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.

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.

Do It (all?) Yourself

You know that old saying “If you want something done right, do it yourself”? Perhaps there is some merit to that statement.

For my first competition, I did my own tan, makeup and hair all because I was too cheap to invest. For those of you on a budget, I will let you know that it can be done but I think in the future I will invest in professional services. Upon reflection, it does seem strange to pay someone to see you naked and paint every inch of your body in a nice golden bronze. That sounds more like a fetish. Maybe my spray tan lady should pay me. Have you heard of jack of all trades, master of none? I’ll give myself some credit and say that I am a master of some, but I will put my ego aside for now and admit that I am not the grand expert of all things. Some things you should really just leave to the experts.

When it comes to bodybuilding and eating, there are really no other options but to do it yourself. You have to create your own homemade meals because there are just too many additives or contraband ingredients in either restaurant foods or premade store bought meals.

The stereotypical bodybuilder meal is chicken and broccoli and I’m not talking about fried chicken and broccoli bathed in butter. I’m talking baked plain chicken breast and steamed plain broccoli. Day after day, this starts to be about as appetizing as cardboard with a side of mould. When you have a strict meal plan, you really have to get creative and come up with your own recipes so you don’t fall into a chicken/broccoli coma.

Unfortunately, sometimes the homemade foods which will typically lack sugar, butter, and oil may start to taste like dog food. I have made food before and when shared with others, I got the response, “It tastes healthy”. Whenever someone says “It tastes healthy” you know they actually mean that it tastes like a field of grass. If you make a particularly healthy recipe, it may even end up tasting like a herd of cows have recently visited said grassy patch. There is a delicate balance between making something that tastes like a cow pie and making something that will make you look like the cow it came from.

I have had to experiment with different combinations of ingredients to make my own recipes and tailor them to fit with my personal preferences. There are two recipes I came up with that I am particularly in love with. One is my homemade lean chicken burgers and the other is my homemade granola. The granola recipe was definitely a labour of love. I failed about 3 times before I got the recipe just right. Not enough moisture; tastes like feet; is this safe for human consumption? These are some of the thoughts that come to mind when thinking of my failed batches. In the end, it was worth it because my granola is my go to snack and keeps my sweet cravings at bay.

Whatever it is, in this sport you almost learn to do it yourself out of necessity. If I don’t cook healthy meals for myself, I will not have a competition ready body. If I don’t have money for a posing coach, I will learn to pose from YouTube. You have to make sure that you do your research. Research is the key to success. If you don’t do your research, you will just have to pay someone who has already done their research. Just make sure that you don’t stay in the research stage, because if you never put it into practice, what good is it?

Excuse Me, But Do You Mind If I Watch You Fail?

The other day I was attempting to display how to do a burpee to some friends. I was casually talking to them as I was going through the motions and as I was lowering down into the push up position of the burpee, I smoked my head on the floor. This was met with laughter and jeers and it left me feeling quite embarrassed. I could have lied and said that I had meant to do that but likely the only one who would have believed me would be my dog, and only because he doesn’t know what I’m saying. Of course I had to then preserve my pride so I forced an audible laugh to alert my peers that I don’t take myself too seriously. To make matters worse, for the next 15 minutes the big red welt in the centre of my forehead continued to be a source of amusement for all those who gazed upon it.

This got me thinking. When a self proclaimed hotshot errs in some way, why do we love it so much?

When I went skating on the Ottawa River last year, moving at a snail’s pace I might add, a young lady zipped by me at lightning speed. Clearly she was skilled and wanted to display it. But as she was daring past me, I noticed something that made her hotshotness a little less impressive. Her tights were quite translucent in the ass region which made her thong visible to all. I assume that she was oblivious to this fact. But why did I feel less threatened by her skill when I saw her pant catastrophe? As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a competitive person and I don’t like to be bested. Perhaps it was the pants that provided my mind with the ammunition to take her down a notch.

