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community, happiness, Lifestyle, motivation

7 Day Meditation Challenge

Last week I decided to try something new – meditation! Now, technically this wasn’t really my first time attempting meditation but it was my first time taking it seriously.

For the past month, I’ve felt scattered. Forcing myself to becoming a morning person, along with a new workout routine, new goals, and the list goes on. I’ve been putting stuff on my plate hoping to fill a void in my motivation but nothing seemed to be working. Which is why I decided to attempt the 7 Day Meditation Challenge.

I decided to invite a few people along to help keep me motivated. It was nice to have a small community of ladies to keep me on track – shout out to them because I don’t know if I would have finished without their support.

Here’s how the week went…

Day 1 – (3 minutes)
And those we’re the longest three minutes of my day…WOW. I had no idea how chaotic my mind was until I tried to round it up for a few minutes. I thought of the weirdest things – old memories, recipes, friends. It took a lot of effort to sit still for that time. I decided to try my practice on my dining room floor, seated on a comfy blanket, I kept it simple but it didn’t work out too well.

Day 2 – (5 minutes)
They said meditation takes practice but I’ll be honest, I’m a person who wants things to come natural the first time. And when day one didn’t go so well, I expected day two to go PERFECTLY. No…it’s a harsh reality but this meditation thing takes more than two days to master. But, it did get better! I actually focused for the first three minutes and lost my mind for the last two. Overall, I gave it a win. 

Day 3 – (7 minutes)

Today I tried something new. A friend of mine suggested trying my meditation after my workout, when my body is more relaxed. So I finished my workout and relaxed for 7 minutes. It went surprisingly well. It was a great way to start the day and I focused for over half the time! I started to feel the benefits of taking some time for myself in the morning.

Day 4 – (9 minutes)

On day four, I decided to attempt meditation laying down. I placed a blanket on my living room floor and laid on it. I made sure it wasn’t too comfortable so I wouldn’t fall asleep. I focused well on the floor. I felt at ease with my thoughts, again it wasn’t for the full 9 minutes but I could focus for atleast five minutes. Every day it seems to be increasing. I still haven’t perfected it but I’ll take the progress.

Day 5 – (11 minutes)

On day five, I did my practice in my gym, surrounded by my cats, facing the mirror. It was actually really empowering to sit tall and look myself in the eyes with only positive thoughts. It gave me the attitude that I could take on anything thrown my way, which was just what I needed!

Day 6 – (13 minutes)

Day 6 was a challenge…I was getting ready to drive to my parents (which is about a 2.5 hour drive) and instead of focusing to better myself and the day I had ahead, I focused on my BIG to do list. I really had to force myself to finish because all I could think was the time I was wasting. Thirteen minutes doesn’t seem like much but I could have been showering or packing my bag. I was so discouraged in myself from failing at this challenge but I decided to reattempt it later while driving (don’t worry, I was very safe about it) and it gave me peace for trying.

Day 7 – (15 minutes)
I’ll be honest. I forgot to do day seven…I was away visiting my family and spending time with friends that it completly slipped my mind. But I’ll tell you this, I’ve never felt more at peace than on this past Sunday. It was the first time ever that I nursed a hangover with a smile. I was truly filled with joy and true content for the first time in a while. I believe the meditation helped with that.

To wrap it up, a week of meditation can do you good but if you really want to reap the benefits of the practice you really do need to make a habit of it – even 10 minutes a day.

Meditation has MANY benefits including:

  • Reducing stress
  • Improving concentration
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Promoting emotional health
  • Impoving sleep
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • And the list goes on!

So I challenge you to take a few minutes today to meditate. Download an app, find a youtube video or just focus on your own. It will really make a difference in your day. If you need any help, motivation or tips, feel free to send me a message, I would love to help you!

“Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.”
~Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

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Pumpkin Pie Shake

I’m fully embracing this beautiful season with pumpkin everything (as most of us often do). Here’s a recipe to start your morning with a delicious pumpkin pie shake filled with fiber, vitamin A, tryptophan and zinc!


Pumpkin Pie Shake

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup water
  • ¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp . pure maple syrup (or raw honey)
  • 1 Tbsp . coarsely chopped raw pecans
  • 1 tsp . pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup ice

Instructions

  1. Place water, almond milk, Shakeology, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, pecans, pumpkin pie spice, and ice in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.

 

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
– George Eliot
Lifestyle, married life, Uncategorized

Post-Vacation Blues

There’s nothing better then the feeling of relaxation and indulgence while on vacation but when you get home you feel anxious, bloated and in shock of reality. We’ve all been there!

I wouldn’t trade my vacation memories for the world but we’ve been home for a few weeks now and I still feel like I’m suffering from the post-vacation blues. We had a very busy summer filled with weddings and adventures. Out of the 12 weekends of summer, we may have been home for two. It’s hard to stay on track when you’re always on the road. Thankfully, I have an awesome partner that has helped me get back on track.

