Experimenting With The Paleo Thing…

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As I have a rather curious mind, I decided to look into the increasingly popular paleo diet just for the heck of it. Finding out that the paleo crowd avoids grains/oats, my typical oatmeal breakfast was out of the question. No dairy, no grains… what do these people eat…? Well, the handy dandy Google gave me a quite an extensive list of paleo breakfasts to try. However, to my slight disappointment, they all seemed to require more effort than pouring cereal and milk into a bowl.

I decided to get a little bit crazy and picked a recipe that required some fine motor skills. These motor skills I speak of involved me coring a whole apple. This doesn’t sound too difficult but I don’t have a corer and I have never cored a whole apple before. On top of that, no one seems to trust me with a knife. I’m not sure why that is the case because I have not yet chopped off any of my fingers. Anyway, I ended up using a tool that is supposed to be used for cutting up pumpkins. It worked well enough I guess but let’s just say that I was happy not to be graded on my performance.

After coring the apple, I cut it into thin slices. I then made a mixture of almond milk, egg, coconut oil, almond four, cinnamon, nutmeg and raw honey. I dipped the sliced apples into the mixture and then threw the concoctions onto the frying pan. My first attempt ended up a tad wonky. The batter was not thick enough but once I added more flour that seemed to somewhat fix the issue. The other issue that had was that once the batter was cooked, it didn’t always adhere well to the apple. Perhaps pouring more batter onto the apple would have sealed the sucker in. Or perhaps I should have just followed the recipe as I was supposed to. I tend to see recipes as a suggestion rather than a by the book type thing… I guess that doesn’t always work in my favour.

When all is said and done, they aren’t the prettiest of things but they actually taste decent. They weren’t overly sweet but I have re-trained my taste buds so it wasn’t an issue. The problem was that I made these in the evening so that could have a ready-to-eat breakfast BUT I ended up eating most of them already… I guess that speaks to how much I enjoyed them.

In summation, I will say that my first attempt at a paleo recipe was successful. Wait… I think I cheated. I ran out of almond flour and I didn’t have the coconut flour that the recipe actually called for. So you know when I told you that I added more flour to thicken it… I used chickpea flour. Normally I would have no problem with this however apparently the paleo peeps classify all bean and legumes (including chickpeas) as contraband. I hate you paleo. Thank goodness I am not going to immerse myself in paleo culture because I love hummus too much and I will go on believing that it is healthy. So, long story short, my paleo breakfast ended up being a non paleo breakfast. How anticlimactic.

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Food=Death?? Conflicting views on optimal healthy eating

Where is the truth?

In my last post I mentioned that I have enrolled in a nutrition course. In addition to this, I have also looked into numerous different types of popular supposedly healthy diets, just out of curiosity. The thing is that while all of these theories claim to be the Holy Grail in terms of living a long, healthy, disease free life, they are all spewing slightly different crap. Some of the proponents of these lifestyle diets are almost as fanatical as some religious nuts. If you eat carbs, you will die. If you eat fruit, you will die. If you eat dairy, you will die. If you do not follow me, you will die… Righttt… The thing is that they can be quite convincing and it seems almost as though it is a scare tactic to get people to follow suit. I got scared. For a moment, one author actually had me convinced that because I eat oatmeal for breakfast (the good stuff, not the pre-packaged stuff), I am going to develop diabetes and Alzheimer’s. I am 100% on board for living a healthy lifestyle but if one more person tries to convince me that fruit is the devil, I might just lose it. I do believe that the mounds of processed crap out there are contributing to an unhealthy population, but where did the notion that fruit is unhealthy ever become a thing? And why have egg yolks all of a sudden become taboo? All of the healthy recipes are now calling for egg whites because the yolk apparently has far too much fat. News flash, I think the years of evolution of the egg might just outweigh the recent belief that the yolk is the enemy of a slim figure. I will admit that I had jumped on that band wagon for a while but then I came to my senses. Fat is good. Yolk is a natural fat and as long as not consumed in excess, then eat it. But that is true of everything. Moderation. Typically on average I will consume at lease two eggs every day, yolk included. Time will tell if that will be my demise but I have a strong suspicion that I’ll be ok.

Another popular notion is that dairy is none other than the substance excreted from the devil himself. While more research is needed on my part into this matter, I’ve read about dairy causing inflammation in the body. I will admit that I have drastically cut down on my milk intake. It was more so as an experiment than anything. I didn’t notice any changes in how I felt however I have only been off dairy for a relatively short period of time. And to be honest, I haven’t been all that disciplined. I routinely sneak gulps of chocolate milk right from the carton… And how can I resist a beautiful piece of pizza with glorious cheese on it, especially now that I am not competing. Lately however, I have tried to get back on the wagon and have tightened the reigns on my dairy restrictions again. I do believe that inflammation contributes to chronic illness and if dairy causes inflammation, as long as I allow my cheats every now and then, I don’t think I’ll miss it that much. I drink a lot of almond milk and for those of you who haven’t tried it, it does not taste like cows milk. It’s about re-training your tastebuds.