Why is it so gratifying to see a professional or someone successful in their field having a lack of control? That lack of control might be that they are unaware that they are semi nude. Or perhaps they are unable to do the last rep without contorting their face into what resembles a Picasso painting (see image). Or maybe they have a one time lapse in proprioceptive abilities and they end up dropping a workout bench on their leg in front a large group of people. Yes, the last two happened to me. Do we enjoy this because it makes us feel better about ourselves? I am just being philosophical here but I worry that the answer might be yes.

I will admit to being a self proclaimed gym hotshot. Yes, I make mistakes and if that gives others a confidence boost, good for them. However I will also admit to sometimes being on the other side. This is not a conscious decision and my mind just does it automatically. Perhaps it has gotten somewhat worse since I started competing and this is something I would like to work on. When competing, we are all so physically similar and we are judged based on little differences. Any tiny error, whether it be the physique, makeup, hair, suit, or posing can potentially mean the difference between first place and last. In the end, what good is it to compare yourself to others? You are responsible for your own success and simply wishing for what someone else has will never give you the results you seek. So I say grab life by the balls and stop worrying about the audience, unless of course you are wearing translucent pants, and in that case you should probably change.

Don’t Talk To Strangers?

Your mother always told you not to talk to strangers, but what if you could gain something by doing it? I’m not referring to receiving anything tangible, I am referring to gaining knowledge. Surely you must be wondering how this could possibly pertain to fitness. Well, let me explain.

Last week I was powering through my leg day circuit and as I often do, I decided to add in a new exercise. I began doing some side lunges with just body weight. I had good form but I didn’t feel the burn that would normally tell me I am really working the muscle. I completed two sets on each leg and right before beginning my third set, a man came over and tapped me on the shoulder. Now, when I’m in the gym and doing my routine, I usually prefer to remain focused and I don’t talk to anyone. There are exceptions of course, such as if a man of Arnold proportions wants to ask me on a date. In reality though, I am very approachable at the gym and will be friendly to anyone. Call it good gym karma.

This nice man offered advice on a different way to do the side lunge utilizing upper body and core muscles by incorporating a medicine ball. I actually felt much more of a burn performing the exercise in the manner he showed me and will continue perform it in this way. I was doing your standard body weight side lunge as pictured on the right. The way of creating variation in your routine would be to hold the medicine ball with both hands straight in front of you and keep your arms in this position throughout the entire movement, as you alternate your lunges from side to side.

Another similar incident occurred some time ago and coincidentally,
it also happened to be leg day. Hmm..I see a pattern. I was doing barbell squats but I was having trouble getting the weight up and unknowingly bending my knees inward in the process. A nice man noticed this and advised me to consciously keep the knees firmly apart to prevent joint wear and tear. Ignoring the fact that an old man was watching me do deep squats for an extended period of time, this was actually a good piece of advice. He also suggested that I change my footwear. I was wearing regular running shoes and he suggested very flat or minimalist shoes when squatting or deadlifting. After some research, I decided to try out a pair of very thin soled shoes. I can’t say I notice a big difference but the shoes make me look extra hard core, so I guess it was worth it.

It seems that it is always the older gentlemen that do not have a problem talking to me and correcting my form or advising me on how to change up my routine. Women don’t talk to me, guys my age don’t talk to me…What is it about the older male generation that makes them so friendly? Some women may choose to be creeped out by this type of behaviour but what would that get you? Sometimes people are just eager to help and it would be foolish to dismiss someone without hearing what they have to say. Regardless, if someone at the gym ever comes over to you and tries to correct your form or show you something new, be open minded because you may just learn something. Upon reflection, maybe what I have learned is that I wear workout pants that are far too tight. But my motto when it comes to workout gear is TIGHT AND BRIGHT, so in that case I guess I will have to keep talking to strangers.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Suit!..and how this turned into a Rob Ford post

Merry Christmas friends! I hope you are all having a happy holiday season and you have received all of the items on your list. I also hope that you were able to display more will power than I when it came to the Christmas sweeties. I regret to inform you that, yes I did indulge slightly in the sweets but to never indulge is to be a soulless, Christmas hating, baby punching robot. When I rationalize it like that, I don’t feel so bad.

