Little Thoughts on My First Half Marathon #TORW2015


This isn’t about Raw Food. Fair warning if that is the ONLY reason you are here. 

No, this is a few notes I’ve jotted down for me regarding the first Half Marathon (21.1K or 13.1M) that I have ever run, which I managed to do yesterday. I thought I’d share them here in case any of them end up being useful for you too.

First HM Note: Take the time in that godforsaken line-up at the porta-potties and pee before the race starts. About 1km in I had to stop at a park bathroom and lost 5 minutes. By the time I came out, I was in the very last of the last group. 

Second HM Note: If you lose time to a bathroom break, don’t ‘boogey’ to make it up and burn of precious energy that you’ll need later. This is a rookie mistake. I knew it before I ran. I did it anyway and I paid for it.

Third HM Note: I was really smart (if I do say so myself) and made my goal “to Finish” and not a time goal. I couldn’t fathom setting a time goal, not meeting it, then completing my first ever HM disappointed because of a few minutes. I didn’t want my first HM to be about time, but about learning and having fun.

Fourth HM Note: It was really nice to have someone at the Finish Line (and as it was, I had TWO people at the Finish Line because my Personal Trainer was a Time Official and she grabbed me and gave me a big hug. With that hug, all my despair over my pain melted away and was replaced by Joy. “You did it!” she yelled. “OMG, yes, I guess I did!” I replied). After spending 3 hours in my own head and having several types of conversations, being pulled out of my thoughts so I could recognize the moment I was in and the achievement was really great. So I may not NEED someone to be there at the Finish Line, it was really, really great that my PT and my sister were. I will remember that for next time and ask people to be there for me.

Fifth HM Note: Reading all those books actually helped. I recalled coping strategies and used them. I recalled hydration strategies and used them. I recalled physiological responses discussed and so knew not to panic. I wasn’t dying. It was alllll “normal” and I could keep moving forward knowing that I would be OK.

Sixth HM Note: The course is littered with Guardian Angels. Those little old ladies that had been on the Full Marathon course who passed me chattering away and then told me “We LOVE your tights!” as they left me in their dust – they were Guardian Angels. They gave me my humour back and basically showed me that I needed to suck it up and keep on moving. Every person who passed me a glass of liquid was a Guardian Angel. Whomever pasted up the giant “We are So PROUD of You!” sign up for someone, but didn’t take it down so I could see it too, they were a Guardian Angel. The woman who made eye contact with me in the last Kilometer and said “You’ve got this. You can do it.” and got me to start running again so I could cross that Finish Line ‘unbeaten’, she was a Guardian Angel.

Seventh HM Note: Yes, I should have definitely trained more. Without a doubt. But now I’m smarter about how and why.

Last HM Note: The BIGGIE for me…..I spend a lot of time criticising this poor, unsung body of mine. I tell it it’s fat, lumpy, aging in all the wrong places, too big ‘this’, too small ‘that’, crooked, and all sorts of really terrible things. Then my heart and mind come up with these ‘Big Scary Goals’ and who has to see me through it all? My Body. My body supported me in ways I can’t believe when I ran that Half Marathon. When it couldn’t get rid of the lactic acid fast enough, it stored it in my fingers because it knew I wasn’t using them. Sure, I had big sausage fingers that hurt to bend, but who cares – I wasn’t using them! It used every drop of Gatorade and Water to give me everything I needed. It sent painkillers to my hip joints and feet, it just knew it had to get me there. It knew I had no plan to give up, so it did everything in its power to get me there. It showed me how Smart it is, how Strong it is, and how much it cares for me. Never again will I diss this amazing body. I will do everything I can to support it in return, from this day forward. If I got nothing else out of the experience (which I did, I got A LOT), walking away with this renewed love for my body made it all worth it.

Thanks for letting me share.  Happy running and Healthy Eating!

Two Recipes in One!


On Sunday evening I had prepared a batch of amazing Orange Cardamom Chia Parfait (or, at least the chia pudding part, with the plan to add fresh fruit in the mornings) for my Monday and Tuesday morning breakfasts.

Good intentions often die hard around here and I flew out of the house this Tuesday morning with no time to eat breakfast. I worked like the pack mule I am (self pitying pack mule, at that), then went to the gym to do my Xena, Warrior Princess! thing, then went home.

So there I was, at the end of a long day, needing nourishment but too tired to prepare anything time consuming. I opened the fridge and YAY! The Orange Cardamom Chia ‘pudding’ was there for the eating.

This is one of my all-time favourite chia puddings. It’s fresh and unique in its flavour and offers a nice change from the usually offered vanilla or chocolate recipes.

Recipe One! Orange Cardamom Chia Parfait by Almonds and Avocados

When making the pudding, I tend to use whatever nut milk I have on hand rather than being faithful to the coconut milk that the recipe calls for.

But did I stop there? I could have, with the wonderful protein boost of the chia being perfect right after a workout, but nooooo……

Recipe Two! My post-gym improvisation. I have no idea what to name it, but it deserves its own title, that’s for sure…

No-Name Impromptu Post-Gym Smoothie! (Is that name too long? I’ll have to think about it….)

