Wild Rose Cleanse; the Mid-point Update

I hope you are all having a relaxing Sunday, doing what you love before the week-work restarts again. I thought I’d take a moment to catch you all up how I’ve been doing on my journey through this cleanse.

I forgot to share in my last post that I started Do You Yoga’s, 30 day Yoga Challenge, to get me back into bendy-shape. I’m currently on day 15 so I’m literally more than half-way through both my cleanse (on day 7) and my yoga challenge, yay me! On work days, I wake up at 6 am and start this yoga before doing anything else. It helps me set my intention for the day and where all the videos are under 20 minutes (some are only a little over 10 minutes), and all my food is already prepped for the work day, I don’t have to get up any earlier than I normally would. Even though I begrudgingly leave my bed most mornings, it truly is a refreshing way to start to start each day. While I’m not sure if I’ll continue with morning yoga practice once the challenge is over, I’ll likely make stretching part of my morning routine to gently wake up my body for the day. Bed yoga anyone?

Saturday (day 6) was by far my most challenging day, mostly due to circumstance. I had plans to go to the market and declined breakfast with the same friends due to my diet restrictions, none of us felt bad so even though it was unfortunate my time with them was cut short, I didn’t feel left out. Later that day I went to see a few of my friends and their baby and after visiting a few hours I was getting pretty hungry. Everyone including my boyfriend really wanted to go and eat, but I knew I needed to get home. I wish I had been prepared with a snack, as I wouldn’t have minded sitting and drinking tea while they ate but I knew I couldn’t make it through a meal then get home and prep food for myself. Because my blood sugar was already dropped I was jones-ing for convenience foods, I curbed it with an apple and almond butter while I made some soup. This was my first really ‘craving’ I’ve had since starting the cleanse. It continued later when I saw my boyfriend was eating cookies from Subway; I had to leave the room for a moment as I just wanted to chew something cookie/bread-like but I made it through without indulging.

Food prep is so important on this cleanse for the above reason, you don’t want to be in a position where you are hungry and you know it’s going be at least another 30 minutes before you eat. This is good advise for any healthy eating plan, however I’ve found on this cleanse that my reduced carbohydrate intake means when I’m hungry, I need food fast. Luckily I’ve been prepared for this and I’m usually at least one day (if not more) ahead with meal preparation. So many breakfasts, lunches and snacks.

Food Prep

I attempted this cleanse as a way to get myself on track after the holidays not about losing weight. The Wild Rose Cleanse doesn’t promise any weight loss, just a more rejuvenated, lighter and energetic you (<– that’s me paraphrasing). Even so, I wanted to keep really good records about how the cleanse and food I was eating was making me feel physically and emotionally therefore I’ve been tracking my caloric/macro intake, energy output, feelings, cravings and energy levels as well as my weight to see if there was any measurable the impact on my body. So far I’ve lost about 4 lbs, although this will likely change depending on my water retention and food intake etc. I’ve continued daily workout but lowered the intensity. I’ve been walking the dogs, doing a lot more yoga, getting lower impact cardio routines in along with some weight training but I also have been cleaning a lot. Meal prep creates a lot of dirty dishes, and since I’m always hogging the kitchen I making meals for the bf too. I have noticed I have a lot of extra energy and when I’m bored, I know I’m bored, not hungry. I’ve replaced mindless eating with cleaning so I guess I may be taking the ‘cleanse’ part too literally? 

As far as meals go I’ve been eating much of the same things I have outlined in my last post. I’ve taken to making omelets packed with veggies and over the weekend I had roasted potatoes twice. I know they are allowed but they tasted so good it felt like cheating. I made up a big batch of Sweet Potato and Carrot Bisque for my work lunches along with the usually fresh-cut up veggies, hummus, an apple and almond butter for snacks. Breakfast this week will be a continuation of overnight oats or smoothies with the added kick of Vega One.

Sweet Potato Carrot BisqueToday was grocery day and I picked up some nori-sheets and brown rice cakes to try out (for when I need carb fix fast). At lunch I turned them into sandwich wraps by adding avocado, grilled tofu (I had already prepped in the fridge), raw red pepper and kale. They were super good and satisfying. Also extremely easy and quick to make up.

