Ghosts, Greens & Graduation!

Last week we celebrated the bf’s graduation from Holland College by getting our families together at a cottage for the weekend. I found us a cute little place in Point Prim about half an hour from Charlottetown. The Rusty Anchor was a fairly new cottage but filled with antiques, each with notes about the stories behind their history.

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We joked about the place being haunted because so much of the decor was from the old Point Prim church, school house, etc. but I convinced myself there was no way it actually was. It was too new. However, it seemed everyone had some type of freaky experience while we were there.

The day we left, Ryan told a friend from the island where we’d stayed. He didn’t mention anyone’s creepy experiences or that we contemplated it being haunted… his friend later told us that when he mentioned to his mom where we stayed she immediately stated that this place is KNOWN for being haunted; that it was featured on the news for being haunted! Yep, I’m getting chills just thinking about the night I went up to bed early… alone… :/

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Despite being a bit creeped out at night, we had an awesome weekend 🙂 There was lots of grilling of the vegan and non-vegan sort. BBQ Tofu, Yves veggie dogs, and loads of veggies pour moi… salmon, steak,  and burgers for the rest of the lot… and a mediocre McCain chocolate cake because someone forgot the ice cream cake. Womp.

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I also packed my blender and picked up the ingredients for some green monsters since all the girls wanted to try one. The verdict? SUCCESS. They all wrote down the recipes to take home 🙂

Of course a few drinks were had. The grad made his specialty rum drinks with OJ, sprite and cranberry juice. I put a spin on mine requesting mostly coconut water with a little OJ and cran. It would’ve been amazing with pineapple juice!

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Due to the wide variety of delicious food and drink that I knew I would not be passing up (vegan nachos? yes please!) I was sure to be up for a run before everyone got on the go.

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I ran down to the Point Prim lighthouse, which looking back would have been SUPER freaky if I had ghosts on the mind. I’m glad I didn’t because it was gorgeous early in the morning before the wind picked up. Not to mention, I haven’t seen the ocean in ages!

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Later that day we all walked up to the beach to check out the water. I in my rubber boots and my crazy bf in his bare feet :O

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It was SO nice to have (almost) everyone together. We were missing a few key people because of work and other commitments but I can’t wait to do it again! I am so lucky to have such an amazing second family as a bonus to my already amazing boyfriend.

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I am SO inexlpicably proud of my man for graduating! He worked pretty hard for this and it’s been a long time coming. Whatever comes next I will be right beside you just like you’ve been beside me through my last 3 wacked out years of engineering 😉 Oh and did I mentioned this week was our 3 year anniversary? Yep, and he’s still with me… imagine that 😉 This blurry iPhone pic is all I got till my mom shares her photos.

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Amazing weekends always end too soon </3. We were wishing we had one more night the whole drive home (at an un-haunted location, of course haha) but we saw some pretty cool sights on the way. The sunset was like a fire in the sky in Salisbury

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And a sun shower left us with a rainbow for which this picture does not do justice

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Hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day weekend whether it was a long one or not! I know Canada had its holiday last Monday but I kinda got 2 long weekends in a row due to the grad 😉

Up next… Tips for staying on track this summer (or any season for that matter!)

E xo

 

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Grand Opening

So I’m considering today the grand opening of my blog. I’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks and I think I’m finally ready to share it with friends 🙂 There’s a few beta posts prior to this if you scroll down and I hope they spark your interest. If you’re with me, stay tuned for weekly posts about my wellness journey including recipes, workouts, vegan wins and womps, and of course a little bit of engineering 😉

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I called the blog fitnessfoodandengineering because that’s what I’m all about; majorly passionate about food and fitness and a chemical engineer trying to balance my hodge podge of interests and personality traits 😉 I am not formally educated on food or fitness in anyway. I’m just a regular girl trying to create the best possible version of myself and I feel that this is what makes me relatable to those who want to improve their everyday lives too.

If you have anything you’d like me to post about, feel free to ask! I love doing my research on all things green and lean and I have a lot of info stored “up there” by now. I’ve come a long way since trading healthy fat for low fat and I would LOVE to share what I know and help you find your happy healthy self as well ❤

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– Thank you Skinny Bitch!

And thank YOU for visiting and you’re welcome back anytime. You don’t have to be vegan or a hardcore gym rat to get healthy. Every little spinach leaf counts and every step is one step closer to where you want to be 🙂

E xo

Lean, Green, Wellness Machine!

…that would be your juicer 😉 OR blender, or nutri-bullet, or whatever you can get your hands on to puree some green goodness into something you can drink!

