Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I got my wish

Can you believe it! Yesterday I complained about the rain and this morning I woke up to a powdered white paradise. Sebastien liked it too!
He played...

and played.

Today I had to make a quick lunch before I headed to acupunture. Whenever I want something healthy and quick I think of quinoa. It only takes 15 minutes to cook and it is a health powerhouse. It is the only grain that is a complete protein. What does that mean? Lets start with the basics; protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids. Altogether there are 22 amino acids that are essential for us to make the protein we need in our bodies. Of these 22 proteins there are 9 that have to be taken in by diet, the others can be made in the body. The first 9 are therefore called essential amnio acids.  So what is a complete protein? It is a protein source that contains adequate proportions of all the 9 essential amino acids. Most animal sources of protein are complete proteins, however, it is harder to find complete protein from vegetable sources. 

Easy Quinoa Salad: 
1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
1 medium carrot chopped
1/4 cup of red cabbage chopped
2 stalks of broccoli finely chopped
Guacamole: 1/2 avocado, tsp garlic salt, 2 tsp lemon juice

Rinse and cook quinoa. Quinoa is usually 2 to 1. Bring one cup of water to a boil. Add 1/2 a cup of rinsed quinoa stir, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add quinoa, carrot, cabbage and broccoli in a bowl and mix. Mix guacamole and add over salad. Mix guacamole into quinoa and serve. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Seriously RAIN!

Snow haters stop reading. Honestly rain? It is the end of November where is my snow? I need snow to foster my Christmas spirit. Instead of getting grumpy I made soup. That makes sense right? Well not really but the soup was good. 

Black Bean Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 8
Calories per serving: 191 

  • 1 small butternut squash, cubed
  • 4 cups of black beans cooked 
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4-5 cups water*
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • In a large pot heat oil. Add garlic, carrots and onion until soft. Once vegetables are soft add butternut squash, cubed into1 inch pieces, and black beans. Cover with water, add bouillon cube and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and boil for 30 minutes or until butternut squash is soft.  
  • Once cooked take 3.5 cups out and put them in the food processor on high until smooth. Once blended add back into the soup, stir and serve.  
  • Recipe adapted from: here

Monday, November 28, 2011

Staying active

How is the fitness challenge going for everyone? Andrew and I are doing well. Andrew has tried running again after a long time off due to a back injury. On his lighter days he goes for walks with Sebastien and I.

Andrew and Sebastien

Sebastien staying warm in his winter coat
Being active all my life I understand that we all go through periods where we lose motivation. When I was younger I was always part of a team. First baseball, then soccer and finally swimming. Being a part of a team meant that I was obligated to go to practice no matter how I felt. Now that I am older, I am not a part of any teams so I have nobody holding me accountable to stay active except for me.  I have learned there are a couple of things you can do to help you keep your motivation: take a class or join a running group, remind yourself of your goals, and lastly ask someone to hold you accountable. One of the biggest motivators for me is having an active husband. We are both highly competitive so we tend to feed off of each other. This is one of the reasons I feel getting your entire family active is important.  Below is a quick list I have come up with to keep us going through the rest of the challenge.

Ten ways to stay active:

1.) Take a walk
2.) Join a gym. (Try to find one that offers free classes with membership)
3.) Find a workout buddy. It is easier to stay motivated when you workout in groups.
4.) Use your lunch break wisely
5.) Get your family involved
6.) Join our festive fitness challenge
7.) Check out this website: (Great variety of yoga for only $20 dollars a month.) I have been doing my yoga off this sight for about 6 months. Although I love the idea of going to class I enjoy the ease of working out from home.
8.) Time Crunch? (love love love this site. Great workouts on the fly)
9.) Park your car far away. DON'T BE A DIVA PARKER.
10.) Buy a dog!!! We did!

Today's Juice 



Friday, November 25, 2011

Feeling Crafty Friday

How to make something crafty for Christmas....

Step1:  Find a sister who is willing to go cut dogwood even when she threw out her back the night before.

Step 2: Enjoy the scenery.

Step 3: Watch out for burrs.

Step 4: Dig out your craft supplies.

Step 5:  Channel your inner Gail (thanks mom) and get creative.
Step 6: Create.

7.) Sit back, admire, and hope your husband won't have to take an allergy pill to live in your house with live greenery. 

Happy friday all. I will be posting a health related post tomorrow; i just wanted to share my little project. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving thanks for not being at black friday!

Every year on the weekend of black friday my Mom and two of my sisters go down to the US to shop for black friday. They have a great time; up early, shop all day, Starbucks lattes, and bargains, bargains, bargains! Having said that I would be caught dead going. Too many people... too much chaos. Don't get me wrong I like shopping, however, I like to go with purpose. Decide what I want, research where I can get it and stop at a couple of stores to compare prices. Oh and of course pick up a coffee and visit Starbucks while I am out. 

Today I couldn't make it too a Starbucks, but still craving a hot beverage fix I came home and made homemade hot chocolate. Up until last year I used to drink PC brand's, sugar free version. After awhile I started to notice I always felt sick after. I cannot be sure it was the aspartame, however, I have read articles that aspartame can become harmful when consumed at higher temperature such as this PC hot chocolate.

So my alternative....

Easy Healthy Homemade Hot chocolate: 

1 cup Hot water
1/2 cup of almond milk
1Tb cocoa powder
Bring water, almond milk to simmer in a sauce pan, add in cocoa and stir until mixed. 
Add one packet of stevia
Mix and pour into your favourite mug
Add more stevia or honey to taste

Above are the ingredients I used. I prefer to use the cocoa on the right, however, I had none on hand today. 

