Friday, October 17, 2008

Canadians might ban BPA... Maybe

News on the BPA front again. It looks like the Canadian government has agreed to label the cehemical "toxic", but has not yet agreed to ban it. In an unusual twist, people who make plastic think its safe.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

CIBC Run For the Cure Results

Well the race is over... and now I'm taking a week off of running! I did however, make a personal best time for 5Km of 31minutes and 15 seconds!

The race on Sunday was actually quite exciting. There were what we expected to be hundreds of people, but later learned that more than 2600 people attended the race in Kitchener at Bingeman Park alone! We ran into some people we know from the RunningRoom, and also two friends of ours that were part of the Manulife Team. My wife and I did very good times on the full 5K circuit which included hills and trail running. 

It was a good setup for the race. There was a 1Km loop, and there were actually two 5Km loops: one was flat and paved, for those people with strollers or wheelchairs and the other 5Km loop was the hilly, trail run. And the hills were pretty challenging. In fact, the first hill was the worst and was part of all the loops. A friend who has a history of shin splints was already in pain after the first hill which affected the rest of his run. Hopefully I can convince him to take it slower and build up a solid base (like the Running Room program) before getting seriously injured.

I pushed myself pretty hard to make 5K in 31minutes. My goal had been to be under 33, so I met my goal and nicely surpassed it, but I paid for it later. I felt I had a quick recovery time thanks to a strong cardio system, but within an hour of the race I was moving like an old man :) However the next day I was virtually pain-free except for some quad muscles (which could be from extra, new martial arts training the day before) and today, which is when I typically show signs of muscle soreness I feel virtually none.

My wife is already excited for finding the next race. There is a Resolution Run that happens on New Year's Day here in KW, but also on New Year's Eve up in Sudbury where my parents live. So there is a possibility that we arrange our holiday travel in order to make it for a 5K run on New Year's Eve. The great thing about the Resolution Run is the free running jacket! (Well, there is an entry fee but hey, can't complain about the jacket. Except, I just bought a jacket, but this one is cooler.)

We were supposed to attend our goal race which is actually the Okoberfest Run, but that weekend we will be at a friend's wedding in Ingersoll, so we won't be going out for a run the next day :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Help support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation: I'm running for the Cure!

My wife and I are taking part in this years CBCF Run For the Cure! It happens in a week and a half, and I'd love your support to raise money for breast cancer.

I ran the Run for the Cure in 2006 and did a time just over 37 minutes I believe. I didn't know much about racing, and it was first race ever! And also the first time I had really done any running. The race was difficult, I almost threw up afterwards, I was completely out of breath, and I was in pain for a few days after that. :) It was the goal race at the end of my first "Learn to Run" clinic with the Running Room.

In January of this year I went back to running in a 5K clinic at the Running Room in Waterloo. The clinics there are fantastic, and I highly recommend it as a place to learn about running at all levels, from walking clinics, 5K, 10K, and all the way up to marathon training!

In March I ran the St. Patrick's Day race in Hamilton, starting at the top of hill of the Niagara Escarpment in Hamilton and straight down, ending at Slainte pub where a free pint and a bowl of Irish Stew awaited us. Given that it was the day of one of the worse storms of the season, my time of just over 33 minutes was even more incredible!

In 9 days I will be running in the Run For The Cure again, this time with my wife. We have been taking the 5K clinic at the Running Room together this time... which is going in to its 9th week on Friday! Last Friday we ran a full 5Km and my time was about 34m44 seconds, and that was not at my fastest race pace. This time I have not missed a run yet (running 3 times a week for 25 - 35 minutes each) whereas just before my last race I didn't always make it out 3 times per week.

So I expect I should be able to beat my personal best time on October 5. My goal is to run in under 33 minutes. I have a longer term goal of being able to run 5K in under 30 minutes, but for now I feel I need to continue to build a strong base. They recommend having a full year of running experience before going any further than 5K really. There is plenty of anectodal evidence from our clinic's leaders as well as others, that people who take a 5K clinic once and then move directly to a 10K clinic right after have a higher risk of injury while training for or running 10 kilometers (which is 6.2 miles).

