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Springtime Tropical Cookies

April 17, 2014

There’s no better way to welcome in the warm spring weather than with tropical flavours! For once, I’ve made a yummy dessert without something chocolatey in it. I present to you my banana coconut cookies!

This recipe made a whole bunch more than what you see here!

This recipe made a whole bunch more than what you see here!

These are overall chewy, slightly dense cookies with a nice texture mix from the soft banana, crisp coconut and crunchy (legit high-quality) cereal. Let’s cut to the chase!

Ingredients, assuming all organic and natural:

- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3/4 cup legit high quality crunchy fibre cereal of choice (I used Nature’s Path Organic Smart Bran)
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder OR 2tbsp light flour of choice (I used Heartland Gold Brown Rice Protein)
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar, or other natural unrefined sugar
- 4 packets of stevia or more sugar/other sweetener of choice
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 medium/large banana, mashed up
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or a little bit more if using a flour and not a protein powder)
- 1/4 cup plain 0% yogurt (not Greek yogurt, it’s too thick)
- 1/4 cup egg whites

- Optional: chocolate chips, dried berries/fruit pieces, chopped nuts, dash of cinnamon, blob of peanut butter, chia seeds, etc.

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350*F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside (greasing it in coconut oil = bonus points!)
2) Combine all the wet ingredients
3) Combine all the dry ingredients
4) Add the dry mix to the wet mix
5) Scoop 1tbsp of dough at a time onto the baking sheet. You should get about 16 cookies if you actually measure out 1tbsp scoops.
6) Toss ‘em in the oven for 15 minutes, give or take, depending on your oven. Anyway, they’re done when they are golden brown!

Delicious golden brown banana coconut cookies!

Delicious golden brown banana coconut cookies!

Nutritional Info:
For the entire batch, here is what you’ll get…

Calories: 845
Fat: 38.8 g
Carbs: 100g (36g is fibre, thanks to the bran cereal! Holy cow! And only 35g is sugar, most of which is from the banana!)
Protein: 29g

Now, this batch makes about 16 cookies if you use 1tbsp scoops. This is the approximate size, if you’re a visual kinda person:

Nice bite-sized treats!

Nice bite-sized treats!

So if you make 16, here’s the down-low for each cookie, to keep it simple for you calorie/macro counters:
Calories: 52
Fat: 2.4g
Carbs: 6g (just over 2g fibre and 2g sugar)
Protein: 2g

Or you could use the numbers I provided from the entire batch and divide it out for the size/quantity of cookies you want to make. Happy spring!

Can’t-Beet-These-Brownies

April 9, 2014

Beets are a versatile veggie. They’re great raw, shredded into a salad, or even pickled, or roasted with a balsamic glaze. Yum!

They are naturally sweet, and their flavour mixes well with orange, carrot, ginger, lemon, apple, chocolate, and tangy cheeses. So, beets would work extremely well in a carrot cake, apple spice muffins, orange biscotti, chocolate cupcakes, or even in a cream cheese danish! But since I love chocolate, I decided to make chocolate brownies with this superfoods.

I didn’t want to use an online recipe because, you know, it’s my blog and that would be a copyright thing, so I just threw a lil’ bit of this n’ that into a large mixing bowl until everything looked like a proper brownie batter consistency.

Of course, I had to taste-test the batter before I threw it in the oven. I’m surprised they even made it into the oven! I freaking love batters and doughs, sometimes more than the baked goods themselves! Maybe I should try a raw-food diet? I’m sure my raw cookie dough recipe would be allowed!

Anyway, they worked. They worked really damn well :D

Dense, moist brownies!

Dense, moist brownies!

The texture of these brownies are soft, dense, chewy and moist. I really, really despise brownies that don’t “sink” when you bite them – when they have a stupid cake-like texture. Ugh. Just ruins it! So these ones definitely made me happy and satisfied my sweet tooth!

