22 Aug

Links for a Sunday Morning

Be Real

Be Real

Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse” – Vanity Fair

When there is a surplus of women, or a perceived surplus of women, the whole mating system tends to shift towards short-term dating. Marriages become unstable. Divorces increase. Men don’t have to commit, so they pursue a short-term mating strategy. Men are making that shift, and women are forced to go along with it in order to mate at all.

Versailles May Finally Get Its Own Hotel - CN Traveller

The majority of visitors who come to Versailles often do so as a daytrip from Paris due to a lack of hotels in the area. No longer: the palace’s management is seeking an outside partner who will transform three buildings on the property into accommodations.

Why You Should Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend – Chelsea Krost Blog

Your career is that fixer-upper boyfriend who never seems to get fixed, the one that lets you give and give without ever giving anything back in return. You’ll never get out of it what you put into it. Your career will never make the effort worth your while.

Why Do Some Runs Feel So Freaking Hard? – Greatist

Research shows it occurs when your body is depleted of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, resulting in an abrupt feeling of fatigue and a loss of energy. The two biggest physical culprits? Overtraining and low blood sugar

Carbs are fine – The Atlantic

Researchers brought 19 obese volunteers into a lab and kept them there for two weeks. They fed half of them a low-carb diet and another half a low-fat one. Both groups cut their calories by 30 percent. The results, published in Cell Metabolism, showed that the two diets worked equally well: Everyone lost about a pound of body fat.

Why gratitude could be good for your health – Maclean’s

Humans are hardwired to see the negative in life. But growing research shows that feeling grateful can boost health, school grades, and even brain function.

The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There – Daily Beast

Yoga isn’t necessarily a ‘one-size-fits-all’ practice, either. Different types of yoga might be best for different people. A 20-year-old and a 70-year-old probably don’t need the same things. Someone who is hyper-mobile and flexible doesn’t need the same thing as someone who’s muscular and stiff.

19 Aug

Strong, Sexy Arms with Chaturanga (video)

Tips for a safe chaturanga: Get strong and sexy arms while keeping your shoulders safe.

In Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga practices one thing we do over and over again is the chaturanga dandasana pose, or low pushup.

This pose in an amazing strengthener for the shoulders, triceps, chest and core, but poor form can cause be damaging to the shoulders (hello, rotator cuff injuries!)

The three steps you want to use in your chaturanga pose are

1. Pull the heads of the shoulder back.
2. Hug the elbows in to engage the triceps.
3. Press the floor away with the palms spread the shoulder blades.

Check out the video below for to details as to why these steps are important to getting strong safely.

15 Aug

Links for a Sunday Morning

Show Up

Show Up

My ‘granny’ hair is staying – Globe and Mail

Some have said that the granny hair trend has a streak of defiant feminism about it. It does not. Grey hair on the young is not defiance. It’s not acceptance of aging. If anything, it is a mockery of aging, because it is not real. It’s fake grey. And getting old is a very, very real experience, felt in the bones.

I’m the Heaviest I’ve ever been and I just bought my first crop top – Elle

For the first time in my life, I am exercising ONLY because I would prefer a strong and boundless body, not because I have visions of a thinner me at the end of the line.

The Open Office Trap – New Yorker

Though open offices often fostered a symbolic sense of organizational mission, making employees feel like part of a more laid-back, innovative enterprise, they were damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction.

Rape Jokes are Finally Funny Because They’re Targeting Rape Culture Instead of Victims. – Guardian

That rape jokes aren’t funny was an axiom assuming that rape jokes are at the expense of the victim. Something horrible happened to you, hahhahha! . . . People then drew a distinction between punching down (mocking the less powerful) and punching up (aiming at the privileged, the status quo, maybe even striking blows against the empire). The rape joke as it then existed was all about punching down.