  • Half of the Orange Cardamom Chia parfait receipe (just the pudding part, obviously – up to the Cardamom on the list of ingredients)
  • 1 measure of green powder (sea veg, micro greens, whatever you use)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (raw if you have it, but whatever you use is juuuuust fine)
  • Half cup blueberries
  • 1 Tblsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup nut milk (I used cashew)

Blend! Positively inhale!

To say this was tasty would be a gross understatement. I was in smoothie heaven (it’s nice there). Consider this a malleable recipe, replacing the type of non-dairy milk or blueberries with your preferences. The nutritional essentials are present with the chia, protein powder, green powder and coconut oil – the rest is up to you! 

Enjoy and talk to you soon. Summer is around the corner and I’m excited about the bounty the season brings. I’ll try to have lots to share! 

Worth a read…


I’ve come across two articles recently that address the same blog and the same topic.  I thought I’d share them both here. The fact that I’m sharing them likely indicates what MY opinion is about the sensational and false information that a particular blog is guilty of perpetuating. I welcome you to decide for yourself and to discuss.

Gawker Article: The Food Babe Blogger is Full of Shit

For this one, hang in in there until you get to the “OR”…..

Bentley Artist Article: Kale, Why you need to stop eating it right now!

Happy reading and healthy, balanced eating!

Brrrrr…..


So here we are again: in the middle of a dark, cold Canadian winter.  As counterintuitive as it may seem, now is the time to comb the seed catalogues and plan what you will grow in summer, if anything.  I may not actually get to grow a garden of any type this year as we may end up moving in the middle of summer.  I will just have to haunt the farmer’s markets more frequently and live vicariously through you!

But although the dead of winter is not a raw food enthusiast’s best season, it is the season where we can employ our creativity to get in all the fruit and veggie nutrients that we need.  Creative is good, keeps the mind sharp. That’s what I’ll keep telling myself.

And it was an exercise in trying to employ my creativity that has led me to this:  a recipe book review, just for you!

Raw food blogger, and fellow Canadian, Emily Von Euw of This Rawsome Vegan Life has published a new recipe book, called “100 Best Juices, Smoothies, and Healthy Snacks“.  I waited patiently for it to be available through Amazon.ca and it was delivered into my hot little thirsty hands in January (I think?  The winter days all blend together….).  I can’t wait to tell you what I think of it….

Look at this beautiful book!

Look at this beautiful book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was eager to buy Emily’s book for the juices, and I wasn’t disappointed.  Of both the sweet and savory juice recipes, I have already tried eleven of them, all of which I adored, and I have to report that the following AMAZING blends will become part of my every-day existence:

First, I don’t want to give away too much information about what is IN the recipes – that would be cheating (and may be copyright infringement), but I’ll do my best to explain why I love, Love, LOVE them…

Sweet Sunshine: is just that.  It perks up a winter beaten soul and, since it’s loaded with vitamin C, protects us from all those nasty germs flying around the office.  It’s not too sweet, and is oh so pretty.

Buddha-Ful Beets:  A runner’s best friend!  Full of oxygen transmitting beet juice, my calves may never cramp again!  Throw in some cilantro and some other awesome stuff, and wowsers….it’s a work of art.

Power Greens: just because the colour is so beautiful and it is packed FULL of all the great things our sweet little cells desire.  I honestly believe I get back 1 year of health every time I throw this one back. At least, that’s how it feels.

Herb Happiness:  I actually drew a heart on the page of this recipe.  Among so many other things, this recipe juices mint, which creates pleasure for all the senses involved.

So many of Emily’s juices are packed so full of incredible ingredients that they could be a meal in and of themselves.  This is particularly helpful in the middle of winter, where we’re often too tired to cook and clean all those dishes – the capability is there to still feed your body well through juice.  I honestly and truly felt uplifted, full of balanced energy, more alert (as opposed to winter dopey), and ready to take on the remainder of the day (as opposed to crawl under the blankies and sleep for 10 days) every single time I made one of these juices.

I could go on and on but an individual’s tastes can be so subjective, you may look at the juices I’ve listed above and go “Ick” (although I personally think that would make you WRONG, but hey…)  so don’t take my word for it.  There are so, so, so many more juices that use reasonable (as in: you’ll be able to find them), interesting, and nutritious ingredients, I’m sure you’ll find several that you love.

And that’s just the juices :)

I haven’t yet ventured into the Smoothie section, but have read every single recipe and have dog-eared (hold on, let me count…) NINE smoothies to try in the next few weeks, in addition to several of her snacks.  I think her onion rosemary flax bread will be hitting the dehydrator tomorrow.

To round it all out, the book is beautiful.  The photos show the clean and beautiful ‘au naturel‘ colours of the drinks (Mine turned out the same colour! No photoshopping required!) and just looking at them makes the mouth water.  Emily’s writing style is engaging and humorous – you can hear her talking to you and it’s not hard to tell that she loves what she is giving to you.  There is just the right amount of information in the front (Introduction section) and back (Resources section) to give a newbie a place to start without boring the daylights out of the experienced juicer/smoothier/raw foodist.

