RHOV: Let the Games Begin!

This post has absolutely nothing to do with health, wellness or fitness.

I have been watching the previews and press for the last couple of months, and last night with my RHBFF watched the double episode season premiere of Real Housewives of Vancouver.  Some call RH their guilty pleasure, I don’t.  I don’t feel guilty at all about watching (now Rock of Love, yes, that was a guilty pleasure).  And I was deeply disappointed that nobody in my class this morning admitted to watching, I wanted to talk about it!  But after dishing a little about the show, whether they liked it or not, someone did finally admit to having it PVR’d, and I believe that there might be a re-screening over this long weekend by the RH of Ruskin.

So for those who didn’t watch, let me bring you up to speed on the characters thus far.

Jody, a self proclaimed Mom-preneur, and the most natural looking of the ladies, or at least from what we could see last night (she wore Randy the Macho Man sunglasses for most of the episodes). Coincidently Jody has a cookbook coming out soon (do we see a trend here?  Teresa, Kyle, Bethany…).  She also caused quite a bit of controversy last night already and has already been labeled as the bully, not super likeable so far.

Mary was a Canadian pop star (I had to Google her as well, last name Zilba), divorced and just out of another relationship, and is now the other woman to her ex-husband…drama.  So far she seems to be the prey for some of the vulture housewives, I’m not sure if she will make it through the season without a breakdown (another housewife trend).  And we saw her take off her own nail polish!

Ronnie, she has a beautiful waterfront home and yacht, blah-blah-blah in West Vancouver, 5 kids and is mean friend to Mary.  She can also knock back three glasses of wine in 45 minutes, I hope that was editing (k, no I don’t).

Reiko likes cars, especially Ferraris  (she has three) but also owns a minivan and a smart car.  The only HW that I saw eating.    I absolutely loved her Roberto Cavalli white dress and blue Alexander McQueen heels that she wore to Christina’s birthday party…not sure if that look would work in Whonnock, but it was fabulous.

Christina turned 30 (really?) in the second episode and is the gold digger of the group.  She has the greatest BFF Kevin (kind of like RHNY Jill’s BFF Brad) and a fabulous dog Napoleon (this dog could steal the show).  She didn’t get RHOC naked wasted at her party, but did end up dancing around in her underwear and heels.  So far she is my fav.

The city really showed well, lots of great shots of Yaletown, the Seawall, downtown, Whistler and Grandville Island.  And why wouldn’t it, it is the most beautiful city in the world.  We even saw the ladies in frequent a few familiar restaurants like Cactus Club and Earls.

Now of course these ladies aren’t an accurate representation of a typical Vancouver housewife, if they were would you really watch?   So will I be tuning in again next week? Abso-freaking-lutely!

Christina, Reiko, Jody, Mary and Ronnie

What did you think?

image courtesy of Slice.ca

How to Decipher the Yogurt Aisle—Finding Truly Healthy, Weight-loss Options

Article post: acefitness.org

Yogurt, anyone? Here are your choices: low-fat, organic, Greek, light, sugar free, plain, with fruit and non-fat. Huh? With so many “supposedly” healthy choices, picking a yogurt that actually delivers on its promise is no easy task.

When put to the test, San Diego-based registered dietician, Michelle Murphy Zive—who oversees two large health projects at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) that focus on childhood obesity prevention and access to healthy foods—found that a company’s advertising claims don’t necessarily correspond with the nutritional facts.

Zive’s No. 1 tip for consumers: read the nutrition label and know what to look for. A truly healthy yogurt is low in fat and sugar, high in protein and made with good bacteria. Once you find your tasty preference, eat often. Studies show that yogurt is a great snack to promote weight loss while offering numerous health benefits. The active cultures in yogurt can help with lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrhea, H. pylori infection, inflammatory bowel disease and boost your immune system.

Greek Yogurt Craze

If you’re buying into the Greek yogurt craze, you will be happy to know that this European favorite tends to be healthier than traditional American-style yogurts. Strained multiple times, it takes three pounds of milk to make one pound of Greek yogurt, which makes Greek more nutritious. Compared to American-style yogurt, Greek yogurt also tends to be lower in sugar and fat and higher in protein, which fills you up longer. For people who are trying to lose weight, this snack is ideal for keeping your hunger at bay.

To help you sort out a yogurt aisle near you, we’ve compared several top brands:

Chobani Nonfat, plain Greek yogurt

At 100 calories per 6 oz. container, 7 grams of sugar, zero fat and 18 grams of protein (or 36 percent of your daily value) this yogurt is an excellent choice for health and weight-conscious consumers. It’s packed with nutrients, and the high protein will keep you satisfied for hours.

