How to break our emotional tie to food

Fitness and health, Life, Uncategorized
photo of freshii juice bottles
Freshii cold-pressed juices
Part of the 3/5-day cleanse
(you can buy at Freshii, but some Walmarts may carry them too)

Breaking an emotional tie to food, is NOT a ribbon-cutting event!

For anyone who is an ’emotional’ eater (or a closet eater) like myself – you will totally get this post. Think – munching down a whole bag of chips and/or box of cookies in just one sitting…all without much thought. For myself personally, I eat when I feel stressed or bored.

The guilt that follows is incredible. Yet, it’s a vicious cycle. You feel stressed, inhale the snacks, say you won’t do that again and guess what? YUP…it starts all over again. Not only is your mind affected – but your body as well. Most normal people gain weight when they eat over-processed junk food.

So, now the cycle becomes more complicated very quickly:

  • You eat junk.
  • You gain weight.
  • You feel like crap.
  • You eat some more because you feel like crap.

Well, breaking our emotional tie to food and re-programming our brain is REALLY hard. Probably one of the hardest things that we ever need to do. I know because I worked on it for almost two years. I was lucky that I managed to breakdown part of my insatiable need to stuff my face. Still working on it because it’s a life-long process for me.

How did the tie get so strong?

Long story short, if I psycho-analysis myself, it started when I was just a kid. I learned that if I wanted to eat something, I could eat unlimited quantities. My grandmother allowed me to eat steak after steak because I liked the taste. It didn’t help that we worked at my parents’ convenience store with tons of candy, chocolate, chips, popsicles, etc. at our fingertips. Anyway, needless to say, I had lots of cavities and gained too many pounds. As I was growing up, I was made fun of for being fat. The lack of confidence and stress continued the negative cycle of over-indulging.

Break it down!

My very first blog back in November 2018 was about my experience with the Freshii 3-day juice cleanse. I would say this was the ‘beginning’ test of my willpower. I chose the 3-day cleanse because I knew I could not survive for 5 days.

So, how?

I highly recommend trying a juice cleanse. One of the guys at Freshii said he managed to quit smoking after a 5 day cleanse. It really helps to reset your brain. Mind over matter.

It was really, really hard. But I did it. My mental willpower could barely stand up to the overwhelming want to grab and eat everything. It was so hard sitting with people who were eating food while I was cleansing.

I know we all have our stories why we are “psychologically” dependent on food. But I do believe that occasionally, we just need a re-set. Something to test our strength and ability to control what we eat – and indirectly, take control of our lives. I say this because I believe an underlying issue for a lot of things in life (for me weight gain) is about not feeling like we are in control of our lives. Working at getting to the root of the problem is also recommended.

That was then, this is now

Recently, I decided my body needed a boost of nutrients and a rest from eating solid foods. I have followed a vegan diet for over 8 months now, so the extra attention to my meal planning and preparation has helped to fight off my food’s mental grip on me.

I decided to do the 3-day cleanse again, but slightly modified. Basically, I drink 3 juices (breakfast, snack and lunch) and eat a generous salad for dinner.

I am on day 1. This time around, I have absolutely no issues with drinking my juice in lieu of eating solids. It’s a breeze taking a juice instead of a meal. I don’t even need to think about what to eat! I am also enjoying the feeling of not over-eating – especially at dinner.

Tomorrow is another day

I envision myself getting a badge or token for job well done. But the reality is, it’s another day of resisting the urge to conquer the bag of Lay’s Original chips (my fav BTW).

In this thing called life, you have to treat yourself as a pet-project. Try different things until you find something that works for you. Good luck on your own quest to cut the ties…

The Roads Connect

Life, Uncategorized
jelly fish

It may sound weird – but it just dawned on me this morning when I was driving my son for his early a.m. workday, that “the roads connect”. I mean both literally and figuratively. I was picturing myself driving and everyone else on the road for that matter. And then I visualized a satellite view of us all from above, looking like frantic army ants. Anyway, long story short, there is an extensive network of roads all the way across our Earth; and where roads are not possible we can fly, take a boat, etc.

The thing is, we might just drive back and forth on the same roads our whole life. The paths are available to us, but we decide whether or not to take them. In life, this translates to a much deeper meaning…

So the question is – do we:

A) Maintain status quo?

