My Sweet Marie

Archive for the ‘Health and Wellness’ Category

Today at our WW meeting I mentioned that I have a snacking problem! Understatement of the century! I love to snack! I will eat anything if you call it a snack! I asked the ladies if they could share their favourite snack ideas with me so that at least I could make better choices. Now for my Gluten-free and/ or dairy-free followers, I apologize, not all these snacks are GF or DF friendly! But here are some ideas for all the WW friends! No excuses this week as now I armed with great options. If you have healthy options, I’d gladly add to the list! Just comment and I’ll add them! Sweet snacking…

  • celery dipped in salsa =ZERO points
  • jello 1/4 pkg = 0 points
  • dried cinnamon apple slices= 0 points (dry 2 hours at 200)
  • Baked Kale chips= 0 points ( spices and kale, bake till crisp!)
  • Applesauce= 0 points
  • Frozen grapes= 0 points
  • Watermelon chunks with mint and red onion = 0 points
  • turkey mini bites= 1 point
  • Deli turkey slices 2 oz = 1 point
  • guacamole with carrots/celery 2 tbsp.= 1 point
  • banana broiled with Cool Whip 3 tbsp. = 1 point
  • apple with laughing cow cheese= 2 points
  • Hard boiled egg= 2 points
  •  2 tbsp. hummus with carrots/celery/peppers = 2 points
  • zucchini slices with 1/2 oz shredded cheese= 2 points
  • Roasted chick peas+ 3 points per 1/2 cup
  • Dare’s Veggie crisps= 3 points for 14 chips ( I bought them and bagged them )
  • ants on a log- celery with 1 tbsp. peanut butter topped with a couple raisins= 3 points
  • cottage cheese with celery 1 cup= 3 points
  • dark chocolate 1/2 oz= 4 points
  • almonds 1/3 cup = 4 points
  • apple with 1 oz cheddar = 4 points, go light cheddar and cut points!
  • 12 rice crackers with 1 oz skim mozza shredded =5 points
  • ice cream sandwich( graham cracker with cool whip) = 5 points
  •  1 cup cheerios with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk= 5 points

Well, I just got home from a disappointing weigh-in. I spent the weekend with my grand-children and family camping. We had a fantastic time, we played on the beach, we sang songs by the campfire, we ate yummy foods, forbidden foods and drank yummy drinks! OK maybe too many yummy foods and drinks. Should I be angry at myself? Should I be ashamed that I had a quality weekend with my family? Well, the Pollyanna in me chooses to learn from this experience rather then be angry.

Going into the weekend I did plan for the trip. I cut veggies and fruit so they were readily available, I made my foil packs, portioned to a healthy point value, I planned a drink that is low in points (coconut rum with water and lime, delish) and easy to make. I planned on getting loads of activity points in by walking and playing on the beach. Plans are good if you actually follow through with them, I did on some of this but not all. Also, you shouldn’t drink most of the bottle of rum because it gets harder to track the points!

So the truth is, I did eat my veggies and fruits. I even ate my canning jar oatmeal that I prepped for my breakfast. But I also ate a pancake or two that I made for the kids, I also had a chip or three when the others were having them. So I should be angry with myself but I’m not. Normally I would be but today, after a great meeting with some really great people, I realize that it’s ok to screw up, to step back now and then as it helps us appreciate the good weeks. It’s ok to mess up as I know that next time I camp, there’ll be no chips or pancakes(or coconut rum)! I will track next time I go and before I put that candy in my mouth, I will have to decide if I can ‘afford’ the points. So, lesson learned.

So, you say, what is the motivating factor? Well at the meeting we discussed what will get you back on track, some said I’ll read my “success handbook”, some said “I’ll re-boot”, start over, some said “I’ll plan this week”. Those are all great ideas and I do have my success handbook out already but what motivated me was on the way out the door, I said to Mike, let’s see who loses the most this week, and he said sure, let’s do it! Well, I am a very competitive person so watch out Mike! You know I’ll lose now!

So my plan is simple, I will exercise in some form of activity, everyday. I will plan my meals and likely see fish on there a lot this week! I will track. I will drink my water (sans coconut rum). I will eat protein at every snack or meal, that’s what keeps me full and not wanting junk.

So ladies, gents, what will you do this week to stay on track, to keep motivated? I’d love to hear your comments!


