September 2011

Fabulous Female Friday – Olympian Kara Lang

It isn’t everyday that you get to interview your own role model. It isn’t everyday that you get to chat with her over email like you’ve known each other for years. And it isn’t every day that you get to share her story with others. But today I get to do all those things and I’m super-stoked to be featuring one of Canada’s best female soccer players.

Today I’m featuring Kara Lang, Olympian and World Cup soccer player. Kara was a member of the women’s Canadian National Team and she’s also my favourite athlete and soccer player.

I love watching women’s soccer on TV, specifically Canada’s team. I love observing all the players but I’ve always identified most with Kara because of her style of play.

Though my skill level doesn’t come close to Kara’s, I do like to think my style of play is similar, just down a few notches. I admire Kara not only for her skill in soccer but also her positive outlook on life and her passion to pursue her dreams.

Please join me in getting to know Kara Lang more intimately.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m 24 years old. I’m a former World Cup and Olympic soccer player, graduate of UCLA and now I teach Yoga and work on-air for Rogers Sportsnet.

What was it like to be the youngest women ever to play for Canada’s National Team?

I think at the time I was almost too young and naive to fully understand all that was going on around me. I just knew that I loved soccer; that I loved representing my country and that one day I wanted to be an Olympian.

I was also very fortunate to be surrounded day in and day out by so many inspiring and influential women at such an important age in my development. You couldn’t have asked for better role models and I learned so much from them both on and off the pitch.

At the age of 24, you retired from women’s soccer, how difficult a decision was that to make?

It was absolutely the most difficult decision I’ve ever made. I knew that it would be very hard to walk away from that lifestyle. For so many years it was all I’d ever known. It was extremely scary. But the hardest part was saying goodbye to my teammates. They were like a second family. You don’t really realize how lucky you are to have a constant support group surrounding you 24/7 until you don’t anymore.

Nothing can really compare to being a part of a team, and I miss that the most. But I also knew that at 24 years old I was way too young to be feeling as old as I was.

The last year leading up to my retirement was miserable. I felt like I was constantly fighting an uphill battle and eventually realized that I couldn’t push my body any further. I was getting injured all the time because I was constantly compensating for my knee and I was sick of being in pain.

I’ve always believed that happiness is a choice we make ourselves.

When I was told that I’d be facing a knee replacement in the future if I continued, I knew it was time to make a decision. For so many years it was eat, sleep and breathe soccer. It’s a huge sacrifice and it means you don’t have much time to pursue other things. I’ve always had other interests and I’m excited to have the opportunity to pursue other dreams now.

While I may not be able to play soccer anymore, I know that as long as I’m challenging myself and working hard to achieve my goals, I’ll be happy.

At the end of the day I’m grateful for the career that I had and grateful for the opportunity to now have a second one. I’ll always be involved in the game and hopefully I can continue to have an impact because it’s something that I’ll always be very passionate about.

Did you watch the Women’s World Cup? What was it like to be a spectator?

I did. I actually worked for Sportsnet as an analyst during the tournament. I think being so busy, and having my own challenge in front of me during the tournament was probably the only reason I was able to get through it. Had I been sitting on my couch watching the games from home as opposed to in the studio, focused on our broadcast, it would have been very difficult to watch.

There were definitely more than a few moments where I wished I could have been out there in the Canadian jersey alongside my friends and former teammates. But since it was my first experience in front of the camera, there was no time for self-pity! I had a job to do; a very nerve-wracking and exciting job at that.

The whole experience was so much fun and it certainly confirmed for me that broadcasting is what I want to do.

Contrast that with playing at the 2008 Olympics Games, what was that like?

I’d dreamt of being an Olympian even before I ever touched a soccer ball. I remember watching figure skating with my mom at 4 years old and knowing that one day I wanted to be there. Obviously it just wasn’t in the cards for me as a figure skater (not that I didn’t try; I skated for 4 years before choosing soccer).

There’s no other way to describe the Olympics other than a dream come true.

Going to the World Cup is one thing because in soccer it’s considered the pinnacle of the sport, but being a member of the Olympic team; being surrounded by so many world-class athletes, not just in your sport, but in every sport!…it’s pretty special.

With the absence of soccer at a competitive level, what are you doing to keep busy?

I practice yoga daily, and teach at our family’s studio – shunyata yoga in Milton.

What keeps you motivated to pursue your passions?

