Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Top 3 Fav Healthy Snacks

Hey loveys,

Lately because of my crazy schedule, I've been eating a lot more snacks and a lot less meals. This is ok for me because I LOVE snacks so much. It's been a while since I've had an actual cooked meal that I've cooked because I've been working over dinner or I've been spending my evenings studying and my focus isn't on preparing food.

I was actually thinking about my favourite snacks today after I finished my workout and wanted something good to fuel my body. So these are 3 of my favourite healthy snacks that I've been eating a lot of lately because of pure convenience and nutritional benefit. Let me show you!

First up, my favourite... a berry protein smoothie. I've never been one for the "tropical fruit" smoothies... I always prefer a berry smoothie! My typical smoothie includes either fresh or frozen berries. I buy an assortment of frozen berries when I purchase frozen, or I just use up whatever fresh berries I have in my fridge before they go bad. If I'm using frozen, I don't include ice in my smoothie, however I do put some cubes in if I'm using fresh berries. My favourite berries to use are strawberries, blackberries (they give it an awesome purple colour) and cherries!! Cherries are for sure my favourite when they're frozen. I then add a scoop of Sun Warrior Plant Based Raw Vanilla Protein and fill the rest of the cup up with 1 part coconut water and 1 part regular water and then BLEND.

I love berries because of their high nutritional factor. They are FULL of antioxidants (any fruit or veggie of the dark purple/reds are full of these) which help fight off free radicals in the body (free radicals lead to cancer..). Antioxidants help protect your immune system as well as help your skin and nails. Some of the antioxidants in berries are Anthocyanins, Quercetin, and Vitamin C.  Anthocyanins are what give berries their colour and helps reduce inflammation in the body! Quercetin can also help reduce inflammation in the body, specifically in the joints which is a bonus for people suffering from arthritis. Vitamin C is responsible for the health of collagen in our bodies, which helps maintain cartilage and aid in joint flexibility (among other things)!

Next up...

This is my take on a classic yogurt parfait. I discussed a couple days ago how I'm off of dairy because my body does NOT like it so when I purchase yogurt, I purchase yogurt made with coconut milk instead of actual dairy. Basically, I scoop the vanilla coconut milk yogurt into a bowl, cut up any fresh fruit I have in the fridge (or use frozen if I have some on hand) and mix it all up! Sometimes I will put ground flax seed on top if I have some in my cupboard. Here you can see I used fresh fruit, strawberries, blackberries and green grapes!

I choose coconut milk yogurt over rice milk yogurt or almond milk yogurt because I know the benefits of coconut milk in your diet as a healthy fat! Almond milk is a VERY close second, so go ahead and do that if you want to. Coconut milk contains Lauric Acid, Antimicrobial Lipids and Capric Acid all which have antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. Lauric Acid helps fight viruses such as the flu! Coconut milk also helps with cardiovascular health because it may help the body fight off organisms that produce plaque in the arteries and blood vessels.

Oooo and don't forget, the healthy fats in coconut milk help our skin and hair look AH-mazing because the natural fats are like an antiseptic to the body and help treat dandruff, skin infections and dry skin. It serves as a kind of "natural moisturizer" and MAY help repair wrinkles and damaged skin. BONUS.

And last but certainly not least...

So I think this is probably the easiest snack in my list here because it's literally plopping some veggies into a bowl and opening up the hummus and dipping and eating. My favourite hummus to purchase is Summer Fresh Foods Roasted Garlic Hummus or their Red Pepper Hummus. They are SO GOOD and I actually went to their factory where they make the hummus a while ago and they are so impecable at what they do that I've been an even bigger supporter ever since going there.

My favourite raw veggies to eat with hummus are cucumbers (mini), bell pepper (orange or yellow), radishes, carrots and celery. I don't need to explain to you why raw veggies are healthy for you. If you don't already know that you should be eating veggies, well... I don't know what then, but it's sad. Hummus is a great way to get a little added protein into your diet since it's made with chick peas and chick peas are a GREAT source of plant protein.

I would love to know what snacks you would add to my list! Leave a comment below with either your recommendation or a link to your fav snack and I will head over and check it out!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Another Race?

Hey loveys,

I'm currently in the middle of a 6 hour study session for my last exam of the semester (YAY!) and it's math... womp womp. So I decided to take a short break and write a little blog post!

