The Good Shopper Blog

"Canadian pride may not rest on our sleeves, but it resides deeply in our hearts."

Steve Miller


My Canadian Weight Loss Journey - Month 4

By / Par: Isabelle Remy - Dorval, Quebec

Category / Catégorie: From Isabelle

Wow, has it been 4 months already!? The calendar tells me that, yes, I’ve been on a diet for 4 months and feeling great. And the scale (and measuring tape) tells me I’ve been doing really well. So far, I’m down 10 lbs with 5 inches less around the waist. YAY! (P.S. with zero exercise…)
Here are the top 3 things I learned about myself and about nutrition in those 4 months (in no particular order):
1) Mindless easting & drinking is a killer: the first bite or sip of something is always the best. So I’ve learned to enjoy it to the fullest and reduce the amount of additional bites and sips that come after that first magical one!
2) Having a plan is essential. Planning meals and snacks throughout the day keeps me and my appetite in check. Last-minute decisions made while hungry are always disastrous for me. I keep a food journal to record what I eat each day and how I feel (am I hungry? feeling weak?)
3) Establishing routine eating times helps: I eat 3 meals a day plus 2 snacks. I tend to stick to the same snacks, as I know they work. My breakfasts and lunches are also pretty much the same day in day out, but I do vary the dinners. And I’m not sick of it yet!
But the most important factor has been working with Tina at Thin Evolution. Together we created a personalized plan that integrates some of their Canadian-made snacks with my own home cooking. The gluten-free snacks are high-protein and low calories. They taste great, feel like a treat and keep me on task. Love that! Her support and guidance has helped me THINK about the food I eat in order to make healthier choices. We swap recipes and tips and connect once a week for my weigh-in.
Tina's approach is one of long-term weight loss and maintenance, not just an overnight quick fix that will see you put all the weight back on (and some extra too!). If you’re looking to slim down a little for the warm season ahead, I encourage you to connect with her via Twitter or Facebook. Some of her snacks are available online at (or at Thin Evolution if you live in Montreal) and she can coach you by Skype if you wish! 
I am now starting to transition into the “maintenance phase”, where I will integrate some kind of physical exercise (just walking for now) to my new eating habits. This will allow me re-introduce some foods into my diet which I have cut-out during the weight-loss phase (mainly starches and the occasional glass of wine…). We’ll see if I can keep losing a little weight each week, as I have been doing since the beginning. Stay tuned!
Are you planning to lose a few pounds in time for summer?
Image courtesy of LordsFavors, PacificSource, Isabelle Remy, Thin Evolution and LookAtMyHappyRainbow.  


Resolutions - Are you making them?

By / Par: Rebecca Stanisic

Category / Catégorie: Tips and tricks

A brand new year is just around the corner, and with a new year comes a new list of goals and resolutions that people make. It's a good time for starting over or trying something new.

But do people still follow resolutions? One of the most common that I see is to 'lose weight' or 'eat better'. Both are difficult to accomplish without some planning and support.

Personally, I decided to make a list of goals for myself this year (one of them includes learning how to cook rack of lamb!) and will try to accomplish those goals. 

One of my biggest goals is to be better at managing my time. Because really, my time is no longer my own - it primarily belongs to my children and their schedules. Finding a balance between them and the things I need to accomplish can be difficult, but I will work on it. I think I already am off to a good start - I now have a More Time Moms Family Organizer for the wall! It includes a monthly calendar with large spaces for writing and stickers to flag really important days (like show and tell which I really can't forget!)



There are a lot of great calendar options out there, including this one from Wyman publishing for your office:



I know that many people have a Blackberry to help them keep track of their time, I don't yet and I know some people are old fashioned and prefer to write notes done. For those of us who need to carry a small planner around in our purse or car, I like the prettiness of this small monthly planner:



Sometimes I not only need to remember dates but websites, thoughts, ideas or milestones with the kids. To do that, I have note pads lying all over the house, but mostly these notes are on scrap pieces of paper or sticky notes.  What I really need are pretty, neat looking notebooks like these ones from Ecojot:


Are you making any resolutions this year?  And better yet, do you think you can follow them?  How are you ensuring you keep yourself on track?

