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Flashback Friday: Beaches and Bikinis

Happeeee weeeeekend!!! I’m actually not all that excited. I have to be at work for 8:45am tomorrow :( Which means I have to be up at 6am to squeeze in some exercise before. Funny how when I was a student I never had days off, but now I’m so spoiled with whole weekends!

Despite only sleeping six hours last night, I was still up and ready for a 6am spin class today. I missed spin on Monday! It put me in such a good mood for the rest of the day. They must put drugs in the air exchange or something. I was glowing walking out of that studio :D

I’d prepped my favourite desk-breakfast for today…

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  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp Grape Nuts cereal

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The key is to let the Grape Nuts sit on top of the mix in the fridge overnight, then to stir them in in the morning. That way it’s a little mushy with a little crunch ;)

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I’m a texture person. Sorry if this shot makes you gag Janetha (who only likes savoury cottage cheese). And I’m sorry if it also makes any other CC-haters out there gag. Meanwhile, I’m having a love affair with it :)

I was at work at 7:45am today!! That’s super early for my office. I looooove the quiet moments in the morning as I get to sit at my desk and putter through e-mails. Our blooming geranium in the sunlight also made me grin.

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I can take no responsibility for this plant. Our cleaning lady is the only one keeping it alive.

I had my usual mid-morning snack of a homemade PB&J protein bar.

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I eat one of these everyday. Much cheaper than eating the store-bought variety everyday.

Lunch was leftovers from last night plumped up with extra veggies.

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Seeing as I didn’t buy groceries this week, the only green food I had was a bag of frozen brussels sprouts and broccoli. I polished them off with this lunch!

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Also in there is quinoa and shrimp that I cooked in vegetable soup. It was good!

It was a gooorgeous day today, sunny and +9 C (48F). I spent a chunk of the afternoon skipping around campus hanging up posters. I even wore flats and a spring jacket! (the college kids were all in shorts of course – that’s still a little much for me).

I came back to another usual snack, eggs + cheese.

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This cheese you’ve been seeing is Armstrong smoked cheddar. It’s probably my least favourite of their cheese sticks. It tastes too smoky.

I left work a little early so I could get back in time to show my apartment. I’d come home on my lunch break to tidy up, which is actually an awesome idea. I’m always too tired to clean at night, but coming home to a tidy place at the end of the day is so nice!

Anyways, the first couple who looked at it were so not interested. I think they were expecting a one bedroom. Or maybe a kitchen larger than a broom closet.

The second person however was a single guy in his 20s and he loved it!! He says he’s going to give me a deposit for it next week, so here’s hoping he comes through! My lease goes until September, but I’m moving to Toronto in June, so I need someone to sublet for the remainder of my lease. If he takes it, it will be a major item crossed off my to-do list :D

I was starving when I came home, but didn’t have time for dinner, so I snacked a lot. By the time I was done showing the apartment, I wasn’t hungry for a huge meal anymore. Or in the mood for cooking. Enter my current obsession:

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PB + Protein sandwich. On the left is some crunchy peanut butter, on the right is a protein spread made from chocolate protein powder dissolved with water.

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Joined together to make a delicious trifecta of carb, protein and fat. YUM. There was an applesauce after this too. Just so you don’t think I ate just a sandwich for dinner!

And I actually had something different for dessert for the first time in weeks! A protein cake.

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  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butternut squash baby food
  • 2 tbsp egg whites

Mixed up in a large mug and nuked for 90 seconds in the microwave. Topped with more PB. Besides protein pudding, this is probably my second-favourite night-time snack. 

Flashback Friday

Yesyes, I did a flashback on Tuesday. This one won’t be as heartfelt, but more like a fun look back :)

Exactly one year ago, I’d just returned from a week in Cuba. It was back in the early blogging days. I did a food recap here, a resort recap here and a Havana recap here. But I thought it would be fun to show some of the pictures that didn’t make it to the blog! 

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We stayed in Veradero, that peninsula off in the distance. By far the prettiest beaches I’ve been to, especially in the city.

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Cuba is of course known for still driving cars from before the revolution. Always makes for a good photo op wherever you are.

Another thing Cuba is known for….rum.

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Ohman you guys. You know I’m a old-fashioned whiskey drinker, but there is nothing like fresh rum made with fresh sugar cane. Put that in some club soda with more fresh cane sugar, fresh lime, and some mint, and you’ve got Susan Heaven.

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This photo was taken after trying for ten minutes to figure out how to flush the toilet. A lot of them had these nubby things on the top you had to pull!! Really though, I think it would take a rocket scientist to figure it out.

We also did all the tourist-y things. Like seeing buildings I’d never heard of.

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And the dork that I am, I got really excited to see the building that houses Cuba’s Ministry of Communications.

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That’s where the Propaganda People are!!

