Yum, yum: Paleo Diet: What’s the Deal?

The paleolithic diet. You’ve heard of it? Great. It’s a way of eating, a lifestyle, that’s said to help us lose weight, prevent disease and generally make you feel clean and full of energy. The basic principle is to eat as the cavemen(women) did. Survive off of hunting and gathering, eating only lean protein, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. We’ve tried it, and if done right, you will feel full and satisfied, lose weight and kick that bloated feeling.

Dude, we should totally go paleo. I know.

Being a successful caveperson these days is all about planning and preperation. Cook in large batches and freeze portions. It’s best to dedicate a few hours during the weekend to cut up all of your fruits and veggies for easy snack/stir fry/smoothie access. The hardest part of being a paleo is the inability to grab something on the go. However, if you’re in a major jam, you can always buy a banana from your local Starbucks.

Let’s be real, most of us are busy juggling work, family and a social life. The paleo books we’ve read touch on this. It’s ok to have a glass of wine, a beer, in moderation. You have the power to choose how paleo you want to go. Greek yogurt, oatmeal, and whole wheat carbs like Ryvita crackers are some examples of paleo no-no’s we think are worth bending the rules for. Incorporating just some of the paleo principles into your life can be easy, and you will still reap many benefits.

Here is a basic recipe for paleo pancakes that will give you a glimpse into paleo living.

Paleo Pancakes
(1 serving, multiply the ingredients as needed)

Looks yummy, right?

This is one of our favourite breakfasts. It tastes delicious, is almost too easy to make and will keep you satisfied. You can add whatever paleo-approved items you like to these pancakes, just like the real thing.

  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg (no egg whites on this diet, need those yolks)
  • 1 tablespoon of nut butter of your choice (almond, hazelnut – the only nut on the pale-no list is peanut)
  • 1 tsp of coconut oil (this is a staple in the paleo pantry)
  • dash of cinnamon


  • dash of vanilla
  • squeeze of natural honey
  • splash of soy/almond milk (fluffyness)
  • cacao chips (natural alternative to chocholate chips, enjoyable, we promise)


  1. Mash banana in a bowl
  2. Mix in egg and nut butter
  3. Grease frying pan with coconut oil and pour mixture into pancakes


A meal that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This will be a go-to because it’s easy. Again, you can use the basic recipe below, add protein powder or a variety of other spices, flavours.

1 banana
A handful of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 scoop/ tbsp of flax seed
1/2 cup of soy/almond/coconut milk


  1. Blend. 🙂

Sweet potato fries or chips

Diet food? We think not. You can also make a paleo approved dipping sauce.

No recipe needed here. Since there is no wheat allowed, natural carbs such as sweet potatoes are beloved.

Spice them up however you want (rosemary, paprika, why not try some curry powder?). There is no added salt in the paleo diet, so other spices are super important. Cut or slice however you desire, toss with olive oil and bake in the oven at 375 degrees Celsius.

You can get as creative as you want with the paleo diet. If you have a favourite recipe or dish, chances are someone has created the paleo version . There are a number of comfort food inspired cookbooks and recipes out there worth checking out.

We recommend the below cookbooks for beginners – tried, tested and rock-it approved.

The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Beverages

The Everything Paleolithic Diet Book: An All-Natural, Easy-to-Follow Plan to Improve Health, Lose Weight, Increase Endurance, and Prevent Disease

You can also refer to the internet, for lists of paleo approved foods, meal plan ideas, recipes, shopping guides and more.

If you were thinking about going paleo, there is no better time to clean out your pantry and your tummy. New year, new plan – why not? The whole point of this diet is feeling good, being healthy and the satisfaction of treating your body like a temple.

You will go from this… (I’m not bloated, I’m just fluffy)…. 

…to this! 

