Why This Blog is So Necessary to Humanity

Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Long-Winded Downward Spiral Through Health and Nutrition

One upon a time…I was new to diet an exercise. Yes, I know it may surprise you to know that I wasn’t born in the gym as a result of a very heavy leg press.
But yes, once upon a time…my idea of exercise was nothing but Yoga.

Now, back in high school I ran track, played football and did ballet, but once I was left to my own, uninformed devices I was devoted to nothing but my Yoga and hardcore vegetarianism.

I became eager with the will to be healthy and learn more about diet and nutrition…I took on the advice of several ‘trusted’ sources and learned about the soul sucking qualities of foods like refined sugars and other animal products such as dairy. I vaguely heeded the warnings…enough so to live an entirely righteous, whole foods, soy-based life. Only to end up looking like this:

All my life I was a mop any house would be proud to have. A rigid stick body with a mass of tangled locks. Light and durable. That was me. When the Grass-Fed stage of my life began, big girl hormones played their cruel trick of putting weight on nowhere but my middle. No matter how much grass I ate or how long I held my warrior poses…it wouldn’t budge. I wasn't used to this. Action had to be taken. 

This began stage two of my anaerobically challenged years.
Thanks to ‘heath and fitness’ magazines, spokespersons and uber-reliable internet articles written by people with very important sounding names, I learned this valuable lesson: only cardio burns fat and eating fat makes you fatter. So I got with the program. I started running again as well as jumping around with Barbie weights in front of the television with my favourite fitness instructors. I could feel the burn in my miniscule muscles. This had to be working. A treadmill and 3lbs weights was all I needed because I just wanted to be ‘toned’. I also consumed nothing but vegetarian, fat-free foods so I could have a fat-free tummy! That’s sound logic! I was on my way to be ripped!!!

Well…maybe not ripped but I acquired an impressive amount of forehead vascularity…

The Cardio Bunny adventures left me little but frustrated. I was faster, I was fitter…but my body assisted the new need for speed by creating an even lighter frame. This sounds desirable in theory but the problem was that my body took the weight from the places that didn’t need to be smaller. My arms and my legs.

Maybe I just needed to run for longer? Maybe it’s all of the gluten I was eating? I signed up for a ½ marathon and long story short, grass and fat free, gluten free soy burgers do not equal recovery. I busted my knee so badly and I was unable to race… this led me to:

The Bodybuilding Phase

I couldn’t run but I could still bend my legs. This meant that I could try standard weight lifting. It seemed daunting initially but the gym atmosphere and my about-to-be workout partner eventually piqued my curiosity enough to get me into the weight room. Of course…I could not just lift weights. I had to lift ALL THE WEIGHTS.
At this juncture, I learned what it meant to ‘lift like a vegetarian’ and I wanted to be the strongest 100lbs woman in the galaxy. I introduced animal protein back into my diet and finally saw some changes.

The problem was that there was so much conflicting information out there as to what the best bodybuilding diet was. I saw low fat, high carb diets. Hight fat, low carb. Grain free. Sugar free…the list went on. Just to be safe, I implemented them all.

I kept with it long enough to begin competing, get certified and pick up more and more 'game changing studies’ to help shape my body and diet into the healthiest, leanest person ever. There reached a point where I was 100%:

Gluten free
Dairy free
Grain free
Soy free
Sugar free
Preservative free
Phytate free
Low fat
Low carb
Low sodium
High-ish protein
Low glycemic
Grass fed
Local produce

I also strictly adhered to all of the recommended guidelines as to when to eat in order to optimize my performance, muscular gains and fat burning potential (because all of these things can be achieved at the same time…) I made it certain that I:

Didn’t eat past 6pm.
Didn’t eat before morning training.
Ingested the optimal 30g of protein in the form of the quickest absorbing protein available on the market within 10 seconds of my workout’s cool down.
Didn’t mix my carbs and fats.
Didn’t eat carbs after lunch.
Didn’t eat carbs first thing in the morning.
Didn’t eat carbs EVER

So in short, I drank a lot of water.

I looked a lot like I did when I started out lifting. Maybe with less hair and slightly more pronounced eyeballs.

I was now lifting heavy. Eating ultra super world class clean and getting ultra super world class nowhere.

Then…I found myself on the path of the true elite: Paleo.

And so began the era of: The Paleo Tard

Paleo had studies! It made so much sense! I can eat nut butter again! But just a little! I can eat bacon! But I won’t! Maybe a bite! One mouthful of bacon had me 100% commited to Paleo. Any diet that includes bacon (but only nitrate free, grass fed, psychologically evaluated to be ‘happy’ cows, bacon of course) had to be right.

It’s so right…it has to be.  Those diagrams of the angry looking whole grain hulls look so legit! Those would definitely bust a cap in my intestines if given the chance. Yes, it’s totally obvious that mankind remains un-evolved and our poop should be floating. Screw horoscopes! I want to subscribe to ass-trology!
And look at all of the lean people on Paleo. Just ignore the fat Crossfit people. They are obviously doing it wrong.
Yes…I had finally figured it out. Resorting to caveman habits was obviously smarter.
But why did I come DEAD LAST in my last bodybuilding show? Why did I grow ZERO muscle, always look bloated yet couldn’t possibly push any harder to change my body…

This is where I fell into a long, downward spiral of confusion and despair. I don’t even remember how I looked at this stage. Probably something like this:

I couldn’t take it any more. Why was nothing working? I became depressed and complacent towards the fact that I was obviously not genetically gifted. I was destined to be Mrs. Potato Head. Without being able to eat potatoes as consolation. Shattered and forlorn after yet another colossal flaming on the bodybuilding forums…one of the few places left on earth that I somewhat fit in with my endless knowledge of good-for-nothing nutritional info and my 'do you even lift' physique…I hit rock bottom.

