Pulses, this should get your heart racing

Hudson Bay company and taste Canada have been up to some amazing things. With a beautiful new designer store on the 7th floor of the queen street location, complete with a test kitchen, nespresso sip while you shop, and every designer kitchen toy you can imagine, they’ve put their facilities to good use.

Combining the fact this is the year of the pulse, and showcasing some proud Canadian talent I had the pleasure of attending last weeks addition with Marylyn Smith. Her new cookbook “Home grown” is a must for anyone looking to keep their kitchen adventures local, healthy and simple. Marylyn herself being a ward winning home economist has made eating local simple and cost effective for all those who fear the high cost of “organic” or who simply aren’t kitchen inclined. Aside from the beautiful setting HBC provided there were some amazing partners on hand to provide samples and enhance the guest experience. This included everything from wine sampling, provided my Fidel Gastro’s staff at his newest restaurant Lisa Marie, fine whisky presented by Gooderham & Worts, chocolate by Godiva, and for the healthier foodie glow, naturally alkaline water and healthy crunch kale chips.

Now, we both know I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t share how this could benefit you, my beautiful readers. While I’m not certainly happy to drink all the wine and devour the delectable, I too want to share what I took in from this amazing presentation. As mentioned, this was all inspired by the pulse.

So… What’s a pulse? Most of you are familiar with legumes. In fact, for all you pb lovers, the peanut is a legume. Legumes are grown agriculturally, primarily for their grain seed called, which is called a pulse. Most of you who have ever tried to increase their greens or tried a plant based diet will be familiar with popular pulses, such as alfalfa, peas, beans, lentils, soybean, and peanuts to name a few. Not only are many of these foods high in protein, (pea and soy protein being too of the most popular non dairy choices for powders), but also high in macronutrients value, nitrates, and fibre! Which we know is any dieters essential, along with a important factor in reducing certain cancers and reducing bloat.

Even more relevant however, is Ontario is a producer of many pulses, some which I didn’t even know prior to this event. So, if you want to feel extra wholesome and pure, you can incorporate a few of the delicious recipes found in “home grown”, all while supporting local agriculture, eating local, and furling your health. I had the pleasure of trying a wheat beery salad, with apple and walnut (yes, all Ontario grown), which you could easily whip up and prep for meals during the week, or bring as a side to barbecue, and I promise it will be effortless for you, and even more importantly delicious.

So if you still don’t feel inclined to incorporate pulses into your diet, here are a few more fun fact to persuade you. As o mentioned, legumes are a great source of plant based protein. A 100 gram serving of cooked chickpeas contains 18% of the average persons daily value (DV) of  protein, 30% DV for dietary fiber, 43% DV for folate (especially important for women) and 52% DV for manganese. Bonus points, pulses contain no cholesterol and little to no fat or sodium. Again, pulses are also an excellent source of resistant starch, aka, fiver, which is broken by bacteria to produce the short chain fatty acids used by intestinal cells for food energy. This is what some people refer to as being energized on a cellular level, which contrasts the lethargic feeling you get from certain heavier foods, or a stimulant high.

Lastly, and important to any competitor out there, or chronic dieter, studies in humans include the potential for regular consumption of legumes in to help improve metabolic syndrome.

So lovely readers, enjoy your summer and take advantage of the bounty of healthy food your area has to offer. And make sure to keep an eye out through my other social media platforms for other upcoming events that you too can attend (cause free food, knowledge and wine, duh).

Your fitbetch,
JP xox

Betches Love Fit – “On the Go” with Kaylee Johnston

On a twist from my usual research based blog posts I want to offer you all something a little more fun, as well as give back to you, my long time, occasional or even new readers. While learning is always pretty awesome, if I do say so myself, free things and awesome new music finds are even better.

So, let me introduce to you Kaylee Johnston. As a performer, Kaylee is constantly running from meetings to interviews and from rehearsals to recording sessions and uses yoga to calm her mind and body. As I’ve previously discussed in many of my articles, high stress leads to high cortisol. While cortisol has some great benefits short term, the long term effects on your body can be both frustrating and counter productive. So here are some helpful hints from one of Canada’s hottest new pop stars on how you can incorporate exercise, in her case yoga, into your busy day. As if that’s not enough, in conjunction with strut, we’re giving away some sweet ass swag to help you get your fit on.

Betches Love Fit – “On The Go” with Kaylee Johnston 

Q: There is a strong correlation between meditation and exercise. While what works for one person may not work for another. What is your favourite form and why?


A: Totally agree! I mediate every morning for 10-20 minutes. Depending on the day and the weather, I’ll either do a seated or walking meditation. When I miss it, I notice a huge difference in my day. Starting the day with a clear mind makes all the difference!


