February 2014


The benefits of pool running

A few years ago, after tearing my hamstring in a race, I was unable to run for six weeks. I paid a visit to a physical therapist for treatment, who suggested I try pool running. At the time, I didn’t know much about pool running. My physical therapist, Dr. Eric Hoppe, said, “Everything about pool running duplicates running on land, with water providing equivalent resistance to arms and legs, simulating any running experience you do, from 100-metre sprint to 20-mile run.”

There are many benefits to pool running, the most common being the reduction or elimination of ground forces to reduce body impact experiences. Pool running allows a person to practice proper running mechanics and neuromuscular coordination of running in a more protected environment.

Mike Moon, an accomplished runner with 13 Boston Marathon finishes to his credit, is a certified coach at the University of British Columbia and author of the book, Deep Water Exercise for High Performance Sport. Moon has helped National Hockey League player Mattias Ohlund rehabilitate his injuries in the pool. He also helped master’s marathon runner John Moe to make the podium at Boston when he developed plantar fasciitis less than three months before the 2005 race.

Pool running her way to the Olympic podium was Lynn Kanuka, who won a 1500-metre track bronze medal in 1984 at the L.A. games. Kanuka, who’d suffered a stress fracture while training, began pool running on the advice of her pioneering coach, Dr. Doug Clement, making it part of her daily regime. To this day she still water runs regularly.

She suggests, “As long as your technique copies your walking or running form. A belt or vest so that you are comfortable in the water and able to stand tall, shoulders square, arms bent at 90 degrees, forward and back in a running form, legs in a nice wide range of motion, being sure to really pull with those hamstrings and extend toward the back to complete each step.”

She adds, “I trained super hard in the water, doing the exact workouts I would have done on land: for example 10 x 400m on land would equate to basically 10 x 1min. efforts in the water, with a one minute recovery–half what it would have been on land because with the water pressure your heart rate does not rise up as high, and the recovery is quicker.”

Follow Christine on Twitter at @christineruns.

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3 healthy meal ideas for busy women

Baking has never been healthier and easier. No one knows this more than former Olympian Diane Clement, who’s also an award-winning author of eight cookbooks. “Sunday is our family day, so I enjoy surprising them with one of my international menus and a favourite dessert,” says Clement.

Diane’s husband, Dr. Doug Clement, is a two-time Olympian himself and has also co-authored two of her lifestyle books. In Start Fresh, she shares some of her favourite dishes, beginning with Max’s branberry muffins.


Let’s start with dessert. Why not?!

Max’s branberry muffins

Makes 1 dozen small muffins


3/4 cup (180 ml) brown sugar
3/4 cup (175 ml) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) whole wheat bran
1/4 cup (60 ml) wheat germ
1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda
1 cup (250 ml) blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup (125 ml) seedless raisins
1 tbsp (15 ml) orange zest
1 large egg
2/3 cup (150 ml) plus 2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 ml) buttermilk
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable oil. Mix together the brown sugar, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, bran, wheat germ, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in blueberries, raisins and orange rind. Whisk the egg with buttermilk and oil in a separate bowl. Add to dry ingredients all at once, mixing well. Add 2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 ml) more buttermilk, if necessary, to bind the batter. Spoon 1/4 cup (60 ml) of batter into each muffin cup and bake about 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 217 calories, 5 g protein, 6 g fat, 37 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 114 mg sodium


Spanish omelet and tomato relish, with a tuna olive tapenade appetizer.


For a dinner party with friends, Diane suggests you start with Italian antipasto platter salad (from your local deli) featuring a mozzarella and fennel salad and a tuscan chicken and orzo entree. For dessert: Italian gelato, biscotti.

Diane says most recipes can be done in advance and the ingredients are available in food markets across Canada.

She adds, “We have a loyal following across Canada. From my first Chef on the Run, printed in 1982, to Doug and my first lifestyle book Chef and Doctor on the Run to our present Start Fresh lifestyle book,” and acknowledges her contributions to the culinary arts.

The worst date ever: I’m sorry, you want what?

Sometimes a girlfriend calls in a friend favour and even though you’ve taken off your make-up, put on your PJs and are cuddled in bed ready to watch the TV you’ve missed this week, you get dressed and go meet her. It’s just what you do.