I have an old school Hamilton Beach that I’ve become very close with over the years. The boy brought this to us when we first lived together in Toronto. I never cared much for it until I got into “juicing”. Ok, so I don’t really juice, per se… I blend. But I am still concentrating spinach, romaince, cucumber, celery, apple, pear, WHATEVER, in a quantity much greater than any normal person would ever consume in solid form on a regular basis. The only real difference is my blended concoction has more pulp than a juice (a little longer digestion time but that pulp is loaded with nutrients!). So whatever you need to do to get your greens, do it! You won’t regret it.

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My current go-to combination consists of the following:

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups of water (not needed for a juicer – womp, womp… someday!)

This recipe makes 4 mason jars of juice. I sometimes swap the cucumber for half a stalk of celery (when I say stalk I mean the entire thing, not one piece). I also switch up the apple for a pear and if I steam veggies that day I’ll pour the asparagus water in. Yes, that’s right; ASPARAGUS WATER 😉

Juices should be created and consumed same day or next. The nutrients begin to break down as soon as the veggies are torn apart. However, if you don’t have the luxury of TIME to juice every other day, buy some air-tight jars and make a big batch for 3-4 days.  I got these at our local Sobeys; 12 jars for about $15. Pumped!

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I do plan on purchasing a juicer sometime this year but I really wanted a Vita-Mix first. Still undecided but when I do I will certainly post about my future love for juiced carrots, beets, etc!

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Of course you can also go for green smoothies, which I also enjoy several times a week, or use green juice as a base for your smoothie. Throw in a banana, some extra fruit and some hemp seeds or avocado for a little healthy fat and voila: green goodness like dessert.

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My current favorite Green Monster is the Fitnessista’s Green-a-Colada:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup pineapple
  • 2 tbsp oats (or coconut)
  • 1/2 or 1 scoop protein powder
  • as much spinach as can fit…

A VERY close second is my variation of Dreena Burton‘s Drink You Greens smoothie:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 cup pineapple or cantaloupe
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • as s much spinach as can fit…

NOTE: frozen bananas make ALL the difference in the world. You can use less ice to make it cold to maintain the creamy texture vs. an icey one (unless that’s your style). Let your nanners get ripe until browning on the outside. Peel them and put them in the freezer for at least a few hours. Avocado also makes for an unbelievably smooth smoothie!

I never follow a direct recipe for my green smoothies. I just throw in whatever is on hand to get a 300-400 calories smoothie. Sometimes I need protein powder, sometimes I’d prefer a healthy fat. Mess around until you find something you like but please remember… Greens are not gross!!! They are amazing. Sure the color can get a bit swampy (or sometimes a highlighter shade) but the sweetness of the fruit completely masks the taste.  If you need to add a little agave or maple syrup to get into it… go for it!

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The benefits of juicing are endless. It gives your body an instant shot of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, energy, and more! It is best to drink your juice on an empty stomach but hey, whatever works for you.

Juices vs. smoothies, you ask?! I wouldn’t say one trumps the other, but juice has a more instant effect where your body needs to work a bit harder to break down the goodies in a smoothie. As with my blended juice, smoothies retain the pulp which again has a lot of good stuff so no harm there. Just to name a few benefits –

  • Clearer, brighter skin
  • Shinier hair
  • Improved pH balance
  • Improved immune system
  • Increased absorbance of vitamins and nutrients
  • An easy way to include more fruits and veggies into your diet
  • And on, and on and on 🙂

GET JUICING!

More green monsters and other favorite smoodee recipes to come 🙂

E xo

Pita Pit “Vegan” Options?

There is nothing more frustrating than turning something simple into something unnecessarily complicated. This applies to all aspects of life but has been particularly evident to me lately when seeking out vegan eats.

The boy and I went to Pita Pit the other night specifically because we knew there were vegan pitas. When reviewing the menu I noticed the Hummus and Baba Ghanoush pitas were listed as “vegan” specifically, and the Falafel was not. Knowing falafel does not have meat, dairy or eggs in the ingredients I had to ask why. The cashier told me it wasn’t “because of the bread”. I figured she meant there were bread crumbs in the falafel or something. Nope. She confirmed the bread to mean the pita and said it contained eggs. I was floored! “So the other two pitas aren’t really vegan then”, I said. She shook her head no and said “Some vegans eat that stuff”… Not even standing yet and floored again.

OK, ok I know some vegans are ok with the “processed in a facility that also processes…” and the “may contain traces of…”, but no vegan eats dairy or eggs. Come ON!

Immediately I haul out my iPhone and begin my research. Wait… first I order a terribly bland salad that I didn’t even have hummus on because I didn’t realize until the end that it costs 99 cents! OK Pita Pit… you’re on my last nerve!

So I sit down with my terrible salad and to the allergen info I go… my findings below:

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The pitas may contain traces of milk because they are processed in a facility that also produces these things. You can find this warning on almost ALL bread unless you purchase specialty or allergy friendly brands. Milk and eggs are not ingredients used directly in pita bread but you should always read the ingredients list. Some companies use them as unnecessary fillers….

