I’ve had some questions recently regarding my inconsistent love affair with the Paleo diet. It is true, I did lose over 50lbs eating paleo and experienced elevated energy levels, decreased inflammation among other benefits.
I would advise anybody that struggles to maintain a healthy weight, or any inflammation issues to give paleo a shot.
Thinking back to what Paleo Guru Robb Wolf said at his Paleo Solution Seminar last year in Toronto, I believe the Paleo crowd needs to cool it down a notch.
Robb said that we can’t make the Paleo diet a religion (although we will continue to capitalize it!). Just like crossfit, the paleo crowd is growing fast, they are loud and becoming increasingly less accepting of people that do not follow their practice. It is evident in blogs all over the net, and this is precisely why the paleo diet will ultimately lose credibility in the mainstream media.
We must chill out Paleo friends. It is just a way to eat (a good one for sure), but even for me the Paleo evangelicals are becoming a bit too much to tolerate.
There are many lean healthy people that are not eating a paleo diet. It is not for everyone, so get off the soapbox!
Do you wish that your recreation league was more fun?
In this post we will discuss 5 ways to improve your overall enjoyment of recreational sport activities.
Having bounced around several adult recreation leagues, I have come to a few realizations. First, the leagues I have been involved with are just too damn competitive. Second, fun seems to take a backseat to winning.
Even leagues that are classified as non-competitive are in fact competitive. People just can’t help themselves. Whether it be grown men engaged in a fist fight in a ball hockey game, or adults swearing at the umpire in a slo-pitch league, something isn’t right.
Unfortunately I can not exclude myself from the aforementioned behavior. I have been known to lose my cool for reasons as inconsequential as being called offside in hockey! What competitive sports can do to people is shocking.
It is vital then to reflect on why we chose to join a recreation league in the first place. Here are few reasons you may have joined a recreation team.
You are not good enough to play professional sports
You wanted another venue to hang out with friends
You have an excuse to get out of the house, get some exercise and just play!
With these seemingly innocent reasons to join a league in mind, here are 5 ideas to make your particular game more enjoyable!
5. Be a crowd pleaser – I have a friend that used to bring a big jug of water to every event. I’m not sure how many people actually thanked him for this kind gesture, but boy did we appreciate it. Don’t be shy, bring treats, share your goodies. It’s impossible for there to be too many beers in the hockey dressing room, or sunflower seeds on the bench at the ball diamond.
4. Always think about your teammates – There is nothing worse then having a puck/ball/court time/ or glory hog on your team. Nobody paid money to join a league just to watch one person do all the work. Sure it is nice to score points, but remember that you joined a team, not a skills competition. It’s often said that the best players make the players around then better. So work on that and encourage your best players to pass and share more.
3. Be Happy, be social – You joined the league to play with your friends, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make new ones. Watch the hitters in baseball when they reach first base. See how much they chat it up with first baseman. It’s kind of funny. I always wonder what they are saying to each other. By engaging in positive discussion with the other team before and during the game you are creating a safer environment based on mutual respect. 2. Never argue with referees – Advice I need to follow more myself. Officials in recreation or competitive leagues really have everyones best interest at heart. Just treat them like a friend, or potential friend. Nothing is worse then being ridiculed by a player in front of a crowd. I know this first hand from my officiating experience in ice hockey. It’s not an easy job, and everyone is trying their best. 1. Show up early and stay late – There will be times when this is difficult because of circumstances beyond your control. Showing up on time is a good reminder to your team, and friends that you care about them. It shows you are interested in socializing with them about things other than the game, and it shows that you are committed to the cause (of having fun of course)! If your team likes to hang around after play is over then make a point to stick around when you can. Everyone has different life circumstances, but making time for the people you chose to play games with says a lot about you and will ultimately enhance your enjoyment too.
If you haven’t heard of the Body By Vi Challenge yet, I’m sure you will soon. Body By Vi is a subsidiary of the Visalus Science company, and it’s vision is two-fold. On one hand the company makes a promise that their meal replacement solutions can help it’s customers lose weight as proposed in the 90 Day Body By Vi Challenge.
On the other hand is the network marketing machine. Visalus set up their company using a tradition network marketing pyramid (which is a fine strategy – free advertising!). They reward their customers for selling products, and inspire them to enrol other sales associates to forge a path to riches.
I have googled hundreds of keywords, and it is tough to come across and unbiased review of the Body By Vi Challenge. So before we proceed, I think it is important to separate the two sides of Body By Vi.
