Infrared Sauna Experiment: Final Weeks & Recap


Well, tonight I was told that my month was up. I took a five day break because of a last-minute trip to the Sunshine Coast–where the picture above was taken–over the Canada Day long weekend. Upon my return, I increased my time to 60 minutes, and tried to keep the heat between 140-151 degrees for the majority of the time. I made two new discoveries since my last post:

  1. I realized that I could use my phone without it over-heating. I kept it wrapped in a hand towel as far away from me as I could on the floor. I played meditation podcasts, and avoided checking social media or email by putting my phone on airplane mode. Like I mentioned previously, meditation in the sauna comes a lot easier to me. I am able to breathe long and slow, focus on the words, and let go of the urge to move.
  2. Hydrating after the sauna with Alkaline water seems to help me regain focus and energy. I started filling up my water bottle with Kangen filter at 9.5, and drank one bottle 5-6 days a week. I’ve been running a lot lately–usually right before I head into the sauna–and I notice when my body is feeling acidic. I fill up before I leave and add a serving of BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids) to the bottle and it helps bring me back down to earth and ready to face the rest of the day.

Recap of Observations


The infrared sauna dramatically improved my mood and mindset about 85-95% of the time. I can think of only two trips where I went and came out not smiling blissfully ear to ear. The ability to think deep and stretch and pay attention all helped me tune into my emotions, my instincts, and my body. I learned that spending as little as 20 minutes was enough to boost my mood and energy–and get a solid sweat on. Anywhere above 45 minutes I found helped me feel more relaxed and quiet. It was easier to meditate and be still.


Going into the infrared sauna after my runs and workouts helped me recover faster. I usually have to foam roll every other day for fifteen minutes or so to get my muscles to agree to move again, but all month long I have only used a bouncy ball on my feet twice in the sauna, and have felt great. Granted, I do spend at least fifteen minutes doing static stretches while I’m in there, but I would have done those anyway and still felt the need to roll out.


I was most surprised by the sauna’s ability to stunt my appetite. Anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours after leaving the sauna, my cravings for food were completely turned off. I found that there was a correlation between the amount of time spent in the sauna and this effect. The longer sessions, the longer I went without feeling hunger. Interestingly, exercising before the sauna boosted this effect even more.


I played around with taking 250mg of niacin before the sauna, and found no noticeable differences other than a slight energy increase. Perhaps because I have the non-flush type of niacin, the effects were not as strong. I would try using the regular flush niacin if I ever embark on a serious heavy metal cleanse, and would then also follow Dr. Yu’s niacin detox protocol and add some extra supplements such as activated charcoal and milk thistle.


If you are stressed out or just hard-wired to be a busy person, the infrared sauna is the place for you. Carving out 30-60 minutes of solitude will do your mind and body wonders. Any adult alive in this day and age could likely benefit from a bit of quiet time, and given that we spend most of our days indoors, the concentrated far-infrared light gives our bodies what it would naturally get if we were living like our ancestors did.

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Tomorrow I will be signing up for another month. I can’t really imagine not having the infrared sauna in my routine now, and I hope my experiment motivates you to try it out for yourself!

Read my Week 2 Recap.

Read my Week 1 Recap.

Read about the 30 Day Experiment from the beginning.


Infrared Sauna Experiment: Week 1 Recap


What a week! I have been playing around with the amount of time spent in the sauna, the time of day, the temperature, and more. Here are my findings so far:

  1. Appetite suppressant. In-sane. I went for long runs, weighted workouts, or rest days, and every time I come out, I have want for nothing but perhaps a tall glass of water. When I go in on rest days, I feel energized, and I have only been drinking one coffee per day since I started, whereas before I would need at least two to get me through the afternoon.
  2. Meditation-enhancer. I just started meditating, and admittedly, I’m terrible at it. But all this time in a small, warm, detoxifying box has given me the ability to truly go inward. I practice releasing negative thoughts as though literally “sweating” them out, breathing them out, and simply focusing on stretching. Especially when I play the “Zen” CD they have, I find it much easier to think about nothing. In the last ten minutes or so, I’ll recite positive affirmations, what I am grateful for, and what I wish to receive and accomplish once I leave the sauna. I recall Stewart Wilde in his book, The Infinite Self, saying that one of the ways to connect to your Infinite Self is to create sacredness in every day habits. The sauna affirmations are already starting to become a sacred practice after only a week, simply because I choose to make them sacred. It’s that easy!
  3. Dehydration. After almost a week straight (I took Sunday off because it was closed), I had been shooting for 150°C, and sweat comes out of you like you wouldn’t imagine. I don’t feel as thirsty as I should, and so far I haven’t noticed my fluid level increase all that much. The other day, I combined a long run in the sun followed by the sauna for 40 minutes. It had me dizzy the next day, and I slept for ten hours that night. Going forward, I’ll be more mindful of hydration.
  4. Mood-enhancer. I can only recall hot yoga classes making me feel as blissful and calm as the infrared sauna does. I sort of float out of the place, walk slowly and silently back to my car and get on with my day in a more present, observant way. Again, this sense of wanting nothing comes over me. I simply am.

I am always intrigued by the idea of hacking something that is inherently healthy and making it even healthier, so I decided to add niacin to my routine. I bought the non-flush variety that evidently was a mistake, but I will go ahead and try it out anyway. Dr. Mercola and Dr. Yu created the Niacin Detox Protocol, which is quite simple to execute and promises heavy metal detoxification:

Step 1: Ingest niacin – 100mg working up to 5,000mg per day stimulates release of the toxins in fat cells (a process called lypolysis).

Step 2: Exercise aerobically for thirty minutes.

Step 3: Go into infrared sauna for 40 minutes.

Following this protocol every day for a month should get rid of most of the toxins in your system, they claim.

Additionally, they recommend taking activated charcoal right after the sauna would help further eliminate the toxins from your body. I’ve been meaning to get activated charcoal for a long time, as I keep hearing more all the time about the various benefits from detoxifying to teeth whitening.

Without a doubt, the infrared sauna alone has been helping my mindset and energy, and I look forward to seeing what happens as this month progresses!

This week, I will continue the niacin pre-workout and do more research on just how crucial it is that I use the flushing-variety of niacin…

Stay sweaty,

G ❤IMG_1117




Infrared Sauna Experiment: Week 2 Recap


This was another wonderful week of sweating profusely. Taking 500mg of niacin (I use the “no-flush” by Natural Factors), anywhere between 15-30 minutes before heading into my little infrared sanctuary has had some interesting side effects.

First of all, I start sweating a lot faster and a lot more. Twice this week, I included a workout or took the niacin within a half an hour before finishing my run, and almost instantly started to sweat after entering the sauna. I feel pretty good about taking the non-flush niacin because I exercise enough and often more than necessary before or after the sauna. Perhaps I will do another test with the regular niacin a month down the road to do a comparison. My tolerance for the heat is improving, and seems to be much better if I go in having not exercised beforehand.

Second, I am using the appetite-suppressing effects of the sauna to try regular 12-16-hour intermittent fasts. That said, I have a fatty coffee for breakfast. I went to Whole Foods and got myself some grass-fed butter–which has been harder to find than I thought–and organic ghee. The ghee has a slight nutritional advantage, but the butter certainly makes the coffee much frothier. I usually add one tablespoon of MCT oil and one tablespoon of ghee or the butter and that’s enough for about two cups of coffee. I’ll also throw in a capsule of curcumin and a teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon to help with inflammation and blend it all up for about 20 seconds. The coffee helps keep my mind alert and functioning and gives me enough energy for a workout later in the day.

Physically, I am looking less bloated–I attribute that to water weight loss–but I am also noticing more muscle tone. I train with weights about twice a week, I’ll do a body-weight HIIT once a week, and run and walk the rest of the week. Overall, my weekly training volume and intensity have gone down about 25-30%, and I am seeing changes. Sleep quality and stress play major roles in muscle recovery and fat loss, and since I am spending more time in a parasympathetic state, my cortisol levels may be lowering and helping me sleep better.

