Why I Broke Up with Math (And Cooking too)

Math is my nemesis…let me explain. challenge workout

Math and I were once sort of friendly, we didn’t really click, but we got along fine enough with a little extra effort on my part. Then, in the 11th grade, I thought there was hope for a loving relationship with me and math. I had an amazing teacher, Miss Park and because her instructions were clear cut and easy to follow, things went swimmingly with math and me.

Then the 12th grade came and I had Mr. Taylor (he was also known as ‘twitchy butt’ because when he wrote on the chalk board, well, he kept twitching his butt – kids notice stuff like that..).

Anyways, Mr. Taylor assumed a lot, didn’t explain as much and his methods didn’t really work for me. Math and me were off! I was constantly trying to take mathematical short cuts that obviously in the math world don’t work. In fact, I was so mathematically frustrated that I decided to enter a career where I’d never have to take another math course again. Seriously the world may have lost a mathematical genius due to old Mr. Twitchy Butt.

I’d have to say this is when math and I had the most serious falling out. math fail

But like any ‘ex’, I was constantly reminded of math with every day things. Of course, numbers are everywhere and I just had to learn to cope.

Dang having to balance a cheque book, calculate shopping discounts, or what about doubling recipes when cooking? Currency conversions, mortgages…it’s a cruel world for the mathematically challenged.

While I didn’t get therapy to deal with my math issues, I still struggle with all the logistics and the fact that there’s only ONE right answer to most things mathematical…seriously?

Now, cooking is much the same way as math.

Obviously I need to eat and feed my family, so it’s a necessary evil. I’ve just had to come to terms with cooking and coping with the many epic fails that occur in my kitchen, (It’s a wonder that my children and I have survived this long.)

You can imagine my relief when I came across something that makes dealing with my cooking nemesis easier. Plus, the relief I felt when I heard that I’m not the only one that ‘suffers’ with the whole cookbook thing.

I’ve tried so many cookbooks and still feel frustrated in the kitchen. So many of the cookbooks I’ve tried just don’t ‘click’ for me; they were much like Mr. Twitchy Bum. Why couldn’t I find a ‘Miss Park’ type cookbook to make things simple and easy in the kitchen?

Well, thankfully I feel somewhat vindicated to see this article about the ‘Top 5 Cooking Fails’. (There actually IS a ‘Miss Park’ type cookbook out there.)

Turns out that I’m not the only one that has issues with cooking and recipe books that may not be as helpful or healthy as they appear. 

Check out the Top 5 Cooking Fails here (I’ll be curious to see if you agree with any of them as they’re somewhat controversial). 

Now that some cooking anxiety is a relieved, maybe it’s time to work full time on my math relationship 😉

PS. With Halloween coming up, I bet you’ll have some pumpkin laying around. Instead of tossing it, like I normally would do, here’s a easy and healthy recipe from my friend, Flavia Del Monte’s new Skinnylicious Cooking cookbook.

Apple Pumpkin Muffins

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes 

Yield: 15 Muffins

1 1⁄4 cup quinoa flour
1 cup oat flour
2⁄3 cup pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg or mace 2 tablespoons cinnamon
1⁄2 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 cup maple syrup
1⁄2 teaspoon Aztec Sea Salt (crush or grind it – optional)

1 cup coconut milk
2 eggs
1⁄4 cup applesauce unsweetened 
Nuts to top (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Place 15 cupcake liners into 2 muffin trays.
  3. Place the wet ingredients into medium bowl and mix well.
  4. In a large sized mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Carefully pour the wet ingredients into the bowl that contains the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop equal amounts of batter into the prepared cupcake liners.
  7. Place chopped nuts and chocolate chips on the top of each muffin (optional).
  8. Place muffin trays into the preheated oven and cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Per Muffin: 136 calories, 2g fat, 26g carbs, 4g protein

Find the top 5 cooking fails and more of Flavia’s ‘Miss Park’ type recipes here.

Eat Some Bacon!

Bacon wrapped asparagus Mmmm….Bacon!

I used to HATE vegetables.

When I was a kid I’d actually gag on anything resembling one but over the years I just taught myself to LOVE veggies.

If you wrap anything up in bacon, I bet you can turn any veggie hater into a veggie lover 😉

Now many of you may think that bacon is on the ‘NO!’ list as far as diet goes, but you’ll be surprised at what you learn about bacon in this article.

My friend Nick, The Nutrition Nerd, comes to bacon’s defense. He’s found more than 582 independent studies (from the top medical journals) providing proof that we’ve been misled about bacon. It won’t clog up your arteries and make you fat as it was once thought.

You can now enjoy bacon (in this recipe below and others) after you read Nick’s revealing article here.

