Wednesday, 19 December 2012


With the holidays upon us, I've noticed a lot of my favourite (lifestyle) bloggers* publishing their annual gift guides for him, her, and whoever else. Whether you're short on ideas for what to get that guy who has everything or you're just the worst at coming up with gift ideas period (like me), these gift guides are not only a great source for what to get that special someone, but a fantastic way for bloggers to showcase new and upcoming products.

That said, instead of come up with a list of my favourite gift ideas, I wanted to do something a little different. Like I said, I'm not the best gift-giver. Just ask R. I tend to get things that people need and not the things that they want (it's a bad habit, really).

In addition to holiday gift guides popping up in magazines and on websites, it's also that time of year when we start to list the bests of the past 12 months, whether they're songs and celebrity gossip or trips and Twitter trends.

I wanted to share with you some of my bests for 2012.

Let's face it. Amidst the chaos that is the holidays, we could all use a little more (self) loving. Invest some time and care, and treat yourself this holiday season with some of – or all of – my 2012 bests of health & wellness products:

1. Bamboo Bristle Brush, $3-4
For a healthy glow all year long, there's nothing more that you need than a good ol' brush! It's only within the past year that I've become a fanatic about moisturizing and preserving the youth of my skin. However, one trick that I've been using all year and now swear by is dry brushing (with a brush, just like the one linked above). And let me tell you, it makes the world of difference. When I used to only moisturize, I found that most lotions would either sit on the surface of my skin or that I would need more than an adequate amount of moisturizer in order to experience even minimal results. After dry brushing for almost a year now, I find that (1) I need less moisturizer and/or to moisturize less often, and (2) the overall feel and appearance of my skin is softer, fresher, and healthier. For maintenance, I dry brush three times a week. Not convinced? Read more about the benefits of dry brushing here.

2. GT's Synergy Kombucha, about $4 per bottle
I've known about kombucha for a while now, but only tried it for the first time this past summer. And, oh my gee. I love this stuff. Not necessarily for its somewhat unusual taste, nor its price tag...but for how good it makes me feel! Now, I realize that GT is a brand of pre-bottled kombucha (you can also make your own at home), so I'm not so much as recommending this brand as I am kombucha, in general. The whole kombucha tradition has some history behind it, and there's a science to why it's good for us...but simply put, it's known to be a natural detoxifier of sorts. If you've never tried the stuff, I highly suggest doing so. While I was hesitant at first (it's fermented what?), I now long for this super drink. It is a bit on the pricey side (for me, at least) to consume regularly, but I swear that once you try it, there's no going back again, not because of how it tastes, but because of how it makes you glow from the inside out.

3. J.R. Watkin's Natural Apothecary Lavendar Hand Cream, $9
This is a find from later this year, as in the past couple of months. As I mentioend before, only recently have I become obsessed adamant about moisturizing. I now despise dry skin. While I've always been fairly satisfied with the body lotions that I've used (St. Ive's, Aveeno), I've never really been happy with hand creams that I've tried. They always turn out greasy or oily, or aren't long-lasting. This formula by J.R. Watkin's is awesome. You need very little for soft and supple hands. It's not greasy or sticky, and comes in a variety of scents. My favourite is lavendar! PS. I know I said this wasn't a gift guide, but what a great stocking stuffer this would make!

4. Nutiva Coconut Oil, $12
You may already be familiar with my love for coconut oil and/or what seems to be an infinite number of uses for this yummy stuff. Within the past year, I've enjoyed coconut oil in place of butter or other oils in recipes and as an overall body moisturiser. More recently, though, I've come to love coconut oil as a hair treatment. Once a week, I like to deep condition my hair by combing a small amount of coconut oil through it. I will then pin my hair up and rest for 15 minutes or so, at which point I will shower and shampoo my hair. Since starting this regime, my hair is shinier and softer.

