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 ❤

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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 ❤

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 🙂

Happy Birthday, Swim!

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

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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 ❤

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

Winter Staycation + Traditional Stew

Hey 🙂

How was your weekend? Mine was exactly what I needed… a few evenings at home to reset and recharge.

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Valentine’s Day was just what I’d hoped for; a lovely dinner at Brewbaker’s with my sweetheart featuring Thai Vermicelli, the signature vegan dish available upon request, and a glass of vino. Did you know one rose means I love you? ❤

Dinner was followed by a relaxing evening at home with chocolates, more wine, and this little party animal passing out by 10:30 😉

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The good news? My BodyStep instructor told me that’s the secret: start early and end early. You can have just as much fun and still make it to Step the next morning… lol

Regardless, I still felt abnormally exhausted all day Saturday. I guess it was just the busy week and previous social weekends catching up with me. We were originally supposed to head to Salisbury for the night to see Meag before she went back to the west coast but the weather was having none of that. After Friday’s weather bomb covered us in snow and freezing rain, another storm hit Saturday night that buried us again.

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Anticipating the storm, we and decided to stick close to home, spending Saturday shopping around and running some errands. A little staycation actually sounded pretty good since I clearly needed some time to recharge.

I bought a new winter jacket which I desperately needed. It seems I only own long coats and one warm jacket which I wear to work so it smells like pulpmill… Mmm.. this super light, down alternative jacket will be perfect for to-and-from and is unbelievably warm. I was skeptical about the colour at first but the lovely lady at the Radical Edge convinced me it was a good choice. She was right. Thanks Kaylee 😉

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Since we were snowed in for most of the day on Sunday I decided it was the perfect day for some housework I’d been putting off. Most people would consider this laundry, sweeping & dishes….

Child’s play. I was ready to clean & organize my fridge and drawers. Don’t judge. I like clean.

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I also made a big pot of traditional-style stew which filled our apartment with the smell of “home”. It was the perfect comfort food for a cold, wintery Sunday evening.

I usually make something like my Spicy Sweet Potato Tofu Stew but went the more “traditional” route this time. By traditional I mean the kind of stew my mom used to make with beef and lots of root veggies. By “traditional” I mean tofu in place of beef 😉

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If you’ve never added tofu to your veggie stew you’re missing out! It absorbs the flavour of the broth, spices, & veggies and gets oh so soft in the slow cooker…. omnomnom!

I bet you want the recipe, don’t you? If you’re an Atlantic Canadian you can totally appreciate this kind of soul warming goodness! If you’re living some place that you’re not buried in snow, you might not be as excited to dig in to a big hot bowl of stew. For my fellow east coasters, here’s what’s in the Crockpot:

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“Traditional” Stew with Tofu

Serves approx. 8

  • 2 medium sweet potato
  • 3 medium white potato
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small turnip
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 block tofu, pressed
  • 2 cartons veggie broth
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp thyme, dried
  • 2 tbsp oregano, dried
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Chop your veggies and add all ingredients to a large slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. My Crockpot was FULL so it needed the entire 8 hours.

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This is a dish best served the following day. I would almost recommend NOT eating it the day of, and waiting to enjoy it when the flavours are fully incorporated.

I’m thinking about another WIAW post this week if I can remember to photograph my meals before I devour them 😉 Stay tuned!

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So how about you…

Are you sick of the snow yet?
Are you a fan of homemade stews?

Liz xo

Currently in January

Oh hey there 😉

I’m feeling something a little different on the blog today… If you’re a regular reader of mine you know my blog is mostly informative posts, recipes, & workouts. I tend to stray from the personal posts for the most part. I guess because I feel like that’s why I started this… to inform and inspire, not to talk about myself.

But I love knowing what my favourite bloggers are up to outside of their kitchens & the gym. That’s part of the inspiration factor… What does a fitness & health blogger do when she’s not doing fitness & health related activities?

I got a lot of positive feedback about my WIAW post so I thought I’d jump on the “currently” train as well, a post theme created by Me and the Mountains. I’m sure my current eats & workouts will find their way in there regardless, so let’s do it 😉

Currently in January

Current books:

The Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green – Starre Vartan. I’m not going to lie… I take forever to read a book. Mostly because I get busy with other tasks then lose my desire to go back to it. Plus I always seem to have a fiction and a non-fiction on the go at the same time. Currently I also have Wheat Belly half read…. get it together Liz!

