The search for home-made bread substitutes

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I have been successful in avoiding bread for quite some time now (for the most part). Occasionally I will have a whole wheat wrap but that is only if I am out and there a very few options to choose from. Finding substitutes for bread however can be somewhat difficult.

Previously I have tried the lettuce leaf wrap and it worked alright but ripped easily. I suppose this depends on the type of lettuce so I won’t rule it out completely.

I have also tried seaweed as a wrap. I used the large nori sheets and found them to also be alright but they got soggy quickly if anything in the wrap was moist. I suppose you could use more than one sheet to prevent sogginess.

I have also tried to make pita “bread” from chickpea flour. That worked nicely but I have to prefect the ingredient measurements. It was more of a taco shape than a wrap as sometimes the wrap would rip if folded too much. But as I mentioned, I’m sure it is just a matter of tweaking the ingredient proportions.

My current endeavour is to attempt to make a bun out of predominantly cauliflower. I am optimistic and excited about this one. And I shall begin this process right now and let you know the outcome.

…Some time later…

Cauliflower buns complete! While I was making them, I felt as though they needed more of an adhering substance as they were not sticking together very well. However once they were cooked, while a tad crumbly, they maintained their shape pretty well. But alas, it is another ingredient proportion issue that can eventually be worked out. As far as taste goes, when eaten alone, they had a strong cauliflower taste, obviously. However when used in a sandwich bun situation, the cauliflower taste was masked by the flavour of the contents within the sandwich. I would call this a success. It was a bit labour intensive because I had to use a grater to get the cauliflower to the desired consistency. It would have been a lot less work if I had access to a food process.

In summation, I would ideally find a bread substitute that was less work to make. I think while quite nutritious, the cauliflower bun will not be made on the regular. I think the next step is to retry the chickpea flour pita and perhaps add different flour to the mix (coconut flour possibly). When I get that recipe just right, I will report back.

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!

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.

A Glutton for Punshiment or a Determined Fool?

Don’t you hate it when you have to eat your own words? Well, here I am doing just that. I openly told all of you in a previous post that I would not be going back to a certain bodybuilding federation. Enough time has passed, my anger has subsided and I have decided that I would like to give it another shot. Call me a glutton for punishment if you will but I am determined to make things different this time around. I believe I said that the last time too… F. But really, I mean it this time.

At what point do you label yourself insane? Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Am I insane? I think not. I feel that I am truly tweaking things with my diet and exercise regime, and hopefully it is enough to obtain a favourable placing at the next show. However, if there is yet another disappointing result, will that be enough to call me insane? What about labelling it determined instead? Or is that simply dressing up the term insanity just like putting lipstick on a pig. It is still a pig.

“Impossible only means that you haven’t found the solution yet.” This is quite an inspirational quote. It goes hand in hand with what Edison said about his light bulb attempts, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work.” So I ask, insane or determined? Maybe both, it would be reasonable to assume that anyone who has been successful long term, failed at some point. They just decided to keep trying.

I might catch myself at a bad angle in the mirror and think that my goals are unattainable. But minutes later, I feel on top of the world and that I will destroy the competition with just one butt cheek. Perhaps going from one extreme to the other is just a manifestation of an undiagnosed bipolar disorder! Eureka! So, I’m either insane, determined, or bipolar…

Regardless of the potential stigma attached to being mentally ill, I have decided to persevere. Failure is a part of life. If you don’t fail, I don’t think that you can grow. On a far off tangent, I just remembered a quote from the great Arnold, “The most satisfying feeling you can get in the gym is the pump…It’s as satisfying to me as cumming is. Can you believe how much I am in heaven? I am getting the feeling of cumming in the gym, I’m getting the feeling of cumming at home, I’m getting the feeling of cumming backstage when I pump up, when I pose for 5000 people. So I am cumming day and night. It’s terrific, right?” Yes Arnold, it is terrific. Maybe it’s not about the destination but the journey, as they say. Just make sure you are cumming for the whole journey.