Get Girls In Sport – Fast and Female


As you may have guessed from reading our blog, we are extremely passionate about girls and women in sport. We are excited and inspired by Chandra Crawford, 2006 Gold Medal winner at the Winter Olympics in Cross Country Skiing. She shares our passion for sport and is making the dreams of girls and women across our country into reality. Founded in 2005, Crawford’s not-for-profit Fast and Female ( will hold its first Winnipeg event on October 24, 2014 in conjunction with the 2014 Canadian Cyclocross Championships held at The Forks October 24-26. ( According to Crawford, ”we believe in the power of sport to improve self-confidence in girls. We believe in keeping girls healthy, happy and active through their teens.”

The Fast and Female Winnipeg event is intended for girls ages 9 to 19 involved in sport. The Fast and Female mantras are “spread the love” and “dominate the world”, which speak to both making the sport environment positive for girls and empowering them to unleash their full confidence and courage in anything they pursue in life.

The event will feature an evening of amazing inspiration, empowering physical activity (cycling or dryland), a fun dance, and autograph sessions with mountain bike world champion Catharine Pendrel and others. Parents and coaches are invited to attend the seminars that will address effective nutrition and sport psychology for female athletes. The event is open to individuals involved in ALL sports, and is hoping to attract up to 50 participants.

By age 14 girls are two times more likely to drop out of sports due to a lack of access to sporting opportunities, social stigma, decreased quality of experience, cost, and lack of positive role models. Chandra hopes to inspire girls across the country to stay in sport, and communities to further encourage program development for this age group.

There are specific ways to keep girls in sport. We need to change the attitudes about physical fitness. Girls need to know what it “really means” to be physically active – levels of intensity, duration etc… Also, they need to know that you don’t need to be an “athlete” to be fit. They need to learn about sports and games and rules of different sports so that they have more confidence to try different ones. Finally, it has to be challenging and interesting (keep it new and exciting) and that it’s not about being perfect but it is about having fun.

A few great examples of this happening in Winnipeg are Winnipeg Women’s Kickboxing (WWK) program for girls ages 11 – 14. The kickboxing club started this program knowing that there was a lack of sporting opportunities for girls and is having great success. Another sport is synchronized swimming – a sport which both of these FitComm Girls have loved. It has introductory programs for tweens and teens. It is a great sport that encourages fitness, creativity and fun. It is never too late to join. For more information on each of these please contact WWK’s Trisha Sammons at 204-930-6780 or Synchro Swim Manitoba at

No matter what sport or fitness regime girls choose, it needs to be supported by friends and family. Know that not only will it increase their physical fitness and make them more apt to live a healthy adult life, but it will also improve confidence and self-esteem. These are all positives that every girl and woman should have in their lives.

Media Links:

Global News: www.globalnews/video

My Toba: www.mytoba/sports


High Blood Pressure? Try these “super” foods!

Dark Choc and Nuts

Why is it that no matter what ailment you are suffering from or disease you are trying to prevent, many of the items listed below are recommended. When researching how to lower blood pressure, the “usual suspects” were recommended.

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels. A person’s blood pressure is usually expressed in terms of the systolic pressure over diastolic pressure and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm HG). Normal resting blood pressure for an adult is approximately 120/80 mm Hg. High blood pressure is referred to as hypertension – stage 1 (140-159 and 90-99) and stage 2 (160+ and 100-109).

When diagnosed with high blood pressure, people are usually told to improve their diet and start exercising. Luckily, there are specific foods you can eat that will target high blood pressure and may even reverse the condition. It is no surprise that these foods also work to fight off diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

But how do they work, why are they recommended and how do you incorporate them into your daily routine?

Whole Grains – Whole grains are grains that are still completely intact and have not been refined to remove the bran and germ. Whole grains retain the entire grain kernel, making them high in fiber and other nutrients. The high level of potassium and magnesium in whole grains is linked to lower blood pressure.