Body By Vi as a weight loss solution
Let first address the nutritional aspect of the Body By Vi 90 day challenge. The Body By Vi challenge essentially recommends it’s followers drink 2 meal replacement shakes per day. In addition to the 2 shakes they also recommend eating a meal that that is high in protein, low in fat, and moderate in carbohydrates. An example of this would be fish, with broccoli, and maybe a side salad with low fat dressing.
It doesn’t take a doctor to figure out that this type of meal plan (2 shakes, and a light dinner) will dramatically reduce calorie consumption for people that were previously consuming a typical north american diet. In fact this diet structure has been written about for some time. 2 shakes and a salad is the precise prescription from Fitness Black Book’s Rusty Moore for getting ultra ripped. So the philosophy is nothing new, but it does work.
The following is taken directly from the Visalus website listing the benefits of using the Vi-Shape shake.
The shake mix provides complete nutrition – fast
Helps control appetite
Provides bone-healthy calcium
Provides heart healthy, low fat protein
Helps promote & maintain lean muscle mass
Supports protein digestion and nutrient absorption
Helps support healthy energy levels while cutting calories
Provides fiber benefits for health protection
Includes two unique fibers for health, and for hunger control
Supports a low glycemic lifestyle
Supports healthy metabolism
The benefits do sound great, and are in fact truthful. Many of the participants of the 90 day challenge will credit the shakes for these phenomenal benefits. The question we should be asking is, how else can we experience these benefits? Do we really believe that only Body By Vi can bring them to us?
The obvious answer is no. There are a few different ways to experience the laundry list of benefits pimped off on the company website. For starters, increasing protein consumption can produce more than half of the positive changes listed above. Protein on it’s own is a known appetite suppressant, is low on the glycemic index, and helps build and maintain lean muscle mass. Another is to increase your consumption of vegetables, especially leafy greens.
So, if we can get most of the benefits of the Body By Vi challenge by simply increasing protein and vegetable consumption, then why do it at all?
Well according to the company website
Each protein has been specially processed to remove fat, remove lactose, and remove carbohydrates. In addition, we have processed the soy to remove the isoflavones, so there is no estrogenic affect. The “shake mix that tastes like a cake mix” is hard to beat.
Having tasted the shakes, it’s hard to deny that they are tasty. In addition, the challenge is about convenience and if making meals is something you loath then this is a good plan. Not to mention that the price of the product is comparatively low. However, having compared it’s the Vi-Shape Mix nutritional value to that of a standard protein shake, there is not much of a difference.
I will concede that the Body By Vi mixture has gone to great lengths to clean the protein, and trim the fat, but not to the extent that we should label it a magic solution.
It is easy to become overwhelmed with nutritional facts, and end up believing whatever we hear, however we can’t lose sight of the reason the Body By Vi Challenge is so effective. I like to lay it out over a long period of time. Image the changes we would experience if we only consumed 2 shakes, and a salad for 90 days straight? That is where the magic is, not in the actual mixture.
The minor differences between regular meal replacement shakes and the Body By Vi mixture should not be credited for the success of the Body By Vi Challenge. It is the will of the participants to adhere to a calorie restricting that makes this plan successful. The same success that could be achieved with traditional protein and meal replacement supplements.
Why then, is there such a push to use Body By Vi over a regular meal replacements?
Just let the song run to the chorus…Body By Vi doesn’t offer a Hummer, or a Rolls Royce, but they will pay for a BMW!
I have to be honest. When I first learned about this company I knew they were slick. but I didn’t know how slick. Try searching Body By Vi Scam/review/any word here. What I found was hundreds of sites with “unbiased” reviews that were selling the product. Kinda of strange for unbiased reviews to be selling the product. All that aside, let’s be clear that the people in charge of this company are exceptional marketers.
The Body By Vi Challenge is more about business, than a sound nutritional lifestyle movement. If you are doing this challenge to lose weight that is great, and it will be rewarding. I just want you to know that the goal of the company is to get you to sell. This is how they grow, this is how they make money. There is nothing wrong with this model at all. In fact it is a genius business idea, and it has been around for years.
The reason this idea is so good (from a business perspective) is that you can create real motivation here. If you sign up to be a distributor there are some pretty sweet compensation packages. They range from getting your own product for free, to having the company pay your lease payments on a BMW. To further reinforce the benefits of joining the company distributors are probably going to be in good shape. Imagine how much easier it is to sell a weight loss product when you are losing weight yourself?
