Monday, November 29, 2010

Quote of the Day

Heard on Episode 52 of Robb Wolf's podcast:

"Paleo is a logical framework applied to modern humans, not a historical reenactment." -John Ryan, online comment

Don't beat yourself up for indulgences :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Although I've stuck quite well to the primal/paleo eating lifestyle, the exercise portion has been quite lacking these past few months.  I walk as much as I can every day, taking breaks throughout my work day to stroll the dowtown core.  I venture to find lengthy stair cases in the city.   The proximity around the CN Tower and SkyDome (called the Rogers Centre for years now, but it will always be the SkyDome to me) has quite a few stairs as well as the subway and underground PATH.  I'll occasionally sprint a block length but always remember that I need to be courteous to my work mates and minimize my sweatiness.  My goal is for an hour per day, if things aren't too hectic around the office.

I decided tonight that my upper body has had a wonderful vacation, and that it was time to get back at it.

Tonight, I started out slow:

5 Chin ups (modified with foot on chair) x 4
5 Pull ups (modified with foot on chair) x 4
10 Push ups (knees) x4
20 squats x 2

I will definitely feel that tomorrow.  The plan is to repeat on Saturday and slowly build these soft little muscles back up to where they were when I completed P90X earlier this year.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This is the part where I talk about menstruation

I've been primal/paleo since April and in this small span of time many magical things have happened.

I don't recall discussing this on here, but I have been dealing with PCOS for almost 15 years, most of which has resulted in infrequent menstrual cycles (3 to 4 times a year, tops!) and some other minor side symptoms.

I was placed on Birth Control at 17 to help regulate and stayed on for 7 years before my body decided to let me know that it had enough.  After ceasing the pill, I went back to irregular periods for a couple more years until I self diagnosed myself with Candida.  I had all the symptoms and during a year on a strict Candida Diet (very similar to primal/paleo, but even more limited) I managed to regulate my periods once again.  That diet was very difficult to manage at the time and of course I fell into temptation.  I gained quite a bit of weight and went back to the same infrequency f which I had been experiencing. 

I'm proud to say that since going primal/paleo, I've had my period regularly for the months of August, September and October.  That's a record!  And I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the end of this month, too!  It's not really something that most women look forward to, but after feeling a little less than "regular" for a good part of my life, I think it's wonderful.

A serious contemplation of education

*orginally posted Nov 8th on my other blog

For those of you that know me, you are quite aware that I'm not incredibly thrilled with my current job. I work in the financial industry, mostly doing pawn like work, and while the job itself is fine, it lacks the ability to keep me interested.

The past few years I've thought long and hard (that's what she said) about what I've wanted to do with my life. With pawn like work, I've felt like I've had no real direction or purpose. If you've ever been in this position you can understand how stressful, depressing and demotivating it can be. It was only a few weeks ago that I realized I may have found the direction I probably should have gone years ago . . . Nutrition.

On Saturday I attended an Open House at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. I had been researching the school for a bit and decided to attend to get more information. There were lectures on adrenal fatigue and nutrition in relation to memory retention and the psychology of disease. I felt incredibly comfortable as I sat there like a sponge absorbing all this fascinating information. I gathered all the information I could and left feeling invigorated about the possibility of finding a career that was meant to be.

As I continue to ponder each day, I'm realizing that it might be time for me to go back to school; as terrifying as that feels since I graduated college nearly a decade ago.

Step one: Apply

...and then we wait...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

More Poolessness and the Arrival of Primal Blueprint Fitness

I am officially three and a half weeks into my shampoo/soap free lifestyle and so far it's I've had fairly good results.  Every three to four days I do a baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse.  I used to get really dry skin on my scalp and face, but since forgoing the products, my epidermis has naturally healed and I no longer get dandruff.  My hair still gets greasy, but the build up is a lot less than when I started.

Ditching the Dove soap has been fine too.  My skin is softer and smoother and I don't get as oily around my T zone. :)  No real body smells, at least my husband Robert hasn't said anything.  I've told a few people around the office and they haven't noticed anything either. 