I am also raising donations for this race. Please consider donating to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation through my donation page.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Baby Poison: Bisphenol A - Hazards and Possibilities

Another study has surfaced regarding the possible hazard of a chemical known as Bisphenol A or BPA.

This time, a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that there is a statistical possibility that BPA is linked to increased rates of heart disease and diabetes.

While the report has gained critics for not being definitive enough, its important to realize that in scientific studies "statistical possibility" of a high enough magnitude is the strongest conclusive evidence that can be found.

It seems to me that while more studies are definitely needed, it seems clear that enough action is being taken to warrant a serious look at what is in your plastics. My wife and I have been staying away from plastic containers that contain BPA for months now. In fact she just sent me this link for a great stainless-steel travel mug that would make a great birthday present :).

While in the US, the FDA has stated that there are no cause for concerns and the European Union also doesn't consider BPA a threat, in April the Canadian government proposed a ban on materials containing BPA making it the first country in the world to do so. Its decision came after study of animal test results (that proved BPA causes diseases in animals) and discussion with experts.

If you're a health nut, you may be one of the people who had bought Nalgene bottles to keep yourself hydrated... it became the hip thing for a while. While the Nalgene site states they believe there is no cause for alarm if using their bottles which contain BPA, they have taken the opportunity to switch to BPA-free materials because of consumer demand.

Also, one of the risks mentioned in the Canadian reports is the boiling of plastic baby bottles, as the high temperature could cause the disease causing chemicals to leach out and into the milk.

Is there a controversy? Of course there is. The makers of the chemicals say its safe, but a growing number of reports say otherwise. I don't like acting primarily on "conspiracy theorist" instincts but I think the evidence in animal trials makes it a wise decision to try and reduce the amount of products in your home that contain Bisphenol-A.


Friday, September 5, 2008

Learn Wisdom: New Lamp On The Path Schedule

I've just received the new schedule of events for and it looks like a good one!

Dekyi-Lee Oldershaw will be teaching a new series of Five Tibetan Yoga classes this September, which is the first time in 2 years! There is a day long intensive for beginners and those who want a refresher on September 20, and I highly recommend it!

Visit the site and see the list of events, and sign up for the schedule.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Olga Korbut at the 1972 Olympics

I just found this by accident today, but I wanted to share it with everyone. Its especially timely given the Beijing Summer Olympics are currently on, but Olga's performance is still stunning even after 38 years!

Just watch this video and see how hard work and training can pay off. How a young girl from Belarus can change people's opinions and almost single-handedly make gymnastics as popular as it is today. At the very least, she opened the doors for many others to follow.

You check out more on Olga Korbut by visiting her website at

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thirsty? Free Water! Relationships and Spiritual growth

In my mailbox today I found an interesting article on spiritual growth, and its affect on relationships. I have been a long time believer in the possibility that as you grow, those around you don't necessarily always grow with you. Over time, your circle of friends changes. You make new friends, and those that have stood by you for years (or even decades!) gently fall away. With any luck the breaks are peaceful in nature, or at the very least not heart wrenching. Perhaps they become the kind of friend whom you don't see or contact very often, but when you do its like not much has changed between you!

Basically, we have to learn that even though we are on this incredible, and sometimes scary journey, we can't bring everyone with us. We can't force spirituality down anyone's throat anymore than others try to convert us to any mainstream (or alternative!) religion... or favourite food!

Read more at Empowered Soul by reading Andrea's article on spiritual growth and relationships.