These make 9 decent sized brownies.

These make 9 decent sized brownies.

Ingredients:
-1.5 cups cooked pureed beats (put in a food processor to puree)
-4 tbsp coconut sugar
-4 tbsp raw honey
-5 stevia packets (or more coconut sugar)
-1 egg
-3 tbsp melted fat (coconut oil, grassfed butter, whatever)
- 1/2 cup plus 2tbsp cocoa powder
-1 tsp vanilla
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-1/3 cup kamut flour
-1/3 cup rolled oats
*Optional add-ins: chocolate chips, nuts, chopped fruit, whatever!

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350*F.
2) Mix everything except for the flour and oats in a large mixing bowl.
3) Add the flour in to the batter, then add the oats. (And any optional add-ins)
4) Grease a baking dish (about 8.5 x 8.5 inches, give or take) and pour in the batter.
5) Bake for 20 minutes, approximately, depending on the size baking dish you used.
6) Let it cool a bit before cutting and digging in!

Perfect with a cup of coffee!

Perfect with a cup of coffee!

 

Look at this delicious close-up.

Look at this delicious close-up.

Like this one? Want more delicious healthy recipes?
Check out my other recipes at the bottom of the my Nutrition Section!


ChocoFree Metabolate

6 Ways to “Hack” Your Fat Loss

April 7, 2014

For the times when you want to indulge a little (or a lot!) there are plenty of options to do a bit of “damage” control so that your dream beach body can still be a reality without feeling like you’re sacrificing your tastebuds. It’s kind of like hacking your body so that the foods you eat will leave your body unscathed, or at least get burned up faster.

You can still have this…

While looking like this…

About 13% body fat

 

Here’s what you can do…

1) Strength training sessions
This plan works both immediately and in the long-term. A great strength workout (weights, calisthenics, etc.) will boost your metabolic rate for up to 72 hours post-workout. Have your yummy treat within a few hours of your workout to minimize its effect on your body. Also, frequent strength training will build muscle, and that means you will require more food daily just to stay alive. Muscles need more food and nutrition than fat does, and muscle also helps burn fat. Win-win!

Try these 20-minute strength workouts before your next treat meal.

2) Add cinnamon
Cinnamon helps blunt the insulin response you get from eating lots of sugar. It regulates your blood sugar levels. You will therefore be in a less primed state to store fat. And since there’s no insulin spike, there’s also no sugar crash, so you won’t be hungry again half an hour later. So if you have to choose between the cinnamon roll or the chocolate cake… well… now you know which one may be the lesser of two evils!

Another cool cinnamon trick? Add it to your coffee! It can help prolong the effects of caffeine – therefore, you can go harder in your workouts, and prolong the metabolism-boosting and appetite-suppressing effects of this lovely bitter drink.

3) Utilize spices and aromatics
Tumeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper, spicy foods, ginger, garlic and onion are all superfoods for your gut and metabolism. I actually wrote an article on the benefits of spicy foods for the April 2014 issue of Inside Fitness magazine. It’s on page 106, so check it out if you can! These lovely spices and flavourful additions help to promote the digestive process so you can break down food quicker, burn it faster, and feel fuller longer. Have a spicy curry before your ginormous bowl of ice cream. I’m half-joking here.

4) Get fat
By that, of course, I mean get some healthy fats in your meals. Fat, like cinnamon, helps to control blood sugar levels and blunt the insulin response of sugar binges. Coconut oil, avocados, grassfed butter, natural nut butters, and nuts and seeds (walnuts, flax, almonds, chia, cashews – anything!) are all great options to incorporate into a yummy treat! They also help keep you fuller longer because they regulate leptin levels, aka, your hunger hormones.

If you like chocolate and coconut, see my recipe for a healthy version of Bounty Bars.

There are several more healthy fat desserts at the bottom of the Nutrition page!

