Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hello Sistahs in Iron, Women of Strength and All Those Who Support Us!

This is it! 2008 will become a memory in a matter of hours, minutes and seconds. The ups and downs of an entire year can soon be put to bed with a few sips of champagne and a kiss from your special someone. Even if you don’t have a special someone, make an effort to reach out to that person who has been your nemesis, enemy or obstacle in your life. Forgive and forget! Life is such a brief moment – too brief to remain mired in the negative. Seek out the positive. Forgive yourself, forgive others. Get in touch with your hidden strengths – I know you have them. I believe in you.

Throughout the year we have learned so much. The lessons to be found in pursuing your dreams in any arena of life including improved health and fitness are many. I cannot face any day in good form without taking good care of myself through Eating Clean and physical exercise. My wish for you is to also discover the nurturing that comes from practicing these good principles. If all else in your world is falling apart at least you can derive satisfaction from the discipline of training and eating well. I reflect on my own lazy, fat days and remember how difficult it was to climb even a set of stairs. I was lazy and out of ignorance chose not to look after myself – I scarcely knew how. Now that I have discovered how to do so life and food is no longer perverse. It is a joy! A sheer joy!

2009 promises to be as exciting and challenging as the one we will soon put to bed. Looking forward I will continue to strive towards reaching goals I have already set for myself and new ones. Achieving success comes from developing a system in which to gain it. Make a plan, as I did. Write it down! Read it and feel it! Do it every day! No one will give it to you. You must make it happen for yourself. I want to take my dreams and make them commitments – the real thing. To that end I know I will physically and emotionally be in the moment striding towards success each day I am granted on this giant mud ball called Earth. I feel the winds of change not only for myself but for our continent.

Remember I am always listening to each of you. I am your Sister in Iron. I learn from you and you from me. Together we will become what we are destined to be – our best!
2009 is the year for you and I to be successful. Can you feel the power? I can!
Your friend,
Hugs and best New Year wishes to you all,

Monday, December 29, 2008

An Eat-Clean Christmas

Christmas was a fun time this year at the Eat-Clean House. My daughters arrived at our place early in the afternoon after spending Christmas Eve and morning with their dad. We started in on the gift giving which is time consuming with 5 kids. I got some new training gear (like my goggles :-)) and a great new winter coat. It's easy to get the girls things since they all have the same style.

After gifts my sister and her family arrived. We set into dinner preparations, which included turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, veggie salad, stuffing, homemade bread, Brussels sprouts, and roasted butternut squash soup. Yummy!
My sister prepared a delicious Dutch Appletart for dessert that was topped off with a bunch of fresh berries. After dinner we watched Mamma Mia. What a great movie. We had so much fun singing along to all the old Abba songs.

On Friday we spent the day playing games, walking with dogs, and doing a puzzle. It was a very low key Christmas that I enjoyed very much.

I get to spend a few more days with the kids before they all head off to their respective centers of higher education. We are preparing for a big New Years bonfire which means more cooking and some house cleaning over the next couple of days.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too.

Stay tuned for a New Year's message!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Twenty Questions

Hope your holiday recovery is going well. My family members left this morning and we are now about to start filming for the evening. My daughter's and a few of their friends are here to help me cook dinner... asparagus, green beans, potatoes, lamb and tofu chocolate mousse for dessert.

Before I fill you in on my holiday I wanted to answer a bunch of questions that have been building up...

The first 11 questions refer to December 12ths food shots. Refer back to this post if you want to see the accompanying shots.

1. Question: Can you have skim milk + banana and whey powder for a post workout shake? Does protein keep you awake at night if you eat it too close to bedtime?

Answer: This sounds like a great shake. Protein won’t keep you up at night.

2. Question: What colour is your wheat grass drink? and does it taste good?

Answer: My wheat grass drink is dark green. I wouldn’t say it’s the best tasting drink, but you get used to it.

3. Question: For us in the USA, please let us know if it is possible to see your new show outside of Canada. Otherwise maybe you could sell the episodes as a DVD someday?

Answer: At this point I don’t believe the show is available in the US. I will keep you posted if a DVD set is going to be made available.

4. Question: I am curious to know what you have sprinkled on your chicken and if you baked it in the oven? Also, what is your protein shake made out of? Thank you again! :)

Answer: My chicken is sprinkled with finely ground oregano. I bake it in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. My protein shake contains: berries, yogurt, ice and clean vanilla protein powder.

5. Question: A couple of months back, you mentioned that you had a bunch of new "Eat-Clean" books in the works. Since the version for men is coming out soon, is there any way you could update us on when the others are due to be released, especially you new cookbook?

Answer: The next book slated for delivery after the men’s book is the cookbook. It will probably hit shelves late 2009 or early 2010.

6. Question: I was wondering if you knew of any good recipes for clean-eating salad dressings and herb/spice mixes for sprucing up chicken, fish etc... Thanks :)

Answer: Always mix a vinegar (white, white vine, apple cider, balsamic, etc) with an oil (olive, pumpkinseed, flax, etc) plus seasonings such as oregano, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Sometimes I throw mustard into my dressings, too.

