Mother’s Day vs Father’s Day in our household

Dad gets to take a break, on Father’s Day. Until the leeches arrive.According to the latest New York Times magazine, which I got to read on Father’s Day because I smartly let my six-year-old stay up til 1 am (meaning she slept in til 10 AM) and my partner was enlisted by our obnoxious neighbors to help install the galvanized metal scrap siding that is helping them build a carport bearing a strong resemblance to a third world shantytown, moms still do two to three times the amount of housework as dads. That sounds about accurate to me. And it goes for parental-appreciation holidays, too.

Take Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Mother’s Day was a whir of me going online to make a donation to a home for teenage moms (in lieu of the gift that no one could get it together to give me anyway; “But you took off for New York with your friend last week. Doesn’t that count as a gift?! Who do you think was watching our kid?!”), making breakfast, entertaining my child, and working on the garden etc. We spent the day outdoors, and eventually it ended in me shouting at around 8:30 PM, “Is anyone planning on making dinner or taking us out for dinner or doing something so we don’t starve to death tonight?!” Of course, living in the Hammer, all the restaurant kitchens were closing at 9:30, so we had to drive to Toronto for a meal that started at approximately 10pm. (“Where are we going next?!” asked The Little Nutball, eager to extend the festivities.)

Contrast that to Father’s Day, which started, inauspiciously enough, with the construction of our neighbor’s shanty (it was supposed to hold two or three cars, but because of a design flaw, it only fits one car, with their household’s two other junkers rusting out front in the street in front of our house) so that we have to seek parking in the back lane way. When we eventually got the man of the house back from our neighbours, there was a Father’s Day gift hunt (which ended a bit prematurely when the Little Nutball yelled “Here it is!” and handed him the gift), and then a fishing trip. I was in charge of buying all the gear and setting it up, spearing worms and leaches onto the hooks, and helping unsnag the fishing line from weeds/the dock/trees. My partner was snoring under a tree, so he missed the hijinks, which included catching and releasing a couple small mouth bass, and The Little Nutball attempting to attach leeches to her feet and even one to her neck.

I find leeches incredibly gross, although I will concede their value to medicine in the form of helping bleed people who’ve had limb reattachment surgery, or other challenges to their circulation. Leeches can help prevent their flesh from developing blood clots. In any case, I chose not to intervene when the Little Nutball tried to attach a leech to her dad’s neck.

All told, a fun day and not a drop of blood was spilled in the end. I think the leeches weren’t hungry. Breaking off pieces of worm and feeding the sunfish under the dock turned out to be more fun than fishing, and, at the stroke of 7 o’clock, a nice dinner was enjoyed by all.

What Causes a Swollen Uvula?

Since the causes of swollen uvula are quite different and disparate, let’s start with the most basic ones. The most basic causes are related to problems like dehydration, dryness in the mouth and simple diseases like common cold. A case of uvula swelling after drinking hot fluids is also probable, and you should take care while consuming such hot fluids. While these are considered to be the common causes of this condition, there are some severe ones that require proper medical treatment. Viral infections of different types can demonstrate the condition as one of the symptoms. Inflammation of tissues, tonsillitis, bacterial infections and side effects of a surgery are some other reasons that can lead to the problem of swollen uvula. There can be some severe throat diseases that can exhibit your uvula  swollen as one of the symptoms. In order to resolve these problems, you would have to pursue proper medical treatment.

Treatment Options

Since the underlying causes are quite different from each other, there are different types of swollen uvula treatment that you can pursue. The most common type of treatment comprises of simple home remedies that can be utilized at home. These simple remedies comprise of drinking sufficient water, gargling with a saline solution and having honey on a regular basis. Apart from that, you can even take garlic cloves 2-3 times a day for resolving the sore uvula. In case the underlying causes of such condition are too severe, you would have to consult a doctor and take some medicines. These medicines would help in improving this case by attacking the underlying causes.

