Tuesday, 29 May 2012

{Health Product Review} Vega: Energizing Smoothie

The kind people at Vega sent me some samples to review. Lucky for me I've been a fan of Vega Smoothie Infusion and this was a great chance for me to expand my love for them.

Energizing Smoothie is all-natural and plant-based powder. It's complete with protein, fibre and Omega-3's - the Vega Energizing Smoothie is alkaline-forming, free from dairy, gluten and soy, and contains no added sugar, artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. Perfect for people with sensitivities.

The Verdict: LOVE em!

I used the Energizing Smoothie as my breakfast meal or as my afternoon pick me up.

Some reoccurring traits through them all:

*smooth taste
*an hour later I still felt satisfied and didn't have a sugar crash
*no chalky after taste
*enhances the other fruit flavors
*no "green/earthy" taste
*I would enjoy it as a "shake n' go" smoothie

I blended all of my smoothies with 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of almond milk.

Starting with my favourite:

Choc-a-lot Energizing Smoothie

The Choc-A-Lot Energizing Smoothie I blended with a frozen banana and ice cubes. It came out perfect. The chocolate wasn't overwhelming and didn't have that fake chocolate taste like you find with some protein powders.

Tropical Tango

I blended the Tropical Tango Energizing Smoothie with organic frozen fruit. I really enjoyed how fresh this tasted. It came across very natural.

Bodacious Berry

Sunday was a very busy day and I had accidentally skipped breakfast. After I had my lunch I felt like my body was still needing some energy. I decided to try the smoothie as a "pick me up" drink. It worked extremely well. In no time I was ready to continue on with my busy day. It felt really good to get the energy from a natural source instead of reaching for a processed energy drink. The berry flavor was refreshing.

Vanilla Almondilla

I'm not a huge vanilla smoothie powder fan but this I could go for again. It blended well with the other fruit flavors and would be easy to use with any combination. I would love to try this one again as a "shake-n-go" smoothie.

Final Result:

I will definitely be grabbing Vega Energizing Smoothies from my grocery!



Monday, 28 May 2012

Monday, off on the right foot : train harder with each workout

Intention for the week ahead: Train harder with each workout.
Get out of the comfort zone!

My workouts in the morning are going great but I was to amp up my daily routine and push myself out of my comfort zone. I'm going to ensure that I make time for an afternoon workout as well. With each workout I will move a little harder and go a little further. Pushing yourself makes the body respond better as it has to guess what is going to happen next. When the body becomes accustomed and knows what move is next that is when you can start plateauing. Doing the same routine all the time can cause you to become bored and you slowly start backing out of your routine.

The best thing about this... I'll see some results by the weekend which will boost up my confidence. Sounds like a win -win to me!

How are you going to push your self and get out of your comfort zone this week?

Here's to being my own Boot Camp Instructor this week!


Friday, 25 May 2012

This Weeks Wind-up

Weekend is here...

Ducks in the Inlet
And it's a long weekend for my USA friends down south! Woohoo lucky you guys!

This week has cruised by quickly but luckily so. We are in the final stages of buying a new townhouse! Exciting times! My bf's parents are buying one 6 doors down and his sister is buying the one next to us. This is a great plan as in the coming years the family will need to be around to help his dad with his progressing Parkinson's and supporting his mom. We are very fortunate to have close family on his side and my side. Does anyone have a family member dealing with Parkinson's? It's an interesting-surprising disease.

  • I came across a crate full of artichokes at the market the other day but passed on them as I didn't have any new ideas on how to prepare them. Here is a great way.

  • With Rhubard in season this would be a perfect dessert after a sunny day.

  • So travel, get lost, stray off the beaten path and who knows, you might just find yourself! -Rucha Sarma. Her view of how rewarding travel can be for people.
Have a wonderful weekend! and Happy Memorial Day!


Thursday, 24 May 2012

In the know: (HIIT) - High Intensity Interveral Training

High Intensity Interveral Training - HIIT

HIIT is a great way to get in shape and burn that fat. I use this training method for my cardio when I'm looking to slim down quickly and want to see results. I come away feeling fit, strong and ready/wanting to do it again.

Start the Day Right

HIIT is perfect when you only have 20 minutes to fit some exercise in. The whole idea is to go from a comfortable pace for 30 sec to 1 minute and then to a burst of speed for 30 seconds to a minute. Repeating this cycle for 20 minutes can burn the equivalent calories as doing 45 minutes of running on the treadmill.