Breakfast: oatmeal or oat bran muffins for breakfast.                    
Lunch: healthy sandwiches made on whole grain bread for lunch.

Low-Fat Dairy – Dairy products are high in both calcium and vitamin D. These two nutrients boost each other’s health benefit and are more powerful at lowering blood pressure when consumed together. A calcium deficiency can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure.

Breakfast: try skim milk with a whole grain cereal.                      
Lunch: stir in fruit and granola with low-fat yogurt.

Spinach -It’s full of magnesium and folate which are both powerful tools in fighting high blood pressure.

Breakfast: add some fresh spinach leaves to an egg white and turkey wrap.  Add some salsa for a an added kick of flavour and antioxidants!
Lunch/Dinner: Add fresh or packaged spinach leaves to just about any lunch salad and replace lettuce on sandwiches with fresh spinach leaves Toss some spinach leaves with other fresh veggies and add them to pasta dishes for a healthy dinner main.

Nuts, Seeds and Beans – Unsalted sunflower seeds and other nuts are also full of magnesium. Beans are also high in potassium and fiber, and the combination of nutrients found in beans make them an excellent choice to help lower blood pressure.

Lunch: Nuts, seeds and beans can all easily be added to salads, soups and sandwiches.
Snacks: Edamame, soybeans that are still in the pod, can be boiled in minutes and taste great eaten straight out of the pod.

Bananas – An excellent source of potassium, bananas can significantly impact blood pressure levels. When your potassium levels fall below recommended levels, your body will hang onto sodium, which raises blood pressure. However, the opposite is true! When potassium levels are high, the body will release stores of sodium.

Breakfast: Eating bananas is quick and easy – add sliced bananas to whole grain cereal or oatmeal or add to protein shakes or smoothies.                 
Lunch: For a healthy mid-day snack, add top whole grain bread with some peanut butter and banana slices.

Baked Potatoes – YES! Baked potatoes!! Potatoes are fat-free and cholesterol-free, and are a rich source of magnesium and fiber. Much like bananas, baked potatoes pack a whopping punch of potassium into every serving. Eating baked potatoes can help lower blood pressure by helping to keep potassium levels high and sodium levels low.

Lunch/Dinner: Enjoy baked potatoes alone, or with a spoonful of fat-free sour cream. For added flavor, add some fresh minced garlic or freshly chopped chives. For added protein, top with cooked ground turkey – yum!

Dark Chocolate – Again a big YES! Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate is very high in antioxidants and vital nutrients. Just one ½ ounce serving of dark chocolate a day may help to bring blood pressure levels back down to the normal range – which is like an invitation to eat it!

Snacks: Dark chocolate bars or grate some chocolate shavings over fat-free yogurt, fat-free ice cream or decaffeinated tea. Don’t go crazy here though. As this is high calories, it can be too much of a good thing!

Green Tea – The theory is that the polyphenols in tea are high in antioxidants that help protect the heart and fight off free radicals that can elevate blood pressure.

Breakfast: Try a cup of hot green tea in place of your morning coffee.

Avocados – Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat, which are high in antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin B6, magnesium and folic acid. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas. This combination of nutrients is what makes avocados a healthy blood pressure lowering food.

Lunch: Add slices to salads, sandwiches and wraps.
Snacks: Mash up some avocados and add some fresh diced tomatoes, fresh garlic and lime juice to make yummy and anti-oxidant rich guacamole.

As you can see, there are many foods that may help lower your blood pressure. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s orders for treatment. However, you can try adding these foods for either a natural remedy or to build on your existing treatment. Not only for your blood pressure but for overall good health!

De-stress Advice for Parents


So the kids are back in school. Mothers and fathers are breathing a sigh of relief while at the same time undergoing associated stress. There are a slew of things to take care of during the school year: organizing and packing lunches, driving and picking up, homework monitoring and after-school program maintenance and scheduling.

