Wednesday, May 5, 2010

At Work Meals-How To

It's not easy packing your daily meals and snacks to work, to play, or on a road trip. A little planning and you'll find great success in your meals- committing even 1 hour on the weekend to some prep for the week will make your goals attainable. Here's a glimpse into how I use preparation on the weekend to create easy meals during the week.
1. Once home from the grocery store, immediately wash and cut your vegetables, and store. Then make a batch of hummus for the week. I divide the hummus into individual containers as I need it.
2. Next, just mix a bunch up into take-away containers for a couple days at a time. Here I've created two days' worth of veggie sticks to go. When they run out, I'll head back to my veg stash to make more. Also, the pre-cut and washed veg can be chopped for evening salads!
3. Lunch right now is a salad. So I create a protein combo on the weekend with a pot of rice, and some beans. This week I mixed them with Jalepeno peppers and some corn for the 'meat' of the salad for the entire week.
4.Thrown over some spinach, that concoction becomes my lunch for the day.
5. Then it's onto my morning snack- my beloved hot cereal, either oats or creamy rice. Every other day I make a pot of 2 servings, and divvy it up into two containers.
And that's it. I throw some Vega into a bottle every morning, and add it all together for my day's worth of healthy, whole foods. Wherever I go, my lunch bag goes with me.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Weekly Nutrition

So this is again, pretty simple. I'll post again later today, showing the process of getting all this food ready for the week. It's easy to stick to a plan, when you prep ahead of time.

Breakfast: Greenie Smoothie (includes big handfuls of spinach, 1c frozen berries, 1 frozen banana and water.) If I have a high-activity day then I add about 1/8c raw organic uncontaminated (gluten-free) oats or 1Tbsp hemp seeds.
Mid-Morning: 1/2 c (measured raw) uncontaminated oats, or 1/8c (measured raw) creamy rice cereal. Cutting out the raisins this week- I tend to reduce sugar the week of my period to reduce carb cravings.
Lunch: 2/3c beans and rice mixture, 2c organic green leafy salad with oil and vinegar dressing
Mid-Afternoon: 2c raw vegetables (broccoli and carrots), and 1/2c hummus
Supper: Big Salad! with toppings like avocado and sunflower seeds
Post Work-out: 1/2 serving plain vega in water

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Weekly Training

Monday: 30 min plyometrics, 30 min elliptical
Tuesday: 30 min incline treadmill walk
Wednesday: 30 min day shred level 1, 30 elliptical
Thursday: 30 min heart opening flow
Friday: 30 min heart opening yoga, 30 min bike
Saturday: Moksha yoga
Sunday: OFF
I was super low in iron this week- and therefore super low in energy. Gotta get nutrition in, or I can't get my workouts in.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekly Training

Squeeking in as much activity as I can get- I knew it would be a wild week, with my days starting with meetings as early as 7am (yes, full skirt, hose and heels meeting at 7am across the city), out of town client trips and a trade fair. I put all of my workouts in my calendar every Sunday, so I prepped last week. But I over-estimated my body's capacity for activity during such a stressful week and flexed a lot on my activity level to allow for rest:
Monday-30 min elliptical, 20 min plyo
Tuesday- 30 min yoga
Wednesday-30min yoga, Run outside 31 min (4.5km) see the picture
Thursday-looooong bike ride (15km)
Friday- 75 min Baptiste Vinyasa Flow (hot yoga)
Sunday- Off
My Wednesday run was to be the beginning of my outdoor running club at work- I've enlisted 3 other runners who want to workout with me at lunch hours- and they all 'forgot' their workout gear the first run- didn't stop me from getting out. I just got to map our first run for us, hopefully coming up this next week.

Now I'm off to put my workouts for my upcoming week into my calendar. Are you prepped for your week?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Weekly Nutrition: On my Feet

Prepare your stomach and digestive tract for the day- start it with a room-temperature glass of water, with 1/2 lemon squeezed into it. I do it every morning and have had great results. (My husband loves it too, calling it 'lemonade'). He doesn't know it's good for him...heehee
Then onto my daily routine of goods:
Breakfast- Greenie Smoothie (so easy to put together in a rush)
Mid-morning- More Greenie Smoothie (in my new Pure canteen) or a fresh apple and about 20 almonds.
Lunch-Salad, or raw vegetables with hummus.
Mid-afternoon- fresh fruit and vegetables
Post Work-out- Vega
Very tricky week to get everything in- my meal times correspond to a client trip out of town, working a trade fair all day and other meetings. So it's convenience food, or food I can eat on my feet quickly, or in my car safely. None of those are any of the Top Ten Foods that Cause Car Accidents (MSN, 2010).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekly Training

Monday: 30 min Heart Opening yoga flow, 20 min treadmill incline walk, 15 min bike sprints
Tuesday: Level 2 30 Day Shred (Jillian Michaels DVD) , 20 walk, 20 elliptical
Wednesday: OFF
Thursday: 30 min Hip Opening Yoga, 20 treadmill incline walk, 15 min bike
Friday: 35min treadmill incline walk, Level 3 30 Day Shred (Jillian Michaels DVD)
Saturday: Light, 3km bike ride with T. 1 small incine. about 25 min.
Sunday: Bike adventure (12.33km in 49:56min)
A balanced week, I took 2 days off training, forgoing my usual Saturday Moksha Yoga class (75min, hot) because I hadn't slept more than 6 hours a night any night this week. I was irritable and grouchy and needed rest. And besides we picked up our bikes from Pure Cycle that afternoon and got to take our first ride!
This morning I was so excited to hop on and explore. Specifically, I wanted to begin mapping my neighborhood, and all the places I want to bike to. The first one being my workplace. Too bad it figures out to be about a 11.1km one-way trip, with a coulee in between. I went halfway then turned home- didn't want the shame of calling T to come get me once I got there, since I don't think I had it in me to do all 22.2km today. Maybe next week? stoked to do it one day though.

