Friday, August 29, 2008

Labour Day Weekend Kickoff

It's labour day long weekend. Did you know that it's roots are in the 8 hour Labour movement- 8 hours for work, 8 hours for recreation and 8 hours for rest? See the Wikipedia article on Labour day for more information. This site even claims that Canada gave the world Labour Day- isn't that a lofty claim? I think there were millions of people around the world in different countries who wanted a day of rest just as badly as Canadians do.

With that in mind, what are you doing to rest this weekend? To reward yourself for all your hard work throughout the year? We were going to head out and do some more surfing, but with the forecast for 11C temperature with rain, we will not. Even a dry suit wouldn't get me in that water- I'd have to wear a parka under it.

This week has been great at work, but busy- so I will be taking advantage and sleeping in on Saturday to restore some energy and balance. Sunday of course I will do my long run- 16k this time around. This last week I caught up on my mileage (kilometerage for Canucks) on the road for training for the half-marathon. I logged 18k in the last 3 days, including hill training which entailed running up and down the same hill 7 times consecutively. The runs have been in the mornings, when the moon and stars are still out.
My meals this week have been a little different as I'm studying up on Ayurveda, which I will post more on once I get my head around some specifics on nutrition and fitness. Today my meals are as follows:
7am: 6 egg whites omlette with 1 mushroom and 1/4 pepper cooked in 1Tbsp coconut oil, 1/4c creamy rice cereal, 1Tbsp raisins, 1Tbsp salba, 1c black coffee
11am: 3oz grilled chicken breast, 1/2c beans/rice mixture, 3Tbsp salsa
3pm: 3oz grilled chicken breast, 8oz raw bell pepper mixture
7pm: 3oz tuna, 6 oz lettuce salad, 2Tbsp salad dressing
9pm: optional 1/2c plain, non-fat yogurt, 1 scoop Optimum Whey Protein Powder (Vanilla) if I feel hungry
I am eating every 4 hours instead of every 2.5-3hours according to the Pitta (my dosha) metabolism cycle. I've also cut out a lot of the foods that throw Pitta's into imbalance like raw carrots and tomatoes.
Why did I switch it up? Because I'm striving for balance now- for a wholistic health. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same results: and so maybe to prove I'm not insane I'm trying something different than my weights-heavy fitness and a new eating schedule. I'm still gaining weight at an alarming speed, while sticking to a strict, clean meal plan and training schedule. Perhaps this will ease my system into equilibrium and stop the inexplicable gain.
Happy, Peaceful Resting!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happiness is not a Fish you can catch

Maybe I'm aging myself by admitting how much I love the title of that song by Our Lady Peace.
In my morning trolling, I came across an article about FUN. How great to have something other than the latest gang bust or traffic accident begin my day. Dr. Mercola's feature talks specifically about the importance of creating play time in a married relationship, but I would like to extend that idea further- into every relationship you are a part of. There is no relationship that would not benefit from laughter, joy and excitement.
When I read this, I thought about the last time I had actually hunted for fun- when was the last time I put action to my lust for a good time? In my recent memory, I hadn't actually actively sought a new fun experience for me and my partner to try. The last time I threw a mocktail party at work to diffuse the pressure of the workplace was months ago. I have not been scheduling enough play time in my life. Have you?
Like your 'to do' list today-must work out, cook dinner, get mail, finish project, make phone call- you and I must put action into effecting an outcome of fun. I'm going to start a Jade's Fun Day at home and at work, once a month each. Each month I'll research something new to try, something my partner and I can learn and play in together. I think it will be great to surprise him once a month with a new activity- paintballing, hiking, biking, cooking lessons etc. And I'll do the same with my colleagues at work- research and plan an activity- even if it's bowling down the aisles between offices for 20 min, or bringing my clubs to work to putt around.
If you're thinking-I don't have time for that- what do you have time for? You have time for a grocery list, but not to smile with your friends and family? If you're thinking- what could I get out of it? Check your balance- is your life whole? Do you feel fullfilled, joyous and 'into' it? Try scheduling some fun and you'll see it's an investment worth making.
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." Dalai Lama