Available through Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Chapters/Indigo Online (and may be in-store), and of course, through Emily’s blog (link was provided above).

Happy Winter….unless it’s not winter where you are. I’m not jealous….really….sniffle….

The Bestest Smoothie Ever…..


….at least, that’s what I call it when I’m hungry and in a rush.  I also take complete credit for this concoction as I’ve used so many smoothie recipes from other people, but have bended them slightly to fit my dietary needs.

This recipe is great first thing in the morning, but I’ve been enjoying it more for dinner these days as a way to eat light in the evening and give my body the nutrients it needs to recover from the day.

I’ve never been very good at food photos, mostly because I’m so eager to chow down that the plate or glass is a mess by the time I think about it.  Today was no different.  I came tearing into the house after the gym, threw the smoothie together, and threw half of it back before thinking of a photo….the glass was pretty grungy by then.  You’ll just have to use your imagination.

It’s very basic, but excellent on its own or as a base to whatever else you want to throw in.  So incredibly fast, just throw everything into the blender and blend until super smooth and creamy, Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you….

Darcie’s Bestest Smoothie Ever…….

425 Calories.

1 cup Almond Milk.  If you’re not strictly raw, then use any kind of non-dairy milk that you want.

1 cup leafy greens.  I prefer Kale, but will use spinach if it’s on-hand.

6 ice cubes    

1 scoop protein powder. Good quality raw protein powder is hard to come by: use whatever you prefer.

1 Cup of fruit du jour.  This can be an apple (cored, peeling not necessary), frozen wild blueberries are my favourite, but if I’m getting bored of them, I always have frozen pineapple, mango, or other fruits on hand.  I try not to use fruit with a lot of small seeds, like raspberries, blackberries, or pomegranate as I don’t have time to chew my smoothies…

1 Tblsp Chia Seeds    

1 Scoop Veggie Green Powder, or Sea Veg powder. (Optional) 

1 tsp or preferred measure of your daily Omega 3*6*9 – I use Udo Oil.

Add Ins:  Depending on your tastes or dietary needs, I sometimes throw a frozen or fresh banana in, or half an avocado, a Tablespoon of Nut Butter, and, especially in winter, a vitamin D drop.

If I’m planning to have this in the morning, I pre-prep the powders and chia, which helps “Zombie Darcie” when trying to find ingredients before my eyes are really open.

This recipe fills a 1 Quart mason jar almost 3/4 full.  Using the base recipe (no add-ins) and blueberries as the fruit du jour, here’s the Nutritional Content:

Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 425
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14 g 22 %
Saturated Fat 2 g 11 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 70 mg 23 %
Sodium 363 mg 15 %
Potassium 1039 mg 30 %
Total Carbohydrate 42 g 14 %
Dietary Fiber 14 g 56 %
Sugars 16 g
Protein 36 g 73 %
Vitamin A 319 %
Vitamin C 185 %
Calcium 81 %
Iron 37 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

So happy blending.

Ramp up the run…raw style!


Just a quick post today – to keep in touch.

If you’re looking into raw foods and integrating more raw food into your life, you will have noticed that there is so much more information on the internet and in books these days.  Seems there’s been a bit of an explosion of information but I believe the growth in ‘solution seeking‘ walks hand-in-hand with larger issues seen in society today, and I don’t just mean the obvious ones like the high rate of obesity and alarming rates of cancer, poor heart health, strokes, diabetes.  I’m also sensing a current of overall discontent in North American society (and perhaps abroad), where we recognize that we can have anything and still feel completely unfulfilled.   We may be starting to acknowledge what we’ve really been neglecting and what we really need, as individuals and as a society,  is a focus on our whole health.

So maybe it’s just because I’ve been looking, but I really believe I am seeing larger trends unfolding: trends towards real joy, real health, better balance, and real meaning to a life.  And with it seems to have come a lot more information available for those of us who are seeking it.  While this is wonderful, it can also mean some missteps, some rabbit holes that we can get caught up in (what’s best? Raw? Paleo? Vegan? gaa!  Who cares what’s “best” – try things out and find what works for you),  and sometimes all the information can be overwhelming.

I’ll make it my mission (or ONE of my missions) to help you find the reputable sources of information, those that are easy to navigate through, and with recipes or suggestions that are easiest to integrate into your changing habits.

On that note, I have mentioned the site “No Meat Athlete” in my blog before as a great place to go when looking for ‘ratios’ – how to get enough protein in a plant-based diet, for example.  Well, because I’m ramping up my running and am setting new, challenging (even uncomfortable!) goals for myself, I went to that site today to look for ‘ratios’ for carbohydrates (or ‘carbs’ as we cool kids call them).  Not only did I find what I was looking for, I found the No Meat Athlete published the Thrive recipe for a raw energy gel!  How exciting for me!