How ‘Rock Star’ Became a Business Buzzword – NY Times

Posting a listing for a job for which only ‘‘rock stars’’ need apply casts an H.R. manager as a kind of corporate Malcolm McLaren; that nobody is looking for a front-end developer who is addicted to heroin or who bites the heads off doves in conference rooms goes without saying. Pretty much anyone can be a ‘‘rock star’’ these days — except actual rock stars, who are encouraged to think of themselves as brands.

Canada’s Federal Election Quiz – I Side With

Take the political quiz to see which federal parties your ideals align with.

World’s Most Liveable Cities – Metropolis

In our extensive urban coverage throughout the year, we often look at a variety of facets that contribute to a city’s overall quality of life—i.e., the sum of the housing, amenities, connectivity, and, in a word, pleasures a city has to offer the people who live in it.

Man takes vacation from being human, becomes goat – Mashable

He spoke to an expert in animal locomotion to nail down their movement. Even further, he met with a biologist to see about making an artificial rumen (a part of the goat’s stomach) in order to digest grass. To put it simply: He did not take this lightly.

Here’s what winning the Super Bowl looks like when you’re a female football player – Washington Post

Imagine the madness in the nation’s capital if the men’s football team had won the NFC East championship by beating the Dallas Cowboys? But because these champions don’t have Y chromosomes, it’s crickets.

It turns out parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment — even the death of a partner – Washington Post

The study’s goal was to try to gain insights into a longstanding contradiction in fertility in many developed countries between how many children people say they want and how many they actually have.

Five foolproof ways to destroy employee morale – Globe and Mail

Every so often, I come across managers who seem hell bent on doing just the opposite. They say and do things that completely destroy their employees’ self-confidence, drag down team morale, and create a negative working environment.

09 Aug

Links for a Sunday Morning

Best

Best

The Best Kept Secret: Why People HAVE to Squat Differently – Movement Fix

This article will help show you why athlete comfort should dictate squat width, why some people’s (not EVERYONE) feet point out (no matter how much “mobility” work they do), why some people have a really hard time squatting deep, and why some people are amazing at pistols while others can’t do them at all.

Canada has the worst climate change record in the industrialized world – Press Progress

Canada still shows no intention on moving forward with climate policy and therefore remains the worst performer of all industrialized countries

The Rise of Richface: Why so many young women are getting cosmetic surgery – The Globe and Mail

According to dermatologists, young patients aren’t looking for subtle results; they want the ‘work’ to be noticeable. That’s because the puffed and plumped ‘richface’ aesthetic is the new Louis Vuitton handbag in certain circles – an instant, recognizable marker of wealth and status.

Atheist minister fighting United Church’s effort to fire her – The Globe and Mail

What’s important, she says, is that her views hearken to Christianity’s beginnings, before the focus shifted from how one lived to doctrinal belief in God, Jesus and the Bible.

“Is the Bible really the word of God? Was Jesus a person?” she said. “It’s mythology. We build a faith tradition upon it which shifted to find belief more important than how we lived.”

The Makeup Tax – The Atlantic

Years of research has shown that attractive people earn more. Thus, the makeup tax: Good-looking men and good-looking women both get ahead, but men aren’t expected to wear makeup in order to look good.

A Way to Get Fit and Also Have Fun – NY Times

The essentials of 10-20-30 training are simple. Run, ride or perhaps row on a rowing machine gently for 30 seconds, accelerate to a moderate pace for 20 seconds, then sprint as hard as you can for 10 seconds. (It should be called 30-20-10 training, obviously, but that is not as catchy.) Repeat.

What happens when an average sized woman recreates a modelling shoot? – Katie H. Blog

It was a really interesting for me to shoot these images and try to get them as close as possible to the model’s photo because I kept thinking, “God I look huge.” Or, “Why can’t I get it to look the same?” That was when I truly understood why this is so important. This model is an extremely small size for her height, so much so that it was difficult to even get my body to pose the same way.

