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Sweet Gifts and A New Routine

Reason #592 why I love blogger friends.

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Because even when I can’t have lunch with some of them, we can still share food :)

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A ginormous THANK YOU to Lori who thought of me after making homemade buckwheat honey marshmallow fluff. She immediately popped a jar in the mail to spread the fluff love.

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If you know anything about me, you know that I immediately popped the lid off and scooped it out with my finger.

Ohmygoooood SO good! I love the honey flavour in the fluff. I must try making this now that I’m finally all settled in a kitchen!

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As a bonus, she included a jar of homemade pear cranberry jam. I’m not going to beat around the bush here. This jam is uh-mazing. Love the combo of these two fruits, juuuust sweet enough, and the chunky texture is fabulous.

Lori, that coffee shop we’re opening can’t come soon enough! ;)

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I picked up the goods last Thursday night and had to try them all on my oatmeal Friday morning. A trifecta!

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Too bad I ate this at 6am before natural sunlight made it through my windows. These kitchen photos don’t quite to it justice.

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And because I neeeeed nut butter on my oatmeal – almond butter.

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The pear cranberry jam made a reappearance for breakfast this morning.

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Made protein pancakes by mixing:

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured soy protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stevia packet
  • cinnamon, lots of it
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

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I thinned out a tablespoon of almond butter with almond milk to get more out of it.

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PB&J pancakes on a Monday morning?? I’ll take it! ;)

 

My mid-morning snack had been waiting patiently for me in the cupboard since yesterday.

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I heated it up in the microwave first before unravelling to the gooey centre.

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That right there is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Hands down.

 

Fret not, I haven’t just been eating sweet things.

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On Friday, I “healthified” a meal I used to love – beans and wieners. Oddly, this is not a dish I grew up eating like most people, but introduced to me by a boyfriend when I was 18. Same boy who introduced me to fluffernutter sandwiches as well. His childhood was apparently a lot tastier than mine.

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For this, I mixed together:

  • 1 can soy beans in a tomato sauce
  • 3 veggie hot dogs
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 onion, carmelized with a clove of garlic
  • few handfuls spinach, cooked
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 can herbed tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp ketchup

I ate it plain on Friday, then re-heated on top of spinach with cheddar cheese tonight. Such comfort food!

 

Finally, I want to talk a little bit about my own personal exercise schedule. I’ve gotten so much into the habit of talking about exercise for other people that I forget some people like to hear what I am doing myself!

As mentioned in this post, I took a little break from exercise. This is something I do quite often. Every three months or so I take several consecutive days off all intense activity such as weight lifting, running, spinning, etc. It’s a welcome physical break for my body, which gets put through quite the beating with my workouts everyday. But it’s an even better break for my mind. Working out all the time can really drain you mentally.

This summer has obviously been a little hard on my workout schedule what with moving, getting a job in a gym, then giving up my old gym membership. Even worse is that I like to rely on the outdoors in the summer months for my exercise. But I only do it when it’s enjoyable – and running in the heat is not enjoyable. We’re on track for being the hottest summer on record here. I have been without a working bike since the spring. I eventually got bored of my same ole’ gym routine snuck in between clients. I burned out.

After 5 days of complete rest, I hopped on the elliptical last Friday for 50 minutes. Nothing too hard, but I still found it exhausting. I took Saturday off again, then did some yoga and a lot of walking yesterday.

I’m happy to report that I’m finally feeling recharged and enthusiastic about starting a new chapter of fitness for myself. After perhaps too much thought, I’ve decided to start a split weight lifting routine. The only split I’ve ever done before is upper/lower body. My new split will have me working these muscle groups on separate days:

  • Back/Biceps
  • Chest/Triceps
  • Shoulders/Abs
  • Legs

I’ll be throwing a lot of cardio intervals into the mix, with a few fitness classes, yoga classes and hopefully running outdoors again if the heat ever stops. This is just my “starter split” and I expect to be experimenting a lot more as time goes on :)

Also – I’m leaving my heart rate monitor at home on lifting days. Of all the exercises in the world,  I love weight lifting the most. I’m seeing this as just staying at the gym to do an activity I love. No pressure of burning calories.

I won’t be posting every single one of my workouts in the main blog posts anymore because it’s just too time consuming for me. But I am going to work harder at constantly and consistently updating my fitness page with workouts y’all can try out for yourself :) I’ll also get better about including workout tidbits and new moves I learn in the regular posts because I am learning SO MUCH now as a working personal trainer.

