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.

monday-minion

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Evolution of a Mixing Bowl Salad

You see, there’s an art to salad making in these parts.

There are none of these “throw it in a bowl” meals happening. That’s just unacceptable. My OCD is unable to handle that. Also, I would require approximately seven “normal” bowls of salad to equal one Emma-sized meal.

Start off with the boring stuff. Put it on the bottom and get it out of the way. Make sure you rip up some greens super tiny and then leave others the size of your face. Variety is the spice of life, right?

spinach3

Next, it’s time to add some colour to this funeral! Chop up anything that’s NOT green and plop it in your bowl (that is the size of approximately three heads). Bonus points if it’s a pepper and you decorate your kitchen floor with the seeds on purpose. 

spinach + peppers3

Green is such a lovely colour, though! And your spinach/kale is lonely. You didn’t use arugula because you would rather not die with the taste of cat vomit in your mouth. So add something else cause three’s a party.

spinach + peppers + broccoli3

Here’s the thing about Christmas music. IT MAKES YOU WISH IT WAS CHRISTMAS. IN JULY. So when you’re Emma, and your future husband starts singing in your ears, it’s not like you can just turn it off. The horror. Then comes the holiday cheer. Since nobody else feels the same, though, make yourself feel better by adding some christmas colours to that good ol’ salad.

spinach + peppers + broccoli + tomato3

I know you are smarter than me, though, and wouldn’t try to mix it up without any liquid. Kitchen counter explosions = too much cleanup for lazy summer folk. Hummus dressing to the rescue! It’s a really complicated recipe but I believe in you guys.

Hummus

Apple cider vinegar

Mix.

FINISHED SALAD2

Devour, then be thankful you aren’t as insane as the crazy girl who just posted this.

SUPER EXCITING New Goals!

So, it is currently 8:56pm on a Sunday night and while my apparently cooler-than-me mother is off at concert, I’m chilling out on my bed. I could be bored/annoyed but instead I am bursting with happiness. 🙂

Reason #1: Remember when I was stressing out about my french oral exam? I GOT 95 PERCENT! Holy mother alive I honestly thought the teacher was lying to make me feel better when she said I spoke very well. And then on the written composition, listening comprehension and multiple choice I got between 88-89%! Given how much I have fallen in love with the French language this makes me so so so happy that I am actually getting better at it. I have a chance to live in France after all!!

life

Which, speaking of, I have made a decision…I am moving to France. I have it all planned out – I’m going to spend four months there taking a French course and soaking up the culture, study abroad in England for eight months then do the same thing again in France for four more months before heading back home! And then once I get my degree and make seventeen million dollars a year I will return to buy a villa in France. 🙂

france

Reason #2: #themgainzbro. Yep, I’ve been cheating on running. I have been talking lately about how I have been struggling to go on longer runs, and now I realize that was a sign that I needed to take a break from running. So now it’s ALL about the heavy lifting! It’s too funny actually, I used to absolutely DESPISE weight lifting but now I literally want to go every single day! Finding a new goal of building muscle has totally renewed my passion for fitness and healthy living and I am SO EXCITED to finally have muscles.

Although…I could do without being sore for SEVEN DAYS after leg day. At least I can walk now.

shinee-shuffleOnly about 0.001% as coordinated. Plus a lot more tripping. 

In other news: I still have one diploma exam left and omg it’s just so painful. I try to study trigonometry but every time I see a graph I just cringe. 39 more hours until FREEDOM. Less than that when you’re reading this.

In other other news: I still have every single intention to run the Boston Marathon. That is an unwavering dream of mine and will occur at some point in my life. But I’m not even eighteen yet – I’ve got 100 more years of hardcore fitness ahead of me. 😉

Do new goals invigorate you? I WANT TO SQUAT.

Bookworm Break: The Selection.

I’M. DONE.

I officially have 0 full days of classes left in high school. Thank heaven almighty.

bruce

Not him.