Alternatively, you could have a meal high in healthy fats and enjoy a dessert afterwards. Some ideas:
-Salmon, trout, beef, pork, other fatty meat and fish (all organic high-quality, wild/free-roam, grassfed, hormone-free, etc.)
-Olives
-Organic (preferably raw) dairy, like cheese, yogurt and milk
-Healthy oils (on your salad, for example)

5) Eat fermented foods
I read a great article on Mark’s Daily Apple about the benefits of fermented foods. The guy is a paleo advocate, but this post on fermented foods is full of useful info for everybody, no matter what type of “diet” they are on, and he provides plenty of research to back it all up. Here’s one part of it:
“The vitamins (like K2) in fermented foods like kefir become more plentiful or more concentrated (either by breaking down the food or by virtue of the bacteria outputting more nutrients), and more bioavailable. Also, the improved digestion that accompanies a healthier gut means more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are absorbed (and if you’re eating a usually phytate-rich food, the fermentation can really break down the mineral-binding phytates), thus allowing even better absorption.”

Read it all here.

6) Avoid non-organic foods
The toxins in pesticides, herbicides, artificial growth hormones, fake flavours/colours, and other preservatives and sketchy additives will take a toll on your metabolism because of the toxic effects they can all have on your thyroid. Your thyroid plays a major role in regulating your metabolism from both ends – it can make it too slow or too fast.

I use all of these tips anyway, regardless of having junk food or not. The above tips are great for your overall health, not just for burning fat and minimizing the damage of eating a pint of ice cream. Use them as you wish!

Want more awesome tips like this? Subscribe to my newsletter for exclusive content! See the right side of this page to do so – might have to scroll up a little!


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Fat Kids and Parental Issues

March 13, 2014

If a kid is overweight, obese, or even very underweight, it’s typically the fault of the parents. They may show affection with treats and junk food without considering the consequences – namely, health problems, body image issues, bullying, and bad habits for when the kid grows up. When the kid grows up, they at least have the autonomy to change their ways, but parents can really set them up to be more likely to fail.

This is what happened to me, my younger brother, and my older sister. We were showered with junk food, grew up fat, realized what the hell happened, and then thankfully changed for the better. Except some lingering resentment remains – how could our family, namely our parents, not see that it’s NOT okay to give your kids adult-size portions of McDonald’s? And then think that their belly fat is cute rather than an actual health problem?

Because apparently, they didn’t actually see it. 

According to this new study just came out from the University of Gothenburg, half of parents literally don’t see their children’s weight problem. 

THAT is a problem!

I wrote more on this topic over at OurWindsor.ca, a branch of Metroland Media. You’d be surprised at the stats about parents of underweight kids, too. Check it out here: Are You Aware of Your Child’s Obesity?


Joe Rogan Alpha BRAIN Powerful

Health-Ify Recipe Challenge #2: Chocolate Ice Cream

March 9, 2014

A while back I posted a “recipe challenge” on my Facebook page, where I asked my friends to list their favourite treats, and I would try to make healthier versions of them.

The first challenge I took on was to make healthy cookie dough, and it was successful! I made a whole bunch and shared it with a bunch of friends and family, and they all LOVED it! I brought over a dozen cookie dough balls to my favourite health food store (where all the staff know me lol) and they were in love. Sure, it’s a biased sample group because they’re all obviously into healthy stuff, but even my brother ravaged the cookie dough! Awesome :)

And here, I bring forth a successful second challenge – chocolate ice cream! You don’t even need an ice cream maker.

So creamy and dreamy and healthy!

So creamy and dreamy and healthy!