Woo, didn't mean to get too deep there at the end! Let me know what you thought of the post.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Word of Gord: An irreverent look at Esoteric

I haven't even finished reading the whole site, but I know already that Gord is a man after my own heart. Not only is he Canadian (well ok a Scotsman, but living in Canada!), but the witty writing on his homepage really struck a cord with me: the esoteric is definitely taken too seriously, and those of you interested in the occult, ascended masters, distance healing or just a good laugh should check out Gordon Phinn's site:

Monday, July 7, 2008

Using Reiki in a Medical Environment

Pamela Miles, author of "Reiki-A Comprensive Guide" is holding a workshop in Toronto on her experiences with bringing Reiki into a medical environment.

I received this info from my Reiki teacher last week but I just received the ok from the event host to post it on here.


Dear Reiki friend,

You are invited to participate in an exciting special event: a seminar taught by Pamela Miles for the first time in Toronto, in September 2008.

Pamela Miles is a Reiki Master with thirty years’ experience in complementary and alternative medicine, author of “Reiki – A Comprehensive Guide”, and a pioneer in bringing Reiki into mainstream medical practice.

Pamela was first invited to bring Reiki into an inner-city hospital HIV clinic in the mid 1990s and has worked in medicine consistently since then, as well as having her own private practice. She has created programs in prominent NYC hospitals, collaborated on research (including an NIH-funded study), published in peer-reviewed medical journals, taught at Yale medical school, and presented Reiki at medical conferences and academic medical centers such as Harvard Medical School and the NIH’s National Cancer Institute, Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM).

Drawing from this rich experience, in her medical Reiki classes, Pamela Miles teaches not only what she has learned, but also how she has learned since medical settings vary enormously and Reiki practitioners need to be responsive to changing circumstances and to anticipate challenges whenever possible.

Pamela Miles’s book “Reiki – A Comprehensive Guide” has earned high praise from well-known personalities such as Larry Dossey, Mehmet Oz, Lewis Mehl-Madrona, and Andrew Weil.

Please read below for more information regarding Pamela Miles’s upcoming class in Toronto, in September 2008.

I sincerely hope you will choose to join us and look forward to welcoming you,
Elyssa Matthews

P.S. Please feel free to extend this invitation to other fellow-Reiki practitioners.


What Reiki Practitioners Need to Know
Toronto, September 26 - 28, 2008

Even seasoned Reiki practitioners face major challenges when trying to bring Reiki into conventional health-care settings. Successful collaboration requires skillful communication, knowledge of how medical institutions operate, and familiarity with relevant Reiki research.
This seminar is for Reiki practitioners at any level who are interested in learning how to develop their ability to work seamlessly in a medical environment. The topics covered will include:
· how to speak about the practice in credible language that communicates effectively to both medical professionals and the public;
· how and why Reiki treatment is being used in hospitals;
· an overview of Reiki research;
· the standards you will be expected to meet and the clinical skills you will need in order to practice in these environments.

During the class, you will be coached in writing your introductory Reiki statement. You will leave this workshop able to self-evaluate your skills and experience and with suggestions on how to continue honing your ability to work effectively in all settings.

Here are some comments made by Reiki practitioners, physicians, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and other health care professionals who have taken the class: "Now I have much more clarity and confidence, and people are listening when I speak about Reiki." "This is the best CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) class I have taken." "The class helped me understand why my attempts to connect with medicine weren't successful, and the changes I needed to make." "I learned how to speak directly to the needs of health care settings and professionals." "Thank you for re-energizing my commitment to myself and my practice."

Dates and Times: September 26 - 28
Friday, September 26 - 7 p.m. -9 p.m.
Saturday, September 27 – 10:00 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday, September 28 – 10:00 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Location: Don Mills, Toronto (easily accessible by car and TTC)

Tuition Fee: $ 375.00 ($325.00 before August 22)
Refunds minus a $75.00 processing fee before September 16
No refunds after September 16

· Send cheque or money order to

Elyssa Matthews
45 Balliol St. #1614
Toronto, Ontario
M4S 1C3

· Or use Paypal to send payment to:

Praise for “Reiki – A Comprehensive Guide” by Pamela Miles

“Pamela Miles has been instrumental in the integration of Reiki into conventional medicine and has written an intelligent, sensitive guidebook to this remarkable healing practice.”
Mehmet Oz, M.D., Vice-Chairman and professor of surgery,
New York Presbyterian Hospital /Columbia University Medical Center

“Reiki is, increasingly being incorporated into modern medicine because of one compelling reason: It works. Reiki Master Pamela Miles has written the best guide to this healing art currently available.”
Larry Dossey, M.D.