B) Travel the path less traveled?

I encourage everyone to take a closer look at their lives. While we may feel we are part of the rat race, it’s good to remember that we can occasionally find a route of escape from the box.

In this thing called life, we can be the jellyfish swimming in the vast depth of the ocean (unfortunately the one pictured above was held in captivity and may never see the ocean again). So same thing goes for us – can we escape?

A secret? How to conceive a baby.

Fitness and health, Life, Uncategorized

This post is for those of you out there who may be struggling to have a baby. P.S. I am so sorry it took me so long to share this.

a secret: how to conceive a baby

I have been thinking of how to spread the word, since I learned about it in university. I took a course about sexuality and sexual health (sociology as my major) and during one of the classes, my professor spoke about the biological process of conceiving a baby. It was so very logical to me after that. And my proof that the ‘secret’ works (maybe luck, maybe not?): 3 kids on first try lol. Keep in mind that I am not a doctor, so this blog is written in very easy to understand terms. 

Over the years, I heard about so many people trying to conceive but without luck. Yet, it’s not something people are open to talk about (understandably), and it definitely not exactly a conversation that I feel comfortable to talk about unless someone wants to listen…

Biological process in a nutshell

As you probably all know – to make a baby, you only need one sperm to fertilize one egg. The problem is that following ejaculation (by the male), there are millions of sperm fighting to swim to the female fallopian tube. Like survival of the fittest. The strongest sperm will likely experience victory. But how can you help the process?

The secret?

Ladies – have an orgasm during or immediately following ejaculation. The biological function of an orgasm aids to neutralize the acidity in the fluids.

 Very simply, the environment that the sperm swim in is acidic and neutralizing the fluids helps to increase their chances to survive the journey. Logic right? I thought so too!

But how do I do this?

Ladies – use your imagination. The means does not matter – just the ends!

No guarantee…

I cannot guarantee that this will work, as there could be other biological issues surrounding ones inability to conceive. Or could also be stress, lifestyle, etc. causing issues. But I do believe that it’s definitely worth a try before investing in expensive infertility treatment or giving up. And seriously ladies, if it doesn’t work – at least you had some fun!

P.S.

Once pregnant, here is my extended theory for a making a happy baby: have many orgasms. The body releases the ‘feel good’ endorphins during the process and thus in turn = happy baby!

Here’s a link to CBS News for some interesting info about sperm:

https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/sperm-15-crazy-things-you-should-know/

In this thing called life, learning new information could be the solution…

Oh, and I would love to hear from you if this works for you!

I’m falling in love!

Events/Shows, Life
words love

I am not writing about the feeling of fluttering in your stomach, the uncontrollable giddiness, etc. that you experience when you fall in love with someone. I’m writing about my experience of ‘falling in love’ with a song. Has it ever happened to you? I didn’t think it was possible and never had this type of sensation before. But it happened. I heard Lewis Capaldi’s song “Someone you loved” on the radio the other day. I was just thinking last week that it would be great to have some new fresh songs on the radio – and suddenly he sang to me. I was in awe – what a powerful voice and composition.

I had no idea who the artist was at that time, but my daughter said that we could just Google the lyrics. Anyway, long story short…I am in love!

Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone you loved”:

I have listened to it at least 100 times since I first heard it. Lewis’ voice, song lyrics and composition bring out so many raw emotions. I can feel my heart drop and hairs stand up on my arms. Just want to close my eyes and feel the music.

“Hold me while you wait” is another of my favs:

Music generally

Music can be so powerful and heal the soul. The world is silent without it.

In this thing called life – feeling means that we are alive. If you have never fallen in love with a song – I sure hope it happens to you!

One bed or two? One blanket or two?

Fitness and health, Life

This post is dedicated to the guy who needs to take control of his quality of sleep. No excuses!

MOST IMPORTANT: QUALITY ZZZs

Did you know that quality sleep is REALLY important for your overall health? If you feel sluggish all the time and complain of tiredness or inability to focus, you may want to take a look at your sleep patterns. I read somewhere that the body does its main ‘healing’ while you sleep, between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. So, if you are awake between those hours – guess what? Yeah, your body is not given time to heal itself. I have a friend that sleeps at about 3 a.m. every night and gets up around 7:30 a.m. every day. Of course, she complains of tiredness every day. I wonder why?

