Ranting and Raving

It’s that time of year again…New Year’s Eve!  Perhaps you are wallowing in misery over the fact that you weigh more than you did at the beginning of last year when you promised yourself that “this year is going to be different!”  Or you’re in the midst of inhaling every last bit of sugar because “starting January 1st, you are going to be perfect so you might as well enjoy the sugary bliss now!”  Or perhaps you’re setting a bunch of resolutions that you will likely never follow through on and you’ll be beating yourself up about come April.  This is why I am proposing to ditch the resolutions.  It seems to me that every year around this time, I see people who spend more time commiserating about their failures and punishing themselves for their self-proclaimed under-achievements vs reflecting on things that they actually did accomplish.  It is a horrible negative feedback loop of self-punishment that does not get you anywhere.

Rather than beating yourself up for riding another year on the treadmill of failure, take a few minutes to write down the things that you DID achieve in 2011.  Unless you are Rob Ford (the horrible Mayor of Toronto), you likely have many things that you accomplished.  These things can be as simple as, “I ate more Kale” or “I took my Vitamin D supplements” or “I made an effort to see my friend’s more often.”   Take a few moments to pat yourself on the back for the things that you did achieve.  Here are a few of mine:

– I made it through another year of school, working full-time, working part-time and being a good wife without having full-blown adrenal fatigue! YAY!
– I gave up Gossip Girl, Desperate Housewives and Jersey Shore in order to spend more quality time with my husband
– I became comfortable with the fact that I will never fit into my size 28 jeans again because increasing my back squat is WAY more important to me
– I ate way more organ meats that I ever imagined
– I became a Coach at Quantum CrossFit and love every second of it
….and the list goes on.

Back to resolutions….I am not saying that you should ditch the commitment to bettering yourself.  I think this is important, but it is also something that should be done continuously throughout the year….Don’t save your commitments to 1 time per year.     Rather than setting specific goals this new year (which is something that Krista at Stumptuous wrote a great piece about), try creating some mantras for yourself instead.  Create a set of mantras which will act as your guideline to living the best you in 2012.  Mantras will help to create self-awareness around some of your short-comings and will also help you to consistently better yourself by acting as reminders for how you can be a better person.

Create your mantras and write them down….take a few moments first thing in the morning or before you go to bed at night to say an affirmation to yourself as it relates to your mantras.  Affirmations are an excellent way of shifting your mindset and will help to create long-lasting changes.  Here are my mantras for 2012 and in classic CPG style, I have related them to my hero’s of the 80’s and 90’s hair metal movement:

#1 – Axl Rose  “I am OK with not being perfect.”

Remember how Axl Rose took 15 years to finish the much anticipated album Chinese Democracy?  His addiction to perfection prevented him from releasing it any sooner because lord knows he was probably tweaking every last note trying to achieve perfection.  I wrote about my addiction to perfection  in this recent post.  My affirmation will read something like this, “I am not perfect and I am OK with that.  I do the best that I can and this is something I am proud of.”

#2 – Slash “I will make a conscious effort to collaborate”

Slash has collaborated with everyone from Michael Jackson to Fergie.  I must admit that I have not done the best job of collaborating with others.  This is partially because I often perceive collaboration as kissing someone’s ass.  It is also because I feel that unless I am 100% aligned to what other people are saying, I do not tend to support or collaborate with them.  I will make more of an effort to support others and find the commonalities in our principles. I will #FF and “Like” other people’s projects.

#3 – Vince Neil “I will be aware of negative self-talk and stop punishing myself”

How often do you find yourself punishing yourself via negative self talk?  Seriously, how much time have you wasted in your life punishing yourself by putting yourself down?!?!  Unfortunately I still do this often and much of this stems from my addiction to appearance (which is a whole other post).  Look what happened to Vince Neil! He’s a plastic surgery victim….his addiction to appearance has moulded him into a geriatric Ken doll.  I will make a conscious effort to become aware of my negative self-talk.  When negative thoughts pop into my head I will stop myself and question them.  I will use affirmations to love my imperfections and release myself from my own criticism.

#4 – Bon Jovi “I will make this career last”

“Who-ooohhh, we’re half way there….Whoaaa-aaaaahhh, livin on a prayer!!!”  I am 8 months away from being a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and this is both very exciting and terrifying.  Exciting because this is my passion and what I am meant to do in life.  Terrifying because at some point I am going to have to cut ties with my cushy corporate gig and take the leap to commit to this career full-time.  Like Bon Jovi, I am seeking longevity through this career change…not a one hit wonder.  I will let go of the fear that I have and get comfortable with the risk.  I am confident that this is my destiny and by gosh I will make it happen!  Lastly, “I will hold on because ready or not, I live for the fight when that’s all that I’ve got.”