7. Question: What's in the bedtime snack and what time is it okay to have?

Answer: My bedtime snack is the protein shake I mentioned above. I usually have this after a workout around 8 or 9. I suggest people have a light meal if they are hungry a few hours after supper and before bed.

8. Question: Here's a question with regards to training: I have fairly large upper arms that I am hoping will lean out with eating clean + exercise. Any advice on how to effectively tone this area and get rid of the extra skin that may result thus avoiding "clip the wings" surgery?

Answer: Losing fat in this area is all about eating clean and exercise, especially eating clean since this will decide 80% of your success. Really dedicating yourself to this along with cardio and weight training is all you need to lose weight and avoid surgery.

9. Question: Regarding your "surprise"... not sure what yours is due to, but I've lost mine twice before (for a few months at time) due I think to low body fat and/or undereating. Isn't it really unhealthy - affecting fertility and acting as a kinda menopause that leaches calcium from your bones? What in your/your husband's very knowledgeable opinion constitutes a healthy female body fat level.

Answer: Losing your period (amenorrhea) is an unhealthy phenomenon that usually occurs in serious athletes and those affected by eating disorders, amongst other things. I had already gone through menopause, which is why I was so surprised. A healthy body fat percentage for women varies based on age but is ultimately between 20% and 30%.

10. Question: My wife is 56, looks 40ish,and has in the last 5yrs gained 15-20 lbs, mainly due to stress at her job. She is a beautiful woman even with the added weight. She does work out but the stress causes her to not eat the way she should. She does not feel good about herself because of the added weight. My question is, what can I do to encourage her the most?

Answer: You’re already supporting her by asking how to help her. Have you considered making some healthy meals for her? Give this a try a few nights a week to help her out… it may even reduce her stress a little bit. Another idea is to sit down with her and tell her you want to help and ask her what she wants you to do.

11. Question: What is your favourite apple variety or which do you find is the best digested for clean eating?

Answer: I really enjoy all types of apples. If I can though I usually go for a local granny smith or royal gala.

12. Question: Tosca, I am going to be training for a marathon this spring but still want to follow the clean eating plan, as well as weight train 2-3 times per week. Do you have any suggestions to help keep me fueled while dropping body fat at the same time?

Answer: Just keep eating clean whenever you need to. You really need to listen to your body and give it the best fuel possible. I would also recommend you be cautious of overtraining. Read up on your marathon plans to find out when you need to phase out weight training for strict running plans.

13. Question: I do 4 sets of 12-15 reps with 10 pound db on a 45% bench (bi isolation) and that is killing my bis for days....I still do not see results!???! or just tiny ones...sooo how do u do 10 sets? what weight?

Answer: Remember to do at least 2 different kinds of exercises per muscle group. You should not really do 10 sets of any one exercise. Variety breeds results. Train hard and heavy and vary the intensity by doing light weights and high reps alternated with heavy weights and low reps. Also it takes at least 3 weeks to see results. So be patient!

14. Question: How much bee pollen do u put in ur oatmeal? Do u think it is too much to put coconut oil and almond butter in mine?

Answer: As for bee pollen, it is best to use one teaspoon per serving at first and then work up to a few tablespoons. You don’t actually state the amount of nut butter or coco butter you use so I can’t say if you are using too much, but as a rule of thumb use 2 tablespoons of either at a time.

15. Question: Tosca, where do you find Clean dried fruits such as cranberries? Most of the varieties I find in the stores are sugar-laden. Are the ones sweetened with fruit juice any better?

Answer: I find unsweetened dried fruits at my local grocery store. I would recommend using these over the ones sweetened with fruit juice. You might be able to find varieties online.

16. Question: When is the more appropriate time to eat fruit? It would seem that veggies sustain our blood sugar highs and lows better..and with fruit they would drop fast. Okay to use a banana with blueberries and protein powder for post work out?

Answer: Eat fruit a few times a day, but try to get most of your complex carbs from vegetables. Blueberries with bananas and protein powder is a great post workout snack.

17. Question: If you have inherited cellulite and do strength training will the muscle growing eventually over take the cellulite? Especially on the butt area? Do you have and recommendations or suggestions for this issue?

Answer: Muscle will grow and fat will melt away with consistent clean eating and exercise even if you have inherited it. You really have to stay dedicated to clean eating and exercise (both cardio and weight training) to see the best results. There is no magic pill… it’s all about dedication!

18. Question: Tosca, where do you buy your bee pollen? I have done some research on the internet and want to make sure I am buying high quality. I read you should not buy from China and most stuff sold in the USA is from China.

Answer: I buy my bee pollen from a local apiary. Try to use this option. Otherwise, I would suggest visiting your health food store and discussing the available options with them.

19. Question: I love your husbands art work and am so glad you said where it comes from as I had wondered that myself. Does he sell it?

Answer: He paints as a hobby right now, but he may begin selling his pieces in the future.

