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When You’re Smiling

Hellohello! How is everyone’s work week chugging along? Or are you like me and unemployed? ;) I do have a job interview lined up for when I get to Toronto in a couple weeks… but I’ll spill the beans on that when the time comes. Of course, I also have to drop off a few resumes at Lululemon. Livin’ the dreeeeam people!! ;)

Moving on!

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I was sonothappy to be awake this morning. Ask my sister, I was a grump. Best way to cure a case of the grumps?

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Chocolate. Cooked up a pot of rolled oats with soy protein powder, cocoa powder, stevia, banana and almond butter. Paired with a french press of coffee, the world suddenly becomes a better place :)

I got some interesting comments on my last post about my 20-minute meditation challenge, and my use of an alarm to signal when it’s time to come-to. I decided to set the alarm because I had a feeling that 5 minutes would pass, it would feel like 20, and then I’d start opening my eyes and obsessively checking the clock. I told Leah that maybe next week I’ll try just meditating with no time goal and seeing how it goes.

Well today, something interesting happened.

Instead of doing a body scan during my meditation, I instead focused on showing love towards various family members. You see, someone close in our family is going for a serious medical procedure, and there’s been a lot of stress, worry and sadness surrounding it. As I was sitting there, I began to feel very anxious and unsettled. My breath got shallow and I felt like I just needed out. I decided to screw the alarm, opened my eyes and grabbed the phone. The second I picked up the phone, the 20 minute alarm went off. Weird, eh?

Hopefully tomorrow I won’t get so anxious. I thought it was supposed to have the opposite effect!

I eventually made it to the gym for a full-body workout. My sister lives about 15-20 minutes walking from the gym. Since I ran yesterday, I just walked briskly for my warm-up, then went straight to the weight room at the gym.

 

Exercise Load Reps Sets Target
One arm dumbbell snatch  20 lbs 8-12 3 Quads, Glutes, Shoulders
Wide-grip lat pulldown  60 lbs 8-12 3 Back
Single leg squat  10 lbs 8-12 3 Glutes, Thighs
Dumbbell bench press  20 ea 8-12 3 Chest, Front shoulders
Single leg romanian deadlift  10 ea 8-12 3 Hamstrings, Glutes, Hips
Dumbbell upright row 12.5 ea 8-12 3 Top shoulder
Curtsy lunge  12.5 ea 8-12 3 Quads
Dumbbell one arm extension 10 lbs 8-12 3 Triceps
Twisting dumbbell curl 10 lbs 8-12 3 Biceps
Cable horizontal woodchop  25 lbs 8-12 3 Obliques
Cable crunch 85 lbs 8-12 3 Abs

Colour coded!! Matching colours are alternating sets. I like to alternate upper body with lower body stuff so I can blast through it with little rest. Tis me! I can already tell you my triceps are going to be sore tomorrow…

Lunch featured another fabulous fridge find.

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Contemporary Cuisine is a wholesale food company based out of Ottawa. I will tell you straight up – this stuff is fabulous. Wonderful flavour, but it’s all in the texture. It’s fluffy. How do they get hummus to go fluffy??

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Paired with pita chips that I made by sticking pita bread in the toaster oven.

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Pipsi
(dried arctic char) and baby carrots.

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T’was a fun dippy lunch!!

Another difference between my sister and I is that she’s a “natural vegetarian.” What I mean by this is she’s drawn to meat-free foods, and functions best on plants. While I initially planned bison burgers for dinner, I thought Sara may appreciate a homemade black bean patty instead.

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I made up the recipe as I went along, and I am really impressed by how they turned out!

  • 1 can no-salt added black beans
  • 1 scoop (30g) unflavoured soy protein powder
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 a small red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 a small green pepper finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp cayenne

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They were a little goopy, so I fried them in olive oil like savoury pancakes ;)

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You couldn’t taste the soy protein powder at all! Impressive!!

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Eaten with baked sweet potato crisps (aka cheetahs).

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…and kale chips.

