Back Again – Recap

I have been dormant for a while and for that I apologize but I am back and trying to get back into the swing of blogging. The school year had been coming to a close which meant lots of reading and writing and studying. Now after a week of recovery and relaxation I am back to give you all a fun recap of the past little while.

20140716-080301-28981438.jpgBack in March I started school again, heading back with the goal of becoming a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, since finishing my university degree years ago, heading back to school has been an interesting experience. I forgot just how exhausting using your brain on a regular basis could be, the program I am enrolled in is also a one year intensive so it is exactly that, intense.  But enough about school. I don’t have to think about that for another 10 weeks or so.

What have I been up to.  Well quite honestly school has taken up about 80% of my time, but in the mist of all that craziness I have managed to complete the 101 day Digestive Detox I started in the spring and I just wrapped up a 30 day yoga challenge with my yoga studio, so I thought figure I would do a little recap, and then I am hoping to start bringing you delicious recipes and fun workouts again really soon.

So the 101 days of clean eating is over and thank goodness.  It was great to know that I was able to remain 100% committed for the majority of the experiment, however it is even more fantastic to know that it is over!  I have discovered that I have a pretty good 80/20 balance and I am keen on committing to that.  I found that the full on 100% clean eating, no drinking etc. was a little too extreme and made me dig my heels in at some points.  But it is always great to push your boundaries to get to places that make you feel a little uncomfortable.  Now it is over and I am back to a nice balanced diet of healthy, live, fresh foods with the occasional glass of wine while sitting on my patio.

20140716-080301-28981108.jpgThe clean eating challenge wasn’t the only thing I was challenging myself with this spring, I also signed up for a 30 day detox yoga challenge.   Now this was an incredible experience.  After returning from my yoga teacher training in Costa Rica and enrolling in school I was finding it challenging to attend more than one or two yoga classes a week.  I realized that I wasn’t committing to myself, my personal development and my practice.   The 30 day challenge really helped me to refocus and to make my practice a priority.

20140716-080300-28980516.jpgMaking my own yoga practice a priority allowed me to be more creative with the classes I was creating for others and helped me to find a little clarity in the midst of school, training, half marathon training, my part-time jobs, family and friends.   This challenge also provided me a way to start becoming a part of the yoga community.   The studio I frequent here in Ottawa has a great yoga community but I always felt like I was in a rush so I never took the time to say hello and speak with others.  This challenge showed me that I have the time to say hello and make new friends.  I strongly recommend if your local yoga studio does a challenge like this you make the commitment to yourself and try it out.

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Now that all of the challenges are over I am settling back into my regular gym, running and yoga routine and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible.   I have also started teaching my first outdoor fitness class and it has to date been a complete blast!

All in all I am happy to say it is officially summer for me. I get some time to relax and rest before school starts up again in September, I get to do some yoga outside on Parliament hill and in my yoga studio and I have a half marathon to look forward to in August.  In the mean time I am going to be spending time catching up on my personal reading and spending time in the sun.

20140716-080301-28981809.jpgHappy Humpday everyone!

Question:  What types of recipes and workouts would you like to see in the future?

Weekend Round Up

This past weekend marked the yearly tea party my running buddy and I throw. This year out friends little ones are a bit older so it was much more exciting to cater to the miniatures.

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We picked a princess theme and got prepared to stuff people’s bellies have some tea and spend some time catching up. Seeing how I am still doing my 100 days of digestive clean up the food theme was fresh and detoxifying. The salads and chicken skewers were a hit and as always the mayo free deviled eggs and hummus were a crowd favorite.

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The adults had lots or fun food so I figured it was only fair to make sure the miniatures also had a healthy, organic variety of foods for them to choose from. We put it in a muffin tin so it was little a small buffet for them.

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Lots of chatting, eating and running after little ones made for a busy and fun afternoon. Once the party was over my co-party thrower and I were ready to put our feet up. It was a great afternoon and we were lucky enough to be left with lots of left overs so good prep this week was made super simple, besides having to take care of the protein portion of my meals for the week my veggies are completely taken care of which is a nice change of pace.

I hope you all had a great weekend and I hope you had as much luck with food prep as I did this weekend.

Happy Monday.

Monday Motivator

Well folks it is Monday once again. I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend and hopefully had some time to get outside sit under the sun and recharge your batteries. Now it is Monday and it is time to refocus (for me at least) get your plan ready and get ready for the week.