Ingredients:
-1/2 cup plain 0% yogurt
-1 medium avocado, ripe
-1 scoop (28g) Vega energizing smoothie mix, chocolate flavour*
-3 tbsp cocoa powder
-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tbsp coconut sugar (or other natural sugar)
-pinch salt
-natural sweetener, to taste (I used stevia liquid drops and 2tbsp natural xylitol. Xylitol has 10 cals per teaspoon.)
-splash of coffee (1 or 2 tbsp)**

*You can always buy just a single-serving packet at your local health food store. Or, feel free to use any other chocolate flavoured protein powder, as long as it’s natural! Gotta stay healthy :)
**The coffee won’t actually make the ice cream taste like a mocha/coffee ice cream. The purpose of the coffee is to downplay the avocado taste. You can also use instant coffee granules – just a teaspoon should work!

Directions:
If you have an ice cream maker, great – just blend everything together and freeze according to your manufacturer’s instructions. If not, no worries. I don’t have one either. This is how you do it:

1) Throw everything in a food processor and whip it up nicely until it’s smooth and creamy!
2) Place in a tupperware container and freeze the mixture until it’s rock solid, or just about. It will be very icy.
3) Take it out of the freezer, and let it defrost on your counter for just a tiny bit until you can break it up with a spoon or a butter knife. Then, throw it all back in the food processor and blend it up again. You’ll notice that the texture is no longer “icy” and frozen, but it’s getting more fluffy, like real ice cream. If needed, add a splash of almond milk (or organic cream, if you want).
4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 one more time.
5) Enjoy!

To make ice cream fluffy and creamy, rather than icy, air has to be whipped into it. Kind of like how whipping cream works. So yes, the process is a little bit tedious if you’re using a food processor, but it works the exact same way that an ice cream maker does, except you have to get a bit more involved. BUT, this recipe is totally worth it, because check out the nutritional info below!

icecream2
Nutritional Info:
Makes about 2 cups. You get a massive dose of fiber (from the avocado and cocoa powder) and protein, as well as tons of healthy fats (again, avocado and cocoa). Seriously, this stuff is great for your health. This is also high in iron and magnesium, thanks to the cocoa powder!

For the ENTIRE batch…
Calories: 540 (this includes my 2tbsp xylitol, which is 60 calories)
Fat: 22g
Carbs: 89g (22g fiber – WOW! – and 30g sugar)
Protein: 29g

Like this recipe? Of course you do! Share it on Facebook and Twitter :)
Feel free to add chocolate chips, banana slices, berries, shredded coconut – whatever you like!

icecream1


ChocoFree Metabolate

Health-Ify Recipe Challenge #1: Cookie Dough

March 6, 2014

A month or so ago, I posted in my Facebook status that I wanted to do a recipe challenge. Friends would comment with their favourite dessert/junk food, and I’d attempt to health-ify it. The first one I decided to try out was chocolate chip cookie dough, and I must say I did a pretty decent job. My taste-testers at home agree with me, too, and I hope you also like it!

The criteria for what makes this cookie dough recipe HEALTHY is that it consists of whole, minimally processed organic foods. Nothing artificial. No excessive amounts of sugar or fat, either! And each ingredient has actual nutritional value, not just a decent calorie/macronutrient balance.

Sharing is NOT caring in this case!

Sharing is NOT caring in this case!

Ingredients: (everything I used was organic!)

-19oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
-1/2 cup rolled oats
-1/4 cup butter*
-1 scoop (20grams) of vanilla protein powder**
-1.5 tsp vanilla extract
-1/4 cup real sugar (coconut sugar, raw cane sugar, etc.)
-3 tbsp another natural sweetener of choice (xylitol, stevia, etc.)
-Liquid stevia drops, to taste (or more sugar/sweetener of choice)
-2tbsp unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of choice)
-1/2 cup kamut flour (or other natural light-tasting flour of choice)
-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (more or less, it’s up to you)

*if you can’t get organic butter, try coconut oil, but it will have a slight coconut taste
**an organic whey protein powder is best; most vegan or brown rice or hemp protein powders can give it a bit of an earthy, grassy flavour

Directions:
1) Throw everything (except for the kamut flour & chocolate chips) in a food processor or super strong blender until it’s very well combined and creamy
2) Transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl and add the flour little-by-little until it’s fully mixed in
3) Fold in chocolate chips
4) IMPORTANT: you must refrigerate this until it’s fully chilled (say, three hours at least – or toss it in the freezer for half an hour) because the mixing of the butter will soften it up, and it needs to get cold again to get that perfect firmer texture!

