Sunday, February 28, 2010

Big Win +The urge to change + rewarding myself (and another giveaway)

Hey all,

How was your Sunday? I worked all day but I had a really fun time. As you know the BIG GAME took place today. I was disappointed that I could not join friends for the afternoon but I knew I couldn't miss the game. So, I brought my laptop in to work and watched it online! It was a good thing that all the staff are hard core hockey fans or I may not have been able to have it with Let's just say that my day flew by and the spirit and pride was over-flowing through out the whole day. I loved it!!! Canada Vs. USA is always a great match-up as both teams are fabulous and the rivalry between them allows for some healthy competition. I did say it would be a nail biter and holy it was a little beyond But our boys pulled it off in the end (sorry USA) and won in overtime...WAHOO!!! See that young fella in the middle? His name is Sidney Crosby and he is an amazing hockey player and now Canada's hero ( he scored the final goal).

Can you believe the Olympic Games are over and the Paralympics is starting? What a rush these past two weeks have been. Canada actually crushed the record for most gold medals won at the Winter Olympics with 14 gold. I'm very proud of my nation and hope your country did well too:)

Now on to something a bit more!! LOL! Ever since I started adding more raw foods into my diet, I noticed a big shift in my mental clarity and focus. I have more confidence in myself and the direction I want to take my life. I am continuing to learn about what's important to me and what isn't. This has become even more evident as I think about my job. I have a really great job but its not for me. It is in a field that I'm not passionate about and therefore, I find myself dreaming of working in a health-related field . Of course, this makes life a lot harder as my motivation for my current job is dropping exponentially. I feel sometimes like I should stay there as its a "comfortable" job. I will be going back to school soon and so I would only have to stick it out for another year and a half. Yet, there some part of me that says I should go out on a limb and try something new that would bring me closer to my dream of becoming an ND. It's so hard to take that risk as the responsibilities in my life require that I bring in my part of the household income. But what's life without some risks?...and possible big rewards? I will be doing some searching and networking when I move back to the coast and if an opportunity shows itself, hopefully I'll have the courage to take it! Have you ever felt in the crossroads? Did you take a different job that you were more passionate about even if it meant less pay or less of something that your previous job offered?

I am feeling the need to reward myself with a small treat for all the work I've been doing. How selfish of myself lol!! The hubby has been treating himself these past couple months so its my turn now. I've decided to add a new cookbook to my collection. I'm thinking a dessert book would be awesome, but a great all-around raw food recipe book would also be tempting. Here a few that I'm thinking about:

Just Desserts by Heathy- I follow her blog and love all her creations. They are simply gorgeous and my mouth is always watering after I read her posts. Shannonmarie did a cute post about Heathy and her book which got me even more interested in buying it!

Sweet Gratitude: A New World of Raw Desserts - I have heard great things about this recipe book via Nikki's and Bitt's blogs. According to their pictures, it looks like a real winner. MMmmmm!!

After this I'm stuck on something by Kristen Suzanne or maybe Sarma or maybe Matthew Kenney.

Do you have a favorite raw food recipe books? Let me know if you you have had any personal experiences with any of these authors or books. Your likes, dislikes etc!

And last but not least, the lovely Averie is having another giveaway. Yes, she totally rocks! This time its for Naturally Nutty nut butters!! They sound so awesome. My favorite that I saw on their site was the cinnamon vanilla sunflower butter. Doesn't that just sound so good? Mmmm. So get on over to Love Veggies and Yoga and enter her contest. As usual, she has a ton of ways to enter.

Have a great Monday everybody! Reward yourself this a healthy way! Take an epsom salt bath, buy a new cook book, make a healthy dessert, or read a new book. Whatever makes you happy!

Friday, February 26, 2010

What supplements do you take?

Hello everyone!

The weekend is here and I have a day off!! Wahoo it really has been too long. I thoroughly took advantage of the day by going to the gym, enjoying a brunch with the hubby, taking a long walk in the beautiful sunshine, and chilling at Oso Negro. Ahh so refreshing! I didn't spend any time in the kitchie today so nothing interesting on the food front. Did you get up to anything fun today? What are your plans for Sunday? Unfortunately I have to work but I will be tuning into the BIG game somehow tomorrow. What big game am I talking about? Well, the Canada Vs. USA gold medal (bragging rights) match, of course. The spirit here is off the rails and everyone is talking about the game. It will be a nail-biter for sure!

So, now for today's topic! I saw a post by Bitt and I wanted to write about what I take for supplements. I know there are a variety of people out there who don't want to supplement or don't think it's needed. Hey, if its working for them, then so be it! For myself, I have to say that I need to supplement due to various reasons.

I don't live in a climate with adequate sunshine and so I supplement with a non-vegan Vitamin D product. I know, I know please don't think bad of me:( I take the D3 form as it is most effective. I know the D2 (vegan) form is available but people take this product and they still test low. Unfortunately, I think I will continue to take it as there are no products ( that I have seen at least) that can provide me with the sufficient amount of vitamin D that my body needs. According to Dr.Weil, he suggests that we take 2000 IU of vitamin D3 a day. Also, if you live north of Atlanta the sun is not high enough in the sky for half the year to promote vitamin D production in the skin. If you are using a vegan product that have given you results let me know so that I can switch!

Another supplement I take is Vitamin B12. I think this a common one among those in the veggie community! I know there are foods that are fortified with these vitamins but I don't eat enough of them to keep up my B12 levels. I take methylcobalamin B12 as this is the form that that is active in the central nervous system. The liver cannot convert cyanocobalamin (the other form of B12) into adequate amounts of methylcobalamin. The product I take is also a sublingual. This means that I place it under my tongue and let it dissolve versus swallowing it. The benefit of this is that it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream instead of having to pass through the digestive system. Fast action, baby! The product I use is made by a local company called Natural Factors. Do have any favorite companies?

I also use a product that supplies me with my Omegas. I use Udo's DHA Oil blend as it is strictly a vegetarian formula. I use it in my smoothies, salads, and pates. It is a really great product and I highly recommend it. I really try to keep these fats in balance and in adequate amounts. I know the Omega 3's are involved in so many processes in the body including weight loss and the menstrual cycle. The only downside to this product is the price:( But I think its worth it.