 

So thurrr ya go!

Questions of the Day:

1. Weight lifting or cardio? I find most people are either or. I’m sure it says something about you!

2. Favourite kind of jam? Mine is blueberry! Or plain strawberry. Nothing with crunchy seeds please.

Oh. Em. Gee.

Heyy! I’m stopping by for an early post tonight – I’ve got a jazz concert to go to :)

Thank you so much for all the kind comments regarding my latest vlog (click to watch if you haven’t yet!). I got a kick out of many of you saying you’d never have the guts to film one. It’s all about embarrassing yourself in as many formats as possible on the internet :P 

Also interesting to hear your thoughts on participating in races. As I said, I’m debating whether or not I want to compete in any this year. I love the idea of them, and who doesn’t love crossing that finish line? But I’m not a person who reacts to stress well, and I don’t find the pressure and anxiety that comes with races to be productive for me. Not to mention, I’m not competitive at all!

I think racing is great for a lot of people, because it gives them a goal to work towards. A lot of people need that goal to get them out the door everyday. It was really helpful for me when I first started getting active, but I don’t feel like I need to make such a commitment to get me to the gym everyday. If anything, I’m more dead set on doing a pull-up! Gah! It feels like I’ll never get there!

Anyways, I do have a half-marathon in Toronto picked out for September. But this summer is shaping up to be crazy, so I am not signing up for it until I know for sure I can do it. No pressure! I am a stress-free zone! (or, that’s what I keep telling myself :P ).

Got up this morning and ran a little over 5 miles on the treadmill doing my favourite speed intervals. It was rough! I got really sweaty and my face felt like it was on fire.

Had the usual dairy mess once I got to work looking presentable.

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Yogurt, IsoLean peach-mango protein powder, benefibre, strawberries, Grape Nuts, almond butter. This was not filling. Boo.

I’ve also cut down to one coffee a day, instead of the usual two. After going through caffeine withdrawals on Monday, I decided a whole french press might be a little excessive for me. So I’ve just been chugging one glass of iced coffee before I go to the gym, and then skipping the second one I usually have once I get to work. I have no plans to give it up entirely, but cutting back where possible :)

Oh! Happy Waffle Wednesday! I celebrated at lunch with my new favourite flavour combo:

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Freezer waffle, laughing cow cheese, blueberry jam and smoked salmon. SO good. Sweet and savoury is where it’s at.

Hey! Speaking of which…

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Turtle pretzels. I ate three. My officemate and I have successfully demolished these in two days. Can I still claim “healthy fat” on these? :P

I arrived home from work today to a yummy package!

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Hahahaha. I love Deb. She is smart, hilarious, and also the maker of verrrry delicious homemade nut butters.

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It’s my consolation prize for participating in her “The Good, The Bad and The Funny Contest.” We had to submit a photo representing each. She sent me a copy of my “bad” photo, holding a pack of cigarettes! I smoked for 6 years, something I wrote about here.

As for the goodies – xanthan powder, cocoa almond butter and the OMG OMG OMG (hazelnuts, cocoa, stevia, cardamom). I taste tested each right away. OMG is right!!!

I could have eaten the bags of nut butter for dinner, but whipped up this beast of a salad instead.

 

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  • spinach
  • red onion
  • bell pepper
  • tomato
  • sugar snap peas
  • mushrooms
  • pickled beets
  • black olives
  • pickles
  • feta cheese
  • rotisserie chicken
  • hummus

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This salad gets an “OMG” too. Yummmm!

That’s all from me! I’ve got to go change for the concert. I spilled beet juice on my dress :\

 

Question of the Day: What food has you going “OMG” lately? I also pick that wafflewich combo shown above!

Sweet and Savoury

Aaaaand I’m back! ;) Contrary to popular belief, healthy living bloggers are not super-human. That includes ditching my nightly rambles for SLEEP. And to pack a day’s worth of food and a gym bag (which, bytheway, takes close to 30 minutes each night).

You didn’t miss much yesterday, except for possibly the best turkey burger I’ve ever had at a place called Relish. However, I’m not upset this went un-photo-documented. Just gives me an excuse to go back!