If you’re still mourning the loss the summer 2017, here are a few tips to fight the Post Vacation Blues (or post summer blues):

  1. Treat yourself: Ok, yes. I treat myself ALOT but I think that’s how I stay on track. I’ve truly made this journey a lifestyle by not depriving myself of everything. Now I’m not saying eat an entire cheesecake everyday but a sliver can’t hurt. Find the joy in a simple treat and you’ll be back on track in no time.
  2. Find a workout that suits your lifestyle: Working out plays a huge role in getting back on track. When picking a workout, you need to think of two things: finding something you enjoy and something you have time for. If you only have 30 minutes in the morning, then pick a workout that only takes 30 minutes! Also, pick something that you enjoy and want to wake up to do. If you have fun with your workout, it makes it easier to stick it!
  3. Don’t beat yourself up: You’re finally getting back into your routine. It’s not easy to get back on track so don’t beat yourself up when you miss a workout or splurge too hard. Shake it off and get back on track. This is a lifestyle, not a quick fix.

So get that vacation laundry done, fill your fridge with good food and continue on your journey to a healthy lifestyle.

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cooking, Healthy eating, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Where did summer go?

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How is it already the middle of September? Where did the time go? It’s time to pack away your bathing suits, summer dresses and flip flops. Ok, I’ll still be wearing my flip flops til December but the rest should be packed away.

Now I’ll be honest, I’m your typical girl who loves pumpkin spice everything, dressed in comfy clothes and forcing my husband to go apple picking (who secretly loves it more than I do). But what I love most about this season is everyone’s new view on life. It’s like New Years 2.0. People are motivated again after a busy summer, the heat has subsidded and people are ready to get back to their goals.

This past summer was crazy busy and I definetly didn’t stick to my meal plan as much as I should have. I’m grateful for the season change so I can finally shift my mindset and get back on track with my health. I’m kicking off this season with a fridge filled with prepped foods, a clean gym and new workout program. Let’s do this!

Keep your eyes peeled this fall for healthy, comfort recipes, fitness tips and posts on getting the best results of the year.

“Don’t wait until you’ve reached your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of every step you take toward reaching that goal.” 

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Spicy Taco Bowl

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 cup salsa, homemade or store-bought
  • 3 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
  • 1 lb of taco spiced ground beef
  • 1 chopped yellow or orange pepper
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheese
  • 1 (15-ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a pan, fry the ground beef with homemade or store bought taco spices; set aside. *I added an onion and clove of garlic for extra flavour.
  2. In a large saucepan of 1 1/2 cups water, cook rice according to package instructions; let cool and stir in salsa; set aside.
  3. To assemble the bowls, divide rice mixture into serving bowls; top with lettuce, peppers, black beans, tomatoes, avocado, cheese and cilantro.
  4. Serve immediately, top with salsa & sour cream.
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Summer Motivation

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How true is that? 

I still remeber when I started this journey, almost a year ago now. I waited till the fall because I there was NO WAY I could stay on track in the summer. With weekends away, barbeque parties and holidays there was no way I could stay strong. Does that sound familiar? Have you said that to yourself before?

Summer is not an impossible time to get back on track. To be honest, this summer has been the best for my fitness journey. Along with finding an awesome workout thats working for me, my nutrition and mindset has been on point.

And let’s be real, by on point, I mean MOST of the time. I still enjoy a glass of wine, a cupcake and ice cream cone every once in a while. And by once in a while, I mean atleast once or twice a week.

But that’s what this journey is all about. It’s not about being on a restricted diet or boring workout schedule. It’s about finding the perfect balance to make this your lifestyle. It’s about finding a way to maintain your health and fitness journey, while living a happy life!

So for the next month, I want to challenge you to making a few small changes to start your health journey:

  1. WATER, WATER, WATER! I cannot stress the importance of water enough, especially in the hot summer months. Your body is in need of water for everything, that’s why 60 percent of the human body is water! Start drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day but if you want to be more precises, take your body weight, divide it in half and that’s how much water you should drink in ounces. If you weigh 150 lbs, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water!
  2. Eat atleast two healthy meals a day – focus on breakfast and lunch as nutritious, healthy meals. If you get your fruits and vegetables in the morning, you’ll start your day confident, you’ll feel less restricted and more likely to continue your journey.
  3. Get out and enjoy this sunshine! It doesn’t have to be a sweaty workout, it could be a simple walk around the block, a swim in the lake or chores around the garden. Get outside!

And if you’re feeling strong, take a health and fitness challenge with me! I’ll be kicking off my next group on September 18th. We’ll be doing 3 weeks of great workouts with and a great meal plan and even greater results! This will be the ultimate way to kick off the fall!