I also use other products like Spirulina and Dong Quai. I take these as I believe they offer some benefit to my health. Yet, I feel like I could stop and it wouldn't be detrimental to my health. So, these are "bonuses", for the lack of a better word. I use the Spirulina for its multitude of supports. I take half of what the bottle recommends and that still provides me with nearly 100% of my daily Vitamin A needs. It also provides some B vitamins ( not enough to avoid a B12 supplement). Plus all that chlorophyll and antioxidants has to do a body good:) I take Dong Quai which is a medicinally active herb that is related to the celery family. The root is commonly used in Chinese Medicine and they use it for a variety of ailments such as high blood pressure or menstrual problems. I use it for the latter when I have more intense cramps.

So, that's it! Let me know what you take for supplements (if you take any) and what you think of my protocol.

Have a great Sunday!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Weekly Bounty plus stress relief!

Helllooo Wednesday!

How are you all doing? My week has been ...well... a little bumpy so far. I'll get to this later in the post but I wanted to start off on a gorgeous note. I got my new foster cat yesterday and she is a beauty! Her name is Jet (as in Jet black I'm assuming). But I think her name should be Cleo as in Cleopatra because she has the most beautiful lady face. She is a bit shy and her and Nemo aren't exactly best friends yet, but I'm sure once she gets to know her surroundings she will be a bit more confident. So, if you are in BC and are looking for a lovely companion, please contact Nelson SPCA and they will help you get this lovely lady!

Now onto the food! I buy a lot of veggies and fruits, a small amount of grains, and then the miscellaneous stuff that runs out (spices, flax, oils, oatmeal, etc) every week. This week my bounty was just so awesome I needed to share it with you. I do buy produce and veggies on clearance (if there are any) as they usually only have a small bruise on them or they are really ripe and ready to eat. This week I lucked out and got some near-perfect apples, pears, organic grapefruits, and bananas at half off. Chaa-ching! At the local grocery store I also got some oranges and two coconuts ($1.50 each). I bought some organic ginger, organic brown flax seeds, organic sunflower seeds, organic kale, organic romaine lettuce, organic zucchini, organic broccoli, organic cabbage, organic medjool dates, organic lemons, sprouted bread, and local honey. All of these items were from the Kootenay Co-op. Oh and one priceless cat:)

Seeing all these beautiful foods make me smile and I know that these are some of the best foods that I can put into my body! I should also mention that I love grocery shopping. I get giddy when Sunday rolls around and I get to find the best deals and re-stock my fridge and pantry with amazing foods. When I'm putting away my goodies my mind tends to wander and I'm thinking about all the recipes I could try or re-make. The zucchini make me think about Nikki's sundried tomato zucchini hummus. The broccoli makes me crave the broccoli and cheese recipe on Bitt's blog. Amazing smoothies with coconut water and the meat. Awesome pate like the Garden Pate on Gena's blog. And last but not least, some of the delicious banana soft serve. Lovely Evergreen just so happened to post a recipe for Cinnamon Roll Soft-serve today. Can't believe its bananas! That should be a new commercial. Maybe it can replace the butter commercials..and maybe Fabio could come back for it! A girl can dream, right? As you can see shopping day is an exciting time for me:) Do you love to shop or do you dread it? Do you go to the same stores every week or do you follow the deals? I tend to go to the same stores every week but I do check flyers online to see what other stores are offering.

I made up something quick the other day for a late lunch. I had some canned chickpeas that I wanted to use up so I stir-fried them with onions and the pulp that was left over when I did some juicing awhile back. I added some turmeric, cumin, oregano, basil, pepper, and some salt and just let it heat through. I topped it with some hot chili sauce. Very yummy! So quick and the pulp tasted surprisingly good!

Now about the not so fun part of my week. We own a home back at the coast and have been renting it out while we are in Nelson. Now, we have a tenant that we have come to classify as a straight up bully. We have had a lot of problems with them and nearly lost a friendship as our friends were renting the suite below them. They have become so unrealistic and their demands are plain crazy. They have even threatened getting a lawyer. Now, we have friends in the industry and they say he has no grounds and that we have done everything right. It was just shocking and overwhelming for us as we have tried everything to please them and we get nothing in return but more frustration. So, I had a very hard time today (all this happened last night) and I did a lot of venting but my mom and sister-in-law were able to calm me down (Thanks mom and T!!). I know renting is a hard don't know people and their references can even be skewed. This experience has taught us a lot of lessons about what to look for in a tenant so I guess its a blessing in a wolves disguise. Have you had to deal with difficult tenants? Let me know your tricks of the trade!

I had a green power smoothie for dinner as Ry was away building some models for his newest project at school so I didn't need to make din din.
It's amazing how this stuff can clear my mind!

1 Cup Fresh coconut water
1/2 Cup Coconut meat
1 Banana
2 Cups Kale
1-2 Tbls Cinnamon
1 Tbls Fresh ginger
1 serving Vega Sport or your favorite protein powder
1 inch piece Aloe Vera

Simply blend everything together. Add the aloe last.

If you don't have a high-powered blender, like me, then I find blending the greens with the liquid first and then adding the fruits doesn't leave your smoothie chunky:)

I ended up multi-tasking and made dinner for tomorrow night as it is a gym day. I am stocked with organic lentils so I decided to make the Lentil Loaf from Jennifer of Nourishing Nutrition. I'll let you know how it turned out tomorrow. I tweaked her recipe a little by adding some onions and carrots . I also didn't have walnuts so I used some of the trail mix I had on hand ( dried cranberries, raisins, and all!).

I also forgot to mention how I wash my veggies and fruits. I use Nature Clean All Natural Fruit and Veggie Wash. I've also heard of using baking soda or food grade hydrogen peroxide.I have yet to try these two out. What do you use?

