Archive for July 2010

Wouldn’t you like to see this in Vancouver?

Late spring I went to Portland, Oregon. Many people go because of the arts scene, others for the beer or wine tours, others to visit an eco-smart city, and still others for the shopping (no sales tax!).

Not me. Well, I did like the music at Jimmy Mack’s Jazz club, the free city transportation, the HUGE bookstore Powell’s City (they aren’t really exaggerating about that!) of Books, and the shopping was well worth it too. BUT, the reason I drove all that distance was for the giant acupuncture needles.



They have an art installation there called the Portland Acupuncture Project created by Adam Kuby. The idea is to:

“…explore the interface between art, regional planning, traditional Chinese medicine and the health of a city.

Needles appearing across the city will bring attention to the some of the city’s most challenging problems, greatest assets, as well as places with enormous potential.”

So, a couple of weeks ago I went to a Vision Vancouver BBQ to pitch the idea to Mayor Robertson of bringing this to Vancouver.  I’m working on getting this idea launched for next year, ideally.

Wouldn’t you like to see this in Vancouver? What a great way to meld attention to the issues of health, environment, community, and art!

If you’re interested in supporting my push to get this going, contact me by commenting on this blog or emailing me directly.


Is your dog smarter than you?

I ask this because this morning I discovered that in some ways my dogs are smarter than me! Ok, so the fact that I’m at their beck and call–feeding them top quality food, working hard to be able to afford their insurance and vet care, and picking up after them outside–is already sign of that. However, they both reminded me of their intelligence for the basics for good health as I prepared to take them for a walk this morning.

When I pulled out their leashes, both dogs simultaneously and on cue bent down into a deep stretch. Dogs and cats stretch when they stand up after a good sleep. They stretch because it feels good. And, apparently they also stretch before exercise. How many of us forget to stretch sufficiently before and after we exercise?

After their walk and morning constitutional, it’s play time. Do they complain about or procrastinate doing their workout? No! They enjoy it! Exercise can be fun! About a year ago, my first dog Hana was declared by the vet to be overweight. She has a treat dispenser “grandmother” (my mom) and she doesn’t like to walk.. So, after just 3 weeks of fun time at my parents as my husband and I went on vacation, Hana had gained about 25% of her body weight! As many know, it seems that it is just so much easier to gain weight than to lose it, so despite our attempts to restrict her diet, she wasn’t losing weight. Now she’s a slim and fit little miss. Did she get liposuction or go on a lettuce diet (she does like lettuce, but not THAT much)? No. She started playing more. A full out run and wrestle with her buddy every day.

Do they stress out? Sometimes. If I give Kendo (my boy) a super special treat, he runs around whimpering, wondering where to hide it. When Hana sees a new dog, she runs to say hello and then suddenly gets shy and starts to drool with excitement and anxiety. But, do they dwell on these stresses? No. Kendo eventually lets Hana eat the special treat and Hana lets Kendo give her kisses.

Speaking of kisses, both dogs show such exuberance when they see someone they love, or like, or sometimes have never even met. Of course I don’t really want my friends trying to jump all over me when I meet up with them, but I do think that being shown lots of enthusiasm is kind of nice.

As I write now, both dogs have been out like a light for a few hours. They LOVE to sleep! No question that they get their sleep/restoration time!

So, yes, in some ways my dogs are smarter than me and they teach me how to lead a more balanced life.

What lessons have you learned from your dog, cat, bird, fish, frog or other best bud?


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7 Link Challenge

I love a challenge! Well, I love some challenges…this is one I’ll take: 7 Link Challenge

“The idea is to publish a post that is a list of 7 links to posts that you and others have written that respond to the following 7 categories. Your links should be to:

  • Your first post
  • A post you enjoyed writing the most
  • A post which had a great discussion
  • A post on someone else’s blog that you wish you’d written
  • Your most helpful post
  • A post with a title that you are proud of
  • A post that you wish more people had read”

So, here we go!

1. My First Post

Wow! It was awhile ago I wrote this post, August 12, 2006. It’s a welcome to my new blog posting and lists the same reasons I still love to add to my blog: to share information, to communicate ideas, and to learn. And, one of my favourite stories of inspiration is included in this intro. Welcome!

2. A Post I Enjoyed Writing the Most

A story about Gandhi with a lesson in humility. Do what I say…AND what I do

3. A Post Which Had a Great Discussion

My blog on sleep received the most comments. Perhaps because people were up late, unable to sleep, and perusing the web for stuff about sleep? Who knew sleep could be so interesting?

4. Someone Else’s Blog That I Wish I Had Written

So many to choose from, so hard to pick one. So, I’ll pick 2.

The first is about promoting healthy bodies and body images to young girls and their moms (or dads) that can misinform them. The last paragraph is my favourite: Don’t forget to tell your daughter how beautiful her quadriceps are.

The second blog is by Frank Lipman, MD. I signed up for his “My Pearls” to receive his “bite-sized ‘health rants'” and always looked forward to read his emails. His blog is no different for me. He calls himself a “health evangalist”, but he’s an MD with a common sense, no nonsense approach to good medicine. This is one example of a posting of his I really like: What are the biggest problems you see with the way that medicine is practised today?