5. Pukka Teas, $4-5
Delicious, soothing teas and pretty packaging? These teas might as well be lipstick for the make-up lover. I won't lie. What first drew me to the Pukka Teas brand is the cute, patterned packaging that popped out amidst tens of other brands of teas. But, what has kept me coming back for more are the brand's delicious blends. My favourites are Three Ginger, Relax, Revitalise, and Cleanse.

What are your favourite health and wellness finds for 2012?

*See sidebar for my some of my favourite links!

images via poppy's naturally clean, max wellness, happy healthy belly, and pukka herbs

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Monday, 17 December 2012


Whether you're traveling this holiday season and leaving your usual exercise regime behind, or you've worked so hard at the gym in the past few months that you don't want to fall off the bandwagon in between bites of chocolate truffles and eggnog turkey and stuffing...or you're just looking for some new moves to help get you beach-ready for your annual winter vacation, I wanted to share some of my favourite lower body exercises to keep you in top shape this season. These moves are great for taking on the road, or for anytime you may find yourself without a workout class or fitness equipment.

As you may know, I'm a forever-fan of squats and lunges, but keep in mind that there are a number of different variations for both of these exercises (not to mention tons of other lower body moves that are probably as equally effective). Whether you're working towards strengthening your leg and glute muscles or just looking for a little extra toning, here are eight moves that I highly recommend:

Side Lying Leg Raises

Sliding Side Lunges

Try This: Depending on the exercise, you can also pick up your pace to increase your workout intensity (for example, jump squats and sliding side lunges). 

Without the use of weights/resistance, I recommend completing enough repetitions of the given exercise/s to the point at which you exhaust the muscle.

If you do have access to dumbbells, add weight to any of these exercises to make it more challenging!

For more, check out my Lower Body Blast 500 workout.

image via google

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Monday, 3 December 2012


Hi, everyone! First, I wanted to mention that I wrote a guest post for my friend and instructor, A's, blog the other day. The post is called Paleo Confessions and it's about my experience during the Whole30 (and now, my transition to Paleo), and any challenges that I've encountered. My goal with writing the post was to reveal some truths about my own struggles with diet – many of which my own friends and family have a difficult time believing.

Aside from that, I just wanted to share one of my favourite finds as of late. On my former blog, I used to have a weekly series called WE LOVE. Some weeks, I'd list off an array of favourites that would include anything from home decorating to fashion trends. Other times, a unifying theme. Or, I'd even showcase a favourite celebrity (a chef was ideal). 

In keeping with the WE LOVE series, I wanted to share with you a fabulous website that I came across thanks to blogger and YouTuber, Cadie. The site is called Vitacost, and it's an amazing on-line shopping resource for all your healthy living needs – everything from vitamins and supplements to beauty and home products (and at fabulous prices!).

Now, I haven't actually purchased anything from the website yet, so perhaps I shouldn't be hyping it up so much – but I couldn't resist! There are a few products that I have been meaning to try and have either not been able to easily find here in Toronto, or have found them but not been able to convince myself to fork over the extra dough to pay for them. Vitacost sells a  lot of recognizable brands and for great prices. 

I'm about to place an order, so I'll let you know what I truly think about Vitacost when that product arrives on my doorstep. But for now, check it out for yourself!

Do you know of any other great on-line resources to purchase health and wellness products?

image via cupcakes omg

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Some people don't like coconut.

I'm not one of those people.

I've always been a fan of dried coconut (as a kid, covered in chocolate and called Bounty and as an adult, unsweetened and toasted). But within the past year or so, coconut has crossed my path in other forms. Take coconut oil, for instance. After learning about the potentially harmful effects of cooking with olive oil (and other vegetables oils, if you didn't already know), I made the switch to cooking predominantly with coconut oil.* Coconut oil is far less damaged by heat than olive oil and therefore seems to be the ideal choice for cooking.

Some other ways that I like to enjoy coconut oil is on toast instead of butter (try it with a bit of raw honey and cinnamon - you've got cinnamon toast!) or as a treat, tossed with air popped popcorn and a bit of sea salt. Consuming a teaspoon of coconut oil on its own is also known to help with digestion and immunity.