Just Say ‘No’ to Boring Salads

I was recently writing a corporate presentation on eating a healthy lunch. As I was writing, I thought to myself, “Everyone is going to think I’m going to tell them to eat salads everyday and then assume it’s the rabbit-food-diet.” Well, guess what? I did tell them to eat live, whole foods and, yes, to eat a salad every single day. But, just like I’ve suggested people get out of iceburg lettuce land and jump on the kale bandwagon, I’m going to share with you how you can eat a daily salad and make it different and delicious.

I eat a salad every single day, but I almost don’t even want to call it a salad because it’s so much more than that — let’s call it a one-bowl-meal-of-delicious-items. I know where most people are coming from when I suggest they eat salads. When I think of a “salad,” I think back to my obsessive days of low-carb and endless dieting while dumping chemical filled low-fat salad dressings onto my iceburg lettuce with a side of carrots and cucumber. Can you say boring? Boy oh boy was I miserable and my food was about as exciting as a watching paint dry.

My point with this whole rant is that salads, like the recipe I’m about to share with you, should be eaten daily. Just like chef Ezra shared in his article about making a healthy lunch, you can most certainly make a salad taste gourmet. It just takes a little creativity and coming out of your comfort zone.

Here’s some inspiration and a recipe.


2 handfuls of arugula (or any leafy green you have on hand, excluding nutrient-poor iceburg lettuce)
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
4-5 cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 ripe avocado, cubed
1 handful of sprouted mung beans*
Pinch of celtic sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 fresh lemon, juiced
1-2 drops liquid stevia (optional)

*Note: Sprouted mung beans are very high in protein, B-complex vitamins and minerals. If you don’t have any on hand, you can just add a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds or handful of walnuts for some protein.


Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and pour dressing over top. Mix together and enjoy with a raw cracker like the one pictured in my photo by Two Girls Cooking. Serves one.

Please note: All of these recipes are created in my joyous kitchen with the healthiest ingredients. I’m not a calorie counter or a professional chef — I’m a nutritionist who loves to cook and bake, and I’m delighted to share my creations with you.

Is stevia extract safe to use

After over 500 years of safe use by mankind it’s all about time to see that stevia and stevioside are not dangerous. There have been tests demonstrating that stevioside doesn’t cause cancer. There have been tests demonstrating that it can provoke insulin secretion in diabetics resulting in blood sugar normalization. There has been tests demonstrating that stevioside is successful in lowering blood pressure. This along with the tests demonstrating that it will not increase the glucose levels in healthy humans, and does not have any affect on reproduction. In addition to tests demonstrating that stevioside doesn’t cause cancer.

Article claiming Stevia and Stevioside dangerous debunked

Some people, reporters, organizations and agencies appear to possess a plan to keep this excellent, wholesome product that is safe from the hands of those who is able to use stevia and stevioside. There have been untrue reports spread out that stevioside is mutagenic. implying it may cause cancer. That’s actually a falsehood. There have been studies demonstrating that stevioside isn’t mutagenic. That it’s absolutely safe.

Within an article within the May problem of CSPI’s Nutrition Action Healthletter (NAH), David Schardt states that within the test tube, a derivative of stevia called stevitol, could be transformed into a mutagen. “Until we understand whether this mutagen is created in people, stevia CAn’t be deemed secure,” says Schardt.

Incorrect! The reality is Stevia and Stevioside were demonstrated safe and non-mutegenic i.e. non cancer triggering based on a released study National Academy of Sciences USA. They state, “Stevioside, a constituent of Stevia rebaudiana, is popular like a non-caloric sugar alternative in Japan. In line with reports within the literature, we’ve found that stevioside isn’t mutagenic.” The test tube derivative David Schardt was talking about is stevitol.

To help reveal his frivolous claim, in studies performed in Thailand it was demonstrated that consumption of 80 times greater than the recommended appropriate everyday consumption of stevioside in people “is deemed having no observable effect.”