According to Statistics Canada, “Insufficient sleep (short duration and poor quality) is associated with a range of adverse health outcomes, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, injuries, all-cause mortality, depression, irritability, and reduced well-being. ” and “For adults aged 18 to 64 and seniors aged 65 or older, 7 to 9 hours and 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, respectively, are recommended.”

So, any time a couple complains about poor sleep, I ask:

1) do you sleep on the same bed?

2) do you cover the same blanket?

To date, I have had the same conversation with seven different ‘couples’ who complained of poor sleep and tiredness.

Guess what they all said: Yes, we sleep together and yes, we share the same blanket.

Come on guys! Break the social norms/ habits! It’s for you and your health (mental and physical).

Well, it may sound crazy – but I confess that I haven’t slept in the same bed as my hubby for the last 17 -18 years! It started this way while I was pregnant and had trouble to sleep; then after our first child was born, I started to sleep with the baby; then followed the second child about two years later – I started to sleep with her and our son slept with my hubby. The years in between are cloudy, but we realized that sleeping separately was better for us. Then ten years later, number three came along and I started to sleep with him. BTW – all three of my kids were crappy sleepers, so basically I didn’t sleep well for these past 17-18 years. I TOTALLY believe that you have to do whatever it takes to catch some quality ZZZs.

My hubby has sleep apnea, so does not sleep well. He often gets up multiple times a night and likes to turn on the lights and make instant noodles in the kitchen (think noise!). In addition, he has a ‘cold’ body, so needs two big blankets to sleep. Myself, I developed into a light sleeper over the years and have a ‘hot’ body, so just one blanket would suffice.

My parents had the same problem – same bed, same blanket. Finally, I convinced them to at least have two blankets – rather than always fighting for the blanket. They are loving it and get better sleep. To them, I am a genius!

Needless to say, it totally makes sense to sleep separately. It has absolutely nothing to do with separation from a relationship -so I wouldn’t feel guilty about it. The most recent person we talked to said that he understood why some ‘old people’ slept separately. That was such a funny comment, because you don’t have to be old to be practical and conscious of your need for sleep. [In my opinion -sleeping in one bed and sharing one blanket is way over-rated!] He said he had no trouble to fall asleep but woke frequently throughout the night and could not fall back asleep. I reminded him that his spouse might actually be knocking him without him knowing and thus wake him. Perhaps taking a video would be interesting…

Finally, so many studies have been done, linking better quality sleep with a completely dark room. If you have dinky blinds that let in light – just hang a set of black-out curtains in front of them. Something so simple can change the way you sleep. Get on it!

And if you do wake, try not to turn on the lights – or your body’s circadian rhythm will be interrupted.

In this thing called life – let’s all be practical and get some good quality sleep. Don’t feel that you are abandoning your spouse. Your body and brain will thank you and make you a happier person for your spouse. On that note, I ended this post by going to sleep. I love my sleep! But sadly had trouble to fall asleep. Could be because of the smell of the noodles and loud talking downstairs at 1:30 a.m.

I would love to hear from you: One bed or two? One blanket or two?

Negativity and Happiness are contagious

Life
picture of my feet
Happy feet = happy person

Ask yourself – which would you rather? Be surrounded by negativity or happiness? Is happiness over-rated? No way! Happiness is the foundation of life. Gotta have it.

I am not a shrink, but I did study sociology in U. My advice is simple: surround yourself with happy and positive people where possible. There is no rocket science to this. It’s like when you are always around people who like to complain or contemplate life in a negative way…don’t you feel mentally and emotionally drained by the time you finish speaking to them? Well, move those feet of yours away and find some happier and more positive people. If you are having trouble meeting positive people, try finding an activity you like and join a group with people who enjoy the same thing as you.

In this thing called life – the world stops for no one. Make every moment count.

The re-useable knife

Life

This post is dedicated to my husband – as this story would not be told if not for him.

When I tell people the story of the “reusable knife” – they first give me a confused look. Then by the time I finish explaining they tell me their own stories with great frustration.