What are your mantras for 2012?



Tunnels beach...where I will be in 10 days

I can’t believe it has been over a month since my last post….This is definitely the longest that I’ve been ‘dark.’  I had to take some time away from blogging to focus on getting down to business, school and more business.  I’ve been sooooo busy lately and I needed some time offline to focus on other priorities and bring my stress level down a notch or two….. between work, school, Haute Life, other training (BioSig, OPT etc), getting jacked at the gym, being a good wife, cooking all my meals and mothering 2 dogs, I had no life.  My stress level was riding at a 15 out of 10 and something had to give.   The blog had to fall to the wayside for a bit.

I’m going to do a couple of posts and then I’m going off the grid again.  I’m taking a 2.5 week vacation….heading to LA for the Ancestral Health Symposium and then I’m off to Kauai for 2 weeks.  I’ve decided that FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2 YEARS I am NOT going read anything nutrition related.  Normally, I plough through 3-4 nutrition books when I’m on vacation (because nothing says vacation like learning about the science of metabolism and obesity while basking in the sun).   But this time is different and I am giving my brain an all-inclusive pass to chill out and lose a few brain cells reading chick lit and US Weekly.   I must note that I have not read a fiction book in 2 years and that is just crazy.  My brain needs a vacation.

Here is what I’ve been up to and what I have got in the works:

1)   YAY ME: As of tonight I’m FINALLY done my first year of school…1/2 way through now!!!!  Only one more year to go before I’m officially a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.

2)   BEING HAUTE: I (Haute Life) have office hours at Crossfit Quantum now so I’m doing nutritional consultations much more often.  This obviously leaves less time for blogging, but I am doing what I love and things are starting to pick up, so all is good.

3)   MORE HAUTE: I’ve got some more stuff lined up for the Fall, but I don’t want to jinx it by announcing it to the world yet.  Stay tuned.

4)   GEEKING OUT: I’m building a website for Haute Life and will eventually be shutting down this site and starting a new blog over at Haute Life.  My goal was to have this completed by the end of July (um….tomorrow?), but that’s getting delayed a bit.  I will always be CPG and I can assure you that my voice will not change….I will just be under a new URL – and I can finally ditch that stupid “.wordpress” thing that I could never seem to get rid of without shutting down my entire site.

THAT IS IT…for now.  There is so much more I want to do, but I have to take it day by day and manage within reason.   Hopefully I will be able to execute all of my crazy ideas at some point in time.  I’ll take a cue from Axl and try to have a little Patience.

I’m interrupting my normal blogging for a public service announcement: Tanning beds are bad.  Don’t use them.  Get your moles checked out and don’t postpone the appointment.

I wish Jersey Shore had been around 10-15 years ago to make me realize tanning is trashy and gauche.  Instead, I thought tanning was awesome when I was a teenager and in my early 20’s….it was really cool to look like you’d been to Mexico even though it was the dead of winter in Toronto.  I used to go to this place called Extreme Tan in Burlington….their slogan was “Extreme Tan, Extreme Service.”  It should be “Extreme Tan, Extreme Risk of Melanoma and Permanent Scarring.”  (BTW, their service was brutal).  I’m really fair-skinned and I can recall getting badly burned several times after hitting the tanning beds – even when I was being really careful and not going in for very long.  I remember getting a burn so bad on my thighs that it was super painful to put on my pants.  I was also a lifeguard outside in the summer and had my fair share of burns.  And I’m a sun worshipper, so whenever I’m on vacation I’m baking for hours in the sun.  But the worst of my burns were from the tanning beds.  If I stayed in 30 seconds longer than I should have, it was lobster city for me.  I always laughed it off because it meant that it was turn into a dark glow in a couple of days.  I quit the tanning beds several years ago when I started to notice the leather-faces on the women who were getting their orange on.  Not hot.  Alas, the damage was already done…

A few weeks ago I had to have a mole removed because it was Severely Dyplastic – this means that it was NOT melanoma, but it looked similar to early stage Melanoma with a higher risk of turning into Melanoma.  It also meant that I had to have a chunk of my skin removed by a plastic surgeon around the area where the mole existed, leaving this really sexy scar on the back of my leg.

So what?  The point is that I had no idea that I had any troublesome moles.  After all, I’ve been eating Paleo and doing Crossfit for years so I’m invincible to disease, right? Wrong.  Here is how the story went down….

