The "Whiz-ard" That Is Dr. Oz

And Other Stories


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So, We’ve Come to the End of the Road….

Pondering

In the words of the immortal band, Boyz 2 Men,  that I’ve never been a big fan of, we’ve come to the end of the road.  I’ve committed to writing this blog for a year and that time has now come to a close.  I’m not sure if I’ll continue on or not, that remains to be seen and what is life without a cliffhanger?  This year, there have been peaks and valleys.  I think I’ve learned more in the past few years, then I have in the sum total of my life and this year was no different.  Here are some life lessons for you to consider as we change calendars:

  • The worst thing to live with is regret so don’t put things off, you never know what tomorrow will bring
  • It’s better to be kind sometimes, than to be right (and it pains me to say that)
  • No matter how type A you are, some things are beyond your control (huge pain saying that too)
  • It’s ok to be selfish at times (as long as it’s not to the detriment of someone else)
  • You have to try things that are either outside of your comfort zone or that scare you – life is too short not to try things at least once
  • You know how I like to quote cheesy songs, so in the words of Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney’s “Ebony and Ivory” – there is good and bad in everyone.  I felt that I had to quote Stevie Wonder at least once since I got bored and left his concert

Here are some peaks for my year:

  • Keeping up with this blog no matter how out of control my work load was.  It helped me cross one item off of my bucket list
  • I kept my New Year’s Resolution to make my health a priority – I had a mammogram, had blood work done, and changed some bad habits (although there is still room for improvement)
  • Finding Deepak Chopra – it’s the first time I’ve connected to anything self help and although some of what he says is beyond me, or could be construed as hooey – like Dr. Oz, you can pick and choose and find out a lot of insightful information
  • The trips that I took.  The ultimate peak was hiking to a glacier
  • Knowing that I can take a cyber break and be ok (and you can too)
  • Finding something to be grateful for every single day
  • Having moments where I actually felt good again
  • The people that I spent time with including family and friends (old and new and those that I got to reconnect with)
  • Getting to watch my niece graduate from college
  • Seeing my mother at her 75th birthday party

Here are the valleys:

  • ?
  • Let’s not focus on the valleys – we all have trials and tribulations to deal with and after the trauma of 2012 and 2013, life really wasn’t so bad this year

Here is a quick summary of my Oz Journey:

Pounds lost – 17

Items banished through decluttering – 214

Items sold on Kijiji – 3

Meditations that I tried – 63

Times where I actually meditated – 1 (I think)

Bottles of probiotics used – 3

Bottles of Vitamin D used – 1.5 (they were big bottles)

Containers of flax – 3

Nuts consumed – can’t count that high, but maybe in the hundreds of thousands

Shampoo mohawks made since I found out they could damage your hair – 1 – I slipped

Times per week that I exfoliate my skin – 1 as Dr. Oz recommends

Reams of paper shredded – 1

Number of page views – almost 5,000

Number of posts that I’ve written – 176 including this one

Knowledge gained – immense

Gratitude to you, my readers – immeasurable

I wish you all good health and great happiness in 2015 and whether I continue on with this blog or not, I will forever be…

Gratefully yours,

Jill

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Almost a Year Later, I’m Still A Believer

I get it, Dr. Oz is wrong more than half of the time.  Here is what The National Post had to say about the good doctor on December 23:

“Medical researchers at the University of Alberta has two words of advice about the recommendations on medical talk shows: be skeptical.

In a new study in the British Medical Journal, they found only one-third of the recommendations on Dr. Mehmet Oz’s hugely popular syndicated show and about half those on The Doctors were supported by believable or somewhat believable evidence.”

I absolutely agree that much of the information presented on the Dr. Oz Show is wrong.  I also have seen cases where Dr. Oz contradicts information that he has given on past shows – coconut oil was presented as a cure all in one show, evil tropical oil in another and then again as a fantastic fuel to cook your food with on another day.  Not good – and he didn’t explain that the topic had been covered already.  On a more positive note, he did apologize for recommending agave on another show acknowledging that it isn’t any better than regular sugar.

So what do I make out of all of this given that I’ve devoted a year of my life to following his advice?  Exactly what I’ve stated all the way through – the magic of television is responsible for Dr. Oz.  He doesn’t have the time to research all of the topics that he presents on the show – that is the job of his production and editorial staff on the show (and his magazine for that matter).  In real terms, if you are looking for a great cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Oz is your guy!  If you are looking for very specific health information on diet, go to a dietician.  If you are looking for exercise information, go to a trainer.  If you are looking for information on oral health, go to a dentist.  If you are looking for fun information presented in a light hearted way, and are willing to spend some time doing some research, then by all means, take some advice from the Dr. Oz Show, but take it with a grain of salt and don’t let it replace your primary health care giver or a professional’s advice.

