Tag Archives: Health

Redefining Your Health

Last week for the first time I had the privilege of working with Chiropractor Dr. John MacPhee to detect patterns of subluxation in my nervous system. I had never been to a chiropractor before and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Admittedly there was a lot I didn’t know about chiropractic. I gained a wealth of exciting knowledge but i’ll have to save that for another post.

During my first consultation, prior to getting started with the “Insight Subluxation Station” technology, Dr. Macphee asked me a question that I was surprisingly unprepared for. With all of my years working in the fitness and health industry I had never been asked this question and quite honestly at the time I didn’t have any thought out answers to give. The question was “what does perfect or optimal health look like to you and how is it expressed?” My first thoughts were along the lines of being a healthy weight, not getting sick, sleeping well etc. but I quickly noticed that these aren’t my thoughts at all but a conditioned, default response to a question I had never thought out before. Dr. MacPhee was prepared with a follow up homework assignment. My task was to think of what optimal health means to me and write down 10 ways it could be expressed. In other words if I could wave a magic wand right now and have perfect health, what would that be.

I thought about it for a few days. The obvious responses came up like “feeling great” and again “not getting sick” but that didn’t seem right. How is feeling great expressed? Is it simply the state we’re in when we aren’t feeling bad? Have sickness and health become synonymous in our culture? The definition of health by the Oxford Dictionary is the state of being free from illness or injury. It’s almost as if health doesn’t exist. Sickness exists and health by definition is the absence of it. Our well-being is defined by sickness, nothing more.

The human body and spirit deserve way more credit. We are capable of being more than just free from symptoms of illness. To quote TheWellnessGroup “We believe that every human being is designed to be extraordinary”. If there were no obstacles in your way, what 10 expressions of perfect health would be on your list? Dr. MacPhee mentioned being able to play on a play structure with your grandchildren or great grand children or living to 130! Here is what I came up with:

10 Expressions of Optimal Health:

1.   Be able to out wit any 20 year old when I’m in my 90’s

2.   Be able to move through full range of motion and maintain relative strength until my last day

3.   Fall asleep easily, sleep deeply and wake up with abundant energy every night

4.   Be physically able to embark on adventures for the rest of my life. Watch out for the grandma climbing base camp everest and scuba diving in the Maldives.

5.   Have bulletproof self-esteem

6.   Be able to handle stress effectively and bounce back quickly

7.   Be able to feel and express full range of emotion in a productive way. Self-awareness.

8.   Experience superhero memory, critical thinking and clarity

9.   Have clearly defined purpose, values and goals

10.  Have healthy relationship with food. Eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full, full-fill my bodies requirements for nutrients.

Initially, choosing 10 expressions of health was difficult. Narrowing them down and identifying things that weren’t related to symptom relief was a surprising challenge. At the end of the exercise I had twice as many things to include that encompassed physical, intellectual, emotional, social, environmental and spiritual health.

What if we viewed health as the optimal expression of our existence? Would we be more inclined to take action to achieve it beyond the presence of sickness? Would we think differently about the choices we make? About the lives we want to live?

What does optimal health mean to you and how is it expressed? Within reason, (i.e. you can’t grow wings or tell the future) brainstorm what your 10 expressions of optimal health are. Don’t let perceived obstacles or limitations cloud your list. This exercise can be a powerful tool in gaining perspective, clarity and motivation.

Dream big, think outside the box and enjoy the process.

Please feel free to post your list in the comments below to share your inspiration and ideas!

Thanks for reading!  – Jules

Nomnom Paleo Cookbook Review

About two weeks ago JEdible Arrangementsesse surprised me with a birthday gift of assorted fruits arranged to look like a bouquet of flowers. It was really quite amazing and the perfect gift for a whole food fanatic. To top it off little rounded pieces of apple had been dipped in dark chocolate. We couldn’t wait to devour it but we thought it was wise to gobble up the treats throughout the week and share the splendour with our roommates instead. Sharing is caring, and to be honest I couldn’t eat all that fruit by myself. Anyways, long story short a certain someone could not resist the temptation of the chocolaty goodness and within a day all of the little chocolatey apple bites were but a thing of memory.

I guess that certain someone was feeling a bit guilty about eating all the chocolate. To my surprise the next evening I discovered “nomnom paleo” cookbook hiding underneath my pillow before bed. Apology accepted. In fact I was so happy I even gave the book a hug, like it had feelings.

You see, I’v never actually owned my own cookbook before and I had my eye on this baby for awhile. The bright colours with the bold print hooked me in like a moth to bright light. I’m surprised I didn’t buy it myself actually. These past couple of years I have been more and more interested in cooking. Normally I get most of my recipes online (see resources) but having a cookbook with readily available ideas is surprisingly useful and rewarding to have on hand in the kitchen. Michelle Tam and Henry Fong’s nomnom paleo cookbook is not only hilarious but an excellent introduction and resource to paleo cooking. So much so that I decided to write a review on it.