Have a great rest of the week! I hope its a stress free one! (If there is such a thing lol!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Weekend Re-cap + My Earthlings experience

Hello all,

I know this post is a bit late as it is already Tuesday but better late than never, right? The weekend was beautiful and it got off to a wonderful start. I was fostering a shy cat named Lola from Nelson SPCA and she found her forever home on Friday. Ry and I are so happy she found a quiet home as she was not treated kindly by her previous owners and so she was scared of a lot of things. She greatly improved while she stayed with us and I know she will be a great companion for the lovely lady who adopted her. She will be missed:) As I have been lucky enough to find homes for all three of the cats I fostered, the SPCA wants to give us another cat who needs some extra love. I meet him/her today and I'm so excited (and I know Nemo is too!). On Saturday Ry and I went for a little walk up the hill. I was tired and grumpy and didn't want to go but I forced myself and I got out of my bad mood pretty darn quickly! I mean with the sun hitting my face the way it did, I couldn't help but smile and feel good. We love checking out people's homes and their design ideas. The houses here vary from Victorian style to 70's ranchers to modern box-looking homes. Of course, what's a hippy town without a pink and purple house lol! After the walk I was feeling pumped so I made two dishes for dinner. The first was the the Crispy Cajun Chickpea Cakes from Vegan Dad. These are so easy and quick (and delish too!). I adapt them to whatever veggies I have kicking around. I also bake them instead of frying. It is going to be my mission to make these bad boys in the raw!

Sorry for the bad pict! It really doesn't show off their greatness! We had them with ketchup but salsa is my favorite way to eat them. I have a new tradition of making salsa with my mom but the stuff is so good we are already out! And its so hard to eat the store bought stuff as it tastes like pure salt.

The other dish I made was Snobby Joes from The PPK site. I love lentils cooked and in their sprouted form (I've got my mom hooked on the sprouted lentils now too!). They are so easy to work with and so if you are new to the area of your house that contains the fridge (AKA kitchen), give these little gems a try. I modified it to what ingredients I had and it still turned out great. I left out the bell pepper and maple syrup (used a small bit of honey instead). I was out of chili powder so I searched around for a recipe to make my own. It was actually pretty close but I would love to make it with some ancho chiles in it next time. I love this dish even without the bun. Yummm!

Ry headed to the Co-op to pick up a little treat for each of us. He picked up some BBQ Kettle Chips. Have you ever tried Kettle Chips? They are awesome and they have nothing artificial, no trans fats, no artificial colors or flavors, no preservatives, non-GMO ingredients, and they are gluten free. They have so many flavors and varities that you will love, I'm sure of it. Now, I don't each chips all the time, they are a treat. For me, I received some of our new obsession- organic medjoool dates. Oh how I love thee, dear date! Eating these makes me want to live in Cali or other places where they are grown. And stuffing these with almond butter? I believe the word to explain that would be simply... orgasmic lol! That night we watched Fried Green Tomatoes. I am embarassed to say I have never seen it before. Beautiful movie and I will watch it again for sure!

Sunday I worked all day and then I went to watched "The Big Game." That game being the Canada vs USA Olympic match up. I was so bummed that we lost ( these games are really for bragging rights) but we play against Germany tonight and this is a vital game as we need a win in order to qualify for the quarter finals. It will be a nail-biter for sure:) I'm so Canadian, eh? LOL!

After the game we went home and made banana softserve with coconut and berries. So good! watched The Count of Monte Cristo but I couldn't stay awake and I missed the ending. I really liked it (from what I saw) and if you are thinking about which movie to rent, try this one out! Then after the movie was over Ryan was searching around and found Earthlings. Ever since getting Nemo and going veg, I feel this greater connection to the animal world. The documentary starts off looking at the industry that is companion animals. It came to the part where over-crowded shelters "dispose" of the animals they cannot care for due to aggression, lack of space, health issues etc. I totally lost it and the tears would just not stop. I couldn't watch past this point that night. I will watch the rest eventually but I think I need to do it in stages. Ryan watched the rest of it while I was away and he said that I probably shouldn't watch the rest. I could see it really had a resonating affect on him and he talked openly about how sick it made him feel and how he didn't know how badly factory animals were really treated (especially piggies). His quote on the workers of the factory farms "I bet you those guys are going to become or already are serial killers as abusing animals is where it starts" and "The workers there are truly sick, something has to be wrong with them." I'm near tears again just thinking about it. I told Ryan that when we move to a place in the country its going to be a little hobby farm as I'm going to bring as many farm animals as I can so they can have a good life. I also gave Nemo a big hug that night as I couldn't imagine him not being around.
Have you watched Earthlings? Let me know what your experience was!
On a much lighter note now...Heidi is having a giveaway! WOW the freebies are so awesome this week. Check my previous post to enter other giveaways! She is giving away a Deni Automatic Ice Cream Maker. Raw ice cream...yum! Summer IS almost here:) So head on over to her site and enter.

Have you heard about Tapping?

Happy Tuesday!

I received an email from a bunch of people, including Nomi Shannon about a free online event about tapping. Tapping involves mind body medicine and needle-free acupuncture. There are certain points in the body called meridian energy points that were discovered by eastern medical doctors more than 5000 years ago. When you tap your fingers along these points while saying positive affirmations, you release emotional blockages and restore the mind-body balance. Now, I'm pretty skeptical about techniques or programs that involve "feelings" or emotions but I did a little research on this technique and there are many, many people in the health and coaching community who support this amazing technique. Some of these include Dr. Mercola, Deepak Chopra, Bob Proctor ( author of "The Secret"), and Cheryl Richardson. What I like about it is that there is a scientific basis to it and its not all psychological. There also has been a lot of research completed on this technique which can be found here. So, I signed up for the event! The 2010 Tapping World Summit is FREE and its a great way to get introduced to this technique. I'm going to learn as much as I can and try out the technique myself. I know I have a few emotional blockages that could be taken care of , so it couldn't hurt to try it out! Head to the site and sign up for the event which is now underway! Let me know what you think too!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Who wants some free stuff??

Hello again everyone!

I was just catching up on my blog reading and was blown away by all the giveaways that are happening right now. There are so many I thought that this topic deserved its very own post. Here we go:

Earth Muffin - It's her vegan anniversary (yay!) and she is giving away some of her favorite products including a batch of her "take me on a date" cookies. You have until Sunday to get on over to her blog and enter.

Promoting The Raw Food Diet While Debunking The Myths - Joanna is giving away a year subscription of Purely Delicious Magazine, a very cool raw food mag. You have until this Thursday to enter.

Iheartwellness - Kris is giving away a very cool product called Daily Detox Drops. According to her testimonial they sound awesome. You have until Thursday to enter.

Julie's Raw Ambition - Julie is having a really cool contest. You tell her your favorite dessert and she will pick one and make it. She will also photograph it and put the recipe on her site PLUS you get a bunch of awesome goodies. So go check it out and enter. You have until March 5 to enter.