A couple of weeks ago one of my best friends called in a friend favour and had me meet her at boy’s house for a couple drinks. She had met this boy a few weeks prior to that and they had hit it off instantly. He was gorgeous, smart, funny and he had abs you could grate cheese on; he seemed to be the whole package.

We arrived to cold beers and Gold Rush on the TV, a solid start to any evening. But within minutes we found out that his small town friends would be arriving and so would his dealer. The evening took a turn after that. We were happy to have a couple of beers and chat but neither of us were interested in putting anything up our noses.

I left around 1 a.m., citing work as my excuse. I offered to take my friend with me, but she was willing to stick around and give him the benefit of the doubt.

It wasn’t until the next day that I heard how her evening ended over several bottles of wine; it was just one of those stories. My friend popped by my apartment after work with two bottles of white and what I’ve come to recognize as her what-the-hell face.

After I left my girl and the Charlie Sheen wannabe had retired to his bedroom. About halfway into what might have been the turning point for their evening he asked her a favour: “Would it be OK if my friends came to watch?” Her response was simple, “Not a chance.” At which point our leading man stood up to leave—not because he was angry or disappointed but so he could go to the living room to tell his friends that unfortunately she wasn’t interested in putting on a show.

I think the best and worst part of the story is that he had assumed that she would say yes. He had so much confidence that she would say yes that he had pre-arranged everything with his friends. I’ve been on a lot of terrible first dates and a few terrible second dates, but never has a man assumed that a second date meant a closet show for his friends, because that is insane. Isn’t it?

Has being in a relationship changed my perspective? In the four months that I’ve been with Mr. Unexpected, have men started asking women for their wildest fantasies? Perhaps in anticipation of tomorrow’s apocalypse men have decided that they might as well swing for the fences. That has to be it, right?

Having it all

By Kirthan Aujlay

This article was previously published on July 27, 2012.

Recently, Yahoo! hired a very pregnant Marissa Mayer as their new CEO. Marissa previously worked as the first female engineer at Google and had a key role in developing the design of Google’s homepage. Mayer is clearly a trailblazer, but this hiring seems to be part of a larger trend, as she becomes one of the 20 female CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, many of whom are also mothers.

This brings up the age-old question of women being able to have it all. Although this may mean different things to different women, in order for women to balance having a demanding career and being a mother certain conditions need to be put in place. Canada has some of the best conditions in regards to maternity and paternity leave. It offers new mothers 52 weeks of paid maternity leave at 55% of the original wages, although the exact wages may depend on the province. After the first 17 weeks either the father or mother can take the additional 35 weeks of leave.

Some European countries offer even better benefits, such as Denmark, Serbia and Croatia, which all offer an entire year of leave with 100% of wages paid. But Sweden is leading the way in progressive parental leave. Working parents are entitled to 480 days  (16 months), and in an effort to encourage more paternal involvement, two of the 16 months must be taken by the “minority” parent.

Sadly, most mothers in the U.S., where Mayer works, are offered a measly twelve weeks of unpaid maternity leave, beating out Mexico and Pakistan for the worst conditions around the globe. American fathers are not offered a single day of paid paternity leave. Conditions in the U.S. speak to the fact that work traditionally viewed as “women’s work” such as child rearing, is still grossly undervalued by society.

It may be a while before governments begin changing their policies. However, some workplaces are beginning to appreciate the struggles faced by working parents, and are changing the landscape accordingly by offering onsite daycare for their employees’ children, or are allowing parents to work from home through email and videoconferencing. The issue isn’t so much whether new mothers can handle their workloads, but whether or not employers are willing to alter their views of how work should be completed. Although women have long been balancing work and motherhood, women like Marissa Mayer are challenging traditional notions of what it means to be a working mom.

Finally, it’s important to reiterate that having it all means different things for different people. Not every woman has an innate desire to become a mother and not every woman yearns to work her way up the corporate ladder. Homemaking blogs and Etsy shops are breathing new life into traditional domestic pursuits that many people view as old-fashioned or unimportant. At the same time, many young women are eschewing the entire notion of marriage and children and looking for fulfillment elsewhere. Whether women want one, the other, or everything, there is no right answer. All we know is that society is finally realizing that it is up to women to choose for themselves.

League of Lady Wrestlers: How I Fight

by Dirty Ol’ Maude

Most call me Maude, but I’ve been called all sorts over the years, though I don’t care what you call me, so long as it’s with respect. In the ring, I’m known as Dirty Ol’ Maude, for reasons I’m sure I don’t need to explain to you.