Don’t be too shocked…but what you are about to read is real and hideous.

The Haunting of the Reusable Knife

Many believe that a reusable knife is just a knife made of heavy-duty plastic, stainless steel or some other material. But no, that’s not it at all.

Chapter 1

The sun had set and darkness was covering the land. Monica was busy cooking in the kitchen and when she turned around – there it was. The knife. It was propped up on a plate. The same plate where her oils were kept on the kitchen counter. There was an eerie streak of light shining off the knife from the under-cabinet lighting. Monica gasped. She was afraid to touch it. After all, there was no reason at all for a lone knife to be lying on the plate. She decided to leave it alone, but it called her name. She glanced over her shoulder. It was still there. At the end of the evening, before Monica went to bed – it was still there.

Chapter 2

The knife wasn’t quite so scary the next day when the sun was shining brightly, so Monica reluctantly put it in the sink to be washed. That night when it was dark again – there it was. The knife. This time there appeared to be peanut butter on the knife. Not only was the knife dirty, but buttery. Goo oozed from the knife and trickled onto the white plate.

Chapter 3

Another day went by. Another day. Another knife.

That evening, Monica was chopping up some carrots for her dinner soup. When she was about to chop the onions, she glanced sideways and there it was. This time, the knife’s edges were covered with bread crumbs. Before bed, the knife beckoned Monica, but she refused to pick it up. She would not give in to its calls.

Chapter 4

The next morning, the breaded knife was lying on the oil plate. Again, the sun seemed to soften the white glows. And again reluctantly, Monica put the knife in the sink. Dinner would be made early that evening because her family had to go out afterwards. Rushing to put together a meal, Monica ran around the kitchen gathering things. Suddenly, when she was putting things on the counter. There is was. Another knife. This time, it was covered in juice from an apple or some kind of fruit. It glistened with slime and tempted Monica to go closer. A very gutsy dare from a knife, she thought. Monica was strong and did not battle with the knife that night.

Chapter 5

To be continued…

Afterword

Yes, this is how this story ends lol. But trust me, the knives do not stop popping up every day. Such a seemingly small/trivial thing just drives me insane! My husband claims that he keeps the knives there “in case” he needs to use it again. But I have never seen one being “re-used”. I ask him every day when he plans to ‘re-use’ it, but he only laughs. One day, a second knife got propped on the first knife. Then for some reason, he cleared one away and left the other. I asked him why and he said he wasn’t sure if it was his! OMG!

In this thing called life – one can hint and keep hinting or say it outright, but the plight may remain unheard.

BTW – what’s your “STORY”? I would love to hear from you!

Life through the eyes of a person

Life
true or false

The answer to my true or false: ALL TRUE. But of course for #4, he wasn’t a criminal at the time we dated. I only found out years later.

Synapses are going wild!

It’s crazy when ideas start buzzing around in your brain and you want to jot everything down as quickly as you can before you forget. It’s like the dream that you enjoyed so much and when you wake up in the middle of the night, you tell yourself that you will remember because it’s so memorable- but guess what? Most of the time you will forget! This happens to me all the time. I have these super-detailed movie worthy dreams, but I forget them by the morning. Sometimes I force myself to roll out of bed and write them down. So when I do, by the time I read my notes in the morning – I’m like What the Hell? I can’t work with that!

Busy five years

The past five years has been really crazy for me – my father’s stroke, the birth of my third child just after my dad’s stroke, getting a dog (for my daughter), writing and illustrating three childrens’ books (My Great Canadian Adventures, Winter Moose Visits Montreal and Winter Moose Visits Alberta), doing book readings and book events, become vegan…

I have been a bit busy trying to promote myself, while working on two other books (a novel and a vegan cookbook) and working a full-time job – but I would not trade it for anything else.

Heart jumping

When I was doing my book reading this past Tuesday (yes, I had to take part of the afternoon off my day-job), my heart jumped (nervousness) when I saw the gym filling up with kids. Not only that – they were there to listen to ME! Yikes! I had done a few other in-class readings but with about 20 kids at a time. This time, my event was in the gym with about eighty kids and I had to speak using a microphone.

