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 🙂

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

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