So now I believe the large light up menu stating the hummus and baba ghanoush pitas are vegan. Phew. That would have been seriously messed up. But what is the difference with the falafel?!

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It says the same thing! “Manufactured in a facility that also processes egg”. It doesn’t even say “may contain…” So according the this document and the menu listing, hummus and baba ghanous pitas are technically safe. So what is it about the falafel? All I can think is that it must be deep fried in the same fryer as meat. I am going to call the company and get a straight answer but I was pretty upset that the cashier was so ill-informed. She basically tried to tell me that the menu signs were blatantly lying… is that not crazy to anyone else

My conclusions summarized:

1. Eggs is not even listed in the “may contain” section of the allergen info for pitas (which cashier said it contained).

2. Neither eggs nor milk is listed in the “may contain” section of the falafel (though menu says not vegan).

3. Hummus and Baba Ghanoush are not listed as being processed in a facility that also processes milk and/or eggs BUT the pitas are…

What if I was deathly allergic? What if it was against my religion to consume dairy and/or eggs? What if I am just a strong believer in veganism?! Which I am…..

I will return to Pita Pit after this mishap (for hummus or baba ghanoush pitas only) but I will most definitely be calling the company to confirm the situation with the falafel. As a new vegan, I am OK with eating foods processed in facilities that process milk and eggs (i.e. any restaurant that is not vegan-only). I am also OK with “may contain traces of” since that is due to the processing facility and not direct ingredients.  I would never eat something that had these foods in the ingredients list but I don’t believe that extreme measures are going to help my cause. It will only make my friends and family extremely annoyed and us and us vegans have to know we aren’t perfect!

Since more than 70% of all grain, soybeans and other crops are fed to farmed animals, not to humans, there is a lot more tiller death in chicken, turkey, pork and beff than in plant foods, but the point should still give vegetarians a bit of humility – Kathy Freston as quoted in Crazy, Sexy, Diet – Kris Carr.

I hope that this post will help other vegans-in-the-making when making food choices. It doesn’t just apply here either. Did you know Diana Sauce contains anchovies?! I will be sure to post again after speaking with someone from Pita Pit.

Keep on Vegan-On 😉

E xo

The Do-Anywhere Workout

The Do-Anywhere Workout #1 

Sometimes I can’t get to an actual gym while traveling or on vacation. Bodyweight circuits that require minimal space are ideal to get a sweat session in with no excuses! My head is filled with effective moves and sequences thanks to Women’s Health, Shape, BodyRock, BeachBody, numerous blogs and everything else I’ve tried over the years. I started putting my own combinations down on paper before a workout to make it as quick and efficient as possible.

I prefer circuit style workouts with short bursts of high intensity exercise and minimal rest in between. It’s easy to remember the sequence and you get the most bang for your sweaty buck 😉

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Perform the following exercises for 45 seconds each with 10 seconds rest in between (I use the “Interval Timer” app on my iPhone). Repeat the entire circuit two more times.

  1. Burpee tuck jumps
  2. Staggered one legged push ups
  3. Squat jumps
  4. Side plank oblique crunches, left
  5. Side plank oblique crunches, right

Exercise descriptions:

1. Burpee tuck jumps

  • Starting in a standing position, drop into a burpee (hands on floor, legs extended behind you) then explode up via a tuck jump.
  • Harder? Add a push up at the bottom of your burpee
  • Easier? Remove the tuck jump and explode into a straight jump or to a standing position

2. Staggered one legged push ups

  • In a push up position, bring your left hand back toward your hip and your right hand up toward your shoulder. Stack your right foot on top of your left. Do a push-up then switch your hands and your feet for each subsequent push-up.
  • Harder? Switch your hands simultaneously
  • Easier? Don’t stack your feet

3. Squat jumps

  • Starting in a standing position with feed wider than hips bend your knees and lower your hips to touch the floor with your finger tips. Explode up, reach to the ceiling then return immediately to squatting and touching the floor. Keep your back straight and core engaged!
  • Harder? Jump higher and squat lower
  • Easier? Don’t jump after squatting and/or don’t touch the floor

4. Side plank oblique crunches (left)

  • Start in a side plank, right hand on floor. Extend your left arm overhead then bring your left elbow to meet your left knee. Concentrate on squeezing your obliques to minimize the space between your ribs and hips. Return to extended side plank.
  • Harder? Don’t touch your foot to the floor between crunches
  • Easier? Put your right elbow and/or right knee on the floor

5. Side plank oblique crunches (right)

  • Repeat #4 on the opposite side.