20. Question: Tosca, I noticed that your coffee cake and some other recipes have 1/2 regular flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour. I have another cookbook that calls for whole wheat PASTRY flour and it says you can substitute 1/2 regular and 1/2 whole wheat if you don't have whole wheat pastry flour. So I am wondering the opposite would work for your recipes. Instead of 1/3 cup regular and 1/3 cup whole wheat, do you think 2/3 whole wheat pastry flour would work? I might give it a try since I bought a large bag of it! Thanks for being such and inspiration!
Answer: Give it a try. Sometimes whole-wheat flour can make things dry. Watch for this while you’re baking.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yogurty Coffee Cake Recipe and Loads of Pics

So we were in the kitchen for most of yesterday getting some food prepped for Christmas day.

The first pic is one of Bob doing his painting. A blogger asked about the art work at the house and this how we get most of it.

This is Teresa, my wonderful helper, who is cleaning the oven so we can make it dirty again.

Here is Chelsea making Grandmother’s Favorite Oatmeal Cookies from the Eat-Clean Diet book. It’s a family favorite. No holiday is complete without it. She is making big ones!

Here is me making a new cookie recipe (tested and created for an upcoming cookbook). The result? They taste delish! Sure to be another family favorite.

Trays of cookies waiting to go in the oven.

Ahhhh! The Big Bird has come home. He is from our local butcher – Howard the Butcher in the village of Caledon. His meat is always fresh, farm raised and antibiotic and hormone free. This should feed 12 with leftovers.

This is the beginning of my Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (from the Eat Clean Diet Cookbook). I have decided to play with the ingredients for the new cookbook and here is a preview of what it looks like. It smells heavenly.

I use my trusty commercial immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pan. The resulting soup is delicious and of an even consistency.

Dinner tonight was wilted spinach, Brussels sprouts, grilled pork tenderloin and brown rice. Yummy! The rest of the day was a bit of a wash but I did have the Tosca Standard Breakfast (oatmeal with flax, wheat germ and Salba plus 4 hard boiled egg whites, coffee, water and wheat grass).

The result of a long day in the kitchen – loads of cookies!

I bought some fresh potted herbs from our local organic food place. You can’t get them any fresher!

My mom is preparing the yogurt to strain overnight. I will use this for the Yogurty Coffee Cake which I will bake today (see recipe below). It will strain overnight and be perfect for tomorrow. For more details on this see the Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook. I will also use some of the strained yogurt (aka yogurt cheese) for my Mashed Potatoes which I will also make tomorrow.

By the way, my daughter Kiersten is flying home from Holland tomorrow. She will be arriving (with luck and good weather) around 4:00 pm and I can’t wait to see her. The last time I saw her was at the end of September. Wow! How the time flies. I am soo excited.

Love and hugs to you all. Special hugs to anyone who is feeling lonely. Remember you are not alone and I am always listening. I will keep a special place in my heart for all of my sisters in Iron.

Feel the hugs??

Yogurty Coffee Cake

***requires overnight straining of yogurt***

Streusel Topping

4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 c. whole-wheat flour
1/3 c. unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 c. toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp. Sucanat sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. each baking powder and sea salt

Methods for Streusel Topping
In medium saucepan melt butter until just melted (not bubbling). Remove from heat and cool. In a medium bowl combine remaining ingredients. Stir with a fork. Add butter mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a fork. It will be crumbly. Set aside.

Ingredients for Filling
1 c. toasted pecans
3 tbsp. Sucanat sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
1 tsp. natural cocoa powder

Methods for Filling
Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse until well combined. The pecans should be chopped. Set aside.

Ingredients for Cake
1 1/2 c. sifted unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 c. unsalted butter at room temp
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. super-fine Sucanat sugar (put Sucanat in a food processor and pulse until very fine)
4 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 c. plain, low-fat yogurt (s

Methods for Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use a 10" tube pan (the one where the bottom comes out). Coat with butter (or olive oil) and flour.

In a medium bowl combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Use a whisk to stir well. In a mixer with a paddle attachment cream the butter for 2 minutes. Add Sucanat sugar slowly until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl to get all sugar and butter in. Add eggs in to beat one at a time (again scraping sides). Add vanilla. Set mixer to low speed. Add applesauce. Scrape the sides until well combined. Alternate adding batches of yogurt and flour with the machine still running. Again, scrape the side to make sure everything has been mixed in.

Pour 2 c. of batter into prepared pan creating an even layer. Sprinkle 1/2 c. of filling over the batter. Do this repeatedly until you run out of batter and filling. It should create about 4 layers.

Grab a handful of streusel topping. Compact in your hands. Then break it up over the top of the cake. Do this until you run out of streusel topping. Using a large spoon or spatula gently press the streusel into the cake.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Holidays are Here

And I am falling behind on my posts.... sorry Clean Eaters... I have included some pics to hopefully make up for it ;-)

There is breakfast, lunch and supper and some ingredients for snacks -
roasted beets, turkey and eggs.

Of course I am drinking plenty of water with each of these meals.

I have been trying to chase a cold - Bob has had a nasty one for the last
ten days and I don't want it!!! In an effort to fight it I have been
doubling my vitamin C intake - I take an Ester C vitamin C which is better
absorbed. I am also taking loads of fish oil supplements!! And I am still
drinking my wheat grass every morning. On top of that I have been going to
bed very early - usually asleep by 10:00 pm even during this ridiculously
busy time of year. I just don't want to catch whatever Bob has got.

