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 🙂

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

Persinnamon Heart Smoothie

Well…

What a week this has been. I am more than ready for the weekend and can’t wait to tune out for 2 whole days 🙂 I don’t want to be one of those people who wait all week for Friday but I really, really LOVE Fridays! I have something to love about every other day of the week too… Bachelor Mondays, BodyAttack Tuesdays…. but no day will ever compare to Friday. Not even if Juan Pablo showed up at my door with a rose every Wednesday. My boyfriend is way cooler anyway 😉

My only worry… I woke up this morning with a throbbing sore throat! I’ve been taking extremely good care of myself so I am hoping that I can kick this before Saturday night’s events. I pulled out all the stops this morning:

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Juice
Wheatgrass shots
Echinacea
Ginger tea with lemon
And packed a lunch full of fruit and veggies (did you know kale has more vitamin C than an orange per 100 g?)

Who needs luck when you have PLANT POWER! If you want to know exactly how I’ve avoided getting sick for over a year you can read about my witchcraft here 😉

Speaking of delicious fruits, loaded with vitamin C and other bug-fighting abilities, how about them persimmon?

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These little gems have about 70 calories per 100 g and contain loads of vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. They are a very good source of vitamin-C, especially native Chinese and American persimmon which provide 80% of the daily recommended intake.

Persimmon have many B-complex vitamins such as folic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), thiamin, etc.  For more details on the health benefits, check out this source.

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Persimmon is the star in February’s smoothie of the month, combined with the key to any great smoothie – banana, a little natural sweetness from dates, and a warm hug from a some cinnamon and spice.

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There are no cinnamon hearts involved directly, but the persimmon-cinnamon (persinnamon) smoothie holds the key to my post-yoga heart this February. Try it, you’ll like it 🙂

Persinnamon Heart Smoothie

Serves 2

  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 2 persimmon, peeled
  • 1 banana*
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • pinch nutmeg
  • optional: 1 cup spinach

Blend everything up in your weapon of choice and garnish with a cinnamon stick if you’re fancy like that!

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*For a banana substitution, try 1/4-1/2 an avocado (warning: this will turn your smoothie light green) or 1/2 cup coconut yogurt. For added sweetness, toss in an extra date or 2 until desired results are achieved. For a thicker consistency, decrease the almond milk and/or increase the cashews.

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Have an amazing weekend and stay on top of your health this winter 🙂

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

Fit Friday: Stability Ball Plank Circles

It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday 😀

And here I am with another Fit Friday move from the stability ball series. Sorry I just can’t help myself, the ball has so many possibilities!

Speaking of stability…

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Have you ever heard of a core balance cushion? Superstore (Loblaws) has a new line of yoga and gym gear called Jogi. They have everything from kettle bells to athletic gloves to yoga mats. This cushion is partially inflated and most comfortably used when sitting upright, with good posture. If you try to slouch you kind of fall off the side. It can be used anywhere but is recommended for yoga and Pilates to add a balance challenge.

A co-worker showed me this yoga “seat” last week and said she uses it to encourage active sitting at her desk. She’s had two hip transplants and gets really stiff after sitting for a while. Using the ball apparently really helps!

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Of course I had to try one out…

I’ve been a fan of my homemade stand up desk for a couple of months now but I can’t stand all day long. Now when I sit, at least it’s active sitting 🙂

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Fit Friday: Stability Ball Plank Circles

AKA: Swiss, Balance, or Exercise Ball (Plank) Circles
Weight/Equipment: Stability Ball
Reps: 3 sets of 10-12 reps

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Method: Start in a low plank position, with your forearms on the ball, elbows directly under shoulders. Keep your back flat, hips down, & core engaged.

Begin to make a circle with your forearms, moving them to the right, out in front of you, to the left, then back to start. That’s one rep.

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Keep your entire core engaged, and your knees locked to help your balance. Try making 10-12 circles clockwise, then repeat counter-clockwise. Perform at least 3 sets in sequence or as part of a circuit.

This is honestly one of the best core exercises you probably aren’t doing.

For more from the stability ball series check out these moves or head straight to the Fitness page:

Have a fit & healthy weekend 😉

Liz xo

Black Is The New Brown {Rice}

Hey friends 🙂

How’s your week going so far? Have you done something to get moving today? How about yesterday?

As part of our #JumpstartJanuary challenge, Georgia and I got together last night for a Hatha Yoga class from our friend Rachel at the YMCA. Afterwards, we met up with Kaylee and took over one of the private workout rooms to totally kick each others butts with a quick circuit.

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Georgia says that’s a fake smile because I made her do burpees… muahaha >:)

As much as I am loving my 30 day yoga challenge, I still want to keep up with my weight-training and HIIT. Yes hot yoga is challenging and yes I’ve been sore pretty much everyday but I don’t want to lose what I’ve gained at the gym.

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The purpose of JSJ is not to workout everyday, its to do something to MOVE everyday. The longer you sit, the slower your metabolism, even if you exercise later! The Lean Green Bean posted an amazing list of mini-routines to “Move for 5” this week. Brittany @ My Own Balance is also posting tips to help you #JumpstartJanuary all month long!

Now onto some foodie fun…

Food for Life recently contacted me and asked if I was interested in reviewing their new Black Rice Tortillas. I jumped at the opportunity since this is my first food product review on the blog! I love Food for Life’s products, especially their Ezekial bread and brown rice tortillas.

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The black rice tortillas are vegan, gluten-free, and yeast-free but what really sparked my interest was in the product details on their website:

“Many don’t know this, but black rice rivals and often exceeds some of the most notable antioxidant rich foods. Plus it’s loaded with natural fiber – A great healthy alternative to traditional wheat flour tortillas.” 

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Since we made two batches of Buffalo Cauliflower last weekend (yes, I have an addiction), Ryan suggested I make buffalo cauliflower wraps with the tortillas. Perfect.

I topped the tortillas with sauteed red pepper & onion, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and buffalo cauliflower. I enjoyed one wrap with a side salad for dinner and packed the other for the next day’s lunch!

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So what did I think?

Well… I really, really love the brown rice tortillas. I enjoyed the black rice version but I didn’t love them quite as much. The texture was a little tough but this could be due to thawing then re-freezing during transit time. They were, however, very malleable and didn’t crack or break when rolling into wraps. Sometimes this happens with gluten-free tortillas and it always happens with whole wheat pitas, grrr!

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I had a feeling that I might enjoys these most as baked pitas triangles as a side or an appetizer, dipped in salsa or hummus. We had my all-time favourite Mexican Lettuce Wraps for a quick dinner on Thursday night so I baked up a few pitas for a side. I loved them like this!

Overall, it was nice to try something different than my usual Ezekial  or brown rice fare but I think I still prefer brown to black rice.

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So is black the new brown rice? I’d say it depends on the person. This chick will probably be sticking to the original 😉

Big thanks to Food for Life for the opportunity to review their product! If you have any questions about any of their products you can check out foodforlife.com or contact them for more information.

Are you a fan of Food for Life products?

Have you tried the new Black Rice Tortillas?

Liz xo

*Food for Life supplied me with tortillas but I was not compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own*