What goals have you set for yourself this summer? If you haven't yet, it may be a better time to than New Years since you have the support of the sunshine and fresh air.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Weekly Nutrition

This is a treat I had this morning, half a gluten free bagel with yogurt-cheese sweetened with agave nectar and cinnamon. The recipe for that is on it's way!
But my week broke down into this daily:
Breakfast: Greenie Smoothie (spinach, frozen berries, banana, water)
Mid-Morning: 1/2c oats, raisins
Lunch: Salad, 1/2c rice and beans
Mid-Afternoon: 2c raw vegetables (mostly broccoli and carrots) and hummus (less than 1/4c)
Supper: Big Salad! (includes 1/2 avocado, sunflower seeds, spinach, lettuce and other random veg)
Post-Workout (usually after my second workout at 1030am)- 1/2 serving Vega Whole Health Optimizer plain flavour.

Saturday's I've noticed I eat a little differently because of the convinience of being close to my kitchen and all my fresh vegetables. It's not a 'cheat day', but it is a 'flex day'- straying slightly from my 'plan' you can see above, but adhering to the core of my philosophy on food- fun and fresh! So here is another example of a sampling platter I made for myself yesterday. And, it was my first patio meal of the year! Hurrah!
On the plate is an assortment of veggies, some fresh grapes, gluten-free seed crackers and hummus. Accompanied by 0 calorie (my vice, diet drinks) black cherry soda water, Body+Soul and Clean Eating mags...and SUNSHINE! Sun makes everything taste better.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekly Training

Monday: 45min Ultimate Fat Burn DVD
Tuesday: 60 Hot Power Fusion Yoga
Wednesday: 1h yoga sculpt class
Thursday: 25 min plyo's, 20 min elliptical hill, 15 min treadmill incline walk
Friday: 30 min sun salutations (vigorous vinyasa), 20min elliptical hills, 15 bike intervals
Saturday: hot yoga class?
Sunday: Level 1 30 Day Shred (Jillian Michaels DVD)

Weekly Nutrition

Last week I was still lovin' the green movement so here goes:

Breakfast: 1 Green Monster (Banana, berries, spinach, water)
Mid-morning: 1/2c oatmeal with raisins
Lunch: Salad, 1/2c beans and rice
Mid-afternoon: raw veg sticks and hummus
Supper: Big salad
Post work-out: 1 scoop Vega Whole Health Optimizer (plain)
I had pancakes on Sunday, and made some almond butter cookies that night and had a few as my treat for the week.

This week upcoming is going to be awesome- I'm hosting a huge event on Wednesday for work, and won't get much time for snacking healthly or drinking my water, but I'm determined to do it. Plan plan ahead.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Post-Yoga Snack

After a nice long cool shower, I refueled after my Moksha Yoga class at my absolute favorite studio in Calgary, with this. A nice little snacking plate. I love finger food- I think it's a throwback to the sports parties my awesome Dad used to throw when we were kids. We'd get little plates and get to fill them up with all sorts of nibblies. This reminds me of those days.
Fuel for my body included 1 large (and I mean HUGE) ambrosia apple (BC! Go British Columbia fruit!), about 10 unsalted almonds, 1 sunflower butter corn cake sandwich (about 1/2 Tbsp sun butter) and 1 corn cake smeared with 1/2 tsp of coconut butter (a fave pick from Blush Lane Organics I'll review later this week). Alongside you can see my huge mason jar with water to rehydrate. Fresh food, combining protein, fat and carbs.
For more ideas on nourishing yourself post-yoga, in an intentional way (to carry on the yoga-bliss) then check out this post by Yoga Bear.
Lovin' this day. How is yours going?

Almond Breeze- a Tall Girl Now

Look at her! Isn't she gorgeous? That carton of unsweetened, original Almond Breeze is almost 2L! It was by far my best find at Planet Organic this week. Normally I breeze through 2 of their smaller cartons in no time, so this is going to be rich. Thanks Almond Breeze for reducing packaging and delivering a consumer (and I mean frequent consumer) friendly size.
Beside that tall girl is the Green Monster I whipped up for breakfast on my way to Moksha Yoga (75 min class this am).
It contained:
-1/2c Unsweetened Original Almond Breeze
-1 medium banana
-1/2c frozen blueberries
-1/2 scoop of Vega Whole Food Optimizer (for the energy of the added maca)
-2 handfuls of spinach
-1 Tbsp agave
-dash of cinnamon
-dash of vanilla
This one tasted a lot like I had added the Vanilla Chai Vega, rather than the unflavoured. I like that I can mix and match taste any day with an unflavoured powder.
Off to burn burn burn in hot Moksha Yoga class

Friday, April 9, 2010


Hm...Still liking the smoothie for breakfast. Today's included
2 Tbsp hemp hearts
1 medium banana
2c spinach
2/3c frozen blueberries
almond milk (about 1/4c)

