Posts from ‘Community’
For those of you who have seen me over the last few months, you know I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time crying. Not always sad crying, but overwhelmed crying, touched-by-amazing-stories-of-amazing-people crying, feeling-blessed crying, fear crying, anxiety crying, so-much-beauty-around-me crying, I-love-my-dog-so-damned-much crying.
Earlier this week I was on my way to a doctor’s appointment, so I tuned into my favourite radio show of all times, CBC’s The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti. I caught a follow-up show they were doing on poverty in Canada called “The 10% Have Their Say.” It was a phone-in show for people who live in poverty in Canada to share their stories. I could barely leave the car to go to my appointment as I heard the voices of Canadians who struggle every day to eat, maintain shelter, get work, and take care of themselves, their children or in one case, a seeing-eye dog. Imagine choosing between feeding yourself and your children or your seeing-eye dog. That’s shouldn’t be a choice anyone has to make. It brought me to tears (not surprisingly).
If you tuned into this show, you will have been moved. Guaranteed. If you missed it, you should do yourself a favour and listen to it on CBC’s website or download it on iTunes. There’s also a great discussion on what Alberta is doing to build a comprehensive strategy framework to end poverty. If you don’t have the time to tune in or you are afraid it will hurt to hear these stories, feel free to read some of the realizations I had while listening.
- What poverty looks like in Canada. Check out these facts. You’ll learn that almost 60% of Canadians live paycheque to paycheque and so many other things that will cause your jaw to drop.
- How invisible poverty really is. People are struggling every day and they look just like me even though our lives couldn’t be more different. They might have clothes, they might have shelter, but they could be living on the border of losing everything every day or they just can’t afford to meet their basic needs. Some of them have mental health issues which are also invisible barriers to overcoming poverty.
- How alienated poor people in Canada feel. Many of them don’t have email, internet or phone lines. It’s too expensive to stay connected to community, family, friends and there’s no extra money leftover to pay for high-speed cable to check out the latest YouTube videos and internet crazes. Many callers talked about how alienating it is to not participate in the social aspects of today’s society.
- How poverty is every Canadian’s problem. There are proven links between poverty and health outcomes and crime. This means that poverty in Canada is costing all Canadians who pay for our health and criminal justice systems.
- How many children in Canada aren’t spoiled. While I was cruising comfortably along Crowchild in my car with a heated seat, I heard an 8-year-old girl tell Anna Maria that she didn’t want to say what she wanted for Christmas for fear of hurting her mom’s feelings knowing her parents couldn’t afford her gift ideas. This young girl was racking her brain trying to come up with cheaper wish list items. The sensitivity of these children to their parents’ feelings was heart-breaking.
Of course at the end of all this, you ask yourself how you can help. I’d suggest you check out Canada without Poverty to get informed, but then look around to your own community to see if there are any local agencies that allow you to sponsor families (like Families Matter in Calgary), provide homeless people with the things they specifically need (like the Mustard Seed in Calgary or Edmonton), or take donations for broader programs and policies.
If you know of any other agencies where readers can help, feel free to share them in the comments below.
One of my goals as a nutritionist is to move people away from diet mentality, to have them stop chasing diets, counting calories and thinking about food only as a means to lose weight. When it comes to weight loss it is important to trust the wisdom of the body and use the natural rhythms of the seasons to our advantage.
Spring was all about taking in the bitter, astringent and pungent foods to help detox, stimulate metabolic fire and flush excess water from the body. We begin the fat burning cycle in spring and we really turn it on in summer. As summer begins, so too does our metabolic burn. In terms of weight loss, nature is powerfully on our side in the summer. Everything melts and changes form with heat. So, too, do our bodies. Our metabolic energy increases with heat. Our ability to burn fat, eliminate toxins, increase muscle mass and burn calories is highest in warmer weather.
In the summer our appetite lessens and we naturally eat less food. Food creates heat in the body, so we need to eat more in the colder months. But as the temperature heats up outside, our desire to eat big and heavy meals naturally wanes. The key is to tune into this, be conscious of this so you can naturally regulate your appetite.
