Tag: nutrition

A Single Baby Boomer has a Whale of a Time in Victoria, BC

A Single Baby Boomer has a Whale of a Time in Victoria, BC


Victoria isn’t just the capital of British Columbia, Canada.  It’s home to some of the most stunning flora and fauna in the world.  Also called the “City of Gardens” Victoria is located in northern North America.  In spite of its northern location, the residents enjoy a temperate climate with winter temperatures ranging from the average daily high and low temperatures of 8 and 4°C (46.4 and 39.2°F), respectively. The summer months are also relatively mild, with an average high temperature of 20°C (68°F) and low of 11°C (51.8°F).  It’s the second sunniest city in British Columbia and drier than most areas in the region due to the rain shadow effect of the nearby Olympic Mountains.


Floral Sculpture outside The Empress

Victoria and the surrounding area are known for its large retiree population. Some 6.4% are over 80 years of age, the highest proportion for any of Canada’s metropolitan areas. The city also boasts the country’s third-highest concentration of people 65 and older (17.8%).  Retirees are drawn to Victoria’s mild climate, beautiful scenery, year-round golf season and easy-going pace of life.  It’s been said of the city that it’s for “the newly wed and nearly dead” according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria,_British_Columbia.

Sculpture on the wharf

On the ferry trip to the island, I missed seeing my first whale in the wild while talking to a fellow traveler that I spent time with on my Australia and New Zealand tour.  Even though we live on opposite sides of the U.S. we were lucky to reconnect on our travels and talk about traveling together again.  Since I didn’t see the whale I booked a whale watching and Butchard Garden tour with The Prince of Whales before my son, daughter-in-law and I took off for a walking tour of the local sites.  The majestic British Columbia Parliament Buildings which face the harbor are home to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.  First Nations, British and Asian cultural histories make modern Victoria a vibrant and diverse cosmopolitan city. Museums, heritage and historic buildings, statues and sites showcase the people and art of the past while stores, such as the Hudson’s Bay Company and the shops in the oldest China Town in Canada and second oldest in North America, offer endless shopping opportunities.

British Columbia Parliment Buildings
China Town

When shopping and dining out, the Canadian exchange rate of 80% made all of our purchases even more attractive.  I always make sure I have a credit and an ATM card with me that don’t charge a service fee for foreign purchases and exchanges.


Food from all over the world can be found downtown and we happily waited in lines to dine at some superb moderately priced restaurants.  Friday is pizza night for my kids so we headed to Pizzeria Prima Strada which served Neapolitan wood-fired pizza on Fort Street (https://pizzeriaprimastrada.com/). I ordered the Four Season which featured tomatoes, homemade sausage, peppers, anchovies, olives, mushrooms, onions, fresh mozzarella and basil fashioned into 4 separate sections for 19 CAD and glass of wine.  It was fantastic and I had leftovers for breakfast so I reluctantly skipped the gelato.

The Four Seasons

The Jam Café on Herald Street offers all day breakfast and lunch.  It had many intriguing dishes.  I chose The Charlie Bowl – their version of a hash with a crumbled biscuit, hash browns, diced ham, bacon, corn salsa, peas, green onions, cheddar and sausage gravy topped with two sunny side eggs for $14.50 CAD.  It was a large serving and there was no way I could finish it even though it was delicious. http://jamcafes.com/victoria/menu/.  Saturday night saw us lined up in front of Pagliaccis on Broad Street. (http://www.pagliaccis.ca/). My order, the small portion for of The Sophia ($18 CAD) named for Sophia Loren, had the quote, “Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” on the menu.  It had a sauce of Canadian Dungeness & Rock crab, baby shrimp, pine nuts, white wine cream sauce and smoked salmon on fettuccine.  I added a great white wine and a bite of New York Cheese cake.  This time I cleaned the plate.  We ended our culinary expedition at The Fish Store at Fishman’s Wharf.  On a quest for the best salmon, I tried the fry bar deep fried sockeye salmon with twice fried chips and slaw.  The 1 piece basket cost $13 CAD. I’d never had salmon, my favorite fish, deep fried.  It was tasty, but I prefer my salmon without the breading.  I also enjoyed strolling around the wharf and looking at the colorful house boats.  See https://floatingfishstore.com/.


Fisherman’s Wharf

It’s not too surprising that in the past people believed in sea monsters.  When an enormous whale fin or fluke breaks the water, it’s a sight to behold.  When the creature jumps out of the water or breaches, you experience an adrenalin rush.  A  Humpback Whale gave us our money’s worth on our Prince of Whales Tour by breaching 5 times right in front of our boat.  He put on a show while we clicked away with our cameras and smart phones.  The show lasted almost an hour before we continued on to Butchard Gardens.  On our 3 hour tour, we saw a bald eagle, baby and mother seals, and a variety of sea birds.  I was disappointed that I didn’t see an Orca.  The crew explained that they see fewer and fewer since they’re trapped for entertainment purposes. The crew was trained mariners and naturalists who provided a running commentary and answered our many questions.  I’d recommend this tour to anyone who wants a scenic and breathtaking experience.