Tighten Up Those Arms

Lose Big with Jillian Michaels

I was just checking out Jillian Michael's site again and came upon this great exercise. If you've got flabby arms that you want to get rid of, check out this quick exercise: Tricep Kickbacks!

I've love the way Jillian takes the nonsense out of getting fit. Remember to do the exercises regularly and correctly to get the maximum benefit. Check out her site and become a member for great tips and more information on staying healthy. She's currently working on season six of Biggest Loser!

Burn Fat Fast: Online program will help you burn fat faster

Friday, June 27, 2008

Biking Saves The Environment and Pocketbook

With the price of gas at an all time high and currently still rising, it has definitely begun to impact the way we think about using our car and how often we really could be walking or biking. Going out for groceries tonight proved that its actually possible to bike uphill both ways to get somewhere.

Even though we are a dual income family (for the moment anyway) we had decided that we really don't need a second car. We are in a very good routine right now where my wife (still getting used to saying that, I just got married in early June!) drives the car to work most days so she drops me off when possible. Somedays she needs the car but isn't going in to work or some days she leaves early, so in April and May I was taking the bus to work, walking 10 minutes to the bus stop. I would either take a bus home or on nice days I will simply walk. It is 45 minutes which would probably keep most non-walkers from even trying it, but really its not that bad when you get used to it.

So after a 45 minute walk home today and a quick rest in our basement to cool down, we decided we needed some groceries for dinner. Just green onions and wraps but for some reason we decided that it took two of us to bike down to the grocery store. One to carry the backpack and one to carry the money :)

Biking is a great way to get active, maintain wellness, and if you do it with a partner you can deepen your relationship!

Anyway, the trip worked out great. It was a bit of a work out, it only took about 5 minutes to get there, we saved the gas money and the environment, and we even saved one of our dinner gift certificates (wedding gifts) for a day when we can really celebrate! Plus, it was my first time on my bike this year, and we are planning to bike down to the local Farmers Market (the Kitchener Farmers Market) tomorrow to get fresh produce. It will be a longer ride but we are lucky to live close to pretty much everything.

Now if we can just my wife a job in KW that she can walk to... we almost wouldn't need a car at all!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Learn Irish Drumming

While Ireland is on my mind (as I'll be travelling there for my honeymoon in two weeks!) I found this workshop on Irish drumming on a bodhran!

SUNDAY, JUNE 8, 2008 (Public)
Bodhran Bashing 101 Workshop with Robert McMaster
Vesta Centre
42014 Ferguson Line (at Wellington Rd South)
St. Thomas ON
Time: 1 pm to 4 pm
Registration: $40

All the basics in one afternoon of fun. Travel the world on the head of drum. Learn what to look for when buying a bodhran, the care and feeding of your "goat", choosing the right tipper, and the fun-damentals of Irish drumming, all the basic beats for jigs, reels, marches and beyond. You don't have to own a drum to join this class. Robert's teaching style is laid-back, fun and richly informative. To register, call 519-438-3924, or email

Check out for great harp music by Jennifer White and accompanied by Robert McMaster.

There are a few people in the area interested in drumming and if you are up for a bit of travel I'm sure this will be a great workshop. If I wasn't recovering from my wedding the night before I'd probably go!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Quick info on Emotional Freedom Technique

I just recently recieved a Twitter from Dhrumil at with some information on EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique. You might have seen it before as a method of releasing problems and potentially illnesses by tapping lightly and speaking affirmations on different parts of your body.