Media, Darling: Wing Sze Tang

Sze Tang is the beauty and health editor at FLARE,
and has been working in magazines for more than nine years. She started out as
a grammar cop (a.k.a. copy editor) and still cares about the smallest
details. Back in her freelance writing days, she contributed to Fashion, Elle Canada, Best Health,
Travel + Leisure and Marketing Magazine. She appreciates when
people pronounce her first name correctly (hint: the Sze sounds like
See, but calling her just Wing is
perfectly cool, too).

Photo credit: Adam Moco

Did you always want to be in the media? If
not, what other careers were on the horizon?

Looking back, I can see I was always
heading in this direction. Words make sense to me (numbers do not!). I studied
English at the University of Toronto, and all my “grown-up” jobs have been in

Where would you like to be five years from
My heart is in journalism. But I have a lot
of disparate interests and ideas, so who knows what the future will bring.
Any advice for people getting started in
your industry?
Don’t assume that being passionate is
enough to set you apart. While it’s essential, know that everyone else
clamouring to work in this business feels the same way. Work harder than them.
If you feel insecure about your experience or skills (we all do sometimes), don’t
let that hold you back; use it to drive your ambition to get better. If you
want to write, read 
 everything. Figure out what makes great writing great. And
then write. Learn from your editor.
What are your favourite media outlets, not
including your own? (i.e.: what do you read/listen/watch?)
I look at the usual suspects in the
fashion/beauty and health beats, since of course I keep tabs on my competitors.
Beyond that, my reading list is eclectic – everything from Toronto Life, Wired
and Gawker to The New York Times, Outside and The Atlantic. I also love the
serendipity of finding a great story via the smart people I follow on Twitter.
I have terrible taste in TV.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
Hard to choose. Since I cover beauty and
health, I get to talk to lots of different people  movie stars and scientists,
makeup artists and MDs, athletes and business execs. The variety keeps my job
interesting. I love interviews that feel like natural conversations, not
interrogations. And I love getting answers I didn’t expect and learning things
I didn’t know.
Any interview where I’m allotted a few
minutes. Or where the interviewee delivers coached or rehearsed lines.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
If you want something, ask for it.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Don’t let fear rule your life.
Try, try again.
Be curious. Be skeptical.
What’s the most important tip you can give
PR pros?
1. Know who covers what. It’s not a secret
(see: the masthead). If you email your pitch to everyone on staff when I’m the
one who handles the section, I’ll assume you don’t read the magazine. Sometimes
we get packages addressed to people who haven’t worked here in YEARS.

2. Save trees. Keep press releases short
and sweet. Some of the ones I get rival book manuscripts. But deliver the
relevant details (e.g. specifically what’s innovative/new), not fluff or
over-the-top claims. If your pitch has a whiff of B.S., I’ll doubt if I can
trust any of it (or you).

3. Be honest and transparent. If you can’t
reveal the information because you don’t know it, or you’ve given another
publication the exclusive, I’ll understand. But I’d rather hear no than wonder
why I’m getting the silent treatment as my deadline looms.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro?
We love to hear about #wins.
Once, an expert source flaked out right
before my deadline and decided he was too swamped to do an interview. Without
missing a beat—in fact, within half an hour—the PR reached out to two different
sources to see if she could secure an equally appropriate alternative for me. I
interviewed one of them later that afternoon. The PR deftly turned a
near-disaster into a win, and I couldn’t have solved the problem faster myself.
I hate? 
Going to sleep. Writing the first
paragraph. Dealing with people who are bitchy for no reason.
I love? 
Sleeping. Traveling. Eating.
Reaching the finish line. Collecting lipsticks and skin-care potions. Escaping
to the movies. Hanging out with my dude and my dog.
I’m slowly making my way through
my Instapaper archive of long-form nonfiction articles. I wish I had time to
read more books for fun.
Best place on earth? 
Depending on my mood:
home, or far away.
Dinner guest? 
Happiness is good food with a
great friend.
My mom, who raised my sister and me
almost single-handedly. We’re very different people, but she taught me that it’s
possible to defy the odds through hard work and sheer will.
Favourite app (or whatever you are
downloading these days)? 
I’m a news junkie, so Twitter is the most addictive. I
tweet sparingly but listen all the time. (Say hi: @wingszetang.)
Pool or ocean?
I can’t swim, though it’s a
life goal to learn. Till then, you’ll find me on the beach under an umbrella, dodging
the sun.
Voicemail or email? 
Email! Fastest for
everyone. I do answer my phone, but don’t call to read me the press release.

