Category Archives: Blog

Travel Snacks

Are you curious about what snacks I brought with me on vacation to the Dominican Republic? Well if you are then keep reading! If you aren’t my apologies you can close the window ;)

So I’m obsessed with Almond Milk in my coffee so I grabbed a carton of unsweetened chocolate to bring with me. It’s hard for me to find healthy carbs so I brought organic instant oatmeal packages for breakfast. I grabbed Choc Chip Larabars so I could have a snack everyday if I need it. I also packed all my vitamins (including vitamin D, Fish Oil, NAC, Ubermag, CoQ10 & B – 50) and packed one Primer multi pack a day.

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In addition, I brought two bags of Love Grown oat clusters for snacking with my roommate Katie & one seaweed snack a day to get in my iodine.

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There are just easy to pack items for your suitcase that I knew I couldn’t get in the Dominican. They make up some of the basics of my health care so it was important for me to have them while I was here.

What do you bring on vacation with you?

Dion Red Barn Snowshoe 2015 Race Recap

My winter bucket list is going so well! I was able to knock off a snowshoe race this past weekend! 6 of my Alpha Obstacle Training family and I took off to Napanee Saturday morning to race in the Dion Red Barn Showshoe 2015 Race.

Dion Red Barn Race

I borrowed snowshoes from my friend Sylvie on Thursday night. I totally had plans to try them out quickly after work on Friday but the cold kept me inside so Saturday morning I learned to put them on and run in them quickly while warming up. Not my smartest move but I like doing things for the first time! I also wasn’t trying to win the race :)

The course was 6.2 km. I headed out in the middle of the pack and was able to hold my own. I had three goals for this race. Don’t fall on my face, get an epic race photo of my #theface for Instagram and maybe place top ten women after I saw that there was around 20 women at the race.

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Cooling Vests for Workouts

When people ask me how my symptoms are nowadays I don’t really describe what I’m experiencing as they are very minimal on a day to day basis. The only thing I deal with daily are symptoms coming on when I overheat. This usually happens when I exercise intensely through circuit training or raise my heart rate on a run or take a hot shower or bath. The National MS Society describes the sensitivity here.

I’ve been blessed to be sent an array of cooling items by TechNiche International including two cooling vests that I can use while training in the gym and this summer during training & races. By keeping my core temperature cool I’m able to workout & push my disease/disorder/sidekick to the limits so I don’t experience symptoms when overheated. If I keep my core temp low then I don’t overheat the exposed nerves in my C spine where the myelin is gone. Thus I don’t give them a chance to freak out and have trouble communicating with my body.

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The first vest (blue, grey & white one on the left) is very lightweight and I can wear during my workouts easily. It’s called the HyperKewl Cooling Ultra Sport Vest. This vest is worn by cyclist Alberto Contador (2 time winner of the Tour de France), the Dutch National Football Team and now Robyn Baldwin Alpha Female :)

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Book Review: Wahls Protocol

What kobo.com says:

An integrative approach to healing chronic auto-immune conditions by a doctor, researcher, and sufferer of progressive multiple sclerosis whose TEDx talk is already a web sensation.

Like many physicians, Dr. Terry Wahls focused on treating her patients’ ailments with drugs or surgical procedures—until she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000. Within three years, her back and stomach muscles had weakened to the point where she needed a tilt-recline wheelchair. Conventional medical treatments were failing her, and she feared that she would be bedridden for the rest of her life.

Dr. Wahls began studying the latest research on autoimmune disease and brain biology, and decided to get her vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids from the food she ate rather than pills and supplements. Dr. Wahls adopted the nutrient-rich paleo diet, gradually refining and integrating it into a regimen of neuromuscular stimulation. First, she walked slowly, then steadily, and then she biked eighteen miles in a single day. In November 2011, Dr. Wahls shared her remarkable recovery in a TEDx talk that immediately went viral. Now, in The Wahls Protocol, she shares the details of the protocol that allowed her to reverse many of her symptoms, get back to her life, and embark on a new mission: to share the Wahls Protocol with others suffering from the ravages of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune conditions.

Wahls Protocol

What I Say: Upon my diagnosis I had several people reach out with advice. I had more than one person send me the TED Talk link for Dr. Terry Wahls’ video. I did watch the video (seen in my Nutrition Consultation blog post) and I downloaded The Wahls Protocol onto my kobo to start researching how to handle my MS sidekick with proper nutrition. I spent the past two months reading through this book. As it’s very scientific based it took me a while as it definitely overloaded my brain with information. I am not completely following the diet entirely but am adapting principles slowly into my meal planning. It would be a shock for my body to go complete Wahls Paleo Plus so I’m definitely working on adapting meal planning ideas from the first diet level. There are three in total covered in the book. Wahls Diet, Wahls Paleo & Wahls Paleo Plus.

1. I’ve added daily seaweed consumption for Iodine

2. I’m trying more organ meat in my weekly protein consumption

3. I’m trying to increase my green vegetable consumption up to the 9 cups a day that she recommends. I’m probably at 4-5 right now. Kale salads for the win!

4. I’ve added more sulphur vegetables like onions & mushrooms into my diet.

If you suffer from an auto-immune disorder I highly recommend reading this book and seeing if you can take on one of three of her diet options into your lifestyle. She also covers toxic load, exercise & electricity, drugs, stress & recovery. I appreciate her research & way of writing about it so that it make sense. I’m also going to be researching other MS diet books to compare. We are all unique in our make up and we each need to find what works for us. What’s great is the Dr. Terry Wahls has received funding for clinical trials and has preliminary results on her site.

Happy Reading & Researching!

