Monthly Archives: February 2010

Q&As – Round Eleventeen

Hiya! Well, Monday is behind us, on to my least favourite day of the week… Tuesday. Ugh. What a waste of a day Tuesday is :P

A lot of you have food allergies and intolerances! Most popular being dairy and gluten. Although a couple mentioned people they know with allergies to onions which would SUCK. So would a nut allergy.

Anyways, my Monday started fabulously as it does every week now with an RPM spin class. This morning was a little tough though, more so than usual. But I still finished class strong, leaving happy and endorphin-ated :)

Got to the office and attacked one of my new fave desk-breakfasts.

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  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 stevia packet
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup faux-nola granola

Morning snack was, dare I say, the best homemade granola bar yet!!

homemade protein bar
Apple cinnamon flavour. Should have known the one with the cinnamon would be the winner ;)

Lunch!

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Nooo, not an apple and more cottage cheese. I’m cheap when it comes to tupperware.

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Last of my leftover tofu potato salad. Will definitely be making this again, in fact, I think it will get a recipe page :)

Lunch dessert was a Mini Egg cookie. The cookies by the way were a total hit at the office. Even the seasoned bakers of the bunch wanted the recipe! I highly recommend them if you’re looking for a solid chocolate chip recipe with something a little different.

This afternoon, I had one of my favourite new snacks.

Beemster cheese

Meat + cheese. Or, Yves meatless roast beef slices wrapped around Beemster cheese. Full fat cheese! Gotta keep my fingernails growing at lightning speed ;)

I always have intentions to run errands after work, but I’m SO hungry by the time the day is over! So per usual, I rushed home and started throwing supper together before I barely had my coat off.
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That would be a chicken breast coated in egg whites, panko bread crumbs, ground flaxseed and Kirkland no-salt seasoning.

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Roasted veggies on the side tossed in 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, pepper and 2 tbsp shredded old cheddar cheese. And yes, I dipped my chicken it kethcup, then went and got some bbq sauce too. Delicious dinner!

 

Q&As – Round Eleventeen

Do you ever worry about getting bored being a personal trainer or about the lack of financial security in that job longterm?
Thanks!
(I think being in a gym all the time would drive me crazy-the lighting, the germs on the machines,the smell of sweat…wondering your thoughts esp since gyms are known to be big carriers of flu bugs, staff infections, skin diseases etc???!)

Funny, whenever I go to the gym now I think to myself “hell yeah I could spend the day working in here.” My gym is really nice though. Big, naturally lit with large windows, well ventilated, etc. Not in some dank basement like many gyms I’ve been to.

In terms of germs, I work in a university right now which is also a breeding ground! College kids aren’t necessarily shining examples of cleanliness and hygiene :P

I also make a point to never worry about financial security. I’m really good at saving money so I always have a nice cushion. Having lots of money has never appealed to me, and I try not to let money deter me from taking risks. I’m a strong believer that if you’re passionate and driven, you can be successful no matter what your chosen profession. Hell, I went into journalism. I made more money as a barista than I did as a reporter!!

I think the most important thing though is that I do not plan on being a personal trainer for the rest of my life. I view it as a starting point for me. I have a really strong desire to help people get healthy, but I want to expand that out of the gym walls and reach a larger audience someday. Okay. My dream is to write for fitness magazines and websites – so what? :P

 

Lori (Finding Radiance) Said:

Question: Is there a food that you hate that really wished you liked? (mine would be fish)

And – do you take any daily vitamins or supplements?

I wish I liked canned pumpkin!! Odd, because I like mushy baby food, but canned pumpkin still makes me gag. I wish I could plump up my oats with that tasteless orange mush, but it just makes them inedible :\

I just started taking fish oil! But besides that, no. I reallyreally should. I say this every time someone brings this topic up. Especially Calcium, Vitamin D and a B complex.

 

helenapooh Said:

How long have you been blogging for? Is it hard to develop the habit to post everyday?

