Archive for the ‘What’s Happening Gnomie!’ Category

On Saturday February 27th I started my Guerilla Garden Lifestyle Adventure by making a trip to Vancouver to join 30 other contestants for The Kin’s Health Transformation. This private 3 ½ hour event was held at Vij’s Restaurant on Granville (this restaurant has multiple 4.5 star reviews) and it was easily the most interesting event that I have been to in a long time.

GuerillaGardener_DirtHere’s the lowdown:

The Food!
Living in the Fraser Valley I have had many opportunities to eat Indian food and it happens to be one of my favorite ethnic foods but Vikram Vij has absolutely RUINED me for any other Indian food. Described by New York Times food writer Mark Bittman as “easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world “ it has totally lived up to the hype.
Within minutes of arriving I was served a sweet Mango Lassi and the wait staff circulated with vegetable samosas and pakoras. This was followed by a first course that consisted of various dishes such as Dahl, Monarch Butterfly (relax P.E.T.A. it’s a squash dish) and Nann. The second course included Vegetable Koftas in a green curry sauce (this was my favorite), Coconut Cream Curry Veggie and Lemon Ghee Chicken. Of course dishes of rice and more Nann were included with every course. The owner Vikram Vij not only personally served us alongside his staff but he went out of his way to connect to every person there. He is a charismatic person who has an energy about him as he talked about his passion and his focus. He has a great love and passion for Indian food and wants to share that with the world, but not in the usual Indian Buffet/Butter Chicken kind of way. At his restaurant Indian spices are roasted and ground on site and incorporated into each dish by an all-female kitchen staff. For desert we were served Chai and believe me if you have never had Chai made with freshly ground spices you have no idea what you are missing.
Vikram ascertains that it is food and music that will cure the world of what ails it, not guns and politics. He maintains that he has never pursued money (although rumor has it that this self-made man is worth 50 million dollars) and that money should never be your motivation. He didn’t think about the money when he started his first restaurant but he had a passion and a love for what he was doing and that is what his focus was and still is. Like Ghandi he also believes that everyone is equal so he does not (and never will) take reservations at any of his restaurants. It’s on a first come first serve basis and even when celebrities like Martha Stuart and Justin Trudeau come to his restaurant they must wait in line like everybody else. Not being able to make reservations could be a problem if you are driving all the way from Chilliwack, but if you love Indian food and you’re willing to stand in line it will be worth the wait.

Quotes (and my thoughts) on The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto!
Dai Manual, avid family man, motivational speaker and author of the book the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto was a guest speaker at the Kin’s Health event and he did not disappoint. His business card reads:

Helping people live “FUN”ctionally fit lifestyles

I’m a Dad, Husband, Friend, Entrepreneur, Author, Blogger, Motivational speaker,
Brand Architect, Fundraiser, Biz Mentor, CrossFit Athlete & Coach and Life Enhancer!

I thought to myself, who couldn’t use a little life enhancing so I settled in to listen to this funny, motivational speaker.
It seems that Dai’s passion is to help others live a full life. He believes that lifelong happiness and well-being must be built on a rock-solid foundation of health, and that a sustainable healthy lifestyle is possible for everyone. No fancy exercise equipment needed! This is a good thing as my experience with exercise equipment has been that a treadmill takes up entirely too much space and it just ends up being a really expensive coat rack/plant holder.
Nevertheless, Dai says that after being in the fitness industry for many years he has come to the conclusion that the fitness industry is broken. We are told that achieving a particular body shape will make us healthy and bring us happiness and fulfillment. The reality is that you can lose 20 lbs which will make you feel good and look good but that does not make you a totally healthy person. That is because health is not just physical but mental and spiritual as well. He believes that health is based on the five F words….and FYI….none of them is the F word that I sometimes have been known to use or the one that you may be thinking of.
The 5 F words that Dai uses in The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto are:

Fitness
“Use it or lose it! Physically if we don’t look after ourselves our muscles and bones will deteriorate with age and mobility will be compromised. You will want to do the things that you enjoy now in the future for as long as you can so you need to take care of yourself.”

Family
“Family is your tribe of special people regardless of whether or not you are related by blood. It is the people in your life that you have an ongoing and deep relationship that grows over time. The human need to connect is as fundamental to our survival as food and water and needs to be embraced.”

Finances
“Financial stability is the cornerstone of any happy life. Whether you have a little or a lot of money living with in your means gives you security and peace of mind.”