Sweet Marie

In case you hadn’t noticed, I like my food, I like my meals, but snacks are very important business! I am back on the wagon, the Weight Watchers wagon that is, so snacks are fine but let’s rein them in, or so I’m told! Here are my top ten favourites, and I’ll even include their WW points value! Some days you need the low point snacks and some days the high point ones are what you want! Here are a few options for you. If you have ideas for more, please comment and I will make another list!

Top Ten Snacks

  1. Kale chips ( 2 cups kale, 1 Tbsp olive oil) =  3 points per serving
  2. Rice cake with 1 Tbsp peanut butter (natural, chunky)=3 points
  3. Baked Corn tortillas x 3( season with taco seas. and spray with Pam) serve with salsa = 3 points
  4. Rice crackers (12) with 1 Tbsp almond butter = 4 points
  5. Popcorn (2 cups popped) with 1 Tbsp olive oil = 5 points
  6. Roasted Chick peas (1/4 cup serving) = 2 points
  7. Lentil chips (22 chips) = 2 points
  8. Almonds, raw, unsalted (1/4 cup) = 4 points
  9. Lime avocado ( cut avocado in half, squeeze lime juice and top with black pepper) = 5 points per half.
  10. Raw veggies with Hummus (carrots, celery, cukes, peppers) = 2 points per 2 tbsp.

Enjoy folks, I enjoy hearing what your favourite snacks are!

I have been gluten and dairy-free for two years now. every once in a while, I get people asking me advice on where to get this or that, what should I eat etc. I thought I’d post some helpful tips for those that are newly gluten-free or have been for a while!

Surprising products which you’ll find gluten in:

  • soy sauce ( I buy gluten-free soy sauce)
  • licorice
  • malt vinegar
  • beer (though you can find g.f. beer easily these days)
  • communion wafers
  • modified food starch (corn starch, potato starch are fine)
  • medicines (talk to the pharmacist)
  • breading (really is this a shock?)
  • canned soups and dry mixes or cubes
  • salad dressings
  • imitation seafood
  • imitation bacon (buy the real thing!)
  • many canned sauces or marinades
  • pasta (rice or corn pasta are great)
  • lunch meats
  • gravy (make it homemade!)
  • oatmeal ( oats are technically gluten-free but beware if they’re processed in a plant that processes other products.)
  • graham cracker
  • barley
  • Spelt, rye, durum, Faro, Kamut, Semolina

Tips for dining out:

  • Call ahead and not at noon or the dinner hour! Tell them of your allergies and ask questions. Restaurants are getting better informed on the issue and have figured out if one person in the group is gluten intolerant then that whole group will go to a restaurant that is gluten friendly! I like Bertoldi’s in London!
  • Talk to the server when you arrive, if you feel he/she is clueless, ask for the manager, this is your body and your health we are talking about. You can be firm and respectful at the same time.
  • Don’t be afraid to send something back. I recently had lunch out and told the server I was gluten intolerant and my lunch came with a big chunk of French bread on the plate full of crumbs! I did not send it back and had a nasty reaction, no more Mrs. Nice guy with me. Next time it goes back.
  • If dining for sushi or Chinese, bring your own soy sauce, I do and have never had an issue. Be wary of fake Krab in the sushi.

Tips for baking:

  • look for recipes that are gluten free, trying to convert a regular recipe by just exchanging the flours will not work well.
  • try almond flour in your baking (ground almonds)
  • coconut flour is awesome too!
  • you will need to stock xantham gum in your pantry for baking
  • you can get a gluten free flour mix that works well in cookies, pastries etc

Well that’s all I can think of right now, please leave me comments of the things I failed to mention! questions are welcome too! Good luck with your new lifestyle, I am sure you will feel better for it real soon!

Sweetest regards,

Sweet Marie



Let me start by just saying that growing up, I was raised as a good Catholic girl! You memorized your prayers and never wavered from them! You said them over and over again until you remembered them by rote.  I can’t say though that I ever prayed with my family, not that I can remember.  Yes, we all went to church together every Sunday, all of us sat in a pew together, Mom and Dad and eight little blond heads! We looked innocent enough!

Recently while in Australia, I found myself living with a family to whom I was practically a stranger! They were incredibly hospitable, kind and generous! What amazed me most were their prayer meetings in the morning, the whole family. I found it touching to say the least.

I don’t know how common this is, as I’ve never experienced anything like it, so truly I may sound a bit like an idiot here! Forgive me if I do. They would gather in the family room, sit around and discuss who they needed or wanted to pray for. I was incredibly touched when I was included in these prayers.

