Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chia: What is it good for?

Chia Seeds epitomize the expression that good things come in small packages…. Used for centuries as a staple food of the Tarahumara tribe (See Born to Run by Christopher McDougall), the author relates a number of stories explaining how a handful of these tiny seeds allow members of this tribe to run, seemingly effortlessly, for up to 50 or 100 miles per day!

Remember the Chia Pet? Yep, it’s the same thing. Mix a spoonful of chia seeds with water and you will notice that it forms a gel-like substance… It does this because chia absorbs 12 times its weight in water! When you eat it, the gel that forms in your stomach creates a barrier between carbohydrates and the enzymes that break them down and subsequently slows the conversion of carbs to sugar. In other words, these little guys sustain you for longer.

They also keep you better hydrated, act as a significant source of protein, and because you can add them to pretty much anything, from smoothies, to power bars, or just sprinkled on your cereal, they are extremely easy to incorporate into your diet.

Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Chia Seed Smoothie for @RunnergirlAJ :)

Chia Seeds are MAJOR when it comes to straight up nutritional bang-for-your-buck (See tomorrow's post) ... The best part is you can pretty much add them to any type of smoothie, but this morning I opted for the following:

Banana Raspberry Explosion!

1 Banana

Handful of Frozen Raspberries

Handful of Baby Spinach

2 tablespoons Hemp Protein Powder

1 tablespoon Flaxseed Oil

1/2 Cup Water & 1/2 Cup Coconut Water

2 tablespoons Chia Seeds (you can grind them up first, or just throw them in whole)

Hope you like it!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fuel Up Naturally

In 9 months I will be competing in my first Ironman and while my mental prep began months ago, I have really been honing my skills in the kitchen so that I am able to train for this event on a natural diet. Last year I went through a myriad of different gels, bars and bloks during training which left my digestive system a bit of a mess. It's amazing that athletes, who are presumably healthy individuals, allow themselves to ingest all those fake ingredients...

Here is a recipe for Sweet Potato Balls- The perfect combination of carbs, fat and protein to fuel your body for a swim, bike, or run... Or just to have as a side with a big salad (like we had for dinner the other night).

They are so easy to make, just boil 2-3 sweet potatoes and mash with a can of black beans and a couple of spoonfuls of salsa. Roll this mixture into small balls (think 3-4 bites/ball).

On a seperate plate sprinkle flax seeds and roll the ball in them so you have coated about 75%.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. They are great to eat both hot and cold.


Thursday, November 17, 2011


This morning in place of a banana in my smoothie, I decided to throw in a beet... It may seem random, but it actually turned out pretty good. Packed with high levels of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium and Folate, beets pack a powerful punch of nutrients!

Beet and Blueberry Smoothie Recipe:

1 cup of water

1 cup of ice

1 tablespoon Hemp Protein Powder

1 tsp Hemp Oil

1 cup of frozen Bluberries

1 roasted beet

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vasisthasana: Side Plank Pose

Vasistha literally means "most excellent, best, or richest"... Not only does this pose strengthen your abdominals, arms and legs, it also stretches the wrists and improves your sense of balance.

Try incorporating it into your next workout, holding at least 20-30 seconds on each side.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Push it HARD! 12.5 Minutes!

November can be a tough month for fitness... Christmas parties are on the horizon, and it seems like the the seasonal baking is already in full-swing. PLUS the days seem so much shorter with the sun going down earlier...

I know... it can be tough to find the time for a workout. Luckily, our bodies respond well to being pushed to their maximum capacity for a shorter period of time. I know everyone can find 12 and 1/2 minutes in their day to do something great for your health!

1 Minute:

Explosive Jacks/Burpee Combo (Like a regular burpee except instead of jumping up, you do a wide legged explosive jack)

45 Seconds:

Side to side taps on the Bosu

3o Seconds:

Fast High Knees

15 Seconds:

Tuck Jumps

15 Seconds:


***5 Rounds***

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lessons in Plank

The other night in a Hot Yoga class the teacher challenged us to hold a 2 minute plank. Now normally the plank really doesn't get me too worked up... but 2 minutes?! This was something I had never done. Nevertheless I assumed the position and got into it.

