Monthly Archives: February 2014

Food as medicine (2) — Quinoa

2014-02-28 11_30_49Quinoa*, a seed which is a native of Colombia and some other South American countries, is one of my favorite foods. Teaching a lunchtime ESL course at a local Van Houtte Café today, I bought myself a soup and a quinoa salad. Noticing this, my student, a Colombian, informed me of an interesting story. He told me that when the Spanish Conquistadors** invaded South America, they found the natives, the Incas and the Chipchas, physically very strong. Believing that their staple diet consisting of quinoa made them this way, the conquistadores burnt as many quinoa crops as they could find. Man’s inhumanity to man is very tragic, but history is full of such stories 🙁

2014-02-28 11_31_13 (1)

More on quinoa: Quinoa was important to the diet of pre-Columbian Andean civilizations and is considered a ‘superfood’. It’s protein content is very high (14% by mass), and per 100 calories is higher than brown rice, potatoes, barley and millet. Nutritional evaluations of quinoa indicate that it is a source complete protein. Furthermore, it is a good source of dietary fibre and phosphorous, and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, thus is useful for vegans and the glucose-intolerant. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied spaceflights.

Costco members may be happy to know that Quinoa Salad — yummm! — is one of the pre-prepared foods available there :)!

*Quinoa, pronounced Kinwa, or Keenoa

**Conquistadors were Portuguese or Spanish “conquerors”; they were soldiers, explorers, and adventurers at the service of the Portuguese and the Spanish Empires, who sailed beyond Europe, conquering territory and opening trade routes. They colonized much of the world for Portugal and Spain in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries.



The angels in our lives <3

1017495_10152951367610370_506134639_nIn life, everyone who crosses our path, is an angel in disguise… but it takes a lot of personal growth to finally understand this!

Some of these ‘angels’ come into our life to bring us lessons, so we may begin to understand our fears and insecurities, and hopefully grow and evolve enough to overcome them! This leads to deep inner healing, making us more complete, and authentic human beings!

Then there are ‘angels’ who meet us with love… to help us open our hearts more, to experience an expansiveness we didn’t know we were capable of!

What we need to understand is that at a soul level we attracted each one of them to us — some of them for the lessons we needed to learn for our growth, and some others for the support their love brings to us, helping us to stay standing in the face of the harshness of the lessons to be learned in life!

In the final analysis, it’s ALL good…


The choices we make…

…take us to the heavens we find :)! In life, a day or a moment will always come when there will be only two choices before us — to chicken out and maintain the status quo, or to take courage in both hands and break from the old mold, which we have outgrown, and which now is only causing constriction and pain by not permitting any growth, nor even allowing in air to breathe. Which way will you go that day? Will you choose to fear the unknown and shrivel up and die…or will you risk the unknown, grow wings, and fly?

red_rose_204835 ~*~*~*~

French-born American author Anais Nin wrote:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”


Wishing you wings…applauding your flight 🙂



Here’re are bunch of really funny ‘posters’ I found on Facebook, thanks to the VirginRadio 96 website They hilariously depict Canada’s obsession with hockey. Enjoy! 🙂





CONGRATULATIONS on the Hockey Gold :)! Congratulations to the Canadian Olympic team, and ALL the athletes who represented Canada! Woot woot!


What is our true essence?

This is an old post from November 2013, but a good revisit anytime 🙂


There’s a beautiful quote that goes: “Our true essence is revealed in moments of unexpected change!”* I first saw the quote more than 15 years ago, when one of the students in my Transpersonal Psychotherapy (Psychosynthesis) class had shared it in one of our workshops. The quote had had** a big impact on me, then. In fact, it had truly startled me. You see, I had never made a connection between who I was as a person, to how I reacted to unexpected situations OR looking at it in reverse, I didn’t think that how I reacted to situations had anything to do with the person I thought I was. It stunned me, therefore, to realize that one went with the other. If an unexpected situation arose, of course I was not going to be pleased, because I saw it as a disruption in my day, and a disappointment to me…

But then, it made me think about what kind of a person this made me… And how did I feel about being a person who lost control, even though only on the inside, when my wishes or desires were thwarted***???? Hmmm…it didn’t feel nice at all! I knew right away, this quote was a wonderful mirror to evaluate who I was as a person, and that I could use it to grow as a person :)..and that certainly was a very happy thought! As I continued on my journey, I changed and evolved and after a while didn’t need this reminder on a regular basis. But, being human, I go off track sometimes and then remembering this quote makes me smile 🙂

And, what about YOU? Did reading the above trigger something? Are you alright with being the person you are in moments of unexpected change? If yes, kudos to you — if not, don’t worry…life is a journey, and it’s quite alright to slip or get lost, so long as we reorient ourselves and get back on track 🙂

*When I first read the quote I saw it attributed to the Sufi mystic Rumi whose real name was Jalal-ud-din Balkhi but subsequently have no verification of this on google, in fact if someone tries to google it today the link takes you to my old blog where I posted it a few years ago, so the author it seems is now lost

**had had — for ESL students, this is the past perfect tense 🙂 — yes, there are two ‘hads’ there 😉

***Thwarted means ‘prevented from being accomplished’

So much wisdom in this

imagesI just came across this quote by transformational author Wayne Dyer: “Heaven on Earth is a choice to be made; not a place to find.”

