Archive | December, 2012

‘Canada’s always been the Perfect World for me’

Posted on 26 December 2012 by admin

“My album ‘Perfect World’ was inspired by living this duality as an immigrant in Canada. The music mirrors the balance of being both Canadian and South Asian. Everything from the instrumentation to the vocals borrows musical concepts both from Western and Eastern musical realm. So far, the response has been overwhelming with the EP – I am blessed to have such a great support system and my South Asian community rallying behind me!”



 Roveena studied psychology and music as an undergraduate at The University of Waterloo, but chose to pursue a career in Human Resources. Her love of music never diminished, and she began posting YouTube videos of her live performances. That led to a genuinely life-changing moment when Toronto’s CityTV invited Roveena to perform on their show Breakfast Television. She so stunned host Kevin Frankish with the power of her voice that a planned one minute segment turned into eight minutes, an appearance that would launch Roveena’s musical career. In addition to CityTV, she has also been featured on Slice Network, OMNI TV and has performed for the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre, the NFL and TVi which boosted her profile in the South Asian community, both in Canada and internationally.

Roveena comes from a musically-oriented family. As she says, “My parents have audio tapes of me singing along to ABBA songs at 18 months.” In a conversation with Generation Next, the Tamil-Canadian songstress talks about the inspiration behind her music and her aspirations in Canada.

1. You studied psychology and music as an undergraduate at The University of Waterloo, but chose to pursue a career in Human Resources. How do you juggle between the two careers? Or is it going to be a complete transition – from HR to music?

Right now the juggling act is tough! However, when you are passionate about a dream – you make time for it! So I find myself wearing two different hats at the moment, but am hopeful that I will be able to pursue my dream full time in the future. For now, the juggling act continues!

2. You and your family have experienced a rather nomadic life – living in Sri Lanka, the U.K., and Nigeria prior to settling in Canada in the mid ’80s. But you now identify yourself as a “Canadian first”. Why did you and your family choose Canada? 

Great question! I do identify myself as Canadian first; this country has always been the Perfect World for me. Canada has always embraced a multi-cultural society. When our family immigrated here in the 80s, we didn’t feel the pressure to abandon our customs from Sri Lanka. Instead, we assimilated into the Canadian culture while holding onto our traditions and beliefs from back home. It was a great balance that I naturally embraced throughout my childhood and adolescence.

3. What’s the inspiration behind your debut release ‘Perfect World’? What has been the response so far to the album?

Perfect World was inspired by living this duality as an Immigrant in Canada. The music mirrors the balance of being both Canadian and South Asian. Everything from the instrumentation to the vocals borrows musical concepts both from Western and Eastern musical realm. So far, the response has been overwhelming with the EP – I am blessed to have such a great support system and my South Asian community rallying behind me!

4. What advice would you give to immigrants who come to this country with big dreams, but still aren’t able to find their foothold in the country?

It’s very important to try finding a great support system. Try and surround yourself with friends, family or even a new network of people that you know will support and guide you. As a new immigrant to Canada, you have access to services and organizations that offer that support -– which is extremely helpful for anyone coming into this country.

5. Any artists you are inspired by?

Growing up – I was in awe of the era of our vocal Divas. From Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. As I got older, I started to have a broader musical appreciate for all genres! Ranging from Peter Gabriel, Sting and Phil Collins.

6. Your music has been described as a magical blend of ethnic and contemporary musical influences. In what way have your roots influenced your music?

Everything! My brother and I grew up listening to old classic TM Soundararajan songs my dad would play on a cassette tapes when we had to do chores around the house. As well as the latest top 40 hits! It was literally a musical melting pot of inspiration!

7. What is the one theme in your songs that has been close to your heart?

 All these songs are close to my heart but the first track – Perfect World – holds a special place. It was written with my producer and addresses the pressure that comes along with body image when you’re younger. I find from personal experience that we as women struggle with this standard that is unrealistic. This song is a window to my soul.

8. What’s your opinion on the visibility of South Asians in Canada’s music scene? Who are your favourite ones?

It’s amazing! Music isn’t a traditional career path that most South Asians follow – so when we see people from our community putting themselves out there it’s a great step forward! I have a lot of respect for so many South Asian artists that are making a name for themselves – but namely Anjulie and Raghav have recently caught my attention. Both have been dedicated to their craft for years and it’s nice to see their hard work has really paid off.

