This Blog is all about Fitness, Nutrition, Wellness and Adventures and of course Wellventurez! So what's a Wellventure?!?! It's any Adventure that incorporates Wellness into it. It could be a road trip with good people, going hiking with good food, or travelling the world in a healthy way. We have some big ones panned, so stay tuned!
The Fundemental Leadership Lesson I Learned at NASCAR
Pushing Your Limits…
Last weekend I went to the NASCAR Race with Val and my parents in Phoenix, Arizona. On the way to the race my mum made a comment that a lot of work must have gone into making this event possible. It made me think of all the work that’s gone into building the track that holds upwards of 80,000 people, cars that keep the drivers safe at 200 MPH, and the training each driver has gone through to get to this elite series. That’s a lot of man hours gone into producing this 3 hour event.
My other thought is that these guys - the drivers, pit crew and teams - are living examples of Wellventurez. Part of living the Wellventurez lifestyle is about pushing your limits. That’s a lesson that was portrayed in the movie we just watched last week, Chasing Mavericks and it was on display all day at NASCAR as the drivers put their lives on the line to entertain and inspire.
You might think sitting in an uncomfortable seat for 3 hours watching cars drive in a circle might be a tad boring, and so did I. But it’s not! Once you hear those machines drive by, with their pure, raw power, it’s seductive.
The fundamental lesson from NASCAR…
We were lucky enough that my dad rented 2 sets of headphones that made it possible to listen in to the drivers’ conversations with their pit crew (team). The whole time, the only person my dad wanted to listen to was Brad Keselowski as he is one of only 2 Dodge drivers and he was also in contention for the league championship. Phoenix being the second to last race of the season made it pretty interesting to watch. I however wanted to listed in to Danika Patrick’s radio, as she is the only woman in the league and one of the only women that competes on a professional level against men. When I was listening to Danica Patricks audio, I noticed something very interesting… even though she was in about 30’th place (out of 43) her pit crew was feeding her nothing but pump up and encouragement. Every other comment was ‘great turn’, ‘you came out of that nicely’, etc. The leadership lesson comes from when I compared that radio with Brad Keselowski’s. When we were listening to Brad audio, it was all strategy. His pit crew was purely a coach, giving him information on the other cars around him ‘left corner’, information about his car and reminding him to think of the ‘big picture’ when another leader’s car broke down. Danica was in about 30th position and got passed by 3 cars while I was listening to her. Brad was 9th and climbing. Yesterday, at the final race of the season in Florida, Brad clinched his first NASCAR Championship.
The fundamental leadership lesson I took away from it? Quality information over insincere encouragement. Coaching over Cheerleading. Strategy over Pump up.
I now have to limited certain foods to avoid having too much energy.
I’m not kidding.
Not a bad problem to have, but let me explain…
Yesterday Val and I woke up at 6:30am, went for a 5Km run, then came home and made a 2 Litre Smoothie with 2 new ingredients (100% natural foods). I’ve read that least one of those ingredients contains ATP and other nucleotides (pure energy).
Here’s what happened…
I put a bit more than the recommended daily dose of this substance into the 2L smoothie, thinking Val would drink half and I would drink half, but instead I ended up taking all of it (2 mason jars full) to work. I drank 1.5L of it throughout the day, worked till 4pm, then had a meeting off site from 4-6pm. I got home from work and felt like going for a 10Km run, but I had emails to write and it was dark. I picked Val up from work a little later and my dinner consisted of a few crackers and a small yogurt, but I wasn’t hungry all evening. At midnight lying in bed I still felt like going for a 10Km run, I could just feel the energy in my body.
Here’s the thing…
It wasn’t a stimulant and the energy I felt didn’t feel the same as the kick you get from coffee, red bull, etc. I didn’t feel jittery or anxious, in fact I felt quite calm. But the problem was I wasn’t able to use the energy by going for a run, so it was a bit uncomfortable as I didn’t need that much energy at that time.
What you can do…
If you’d like to know exactly what it was I added to the smoothie, I’m happy to share via a private message or email with some additional information. Just note that it’s quite expensive, but if you work long hours, have high stress, do anything endurance related and/or need more sustained/non-stimulant energy, this could be a good food for you.
The 2 new foods I added are actually 2 of the best sources of Omega 3’s in the world. Typically plant sources are the wrong type of Omega 3’s (for brain health) and fish sources (salmon, cod liver oil, etc) are dirty sources. These substances are clean, yet the right type (EPA and DHA) for brain health. My motivation is to eventually use these natural foods to reduce my dependance on medications. In alternative studies of schizophrenia there are 2 main nutrients they’ve found to help - Omega 3’s (DHA & EPA - not ALA) and Niacin (Vitamin B3).
