20 mins with ‘Hitch’

On June 20, 2012 ~ Ken Hitchcock won the Jack Adams Award for NHL coach of the year. Pictured with his wife Corina.

Pre-Game Skate ~ The Backstory.

Growing up in rural Ontario, nestled a house which included my sports-loving dad and two younger brothers…we would watch hockey every single Saturday night. Common to many hockey lovers, this was simply – a ritual.

Bowls of popcorn in hand, we cozied ourselves together as a fam, as we settled in for an evening in-front of the tube. Staring back at us, was the TV stand’s shelf that was lined and completely filled with the entire collection of Don Cherry’s Rock ‘em Sock ‘em hockey videos.Throughout these years, my brothers played competitive hockey.  Back in the day, my ability to list the names of professional players/coaches from various NHL teams, impressed many hockey fanatics and non-hockey breathing friends alike.  Not much changed when I got married.  My husband is a die-hard hockey fan as well.  He is keeping the dream alive, while playing in his Tuesday night men’s league and may or may not be known for yelling a few choice words here and there at the television as we tune into ‘Hockey Night in Canada’. As you can tell…hockey was…and still is a huge part of our life. Heck…we even met for the first time, while out watching the hockey playoffs at a neighbourhood pub. Read on as I express my gratitude for having the opportunity to chat with a very genuine, humble and honest man.

First Period ~ The Prologue.

Enough about me. This post is about Ken Hitchcock – 2012’s NHL coach of the year and Jack Adam’s award recipient, and his associated success of bringing a Paleo lifestyle into his world.

REWIND. STOP…and PLAY…back several months ago now. My husband and I were curled up on the couch watching television one evening and a TSN video clip came on. It was an interview with NHL’s St. Louis Blues Head Coach, Ken Hitchcock. We were glued to the screen, as he spoke openly and candidly about his struggles with weight/health issues and his new(ish) appreciation for CrossFit and the Paleo Lifestyle. Literally that evening, I posted a link to this video and another related article on my PALEOdISH Facebook page…and it turns out the 2nd person to comment on the link was (is)…Ken’s wife Corina!!!

My post on Facebook and follow up comments went like this…

Me: @TSN_Sports_Buzz – just watched an interview with @StLouisBlues coach Ken Hitchcock…and discovered he does #crossfit and follows a #paleo lifestyle. ‘it has already helped him take off 60 pounds and has left him feeling better than he has in years!’ SO WICKED!! YEAH! ♥

Corina: He has actually lost over 90#! We started crossfit together at Desert Crossfit in Palm Desert. We changed our nutrition in May of 2010 and haven’t looked back! #heismyhusband #lovesyourcoconutcurrychickensoup

Me: WOW!!! THAT IS INCREDIBLE! Ken Hitchcock is your husband? CONGRATS to BOTH of YOU on making such a wonderful life change!!! ♥ VERY INSPIRING! =D

Corina: Thanks! He is doing great! We wouldn’t be able to do it without blogs like yours. I have scooped many recipes from it and have developed a greater enthusiasm for cooking as a result! Paleo community rocks!

Me: Holy smokes…super flattered! THANK YOU for following my blog!! YES…you are right…the paleo community does ROCK! I have met and learned so much from so many fabulous people along my journey. I feel so fortunate!! Thanks again…PS – I remember you posted the comment about the link to my coconut chicken soup not working now! LOL =P

Corina: You know what is funny, is I went to make it the other day and it didn’t come up again. I was going to bug you again, but decided not to. I tried to do it from memory, but something was a bit off. Hitch liked it anyway, but you may need to check that. Next time I will copy it down! Keep up the creativity and the great work :)

Me: I pm’d you! =)

From there, Corina and I continued chatting back and forth via email. After several conversations…I asked her if she thought Ken (AKA ~ ‘Hitch’) would be willing and interested in taking part in an interview with moi. He agreed and guess what??? KEN HITCHCOCK PHONED ME!!! Yep…you heard me! One afternoon, while I was bringing in some groceries or putting away dishes (worst memory and all a blur!)…the phone rang…and I answered it. I think I picked up a little snippily (I thought it was a telemarketer HA!) and was totally embarrassed when I heard his voice and realized who it was. He asked if NOW was a good time?! The flustered and crazy spazz that I am…actually asked if he would be able to call me back! DOH!!!! Who does that? *facepalm* I think my giddiness got in the middle of my rational thinking here. On his end…he was totally ‘cool as a cucumber’ and replied with “sure…I will call you again in a couple hours after I get back from the rink!” When I hung up the phone, I felt fully silly and embarrassed. I finished doing what I was doing and had a chance to pull out the questions I had come up with and go over them. A man of his word…later that day…the phone rang again. Recognizing the number, I greeted him with a much more composed hello. And there began my ’20 mins with Hitch.’