This leads to my fourth and final observation of the week: mental clarity. It is becoming easier to meditate in the sauna, and as they say, the more you do something, the better you get at it. I’ll usually get creative finding ways to stretch in the small space I have to play around in for the first 20 minutes, and spend the remainder of time being still and observing my thoughts, visualizing, or reciting positive affirmations.

To get a glimpse of the infrared sauna experiment on a daily basis, follow me on Snapchat:


Read my Week 1 Recap here.

Infrared Sauna: A 30-Day Experiment



I have known about the wonders of infrared saunas for years now. Having worked for a spa and listening to people like Ben Greenfield on a regular basis, there is more evidence surfacing every day supporting the health benefits of infrared therapy. (You can read his list of ten scientifically-proven benefits here).

Beyond detoxification, I am particularly drawn to the potential healing effects on scar tissue. I had lung surgery two years ago, and have a large scar along the right side of my torso. Though I have my endurance back, I feel as though the scar tissue around that area has been limiting my breathing.  I’ll go to inhale fully into my diaphragm, and fall short as though stuck.  Even yawning is broken up and awkward.

Last summer, I attended a Spiritual Spa Day (it was as woo-woo as it sounded–I loved it), and one of the vendors was offering infrared heating pads. I wrapped it around my right side and after about fifteen minutes I felt the range of motion was significantly improved.

The evidence is not as sound for deep scar tissue healing, but based on my small exposure I knew that I can certainly benefit from regular use. Not only does it take forever to heal my minor injuries, but my lack of iron and blood hemoglobin means that my blood is not as oxygen-rich as it should be.  I have struggled with circulation issues for years as well, and when I do cold showers or go for long-distance runs, my hands turn bright yellow and prune up.  Infrared increases blood circulation, and even after my first day of this experiment I feel much more balanced.

My goal is to go in the infrared sauna every day for 30 days and record how I feel. I will post my experience here and shorter versions on Snapchat.

Username: j-vieve

Today I went for about 40 minutes right after a rather taxing two hour run in the rain. I came home and my appetite was gone.  I made eggs with kale, green pepper and cilantro. So far I feel satisfied, and interestingly have no sugar cravings. Follow me on Snapchat to watch this experiment progress! I encourage you to do the same.

Stay tuned! XO


3 Diet Myths Debunked

As a Professional Training Coach, I see a lot of people who dilegently attend their sessions week after week and have achieved high levels of fitness. They are invested in their health both financially and physically. Their bodies are changing, and yet they still struggle with the idea of weight loss. What does it mean to lose weight? The scale says a number one day, and then a few days later it says a different number that was less than the first. And suddenly they rejoice; the hard workouts and restricting their food intake is at once validated. But by the following Monday, the scale says the first number again. They say things like, “Yeah, I did have a few extra glasses of wine” or, “Yeah, it was a ‘bad’ weekend” or “I was ‘bad’ on Saturday night”.

By Friday, the hard work is put in and the scale goes back down. The rat race continues.

Myth 1: The scale doesn’t lie.

While the scale itself may not actually lie, it is giving a reading of your body at a certain time and state. If you are over-fed, yes, it will be higher than you’d like it to be. If you are retaining water because of the food you ate,  it will also be higher. While Tanita scales do show a breakdown of water-weight and fat percentage, these numbers are still estimations at best and quite often go unobserved by the person on them. As soon as they see their number, they are off and tying up their shoes, ready to “get those calories burnt off” as soon as humanly possible.

What the scale does not say is how healthy you are. How much stress you have or don’t have, how many hours of quality sleep you’ve had, and whether or not your pants fit looser or not. People get so rattled after getting on the scale, convinced they would be 10lbs lighter because of how hard they have worked, how good they feel, and how well they ate. Suddenly, all of those factors melt away and they fixate on the number.  But wait, they feel better, they worked hard, and ate well. Isn’t that the bigger goal?