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I have recently signed up for a 30 day yoga challenge with my studio and I can’t wait for a the challenge and having the opportunity to be involved in a fun community building activity like this.

Sometimes in order to motivate yourself you need to become a part of a community to pull additional support and energy from other like minded individuals. Personally I feel like I really need this type of motivation to stay on track as the weather starts warming up so I am definitely excited to get started on this adventure. So for this week to keep me on track for my personal goals I am going to take this excitement and run with it.

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I wish you all a great Monday and a great week.

How are you getting yourself motivated this Monday?

Fooducation – Flax Seed

FIBER! What an exciting topic right? I know you are all chopping at the bit just waiting for me to get into the exciting world of fiber and flax seeds.  Probably not but I think this is a super interesting and important subject.  A lot of the time in a bid to increase your fiber intake people reach for that box of bran assuming that it is the best and healthiest option.   Truth is bran is really rough on your insides.  Sure it does the job and gets things moving and keeps things regular, but it almost does too good of a job and really ends up doing a number to your intestinal walls.

So if bran isn’t the best option where does that leave you? Well there are actually a massive number of different foods that will help you hit your daily fiber requirements and will help to keep you “regular” as they say but for the sake of today’s post I have chosen flax seeds because they are more than just fiber.

Flax seeds are all over the place these days they come in a variety of different forms: whole seeds, ground seeds and oil.  The versatility of this seed makes it super easy to incorporate into your regular every day meal plans without too much effort and will hopefully only really provide you with some happy healthy benefits.  I say hopefully because everyone is different and people can be allergic or react poorly to anything, so test it out for yourself and see how you’re feeling.

So why is flax so great?

  1. In it’s seed form the body can’t really digest it so it helps to clean out your digestive track and promotes healthy movement of food particles and whatever else is left over in there, helping to keep you regular or get things moving where they once were stalled.
  2. It is full of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.  Omega 3 is one of the essential fatty acids that we just don’t get enough of in our diets.  Sure they have things like omega 3 enriched eggs, milk and whatever other products they have out there, but really the best way to get omega is from the source itself.  So foods like flax, fish, and supplements are often the best route. Increasing your Omega 3 levels will not only help on the keeping your regular side of things, it will help in the body’s metabolism of fat and can aid in providing some relief due to inflammation.  As a runner I can vouch for the latter, I notice a substantial difference in the state of my knees when I increase my Omega 3 intake, I do this by adding flax to my smoothies, salads, granola.   In order to get the Omega 3 benefits from flax seed it is best not to cook it, cooking flax denatures the fats.
  3. Flax contains lignans which are linked to helping reduce the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.  These same lignans might also help relieve some symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes.
  4. Flax oil is a great alternative to olive oil or nut oils when making your own salad dressing.  It might not be full of fiber but it is full of Omega 3s and has it’s own unique nutty flavour, it makes a great addition to your cold oil choices.
  5. Flax is a soluble fiber so it has the chance of helping to lower your cholesterol and risk of heart disease.

All of this being said it is important to note that not everything works for anyone.  If you are using flax seed to increase Omega 3 it is important to start off slow and gradually increase the amount you are consuming, because remember it is full of fiber and will therefore act almost laxative like in larger doses.  If the goal is to “clean” your system out larger amounts might be what you are looking for.   Just be sure to take care in finding out what works for you and your body.

It is also important to note that milled or ground flax seeds and flax oil should be kept in the fridge or somewhere cold.  Their make up is pretty finicky and can easily become denatured, which means it might be better to buy whole flax seed and grind them up on your own.  But once again play around with what works for you, if pre-ground seeds is what works for you just be sure to store them in the fridge and be aware of their expiry date.

So that is a brief round up of the glories of the all mighty mini flax seed.   If you have any other foods you are interested in learning a bit more about let me know and I would be more than happy to write up a post.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Food Friday – Freezer Meals

I have talked a load about meal prep in the past so I don’t want to get into that today. I do however want to give some food making time saving ideas.

Recently I have gone back to school and started teaching yoga, all while keeping my day job and yup meal prep can often feel like the last thing I want to do but I know in the long run it will save me some time. So after speaking with a good friend we settled on a great way to do meal prep and keep some variety in our lives.

Starting with just the two of us writing emails back and forth figuring out our guidelines we formed a little two person freezer meal group.

