Friday, May 26, 2017

Hyperbiotics: Product Review

As I am sure you well know, supplements are a huge industry. Go to any pharmacy, grocery store or health food store and there is a dizzying array said to cure or treat pretty much everything.

Some are amazing, many are okay, and many more are totally bogus. I don't take many compared to a lot of people I know. Just Vitamin D, CoQ10, and probiotics. I don't need antioxidants or calcium or a multi, not when I get about 300 servings of fruits and veggies every day, as well as whole grains, beans, soy, eggs, dairy and poultry. My diet is sufficiently healthy and varied, so I chose to save my pennies where I can.

But probiotics I am a big fan of. There is actually research behind their utility, and that matters a shitload to me. I have tried various brands and some definitely are better than others.

One critique I've heard is that our digestive juices may break them down when consumed in supplement form, before they have time to fully work. So some people recommend eating things like yogurt instead. Unfortunately, analyses of various consumer food products claiming to contain probiotics found that many of them contain much less than advertised or not enough to have any therapeutic value.

In any case, as someone with a history of IBS, I am all about finding the best probiotics out there so had no problem agreeing to review hyperbiotics PRO-15.

The claim is that they are formulated to bypass stomach acids so they reach your intestinal tract providing greater efficacy. They also don't need to be refrigerated, unlike many other brands of probiotic supplements.

There are also a bunch of different varieties to target different needs, from general digestive health, to dental health, to one just for kids.

According to their own lab research, their supplements are supposedly 15 times more effective than standard probiotic capsules. Since they don't provide the raw data in their literature nor on their website, and since the results have not been peer reviewed, its hard to know how accurate this is.

So what's my view on them? I have been taking them now for 2 weeks, and, honestly, my tummy has felt noticeably better. But my anecdotal experience is not scientific evidence. I do love that they don't have to be refrigerated since our fridge is always too full anyways, and it means you can take them when you travel. They are reasonably priced too, compared to other probiotic brands.

My only complaint is that because the pearls are round, they roll off the breakfast table. I guess you just have to pop them in your mouth directly from the bottle.

So, overall, I am quite happy with them and will definitely be switching to them as my go-to brand. They are available online and with free shipping for Canadians as .

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mouth Wide Shut

One of the first things I'd do if I won a lottery, is high someone to exclusively prepare the kids' meals. I'd cook my own, because I love cooking, but not for them.

They drive me effin crazy daily with their pickiness, and Big A, in particular, changes her mind dramatically about what she likes and doesn't like on a dime.

I try not to worry, but their diets suck. Little A avoids veggies at all costs.  And Big As is way too heavy on sugar and carbs. Its even worse now that she has an allowance and is old enough to walk to a store and buy stuff on her own.

I know I am not alone. Many parents struggle with this stuff and its tough.

One debate among parenting experts is whether or not its a good idea to hide veggies and fruit in other foods to get your kids to eat them. Some people think its better to try and serve them to your kids a hundred times until they decide they like them.

I don't really know why this has to be an EITHER/OR thing. Its never been the case in this house. I openly serve them veggies, but I also hide them in their food whenever I can. Why not? I don't see the harm. And don't give me crap about the ethics of tricking your kid. Even if it is unethical, I don't give a rats ass.

Anyways, one of my favorite ways to hide veggies is to buy frozen cauliflower and puree it. No green bits, and frozen has a much less pungent flavour and smell than fresh.  Recently, I discovered that adding frozen cauliflower into their smoothies is brilliant. They didn't have a freakin' clue! I am going to do this until the day they each leave the house (at that point I suspect they will adopt the student diet of Kraft dinner and beer).

Friday, May 19, 2017

15 Years of Craziness...I mean Bliss

Today Adam and I celebrate 15 years of marriage. Holy Crap! We've been together 17 years. Insane!

Not a day goes by that I don't thank the universe that we somehow found each other way back then. The current dating environment is horrendous. We managed to get together just before the online dating thing was starting, and man, I am so so grateful! What a shit show. I desperately worry for my children.

Of course, I am not just grateful that I found SOMEONE, I am grateful I found a great someone. Without a doubt I love Adam a whole lot more than I did back then. We have both grown up so much and I have watched him become the most amazing and devoted father to our girls. He is beyond hard working both in terms of his career and helping out to run our household. He is absolutely my best friend and I feel very lucky.

I have to work tonight, but tomorrow we celebrate. In our own unique way of course. The girls are spending the night at my in-laws.

I contemplated booking us reservations at a fancy restaurant and scoured the city for an appropriate choice. But to be honest, I find the Toronto restaurant scene has gotten so pretentious, and since I love to cook and eat, I don't get much satisfaction in going to some loud, crowded joint to drop $200+ dollars on a meal so small we have to eat again when we get home.

Finally, I decided to make us dinner but then was undecided on what to make. I thought fish because we both love it, but then I realized we have it a lot. I thought maybe something unusual like duck or ostrich but Adam isn't always on the same page as me with stuff like that so I wasn't sure he'd even be open to that. I know he loves beef, but I am not in the mood. So I went back to fish. First, I thought Black Cod, but its super expensive and not available except at specialty stores and fish mongers and I didn't want to be running around the city for ingredients. Eventually I settled on Arctic Char, which I have never made us because its way more expensive than trout or salmon. Hey, its a special occasion. Side dishes will be cauliflower mash and local asparagus.