Chobani Nonfat Greek Yogurt with black cherries at the bottom

When you mix Greek sensibility with American sweetness, you’ll always end up with more calories. Added “juice concentrate” – in this case “cherry juice concentrate” – translates into more sugar, even if it is fruit sugar (fructose). At 21 grams, this yogurt has three times the sugar than its plain alternative. It also has 50 percent more calories. Zive’s recommendation? Buy plain and add fresh or frozen fruit.

Fage Total 0%

Fage, made by the Greek Dairy Company, was the first Greek yogurt company to push its way into the U.S. market. It now faces stiff competition from Chobani and others. At 100 calories per 6-oz. serving, 7 grams of sugar, 0 fat and 18 grams of protein, the Fage Total 0% fits the bill for the traditional creamy yogurt popular in Greece, Turkey and the Middle East. The preference for health-conscious consumers may come down to taste.

Fage Honey

Honey is good for you, right? Yes, but sweet equals sugar.

Fage Honey packs 170 calories per 5.3-oz container, 0 fat, 13 grams of protein and a whopping 29 grams of sugar. That is almost twice the calories of Fage Total 0% and more than four times the sugar with less protein.

If you’re trying to lose weight, watch for added sugar. Consider this: honey has 3.8 grams of “added sugar” per teaspoon, or more sweetness than maple syrup, which packs 2.8 grams of sugar per teaspoon, but less than table sugar, which packs 4.7 grams of sugar per teaspoon.

Yoplait Banana Cream 99 Percent Fat-Free

Ninety-nine percent fat-free? That sounds great! Well, look closer and you’ll find that it’s a trick companies use to water down the numbers—literally.

The number calculates fat as a percentage of weight (milk is mostly water) or milk-fat by weight. If you add water, you will increase the weight, but keep the fat constant. This yogurt packs 170 calories, 15 calories from fat (5 percent from saturated fat), a whopping 26 grams of sugar and only 5 grams of protein. Also, made with skim milk or low-fat milk (1 percent milk-fat), this yogurt is healthier than those made with “reduced-fat” milk (2 percent milk-fat) and whole-milk (3.5 percent milk-fat), but still packs more calories than non-fat milk.

Dannon Light & Fit

Who doesn’t want to be light and fit?

At 80 calories per 6 oz., this yogurt certainly is light in calories. And with 11 grams of sugar, it’s also quite fit for an American-style yogurt. But with merely 5 grams of protein, this snack will not satisfy your hunger for long. Take a closer look at the label and you’ll see ingredients like “phenylalanine,” which is a chemical, and “aspartame,” which is an artificial sweetener.

Most “light” yogurts are made with artificial sweeteners, some of which have been linked to health problems. Aspartame can cause headaches in some people. As a general rule, the more chemicals you find in yogurt—or any food for that matter—the less healthy it is, according to Zive.

Dannon All Natural Vanilla Yogurt

Health-conscious consumers are often drawn to products that promise to be “all natural” and “organic.” But the food labels will reveal the truth.

This yogurt has 150 calories per 6-oz. serving and 25 fat calories (12 percent total), including 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

The government recommends limiting total fat to 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories. Consuming two Dannon All Natural Vanilla Yogurts would get you close to the daily maximum. Also, at 25 grams of sugar, this yogurt is past the limit for recommended daily intake of sugar for adult women, which is five teaspoons, or 20 grams of sugar per day. For adult men, the daily recommended sugar intake is nine teaspoons, or 36 grams daily; and for children, it’s three teaspoons (12 grams per day).

The Bottom Line

Even if it sounds healthy, check the nutrition label to be sure.

Low-fat often really means high in sugar. Low in sugar often means high in fat, and if it’s light, it’s likely sweetened artificially. Added fruit translates into more sugar as well.

If you like it sweet, why not add your own fresh fruit and a couple of tablespoons of nuts, such as whole almonds or walnuts? A recent study showed that the extra protein and fiber in nuts increase feelings of satiety and delay gastric emptying—two ways to eat less.

Also, most Americans consume too much sugar. Zive says we can actually “train our bodies” to crave less sugar by cutting back on our overall sugar consumption. Start by eating fewer foods with added sugar and consume more foods with naturally-occurring sugars, such as fruit and low-fat dairy, instead.

Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt is a great start to healthier eating. Couple this by adding a walk, a bike ride or any other physical activity into your daily routine and you’re on your way to overall better health and well-being.

read entire article

Marion Webb is the writer and editor for the American Council on Exercise and is an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and an ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor

Shopping Fail…Almost

I like to treat myself to a little somethin’-somethin new to wear on race day, even if it’s only a pair of socks.  But when the race is billed as a “mud crawling, fire leaping, extreme run from hell” I am thinking that my little somethin’ should be fiscal, dark in colour and fire retardant.  So today I visited the thrift store.

I have to tell you that I thought that this would be easier.  I know that it is going to be filthy and possibly part melted by the time I will be done with it, but I didn’t want just any old thing, it still had to be somewhat cute.  I flipped through several racks…too short, too long, absolutely not, too white, some Lulu (yes, Lulu)…I did find an awesome pair of leopard print spandex shorts, although they were a size too small held them up and I got the ‘really Mom’ eye roll, I huffed a little, and returned them to the rack (only because of the muffin top factor).  And I went back to the drawing board.

When I got back home I decided to have a look in my own closet to see if there was something that I might be able to use.  I did a major closet overhaul last year, but there are always those several items that you hang onto because you just never know when.  Finding a shirt that I was willing to part with was not a problem, a green tank from my first year of trail racing.  Now for shorts; I pulled everything out from my bottom drawer. I found a green pair of Lulu clam diggers that I think I may have only worn once, but too much green and they are just all wrong. I kept digging and I found them, also Lulu, but black, at one time I had loved these shorts, they were kind of running/swim shorts, a little on the long side to what I wear now and they do not pass the stink test…excellent!

So with my race outfit chosen, and at zero cost, for the first time in my race history I will be buying my reward after the challenge is complete!

End of the World Run

I had big plans for my end of the world run tomorrow. Since I am avoiding hills right now my run was to include the ocean and blue skies. Plans change and so does the weather, so I ran this morning instead. And if this morning’s run is in fact my last, I couldn’t have asked for a more lovely morning or nicer shoes!

Ooooooh Yeaahhhhh (that was for you Macho Man) my new Salomon XR Crossmax shoes. This wasn’t a retail therapy purchase either, I really did need new road/side of the road shoes, really, and I am assuming that the world will not end until at least after the Vegas ½ marathon.

High mileage training shoe for neutral runners who want one shoe from door to trail.

photo source: Shopstyle.com – Salomon website didn’t show my exact colour combo.

I wasn’t entirely sure of them at first; the back height of the shoe didn’t seem as tall as my Wings. Once I stopped comparing them to my Wings I found that they did have that same Salomon fit that I love, and they were less bulky. They are keepers.

Oh, and my IT band felt great  :-D.

Wishing you a safe and fantastic Victoria Day long weekend. And hey, be on the lookout for wildlife.

Good thing that I closed my Studio door when I did last night.

Taking Advice

Yesterday’s run could be taken right from “The Gambler”, I’ve been here a lot lately and not always running related. I just wanted to hold ‘em, but I knew I had to fold ‘em, it killed me to walk away, when all I wanted to do was run.  Why is it always so hard to take your own advice?  One pitty party, half a bag of chocolate chips, a valiant Herb Brooks speech and an aggressive 45-minute spin class later, I moved on.

Today I took Conny’s advice…retail therapy!  Conny’s advice was so much easier to take and I treated myself to a new pair of running glasses.  What do you think?

Ryders: Caliber

Mine are slightly different; they have vented lenses and $140 less than the Oakley glasses that I was originally looking at, so really I saved money.

Because I did the smart thing yesterday and cut my long run short, nothing hurt today, and I took my new glasses for a pain free 5km in the sun.  I should listen to myself more often.

PS – My lunch choice for today was also much smarter.

Sango Seafood Salad

Love, love, love

There are some things in this world that I can’t resist, especially when they are not only cute, but equally practical.  I give you my new Lululemon Women’s Brisk Run Gloves in senorita pink….

I saw these gloves a few weeks ago and liked the new feature of the slit on the thumbs so that I can easily slide my thumbs out to answer my phone, return an email or maybe take a picture. Although keeping my hands warm is a bit of an issue (I was designed with a tropical climate in mind but live in moderate oceanic climate where it mostly rains from October to July), I really didn’t need another pair of black running gloves. So as practical as they were, I was able to resist (unable able to resist Journey Jacket in heathered charcoal/citron and Run Fast Crop in black).  But when I saw them in pink, yes I pretty much drove 70.4km (round trip) in mid day construction traffic to buy them.

Had to share.

