That Time of the Month

This one's for the ladies....

Gentlemen consider this a warning. You may find this blog entry a bit on the gross side. Why men find a woman's menstrual cycle gross beats me. It's our bodies cleaning themselves out once a month. Kinda like your cleaning lady (Oh the day I have a cleaning lady) purging your refrigerator once a month. Throwing out expired condiments, molding vegetables and that mystery food in the tin foil (remember that from Married with Children?). Men for some reason think bleeding from you know where is gross. I can name a million other things that gross me out. For instance, explosive baby diarrhea with traces of whole raisins or the need for men to lift their rear ends to pass a putrid gas that smells of rotting eggs. What's up with lifting their rears anyway? I can't even mention my menstrual cycle to my partner without him scrunching up his nose, turning his head away from me and saying, "Honey, please!" My response, "Really? Not the time! My vagina feels like it weighs three hundred pounds, I can't straighten out my torso from the stabbing pains in my abdomen, I think I may have just lost a litre of blood and I just cried watching  an Ivory soap commercial. Now is really not the time to be grossed out over some blood!" Okay well, I've never really said that to him but it's what I wish I would say when I replay my day.

This past cycle was not too bad. Reason being, I followed my own Nutritional advice that I give to my clients on a daily bases. Even though I'm a Nutritionist it doesn't mean I eat clean all the time and just because I am a Pilates Instructor and a Personal Trainer doesn't mean I exercise every day. I'm a human being and struggle with balance just like everyone else. So finally after a few painful cycles I finally remembered a little write-up I did for a client who was experiencing major mood swings and painful periods. A simple go-to guide on what to include in your diet when it's that time of the month. I hope you find the advice helpful, your periods less painful and moods more balanced.

Foods that Fight PMS


Research has shown that women with PMS have lower blood levels of calcium around their time of ovulation compared with women who don’t have PMS symptoms.

Reduce bloating and improve mood by including these Calcium-rich foods into your diet: yogurt, milk and cheese (if no allergy or sensitivity is present), calcium-fortified soy milk (Organic is best), broccoli, white beans, sesame seeds and kale.


In certain studies, women with PMS who ate a diet high in magnesium-rich foods had better mood and less water retention than women who did not get enough magnesium

Some magnesium-rich foods include: pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard, wild salmon, sunflower seeds, cashews, quinoa, potato (with skin), soybeans, legumes, peanuts, peanut butter, chick peas, brown rice, and whole grain bread.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is one of the necessary ingredients required by the body to manufacture dopamine, one of the mood neurotransmitters. Some studies show that a diet high in B6 reduces irritability, depression, and breast tenderness.

Vitamin B6 foods include: fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, garbanzo beans (chick peas), wild salmon, extra lean beef, chicken breast, white potatoes (with skin), oatmeal, bananas and lentils.
Chamomile tea

Premenstrually, chamomile tea may be particularly helpful because it contains properties that relieve muscle spasms, and may therefore help reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. In addition, chamomile seems to reduce tension that may lead to anxiety and irritability.

5-Must Eat Root Veggies

You'll find an abundance of fresh, local and cheap root vegetables this time of year in your local grocery store or farmer's market. Root vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals and are delicious!
Not to mention economical!

Here are 5 root veggies you should include in your diet:

Beets - Beets are your Liver's best friend. They improve your liver by thinning bile and allowing it to flow through the liver and into the small intestine more freely. Bile breaks down fat and stimulates peristalsis (digestive tract muscle contractions that move food along) it also reduces the risk of forming gallstones. Beets also protect against cancer, Alzheimer's and osteoporosis and neural tube defects in babies.

Carrots - Carrots are one of the richest sources of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant which fights free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that disrupt the structure of other molecules, resulting in damage in the body which than can lead to disease.

Parsnips - Parsnips support your digestive system by promoting healthy bowel movements due to its high fibre count. Parsnips are high in folate which is essential if you are trying to conceive, are pregnant or breastfeeding. This B vitamin protects a developing baby from neural tube defects.

Sweet Potatoes -Sweet potatoes contain high levels of anti-oxidants. They are known for lowering blood pressure, promoting a healthy cardiovascular (heart) and integumentary (skin) systems, increasing your stamina, are a great source of potassium and iron and are a slow releasing carbohydrate which keeps you fuller longer.

Squash & Pumpkin- Squash contains high levels of Vitamins C & E, antioxidants that decrease your risk of cancer, cataracts and heart disease. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc (helps reduce hair loss) and Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) Omega 3 & 6.

