MIND: Authentic

Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

The Velveteen Rabbit // Margery Williams

BODY: The Truth Behind the Gluten-Free Movement



I’ve been meaning to write this post ever since someone came up to me about a year ago at the grocery store where I was working and asked me, “What aisle is your gluten-free popcorn in?”

It’s time to shed a bit of light on the “gluten-free” diet fad. Before the last few years, the only people who were following a strict gluten-free diet fell into two categories; those suffering from Celiac disease, and those with a wheat allergy.

Celiac disease is a digestive ailment which causes the small intestine to halt the absorption of nutrients from food when gluten is ingested; as a result people who suffer from this infliction cannot properly digest the gluten protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Not only is gluten found in foods but it is often added to medicine, vitamins, supplements and beauty products. Approximately 1 in 133 people suffers from celiac disease – not exactly enough to justify the 450 million dollar gluten-free market that exists in North America today.

When a person who suffers celiac disease ingests gluten, the intestine essentially shuts down and refuses to absorb nutrients from food. As a result, malnourishment, anemia and osteoporosis are often possible with sufferers of this disease. There are also those who suffer from wheat allergy, which causes an anti-body response and sparks rashes, hives and sometimes anaphylaxis.

The current trend is sparking a sub-group of people who avoid gluten and can be categorized as people suffering from “non-celiac gluten sensitivity.” Unfortunately I feel the rise in declaring yourself gluten-free has been sparked from a lot of hype from celebrities and not a lot of fact – enter my Popcorn Princess anecdote.


While I will not discredit those who are sensitive to gluten, most nutritionists will agree that even those who find themselves uncomfortable after eating certain wheat products can typically ingest one serving of gluten per day and feel fine. Most foods do not contain gluten: any food made from a grain (i.e. all forms of corn and rice), most dairy products as well as beans and legumes.

The only places you will find gluten lurking is in wheat products; cakes, cereals, pasta, couscous, bread, barley, malt, rye and beer. Any processed food may contain a wheat by-product or have come in contact with one while being manufactured. The simplest way to avoid any digestion upsets is to follow an unprocessed vegetarian diet… Although I may be biased.

Is gluten actually crap? In moderation, no. While many find themselves losing weight when adopting a gluten free diet it is most likely because they have cut out a heavy-carb food group (bread and pasta, for example) and have failed to substitute it with a healthy, gluten-free alternative. In this case, you may be losing weight, but you are ultimately depriving your body of the carbohydrates it needs to function. By the same token, any postive changes you see in regards to your health after cutting out gluten-laden products may be due to eliminating crappy foods that just so happen to contain gluten, i.e. anything heavily processed and laden with chemicals, fat, excess carbohydrates and not much else.

Over-eating anything will cause symptoms – instead of cutting out your baguette sandwich immediately, instead try reducing your gluten intake and see how you feel. If nothing else, do your research. Paying extra for gluten-free foods that are naturally gluten-free is ridiculous! Above all, my favourite health mantra is this – everything in moderation.




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MIND: Success

Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.

Man’s Search for Meaning // Victor E. Frankl 



SOL: +/-

I want everything and nothing at the same time – this is why I’ll never be satisfied with my life.

I want a home and a love and a warm fire and a slow cooker and a bread maker and a crepe machine and an apron that says “Kiss the Cook.”

I want a suitcase and a backpack. I want to send my mail to a PO Box because I haven’t had an address in five years. I want to watch the sunrise in Bangladesh and watch the sunset in Ko Phi Phi. I want lessons in Thai street fighting and French cuisine. I want to speak five languages and fill up a passport with stamps.

I want a steady boyfriend who I might one day marry. I want to be half of a whole and to make other people envious of the love I bring to my life. I want a group of friends I see daily, weekly, every day and all the time. I want to fill my life with companionship until it bursts at the seams.

I want a lover in every major city. I want a boyfriend in every port. I want stolen kisses under the Eiffel Tower on Monday and whispered goodbyes in Athens by Thursday. I want to swim in the silence and dive into a sea of loneliness. I want to pitch a tent with Depression and fill myself up with sadness until I go numb. I want to make friends in hostels and get emails from around the world, reminding me of the places I’ve yet to go.

I want a hand to hold and to have a date night once a week and a warm body in my bed to turn over and kiss at four in the morning just because I can.

I want adventure and risk and danger. I want independence and freedom and to be able to work 9 to 5 and love as I please from 5 to 9. I want to be able to leave without guilt, and to know in my heart that they’re better off without me.

I want a steady job and a promising career with a well-padded CV and a job history to slay my competition. I want to wear power-suits and sling-back heels and use words in boardrooms like “third-quarterly review” and “steady rate of incline in the work force.” I want to have to worry about insurance and mortgages and finding a home within a good school district.

I want to rip up my resume and quit my job. I want to flip-off the economy and sell all my belongings. I want to represent a serious flaw in the system. I want to work in-the-black and do manual labour until I’m sweaty and exhausted and drink beer I can barely afford on secluded beaches that most people will never see in their lifetime.

 When people ask me how I do it I’ll tell them, “I wanted to, so I did.”

MIND: Ambiguity

I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish… You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then when I do not succeed I get mad with anger.

// Simone de Beauvoir