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Solid meal!! I mixed up mayo and dijon mustard for our dipping sauce. I feel like I must specify that I exclusively use Hellman’s Olive Oil mayonnaise now. I used to buy that light crap, but my mother got me hooked on the good stuff while I was living at home. Now Sara is hooked too. Once you have the Olive Oil, you never go back. You’ve been warned.

After this lovely dinner, Sara and I went to an Intro Ashtanga class at the nearby yoga studio. Third yoga class in three days!! LOVE it. The intro class was really helpful too. The instructor went through and explained all the modified options for many of the more advanced postures in the Ashtanga series. I also learned how much farther I can fold forward when I engage my legs. The workings of the body never ceases to amaze me.

We came back feeling calm and refreshed. I had a hankering for the greek yogurt I splurged on today.

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Paired with crunchy almond butter. Nut butter in regular yogurt is gross. But in greek yogurt it gets really rich and creamy.

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Also added a packet of stevia, vanilla extract and cinnamon.

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Heavenly!!

 

Goal for June

Remember my goal for June?? I set out wanting to accomplish only one thing this month…

to smile.

Clearly there were plenty smiles in Banff, although we’ll forget the tears shed when I left home. I’ll be spending the rest of the month here in Ottawa, and I think I need a reminder to spread my lips wide and show off those gums of mine!!

 

Question of the Day: How are you doing on your goals for this month??

A Challenge of Silence

Last night after hitting publish on my last post, I shuffled into my sister’s kitchen to whip up one of my favourite night-time protein snacks.

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Sara gave me this free sample of Dymatize Nutrition Elite whey protein powder. 

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Nothing fancy going on here – just the powder mixed with a little bit of cinnamon, coconut, and enough milk to dissolve into a thick batter.

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Topped with almond butter, of course ;)

I was quite excited to have protein desserts back in my life, but this powder just did not do it for me. Perhaps it would be decent in a shake, but if I don’t like it straight up, chances are I won’t bother trying to mask its flavour in something else.

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That includes dipping dried apricots in it ;)

I was in bed early last night in anticipation of my sister’s 6:30am alarm. You see, she’s out of town this weekend, but forgot to turn the alarm off on her blackberry. I don’t know the code to get on and change it! At least it’s had me up and being productive these past few mornings…

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A “light” breakfast, although still calorie dense. Two servings of Liberte Mediterranee strawberry yogurt with a banana and a dash of granola for good luck.

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Dare I say it?? Mediterranee yogurt is quite possibly better than Greek yogurt!! It’s true. Its thickness doesn’t come from straining, and it’s not high in protein. But mygosh, that 7% milkfat makes for the best taste and texture.

The light-er breakfast was in preparation for two things! First:

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My first ever Yin Yoga class!! I’ve done Yin Yoga postures at home before, but never in a classroom environment. I’m not one of those people who does yoga for a workout, I do it more for that whole mind-body thang. So the idea of holding poses for up to 5 minutes at a time really appeals to me.

Funnily enough, for the first time ever – I fell asleep in yoga!! I’ve never been one to just doze off in Savasana. My mind is always racing by the end of class (usually about what I want to eat when I get home). But today, I was dozing off the whole time. I even fell asleep doing half frog pose:

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I don’t know if I should blame this on my sister’s 6:30am alarm, or that maybe for once I was finally calm enough to let myself go… We’ll see I guess, I got a two-week pass at that studio for only 25 bucks ;)

Ohyes, and the other reason for the light-ish breakfast??

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A bloggie meet-up for brunch!

One reason why I love blogging is that I feel like I have an extended friend network all over the world. Wherever I go, there is always a kind, smart and funny blogger to get to know in person!

Today, I met up with Darryn of Brio Gusto fame and her friend who is a fellow Maritimer :) Darryn is only in Ottawa for a little bit longer before she heads back to Vancouver to do her PhD. Darryn also just returned from a 7-week stay in India for a yoga teacher training course. Amazing. Check out her blog for all her recaps on it!

Funnily enough, Darryn chose this little pub called The Manx for brunch. My sister showed it to me the other day saying it’s got the best food on Elgin Street, and is therefore always packed.

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But we got a table!

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Note: this is not the full brunch menu. I believe there was also a “bruncher” and “brunchist?”