Butternut Squash Soup
• 2 medium butternut squash, each cut lengthwise in half, seeds removed
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 medium stalks celery, chopped
• 1 medium cooking onion, chopped
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
• Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
• 3 ½ cups of chicken stock
• 2 cups water
• Roasted pumpkin seeds and fresh chives for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil. Place squash halves, cut sides down, in lined pan, and roast about 45 minutes or until very tender when pierced with knife. Cool until easy to handle, then, with spoon, scoop squash from skins and place in large bowl. Discard skins.
2. Meanwhile, in 5- to 6-quart saucepot, heat oil on medium until hot. Add celery and onion, and cook 10 minutes. Stir in cumin, chipotle chili, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; cook 30 seconds, stirring.
3. Add broth, water, and squash to saucepot; cover and heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes.
4. In batches, ladle squash mixture into blender. With center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape, blend squash mixture until pureed. Pour soup into large bowl. Return all soup to saucepot and heat through. Garnish each serving with pumpkin seeds and chives. Makes 10 1/2 cups.

The information presented here is not intended to replace professional medical care when needed. Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for disease diagnosis, therapy choice, medicine selection and dosage. 

Supporting your Nervous System

It seems like the last few weeks have been a blur. Searching for a home is stressful to say the least. I feel like I have been going through the daily motions of life and not stopping to "smell the roses" like I try so consciously to do. Being a mom, working full-time, taking care of my father and most recently a first time home owner is wearing me down. Before I have a nervous breakdown I need to take my own "Registered Holistic Nutritionist" advice and smell the freakin' roses before my Nervous System back fires on me.  Below is a handout I give to some of my "stressed out" clients.

The Nervous System is the master control center in the body. It is designed to allow rapid internal communication by detecting and responding to constant changes inside and outside the body. None of our body systems (Digestive, Cardiovascular, Immune, Lymphatic.etc) are capable of functioning alone as they all work together to maintain homeostasis (balance). The Nervous System is the chief of all the systems.

Here are some recommendations to support and keep your control center healthy.
Reduce or eliminate caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. Heavy daily caffeine use (4 to 7 cups of coffee a day) can cause: insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, nausea or other gastrointestinal problems, fast or irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, headaches and/or anxiety.

Reduce or eliminate cigarette smoking. "Many smokers perceive smoking as a way to calm stress, when, in fact, what they're doing is satisfying nicotine cravings and withdrawal," says Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society. "In many respects, smoking — or the delay in having a cigarette — is the cause of stress."

Drink two liters of pure water daily. Avoid tap water and water softeners. Replace tea and coffee with herbal teas and restrict intake of alcohol. Alcohol decreases the function of the cerebellum. The cerebellum is responsible for muscle co-ordination, maintenance of balance and posture.

Consider taking a high quality Vitamin B complex and a proper ratio of Calcium:Magnesium (facilitate nerve conductivity).

Incorporate these potassium rich foods in your daily dietary regimen which support the adrenal glands: raw almonds, avocados, yams, lettuce, lentils, spinach, pineapple, strawberries, kale, bananas and brown rice.

Incorporate foods rich in EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) which are beneficial for hyperactivity in children and nervous system conditions such as, depression and "burn out", in adults. Some of my favourite EFAs sources are flax seed and salmon.

Practice stress management: yoga, long walks (without your blackberry), shiatsu, massage (massage will also help with skeletal and muscular problems)....

 deep breathing meditation and spiritual readings.

How To Meditate: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Art and Science of Meditation [ILLUSTRATED]Meditation For Dummies (Book and CD edition)Stages of MeditationThe Soul Of Healing MeditationsThe Meditation Bible: The Definitive Guide to Meditations for Every Purpose (... Bible)

CIBC Run for the Cure: Make a donation and WIN BIG!

This year, Team Tiger Lily will join tens of thousands of Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life to participate in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure is Canada's largest single day, volunteer-led fundraising event dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer research, and education and awareness programs.

Together we support the vision of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. To create a future without breast cancer.

Team Tiger Lily's Story

I first participated in 2005 and ran the 5k on my own. I made the front cover of the Toronto Star (amongst the other runners). My mom was so proud she bought 10 newspapers, laminated the cover and mailed copies to family members across Canada, the US and Italy. What a proud mama!