Nutritional Info:
If my eyes are correct at guess-timating, this recipe makes about 2.5 cups of cookie dough. You can serve it however you like – roll it into balls, eat by the spoonful, or mix it in with yogurt!
Here’s the info for the ENTIRE batch, using exactly what I used above (stevia, almond milk, kamut flour, etc):

Calories: 2060
Fat: 90g
Carbs: 427g (46g fiber; 55g sugar)
Protein: 71g


Absolutely delicious healthy cookie dough

Absolutely delicious healthy cookie dough

Comparing Meat to Cigarettes

March 4, 2014

And here comes more completely flawed research that will scare people away from eating animal products!

This gem of a study starts off like this…

“That chicken wing you’re eating could be as deadly as a cigarette. In a new study that tracked a large sample of adults for nearly two decades, researchers have found that eating a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet — a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking.”

First of all, it only compares the people eating protein-rich diets to people eating low-protein diets. There are so many other factors that should have been considered – namely, organic vs conventional meats being used in the study. Duh. It says NOTHING about the quality of meat they were eating – so we can probably accurately assume that the meat, whether it was chicken or beef or fish, was conventional, factory-raised meat. Knowing how our disgusting food systems work, the animals were more than likely…

-fed corn/grain-based diets (typically GMO, non-organic, sprayed with pesticides, chemicals, and grown in fake fertilizers).

-crammed in small living spaces, thus raising their cortisol/stress levels (meaning their meat, when we eat it, is high in cortisol and then raises our own cortisol levels, contributing to the health problems that this study focused on).

-given growth hormones and antibiotics…take a look at how that stuff affects our human health before we blame our heart problems entirely on fat and protein.  Maybe it’s not the grams of protein or fat we consume that lead to the healthy problems… maybe, just maybe, it could also be partly due to what the animals are pumped with!

And if they were eating meat from restaurants, there’s a good chance they came into contact with meat glue - you know, the stuff they use for fake steaks. Gee, I wonder if that causes health problems at all?

It then goes on to say…

“Not only is excessive* protein consumption linked** to a dramatic rise in cancer mortality, but middle-aged people who eat lots of proteins from animal sources — including meat, milk and cheese — are also more susceptible to early death in general, reveals the study to be published March 4 in Cell Metabolism. Protein-lovers were 74 percent more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their more low-protein counterparts. They were also several times more likely to die of diabetes.”

*Excessive amounts of anything can kill you, so this statement is unfair. Excessive water and excessive air will kill you, too.
**Linked to does not mean causes. “Linked to” means other factors could have contributed (and probably did) to the health problems, so they’re not allowed to blame it all on excessive protein.

Oh, and not only are these study participants consuming meat, but they’re also consuming dairy and cheese. If it was unpasteurized organic milk and cheese, perhaps their health wouldn’t have suffered as much as it did by consuming regular dairy – which is even more processed than the meat it came from! The milk is pasteurized, killing off the bacteria, sure, but also destroying the good bacteria and digestive enzymes that let you digest the milk properly.

On top of that, we all know how much blood and pus gets into dairy products from the cows (thanks to being hooked up to mechanical milkers all day long) and that has to be “cleaned” out of the milk before we consume it.

And this is just before individual companies add their own specialty ingredients and colours to the dairy products – for starters, just read a label of Cracker Barrel “cheese” and compare that to some organic raw cheese. Their extra sharp cheddar made with 2 per cent milk contain vitamin A Palmitate, which is naturally found in animal fats. However, when you actually see it on an ingredients label, that means it was synthetically produced and added to the product. Want to know the problem with this? Too much vitamin A Palmitate causes headaches, nausea, vomiting, birth defects, liver abnormalities and reduced bone density. But what can you expect from Kraft, really? (Or ANY brand that isn’t certified organic?)