Love Veggies and Yoga -Averie is giving away some Tropical Traditions Coconut Peanut Butter. Doesn't this stuff just sound so delish? Just subscribe to Tropical Traditions newsletter and then she has 15 ways for you to enter. The contest ends tomorrow so you better get over there stat!

PHEWW!! That's a lot of giveaways going on! All the best and hope you win something awesome:)

PS- Evergreen thank you for saving me some serious

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Wish List

Hello all!!

Did you are enjoy your weekend! It's been absolutely gorgeous in Nelson during the day but once the sun goes down WHOA does it get cold!! This is so typical of a BC Spring, yes I said Spring! You know when you can just tell that Winter is saying its last goodbyes and Spring is, well, sprung? That is what it feels like and I'm getting quite excited for warmer weather as I'm sure you all are. Although its still weird to be wearing light clothing in the Kootenays. I grew up in a city located very close to a desert (Osoyoos) and the city where I was living before moving to Nelson is basically a temperate rainforest. Heat and rain are the two staples in my weather vocabulary. Anyways, whatever weather you have, make the most out of it and adapt to it. Snow can be fun even if you don't ski or snowboard. I'm thinking you must have a crazy carpet and a sweet hill somewhere near you:) No snow is even better (in my opinion) and so get outside and soak up that vitamin D. Seriously, you need it! So enough about the weather..sorry BC'rs love weather talk, its in our blood!

What's on your wish list? Person, place, or thing; What are you hoping, praying, or saving for? I think I can speak for every person out there that this list is really endless. New items are popping up daily and the list is forever being adapted. So, let's hop to it or I'll never publish this post lol! In no particular order, here is my current wish list (big and small):

Dog- Ryan and I are "big" dog people. Little dogs are cute and all that but they don't fit into our lifestyle. I want to run, hike, and camp with my dog. I also like the protection that they provide. Although some of those little guys sound like they could take you down lol! We like the look and temperment of the rottie but we shall see what gems our local shelter has. As we are in transition right now I don't think this is the best time to bring a dog into the mix. So, once we are settled and a little more relaxed, we will start researching!

Infrared Sauna- This obviously falls into the BIG category, but I think they are totally awesome! The health benefits are truly amazing and I think a great benefit to anyone. In the meantime, I might get a punch-pass to a spa that has one and go every once and awhile.

Shower head water filter- I filter the water that I drink but I don't filter the water that hits my skin. The skin is the biggest organ and it needs protecting. Also, showering is where most people absorb and inhale the most chlorine. I'm not sure which brand to get to if you have any suggestions let me know.

Dehydrator- There are just so many recipes that I pass by because I don't have a dehydrator. I know there are ways to use your stove as a make-shift dehydrator by turning the heat on and then shutting it off but I see this getting old really fast. I'm thinking a 4 tray Excalibur but let me know your thoughts on this brand and others.

Vita-Mix - Yep, me and the entire world want one of these bad-ass blenders. I need a new food processor and my blender is okay but not sufficient for my needs. So instead of getting two new appliances, I thought I would get the appliance that does it all! Again, on the BIG list....but my birthday is coming up:)

Raw Foods Class - I would love to take a class and learn more techniques on how to encorporate more awesome raw foods into my diet. There is a raw food teaching facility in Vancouver called Raw Foundation Culinary Art Institute. Their classes sound so awesome and once I get back I'll be saving my pennies for one or two classes:)

My Garden- I currently live in an apartment but will be moving back to the house that Ry and I own some time in the summer. As the tenants have not told us the exact month they are leaving, I'm not sure how much of a garden I'm going to have. So, I'm either going to have a container garden like what I had last year or a totally awesome yard garden. I'm hoping for the latter but either way I cannot wait to grow my own produce. It feels so natural and the taste of something you picked five minutes before you eat it just doesn't compare to something that was picked weeks before. And if you think you don't have the space, you do! A large pot can supply you with a huge variety of herbs or you can plant greens (kale, lettuce, collards etc) or even tomatoes. I think this year I'm going to start from the beginning and grow my own seedlings. I'm definitely welcoming spring with open arms:)

Home Air Filtration System - I know there are those stand-alone units that you can move around your home which seem pretty cool. There are also ones that get installed in your home and are a bit more powerful. I didn't build the house we bought and so I don't know what chemicals are looming and so I want to be breathing in as few of these chemicals as possible. I haven't done too much research on brands but I will be soon once we are all moved into our new house. If you have any experience with these systems drop me a comment !

Food Co-op/Buying Group- This is a new one to my wish list. I want to eat organic and raw as much as possible and the prices of some products really hinder my ability to do so. I saw on Robyn's blog that she started a buying group and that got the wheels turning in my head. There are a bunch of buying groups in Vancouver but I couldn't find any in the Fraser Valley so I'm going to be doing a ton of research on possibly starting a buying group in my area so that I can get the great products for my semi-raw lifestyle at a more affordable price. This really has me excited and so I will keep you posted on the process!

Okay I'm going to stop there. I really could go on and on! What's on your wish list these days? I think its good to have a wish list as it provides motivation to save your extra pennies. My bank even has automatic deposit to your savings account every month so you don't have to worry about spending the $5, $10, $20, or more you want to put aside. So here's to wishing and saving!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hello all (again),

I was just visiting Heidi's blog ( PS check out her little guy..too cute) and she posted a new movie trailer called Forks Over Knives featuring Dr. T. Campbell (The China it!) and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn plus many other medical and scientific experts. I just finished watching the trailer and I think its going to be great! I'm loving all these great movies that are coming out about the food we eat and its connection to disease. Movies that I have seen or have seen trailers for are:

Food Inc.

Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days

Fast Food Nation

If I missed any please let me know! Anyways, here is the trailer and let me know what you think!

Olympic Athletes eat McDonalds and drink Coke, yeah right!

Happy Thursday!

So, I just read this great little post by Richard on Discovery Naturopathy about how fast food and processed food companies are infecting the Olympic games with various forms of advertising. I notice this as well, but basically ignore them whenever they come on, and this is a lot! Yet, Richard changed my perspective about all these fast food images being pumped out to the public. For every healthy folk out there (Athletes included!) that are avoiding these ads and these foods, there are ten other people (just guessing here!), kids and adults, who are taking these ads as an approval for eating crap and eating more of it. They may even think that the Athletes in the commercials and ads use these eating establishments and processed foods to get to the top of the podium. YIKES! I saw this first hand when the torch was passing through Nelson. Ry and I were just walking through the crowd when these happy, smiling faces approached us handing out bottles of Coke. Not cool!