It is also wise to eat your largest meal at the hottest time of the day. Between 12-1:30 the sun is highest and our digestive fire is the strongest. We have the ability to burn more calories at mid-day than we do in the evening.
The warmth of the summer also reinvigorates us, inspires us to play, have fun and be outdoors. We naturally recharge and renew in the summer. When we let go, play, lighten up and relax we are in the optimum state to burn body fat. When we’re stressed, worked up, intense and stagnant, the body can’t burn efficiently, in fact, the body stores more body fat. So summer is really an excellent opportunity to reshape the body naturally.
Summer is an excellent opportunity to do some emotional shedding as well. What do you want to let go of? Where can you lighten up? These are some questions to explore because our inner shifts affect our outer shifts.
Mother nature also gives us the perfect cooling foods to prevent us from overheating so that we maintain balance. Enjoy all the amazing summer fruits (apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, berries). Eat tons of salads and asparagus, celery, peas and cucumber. Lighter and leaner proteins like chicken and turkey breast and white fish are preferred and keep cool with aloe vera juice and coconut water. And of course ice cream must always be taken in during the summer months, so for a great treat try So Delicious coconut ice cream (available at health food stores and Superstore). They couldn’t have chosen a better name!
So this summer, let nature do its work. Relax and surrender to the weight loss process and trust your body’s wisdom to shed the unserving pounds naturally.
Sona: I’ve never met Carmen, but we recently started connecting online when we discovered each others’ blogs. In the short time I’ve known Carmen, I’ve learned she’s an incredibly genuine, smart, expressive and honest woman. And she’s gorgeous. But recently, I also learned she’s very funny. I read this blog Carmen posted on her site a while ago and killed myself laughing at just how honest and funny she really is. Trust me, I could relate to this post and I’m sure a lot of you can too. If you like what you read here, be sure to visit her coaching site or “Like” Carmen Jubinville on Facebook.
I was sure I had stooped to an all-time low the day I ate my daughter’s left over chicken nugget off the dirty floor of my mini van. Here’s how things went down. I was having a day from hell, one of those days where I spent the entire morning yelling at my kids to get their clothes on, their shoes, their sweaters… “Hurry up, we’re gonna be late!” Next it was the car seat challenge, I don’t know about your kids, but mine insist on getting into their seats all by themselves. In theory, this is nice, it displays independence as well as exercises motor skills, but when mommy is in a rush because she hit the snooze button one too many times… Well you get my point. I’m not expecting any “mother of the year” awards, that’s for sure.
Anyway, my chaotic morning turned into my day and things unfolded accordingly. My forehead was wrinkled all day and I doubt I even broke a smile. Nonetheless, I completed my errands and it was time for the drive home. All I wanted was a little peace and quiet, so I set up the DVD player and stopped by the McDonald’s drive-thru. By this time, the kids were starving and so was I… It was combos all around. Now, I have nothing against fast food, I’m a firm believer that balance is the key to life. But what I do know is that after eating a combo all to myself, there is not a bit of room for more. For those of you who know my story however, it’s no big secret that when my life gets uncomfortable, I find myself standing in front of the fridge. In this case, eye-balling my kid’s Happy Meals. This is my “ignore your life in this moment” tactic. And then it happened…
I saw my daughter drop her chicken nugget on the carpeted floor of my mini van as we were driving home from the city. I had my eye on the nugget as if it were a piece gold and secretly thought to myself, “if she doesn’t whine about it in one minute or less, that nugget is mine!” On that particular day, sixty seconds seemed to last forever. My mouth was watering and I was certain the half-eaten chicken nugget was a sealed deal. Time was up and she hadn’t made a peep. And so, I risked our lives and reached for the nugget and popped it into my mouth. I ate it so fast I’m not sure I can claim chewing it, but nonetheless, I consumed the nugget and life was good… for a moment or two.
Suddenly, as if slapped in the face, I realized what had just happened. I quickly found myself in a familiar state of mind. And like a big bully, I started judging myself and putting myself down. Just as quickly though, some Body Love brainwashing kicked in. I remembered that beating myself up had no benefit and if I continued doing it, I would just end up at home heading straight for the fridge. I knew myself all to well these days and that was a good thing. And so like a psycho-therapist, I asked myself, “Carmen, what is the nugget trying to tell you?” And can you believe it? Here’s what one half-eaten, dirty chicken nugget had to say.
