Friday, January 29, 2010

Raft the Tidal Bore on the Shubenacadie.

I know that many people start planning their summer vacation now so today I want to tell you about a great way to go outside and play in Nova Scotia.

A tidal bore is a tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave (or waves) of water that travel up a river or narrow bay against the direction of the current. The Bay of Fundy, with the highest tides in the world, creates quite an exciting tidal bore in the Shubenacadie River in Nova Scotia. Rafting this phenomenon is a great way to go outside and play.

Looks like fun don't you think. You can learn more at Rafting Canada

You can learn more about all the fun things to do outside on and around The Bay of Fundy here.

Now about this weeks results for 10 Weeks to Get Healthy in 2010

I did not lose any weight this week. That is to be expected as I lost so much at the start so I am going to hang in there and see what happens next week. I find my body is changing. Clothes are looser - one pair of jeans is too big, I can run up two flights of stairs without thinking about it and I am much stronger. The walking is going well. Still walking about 20 kms per week.

Arch is doing really well. He is now walking about 35 kms per week and lost 2 lbs last week. How I envy men, they seem to lose weight so easily.

Tara, our dog, who walks with Arch is also losing weight. Not in the plan but she can afford to lose a bit.

I found a great interactive web site this week that has lots of great tools to help you in your goal to get healthy: SparkPeople

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not a Day to Go Outside

Today is one of the rare days in Nova Scotia when it it is not nice enough to go outside. There was a wild storm last night - high and gusty winds and the rain was coming down sideways - that continued into the morning. When the wind died down in late morning the fog rolled in and now I can barely see across the driveway.

Last Saturday, Sunday and Monday were real beauty days though so I thought I would share a couple of photos from my morning walks.
Sea Fog on St Margaret's Bay Jan 24 2010. A cold morning causes this phenomena.
The air is colder than the water thus creating the effect of steam rising that we call sea smoke.

Dawn, Monday Jan 25 2010, Red in the Morning......

Tuesday Morning Jan 26 2010 - a wild wind and rain storm produces an angry sea.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ten Weeks to Healthy in 2010 - Week 3.

One of the key methods we are using to lose weight is to correctly portion our food at meal time. I have a feeling that how much we eat is more important than what we eat.
Portion size seems to be a big issue for people. I hear criticisms of restaurants that serve smaller portions, fast food restaurants super-size everything,  even the restaurant critic for our local newspaper rates restaurants on the amount of food he is served – a lot is good, reasonable portions are bad.
It seems to hold true in the world of recipes as well. I was reading a recipe from Martha Stewart  for macaroni and cheese the other day that included instructions to package and freeze it in individual portions of 1 ½ to 2 cups. That seemed like a lot. And it got me to thinking – how big should a serving size be?
So I checked Canada’s Food Guide. A serving of pasta should be ½ cup  – so if I packaged macaroni in 2 cup containers that would be the equivalent of 4 grain servings –  I should have 6 servings per day so that leaves only 2 servings for other grain products including bread (1 slice per serving) and cereal  (30 g cold cereal).
Our goal is to create a way of eating that we can live with for a long time so I don’t want to eliminate the foods we love.  That includes pasta, bread, ice cream, granola, pancakes with maple syrup, wine with special dinners, meals out with friends, etc., etc. So we are continuing to eat and do these things. I measure portions when we eat at home. When we are out we simply eat carefully.
We are eliminating what we feel we can do without long term – candy, butter, sugar, salt, processed and canned foods, snacks, store-bought bread, fast foods, etc.  If we go out to restaurants we pick good ones that serve reasonable portions and will accommodate special requests.
So far it is working. The big challenge has been to get over the idea that we need a lot to eat. Another was to eliminate canned and processed foods from the pantry shelf – they have too much added salt and corn syrup. I’ve learned to make granola and bread, cook dried beans & make soups with home made stock.

Instead of buying canned pasta sauce, today I am making this simple Pomodoro Sauce to use on pizzas I'm taking to a party tomorrow night.
Pomodoro Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
5 - 28 oz. cans no added salt whole tomatoes
1/2 bunch fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons pepper
Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat, add onions and saute until very soft, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant - 1 to 2 minutes -do not let it brown.

Add tomatoes and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add basil and cook 5 minutes more.  
Season with salt and pepper. Place in food processor and process until almost smooth but still chunky.

Makes 4  quarts. Freezes well.
 The results so far:
Arch is down 8 pounds in just 3 weeks (goal 20 lbs in total over 10 weeks).  He is now walking 6 kms each day. He signed up for the health club but did not like it so has just added more distance to his walk.
Anne is down 8 pounds as well. I am walking about 20 km per week and 3 hours of yoga per week
So we are happy.

Sunrise Over the Bay - photo taken during my morning walk 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Build a Snow Dragon

It is beyond me to understand why people do not like winter. I love it. I just returned from my morning walk - a gentle snow is falling, the temperature is about 0 degrees C and it is very still out. So beautiful. If I were to leave Nova Scotia for the sunny south it would be in the spring when the rains come.

