Monthly Archives: June 2010

Things I Learned The Month I Moved Away

I still get excited about little things, like when my Dairy-free (ish) Protein Pancakes make the Foodbuzz homepage.

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Meditating at 5am is only fun when you’re not wishing you were asleep instead.

Protein before bed is the secret to waking up with no belly pouf (for me!). No matter how weird the combination may seem.

IMG_9160Cottage cheese, almond butter, sugar-free syrup, cinnamon. 

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Soy protein powder, cocoa powder, stevia, vanilla extract, coconut, almond milk.

I am head over heels for yoga. Even though I curse myself for going during the sun salutations, I always leave with a dopey grin on my face.

Earthquakes happen in Ottawa!!

There is no sense in getting mad at myself for getting up at an ungodly hour to eat breakfast, then go back to bed. If it helps me sleep, so let it be.

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I still have a lot to learn about this world.

I still have a lot to learn about myself.  

Bloggers are some of the best people I know.

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I reallyreally like baking.

And I might even be good at it.

Not to mention, it makes for excellent therapy when I need to take a time-out from life.

I am a hopeless optimistic. I cling on to the idea that things will always work out in the end.

I’m kinda outdoorsy!!

I still don’t have a handle on how to deal with my anxiety disorder. I’m oblivious as to whether it’s something I can cure by finding the source of it, or if it’s something I’ll just need to manage for the rest of my life…

The Queen of England is just an 84-year-old woman who shouldn’t have to walk and shake people’s hands anymore. She should be doing old-people yoga with my Nana.

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I left something in the mountains. I think I may have to go back and find it.

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Even after living with someone for 10 years, sometimes you need to learn how to live with them all over again.

I’m thankful my family loves me enough to have me around :)

I MISS THIS NOSE.

I am way more scared than I admit about moving to Toronto. Thankfully, I’m also a hopeless optimistic. Tonight, I zip up my suitcases for the last time, and tomorrow I will unpack them for good :)

 

Question of the Day: What did you learn in June?

**An unfortunate paragraph break in my last post may have led to a few incorrect e-mails. If you haven’t heard back from me yet on the July 11th Toronto blogger meet up send me another e-mail at:

thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com

Take that wordpress.

Immediate Onset Muscle Soreness

Finally, I did it.

I went to a kettle bell class!!

Few gyms in my old neck of the woods offer kettlebell classes, so when Darryn suggested we try one out here in Ottawa I was all over it!

Now, I may be a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast, but I was still a little scared. I’ve heard this shit (sorry) is tough. Which in some twisted way is also why I was so attracted to it.

We went to an “Intro to Kettlebells” class. Thankfully, it was just me, Darryn and the instructor, which made it feel like our own private session!

Essentially, kettlebell training is a lot like plyo, but with the addition of swinging around one or two of these weights. It requires a lot more balance and fluidity than I was expecting, and perhaps also why they recommend you go barefoot.

 

We did a lot of squats and lunges, some with jumping, a few with presses. I think the sit-ups with the shoulder press killed me the most. Apparently the intro class is mostly easier moves with fewer reps. My heart rate definitely got high towards the end of each circuit and I could really feel my muscles working – the best of both worlds!

With all that said, it is pretty torturous. But some people dig torturous (maybe even this girl?). I’d love to find a beginner class in Toronto where I can learn more moves, and maybe even incorporate into some training plans for advanced clients!

And in case you’re wondering, I am hella sore. Inner thighs mostly, thanks to all those squats. No “delayed” onset muscle soreness here. It’s all immediate ;)

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After, Darryn and I found our way to the Byward Cafe. She had her heart set on a salad, I on a coffee and sandwich. They had all three!

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For the sandwich, I went for chicken and marinated vegetable. Very good actually, for something that sounds so simple.

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For the salad, I got the greek + mixed greens.

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For my coffee, I went for an Americano. Yummmm.

Darryn and I chattered away and had a lovely lunch together!

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Have I said that I love blog friends? I love blog friends. Everyone is so wonderful, one of the main reasons why all the work I put into blogging is worth it!! Not to mention, more people in the world who love to ramble about food and exercise with me ;)

After we said our goodbyes, I continued on my journey to the National Art Gallery. This is the place I was trying to get to when I got lost in Hull.

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Apparently it’s hard to miss because of the large, frightening spider out front. Disgusting egg sack and all. Aragog??

The gallery had a Pop art exhibit on! Including this one:

Lots of Warhols which were pretty neat to see. Some other things from the 80s and early 90s that I actually recognized from my childhood. The most “interesting” thing in the exhibit was a video of Kirsten Dunst singing the song “Turning Japanese.” No joke. I had to do a double take. Watch it here.

My faaaavourite thing from the gallery though were the Canadian works of art!!