Habit Creep: The Proven, Reasonable and Totally Unsexy Way to Become More Successful – James Clear Blog

This idea of slightly adjusting your habits until behaviors and results that were once out of reach become your new normal is a concept I like to call “habit creep” . . . the key is to avoid the trap of trying to grow too fast.

Science proves what you suspected: hiking’s good for your mental health – LA Times

“We weren’t asking people ‘How do you feel right now?’ We were asking, ‘How do you tend to think?’ To change anything about how one describes how they think is quite compelling.”

My wedding was perfect – and I was fat as hell the whole time – The Guardian

As a fat woman, you are told to disguise, shrink or flatter your body. But I wasn’t going to hide at my wedding – the older I get, the harder it is to depoliticise simple acts

18 Jul

Links for a Sunday Morning

The world would be better off

The world would be better off

How Do You Know You’re a Woman? – NY Mag

It’s no coincidence that the colleague who asked [this question] is transgender. Her point was to push a variety of women to answer a question that she’d been asked countless times.

Millenials who are thriving financially have one thing in common – The Atlantic

Millennials who are lucky enough to have some, or all, of a college tuition’s burden reduced by their parents have a leg up on peers who are saddled with student debt, and they’ll be able to more quickly move out on their own, and maybe even buy their own house. And that matters a lot in the long run.

Living on tree-lined streets has health benefits, study finds – The Toronto Star

“I would love for the city to look at these results and say, in addition to dealing with all the other systemic issues that have to be looked at, what if we start thinking about reforesting these neighbourhoods.”

This is how sand looks magnified up to 300x – Bored Panda

Comparing something to a grain of sand is usually supposed to mean that it’s small or insignificant, but Dr. Gary Greenberg’s microscopic photography aims to turn this stereotype on its head.

What an open marriage taught me about feminism – NY Mag

What surprises most people is when I tell them it’s not the sex-with-other-men that bothers me. The sex is the easy part, the fun part. It’s what the sex connects to, stands for, reveals that can be difficult.

Science weighs in on high heels – NY Times

The ratio of strength between the muscles on the sides of the ankles and those at the front and back became increasingly unbalanced over years of wearing heels, contributing to ankle instability and balance problems and eventually to a decline in the strength.

Windsor women trail behind men in quality of life – Windsor Star

Despite women being more likely than men to complete high school, college or university in Windsor, they are less likely to find jobs. Windsor women earn 77 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn. Twenty-four per cent of women in Windsor are living below the Low Income Measure compared to 15 per cent of men.

Blame the Banks (long read) – The Atlantic

The narrative of southern borrowers as the victims of only their own incompetence, sloth, and greed was further encouraged and politicized by passing any future losses from Greece onto the European public, mostly the northern European public, encouraging an us-versus-them mentality. It was policy dressed in nationalism: the antithesis of everything the common currency was supposed to stand for.

Lululemon Diaries: My Life in an Exploitative Libertarian Happiness Cult – Jezebel

Lululemon is all about ideals. The man and woman Lululemon designs for and creates marketing for is called our “muse”: the man is called Duke, and the woman is called Ocean. Anything you do, you appeal to that ideal, imaginary muse. Ocean makes six figures, she doesn’t want to have kids, she has a master’s degree, her core workout is yoga and she also likes running and spinning. The whole idea is that your guest is never going to actually be Ocean. It’s aspirational. They can try, but they’ll never be.

The Myth of Big, Bad Gluten – NY Times

The modern immune system appears to have gone on the fritz. Maybe we should stop asking what’s wrong with wheat, and begin asking what’s wrong with us.

You May Be Getting More Sleep Than You Think – Wall Street Journal

There are many theories about the disconnect between subjective and objective sleep. Some studies suggest that worry is linked to a misperception of sleep. Also, some research has revealed that people with insomnia have more high-frequency brain waves—ones that are usually associated with wakefulness—while they are sleeping.

The Captivity of Motherhood – The Atlantic

What kind of choice is it when your career as an attorney or investment banker demands that you stay at the office 60 hours a week or opt out of the workforce altogether? When a husband’s significant income gives a woman the “luxury” to stay home with her children, she’ll often feel compelled to choose that option.