Health Guides:

What are the functions of political parties

There are a lot of people who do not have a very clear idea about the functions of political parties and it is for the benefit of these people that I have put together bits and pieces of information I could find on related topics. Since the olden days political parties are the ones that have changed the future of the nation and really the leaders of these political parties have been the ones who have made policies that have either taken the nation up or down. It is very interesting to study the functions of political parties and a lot of people actually enjoy going into the history to know about their nation has reached its present state today. We often read about debates being held between democrats and republicans but I am very sure a vast majority of people would not know the difference between the policies and ideologies of either.

I feel the present political situation is whole lot complicated than it seems. If we go through our history we will see that in our nation control of the government has changed between two major political parties. It started with the Democrats and the Whigs. In the 1850’s Whigs party was dissolved and was replaced by the Republican Party. Americans change the party when they are tired of their rule and replace it with another. They elect the members of another party to Congress or the Presidency of United States.

Throughout the history of twentieth century, we have seen that other nations have let themselves be ruled by one party and this has led to disastrous consequences. Examples are the Nazi Germany and the Communist Russia. This has lead to dictatorship and severs consequences. Lead to world wars and starvations. This type leads to complete downfall of the nation and it takes years to build a nation all over again.

This is not a case in United States; our democratic system gives us the power to be governed by two party systems not letting anyone party to maintain power permanently, which ultimately allows the American people to control the party instead of other way round.

Even if there are strong points, there is one weakness in our political party, just like other countries the functions of political parties is to unite people they also have the tendency to potentially divide the nation. No one party can have control over the government unless there are some major changes in the government. We should make sure American citizenship takes priority over party loyalty. It is one of the main problems with the congress and the presidency. The party is too busy scoring points for their own parties that they lose sight of welfare of the nation.

As a citizen of this nation we should understand the functions of the political parties. We should encourage and facilitate greater political involvement. We should not show any party too much of loyalty. The reason our nation’s political system is so vital is because of active participation of the citizens.  We should focus our votes for the good of this nation rather than towards a political party. These parties are mere tools for America to function properly instead of American people becoming tools to the function of the political parties.

Shelley Gets Fit: The Newbie Hits the Gym

I did it.

For the first time in over a decade, I set foot in a fitness club and exercised. For those who regularly work out in gyms across Canada, this might not seem like much of a momentous accomplishment. But for me, it was.

I did work out occasionally at a gym for brief period when I was around 26 or 27. I’d do cardio for 20 minutes or so, catch the odd class, very rarely attempt some of the machines. And it worked, sort of. I actually slimmed down a bit after a few months of sporadic workouts (not that I needed it back then). But although I didn’t hate it, I never really caught the fever.

Now that I’m pushing 40 and I’m in sub-par shape, it’s not just a dislike of the gym that made me reluctant to go, but a lack of confidence. Because it’s never been my “thing” and it’s something I’m pretty much assured to be not so good at, a fitness club just never felt like a place I would be comfortable in. But could I perhaps find a gym that works for me?

I asked Toronto personal trainer Lhara Eben for tips when picking a gym. And just like in real estate, she says location, location, location is the most important thing.

“It must either be right by your place of work or your home,” she says. “It could be somewhere you can get to easily from work, because once you are home, getting back out rarely happens. Or, if it’s right by your home, perhaps you can go first thing in the morning.”

“Vibe is certainly important, but you won’t get much of a feel on a first visit. Any self-respecting gym, no matter if it’s a big chain or small boutique, should offer you some free passes to try out some classes.”

Eben also had some great ideas for how people (like me) who don’t generally love gyms can make it work for them.

“One of the best ways to make your first gym experience positive is to find a gym buddy,” she says. “You can help each other stick to your goals, and having someone leaning on you will keep you more focused too. But if this is not an option, make a weekly plan that is not overly ambitious. The last thing you want to do is go ‘gangbusters’ for the first two days and then be so sore and tired you don’t want to go back.”

One way to feel more comfortable, says Eben, is to bring confidence with you in the form of a portable mp3 player.