I have to admit:  I have sometimes found the “Thrive” information difficult to integrate.  It is certainly a site for more elite athletes (in my opinion) and I haven’t yet encountered the situations in my life or level of fitness that have made me seek out solutions to ‘elite athlete’ challenges.  Know what I mean?  I’m still looking for ‘simple’ not ‘complex’ diet solutions.  So I head over to the Thrive site sometimes, and I’m glad to know it’s there if I ever need to start integrating plant-based solutions for my ‘peak performance’ athleticism.  But I’m not quite there yet….

But back to the recipe for the raw energy gel.  I was excited to find this because, as I run longer distances, I will need to provide my body with replenishing carbs (for instant and longer term energy) and small amounts of protein (for muscle support) while I am running.  Gels are how most runners do this.  However, because my body is hyperactive when it comes to processing  sugars, commercial gels scare me a little.  I had tried a Gatorade gel once and felt like I was having heart palpitations 5 minutes after consuming it, and then had a sugar crash 15 minutes later.  Not fun to deal with when also trying to slog my way through a run (or, in my case, a “lope” – one does not think of gazelles when they see me run…an image of a walrus loping its way up the sandy beach is more like it.  For now.  I’m aiming for gazelle by December).  Although I’m 90% sure (because I know my body) that it was the glucose and fructose that caused this to happen, the caffeine may have helped.

So, when in the store to buy new running shoes yesterday, I had decided to also pick up some “Gu” gels as all my interweb research has indicated that they’re a high quality gel with excellent ratios and decent enough ingredients.  I do plan to try them out on my runs to see if I can tolerate them from a blood-sugar perspective, and then, of course, get used to eating them while I run – see if the stomach accepts them, get the timing of when to use them down, etc.  But, I worried, what if I can’t use them?  What then?  There has to be a solution for me to get my carbs and protein in for when I start running longer distances.

And voila.  The No Meat Athlete provides me with a Thrive recipe (so really, Thrive provided it, but I didn’t go there first) for a raw energy gel.

Here it is! (Finally, you say…yah, yah :) ) : Thrive Raw Energy Gel recipe as provided on the No Meat Athlete site.

Because I already purchased the GU gels, I’m going to give them a whirl.  Nothing wrong with having options.  But I’ll also be giving the raw gel recipe a try for obvious reasons:  non-commercial, raw, no dyes or artificial ingredients, on-demand and likely less expensive over time.  The only drawback I see that could be an issue is portability.  The GU gels are more compact and come in a pretty sturdy package, while the raw gels are stored in plastic sandwich bags which may be easily punctured and harder to carry on a run, especially when needing to carry 4 or 5 of them.  But hey!  Let’s see how it goes!  I can get pretty creative – perhaps I’ll “MacGyver” a better delivery system for higher volumes of raw gel :)

If you give this recipe a try, stop by here and let us all know what you think of it – the pros and the cons.

Finally, you may be asking “If you’re all gung-ho over raw, why aren’t you using the raw solution first?”  Excellent question.  I have made the personal choice (as we all must) to become a runner first, and a raw runner next.  I find the integration of more frequent running and rising to the goals I’ve set for myself so challenging, that I need to uncomplicate it by taking it one step (excuse the pun) at a time.  Run first, discover dietary needs as the goal progresses next, establish easiest way to meet those dietary needs, then, last but not least, evolve those dietary solutions to being raw.  So be kind to me: new things are both exciting and scary as hell.  I do the best I can. :)

So here’s to us!  Doing the best we can!  Onward…

Improvise!


Sometimes I look in my fridge and try to figure out what to make based on what I have hanging about.  Today was no different.

I held the young coconut in my hand and said “OK, you are dinner.  What next….”

I googled ‘young coconut’ and ‘coconut noodle’ and other things, but always found I didn’t have some key ingredients for the recipes I found.  So today was ‘improvise’ day!

Sometimes “Improvise Day” turns out well, and other times I realize I shouldn’t quit my day job (which has more to do with computers than with food preparation).

Today was a good day.

I pulled the water and meat out of the young coconut, rinsed the meat, and cut into thin noodles.  Next, I shredded a carrot, and julienned about 1/4 of an orange sweet pepper.  After that, I meandered into the garden and brought in 5 large kale leaves, washed them and set them aside.

Next I scratched my head over the dressing.  Hmmmmm…….

Here was my base and, as you can tell by the measurements, this was also improvised:

Into the blender went…..

1/4 cup of the water from the coconut (the rest will go in my smoothie tomorrow morning! Yum!)

I had a dried red chili from last summer – I emptied it of seeds and threw it in

A handful of raw peanuts – probably about 1/4 cup

1 Tablespoon of coconut sugar (or whatever you prefer to use)

a clove of garlic

a little sea salt

1 Tblsp Miso

1 Tblsp Tamari

1 tsp of turmeric

1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

about 1/4 inch piece of ginger

about 1 Tblsp coconut oil

I blended this up, gave it a taste, decided it wasn’t sweet enough, so added maybe 2 tablespoons of agave, which mellowed it out nicely.

Next, I put the kale (leafy greens only, no stems), coconut noodles, carrots, and orange pepper into the food processor and pulsed a few times until the kale was minced and the mixture resembled a larger chunked tabouli.

