Review of Chopra’s “What Are you Hungry For?”

This is a review of Deepak Chopra’s book (2013 Random House) “What Are You Hungry For?: The Chopra Solution to Permanent Weight Loss, Well-being, and Lightness of Soul.”

(Available on CD at North Vancouver District Library)

Chopra’s book is a worthwhile read because of his insightful perspective on a common challenge: weight loss.  His book offers a whole program for living,a philosophy of life, based on the principles of Ayurveda.

Some of his suggestions and insights are:

  • don’t eat when you’re in a negative mood
  • don’t eat when you’re tired or exhausted
  • lack of sleep can increase appetite due to the ghrelin hormone
  • stress and cortisol lead to belly fat
  • ginger helps relieve anxiety

If you feel hungry, follow the STOP method:

Stop what you’re doing

Take deep breaths

Observe your body

Proceed with awareness

Also, be aware of the HALT factor:


Angry, or anxious



Chopra’s book also includes guidelines for periodic fasts and a list of purifying foods (some of which are: apples, oranges, olive oil, flax seed oil, and asparagus.)

Be well, and Happy Reading!

Calm Pond


Foodie Friday: Emerald Soup Recipe


One of my favourite things to eat in the fall is soup. There are so many variations, and so many delicious, local vegetables to choose from this time of year. Soup can be made inexpensively and frozen and saved for later meals. It warms you from the inside out.

My dad passed this recipe on to me years ago. He would make it in the fall and winter, often when someone he loved was sick. I’m not sure if it was the soup or the care and love that went in to the cooking, but I always felt better after eating it.

Emerald Soup Recipe

Sauté in 3 tbsp of grape seed oil: 1 medium onion, 1 leek, 4 to 5 large garlic segments, and 2 celery stalks.

Add in this order: 900 ml of vegetable broth, 1 potato (chopped), 1 green pepper (chopped), 1 cup of fresh or frozen peas, 1 head of broccoli (chopped), 1 bunch of parsley, 1 bunch (package) of spinach or sorrel, ½ tsp thyme, ½ tsp sage, ½ tsp oregano, ½ tsp marjoram, ¼ tsp anise, and ¼ tsp cayenne pepper.

Simmer for ¾ of an hour. Then, blend and strain (to remove celery fibres) into a clean pot. You now have a vegan Emerald Soup, which may be served with a dollop of sour cream to your non-vegan guests. To make the luxurious, non-vegan, vegetarian soup, add  one-half pint of whipping crème and serve with a dollop of sour crème or crème fraiche.

Cell phones for seniors

The issue of buying a cell phone for a senior is something of a challenge: smart phones are too technical, so what is the alternative?

Fortunately, there are specialized flip phones for seniors.  The Jitterbug is one, Doro Phone Easy is another, and Telus also sells a flip phone for seniors, just to a Google search under “cell phones for seniors.”

Some of the features of these specialized phones are:

  • large, easy to use keypad
  • dedicated emergency key
  • hearing aid compatible handsets
  • long battery life
  • easy to use
  • relatively inexpensive

For example, my Virgin mobile service charges $18.00 a month for flip phones, so quite affordable.  Personally I think my mother would benefit from a cell phone, chiefly for peace of mind.  I think the flip phone is a good alternative, one that we will explore.

Take care all,

Calm Pond

Mindful Monday no. 7 – Equinox Reflections

Orange Moon on the Fall Equinox

After a long, hot summer, the days are finally getting cooler. The rain has been feeding the plants and the wind’s blowing down dead leaves. I’ve always found fall to be a grounding time.The days get shorter and seem to encourage earlier bed times and longer sleeps. Squash and apples are abundant, just begging to be baked in to soups and pies. It is an ideal time for reflection.

This week, I’m inviting you to take some time to reflect. You can do this by writing in a journal, talking to a loved one, or simply taking a walk by yourself. Here are some guiding questions for your reflection:

What are my unique gifts, and how am I using them? How am I not using them?

How am I managing my time? Am I creating enough space to nourish myself?

What are ten things I am grateful for in my life?

How would I describe myself?

What drives me to do what I do?

Do you have any ways you celebrate the changing seasons? We’d love to hear about them!

Words by Cassandra Van Dyck

Mindful Monday no. 6 – “The Mindful Way through Depression”

J. Mark G. Williams - Mindful Way Through Depression Cover

Anyone who has experienced depression or supported a loved one who has been depressed knows how hard it can be. “Depression hurts. It’s the ‘black dog’ of the night that robs you of joy, the unquiet mind that keeps you awake. It’s a noonday demon that only you can see, the darkness visible only to you,” says William and co. It can be a scary place to be, both as the person experiencing depression and as a supporter. You may feel that you or your loved one has something wrong with them, which can perpetuate low feelings and may cause the person to feel stuck.