05 Jul

Links for a Sunday Morning

quote

quote

Why the worst time to drink coffee is actually in the morning – Washington Post

But drinking coffee shortly after waking up, as it turns out, is actually a bit counterproductive. Not only does it undermine the caffeine’s effect, but it tends to lead people to build a tolerance for the drug, thereby diminishing its effect down the road.

100% is Overrated – The Atlantic

When people perform well (academically or otherwise) at early ages and are labeled smart or gifted, they become less likely to challenge themselves. They become less likely to make mistakes, because they stay in their comfortable comfort zone and stop growing.

Forgetting the Pain of Exercise – NY Times

In general, pain associated with a positive experience tends to be perceived as less excruciating at the time than pain resulting from something rotten.

First came truth. Now comes the hard part. – Maclean’s

Simply put, to be stripped from your parents and then in turn stripped of the tools to become a parent, the pattern repeating for generations, has a high toll attached.

The bizarre thing that happens when people take diet drugs – Washington Post

There’s a funny, kind of counterintuitive thing that happens when many people take weight-loss drugs: they gain weight . . But it isn’t necessarily because the drugs themselves don’t work.

28 Jun

Links for a Sunday Morning

work hard

work hard

A World Without Work – The Atlantic (long read)

For centuries, experts have predicted that machines would make workers obsolete. That moment may finally be arriving. Could that be a good thing?

Is Obesity a Choice – Dr. Spencer Blog

Do you believe that obesity is due to laziness and a lack of will power? Do you think the solution is simply choosing to eat less and move more? Consider this story. . .

Many Ask, Why Not Call Church Shooting Terrorism? – NY Times

“If the same violence is committed by a white supremacist or apartheid sympathizer and is not a Muslim, we start to look for excuses — he might be insane, maybe he was pushed too hard.”

What’s behind Canada’s newfound lust for luxury? – Maclean’s

As for Canadians, in particular, our appreciation for the finer things in life has risen alongside the country’s booming housing market, which has made homeowners feel a whole lot richer than our biweekly paycheques would suggest.

We Tried On Victoria’s Secret Bathing Suits And This Is What Happened – Buzzfeed

“This is like the pose you make when you’re trying to act natural around your crush, so you decide to wrap your arms around your body so it looks like a straitjacket. That is to say, “natural” poses do not look natural on a lot of people.”

The Harry Potter Personality Test – The Atlantic

Researchers found that, for the most part, people’s personality traits tended to mirror the stereotypes of each house: Ravenclaws scored highest on “need for cognition.” Slytherins scored highest . . . narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism; Hufflepuffs, true to form, were the most agreeable.

This is Where Body fat Ends Up When You Lose Weight – Science Alert

Our calculations show that the lungs are the primary excretory organ for fat.

Medicare has a mental-illness gap. It’s time to close it – The Globe and Mail

Why are treatable diseases that affect one-and-a-half times more people than cancer still not properly covered by medicare? We’re talking about depression and anxiety, ailments suffered by 80 per cent of the millions of Canadians who have a mental illness.

24 Jun

Grain of Truth Book Review

Grain of Truth

I was recently sent a copy of Grain of Truth: The Real Case For and Against Wheat and Gluten by Stephen Yafa by the publisher. It’s probably because I love bread, I think gluten is fascinating, I make my own sourdough, and I am skeptical about people touting gluten as being worse for you than poison (or whatever it is those Grain Brain and Wheat Belly folks are claiming).

Grain of Truth

The subtitle is a bit misleading because the book definitely trends to the “for” side of eating wheat and gluten (not that I’m against that), champions the artisan bread movement, and refutes claims made by Grain Brain and Wheat Belly.

Yafa argues a good case, but the points he makes are probably just as speculative as those books that he is refuting. So if you’re not celiac and don’t have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) then this book will make you feel better about passing on gluten-free pasta in favour of the stuff that actually tastes good.

