Spin-a-Thon and Treasure Maps…

Ahhh Monday morning. I don’t have a gym membership until February 1st (It’s a long story, but ultimately I forgot to reapply even tho I got daily reminders for 9 days leading up to the deadline)so I found myself hitting snooze an extra time this morning, and why not, I have time….

Crap! Nope, I definitely don’t have time. Fast forward to 20 minutes until my bus comes. I have to shower, make a smoothie, do my hair, grab lunch, get dressed….did I forget anything? Keys? Check. Work pass. Check? Mascara? Check Check. Okay…let’s do this. As I run down the stairs on my way to catch the bus I realize my lunch is sitting on the counter. Do I go back for it and catch the next bus or press on? Without really thinking about it, I push open the back door of my condo stepping outside– at the same time thinking “Take a deep breath, you’re on time, you can raid your emergency cupboard at work and walk to the grocery store for a salad if you’re hungry”. And I do just that, I take a deep breath and immediately choke as the air burns my throat and lungs. It is a frigid -27 degrees outside and my lungs are protesting-Big time.

I make it to the bus. I sit down. And I laugh… there is no one else on the bus as this is the first stop, so I don’t seem completely insane, tho it’s possible the bus driver was a little worried for his safety. I might starve to death today because I forgot most of my food at home, but I remembered mascara and lip gloss. Apparently I have a fight, flight, or fashion disaster response and it’s obvious which one took precedence this morning. Oops.

None of that had anything to do with my REAL reason for this blog post tonight, but if you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I enjoy a good ramble.

Onward to the good stuff—Goodlife is hosting a Spin 4 Kids event on MARCH 2nd to raise awareness for child obesity and encourage youth to get more active. 7 of my friends and I are doing this because it’s an opportunity to spend time together and workout as a group–nothing like a little friendly competition to encourage you to peddle a little harder and faster–while showing support for a great cause.

So many children are overweight and obese; it’s an epidemic that is slowly turning into the norm, and it’s killing our nation. Children who should find it easy to run around outside struggle to walk up and down a single flight of stairs without getting out of breath. It breaks my heart to stand in line behind a family where the 8 year old child is 20 lbs heavier than me. Of course the parents need to make better choices, but if kids have role models to look up to, and see exercise and activity as fun (much like video games appeal to them) I think we can help get them more active.  As with all events of this nature we are required to raise money for the cause, and I am coming to you–dear reader–with a request and a promise. I promise to spin my absolute hardest if you will sponsor me. Actually, I promise to spin my hardest anyway because this is a cause I feel very strongly about…but i’d also really appreciate it if you donate.

To donate to me Click HERE

To Donate to my Team Click HERE (We’re team honey badger because we’re badass)

This season of The Biggest Loser has also taken the idea of child obesity pretty seriously. They have 3 child ambassadors on the show in hopes of appealing to a younger audience. I can’t remember the exact quote, but Bob Harper said that in order to get youth interested in exercise we have to choose activities that can be made fun. Did I play Nintendo as a child? I sure did, but did I also climb trees (or rather fall out of trees), run around with my dog, and spend hours outside usually searching for buried treasure? Uh…Yeah. You should know my parents would create weird fake treasure maps and give them to my sisters and I. The first one to find the treasure got a prize (actually we all got a prize but the winner got to pick theirs first). As a child–and a nerdy child at that–the idea that I could read an extra 30 minutes (my ultimate prize) ensured I ran around like a crazy person trying to figure out where the flag was buried before my sisters could find it. Now obviously my parents kicked us outside to get a break from the whining and fighting, but they also did us a favour by choosing an activity that appealed to us AND ensured we got lots of exercise. Brilliant.

Today’s post has been brought to you by nostalgia, a love for spinning, and a nerdy childhood fascination with ‘The hardy boys’. If you feel strongly about educating parents on the importance of exercise for their kids, getting youth involved with fun activities, AND want an epic blog post recounting the events of March 2nd –the day my butt dies– then please take the time to follow the link and donate! If you decide to donate, please drop me a line so that I can stop by your blog (if you have one) and thank you. I appreciate any and all support.

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I’m an accidental magician…

I pulled a disappearing act–and I didn’t even mean too. Now that, takes skill. Okay fine, it takes work stress combined with laziness and writers block, but who’s keeping track? I’m back now and won’t disappear like that again –oh wait, that’s not quite true I am going to Jamaica in next Sunday for a week and probably won’t update the blog while i’m there. You can’t be angry at me for soaking in the sun, sipping daiquiris, and eating exotic fruit to my heart’s content can you? Hmm…okay well if you’re here in Ottawa (or anywhere it’s cold) that probably isn’t the best way to appeal to your softer side. Let’s try that again. I will be gone for a week, but i’ll make it up to you when I return and I plan to take tons of photos to share my trip and hopefully make the minus weather we’ve been having seem a little more bearable. Deal? Okay Deal! 😀

Okay a quick update as to where i’ve been and how things are going.