I had gone to my family doctor to get a referral to a dermatologist to get a mole on my chest checked out – My parents had urged me to get it examined.  I kept pushing back, telling them that the mole was fine and it had not changed since I was 2 years old.  My dad kept sending me emails titled “Mole Patrol” and my mom kept telling me horror stories of people who had to have chunks of their face removed from Melanoma.  FINALLY (after months of pressure), I made the appointment.  The dermatologist looked at my ‘mole of question’ and said, “That mole is fine….nothing to worry about there.”  I KNEW IT!  HA!  Why am I even here?  She then proceeded to scan the rest of my body and when she reached my thigh she said, “oh, I don’t like the looks of this one….I don’t like this one at all….we’ve got to remove this immediately….I’m not letting you leave here until this is taken out.”  It was a SMALL dark mole on the upper back portion of my thigh.  A place I don’t normally look at because that would just be weird.  Fast forward 2 weeks later and she called me back to see her for the results.  She told me that I was lucky and it was only Severely Dysplastic – explaining that this is the stage right before Melanoma.  She also told me that she had 10 other 30-ish female patients in the past few months who used tanning beds when they were younger who had Melanoma in the same spot as me.  She told me to stay out of the sun for good.  No more tanning.  Sad face.

Lessons Learned…

#1: If I could go back in time and talk to my 16-year-old self (great video), I’d show her pictures of Snooki and tell her that tanning won’t be cool in 10 years.  I’d show her the scar on the back of my leg and tell her that shorts will never look as hot on her legs as they used to.

#2: I had no idea what ‘bad’ moles look like.  The one on my leg was totally unassuming to the laymen – it wasn’t big or weird.  It was just really dark, asymmetrical and 2-tone.   My doctor NEVER said anything about this mole either….only the dermatologist noticed it was ‘questionable.’  Get mole smart and get yourself checked out….there is no harm in getting a scan from a dermatologist.

#3: Don’t postpone the appointment.   Things can turn from bad to worse quickly.

#4:  Vitamin D is amazing, but getting sun burnt is not.  Be sun smart.  It is actually OK to be outside without sunscreen as long as you don’t burn.  Build up your tolerance gradually by exposing yourself to the sun for 5-10 minutes and then cover yourself up.  Everyone’s tolerance is different.  For me, I’ll be wearing the SPF 50 from now on and staying under my umbrella-ella-eh-eh-eh.

I’m sure many people already know all of this stuff and this post might seem really obvious.  But if I can help a few more people by keeping them out of the tanning beds and getting their moles checked out, then it’s worth it.

Do you have a mole story to share?

Apparently it’s Star Wars day (because it’s May 4th…. “May the 4th be with you”)…I know, lame.  BUT, I had this post floating in my head for the past couple of weeks and as soon as I found out today was Star Wars day, I knew it was time to post it.  This is dedicated to everyone who lets that number on the Oly bar (or on the scale!) distract them from reaching their goals and aiming for bigger and heavier things in life.  I’m a numbers nerd and I tend to obsess over numbers…whether it’s the 0.5lb increments that I add or take off my shoulder press…the 0.8 lbs that I gain between breakfast and lunch…or the 6 cashews that I eat as a snack because I still look at nuts in Zone blocks (damn you Barry Sears).  I’ve had to try really hard to break some of these habits – mainly the obsession with the scale.  I can count on one hand how many times I’ve weighed myself in the past 6 months and that is something I’m really proud of.   I’ve still got work to do in the nut department, where I feel the only option might be hire Arnold Schwarzenegger to erase the memories of my Zone days (“You have been erased”  …classic 90’s movie).  The one thing that I never thought to escape is obsessing over the weight that I put on the bar when I’m lifting.  This was something that I loved to see…it allowed me to understand if I was going up or down vs my previous lifts.  I have learned (after 4 years of lifting) that I was all wrong.  Let me explain…

3 weeks ago I was at the OPT CCP Nutrition and Life Coaching Certs in Chicago (highly recommend).  During our lunch hour we had access to Windy City CrossFit which is one of the coolest gyms I’ve ever seen….huge beautiful space with a full kitchen and so much room to play and lift.  I decided to work on my press and do 6 x 3.  I started at a low weight (45lb bar + 2 x 5lbs = 55lbs) and it felt SO HEAVY.  I felt weak.  I added #2.5 more lbs to each side (=#60) and I couldn’t get the bar to budge.  Rather than having a temper tantrum like I used to when my mom would make me wear braid + bow + bun as a child, I talked myself into thinking that this was due to the travel and lack of sleep due to the super long days that we’d been keeping.  I decided not to get upset (because I’d just had my first Crossfit meltdown after WOD 11.4 the previous week because the OHS killed me….no worries if that last sentence didn’t make sense to you as it’s not relevant). I decided to stay at #55 for 5 of my sets.  For the last set, I added #2 to each side (a whopping #59…sarcasm) and I got it up.  I then walked over to do some chin-ups and Peter asked me how I was doing:

Peter “How was your lift?”
Me “Horrible….I can’t lift anything…Whatever, I don’t care (I really do care)…it’s probably because of the lack of sleep.”
Peter “What did you get to?”
Me “59, but I should be doing at least 65….whatever, I don’t care (I still really do care)”
Peter “You know that’s in Kg’s right?”
Me “SHUT UP. You lie.”
Peter “Ya, it’s in Kg’s.”
Me “Seriously??  Really?? I was just about to have another meltdown….wait! How many Pounds are in a Kg?”
Peter “2.2”
Me “Is there a calculator around here?”  I found one….
Me “OMG, I just hit a new 3 rep max! I just did 3 at 75lbs!”  (45lb bar + 14kgs = 59 lbs in my head, but in reality that’s ~75lbs)
High fives all around and I hit the chin-ups like it was nobody’s business.  I had just Jedi Mind Tricked that bar! BAM.

This experience made me realize that I get stuck on numbers rather than focusing on the awareness of how I feel.  How many times have you said, “I can’t lift that, it’s too heavy.”  MANY many times in my recollection.  My experience with the Kg’s (which is ironic because aren’t we supposed to use Kg’s in Canada?) has made me realize that many of my failures at the gym are more a function of my mental state vs my lack of strength.  I seldom go by how I feel, rather I get stuck on the #’s and it creates a numerical bottleneck which prevents me from going further.   Yes, I just said numerical bottleneck.  By removing the numbers from my mind or pretending that it’s a smaller number via the Jedi Mind Trick, I was able to rely purely on how it felt and push past a previous barrier.

This also applies to the other number obsessions that I’ve had.  Why 6 cashews?? Why not 7 or 5? Why don’t I go by how I feel as opposed to the number?  Or the scale…what does it matter if my weight jumped 5 lbs over the weekend? Why don’t I think about how I feel instead or whether my pants fit?  How many times have I beaten myself up over a number?!?! GAaaahhh!!!  It’s enough to make one go crazy.  The lack of awareness to how I’m feeling is something that has been creating unhealthy patterns and behaviours.  Fortunately, breaking this cycle is something that is possible, but must be done consciously and in baby steps.  Luke Skywalker didn’t become a Jedi overnight.  It takes practise and most importantly awareness of how you feel.  Stop and pay attention to what you notice about yourself – do you feel hungry? Are you happy with how you look today?  Does it feel like you can lift more?  Figure out how you really feel and then address the situation accordingly.  You may need to shift your mindset or trick yourself in order to break past your own internal barriers (see below)….it depends on the situation.  I have overcome the scale, but this took a long time and I still need to stop myself from stepping on it.  I am working on overcoming the #’s on the bar with success to date.  My next phase will be to de-zone my nut consumption….this one will be trickier and I’m really going to have to channel my inner Yoda.  NO MORE BLOCKS! Happiness does not exist inside of an equation.

Jedi Mind Trick in action:  I was excited to try my Jedi Mind Trick on WOD 11.5….with the 100lb cleans.  This was an extremely heavy weight for me (my 1 rep max was 95 before I was able to somehow get 110 up during 11.3) so rather than thinking about the #, I pretended it was 75 pounds.  I kept saying to myself, “just approach it like it’s 75 pounds…it’s only 75 pounds…” over and over in my head.    I was able to get through 6 rounds of the bastard which was WAAAAY more than I had anticipated.  JEDI MIND TRICK baby!!!

It has been YEARS since I had a Latte and I must admit that I miss them.  I was a “Grande Non-Fat Latte” or “Double Tall Non-Fat Caramel Macchiato” kind of girl for years before I said goodbye to dairy (…and coincidentally my ‘paunch’ disappeared at the same time) and switched to black Americano’s and coffee (and more recently, decaf).  So when I heard that my friend Freya Ravensburgen and her beau Clinton Pontes were opening The Primal Grind – the FIRST (EVER, I think) paleo/primal cafe – inside of the Academy of Lions, I knew I had to check it out to fulfill my Latte fantasy.

Located in downtown Toronto on Dundas St near Ossington, the name speaks for itself…staying true to its Primal roots –  No dairy, no grains, no sugar and no soy.  This is REAL food kids!  To the everyday Starbucks customer, it might seem like it is lacking everything of familiarity.  But to me, it offered a whole new level of indulgence.  Want a Latte or Chai Latte?  You can get one with Almond or Coconut Milk.  Want a muffin?  They’ve got that too!  The baked goods from Primal Indulgence are to die for…more on that in a second.