The people at the top of this company are super smart, they get it. They know how to incetivize the hell out of the program, and they know how to motivate. I see the allure here, no doubt, and I totally believe people will be successful in this business.
My major concern is that people following the plan will not think long term. If you really want to make a sustained lifestyle change, a program like this might be what you need to get started, but it is not the end game.
Do you really want to drink shakes for the rest of your life? Somewhere along this journey, I hope that people will realize that food is responsible for how we look and feel. When you approach this business, please consider both of their agendas. One is the weight loss proposition (90 days of 2 shakes and one meal), and the other is the business opportunity. Know how you feel about each agenda and act accordingly.
I love summer! Mainly because I have more time to travel, relax, engage in meaningful social activities, and READ!
Last Wednesday, after my (just returned from vacation need get back on track) bacon and eggs breakfast, I performed my daily summer blog surf. I usually find time to read my favourite blogs, but the extra time I have in July and August allows me to actually enjoy them!
I tacked on 10 pounds while on vacation (no kidding!), so I was eager to return to my normal routine. Looking for inspiration as I often do, I decided to check in on a few blogs I love to read.
My favourite of course is Seth Godin’s blog. His posts are always short, creative and have the ability to inspire anyone!
A close second is the blog of Tim Ferris. I like Tim for the same reasons his 100,000+ facebook fans do. His writing inspires people and provides action steps to accomplish anything!
The breadth of Tim’s Blog topics fascinate me. On this particular occasion I was searching for articles on fitness motivation, and sure enough I found some amazing content.
The article that caught my attention was written by Ryan Holiday who is a young (24) online strategist for American Apparel, and friend of Tim. The article began with a story of Ryan’s recent weight loss success. Not only was he able to lose those last 15 pounds, he was also able to set a personal best time for in the 1 mile run.
While this is a great achievement on it’s own, the article was really entertaining and got me thinking about my own attitude towards eating. With the approach Ryan used to challenge his philosophy on eating, he will be fit for life! And so can we.
How did the Ancients Treat Food?
Ryan decided to research historic attitudes pertaining to food consumption among famous philosophers.
Here is a snippet from the article:
A student once asked Epictetus how he ought to eat. This, Epictetus replied, was simple. The right way to eat is the same as the right way to live: be “just, cheerful, equable, temperate, and orderly.” He meant that meals embody the principles and the disposition of the person who eats them. Food means choices and choices mean a chance to fulfill our principles. [So think: being thankful, eating just what you need, tipping generously, caring about where it comes from and how it got there.]
What Does Our Diet Say About Us?
Think about how you eat. Do you like sharing? Are you wasteful? Do you give a damn about where your food comes from?
These questions resonated in my head for a while, and I began to feel guilty for being wasteful, of not sharing, and not caring where my food comes from. Throughout my various weight loss attempts, I didn’t give a second thought as to how my food choices would impact the world outside of myself. All I cared about was getting in shape. Kind of selfish now that I think about it.
What about your eating behaviours?
In what ways might your actions be selfish?
This bothered me a bit, then I read further …
The Ancients Surely Worried About Their Appearance
In ancient times people believed it was silly to obsess over their weight and appearance as it did not reflect well on their character, at the same time they resisted the urge to live in excess (eating too much) in fear of appearing like a glutton.
I felt guilty again for my part in perpetuating this notion that people need to be fit and they need to worry about it, with complete disregard for the process. So I continued to read…..
Ultimately, they (the philosophers) understood that everything we do—especially something with life or death implications like diet—is a platform for philosophy, that something you do at least three times a day is worth doing well.
OK, now I feel a bit better. The philosophers recognized that it was important to care about what we eat. Eating well is important obviously, but what does it mean to eat well?
Eating Well – Way Back in the Day
As Ryan suggests it is about more than just the food we eat.
By eating well, we can be proud and transparent, rather than secretly uncomfortable. For starters, by eating more naturally (protein-dense, appropriate portions), we reduce our footprint—the amount we ask of the world to give us. By caring about the quality of what we ingest, we opt out of brutal factory farming and toxic industrial agriculture—keeping excessive blood off our hands. And by eating locally, we support small businesses and entrepreneurs instead of corporate behemoths who have few qualms about poisoning and fattening us (by doing the same to their “product”) if it means greater profits.
You can probably tell where this is headed. Eating natural foods, grown locally, goes a long way in helping our world, and still helps us in the process. Now I don’t want to say that eating Paleo fits this philosophy perfectly, but it does appear to be one of the better options. Ryan didn’t see it this way, and actually criticized vegetarians and paleo dieters for starting these diets with selfish intent.