Second Period ~ The Phone Interview. 

Me: How did you first hear about the Paleo type of lifestyle?

Ken Hitchcock: To be honest with you, we started doing CrossFit in the Palm Springs area in early 2010. Corina and I had been doing this for about 2 months or so I think, at which point Dr. Gundry came in to our gym to do a presentation related to health and wellness. During his presentation he introduced a ‘different’ sort of eating plan (to us), where he discussed the specifics of a Paleo/Primal lifestyle. He talked about turning off your genes through food. We then found Mark Sisson and he talked about something similar. From there, we were off and running! After all of this, we became really interested in learning more about Paleo…and decided to give it a try. The take home point here was that after we made it through the adjustment period, things got so much easier. After the first 3 weeks, it actually became ‘no big deal’. 

Me: What motivated you to make this incredible lifestyle change back in May 2010? 

Ken Hitchcock: Like I mentioned, while taking part as active members at our CrossFit gym, we attended a presentation on the Paleo lifestyle and from there made the decision to take part in a ‘Paleo Challenge’ with a group of people from this location. Following the decision to make the switch, many positive results followed. With a combination of exercise and healthy eating, I definitely saw initial changes in body composition, due to weightloss. I was able to lose weight, but importantly, this type of eating allowed me to actually sustain it – week to week, while keeping the weight off. 

Me: Since changing your lifestyle, what are the most noticeable benefits that you have seen/felt in yourself to date?

Ken Hitchcock: By making this change and eating right and exercising, I have eliminated the yo-yo notion that many people experience. I have been successful in building muscle mass. More than anything, both physically and mentally, I just feel healthier. I love feeling that increase in energy and that you don’t need a nap. There is just this ‘clear’ feeling, it is difficult to describe. I have also noticed that I haven’t had as many colds or allergy symptoms. I feel like I have so much more stamina too!  To sum it up – I feel like I am in the zone…and I don’t ever want to get out of that zone!!!

Me: What advice might you offer someone who is reading this, who may be wondering about the first steps in initiating change?

Ken Hitchcock: I feel like so many people think it is only about portion control, but it really isn’t. It is about fueling your body with nutrient dense foods. The last thing you want to do is feel as though you are constantly ‘taking things away’. I don’t feel deprived when eating this way, no one does. Instead it is more helpful to think about eating larger meals, while consuming foods that are going to leave you feeling satisfied and provide you with more get up and go. For me that is key.  Speaking to the benefits once again, I find I have much more energy and recovery has improved. I am sleeping through the night more often than not, and I am not relying on medication. I feel GREAT!  This whole thing has been such good experience form me. I don’t ever want to go back to the old way. I love this healthy lifestyle that we have started and I just want to keep going…

Me: While spending so much of your time with your ‘St. Louis Blues’ family, have any of the other coaching staff or players noticed your successes? If so, have they been intrigued to dabble in Paleo or give it a go themselves? 

Ken Hitchcock: Yes, some of the coaches that I work with have started a 30 day Paleo challenge and are making changes. We also do CrossFit together as well. Also, when we go on the road, everyone is very respectful of the way I eat and they actually tend to gravitate that way.  

Third Period ~ The Epilogue. 

Me: What would be your closing remarks on how to successfully implement a paleo lifestyle on the go?
Ken Hitchock: You have to be determined about what foods need to be eliminated from your thought process. Grains, processed foods and refined sugars for example. If you eliminate some of those foods, it becomes quite easy to be successful. When we are on the road it is actually fairly simple because our meals are set and you just make the appropriate choices. It’s a little different for me because I have the opportunity to be with the team, and meals as fuel are a priority. For me, I have to watch myself and be sure I don’t grab for things when I am frustrated or stressed. I know I have to be mindful with that, but for the most part, I do well there too.
*** Latest Update: I am continuing to do really well. At present, it is somewhat different because there are no highs and lows because of no NHL season! Overall I feel good. Just bored at times and I miss the competition. 
Overtime ~ The Shootout.
Bacon…YES or NO:  Yes, crisp!
Favourite Paleo meal: Chicken fried cauliflower rice
Most satisfying NON-Paleo treat: Ted Drewes frozen custard here in St. Louis
Favorite workout: Long chipper with rowing.
P.O.P (% on paleo): 90 %
The paleo lifestyle in one word: ENERGETIC!
Post Game Commentary ~ My thanks to Ken (& Corina too!)
For your time, I am so very appreciative and grateful. In a busy world, Ken and his wife Corina have been so down to earth, accommodating and a real pleasure to talk with and get to know. I continue to be flattered when I find out folks like you are enjoying reading blog posts on my site. That makes me smile. I am glad both of you are part of this incredible community. I really hope our paths cross in the future, as I would love to share more stories in the flesh. Until then…best thoughts and wishes are being sent your way for continued health, success and adventure! Here’s to hoping the NHL’s season will get underway in the next while, so we can see you in action! (fingers crossed) THANKS AGAIN!!!

