Product Review – Premier Protein

pprotein

 

Product review: Premier Protein
 ***********************
A month or so ago my Step-daughter came home with a jug of protein {pictured}. She had decided to go vegetarian and her BM was feeding her these shakes to up her protein.
*Insert panic attack and shock here*
kd_c6Duz
There are several reasons why these things are NOT good for you and especially why they are not good for children.
As her BM has convinced her that not eating meat puts you in a “bad mood” {more like the least she is like me or her father the better her BM’s mood} at the very least I am thankful that she is {most likely} not poisoning her with these things anymore.
Here’s what you need to know about these “cheat” foods and why it is imperative that we all hit the kitchen with gusto and consume whole foods with a TONNE of protein – after all, protein-rich foods are everywhere. Meat is NOT your only option!!
download
My Biggest issue
This is a COSTCO product. Why don’t we like that fact? Well, like all Mega chains they have wishy-washy ethics to increase buying power. This means a lot of crushing the little guy and a lot of caselot buying from businesses that are downright dirty – GlaxosmithKline, Johnson, Unilever etc…
Do you own research however, Costco is on total boycott in our world.
images

Ingredients (Chocolate Shake Tetrapak):

3b14d8325ae8eb5e08004f420ca54250-5e
These “nutrition supplements” are filled with highly processed animal proteins, chemicals, preservatives and additives. Not all processed foods are detrimental to our health BUT understanding what is in this shake is critical in determining whether or not to use it, replace it, or ditch the entire idea all together.
 109bfe38b11afd69ec7ceca16d39cd30.jpg
Something you might find in a pre-mixed shake or powder is(Muscle Milk being the guiltiest offender of all) heavy metal…not the good kind….things like Cadmium:

Cadmium raises special concern because it accumulates in and can damage the kidneys, the same organs that can be damaged by excessive protein consumption. And it can take 20 years for the body to eliminate even half the cadmium absorbed today.” This is a highly toxic metal, and while there are some cases where decisions have to be weighed against relative risks, accepting that you have to be exposed to any cadmium at all in your protein drink after your workout is definitely not one of them,” says Michael Harbut, M.D., director of the Environmental Cancer Initiative at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Royal Oak, Mich.

“When these toxic heavy metals are combined in a product that is marketed for daily use, that raises serious public health concerns, especially for pregnant women, children, and young adults,” says Burns, who has been a toxicology consultant to state and federal government agencies.

Pic1

 

Acesulfame Potassium or Acesulfame K 

The artificial sweetener you find in this particular drink. Two rat studies suggest that the additive might cause cancer. In addition it is mentioned that large doses of acetoacetamide (a breakdown product of this sugar) have been shown to affect the thyroid in rats, rabbits, and dogs.
full_13th_june_2014_02_06_26_heavily-processed-whey

Wheyeeet a minute!

Most whey protein is ultra-pasteurized from conventional milk full of growth hormones and antibiotics. The whey is acid processed and stripped of all of it’s alkalizing minerals (which include vitamins and minerals that we are all in need of). If you don’t balance the acidic state caused in your body by de-alkalized foods you will increase vulnerability to degenerative disease.
tumblr_mcfl4zqNAp1r2zyogo1_500

Eating a variety of food provides more than enough protein for the average person – leave the protein supplements to the very malnourished and the bodybuilding set. 

If you’re part of the bodybuilding set (as I am) there are a tonne of healthy choices for you that don’t include all of the crappy ingredients found in these US made, Costco sold packs of shame.

My choice: Iron Vegan

Jeff’s choice: Beyond Yourself

If you’re thinking that you could be low on protein, try making a minimal ingredient nut butter smoothie or choose some real food sources of protein:

Meat – beef, pork, poultry, eggs, yogurt, cheese, fish. Choose ethical, choose organic, choose hormone free. Be wary of mollusks and shellfish. Read meat can be left out entirely for heart health.

