Live to Inspire

Hey everyone,

Thanks so much for your kind words on my Spring Blogcation! I’ve been truly enjoying these past few weeks, living the life I’ve blogged about for the past year. I started switching up my workouts and fell in love with the Nike Training Club app. If you haven’t tried it out I highly recommend! I started running again when the weather warmed up and I’m still loving my Les Mills classes. I’m eating clean and trying recipes from all around the blogosphere and I’m especially into the Oh She Glows Cookbook right now. I have no problem eating clean 80% of the time but also no problem treating myself to maintain the balance that’s taken me years to find <3

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I’ve been spending lots of quality time with friends though its the craziest time of year for work andddd we just bought a house! So really it was the perfect time to step back from the blog. Trying to maintain regular posting during the past few weeks would have me pulling my hair out.

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After taking some time to think it over – the blog, my career, my priorities, and what really serves me, I’ve concluded that I’m better off just living to inspire than blogging about it. Know what I mean?

Blogging was starting to stress me out and was taking up all of my free time. Many of the things I used to love doing started to feel like things I HAD to do. By the time I got home from a long day at work, went to the gym, cooked dinner, got stuff ready for the next day and tidied up, it was time for bed. I was often up blogging way past my bedtime or through my lunch breaks. Forget reading, forget making that batch of protein bars, and if a 5 am workout is in the plan, prepare to be zonked for it.

During my blogcation I found I had more time to actually enjoy the life I blog about. I’ve always been a promoter of quality, not quantity. I think I can more effectively inspire the people around me by being relaxed and happy… by exercising regularly and contributing a healthy dish to family dinners, by voting with my dollar and making greener choices when possible, by cooking delicious vegan food for my family and friends and showing them how easy it is to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

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When I started the blog I said that if one post could inspire just one person to live a healthier lifestyle than my intentions have been met. My family and friends were my number one concern and I know I’ve inspired many of them, along with many strangers too! I am so grateful for that but I feel I’ve done what I set out to do. To take the blog further requires a lot of time and effort and as I said in my last post, I want to focus my energy on my career and my family & friends. I want to get back to enjoying my hobbies and having the time to enjoy working out and being in the kitchen!

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One of the personal things I’ve been trying to focus on is mindfulness and to not always be rushing; to prioritize and let go of the things that no longer serve me. I think the blog is one of those things. This little space on the internet will be here as long as WordPress allows so my readers can still find my content on juicing, fitness, and stories of the ups and downs during my first year as a vegan.

I’ll be removing my social media accounts but if you want to follow me personally on Instagram and Twitter you can find me @elysegiselle.

Thank you to everyone who followed and supported me over the past year. I’ve learned so much from other bloggers and met so many great people through the blogosphere. You’ve all inspired me in return more than you could know <3

Stay healthy. Stay fit!

Liz xo

A Spring Blogcation

Hey friends :)

I’m here with the last post I’ll be writing for a few weeks or so… I think I need a little break from the blog world.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while but wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted. I kept up with posts and social media because I worried if I stopped the blog I’d regret it when things settled down and I had more time. After another couple of months I am still questioning how I feel so I think what I need is to take a break and reevaluate.

I started this blog when I was transitioning into a plant-based diet. A blog was something I always wanted to do, even before being vegan, but that’s what gave me the final push to make it happen. I had so much fun posting over the past 11 months but it seems I had more time in the beginning. Work was slower, my social life was much calmer, and I was just getting started so I didn’t feel the pressure to keep up with regular posting and social media.

Now it seems like every weekend I have something going on (not that I’m complaining), work is a lot busier, and my downtime is short. When I have time to relax I do enjoy blogging but I also want to read, bake, watch a movie, visit friends… A lot of these things seem to be falling by the wayside lately.

I know I wouldn’t feel this way if I had the time to put into the blog; the time to make great. For anyone who knows me, you know I don’t do things halfheartedly. It’s all or nothing. I don’t just want a good blog, I want a great blog! So if I can’t give it all I’ve got, I think I’d like to take my lunch hours and my mornings to myself. I’d like to give a little extra to the work day and to the people in my real life.

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So this isn’t goodbye, but more like “see ya later”… In the mean time I’ll still be around on Twitter and Instagram, possibly starting some personal accounts. I wish you all the healthiest & happiest spring (which starts March 20, believe it or not) and we’ll talk soon!