We also gallivanted through the streets of Havana and randomly posed in front of cars that matched what we were wearing.

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One thing I will always remember about this Cuba trip (my second time there) is that it was the first time I ever wore a bikini.

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Actually, it’s the only time I ever wore a bikini! Shortly after this, I bought a one-piece Roots suit for triathlon training. The bikini shown here is too big for me now! Perhaps I should buy a new one and find an excuse to wear it? Where do Canadians wear bikinis anyways? :P

 

That’s all for tonight kiddos! I’m off to prepare breakfast (an old favourite) and hit the hay super early so I’m on my a-game for work tomorrow. Have a great start to your weekend!!

 

Question of the Day: Bikini or one piece? I’m very comfortable in my sport swimsuit, doing my triathlon definitely beat that out of me. But bikinis still make me anxious. I feel like I’m wandering around in my bra and panties :P

Fatty February Wrap-Up & Then Some

Hey bloggie friends!! Well, I was watching Food Inc online. But I apparently maxed out my streaming time, so I thought I’d take a little break to blog :)

Thanks for all the wonderful feedback on my Oatmeal & Beauty for Dummies post! First, I should add my mom commented that the typical oat-to-liquid ratio is 1:2, which is true. I do 1:3 because I cook them slowly and like them suuuuper creamy.

Secondly, all you straight hair pros out there gave my Chi straightener a thumbs up! Yay!! :D Some of you asked what my hair is like naturally, here’s an au naturelle pic I tracked down – naturally styled and my natural colour.

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Please excuse the mega awkward look in this photo. I’m an awkward person in real life, and it apparently translates onto film. I also cut my friend/bandmate/co-host out of this picture because I didn’t know if he is ready for his blog debut yet. Soon though, right Billy? :P

Okay, so if I had blogged yesterday, I would have said my whole-body weight workout was a little lacklustre. But the great thing about typing it up the next day is that I can tell you I’m sore! So I must have done somethin’ right!

Treadmill

Minutes Speed – MPH Incline
0-5 3.5 1.0
5-6 5.5 1.0
6-7 6.0 1.0
7-8 6.5 1.0
8-9 7.0 1.0
9-10 7.5 1.0
10-11 5.5 1.5
11-12 6.0 1.5
12-13 6.5 1.5
13-14 7.0 1.5
14-15 7.5 1.5
15-16 5.5 2.0
16-17 6.0 2.0
17-18 6.5 2.0
18-19 7.0 2.0
19-20 7.5 2.0

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Barbell deadlift  50 lbs 10 3

 

Exercise – Alternating Weight Reps Sets
Assisted pull-up  75 lbs 8 3
Chest fly 15 lbs each 10 3

 

Exercise – Alternating Weight Reps Sets
Good morning 40 lbs 12 3
Barbell upright row  20 lbs 12 3

 

Exercise – Alternating Weight Reps Sets
Single leg romanian deadlift  15 lbs each 10 3
Seated cable row  55 lbs 10 3

 

Exercise – Alternating Weight Reps Sets
Medicine ball squat  11 lbs 15 3
Russian twist  11 lbs 30 3
Lying medicine ball throw  11 lbs 15 3
Pullover to ball crunch  11 lbs 15 3

Stairmill

Minutes Level
0-1 6
1-2 7
2-3 8
3-4 9
4-5 10
5-6 6
6-7 7
7-8 8
8-9 9
9-10 10

Yeah. Looking back I can see why I’m hobbling today. I would also like to add that I could have sworn I saw some shoulder rippling during those upright rows. Yesss! That’s why I’m a strong advocate of wearing shorts and a tank-top to the gym. They allow you to see all your muscles, instead of hiding them up in sweats and baggy tees. Wearing nice workout clothes can be a huge confidence booster!

I had another decent cold breakfast at work after…

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  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Grape Nuts cereal
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp blueberry jam
  • cinnamon

The tiny bit of Grape Nuts left to soak overnight made for a wonderful texture!

Also wonderful, this week’s Apple Cinnamon protein bar.

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Just one of those batches where everything comes together perfectly.

Let’s see… I also stunk up my office again with boiled eggs.

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Then tried to mask the smell with a fragrant citrus fruit.

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I’m trying really hard to like grapefruit, but every time I eat one I just wish it was a sweet orange!

Let’s skip everything else and get to today, shall we?

Good thing I went to bed at a decent time last night, because my body clock still kicked in this morning. Left me lots of time to make a beautiful breakfast before step class. PB&J Oatmeal Sandwich.