Vegetarian sources of protein – legumes (dry beans, lentils, and peas), nuts and seeds (almond butter, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds), whole grains (oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, pasta), dark leafy vegetables, avocado.

Are you worth, your salt? – A recipe and a lesson…Lesscipe?

Spicy, sexy, salty.

Having a young child around is part of where I find my blog topics on food. This weekend Anastacia and I were preparing a meal together and I placed on our dinner table some sriracha salt. A wonderful mix of chilies, citrus zest and Himalayan sea salt – stick around for my recipe.

She began eating her meal and watched as I finished the preparation of my salad with this lovely salt. Timidly she asked if she could try some. “Of course you can!” I exclaimed, “salt is absolutely wonderful and this one is fabulous in the flavour department”. She looked up through sheepish eyes and admitted that at her moms house it is a banned substance because it’s “bad for you”.

Why salt has become the enemy for some folks floors me. With the information age we are far better off to do our own research than to buy into the latest fad food omission of the moment. Like fats, one day it’s great for you and the next it’s not.

Lets settle this with a bit of my opinion shall we?

In and around the time that low fat, low carb and low calorie diets were making their way on the scene (read: microwaveable lazy man food and the like) scientists and snake oil salesmen alike were ramping up to tear down salt.

Like any decade, there are food fashion “do’s” and “don’ts” and a host of crazed food police supporters touting the benefits of the diet of the day.

I don’t support the anti-salt campaign.

History

Salt used to be such a hot commodity that the Romans used it as a paycheque for some. The word salary is even derived from the word Sal, Salarium = Salt Money-fancy that!

Salt is mined in a lot of places. Here in Canada one of the largest mines in the world is located in Ontario. Globally, you can find salt mines in Poland, Germany, England, Morocco, Italy, Ireland, Pakistan and the USA.

This LINK shows traditional and newer mining sites. Check it out. Here’s a great shot of an amazing salt Mosque from the Wiki link:

Beautiful Salt Creations

Beautiful Salt Creations

Salt types

Before I get into the pros and cons of salt it’s a good idea for you to know about the types of salt that are available to you.

Himalayan Pink Salt – mined in the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan, 300kms from the HImalayas.

Sea Salt – produced from the evaporation of sea water.

Watch a video on how to make your own sea salt here: MAKE YOUR OWN SEA SALT

Kosher Salt – mined underground or from the sea and compressed to make larger granules

Celtic Salt – harvested from the sea of NW France and also known as grey salt there are no additives and its colour comes from clays found in the salt fields

Table Salt – mined above or below ground, processed and stripped of it’s beneficial minerals, talc and silica additives to name a few. Find a listing of all the chemical agents here.

Weeding out the enemy

Have you heard of the term Full or High Spectrum Salt? This term refers to salts that have been refined but NOT stripped of their valuable mineral content which makes salt extremely important.

The beneficial magical ingredients in GOOD salt are:

  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Iron – oxygen moving helper
  • Zinc
  • Iodine – healthy thyroid & body temp regulator
  • Sodium – regulates blood PH & stomach
  • Potassium
  • Manganese – bone development, metabolizing

Salt is also a natural electrolyte that helps to retain water in our bodies. Water retention is hugely important as it stimulates the thirst function and keeps our blood pressure stable.

Salt prevents muscle cramps and stimulates the adrenal glands. The latter leading us to better sleep patterns.

Salt creates hydrochloric acid in the body which helps us to digest food in the stomach. If you are sodium deficient, you can suffer from muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness and could even place yourself in a coma.

Why can’t some people eat salt?

People with high blood pressure cannot or shouldn’t consume salt. Why you ask? Well, the kidneys regulate sodium in the body, if they are over burdened with this process the body will nearly self destruct which leads to hardened arteries, heart attack or stroke.

It is uber important to know if you have blood pressure issues and if so – ditch the table salt immediately. Ditch it anyway.

Foods to avoid – BAD SALT

Processed foods high in sodium from table salt. This is the worst type of food you can put into your body. Not only is it made in a factory with old ingredients that are irradiated and dead, these meals are bad for our environment due to the type of production used to create them – I know I couldn’t sleep at night knowing my poor taste in food was damaging our fragile eco-system.