City Living: Body Blitz East Launches with a Splash!

What’s better than *one* place where women can go to relax, enjoy a therapeutic water circuit, jump in a sauna and socialize, all the while enjoying a delicious fruity concoction of antioxidants? Two! Toronto’s women’s only, health-by-water spa, Body Blitz is a favourite social destination for women across the city and has become such a popular a haven of relaxation they are celebrating opening the doors of a second location at  497 King St. E. 

The spa’s first location at 471 Adelaide St. W. opened in 2005 and invites hundreds of women through its doors each week. Body Blitz is thrilled to offer another unique space where ladies can escape a little bit from the daily chaos known as life. 

Body Blitz (West).

Smack dab in the middle of Toronto’s beautiful Corktown neighbourhood, Body Blitz East is uniquely designed within 22,000 sq. feet of industrial space made into a buzz-worthy sanctuary. The five part water circuit relay includes a Dead Sea salt pool, hot Epsom salt pool, a cold plunge pool, an aromatherapy steam room and an infrared sauna; all with individual benefits that contribute to a better, more serene sense of well being. 

Body Blitz East Dead Sea salt pool 
Photo credit: Carlos Avalos

And what better way to celebrate the launch of something *so* cool than by hosting one kick-ass party? The highlights: a team of world-class synchronized swimmers from the Durham Synchro Swim Club performing two 10 minute routines, a gorgeous real-life mermaid, and the spiked detox drink. [Full disclosure: one of the spa’s juices got an adult twist. When in doubt, add vodka]. 

Snacking on food provided by Jamie Kennedy, women scoped out their future hot spot, while men relished being allowed into such a forbidden space…October 10 was a guy’s one and only time to see the women’s spa. Their jealousy was apparent. 

More than 250 attendees celebrated the unveiling of the new space, including Jim CuddyKathleen Edwards, 2012 Olympic medallist Adam van Koeverden, actress Meghan Heffern, and dancers from the National Ballet of Canada, and Body Blitz friends and family. 

Body Blitz co-owners Rena (L) and Laura (R) Polley with Jim Cuddy.

The official public opening for Body Blitz East is Monday November 12. For more images of Body Blitz and images from the launch party, check out our Flickr site. 

Media, Darling: Paul Aguirre-Livingston

Paul Aguirre-Livingston is an editor with Viva magazine, a women’s health and lifestyle publication distributed primarily though Loblaw and its affiliates, and Canadian Jeweller, a trade publication for the jewellery industry focused on design trends and business strategies. From producing 16 issues a year since 2008, to freelancing whenever he’s not knee-deep in copy, he works with way too many (mostly lovely) publicists daily from L.A. to Mumbai. He’s also very opinionated, as you’ll read. (Which we love him for!).

Twitter: @pliving
Website: http://www.vivamagonline.com 

How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
It all starts with a name. Every morning I go through my emails quickly (which can reach 200 to 250 daily, depending on the time of year) and flag ones from contacts I recognize. The best part, however, is that these people generally don’t need to pitch me because we’ve created a dialogue and they throw out ideas they think I might be interested in. If I don’t recognize a name, the subject line is equally as important. Because of our strong emphasis on health, your revolutionary new fat loss pills will probably do me (or, more importantly, my readers) no good.

Another way I get ideas or a great way to bounce ideas off me is to approach me in person at an event or chat me up if I swing by to one of your product launches or previews. I personally respond well to interpersonal communication that isn’t via phone or email (especially not the phone: I don’t have time to sit and chat randomly or extensively between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and if you do catch me, I’m probably only half-listening – sorry!). At this point, I’d probably be more receptive to a tweet asking for a chat (maybe it’s a generational thing).