Part of the stress on parents is spurred by the much-needed, but often busy, after school programs. Not only is it a question of what activities to have your children sign up for but also the cost, the driving, planning dinners around it, carpools, equipment, uniforms etc…

So what do parents do to stay calm and level-headed?

My suggestion is to enroll yourself in an activity. I believe that this is possible for anyone. Although easier for some more than others, it is hugely important for parents to take time for themselves in order to relax and recharge for the following reasons:

1 – Improve or maintain health good health: registering in a leisure activity can include a form of physical fitness – whether it is going to the gym, signing up for a kickboxing class or a masters swim team, they all will benefit you in some way physically – as a part of a healthy lifestyle

2 – Reduce stress: whether it is a spin class, cooking class or a yoga class, there are aspects of any of these activities that help to reduce stress. Even stepping away from the house and the kids and doing something on your own, for YOU, helps to slow your breathing and gain perspective. Yoga has meditative qualities and breathing exercises that make you stop to focus on yourself.

3 – Lead by example: children learn how to relax and spend leisure time by watching their parents. Do you read? Do you have a hobby? Do you exercise? Do you know how to relax? Do you take time for yourself? By doing these things teaches children the importance of balance and making “you” a priority.

4 – Perspective: I know that when I return from a walk or a yoga class, I am much more “level-headed” than before the activity began. These activities force one to step away from the current, sometimes crazy, situation and just breathe. Simply breathing and not “thinking” per se allows you to relax, focus and gain perspective. Is the puzzle spread over the flood a tragedy? Is the sink full of dishes going to be the end of the world? If the floor doesn’t get vacuumed today will anyone be worse off in life?

So my advice to parents during “back to school” time is to get “back to you”. Put yourself on the ever growing “to-do” list. Ask for help when you need it. Make yourself a priority. Do not feel guilty or make excuses why you can’t. You and your family will be better off for it.

Magisto – Review


I love my iPhone. Yes, I have been known to have my “opinions” about technology. Normally, my negative opinions about it relate to advances in war and weaponry and a lack of face to face communications and abuses committed to others via the internet etc…

What I love about technology includes the ability to connect with those far from us and to capture images and share them with loved ones. My latest discovery that I am in love with is the app called Magisto. In fact, my new nickname is “Spielberg”!

Magisto is a free app available on your iPhone (or Android). Magisto allows you to create your own personal one-minute movies. There are two ways to make a movie: either shoot a video from scratch i.e. totally new video footage you take at the time you go into the app OR select footage already on your phone. The free app is limited to shorter videos with limited number of clips allowed. Like most apps, you can upgrade to allow for more images and videos allowed. For this, there is a monthly fee OR a one time fee.

To select footage already on your phone, you simply select a number of photos and short videos from your library. Magisto organizes it for you based on date. So, if you are looking to make a movie of Gramma’s 80th birthday party, you would go to the date of the party and select from there. Once you have selected your images and videos you are ready for the next step. You need to select at least 5 video clips or 15 pictures.

Next step is to go to the Editing Style. Here you select what mood, theme or music you would like to accompany your visuals. Once these are selected, you must title your movie. That’s it!

Once your movie is made, you can save it to your camera roll. You can also share it via text, email, Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and WhatsApp.

The only down-sides to this app are that you cannot select exactly what portions of videos you upload are used. Also, if your picture has multiple people in it, you can’t choose what part of the picture or who is the focus.

Overall, this is a fantastic app. Not only is this a fun thing to create but it is also a way to enhance cherished memories. So now there is no excuse why you, too, can’t be a “film maker”!

Vitamins 101


If you are anything like me, walking down the vitamin aisle is a little overwhelming. Between the different types of brands – generic, name brand; doses, forms and combinations, it can be nearly impossible to know what to choose.