The avoid list:

  • Potato Chips
  • Pop
  • Pre-made microwave meals / kids pre-made luncheon meals
  • Fast Food – Fries/Burgers/Chicken mysteries
  • Packed Pizzas/Pastas/Pizza Pops etc…
  • Raisin Bran
  • Pre-made sauces Asian/Italian
  • Meat jerky, pre-cut/sliced meats of any kind
  • Conventional mix or pre-made pancakes / waffles / muffins
  • Traditional ketchup, pickles
  • Cheese slices, cottage cheese
  • Several types of pre-made veggie burgers (check the lable)
  • Several types of breads/buns/bagles that are pre-made
  • Clamato/tomato/vegetable juices – juice your own!!
  • Canned mushrooms, soups, veggies packed in salt
  • Pre-made salad dressings – make your own!!
  • “Just add water” dishes like rice/paella/pastas/noodles
  • Boxed desserts like cakes/pudding

I think the general lesson here is – learn to cook. I mean REALLY cook. For the love of all things healthy.

As with all things we consume, salt should be of the simplest and purest form as well as used in a somewhat civilized manner. When you’re looking to cook with salt ensure that you’re only using it as a “finisher” in dishes and not as part of an over-salted recipe.

If you will note in all of my recipes I rarely use salt for anything but “to taste”, or to use directly before consuming.

If you feel like a hero taking good salt off the table – you’re wrong. Check your kitchen, scrap the garbage and start eating good salt now. You owe your body and the bodies of the people who are in your care.

Sriracha Sea Salt Recipe

IMG_0534-1

Ingredients:

3 tbsp dried hot chilis

5 tbsp Himalayan Salt

1.5 tbsp Lemon zest

2 tbsp Dried diced garlic

Method:

Combine all ingredients and place into grinder.

If you do not have a grinder, place in a salt pig/vessel and sprinkle on salads, soups, pastas and meats.

Becoming Little Miss Bikini – Episode 1 – Where to start?

Image result for wbff

My intention with this post was to give anyone looking for some insight into doing your first competition a really clear picture of what it could look like for you from start to finish. I hope that I can do this for you. And lets face it, I’m adding some serious pressure on myself when I go public with my plans.

I start my journey in Calgary Alberta where there really isn’t a heckuva lot to do in the City but the Foothills of the Rockies boast some of the best skiing and hiking on the planet. Luckily for me, I live in an acreage in the foothills  with my devastatingly handsome partner Jeff, our 3 dogs and my step-daughter Anastacia. We spent all winter building ourselves an amazing gym at home that has everything a person could need including an infrared sauna and hot tub for recovery!

As a semi-pro dancer with decades of athleticism under my belt I thought I would try my hand at some kind of fitness competition. After about a year of dedicated training and eventually committed weight lifting regime I decided that I would put my best foot forward and go for it. But where to start?

As luck would have it, a health and safety consultant of ours had been to competition before so I picked her brain about the situation. I knew that I definitely had my work cut out for me in trying to find a local, qualified trainer who could also help me with Vegan/Vegetarian nutrition to achieve the goals that I wanted.

What I learned: 

I needed to buy some meal prep containers. I bought these ones however, the lids aren’t as fantastic as I would like but they are sturdy and can be re-used several times and are about as cost effective and environmentally friendly as you can get in the realm of plastic.

Find a food scale. This is the best one I could research and it works well.

I needed to keep track of what I was doing currently. I used this app in the past and it’s working well for me now. You can print out your daily logs and send them to your coach when asked.

Find a trainer – this is coming in Episode 2 “Tail Chasing and Boiling Blood”…or something like that.

Find some show dates. I picked all natural and drug free competitions. I don’t like the use of steroids or other things that some folks use. That being said, you could go to those shows and just NOT do the drugs, but your chances of placing/winning would be lower.

