February 2012

The Heart-Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookie in the World

February 29, 2012 • Written by

I don’t know if you are like me, but no matter how healthy I may try to eat, I have to have a treat at least couple of times a week.  I seem to be okay.  Well, here is a Heart-Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe to try from the Vegetarian Times site.  I know I am going to!

Submitted by Margarita Natcheva Rowley, Diversity and Immigrant Student Support

 

The Heart-Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World

When you replace butter and eggs with ground walnuts, and all-purpose flour with a blend of oat flour and oatmeal, you get a moist, chewy, vegan cookie that’s loaded with good-for-your-heart ingredients.

Ingredient List

Makes 30 cookies

  • 3 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups oat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3 3.5-oz. bars bittersweet vegan chocolate, chopped, or 1½ cups vegan chocolate chips (12 oz.)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.

2. Blend walnuts in food processor 30 seconds, or until ground into a fine meal. Add canola oil, and blend 2 to 3 minutes more, or until mixture has the consistency of natural peanut butter, scraping down sides of food processor occasionally. Transfer to bowl.

3. Whisk together brown sugar and ½ cup water in small saucepan, and bring mixture to a boil. Pour brown sugar mixture over ground walnut butter, add vanilla extract, and stir until no lumps remain.

4. Whisk together oat flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in separate bowl. Stir oat flour mixture into walnut mixture. Cool 10 minutes. Fold in oats, then chocolate chips.

5. Shape cookie dough into 2-inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten cookies with bottom of drinking glass dipped in water. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies begin to brown and tops look dry. Cool 3 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

 Nutritional Information

Per cookie: Calories: 173, Protein: 3g, Total fat: 10g, Saturated fat: 3g, Carbs: 21g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 122mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 12g

An Interesting Read: Top Five Regrets of Dying

February 29, 2012 • Written by

I am not sure if it is just the time of the year, but it seems to me that I am running from one task to another and I need to remind myself to slow down, take a deep breath, and be present.  Once in a while, I have the need to look at the bigger picture of my life and to remind myself what I value in life, who I am, what I stand for.

I came across an article in my DailyGood news I get in my mail box every morning that I wanted to share with you. I hope you find it interesting, inspiring, and it might assit you to look at your life from a different prespective.

Submitted by Margarita Natcheva Rowley, Diversity and Immigrant Student Support

Top Five Regrets of the Dying

–by Bronnie Ware, Original Story, Feb 23, 2012

 

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

http://www.dailygood.org/view.php?sid=188

International Soccer Tournament – March 10th

February 28, 2012 • Written by

Are you tired of playing winter sports? We may have just the right cure! The Diversity and Immigrant Student Support Department invites you to register and compete in the 3rd Annual indoor International Soccer Tournament on Saturday, March 10th at the Notre Dame Campus. In partnership with the Recreational Service department, we have coordinated a fun tournament that brings students and staff together from all different parts of the world.

General Tournament Information
Date: Saturday, March 10th, 2012
Where: Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus, North Gym
Time: 12:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Teams: Maximum team size of 8 -10 players
What to Bring: Players must wear gym clothes, shin guards and indoor running shoes. In order to tell teams apart, please bring TWO t-shirts: one black t-shirt and one white shirt. Water bottles (optional).
Registration Options:

Option A: Players may register as a full staff team consisting of no more than 10 players. Players, who wish to register together, must indicate the same team name.
Option B: Individual players are encouraged to sign up. You will be randomly assigned to a team the day of the tournament.

IMPORTANT RULES:
No contact is allowed. This also means NO Charging and No Slide Tackling. This is a 6 player vs. 6 player style tournament, using traditional futsol Balls and Nets. Wearing cleats are NOT allowed.

To register, please pick up at registration form in the Diversity and Immigrant Student Support Department in D-206 at the Notre Dame Campus. If this location is not accessible to you, please e-mail Margarita Rowley, no later than Friday, March 2nd, 2012 to receive an e-copy of the registration form.

Contact Information:

Margarita Rowley
Immigrant Student Advisor
Phone: (204) 949-8393
Email: mrowley@rrc.mb.ca
Office: Building D, Room 206 Notre Dame Campus

Submitted by Diversity and Immigrant Student Support Office

Hockey Tips – Stickhandling

February 23, 2012 • Written by

Like many other Winnipegers, I’m a die-hard hockey fan who enjoys playing “oldtimer” hockey and watching the Jets on the tube.  Since coming back to the sport after a 15 year hiatus, I decided to improve my game so I’d be more than just a pylon on the ice.

