I’m Stranded!

On a deserted island!

With my laptop!

I’m a comic. Hold the applause, please.

lolSlash pre-laugh face. Slash pre laugh/sneeze simultaneously face. 

Sidenote: That caption is very accurate for me. I hate people’s pre-sneeze faces and I have a horrible one. It’s worse when you make the pre-seenze face though and don’t actually sneeze because you are doing that thing where you hold it in. Or maybe that’s just me. Hm. Moving on.

Good morning! Since I’ve only been home for a week (and even though I was only gone for a month, it felt like forever), currently I am totally revelling in all things home-y and familiar. One of which is homemade chicken caesar salad! There was a time about 1.5-2 years ago when every single time my mom asked me what I wanted for dinner I would say “Chicken caesars!” Not even a joke.

Life UnexpectedLife Expected ** Life very expected. I’m a creature of habit, what can I say? 

SO when we had them again last night after a 3 month dry spell it was a glorious thing. And it made me realize that I would be 100% perfectly happy living off of:

1. Plain baked chicken breast

2. Apples

3. Carrots

4. Greek yogurt

5. 100% whole grain bread

I’m not even kidding. Apples and yogurt for breakfast and chicken sandwiches with carrots for lunch and dinner. I know that it wouldn’t be the most nutritionally balanced diet (at ALL) and I would never actually choose to eat only those things, but damn I would be happy if I could.

lunch

Also, did you guys know that caesar salad can be 110% perfectly healthy? Because it can. Those mayo/cream filled dressings are total crap and you should go to your fridge right this very second and chuck them out the window.

Mix plain greek yogurt, a little dijon mustard, and LOTS of garlic together. Add lettuce and top with chicken and cheese. DONE. This is not a joke. I repeat, this is not a joke.

Okay, clearly I’m in need of a little help this morning. Or maybe I had too much coffee (read: too many lattes. Black coffee = worse than brussel sprouts)

IMG_0348Or, since this is my idea of fun, maybe you should just admit me.

Regardless, you need to make this dressing! I’ve never actually made it so I don’t know the amounts of each ingredient but you should be able to just do it to taste. When I stop being lazy remember to I will post the actual recipe though!

Do you eat caesar salad? 

What 5 foods could you live off of?

WIAW: Why So Much?

It’s WIAW! I’ve missed this link party SO much, so I am beyond excited to be joining up with Jen and all the other bloggers again. 🙂

Yesterday I started thinking about what foods we eat and why. And it got me wondering: Why do we so often choose processed, fake foods with an ingredient list over simple, whole foods? Let me give you an example.

My yogurt bowl obsessions used to always include granola. I knew it wasn’t suuuper healthy, but the nutrition facts didn’t suck and the label said “organic”, so it couldn’t be that bad, right?

granola

DSCN0446Oh, the evil little tricks of marketers. 

Wrong.

A mile long list of corn syrup, preservatives, and artificial flavours later, I realized that I needed to stop putting chemicals into my body. My yogurt bowls needed nuts and seeds and fresh fruit! Because, frankly, I really could not care less if my ratio of fat to carbs to protein in my breakfast is stellar anymore. All that should matter is getting your body the pure and wholesome nutrients that it is begging you for.

gyGoodbye, lover. 

seeds

So, that is why I have come to a decision. I am no longer eating chemicals. That includes cereal, yes, but it also includes gum, diet coke, crackers, etc. I want my entire diet to be made up of things like nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and veggies, yogurt, whole grains and a moderate amount of meat.

 dinner   One of my all-time favourite dinners.

Too much time has been wasted filling my body with too little of things it doesn’t even want!

So I guess now my question is this: Why so much? No, not why so much food. Why so much thought? Why so many ingredients? Why so many hours spent meal planning and macro tracking? Quite frankly, it’s all a load of BS to me. The vast majority of the population is NOT training to be a professional fitness model or competitor. So, if you spent 3 hours in the gym and eat egg whites and tuna to get those fantastic abs in the middle of December, great for you, but nobody else is going to see them! And personally, I would rather feel good about myself as a whole rather than just look good.

sconeAnd enjoy treats like this on the norm, because, um, YUM. 