What I love about these Green Monsters is that my stomach, and therefore my mind and body doesn't feel full and heavy after breakfast, but I know that I've had a lot of good dense nutrients to fill my mornings. Have you tried them yet?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fresh Workout: 25 min AM Plyo's

Felt like movin' this morning and was inspired to create my own little plyo based workout. So I busted out of bed this morning and just started kickin' my own butt doing the following. Try this out, or just start movin' your body to how it feels good.
Fresh Workout included- (image from
Arm circles
Backwards lunges
Shoulder Circles
Pilates leg arrows
Standing side crunches
Knee ups
Boxer shuffle
Ballet arms
Side Kicks
Upper cuts
Skate side jumps
Up and Downs
Tri push ups
Back extensions
Shoulder presses
Mix it all up, do each for at least 30 seconds, repeat on other side if needed. Random, mix it up. Borrow from your fave DVD.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Weekly Training-Managing Grief

What does grief look like in your life? When imaging this post, I thought I could either post a picture of a big old bowl of ice cream and call it 'managing grief' or I could post a pic of my Garmin's screen of a kick-a@$ run and call it the same. That helped me choose- working out over pigging out. My Grandma's funeral was Sunday and I'm dealin' as best I can.
So here is how the last week broke down:
Monday: 30 min morning yoga, 35 min treadmill incline walk
Tuesday: 30 min yoga, 45 min run
Wednesday: 35min bike intervals
Thursday: OFF
Friday: 45min exercise DVD
Saturday: 7k run (outside! oh the sun is here)
Sunday: 3k walk (outside!)

I had wanted to do a hot yoga class, but I couldn't fit it into my schedule. I'm a little erratic on what I do for workouts, but the most important thing is consistency. I'm out there everyday, getting moving. And that is health.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Little Raw Today: Greenie

Here it first Green Monster...Angela is doing it, and so is Kath...
This is part of my flirting with a more raw food, and more vegan lifestyle.
It was hard to think about not diving into my favorite egg white breakfast this morning, but once I started assembling this monster, I got a little excited about it.
In the humble little blender this morning went
1. frozen strawberries (local, organic)
2. fresh spinach
3. almond milk (about 1/2c)
4. frozen banana
It made a huge amount, keeping me well satiated until my scheduled morning snack. It tasted good- believe me. No 'green' flavor at all. And I had BOUNDLESS energy this morning- whether that's because of an awesome sleep last night, 2 cups of coffee or this greenie I don't know (and don't want to perform isolated trials to figure it out).
I'm waiting to see if the sugars (natural, but sugar none the less) will give me a headache later in the day as they have done before. So far so good though, and if this proves to be a cost effective and healthy alternative I may make these a staple in my meal plans.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Weekly Nutrition: Spring changes

I've craved fresh, raw fruits and vegetables since there have been signs of spring abound. So you can see more light, cool dishes in my meals this week.
1. 6 Egg whites, 2 handfuls spinach, 1 handful mushrooms
2. 1/2c Raw oats with almond milk, raisins and ground flax
3. 2c raw spinach, 1/2c rice and beans, vinaigrette
4. 2c raw veggies (mostly broccoli and carrots)
5. BIG bowl of salad including avocado and hemp hearts
Some treats over the week included:
Some almond-banana oat cookies, some trail mix, some gluten-free crackers and cheese. I had a treat just about every other day- just not tightening up my nutrition like I would like to. Not going to beat myself up about it because my workouts have been AWESOME, and included more HIIT circuit training c/o Jillian Michaels.

Almond-Banana Oat Cookies

(Gluten-free, Dairy Free)
Preheat oven to 350F
2 frozen medium bananas
1c almond butter
1/4c coconut oil
1/2c honey or agave nectar
1c splenda
Combine all above in a food processor until smooth
11/2 tsp baking soda
3c gluten-free oats
1/2c ground almonds
Mix together, then pour wet ingredients from processor into bowl. Add chocolate chips and stir by hand.
Drop golf-ball size mounds onto parchment lined cookie sheet (makes about 18). Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are just browned, and peaks golden.
Enjoy this treat!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Weekly Training

Circuits are from Jillian Michaels Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism DVD.
Monday: Circuits 1&2, 30 min treadmill
Tuesday: 50 min spin class
Wednesday: Circuits 3&5, 50 min yoga sculpt class
Thursday: 30 min Morning Yoga, 35 min treadmill
Friday: Circuits 6&7, 40 min treadmill
Saturday: OFF
Sunday: 30 min treadmill

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Awakening

I just had to laugh, google images for 'awakening' all came up with zombie pictures...thought it was funny we're all a bunch of zombies coming out of the Canadian winter...pasty white, hungry and restless. Image from:
That's how I am feeling. Yesterday I didn't get my butt out of bed for an am sweat session and hurt for it during the day- depressed, sad, melancholy and self-pity. Today, a 530am 20 min HIIT session followed by sun salutations lifted my spirits rightly for the morning and I know today will be higher energy and better attitude for it.
My body is awakening to the spring, naturally getting up earlier and wanting to stay up later. It's also craving for movement. Slower yoga strength is what my body longed for during the dark, dreary winter months, but now that the sun is shining I can barely contain myself...sometimes literally bouncing in place because I need to move! My meals are also changing...stay tuned for a summary of each later this week.
My workouts will show you how I adjusted to give me what I want. What changes are you making now that the sun has come to Canada?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Training: Post Vacation