So if you’re playing or coaching hockey or are interested in seeing some practical stickhandling tips, here’s an interesting video from Planet Hockey.  There are many videos on the web to choose from, but I liked this one (despite some low production quality) as the drills are interesting and it’s fun to watch some stickhandling magic.

Submitted by Mike Krywy, Research and Planning

7 Habits of Mindful Eating

February 23, 2012 • Written by

7 Habits of Mindful Eating

Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with the truth.
- Thich Nhat Hanh -

I don’t know if you are like me, but I eat in front of the computer quickly and then I go to the gym during my regular lunch hours.  I am not sure that this is the best and healthiest way for me to be. Here’s an interesting article from Daily Good News that Inspire that I receive every day in my personal e-mail.  I find that reading the Daily Good News is a nice way to start my day on a positive or inspiring note.

Seven Habits of Mindful Eating

“The rhythm of life is becoming faster and faster, so we really don’t have the same awareness and the same ability to check into ourselves.” These words are from an unexpected source: a Harvard nutritionist. Dr. Lilian Cheung, with Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh, co-wrote ‘Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life.’ “That’s why mindful eating is becoming more important. We need to be coming back to ourselves and saying: ‘Does my body need this? Why am I eating this? Is it just because I’m so sad and stressed out?’” In this 3-minute video, Dr. Cheung explains how honoring and being mindful of the food we eat makes us healthier. She offers seven practices for mindful eating — simple steps that we can take to maintain a healthier weight and live a happier life. We are what we eat — and how we eat it.

You can find a short video here.

Submitted by Margarita Natcheva Rowley, Diversity and Immigrant Student Support

The Heartsmart Potluck Challenge

February 23, 2012 • Written by

The Heart Smart Potluck Challenge

February is Heart and Stroke Awareness Month, and the Wellness Committee is excited to launch our Hearth-Smart Potluck Challenge.  The Wellness Committee challenges our college community to host a Heart Smart Pot Luck.  Get together with your colleagues or challenge another department  to a “Potluck Throw Down” to see who can make the tastiest Heart-Smart dish.

We are looking for delicious, Heart-Smart recipes to put on the Wellness Blog! If you’re not sure what to make, head over to the Heart and Stroke Foundation  and browse their extensive set of Heart Smart recipes.

Send your recipes and photos of your pot luck to ibright@rrc.mb.ca.

Eat Well and Have Fun!

Deep Breathing Exercises

February 21, 2012 • Written by

If you are one of those who has hard time slowing down and relaxing before going to sleep, you might want to give breathing exercises a chance. There are many benefits of deep breathing exercises, it can nourish your body and promote relaxation.  The article below by Andrew Weil outlines three deep breathing exercises to get you started:

Breathing: Three Exercises

three breathing exercises inside

Three Breathing Exercises

“Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.” Andrew Weil, M.D.

Since breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind. I recommend three breathing exercises to help relax and reduce stress: The Stimulating Breath, The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise (also called the Relaxing Breath), and Breath Counting. Try each and see how they affect your stress and anxiety levels.

Exercise 1: The Stimulating Breath (also called the Bellows Breath) The Stimulating Breath is adapted from a yogic breathing technique. Its aim is to raise vital energy and increase alertness.

  • Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
  • Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.
  • Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.

If done properly, you may feel invigorated, comparable to the heightened awareness you feel after a good workout. You should feel the effort at the back of the neck, the diaphragm, the chest and the abdomen. Try this breathing exercise the next time you need an energy boost and feel yourself reaching for a cup of coffee.

Exercise 2: The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise This exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.

Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.

Exercise 3: Breath Counting If you want to get a feel for this challenging work, try your hand at breath counting, a deceptively simple technique much used in Zen practice.

Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.

  • To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.
  • The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five.”
  • Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.

Never count higher than “five,” and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to “eight,” “12,” even “19.”

Try to do 10 minutes of this form of meditation.

Submitted by Margarita Natcheva Rowley, Diversity and Immigrant Student Support

Walking

February 16, 2012 • Written by

I love Walking. It’s such a healthy way to get around, and it doesn’t wreak havoc with my feet. I used to run a wee bit until plantar fasciitis came for a long, painful, visit. But walking has been beneficial; it’s kept me moving, it gets me outside and away from my computer.

Being a person who requires an external motivation, I’ve found that walking to a location is preferable to walking around a track or on a treadmill. Making a commitment to exercise can often be hard to keep up if it’s self-directed. If you live close to work or commute by bus, walking part of the way to work is a perfect motivator, particularly if you want to reach work in time. And at the end of the day, walking at least part way home from work is one of the best stress relievers available. Walking with a companion or two, either human or canine is a great incentive particularly if you can commit to regularly scheduled dates and times.  