Anyway, got a little off-topic there…
But do you see my point?

Do you see how FLAWED and BIASED these studies are? Besides, what were the activity levels of these subjects? What ELSE were they consuming – a lot of sugar? Artificial sweeteners, colours, flavours? Did they drink alcohol, did they smoke, were they overweight? There’s an awful lot of omission going on here. Don’t even get me started on The China Study…!

How about we compare people who eat conventional meat/dairy products to people who eat organic, non-GMO, pasture-raised meat and dairy? And keep the portion sizes normal, not excessive! Have the subjects exercise, have them eat healthy diets overall, and at least try to let the only variable be the quality of the meat and dairy.

THAT would be an interesting effing study! There is NO good reason to compare a good hunk of organic, pasture-raised and humanely killed beef (free of added hormones and antibiotics!) to smoking a cigarette. Brainwashing at its finest.

Fat Makes You Smarter?

February 13, 2014

It’s no doubt that a nice hunk of grilled salmon does wonders for our taste buds – but is it true that it’s also good for your brain?

According to this recent study on omega-3 fatty acids and brain health, the answer is yes!

The Oregon Health & Science University study found that monkeys who ate a diet rich in omega-3′s had highly connected and well organized neural networks in their brains (similar to the neural networks in healthy humans). Monkeys that lacked these fatty acids, however, had significantly limited brain networking.

The neural networks in question were responsible for things like visual pathways, higher-level processing and cognition, and attention span.

 

Joe Rogan Alpha BRAIN Powerful

Weird Messages I’ve Received from Guys

February 9, 2014

There’s a lot of people that message me on social media platforms asking for fitness and nutrition tips.

I don’t mind helping people. That’s what this whole blog is about. Sometimes the volume is high and it takes me a while to respond, but I do my best. The reason people reach out to me is because from pictures and videos that I post, they can tell I know a thing or two about being in shape – I’m not here to parade around my abs or brag about how much more weight I can lift than a guy. I post that stuff so others feel comfortable reaching out to me.

But there are messages I receive that really irk me. In fact, I think I’ll screenshot some of them and post them for you all to see! :D

The first round of messages below is all from one guy over the course of a year or two, I think. You can read it like you would read a newspaper – up and down the columns. I just took screenshots of it all on facebook and then edited it on InDesign hehehe, so apologies if it’s a little difficult to read. This convo starts off a little slow but it picks up.

messages1  And the conversation with the same guy continues below…messages2

Well, I put an end to his comments fairly easily. Despite many attempts to “laugh off” his remarks, I just told him to stop. That worked. I guess he never got the hint, or perhaps I was not assertive enough. Either way, I’m glad that’s over.

And on to the next guy! I met this young fellow through some cousins/mutual friends and we were previously texting about working out together, and perhaps meeting up to hang out. At the time of messaging him I was broken up with my boyfriend. Upon further inspection of this dude’s facebook profile I realize he has been in a relationship this entire time we’ve been bantering back and forth. For the record, we never met up. Ever.
Messages3

This conversation below is with a guy I’ve known since elementary school. I love this one the most because back in elementary school he would make fun of me for various things – for liking Harry Potter, for being fat, for having acne, and whatever else. He was a popular kid and I wasn’t. I recall having a crush on him, too! He was really good at beatboxing lol. Then, in high school, either he became a genuinely nicer guy or I just became “pretty enough” for him to treat me nicely. Either way it’s the same old story… the girl has ugly duckling syndrome, and the guys who ignored her before chase her after she blossoms. *Sigh* guys are visual creatures, right? (For the record, I know girls can do the same things to guys.)
messages4 It goes without saying that this gentleman never did get back to me and we never met up. I guess he was just really dead-set on watching a movie and doesn’t like the idea of chatting over a coffee. (Really? Did you really think that we’d just “kick it at your place” and “watch a movie” when I haven’t seen you in like three or four years? Go to a nightclub for a one-night stand if that’s what you wanted!)