*Note: ALA needs to be converted into either DHA or EPA to be used by the brain which some people do better than others, but it still has beneficial functions in the body (ie. supporting joint health). Some good sources of ALA are Hemp Seeds, Chia Seeds, Walnuts, etc.
So what is it….
So this energy thing has just been a golden nugget surprise I had to share as I know so many people suffer from low energy.
The main ingredient responsible for the energy boost is: Marine Phytoplankton
The other ingredient I added which is a type of marine phytoplankton is ALA Blue-Green Algae (E3Live)
Both can be found at Whole Foods, Choices, or most Health Food Stores. Please contact me if you have any questions about it, or you could chat to the people in the stores who sell them as they often have good knowledge to share.
When I’ve had problems, one of the things that helps is asking for advice or opinions of people I trust that are outside of the “circle”.
In the past months I’ve had some family problems that overwhelm me a lot.
It’s really difficult to feel that I can’t understand it anymore because I am too deep inside the problem. Sometimes I feel that things don’t make sense anymore, it’s hard to think about the problem when I don’t even see it - But I just know it’s there.
During the summer we had a lot of family visits, but not only my family, but my boyfriend’s family as well.
I got great advice from my boyfriend’s grandparents, parents and sister. All in their different ways, with their different personalities and ages - They helped me understand my own family a lot better.
Even though at first I was little afraid of letting them see me in my most vulnerable crying self, once I was released I got the wonderful gift of hearing different points of view, and they truly helped me to put my pieces together again.
After looking things in the same color for months, I finally got to see hints of different ones and now I was able to make sense again.
When I look back to the best advice I’ve had when I felt in trouble, it’s always come from someone who was able to make me see things differently, from another perspective. Someone who’s close enough to care about me and be sympathetic, but is capable of offering a true contrast.
Those contrasts definitely help you see things where you didn’t before. They bring clarity.
Just wanted to share some pictures with you related to goal setting. This past New Years, Val and I got together with one of our best friends and had a few goal setting sessions. The top picture above includes my Top 3 Personal Development Goals for this year, written down on December 29, 2012.
1) Healthy and Vibrant 175 lbs
I was over 200 lbs at the time and 208 lbs at my peak. I just weighed in today under 175 lbs for the first time. That’s me on the scale today. I’m more vibrant today than I’ve been my whole life… ok maybe not as vibrant as when I was 5.
2) Be a semi-vegan
I never could have imagined how into this I would get, but I’ve experienced so many positive benefits from this eating plan (~80% whole foods-plant based). From increased & sustained energy throughout the day, better sleep (no more sleeping pills), reduced symptoms of schizophrenia (none in past 6 months), better mood, and of course the weight loss. Pictured are some of the foods we’ve been eating. Let us know if you want any of the recipes. Some Power Foods I’ve added to my diet are Maca, Spirulina, Chlorella, Goji Berries, Cacao (Raw Chocolate), Kale and Coconut products (Oil, Water, Whole Coconuts).
3) Climb to 10,000 feet
We reached this goal in June of this year. Pic is of Val and I on the summit of Mt Baker, our first 10,000 + ft peak at 10,781 ft. Then we climbed Mt Richardson in the Canadian Rockies at 10,125 ft
So there you have it, 3 goals checked off the list. While I had no idea how I would accomplish any of them at the time of writing them, something in me says that just by writing them down, I started on the path to accomplishing them. It’s a timely post as yesterday the same 3 of us got together and worked on our goals again. This time 5 year goals. I made 9 of them in 3 categories - Adventure, Career and Life. Safe to say they’re far to bold to share just yet, but give me a few months.
So what are you waiting for? Get out your journal and put those ideas on paper, you never know how that will help you make them reality!
When we post stuff on a social network in the hope of getting likes or shares or followers or views, we’re engaging in a really unhealthy behavioral pattern that causes and exacerbates mental health problems.
If it means that you’re great or likeable or awesome if you get likes/shares/followers/views, then you must not be great, likeable, or awesome if you don’t get those things. By attaching meaning to whether people like your stuff, you’re inevitably attaching meaning to whether people don’t like your stuff. You’re handing your emotional well-being and mental health over to other people.
When I struggled with OCD, I was completely addicted to the Internet—it was one of the places I practiced OCD behaviors and got really, really efficient at them. I was constantly checking and coping and controlling. Because I was constantly doing it online, when I was offline, I took those same unhealthy behaviors into the world with me.
