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Refined Sugar 101

Hello friends!

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Apparently someone thinks they’re a princess.

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That’s right. He thinks he’s a princess. 

 

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But what a cute princess he is.

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And we can’t forget about Rude Rudy. Who actually isn’t as rude as the princess above ;)

Right, you’re here for the food pictures, aren’t you? I could easily become one of “those” dog owners :P

Speaking of which, The Princess busted into my room this morning without my realizing. I woke up at 8am spooning a poodle.

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Essentially the two eggs + two pieces of ezekiel bread of yesterday, but dipped in the eggs and french toasted today.

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The mandatory citrus. Scurvy watch!

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Dipped into sugar-free syrup. I actually prefer table syrup to maple syrup for dipping. Not as rich.

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Admittedly, the ezekiel was not ideal for french toast. I prefer fluffier breads for this. But it was still edible to say the least ;)

Declared it a rest day in order to make amends with my body. So I spent the morning catching up on blogs. Definitely not the type of Monday mornings I’m used to!

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Natural sugar + peanut butter. Nomnom. There may have been a couple bites of Queen Elizabeth cake, but there is no photographic evidence to prove this.

Lunch was another gargantuan salad.

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Massaged kale for the base, with some feta, tuna and watered down hummus for the dressing.

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Have you tried watered down hummus as a dressing yet?? It’s ohsooogoooood.

Was out running errands in my hometown today (I technically grew up across the river from where my mom lives now). Population 16,000. Ran into half a dozen people I know in a span of 30 minutes. Oh, and I hung out in my dad’s office for a bit – we made plans to go to a spin class together this week!

Afternoon snack:

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I need to make some homemade protein bars while I’m here – I’m missing them! This will make do in the meantime, a Kashi Seven Whole Grain Almond bar and four egg whites with Frank’s hot sauce. Egg whites make a really good snack!

I originally thought my mother was going to make dinner. We started talking about how to use up the chicken breasts and eggplant that were in the fridge. Then I said I’d get started on it because I was hungry. 45 minutes I was calling her upstairs to come eat while it was still hot. How did that happen?

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She definitely weasled her way out of this one.

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I chopped up the chicken breasts and fried them in one tablespoon olive oil, with some onions, mushrooms, green pepper and garlic.

I then added that to a pot with a can of diced tomatoes and tomato soup, with the chopped eggplant, few pinches of basil, few shakes of hot sauce and a few cranks of the pepper grinder. Served on top of whole wheat egg white noodles.

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My mother also took the pretty bowl. Thanks mom ;)

 

Refined Sugar 101

As I mentioned yesterday, I wanted to elaborate on refined sugars, what they are, and why I want to cut back the amount in my diet. It’s no secret I have a rabid sweet tooth. I can, and have, eaten sweets until I feel sick. I’m hoping by cutting back on refined sugars in particular, I can train my palette not to crave it, and hopefully do my body some good!

Refined sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beets. The refining process begins by extracting the sucrose through a number of cycles including boiling, putting through a centrifuge and filtering. The result is called “raw sugar,” contains 95% sucrose, and sold as turbinado sugar (the larger, brownish crystals).

Table sugar is raw sugar usually bleached with lime or carbon dioxide. Water is then added and it is further whitened by being put through an animal char filter, which also removes any leftover minerals, further refining it to a near complete sucrose state. Bone char by the way, is charred animal bones, and also often used to remove heavy metals from water. This is also why strict vegans don’t eat white sugar or salt (and why I didn’t when I was vegan).

Table sugar is about 99.9% sucrose, and contains virtually no vitamins or minerals for its high calorie content. It’s high on the glycemic index, meaning it quickly affects your blood sugar levels and your body’s reaction to regulate them.

Molasses is the by-product of the second extraction of the refining process, and blackstrap molasses is the by-product of the third extraction. Brown sugar is simply table sugar with added molasses, and powdered sugar is pulverized table sugar.

Some terms you may want to know:

Saccharose – aka sucrose
Oligosaccharides – short-chain carbohydrates found in things like beans and onions. Not very sweet.
Glucose – a sugar found in many plants, as well as in blood. Sweeter than sucrose.
Fructose – sugar in mostly fruits and honey, almost twice as sweet as sucrose.
Dextrose – another term for glucose
Lactose – the sugar found in milk
Maltose – the sugar found in malt and beer
Palm sugar – the saccharose/sucrose from dates

So, I’m attempting to get my sugars from real foods and using things like maple syrup and honey which are sugar solutions made with water. I also use stevia, which is a whole other post!!

As always, read the ingredients labels to see what foods have sugar, and what kind of sugar it is. It has a funny way of sneaking into diets ;)

Sources
http://www.becomehealthynow.com/article/carbs/1082/
http://www.ehow.com/about_5444701_refined-sugars.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_char
http://www.food-info.net/uk/products/sugar/types.htm

 

Pssst… don’t forget! I’m giving away a waffle maker!!

Take Heed

Ahhh, it was yet another glorious day around these parts. Mid 20’s and clear blue skies. Felt like a summer day!

