Month: February 2018

Egg, Toast, Black Coffee

Good morning! Today, I wanted to make my post about less than ideal situations and the what-the-hell effect. You all know that I eat a healthy plant-based diet maybe 97% of the time, and I have also been eating gluten-free for better diegestion.

But what happens when you have health and fitness goals in less than ideal situations? What if you didn’t plan properly and ran out of food and then needed to start an exciting weekend project so you couldn’t go to the shops? And once you could it was a statutory holiday and nothing was open?

Do you throw in the towel and eat a bag of Doritos or a takeaway doughnut for breakfast?

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I think often health and fitness goals are the first to suffer when people are in situations that challenge them (including myself in the past). They become susceptible to guilt and unpleasant feelings that they’d rather not deal with and finally fall victim to the “what-the-hell” effect, wherein they throw in the towel and engage in counterproductive or destructive (at worst) behaviour. 

The what-the-hell effect, aptly named, is essentially thinking I already messed up, might as well mess up some more. 

But I think it doesn’t have to be so if we change our mind and include failure as part of the course of our success. That way the “road” of success is wide enough that it allows for eggs for breakfast, for example, on a day when there’s no fruit, veggies, or protein powder, but not for doughnuts, Dorito chips or ice cream for breakfast. 

When we change our definition of success to include a little of something other than the perfect ideal, we can still make rational, moderate decisions, unburdened by any guilt, regret or negative feelings.

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This post is not about the person who truly has not made a commitment to their health or values in that regard. That comes first. It’s for the person who is just facing a day where not everything is as great as it could be.

What do you think about this? How do you usually handle tiny hurdles?

 

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Udi’s Gluten-Free Bagel

Good morning, friends! How are you?

Yesterday, I dug into my bag of overripe avocados and made an avocado bagel snack with one of Udi’s gluten-free bagels.

I have been trying to eat less gluten to see if it benefits my health for some time now, and I find that at the very least I digest my food more easily. This was my first time trying Udi’s bagels.

They’re frozen so they need to be microwaved for 15–20 seconds before being toasted.

I felt the texture was much better toasted than simply thawed, but still had a bit of a “rubbery” feel that wheat bread doesn’t have even when it’s been frozen and warmed.

Still in search of the perfect gluten-free bagel. Would you recommend trying to make my own? It’s something I’m considering as a weeknight project (even if I figure it’s time-consuming)

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Committing to Ourselves & Our Planet

I am watching BBC’s Planet Earth and it’s so inspiring. It reminds me why our planet is precious, why it matters to conserve it and make sure that the animals and wilderness we have separated ourselves from still have room to thrive and live just as we have room to live.

It would help so much if we made a little less garbage, consumed less and supported companies with bottom lines that consider the environment. There are so many small changes that we can make that contribute to reducing our footprint and that can slowly change the culture and view of the family and friends (ultimately, society) around us.

Here are four commitments I want to renew:

1. Use reusables. I am so lucky in that I can completely avoid the use of disposables in food shopping. I live near a Bulk Barn and have access to reusable containers and bags for all of my other shopping needs. I even have reusable mesh produce bags, so I can easily avoid plastic bag use forever.

2. Only buy what I will love and use. This one is so important in the overall change even if it’s not obvious. Maybe we cannot all afford to buy ecologically manufactured clothes and shoes, but we can improve our footprint simply by becoming more discriminating. I want to renew my commitment to only buying clothes and shoes I love, feel confident in and can really use.

3. Follow a plant-based lifestyle. The benefits of veganism for the planet and animal welfare and also for our health are numerous. I encourage everyone to please give learning about a plant-based lifestyle a chance. When you are ready to start (you don’t have to commit to following it 100% of the time–I am not there yet), check out the Eating Guidelines for Vegans from Dieticians Canada.

4. Reduce all types of waste. I have read many statistics about food waste and they are all very sad.This site estimates that the average Canadian household wastes $28 of food every week. Even if you’re happy to give up $1456 in a year, imagine all of the change you and a block of houses in your neighbourhood could affect if you simply saved that money and invested it in something you believed in instead. You could fund a project like The Ocean Cleanup, and make a creative and practical solution for cleaning our oceans from plastic debris viable. Now imagine if we reduced waste in other areas too: self care products, cleaning products, electricity, gas. What ideas, solutions and dreams could we fund with that money?

New Breakfast Routine

I have revamped my breakfast routine, and I think I’m finally “there.” Every morning I used to eat oatmeal with half a sliced banana, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a small spoonful of peanut butter.

So when shortly following the new year I decided I needed more plant-based protein in my diet, trading oatmeal for a smoothie seemed like a good place to start. Simple, right?

Nope! I was so accustomed to my morning oats, I couldn’t bear to trade the warmth of my porridge for a cold smoothie–and who can blame me? There’s enough cold to go around these parts (read: Canada).

But I kept trying and I’ve finally found a new favourite:

I realized I wasn’t quite ready to trade the flavours I loved so much, so it was only natural to want to make a peanut butter and banana smoothie.

I sneak in a handful of spinach, which you cannot taste. Then I add about 1/4 cup pea protein (from Bulk Barn) and a little bit of MSM and collagen powder (both for my skin) before blending with some unsweetened almond milk.

This smoothie gives me 21 grams of pea protein (which is not a complete protein but more on if that matters another day) and some fruits and veggies.

What Is Your Interim Skill?

Good morning! Thank you for all of the love on my posts yesterday. This morning I am coming to you from my phone and kitchen table while eating breakfast (coffee + greens & protein smoothie).