You may not think you have a problem with how you use social networking sites, but look carefully at how you use them and see if you believe the way you use websites is a healthy way to interact with the world. We spend so much time online that however we interact with people online is how we’re going to interact with people in the real world. If you practice lots of unhealthy checking, coping, and controlling online, you’ll do it in the real world, too, and that’s a one-way ticket to mental health problems.
When you post stuff on social networks, a healthy way to approach it is to post for the sake of posting. Figure out what your online values are and post in-line with those. Then it doesn’t matter whether anybody shares or views your post—you did it to post. You were successful the moment you posted it. Don’t attach meaning to things you don’t control.
One of the most exciting times of the year - TEDxSFU. For the most part these days I attend conferences and events on mental health, aside from the odd business focused one. I love going, and am always inspired by the connections made and ideas shared, but generally we talk about the same things every year - we need to create more awareness; we need more funding; let’s start a campaign; etc. So for the past 2 years when the applications for TEDxSFU have been announced, I’ve eagerly applied, and have had the privilege of attending.
TEDx events offer a fresh perspective to conferences. They are diverse by nature and bring out some of the best story tellers around. Last year we saw some big names at TEDxSFU like VANOC head John Furlong and VPD Chief Jim Chu, but this year’s speakers we a more eclectic bunch. They included a young Afghani Womens Rights Activists who shared her story of travelling to Afghanistan at age 14; a strong Mark Brand - owner of Save on Meats and other restaurants on the DTES - who told of travelling the world at a young age as his father moved around for work. Mark grew up quickly in places like Nigeria in his teens - ever aware of dead bodies, guns and rough neighbourhoods. These experiences seem to have prepared him well to be one of the leading forces in rejuvenating the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver. We also heard an inspiring story from Riaz Meghji - host of Vancouver’s Breakfast Television. Riaz told an incredible story of going against the grain which was the theme of the conference. He graduated from SFU Business with a focus on Finance, only to be told be someone at a conference that he should not pursue a career in that field. He found his passion in media and found his way into MTV as an intern, which led to his current career. His passion and commitment to making his dreams come true was inspiring.
All in all our time at SFU’s Centre for Performing Arts last weekend went by far too quickly, but the conversations, ideas and connections made have only begun to take shape. There’s no telling what will be made of them come next year’s TEDxSFU. Only time will tell.
Oh, and the after party at the Blarney Stone was Rockin
Dirty Feet 16km Mountain Race –Sun Peaks (Kamloops, BC, Canada)
This past weekend Brent and I decided to take on the 16km Dirty Feet Mountain Run up Sun Peaks in Kamloops. This was a last minute decision knowing we are in for tougher & longer runs later in the year and needing to squeeze in some training races. It seemed like a great idea, until the alarm clock went off at 5:45am Saturday morning.
We thought that staying at my grandparent’s house in Vernon would be the best choice so that we could save the money on a hotel. However, I assumed that Sun Peaks was right in Kamloops and Vernon is only an hour drive from Kamloops so it would be no problem to wake up and drive for an hour for the 10:00am start time. But to our surprise, when we finally looked up the directions to get to Sun Peaks we discovered it was really a 2 hour drive from Vernon.
After having some granola with hemp, chia, and ground flaxseed in it, we made it out by 6:45am and arrived by 9:00am taking the scenic back roads on the clear late-summer morning.
The run was a challenge—5km somewhat flat terrain, then came the 6km of 40+ switchbacks up the mountain, and 5km of downhill. One of the things we overlooked was water stations. The only station to grab water was at the top of the mountain, 11Km into the run. This caused us unnecessary suffering as had we known (like it seemed everyone else knew), we would have taken water along with us. But with a beautiful blue sky and wild flowers in bloom, we couldn’t complain at all. Since we have been training with 5-8Km runs, this one pushed us to our limits but we both finished strong with smiles on our faces. After the suffering we went through to get up that mountain, we are looking into more painful runs for the near future. Stay tuned!
Keep Adventuring & Keep Pushing Your Limits. You never know what you can do until you try!
"Preliminary research has shown turmeric, and its component called curcumin, to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer activity. According to Wellness.com, early research studies indicate that turmeric may prevent the formation of blood clots, gallstones and cancer of the colon, skin and breast. Early studies also show benefits for treating indigestion, high cholesterol, viral infections including HIV/AIDS, eye inflammation and arthritis, Wellness.com reports."