Hands down, coconut oil has become one of my favourite pantry staples.

That said, coconut oil also has many uses and health benefits outside of the kitchen. Although there are literally dozens of uses for coconut oil, my favourites are as an overall moisturiser, particularly for nails and cuticles.

Aside from coconut oil, I've also recently become a big fan of coconut milk. It's rich and delicious, and for that reason, I find a little goes a long way.

I've been meaning to share this recipe for a while now. It's one my good friend G adapted from Jamie Oliver, and it's kind of really delicious (and so easy!).

Coconut Curry Shrimp with Roasted Vegetables

1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. curry paste
1 shallot, minced
1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled
1/2 small butternut squash, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/2 green bell pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 can coconut milk
juice and zest of 2 limes

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread vegetables on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Once vegetables are cooked, prepare the rest of the dish.

2. In a large pan, heat coconut oil on medium-high heat. Add curry paste and mix with the oil until well combined. Add shallot and cook until fragrant.

2. Add shrimp and cook for about five minutes, just before they are completely cooked through.

3. Next, add vegetables, then coconut milk. Stir well.

4. Add lime juice and zest, and let simmer for a few minutes.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Try This: This recipe can easily be modified. Try using chicken in place of the shrimp, or a green curry instead of red. 

*Check here for my favourite coconut oil!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Thursday, 15 November 2012


Just a quick recipe post for you today. Easy, delicious, Paleo, and Zoey-approved, it's the perfect way to switch up the dinner menu this week:

Crispy Coconut Shrimp

1 lb. raw white shrimp
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 eggs
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
coconut oil
lime wedges

1. Line a dish with paper towel and set aside.

2. Grab three bowls. In the first bowl, mix together coconut flour and salt and pepper. In the second bowl, crack eggs and whisk. Finally, place shredded coconut in third bowl.

3. One at a time, take a shrimp and coat it first with the flour mixture, then the egg, and then the coconut. Set on a plate and continue with rest of shrimp.

4. Once all shrimp have been coated, fill the bottom of a large skillet with coconut oil (I used a couple of tablespoons, you just want to make sure there is enough oil coating the pan so that the shrimp lightly fry and don't stick to the pan or fall apart). Heat oil on medium-high, and once hot, fry shrimp until golden brown on each side - usually 1-2 minutes total cook time.

4. Transfer cooked shrimp to dish with paper towel from earlier. The paper towel will help to absorb excess oil. Wait until shrimp have cooled, top with a squeeze of lime juice, and enjoy!

Try This: You'll notice that this recipe for coconut shrimp does not contain any sugar. I prefer my shrimp like this - I find that coconut already has a sweet flavour on its own. If you would like to add something for that extra sweetness, though, my suggestion is to add a bit of raw honey to the whisked eggs. 

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


Do you ever feel like not leaving the house just because it's raining out? Yeah, okay, don't lie to yourself.

That's how I felt a couple of weeks ago. It was a super soggy day out, and the idea of gearing up and walking to Muay Thai wasn't sitting nice with me (it's only a half-hour walk, but I was having none of it). Usually, I'm more disciplined with getting out the door and off to my workout, especially if it's a scheduled class. But, when the weather gods rally together and decide it's time to make a little wind and a whole lot of rain, I sometimes often change my  mind about leaving the house to squeeze in a good workout. After all, why can't we just workout at home?

Whether it's because you don't like going to a gym or you can't afford a gym membership, there's no reason that you can't work out at home...for free, and without any equipment (like I show you in this workout). And even for people like me, who do have a gym membership and no exercise equipment at home, it's okay to want to work up a sweat without leaving home.

So, the next time the weather keeps you inside (or you decide that you'd rather put your gym membership fees towards saving up for a vacation), don't let it be an excuse not to get sweaty. You can still work out at home, just as I did when I created this mini workout inspired by conditioning I might have done at Muay Thai.