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Record your results and save to compare the next time. There’s no better motivation than progress! In the future I’ll try to get pics of each move. Sometimes written descriptions just don’t do it!

More sweat sessions to come 😀

E xo

Cranberry Almond Power Bars

I love having grab & go foods in my fridge! It minimizes lunch prep time in the evenings and provides convenient work snacks when I’m busy or in the car. Bars and muffins are perfect pre- or post-workout snacks and even make a good bedtime treat. Since most store bought grab & go fare is full of additives and preservatives, I try to make a batch of protein bars or muffins when I prep for the week.

I should have named these the Boyfriend Bars because they’re the first homemade protein bar my boyfriend actually liked! I tweaked a recipe I found from Passionate Homemaking to suit what I had on hand and the results were amazing. I devoured one of these babies every morning for a week straight 😉

Cranberry Almond Power Bars

Makes 16 bars

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1/4 pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup medium unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted*
  • ¼ cup agave
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 5 squares dark chocolate, melted with 1 tbsp almond milk for topping

Directions:

  1. In small sauce pan, begin heating the coconut oil on low to melt it.
  2. In a food processor, combine almonds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cranberries, coconut and almond butter. Pulse for ~30 seconds.
  3. When  oil is melted, add agave and vanilla to the sauce pan and mix completely. Add the mixture to the food processor and pulse until a coarse “batter” is formed.
  4. Press the batter into an 8 x 13 baking pan or a couple of glass containers. I used two of my 8 x 5 salad containers. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until batter is “set” (i.e. hard enough to not crumble when adding your chocolate topping)
  5. When the batter is set, melt your chocolate with almond milk in a double boiler or microwave. Spoon over the bars and spread evenly.
  6. Refrigerate for at least another 20 mins before cutting. Makes ~16 squares depending on what size satisfies your morning snack attack 😉

*NOTE: Do not skimp on coconut oil! I used 1/3 cup for my first batch and it seemed too oily. I cut back to 1/4 cup the second time and the bars were crumbling apart when I tried to cut them. I measured this before melting.

Estimated Nutrition Stats (16 bars): Calories: 275, Fat: 22 g, Protein 6 g, Carbs: 15 g

This sounds like a lot of fat but compared to most store bought bars the carb content is half! Keep it mind it’s all healthy fats and this is a complete whole foods source. Healthy fats are good for weight loss, brain and heart function, and protect against numerous illnesses and ailments. But we’ll save that rant for another day 😉

Enjoy!

Liz xo

We’ve Got The Advantage

Hey ya’ll,

I’m feeling pretty good for a Monday 🙂 Today was the start of my extended chemical trial at my main account.

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In my About Me page I tell you I’m a chemical engineer working as a technical sales rep. I service the pulp and paper industry with specialty chemicals (check out Ashland Water Technologies). To keep things simple, our Next Gen “Advantage” line of defoamers has been achieving some major success lately. I bet most non-pulp and paper folks have no idea how much foam can be generated by cooking wood chips (another day, another post… 😉

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I’m SUPER excited to have the chance to test it out at my account. We are trialing the new product against one of our old Advantage products so it won’t be a win over a competitor but still, continuous improvement is a win-win for both myself and the customer 🙂

Days like today always seem to require a lot of running around, testing, monitoring data and talking with everyone involved. I got on the go first thing to get some entrained air data. The amount of entrained air in the pulp stock is a good indication of how well our defoamer is working.

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With a physically demanding job (and 64 stairs that I climb 7092375 x per day) a girl requires some serious #fitfuel to keep her going! The guys at work joke a lot about how I never stop eating but I am most efficient when eating small meals every 2-3 hours. I gotta start my day with something energy packed like PROats or a giant smoothie. I am currently on a #smoothieaday challenge for the month of May. I never imagined I would be so in love after being  pretty much oats or nothing for years!

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I put together my lunch/snacks for work the night before. I usually roll with fruit and a homemade bar in the mornings, a giant salad for lunch, and veggies and hummus in the afternoon. I tried to keep track of my eats everyday… otherwise as calorie intake –>infinity, progress = 0! Yeah, I like to eat 😉

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Buy yourself a cute little notebook. It makes it much easier 😉

I’ll be posting about my work week which will get a lot more fun when PAPTAC starts. Despite my jam packed schedule I will be squeezing in those Les Mills classes no matter what! Today I hit up some evening BodyPump and tomorrow night is my favorite class – Tuesday night BodyAttack  🙂 The remainder of the week will require a few 5:45 am sweat sessions but it’s worth to get it in and still participate in the evening events. Unfortunately Friday mornings only offer RPM (the ONE class I cannot get into). That brings me to my next post…. 🙂

Stay tuned for one of my do-anywhere workouts! If you’re joining me Friday, be sure to drink your greens 😉

E xo