Yes, the Olympics may inspire some to get off the couch and go the gym or dust of their skis, but does this outweigh the heavy streaming of ads for crappy food? I think society is heavily influenced by people placed in the spotlight, whether they are an athlete or a celebrity. Right now athletes are the celebrities, and people are fixated on their every move. And who aspires to celebrities the most? Children! Ever heard of Hannah Montanna or the Jonas Brothers? Case and point, my friends!

Athletes eat clean! Plain and simple. They want that top podium spot and they have to cover all their bases in order to achieve that dream. Why would you want to take a step backwards and eat foods that go against everything you are training so hard for? That's why they don't eat something from a drive-thru window. I'm not saying they never, ever eat something from a fast food joint, but I bet its seldom. Those are definitely not "Whopper" legs.

This article by US News explains a little bit about how athletes have to eat in order to maintain their peak physical condition. It depends greatly on the sport and the energy expenditure that sport requires, obviously. But they have to eat double or more of what the average man and woman are supposed to eat. They also work closely with dietitians and other specialists to get their diets on the track to success.

Yet, here is where the moral dilemma comes in. In order to train and succeed you need money, and lots of it for some sports. How do they get that money? Sponsorships (mainly). As they train everyday for 7-8 hours, its nearly impossible to have a job. The main sponsors are of course big corporations and brands that have large amounts of cash to give out to an Athlete who will wear their logo and eat their product in an ad. So, what are you going to do? Watch your Olympic dream fizzle away because you cannot afford to compete, or sign with a large company that you know is poisoning the nation in order to reach the top? This is just another example of how big corporations get ya! They know they have what you want and if you want it bad enough, you will sign on the dotted line. I find this a catch-22 situation and wouldn't want to have to make this decision. So, I understand these athletes that do sign on with these companies and I don't hold it against them. I just wish there were broccoli farmers and avocado farmers sponsoring these athletes but I know deep down that that may (I have hope!) never happen.

All in all, we vote with our dollars. So, if we buy more from great, "real" foods companies, then possibly in the future, we could have an organic sponsorship. Now that would be more realistic.

So Yes, the games are highly commercialized but the spirit of the athletes, their families, and the fans will be what fills the worlds heart and minds, while the rest will be forgotten.

This photo is courtesy of The Province

This photo is courtesy of The Province

This picture is courtesy of The Province

Enjoy the games everyone! And if you don't care for the games, just check out pictures of Vancouver. I live about 1/2 hour east of the city but you'll get the gist! Hope you can come and visit sometime.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunshine on a cloudy day!

Hello again guys and gals!

I just checked my comments and Evergreen from The Happy Raw Kitchen gave me a Sunshine Award.

Thank You Evergreen, you are a gem! I am honored and feel blessed to be part of such a wonderful community that is the blogosphere. I have found it to be one of the most supportive environments that I have ever experienced. I love sharing my journey with you and feel so much more confident in many areas of my life.

So, the rules are that I have to link to the lovely person who sent me the award. Here she is, just in case you wanted to check out her awesome site one, two, or three more times. Then pass this award on to twelve other people who bring you sunshine. So, here we go (in no particular order):

Nikki- Yummy Raw Kitchen

Heathy -Adventures of Raw Goddess Heathy

Averie - Loves Veggies and Yoga

Kevin and Annmarie Gianni- Renegade Health

Gena - Choosing Raw

Meredith - The Raw Seed

Meghan - Making Love In The Kitchen

Susan -Rawmazing

Bitt- A Bitt of Raw

Pam - A Love For New Recipes

Shannonmarie - Rawdorable

Elise - Hungry Hungry Hippie

So check out these awesome bloggers and I'm sure they will bring you some sunshine, whether it be an awesome recipe or sheer quirkiness! Enjoy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's meal + too much cake:(

Happy Tuesday!

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Did you do anything special for Valentine's day? It was a pretty lazy weekend here, besides work. The weather wasn't great either so going outside wasn't a treat like it had been all week. Went to the gym on Saturday morning and had a killer workout and then followed that with an awesome breakfast at The Full Circle..yum! Then on Sunday night I made something new for dinner-nori rolls. I also made a carrot cake with cashew frosting. As we really didn't catch up on our sleep, Monday was a pretty laid back day at our household. Hence, the late blog post! Ryan walked to school only to find out it was a Pro-D day. I didn't know they still had those in college. Apparently they sent a notice through email but as it so worked out, our internet was down all weekend. I worked but felt pretty sluggish and I totally know why (I'll get to that later). Ry had a long nap with Nemo (apparently he was feeling sluggish too)...ahh the life of a student lol!

Now for the food! I followed the directions for the nori rolls in Nomi Shannon's The Raw Gourmet. I made some of her sunny roll-ups but I wasn't a fan of having so much Sunny Pate in there so I made a mix of this recipe and her Vegetable Nori Roll-Ups. I started out with about 2 tablespoons of her Sunny Pate. PS Check out Gena's version of this pate. I added slivered carrots, zucchini, and cucumber. Topped this with slices of avocado, and finally I added lentil sprouts. I didn't have any other sprouts ready at this time so feel free to use other sprouts. I did not marinate the veggies as Nomi suggests but the results were still fabulous! I am definitely going to experiment more with roll-ups. Some things I want to improve upon are:

  • Keeping the nori as crisp as possible. I think my cutting board was too moist and so by the time you ate the roll-ups they were a bit chewy.
  • Perfect my roll-up skills. I got some of them to stay (the moist ones) but others unravelled quickly
  • learn to proper placement of the veggies and pate to make rolling up easier and the end product a whole lot prettier.

If you have any tips about roll-ups please let the world know!! I am all ears..or eyes in this case!

On to Dessert...The hubby wanted carrot cake so I decided to make this recipe I found on Vegweb with this recipe for cashew frosting except I used brown sugar.

