Fitness lessons from your toddler

Fitness lessons from your toddler

My two year old is an exceptional athlete. She’s not making any Olympic teams, but she an exceptional athlete in the way a Crossfitter is. All the way around. Yesterday my little peanut completed the 48 flights of stairs in the Climb for Clean Air. I didn’t think she would make it, but she did. Her 20 minute time might not have been the fastest of the day, but she, along with hundreds of other people, made it. It scares me that someone (barring the severely sick or disabled) wouldn’t. Yeah it might be hard, but it’s a serious red flag if it’s undoable for you. The latest ideas in fitness are all about looking back to look forward. So I am making a list of the things that I think all people can learn from their children.

1. Walk. Run. Jump. Ama, at 25 months, routinely jumps out of the stroller and walks for 2-3 hours. Just cause. And when she feels like running she runs (and makes me run too). She makes a game out of it and just enjoys moving her body. I wish we’d all do that. Movement is life… and life is to be enjoyed.

2. Squat to your heels people. It’s unnatural not to be able to sit in a deep squat. Ama squats down at every opportunity… and she had taught me that I should too.

3. Mobility before stability before strength. That’s how Ama did it. If you lack mobility, you cannot dynamically stabilize, and you’ll never be able to produce real world strength.

4. You are the sum of those around you. Ama is always copying my husband and me. For better or for worse. Darn did I really just say that to the dog again? People always ask me how I encourage such a young person to be so active. I don’t. It would be way more convenient to me if I could just stuff her in her stroller all day and go about my business. But I don’t sit in a stroller all day, so neither does Ama. It’s made me realize how much we all emulate our immediate circle. So choose wisely.

My new dietary (life) approach

My new dietary (life) approach

My husband has started a blog about my foray into a plant-based diet and how it has affected him. It’s a funny outlook from someone who has been raised to feel that meat is the ultimate food. With my new dietary outlook, he has also taken an interest in different nutrition plans. He came home yesterday laughing about the Paleo Zone diet. You know, just like how our caveman ancestors balanced their macronutrient intake to be a perfect 30/30/40 ratio in the Paleolithic era. Of course, being a Crossfitter and having lots of Crossfitter friends who are doing either Paleo or Paleo Zone, I didn’t think much of it. You know, Zone crossed with Paleo makes Paleo Zone. It was hilarious to me to see it from the eyes of my bag of bagels for lunch husband.

I took Ama to the doctor yesterday for her routine check-up. The doctor asked about food, and I said she eats well but that I supplement with DHA and Vitamin D just to be sure. He noted that as long as she eats lots of leafy greens and nuts, she should be fine for even calcium, iron, calories and healthy fats. He had just read a study where “vegan” kids only required B12 supplementation, and were found to be much healthier than their “non-vegan” counterparts… with larger head circumferences. He reiterated what a vegan was several times. I told him I was on a plant-based diet so I knew the term. I don’t use it though. I am not a vegan. It’s too strong a term for me. It’s a term that invited scrutiny of everything you are eating and everything you are not eating.

I started swinging toward a plant-based diet after sitting in on a session at the Canfitpro Vancouver conference. It was a lecture promoting raw food veganism and I left inspired to give it a go. Not because the presenter, Scott Josephson, was well informed and infectiously passionate about eating raw food. Which he was. He left an important message with me: that it isn’t about diving into a new lifestyle to fit the mold even if that mold doesn’t fit you, it’s about making a healthier you.

He pointed out that you don’t have to eat only raw foods, and that you don’t have to eat only vegan foods. You can just eat more of these foods. And in eating less of these foods, you make a huge impact on the lives of animals, the environment and yourself. I didn’t have to stop eating honey sourced from the interior. I didn’t have to stop wearing silk or throw out all the stuff in my kitchen that had animal derivatives. In fact, he suggested going in slowly. It’s about making positive lifestyle changes that work for you, feeling their wonderful effects, and naturally doing more.

I have started sprouting, dehydrator cooking, making my own coconut yogurt and mostly eliminated animal products in favour of vegetable foods. I feel good. Food digests well, I never feel overly full but always satisfied. I feel like I am making a positive contribution to the world of food choices. Without buying expensive organic grass fed beef, I can buy a lot more non-GMO organic vegetables.

But the take home, is that that’s what feels good to me. It’s all about what feels good to you. Label or no label.