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!

The Storm Before The Calm

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A quick catch up before we get into today’s post. My most recent show (beginning of October), has come and gone. I felt that I presented a great physique, maybe my best yet but once again there is something about me that the judges don’t seem to like. I finally bit the bullet and paid for the judge feedback (yes, they make you pay). One hundred sixty dollars later, the first words of the feedback were “Legs are thick…”. Ok, yes. I am aware that my legs are not stick thin however I cannot comprehend how it is possible to place me 5th out of 6 competitors and yet 1st place is awarded to someone who has legs at least as thick as mine and with less definition may I add. See image below.
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I simply cannot comprehend. I know this is coming from a biased perspective but it really makes one question the “business” aspect of this particular organization, if you catch my drift. I make no accusations, it just seems interesting that certain people do quite well despite what they present on the stage… There seems to be a recurring theme here. Every show that I have competed in with this organization, I always rant about the judging afterwards. Finally enough is enough and I am going back to the organization that I started with. With that organization, you can usually spot who is going to place where and it makes it easier to accept a loss if you can see what they are looking for. But, I don’t expect a loss this time.

The storm before the calm. What do you mean? Well I have one more show that I am competing in this year and it happens to be next Saturday. That being said, this week is peak week and a whirlwind is about to ensue. Prepping for a show is not pretty my friends. I have to get the nether regions waxed, de-fur the rest of my body, try to avoid any and all types of body contact to prevent bruising, freak out over the pimple that I can feel is coming, get my shit all packed for the show, prepare my pee cups, make sure that the spray tan lady doesn’t screw up my tan again, make sure that I don’t lose any of my fake nails, and stress about the fact that I will be on my period for the show. Not to mention that I have to perfect my posing routine and ensure that the body is in perfect winning form. Too much information? It’s worth it, believe it or not.

As a side note, you may be wondering what the heck a pee cup is. Well, as us girls have to sit down to urinate, once our tan is applied, this tends to yield streaks. You do not want to be on stage and have pee streaks ruining you tan. Solution…turn a disposable cup into a funnel. Oh the joys of competing.

I feel really confident about this show. Although, I feel confident going into all of my shows so I guess it’s not saying much. Regardless, I am optimistic and I anticipate good things. I look forward to sharing my result of the upcoming competition and to all of you reading this, keep reaching for your goals.
That was cheesy, but it’s still true.

I Spy a Food Snob

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As I delve further and further down this hole of healthy living, I find myself evaluating how others must perceive me. And this very day, I realized that I have become… a food snob.

I have made some alterations to my diet recently which might seem questionable to some. For one, my boyfriend and I have been juicing. Not the steroid kind, but rather the veggie kind. With that being said, if one is to juice, a lot of veggies are needed to get a minimal amount of juice and therefore this can get pricey. In order to pinch some pennies, I downloaded a grocery store flyer app. While trolling through the online flyers, I found what I thought were organic beets on sale. Since I am a beet juice virgin, I was excited by this sale and got amped to try some beets in tonight’s juice. As a side note, I have been growing increasingly worried about all food that is not organic. I can thank my neurotic personality for that. It is for this reason that I pee my pants a little when I see the words organic and sale together.

I walked into the store with organic beets on the brain. After speaking with the grocery store worker, I was informed that I misunderstood the ad and the store didn’t have any organic beets. I proceeded to walk right out of the store. How food snobby can you get? First of all, shouldn’t inorganic be less expensive than organic? Well I wasn’t about to pay for a bundle of inorganic beets when I could get a 10 pound bag (also inorganic) at a different grocery store for much less per pound. So I will unfortunately be purchasing a large quantity of inorganic beets for tonight but at least it will be for a good price. You can’t win ‘em all.

I have been doing some reading on juicing and found out that if you juice too many cruciferous veggies too often, you are at risk of hormone imbalances, specifically the thyroid hormone. Cue the neurotic personality again. I became very anxious when I read this and what then followed was learning that eating foods which contain iodine can help counteract this. Are you curious as to what I ended up with? Well, long story short, I just picked up some organic seaweed from the health food store. Yes, apparently seaweed is a wondrous veggie of the sea. I don’t think you can get more food snob than that. Some of you may be repulsed by the idea of incorporating seaweed into your diet but I sprinkled some atop of my tilapia and I couldn’t even notice it. Hurray for nutrients that you cant taste!