I think having the goal to always be doing something I love is my biggest motivation. I don’t believe in spending 90% of your week at a job you aren’t passionate about, no matter how much money you’re making.

As a soccer player, I was lucky enough to live a lifestyle where I got to do something I loved day in and day out, so I know how great that can be and I won’t settle for anything less. That’s not to say that it was always fun and it certainly wasn’t easy or lucrative!

The sacrifices were worth it because I was passionate about what I did and I was excited to do it every day.

There was a lot of dirty work involved. Fitness testing, training in the rain, long travel days, time spent away from loved ones, injuries. I felt that same way working at Sportsnet and that’s why I know it’s what I want to do now!

As a role model to young girls, what advice would you give them on pursuing their dreams in general and their dreams of playing soccer at the highest level?

I would say that no dream is too big and that anything is possible. As a player I was always driven by the idea that somewhere someone with the same goals as me was working harder than I was. Nothing worth having ever comes easy and nothing feels better than achieving a goal that you put it all on the line for.

As for soccer, I think challenging yourself and pushing yourself to the limit is the only way to improve so when I was younger I always played a few age groups up. If your own age group isn’t challenging enough, you’ll get comfortable and develop bad habits. Then if you do get the chance to play at the highest level, you won’t know how to deal when you aren’t the best player on the team anymore.

If you’re used to always being a big fish in a small pond you have to learn how to be a small fish in a big pond and fight tooth and nail for your position.

What’s the last song you listened to on your iPod?

Ooh that’s a tough one! I’m such a music geek, I can’t just pick one! Can I do a few?

You Should Do Better, Cut Off Your Hands, Heart in Your Heartbreak, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Caregiver by Memoryhouse (an awesome band from Toronto that I saw live the other night!)

What’s the last book you read?

I’m always reading a few at one time so Bossy Pants by Tina Fey- and Those Guys Have All The Fun (inside the world of ESPN).

Thank you so much to Kara for taking time out to share some insights with us. We’ll miss you on the pitch but look forward to following your broadcasting career. Best of luck!

For more on Kara Lang visit karalang.ca

City Mom

City Mom’s Apple Cider – Recipe

Apple Cider Recipe

Fall means a few different things to me. First, it’s my favourite season. I think I’ve said that before.

Second, it means that a few, very specific foods hit their prime and there’s no other time to enjoy these warming fares than fall. Think pumpkins, butternut squash and apples.

This weekend we went apple picking. How can you live in Southwestern Ontario and not go apple picking? We made a visit to The Dwarf Tree Orchard on Byron Baseline Rd. It was a beautiful fall day and what made it even more special was that the weather was supposed to be cool and rainy. Instead we got a warm, sunny afternoon to enjoy fall’s gifts.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE A LOT OF APPLES

Make apple treats of course! So as you probably know I’m still on the DETOX program but the good news is that apples are highly respected on the program. So I decided to create my own apple cider recipe. Not only did I get to make use of some fresh-Ontario produce, but I also got to ensure that nothing but natural ingredients went into my recipe.

CITY MOM’S APPLE CIDER

Ingredients

  • 8 medium-sized apples
  • 5 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 tbsp all spice
  • Filtered water
  • Sugar – optional

Directions

  1. Wash the apples with a fruit and veggie spray wash to ensure all pesticides are removed. Quarter the apples and place in a large pot.
  2. Wrap cinnamon sticks and all spice in double-layered cheesecloth and tie.
  3. Fill the pot with filtered water to just cover apples.
  4. Place the cheesecloth package in the pot of water.
  5. Bring to a boil covered. Once boiling remove lid and boil for one hour.
  6. Turn heat to low and simmer with lid on for 2 hours.
  7. Remove from heat and allow cooling.
  8. Once cool, strain mixture using a mesh strainer or cheesecloth. You may want to restrain if you do not want any sediment.
  9. Squeeze remaining juices from cheesecloth package into the container.
  10. My suggestion is to taste the cider before adding sugar. My batch does not have sugar but I must admit it would probably taste a little better with some sweetening. Add sugar to taste much like you would with a cup of coffee.

What are your favourite fall recipes? What do you love about fall?

Enjoy!

City Mom

DETOX Diaries – Week Two

Dr.Sara DETOX  

If you missed the first two Dr.Sara Detox posts check them out here.  