Peace, love, & greens,

Liz xo :)

Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

Easter is happening so late this year that Ash Wednesday almost completely slipped my mind!

This is a big deal for me because every year since high school (maybe longer?) I’ve given up chocolate for lent. My ultimate weakness. My all-time favourite food. My beloved, sweet, go-to treat in any way shape or form.

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Because I didn’t realize lent started last week until Tuesday night (how did I miss the pancakes posted all over IG and Facebook on Tuesday? I dono… ) I didn’t have the chance to have one last chocolate binge! CRAP!

Good thing I ate 3 cupcakes last weekend…

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So today I’m announcing my chocolate hiatus until April 20, Easter Sunday. Actually… it’s a break from sweets entirely. The first year I gave up chocolate I realized it was to easy to replace chocolate with other sweet treats. It was barely a sacrifice when I could still eat vanilla flavoured anything. Not that I eat a lot of sweets anymore but I still indulge in my fair share of vegan treats.

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In addition to giving something up, my mom always said that lent should be about doing something good, so we are working on that as well!

But right now, I’ve got something yummy for you! Yes, the title of this post includes the words chocolate and cookies but they are far from a sugary “sweet”. However, I guess I’ll be subbing raisins for chocolate chips when I make another batch this week ;)

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These little protein cookies were inspired by a 3-ingredient cookie recipe that’s been sweeping my Instagram feed. I love the original version but wanted a little more bulk for a mid-morning snack.

Sunwarrior’s raw protein blend has an amazing nutritional profile, especially designed for vegans. I don’t like to rely on protein powders and supplements as a main source of nutrition, because that’s just what they are, supplements. I do, however, like to use protein powder as an “extra” in my diet when I’m lacking my usual variety of whole foods because I’m traveling or low on groceries (oops!).

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Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

Adapted from Skinny Taste’s Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
Makes 12 cookies

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1.5-2 scoops protein powder
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips or other mix-ins (raisins, walnuts, etc.)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl then fold in chocolate chips. Bake on a greased or lined baking sheet at 350 F for 13-15 minutes. Let cool at least 5 min and enjoy!

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Nutrition facts per 2 cookies (using 1.5 scoops of Sunwarrior, natural):

Calories = 150
Protein = 6.9 g
Fat = 4.7 g
Carbs = 22.4 g
Sugar = 6.8 g
Fiber = 3.3 g
Iron = 16.7 g {just for fun;)}

What is your ultimate foodie weakness?
Do you use protein powder for a nutritional boost?

Liz xo

There’s More to Fitness Than Muscles

Hello lovely friends :)

How are you all this week? I am finally recovered from Ryan’s birthday {week} celebrations. Does any one else believe in Birthday Week? One day just isn’t enough…. lol

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On Thursday we went back to Brewbaker’s, a favourite for special occasions. I was going to try their other vegan option, a couscous salad, but I couldn’t help myself and cracked for the Thai Vermicelli again… insert foodgasm face :0

Saturday night we had friends over for food, drinks & games and I wanted to do something to make Ryan’s bday more special that any ol’ Saturday night. I organized for group party shirts: “Out for a Birthday Swim”. Get it?

He was equally as surprised as embarrassed but I’m pretty sure he loved it ;)

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Today I’m talking about something that’s been a frequent conversation over the years: why I value fitness so much. Not just for myself, but for the people in my life as well.

We all know the main reasons why physical fitness is important: decreased risk of disease, reduced risk of injuries, feeling better mentally and physically, etc. But in addition to that, I am very attracted to a fitness-focused person and it’s not just because that type of person is physically attractive. Yes, a lean, toned body is definitely a plus, but there is so much more to it than that.

So what else do I see beyond the physical?

First let’s take a look at the definition of fitness. According to Google Define, fitness means “in good health, esp. because of regular physical exercise”. So I’m not solely referring to ultra-marathoners or bikini models; just your average Joe/Jane who lives an active lifestyle and eats a balanced, healthy diet.

Fit = Dedicated

“Fit” is state of being that must be achieved and maintained. It takes work, it takes time and it takes dedication. A fit person is probably not lazy and will be dedicated to his or her other obligations in life as well. I think anyone can agree that being dedicated is a great quality in career life, relationships, etc. No one wants a flaky friend or a partner with commitment issues.