What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
I like people – and I like working with people – who embody these qualities (that, I’m swiping directly from H&M, where I worked once upon a time):
– Own Initiative;
– Teamwork;
– Being Straightforward;
– Fast Pace and Constant Improvement;
– Common Sense.

These points really do speak for themselves, and they’ve truly become pillars I try my best to work by.

Notably, I want to highlight teamwork and being straightforward. I have readers, you have a client; reps and editors need to remember to work together in the best interest of these people. Yes, you get client feedback, but I get reader letters, so this whole cycle isn’t even about us in reality. If either is unsatisfied or feels betrayed, you better believe we’ll hear about it. Being straightforward also means letting me know what the status is on a certain project, interview, photo request: don’t blow smoke in my face by not responding to my emails or telling me you’ll check and get back without actually getting back. That’s just common sense. 

What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make? 

I seem to have either the best or the worst luck when it comes to dealing with PR professionals. We all make mistakes (myself, daily), yet I seem to run into these challenges most often:

1. Honesty. I appreciate honesty (some would say it’s synonymous with being straightforward). Sure, I like to share dual responsibility in the follow-up process, but when I do it twice and you still can’t give me a straight answer, chances are I’ll stop chasing you and probably take a break from working with you for a few issues. As embarrassing as this may be to admit, I was actually mislead by a rep about an annual event thrown by a very high-profile company that I feature regularly, only to find out that the agency had invited another editor in our office. When issues like these come to light, it makes everyone uncomfortable. The agency or the brand has every right to choose whom they want to invite, but we’re all adults here, there is absolutely no need to pretend “it’s not happening this year.” Not cool – and not professional.

2. Short-sighted. Yes, we all love blogs, bloggers and websites. But remember: I work for a magazine, and we try to work as far in advance as possible. If I’m running on schedule, then chances are something I ask you for today won’t appear in print for another two months. So that “now now now” attitude I see developing – and it is global, to some extent – needs to be toned down just a little bit.  

3. Recognizing opportunities. Further to my last comment, when it’s not online, some reps groan and drag their feet because you’re not one of the “big” magazines. I’ve actually been asked ridiculous questions like, “What value is it to us to have the magazine attend X event?” or “What coverage can we expect if we allow you to attend?”. Relax, you’re not planning the Met Gala. If I’m actually emailing you about something, then chances are I have my reasons and something has struck an interest. Regardless of whether I just tweet about it or give you a full-page feature, I try my best to absorb and make something useful out of everything I see or attend. For example, I was recently invited to the opening of a new event space. On the surface, it’s just another party and has no direct interest or coverage to the publications I write for. However, I was so taken with the space that, at time I’m writing this, it looks like we’ll be shooting our six-page fashion spread there for our winter issue.

4. Know an outlet’s brand and ask for information if you don’t. Get to know a publication’s (or a website’s) mission and readers before you pitch us or deem it not part of your “media strategy.” For example, when I started at Viva, I sent out a mass email to the reps I’d worked with and the good ones got back to me admitting they’d never heard of us and wanted to know more. In fact, we have a circulation of 220,000 copies across Canada in the country’s largest grocery chain – pretty substantial. The publication reaches consumers who wouldn’t normally pick up a Glow, Elle Canada or any of the other “big” publications for various reasons, but we feature a lot of the same things (in different ways), so they still get the same information without even realizing. Reps fail to recognize that, and I’m sure the same is true with various other outlets that aren’t household names.

What happened to that saying “all press is good press” – or is that just another “spin” invented by some rep?

Your pet peeve (pertaining to PR)? 

1. Yes, you’ve got to do the grunt work. Nothing annoys me more than receiving two (or four!) of the same press release. From time to time, it’s not a bad idea to go through your media list and update it, ensuring names, addresses and phone numbers are correct – and this includes deleting duplicates. I once got a package addressed to me at the right address, but saying that I was with Elle Canada. I’m sure there’s a bright-faced intern who would gladly go over these details for the chance at agency experience.