I am 65 years old, a Southerner with thick skin after years in the subarctic North, and I can fight just the same as the day I first jumped into the ring. You might think a 65-year ‘old lady’ would have some troubles bending over — never mind performing a choke slam, but I’ll tell you, this old broad doesn’t have much of those troubles. Physical training doesn’t factor into Dirty Ol’ Maude’s lifestyle; I smoke, drink, curse, belch, don’t sleep enough, and I can guarantee you I certainly don’t get my recommended daily intake of minerals, vitamins, and what-have-yous. I go about my habits as usual before a wrestling match — and I consider my work to be training enough, lifting barrels of whiskey ain’t easy work.

When it comes to wrestling, it’s all about attitude and perspective. I’ve been fighting all my life, and not always in the ring. Dirty, scraping and crawling through the mud alongside loathsome men and boys, this wrestler has learned to fight with more than fists. Sure, I’ll polish up my boots, (I like to get a nice shine to them, see the reflection of the fearful face of my opponent), maybe even find a clean bandana before a match; however, there’s more to my methods. When I decide I’m going to be the ruin of my opponent — that’s it — their days are numbered. I like to get into their head, you know? Really embody all that terrifies them, so when they look across the ring and into my eyes- they are looking at everything they fear, and it’s about to pound them into the mat.

The League of Lady Wrestlers is hosting the Hogtown Throwdown on Saturday, February 22 at the Polish Combatants Hall (206 Beverly St., Toronto ON). Doors open at 7 p.m., first fight at 8 p.m.

Photo credit: Ben Freedman
Photo credit: Ben Freedman

More info available on



and the LOLW website


Valentine’s Day at Caille Blanc, St. Lucia

I wake up early every morning here in St. Lucia. The sun isn’t yet up, neither are the birds so I can hear the waves crashing on the shores far below. I sit still in the lounge chair on our deck and watch the pale light just before dawn. As the sun rises the birds begin to wake, first one call then another until there is a symphony of them. The morning doves are everywhere and the hummingbirds, the Antillean Crested and Green Throated Carib, are everywhere.

Last night we made pizzas and the chef made a special berry cake for Noah’s birthday and we learned some terrific dice and card games from our security guard, Albert. Our favorite is “farkle” – played with six dice and requires a lot of addition.

There are very few bugs, probably because there are so many birds, and the soft warm breeze in the morning indicates a hot day ahead. We’ve spent a few days reading and lounging by the pool or beach so today we plan to visit the Diamond Waterfall botanical gardens and volcano.

St. Lucia is a beautiful island, and here at Caille Blanc, the staff are so friendly and caring, they greet us each morning with smiles and gentle “good mornings.” The chef makes us breakfast and lunch, and prepares our dinner. The maid cleans our rooms everyday and makes our beds – the luxury makes me feel a little awkward; I’ll never be suited to it.

Learning to be happy

For the first time since before the Big Ex, I am happy with someone I’m dating, actually happy. More importantly, though, I can be myself. I’m not sacrificing parts of myself to fit into what I think he wants me to be and I’m not keeping my opinions to myself because I’m afraid that he might not like them.

I spent so long trying to be what someone else wanted that I had forgotten what it was like to just be myself. Mr. Unexpected makes me laugh sometimes uncontrollably, sometimes to the point of falling on the floor and almost always until my stomach hurts and I’ve forgotten what started the laughing in the first place.

When you spend so long trying to please other people, trying to be the right girl, you forget how wonderful it is to just be yourself. I don’t have to pretend anymore that not introducing me to his family after a year is okay, I don’t have to act like never letting me meet his friends doesn’t bother me, and I don’t have to temper my enthusiasm for being with him because I am worried that he will run away.

Mr. Unexpected wants me to meet his family, he doesn’t hide me from his friends and when I tell him how happy he makes me he doesn’t get turned off, he just tells me I’m cute and smiles because he knows that I’m going to hit him for using the ‘c’ word. Babies and puppies are cute, women are not; although my friends would probably take his side in this particular argument.

One of my best friends told me something about two months ago that really stuck with me: “He isn’t who you’d pick for yourself but he’s who you should be with. Don’t screw this up.” Which I think was his loving way of telling me to just enjoy it and let myself be happy.