Fill it.

Nori Wrap fillingRoll it. Jam in your mouth. Don’t’ forget to chew!

Nori WrapConfession-time, I accidentally cheated over the weekend as I had picked up one of my favorite treats from the market. They are called Ravenous bars which are essentially hand-made nut-bars made with coconut oil, almonds pumpkin seeds, goji berries and almond butter. I love them and devoured my first one and then realized there was some brown rice syrup in it. Not the end of the world by any means but I was really on point until then. Here’s to the next 5 days, I’ll be updating you all with a final review next weekend!

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Detoxing; like it’s January

The holiday have flown by, and, as expected, I overindulged. Unfortunately, my indulgences that ended up being new recipes were sadly not posted.  As a new years resolution I’m not going to apologize or make excuses in every post I get derailed otherwise this blog will become uncomfortably repetitive.  I do hope to revisit those recipes again for your viewing a noshing pleasure in future posts which means I get to make yummy food all over again! If you feel like imagining such posts, for the books I made a sweet and savory version of this caramelized onion dip, I experimented in making cashew cheese for the first time as well as I got to play with my new grill Santa got me by making some rad waffles and cheesy panini’s (paninis not pictured).

photo 1 (2)Once I have the kinks worked out with my new kitchen gadget (and some sun) I will be sharing these new discoveries with my food-blog-world (p.s – that’s you…yay!)!

I hope you all had a happy new year and are now making good on your promises to yourself for 2014. One of my promises to myself (an every year continuation of being better to my mind and body) was to try out a detox. Since I will be defining what I eat clearly over the next 12 days I’m not going to be making a ton of decadent/elaborate food.

january detoxWhy the cleanse? You eat great already…right?

Whether you eat great most of the time or eat like a 16 year old boy going through a growth-spurt, sometimes you just need a restart. After doing my research I chose the Wild Rose Dtox. This is my first cleanse; ever, and after falling off the healthy-train I bought a first class ticket to ‘get your shazz together before you derail completely’. My skin has broken out, I gained about 4-5 lbs, I’m sluggish and borderline sick the last two weeks (body aches, sore throat , congestion, headaches etc) I want this all to stop ASAP because I love how healthy feels and this is not it.  My saving grace is I’ve been pretty much keeping up with my exercise routine although I’m being less strict with myself; If I need a rest day, I take one.

Why this cleanse?

It’s vegetarian-friendly, it’s not extreme (e.g. fasting or highly limiting food, etc) and it was recommended to me by a friend. Also, it’s Canadian and has been around a long time…yadayadayada.

What can/can’t you eat?

For specifics please refer the website linked above, however it’s not that drastically off my regular diet, minus the gluten-free aspect and I’m vegetarian.

Day 1-5 B L SI am in no way a dietician/health care professional so if you are interested in doing this cleanse please speak with your doctor, dietician or naturopath first. Below is a sample of what I’ve been eating /plan to eat for Breakfasts, Snacks and Lunches for the next 5 work days to help you if you are not sure what to eat as a vegetarian. Suppers are sort of a wild card but I’ll outline them as best as I can below:

Breakfast

Most days I’m having coffee with unsweetened almond milk before heading to work then at work I’m eating breakfast of overnight oats and sometimes I add a Vega One smoothie made with unsweetened almond milk in the morning or after a workout if I need extra-calories (I use MyFitnessPal app on my phone to track calories in and out).

For the overnight oats pictured above you will need:

  • 1/3 cup of organic large flake oats
  • 1/2 cup organic blueberries (frozen)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or any other unsweetened non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 tbs of chia seeds and hemp hearts
  • a pinch of cinnamon

Mid-morning snack

Most days I’m having about 1+1/2 -2 cups of raw veggies and 2 tbs of hummus. The Wild Rose Dtox (WRD) prohibits processed foods to it’s best to make your own to control salt/oil etc but if you must buy it, make sure it’s yeast, vinegar, sugar and gluten-free.