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  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (whisked into pot)
  • cinnamon, stevia
  • blueberry jam
  • peanut butter

To “sandwich” it, I pour half the oatmeal in the bowl, top it with half of the PB and jam, then layer the rest on top. Makes for a little PB&J “pocket” in the centre ;)

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Unfortunately, it was an “off: day for me at BodyStep. It started badly after the first song when I noticed I had a wobbly step. I had to swap it out for another one, but it left me a little off my game for the rest of class. We did a lot of new songs with moves I’ve never done, which means more time spent fumbling instead of pushing myself. Lastly, I’m sore!! Did I mention that already? :P My shoulders and hamstrings are beat.

Treated myself to a hot lunch, one of the great things about weekends.

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Butternut squash fries with two Sol veggie burgers topped with salsa and old cheddar. Hit the spot!

I had a banana I wanted to use up, so instead of making protein bars for this coming week, I made Low Carb Banana Bread. 

 

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It’s essentially April’s Low Carb Sweet Bread, with the pumpkin swapped out for banana.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup wheat-bran
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pure pumpkin (depending how moist you like your bread- I like mine really moist so I used 1/2 cup) 1 mushed banana
  • 1 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 tbsp each baking powder and cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pure stevia extract 4 packets of stevia

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick baking spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients.
  3. Pour into baking pan, bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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I had a piece right away topped with PB of course! Turned out really well! One piece (1/8 of the loaf) is 123 calories, 6g fat, 13g carbs, 7g fibre and 5g protein. Not bad!

Of course, my hot lunch then had me craving a cold supper.

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Egg salad sandwich with pickles, onions, mayo and mustard. Then carrots + salsa on the side. Check out how thick that filling is. Two eggs a sandwich is how it’s done ;)

 

Fatty February Wrap-Up & Then Some

Seeing as tomorrow is the last day of the month, I wanted to combine all my thoughts about my Fatty February challenge. For about four weeks, I’ve been consciously increasing the amount of healthy fats in my diet, with hopes improving my hair, skin and hormonal levels.

It occurred to me today that my results with Fatty February may be a little skewed. You see, I also went off the birth control pill at the end of January, and I’m realizing that what could have been a side-effect of increasing my dietary fat, could also be a side-effect of going off the pill.

For example, one thing I noticed is that my belly pouf shrank. Apparently water-bloat can disappear when you go off the pill, so who knows if it’s related.

As for satiety, I think increasing my fats may have improved it. I did a lot less munching this past month, especially at night. Perhaps it’s because I felt more satisfied with the food I was eating?

I haven’t noticed a huge difference in my skin. My face is still the same, my arms are still pretty dry, and the rash on my legs is only slightly better. Again, it’s hard to judge my skin now that I’m not taking a daily dose of hormones!

Finally, my nails grew at lightning speed. This was probably the thing I noticed most. I could barely keep up with them!

I can say for certainty, that I will be continuing a diet high in fat. Shooting for a 30-30-30 carb-protein-fat ratio worked really well for me this month, and I would like to keep doing it. Every body is different in terms of macronutrients, so perhaps this is just the one that works for me :) I’ll be sure to do more check-ins as I notice things.

As a side note, Caitlin wrote a wonderful post today on the “Big Birth Control Question” that I encourage you women and men to check out. Some interesting conversation in the comments of that post. I can tell you I was on the pill for four years and felt myself starting to drag towards the end. I hope going off it will get my hormones back to where they’re supposed to be, and I’m looking forward to being back to my body’s natural cycle. To be perfectly honest though, I’m a little weary about what will (or won’t) happen!

 

Okay, that’s enough getting personal for one evening. Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend! I’m off to finish Food Inc now…

Fatty February Update!

I had a blast reading through everyone’s favourite alcoholic drinks! Glad to hear I’m not the only rye/whiskey girl. Many of you probably know that I’m not a huge drinker anymore. In fact, I consume alcohol maybe only once a month now? If even! I wrote about it in this post. I lost my taste and desire for it, but at the same time, I still need a big night out on the rare occasion :)

Monday was a pretty typical day for me. I was quite proud of myself for dragging my butt to the Monday morning spin class despite my whacky weekend. I pulled myself to the gym again today for some treadmill work and a full-body workout. Nothing suuuuper intense, but a solid sweat sesh nonetheless.

Treadmill

Minutes Speed – MPH Incline
0-5 3.5 0.0
5-6 5.5 0.0
6-7 6.0 0.0
7-8 6.5 0.0
8-9 7.0 0.0
9-10 5.5 0.5
10-11 6.0 0.5
11-12 6.5 0.5
12-13 7.0 0.5
13-14 5.5 1.0
14-15 6.0 1.0
15-16 6.5 1.0
16-17 7.0 1.0
17-18 5.5 1.5
18-19 6.0 1.5
19-20 6.5 1.5
20-21 7.0 1.5
21-22 5.5 2.0
22-23 6.0 2.0
23-24 6.5 2.0
24-25 7.0 2.0

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Barbell squat  45 lbs 12 1
Barbell squat  55 lbs 10 1
Barbell squat  65 lbs 8 1