I simply cannot contain my excitement and I must share with you that I have received a new competition suit for Christmas. For my next show in March of 2014, I will be wearing a suit equivalent in size to a napkin. Its colour is ruby red and is reminiscent of the colour of Toronto Mayor Rob Fords face. The bling on the suit is so shiny and reflective that it too is reminiscent of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s face. For those of you who are unaware, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has admitted to smoking crack cocaine while in office, so for that reason and a few others, I don’t mind taking a few jabs. I don’t have first hand experience here but isn’t crack supposed to make you skinny? I think he was doing it wrong. Anyone living outside of Toronto will likely not know this but this guy willingly and publicly attempted the “Cutting the Waist Challenge”. He also encouraged others to take the challenge. Now, Mr. Ford is not a small man by any means and he publicly acknowledged this truth. As a man in a position of power, he had the opportunity to lead by example and fight the battle against obesity. And what better motivation could you have? An entire city was watching him and cheering him on as he battled the bulge. I don’t know about you, but if I had an entire city watching me trying to accomplish a goal, I damn well better succeed, or at least die trying. Failing is alright. Failure is part of life and I have failed many times. And you should never be afraid to take on a task because you are afraid of failing. However, there is failing and then there is quitting and the latter is what can distinguish you from the rest. Mr. Ford quit. He quit three weeks prior to the scheduled end of the challenge. Even if he were to lose absolutely no weight, at least finish the challenge man! Publicly quitting so close to the end date is a dopey thing to do. Dopey… get it?

But I digress. This was supposed to be a post dedicated to my new suit and how spectacular it is but I see that I have gone on a wild tangent. In my final remark, I will leave you with this mental picture… my new competition suit is so wonderful that the only thing that could detract from its beauty is if Mayor Rob Ford was to wear it.

Working Out Without Working Out?


Sometimes it’s not necessary to plan out a typical workout session to get your heart pumping. Sometimes participating in necessary activities around the house can be almost as labour intensive as hitting the gym. Don’t get me wrong, if I had the choice of a gym session or a home workout session, I will always choose the gym. For me, I remain more focused when I am in the gym environment. However, if an ice storm hits your city which shuts down the power and closes down your gym, sometimes you just don’t have an option.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my city was hit with a monster of an ice storm. When this happens, you may have to find alternate ways of executing your fitness routine. In my case, I decided to have a little bit of fun with it. I played with my dog on the ice rink which was formerly known as my back yard. Have you ever laughed so hard that you feel like you have just done 100 sit ups? Nothing will give your abs a greater workout than laughing at your dog as he attempts to balance on an icy surface while chasing after a ball. It’s like watching a t-rex trying to make a bed. It just doesn’t work very well.

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After I got bored of that, I decided to tackle a more physical project. There was a large tree in my backyard that decided to collapse and it was my mission to dominate it. A little bit of ice had made half of the branches break off …so clearly it doesn’t lift. This provided about an hour of entertainment for me. I felt like a child as I climbed the tree and hacked off any stray braches. I did not happen to have an axe or a chainsaw so I ended up trying to remove branches with some sort of pickaxe type tool. Not effective at trimming branches but definitely good for working up a sweat. Once I borrowed a tree trimmer, things became a little bit easier.

After I had drained all of the energy from my dog and I had conquered the frozen tree, I got a message from one of my gym friends stating that the gym is now open. Good thing too because it’s leg day and who knows how many trees I would have had to climb to get a good glute burn. I now have to hit the gym! Unfortunately, it is not always possible to get to the gym. As long as you remain dedicated, you can perform a complete workout within the confines of your own house. My favourite method of working out at home is actually doing workout videos. I find Jillian Michaels DVDs to be the greatest at home sweat producing tool. Just be mindful that if people walk by and see you doing hip thrusts in the middle of the living room, they may get the wrong impression.