This morning before I started studying I decided I wanted to go for a run. I haven't ran much in the past few months so I was apprehensive because I was scared of having to start my running from square 1... and that kind of bums me out. I felt good today though, and although I decided to run inside, I still convinced myself that I could do a 5km no problem. I think my 5km PB is like 27:something.... but whatever.

I put on my workout clothes and made my way down to my condo gym. I have to admit that when I'm in a hurry, that gym comes in handy. It doesn't have a ton of equipment and so I really only use it if I'm in a rush or don't feel like taking the street car to the gym. I can definitely make-do with what's down there. I went to the gym near my condo yesterday and my legs are a bit tender, so because I was just running I decided to use the condo gym today. Anyways... I'm getting a little off track. I got down there and the gym was empty. OH the benefits of having a condo gym and being there earlier in the morning.

I hopped on one of the treadmills and turned on my "RUN!" playlist and started running. I run at a conservative 6.0 mph and run for 9 minutes and walk for 1, for a total of 30 minutes. I actually surprised myself with how great it felt to be on the treadmill again (I know.. who says that about the treadmill? When it's less cold I'll be outside.) and to just listen to music and think about nothing really.

By the end of my workout I was SUPER hot and SUPER sweaty and SUPER red... No I don't have a photo to share, I looked awful. The photo above is pre-run and that's all I'm willing to share lol. I had thought in my head that I would do some lower body work today to compliment my run, but after my run I laid on the floor and waited until my pulse was down around normal again and then did some stretching. My hamstrings are SO tight from doing deadlifts in the gym yesterday... I love that feeling. Makes me feel like I worked hard! :)

With all this run talk being had... I think I've decided I would like to do some races this year. I kind of stopped doing them last year for whatever reason. I don't know how I'm going to do a ton of races on a student budget, but I can at least get 1 or 2 in this year! I think I'll work up to a 10k and if my body doesn't break down and cry, maybe another half-marathon? The thought of that always scares me because it was so exhausting the first time around. Although I did lose a ton of weight and really felt great after icing all of my lower body joints after a long run. Lol. I'm not committing... I'm going to wait it out and see how I feel after doing a couple of smaller races.

Last week was actually the Toronto Yonge St. 10km race and I've done that race for the past 2 years. I was kind of sad to miss it... but I will do it again next year! :) I love that race because it's mostly downhill. Hehehe..

ALSO... I have a pretty cool giveaway happening on the blog soon, but I've sort of implemented a rule on my Facebook Page that the giveaway will only be unlocked once I reach 2000 likes. So make sure to click here and "like" my Facebook page so we can get this giveaway rolling!

What races do you have planned for the summer??

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

#MyHappyMonday Tuesday Edition


I know...

Today isn't exactly "Monday"... but I had an English exam yesterday AND I had to work sooooooo #MyHappyMonday quickly became #MyBusyMonday so instead of writing something crappy and quick, I decided to wait until today to post for #MyHappyMonday.
Today I'm super happy. I don't know why really. I woke up not having to go to class this morning (it's exam week! No class until Thursday morning!), and even though the weather is really crappy here in Toronto....

... you see that correctly. Snow. Yesterday it was 20 degrees outside and today it's -7. Anyways, I was happy because this weather really encourages not being outside and being PRODUCTIVE indoors!! This is exactly what I needed today. I've already been somewhat productive... but here is my list of things "to-do" today..

1. Food prep
2. Blog
3. Clean the condo a little bit
4. Study
5. Workout
6. Answer e-mails

So I've crossed off almost 3 things (blogging is something I'm currently doing... so let's say it's.. half done) on my list already and it's just after 10am! Not bad!!

When I look back on how I've ate the last few years.... a few things come to mind. Vegetarian, Paleo, Gluten Free... I've tried everything. In the past couple of weeks however I've really been paying close attention to what has been upsetting my stomach and my body and what hasn't. When I was personal training, I learned that I can't digest broccoli well AT ALL. It made me swell up so big and made me so gassy, I quickly learned that it happens to a lot of people actually. So I've cut broccoli out since it just does not agree with me. Lately though, I've noticed that dairy has really been kicking my ass.

