INspirational quotes

I feel really good about this:

julia childsunnyyouself

B well – don’t be D-prived

The D-lemma: Are you getting enough?vitamin-d

Even though the nutrient is available in supermarket staples and via sun exposure, many of us don’t get enough.

Technically it’s a vitamin, but it behaves more like a hormone, in that the body can create a certain form of  vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.  And yet, according to nutrition researcher Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health, an estimated one in three Americans of European descent suffers from a deficiency of this vitamin.  Vitamin D is vital to bone health and may also support immune function and prevent certain cancers, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and even the common cold.

So if it’s found in readily available foods, and a mere 5 to 10 minutes a day of sun exposure generate enough Vitamin D for most people, what exactly accounts for such widespread deficiency?  Willett blames a whole host of factors:  Over the centuries, people have migrated away from the equator and are exposed to less sunshine; industrialization has pushed many occupations indoors; and then there’s that aggravating habit, he jokes, of “putting on clothes, which blocks the sun light.”  More recently, of course, we’ve been slathering ourselves with sunscreen.

And since the blood test that pinpoints vitamin D levels is expensive and not routinely given, many people have no idea their levels are low.  Symptoms that might prompt your physician to order the test: lethargy, muscle aches and pains, clumsiness and frequent falls, and bone fractures from small stresses.

How much do we need?

Adding to the confusion is the debate over the recommended daily allowance.  In 2010 the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D for adults was 600 IUs – but according to clinical trial results published in 2012 in the New England Journal of Medicine, 800 IUs a day improve protection against broken bones by 30 percent.  D helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus – critical bone builders – which is reason alone to err on the side of more IUs.  Willett recommends most adults get 2000 IUs daily.  Don’t worry about taking too much – it takes several hundred thousand IUs to reach toxic levels.

If you expect sunshine to provide you with vitamin D, then make sure your shadow is shorter than your height. The long shadow we see in November is proof the sun is not doing it for us any more, and it’s time to take care of ourselves.

Reinhold Vieth, PhD#

– See more at:

Ways to get more Vitamin D

One simple solution – take a supplement.

The Sun for 5-10 minutes/day – 3000 IU

1 Cup of Vitamin D fortified Orange Juice – 137 IU

3 ounces of cooked Sockeye Salmon – 447 IU

1 Large Egg Yolk – 41 IU
2 Sardines canned in oil – 46 IU

1 cup of vitamin D fortified milk – 120 IU

Typical Multivitamin – 400 IU

Whether you hate the sun or love it, you can and should get enough Vitamin D.

Taken from “How-To-Handbook” in Health section of “Living” by Sally Schultheiss

If you expect sunshine to provide you with vitamin D, then make sure your shadow is shorter than your height. The long shadow we see in November is proof the sun is not doing it for us any more, and it’s time to take care of ourselves.

Reinhold Vieth, PhD#

– See more at:

If you expect sunshine to provide you with vitamin D, then make sure your shadow is shorter than your height. The long shadow we see in November is proof the sun is not doing it for us any more, and it’s time to take care of ourselves.

Reinhold Vieth, PhD#

– See more at:

**Don’t miss listening to “Transforming Health” with host Brad King for the most evocative and informative up-to-the-minute interviews with leading health professionals – Live every Wednesday @ 12PM-PST/3PM-EST on – #1 internet radio station in North America.

Here’s the link:



INtrigue INsider – IN the Kitchen

vitamix logo How did I ever live this long without my Vitamix? 

I made this tropical fruit sorbet in 30 seconds.
I made this tropical fruit sorbet in 30 seconds.

Many times I’ve bypassed the Costco demos (oh, they’re demonstrating another blender – can’t be bothered) as I’m making my way towards the food section to get what I need and make my way out of there as quickly as possible.

They recently managed to grab my attention while announcing making sorbet in 30 seconds.  What?? A healthy & delicious sorbet born out of frozen fruit, some crushed ice & a bit of agave syrup for sweetener.  I was sold!  I didn’t even care that you can make soups, dressings and sauces in 5 minutes or less.  This machine makes it all so easy and clean up is so simple.  The secret is the variable speed dial which allows you to control the blades and therefore provides versatility at various speeds for a multitude of recipes.  It’s actually a high performance blender. It comes with a cookbook for getting started but you can do your own thing from there once you get used to it.  You can blend, dry & wet chop, make frozen treats, heat, grind, knead, emulsity and purée – even make whole grain flour (not that I will ever – but never say never).vitamix2

Soup – we made mushroom & cauliflower and cabbage.

It has replaced my juicer, blender & food processor.  It’s like the netflix of kitchen appliances for convenience.

The best smoothies
The best smoothies ever

Here is a Full Product Description – taken from their website.

The Brand Chosen By Leading Chefs Worldwide.  Quite possibly the most versatile appliance ever built.

With variable speed control and precision crafted stainless steel blades, there is virtually nothing the Vitamix CIA Professional Series can’t handle.  In fact, it does so many things so well; *it will leave you wondering how you ever got along without one.   **I know!

Now, you can make recipes at home the way the Certified Master Chefs at the CIA create their signature dishes. Variable speed operation offers exceptional control.