Carmen, our lives collided today for you to learn these simple lessons:
- The snooze button is not your friend.
- Be pro-active in your life, prepare ahead of time and organize yourself so that you control your day instead of your day controlling you. Only you can do this for yourself.
- Instead of feeling like a terrible mother for yelling at your kids and allowing it to ruin your day, try apologizing to them instead and then let it go.
- Take time in your day to stop and laugh. Motherhood can sometimes feel like one step away from the insane asylum but take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Millions of women can validate your feelings so pick up the phone and giggle about it.
- Quit wrinkling your forehead, it doesn’t look good on you.
- And last but not least… Never, ever feel bad about eating. You know it’s your hitching post and so instead of being mean to yourself, do what you did today… it’s amazing how us foods can be enlightening and life changing.
Maybe we’ll run into you again sometime. Who knows.
And there you have it… wisdom from a chicken nugget.
I just thought I’d take a few minutes to thank y’all for allowing me to share my thoughts, ideas and rants with you over the last year and a half. And thanks to my very smart (and beautiful) community bloggers for sharing your wisdom, perspectives and advice.
I also wanted to welcome all of my new subscribers. There’s been a few of you who have sneakily joined over the last month or so. It’s great to have you here! In case you are looking for some older posts that might be worth reading, here are the ones I’d recommend checking out:
- The Parenting Experience by Rachna Joshi – As one of the most read and shared articles on this blog, it is sure to make parents relish the moments they have with their children.
- The Message Your Weight Holds by Amy Bondar – An insightful post about why we hold onto weight despite our best efforts to shed it.
- A Date at the Dump – A post I wrote about a year ago now sharing a romantic date my husband planned for us to go to the dump together (sexy photos included).
- How the World Economy will unfold by Anil Khosla – This post is unlike anything else on the blog. It’s about the economy and sadly, some of the predictions my dad made are coming true. Check it out.
- Spanish Lessons – A piece I wrote about a recent trip to Argentina and learning to communicate and connect without language.
- Commitment – One of my most popular blogs on the issue most of us have.
- Mistakes – My very first post way back in February 2010 on something we all do–make mistakes. Ironically, I published this post just a day before one of my former colleagues called me up saying she had made a mistake and wanted to come back and work with the team she had left only a few months earlier. Timing is crazy, isn’t it?
If you are ever inspired to share your own thoughts and perspectives on this blog, drop a comment on the blog. Or, if there’s ever a topic you’d love to see addressed, let me know. I’m all ears!
Late night eating is arguably one of the greatest reasons people feel they sabotage their nutrition goals and struggle with weight. There are very specific reasons for late night eating. The key is to understand which one is your trigger and work towards resolving it. It is never about the food. It is what triggers the eating response that needs to be worked on so that you can come to a state of balance and create a healthy and relaxed relationship with your food.
Eating 3 main meals a day with a small mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack is the greatest way to achieve balance in the body. It keeps energy levels stable and seems to be the best way to prevent overeating at night. Skipping meals, especially, breakfast sets this balance up for failure. What you don’t do at the start of your day, you will inevitably make up for that the end of your day.
Eating at the same time every day is another important practice. It sets a rhythm and a flow for your body. The body naturally wants to wake between 6 and 8 AM. One of the most detrimental things I see in clients is those who wake up late morning and don’t start eating until lunch-time or mid-afternoon. These are usually the people who will be eating well into the night and storing more body fat. Metabolically the body’s ability to burn calories slows down in the early evening, so it is wise to consume most of your calories at the beginning of your day and at mid-day.
Resolve your emotions
Whatever you suppress during the day will be expressed at night. If you suppress your stress, anger, frustration and worry during the day, you may find yourself eating–even binging–at night. If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night and going to the kitchen to eat when nobody is watching, there is likely a great deal of emotional suppression from your day. Balancing emotions and resolving stress is essential to your nutritional success. This is where I use The Demartini Method® to assist my clients. The Method is a series of scientifically proven questions that help you neutralize your stress and emotions, bringing you to greater states of balance and gratitude.
