Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One

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The Stress Questionnaire


If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ve seen this diagram before.  It’s all about inflammation.  One of the root causes of inflammation is stress.  I stumbled across a little something on doctoroz.com – it’s a stress checklist so that you can see what the major causes of stress in your life are.  There are about 40+ items – http://www.doctoroz.com/article/stress-questionnaire – try the test yourself to see what’s inflaming you!  Here are my items:

  • Change in health of an immediate family member – always stressful
  • Work more than 40+ hours in a week – some weeks it’s 60+
  • Business or work role change – my role has been changing since April of this year
  • Sleep less than 8 hours – the quality of my sleep has increased, but the quantity has stayed between 5-6 hours – somedays it’s close to 6.5 but no where near the perfection of 8 hours
  • Change in responsibilities at work
  • Vacation – I love travel, but I guess getting ready to go away can be stressful and my next vacation is coming up quickly
  • Change in personal habits (diet, exercise, etc.) – I’m always trying something a little different with this blog and I’m doing the Dr. Oz 2 Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan again more to help myself feel better
  • Change in work hours or conditions
  • Presently pre-menstrual – I know TMI – but it’s a fact of life.  Yes, once a month, I like many women are aware that the whole world is out to get me

Nine out of about 44  – not terrible…but it is evident to me, that work causes the majority of my stress.  Some of the stress factors will be eliminated as time goes on.  Some, I’ll have to learn to cope with. Getting better sleep and more of it, has to continue to be a priority.  I’m not giving up travel though, just because it causes a little bit of stress.  It’s my top favourite thing!

One thing that has alleviated some stress has been my decluttering project.  This week, I began the process of Kijiji-ing/Craigslisting some of my items and I’ve sold a purse today.  So far, I’ve posted 6 items, and as I sell one, I’ll post more.  I’ve also started another pile of things to throw away.  Seeing my progress has been very satisfying, but I can’t wait to finish this little project even though I still have a lot of things left to do.

Today, I’m grateful for the stress questionnaire.  It’s a good little check list to see where your stress lives and it will help me address my own issues and for that, I’m…

Gratefully yours,


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I’m a Ponderer…

I was thinking about stress – one of the nasty health saboteurs that Dr. Oz constantly warns us about.  Managing stress is a very complicated matter and we all deal with it differently.  Some of us disengage, and I’ve done this.  Some of us vent and get matters out in the open and I’ve done this.  Some lose sleep as they let things run through their minds and I’ve done this.  Some of us read self-help books to cope and I’ve done this.  Some of us make healthy lifestyle decisions like exercising and I’ve done this (not as often as I should).  Lastly, some just have that annoyingly positive attitude that makes you want to lose your cookies – I’ve NOT done this.

Even though I’ve written about stress (and it’s contribution to inflammation), I’ve been thinking and pondering that perhaps my November theme should be stress management.  Dr. Oz seems to have some valuable tools to help with it, and I’ve been dealing with a bit of stress and I’d like to get the “Whiz-ard’s” advice on how to reduce this happiness killer.  I know that there is no magical formula, but who doesn’t want to lead a healthier, happier life?  Well, maybe the odd Debbie Downer and Petey Pessimist…

I do always remind myself of all that I have to be grateful for, and today is no exception.  I’m truly grateful to live in a country as great as Canada.  It was a trying week last week, with a shooting and at our National War Memorial (resulting in the death of a soldier) and our Parliament, but watching our party leaders embrace each other the day after it happened as they returned to work was such a lovely and humane moment.  It reminded me that no matter how much we may disagree with someone, at the end of the day, when times are tough, we can still embrace each other and move forward.

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New Topic – Re-Evaluation



I spent some time pondering my blog today – hence the picture that I took in Norway glancing out at the water with HUGE mountains reminding me of how insignificant that I am.  It’s a long weekend in Toronto, and one of my favourite ways to end it off is to just take a day and chill out. I always have the intention of being wildly productive, but just taking the time to do exactly what I feel like doing usually wins out.  Today, I read a life-altering, quality book that should be on everyone’s reading list.  “I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends – Confessions of a Reality Show Villain” by Courtney Robertson.  It’s a semi-tell-all from the former The Bachelor Finalist and ultimate winner.  Is it literary genius?  No – but it was very entertaining and a book that I could plow through really quickly.  Thanks Reality Steve for reviewing it on your site, realitysteve.com – that’s how I discovered it.  I usually read more high-brow fare, but every now and then, a little fluff is nice.  Doing my laundry always makes me feel productive, and it allows me to sit around and read while I wait for the washer to finish or in between folding loads.  Oh, the exciting life this blogger leads – you should all be jealous, but it’s such an ugly, tawdry emotion.

