Vlog #8; Beautyrest Sleeptracker

My eighth vlog entry with some of that fancy editing like my friend Michael over on Beyond the Rhetoric does.

In this vlog post I discuss my favourite pastime – SLEEP – and how the Beautyrest Sleeptracker is making me more aware of the factors that influence my sleep.

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Beautyrest for this campaign, but my opinions about my sleep, my wife being a princess (or not) and the efficacy of the Beautyrest Sleeptracker are all my own.

I Sleep To Be The Best Family Man I Can Be

Some people say that, “Not all that gets measured matters. However, “sleep” is something that can be measured and trust me, sleep really does matter.

Beautyrest Sleeptracker

It was not until I had children that I realized how important it was to “measure” and “manage” my sleep and my sleep habits.

In the first two years of my children’s lives I was so sleep deprived that there were times I had to pull off the road and sleep for a few minutes in my car. I was so sleep deprived that I saw meetings and sporting events as opportunities to sleep.

My sleeping in staff meetings got so out of control that my colleagues held a vote while I was sleeping and elected me chair of the meetings; and trust me, being chair of the meetings is an “honor” nobody wants.

I was so sleep deprived that I didn’t even wake up when they changed the constitution of our organization so that I was elected chair for two years without a break.

After getting elected chair of the staff meetings I began to realize just how bad my sleep “hygiene” had become and I was reminded of Peter Drucker’s words, “What gets measured gets managed.”

Now that I am chair of the meetings I sleep to be alert and in control of myself and the meetings I attend – and chair. I sleep to be the best person I can possibly be for my work and perhaps more importantly, for when I am at home with my family.

Although my work is very important to me, the really important part of my life is my family: my wife, my children and my mother and my sister are my inspiration to be the best person I can be. And now I sleep to be best person I can be and to do that, I need to better manage my sleep.

To be brutally honest with myself, when I do not get a good night’s sleep, I am not a pleasant person to be around. I am snippy and … well, unpleasant.

So what can I do to manage myself better? Like other parts of life, I can now use technology to measure and manage my sleep.

Beautyrest Sleeptracker

I recently received a Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor which has a powerful processor, highly accurate sensors, and an intuitive app that has integrated seamlessly with my bed – leaving my arms free of any gadgets so I can sleep in comfort while the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitors my heart rate and respiration rate to share a minute-by-minute snapshot of my time in deep sleep, light sleep and R.E.M. sleep.

Beautyrest Sleeptracker

Beautyrest Sleeptracker generates data, personalized coaching tips and the individual sleep score for up to two people simultaneously, based on a variety of key sleep metrics – including sleep efficiency, progress toward sleep goals, how long it takes to fall asleep, how long users spend in each sleep cycle and how many times they were awake throughout the night.

Remember Peter Drucker’s words, “What gets measured gets managed.”

To that end the user-friendly app translates precise data into smart, actionable coaching tips designed to help you unlock a better night’s sleep and a more productive next day.

I am very much looking forward to seeing how my attitude during my “awake” hours change as I learn more about my sleep patterns from the data provided by the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor. Because as I said, #ISleepTo be the best person I can be for my family, and so that I can be the best chair my staff has ever had!!

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Beautyrest for this campaign, but my opinions on my sleep and the Beautyrest Sleeptracker are entirely my own.

Traveling and Eating Through the Fraser Canyon

I am back into my driving the Fraser Canyon routine and wow, the food choices in the Canyon have never been so good.

First up, breakfast from Chef Todd at Fat Jack’s Diner just north of Boston Bar. A Swiss cheese, kale, and sausage omelette. Delicious. The hashbrown potatoes  are too under-cooked for my liking, but the overall breakfast experience is very positive.

Fraser Canyon

And of course a drive through the Fraser Canyon does not happen without a stop at 293 Wallace Street.

Although chef Hiro Takeda is now working in Copenhagen Denmark with the people from the world renowned Noma Restaurant, he has left his restaurant in the hands of Brent (who’s last name I regretfully have forgotten). Chef Hiro trained Brent so I trust the restaurant is in good hands.

 

Fraser Canyon

My travel companion and I started with what I would call a very unusual appetizer – fresh pork rinds. Yep. Pork rinds.