Find some literature that I could trust and learn from. I bought this online book which is perfect for Vegans and Vegetarians alike.

Here are some links:

NPAA

INBF

IDFA

WBFF

Work my ass off (below). While I exercise daily, I by no means limit my food or alcohol so I’m basically maintaining what you see below. Not the prettiest sight however, at nearly 37 I’m alright with it. This is my “starting” image….hideous bikini, day 2 of my period, earlier in the morning than I’d like to be up.

   

Look out for my next post coming soon….this will get into HOW I found a trainer and all the BS that I had to go through to do it. Get googling, ask me questions and most of all – do your research! I’m blogging all of this so that you can skip the pain that I have gone through to get to the good stuff.

Skinny fat / Fat skinny – why you’re rotting

IMG_1782.PNG

 

 
You’re skinny. You never have to work out because you just can’t gain weight. You’re a “lucky skinny girl”, you have “great genes”….blah blah blah.

What if your luck was actually a curse? On the outside you look amazing (ish) but on the inside, you’re falling apart.

I took this AMAZING 😉 picture of myself in the washroom today just before I went to work out and was reminded that of an experience I needed to blog about.

I was prompted to write this post after a short vacation we took to Mexico last month. While strolling by the beach, a young girl in front of us was preoccupied with a conversation on her phone. Twenty, thin and wrinkle-free, I was drawn to her as she walked ahead wrapped in a towel. I looked her up and down (as most females at least do) and as I came to see her knees and what dangled below them, I was shocked. Twenty-four inches of noodles held together by feet and knees stood erect, tubular and without shape. Slightly bowed, thin and tanned.

I looked at my partner and said “please tell me that my legs do NOT look like that, they’re so dead looking!” He quickly responded with a “NO!” and something like “gee, those things have no shape….”

My mind swam with all of the STUPID ideas that women have been made to accept, and I was mad. Nuts are fat, avocado is fat, coconut milk is fat, you have to weigh XXX in order to be sexy…diet, lean cuisine, Dr. Bernstein, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers. I mean c’mon, space food in micro-portions, filled with preservatives, GMO’s and carcinogens, burned to a crisp in your microwave is healthier than eating heaps of REAL food and moving your body???

There’s something very wrong with this picture.

And so the person that lingered up the beach before me bore the resemblance of what I see so often in the mainstream media and unfortunately in the general public.

Skinny-fat people, as they are sometimes called, fall prey to some pretty harsh health realities because of the neglect and damage they unknowingly subject their bodies to. Namely a lack of exercise/nutrition. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes(not just for fatties), dental hygiene damage, hair loss, dermatological issues, stress, depression, anxiety…..you name it.

Why you would neglect your HEART, the force that gives you life, I do not know. But PLEASE, please for your own sake, educate yourself. Go for a walk, do some weight training, be active, see the world. There is a happier, healthier, more amazing person in that tiny flabby body, I promise.

If you choose not to, that’s your life, but please, for the love of all things holy, do not breed. The world does not need any more people with nothing to give back. Even better, get yourself fixed.

If you want help, Google is there for you. If not, I am. You can do it.

The big “O”

Leading an informed lifestyle can be torturous. Not only do you come upon a tonne of information that both shocks and appals you but, conflicting stories and opinions can start you into a tailspin of confusion about what ethical and heart-based decisions you can make.

Fear not, the quick answer to this is to not beat yourself up about it. You can only do so much, and caring about slow food, farm to table and small-time community initiatives (CSA’s, Farmers Markets, Eating in season…) are a great place to start.

Organics are tricky because, like most things, once the “big boys” get ahold of terms like green, local, organic etc…they start to bastardize their intended meaning…leaving us all, well, throwing our hands up in the air.

While I try not to beat myself over the head with info, I definitely like to keep a personal mandate of NOT supporting big business, especially big agribusiness and big pharma.

I found the chart below exceptionally helpful when trying to weed out “bad” organics from my very saintly regular grocery shops. Hope you find it helpful too!