Then we come to the carb debate. We all know that carbs in excess will contribute to weight gain, but there are definitely good and bad options when it comes to carb choices. I have pretty much completely sworn off bread, even the whole wheat kind. I do not have a gluten allergy or anything but I decided that I was going to make this lifestyle choice after doing some research. Tell me why does my bread need added sugar? WHY?? My aversion to bread makes sandwiches virtually impossible which is a pain in the ass but I have gotten used to it. But of course, pizza is my downfall again. Yes, it is still bread. Some things I just cannot give up. Rather than making sandwiches, I find myself making a lot of strange medleys. I will chop up some hard boiled eggs, add some leftover chicken, throw in some green pepper and maybe some celery, add some humus and spices and there you have it. It’s a mishmash of healthy ingredients. It is actually quite easy and the only annoyance is cleaning up the dirty dishes. But, back to carbs for a second, I read one book that said that even the “healthy” grains (oats, quinoa, etc) and fruit are bad carb… Umm…would you have me eat kale and broccoli all day?? That brings me to another point. I found a source that said that eating cruciferous (kale, broccoli, cauliflower) vegetables everyday was bad for you due to a chemical in these veggies to prevent bacterial infection. This source suggested that it was best to eat these at most every other day. How are we supposed to function with all of these different opinions?

 

I will share my philosophy on the matter of healthy eating. I’m not telling you to live and die by these “rules”, they are merely the way I try to live my life.

– I try to avoid trans fats as much as possible (this includes fried foods)

– I try to always read the ingredient label/nutritional data before buying a packaged product (less ingredients is better and it is also best if you can understand the label)

-I avoid artificial sweeteners where possible

-I avoid artificial colours where possible

-I never add sugar to anything that I make. I sweeten things with fruit, honey, pure maple syrup or stevia

-I try to avoid food that I know has added sugar

-I never buy fruit juice. I prefer to make my own veggie and fruit juice (using a juicer) with just raw fruit and veggies and nothing else.

– Where possible, I try to use milk substitutes rather than dairy milk (example, almond milk)

– I avoid all bread products where possible

– I use healthy cooking oils like coconut and extra virgin olive

– I eat a lot of nuts, especially almonds

– For protein, I usually stick to chicken breast and fish

– Don’t forget to eat beans

– The food processer, blender and juicer are my favourite kitchen items

– I try to use spices to liven up a dish instead of unhealthy sauces and where I need a sauce, I typically use hummus

– When a recipe calls for flour, use any other type of flour other than that bleached shit. Coconut flour, oat flour, chickpea flour, almond flour, etc. Lets say that you don’t have oat flour but you do have oatmeal. Well miracles do happen because you grind that oatmeal and it is now oat flour.

– I never drink soda pop

I can’t really think of anything else right now… I think that is a pretty comprehensive list for now though. Just remember, if you are trying to alter your lifestyle, it is all about re-training yourself and indulgences are ok as long as they are in moderation. But that is just my views on the matter. Oh, one other thing, you need to get off your ass and exercise. That is all.

 

Happy Holidays!

#1 Bikini and reflection on healthy living

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Hello friends. I have an important update to share… I have finally done it! I have accomplished the greatest feat that anyone on this earth could hope to accomplish! I have won a bikini contest! Sarcasm aside, this is what i have worked for in these past 2 years and I am extremely proud of myself and thankful for all of the support that I have received.
   You all know I have had my difficulties with a certain bodybuilding federation and that I returned to the federation that I began with for this final show of the year. I decided to enter two categories for the show, fitness model and bikini. I ended up placing 3rd in fitness and 1st in bikini. That bikini title is the one I was really craving so it worked out beautifully. Oh and this contest was for my pro card…so I am officially an IDFA bikini pro athlete! FINALLY, my plump backside is appreciated for the mass of glute muscle that it is. Some people love their smile, some love their eyes, call me whatever you like but I love my butt. 
   I guess I waited so long to publish the good news because I wanted to share the professional photos with the post but unfortunately I have not received them yet. I decided that it has been too long and I’ll just show you some of the blurry shots that my posse captured.
   It has been almost a month since the show and I will admit that I have been much less conservative with my diet. However, even through my occasional binging, I have begun to realize that I have truly made a lifestyle change. I no longer want to eat crap for the sake of it. If I eat something that is very sweet, it will turn me right off and I might not even finish eating it. I have chosen to embrace healthy living and I’m excited about it! Nerd alert… oh well, I’ll be spry as a fox when I’m 90.
   I work in a health care field and my patient base is comprised mostly of elderly persons. I cannot tell you how many times a day I have to listen to people tell me, “Don’t get old”, as if I have some sort of choice in the matter. I’m sick of hearing that and I don’t want to dread the inevitable. I want to be optimistic and happy at every stage of life and I am determined never to be that person who tells someone else “Don’t get old.”
   With that being said, I am excited to inform you that I have enrolled in a nutrition course. Lately I have been doing a lot more research on nutrition and how it has an impact on health status. Are you aware that our environment (including nutrition) can have an effect on how our genes are expressed? Isn’t that amazing? It makes a great deal of sense though. For example, someone with a genetic predisposition for lung cancer may never actually develop it. On the other hand, someone with that same predisposition may be a smoker and that activity can turn that cancer gene on. The same goes for those individuals who have a genetic predisposition for weighy gain. Stating it very simply, your environment has the potential to turn some genes on and off… very fascinating. A study of green tea actually showed that it has the ability to turn off cancer cells or turn on cancer fighting cells. I can’t remember the exact details but you get the idea. Another study showed that relaxation/meditation or yoga can contribute to certain genes being turned on and others off. Are you kidding me? That’s so cool. As I said, I work in a health related field and while I definitely believe in the power of medication, I also feel strongly about the adverse side effects of it. If we could reduce our need for medication by changing our lifestyle, what a healthy world we would live in. I am thoroughly enjoying studying this subject matter and I would love to put my knowledge into practice and help others get their nutrition and health on track. Let’s all get excited about healthy living! WOO!