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But about the Eco Chick – awesome book so far! I’m very interested in learning about how my everyday behaviours affect the environment. The best part is that the author gives brand names of eco-friendly products she personally uses (including furniture and jeans!) and practical advice on how to change your habits.

Current music:

Lorde – Pure Heroine. I’ve had the entire album on repeat for days and Moksha yoga has been using her songs on their class playlists all month. Love it!

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Current guilty pleasure:

Dipping my finger in the Dark Chocolate Dreams. At least once a day. Oh my…

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Current nail colour:

Fingers? Au Naturel… I can’t keep polish from chipping with my job so I ALWAYS rock toe nail polish. Currently my tootsies are painted in OPI’s Jade is the New Black 🙂

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Current Drink:

Juice, juice and more juice! Ryan thought he felt something coming on this week so I’m thankful we started juicing regularly again (at least 3 x per week). We’ve been able to avoid getting sick so far this year so hopefully #plantpower doesn’t fail me now 😉 Current favourite recipe? The usual suspects. Check out my fave juice recipes.

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Current food:

These 3-ingredients cookies I saw on my friend Britt’s Instagram. Combine 2 mashed ripe bananas with 1 cup of oats and fold in 1/4 cup chocolate chips (Camino or Enjoy Life are vegan). Bake for 13-15 min at 350 C. SO YUMMY!

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Current favourite show:

The Bachelor. No shame. This could part of the reason for slacking on the books 😉

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Current wishlist:

New WARM winter boots! I love my Hunter’s but they are not warm unless wearing massive socks. I’ve been eyeing these Sorel Tivoli boots 😉

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Current needs:

More sleep. I’ve been getting back into bad habits of staying up late and sleeping past my first and second alarm. This leads to cranky, rushed mornings. Me no likey.

Current triumphs:

I did my first supported headstand (Sirasana) this week at hot yoga! I was shocked at how easily my legs floated upward after struggling to find the pose numerous times. My progressive strength and flexibility are amazing me every week 🙂

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Current bane of my existence:

My 30-day yoga challenge. I’m on day 28/30 and so far I’ve only missed one day for the BodyAttack new release class. I did a couple of weight sessions this month but put 95% of my focus on yoga. I wanted to go all in and really see a 30 day challenge could do for me.  I never imagined I would fall in love with yoga like this and I’m kind of sad my unlimited pass is almost up 😦 So what’s next?…. you’ll just have to stay tuned, of course!

Current celebrity crush:

Can a pod-caster count as a celebrity? If so it’s totally Rich Roll right now… I’ve been loving The Rich Roll Podcast and I’ve learned SO MUCH from his episodes. Every day after work I have a new fact or 10 to share with Ryan. Here’s the iTunes description of the podcast:

In The Rich Roll Podcast, vegan ultra-athlete and #1 bestselling author of the inspirational memoir “Finding Ultra”, Rich Roll discusses all things wellness with some of the brightest and most forward thinking minds in health & fitness, including world-class athletes, doctors, nutritionists, trainers, entrepreneurs & artists. Topics include: general fitness & endurance, ultra-endurance multisport training, vegan / plant-based nutrition / cooking, meditation, yoga, sustainable lifestyle and beyond. The goal? To help empower YOU to become your best, most authentic self.

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Current indulgence:

Saturday night drinks has been a more frequent occurrence lately and I’m OK with that. I enjoy having drinks with friends and decided to stop over-thinking the calories and just enjoy it once in a while. Life is too short. Do what makes you happy 🙂

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Current blessing:

A warm house, with hot water and power during this  freezing cold winter. That might sound like such a small, simple thing but after the power outages over the holidays in Ontario and New Brunswick I’ve been especially grateful for the necessities.

Current slang:

Brain trust. A guy at work uses this to refer to anyone who’s smart (or not) but drives him crazy with their ideas and theories. I told him this week I was going to take it up.

Current outfit:

Tights & heavy sweaters. Everywhere. It’s been ridiculously cold here for the entire winter so far (except for a most appreciated week in mid-January) and I can’t stand to be cold.