Ready to get off the road at SFU tomorrow

IMG00911With the rest of the fabulous 5 Peaks team, I will be hosting 600 for a run and a light breakfast in the morning at SFU.  Although the weather forecast looks great for tomorrow, it has not been so great this week, making fantastic trail conditions…no dust this year my friends!

I did my Costco cookie shop without incident earlier this week, I think that it may have been the first time in 3 years that I haven’t had someone who thinks that they are funnier than they are, give me some rendition of how they are coming to my house instead or that I must really like cookies – yah can’t you tell?  I took the Train with me to bagel shop yesterday and she almost laughed out loud when the lady behind the bakery counter asked if we were having a party…a bagel party?  And then the cashier asked us if we were starting our own Tim Horton’s…no we just really like bagels and milk.

I met Kat and Marky at SFU this morning for trail marking, it was just like old times, completely inappropriate female conversation in the presence of a male, good times!  As usual, Marky had my pack filled to the point of tilt, punishment I guess for the three hours of harassment he received while out on the trails with us.

Kathryn on our mandatory 15 minute break

Kathryn on our mandatory 15 minute break

Has Mark been working out?

Has Mark been working out?

So what can you expect tomorrow?

  • A fast downhill 1km start on the road to the trailhead, single track, slick and muddy trails (not Golden Ears slick and muddy, but there shouldn’t be a clean pair of shoes in the house) down to North Road, a decent climb up to the Trans Canada Trail, Enduro racers will do a loop of Mel’s here, and then  everyone with head up the Trans Canada Trail to the infamous Cardiac hill (the burn that your calves will feel going up this hill is legendary), back out on the road and right to the finish line.
  • Yes, you can still register tomorrow (7:00-8:45am, $50).
  • The race souvenir is a pair of Wigwam socks.
  • Medals (they are important) for first, second, and third male and female in each age category, in both distances.
  • Port-o-potties

My first trip to Trader Joe’s

I love long weekends, especially when you get to add an extra day to them, visit another country, play a little ball, power shop and manage to hit a winery or two!  The weather wasn’t fantastic and my favourite bra has been discontinued (this is going to be a HUGE problem), but I am restocked on lotions and potions, had dinner at PF Changs and I visited Trader Joe’s for the very first time.

IMG_0741In Canada we have Whole Foods (which I love and have been known to plan many a family outing around), they sell natural and organic foods, but a little on the pricey side, the USA also has Whole Foods, but they also have Trader Joe’s, similar to Whole Foods, just not as pricey and they carry their own store brand so the selection isn’t as vast for some items.  Over the last few months I have been reading a lot of the food and health blogs, and have somewhat secretly, or maybe not so secretly, been turning into a bit of a foodie.  I have read so much about Trader Joe’s, that I had to experience it for myself.  Luckily for me, one of the ladies that I was traveling with was a Trader Joe’s veteran and was more than happy to help me navigate the aisles.  We decided to beat the Sunday morning grocery shopping mayhem so planned to arrive at the store as soon as it opened.

After an early, rainy morning run (perhaps too early, the only human interaction that I came close to was with a homeless man with one shoe who liked the look of my Salomons a little too much and a friendly Canadian man who thought I looked tired and asked me if I would like a ride), armed with my cooler I met Sharon in the hotel lobby to start our excursion.

Not wanting anything to get in my way, I left my jacket in the car (oh you know I am meaning business now) and got rid of my coffee, grabbed shopping cart (which I didn’t have to pay for) and became a scholar of TJ’s for the next 90 minutes.  As we walked through the door, I was completely taken back by the smell of fresh basil, and by the size of the basil plants. I am kicking myself still for not buying one, but I wasn’t sure how it would hold up after two days in the car, and we do have basil in Canada.

Check out the size of the basil plants!

Check out the size of the basil plants!

After taking a few pictures (I am quite certain that the staff thought I was on a day pass and Sharon was my chaperone) I jumped right in at the bread department, so many seeds, sooo much fiber!  It’s funny how you can be so far away from home and run into people that you know, which worked out really well because now I didn’t have to ask a complete stranger to take a picture of Sharon and I, and if anyone can take a great picture, it’s Ron.

