Cultural Shock

Ugggg so grossssss.  Tastes like liquid blue cheese.

Those were my famous first words after sipping plain kefir.


If you think I’m going to relate how much I enjoyed the sweet, savory taste of pancakes drowning in good old fashioned maple syrup, surrounded by bodacious blueberries, surely you’ll be disappointed.
If you’re wondering how I got here, well it started after Pancake Tuesday was mentioned in a conversation with a neighbour. Time to step up to the challenge of 40 days and 40 nights without something that is like a staple in my diet.  I became inclined to take another kick at the can labeled Public Enemy #1 – my sweet tooth.



I’ve battled my sugar addiction a lot. At least one or two challenges a year, sometimes with my clients or friends, annually for the last twelve years to try and reduce or eliminate my sweet tooth cravings. It’s hard to give up something that tastes good but little by little, year after year, seems to have more of an adverse impact on my health. It’s like I play Russian roulette with my health, how far can I push something or get away with something before the point of no return? I could go into an in depth tirade about some of the observations I’ve gathered about this habit but I’ll save it for another day. The longest I ever went without sugar was 30 days back in 2007. This latest challenge was also inspired by some research I’d done a few weeks back, I was looking up associations, connections on an energetic and/or emotional level to things like type 2 diabetes, pancreas and sugar cravings in general. Two things grabbed my attention, one was a distaste for bitterness or bitter things. Relatedly, was the harbouring of resentment(s). The latter is more important, for once I honestly thought to myself “What if I am resentful?” It was very possible and has led to more introspection. In that moment of plausible acceptance of my bitter, resentful aspect of self came something I hadn’t achieved in a while, a small sense of peace. Like, ok, if so, let’s deal with it now and see where this goes. Not saying that this challenge is easier but I have a different sense of calm. Even if I come in at a ninety percent success rate, I break an old personal best!




The difference between yuck and yum = 14 g of sugar.  I think I could still enjoy a tolerance level of 10g of added sugar. Wonder why it’s fourteen???



See those three blueberries on the front of the bottle?  I’m sure that’s all they added because there is absolutely no difference in nutrient values for vitamins or fiber.  Which means the taste difference is solely the added sugar.


The perfect way to get a better dose of sweetness was to add a third of a banana or half cup of fresh pineapple and blend.  Additionally, putting in a scoop of my plant based protein sweetened with stevia made a world of a difference as well.


Why kefir over yogurt?  Was hoping there was less sugar but the benefit boils down to the quantity of bacterial cultures present in kefir(probiotic content is at least 3 times as high) and possible impact on digestion, bloating and replenishing/boosting the healthy flora in the intestines.   I wasn’t able to find kefir using goat milk or coconut milk in my area and that will be a future experiment to be found here.

Post written by Merlin X, former owner of theLOFT Fitness Studio and Splurge Organic Juice Bar.

10×10, The Best Training Protocol


Actually this is not the newest fad training protocol meant to make you shed pounds in days or get buff in a week (although it would be an incredible workout).
It’s the answer to how much space do you need to set up a comfortable home gym to eventually attain all those fitness goals.
10 feet x 10 feet.
That’s it, an ideal, versatile fitness operation at your finger tips. So on a technicality it is the best foundation for any type of training protocol, fad or not. If you live in a climate where there’s no snow/cold winters, it’s a great outdoor set up in your backyard.

How did I arrive at this revelation?
After owning a private training studio for 7 years where I used this equipment in my space, I can honestly* say you don’t need anything else. More recently, the space I live in has been my proving ground.
*Well if you’re an athlete training for sport a power rack is a key ingredient that you could add/substitute for the Bowflex system, you would just have to amend some of the equipment you buy.

10×10 Fun
In this area you can:
-perform jump training.
-train with your partner / friend.
-move around equipment to create a circuit without interruption
-you still have room to fit a piece of cardio equipment like a foldable treadmill or stationary bike
-space for a BOSU or Swiss ball or wobble board
-you can set up therabands on your bowflex station to create an additional training station so you can rapidly change from exercise to exercise without having to adjust
power rods.


The Cost
Brand new, roughly under $3000.
Pays for itself in 3 years if you cost compare with average gym membership (not including if they charge you bull**** sign up / admin fees or if you purchase in house personal training).
Used, you can get it half price in excellent condition.

The Challenge
What’s your level of self-determination? Even when I had my studio and was surrounded by fitness gear in a live work loft, there were times where I really didn’t want to train. At home even worse, the TV or internet can completely derail any good intent. So, how committed are you and how often do you renew your commitment?

When All Else Fails

On Deck
Fitness to D.I.E For: How to maximize your great home set up
Exercise video posts coming demonstrating the effectiveness of the ‘D.I.E.’ system.

Post written by Merlin X, former owner of theLOFT Fitness Studio.

Send an email to to set up a consultation/program development session for your own D.I.E set up.