22 August, 2012

Stupid is as stupid does


How does one define stupidity?

I figure if I'm going to have a rant about it, I need to be able to define it. I think what I am referring to is the unnecessary absent mindedness that either makes one looks really silly or worse, affect the flow of how things should be. Those who know me will know exactly what I am talking about but until then, I refrain and hide behind talking in very vague terms in a hopefully somewhat whimsical way.

Oh dear!!! 

 Unfortunately, I don't think we have far to go to find it. But I think what's worse is that if you put up with said stupidity or you expect stupidity to change. The fact is that you are the one who is making this a self fulfilling prophecy. Enter despair.

So I feel like I have come to the cross roads. Either I accept status quo or I change it because whatever *this* situation is, it's not acceptable. The part I don't get the most is just how hard it is to just do the right thing just by having some present time consciousness. Stop blaming other people or the circumstances because when you finally take responsibility and grow up, a world of opportunities will be opening up. All it needs is focus and an appreciation that working for things and having things handed to us have two very different outcomes and define us in different ways.

And if all else fails, let's just be like Gen Y and blame someone else.

19 August, 2012

The Simple Pleasures

In our busy modern lives, it seems that people forget. They forget occasions, names and the simple P's and Q's. To me, that is so incredibly disappointing to our daily life reduced to being filled with people who are, quite frankly, rude.

A mum of 2 totally made my day the other week. We were at the local fruit and veg place waiting to pay. So like the good Lemmings we are, we queue silently and place the items on the conveyer belt when ready - naturally avoiding all eye contact because God forbid we live in a community. I put the separator down for her and she did something I haven't had in a while. She turned and said 'thank you' even when she was busy trying to occupy 2 young children.

This made me realise 2 things.
1. Your children learn from you. They learn your good and your bad habits. Don't go around blaming society for the void in your attention span. Let's face it, society is a pretty crappy parent nowadays!
Aside: this makes me think of learning a new skill but particularly how to drive. Similar habits are seen in both teacher and student. Can you see where habits are passed on? My mum used to lock the doors as soon as she got in the car and to this day, I lock my doors soon after I get in. The norm is laid down by the repeated subtleties of daily life. Aside over.
2. Nice people go out of their way to make someone feel better. That lady could have easily ignored me like the countless other people I put the separator down for but she took a 1.5 seconds to show her children what decent human beings do. She is making the world a better place! So when someone does a random act of kindness - do your part to make the world a better place too.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

10 August, 2012

August Ambling

I need some goals. I want to lean up. According to the scale, I am the heaviest I have ever been - thanks muscles... I'm sad because like a whole lot of other people, I want to weigh less even though it is a terrible marker of how one is truly progressing.

I need to keep telling myself that muscle is twice as dense as fat. It is also a lot more helpful than fat.
Muscles are where your energy is produced due to its high content of mitochondria. It is what requires a lot of fuel to keep working meaning that you burn more calories at rest. Muscles are also a great regulator of insulin and it helps to make your body sensitive to it getting the glucose out of your blood AND reducing insulin levels in the blood that signals your body to store excess as fat. Muscles also give a girl shape and not to mention, make a girl strong!

Fat on the other hand is not very metabolically active. It secretes oestrogen (which makes you hold onto stress and promotes cellular growth) and is acidic. All these things keep fat there. Fat makes me giggle and I don't like the giggle when I wiggle.

So while I still recover in August, I need to focus on eating enough protein, activated nuts, good fats, cooked fibrous vegetables or at least eat the fresh things last after I've had my digestive enzymes.

Berries and sweet potato will have to come every 3 days as I think my body is just too sensitive to carbs storing it as fat. I'm sure this wouldn't be a problem if I didn't make it one in my head. I am happy with how I look, I just want my numbers to be less. Rant of Little Miss Mei - over.

Above: Me at my heaviest. It must be the fringe weighing me down. 

08 August, 2012

I heart BCAAs!

Yep, I sure do! Maybe hearing Metallica's Enter Sandman has inspired me to blog about it.

Above: Metalica's Enter Sandman - tonight's inspiration, great background music.

"Say your prayers little one, Don't forget my son, To include everyone"

BCAAs refer to branched chain amino acids - leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are proteins that are used directly by muscles for energy and recovery. As with any amino acid, you would find them normally occurring in any protein - particularly in your meats with its other amino acid friends.

Thing is, I love BCAAs because they make me hurt less and help me to keep going.  It means that I can exercise (and work) day after day without feeling completely smashed by so many workouts.