So what vitamins, if any, should you take? Well, as with any other health advice out there, there are varying opinions. In this blog, I am going to provide you with what I have learned. However, this is my opinion and I am not a doctor, naturopath, dietician or other health practitioner. I would suggest taking what you read here and consulting your health care professional as they will be aware of all of your other issues, lifestyle and medications that may be a factor in what vitamins or supplements you should or shouldn’t be taking.

Here is what I know or have discovered:

Multivitamin: This is the basic bare minimum of supplements. Most of us do not get all of the nutrients we need in our daily diets for optimal health. This is why a multi is great. Consider it a “top up” to a good overall diet.

Omega Fatty Acids: 3, 6, 9? One? All 3? What does it do? There is varying evidence to support the claim that it can reduce the risk of dementia, useful in the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder, skin disorders and high cholesterol. It may decrease the risk of stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, some cancers and rheumatoid arthritis. How much is enough or too much? This is completely dependent on what you are using it for – either prevention/general health or treatment of a condition. Your best bet is to talk to your health practitioner.

Vitamin D is essential in the absorption of Calcium and phosphorus – both needed for healthy bones.   It is an immune system “regulator”. It may reduce your risk of cancer, MS and rheumatoid arthritis in women. It may also help to maintain cognitive function and a healthy body weight.  So how much Vitamin D to take? There is a range recommended for every age and stage in life. Assuming that you don’t receive virtually any Vitamin D from sunshine, most children aged 9 to those 70 years of age should take a minimum 600 IU each day to a maximum 4,000 IU per day. Children in Canada definitely need to ensure that they receive enough. In fact a recent study showed that 80% of elementary school children in Edmonton were Vitamin D deficient.

Calcium: We all know that calcium helps build strong bones and teeth. However it also has been said to increase metabolism, reduce PMS, prevent certain cancers and help your heart. You can get “too much” calcium though so ensure you follow recommended daily intakes. How much? A general recommendation is 1000mg/day. Remember calcium is in many of the foods we eat so be sure to check your labels!

Magnesium. You may not have heard of this one but it has many potential benefits! It may reverse osteoporosis, prevent heart disease, regulate blood pressure, treat migraines, diabetes, insomnia and depression. It also may improve your skin! How much to take? About 300-400mg/day is recommended but again, consult your pro!

These are just a few of the array of vitamins and minerals out there. Hopefully this has shed a bit of light on the subject.

July in the City


Looking for stuff to do this July? I have a list of things to do – either as a break from work or when you are on holidays! This is a condensed list of the overwhelming number of things that are going on in and around Winnipeg in July alone! This is also on top of the ever-popular Bomber and Goldeyes games, Folk Festival, Fringe Festival and Folklorama! For kids, there are a ton of ideas – Children’s Museum, splash pads, water slide parks, neighborhood parks and wading pools, and the “new” Zoo. If you are still looking for more resources, both Travel Manitoba and Tourism Winnipeg are amazing and give tons of information!

Downtown Concert Series – this is a free outdoor show every Wednesday at noon in Air Canada Park and Millennium Library Park

Public Art Bicycle and Walking Tours – learn about the artwork you walk by every day! Maybe you’ve noticed it, maybe you haven’t – with these tours you will get to know where it is, why it’s there, and what it means. Jul 9, 13, 27

Assiniboine Park and the Zoo!

Summer Music Series and the Lyric Theatre – spending a warm summer evening at Assiniboine Park listening to the melodies and harmonies from the Lyric Theatre mingle with the rustle of the leaves in the breeze. 8 dates between Jun 30, 2014 and Jul 30, 2014 – 7 – 9 p.m.

Ballet in the Park July 23 – 25, 2014 – 7:30pm – 9:00pm Assiniboine Park Lyric Theatre

Jazz in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden – enjoy the very best of jazz in Winnipeg amid blooming flowers, flowing fountains and beautiful works of art Sundays from 3 – 4 p.m.

Red River Co-op Speedway – exciting car races in St. Adolphe every Thursday at 7 pm.