Behind the bench. (May 5, 2012 - Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America)

rid the back to school lunch blues with these ideas…

Here is my lunch bag set up – my PlanetBox (which comes with 2 containers and cool carrying case), a 16oz Klean Kanteen that I use for water, and a 12oz Klean Kanteen that I use when I am bringing hot food (e.g. soups or stews).

Guest post by Cynthia Roulston ~ This September will mark my 12th year of teaching. As an elementary school teacher, the start of a school year often feels more like the beginning of a new year then it does on January 1st. It is often a time I set new routines as I try to balance my life in a way that does not end up with work taking over every aspect. As part of that organization, it is also a time to think about how to continue my awesome success with a paleo lifestyle. I have been paleo for about 3 years and friends and family often bombard me with the same 4 questions:

  1. What do you eat for breakfast?
  2. What do you eat for lunch?
  3. What do you eat for dinner?
  4. What do you eat?

The last question is probably the easiest one to answer. I eat real food. I avoid grains, legumes and processed food. I seriously limit/avoid dairy. That means I eat the best quality protein sources I can afford, lots of veggies with a bit of fruit, and some nuts and seeds. Pretty simple, and yet when I manage to convince my friends to try a Whole30, to give the paleo way a try, these same questions surface.  One of the key elements to being successful with this way of eating is dropping your preconceived notions of what a meal is. I no longer look at foods in terms of “breakfast”, “lunch” or “dinner”. Most of the time I am successful eating 3 meals a day, and I simply look at them as that – meals. I view meals as the food that will nourish my body, and fuel it in the healthiest way possible, to sustain me throughout the day. This mental shift has shown me that no food is off limits just because of the time of day.

Cindy has invited me to write about lunches as we prepare to get back to work. So whether you are a teacher like ourselves or some other professional, a student, or have children attending school, hopefully there will be some ideas in this post that you can use. I will also include some photos (show casing my awesome Planetbox) of some easy awesome lunches I made recently.

One of the most important ways I keep on track with my paleo lifestyle during lunch is having awesome containers to pack my lunch in. I never really need an excuse to buy myself a present – but being able to keep your food fresh and tasty is going to help you enjoy it much more. Last year I discovered Planet Box lunch containers and they are fantastic! They are environmentally friendly, and keep your food fresh! The only down side to the lunch box I purchased is that it only works with cold meals. They have recently changed this in their newest version which is also a bit larger then the one I bought (darnit!). However, I have also discovered Klean Kanteen, which is another amazing environmentally friendly product that can hold hot or cold beverages, as well as leftover meals like stews and soups. The 8-12oz Klean Kanteen perfectly holds a warm meal (I heat it up in the morning before work and it is still super hot by lunch) and fits snuggly into the pocket of my Planetbox Lunch bag. I also have a 16oz Klean Kanteen that I use as my water bottle throughout the day. I have also tried and still occasionally use an impulse purchase I made at Deserres bento lunch box which looks pretty funky but isn’t as useful as the Planetbox, and doesn’t have a matching carry case. It’s amazing what you can find at the checkout line of an art supply store!

So now that you are equipped with an awesome lunch bag – it’s time to fill it with awesome food.  This diagram comes from Planetbox (a USA – based company), but I wouldn’t be surprised if Canada’s food guide were turned into a plate it would look very similar. I do like that they have made an attempt to market such an amazing lunchbox while encouraging environmental sustainability as well as healthy eating. Obviously we significantly differ on what we consider healthy eating.

If I was to re-create this diagram for my Planetbox to reflect a more paleo/primal balance it would look like:

The obvious difference is the removal of the grains and dairy groups, and larger portion of veggies as the main carbohydrate source.