As I continue to eat healthier and somewhat obscure items, I know that others are questioning my sanity. Some may even grow annoyed with me as I refuse to eat certain items that they are shovelling into their food holes. But perhaps it is just because they can’t find it in themselves to try these new ways of looking at food. You don’t have to compromise on taste, but it’s just re-training your taste buds. I feel amazing, and I think I look the best I have ever looked. My next show is only a week and a half away and I feel differently about the body I am presenting. Regardless of all of this, I think the thing I am happiest about is that I have gotten my boyfriend to start trying this healthy lifestyle. And hey, if I can get a manly construction worker to start juicing, you can try it too.

Let me take a selfie, damnit!

Oh the selfie… Instagram, in partnership with the increasingly popular selfie, have taken this world by storm. Just because Kim Kardashian made a sex tape and became (in)famous doesn’t mean that you can slap a few pics up and get to her level of fame. Remember folks, being popular on instagram does not make you famous in real life. That being said, I must admit to having a shameless instagram account. Why, you ask? Initially, I did for search engine optimization purposes, to increase traffic to my blog because I would ideally prefer if my readership would extend beyond just my mother. That being said, I began to like this vehicle of self worship called instagram… I allow myself to post selfies all in the name of “fitness progress tracking”, while in disguise I am simply feeding my inner egotist. It’s brilliant and no one will be the wiser.
Taking selfies in public is acceptable when there are two or more people involved. However, when you are caught publicly taking selfies of just yourself, you tend to come off looking like a bit of a narcissist douche. Well, that’s what I think when I witness someone doing just that. And it is because I feel this way that I do not want to be seen publicly taking a solo selfie.
I tend to work out by myself. This presents a problem if I want gym photos. I cannot afford to hire someone to follow me around and photographically catalog my gym experience for me only to then spend an unspecified amount of time running photos through endless amounts of filters before deciding on the right one so that said photo can then finally be posted to instagram. So since a personal photog is not in the cards, regrettably, I must resort to the gym solo selfie.
Let’s get real. Holding a pose for an extended period of time, while flexing, while possibly even giving duck face or a variety of other stupid facial expressions, is not something that you want others to witness. And here is my problem. Because the gym floor is crowded, there is never really an acceptable time to take the solo gym selfie. Remember the narcissist douche thing? Don’t be that person. It is only acceptable if the gym is dead and this only happens if you attend a shitty gym or you go to the gym at an ungodly hour and I piss on your dedication to the selfie if the latter is the case. So, since taking photos on the gym floor has now been ruled out, selfies are now limited to being taken in the change room. There is only one full length mirror in the change room at my gym and a mirror is necessary to take an instagram worthy gym selfie. Why the hell do all the ladies seem to rush the change room when I want to take my selfie? I can’t very well take my selfie with all of them watching. And on top of that, there are ladies getting naked in the change room…go figure. Bits and bobs are all hanging out and it is not the best time to flaunt my competition ready body. There are a few potentially troubling scenarios if I decide to neglect my hesitations regarding this matter. Scenario 1- Lady or ladies think that I am taking shots of their exposed bits and bobs. Scenario 2 – I unintentionally capture the image of exposed bits and bobs in the background of my selfie rendering it unusable as an instagram submission. Damnit! Would you all just leave me in peace so that I may take the appropriate amount of selfies before I find one that is instagram worthy?! And give me some time because let’s face it, no one gets the perfect selfie on the first shot. And if you do…I hate you. Just take what seems like a thousand photos and hope there is a decent one in the bunch.
After your workout, all the blood is flowing to your muscles and they look bigger. On top of that, you should be sweating like a pig and if you capture this body leakage in your selfie, well then, you are just a total gym boss bad ass. It can’t be…The seas have parted and there is no one in the change room. Quick! Take a flurry of shots before someone notices. Now Slap your sweaty self on the ass in congratulations because you showed them! Whoever they are. The fictitious antagonist of your life, I suppose. You have just taken the perfect after workout, sweaty selfie against all odds. Now Post, my friends, POST! Post that shit to instagram and wait for others to stroke your ego as you obsessively refresh the page to see how many new likes you receive. So, what are you doing still reading this? You have selfies to take!

Get Out Of My Head, Literally

What is better than some amazing beats to accompany an intense workout? I struggle to get though my workouts if I don’t have adequate electronic dance music destroying my eardrums. It can allow you to get lost in the moment to the point where you are able to distract yourself from the intense glute burn that you are subjecting yourself to.

Ever since I began torturing myself with exercise, I have been utilizing frugal methods of musical distraction. I don my hand-me-down ear buds, plug them into my outdated i-pod and tuck said i-pod in between my skin and my pants. Let it be known that if you want to increase the longevity of your musical device, don’t tuck it anywhere against your skin. Sweat has drowned my i-pod to the point where it is hit and miss as to whether it will obey my commands. But this isn’t a post about sweat drenched i-pods.

