My First Whole30: The WHY.

Something to know about me: I am seriously Type-A, to the most extreme degree. I plan everything, organize it, and then overthink it all. So my decision to do my first Whole30 did not come lightly. But it’s one that I’m so extremely excited about, and truly feel that I am doing for the right reasons! So I wanted to do a post explaining why I chose to make this change, and help shed a little light on some information that not a lot of people may know.

If you are unfamiliar with the Whole30, the website is by far the best place to go for information, along with the book It Starts With Food. Both of these resources explain the program far better than I ever could, but in simple terms: It’s 30 days of strict paleo where you work to not only improve your digestion  and overall health, but relationship with food. People come out of it raving about skyrocketing energy levels, improved skin, disappearing digestive/bloating issues, and so much more! So, obviously, I had to get some of that for myself, right?


I mentioned earlier that I am in love with listening to the Nourished Podcast – so a ton of information comes from there! There were a lot of topics that Meg and Shawn talked about that sparked my interest, which I then researched further on my own, such as:

  • Autoimmune disease: My mom has ulcerative colitis, a form of irritable bowel disease. Dairy and gluten are two major foods that cause flares and inflammation (a HUGE FACTOR in autoimmune disease), and I’ve been noticing more and more intolerances to them over the past few months. I also am constantly bloated, and these could be a potential cause. Additionally, people have literally cured their Autoimmune disease through a combination of Paleo, Whole30, and the Autoimmune Protocol. I have another health situation that I’m not ready to blog about, but could very well be autoimmune and thus I want to try every possible remedy for it!
  • Hormone balance: my hormones are a big factor in this “mystery condition” as it is appearing.😉 Grains, legumes, and dairy have all been known to disrupt female hormones, not to mention cause inflammation, disturbing cortisol levels.
  • Poor quality sleep: These factors are ALL interrelated. What happens when you have disrupted cortisol levels? Well, it’s not high when it should be (the morning), and you wake up feeling groggy and drag yourself out of bed. Then, as a result, it’s high at the wrong time (evening) and you feel like you can’t sleep even though you’re exhausted. I’m pretty sure a lot of you can relate to this! Additionally, eating too much / too much sugar close to falling asleep often results in waking up at 2-3am due to low blood sugar. I had never considered this cause, but it makes perfect sense! I always eat fruit / cookies / chocolate / whatever right before bed, and always wake up 2-3 times per night. More balanced blood sugar = more balanced sleep.
  • Thyroid issues: Some symptoms of hypothyroidism: constant fatigue, hormone imbalance, dry/brittle hair/skin/nails, brain fog, mood swings, and/or weight gain (and struggle to keep it off). Now, these aren’t all of the symptoms, just some very common ones, and I can relate to every single one! Guess what? Hypo OR hyperthyroidism is often an autoimmune disease, which inflammation is a HUGE trigger for. And our three major inflammatory foods: gluten, dairy, legumes.
  • Keratosis Pillaris & Nutrient Absorption: Here’s where I get all science-y on ya. Dairy, grains, and legumes (along with other foods, just picking on these 3 for simplicity’s sake!) all contain phytates, which bind to many the nutrients in the food, limiting our ability to digest them. So the nutrients are there, but not bioavailable and therefore of very limited benefit to us! There are, of course, many consequences of this occurrence, but the one I am focusing on here is keratosis pillaris. You know, those weird red bumps common on the back of arms and legs? I’ve had mine for over seven years, and nothing has helped get rid of them. So the hope is, along with dry-brushing and coconut oil lathering, my body properly absorbing a ton of nutrients will help these annoying little guys disappear for good.

Wow. That was a lot of information – and I could keep going! The truth is, there is an infinite amount of information available to us in this era, and it only makes sense to take full advantage of it! I can’t wait to start experiencing some of the major benefits of this experience, and will be sure to keep you updated along the way. I’m thinking of a “Whole30: The HOW” post, explaining some of the things I’m doing along with changing my diet, and of course a “THE FOOD” post, showing the delicious creations I’m eating.🙂 I hope you all have a fantastic Monday!

The Best of October: Budgets, Burgers + Buble

Annnnd, just like that, it’s November. I wish I could skip the whole “OMG time is flying” cheesiness, but you guys. Does anyone please want to tell me when it stopped being August? Thanks.

Much to all of our disbelief, though, it is actually November, which means it’s the last month of first semester! Stress runs rampant, emotions run high, and Michael Buble runs with Emma.🙂

michael-bubleYes, yes it is that time.