Faith
Faith is not always about God or religion, although it could be for some people. “Faith is the underlying principle of believing that there is something greater than oneself. This is different for every person and could be a simple as the belief in the essential goodness of people or a sense of interconnectedness of all living things. This meaning that we make of our everyday lives is what gives us a sense of direction which is so crucial to feeling fulfilled.”

Fun
“Ensuring your family, faith, finances and fitness involve fun is key. Enjoying your life, and moving through life with a fun loving attitude is only possible when all the other elements are strong and healthy.”

Dai maintains that “No matter what your personal priorities or goals are, the 5 F’s are integral to a richer, happier life.” He believes that above all else you have to make your health a priority and it does not have to take hours at the gym or involve insanely restrictive diets. The thing about being healthy is it has to be realistic, doable, practical and livable in order to be sustainable. According to Dai all you need to do is take 30 min everyday day for a healthier mind, body and spirit. The breakdown is as follows:

5 min for meditation

10 min for personal growth

15 min movement

Even though I have no plans to become super skinny (I am a firm believer that fat plumps out the wrinkles and is cheaper than Botox!)  I know I need to be healthier so I can go on having more adventures.  I also believe that health is about mind, body and spirit and since it will only take up 30 min of my day I’m going to give it a try.

The People!
The Kin’s Market Transformation was an incredible opportunity to connect with some other amazing people as well. They were from all age groups and walks of life. Spencyre, Abhay and Meghan were just a few of the interesting people that I met and chatted with over lunch and I can tell you that being in a room with so many positive people leaves a lasting impression on you.

The Loot!
As if Kin’s Farm Market didn’t do enough by bringing excellent motivational speakers in to speak to everyone and arranging for an exceptional lunch they also provided each and every person with an awesome loot bag to further their lifestyle adventure!

KinsHealthTransformationLoot

The loot bags contained the following items:

Kin’s Recipe Box

Kin’s Shopping Bag

Kin’s Calendar

Kin’s Fruit Infuser Water Bottle

Granola Girl Sample (this was delicious)

And of course our guest speaker Dai Manual’s book The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto was tucked in the loot bag as well.

The Finalists!
Well I didn’t make it to the next round of the Kin’s Health Transformation but my lunch mate Abhay Sablock did. So Abhay, we’ll be rooting for you! Kevin and Michelle were the other 2 finalists and although I did not get a chance to talk to them at The Kin’s Health Transformation event I will be following them closely as well.
Each of the finalists are receiving the following resources in order to achieve their fitness goals:

  • Complimentary fruits and veggies (valued at $100) from Kin’s Farm Market every week during the 4-week challenge period
  • 2 body composition tests by BodyComp, (valued at $200) both before and after the challenge in order to gauge and rank the contestant’s results.
    Note: I was told that some of the finalists from last year discovered health issues after their body scans that they didn’t even know they had yet and because they were discovered early on they were able to address these before it became a real problem.
  • 2 one-on-one sessions with fitness coach Dai Manuel (valued at $300)

Now I know that you’re thinking that as for the other 27 people (myself included) the adventure is over. But this is not so! We have all have received Dai Manual’s book The Whole life Fitness Manifesto to improve our lives and during his book signing he has made a commitment to each and every one of us that if we have any questions or concerns we can email, Facebook or tweet him any time. What can I say, it sounds a whole lot better than going to a bunch of meetings where people obsess about being fat and it will easily fit into my busy schedule.
According to the book last week was considered week 0.
These were the things I was to accomplish (and have completed) in Week 0:

  • Join The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto (a closed group on Facebook).
    Note: We were told Dumper Daves or Debbie Downers would not be tolerated as this is a group for positive people
  • Take pictures of my food and beverages (not necessary but recommended)
  • Cultivate an all in mentality (essential).
  • Take before pictures front, side and back in a skin revealing outfit (just for myself thank god!), and fill out my goals and measurements using the charts in the book.
    Note: Haters Beware! I just might do a good deed and send you the “before” pictures. After all if the haters are talking about me they will be giving someone else a rest and it could be considered a Public Service really.

Anyhow starting this week (Week 1) I am to spend 30 min of movement, mindfulness and personal development every day for the next 4 weeks. As far as food is concerned, according to the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto and holistic chef Kathy Smart “food as a lifestyle” is the basic philosophy and the only food guidelines are:

– Fill ½ the plate with vegetables and the other half with equal portions of protein and complex carbohydrates.
This works for me as I would rather have brown basmati rice than potatoes and even though it is more veggies than I would normally eat at a meal I can easily do this.

-Eat protein within an hour of waking up.
The thought eating in the morning makes me want to gag. I’ve never been a breakfast eater so this will be a bit of a struggle. I’m thinking Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or maybe a smoothie. However if you have any other ideas let me know!