It’s funny that when I’m sad or unhappy I forget to question what is making me so unhappy, but when things are going well I constantly wonder why I’m happy and when the other shoe is going to drop. What if the other shoe doesn’t drop? What if I just let myself be happy without asking so many questions?

I’ve decided to stop constantly questioning why and just enjoy where I am right now: happy without conditions.

It’s a first for me and it’s going to take a lot of time to be happy without asking myself why, but it’s about time I enjoy the person I’m with; it’s about time I stop constantly worrying and waiting and driving myself crazy.

Is it so hard to just love and be loved? Am I so jaded that being treated right makes me wonder what the catch is?

There is no catch. This isn’t a movie or a bad romance novel; it’s life and it’s pretty fantastic right now.

Follow Shannon on Twitter at @Shananigans.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

5 things I learned about investing — at the mall

by Candi Munroe

I love to shop. Since I have started investing for myself I have noticed something else: I observe things. They may seem like simple things, but they are really indicators of something much bigger. This is what I see at the mall — you can test them out for yourself.

1. Supply and demand

This is the most basic economic principle. A product that is in great supply or has too much supply is cheap. A product that is rare or in short supply is expensive. The most drastic example of this is Apple. Think about Apple stores with the long line-ups of people eagerly awaiting the latest Apple iPad or iPhone. Meanwhile, Wall Street boasts of the great margins Apple is getting. Their stock has also experienced an explosion in price. From its 2008 price of $90 to today’s price of around $550 (which is already down 20% off the high), the stock has impressed.

2. Fads vs. Classics

The mall always has the latest fashions deemed ‘in’ this year. This is not unlike Wall Street. Yes, analysts study the numbers, but then they make estimates on what they think will sell this year and make recommendations accordingly. These companies and their stocks are hot and everyone wants to own them. A more classical girl, I like buying good quality products and wearing them year-to-year. I would never buy a fad and expect to wear it into retirement.

3. Are there job openings?

When the economy is better more people have jobs. When the economy is depressed, people lose their jobs. I recently vacationed at a hotel where I had vacationed the year before. This year it was much harder to be served. I waited in line more often and the staff were agitated and overworked. This tells me that the staff has been reduced to save money in a bad economy. So when you are at the mall, look around. Are the stores well staffed? When you eat out, are there plenty of waitresses and waiters? If so, this is a sign that the economy may be on the way up.

4. Are the stores well run?

Are they concerned about their brand and reputation? This is more about individual companies. Which companies take care of their employees? Starbucks give their U.S. employees health care and opportunities to invest in the company’s stock. The employees I encounter there are happy and engage the customers. Good hiring? Good management? Solid policies? Probably a bit of each.

5. Are people buying at or near full retail prices?

Observe the shoppers in the stores. Do they have lots of bags? Are the bags large? (Discount the effect if the discounts are high.) Many people out shopping puts money back into the pockets of businesses and is a good sign that better days are ahead.

Do not let these simple observations pass you by in the shopping haze. Keep in mind that these general indicators tell us how people feel about their job security and how much optimism they have about the year ahead. They can also help guide you to products and ideas that are good targets to research and invest in yourself. And this is fun! After all, ladies, aren’t we all about multitasking?

Talk to your kids about sex because they know more than you think

Have you heard about the “What Would Your Mother Do?” underwear, a line of T-shirts and boy shorts that features slogan like “Zip It,” “Dream On,” and “Not Tonight”? According to the brand’s creators their “conversation underwear” will “empower” girls to “make good, informed decisions” about sex (although there is no mention of that rather “dangerous” word on the site) that are theirs and theirs alone. The only good and informed choice being not to have sex – of course.

Now while the idea of underwear with cute pro-abstinence slogans preventing teen sex is laughable (as one would assume that by the time young people weighing the option to have sex get down to their underpants it’s game on, right?), the lack of comprehensive sex education for kids who live in a culture steeped in sex and all the pleasures it brings is not. Though Canadians don’t seem to be as intent on the promotion of abstinence-only education as our neighbours to the south (where the funding of abstinence only sex ed programs jumped from $9 million to $176 million between 1997 and 2007), the derailment of the proposed changes to Ontario’s sex ed curriculum in 2010 is indicative of a loud, highly conservative and very vocal minority (I hope) who would support the same kind of focus here. A fact that is worrying, if only to left leaning folks like me.