“Whatever inspires you, listening-wise, is key,” she says. “Motivating tunes are great, or I like audio books because I get engrossed and forget I’m running. You can even download workouts. Just don’t show up at the gym without a plan. Winging it as a newbie is too hard.”

With Eben’s advice in mind, I decided to try out a local women’s-only gym, because I walk by it frequently and it’s less than five minutes from my home. Nothing too fancy, but it looks about my speed.

I bought my new running shoes (which I love) and my new workout clothes (which I tolerate) and headed off to the gym, armed with a water bottle and an iPod with some appropriately high-energy playlists.

With butterflies in my stomach, I walked in and up to the reception desk. The staff was very friendly, one guy named Raymond gave me a tour and told me I could try the place out for free for the day. They gave me my loner lock, pointed me to the change rooms and encouraged me to try out the yoga class happening later that morning. Okay. So far so good. On my way to the locker room, I stole looks at other patrons, and fortunately they ran the gamut from young to old, from wide to thin. I liked that.

I had spotted a cross-trainer that looked vaguely familiar from my short-lived gym days, so I made a beeline. It was sort of tucked away in a corner behind the stairs, with no massive mirror in front of it. I started to climb on, but then I realized I hadn’t changed into my runners yet. Did I mention I was nervous?

Feeling a bit silly but now properly attired, I went back to the machine. I asked one of the staff passing by to show me how to work it, and after a quick tutorial, she suggested I try to do 20 minutes of cardio. Okay. I can do this, I thought.

After the first few minutes, I felt way too winded. And disappointed – I wasn’t going to be able to do this after all! But I slowed down, checked my heart rate (which was too high, according to the guide on the machine), took the level down a couple notches and started breathing normally again. I picked out some loud, energetic music and got into a pretty good groove. No, I wasn’t going to be breaking any speed records, but I was sweating, I was moving and I was feeling my muscles work. And I kept it up… 20 minutes, then 30. Hooray for me!

I slowed right down to cool off for a bit, then climbed down, feeling pretty pleased with myself. I wiped down the machine (only good gym etiquette for me) and did a bit more easy cardio on an exercise bike. It was much more moderate, but it still felt good and I completed another 10 minutes.

I decided the weight machines were just too much for me to tackle without a proper assessment and orientation by a trainer, so I called it a day. The most important thing was that I decided I liked it there and I actually enjoyed the zone-out intensity of the cardio. I didn’t feel like it wasn’t a place for me.

I got the prices from a staff member (still friendly) with a class schedule and told them I’d be back. And I will.

Next up, an assessment and workout plan at the gym and getting to work on my not-so-fabulous diet.

How Many Calories In An Avocado

Avocados are frequently known as the avocado pear or the alligator pear. They are a great ingredient when making guacamole, avocado juice or shakes, avocado tortilla soup, mushroom and salad, or even lime pie. They are certainly healthy choice when one is watching their weight, lowering cholesterol, preventing breast or prostate cancer. It is also a vital food containing potassium which can help to lower blood pressure. As most perceptive eaters are concerned about their health or what they put into their bodies, calories is one concern that often arises. So, how many calories does it have?

Even before taking how much calories are in avocado you should know first that it has different benefits to your health. First before considering using low calories food you should remember that looking out for you to become slim should be in a healthy way.

How Many Calories In It

If you use this substance, the cholesterol in your body will reduce because of oleic acid found in avocado is a fat in type of mono unsaturated known for their low cholesterol. If you use it regularly, you will suffer less circulatory infections and you will never have blood pressure because of potassium found in it. The folate also found in the avocado lowers the high risks of developing any cardiovascular problem.


It can be eaten at its own or mixed with other foods. You can also make salads or appetizer when you mix it with other ingredients. You should not be too concerned with calories in an avocado but how those calories can help you to live a healthy life. Make sure that you added some cube in your salad or in your salsa. With this mix your will be able to improve caroteinoids that are absorbed with vegetables.