Lunch

2 cups of spaghetti squash, 1/4 of a package of tofu grilled with salt and cumin, olive oil and lemon juice to dress.

Mid-afternoon / pre-workout snack

1 medium sized apple with 1 tbs of natural almond butter ( no salt or sugar)

Supper

Both nights I threw together a huge salad:

Day 1 – 2 cups of romaine lettuce, 1 cup of raw kale, 1 boiled egg with two boiled egg whites, dressing made with 1 tbs of hummus, 1/2 lemon’s juice salt and pepper.

Day 2 –  1 cup of sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil with cumin, mint and garlic. 1 cup of sauteed kale with onions and garlic. 1 cup of romaine lettuce topped with lemon juice and a fried egg.

Are you exercising?

Because I’m currently keeping a regimented training schedule of 3-4 days of cardio/HIIT 1-2 strength training,1 day yoga, then 1 day rest, I personally have only taken the first day off during the cleanse so far. The cleanse warns you of starting up anything new and listening to your body. If you are tired and feeling unwell don’t push yourself to work out. On day one I still was feeling pretty tired from all that I’d had previously been doing to my body so I got a massage and took a long bath after supper and went to bed early. Tonight, I was feeling really energetic so I did a butt/thigh routine, prepared supper and extra for the next few days as well tidied up and started blogging about it!

What were days 1 and 2 like?

Honestly, despite the horrible taste of the tincture you have to take two squirts of twice a day, I don’t feel restricted or put out. I haven’t had sugar cravings (yet) and since I don’t eat a lot of bread/pasta/rice/ or dairy in general I don’t feel like my diet has changed, more though I’m back on track.

I didn’t think the herbalax (herbal-laxative) was going to affect me terribly as I eat more than the recommended amount of fibre every day, however I’ll just say it’s working and leave it at that. WRD advises if you have adverse affects you can dial that portion back.

I’m always thirsty, and sometimes have dry mouth even though I’m drinking about 2 liters of water plus herbal tea. I am sure gum is not allowed but I’ve had to start chewing it (sugar-free only) because I feel like my breath isn’t fresh a few minutes after brushing/ in between meals.

I hope this has been interesting for you guys, and please let me know if you want to see more of this type of thing! I plan to update you again at the half way point and once I’ve finished cleansing to give a better review or my experiences. Until then, here’s a picture of my dog in a bowtie…

Gamtie

Real-talk with Street Art

I can’t believe this is my first post in August and it’s a few days away from the end of the month! I’d like to blame my lack of posts on how busy I’ve been or some tragic event but the truth is I have made a lot of changes this Summer that all revolve around putting the focus back on myself. In April my boyfriend who previously was home for almost 2 years (due to an illness), had recovered enough to go back to work. I had a hard time with it, all the spare time that was filled with such specific commitments needed to be filled with stuff I needed to do. Stuff that I’d been putting off, like getting back into a workout routine, as well as stuff I wanted to do, like go get a massage or read a book (or five).

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I didn’t force a huge commitment to myself, it happened almost out of boredom. I started running again, I picked up A Song of Ice and Fire series; I’m slowly making my way through the fifth book now. I started a home work-out routine and I’m seeing awesome results. I really focused on balancing what I was putting into my body. All of these changes, and all the energy it took to make them left me high and dry on food blog content and inspiration.  A few months ago I wrote a heart felt letter to my blog readers about how I was winding down and I thought it would be my last post. I had it ready to publish and kept re-reading but I couldn’t publish it. I’m not ready to give it up yet but I’m also not ready to get back to my regular posting schedule, so for the time being I hope you can bare with me.