At any time of year, Winnipeg is a perfect city to walk in and around. There are so many beautiful places to wander. At this time of year, walking in the city is a bit of an adventure. So far this winter it’s not snow drifts that get in the way, it’s the ice. A person has to stay alert and plot their course down a stretch of sidewalk, with lots of weaving from one side to the other, a bit of clambering over some piled snow, a couple of hops over icy bits, and one or two leaps of faith.   

If you are able to be mobile, walking is a convenient, easy-to-use method of staying healthy. It relieves stress, it can be meditative, or it can be exhilarating. Other than good shoes, no special equipment is needed. You can think, talk, sing if you want, and wander to your heart’s content, all while getting fit and healthy.

I’ll say it again, I love Walking … and Yoga and Zumba, but that’s another post, maybe.

Submitted by Nancy Ball, Research and Planning

 

Suffering from Keyboard-itis?

February 15, 2012 • Written by

Are you achy and stiff after a day on the keyboard? Wearing all kinds of wrist splints to fend off tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome? Your ergonomics are good, but you’re still suffering?

Consider the keyboard itself. Kinesis Corporation has a contoured keyboard that reduces strain by eliminating the excess stretching that traditional keyboards require. Research and years of commercial use have proven its worth.

   

The keys for each hand line a bowl to fit your relaxed fingers naturally. Keys are set at various depths that relate to the length of different fingers. The bowl shape means you do not have to reach as far. The layout is still QWERTY, but can be switched to Dvorak. The right bowl can also work as a number keypad (very easy if you use the optional foot pedal), which is much appreciated by those in accounting and finance.

Aside from relieving pain and strain, the contoured keyboard also improves productivity. While it might look awkward to new users, they soon find they can type more comfortably and even faster than before.

Learn more at: http://ergocanada.com/ec_home/products/alternative_layout_1.html
or see it in action (below) or at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxH7Uith0tQ

Submitted by Stephanie Fraser

Be a Healthy Valentine

February 14, 2012 • Written by

Like Halloween and Easter, Valentine’s Day is a mecca of treats and chocolates. While a box of candy or truffles might make a nice gift for a sweetheart, they’re not necessarily the best choice for your heart – or your waistline. Valentine’s Day is typically a day where you show your love through traditional gifts of candy and sweets, but why not share the gift of a healthy heart with your loved one instead?

Cook a Healthy Meal at Home

There’s nothing that says “romance” like taking the time out to cook your significant others’ favorite meal at home. Valentine’s Day is typically one of the busiest days for restaurants, so skip the reservations and spend time alone without all the chaos of a crowded restaurant. Because you’re not paying for an expensive dinner date, splurge on finer ingredients to make fresh, healthy dishes like Pomegranate Duck, Mussels, Roasted Rack of Lamb, or Filet Mignon with Mushroom-Wine Sauce.

Get Active

Who says you have to go to dinner and a movie? Think outside the box and plan a Valentine’s Day date that’s both romantic, and active. What not try skating? Many community centers across Winnipeg have outdoor skating rinks, and The Forks offers both a skating rink and skating trails, as well as rentals. There’s also the Assiniboine Credit Union River Trail on the Assiniboine River.

Dance lessons at one of Winnipeg’s dance studios, bowling, or even a romantic walk with hot chocolate along the Assiniboine River in St. Boniface are all great active date ideas.

 Make Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats

Eating some sweets on Valentine’s Day is almost inevitable. It would be cruel to deny yourself a treat or two, but at least you can have some control over what you’re consuming if you make them yourself. Whether it’s for the office, around the house, or for your child’s elementary school Valentine’s Day party, try these simple tricks and recipes to make this year’s Valentine’s Day treats a little bit more health-conscious.

  • Dark Chocolate – Substitute milk or white chocolate for dark chocolate (choose 70% coco or higher) in your recipes to maximize your health benefits, while still retaining that chocolate-y flavor. Dark chocolate has been proven to help lower blood pressure, curb cravings for sweet and healthy foods, and even help lower cholesterol.
  • Fruits – Strawberries, raspberries, and cherries are all romantic fruits, so why not try and build a tasty dessert around them? Dip berries in (dark) chocolate for a fondue, use them to make a fruit sorbet instead of ice cream, or top vanilla frozen yoghurt with berries and chocolate sauce for a sundae.

Submitted by Hayley Brigg, Creative Communications Student