And last but not least, this message is also from a guy that I knew in high school. We rarely, if ever, talked. I don’t blame him. After all, I was a goth-y drama nerd in high school. I dressed like a vampire slut, according to some guys. That’s cool.

messages5
My abs are hot, are they? Why, thank you. Yes, I know that training hard makes you look good, but more importantly, my abs keep me upright as I squat 1.75x my bodyweight. But I guess it’s important to look sexy as I do that, right? Loser. I’m a lifter, not a stripper.

Despite all of these messages I still keep my abs posted on social media sites because although they *do* bring in some creepers every now’n'then, they also attract people who are genuinely interested in health and fitness. Take some bad with the good, right? I’ve been able to help people lose weight, get fit, get stronger, and keep them motivated simply because they saw a cool picture of my abs – pictures are worth a thousand words, and I’d like my abs to say “I can help you” rather than “Please ogle me and tell me how sexy I am.”

What do you think of posting fitness selfies on social media? Is there ever a time and place for it? Why do you do it, or why don’t you do it?


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Spiders, Animals, and the Meaning of Your Dreams

February 5, 2014

So I just checked out my Facebook movie, and over the past seven years, much of what I posted about had to do with my fitness/powerlifting life (including writing for fitness magazines), my love for kittens, and my creepy spider encounters.

I understand that a large chunk of girls are not fond of spiders and we all have some creepy spider stories to share, but I can say with certainty that I have WAY more spider encounters than most people seem to.

For many years now – probably at least five or six – spiders have actually affected the quality of my life. I would average at least two spider encounters each week, even in the winter time. But if it was summer time, I’d be running into the eight-legged creepy crawlies at least once every day.

A huge spider by my window (picture from my old crappy cellphone)

A huge spider by my window (picture from my old crappy cellphone)

But the weird part is that the spiders were always in the same spots.

They would always mystically appear in one specific corner of my room near my dresser. This corner of my room has the vent in the floor and my window so I thought they’d come from there… but even after keeping the vent shut and never opening my window and checking for cracks, they would still appear. No nests or anything, though. Weird.

Another spot they loved? My car. Countless times I’ve been driving and see a little thing crawling across the inside of my windshield. Cue me pulling over suddenly, cars honking, so I can kill it.

Spiders would also seem to “wait” for me when I’d get home in the night time. They’d be on my front door just about every time I came home at the end of the day, forcing my to use my foot to open the door, kick it open, LEAP inside the house and slam the door shut. There were usually two or three spiders on the door. But one awful night, I was just overwhelmed by the number of spiders on my front door. I STOPPED counting them all when I reached twelve or thirteen and I called my dad from outside so he could help me get in.

And the last spot they’d love to “wait” for me was on the wall area above the doorframe on the outside of my room.

I’d have to get creative in killing them – usually my dad or my brother would get ‘em, but if they weren’t home, then I’d use other tactics.
Vacuums.
Spraying them with febreeze (usually takes a while before they start suffocating).
Smacking them with a long stick, like a back scratcher.
Splashing water on them until they drown.

But even if I wasn’t home, they seemed to follow me.

They were around at other people’s homes when I was there. They crawled around on sidewalks when I’d go for walks, usually forcing me to walk on the roads instead (seriously, you can even ask my boyfriend at the time – he’d get mad at me for walking on the road until I’d point out the spiders that popped up on the sidewalk every ten steps). In my ex-boyfriend’s basement, I moved a box, and a BUNCH of baby spiders sprawled out all over the wall. There was a nest of them behind that box!!! GROSS!

I could go on and on with stories, but you get the point.