I loved reading through everyone’s goals for May. One of the reasons why I keep doing it! Here is just a snippet for inspiration ;)

  • Kristin: “Run at least 20 times… that is 5x a week! I am officially in race training” 
  • April: “My new goals are to STRETCH!!” 
  • Morgan: “my goals are to relax and enjoy the little moments. I spend a lot of time thinking about my future but I don’t live in the moment very much. I need to change this!”
  • Julie: “My May goals are no beef or bread. I’m also working hard on Weight Watchers and trying to lose 5 pounds.”

So now when I check in every week this month you can keep me updated on how it’s going! I think I’ll make Sunday check-in days again. Seems to be the only day of the week I can remember…

Once again I am putting my ugliest photos at the top of the post. Probably not the best blogging technique ;)

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But this has to be shared!

Last night, I microwaved 3/4 cup egg whites in a mug, then added blueberry jam and peanut butter.

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Are you gagging yet? I assure you it was delicious. I’ve had eggs with fruit before, but the nut butter really brought it up a notch. Scrumptious snack!

I was up at 6am with a growling tummy. It required a special remedy.

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Hey, it was never specified which type of jar oats in a jar should be eaten out of ;)

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The last of my marshmallow fluff now that I’m trying to lay off the refined sugar. Cream of wheat cooked with egg whites, topped with PB and chocolate chips for good measure.

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The fluff melts on the hot oats and it transforms into the thing dreams are made of.

I can’t believe I’ve never thought of it before, but I added a splash of vanilla extract to my coffee today – delightful!

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Thankfully, I don’t drink regular cow’s milk or cream, so reducing my dairy consumption should not affect my coffee consumption. I normally just use a splash of almond milk. Cow’s milk has always made me squeamish :\

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Are you singing it now?

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Naner and dates with crunchy almond butter. I’m back and forth with crunchy and smooth. I just can’t decide which is best.

Then it was off to Body Step! I went to the big gym again and it was beyond stellar. My heart rate skyrocketed because I was pushing myself to the max. It’s such a motivating class. I credit it entirely to the instructors – they bring it out of me! 

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My whole life, my eyes have always been bigger than my stomach.

Except in the case of salads. I’d say they’re on par here ;)

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Highlights being spinach, kale, rotisserie chicken breast, and pickled beets. Dressing made out of watered down hummus.

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I’m trading in my usual romaine lettuce for dark leafy greens to make up for some of the calcium I’m missing out on without the usual dairy. I’ll also add a little more tofu, almonds and sardines which are all notably high in calcium as well. And of course, I take a daily calcium supplement! There’s tons of conflicting research out there about calcium absorption. Unfortunately, it’s an issue that’s been highly politicized.

After lunch, I took the pooch out for his walk in the sunshine. It was hot out!

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He passed out at the bottom of the stairs again after. This is probably my favourite picture of the bugger yet. Archie + Running shoe = <3

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I think I’m losing my love for honeycrisp, it’s been replaced by galas. This snack powered me through cleaning out my closet. I am getting rid of exactly half of my wardrobe!

I had full plans of eating up my cupboards this week, but I just couldn’t do it. I caved and bought fresh produce

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I’ll throw out my 2-year-old box of lasagna noodles and expired box of soup. The fresh veggies were worth it.

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Steamed green beans + broccoli, topped with 2 whole eggs that were scrambled with smoked salmon, capers and honey mustard. Scrambled eggs + mustard may be my new favourite thing. Awesome pairing!!

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And some butter on hot toast. Nothing like it my friends!

I was supposed to meet a friend to practice for my personal training practical – but the gym was closed! I dropped her off at home, and intended to drive back to my place. But I drove right past the turn off to my neighbourhood and kept driving.

I drove across the river to the other side of town, and kept driving.

I rolled my window all the way down and turned up Death Cab For Cutie’s Narrow Stairs album.

In the two years that I’ve been driving, I’ve never just driven. I’ve always been on a mission, a deadline, somewhere to be.

I had no clue where I was going tonight, but that didn’t stress me out. Instead I relished in the scent in the air and the feel of it on my face. It was fantastic.

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It’s helps that I live in a gorgeous river valley. I may be sick of this city, but that river definitely stole my heart.

I effortlessly found my way back home and hour later. I took the dog out for another evening stroll. Again, soaking up every minute. Day 2 of my May Goals, and I’m already reaping the benefits.

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Finished the night off with some Averie inspired protein popcorn. Microwave popcorn tossed with a little water and chocolate protein powder. Another fabulous treat :)

 

I am off to go cuddle up in bed and read magazines. Busybusy day tomorrow packing up!

 

Questions of the Day:

1. Nut butter – smooth or crunchy? Flavoured or natural? I’m back and forth, but I think I like crunchy best. Definitely natural.

2. What moment recently made you stop and take heed? Tonight, I walked up the hill and looked over the river as the sun was setting. And the smell of freshly cut grass coming in through my car window!

The Non-Training Training Program

Thank you sososo much for all the congratulatory comments on my last post! Y’all are too sweet :) Passing my personal trainer theory exam definitely feels like a small victory in this long journey I’m on. Also feels like an affirmation I’m on the right path!