Another example: Currently, my hair is brittle, and my skin is dry and dull. I have zero energy ever and I don’t feel like myself. BUT my BMI is the lowest it could possibly be while still in the healthy range. It’s actually amazing to realize that it’s not worth it to me! I would rather gain weight and feel great about everything, rather than just have the “right” weight.

WOW that was an unplanned tangent. But it is still relevant in the sense that, in my opinion, eating natural, whole foods will get you to that point of optimal health! Which is what the focus for the general population should be. Think about it this way: You wake up, get in a fantastic workout that makes you sweat, then go home, eat a delicious and satisfying breakfast before enjoying a relaxing shower. Getting dressed and putting on makeup is enjoyable because you are positively glowing, and that energy stays with you for the rest of the day as you both socialize and get work done. Come the end of the day, there is so much good in your life that the fact that you had a few bites of a cookie at 10:06am doesn’t even register in your mind.

muffins3Vegan Walnut Cinnamon Muffins: 100% pure + 100% delicious. <– NOT a cheesy advertisement. JK let’s be honest here. 

THAT is the goal and THAT is what I aim to achieve by cutting the crap out of my diet. It is not “quick-fix” and it is most certainly NOT a diet. It is a way of life that I hope will get me back to my old self, once and for all!

Do you struggle with fake healthy foods?

What makes up your “ideal” diet? 

MIMM: The Little Things (It’s Good To Be Home)

Happy Monday! This is an extra-special Monday for me because it’s my first Monday back at home after a month in Europe! Although it was absolutely fantastic, it was also physically and mentally exhausting. Our flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis was overbooked, and so we almost didn’t make it on the plane. When the flight attendant told us this, I started crying. I was just so done with travelling and all I wanted was to be home. So, being home these past few days I have been noticing little things left, right and centre that I didn’t appreciate nearly as much before I left. And what better of a Marvelous In My Monday post than one about your whole entire life?! Thanks to the lovely Katie for hosting. 🙂 

 

Yogurt bowls…Holy wow, did I miss these an exorbitant amount! It got to the point where any time I saw yogurt I would grab one and have a makeshift version. The ones in Spain were seriously lackluster (think flavoured yogurt with Special K and unripe peaches), but the ones in Italy made some major improvements. There, I enjoyed plain (runny) yogurt with museli and crisp apples. Although these were nice, there was nothing, and I mean nothing that compared to that yogurt bowl I had my first morning home. Paired with my oh-so-missed homemade latte and it was almost like I had never even left.

gy

Good books. In Spain I literally had 60 minutes of free time that were more often than not spent napping, and in Italy I was sort of slightly distracted by these little things called the Coliseum and the Roman Forum and the Pantheon and the…you get the idea. The only reading I got to do was on the plane, and get this: When your head is twisted one way and your back another, and there’s a crying baby in front of you and someone kicking your seat from the back, it’s sort of difficult to relax and get lost in a book. Needless to say, I was craving some “me time” with some words and some tea in a major way.

the scorpio races

I got this book from the library after hearing Amanda rave about it, and I am loving it so far! I’m the type of person who loves to get lost in books, so the ones that are set in a totally different world are usually hits with me. (Sidenote: Is it even necessary to hyperlink this girl’s name anymore?! I feel like there is only one Amanda in the blogworld and we all know and love her! 🙂 )

My bed. Words cannot describe how magnificent it has been to sleep in my own bed again, after a month of rock-hard hotel mattresses. Also in that realm is my closet. At one point during my trip, I completely snapped and grabbed everything out of my suitcase and threw it on to the floor. Hangers are a magical thing!

Workouts. There was one week in Spain where I managed three 30 minute circuit-style workouts, but they were a) not remotely even tiring and b) involved no running. Now that I’ve been home I’ve been going to the gym again and that post-workout euphoria is a feeling like no other.

shoes

Of course it has also been absolutely amazing to see my friends and family again. My mom met me in Spain before we flew to Italy, so I only spent two weeks without her, but that hug in Madrid was probably the best I’ve ever had in my life.

There have obviously been a million and one things that I have appreciated in the four days I’ve been home, but these are just some randoms off the top of my head to keep you people entertained.

Also to keep you entertained:

wtfHow true is this though?! 

What is the longest time you’ve ever spent travelling?

17 While 17

Good morning! Today is a slightly more normal morning for me, considering it’s currently 9:34am as I write this post. Yesterday I was up at 4:30 and worked out, showered, blogged, cleaned up and ate breakfast all before 7am. Even though I was quite impressed with myself, I was also glad to have a slower Sunday.

Anyway, guess what? I turned 17 on Friday! Unlike turning 16, I wasn’t actually all that excited for this birthday. 17 sounds so much older than 16, and it’s SO scarily close to 18. And adulthood. And starting my life.

Cringe.

No, no. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely excited for all of that, but it’s daunting! However, I really wanted to make the most of my last year at home and as a kid, so I made a “17 While 17” list, of things that I want to do before I turn 18!

And, because my life is so spectacularly interesting I decided to share it with all of you lovely people. 🙂

17 While 17

1. Read 17 books

I originally set a goal of 100, and then realized that would require me to read roughly 2 books per week. Um, considering the fact that I will be on two sports teams, heavily involved in the newspaper and a leadership group at school, along with working part time and needing ridiculously high grades, I realized this was totally impossible. So 17 will be perfectly manageable!

2. Write a book

I’ve always been a writer, and I’ve started more books than I can count. I need to finish one!

3. Get accepted to UBC

My dream school, and notoriously difficult to get in to. I would compare it to the Ivy League schools in the USA, although likely not quite as bad.

ubcNo thank you, I think I’ll pass on living here…said no one ever. 

4. Run a half marathon

Again, I originally wanted to do a full marathon, but that’s just not practical with track and cross country practice using up all my energy and other extracurriculars, my time.

5. Be a vegan for a week

I’m not interested in actually becoming a vegan, but I think that a week of eating only 100% natural, plant-based foods would be a wonderful reset for my body.

Vegan-Food-Pyramid-NewNatural things take priority here! Not the processed soy and fake proteins. 

6. Become published

This doesn’t have to be the book I write. That is one of my long-term goals, but it doesn’t need to happen before I turn 18. I just want something that I write to be published, whether it’s a small article or something else.

7. Learn another language

I haven’t decided if I want this to mean starting a totally new language, or becoming more fluent in French. Ideally it would be both, but we’ll see.

8. Write everyday

Mainly blogging! But on the days that I don’t, I want to be working on my book and journalling. Writing is a huge part of who I am and I want to continue cultivating that.

9. Go to the Ellen Degeneres Show

Self-explanatory. Love her.

06-ellen-season10-premiere

10. 100% unplug for 24 hours

Obviously I’m not one of those people who hates technology, but I think it would be so nice to have just one day where I don’t have to answer to people texting, calling, emaling, etc. Just good old fashioned, face-to-face conversations.

11. Win a race

Who wants to find me a 5K with zero registrants?! Jokes aside, I’ve never actually won a race. Not skiing, running, or anything. I’ve gotten silver, but never gold. That needs to change!

12. Try something new every day

It can be food, a different type of outfit, new way of doing things, whatever, as long as I am always branching out of my comfort zone!

13. Visit 2 new Canadian cities

My trip to Europe made me appreciate my country so much more, and I want to experience it! I’ve only ever been to the Maritimes once, and Vancouver once, both of which times I was too young to really remember it. Not okay!

montrealriver2Could you even imagine? Unbelievable. 

14. Join a running club

I would absolutely love to find some people with similar interests as me! I love my friends to death, but I don’t have anyone to talk to about health freakdom or running and I seriously need that in my life.

15. See the Northern Lights

I live in the North (ish)….and have not once experienced this phenomenon. Needs to change!

yukon-northern-lightsAgain…Just completely breathtaking.

16. Host a party

I don’t know why I haven’t done this yet! There really is no reason.

17. Start my career

Okay, okay, I know I’m only 17! But because I think that I want to go into the field of health/communications, there’s not the job security that comes with, say, a doctor of medicine. So I just want to be proactive and start doing something related to possible future jobs, so I don’t graduate and end up managing a Superstore.

What’s your #1 goal right now? 

Vacation Hiatus + Why You Need THIS Workout

Okay, so I have a few apologies to make.