The National Gallery has a lot of Group of Seven paintings which I lovelovelove. This one by Tom Thomson is one of my all-time favourites.

This one caught my eye immediately, and I smiled when I read the info card next to it.

“Red Currant Jelly” by Mary Pratt – an artist from Fredericton!! She’s one of the most famous painters to come from New Brunswick :)

Of course, this one also caught my eye…

“A Meeting of the School Trustees” by Robert Harris. Aka the source of the “Both of you know I cannot read a word” Heritage Minute!! It is slightly sad that my knowledge of Canadian history comes mostly from those Heritage Minutes…

I tried to power through the gallery as I still had a 40 minute walk back to my sister’s place and my body was starting to feel worn out. Made up a giant veggie plate the second I burst through the door.

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Carrots, bell pepper and cucumber with tofu spread.

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Tofu spread completes me.

Dinner featured a new-to me veggie.

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Artichokes! Okay, I’ve had the bottled artichoke hearts before, but I’ve never dealt with the whole thing before.

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I didn’t really look up a recipe before I spontaneously decided to cook them tonight. I took the hard leaves off, sliced them lengthwise, and let soak in red wine vinegar with shallots before sautéing.

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Eaten on half a pita with a cut up bison burger, mayo, mustard, spinach and tomatoes.

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Honestly, I think I prefer the jarred variety, but it was still a fun food experiment!

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Roasted broccoli and sweet potato on the side. Burnt it a little, which actually made it better! Crispier! Yumyum :)

 

Sara and I had planned on an Ashtanga class tonight, but she can’t make it. I’m secretly glad because I’m pretty sore from kettlebells ;)

Question of the Day: What is your favourite fitness class? One you’re dying to try? My favourite is either spin or step but tomorrow I’m making it to that Gliding class – mark my words! ;)

 

**Angela from Oh She Glows and I are organizing a big Toronto blogger meet-up at Calico Cafe for July 11th to celebrate my moving there! E-mail me at the greatbalancingact@gmail.com asap if you think you can make it – space in the restaurant is limited!

Food. Good food. And lots of it.

Bonjour!! I am in a bilingual city, I can say that here ;)

Wonderful questions and feedback on my last post: Ripped Arms: A How-To Guide. I made some clarifications in the comments section if any of you are interested. In terms of designing an arm workout, 2-4 sets of 8-15 reps of each a shoulder exercise, triceps exercise and biceps exercise, 1-3 times a week, is enough to do it. Got that? Just don’t forget about your other muscles too! ;)

I also got a great comment from Averie:

10 yrs of yoga gave me a foundation for everything, 4 mos of lifting is giving me some size :)

Couldn’t agree more. If you’re already athletic, but still want to see more arm definition, heavy weight lifting will get you where you want to be in no time.

Now this is where I seamlessly transition to talking about FOOD.

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I really just want to show this pic of Sunday’s breakfast because my toes are stealing some of the spotlight in the bottom right of the frame :P One of the reasons why I love reading food blogs, as opposed to professional food publications, is the level of “real life” you get from photos such as these. Hello toes!

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Rainier cherries are continuing to rock my face off. They taste milder than regular ones.

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The last of my homemade rosemary yogurt biscuits topped with eggs and bacon. If it’s been a while since you last had this combination, I highly suggest you get on it. This is the best post-run weekend breakfast. The HEAB-ster just posted an even easier biscuit recipe just in case ;)

 

Okay, now that we are done ogling at breakfast, I must introduce you to Sunday’s lunch!! Sister Sara had tickets for a play and the theatre is conveniently located across the street from an amazing vegetarian buffet called The Table. I grabbed a little scoop of everything that struck my fancy. I’m a sampler.

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Beet salad and carrot ginger salad.

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A tofu patty topped with this sweet & sour onion sauce. They were highly recommended.

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Some sort of black bean loaf.

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Braised onions, roasted mushrooms and a tofu skewer.

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As well as a bit of lentil quinoa salad and dandelion greens. The salads were a little lacklustre (surprisingly!). The hot foods were my favourite. Especially the braised onion and tofu patty. I want to recreate both!!

As we were leaving, Sara heard that you get 20% off if you’re going to see a play. We’d already paid, but we wanted our discount!! So we went back after the play for tea and dessert :)

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I was still stuffed from my meal, so I stopped myself from grabbing a gazillion cookies and went with what looked unique.

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Not your typical coconut pie. It was surprisingly light and fluffy, not at all chewy like a macaroon. A touch bland though, so I topped it with this:

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Vegan rice pudding. I’m assuming it was made with coconut or soy milk. Made for an excellent pie topping actually!

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Apple & mixed berry crumble with whipped cream. This was my favourite of the desserts. You can never go wrong with cooked apples.

And the tea!

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The perfect flavour to pair with the desserts I’d chosen. I love me some chai!

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Sara being her usual social butterfly self.