As for training I spent all of Sunday filming at Xtreme Couture Fitness
which is a beautiful new gym in Toronto. The filming was all about me
helping a family get fit and how to tackle the equipment. It can be very
intimidating to train when you don't know what to do with the machines. We
did an entire body workout - 2 sets for each body part. I was wiped out
after the session - I hope my victims, Kelly and Craig, were too. We had a
good old sweat on by the time we were done. All the while a winter storm
raged outside! Driving home was not so much fun. I would rather train!!

Yesterday I trained legs with Bob. I love leg day. We did leg curls, leg
extensions and squats followed by straight arm pullovers. We do 4 or 5 sets
of each exercise and 12 to 15 reps per set. I am thinking ahead to an
upcoming photo shoot in January 2009 for my next book and even as far ahead
as the Arnold Classic where I need to be in super good shape. It is the
place to be seen if you are in the fitness business.

Things have settled down with me hormonally although I am still waiting for
my skin to clear up. Yikes!! I don't like blemishes.

Today I am planning to work from home and do a lot of my food preparation
for Christmas dinner. I am making roasted butternut squash soup from my Eat
Clean Diet Cookbook
, baking cookies (healthy naturally), applesauce and sour
cream coffee cake. My mom and Chelsea are going to help me out in the
kitchen. I will miss my own daughters who are at their father's for now.
They love to be in the kitchen! Guess we will have to do some more cooking
when they finally come to celebrate on Dec. 25th. I can't wait. I really
miss them. It can be a tough time of year when you are divorced and must
learn to share nicely (though my heart really doesn't want to).

I will post some fun cooking shots tomorrow.

Stay warm and hug someone who needs it!


p.s. I am really behind on answering questions, too... stay tuned I will answer them soon!

Friday, December 19, 2008

More Fun Food Photos

Last night we did some intense training. I finally made it back to my yoga class. It was an hour and 15 minutes of pure... intensity. I am terrible at downward dog!! I can't believe I have great upper body strength and no tolerance for downward dog. Boo! I spent all year last year working on it and now after a mere 3 months hiatus I am back to where I started. I guess that just means I have to practice harder.

After that I came home only to break my relaxation with a really intense biceps and triceps session. We did 10 set of biceps and 10 sets of triceps. I was definitely grunting. My arms are hurting this morning.

Here are some shots of my breaky.... oatmeal (with all the fixings), black coffee and water. I already had my wheat grass drink this morning. I started preparing some homemade tomato sauce last night. Here it is boiling on the stove with my eggs next to it. I also have a shot of all my breakfast fixings on the table... Ezekiel cereal, flax, bee pollen, wheat germ, Chia seeds, rice milk, etc. etc.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday Update

Here we sit in chilly Caledon awaiting a massive snow fall. Although I don’t mind the snow, traveling in it becomes difficult. My 17 year old, Kelsey is coming home for the holidays and was going to drive home from Belleville to Toronto tomorrow. I can’t, in good conscience, let her do that since she has only just earned her driver’s license and has exactly zero driving experience in the snow on a major highway – the 401 can be deadly! I shudder to think of that. I am encouraging her to take the train home and I will just pick her up in Toronto. Fingers crossed.

As for what is going on with me – the usual training, eating, writing and filming. It doesn’t sound like much but every day brings new challenges. I have found that as a result of narrowing my food options during the contest prep that I can’t eat with free abandon. My tummy reacts very quickly to just about everything. I have been babying myself with regards to food and I have been increasing my intake of probiotics. This seems to be helping a lot and slowly I am able to consume a greater variety of foods. But I have to say my body has totally reacted to coming off the contest training. For the first week I felt sooooo fat and jiggly although I know this is not so. It is a big mind game. The body drinks up water like mad after contest and you do kind of swell. I chatted with my friend Elaine Goodlad about this and she told me to relax. This is standard stuff for competitors. I’d love to hear your stories about your post contest state of mind and being too so send them in to me.

The biggest shock I had after contest though was the fact that I had not had a period for 2 years and then BAM! Hello! There it was again complete with zits and hormones and PMS. EXPLANATION PLEASE???? I just wasn’t prepared for that at all. I don’t know what this means going forward but plan to investigate further.

Training is my savior! I can’t miss a day or I get cranks. I think I really need the discipline of training to give my day a sense of order and structure. In short I like the punishment. What can I say?

As for food here are the deets:

Tosca’s standard breakfast porridge
Scrambled egg whites
1 liter of water
250 ml with 8 ounces wheat grass
6 fish oil capsules – everyone is sick here but me so I am upping these
6 ester C capsules – ditto

Mid morning: drinking Tulsi tea right now
3 egg whites
1 apple – I have missed apples let me tell you!

Steamed bok choy
Sweet potato
250 ml water
Tilapia 5 oz.