As I said, it's back to normal this week. Even a little light because I'm battling heavy headaches this week-don't know what that is about. Must be air pressure because my nutrition has been spot on since returning from a week long vacation.
Monday: recovery from 12 hour airport to airport trip-OFF to sleep!
Tuesday: 30 Min Baptiste Vinyasa Power Flow 3 from, 50 min spin class
Wednesday: OFF- migraine (WTF? Haven't had one in months!)
Thursday: 30 min cardio (treadmill)
Friday: 30 min Hip Opening Vinyasa from, 30 min elliptical hills
Saturday(plan): 45 min Workout video (Women's Health Ultimate Fat Burn dvd)
Sunday(plan): 45min cardio (treadmill or jog outside)

We are out of town again this weekend, beginning tomorrow morning; whatever workouts I get in will be great to help me feel up to the challenge of traveling.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Post-Vacay Plan

So, the big event is over- the bikini's are packed away until July (bikini season is late in Canada!), and the mojito's are no longer 'all inlusive'. What now? We've all been there- leaned out for an event or trip, perhaps a school reunion or wedding. From experience, I would suggest that most return from these events and think they have to 'diet' to 'make up' for the drinks and food, and perhaps lax workout schedule they indulged in. And what, perchance, do I have to say about that? I say- NO-RMAL!
Yes, that's right. Just go back to your regular eating and workout plan before you started your leaning out program. If you're like me, you worked your butt off (seriously) to look good for the event, basked in the success of it, drank mojito's like they were running out of rum and need a little rest from my relaxing vacation. Get back into your normal, rational and easy swing of things. Don't punish yourself, don't diet to cancel out any of the calories (I don't call them calories, I call them FUN!) you had at the event.
You will naturally and effortlessly return to your balanced state of mind and body. For me, that's 30 min yoga a day, and 30 min cardio a day with a healthy balanced meal plan (which you will see more of later this week).
So put away those thoughts of punishment and atonement for your good time. Get back to being yourself, in your healthiest and most easily accomplished way possible. Less fight, more success.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Week 2/2 Leaning Program: Workouts

Can one over-commit to a goal? I think I did; and am paying for it. My over-drive is back again, something I should have learned to ease up on.
Last week, I tackled a more vigorous workout program, upping my cardio and strength/flexibility training by 1/3 each day (adding about 15 min extra each per day) and adding more hot yoga classes. Week one was a total success- I leaned out and felt great. Then I got to week 2 and had to drop down, doing less yoga, but keeping up with my cardio. I had to, my calories were way too low to continue. I became irritable, and stressed- and no healthy lifestyle program should make me as bit$^y as I was. Also, my eczema broke out, and my period was delayed by about 8 days- two symptoms that I had put my body into a starving-stressful state. And one cannot lean out in that state. So I pulled back the reins:
Sunday: Off (no training- rest is when my body gains the benefits from the training I did over the week)
Monday: 30 min Heart Opening Flow, 45 min treadmill (3 min jog, 1 min walk intervals)
Tuesday: 30 min HotPower Fusion, 50 min spin class
Wednesday: 50 min Yoga Sculpt class
Thursday: 30 min Morning Flow, 45 min treadmill (uphill walk)
As you can see, I'm leaving today and tomorrow blank until I know what my body can do. I'm achy and think I might need to rest to clear up my eczema before I jet away tommorow night for my vacation!
I might even re-commit to a plan I cooked up for my new year's resolution and take a nap instead of working out. That's a goal I can easily over-commit to.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Week 2: Leaning Out Nutrition

My nutrition has been tight this week; I am confident I will get onto the plane as clean and healthy as possible. When I'm healthy on the way to a vacation, I'm more motivated to stay that way when I'm down there.
I am hungry, like I was last week, but less so. And have developed better mental tricks to satisfy my urges- like drinking more water (never a bad thing). I even tried on an old pair of skinny jeans I haven't been able to get into for 2 years, and got them on comfortably. So I'm ready.
This week, a few minor changes to my regular nutrition plan. The changes are bolded. A slight tapering of sugar this week.
1. 6 egg whites, spinach, mushrooms
2. creamy rice or oatmeal (no raisins)
3. 2/3c rice and beans, roasted vegetables
4. Carrots (as many as I want)
5. Salads, roasted vegetables
Post work-out: 1/2 serving Vega
No diet sodas because they cause retention of fluid, and bloating. I didn't tighten my waist only to bloat it up with gas and extra fluid.
I think I'll have pancakes before I board the plane on Saturday- just beacuse I know I won't get any gluten free pancakes when I'm down there. A nice treat before I go to the resort and survive on mostly fresh fruit, veggies and nuts. I'm very wary of most resort food and buffets because of my gluten intolerance. I won't be like my friends, loading up on fresh pastries and local cuisine because of it (and that can be a hard thing, to be left out of an experience).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Leaning Program- Workouts Week 1/2

