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Choices and Paths


© Copyright Toby and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

It’s 4:46am. The sun isn’t even up but something woke you up. Not to worry though because you’ve got two hours still until you have to get up so back to sleep… ahhh… you close those eyes to drift off again….

And then the thoughts start creeping in. What am I doing with my life? What if I lose my job? What if things go south? And that’s just the beginning of the ride. Will we have enough for retirement? Are Alpo dinners in my future? Does my wife think I’m an idiot (well, more than usual)? Then you summit and start down recrimination hill. What have I done with my life? Why didn’t I travel more? Why didn’t I take a different path? Why didn’t I start saving earlier in life? Fear weaves its tendrils in through your chest, enveloping you in a cold chill that leaves you short of breath. Next thing you know it’s time to get up and work your day on less sleep than even the meagre amount you had originally planned for.


The older we get the more we feel like we’re on a path that is getting narrower with less options to take alternative paths. I used to believe that when you were born you had limitless opportunity before you. You could do anything and be anything you wanted to be. Every step you then took or decision you made (or was made for you when you were a child) closed off paths of opportunity for you… narrowing down throughout your life until you’re finally on a rickety walkway with the occasional Boost drink or sponge bath from a 20 something nurse the only thing to look forward to. If you’re lucky, both in one day.

In some ways this is true but a large part of it is mental. We’re born with limitations and every step we take in life closes doors that can never be opened in the same way. You can be born with all the desire in the world to play professional hockey, but may not have the physical skills to allow it. That door was closed before you even escaped the womb. You may have been born with all the physical skills needed to play, but your parents may have been into mountain biking with no interest in hockey at all. Your folks closed that door for you without you even knowing it. But where one door was closed, another one was opened. Their interest in mountain-biking will have opened other doors of opportunity for you that are closed to a child of hockey-mad parents.

And so it goes throughout life. Doors closed to a child are open to you at 50 or 60 due to your experience, knowledge or wisdom gained through your journey. It’s just hard to see or believe as your health starts to get questionable and you start having to use “cheater glasses” to read your iPhone. Moving to an alternative path may also be more complicated when you’re older due to consequences of all the paths you’ve taken to date, but it doesn’t mean those paths aren’t there.

They are.

So what do you do about it? Conquer the fear by taking the following steps:

1) Sweat
Exercise is a known counter to stress and has the added bonus of making you healthier on so many other fronts. Unfortunately when we’re stressed we don’t feel we have the time or can take the time to work out. Make time. Figure out what works best but get sweating into your schedule.

2) Connect
Old friends know you best. They’ve seen you at your highest, lowest and “bestest”. Having a coffee or lunch with one or two of them to talk through what you’re facing is one of the best things you can do. Because of the history you have with them they can provide perspective, advice and help you laugh. Highly advised.

3) Plan
Figure out what you want/need/must do and create a plan of attack. You may be in a mosquito-infested swamp with your boots stuck in mud, but you’ll stay there without a plan to get out. As Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) so eloquently said in Caddyshack “See your future…. be your future… make your future.” You must be the ball.

4) Execute
Work the plan and adjust as needed. A good strategy allows for adjusting tactics as you go. You’ve been around. Life likes to screw with you all the time. Make sure you and your plan are flexible and you can adapt to what’s happening to still reach your goals without getting bogged down again.

5) Sweat
Yes. I said this. I’m saying it again because it’s important. Just do it.


John Oliver Strikes Again

Once again I am compelled to share a sweet little clip about McDonald’s from HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Poking fun at Rotten Ronnies is old school, and John Oliver pulls no punches. McPukes recently had their CEO step down, due in large part to ever-slumping sales that Ronald can’t seem to tun around.

Heart disease, paid independent ‘investigative’ reporting, purported labor code violations and pink slime are all on the menu! Take your hearts meds and enjoy!



When food is not food


I came across these little numbers in the grocery store the other day. Chocolate Banana Storm and his little mentally challenged sidekick, Strawberry Storm.

The first thought that crossed my mind was, ‘why the hell would someone want to turn real wholesome fruit into an organ-destroying puree’? It made me think I had just had a stroke. Bananas and strawberries are perfect just the way they are – why would you want to process them with this powdered crap? The demonic concoction will do you more harm than good.  It’s a lot like saying, ‘your Grandma is perfect just the way she is – how about making her into a hooker. No? But why not?

At least the packaging accurately depicts the cold, icy chills you will get before you have a violent bowel movement after consuming either one of these products. The frothy brown diarrhea that will result from ingesting the Chocolate Banana Storm is nicely displayed on the front of the package.

Expect nothing less than painful, bloody diarrhea from Strawberry Storm brew.

If you hate your internal organs and digestive tract, these products are just the thing for you. I hope you enjoy sitting on corks.