Mid pm
Plain yogurt with brown rice protein powder

Steamed broccoli
Steamed tilapia 5 oz.
½ sweet potato
½ cup steamed green beans
250 ml water

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Party Moments

I had a great time on Friday night hosting a dinner party for a fabulous group of friends. We spent the evening enjoying delicious food and drinks.

My friend (and fellow Clean Eater) Joanne Lusted and her fantastic catering crew from Nella Cucina Toronto prepared a fantastically clean spread for us including a plethora of yummy apps, spinach salad with goat cheese and nuts, broth-based soup, and a choice of beef tenderloin or halibut with mashed chipotle sweet potatoes and a bunch of in-season roots veggies. Joanne and I chose a menu with in-season and locally available options. Joanne's clean, citrus cheesecake dessert (can you imagine!) topped off the evening perfectly with coffee and tea.

I really enjoy hosting dinner parties, but they can be stressful so I chose to keep the decor simple. After setting up the tree in the great room I set the table with festive red linens, sparkly chargers and warm candles.

My husband and I opened up my home to our closest friends. It was a late night, too! The party didn't close down until 1:30. Well, that's late for me considering I usually wind up in bed somewhere around 9 or 10pm.

Holiday parties can make maintaining your Clean-Eating habits more than difficult, unless you are the one choosing the menu. When I am attending a party that I know will not have clean food I do my best to fill up on clean foods all day before the party so I am not starving for food at the event. I will nibble on the cleanest food I can find at the party. Otherwise, I will make that meal my treat meal for the week.

As wonderful as the holidays are, they can also be difficult when high stress and little rest takes over. Keep your clean treats with you when you are on your shopping hunts, and limit your decadent splurges. Feeling good about yourself will make the holiday more enjoyable AND may help you focus on other resolutions other than weight loss when you ring in the New Year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Eating Clean in Pictures

I thought this would be a fun way for you to see what I eat in a day. Of course, it isn't always with a pretty table setting... I usually stuff all of this in my cooler. I drink more water than this, too...


Here's my standard breaky... (not sure why the photo is rotated like that... I can't seem to figure out how to change it).

And a delicious mid-morning meal....

My yummy lunch...

Time for a mid-afternoon meal...

An Eating-Clean Dinner...

And my bedtime snack...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday is Q & A Day

So I am a little behind on my food and training posts and Q & As.... today's post is a long one....




Trained shoulders and back
5 sets of presses (with 20s) 12 reps
4 sets bent-over lat raise (with 15s) 12 reps

5 sets lat pulldowns (from 70 – 90 pounds) 12 - 10 reps
3 sets of seated rows (with 105 pounds) 12 reps


Breakfast: oatmeal with flax and wheat germ, 3 egg whites, water, black coffee

Mid Morning: ¾ c. plain yogurt with scoop of brown-rice protein powder

Lunch: tuna + cukes, carrots, and celery, water, black coffee

Mid Afternoon: missed this one... oops

Dinner: my dear friend Colleen made me tortilla soup with tons of veggies and blueberry crisp for dessert... yes I do eat dessert

I was a little low on groceries on Monday because I was away all weekend... so I should have had more fruit than I did.



Traps: 4 sets heavy shrugs 50 pounds each hand

Barbell curls: 2 sets 30 pound bar for 15 reps, 2 sets 40 pound bar 15 reps each
Preacher bench curls: 4 sets with 40 pound barbell 12 to 15 reps

Lying triceps stretch: 2 sets of 20 with 30 pound bar, 2 sets of 15 reps with 40 pound bar
Triceps pressdowns: 2 sets with 70 pounds, 2 sets with 80 pounds and 2 sets with 90 pounds, 15 reps each set

v-sits on edge of bench: 3 sets of 35 reps
crunches: 2 sets of 100 continuous


Breakfast: The Tosca Standard
¾ cup cooked oats, flax, wheat germ and Salba
2 egg whites
Water – the usual 500 ml

Packed a cooler for the office: So this took care of my mid-morning meal and my afternoon snack. We went out to lunch yesterday.
6 hard boiled eggs
1 sweet potato
½ cuke
Unsalted almonds
1 pkg tuna
Melba toast

Chicken breast
Steamed mixed veg
¼ large baked potato

Q & A:

Question: Hello, I am currently reading your book and wondering when you say clean protein bar or clean protein powder, if you could list some specific brands you recommend? Thanks.

Answer: It’s hard to mention brands considering I live in Canada and the options I have may be different here. When looking for a clean bar and powder weed out options containing sugar (this can have many names, too) and refined ingredients. Basically, if you can’t pronounce it put it back. I am not affiliated with these companies, but I do like Luna, Lara and Clif bars. I stick to brown-rice and hemp protein powders.

Question: Is filming going to be done soon? The egg whites you pack in your own coolers, are they just boiled egg whites? And your green beans, they are fresh cooked green beans and you eat them cold?

Answer: I don’t have an end date for filming yet… potentially by Christmas or just after. I take hard-boiled eggs with me in my cooler. I eat my green beans cold, or warmed up if there is a microwave near by.