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When you focus your energy and commit to yourself, especially when you commit to your health and wellbeing so many things in your life naturally change. Not just your body but your mind and your attitude; goals and ideas start to creep up in behind your ears and whisper sweet nothings. I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing for the rest of the Summer. I’m excited for all the changes Fall seems to bring to me and I really want to share them with you. Here are some things I’ve learned this Summer:

Trying to balance what you eat makes is extremely hard to blog about it. Every morning I have about 3 breakfast options I rotate throughout the week. On Sunday I cook a big batch of something to make sure I have 5 lunches and make snacks/mini-meals in the morning before work or at night before bed. Supper is always a mixed bag for me, but between by daily workouts, dog walks, cleaning the house and overall exhaustion it’s hard to be creative and photograph it when all you want to do is cram something that nutritionally balanced, clean and  portion controlled in your face. This Summer I also removed all baking stuffs from my house, not that anyone wants to bake in the Summer but I actually haven’t had the option to. Fall will be another story.

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Massages are important to your health. You need to do things for yourself period. This Summer I’ve re-discovered yoga, running, daily workouts, and monthly massages. I’m lucky enough to have a drug-plan that covers them but I didn’t start taking advantage of it until April (p.s. I’ve worked at my current job for four years). If you have access to massage through your insurance, don’t wait, get a prescription and go! I realize not everyone has this opportunity, but if you can treat yourself to even one a year you will get some benefit. Massages help manage my TMJ, carpal tunnel and stress; generally they make me feel good.

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Having good neighbours is a blessing. I was extremely spoiled over the last three years and had some of the best neighbours you could ask for. They moved out a month ago and now the worst neighbours one could ask for live above me. As I type this I’m pretty sure a book-case just toppled over and it’s before 10 am on a Sunday. Maybe the universe is telling me I’m suppose to learn patience, so far it’s not working.

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You can get a great workout in 25 minutes. I promise you I didn’t become a beach body coach, I will not be selling shakeology over my blog but I did pick up  Focus T25 and am seriously loving it. I’m on week 6 starting today and have seen major results, I’m excited to see what the next 5 weeks will bring me! If you are like me and wants to get back into shape but you are short on time, this is the perfect thing for you.

Coconut oil is amazing. I love the taste of coconut so I always knew I’d love coconut oil. It’s a great beauty product for you hair and skin but I prefer to eat it. This Summer, among many other uses, I used it to make stove-top popcorn, amazing!

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The more you put into any relationship the more you get out of it. This goes for work relationships, intimate relationships, and even dog relationships. It’s just true, I don’t need to elaborate.

Red wine is really hard to drink in the summer, switch to cider or crisp white wines. Do it fast, Summer is almost over.

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Cocktails are the best when you don’t have to make them. So many restaurants are making fancy cocktails. “Ain’t no body has time (or money) for that” at home. Spend a few extra bucks on a few cocktails with friends outside of the house.

Milk-products make me break out. I’ve pretty much gone vegan this Summer, besides being lactose intolerant already I’ve also discovered milk almost automatically makes me break out, causes stomach upset, worsens cold symptoms etc.

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Water is stronger than caffeine. A few posts back I challenged everyone to get on the water train (i.e make sure you were getting enough during the day). Last week I was so busy at work I literally forgot to drink even a sip. I was exhausted at the end of the work-day. It was the first time in 5 weeks I wasn’t prepared to work out. I spent an hour or more trying to re-hydrate myself and had such a horrible workout afterwards. Don’t forget to drink your water!

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Planning a big trip is fun, recovering your stolen passports is not. AJ and I are planning a trip to Europe and hopefully heading through Iceland on the way there. It’s been so much fun sitting down and planning out every detail, but we have no interest in getting the passport stuff done. Ugh, so crucial to our trip, yet so the last thing we want to do.

When your parent(s) retires it’s their equivalent to when you left for university. Mom if you are reading I haven’t seen you all Summer! Sincerely, your daughter.

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Binge reading is always ok. Get away from the TV, sit outside for the last few weeks of warm weather and read something!

Being a tourist in your own town is highly recommended. I spent a huge amount of time walking around Halifax this Summer, hence all the photos! Hope you enjoyed them. 

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30 Life Lessons over 30 Years

Today is my birthday and yes I’ve turned the notorious, dirty, thirty.

If I felt any inkling wiser due to my age I might offer some guidance to those in their 20s and remind them to enjoy them. I don’t feel older, certainly no older than I was yesterday and I don’t really consider myself wise, but my 20s have taught me a few things.

