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Owner, "MAP Wellness" - a culinary nutrition and wellness company. Writer. Passionate cook, raw food chef, reiki practitioner, yoga teacher, and LIVE WELL educator. ​do yoga. enjoy good food. run. plant food. cook. savour wine. read books. buy good food. love. grow your energy. find peace. enjoy food. have passion. skip. eat food. do yoga. listen to jazz. have presence. be present. bike. read. see. hear. be. live. love.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

One Year later

Today is the day.  One year ago, the universe decided that it was time.  Whatever, whoever,  this higher power is that reigns over us declared May 29, 2011 as my fathers last day to be here in his body, on Earth.  
This deciding entity had moved to have him be ill, suffer, and have disease long before that (or not really all that long at all actually, as he was only diagnosed 15 months prior to his passing), as the ALS and FTD that took over his body had decisive plans. 

This day changed the course of reality.  For him, for our family, for every person and life that my father touched while here, and those he hadn't yet had the chance to.  I still hate everything about this situation.  I am angry, frustrated, sickened, heart broken and sad.  I am forever changed.  My life is forever different.  

And God dammit it is hard.

Every. Single. Day. 

I don't see that changing any time soon.  The constant reminders will always be around; fathers are everywhere, after all, and each time I witness a tender interaction between dad and daughter, a hug shared between son and his senior...I get the "pang".

The pang of pain in my heart that I won't ever get those opportunities again.  The pang of guilt that I hadn't cherished ALL OF THEM, when I had the chance.  

The pangs of regret for not saying what I felt, acting how I wanted too, spending the time that I should have...

What does get me by is memory.  Recalling all the greatness that my father was, the happy moments, the puns, the stern yet loving manner in which he raised us girls.  For the first few months after his passing, it was hard to remember "healthy dad".  He had been ill with the dementia and ALS for only a short time, but those were the recollections that were in the forefront of my mind; both the good and the bad; the goofy smile he always had on his face, the clumsy way he went about daily tasks, the tender look in his eye when I knew he was non-verbally thanking my mother for all she did for him...

Now I try to remember my father the way he would have wanted me to.  I recall the strong, determined, athletic man that he was, with quick as a whip wit.  I remember the softball coach in him, the teacher, the hobby farmer, the traveler, the western movie fan in him.  The grandfather, the daddy, the husband, friend, and son in him.  I remember him as him.

A year is a long time, and not a long time.  A lot has changed, a lot has stayed the same.  Only my dad and I know what has really gone on in my I know he is an angel, with me all the time, my conscience, my motivation, my source of strength.  At his funeral there were many folk who told me of how proud my father had always been of me.  I hope he would continue to say the same now and in the future, as I work to better myself, my life, our world.

One year.  And it still hurts so bad.  

I love you dad, I miss you dad. XOXO Forever. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Universal Energy & Other Sharing

Summer is here! The scents, signs and sweetness have been felt in here in Ontario over the past couple of weeks.  If you didn't know any better, you'd think Spring was playing hookie, only to have her older, more mature sister take the reigns prematurely!  And I am a-okay with that - Summer, you can drop early anytime.

I recently made a trip back to my hometown to spend some quality time with my mother.  That woman is a rock.  Just this morning, as I was out for my sunrise run, I got to thinking about her. I can not recall the exact reason why she ended up the focus of my running meditation, but she did nonetheless.  Perhaps it is because in the back of my mind I know that in two days we mark the exact one year anniversary since the death of my father.  Perhaps it is because my mother has been an outstanding image of strength, courage and complete inspiration over the course of the past 363 days.  I am in awe of her ability to learn and grow in such a way that she has; taking over every little life detail that my dad once resided over.  She has filled her new-normal life with an abundance of fulfilling activities; seeing theatre shows weekly, volunteering at the local playhouse gift shop, becoming an active member of countless organizations, and also still taking the time to attend many ALS and FTD related groups as a supportive "knower".  My mom has weekly card game days with her girlfriends, and sings in the church choir.  She gives her time to the local rummage and penny sales, and if you have a knitting question, you can be sure you can count on her to help. Now that the warm season is here, she whiles away her free time (if she has any?!) in her backyard, caring for her perennials and annuals alike, and tending to her fruitful vegetable garden, a treat for us all come harvest. 