General Meal Guidelines:

  1. I like to base each meal of my day around my protein source. Protein ideas are endless – fish (I like salmon fillets, or tuna salad with my own homemade mayo), boiled eggs, poultry, beef…you name it! I also like nitrate-free deli meat when I can get it. Using meat for wraps is one of my go-to favourites. Find a good local butcher – we love Royal Beef  as they have the best deli ever in addition to their other amazing quality meats.
  2. Next I choose my fat source. Sometimes my fat may already be incorporated in my meal – e.g in a stew if I am reheating leftovers. Otherwise, I may need to add some.  Fat Sources I like -  Olive oil, or walnut oil I frequently use as a base in my salad dressings, a handful of nuts, or a couple of table spoons of almond or cashew butters are great for dipping fruit in. Avocado, olives, coconut milk and coconut flakes are great, easily portable fat sources too.
  3. Lastly – I go to town on the veggies. I like to experiment with variety as I look for different combinations that work with my protein sources. Carbohydrate Sources are even more endless – I always like to favour things in season, although lettuce leaves for wraps, as well as carrot, celery and cucumber seem to pop up a lot in my rotation because I love them and they are easy. No one can claim boredom here though!! Ways to prepare veggies are as numerous as there are kinds! As for fruit I try not to go too crazy. I use it more like a garnish/condiment or dessert. Definitely a smaller portion compared to veggies. As with my veggies, when it comes to fruit I also like to be adventurous and experiment with what is in season.

Top/Left –> Clockwise ~ * Hormone/antibiotic free ham slices wrapped around sliced tomato and avocado, coronation grapes, almond butter for dipping apple slices into and some cucumber * Grassfed roast beef, carrots, banana with almond butter for dipping, kiwi slices, 90% Lindt cacao chocolate * Tuna Salad Wraps in a Bento Box * Leftover roast chicken, cashews, cucumber slices, watermelon pieces and 90% Lindt Cacao chocolate

Still hungry? Make up some homemade baggies of this or something similar! Also, check out PALEOdISH’s last blog post for loads of additional snacky(ish) ideas that are perfect to pack in your lunch box!!!

Emergency Snack mix – grassfed beef jerky, prunes, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds

Other Lunch Suggestions:

  1. Be prepared – I like to make a plan for the week and I assemble my lunch as part of my evening routine so that in the morning I can just grab my lunch from the fridge and go.
  2. Sunday Night Slow Cook – I like to prepare a large cut of meat (e.g. a roast or whole chicken, spaghetti sauce, chili, soups or stew) where I know there will be lots of leftovers and I’ve got an easy yummy protein source ready to go for at least 2 lunches during the week, or can be frozen for later. It’s nice starting the work week knowing you’re set up for the first couple of days.
  3. Leftovers Rule – During the work week I will often make extra amounts of my third meal (dinner) which lends nicely to lunch-able leftovers.

Cynthia Roulston has been an elementary school teacher for 12 years. With a MSc in Nutritional Science she has also worked as a clinical research associate in breast cancer prevention trials at Princess Margaret Hospital. This background in nutrition is what led to her interest in the paleo diet.  A former national and world-level Ultimate Frisbee player, and former track athlete, physical fitness has been a significant part of her life.  Cynthia currently competes in kettlebell sport. As a part-time Movement Coach at StrengthBox, she derives satisfaction by helping others achieve their personal best. She’s a great motivator and specializes in making workouts fun. She firmly believes in setting a positive example for her students, and continues to amaze them with her feats of fitness and strength. She recently became a MovNat Certified Trainer and enjoys as part of a paleo lifestyle, encouraging and teaching her clients how to move naturally with ease, power and grace. Check out her blog, which includes some good stuff related to MovNat, kettlebell training and living a paleo lifestyle.

50 reasons…

I few weeks ago…I came home to a UPS sticky note on my door. Missed delivery it said. Hmmmmm….what oh what could it be? (‘What have you bought now?’, asks my husband…’nothing’, I replied). At this point, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was…but was ecstatic that is was something other than bills. HA!  So…the next day (on my way home from work), I stopped in at the UPS store. With anticipation, I scooted home quickly…and opened up the package, like an excited child on Christmas morning.  As I slid my car keys down the middle of the taped box to open it up, I came to realize that I was graciously treated to an advance copy of Dallas & Melissa Hartwig’s new book ~ IT STARTS WITH FOOD. (#ISWF)

I was flattered…speechless really, and totally honoured that they thought of me as someone to review their book. Without really thinking about it…’Fifty Shades of Grey’ was put on hold…*GASP* (I haven’t even finished the 1st one and can’t stand reading books simultaneously) so…I decided to dive right in to this wee bad boy instead. After all…who doesn’t think science is sexy…right?!? Fully intrigued by ISWF right from the first chapter…I literally couldn’t put the book down. A total page turner. Eyes glued for 1.5 days…and done.  Completely satisfied…but the love affair is far from over. I am basically telling anyone who will listen, that this book is honestly a MUST read. Don’t think twice about it. If you eat food and give a shit about your health…than this book is for you.