Similar to my nutrition program, you can see very little change to my workout routine over the next two weeks of my leaning program. Again, one of many benefits of maintaining a regular exercise schedule is that to lean out for any occasion, it takes very little, or even no change to a healthy foundation. I've only added an additional 75min heated yoga class, and 15 min extra yoga or cardio a day to my schedule over the next 14 days. It is my regular workout schedule, enhanced. You can see in my (familiar) workout plan below (bolded items show changes from regular plan):
Sunday: 45 min cardio and 30 min yoga
Monday: 75 min Baptiste Vinyasa Flow (heated yoga flow)
Tuesday: 45 min Jivamukti yoga, 50 min spin class
Wednesday: 75 min Baptiste Vinyasa Flow (heated yoga flow)
Thursday: 30 min yoga, 45 min cardio (a kick combination of 30 treadmill, and 15 elliptical)
Friday: 30 min yoga, 45 min cardio (combo of 15 treadmill, 30 bike)
Saturday: 75 min Moksha (heated yoga class)
I've seen tremendous changes this week, not only in my size, but in my mental clarity. I don't crave sugar, and my normal end-of-the-week anxiety about my 'treat' for the week is gone. The more simple I make my life, the less decisions I have to make, and therefore, less anxiety over them.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Leaning Program- Nutrition Week 1/2

As you will see, this weekly plan is NO DIFFERENT from my other weekly plans. The difference is that I am not indulging in my weekly treats that I discuss, like a bowl of ice cream or glass of wine here or there. For 14 days, it's not a problem; the beauty in maintaining a daily healthy meal plan (yes every day!), is that for special occasions, like my upcoming trip, leaning out takes little time, and only the strength of my mind to commit to my meal plans and no more (no less either!- don't stop eating!).roasted rutabagas and beets, a side to my salad for supper
Meal 1: 6 egg whites, sauteed spinach and mushrooms
Meal 2: bowl of oatmeal or creamy rice, with 2Tbsp ground flax seeds
Meal 3: 1/2c black beans and rice combination, with various roasted vegetables
Meal 4: As many carrots or other raw vegetables I want (normally about 1 1/2c worth)- no dip
Meal 5: Big green salad and more roasted vegetables
Post workout- Vega Whole Food Optimizer (plain flavor).steamed broccoli and roasted portabello mushroom supper
Take it easy- it could be my mantra. Don't under-eat, don't diet, just think about what you fuel your life with, and why every day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Leaning Program- how am I doing so far?

As I mentioned, I'm on a two-week leaning program, or cutting phase (a term from old fitness competition days). The answer to 'why am I so hungry' is because the little treats I work into my lifestyle are no longer in my plan. The one or two glasses of wine I enjoy a week are gone; the evening rice cake snacks are put away. I am holding the awareness of what I eat and drink as my primary concentration, with the intention to remain clean. Small, easy changes make this program simple- isn't that reassuring? A no-stress leaning program: live your life, but just think about it...

But I just wanted to admit it here...I'm really hungry.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Leaning Program- 2 weeks

Image from vanuatu vacations
In 2 weeks time, I'll be sitting on a beach much like this one. And although I'm packing my bikinis, this leaning out (or cutting) program is not designed to 'cut' anything from me. I don't want to restrict my diet, and I don't have time to be a fiend on the treadmill for hours; I don't want to cut my freedom and peaceful state of mind. I want to remain as I am but bring a heightened awareness to my daily eating and workout program over the next two weeks. As a result, I will lean out- but to shed fat is not the primary intention, it is simply a by-product.
Here is my plan:
Nutrition- no alcohol, no eating after supper
Exercise-add an additional hot yoga class each week, continue regular schedule
Strength of Mind-(the most important concept in any leaning program) meditation every morning

Simple, isn't it? It's about the intention and purpose of the next weeks. To remain in a healthy schedule, not pressure myself towards one end and create stress. Change your mind, and you will change your body.
When I am laying on my lounger in the sand, I want to have the peace of mind to know that my body is the healthiest and cleanest it can be. I want the confidence to walk around in my tank tops and shorts knowing I did everything I could to remain healthy and happy. I don't want to arrive at the resort spent from over-exercising and crash dieting, in a damaging state of mind from the pressure of 'cutting'. Neither do I want to arrive wishing I had cleaned my system out before the resort's indulgences. So I'm following a consistent, clean diet and exercise program, similar to what I already do- and will enter my vacation in two weeks time in a completely confident and clean state, both physically and mentally.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Weekly Training & Nutrition: You're trying to teach me something aren't you?

Photo taken by a very talented family member of mine
I'm sitting in my parents' house, in a small town south of the city I love. I'm taking the opportunity to be with my family, to attend a memorial service for a good woman who passed, to have my Dad 'tune up' my vehicle, and do a little 'tuning up' on my mind and body. The last weeks combined into an ironwoman type of experience. My job required a LOT of me, and when I step up my hours at work, I step up my hours on the treadmill. I was training hard, just to balance the stress that my job was placing on me- and then I burnt out. So my nutrition was less than clean, indulging in brownies one night and cookies from a friend the next. I had 2 glasses of wine over the week as well. Not worried about it, not guilty about it, not ashamed of it. Just recognizing that by pushing myself too hard I created a 'perfect storm' for unhealthy habits. Letting myself get too tired, and overtraining alongside made me crave sugar and left me with little mental power to curb cravings. Perhaps there's a lesson in there somewhere...
And onto my training- or what little training I did. I found getting out of bed hard in the morning, and literally went to bed at 3pm Monday and Tuesday and slept through the nights in almost a comatose state. I could not have trained. I did not want to train- and that was the biggest signifier that I should stay off the treadmill. When my motivation goes away, when I no longer ENJOY the workouts then I know it's not for me that time. Normally I love every bit of my training. This week I loathed the thought of the gym, and the treadmill. But I was comfortable with the yoga mat.
Sunday: OFF
Monday: 30 yoga with weights
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 50 min yoga sculpt class
Thursday: 30 min cardio
Friday: 45 min cardio, 45 min power yoga
Saturday: OFF
Not a worry. One week of minor changes in my schedule are totally ok. I like living in a cushy moderate spectrum knowing that I will (and want) to get back on my regular habits when I feel like myself. These nice days in the country with my family will get me back to myself. I look forward to Sunday's workout, and Monday's hot yoga session.
How do you feel about 'taking time off' of training and your strict nutrition plan? Do you need 'breaks'? Or does your lifestyle allow for flexibility so you don't have to schedule down time?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Weekly Training