Don’t restrict calories
Restricting calories (eating under 1500 calories) in the day, or constantly being on a low-calorie diet, will make you feel hungry at night. No matter how hard you try to avoid eating, your body’s wisdom will take over because it is literally starving. The same is true if you restrict the occasional dessert or treat. If you don’t indulge and enjoy the simple pleasures every once in a while, you’ll find yourself binging on it or eating a lot of other things to control the craving. Giving yourself permission to enjoy a treat will create a relaxation response, put you into greater control and leave you feeling satisfied. If you restrict treats or calories in general, you create a stress response, you lose control, you obsess and you will likely overeat the things that will leave you feeling unsatisfied.
Live your ideal day
If you are not fulfilled in your day, if you do not do what you love to do and if you hate your job, then you will be sure to use food for fulfillment at the end of your day. Food fills the void for whatever you are missing in your life. If you love what you do every day and wake up inspired, then your food is used to fuel you. But if food is your only source of fulfillment, you will find yourself constantly struggling with weight. It won’t matter how many different diets you try, you’ll always end up sabotaging until you get to the root of what is fueling the late night eating. This is one of the areas where I am most inspired to work with people. Many of my sessions with clients are all about defining mission, purpose and love in their lives. Once my clients fill their days with what they love and are inspired by, food no longer consumes and controls them. Instead, they are in control and simply consume food.
If you are somebody that struggles with late night eating and continuously sabotages your good nutritional intentions, I welcome and encourage you to come and work with me on your triggers and voids so that you can once and for all shift your relationship with your food, your self and your body.
Sona: My sister’s wisdom has proven to be pretty popular on this blog, so I asked her to share some more of her gems on Feng Shui with all of you. Given it’s spring, a lot of us are thinking about getting healthier after our winter hibernation (yes, I think winter in Calgary is finally over!). So here’s a little ditty on using Feng Shui to create better health. Oh! And for the next little while, Rachna is offering an exclusive gift to sonakhosla.com blog readers: a complimentary Feng Shui Swarovski crystal with each booked appointment. There’s something to make your health area sparkle!
Feng Shui, literally translated as “Wind and Water,” is the ancient Chinese study of how energy moves. It’s used by people all over the world to support their goals in life, whether it’s health, relationships, family, career or wealth.
Assessing your health and your space
Let’s start by considering the quality of your space. Hard to know sometimes, isn’t it? Try the following and see what happens. With health as your intention, start looking around your home as if you were a visitor. Ask yourself the following types of questions and remember to be honest!
- What kind of lighting do I have? Is it too dark or too bright?
- Is it easy to walk around or am I bumping into things?
- How do I feel in this part of the home? Do I have low energy or am I restless?
Thinking beyond your environment, ask yourself other questions that may help you understand how your environment is impacting your health, such as:
- Do I need caffeine or sugar to give me energy?
- Do I have trouble sleeping?
- Do I have trouble breathing or am I coughing a lot?
If any of your responses make you question if you really do have a home that supports your health, Feng Shui may be able to help you! It can foster an abundance of energy to flow easily in and around your home, which you can in turn use to replenish and sustain yourself.
Three ways to create health at home
Let’s use the proven principles of Feng Shui to support your health. Remember the key is balance, so use your wisdom to find your perfect combination.
- De-clutter your home to keep the energy flowing consistently throughout. Clear out any items from under your bed and anything broken or unloved from your family room. Too many things slow down energy which can create lethargy or tiredness.
- Use earth tones as these colours are associated with health. These include warm browns, lush greens and deep yellows. These colours are very effective in the middle of the home, which is the health area. Bring them in with paint, furniture, decorations or even wear them! Lethargic or depressed? Wearing bright colours can increase your personal energy. If you want to tone down hyperactivity or restlessness, wear warmer deeper hues or go for cooler colours like khakis and greys.
- Check your lighting, as it is a major contributor to the energy of a room. Very bright or fluorescent lighting can result in anxiety, stress or hyperactivity. If the wattage is too low or there are burnt-out lights, you may find depression and lethargy. Outdoor lights count too!
