Thursday, December 31, 2009

Working out the fun way!

Hello all,

I think its safe to say that Craig Ballantyne's fitness philosophy has changed my world. He opened up my eyes to the scientific ways of fatloss. It was not only fascinating, it was the real deal. There are too many gimmicks out there stating you can lose weight with minimal exercise, no exercise, or even with a pill. These are a CROCK, please do not fall for them. Fat loss takes work and discipline but the benefits to your health really are endless. And I'm not talking about going on the elliptical for an hour. This is similar to what I used to do at the gym, pumping my arms to the beat on my ipod, watching the calorie counter go up thinking the fat cells were being incinerated around my body. Then I read Craig's free ebook The dark side of cardio , and, boy, did that open my eyes. I had been doing it wrong all these years, and was mad at myself for not realizing this sooner. I didn't have too much to lose, 10 pounds maybe, but they weren't budging. And now I knew why. I was doing too much slow cardio and not enough resistance training paired with HIIT (high intensity interval training). Did you know that reisitance training with HIIT at the end of you workouts will allow you to burn fat throughout the day? Now that is cool. So, I changed my workouts overnight and have not looked back since. I signed up to be on Craig's email list and I'm telling you, they are so awesome and fun (and full of cute pics of his dog). He puts sample workouts in them too and that's what I have been basing my routines on. At first it was strange to think a 30 minute workout or a body weight workout could be effective but, oh by golly, they are. The first workout really humbled me, to say the least. I had on my cool shoes and my super cool yoga pants, I was ready. Things were going well and I was having a great time until I had to go on my knees. I was still quite cocky at this point thinking 15 girlie push-ups would be a breeze. It was only after I was breathless from doing only 8 of them that my ego was brought back down to earth. I forgot one of Craig's recommendations is to drop your ego at the gym door. Lesson learned.

Since moving to the Kootenays, having gym passes wasn't in the budget so I have been doing all my workouts at home. Yes, people, it can be done. I have been wanting to buy his program for awhile and then I received an email that he was having a half price sale at Turbulance Training. I bought the program and completed Workout A from the intermediate program. It was awesome, challenging, and fun, all the things I hoped it would be. So, if have some fitness goals you want to reach , give Turbulance training a try!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas dinner and thoughtful gifts

Hey all,

Hope you had an awesome, healthy Christmas surrounded by all the people you cherish in life. We ended up going to a good friend's house who decided to stick around the Kootenays. It was really nice and low-key with a lot of Christmas movie watching. Our friends cooked the traditional dinner and we brought some mashed yams and baked goodies. Good deal hey?

So, I made some traditional shortbread but using Earth Balance instead of butter. They were okay but I think I should have made them smaller in order to get the right consistency. The Snowballs were a recipe from the 12 Days of Christmas cookie recipes from Raw divas. Basically, they were dates, shredded coconut, a splash of orange juice, and vanilla. I really loved these and so did our friends. I also made some vegan chocolate chip cookies from a recipe on vegweb. Hubby ate way too many of these. So, that's a thumbs up I assume. The final recipe I tried were skinny figgy bars from fatfreevegan. These were good but I think I'll tweak the crust/topping to be a little more like a traditional date bar.

Since the Christmas day dinner was last minute, I had already bought everything to make dinner for us. So, Boxing day was my turn to cook. I decided on guacamole, veggie/vegan lasagna, and raw ganache fudge cake from Ani phyo made without the raspberries.

The lasagna was half veggie, half vegan and used the cashew ricotta and marinara sauce from Veganomicon. I used zucchini, spinach, peppers, and mushrooms for the veggies. It turned out AMAZING! The picture doesn't do it justice.

On to the finale, DESSERT! I have heard great things about Ani's dessert and so I splurged and bought the ingredients to make it, except for the raspberries which I forgot to buy. It was so rich and yummy even without the raspberries. We were devouring the cake and I nearly forgot to take a picture, although it is only the last two spoonfuls. I highly recommend making this cake as it takes only minutes and would impress any guest.

My hubby and I decided to buy each other gym passes as our Christmas gifts. So, we both agreed to not buy additional gifts for each other. Yet, while I was working on Christmas eve, he snuck out to healthy Santa's workshop (Co-op) for a few extra gifts. I guess I was a good girl , I mean wife, this year! I received a natural fibres skin brush, a soft face brush, and a glass straw for all my green smoothies. It just so happened that my husband read my post on dry skin brushing where I mentioned I did not have the ideal brushes yet. What a thoughtful guy!