It was really good except I think I should have used a shallower pan. It was a little too soft in the very center. The frosting was really good too but I want to learn how to make a raw frosting that is pretty close to cream cheese frosting that is traditionally found on carrot cake.

I haven't made such a large dessert in a long time. I usually just make something that is suitable for two people. And for this I paid the price. I was weak and even though my inner soul was screaming for me to stop, I snacked on the cake all day yesterday. A spoonful here, a mouthful there. I totally lost it and gorged myself. I felt gross - my mind went to mush, my body felt weak , I was moody, and my intestines were pissed off. I am finally feeling a bit better today, but I still feel off. I am amazed at how quickly I feel gross and lethargic by sugar and flour now. My body really went for a spin and I did not like it one bit. I can really appreciate how awesome I feel when I'm eating clean. I take this as a lesson and I'm going to learn from it, big time! I also learned another lesson: If its not there you won't eat it. It's simple and really profound. I told the hubby after this experience that I was going to only make a bunch of great raw treats and freeze them for when we are in the mood for something sweet. Yet Ry suggested that I should only make something small that is going to be eaten that day and so there are no temptations later on. I totally agree (for jk) and have decided to only make desserts fresh and in small portions. Maybe this will work for you too if having sweet goodies around is just too tempting.

Have a great rest of the week and don't eat too many cinnamon hearts! I'm off to make a green smoothie with some berries hoping this will help restore my body back to its normal self!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Juicing the blending way + Cocoa woes

Happy Thursday!

I finally received my AC adaptor so I'm once again able to post picts:) Thank goodness! But when I originally turned on my laptop, all my personal settings were gone. All there was was this big blue screen staring back at me. I was mainly concerned with losing all my picts and music and so I searched to see if they were still there somewhere..and they were. PHEWW!! So, I did a drastic move and did a system restore. I set my comp back to when I turned it on last..and TA DA..all my settings are back to normal. At least from what I've seen so far. It think this is a sign that I need to back up my files. Note to self! Anyways, it's almost the weekend!! I'll be working once again but it's all good. What are you doing this weekend? I know restaurants are going to be packed and the rose growers will be rolling in the dough as Valentine's is upon us once again. I'm going to do things a little bit differently this year. Ry and I are going to go out for breakfast on Saturday after the gym on Sunday and then I'm going to cook dinner and dessert ( he wants carrot cake) and just maybe watch a least that's where I'm ending!

I was going to make some raw chocolate from the recipe on Evergreen's blog but I can not find cocoa butter anywhere is Nelson. The co-op said they needed to special order it in but it would take awhile to get here. I'm so choked that I won't get to make the chocolates! I'll be on the hunt when I go to the coast in a month.

But, the exciting thing I did today was try juicing with my blender. It actually was really cool and everything went well. A bit more hands on than using a juicer but the result was yummy! I found this post by Bitt and followed her instructions and suggestions from a video on that post. I used a paint strainer bag to strain the juice and it was really handy as it had an elasticized edge that I just wrapped around my bowl. My blender sounded angry and I had to add a little water to the mixture but it went smoothly otherwise. It was fun "milking" the juice LOL and a little messy but nothing too crazy. I wasn't feeling too well due to my menstrual cycle so I decided to make a juice that was high in calcium. So, I looked up a recipe in Jay Kordich's book The Juiceman's Power of Juicing. The one I chose was called Green Power and I really loved it. It wasn't too sweet and it wasn't too bitter...mmm! This really helped my tummy too and it kept me pretty full throughout the afternoon which surprised me. I will for sure try this method again but probably not until the summer as it would cost me too much of my budget to buy all the veggies. I went organic with the ingredients as I knew these was going to be absorbed pretty quickly into my cells and I didn't want any junk getting in the way. But, I could totally see this getting addicting and now I understand why so many people are doing it!

The last thing is what to do with the pulp? I saved it and put it into the freezer. I has the consistency that I think would work well with a nutloaf or burgers. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears!

So, overall it was a great experience that I can't wait to try again. The possibilities truly are endless which is what attracts me to juices and blended drinks. It really it medicine in a glass!

So, if you think you need a fancy juicer to be able to drink some healthy juices, think again!! Give this method a try and I'm sure you will not be disappointed. Although your pets might be lol!

Have a great Friday everyone and give your loved ones big hugs this weekend..and always:)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lovely Lunch + Great Giveaway!

Hello all!

Hope you are having a fun humpday Wednesday! I haven't had much time to make extra goodies this week as we have been hitting the gym pretty late and afterwards I'm pretty beat. Today I decided to make a greater energy packed lunch as I found I was was getting hungry only an hour or so after I ate my simple salad. So to add some PUNCH to my salad I placed an avocado in there. All those healthy omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids really made a difference to my satiety. I also made some lovely pate that was so good with my Ryvita crackers.

Here's the breakdown..

Greeny Salad
1 bunch of organic spinach, washed thoroughly, cut into bite sized pieces including stem
handful of parsley
1 avocado, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons Nomi Shannon's Miso Mayo ( I made it into a dressing by just adding more water)

Yep, that's it! You can add more veggies if you want. I just took what I had left in my fridge.

Of course you could add whatever dressing you want, I just wanted to give the miso dressing another shout out as it is so fabulous!

I was in heaven eating this, I really didn't want it to end!

Lovely Pate - Love is in the air ...and in the pate!

1 Cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
1/2 Cup sundried tomatoes, soaked for 1/2 hour, keep the soaking water
1 small onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove
juice from half a small lemon
pinch sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cumin

Place the sunflower seeds in your food processor and grind until you get the texture that you like. Add the sundried tomatoes and blend until they are all encorporated. I add some of the sundried tomato soaking water as I prefer the pate pretty smooth (this also helps my small processor blend easier). Add the onion and garlic and blend until you cannot see any big pieces of onion. Add the lemon juice and remaining ingredients. Adjust the spices as needed.

You can eat this with crackers, lettuce leafs, veggies. It is so yummy and easy!

I have been eyeing all the amazing chocolate recipes that are around the blogosphere, here, here, and here. I'm so looking forward to trying some of these out, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Making my own raw chocolate, how cool is that? So, to get me geared up on my chocolate journey I decided to make the Chocolate-dipped Date Truffles featured on Carmella's blog The Sunny Raw Kitchen. They are actually just about ready as I type this. Hold on, I've got to try one right now.........WOW!! definite winner. They have this chewy center with an almond butter-stuffed date and a chocolaty coating. I'm telling you its pure heaven. What a great treat. This was made with all raw ingredients except the almond butter (roasted) and cocoa powder.