50 reasons to put down ‘Shades of Grey’ (don’t worry ~ you can go back to it after!)…and pick up ‘IT STARTS WITH FOOD’…

Here is why you will fall in love: (*in no specific order)

  1. It starts off exploring the psychological effects of food (often overlooked, but critical insights on cravings, habits & patterns)
  2. Tons of super helpful descriptions of scientific processes using analogies (homeostasis in your body = think furnace in your house)
  3. Includes science to back up their claims/views (loads of references at the back of the book & insights/support from Mat Lalonde)
  4. Sleek page layout (makes it easy on the eyes)
  5. Multiple explanations (they take the time to present and re-word concepts in different ways…so you will ‘get it’)
  6. Handy dandy chapter summaries (at the end of each chapter there is a concise & logical review of the ‘Science-y Stuff’ that was just covered)
  7. Really purty diagrams & charts (for the visual learner (moi) ~ clear & simple)
  8. Powerful one-liners throughout the entire book (‘The food you eat either makes you more or less healthy.  Those are your options’)
  9. Some witty writing (you will most def LOL for reals…multiple times as you read this book)
  10. Includes a comprehensive meal map (ANIMAL PROTEIN + LOTS OF VEGETABLES + HIGH QUALITY FAT + SEASONINGS)
  11. It will make you think! (guaranteed you will re-evaluate WHAT and HOW you are eating)
  12. Goes back to the basics (eat REAL FOOD…not Franken-food)
  13. They re-enforce the notion of individuality (encourage self-experimentation to see what works for you)
  14. Yummy chunks of info (includes manageable & digestible bites of information ~ pun intended…but doesn’t make your head spin!)
  15. Full-on run down on the Whole30/45/60 elimination program and how it works (‘It’s only 30 days’)
  16. Strategies for re-introduction of certain foods (very insightful, as this phase if often less ‘talked’ about)
  17. Cleverly crafted (no explanation needed)
  18. Includes visual guidelines on how to ‘build your plate’ (helps you to picture reasonable amounts of carbs, protein & fats…but ditches the notion of counting calories and weighing/measuring food)
  19. Offers fine-tuning tips for ‘special populations (diabetics, autoimmune, vegetarians, vegans, pregnant & breastfeeding women etc…)
  20. Gorgeous recipes (a section with a variety of coloured photos ~ cannot wait to try some of these!)
  21. Real-life testimonials (each chapter begins with words straight from their clients’ mouths)
  22. They tell it like it is (no nonsense approach)
  23. Super inclusive (I honestly feel like everyone could benefit from reading this book ~ no one is left out)
  24. Highlights the importance of how to eat (focus meaningful dining experiences that should be cherished ~ this really resonated with me)
  25. Helpful resource list (towards the end of the book, they include various recommended sites, books and related movies)
  26. Master references (21 pages of scientific studies & papers that were used to support their work ~ if you are a super nerd you can go and read on further if you so desire)
  27. Tips on how and where to source good food (web links are provided)
  28. A cool cover design (makes you want to grab it…open it up and start reading)
  29. Guaranteed to make you go back and read it a second time (bring a highlighter and pencil for the second go-around)
  30. Great energy (as you read you will find that Melissa & Dallas’ personalities really shine through)
  31. It will make you want to get rid of all the ‘junk’ in your kitchen (you will feel the urge to go shopping to stock up on nutritious food instead)
  32. Highly relatable (you will likely experience moments of ~ ‘yep that sounds like me’ as you go along)
  33. The total package (a great gift for anyone in your family or circle of friends/loved ones)
  34. It costs less than $25 (but worth so much more!)
  35. Exudes passion and a zest for living (you will want to take better care of yourself)
  36. Clearly about changing your lifestyle (not a diet book)
  37. A nice balance between the practical side & the scientific side (you feel like you are getting enough of both)
  38. Includes info about additional downloadable guides (ISWF ‘Quick Start Guide, shopping list & more ~ they are FREE!)
  39. It won’t just sit on your bookshelf (you will revisit again and again and use it as a resourceful tool)
  40. You will want to share it (maybe haha ~ or just convince others to buy their own copy or buy one for them instead!)
  41. It’s a 2-way conversation (engaging and they make you feel like you as a reader are part of the experience ~ very non-preachy)
  42. Accessibility to a variety of readers (regardless of previous background knowledge or entry level)
  43. Applicable (you are sure to find answers and will be stoked to make changes)
  44. Honest (you may hear things that you don’t necessarily want to hear, but NEED to hear)
  45. It will make you feel smart (you to be able to explain things like hormones & inflammation with ease to anyone…anytime!)
  46. Inspiring (you will want to take charge)
  47. Will leave you will no valid excuses (but rather the will to just give it a go!)
  48. It will change your life (if you let it)
  49. Or it will change someone else’s that you love (XO <3)
  50. It is on sale NOW….HERE (CDN) or HERE (US) ~ (SOOOOO…what are you waiting for? GO BUY IT!!!)