Vitamix is in a class all its own. These self-cleaning machines allow you to chop, blend, cream, purée, and more—through every course of the meal—with a single appliance. With commercial quality and unsurpassed engineering, you can buy a Vitamix once and have it for life.

  • Coveted by restaurants and professional chefs worldwide
  • Able to make smoothies, soups, frozen desserts, and more
  • Renowned as the world’s most versatile, most durable blender

Images & Logo taken from:

Beauty – Body Butters

Natural, Nourishing, Moisturizing & Addictive Body ButtersYou can butter me up... withPacifica Body Butters

If you like Scents…..

Pacifica’s Body Butter uses luxuriously smelling signature blends made with essential and natural oils – 100% vegan and gluten-free.

I received three of them as part of a Christmas package & now I need more.  I love the Indian Coconut, Tuscan Blood Orange and Island Vanilla but there are several more exotic flavors.vanilla

Born out of a creative passion and a healthy, surfer lifestyle, Pacifica brings inspired fragrances together with the best natural ingredients to create perfect products to live with and love. With a deep respect for nature, culture, and life, Pacifica lead Perfumer and Founder, Brook Harvey-Taylor, believes that sublime fragrance and indulgent products are a right, not a privilege. This grassroots mission has lead Pacifica to develop distinctive fragrances & luxurious, eco-friendly products at a great value. Vegan and free of sulfates, mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, and propylene glycol, Pacifica is a brand you can feel good about indulging in every day.

Available at Sephora

For a beautifully silky & relaxing body lotion this is my all time FAVORITE:Dream Silk Body Lotion  DREAM SILK COMFORT CREAM from

Especially for at night before bed as it slips on like a cozy pair of silk pajamas.  Made with infusions of valerian root and lavender which calms, comforts, soothes and relaxes for a deep restful sleep.

I first encountered this lotion in a yoga class when the instructor came around rubbing it into each and everyone’s temples during Shavasana.  I was immediately hooked – sometimes it only takes one try.

Do you have a favorite?

Trendspotting – from head to toe

with monochromatic dressing: One Shade Fits All:

carolina herrera
carolina herrera

I’ve always liked the look of wearing all one shade in either a neutral or color.  It tends to elongate you and if you break it up a bit with a belt or jewellery it works very well & doesn’t seem over the top.

Hit all the right hues this summer.  From head-to-heel sleek cobalt at Gucci to Stella McCartney’s green thumb and Carolina Herrera’s orange crush, these color-wonderful shades pack a major punch.  Or go completely Black or White – but not together.

From Spring 2013
From Spring 2013 – great look for petites


These tone on tone ensembles may seem intimidating to pull off, but by keeping a few tips in mind, achieving this look is a piece of cake. GFRTWSS13a

  • If you’re a little nervous about trying this bold statement, wear a lighter shade of the hue either on top or bottom – to create more of a muted palette.
  • Stella McCartney
    Stella McCartney

    Keep accessories simple and in neutral colors – gold, black, silver, white, nude.

    Miss Blumarine
    Miss Blumarine

simply satisfying – Tagliatelle in sage butter parmesan

ITALIAN food is all about ingredients.  It’s not fussy and it’s not fancy – Wolfgang Puck.

spinach salad with leftover grilled salmon
with spinach salad & leftover grilled salmon

Those words were never truer than in this recipe, which is really not even a recipe – which is in itself molto italiano!

I first tasted this very simple dish when a friend made it for us in Tuscany.  She made it using fresh gnocchi and freshly crumbled gorgonzola and it tasted divine.  Of course any type of fresh pasta & cheese would be amazing in Tuscany.  Since then I’ve tried making it the same way and slightly different versions too.  I can tell you that none is as good as the original in Tuscany but you can experiment and come up with something almost as good.

 Basically all you do is toast the sage leaves in butter until crisp. Fresh is best but if you don’t have that, then buy it in the package from the herb section of your grocery store.  I use either the whole package or a big handful of fresh herbs.  Use a generous amount of butter – about half a stick. Coat the pasta (try gnocchi or orechiette – something with ridges to coat each piece) right in the pan with the sauce and then crumble either the freshest gorgonzola cheese you can find overtop or roughly grated best quality parmesan cheese which will melt right in.  S+P to taste and some red chilli pepper if you like it slightly picante. Serve with a side salad & crusty bread.

TIP: Pasta like this makes a great side for chicken and fish dishes as well.

A tavola non si invecchiaItalian proverb.

  Which means: At the table with good friends and family you do not become old.

 Don’t you love eating being Italian?

B well – B relaxed

The health benefits of massage therapy

image - thinkstock
image – thinkstock

Sure, it can help you relax. But massage therapy can do much more than that. Here are six healthy reasons to book an appointment.


“Most individuals are dealing with some kind of postural stress,” says Aaron Tanason, registered massage therapist, kinesiologist and owner at Paleolife Massage Therapy in Toronto. “More often than not [that stress] tends to manifest in the shoulders and neck.” Desk workers, beware. More advanced forms of postural stress “show up as pain or weakness in the low back and gluteals caused by prolonged periods of sitting.”