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Homemade GF Protein Bars

Home-made (GF) Protein Bars (makes 8)
modified from MagicPunt on's Protein Bar Recipe Forum- Cred dude!
8 scoops of your favorite protein powder (I used Optimum Whey, Vanilla Ice Cream)
3 cups GF oats
1 package (4 serving) fat free, sugar free Jello pudding (your favorite flavor to compliment the protein powder, I used butterscotch)
1.5 cups milk (more or less to determine consistency of the bar)
Spray an 8x8 baking dish with your fave non-stick method (Pam, oil etc.) Scoop mixture into dish, bake at 200F for 60min. You can refrigerate them instead of baking them, but they don't hold up in bar form that way unless very cold. Baking them dries them for greater portability. The texture is not as chewy/hard as packaged bars, they are more similar to a chewy oatmeal cookie rather than a bar. I would try using a cookie sheet instead of a dish next time, for a flatter bar. Cooking time would then decrease, almost in half I would imagine.
The macros for these, according to the forum are: 3g fat 28g carbs 29g protein 257 calories I made these for our recent waterskiing trip. The beach is the worst place for proper nutrition unless you are totally prepared. I made these days ahead of time, and threw them in the cooler frozen. They kept well in my beach bag while I lounged reading Stephanie Meyers' Twighlight saga. They are a meal replacement, not a snack- and should only be used when good, wholesome foods are not available. In addition to these, I packed bottled water to the beach and plenty of fresh vegetables- I do prefer the crunch of a fresh garden carrot to an oily potatoe chip-truly. So my diet was clean on this trip. My family is even beginning to accept my 'different' eating patterns and habits and didn't put up a fuss when I ate my oatmeal for breakfast rather than the bacon, eggs, hasbrowns spread they enjoyed.
The trip was astounding- how rejuvenating to get back to nature and enjoy my family and friends- not to mention being pulled behind a speedboat or racing on the Seadoo (hey-it can beat most boats on the water). Nothing suits me better than my wetsuit, matching lifejacket and ski gloves. I hid behind big sweaters and shorts on the beach when I was out of my ski gear- still not confident in myself at all. Bad BAD body image...but no fear- I have a plan of action towards a postive end- more on that later.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I am taking the savvy advice from my friends on and taking a week off of training. If I had my way, it would be a week off in that tranquil setting above, but meh- a girls gotta pay the bills. I'm already noticing that my temper is shorter and I have energy to burn- anxious energy I normally get out in the gym. I'm also sooooo not hungry- I get to my planned meals and sigh *eat again?*. My diet is perfectly clean; it has to be with no training. Even so, I'm getting about 1900cal/day, which is quite a bit. Here's the breakdown:
Meal 1: 6 egg whites, 1/2c GF oats with splenda and cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg
Meal 2: 3oz tuna, 1c fresh blueberries, 1Tbsp Kraft Sundried Tomatoe Low-fat dressing
Meal 3: 3oz chicken breast grilled (plain), 1/3c lentils+rice, 1Tbsp ketchup
Meal 4: 3oz turkey burger, 8oz raw carrots, 3Tbsp salsa
Meal 5: 3oz chicken breast grilled (plain), 6oz steamed broccoli, 1Tbsp dijon mustard
Meal 6: 1/2c plain, non-fat yogurt with 1 scoop Optimum Whey Vanilla Ice Cream protein.
Yes, I have changed back to whey protein from soy protein after emailed Optimum Nutrition and inquired about their Gluten Free status. They were happy to provide information about their products, and said that all of their protein powder is gluten free- except Cookies&Cream which has actual cookies in the protein mix. My taste buds are re-adjusting to the whey flavour as I got to really enjoy soy.
Let's hope this period of rest heals my pinched nerve and weakened knees and restores my drive for training. Oh- and let's hope that one day, I can lounge in that fab spa (this girl can dream!)

Monday, August 18, 2008


Well, normally weeks lay ahead of me with promise- every day is mapped out to include what I'll eat, when I'll eat it, how much it will be (weighed and portioned of course) and what training I will do each day. As I sat before my planner this morning, trying to create my weekly plan I felt like my heart wasn't into it. I'm not seeing the results I would like, my body is tired and aching and now injured. What good is it all? Why am I so involved in my meal plan and training? I really don't know what I'm getting out of it except frustration and a knock to the self-confidence. How can I be doing 50min cardio/day plus weight training, eating healthy and gaining weight? My nutritionist alluded that I must be eating more than I'm burning in order to be gaining weight- and I am hurt. I am sticking to the meal plan and certainly not ingesting enough calories to warrant a weight gain by eating. F*(&.
After hauling furniture into my Grandparents' new home this weekend, and running my 14k on Sunday, my body is seized up like the Tin Man without his oil can. I can't move my neck or twist my torso. My knees are aching each step I take and I can't carry weight heavier than my keys in my right hand (or type too long) without having it send a shooting pain into my neck and back. There is no strength in it's grip- I can't carry a darn thing.
So what to do? I'm at a choice point- carry on with my training although it will hurt like grinding gears, or rest and risk the feared weight gain?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trail, Tranny or Track: Gym Style