Dancing on the Avenue (Corydon) – 7-10 p.m. 8 dates between Jul 4, 2014 and Jul 30, 2014 Many of Winnipeg`s best bands will entertain you and for the children Laughter Without Borders will be there with face painters, balloon makers and your favorite clowns!

The Forks

Winnipeg Fish Festival – The Forks – July 5, 11 – 4 p.m.a full day of activities, including kids fishing activity stations, main stage fish seminars, fish displays, learn to fish clinics, arts and crafts, fish filleting demonstrations, fly fishing demonstrations and much, much more!

The Forks Bridge Party – July 5, 7 pm – 10 pm. Historic Rail Bridge. All day free electronic music event + special multimedia visual performance at night. Bridging Winnipeg’s origins to the future with this special event.

Roca Raggae Festival – Jul 11, 2014 – Jul 13, 2014 Old Market Square

“Rockin The Red” 2nd Annual Family Festival – July 12 – 13, 2014 – Half Moon Drive In, Lockport – Free weekend for families – activities, concerts and rides!

Manitoba Reptile Exhibit – July 13 – 10 – 5, Victoria Inn and Conference Centre

Boardwalk Days – Winnipeg Beach – July 18 – 20 – Wonder Shows midway, outdoor craft market, parade and fireworks.

So there you have it! A long list of things going on in and around our great city of Winnipeg! Most are free which is always fabulous! Enjoy!

Role Models

T Box

What is a role model?  What is a good role model?  That second question is really the one that I find myself thinking about.  Most likely by now, you have heard about Miley Cyrus’s ‘performance’ and costume and the MTV Video Awards.  As much as I am not shocked by her lack of clothes and suggestive ‘dancing’, I am disappointed.  I realize that this is a young woman who is obviously trying to express herself, find herself and break away from her Hannah Montana and Disney persona.  I also realize that this is a free world and she can do whatever she wants to as long as she does not break any laws.

I do, however, have a problem with the fact that Miley is showing a complete disregard for her role in the media as a role model.  There are many young girls that have purchased her t-shirts, bed sheets, back packs etc… that are now looking to her to show them how to act and what to “wear next”.  Like it or not, she is a role model.  This is sad.  So, too, is it sad that Justin Bieber is a role model as well.  For a seemingly “nice, unaffected Canadian boy”, he too has disappointed me.  What is wrong with these kids?  I realize that money and fame has skewed their views of what is appropriate behavior and what is not.  However, I think that they do need to “grow up” and realize that they are being watched and followed by millions of young, impressionable kids, tweens and teens.  They should some responsibility for their positions in society; show some humility and some class.

I have two young girls and I fear what and who will be popular when they are in that stage of growing up.  Will the person they idolize be a star that turns into a drug addict? Who knows!

All I can do is try to expose my girls to other kinds of role models and let them try to emulate those whom I think set good examples of what to do in life.

I am not naïve enough to think that I am going to a) stop them from falling in love with the next Justin Bieber or b) not have them watch television or see a magazine with a scantily clad Miley on it.  I do know that I will do what is within my control to balance these with exposure for them to people I think are good role models:  their aggressive, kick-butt, kick-boxing instructor Auntie Trisha, their positive and business saavy Auntie Andrea, their creative and kind cousin Haylee, their generous, thoughtful and stylish Grandma Dianne, their supportive and loving Baba Joanne, their ambitious and talented Auntie Dani, their entertaining and fun-loving Auntie Moe, their smart and athletic cousin Jaimee and their strong and funny Great-Grandma Joyce.

All of these women in my girls’ lives are positive role models in their own ways.  They are all beautiful physically, but they are also beautiful inside – which is what makes them good role models.  They are all strong, smart women that have integrity and lead by example.  These are the women that I want my kids to look up to.  I hope that my plan to have them spend more time with them, and less watching those other “role models” like Justin and Miley, will develop them into becoming good role models to others down the road.