I will admit that it was a pretty MAJOR test- not only for my body, but for my attitude. Those two minutes were really about weeding out the quitters, and I am no quitter. I promised myself that I would not give up. So I didn't. It sounds harsh, but simply understanding that that decision was mine was huge.

Much like all challenges or goals we set for ourself (big or small), the decision to persevere lies within... The committment to eat healthier, quit a bad habit or start to exercise, pushes your body out of it's comfort zone. Combine that with the affirmation that you will not lie to yourself, or quit yourself- that is when you will see what your body if truly capable of.

That said, I have decided to take this same challenge to my morning class tomorrow...

Two Minutes. One Plank. Zero Tolerance for failure.

Give it a try at home. Your body will show up for you. I promise.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Great BIG Salad

Well, I think it's official. I am a Salad Junkie.
Here is one rendition of what I make almost every night....

Baked Chicken&Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato cut into small pieces
Big handful Kale
Big handful Spinach
1/2 can of black beans
1/2 Cucumber
1 Red Pepper
1/4 of a Red Onion
1/2 carton of pea shoots
5 dates chopped into small pieces
Small handful dried cranberries
Crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
1 Avocado

Combine all ingredients and add 1 part Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 2 parts Balsamic Vinegar: A squeeze of honey and Pepper to taste.

For the chicken breasts, I marinated them in a mixture of 2 parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 3 parts Rice Vinegar: 1 part Dijon honey: 1/2 part honey
Bake chicken for 35-40 minutes @ 350' or until cooked through. Cut into small pieces and add to salad.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Easiest Green Smoothie.

My new goal is to drink one of these/day... I used to try and work kale and other crazy things into my smoothies, but it really proved to be too much fussing around. This green smoothie is super easy and a great way to start your morning or give yourself a little kick in the afternoon.

Simply combine 1 banana, 1-2 handfuls of spinach with 1 cup of water and an ice cube. Blend. Enjoy.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mastering the Morning Workout

I am no stranger to a 5:30am wake up. In fact it's pretty much the norm. However, as Fall approaches and the mornings cease to greet me with brilliant blue sky and a rising sun, it will take a new kind of willpower to get me out of my cozy bed on those early morning days.

Here are some tips on how to make it easier:

1- Put your alarm on the opposite side of the room so you actually have to get out of bed to turn it off. Once you're're up.

2- Set your workout intentions for the week on Sunday night. Write down your plan for the week and tick it off as you go.

3- Make sure your playlist on your Pod is upbeat and ready to go. Download 1 new song at the beginning of the week that will inspire you.

4- Hold yourself accountable to someone else by making plans to meet in the morning. It feels even worse to let someone else down.

5- Prepare EVERYTHING the night before... Clothes, shoes, purse, water bottle and anything else that might delay you getting out of bed and out the door.

6- Reward yourself. Sometimes the Americano that I get from Starbucks after my morning class is enough to motivate me, but if you need a little more incentive than straight caffeine, treat yourself to a manicure at the end of the week if you follow through on your plan.

7- Be accountable to someone... whether it's the person who sleeps next to you, or a roommate down the hall, let them know you are waking up early for your workout and ask them to hold you to it.

8- Don't throw in the towel! If you sleep an extra 10 minutes and can only make a 45 minute session at the gym, DO IT! Push yourself harder in a shorter period of time. Learn to be efficient in the gym.

9- Hire a trainer... Nobody wants to pay the $80 cancel-charge to a trainer for sleeping in.

10- Get to bed earlier. Reap the benefits of a full night rest by tucking in early and aim for at least 6-8 hours.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lessons from Ironman 2011

Yesterday I attended my second Ironman to cheer on Troy, Greg and Tim while they competed in this year's event... (See Ironman2010 here). Just like last year, I came away from that experience with such a sense of pride for not only those guys, but for all of the competitors who put the training in and finish that race.

This year proved what we already knew: that weather is a factor, that heat makes anything more intense, and that the support of friends, family and even strangers, is just one more component which drives these athletes to the finish line- like Gatorade, water, Power Gels, and Cliff Blocks.

For what would Ironman be without the streets filled with words of love and encouragement? How could a runner withstand a marathon in the blistering sun after a 6-hour bike ride, if he didn’t know his family was waiting for him at the end? How do these people even find the strength to continue when their muscles are cramping and everything in their body is telling them to quit?