Q: Often with a busy schedule, like that of a recording artist and performer, it’s easy to become exhausted with time constraints and responsibilities. Many people claim they find the thought of exercise exhausting. How to do find the time for yoga and how does it invigorate you?


A: I’ve definitely felt like that before. I think it’s really about knowing your body and what you need. Sometimes, you genuinely just need a long sleep to recharge. I do yoga every day though, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. It re-centres my body and my mind and I always feel better afterwards!


Q: What originally got you into the practice?


A: My mom. She did a weekly Iyengar class and signed me up when I was 15. My mom, my sister and I went every week for 2 months, and I loved it!


Q: There are a wide variety of styles and philosophies in yoga. What is your individual preference and why?


A: Personally, I prefer traditional and alignment based yoga. I work out a lot so I don’t go to yoga to sweat; I go to yoga to balance my body so I can keep doing all the other things I love. 


Q: What is the most important lesson you’ve personally taken from practice, and what would you recommend to others if you had to give one piece of advice?


A: It’s hard to narrow it down to one… but I’d say the connection to my breath, in all aspects of life. With yoga, your body and your breath flow together. It creates a synchronicity and it kind of feels like my body is moving itself effortlessly. Outside of practice, when it feels like life is stagnant, I just remember to flow with what is, and it always works out.

So ladies, Kaylee is set to release her infectious new self-titled EP on June 3rd. From now till the release date you can head on over to my Instagram “jessicapark18” like the related photo (or as many as you like, no prize for those though), and comment for a chance to win. Share the post for an extra entry. And just so you don’t have to wait so long for your Kaylee fix, the EP’s first single, “Getting Over You,” hit Canadian airwaves April 15! The accompanying video premiered exclusively on Exclaim! and amplifies the song’s message of self-empowerment. So go check it out  here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P63V1V6TOAg

Since you’re obviously going to love it, as well as if you want to check out more gear if you’re feeling inspire, fret not. You can check out more yourself at the following links





Intuitive Eating, having your cake and eating it too

With summer around the corner and being well into competition season, there is a big emphasis on dieting, cutting, tightening up, or whatever you want to call it.

With any diet there are the inevitable issue of hunger and cravings, as well as food based guilt for a lot of people. In fact, some opinions site that competition dieting or even obsessive macro counting can be considered eating disorders. I know personally, growing up I delt with food related anxiety and issues. Even now, when not competing I feel the need to monitor my intake. If I don’t have a rough idea of my macros I become anxious. Eating on a plan and with a specific schedule and goal tends to relieve this anxiety. Of course, different athletes, and different bodies have different different needs.

You need to fuel not only your workouts but also your hormones and basic bodily functions in order to keep your body out of a stress state, and maximize immunity. So this is where you need to consider aesthetic versus whole health.
There’s is a big movement in the holistic health community concerning intuitive eating. The  premise of becoming more attuned to the body’s natural hunger signals. Intuitive eating is intended to create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, making it a popular treatment for disordered eating. I’ve often seen both ends of the spectrum when it comes to a detachment between hunger and diet needs. People who stuff themselves regularly, forcing down meals in order to meet their dietary goals, and people who starve themselves of regular meals to cut back caloric intake.
Some of the basic principles surrounding intuitive eating focus on keeping your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Now, I am personally a fan of carb cycling and timing to maximize hormone sensitivity. As well as knowing your own personal sensitivity to certain foods. However, depriving your body can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are gone and this is when binging occurs. Recognize the signals early on.
For a long time I also had forbidden foods. In fact, I still do. The thought of specific “no” foods give me anxiety. But, you have to allow yourself permission to eat. It’s not a mistake, or a slip up. I have certain food sensitivities to wheat and dairy that cause me to break out. So obviously I’m not referring to this type of eating. But it’s ok to want a a piece of fruit or some chocolate, this may sound basic but I long feared sugar. This included apples, bananas, anything high carb.  But, if you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation. I prefer creative a scenario in which I can use the nutritional value. Like focusing my “treats” around workout times, or pairing out with a protein to slow the insulin spike. Telling yourself you can’t have or don’t deserve something will only cause you to feel deprived, sad, depressed, and eventually lead to binging behaviour followed by guilt and anxiety.
If you are going to go ahead and eat that burger, or some ice cream, or maybe even some late night popcorn, listen for the body signals that tell you that you are full. Often when people deprive the,selves of food and they finally cave to their cravings they tend to over eat. Your body needs time to send hormonal signals to your brain that your full. Take your time to smell! Chew, appreciate you food. Just like your mother probably told you, chew, chew, chew. Fully enjoy every mouth full instead of inhaling. If your have been wanting this item for so long, relish it. And most of all stop when your full. I know it’s delicious, and I personally hate throwing out food, but you’re not benefiting yourself my over doing it. You might even create a food aversion.
Aside from all these cues about when or how to eat. First consider why you’re hungry. I mean yes, there are primitive reasons, but also a knowledge your feelings at that moment. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger, even happiness. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term for some people, but it won’t solve the problem. Often it will just create more. Either you get more anxiety from binging, or sadness over “failure” or even setting you back in your fitness goals. I often crave certain foods when dieting, but not when I’m not retrofit get foods. It’s good to acknowledge your patterns, so that your can rationalize your cravings. This is feel helps to lessen the feeling of deprivation when you acknowledge the source .
Lastly, you need to accept your body. This does not mean you have to
Throw out your goals, but making peace with your genetics. I have leaned over many years what while o don’t struggle excessively to put on size, my body has great difficulty dropping below 10% body fat. I’ve been told I struggle to get lean. To the average person I am lean. But to step on stage it’s a fight against hormones and genetics to achieve what I need. I have come to accept that’s my personal struggle. I won’t have a six pack all year round, I can’t lean out with high carbs, and I can’t eat donuts every weekend. But I’m not sad about it. I know my body type and I’ve over time slowly shifted my intake and macros to accommodate it. So while i have friends who eat more while dieting than I get during off season I’m working towards my own goals. It’s futile to hate your body. You’re blessed with so many gifts.  So I’m trying to maximize my metabolism, even our my hormones and increase my lean mass in order to accommodate more of what I love, food (obviously)
So my lovelies. Don’t feel so bad about little set backs, or wanting to eat certain foods. Don’t even hold back, just do so in a way that furthers your goals, and allow yourself to enjoy the moment.  You certainly deserve it!