Question: Tosca if I want to develop my hamstrings more what do you suggest. Should I go ahead and work them out two times a week when I do glutes. I currently do one day of intense leg per week. My quads are well developed. Also, how often can or should a person do the two weeks of cooler 1 if I want to do it again down the road. One more please. In your book you mentioned that over training develops stringy muscles. Do you mean they look stringy or are you saying that they feel stringy because my glutes (where my piriformis muscle is) have always had a ropey feel to them. Is that normal? What should I do if it is not. As always thank you for your kindness in sharing.

Answer: Increase your leg hamstring work to twice per week to increase the definition. Cooler 1 should be done sporadically. It really should be saved for breaking plateaus etc. since it is NOT a healthy way of eating for long term. I would recommend only doing it when you feel you aren’t progressing any further. Over-trained muscles will LOOK stringy… they do not look full. Stringy muscles to the touch indicate muscle tightness that can be worked out by yoga, massage, and stretching.

Question: Tosca how do you know if you are lactose intolerant? I definitely feel more bloated when I consume milk and even whey I think. Is that an indication?

Answer: Bloating after consuming milk is definitely an indication of lactose intolerance. I experienced stabbing pain and bloating. But I am not a doctor and I would recommend you visit your physician for a diagnosis.

Question: I saw in a previous post that you take rice bran oil - what is this for and where do you purchase this?

Answer: Aside from being rich in Vitamin E, rice bran oil is excellent for stir frying because it has a high smoke point. You should be able to purchase this at your grocery store. That is where I get mine.

Question: How do you know the protein shake that one uses is being absorbed or working for ones body type? Are there any signs?

Answer: This is an interesting question. The best way to determine if a shake is good for you is by watching for adverse affects. Does it make you feel sick or bloated? Also, make sure it is not full of refined ingredients which will decrease its effectiveness.

Question: When cutting out carbs prior to a competition do you cut "all" carbs out and strictly eat protein - tilapia? When is the ideal time to do this a few days prior to event or is one week too long? Do you eat veggies when carb depleting?

Answer: Right before the competition I completely cut out carbs… yes ALL carbs including vegetables. It is awful and I only do it for 2 days. Before this, when I am carb depleting I eat a limited selection of vegetables. If you look back to my comp. training posts from August, September, October, and November you will see exactly what I was eating.

Question: In your book "The Eat-Clean Diet Workout" you mentioned that is good to train each muscle twice a week but on the Oxygen website, I read that your work out was at that time, each muscle once a week. Which one is better if you like to be toned?

Answer: It depends how hard you are working the muscle. I typically train the body part once a week because I do a bunch of different exercises for that muscle on that day. Like yesterday, for example, I worked my biceps really hard. Working out like this, or twice a week with less intensity will get you the same “toned” look.

Question: Can you elaborate on 'stripping' and what benefit it has and if it should be done only by someone who is in an advanced stage of weight lifting or can an intermediate do it as well?

Answer: Start with a spotter and have them set the heaviest weight possible and do as many reps as you can and then have your spotter reduce the weight continuously for 4 – 5 sets and push out as many reps as you can. Basically you are “stripping” the weight down without taking any rest. For advanced trainers ONLY.

Question: I'm not an egg fan, but I can do Egg Beaters with salsa. Do you think that's a good option?

Answer: Great option.

Question: Hope your settling into a routine after training so hard. I was wondering if you can tell me where I can find Bison in Toronto. I live in the Yonge/401 area and cannot find it anywhere. Thanks Tosca!

Answer: I get mine at a farmer’s market or special order from my butcher, but Whole Foods in Toronto should have it

Question: Tosca - I've noticed in your cookbook that you use cilantro in quite a few receipes. I'm not a big fan, what other herb/spice can you suggest to substitute since it is a strong and fragrant taste?

Answer: Cilantro is Mexican parsley, so regular Parsley can be used.

Question: I eat very good and healthy during the day when I am at work (I bring my lunch). However, my downfall is after dinner. I crave sweets and often find myself eating junk in the evening without actually being hungry. Do you have any advice on how to overcome this? Thanks!!!

Answer: Be sure you keep all of the junk out of the house. Have healthy treats around. Change your after dinner routine so you don’t binge. And be sure your are eating enough during the day so you feel satisfied.

Question: How do you get your hard-boiled eggs to peel well. Mine do not always peel well?

Answer: Mine don’t peel well either. I use an egg cup and crack them across the top, dig out the yolk, and eat the white.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

URGENT: Clean Eating and Your Kids!!

I need your help!!

I have been approached by a prominent publication (I can't share the name... but it's a goodie!!) to share a story on Eating Clean and its effect on children...

Has your child lost weight by Eating Clean?
Has your child recovered from or avoided a serious illness/disease by Eating Clean?

Email me your story and a before and after picture:


Thank you for your continued dedication and support. I am really looking forward to hearing your stories.

Your Sister in Iron,

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Nutcracker Weekend - Kingston, Ontario

This was the big weekend for my daughter Kelsey to dance the lead role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Quinte Ballet School production of the Nutcracker. She has worked hard under enormous pressure – you can’t imagine how much! – to prepare herself to do this dance.