Anyway, it’s been so long since I’ve actually talked on here that I feel like there is so much to catch up on! So what better way than to let you guys know all the fab things that have been going on in these parts lately.

The Nourished Podcast. Okay, this is #1 for good reason. You guys, I have nothing but amazing things to say about this podcast! It’s hosted by Meg and Shawn, who spend the hour chatting about healing and loving yourself from the inside out. I don’t currently follow the Paleo diet, but I have to say that nothing has inspired me to give it a try more. A podcast that I just listened to recently featured a girl with Crohn’s Disease, who had her entire large intestine removed and, since going Paleo, has never felt better. My gluten intolerance plus very-likely-crazy-out-of-whack-hormones have me strongly considering taking the plunge.  It’s hard not to be inspired by them, and they are just so fun to listen to! I’ve actually barely been listening to music on my walks around campus, just because I love what I learn from this podcast so much.

nourished-logoSubscribe here! 

Cooking dinner. This sounds absolutely ridiculous, but bear with me. When I moved away from home for the first time last year, I was living in the dorms with a meal plan – my food was prepared for me, and all I had to do was swipe a card. This year, however, is the first time in my life that I’ve been responsible for my own food and I have epicly failed at it. A busy college lifestyle and general cooking-phobia (I’ve always been that baker gal) means I have seriously struggled to balance budgeting, preparing healthy meals, and time management. At least one of those three always gets thrown out the window, and more often than not it’s been healthy meals.

Case in point: I told my mom a friend was coming over to cook dinner and hang out, and this is what she said to me:

“Don’t make her oatmeal…”

So yeah. Oatmeal for dinner was happening FAR too often, and more and more processed foods were making their way into my diet. But I was sick of feeling like crap, motivated by all my podcast-listening, and have been (slowly) getting it together. Yay me! I made these cranberry chickpea burgers from Ambitious Kitchen yesterday almost entirely out of the contents of my freezer, and they are to. die. for. The best part? The recipe made six, so thats dinner handled for the week. HOLLAH.


JĀSÖN® skincare products. In my efforts to get rid of ALL the negative things in my life (not possible entirely, but you get where I’m going with this), I am working on transitioning to more natural makeup and skincare. Now, I’m obviously not about to throw away everything I already have (college student budget heeeeey), BUT I am making better choices about what I replace the products I run out of. Lately I have been obsessed with the JĀSÖN® shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant.


Straight from their website, they:

• Select safe, gentle and effective ingredients

• Rigorously test every formula to ensure safety and efficacy

• Never test on animals

• Constantly innovate and improve.

Yeah, it’s pretty darn good. And infinitely better than the chemicals I was spreading all over my skin beforehand.

Health articles backed by science. Do you want to know what drives me N.U.T.S? Seeing articles plastered all over the internet, in magazines, and the media ordering people do do “these 3 things” to get healthy. I don’t even buy magazines anymore for this reason. Articles telling girls how to “get toned” fall under the same umbrella. I’m sorry, but toning just flat out DOES NOT EXIST. Lift weights and build muscle. The end. Understanding the physiology behind things really gets me going these days. Like just the other day, my roommate was crying while chopping onions, and I just freaking had to know exactly why onions make you cry. So I read this article and was a happy camper.🙂 My current favourite resource is Sports Fitness Advisor – they explain major concept in simple terms but in a scientific and proven way. LOVE.

(PORTABLE) Snickerdoodle ice cream. My favourite life hack to date:

1. mix a serving of PEScience Snickerdoodle protein with just enough water to make a pudding consistency.

2. freeze overnight.

3. remove from freezer the next morning and enjoy 100% ice cream perfection ~2 hours later.


On Tuesdays and Thursdays I go to the gym at 6:30am, and then have class from 8-9:30am. I don’t have quite enough time to eat a meal before class / I’d rather pay attention that eat during lecture, so I’ve been looking for a portable snack with a solid amount of protein to help me recover from lifting. I’ve never been able to drink a protein shake (nasty), so when I saw Elle freeze her protein for 5ish minutes I had the lightbulb. And don’t worry, my overnight oats at 10ish are much enjoyed, so there are definitely enough carbs in my world.🙂 Speaking of which…

CARBS. Yeah. They are 100% necessary. Last week I ran 7 miles, not really a long run for me but the longest I’ve gone in about a month, so a big deal for my legs. Anyway, I woke up so incredibly sore the next morning, which shocked me! I’ve been regularly running 5 miles with the occasional 6 thrown in there, so this shouldn’t been a big deal. And yet I felt like I had been beaten up for a solid 3 days. Later in the week, I realized that I had eaten dramatically less carbs than usual (less running + more lifting makes me crave fats and proteins), so it was clear that my muscles simply did not have enough fuel to recover. So eat them potatoes kids.🙂

I hope you all have a fantastic week! They weekend may have flown by like it always does, but let’s ROCK THIS MONDAY.