-“Eat vegetables like it’s your job”.
You’re supposed to eat least 4 cups a day but you can eat as many as you like. I like vegetables so this will be easy!

-Go meatless 1 day a week.
I don’t eat meat everyday anyways so this is easily a done deal.

-Eat on a regular schedule.
I’m really bad for skipping meals and then eating pre-packaged foods because it’s fast and easy. I am going to avoid this by preparing/planning my meals in advance.

– Make sure that 90% of the diet is clean and healthy
I have to admit I happen to be insanely addicted to sugar so I’m going to have to come up with some other “sweet, non-chemical, non-processed alternatives” but fortunately Google is my friend. I think this is doable especially since the other 10% of my diet can be indulged in treats and full fat, full sugar, full cream foods so at least I’ll have something to look forward to. Like arranging a Yellow Deli Cheesecake outing with some of my friends!

Also according to the book I am allowed to have a minimum of 1600 calories a day if I’m sedentary (yippee!) and I am supposed to drink 2-3 liters of a water a day. The water thing is going to be a struggle for me (I think I might be part camel because I never get thirsty) however 1600 calories is more than I usually eat anyways so I’m not really worried that I’ll be hungry.

Conclusion:

Kin’s Farm Market ROCKS!

Kin’s Farm Market is a company that truly believes in promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles and they are willing to invest back into the community. Over the last few years not only have they organized The Kin’s Health Transformation to help transform people’s lives but they’ve also worked with many Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley schools and teachers to provide nutrition-based presentations.
The bottom line is that I had an incredible lunch, met some interesting people, listened to some amazing speakers and received a big bag of loot! Where I go or what I do with it now is completely up to me.
So I’ll keep you posted as to my progress and next year if you get the chance you might just want to enter the The Kin’s Health Transformation for yourself…after all it involves 2 of my favorite F words (no, not that one!) FUN AND FREE and best of all it could help you to make the lifestyle changes that you need to make.

And it just doesn’t get any better than that!

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It’s a fact that there have been no Guerilla Garden articles or posts since last September and rumors and speculation have been running rampant.
For instance, acquaintances and followers have been speculating on whether or not I’m still having adventures. Those who have worked with me any length of time have suspected that I’m up to something especially since being laid off from The-Company-With-Nobody-In-Charge. Then there are the haters that be thinking and talking like I’m on my way back to working at Some-Sad-Company which could be causing some people to rejoice and others to re-develop a mustache twitch. However my close peeps, accomplices and co-conspirators KNOW that I’m up to something and some of them are even in on the plan/experiment!
What can I say other than a yearlong plan/experiment is in the making (more on the experiment part later) and the first order of business is to get fit –body, mind, and soul (most likely in that order).

THE BODY PLAN
The Fat Conspiracy Theory:
When it comes to food the words fast, cheap and easy will make you fat, however if you’re a hooker then the words could be misconstrued as a marketing plan. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Since I’m fat and not a marketable hooker these are a few of the things I know:

I know I should be eating more produce.
When it’s not gardening season it’s hard to find good tasting produce and when cauliflower is $8 a head it starts to feel like a conspiracy to keep you fat. I mean for $8 I can buy a lot of junk/processed food. Note to self: research on how to use a cold frame/ small greenhouse to grow produce year round on my townhouse deck while avoiding a letter/fine from Strata Council.

I know I need to drink more water.
But the weird thing is I never get thirsty. I hate drinking anything from plastic bottles (I swear I can taste the plastic), also I don’t like chlorinated water (it tastes like a public swimming pool) and then there is the environmental guilt factor! The internet is filled with images of large islands of plastic floating on our oceans. Some say it’s Photoshop tomfoolery but I know from experience that plastic gets brittle, breaks into a million pieces but never disappears. On the plus side my Ninja friend says that if she’s ever stuck in a desert with anyone she hopes it’s with me because I never get thirsty.
Note to self: research glass water bottles so that if you get lost in the desert with your Ninja friend you can save her and the environment at the same time.

I know I need to lose weight.
Even though my Wii says I’m obese I’m absolutely refusing to diet! I don’t want to take diet pills and I’m also refusing to eat tasteless prepackaged diet foods, “nutritional” shakes or add weekly meetings to my busy schedule with a bunch of unhappy people who obsess about being fat.
Note to self: research some kind of positive real food plan that actually tastes good, is sustainable and does not include Kale but does include some positive, like minded people.