One of my favourite ways to apply HIIT on the treadmill is:

1min : 4.5-6.0mph (walk/jog)
1min : increase incline (9-15 incline)
1min : 4.5 - 6.0mph (walk/jog)
1min : increase speed (6.8-7.5mph)

Repeat until you hit the 20-25 minute mark

You can apply this method to any cardio activity. When I'm outdoors with the dog, I walk (fast paced) for one minute and then sprint for 30 seconds to 1 minute and repeat. Doing HIIT on the elliptical and stationary bike are great too.

An added bonus: HIIT can improve your endurance performance. I notice a difference in my endurance in just a week. I also notice a difference in my metabolism, it's revved up and my energy level is higher.

Great tip: get up 30 minutes before your usual wake up time and get in a quick 20min HIIT cardio session. You will be set for the day.. body and diet.

Check out this infograph that guides you through the benefits of HIIT

Try it out next time your doing your cardio!


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Monday: off on the right foot

It's Tuesday, I know.... Monday was a holiday here in Canada.

Someone else is enjoying my new healthy habit

Intention of the week: new habits created - turn into a way of life.

I created some healthy habits last week: HIIT training in the morning, walking in the evening and no carbs after 1pm. These habits were easy to create as they gave me so much more energy. I'm extremely excited to have more energy (iron deficiency post to come). When the weekend hits, I find that's when you can let your new healthy habits slip out the window without noticing it. I was a good girl this time and kept up my healthy habits through the long weekend. So my intention this week is to make my new habits just a way of life. Ensuring that they don't just wander off.

Here's some helpful tips to keep up the healthy new habits:

  • I've found it easier to have 3 new habits than just one. 3 habits are alot harder to toss out the window than just one.
  • Remind yourself everyday of how these new habits are going to benefit your life today and in a month.
  • Finding ways that your new habits benefit others will help you stay motivated. Since I've decided to run in the morning again, the dog is alot happier ;)
Here's to a healthy week full of healthy habits!


Friday, 18 May 2012

Travel Time: Maui

I'm no doubt a SUN & BEACH girl. There's no denying it that when I'm in that environment everything is perfect in my world! One of my favourite places to soak this all in is...  MAUI!

When I travel to Maui I like to stay in a condo in Kihei. I love that it gives you the feeling as if you are living there. Where we stay, they provide BBQ picnic areas in the middle yard which is a great way to save money and meet new fellow travellers at dinner. Kamaole beach is across the street and local stores are walking distance.

One of my favourite beaches is Big Beach. It's further south from Kihei and like it's name... it's big! There's no feeling crowded on this beach. Like a lot of the places in Maui you have to drive there. I would recommend renting a car as there is so many neat remote locations you can only get too by car. Another great beach is off the road on the way to Lahaina. Just pull the car over and dip your feet in. It's amazing!

Lahaina is a great place to spend the day. I love scoping out all the neat shops where local artists reside and some famous ones too (my fav: Peter Lik). We always make sure to grab lunch while we are in Lahaina. The drive from Kihei is beautiful with a look out point on the way. Driving beside the ocean makes the ride go by so quickly.

The healthy food in Maui is fresh and always at your finger tips. Fresh fruit in the morning from the local market is incredible. There are fruit stands from local farmers along the road whichever driving route you take. There is a large variety of fish to choose from to eat in Maui. My favourite place to grab some fish tacos is a little joint called "Fred's Mexican Cafe". Tuesday is taco night and it's a must. Get there early!There may be a bit of wait but it's worth it. Besides, who doesn't mind waiting while you watch the sunset across the street. The restaurant turns into a great breakfast place come morning and serves delicious macadamia nut /banana pancakes for some energy for the day. My all time favourite treat that I must have while I'm in Maui is.... the shaved ice with vanilla ice cream on the bottom. I get it at least 3 times while I'm there. hey... I gotta try different flavors!

One thing I say I'm going to do each time and miss the chance is Surfing! I think next time I go I won't leave till my butt gets out on the water with a board. Surfing helps building muscles in your arms (paddling), your legs (squatting on the board) and your abs (balancing on the board). What a great way to get some exercise! I have though been snorkeling in Maui and truly enjoyed swimming with the exotic fishes.