Like this…

Pulsed kale, coconut, carrot and sweet orange pepper.

Pulsed kale, coconut, carrot and sweet orange pepper.

Then I stirred in enough dressing to lightly coat and ate dinner!

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

Healthy, filling, and convenient, with ingredients I had on hand, or growing in the back yard.  The flavour would be complemented by orange sections (if you don’t have a young coconut laying about) and also, after a couple of bites, realize it would also be delicious with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.  I had enough left over to refrigerate a second helping, so we’ll see how well this keeps for a day.

Happy health to you all!

 

 

I’m an “I hate routine” person in an “I need routine” world…


Consistency is not my forte.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I may stick the ‘really important stuff’ out (like child rearing because, you know, not ruining a human being is a 10 on the Super Important Stuff scale) but for other things where life is not hanging in the balance, I tend to bat things around like a kitten with a ball of wool until the next ball of wool rolls by, then I go after that…and I really LIKE living this way.  I never get bored…well…not for very long, at least.

I stated in one of my previous posts “One last point before I sign off:  I plan.  I’m good at planning.  I plan meals, exercise, get things ready the night before.  I’m good at it.  But HOLY CRAP I get sick of it and, usually by Thursday, I stop executing and just let it all go to hell.”

This this is the theme of this post:  ideas on how to keep on executing when you come to a point in your week\day\hour\month  when you could really not care less.  Maybe even become resentful….and rip your plans off the wall…and shred them, sobbing  I’m an “I hate routine” person in an “I need routine” world…”

I think, at the end of the day, I’m trying to find “right ways” that “Fit” for me.  And I kind of think there are a lot of “me”s out there or, at least “You”s who can relate to some of the things I know about Me.

I don’t like routine, I’m not a morning person,  water was something I bathed in and loved dearly but wasn’t much for routine drinking, and I get bored and tired with doing the same thing all week – even if I mix it up even just a little.  I’m not a ‘joiner’ so don’t usually go in for races or clubs or classes that other people find motivating.  But I still need to be healthy, fit, motivated, and hydrated just like everyone else.  It can feel like a real  struggle at times.   OK, it can feel like a real struggle most of the time.  So here are some of my coping skills.  Perhaps you can leverage some of this information for those days that a new ball of wool rolls by and distracts you from the ball of wool that is meant to keep you healthy, hydrated, and motivated!  (Darn those random, intriguing, derailing balls of wool.  Darn them all to heck.)

Tool Number One:  Stop Believing in Magic Wands or that Bad Karma MUST be biting you in the butt or that there’s an unseen army of evil gremlins dragging your resolve into the pits of hell.  You will not likely EVER develop a new habit overnight. You  just slipped up FFS, no cosmic interference required.  And you’re going to slip up a lot more.  Get comfortable with it.

If eating healthy, exercising, or whatever ‘good for you’ thing that you’re working on making routine is important enough to you LET YOURSELF GET SICK OF IT….but don’t give up on it completely.  

Getting sick of the work it takes to integrate something new is normal.  Don’t bother fighting it.  Don’t chastise yourself, negative talk your way back into it, or paint anything negative on it at all.  Just accept that you blew it that hour, that day of the week, every third day of every week, that month, etc. pick up, dust off, and get back to it.

I have been working on integrating more raw food into my daily diet since 2012 (and I have the blog archives to prove it) and I still fall off the wagon.  But my time off the wagon is so much shorter than it was, and getting back on that wagon is so much easier.  I just never gave up.  I USED to get red faced when in one moment I would tell someone that I eat primarily raw food, and then have them catch me 2 days later scarfing back a burger (with bacon AND cheese).  Now I can say “I am human! I am not perfect! Mind your own darn lunch, you busybody!” :)  and sincerely not feel an ounce of shame because a) It’s true, I’m human and b) I know I’ll get back to my pristine diet the very next day and the faith I have in myself on this subject is all that really matters.

Tool Number Two:  If you suck at planning (of setting that goal, identifying where it needs to fit into your each and every day, etc) you are not a failure.  It’s just not your skill.  FIND the templates you need to PLAN (interweb – it’s awesome: meal planners, workout planners, morning/evening schedules, menu\recipe\grocery shopping planners, etc), and then follow them until SQUIRREL!

When SQUIRREL! happens – make note of it. (And for those of you who don’t actually know what the SQUIRREL reference is – it is that thing that pulls your focus away, quickly, completely, in the moment.  Like a dog who obeys your every command until that squirrel runs by…and then, to the dog, you cease to exist.)  But make note of it because there may be patterns and then you can start to mitigate those pitfalls.  My planning helped me to see that I fell off my wagon every Thursday.  The “WHY” almost didn’t seem important: bored, tired, lazy, overwhelmed, underwhelmed, yadda, yadda, yadda: I can’t solve all the challenges of my personality here….I only need to solve “Stop falling off the wagon on Thursdays!”  So I prepped food for Thursdays the same day I prepped food for Wednesdays.  I took it on Thursday and ate it! Wow!  I just had to show my stupid-stitous brain (the one that thinks I might be fundamentally broken…nahhhhh…..I’m awesome…the stupid-stitious brain is the one that believes the unseen Gremlins are dragging my resolve into the pits of hell and that there’s nothing I can do about it) that ‘the problem is solved, no magic required, it’s that easy’.   It became less and less of a problem.