I’ve been blogging for almost one year and two months. I never had trouble getting into the habit of posting regularly. I started blogging during my last semester of university, so I was looking for a way to procrastinate :P I really enjoy it, and it’s something I look forward to doing every day. I will admit to pre-writing posts when I know I’ll be busy though!

 

Lara (Thinspired) Said:

I have no idea how you can tough it out for an entire HOUR on the treadmill! What are your tricks for beating boredom?!

It reeeeally helps when I have some rockin tunes on my iPod. I like upbeat, melodic songs that I can run with. Also, I don’t run “hard” during my long treadmill workouts. When I’m sprinting, I can’t think of anything besides remembering to breathe and counting down the seconds. But when I’m going at a lower intensity, I have an easier time letting my thoughts wander, and that’s entertaining enough :) Also, I never keep it at the same speed or incline for longer than 10 minutes. For my favourite 60 minute treadmill workout, I change the speed every 60 seconds!

 

I think I have just a couple questions left before I wrap up this latest round of Q&As, so if there’s anything else you still want to get in, just leave it in the comments or send it to thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com

 

Question of the Day: What’s one food you dislike that you really wish you liked? Lori doesn’t have to answer this one since she already did :P

Pineapple? Pine-evil.

Boys oh boys, I’m watching the Olympic Canada-US game right now and it’s already action packed! I’m not a huge team sports fan, but as a Canadian, I can appreciate a good game of hockey ;)

Anyways, I did not have the best of days today. It started well, with a bowl of custard oatmeal.

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  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (stirred in while simmering)
  • cinnamon, vanilla, stevia
  • 2 chopped sates
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup

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I don’t get to make stove-top oats at home during the week since it takes so long (it’s all about the slow simmer ;) ) so they make for an extra-special weekend treat!

Except, it kicked my sweet-tooth into gear, so I enjoyed a Lindt Fleur de Sel with my morning pot of coffee.

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Just a splash of almond milk in the coffee. Mostly to cool it down.

Then, the trouble started. I opted for a Tropical Fruit Tart Larabar as my pre-workout snack. The sugar from the dates always gives me lots of energy.
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I’ve never tried this flavour before, but didn’t think much of it. Even when I took this photo of the ingredients!

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It was small as always. Larabars are not for volume eaters.

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As I was chowing down on the bar, I looked at the wrapper again and noticed pineapple was listed a the second ingredient. I’m allergic to pineapple!! I didn’t worry too much though, as I’ve eaten crystallized pineapple in the past with no incident. I figured it would be dried pineapple in the bar… right??

Well, whatever it was, it made me sick, real sick. I’ve gone for tests, but apparently vomiting upon consumption of anything pineapple related isn’t a common problem. I ate this at 10:30am and the pain/sickness didn’t subside until 3pm. It’s the kind of pain where I can’t do anything but shrivel up in a ball and moan. I couldn’t even stand the sound of the television. I think I may have drifted in and out of sleep a little, but who knows.

Aaaanyways. I’ve learned my lesson. Absolutely NO pineapple is entering this belly EVER again!

Sometime during the tummy episode, I hoped a settling sandwich might help things along.

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This is my favourite sandwich combo at the moment – PB + protein powder. I took half a scoop of chocolate whey powder and mixed it with water until it formed a goo, then spread it on one side of the bread. PB went on the other side. Delicious.

I actually briefly considered going to the gym once I was able to move again. I had a stellar upper-body sesh planned that I was sad to have to skip. But my mom always says things like this are the universe’s way of telling me to sloooow doooown. So I took the hint, and went to the grocery store instead.

Holly asked if I could show my grocery haul and what’s in my pantry/fridge. So for today’s Q&A I’ll show ya what’s in my grocery bag! (pantry/fridge coming soon!)

First off, I wanted to show you the protein powders I bought after my protein post yesterday.