Muay Thai Conditioning I

Jump Rope 1 minute
Sit Ups with Punches x 30
Jump Rope 1 minute
Squat Kicks x 20
Jump Rope 1 minute
Sit Ups with Punches x 30
Jump Rope 1 minute
Squat Kicks x 20
Jump Rope 1 minute

then complete this circuit 4 times through:

50 Lying Leg Raises
50 Crunches
Super Burpees 1 minute

Try This: Instead of 1 minute of super burpees, hold a wall squat for 1 minute. 

images via bah humpug

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Friday, 9 November 2012


Ever since I eliminated processed sugar and grains from my diet, I have always chosen brown rice over white rice. For the same reasons that anyone else might choose brown rice over white rice, I have always assumed that brown rice was healthier because it contains valuable vitamins and minerals (found in the bran and germ of rice granules), which white rice does not. However, if you read my last post, you'll know that I recently faced some nutritional confusion when I was told that brown rice was not as healthy as I had initially thought.

Who told me? One of my fitness instructors and the writer of Sisyphus No More, A. If you haven't already checked out A's blog, I highly recommend it. He has some really good tips and advice about diet and fitness. But, not only that. I really appreciate A's approach to diet and fitness, because he emphasizes the importance of finding what works for you as an individual, a mantra to which I also adhere.

But, never mind that. What about this brown rice versus white rice dilemma? When it came to exposing the truths about these starchy grains, I couldn't not ask A to share his knowledge and opinion (after all, he was the one who brought it up in the first place).

So, here it is. My very first guest post, A from Sisyphus No More:

Before I write an article, regardless of how much I think I already know, I research the topic for a few days.
There is so much (too much) information out there – from studies, to experts, to doctors, etc. - that finding
the “right” information is often not as simple as one might think.

As with many health topics, the deeper you dig, the more you find. And more often than not, there is no Brown or White answer. There is only opinion.

**Before I continue, it should be stated that I am a Paleo diet advocate. Meaning, I avoid all grains. It should also be stated, however, that after a ridiculously hard workout, I will eat White Rice.**

As most of you know, White Rice is simply milled and polished Brown Rice (i.e. The Rice Bran, Germ, and
Aleurone Layer have all been removed), whereas Brown Rice contains both the milled seed (White Rice) and all the other supposedly “good” stuff.

Brown Rice impressively contains Fibre, Iron, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Thiamine, Niacin, Manganese, and

• Brown Rice contains anti-nutrients called Phytates. Phytates bind to vitamins and minerals and render
them “un-absorbable.” And as such, many of the above mentioned minerals in Brown Rice don't actually get
absorbed by your body.

• Brown Rice also contains Lectins. Lectins can cause autoimmune issues, block nutrient absorption, and
damage the intestinal lining (Leaky Gut). This is not that serious an issue as cooking will neutralize most of the
toxicity of Lectins. But it does beg the question, “Why should I have to neutralize the toxicity in my food before eating it?”

• Brown Rice is a starch (I won't get into this too much, but suffice it to say, a high starch diet is not ideal).

• None. It has very few nutrients or health benefits.

• White Rice is a starch.

Our bodies can recognize, understand, and process the starch in White Rice just as it would the starch in Vegetables (White Rice, however, contains considerably more starch than leafy greens).

In my everyday life, eating White Rice after a HARD workout, when my glycogen stores have been depleted and when I'm highly insulin sensitive, is a good thing. I can replenish glycogen, enjoy rice (which I absolutely love), and assuming I don't eat too much, still stay relatively Low Carb / Paleo.

The reasons I don't eat Brown Rice:
• Because of the Phytates, I'm not getting many of the minerals in it. I'd rather just eat White Rice and a plate of choice Vegetables.
• I'm not a fan of de-toxifying a potential “poison” in order to make it harmless and edible.
• I'm still getting the same amount of starch as I would with White Rice.