Confession: I have only ever spoken into a mic once before – and that was at my book launch last July. I was really scared then. But when I took that mic, I realized that this public speaking thing is not so bad. It was all in my head. So, I told the kids that never in a million years would I have pictured myself standing there in front of them. I was the most shy kid ever in school. I used to hide behind my parents legs when people would talk to me!

Just grab the moment

In many of the Taiwanese drama shows (I watch on Netflix), they show a person walking let’s say past a loved one who is with another man, then they rewind and show them walking in the same spot again. This symbolizes the loss of a chance. We cannot rewind time. If you have an opportunity (could be for work, meeting someone new, learning a new craft or trying a new exercise program) – just grab the moment, because it may not come again.

I believe in cosmic forces or being on the same wavelength as someone. Like the anti-social lady I keep running to in the office washroom (I blogged about her already). Like it or not, our bladders are synchronized!

Generally speaking, I believe that people come into our lives at certain times for a reason. So don’t be shy to say hello to that person next to you. I have met so many people in my life adventure that have stayed with me.

One of my favourite memories is from my early twenties. I was really down and feeling trapped because I was dating this really possessive guy and couldn’t seem to shake him. Then I got a stage (like being a shadow at a company) position at this interior design company. Pearl worked there and took me under her wing (and became a friend). We went on-site to this company they were doing some work for. Anyway, I met this guy Justin (a quick handshake, an exchange of a few words) and had a vibe. Later when we were back at Pearl’s office she told me that he asked for my number. Of course I said yes right away. She warned me he was a ‘bad-boy’ – but I took my chances. Taking this chance is one of the best things that I ever did. I thought he was the most positive and happy person in the world. He really loved life, talked excitedly about his family and friends and made every moment count. His passion for life influenced me to totally change my outlook on life. Even though we parted ways, I will always keep him in mind. So, Justin – if you ever happen to stumble on this post, thank you for being there!

In this thing called life – Life is not static. Change is inevitable. Grab the moment when it comes as it may not come again.

The other side of the counter

Life
sketch of cash register for handbook

So, it is quite funny…After I posted about The Ultimate Cashiers’ Handbook, I had a nightmare that night. I already had trouble sleeping that night so when I finally fell asleep at 5am, I dreamt that I decided to go to my parents’ old store and do some cleaning while the store was closed. I was about to start when suddenly someone opened the door and a huge flood of customers came in. There was three line ups all the way down the aisles to the back of the store.

One guy was tired of waiting for his six pack of beer so he stole the beer and ran out. I decided to chase him but as a result, the lines got longer. Then I was serving a customer who wanted to pay by debit. In real life, I left the store at the time debit machines became popular, so in my dream I had no idea how to operate it.

Of course the line up got longer… I was so stressed and couldn’t understand how everyone got in. At about 7am, I jerked awake because my heart was beating so fast. Imagine…two hours of suffering in my sleep!

In this thing called life, our subconscious plays a big role in our stress – so wishing you good dream-free sleeps.

The Ultimate Cashiers’ Handbook

Life

This post is dedicated to CPG and all cashiers out there. Love you!

sketch of cash register for handbook
This is a sketch I did for a handbook created by me an my cashier friend (will call her CPG) in October 2000.

First of all, hello!

Hope everything has been good with you. Good health is #1…

Between submitting my final print approval for Winter Moose Visits Alberta yesterday and preparing for my Chapters book events (scheduled for March 16, 2019 at Chapters Newmarket (Davis Dr/Yonge St) and March 23, 2019 at Chapters Markham (Highway 7/Woodbine), I found some time and more importantly – inspiration to write again.

If you follow me on Instagram (@moning_to_ya), you will know that I have always wanted to write a novel. Actually, I began a novel about ten years ago and made it to about page 35. It is a suspense novel. I often have nightmares that make good movie ideas – so whenever I have those dreams, I expand on my book with that material. Maybe I will convert it to a short story one day.

Brewing ideas

Ideas were brewing for the past half-year or so about an idea for a novel. But last Friday, I was driving and suddenly came up with my opening line. This is the start of a novel. As I mentioned in my Instagram post – how does one work on a plant-based cookbook and a novel at the same time? Well, it could be a recipe for disaster! Stay tuned for more from me…

The Ultimate Cashiers’ Handbook

Every so often I come across my hard cover book that I used to begin writing The Ultimate Cashiers’ Handbook (UCH). I think it is entertaining and cute, so I wanted to share it with you. I am now using the book to draft my current novel.

Some background

My parents owned a depanneur (convenience store) in Montreal for about 20 years. Needless to say, I was a cashier (initially against my will) at a very young age. My older sister Juliann began even before me. She started the moment she could see above the counter. I hated being a cashier, but as I grew older, I learned how to make the most of my job and even learned to enjoy it. For example, I challenged myself to be the quickest “change-giver” (pre-debit/credit days) and bag-packer you ever saw! Chatting with our regular customers became enjoyable. You have to know that I was the most shy kid ever (think: hiding behind my dad’s legs and looking away when spoken to), so working at my parents’ store helped me get over some shyness.

UCH began when my parents hired a girl about my age, I’ll call her “CPG”. We hit it off right away and filled the quiet periods between customers with great conversation. Don’t like to say, but we liked to complain about the nasty customers and laughed about the different ‘type’ of people that we met at work. Just for fun, we came up with a few ‘types’ and noted them. I worked on the actual writing part – so I am free to share this without CPG’s permission.

Here is the opening page of The UCH (I haven’t changed anything):

“Throughout the years, we have worked hard to maintain our images in the public eye. Working as a cashier is definitely a task that few wish to establish and experience, yet, cashiers are all around us. Often, cashiers are taken for granted. Actually, it is more accurate to say that cashiers are almost ALWAYS taken for granted. We are expected to be friendly, polite, fast and patient – while we are treated as mediocre, under-educated “service providers”. Our experience as cashiers has given us the opportunity to see the world in a whole new light. And, we are certain that our experiences are shared by others in similar circumstances. Now, if you have never had a chance to stand behind the counter, you certainly have “mingled” with cashiers (both good and bad) that you have taken notice of. Perhaps, you can even gain insight into the world of cashiers with the assistance of this handbook. As for all the cashiers in the world…CHEERS!”

We decided on a few types of people, but did not write anymore.

Fast forward 2019…

Because I found this very amusing, I have decided to finish it up quickly. Below are three of the actual sketches that I did in year 2000. The centre one shows the people with bad tempers.

Here are a few types of customers that we came up with:

  1. The ?!#@!? people. These are the customers who are always in a bad mood. No matter what.
  2. The love affair. These are the customers that use the store as a dating service. A married man approached me for some design consult (BTW – my first passion is kitchen design) because he was interested in me. I got the short end of the stick for my consult – because I was paid in “pearl-necklace from Tiffany’s” currently. Yikes!
  3. The private affair. These are the people who like to share everything with you, including details about their skin allergies, etc.
  4. The sleazes. These are the guys who look you up and down with their beady eyes, but don’t say anything.
  5. The “No gusta…lo siento” people. BTW – we were also learning Spanish together. This category is for people that we simply didn’t like (for whatever reason).
  6. “I am not exactly sure what language I speak” person. These are customers who didn’t speak to us at all. We already spoke to them in French and English, but they never responded and gave you a blank stare instead.
  7. “I like my chips in one piece” person. These are customers with odd demands. Bad news.
  8. The “Wow – you speak after all” people. These are the people who go from never speaking to speaking.
  9. The “May I stare” people. There are just people who stare at you. Weirdos.
  10. The “Umm…like, like, I will pick my own scratch tickets…like, ok?” people. There are always people that want to stick hand into things.
  11. The “I apologize…my hand doesn’t reach far enough to put the money in your hand. Therefore, I have to throw it across the counter” people. These are people who don’t have basic manners to hand you the money. Instead they put all their coins on the counter closer to them. This probably won’t happen as much today with the debit/credit machines…
  12. The thief. This is an obvious one. It’s the people that tuck wine into their jackets and take off. No worth your own life to chase those people.
  13. The “Guess what? I know your exact order” people. These are the predictable people. Everyday, the same newspaper and cigarettes, etc.
  14. The “I don’t need a bag” people. After you have packed all their bags, they say they don’t need a bag. Note: I worked at the store in the pre-reuseable bag days.

The End.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed reminiscing and writing it!

In this thing called life, you gotta do what you love…