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 ;))

ontario real food challenge

Helllooooo out there! It has been awhile…my goodness where do the days go??? Anyhoo, I am back in full force and will be posting more regularly now…I promise!

This past weekend I competed in the Element CrossFit Team Challenge, @ Element CrossFit in Missisauga/Oakville. What a blast it was! Thank you to everyone involved. While I was there I saw something written on one of the whiteboards about signing up for the upcoming Ontario REAL FOOD Challenge.

This immediately peaked my interest. For the most part, I already eat strict Paleo, but decided to email Alex to see if I could participate anyways in this challenge for a few different reasons.

My goals:

I want to GET STRONGER…and work on building more muscle mass.

I also want to take this time to focus on improving food quality.

Oh ya…and finally…people often ask me what I eat for various meals, so I decided this would be a great way of tracking exactly what I am throwing down on a daily basis through the posterous food log blog!

So excited to do this…it really couldn’t have come at a better time!!! =D

So here is the run down…as outlined by the fine folks @ Element CrossFit.

Step 1: Create your own blog at posterous.com

Why Posterous? Their free service allows you to upload a blog post by simply emailing yourself! It’s super easy for you to compose an email, with a title, body, and even pictures, and send and update from your smartphone. It’ll be easy for you to stay on top of posting your meals. If you don’t have a smartphone, email from your desktop!

Step 2: Register herewith your name, posterous.com account, and $40

Step 3: Send a picture in a bathing suit to rachael@elementcrossfit.com. We will NOT post pictures. You can post yours on your blog if you like. We will keep your pictures private. We encourage you to take your own weights and measurements at the beginning, middle, and end (not everyday!)

Step 4: On your posterous.com account, your first post should talk about your goals for these 6 weeks and your plan for achievement. Whether you’re going for strict Paleo or Primal quality, Zone-quantity, or just focusing on better Real Food habits, make your commitment and stick to it. Need help finding your best fit? We’re here to help!

Step 5: Post what you eat every day. No exceptions. Even if it’s not part of the plan, though we know you’ll do your best to Plan Ahead with Simple Meal Ideas and Eat Well On The Run. Find a sample post here.

October 29th: After the 6 weeks, send in your new picture. We will decide the winners based on physical transformation, but your measurements will help, too. In order to qualify to win, you must have posted your food log every day of the challenge. The male and female winners of each category (fat loss and lean mass gain) will win cash and prizes!

Happy Eating!!

…and so it has begun, i am waking up to day 5 tomorrow! eating real food does just make you feel so wicked! the hardest part is staying strong and overcoming any roadblocks that may be encountered along the way. feel free to follow my journey over the next 6 weeks. check out my daily successes @ www.paleodish.posterous.com

Day 1 – Food Log


2 hard boiled eggs
1 cup mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries and wild blueberries)


2 handfuls of mixed nuts
2 small cans of tuna
1 avocado


1/2 roasted chicken
2 small cucumbers
1 tomato


beef jerky/handful of shredded coconut flakes

what’s in mat lalonde’s fridge?


This past week, my husband and I had the opportunity to get away for a few days.  Dustin had a wee break in his work schedule, so we took full advantage and set off to Boston, MA.  For me, this destination was a first as I had never been before.   A return visit was had by Dustin, as wonderful memories emerged from when he last roamed these streets when he was 18 years old, with his school friends.  During our stay, we were very fortunate as Mat Lalonde graciously opened his home to us.

We arrived at the airport on Thursday afternoon and took the “T” (transportation system) to Harvard Square.  I immediately walked up the stairs from the subway and was taken back by its historical beauty.  It was filled with shops, restaurants, bookstores and cafes.  People were everywhere! From there, I gave Mat a ring and he ran over (literally) from his lab to meet us, showed us the way to his house and gave us a key.  With a presentation to give, Mat jetted back to work.