Apparel at the Olympic games in Beijing is incredible to study; the different high performance fabrics and dynamic designs. Each sport has it's own unique, regulated sportswear: speedos for the men's synchronized diving (curious, I know) and for women's beach volleyball, unitards for men and women's swimming, and the conservative, by comparison, (and my fave) women's tennis skirts and collared shirts (complete with rhinestones and visor). Looking around the gym today I noticed there are varying styles gracing the mats and equipment there as well. These are just three of the types I saw- though there are many depending on what generation you are in- I could go into those in the future. I also only focus on women's apparel today, saving the men's apparel post for another day.
These ladies have been graced with a naturally slim physique; like my beautiful sister, they can down s'mores for supper and maintain a cellulite-free back-end and flat stomach. These ladies are my frenemies- I love/hate them. Mostly because I wish my physique looked as stylish in black tights and a trendy (probably hemp) screened-t. With shoes that cross over from the trail to the treadmill, they sport long, sun-kissed hair and a spattering of freckles across their sun-glazed bridge. I don't see many Trails in the weight section, they prefer the cardio equipment and the mats for bosu stability workouts. When finished their workout, they grab a fair-trade mocha (fat and sugar ok because it tastes better) and trail-mix granola bar. Driving away in their ironically fossil-fuel guzzling a) Land Rover b) Jeep or c) X-terra they daydream about their next hike in K-country. They may wander in next week for another workout- or not.
Not afraid to pick up a weight heavier than the guy pumping next to her, she is a seasoned gym aficionado. Yoga wear is the only option for the gym, allowing her to lovingly gaze at her form in the mirror during shoulder presses. Curvier than the Trail girls, these ladies know the difference between lean muscle tone and skinny-fat. They may seem intimidating as hell to talk to, mechanically progressing from bench to weight set and back, they are really wondering why the heck no one speaks to them at all. Perhaps its the full-face make-up they took the trouble to apply before their sweat-session, or the headphones they consistently wear in their jewellery-laden ears. There are, of course, in any of these Trail, Tranny and Track silos wannabe's. Don't be fooled by a bopper on the elliptical, dressed much like the Tranny- she's a wannabe. Tranny's don't bounce on an elliptical- actually, I mostly see them with the guys (another reason they come across as unapproachable) in the weight section. After seemingly not to break a sweat (although it's just the ridiculously expensive gym wear wicking it away) they immediately down a pre-portioned carbohydrate/protein combination post-workout shake in a shaker. And they wonder if tomorrow they'll make a friend in the gym- because you know they'll be there tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that...

Lastly, the trackies- named as such for their laughably short shorts (but they pull it off). Breezing into the gym with their hair tightly smacked back into a ponytail, with about 3 headbands on they mean business. With quads the size of the average man's (the average man's quads are small enough to look good on a woman who knows how to squat) they'll hit the treadmill first (and probably exclusively). Her connections to the local varsity team (and probably wearing one her varsity boyfriends' sweaty shirt from last night's game) ensure you don't want to get in her way. Perky as fizz in your lemon-soda, she's a gem but like that soda- that perk will go flat if you don't let her work in on the leg press (her second fave machine behind that treadmill). Her shoes have more support than the sports bra she's wearing to flatten those a-cups. Usually under 5'7" trackies are the curviest of the trio, but only due to their overly developed lower body. Driven and focused they are certainly stuck on the same exercise program they've been doing since high school. Leaving the gym, she is texting their varsity boy toy to complain about how you f$%&ed up her workout.
So, that said: which are you? And yes, I definitely fall squarely into one of these categories.
Any other additions to this trio you see in your gym?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

GF Lemon Ricotta Tart

I have to admit, I'm an internet-troll. I troll the internet looking for bits and pieces that I'd like to try, and normally end up combining two or three different recipes to create one I like. I also modify most of my recipes by using grapeseed oil or vegetable oil instead of butter, and of course gluten free flour mixes for regular flours. This recipe is an example of taking several recipes and making them "Jade-friendly" or for "you-friendly" if you want to cut the fat and calories and eliminate gluten in your fave baking.

