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Archive for April, 2012

It’s all connected… pt. 1

So a good friend, and the inspiration behind my decision to start writing this whole compilation of thoughts, suggested that I back track a little here…  She mentioned that it might me a good idea to share my experiences with living with MS, as well as a bit of history behind my journey through nutrition and fitness which has led me to today.

Ok.  When it comes to MS, there really is no simple explanation.  It sucks sometimes.  This being said, I try to not let it change who I am…  Some of the challenges I’m more than willing to share, some I’m not :-p  The biggest problem I’ve come to expect is not knowing what to expect.  Everyone will have a different experience, and no one will be able to tell the recently diagnosed “ok, so this is what’s going to happen”.  All you can do is learn to pay more attention to what your body is telling you. 

The most consistent complication I have is fatigue.  It can be completely debilitating and impossible to explain just how bad it is.  If you don’t “know it”, you have no idea!  (And I wouldn’t want you to!)  When I was first diagnosed, I resisted the suggestion to start on any “disease-modifying” treatment.  Yeah, they do call it that.  I guess when there isn’t a cure, you have to come up with some other kind of a name which sounds appealing.  I was a young punk who thought I good tough it out on my own.  I also wasn’t the type of person who ever liked to accept the need to ask for help.  I’ve gotten over that over the years :-p  When I finally accepted the need to give the drugs a shot, I started with Copaxone.  It was a once daily injection which, other than pretty ugly site reactions, was not so bad… and actually helped with the fatigue a bit.  Only problem there, it didn’t seem to help slow the progression of my disease and the MRI’s showed my worsening condition.  Boo.  So my neuro suggested the switch to Betaseron.  This meant less needles (yeah! only 3 times a week!) BUT they make me feel like crap after, hence bed time is the only option.  It’s a more aggressive treatment, which has done a good job so far at reducing new flare ups, but the fatigue returned with a vengeance.  😦 

There is soooooo much more I could talk about, but that will have to do for now.  Every day I am affected by this disease.  Every day the people close to me are affected as well.  I’m lucky to have an incredible support system at home, Ange has been my ROCK 🙂  More than a month ago, I watched a video which was shared by my friend Amanda that gave me the inspiration to fight back.  To see if there wasn’t a way to take the reins, rather than just picking myself off when I get bucked off.  THIS is where the connection exists.  My rants about Primal Blueprint and Paleo and Crossfit all do come together in the end.  Check it out if you’d like:

“I will do better”

Coming to the end of a challenging week…  I don’t know what it is, but sometimes I just seem to find it tough to fit it all in.  In terms of food, I’ve been right on track, but when it comes to my usual workout routine… I’ve been off the pace a bit.  Maybe that’s how it should be though…  when things are too routine it’s not always a good thing.  I played hockey last Sunday, did an hour of yoga on Monday, played hockey again Tuesday, rode my spin bike for over an hour Wednesday, played more hockey Thursday (which was intense with only 1 sub!), and took yesterday off.  Well, other than my 6 consecutive chin ups and a second attempt to duplicate the demonstration which only made it to number 5…  At the end of my shift at work is not when I’m at my optimal in terms of performance it seems.  First thing in the morning seems best!  I guess looking back, my week wasn’t a loss… just different.

A good friend said something the other day that stuck with me…  “I will do better”  At first I didn’t really think about it a whole lot when she said it, but over time I have sort of decided I like the simplicity of that.  Such a simple statement, but it’s one that encourages changing your every day routine and growing to reach a goal.  Feeding from my last post where I rejected the concept of achieving perfection, it fits.  Everyone has something to which this statement could apply…  For me, after years of fighting the battle to lose weight and achieve the “ideal” which I set for myself through excessive exercise and diligent calorie counting, I can do better.  The Primal Blueprint has altered my way of thinking about food, predominantly fat, as being something to appreciate for all of the positive it can do for your body, rather than something that needs to be heavily restricted and even feared for the bad things it can do when not understood properly…

When it comes to my habits of counting calories (which were close to the point of obsessive at times!) I will do better.  Learning to have a better understanding of food and the positive it can provide seems like a much better use of time and energy.  😉

ideally speaking

Take that chin ups!  My challenge I set for myself at the beginning of April was 5 chin ups by the end of the month…  my staff can be my witnesses, I just did 6!  HA!!  The only part that’s scary about that is the next goal which is bouncing around in my absurd thoughts is max number of burpies in 7 minutes.  Just the thought of it makes me cringe a bit.  First time I tried this, I lasted 45sec and said “screw this!!”  😮

What exactly is perfect?  Is it a standard we set for ourselves to determine how we compare to our own ideals?  Question to consider to yourself… what factors influenced the building of these ideals in your mind?  Are they heavily based on your own opinions, or does the influence of friends, family or the media play a substantial role?