If you are looking for a great place to go with your partner or vacation with the family, I highly recommend Maui.

This weeks wind-up

A long weekend has arrived....

Sunrise on my run
Just in time too!

We had some great sunshine around here this week and everyone was in great spirits because of it. I love walking around and finally seeing people smile. It's May Long Weekend and people are heading out of ton quickly. I'm going to venture out for a hike with the dog tomorrow morning and take advantage of the weather.

When long weekends come along do you head out of town or stick around?

  • Sometimes I've felt like I'm forcing myself to meditate and you don't get that loving/peaceful feeling. Danielle Laporte talks about when your meditation becomes a point on the "to-do" list. Great ideas how to approach meditation in a different form.

  • I'm a believer of 5-6 healthy meals/snacks help your body keep going. Here are some healthy snacks to keep you satisfied.

  • Always looking for a new way to incorporate Kale into my diet. This looks like a great combination for a salad. Edamame beans, carrots, chick peas, KALE, and tomatoes... can't go wrong.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

late: Monday - off on the right foot

Better late than never...
I'm happy that the only reason my post is late is because I was achieving my intention of the week.

My Intention for this week is to conquer fears that appear in my life on a daily basis. 

Subtle fears can sometimes be the worst

These are the fears that are subtle but you know are holding you back from great possibilities. My fear I conquered yesterday was making a youtube video. I really can't stand hearing my voice and it was extremely hard to take that first step to even say one word in front of the camera. This is odd for me because I used to take acting classes and loved talking out loud all the time. Something must have occurred in my teenage years and now it's an effort to speak up around people. I'm gradually accomplishing this fear and have started to look for ways I can improve or even put myself in situations where I will have to speak up. So far so good!

I always remind myself when faced with my fear: What's the worst that could happen?  and to always live each day to the fullest.

Are there any subtle fears that hold you back? Any tips on how to overcome them?


Friday, 11 May 2012

This Weeks Wind-up

Spring Sunshine has arrived for this weekend.

It's the weekend !

So this week has been filled with some great highs and some interesting lows. I feel great though that I can recognise when those lows are sneaking in and zap them in the butt with some deep breaths and realisations that I'm getting ahead of myself. Have you ever felt like your mind can just take off when things are starting to get amazing?

  • Marie Forleo likes to call it an "Upper Limit Problem" : read her story here about how it took some outside family and friends to see how it was happening to her and what she did to overcome it. It's funny how stories show up right when you need them. - it was great for me.

  • Looking to make a nice meal for mom this Mother's Day?? Have a look at With Style & Grace's Banana Bread Gluten Free Waffles! Me and the BF are taking our mom's out for a Mexican lunch at Las Margaritas in Kitsalino tomorrow. Thought it would be exciting and fun to mix it up. I'm going to try to figure out a healthy option to have and treat myself to a strawberry margarita.

  • We've been on the hunt for a healthy granola mix to have for breakfast with Greek yogurt or soy milk. Our local cafe offers a delicious one but I'm worried there's a lot of extra unnecessary sugar going into it. I found this recipe  (Lightened Up Summer Granola - Oil Free and Reduced Sugar!!) on Oh She Glows. I think we will have to test drive this one out. Results to come.... 

Have a wonderful weekend! Hopefully you get to spoil that motherly figure in your life this weekend. They always deserve to be recognised.


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Thanks "When I grow up"!

Back in 2008, a budding life coach inspired me to look at my life differently. At the time I was too scared to push my boundaries or step out of my comfort zone. Although I look back now and realize I was not ready, there was more for me to learn so I could help other women transform their lives. I thank you Michelle Ward @WhenIGroUpCoach ( When I Grow Up Coach ) for inspiring me to become a life coach and motivating me over the last few years with your dedication to your work/passion.

Michelle Ward - When I Grow Up Coach

Monday, 7 May 2012

Monday: Off On The Right Foot

Breakfast muffin at the cafe Divano - always a favourite!
 Intention for the week: Too feed my body and mind with bright and clean food.

This past weekend I let myself go on an all out bender on food which does not agree with me. Let's say there was some ice cream, more ice cream and maybe a couple pastries from the local cafe. I knew that this coming week I wanted to go very clean (eating wise). Almost like a spring clean up for myself so I let myself indulge in my favourite things. I don't always advise doing this but I had been craving some things that I knew would be still be haunting me while I eat clean. So cravings are gone and now my intention of the week is all that is running though my head.