10 Things You Should Know (if you don’t already)


Scraped from the Internets, so we are not claiming to be the authors of this, but the sources provide additional info that is worth checking into!

Definitive Answer To 10 of Your Biggest Health Questions

1. Does olive oil prevent heart disease?
Short answer: Yes

The health benefits of olive oil come from the presence of polyphenols and antioxidants that reduce the risk of heart diseases and cancers.  To get these healthy compounds, you should buy good-quality, fresh “extra-virgin” olive oil, which has the highest polyphenol content.

Most commercially available olive oils have low levels of polyphenols associated with poor harvesting methods, improper storage, and heavy processing.

2. Do sugary soft drinks lead to diabetes?
Short answer: Yes

The majority of health research is stacked against sugar-sweetened soda.

A large 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who drank one or more sugary drinks per day increased their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 83% compared to those who consumed less than one of these beverages per month.

3. Do nuts make you fat?
Short answer: No

As much as 75% of a nut is fat. But eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. The bigger factor leading to weight gain is portion-size. Luckily, nuts are loaded with healthy fats that keep you full. They’re also a good source of protein and fiber. One study even found that whole almonds have 20% less calories than previously thought because a lot of the fat is excreted from the body.

4. Is walking as effective as running?
Short answer: Yes

Studies have shown that how long you exercise ­ and thus how many calories you burn ­ is more important. Than how hard you exercise. Running is a more efficient form of exercise, but not necessarily better for you.

A six-year study published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology in April found that walking at a moderate pace and running produced similar health benefits, so long as the same amount of energy was expended.

5. Is drinking fruit juice as good for you as eating fruit?
Short answer: No

Calorie for calorie, whole fruit provides more nutritional benefits than drinking the pure juice of that fruit. That’s because when you liquefy fruit, stripping away the peel and dumping the pulp, many ingredients like Fiber, calcium, vitamin C, and other antioxidants are lost.

For comparison, a five-ounce glass of orange juice that contains 69 calories has ..3 grams of dietary fiber and 16 milligrams of calcium, whereas an orange with the same number of calories packs 3.1 grams of fiber and 60 milligrams of calcium.

6. Are all wheat breads better for you than white bread?
Short answer: No

Not all wheat breads are created equal. Wheat breads that contain all parts of the grain kernel, Including the nutrient-rich germ and fiber-dense bran, must be labeled “whole grain” or “whole wheat.” Some wheat breads are just white bread with a little bit of caramel coloring to make the bread appear healthier, but don’t be fooled by brown bread.

7. Does coffee cause cancer?
Short answer: No

Coffee got a bad rap in the 1980’s when a study linked drinking coffee to pancreatic cancer, however the preliminary report was later debunked. More recently, health studies have swung in favor of the caffeinated beverage.

Coffee has been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, and even suicide.

8. Do eggs raise cholesterol levels?
Short answer: No

Although egg yolks are a major source of cholesterol ­ a waxy substance that resembles fat ­ researchers have learned that saturated fat has more of an impact on cholesterol in your blood than eating foods that contain cholesterol.

“Healthy individuals with normal blood cholesterol levels should now feel free to enjoy foods like eggs in their diet every day,” the lead researcher from a 25-year University of Arizona study on cholesterol concluded.

9. Can yogurt ease digestive problems?
Short answer: Yes

Our digestive tract is filled with microorganisms ­ some good and some bad. Yogurt contains beneficial bacteria, generically called probiotics, that helps maintain a healthy balance.

Probiotics can relieve several gastrointestinal problems, including constipation and diarrhea. Certain brands of yogurts, like Activa by Dannon, are marketed exclusively to treat tummy issues.

10. Is red wine better for you than white wine?
Short answer: Yes

Red wine contains much more resveratrol than white wine, an antioxidant found in the skin of grapes that has been shown to fight off diseases associated with aging.

Do some additional digging, and have a productive and relaxing March!


23andMe – review

Digital illustration of a dna

23andMe is a self-described biotechnology company that offers the service of testing a bit of your genetic material (saliva) for a fee of about $200 to give you some insight into your genetic profile. This would include finding out things like what diseases you may be prone to, your genetic heritage and what medications you may be sensitive to.

For a quick overview of the company, Wikipedia is always a nice first stop!

Scientific American offers up a cautionary tale about the collection (and use, or misuse) of crowd-sourced genetic data, and argues that 23andMe’s offering is a way to hoard your personal data.

On the other side of the coin, CBC News (Amanda Lang) had a short 6 minute interview with the CEO of 23andMe to give the official backdrop to their services. Apparently over 700,000 people have already taken part in the service, and some have apparently found some lost relatives as part of the process using the service.