I started with a tub of ricotta left over from some spinach-stuffed portabello mushrooms (recipe on it's way!). I wanted to try ricotta in a sweet dish as I have always used it for more savory recipes. A search on my favorite
tool, the Food Blog Search returned many ricotta tart recipes. I choose this one to use for the filling, because of it's simplicity. And I choose this one to use for the crust. With my modifications, the recipe is below.
I will change the recipe next time I make it, perhaps use more lemon zest in the filling, and potentially add coconut to the almond crust to enhance the flavour of the lemon. The texture of the filling is not as creamy as a marscapone filling, but nice and light.

Lemon Ricotta Tart with Almond Crust (GF)
Almond Tart or Pie Crust modified from the Gluten Free Goddess
1 cup ground almond meal
3/4 cup agave nector or honey
2 Tbsp egg whites (or 1 egg white), beaten
1 Tbsp applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salta
dash of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Using your fave non-stick method, prepare a tart pan (I use coconut oil). Mix ground almonds, sugar, egg, extract, salt & spice. Spread the almond mixture into the pie plate and press lightly to form a crust. You may put dry beans on top of the crust to keep it flat while baking- similar to using pie weights. Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes, until the crust is firm. Cool before filling.

Lemon Ricotta Filling
modified from Once Upon a Cakestand
grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 4 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 whole eggs (don't subsitute on this)
3/4c agave nectar
Icing sugar- for garnish
Place all ingredients in a food processor and mix until combined. Pour into cooled almond crust and bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 min, until the filling is set. Cool and dust with icing sugar.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Importance of Goal Setting

Pounding the pavement for 12k yesterday put my legs into a crying state; a good stretch after helped a little but I'll be certain to take 1tsp of glutamine after my workouts and at bedtime to help the muscle and joint repair. Mondays I usually drive right into my training, start the week off hard and set a standard for the rest of the week- train hard and rest on the weekend. But I realized yesterday that it didn't make sense to rush into training today- my lower body needs a recovery. So instead of setting the goal to set the high standard of hard training during weekdays, today my goal my to simply relax. To bring to conciousness the importance of recovery and breathing. Tensions from work and grad school, in combination of the constant anxiety about dieting and training made me a little vibrating generator of nerves this morning. So to combat the stress, I wrote in the goal section of my training log one word: Relax.
Each day I set a mini-goal to achieve- whether it be a time on a run, a distance or reps on a final set. Some days it is to stay out of that damned peanut butter jar. Today's goal was just as important to my health as any other. When I saw the word, Relax, written on the top of my page as I trained bis/tris/chest today (no cardio at all!) I calmed my breathing, concentrated on the contraction and release of my muscles as I lifted and got an increadible mind-muscle connection out of my workout.
Now, as I sit in front of my desk, strewn with marketing proofs, proposal deadlines and watch the voicemail in my telephones inbox pile up as I deal with it all my goal for the day remains in the forefront. Breathe, and relax.
It's nice to achieve a little something everyday, on the way towards larger goals I have set for myself. Make one for yourself today- and complete it. Simple. Rewarding.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


So far a good way to begin a shortened week- I hope all Canadians enjoyed a wonderful long weekend this weekend.

5 km, 30 min in AM
Back/Shoulders split weight training
15 min 4.0 speed, 7.0 incline treadmill walking.

I am encouraged this week; my meal plan is changing again to trick my metabolism into working- thanks again to my brilliant nutritionist who keeps the surprises coming. I don' t know how I could do this without him- I honestly would have no clue what is going on with my recovery if he wasn't counselling me so well.

A point of interest: Tosca Reno is coming out of fitness competition retirement. I read this with mixed emotions. I admire Tosca for making health and fitness so appealing to every person, especially to busy women who have tried every unhealthy dieting fad that is out there. She lectures clean eating and an active lifestyle to maintain your health and vitality for your lifetime. So when she announced that she would be competing in a master's fitness competition, I was proud and very excited for her- she is gorgeous and will do well. But I also thought about the mixed message her followers may be getting. A competition diet is not healthy, and the training can be too intense- your body goes through the ringer while prepping for a contest. It is unrealistic to follow her competition diet and training regime and maintain the healthy lifestyle she advocates. So while she takes this meaningful, rewarding journey, I hope her readers understand the irony of it all.