Earth day .. every day

Happy Earth Day!

The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970 … after U.S. Senator Nelson witnessed the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. On the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. And so became an annual event.

Earth day .. should be every day. We all can take steps to help our earth.. to leave this earth a better place for our kids, grandkids .. their kids. Be a good ancestor! Think ahead, what are YOU leaving for our future generations?

In our home we do our best to teach our kids to be conscious of the impact they have on this earth. We each have to do our part.

Trim your Waste …. We recycle anything that can be recycled (and nowadays there are more and more opportunities to recycle).

recycle

We use reusable bags when shopping. Think about it… when you grocery shop, on average how many bags do you use? Let’s say 5? How often do you shop? Twice a month? More?… So if you used reusable bags for the entire year you alone could avoid using at least 120 plastic bags!

green bags

Shop local or grow your own food. I love when it’s Farm Market season. We will buy our berries in large quantities and freeze them for the year. You can find jams, veggies, fruit all sorts of goodies at our local farm market shop local

Plant your own food. Don’t have room in your yard/condo? Why not check out a local community garden. Only a 5 min drive away from us is Maples Discovery Garden you can rent a plot from them and start growing your own herbs/veggies etc.  My friend Ginger and her family have a plot there, they have inspired our family to look into renting a plot and growing our veggies/herbs etc. as well!

Not only are you eating local you are also then increasing the number of plant based meals you consume! And who can’t use more green in your life! (spinach or kale salad anyone?)… and you just can’t beat fresh herbs!

And if you want a glass of wine at dinner… there are so many local wineries and even breweries for you to sample from.

Carpool when possible. Often in our household we are pulled in so many directions with little time between activities or activities at the same time in different cities, we do our best to arrange for car-pooling. Not only does it help schedule wise, it also helps the environment.

Unplug and power down unneeded electronic devices and appliances. Chargers, computer peripherals, home entertainment devices and other appliances can all be unplugged when not in use. This can help reduce your utilities bill and carbon emissions simultaneously. This morning when I left for work, I shut down my computer (it won’t be used all day and often I am in the bad habit of leaving it on… all the time!), I unplugged the toaster oven, microwave, cell phone chargers (those tend to get left in the wall even without the phone attached)…

Disconnect and Reconnect… if you have teenagers in your house, you know they love their phones, electronics etc. (we have 2 teens and they are attached to their phones – okay, so am I!) Even our 2 year old loves the iPad etc. So disconnect, leave the phone, the TV, the iPad grab the kids, family, friends … and go outside… play, go for a walk, enjoy nature! If you go for a walk bring along a garbage bag and pick up any garbage along the way.

I encourage you to make one positive change for our earth today and every day…

the secret to getting healthier…

yup.. I’ve figured it out! Work your ass off and then work some more... ! That’s right, no pill, no 2 week diet, no magic soup, no specific workout routine… none of that will get you there if you aren’t ready to take it on yourself and get YOURSELF there!

Exercise: walk, run, bike, swim, dance, lift weights, join a gym, take a belly dancing class, go to yoga, get a DVD, find a wii/xbox game … whatever it is… do IT. Scared to try something? just go and try it! who care’s if you aren’t perfect (uhh Angie? yeah I’m talking to you!) whatever you do, you are doing more than the person sitting on the couch saying “I wish I could lose weight/get fit/be skinnier”. Leaving that fear at the door has been awesome. I’ve gone on my own (big step for me!) to classes/activities. I’ve done belly dancing class, pole dancing, yoga, Zumba, HIIT, meditation classes, bootcamps, run clubs, water aerobics, played hockey …. just go for it! You never know what you may fall in love with!

Eat: yup, eat to lose weight. Don’t starve yourself! Don’t try a fad diet (as tempting as all those “after” photos look) Eat, enjoy, be creative, try new food/recipes. Take a nutrition course, take cooking glasses.. use google to your advantage. Prep food ahead of time, plan meals, don’t grocery shop in a rush when you are starved and have a kid hanging off your arm (although at times that can’t be avoided!)