My mother lives an abundant and thriving life, with a youthful glow unlike any other woman her age I know.   My mother is who she is even after being dealt an alarming amount of misfortune in her years.  You see, my mother lost two sisters and a pregnancy in 1979 (less than a year before I was conceived).  She lost both her Dutch parents and a sister and brother in-law in the 90's.  My mother lost her best friend, lover, partner and husband, my father, in 2011. 

But she is still smiling.  God, I only wish I had half of her strength.  And am I so damn proud to call her my mom.  Love you!!

Mom, as we shopped for gorgeousness last weekend at home

Okay, so as mentioned, I spent some time in Exeter recently.  My mother is many wonderful things, but one thing she is not, is vegan.  However, there is always lots to eat in my mom's kitchen, and I am happy to say that I was able to make do with what we had, and improvise plenty of yummy, balanced, and creative meals to enjoy in the comfort of home.  To that end, when mom picked me up from the bus station that visit, we opted to make only a couple of pit-stops before heading home to bask in the backyard sunshine, neither of which included the grocery store.  Stop number one as a country nursery for flowers, stop number two was the LCBO.  :) Perfect. 

Improvised vegan burgers on the grill, PLUS fresh asparagus from mom's garden!

Recipe success: vegan cashew waffles

Stop number three was Canadian Tire, where mom wanted to pick up a new water filter.  Yay!  Not so yay?  Seeing "Roundup" pesticide displayed under lock and key.  WHAT IS IN THAT STUFF THAT THEY FEEL THE NEED TO LOCK IT UP??  Frightening.

The following Saturday morning, we hopped in mom's brand new car (she finally bid adieu to Dad's convertible and her older model SUV in favour of one shiny new set of wheels), and were off to visit my Grandma Pearson.  My Grams is 94 years old.  She lost her husband, my Grandad long before I was brought into the world, and raised 8 kids all on her own.  Talk about another pillar of strength, huh?  Her health has been deteriorating over the last couple of years, worse since my father died.  She had already buried my uncle Jim, and now dad.  Not really fair for one mother, but she is still trucking along, laughing at jokes, worrying about what outfit she has on, the shape of her manicure, and whether or not I am safe living in the big bad city of Toronto.  She may be completely blind, slightly hard of hearing, and confined to her high end wheelchair, but I think Grams is here for a long while yet.  Her mom, my Great-Grandma lived to be 103 years old, after all.  Resilience is in the family DNA. 

Perhaps I should serve my grams with some Reiki next time I visit....

Reiki means universal energy (Rei = universal, ki = energy)
I am now officially a Level 1 Reiki practitioner!  Yup, that's right, I even have a diploma to prove it.  A few weeks ago, on the sunniest of Sundays, I chose to spend 9.5 hours indoors at a lovely Davisville integrative health centre, learning and attaining the "attunement" I needed to share the healing power of Reiki.  


Reiki is one of the more widely known forms of energy healing. Energy healing involves direct application of Ki for the purpose of strengthening the client’s energy system (aura). Ki (in Japanese) or Chi (in Chinese) is the term used by the Chinese mystics and martial artists for the underlying force the Universe is made of.  After being initiated by a Reiki Master, the practitioners’ (that's me!) energy aura is modified in such a way that the hands are now capable of sending (channeling) Reiki energy in a spontaneous way, continuously, without effort. This capacity or ability to heal others and oneself will not be lost or changed (raise or shrink) during the practitioner’s entire life. 

I am doing my "Reiki of 7 levels" certification, hoping to move onto level 2 in late June.  For now though, I need to get practice in.  I plan on offering up my services to friends to gain the hours and confidence I need and hope to do treatments out of my flat very soon. Once again I have been blessed by the serendipity goodness of life, and upon mentioning my need for a "practice" table, my dear friend Mary from my culinary course offered up her folding massage unit for my use!  


Anyone feeling out of sorts?  I might be able to help cure what ails ya.  :)

So that is what is going on here.  I will have another follow up post soon, as well as an update on my first ever Culinary Nutrition Workshop that I taught last weekend; super fun!  For now, here is just a teaser - me = teacher:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Green Recovery

Life happens.

