Happy 4th of July!

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Wishing all our American neighbours a wonderful Independence Day! Loved this tribute to the flag.

Doh!! Sorry to all, that’s what I get for trying to post from my phone. Here is a picture of the flag that I thought was great!

Heading to the farm!

I’m so excited that you’re going to get a two-part post because I can’t wait until tonight. I’m off to Devon Acres farm to purchase a share in their CSA. Lovely farm fresh, organically grown veggies for the rest of the summer! Hoping the kids will grow to love them more when the see how vegetables are supposed to taste!

I’ll be back to update with more details and maybe even pictures before long!

Breakfast of a Wannabe Champion

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This is how I’m starting my morning (well after my hot water and lemon) how about you? Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. For me it also sets the tone for my day. If I have started off well with a hearty nutritious breakfast than I, personally, am more likely to be successful. If I start the morning with a muffin or Danish, even a bowl of cereal, I’m heading for a horrible day. Mood wise, energy wise and I know that most of my choices to follow will be crappy as well.

I hear some people complain they can’t eat first thing in the morning. Breakfast literally means to “break the fast”  if you aren’t hungry within an hour of waking, odds are you’ve eaten too close to bed time. Sometimes I will push past that hour. It will usually be in regards to a scheduled workout time but that’s a personal choice and I know how my body reacts to different foods around different types of exercise. I’ll be touching on that later this week.

For now, here’s a bit of advice. Start your day with a big glass of water and/or a hot water with lemon. Your body has been working hard while you sleep to detoxify so let’s help it out by flushing the system. The lemon and hot water are a great way to support your liver function. Give yourself an hour before hitting the caffeine, and try to go black! There is evidence leaning towards black coffee helping boost metabolism and athletic performance. If you don’t drink coffee-don’t start! But if you do, try to ditch the sugar and dairy.

Here’s hoping you all find a way to Get Movin today!

Happy June!

This morning my oldest daughter came to me and said, “I don’t know what it is about a new month, but I just love when I have a fresh calendar page!”. What can I say, the girl comes by it honestly. As I’ve talked about in the past I love the opportunity that a new month brings. Awhile back I recommended picking one thing to focus on each month. You can refresh your memory, or check it out for the first time in this post here.

For June I am focusing on planning and actually scheduling my workouts. As I’ve mentioned before I work shifts and now that I’m back to commuting my time is even more precious. I have big plans for the month of July so between that and life getting away from me some days, it is extra important that I make a plan. I was reviewing the goals I had set in a past post and things have been adjusted a little. But that needs to be part of our life. We have to be flexible and open to change, as long as that change isn’t one that completely derails us from a long-term plan.

Here is a picture of my calendar. Nothing fancy, it is written in pencil. I have my scheduled shifts written (the “D” and “N”s) and I’ve used Get Movin’s schedule for the next 8 weeks and picked the classes that best suit my schedule. I’ve also included my runs and TRX workouts.

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It’s written in pencil because on some days there are two options. With overtime shifts that pop up I have to be able to change things sometimes. For example – I can run on the treadmill at work and bring my TRX so those are an option depending on the workout I may miss. I also am being very conscious of my sleep requirements. There may be days when my “wellness” routine is actually sleeping instead of a workout. I work 14 hour night shifts with a 2+ hour round trip commute. Four of those in a row, means that my body can get fairly run down. I’ve suffered burn out before – without knowing it until it was in my rearview mirror. Now I know the signs and how to avoid it, and I will at all costs. It doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Just that I am more conscious of how I need to take care of myself. And what was it G.I. Joe always said: “Knowing is half the battle!”

I’ll also be planning our families meals for the month. Even more focused will be my own. We’ll be having our family sit-down tomorrow to discuss the month ahead. Perhaps I’ll share that later in the week!