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That would be the Eggs Zucchini: two poached eggs with grilled zucchini and spinach-feta pesto sauce on an english muffin.

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It came with smashed potatoes! I call them “smashed” because they weren’t whipped and still had skins, my favourite way to have them. The best part however, was the spinach-feta pesto on top. I need to make this for myself!

After the wonderful brunch, I went shopping. And not the clothing kind.

Is it strange that I’m mildly excited to not have a car anymore?

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Perhaps I’ll spend less on groceries now that I have to walk home with them. P.S. If anyone has a recipe I absolutelymust try with those artichokes, do share.

It feels like ages since I last baked (11 days maybe?) so I picked up a few choice ingredients to turn my sister’s black bananas into high-protein goodies.

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This is where I would usually google “protein banana bread” or the likes, but I was feeling reckless.

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I mean, maybe this baking thing isn’t so hard afterall?? The recipes do start to all look the same after a while…

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Here’s what I came up with:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup soy protein powder
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk

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Put it in a 375 F oven for 30-35 minutes, then mixed up a topping.

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1/4 cup walnuts, 2 tbsp shredded coconut and 1 tbsp maple syrup. Spread on top and broiled for just a couple of minutes to make crunchy.

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It smelled divine coming out of the oven, and dare I say… edible??

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I cut them into 12 little triangles for no reason other than it made for a fun serving size.

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These are definitely good, or else I wouldn’t have shared the recipe. But you want to know the funny thing about baking?? A quarter cup of butter would have made these fantastic ;)

In other news, I’m making up for lost time on my greens.

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I barely had a serving a day while in Alberta last week. Not only have I not eaten meat since arriving in Ottawa, but I’ve been loading my belly with fruits and veg.

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It’s not a guilt thing. I just give the bod what it wants :)

Speaking of which!

*segue*

 

A Challenge of Silence

Okay, so this is more of a challenge for myself, but I encourage anyone else out there to participate!!

First, let me explain.

So, I’m reading the book Eat, Pray, Love. I bought it in Banff for some airplane fodder based on Holly’s high praises. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s the true chronicles of a recently divorced 30-something who went to Italy to experience decadence, India to experience devotion, and Indonesia to find a balance between the two. I’m at the India part.

Last night I read the chapter on the author’s experience with meditation and how she learned to quiet her mind, or “ego.” Then today in yoga, our instructor was talking about the same thing. Then I fell asleep.

Ellie mentioned meditation to me today, and I responded that I wanted to try it. She asked, “What’s stopping you?”

Good point.

So this is a roundabout way of saying I am committing to A Challenge of Silence. Starting tomorrow (Monday) I will take 20 minutes out of my day to sit or lay still and meditate. Twenty minutes can either be a short period of time for some, or an eternity to others. I’m going to attempt to do it each morning as soon as I wake up. I want to quiet my racing mind and inner ego while learning to listen and feel my body. It may sound new-age hippy-dippy, but nothing is too silly if it means good health and happiness.

I don’t really have a set period of time for this. Ideally, it will be something I find beneficial and practice indefinitely. But for now, in the sake of “challenges” I’ll settle for every day for 30 days ;) I’ll update you on any progress or revelations along the way!!

 

Last but most certainly not least, Happy Fathers Day!!!

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My dad doesn’t read my blog. I’m pretty certain he only uses the internet to stream the Tour de France when it’s on. But I love the old man just the same ;)

Sweat It Out

Hiiii!!! Long time no *see*!!

I hope you enjoyed the kick off to my Blogger Interview Series with Tamzin and Tina while I was off gallivanting around Halifax. I’ve got tons more coming up in the next several weeks, should be fun :)

So this will be a short and sweet recap. I didn’t snap many photos as sometimes it’s nice to put the camera aside and live life outside of a viewfinder. Let’s see some of the highlights…

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Friday morning I woke up and gave a stab at dairy free protein pancakes.

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  • 1/4 cup soy protein powder
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tsp benefibre
  • 1 stevia packet
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • lotsa cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

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Oh yeah, and I sprinkled some flaked coconut and walnut pieces on the batter while it was cooking. Holy yum. This batter may not work for waffles, but it makes good pancakes!

