Monday, April 26, 2010

Why a dog is good for your health

If you have a dog, you have to take on weird responsibilities, like not being able to be away from the house for more than 8 hours (or a time equivalent to your dog's bowel/urine transit time). You also have to consider every vacation based on whether your dog has a comfortable place to be dogsat, you have plastic bags in every jacket and you find crumbs of wonderful things like dehydrated liver bits in your pant pockets.

They have you at their beck and call, expecting you to pick up their feces, demanding food and begging to be let outside.

But for all that dogs (or your pet cat, rabbit, gerbil) expect, they give back a millionfold! They make you laugh on a daily basis and have a sixth sense to know when you need comfort. They are our personal therapists, non-judging, understanding and bonus is that they are fuzzy and pettable.

On top of all that, dogs make you get outside EVERY day. You exercise and breathe fresh air and get to appreciate sights and sounds and hidden intricacies of your neighbourhoods that you wouldn't otherwise. Today, Rambo brought me through a quaint Cabbagetown road with incredible magnolia trees in full bloom. Unreal.

Although I grew up with dogs and know how much dedication and commitment they require, Aileen (never a dog owner) provided the motivation for us to get a dog three years ago even at my reluctance. I am eternally grateful to her for bringing Rambo into our lives, and for reminding me of the loyal friendship that dogs give us.

A domesticated pet's purpose in life is solely to give us joy, companionship and unconditional love. And all we have to do is provide for their basic needs.

Slimy Mixed Greens

I am not ever going to buy another oversized container of Spring Mixed Greens again. 

Makoto and I like to eat greens with every meal and now that it's summer time, we like to gorge ourselves on fresh salads.

On our last grocery shopping trip, we bought one of those extra huge containers of organic spring mixed greens.  But I find that once you open the container, you basically have two days to finish it before your fresh greens turn into slimy, yucky greens.  I secretly like the fact that Makoto can't stand wasting food but when he snuck in a little baggy of mixed greens into the movie theatre, I knew we should no longer buy these extra large tubs of greens.

Before you let this blog entry become an excuse not to eat fresh greens, there are several other types of greens that do stay nice and crisp for at least a week after you open the container.  This includes arugula/baby arugula (our absolute fave), baby spinach and mache.

Of course, if you do have time, buying whole heads/bunches of greens is the best way to go in terms of freshness.  Although, if cleaning, spinning and chopping up these greens will deter you from eating salads, don't feel guilty buying the pre-packaged, ready to eat greens!  Healthy compromises! :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Craving beer or wine after work?

Aileen says:
Have you ever noticed that during your last hour of work, you look forward to a glass of wine or an ice-cold beer? Then you finally get home and instead of having just a glass of wine, you’ve some how managed to snack on everything in front of you while making dinner. Yes…us too.

This may be because it’s been several hours since lunch and your blood sugar levels have dropped. Your body starts to crave sugar and what is more instantly satisfying and easier to prepare than a refreshing glass of beer/wine.

Many of us don’t eat towards the end of the work day because we know we can go home soon and we’re “saving our appetities” but the reality is that it will be at least an hour or so to get home, prepare dinner and sit down to actually eat.

Make sure that you have a snack (preferably high in protein) an hour before you finish your work day. This will ensure that you won’t be famished by the time you get home and start eating and drinking everything in sight!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

10-min Healthy Meal: Throw another shrimp on the barbie!

Yes, maybe I just wanted to yell out, "Throw another shrimp on the barbie!" in an Aussie accent for my neighbours. But besides that, shrimp is one of the quickest and healthiest foods to grill; shrimp is a great source of lean protein, high in vitamin D, B12 and selenium and low on the food chain to boot.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Makoto's Defense: Why I Get Tired at the Mall

There is a proposed anthropological explanation for why males are more likely to fizzle at the mall compared to their female counterparts. I read a recent article explaining this hypothesis. Primal man assumed the role of hunter, and correspondingly, modern men need to have a particular focus when they are out purchasing a product ("the prey").

Monday, April 12, 2010

Makoto’s Meltdown at the Shopping Mall – Remedied with a Rare Healthy Snack from the Food Court

Aileen says:
This weekend, Makoto had a meltdown in the middle of Eaton’s Centre. Ok….so it wasn’t as dramatic as I’d want everyone to believe but his nostrils did start flaring as small beads of sweat formed on his forehead. He also kept repeating “get me out of here, get me out of here” in this desperate scary whisper.

I loOOooooOOoooove shopping. It doesn’t matter whether I’m in the flagship Louis Vuitton boutique in Paris or in a random odds and ends store on Yonge Street, I find such pleasure in looking at everything any store has to offer and finding a new treasure. Makoto on the other hand thinks that as long as he has enough underwear to last him a week, he’s set.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Our Little Rambo's Food

Aileen says:
Rambo is our little furry son and a major project in our life.  Leave it to two naturopaths to have a dog with allergies and irritable bowels. We are determined to cure his doggy dermatitis (itchy-scratchy-dry skin) and soothe his sensitive gut, naturally, of course.

After spending hours calling our nutraceutical reps to see if our favorrite supplements were doggy friendly, we learned that Nutra Sea Fish Oil has a vet line as does Thorne Professional Products!! Unfortunately, it only took us a couple dosages of feeding Rambo fish oil to make us realize that this was going to be an obstacle. Even though we mixed it in his food, he somehow managed to smear the fish oil all over his snout, paws and even his ears! He then ran around the house and smooshed his face all over our bedroom comforter and living room armchair (the one I stood in line for over two hours to get at the coveted annual Gus furniture Warehouse sale).

After an afternoon of doing laundry and steam cleaning our armchair, we made a joint decision that fish oils had no place in Rambo’s naturopathic wellness plan to optimal health. The only thing was that we both noticed that his obsessive scratching had already noticeably decreased by the next day.
The anti-inflammatory powers and skin soothing properties of the fish oil were already pumping through the little guy’s system and who were we to deny him of this! After combing the local pet foods stores for a fish oil alternative, we found a great new food for him that is fish-derived. It is called Acana Pacifica Grain-Free fomula (dogs have difficulty digesting grains) and it is made with a blend of pacific Salmon, Wild Pacific Herring and Wild Pacific Flounder.
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