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Fit = Health Conscious

I am very concerned with my own health because I feel best when I’m treating my body & mind to the best of my knowledge. I love this life and want to be around to enjoy for a very long time. My number one wish for everyone on this planet is that they too can discover how amazing their bodies are designed to feel. We aren’t doomed to experience the illnesses or rely on the drugs that our society has come to accept as a part of life.

I appreciate my friends and family making health & fitness a priority because it gives me peace of mind knowing they are doing something to help keep them in my life for many years to come! I tell my mom all the time, “Drink your greens! I need you around for a while yet.” ;)

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Fit = Strong

Physically: A balanced fitness routine improves functional strength. This allows you to easily carry out everyday activities like lifting heavy objects without straining yourself. Cardiovascular training keeps your heart strong and improves endurance which allows you to take the stairs without losing your breath, keep up with your kids or pets, and enjoy outdoor activities.

Mentally: It takes focus and willpower to lift one more rep or continue running to your goal even after you think you’re spent. It also takes some serious willpower to make a healthy choice when your surrounded by fast, cheap, & convenient options. Yoga is the ultimate way to develop mental strength. It’s not easy for everyone to shut out their busy life for an hour to just “be”. In yoga, we focus on our breath to hold and transition into poses. This practice can be applied to everyday life to help deal with stressful situations.

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Fit = Happy

I would say 99% of fit, healthy people are generally happy with themselves and their lives. Exercise is known to improve your mood and reduce stress levels. Fit people are confident in the way they look, have good energy levels, and probably have regular sleeping and eating habits. When you are happy with yourself you can be happy for others and from that stems a whole lot of good :)

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There is so much more to fitness than muscles or being a certain size or shape. There are qualities that any of us would be happy to possess or to have in a partner or friend. If you haven’t already, check out my post on 6 Ways To Make Exercise a Habit. Set your sustainable goals to make fitness about dedication, health, strength and happiness :)

I’d love to hear from you guys…

Why is fitness important to you?
What qualities attract you to a fit and healthy person?

Liz xo

Happy Birthday, Swim!

Sometimes I wonder where I would be if I wasn’t with someone like this guy….

NYE Ryan and Elyse

Someone who supports my every crazy (though usually not so crazy to me) idea and dream! When we met back in 2010 I was not a vegetarian nor was as I fitness-focused as I am today. The first summer we spent together, I probably went to the gym 4 days a week and it wasn’t a big deal if I missed. I wouldn’t have even considered working out in the mornings and definitely not on the weekends.

I indulged in the occasional McFlurry, my fair share of pizza, and a lot of Twizzlers and french fries. I didn’t know how to slice a pepper let alone cook a meal. I learned to make basic stir fry that year but mostly survived on pre-cooked chicken wraps, BBQ’d chicken breasts, and a lot of instant breakfast shakes. I still remember the first time I made Ryan spaghetti (with meat sauce, not meat balls) and felt like a total domestic goddess lol…

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Ryan likes to think he taught me how to cook but I can’t recall that memory so well… but I do remember the first time he cooked for me and I knew this guy was a keeper ;)

I wouldn’t say I was unhealthy, but I definitely wasn’t where I am today. I wasn’t completely comfortable with myself and I was the definition of a weekend warrior; depriving myself as much as possible through the week to erase my progress in a weekend.

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I slowly transitioned into a healthier person, becoming more concerned with what I put into my body and how I spent my time at the gym. Ryan couldn’t have been more supportive and never once tried to guilt or convince me into indulging or skipping a workout. He never said I was “taking it too far” or that I should or shouldn’t do something I was doing. He always gave me space to try new things and figure it out for myself. Most of the time he was right there with me, and if not, it was understood with zero judgement – he ordered pizza and I ordered salad.

The biggest change for me was definitely committing to a plant-based diet in January of last year. After spending 3 years with someone who had close to the same eating habits, I can imagine it would be difficult when suddenly the dinner menu changed completely. But not once did he complain or push back. Not once did he make a single negative comment. Not once did he ask me to cook or buy meat and he’s tried every one of my kitchen experiments.

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In fact, he decided to become a weekday vegetarian, not just in support of me, but because he knows the major impact it has on the world as a whole. He studied renewable energy in school so he gets it.

Even today on his birthday he suggested going to dinner somewhere we know I can get a vegan meal. Sure its one of the nicest places in Fredericton, but he easily could have said he wanted wings and beer or dragged me to a steak house.