Sunday: 75 min Baptiste Vinyasa Flow at Hot Yoga studio
Monday: 50 min cardio (40 min steady state, 10 min intervals treadmill)
Tuesday: 50 min spin class
Wednesday: 30 min cardio, 50 min yoga sculpt
Thursday: 45 min cardio
Friday: 10 min cardio intervals, 30 min yoga
Saturday: 30 min cardio
I'm beat. My workouts tapered off near the end of the week, as you can tell less cardio and missing Saturday yoga. I had to. And I even took yesterday off training entirely (yes 1 whole day with no physical activity, not even yoga). After almost getting into a car accident, putting an almond in my ear instead of my earphones and forgetting my voicemail password I decided to break. When I start making stupid mistakes, and realize that mentally I am not altogether there, it's time for a physical peace agreement. I'm not sure how to approach this coming week, but with only a few weeks left till a tropical getaway, I'm really motivated to continue stepping up my workouts. But I'm no good if I'm mentally cloudy.
Oh what to do? Take it easy this week? Or keep pushing through?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Weekly Nutrition

So it's been a wild few days, but with careful planning I'm totally prepared with a freezer full of pre-made meals, and a fridge full of vegetable crudites. No excuses for sub-par nutrition, even with a 60 hour, 6 day work week as well as graduate classes (right?).
How do I do it? I just commit to it. It's a decision I make and then I make it happen. The pay off is feeling great and having the mental clarity and physical stamina from my clean nutrition to handle the busy schedule.
1. Egg whites, spinach and mushrooms
2. Oatmeal or creamy rice
3. Beans and rice, roasted vegetables
4. Raw carrot sticks
5. Home-made soup, salad or roasted vegetables, like rutabagas

The Thrive Diet: Review

If you're looking to spice up your diet, whether you're vegan, an athlete, a vegan athlete or none of the above, get a copy of this book. The author, Brendan Brazier, is a super-athlete who thrives off a vegan diet and has learned through years of experimentation how to use vegetables, seeds and nuts in ways you never dreamed of. All of his recipes are included, and I can guarantee you will love the fuel bites recipe and the innovative (entirely gluten free) "pizza" recipes.

I had to take this book as an exploration of another way of approaching nutrition rather than a prescription for how to plan my meals. It's very strict, but certainly not limited. If you are already in the habit of eating mostly raw, vegan foods this will be easier for you to jump into. I am not, I eat gluten, and dairy-free and eat meat less than once a week and followed the plan pretty easily, with some planning, for one week. But had major stomach issues during the week. It takes time for the body to adjust, just as Brendan mentions in this well-written book.

Pick this up, just to expose yourself to another possibility of nutrition. Whether it is right for you, you must decide based on the question- Are you going to safely and gently incorporate the changes he suggests?

Brendan is quite charismatic and has online support multimedia at which can take you through much of the content of the book using videos hosted by the author himself. For further support, try the community devoted to this diet at

He has created a nutrition line, Vega, to supplement the diet he talks about in this book. I have been using his Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer as my post work-out shake for quite a while. It's a great, gluten free, dairy free option for you athletes out there looking to get a combo of protein, carbs and nutrients out of your shakes. Other than that, I have no affiliation with Vega, or Brendan Brazier.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week 4 2010 Workouts

Oh Activity!
Sunday: 75min Baptiste Vinyasa Flow at Hot Yoga studio
Monday: 45 min cardio (treadmill walk and intervals), 30 min Hatha Yoga (for my ailing shoulders and back)
Tuesday: 45 min cardio (treadmill incline walk), 30 min Morning Yoga Flow
Wednesday: 45 min cardio, 45 min yoga sculpt class
Thursday: Off
Friday: 60 Yoga for Strength from
Saturday: 45 min cardio, 30 min yoga
I was sorry to miss my spin class this week, but if I could pick one time in the grande scheme of this year (forseen) this would be the busiest, so something had to give. I made good choices and reduced my stress by working out when I could. I got a lot of deep sleep, and got my sorry butt out of bed early (5am!) to get my workouts in before work. No time to breathe as managed a three day conference from 7am-7pm Thurs/Fri/Sat. I only survived the stress by maintaining a vital lifestyle.

Week 4 Meal Plan

Meals Plan:

1. 6 egg whites, handful spinach, mushrooms
2. oatmeal, with raisins (still livin' a little by treating myself to raisins)
3. beans and rice combo with roasted veg
4. raw vegetable sticks
5. vegetable soup, big green salad
Post-workout-1/2 serving Vega
Husband is away for work again this week, so I'm all on my own. I like a simple soup for supper, and not having to make another meal for him- but I do miss that guy.
Monday night I had a couple gluten free graham crackers with almond butter and bernard callebaut chips. This was total stress eating as one event at work sent me into a spin I didn't want to pull myself out of. Incorporating more mental strength training (yoga) will help me regain my composure when it comes to stress eating. And more importantly, I'm not going to get stressed about eating.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week 3 2010 Workouts

Monday: 30 min treadmill (incline 5.0, speed 3.8), 30 min heart opening flow
Tuesday: 50 min spin class (first time!), 30 min hip opening flow
Wednesday: 50 min yoga sculpt class (first time!)
Thursday: 60 min treadmill (incline 1.0, speed 4.0), 30 min yoga
Friday: 30 min treadmill walk
Saturday: 45 min treadmill, including intervals
Sunday: 75 min Baptiste Vinyasa flow (Hot!)

