Podcast: Label Lessons with Andrea Donsky

strocel.com podcast andrea donsky label lessonsWe all know the drill: Eat whole foods, mostly vegetables. Don’t eat too much sugar. Don’t eat too much fat. Don’t eat too much salt. Don’t eat things that come in packages. Don’t eat things with ingredients you can’t pronounce. There are lots of rules about what we should and shouldn’t eat, and most of us are at least somewhat familiar with them. Following them, however, is a different story. It turns out that junk food is so popular for a reason, and the reason is that it’s easy and it tastes good. So, when I had the chance to record a podcast with Andrea Donsky, founder of NaturallySavvy.com and author of Label Lessons and Unjunk your Junk Food, I was in.

Andrea is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, but she’s also a mom of three. Through her books and website she endeavours to help us navigate the aisles of the grocery store, making healthier choices. She’s pragmatic and non-judgmental as she does so, focusing on what ingredients we should seek to avoid, and how we can decipher ingredient lists and nutrition labels. Rather than lecturing us to eat more kale, she helps us to choose a better granola bar for when we need a fast snack on the go.

strocel.com podcast andrea donsky label lessons unjunk your junk foodDuring our podcast I asked Andrea just what a Registered Holistic Nutritionist is, anyway. We talked about what ingredients are red flags, and why. We discussed how to appropriately set limits on junk food with kids. We discussed organic food and genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. We talked about where to shop, how to shop, and why you have to vigilant when you’re choosing what to buy.

If you could use some practical, judgment-free help choosing food for your family, or you’d like to hear what seven ingredients you should be on the lookout for, you’ll want to listen to my podcast with Andrea Donsky:

If you enjoyed my conversation with Andrea, subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute of my future broadcasts. Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Podcast: Talking Tea for Mother’s Day

I love tea, as anyone who’s seen my annual tea stash challenge knows. I especially love buying tea. There’s something about a new tea that is so full of promise, I just can’t resist it. Because of that, it should come as no surprise that when Soko Tea House opened in my neighbourhood late last year, I was immediately smitten. As I was considering what to do on my podcast for Mother’s Day, talking about tea seemed like the perfect fit. So, I got in touch with Julie Veres, Soko’s co-owner, and luckily she agreed to connect for a chat.

strocel.com podcast soko tea house julie veres

Julie’s love for tea is so great that she’s actually spent years studying it, even going to school to become a tea sommelier. She’s currently exploring the Japanese tea ceremony in intricate detail. All of this sort of begs the question: just how much is there to know about tea?

strocel.com podcast soko tea house julie veresThe answer is a whole lot, as Julie explains in our podcast. Tea may seem like a simple beverage, but like wine, there are many nuances and variations to explore. And like wine, there’s also a lot to learn about pairing tea with food. In fact, Julie runs workshops at her tea shop most Sunday mornings, exploring topics like making matcha, preparing iced teas, the health benefits of certain teas and pairing tea with different foods. After all, tea is the most popular beverage in the world after water, and people prepare it in countless different ways.

If you’re a tea-lover, you’d like some tips on preparing and storing tea, or you’re planning a Mother’s Day Tea and need ideas, you’ll want to listen to my podcast with Julie Veres from Soko Tea House:

If you enjoyed my conversation with Julie, subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute of any future broadcasts. Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Repeat: Podcast with Non-Toxic Avenger Deanna Duke

This edition of the Strocel.com podcast first ran on January 6, 2012. It’s full of good stuff, so I’m pleased to be sharing it with you again.

Deanna Duke Non-Toxic AvengerI first came across Deanna Duke on her blog, Crunchy Chicken. Her tagline is, “Putting the mental in environmental,” and I was hooked. Some time later, I joined the Green Moms Carnival, which she also belongs to, and I was even more hooked. Deanna is funny, frank and passionate. When she recently published her first book, The Non-Toxic Avenger, I requested a review copy, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Non-Toxic Avenger chronicles Deanna’s quest to reduce the toxic load in her own body. She did blood and urine tests to determine the level of toxins she was carrying around, then did nearly everything she could to eliminate her exposure to toxins for about four months. Finally, at the end of it all she repeated the testing to see what effect, if any, she’d actually had.