Benefits of cocoa powder: 
Cocoa powder is packed with antioxidants. It contains twice as many antioxidants as red wine, 2-3 times as many as green tea and 4-5 times more than black tea. 

Related benefits:
1.  Decreases risk of diabetes.
2. Decreases blood pressure. Helps to dilate vessels and decrease free radical accumulation. 
3. Prevents CVD (Cardiovascular disease).
4. Can relieve PMS symptoms.

*Tip: To fit more raw cocoa powder in your daily diet add a tsp in your morning coffee. I do this all the time; what a great treat!

Hope everyone is doing well in the festive fitness challenge! Sebastien and I went for a long walk yesterday at the beautiful Elora gorge. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baby it's cold outside

Well I don't know about everyone else, but I am COLD! For those who know me well you are probably not surprised, I am always cold, I was meant to live in a warmer climate. But don't fear I have to turned up my heat, dusted off my slippers and pulled out my christmas pj's. The one good thing about the cold weather is that I am in the mood to drink warm teas again. I love this time of year, all of the new holiday teas come out. Below are a couple that I have picked up. 

New Teas

Maple green tea is probably my favourite right now! Although I like plain green tea the maple leaves a sweeter aftertaste than your regular green tea. 

Yummy Tea
In addition I have been loving this recipe for ginger tea. Ginger is a good cleanser. It helps to clear phlegm, it is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. Cumin is thought to help with digestive issues. Lastly, Coriander also has anti-inflammatory properties. Don't be quick to judge based on the ingredients. Try it first. If you need it to be a little bit sweeter just add some honey. 

Ginger Tea
Ingredients:1/4 tsp roasted cumin seeds
1/4 tsp roasted coriander seeds
1/4 tsp grated dried ginger
2 cup boiling water

Steep for 5 minutes, strain, and serve.
When cooled, add a touch of honey 

Hope everyone is staying warm, eating well, and staying active! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Start Day

Ready, set, go! Today marks the start of the Festive Fitness Challenge. As I mentioned in my earlier post Andrew and I will be giving up junk food. More specifically we are giving up candy, chips and chocolate, as well as desserts. In addition Andrew has given up alcohol. So family and friends what did you give up?

In addition to what we have given up I will be taking on an additional challenge. Drum roll... I will be using my juicer everyday! After a month of talking Andrew's ear off about the benefits of juicing we finally got one. We bought it in the summer and I use it A LOT!!! The only draw back is cleaning it. Since getting the juicer I have been more careful about buying organic produce. I do however, still buy a lot of things that aren't organic for two reasons: first cost and second we live in Hickville ON, ie: not everything is available to us here. 

Earlier this year I came across a list of what is called the "dirty dozen". These foods contain the highest amount of pesticides, I always get them organic. 

Dirty Dozen: 
Bell Peppers

If you can't find organic try to buy local produce. Local foods tend to have less chemicals as they don't need to have the shelf life of foods coming from places as far away as Mexico and China. 

As for my juice today this is what it looked like before I juiced it.

This is what my juice looked like after I made it. This post was sponsored by Starbucks. Ok not really I had to pay for the plastic cup and I love it!
Remember stay strong, day 1-3 are always the hardest and then you get into the groove. Good luck everyone!

PS. Sebastien is tired from all his exercise on day 1 of the Festive Fitness Challenge. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Festive Fitness Challenge 2011

Here we go AGAIN!!! The snow is falling and Christmas decorations are starting to go up, well mine at least. 

Well this means time for winter tires, mittens and... it is time for the 5th annual Family Fitness Challenge which is now the 2nd annual Festive Fitness Challenge!!!!  Lets start by giving a rundown of the rules. The challenge will run Nov 20-Dec 23rd. 


1.) If you are not currently active you must engage in a physical activity 3 x per week for 30min.

2.) If you are already active you must engage in a physical activity 5x per week for 30min
3.) All participants must give up one bad food/ bad eating habit. 

Why do we do this? Five years ago it dawned on me that everyone has something they want to change about their health: be it their lifestyle, their fitness or their eating habits. This got me thinking, what stops them? I think the number one answer is motivation! We live in a society of distractions. We may recognize we need a change, however, we too often don’t make it until our bodies break down on us. Well lets not wait! A great deal of the risk factors for disease are preventable or modifiable. In addition, if you are already living with a disease, changes in lifestyle can improve your symptoms or even slow the progression of disease. So, out of all of this the “Family Fitness Challenge” was born. As a family we made individual eating and exercise goals. We promised to keep them for a month and had a little prize at the end. Over the years numerous people have asked if they could join. Everyone needs motivation to make and maintain lifestyle changes. So I say lets do it. Come one come all to the second annual Festive Fitness Challenge. 

As usual Andrew and I will be giving up junk food. Other ideas from past years: not eating after dinner, giving up pop, popcorn, red meat etc. If you want to post below in the comments what you are committing to giving up, I would love to hear everyones sacrifices. In addition, I will try to post about healthy eating/living for the next month here on the blog. If there is anything you would like me to post about please just let me know. Good luck everyone! Remember the key to success is finding someone to keep you accountable and planning ahead. Ask your friends to join!

Lastly, remember to give yourself a reward at the end, something to work towards!