Image sources:, Wyman Publishing


My Weight Loss Journey - Week 1

By / Par: Isabelle Remy - Dorval, Quebec

Category / Catégorie: From Isabelle

I’ve been following my new weight-loss program for a week with the help of Tina, my coach from Thin Evolution. If you missed my previous post, check it out here.
Basically, I’m working on losing 15 lbs in the new few weeks while following a high-protein-low-calorie program developed by Thin Evolution. And I’m doing it consuming only their Made in Canada products. So far, I’m loving the process because it fits right in with my lifestyle. 
Tina recommends “grazing” throughout the day to make sure I’m not hungry. Which is great for me because I have to eat every 2-3 hours anyway (I have a touch of hypoglycemia). So my schedule looks like this:
7h30 Morning coffee
8h00 Breakfast: 
-  High-protein fruit squares (Apricot  or Berry) from Thin Evolution
- ½ glass 1% milk (not really encouraged, but I love milk!)
10h00 Morning snack:
- High-protein honey nuts & oats bar  from Thin Evolution
- The other half of that glass of milk!
12h00 Lunch:
- Home-made vegetable soup with 15 g of lean protein. ( I add chicken to my soup)
3h00 Afternoon snack:
- Tea
- High-protein cookie  from Thin Evolution (which I warm-up in the micro-wave for that “just-baked” taste!)
5h00 Wine hour: Sadly, this is only in my mind…
6h00 Dinner:
- 3-4 oz of lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, tofu, etc)
- 2 cups vegetables (either a salad or steamed veggies)
8h00 Evening coffee
It’s fun to try the weight loss products, and my favourite so far is the apricot fruit square and the berry one. Tina tells me these squares are the only products of their kind that contain real fruit (most high-protein bars tend to resemble a chocolate bar). Their texture reminds me of a rice-crispy square. Yummy breakfast!
So what's the results after one week of this program? First, I’m not hungry. And second, I lost 2 lbs! I’m happy about that! Now on to week 2!


My Weight Loss Journey - Made in Canada

By / Par: Isabelle Remy - Dorval, Quebec

Category / Catégorie: From Isabelle

Let me start by saying I’ve never had a weight issue. Please don’t hate me for that. But now in my mid-40s, I’m annoyed by my expanding waist (wine waist?) and by my inability to lose the weight as easily as I used to when I was younger. Sounds familiar?
Then I came across the Thin Evolution Weight Loss Centre in Montreal’s West Island, where I live. What caught my attention was the fact that many of the high-protein-low-calorie snacks they use in their programs are made in Canada. To me, that means quality control, traceability, and sustainable & transparent processes.
So I made an appointment and met with the owner, Tina. I was so impressed with her knowledge and experience in weight loss, as well as her easy going and non-judgmental attitude. I was sold!
Thin Evolution’s concept is simple:
1) Short-term weight loss “boot-camp” phase: using specialized weight-loss mini-meals;
2) Medium-term weight “maintenance” phase: weaning off the mini-meals;
3) Long-term weight management “lifestyle”: learning to make the right nutrition choices.
I set my weight-loss goal to 15 lbs, without a particular time frame. With the Holidays fast approaching, I’m hoping to lose a few pounds before then, to make up for the few pounds I will most certainly gain at Christmastime!
I will document my weight-loss journey here, with a weekly “Weigh-In Wednesday”. If you have any questions for Tina, leave them below and I'll get her answers.
Wish me luck!


Sticking With Your Fitness Goals

By / Par: Andrea Willowcat - St. Jean Baptiste, Manitoba

Category / Catégorie: Tips and tricks

Bootcamp is over for the Summer and I am sad that I wasn't able to attend the final session in Southern Manitoba. All in all, I didn't lose a whole lot of weight but I did lose over ten inches, not too bad an effort! Bootcamp starts back up in the Fall. I am not sure if I am going to go back yet, as it all depends how well I am able to continue my fitness goals under my own steam. I have come up with my own set of tips and tricks that I would like to share with you.
 Buy Canadian First Member Naosap
Nothing happens overnight. The weight that I have packed on didn`t happen over night. Being kind to, and patient with myself, while waiting for results to show is key to not getting frustrated. I also try to be diligent, optimistic and focused during this journey. Then, finally, the results will be visible and it will be terribly exciting and rewarding! Keep your expectations reasonable; if you are dieting properly, you may expect to lose one to two pounds a week. If you are dieting and doing a fitness program, your weight may not change but your body will shrink while your muscles gain mass!


