In accout and one for fun.  All in all, this can all be stressful.  It’s just one of the things that can, so I’ll be writing another couple of entries about stress.  It’s just that important to your overall health (and mine).

Today, I am grateful that the weather is finally feeling spring-like!  It was even warm-ish when I was leaving the office at 9 – see – we all need to learn to manage our stress.  Until later, I am stressfully and…

Gratefully yours,



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Good Food/Bad Food?


Courtesy of http://www.laboulangeriespecialist.co.uk/our-range/sweet-pastries/

I once had a friend that I drifted apart from, likely much more my fault than hers if we are keeping it real, who was macrobiotic.  She swore up and down that eating certain foods could make your body heal itself, while others could cause you harm and have negative effects on your well-being.  At that point in my life, when Lean Cuisines were my friend and go to, I wouldn’t hear of it.  I may even thought some of what she said could have been hooey.   Well Hanan, if you are reading this, you were 100% right, and I was 100% wrong – it took me a long time to figure this out, but it’s a fact. Food can hurt or heal your body.   I’m not saying that I’ll ever be macrobiotic – it’s too much work, but there is a lot that makes sense in that diet.  I’m also not saying that I’ll ever be perfect when it comes to eating – no one is, and if they are, I’m almost positive that they are miserable because if you can’t enjoy your favourite foods sometimes, then you are going to be very unhappy.  Just saying life is to short not to have chocolate, pastry or cheese on occasion.  Oh and you “flutens” – that’s a gluten-free faker – bread is divine too.  A recent study came out that said that the only people who truly have a gluten intolerance are those with Celiac Disease and I tend to agree.  Yes, wheat gluten can give you a tummy ache and bloating, and it is likely better to avoid it, but you simply don’t have the same issues that someone with Celiac has.  Now that I’ve given myself and you a dose of tell it like it is, I found even more interesting information out thanks to the Dr. Oz Show!

The Good!

The good news for me was that a lot of the foods that are anti-inflammatory are foods that I either eat often or just enjoy in general and I’m hoping that you do too. They did a nice job of separating them out by meal so here you go:


  • Nuts – surprise
  • Berries – well that was pretty much a no-brainer too – and I have some in my smoothie – at least over 3 weeks in 2014
  • Fat Free Greek Yogurt – I usually have this as my morning snack so YAY to me
  • Coffee – yes – as I mentioned when I was writing about “You Being Beautiful”, coffee is a powerful anti-oxidant if you skip the cream and sugar.  Honestly, I use milk and sweetener, but I’m hoping that I get some benefit still.  Dr. Oz and his expert identified this as the #1 anti-oxidant in the American diet


  • Green Tea – it apparently has as many anti-oxidants as a salad
  • Salad with dark, leafy greens and other colour vegetables – YAY, I eat one every day and often for lunch
  • Vegetarian Chili – who knew?  The beans or other legumes that you may use are great for you.  So are lentils

One of my former go-to lunches was a turkey sandwich on multi-grain bread, but it’s not a great every day option because the meat is processed, full of salt and preservatives that can cause inflammation.  Boo – but everything in moderation right?  I only have this once or twice a month now anyway.


  • Salmon – no big surprise – it’s a great source of Omega 3 which helps reduce inflammation
  • Red potatoes, but they have to be red.  Very surprising – I never would have guessed this one, but they have anti-oxidants that white potatoes just don’t 
  • Green beans – again, not a surprise

Chicken is also good for you, but it doesn’t have the same anti-inflammatory properties that salmon does.  If you like corn, they made a great point – it’s fed to cattle to fatten them up.  I love it, but again, everything in moderation.  If you eat the good choices that I wrote about, apparently, you should feel better about a week after you start making those food choices.  You should have fewer aches and pains, have more energy and even think better.  I do feel much better and I was a big nay-sayer if that helps.  Once you start introducing foods that can cause inflammation, you won’t feel great.  That brings us to foods that can trigger inflammation.

The Bad!