This week brought Primal Blueprint Fitness to my inbox and I am so excited.  Started my first Lift Heavy Things day on Wednesday and felt amazing after.  I'm planning to incorporate this regularly as it is much more doable than my modified P90x schedule which, by the way, I've slacked for the past few weeks.  It's just not realistic for me and the temperature in the apartment has been a little unbareable lately.  Too damn hot!

Wednesday's workout consisted of 40 Wall pushups, 50 full squats, 90 second plank and side planks, and 20 overhead presses.  Now it may seem silly for me to start with wall pushups after my success with P90x a few months back.  My intention is to start slow and ease into this routine.  Oddly enough, I apparently can't do 40 wall pushups in a row (2 sets of 20).  Once I have the full straight 40 under my belt, I"ll move to the next level (which I'm sure will be soon).  The only excercise that was missing was the pull up portion.  I don't currently own a pull up bar and didn't really get the impression that the P90x resistance band alternative was working the same muscles.

Vick on Marks Daily Apple forum gave me this suggestion in lieu of the pull up bar:

Put your hands on the back of your neck and interlock your fingers. Keep your grip close to the shoulders not up close to the head.

Pull down down trying to touch your waist with your elbows. Tense all of your muscles right down to your tummy. When you think you are about to quit... pretend your life depends on it and don't quit until you fatigue.

Repeat 7 days later.

I tried this and it seems to be working the muscles that need to be worked.  I don't really know how much it will strengthen, but until I have access or purchase a pull up bar, I'll be doing this.

One more round of this routine today and tomorrow I'll go for my sprint!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Poo Free

I've been reading a lot about a life free of shampoos and soaps.  Those harsh chemical laiden products we use daily on our skin and hair takes a toll.  With our skin being our largest organ and acting like a giant sponge, I can only imagine the amount of craziness that runs through ones blood stream.  Using shampoos and conditioners is a vicious cycle that we've all been taught/sold in to.  The shampoo we use dries out our hair and scalps which causes our body to overproduce oils to heal the dryness.    In my continuing journey to live a primal lifestyle, I felt my next step would be to forgo the shampoo, conditioner and soaps.

I'm only 5 days in of being 'poo free and don't have much to report other than my hair has gotten REALLY greasy.  My hair is just long enough now that I can put it in a small bun, so this has been my saving grace for attempting this new lifestyle.  Yesterday I tried 1 tablespoon of baking soda diluted in 1 cup of warm water.  After rinsing my greasy hair with warm water, I poured the baking soda solution over my scalp and worked it through to the ends.  After rinsing the solution, I found my slick hair was now quite soft.  Much of the greasy feeling was gone, but I was curious how it might dry.

I decided to not bother with soap and just did a vigorous wash with warm water (although I did use a bit of shaving cream to shave my underarms.  That's an omission for another day).

I let my hair dry naturally, but as I had somewhere to be, decided to put my hair up.  It was 41 C with the humidex that day, so my hair dried with lots of frizzies, but was very soft and odorless (my husband's critique).

One MDA member also mentioned that using an egg yolk and then rinsing with cold water (you don't want to make scrambled eggs) will cut the grease fairly well.  I might try this in a few days to see how it works.

As I have read on MDA and various sites and forums, I have a 2 - 6 week transition period where my hair will transform from this awkward greaseball to magically soft and magnificent.  I'm hoping this transition is sooner rather than later. :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Primal Breakfast - Eggs

Well, here we are.  A post about Eggs!

At lease 5 days a week I start my morning out with eggs.  I have also ended many days with eggs.  They're versatile, delicious and packed with fats and proteins to help fuel your daily energy needs.

I like my eggs any which way; fried, scrambled, poached, hard and soft boiled.  Firm yolks and runny yolks, eggs are awesome!

My last post got me thinking about Primal meals.  I've had a few people very recently take interest in my food choices and I've either directed them to Mark's website or let them borrow the book.  And the most common question I get is, "What do you eat?"  So, we start with the first meal of the day example!

This is how I started my day yesterday.

  • 1 cup Pink oyster mushrooms sauteed in butter. 
  • 2 eggs fried in butter
  • 2 apricots, halved
  • salt and pepper to taste

Very quick and simple to make and the flavours of the oyster mushrooms mimics that of steak.  Like a poor man's steak and eggs.  :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm still here!