I know the answer.

Because when I see some of these people squishing into those wetsuits, gearing up for that 180km bike, or pounding the pavement slowly, but surely, one step at a time, I know that at some point in their life they set this goal, and allowed nothing to stand in their way. I am filled with awe when I yell “Great job!” from the sidelines and they smile back and say “thank you”. And in those moments I am even more intrigued with the power of the human spirit, and the might of the human body.

Although this event may not be on everybody’s bucket list, it certainly epitomizes the power of a goal. Whether you want to lose weight, eat healthier, or just live a more active life, you need to know that that is already in you. It is not out of your reach. Anything can be achieved. And when you give yourself space and time and you dedicate yourself to something, it will happen. It is the law of the universe, that what we think about, we bring about.

So plant that seed. Aim high. Create your own Ironman.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro

If you are looking for a new restaurant to try in Vancouver I would love to suggest visiting The Oakwood in Kits ( 2471 West 4th Ave) ... Troy and I joined Jody and Tyson there last night for a late dinner and it was DELICIOUS! Boasting all local, all organic and all seasonal ingredients, Mike Shea and his team do it right... In a word: Perfection!
Check it out and let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Keen-Wah :)

Meet my new food Compadre: Quinoa.

Although a seed, quinoa is commonly mistaken as a grain because of its light and fluffy consistency when cooked. Being very high in protein, quinoa is an essential part of any healthy vegetarian's or vegan's diet (I am neither of these)... and more importantly is a complete protein, which means it includes all nine essential amino acids. Here are some other things its good for : Manganese and Copper (antioxidants), Magnesium (blood pressure), Fiber (digestion, linked to cancer prevention), and Riboflavin (AKA Vitamin B- AKA Energy!)... SOLD!

Right now I am doing the Wild Rose Cleanse and quinoa is up there on the list of recommended foods... so I am all over it.
Last night I made a really yummy Black Bean Salmon and Quinoa Salad and this morning I whipped up Quinoa with Berries and a splash of coconut milk. Both meals were totally filling, really healthy, and most importantly for me: SO easy to make.

Black Bean, Smoked Salmon and Quinoa Salad

Prepare Quinoa by boiling 1 1/4 Cups of water and adding 1 cup of quinoa- turn the heat down and cover for 12 minutes. Fluff up with a fork when done.
1 Red Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper
1 Cucumber (skin on)
4 stalks of green onions
Chopped Cilantro to taste
1 can of Organic Black Beans (rinsed)
1 Avocado
Cut up pieces of smoked Salmon

Quinoa and Berries

Prepare quinoa the same as above- once cooked add fresh or frozen berries and some coconut milk. Yum!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

1 Minute Rounds!

Incorporate this 16 minute fitness complex into your workout, or run through it on its own for a quick blast of cardio anytime during your day. Simply set your timer for one minute and repeat the three exercises in order for the full 60 seconds with a 20 second rest in between each set.

READY.... GO!!!!

1 Minute: 10 High Knees/ 5 Squat Jumps/ 5 Push Ups
20 Seconds Rest
Repeat 3x

1 Minute: 6 Split Jumps/ 6 Low Jacks/ 6 Jump Ins
20 Seconds Rest
Repeat 3x

Friday, July 29, 2011

"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food"

The body is a seriously amazing organism.
Keeping us going on a daily basis through an endless number of chemical and neurological reactions that we never see or think about, we eat and the body garners and utilizes nutrients from our food resulting in better functioning and efficiency. However, the body is also a storage house, and has the ability to hold on to the things we actually don't want in our system...
While the market is teeming with a variety of cleanses and detox formulas to clear our systems of excess waste, one area that is rarely touched on is the storage of heavy metals such as mercury and aluminum in the body.

Some people spend thousands of dollars undergoing intravenous chelation therapy to rid their body of these metals, however, I recently stumbled across an article detailing the benefits of
cilantro as a natural chelae. As metal substances in the body have been associated with autism, muscle pain, Alzheimer's and memory loss, it would be wise to consider doing this cleanse for 3 weeks at least once a year.


