Fresh herbs add flavour to summer salads

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I love my herb garden. This year I’m growing basil, parsley,lemon thyme, sage, oregano,coriander and even curry.
Next time you make a salad, try adding fresh parsley and basil to your salad greens. It will brighten things up.

Are we eating too much?

I’ve been wanting to introduce this topic for quite some time. It’s spring and its time to clean out my closet again and get rid of the excess “stuff”. I know a few of you are giggling with me right now. I am serious this time. Clean out your closet, get rid of those fb friends, who by the way aren’t your “real” friends anyhow and just lighten the load 🙂
Most of my posts are centered around food and recipes and well, eating, naturally. This one is about eating less. I happened upon this program that speaks to a few of those benefits. (see below)
I will caution you that some of what you’ll see is extreme. There are easier ways to fast and one can fast without feeling hungry.
I myself am no stranger to Intermittent fasting. Over the years I’ve tried various kinds of fasting, (some call it cleansing) with varied success. I haven’t necessarily thought about weight loss as the outcome but more so, the added energy. At first, the idea of fasting seems daunting, especially because you will want to carry on with your normal day of training whether its Crossfit or otherwise.
As your body adapts, and it will, and as you allow the process to do its work, giving your digestive system a rest, you will find that you have more energy. And who doesn’t want more energy?
And that’s not all. There are a host of other health benefits associated with intermittent fasting. Click on the link below to watch (Eat, fast and live longer with Michael Mosley)
Let me know what you think.
In my next post I will discuss how you can incorporate daily fasting for added energy and better performance during exercise.
http://www.pbs.org/search/?q=eat%2C%20fast%20and%20live%20longer

a glass of green goodness

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Enjoy this smoothie today and everyday
Ingredients:

700 ml of organic coconut water or coconut milk
1 scoop whey isolate (vanilla)
1 large handful of spinach
2 celery stalks
1 tbsp maca powder
1 tbsp cacao nibs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 whole lemon squeezed (optional but good)

Blend and enjoy. This is one serving. Consume one hour prior to working out.

17 Minutes of my yesterday

Yesterday marked the first day of the Reebok Crossfit Open competiton. The competition is open to anyone and everyone in the world. Over 110,000 people have signed up to compete this year. If you are part of a Crossfit affiliate then you know exactly what I’m speaking of. If not, you can check out this link http://games.crossfit.com for a full description.
With every day leading up to this competition many athletes speculated on what Crossfit HQ would throw at us for a first workout or WOD13.1. Here it is:
Workout 13.1
17 minute AMRAP( as many reps as possible) of:
40 Burpees
30 Snatch, 75 / 45 lbs
30 Burpees
30 Snatch, 135 / 75 lbs
20 Burpees
30 Snatch, 165 / 100 lbs
10 burpees
Max rep Snatch, 210 / 120 lbs

Yay burpees!! Not so much. I don’t know a lot of people who enjoy burpees, or snatch. For a description of what a power snatch is you can check this out. (http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/OlympicLifts/PowerSnatch.html)

I had decided to complete this workout yesterday. Was I nervous? Duh?, yes I was! Broken and taped together,( a fact, not a plea for sympathy) I gave it my best shot. It’s done. Sigh!! Could I have gone faster, could I have completed a few more reps? What could I have done differently? Oh, so many questions. In the end I’ve ascertained that I did do my best on the day. Would the competitive me have wanted to squeeze out a few more reps out. Hells ya!
Upon reflection, I know that I’ve done what I could do to prepare for this. This past year, my body has been breaking down from time to time. I know I’m not the only one facing the challenges of being an older, well, I prefer ‘seasoned’ athlete. I have to trust that my training has prepared me for anything or any workout this competition throws at me. If I haven’t prepared properly, it’s too damn late now to worry about it.
I’d rather celebrate it. 🙂 Now, it’s time for me thank my body with a good long therapeutic massage. And a good glass of wine. Cheers

Role Models

Positive role models:  

 I have to admit,  I’m not one for holding people up on a pedestal.  Perhaps this is partly due to the fact that I grew up in a family with two sisters and one brother, the latter who never committed a wrongful act(or at least was never accused of it). It’s an Italian thing I suppose.  I was just born this way.  It’s not my fault.  And I wished I was a boy, because life would have been so much easier. The boys in Italian families get away with more.   It’s just a simple fact.  With that said, my big brother did have a very positive impact on my life.  As a young boy, he would have liked to play hockey, the National sport of Canada, however our family didn’t have the means to support this so he borrowed some skates from a neighbourhood friend and taught himself how to skate on a local pond.  I followed by borrowing a pair of skates which were too small and skated for hours in the bitter cold until I couldn’t feel my toes.  I remember this day as if it was yesterday.  There I was, 7-year-old me, screaming in pain while my father rubbed my feet.  He thought he was helping.  If you’ve ever had frostbite you know that this would NOT be the course of treatment.  

So back to my brother.  Growing up his little sister, I watched him get into any sport he could.  He had such a passion for sports.  He played basketball, football, tennis, track, pond hockey and even raced annually in our neighbourhood soap box derby.  He excelled at everything he did because he had heart and passion and dedication.  He wasn’t the most gifted athlete,yet still managed to become the most valuable player in every sport he played.  He really was a great athlete and continued to be well into his 40’s, playing touch football at the National level with men half his age. 

It wasn’t easy to follow in his footsteps.  I did the best I could do.  When he trained for football and basketball I would run with him and participate in speed and agility drills.  He pushed me and I pushed myself even more because I wanted him to be proud of his little sister. 
Several years later as adults he once told me I would have been a great athlete had I not discovered boys. hmm… I took it as a compliment. More to the point, was his positive influence on me.  No matter what I do in sport or otherwise, even though I may not be the best  or most gifted I will always try my best.  