PS – I am now reading it through for a second time.  This time, highlighter in hand and a rainbow of my favourite pens at the ready to mark it up and make my own notes.  (Yes…I know…such a teacher ~ LOL!)  ENJOY!!!

PSS – THANK-YOU again to Dallas & Melissa for creating something SO special…a total gem! (Already looking forward to your next book ;))

PALEOdISH holiday gift guide

I love this time of year.  The smell of pine, holiday cheer, cozy gatherings around the fireplace and spending quality time with family and friends.  The Christmas season is upon us.  Last weekend…Santa Claus Parade.  This weekend we went to our first Christmas party (‘ugly sweater’) of several that are upcoming.  Next…the good ol’ tree chop. Weekends are filling up and the hustle n’ bustle is definitely in the air.  December 25th is less than a month away folks!

I had so much fun putting this little (well actually kinda large(ish) gift guide together.  Hopefully you will find it useful and you will snag a few ideas, as you check off buying for those who are on your ‘nice’ list this year.  Sit back…get cozy with a blanket and a yummy warm bevy.  Guaranteed to get you in the spirit of giving.  Many of the suggestions in this guide are items that I own and LOVE or are currently on ‘my wish list’…hint, hint…wink, wink!  Browse away at your leisure and have fun clicking away like mad on all the products links that I have provided throughout!  (Note:  I am not partial to all the specific brands…they are merely gift suggestions!!!)

For your bookshelf…

These are all must-haves for your bookshelf collection…to be read of course first!  I highly recommended these reads to almost everyone I meet…those following a ‘paleo lifestyle’ or not.  I have purchased several copies myself, for special people in my life…and I honestly can’t say enough wicked things about these incredible authors…and dear friends of mine.  Inspire someone to take control of their health, learn more about the science behind nutrition and ultimately find their inner chef!

1.  a)  The Paleo Solution: Robb Wolf

Do you want to lose fat and stay young, all while avoiding cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and a host of other illnesses? The Paleo Solution incorporates the latest, cutting edge research from genetics, biochemistry and anthropology to help you look, feel and perform your best.’

‘Written by Robb Wolf, a research biochemist who traded in his lab coat and pocket protector for a whistle and a stopwatch to become one of the most sought after strength and conditioning coaches in the world. With Robb’s unique perspective as both scientist and coach you will learn how simple nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes can radically change your appearance and health for the better.’

1.  b)  Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Transformation Guide

Do you want to:

  • Lose weight?
  • Feel better?
  • Have more energy?
  • Reduce inflammation and pain?
  • Reverse diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, autism, diabetes, and obesity?
  • Look, feel, and perform at your best ever?

If you answered yes…then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Total Transformation is your answer. This is a 60-page, new, interactive multimedia guide is amazing!  He includes sections on nutrition, exercise, your first 30-days, a month of paleo meals, shopping lists, recommended resources and more!

2.  Catalyst Athletics – Weightlifting Book, DVD and Poster Package

I have personally read Greg Everett’s Olympic Weightlifting book and was also fortunate enough to attend his weightlifting seminar when he came to Toronto last year.  This man is a wealth of knowledge in this area.  Take a minute to check out his Catalyst Athletics site, where you will find all kinds of goodies and products for sale in his online store.

You can purchase items separately…or buy them in nicely bundled packages.  Such items include books, DVD’s, posters, Performance Menu subscriptions, tons of equipment and much more!  Take advantage of their ‘Cyber Monday’ offers, which gives you 25 % of all DVD’s!  This would make a super gift for that strong guy or gal in your life…get shopping!

3.  Paleo Comfort Foods: Julie & Charles Mayfield

In 3 words…totally wicked awesome!!!  This Paleo cookbook is a total MUST HAVE for anyone! You are fully guaranteed to find all sorts of yummy dishes in this book that that will tickle your fancy! Since getting this cookbook, I basically cart it around with me everywhere. People at work are now so intrigued and many of my friends have ordered a copy of their own since!
This book is stuffed full of delicious recipes that will make your mouth water just by looking all their gorgeous full colour photos! DROOL…Cooking instructions are easy to follow, steps are concise and the end products are definitely something to write home about.