The author clearly did extensive research visiting and talking with producers at every level from farm to milling to processing, including enormous industrial bakers and small scale artisan bakers and stone millers.

He explains that industrial bread baking has a fermentation time of about 4 hours from flour to package which, if you’ve ever made bread from scratch, you’ll know is extremely short. Nature would have dough ferment in 2 or more days and it is this natural fermentation process, better known as sourdough, that Yafa speculates is the key to better digestion of wheat.

Home bakers and artisan bread makers tend to use naturally fermented dough (sourdough) and a longer slower fermentation time compared to industrial bread bakers. Yafa argues that this long process encourages lactic fermentation, which cuts through the large gluten molecules that are difficult to digest and breaks them down into smaller parts that are more digestible. Additionally, the probiotics that are produced as a result of long fermentation are readily absorbed by and beneficial for the body.

All in all, the book was a very interesting read. I was fascinated (in a really geeky way) about the details he discussed about the growth patterns of different type of wheat and the history of the production of flour. And of course I love that he’s championing home baking, especially with sourdough.

I think the book is lacking a little on the science side but overall it was an easy and interesting read, especially for people who like their cake and want to eat it too.

Grain of Truth by Stephen Yafa on Amazon

11 Jun

6 Things to do in Stratford Ontario

Stratford (24)

Matt and I recently visited Stratford Ontario for a weekend getaway. It’s close by (only a few hours drive from Windsor, and there’s even a direct bus from Detroit and Toronto), Matt has never been, and we thought it would be a cool place to see.

We spent 2 nights in Stratford at the Forest Motel and were able to keep ourselves relatively busy all weekend with theatre and eating and shopping and swans and yoga and boating and chocolate.

If you’re interested in taking a trip and are not exactly sure how to keep yourself occupied, here’s my recommendation for 6 things to do in Stratford Ontario:

See a Play

Kind of obvious. In fact, that’s probably why you’re planning a visit there in the first place.
And if you’re going to see one, why not see two? The Stratford Festival has a packed schedule of plays and musicals in the summer, up to 5 a day, so there is a lot to choose from.Hamlet - Stratford

Matt and I saw Hamlet. Not to be confused with Macbeth which, when we purchased our tickets, is precisely what we did. Imagine our surprise when there were no witches.

I’ve been to the Festival Theatre a few times and never had a bad seat, including that one time I was sitting in the nosebleeds and literally got a nosebleed (but that’s a story for another time). So you can still have an enjoyable experience in the cheap seats.

(Bonus: If you’re under the age of 30 you can score tickets for $15-$35 on the Play On Weekends.) 

This time, however, we splurged on front row tickets which were so close to the action that I was afraid of distracting the actors by putting on a sweater when I got chilly.

Make Chocolate

The candy-making workshop at Chocolate Barr’s was our favourite part of the weekend. Derek, the head candy-maker, taught us how to properly temper chocolate by hand, how not to burn chocolate (which, as I learned, I do all the time), how to make chocolate bark, and how to make truffles.

We came home with everything we made, which was a lot, and consumed it way too quickly to be socially acceptable.

Chocolate Making at Chocolate Barr's

Our truffle making skills were weak and the resulting truffles hideous in comparison to the stuff sold at Chocolate Barr’s, though we could spin it as “rustic, hand-dipped, and artisanal” and the hipsters would love it. They were delicious regardless.

Derek gave us lots of samples of the Chocolate Barr’s products, answered my million and a half questions about his shop, and only made fun of us a handful of times in the process.

Highly recommended.

Call or e-mail the shop in advance to organize a time. It’s $75 per person and totally worth it.

Stroll

Stratford Avon River Walk

Stratford is a beautiful place to stroll, particularly along the Avon River. I say stroll because the pace is leisurely: partly to accommodate the abundant waterfowl, partly to observe the beauty, and partly because of the geriatric nature of the patrons.