  • Transfats – these include packaged baked goods with longer shelf lives, fried foods and stick margarine.  These are the worst of the worst when it comes to inflammation
  • Saturated fats like animal fat and dairy.  These include meats, sausage and cheese.  They are high in fat and cause inflammation.  I love cheese…more than I love most people…I’ll just keep telling myself everything in moderation…
  • Refined carbs like the yummy danishes I have pictured above.  They also includes bagels, white rice, white pasta, white bread – ok just anything white.  They cause a spike in insulin and that isn’t good for your body
  • Omega 6’s – these are essential fats and we do need some because they are pro-anti-inflammatory.  Your body does require some inflammation to fight off diseases like cancer and other injuries, but it is possible to get too many of this essential fat.  Sources include corn oil, safflower oil, sesame oil…any oil labelled vegetable oil really.  Olive oil is much better for you.  

There you have it – the good and the bad.  Again, you can have these foods in moderation.  It’s not a total downer.  That’s something to be grateful for.  Speaking of gratitude, my good friend BSF is having a birthday today.  I’ve written about her before, and today, I’m grateful that she is having a lovely day – the type of day that she deserves.  Happy Birthday – I wish you all of the HEALTH and HAPPINESS in the world.

Gratefully yours,



Inflammation IQ and Other Hot Spots


Image courtesy of community/thehotplate.com

I like to think of myself as a bit of a smarty-pants.  Even though I haven’t really done a lot of reading on inflammation, I decided to challenge myself to an Inflammation IQ test on sharecare.com (Dr. Oz is a partner so it qualifies as an information source for me).  I got a whopping 14/20 right.  I am slightly humiliated admitting that to you, but it just shows you how little I really know about this important barrier to good health.  Think you are so smart – take it for yourself http://www.sharecare.com/quizzes/inflammation-iq and tell me how you did!  Go on, I dare you, the only condition is that you have to be honest.  

There is a lot of information out there on the topic which is a very good thing.  The one common theme that I have found so far is that diet and lifestyle can be a huge contributor to inflammation.  According to Ashley Koff, a registered dietician and author, “The lifestyle you choose dictates the extent to which you experience inflammation. What you choose to eat for nourishment, for example, factors into this equation as much as the level of toxins you’re exposed to or how much you engage in physical activity and reduce your stress. Foods high in processed sugars and unhealthy fats, for instance, can exacerbate inflammation. This, in turn, antagonizes energy metabolism and puts you at a higher risk for weight gain among a host of other health problems. It also sets in motion a vicious cycle that leads to more and more inflammation.”  It is really hard to be perfect when it comes to diet, but being mindful can help.  As I mentioned, I’ve been doing the Dr. Oz 2-Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan again to get my eating back on track after a weekend of poor food choices.  The thing that I find most interesting this time is how much easier it is for me to follow and how much better I feel than the first go-round.  My energy has improved and I don’t even hate the smoothie.  Weird…but good, because it means that my fairly clean eating meant that my body didn’t go into such a shock.  I don’t have any cravings – I couldn’t get my mind off of pizza the first time.  Overall, I just feel better.  I’m going to do it next month as well – just because I  understand how much better that I feel.

Processed food used to be a huge part of my diet.  Lean Cusines were a staple and I would argue up and down that a Subway Turkey Breast Sub was good for you.  Now, I know better – I’m not saying that I’ll never have them again, just that I’m not fooling myself anymore.  You can still have the convenience of eating out, you just have to find the best possible option.  I’ve been reading menus before I go to restaurants and trying to eat more fish when I go out.  I went to an Italian restaurant last night for dinner and had a perfectly good chicken salad.  Sure, I would have rather have had pasta, and maybe I’ll have it next time, but I was happy with it and even better for me, I didn’t leave feeling ill from being overstuffed.  I’ve been ensuring that one meal a day for the past few months has been a chicken salad or fish with vegetables when I need a change.  It’s really kept me on track with eating cleaner.  As I mentioned, I had a lapse last weekend, but I knew I was going to do the Dr. Oz plan again.  It’s not a sustainable way to eat for me, but I can do it for 2 weeks every month until I no longer feel like I need it as a crutch.