Chocolate-Dipped Date Truffles

Chocolate Dip:
1/4 Cup raw honey (original recipe called for agave)
1/4 Cup coconut oil (can also use coconut butter)
3 Tablespoons Cocoa (original recipe used raw Cocao or carob)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
pinch sea salt
8 dates ( I used Deglet Noor dates, would be best to use medjool)
cold almond butter

I took off the stems (hard part at one end of the date) and cut a small slit to take out the seed. I wasn't too successful at keeping the slit from spreading. Yet, once I got the almond butter in there it acted as a glue and so you couldn't tell if they were a bit more split. Once you have done this with all the dates set them on a plate that has some wax paper on it. Move on to the chocolate dip. Heat the coconut oil so that it is completely melted. I placed a bowl over some hot water and that seemed to do the trick. Add the cocoa powder then the honey, vanilla, and sea salt. Mix until smooth. Now dip the dates in the chocolate and roll them around to get all sides. Place back on the wax paper. Repeat with remaining dates. Place in the freezer 5-10 minutes.

Now, I had some leftover chocolate dip and decided to try something out. I cut a banana into small chunks and rolled it in the chocolate. Placed them in the freezer with the dates. Do you see where I'm going with this? Yep, I want to see what kind of softserve this will make. I'm sure its going to be awesome!

Last , but definitely not least, Gena from Choosing Raw is having a great giveaway! She is giving away 2 Tribest blenders. These are really cool as you can use glass jars to blend in. I looked into these a couple of months back, and there are lot great reviews out there. Looking at the amount of comments she has received, 475 to be exact, and soon to be 476, this is a hot item! So, head on over to her site and shoot her a comment. Good luck!

Ps sorry for the crappy pictures. I took this with my blackberry as I'm still waiting for my laptop parts to arrive....
Have a great rest of the week and enjoy a piece of chocolate today!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fit Day and Miso Dressing

Happy Tuesday!

Hope you are having a great start to the week. I went to the gym with the hubby (cheering squad!!) after he was home from school yesterday. It was good, just too many people crammed into a small space. There was a lot of testosterone floating around that! I was always intimidated to be around so many people when I worked out, especially guys. I always felt like they were judging me with their eyes (this was usually not the case) and so I would like to hide in the corner and finish my workout in a rather weak manner. Now, I'm LOUD and PROUD and I do what I have to do. It's still hard sometimes when you have to work around guys who think they own the gym and have tons of weights on all the equipment, but I just shoot them a smile and usually they are accommodating. I'm starting to realize that I was always stressed when I went to the gym and that pretty much contradicted my workout. Remember my little talk on stress hormones,? Ya not good. So, I take a minute and look around to see how many people are in the room and what areas are really crammed and which areas are more open. This way I can have an action plan and I know where I'm headed- I have a plan! As I stated in yesterday's post I was going to start an account on Fit Day , and I did. I'm not sure exactly how accurate the data is but it will give me some idea as to where the bulk of my calories come from. The first thing I noticed was that I was not eating enough greens or veggies. Funny hey? Ya, I was eating a lot of fruit but I wasn't balancing it out with greens. So, that is an area I'm going to work on. I've made my profile public if you want to see what I am eating. Just click on this link.

Now onto the good stuff! I have Nomi Shannon's The Raw Gourmet from my library and I tried my first recipe from it last night. As I'm on a new salad dressing kick, I thought I would give the Miso Mayo Dressing a shot. WOW, amazing combination! I made it without the liquid amino's and it still turned out fantastic. The hubby said this was the best dressing yet! I will definitely be making this one again. I looked around online to see if Nomi had the recipe posted somewhere but I couldn't find it. Sorry all, wish I could pass along this recipe. So, get your local book store or library and try it out!

Have a great day everyone and here's to more greens this week!!

Isn't this little guy too cute?! This was taken in beautiful Banff, Alberta. Thank you National Geographic for your endless pictures of this beautiful world we live in ( and all its creatures).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Why you are not losing weight

Hey everyone,

I thought I would talk about weight loss on the Monday after the Super Bowl. Fitting hey? According to ABC, the Super Bowl is the 2nd largest gorging fest, next only to Thanksgiving. Americans consumed 30-35 million pounds of snack food on Sunday. Who knows what that value would be if it included Canada or other football-loving nations. Phew, that's a lot of calories and fat, and we didn't even include the beer! I did not watch the game ( I don't have cable) but I did consume some pizza with a huge salad! Yum. It's possible that those people who gorged themselves are going to go to the gym for 10 hours this week to burn off those last nacho bites. While you are burning calories, you are not allowing your metabolism to work overtime after you leave the gym. Although exercise is crutial to allow you to lose weight, you can never out-train a bad diet, as Craig would say. Weight loss is not only about calories and high intensity workouts, your body has to have a favorable environment to allow fat to leave its comfy storage sites (hips, but, thighs etc). So, here are 5 reasons why your fat cells are not budging.

  • Your body's pH may be too acidic (below 7) - When the body is in an acidic state it will take the excess acid and store it in fat cells. As the body recognizes the acid as being harmful to the body's physiology, it will keep it harnessed in these fat cells. Hence, making it more difficult to lose body fat. Try dumping the processed foods as these foods are highly acidic. Replace them with green smoothies containing alkaline forming vegetables and fruits. You can get pH test strips to see if you are acidic or alkaline (this is optimal!) at your local health food store or drug store.

  • You are doing too much long, slow, boring cardio- How many hours do you spend at the gym? I'm there for about 4.5 hours a week. This includes my workout, steam room, sauna, pool time, and shower. My workouts are usually 45 minutes in length including High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I used to be a cardio junkie but I've learned that this is not the most effective way to work my body. Craig wrote about a study on his blog that compared two groups. The first group did 40 minutes of slow cardio and the second group did 20 minutes interval training. Guess who lost more weight? Yep, the 20 minute interval group. A study completed at the University of Guelph in 2007 showed that interval training increased fat burning by 36%. That's huge! So, give up the slow cardio and do some intervals instead. Try going at an 8/10 pace for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds rest (3/10). Complete this 8-10 times and you are going to do some awesome fat burning, even after you leave the gym! Of course, always be safe and ask your trainer or doctor if you want to give this a try.