I'll be back . . I promise.  Life has gotten a little busy at work and the heat and humidity here in Toronto is killing me.  I still refuse to get an air conditioner.  I feel sucking it up in this heat can only make me stronger . . more Primal.  :)

A couple of times a week in the morning I pop by Vibrams on for a little jaunt around the neighbourhood.  I've started encorporating P90X back into my exercise regime.  I know I swore off it in my last post, but after taking a well deserved break, I noticed I was getting a little soft again, and fast.  Instead of doing the full hour everyday, I decided to break down the exercises.  My week goes something like this:

Monday - Chest and Back, one set of each (no repeats)
Tuesday - Morning walk/sprint in my Vibrams or Rest
Wednesday - Shoulders and Arms, one set of each
Thursday - Morning walk in my Vibrams or Rest
Friday - Legs and Back, one set of each
Saturday and Sunday are up in the air.  I'm usually pretty busy with chores around the apt and shopping and general out and about fun with the husband or friends and family. 

Eating Primally has been going well, although there have been quite a few slips as of late.  My husband has had a hankering for gelato and the little gelato spot on the corner is quite tempting and helps take the edge off the heat.

Lots of salads, yummy meats and fruits have been the bulk of my meals.  And eggs . . . oh eggs, how I love thee.  I've been obsessed with fried eggs over smoked salmon topped off with dill and a side of avocado.  Devine.  I should take a pic of my next breakfast.  It will leave you drooling!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

P90X Success!

I did it!  I successfully completed P90X . . . and I'm never doing it again!

I started out tremendously weak and came out the other side being able to complete 7 full pushups.  It may not sound like much to some, but I've barely been able to do push ups on my knees for most of my life.  I feel accomplished and the program was great!  I lost three pounds on the scale and lost a tonne of inches all over my body, but it was tough and I probably strained myself more than I should have.

One hour per day, 6 days per week was a little much and I found most days I didn't want to do the excercises, but I pushed through.  Tony Horton kind of grew on me, too.

I shouldn't say I'll never do it again.  Many of the exercises were great and I developed muscles I didn't think I was capable of.  I will definitely keep using the resistance bands and I will continue to incorporate the variety of push-ups/pull-ups, squats and lunges.

All in all it's a great program and I would definitely recommend it anyone wanting amazing results in a short period of time (although plyometrics always feels like an eternity).

Yesterday was Day 1 of my "Primal" workout and I'm already loving it.  I took my Vibrams out for a very early morning sprint (5:30 am).  The air was cool and there was a light refreshing mist and a symphony of tweets and chirps.  I don't remember the last time I was up and out this early but I really enjoyed the calm and quiet of the city.  I warmed up with a quick jog, then repeated sprinting intervals for 10 to 15 minutes.  I loved it and I can't say enough wonderful things about my Vibrams!  I ended my session with a leisurely walk around my neighbourhood.

Now, I'm off to go Lift Heavy Things ... Awesome!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vibram Five Fingers

So, I purchased a pair of Vibram Five Fingers a couple of weeks ago.  I had done my research for several weeks, visiting forums and gathering as much information as I could.  I was really excited about the info I had been reading and felt that this would solve some of my issues with running.  I get shin splints easily and the pain was so intense that I had just stopped trying.  I purchased an expensive pair of Saucony's last year from The Running Room and they left me in the same painful place as all the other shoes.  I'd been eager to be able to run like many people I know, but felt that I was just not built for it.  The VFF's could be purchased online but fortunately MEC sold them  in downtown Toronto, so I set out during my lunch break to give them a try. 

I knew that I had to fit them to my longest toe (I'm one of those freaks with my second toe being longer than my big toe).  I had a hell of a time getting them on at first and after a couple of minutes of struggling, I strapped them up and walked around the store.  It felt strange at first and people trying on running shoes and hiking boots around me looked at them oddly.  My toes were uber sensitive and I didn't much like the sensation of fabric and rubber between them, but after a few moments the sensitivity diminished.