I gained a lot of very valuable information from Dr. Oz’s outlets including his show, his books, Share Care website, his magazine and just some general interviews.  If I questioned anything though, I did the research, sometimes for hours, to really understand if I was going to help or hurt myself by doing things like taking probiotics, taking Vitamin D3, or any other kind of supplement, etc.  I made the decision not to take anything other than Vitamin D3 and probiotics because there was sound scientific research to support them.  Anything else, I’m staying away from.

Sometimes it’s about common sense.  If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.  Dr. Oz isn’t guilty of malpractice, and I don’t think he would intentionally provide useless or harmful information.  He is a victim of his success to an extent and a victim of lack of time.  People can blame him for misinformation, but at the same time, you can’t use a TV show as a primary care physician.  I’ll continue to be a fan of Dr. Oz and take his advice with that grain of salt that I referred to.


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How the Holidays Are Like A Snuggie

Snuggie

Don’t you love my Snuggie?

A leopard Snuggie, a hot tea, winning at Trivial Pursuit – these are the things that put a smile on my face as I enjoy the  holidays.  I’ve seen a lot of my favourite friends, my family and just enjoyed a few days where the only messages on my blackberry were friendly ones.  January 5, the holiday ends and heigh ho, heigh ho – it’s back to work I go, but first let me tell you a few things that I did:

  • I spent Christmas Eve with my family including one Frousin and Babs.  Babs feels sometimes that it’s all about the frousins, but I hope that she knows after more than 40 years of friendship that she is counted amongst my family.  You made our traditional Jewish Christmas Eve special because you were there.  It’s not that exciting, we just eat vegetarian lasagna and yap a lot, but Babs, you fit right in : )
  • Christmas Day (aka Eeyore’s Birthday) was fabulous.  Every Christmas morning, for the past 8 or 9 years, I’ve done the same thing, slept over at my mother’s and looked out the window (she lives in a building with a view of a very busy shopping street).  I saw, what I see every year – very few cars, and just one or two people walking.  Nothing is better than looking out for a few minutes at the stillness….except winning at the family Trivial Pursuit game, but I don’t like to gloat.  Ok, Eeyore won as well, but we don’t need to dwell on that.  It was just nice to celebrate a birthday with the entire family.
  • On Boxing Day (and yesterday) I learned that my Frousin GK is a formidable shopper – welcome to the Boxing Day Shopping Club – come back next year!
  • I learned that sometimes, your friends do listen – one friend bought me a Chopra Centre meditation gift certificate, another themed my gift around health and wellness – thank you for paying attention!  You are amazing friends.
  • Thanks to my Shoe for always including me in every Christmas celebration at Casa Papadopoulous – it is party I always look most forward to and that’s because not only is she a great friend, she has an amazing family too.  You are also the person that bought me THREE SNUGGIES – which are just the blanket version of a warm hug.  I don’t know where I would have be without them.
  • Thanks to my frousin, AK, for making time to see me before becoming a temporary snow bird.  I can’t wait to see you when you get back.
  • I’m very excited to see two of my favourite work friends tomorrow – actually, make that just friends : )
  • Even my work Christmas party was fun – who would have thought?  Although, I’ve never met a party that I didn’t like.
  • The whole month of December, other than a few pesky days at work (ok many long hours at work) has been exactly what I’ve wanted from the holidays – spending time with my family, seeing my very favourite people and enjoying the holidays.  It hasn’t been perfectly relaxing, but it has been pretty perfect in the ways that have counted.  I hope that you and your families have enjoyed it no matter what you celebrate.

Last but not least, I haven’t forgotten about my vow of decluttering my room.  My big gift was a new duvet set – it’s pretty fabulous, and today, I threw out two bed pillows, three decorative pillows and my old duvet to make room for the new.  A final report is coming on the final day of my year of living Oz-ily – that’s December 31st to you. I think it would be redundant to write about what I am grateful for when it’s so clearly illustrated above – I’m grateful to my family and my wonderful friends for making this such a great month and there are still two days left to go!