The river stroll is really quite nice so it’s no wonder it is so popular with tourists and locals.

If you walk far enough west along the river, away from the downtown and the theatres you’ll find the Avondale Cemetery which has some prominent local individuals going back to the late 1800s. You can even take a self-guided heritage walking tour of the cemetery. Or should I say strolling tour?

 Afternoon Tea

In Stratford eating is an event in itself. The restaurants definitely cater to the theatre crowd and offer really high calibre meals but I didn’t find the price points totally out of reach. We dined at Mercer Hall, Pazzo Taverna, and Canadian Grub and I didn’t have a meal that I disliked. (Tip: it’s a good idea to make reservations for dinner pretty much everywhere, especially on Saturdays)

My favourite meal was at The Parlour Inn where we had afternoon tea with an abundance of sandwiches and scones and spreads and pastries. But of course I’d say this, being the Anglophile that I am.

Afternoon Tea Stratford

The Parlour Inn has afternoon tea service on Sundays from 1-4pm for the very reasonable price of $22 per person. They used to have it posted on their website but don’t appear to list it any more. Either way, you need to call ahead to book a reservation.

Take a Yoga Class

Of course I’d say this. I actually managed to convince Matt to take a yoga class with me while we were in Stratford. We took a Hot Yang/Yin class which was exactly what my body needed though Matt is not a fan of the slow pace of Yin practices.

Downtown Stratford has two studios, Moksha Yoga Stratford, where we took a class, and Yoga Collective.

Drop in rates are $21 and $18 respectively.

Canoe/Kayak

The Forest Motel, where we stayed, was on a tiny lake and they had canoes and paddle boats available to use for free to people staying at the hotel so Matt and I took advantage.

You can also rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats right on the Avon River in the middle of town at Avon Boat Rentals for $15-$23 per hour depending on the type of vessel. If you don’t want to do the paddling yourself, they offer river cruises for the reasonable price of $7.50.


 

23 May

Links for a Sunday Morning

Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant - NY Times

Immigrants increase the size of the overall population, which means they increase the size of the economy. Logically, if immigrants were “stealing” jobs, so would every young person leaving school and entering the job market; countries should become poorer as they get larger. In reality, of course, the opposite happens.

The Economics of Tidying Up – The Atlantic

Status quo bias means that most of your stuff stays because you can’t think of a good reason to get rid of it. Kondo turns things around. For her, the status quo is that every item you own will be thrown away unless you can think of a compelling reason why it should stay.

This Is What Sweden’s Most Statistically Sought-After Home Looks Like – Slate

Hemnet determined an average value for measurable features such as size, price, number of rooms, bathrooms, and floors. Then they analyzed images of the most clicked-on properties over a six-week period to determine preferences for wall colors, floor types, and kitchen countertop materials.

No, it’s not you: why ‘wellness’ isn’t the answer to overwork – The Conversation

Many of us simply work too much to really be well. Nothing can alleviate the stress of overwork except working less.

How sleep plays a role in depression (and vice versa) – Globe and Mail

Researchers who have followed people with insomnia over months and years have found that (non-depressed) people who have insomnia are more likely than those without insomnia to subsequently develop major depression.

Yoga’s Surprising Brain Benefit May Erase the Effects of Chronic Pain - GOOD

While chronic pain—particularly the sort linked to depression—can actively reduce a person’s amount of grey matter, practicing yoga has the opposite effect on the brain, by prompting grey matter growth in the internal cerebral cortex.

Mounting Evidence of Advantages for Children of Working Mothers – NY Times

A 2010 meta-analysis of 69 studies over 50 years found that in general, children whose mothers worked when they were young had no major learning, behavior or social problems, and tended to be high achievers in school and have less depression and anxiety.

Meditation and yoga may ease diseases that cause gut pain – Washington Post

Stress-relieving meditation can suppress the activities of genes that help cause inflammation and other immune system problems in people with IBS or IBD, the study stated.