Category Archives: Health

#IDY2016 – the gift of a guru – @SadhguruJV and @Ishafoundation

I met a great teacher last year in India. I met Sadhguru.

Sadh means knowledge that comes from within. Guru is a Sanskrit: गुरु noun that connotes “teacher”. When I met Sadhguru, I met an enlightened human being who is able to access knowledge from within. This is the knowledge of all existence from the beginning of existence.

Attaining enlightenment comes with certain perks.

Today is the second annual International Day of Yoga. One of Sadhguru’s goals is to share the science of yoga. The video above was made last year so that anyone anywhere can access the benefits of yoga. This year Sadhguru and legions of volunteers taught hundreds of thousands of people the simple UPA yoga described in the video. Today Sadhguru taught people from 135 nations live at the United Nations in New York City that same yoga.

I’ve been blessed by my guru. Sharing this video here is a tiny offering of love, gratitude and respect for him and his work. I’ll share more about my experience of meeting Sadhguru at Isha foundation in India in the rest of the post. Continue reading


Filed under Health, India, Savour life, Travel

#Bread is on the rise – my @AlbertaatNoon column for May

Despite being punched down by the “wheat belly” gluten-free movement, bread is once again on the rise. Why is bread making a comeback? Maybe it’s because gluten (the protein found in wheat responsible for giving bread it’s elasticity) wasn’t the evil culprit some claimed it to be. With the exception of people who have Celiac Disease or actual allergies to wheat, gluten hasn’t shown harmful effects on humans in any solid research trials.

Bread has been “the staff of life” for thousands of years and wheat is the most commonly eaten substance in the world. Wheat varietals have evolved with plant breeding and natural selection. They’ve been tolerated well.

Michael Pollan, in his book Cooked – A Natural History of Transformation (Penguin, 2013) delves deeply into the bread box to conclude that perhaps it’s not the wheat that’s the problem; perhaps it is all the additives in commercially prepared bread combined with a lack of time spent making that same bread.

Time is important in bread making. Time allows the yeasts and bacteria in our environment to do their thing which turns out to be really important for the health of humans. What do they do? They combine with bread’s flour and water and if given the time, they will “eat” the sugars in the flour, produce the gas that causes dough to rise and most importantly for people that find wheat hard to digest; they partially digest the proteins (like gluten) in flour for us.

I hope you’ll watch the 2015 CBC Fifth Estate video above that probed into the “war on wheat” and that you’ll tune into my CBC Alberta at Noon show tomorrow, Friday, May 27 between noon and 1230 p.m. on 99.1 FM when I’ll talk more about how to get rolling in the dough – with sourdough and a few easier bread recipes.


Filed under Alberta at Noon, Health

Summer Cooking Camps for Kids in #Alberta – my @AlbertaatNoon Column for April, 2016

cooking utensils - @savouritall blog

Some of my favourite cooking utensils – photo credit – Geoff Lilge

Entrepreneurs invent business opportunities to meet societal needs. Few parents have the time or skill to teach their children to cook. Few schools include cooking in their curriculums and yet, thanks to the work of food educators like Jamie Oliver we know we need to reconnect children to food literacy and cooking skills. Enter the entrepreneur.

Need creates opportunity and here’s the response – this post contains a list of very entrepreneurial summer cooking camps for kids around Alberta this summer. Continue reading


Filed under Alberta at Noon, Health

My favourite #TEDtalk of all time – Teach every child about food by @JamieOliver

If I tell you this is the my favourite TEDTalk will you take the time to watch the video above? I hope you will but maybe you don’t have 20 minutes so I’ll give you the “Cole’s Notes” version of the video’s message in this post. Continue reading

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#CookingWithKids – an easy #recipe for Polenta Lasagna

polenta lasagna recipe - photo credit - Karen Anderson

Polenta Lasagna – photo credit – Karen Anderson

This month on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon I’ll be talking about the importance of cooking skills for children. I believe cooking is a basic life skill that determines how healthy an individual and in turn a family will be.

A lack of ability to cook from scratch leads to a life dependent on processed foods. Processed foods are more likely to contain excess salt, sugar and food additives and a diet filled with processed foods is more likely to cause obesity.

Harvard University says the health consequences of obesity include heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, asthma, some cancers, susceptibility to depression due to discrimination and the emotional impact of that. Thirty per cent of youth are now obese.