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Happy Birthday to My Big Sister Eeyore

Eeyore and Tigger

While you are all celebrating a magical Christmas with your family, my family will be taking part in a birthday celebration for my big sister Eeyore (aka Gigi).  Similar to Maichie’s post, to commemorate the day that you came into a Jill-less world, I’m sharing the top ten things that I love most about you:

  1. You changed my diapers when I was little when no one else would – enough said.
  2. You, like Maichie, were my protector.  When Shawn MacIntyre  bullied me (yes, I’m calling you out online – I can hold a grudge) including running over my feet with his bike, you lay in wait.  When I was playing with my friend, Paul, and you were overseeing, Shawn came by again with the dastardly bike, as always, threatening me and trying to lift my skirt.  You knocked him off of his bike and Paul jumped on his back and that twerp never bothered me again.  Nobody had better protectors than I did with my two older sisters.
  3. You tutored me endlessly in math.  You always learned things so effortlessly.  You were patient with me even when I was a little, shall we say, challenging?  You preserved (and so did my math teacher), and I finished grade 9 with a B (80s in Nova Scotia).
  4. You always did things with me, from the time that I was little to now.  When we were in our teens (while I was in my early teens) we would walk to either GA’s Dairy to get magazines or rent stacks of horror movies from the local video store.  When you moved to Toronto and I came to visit, you took me to everything from museums, to the Eaton Centre to the Princess Bride.  Now, you always offer to take me to Wal-Mart or Costco and it’s also appreciated.
  5. You have infinite patience with everything from baking intricate recipes to being our family’s tech support.  You know a little something about everything from recommending books, to downloading great music to my iPod to getting a Kobo set up.
  6. You have been through the wringer and you are still good and kind and thoughtful.  You don’t give yourself enough credit and are rarely given the credit you deserve for resetting your life and making things better for yourself and your family.  You have sacrificed a lot and you deserve so much credit.
  7. No one tries harder than you do and you don’t realize how talented you are – you are artistic and have a way of doing things your own way when it comes to painting.  You made a beautiful “Tiffany” themed party for your daughter’s 21st birthday and I don’t know how you thought of everything.  You can do anything that you put your mind to and do it well.  Start patting yourself on the back a little – you deserve it.
  8. You get excited over the little things and you aren’t jaded.  That’s a gift Eeyore.
  9. You never pretend to be something that you aren’t – also a gift.  There is no pretence with you.
  10. You are a wonderful mother who always puts her kids (and dog) first.  You are unselfish with them and love them unconditionally.  It’s a rarity these days to see someone who doesn’t expect her children to be anything other than their best and you will spend endless hours on helping them get there.

Eeyore, you don’t hear enough how much you are cared for and admired and loved.  Today, on your birthday and even on days when I don’t seem to think it, I am grateful to be…

Your Little Sister xoxo


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Happy Early Birthday To My Big Sister Maichie!

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Machie and me in North Carolina!

We all know that Dr. Oz puts a great emphasis on family, and luckily, during the festive season, I get to celebrate the birthdays of two of my favourite people – my older sisters.  Gigi’s birthday is on December 25th and Maichie’s birthday is January 3.  Maichie is older, so I thought it was only fitting to write her special birthday post for her extra special birthday first.  Gigi’s will follow on Christmas Day like it’s supposed to.  Maichie – this is one of my gifts to you.  To commemorate the day that you came into a Jill-less world, I’m sharing the top ten things that I love most about you:

  1. When I was little, even though apparently, I could be annoying (or so I’m told, I’ve blocked my annoyingness out of my memory) you rarely lost patience with me.  You would play house with me (well housekeeper – I was yours – I happily cleaned out your drawers).
  2. You were my protector.  When the “big boys” from your grade were picking on me, I remember you in your little red poodle coat grabbing one of them by the neck and telling both of them to “see your fist”.  You scared both of them away without ever having to throw a punch and I felt safe.  You also saved me from punishment at home, but we won’t get into that here : )  Even today, I always feel like you have my back.
  3. You have infinite patience, even for the most annoying of people.  I always ask you how you do it, and the answer is always “I just don’t let it bother me” or “I just ignore it” but you do it in such a way that the person doesn’t feel ignored. It’s a special talent Machie – use it wisely.
  4. Things rarely bother you.  You sit in the car when Mummy and I sing “God Save the Queen” over and over again just to pester you and you ignore it.  You ignore our schtick and never let it bother you.
  5. You are always prepared.  You need a band-aid – Maichie has it.  Need change for a $10, Maichie has it.  Need a snack, Maichie has it.  You need Advil, you guessed it – our little girl scout has it.
  6. You, unlike some people that we are related to, have a fabulous sense of direction.  We rarely get lost together.
  7. You are great to travel with – you are always up for anything and will go anywhere and put up with my Type A tendencies.
  8. There is no getting anything past you – you are the most observant person that I’ve ever met.  Even when it’s something that isn’t said, you really notice it.
  9. You are the most honest, honourable person I’ve ever met.  Yes, Mummy and I may make fun of your unwillingness to jay walk and the fact that you are a total straight arrow, but there is no person more trustworthy than you.
  10. Sometimes, I really feel like the world may not have been fair to you, but you aren’t bitter.  You try to come across as tough, but you are the most kind-hearted person in the world and it’s what I love most about you.