These are just a few quick ways you can use Feng Shui in your home to support your health. Of course, there are many more techniques depending on your goals and your home layout. Try just one of these suggestions and let us know how you feel!
Spring is the time to cleanse, detox the liver and awaken the body, mind and spirit from a long winter hibernation. There are many cleanses you can buy at health food and supplement stores, but I believe you will have a much more effective cleanse if you eat the foods Mother Nature brilliantly provides for us at this time of year.
A store-bought cleanse can be a good jump start, but you can’t expect something that lasts for one week or even 30 days to clear out all of the toxins you have accumulated over the year(s). It makes so much more sense to eat the foods that are designed to cleanse the body, for the entire spring season. Food is incredibly powerful and medicinal, so from now until Summer begins, ensure you incorporate the following principles to ensure your body does its necessary and essential spring cleaning job.
- Drink lemon in your water every day
- Add liquid chlorophyll to your water (it’s available at health food stores and it’s an internal deodorizer and cleanser)
- Incorporate organic vegetable juicing (ginger, apple, lemon, celery, fennel, beet greens)
- Add wheatgrass (you can buy frozen wheatgrass at health food stores or go to Booster or Jugo Juice)
- Eat one to two salads every day and include liver cleansing greens (dandelion greens, radicchio, arugula, endive—included in the boxes of Organic Spring Mix as well as radishes and organic sprouts)
- Enjoy the vegetables that are unique to spring such as fiddleheads
- Add parsley, cilantro and watercress to your diet (add to salads, with eggs, or to garnish your foods)
- Drink dandelion tea or fresh ginger tea
- Incorporate cleansing and purifying broths such as potassium broth, Bieler broth and chicken broth (all recipes are available in my book, Journey to Optimum Wellness through Sound Nutrition)
To learn more about seasonal eating and all of the important nutritional and lifestyle principles to incorporate at this time of year, join me for my annual lecture.
Seasonal Eating: Transitioning to a Spring Diet
Date and time: Saturday April 9th. 1-2:30pm
Location: 2031 25th Street SW
To register, email me at email@example.com. Space is limited so register ASAP.
Spring is the most important time of year to change your diet and lifestyle. Don’t miss out on this important time of year to cleanse your body, mind and spirit!
Sona: Tah-dah! I’m so pleased to introduce my mom, Ruby Bedi. I’ve blogged about her before, but this is her first guest blog post on the site and it’s in honour of Hola Mohalla which was celebrated just yesterday.For those of you who know my mom, you know she is a woman of unconventional wisdom and profound insight. She teaches meditation, does personal consultations and just released her second book, The Soul Promise.
There are times when all inner noises come to a screeching halt followed by dead silence and then suddenly you have a realization that simply can’t be absorbed by you alone; you must share these soul gems with others. It would be meaningful if I shared some of the background before releasing the gem.
My day started with a phone call from my friend NKO in India. “It’s Hola Mohalla today. This is the day Guru Gobind Singh, the only Indian saint/soldier who, five hundred years ago, officially established an army to protect and preserve the people and their religion, culture and tradition from the Mogul emperors.” Facts reveal notorious details of atrocities committed with thousands beheaded, burnt and tortured at the hands of the Moguls wanting to convert Hindus to Islam. The women and the children were punished equally hard. To stop this forced induction of religion and tradition, Guru Gobind Singh—an enlightened poet and saint—arose and took on arms to uphold the purity and the originality of the people.
I suddenly realized that the war is still not over. We are now controlled by an enemy that is inside, one that has beheaded us and robbed us of our originality. Rather than being unique, we try to fit in, even if it means compromising ourselves. We seek things and not truth; we’d rather impress than express. We play to the gallery and in the process lose our authenticity. We know that we have fallen, but we don’t know how to rise. Like the saint/soldier Guru Gobind Singh, we need to pick up arms to protect our personal ethics and nature, except the weapon in this age will not be a sword but instead awareness, wisdom and truth; it shall set us free, that I know.
An intense desire to be our full authentic self is enough to ignite the spiritual fire that will burn to ashes any illusions and conspiracy against our Self. The hard part is not getting there but remembering our desire to get there.
