Friday, September 14, 2012

Green Coffee Bean Extract Rant

While on a hike up the mountain with my sister, I somehow ended up on a giant rant about Green Coffee Bean Extract. I figured that if the topic was worthy enough of a random rant on a random hike then it might be worthy of a blog post.

Alright. Green coffee bean extract is a supplement created from unroasted coffee beans and it has become the newest weight loss craze supplement. The supplement works in a couple of ways. 1) It contains caffeine which is a stimulant and linked to weight loss (but there is a small amount in the supplement so I can't imagine how this could factor in), 2) It contains a polyphenol antioxidant that is supposed to reduce fat and glucose absorption in the gut. Apparently Dr. Oz started talking about it on his show back in the spring and he got a lot of grief about it cause everyone figured that he was getting paid by the green coffee bean extract people to rave about its weight loss qualities. So then Dr. Oz came back with a rebuttal saying that he was not paid by anyone and that this was his own actual opinion on the product. To prove that he was not a sellout, over the course of the summer he conducted his own experiment with green coffee bean extract to see if it did actually truly work.

I shall refer to green coffee bean extract as GCBE because I am too lazy to keep typing it out.

He conducted an experiment with 100 women in which 1/2 took the GCBE while the other 1/2 took a placebo. None of the participants knew if she was taking the real pill or just a sugar pill. All women were told to not change their diet and to record everything that they ate during the 2 weeks. The results were that the women who took the GCBE lost twice as much weight as the ones taking the placebo! Interesting. Sure the results didn't include an outstandingly enormous weight loss stories, but the women who lost weight lost about 1-2 pounds each week.

Some may think that this is a petty amount of weight and that taking the GCBE is not worth the expense and discipline of remembering to take them before every meal. But really, the best and healthiest way to lose weight is to lose it slowly, at about a rate of 1-2 pounds per week. Those who lose weight much more quickly then that tend to gain it back because it shocks the body. When the body sheds the weight more slowly then it can adjust to the changes accordingly which will help to keep the weight off long-term. What is also impressive about this GCBE is that the women in the study made no changes to their every day eating and were still able to lose weight. 

So I know what you're all thinking. Finally, a pill that will end obesity! "Sweet! A miracle weight loss pill that will make me burn fat and lose weight without having to change my diet!" I should be happy right? Taking this pill will help people to lose weight and improve their health and reduce the risk of developing horrible diseases...right?


In my opinion...not so much. Reducing obesity and increasing the health of the population would be amazingly amazing, but doing it with a supplement is not the right way to do it. No at all. What a pill like GCBE is teaching the world is that it is alright to eat all of the crap that you want cause you can still lose weight doing it. It isn't teaching people to eat more green vegetables, less saturated fats and increase your daily exercise. It's just another cop-out pill that will work as a bandaid for all of the disease and sickness in the world. Just because a person is thin on the outside does not make them healthy on the inside.

Here is what I would suggest regarding GCBE. If you're going to take it, take it as part of a complete nutrition and lifestyle makeover. Change your diet to include more fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats and low fat dairy products. Change your lifestyle by riding your bike to work, taking the stairs more often or walk an extra 20 minutes with the dog in the morning. Make the GCBE the last priority of your weight loss goal and make changes that will improve your health for the rest of your life.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Over My Head

I'm getting to that point in my thoughts in which I am starting to come to the realization that I am not in BC on vacation and am actually here to stay. For the past 5 years, coming to BC was always a temporary trip in which I was basically on vacation and had no major responsibilities apart from doing some minor cleaning, cooking and making sure that I got to the airport on the correct day and at the correct time to get back to the East Coast.

Which reminds me. Being on vacation, for me, always meant lots of reading, which I have been doing since I have been home. Even though school has started and I have lots of textbook reading to do, reading novels has unfortunately been taking up much more of my spare time then reading the super expensive textbooks I bought. In less than 2 weeks I read the entire Hunger Games series. I've been wanting to read them for a long time but was never able to get my hands on the first book, so when I was finally able to have all 3 in my possession, I jumped in with both feet and plowed through. Now that I have finished them I know that I will be able to concentrate more on school, and I think that that was my train of thought when skipping school work for them. "Once I finish these then they will be done and I won't have anything to distract me!"