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By coincidence, I ran out of both chocolate and vanilla today, so I went to GNC to find naturally sweetened powders. On the left is Iso Natural in vanilla flavour and Kaizen Whey Isolate Protein in chocolate flavour on the right. Both are sweetened with stevia.

Produce!

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  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • bag of onions
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 bartlett pears
  • bag of carrots
  • baby spinach
  • 3 plum tomatoes
  • bag of green beans
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • bag of mixed fresh veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)
  • sliced mushrooms
  • 4 bananas
  • 1 zucchini

Meat and Dairy:

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  • dozen eggs
  • Western Creamery 1% plain yogurt (never tried this kind before!)
  • Laughing Cow light cheese wedges
  • Scotsburn 50% less sodium 1% cottage cheese
  • Compliments egg whites
  • Maple Leaf light swiss cheese
  • Yves veggie roast beef slices
  • 1 lb salmon
  • 2 chicken breasts

Random stuff:

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  • Panko bread crumbs (on special!)
  • can diced tomatoes
  • Nestle lime carbonated water
  • cantaloupe
  • Bick’s garlic dill pickles
  • cinnamon
  • lemon juice
  • butternut squash
  • E.D. Smith sugar-free syrup

More random stuff:

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  • unsweetened vanilla  Almond Breeze
  • dates
  • butternut squash baby food
  • Bob’s Red Mill quinoa
  • Thompson raisins
  • unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Finn Crisp rye crackers (new-to-me food!)
  • Mini Eggs
  • Beemster single-serving cheese
  • Eden Organic garbanzo beans

Phew! That’s a lot! And it’s all for ME!! I eat every last crumb that I buy. I do buy some higher-end food products, but food is one of the few things I splurge on. I don’t spend anything on clothes and I never eat out, so it fits into my budget :) Tour of my fridge and pantry will come this week!

I was starving by the time I got home, my belly was in working order again. Luckily, I had leftover potato tofu salad.

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I’ve got to pat myself on the back for this salad. Adding cottage cheese, eggs, and tofu is a great way to get protein in a potato salad, and it’s delicious!!

After dinner, I whipped up a batch of my homemade protein bars for the week.

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  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 4 scoops vanilla whey powder
  • 6 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • one applesauce cup
  • 1/4 cup water

Mixed until crumbly, then flattened into a 9×9 pan and stuck in the fridge to harden.

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Makes 8 servings, at 210 calories, 9g fat, 4g fibre, 23g carbs, 16g protein.

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I think these may be one of my best batches yet!!

Then it was on to the more decadent stufff…

Mini Egg cookies!! 

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I took the recipe from here. Only changes were that I cut the recipe in half and left out the macadamia nuts. Essentially a chocolate chip cookie recipe with the world’s best chocolate chips ;)

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I made these specifically to bring into work for “Treat Monday.” Something we decided was necessary to start doing. I am proud to say that not only did I not eat my weight in cookie dough while preparing these – but I also didn’t try one when they were done!!! First time ever. I think telling myself that I’d have one with my coworkers tomorrow was enough to keep me from giving in to the temptation.

Plus, I also promised myself another kind of sweet treat once I was done baking.

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Protein cookie batter ;) Made with my new Kaizen chocolate whey powder and a few dashes of almond milk. Topped with peanut butter, chocolate chips and spinkles… of course. Protein powder gets a BIG thumbs up. One of the best ones I’ve tried yet!!

Well that’s all from me tonight. Despite spending half the day in bed, I’m exhausted. My Monday morning spin class is more important than hockey, sorry sports fans! :P

 

Question of the Day: Do you have any food allergies/intolerances? I thought I was such a weirdo until I started reading food blogs and realized almost everyone has some food issue. Pineapple is by far the worst for me, but raw spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, bananas, kiwis, avocadoes, mangoes, and many more have all given me an upset tummy. Same goes with cooking oils.