5. My Most Helpful Post

This is even harder to pick. Picking it feels to me like I’m being conceited. I feel as if I should say “even if I do say so myself”. But, forced to do so –I don’t like to give up on a challenge — I’ll pick Supplements: To take or not to take…and which ones to take. It is really more of an article than a blog because of its length, but I hope you find some useful stuff to help you sort out what supplements might help you. And which ones to avoid.

6. A Post With A Title I’m Proud Of

President Obama Wants Acupuncture. Not unique, no puns or jokes in this one, but hey, the President of the US of A wants acupuncture. The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles also supports acupuncture. What are our leaders in Canada doing?

7. A Post I Wish More People Had Read

I love meeting people who inspire me. One of those people is Bruce Lipton. I saw him lecture several years ago and then again earlier this year. I’ve listened to his book CD “The Wisdom of Your Cells”, read “The Biology of Belief” and am now reading “Spontaneous Evolution”. I wish more people would find out about the brilliant stuff that he teaches: The Biology of Belief


In Favour of Simplicity

I doubt I would see many hands held high in the air if I asked any group of people, “Who wants life to be more complicated?”. So, of course, most of us are in favour of simplicity.

My July newsletter (coming soon) focuses on just that topic, specifically with regard to finding health benefits in an easy way from meditation, exercise, and a surprising way to get more energy. Don’t worry, I have many more ideas that I want to share, but I also want life to be simplified, so this time there are only 3 (plus a bonus one) examples. Oh, and one of my favourite recipes for a picnic or a potluck. If you want to read that newsletter, sign up to receive my once a month health-e-newsletter by email: subscribe here.

And, if you want a chance to win a HUGS (health under great stress) package, comment on this blog with your favourite way(s) to simplify things for a healthier life.


Pretend you’re sitting

In a previous post I wrote about how you can do an easy 5 minute pilates exercise using just a wall. The next exercise in this grouping is similar to a “wall slide” that is used to strengthen the quads (upper thigh muscles). The pilates style wall squat also has you mimicking sitting in a chair using a wall against your back, but also adds the element of posture and spinal alignment as you draw your abdominals in and up to push your back fully against the wall.

If you are new to this exercise, you can start with a higher position, imagining you are sitting on a bar stool with your feet on the ground instead of down to a full 90 degree angle at your knees.

Make sure to keep your head and shoulders in contact with the wall. Avoid tucking your pelvis underneath you. Check that your knees are directly over your toes and never past. This video has her using light weights to work out the upper body as well.

If you don’t have weights, you could use food cans. I’m sure that after my mention of a bar stool, someone might suggest cans or bottles of beer, but I’ll suggest you keep those containers sealed, at least until you’re finished this exercise.  I might use my dogs as weights. After all, I have 2 and they are about 10 lbs each! That’s a great workout challenge! 🙂


Summer’s here!

We’ve feel like we’ve been waiting for awhile here in Vancouver for this week to arrive. The sun is out and beautiful!

But with temperatures in Vancouver reaching 30+ today and soaring to the mid-thirties (and feeling even hotter) in some other areas of Canada, not everyone is loving the heat.

If you’re one of those feeling a bit miserable about the heat or miserable about listening to others complain about it, I’m reposting a previous blog I wrote about easy ways to cool off.

Click here to read that blog:

This one looks particularly appetizing to me:


  • 2 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon(s) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil, combined with above olive oil
  • 1/4 cup(s) snipped chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 7 can(s) (1/2 ounce each) Italian tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 3  celery stalks with leaves, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 2 can(s) (15 ounces each) butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) drained capers


  1. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the mustard, then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the chives and season the lemon-mustard vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss the drained tuna with the sliced celery, butter beans, and capers. Add the lemon-mustard vinaigrette and toss to coat the salad. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Food mistakes you might be making…

Summer’s here–yay! It’s finally here!–and some of us may be thinking to make healthier food choices for shorts and tanks and bathing suit weather. Of course I know that we should seek healthy food choices year round, but the warmer weather makes it easier for me to make those pushes for my patients who have that extra bit of motivation.

Many of you know that Caesar salad is not actually a great menu choice because of its high fat and high calorie profile, but did you know that that fruit smoothie at the mall may also be a poor pick? That “enhanced” (i.e. “vitamin”) waters and diet sodas can cause weight gain? That many low fat products have more sugar? That “light” olive oil is just lighter in colour and taste, not calories (I have never even seen “light” olive oil)? That “multigrain” or “seven grain” may still be mostly processed white flour or other refined grain? That omega-3 enriched foods use little or no EPA or DHA, the healthy fat from fish like salmon and sardines? That microwave popcorn may pack as many as 6 g of trans fat?

I found this slideshow by WebMD to be pretty generally informative and it gives some ideas of alternative food choices. Not a fit for all, but still well done. Click here to view.

If you have questions for me about your specific health issues and food choices, please ask.

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