Let it snow

Just like the weather, I can’t decide whether I want winter to officially make its mark or have spring get here as soon as possible. But regardless if I’m ready, winter finally reared it’s ugly head with Winnipeg's first blizzard of the season and temperatures hitting -30s. Like many Manitobans, I hate the cold. But as ironic as this may sound I love winter sports, ugh. One of my new favorite winter activities is snowshoeing. I love how I can go wherever I want and don’t need to follow tracks and go through any amount of snow I want.

For Christmas, I got a fancy set of Atlas snowshoes and with all the mushy weather and bad scheduling, I haven’t been able to make it out. But now after parts of Manitoba got a 30cm snow dump this weekend I ready to go out. Hitting the snow is a fun workout and way to enjoy the winter. While winter seems to last 8 months out of the year why not take make the best of it instead of hibernating inside and putting on those unwanted winter pounds.


Controversy in the chamber

The Rachel Brown Theatre on Bannatyne was a packed house Friday night for the second showing of In the Chamber, but I have to wonder if the show was sold out because of the 50 odd Red River CreComm students?

Regardless, each seat was full with people eager, or anxious, to see the play written and performed by Steven Ratzlaff and Gordon Tanner. I’ve got to tell you, I went to the play not expecting much, and I still don’t know how I really feel about the whole thing.

The play was two acts with each of the writers performing a monologue. In the first act, Gordon Tanner gave his monologue in front of a video camera destined to find its way to his big boss of some multi-national hog farming business. Tanner spoke about how the animals are treated at these farms, and how research has concluded that hogs really don’t need much in the way of space to stay healthy. What I enjoyed about his monologue was the compelling research and information about what goes on. His character was an employee of the company, which made his comments and accusations all the more believable. I was also shocked to find out just how little space is given to the hogs in their pens as Tanner knelt in the small space he described as being the dimensions of the cage.

But what I didn’t like about it was the jargon, the long tangents Tanner went on as he dealt with his mixed feelings about the whole situations. He would make a good point and then get distracted by his thoughts leaving me struggling to keep up. After about 20 minutes of this I gave up. The dialogue was way too long-winded and the writing did nothing to interact and engage the audience. Another thing I disliked about Tanner’s monologue was his use powerpoint. With the stage lights lighting up the set I had to squint to see what was presented on the screen.

While there were some things I did and did not like about the first act, I can tell you for sure I didn’t like the second act. Steven Ratzlaff took the reins and began to delve in the very controversial and difficult subject of health care in this country. Let me just say, I had no idea what Ratzlaff was talking about. I know his character had lost a child and then went to work for the very industry his wife believed killed his child – wow. Either way, all I have to say is the system isn’t perfect, but what system is? The system allows Canadians equal opportunity to get the health care they require, but it struggles to keep doctors in the country and keep up on all the new medical technology – even though I think we’re doing pretty good. But how can you compete with our neighbour to the south who offers limitless money and resources for doctors, because it’s the individual who pays and they will pay any amount of money. In a capitalist society, how can you blame doctors for only getting what they deserve for all their years of education and hard work? But think of the millions of people in the states who don’t have health care, and don’t even have a chance to pay for the treatments they need to survive let alone the services of a family doctor. Private health care will not make our system better; it will only make it worse.

I felt the play was boring and lifeless, but I blame it on the writing. I thought the actors did a wonderful job trying to explain extremely complicated and difficult subjects. Tanner and Ratzlaff made excellent points and brought up topics that many people might not know anything about, but the dialogue fell short of keeping the audience wanting to hear more.


Fibre 1, is it your best source of fibre?

How much fibre do you get everyday? Do you get the 21-38 grams of fibre/day that is recommed by Health Canada? Chances are you don’t. According to Rennie Benedict, registered dietician, most Canadians only get around 12 grams/day. According to an Ipsos-Reid survey conducted in October 2009, one in four Canadians believe they aren’t getting enough fibre. When asked how much fibre they consume each day only 16% said they consumed 25grams and 60% had no idea how much fibre they consumed each day.

