No, I don’t want to buy your $5 per serving shake/meal replacement/smoothie/whatever you are selling.

Has anyone else noticed that everyone is becoming a representative of some sort of product lately? Skin care, food, kitchen supplies, make up, etc., but the most common thing I keep getting asked to buy and become a part of, is shakes. But the most common thing seems to be shakes and meal replacements, but for me, the answer is no. I get it, though. It is a REALLY tough economy right now and everyone is scrambling to find income and survive. And kudos to all the awesome people in my life that these things work for, who are on a journey of health and wellness and have created a business they love. But please understand, this is not for me. Here is why.

When I tell you I can’t afford it, I really can’t. When you say things like “you are worth the investment”, I appreciate it, and I know that that my health is important and worth a lot of effort an attention. But that doesn’t change my ability to afford it. I use my campus food bank, I budget like crazy, and there are still nights that I have gone to bed without dinner, simply because pay day was around the corner and I had no food because it all went to rent or another crucial bill. This is not the norm every night, though, so don’t worry. I still manage to eat healthy foods on a $100 or less budget per week, in Toronto, for two adult powerlifters with big appetites. We both have smoothies for breakfast that cost $1-2 per person. Mine packs about 40g protein, 10g fiber, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, lots of fat and carbs, and an array of vitamins and minerals. Sometimes I even eat an orange or kiwi on the side which will up the vitamins and fiber too. These are dietary requirements that are specific to my needs, and meal replacements generally do not meet these needs. Also, I can’t have gluten, which is surprisingly in a lot of that stuff, and I choose not to eat much soy, because it is bad for, and aggravates, all of my weird bodily conditions.

When you say that if I join the business, it will help with my money problems, please understand that I am a full time university student with multiple part-time jobs that I enjoy- I barely have time to shower in a day, let alone participate in the constant social media presence involved in these things. I do enjoy social media, but not for posting every meal and workout I do in a day. And my part-time jobs are ones that are enhancing my life in some way, and I enjoy them.

When you say that I won’t have to step foot in the gym or cook dinners, because all workouts are done from home and dinners are a shake (for example), this does not sound appealing to me. I LOVE going to the gym and cooking. Mostly, I love eating home cooked meals. I do powerlifting, which requires a gym, unless you have your own gym, which would be incredible lol! When you say that I can get weights and modify the workouts to include them, the answer is no. I do powerlifting, it is not the same as getting some dumb bells and following a video.

So I ask that you understand that I have different interests than you, and that is ok. I am excited for you that have a business you love and are healthy and enjoy what you do. I also enjoy what I do, it just happens to be something different. I am so proud of you for working hard towards your health goals! I am also proud of myself. My goals are a little different, and that is also ok. I am looking to gain muscle mass and intense strength, which requires intense workouts at the gym and lots of calories consumed. Hence, low calorie shakes are not suited for me, and meals that cut calories are out of the question. My basal metabolic rate, which is just to maintain my body, muscle, organs, etc. at rest is a little over 1600 cal per day. Add in a workout that burns probably 700 cal AT LEAST, plus add in additional calories to create a surplus for muscle building…that is a lot of food.

So all in all, these shakes and meal replacements just do not suit my life, my goals, or my interests. They may suit yours, which again, is ok. Lets focus on encouraging one another to strive towards our goals, no matter what they are ūüôā

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Surprises and My First Tattoo.

I get home from work on December 22nd, 2014 in the early evening, carrying my bags, binders, and change of shoes (I don’t like wearing heels driving) in my arms and fumbling through the door. ¬†Steve hands me the phone and tells me to call my mom on her cell phone ASAP, not letting me empty my hands or take of my coat and boots. His sense of urgency concerned me a little, thinking that maybe something is wrong, or something urgent is going on. ¬†I call her cell phone. ¬†She answers and says hello, and after a few seconds on small talk her and my dad emerge from our bedroom. ¬†SURPRISE! ¬†All the way from Ontario, Canada, they surprised both the Artist and myself that night. ¬†We talk often enough, that they new the Artist was home during the days and I was at work. ¬†They knew we had one car, that I used it to get to work during weekdays. ¬†Minutes before I arrived home, they had called the Artist to have him come down and let them in the front door of our apartment building, as you need a key. ¬†He thought it was a joke- he and my mother have a very sarcastic dialogue. ¬†But there they were, standing in the rain, waiting to be let inside. ¬†I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. ¬†I have never been surprised like that before- they came from SO far! ¬†It’s not like ¬†they stopped by on their way home……they drove down from another country. ¬†We were unable to make it home for the holidays for both time and financial constraints, so they came to us! ¬†They skipped all other holiday gatherings to spend the holidays with us ‚̧

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And they brought a million presents!!!

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I come from a small town, and everyone knew about the surprise. ¬†Lots of folks sent gifts for us down with them, and holidays cards as well. ¬†I know this is going to sound SO cliche, but it was a Christmas miracle ‚̧ ¬†My family doesn’t have much, but they are willing to spend what they do have one us ‚̧ ¬†I am so grateful to have such a wonderful family- there are no words.