It is better to eat mono unsaturated fats with carotenoids because they are not soluble in water but fats. This will help your body to absorb more vitamins. If you add some to your carrot salad, to your lettuce or your baby spinach you will increase the amount of carotenoids absorbed by your body. No matter how little the avocado you add to what you are going to eat, you will improve the overall carotenoids level you take. This has been proven by different scientific researches. Beta-carotene, alpha carotene and lutein are some among carotenoids that will be absorbed by your body if you eat it. If you add to your salsa avocado, you will increase intake of beta carotene and lycopene up to 2.6 more times.

Make sure that you eat always a small amount with your food to add to your vitamins, mineral and monounsaturated fats. Beside the benefits to increase the calories you take with avocado, it is tasty and will increase your appetite. It has many other benefit, like strengthening your hair and improve its shining.

Simply Delicious Roasted Veggies healthy recipe

Root vegetables are my absolute favorite- they are hearty and healthy and so delicious when they are roasted. They are also so easy to make, and very hard to mess up, which are both excellent qualities in a recipe. Additionally, vegetables retain their nutrients much better when roasted than when boiled or fried. You can roast really any vegetable, but I especially like sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower (I know its not a root vegetable). According to the OK Kosher Certification’s Vegetable Checking Guide and Natural Diuretics definition(vegetables have to be checked for bugs, which are not kosher), fresh cauliflower may never be eaten and frozen cauliflower needs an acceptable kosher symbol on it. Unless you are near a kosher supermarket, it may be difficult to get kosher frozen cauliflower.

Sweet potatoes are, I think, my favorite food for example  cayenne pepper diet for body health, which works out well because they also happen to be an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. They also have antioxidant properties. Regular potatoes are also an excellent high-fiber, low-calorie food that protects against heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of vitamin C and contain antioxidants such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid. Carrots, for their part, have long been known to be good for your eyes. They are also the richest vegetable source of the pro-vitamin A carotenes that help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer.

This may be a simple, unexciting dish but it really is tasty and healthy, so who cares?


  • Carrots, cut to 1/2 inch
  • Potatoes, cut in cubes
  • Sweet Potatoes, cut in cubes
  • Cauliflower (let defrost a bit)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Directions: Peel and cut the vegetables and coat in olive oil, adding a little salt to taste. I like to place the vegetables on a parchment paper-lined baking tray (but you really don’t have to), and bake for 40 minutes or until lightly browned, at 350 degrees.

Joy’s Recipe Revamp: Banana Bread

I went up north this weekend to visit my parents. As usual, and to my joyous delight, my mom had been baking. Most of the inspiration for my own baking and cooking has come from her, but over the years she’s been adopting some of the healthy changes I’ve taught her as a holistic nutritionist. Lucky for me, she’s always open to modifying her recipes because that means I get to share them with you!

When she gave me this recipe (which was torn out of magazine), she had crossed out and written in all her substitutions to create this moist, delicious, healthy loaf. Interestingly, the original recipe came from a health magazine, but — as you will see — the original recipe was not nutritionist approved.

Here are the substitutions she made:

  • Organic coconut oil instead of canola oil. I don’t recommend canola oil at all. It’s an extremely processed, modified and, if not certified organic, highly sprayed in chemicals. If you want more information, nutrition expert Sally Fallon, has written about this topic extensively.
  • Whole wheat flour instead of white flour. White flour is a nutrient dead food. It has been stripped of its fibre, vitamins, minerals, essential fats and antioxidants. Stone ground whole wheat flour is a wholesome food loaded with the entire complex of B vitamins, good fat and minerals, especially iron. It’s not surprising low iron is the most common nutritional deficiency when you consider how much processed food people eat.
  • Almond milk instead of cow dairy. Cow’s milk is one of the most common allergens, that’s worth taking a break from or eliminating from your diet altogether. Worried about the calcium? There are many other ways to source calcium (remember, it’s only one of many important nutrients for bone health). Add pasteurization and homogenization to the mix and you’re left with a very indigestible food.
  • Local maple syrup instead of agave. I’m not a big fan of agave. You may have noticed I’ve shared recipes in the past with agave, but it’s certainly not a staple in my kitchen and I use it very rarely. This article explains why agave is not a healthy substitute to sugar.
  • Cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips. Cacao nibs are extremely high in antioxidants — they’re three times higher than green tea and two times higher than red wine.
  • Lastly, instead of lining the loaf pan with aluminum foil, parchment paper was used.