What’s a freezer meal group? It is a group where people with common interests in food get together and bulk make some meals for sharing. When we stared our group we agreed on a couple things:

1. We would make healthy clean meals
2. We would give the other members of the group the power to say no to certain ingredients or meals as a whole. For dietary restriction reasons and taste, no one wants to get stuck with something they can’t or won’t eat.
3. Portion would have to be enough for a meal and left overs for a second meal. We also got specific on the size of dish for casseroles and such, we picked something that would be easy to make and still provide enough food.
4. We would exchange food stuffs once a month.

Pretty simple right! It has also been fun to challenge myself to keep finding tasty healthy meals that will do well in the freezer and it has saved me am infinite amount of time.

Now this idea isn’t a new one and it isn’t something I came up with off the top of my head. I have seen multiple blog posts about it but to be honest it always looked like more trouble than it was worth. Perhaps it was because those groups always had a minimum of 4 people and they always seemed to cook together.

Either way we have found something that works for us and I am sure happy we did. On nights where I have my own gym session, am teaching a yoga class and still have to come home and study meals that can just be popped into the oven have saved my life. Also knowing that the meals are clean and healthy makes me feel even more excited about their convince.

Just another example about how clean eating doesn’t have to be hard and complicated.

Have you ever tried something like this? Would you be interested in hearing more about this or what types of meals we make? I would love to hear back from you.

Happy Friday!

Clean Eating Update

I am coming into my 34th day of clean eating from my Digestive Spring Clean and I am starting to feel pretty fantastic.  I was able to stick to my clean eating program while sick, and in all likelihood it probably helped me to recover from my cold a lot faster than I would have normally.

After getting over my sugar withdraw everything has been pretty spectacular.   My eczema (reappearance from my not so optimal food choices) is almost all cleared up, my digestive system is starting to feel way less taxed than normal (less bloating and general uncomfortableness), my face is clearing up and a whole bunch of other positive benefits like more energy and better sleep.

I also think my new organic food delivery has a lot to do with this.  Yes, I am eating clean and changing my diet has a lot to do with starting to feel better and yes, I have started taking my vitamins and supplements again. However the food box that is delivered opens me up to a larger variety of different organic and non-GMO products.  I mean when I do the groceries I load up on vegetables and fruits but being completely honest I go for the same ones time and time again.  With the food box I get a varied assortment of different fruits and vegetables that I would likely only buy on occasion or never (what do you do with a star fruit?) Which leads me to an important part of clean eating, which is mixing it up.

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I find that when I start modifying my eating I end up finding a handful of things that work for me and then just stick with them until I become so sick of them I pretty much never want to eat them again.  Not only do I get bored of the foods I am eating but I am also limiting the type and amount of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) that I am feeding my body.

Our bodies are complicated amazing things that require support from a wide array of nutrients to function and if we want our bodies to function optimally we, as the owners of said bodies, have to do what we can to provide ourselves with a variety from various sources.

So give it a try this week. When you are doing your weekly grocery for the up coming week try and add two items (fruit or vegetable wise) to your cart that you normally wouldn’t select.   Pick something bright and colourful, or maybe it is that yucca everyone is always talking about.   Regardless of what it is try two new things, maybe make it a bit of a challenge for yourself, picking more and more and more new things each week to keep a healthy mix of vegetables and fruits in your diet, who knows you might find a new favorite food.

Happy Thursday Everyone!

 

Monday Motivation

So as mentioned last week after two consecutive weeks in a row of forgetting my weekend round up I thought it would be more fun for everyone to receive some motivational posts on Mondays.

I personally find Mondays to be extremely important in setting the tone for my week. Although I am no longer the type of person who waits until Monday to start something (clean eating, a new exercise plan, a book, etc.) I do still find that what I do on a Monday helps to set me up for the rest of the week. This is why I make sure to follow through with my meal plan selection and hit the gym/yoga studio before the day is up.

So I thought providing you all with some motivation on Monday would help maybe give you that little nudge to keep you striving for your goals.

It is important to know that when it comes to a lifestyle change or a health and fitness journey motivation is often for much more than simply exercise. We all need to stay motivated to keep ourselves moving towards our dreams, our aspirations in life. Never stop doing because every choice, every success, and every hiccup helps to mold us into the people we are and the people we want to be.

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