HIIT Workout + Yoga (#3)

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I haven’t done a fitness log in a really long time, but today I tried two new videos from Youtube, and I thought I’d share my thoughts. I was looking for a Jillian Michaels’ workout on the BeFit channel, but when I couldn’t find it, I settled for another result.

This 40-minute yoga and Pilates inspired workout was supposed to be a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) routine, and the upvotes convinced me to try it. I didn’t love it, but I was surprised by how much I noticed about the quality of instruction since having completed my Power Pilates training.

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Udemy for Classical Pilates

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Classical Pilates includes the modifier classical to indicate that it more closely resembles founder Joseph Pilates’ method of Contrology (or what is now just referred to as simply Pilates). A weight-bearing, low-impact, and mind-body type of exercise, Pilates stretches and strengthens the muscles, developing them in a balanced fashion aimed at increasing everyday functionality. From experience, adherence to this practice results in more bodily ease, and an increased sense of balance and freedom within one’s self. And this seems to hold true for practitioners starting at any age.

To me, Pilates is all that and more, and if you haven’t tried it, the short online course I am about to recommend in this post might just be the perfect place to start!

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Recipe: Creamy Vegan Coffee Ice Pops (Low Calorie)

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Summer is right around the corner! Even though today was windy and chilly, the weather has been trending towards the sunny and warm here in Toronto. So in honor of the slowly descending mid-spring, and soon-to-be-summer, I made these coffee ice pops.

love a good popsicle, and I love coffee. So combining the two came naturally! Usually, I’m partial to mango or strawberry-flavored smoothie pops, but these were so different—in a good way. They have a rich coffee flavour that, combined with the sweetness of the banana and dates, makes for a great low-calorie Netflix dessert option  (do you know what I mean?).

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Side Salads for Weight Loss (My Story)

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It wasn’t too many years ago that I found myself at a weight that made me really unhappy. I had tens of pounds to lose to get back to where I was before and where I am back to now, and I knew I didn’t want to follow any specific diet. I recently watched an interview about why despite the majority of Americans now finding themselves overweight, fewer of them than ever before are dieting.

One subject very aptly put it this way: “dieting is a four-letter word for failure.”

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Throwback Thursday: Running My First Mile

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This post is a throwback to the first time I ran a mile. For years now, people have known me as someone who loves to jog. I recall the first time someone texted me with something along the lines of, “I’m looking for a local race to run. Which one would you recommend?” I was shocked, and for good reason.

I didn’t know myself to be a sporty person of any kind. I had run “the mile” for the first time ever in grade 9 gym class. It was a mandatory part of the class curriculum, and it was also the most physically challenging thing I’d ever done up to that point. My experiences running before that had been few and very far between.

I had spontaneously enrolled in a 3,000-metre race at a cross country meet when I was in the fourth grade, and I’d dropped out after less than two full laps around the track because I couldn’t catch my breath enough to continue, and then I’d watched another last-minute contender wearing high-heeled wedge sandals sprint to a first-place finish. Then there was the maize field where my father jogged… He’d taken me once, and I had not had an easy time of trying to keep up with him. I’d walked more than I’d jogged.

And that was that.

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5 Ways to Make Time (for Exercise)

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I’ve often heard people claim they don’t have time for exercise. I have never actually had this problem, but there have been times when I wasn’t organized enough to make the time. I think this might be the case for some others, as well.

Becoming intentionally organized with my time has helped me feel as though I have more of it. The feeling of being on top of your day can leave you with that precious hour or two that you can choose to spend exercising.

I first faced a major time-management problem when I started working from home. The lack of structure as compared to working in an office meant that if I took things at too leisurely a pace during the day, I would find myself scrambling to finish tasks and projects in the evenings. I had no time to exercise, and any social plans I might have had suffered. Not only that, the added stress from that disorganization was a drain on my energy levels.

A few basic changes worked really well for me, and I am sharing them below.

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Elliptical Cardio + Free Hand Weights and Booty Band (#2)

Beautiful sports concept on a gray board from a set for sports i

When Aunt Flo visited two days ago, I had to take a day off from my workouts. This is a time during which some women actually feel best picking things up and sweating it out, but this time, I just needed to use the holiday to its full allowance and stay in bed a little extra.

By the time yesterday morning came around, my body really felt the effects of not having been exercised, and I could almost feel the pent-up energy in my muscles calling me to change into my workout gear and begin. I didn’t have a particular plan for what to do. I knew a good sweat and muscle resistance training would do the job of helping me to feel good and balanced once again.

Once I was ready and had drunk as much of my cup of coffee as possible, I headed for my workout. Even as someone who loves to exercise, I still face that nagging feeling that calls me to procrastinate on some days. Sometimes, if I’m going outside, it’s cold, or sometimes, if I know the workout will be hard (as yesterday), a little bit of dread creeps up.

