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Fitness Wellness


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Along the route of my first half marathon May 2016


As I see it, life’s activities fall into 3 categories:  

1) Things you love to do

2) Things you do because you have to

 3) Things you do because they’re good for you 

Things you love to do

For me, that would be the combo of binging on something salty, red wine, and Netflix (in my PJs).

Things you do because you have to

Anything involving food on the table and a roof over your head.  That would be:  working, paying the bills and cleaning the perpetual trail of dishes, towels, and socks that is my teenager’s trademark.  You should see his biohazard site bedroom!

Things you do because they’re good for you 

Now here’s where it gets a little more complicated for me.  Sometimes I find it hard to discern between the stuff I force myself to do for the right reasons – because it’s good for me – and things I legitimately shouldn’t do because I simply don’t like doing them!  I practically break out in hives before doing new, unfamiliar and seemingly unpleasant things. 

We can’t JUST do the things we are good at

 So, when do I give myself permission to say no? Not that often. Why?  Am I a masochist?  -Maybe.   My honeymoon in India and my yearly canoe trips with the girls are prime examples of things I did/do because I’m ‘supposed’ to enjoy them like most normal people do. 

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Camping camel trip in Rajasthan- not your average honeymoon!

In retrospect, what I dread doing often turns out to be fun, enlightening and gratifying.  Upon reflection, what I imagine in my head, isn’t usually  as scary or uncomfortable as I think it will be.    Let’s face it, growing and evolving is better than remaining stagnant… (for a whole lot more on that topic, check out my ‘Reinvent Yourself’ series) And that, my friends, explains why I often torment myself.

So, knowing all that about myself, I especially try not to listen to the inner dialogue when it comes to exercise because I know I just have to get it done.  Yah, it’s good for you.  But I still don’t like it, so the faster I can get it over with, the better.   Over the years, I’ve discovered a few things that get me off my butt and out the door…maybe they can help you too:

Food & Vanity

For as long as I can remember, my motivation to exercise was to be able to eat.  I hate depriving myself in the food department but I still want to be able to zip up my jeans! This is where vanity comes in.    Never underestimate the importance of a good form fitting workout outfit.  🙂 Sound shallow?  It is. But, if I am virtuous enough to get out there and exercise, then I figure I owe it to myself to witness any progress and celebrate hard work by looking in the mirror and liking what I see.   (I also happen to like shopping)

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Exercise teacher extraordinaire -Barb Rosenberg featured in MORE magazine

Strength In Numbers

Whenever possible, I made an effort to go to the gym in a posse from the office at lunchtime.  I knew I needed the ‘group guilt’ to get me out there.  Plus, misery loves company.  My first exercise ‘community’ was weekend aerobics at the Dunfield club a million years ago.  I didn’t dread going to classes as much because there was something really special about seeing the same familiar faces every week.  These were my exercise peeps!  Not to mention that the combination of great choreography, fab music and a killer sense of humour made Barb Rosenberg’s classes a fixture in my schedule.  She runs her own personal training business and you can still find her teaching at Track Fitness and Ultimate Athletics Club! (check out her Instagram here)

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Nothing beats running with my beautiful friend Judy Venis


About a year and a half ago, I decided to take up running.  Partly because of Rich Roll, my hero ultra-marathoner and favourite podcast host, but, mostly because of my pal Judy Venis.  She was already a yogi and untouchable as a cyclist.  So, when she decided to take up running, I took note.  She is fit, fast and disciplined.  I was never any good on a bike, but maybe her new found passion and enthusiasm for running could rub off on me? The added bonus (and my favourite part to this day) is that we would hang out more.  So, what the heck, I decided to take it up as well.  I knew I was committed when I went shopping for running gear (tip: when you spend some cash, that helps make you accountable!)