Her big sis Rachel came home from Portland in the middle of her final exams – taking a nasty redeye flight to do so. She surprised Kelsey on Friday night after a long day’s travel. The pictures show how happy Kelsey was to see Rachel who she has not seen since August 26th!

The rest of the weekend was filled with happy moments especially the surprise we all got when Kelsey came out on stage in her spectacular pink, purple and gold tutu to dance her part. She looked so beautiful, so “dancer-like” with that long neck and regal posture, well it took my breath away. I could hardly stand it! To watch this child of mine dance the part so beautifully and to smile so radiantly through it all! She received loads of applause and four ovations when it was all over. I wish I could see it all over again! Of course we are not allowed to film or photograph any of it but …. Robert took his long lens and shot the whole thing anyway! He did not use a flash so there was no distraction for the dancers. And Naomi, my director for the TV show also came to the performance and filmed the whole thing. I am secretly happy that they did.

After the performance Kelsey came out in her tutu and everyone crowded around her to celebrate and shower her with flowers. There were quite a few little children at the show and they were all coming up to touch Kelsey's tutu... isn't that cute. The pic above is from a rehearsal earlier in the year, but I will post tons of pictures for you to see... I wasn't able to download them today because my computer was very slow.

As for me, I am the proud Mommabear. It’s nice to have these special moments forever cemented in your mind. Spending time with my family and watching them grow into beautiful, independent women is a blessing. Our plan this Christmas is to stay close to home – since they have all been far away – and take time to be together. We will cook, play and relax together. That is all I really want.

I did buy my snowshoes for myself as a Christmas gift (to me). I plan to make good use of them right away and since we have heaps of snow already I will have no trouble getting started. They say snowshoeing is a huge cardiovascular challenge. I will soon find out. Stay tuned for my photos and my learning curve stories. There will be many.

When we came home yesterday we found out that our dogs had escaped from their doggie pen (really a tennis court). It was -15 degrees outside but we bundled up and trudged through the deep snow looking for signs of the little devils. Bailey, our old dog, came wandering up the driveway soon after we started looking but it was much longer looking for Davidson. After about an hour and a half we got a phone call from a neighbor who told us our black lab was with them. Thank goodness! Now both dogs are safe and sound in the house.

I will post my training and eating and answers to questions tomorrow when I have a moment to catch up on all the things I missed being away on the weekend.

Have a great day... and hugs to you all!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday Was A LONG Day

Rough day yesterday. I got home from filming at 9pm!!!

Good thing I had my cooler with me because eating was definitely not a priority. The filming ran long and way over.

So the lesson is, carry a cooler cause you never know where your next meal is coming from!

My eats for today have been choppy at best but:

2/3 cup cooked oatmeal with flax and wheat germ
3 egg whites
500 ml water
Black coffee


Mid AM:
Handful green beans
3 egg whites
Handful unsalted almonds

5 ounces grilled chicken
Handful green beans
8 slices of cucumber

Mid Afternoon:
Protein shake

Dinner eaten in car on the way home:
Grilled chicken
Green beans

I was so wiped out when I got home last night!!! Phewf. I took a nice long hot bath and called it a night.

I didn't train yesterday because of my unexpectedly long filming day, but I will keep you posted.

To Answer A Few Questions:

- I stay away from whey protein specifically because I'm lactose intolerant and can't digest it. I do prefer to get my protein from true "food" sources. That being said, it is an excellent supplement to use when you are in a pinch or after a workout. Just be sure to find a CLEAN version. I use hemp protein powder when I have protein shakes (as I did today).

- I don't use wheat grass as a supplement for vegetables. I still incorporate quite a few veggies in my diet as you can see above.

- I will check into the photo issue... thank you for letting me know

- Before bed you can have add a little protein in there. Top your oats with a sprinkle of walnuts, or spread some almond butter on your apple. Keep the protein and complex carb balance going. Just keep your meals light and small before bed. Scrambled egg whites with tomato is a good option, too.

- Using moderate weight and high reps trains the endurance of the muscle (aka. how long can the muscle go). This is a great technique to build lean muscle definition.

- When I decided to start eating clean it was an all-or-nothing thing. I made the commitment and never looked back. My "snacky" foods are peanut butter and ice cream. I replaced them with healthier options (almond butter and yogurt) and reduced my portion sizes. If you're just getting started and your "snacky" for is chips, try exchanging them for a handful of nuts (equally as crunchy). If you MUST have the chips, don't deprive yourself of them, just consider it a treat for the week and move on.... of course, a treat means a handful or so... not the whole bag.

- Whole-wheat couscous is considered clean, however, it does not compare nutritionally to quinoa, which is packed with tons and tons of vitamins and minerals, as well as being high in protein.

- Christmas always equals chocolates, creams, butter, sugar, cookies, pies, cakes, etc. etc. I let my kids bake as much as they want, but make the commitment to myself to avoid it. I will make a berry-based dessert for myself leaving out all the sugary stuff. Try this option (there are a couple of berry-based desserts in my Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook), or allow yourself to have a few cookies as your treat over the holidays... just don't eat the whole plate.