Current excitement:

Two upcoming weekends with one of my best girlfriends, Meag 😀 She’s been in Fort MacMurray since last March and I’ve only seen her for a few days in September since she left. I can’t even describe my excitement to spend some girl time with her ❤

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Current mood:

Content. I am very content with where I am life and I am not questioning where I am supposed to be. This is it. The present moment is the only one that I can truly control and I am happiest when I am present 🙂

Current link:

Pandora Internet Radio! Ryan started a music channel with a few artists he likes and as Pandora started introducing similar content we’ve been up-voting/down-voting to make the channel our own personal favourite music station. We like almost all of the same music except Ryan’s not a huge fan of Katy Perry… What’s with that?!

So tell me, what are you currently into?

Liz xo

The Versatile Blogger Award

Today I am feeling extremely grateful to have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by both Megan @ Whole Food Runner and Monetta @ Sayana Yoga Lifestyle. Check out these lovely ladies for healthy recipes, workouts & inspiration!

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The rules:

  1. Display the award certificate on your blog
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you
  3. Present 15 awards to 15 deserving bloggers
  4. Inform your nominees that you have nominated them
  5. Write 7 random facts about yourself

My nominations:

Please don’t feel pressured to accept! This is just a fun post going around my blogging community 🙂

  1. A Fresh Start for Molly
  2. Little Bliss Book
  3. Bridget’s Vegan Kitchen
  4. Fooood 4 The Heart 
  5. Ja on the Run
  6. Fitting Into Vegan
  7. This and That Cat
  8. Veg Charlotte
  9. C How I Do
  10. Life as Lisa Knows It
  11. And This is Thirty
  12. Made of Stars
  13. Olive to Run
  14. Hello Healthy Eating
  15. Minus Thirty Three

Thanks again to the ladies who nominated me!

Liz xo

Walking on Sunshine

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I am both surprised and honoured to have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by the lovely Catherine at VegCharlotte! This isn’t the usual sort of post you would see from me but it’s fun to take part in interactive blogging so I’m going to accept 🙂

The rules for Sunshine Award are:

1   Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2   Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
3   Answer the same 10 questions given.
4   Nominate up to 10 blogs for the award, a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
5   Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.

Sunshine Q&A:

1. Where would you most like to travel to?

I would love to travel to Europe. I’ll start with London, Paris & Rome but I’d like to see the entire continent. Europe is so far ahead when it comes to fashion, music, green-living, and animal rights. Did you know Europe has banned the sale of animal-testing products? Love it!

2. Do you have a sweet tooth?

No, I have 14 of them! Sweets are definitely my weakness. I now make more of an effort to choose more naturally sweetened foods. I try to avoid refined sugar altogether and limit my treats to special occasions but sometimes you just need a cookie!

3. What motivates you to keep you blogging?

My constant excitement for all things health & fitness and my burning desire to share it with the world! I would love for everyone I know to discover how great their bodies are designed to feel.

4. Who is your favourite comedian?

I enjoy a little Louis C.K. But who doesn’t love Ellen?

5. What is your favourite outdoor activity?

I love hiking. It’s more intense than walking but you can still enjoy a conversation with a friend. Being in nature is calming, refreshing, and proven to be good for your health 😉

6. Who was your favourite teacher and why? 

I will never forget, Ms. MacKinnon, grade 2. Yes, that was a long time ago but her and my mom were great friends for a long time after that and she still holds a special place in my heart.

7. Do you own any pets?

Not at the moment, but definitely in the future!

8. Most embarrassing moment in your life?

I can’t pinpoint the MOST embarrassing moment, but once I was at a bar in Toronto and I didn’t know there was a step up to the dance floor (how stupid is that?!) and I was running for my favourite song and … you can guess the rest lol

9. Where are you from?

The beautiful Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada. I grew up in Glace Bay where I lived until I was 21.

10. How much would could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? 

It would chuck more would than a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. That’s all I got. I’m not really that funny.

Nominations

I made my nominations based on blogs I like to follow and also who I thought might be interested in accepting. I know this isn’t every blogger’s kind of thing. If you’ve already received or simply aren’t interested, no pressure! Just move along and continue being the lovely blogger you are 🙂

Colleen @ C How I Do
Georgia @ Georgia’s Trying Something New
Celeste @ Honk If You’re Vegan
Hannah @ Clean Eating Veggie Girl
Victoria @ Minus 33
Margaret @ Plant Strong Vegan
Megan @ Whole Food Runner
Anastasia @ Working Out & Eating In
Joey @ Road to a 100 
Poppy @ Poppy’s Patisserie

Have a sunny day!

Liz xo