Today's BV hot yoga flow was as incredible as last week's. It tested my mental ability to return to a focused frame of mind in the wake of disturbances- but not because of the physical requirements of the class. An over-eager eagle pose resulted in a smashed light in the studio; disturbing the class and embarassing me to no end. But interestingly enough, I saw it all happening as an observer. Hm, that glass is broken, I think it will fall. It's's crashing...I'll clean that up. No big issue, no big worries. The class went on, and I did too after it was cleared away.

Any other proof needed that regular yoga practice creates mental strength? Not for me.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week 3 Meal Plan

I saw a picture of Rhianna on her yacht, enjoying a corona and I thought to myself- if she can have a drink every once in a while, then gosh dammit I can too! It got me thinking about how rigid I have become with my nutrition, and further- has it got me where I want to be? Is it helping me live a better life, or is it hindering my spontaneous, fun-loving spirit? I think I need to ease up a bit and enjoy life (and that means food too!)

Meals This Week:
1. Egg white and mushroom/spinach omelet, green tea
2. 1/4 + 1/8 c oats (measured dry) with blueberries (livin' a little!)
3. 2/3c beans and rice with roasted vegetables
4. 6oz (a medium ziploc container) organic carrot sticks
5. Big green salad with half an avocado and roasted vegetables
Post-Workout: 1/2 serving Vega (non-flavoured)
Still having lots of water- so good for mind, hair, skin etc.

How do you push the edges of rigidity? Does it make you feel free, or guilty?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Week 2- Meal Plan

Simplicity- the surest way to success and no stress.

Week 2 of 2010 this was my meal plan:
1. 6 egg whites, with spinach and mushrooms
2. 1/3c creamy rice cereal (measured dry), 2T ground flax
3. 2/3c red beans and quinoa mix, unlimited vegetables (either mixed veg or spagetti squash this week)
4. 1-2c raw vegetables (mostly carrot sticks), 1T sunflower seeds, 1T pumpkin seeds, ~10 almonds
5. Big green organic lovely salad and spaghetti squash
Post work-out: 1/2 serving Vega Whole Food shake

I was craving a banana muffin, but gluten intolerance and health goals really don't make me comfortable indulging. So Wednesday I added half a banana to my creamy rice- got the flavour and the warm feeling without the consequences of feeding a food allergy and straying from my simple meal plan.

An improvement over last week was staying off the wine in the eve's. I don't normally have any, but last week I had a glass two times. I will have some this Friday though! For our 3rd year wedding anniversary (Tuesday) Husband and I are celebrating with a night on the town (including dinner) on Friday. I'll eat whatever strikes me, and only as much as I want. I don't envision ordering a prime rib dinner and polishing it off myself. That won't make me feel good.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Week 2- Workouts

Oh it's been a good week so far! I began the week with a pair of really sore legs from home renos over the weekend, hence the Hatha yoga instead of a Power yoga flow on Sunday. It's so important to choose an activity that meets your body's needs at the moment of activity. Don't force anything, but let yourself be inspired and challenged. Being in tune with your body's requirements does not mean losing the edge of a hard workout.

Again, my activity plan this week includes at least 5 days of cardio, and at least 5 days of strength training (body weight and hand weights).

Sunday: 40 min incline treadmill walk, 30 min Hatha Yoga
Monday: 30 min Heart Opening Flow, 30 min incline treadmill walk
Tuesday: 30 min Baptiste Power Yoga Flow
Wednesday: 30 min Yoga With Weights, 30 min bike (in prep for my spinning class that starts next week!)
Thursday: 30 min Hip Opening Yoga, 30 min incline treadmill walk, 20 min bike intervals (a friend joined me in the gym and pushed me HARD!)
Friday: 45 min pilates/cardio blend DVD, 30 min Heart Opening Flow yoga
Saturday: 90 min Baptiste Vinyasa Flow (A new voyage out into the public session yoga world- wish me no embarrassment on the mat!)

I am starting to attend yoga sessions in addition to my home practice; I want to start learning from other people, different styles, and tips on alignment which I can't do on my own.

What kind of classes are you taking this winter? Any really interesting new classes out there (Zumba?)?

Roasted Rutabagas

image from Senior Study Vegetables (Purdue)
In season in the winter, a nice warm winter vegetable to comfort you on cold -22C days like today is. Rutabagas are so mildly flavoured on their own, with a slight tang, so you can spice them any way you like them. A nice toss with olive oil and then try a basil and oregano spice combination before roasting, or as I did below, something a little sweeter.