I enjoyed my 3 day Dr. Oz cleanse, and actually it made me aware of the way some foods were affecting me (once I started eating some of the regular foods I eat again). For example, I’m a popcorn addict. I had some popcorn after my 3 day cleanse and 1. I got bloated 2. I got a killer migraine 3. my joints got achey. Years ago I did an allergy challenge diet… I’ve been very lax on foods that I was “sensitive” to. Yes certain foods I MUST avoid (eggs) due to severe allergies, but all the other stuff I just knew I’d deal with these reactions and left it at that. Last week, those reactions to just eating popcorn reminded me that, it’s no longer worth it – I don’t want to have those reactions. It’s not worth headaches, looking 8 months pregnant, stomach aches, sore joints (yes, food CAN and will do that to you).

Be consistent: for the past few months I wake up each day and (most days) reset my thinking. I don’t have an “all or nothing” attitude the way I used to. OR if I do, I’ve learned to recognize and correct it as best as I possibly can. i.e. I had a healthy breakfast but then I went to Starbucks for lunch and had a latte and some other high calorie nothing food.. it doesn’t mean the rest of my day is shot. It means the next meal will be healthy. It means I will go for a walk, go to yoga… OR just accept that yes I ate that food and I enjoyed it. So now, I ask myself – will I actually enjoy this, is it worth it?

Accept yourself now. Look at yourself. Be thankful for who you are now. Yup, I’m heavier than I want to be. However, I’m pretty sure that the people around me really could care less. They don’t like me for the weight I am or my clothing size... they like me for me. Yes, I can get whiney when my back is hurting so bad I can barely walk. But then I remember I can walk…. there’s others that can’t – that would do anything to just walk. Be thankful for what you have now. Take pride in the person you are right this very moment!

Plan ahead & make a date with yourself &/or friends: One thing that I’ve done for the past 2 months is sit down and map out all the hockey, badminton, ultimate, track and field, gymnastics dates and times and then work around that schedule and find time for me to fit in fitness. Right now fitness consists of yoga and walking (with a slight jog added in when my back is feeling okay). If it’s 6:30am or 8:30pm I make it happen. Some days I do miss it, some days just don’t go as planned. Again, it’s not the end of the world. Move on..

Yes you will get “stuck”, you may have a bad week/day … you might not want to drag yourself out of bed. Do you remember how good it feels to finish that workout? Do you remember how much healthier you feel when you eat well? Is that worth it? To me it is! Get up early to exercise, or after the kids have gone to bed. There’s so many days I want to lay on the couch in the quiet after our 3 kids are in bed. Go do that late yoga session, or take 30 mins to walk or do weights. A strong positive mental attitude will get you over those moments when it seems like nothing is working. And we all know there will be days like that, because that’s how life rolls.. it’s how you deal with it that makes the difference! I tend to only focus on my weight (the number).. I’ve stopped that. I look at things I’ve accomplished that I could never have done 6 months ago, 2 months ago, last week…. I’ve progressed. My number may not have gone down on the scale, but I FEEL better, I FEEL healthier… I am stronger, my balance is better…. celebrate every little positive thing on this journey called LIFE!

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my crush on kale

I was rather dubious when I decided to try kale last year, I love spinach, I love cabbage, I love a variety of greens – but I had heard that kale was bitter.  However since it’s insanely good for you. (packed with Vitamins A & C, and is also rich in beta carotene, potassium, calcium, and phytonutrients that are believed to help fight cancer and repair cells) Kale is like the Hulk of cruciferous vegetables, bulging with nutrients and antioxidant properties… I figured I’d give it a go….. I love it!  I could eat it in every meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks!

Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and has zero fat.
  • One cup of kale has only approximately 33 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. It’s also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium
Kale is high in Vitamin K.
  • Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and the prevention of blood clotting. Also increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Kale is high in iron 
  • Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more
Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants
Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food
 
Kale is high in Vitamin A
  • Vitamin A is great for your vision, your skin as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.
Kale is high in Vitamin C 
  • 17 times more Vitamin C than carrots and four times more than spinach
Kale is high in calcium
Kale boasts a relatively high protein content for the number of calories it contains. You won’t reach your daily protein needs eating kale, but when you’re running low every little bit counts
There’s more than one variety of Kale
  • Curly is the most common variety of kale and may even be found in mainstream supermarkets – I find this to taste better if softened by cooking, steaming, sautéing, adding to stir-fry or blending in my smoothie (delicious in a wintery type soup or stew)
  • Varieties of curly kale can range in color from a light green to a dark purple, though most common is a dark green leaf