Hardcore porn has become by default the sex education of today. – Cindy Gallop

A 2009 study by the security firm Symantec found that the fourth most-searched term among kids aged eight to eighteen – after Facebook, YouTube and Google – was SEX. For kids seven and under it was PORN. – Mashable

You see, kids, whether their parents readily admit it or not, are generally very interested in learning about sex and exploring their own sexuality (I know I was when I was a kid). And in the absence of access to clear, comprehensive education about such matters – at school or at home – curious kids will find their own way. Unfortunately from what I remember of my own childhood, as well as what I glean from my limited interactions with young people today, kids are finding their own way often involves perusing porn on the Internet (which overtime may lead to them developing a skewed view of what real life sex is like); seeking advice from their equally ill-informed peers; or worse yet, picking up tips from someone older and “wiser” than they, who may not have the most altruistic agenda – if you know what I mean. So, is it wise for parents, teachers or any other adults else genuinely concerned with the well being of the children in their lives to avoid open dialogue about sex due to embarrassment, awkwardness or fear? I think not.

Instead of telling kids to just say no, deflecting their questions about sex and/or buying them modern-day chastity belts in the form of boy shorts emblazoned with anti-sex messaging, the grown-ups in their lives would do well to provide them with accurate and age-appropriate information about sex when they indicate that they are interested and ready to receive it. Because with or without the help or influence of the adults who care about them most, kids will always find a way to see and learn about sex. Just as most adults, including myself did (long before the advent of the Internet I might add) when they were kids.

This article was previously published on December 14, 2011.

Follow B. A. on Twitter at @BA_Dobson.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Fact or myth: Red wine is good for you

by Greg Thomson

There’s nothing like a great red wine when the snow starts to fall outside and the fireplace once again becomes a gathering place to warm chilled bones.  And of course there are rationalizations – I don’t think I could get through a single day without a few great rationalizations. In this case, it’s the favourite: “Red wine is good for me.”

I have a lot more trouble with this after the report I did on cancer for Charity Intelligence. I read many studies that showed a link between alcohol consumption and the incidence of numerous cancers, including breast, colon, and liver. My father died from colon cancer, so I am a tad uneasy with this particular rationalization. However, there is also a lot of data on the side of this argument that I like.

While there is still little causal data, many studies have shown a correlation between moderate consumption of red wine and reduced mortality. Some studies show benefits from white wine and other alcoholic beverages, but the resveratrol and flavonoids – the main causes of the benefits – are found in grape skins, and red wine stays in contact with its skins far longer than white.

The “health benefit” that I like the best is the so-called French paradox. The French and Americans have similar high-fat diets; however, the French have a much lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and some evidence points to the increased consumption of red wine by the French. I love red wine with a juicy steak, so I’ll accept this evidence.

Moderate wine consumption has also been correlated with lower stroke incidence, fewer kidney stones, and reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s. So overall, I’m perfectly happy believing that, as long as I continue to have regular colonoscopies, my two glasses of wine (sorry, “moderate consumption” means only one glass for women) are, on balance, “good for me.”

Wine Reviews

Dominus Estate, Christian Moueix, California, 1997 ($100+) 94
This wine has an absolutely gorgeous aroma full of earthiness and fruit.  The taste is the definition of terroir – you can sense the soil on your tongue.  Leather, peat, and overripe strawberry meld in beautiful union.

Chateau Trotonoy Pomerol, France, 1995 ($150+) 92
What a treat.  It fills the mouth with earthy flavour mixed with licorice, dark chocolate, and deep ripe cherries.  I love a wine that can bring so much together and yet melt in the mouth.

Flor de Pingus, Spain, 2000 ($100+) 91
Ribera del Duero is one of my favourite regions and this Duero is a beautiful wine.  Nice tannins and mouthfeel.  Flavour is tobacco (leaf, not smoke) mixed with cherry candy.  Absolutely sumptuous.

Altesino Brunello di Montalcino, Italy, 1997 ($100+) 90
Wow.  Big, peaty wine with loads of tannins – I can feel the health benefits in my teeth.  Aroma of soil (with a hint of manure!) and flavour bursting out all over.  Chocolate, black plum, and earth all mix together well, but provide a hint of irritation at the end.