I was feeling neglectful today; having not posted here for weeks.  I do have a few ideas for a nice lengthy post to do over the weekend, but for now, I will simply share a little something that feels like a real milestone.  I have been less than private about many things that have happened and are happening in my life up until now, as this blog really is my medium to face, accept, and move on from hardships, heartbreak, and herculean hiccups.  This blog is, after all, my place of hope, healing and happiness. 

A couple of weeks ago, I took a leap outside of my comfy site, and shared my struggle with bulimia via an outside source, a wonderful website called "Choosing Raw".  Gena Hamshaw is the creator, and she is also the brilliant creature behind the "Green Recovery Series" - stories written by and about folks that have found freedom from their eating disorders by adopting a vegan lifestyle.  After reading a few entries there, I knew I wanted to share my story.  So I did.  And she did.  And I got my very own special category of "recovery-in-progress", as I do believe that my recovery will be a life long project.

It felt GREAT to speak out.  And I feel so blessed to have received so many honest, touching, and inspired comments on the piece.  On behalf of all of us Green Recover-ers, and all that fight disordered eating, thank you Gena.  

Here it is: 

Saturday, May 12, 2012


New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York,
New York

Love that song.  I felt it, and played it over and over in my head whilst whiling away the time on my recent solo adventure into Manhattan, a certain affair to remember.

I am blessed to have been able to make this trip happen, as I am definitely not flush with money these days, with my various class and course fees  draining my back account.  But as luck would have it, I booked just earlier enough to snag a crazy good deal on round trip bus fare, and I was able to arrange superior accommodations in Washington Heights with a friend.  More on that later...

I left late on a Thursday, via the overnight Greyhound, beet and carrot juice in hand.  After a slick and quick trip across the border (yay, no illegal travelers on board!), I managed to squeeze in a few hours of solid shut-eye before awakening at 6:15am, just as the sun was rising over the Manhattan skyline, and and we were soon to enter the tunnel to the island.  Wow, what a view.  I knew at that instant, that this was going to be a weekend to remember. 

After our on-time arrival at the Port Authority terminal, it was only a quick jaunt up to Columbus circle followed by a short walk to ABC studios, where I had a VIP ticket to see "Live with Kelly".  Thanks to Kieran, one of the stellar producers at my TV show for hooking a sister up!  A perfect way to kick of my adventure.

Maggie Q with Kelly and co-host & hubster Mark

So how did I spend the rest of my trip, you ask?  Really? Well if you really do want  scoop, then keep on reading, friends!

First stop post-Live with Kelly: "Organic Avenue"- the BEST veggie juice joint in the city!

Lunch was the Aztec salad at Candle Cafe: Upper West Side.  Impeccable service, great atmosphere, outstanding food!  Funnily enough, as I jotted down notes in my scratchpad, glanced around the room engagingly, and just really "took it all in", I became pretty convinced the staff thought I was a food critic.  Half way through the meal, I had far more servers attend to me than necessary (with gushingly kind treatment), and my every move was observed until they pretty much followed out the door upon my exit!  Super fun; new career perhaps??

That evening, I was lucky enough to have scored complimentary admission to hear one of my inspirations speak live at "Spirit Junkie Church".  Okay, so it was actually Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village, but the huge crowd that assembled to hear Gabrielle Bernstein lecture on the topic of "Manifesting Desires", sure appeared a faithful following.  I love hearing her speak, and each time I do, I feel immense passion about all she inspires, and I always leave fueled for positive change.  She is a true sweetheart to meet, and a real smart cookie. 

My religious experience ended shortly after 9pm, and good thing too, as I had a hot date at "Pure Food & Wine" for 9:30pm with my long lost (cue the violins - no don't) cousin, Grace.  Grace is my father's-cousins-daughter, whom I met previously way back when I was in grade ten.  We had immediately bonded on that visit, getting all boozed up on rum and cokes on a boat in the neighbouring town (you'll recall, I had a very intimate relationship with alcohol at very young age).  I had not seen Grace since that time, but she was gracious enough to offer up her living room to me as my home away from home for the entire time I was in NYC.  So grateful. 