We enjoyed some local museums, shopping, and lots of cooking. ¬†And of course, lots of cooking meant lots of eating. ¬†They even brought down a bunch of my favourite snacks from home that are unavailable here. ¬†It was very hard when they left the following weekend. ¬†There were many tears. ¬†I think I am still recovering from the post-holiday blues……

To get ours spirits up, the Artist gave me my first tattoo on New Years Day.  Actually, he gave me two!

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The one on my finger is the crown motif in Basquiat’s paintings, and the Artist has a larger version of this one his ankle. ¬†This was his first time doing a tattoo on someone else other then himself. ¬†The one on my heel is the deathly hallows symbol from Harry Potter. ¬†These are both very intimately meaningful to me in so many ways, but I am not going to divulge them on here. ¬†Instead, ask me sometime.

As they heal, they are becoming more of a grey tone then black, and I have no idea why.  My skin is crazy, the Artist said I am like a member of X-Men.  I never get sun burns, I have very little body hair, and my skin is very oily and soft.  Like, so oily.  These tattoos have healed very well, and have caused me little inconvenience.  So we will see how they finish up!

Happy holidays ‚̧

Done With Kale

The title pretty much speaks for itself- we are done with kale. ¬†It is really high in nutrients and has a dark, rich green colour, and we have tried it several ways, but all in all- it sucks. ¬†The taste is bad, the smell of bad, the texture is bad, and eating it raw is the worst. Now don’t get me wrong. ¬†I have tried to like it, tried using it in lots of different ways, and was extra open to new tastes because I have been looking to try new recipes, ideas, and incorporate more variety in my cooking. ¬†I gave it so many chances to be good, and it never seemed to please me. ¬†I am a spinach girl- all the way. ¬†And here is why I am done with trying to like kale, done eating it, and why I am not missing out on the nutrients.

*The following is based on the nutrition info on the bags of spinach and kale that I have bought.

In terms of taste: I don’t like the taste of kale. ¬†It is too strong and overpowers any dish I make it with, and I always remove all of the stems. ¬†Spinach has a milder taste, and tastes good raw. ¬†Whereas I don’t like raw kale, the taste just doesn’t jive with me. ¬†It is too strong or something.

In terms of smell: For some reason, I think kale stinks lol. ¬†But I don’t find the same problem for spinach. ¬†When I was reheating some leftover pasta with kale in it, all I could smell was kale.

In terms of texture: Having tried kale cooked, raw, sauteed, etc. and the texture is always the same to me. ¬†Even though cooking it makes it softer, it still is chewy. ¬†I even tried making kale chips. ¬†They were good- for the first few chews. ¬†Then it was like chewing a ball of grass and I couldn’t get it down. ¬†That is how I feel anytime I am chewing kale. ¬†The texture just bothers me.

In terms of price: No cheaper or more expensive then spinach, they are about the same.

In terms of nutrients: Kale is loaded with several hundred percent of your daily intake of vitamins K, C, and A. ¬†It has some mineral content, and isn’t that high in fibre. ¬†Spinach has over 100% of your daily intake of vitamin K, and is still a good, high source of vitamins C and A, but does not exceed 100%. ¬†It has a lower fibre count, similar to the kale, and has some mineral content, similar as well. ¬†So obviously, kale is loaded with much higher concentrations of vitamins then spinach is.

But….here is my opinion. ¬†Do we really need more then the 100% of a daily intake of a nutrient? ¬†Unless you are on specific recommendations by a doctor or something. ¬†But I am not. ¬†So do I really need more? ¬†I feel like after 100% is a waste, and over-doing isn’t always good either. ¬†And as for the less-then-100% of vitamins C and A, I eat a variety of fresh produce, and a variety of foods in general in my day-to-day food intake. ¬†So I am not missing out. ¬†I regularly eat fruit, including apples, oranges and berries, so vitamin C isn’t a problem for me, and I regularly eat carrots and sweet potato which are loaded with vitamin A.

So, all in all, why would I keep torturing myself with kale if I don’t like the way it tastes, smells, I don’t like the texture, and I am not missing out on any nutrients, and I love spinach and there is no price difference? ¬†Exactly. ¬†I am not going to. ¬†I am not missing out on anything, except stinking up my kitchen when reheating last night’s kale.

Here is a photo of the pasta dish I was referring to that had kale in it.  Normally I use spinach for this recipe, but tried kale instead. It is whole wheat penne, baked chicken breast, onion, kale, spice, and asiago cheese sauce (which is  just asiago cheese and milk to thin it out a little).

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Writing this makes me wonder, do others feel this way too? ¬†It’s not like I am never going to eat kale again because I refuse to eat it, I just won’t likely buy it again for my own cooking. ¬†If I am out, or having dinner somewhere else and there is kale, I would eat it. ¬†But I do not prefer it. ¬†So, are others feeling the same way, but just eating it anyways and “tolerating” it because it is the “new super food”? ¬†Are they eating it just because it is hip to be doing so? ¬†I, for one, do not care about belonging in the kale-club. ¬†I guess I am not “hip” enough, haha. ¬†Is kale the new fad?