Speaking of eating well, there are three foods that are scientifically proven to help inflammation according to sharecare.com:

  • Cherries are powerhouses of anti-inflammatory nutrients. The tough part is you have to eat them 28 days in a row to produce a decrease in C-Reactive Protein, a marker for inflammation that can ultimately lead to heart disease and stroke (Leo Galland, Integrative Medicine).  I love cherries, but they aren’t always in season – I’m going to do a little investigating to see if there cherry juice is just as good since so many people swear that it alleviates pain
  • Pineapple contains bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme which is supposed to soothe your cells like a little spa, by reducing the migration of white blood cells to the site of inflammation (i.e. arthritic joints).  It may not contain enough since you need about 100mg. a day, so Dr. Oz recommends a supplement.  I have to do some homework before I think about taking another supplement and I will let you know what I find out 
  • Olive Oil, particularly extra virgin is filled with anti-oxidants and I’ve read article after article touting it’s health  benefits so I’ll be using this oil for life or until a study discounts it

It really is a huge topic and even after a few entries, I can’t pretend to even think that I’ve scratched the surface.  Luckily, a bookstore in Toronto was having a 50% off sale so I was able to buy “You On A Diet” – another Roizen/Oz collaboration and there is an entire chapter on it!  Today, I am grateful that I was able to find another great resource for this blog and the fact that tomorrow is a holiday Monday.  Happy Victoria Day to my fellow Canadians.  I believe next week that my readers in the US have the Memorial Day long weekend so I hope that you are all looking forward to that.

Gratefully yours,


















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The Vice-O-Meter



Image courtesy of oprah.com

I was flipping through an old issue of O Magazine (they are timeless, I tell you) and I found a fabulous little article called “The Vice-O-Meter” which tells you how a few common health impediments rank in a scale from 1-10.  I keep forgetting the Dr. Oz is in Oprah’s magazine and this article had some really easy to follow details.  I’m going to share what the items are and how they ranked for me.  It’s a fun little exercise – you should do it too to see how you rank and what an easy solution may be. See the diagram at the top for more details. A lot of these vices can lead to inflammation, so it’s important to be aware of them for your overall health.  Here goes:

  1. Nail Biting (2.5) – I don’t bite my nails – I’ve already established in a previous blog that shoving my dirty nails in my mouth grosses me out.  If you are a real nail biter, it allows bacteria and germs into your body (and not the good bacteria).
  2. Wearing contacts for too long (3) – I don’t wear contacts so this isn’t an issue for me but if you do, switch to a new pair when you are told to, it can cause a lot of eye problems.
  3. Rubbing your eyes (3.5) – who knew that this would be worse than wearing grungy old contact lenses?  Doing it a lot, over time can cause things problems with intraocular pressure resulting in short vision or glaucoma.  Yikes!  I think this is one of those things that I’ll have to be “mindful” of.
  4. Listening to loud music (4) – Guilty – I love concerts and loud music.  Just one little musical exercise class can damage your little ears.  I’ll try to turn down my tunes – this one is hard!
  5. Walking in high heels every day (5) – safe!  I’ve been walking in comfy shoes because of plantar fasciitis.  You should too – but we are all going to wear heels from time to time – just be smart about it.
  6. Consuming more than one drink a day (6) – I thought that this would be ranked higher since alcohol is linked to cancer and other assorted diseases.  I’m lucky if I consume more than one drink a month so I’m safe on this one too.
  7. Snacking straight from the package (6.5) – semi-safe.  I don’t do this anymore, I’m too busy with Dr. Oz eating, but even before that, it was something that I did very rarely.
  8. Speed eating (7) – GUILTY – I often have to rush from one meeting to another (if you are bored and lonely, hold one – it’s a great way to get a bunch of people that you always dreamed about hanging out with in a room).  This means there are times when I get exactly 10 minutes to wolf down a chicken salad or rice bowl from Freshii (love that place).  This can lead to obesity as your mind needs 20 minutes to register that it’s full.  I still think chewing your nails is worse, but Dr. Oz doesn’t agree, so I’ll have to be more mindful of this.
  9. Drinking diet soda every day (8) – safe!  I have a Diet Crush Cream Soda about 12 times a year.  I’ve kicked my soft drink addiction.  Apparently they can lead to weight gain.  I’m not sold on this, but I bet that there are a host of other issues with them. 
  10. Not getting enough sleep (9) – guilty.  Although I am having a better quality of sleep, it’s still not for the optimal amount of time. Continuing struggle.  I also need to learn how to put down a good book and stop playing Candy Crush so that I can be in bed earlier.  My entire January blog was about sleep so I’m not going to write anything else about it today.  Check in my archives for more details.
  11. Constant sitting (10) – guilty – I have an office job.  I do try to get up and walk where possible.  