Friday morning I also did a full-body weight lifting workout which I quickly regretted upon my arrival to Halifax. The bestie has become a yogini since my last visit, and brought my to my first ever hot yoga class!

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Moshka Yoga is a group of independent yoga studios across Canada and several parts of the world. It’s done in a heated studio, around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (or 38 C). It’s not a power flow based class, more static standing, sitting and laying postures.


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We started out laying on the floor in savasana (corpse pose). As I laid there, I was already breaking into a sweat over my upper lip, and I was a little concerned I wouldn’t make it through the class. I’m pretty temperature sensitive.

We then moved into crescent moon, awkward pose, a warrior series and balance series, to name a few. All poses I know and am capable of doing, just with the addition of sweat pouring out of every pore on my body.

We also did a few bicycle crunches which was surprising, and ended back in savasana. I left feeling refreshed and peaceful, as well as thirsty and hungry ;)

We wolfed down some Subway (one occasion when the additional sodium is welcome!) and were ready to get our evening started ;) 

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The smudges on the mirror are courtesy this guy:

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Griffin tends to fight his reflection. He’s also always exposing his manbits by laying with his legs spread like that :P

We started our night out at the Seahorse Tavern for some live folk-pop music. But somewhere along the way we ended up at a sports bar playing pool (where I whooped some ass, might I add). The only other group of people at the bar happened to include someone I went to elementary/middle/high school with!! Small world. Several pitchers of beer were consumed and the night may have finished off with a McDonalds’ Big Mac Snack Wrap.

Because after some draught and pool, I get classy like that ;)

Night turned into morning and I have a feeling it was 5am by the time I crashed.

We were hurting bad enough the next day that I even gave in to Tim Horton’s coffee.

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I hate Tim’s. But the caffeine did wonders :)

A chunk of Saturday was spent running around town picking up food – including this place!!

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They have some things that I can’t buy in New Brunswick, including some new-to-me bars.

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Vita TOPS (we can only get VitaMuffins)

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Fact: muffins are superior when ingested in “top” form.

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Plus, the peanut butter is easier to spread on top :)

I also picked up some waffles that I was sent coupons to sample. Will feature in the next few days – I’m excited to try them!

Then we got cookin’! I taught Erika how to make guacamole.

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I helped her come up with a meal plan for a 12-day detox (don’t worry, it’s safe and healthy). We cooked up a whack of fish and brown rice.

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And let the kitty lick up the fish juices ;) She lives in student housing with a communal kitchen though, and we stank up the whole house with the fish. Whoops!

The rest of the evening was spent laying in bed watching Supernatural, and eating bbq ribs and coconut cream pie. I’ve never had the big kind of ribs before. Amazing.

Since we were in bed at a decent hour Saturday, we were able to get up for a morning yoga class today. Friday’s was 60 minutes long, but today we tackled the 90 minute one. I loved it! Felt gooood to sweat all that beer and pie out. Also notable was that I was able to do a whole flow series doing the high plank, chaturangas and cobra, instead of the modified versions on my knees. Getting stronger!

Arrived back to my mom’s place in time for supper.

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A giant chicken salad – just what I needed after an indulgent weekend!

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I like to throw all my usual “healthy” habits out the window every once in a while. It’s more for mental sanity than anything else. To be able to eat and live without any nagging thoughts in the back of my brain. I will say, my tastes have truly changed. While a Big Mac Wrap is briefly tasty, something like this salad satisfies me on a much deeper level. Afterward I can feel my inside smiling :)

 

Well, this girl is beat. I will do the goals check-in tomorrow, so you’re off the hook this time. I hardly went near a computer all weekend, I’ll be tackling my inbox tomorrow. Fret not if you haven’t heard from me yet! Heart you all! xoxo

 

Question of the Day: Have you ever done hot yoga? What are your thoughts on it? I was expecting to pass out, so I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it!

Bonus Question: What’s one dish you really want to try but haven’t because it’s not “healthy?” I’ve been dying to try a rack of ribs since I started eating meat again. A real rack doused in sauce. When I had the option of getting them this weekend, I knew the time was right. Worth the wait!!

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