Firstly, I need to say sorry to Brittany, the wonderful blogger who wrote a guest post for me while I was away. The WiFi in the hotels I was staying in was suuuuper erratic, so it didn’t post when I thought it did. I asked for it for July 27, and, perfectly on time, Brittany sent a fantastic post over for me to publish! So, I am SO sorry, Brittany, that I haven’t gotten it up until now.

I also need to say sorry to all of you for my 5 week hiatus! The week before I left was absolutely crazy, and then my time in Europe was beyond exhausting. Amazing, but I was so busy all the time and any free moment I had I needed to use to rest and collect myself. Posting just was not an option.

But, alas and alack, I am home now, (trying) to recover from jet lag, and regular posting will resume immediately! So without further ado, I will turn things over to Brittany!

Hi there! My name is Brittany and I blog over at Balance and Bananas. I’m so excited that Emma has asked me to do a guest post for you guys!

Today, I’d love to share with you my love for yoga and its benefits.

yoga1

I started yoga about 5 years ago when my doctor recommended that I try it to relieve some anxiety. There was no going back after my first class! I practice both Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga, which, though similar, are very very different in methodology.

There are an innumerable amount of benefits from yoga, but I’m going to tell you about some of my favorites:

Regular practice of yoga leads to…a more positive outlook 

yoga2

Seriously, the more you do yoga, the happier you are. Now, it doesn’t come instantly. The reason you’re happy is partly because of the meditative quality of yoga. You’re linking your breath to poses, focusing on the inhale and the exhale, and trying to reach a comfortable edge with each nuance. This quiets the mind and allows for a more peaceful outlook.

…more confidence not only in your practice, but off the mat as well! 

yoga3

The more you practice yoga (correctly, I might add), the more your body remembers the alignment of poses, the better you are at your asanas. It’s no lie when they say, “Yoga is for everyone.” If you see some wild pose, you too can work towards that. You can accomplish poses that you never would’ve guessed you’d be able to do. It all comes with consistent practice. It helps build your self-confidence, which will in the end better your life!

…more patience and a calmer approach to life 

yoga4

One of the most amazing things about yoga is how it gives you a renewed sense of patience. You’ll start to notice how you handle situations with a more relaxed and neutral perspective. It’s truly amazing how much more relaxed I’ve become because of yoga. It really just gives you a breath of fresh air!

…a more flexible and stronger body, and in turn, a more open heart 

yoga5

This is one of my favorite benefits. Yoga works to both strengthen and release tension throughout our bodies. Most of us understand that there is both the physical and mental part of our beings, but what many forget is that we have a third part, and that is our energies. We store our energies, good and bad, throughout the body…our hips, our hamstrings, our necks, our backs, the list goes on. It’s no wonder people have a hard time opening up both physically and mentally! Yoga, with the help of breath, works to dive deep into our stressed areas and release the toxins that are bound within. Have you ever heard a yoga teacher ask you to “breath into your hamstrings?” They’re not saying to physically breath on your leg, but rather to imagine the breath moving through body and into that specific area. The breath helps your physical body to relax and release, in turn allowing your mind to release. You see how it’s all connected??

These are just some of the benefits that come from regular practice of yoga…really any type of yoga! There are so many branches of yoga that are suitable for everyone. You just have to find your favorite and the one that works for you. I hope you enjoyed my little spiel on one of my favorite activities 🙂 Have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend!

 ^Just pretend it’s friday, k? Thanks so much Brittany! 😉
Have you ever tried yoga?
What is the last new workout you did? 

Be Grateful

Welp, I’m officially seventeen years old.

Born at 7:03 am on August 9th, 1996.

But for now, I’m going to talk about my two biggest passions in life: reading and running.

On the plane I read a 332 page book in three hours.

Do you think I liked it?

Listen to me when I tell you that I have never read a more truly inspiring book. Don’t get me wrong, I mean, Voldemort definitely has his strengths, and the place Harry Potter has in my heart is forever, but nothing has literally changed me as much as this book has.

voldemortNope, that face is never getting old.

It’s called The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen. It’s kiiiind of YA fiction, but not to an extreme. And you can definitely trust me, because if I see another book about girls in high school trying to “find their way” I think know I will vomit.

the-running-dream-jacket

Anyway, The Running Dream won the Schneider Family Book Award, which recognizes an author for artistically embodying the experience of someone with a disability.