"Hush little baby don't say a word..."

BCAAs are the one gym supplement I just don't want to do without. The second one would be my plethora of antioxidants like lipoic acid and berries. The third would be magnesium.

Why supplements? Why don't I just eat real food? I do eat real food - A LOT OF IT. I eat local grass fed meats, make my own bone broth, activate my own organic nuts, eat organic fruit and veg, do the omega 3 supplementation even as fermented cod liver oil, have modest serving of good fats every day, drink plenty of water and steer clear of the alcohol and coffee.  The paleo bandwagon has people who like real food. Heck - even non paleo people like real food. A lot of people don't like supplements. I like food and I like supplements.

I find that I have not been able to find the ratios and quantities of food to make me feel as good as when I use my supplements. I also believe that supplements are needed because we do not live, eat, sleep, etc as we should so enter the supplements to help us best cope with modern life, prolonged and excess stress and spent soils. I like to go and do things myself and my extras help me. Awesome!

"Take my hand, Off to Never Never Land!"

So if you are starting to feel very achey and fatigued post workout and requiring a few days to recover - get onto the BCAAs. I take the dissolved powder pre and post workout and also in the midafternoon shake and sometimes before bed. My emergency energy stash at work is nuts with BCAA capsules just to tide me over until dinner if absolutely needed - which is rare since becoming fat adapted. I heart BCAAs, get into them!!!

06 August, 2012


Biosignature is a program that has been designed by world renown strength and conditioning coach, Charles Poliquin. His science and method is sound and for the vast majority of people I could imgaine that you will get some fantastic results.

The idea of Biosignature is that different fat sites indicate how different hormones in the body are functioning. For example, weight around the thighs and buttocks are to do with poor oestrogen detoxification from the body, love handles above the iliac crests have to do with too much insulin from too many carbs and stubborn belly button fat is linked to the stress hormone, cortisol.

Obviously when embarking on any fat loss program, things have to change. My first phase was to go very low carb (under 50g/day) - no fruit, definitely no starchy vegetables or sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. After I got my head around what I could eat, it was pretty easy. Although, I don't think I was meant to stay this low. Somehow I had gotten to my head that carbs are bad and they will instantly make you fat. In some people they will.

What I failed to do was to make my carb intake match my busy training and work schedule. I have had to spend the better part of half a year 'catching' up and by that I mean I have to nourish my adrenals and thyroid with the right foods, exercise and very importantly sleep.

I thought I'd share some photos. I am very aware of what people think about girls with muscles and how 'unnatural' it is. I have been asked by a few people what my experience was so here it is. Yes, I am proud of what I achieved and no, this is not the place for negativity.

Photo 1: Back shot before starting Biosig Jan, 2012.

Photo 2 - 2 weeks after extreme carb limitation. Ripped! 

Photo 3 - About 6 weeks in at about 15% body fat. 

I should also probably mention that I had time to work out 8-10 times a week - that was before uni started up and I continued for a few weeks into semester. That's a ridiculous amount of time to workout on so little carbs. Bad Mei. I wanted to work out a lot. Like I've said twice before - all or nothing kinda gal. But from the first 2 above photos in two weeks, you could probably see why I thought staying on very low carb was a good idea. I'm not going to post the now photos because I do not look like that any more!!!

Honestly, I felt great. I felt like I was on top of the world. I had heaps of energy, I had to buy new clothes and I felt strong.

As to what really happened next, I'm not too sure. I'm going to say it was stress in its many forms in my life on top of an already hectic training and diet routine. I hit adrenal fatigue and pretty sure my thyroid function got stuffed up too but I didn't realise it at the time. My sleep patterns were terrible, I'm pretty sure I got upset incredibly easily, anxiety returned and I started putting the fat back on. Hind sight - 20/20, not so good at the seeing the present.

That was my body telling me it was starving and overworked.

So that's what has lead me to the now. I am doing a lot of work on stress management through 9 hours sleep, down time and supplements, eating about 80-120g carbs/day and eating berries. I have to say that even though my body fat percentage is probably around the 18% mark, I am so much more relaxed and so many people from different parts of my life have commented on it. The body fat will come off again in its own time but as for now, time to love the body I'm in and to pay penance for what I did earlier this year.

Do I recommend the Bioignature program? Absolutely!

I loved it so much that I am doing a course to become a certified practitioner later this year.

Just make sure you listen to your body when it tells you that you are doing some really silly things to it! Numbers are not the be all end all and they certainly do not determine your worth.