I asked Freya about what inspired her and Clinton to open The Primal Grind and she said it had always been their dream to open a cafe.  The idea came into fruition during a (blueberry picking) trip to Quebec last year and from that point forward the wheels were in motion to open The Primal Grind.  They use Intelligentsia’s Black Cat espresso blend on a slick Nuova Simonelli espresso machine – But rest assured, although the ‘inputs’ are the Christian Louboutin of the coffee world, The Primal Grind maintains the same hardcore yet warm (kind of like Eddie Vedder) attitude as Academy of Lions.

OK, enough chit-chat….I was ready for my Coconut Milk Latte…I had been dreaming about it all week.  Although I have significantly reduced my caffeine consumption since November, I knew I had to make an exception for this.  I have tried to mix coconut milk and coffee before, but it never turns out right.  The coconut milk always separates from the coffee and ends up being a lonesome glob floating in the coffee.  But with the coconut milk steamed, it mixed perfectly with the espresso….and looked like a real latte.  I topped mine off with some cinnamon and was good to go.  From the first sip I knew I was in love.  It is so rich and creamy and amazing and delicious and so SO perfect.  I brought along my 2 non-primal co-workers and they also tried out the Coconut and Almond milk latte’s. We savoured every sip and my non-primal co-workers were pleasantly surprised by how much they loved their drinks.  The Coconut Milk Latte is amazing and fills you up almost like a meal.  If you’re looking for something lighter, go with the Almond Milk Latte which is equally as delicious, but a bit lighter in your tummy.  The verdict: It surpassed my Latte fantasy and made me want to rollerblade around in a crop top and jean shorts like Mariah Carey (from the Fantasy video…get it??) while singing at the top of my lungs.

Coconut Latte! Cue Mariah!

Next we had to try the baked goods from Primal Indulgence – all made with REAL food…no grains, refined sugar, agave, processed crap or dairy.  Being a baked good fiend, I was stoked to taste test them all.  It’s not often that I have a legit excuse to sit and eat 4 different treats.  OK, I shared them with my 2 co-workers…I’m not that much of a pig….although I did hog/inhale most of the Choco Zucchini Spice Loaf.  Each treat was amazing and I was impressed…This is a big statement from me because I am a baked good aficionado.  The Banana Cacao Muffins contain ZERO flour (not even coconut flour) and are made with walnuts, banana, raw cocoa, honey and a couple other ingredients.  O…M…G… it was good! So moist and satisfying….If this Banana Cacao Muffin went head-to-head with a regular banana muffin on American Gladiator, this muffin would win hands down and that poor gluten-filled banana muffin would be jousted from the stage in seconds.  We also had the Apricot Nutballs which are a bit sweeter from the fruit and were the favourite for my co-workers.  Then we had the MACaroons which were coconut-y goodness rolled up in a cute little ball.  They were crunchy and light…and I could eat 4,000 in 1 sitting.  I saved the best for last…The Choco Zucchini Spice Loaf  which was my personal favourite…super moist and chocolaty with a little kick of spice. Hot DAMN… that squash makes a mean brownie base!  The verdict: I was so tempted to eat the entire display case…I can picture myself with crumbs and raw cacao all over my face running down Dundas St jacked up on espresso laughing hysterically and rolling in the street like cookie monster on crack.

As I write this I’m drooling for more of everything….but alas, I must wait until my next visit.

Clockwise from top: Apricot Nutball, Banana Cacao Muffin, MACaroon, Choco Zucchini Spice Loaf

All REAL ingredients…

Once I was able to take my mouth away from the Latte and treats, I had to ask whether they have had any customers come in from the street and ask for a Starbucks clone… “Non-Fat, no whip, extra hot SOY Latte.”  Freya told me that they have had people request ‘Starbucks’ fare.  Rather than making them feel like they’ve entered the twilight zone, she kindly tells them that they choose to use Coconut and Almond Milk instead and provides them with some information on WHY they choose to serve it up Primal style.  For the most part, it sounds like people are willing to ditch their “Venti  Mocha’s” in favour of trying something new which is pretty awesome.  I can speak from experience that once you taste the rich, creamy Coconut Latte you will be hooked for life.    And I think I’ve converted my non-primal co-workers too.

And it’s not just about the drinks and food….the experience ROCKS….literally.  The combination of enjoying a Coconut Milk Latte and some of the Primal Indulgence treats while watching a Crossfit class at Academy of Lions do deadlifts and handstand push-ups was my idea of heaven.  Of course the whole experience was elevated to another level with GnR’s Patience blasting in the background.  Take note Starbucks….I’d much rather sip on a Coconut Milk Latte to some sweet Axl than your Jack Johnson boo-hoo music any day.

Check out the Primal Grind here and here.  And if you’re in Toronto, what are you waiting for?  Go get your own Coconut Milk Latte!

See the difference!

