Monday, January 11, 2010

Wisdom in truly unlikely places

In these first days of the new year, I’ve been taking stock – as I’m sure many of you have been doing – of what is important, what my priorities are and about what I want to achieve. I’ve already shared with you a few of my own personal health resolutions, but my biggest priority again this year is to become a greener, more eco-conscious person. Although I’ve made many progresses over the last year, there is still much room for improvements.

In my reflections, I realized that I had started wondering about the “whys” more then the “hows”. We are creatures of “hows”: How can I be healthier? How can I make more money? How can I be better? But how about asking why? Why am I not as healthy as I would like to be? Why do I not make the kinda of salary I wish I had? Why am I not the best person I can be?

I started thinking about going green and doing all these things. Asking the “Hows” was a bigger focus of my year in 2009. But last night, I surprised myself with a question I couldn’t fully answer:

Why do I have to make all these adjustments and changes in order to save the Earth?

Where did this questioning come from? You’ll never guess: From a Vancouver 2010 Olympics commercial. As they were talking about the site and environmentally sounds planning and developments surrounding the event, I was intrigued by a quote from the narrator:

“Treat the earth well: It was not given to us by our grand-parents, it was lent to us by our children.”

There is definitely beautiful awareness to be passed on from such a statement, but it also frustrated me a bit because the earth, and the shape it’s in, does have to do with our grand-parents and everyone that came before them. I’m not saying they necessarily knew how all of this would come to be, but it is very important to know where the problems come from in order to understand what we need to do and why.

Where am I going with this?

I’ve decided to make my first few posts of the year about understanding our past so we can better save our future. Over the next few weeks, I will be posting articles on movements, pioneers, scientific phenomena, theories and all kinds of topics related to the birth of our modern environmental conscience.

I hope you’ll come and read as I post them. If you have suggestions on topics, feel free to write them here. I’m hoping to make this year one of learning and information. I hope you’ll take the journey with me.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A new year …

Happy New year everyone!

I know I have been missing in action since the end of our 100-mile challenge, but time, circumstances and health (nasty carpal tunnel) kept me away from you all.

But I’m back and will try to stay focused and in touch as much as I can. With a new year come new inspirations and resolutions. Keeping this blog current and interesting is one of mine.


My husband and I decided to sit down and really think these through this year. We wanted to start out the year with resolutions we knew we had a chance of keeping. There is nothing more frustrating than establishing goals knowing that there is a 50/50 chance you won’t be able to achieve them. So, we decided to be generous with ourselves and set them large enough that they would be forgiving, but tight enough that they felt rewarding. So, aside from the continuing efforts to become as green and eco-friendly as possible, here are the 4 resolutions we decided to work on this year:

  • Be more active everyday! I know, not very inspiring, but we decided this year that instead of saying things like “We’ll go to the gym 3 times a week” or “We’ll start running every morning”, we were going to be honest with ourselves and set goals that are more fit to our habits. So, we promised ourselves that we would participate in a form of activity or another everyday : Whether it be a 20 minute walk, a trip to the public pool or simply taking 30 minutes to stretch and do sit ups at the house, we were going to do a little something everyday!

  • Only drink coffee on the week-ends! That, to us, will most likely be the hardest one. We want to switch to tea and herbal teas for health reasons of course, but also to improve our sleeping patterns. My husband and I both suffer from restless sleep and we have noticed that on those mornings we don’t drink coffee, we sleep better that night. I know some people are more sensitive to stimulants and we may be some of them. Plus tea has so many health benefits such as :
Anti-cancer properties
Immune system boosting properties
Cardiovascular health properties
Reducing risk of strokes
Increasing metabolic rate and helping with burning fat
Antidepressant properties

And those are just a few that I found. So, although we love coffee, and we wouldn’t want to never drink it, we decided to keep it as a week-end treat.

  • Try a minimum of one new recipe a week! One of the daily places where you can get stuck into a routine easily is food. Before you know it, you are eating the same 10-20 foods over and over and that just becomes very boring. So we have made it a point to start looking through cook books (when it’s time to grocery shop) and picking a recipe every week for which we will by all the ingredients for and cook! I look forward to sharing new recipes with you!
  • Figure out what our absolute target weight is and try to stick to it! That will require finding out from reliable sources what that target weight is, what my body mass index and fat ratio are and working on getting myself fitter and healthier. It also will mean buying a scale! (Which I’ve never owned LOL!)
So there you go!

I would love to hear from you and know what your personal goals are for this year so please share!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Days 47 through 62 – 100-mile Diet - Last day came earlier than planned, but crossroads are always hard to come to…

It has been a while. My carpal tunnel having gotten the better of me, all little energy I had was used up at work and rest in the evenings was a must.

Although honestly, it would have been hard to get inspiration the last 15 days : Markets having closed, fresh produce became unavailable and all we have been living on since then is reserves like frozen and canned produce, potatoes, a few rationed root veggies, limited dairy and eggs.

I must admit that we had to apply the social life amendment a few time since November is a very busy month for us. Half our friends are born within this month it seems and every week was a reason to celebrate. We tried to keep it as 100-mile as possible, but failed to do it 100% during those times.

But we were happy for the little breaks. What was a fun experience became, on November 1st, an experience in seclusion it seemed. The most wonderful part of the challenge was going out and meeting people. This became close to impossible. I don’t know how James and Alisa did it for a year because 2 weeks almost made me go mad.

We woke up this morning realizing that having added the days we did at the beginning made this the begging of the last week. Originally, this day (November 15th) would have been our last day. But we had added days due to social life amendment application, but our reserves were only good until now.

As of this morning we are out of fruit and all we have little vegetable left besides frozen leeks and peas and the last of our potatoes, carrots, onions and beets. It being flu season and us having refused the vaccine, this worries us greatly.

So the crossroad was reached and we made the decision of stopping today at the original date we had planned on. Having brought out all the food we had put in storage, we will not need to buy much besides some vitamin C sources, but our 100-mile radius will be breached.

I hope this does not disappoint too many of you and I want to thank my readers for supporting us through this whole adventure.

We have thought quite a bit about how we can keep at least a part of this going and we have decided to apply the 50% rule for winter, 75% rule for the growing season and we will be going 100% again for a month next summer.

We have met so many amazing people and discovered so MANY amazing local products that we will never be able to simply buy imported anymore. I can’t imagine us not getting our flour at the Seigneurie des Aulnaies Mill or buying our balsamic vinegar anywhere else than the Petit Pré winery. So many amazing cheeses eaten, I never will feel the need for imported brie, camembert, blue or feta again. Growing our own herbs and herbal teas will be a long living tradition with us now and we are already looking forward to planting our garden again next year.

When we cannot buy 100% local foods during the winter months, we will strive to encourage local businesses, buying organic and fair trade products whenever we can.

We are ending this challenge forever changed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sustainability In The Workplace - A Survey by Brighter Planet

Hey everyone,

A quick hello this morning to share a site for a survey on "Sustainability In The Workplace" by the Brighter Planet team.

Please take a few minutes to fill it out: You may win 200$ in the process.

Just follow this link and voice your opinions!

Have a great day everyone.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Taking a short break : Carpal Tunnel Syndrome acting up.

Hello to all!

I wanted to make sure you all knew I hadn't just dissapeared.

I have been suffering from a bout of my CTS and have been unable to spend more than a minute or 2 typing away.

I will be back in a couple of days to bring you up to speed with all I've been doing and how our challenge is progressing.

I hope you have a great week.