Ear buds are the bane of my existence. I must have some oddly shaped ear canals because I have never been able to find a comfortable pair which will stay put. This has led me to shove these ridiculous things so far into my ears that I can feel them tickling my brain. Other than the fact that I have clogged them up with earwax because they are so embedded into my head, I face a serious health risk everytime I endeavour to listen to my music. What health risk you ask? Early onset deafness? Wrongo! I fear something much more serious. The official medical term is known as Get-the-hell-out-of-my-head-itis. Imagine my utter delight when something catches on my earphone cord and dislodges the earbud from my head. How annoying. But wait…something is not quite right. I bring my hand to my ear and realize that the squishy bit on the end of the ear bud is embedded into my head. If it was transparent, maybe it wouldn’t be so embarrassing and I could play it off like nothing happened. No such luck. This ear bud cap is neon yellow. I can’t very well attempt to fish this thing out of my ear on the gym floor without looking like I belong on the short bus. So instead, I run to the change room and aggressively pick at my ear like a dog digging for a bone. Finally, I achieve success, but I am not left unscathed. I fear any future attempts to reinsert the devil’s ear buds will result in an even deadlier outcome. Time for change.

Thank God that those monstrous over the head earphones have come back in style. I am not usually one to jump on the bandwagon but for the sake of preventing another bout of Get-the-hell-out-of-my-head-itis, I decided to partake in the fad. I got myself a trendy white pair, bought an armband, updated my playlist (which hasn’t been done in over a year) and proceeded to have a fantastic workout. Change is good, my friends. Simply making a few changes to my musical workout experience enabled me to have a new lease on my workout. Maybe this is just what the doctor ordered. So, the long winded moral of the story of my experience with Get-the-hell-out-of-my-head-itis, is that change is good. That is all.

Exercise Ignorance Correction

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Social etiquette is very important throughout day to day life. It helps to determine how people perceive you and in turn, how people will behave towards you. And let’s face it, most of our mothers would prefer that we behave in a socially acceptable manner rather than the alternative. No one wants the douche bag kid. With this in mind, we must remember that while social etiquette does exist, so too does gym etiquette.

Of course there is the gym etiquette common to most average gym goers such as re-rack your damn weights, clean your odorous sweat from that machine/bench that you just leaked all over, and of course don’t leave your towel/water bottle to guard a much coveted bench while you are off gallivanting about the gym. Don’t be the gym douche! There are of course numerous other tid bits that you will learn of which will enable you to become the gym etiquette elite, however some of these must be learned with experience.

One such gym etiquette conundrum which I have encountered is exercise ignorance correction.

I term exercise ignorance as…

  1.  Performing an exercise in bad form
  2.  Not working the muscles that the exercise is intended to work
  3.  Looking completely foolish as you attempt an exercise which you have not researched enough to know the proper way to perform it so that you don’t look like a gym fool (see 1…and 2 for that matter).

I realize that this may sound harsh to any readers who are not avid gym goes. But fear not friends because exercise ignorance can be treated. The mystical powers of the internet have come to the rescue. Seriously though, almost every time I want to incorporate a new exercise into my routine, I will do a quick bit of research to find the proper way to perform it. DO NOT just copy what someone else at the gym is doing. You don’t know their skill level and the last thing we want is the blind leading the blind. Next thing you know, there will be an epidemic of slipped discs and ACL tears. On second thought…this string of injuries would reduce the competition for the much coveted benches. In that case, carry on gym fools.

I went off on a bit of a tangent there, but my point is that I struggle with exercise ignorance correction. I term exercise ignorance correction as the act of correcting an individual who fits into category 1, 2 or 3 listed above. The conundrum lies in the fact that correcting the gym fool will help them to improve their technique and therefore enhance their training, while the flip side is that you may come off as a creep, a douche, a gym snob, or a big ol’meanie. I struggle with this because if I see one more person F-ing up a bench dip, A BENCH DIP FOR GOD’S SAKE, I might shit a brick. It’s an exercise for your triceps, not your LEGS! I so desperately want to tell them they are doing it wrong and correct them of their madness, but I fear I will come off as the gym bitch. I worry that regardless of how nicely I spin it, all they will hear is “Fool, you are doing that shit all wrong! You’re welcome.” And you can forget about me trying to correct a man. If a woman were to correct a man, his testicles would immediately invert right back up into his body. After he relocates them, his self defensiveness would be off the charts and no one wants a raging bull with recently descended testicles all up in their grill. So, instead I work out in silence and simply cringe at the exercise ignorance. I wonder what is appropriate gym etiquette in this instance. To correct or not to correct? That is the question.