Roasted Rutabaga
2 medium sized rutabagas
olive oil

Wash the rutabagas, no need to peel. Chop into small square chunks (think hashbrown size) and toss in olive oil. Season with spices as you like, pour onto cookie sheet or into roasting pan and bake in your oven at 400F for 30 min, stirring occasionally. Broil if you like for the last few minutes for a nice brown toasty surface. Serve warm.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Week 1 2010 Activity

This week I continue my routine combining cardio with yoga and I am feeeeeling gooood (insert sexy Michael Buble audio clip here). On Monday and Tuesday I opted for the elliptical because I feel a pinch in my lower back lately and thought the treadmill was too high impact for it. I am being gentle and giving it time to heal and sticking to a rigorous cardio schedule. There is room for both- be flexible.
Most of the yoga sessions are from

: 30 min sun salutations yoga- focusing on back bends to work out some kinks & 30 min elliptical (jogging speed)

Tuesday: 30 min Baptiste Power Yoga Flow #3 & 30 min elliptical (jogging speed) David Farmar conveys the demanding nature of a Baptise flow with an encouraging and inclusive (and often humorous) voice. I enjoy many of his classes

Wednesday: 30 min Yoga Sculpt #1 (Dawnelle is a great facilitator- her cues are specific and well timed. The flow is vigorous and challenging.)

Thursday: 30 min Hip Opening Flow #4 (not a challenging flow, but inspired if your hips are tight- mine were from the elliptical) & 30 min treadmill walk (no incline to allow my back some rest)

Friday: 30 min Hot Power Fusion #1 (Looking forward to trying this one for the first time & 30 min treadmill walk (no incline yet)

Saturday: 30 min treadmill walk or Fat Burning Pilates DVD (standing pilates-inspired workout ~40 min)

Sunday: 60-90min of yoga, depending on how I feel. I might try the 60 min Hot Power Fusion #1 class, or perhaps my go-to favorite longer class- 90 min Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga #1

Since October 2009 I have been using yoga as my strength training and have been doing lighter cardio (no intervals, no sprints, no heavy jogging) and have felt a change in my body. I have also been asked if I have gotten taller and leaner. I believe that the activity you choose to do, shapes your physique so it adapts to handle the intensity and intention behind your workouts. I have lost muscle size, but gained tone; I feel more feminine and light as a result. The lighter cardio has maintained my cardiovascular health (in combination with vinyasa flow sessions). Sometimes I put on a more intense workout DVD on the weekends and find myself easily hurdling intense intervals and weight work during those session. I am coming to the realization that one does not have to work hard to achieve overall wellness, only work consistently and with the purest intention to create wellness.
Looking forward to checking in next week.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Meal Plan Week 1-2010

Week 1 of 2010 this was my meal plan:
1. 6 egg whites, topped with sauteed spinach and either tomatoes or mushrooms, seasoned with S&P and salsa
2. 3/8c (measured dry) gluten-free oats (Only Oats), 2T flax seeds, sweetened with 1Tbsp agave nectar3. 1/2c brown rice and sprouted mung beans (mixed) and roasted vegetables
4. 2c (approx) mixed raw vegetable sticks including carrots, peppers, cucumbers etc., side of mixed seeds & nuts (1Tbsp sunflower seeds, 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, 10 almonds)
5. 1 large green salad including 1/2 avocado, tomatoes, etc. and more roasted vegetables
Post Work-out: 1/2 serving (1 scoop) Vega Whole Food Optimizer
As always I drink as much water as I possibly can (at least 3L a day). I get home from the office and unwind with a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea.
My roasted vegetables this week were big treats- roasted rutabagas and roasted brussel sprouts. I had roasted them separately, but mixed them as I wanted. I'm trying to stay seasonal and rutabagas are a good root vegetable to have in the winter months.
Wednesday morning I wanted a cup of coffee, so I had one with almond milk and agave nectar. And Tuesday night I wanted something sweet so I sipped a can of diet (splenda-sweetened) pop, but only drank about 1/4 of it.
It's a pretty nicely balanced week.
Out with friends I had a glass of red wine, and then switched to soda water with a lime wedge (so I don't miss out on the ritual of having a drink with friends, and maintain moderation). Husband had his favourite- Moose Tracks ice cream on Friday (his 'cheat meal') and I had a small bowl.
Now, I'm looking forward to week 2. There are turkey meatballs in the oven for Husband's meals. I've also got a pot of brown rice steaming, and a pot of black beans boiling on the stove for both our meals. It's going to be another great week.

Eat Food- The Solution to our Woes

Watch Michael Pollan dispense the answer to our worlds' health crisis: "Eat Food!" on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Pollan on Jon Stewart

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

Intentions for 2010

I have gotten so many inquiries about advice for motivation, for ambition, for workout programs and healthy eating tips in the last two weeks and I thought I would lay them down here. I'm re-commiting to each of the following which I have dispensed to close friends trusting in me for guidance, but also as a participant in them myself. A good whop in the arse is exactly what I need from myself:
So, to stick to our intentions for 2010:
1. Be your BIGGEST fan- be kind to yourself. Setbacks will happen, you will cry and you will support yourself like your own best friend
2. Be consistent, be consistent, be consistent- when making a change, you are building a mountain using grains of sand.
That's it. Two simple suggestions to guide our thoughts, and then our actions towards success.
Biggest Fan icon from the Dictionary of Automotive Terms
A colleague of mine committed to a healthier lifestyle in a BIG way this year and is using a blog to maintain motivation and I hope like me, it builds a community of support for her. In addition to her, I have watched so many beautiful women commit to something new in the last few months, both a cousin and friend of mine reached a 20lb weight loss goal in December (way to go girls! You inspire me!). So regardless of the day you choose to change, I raise my water bottle to you in sisterhood in healthy choices.