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Wide-grip lat pulldown  55 lbs 8-12 3
Pistol squat  bw 8-12 3

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Incline dumbbell shoulder press 20 lbs ea 8-12 3
Static lunge  10 lbs ea 12 3

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Cable horizontal woodchop  35 lbs 12 3
Hanging leg raises  bw 12 3

 

I feel like I should add that I’m still in the beginner stages of the pistol squat! Someday my leg will stick out perfectly in front of me and I’ll get my bum to the floor. But right now my foot just sort of dangles as I try to get my thigh parallel to the ground. It’s tough! I’ve got old-lady hips too, so my threshold for lower-body weightlifting is pretty darn low. My hips were popping and hurting by the time I got to the leg raises.

Today’s desk-breakfast was more cold goo.

Grape nuts and yogurt
Not overnight oats but Grape Nuts! I randomly picked up a box of Grape Nuts cereal because I’d never tried it before. I mixed it with yogurt, almond butter and blueberries. It made my breakfast almost cake-like in texture. I hear the cereal is good heated up, I’ll try that next :)

Morning snack was one of my new favourites, inspired by my mom!

Armstrong cheese
While my mom was visiting, she kept eating deli meat wrapped around cheese. Turns out it’s an awesome high-protein, high-fat snack. Today’s was smoked tofurkey slices around Armstrong herb & cheddar cheese.

Lunch was leftovers!

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This is what I also had for supper on Monday. It was crazy good for being so crazy simple and made-up on the spot.

  • ground turkey
  • 1 can Heinz chili-spiced kidney beans
  • onions
  • mushrooms
  • sweet peppers
  • minced jalepeno
  • minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp garlic tomato paste
  • fresh green beans

I was so excited about my leftovers today, I forgot to pack an afternoon snack. I had to venture down to the university’s cafeteria where there were unusually slim pickings.

So God chocolate soy milk

They didn’t even have granola bars!! The chocolate soy milk was pretty good though, I haven’t had it in a while.

I’m also doing well on “operation-become-an-office-tea-drinker.”

Lipton chamomile tea

Today’s chamomile was also brought to me by the cafeteria. Not sure how I feel about these Lipton teas they offer. They never actually taste like what’s on the label.

I needed to clean the kitchen when I got home, which means a roasted dinner. Throw everything in the oven then clean while it cooks!

white turnip
I had tons of root veggies in my fridge to use up – white turnip and parsnip. I used to hate turnip growing up, but I loved it tonight!

And some pepper squash.

pepper squash

Spread with some real buttah ;)

And a giant chicken breast stuffed with Olive & Feta Hummus.

stuffed chicken

To stuff my chicken, I just slit it down the side and sandwich the good stuff in there :) Hummus and laughing cow are probably my favourite stuffings.

Evening snack was another one of my new favourites – protein cookie dough.

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Mixed up 30g chocolate whey protein powder and vanilla almond milk until it was a nice thick goo. Then I stirred in 2 tsp peanut butter, mini chocolate chips and sprinkles. Love this. It seems teeny tiny, but I assure you it’s filling – and that means a lot coming from me!

While licking on my protein batter, I finally cracked open this beast:

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Oof. It’s been a while! I kinda stopped studying after my course was delayed by three months. Alas, the course date is fast approaching again (mid-March!) and I still have a lot to get through. Tonight, I learned all about muscular concepts. Lots of info.

 

Fatty February Update!

Seeing as its past the mid-month mark now, I want to do a quick Fatty February update! I was doing reallyreally well before my Halifax trip. Adding olive oil to things, eating fatty fish and having lots of nut butter. But it obviously all went out the window for a few days there :P Right now, I’m just trying to get back on track with it! These past couple days I’ve been relying on nut butter waaay too much – about 3-4 tbsp a day as my main fat sources. I haven’t tracked my food intake, but I know it’s not enough, and not a balanced way to get it. Making sure I get a wide variety of healthy fats is definitely going to be a continued effort on my part. I’m workin’ on it!

As for any noticeable difference – my belly pudge shrank. Seriously. I half-credit it to my cutting out carb-heavy snacks at night (been doing mostly protein snacks before bed). But I think upping my fat has balanced my macronutrients out to a ratio that is much kinder to my belly bloat.

I weighed myself this morning, and even after the mass consumption of high-calorie sugar foods this weekend, I’m back at my pre-Christmas “happy weight.” Again, I can’t fully credit this to upping my fats, but I think consciously choosing fattier foods has just led to a more balanced diet on my part. One that has helped me maintain my weight better.

So far so good! No noticeable difference with my skin and hair, but I swear my nails are growing faster.

 

Question of the Day: Fatty February-ers – how are you doing? Any noticeable changes? Any fatty foods you’re loving?

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