• 4 cloves garlic
• 1/3 cup Brazil nuts (selenium)
• 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (cysteine)
• 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (zinc, magnesium)
• 2 cups packed fresh cilantro (vitamin A)
• 2/3 cup flax seed oil
• 4 tablespoons lemon juice (vitamin C)
• 2 tsp dulse seaweed powder
• Sea salt to taste

Process the coriander and flax seed oil in a blender until the coriander is chopped. Add the garlic, nuts and seeds, dulse and lemon juice and mix until the mixture is finely blended into a paste. Add a pinch to sea salt to taste and blend again. Store in dark glass jars if possible.

Combined with the benefits of the other ingredients, this recipe is a powerful tissue cleanser. The pesto is delicious on toast, baked potatoes, and pasta.


Friday, July 22, 2011

What Do You Crave?

A craving is the body's way of telling us what it wants. Sometimes however, what we think can be satiated with chocolate actually goes much deeper.

Here are some common cravings which indicate what your body really needs:

Chocolate = Magnesium (Raw nuts/seeds, legumes, fruits)

Sweets= Chromium, Carbon, Phosphorus, Sulpher(Broccoli, cheese, grapes, fresh fruits, chicken, dairy, legumes, cranberries, kale)

Fatty Foods= Calcium (Legumes, cheese)
Carbonated Beverages= Calcium (Kale, Leafy greens)

General Overeating= Silicon, Tryptophan, Tyrosine (Nuts, Seeds, Sweet Potato, Raisins, Vitamin C supplements, Red Peppers)


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


As much as waking up to teach my 630am classes on Monday and Wednesday pains me, the crew that I get to instruct on these mornings always put me in a great mood! With about 20 "regulars" I have to be on my toes to come up with new ideas, and I always end up pushing myself a little harder as we bust it out together.

Here is just one circuit that we did today:

60 Seconds High Knees
50 Seconds Cross-Over steps the Bosu
40 Seconds Burpees
30 Seconds Split Jumps
20 Seconds Floor touch and jump
10 Seconds Push-ups

1 Minute Side Plank with weight (30 Seconds/side)


Come by Steve Nash Sports Club Downtown to check it out!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Yogurt & Fruit EXPLOSION!

If you're like me and find yourself craving something sweet at the end of a long day, try mixing your favourite fruit with some vanilla yogurt. It will curb your appetite, but is light enough to keep you from feeling too full before bed.

Pictured Here: Raspberries, Pineapple, Grapefruit and Banana

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Your Body: A Declaration of Love

I am your body.

Your elegant protection. Your outer shell and armour.

Given to you. A gift. To teach the greater lessons of your life.

I am the gut feeling. The butterflies in your stomach. The tingle in your spine.

I am the conduit for energy that allows you to live the life your spirit desires.

Even when I am broken, tired, weary, or aching, I am the heart of your endurance. Your carrier.

I will teach you the meaning of willpower when you let go of the extra weight. The meaning of patience when you sprain an ankle. The meaning of presence when you flow and breathe in yoga. The meaning of acceptance when you look in the mirror and feel nothing but an overwhelming gratitude.

I will ground you and lift you up. Be the source of endless inspiration. I will be the beginning, and the starting point that changes everything.

I will be with you in the end. This vessel that carries you through life.

Your beating heart. Your breathing lungs. Your strong legs and awakened eyes.

I am your body.

Monday, July 4, 2011

1/2 Ironman Vancouver

This weekend Troy and I competed in the 1/2 Ironman Vancouver which takes place at Spanish Banks. The morning started at an early 530am for race prep and a quick dunk in the ocean before the official start at 630... The swim in the ocean went surprisingly better for me this time around, despite the waves and current, Troy and I managed to stay together and get through this first part relatively easily (without any panic attacks on my part at least :) )

The bike was a challenging 21.5km loop around UBC which we completed 4 times... That's 4 climbs up the hill from Jericho to UBC, and 91 kilometres of biking on false flats and long stretches where the headwind alone was enough to tire even the pro bikers (who lapped me for sure). Deadly.