9. What’s your vision for the next 10 years?

To be able to wake up in the morning and be excited to do what I love the most – music!

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Happy New Year to All!

Posted on 26 December 2012 by admin

It’s the end of the year again, time to reflect, time to make future plans, to strategize for it and to hope for the best, but at the same time to prepare for whatever comes our way the next year.

We talk and hear a lot about reflections, but do we really reflect on our personal lives and what has happened around us throughout the year.

On an international level, a lot happened. The Middle East witnessed multiple crises. A lot of violent acts caught our attention. President Obama won. Supporters of education and healthcare in the developing world were targets of extremists. And a lot more.

But why do we need to “reflect” when we can blissfully go to sleep like all other times of the year. Well, quite simply because we have the ability to think and to plan and to wonder and to dream about the future and because we can hope – hope for the best – and also because we can learn from our mistakes and be better people than what we were before.

 But of course, only hoping is not good enough. We need to work toward our goals and ambitions, one tiny step at a time. And see how we get closer to our dreams like watching a baby learning to sit, crawl, stand, walk and run.

Sure, the way looks full of hardships and countless obstacles, but when you look back and reflect what seemed like a hardship just appears to be a bump on the road.

Whether we reflect or analyze our actions and world happenings or not, we are left with an overwhelming impression of whether it was a good year for us or a bad one at so many different levels, personal, professional, financial, human and so on.

We hope 2012 was a good year for you, and 2013 holds all the more contentment and joy for you.

Happy New Year!

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Ontario announces locked-door policy for elementary schools

Posted on 26 December 2012 by admin

Toronto:Premier Dalton McGuinty announced there would be a “locked door” policy at all 4,000 elementary schools in Ontario by next September in reaction to last week’s shooting rampage that left 26 dead at a school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Ontario is providing renewed funding to elementary schools across the province to support a locked-door policy while students are in class. In the announcement Thursday, McGuinty said the tragic events at Newtown, Conn., led him to question whether enough steps were being taken to ensure safety at Ontario schools.

At the St. Fidelis Catholic Elementary School in Toronto, the Premier announced that the Safe Welcome Program would be reopened for applications. The program provides funding to schools that need support to install devices that give staff more control over who enters the school.

“When parents send their kids off to school they are putting their trust in us, and we have to get it right. That’s why our government is committed to providing safe, welcoming places to learn for all our kids. It’s up to us to take all reasonable steps available to us to protect our kids. Locking school doors is a reasonable step,” Premier Dalton McGuinty said.

The province will spend $10 million for elementary schools to install security devices such as video cameras and buzzers to let visitors in. All elementary schools in the province must have in place by next September a locked-door policy that will mean doors to schools are locked while children are in class, McGuinty said.

In 2005, the province provided similar $3 million in funding for elementary schools to install security measures if the front doors could not be seen from the office. About 850 schools took advantage of the program.

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Harper government enacts all-inclusive airfare advertising laws

Posted on 26 December 2012 by admin

TORONTO — The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced that all-inclusive airfare advertising is now mandated under amendments to the Air Transportation Regulations. This will ensure consumers can clearly see the total price of an airline ticket, with no hidden fees.

“We are protecting Canadian air travellers by helping them see, clearly and up front, the full cost of air tickets, so they can make informed travel choices,” said Minister Lebel. “In addition to benefitting consumers by ensuring transparent advertising, these regulations will promote fair competition between all advertisers.”

The new rules require air service advertisers to display the total price a consumer must pay in order to fly, including all taxes, fees and charges. The amendments apply to the price of air services advertised in any media to the public, for travel within or originating in Canada.

This fulfills the Government of Canada’s December 2011 commitment to implement regulations regarding all-inclusive airfare advertising within one year. To this end, the Canadian Transportation Agency undertook consultations with the industry, consumer interest groups and individual Canadians before drafting regulatory amendments.

The Canadian Transportation Agency will continue to work with air price advertisers and provide guidance to ensure compliance with the regulations. The Agency has provided further information on all-inclusive air fare advertising to help Canadian consumers and advertisers understand the new advertising rules.

“The Harper government takes consumer protection very seriously,” said Minister Lebel. “Offenders can be fined up to $25,000.”