What's your intention for this week and weekend?

Friday, 4 May 2012

Love - Hate Relationship : Sugar

cupcake sugar cookie

Oh sugar how I love you but our relationship is just so wrong. We must part ways, forever!

Trust me... I love sugar and hated the thought of giving it up. I do treat myself on the rare occurrence though (everything in moderation, I say). I feel amazing when I'm off sugar and I can instantly tell the difference in my body (the way it moves and feels) once I've had sugar.

Studies have shown that people's sugar addiction is equivalent to people who have an addiction to heroin or cocaine. Scary but it's true. Once your sugar levels have dropped after getting the sugar "high" your body starts to crave it again. You start to feel sluggish, tired and cranky and the first solution your brain sees is to get another sugar high. This is when you reach for the piece of chocolate and relief rushes over you.

Lots of people don't realise that there is sugar injected into their every day food purchases. When the label on the product says "low fat" it means they have probably tossed some sugar in there so it still tastes good. Bonus for the company is that you will get that craving for the product again because of the sugar. Now they've got you coming back for more!

Even natural sugar from fruit is recommended to be eaten on an empty stomach and with no other food. This is to help prevent the other food in your stomach becoming waste (non-nutritional). I like to use this simple guide with fruit:
If you want fruit before a meal, wait 1 hour after eating the fruit before eating a different type of food.
If you want fruit after a meal, wait 2 hours so the food is able to digest before enjoying the fruit.

Birthday Cake - A special treat 

Here's some other helpful tips to help fight the sugar bug:
  • If sugar is in the first 5 ingredients on the box = put it back!
  • Ingredients ending in "-ose" = sugar
  • Sugar cane may be a "healthy" sugar but it's still plain and simple sugar.
  • Avoid sugar in the supermarket by sticking to the perimeter to shop. No up and down the isles. Food should be Fresh.
  • Avoid drinking your sugar: juice, special coffee and alcohol are great examples of loaded sugar drinks.
  • Create a habit: when you go to reach for that sugar bite, build up that will power and say no. After 7 times of saying no it becomes a habit and it becomes much easier!

Bonus about getting rid of that sugar addiction to improve your overall health?? :  you might even find that your waist starts shrinking!

How do you stay away from sugar? Any helpful tips?

Money Vs. Happiness

calm while at work

The choice between money and happiness can become a struggle in your life. A sort of tug of war in your own head. Do you choose to be happy or do you take the money and see what it can get you?

I've dealt with this struggle in many different formations. I had a great paying job but I felt like I was on the treadmill of life. Day in and day out the same thing. After I left that job of 9 years I dealt with conflict again when taking a new job. It was with a very well known company and high paying job but 3 days in I was crying and wanting to escape it all knowing I was falling into the same path as before. I could see that 9 years from then I would look back and say "why did I take this, again?!". So I did the hardest thing ever and left, even though I had no money in the bank and no job again.

I've realised that taking the "high paying job" or "recognised/sought after job" that doesn't provide an ounce of happiness to your life, can be trouble to your well being. I continued to look for another job and did not settle for anything that wouldn't allow me to pursue my passion after work. If you spend all day becoming drained of your precious energy, what energy will you have to give yourself after that day. There were times when I was at my "treadmill job" and only had energy to go for a walk with the dog, eat and then I would fall asleep on the couch. No energy even to spend with loved ones.

Sometimes it might even require you doing two jobs but if both those jobs leave you with some energy for afterwards, than it might be the best option for your happiness. Learning where energy is being drained and making some changes can benefit your mind, body and soul. I realised that my energy was being drained from my work at the time and I made the decision to make the change and find something that didn't take away my spark by the end of the work day. This left me feeling calmer, less stressed and happier.

I understand that everyone needs money to survive and we should always make sure that we pay the bills and have food on the table but when I was making good money, I didn't have the energy to enjoy that money. I was too drained from the work day to go out, socialize or even go on a vacation.
If you make room in your life for greater things it seems that possibilities are able to sneak in and excite you. It's like having a loser boyfriend and knowing he's not the right one but keeping him around (because it feels comfortable) till you find Mr.Right. Guess what, Mr. Right won't be able to show up in your life because you are putting out there that you have no room for him.

Make room for possibilities in your life!
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