Solution: Stop fixating on the number. You are not a number. You are a human being. If you feel good, your eating better food, and you are losing inches, THAT is what you should focus on measuring and celebrating. A number is just a number that is a construct. It doesn’t actually exist. You can’t feel numbers. Numbers can’t give you energy, or improve insulin resistance, and they certainly should not make you feel less confident.

Myth 2: Eating healthy takes too much time and effort.

Similar to the idea of weight being reflected as a number, time is often conceived as a limitor. As if we don’t all have the same 24 hours. So yes, some of us may have less stressful jobs, work less or not at all, and have more money to spend on fresh organic foods. Though it may take time to drive to the supermarket, chop the veggies, thaw the chicken, cook it and eat it, time is always relative. Boil some eggs while you chop the veggies, watch your favorite show while you cook and make extra so you can have healthy lunches for the week. It may not be as easy as ordering a pizza to your door, but again the point is not to make these kind of comparisons. We brush our teeth and shower because we know it is good for our hygiene. We don’t think about how much time it takes. Treat eating well with the same non-negotiable, no-brainer attitude.

Myth 3: Staying away from [insert macronutrient] will help me lose weight. 

Sugar is the new fat. Keep your fats to 10-20%. Don’t eat too many carbs. Eat all your carbs in the morning. Eat all of your carbs at night. Eat fats and protiens and limit carbs. I have heard arguments in favor for all of these weight loss strategies but often they are minimally supported by N=1 experiments (i.e.: it worked for me, so it could work for everyone).

So you’ll read a blog post about it, or a book, or see a line of bars in the health food isle. While the intentions may be good, diet plans that promise weight loss through simple elimination of any of the macronutrients are, for most people, unsustainable. Test and experiment with different ratios of fats, carbs and proteins, and assess by how your body responds. Do you feel good? Do you have energy? How is your skin? Do you enjoy the food? If you are losing weight and can answer ‘yes’ to all of the above, that’s a great sign it is serving you. If you answer ‘no’, tweak and adjust it. Just like fashion. There are always going to be new trends, but your style will be reflective of what suits your personality, your skin tone, your lifestyle. Diet should be revered in this way because our bodies all have unique nutritional needs.

How can you change these three common diet myths? The first step is to be aware that many people profit from the status quo. Companies that make weekend cleanses promising weight loss overnight, prepackaged healthy meals or food items marketed to save you “time” but are often filled with added preservatives, chemicals and artificial ingredients, and the nutritional supplement indusry all want us to believe the scale is right, that eating healthy is time-consuming, and that there is a simple solution to dieting and weight loss. Remember that you are your own N=1 experiment with specific needs, goals, energy requirements and lifestyle factors that influence your environment. The simplist way is usually the best way, so follow your instincts and avoid the popular crazes.

That is all for now!

Do leave a comment below with your thoughts, questions or other health myths and I’ll be happy to address them in a future post.

Kirill Solovyev West Van Run

Meet the West Van Running Man: An Interview with Kirill Solovyev

Kirill Solovyev West Van Run

Kirill Solovyev is a very popular and active member on the Vancouver running scene. He works part-time for the BMO Vancouver Marathon and he is also the Race Director of West Van Run Annual 5km and 10km Run/Walk. Kirill came in first place at the VanRun Race 15k earlier this month, and I sat down with him after the race to ask him about training and discover how he got to where he is today.

Born in Kazakhstan, Kirill’s parents are the National Triathlon coaches for the country. Growing up surrounded by the sport, it comes as no surprise that he was athletic himself from a very young age.

VP: When did you first know you loved running?
K: Up until the age of 14 I swam, played hockey and a little bit of triathlon. When I turned 15 I stopped playing hockey and decided to just do triathlon. To improve my running I joined the cross country team at school and started doing a lot of running on my own. By the time I was 16 I was pretty good at it and that’s when I knew I liked running.

VP: Tell me about your first race.
K: My very first running race was when I was five years old. The race was a 3km run and it was in Uzbekistan, a small country bordering Kazakhstan. I was pretty excited, but when the gun was fired I fell flat on my face after the first few steps. I’m not sure what happened, but I got up and finished the race. I wasn’t even close to being first, but I did manage to catch two people.