Breathe Summer, breathe…..OK, I had to cool off a bit before I wrote this post on Oprah’s latest craze of encouraging people to go Vegan or Vegan-ish (that word is going to be so trendy now!!).  First, I have NOTHING against vegetarians or vegans.  In fact, a couple of my best friends are pro-veg and I can totally respect that.  Second, I don’t think it is a productive use of my time to rip apart other diet philosophies – quite frankly I could spend my entire life doing that with all the garbage that gets promoted and printed these days.  And I have to admit my initial thoughts after watching the episode were, “that vegan chick’s hair looked so dry and damaged….and she looked so frail she probably couldn’t lift 30 pounds over her head let alone use a shake weight for 30 seconds” and “i would like to slap her with my copy of the Vegetarian Myth wrapped in 2 pieces of naturally raised pork bacon from my farmer’s market.”  Alas, I need to take a more mature approach to this and share my thoughts in a way that will hopefully be enlightening to my readers.   I think it’s important to write about this because Oprah is God is many people’s worlds and I know all of her metabolically deranged servants are going to obey whatever she says….especially when it comes to nutrition…this is very scary. 

If you didn’t watch the episode, here is a run-down.  I was actually quite impressed with the first part of the episode and thought it was FANTASTIC that they showed the inside of a conventional slaughterhouse.  I truly believe that if you eat food, you better be able to stomach where it comes from.  The “know where your food comes from” message was loud and clear in the first part of the episode and I applaud that.  I was also happy to see Michael Pollan on the panel talking about traditional farms that promote more humane animal conditions, feeding animals what they are supposed to eat (grass-fed beef!) and buying locally.  If they had only spent more time on this critical aspect (and maybe shown Polyface farms), I think it could’ve been a decent episode.  Unfortunately things went pear-shaped (just like Oprah…booyah!!) when they brought in Kathy Freston (Veganist chick):

1.  Saturate fats are what make us sick – People continue to spew this statement as if it is the gospel saying, “studies continue to show….”  REALLY?  First off, every study I have seen on this lately is an epidemological study (thank you Matt Lalonde for teaching me the difference).  Epidemological means there was NO cause and effect shown, rather a simple correlation…..similar to saying,  incidences of ice cream consumption go up in the summertime and people who eat ice cream are obese…. therefore the summer season is linked to obesity.  It’s very narrowly focused and does not prove any cause and effect.  Saturated fat is a much more complicated matter and is not the demon that people make it out to be.  We need saturated fats to thrive and this has been proven TIME and TIME and TIME (for visual people) again.  And one more TIME (in case you want data!).   Again, they missed the boat on talking about the fat profiles in naturally raised meats vs conventional.

2.  Where is the REAL food??  In the words of my friend Amanda who also saw the episode, “Tofurkey, faux chik’n cutlets sauteed in some margarine with a side of tater tots, maybe dipped in vegenaise.”  Yup, that’s what Kathy put into a woman’s cart to show her that you could still eat meat-ish foods that are made from faux ingredients.  IF YOU THINK THAT FOOD WHICH COMES IN A PACKAGE IS BETTER THAN A WHOLE NATURAL FOOD, you are smoking something funny….or you’ve had too much Tofurkey and that Soy has seriously messed up your brain or you are too distracted by your man boobs (I realize this is not a proven fact, but funny none the less) from that Soy milk to even notice.  I have no idea why Michael Pollan did not go mental on her when he saw this.  Just for fun, let’s look at the ingredients in Tofurkey:  Water, vital wheat gluten (????), organic tofu (water, organic soybeans, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride), expeller pressed non-hexane extracted isolated soy protein, expeller pressed canola oil, spices, sea salt, ontion powder, evaporated cane juice, pepper, natural vegetarian flavours, natural smoke flavour, granulated garlic, xanthum gum, konjac flour, carrageenan.   Tell me how an egg from a happy chicken is not a better choice? 

3.  Simple economics: supply and demand – Rather than completely boycott the meat industry, why don’t we start demanding traditionally raised meats and boycott the conventional stuff??  During the show Kathy said that not everyone has access to these kinds of meat, hence it is best to blacklist them.   While I agree that people who are just scraping by on minimum wage will likely have trouble affording quality meats (they will also likely have trouble affording TOFURKEY!), I think there are a vast majority of people who can afford it and can gain access to it.  With resources like eatwild.com and farmer’s markets popping up everywhere, there is no reason why people cannot seek out grass-fed beef and naturally raised animal products.  If we demand it, more farms will start producing it.  This would have been a great opportunity to promote and educate people on this stuff and encourage them to ban factory farmed meat….but instead we just made the masses afraid of meat.