My naturopath has tried some of it (but has never referred it for me actually). It might become even more popular given its presence on the tv show "I Can Make You Thin" currently showing on TLC. In his show, Paul McKenna uses what appears to be EFT to help people break emotional eating habits. Its quite an interesting show, although it does seem at times that Paul is using techniques that also appear similar to hypnotism. Hey I just noticed that his site does state that Paul is a leading hypnotist!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Up to date, not up to snuff.

Well it has been a while since the last post. I might as well just give a brief overview of what went down. The Make The Cut program is over.

I had seen the physio last month for the pain that had developed in my back, which was aggravated by the running clinic I took in January. She had suggested some simple bending and stretching exercises. I had a few sessions with her which included one of those machines that send shocks through your muscles but the last time I was there I think it was on too high. My next appointment with her is next week, but honestly, the pain is getting worse, not better.

At first I had thought I was over-training. I started from one workout a week to 6 workouts a week, so maybe I just went too far! After taking one week off to recover (except for kungfu... I can't miss kungfu!) the stiffness just didn't go away. I'm learning that its just muscle stiffness but it seems to be a muscle that just won't release. I've seen my Chiropractor and my spine is moving good, but the left side is stiff due to the muscles. I've seen my family doctor and he took blood and urine samples as well as me having an ultrasound... apparently they're all negative because I haven't heard anything.

Another interesting quirk is that I've lost quite a bit of weight. Well, some people say its quite a bit but really, I had gained almost 10 pounds just before Christmas when I was taking a computer class and I've lost all that weight already. Apparently it isn't hard for me to lose weight, which doesn't make S any happier so close the wedding... she has reached her weight goals but she still isn't happy. So basically I stopped going to the gym regularly and I try to eat more because I'm not gaining any weight and we want to make sure I don't lose anymore. One of my co-workers I hadn't seen for 6 months or so recently ran into me and the first thing she said was "You have got to stop losing weight."... and that was before she even said hi!

So, now that the nice weather is here I walk home from work more now so about once or twice a week I'll walk 45 minutes home. Tried a Body Pump class at the gym and liked it... it was a good work out I just had to be careful of my back. I did start taking aspirin and Robaxacet when my back gets bad, and actually it does help me sleep a little better!

I think primarily though, I need to get another massage appointment and buy a new pair of shoes for the season. Old shoes can wreak havoc on your back! In the mornings I am now doing light stretches and I am trying to focus on core exercises (when I exercise) or at least do a few crunches or pushups so I can strengthen my back.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Top snacks that won't ruin your diet.

I just came across this article by Tanya that she wrote last year where she reviews some snack foods that are low in sugar and calories.

Turns out her blog won HealthCastle's award for a top diet blog. I'll definitely try and get more information out of her in the future!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Day 5: Make The Cut

Kashi for breakfast, forgot the eggs. Lunch was salad leftovers. Very good but oniony and garlic.
Dinner: Chicken mole with green beans... a combination of chili powder and cocoa powder was quite good!

  • Helped S cook it, also made lunches for tomorrow (since thursdays are very busy).
  • Got home, shoveled some snow from the end of the driveway (we got dumped on, 20 cm!) went to Acupuncture, visited my volunteer job to say I couldn't make it for next week, came home, did dishes, helped with the burrito wraps, set up the recycling and garbage, then rested for a bit.
  • 9:30: time to work out. S moving hers by one day. Spent 30 minutes reading up on the exercises to find out how to do them! They are a repeat of the exercises I was supposed to do Sunday. Realized again that we need the gym for some of them so hope to join on Friday.
  • Completed 1 set of all 5 circuits and it was 10:30 so decided to call it quits. Made a protein smoothy, wrote this entry, and went to bed!

    Protein smoothy:
  • 1 large glass of soy milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop Greens+ chocolate protein powder
  • blend!