Hen of the Woods Tacos al Pastor - smoked guacamole, hearts of palm, chayote squash, guajillo crema fresca, pickled onions

Sweet Corn and Cashew Tamales with Chili Spiced Portabella - salsa verde, cashew coconut sour cream, avocado, raw cacao mole

Saturday morn!  What a glorious morning it was!  What better way to start off the day, than with a brisk ride into the Heights to hit up the local farmer's market!

Grace, with her hot tamales in hand.

That afternoon, I ventured out solo, and walked...and walked...and walked.  Here, just a few yummy moments from my day:

Lunch: Angelica's Kitchen, East Village

Mid-day, I met up with a fellow Torontonian and media professional, that I have known for, what, maybe ten years?  She and I met ages ago at CityTV, but have never had the chance to get together one on one while at home.  So what better time to meet up for drinks then when we both just so happen to be chilling in NYC?  Natalie was in town on business, but was able to free up a few (4) hours to meet for a therapeutic glass (or several) of bubbly at the Central Park Boathouse, the sight of my now irrelevant engagement proposal two years ago.  It was divine and full of wine, and a gorgeous day to enjoy the sunshine on the packed and pretty patio! 

Prettiness at Bryant park...

Last stop on Saturday, was my much anticipated dinner at "Candle 79", the grand-daddy home of vegan cuisines.  This comfy, cozy, classy resto is located in the Upper East side and was everything I had imagined.    I enjoyed a table for one in the upper level of the dining room, sandwiched in between two lovey-dovey couples.  That was just fine by me, as I had my city, my dress, and my glass of wine as my date, and was feeling just sublime.  I decided on an entree of their LIVE lasagna, a plate that served far superior to my delish version of the raw "pasta" dish from home.  I savoured this plate for well over 40 minutes, absorbing all the brilliant flavours and textures, eating every morsel with gratitude.  By 10pm I was ready for dessert, another glass of wine, and then I was off.  

A long walk towards home via Central Park, passing the classic carriage ride circle at the foot of the green-space, and I was ready to call it a night.  A weekend.  A milestone.  

That was my New York after all, a whole new round of memories, each one my own, each one a gift.  

It was a hot date indeed, and I am already planning my next rendezvous with my American lover come July.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Just Wow.

I was just thinking about how much my day job rocks.  Seriously. So what if I have to wake up by 4am every day, and I need to nap just to live a somewhat "normal" life?  I have the pleasure of walking into my "office" every morning knowing that I get to work with the most amazing team of on-air talent that never fail to crack me up consistently day in, and day out.  I also have a super talented crew of producers, technical personnel, and production staff that make my job as studio "mom" both fun and exciting. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Not to mention, I get to be one of the first people to meet every single celebrity and not-so-celebrity that walks through the door, and man oh man, have I met a few icons!

Case in point - Connie Chung.  WOW.  Gratitude.  That is all. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Grand Predictions!

The universe appears to be on my side today!  And if all that is written in my stars happens to come true, than today, my friends, is going to be a gooood day.  I'm just sayin. 

Each morning, I have two separate and usually very different horoscope forecasts sent my way via email.  Today, here is what they had to say:

Scorpio- Wednesday, May 2, 2012
The stars will bestow you with all the energy you need to further your goals and plans. The waxing Moon will help you burst through whatever restrictions have been holding you back. A certain degree of upheaval is involved, but you won’t mind that a bit once you get a whiff of the success that awaits you.

Your horoscope for May 2, 2012 
 If you've been working toward manifesting extra money in your life, meg, today you'll probably see it happen. Your inner powers of mind-over-matter are given a special impetus by copious physical and emotional energy, and you might just see the results you've wanted in finance and in other matters as well. Business and career interests should also be going well, as could any personal projects of your own. Keep up the good work!

Not too shabby I'd say.  And it just so happens, I have a few exciting things in the works right now, and extra cash, energy and willpower are just what this gal needs! 

Oh, and sort of in the same realm of life shifts and change, I thought I'd share a picture.  As it is it clear, I am all about "putting it out there" these days; telling my personal stories has really helped me move on from a lot of crap in my life.  So here is an image of a moment that will forever be etched in my mind:

At a recent Gabrielle Bernstein lecture, I volunteered to admit my "burning desire" for change and fear release in my life...This is me exposing my secret to hundreds of strangers. On a mic.  Delightful.