There’s nothing cuter than a baby seal.

When we disembarked at Butchart Gardens we skipped the line thanks to our VIP pass. Over a century ago Jennie Butchart, wife of Portland Cement manufacturer Robert Pim Butchart, began building what’s now one of the world’s premier floral show gardens.  In 1977 their great-grandson, Christopher, introduced fireworks shows featuring aerial and French ground displays accompanied by show tunes on Saturday evenings during the summer.  There’s a Sunken Garden, Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Italian Garden, and Concert Lawn Walk all of which are well kept and change with the seasons.  They advertise 5 seasons with Christmas as their 5th with its Twelve Days of Christmas lighted displays.

The Sunken Garden
The Japanese Garden
The Rose Garden


So any time of the year Victoria will offer you comfortable weather with beautiful scenery, wildlife and activities.  You can get there by ferry and bring your car, whale watching tours or the V2V luxury cruise.  If you want to fly, you can land at the Victoria International Airport or the Victoria Inner Harbour Airport which is for floatplanes and seaplanes from small airlines with less than 15 passengers and general aviation aircraft.  Helijets also fly from the Vancouver waterfront to Victoria’s  When you add the sightseeing planes to the landings in the harbor there always seems to be an aircraft landing and taking off on the waterfront. http://blog.hellobc.com/four-ways-to-get-from-vancouver-to-victoria/

Victoria Harbor

This is just a snapshot of all that you can do in Victoria.  Needless to say, I would recommend it as a vacation destination or a side trip if you’re in Seattle or Vancouver.  Not too surprising, summer is a busy time.  If you’re driving from Seattle to the ferry in Port Angeles, WA, a GPS for rerouting and a patient driver are invaluable.  Between my son, the navigator, and my daughter-in-law, the driver, we had a pleasurable drive and enjoyed several podcasts.


Another thing I like when I travel with others is when my travel partner doesn’t feel that we have to always do the same things.  While I went on the whale and garden tour, they went to the Vegetoria, a festival for healthy eating, and rented bikes to tour Government House and the local area.  Just because you’re traveling together doesn’t mean you can’t all see what interests you the most and join up for meals and things you all enjoy.

Government House

Next month I’m joining my sister for a trip to Miami and a cruise to Cuba.  After I drop her off at the airport, I’ll visit the Florida Keys on my own.  I’ll let you know how the rum drinks taste and maybe work on my Spanish in preparation for my trip to Spain.  I’m sure it’ll be a fantástica aventuras.


Continue the adventure!


Linda Lea

Single Baby Boomers Cooking for One

Single Baby Boomers Cooking for One

Leftovers again!  Do you notice yourself thinking that just like you did when you were a kid?   However, this time you’re older and only know how to cook for a family.  You may be an empty nester, lost a spouse through death or divorce or have another reason for being a single.  No matter what the reason, if you’ve tried to cook for one instead of calling Grub Hub or stopping for fast food on the way home, you may like these suggestions offered by my readers, online sites and my experience.

There are days when I just ‘eat out of the fridge’, as I call it.  I may make a meal of fruit, raw vegies, some olives, salsa, cheese and a drink.  If I add an item from the cupboard like chips, I have a satisfactory taco salad or nachos.  If I add some leftover rotisserie chicken, it’s even better.  That leads me to my love affair with rotisserie chicken.  That mouthwatering roasted chicken that you brought home from the grocery store can provide you with a number or diverse dishes after you eat it the first day.  What I’m saying about rotisserie chicken can be applied to beef or pork roasts, hamburger, ham and any other poultry, especially that huge turkey you make for yourself, because you grew up having it for Thanksgiving.  Any of these can be transformed into salads, chilies, stir fries, stews, curries, pizzas, soups, pot pies and casseroles with a little imagination and a few extra ingredients.