  • You are lying to yourself about how much you really eat- One chip? or was it one bag of chips? Huge difference there and of course this only puts you further away from your goal. One of the best ways to keep your eating in check is to start a food diary. In fact, keeping track as to what goes in your mouth can increase your weight loss by 50%. Being honest is always good and in this case it will do your weight loss efforts some good as well. I'm going to start this today! I am going to make an account at fitday and see what I really eat in a week. I eat pretty good but I'm sure there is room for improvement.

  • You are producing too many stress hormones- Ahh, stress! Nobody likes it, but everybody has too much of it! These little hormones reduce the hormone DHEA which is responsible for increasing muscle mass. We need lean muscle mass as it burns off the excess fats cells and reduces insulin. High insulin can increase the secretion of cortisol. Cortisol is often associated with abdominal fat and for good reason. The cells found deep in the abdominal wall have 4 times the amount of cortisol receptors on their membranes. So, when we get stressed cortisol is secreted and the fat storage cycle is initiated. Stress hormones can also be triggered if you are deprived of sleep. So get some zzzz's tonight!

  • You do not have a support system in place - You need a cheering squad! Whether its a co-worker or someone online, you need someone to help you with your weight loss journey. If you are surrounded by friends who eat at McDonalds for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, your progress will most likely be pretty minimal. I'm lucky that my hubby is into going to the gym and eating healthy or my journey would definitely be more difficult. Check out sparkpeople or TTmembers for some awesome online support. I can be your support too!! Drop me a comment if you need some encouragement!

Hope you have a wonderful week! Try to get to the gym or go to the park and do some push-ups against the benches as your kids play around. Whatever it is, I hope you keep at it!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Weekly Re-cap!

Hey all!

Hope you had a fantastic week and weekend. I know my American friends are probably watching football so I'll try to make it brief. I had an okay week, rather painful (I'll explain in a sec)but filled with awesome food! I cannot remember which day I did what so I'm just going to rattle things off as my brain remembers them.

Still waiting for my laptop AC adaptor so sorry no picts:(

  • My foodie treat of the week...MISO! I've seen it in so many recipes and I never bought it. I really love the complexity it adds to the dish! I want to try a miso dressing soon.
  • Made Vegan Dad's Creamy Chunky Cauliflower Chowder. Loved it and ,of course, the miso was fantastic in this dish.
  • An old injury flared its ugly head and so I could barely walk or bend over for two days. I had to jump from the second floor of a house in an emergency situation when I was 18 and I landed on my feet instead of rolling. I never saw a doctor afterwards and now I'm paying the consequences. On Friday I saw a chiro here in Nelson and he was able to loosen me up pretty good and now I'm feeling much better. I did a lot of stretching too which I think was beneficial.
  • As the hubby was craving more blended soups, I made another one of Vegan Dad's creations. This time it was the Cream of Potato and Broccoli soup. This one had coconut milk as a thickener so naturally it was delicious. I actually made this one twice...super good.
  • Made a bunch of smoothies this week too. Tried some weird combos like banana, celery, lettuce, hemp protein, cinnamon, and honey. I really liked its smooth and sweet flavor.
  • Then I finally got around to making this ridiculously easy soft serve that I read about on Gena's blog. Yes, it did change my life. So delicious and the possibilities to dress it up are endless. I can't wait for the summer when I will add strawberries. Yum! And hey, if you are trying to lose those extra few pounds and can't stay away from ice cream, here is a really great alternative that literally costs only pennies to make. And is guilt free!
  • Tonight, in the spirit of Superbowl Sunday, Ry and I ordered pizza. I got the thin crust vegetarian with soy mozza. I really liked it and Ry said it even tasted better than his chicken pizza. Duh!!

This week.....

  • I saw a post somewhere on the blogosphere about juicing with your blender which got me intrigued. I'll let you know how it goes.
  • I'm going to attempt another raw soup, this one from Nomi Shannon's book, The Raw Gourmet.
  • Experimenting with salad dressings. It's really endless but I want a few basic winners in my arsenal that I can whip up quickly.
  • Getting my back in order. I have three appointments this week. My chiro said it takes, on average, four appointments to get to where you want to be so hopefully by Friday I'll be 100%. You know what I think helped when I was really bad? Lightly jumping on my mini-trampoline. Weird I know, but I always felt better when I got off than when I got on.

What are you going to try this week? Hope you have a good time and come out with some amazing creations. Here's to good health!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What did your groundhog see?

Well, not YOUR groundhog, per se, or do you have one? Cool...I think. I'm really talking about the furry weather forecaster who comes out of his cave on Feb.2 and either sees his shadow..or not. Well, the Canadian hog, Wiartin Willy, saw his shadow. Apparently we are in for 6 more weeks of winter. His buddies to the east and the south also saw their shadows, so its unanimous! Yet, I think these forecasters have forgotton one key element-global warming. At the coast they are wearing shorts, shorts!! Even in Nelson its been abnormally warm, I think even weather records may have been broken. There is no evidence that we even had a winter, no snow piles or streets with tons of gravel (watch out winshield!). It really is crazy. I'm not sure if you know but Vancouver, BC is holding the Winter Olympics this about 5 days actually. Now, Whistler and the surrounding mountains just didn't get enough snow so they have to truck it in from Washington State. My friend today actually just saw two huge trucks full of snow heading towards the mountains. Hello,big bucks! This is actually humorus because last year we had record snowfall at the coast. My car remained buried for a week. It was a winter wonderland and an absolutely wonderful season for the ski hills. Now, if you have visited or lived on the west coast at all, you know Vancouver rarely gets snow, at least not in the city itself. So, I bet you the Olympic committee is really hoping Mr.Willy is right and will bring them some fresh snow. Personally, I doubt it. It's already February and the weather is really going to start warming up. Bummer!

Photo courtesy of The Vancouver Sun

I know this has nothing to do with health but I wanted to give a shout out to my home province. I am kind of sad that I won't be able to see any of the events as I'll still be in the Kootenays but I'm not sad that I don't have to fight for a parking space or pay $40+ for that space. If you are taking in the Olympics..very cool and hope you have a great time. And of course, GO CANADA GO!