The Mindful Way through Depression takes an alternative approach to healing from depression. Rather than looking at a suffering person and asking what is wrong and how it can be fixed, it asks the reader to consider that perhaps there is nothing wrong with them at all. Instead of suggesting quick fixes, it invites readers to go deeper so they can examine the ways they react to their moods and to take a look at their habits that may be affecting them negatively. They call the program mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, bringing together “the latest understandings of modern science and forms of meditation that have been shown to be clinically effective within mainstream medicine and psychology.”

If you are looking for an alternative approach to healing from depression for yourself or a loved one, consider this book. It is available to borrow from our Caregiver Support library at North Shore Community Resources. 

Fantastic Friday no. 8

Fall in Burnaby

Parkgate Community Services Society celebrates Parkgate Community Day this Saturday, September 12th from 11AM-2PM. This free event features local talent, a BBQ, crafts, games, and local merchants.

A humorous handout from the Family Caregivers Network Society.

Too many zucchinis and tomatoes in your garden? Join Red Seal Chef Erik Smith, owner and head chef at BLVD Bistro and S’wich Cafe to harvest, prepare, and cook local foods! 

Some great tips and notes on assertiveness.

Tai Chi: Meditation in Motion

 I must say that I am quite interested in better understanding the benefits of Tai Chi on physical and emotional well-being. I first became aware of Tai Chi while walking in my neighbourhood a few years ago. Many mornings I saw groups of women practicing these strong, graceful movements that resembled a slow moving form of martial arts. There was a dance-like and meditative quality about the movements that I found compelling. I also enjoyed the sense of community I observed in these frequent gatherings.

Mayo Clinic has written an accessible and informative article on Tai Chi, as quoted in their Stress management section:

Originally developed for self-defense, tai chi has evolved into a graceful form of exercise that’s now used for stress reduction and a variety of other health conditions. Often described as meditation in motion, tai chi promotes serenity through gentle, flowing movements.
When learned correctly and performed regularly, tai chi can be a positive part of an overall approach to improving your health. The benefits of tai chi may include:

Tools for Depression, anxiety and low mood

Bounce Back Program with Canadian Mental Health Association

During my conversation with North Shore coach Miriam Planovska, I gained more insight on the valuable work being done through Bounce Back. Coaching is currently available in Punjabi, Cantonese, French, and English. Miriam states that in North Vancouver it would also be helpful to have a Farsi speaking coach. Miriam has helped develop the program over the last 7 years.

Bounce Back is offered province wide, covering all health regions in BC, and has recently expanded to Ontario as well. Bounce Back offers support to those experiencing challenges associated with depression or low mood, and anxiety. Participants are referred by a primary care worker such as a Nurse practitioner, Doctor (GP), or psychologist.

“Bounce Back helped me to problem solve and deal with situations instead of feeling powerless” BB participant

What do you enjoy about this work?

The changes people make when they gain control back, and seeing how they can make changes they thought they couldn’t. People often experience:

-Gaining control and making positive changes

-Gaining hope back, and seeing their quality of life improve
Miriam finds that with Bounce Back clients, symptoms of depression commonly improve by 50% when they receive coaching. People come to know they’re not alone in their experience of depression.
When people stay curious and give the process a chance, it’s very powerful.

The program works well for: Those who can work over the phone and use the workbook. When people stay curious and give the process a chance, it’s very powerful. Participants gear the program towards their own needs and what they want to focus on.
Start somewhere and build it up slowly.

“I am amazed how beneficial this program has been. I feel better than I have felt in a long time. I now have different tools to help myself feel better.   I am very grateful”. BB participant

“I have done lots of self-help before but this program gave me the most head way. I feel freer. Main thing was that I can truly change how I think and view things. Before I thought that this is how I am but I learned now that I can change for better” BB participant

Coping with Depression

People can be feeling heavy with their depression, and the coaching makes a difference. I work with lots of seniors in their 70’s and 80’s who have been very isolated, and once they understand that they need to shift their perception, they discover they can do it.

With seniors in particular, given some support and new tools, they value what they can do in their life at this point in time.

Coping with Anxiety

Lots of people are dealing with anxiety to such a degree that they are getting isolated, and are unable to do everyday things. In Bounce Back, people gain the tools to make a plan for breaking through their anxiety, such as being able to get to the shopping mall and be in the community again.

How many sessions are available? Participants can have up to 5 sessions. They continue to use their workbook in their own time, and track their changes.

There are also Booster sessions within 6 months of completing the series. These are good for helping people get back on track, and for reviewing the available tools. There are 2 workbook options: A larger, more detailed workbook and a smaller version.

We at Caregiver Support encourage you to consider how a coaching program, one-to-one counseling, or a support group can help you in overcoming the challenges of depression and anxiety.