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My pals at “MBP Run Faster” including coach Lucia Mahoney in the blue on the far left (coach Megan Brown was taking the picture)


I also joined my first half marathon group at the Running Room and then another one called “MBP Run Faster”.  That opened up a whole new world of friendship and accountability (shout out to coaches Lucia Mahoney and Megan Brown check out the MB Performance Facebook page here).  If you want to be sure you are going to consistently get out there, especially in the winter, join a group.  And, when you commit to a race, you have a goal to work towards.  So far, I’ve done a couple of half marathons and 10k races and I’m doing the Ragnar Cobourg to Niagara Falls 24 hour relay race at the end of May with my new friends.  Races are actually fun!

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The ‘original’ Running Room group now led by Julie Snyder and Diane Mirabella (both wearing black hats)

The best part about running is that even though it’s still exercise and a struggle each and every time, I do notice that my body is leaner (not easy at this age!) and I feel really healthy and good.  The euphoria, relief, gratitude, pride and a sense of accomplishment when it’s over is amazing and nothing beats the sense of connection you make with people, nature and to yourself. 


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THE best Mother’s Day on record when my son Alex ran the 10k Sporting Life race with me!

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Woody is a wonder dog when it comes to ALL things including being my running buddy

Inspiration Wellness


Nurture Yourself, Know Yourself & Love Yourself


love yourself, reinventing yourself, reinvent yourself, new beginning, fresh start, mid life crisis, second career, finding your destiny, follow your dreams, changing careerLet me guess.  Lose a few pounds….abstain from drinking (for a while)…exercise more….yadda yadda yadda. This is a time for all of us to take our New Year’s resolutions to the next level. 

If, like me, (by choice or not) you find your job situation has left you asking yourself, now what? This is a golden opportunity to dig deep and look inside. 

Last year at this time, there were many questions I asked myself to help me find new direction.  Questions like: What is the ‘one thing’ that everyone says I’m good at?   What makes my heart sing? What do I read about most often?  What are my passions and interests?  Will I still be interested in this particular area six months or a year from now? 

love yourself, reinventing yourself, reinvent yourself, new beginning, fresh start, mid life crisis, second career, finding your destiny, follow your dreams, changing careerWhen you are asking yourself, “what is my purpose”, go easy on yourself.     One of the most inspiring pieces of advice I found is from New York Times best-selling author, wellness advocate and cancer survivor, Kris Carr.  She says:

“When our purpose is external, we may never find it.  If we tie our purpose or meaning to our vocation, goal or an activity, we’re likely setting ourselves up for discomfort and even failure down the line…Your purpose is actually quite simple, it’s to awaken.  To discover and nurture who you truly are, to know and love yourself at the deepest level…Your self-worth has nothing to do with your craft or calling and everything to do with how you treat yourself and others.”


love yourself, reinventing yourself, reinvent yourself, new beginning, fresh start, mid life crisis, second career, finding your destiny, follow your dreams, changing career


Well friends, I think I’ve said all I can say about “reinventing yourself” for a while!  I’ll check back in when I’ve made some more progress and my new career path is a little more complete.  For now, I will get back to posting recipes and other fun things on Walnut Kitchen.  But, I would also love to feature people who have successfully reinvented themselves. So, I need your help.  If you have anyone to suggest please e mail me at or contact me through any of my social media platforms on my contact page. 



Until then, my final words and two best pieces of advice on what I’ve learned on my journey so far, is:  First, start somewhere –anywhere.  Second, no matter what, always remember to be kind and to love yourself.  When you can do that, everything is bound to fall into place.  

Happy New Year! Wishing you all health, growth, peace and most of all – to love yourself.

If you wish to read the previous “Reinvent Yourself” posts in this series, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.