We are three generations since the norm was a stay at home homemaker and cook for each family. Many parents (let alone their children) lack cooking skills beyond reheating, microwaving and combining packaged foods. Women in the 1960s were told cooking was a chore and they needed to be emancipated from the kitchen. Women did go out to work but instead of “freedom” they now work outside the home and still do the majority of household work as well. Equal partnerships are slow to evolve. Reframing cooking as a family activity and a creative way to nurture, care and ensure health for ourselves and our children could go a long way to correcting our society’s obesity epidemic.

I developed the Polenta lasagna recipe in this post to act as a cooking skills bridge from reliance on highly processed packaged food to cooking with healthier choices. The result is a fun assembly of quality ingredients with delicious results. Older children can make it on their own. Parents and younger children can make this together. Continue reading


Filed under Alberta at Noon, Great ingredients, Health, Recipes

Updating the candy bowl – #food #exercise and #health

Gull Valley Growers tomatoes - photo credit - Karen Anderson

Gull Valley Growers tomatoes – photo credit – Karen Anderson

When I was a little girl every time I visited my paternal Grandmother she let me pick a sweet from her candy bowl. It sat on one end of her gleaming coffee table in the heart of her completely neat and tidy 1970’s bungalow. Depending on the season Grammy filled the soft green depression glass vessel with Werther’s caramels, Ganong’s peppermints, liquorice all sorts, ribbon candy or my favourite – humbugs.

Grammy’s exercise program was her housework. She’d waited over 40 years to own a home and she washed walls, baseboards, curtains and every knick knack off every shelf twice a year. She did the laundry and hung in on the line on Mondays. She vacuumed and dusted every few days. She grocery shopped, cooked and set a perfect table for every meal. She looked after my grandfather and her beloved pets – cats, dogs and a bird. She doted on her only son, grandchildren, friends and neighbours. She also worked as a sales clerk in a shop until she was 60. Every Sunday afternoon she sat at her kitchen table to write letters to her family “over the river” in Maine and to me and my siblings when we were away at college. She sat everyday after work to watch her “stories” as she called the soap operas she adored. She savoured this life she made and it was really sad when she died of renal failure due to adult onset diabetes at only 74 years of age.

I miss my Grandmother but I don’t really miss her candy bowl. I think I inherited my sweet tooth from her well-intentioned gesture of hospitality. I’m determined to live healthfully and contribute to life well beyond 74 years of age.

I haven’t watched television since 1994 but I have a different kind of screen time issue as I sit and write for hours at my computer daily. That’s why I keep track of how much I move and walk at least an hour each day. It’s raining and cold right now but I’m going to drag my butt out the door and go for that walk now. I want to be around to savour it all with my only son and hopefully my grandchildren and friends until my 100th birthday.

The photo you see above is my update on a candy bowl. Hopefully my grandchildren will love having me around more than they’d love humbugs.

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January Detox Naturally – take care of your liver and feed your body

Juice, Juice and more Juice – photo – Karen Anderson

A brief scan of headlines under New Year’s Diets for 2016 revealed the following diet fads: the master cleanse lemonade diet, all kale and chewing gum, no sugar at all – no carbs ever, the bulletproof coffee diet (a coffee filled with butter and MCT oil – synthesized medium chain triglycerides), super elixirs, super trim pills, veganism, paleo diets  and “all juice –  all the time”. We’ll also see kelp replace kale as the new superfood, people soaking in epsom salts to “remineralize” and an increase in matcha green tea drinks and bone broths instead of fruit and vegetable juicing according to the always trendy Harper’s Bazaar.

A recent article entitled “A Healthy Diet’s Main Ingredient: Best Guesses” in The New York Times cautions away from these “one true path” regimens because ultimately our bodies are as complex as they are individual. Some researchers feel it could take another 200 years before we truly understand the human body well enough to prescribe diets and they will most likely be highly individualized when we do.

I’ll talk about how the trend for Designer Juice Cleanse companies is currently growing by 4 – 8 per cent annually and some of the pros and cons of juicing on Alberta at Noon today. I’ve posted on the very January tendency to want to “detox” here.   Turns out we don’t need to detox because our brilliant liver does that for us on a continual basis.

This post will discuss specific ways you can support your liver and feed your body with guidelines from Canada’s Food Guide, The Canadian Liver Association, The British Liver Trust and some sound thoughts from Dr. Mark Swain, Head of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Calgary.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Health