The Elusive Protein Powder

Helllooo! How is everyone doing? I had a very laid-back Saturday, my favourite kind :)

Started off at 7am (sleeping in!) with some egg-white french toast.

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I prefer french toast made with egg whites, but I still spread some almond butter on top for my fat ;)

Citrus on the side!

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I hung out in bed for a little bit, then went to BodyStep. Step class is probably the most fun I have working out all week. I don’t always feel motivated to work out on Saturdays after a long week, but I always look forward to that class, so it’s a good way to get me off my butt!

Came home mega sweaty and replenished with a protein smoothie.

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  • 1 scoop peach-mango whey protein powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 2 dates
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum

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This was soooo thick and creamy! Just like a thick milkshake – it was divine. Those gums are 100% worth the extra $$ if you like smoothies.

However, smoothies never stick with me for that long. Ninety minutes later I was hungry for lunch.

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Mini pizza off sorts – garlic tomato paste, Kirkland no-salt seasoning, sliced tomato, smoked mackerel, cheddar cheese on an english muffin.

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With carrots + salsa on the side. LOVE this combo! More than any other dipper for carrots. Try it if you haven’t yet!

I somehow found a spurt of energy today and cleaned a bunch and spent some time in the kitchen! First was a kitchen experiment that has been on my mind for a long time. I finally got the guts to do it, and boy am I glad I did!!

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Bacon Peanut Butter.

  • 1-2 cups dry roasted peanuts (I just dumped it in!)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • sprinkle kosher salt
  • 2-3 tbsp real bacon bits

I blended the peanuts until smooth first, then added the other ingredients. I had to try it immediately on some rye crackers.

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Okay, so I know this combo may weird some people out, but I promise you it’s REALLY good, and I would not purposely steer you wrong :P I didn’t add so much bacon that you can taste it. It just adds more depth to the salty peanut butter, and if you concentrate really hard you can taste a little smokiness.

I also whipped up another batch of Deb’s Protein Faux-nola.

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First, in a small saucepan, I brought to a low boil:

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Once it boiled down a bit, I stirred in two scoops (60g) vanilla whey protein powder and one tablespoon cinnamon.

Then, I mixed it up in a big bowl with:

  • 3 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup Grape Nuts cereal
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Spread out onto a baking sheet and put into a 325 F oven. I have no idea how long it cooked for, but I took it out every 5 minutes or so to stir it around, until it was browned and getting crunchy. Some of the bigger pieces may not seem crunchy when you first take them out of the oven, but they will be when it cools down!

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The big chunks are my favourite ;) The Grape Nuts added to the crunchy texture too.

I also made a potato salad of sorts earlier in the day that I let chill in the fridge so it was nice and cold for supper.

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  • 4 baby red potatoes
  • 1 block herbed tofu
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • few shakes Kirkland no-salt seasoning (it’s a garlic/oregano/veggie-type seasoning)
  • 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 sweet bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 3 small pickles, chopped
  • 2 tbsp real bacon bits

I steamed the potatoes and tofu together first, then mixed everything together once they cooled.

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After tossing everything together, I felt that something was missing. So I channelled Mark, my mom’s boyfriend, who always says bacon makes anything taste better. I used up the rest of the bacon bits and he was right! Dee-licious! ;)

 

Q&A – The Elusive Protein Powder

 

Justine said:

What kind of protein powder do you use? I bought some chocolate Designer Whey to use for protein cookie dough, and it was hell of nasty.

simplypresent Said:

Question: I have heard mixed reviews about soy protein. What are your thoughts? – Em

I have a question for you.  I don’t really understand the whole protein powder thing.  I see so many recipes for Breakfast cookies and shakes that have protein powder in them.  I went to the local health food store and they have about 100 different ones to choose from.  (they are expensive as I am sure you have noticed…LOL)  What one(s) do you recommend?  Do you know the difference between Whey and Soy powders??  Do you recommend one over the other??
Help I am so confused…LOL.
thanks Stephanie
AKA
www.eatrunquilt.blogspot.com