So now my thoughts on the Hunger Games series. Suzanne Collins wrote these books aimed for the young adult audience, but as book series seem to do these days, the rest of the population was drawn to them and they became a huge world-wide phenomenon (such as Harry Potter and Twilight). I am known to be a bit of a harsh critic when it comes to books but I was pleasantly surprised by these books. Ok, I take that back. I really enjoyed the first book but the other 2 weren't as great...but this is usually how sequels work anyway so there is no shocker there. I think that the content is a bit morbid for young kids/adults to read since the whole  story behind the books is a national televised game in which kids have to kill other kids in order to win the game and be released back to their homes. Not wanting to sound like a drag or a spokesperson for censorship, I know that kids are exposed to violence at such a young age these days, but all 3 of these books are basically non-stop violence. I guess I just recommend that all parents read the books before letting their kids read them so that they know what they are getting into. I found it kind of ironic that Collins was so vague about sex or any kind of sexual feelings between the heroine and her 2 admirers (and she was a total tease with those boys and led both of them on the entire series!) but blowing up soldiers into itty bitty pieces and slipping on their intestines was OK to write about. Violence = good. Sex = bad. Sounds a bit dodgy to me.

But like I said, I really enjoyed the first book a lot. The series was not at all what I expected which is something that I appreciated since the world seems to be stuck in vampire/zombie/schools of magic themed books, so these were a bit of a breath of fresh air compared to the rubbish I've been reading lately. I even cried a tiny bit at the end of book 3 which I was not expecting since I was trudging through that book just praying for the end to come since I found it very monotonous. Overall, I give the Hunger Games a thumbs up.

I expect to be as awesome as this
guy in no time. No problem!
I've been home for just over 2 weeks now and about 6 days in I started to panic over not having a job. Boredom wasn't my problem; my depleting bank account was. After the trip to Vancouver, buying textbooks, paying tuition, some school supplies, a few bills and some extras (like picture frames), I started to sweat a little at the idea of no income coming in. So with my shiny new printer, I printed off a resume and headed to town to the nearest bar/pub which is the Columbia River Hotel (or as all of you Trailites know it as, the Terra Nova). And surprisingly enough, they hired me on the spot! That was quite nice for the ego actually. I went in today for an official interview to meet the GM and get a tour of the place, but he said I would have my first shift this week. Not so good for my ego though, they're starting me on bar. Yikes! My entire bartending history involves pouring draft beer and making rum & cokes at Outriders. If someone were to ask me for a Slippery Nipple or Sex on the Beach, I'd probably just slap them across the face and ask them if their momma taught them to talk like that to a lady.

Seriously though, I have no idea what is in a Tom Collins or a Pina Colada. I was never much of a drinker so I had no interest in learning about mixed drinks. I'm about as useful behind the bar as a condom machine in the Vatican. So I searched the internet and a "Bartending for Dummies" kind of cheat sheet and came up with this little doozy. I am going to read it over a few times in hopes of something sticking in my maxed out brain so that I almost sort of know what I'm doing when I show up for my first day. Fingers crossed!

Tip of the Day: A Slipper Nipple is 1/2 oz Baileys Irish Cream and 1/2 oz Butterscotch Schnapps. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Into The Wild

Living in PEI was a tad strange because there are no large animals there. The largest land dwelling mammal is a coyote. No deer. No moose. No bears. Driving there is an experience that I never got used to because living in BC you have to constantly be on the lookout for deer and other animals on the roads. You're always driving in a state of tenseness because you're just waiting for something to pop out of the trees, stop dead in the centre of the road and stare wide-eyed at you while to either slam on the brakes or swerve. I was never able to fully relax while driving in PEI because I have lived my whole life being on high alert on animal inhabited highways. Sure there was the odd raccoon or skunk to worry about, but hitting one of those would never have the impact as a mule deer slamming over the hood of your Honda.

Whenever I talked about hiking in BC with people in PEI, I was always asked about the wild animals. Most of them assumed that animal attacks happened on a regular basis and that hiking up a mountain was incredibly dangerous. It seems lately that the most dangerous thing you can do around here is leave your door open for too long because a cougar might mosey on in. True story!

Splash in the woods!
This morning I was walking up the mountain behind Rivervale and even though there are tons of animal footprints (deer, elk, coyote and bears) plus their droppings to ensure their presence, I have never had a fear of running into a wild animal in the area. When I would tell people about this, they either didn't believe me or would think that I am crazy, but I don't think that I am either of the two. The mindset that I have always had about wild animals is that of the utmost respect. I am the one coming into their territory and I respect their space. I walk on through but never hang out too long. We grow up with these animals in our neighbourhoods and just kind of treat them as quick visitors who are nothing to get all excited about. There has never been a major animal attack in this area that I can remember. Plus I have always hiked with at least one dog with me so I feel secure knowing that she would give me some fair warning if something highly dangerous was lurking about in the bushes. Sure, once I had both Rizzo and Splash up the mountain with me and they walked right past a deer who was standing only 15 feet away from the trail, without even a twitch of their snouts...but I think they'd have my back if the time came. And I almost had heart failure this morning when a grouse came flying out from beside a tree when I was about 3 feet from it. Damn grouse. By far the most frightening things when hiking around here are the birds because they are so noisy and small! One tiny little bird in a twiggy tree can make such a ruckus that you assume that a giant bear is hiding in there.