I don’t believe that every person practicing a paleo or vegetarian diet does so because they are selfish, but his point is valid.
Do we only eat the way we do because it might help us lose weight? With a disregard for how it might affect others in the case of slaughter houses and multinational agriculture corporations?
Do we eat the way big corporations do business by finding the cheapest way to get it done for the biggest profit?
What we eat really does say something about who we are. This article definately challenged my own eating philosphy, but there was one item that I could totally agree with.
And that is the concept of Practicing Restraint – Yes!
Learning How to Say NO
According to the Ancients:
Practicing restraint and targeted release is a deeply philosophic exercise. It means being in tune with your body and living naturally. These are two things that are increasingly difficult in a world of plenty. To be able to say “no,” knowing that what may feel good now will actually feel bad later, is to master the self. To be able to reward the self with simple pleasures is to successfully navigate the fine line between self-control and self-flagellation.
What better way to say no. There are world wide days for causes that practice restraint. How does practicing restraint help the world (or at least create awareness)?
Think about Earth Hour, when we restrain ourselves from using electricity to benefit the earth.
International Intermittent Fasting Day?
Relating this back to eating, I immediately thought about Intermittent fasting. Practicing restraint from eating. Learning how to control food and not let food control us. Practicing restraint with intermittent fasting is noble, but in all honesty, it was more about weight loss for me. Now I will view the process of fasting through a different lens altogether.
When we fast we send a messege to slaughter houses, and fake food conglomerates that we do not support them. If fasting were to become mainstream the world would be a different place.
Can you imagine the lost profits for companies like McDonalds and Burger King if we organized an “International Day of Fasting”! What if people were to fast once a week?
Imagine the profits lost then…
Talk about sending a message!
Lastly, before embarking on a new eating plan ask yourself who benefits. If it is only you, then stop what you are doing! There are ways to eat that benefit you and the people around you.
Fresh off a thrilling adventure on the west coast, I thought it would be appropriate to share the experience in a meaningful way. My wife Kayla and I were only in the beautiful state of California for 12 days, and tried to cover as much ground as we could. That being said, we missed some great sites, but are excited to go back at some point!
Here are the Top 10 reasons to visit California.
10. Friendly Residents – When we touched down in LA I was expecting to enter a frantic time pressed atmosphere, but I didn’t feel that at all. Everyone we conversed with, from San Diego to San Francisco took their time to chat with us, in an engaging manner. As Canadians we believe that we are friendly, but the helpful California residents blew us away!
9. Starbucks Everywhere – Kayla and I really like Starbucks! We were happy to find one on every corner, and knew we could get free Internet access whenever we needed it. This was a big part of our journey because we were booking our hotels one day at a time! The Lattes and Teas were an added bonus!
8. Beautiful Baseball Parks – I am big fan of baseball, and enjoyed the two parks we visited, AT&T Park in San Francisco, and Petco Field in San Diego. San Diego really impressed me with it’s neat down town design, and absence of streetlights in the downtown core made it a great place to walk!
7. Highway 1 – This deserves more than one spot on the list, but the stretch of highway from Cambria to Carmel is truly spectacular, with great vista points just off the long winding roads, which are flanked by gentle mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Not to mention the extensive wild life along the way. We were able to view elephant seals, and zebra, and even had a baby deer encounter on this trip. Who needs the Zoo?
6. Hearst Castle – If you have been there you know why it made the list. It has nothing to do with it’s sheer beauty, or it’s historical significance. This beautiful property in San Simeon that took William Randolph Hearst 28 years to build now belongs to the state of California. On the tour we were able to view most of the property and only a glimpse of what might have occurred there during it’s prime! The beauty of Heart castle lies not only its creative genius but in the stories your mind creates as you enter it’s gates.
5. Temperature Changes – I can understand why Californians would not travel out of state. In California you can find hot, warm, or cool temperatures within a few hours of any point. During the trip the temps ranged from 58-90 degrees (8-30 celsius). There are blocks within city limits (San Francisco) that are typically 5-10 degrees warmer or cooler compared to other sections of the city. Bizarre!