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Me, being my usual contemplative self.

Another highlight from Sunday was biking down to one of Ottawa’s beaches. It may take a while for the idea of a beach not meaning “ocean” to sink in.

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Sara and her sweet new bike pump. She’s a cycling queen.

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Me just looking awkward :P My biking adventures in Ottawa have been my first of the season. It would be an understatement to say they came with a little apprehension. In fact, I had a moment of sheer panic within minutes of being back on the bike. But yesterday I started to feel relaxed again and less like I was chained to a death trap. Also impressed by how strong my legs got over the winter – hills are nuthin’ to me now!

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Because of my new-found ease, we opted to take the long way home and enjoy some of the (weird) sights Ottawa has to offer.

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Inukshuks on the river!!

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Clearly, we had to stop and take silly photos with them.

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I just wish I’d read this sign first. I maaaaay have decapitated a statue :\

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Today’s breakfast had a significant lack of biscuits.

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Eggs and bacon were instead eaten between two seedy pieces of bread with mayo, lettuce and tomato.

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I made a fruit salad for us using watermelon, banana, cherries, lime juice and some of this stuff:

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Peppermint honey!

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From Alberta! It was very pepperminty, but added a nice refreshing kick to the salad.

Let’s see… there was also a notable breakfast dessert.

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I love that my sister agrees with me that it is very important to have quality chocolate in the house at all times.

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Camino Coconut gets a thumbs up!

It took me a really long time to get motivated to go the gym today. I am having motivation issues lately. I’m thinking it may be resolved once I finally get settled in Toronto (moving Thursday!). Until then, I forced myself to do a full-body lifting workout.

Started with a 10-minute run to the gym. I did three sets and 10 reps of everything. Colour-coded to indicate which exercises were supersetted together (ie no rest in between alternating sets).

Exercise Load Target
Sumo squat  70 lbs Quads, glutes
Wide-grip lat pulldown  60 lbs Back, biceps
Good morning  45 lbs Hamstrings, glutes, lower back
Incline push-up  bodyweight Chest, abs, front shoulders
Forward lunge  30 lbs Quads, glutes
Arnold press  15 lbs ea Shoulders
Overhead cable extension 30 lbs Triceps
Seated calf raise  90 lbs Calves
Incline curl  10 lbs ea Biceps
Captain’s chair  bodyweight Abs

I went up in weight on my squats… yayy!!! Only 60 lbs left to go until I reach my lifetime goal of squatting my bodyweight – ha!

Ohyes, then I ran the 10 minutes back to my sister’s place. Mygosh it was hot by then. Brutal.

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Sister Sara said I had to try these tofu cutlets they carry at an organic food store called Herb & Spice.

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I cut it up cold and put them on top of a salad (dressed with watered down hummus). I would have to agree with my sister, these are amazing!! It almost tasted like they were baked in cream of mushroom soup, but Sara says the spread vegepate on top. Genius.

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Salad also included some wonderful local spinach – yum :)

Late this afternoon I continued my quest to find a decent cottage cheese in Ontario… IMG_9094 
Half a cup of Liberty 1% cottage cheese on top of the leftover fruit salad from the morning.
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It was good but still not great. Also, Liberty is significantly more expensive than other brands.
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I miss my Scotsburn 50% less sodium cottage cheese!! They need to supply outside of the Maritimes!

For dinner, I made Sara and I bison burgers using my mother’s method of locking all the juices in (start with a hot pan, then lower it down to cook)

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Sara doesn’t keep  ketchup in her place (the horror!), so I loaded up on the tomatoes, and ate it on pita bread. A Susan version of a hamburger thin if you will ;)

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Roasted corn in the oven. So easy. Throw it in, husk at all, and cook at 400F for 30-40 minutes.

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Yellow zucchini roasted in rosemary and olive oil. I could never find this anywhere back home!!

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All yellow vegetables tonight :)

Sara and I then sat around contemplating what we could do this evening. We both agreed dessert was in order, but I’d already eaten three pieces of chocolate today (as I do every day, fyi).

Somehow we decided it was a good idea to walk 30 minutes to this delightful place called Oh So Good near the Byward Market.

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We got a little lost on the way, but the extra walk was worth it. They had a wide array of different cakes and sweets. My eyes immediately set on the white chocolate mousse cake.

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Seriously you guys, I’m not a huge cake person, and I loved every bite of this. Incredibly light and fluffy, with shaved white chocolate on the top. Both Sara and I agreed that the small layer of jam in the center made the cake.

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Sara got a slice of the chocolate truffle cake. The chocolate was definitely of high quality and fresh because it was the first piece from the cake!

We both enjoyed our cake with a cuppa tea. We briefly discussed the calories in each slice, and agreed it was a pleasure too great to pass up.

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That’s why you walk to the cake ;)

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See you tomorrow!! xoxo

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