Here’s a yummy and nutritious way to disguise asparagus:

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus


  • 1 (12 ounce) package bacon, strips cut in half
  • 1 bunch (16 ounce) fresh asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a casserole dish.
  2. Set out the bacon, asparagus and casserole dish in a little assembly line. Lay out a half strip of bacon. place a small bunch of asparagus (6 or 7) onto the strip of bacon and roll up into a bundle. Place the bundle into the casserole dish, seam side down. Repeat with remaining bacon strips and asparagus. You can pack these pretty tight in the pan, just know that if the bacon is touching another bundle they take some prying to get apart. Sprinkle with the coconut sugar and salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until browned and heated through, about 20 minutes.

Enjoy this recipe and eat bacon guilt free after reading this.



Drink Up?

Sin City. mm grp sept 2014

You see it all there.

Recently I was out with a group of fit pros in crazy Las Vegas. We had spent the day sharing strategies on how to help our clients best, and by the evening time, we really needed to chill.

After a team dinner, we ended up at a beautiful lounge in the Cosmopolitan called ‘The Chandelier’. We were just hanging out at the bar when I found a couple staring at me as if they knew me. Since I’m a friendly Canadian, I said ‘Hi’, we chatted a bit and then I quickly ended the conversation when it got weird. The woman asked me if I wanted a lap dance from the fella.

Umm…No thanks.

thanks but no thx

I politely excused myself and went to sit down with our group.

The woman proceeded to follow me and with the encouragement of the trouble makers in our group, she gave me a lap dance.

I was pretty embarrassed as everyone laughed,  but it was all in good fun.

Clearly, this woman had one too many drinks (and maybe I had one too few 🙂 ).

After this experience and witnessing so many folks carrying their gallon sized drinks along the Vegas Strip, I figured I’d discuss the affects of alcohol.

Most obviously, alcohol can make folks a little crazy, but I want to talk about how it affects us in terms of fat loss.

I get this question all the time: Does alcohol REALLY make you fat?

Well in a few words:

Runaway Train 300x195 Want a Cool One?

Booze: Lower inhibitions + increased appetite = Runaway train to weight gain


If you really enjoy having a drink now and again, I have a solution so that you actually CAN lose weight and enjoy a drink HERE, but I suggest you read this email first 😉

All alcohol is a carbohydrate, or a simple sugar, void of any vitamins or minerals. One ounce of alcohol provides about 70 calories with NO nutritional value.

Although alcohol is a simple sugar, it requires no digestion. This is why your body prefers alcohol as a fuel before using other carbs, proteins, or ingested fats. It’s considered “nutrient sparing” since it becomes the quickest available food, it spares all other nutrients that follow it. So if you’re ingesting a ton of calories along with the liquid calories of alcohol, this will most likely be stored as belly fat because the liver is busy processing the alcohol.

Alcohol is such a fast acting simple sugar that enters the blood-stream through the walls of the stomach as opposed to most nutrients, which are absorbed in the small intestine. This quick absorption explains why you may feel the effects of alcohol right away. It also goes directly to work on the central nervous system and starts to damage valuable brain cells by withdrawing water that’s essential for cellular health.

So, here are 6 quick tips to prevent fat storage when you drink alcohol. I don’t want to be a party killer, but you can just keep these tips in mind when you occasionally have a wobbly pop.

Lesson 1: Alcohol has calories. Keep this in mind when you consider your daily caloric intake. If you’re drinking calories, you probably need to consider what you’re eating because those calories all add up.

Lesson 2: Alcohol dehydrates, so for every alcoholic beverage, double up on water consumption to reduce this effect and reduce the likelihood of the ‘hang over headache’. Drink more water before bed and keep a water bottle by your night stand.

Lesson 3: Keep calories low and clean when drinking as much as possible. (This may be a tough thing to do though, because, alcohol stimulates appetite.) Focus your food around protein and veggies and keep carbs to a minimum if you’re drinking. Avoid the late night pizza and other temptations that often occur with drinking.

Lesson 4: Avoid calories in the mix of your drinks. Stick with a clear alcohol mixed with water or club soda. This way you’ll avoid the empty sugar calories that can add up to 500 calories per serving (no joke). Don’t get ‘tonic water’ and ‘club soda’ confused, although they may seem like they’re the same thing, tonic water has as many calories as soda.

Lesson 5: Crank up your metabolism with a short and sweaty challenge workout BEFORE you drink so that your body will handle the extra calories more efficiently. Also make sure you’re fully hydrated before your festivities begin.

Lesson 6: Make sure you consume extra water and nutrient rich vitamins, anti-oxidants, and food sources the following morning. This will help your body recover get on track quicker.