23andme is positioning themselves as a way to not only help individuals understand their genetic history, but they are also hoping to use the aggregate data in a crowd-sourced genetic database for future drug advances and understanding. If you are curious about your past (and a bit about your future), it may be worth checking out. But remember – once you know something, you can’t un-know it :-)


Too hot to handle

I had a pretty scary night last night.
I came home from work and went about my usual routine of watching the news and making dinner. I chop up all my veggies for my salads a week in advance, so I fixed those up as well. Dinner was in the oven, the salads were all made, and the news went to commercial break, so I took that time to quickly go to the bathroom.
I returned from the bathroom to sit down in front of the TV and wait for my dinner to finish cooking. Curiously at first, I noticed my weenie starting to heat up. At first I thought nothing of it, but then it started to get hotter and hotter. And then very hot. I started to think that I had some kind of infection or something, as it was starting to get unbearable. Visual inspection turned up nothing. And then it got hotter still. What the hell was going on?!? I was starting to think that I had rapid onset cancer of the penis.
And then it dawned on me. Heitmann, you retard! I make my weekly salads with jalapenos and Mexican red peppers, and after I had made my salads I had used my hand to brush all the chopped veggie juices and seeds off the glass cutting board. There was no heat on my hands at all, but apparently there was sufficient jalapeno and Mexican red pepper juice left on my hands from making my salads to ‘spark myself up’ when I had gone to the bathroom after finishing off making the salads.
I know that if you eat something that is too hot you can drink milk or dairy products to help reduce the burning sensation. So when I realized what was happening to me I rummaged through my fridge trying to find some yogurt or cottage cheese or something else to stick my weenie in. Sadly, I had nothing in the fridge to help me with my plight. After about 20 minutes and a long shower the burning finally abated. Holy crap!! :-(

Do not go gentle you old bastard

Do not go gentle into that good night

– Dylan Thomas, 1914 – 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Yes, this is the poem recited in the movie “Interstellar” and it kicks ass in a primal, powerful way.

While I’d like to be read enough to elucidate on this poem being the most famous example of a villanelle, that would involve me drinking a glass of sherry with my pinkie in the air and wearing a cravat… a sight no one wants to see.

Instead, I take the view that this poem cuts to the heart of what we’re all about at Snatch-a-Pebble. The light is dying and unlike with the sun traveling across the sky you don’t exactly know when the curtain is going to fall. Hell, Dylan Thomas wrote this to his father and then died two years later himself. You don’t know when your candle will be snuffed – only that it will be.

As well, the “further” you are from the end, the harder it is for you to recognize it’s coming. But it is. Accept it, yes, but fight it. Fight it to the end.
And just in case you haven’t got it yet, check this out – this guy nails it.




Explosion Fromagee


The name of these taco shells in English is ‘Cheesy Blasted’, but I think the French translation is much more apt. Not what it will taste like necessarily, but in terms of what kind of weapon it is that will drop on your pancreas, liver and kidneys. Kind of like lobbing a grenade into a small room.

Old El Paso strikes again :-(



Yes, I just said that.

Most people know that you can simply add bacon to bacon and it makes it better. I love my meat, but this breakfast is so awesome it stands up to the old ‘does adding bacon to it make it better?’ test.

This breakfast is so packed with whole nutrition that it powers me for a brisk 40 minute walk to work and a solid 4 hours of work without needing a snack.

Some of the ingredients may seem a little different to you, and if they do I encourage you to be a bit curious. You can pick most of the ingredients up easily at any grocery store. For a couple of the ingredients, you might need to visit your local commie-pinko community health food store. Running the gauntlet of people with dreadlocks and hemp clothing is well worth the quest to get the magical foods that you can’t pick up in your local grocery store.

I have tried many variations on the mix below, with varied results. You will no doubt want to tinker with it to and make it your own.

Without further ado, I introduce you to my Super Terrific Breakfast Mix

2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1.5 tbsp raw cocoa nibs
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup whole walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, or almonds
1 cup fresh fruit (blueberries, raspberries or cranberries are best)
100 g Greek yoghurt

Stir everything above together in a small bowl with water* and enjoy!

*You need to add water to this bad boy; otherwise it is too thick, like paste.

Unless you like paste-like substances.


Sugar – nose candy for your entire body

This hilarious John Oliver clip starts off being about Halloween. But this clip is more about that insidious white toot that we like to think of as our harmless little friend.

As this quick segment touches on oh so briefly, our bodies need sugar, which is why it is so agreeable to our palate. But refined sugar is the Beast – after you watch the very informative and entertaining clip, check out one of the most descriptive and enlightening ways to describe what sugar does to our bodies from a nutritionist.

In near future posts, Mike and I will delve more into what role sugars and carbs and fats and all that fun junk work (and in some cases damage) our bodies, our emotions and our brains. Fun stuff! Here we go:

How would you like a drunken sailor dropping by and puking on your carpet, peeing on your walls and doing other unsavoury things to your condo or house? This is what happens to your body when you send refined sugar down the hatch: