Saturday, 5 April 2014

Take the Time...

On the move...
I'm one of those people where I feel the need to constantly be on the move. If I'm not keeping busy I feel that I'm not being productive, and so I always plan ahead to have things to do every day.

Slow down...
When people would tell me to slow down and take a break I'd always object. "I need to be busy!" I'd yes I can relate to all of you workaholics out there...

BUT I do have to admit that there comes a time when your health has to come first. It's important to take the time to relax and have some "me" time.

I tried meditating and yoga at first, but I struggled sitting still and doing what felt like absolutely nothing at all. Now I'm not saying that I'm against yoga and meditation, I have learned to love them over the years, but to start out I needed something a little different and somewhat easier...I needed to still be distracted while relaxing!

"Me" time...
It took some time, but I gradually realized that taking "me" time doesn't necessarily mean sitting calmly for an hour and thinking about your health and your overall wellbeing. I started to take an hour out of every day to just do what made me feel good. I was able to spend that hour relaxing, whether it be reading or watching a movie that I'd been meaning to see. Just being able to sit down for that time and not be on the go worked wonders.

Journal writing...
After being able to accomplish that form of relaxation, I kept that up but tried to sneak in a few minutes of just thinking during that time, although I found my brain would go off on what I call "squirrel moments"...tangents. I started journal writing...which yes may sound cheesy...but it helps to just write down a few goals you have for your wellbeing. I'm not talking about goals that are work related or pressuring (like losing x amount of pounds). I just mean things such as work on my self confidence gradually, or spend more time with my loved ones. Not only does it help you keep track of your thoughts, but it also helps you stay focused during that relaxation period in order to not let the time waste away.

Waste of time?...
It may seem trivial at first. Like, why am I sitting here wasting the day away while I should be accomplishing other activities. But I'm telling you, you'll be more apt to complete the other tasks in your day with a better outlook on life and a healthier mindset, than if you were just rushing around frantically.

All in all...
...all that I'm trying to get across here is: take the time! Take the time for "me" time.


Delicious Kale Recipe!

For those of you who don't like kale...this recipe is worth giving a try. I was never a fan of it, but after trying this out I'll eat it by the bag!

1 Bunch of Kale (Washed/Chopped)
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
1 Onion
1 Clove of Garlic

- Dice the onion and place in a fry pan with a splash of olive oil. Cook on medium-high until golden, about 10 minutes.

- While waiting for the onions, place a dutch oven (or any large pot) on high, and dump all of the kale into it. Cover and wait for it to come to a boil. Turn down the heat and leave for approximately 10 minutes, or until the kale is soft.

- Add a minced clove of garlic into the onion pan once they're ready, and stir for 30 seconds. Turn the burner down to low.

- Drain the kale with a sieve and place into the onion pan. Stir this mixture up, add in the red wine vinegar and the red pepper flakes, and you're good to go!



Friday, 4 April 2014

Oil Pulling...?

Zumba and hot yoga are to 2013 as oil pulling is to 2014.'s only April and oil pulling is close to becoming the health trend of the year already! Although I do admit, when I first heard about it I was a little grossed out.

What is it...'s an ancient traditional medicine practice, and the gargling-like method is said to assist in pulling toxins out of the body. This benefits a variety of health concerns like oral plaque build up, diabetes, and heart disease.

...strengthens teeth, gums, and jaws
...helps to prevent gum diseases such as cavities and gingivitis
...prevents bad breath
...could possibly prevent bleeding gums
...prevents dryness of lips, mouth, and throat

...migraine/headache relief
...corrects hormone imbalances
...reduces arthritis inflammation
...reduces eczema
...reduces sinus congestion
...reduces insomnia
...reduces allergy symptoms

How do you do it...
...the best oil to use is unrefined coconut oil, however a spoonful (one tablespoon) of sesame oil will work just fine! You simply take the spoonful of oil and swish it in your mouth for up to 20 minutes first thing in the morning. You then spit it out, rinse your mouth out with water, and follow this by brushing your teeth. I'll admit it sounds awful to have to swish it around for 20 minutes, but I promise you it'll become a reflex if you do it while showering or surfing the net!

*Some are worried about using the coconut oil because it has a solid consistency, however within a few seconds of swishing it it becomes a liquid!
*After the solid oil begins to liquify, continue swishing only until the oil begins to thicken again. I found that within 15 minutes it had solidified and I'd continue to struggle to swish the thicker liquid which gave me some jaw pain for the first few days.
*Alternating between the 2 oils has also produced better results for some!


Simple Workout Tips & My Workout Template!

I've always struggled with finding a good workout for my own body. I used to look online and read about what other people were doing as a guideline, and that would just discourage me because I knew that I wouldn't be able to do most of the online workouts.

For those of you with poor cardio-respiratory systems (ie. you have trouble breathing when out for a run)...spin class/indoor biking is a great alternative! It also is perfect for those with poor knees and/or hips, because it puts a lot less pressure on the joints.

My go-to workout on the bike is hands down H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training). There are many benefits, including being able to fit in a shorter workout but not letting it go to waste. The intense bursts kick your body's repair system into hyperdrive allowing you to burn more calories and fats for the 24 hours AFTER the workout instead of just burning calories DURING the workout itself. This means that you're more apt to lose weight and not muscle!

My daily workout routine is quite simple, and not too challenging. It's just enough for me personally, however the numbers can easily be adjusted if you feel like you're up for more, or not quite as much. With that being it is!

- 20-30 Minutes Cycling (4 Min. Steady/1 Min. H.I.)
- 30 Squats
- 75 Calf Raises
- 25 Crunches/20 Scissor Kicks x4
- 25 Front Bicep Curls (8lb)
- 25 Side Bicep Curls (8lb)

Gentle Stretching: Cobra alternating with downward dog to stretch out your abdominals from doing the crunches, and to stretch out your calves from the calf raises...


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Quinoa Salad w. Black Beans, Kale, & Avocado

My favourite whole grain is quinoa without a doubt. It's low-fat, gluten free (limits bloating), helps to lower cholesterol, and has a super high fibre content. Not only all of that...but it also has a good chunk of protein. There's a reason they call it a super-food eh?

This is by far the yummiest quinoa salad I've had in a while! And not only that, but it's super healthy and leaves you feeling full. No more fad diets! If you eat whole, nutritious foods you can enjoy what you're eating and gradually keep off the pounds, so it's a win-win.

1 Cup Quinoa (1 Cup Cooked Quinoa = 222 Calories)
1 Avocado
2 Cups Kale (Mixed Greens/Arugula/Spinach all work too!)
1 Tomato
1 Cup Black Beans
1 Bell Pepper

- Rinse off the quinoa in a sieve to reduce the bitterness. Then place the cup of quinoa in a medium pot with 2 cups of water (in general a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water). Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Give it a stir, and turn down the heat to keep it at a simmer (remember to cover the pot after stirring again). Leave for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the burner and let sit 5 minutes before uncovering and fluffing it with a fork.

- While the quinoa is cooking place the cup of black beans in a pan on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until soft.

- Place the quinoa in a bowl, add in the sliced avocado, and the kale. Stir, and you'll notice that the kale shrinks due to the heat of the quinoa so feel free to add in more if you like.

- Add in the tomato, cooked black beans, and sliced pepper. Mix it up and you're good to go!

- Top with your choice of personal favourite is a simple spritz of olive oil and a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.

*I've also tried it with frozen corn which is a delicious substitute if you're not a fan of tomatoes. Also, cooking the beans with some caramelized onions is a great addition to the dish as well.


Being "Fit"...

I believe that women (and men) are majorly influenced by the media around us these days. With the increase in the number of billboards, magazines, and television commercials that we can't help but see, we are presented with countless photoshopped images. These images present to us the people that we unrealistically wish we could be. This blog will be about creating and shaping a healthy lifestyle, without enforcing being "fit". I strongly believe that the term fit does not encompass all that is a healthy and happy lifestyle. It is about being healthy internally and mentally, and one should not feel inclined or pressured to look physically "fit". As long as you treat your body well, and are content with who you are, that is all that should matter.