Linking up with Katie for MIMM! 


A New Direction

Hm. This is harder to write than I was expecting. I think it’s because I hate / am so incredibly sick of the typical “I’m baaaacckkkkk! This time I’m seriously going to blog more, like FO REALZ.” And then that never happens and the black hole of the blog just gets more and more awkward.

So since we have more than enough awkward around here as it is, we’re going to skip all that shiz. What happened to this little corner of the internet? To make a long story short, I ran out of things to say. I was home for the summer, didn’t have much direction, and the idea of blogging about my morning run and baking escapades just did not entice me.

But now that I’m learning about human physiology, active health, and biomechanics to name a few? Let’s just say I want to talk about allthethings allthetime. I’m finding little things pop into so many of my conversations that I just have to have a geek-out moment.

Case in point: I was incredibly stressed/freaked out writing my Active Health exam, part of which was on the stress response. So I am frantically scribbling down every item of knowledge in my brain, can barely feel my right hand, all while thinking: “My Sympathetic Adrenal Medullary Axis is seriously firing right now. There are so many catecholamines in my bloodstream it’s crazy.” 

I LOVE talking about exercise physiology, health, and fitness. It’s a topic I’ve always been passionate about but felt hopelessly uneducated in. But the fact that I am now just a teensy tiny little bit more knowledgable, EXCITES THE FREAKING HECK OUT OF ME.

So we’re back, bitches. Get ready.


SeaWheeze 2015 Race Recap: 1:47:05

The Seawheeze Half Marathon sells out in minutes every year, and holy crap you guys there is no doubt in my mind as to why.

I may be no marathon maniac, but I’ve done my fair share of races, none of which came even close to the level of freaking awesome that was Seawheeze 2015.

Where do I even start? There was the insanity of the Showcase Store that kicked off the weekend. I knew there would be a ridiculous line awaiting us after we arrived straight from the airport at 8am, but I sure didn’t expect this:

IMG_2042That is approximately 1/8 of the line, after it wound around the entire building PLUS about a 1+ hour wait inside. 

Before this trip I wasn’t even a lululemon addict. I mean, I absolutely love my clothes from there, because they are adorable and last forever. But I was just as happy to wear some random other shirt. And yet, there I was, waiting in line for OVER THREE HOURS just to spend $250 on limited edition workout clothes. When I confessed this to my friend a couple of days later, her jaw literally dropped.

After emptying my wallet, the rest of the day was spent at package pickup (surprise, another line!), then wandering around downtown Vancouver exploring. Since I lived on campus last year, basically all my experience was in the Kits area, so I felt like I was on vacation!


Saturday morning started an hour later than Friday, at 5am.😉 The standard ezekiel bread / PB2 / banana went down, and we took a taxi to the Vancouver Convention Centre with plenty of time to spare. There was an attempt at drinking Starbucks coffee to get the…ahem…pipes moving, but it was unsuccessful and 2/3 of it ended up in the trash. Never again.

After a cute group warmup and moseying my way over to the start corrals, the energy started to get even crazier, if that was even possible! The throngs of people made it a little challenging to get into a groove, but really they helped me start out nice and easy with an 8:34 first mile.

My plan was to average 8:20ish until about mile 7, then run 8:00 until the last 5K where I would drop the hammer. The first ~9 miles were STELLAR. I was grinning, high-fiving, and had the most ridiculous smile plastered across my face. I was completely unfazed by the hills as I was so distracted by the beautiful scenery, energetic volunteers and superb on-course entertainment. I literally listened to music for five minutes at mile 7 and then turned it right back off because it was distracting me from the experience. I always run with some sort of distraction, whether it is music or a podcast, so this was shocking for me.