This recipe is egg and dairy free, moist and delicious, making it a favourable choice for those with food allergies and sensitivities. How to enjoy: Slice a piece and slather with some almond butter and raw honey on it at breakfast or as a mid-afternoon wholesome snack.


1 cup spelt flour*
2 cups whole wheat flour*
2 tbsp baking powder (aluminum-free can be found at most health food stores)
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or pumpkin puree)
1/3 cup maple syrup (or liquid stevia, read package instructions for the correct measurement)
1/4 cup goji berries (rehydrate in water for 5-10 minutes, drain from water before putting into recipe)
3 tbsp organic coconut oil**
2 tsp orange zest (make sure you use organic)
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon

*Buy stone-ground if you can — it’s more nutritionally dense and tastier.
**If your coconut oil is solid, melt it on the stove top over medium heat.


Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine flours and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir well. In a separate bowl combine the almond milk, vanilla extract, banana, applesauce, maple syrup, goji berries and coconut oil, stirring well. Combine both the wet and dry mixture, stir well. Pour batter into a 8″ x 14″ baking dish or line a muffin tin. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, orange zest and cinnamon, sprinkle over top of the loaf or muffins.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool and enjoy.

Please note: All of these recipes are created in my joyous kitchen with the healthiest ingredients. I’m not a calorie counter or a professional chef — I’m a nutritionist who loves to cook and bake, and I’m delighted to share my creations with you.

Feedback Here:

It looks like a great recipe and I will certainly try it, however,
you mentioned PUMPKIN PUREE which is not mentioned in
the ingredients. I would assume it is also 1/2 cup as per the
I am surprised that it was not mentioned in the previous comment.
This is excellent Joy. I am working on making my great grandmother’s old southern family banana bread recipe healthier. Last attempt was a little dry. I will give this a try!

Get What You Want From Your Relationship

Relationships have the potential to be one of the best aspects of your life — just look at the feelings that flutter about during the ‘Honeymoon Phase.’

The danger can creep in when you start believing this lovey dovey phase will last forever — and that relationships can always be carefree and easy (just a heads up, they can’t).

Relationships take work. That’s largely because it’s tough and challenging to establish what you want from your partner. Disappointment can follow when you don’t feel like your significant other is providing what you want, when you want it (or that they’re not putting in their fair share of work).

How do you keep your cool, carefree ‘Honeymoon Phase’ attitude, yet ensure your needs — as well as your partner’s — are being met?

Simply put: Have a little faith.

Tell your partner how you feel and explicitly pinpoint what you need from them, then give them the benefit of the doubt. Say what you want as part of a functional, mutual relationship and ask your partner if those needs seem reasonable — and if they think they’re able to cater to what you want. If they say yes, believe that — in their own time — they will.

And practice some patience. If you constantly bring up “what you want” and beat your significant other to the punch (by asking why they haven’t done x, or z yet), they’ll never be able to show you they’ve been listening to you. Give them some time to show, through their actions, they care.

Remember, if being a “we” is something your partner wants (and, by being with you, it’s a sign they do), he or she will have heard your list of needs. They probably listened to and looked into every word choice so they can be sure they know what it takes to make you happy.

It just takes time for some people to act. Give your partner the opportunity to process your requests and to understand them. If you keep pressing the issue they’ll feel as though they’re being forced or controlled and will pull away from you. Wait for what you’ve told them to sink in.

This will help the two of you build a solid relationship foundation — one built on attentive understanding and listening as well as working together to ensure you’re on the same page.