4. Let’s all hold hands and cheer, “Everyone can do this!!!”  NOT TRUE!  I have read countless stories about very sick vegans and vegetarians who are forced to re-evaluate their choices and go back to omnivorism (where they end up thriving).  Sure people might feel better and lose weight in the initial stage because they are likely cutting out McDonalds and other processed crap.  But over time, I have seen people come to the realization that they feel sick.  I imagine it would be a difficult thing to grasp that your ethical choices might be making you sick.  Sure, MANY people DO thrive on Vegan and Vegetarian diets and I think that’s good for them.  But to say that it is for everyone is a blatant lie.  Read some of these stories here and here and of course Robb Wolf’s story in his book. 

There are 2 sides to every story and the point here is that YOU need to think for yourself and do your own research.  Just because Oprah said it, does not make it a good idea.   Remember Oprah’s book club fiasco when that dude who wrote the book about his meth addiction turned out to be a fake?!?!  Maybe in a few months we’ll see Kathy taking the brunt of Oprah’s rage when she starts to actually check her facts.

so dreamy...in that 1992 kind of way

Screw resolutions….I’m proposing a better mantra for 2011: “What would Zack Morris do?”  For the past few days (of my holiday), I have been spending my mornings watching 3 back-to-back episodes of my favourite show as a tween, Saved by the Bell.  As I thought about writing a post on resolutions, it became clear that resolutions are just annual ‘good intentions.’  I hate intentions.  Intentions don’t get you anywhere… Actions do.  Zack Morris is to be admired because this kid got things done.  If he wanted the teachers to go on strike so he could go skiing, he did it.  When Kelly agreed to go to the dance with some dude named Matt, Zack schemed and won her back.  He was seemingly able to accomplish everything he wanted in life during the span of a half-hour.  You must give him credit (and that giant ‘cellular’ phone he had).

Your intentions are only as good as the actions you put behind them.  Don’t just dream of getting something done.  Go and do it.  It is going to require some risk taking and it might be uncomfortable, but never let these things stop you from achieving your dreams.  You will make mistakes and you might fail along the way, but this is all part of the process.  Get back up and keep going.  Do not fear failure or rejection because otherwise you will never get anywhere.  Facing fear and rejection is all part of the process.  Do you think Zack Morris let small mishaps get in the way of his goals?  Hell no he didn’t!  He never let Mr. Belding stand in the way of getting what he wanted.

Everyday you should be setting small milestones which will enable you to go after your goals.  Whether it is to quit your 9-5 and follow your dreams, lose your muffin top or add 50 pounds to your deadlift, you should be taking small steps everyday to get there.  Don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of work required to reach your goal….take it in baby steps.  Make a small to-do list everyday and cross off each task when you complete it.  I have been doing this for the past couple of months and it is very rewarding to put a check mark beside something that is getting you to closer to your dream.  Don’t get stuck on the treadmill of life and end up at the end of next year setting the same old resolutions.  Intentions will not get you anywhere.  And when in doubt, just ask yourself, “What would Zack Morris do?”

Wishing you all happiness, health and heavy back squats in 2011!

I want to get my Haute clients a small gift for the holidays…I am so proud of their dedication through the holiday season thus far…managing the extra stress, exposure to numerous bake sales and attending parties without straying from their plans.  If any of my clients are reading this, I suppose I am ruining your surprise.  sorry!  Anyways, I was driving in my car today thinking about various gift ideas and my mind became flooded with various CPG-ish gifts that would go on MY wish list.  Balanced Bites did a great post on holiday gift ideas for Paleo enthusiasts….I ‘second’ many of her suggestions (especially the dehydrator!), so will not repeat them.  Here are my recommendations:

For Haute chicks

  1. From 70’s big – “I ‘heart’ guys that are 70’d big” tee.  Need I say more?  This is amazing.  Let’s promote our love of gorilla-juice head biceps without promoting the guido side of it.  And it’s a v-neck making it extra cute.
  2. From Whole9 – “I should be in the kitchen” tank.  I would prefer if this said, “I should be barefoot in the kitchen,” but I like it nonetheless.  Women do belong in the kitchen…..cracking the whip while their man makes them bacon and eggs.
  3. ANYTHING FROM LULULEMON.  I repeat ANYTHING FROM LULULEMON.  Boys, you cannot go wrong here….make any woman happy with some lulu’s.
  4. Pendlay Barbell kicks – aka  Weight lifting shoes with pink stripes.  Nothing says sexy like a chick lifting some big weights whilst rocking pink.
  5. Ex-Boyfriend Knife Set – great gift for single girls or generally cool people.  If you bring a guy home and he sees this on your counter, he will know that you don’t take crap from men.  This is good.