Mile 9 was when I started getting cranky. I was running 8:00, but the Seawall seemed like it would never end and 30 more minutes of running felt like an eternity. After finally finishing that stretch, there was a a super tiny hill (more like a bump, really), but my legs seized up and I stopped to walk for a few seconds and drink some water. Starting to run again was definitely hard, but I knew I would be furious with myself if I sabotaged the end of my race, so I pressed on! Out of the last six miles, all were sub-8 with the exception of 12, which was 8:10. Not too bad for walking, in my opinion!

Of course, the last 2K, and then 1K, felt approximately the length of a marathon. I basically gave up the idea of running fast and jogged into the finish, praying I wouldn’t throw up or collapse. (I’m being a little bit dramatic here, but I was NOT feeling good here, at all!) Although, my last mile was 7:52 so apparently I wasn’t going too slow.😉

I crossed the finish line utterly spent and exhausted, but with a smile on my face. I had just spent close to two hours – 1:47:05 officially – doing my favourite thing in my favourite city. How could I not be happy?


I didn’t even try for a sub-1:45, since I know I’m not quite ready yet. But this was a hilly-ish course, with 896 feet of elevation gain, not to mention the little walk break, and I still managed a 1:47. So I am definitely going for that goal sooner rather than later. Any locals up for RnR Vancouver this October?!

Overall, it was a perfect race, perfect weekend, and the perfect way to get me SO SUPER EXCITED to move back in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS. Vancouver, I am coming for you!!

A Week of Solid SeaWheeze Training!

AKA my most productive training week in who knows how long! It wasn’t my highest mileage, but it also

a) didn’t end in an injury

b) didn’t end in burnout

c) included a long run, tempo run, speed work AND easy/recovery run

d) included two strength training sessions

YUP. I am impressed with myself this week. I also took a rest day on the day I needed it, not when it was planned. Now if I could only figure out how to take care of my body and eat well, I’d be on a serious roll.


Monday: 6 miles with 5 @ 8:00. 1 mile warmup, 5 at goal half marathon pace, and a few minutes walk home to cool down and stretch. This was a 5:30am treadmill workout for me to be at work by 8am, so I didn’t have time to get fancy! This was a grinder but I managed it relatively well.

Tuesday: total body strength

Wednesday: 12 miles @ 9:00. Slow and steady wins the race. 7.5 miles outside and 4.5 on the treadmill once it got too hot out. I didn’t feel amazing during this run but I also didn’t feel awful, although I battled serious nausea for the rest of the day.

Thursday: 4 recovery miles

Friday: OFF. This is definitely the new plan post-long run: short, slow recovery run followed by an off day. I had almost no soreness!

Saturday: 6 miles with 8 x 400m. Read about that workout here! It was my first attempt at formal speed work and it was definitely a success. Now it’s time to nerd out on all the different types of workouts I can do.🙂🙂

Sunday: total body strength

TOTAL: 28 MILES. The plan was 30 miles, but since I cut Saturday’s workout short it dropped a bit and I didn’t feel like running 2 miles just for the sake of a weekly total. Plus, maybe a gradual increase in miles will keep me from getting injured again…just maybe.🙂

What was the highlight of your week?

Are you training for anything right now? 

Easing Into Speedwork.

Until Saturday, I had never done speed work before. My running history can basically be summed up into: slow running and fast ish running with a couple near-vomit-inducing 5 & 10Ks thrown in there.

SunRunPre Sun Run 10K photo-op

But since I’m trying to actually train hard and all that these days, I decided it was high time for me to start doing some speed work. The lazy / cheap college student in me didn’t want to make the trek over to the university track and pay for it, so I decided to do 400m repeats on a flat stretch of pavement about a mile away from my house!

I also had NO idea how to pace myself. The plan was to:

1. Warm up for 1 mile

2. 12x ( Sprint like a bat out of hell for 400m / jog for 400m )

3. Cool down for 1 mile

Well, apparently sprinting like a bat out of hell is not very conducive to 12 repeats while still (albeit slowly) running in between, especially for a newbie like myself.

I ended up doing 8 x 400m, walking the first 200m rest and jogging the second.

My interval times were: 1:45 / 1:46 / 1:36 / 1:38 / 1:39, so between a 6:29 and 7:02 pace!

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 1.04.41 PM

To be honest, I had no idea I was capable of running anything with a 6 in front of it, regardless of how short the distance is.🙂 I actually started a 9th repeat, but stopped when my watch told me I was hitting a 9:00 pace (turns out it was 6:15 so I shouldn’t have given up).