So on your birthday, Mr. Swim, I just want to thank you for being there for me, with me, through thick and thin, through ups and downs, through getting my engineering degree, moving halfway across the country, a partially long distance relationship, crappy jobs, countless traveling, Insanity, juice cleanses, veganism, burnt dinners, shared holidays, blogging, 30 days of yoga, and the list goes on…

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We are not the same people who met in 2010 but the fact that we are still so happy together assures me that no matter what comes our way, I will be making you breakfast waffles (with or without the maple syrup) for many years to come <3

I can’t imagine having a someone more supportive and encouraging by my side. I don’t think I would be who I am today without you. And even if I was… I bet I’d be pretty lonely ;)

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Love you more than words can say!

Happy Birthday, Swimmer :)

Lizzie xo

6 Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

Exercise.

Habit.

Two words that most people don’t see going in the same sentence. How can exercise be something you “just do”? If you’re not one of those people who enjoy exercise (there are more out there than you may think!) how can it ever not be a forced activity in your day?

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I remember when my workout felt like a chore. It was painful to drag myself to the gym (or in front of a P90X video) and get started. Once I did start it was fine, but getting started was the worst part of my day. I would so rather be sleeping, watching tv, shopping, eating, ANYTHING but working out.

But we all know that exercise is good for us. It’s not necessary to workout 7 days a week but according to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, you should get at least 150 minutes per week (source).

Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (18-64 years) #
To achieve health benefits, adults aged 18-64 years should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
It is also beneficial to add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups, at least 2 days per week.
More daily physical activity provides greater health benefits.

So how can you make this a habit; something you just do without thinking about? Here are my 6 tips for making exercise a non-negotiable part of your day:

1. Have a Clear Vision

There is a difference between a goal to lose weight or be fit vs. losing weight or getting fit to reach your goal. I’m not exercising to lose weight or to look good for a specific event. I’m in it for life. I want to feel sexy and confident every day. I want to have energy and regular sleeping & eating patterns.  I want to live long enough to see my children’s, children have children. And I want to be the best possible version of myself so I can be my best for others.

I think being fit and healthy will allow me to be all of these things.

Having my priorities straight is what keeps me going back to the gym day after day. Shallow goals are too easy to make excuses for. For example, I strength train because I want to have functional strength for everyday activities. If my goal was to be able to squat 100 lbs, it would be a lot easier to put that off for another day, and then another…

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2. Plan Your Week

Every Sunday I take a look at the upcoming week and my work/personal commitments. I schedule my workouts from Monday-Saturday around those plans. For example, on a travel day I may need to work out a little later in the evening or if I have dinner plans with friends, I’ll hit the gym in the morning before work.

I have a to-do list for each day which includes my meals and fitness for that day. It doesn’t always have to be perfect; some nights are busy, canned soup nights (Amy‘s are the best!) and sometimes the best workout I can squeeze in is 30 minutes on the elliptical. Regardless, having a plan keeps me on track.

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3. Prep The Night Before

If I know I’m taking a yoga class the following day, my mat, towel & yoga bag are sitting by the door. If I’m working out in the morning, I’m sure to have an on-the-go breakfast ready like these vegan overnight oats!

Laying everything out the night before saves a lot of time and stress in the morning. Plus, you will be less likely to forget your socks or headphones and you’ll show up with the right gear! I’d prefer not to do BodyAttack in a Free-To-Be bra ;)

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4. Choose Workouts You Enjoy

If you hate spin (like me), don’t spin. Just because it’s amazing cardio doesn’t mean its for everyone. I’d rather do 10,000 burpees. If it’s a gorgeous day out and you’re dreading the gym, go for a run outside. When it comes to exercise, there  is something for everyone. Just to name a few:

  • Organized sports – Join a basketball team or a dance club
  • Casual sports – Have a tennis match with your bestie or go snowshoeing
  • Running/walking – Go solo, with a friend, join a running group, or go all out and start marathon training
  • Group fitness classes – Both Les Mills and the YMCA offer something for everyone who thrives in a group atmosphere
  • The gym – TRX, weight lifting, cardio machines
  • Home workout videos – Beach Body videos (i.e. P90X), Jillian Michaels, TIU
  • Online fitness – BlogilatesYou Tube videos

The list goes on…

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5. Commit to Friends

If you tell someone your going to be there, you probably will. When I was in university I always worked out with my friend Britt. I remember a lot of mornings wishing we hadn’t made plans to be at the gym first thing, but I wasn’t about to be the one to back out. Afterwards, I was always SO glad I dragged myself out of bed. Usually once our weekly schedule was set, we rarely missed a workout.