But I may not have been able to pinpoint my Thursday issue (and my Monday morning issue, and my Sunday night issue, and my rainy day issue, and my hot day issue, and…) without making a weekly plan, following it until I stopped following it, and keeping track of that – even for just a couple of months (the tracking part….the planning part is “forever”).

Tool Number Three:  If consistency really is a big problem for you like it is for me, then do yourself a favour – only set ‘time frames’ for your goals if you are 100% positive that you will meet them.  I have stopped setting time-based goals for the things that are really important to me (80% raw all the time, exercise daily, lose some weight (how much of it is my business, tyvm :) )).  I do this because it is these things that are The Goal(s) and when I set time-frames, the time-frame becomes The Goal, and then The Goal gets sabotaged by my challenges with consistency.  Talk about setting yourself up to feel like a failure, or a loser, or hopeless.  And talk about horrible ways to feel about your awesome self!  Cut that out!

So I have The Goal(s) and I keep working away at them – doing the things (some big, some small) every day that lets me put a Happy Face on my daily plan (yes, literally – the most negative I get is when I put a sad face….but it’s sad because I know I’m missing out, not because I failed) and then, over time, I see more happy faces in that week than I had in previous weeks.  I just keep chugging along and eventually my successes reveal themselves to me and then I CELEBRATE THEM (because, whoa, I completely earned them)!

The only time-based goals I set are in the moment:  “I’m going to walk 8K in 1 hour and 15 minutes, which will be 5 minutes better than last time.”  Or “this week, I’m going to get one more workout in than usual”. Or “by the end of the month, I’m going to have 20 Happy Faces on my month’s weekly plans.”

I know a lot of people set time-based goals and succeed.  A friend set a weight loss goal to fit into a wedding dress in 9 months, and she did it through exercise and healthy eating.  Damned rights I was both jealous and impressed, because that looks like magic to me and I wonder why she was born with a wizard’s wand up her butt and I wasn’t.  Although I’ve been raised to think I should be able to do this – I’ve now come to terms with the fact that I can’t/won’t/don’t really want to under certain circumstances and have found a different path to my successes that works WITH my nature, not against it.  I’m better off saying “I’m going to exercise and eat healthy and I’m going to look as good as I look by the time the wedding rolls around” because, for me, if  “X weight by the wedding” is The Goal, I should just decide to fail on day 1 and get it over with rather than suffer through months of feeling horrible about myself because I’m not the kind of person who will magically have better consistency and motivation and focus because of a goal like that.

So there we go.  If you’re in the “SQUIRREL!” club, or the kitten with the ball of wool club, or the ‘I get bored easy’ club, rest assured that you are not alone.  And also rest assured that this does not mean you will never have success with your health and fitness goals, you just have to go about them in a different way than others.  Hope I’ve helped.  Good luck!

Post-Script:  And I don’t fall for the “The best way to reach your goal in 6 months is to set a series of mini-goals between now and then because that far away goal may seem too unobtainable” soul crushing philosophy either.  For some people it works, yes.  For people like me, it’s just a bunch of mini-opportunities to feel like crap over getting bored/sick of/distracted while working up to that final “what a gong show, I totally blew it!” goal 6 months later.  Oh joy!

Gimme a “P”, Gimme an “R”, Gimme an “OTIEN”…uh “OTEIN”…


Goooooo PROTEIN!! (shakes pom poms)….

As you may know, I’m here to advocate for the inclusion of more raw food into our everyday lives.  In doing so, however, I haven’t attempted to force feed vegetarianism or veganism to you as I understand we make personal choices with regards to what we eat and it isn’t my place to make you feel bad for them.

HOWEVER :)

One of the things I hear most of all when it comes to giving up meat, or giving up ‘as much meat‘ as North Americans eat on a regular basis, is: I can’t give up meat, I would never get enough protein.  I’m pretty sure I’ve said this too, but it led me to wonder….

Hmmmm, how much protein do I actually need every day?

So I went and found this useful equation:

(Original Source  http://www.canadianliving.com/health/nutrition/how_much_protein_do_we_need_2.php)

You need to know your weight in kilograms, so (if you’re like me) you have to first convert your weight from pounds.

Your weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = your weight in kilograms.

Then take your weight in kilograms x .8 to 1.8 = the average grams of protein you need in a day.

So let’s pretend I weigh 100 pounds / 2.2 = 45.45Kg

45.45Kg x 1.5 =  68ish.  I’d be looking at 68 grams of protein per day.

Keep in mind that this calculation provides you with an average.  You will want to increase your protein intake if you are working out regularly (getting your heart rate up for a minimum 20 minutes 5 times a week) or more, recovering from illness, or are pregnant.  I haven’t yet encountered a scenario where you may want to decrease the amount of protein – but this would be a discussion that you need to have with your doctor, your nutritionist, or trainer.