2. Know what is magazine-appropriate when it comes to images. If you don’t know what we mean when we say “high resolution, 300 dpi” you’re in trouble. Nothing is worse than getting a cheery “Here’s your image!” email only to find a 55KB attachment. Get real and get in the know. Also: no, shots with your digital camera of cheesy portraits on a couch (although high-resolution) will not work either. Think about the aesthetic and quality of any given magazine or simply ask yourself: “Would I submit this picture to Vogue?”.

3. Professional courtesy. Every new issue, I try my best to send a written note to the rep and a few copies of the magazine, especially if it’s something that took a lot of work or an (unfamiliar) agency I’m trying to build a better relationship with. The least you could do is send an email back acknowledging the package, particularly if I email you to see if you received it. The same goes when getting introductory emails from new editors or writers; it doesn’t hurt to acknowledge the fact that they’re reaching out to you and asking about your clients.

Doesn’t that make your life easier?

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?

Dear Editors: Let’s remember to acknowledge the PR Wins from time to time. These firms and their reps not only work hard to get our attention, but also work hard for us when they do. We’re not nearly as quick to share our gratitude and mutual success, as we are our disappointments or frustrations. (And why not give it some hashtag love: #prwins).

P.S. I’m happy this column exists. It’s important for us to talk constructively about an industry that we’re all a part of so that we can grow, evolve and continue to produce great things.

TIFF ’10: A visit from….Karen Kwan

TIFF is madness! While we love the running around that goes hand in hand with this amazing festival, we still need some help calming down and feeling healthy for these 10 days. Never is this more true than mid-festival (read: right now), so we invited Karen Kwan, health and beauty expert, up to the fourth floor to give us tips. Here are her top four methods for looking and feeling great, all festival long. 

Get physical.
The films may inspire you, but all that sitting on your derriere for hours on end is bad for your health. Take a break from movie-watching to burn off all of those cocktails and canapés you’ve been inhaling at all the TIFF parties (bonus: you’ll relieve some stress while you’re at it). Trust me: You never regret working out, right? Right.

Simply look gorgeous.
Don’t stress about being ready for photo ops. If you can fit in visits to the complimentary beauty suites, fantastic! (I know I’m making a pit stop at the Murale/Sally Hershberger suite at the Intercontinental Hotel, fo’ sho!). If not, you can still always be ready for the paparazzi by picking the right cosmetics. The beauty essentials I know I can count on include Stila Long Wear Liquid Lip Color in Patina, L’Oréal Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base (keeps my oily T-zone nice and matte), and I know I won’t have to worry about my manicure chipping because I’ve already got my nails done in OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer.

Satisfy your sweet tooth.
Not something my dietitian would approve of, but sometimes something sweet is the only thing that’ll soothe my frayed nerves. My fave cupcakes are from Sweet Bliss in Leslieville.  They are totally worth the jaunt over to the east end. If you’re under high stress and prefer something with an actual proven health benefit, keep a bar of dark chocolate in your handbag. Eating an ounce and half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks has been shown to reduce levels of stress hormones.

Get some fresh air.
And the rooftop of the Thompson Hotel, mojito in hand, doesn’t count. Put down the cocktail and seek out some greenery, TIFFsters. Take five in a park or garden and it’ll help lift your mood, according to a University of Essex study.

Kwan quit her job in marketing in 2001 to pursue a career in magazines. From her first gig at Redwood Custom Communications, where she worked on publications for clients including Sears, Home Depot and Scotts, she went on to work on the launch of FQ magazine. In 2005, she landed at FLARE magazine in the copy department. During her four years at FLARE, Kwan, in her role as health and lifestyle editor, discovered her interest in healthy living, including a passion for running – something she considers a blessing, considering her even bigger passion for eating. Currently, Kwan works as a freelance writer, and in December 2009 the Montreal native launched her blog Health & Swellness, where she covers “health, beauty and anything else that catches my fancy – that’s where the ‘swellness’ comes into play.”

Twitter: @healthswellness