1. Work has been stressing me out just a little AND my gym membership expired so I haven’t been able to get all the frustration out in spinning. GAH! I have been meaning to incorporate more HIIT workouts, but have to admit, i’ve been in a slump the past few weeks. That all stops today tho.

2. I’ve been juicing and making green smoothies consistently *yay* I have also been eating raw quite a bit, but started to incorporation some ‘comfort’ quinoa salad into my day. Bad I know, but i’ve been stressed at work and it was either quinoa salad or cookies.

3. I’ve only missed 2 days of yoga so far this month. BUT i’ve done a few days of 2 yoga classes/DVD’s in a day so that’s sort of made up for it right? You’re right, it doesn’t.

4. I bought a 1 month unlimited pass to Pure Yoga Ottawa. It’s an amazing hot yoga studio and i’m hooked.

Pure yoga

 

5. I have actually been really bad the past 3 days with eating. Not just a little bad, i’m talking full out girl’s night candy/chips/cookies bad. *hangs head* I’m over it now tho.

6. And finally, I am going on vacation in just over a week and I am very excited. I really need a break. 😉 That also means that my “learn how to do a headstand” challenge for February will start a few days late because I won’t be back until after the 1st.

I have been working on a few things for the blog, and hope to have them up before I leave. Although it’s 8pm on a Saturday evening, i’m off to bed–i’m getting up tomorrow morning at 6:30 to get in a wonderful power yoga class. 🙂

One final thing, one of my girlfriends made a bet with her boyfriend that she can get abs before him. It’s a crazy idea, but I decided to join her. They both (so I guess that means me too) have until March 31st. I eat healthy, workout, and take pride in being in shape but I do not have visible abs (at least not without some MAD flexing). I’m pretty sure her boyfriend was pushing his stomach out to hide his abs, but we’re stubborn and this is going to happen. I’ve decided that if there isn’t a slight definition of abs by March 31st i’m going to shade them on with bronzer. Nothing a little makeup can’t fix. 😀

I hope everyone is having a wonderful January and I will check in again tomorrow! This time, with photos! 😀

Good night!

Yoga and Juicing Challenge Update

Ever have one of those days where you plan to workout AFTER work–You wake up excited to workout, get to work and still want to workout, have your lunch and can’t wait to workout, sit through afternoon meetings and ALL you can think about is working out, then 4pm rolls around and the only thing on your mind is a plate of fruit while you watch Vampire diaries (Insert your own guilty pleasure tv show here) and relax.

You haven’t? Well you’re a better person than I. However, if you’re reading this as what I would consider to be a ‘normal’ human being, chances are you’ve felt like skipping a workout at least once or twice in your life to sleep/eat/shop, etc. Well that is exactly how I felt last Thursday. However, I had already messed up on the first day of the detox and I was NOT about to admit defeat in this challenge, so I sucked it up and headed to the gym. Truthfully? Even after I got to the gym I wanted to go home. I knew that I wanted to do a yoga class, so I pulled out a mat and left my jacket on it so i’d HAVE to go after spin class. Yep…nothing like a little self inflicted mind game to keep you motivated.

I did an hour spin class, followed by yoga–pretty much had to or risk losing a sweater. I nearly fell asleep in the final minutes of yoga, but I felt so energized and uplifted. I felt so good following my workout (even tho I was tired) that I went home, repacked my gym bag, and did the same thing again Friday morning at 6am! I think I just needed that 1 right choice to get me back on track. I consider January 3rd to be the start date of the challenge (since the 2nd was a total write off) and I have been killing it ever since!

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I have been faithfully juicing. Tonight was a wonderful pineapple, celery, spinach, medley that went down so incredibly smooth. I am still keeping it rather simple with my juices but i’m slowly getting more adventurous.

I have completed a yoga session each day as well. I have gone to as many classes as possible, but whenever I have not been able to attend class I have done DVD’s at home.

If you’re looking to sweat and really challenge yourself check out the following DVD’s. I recently purchased the Vinyasa Yoga DVD and absolutely love Ichih’s energy. I also discovered that she teaches at a studio near my work, so I am going to sign up and try her class in person. It’s hot yoga, so i’m slightly terrified (hated it the only 2 times i’ve gone–several years ago), but this is a year for challenging myself–SO here’s to pulling up the big girl socks and doing it!