Have a great week everyone and if you are feeling lethargic from all the Christmas goodies, blend up a green smoothie. Here's mine from Christmas morning made with collard greens, bananas, hemp protein, and cinnamon (plus my new glass straw).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

I just wanted to wish you are yours a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays! After a crazy day at work, I'm enjoying watching some of the holiday movie classics. My particular favorites are National Lampoons Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and A Christmas Story. Hopefully you get to see some of these or the many other holiday movies out there. They are always a good laugh and a great stress reliever! My husband and I are spending the holidays away from all our family and friends this year. It's the first time in both our lives that we will not be at home so its been a little tough on us emotionally. Yet, this is probably the one time in our lives that it will be just the two of us. So you could say this year is bittersweet,yet, we are going to make the best of it and enjoy this special time with each other. Whoever you are with tomorrow, try to enjoy the day and do something that makes you smile. I know I will be making quite a few vegan goodies in the morning and playing the Christmas music loud and proud. I originally had plans to go tobogganing but the snow has all melted. Here I was bragging about how awesome its going to be to experience a snowy Kootenay Christmas and yet the forecast shows no signs of snow. If you have snow throw a few snowballs around for me or make a snow angel!

Here is a picture from A Christmas story that makes everyone think of those presents under the tree from that aunt or grandma who still think knitted sweaters with wild animals on them (or bunny suits) are still in fashion. Always remember though, that it is the thought that counts!

P.S I'll be posting some good food porn and sexy recipes that I made this week so stay tuned!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Detoxing Your Largest Organ

Dry Skin Brushing and its benefits

Hello Everyone!

Hope you are enjoying your holidays with family and friends. I know this is the time of year for parties and gatherings which usually means a lot of endulging. During this time we usually are not thinking about what ingredients are in that appy or nanaimo bar. Thus, we are usually taking in a lot of sugar, fat, and chemicals from non-organic ingredients. Our bodies tend to get overloaded and we can pay for it through fatigue, moodiness, weight gain, and even colds or flus (I'll go into more depth on this on a later post). So, why not detox during the holidays?

One of the easiest ways to detox is dry skin brushing. The skin is the largest organ and is critical in eliminating toxins. The skin actually contributes to 25% of the bodies detoxification. According to an article on Natural News , the skin can become clogged from cosmetics, environmental toxins, and from chemicals/pesticides in food. Brushing the skin unclogs the pores allowing the skin to take part in a more intensive toxin elimination process. The liver and kidneys are very grateful for this as their toxic loads are reduced.

So, here is the scientific part. The detoxification is actually through the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system depends on the circulation system to move the lymph containing all the toxins out of the body. Skin brushing greatly improves this circulation and thus the elimination of the toxic substances out of your body.

You are probably thinking "ya ya that's great and all but what will my skin look and feel like?" Well, let me tell you, I started dry skin brushing a couple of months ago and after the first couple of weeks of brushin I noticed a difference. My skin was softer and the small, round bumps around my elbows were almost gone. These bumps were most likely dead skin cells stuck to my skin which were harboring bacteria. Not a pretty picture!

The best time to skin brush is before you have a shower as the water aids to completly remove all the dead cells. The best tool to use is a long handle brush made of natural hair. I don't have one of these yet so I just use exfoliating gloves. The technique is easy and so give it a try today!

  • Start at the hands and work in a circular motion towards the shoulder
  • Start a the feet and move towards the hips, again in a circular motion
  • Circular motion on the torso towards the heart
  • Optional: soles of feet, palms of hands, areas of cellulite, and armpits.

Hope you found today's post helpful! Let me know of the benefits you have received from skin brushing.

Finally, I would like to finish up with a picture that makes me smile! Their names are Nemo (orange) and Bailey. We are fostering them for the Nelson SPCA . Recently, Bailey got adopted to a real nice family so that was awesome! We still have Nemo and he is totally awesome and we love him. His favorite games are to chase a lazer beam or a ball of yarn. The neighbors dog was outside and so they were very curious. The funny thing is Nemo really didn't like Bailey too close to him but I guess he made an exception here!

Joy and Gingerbread,


Saturday, December 19, 2009



You can take control of your health! I found this statement hard to swallow at first as it meant I had to be different from the people around me. You eat hemp seeds? Isn't that illegal? You know, responses like that. Yet, the more I researched and learned , the more I realized my diet and lifestyle were key to having contagious health. I'm not perfect by any means and I will talk about my trials and tribulations of living a healthy lifestyle.
So, what am I going to be babbling on about at this site? I've made a list to summarize some, but not all, of the topics that I'm really passionate about:
  • Food: The good,the bad, and the ugly
  • Exercise: How I workout, trainers I like, equipment etc
  • Alternative Medicine: herbs, plants, methodologies, and my journey to become a naturopathic physician
  • Fun: Because everyone needs some in their life!

I'll be posting soon.I know its the holiday season and everyone is hustling and bustling so I'll make them brief ! In the meantime, for those who are experiencing the normal Canadian winter, a special picture to help you warm up.

Cheers, Melissa