I don't look at Rice as a health food. Brown or White. I don't eat it for it's minerals, fibre, or health benefits.

For me, Rice is just starch, and I consume it as such - strategically throughout my week.

One last thing: it used to be (and probably still is) common belief that Phytates would bind to other minerals from other foods, making your entire meal less nutritious. But research has shown that Phytates - in Brown Rice, for example - only bind to the minerals found within the Brown Rice, and nothing else.


So, how disappointed are you now that these "truths" about brown rice have been exposed? Stay up to date with nutrition advice and information by doing your own research and finding what works for you!

images via pinterest and the way the cookie crumbles

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


I was out for dinner with friends recently, when the topic about what's "healthy" versus what's not (and how we're supposed to know these things) came up. It got me re-thinking about the nutritional confusion that so many of us face on a regular basis.

On a side note, I was having this discussion with friends from my gym, who are all more or less interested in eating a whole/clean/health-ier diet and who, therefore, would consider themselves fairly knowledgeable about diet and nutrition.

The thing is, even though some of us (yes, myself included) think that we know what's "healthiest," we're just as confused as the next guy about whether it's healthier to consume white or brown rice (truth: this was one of our debates last weekend, and even I'm surprised and confused about the outcome). When someone debunks our school of nutritional thought with contradicting opinions and information, who or what are we to believe? And wait, all this nutrition advice keeps changing?! This, my friends, is the sometimes frustrating reality of the world of health and nutrition: a constant flux in nutrition advice and information.

There is no perfect diet. Everyone needs to shape a diet specific to his or her needs. There is no right way. There is only the right way for you. Just like religion and politics, there are numerous perspectives and approaches to health and nutrition and it's up to you to find what works best for your own personal needs.

We're always going to be confused.

This is a statement that my friend G made the other day when we were talking about diet and nutrition, and I couldn't agree more. Keeping in mind what Gyorgy Scrinis says about nutritionism, and considering the fact that nutrition advice and information is constantly changing, I think G's conclusion is bang on (right now, gluten-free is all the rage, but for how long?). That said, if we're always going to be confused about nutrition, how can we each, as individuals, comply to a single diet even in our own lifetime?

We probably won't.

Think about it. What did you eat as a kid? How does that differ from what you eat today? It's likely that you will have to make some changes to your diet as you get older, too.

I get asked a lot about my "health and nutrition approach" (except people don't call it that, they just ask: "what the hell do you eat if you can't eat sugar?!"). A lot of the time, my answer includes a run down of some of the things I eat, but more importantly, I always make the point to say that like most people, I'm still learning.

Ever since first altering my diet in 2008, I have done back flips and somersaults trying to figure out what works for me and my body, nutritionally.  I eliminated processed foods, including grains and sugar. I tried to go without carbohydrates. I even tried the whole low-fat/low-sugar craze, which was probably one of the worst ideas I ever had. Four years later, my diet is still a work-in-progress. Even with a lot more knowledge under my belt (not to mention a clearer perspective on the world of health and nutrition), I'm still trying to determine what works best for me. That said, I do feel that I have a firmer grasp on my health in general and can therefore confidently say that I think I'm headed in the right direction.

I'm currently experimenting with a Paleolithic diet, which is something I've thought about trying in the past but  never took seriously until recently, when reading about the benefits of a hunter-gatherer diet (particularly for those suffering from an auto-immune disease) in Jack Challem's The Inflammation Syndrome (2010). After completing my Whole30 - which is essentially a Paleo diet - and feeling indescribably well, I can't think of any other nutrition approach to suit my needs. When following this diet, free from grains, sugar, dairy, alcohol, and legumes, I feel more well-rested in the morning, more energized throughout the day, satiated at meal time, and tummy troubles? What tummy troubles?

So, for me, this is  probably my best, most nutritionally-valuable and healthful choice. At least until something else ("something better") comes along.