I know I need to exercise.
Some people get a rush from exercising, but I am not one of them. I don’t want to workout at a gym, because not only do I find it boring but I hate to sweat and I don’t want to clean equipment both before and after my workout. Plus I have physical limitations due to previous injuries.
Note to self: research for exercise that I can actually do, that is fun, that does not involve cleaning and that I can easily work into my schedule.

So keeping this in mind I logged on to the internet to search out a positive, non-cleaning, fun, lifestyle adventure.
While doing some “research” on Facebook I came across something called the Kin’s Health Transformation and I swear it spoke to me. The Facebook post went something like this:

We want YOU for our 2016 Health Transformation Challenge! We welcome people from all walks of life, all shapes, and all sizes! The goal is just for a healthier lifestyle! Kin’s Farm Market is collaborating with 24 hours Vancouver and lifestyle coach Dai Manuel for the Kin’s Health Transformation Challenge! Take a selfie at Kin’s holding our “Produce of the Week” and post it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for a chance to WIN $100. We will then be inviting 30 applicants to our exclusive Health Day event at Vij’s on Granville on February 27th. valued at $200 per person. Finally three contestants with the right mindset to be coached personally by Dai Manuel will be provided with the right resources (valued at $600) to improve their lifestyle forever!

I thought to myself it’s a chance at a lifestyle adventure that doesn’t cost anything and it will totally fit in with my yearlong plan/experiment so I signed up.
The 1st challenge was to take selfies at Kin’s holding the “Produce of the Week” and post it on Facebook. I thought this would be easy after all I have a cell phone and I shop at the Cottonwood Mall anyways, however it was a bit of a challenge as Kin’s Market just happens to be beside Cobbs Bakery and right down the hall from the Purdy’s Chocolate Store. Note: Except for the cheap part this fits in with my Fat Conspiracy Theory and I really think that there ought to be a law against chocolate and bakery products being so delicious and ready to eat.
Nevertheless as any of my Facebook friends can tell you I’ve never been one to post selfies but I thought this sounded like a lot more fun than going to the gym and plus  there was the possibility of winning a $100 so I was all over it in my usual Guerilla Garden Style.

Kin_DragonFruit

Wholelife manifesto
HealthTransformationStrawberry

Note: My friend The Crazy Canner says I have a funny look on my face in the picture with the broccoli.
Since she is my best friend I had to confess to her that I actually was thinking about chocolate at the time. Did I mention that Purdy’s is just down the hall from Kin’s market?
Anyways, I never won $100 but I WAS ONE OF THE 30 PEOPLE SHORTLISTED FOR PHASE 2 OF KIN’S HEALTH TRANSFORMATION!
I was emailed the following invitation:
Congratulations on being invited to Kin’s Health Day!
As one of 30 chosen contestants you will receive:
• a complimentary lunch at this prestigious restaurant (valued at $50)
• a 30 minute seminar by lifestyle expert Dai Manuel with tips to better enhance your life (valued at $100)
• a signed copy of Dai Manuel’s book “Whole Life Fitness Manifesto” (valued at $30)
• a super awesome grab bag (valued at $20)

So tomorrow I will be going to Vancouver for a lifestyle adventure and a free lunch with some interesting people. As for the experiment well…it is a SECRET for now but the results should be available in about a year.
I’ll keep you posted

QuestionMarks

GGandGnomie
Well, first off I’m very excited that my guerilla garden articles are going to be carried by the Today Media Group on four of their online newspapers:

abbotsfordtoday.ca
langleytoday.ca
chilliwacktoday.ca
pittmeadowstoday.ca

Second of all, I’m going to have a booth at the Eco-market in Sardis right next to The Crazy Canner every second Wednesday during the gardening season. The dates are as follows:

May 6

May 13

June 3

June 17

July 1

July 15

July 29

Aug 12

Aug 26

I know you’re probably wondering what I’ll be doing at the Eco-market, but you’ll just have to come down and see yourself. Be assured that just like every Guerilla Garden Adventure there is much planning and scheming going on!

Hope to see you there!

Master Gardener

Thanks to one of my thoughtful longtime accomplices, I can now say I am the proud owner of a Master Gardener!

I’m pretty sure Ray will be there looking for a deal, so be sure to check it out!

GarageSale

Guerilla Garden Adventures Logo

It would be muchly appreciated if you send me a few emails with images, text and any other type of files for me to test with my new email address.

brenda@guerillagardenadventures.com

GGandGnomie

I can see the Guerilla Garden Adventure website unfolding before my eyes.
The best thing I have learned at my current paying job (a.k.a .- the job that sucks my soul) is how to take software I’ve never seen before, teach myself how to work it with no instructions or help buttons whatsoever and then create something amazing!