In 2006 my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. She fought with grace, never complained, kept smiling and passed away with dignity on August 27, 2007.  I ran alone again in October 2007 but this time I dedicated my run to my mom. The run was the beginning of my grieving process. I felt like it was the first time I was able to exhale in over six weeks.
Today Team Tiger Lily consists of 10 members and counting. We walk and run for not only my mother but for everyone who has been touched by cancer. This year our goal is to raise $10,000.00 for Breast Cancer research. As team caption I more than determined to reach this goal. Why? Because I remember so clearly this one afternoon sitting in the chemotheraphy ward at Mount Sinai Hospital with my mother. A volunteer who was a Cancer survivor was distributing snacks to the chemotherphy patients and their families. She was a beautiful and cheerful woman. Always so warm and kind to my mother and the other patients. That one afternoon my mother turned to me and said, "When I get better I am going to volunteer my time to Cancer patients just like she is."
If my mother was still here there is not a doubt in my mind and heart that she would be dedicating her life to making a difference in Cancer patient's lives. Because my mother is not physically here anymore it is my honor and duty to fulfill her dreams. Because my mother was so proud of me when I did my first run in 2005 I continue to put forth my energy and enthusiasm in the CIBC Run for the Cure. So much so I am offering a HUGE prize to one lucky donator. See below for full contest details.

Your legacy will live on forever....

Make a donation and WIN BIG!

Here's an amazing contest to one (1) lucky My Wholesome Home follower. You must live or can travel to Toronto, Ontario to redeem your prize.

As you know I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. I am offering my Customized Nutrition & Lifestyle Program to one (1) lucky donator.

Here's What you can WIN!

Customized Nutrition & Lifestyle Program

Each of us is unique bio-chemically. Each of us has our own unique lifestyle patterns. Each of us should therefore have a unique nutrition programme.

Initial Consultation - Our initial consultation will determine where you need to make changes to get the most out of your body. In-depth Lifestyle Assessment Form and Nutritional Symptomatology Questionnaire to help determine the best approach for your current concerns and nutritional imbalances. You will also bring along your Weekly Food and Mood Journal for review. You will be asked for your input as to what changes you are able to bring to your life at this time.

Program Design - Individualized nutrition program developed based on LAF and NSP Questionnaire findings as well as client’s concerns and goals; complete with meal plan, recipes, supplementation recommendations and shopping list.

Program Presentation- Thorough explanation of program, weekly meal plan, supplementation recommendations, shopping list and educational reading material.

3 Follow-up Consultations – Client will bring in their Food and Mood Journal as well as any questions and/or concerns they have regarding their Customized Nutrition & Lifestyle Program. I will make adjustments to the program if needed and offer analysis to keep you on the right track.

Total value of $550.00

Here's How to Enter:

Step 1 - Become a My Wholesome Home blog follower.

Step 2 - Visit my Personal Donation Page and make a $50 donation (1 entry = 1 comment below); $100 donation (2 entries = 2 seperate comments below); $250 or more (3 entries = 3 seperate comments below).

Step 3 - After you make your donation leave a comment below like, "I just made a donation!" and be sure to include your e-mail address to make it easy for me to contact you if you win.

Remember if you donate $100 leave 2 seperate comments; $250 or more please leave 3 seperate comments.

CONTEST CLOSES this Sunday October 3, 2010. at 7am. One (1) lucky winner will be chosen via and contacted by e-mail. You MUST be able to travel to Toronto, Ontario to redeem your prize. Prize is accepted "as is" and cannot be redeemed for cash.

To make a donation please click here

Good luck!

Lots of love,

Melissa and Team Tiger Lily

Preserves: Green Tomatoes

You may be saying to yourself, "Preserved green tomatoes, really?" Yes, really! They are delicious!

I can remember eating green tomatoes since I was a kid. Slap these suckers on a fresh piece of Panna Victoria (Italian bread) and you've got yourself a real Italian apristomaco(appetizer/starter).

My Nonna passed this recipe on to my mother and my mother to me. I now share this old family recipe with all of you.  It's easy, economical (you use the tomatoes that haven't ripened over the summer), rewarding and delicious! Buon appetito!

What you'll need:

  • Green Tomatoes 
  • Celery stalks
  • Carrots
  • Peeled garlic cloves (one in each jar)
  • Fresh Oregano
  • Sea Salt (enough to coat tomatoes)
  • White Vinegar
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Large bowl
  • Sharp knife
  • Vegetable peeler 
  • Mason Jars

Your supplies

Pick, wash and dry green tomatoes

Slice tomatoes

Generously coat tomatoes in sea salt and soak in white wine vinegar for 4 hours.

Pick and wash celery (these beauties are from my garden)

Chop celery

Chop carrots and toss with celery

After tomatoes have soaked for 4 hours; drain and squeeze the remaining liquid from tomatoes. Toss with chopped celery and carrots.

Tightly pack tomato and vegetable mixture into sterilized mason jars. Fill with vegetable oil, add a peeled garlic clove and top with fresh oregano.

Seal jars tightly and either 1) Keep in refrigerator for up to 12 months. 2) Keep in dark cool place (cantina) for up to 2 months. 3)  Boil jars for 20 minutes and store in cantina for years!