WEEK 2 STATS

Weight loss = 7.2 lbs
Inches lost = 1 inch around waist
Waist to Hip Ratio Start: 0.81 – Moderate Health Risk
Waist to Hip Ratio Today: 0.79 Low Health Risk 

Your health is affected by where fat is distributed on your body. People who carry more weight around their waist (central obesity) compared to their hips are at greater risk for developing the following health conditions: high blood pressure, high cortisol (stress hormone), cardiovascular diseases and type II diabetes. 

Week 2

Day Six was the day we were able to add some new foods. No more vegan diet…for some. I surprised myself by taking to the vegan lifestyle very well, so I decided to skip the meat. For others chicken, turkey and  fish were introduced.  

Brown Rice Flour Pancakes

 

EMOTIONAL CLEANSING

Now that we’re well underway with the DETOX, it’s time to take a look at the other aspects of one’s self. We’re not just physical bodies; we’re also made up of heart and soul. This week it’s time to focus on cleaning out our inner selves.  

Dr.Sara gave us an assignment to find one item that we haven’t used for five years but that at one time meant a lot to us and get rid of it. Since I just moved last year, I had recently gone through this activity. Nothing came into our new home that didn’t already fit these criteria.  

I did decide to go through my nightstand (that tips over when both drawers are open) and purged some books, magazines and odds and ends that I had been saving for some reason or another. It felt good to say good-bye to things I wasn’t using and now it doesn’t topple over when opened.  

We also discussed our relationships and our outlooks on life. Participating in a DETOX is both a physical and emotional endeavour and many of us shared stories about the changes we were noticing in an emotional way. It was a really positive and motivating group meeting. I’m so thankful for the support.  

IT’S NOT JUST WHAT WE EAT

Every day we are exposed to numerous toxins. Some we can’t control, unless we moved to a deserted island, but some we can. Think about the products you use in your morning routine. Shampoos, creams, toothpaste, soap etc. Most of the products contain dangerous chemicals that in small doses may not pose a threat, but used regularly over time they can expose us to a large amount of cancer causing toxins.  

This week I switched to natural body soap. I totally love the feeling of my skin after washing. The soap rinses off really easily and leaves no residue behind. I can’t afford to switch all my bathroom related products as once, so I’m taking small steps; one product at a time to help reduce the toxins entering my body.  

HITTING A SLUMP

This past weekend was the first full weekend that I spent on the DETOX. It was a bit rough. For some reason I missed my coffee more than ever. I longed for a hot, steamy pumpkin spice latte while strolling through the woods with my husband and daughter on a beautiful fall day. I did find some hot apple cider which hit the spot but I learned that coffee isn’t just a drink to me. It represents many things and has many meanings in my life and I am very attached to it.  

This feeling lasted into the middle of the week; a general tired, blue type feeling. But the good news is that midweek, I perked up. I realized I was up to a seven pound weight loss and I was feeling leaner in my torso. And the achy, swollen feeling had disappeared from my gut. I wasn’t feeling like a nap as often and I wasn’t hitting my  mid-afternoon low.  

DAY 12 – A MILESTONE

I’m half way there! Thursday was Day 12 and that increased my excitement because I was able to introduce some more new foods. Tomatoes, bananas, eggs, tofu and grapefruit were among the list of foods. This opened up so many more meal options and made life a little easier.  

I was so excited to be able to make Tofu Chilli, Apple Walnut Muffins and Banana Nut Smoothies from the Dr.Sara DETOX manual. Delish!  

Apple Walnut Muffins

 

The next five days will be similar; healthy, clean foods and hopefully more physical and emotional benefits.  

Read my final week journal!  

Check out the Dr.Sara DETOX program to learn more.  

Happy & Healthy,  

Making Time for Play – Part II

Kinder Surprise 2012

Kinder Surprise 2012

Now that school is back in session and we’re back to our normal, everyday lives, making time for play is more important than ever.

My favourite thing to do on any given day is to spend time with my daughter and my husband as a family doing fun stuff. Unfortunately I`m not able to spend most of my time doing this. I’ve got my career, household chores like cooking, grocery shopping etc. and my own personal endeavors like blogging, exercising etc.

Including my daughter in as much of my must-do’s as possible is a win-win scenario. Not only do I get to spend more quality time with her, but I also get to knock a few things off my To-Do list. Here’s one creative way I ‘play’ with my daughter while completing a family necessity.