Vinyasa Yoga with Ichih Wang

DVD-IchihWang

 

Power Yoga: Mind, Body, Warrior. By Mark Laham.  (I also have his Yin Yoga DVD)

PoweryogaMarkLahamOne of the things about Mark Laham’s DVD that I absolutely love is that you are able to do the sun salutations on their own. I don’t always have time in the morning to complete an entire 60 minute session, but can often squeeze in the 20 minutes required for the sun salutation.

I realize it’s still relatively early in the challenge, but I am feeling confident in my ability to see this through.  Of course I want to finish the challenge and be able to say that I did not slip up once–hey! I’m competitive even if it is just with myself. No slip ups would be great, but the longer this challenge continues I am quickly realizing that is really not where my focus should be. I have embarked on this journey to cleanse my mind and body over the course of 30 days, and hopefully move into the TERRIFYING slightly intimidating world of Raw Veganism. It may only be a few days in, but I feel great. Each morning I wake feeling better than the day before will motivate me to push that much harder.

This week if you find yourself desperate to skip a workout, go anyway. After your workout take a few minutes to thank yourself for putting your mental and physical health at the forefront. If you attend a yoga class allow yourself to draw energy from others around you, and take deep breaths and calm your mind until you’re giving off the type of energy you’d like to be drawing in.

Namaste.

What do you mean I like cherries?

*On the phone with my mother earlier tonight*

Mom: What else did you buy?
Me: To juice? Well I got beets, and cherries…
Mom: Oh, so you like cherries now?
Me: No, I still hate cherries but someone told me they taste amazing with beet juice and figured I would try something   new.
Mom: You realize you’re being ridiculous right? Cherries are delicious, I can’t believe you’ve fought it this long, just bite one?
Me: No thanks…they’re gross–but maybe the juice tastes okay?
Mom: Just bite one, right now…
Me: Ugh…okay fine…hold on, i’ll bite one.
30 seconds later…
Mom: You’re chewing so much, is it that bad?
Me: Confession time? I am on my 3rd cherry…these are soooo good!! How is this possible?

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So as you can probably gather from my rather interesting conversation with my mom, I discovered tonight that I love cherries. This blows my mind for a multitude of reasons, but the main one is that almost any time someone asks me a food I dislike I say cherries or avocado. As far as I was concerned I didn’t  like raw cherries, candied cherries, cherry scented things, cherry flavoured things, nothing. How exactly did this happen? No idea…but, I should probably give avocado another chance too.

Now that I think about it, I disliked mushrooms, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, and raspberries as a child but LOVE all of these things now so it only  makes sense that my taste has developed over the years. Being a foodie, I periodically try foods I grew up hating to see if maybe I like them now but have never done that with cherries. I was just so sure I hated them. Weird. Oh, and for the record…I still hate brussels sprouts prepared the way she did them, so that was definitely part of the problem then–Sorry mama.

I love trying new flavours, textures, dishes, etc. I love food. Not everything I try is a success…I have some pretty major issues with texture so I think maybe anytime i’ve ever had cherries they were soft and mushy and that turned me off OR maybe I was just insane. who knows really.

I love fruit, so it’s not like i’ve been suffering from a lack of variation, but now that I know I love cherries i’m going to be adding those to the list of treats. So thank you mom for making me try one tonight. Oh, and why was I going to put cherry juice with beet juice if I hate it? Well, like I said…I like to experiment so I was hoping the 2 together would be a success. (I’m not sure if I even like beet juice).

Well i’m off to bed. There is a 2 hour spinning session in my future tomorrow morning, and I need lots of sleep to be mentally and physically prepared for it. It’s been a few days since i’ve posted regarding January’s juicing, raw vegan, yoga challenge…I will be posting updates tomorrow so stay tuned. Have a great night and if you learned anything from today’s post–give something you don’t like a try, you might surprise yourself (or you might gag but it’s worth a shot).

Gluten Free Vegan Oatmeal Buckwheat Pancakes

DSC02442I know pancakes are thought of as weekend food, but they were exactly what the doctor ordered on Tuesday after a rather wild New Years party. They were easy to make and tasted amazing…the hardest part was probably the noise from the food processor–mama had a bit of a headache. Oops.

I only made half of the recipe  (as listed below) but apparently that amount should serve 3. I might as well admit to this now, but I definitely ate the entire batch myself and don’t regret it in the least bit. I like to cut the pancakes into strips and dunk them in maple syrup…you can blame that naughty habit sheer stroke of genius on my grandmother.