This is the first time I drink coffee made with our new Cusinart coffee maker and it’s great. The carafe also keeps everything warm for quite sometime. I poured mine an hour or so after it was brewed, and it had stayed perfectly hot.

In today’s post I wanted to share my thoughts on the “interim” skill. It’s something not everyone has and maybe not everyone considers but it’s so important.

I’ve been thinking of it lately only because I’ve been trying to figure out what my interim skill is. Let me define the concept of an iterim skill first.

I would define it as a skill or set of skills separate and secondary to those of your career. For example, your primary skills might be those related to marketing communications, but your secondary skill might be teaching the piano or being a personal trainer, painting, even being a waitress.

It’s what you can offer when there are hiccups in your Plan A. What you can contribute to tide yourself over, etc.

As I’ve been working very, very hard to build a full-time freelancing career I’ve considered this very idea. What is my interim skill? What can I do to take the pressure off?

At first I came up empty, simply because my interim skill didn’t present itself as obvious. I don’t play any instruments well enough to teach music; I don’t have any experience as a waitress, bartender or barista; I’m not a makeup artist or illustrator, etc.

But then I realized I speak a foreign language. I speak Italian! Sure I’ve never taught it before, but it seems like learning how to do that should be the next step in my plan to develop and nurture a tradeable secondary/interim skill.

After going through the instability of leaving a stable full-time job to follow a path that better resonates with and serves me, I’ve realized the importance of having reliable safeguards against insecurity. Being able to offer something that is relatively easy but still specific and specialized enough that people are willing to pay for it is one of those safeguards.

I think the best time to develop one’s interim skill is in high school. It’s the perfect time to gain experience for something that might eventually be useful.

What is your interim skill?

Friday Favourites #1

I’m starting or restarting a new series of Friday Favourite posts. I hope you like them. While it’s still technically Thursday, I felt inspired to write this now.

These posts tend to be popular with a lot of bloggers (and readers) and I thought I’d begin adding mine.

Yum! This combination has my heart. Red wine, olive oil, bakery bread and a sweet balsamic. I know it might look like a lot of empty calories but as long as it’s not a habit, is there much harm? So good! Bread makes me happy. And this is the perfect accompaniment to a Netflix afternoon or evening.

Our new coffee maker arrived. Drip coffee is the best and even thought this new Cuisine Art coffee maker with a carafe is a little big, we’ve already found a spot for it. It’s lovely that you can set a timer on it so that your coffee is freshly brewed by the time you make it downstairs.

This is a re-order from iherb. This mango green tea is amazing. It still has the pick-me-up and metabolism revving effects of green tea but it almost tastes like a mango flavoured treat.

Okay, so I’ve had some trouble with avocados lately. It seems like they are either rock hard or rotten with little time in between. I’m not ready to give up on them just yet, but while my latest bag spent some time softening on the kitchen counter, this garlicky prepared guacamole was a yummy replacement.

Nashville the TV show! Okay, it’s true: I saved the best for last. I have been surprising myself by watching a lot of Nashville lately. And by a lot I mean that in the last 2-3 months, I’ve made it to almost the end of season 2. I watch it on Netflix Canada.

I love most of the characters on the show and I like that it’s lighthearted. Even though there are definitely conflicts and lots of drama, it’s the type of show I feel I can escape into and walk away from feeling inspired.

I especially love Hayden Panettiere in the show. It’s the first time I see her in anything. Although at the moment Juliette (Panettiere’s character) is acting up a bit.

XO

Derma-E Mineral Sunscreen

“When did the bees last send you an invoice for pollination?” -Warren Bader

Honeybees, bumblebees, wasps. We are seamlessly carried on the backs of tiny yellow others. They are the insect pollinators that work so tirelessly fertilizing the fruit, seed, and vegetable plants across the whole world. Yet it’s easy to forget them. In my flowerless urban setting, the buzzing sound of a bee is a rare gift.

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But…as selflessly as bees give to the earth, there is another category of hard workers that gets even less credit: phytoplankton. They are too small to be seen with our eyes, but they live across the surface of the seas, and they create over half the oxygen in the air.

So with an eye for doing better, I took note of this ocean safe facial sunscreen by Derma-E. I have been wearing a moisturizer with SPF on most days for years. Nano-particle sunscreens and chemical (as opposed to mineral) sunscreens have been found to damage everything from coral reefs, phytoplankton and other marine organisms.

Check out Do Sunscreens’ Tiny Particles Harm Ocean Life in Big Ways? on the National Geographic website.

Derma-E’s Natural Mineral Sunscreen is a non-nano particle zinc oxide sunscreen. It’s likely safer for our bodies and the environment, and unless you sweat too much or go in the water, it can last for many hours (more than chemical sunblock).

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It’s also oil-free and non-greasy, and after weeks of nearly daily use, I can vouch that my skin loves it. It offers broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection with added vitamin E and green tea extract.

Unlike some other non-nano zinc oxide sunblocks, it does not leave a white film on my olive/yellow-toned skin. (But if you have a darker complexion, check the reviews on their site before ordering.)

It’s tricky to find conscious products to replace conventional ones. Have you ventured outside your cosmetics aisle to look for something better lately? The risk is finding something you don’t love—and you might; this was my second try.

I hope that today you remember you are endlessly supported by countless others. Sometimes others as tiny as phytoplankton making the air in your lungs from a faraway ocean, or a bee buzzing in a southern day’s hot sun pollinating the crop of the plant on your plate.

That’s love in my books.

[Readers, I know the voice and style in this post is different from that of my others. I’m trying something new. Thoughts?]