Robb Wolf (author of The Paleo Solution) –  “I don’t care if you’re a discriminating foodie or a picky tot: If you’re a human who eats food, you need this book.”

 

IMG_3416

1. INTRODUCTIONIMG_3390

Michelle Tam first started sharing her zest for delicious paleo cooking on nomnompaleo.com in the fall of 2010. Since then she has received awards for her blog and inspired many with her unique, playful and heartwarming approach to healthy cooking. Michelle along with her husband Henry finally decided to release a cookbook filled with recipes free of grain, soy and added sugar. When talking about inspiration, the visuals alone are enough to inspire you to eat healthier but I personally think it is Michelle’s unique passion and humour that really shine through in this book.

“There’s a contagious joyousness about the way Michelle presents food that makes you want to cook along with her. I want to cook Paleo because she makes it look so fun!” -Michael Ruhlman

2. LAYOUT 

The book is broken down into very practical chapters that are tailored towards a paleo diet. For example preparation is very important when eating paleo because if you want a bit of extra flava flave on your omelette, grabbing the sriracha sauce from the store will add a lot of unnecessary sugar and sulphites. Instead if you want sriracha you will have to make it yourself. Fortunately this iIMG_3419s very do-able and tastes super delicious (i’v tried it!). Chapter One: Building Blocks has a bunch of excellent paleo prep meal tips and ideas like home-made sriracha, paleo mayonnaise and easy guacamole to name a few. If you feel like your options are or will be limited on the paleo diet a simple solution is to be prepared! Dedicate a day of the week (Sunday works for most folks) for food preparation so your week can be filled with delicious, no stress feasts! If you don’t have any ideas, grab a cookbook or start to browse online recipes (check resources). Other chapters include Eggs, Plants, Soups and Salads, Meat, Seafood, Nibbles and *gasp* even some Desert!

3. TONE

Michelle does an amazing job at keeping the tone of the whole cook book simple, hilarious and very personable. She is realistic and extremely relatable when addressing the paleo lifestyle. She discusses her challenges and successes with the family eating paleo, her own health journey and a realistic insight into what it is like to live this way. A simple introduction to paleo foods at the beginning of the book by using a “Green Light, Red Light, Yellow Light” list of ingredients keeps the focus less on rules and more on the delicious food. Throughout the entire book there are funny little comics that offer cooking tips, answer questions about Michelle’s life and add comedic expression to the beautiful food photography and practical layout. There is enough information about the diet to get you started and help you feel confident in your choices but not so much that it takes away from the main focus of the book which is clearly that eating paleo is delicious!

IMG_3417

“THIS IS MY DAD. LAMB IS HIS FAVOURITE FOOD.” “MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB. UNTIL I ATE IT”

“Use a Julienne peeler or a spiral cutter. (Of Course, if you’re a certified kitchen ninja, feel free to hand-cut your zoodles)”.

4. FOOD

The themeIMG_3420 is oriental flavour meets trendy Californian attitude. Too many recipes can become overwhelming but this book has the perfect amount. Enough to keep you curious and satisfied but not too many that you never actually get around to cooking anything! You don’t have to be a master chef to enjoy any of the foods either, simple steps for delicious meals that pretty much everyone can do. All the recipes all paleo friendly and provide some innovative cooking ideas to make the transition a bit easier. Like cauliflower rice and an assortment of paleo “chips”. Some of the recipes do require extra equipment though. Like the spiral cutter mentioned above. It cuts things into noodle shapes, yay! For example you can make zucchini noodles… or carrot noodles too. If you are going to be spending more time in the kitchen (which you will) it’s probably a good idea to stock up on kitchen tools anyways.

5. SUMMARY

IMG_3422This book is a must have for any whole food or paleo enthusiast. Perfect for any beginner who doesn’t know where to start or is a bit confused about what to eat. Even if you are a seasoned vet in the kitchen, some of the ideas and tips in this book could refresh your creativity and liven up your palette. If you are caught in a rut of eating chicken and vegetables every night for dinner then do yourself a huge favour and check out this book or visit Michelle’s website first for a taste of what you will find in the book. The website is how she got started and offers lots of recipes for you to try. Check it out! http://nomnompaleo.com/

Anyone who says there isn’t enough to eat on paleo needs this book and they need it now. Did I mention I was a fan?

6 . TESTED RECIPES

Caramalized Onions: Success
great to cook them in bulk and add to meals through the week

Paleo Mayonnaise: Disaster, then Success
First attempt I ignored the instructions and blended it all at once. Don’t do that. Second attempt was a success and I made Louisiana Remoulade with the mayonnaise!