CITY MOM’S COOKING SHOW

Did you know that I have my own cooking show? It’s true I do. A few times a week the cameras start rolling in my kitchen as my daughter and I, a.k.a. Chef Kellé and Chef Kate, create healthy and fun meals.

We pretend there are cameras following our every move in the kitchen. We provide commentary on our actions as we prepare our meal and instruct our viewers on how to follow along.

I’m not exactly sure how we created this game but I think it came from my secret desire to be on TV and perhaps hers too. Little S has always loved to help me in the kitchen but now we’ve made a game out of it and it’s one she truly looks forward to. As soon as she hears that clatter and clang of the pots and pans in the kitchen, she comes running, ready for another day of taping. We love this time together and it achieves so many positive things.

Kinder Surprise 2012

LET KIDS BE KIDS WITH KINDER® CANADA

Children learn through play and while it may appear as just play to an adult, this is actually kids at work. Letting kids be kids is the most important gift we can give to our children and KINDER® believes in this philosophy whole-heartedly, and continues to strive to create moments of joy for families across Canada.

Right now on the Kinder Canada Facebook page 10 Lucky community members are going to win a KINDER® gift basket full of goodies worth $200 to be drawn on Oct. 12.  And this is just the first of many exciting promotions and contests being offered on their Facebook page. If you aren’t already, head over to the Kinder Canada Facebook page to get in on all the fun and enter the contest.

So how do you balance your busy family life with play? Share your tips!

Disclosure: I’m part of the KINDER® Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

City Mom

DETOX Diaries: My first 5 days

Dr.Sara DETOX

If you missed my first DETOX post you can catch up here.

Day One – No chewing

Today was a difficult day. It started off with a glass of water and lemon and ended with exhaustion! I found many food combinations that tasted great but I spent hours in the kitchen cutting, chopping, peeling and blending.

I wasn’t as hungry as I expected I’d be after consuming only liquids and pureed foods and not being able to chew. This is something  I learned; when you chew, you send a message to your brain that you’re eating food and your brain responds by sending the food down the full digestive tract. On the other hand, if you don’t chew, the food you consume goes a different route giving your digestive tract a much-needed break.

I’m really looking forward to seeing some benefits and feeling healthier overall. I’m happy I started this journey.

Day One suggestion: Coconut Curried Carrot & Squash Soup (from the Dr.Sara DETOX Manual) – this was a life saver. It was tasty and filled the void felt from not consuming solid foods.

Day Two – I can chew!

Well, I lost 3lbs yesterday! Seeing that number on the scale go down makes it all the more worth it.

I had a terrible sleep last night. I couldn’t seem to stay asleep for any significant length of time and woke up multiple times with hunger pangs. I persevered though and woke up this morning looking forward to some ‘real’ food; food that I can chew.

I started with my glass of water and lemon and devoured some juicy green grapes. I’m washing all of my fruits and veggies with a special fruits & veggie wash to ensure all pesticides and chemicals are removed.

I’m dying for a coffee. I am substituting with Green Tea but it’s just not the same. Bonus is that Green Tea increases your metabolism so it’s a win-win situation but I can’t stop thinking about coffee.

The first five days of this plan follow a vegan diet. I had no idea being a vegan was so much work! Today I felt lethargic and kind of blue and a little nauseous. I didn’t feel much like cooking so I nibbled on some fresh fruit and veggies and the soups from Day One. Near the end of the day I got my energy back and perked up. I can see a silver lining.

Day Two suggestion: the Dr.Sara DETOX Forums. It’s like having access to your own personal doctor 24/7. You can ask any question, big or small and Dr.Sara will personally reply within 24 hours (always sooner though). You can also read past posts to learn from others and gain support from people who are going through it with you.

Day Three – Renewed hope

I lost another pound today. That’s 4lbs in total. When I looked at myself in the mirror this morning I immediately noticed a less bloated look in my stomach area and my skin appears to be brighter and clearer. Hmmm…maybe I can do this after all.

Today was my first day being away from the house all day. I wasn’t sure what to pack for lunch but Day Three is also the day I can begin to add some grains to my diet like brown rice, Quinoa and Buckwheat. That made it easier to throw some things into my lunch bag for convenience.

I made a visit to Organic Works yesterday and picked up some delicious vegan breads. If you’re a gluten-free fan you’ll love this bakery. It’s located on 222 Wellington Street. I’m so thankful they’re so close by.