They arrived at the table hot and snapping as they continued to pop and expand. I would definitely order these again.

Fraser Canyon

For my main course I went with the Crispy Pork Belly. The little pool of green stuff on the plate is a green tomato and jalapeno jam. There could have been more jalapeno in the jam.

To balance the fattiness of the pork belly there is a a good selection of of house pickled vegetables – yellow beets, carrots, and yes, mushrooms. Very cool.

The roasted Brussels sprouts were awesome. I will now only eat Brussels sprouts if they are roasted.

My travel companion being a much less adventurous diner than me, he opted for the 293 Wallace Street signature burger. He reported that it was a “very good” burger. He did admit that he prefers less meat in his burger than this one had.

Fraser Canyon

For dessert I asked the server to get the kitchen to make something for me. Lemon cheesecake with a graham crumb and a berry sauce. With ants.

As I have said before, if you get beyond thinking about eating the ants, they add a very strong citrus flavour to the cheesecake. I seriously encourage you to try the ants on their dessert. It is a flavour sensation.

Fraser Canyon

And finally, after drinking I can’t count how many crappy cups of coffee from that place started by a hockey player, I have discovered The Blue Moose coffee shop in Hope.

Awesome coffee. Pricey pastries and sandwiches but they certainly looked good!

Traveling the Fraser Canyon has never before been such a good time for foodies.

Hakkaku Ramen; Comfort Food

Sometimes when the load we are carrying becomes unusually heavy we need to hit the pause button in life and have a bowl of soup. Vietnamese pho has been my go-to for comfort in a bowl.

However, yesterday I found a new source of comfort – a massive bowl of ramen.

Curry Ramen

I was in Burnaby Heights and I needed a bowl of comfort. I recalled reading on Beyond the Rhetoric about a ramen joint in that neighborhood so I headed for Hakkaku Ramen on Hastings St just east of Willingdon.

Wow. What a positive experience! I opted for the “rich” broth and the more tender pork belly in a curry ramen. Seriously. Wow.

The broth was extraordinary. Rich doesn’t begin to describe it. I almost felt like it was 3-dimensional…if that makes any sense.

The soft boiled egg was beautifully cooked with a squishy soft yolk. Little heaps of green onions and a soft potato all added to the goodness of the bowl.

The noodles were cooked just beyond al dente with a lovely resistance to the teeth. And that pork belly – chashu pork. Tender. Pull apart tenderness.

Now admittedly I have not had ramen at any of the well known downtown ramen joints in Vancouver so I have nothing to compare the Hakkaku Ramen soups to, however, I will definitely be returning to Hakkaku Ramen and searching out more ramen joints to try more of this super comfort food.

  • My massive bowl of curry ramen was $9.00
  • Hakkaku Ramen is located at 4530 E Hastings Street, Burnaby

Lunch; Steak and Potatoes

Good old lunch of steak and potatoes with a little sautéed broccolini to make it even more healthy.

Steak and potatoes

The potatoes are fingerlings. Steamed. Best eaten dipped in a creamy dip. The broccolini is cooked by adding it to a large pan that is already hot. Let it cook until it gets dark green and then remove from heat. It is best served right out of the sauté pan – spooned up on to the plate.

To prepare the bacon wrapped steak we put it in a pan under the broiler for five minutes. Pull it out, flip it over, another five minutes and then remove from the oven. Let it rest for a few minutes. Then eat. That’s it.

Steak and potatoes.

 

Meatless Monday With Thug Kitchen 101

Meatless Monday today in the Test Kitchen and I kicked up the flavour meter on my Skillet Beer Chili Mac by adding some STR8 Flexin Imperial Stout from my local craft brewery, Twin Sails. The ultra deep flavour profile of the Imperial Stout really adds to the complexity of the mac (and the kids get a kick out of thinking they are getting some beer).


Seeing as this is a recipe from the Thug Kitchen cookbook, I figure they won’t care if I mod-out their recipes. So I added in a 1/4 cup of broken up cashews to add a bit more meaty texture to the dish. I also had a yam in the pantry that needed to be put into play … asap … so I diced it up and added it to the pot when I added in the chopped carrot. I didn’t have a bell pepper, so I skipped that. Meatless Monday with the Thug Kitchen. 

