Monday, May 25, 2009

I take pictures of flowers

And I'm having a grand time doing it, even if the mosquitoes and black flies were swarming me like crazy every time I stopped to take a picture.

I'm building a folder with all my wildflower pictures in Flickr.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shame on us!

"Canada has one of the fastest growth rates of greenhouse gases in the world, and a record that is far worse than in the United States." Click here to read the full article.

Shameful, really. Also not surprising, given our economy's reliance on resources (mining is not known for being an environmentally-friendly business) and the environmental nightmare that is the extraction of oil from the tar sands.

I also think that Canadian consumers could do their part, generate less waste and buy less stuff that they don't really need. I would say that, on average, most folks out in Vancouver were far more careful about their consumption habits than the folks in Montreal. I have no stats to prove this, I'm just going with my gut feeling. Often, when I warn the person at the cash that I won't be taking a plastic bag, I get an odd look, something that looks a bit like confusion. I feel they are wondering "how is she going to carry her purchase", even as I am unfolding my reusable bag. The Starbucks in Montreal also don't deal well with people bringing their own mug. Mine always ends up being filled to the rim, which is not OK when you have to screw the top back on. And I continue to be shocked by the amount of garbage people leave on the street. In the spring, it's really gross to see what the snow has been hiding. The city goes around with street cleaners and eventually turns our wonderful metropolis into something that is less of an eyesore, but I still wonder: why was it so hard to throw the stuff in a garbage in the first place? Couldn't find a garbage when you needed one? Although I don't fall for this excuse, as there are garbage cans all over the city, then why not simply keep the stuff in your pockets and throw it at home?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

To cleanse or not to cleanse

I came across this article on CBC while having lunch and it really reflected my point of view on cleansing, colonics and other methods of ridding your body of toxins. I have a many friends in Vancouver who have attempted cleanses and a few who even will go through elaborate programs once or twice a year to "clean" their bodies. Personally, I just don't buy it.

The human body was created to self regulate and while we are probably today exposed to more toxins than our ancestors were, we still have livers and kidneys to filter out the damaging substances we ingest over time. I'm not naive to the point of believing that our bodies are able to get rid of everything bad they come across, as studies conducted recently have reveled that our bodies tend to store some toxic chemicals such phthalates, mercury and bisphenol A (remember your old Nalgene bottle?). However, I don't think a cleanse will help the body get rid of those chemicals.

Friends who tried cleanses told me that they felt great afterwards, that their skin was glowing and that they lost a bit of weight. Well, since most cleanses involve changing your diet to cut out alcohol, red meat, coffee, processed foods and white sugar, I'm not surprised by the results. If you go back to eating and drinking all that stuff after the cleanse, was there really a point? I did a little personal experiment and cut alcohol completely from my diet for a month (ending May 22). Honestly, I don't see a difference, maybe a small increase in the amount of water I drink (instead of wine) which is obviously healthy. And then there are all these cleanse products you can purchase at health food stores (expensive products), necessary, according to the vendors, because of the vitamins and minerals you will need during the cleanse as you cut out so many different types of food. That's kind of a given no? I read about the Master Cleanse, lemon, maple syrup and cayenne pepper drinks as your sole intake for days. No kidding you'd lose weight on that one. On the other hand, that same recipe (replace the maple syrup with honey) as a warm drink is wonderful to help you sleep when you're sick (home-made Neo Citran). But would you do a Neo Citran diet and call that healthy? I didn't think so.

As for the colonics, there are medical arguments against them in healthy people, so my position there is a resounding "no way". To quote a nicely referenced article in Wikipedia: "The benefits anecdotally attributed to colon cleansing are vague and the claims made by manufacturers and practitioners, in addition to being based on a flawed understanding of the body, have never been scientifically validated."

It goes back to the basics. Eating healthy, nutritious and fresh food that you prepare yourself (as much as possible), sleeping well, exercising every day (even if it's just to walk to work) and going easy on the alcohol and the coffee. To that I would also add eating local, because local food is also better for the environment and, in many cases, fresher and more nutritious.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rainy Sunday

Perfect! I love rainy Sundays!! Before you give me the evil eye, let me explain. I needed a little help getting motivated to do stuff around the apartment, catch up on laundry, write a few things on my blog and clock in several hours of studying for my PMP exam. If it was beautiful and sunny outside, there's no way I wouldn't take advantage of the nice weather and stay indoors. Since I spent a bit of time outdoors yesterday at the cabin (walking in the woods in the rain - great opportunity to use my froggy gumboots), my motivation to handle all the boring items I'd like to deal with before the week starts is very high.

I changed the template for the blog, after receiving a comment about the pastel polkadots. I had to agree, not because the pastel polkadots didn't represent my fiery impression of Montreal but mainly because that template was a bit bland. At least this one has colours, bright greens and orange. Much more fitting.

I also added a few new links to interesting sites about sustainability and an RSS feed from a blog on recycling not your typical green-bin items, but mostly on how to reuse old items instead of discarding them. I'm getting back into reading and following more closely sustainability and environment-related events in and out of town. I never really stopped trying to live a sustainable lifestlyle by making conscious decisions about what I buy and where I buy it; however, I'll start sharing my discoveries again, as I did when I was living in Vancouver.

Oh, and happy mother's day to all mums out there (and to mine who stayed at the cabin for the weekend with dad).