I feel I should comment on the texture of these pancakes. Hot off of the stove they’re rather gummy and seem not quite done, but give them 5 minutes to cool and they become perfect. This also allows them to cool so you can make them into ‘soldiers’ for dipping as I like to do. (Note: Many gluten free/vegan baked goods are much better texturally once they cool.)

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Pancakes

Adapted from Pamela Salzman

serves 3

½  cup oat flour (made my own by throwing ½ cup gf oats into a food processor)
½  cup buckwheat flour
½  tsp sea salt
1  tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup dairy free ‘buttermilk’ (Mix 1 cup almond/soy/rice milk with 1 tbsp vinegar)
1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax mixed with 3 tbsp water)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp 100% pure maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut sugar (I accidentally added 2 tbsp)
½  cup COOKED oatmeal (apparently steel cut is best, but I used rolled oats)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
Unrefined coconut oil for brushing the griddle
Preheat a frying pan to medium heat. (If using a griddle approximately 350-400 degrees.)

  1. Combine Flax and water and set aside for 3-5 minutes to gel. If making your own dairy free ‘buttermilk’ combine the milk and vinegar and set aside for 3-5 minutes to allow milk to ‘sour’.
  2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and coconut sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl,  whisk together the buttermilk, flax egg, vanilla, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and oatmeal until well blended.  
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. Brush the pan or griddle with coconut oil and spoon about ¼ cup of batter to form each pancake.  Add fruit or chocolate chips if desired.
  6. When bubbles start to form on the surface of the pancake and the edges become slightly dry, flip it over and cook until done.  

Slip ups happen, dust yourself off and try again.

I pulled my baby out today and took her for a ride and she did NOT disappoint! After reading all the reviews I was expecting the sound of the motor to be deafening, but honestly it’s about the same volume as my blender.

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I sort of screwed up this morning and ate everything in sight. It’s really disappointing to me because I actually want to start the year off on a positive note, and breaking my detox on the first day isn’t exactly what I had in mind. I get why people break diets–i’ve been there, done that. When I was younger and had a terrible relationship with food I would diet all the time and of course break the diet– mostly because I was starving myself, hated the food I was eating (or rather wasn’t eating), and had a broken body image. But this juice/raw food detox isn’t a diet, it’s just that– a detox. I want to feel energized, light, and refreshed. I am not beating myself up over my slip up, and will just start again tomorrow. The difference is that now i’ll succeed because I’m doing it to feel better, to sleep better, to overall BE better instead of simply setting a ‘challenge’.

DSC02447My juice this morning was a little too sweet. Next time i’ll use less fruit and more veggies. I used 2 gala apples, 1 pear, 5 collard green leaves, and 1 celery stalk. I am leaning toward buying The Juicing Bible  to get more recipe ideas.

I have to say tho, sweet or not, this was pretty delicious. Hubby wasn’t a huge fan tho. I had a case of Clementine that were pretty dry so I juiced those for hubby, he loved it. Now I just have to figure out how to hide veggies in there–first up carrots! *Shhhh…don’t tell him*

DSC02453 It’s unfortunate that I slipped up my first day, but tomorrow is a new day and i’ll do better. Fresh Juice, smoothies, spinning, and yoga epic first day back on the wagon! 0 down, 10 more to go!

Happy New Year!!

Quick! Grab a 2013 party hat, throw a handful of confetti, and blow one of those paper party horns! Whooo! Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a great evening last night, and a relaxing (or eventful) day today! Whether you stayed in and watched movies or hit the town with friends, I hope you’re ready to tackle the year ahead and all it has to offer.

DSC02286I got home to a wonderful present waiting for me…my new baby!! And to celebrate the New year AND my new toy I am starting a new month long challenge! Each month during the year I am going to try something new so let’s get started!

January’s challenge:

1. Eating Raw for 4 weeks. (Going to buy Dr. Douglas Graham’s Book The 80/10/10 diet)

2. 10 day juicing Detox.

3. 30 days of yoga. (At least 30 minutes of yoga every day in addition to any other workouts).

4. 8 hours of sleep every night.

February’s challenge (at least in part) will be learning to do a full headstand. 
five-steps-headstandAs I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t really make ‘resolutions’ but I do love to challenge myself. This year is all about getting out of my comfort zone. Feel free to join me for any or all of the upcoming challenges!

I had a wonderful evening last night ringing in the New Year with friends. It was a great time to dress up, let my hair down, and use as much glitter as possible. I wish everyone the best in the New Year, but remember we make our own destiny–don’t sit around WAITING for 2013 to be great. Go out there and make it great!

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