 

My husband is the most important role model in my life.  He too, grew up in hard times.  Worked as a child on the family farm.  Was operating a tractor at age 8, hauling bushels of grapes during wine season every day after school.  Even though he would have liked to be playing soccer with his buddies. 

 He’d try escaping his chores during football and soccer season. Knowing full well that he had chores, he would stay after school to participate in a practice session when his father would show up, and with one whistle he’d drop everything, run to the car go home and do his chores.  There were no exceptions or choices.

Somehow, he managed to play and excel at sports and academics.  The evidence is in the multiple trophies and awards his mother gladly packaged up for me when we wed.  With so much being demanded of him, he learned how to manage his time at an early age.  

When our first son was three we enrolled him in a house league soccer team. The teams were mixed and many of us moms did a lot of hand holding on the field.  Some kids were more interested in picking dandelions.LOL  But as the years passed, they too learned how to pass a ball and work together as a team. My husband has played an active role in coaching both our boys. They both started playing soccer at the tender age of three. He has always found the time in his hectic schedule to dedicate and share his passion and knowledge for soccer.  Over the years, he has taken boys of no skill whatsoever and has instilled in them the confidence they need to play with more naturally talented boys.  No easy feat.

It’s exciting for him to see his players articulate those skills in a game which he has taught in practice sessions.

In one particular indoor soccer season, he was allotted a group of mixed talented twelve-year-old boys, a few of which had never had contact with a soccer ball.  With every week that advanced, we witnessed the growing confidence of these boys.  My husband received several thanks from parents both during and the end of the season.  One particular thank you stood out and spoke volumes.

 “Dear Coach Terry,

Jason has been having a great season – I really appreciate how you make the practices fun, emphasize the importance of good sportsmanship and also the positive reinforcement.

There are lots of lessons in not winning and giving it your best shot. It has been pretty pleasing to watch the boys continue to try to work together even when things aren’t going their way.

Thanks for giving of your time.”

If you have a story of someone who has positively influenced your life, share it with me.

Easy tips to stay happy even on a grey day

Thanks to HAPPSTERS for these 5 HAPPINESS TIPS

The Happsters

Happiness Tips

I wrote a guest blog post for the Anjana Network a few weeks ago on my top 5 happiness tips. Here they are in a condensed format for you to enjoy. What is your top happiness tip?

Want to be an official Happster & get free happy notes? Sign up here: http://tinyurl.com/imahappster

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Can’t afford not to eat this

How much do you think this costs?

Food prices are on the rise. Have at look at this article. http://www.thestar.com/life/food_wine/2012/12/07/food_prices_predicted_to_rise_in_canada_in_2013.html

Our Canadian climate doesn’t afford us the luxury of growing our own vegetables in the winter. If you’re like me, and you are consuming vegetables at every meal, you’ll likely be shopping a few times a week for your produce and you’ll pay $$.

With food costs going up how can we make buying produce more affordable? In the summer, we’ll plant a garden, but that’s a future post. 😉
Take a guess at how much I spent on all this produce?

To make it simpler, I will give you an itemized list.
Oh, by the way, I had already put 6 small zucchini in the fridge.

LIST:

6 small zucchini
1 broccoli
1 small cauliflower
3 large red onions
2 green onions
5 avocados
8 limes
1 rosemary
1 thyme
2 pints blueberries
1 large pre-washed bag spinach
2 large yellow beets
2 large red beets
3 medium cucumbers
6 small bulbs garlic
2 large red peppers
1 large green pepper
1 medium yellow pepper
1 large parsley
1 large cilantro
2 large jalapeno peppers

Remember your first time?

Aside

It’s been almost 5 years since I first stepped foot in a Crossfit box. I remember watching in awe as a men and women performed kipping pull-ups, lifted heavy weights, jumped repeatedly on high wooden boxes and ran out the door , down the road and back only to start over again. They followed a laundry list of elements written on a white board. The list of elements commonly referred to as a WOD (workout of the day). First thing that came to mind was,

” I want to be able to do that.”

Having come from a few different globo gyms then a private training studio, it was a bit of an adjustment. 

No mirrors, no televisions, little to no equipment….just one big open space.  I walked in, and there I was.  Nowhere to hide. The only thing I was somewhat familiar with was the concept of group classes.  

I may have looked fit.  I had tone and some muscle from years of lifting and working out.  However, my fitness routine was just that. ROUTINE. I was quickly judged by my appearance and therefore expected to lift heavy weights at high reps (a common fault of newbie coaches). I tried but soon realized that I needed to scale back from RX (prescribed). On that note, I had no idea what RX or WOD meant for months. I was too embarrassed to ask. LOL

I knew there were two numbers on the whiteboard, the first was always higher and is the mens weight. So I worked my way up to lift the second (lower number). Back in those days, it looked like this: RX 95/65. HA!!! There are still many WODS that prescribe these weights. But the trend has been more and heavier over the years.

After my very first workout, I was never so sore. It took me days to recover and then back I went for more, to suffer alongside others. There was a crazy sick feeling in my gut as the clock counted down…3,2,1,GO! Many of the movements were foreign to me. Only a few came naturally (maybe just skipping) 🙂

Many of the movements have taken me some time to figure out, and I’m still figuring things out to this day.

Everything else was new to me. For one, the concept of writing one’s time on the whiteboard. The idea was and still is all about getting more work done faster. The more efficiently one moves, the quicker one is finished. Every second counts. The element of competition in a workout was also new to me. In sport, yes, but was Crossfit a sport 5 years ago? If it wasn’t then, it is now.

For me, it’s really just a kick ass workout.

Write back. I’d love to hear about your first experience with Crossfit.