Once we were finally off the bike it was time for the 1/2 Marathon- a run through the trails and along the water at Spanish Banks. I admit, this was the part where I wanted to quit about 50 times before finally crossing the finish line... I was definitely dehydrated (my own fault) and the sun beating on my hurting body was just one more aspect of this course that made it all the more intense.... But I persevered while my family and friends cheered from the sidelines and although this race felt longer than Victoria, I somehow managed to shave off 3 minutes from my time (5 hours and 45 minutes), and Troy did amazing at 5 hours and 10 minutes.
Next Stop: Penticton to watch Dalts crush the full Ironman!

Not feeling great here... one step at a time.

My Mom's camera work

Troy making it look easy

Water stations! I took my time here.

Post-race talk
So happy to be DONE!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chew on This

I have never been a big calorie counter... However, for the sake of this blog I decided to look at some of the restaurants I frequent (probably too often) to see exactly what I am eating. I have to say I was pretty shocked to see the caloric content of what I thought to be the healthy option on the menu...

First Find Your Number...
Women who exercise 30-60 minutes/day versus less than 30 minutes of exercise/day

  • Age 19-30 2000-2400 calories vs. 2000
  • Age 31-50 2000-2200 calories vs. 1800
  • Age 50+ 1800-2200 calories vs. 1600
Men who exercise 30-60 minutes/day versus less than 30 minutes of exercise/day

  • Age 19-30 2600-3000 calories vs. 2400
  • Age 31-50 2400-3000 calories vs. 2200
  • Age 50+ 2200-2800 calories vs. 2000

Earls: Posts all Nutritional Information for menu on this site: Earls

Santa Fe Chicken Salad: 880.5 calories/44 grams fat
Cesar Salad: 1120.26 !!! calories/76.79 grams fat

Prawn Dynamite Roll: 445 calories/19 grams fat
Veggie Quesadilla: 606 calories/36.5 grams fat

Cajun Chicken: 540.11 calories/36.22 grams fat

add Garlic Mashed Potatoes=
another 457 calories and 32.75 grams fat

add Coleslaw= another 300 calories and 28 grams fat

Cactus Club: Does not publish Nutritional Information for menu, but I searched my favourite salad their and found the Raincoast Greens has 600 calories/20 grams fat

Joey's: Also does not publish Nutritional Information, but found the Beach Salad at 670 calories and 45 grams fat and the Ahi Tuna Salad 670 calories/46 grams fat

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Extend Yourself


To get there:
  • Start with your feet more that hip distance apart, toes facing the long side of your mat.
  • Point your right toes towards the top of your mat and keep your left foot parallel with the back of your mat.
  • Line up your back arch and front heel and ensure that you can see your right big toe on the inside of your front knee.
  • Lunge deeply through your front leg and bring your right elbow to your right knee. Sweep your left arm up overhead and bring the gaze to your left bicep.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute and come up on an inhale by reaching your left arm towards the ceiling.
  • Reverse the feet and hold for same amount of time on the opposite side.
  • Stretches and strengthens the legs, knees, and ankles
  • Stretches the groin, waist, chest, lungs, and shoulders
  • Promotes core strength by stimulating abdominals
Therapeutic Applications:
  • Promotes digestions
  • Helps low back ache and menstrual discomfort
  • Osteoporosis
  • Infertility

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

1/2 Ironman Victoria

On Sunday I completed my first 1/2 Ironman in Victoria and the experience truly made me believe that whatever you set your mind to, you can TOTALLY do.

My final time was 5 hours and 49 minutes (11 minutes under my goal)...
Swim 1.9 km 43 Minutes/ Bike 86 km 3.07 Hours/ Run 21km 1.46 Hours

I have to say that for all my fears and anxieties about not completing the race, or just not feeling great while doing it, those almost 6 hours literally flew by and I did actually enjoy every moment (well, once I got out of the water anyway... )

So much of endurance racing is taking control of your thoughts and using your mind as a tool rather than a weapon... The only thing I kept thinking was that I had prepared for this, and that there was no reason why I shouldn't do well. I knew that my body would come through for me... and it did.

At the end I felt great and can't wait for a 2nd go on July 3rd in Vancouver!

Transition station... Bike, Boost, Bars, and Blocks.

Troy D.

The tri-suit I was testing for Sugoi's new line... Felt awesome!
Bev, Me and Erin at the finish line :)
Troy and Me

Other athletes after the race