What we eat is very important. This is not about eating perfectly but about making an effort to truly watch and know what it is that I am putting into my body. Preservatives, artificial sweeteners, refined flour and sugar are some things that I have tried to purge from our diet. Whole grains, such as Buy Canadian First member Noasap  and their Manitoba grown wild rice, are a staple in the house now. We have also added beans to our diet as well as Buy Canadian First member True North Salmon' s products to our table. The basic rules we try to stand by is to buy Canadian, local foods first and to steer clear of processed products.   

Eating and sleeping. Breakfast is so very, very important, as it has likely been over eight hours since you have last eaten! Your body is waking and needing fuel for the day. To keep a body's metabolism running smoothly it is said that eating food, not skipping meals, is best. So I eat three meals and two to three small snacks a day. Since school has let out for Summer session I am no longer up in the wee hours snacking as I write papers. This small change, in conjunction with a lot more sleep, has resulted in a five pound weight loss in three weeks! Eat well and often and sleep well, it works!

Buy Canadian First Member Dringdring 

Add fitness into your daily routine. No, I do not mean to run a few miles every morning, unless you wish to. What I am talking about is taking fitness opportunities on top of your regular fitness schedule. Chase your children through the park, climb the monkey bars, go for a family bike ride, take the stairs or walk to the store and carry your groceries home. Take every opportunity to add activity into your days. (I would love to get these bicycle bells from Buy Canadian first member, Dringdring, one for each of my girls, for our family rides!).

For me, Summertime may be the easiest time of year to lose weight, even with the temptation of milkshakes, iced tea and other cold beverages and the end of the day s'mores treats. It's just too hot to eat as much. Here in Manitoba, as I bask in the seventy percent humidity and the thirty above weather, I know that the true test will be in the Fall, with the cool weather and my nose buried in my textbooks once again. Until then, I will happily apply my own tips and tricks and take advantage of the beautiful weather!

What helps you stick to your fitness goals?

 Image credit Buy Canadian First members Noasap, True North Salmon and Dring Dring

Tags / Balises: Buy Canadian, Exercise, Family, Fitness, Food, Goals

Keeping Fit

By / Par: Andrea Willowcat - St. Jean Baptiste, Manitoba

Category / Catégorie: Shopping guides

Ohh boy! Great boot camp classes in Southern Manitoba ! Today, I don't dare sneeze so that my ribs don't ache after this last kickboxing class. No, I wasn't kicked. I am just feeling my oblique muscles. Of all the routines, the kickboxing class is one of my favourites! It's fun, the pace is great and I can always remember to keep my core strong, which makes the exercises easier and improves balance, even my paltry balance.

Key Lime Canada 

I have yet to treat myself to some new workout gear. I usually just wear old sweats and a t-shirt. The funniest thing is that I am wearing my son's runners from when he was thirteen...he's eighteen now. So, maybe it's time to treat myself to new workout wear! This is my wish list; the Noelle jacket (bamboo blend), the bamboo Yoga pant  and the Doleman shirt , all from Key Lime Canada. How lovely it would be to wear all this soft comfortable bamboo while I simultaneously thank and curse my boot camp instructor as she exclaims, "and let's pulse for 10, 9, 8..." (Pulses are smaller movements in quick succession; it's easier to pulse if you smile.)

 key lime canada  

I love the results that the boot camps have given me but there is the issue of sore muscles. The soreness that usually occurs a day or two after your workout is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS and is a result of microscopic tears in your muscles repairing themselves. Some people swear by hopping into a cold shower right after a workout to reduce the swelling and even bypass the effects of DOMS all together. I would rather cuddle up to Buy Canadian First member Cryopak Flexible Hot (or cold) Compress  a few days after the workout. I adore the heat and feel relaxed and comfortable.


cryopak hot or cold compress



All is going really well this year regarding my fitness resolutions and frankly, I am really proud of myself!

How are your fitness goals coming along?

 Images: Buy Canadian First members Key Lime Canada and Cryopak 


Happy New Year!

By / Par: Wendy T. Gibson

Category / Catégorie: Shopping guides

There are still a few weeks of glorious Summer left to enjoy, but, I know that I will once again have to face another Canadian  Winter down the road. I like to line up new classes and activities for myself at this time of the year. I think that is because the day after Labour Day always seems like New Year's Day. It's a back-to-school feeling that I'll never lose! It also takes my mind off the sad fact that another beautiful Canadian  Summer is almost over. Here are some of the "New Year's"resolutions that I am making for this September. 