Then there was the issue of bubbly. I like prosecco but Adam doesn't really. We both like beer. So I thought it would be fun for us to head over to a local craft brewer in our neighbourhood. The weather is supposed to be nice, so hopefully we can sit at one of their outdoor tables.

For dessert I baked us a spicy ginger black bean chocolate layer cake. Ha, I bet if Adam knew I'd be making him this for our 15th anniversary, he never would have married me! But seriously, I am very lucky to have a partner as devoted to a healthy lifestyle as I am. Also lucky to have a man as totally nutty as I am.

Its also a long weekend here (Victoria Day Weekend), so even though I work both Saturday and Sunday, I am sure we will get out and about with the girls and make the most of it. Have a happy, healthy long weekend!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Litehouse Dips: Product Review

Like many parents, I am always looking for ways to get more veggies into my kids. Neither of my kids are vegetable lovers, and they are extremely fickle. One day the one vegetable they are willing to eat and the next they scream at the sight of it. It can be a wee bit frustrating!

Salad is almost always a hard sell. They have each gone through brief periods of enjoying specific types of salad, but generally, plain raw veggies are the safest bet. So when Litehouse asked me to review their products, the first thing I went for was one of their dips.

I choose the light ranch variety and presented it to the girls with a plate of their favorite raw veggies (which right now is baby carrots, sweet peppers and celery).

Little A informed me that she doesn't like dip, and refused to even try it. Sigh! Big A was happy to sample and even happier with the product. She gave it a 12 out of 10 and proceeded to gobble down a record amount of veggies. Raw veggies and the dip has now become a daily routine for her, either as an after school snack, or part of dinner. She even packed veggies and dip for her day long track meet last week. Wow, I am loving this!

My only complaint with the product is that it contains caraggeenan as a thickener, and stuff like maltodextrin, etc. A lot of people avoid caraggeenan because it is believed to contribute to gut inflammation. They seem to all contain some sugar, but compared to many commercially made dressings and dips, its much lower down on the ingredient list, at least.

Litehouse also makes a wide variety of salad dressings, and seasonings. If you want to avoid caraggeenan, their vinaigrettes and organic dressings are free of it, and could be used as a dip alternative.

So from a taste perspective the dip gets top marks. From a nutrition perspective, its not perfect, so if you are concerned with minimizing your intake of additives, maybe stick with Litehouse dressings over the dips.

Disclosure: The company sent us complimentary samples of the product but all opinions on the blog are our own.

Monday, May 15, 2017



By Little A:                                                    By Big A:                                                          

Erica Berman                                                   Erica

42                                                                      43 (not yet!)

Black hair, green eyes                                       Brown/red/brown hair, green/hazel eyes

Apples and broccoli                                          Carrots, apples...anything a horse would eat

Green                                                                 Green

Black                                                                  Black and comfy exercise clothes

Psychotherapist                                                  Psychotherapist and runs konjac company, and                                                                                        personal trains

The mall                                                            The massage therapist

A lot of things                                                   A lot because she has done a lot of school

Raising me and Big A                                       Making money

To not fight with my sister                                To eat healthy

Does things with me                                          Gives me a massage

...of everything she does for me                         ...she takes care of me and feeds me

Friday, May 12, 2017

SafetyTat: Product Review

Wanna get your kid inked?

No I am not talking about a full sleeve of down one arm of roses and skulls.

How about temporary tattoos with safety info like with your name/info, allergy information, etc.?

What a great idea huh? Like perfect for going to big, busy events. I think any parent can relate to the panic of thinking you've lost your child somewhere. Though abductions are much less common than most parents think, kids often wander off and simply get separated from their parents.

This idea has been brought to life by SafetyTat. The company offers several types of identifiers you simply stick on your child, either water applied tattoos that last a few days, or stickers that last 2 weeks. They also sell labels for your children's belongings, and we all know how important those are! If I only had a dollar for every thing the girls have ever lost!!

There lots of different designs to choose from that are appealing to kids, so, hopefully they won't object to having them applied. Little A was instantly fascinated with them, and, before we took the girls out to the Toronto airport last night to get them Nexus cards, she insisted on putting one on herself (she pointed out she could easily get lost in a big place like that!). She wrote Adam's cell number on it, and applied it to her arm. She then offered her feedback on it. She loved the cute butterfly design and how it felt on her skin.  Two thumbs up from this monkey!

All their products are latex-free, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, hypoallergenic, non-toxic and water resistant.

While Big A, almost 11, is very responsible and street savvy, Little A at age 8 still tends to have her head it the clouds. Though we didn't lose her at the airport last night, a few weeks ago when I took her to the mall, she'd get distracted while we were walking and stop and look at something, and before I knew it, she'd be half way across the mall from me before I even realized she wasn't by my side! She makes me crazy that way, so I'd be happy to stick something on her that says, "Property of Erica Berman". Ha ha!

If you are interested in SafetyTats for your little one, you can purchase them right on their website.

Disclosure: SafetyTat sent me their product to review, but all opinions on this blog are my own.