Paleo Sriracha: Okay
The taste is phenomenal but I couldn’t find red jalapeño peppers anywhere so I settled with green. Just not the same without that fiery red…

Holy’Moly (Easy Guacamole): Success
So simple, so delicious

Apple Chips: Okay 
I found these too sweet and they took a long time to cook. Not worth it in my opinion. They resembled apple crumble flavour though so they get an okay stamp.

Kale Chips: Success
A new staple in my diet.  Many people seem to have trouble with these. Either too soggy or too burnt. Follow this recipe. When you master them, you will never turn back. Also, a note from my aunt: Don’t refrigerate.

Chopped Liver + Bacon: Success 
Some people can’t stand liver. I have to confess, when my mom used to cook liver in the oven as dog treats and the house filled with an unmentionable odour, I was sure i’d deny liver foreverrrrr! This recipe blew my mind though. Unbelievably flavourful, great as a dip and a fantastic source of Vitamin A.

Chinese Egg Foo Young: Okay 
I wasn’t sold on these. Although I used tuna as a meat filling instead of the recommended ham. She said use any meat you like!! The recipe makes a large batch and they don’t keep well. You should eat them right away.

Zoodles: Success 
I first tried these in NZ thanks to my host mom’s ingenuity. These are for the pasta lover. I mean c’mon… ZOODLES! How fun is that?

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig: Success 
The slow cooker can make almost anything taste good but this was so unbelievably flavourful Jesse and I both had extra servings.

Thanks for reading.

– Jules

Cut Sugar From Your Diet – 5 Resources to Explain Why

You may have heard it before or you may just be starting your personal journey now (congratulations!) but any health, fitness or weight loss journey should begin with the food choices that you make to fuel and replenish your body. It has been said by experts again and again that results come from   80% nutrition and 20% exercise. This is mostly true with the addition of other important aspects of health such as sleep, environmental, social, emotional and psychological health. If your nutrition isn’t great then it becomes more difficult to make better choices towards each aspect of life.

You cannot experience optimal health and body composition if you don’t make informed decisions about what you eat. With so much conflicting information out there about what is right and what is wrong it can be extremely daunting and discouraging when you want to make better health choices but don’t know who to trust. Eat low fat foods and dairy, avoid saturated fats, eat fewer calories, try the Atkins, Zone, Dukan, Juicing, Vegan, Paleo and Raw Food diet or even *Gasp* Canada’s Food Guide. How can you feel confident about taking control of your health when everyone seems to have a different opinion on what is right and what is wrong?

You deserve to look and feel your best at every age. Optimal and dare I say extraordinary health is in your grasp and my intention for this blog is to empower you with the right information and resources so you can really start taking control of your health. In next week’s post I will introduce you to a few life changing resources that challenge the status quo on health and have been making incredible strides in providing new foundations on how to be and feel awesome. There is an entire community of people who live and preach the same concepts that have helped literally millions of people truly change their lives. In the meantime however I want to provide you with some insight into what you can do TODAY to kick start your journey by highlighting THE most important piece of information you can use towards fat loss and better health:

Carbs_Are_Killing_You     *Gasp*

This is pretty standard common knowledge in the fitness, health and science world but yet diet companies still label their foods low-fat or non-fat for profits and subsequently fill their product with processed SUGARS that keep you sick, addicted and frustrated with your lack of results. Not only does sugar play a role in fat storage it can also mess up your hormones, mood, satiety and a bunch of other nasty stuff.

 CUT REFINED SUGAR COMPLETELY FROM YOUR DIET

Instead of regurgitating information that has already been beautifully communicated, take the time to look at these resources about the effects of sugar on the human body:

1. Mark Sisson’s Definitive Guide to Sugar

Full article here > Definitive Guide to Sugar

 

“Sugar stimulates a physiological stressor-reaction cascade that provokes adrenaline and cortisol release and thickens the blood.

-Sugar effectively disables your immune system by impairing white blood cells’ functioning.
-Sugar decreases your body’s production of leptin, a hormone critical for appetite regulation.
-Sugar induces significant oxidative stress in the body.
-Sugar appears to fuel cancer cells. (Check out Free the Animal for much more on the cancer connection.)
-Sugar promotes fat storage and weight gain.
-Sugar disrupts the effective transfer of amino acids to muscle tissue.
-Sugar intake over time spurs insulin resistance, subsequent Type II diabetes and the entire host of related -health issues like nerve damage and cardiovascular disease.
-Yes, sugar is one insanely powerful drug. Addictive, to boot.” (Mark Sisson, 2010)

2. How Sugar Affects the Brain

3. CARBS (sugars) ARE KILLING YOU

Ok, Carbs are definitely not KILLING you, but simple sugars might be! A good representation of the process your body goes through when you consume sugar (simple carbohydrates)

Carbs a

4. Jean-Luc Boisoneault, owner of Free Form Fitness Ottawa, uses an excellent visual to demonstrate how your body utilizes sugar and subsequently stores fat. SKIP to 2:30 in the video.