Also, if you want to read more from Kris Carr (quoted above), her article “The Myth of Finding Your Purpose”, in my opinion is a MUST READ.  Enjoy!

love yourself, reinventing yourself, reinvent yourself, new beginning, fresh start, mid life crisis, second career, finding your destiny, follow your dreams, changing career

Best-selling author, wellness advocate, cancer survivor Kris Carr

Inspiration Wellness



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Shooting videos for my YouTube channel- ‘Michelles Walnut Kitchen’

I come from decades of working in a visual medium. So, while I enjoy blogging and how it has helped me become fluent digitally, I don’t just want to write, I want to SHOW and tell.  I think that’s part of my ‘ESSENCE’.  Another BIG part of my true essence is that I’ve always loved WATCHING people cook.  So, why not add a video component to my blog to make the recipes I share come to life?  Plus, today the reality is that people are WATCHING more than they are READING. (If you are still reading this, THANK YOU).   Continue Reading

Inspiration Wellness



Shake It Up & Try New Things

Definition of insanity according to Albert Einstein: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  Einstein was right.  A year ago, when I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my career, I decided to stop the insanity in my life.   If I was going to move forward and reinvent myself, I had to say goodbye to my old ways and shake EVERYTHING up, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. reinventing yourself, reinvent yourself, new beginning, fresh start, mid life crisis,change everything, second career, finding your destiny, follow your dreams, changing career

Move your Body, Feed Your Soul & PLAY


I decided to try something I had physically never attempted before.  I set a goal to run a half marathon and joined a running group (read more on the merits of that here).  I signed up for mindfulness workshops and started meditating regularly (see my post “Meditating on a Smartphone”).   For kicks, I started playing Mah Jongg.  I rekindled an old interest in knitting and ignited a new one in blogging.  I discovered that trying new things is the oxygen that makes me feel ALIVE and excited about the next chapter.    Continue Reading

Inspiration Wellness



Is Oprah right?…Do we all have a Calling?

Oprah ended her daily show by saying, “Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it.” Well, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t necessarily figured out what my calling is and I STILL sometimes ask myself, “what do I want to be when I grow up”.  I don’t think it all boils down to ONE thing or ONE calling. My ‘reinvention’ feels complicated and is DEFINITELY a work in progress.reinventing yourself, reinvent yourself, new beginning, fresh start, mid life crisis, second career, finding your destiny, follow your dreams, changing career

Hit the Re-Set Button

What I do believe is that we should all be TRYING to figure it out even when the bumps along the road aren’t so big, because we’re always GROWING and CHANGING along with our circumstances. 

YouTuber and vlogger Casey Neistat  hit the nail on the head when he said, “In life you should only be doing one of two things; the first is figuring out what it is you love, what your passion is and two, is realizing it.  And the truth is – very very few people ever do the first thing.  Cuz figuring it out is actually much harder than actually doing it.”  If you follow Neistat’s advice, we should all be checking in with ourselves every so often – hitting the re-set button.  It’s important to ask ourselves if we are happy and love what we are doing so we are being true to ourselves.  Continue Reading

Inspiration Wellness



reinventing yourself, reinvent yourself, new beginning, fresh start, mid life crisis, second career, finding your destiny, follow your dreams, changing career

Paddling on Rock Lake, Algonquin Park on my yearly girls canoe trip

Steer the river.  That’s what I used to do…and admittedly, still try to do…but I’m working really hard on doing that a little less. I’m loosening my grip on the paddle to carve my route. Now, I’m trying to surrender myself to where the river takes me.  

To mark one year of blogging, I’m doing a series called “Reinvent Yourself” every Monday for the next several weeks  (check out part 1 here).  I’m sharing some thoughts and insights from people who have motivated ME this past year, along with a handful of my own lessons learned from my adventure so far …like this one:reinventing yourself, reinvent yourself, new beginning, fresh start, mid life crisis, second career, finding your destiny, follow your dreams, changing career Continue Reading

Inspiration Wellness


Creating Your Own Destiny

I have always believed that if you WANT things to happen you have to MAKE them happen. Success doesn’t just FALL in your lap.  Taking a risk, summoning courage and being persistent are all necessary ingredients to provide opportunity.    The problem is, sometimes life’s unforeseen circumstances put up seemingly insurmountable obstacles that can discourage even the most positive and pro-active people.