Your fit betch,
JP xoxo

Magnesium and why you might not be recovering

Keeping with the theme of my previous post, today’s post is about magnesium.

Since deciding not to compete this spring, I have been focusing on whole health, starting with the inside. After a few years of competing without a break there can be culminative effects. I was recently told that nutritional deficits in offseason was unheard of. But research has shown that it takes at least 6 months for your hormones and body to return to normal. So if you are competing multiple times in one year, your body has yet had time to replenish it stores of certain nutrients and minerals. In addition, in our busy day to day lives, between work, workouts, social outings and everything in between we sometimes neglect to actually examine the nutrient content of our diets.

We eat to just get our meals in, maybe only focus on macros, or just eat what’s convenient. In the case of magnesium, the content of foods depends on the soil they’re grown in, and that soil is becoming rapidly depleted by modern agriculture. In fact, the Nutrition Facts labels on fruits and vegetables may actually be misleading in some cases, because the soil has declined in quality since the USDA tested the foods. Purified water (aka the distilled stuff you conveniently buy at the coffee shop or in the vending machine) is also to blame, as it lack mineral content.

Magnesium is crucial for bone strength and development, and it’s required for over 300 enzymatic reactions, including many of the reactions that generate energy for your cells and control critical neurotransmitters. Deficiency can cause all kinds of symptoms including mental issues (difficulty concentrating and remembering things), muscle twitches and soreness, and a feeling of constant fatigue.

Magnesium is well known for its ability to relieve insomnia. As I’ve previously mentioned, especially in competitors doing two and three a days, elevated cortisol can be a huge issue. One study found that magnesium helped to decrease cortisol, that can keep you up at night. It also helps muscles relax, to give you that calm “sleepy” feeling. This being one of the reasons it can be found in ZMA. There has also been some promising research on its ability to help in depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.
Another benefit of magnesium may be recovery. Most people are all to familiar with DOMS. A magnesium deficiency can contribute to this sensation. Magnesium is an important component in muscle relaxation, post contraction. Therefore, if the muscle continues to contract you end up with a very painful cramp or spasm. I’ve personally been victim to waking up with these in my calves.
Any kind of magnesium supplementation will help with this problem, but a bath with some magnesium-rich Epsom salts is particularly good because the hot water of the bath also helps relax the muscles. I often recommend Epson salt baths to new clients who experience extremes soreness, associated with starting a new exercise program.
Lastly, which is particularly or interest to anyone who’s on an insulin sensitivity program,such as carb cycling, looking to maximize their body’s insulin response. There is some research which states that magnesium can help maintain insulin sensitivity and even blood lipid profile. Previous studies that show magnesium deficiency is associated with diabetes. However these results might be confounding, and purely related to a correlation between poor eating habits, such as diets high in sugar, and mineral deficiencies. None the less, more studies are continuing to find a link, so at worst, there is no detrimental effect to supplementing.
So ladies, when feeling sore, tired, stressed, maybe then to magnesium at night instead of that glass of wine or “detox” tea.

Health always starts from within.

Your fitbetch,
JP xoxo