I did take a picture of a pretty tasty bar yesterday…

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I had a Nature’s Path Optimum peanut butter bar with a couple boiled eggs for breakfast.

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Nutrition info is here. Paired with the eggs, it made for another filling and “balanced” breakfast. I haven’t been overly impressed with these Optimum bars in the past, but this flavour was really good. Would definitely buy it again :)

Okay, now on to present day! Fun fact: I went to the gym before work Monday to Friday this week. I usually take a day off, or do a DVD somewhere in there. But since I’m out of town doing personal training classes all weekend, I wanted to get my harder workouts out of the way. I usually like to take a rest day every three days, so my body is definitely feeling tired today! Getting close to 8 hours of sleep every night helps though ;)

Warm-up: 20 minutes on the treadmill. I don’t feel like typing it out. I started slow, then got fast, then got slower, then got faster. Intervals.

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Front squat push-press  30 lbs 10 3
Superset:      
Good morning 50 lbs 10 3
Barbell squat  50 lbs 10 3
Superset:      
Barbell bent-over row  40 lbs 10 3
Incline push-up bodyweight 10 3
Superset:      
Assisted pull-up  75 lbs 10 3
Dumbbell bench press  20 lb dumbbells 10 3
Superset:      
Dumbbell lunge 15 lbs each hand 10 each leg 3
Dumbbell shoulder press  15 lb dumbbells 10 3
Superset:      
Barbell preacher curl 20-30 lbs 10 3
Dumbbell tricep extension 15 lbs 10 3
Alternating:      
Plank  bodyweight 1 min 2
Hamstring curl on ball bodyweight 10 2
Prone jackknife  bodyweight 10 2

As you can probably tell, it was a full-body weight lifting day. My “DOMS” is not so “delayed” today – I can already feel my hamstrings!

I had a full morning of meetings at work today, so I chowed down before taking off.

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Nothing new here – cottage cheese, maple extract, cashew butter, frozen berries, Grape Nuts.  The cleaning lady nearly gagged when she saw me eating cottage cheese for breakfast. Don’t knock it till you try it!

I had the most delicious sandwich waiting for me after emerging from the conference room.

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Maple smoked salmon, laughing cow cheese and blueberry jam. The maple flavour in the salmon is really strong, and it was awesome with the jam. I’m having fun with all these sweet/savoury pairings!

Polished off with probably my favourite apple of all time.

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The aptly named red delicious.

Remember Fatty February? Well it’s still in full swing!

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Having just two hardboiled eggs every day has helped with increasing my fat a lot, plus, they’re mega filling. The full-fat cheese doesn’t hurt either ;)

I recreated my nut-butter chicken for dinner tonight.

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Except tonight, I stuffed it with bacon peanut butter.

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Sosososo good. Kind of another sweet/savoury combo. I love how salty the bacon makes the peanut butter!

Dessert was a vitamin.

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Well, technically a mineral. I can’t do horse pills, but I also wanted something a little better than the aspartame tablets I got last time.

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I’m okay with it because they’re so small.

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And not that bad tasting either! For those of you who’ve recommended online stores in my quest for my vitamins, thank you! However, I have a strict no buying food products online rule. This is mostly because shipping to Canada is bananas. I spend enough on food that I don’t want to get into the habit of spending even more online. Plus, I’m old-fashioned. I like to be able to touch something before I purchase it.

Also bought:

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This has helped my eczema in the past, so I’m praying for a miracle. My skin has gotten much worse over the last few weeks, including new red spots on my legs, eczema on my arms, and what looks like hives. This on top of daily baby oil, shea butter, calamine lotion and anti-histamines. I know, I need to go to a doctor. I need like a magical fairy god-doctor or something. I love that I can go to the doctor for free. I don’t love that I can’t make an appointment with one because there are so few of them around here.

Anyways, this weekend is my second and last weekend of personal trainer classes. I’m commuting about an hour to another city on Saturday and Sunday for them. I believe this weekend will include fitness testing and more mock training including creating our own training plans. Not gonna lie, I’m frightened! I need to find some training confidence stat. It would be so much easier if I could practice on non-experts instead of my fellow trainers!!

 

Well, that should be enough to make up for two days of random rambles. I will be back tomorrow, maybe with my fitness test results. Wish me luck!!

 

Question of the day: What’s your favourite sweet/savoury combo? I think turkey and cranberry sauce are made to be together. Apples and cheese are another good one!

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