They say you become a new person every seven years meaning every one of your cells has regenerated within that time frame. In seven years, I have changed my hairstyle probably ten times or more, I’ve bought new clothes for each season for each of those years, and I feel I have learned decade worth of life lessons. I want to share a few with you now.

Photo by Josh Szeto taken November 2012

Photo by Josh Szeto taken November 2012

30 Life Lessons I’ve learned over 30 Years

  1. Be kind to yourself, there is no harsher critic then the one you face in the mirror everyday. When you are in your 20s you will probably never look as good or feel as good as you do now. Enjoy it. Stay up all night partying, work the next day, eat the things you love.
  2. Be good to your family, they will not be around forever.
  3. Take risks. On school, on love and travel. Dream crazy dreams and let them unfold in the most grandiose way you can imagine.
  4. Spend time alone. You will never get to know yourself if you don’t live by yourself once, or at least travel by yourself. Being alone and being lonely are two very different things, learn what the difference is.
  5. Be kind to strangers. Your Mom probably told you to not talk to them, but you have instincts, use them. Not everyone is bad and eventually if we all start ignoring everyone, you will miss out on some pretty rad people.
  6. Find your strengths and cultivate them.
  7. Find your weaknesses and accept them, if you can, improve upon what makes you uncomfortable.
  8. Eat well. Take this however you want. Eat for your health, or your taste buds.
  9. Never be cruel to animals or children. They never forget the bad things and will always remember your kindness.
  10. Devote time, no matter how small to a charitable cause. Even if it’s just helping a stranger to their door, or as big as volunteering your time to your community.
  11. Learn to cook.
  12. Learn to clean.
  13. Get a hobby.
  14. Read. For real, I want to see libraries in my future.
  15. Be political. Try and figure out what government actions affects you and the ones you love and be proactive. At the very least, vote with a clue as to why you are voting. But vote every time you have the chance.
  16. Exercise. You don’t need a gym membership but ride a bike to school, or walk to the mall. Fresh air and sunshine cleans up most issues in your life.
  17. Seek education. Whether your version is self study of your interests, night classes, university or apprenticing. Having an interest in bettering yourself is and attractive and admiral quality.
  18. Travel. If you never leave the place you were brought up in you will never understand and sympathize with the ways of others.
  19. Don’t criticize others. You are not them, you do not brave the same challenges from their past to their present.
  20. Keep your friends close. In my 20s I made more friends than I kept over the long haul but it’s a time for change. If you aren’t good at making new friends makes sure that the ones you have know how much you love them.
  21. Say ‘I love you’ only when you mean it and say it as often as possible to the ones you love.
  22. Money is not everything. Stop dwelling on what you don’t have money for and start making plans for the money you have today.
  23. Don’t ever pity yourself. You are going to have bad days. People will break your heart in one way or another. You might have body image issues, or fail a class but learn from it and move on. In the end that is all you can do.
  24. Don’t stress about the future, but don’t ignore that it’s coming either. If you feel like you need to make a change do so, you can always change your mind later. What is going to happen is going to happen no matter how prepared or unprepared for it you are.
  25. Set clear expectations for roommates, friends and lovers. No one is a mind reader and even if it’s difficult for you to tell them what you needs are. Otherwise, in the end when you are fighting because you reached your boiling point, you will always hear this yelled back at you ‘why didn’t you say something before?’
  26. Experiment with your style, with your views and beliefs. You will find what works, what is comfortable, and things that will last the test of time.
  27. Don’t compromise your beliefs once you have them, but don’t push them on others either. Conversation should be used for sharing information not for beating others over the head with it.
  28. Apologize when you are wrong, and don’t gloat when you are right. You can’t control most of what happens to you but you can control how you respond to it. If you respond poorly, speak up about it and mean what you say.
  29. Don’t be afraid to say ‘No’ when you don’t want to, or can’t or won’t do something. Honest is the best policy.
  30. Love with all your heart, but don’t love someone who doesn’t love you will all their heart back. No one should waste the precious moments of their life on others that don’t appreciate their love and affections.