Activating Nuts

The term always makes me think of an assortment of nuts sitting in a self-help seminar but alas no, that is not what I am referring to.

Activating nuts is a way to make them more absorbable and cause less intolerance symptoms. They deactivate the evil anti-nutrient phytic acid. Did you know that nuts are a good source of fibre? Enter my digestion woes! What I have found is that by eating activated nuts, my tummy is much happier. The price is exorbitant so I'm giving it a go myself with raw, organic nuts sourced from the Nutty Sisters in the Hornsby markets of a Thursday morning.

There are many ideas as to how to activate nuts but they essentially say to soak nuts in filtered water with some salt for a few hours then dehydrate them till thoroughly dried in an oven or a dehydrator. The heat should be not too hot as you don't want to destroy all those lovely compounds you just made available.

I separate the nuts into their density (determined a lot by their fat content) to determine how long to soak them for.

Cashews and macademias - 4-6 hours
Brazil nuts and walnuts - 6-8 hours
Almonds and hazelnuts - closer to 12 hours

  • 4 cups of nuts separated with their soaking buddies
  • 1 teaspoon of rock/sea salt
  • Enough (warm) filtered water to cover the nuts in a bowl
  1. Place nuts in a bowl.
  2. Dissolve salt in water and pour over nuts.
  3. Soak for described time.
  4. Drain and place on a sheet in the oven to dry on the lowest heat for 12-24 hours.
Picture 1 - 2 bowls of nuts with friends playing together in the brine

Picture 2 - a side shot of the muck that comes out when you soak nuts. If you aren't soaking, then you're eating it. 

Fibre woes

I am unfortunately one of those people who has a sensitive gut. Personally, I do 'blame' it on not being breastfed and having a GIT that never quite got the hang of it. Besides, we live in the present, not the past!

So lately I have found that I am having bloating issues and that I am tired. It may be because I have started working 6 days a week again but I am pretty sure my diet has a lot to answer for.

I've been focusing on fibrous vegetables. That's quite self explanatory - even those who are the epitome of unhealthy know that you should eat lots of vegetables to be healthy. Like I said, I'm an all or nothing kinda gal.

I would say I have close to 8-10 serves of vegetables a day - mainly your leafy salad greens, Chinese greens, celery, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, eggplant, red and yellow capsicum (albeit technically the aforementioned 3 are fruits) and other vegetables high in insoluble. Unfortunately, my gut has not been my friend. This happened has also happened earlier this year when I did the Biosignature course and got down to an insane 14.6% body fat level. Visible inguinal ligament, 8 pack, serratus anterior ripped but not happy. I would love to be about 15% body fat but with insides that love me back! So here are  my travels.

My previous travels lead me to believe it was FODMAPS type issues so I focused more on eating the greens and cutting fructose out of the diet. In consultation with a dietician, I also needed to start eating more freakin' carbs (head game, I'm trying to lose fat here [there's a post if ever I saw one] but yummo berries and sweet potato and corriander fries!) Energy levels are much better and the mad carb cravings are gone but the bloating and other disturbances still remain.

Then spending all the time on facebook, as those of a modern generation do, I came across a link discussing how our good friend, fibre, can cause digestive issues particularly in those with less than hardy guts. I was most intrigued to find the almost identical list between those foods higher in FODMAPS and those with higher insoluble fibre in them.


Insoluble fibre has been described as a wire brush scraping the insides of your colon and I so agree with that description. 

Now I don't think anyone would EVER suggest not eating foods high in insoluble fibre. That's downright stupid and dangerous. I would also suggest that the vast majority of people do not eat enough fresh and/or fibrous vegetables so please don't think I am suggesting you cut your vegetable intake.

So what to do? I am making my food more accessible and friendly to the gut by -
  • Cooking foods with higher insoluble fibre well (ie less of the fresh and stir fries)
  • Increase stomach acid and digestive enzymes (including cellulase) by means of supplementation 15 minutes prior to eating
  • Drink warm/hot drinks to aid digestion - it's very Oriental in its advice and I've never found the exact reason but logic would lead me to think that you need to keep your food more pliable for the squishy and squelching of digestion as well as helping the muscles of your GIT function better like warming up before exercise
Practically this means that I will need to
  • Make more soups and smoothies to breakdown the physical structure
  • Roast and steam my veggies well
  • Take my enzymes with me everywhere!
  • Pre-soak nuts
  • Eat smaller pieces of protein with some well cooked veggies as snacks instead of my raw sticks of veggie and nut spreads