But because spiders had such a powerful role in my life, I decided to research what this could all mean (like spirit animals, or totem animals).

Here is what one source says:
“The spider is a remarkable figure of feminine energy and creativity in the spirit animal kingdom. Spiders are characterized by the skilled weaving of intricate webs and patience in awaiting their prey. By affinity with the spider spirit animal, you may have qualities of high receptivity and creativity. Having the spider as a power animal or totem helps you tune into life’s ebbs and flows and ingeniously weave every step of your destiny.”

Another very interesting point about spiders:
“We can derive more Spider symbol meaning when we consider certain subtle characteristics that represent ancient symbols of infinity. The infinity symbol meanings occur when we consider most Spiders have eight eyes and all have eight legs. The number eight is also a symbol of infinity or lemniscate (an eight turned on its side). Also, the vibrational frequency indicates the meaning of number eight involves cycles, passage of time, and evolution.”

But what rings truest for myself…
“The Spider is the guardian of the ancient languages and alphabets. Every society has had myths about how the different languages and alphabets were formed. One example is the Ogham. The Ogham can be found in the web of a Spider. This is why the Spider is considered the teacher of language and the magic of writing. Those who weave magic with the written word probably have a Spider as a guide.”

That above point is very relevant to my life. I went to school for Print Journalism – I’m a blogger, a health and fitness writer, I have written tons of poetry since I was about eight years old, and… well… my life revolves around writing!

And finally…
“Spiders are also found to be connected to Halloween or Samhain. This is because Spiders are related to death because of the venom they carry. This venom is of course also used as basis for the antidote, connecting the Spider both to death and rebirth and thus she stands for the completion of the circle.”

For the past few months, I have had significantly fewer spider encounters. When I went to volunteer on an organic farm in British Columbia this past November, I dealt with the worst of the worst spiders. Huge, disgusting, thick black spiders, including black widows (yes there are black widows in BC) were all around in the little cabin/shack I stayed in, and I had to kill them all because I was by myself. I had to get my sh*t together and just get rid of them. By the end of my week there, I was used to it.

But since I’ve been back, I haven’t killed any spiders – I’ve seen maybe two or three, but I’ve left them alone.

And now, they just aren’t around anymore. But I probably just jinxed myself so hard and will probably find a spider sometime soon (thanks to law of attraction) but I think they have been less and less frequent in my life because I don’t need their “guidance” as much, and because I don’t have such a strong aversion to them anymore. I’ve “learned my lesson” so they are no longer needed, perhaps.

In the past few months, consider the infrequent spider encounters, a lot in my life has changed. After my boyfriend of 4.5 years split up with me in September 2013, spiders have not been around nearly as often as when I was with him. That was the life cycle of our relationship coming to an end – birth, rebirth, death.

Also, my freelancing “career” took off during this time – my first legit paid article was published around fall/winter – just after that breakup.

And I’ve also dropped about 20 pounds between September and November 2013. It’s like my body is “letting go” of old hurts, old patterns and issues (sometimes it’s difficult to lose weight when you’re still “holding on” to difficult issues or old ways of thinking).

Finally, as I’ve posted on here before, I’m more in tune with my femininity. Powerlifting and fitness had sort of hardened me a bit, but on my journey to letting my feminine side shine more, I’ve decreased how often I lift heavy and get competitive, and spiders have decreased their visits in my life.

So, this post isn’t totally fitness related, but it’s just a peek into my personal life and that facebook movie got me thinking.

Do you ever have frequent animal or insect encounters that are just plain odd? Or what about recurring dreams featuring a specific creature? (I’ve always had wolf/coyote dreams since grade four, and more recently – the past three years or so – I’ve had recurring bear dreams). I’d suggest looking it up. It can give you great insight into your life and guide you along the right path. Here’s a great online dream dictionary. Random fact – I’m huge on dream analysis. Love it. What are your little-known quirks?