I grow herbs and stock a variety of spices, breads, pastas, rice and other grains like quinoa, beans, shredded cheeses, frozen vegetables, canned tomatoes in all of its forms, soups, eggs, condiments and any other foods that I really like and are nutritious.  When I find I’ve extra meat, fish or anything else, I get creative.  Extra spaghetti sauce and other tomato based sauces can be turned into pizza sauce one night and chili the next.  Breads such as tortillas, pitas, flat bread, baguettes, naan or bagels can be the base for all sorts of delicious pizzas.  Refrigerated biscuits or crescent rolls also work well.  They can also make stews into pot pies, act as dumplings in soups and gravies and of course, are needed for the old childhood staple-pigs in a blanket.  Pastas, rice and other grains, both leftover and freshly cooked, can make wonderful side dishes, stir fries, soups, casseroles and soups.  Chili needs beans, but they can be used in all Tex-Mex foods and other recipes to add protein and flavor.   Shredded cheese can be used as an ingredient or a topping with many leftovers.   Make a tasty, cheesy stuffed potato, pizza, tortilla or even a grilled cheese sandwich.  Frozen vegetables are now packaged for soups, stews, stir fries and singly for side dishes.  I add frozen or fresh peppers, spinach, mushrooms and summer squash to my spaghetti sauce to meet my recommended daily servings of vegetables.  If I make it into something else later, they just add more flavor.  Canned soups and broths can be used with extra meat or vegies to make casseroles, stews, other soups and pot pies.  The use for eggs is endless from rancho huevos to egg salad sandwiches.

The worse that can happen is that these additional item that you added to your leftovers can make them last longer.  If you reach that date when your original leftover is reaching its refrigerated expiration date, you can always transfer it to the freezer.  Single servings or extra sauces, soups, fresh herbs, veggies, meat or cookie dough can be frozen in muffin cups, ice cube trays and on cookie sheets.  After they’re frozen, put them into freezer bags.  There are many plastic and stoneware container that can store frozen leftovers.  Some can go from freezer to oven or microwave.  If you buy freezable items in bulk to save money, small freezer bags can make it easy to store single servings for you to pull out and defrost overnight or in the microwave.  Remember to label and date, so you don’t have mystery foods or food with freezer burn.

Many websites are devoted to cooking for one especially if you want to cook in a mug.  It seems you can cook a variety of desserts, egg dishes and even macaroni and cheese that way.  See https://www.pinterest.com/ for a myriad of ideas.  This site, http://allrecipes.com/recipes/15050/everyday-cooking/cooking-for-one, offers 220 recipes for singles.  Also, take a look at http://www.eatingwell.com for many delicious dishes.  Making breakfast can be easy if you visit http://www.budgetbytes.com/2014/01/heat-eat-oatmeal, a site that offers many other tips such as how to freeze wine for cooking.  Sounds like a fantastic idea to me.   If you want to adjust ingredients in their recipes so you can cook for one, go to http://allrecipes.com .  You can also input the ingredients in your recipe into a calculator at this site, http://www.free-online-calculator-use.com/recipe-conversion-calculator.html, and it’ll create a new recipe for a single serving or two.  There are many such calculators online.  I’ve found that if you have to use a portion of an egg, just put in the whole thing and it won’t make any difference in the final product.  For other excess ingredients, use the freezing suggestions above to save for other recipes.

The most important advice you should take away from this blog is that if you’re creative you can make single servings from leftovers and not have to eat the same food for a week.  Even if you don’t have extra meat or vegetables, you can use what’s in your refrigerator, freezer or pantry to make a quick, easy meal for one.  I hope you’re feeling inspired and will share your successes and even failures with my readers on this blog or my Facebook Page, Single Boomer Life.

Next week I’ll discuss the dreaded, but necessary topic of how single baby boomers can age gracefully through regular exercise.  Don’t say UGH!  You know we all need to get out there and get our blood pumping even if we’re doing it alone.  What do you do to stay motivated?  Let me know, so that I can share it with others.  Consider it a public service.

Try at least one new recipe this week.  You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.  Have a wonderful week.

Linda Lea


How Good Nutrition Can Help Baby Boomers Age Gracefully

What can single Baby Boomer do to age gracefully? Nutrition

“Eat dessert first”.  We’ve all heard this old adage about the way to live a happy life.  While dessert is delicious and shouldn’t be given up, there are other nutritious foods that need to be eaten in order to maintain a well-balanced diet that’ll keep you healthy and looking youthful.

Yes, I confess I was a yo-yo dieter and suffered some bad effects from this practice.  As with all bad habits, it catches up with you.  Quick weight loss isn’t good for your body, especially if you have health issues.  You can read about the latest diet and nutrition fads in both women’s and men’s magazines.  TV has commercials showing before and after photos of celebrities and everyday people touting their products.  Both sexes are concerned about weight and health, but you need to be cautious when it comes to following fad diets or even those that have been around for a long time.  If you look at the fine print for most diet plans, large weight losses aren’t considered average results.  Don’t use diet pills if you take medication for high blood pressure.  Research seems to show different results on how to eat with every study, so don’t trust what you read.  It’ll probably change next week.  Before starting any diet, check with a health specialist who specializes in nutrition.  I’ve found that doctors in general practice and other specialties tell you that they’re not trained in this area.  Here are some of Dos and Don’ts gleaned from a variety of sources and a life-time of dieting.