In the 3 days to follow, Mat kindly lead us around the comfy confines of his “bubble”, a.k.a his hood.  He will be the first to admit that he is a spoiled brat when it comes to having easy access to F*CK#NG amazing food.  I am not even kidding when I say we ate like total kings and queens, throughout this entire vacation.  Not to mention, sidenote: waking up to the aroma of Mat cooking duck eggs, hickory smoked bacon and lamb sausages on both Saturday and Sunday morning.  Seriously, best smell of life!!!   Anyways, as we toured around in his car, with Dragonforce pumping, I became increasingly envious each time we were exposed to a new destination.  It definitely made me realize how “behind the times” we are in Canada with regards to the extent of the healthy food market.  I love grocery shopping here and appreciate the wonderful stores we do have, but this experience was like no other.

At every single stop, I was wide eyed “like a kid in a candy store” (how ironic).  I caught myself as I stared in awe, repeatedly saying, OMG!!!  On Friday night, we joined Mat on his grocery shopping excursion to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  Yes, I know we have Whole Foods here, but in reality it doesn’t even compare!  I literally could have spent hours perusing inside this gigantic food haven.  I didn’t know where to look, there was just so much that caught my eye.  I wanted to try it ALL.  As we continued on, Mat loaded the cart with many of his staple items and threw in a few new products for all of us to try.

This kind of venture continued on the following day, as Mat took us to two more incredible specialty shops.  The first one was Formaggio Kitchen and then we were off to Savenor’s Market.  Again, practically drooling, I strolled around gazing at all the wonderful products.  Fridges and freezers filled with assorted grass-fed meats, shelves packed with different types of oils, preserves, fine dark chocolate…oh and top notch micro-brewery beers (Dusty’s non-Paleo luxury item).  While on these little runs, recurring themes kept popping into my head – easy ACCESSIBILITY, high QUALITY, tons of VARIETY and reasonable PRICE points.  This “bubble” had it all…why the hell would anyone want to leave?  A complete and utter dream for any Paleo/Primal eater out there!

One of the best parts of this trip was that we had the chance to try some new foods/products, of which we probably would have never given a second glance.  I was a newbie to the bolded items below on the list, all of which I can say were awesome…especially the sardines!!! (to my surprise).  Finally, to top it all off, we spent some time cooking and baking recipes together in the kitchen.  Stay tuned for the details and photos of these yummy dishes in an upcoming post!

All in all, a trip to remember for sure…from wicked shopping to great chats (with a couple “dumb blonde” moments in between) and from fantastic food to a 3 am mobility session, we couldn’t have asked for anything more.  Thank you Mat for welcoming us into your precious “bubble” and for being a terrific host.  You have enriched our lives and inspired us to continue to learn and grow in so many ways.  It is also my mission, to take more time this summer to explore Toronto a little deeper and hunt for some rare and amazing finds!!! I will be sure to post about them!

dusty sippin' on the young coconut water!

 Mat’s Grocery Shopping List

  • organic sauerkraut
  • organic lemon juice
  • Bubbies pure dills
  • Vita coconut water
  • omega 3 eggs
  • duck eggs
  • sardines
  • fresh herbs
  • guacamole
  • ghee
  • freeze dried blueberries (our pick)
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • Trader Joe’s organic beef jerky
  • Peter Gillham’s natural calm
  • young coconuts/coconut flakes/coconut milk
  • variety of meat from his CSA (fridge/freezer)- whole chicken, ground pork/beef, lamb sausages, hickory smoked bacon, beef/pork franks, beef round roast, beef for kebabs, organ meats…
  • organic broccoli, onions, cucumbers, rainbow carrots, zucchini, celery avocado, baby romaine, spring mix
  • Tom’s of Maine Natural Toothpaste- fennel
  • raw cashews and macadamia nuts (not typical, but we were going to make nut butter)
  • red bananas (novelty item for me to try)
  • pure dextrose and heavy cream (NOT TYPICAL!  for baking a special treat)
Our non-paleo luxury items to taste test- Mo’s Chocolate Bacon Bar and Francois Pralus 100% Chocolate Bar…unreal! 

eggs, bacon and bed head!!! lol!