Back to my pondering.  Every few minutes while reading the holy grail of all things Bachelor, I thought about what I would like to write about this month.  I was reminded that I have a habit of picking of words ending in “tion” as my topics.  Case in point:

  • January – hibernation (ok sleep, but it has to work for my point to be valid)
  • February – beautification
  • March – nutrition
  • April – meditation (well, it ended up being about meditation so close enough)
  • May – inflammation
  • June – hydration (work with me here, I know it was about getting ready for summer)
  • July – vacation

So, for this month, I’m picking a biggie – re-evaluation.  Some of you may feel that this should be my December topic – au contraire – I think it’s important, as I close in on the last quarter of my year of following Dr. Oz’s advice, to take time now to get back on track with the good changes that I’ve made that may have fallen a bit by the way-side, keep up with what is working, and re-visit some things that haven’t.  I’ll be doing Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s new 21 day meditation experience, eating Oz-ily and trying a few new things on my road to good health.

So what am I grateful for today?  Long weekends when I can see my closest friends and have a day to myself to just relax even if it means doing a few hated house-hold chores to help me not feel like a total sloth.

Gratefully yours,


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Anchor’s Away On Stress

anchors away

I love when I don’t have to credit images – it removes some of the stress from blogging.  This pic is from my latest trip – and I can tell you that there is nothing stressful about being on a cruise.  Dr. Oz has explained in many ways the negative impact that stress can have on your body leading to the dreaded inflammation, ultimately causing many things even worse than that.  I was under a lot of stress when I went on this vacation and for two weeks, the biggest stress that I had was whether to go for team trivia in the Skyview Lounge or finally join everyone for an art auction on a sea day.  I had people to serve me, bring me fresh towels and tell me where I needed to be at what time.  I’ve never loved the idea of cruises and have only been on 2 in my life.  One was in Alaska and it was the perfect way to experience the Inside Passage, so I highly recommend it. The other, was a Mediterranean cruise and it was nice, but not a great way to see the amazing countries on the itinerary.

This cruise seemed great on paper.  I have been to Iceland before and it gave me the chance to do a few things there to make it feel more complete to me (whale watching, a jeep safari on a vehicle only used in Iceland and seeing more of a pretty little city that I liked).  Who has ever heard of or visited the Faroe Islands?  I’m always a fan of going to little places that no one knows about.  Last but not least, what better way is there to see the fjords of Norway than on a ship? This was an instance where the trip met all of my expectations and gave me exactly what I needed at the exact moment that I needed it.  I needed no stress (check), no blackberry (check), no major decisions (check) and every day to be different (check, check check).  I loved every place that I visited (although I love every place that I go to).

While I was away, I’d love to tell you that I followed everything that I’ve learned on the yellow brick road to good health.  I didn’t.  I ate what I wanted, I lazed around on sea days getting out of bad late and going to bed at different times.  I exercised a little – I forced myself to walk on the walking track on one of the rare sunny days, my cousin and I walked a few kilometres (many uphill) in Akureyri, Iceland to see more of the city and almost our whole group did a pretty long hike to a glacier in Norway (see me getting soaked below). 

norway hike


I ate nuts infrequently and carbs became my BFF again.  Yet somehow, other than stomach pain from all of the food that didn’t agree with me, I felt better than I can remember.  My brain wasn’t foggy, my heart wasn’t racing and I didn’t feel any pressure to be somewhere.  So what did I owe this sense of well-being to?  The fact that between not having any responsibilities and taking almost a complete cyber-break, for once in my life, I felt stress free.  It was delightful and important.  It shouldn’t take a vacation to feel this way, but at least for me it does.  If I can give you some advice (not from Oz, but from me) when taking a holiday:

-Eat whatever you want.  Yes, I gained 3.5 pounds, but in less than a week, they are a distant memory and I got to enjoy my holiday without feeling deprived while the people around me ate whatever they wanted. You aren’t going to be on your death bed thinking, if only I had one more carrot stick, but you might regret not having tried the chocolate souffle on your trip or something that you can only get in that particular locale

-Take a cyber-break – believe me, if there if big news, you will hear it.  Stay in touch with loved ones on occasion, but it’s called a vacation for a reason.  I thought I would be in a panic being so disconnected but instead, I felt relaxed in a way that I haven’t in years.  It helped that WiFi on the ship was a nightmare

-Don’t let weather put a damper on your trip.  You can’t control the weather, so embrace it, and have a good time.  Think of rain and fog as atmosphere.  I had to on this trip

-Allow yourself to relax.  I thought I’d spend time staring out at the ocean, pondering my life.  I’m just not that deep (pun intended), so I started out hoping to see a whale or a dolphin.  Didn’t see either (sigh).  A vacation is about going back to your childhood for a few days when things were easier and there were people to feed you and pick up after you.  Embrace it

-Don’t expect it to be like home.  If you want the creature comforts of home, then take a stay-cation.  Travelling is amazing, but it can be a bit of a culture shock if you don’t like that sort of thing

-Try everything from activity to food and participate in the ridiculous.  I had my nose painted blue and kissed a fish to celebrate crossing the Arctic Circle.  It was fun – and didn’t kill me, and I now have that silly memory (including almost falling on a fake Viking during a photo) to remember that milestone forever

Today, I am grateful that I could de-stress and enjoy one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. 

Gratefully yours,




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,



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,