Maichie, I know that families, including ours, never say this enough, but you are loved, you are appreciated and you are wonderful.  Today, on your birthday and even on days when I don’t seem to think it, I am grateful to be…

Your Little Sister xoxo


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Soaring Like Beagle and Other Holiday Angst

clip-art-christmas-snoopy-938072

Image courtesy of picgifs.com (and I’m pretty sure Charles Schulz deserves some credit)

As I’ve written time and time again, Dr. Oz loves meditation and introduced me to my homeboy Deepak Chopra or Deeps as I affectionately like to call him.  I’m currently reading one of Deeps’ earlier books, “The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire”.  As I’ve been voraciously reading the book, I found, in parts, that I had to suspend my own skepticism and embrace things that I usually find to bordering on hooey.  There are many wonderful parts of the book including a very true equation for luck.  If you decide to pick up the book, you’ll find it on page 123, “Opportunity + Preparedness = Good Luck”.  So true – I can tell you that I’ve been told, that I’m pretty lucky when it comes to finding jobs, or rather having jobs find me.  Au contraire, my freres – it’s all part of the divine equation that Deeps laid out so succinctly in his book.  I believe that Randy Pausch also highlighted this very fact in one of the best books ever written – “The Last Lecture”.  There is some degree of the universe helping me out, but most luck that I’ve experienced is self-generated, where opportunity met preparedness.

Yes, there are many amazing parts to the book and he breaks down meditation, providing this klutzy meditator with some tools to help me increase my health with this Oz approved practice, but there is some stuff that’s just beyond me.  He lost me with identifying archetypes.  I think mine may be a princess of some small nation like Denmark.  Mostly because you get all of the benefits of British Royalty (like a lovely tiara and some travel) with none of the crazy stalkers and paparazzi following you around.  I have a feeling that’s not what he’s thinking about though.  Then came the moment that I realized that I may lack the depth to pursue my goal of listening to the vibrations of the universe…In one of the blondest moments of my life, I read, “Become an eagle; experience the world as a soaring bird” (page 162) as “Become a beagle…”.   Yes, I pondered the statement and was wondering if it was possible to experience life as everyone’s favourite beagle – Snoopy.  A good five minutes of thinking later, I re-read the sentence, and boy, did I feel like a dummy.  I’ll keep trying, but I’m not so sure I’ll ever get this stuff right.  My good friend gave me a Chopra Centre gift card so that will definitely help!

You know, Dr. Oz has a huge section on how to avoid weight gain and to enjoy the holidays in a healthy way. I’m going to spend some time reading them and reporting back, but I think it’s also one of those times of year when maybe, it’s ok to say, I’m just going to give in to the dark side. I love seeing my friends and family during the festive season, but I, like many think that maybe we are taking the commercialization a little bit too far.  I celebrate Chanukah and for the most part, appreciate the simplicity of the holiday.  I was in a book store yesterday and saw a doll called “Mensch on a Bench”.  Instead of being amused by this “Elf on a Shelf” take off, I was a little taken aback.  Christmas and all of the trappings are great and meaningful if that’s the holiday that you celebrate, but Chanukah is the “Festival of Lights” – all you need is a Menorah and maybe a dreidel or two and you are good to go.  We don’t have an equivalent to Santa Claus – there is not Hanukah Harry, so Mensch on a Bench makes me feel like we are having a “me too – see, we can be fun” kind of moment.  I’m not religious in any way shape or form, but I don’t believe that we have to shape things in a certain way in order to enjoy the holidays and the more simple celebrations are just as meaningful.  I love the Christmas decorations and nobody sings a Christmas Carol better than Kelly Clarkson.  I love going to Christmas parties and joining in the fun of the season, but I am happy with the traditions that I grew up with too and have never felt that I was missing out on anything by having Chanukah. What could be better than Chinese Food and a movie on December 25th? OY VEY – is all I have to say about this Mensch on a Bench business.  Just enjoy yourself, no matter what holiday you celebrate.

Today, I’m grateful that I got to spend time with my family to celebrate the festival.  We went to visit our cousin who had a little accident and it was just nice to be together, even if it was in a hospital.  I’m grateful to my poor mother for pushing through back pain to prepare the best latkes ever and for always making the holiday about what’s important no matter what religion you are – spending time with loved ones.


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Volunteering is Good for Your Health?

Blog

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

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

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