Realistically, most people will have alcohol at some point, so it’s all about ‘damage control’ to avoid fat storage and sabotaging fat loss efforts.

Enjoy an occasional drink, but remember if you’re truly serious about fat loss, you may consider a drink as your ‘treat meal’ or special occasion and not a daily habit.

So the next question is:  Can I lose weight and still have an alcoholic beverage?

If you’re truly serious about weight loss and want to make a big impact in a short time, then I recommend that you check out my 21 Day Challenge Fat Loss program. You can enjoy your favorite alcoholic beverage in your ‘treat meal’ on this plan if you really wanted to. This is a plan that you can adopt for life, even though I call it the ’21 day’ challenge. Honestly, you’ll feel SO energized and motivated, you’ll want to continue the healthy eating that you learn on the plan.

There’s a little ‘secret sauce’ in the plan that has nothing to do with food. Here are 5 steps to drop 3-5 pounds in the next 7 days:

Step 1 – Social Support

A study from Harvard showed that participants that used social support while losing weight were more successful than those who didn’t.

In fact, the average weight loss among participants who used support was 20 pounds compared to 9 pounds for those without support!

And with the exclusive Challenge Diet community, you’ll have access to other people just like you, as well as myself.

Step 2 – Accountability

Everyone in our group will be keeping an eye on you, and you’ll have NO choice but to succeed as you will have to OWN UP to what you’re eating so we can all create food awareness and learn from each other.

Step 3 – A Simple Plan and Being Prepared

There is no guesswork. You’ll know exactly what to eat, step-by-step with the power of flexibility based on your preferences. Preparation is a key to success in any situation, but especially food.

Step 4 – Incentive

You’ll see and feel a difference in only 7 days. Expect to lose up to 11 pounds in only 21 days and have the tools and habits that will springboard your future fat loss success.

When you lose fat fast (against what the media tells you), you will be inspired to continue. It’s called “success momentum”.

Step 5 – Deadline

Another piece to the puzzle that’s missing from other programs is a set deadline. What’s your end date? Set one up.

21daysImagine sticking to your plan, step-by-step, for 21 days.

Anyone, including you, can stick to a plan for JUST 21 days. Knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel is what keeps people just like you going.

And if you’re wondering why 21-days… it’s because studies show that it takes just 21-days to form a habit. And that’s what I want to help you with.

I want to teach you the fat loss and nutrition secrets that work. And then give you a detailed day-by-day plan to follow so that you can see fast results, and then leave you with the habits to do it on your own moving forward.

But you’ll also have the security in knowing you won’t get the “rebound” weight gain that other diets don’t even talk about. You’ll get proven resources and simple strategies to keep the weight off forever…and if you choose to do so, continue with your fat loss!

Check out the 21 Day Challenge Diet here and start losing 3-5 pounds your first week, even if you decide to have a wobbly pop.

Oh, and if you happen to be in Vegas and get a free unsolicited lap dance, let us know how that goes 😉

Spicy Veggie Stir Fry

When you want a healthy meal that doesn’t compromise on flavor—here’s your dish. This vegetarian recipe calls for chicken substitute, but you can use real chicken if you want. Bake or grill real chicken before adding it to the recipe. 

Servings: 4

Spicy Veggie Stir Fry
Here’s what you need…

  • 3 cups hot cooked instant rice (cooked as directed on the package, omitting margarine and salt)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • 4 frozen breaded chicken substitute patties, thawed, cut into bit-sized pieces
  • 3 tomatoes cut into thin wedges.

1. While rice is cooking, in small bow, combine 1 cup water, soy sauce, cornstarch and red pepper flakes; blend well. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet or wok over medium heat until hot. Add onion and bell pepper; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Add 2 tablespoons water and zucchini; cover and cook until all vegetables are tender.

3. Add chicken substitute pieces and tomatoes; cook until thoroughly heated. Stir cornstarch mixture; added to skillet. Cook and stir until thickened. Serve mixture over rice.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 380 calories, 10g fat, 54g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, and 13g protein

Flax Meal Protein Cakes

Who doesn’t love pancakes? Here’s a recipe that you can enjoy guilt free. These pancakes are packed with protein and contain omega-3 fatty acid from the flax meal. Omega-3 fatty acids are not manufactured naturally in your body, and thus must come from your diet as they are essential for growth and development.

Servings: 2

Freedom and adventure - woman happy, Grand Canyon

Here’s what you need…

1 egg and 2 egg whites
2/3 cup nonfat cottage cheese
1/2 cup whole grain cornmeal
2 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup nonfat milk
2 tablespoon flax meal
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Sliced banana *optional*

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Bake on a 350-degree griddle lightly greased with cooking spray. Serve with sliced banana.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 264 calories, 4g fat, 39g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, and 20g protein.