Deanna Duke Non-Toxic AvengerYou’d think a book about toxins and de-toxifying would be either dry, or terrifying, or both, but Deanna managed to avoid both fates. Don’t get me wrong – the number of toxins we’re exposed to in our daily lives really is alarming, and reading The Non-Toxic Avenger prompted me to go on a one-woman anti-PVC crusade in my own home. If you want a beach read, this isn’t it. But if you want an informative, readable, funny book that will help you to make some tangible changes of your own, I would absolutely recommend it. This is the first book I have actually finished in months, which tells you that I really enjoyed it.

I had the chance to catch up with Deanna for a chat. We talked about her attempts to remove toxins, and what did and didn’t work. I asked her about the testing she underwent to determine the toxin levels in her body, including what that cost and what challenges she faced in getting it done. I also asked what she’s continued now that the project was over, and what she hasn’t. And I asked my biggest question of all: how did everyone else (including her husband and children) react when she swore off all non-organic food and started examining every object in her home for potential toxicity.

It was great talking to Deanna, and you can really get a sense of her chatty, approachable style from our interview. Listen to it here:

Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes to stay up-to-date with the podcasts. Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Podcast: Arting and Crafting Your Life

When I was creating the Crafting my Life online class, I wanted to interview someone about embracing your inner artist. I got in touch with my friend Amanda, who you may know better as PoMo Mama. Amanda is an in-real-life friend – we escaped for a weekend away together last year. She’s also a mother, writer, student, suburbanite and artist. Plus, she’s just generally awesome.

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Amanda and I on the ferry

Amanda has actually been featured on this podcast before, in my discussion on family size. I love speaking with her, because she’s straightforward and no-nonsense. If you imagine someone who embraces a second career in the arts as prone to wearing flouncy skirts and making woo-woo pronouncements, you’re not imagining Amanda. In my mind, she’s setting a great example of someone who pursues her own interests in, around and in spite of her family, on her own terms.

If you’d like to get in touch with your creative side; if you wonder what it’s like to have your artwork no display; if you wonder how you can make that work as a mother, you’ll want to listen to my conversation with Amanda. You’ll find both inspiration and practical help. I’m pleased to be sharing it with you now as a podcast:

I’m still working out what I’ll be running next week on the Strocel.com podcast. I have a couple of great interviews in the works, but I’m not ready to make any promises. However, what I can tell you is that it will be worth listening to. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute! Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Podcast: Talking Work at Home and More with Jennifer Forest

strocel.com podcast work women want jennifer forestI’ve become a little more choosy, recently, when it comes to inviting guests to be on my podcast. I’m 80 episodes in, now, and I suspect that I’m feeling a little more confident than I was two years ago when I started. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed each and every interview I’ve done, and I’ve learned something by doing each one. However, in the beginning I was so thrilled that anyone would speak to me that I jumped on every opportunity without asking too many questions. Now I’m getting more pitches, and I’m taking more time to consider each one. When I recently got the opportunity to interview Jennifer Forest, the author of the new book Work Women Want, I knew that was one worth jumping for.

strocel.com podcast work women want jennifer forestJennifer’s book is a guide to women who want more family-friendly work arrangements. If you’ve ever thought you’d like to work from home, work part-time, or work in a different field so that you can have better work-life balance and spend more time with your kids, Jennifer wrote this book for you. She’s not promising that if you read her book you’ll become a millionaire overnight, and she’s also not promising that it will be easy. Rather, she is sharing practical tips from real moms who have been there, done that, and found ways to make living incomes from home, or on reduced work schedules.

During our podcast Jennifer shares her own story, and discusses what inspired her to write the book. She shares tips for starting a business, talks about negotiating a part-time schedule, and covers some of the nitty-gritty details you’ll encounter if you decide to start a business while you have small children. If you’d like to shift the way you work, you’ll want to take the time to listen to the podcast:

I’m still deciding what I’ll be sharing next week on the podcast, but I can promise you that you’ll want to tune in. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute! Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Repost: Podcast with Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress

Today I’m re-sharing my interview with the fabulous Katherine Stone, talking about postpartum depression and reproductive mental illness. This is an important one, and it’s definitely worth a listen – or, for that matter, a re-listen.