DO use portion control.  This chart comes from the National Institute of Health.  As you can see, we’re eating much more now than we did twenty years ago and it’s slowing us down and aging us faster.

Comparison of Portions and Calories 20 Years Ago to Present Day
20 Years Ago                 Today
Portion Calories Portion Calories
Bagel 3” diameter 140 6” diameter 350
Cheeseburger 1 333 1 590
1 cup sauce
3 small
500 2 cups sauce
3 large
Soda 6.5 ounces 82 20 ounces 250
1.5 ounces 210 5 ounces 500

Use smaller plate sizes to help you control your eating.  Filling a soup bowl with ice cream is a lot different than using a dessert cup.  Since you’re single, you don’t need many family size bowls, so only keep a few for entertaining along with a limited supply of big plates.  Eat your food from small plates and never the container.  Put left overs into small containers for work lunches or freeze for later.  Go to this website for handy wallet and fridge size portion reminders http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-portion-size-plate .

DO use healthy substitutions.  Using fat free unsweetened yogurt for sour cream or mayo or applesauce in baked goods is a great way to reduce fats.  One tablespoon of ground flax seed and two tablespoons of water can be substituted for an egg and has fewer calories, cholesterol and more fiber.  The Mayo Clinic website offers several ideas for substitutions and a link to other nutrition information. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/healthy-recipes/art-20047195.

DO read food labels. The FDA explains how to read food labels, vending and restaurant labeling, nutrition for older adults, proposed food labeling changes and other timely topics at http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm20026097 and other places on their site.

DO look at restaurant menus online before you go out and dine.  You’d be surprised how many calories are in that delicious appetizer, entrée or dessert.  In some states fast food places put their calorie counts on their drive thrus and instore menus.

DO eat breakfast or as I call it brunch. That’s because I’m a night owl and promised myself that I wouldn’t get up early after I retired unless it was absolutely necessary and preferably only for fun activities.

DO eat vegetables and fruits that are in season.  That’s when they’re most flavorful and less costly.

DO indulge in a glass of wine, dark chocolate, low fat frozen yogurt or other treats.  Just don’t overdue.

DON’T be an emotional eater. After a nasty break-up, I taught in Japan for a year where I indulged in too many delicious rice and noodle based dishes.  I also won the school’s unofficial Golden Fork Award for eating the most desserts from the dessert buffet at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, a hotel featured in the movie Lost in Translation.   While in Japan I also reconnected with an old high school flame via the internet.  When I got home and found out he wasn’t as advertised, I drowned my sorrows in Ireland where I downed Guinness and Irish Coffee and ate my weight in buttery scones and jam.  It was kind of my version of the book Eat, Pray, Love without the love, since I did visit a lot of temples and churches.

DON’T eat, watch TV and do other distracting activities-like I did while writing this blog.  Even though it was a nutritious hummus and whole grain cracker snack, I ate more than I intended.  This happens a lot at night during most people’s ‘TV Time’.  While it’s easier to sleep if you’re not hungry, too many fattening bedtime snacks can pack on the pounds.

DON’T just drink your food.  It’s better to eat something that you actually chew than to get your food primarily from liquids.  Chewing actually burns calories and makes me feel more satisfied.  While protein shakes and juice can be nutritious, they’re likely to be high in calories.  Sodas both regular and diet have no nutritional value.  Stick with water.  You can infuse it with fruit slices or squeeze some lemon or lime in it.  Also consider teas.  They “contain antioxidants called flavonoids. The most potent of these, known as ECGC, may help against free radicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease and clogged arteries.” according to WebMD.  Tea, like coffee, has caffeine which effects the brain and seems to heighten mental alertness.

If you’re having trouble eating healthy and losing weight, joining a weight loss group may help.  I’m a non-active lifetime member of Weight Watchers and an active member of TOPS(Take off Pounds Sensibly).  Both have helped me lose weight and taught me excellent eating habits.  The peer pressure of having to weigh in can be an incentive, as can the support of fellow members.  However, make sure the group is a good fit for you.  You may like the anonymity of meeting with a collection of strangers, but I find the support of a group of friendly, nonjudgmental people is right for me.

There’s so much more that could be covered on this subject.  You can find many additional articles on the internet.  I try to get my information from trusted sources, so remember that everyone has an opinion and different experiences.  Not every eating plan is right for everyone.  You need to tailor yours to fit your needs.  The main thing is to do as Nike says, “Just do it!”  Make eating nutritionally a lifelong habit and you’ll see changes in your lifestyle that’ll give you a longer, healthier life with less pain and more joy.

Join me next week for a discussion on single servings or cooking for one.  Send me some suggestions of your own.  I always appreciate your input here and on my Facebook Page, Single Boomer Life.

Linda Lea