Infographic Organics 

 

GOOD Vitamins – finally.

 
I have been on a search for honest, plant-based, GMO/Animal free vitamins of superior quality for a few weeks now.
 
I have finally found them – me thinks.
 
My process for purchasing beauty or health products starts with one question; were animals used in the manufacturing of or safety testing of this product. Once I resounding NO is realized, I’ll try it.
 
There are a lot of different vitamins on the market and what I found most confusing was the fact that one company could be rated as A+ for it’s Iron supplements but a D- on it’s B Complex. Why can’t one producer just make an all around amazing supplement line in every category?
 
Needless to say, many googles later I had fallen behind on my vitamin intake and was pretty frustrated. Some articles list FLINTSTONE vitamins as “good”. Yeesh.
 
Today, my search has ended. I found The Vitamin Farm. Located here in Calgary at TD Square it’s got a fantastic selection of some good (and not so good) supplements. They vary in pricing so even on a tight budget, you can keep up your vitamin levels without going broke or stocking your fridge full of spinach and beets.
 
I chose the Mega Food brand. Why? Well, the labels say it all for me:
 
GMO Free
Vegetarian
Gluten Free
Soy Free
Dairy Free
Farm Fresh
 
They actually use a term “from farm to tablet”. Apparently these tablets are 100% food based, the real deal. Yes, most other supplements are synthetic – yuck!
 
What I questioned about those synthetic sources was their BIOAVAILABILITY. Essentially, how well and where the body was absorbing additional nutrients. With some vitamins like B’s and C’s which are water soluble, we end up peeing out their goodness. I say, lets ensure we are making a superior product that is creating some serious positive impact on our bodies before it’s making its way into the septic system.
 
At $40-$50 per bottle and between 60 and 90 tablets,  these vitamins are not for the faint of heart. MegaFood however, has been around since 1973 and seem to be a company that is committed to producing real food using a slo-food process, which I can respect.
 
Best of all? Monsanto hasn’t had their filthy little hands all over my vitamins.
 
Visit their website to see if their products are sold in your area: http://www.megafood.com/
 
I’ll be sure to follow up this post in 60 days with and updates on their effectiveness.
 
 

The dirty dozen

After attending the Monsanto protest with my family this past Saturday, I inevitably had to make a trip to the grocery store to stock up – while my gardening is on hold for deck renovations.

I found, that even I was forgetting about what is most important to buy organic, and what can be skipped….mainly because I usually buy all organic or nothing.

So, to help those out who are on a budget or for those who just want to know, I put up a little blog on the dirty dozen.

What you’re trying to avoid after GMO’s is high pesticide residue. Some stores sell fruit & veg washes – those are chemicals too!!

Natural Fruit and Veg wash is the way to go – RECIPE: 

– Fill sink with water
– add 1 cup of vinegar & stir
– add fruit & veg
– soak for 1 hour
– rinse & store

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has a great site where you can download apps etc…for quick reference while you’re on the go.

EWG Link – Click Here

Get read, be aware, question everything you put on and in your body!!

**************************************************************

Some other ways to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals is by auditing your makeup cupboard. Here is some info from David Suzuki.org:

Check out this link for a printable carry along while shopping: SHOPPERS GUIDE

1. BHA and BHT

Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number

In addition to coal tar dyes, natural and inorganic pigments used in cosmetics are also assigned Colour Index numbers (in the 75000 and 77000 series, respectively).
Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as “CI” followed by five digits.1 The U.S. colour name may also be listed (e.g. “FD&C Blue No. 1” or “Blue 1”). Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain. 

3. DEA-related ingredients

Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Look also for related chemicalsMEA and TEA. 

4. Dibutyl phthalate

Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. 

5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives

Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer. 

6. Parabens

Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions. 

7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)

Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as “unscented.” Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife.

8. PEG compounds

Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., polyethylene glycol). 

9. Petrolatum

Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer. 

10. Siloxanes

Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife. 

11. Sodium laureth sulfate

Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).

12. Triclosan

Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.