“To support early compliance, the Agency will be working with advertisers through educational outreach and guidance to assist them in quickly complying with the new regulatory requirements. The Agency’s new information repository will help ensure that interested parties have the information they need,” said Geoff Hare, Chair and CEO of the Agency. “The Agency can use penalties when necessary to achieve compliance.”

The information provided features educational materials including an interpretation note, questions and answers, as well as examples of advertisements. These materials will be updated as enquiries from advertisers and the public are addressed to provide additional information as required.

The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal and economic regulator of the Government of Canada. It makes decisions and determinations on a wide range of matters involving the air, rail and marine modes of transportation under the authority of Parliament, as set out in the Canada Transportation Act and other legislation.

For more information on the new regulatory requirements, consult the enclosed backgrounder (Regulations requiring all-inclusive air price advertising) and the Canadian Transportation Agency’s all-inclusive air price advertising information repository.

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New Federal Skilled Worker Program to accept applications beginning May 4, 2013

Posted on 26 December 2012 by admin

Ottawa, December 19, 2012 — The new selection system for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will take effect on May 4, 2013 at which time the program will re-open for applications, Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

“The government’s number one priority remains jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity,” said Minister Kenney. “The new Federal Skilled Worker Program criteria will ensure Canada is selecting the skilled immigrants our economy needs, who are the most likely to succeed and fully realize their potential in Canada.”

The improvements to the FSWP points grid are based on a large body of research which has consistently shown that language proficiency and youth are two of the most important factors in the economic success of immigrants.

The final changes to the FSWP selection criteria include:

Minimum official language thresholds and increased points for official language proficiency, making language the most important factor in the selection process; Increased emphasis on younger immigrants, who are more likely to acquire valuable Canadian experience, are better positioned to adapt to changing labour market conditions, and who will spend a greater number of years contributing to Canada’s economy; Introduction of the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), so that education points awarded reflect the foreign credential’s true value in Canada; Changes to the arranged employment process, allowing employers to hire applicants quickly, if there is a demonstrated need in the Canadian labour market; and Additional adaptability points for spousal language ability and Canadian work experience.

“For too long, too many immigrants to Canada have experienced underemployement and unemployment, and this has been detrimental to these newcomers and to the Canadian economy,” said Minister Kenney. “Our transformational changes to the FSWP will help ensure that skilled newcomers are able to contribute their skills fully to the economy as soon as possible. This is good for newcomers, good for the economy, and good for all Canadians.”

There are two new steps to the new selection system. First, applicants will have to demonstrate that they meet the minimum language threshold, which is level 7 of the Canadian Language Benchmark assessment system. Applicants will be able to get a language assessment from existing agencies designated by the Minister and listed on the CIC website.

Second, applicants will have their education credentials assessed prior to arriving in Canada. A list of assessment organizations designated by the Minister will be made available early in the New Year. The assessment of foreign educational credentials will provide prospective newcomers with a more realistic understanding of how their credentials compare to education standards in Canada. It will also give them the opportunity to upgrade their education prior to coming to Canada if they choose.

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New Downtown Pedestrian Map Kiosk unveiled

Posted on 26 December 2012 by admin

Left to right: Mayor Susan Fennell, Regional Councillor Elaine Moore, City Councillor Grant

Gibson and Regional Councillor John Sanderson The Pedestrian Map Kiosks have been developed for the downtown area as part of the Downtown Beautification program. The intent of the program is to create signage that is consistent and aesthetically pleasing, with standardized construction. The map shows the location of City buildings, public transit, parking garages, cultural amenities, parks and recreation facilities in the downtown core. At each location, the pedestrian will see a three-dimensional map based on the viewpoint at that location. The viewpoint will change depending on the location of the map. Each location will also include a smaller street map of the downtown area in the lower right corner. The background insert in the panel will be seasonal and changed two to four times a year. The current map displays on a winter background. Ideas are still being developed for future versions of the maps, which may provide some level of interactivity. The Pedestrian Map Kiosks will guide pedestrians to key locations within Downtown Brampton. Seven more kiosks will be placed in the coming year.

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How (NOT) to damage your career this Christmas:

Posted on 26 December 2012 by admin

  • Plan a day for Christmas shopping!