Gifts for your Fully Primal Husband or Cool Chicks

  1. Steak, by Mark Schatzker – Fully Primal Husband loved this book and now knows everything there is to know about steak and cattle farming.  This made our trip to an Argentinian Steak House in NYC much more interesting.
  2. Butchering Classes – Let your man learn how to butcher an animal like a butcher.  I recommend these from The Healthy Butcher – Last year, we took the chicken butchery class and it was awesome.  You learn every possible way to cut up a chicken and everything about the farming.  For people who are not keen on seeing a whole animal get cut apart, I would recommend the sausage making class…I really want to go to this one so that I can re-create the scene in Seinfeld where Kramer is making sausages.
  3. Meat – Order your man some grass-fed beef, like from Beretta Farms – they flash freeze the meat to maintain all the nutrients and they have the BEST 100% grass-fed Filet Mignon I have ever had in my life.
  4. Custom Kicks – Design a pair of custom Chuck Taylors.  This one might be too late for this season, but you could always give it as a belated gift.    
  5. Breaking Bad Seasons 1 & 2 – I know a TV show is a bit random in this post, but this is one of the best series I have ever watched….if you like dark, violent and twisted shows.  Yes, I do.  FPH and I blazed through seasons 1 & 2 over the course of a couple weeks.  Everyone needs a rest day and this is a great way to spend it.

Stocking Stuffers

1.  Nutrasea Fish Oil – When I attended the Element Crossfit Challenge back in June I became really excited when I saw that one of the prizes was fish oil.  This stuff is not cheap, but it is a necessity that I will not go without (like getting my hair ‘blondified’ every 6 weeks).  I would be thrilled if this showed up in my stocking!

2.  Avocado Slicer – This is not something you would think to buy for yourself, but comes in handy if you are like me and consume numerous avocado’s every week. Check your local kitchen store.

3.  Aquaovo Thermo– My new favourite portable tea/coffee container that I bought at David’s Tea.  It is glass, so free of any chemicals.  It keeps things really hot or cold and has a filter so you can add tea leaves straight into the thermos without a bag.

4.  Kicking Horse Coffee – my favourite coffee beans.  Kicking Horse coffee is the best.  I was thrilled to learn that their decaf blend (which I am on now) is not chemically treated like most decaf beans.  They use a Mountain Water Process to remove the caffeine.  The Kick Ass dark is our favourite blend.

5.  Galerie Au Chocolate dark chocolate.  Some of the best dark chocolate I have had.  The Espresso Dark bar is delicious.  Everyone deserves a treat and it needs to be a good one.  This fits the bill.   Yum.

That’s all for this post! Happy shopping!!

Let’s pop some champagne because it has been 1 year since I launched this site!  WOOO!!!  Here is a link to my first post on avoiding the dreaded holiday muffin top – timely and relevant once again.  Because I am a numbers geek, I must post the various stats….Here is the rundown on CPG to date:

– 100 posts
– 61 recipes
– 50 Fully Primal Husband testimonials
– 5 features in Link Love
– 1 link to Robb Wolf
– 1 link to Whole9 STM
– 1 anti-paleo comment – I was so excited about this!
– 139,425 total views
–  14 Oprah references
– 2 attempts at making the link between nutrition and Guns n Roses
– Infinite love and support from Crossfit Quantum

I’d say it has been a pretty amazing year and I’m excited to see where I will be in another 12 months.  There are going to be some changes happening as I migrate over to a Haute Life site, but I can guarantee you that CPG is here to stay (along with Fully Primal Husband) and I will never lose my voice.  I promise the same, if not more Oprah references next year.  After all, I need to get it out of my system before the Farewell Season ends!

Why the picture?  When I first started this site I was working for a company where I did not want people to know I had a nutrition gig on the side.  This is why I chose the caricature avatar, never used my full name or my own picture on the site.   Ironically, the caricature was drawn at my company Christmas party last year.  I changed jobs a few months ago and my new employer is well aware of my nutrition side gig and this blog.  He supports my side venture and allows me the flexibility to manage school, Haute Life and my corporate job.  I figure it is time that I change this avatar and start presenting myself for who I really am (on a superficial level)….a slightly hipster blond with a fondness for designer labels, a touch of self-tanner and eye makeup.  This picture pretty much sums it all up and encompasses the essence of CPG.

THANK YOU to all my reader’s and fellow Paleo/Primal bloggers who link me to their sites.  I toast to all of you and thank you for making 2010 so awesome!  Cheers!

PS: Really good turkey-blueberry breakfast patty recipe coming soon.

 If you’re in Toronto, check out the Grapple Girls Open today!  Some of my (favourite) delicious treats will be making their mainstream debut in conjunction with food from Essential Meal Delivery. It’s $10 admission and profits go towards the Healthy Food Bank!  

I’m in San Diego for the week, so stay tuned for some California-esque blog posts.

Until then, stay classy San Diego.

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