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NBC NEWS London Bureau where I launched my career in TV as Newsdesk Editor (a million years ago)

reinventing yourself, reinvent yourself, new beginning, fresh start, mid life crisis, second career, finding your destiny, follow your dreams, changing career

Early days on a “Midday” shoot on Baffin Island, Nunavut

I could never have worked in the TV business without the drive to ‘make things happen’.  But, in the last few years, the digital revolution has changed everything for me, for many of my friends, colleagues and pretty well anyone working in media.  So, after spending my whole life building a television career, was ‘starting over’ at this stage going to be my worst nightmare or the best thing that ever happened to me? Yikes, this felt like a mid-life crisis on steroids! What was a baby boomer like me to do next?  Continue Reading

Inspiration Wellness



The man who fits all those descriptors has been my inspiration.

rich-roll cycling closeup rich-roll-meditation

Rich Roll is a bestselling author and wellness evangelist and his podcast has played a big part in changing my life in the last 6 months.

RichRoll podcast

If you’ve never heard of THE RICH ROLL PODCAST, you are in for a treat!  Rich’s goal is simple: “to provoke, educate, inspire and empower you to discover, unlock & unleash your best, most authentic self.”  His podcast “delves deep into all things wellness”. He talks to “some of the brightest and most forward thinking, paradigm busting minds in health, fitness, nutrition, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship & spirituality.”

It’s a refreshing change from the celebrity saturated shallow bite sized content that is everywhere! (don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for all that celebrity nonsense!) Most of the people he interviews, I’ve never heard of. Yet they’ve all done SUCH amazing inspiring things in their lives. That pumps me up. Since I began listening, I’ve gone back to school.  I’m trying to eat a more plant based diet,  I’ve started running, meditating, and have launched this blog!


I like listening to his podcast when I walk the dog, run, drive, can’t sleep and OFTEN when I’m cooking in my Walnut Kitchen.


Since I first wrote about this podcast back in December 2015, I discovered an amazing ‘small world’ connection to my favourite podcaster.  Rich Roll has been a close friend to my talented cousin, filmaker Sacha Gervasi for over 16 years! What are the chances?!  I practically fell off my chair when I learned about it.  Since then, Sacha and his brother in law David de Rothschild were guests on the podcast.  It’s a great discussion about chasing dreams…an appreciation for cultivating imagination… and a deep understanding that a story well told holds the potential energy to change the world.  Check it out (link below)  

If you are unfamiliar with Sacha, apart from working with Hollywood heavyweights like   Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johannson,  he is best known for Anvil! The Story of Anvil — his critically acclaimed rockumentary about a Toronto heavy metal band. It’s AMAZING! Continue Reading

Food Wellness


medicinal plant, herbal medicine

I never thought about herbs as anything but flavour boosters when cooking.  But actually, herbs aren’t just good in food. Many herbs are potent medicinal plants. The ones with Latin names ending in ‘officinalis’ have a long history of great healing power.  I wish I had woken up to that a little earlier when I planted my garden!  Oh Well! Better late than never….and apparently it’s not too late to plant this season.


medicinal plants, herbal medicine, vegetable garden, mother and sonOn mother’s day, my son Alex and I planted a bunch of veggies and herbs in our backyard including mint and basil.   For some reason, the basil plant is going gangbusters, but, the mint….not so much. Bizarre considering the fact that mint often takes over your garden since it grows like a weed!  It turns out that mint doesn’t like to be beside basil.  This, according to my herbal medicine teacher.  Who knew? Continue Reading



Chakras & Energy healing; energy medicine

Our bodies are quite miraculous with the capacity to heal despite all the abuse, stress, sleep deprivation and junky food we eat.   But sometimes the craziness of life interferes with our bodies’ natural capacity to be healthy and well.   

 Growing up as the daughter of a pediatrician, Western medicine is something I have benefited from and believe in.  If, heaven forbid, I was ever to contract a serious illness, I would most definitely be marching straight to my doctor and the field of conventional medicine to get me well.   But, that might not be all I would be doing. 

 I just wrapped up a course at the Institute for Holistic Nutrition that I LOVED and found SO inspiring that I wanted to share some of the things I learned with you.   The course was about energy pathways to health and how electrical, electromagnetic and ‘subtle’ energies give our bodies life AND they form the foundation of our health.  Continue Reading