: What are your secret weapons for developing speed and improving as a runner?
K: I think the most important thing to improving as a runner is understanding your own unique needs. For me that means three things:

  1. Building a good foundation with 3 runs a week at 3:50 – 4:10/km pace and 7-12km range;
  2. Developing the ability to give everything I have with one track workout a week where I go all out; and
  3. Giving myself a lot of time to recover. I only run 4-5 times a week, which leaves 2-3 days for recovery. This helps me stay injury free and I never feel like crap when I start my workouts.

So overall its about consistency, the ability to give it your all, and leaving time for good recovery.

VP: What is your go-to pre-race meal?
K: I eat a good meal the night before. I don’t have a go-to for this, just anything that I feel like eating and that my body can easily digest. The morning of the race it’s just a banana and a cup of earl grey tea.

VP: And post-run?
K: After the race I’ll usually eat 1-2 bananas at the finish and then head to an Asian restaurant for some beef noodle soup and a hot bubble tea with milk.

VP: What is the West Van Run Crew and how can people join?
K: The West Van Run Crew is a group of people that enjoy running and hanging out with each other. Our official crew run is the Saturday #runtime, starting at 9:30 AM from Cafe Crema (Bellevue Ave and 15th St. in West Vancouver). The Saturday run is usually between 7-10km. We run rain or shine, year round and everyone is welcome to join. Simply show up and you’re part of the crew. After the run we always head to Cafe Crema! The crew also attends races and supports local initiatives together.

VP: Where can people connect with the crew online?
K: Follow @westvanrun on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. You can also join the West Van Run Crew on Facebook for weekly updates and check out our website.

VP: What’s next for you?
K: We’re already working on planning and promoting the 2016 West Van Run – Annual 5km and 10km Run/Walk of West Vancouver. This year West Van Run will be a 2-day event, with the 5K on Saturday, March 5th and 10K on Sunday, March 6th. Each day will also feature a 1K Kids Run. The course is quite amazing, as it covers Marine Drive, Bellevue Ave, the Village at Park Royal, Ambleside Park and West Vancouver Seawall.

Then there is also the Ambleside Mile, a one mile race through the streets of West Van. This one is on the first Saturday of June. Its great for both beginners and speedsters.

Ambleside Mile

My biggest takeaway from his training regimin was the art of simplicity and consistency. No fancy tricks, just a lot of intentional running workouts, nutrition, and generous recovery. One thing about Kirill is that no matter how fast he is, he is always humble and sees himself no different than any other runner.

If you want to connect with Kirill, check out his personal accounts:

twitter: @LeKirill
instagram: kirillsolovyev
snapchat: kirillsolovyev

paleo pumpkin loaf

Paleo-Friendly Pumpkin Loaf

paleo pumpkin loaf

Fall officially commences when Starbucks rolls out it’s infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte, along with the tempting pumpkin-laden creations like the Pumpkin Scone, Pumpkin Loaf, and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin. The problem? Apart from spending a small fortune on these tasty treats, even a short, non-fat PSL with no whipped cream holds 130 calories and an alarming 24g of sugar. While that may be a far better option than ordering a Venti, when you can make healthy pumpkin treats at a fraction of the cost, it’s a whole new level of satisfaction.

I absolutely adore pumpkin. It is a delicious sweet or savoury ingredient that is loaded with Vitamins C, E, A, Folate, Magnesium and Potassium. All the more reason to use it generously in your recipes this season.

Raw canned pumpkin is truly a breeze to bake with. My first attempt of the season was nearly perfect. A simple healthy pumpkin loaf that scratches that itch for pumpkin-spice-flavour.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine:

1 can raw pumpkin

2 free-range organic eggs

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce

2 tsp cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

5-10g organic stevia (1-2 packets)

1 tbsp psyllium husk fibre (chia seeds would work here too)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Pour mixture into a loaf tin and bake for 30-35 mins.

Let cool fully as it will be on the wet side at first. Store in sealed tupperware in the fridge. Enjoy with a hot cup of chai tea for optimal pleasure.