Here’s an option for a great smoothie with too many benefits to explain. Just think of it as a treat to yourself in how good you will feel after drinking it. Drink a smoothie like this for a few days, or add it to your regular diet and I guarantee you will feel more energetic and will most likely lose some extra pounds. Also especially good for your brain health due to the Chia, Hemp + Maca. Here it is…
Pure Wellness Power Smoothie:
Frozen Strawberries Frozen Blackberries 2 Bananas
1 Small Beet + Beet Greens
1 Apple (incl core) 1 Carrot Swiss Chard Pumkin Seeds Chia Seeds Hemp Seeds Hemp Protein Powder Spirulina Maca Powder (pinch) A Few Almonds, Cranberries & Walnuts
Some Pomegranate Juice
Water (more for liquidy texture, less for thicker juice)
Actually tastes really good if you can believe it.
Special Note: If you haven’t tried Maca Powder, I highly suggest it for good brain health. It is a natural mood enhancer/stabilizer, but only add a pinch as it has quite the strong taste.
After our 5km hike out of Skoki, we drove to that wonderful little coffee shop we loved so much in Lake Louise for a well deserved lunch of egg bagels before our drive to Roger’s Pass in Glacier National Park. We were to meet a group of people from the Alpine Club of Canada at the Wheeler Hut in Glacier National Park at 4:30pm, and thankfully for the time change we made it there almost on time.
The first hike we attempted was Mt. Cheops. This hike went through a magnificent valley then ended with lots and lots of shale and a few false summits. As we neared the summit, the weather started to get really bad—the clouds rolled in, and the thunderstorm started. It wasn’t until we were about 20 minutes from the summit that we got the signal to turn around now and head down as quickly as possible. At this point it was hailing so hard we could hear the balls bouncing off our helmets. The leader of our group had stuck her pole out and heard and felt the electricity from the thunderstorm through it. This terrified me and I didn’t realize how quickly I could hike down a mountain until that moment. Once we made it off the shale and snow and into the valley again, the sun reappeared and it became a gorgeous day.
One thing I have learned about the Rockies is that you can’t trust the weather forecast. Daily, we would wake up to beautiful sunshine, have a thunderstorm in the afternoon, and sunshine again in the evening. So note to self when we return: rain gear comes on all trips, and try to wait out a thunderstorm if we can before turning around and going all the way back.
We attempted Abbot Peak the next day, but again was turned around by bad weather. But the view from the ridge was spectacular.
The second leg of this journey with the ACC took us to Bugaboos Provincial Park—a spectacular place just to be. There was an ACC hut there completely full of climbers. The atmosphere in the hut was something else, and climbing gear was hung everywhere. I loved this place and enjoyed all the exploring we did when we were there. One day was spent practicing outdoor rock climbing on Crescent Spire and another was spent scrambling to the top of East Post Spire. One day I will climb the face of one of the bigger spires, but that is an adventure to come! I hope everyone gets a chance to go to the Bugs at least once in their life to experience the beauty of this area. And if you do go, remember to put chicken wire around your car tires to keep the porcupines from eating the rubber!
All in all it was an amazing trip filled with so many memories! We came home with so many stories and too many pictures to look through!
Before we planned our trip to the Rockies, we were unsure if we could pull it off and make it work. But with a little determination and spontaneity we were able to create an amazing summer adventure!
One of the beautiful and raw things about trail running is that if you pick a new trail, you don’t actually know where you’ll end up, or how long you run will be. After buying a new watch that tells me the distance/route etc. I can now track my runs, but during the run I’m still often unsure of where were going a lot of the time. Today’s run in Campbell Valley Park in Langley was meant to be an easy 20-30 min 3-4Km run on a route we’ve done before.
20 Metres into the run we saw a side trail that looked smaller and nicer than the main trail, so we took it and enjoyed about 20 minutes of winding left and right dodging branches and trying to step on crunchy leaves. About 40 mins into the run is where we lost our way. We kept looking for trails turning left which would lead us back to the car, but just kept going the opposite way. That’s when we popped out onto a random road, found a field to cross and couldn’t find a trail at the other end of the field. Not wanting to back track (not efficient) we bushwacked through about 40-50 spider webs (not kidding) and thorn bushes. We did that for about 10-15 mins before finally finding a trail again. Left or Right? We chose Right which led us back to the car for a total run of 7.85Km. Quite the random adventure for the day.
We’re heading back the Okanagan tomorrow for a 16Km trail race at Sun Peaks. Double today’s run + up a mountain… should be interesting. That run will tell us how were doing before a much bigger run later this year. More on that in a future post. For now, it’s rest and relax until Sat morning. Wish us luck!
Hope you’re all planning some Wellventurez for the weekend. Weather’s looking nice!
Keep Well and Keep Inspiring!
Brent & Val
Photo Credit (edited by Brent) - http://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/campbell-valley-regional-park/