As we approach my baby’s first birthday, I am reminded of the day I had her. We ended up having to schedule a C-section as we found out our baby had flipped in the last few weeks and was in a breech position. A C-section was absolutely the last thing I wanted. It was a complete 360 degree turn from the home water-birth with my midwives that I envisioned and planned for. But Lily had her own way of how she wanted to enter the world, so all I could do was surrender to that (it took me two weeks to surrender, but using The Demartini Method and other healing practices, I came to peace).
The one thing I could take control of was how I wanted to nourish myself post-surgery. I was adamant that I would not touch one morsel of hospital food or even drink the water. So my husband and I took the time to prepare all of the healing foods I would need for the 24 hours I would be in the hospital and for the few days after when I got home. Not only did we take the time, but we infused our love and our intention that these foods would help me heal and give my baby the nourishment she needed in the first few days of her life.
So this was what filled our two large insulated bags (it was more than the bag of clothes I brought for myself and the baby!). The nurses and my midwife thought we were crazy, but I knew a lot more than they did about the importance of having this food with me. In fact, over the course of the day and night, a few of the nurses commented on how well I was doing and how fast I was recovering. I was up and walking around the ward quicker than expected and they were shocked at how much urine I passed and so quickly (that was key for me being able to go home – I had to fill a three-litre bag in 24 hours, which I did and more!). It was all in the power of foods my friends! So without further adieu…
Amy Bondar’s healing foods for recovering from a C-section
- Filtered, oxygenated and mineralized water
- Liquid chlorophyll in water (oxygenates the blood)
- Coconut water (Replaces electrolytes)
- Fresh ginger tea (anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, soothing)
- Peppermint tea (soothes the stomach, relieves gas which is common with a C-section)
- Homemade chicken broth (heals the nerves, incredibly nourishing, easily digested, hydrating, relaxes and gives strength)
- Protein shakes (goat whey protein which rebuilds, heals wounds and speeds up recovery, banana for potassium and fibre, blueberries for antioxidants, ground flaxseed which prevents constipation in case of taking Tylenol 3, and water). I froze the shakes and they thawed by the time I was ready for them.
- A few crackers felt good too (I resisted, but they really did help)
- Kitcheri (This East Indian dish is very easy to digest. It has a perfect combination of protein, essential fats and carbohydrates. The spices are anti-inflammatory. It is especially recommended for post-partum and makes a great medicine to rebuild the body after surgery).
• 1 cup split yellow mung beans
• 2 cups basmati rice
• 1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped
• 1 small handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
• 2 Tbsp ghee
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp coriander powder
• 1 tsp cumin powder
• 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
• 1 tsp mustard seeds
• 1 tsp kosher salt
• 1 pinch hing (asafoetida) – optional and found in Indian grocery stores
• 7-10 cups water
Wash beans and rice together until water runs clear. In a large pot on medium heat, mix ghee, mustard seeds, turmeric, hing, ginger, cumin seeds, cumin powder and coriander powder, and stir together for a few minutes. Add rice and beans and stir again. Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn heat to low, cover pot and continue to cook until rice and beans become soft (about 30-40 minutes). Add the cilantro leaves just before serving.
So for all of you women warriors who have to go through a C-section, take the time to put your healing foods together so that you nourish yourselves and your baby for the speediest recovery.
Yours in health,
Happy anniversary, Sona! Today is the first anniversary of my blog and potentially the first time I’ve referred to myself in the third person. To celebrate the occasion (the former, not the latter), I have invited a few of my favourite bloggers to share their wisdom and insights in a “blind blog” by answering five simple questions about blogging. What’s a blind blog, you ask? It’s something I made up (as far as I can tell). It’s kind of like a blind date, except instead of going out on a date with someone you’ve never met, you blog with someone you’ve either never met or you blog on a single topic without any foresight into what your co-bloggers are writing before hitting “publish.”
So on my blog’s first birthday, we are experimenting with blogging. As you’ll see from the “Group of Five” below, they all share one thing in common: a belief that blogging is a labour of love with different rewards and challenges for those who dare to take it up. Without further ado, I introduce you to my favourite five in my first-ever blind blog!
The all-star line-up