I’m guilty of less than half of these 11 items – not bad, but plenty of room for improvement so that I can decrease inflammation in my body.  Again, do the exercise, it’s interesting to see where you need to improve.

Today is the eve of the Victoria Day long weekend in Canada – one of my favourite holidays.  It’s pressure free!  As of 5:00 pm tomorrow, I’ll have 3 days off and today I am grateful for that!  The weather will be a bit frightful, but I’m still excited and…

Gratefully yours,



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Meanwhile, Back to Inflammation and 29 Weeks to Go


Remember this guy?  I promised that I’d come back to inflammation and that will be the subject for the rest of this month.  Need a reminder?  Here is a link to the blog that I did way back in the day…https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/an-inflaming-introduction/.  I also want to remind you of how inflammation is defined: According to the Honor Society of Nursing, “Inflammation is your body’s natural response to destroy or get rid of dangerous substances like allergens or bacteria. Sometimes, however, your body attacks itself, leading to different parts of your body becoming inflamed. This can affect your organs and bones and cause pain, swelling, and redness.” According to Dr. Oz, it can clog up your arteries contributing to heart disease, cause cancer, diabetes and a host of other issues.  This is a huge topic and just a little over two weeks will not likely give me all of the details that I need to fight inflammation in my body.  As I mentioned the first go-round, people use inflammation like a buzzword, never really understanding the meaning of what it is.  It’s like Gwyneth Paltrow  who likely speaks to how riddled her body is with inflammation.  Really, it’s very dangerous and in order for me to live my healthiest life, I’m going to do some investigating.  

According to doctoroz.com, there are five ways that you can take to ward off inflammation.  They include:

-Aspirin – this doesn’t just help prevent heart attacks, there is evidence that it can help prevent other diseases including Alzheimer’s and colon cancer.  You shouldn’t take aspirin or any other medication without speaking to your family doctor.  I can’t take aspirin – I get horrifying, need to visit the doctor heartburn from it.  If I’m told later in life that I need it, I’ll revisit it then

-Omega 3 Fatty Acids – these are beneficial in preventing heart disease.  Luckily, I’ve been eating a lot of flaxseed, walnuts and more fish than I’ve ever eaten in my life.  I used to avoid fish like the plague, but now I’m ordering it more often when I eat eat.  Salmon is good but unless it’s fresh, it can taste a little fishy.  Arctic Char is nice too – and it is also a good source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.  If you really aren’t a fish person or would like to be more open to it, halibut is a great fish to try.  It’s mild tasting and has a meatier texture.  I also tried branzino recently and really liked it, but I can’t tell you if it is a good source of Omega 3’s so stick to the other fish that I mentioned and I’ll get back to you on that one.

-Fruits and Veggies – I’m not going to go into any great detail on this, but we all know that it’s important to especially eat a lot of vegetables.

-Liquid Anti-Oxidants – this one was a little weird – they recommend drinking orange juice particularly after eating an unhealthy meal.  I’m not sure that I buy that, plus OJ is very high in sugar.  I’ll let you figure that one out on your own.  I drink it once or twice a year and it has to be Tropicana Pure Premium (and no they didn’t pay me to say that – it’s just the best tasting juice outside of squeezing it yourself).

-Move – exercise can reduce inflammation…we all know it’s good for us.  I’m going to have to start doing it more than once or twice a week.  I signed up for a barre exercise class (it’s a Groupon) – I’ve always wanted to try it, so why not do it to help decrease inflammation in my body?

For more details, check out the article at http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/five-ways-fight-inflammation.

I can’t believe that 23 weeks have gone by already.  It seems like only yesterday, I was writing about meditation.  Oh, that was the day before yesterday.  I can’t wait to see what they next 29 weeks will bring – new learnings, new experiences, new purses!  I haven’t spent any money on pursuing Dr. Oz strategies because I’ve been too busy doing the meditation experience.  I am doing another 2 weeks of the Rapid Weight Loss program – over the last couple of weeks, my eating hasn’t been as good as it had been for the last two months, so I wanted to get myself back on track.  I don’t feel as poorly as I did last time, and I can even get the smoothies down in 15 minutes.  I think I feel better partly because I’m used to eating the Dr. Oz way anyway.  I just didn’t want to let bad habits go on for too long.  I still had leftover flaxseed and protein powder from the first time that I did the plan so I was able to just get started right away.  Here is hoping that this will help with some of the inflammation in my body.