    We’re all guilty of it: popping out to town to do some Christmas shopping over an extended lunch break, or hopping online in the afternoon to do that last bit of shopping. Don’t attract negative attention from bosses and colleagues alike; nothing goes unnoticed!
    Instead, book a day, an evening or a weekend in your diary and give yourself a set time to get that shopping done meaning you can focus on work in work, and shopping whilst shopping! Crossing the two is too stressful.

  • Careful what you drink…it affects what you say!!

    Of course, after a hard year’s work, you feel you deserve to go out and celebrate with your colleagues at the Christmas party. You do! But, just be careful because we all know how much more vocal we become after a bottle or two.
    So, if you go out to celebrate with your team, alternate between an alcoholic drink and a non-alcoholic drink and make sure you get something to eat! Words spoken out of turn will last long into the New Year. Remember, nothing goes unnoticed!

  • Get your work done!

    At Christmas time everyone tends to wind down and prepare for the long overdue Christmas break. Don’t be the person who misses those final deadlines and leaves a pile of work for the New Year!
    Instead, focus on the fact that Christmas is just around the corner and use that as an incentive to complete your work and clear the decks! Again, nothing goes unnoticed!

  • Set goals for the New Year:

    Sometimes Christmas can make us lose site of our longer term goals. Spending a few weeks off with family or worrying about everything you need to do at home this Christmas can take a lot of your focus, and your drive. Don’t let your career go unnoticed!
    So, counteract this by writing your career resolution now. Start by highlighting your key successes from 2012 and then think about what you want to have achieved by this time next year. Then, store it in your draw and be sure to read it in the New Year. Just don’t write “get new job” in bright red pen!

  • Stay pro!

    Of course, Christmas is a time to be jolly and have a little fun but don’t be the Christmas clown this year. Wearing too much tinsel into work, drawing holly and ivy on your reports or coming in late and hung over will bring negative attention.

    Instead, keep it simple with Christmas cards and Christmas treats towards the end of the week / month and do what is needed to bring positive attention to put you in good stead for the New Year. Did we mention that nothing goes unnoticed?!

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John Kerry And Pakistan

Posted on 26 December 2012 by admin

Dr. Hasan Askari

 The nomination of Senator John Kerry as the new Secretary of State for the United State is being welcomed in Pakistan as a favorable development because he has been dealing with the Pakistan-United States relations for years. As the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he presided over the Committee’s hearings on Pakistan and undertook several visits to Pakistan. His last visit related to the Raymond Davis issue in 2011.

 The year 2011 was the most troubled year in the history of Pakistan-U.S relations. Several crises disturbed this relationship. These included the Raymond Davis issue, the activities of U.S. security contractors in Pakistan who were suspected to be U.S. intelligence personnel functioning under cover, the raid in Abbottabad and the killing of Osama bin Laden, the exchange of negative statements between the U.S. and Pakistani officials in August-September, and the drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

 The most troubling incident was the attack of U.S. aircraft on the Salala post on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on November 26, 2011, killing 24 Pakistani security personnel. This disrupted their normal diplomatic interaction and Pakistan suspended the transit of U.S./NATO goods through Pakistan. This suspension was withdrawn by Pakistan in the first week of July 2012. Since then several rounds of talks have been held under the rubric of the Strategic Dialogue for increasing cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistan in various fields, especially the economy, societal development, energy, education health care and infra-structure. The U.S. made the payment of $ 1.2 billion in July 2012 in Coalition Support Fund for Pakistan’s military’s part expenses in combating terrorism in the tribal areas and Pakistan-Afghan border. Pakistan is expected get additional $688 million in January 2013, if not earlier.

 Thus, when John Kerry assumes office after President Obama’s second inauguration on January 20, 2013, the worst period in Pakistan-U.S. relations is already over. The bilateral relations are showing clear signs of improvement in December 2012. However, there are many issues and questions that the new Secretary of State will have to address.

   The most urgent issues pertain to the withdrawal plan of U.S./NATO troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and how to ensure internal peace and stability in Afghanistan in the post-withdrawal period. Some political circles in the U.S. are suggesting that the U.S. could complete its withdrawal before the deadline.