I’m not perfect.  I never will be, and I’m ok with that.  I am happy though.  I will always try hard to accept the things I can’t change.  I will also try to work hard to improve the areas I feel could use improvement.  I will celebrate the little victories (totally OWNED that chin up bar today!!) and learn from my mistakes.  At least if I’m making mistakes, I will be satisfied as I know I tried.  😉

Haha, sorry!  I seem to be having a random inspiration day… :-p I’ll be back to my usual random self soon I’m sure.

cross fitting in life

Today was a day off for me from my regular gig, but I was helping prep for this Sunday’s inventory at Ange’s store.  Wow, my job really lacks in physical effort in comparison!  I’ve done every position pretty much over the last 10 years at Sport Chek, but stepped down to part-time when I was hired in my current job.  Sometimes I miss the daily “grind” of working there full-time… and although I consider myself to be in good physical condition, today was tiring! :-p  Crossfit and where to find it in everyday life?  I spent the first part of my day squatting to “clean and press” style picking up boxes of ski boots, pressing them up over my head to carry them from the service shop back into the storage room.  Scaled ladders and the tech shop counter (shhh… don’t tell OH&S…) carrying heavy boxes, etc.  That’s what I find awesome about crossfit.  It’s not your typical workout which puts your body through a bunch of unnatural movements.  It’s doesn’t use fancy fitness machines that only focus on one muscle at a time… often while you sit on your BUTT.  Crossfit is real.  It’s always something different making it tough to get bored.  AND it challenges your whole body to gain strength which can benefit in other parts of life…

sit down, this may take a while…

Ok, let me warn you… Today’s rant will be messy and all over the place, so try to keep up! 😉

First off:  To my apartment building- With my renewed love of cooking, I make a crap load of dishes… and while it was fun as a child to “pretend” to wash dishes in the bath, now that I’m all grown up, I’d really prefer to do them in my kitchen sink (without the tap providing a random geizer effect leaving the cupboards and everything else dripping when Ange and I should be rushing out the door to hockey). 

Speaking of which, last night was the end of another season in Downsview with a great group of girls 🙂  We didn’t always win, but always managed to have a good time which is really ok too… Although considering our goalie is also my girlfriend, I probably shouldn’t say that.  :-p  It would be nice if we could put the ball in the net a bit more frequently to take a bit of the pressure off her!

Ok, here comes the real reason for my rant.  I considered a mini-disclaimer on this one, as I really hope everyone will realize this is nothing more than my opinion and not meant to offend… But then I realized, I’m entitled to my opinion and if you don’t agree, or don’t like it… That’s up to you! 

YOU are the only one who can make the decision to put forth the effort to change your life.  If presented with a concept that may improve your health, and life as a whole, lots of people seem to shy away from the opportunity as it may be too hard, they may be too busy, it may just not be the right time, they feel they may not get the support they need from friends and family, etc.  So many excuses, but really, why set yourself up for failure before giving yourself a fair chance?  When health is concerned, my view is really pretty straightforward.  Making changes to your lifestyle, be it your relationship with food, your exercise capacity, your job, or really anything that impacts your health, it’s not going to be easy.  But it’s not impossible either.  You have a choice.  I have shared the experiences I ‘ve had with my recent venture with friends and family to mixed levels of reaction as I expected.  Some people have joined me in my excitement, while others have simply expressed that they wish they could find the time, or energy, or whatever, to make a change in their lives too.  YOU have the choice.  There will be things you can’t choose.  I didn’t choose MS.  Yet, when I was presented with that “idea”, I couldn’t exactly say “hmmm… this just isn’t a good time…”  When it is a choice, you are the only one to blame if you can’t put in the effort to make the best one you could…

So, 32 days ago I started my own little 30 day challenge of the whole Paleo/Primal Blueprint lifestyle (not sure what to call it as I like the concepts of “whole life” which come with the Primal part, but I get most of my recipes and meal ideas from a Paleo site) and I have to say it’s gotten me really excited.  For the first time in ages, I know what it’s like to feel great.  AND most of the time!  The fatigue that comes along with MS is minimal, and my brain is less fuzzy than it has been.  While this all could be coincidence, i’ll take it!  After years of random diet, nutrition, and fitness attempts, this is the first concept I’ve found which encompasses life as a whole.  It’s also the first time I’ve felt like, “I can do this.  This is a lifestyle tweak I can make to improve my life… For good!”. I did my research.  I tried it out. And it’s got me amped up to share this with friends and family. This was the hardest part! I don’t want to come across as a “cult-like” leader, just want to give the people I care about the opportunity to improve their lives too!  Interested?  Best resource for the Primal Blueprint is  There is also a link I posted earlier today which explains “What is Paleo” in terms that actually make sense! 