If I am missing something, I would love to know. ¬†Am I missing the key secret as to why everyone is crazed for it? ¬†Or is there a mysterious nutrient I haven’t mentioned? ¬†Anything- I would love to know.

On to nice things the Artist and I have done for each other: The Artist wanted me to come to his studio with him, so I did, to keep him company.  And of course, being in the presence of his passion and talent brought out so many nice things to say about him.  The Artist also drove me where I needed to go bright and early in the morning.  Before I woke him to do this, I prepared his coffee for when he got home.  This weekend we have decided to try and do something fun like go to the zoo, park, or whatever if the weather holds up.  The Artist also told me how nice I looked in my outfit the other day- his eyes lit up when I emerged all dressed, even after 3 years of marriage.

I love my Artist.

Happiness is contagious.

Live, Love, Laugh, Eat

As we are eating our sandwiches for dinner, I watch the Artist and think about how much he has changed in the last few minutes. ¬†When he goes to “the bad place” from hunger, you can tell. ¬†He gets quiet, easily frustrated, his eyes appear like they are difficult to hold open, he can’t make a decision, he appears to be on the verge of curling up into the fetal position and crying, bursting through the window to scream like a mad man down the street, or chew off his own arm. ¬†Then as he eats, you can see him come back to life with every bite.

One of our favourite sandwiches: pulled pork, which goes excellent with corn on the cob, and peach-orange-mango popsicles (I don’t like mango, but the Artist had frozen some so I thought I would try hiding it in these, it worked!).

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Me: You know how you get all crazy when you’re hungry and then as you eat you are a whole knew person, like you come back to life?

The Artist: (as he inhales his sandwich) Ya.

Me: Is it the same when I get hungry and go to “the bad place”?

The Artist: (stops eating, eyes widen, and pauses…) It is almost worse for you!

Me: (Bursts out laughing)

The Artist: You get worse, you get really frustrated and it is like tunnel vision. ¬†You can only see what the immediate need is, beyond that is unimportant……and with sleeping too.

Me: (stil laughing)

The Artist: And for various other, really specific things.  For example, on a rainy day, you NEED to cuddle and watch TV, whatever you are craving at the time, and it is usually something bad or a kids movie.

Me: I guess we are want-what-we-want-when-we-want-it kind of people.

The Artist: I am an Artist, and that is why I can’t work at a regular job.

This is bang-on-100% true.

This is us.

Why bother fretting about getting the vacuuming done when it is a gorgeous day outside? ¬†Seize to moment and go outside and enjoy the weather. ¬†Vacuum later that night, or tomorrow, it won’t go anywhere. ¬†Or why not embrace an urge to go to the zoo, the park, or get ingredients to bake a cake, instead of sticking to the original plan of organizing closets or cupboards? ¬†In our household, “life” is the priority. ¬†Especially over things like housework, dishes, and other day to day things. ¬†Every day is not like this, I don’t live in filth and eat junk all the time because I am too busy out and about. ¬†Because usually, a day will call for, or an urge will come up, for me to put up my hair, turn on the radio, and ¬†clean ’til the cows come home. ¬†And the same goes for cooking nice meals, preparing things from scratch to freeze for later, etc. ¬†It all gets done in good time, and doing it when I really, really want to, when I have a craving to do it, makes it all the more enjoyable. ¬†Versus, the opposite- staying inside when you want to be out enjoying the sunshine just to do dishes. ¬†Because, more then likely, the next day, I will want to clean up the kitchen so I can bake some goodies.

Embrace your urges. ¬†Because you may not necessarily always be able to. ¬†Kids. ¬†Career. ¬†New home. ¬†Family. ¬†Etc. ¬†I may not always be able to enjoy TV on rainy days because I will be looking after kids, or working at a job. ¬†I may not always be able to decide on whim to bake a cake, because I have to take the baby to doctor or get called in to work (and no, I am not pregnant nor are we “trying”, nor do I work, this is all hypothetical!). ¬†So embracing it now is important to me, because this freedom may not always exist.

Saying that we are want-what-we-want-when-we-want-it kind of people doesn’t sound so bad now, does it? ¬†In fact, I am proud of our lifestyle. ¬†Life is precious. ¬†And yes, I worry, and I stress, but it comes less and less often. ¬†All I have to do is go back to these thoughts, and remember. ¬†It is a great coping strategy.

Today, I embraced the cooler temperatures and did some housework so I wouldn’t get all hot and sweaty. ¬†I wanted to lay on the couch and read an article from TIME magazine, so I did that with my breakfast. ¬†I felt and urge to write a blog post, so here it is. ¬†I am excited to go to a zumba session later and ride my bike to get there, I can’t wait. ¬†I feel like cooking something nice for dinner, so I will!

Ever feel like doing nothing? ¬†Don’t. ¬†Ever feel like being super productive? ¬†Go ahead. ¬†Ever feeling nostalgic and want to catch up with old friends about old times? ¬†Do it. ¬†You never know when a time might come that you are no longer able to.

Embrace each moment as they come.

Enjoy the little things.

Be happy.

Happiness is contagious.