4. Foodie Heaven – I have been fortunate enough to travel to some cool places in my short life, but the food culture in California was astonishing. From the gourmet food trucks in Southern Cal, to the vendors at Ferry Building Market Place in San Francisco, independent food production was truly remarkable. We did not eat at a single chain or fast food restaurant the entire trip. Recommendations include Kogi & MIHO (both food trucks), NOPA & Foreign Cinema (restaurants in San Francisco) and Robin’s if you are in Cambria riding along HWY 1, and Nepenthe (HWY 1 near BIG SUR)
3. Wine Country – A trip to California would not be complete without experiencing wine country. Our first taste was on a bus tour in Santa Barbara country, a region made famous for it’s appearance in the movie “Sideways”. This region is best known for it’s pinot, and didn’t disappoint. We met great people on this tour, and learned some cool tips for wine tasting!
The next taste of wine country was a more spontaneous one. On our second day in San Francisco, as we sat facing the painted ladies (commonly known for appearing in the opening credits of 90′s sitcom FULL HOUSE) we noticed a guy eating his lunch on a real plate, which meant he was definitely a local. We got talking, and he advised us to escape the city to Healdsburg in Sonoma county, instead of the tourist trap of Napa Valley. It was a great recommendation, we were able to rent bikes, taste wine, and chill out! Thanks Dude!
2. Alcatraz – It is an ultra tourist thing to do, but the feeling you get when you are in this historic place is just bone chilling. Again listening to the stories about Alcatraz, learning about it’s place in history, and then creating your own images in your mind is a thrilling experience. I felt the same way in Amsterdam when we were at Anne Frank House.
1. Active lifestyles! – It took a long time to get the most relevant one for my blog, but in all honesty there are just so many cool things going on in California. I have seen fitness enthusiasts before, but not the same as I witnessed here. It started at Santa Monica Pier with the outdoor public gym (Check out picture below), and continued with the obsessive running culture that dominates my memory of San Francisco. People in California treat their body right!
Over hyped sights - Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Cable Cars, Hollywood, Pebble Beach city and the 17 Mile drive
Biggest Surprise – SOLVANG – This southern Cal town was quite a treat. It may be a misconception on my part, but I thought that Americans are expected to give up all allegiance to their former nationalities. After spending one minute in the Danish marvel that is Solvang California my opinion changed. Flags, buildings, food, culture, everything resembled Denmark, in the outskirts of wine country! I couldn’t believe it!
“Growing up a McDonald’s kid was fun at the time!”
For the last two years I have been reading blogs daily, exercising feverishly, and eating healthy in an attempt to achieve my weight loss goals. I wished to…..
Lose 50 lbs, and keep it off
Achieve a size 32 waist (jeans)
Uncover my abs (sport a 6-pack for the first time ever)
These goals are rather common (maybe even overhyped). What I didn’t realize is that this list of goals is really just a series of intermediate steps leading to my ultimate goal.
If you ever feel humiliated, alienated, or have been harassed because of your appearance, you know exactly the way I feel. If you have been or are obese, overweight, and even slightly overweight, you know what I am talking about.
I had to dig deep to find this 4th grade photo …..deep breath (I have never shared this pic with anyone…willingly)
Growing up fat is not easy, and I can say that because I lived it. Children are ruthless, they say horrible things, and can leave a scar that lasts forever. I was a victim of that ridicule, and know the harsh reality that exists, and it’s not right.
I have been tough on people that fail to take responsibility for their body shape and size, which could come off as disrespectful, degrading, or just plain rude.
Understand that the criticism is not directed at the overweight and obese among us that are genuinely happy, rather the people that blame others for their circumstance, but do nothing about it.
When so-called “weight loss” experts promote a magic pill solution to lose weight, it sells for a reason. There is a large part of the population that just wants to belong, and experience the feeling of being “normal”.
As I inched closer to achieving my goals on the list above it became clear that my quest to lose weight was really my quest for happiness.
Sometimes we have to achieve results to “feel” like we’ve accomplished something, but true happiness comes from within.
I am not as fulfilled with losing 50lbs as I am with knowing that I have the power to change my life.
What really matters is how you feel inside. In a results based society, especially in the health and fitness industry it is easy to lose sight of what is real.
Do you have to be at 6% body fat to truly live a good life? I doubt it.
Smile, laugh, share, explore, dream, live, and love!
My Dad teaching me how to enjoy life!
p.s. If being fit is important to you, GREAT! Just don’t let it consume you!
In a world where the majority of our interaction is facilitated online through bloging and social networking, it’s not often you get to meet one of your heroes face to face. When I learned that Paleo torch bearer and NorCal (cross fit) co-creator Robb Wolf was coming to Toronto, I really had no choice but to go and see him. Robb was nice enough to pose for this picture, in addition to sharing his revolutionary research…. Continue reading →