I know too many people running from place to place, pillar to post, looking for that perfect place which will bring them ultimate peace and happiness. Few realize that this place exists ‘within us’, often between our two ears :)… and THIS heaven, nothing and no one can take away from us. And never forget, it’s the simple and the little things in life, that really count… I hope the accompanying picture tells you something ;)!

Make the time, take the time, to ‘discover’ this place/space/state, or you will keep running all your life, trying to run away, from yourself 😉


Our body’s need for water

water_glass_210158We all know that our body is mainly composed of water and its rehydration must be regular and constant. It is said that an average of 6 glasses of water is essential for a healthy body. Lately I’ve been seeing information on the benefits of drinking water at specific times. The sources of this information claim that this maximizes its
effectiveness on the body, and this is what they recommend:

2 glasses of water after waking up helps activate internal organs
1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal helps digestion
1 glass of water before a bath helps lower blood pressure
1 glass of water before going to bed prevents strokes or heart attacks

It is also claimed that water at bed time will also help prevent night time leg cramps. Your leg muscles are seeking hydration when they cramp, and wake you up with a Charlie Horse. This is an easy test to do as many people get woken up by painful cramps in the middle of the night. Why not try this simple remedy and see what happens!

Many people don’t  want to drink anything before going to bed because they’ll have to get up during the night!! But this problem really is mostly only in the mind, and also many people who drink a glass of water at bedtime have reported that this may happen in the beginning but the body and the bladder adjust and the problem disappears.



A rap on my ‘wine’ knuckles ;)

imagesSo, Monday’s blogpost, imploring wine guzzlers* to slow down and enjoy the smells and taste of wine brought a swift response from past student, friend and blog reader P.W. who is a serious wine aficionado**! He told me he was enjoying reading the blogpost, agreeing with everything I’d written, and suddenly as he came to the end he remembered his experiences of wine appreciation and thought “no, no, no…she (me!) missed the very beginning…the early steps”! He was gallant enough to say he understood that my post was only about identifying the aromas…but maintained his position that the first few steps cannot go unmentioned, and all five senses must be incorporated into wine appreciation from the get go. And here are the steps he would have liked to see in the blogpost ;)…

Begin with ‘touch’ — take the bottle in one hand and open with the other (another French friend had mentioned to me some years ago, while traveling through France, to cradle and hold the bottle with the same tenderness you’d reserve for a woman :)! ) Corks, says P.W., are better than screw caps, since they allow the wine to breathe. To enable the cork to remain in the perfect, not-too-wet-not-too-dry state, store the bottles horizontally. He then advises us to pay attention to the sound of the bottle being uncorked, and spend a few moments to enjoy this sound…he calls it the sound of a ‘convivial event’ :)!

10429927t_jpg_pagespeed_ce_ayylPLj48EP.W. moved on to holding up the bottle and examining it, to observe if a vintage bottle has lost wine due to evaporation, and if the tannins have broken down, creating sedimentation. These changes mean that the wine is old,  but may mean that the wine is very good, or perhaps has turned to vinegar ;0!

The next step is to read the label! If you know the wine you may remember the last time you drank it, ‘and the pleasure, or the headache, it gave you’ — I loved this line from him ;)! He continued: ‘Even if you don’t know the wine, the info from the label can give you an idea of its taste’.

Now, pour a bit into a glass, to examine its color. For red wines, if the color is dark, the tannins are strong, and the reverse is also true. As for the whites, the paler the color, the lighter tasting the wine…and again, the reverse is true!

NOW, you can begin to ‘sniff’ it, he said…and I almost rapped his knuckles :), because this is the point I’d started MY post at, which didn’t impress him much ;)! He does remind us, finally, to ensure that the reds are at room temperature, and the champagnes and other whites are not over-cold! Tchin tchin, guys…wine only creates friendships, no enmities ;)!!! P.W. is a valued friend, and will remain so!

*Guzzler means someone who drinks in big gulps (or someone who may drink heavily)

**An aficionado is someone who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity, subject, or pastime


Wine Quiz (4)

475396,1326227577,2Here are some odd but interesting questions and their answers — knowledge you don’t really need to have ;), although such trivia does make life more interesting!

Q.1 — What is the longest recorded flight of a champagne cork?

Q.2 — What is the name of the dimple at the bottom of a wine bottle?

Q.3 — On which day and month is the Beaujolais Nouveau (New Burgundy Wine) officially released for sale each year?

Q.4 — Decanting wine is done for what two purposes?

Q.5 — During Prohibition, what one specific purpose were wines made for?



A. 1 — 177 feet 9 inches

A.2 — The punt

A.3 — The third Thursday in November

A.4 — Separating sediment and for aerating the wine, popularly known as letting the wine breathe

A.5 –Sacramental wine

I’ll leave you all with an interesting quote by novelist Robert Louis Stevenson: “Wine is bottled poetry!” Anyone disagree? 😉