  The key issues that will draw the attention of the new Secretary of State include the question of retaining some troops in Afghanistan in a non-combat role like training and sideline support to the Afghan National Army. The Afghan government is favorably inclined towards retaining some American military presence. An allied issue is how may bases the U.S. would retain to keep its troops. It is generally believed by the security and political circles in Afghanistan and Pakistan that the U.S might keep around 15000 military and support personnel and one or two bases in Afghanistan.

  The most challenging task is ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan to the extent that the Kabul government can cope with the Taliban pressure and retain its primacy at least in cities and towns and the adjoining areas. The Afghan National Army and the Police have been trained over the last three years and their number is expected to cross three-hundred thousand (three lakh) by 2014 but there are serious doubts about the professional capacity of the Afghan National Army to face a long drawn guerrilla type non-conventional war by various Taliban groups.

  The U.S. and the Afghan government are desperately looking for internal political reconciliation with some Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan. The Paris Talks between the representatives of the Kabul government and some insurgent groups was a first serious exploratory meeting in mid-December. The Kabul government’s High Peace Council is also striving for talks with some Taliban groups to explore political settlement with some, if not all, insurgent groups.

   Pakistan has shown flexibility towards the Kabul government’s effort for internal reconciliation. It has released some Taliban leaders but until mid-December the released Taliban leaders were reluctant to go to Afghanistan. Pakistan can encourage some Talban leaders to talk to the Kabul government but it does not have enough clout to force a political settlement on the Taliban.

  It is not clear if the reconciliation effort would succeed. Nobody knows if these initial bids for talks have the blessings of Mulla Omar and his close associates.

 The other issue relating to post-withdrawal Afghanistan is its economy. Once most U.S./NATO troops withdraw a good part of the troops related support activity will come to end, resulting in loss of jobs and livelihood for a large number of urban based educated Afghans. The Afghan economy, especially in the rural areas, is in shambles. If the insurgent groups are to be weakened the economy must support the population in towns and rural areas.

  Pakistan supports the reconciliation process because the U.S. and Afghanistan have agreed to keep Pakistan informed of the reconciliations activities. But, Pakistan does not intend to participate in the dialogue. Pakistan’s leadership thinks that Afghanistan’s stability after U.S. withdrawal will be helpful to its efforts to assert Pakistan’s primacy in the tribal areas. This will weaken Pakistan Taliban.

  The new Secretary of State faces multiple challenges in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. While pursuing American interests in the region, hopefully the new team in the U.S. State Department will be sensitive to Pakistan terrorism related problems and its concern about the impact of the situation in Afghanistan on Pakistan’s security interests.

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Gang rape on New Delhi bus sparks protests across India

Posted on 26 December 2012 by admin

“I frankly did not have the courage to see her. The incident has touched the pinnacle of cruelty and insensitivity both by police and society. This case is the most painful thing I have seen happening as chief minister or a citizen. I do not like my city being described as rape capital but it is out in the open that it has become one.” – Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit to a news channel.

 “I won’t vanish without a fight, they will have to pay”- Delhi gang-rape victim

The Parliament of India on Tuesday expressed shock and outrage over the barbaric gangrape of a girl inside a moving bus in south Delhi with strong demands being made for capital punishment to perpetrators of such heinous crimes.


Seething with anger, hundreds of people Friday took to the streets with banners, shouting slogans and waving their fists in the air, demanding justice for the 23-year-old woman who was brutally gang-raped Sunday night and is battling for life.
As tempers flew high, women activists and students tried to enter the high-security Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace on Raisina Hill, but were stopped by securitymen. But it didn’t stop the hundreds of protesters from trying again. Towards Friday evening, protesters reached Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence and held a candlelight vigil demanding justice for the victim and her male friend who was with her when she was raped by six men in a moving bus in south Delhi. Shouting “We want justice”, hundreds of women banged at the iron gates of Rashtrapati Bhavan to gain entry.

As doctors wage a war to save the 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape survivor, options that can give her a fighting chance of a normal life are being debated – the transplant of intestines is one of them. Doctors say intestinal transplant can be live-saving for patients whose intestines have failed and even parenteral or intravenous nutrition isn’t working.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit Friday admitted that she did not have the courage to meet the victim of a brutal gangrape in hospital and also that she is unhappy with Delhi being labelled as India’s rape capital. Dikshit, India’s longest-serving woman chief minister, also said that her “hands are tied” regarding law and order as it does not fall under the Delhi government. Delhi has reported over 600 cases of rape this year, according to police.