I don't tend to eat a lot of dairy. I usually have cream in my morning coffee and the odd time I'll snack on some cheese because I LOVE CHEESE. But there has been a couple of times where I've had a little bit of ice cream after dinner and it sends my digestive system into pure chaos. I'm going to be blunt about it, but basically I fart and burp and it's just plain old disgusting. Even yesterday, I tried to eat a small bowl of cream of mushroom soup and a couple of spoonfulls in, I set my bowl down and lied on the couch because my stomach really hurt.

So that's fine. Dairy doesn't agree with me, so this morning I put almond milk in my coffee instead of cream. So far so good! I'm diagnosing myself as a bit lactose intolerant. Yes, correct, I'm diagnosing myself. Am I a doctor? Far from it... but if something makes me swell and gassy, well I can assume my body doesn't really enjoy it. There are some seriously interesting stats on lactose intolerance, did you know?

- Lactose intolerance affects more than 7 million Canadians, but probably more because some people won't associate their symptoms with lactose intolerance.
- 25% of people with lactose intolerance also have celiac disease (allergy to gluten).
- 33% of all people are lactose intolerant
- 90% of Asian-American's are lactose intolerant.
(source) (source)

Some symptoms of lactose intolerance or dairy allergies are:
- Abdominal pain 30ish minutes after consuming dairy
- Diarrhea and gas after consuming dairy
- Headaches and nausea
- Acne, rashes, eczema
- Constipation
- Mucus buildup

I love being in tune with my body enough to recognize when something isn't sitting right with it. That makes me REALLY happy on this #MyHappyMonday Tuesday Edition. I'm hoping my stomach problems and digestive problems subside quickly now that I've taken dairy completely out of my diet. Bah. I'm really going to miss cheese.

For those of you who don't have something crazy specific to share like me finding out I can't have dairy (and it making me happy to not have stomach pain!), here are some questions you might want to answer for #MyHappyMonday.

What was the first thing that made you smile today?
What are you most looking forward to about today?

What is your favourite thing about this Monday?
Exercise increases endorphins! Do you use exercise to improve your mood?
If you could have a 1-on-1 dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be, and why would it make you happy?

Remember to link-up below! I don't have high hopes for the numbers in the linkup today because I'm a day behind, but I'm going to try! :)


Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Happy Monday Week #2

Hey loveys,

 I hope everyone had a great weekend!

 I did a bunch of studying and I worked on Saturday night. I admit that I didn't get home until the wee hours of the morning last night which made today extremely unproductive. A friend of mine I used to work with was having her official "good bye" party with work folks so when I was done working at 2am, C and I made our way to her apartment to hang out with my coworkers! We didn't end up getting home until about 4:45am so I spent a chunk of today sleeping on the couch since I woke up at about 9am this morning.

 Since today is Sunday, that means tomorrow is Monday..

 Well, d'uh Sarah... but what else does it mean?? It means tomorrow is the second weekly instalment of My Happy Monday! Last week was the first weekly My Happy Monday that I've ran and it was pretty successful with 6 blogs that linked up!!
I loved reading how everyone was enjoying their Mondays and how the idea of focusing on what makes Mondays so great is helping get people's weeks off to a great start! :) I have some fun new questions to ask for this weeks My Happy Monday, so here they are!

What was the first thing that made you smile today?
What are you most looking forward to about today?
What is your favourite thing about this Monday?
Do you have a pet who makes your heart melt? Tell us about them and why they are so fantastic!
Are you reading a book currently?
What is something small that you’ve done for someone else today, that put a smile on your face?

Monday's have always been my favourite day of the week because I find that it's kind of like a "fresh start" to the week.... they usually fly by and they just usually result in good things. I try and reach out to people I haven't talked to much over the weekend, and try and be happy and productive all day as well! Do you also find though, that sometimes you like having a quiet Monday? Like, put the phone away, ignore the outside world and just kind be present in whatever it is you're doing? I might try and do that tomorrow... I need to unplug just slightly and detach myself from technology slightly because it's literally all I do lol. So tomorrow I might be on my computer doing homework, but I'm going to try and solely focus on the task I'm doing. I have a love affair with social media and it tends to take over whatever I'm doing when I'm on the computer so I'm hoping I can kind of... turn it off tomorrow and relax. We'll see!!

I am super excited to read everyone's responses to these questions tomorrow!! Below is the linkup gadget, so make sure if you're blogging about My Happy Monday, you insert the link below!