    Also tried to visualize the protein building up my muscles. You just never know about that stuff... they say it worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Day 4: Pushing Hard

S (my fiancee) and I did the workout while watching the Biggest Loser! Except this time Jillian wasn't shown until the end of that episode. Living room was too small for both of us to be doing a half hour work out with free weights in, so we'll definitely need to join a gym.

At the end of the session we realized we were supposed to do all 5 ciruits twice! Right now we could not make it all the way through the second time... only up to circuit 2 so there is definitely room for improvement.

PS: Beef wraps for lunch were awesome!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Day 3

Today was our first day off from the work out. The Make The Cut program is great because it is well laid out, even including its break days! I had a physio appointment for my back which included some simple bending exercises and time with a heating pad. Tried the cottage cheese recipe for breakfast and did not like it! So I had Kashi :)

Luckily the cottage cheese is required for another recipe. Maybe its better when its mixed into something.

Yesterday I was really feeling the pain from the Saturday workout, which means it was a good work out!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Day 2: Not perfect but good!

Today I skipped the book workout because of kungfu, I take basically what are semi-private lessons with a teacher named Grand Master Pan. He is very famous in China and Europe, has been in movies, and has achieved the highest rank of Wushu judge available. During that class we learned a style called Xing Yi and we also learned a bit of Tai Chi.

Its not your typical Taoist Tai Chi though. We're learning Yang Style Tai Chi, and the way my teacher teaches it (like everything else he teaches) has direct martial applications. These applications make it easier to understand the moves. There is one move in particular that in Taoist Tai Chi they would say it is like taking your pulse... the Yang Style method interpretation of the same move is quite different!

We did have great food which was the lamb recipe... the food is so good in this program! My fiancee has also been doing well on the program.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Make The Cut: Day 1

So here is how Day 1 of the program went!

Had a good breakfast with my fiancee which was part of the plan and included Kashi Go Lean cereal and two egs. Then had lunch with my friends Al & Megan at our favourite chinese food place which was definitely not on the plan. Later I made dinner of Moroccan chicken from a recipie in the book which was awesome.

Also got friends to sign passport applications for our upcoming honeymoon which we intend to take in Ireland.
My total calories for the day was 1400 kcal.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Make the Cut: First measurements

The first step in the Make the Cut program (and really, any other fitness program worth its salt) includes taking measurements and a short fitness test. Here are my results:

Weight: 155 lbs (was at 164 just after Christmas)

bust: 36 inches... mmm maybe not a necessary measurement for men
chest: 33.25"
waist: 32.5" (I used to have a 36 inch waist about 10 years ago)
hips: 36"
right thigh: 21.5"
left thigh: 22.5"
right arm: 10.25"
left arm: 11"

Fitness test:
After 3 minutes step: 88bpm (Good)
Pushups: 9 (Below average)
Situps: 26 (Poor)
Wall sit: 56 sec (almost good.. aka Below Average)
90 = Excellent (in May last year I had done 109 sec.. back when I had 2 kung fu classes a week)
60 = Good. Well at least something shoot for

So, clearly I need to be working out! Actually I had gone back to the gym last May to get another fitness test, but I didn't go to the gym as much as I should have so there was not much improvement. I definitely remember being in better shape when I had two kung fu classes a week, but the cost became prohibitive (as I'm taking semi-private lessons) so for now, its just once a week and I need to focus on getting to the gym to practice more on my own.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'm getting in shape with Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser.

This month my fiancee and I just started the workout program in Jillian Michaels' book, Making The Cut. Its well thought out and contains great recipes. You can't lose with this one.

We first learned about Jillian Michaels from watching The Biggest Loser tv show. We loved her attitude and her approach to fitness, not to mention she is in great shape herself!

Over the next few weeks I'll be posting about my progress, and this blog will grow to include more topics related to health, fitness and wellness.

I've also written a review of her book which can be found here.

Let me know any of your comments!

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