Well… I’m done ranting for now… if you are still reading, and aren’t thinking to yourself “Where the hell is the button to “un-friend” this nut??!!”, thank you.  🙂  I hope something in my rambling has inspired you on some level…

put down the hockey stick and write something!

So, I’ve not been  spewing my random useless ideas as much as I would generally like to lately because I’m working on something and it will hopefully make up for my “absence”…

OH!  And I totally blew it by gushing about how wonderful spring is and how full of life it makes me feel and ya-da, ya-da… cause the last few days have felt damn like winter!  There was snow on my beautiful landscapes as I was driving in to work today.  Thumbs down.  My world is currently pretty ram-jammed with hockey too.  In terms of playing it, we are in the transition between seasons this week which means I played Sunday in Acton, play again tonight in Downsview, play again Thursday in Malton, and then should be back in Acton for another game on Sunday.  Missing that one for Ange’s inventory though, which I’m sure my body will thank her for a bit.  PLUS, being me, ya know I will cram a few gym sessions in there in between hockey days :p

Speaking of hockey, is this not the “best seat in the house” for Stanley Cup Playoff watching??  (Please ignore my random apartment clutter!)

Even though my playoff pool draft team seems to be made up of an exceptionally awful group (most of who will be golfing now as they’ve already been knocked out in the first round) watching the game from the seat of my spin bike at least feels as though I’m being productive, even when they’re not!


This time of year brings the most enjoyable drives to and from work I find.  It’s so refreshing to see the many shades of green start to creep back into the drab, colourless fields and woods that I’ve been staring at for the past few months…  Growing up, my life was fairly consumed with horses and dogs.  Not that I’m complaining at all, they brought tons of enjoyment over the years, but tainted my view of spring time.  I had a horse, Fritz, who could manage in the middle of a complete drought,  in a bone dry field, to find the one spec of damp earth to cover himself head-to-hoof in clumps of caked on dirt.  Still not sure how he managed this, but it meant I spent a LOT of my time with a brush in my hand.  Spring time was a nightmare!  Thanks to my wonder horse, who was wonderful in every other way, I developed a dislike for spring and all of it’s fresh, damp days.

Now I just have a cat.  An indoor cat.  Who has never even seen a spec of mud. 

So now… bring on the spring!  I’m loving all the new life and renewed energy it brings…

rambling, really

so, not unlike any other day, yesterday kind of slipped away from me…  This week has been a bit like that too!  One thing I did take from yesterday though was that I need to find a way to be more prepared in terms of food when I’ll be spending my day running around.  Took an apple Lara bar as a snack(mmmmmm delicious!!), but when I left home at 7:45 is, dropped Ange at work, headed to the gym for a quick mostly ab workout, bolted to my doctor’s appointment which was scheduled for 10:20 didn’t happen until 11:40, then headed back to Ange’s work to help out with inventory prep stuff….  I was STARVING :p  And looking for a quick Primal “bite” is not something I’ve figured out quite yet!  Haha…

Today is a big day though 🙂  Today is 4 weeks since I started my Primal/Paleo challenge and I’ve ROCKED it!  Haven’t cheated at all, and have to say… I haven’t really felt the temptation to.  I tested my will power last week by going to Denny’s for dinner with my girl.  The old me would have thoroughly enjoyed sharing half of a whole wheat pancake.  I didn’t even flinch at this no longer being an option.  Ordered hardboiled eggs, bacon and fruit and was completely satisfied with this selection 🙂  For anyone who has thought about giving the Primal thing a shot, let me tell you I have found it well worth the effort!  It can be a challenge at times, sure, but the positives far outweigh any negatives.  Sure, I may never eat oatmel again.  Pfft, whatever.  I have found soooooo many recipes online that have all been incredibly good tasting and have renewed my LOVE for cooking 🙂

Sadly… that’s it from me for today.  Every time I tried to sit and put my thoughts to type, I seemed to be pulled in any of a number of directions.  😉

Keep up or get out

As a kid, I thought zucchini was a huge mistake.  Who would want to eat a cucumber that’s missing all the juicy goodness?  Now… it’s one of my favourite veggies.  Funny how opinions change over time…  I’m dying to compose some big long random masterpiece, but things just keep getting in my way! :p  Kinda like the cold dinner I just finally managed to pause for a second to eat after three failed attempts that were interrupted by a staff member needing something, a customer needing something, or the phone…  Not really complaining though!  I’ll take a busy day at work any day!  AND…  spaghetti squash really isn’t so bad moderately warm 😉  Tomorrow there will be lots more to say…

BOO-YA!! :)

Hell yes!!  Just charged through 5 chin ups in a row 🙂  What a great way to get all reved up to start the day.  Next time, I’ll be having someone holding a video camera so I can post this victory… I’m so excited :p  Sounds completely lame, maybe, but chin ups are my nemesis and I WON.  Haha.

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