 CG Hart Gym Bag

Just for fun, this Fall I am going to attempt a 5K run! Now, I'm not a runner, by any means, but I found a smartphone app called "Couch to 5K" that promises to get me running, using baby steps! I can do baby steps, no problem! You can find several apps to help you get off the couch. Just search in your smartphone store and choose the one that you think is best for you. If you don't have a smart phone, or would just rather use your computer, the Cool Running  site has some cool running tips, tricks and articles to get you started. You can print out a 5K running plan, keep a log and meet lots of other former couch potatoes, too!


 Barbo Ballerina Slipper 

 After watching So You Think You Can Dance Canada,  all Summer, I think that I want to dance! Don't tell my husband, but I've been browsing the brochures that come out at this time of year, offering every sort of dance class imaginable! Dance classes are a great way to sneak exercise into your life! But what to choose? Tap, Ballet, Latin, Ballroom, Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, Break or Whacking all look good! Maybe it will be just a matter of taking what is available on my chosen night. Will my husband dance to my tune? I'll let you know!



 Another activity that I am planning this Fall is to learn how to use a stylus and tablet to create digital art. I am going to do this with a book, called "Digital Expressions" by Susan Tuttle, that I got from Chapters. It was on sale and it comes with a CD! There are all sorts of books that come with CDs now, on every sort of topic. I think that the CD will take the book to another dimension and make it seem more like a workshop! Can't wait to start!

Speaking of books, don't forget to read Stacey Kazmir's  blog post this coming Monday, where she reviews "Bitten" and gives you a chance to win it! 

 Are you making any "New Year's" resolutions this Fall? 

:: images courtesy of Buy Canadian First members. 






No Excuses!

By / Par: Wendy T. Gibson

Category / Catégorie: Shopping guides

In January, I was motivated to get in shape because it was New Year's and I always resolve to get in shape then. In February I was motivated to get in shape because of the Olympics . But now it's March and I am REALLY motivated to get in shape because - eeek! Spring is just around the corner! I can't camoflage my out-of-shape-self with my bulky winter coat anymore! In no time, thick sweaters will not be able to take the rap for my upper arms! My bum won't be able to blame it on my snow pants! Soon, the whole world will know that I'm not dressed in layers...I'm just out of shape! I know it's naughty but sometime vanity can be the best motivator of all!
stationary bike


Fortunately, Spring's better weather also means that my bike is coming out of Winter storage. My favourite form of transportation is also a great way to stay in shape! The challenge for me, though, (and most of us Canadians fated to experience four seasons), is that I don't use my bike enough in the Winter to get any sort of real exercise from it. That's why the ideal solution seems to be two-part: a stationary bike for rainy days and winter and an outdoor bike for blue skies and sunny days. No excuses then!



Especially if you are not the type who enjoys joining a gym or paying expensive membership fees, having exercise equipment at home is a sensible, and ultimately money-saving way, to stay in shape all year round. Buy Canadian First member, Ontario's Bodyguard Fitness has award-winning stationary bikes and a wide assortment of other exercise equipment to meet your indoor exercising needs. My friend, Joanie, for example, is not into bicycles but swears by her treadmill while my husband prefers an elliptical trainer . Bodyguard Fitness offers much more than just equipment. Their online support , for example, is invaluable and a great way to stay motivated while you are getting and (hopefully) staying in shape!

elliptical trainer


Once the weather is good, though, there is no excuse not to bring out the road bike! You may want to take a look at the "perfect" bicycles at Guru Bikes to get in the mood! "Hand-crafted" and "high-tech", the bikes should come with adoption certificates! Each one is custom built, just outside Montreal, Quebec, to the specifications of the person who will be riding it, which can only mean one thing ... one sweet ride!



If you are really out of shape, the BionX  energy management system sounds like a great excuse buster! Designed and manufactured in Quebec, the unit provides battery-powered assistance as needed, so you can still enjoy and benefit from pedalling, while not overextending yourself too soon  after a long winter! What fun!


Hey! Don't forget your titan carbon helmet from Quebec-based Louis Garneau!