Nero Kale | Lacinato Kale | Tuscan Kale | Black Palm | Dinosaur

  •  oblong shape and deep green bubbly leaves.   Grows in tall long stalks. For raw preparations, like salads, I much prefer Tuscan kale

Red Winter Kale | Red Russian Kale

  • resemble oak leaves with their soft sage color with red vining.  mild tasting and may have hints of sweetness

Today I made Kale Chips (these get devoured the second the kids see them)

START OF BY WASHING THE KALE AND DRYING IT

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SEPARATE THE LEAVES FROM THE STALK

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PUT ON A BAKING SHEET AND DRIZZLE WITH OLIVE OIL

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ADD SPICES (THIS TIME I USED PAPRIKA AND SEA SALT)

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POP INTO PREHEATED OVEN (350 degrees) FOR ABOUT 12-15 mins (until edges are browned & kale is crispy)

ENJOY!

kale chips

kale chips

Other ways to enjoy kale:  in a salad, in soups, sauteed with garlic, in a stir-fry,  blended into a smoothie, shredded onto pizza … so many options!

What’s for … breakfast, lunch, dinner?

Someone asked me yesterday what I eat and if making separate meals from my family is difficult.  Usually if I’m eating something different (which is usually at dinner) from my family, it’s just a little tweak for me based on what they are having.  I don’t normally make something completely different.  i.e. my family had spaghetti with ground turkey the other day, instead of me having that (which would feel heavy in my tummy as I was going to yoga later) I had lettuce wraps with some of the ground turkey.

 

Today was a pretty basic day food wise:

  • Breakfast was plain skim milk yogurt with some Qi’a (chia seed mix)
  • Morning Snack of grapefruit and a few pumpkin seeds
  • Lunch was Wasa Crackers, tuna fish, cream cheese, veggies, celery with peanut butter and dates
  • Dinner will be leftovers from yesterday (chicken breast with some coconut, ginger, dahl I made last night)
  • OH and I have my morning coffee with some cream too … can’t quite give up coffee

 

As for getting my workouts in this week, I had 2 awesome training sessions with Andrea at LifeDesigns in Cloverdale (you should go check out her new studio .. her open house is this Saturday!)

I also had a great early morning cardio session (I need to update my music though, I’ve worked out to my playlist too many times!)…… any good workout music suggestions?

And I had two awesome hot yoga/pilates sessions at Oxygen Fitness in Walnut Grove

So I’m feeling pretty good this week, and pre-planning my meals and my workouts ahead of time has really helped.  Luckily Oxygen is right next door to the hockey rink where my kids play, so I’ve been going to some classes during their games.  Yes, I miss some of their games, or part of a game – however it’s all about finding some sort of balance right?  If I don’t plan to get in a yoga session during a hockey game, then I take the 30 mins prior to the start of the game (while the kids would be getting geared up) and go for a brisk walk.  Just doing my best to KEEP MOVING!

 

Overnight Breakfast Parfait

OVERNIGHT BREAKFAST OATS
If you want a treat in the morning but are typically in a rush to get out the door try prepping the night before.
A couple of my favourite Chia Seed mixes are Qi’a and Ruth’s
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup oat bran
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds mix (or plain chia seeds)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup almond/soy/cow’s/coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup frozen berries (or to taste)
  • water

The night before:

In a small container combine oats & bran with some cinnamon and vanilla and the milk – let it soak overnight
in another small container combine chia seeds with some water or milk (or mix in with above if you don’t care about layering it .. it all gets mixed together when you eat anyways!)
In the morning:
puree some frozen berries with some water
alternatively you could cut up a banana, put it in a container and freeze overnight.. then blend in the morning and add to the oats & chia
I alternate layers of oats, chia and berries in a glass and voila!… you have a very tasty meal in the morning

Feta & Spinach STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS

first of all I apologize for not having exact amounts of the ingredients.  I usually throw dinner together, and then when it turns out I wish I had written down my process.  I’ll try to remember to do this for the future!  I also try to remember to take a photo!
 
STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS

stuffed chicken breast with feta, spinach, sundried tomato,

stuffed chicken breast with feta, spinach, sundried tomato,

Ingredients
  • 2-3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup feta
  • 1/8- 1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp minced lemon zest – I love to use Meyer Lemons
  • small amount of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp fresh basil
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Place chicken breast between plastic wrap and pound to 1/4 inch thick. (Butterfly to help) ….  this is a great recipe to get out your frustrations .. and if you don’t have a mallet just find a rolling pin or some other object!
Combine spinach, feta, sundried tomatoes, lemon zest, garlic powder, basil and pepper in a bowl and mix well.
Put approx 2 tblsp of spinach mixture on widest part of chicken breast and then tightly roll the breast, leave seam side down on baking sheet.
Cook for approx 30 minutes.

some of my favourite foods…

Eat a Rainbow

Today I am trying to fit in all my fruits and veggie servings! Made a delicious smoothie for breakfast and had time to make a massive batch of delicious vegetable soup!

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Dinner tonight was noodle-less lasagne! Layers of grilled zucchini with cottage cheese, ground turkey and veggies in tomato sauce, spinach and of course yummy mozzarella …. Delicious !

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For this tasty dish I swapped out pasta noodles with ribbons of zucchini.  I grilled the zucchini to get some of the moisture out (and add some great flavour)

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red pepper
  • 1 can Italian tomato sauce
  • 1/2 a can of tomato paste
  • fresh basil and any other spices/herbs

For the filling:

  • 2% cottage cheese mixed with thawed spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the vegetables:

  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 1/2 cup red peppers
  • 3  mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Freshly ground black pepper

other items:

  •  shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 cups)
  • ground turkey
  • 2 meduim zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick (I used a mandolin slicer) – grilled (soak up any excess moisture with a paper towl)
INSTRUCTIONS
For the sauce:

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F
  2. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, mushrooms, peppers, until softened add in ground turkey … cook until done
  3. Add the tomato sauce & paste. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the flavors meld and the sauce has slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

meanwhile you will be grilling the zucchini

To assemble:

  1. layer of zuccini
  2. some shredded cheese
  3. cottage cheese mixed with spinach
  4. tomato sauce / meat

Repeat until final layer top with mozzarella cheese

Bake uncovered until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the top is browned, about 40 minutes. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

diet vs. life

How does one stick to a “diet” when life gets in the way? …. in my own personal experience, they don’t! That’s why this is not just about a diet for me (in the sense that most people view this word) – this is about making a healthy lifestyle for the rest of my life.  So how will I deal with all the situations that arise in day-to-day life?  Things like; eating out, holidays, work, busy schedules, kids’ hockey tournaments and all the other things that seem to arise

I can think of a few scenarios that take place when life happens for me:

1. I indulge & don’t care

  • in this case I’ve just gone and thrown the whole “diet” out the window said F&*K it and just loaded up to extreme
  • I’ll have eaten well all week and then Friday night hits and it’s a free-for-all
  • I’ve found this to NOT be an effective way of living a healthy lifestyle… I could never stick to a “diet” because all my old (bad) eating habits wouldn’t be fixed, I would just be covering them up
  • there was always some food that was on the “bad” list and that was ALL I could think of!

2. obsess & feel guilty, and then don’t enjoy it at all

  • I’ve at times gone too far, obsessing over every morsel that is about to enter my mouth, and there is no enjoyment in that
    • how fun is it to go out with friends and say “No thank-you” to appy’s and drinks?!
  • I’ve felt guilty for “enjoying” something and then call myself weak because I couldn’t stop myself from having a beer or eating a piece of cake or pizza

3. plan, prep & enjoy

  • I’ve learned that this seems to be the best thing for me
  • When I have planned to the best of my ability I am able to enjoy any food … all in moderation
  • If I know we are going to a restaurant I will google the menu and plan ahead, if we are going to dinner at a friend’s or family member’s home I will enjoy it, all in moderation
  • I will make meals ahead of time, have healthy snacks on hand, grocery shop accordingly

I will no longer let food rule me, there aren’t foods that are “off-limits” – that just backfires! I will however stay conscious with my eating, continue logging my meals on the myfitnesspal app (you can find me as ella_b76) http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

I started letting go of the guilt a few months back, this was thanks to working with an amazing trainer!  She was and always has been encouraging and extremely helpful!  The word “diet” is slowly being eliminated from my vocabulary and “healthy lifestyle” is taking it’s place