Yes, The Running Dream is about a girl who loses her leg.

Basically, in a spoiler-free synopsis (I’m not doing a review because I want more people to read it before I give the storyline away), the book follows Jessica Carlisle, a record-setting 400m runner, go through the rehabilitation following a below-knee amputation and her dream to run again.

Yes, you read that right. She lost her leg and never gave up on her dream. Now that is admirable determination. But it’s also heartbreaking.

This girl’s dog woke her up at 5:45am every day after she got home from surgery because that was when they used to run together. Every night she dreamt of running, and every morning she woke up to reality.

She had something that she was so passionate about, just snatched away, quite possibly forever.

If that doesn’t motivate you to run, I don’t know if anything will.

Those mornings when you have a run scheduled, but wake up tired, or cold, think about how lucky you are that you can run. Clearly, Jessica is a fictional character, but her experience is the reality for thousands of people. Whether its due to an accident, illness or injury, huge numbers of people have their dreams stolen away and stomped on.

This idea not only applies to running, but all of life’s challenges. No matter what life throws at you, be grateful that you have the opportunity! This trip I’m on right now is a perfect example. For two weeks before I left, I worried myself sick about it. I worried about absolutely everything, from the thought of being gone for a month, to gaining weight, to losing weight, to just being uncomfortable, the list was literally endless.

And then one night, my mom, desperate to snap me out of it, did exactly that. How so, you ask? She compared my anxiety to puss. Yep, like in an infected cut. It’s gross, but totally accurate. We put so much stress and importance on things that could be completely amazing, and they end up infected and “puss-like”.

I’m not saying every “challenge” is a life-changing trip to Europe. The hardships that we take for granted however, are things like exercising, eating healthy, going to school, periods (TMI? Whatevs), and boy troubles. But think about it. If you couldn’t work out or eat healthy, you know your quality of life would go down. Not being able to go to school? Hello, Micky D’s. No periods = no family. And a life without boys?! Don’t even get me started on that one.

All I’m trying to say, is that what reading this book made me realize is that every single hardship in life also has an upside. Of course, some of them may be more difficult to find but I promise you, they are there.

So, when you’re faced with one, you have essentially TWO options. You can buckle, and allow it to become infected with pus like I did. OR, you can stand up strong and tall, grab life by the balls, and OWN that monster. I’m proud to say that that’s what I did after experiencing the first option.

And there you are in bed, pondering whether or not its worth it to get up.

It is.

Vegan Walnut Cinnamon Muffins

Hola from Amsterdam! Hope everyone is doing well. 🙂 Today I have a recipe that is not only vegan, but gluten free and low in sugar! The small amount of sugar is actually the only ingredient that could be considered unhealthy, but since it’s such a small amount I don’t even think of it as that.

However, don’t let that deter you! I promise that these do NOT taste like the usual suspects, leaving you grumbling about fake muffins. Nope, not around here. These are nutty, dense, and moist, and will leave you feeling happy and perfectly satisfied. 🙂

Truthfully, I was pretty skeptical at how these were going to turn out, considering I was sort of going on a free-for-all playing around with flours, sweeteners, etc, but I am glad to share that everything worked out wonderfully! It’s also quite scaled back because freshly baked muffins = unbeatable. Feel free to adjust accordingly, for those of you with normal schedules. 😉

Vegan Walnut Cinnamon Muffinsmuffins2

Dry Ingredients:

  • ½ cup oat flour
  • ¼ cup oats
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • 6 tbsp chopped walnuts

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (actually juice an orange!)
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water set in fridge for 15+ mins)
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 3 stevia packets (or ¾ teaspoon)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 365 degrees.
  • Mix flax seed and water well, then put in fridge for ~20 minutes until it reaches a somewhat egg-like consistency.
  • Combine oat flour, oats, almond flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large (ish) bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Combine orange zest, orange juice, olive oil, milk, “egg”, sugar and stevia and again, whisk well.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry, mixing until just combined.
  • Stir in the walnuts.
  • Separate batter into six muffin tins.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

muffins

muffins3

Hope you enjoy!