Now that you know how much protein you should be eating in a day, you can start to identify how much you actually consume in order to give some weight to your claim that you can’t get enough without meat, or to dispel it…. (I’m betting you can guess which way I’m leaning with those choices….)

In addition to the Nutritional Information provided on the majority of products you buy in the store today, here are some handy reference tools for you to help you figure this out so you will be armed with the knowledge you need to integrate more raw food into your everyday life, but know you’re getting enough protein.

High Protein Raw Foods:

There are plenty of infographics on the web that will give you handy visual representations of High Protein foods, and if you remove the meat, dairy, eggs, and some grains from those illustrations, what is left is (obviously) are the natural foods you can eat raw.  Don’t forget that some of the grains can be soaked until sprouting, and will then be soft enough to eat raw.  They will be a different texture than what you’d be accustomed to if you had cooked them, but if you look for recipes that use them, they become palatable and will be better for you.

Here’s another good list: http://www.rawguru.com/toptenprotein.html

I won’t provide yet a new list for you to scan through, I’ll just provide some basic examples but will also give you the tools to figure out in an on-going way how much protein you’re getting in the foods you eat.

1 cup Kale has 2.9g of protein

1 cup Spinach has .9g protein

1 cup almonds has 30g protein

2 Tblsp Chia seed has 4.7g protein

1 medium banana has 1.3g protein

I got you all that info in 30 seconds.  How?  Google! So easy!  Search “Protein in almonds” and you get a nifty little table at the top of the page that lets you select the product, the measurement, and lets you change the product so you can get more information.  This is handy for single ingredients, but what if you have a recipe?  We’ll get to that in a second.

The primary thing I need to point out will settle your incredulity over how low the leafy greens can be where protein is concerned.  At the very thought of having to eat 22 cups of Kale in a day just to get enough protein (yes, I know you’d be eating other things that day too, this is just an extreme example) you’re ready to stop reading.  But now you will come to understand the value of the “Smoothie\Shake” and why so many vegetarians and\or plant based athletes swear by them: it’s because you can throw in up to (average) 17g of protein into one Shake and drink all your protein.  No cud-chewing-cow impersonations required.

Recipes and Smoothies:

I use two resources to determine the nutritional value of the recipes I’m making.  I’m going to start with “My Fitness Pal” (MFP) because I haven’t found an ingredient yet that they don’t have information for.  The primary purpose of MFP is to track calorie consumption, and it also breaks down what you’ve eaten in carbs, fat, and protein when you log your food.  MFP can be used online or in an app, but adding your recipes can only be done online.  In their “Recipe” section, you can either paste a link to a recipe you found online and then spend a little time to match the ingredients to get the caloric and nutritional information, or you can type in your own ingredients to match and get the same information. For both methods, you can save the recipe so you never have to enter it again.  Starting up with MFP can be a little labor intensive but as you build your lists of “Recent Foods”,  “Frequent Foods”, and  “Recipes” (the first two, the application automatically does for you) using the application gets faster and easier. Once you’ve entered your recipe in the website, you can access it through the application on your phone or tablet.  One final benefit of MFP is that, because so many people use it, you can usually locate products by name because other members have entered the information.  I even once found the burger made by the cafeteria in the very building that I work in. Saved me time.

My Fitness Pal home pagehttp://www.myfitnesspal.com/

The only shortcomings of MFP I’ve found are that sometimes other members have entered the incorrect caloric information for a product I was searching for.  My rule of thumb when this happens is:  If I’m in the mood to lie to myself, pick the product entry with the lowest caloric value.  If I’m in the mood to be honest and have good personal statistics to properly track my health goals, pick the one that looks most reasonable and realistic, or enter it myself.

The second drawback is that I’ve found their macros to be a bit off.  They provide them based on just a few statistics and, if you aren’t going to enter the calories you burn through exercise, the information isn’t going to be hugely useful for you (depending on your goals).  If you’re going to use MFP to track your ratios for daily carbs, protein, and fat, you may want to go into your account on the website and manually change them to lower the daily fat, and even out the carbs and protein (but this will depend on your physical activity, special needs, etc.), especially if you don’t want to bother inputting your burned calories.  I’m going to assume that, if you’re using MFP to track these ratios, that you have some idea of what they should be.

The final drawback is that it gives you the nutritional values for solid foods.  This is great for recipes, and even for smoothies, but not if you’re juicing your fruits and veggies.  This is where one of my next favourite resources come in.