Give Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend, and most people are celebrating with huge meals either today or tomorrow. Normally around this time of year I’m pushing savory seitan recipes and sweet and plentiful desserts however my mind has been forcibly shifted to other things.

I’m sorry to tell you that this isn’t a food post, but I’m hoping at least that it is food for thought. While I was milling around last week – trying to make holiday plans with my loved ones I lost a friend to colon cancer. All my plans this weekend were dashed (even before this sad event) because of commitments outside of my control and although I have spent a lot if time with family this weekend, it wasn’t under the best of circumstances.

Last night I was feeling a little sorry for myself, I’m sick, I’m sad and I’m downright burnt out. The way I feel right now is not a commitment to myself, the sadness I feel right now is not how I want to remember my friend, this selfish-thinking (oh-woe-is-me) is not how I will carry out my life. So I started this post on what I’m thankful for, because there is so much to appreciate even when 2012 has felt like an awful vortex I couldn’t climb out of. 

My family life has had it’s ups and down this year, with the passing of my Father and several illnesses and deaths that seems to pile up, but I tried to think of the good things, the contributions each person had made to the world and I took comfort in that. For the people that were, and are ill in my life, I devoted my time to them, you never know when time runs out and I’m thankful that even though this year was incredibly hard for me it taught me over all that time is precious, a lesson I will never forget. For my friends and family that are in good health I squeezed them tighter. Making sure I tried my best not to cancel any plans (this action totally ran me into the ground for months) because on the back burner I wondered what if this is the last opportunity I have to spend with this person? Stubborn drive, you can be one of my best assets.

Staying up late to write letters, trying to be others support team even when I could not support myself. Trying to be selfless because sometimes you have to, and it makes you stronger. I’m way stronger. Perseverance, I’m thankful for you.

 I’m thankful for my boyfriend who has been my constant support system and soft place to fall. He never waivers but he does call me on my BS when I’m having a pity party for one which is exactly what I need. I’m thankful to have found someone that is exactly what I need as well as what I always wanted.

I’m thankful for my neighbours/friends/co-workers, whether they are one third or all thirds of that backslash-run-on-designation, you know who you are. You’ve been my support when I feel like I couldn’t get through the day, you made me think positively or forced me to when I felt I couldn’t; most of all you made me smile even with tears in my eyes. I can’t thank you enough.

I’m so thankful I have dogs, and that my dogs are in good health. I know that seems like a silly thing to be thankful for, but my dogs make me get out of my head. Dogs have needs and although I know my dogs knew what I was feeling, they still needed me to get up every morning. They needed me to go outside with them so they forced on me fresh air and exercise. They needed me to be present, and force me to be so on several occasions, not allowing me to daydream scapes of negative thoughts. My dogs are my saviors and I’m thankful for them.

I guess this whole post is really about appreciating what you have and letting the people in your life that you love know how you feel. One of the best ways I know how to do that, is to look after yourself and make yourself a priority for your health and well-being. Otherwise you can’t and won’t be there to show people how much you care. It’s easy to feel invincible, and to feel like this bad stuff can-never touch you, or at least not until ‘I’m older’. I want to tell you this, my friend died at 34 years of age, from a disease that could have been prevented. He could have lived if he knew what he was looking for. The last year of his life was devoted to his health, his family but also his public. He tried hard to make himself an example so that he might save one of his friends or one of theirs. My heart goes out to his family and although I feel he will be remembered for his music, they should take some comfort in the fact he left a legacy of compassion, positivity and education. To help him be remembered please raise awareness about causes you are familiar with. Outreach saves lives, especially when people can connect with you (and your experiences) more than they can a pamphlet.

One of the contributing factors to colon cancer is a diet high in red meat and processed foods. For more information on contributing factors please visit the Canadian Cancer website here. If you are able to donate money to research you can do so safely on the Colon Cancer Canada website here.

Lastly I want to thank you for reading, not just today but for following my blog. You may not know how much it means to me, but I still feel an obligation to post even when things are hectic because it brings me joy to know you read, and I touch some of you whether it’s your hearts or stomachs, or both.

XO,

Amy