But then I would miss the birds returning from their winter home, the forsythia, azaleas and rhododendrons bursting into bloom, the scent of apple blossoms and lilacs in the air, the maple, birch, oak trees, et al coming into leaf, the garden coming to life for another year, and on and on.

So I guess I'll just stay here.

One family in our neck of the woods added to their enjoyment of winter by building a snow dragon. A very creative one I must say, but that is to be expected from the family of creative designers.

Showing off a Masterpiece

Snow Dragon Basking in the Moonlight

Thanks to Larry Burke and family for the pictures.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nova Scotia Family Wins Salomon's Backyard Jib Contest

 I am not sure that I fully understand this sport but congratulations to the Stevens family of Hilden, Nova Scotia for winning this contest that was covered by Freeskier Magazine. You can learn more about the Stevens' entry and see lots of great pictures at the Freeskier website. It is worth a visit. What a great way for the family to go outside and have fun in our Canadian winter.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

10 Weeks to Healthy in 2010 - Week 1

The first week of the 10 in 2010 challenge is behind us. It has been a week of adjustments - no wine with dinner (a big one), portioned serving sizes, developing an exercise routine, and, the biggest of all, paying attention to our bodies. It is amazing how much we ignore what our bodies are telling us when we are busy with the activities of everyday living. Or maybe it is just that we have more aches and pains to take care of :).

Our goals for the end of 10 weeks are:

  • Lose 1lb/week for 10 weeks.
  • Be able to walk uphill for 6kms in 1 hour. (that is from my sister's home to ours) 
The results
  • Lost 5 lbs (this is likely an artificial reaction to drastic diet changes).
  • Mary (my sister) and I are now walking 6 km each morning but are only getting half way to my house before we turn downhill and head back.
  • I also go to yoga twice a week.

  • Lose 2 lbs a week for 10 weeks.
  • Reduce upper end blood pressure by 20 points.
The results:
  • Lost 5 lbs (in his case probably real as he loses the first 10 lbs really easily.
  • He is also walking 5 km per day with Tara, half of it up hill. (they do 2.5 kms in the morning and again in the evening)
  • We won't have blood pressure results to the end when he goes back to the doctor.
  • Arch has joined a local health club and goes for the first time today.
 We both walk before breakfast because it seems to work best for us. One of my favourite breakfast items is low fat yogurt (be sure to buy one with no added sugar)with mixed berry compote (recipe below). You can buy the bags of mixed berries to use in this recipe but we spent several days last summer going outside and picking our own so I use those.

Nova Scotia is a major blueberry producer and there are many berry farms where you can pick your own. Our favourite is Between the Bushes. It is well organized and easy to manage with small children. We arrive at their central processing area and hop on a bus that takes us to the berry fields. They provide pails for picking and boxes for the berries (there is a small charge for the boxes). When the bus dropped us off in the berry field the driver told the little ones that they had to eat  berries until their tongue turned blue. Ruby, who loves blueberries, had us check her tongue every few minutes.

Berry Compote

1  tablespoon soft margarine
3  tablespoons  honey
1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
Dash of ground cinnamon
1  (12-ounce) bag assorted frozen berries

Melt the margarine in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add honey, juice, cinnamon, and berries; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Store in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Go Skiing

Be it downhill or cross country, skiing is a great way to enjoy the winter. In our family, downhill is the choice. This could be expensive but a little creative shopping, attendance at equipment swaps and smart Christmas gift lists to grannies, grand dads, aunts, uncles, etc can really cut down the cost.

This family's mom and dad have been very clever and much to the kids joy, Santa managed to find everything they need to ski this winter. Goggles, helmets and mitts are new. Everything else was purchased at ski swaps or traded among friends, to be returned when the kids out grow them and/or new little ones are ready to hit the slopes.

 Even the littlest member of the family (age 3 1/2) is ready to go.

Once the family is equipped the next expense is tow tickets. I suggest you shop around at ski hills within an easy drive from your home. Many offer season passes and family passes at greatly reduced prices. Also, you sould pick a hill suitable for small children - these are usually a lot less expensive as those with black runs, lots of moguls, etc. Save these for the few special days when Mom and Dad get to go on their own.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Surf's Up

You have to be hardy to surf in Nova Scotia in January but lots of people do it. The picture above was taken by Reed Holmes after last Saturday's storm.

As storms pass by our Atlantic coast they stir up waves that are excellent for surfing. People travel from far and wide to take up the challenge of winter surfing. Are you up to it? If so you can find everything you need to know plus lots of great pictures at Scotia Surfer. Let me know how you get along:)

By the way, Lesley Choyce is a very popular local writer. He is also an avid surfer who moved from the US to Nova Scotia for the surfing, among other reasons. Most people would go to Hawaii. Or California. He writes very vividly about his surfing experiences on his web site. When you go to his site click on "The Surfer".
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

So Here's the Snow

Finally, the snow has arrived and we are looking forward to going outside and having fun - skiing, coasting, throwing snowballs, etc. Might even try snowshoes this year. A local business rents them and I think it might be fun.

Tara especially loves the snow. You can see more pictures on her Facebook page. Lots of people have asked where Tara gets her name (for those of you who don't know - she is a dog). My grand niece, Hannah, named her. It is Hannah's favourite name.

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