Speaking of paths (segue alert!), I hit the trail this morning. I’ve essentially had the same gym routine since January, and I’m desperate to change it up! Even though it was supposed to be cold and rainy this morning, I couldn’t bring myself to slog out a run on the treadmill, so I took it outside anyways.

I would like to say it was freeing and glorious, but Susan-land is not la-la-land. It may not have been dark at 6:30 am, but it was cold. 4 degrees celsius, which Google tells me is 39.2 F. I have a high-quality shirt and jacket for cold weather, but just cheap cotton leggings for my legs. No good. As Caitlin would say, my thighs felt like frozen chicken thighs. When I took my leggings off, they were bright red from the cold!

Ended up running 4 tough miles. It felt like I was running through cement at times as my legs are still sore from my last weight workout. But I did it. It was fun-ish. And it gave me something different to say when my coworkers asked me what I did at the gym this morning ;)

No time for a fancy breakfast.

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That’s my excuse anyways, but we all know I just wanted waffles again ;) Nature’s Path Pomegranate with peanut butter and blueberry jam.

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Was going to put protein powder goo on top until I remembered I have an excess of egg whites in the fridge. The best protein comes from real food :)

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An egg white pillow with some laughing cow cheese sandwiched in the middle.

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Got my carbs, fat, protein and sugary goodness. The perfect breakfast :)

Lunch was l-l-leftovers!

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What was left of the “wonky Mexican hash” with melted cheese on top.

Then after work today, I went to the campus gym with two co-workers to show them around the weight area. Both are getting married this summer and want to look good in their wedding dresses! Both have been going to the gym for a while, but felt a little lost. It was so fun to see how excited they got over the new moves! One of the girls was so cute. She asked me what to do to get rid of belly pudge, I told her it was diet-related, and her face immediately dropped. Ahhhh… This is something I’m going to have to get used to I think…

Took the dog on his second walk of the day (I can’t say no to him!) then came in for a late supper.

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A tofu faux alfredo

  • Block extra-firm tofu
  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 bag frozen broccoli
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 pint mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

I cooked the squash in the microwave, then added it to the pan with everything else. For the sauce I mixed up 4 laughing cow cheese wedges with soy milk until it was at a consistency I liked, then added a dash of pepper, nutmeg and parmesan cheese.

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Ever notice I eat a lot of things out of bowls? I find bowls comforting for some reason. Plus, they’re better for portion control. I can pile a lot more on a plate than I can in one of these bowls.

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Fun fact: I didn’t eat any meat today! I bet that happens more often than I notice. I was a veggie for 8 years after all!

 

The Non-Training Training Program

I’ve spoken a lot about training programs and how I like to sort of fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to working out. But, one thing I have learned, is that it is sometimes beneficial to look at the larger picture when choosing workouts.

During the program design section of my personal training course, we learned about periodization and the three different training cycles:

  • Macrocycle: A period lasting several months to a year
  • Mesocycle: A period lasting several weeks/a few months
  • Microcycle: A period lasting around a week.

If you’re not training for a big race, you are probably wondering why the hell you have to care about periodization and training cycles.

Well that’s why I’m here, duh!

Even if you’re not training for something in particular, it is still beneficial to follow training cycles if you want to see an improvement in general fitness. It doesn’t have to be grand. Hell, most people would just like to be able to carry their groceries indoors with greater ease.

The cycle typically starts with low intensity workouts and increases into higher intensity workouts.Eventually, you reach a peak intensity, where you are at your best performance. After reaching this peak, you recover. This is a REST PERIOD of a few days. After this rest period, you slowly begin the cycle over again with the lower-intensity workouts. Each "peak" stage will be a little higher, meaning you are getting more fit, yay!

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This is my fancy graph. I made it all by myself :)

This is where a little something called "progressive overload" comes in. This is one of the key training principles, and just one of many which I’ll be sure to talk about over the next little bit.

Progressive overload is just that – you progressively add to your workouts, be it time, speed, intensity, load, etc, to see improvement. If you go to the gym and do the same 30 minute elliptical workout every freakin’ day, then it is going to be hard to improve upon that. You need to challenge yourself to get better. And with each challenge, the same amount of work will feel easier!

It’s fun to say we just show up at the gym and do what we want. But in reality, a little more forethought should go into it.

  • Don’t progress too quickly (the 10% mileage rule for running for example)
  • Always err on the side of caution and rest when you need it.
  • Decide what you want to improve on, and work on challenging it
  • When you feel you’ve reached a “peak,” rest. Recover. Then start all over again.

For me, I take a few days off every 3-4 months. Usually to coincide with life events or just when my body says "whoa." I also tend to train with the seasons. I’ve probably already peaked in terms of strength training for this year, but I’ll be working towards a running peak early in the fall.

It’s also worth noting that you can’t just keep getting better and better without taking that rest period. Fitness doesn’t grow exponentially. But rather grows in little bumps!

 

And with that, I’m off! To make protein cookies :) Tomorrow is Flashback Friday. Trying to stir up a good one, see ya then!

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