But fibre is super important in order to be in good health. It helps keep you fuller longer, because of its bulk. There are two types of fibre: insoluble fibre and solubable fibre. Insoluble fibre is found in the skins, peels, seeds, and roots of fruits and vegetables. This type of fibre helps bowel movements flow nice and smooth, and may decrease the risk of colon cancer and gastrointestinal disorders. The second, soluble fibre, works to control blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol levels. Soluble fibres are in oats, oatmeal, beans, and fruits like apples, strawberries, and citrus fruits.

The point of all this is that fibre is crucial to include in your diet. So crucial in fact that a lot of companies, like General Mills, started to make great tasting snacks to help people get their daily recommend intake of fibre. Fibre 1 is a great tasting fibre bar drizzled with chocolate or caramel with tasty chips inside. From just one fibre bar, General Mills claims that you’ll receive 20% of your daily intake. But just how good are these bars for you? The first ingredient on the package is glucose-fructose, which is just the scientific term for sugar. As you keep reading, you’ll find the whole grained rolled oats, crisp rice, and barley flakes; but in between are these huge, unpronounceable names that most people don’t know what they are. So I decided to take a look into some of them and what I found changes the way I look at these bars. But decided for yourself.

High Maltose Corn Syrup (concentrated sugar)

· Largely suspected that it is a contributor to American obesity, diabetes, and other blood sugar ailments because it is found in so many of the foods we eat.

· Limit dietary intake

extremely high amounts are bad

· Research has shown that it’s no worse than regular sugar. All sugars should be consumed in moderation

· Corn syrup is not natural and it may contain mercury

Honey Glycerin

· Sweet tasting

· Most commonly used in soap and other beauty products

Palm-kernel oil

· Extracted from the seeds of the oil palm, a tree native to Africa.

· Not really healthy. It is extremely high in saturated fats and low in essential fatty acids. In other words, it’s not good to have it in your diet.

· Straight palm oil is much healthier, but palm-kernel oil is cheap.


· Is produced from corn, potato, or rice.

· Considered to contain fewer calories than sugar.

· Used in all types of foods from canned fruits to snacks.

· More easily digested than regular sugar, so scientists believe it no does cause as many health issues, which could be a good thing for people with type 2 diabetes.

· Has less than four calories per gram and extremely small amounts of fiber and protein.


· Is hydrogenated oil/fat, usually know as “trans fat”.

· This is something in the ingredients that should be avoided.


· Also known as vitamin E

· Fat-soluble antioxidants

· Protects red blood cells

If you want more information from people who have more knowledge than me or just a good opinion check out these other sites:

Diet blog

Fitness Mantra

Cheap Eats



A hypnotizing public relations event

The mind is a mysterious thing. The way we feel and think affects every aspect of our lives. But people tend to neglect the importance of their mental and emotional health and spend more time bettering their physical health. Mental and emotional health is difficult to understand and I think intimidates people. For many years problems with mental and emotional health have stigmatized people with being crazy. But things are changing. Society is beginning to urge people not to disregard mental and emotional health issues, but instead nip them in the butt.

One way in which people try to find out what’s going on in their minds is through hypnosis. Hypnosis can help people get over their fears, quit smoking, deal with confidence issues and many other matters of the mind. On January 4, 2010, World Hypnosis Day, a British hypnotist named Chris Hughes organized Socialtrance, a hypnosis session on Facebook and Twitter. Hughes was trying to set a Guinness World record for the biggest online hypnosis session. Over 31,000 people from 85 different countries logged onto to the session. Hughes attempted to test the power of his hypnosis by locking together participants hands and making it impossible for them to open their eyes. Hughes’s goal was to help people have more self-confidence and motivate them to achieve their goals in 2010. By January 5, 17 hours into the session, lawyers stepped in and cancelled the event due to their concerns participants would get stuck in the trance. However, Hughes still feels the event was extremely successful. He said he has received over 1,000 email from participants saying how amazing the experience was and how they would have never tried hypnosis if it wasn’t for this event. Even if the session was stopped by lawyers, Chris Hughes achieved his goal of educating people about hypnosis and getting them to try something they normal would not have.

Thanks to this event Hughes received coverage is British newspapers and online as well as getting the hypnosis community interested and talking about him.