Then finally it beamed down on me like an angel of mercy…


I never liked science in school…but I never doubted it’s correctness. It’s only science if it is fact. How did I miss this? Some of the theories on the internet were backed by actual evidence.  Protocols based off of studies conducted by people who didn’t want to sell me anything! What wizardry was this?

Finally after some late nights and early mornings of peering at research through my exceedingly skeptical reading goggles (I'd be been burned enough after all)…I’ve found that the simplest principles are the ones that actually work. The things that you didn’t actually need science to tell you. Want to lose weight? Just eat less of whatever you are eating. Want to gain? Eat some more. Yes, it can get more technical than this when you are getting into body recomposition but even then it’s just basic math, basic formulas and old fashioned elbow grease in the gym. Thanks a lot for nothing **insert famous fitness personalities that I don’t want to be sued by**

To all of you who also fell victim to the money hungry, marketing ho-bags who sold their souls so you would buy their plans, supplements, workouts, useless pink gym gadgets or any other strategically pedaled pile of carefully labeled horse poop, join me in giving the two fisted finger to such media presences.

To science:

You may be asking yourself what has become of me now that science is in my life. Well now...you'll just have to check out future posts to find out won't you?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

5 Ways to Answer the Deadly Question, ‘Does This Make Me Look Fat?’

You have just been hit with one of the most dangerous questions ever. You know it is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer situation. You know that it is especially NOT a 'yes’ answer situation. It doesn’t matter that the fact she has to ask you in the first place should say enough in itself. The truth is that your survival greatly depends on the next few words that escape your mouth.

In other words, it’s a trap. And you’re in it tenders first.

Luckily for you I have compiled a list of appropriate responses in order of desperation. There are a handful of approaches that may release you from the grip of death...even if only momentarily. It’s up to you to use that opening to your advantage.

Approach One: Redirect the Conversation with a Semi-Related Compliment.

 There is no sense trying to conceal the truth. She will see right through your over flamboyant lie that will most definitely lead to a long life of silent treatment broken only by occasional, belittling questioning of your judgment.  Instead of your pathetic Pinocchio act, answer with a compliment that could be confused for a direct answer.

Be sure to be enthusiastic but not so much so that she can smell your desperation. This approach has the highest success rate.

Approach Two: Redirect the Conversation with a Totally Unrelated Yet Captivating Scenario

This is another sneaky way to dodge the question but it must be used with precision. It is the counter-attack of changing the subject entirely under the pretence that this new subject has affected you so severely that it will trigger her instinctual need to be nurturing. Once nurturing tendencies have been engaged it will cause her to abandon her pity party altogether and you will be safe as well as smothered with attention.

Be warned. This response must be used within the fraction of the moment her question has been presented. This is the only way that she may be fooled into believing that your emotional turmoil somehow overpowered your ability to hear her question. If you pause for even a moment this plan will fail.

Approach Three: The Looking Glass Effect

If the previous responses did not work you are now stumbling into increasingly dangerous territory. This next approach is a slightly hazardous yet rather crafty way to suddenly challenge her perspective long enough for you to make a run for it. Be creative and use long sentences if you can.

Act quickly. She may catch on sooner than you think.

Approach Four: The Guilt Trip

She is using foul play. Now it’s your turn.

The problem with this approach is that her mood may steadily depreciate and you may end up in just as much trouble as if you gave the straight answer. In some cases this response may trigger remorse and she will be moved to comfort your suffering. In other cases this response may move her to volcanic tears followed by the slow, torturous dissection of your soul one little piece at a time.

Approach Five: Set Something on Fire

This is your last-ditch attempt at survival. If all else fails and you are unable to stealthily set off the fire alarm then you have no choice but to resort to pyromania. Set something, if not everything on fire and run in circles yelling whilst the conversation goes up in a blaze of glory.

She will never ask you that question again.

You may also end up in prison.

However, if for some reason she visits you in prison she will have already gotten ready before she left the house and you will be presented with less pressing questions such as ‘What the hell is wrong with you?’ and ‘Did you pay the homeowners insurance like I asked you?’

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Visual Representation of the Crash and Burn of my Train of Thought

We write training and nutrition articles for www.stackingplates.com. We try to lay out the facts in the simplest form...and by facts I mean information with actual scientific basis and not simply parroting the latest fads.

To be honest the above usually applies to MrStackingPlates' articles. Mine are more high powered rants about dieting and Yoga. However, I am trying to change that so my work can fall in with the general tone of the website and in order to do this it requires research of my own.
Easy enough right?

The problem with this is that my attention span is having a little difficulty 'spanning out' over the length of entire case studies. That's putting it lightly. It is really more like my attention span is the thread attached to the pin of the grenade which is my sanity and the minute I put too much pressure on that thread...

I decided to illustrate my struggles and created a visual representation of what happens when I try to read serious things about other serious things...

As you can see...this can't be good for me. So I am going to have a cup of coffee and draw on more things in Paintbrush.

The Better Way to Put Blueberries in Blueberry Muffins

I bake blueberries muffins twice a week. Each time I am presented with the same bothersome struggles.

How do you prevent the fresh blueberries from getting squished if you mix them in by hand?

If they are frozen, how do you stop the blueberries from turning the batter blue? 
(blue batter = grey muffins when baked. Ew)

How do I make sure that each muffin gets the same amount of blueberries and you don't end up with one all-berry-no-batter muffin and one sad, barren and altogether disappointing muffin?

This is how:

You are welcome.

Oh yes, if you want the muffin recipe click here. Then just toss in your blueberries!!!