I did some light jogging and walking around the store and after about 10 minutes, I fell in love with them.  I was excited and purchased them immediately.  I showed them to my husband when I got home from work; he chuckled when he saw them.  It was fashion show time and I awkwardly shoved my toes into their snug little place.  They were much tighter trying them on in the evening and I could feel my tired, end of day, feet swelling inside them.  They were too tight!  I had to take them back and thought maybe that my freak toes were some of the ones described on various forums.  Not everyone could fit VFFs if they had freaky feet.

The next day I went back to the store before work to try a size up.  It was a bad move on my part to purchase shoes earlier in the day when my feet hadn't had time to spread out.  The size up was perfect and I made the exchange.  I no longer felt that I had freakish feet.

My first VFF running attempt was in the corridor of my apartment building (I'll admit, I was a little embarassed to take them out in public).  I trotted along lightly and got used to the feeling of running.  I had watched a number of videos featuring Barefoot Ted discussing barefoot running.  I noticed immediately that running barefoot was a completely different motion and it actually felt more fluid and natural.  I get shin splints easily and after 15 minutes of sprinting and jogging up and down the long corridor, I realized that it was all fairly effortless.  The difference between barefoot and modern running shoes is impact.  With running shoes, your foot impacts right at the heal which is why they modern running shoe has so much cushioning.  Barefoot running requires you to change the impact to the front of your foot, allowing for a more natural, springy tireless experience.

I took them for a test run outside (at night on a quiet street) and had the same wonderful experience as my apartment corridor sprint.  My movement felt silky and I the pain that I normally endured in a short amount of time never appeared.

They are, at most, quirky and I've started wearing them out in public on the weekends.  I'm still a little embarassed and have even hid my feet with my purse when I'm on the elevator with other tenants.  I'm sure I'll get over my embarrassment.

I love my Vibrams and look forward to the summer to wear them out . . . shame free.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Primal Cookbook!

I am uber excited for the release of The Primal Blueprint Cookbook by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier. I haven't had any trouble creating delicious meals and eating the primal way, but it will be nice to add a little something to my recipe repertoire.


The Primal Blueprint

I first became aware of Mark Sisson's book a few months ago while researching diets for optimal health and nutrition.  It's a subject I continuously have an interest in as I have struggled with dietary restrictions for the past 6 years.  Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever written about it, so let me start again...

I have a mulittude of dietary limitations. Due to many factors in my past, including poor diet, birth control pills and overuse of antibiotics to treat reoccuring infections, I have a very weak digestive system. I can no longer tolerate grains (bread, rice, pastas, corn), milk and cheese, fruit, sugar and many chemical preservatives. I've had my ups and downs (many many downs) with such a restrictive diet.  I always felt like I was part of an unfortunate group of people, the Candida sufferers.  It became tiresome to explain to new people that I met why I couldn't indulge in the luxurious breads and delectable sweets that they could.  It was really depressing and I would adopt a "to hell with it" frame of mind and join in, paying the consequences soon after.

My consequences included migraines/headaches, bloating and weight gain, intestinal cramps, lethargy, depression, insomnia...the list goes on. 

Finding this book has been a godsend.  It's not a weight loss or diet book.  It's a lifestyle and one that I've adopted quite easily in the last three weeks.  The Primal lifestyle is based on a modern hunter-gatherer eating style including vegetables in abudance, fruit, eggs, meats & seafood, nuts and plenty of saturated and monounsaturated fats (yum). 

The diet is fairly spot on to the Candida diet I had adopted on and off for so many years, the only difference was the increase in fat.  By increasing the fat in my diet, I feel satiated for long periods and cravings for complex carbs and sugar have almost completely diminished.  I also feel like I'm part of a healthier community and not a community of constant sufferers (no hard feelings, but it's been a little depressing).  Mark's website, is full of fantastic articles and answers any questions readers have about this remarkable way of living.  The success stories of readers are inspirational and truly moving.

My energy levels have been through the roof and my afternoon nap attacks that subsided after grain based meals are gone.  I sleep better and most mornings I wake up before my alarm, refreshed and ready to start my day.  I never had any intentions to lose weight, but I've been losing 1 lb per week so far and it feels great.

Anyone looking to "reprogram their genes" and feel more connected with their bodies with "vibrant health and boundless energy", I completely recommend this book.