Today, I am grateful that some friends helped me unlock the next levels of Candy Crush – I know, I know.  I’m pathetic – but it is addictive.  I’m off to conquer level 51!  Until tomorrow…I am…

Gratefully yours,



Day 21: Expressing The End


Image courtesy of chopracentermeditation.com

It’s finally here, my last blog on meditation.  Thank you for sticking with me through it.  I was getting grumbles from some of my readers –  they were getting bored with this, but when I committed to 21 days, I had to see the whole process through and this blog was my way of doing that.  As I mentioned, I think meditation is fine and that I’ll enjoy it more without the added pressure of writing about it.  I think the only way that it can work for me is through guided meditation.  I need some sort of structure, otherwise, I’ll just be sitting there wondering if I’m doing it correctly.  I can’t say that it’s something that I’ll do every day, but I do understand now, why Dr. Oz recommends it and after I finish writing this entry, I am going to go and peruse Deepak Chopra’s meditation library and buy myself a little something special.  Now onto the final words for this, the 21st day!

I’m going to skip most of Oprah’s remarks, although they are inspirational, it’s a case of been there, written about that.  To end though, she reminded us that although we’ve completed one cycle, we will begin again.  You can say that again Lady O – I’m beginning a whole new 21 day meditation and it’s great because I’ll be able to go back and concentrate on the ones that I liked  best.  Consumerism lives even in spirituality.  

Deepak starts the last meditation with a statement that we step into living our vision as we align with the light that is focused on the seven chakras.  A month ago, if someone said this to me, I’d likely laugh at them, by the end of the three weeks, I was buying everything that Chopra was selling me.  He let us in on another spiritual secret which encourages you to be the source of light in your life.  It’s like that old song, “You Light Up My Life” by Debbie Boone with a twist making it “I Light Up My Life”.  So when you are sitting by the window waiting for someone to sing you their song, get up, go to the mirror and sing it to yourself sister (or brother).  Anyway, DC believes that the most important lesson for us to learn is that spiritual awakening is natural.  The process is similar to waking up in the morning and opening your eyes to the light, only here we have been opening our inner sight to the light of consciousness.  I know, I know – a little abstract.  Maybe part of this whole process is realizing that there are no easy answers?  Just a little something to meditate on – and by that I mean you, not me!

Back to rolling in the Deep-ak.  Our light expresses our personal vision.  We all have dreams to fulfill (otherwise our lives would be pretty dull).  For spirituality to be valid, it must be useful in bringing fulfillment.  Well, there goes that purse that I dreamed of – but purses are useful and bring me fulfillment.  Could this be what he is talking about?  Hello Chloe if he is!  Nope – he’s talking about truths that will lie dormant and asleep – foiled again.  The fulfillment of our dreams is meant to be activated by the seven chakras and as we activate them, we are focused on seven levels of fulfillment.  The highest state of fulfillment arrives when you are fully connected to the internet (just checking to see if you were paying attention).  It actually arrives when you are fully connected to the light of being oneself.  

We are supposed to offer ourselves a simple reminder of the light that we share with others. We should smile with our hearts and let our true selves shine through our eyes.  A few words offered with kindness is another way to let your light radiate – isn’t that lovely?  Another way is going inward when you are feeling good and saying silently to yourself “I am enough”.  If that isn’t self-affirmation, I don’t know what is.  It’s simple and true, but it’s easy to believe on some days rather than others.  When I experience disappointment, I never feel that way but maybe it’s because I didn’t think of those three little words.  DC goes on to say that if you radiate the light of your own being, nothing more can be asked of you.  It may take a journey to find your true self because of past conditioning or other obstacles that cloud our inner vision.  All of these things can be overcome.  DC suggests that meditation is the way to do this since it allows you to find your inner vision and use it in daily life. Today, even though I’m not 100% on everything that I learned over the past month, I can say that I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in this experience.  I am grateful to you for bearing with me too.  I promised you awhile ago, that I would share my very favourite poem with you – I think it sums up, in a very non-abstract way, the point of this whole exercise.  It’s called Desiderata and if you aren’t familiar with it, please enjoy:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927