Luckily, massage can counteract the imbalance caused from sitting, which means you can keep your desk job – as long as you schedule a regular massage.


Got sore muscles? Massage therapy can help. “Massage increases and improves circulation, in much the same way rubbing your elbow when you knock it on a table helps to relieve the pain,” says Tanason.  A 2011 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that massage therapy is as effective as other methods of treatment for chronic back pain.


“Human touch, in a context that is safe, friendly and professional, can be incredibly therapeutic and relaxing,” says Tanason.  Women diagnosed with breast cancer who received massage therapy three times a week reported being less depressed and less angry, according to a 2005 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience.

And, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that patients who were depressed and anxious were much more relaxed and happy, and had reduced stress levels after massage.


Not only can massage encourage a restful sleep—it also helps those who can’t otherwise comfortably rest.  “Massage promotes relaxation and sleep in those undergoing chemo or radiation therapy,” says Lisa Marie de Miranda, registered massage therapist and kinesiologist at Paleolife Massage Therapy.

Also, if you’re a new parent, you’ll be happy to know it can help infants sleep more, cry less and be less stressed, according to research from the University of Warwick.


A 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that massage boosts patients’ white blood cell count (which plays a large role in defending the body from disease).  It also “improves immune function for individuals with HIV,” says de Miranda.


Next time a headache hits, try booking a last-minute massage. “Massage decreases frequency and severity of tension headaches,” says de Miranda.

Research from Granada University in Spain found that a single session of massage therapy has an immediate effect on perceived pain in patients with chronic tension headaches.

By Katharine Watts for

Also – **Don’t miss listening to “Transforming Health” with host Brad King for the most evocative and informative up-to-the-minute interviews with leading health professionals – Live every Wednesday @ 12PM-PST/3PM-EST on – #1 internet radio station in North America.

Here’s the link:


Personally speaking: I’ve been a knotty girl

but definitely not as loose as I thought.

I experienced my first Traditional Thai Massage the other day.  Someone dropped a  gift certificate in the mailbox for a complimentary half hour back & shoulder massage from somebody named Nok who is a professional masseuse & works/lives in my neighbourhood.  There was no address only a phone number which seemed suspicious but nonetheless – free massage…let’s go for it.


Turns out Nok (who is Thai and a certified Massage & Spa Practitioner) gave up her storefront to go back to Thailand for a year, and recently back in Vancouver, has decided to try working out of a home studio.  I left details behind just in case I happened to become a casualty.  You never know – been watching a lot of scary movies lately.

There’s nothing better than a relaxing massage!  The ones I’ve had in the past mostly from Absolute Spa (at the Century Plaza Hotel) were a treat.  I experienced a hot stone massage once in Jamaica but one stone was left on a bit too long & so I got burned.  But I’m feeling psyched &  fortunate to take advantage of this new (to me) approach.  So there I am being greeted by a very polite, pretty and tiny Thai girl who describes all the benefits I’ll be receiving and SOME HISTORY:

Thai Massage is an ancient form of body work originally developed by Buddhist monks in Thailand as a healing modality 2,500 years ago.  The technique involves passive stretching and gently pressure along the body’s energy lines to increase flexibility, relieve muscle and joint tension and balance the body’s energy systems.  It draws from acupressure, passive yoga therapy, and reflexology.               It sounds amazing.

 I’m asked to first fill out a form – like being at a doctor’s office.  One question wants to know if you are here for a relaxation or therapeutic treatment.  I tick the box that says relaxation of course – nothing is wrong with me.  Then I lay face down on a typical massage table while she goes to work on me – and when I say work, I mean WORK She’s little but she hurts.  I ask if she understood which box I checked off and she explains that she’s only using her fingers and bit of elbow but in her usual massage she used her whole body weight I’m almost crying.  Apparently in typical Thai massage they don’t usually use oil although they will if you insist.  But I’m putting up with it because I don’t want to seem like a sissy….plus when she takes her hands off me for a split second to go to some other area, the part she previously worked on feels so much better.  I wouldn’t consider this a relaxation massage – and she swore she wasn’t even using that much pressure.  Seems I have some blockage issues due to spending too much time at the computer lately working on my websites & this blog.

The half hour goes by pretty quickly (although not quickly enough) and I admit it was a relief when the time was up.  But when it was over she asked me to sit up and then started to pound on my back.  If she wanted me to pay she should have stated that on the certificate.  I asked her how long I would feel the pain – maybe for 2 days at most. So that said, will I go back?

I did feel a lot looser afterwards.  The amazing health benefits of Thai massage (from her brochure) encompass the balancing of the mind, body and spirit, including reduce stress, stimulate circulation, energize the body, increase flexibility, improve range of motion (I am motionless right now), and centers the mind and body. 

Okay, I’ll book another appointment – next time a full body treatment – just for the punishment  fun of it.  I need to be more centered – we’ll see.  Plus I want to keep my day job. The new options on the brochure say that Nok is now qualified to offer Hot Stone Massage, Swedish Massage and even Deep Tissue Massage – wtf?