4.  Make It Paleo: Bill Staley & Hayley Mason

I have said it before, but I will say it again…THIS BOOK IS A MASTERPIECE of BEAUTIFULNESS!!! IT ROCKS! When you buy this, get it in your hands and find a recipe that you want to attempt…you will right away feel like you will be successful in doing so. They have truly set you up for success. Each recipe is paired with a stunning photo of the finished product on the right side.

I really appreciate that the recipes don’t call for a million and one ingredients and that the instructions are SUPER EASY to follow. Fully doable for first time chefs and pros alike.

5.  Paleo Magazine

Who doesn’t love magazines?!?  I know I do!!!  Our coffee table always home to various different ones.  The gift of a magazine subscription is a beautiful thing.  It is the gift that keeps on giving all year round.

When I was at the Ancestral Health Symposium back in August, I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy of this magazine…of which I thoroughly enjoyed reading!  ‘Paleo magazine is the first, and only, print magazine dedicated to the Paleo/Primal lifestyle. Each issue is packed with the latest research, exercise and nutrition. They also give you interviews, recipes, reviews and much more!’  This sweet read is def on my own wish list this year…

For your kitchen…

6.  Anything Le Creuset

I am a huge fan of anything Le Creuset.  A few years ago, I received a wonderful Le Creuset Dutch Oven for Christmas from my mother-in-law.  It is a lifesaver…we use it ALL the time.  TRIPLE LOVE!!!

They can be a bit of a pricier gift…however, I have to say…that they are fully worth every penny.  Gorgeous and durable to last you an entire lifetime!  Keep your eyes peeled for various Le Creuset products at discounted prices at their outlet stores and other house and home shops such as Winners.  I hope to be adding to my Le Creuset collection soon…as there is an outlet that just opened across the border, in Niagara Falls, at the Fashion Outlet Mall.

7.  The Crock-Pot

If your household doesn’t already have one…get one!  Crock-Pot…’the original slow cooker’, is key for making batches of stews, chillies, soups and other meat dishes.  Super easy to use, but the benefits in producing delicious dishes and saving loads of time are definite factors for people with busy lives.

You can find these bad boys on sale at many stores for under $ 4o!  We just started using ours fairly recently…and wonder why we didn’t start sooner.  Crock pots are da bomb!!!  A full-on essential kitchen item in my opinion.

8. a) Spiral Slicer – Westmark Spiromat

This is a unique and fun gift for someone who maybe has all the standard kitchen essentials.  It is a fantastic tool that turns a variety of vegetables into super curly ‘noodles.’  You can basically use anything from sweet potatoes, to zucchini…in order to create many yummy dishes.  This handy device also serves as a neat way to make different meals that will appeal to your children.  Fun and inventive…we use ours often.  Note – not the easiest to find…so you may have to do a little bit of searching for this one – well worth it though!!!  Read my full post on this cool kitchen gadget here.

8.  b) Mandoline Slicer

Also, if the ‘chef’ or ‘foodie’  in your life doesn’t own a madoline slicer, I would highly recommend getting them one.  It really does make slicing and dicing much easier!  I have two.  The basic one I have is the OXO Hand-Held Mandonline Slicer and the more complex (fancier) one I have is the Borner Germany V-Slicer Plus Mandoline .  Both of them are fabulous!  Feel free to print off my ‘beet chip’ and ‘sweet potato chip‘ recipes for them, to include with the gift!

For your body:

9.  Mobility products

These gift are inspired by Kelly StarrettMobility WOD.

“Every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves. You know what to eat, how to train, and what to do if you have a cut; you should also know how to fix your tight hips, painful knees, and stiff shoulders, and how to make yourself faster and more powerful. It’s too much to mobilize everything, all the time, everyday.  Start somewhere”

From bands to rumble rollers and  all the way to ‘The Stick’…you will find what you need to take care of your muscles.  These items are sold individually or in ‘packs’ that make fabulous gift for those you care about.

10. Powerlifting Belt

‘All Inzer Forever Belts ™ are one solid thickness of the finest, select, exclusive leather.’ This is an ideal gift for someone in your life, who is into lifting some heavy weight.  Inzer offers high-quality products that will stand the test of time.  Take a minute to head over to their site to check out other products from ‘The World Leader in Powerlifting Apparel.”  They come is a rainbow of colours and various styles.  I personally love the forest green!

11.  T’s, Tanks and Hoodies

My husband likes to say that the last thing I need is another hood…but come on…can one really ever have too many!?!  I don’t think so!  Anyways, check out some of these awesome T’s, hoodies and fancy duds from some amazing people.  Thank me later…as the men and women (kids too) in your life will love being all decked out in these comfy clothes.  Great for the gym or for lounging after a big holiday feast.