With no important classes today and the end-of-year barbecue tomorrow, I get to spend aaaallllll my time thinking/stressing/worrying about exams. Maybe a little studying thrown in there too.

But instead of that, I think devouring books is a lot more fun, no? I just read 2 books in 24 hours. I’m not even sure how that’s possible but holy man was I sucked into The Selection by Kiera Cass.

selection2

It’s a bit of a teen-fluff novel, which is perfect for those times when you have so much on your plate and just want to relax with a book, not have to use your brain even more. It’s dystopian without being super sci-fi, and is basically an adorable love story that even got me rooting for a couple. I’m not usually the type to like books like that – I really dislike the John Greene books, Sarah Dessen, etc. I just think they are way too cheesy and pointless. This series, though, is honestly breathtaking. 

It follows America Singer, caste 5 out of 8 (with 8 being the lowest and 1 the royal family) swept away from everything she’s ever known as she is picked to be a part of The Selection, which is basically The Bachelor for Maxon Schreave, Prince of Ilea. She battles between her feelings for her boyfriend back home, a six, and her unexpected ones for Maxon, a boy she assumed she would despise. As you can imagine, when you put 35 girls in one palace competing over a hot royal guy, there is bound to be a teeeeensy bit of drama. It’s funny, though, and keeps the book from being completely romance-obsessed.

I am already done with The Selection and The Elite, and today I plan to tear through The One, hopefully not die when it is finished and then get back to Pride & Prejudice .

What is your favourite book right now?! Because clearly I don’t need to study.

4 Weeks In: Half Marathon Training Update

I know that I said last week that I was almost finished with one month of half marathon training, but now it’s really here! This is pretty scary considering the fact that I am 1/3 of the way done and other than running more regularly, don’t feel like I’ve done much different.

Case in point: I ran seven miles ONCE, before half training even started. So far in this training cycle, my longest run has been seven miles (yesterday). I think the biggest difference, however, is how I FEEL during running. Although the distances haven’t been that impressive, time flies by and I 99% of the time feel like I can keep going when my runs are finished. I don’t, though, since I’m still trying out this whole being smart about injuries thing. 🙂

You guys know how dedicated I am to my post-run foam roll and stretch routine, right? WELL guess what happens when you are in no-mans land where people don’t willingly torture themselves with cylindrical packing material?

You willingly torture yourself with cylindrical bread making material!

Yep, I used a bread roller. And hated loved every minute of it. I couldn’t do it as long as I usually foam roll for, but I’m not sore at all and ran four times this week instead of my usual three, so I’m taking that as a good sign!

I doubt I will keep running four times a week when I go home. I just have no motivation to do actual strength work while on vacation so running is my only form of exercise. It’s also really easy to run when you can do it whenever you want and have all day to shower and be lazy after. 🙂 🙂

Or, you know, do that English homework fighting its way from the back of your mind. But who really cares about that?

NOT YOU! You care about the running! (I think)

Monday: 5 miles @ 8:18 pace. This was my only treadmill run of the week and it was absolutely glorious. I wasn’t sure about running while in Ontario so I wanted to make sure I got in a good one before leaving. I started easy, around 8:27, and sped up the last mile until I nearly fell off the treadmill sprinted at a 6:00 pace for 0.00000001 of a mile. Every time I think about elite marathoners running for over two hours at a faster pace than that I want to throw up.

Tuesday: Total body strength workout. I definitely wanted to get moving before spending the rest of the day on an airplane. I did the first two circuits of this, and then swapped the last one for three sets of ten skull crushers, shoulder raises, tricep kickbacks and bent over rows.

full-body-workout

I then finished with one of my favourite ab routines!

Wednesday: 4 mile run @ 8:00 pace. A gorgeous run around the lake and a town the size of a carrot. I LOVED the new scenery and the time flew by. I saw that I was close to four miles around 31 minutes and sprinted like a bat out of hell to finish in EXACTLY 32 minutes = 8 minute miles.

Thursday: 7 MILE WALK! It is in all capitals because I cannot remember the last time that I walked for two hours. Well probably on vacation but it never felt that long. We went in search of a coffee shop that ended up being in a neighboring town (!) and had a picnic with semi-decent coffee near a river. It was cold but lovely!

Friday: 4 mile run @ 8:15 pace. Well actually it was 4.15 miles but I think I’m the only person that matters to. Anyway, I kept an easy pace the whole run and absolutely loved it. You might have seen on my Instagram that we went for smoothies after in the most ADORABLE cafe I have ever seen (after mine of course).

smoothie2

It didn’t matter that it was -5 C (23F), windy and raining…well maybe it did since we ended up meeting our cousins at the drugstore to get picked up. 😉 I also had a pretty nasty windburn on my face. Still worth it.

Saturday: OFF. I kept thinking that I should do some strength work but spending hours reading books/running blogs won.

Sunday: 7 mile run @ 8:06 pace. This still feels like a PDR because I have only ran this far once! I ran to the cafe that I got my smoothie at and turned right around (somehow I think that drinking a smoothie while running would result in my demise). To be honest, this run was a struggle from the first steps. I knew (know) that my legs were tired from running an extra day and attempting to do a long run at the end of the week.

I don’t look at my watch anymore (I just use it to make sure I run the correct distance and evaluate pace AFTER I finish) so of course when I saw my pace after sprinting in I was floored! I was sure I was running ten minute miles – there is not a thing in the world wrong with that, it’s just not my current fitness level – but I managed just over an eight minute pace and did the last little nubbit at a 6:30!

TOTAL: 20 miles! I don’t usually run four days a week so this is a bit of a jump in mileage but the runs were all mostly easy and I’m recovering well and eating (way more than) enough so I’m not concerned. I’m REALLY excited to go up to an eight mile long run for week five! I might actually be able to pull off this half marathon business after all. 🙂

What is your cut-off point for running? -10C for me but that hurts.

My 1 Day Vegan Experiment – And Why I’ll Never Do it Again

Happy Friday!

I can’t say that this week was too hard for me, seeing as it was only three days long thanks to teacher’s convention, but it’s still nice to see Friday roll around. Annnd, thanks to the fact that I still have two more days after today to tackle my to-do list…

ecard

The reason being that today has a lovely forecast of MINUS THIRTY SIX DEGREES CELSIUS. (-33F). It’s safe to say I am not leaving my house. This isn’t the worst its gotten in my city, but its the worst its been in a loooong while, especially considering a good chunk of our January was wonderfully spring-like. Speaking of wonderful:

To every single person who commented on my post yesterday, thank you. Congratulations on my exams, compliments and encouragement…they all mean so much to me! Thank you for taking the time to brighten my day. 🙂 

Annnd, back to the title I am sure you are all wondering about! I wanted to post this today, seeing as it is still National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Now, I am by no means saying that all/the majority of vegans deal with disordered eating. The truth of the matter is, though, it seems to be a very convenient excuse for many that are struggling to go without food. I know I tried to use it – “I would love to eat that cupcake/pizza/homemade meal/99% of food offered, but I’m a vegan. Sorry!” I never actually was a vegan – it was simply an occasionally used technique to cover up why I didn’t want food.

Now, I am far, far beyond not wanting to eat – you should see the amount I can pack away these days – but the idea of veganism had been on my radar for quite some time. I’m not sure why, seeing as I had, and still have, absolutely zero desire to become a vegan. I simply wanted to give it a shot.

Spoiler: I lasted until 4pm.

Although I ate a lot of food, it was nowhere near satisfying and I felt miserable almost all day long. I was hungry immediately after breakfast, which was Silver Hills The Big 16 toast and hummus. I thought I was being smart and including proteins, fats, and carbs. Less than ten minutes after finishing my breakfast, I was munching on almonds, an apple with peanut butter, and a muffin.

vegan-muffins

These were still delicious, though.