Food, Uncategorized

Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

MEX

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef;
  • 4 sweet or russet potatoes;
  • 1/2 onion, diced;
  • 1 bell pepper diced;
  • ½ cup chopped green onions;
  • Fresh salsa;

Ingredients for the taco seasoning

  • 1 tbsp. chili powder;
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin;
  • ½ tsp. paprika;
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano;
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper;

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
  2. Scrub and pat potatoes dry. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork and bake in the oven, directly on rack, until soft (about 40 to 45 min. depending on the size of your potatoes).
  3. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the taco seasoning.
  4. Add the ground beef and onions to the skillet and cook until browned.
  5. Sprinkle the taco seasoning onto the beef, and stir to combine. You may want to add 1 or 2 tbsp. of water if the meat is too dry.
  6. Cook the ground beef another minute or two and set aside.
  7. Slice each potato in half, press the insides down or scoop some out.
  8. Fill the potatoes with the ground beef and top with all the remaining vegetables.
  9. Serve with fresh homemade salsa and guacomole.
cooking, Food, Healthy eating, Lifestyle, motivation

Grocery Shopping

There’s nothing better than starting a new week with a fridge full of fresh food. It instantly puts my brain in a healthy mind set and is the ultimate form of #motivationmonday.

I wanted to take a minute today to share with you my grocery list. How boring, right? But many people have no idea what to fill their cart with. We often grab the easy, cheap and fast foods. We forget that eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. You can make the change to live a healthier week right now.

But why is that so hard sometimes? LIFE, duh! I get it, we have families, picky kids, busy jobs! Trust me, I know how it goes. The only way I can sustain this diet is with balance. I follow the 80/20 rule. Eat clean 80% of the time and treat myself the other 20%. Do you think you can do that with me?

When I start my shopping, I stick to the basics – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, ect. I like to keep my diet clean by eating the foods in their natural state. No matter what your diet is, you can modify this clean eating grocery list to fit your needs. For myself, I’m gluten intolerant so I eat a gluten-free diet but you can modify for lactose intolerance, vegeterian or even vegan.

Below is a quick grocery list of clean eating foods that will help you start your journey. Remember, fill your cart with foods along the perimeter of the grocery store. They put all the natural foods in the four corners of the store so you have to walk through the whole store to get what you want. What are you putting in your cart this week?

Fruits 

  • Berrries (Strawberry, blueberries, raspberries)
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Lemons & Limes
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes

Vegetables

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Zuchinni
  • Asparagus
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Peppers

Dairy

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Almond Milk
  • 1% Milk
  • Cottage Cheese

Protein

  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Fish (Haddock, Salmon, Cod)
  • Lean Ground Beef
  • Ground Turkey

Grains

  • Quinoa
  • Sweet Potato
  • Steel-cut or instant oatmeal
  • Brown rice
  • Brown Rice pasta
  • Granola (nuts, seeds, grains and chocolate chips)

 Others

  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Honey
  • Hummus
  • Black Beans
  • Garlic
  • Siracha
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Kombucha & why I love it!

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As many of you many know, I’m seriously in love with the new fad drink callled kombucha! But honestly, I don’t think this one is a fad. It may have started out that way but the health benefits that are attached to this amazing drink make it stick out above any other beverage.

Kombucha is a living health drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with the kombucha culture. Kombucha is brewed (or fermented) over a course of 7-31 days and can be flavoured by using fruit, juices and spices to help give your system a digestive boost. This tasty, sparkling drink has been popping up all over the country in the last year, claiming to have amazing probiotic benefits – but honestly it offers so much more than that!

I have many reasons to love this drink but I wanted to share with you my top 3 reasons why I drink kombucha regularly:

  1. One of the top reasons I love kombucha is for their claimed health benefits. Studies have shown that it can improve energy levels, metabolic disorders, allergies, cancer, digestive problems, and so much more! It  can even be used externally for skin problems! I’ve experienced many digestive issues over the years and this tasty drink helps keep my gut on a healthy track.
  2. Kombucha is an all natural drink and can often be locally sourced. I try to drink Kombucha that is made in Nova Scotia because I know it’s fresh. Cove Kombucha works hard to keep their product safe, clean and is made in small batches for optimal taste.

  3. Speaking of taste, oh my goodness.  The final product is naturally carbonated making this a fizzy, delicious drink. The flavour that comes from this magical drink is invigorating, although it may be an acquired taste. I often feel like I’m having a treat when I drink it. The bubbles wake me up instantly but that could be the natural source of b-vitamins, which can energize the body.

Now I know what you’re thinking, kombucha is a hibby-dippy drink that will come and go like the rest of those health fads. Honestly, I thought the same thing until I did my research and felt the benefit in my own gut. Kombucha is a must try and if you’re nervous – go for a safe flavour like citrus or berry! Once you’ve given it a try, let me know what you think. I’d love to hear about your experiences with Kombucha.

If you feel like making a batch yourself, check out this step-by-step tutorial!

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Shakeology Mug Cake

Ingredients
  • 1 scoop of Shakeology (32-34 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 T coconut flour
  • 1 T granulated sweetener of choice*
  • 1 large egg OR 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Chocolate chips to top (optional)
Directions
  1. Grease a microwave safe bowl with cooking spray and add the protein powder, baking powder, coconut flour, sweetener of choice and mix well.
  2. Add the egg/whites and mix into the dry mixture. Add the milk of choice and vanilla extract- If batter is too crumbly, continue adding milk of choice until a very thick batter is formed. Top with chocolate chips and microwave for 60 seconds, or until just cooked in the centre.