The site “Juice Recipes for Your Health” has a wonderful little calculator where you enter the ingredients that you’ve just grabbed out of your fridge and tossed into your blender/juicer and it will provide you with BOTH the juiced nutritional value and the Smoothie nutritional value.  That’s awesome :)

The link to their Juice Builder page (the calculator) is: http://juicerecipes.com/build/

This page, however, currently only contains the information for ingredients that they use in their juicing recipes.  I’m sure this list is probably quite impressive, but you may encounter an ingredient that you can’t get the nutritional information for….like I did. I was looking for ‘wheatgrass’ and it’s not in their library.  When I contacted them about this, a real live human responded (which was cool) who let me know that they don’t use wheat grass in their recipes because they didn’t find it contained enough nutritional value to bother.  I may not agree, but I found their personal approach and explanation to be worthy of respect, as well as the obvious emotional investment the person has in the quality of the data they provide.  I wasn’t communicating with someone at a Help Desk, I was communicating with an owner of the information.  I can appreciate the hard work and dedication.

I must confess that I haven’t subscribed to an account for the Juice Recipes site (yet) so I cannot tell you whether or not they allow you to “Save” juice recipes that you have ‘built’.

So there you go.  You walk away from here today with the ability to determine how much protein you actually need daily, and the ability to figure out how much you’re getting from what you eat.  Isn’t that amazing!  You may not actually need a beef steak, or 8g of chicken, or burgers, etc. every day and have plenty of room on your plate and in your blender for vegetarian sources of protein without your health and wellbeing suffering.  Congratulations!  You’re one step closer to removing that “I can’t give up meat, I’d never get enough protein” myth from your belief system! You rock! :)

 

 

 

Reader Question…


Eating raw sounds time consuming. I like to eat healthy, so what’s the most basic change I can make in my diet that won’t take over my life?”

Excellent question!  Excellent enough to deserve a post rather than a simple reply!

Hi there,

I would counter that eating raw is not any more time consuming than eating any other way with the only exception being those recipes that are prepared in a dehydrator. However, if someone is not used to the kind of preparation that is required, then it may be more time consuming simply because of the learning curve.

However, there are a number of basic changes that someone could make to integrate more raw food into a diet (and I do assume this will make a diet healthier :) )….

One of the very first things I did, and I recommend this for anyone looking to make some dietary changes, is to go through your fridge, freezer, and cupboards, and throw out all the crap. Anything with refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup products (I think Satan owns the patent on that product), white refined everything, most deli meats, drink mixes, throw it allllll out and swear that you will never buy it again.  There.  You’ve already made a HUGE change.  For some people, that’s big enough for a whole year – move on to raw next year :)

But if you like jumping in with two feet, and if you’re not doing it already, continue with these:

  1. Assess your own habits: For example –  if you frequently look for something ‘quick’ – then keep quick raw food handy and decide to eat it. Holy easy.
  2. Assess the recipes you make and replace ingredients that may be processed (pasteurized, cooked, preserved, for example) with raw ones, such as raw honey, cold pressed olive oil, replace prepared salad dressings with fresh homemade ones, replace jarred peanut butter with natural peanut butter, tamari instead of prepared soya sauce, puree raw tomatoes for a spaghetti sauce base, or make veggie noodles instead of pasta noodles one evening. I read somewhere that the average dinner plate should be 6oz meat, 1 cup starch, 2 cup veggie. I DISAGREE.  If you’re eating meat, I believe the better portions are 4oz meat, 3 cup veg, and you don’t need a starch (carbs) in the evenings (unless you plan to burn it off), you need it in the mornings.  So set a goal: 3 times a week, make that 75% veggie on your plate raw.  YES!  You’ll get sick of carrot sticks really, really fast….but if you’re serious about your goal, you’ll start to experiment, and that’s where this blog comes in :)  It’s a matter of being mindful of how you use food today and slowly making changes that suit you and that you’re ready for.
  3. And following on to that last point, make changes at your own pace: A lot of families are now having ‘Meatless Monday’ and are using the opportunity to explore new ways to prepare a vegetarian meal. Take it a step further and make it a raw one. One day a week to experiment gets us comfortable with using new ingredients and meal-prep techniques.
  4. Finally, even if it’s just a couple times a week, change the way you view a meal. We prepare things that satisfy not only our body’s appetites, but emotional needs as well. “What are you in the mood for…” often dictates our fulfilling a need that goes beyond simple hunger. What we’re really asking is “What will make us happy?” when trying to satisfy a mood.   Start to consciously think of a meal as fuel for your body first, more than anything, then eventually you start to view your food as a nutrient, something that should be of a certain quality, to do what it is supposed to do. Of course meals will never cease to have some emotional connection for us: togetherness, socializing, decompressing, but treating a meal as fuel FIRST makes it OK to decompress over a bowl of nutrients, or packed smoothies.

I know – not really what you were thinking, hey?  There isn’t a magic bullet so I could never give a short answer to that question.  So much depends on where you, or anyone else reading this, is on (what I like to call) the “Maturity Model” of conscious eating (with 1 being “I eat fast food all day, every day, and I’m not even aware that this is bad” all the way to 10 “I just won Top Chef Canada and prepare raw food for the world!“)  so if I keep it short, I may be telling you things that make no sense to you, or lots of things you already know and could find just by Googling “How to change my diet”  (I’m sure you’ll find lots of Top 10s if you do).   At the end of the day, I hope I’ve provided you at least ONE thing that you can take away and use.