5. Dr. Mark Hyman answering the question “is saturated fat really that bad for me?” with some truth about fat and sugar in your diet.

 

Please share this blog with family and friends it you found it helpful. Sharing is caring 🙂  Feel free to leave comments or e-mail me with questions or feedback.

Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s post and thanks for reading!

– Jules

Super Resource

Touchdown, Canada!

I landed safe and sound last Thursday at the Ottawa International Airport with friends and family who braved the cold to welcome me home at midnight. It felt good to be back, especially after the long flight. I think I had been awake for close to 30 hours. Leaving the airport and feeling the first sharp breath of -20 air in my summer lungs was a shock and a bittersweet reminder of what’s in store for the next month.

Lack of movement, sleep and “real food” on the journey home, coupled with some homecoming stress left me feeling a bit off of my game in terms of nutrition and health. A “healthy” labelled chicken salad from Vancouver airport left me with a sodium bomb that had me drinking copious amounts of water for hours afterwards and even left a tingling sensation on my tongue. A nice reminder of why I eat whole foods. Good thing I bought some raw, unsalted nuts for the plane beforehand. The lack of sleep will take some quality Zzz’s this week and getting back into a healthy exercise routine (no more sprinting outside!) is a welcome challenge!

IMG_3222

It has been just under a week that I’v been home and it feels great! I was surprised by my hubby over the weekend with a wonderful whole food meal at Town on Elgin st. (I had the Notorious P.I.G) followed by a night at the fairy tale Fairmont Cheateau Laurier. What an excellent way to be welcomed home to your city. The weather was mild (for Canadian winter) and light flakes of snow were falling over the Ottawa Canal where couples and friends were enjoying their hot chocolates and beaver tails while skating through downtown Ottawa. Man, this city has charm! Long story short I have been happily busy relocating and making plans for my new life in Canada.

My initial intention was to write this weeks article on sugar and carbohydrates and what the heck they do for your health and waistline but that article will have to wait for next week. In the meantime, while my life is being smoothed out, I want to share this amazing fitness & health resource with you that cuts the BS, isn’t sponsored by companies trying to steal your money and preaches “Real food for real results”. The owners name is Abel James. You may have heard of him because at the moment he is blowing up the itunes podcast charts and consistently coming out in thetop five health podcasts. On his website you can watch videos where he interviews leading wellness experts and discusses what ACTUALLY works and what is a waste of your time and health. This guy is the real deal for fat lass resources. He’s been there before and found the solution for lasting fat loss and better health. I have learned so much from him and the gurus he interviews. It also helps that he is pretty easy on the eyes so you should probably check him out just for that. You can download podcasts to listen to on the way to work, watch videos on his website, or download some free recipe books. I promise the information you findis legitimate and not smoke and mirrors.

Image

http://www.fatburningman.com

Leave a comment below on what you thought of fatburningman.com and share the resources with people you care about! Stay tuned for next weeks sugar and carb article and share fitnesswithjules if you like the information.

Thanks for reading!!

– Jules

Taking the first step…

Kia Ora!

Welcome to my first blog post, ever! Here’s the deal, my goal is to inspire people to take action in their lives. This first post might end up a little mysterious but the reality is that I have had the idea of writing a blog for a while now and up until THIS MOMENT it has remained just that, an idea. In my experience making things happen for yourself is all about getting the courage to take imperfect action. If I waited to start writing until I believed the messages I had to share were perfect, well it just wouldn’t happen. So here’s to taking imperfect action and auto correcting along the way!

Currently, I am in the process of finishing up my life changing (whoa, big statement) year abroad in New Zealand. Packing up a whole year of my life and preparing for the adventure of coming home is surprisingly labour intensive. Experimenting with different techniques to fitting a whole lot of luggage in a not so big space has been especially educational.  Writing this first blog post is really about holding myself accountable to write the second. My goal is to provide some inspiration and motivation to take action towards better health. I am definitely no guru and don’t have all the answers but I do have a valuable base of knowledge and personal training experience that has really helped me along my journey and has proven pretty helpful for my friends, family and clients. So, if I can provide a bit of inspiration or motivation to even ONE person to take action towards better health then I can feel good about that. It also helps that I really love it.

If you found this to be even mildly intriguing then stay tuned for post #2 when I leave New Zealand to touch down in “Oh, Canada!”

Thanks for reading!

– Jules