- Cooler 1 is a meal plan found in The Eat-Clean Diet.

- The detox tea I drink is from Hockley Valley Herb & Tea Company. I get it from a store in Caledon East where she mixes a special brew for me. I am not sure what exactly is in it.

- I believe goat's milk is an excellent alternative to cow's milk, regardless of the fat content. If you're concerned, use it in moderation. Calcium is available in many foods other than milk (think, broccoli, quinoa, almonds, etc.).


Monday, December 1, 2008

Look At That Snow...

It's a winter wonderland outside. Here are the shots of the snow I promised you. Isn't that beautiful? And treacherous for driving, too.

I spent some time yesterday doing some Christmas shopping for my kids and getting the house prepped for the holiday season. Here's a picture of my front hall with my favorite poinsettias. We usually put a tree in the front hall, but I am going to wait a few more weeks for that.

To answer a couple of questions from a few days back:

- I use calipers to measure my body fat percentage. They are the easiest and still quite accurate.

- Measurement wise my pants (jeans) are size 28 with a 32 inch inseam and my bra is a 36C. I usually wear small or medium tops depending how tightly they fit. Jackets are a medium. Dresses size 6 or 8. I am 5 feet 8 inches tall and weigh 136 in the off season. I strive for about 12 to 13 per cent body fat when not on stage.l

- Sushi is definitely a part of Eating Clean when you can find brown rice versions. But tempura options are NOT considered clean since they are fried.

- Agave can definitely be replaced by honey, just be aware that the glycemic load is higher with honey and the consistency of your mix might be more viscous.

- When you click on the pics you should be able to click the back button on your web browser to take you back to the blog.

I received a couple of requests for off season nutrition.... so here's what I ate yesterday and this morning and my plan for the rest of the day:


Pre Breakfast: 500 ml water plus 6 ounces wheat grass and a multi-vitamin

2/3 cup cooked oatmeal plus 2 T each flax and wheat germ and 1/4 cup raspberries
4 hard boiled egg whites, one yolk
Black coffee

Mid Am:
Handful unsalted almonds plus 1 apple

My own version of Pad Thai from the Cookbook

Mid Pm:
4 egg whites
Handful goji berries

5 ounces grilled chicken
1/4 cup brown rice
Steamed green beans
Steamed broccoflower

Before bed:
Detox tea


250 ml water with wheat grass
250 ml water

AM Workout 1:
30 min run

2/3 cup cooked oatmeal with 2 T each wheat germ and flax and 1/4 cup
4 egg whites, no yolk
Coffee, black

AM Workout 2:

I will be out all day so I have to have a cooler handy. In my cooler for the day:
8 hard boiled eggs which I will eat 4 at a time
1 cup brown rice which I will eat 1/2 cup at a time
1 cup cooked green beans, which I will eat 1/2 cup at a time
1 cup cooked broccoflower, eaten 1/2 cup at a time
1 apple

Lunch is a green salad with a packet of water packed tuna and chopped
tomato. Dressed with pumpkin seed oil, cider vinegar and sunflower seeds.

This will get me through until about 3 o'clock.

We are going out for a Christmas party tonight so I will be ready for it by making sure to eat the crudités without dip. I will look for things like shrimp cocktail if it is available and any sort of hor d'ouevres that are not covered in a lot of stuff. Satay sticks are usually good. I will probably have a glass of celebratory red wine since this is the TV show party.

That is the day!


What A Weekend...

Good Monday Morning:I am feeling better thanks to your helpful words on Friday. I am totally back to basics here and realize I need to set goals for myself and decide what I want to do. One goal is to purchase snow shoes. We have so much winter weather this year I need to take advantage. I'm sure the dogs would love trekking around with me too.

I have finally gotten back to a training routine: 3 body parts each day with 1 - 2 exercises and 3 sets of 15 reps using moderate weight so as not to stress the muscles. We're just reminding the muscles of the training I was doing before. Sat: shoulders, chest, and back; Sun: hamstrings, glutes, quads; haven't trained yet today.

On my husband and I attended 2 Christmas parties. The first was a wedding/Christmas/everything celebration with friends from Milton. My friend Leslie made her famous chicken stacks (the recipe is in the Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook) to keep the meals clean. We also feasted on Heart Smart Lemon Mousse and homemade cornmeal biscotti. With the occassional glass of wine it was a great night.

After feasting at Leslie's we enjoyed some dancing at our friends Richard and Marilyn's annual Christmas party in one of Kleinburg's gorgeous golf courses. It was a late night, but a great way to start gearing up for the holiday season.

On Sunday I woke up bright and early to drive to Belleville for brunch with my daughter, Kelsey-Lynn. I drove back home that afternoon to get ready for the Sarah Brightman concert. She is one of my favorite artists. It was one of my Christmas presents to my husband. The concert was just mind blowing. Her shoes and her clothes are unreal... but her voice completely filled the Air Canada Center. The place went nuts when she sang Phantom. Afterwards, we drove home in a snow storm and have a good foot of snow on the ground this morning!!! Wow. Maybe we will have a white Christmas after all...

I will post some pics of the snow once I load them onto my computer.