 

It seems protein powder is a popular source of confusion :P I’m not sure if I’m the most informed person to give you the deal on protein powder, especially since I’m in Canada and have access to different brands. But I’ll give it a shot. Let’s call it a starting point, shall we? ;)

If you had told me two years ago that I would have to dedicate a whole cupboard to this:

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I wouldn’t have believed you :P

I thought protein powder and “Muscle Milk” were only consumed by jocks with no necks that grunt at the gym. Okay…douchebags.

But when I started lifting heavy weights, I did a lot of research that said protein can help muscle recovery. Back in those days I was a pescetarian and looking for more ways to get it in my diet. Specifically protein shakes, as they digest quickly and work to repair your muscles faster after a hard workout (remember! muscle is built during that recovery process!)

I went into GNC and was totally overwhelmed by the hundreds of expensive, giant canisters, so I instead went to Wal-Mart and bought the cheapest one I could find. Since then, I’ve tried to do a lot of experimenting to find what I like. For the most part, I prefer whey powder, which is a protein that comes from dairy. When searching for whey powders, you’ll likely find two kinds: whey isolate and whey concentrate. Isolate just contains more protein than concentrate, so it’s often more expensive. I either buy an isolate powder, or a mix of the two.

So I’ll show you what’s in my cupboard right now for protein powder. First is President’s Choice Whey Protein Isolate in chocolate flavour.

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When looking at the nutrition information, I always look at the serving size. I usually shoot for a powder that has 20-25g protein for 100-120 calories. This one may seem like a lot, but the serving size is 45g, when the standard is around 30g.

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The next one is from another Canadian company – PVL. I actually don’t care for their Whey Gourmet line, but the Naturelle vanilla bean flavour caught my eye because it’s sweetened with stevia. 

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The biggest downfall of flavoured protein powder is that they’re typically artificially sweetened (it’s how they keep the calories and carbohydrates low). This can be a problem if you’re trying to stay away from artificial sweeteners, or if things like sucralose give you stomach problems.

Finally, I have the source of today’s smoothie, Thermo-Lean Iso-Lean in Peach Mango flavour.

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I find the ISO Lean stuff to be a little too “fake sweet” for me, so this one has been in my cupboard for a while. Okay for a treat sometimes though!

Ironically, I don’t have any of my favourite powders on hand right now, but I’ll show them to you anyway. I always need to have a chocolate and vanilla on hand, and Iso Femme is a brand that is both tasty with good nutritionals.

This powder also makes the best breakfast cookies!

My other favourite kind is from PVL, the Whey Cooler.

This stuff is neat because you mix it with 32 oz water and tastes similar to kool-aid or gatorade.

It really is an awesome thirst quencher! And 20g protein for just 80 calories. 

Now, besides whey powder, I’ve only ever tried hemp protein and soy protein. Hemp is not so great, as it’s “earthy” tasting. But hey, some people dig that. Soy protein is actually not too bad. I’ve only ever bought Bob’s Red Mill unflavoured soy protein powder. I really liked it for cooking and baking, but not so much for smoothies. It was also a really fine powder, so it didn’t harden well in no-bake cookies and bars, it just got chalky.

I know protein powder seems like a lot of money at first, but just remember that it will last you weeks! Think of it like your car – the $30+ you spend on gas is like an investment because it keeps your car running for several days. Well protein powder is an investment that will keep your body running for several days!

Last but least, I feel like I should add protein powder will not make you gain weight!!! I helped my friend pick out protein powder last weekend and she was worried it would make her put on pounds when she is trying to lose some. But it’s just a matter of calories in, calories out. Replace the calories of something you’re already eating with the calories in a protein shake and it won’t make a difference.

Hope that helps!

Question of the Day: Do you use protein powder? What kind? Favourite thing to do with it?

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