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Recipe: Vegan Cowboy Caviar Quesadillas With Pepper Jack Daiya and Guacamole

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I have been on a Mexican food kick lately, as you’ll know if you read my attempt at recreating Sugar Taco’s vegan beef tacos. Well, I was looking at one of my favourite food blogs (Budget Bytes) and I was inspired to make a quesadilla version of the Cowboy Caviar, the classic southwestern bean “dip.”

Well, I made them, and they turned out beautifully, which is why I’m sharing here. They are super easy to make and great with a little bit of guacamole! Scroll for the recipe and some process photos (these really help me when I’m cooking).

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The Only Way I Can Eat Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are nutritious and a source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and protein. But for me, they’re not easy to eat. You could put them in a glass of water or juice and then quickly down the whole thing before the seeds soak and form their gelatinous shell. But a much better way is to make a chia seed pudding bowl.

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This is a great breakfast option, especially if you’ve done a workout beforehand—since it can be just a tad high in calories. It’s crunchy, thanks to the granola, and the fruit is sweet and nutritious.

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds
  • 1 cup plant milk (I used soy)
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract (I doubled this because I love vanilla!)

Note that 1/4 cup of chia seeds contains 280 calories. So if you want to (or need to based on your dietary habits) save on some of those pesky little things, consider halving the pudding recipe, or even cutting a quarter (3 tbsp of chia seeds blended with 3/4 cup milk).

Once you have your ingredients, go ahead and blend them for a minute or two. You’ll want to blend on the highest setting possible. And that’s it—that’s your chia seed pudding! But that’s not where the magic starts (or ends) for me… I personally don’t love the texture of chia seed pudding. So the toppings make all of the difference for me, and the most important, non-negotiable one is about a 1/4 cup of granola. Getting a bit of the granola crunch with every spoonful makes all the difference.

[If you do not have a blender, you do not need one! Put the ingredients in a container and shake, then place in the fridge for a couple of hours; the seeds will expand and absorb the milk. Just make sure to mix everything really well before leaving it to set in order to avoid clumps.]

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Today, in addition to the granola, I added cup banana and thawed wild blueberries. But you could add any combination of complementary fruits that you would like. And then to finish, you can top the whole thing with just a little bit of sweetener. I used one tablespoon of maple syrup.

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This bowl was seriously such a treat! Even though chia seed pudding is one of those uber healthy, health-nut type snacks/meals/foods, incorporating the proper textures and flavours can make a world of difference.

There are so many ways of making the pudding and this is by far my favourite. I’ve seen lots of recipes that recommend simply blending everything together, including the fruits. But having the fruits as a topping just makes this less of a boring meal and provides some variation with each spoonful.

In whatever way you can, consider adding chia seeds to your diet. They are considered a “functional” food, thanks in large part to their fibre content, which can help lower cholesterol and improve digestion. You deserve to protect yourself against cardiovascular diseases while warding off gastrointestinal problems (and remember that simple irregularity can increase your chances of developing colorectal cancers!).

It would make me so happy if you tried this recipe and then let me know what you think! Do this for you.

Healthy Easy Vegan Lunch: Tofu Avocado Toast With Stubb’s BBQ Marinade

Today was a study day, so I didn’t fuss or spend much time in the kitchen. I decided to make some easy healthy vegan food.

I wanted to make a quick but still healthy lunch, and something that would hold me over until dinner. Et voila: I made avocado toast.

Of course, there’s a very high chance you’re already sick of avocado toast (I mostly am; it’s a pretty lazy content idea, let’s be honest). BUT this is a twist on avocado toast! (Anyway, that’s what I’m telling myself.) Read on.

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I toasted two slices of Glutino’s gluten free toast, which is so easy to digest. This is especially important on days where I need all of my wits about me and have absolutely no time for that heavy food feeling.

On top of my two slices of toast, I mashed one whole small avocado and added some sauteed cubed extra firm sprouted organic tofu (the whole brick costs $2—it just sounds fancy) marinated for a few minutes (but leave it more longer if you have time) in Stubb’s Texas Steakhouse marinade.

Et finit! Qu’est-ce que c’est? Easy healthy vegan food.

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I haven’t seen this idea before, even though it’s so simple. The toast is good for carbs, the avocado for fats, and the tofu for protein. It’s especially important for plant-based diet adherents to make sure they ingest enough omega-3 fats and whole proteins (tofu* is one).

This meal is adjustable: you can make more or less of any of the ingredients without adding a significant amount of time, and with carrot or cucumber sticks, it would pass for a complete meal in my books.

Hope you try it!

*Disclaimer: I do limit my tofu intake to prevent any potential hormonal effects, whether with sex hormones (estrogen) or thyroid hormones.

p.s. Check out my easy vegan burrito lunch post.

For more easy healthy vegan food ideas, I personally love the vegan recipes on Budget Bytes. They are cheap and (relatively) easy recipes. My favourite of Beth’s recipes (the recipe developer and blogger behind Budget Bytes) is the Pressure Cooker Split Pea Soup.