Think about incorporating one simple thing into your month. Increasing your water, if you haven’t already done that. Checking out the seasonal fruits and veggies that will be starting to appear before long. Getting out and walking a new trail or going for a bike ride. Picking up a sketch book and pencil and sketching the flowers you find. There is nothing like drawing nature to make you focus on all the intricacies and fine details you will often miss in a hurried day.

Enjoy the sunshine and summer evenings that are here to stay….at least for a while!

Fat free and low fat translation!

So…I apologize for the verbage, but, it essentially rings true. Keep this in mind and keep as many poisons out of your body as possible!

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To make a product “fat-free” or “low-fat” the fat has to be removed from the item. But without the fat, where is the flavour? Along comes science, to add sugars and chemicals to “enhance” flavour and texture.

Remember…fat doesn’t make you fat – sugar does! It’s your body’s conversion of sugar that creates the visceral fat that is stored around our waistlines. This is exactly the kind that you want to avoid!

This is an overly simplified account. There are many other things to take into consideration, including the source of fats, but remember this:

Eat as close to a natural food source as possible, with as little human interaction (and intervention) as possible. One of the best places to see this in action is with peanut butter. The next time you are considering picking up that low-fat version, take a look side by side between the ingredients list of it and its natural counterpart. I can’t tell you what you’ll find on the ingredient list of a low or fat-free version of peanut butter, however the natural peanut butter I’ve got memorized: peanuts! People say they don’t have time to read the ingredient list on everything, imagine if there was only one thing on the list how much time you’ll save 🙂

Gluten Free? So what!!

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Ok…I’m about to go on a tangent…

A “Gluten free” label DOES NOT mean OK, Gluten free DOES NOT mean safe to consume, Gluten Free DOES NOT mean healthy.

Is there a place for a gluten free diet? Absolutely!! If you have Celiac’s, gluten is the equivalent of sugar to a diabetic. It can and will cause permanent and possibly, irreversible damage. If you have a gluten sensitivity, absolutely! Avoid it, to avoid inflammation in your gut, in your skin, in your organs, wherever the symptoms present. We want to avoid inflammation within our bodies, and if you know the source than by all means follow through on avoidance (This is obviously a little more involved, if you are cutting items out of your diet, ensure that it is with the guidance of someone who has training in how to support your nutritional needs.) That being said a gluten free product does not guarantee a healthy product.

Companies know how to market their product. They spend billions on it. Gluten free is one of the hot catch phrases right now and it’s getting lots of media attention so you can bet if a product is “gluten free” it will be getting that tag slapped on it, and if it can be reformulated to be made gluten free it will be. Is it nice to be able to have a brownie once and awhile? Sure! But I would hazard a guess, from the evidence I have seen and people I have talked to, that many assume that if it is a gluten free brownie this somehow makes it “healthier”. It’s still a brownie. And, these are still Cocoa Pebbles. Now – it may be obvious to some, that cocoa pebbles  are not really a “healthy” choice, but there are some people that willingly trust the marketing companies, and looking at the nutrition label vs the ingredient list, they think that this is a healthier choice then say, oatmeal.  Cocoa pebbles are still loaded with an unhealthy amount of sugar, and no real vitamins and minerals except for those with which it has been “enriched” (another word to look out for, but I’ll save that tangent for another day!). It’s not “food” – it’s a “food-product”. Be aware of labels and catch phrases. Don’t get suckered in to thinking something is healthier because of a what is on the package or the store where it is purchased (cough cough Whole Foods cough cough).

Off my soapbox now! Enjoy your Sunday breakfast! My kids are eating Vector I’m sure – not a healthy choice necessarily – the difference is – I’m aware of it. My choices aren’t always the best, but the key is I am making a conscious and knowledgeable choice. I have to deal with the outcome, don’t let others control the choices you make (not even me!). Become knowledgeable, so that every decision you make, is made consciously and with an awareness on what the outcomes may be. Eat your Cocoa Pebbles if you choose to, not because marketing told you it was a good choice.