Spring is in the air! Are you feeling motivated to start a new fitness program...again?

Image sources:


Declutter and organize: 5 tips and tricks.

By / Par: Andrea Willowcat - St. Jean Baptiste, Manitoba

Category / Catégorie: Tips and tricks

There are some people that always seem to have all their ducks in a row and seem perpetually organized, but those of us who are not need a little help. Here are some great ideas how to become and stay organized this winter and ever after:

1) First things first, before you can organize you must purge; clothes that don't fit, items in your home you don't like, broken items you will never fix and items you never use. Get yourself into your closets, living spaces,  basements, attics, and nooks with the intent to rid yourself of excess junk. Be sure to donate all the items that can be reused. Once this is complete you can then continue to purge as items become torn, broken and unwanted. Do double duty during regular everyday tasks; while doing laundry look for clothes that need mending or recycling into quilts or rags and during a toy clean up keep an eye out for broken toys.  This trick will also apply to emotional  baggage like unhappy letters and tokens that keep your psyche prisoner and thoughtful albeit unwanted gift from friends and family.


2) Paper products are a hassle for a home with a constant flow of mail, flyers, takeout menus, home work, magazines, newspapers, permission slips and notes that clutter our desks, tables and counters.To keep the piles from getting out of hand sort your mail beside your blue box and recycle all unwanted envelopes and advertising. Implement a family mail/paper filing system, this could be hanging folders, stacking baskets or a short wide mouthed jar to store the documents and mail that needs attending to . Be diligent in maintaining the papers, once they are in the 'in jar' take care of them then return the slips to school, file important items and recycle the rest, need more help check out the ideas at Style at Home .



3) Young children may be too small to use hangers but hooks are a great idea and easy for small hands to use. Place on the wall within reach and your kids will hang their coats and bags up. The "Rail Riders and Hangers-On " Coat Rack from Buy Canadian First Member City and North Custom Design is perfect. This large sturdy piece has enough room for coats, snow pants, bags mittens, scarves and tuques.

4) Seasonal items can be a bit of a hassle, leaving your summer and winter clothes and shoes all in one closet can create a big mess especially with a few children in the house. The Canadian-made Omni box by Kis are a great way to store your winter or summer gear off season. Made of recyclable  number 5 plastic these boxes will keep your items safe from moisture and bugs and can be stored neatly away in your basement or garage. Check out a review of the Omni Box from Mother by Nature and the boxes can be bought at Canadian Tire .


5) Preplanned 5 day outfits. Take the guess work out of getting dressed by having the whole family make a five day wardrobe. The time, energy and hassle saved is priceless.

Being organized takes some effort and constant diligence initially but once the habit is formed then it'll be like breathing. Get the family on board and watch how much extra time you'll have for the fun stuff like tobogganing or just some guilt free well needed lounging on those cold late-winter nights.

What are your favourite tips to get your house organized?

Image sources: Judith Head to Toe,,, Canadian Tire


Hey Family, turn that TV off!

By / Par: Andrea Willowcat - St. Jean Baptiste, Manitoba

Category / Catégorie: Tips and tricks

Ah, sweet summertime, children running about all day playing in the sprinklers, skipping rope in the front street, street hockey in the back lane... what? What do you mean whose children am I talking about? Is the scene in your house more like a bunch of sloths sprawled across your floors and sofas, loafing around watching TV and playing video games? As a child I was playing outside in my neighbourhood rather than watching television or playing my Atari (!) system. Perhaps it is the 24/7 availability of children's programming, state of the art game systems, mind blowing graphics, busy parents, lazy parents, safety issues and whatever else but kids are less active these days and it shows with a growing rate of obesity and diabetes in children. In fact type 2 diabetes was once considered an illness for the aging is now affecting children and young adults at an alarming rate, see some statistics and information here.  

Here are some great items that are also made in Canada that will get the kids and their parents playing, creating and having fun!

For more fantastic summer ideas be sure to check out these creative and talented Canadian bloggers too:

Outdoor Activities 

In the Kitchen

Arts and Craft

There is no excuse Canada to not get kids and grown-ups in motion! Be sure to inquire into the summer activities at your local community centers, parks and pools. Seek adventure and have fun!

PS: In case you still run out of ideas here are hundreds more from author, illustrator and guerilla artist Keri Smith 


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