MAS Technology at Soul 7

There is so many different kinds of technology at Soul 7 that I’ll continue to feature a different machine individually as talking about them all at once is too much information for one blog post. So far I’ve described my first appointment there and the Ondamed machine. Another machine I’m being treated with at Soul 7 is the PEMF MAS mat.

MAS PEMF

PEMF Treatments are meant to aide your body to rebalance cellular dysfunction.

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Winter Bucket List Update

Winter was slow to start in Toronto this year. December was weirdly warm here and we only really started getting snow at the beginning of January. I was a little scared I wouldn’t be able to complete many of the Winter Bucket List items but I started trucking along over the past two months and have got a few checked off the list.

Winter Bucket List

I started out New Year’s Day boarding! I bought gear this year so although I have skiing on the list that won’t happen as I want to make the most of the equipment I purchased.

Snowboarding

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Polar Hero Ottawa 2015 Recap

After running Dead End Race in October 2014 my friends and I found out about a winter obstacle course race called: Polar Hero. I thought I’d sign up for the Ottawa location and make it a trip home to see the family as well. A bunch of my training teammates from Alpha thought it would be fun as well. My friend John offered to road trip with me and we stayed with my family for the ultimate weekend of being spoiled by my parents and having fun adventures including the race.

We arrived Friday night after work to an amazing stir fry dinner to fuel up before the race. An early bedtime ensured we were ready for the morning. We only had to get up at 6:30 so it wasn’t anything super early. Breakfast consisted of oatmeal, berries & turkey bacon before the race! We arrived at 8:30 to the Aberdeen Pavilion at Landsdowne Park and had an easy time registering and choosing exactly how many layers to wear!

On my legs I wore my 2XU compression tights & my Sugoi Sub Zero winter tights that I just picked up at BlackToe Running the week before. On my feet I wore Pro Compression socks & snowboarding wool socks over them. Up top I had my Under Armour cold gear mock turtleneck, a Lululemon winter run top & my bright yellow winter run coat from Lululemon as well! I had my buff on as a neck warmer and wore my face guard on top as well but ended up pulling it down halfway through the race. On my head I had a wool hat & two pairs of gloves. Silver thermal ones my mom lent me and John’s winter run gloves because my winter run gloves were too thin for crawling in snow. We warmed up in the Pavilion, greeted friends and then headed out with the 9:30am heat to race!

Ok let’s see if I can remember all the obstacles & describe how this race went for me personally…

After being herded into the corral we waited for the big door to open and off we went. It was kind of cool to run out of the building but darn cold when the air hit us.

Polar Hero Door

The temperature was -30 with the windchill so it was a bit hard to breathe as we headed out and were soon ankle deep in snow in and around Landsdowne Park. I swear this was worse than running in soft sand!

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Polar M400 Product Review

Disclaimer: I received this watch as a demo unit for review.

I was very lucky to get my hands on the new Polar M400 Sports Watch with GPS to test out and review. The sleek white watch is actually a great fit on my wrist, gives me enough space to see lots of information but doesn’t look like a space station landed on my arm.

Polar M400

I have been using the Garmin Forerunner 310XT for about a year now and my biggest frustration is how long it takes for the satellites to load. As you can see below. I wore them side by side for a comparison and the Garmin satellite’s had barely loaded while the Polar was at 80%. The Garmin never ended up loading this run so I only tracked my HR on the Garmin monitor as Polar hadn’t sent me a HR belt with the watch initially.

Garmin vs. Polar

Garmin vs. Polar 2

Ok so here are several reasons why I love the Polar M400 and I’ll be treating myself to one when I sent this demo watch back.

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Book Review: Shopaholic To The Stars

What kobo.com says:

Sophie Kinsella returns to her beloved Shopaholic series with Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) newly arrived in Hollywood and starry-eyed. She and her two-year-old daughter, Minnie, have relocated to L.A. to join Becky’s husband, Luke, who is there to handle PR for famous actress Sage Seymour. Becky can’t wait to start living the A-list lifestyle, complete with celebrity sightings, yoga retreats, and shopping trips to Rodeo Drive. But she really hopes to become a personal stylist—Sage’s personal stylist—if only Luke would set up an introduction. Then, unexpectedly, Becky is offered the chance to dress Sage’s archrival, and though things become a bit more complicated, it’s a dream come true!

Red carpet premieres, velvet ropes, paparazzi clamoring for attention—suddenly Becky has everything she’s ever wanted.

Or does she?

Shopaholic to the Stars

What I say: This is the perfect book to offset anything that you’ve read recently that’s too serious. I’ve been reading a meal plan book for treating MS with food so it’s been inundating my brain with research. I needed to get lost in a frivolous book so this was perfect. Her books are easy page turners and it was fun and frolicky. You’re not going to get any smarter reading these books but sometimes our brains need that break. There is even a nifty lesson learnt about craving stardom and is it even worth it in the long run.

MS Drug Decision

My biggest stressor this past week was deciding whether or not to go on conventional medicine. My neurologist Dr. Baskind & I had originally discussed options in my first appointment after my diagnosis. We discussed the IV, self injections & oral treatments. I am not a candidate for the IV treatments & I immediately knew I didn’t want to take self injections so we discussed the oral options. I couldn’t make a decision until my insurance company approved me for any of the three oral treatments. We submitted drug prior authorization forms on Dec 17 and a month later finally got a decision from the company that I was approved for Tecfidera or Aubagio.

I wanted a second opinion on my diagnosis and treatment so I asked my family doctor to refer me to the MS Clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital. I received an appointment on January 20th with Dr. Selchen. I discussed drug options with his resident & himself at the clinic and was given a different viewpoint on Tecfidera & Aubagio than my primary neurologist. I was explained the drugs are both first line defence drugs for MS so that’s why I wasn’t approved for the third, Gilenya that is available. You can only get approval for that drug if one of the first two is not effective.

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