The best part – one pot to wash and the kids both ate it. 

New Westminster’s Old Crow Coffee Co

Do you know why the hipster burned his lip while drinking coffee? Because he drank it before it was cool. 

Speaking of hipsters, the Old Crow Coffee Company looks like an atypical hipster enterprise. 

After all, who, other than some hipsters would open a coffee shop on a one-way back street in New Westminster and expect to have success? 

But you know, the folks behind Old Crow Coffee Co are doing good stuff. Of course I only tried an Americano coffee but I have to say, it was a very tasty cup of coffee. 

I will definitely be returning to Old Crow Coffee to try more of their menu. 

The Old Crow Coffee Company is located at 655 Front Street in New Westminster. 

Dr Ian Stirling on Polar Bears and Climate Change

Seeing as I live a pretty wild and crazy life, especially on the weekends, I decided to attend a lecture hosted by The Vancouver Institute that featured by Dr Ian Stirling speaking on the topic of polar bears and how climate change is impacting them.

polar bears

Dr Ian Stirling has been studying polar bears for 50 years and he knows his topic very well. He speaks in an easy to understand and very frank manner about polar bears and how climate change is impacting them.

It was interesting to note that most of the people in the UBC lecture hall had hair as white as polar bears. However, Dr Stirling did not see that as a “problem”. In fact, he emphasized that while elementary school age children are very powerful agents of change, he added in that the more elderly members of society can also play an important role in “saving the world for polar bears”.

Elderly members of society are better able to meet with politicians and bureaucrats and the people who make the policies that may save the polar ice caps and the polar bears.

Elderly members of society can make investment choices, choose what types of cars they drive, how often they drive, and they can control the thermostat in their homes. Dr Stirling said that as a matter of principle he keeps the thermostat set at 17 degrees in his home and if anyone is cold in the house, they are told to put on a sweater. Or another sweater. He said we all have small things we can do to slow climate change.

polar bears

As for elementary school age children – Dr Ian Stirling said that they get the problem – the polar ice around the Arctic is melting which means that polar bear habitat is shrinking. Very quickly.

In the last 30 years the polar ice around the Arctic shrunk from something like 8 million square kilometres to just under 4 million. It has shrunk by more than half in less than 30 years.

And kids get it; if there is less polar ice, there is less habitat for polar bears. And when kids get it, from a very early age they begin making changes and questioning the way that things are done. They are the future agents of change and disruptors of the status quo.

After Dr Stirling’s lecture and incredible slide show of images of polar bears, there was a question and answer session. He was asked if “polar bear tourism” is having a net positive or negative impact on polar bears.

He openly admitted that he does some work in the polar bear tourism field but he did say that all things considered, people coming to view polar bears is a positive because of the awareness that it brings to more people. He feels that the more people who are aware of the plight of the polar bears, the more people who will be advocates for slowing climate change.

The primary difficulty that polar bears are having is that they hunt ring seals from the polar ice. As I said above, the less polar ice there is, the less hunting grounds for polar bears. As a result, some polar bears have been exploring new food sources and one of those new food sources is the community of Churchill, Manitoba.

With the growing numbers of polar bears coming into Churchill, the conservation officers were having to shoot and kill the bears. They quickly realized this was not the way to handle the situation.

So now, rather than shooting and killing the bears, they are now being kept for months without being fed, in an old decommissioned Canadian Armed Forces base.

Huh? Yes! Polar bears do not need to eat for months on end (they can live for months and months off the fat that they build on their bodies) so they are kept, without being fed, in an enclosure on the decommissioned military base.

As the bears get to the point where they are going to need to eat to replenish their fatty layer, they are taken from the enclosure and transported further north.

This new system of “handling” polar bears that are coming into contact with humans in Churchill has reduced the number of polar bears being shot in Churchill from 30 down to one or two a year.

At the end of the lecture Dr Ian Stirling did emphasize that although it is getting quite late, there really is time to change the path that humans have taken the natural environment on.

Our choices do matter.