And, that's all we can do. Find what works for us now - and get to the bottom of this whole white versus brown rice thing.

What have you been "nutritionally confused" about lately? What are you doing to navigate your way around contradicting nutritional advice and information?

image via google

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Monday, 5 November 2012


Just over a week ago, I set out to reintroduce the foods/food groups of which I completely eliminated 30 days prior. The only problem? I kind of, sort of, totally, completely disregarded any reintroduction schedule. 

I didn’t mean to, it just happened! 

Okay, I have no excuses. But, wait! It's not that I disregarded any reintroduction schedule. It's just that my idea of reintroducing grains, sugar, and dairy all at the same time may have been a bad one...whoops. 

So, long story short: I consumed a whole bunch of bad  sugar,  a bit of wheat (the worst), some dairy, and washed it down with a drink or two or three, and WHAMMY.

(it went a little something like this)

Days 1 & 2: Sugar & Grains
Because I've experienced symptoms from consuming sugar and/or grains in the past, I was already expecting to feel miserable during this part of the reintroduction phase. And, sure enough. After reintroducing sugar and grains, I felt like garbage. I felt sick. I felt tired. This most recent experience further validates the negative effects that these foods/food groups have on me and gives me more reason to avoid them as best I can.

So, that's what I'm doing. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), it took me a few days to completely eliminate sugar again. Even after just a couple of days of reintroducing sugar, my body was craving the horrid stuff, making it extra difficult to return to simpler days sans sugar. But, after a few days, I jumped back on the no-sugar train, and I already feel better.

What about wheat? My reintroduction to gluten was no wise choice, either. While it may have probably played a role in my increased fatigue, I am positive it was the leading culprit in my tummy troubles over the weekend. And so, like sugar, I've axed the nasty villain.

Days 3-5: Dairy, Non-Gluten Grains, & Legumes
As for dairy, non-gluten grains, and legumes? I may have to re-write my reintroduction schedule for all three. While I managed to reintroduce small amounts of all three food groups over the weekend, feeling ill the way that I was, this really doesn't do me much good in telling me what, if any, of these food groups are triggers to any or all of the symptoms I experienced. 

A part of me believes that the dairy I consumed (a variety of soft cheeses and some butter) may have contributed to my upset stomach.Hence why I've decided to rule out dairy for at least another ten days, and then reintroduce it properly and without companions.

For legumes, I consumed a very small amount of soy sauce. I don't even know if it's enough to say that I reintroduced it, but if we're confessing everything, I'm guilty.

Finally, it actually wasn't until the end of the weekend - when I was on a mission to help cure my tummy troubles - but I consumed brown rice pasta, and I actually believe that it helped make me feel better. Not better as in "I should eat a great big bowl of brown rice pasta everyday for optimum health and wellness!" but because my stomach was upset (from either the sugar, gluten, or dairy), I needed something that would help to neutralize whatever crummy business was going on in my gut. For the short term, I do believe the brown rice pasta helped (at least helped to make me feel better).


Now that I'm back to my Whole30 ways - at least until I can properly reintroduce dairy (and later, soy) - I'm already feeling more energized, and my belly more happy. 

But, will I continue on like this forever?

Since completing It Starts With Food, I have read Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet (2010) and The Inflammation Syndrome (2010) by Jack Challem, both of which outline diets for specific lifestyles. What I like about all three of these books and their authors (not to mention other writers/critics/foodies/health enthusiasts* within the field) is the approach they each take with their proposed diets. The Whole30, the Paleo Challenge, eating for a specific health's not just a diet. It's a lifestyle, and no lifestyle was mastered overnight. It takes time. In the same way that one must take baby steps towards completing the Whole30, he or she must also take baby steps towards completing a Whole60 or Whole90. And, gradually over time, they might make this “diet” a concrete and permanent part of their lifestyle.

Moving forward, it is my hope that with everything I've learned during the Whole30 about food and nutrition, my body, and my relationship with food, I can maintain a diet similar to that of the program itself. The Whole30 is essentially the Paleo Challenge, and so it is my goal to adhere to a Paleolithic diet. And, even though I'm already a part-time Paleo participant (say that five times fast), I know that it will take time for me to fully adapt to this diet. That's why I've also chosen to follow the 85-15 rule suggested by Loren Cordain*, which will allow me to enjoy the occasional cheat food without losing the diet's overall health benefits (this includes foods not typically a part of the Paleo diet).

My Paleolithic lifestyle starts here and now. Actually, it started yesterday when I made this for a super easy and delicious dinner.

Hopefully, unlike with my reintroduction phase, I'm a little more successful.

Have you ever considered a Paleolithic or Primal diet, or any other diet, for that matter? If so, was your experience positive or negative? I'd love to hear your stories.

*before the Whole30, the only dairy I consumed was cheese, yoghurt, and butter, but thinking back, my cheese consumption was usually an indulgence over the weekend and most every weekend, my digestion would feel wonky.

*Loren Cordain; Sarah Fragoso; Julie & Charles Mayfield

*it's typically very difficult to eat a pure Paleo diet 100% of the time. The 85-15 rule allows individuals to reap the same amazing health benefits by observing the Paleo diet 85% of the time. That said, Cordain suggests that for people with severe illnesses or autoimmune diseases (like me...) should try for 100 per cent compliance. It's going to take some time. 

images via sequined serpent and the parsley thief

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


During my Whole30, it was important that I maintained variety with my meals. It can get boring eating the same piece of meat with the same seasoning or marinade, prepared the same way, week to week.  

This recipe for shepherd's pie is not only a great option to varying the ways in which to enjoy meat and veggies (Whole30-compliant or not), but it's also a hearty dish that can be made ahead of time and frozen for a quick meal fix for later on. 

Rustic Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potatoes

2 sweet potatoes, washed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth 
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

olive oil
1/2 lb. lean ground pork
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth 
1 heaping tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried rosemary
salt and pepper
1 cup roasted eggplant, 1/2-inch pieces

1. Wash and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat a small amount of olive oil in a large frying pan. Saute onions over medium heat until tender. Add  pork and saute until cooked through. Add peas.

3. Add tomato paste, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Add broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for ten minutes. Finally, add the roasted eggplant. Heat through and remove from stove top.

4. Mash potatoes with broth, olive oil, and salt and pepper.

5. Place pork mixture in a 5" by 9" glass baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top.

6. Cook in a 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown, 30 to 40 minutes.

Makes 3-4 servings.

Try This: Maximize the flavour! For added dimension, include warming spices in your sweet potatoes, like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger. 

Stay tuned for my Whole30 reintroduction phase update!

image via bbc good food

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Today, I'm redirecting your attention to Sisyphus No More, a blog by one of my fitness instructors, A. He has a lot of really informative posts about diet and fitness (all based on his own experiences/trial-and-error). It's definitely worth checking out!

He recently wrote about metabolic conditioning - what it is and how it can benefit you - and, of course, included a workout.While you can find the workout with accompanying videos on his blog, I've also included it here for your convenience and under the WORKOUTS tab for future reference.

If you complete this circuit three times through, your entire workout could be anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes. Depending on how much time you have on any given day, you can alter the number of rounds you do. As for the dumbbells (and kettebell), I recommend using a weight that is challenging. In order to know what is challenging, follow Sisyphus No More's general rule for metabolic conditioning - keeping it tough. As he says, this workout is "supposed to push you way past your comfort zone. If you're not seriously out of breath and tired after one round of this workout, then your weights are too light or you're going too slow - or both." 

Perform each complex followed by 45 seconds rest, 1-3 times through
TOTAL: 15-20 minutes once through

Complex 1
Alternating Lunge Presses x 12
Lunge Curls x 12
Alternating Plank Extensions x 12
Double Lateral Jumps x 25
Complex 2
Lateral Squat Presses x 12
Snatches x 12
Leg Up Push Ups x 12
Power Jacks x 40
Complex 3
Super Burpees x 12
Around The World x 12
Tricep Lunges x 12
Single Arm Swings x 30
Complex 4
1/2 Man Maker Burpees x 12
Bent Over Rows x 12
Half Cleans x 12
Squat Jumps x 25
Complex 5
Super Burpees x 12
Clean & Press x 12
Stiff Legged Dead Lifts x 12
Mountain Climbers x 75
Complex 6
Pass Pass Pass Shoot x 12
Cleans x 12
Renegade Rows x 12
Kettle Swings x 30

Because of the intensity of metabolic conditioning, I don't usually do these types of workouts on my own - the primary reason being that I find it super difficult to motivate myself to actually push as hard as I can (if I'm not going as hard as I can, there's not much point). If you're the same, grab a buddy and get them involved, too. It's amazing how much working out in pairs or a team can help motivate you to work harder than you would on your own!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Monday, 22 October 2012


After discussing the Whole30 with a few friends who have tried it/done it, I think it's safe to say that while, in the grand scheme of things, it's not that difficult of a challenge, it isn't easy either. Sure, it's fine if you have the time, focus, and commitment to plan and prepare all of your meals so that they're Whole30-compliant. But, when some of your favourite foods contain dairy (cheese and ice cream, anyone?) and/or you're used to six small meals a day instead of three, things can become a little tricky. You can forget about enjoying that hot sauce on your scrambled eggs in the morning, because it just so happens to contain sugar. And hey, your go-to bevvy from David's Tea? It has stevia.

In the past 27 days, I have dealt with bittersweet goodbyes (or "see you later's") to some of my favourite foods and slip ups, too: Thanksgiving dinner, friendly lunches, and most recently, the footy awards banquet, where I ate both roasted white potatoes and the teeniest amount of cheese (gasp!). I've learned to approach food as fuel and sustenance, not just as comfort and indulgence (but okay, indulgence sometimes, and for the duration of my Whole30 this means dates and dried coconut).

But all that aside, while it can be challenging (at first) to map out your Whole30 diet and figure out what you can and cannot eat, let's get real. It's only 30 days. And, now as the end draws nearer, I'm planning my next line of attack: the reintroduction phase.

Starting Wednesday, I will slowly reintroduce the foods and food groups that were eliminated from my diet 30 days past: alcohol, dairy, grains, legumes, and sugar - but wait, I'm kind of in a pickle hereIt Starts With Food recommends that you reintroduce dairy on day 1, gluten-containing grains on day 4, non-gluten grains on day 7, legumes on day 10, and so on and so forth. But what if you already know how certain foods affect you? What if I already know that highly processed sugars make my joints ache and my thinking foggy? What if I already know that I have probably one of the lowest tolerances for alcohol out there and that when I have just three sips of wine, I start to get tipsy? I am already aware of these effects, just as I am familiar with the ways in which wheat or gluten also has an impact on my health and well-being. Therefore, I am most interested in the reintroduction of dairy, non-gluten grains, and legumes. So, my question is: can I reintroduce dairy alongside sugar and alcohol if I already know the effects of the latter two? That is, can I go back to consuming sugar and alcohol (in limited quantities, of course) right away and on the same day, while at the same time, reintroduce dairy?

Okay, you caught me. The truth is, R and I are celebrating Halloween this weekend with a party at our place and I'd like to have a sweet or two with a drink or few (woah, rhyming!), and I've stocked the fridge with a load of cheese.

And, so.

Technically, you're supposed to reintroduce the eliminated foods or food groups one by one, but the approach that I've decided to take is to only schedule the reintroduction of foods with which I have yet to experience any symptoms. Again, these are dairy, non-gluten grains, and legumes. First up? Dairy (if you've read any of my Whole30 blog posts, this should really come as no surprise).

image via cannelle et vanille

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.