Saturday, May 22, 2010

Church hike

Last Sunday we went to church. Sort of. While mom went for a 9k run up to the top of Volcan Ilalo, the kids and I hiked up to a church about 2km along the road that Maria was running. However, when we got there around 9am, much to my dissapointment (not) it was closed! So we had the hilltop, with great views of the surrounding mountains, to ourselves for 2 hours, while mom trained for the upcoming Canadian Mountain Running Championships at Nakiska in July.

Aunty Annette made this beautiful dress for Carla and it now fits her!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Interview-Maria on Colmundo Radio

Back in early May, Maria participated in Pasto's biggest road race and came in 5th. She had not raced there since 1996, when she left for Canada. This is a comprehensive (all of her career), 1 hour interview in Spanish. It comes through very clear, as this copy is from the radio station and not over the radio itself.

I could not attach it to the blog and the file is too large to send via email. So I have uploaded it to a file storage site called Gigasize.

1. Click on, or copy/paste this website
2. Enter the following information, top right hand side: Password--Maria Click on "log in"
3. Check the box for "Maria interview" and click on it
(If "Maria interview" doesn't appear, click on "my files")
4. Enter code provided on screen and Click on "Download"
5. Wait 30 seconds (You will see a counter counting not click on the premium download button beside it)
6. Download button will appear, where the counter was. Click on it and Save or Open

Have a listen!

Musings on quality of life-dietary aspect

Within the last year, I've come to the conclusion that the dietary lifestyle changes that I have been making recently, will stay with me for the rest of my life. A whole food, plant based diet is what us humans thrive on best and the recent science and proof to back it up, is just too powerful to ignore.

This change did not happen overnight, but rather over a period of about 10 years. In spite of my erratic dietary habits over the last 30 years, I've always been interested in nutrition. Sometime around the turn of the millennium, I picked up a few books by John Robbins, Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution, which persuaded me to go vegetarian. For a period of about three years I was an ovo-lacto-pesco vegetarian (ain't that a mouthful!) Upon moving to Libya, I slowing drifted back into my old habits, culminating with my ice cream/cake/cookie gluttony, a year into our stay in Bogota. At that time I began to have a re-occurrence of getting food stuck in my throat (that I had back in 97), along with acid reflux and other minor health issues. I knew I had to make a change.

I started doing some reading on the Internet, and found a lot of excellent information (as well as a lot of rubbish) which I narrowed down to a couple of excellent sources: Doctors and, both specializing in science backed, nutritional therapy. I ordered books through Amazon, followed links on the Internet, browsed websites, downloaded pod casts and viewed presentations on YouTube. (These last two sources have enabled me to get a sense of the person's integrity, which is hard to do through reading alone) I estimate that in the last six months alone, I have taken the equivalent of two university courses in health and nutrition related issues.

So what has made me such a believer in a whole food/plant based/nutrient dense "diet"? Changes in my own physical well-being have been, without a doubt, the most powerful motivating factors.

To wit:
-No more food stuck in esophagus, therefore no more Schatzki ring dilation procedures.
-Hiatus hernia gone - no more feeling of having a lump in my throat
-No more heartburn
-Because all of the above have gone more Prevaid capsules every day
-Drop 4 kg to desired weight of 78kg
-No more periodic chest pains (possible angina? never had it checked out)
-Lower BP 100 over 58
-Lower Cholesterol...187. LDL 96 (this is still too high and I expect it to continue dropping to about 150, as the blood work was from 3 months ago.
-No more hemorrhoids
-Lower back and ankle pain gone...From better circulation I suspect
-Prostate symptoms going away.
-More even energy throughout the day (important when I have to deal with 18 kids at work and 2 at home!)
-and other less serious bits....

I used to believe that because I am so physically active, that the exercise would "cancel out" any dietary over indulgences or deficiencies. However, research shows that this in not the case. While exercise definitely plays an important role in a healthy lifestyle, a nutrient dense, plant based diet, plays a much more important role. Disease avoidance roughly breaks down to: 80% diet, 10-15% exercise, 5-10% genetic.

In short, research now overwhelmingly shows there is a much better way, and I'd much rather give up the rich Western diet, in return for a better quality of health in my later years and less risk of heart disease, cancer etc.

Let me know if I can help out with what I've learned, or you'd just like to share info or experiences, with dietary changes.

Maria says I'm starting to sound like a preacher trying to convert people to a new religion. I suppose she doesn't totally (although mostly) believe what I've learned (a few Spanish versions of the material would be useful...I'm looking) and is worried I'll make an ass of myself, pushing this on other people. On the positive side, I feel like I've learned a few truths that would help friends and family, and the caring part of my self-centered ego wants to share this info. So at the risk of alienating friends and family...I've posted my thoughts here and thus endeth the sermon. (From here on I won't push the issue...unless :) you ask or have a major health event and I think I can help)

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Look out Ramon!

My brown eyed girl


Playing in the garden

Front yard swing

With Tia Cristina

Looking for mom, who is up the tree picking avacados.

Proud grandma Maruja

Proud grandpa Ramon


His new pride and joy...every day after has to pull him around on his new tag-a-long bike/co-pilot. Needs to grow another inch to reach the pedals properly. Sure works great and he can push me on the flat basketball court at the school. No one has seen these 1 wheel bikes before, so he gets alot of attention.

Surfing the net with cousin Mafe.

Ramon on the bottom left, running wild in the lush grass...1 hour south of Quito.

Running wild in the bamboo forest of Pasochoa.

In emergency...Lung infection

Hospital room...the bed is made in Quebec. All single private rooms in this hospital...only 3km from home. Dad spend 2 nights on the hidabed.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ride to Beach-277km in one day

Cojimies is the photo's where I ended up on the second day. Newly paved road that deadends at the top/north of the peninsula. Locals use to drive the 40km from Pedernales along the beach at low tide...lots of vehicles were lost over the years I'm told. No I didn't fly (or bike) back...this is off the internet.

Traffic jam going down....3-4km long on each side! That's one reason I ride a bike...just zipped on past with a smug look on my face.

The reason for the traffic jam? 2-3 accidents and 2 stalled semi's on corners. I'm told this one ended up in the ditch because to semi's were racing up the hill...what can you do?

Kept hitting these butterflies all day long...on the pacific side of the divide.

Made it to the beach at 6pm. Still had some gas in the time I'll go for 300k.

The next day, after a leisurely breakfast, I rode up the newly paved road to the end of the peninsula. Lots of coconunt plantations and a refreshing rain.

End of the road...Cojimies. Tide was out so I could ride on the beach.

Spent the night in a beach cabin for 12usd. Place is called La by a friendly local family. There was a wedding there that afternoon and just as the bride/groom were to exchange vows...the skies opened and it poured.

One claw short. Do they regenerate limbs?

Mr. Bucktooth

Puffer fish? notice it is upside down...I'm guessing it turns upside down, with the 2 dots acting as eys...making it look bigger so it doesn't become dinner.

Turned this one around.

Left home at 2am, and biked in the pouring rain for 3 hours. In spite of the rain, the full moon gave me just enuf light. From 2300m over 50k to about 3100m?...then down, down down, to about 500m at Santo Domingo de los Colorados. Made it to the beach town of Pedernales at 6pm. Another PR!...last one was 230ish in a day. 14 hours in the saddle.