I was snacking so much that I didn’t even end up eating lunch – I just ate more hummus with carrots, toast, chickpeas, etc.  I probably ate two cups of carrots just to get some semblance of feeling full!

carrots

I went out to the mall in the afternoon, and felt like a shadow of myself. I was sitting down while my friends were looking at clothes – I just wanted to curl up and go to sleep! I was so so tired, I couldn’t believe it. I ate a Simply bar while we were there, and when I got home I just completely snapped.

I went for ALL the chicken and yogurt I could get my hands on, and then followed it up with the best latte I’ve ever tasted. And guess what? I immediately felt better. The fog began to lift, and I actually became a normal human being again.

latte

I’m not sure why my vegan experiment was such a failure, to be perfectly honest. No, I didn’t have a legitimate “lunch”, but my breakfast and snacks all contained a solid amount of protein, carbs, fats, and, though I didn’t count them, calories as well.

Regardless of the why, it certainly did not work out for me and I have zero desire to feel that way again. I love my turkey and cheese paninis, my chicken, my american mistos in the morning and my yogurt bowls. ALL the yogurt.

gy

I have a lot of respect for vegans and plant-based eaters for all that they do for the environment. Not eating animal products does dramatically cut down on emissions, not to mention reduces animal cruelty. And for those who feel fantastic while doing it, power to you! It’s just something that didn’t work for me.

So although my experiment was not a success (far from it), I have no regrets. “Vegan” kept nagging at me every time I saw a plant-based meal/post/pin, and now it is no more.

I will have my meat and eat it too, thank you. 🙂

IMG_0559

Have you ever tried/considered plant-based eating? 

Homemade Coconut Cashew Butter

NOTE: If you are reading this, you are in the WRONG PLACE! Do NOT follow this account anymore! Click right here, right now and follow my new account! 🙂 

It’s no secret that I’m madly in love with coconut.

Larabar

When I’m dreaming up recipes, I almost always think – “Can I add coconut to this?” And that’s not even an exaggeration. I’ve never met a coconut product I didn’t like, until I met coconut butter.

Gasp.

I had heard so much hype about it, but when I finally got my hands on it, it just didn’t feel right.

So what was I to do? I had a big jar of the stuff staring me down every time I reached for my beloved nut butter, and I had no idea what to do with it.

coconutbutter

Let’s sidetrack to the fact that I have my math final in 2 and a half hours. I really should be reviewing and studying, since the university I want to go to uses our grade 11 marks for early admission. What did I actually do?

Make Coconut Cashew Butter, of course!

In addition to the butter I wanted to use up, I also had a whole bunch of pesky broken cashews lying about. I don’t know about you, but I literally hate eating broken nuts. It’s definitely one of my idiosyncrasies, but I just can’t seem to get over it. And since my brain is 100% fried from nonstop studying, I decided that I needed a “Throw everything together and say a prayer” recipe. Heaven was born!

Homemade Coconut Cashew Butter:

Zi6_1198

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp natural coconut butter
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter (Yes, this is on twice! It needs to be separated!)
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup cashew pieces
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • Stevia to taste

Directions:

  • Heat up a skillet and grease with 1 tsp of coconut butter and 1 tsp regular butter
  • Mix the tbsp of coconut butter, coconut flour, cashew pieces, stevia and water together
  • Pour lumpy mixture on to skillet, and fry for ~5 minutes, or until nuts soften slightly
  • Pour mixture into blender (I used my Magic Bullet), add almond milk, and whir it up!
  • Make sure all nuts are blended in and mixture is smooth before removing from blender
  • Makes roughly 1/2 cup

Uh, can you say YUM? I personally don’t always love paying ~$10 for a jar of nut butter, so I love that this is so cheap and easy!

What’s your favourite thing you’ve done with random ingredients?

Any tips for the post-finals brain coma?