They would start with the youngest child, and then one by one they would talk to God and ask for healing for the sick, patience with loved ones, guidance for surgeons, strength for family needing it, and so on. I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed, it was truly lovely.

I thought to myself, why didn’t I do this with my family, children? Are there many people out there doing this? If not, why not? Why are people so afraid to pray to God? If you’re not doing this, I hope you’ll try it and pray with your loved ones, you could help so many!

I was with them for six short days but feel as though I have known them a lifetime, they have changed how I think about prayer and I how look at life. I only hope that someday they can come to Canada and I can repay their kindness!

Love to you all in Australia!

Sweet Marie

Did you ever have get tingles up your neck when someone is telling you something? Today I was attending a networking breakfast and one lady got up and talked about Soup Sisters. It’s a non-profit charitable social enterprise dedicated to providing comfort to women, children and youth through the making, sharing and donating of soup.

If you know me, you know that I am the soup queen! Actually there a few soup queens and kings in my family! It’s what we do! Mom taught us well! I bring soup to the homes of the sick, to people who have broken their arms or legs, had babies, got new jobs, to people who have lost someone etc. It’s the comfort food that fits all occasions and to hear of an organisation that makes soup for our women shelters here in London, well I am feeling the pull! I can’t help but think, I can do this! I need to do this!

Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers was founded in 2009 by Calgarian Sharon Hapton who had a very simple belief in the power of soup as a nurturing and nourishing gesture that could make a tangible difference.  Hapton believed that two of societies most prevalent issues, domestic abuse and youth homelessness would benefit from the care and warmth that comes in a bowl of  soup. A powerful message that says ‘we care’ is now being delivered to over 20 residential shelters across the country through home-made delicious soup made with the finest ingredients.”

“The concept is simple. Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers are year-round programs where participants pay a $50 registration fee to participate in a soup-making event at a local professional kitchen under the guidance of a chef facilitator. Each event produces approximately 150-200 servings of nourishing soup that are delivered fresh to a local shelter. Events are social evenings with lively conversation, chopping, laughter and warm kitchen camaraderie that culminate in a simple, sit-down supper of soup, salad, bread and wine for all participants.” (Quotes from

Can you imagine gathering a group of girlfriends, spending an evening cooking, giggling and eating? Throw in a glass of wine and bingo…girls night out! To make it all worth while, you are helping a great cause and feeding women and children who need a little leg up!

If you think you’d like to help, please go to for more info and perhaps they have a group already set up in your city! They always need volunteers and/or more participants!

Warmest Regards,

Sweet Marie

You may not know this about me but I am hugely goal oriented! When I was in the foodservice industry I would win SPIFS (sales promotion incentive funds!) all the time. I have won a bike, satellite dish( On Denis’ birthday), TV, cash and you name it and I likely won it! So I have set a new personal goal for myself, fabulous by 50! I have 5 months to get there…I better get my rear in gear!

When I say fabulous by 50, I mean my health, my attitude and my size. I have a big belly and that is not good. I don’t want to be Barbie, cute as she is, I just want to make sure that I don’t bring on diabetes or any other health problems that I am genetically pre-disposed to. I am not setting any certain number yet, just would like to get rid of the belly and go from there.

My plan of attack is to monitor my nutrition intake like a guard dog of the hen-house! I will keep a log to make sure I don’t cheat…this is serious business! I plan to up my work outs. Right now I do three a week so I am going to do 4 work outs a week, it may kill me but won’t I be fabulous?

For my attitude, I am going to try to stay positive and surround myself with people who live in the positive world in spite fo their circumstance.  I need all the encouragement I can get so feel free to call or write and ask how I’m doing. I love feedback of all types!

To celebrate the Fabulous by 50 I plan to start a Red Hat Society chapter in my area, you have to be 50 so I will get the wheels in motion soon so that I am ready when that 50 hits me in the face! Have you ever been out anywhere and you see a group of these ladies? every time I do, I admire how they are having a great time, laughing and giggling. I once interviewed a woman re:the Red hats and she was just marvelous. It keeps you young and I plan to hold at 50, thank you very much! I still want to celebrate my birthday every year, I just want the candles to be 5-0! Always! I may change my opinion on that, who knows…that’s a woman’s prerogative!

Any tips, recipes and/or inspirations are much appreciated. I will post whatever I can!

Countdown time…hugs from,

Sweet Marie