Seven years ago right now I had a two-and-a-half week old baby, and I was depressed. I cried for long periods of time, often for no specific reason. I was convinced that I was a terrible mother, and that I had made a terrible mistake. I did all of the things that I was supposed to do for my baby, but I really wasn’t myself, and I didn’t feel the way that I had expected to feel. To complicate matters, I didn’t really see my own depression for what it was. The people around me did – and I thank my lucky stars for that – but I wasn’t really able to acknowledge what was going on.

It’s taking all of my personal strength to not delete that paragraph, by the way. The shame surrounding depression is strong, and I think that when we’re talking about postpartum depression it only ups the ante. When you have a new baby, life is supposed to be blissful. You’re supposed to be overwhelmed with love, and just spend your days gazing at your new little bundle of joy in wonder. Only, it’s not like that for everyone. And it doesn’t make us bad mothers, it makes us human beings who are suffering from a disease that is categorically not our fault.

Strocel.com Podcast Katherine Stone Postpartum Progress Postpartum DepressionIn my case, my depression was reasonably short-lived. By the time my baby was a couple of months old – and sleeping longer stretches at night – I was through the worst of it. I didn’t suffer in isolation for months, as some women do. My healthcare providers didn’t dismiss me, and no one suggested to me that I was in any way to blame, even if I sometimes felt that way myself. In many ways, I got off easy. All the same, I carry the weight of that time with me every day, and it colours my memory of my first child’s arrival in a profound way. I know that I am hardly alone, and I strongly believe that we need to fight the stigma of mental illness related to pregnancy and childbirth. So I decided to speak with Katherine Stone, Founder and Editor of Postpartum Progress, the most-widely read blog on postpartum depression and reproductive mental illness.

I heard Katherine speak at BlogHer, and I knew that she was passionate and committed to creating positive change. That passion came through during our conversation. She’s working hard to help mothers find the help they need, and to break down societal and cultural barriers to accessing that help. I find her inspiring, and I’m so glad that she’s created the resource that she has for mothers. I wish I had known about it myself as a new mom. Listen to what Katherine had to say about postpartum depression and other reproductive mental illnesses:

I’m still deciding what I’ll be sharing next week on the podcast, but I can promise you that you’ll want to tune in. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute! Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Podcast: Seeking Peace and Connection with Renee Trudeau

People send me books for review on a semi-regular basis. I wouldn’t say that I get loads, but I certainly get more than I did before I was a blogger. It’s one of the perks of the gig. I don’t make anywhere near the same money I did when I was an engineer, but I get books. You never really know what you’re going to get with a book, which is why we’re all advised not to judge them by their cover. I like most of the books I receive, but periodically one knocks my socks off. This was the case with Nurturing the Soul of Your Family, written by today’s podcast guest, Renee Trudeau.

strocel.com podcast renee trudeauRenee is a mother, life balance coach and speaker, and her new book has really knocked my socks off. It contains 10 ways to reconnect and find greater peace in family life, and I’ve found lots of food for thought inside its covers. I think that every parent can tell you that family life can be hectic. I’ve found my busy-ness has only increased as my kids have gotten older. Now that they’re eight and four and a half, they have their own lives, with school and extracurricular activities and birthday party invitations. If I’m not careful, I get swept along with them, playing chauffeur and shuttling them from place to place.

If you can relate to feeling stretched thin, over-scheduled, or just plain frazzled, you’ll want to listen to today’s podcast. During our conversation, Renee covered ideas like self-care, learning to cut yourself some slack, the overuse of technology, and finding your tribe. These are big concepts, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, or as if you don’t have time to consider them. However, she makes a very good case for how taking time to consider how you use your energy can actually free up time, instead of using more of it.

If you can use more peace and connection in your life (and really, who couldn’t?), then I encourage you to take the time to listen to my podcast with Renee, and then see if you can get your hands on a copy of her book. I think there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.

I’m still deciding what I’ll be sharing next week on the podcast, but I can promise you that you’ll want to tune in. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute! Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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