Sunday, January 26, 2014


Every winter I get a few skin cracks in some of my fingers.  Same fingers each year and the same spots.  Because where I live, the climate in winter is cold and dry and the additional factor of washing my hands as required during the day, I am prone to these skin cracks.  They can be painful.  I have used liquid bandaids, applied a 3M sealant designed for protecting skin cracks and used ointment with cortisone.  Nothing has been as successful as a product by Elizabeth Arden.  It is a skin protectant cream, has a bit of a medicinal smell and texture and is not outrageous in price.  The cream was developed in 1930 by Elizabeth Arden and she used it not only on herself but she applied to the legs of her horses.

There are a number of products designed around this original cream.  I have both the original cream and also the unscented.  The unscented does not smell medicinal.  At least twice a day I rub a small amount around the cuticle of each finger, the nail bed and in the creases of the first knuckle below the nail.  It has worked for me and I am not experiencing anymore skin cracks.  I also apply it to the soles of my feet every night before getting into bed. You don't need to apply a lot, less is best.   I have also bought a small purse size tube of the cream to apply if required during the day.  If you are looking to heal those fast cracks give this product a try.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Einkorn berries, also called wheat berries or einkorn wheat, is one of the first known varieties of cultivated wheat.  Einkorn is different than modern wheat in a number of ways.  It has higher levels of protein, essential fatty acids, beta-carotene, lutein, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorous.  Einkorn can be used instead of rice and also ground into flour.  

Farro (an italian grain) is another name for einkorn wheat which I didn't know until I wrote this post.  Last year I read about farro and using it instead of rice or other grains because of its protein content.  I bought a box at an italian grocery store but hadn't cooked with it.  It is still sitting in our pantry.

Earlier this week, the DH received several products he had bought online.  When reviewing all of the products in this particular online store, einkorn caught his attention because of the high protein content, so he bought a box.  In comparing einkorn to rice, einkorn has almost 16 more grams of protein than brown rice in 100 grams of product.

I made a batch of the einkorn berries this week instead of rice.  I didn't add any flavourings to it.  It has a nutty chewy taste.  There were leftover berries and I decided to use them to make a salad as part of supper.  This salad is really a vegetable salad.  It was quite enjoyable and the DH and I enjoyed it.


1 1/2 cups of cooked einkorn berries
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 coloured pepper, diced
5 to 6 dried apricots, diced
1/4 cup almonds, slivered or chopped
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste


Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium size bowl.   Serves 4.  Leftovers can keep for a few days,

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Banana loaf or banana bread is a popular recipe.  I have a few different recipes, some use oatmeal, some include raisins or other dried fruit and others include chocolate chips.   I had a few ripe bananas so I decided to make this recipe.  Instead of sugar, I used half a cup of splenda.  I also used a combination of raisins and dried cranberries.  This recipe will serve a larger group as the ingredients include 2 cups of flour and over a cup of oatmeal.   The DH and friends enjoyed this loaf.

Ready to go into the oven.

Sampling has started.



1 1/3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
2 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas, about 3
½ cup vegetable oil
1 ¼ tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries or mixture of both


In a large mixing bowl mix together rolled oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and soda.   In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, bananas, oil and vanilla.  Pour over the dry ingredients.  Add the raisins and stir until moistened.  Pour into a loaf pan or a medium size square pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour or until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.   Serves 14 depending on the size of the pieces you cut.

Adapted from www.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


I have been looking at all of the diet/nutrition books I have as I recently did some weeding in my bookcases.  These pictures don't capture all of the books I have.  There are a number of common threads throughout the books and some are more entertaining to read than others.  These books cover a variety of topics in the span of nutrition and exercise.  Some deal with a plant based diet, paleo, calorie reduced, vegan, and the last ten pounds.

I have always been interested in nutrition and in some ways I am my own living experiment. I come from a family of genes where what you eat does matter if you want to maintain a healthy weight.   I have not been laissez faire about my weight and what I eat for a very long time - decades in fact.   I am about 10 to 12 pounds heavier than I like with a number of starts and stops along with way.   In the beginning of December I decided that I was to put this extra poundage to bed and close this chapter. 

What is important to me in following a diet and making a lifestyle change is understanding/accepting the following:

  1. Different diets meet different needs and body types.
  2. Calories do matter.
  3. You can't exercise the weight off without reducing your daily calories.  
  4. You need to exercise in some manner every day.
  5. It is a lifestyle change, not a diet.
  6. You can't go back to your old habits once you lose the weight.
  7. You need to accept who you are including the fact that you may never wear a bikini.
  8. It is harder to lose weight as you age.
  9. Eating processed foods is not sustainable nor healthy.
  10. Being able to eat a reasonable size portion of ice cream or frozen yogurt, once a week.   
  11. Being able to have dark chocolate, in small quantities, several times a week.
I have at times selected my food choices based on a vegetarian or vegan before six pm diet, paleo diet, gluten free diet, balanced diet or calories per day.  After reviewing my experiences in following different diet lifestyles, I found the most success to be portion size, eating the right balance of protein, carbs and fat and tracking what I eat.  Recently I have been using 'my fitness pal' for tracking.  Recording what you eat does make you take that second pause to think about what you are eating and whether the calories are helpful or harmful.  Tracking and recording what I am eating is proving successful in reaching my goals.

Here are some photos of the collection of books I have.

One of the books I do like is by Robert Lustig.  I have copied several paragraphs that I think captures the essence of successful diets.

As you will see, all successful diets share three precepts: low sugar, high fiber (which means high micronutrients), and fat and carbohydrate consumed together in the presence of an offsetting amount of fiber. Anything after that is window dressing.

Here’s some food for thought. With very few exceptions, every naturally occurring foodstuff contains either fat or carbohydrates, but usually not both. Meat, fish, and poultry have no carbohydrates. Grains, roots, and tubers (e.g., potatoes and yams) have no fat. Those fruits that have fat, such as avocados, olives, and coconut, have minimal carbohydrates. Nuts are an exception, but they are still pretty low in carbohydrates and very high in fiber.  Milk is another exception to the rule, but other than that which came from their mothers, humans were not exposed to other mammals’…

Can low-fat and low-carb diets both be right? Or both wrong? What do the Atkins diet (protein and fat), the Ornish diet (vegetables and whole grains), and the traditional Japanese diet (carbohydrate and protein) have in common? On the surface they seem to be diametrically opposite. But they all have one thing in common: they restrict sugar. Every successful diet in history restricts sugar. Sugar is, bar none, the most successful food additive known to man.

Let’s look at all these diets. Some rely on fat for energy, others rely on carbohydrates for energy, and some use both. Yet they all work to control weight and improve metabolic health, and have been shown to reduce heart disease. What do they all share? Two things. They are all low in sugar, and they are all high in fiber (and therefore high in micronutrients). We’ve arrived.

Lustig, Robert H. “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease.”