Regardless I am incredibly happy with my first attempt at speed work! I’m going to do this again next week, but focus on hitting 1:45 for all (12 this time) repeats, and jogging slowly in between (no walking!). Depending on how that goes, I might move up to 800m. But I attempted 800m repeats on the treadmill once and never quite recovered…so we shall see.😉

Do you do speed work regularly? What kind? 

How I’m Working to Balance Cortisol

Now, I may not be a nutritionist, but I’ve long prided myself on having excellent “gut instincts”, and that combined with hours of research has me pretty solidly at the conclusion that my cortisol hormone levels are way, WAY out of whack. My reasoning for this?

1. Zero appetite in the mornings. It doesn’t matter if I eat 2000 calories between dinner and bedtime or 500, I don’t remember the last time that I woke up hungry. I usually run or lift weights first thing, so that makes me hungryish, but on a rest day, the desire to eat is non-existent.

2. Uncontrollable appetite at night. I’ve told myself I’m going to eat less at night so many times I’ve lost track. It’s not about eating less overall, it’s about allowing my body a break from digestion while I sleep to recover and repair for the next day!

IMG_1974This is basically my appetizer. 

3. Sluggish and lethargic until late at night. Tonight is a perfect example. I felt nauseous from exhaustion around 3pm today, having woke up at 5am. Here it is, 10pm, and I am all of a sudden full of energy working on my second blog post of the night. Granted, the amount of sugar I consumed is probably a part of that but you get the idea.

4. Anxiety. I’m constantly worrying about something, whether it’s relationships, school, moving, work, life, self-confidence, running, etc. and it completely squashes me. My personality squirts out here and there but it is largely crushed by anxiety right now and that makes me sad. <— that was 100% unintentional but THERE I AM WORRYING ABOUT WORRYING.

to this  trip of a lifetime!  Potentially the only time in my life I have willingly worn a dress.  Take me back, please.So let’s smile and explore New York City instead. 

5. Intense sugar cravings. All day, all night, I literally cannot get enough sugar. Gum and aspartame make it worse, but they’re still there when I go weeks without the fake stuff.


6. Frequent migraines. Geeze, I feel like I get these every day lately. They’re almost always at night but absolutely miserable and cause neck pain as well. Ibuprofen helps about 5% but I usually end up in bed with ice on my face hoping it goes away.

Now, obviously these things all contribute to one another, but they have to be sparked by something – and that is very likely cortisol! I’m beyond sick of feeling gross and out of balance, so it’s time to make a change. Here’s what I pledge to do in the future:

1. No electronics in bed. I can’t try to make a “2 hours before bed” rule, because right now that’s the only time I can blog and soon it will be intense study time. But I can stop bringing my phone into bed with me and staring at it until I pass out. Only books and magazines immediately before sleep now!

EmmaOceanI should really get around to finishing this one! 

2. NO aspartame, and eat fat when craving sugar. Yeah, we’ve all heard that first one 8000 times. I’ve never tried the fat in place of sugar thing, though, but I do notice my cravings subside when I do it. So the next time I’m hankering for some mentos or even fruit, I’m going to try a spoonful of peanut butter first.

3. Treat my body well. That’s a vague statement because it needs to be. Honestly, I’ve been treating my body horribly lately. Mass amounts of gum, processed food, sugary baked goods, the list goes on. I just want to nourish myself, experiment with things like apple cider vinegar and oil pulling, incorporate yoga, and be good to myself in general.

salad bar, you have done it again! I had an intense craving for some veggie  power: kale + mushrooms + squash + chicken + asparagus!There was a time when I ate salads. 

4. Blog and journal. It’s no surprise that I always feel better after blogging and writing. Getting out some of the eight million thoughts in my head is so freeing; it’s like a weight is lifted off my shoulders each time I write a post. So I’m going to continue blogging as much as I can, and journal about the things that don’t make it onto the internet for the world to see. With any luck, the stressful thoughts will stay on paper / screen, out of my head, and I won’t be so worried and anxious about every darn thing.

5. Take action. It’s so easy to be paralyzed by fear. Take my house hunting, for instance. I’m so worried that I’m not going to find anywhere to live that I haven’t even looked for over four days. I’m rendered motionless by anxiety of the unknown. So instead of cowering in fear, I’m going to turn each thing I’m worried about into an attainable goal, and take action to reach it.

Have you considered your cortisol levels? 

What is one thing that regularly stresses you out?