Why not head over to Catalyst Athletics to buy one of their fabulous tanks or one of their new ‘jerk hoodies’!?!   You could also dress your entire family in Nom Nom Paleo’s adorable clothing.  Check it out…as they have a little something for everyone over there.  If you want to make a statement, saunter on over to The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate’s shop to purchase a t-shirt that tells it like it is!  Choose from 4 different, cleverly crafted designs…or heck if you can’t decide, snag ‘em all!!!  Finally…mosey on over to Balanced Bites, to pick up a t-shirt for that special bacon lover in your life.  There are many different styles and colours to choose from in her shop as well!

For your loved ones who were ‘extra nice’ this year:

12.  Big(ger) Ticket Items

Depending on your budget and how you celebrate, you may wish to spoil some of your special peeps with some more expensive, but wicked-awesome presses.

Weightlifting Equipment

Imagine how happy ‘the weightlifter’ on your list would be if they woke up on Christmas morning to see some solid new weight plates or a barbell, with bows on them under the tree.  These types of gifts are great to go in on as a larger group as well!  Check out companies like: Pendlay, Muscle Driver, Westside Barbell, Catalyst Athletics and Rogue Fitness for a plethora of such products.


I do not own one myself, but everyone that I speak with, who does…absolutely loves theirs.  These machines are a terrific gift, for that serious user…the one that you know will actual use it to it’s max, and not let it sit on the counter un-touched.

‘Whether you’re looking to add more fruits and vegetables into your menu, introduce your family and friends to culinary treats, or simplify everyday kitchen tasks, the Total Nutrition Center package is for you. Bring home the same power and performance, in a blender, experienced by chefs and restaurants around the globe and start making smoothies, soups, frozen desserts and more.’  Find the one that is right for you or yours…

An Experience

Finally…why not give ‘an experience’ to someone special on your list this year!?  It is something a little it different, often overlooked, but sure to be received with great appreciation.

Workshop/Seminar – sign ‘em up and register them for an upcoming nutrition or strength training seminar in your area.  Check out OPT Nutrition Series, Catalyst Athletics Olympic Weightlifting Seminar, MovNat Workshops and Westside Barbell Events for more information on their upcoming gigs.

Nutrition Consultation – give the gift of health and help someone get on the right track by hooking them up with a nutrition consultation.  Head over to Robb Wolf’s site to read about his qualified crew (registered dietitians) over there and the services they have to offer!

Cooking classes/demonstrations – another really neat idea, would be to give the gift of cooking classes or a kitchen skill session (eg: knife techniques).  All you have to do is do a little ‘google search’ for offerings in your area to find something of interest.  If you live in the Toronto area…enroll a loved one in the ‘GE Cafe Chefs Series.’

There they will “get intimate with Toronto’s hottest chefs. In these demonstration-style cooking classes, you’ll learn about cooking local food, learn tips and techniques while enjoying a delicious dinner and wine from Stratus Vineyards.”  Click on the above link for a full description of classes that are still available.

Meat/Veggie CSA – give the gift of farm fresh food deliveries, from farms you can trust.  Take a minute to check out Eat Wild site, and learn more about the different CSA farm shares and programs that they have going on in many locations.  We started one this year…and look forward to our box of delicious meat every month.  A useful ‘source for providing healthy, safe, natural and nutritious meats and other wild edibles’ to your family and friends.  A gift that will last many months of the year!

Mini-vacation/Retreat – Don’t forget about the charm in planning a wee weekend getaway for you and your partner, as a way of surprising them over the holidays.  This could be a mini-vacation to a resort, yoga centre, bed and breakfast or ski excursion.  The options here are endless…and sure to knock their wool socks off!

Other nifty gift ideas include: a good quality knife set, cutting board, market produce buggy, nested bowl set, food dehydrator, fermentation pot, cast iron skillet, ‘black-out’ blinds…or even a basket filled with assorted ‘paleo’ items/products.

Stocking Stuffer Ideas:

Holiday Shopping Tips:

  • Shop around – take some time to check out different online sites, as well as in-store deals
  • Subscribe to ‘company’ newsletters when possible – they often send you promo codes for special offers
  • Remember – the quality of your gifts over quantity matters!  Make your gift giving meaningful!!!
  • Don’t forget to check out sites like Groupon and Living Social for excellent deals!
  • Try searching online for discounted shipping options and codes
  • Get creative with your gift wrapping, to save on paper (I like to wrap gifts in tea towels!)
  • Support independent companies and local shops in your neighbourhood – separate blog post about this COMING SOON…