But even as angry Delhiites continued to take to the streets and the high court slammed the cops for lapses that had led to Sunday night’s incident, Union home secretary RK Singh lauded the Delhi Police for its “outstanding” job in cracking the case. Singh’s remark appeared completely out of sync with the mood of the city. It came on a day when the high court made its unhappiness known over the police’s “evasive” status report in the case and demanded the names of officers on patrol duty on the route taken by the bus in which the gang-rape took place.

Mukesh Singh, who is an accused in the Delhi gang-rape case that has outraged the nation, was assaulted by inmates at the Tihar Jail here, reports said. Mukesh, 26, is in judicial custody after being arrested in connection with the gang-rape and torture of a woman on board the bus he was driving. He is the brother of prime accused Ram Singh.

While Tihar Jail officials have refuted reports that Mukesh was beaten up and forced to drink his own urine and eat excreta, sources said the incident did happen at the prison.

Hundreds of men accused of sexual violence towards women have been allowed to stand in Indian elections in the last five years, including more than 30 charged with rape, according to a report in the Guardian. The figures were released in Delhi by the Association for Democratic Reforms, a respected thinktank, and were based on court records and electoral declarations filed by the candidates. Although most of the men concerned were contesting state elections, the report found dozens of men facing criminal investigations for assault, “outraging the modesty of a woman” and other charges had been selected by major parties.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday saw members of all parties speaking in unison and raising serious concern over repeated incidents of rape in the national capital, whose law and order comes directly under the Union Home Ministry. Opposition members demanded a categorical assurance from home minister Sushilkumar Shinde that such an incident will not recur.

Meanwhile, Yuvraj Singh showed his humane side as he dedicated his man-of-the-match award against England to the gang-rape victim battling for her life in a hospital in New Delhi. Yuvraj first took three wickets and then scored crucial 38-run knock in India’s five-wicket win.

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Tips to prevent holiday weight gain

Posted on 26 December 2012 by admin

The holidays are not a time of year to accept the inevitable weight gain. Now that we are officially engulfed in the holiday season follow these tips to keep your health on track.

Have the Celebration in Your Home

When you are in control of the menu, the portions and the ingredients, you are in control of your health. Guests always love the holiday classics, but try spicing it up a bit. Being creative and offering healthier choices can spark healthy conversations—and impress your friends around the table.

Share Edible Gifts

Roasted edamame, curried chickpeas, spiced nuts and warm breads can all be prepared quickly. Wrap it up in pretty cloth and tie a recipe on it; it’s always accepted with gratitude. These edible gifts will introduce the recipient to possibly a whole new world of healthy options.

Be a Rebel

Try a new recipe; something outside of your comfort zone. If you have never worked with a pomegranate before, then pick out a few recipes to try. If you are unsure about serving fish at a traditional meal, try it out. It shows creativity and offers your guests a new perspective.

Go Green

Serve and carry “no packaging needed” whole foods. This way you avoid clean up and you’re sticking to the recommended plant based diet. Many studies have found that a diet abundant in whole, real foods is associated with a reduced risk of diseases such as, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.

Lighten Up

Traditional dishes can pack in a tremendous amount of fat and calories, but lightening them up may even improve their flavor. Try using organic, cold pressed, canola oil, which has nearly half the saturated fat of traditional butter and it includes heart healthy omega 3’s.

Or, try substituting fat-free evaporated milk or, unsweetened coconut milk in place of heavy cream. Another option is to top entrées with warm fruit or vinaigrette in place of creamy sauces. Maybe try a vegetable purée that’s made with water as a soup base. The smooth, creamy texture feels indulgent, and the puréed veggies provide a nutritional boost.

Stay in Control

Holiday weight gain is not as extreme as you may think. According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine people may actually put on less than a pound from October to January. This doesn’t give you any free passes. If holiday weight gain becomes a yearly tradition, the years can pack on many pounds and lead to trouble.

Research at Pennsylvania State University found that being around friends and family may cause people to indulge a little more freely. This study shows that dining in a group causes the average person to eat 44 percent more calories than they normally would eating alone.


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