Distracted by another fantastic smell, I wondered away from the group to find samples.  I love samples, because they allow you to do just that, sample.  (Now what I don’t like about samples are the vultures that flock to them with their shopping carts, leaving no room for others.  I really do believe that there should be grocery shopping etiquette police that are situated throughout grocery stores and Costco for this specific reason.  I mean really, it’s not like we are in the middle of a natural disaster and someone may steal the milk or luncheon meat out of your cart, so why not just move it to the side? This also applies to the label readers, I appreciate that you too are looking for the finest nutritional choices for you and your family, but please move your cart to the side of the aisle stand behind your cart, not at the side of your cart where you completely block traffic.)  Ordinarily it would have been a bit early for turkey burgers, but the toast that I had eaten after my run had already worn off and I was feeling a bit peckish, so I decided to help myself.  The turkey burgers were great (I was not a fan of the gorgonzola cheese that was melted on top) and I added a package to my cart (see marketing people, samples work).  The lady giving out the samples told me that I didn’t need to buy buns because I can get all the carbs I needed from fruit and vegetables…I do agree that fruits and veggies are great sources of carbs, vitamins and minerals, but I STILL NEED GRAINS damn it.  It was not too early for turkey burgers but it was entirely too early for a nutritional lecture from the opinionated sample lady so I politely smiled and made my way over to the wine section.

It's true

It's true

150 wines for under $6…really?  Are they good you ask with hesitation?  This would require further investigation, I purchased a bottle of Contadino Pinot Grigio for $4.99, which was pretty good and a bottle of Charles Shaw Pinot Grigio for $2.99 (I know very cheap but it was billed as the world’s best selling wine so I kinda had to buy it) which I have not opened yet, when I do I will let you know.

The food blogging world seems to be mad about nut butters and oatmeal.  Oatmeal is one of those foods that I lost a taste for when I was pregnant and the mere thought of it still sends me into a green moment. I am not a fan of nuts, no allergies, just not a fan, but I do like almonds, so I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to purchase my first jar of almond butter.  To be quite honest with you, I had a hard time finding the nut butter section and when I did I was a bit disappointed with the selection, I guess with all of the talk about it, I thought that it would be grander.  I selected the creamy unsalted variety; my report will follow later this week.

how convenient is that?

how convenient is that?

I reconnected with Sharon and she introduced me to a few things that her family enjoys that I had missed like pizza dough, fresh salsas and dips.  Just like Whole Foods, when you shop at Trader Joe’s you can be completely food stupid and come out looking like a freaking gourmet cook.  Lots of things already prepared and kits to make things, I especially liked this guacamole making kit, although didn’t buy it, it’s totally stupid proof!

So all in, I spent a grand total of $60.31.  No, this will not feed my household for the week, but it will give us a few new foods to try without scaring the crap out of my family (I had to draw the line at the organic ketchup, I think that I may find myself and my belongings out on the lawn if I replaced the Heinz).  So Sharon, I will join you again on your next trip to Trader Joe’s, and looking at my receipt I see that they are open from 8:00am to 9:00pm daily, good to know.

Here's what $60.31 can buy you at Trader Joe's

Here's what $60.31 can buy you at Trader Joe's

New running skirt

Run: Energy Skirt in black

Run: Energy Skirt in black

Ok, it’s May and I am still running in gloves…what the hell?  I know that it is just a matter of days until the warmer weather arrives (please), and when it does I am going to be ready for it.

In anticipation of the impending fabulous weather, I dropped by Lululemon this afternoon and had myself a little fitting.  Lots of bright and vibrant colors (blue, purple, yellow) in the store right now and also a lot of white.  Being the dirty girl that I am, I steer clear of white because it doesn’t stay white for long.  I think that even if I were a tennis player and never went near the trails, my beautiful Wimbledon whites would be stained with spaghetti sauce or coffee in no time at all!

I stayed safe with my purchase today, nothing crazy although it is a skirt.  I bought a running skirt a few months ago, and although I have only worn it once or twice, I decided that I must have another.  It is the Run: Energy Skirt, says on the tag that I will lead my running pack with this running skirt. It is very light weight and has the built in “knickers” which I love and are a necessity.

School’s out for summer…officially!

75 multiple choice, 25 true or false and 50 marks short answer…SMF! Yes, a bit of an ugly exam, but it is done. We were given 3 hours to write, I was done in 65 minutes, not sure if that is a good sign or a bad one.

I came home and dropped off my 120 assorted bagels, 8 assorted cream cheese, 6 assorted milks, and 3 large tubs of peanut butter and went for a well-deserved run. I love how people judge look at my shopping cart when I am shopping for a race, I like to comment to anyone who asks (and they do) that I REALLY love bagels.  You should see how they look at me when I do my Costco shop for the race and I have 9 large boxes of Chunks Ahoy cookies and raspberry jam, at Costco I don’t even bother to comment when asked, I just make may way to the cash register quietly with a “what are you looking at?” look on my face.  Come on people, do you really think that I am going to eat 9 large boxes of cookies or 120 bagels?  But even if I was, should you really comment?

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