I’d kill for a coffee. Today at work someone was brewing a pot and the whole office smelled like it. This was a good time to read my ‘Committed to the Cleanse Card’. It’s a small card that Dr.Sara provided where you write your reasons for committing to the Cleanse. You can keep in your purse or wallet and pull it out when you need a reminder. I just keep telling myself, it’s only 22 days. That’s nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Honestly, the obvious results and in such a timely manner are what are keeping me going. Long term I want the positive health effects, but when you’re struggling it’s the immediate gratification that pulls you through.

Day Three suggestion: My newly created vegan pasta recipe that incorporates brown rice pasta, red pepper, zucchini, garlic & olive oil. Check it out here.

Day Four – This is easy

You read that subheading right, this is easy. I’m shocked to see myself write that but it’s true. I have always had a love/hate relationship with food. Mostly love. The part I hated was my inability to control my eating and not being able to say no to the cravings.

Day four has brought a pleasant surprise (one I read about but didn’t believe would apply to me) and that is the fact that my cravings for sweets and unhealthy carb-type snacks is gone. Dr.Sara explained this phenomenon to us at our first support meeting. It has something to do with the yeast in our digestive tacks and with the Cleanse it’s eliminated and therefore no longer able to ask for demand sugar and refined carbohydrates.

I’m feeling more energized and I actually noticed on day three that I didn’t hit my after-lunch-low that I usually get while working in the office. I’m not hungry as I can eat whenever I want.

The only inconvenience I feel at this point is the work involved in creating the healthy meals. It’s true that good things are more work so this makes sense. It’s something I have to get used to and learn to plan ahead, which I’ve done for this Cleanse. I hope that as the days go by, I get more and more comfortable with the process and it becomes seemingly less work.

Day Four suggestion: Quinoa Fruity Cereal (from the Dr.Sara DETOX Manual) – a great way to start your day. A stick to your ribs meal.

Day Five – Just a regular day

It feels like a normal day, which it is. I woke up, drank my lemon water, ate my millet cereal with almond milk and blueberries, packed my lunch, grabbed a Green Tea from Tim Hortons and came to work.

Sure, I thought about tackling the guy ahead of me at Tim’s and taking his coffee and chugging it back with no remorse but I know better. Coffee can wait and so can I.

I’m steady at a 4lbs weight loss and feeling ‘calmed’ in my digestive tract. I’m feeling good and hopeful. Interesting thoughts are entering my mind. Things like ‘maybe I’ll become a full-time vegan or vegetarian at the least,’ or ‘maybe I’ll replace one coffee a day with green tea.’

Day Five suggestion: The Online Dr.Sara DETOX Program. The program I am participating in allows me four, one hour, in person meetings with Dr.Sara and the DETOX group for education, support and discussion. The Online program is a bit cheaper and will provide those not interested in group meetings or who are not local to London with the same DETOX program.

Read my week two journals.

The Effects of Media on Children

City Mom

It’s been said that today’s parent faces a unique challenge that the generations of parents before us did not have to face. And that is raising children in a world that is so technology focused. The creators of this technology never actually grew up with it so we’re sailing in uncharted waters so to speak.

Personally I find it totally overwhelming when I hear the conversations around technology and television and our children. There’s good news though and that comes from Dr. Dimitri Christakis, the author of The Elephant in the Living Room: Make Television work for your kids.

Dr. Christakis says that not all technology is negative, “There are many very high-quality television programs for children…and many ways we can help make technology work for parents.”

This levels the playing field in my opinion and I’m eager to learn more. How can I find a healthy balance of media usage for my daughter? How many hours of television is okay and what type of shows are going to do more good than harm?

DR. CHRISTAKIS COMES TO LONDON

Fortunately I’ll be able to learn the answers to these questions on October 11 as Montessori House of Children presents The Effects of Media on Children with Dr. Dimitri Christakis.

Dr. Christakis will be in London to educate parents and caregivers on how to reduce, modify and optimize media usage in children ages 0 – 18. He’ll provide constructive and developmentally appropriate alternatives to screen time.

EVENT DETAILS

  • Date: October 11, 2011
  • Time: 7 – 9:00 p.m.
  • Where: Shuttleworth Auditorium, St.Joseph’s Health Centre, London
  • Cost: $20 per ticket
  • Tickets available at Montessori House of Children, Main Office at 711 Waterloo Street or call 519-433-9121 or email reception@montessori.on.ca

What a great opportunity for London parents to learn this important developmental information for our children.

Enjoy!

City Mom

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