Also, from the time we are little kids, we are also given so much information about what to do if you come across an animal that it is drilled into our brains for life. Like for example, if you come across a grizzly bear in the mountains, always curl up into a ball and cover your neck. No wait. Always try to become as large as you can and yell as loudly as possible. No that's no it either. When a grizzly bear approaches you, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction and try to make it uphill. No downhill. Hmmm. I'd better get a pamphlet on this subject.

And I take back what I said about not having fear of coming across a wild animal. If I ever came across a cougar I know that for about 4 seconds I would marvel in it's beauty, but then my heart would probably leap so high into my chest that I would lose consciousness from the lack of oxygen.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Home, Vancouver, Home Again

It's been one heck of a busy week. Between traveling, unpacking, organizing, re-packing, re-organizing, traveling some's been a bit hectic. I am trying so hard to get organized for school starting on the 4th and I am feeling pretty good about that. Kind of. I'm a bit nervous cause I've never done an online course before, nevermind 3, so I don't really know what to expect. More on that later,

Where to even begin? So a while back I decided to postpone the moving to Vancouver until the end of December because I am able to do the first semester all online so I am going to crash in Trail with my family until then. I can save some money on rent and be able to focus on school that way. I arrived in Trail on Saturday night and feel like I've done nothing but organize since I got here. I have boxes of stuff stashed at my sister's house, plus lots at my parent's house, plus all of the stuff from PEI, so I've been going through it all throwing out the non-essentials and consolidating all of the things that I want to keep. My room has been in a constant state of whirlwind for a week now and I can't wait until it's all tidy. Yeah you'd think that I'd be done organizing by now, but since I sent most of my stuff on the bus from PEI, it only just arrived yesterday so I just go the chance to unpack that. 

Osoyoos, BC
Thursday morning I hit the road again and drove to Vancouver. Many months ago when the plan was to move to Vancouver mid-August, I bought tickets to see Goyte, so it gave me an excuse to go visit the city and play a bit of tourist. The 7 1/2 hour drive is a huge pain in the butt (literally), and right when you start to lose your mental momentum and you want to take a break, there is a moment when you're driving along and you come over a dip in the road and as you're approaching Osoyoos, the mountains seem to grow ahead of you. It's hard to explain but the Okanagan is the desert area of BC and there is a moment in which the mountains just seem to appear suddenly in the horizon and climb higher and higher. It's amazing! Whenever I talked to people on PEI about me being from BC, I'd say that 90% of them tell me that they have always wanted to see BC, and I always tell them to do it because it is an amazing province. There are huge high rocky mountains and dry deserts and lush greenery and freezing cold lakes and warm lakes and the ocean and tiny towns and huge cities and just everything! There's something for everyone. 

Vancouver was a fun time. Between the sight-seeing, shopping and people watching, I always enjoy myself. Plus I spent some time at the Langara College campus since I had to go pick up some textbooks, so that was kind of neat. Very different then what I'm used to, but I like the area of the city a lot. Visiting Granville Island is always on the top of my To-Do List when I visit Vancouver. The Public Market is just to die for. The produce and all of the food available is utterly gorgeous and I always have to walk around several times before I decide what to buy. It's also a very artsy place to visit since the Emily Carr University of Art and Design is located on Granville Island, so there are great little shops to visit there. Case and Point - my new little friend Harold. I saw this guy in one of the shops there and I picked him up and couldn't put him down. He is called an Anibit and was made by a woman named Claudia Segovia who uses old stuffed animals, takes them apart and makes these adorable new critters. Like I said, it was love at first site with this guy. I can't help but smile when I look at him. Plus part of the sales from these critters goes to the SPCA which I fully support. 


My good friend Doug and I went to Gotye Friday night and I was highly impressed by the show. I enjoy his music quite a bit but I didn't really know what to expect from the show. It was instantly apparent that the man is an incredibly talented musician and I could not count on all of my fingers the number of instruments he played (including a melodica!).The percussion throughout the concert blew me away. There were 3 guys playing at the same time at certain points during the show which was a treat. Plus the guy can sing so powerfully and hit every note out there with seemingly little effort. The thing with Gotye is that he's been making music for a long time but only was just recognized by his huge hit Somebody That I Used To Know so he's likely going to be pegged as a One Hit Wonder, which is unfortunate because he's so talented and should be recognized for it. At least that's what I think anyway.  

So after a bit too much drinking and not enough sleeping, I'm back in Trail and trying to organize my life again. There's a good chance I'll procrastinate again tomorrow and do a big hike in the morning/afternoon. Sitting in a car for so many hours is too hard on the butt and legs so getting up a mountain will do me good. Plus I need to space myself from civilization for a while. As beautiful as Vancouver is, it can have that effect on me.