Meeting friends to workout can be a bit of a social thing too. I love having company for a yoga class or a circuit and you wouldn’t believe the cool people you meet through healthy living ;)

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6. Acknowledge & Celebrate Progress!

Of course doing something over and over will get frustrating if you aren’t seeing any results, but remember your weight is not the only indicator of progress. There are a number of factors that can prove you are making headway:

  • Body measurements
  • Body fat percentage
  • Blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol
  • How your clothes feel
  • Energy levels
  • Strength
  • Endurance

Remember to set realistic, sustainable goals (see #1) and celebrate even the smallest successes! If you beat your 5k time, maybe buy yourself a new pair of running shorts. If you’re at a plateau, reassess your routine and make some changes.

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Exercise needs to be fun and enjoyable or it will never be a habit. It can be all of these things if above all, you want it to be. You need to decide for yourself that you want to live a healthy, active lifestyle; that you want to be fit & healthy and are willing to work for it.

You are the only person who can make those things happen. Not your gym buddy, not your trainer, not Jillian Michaels… YOU! So get out your to-do list, plan your week, and pack your gym bag. There’s no time like the present… :)

Here’s to healthy habits!

Liz xo

WIAW: The Lunchbox Edition

Oooh!

Guess what! I remember to take pics of all of my meals after writing it on my to-do list everyday for like 2 weeks… what’s the use of a to-do list if you never use it to remember “to-do” anything?!

Actually, I make very good use of my lists I just never look at them before 7:30 am so my breakfast is usually a distant memory by then. I had so much fun doing my first WIAW post about a typical home-office day I wanted to do one for a day on site. Not to mention I totally dropped the ball on Peas & Crayons’ link up last time. Maybe I should add “link up” to my to-do list today.. hmm..

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The majority of the time I have to pack a lunch to keep me fueled from the time I leave the house at 7:15 am (5:30 if I’m hitting the gym – eek!) and return at 6-7 pm, depending on what time I get to the gym after work.

I always eat breakfast at home because my belly is growling when my feet hit the floor then I’m dining on the road until dinner. Here’s a look into what I ate this Monday while on the job:

Breakfast: My first “oats in the bottom of a nut butter jar” (AMAZING)
~1.5 tbsp almond butter, 1/2 cup cooked oats, 1 tsp cinnamon,
1 tbsp maple syrup, handful blueberries

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Morning Snack:
Peppermint Stick LUNA bar + Cara Cara Orange

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Lunch: Buffalo Cauliflower Salad
huge handful spinach, 1/4 cucumber, few grape tomatoes, 1/2 cup buffalo cauliflower,
1/2 cup green garbanzo beans + 1 tbsp Goddess Dressing (watered down)

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Afternoon Snack: Veg+Hummus
1/2 cup baby carrots, 1/2 cup broccoli + 2 tbsp hummus
(oops, almost didn’t get a pic…)

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Pre-gym: The ushe ;)
Hey, if it ain’t broke…

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Dinner: Buffalo Cauliflower Tortilla Pizza
1 brown rice tortilla, 1/3 cup pizza sauce, handful spinach, few mushrooms,
1/2 tomato, 1/2 cup buffalo cauli, heaping 1/4 cup Daiya mozzarella + side garden salad

I made a batch of the cauliflower on the weekend… don’t judge ;)

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Evening Snack: Yogurt bowl + homemade water kefir
1/2 cup So Delicious coconut yogurt, 1/2 tbsp almond butter,
2 tbsp brown rice crisp cereal, 1/4 cup blueberries

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Along with 3-4 litres of water, that’s a wrap!

In case you’re wondering, which I’m all of the non-veggies are, my total protein intake for the day was 68 g. I’ve been using My Fitness Pal to do a little experimenting and I’m loving it!

It’s recommended to get 9-10% of your daily calorie intake from protein and I average about 12%. Check out this post for more details on your true protein requirements :)

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Click here to see what other bloggers are chowing down on this week!

Did you eat anything interesting this week?
What’s the ushe in your lunchbox?

Liz xo