The joys of running

I’ve been running lately, thanks to that group of dear friends you know who you are, who are challenging me to Fitbit challenges. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with running, I hate it in every which way but loves the happiness it gives me, how it makes me feel about myself and I love how my body responds to the work.


Here are 5 joys running has given me this month:

  1. It makes my sleep AMAZZZINGGG… I dream well, I sleep soundly and I fall asleep fast! Sometimes, as soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m out. A massage therapist once told me once about the pineal gland, and how if you clean it out with a short juice fast you begin to dream better.. which leads me to my next point …
  2. My dreams are as interesting and vivid as good movies. Perhaps the fact that I’m running and pushing my body to metabolize quickly; push blood through my body faster, process oxygen quicker, make my heart step out of its box, etc. is in a way cleansing my body, battling against dull/slow/groggy movement of blood? Maybe my pineal gland, some say responsible for vivid dreams, is getting cleaned out in the process? I don’t know, but I like it.
  3. It reminds me I’m strong. The strength the body feels when it’s pushing to the limits reminds me of my inner strength. It reminds me I can do anything I put my mind to.
  4. It makes me very sharp. My brain, my eyesight, my speed .. all is quicker, it’s “revving” like an engine of a sports car or something. I feel as though I can do something quickly, with a good quality, I’m “all there” .. as opposed to groggy or slow … which brings me to my last point …
  5. It keeps me in the moment. Running forces me to stay in the present moment. I’m focused on the step of that very second, so even though thoughts can come into my mind during my run, I practice, successfully, how to stay in the moment, and enjoy the health I have today.


Do you run? What’s been your experiences with running?

 

xxSerena

Big Loop blanket by Loopy Mango

100% merino wool from upstate New York, this big loop blanket is absolutely gorgeous.

The skiens are large; you can hold them in two hands, and each one is handspun & hand dyed.


I needed this big blanket at one of the yarn stores here in Calgary, Stash Lounge. The class cost of $250 and came with the skien of yarn, which cost $245 CAN. Our instructor, Chantal, was amazing.

I chose the color heather grey. I won’t be making another for myself because I realized only after I made it I”m allergic to wool! With direct contact my skin gets really itchy!

In class we got to learn about the wool and how to take care of the blanket, and got started. It took about 5 hours to make and today I’m giving it to my mum for mother’s day!

xxS

 

Making dryer balls

I heard so many good things about dryer balls. The first time I heard about them was on a blog. I thought dryer balls would be perfect for me because I wanted to get away from using Bounce sheets.

I read about the benefits of using a wool felted dryer ball in your wash instead of a chemical fabric softener: left irritants for your skin, dries your clothes faster so no waste of energy, remove static cling and makes your clothes softer.

So to make dryer balls, first I learned how to roll wool into a ball from watching YouTube. 

Then I bought the 100% wool. It has to be 100%.

I put small folded old socks in the middle of the ball to make the balls bigger. 


Then I got some old pantyhose so the balls would stay round as they felted in the first three washes. 


So now I am happy to say I won’t be buying Bounce sheets anymore but will be using wool dryer balls! 

Have you heard of dryer balls? If you have any questions leave them in the comment section!

xxSerena 

The first hat I knitted

I made a hat! I made a hat using circular needles, my first time! My first project using circular needles was easier than I thought. 

To prepare I watched a bunch of YouTube videos a few times. I was excited to start and I knitted the hat in an afternoon.


Excuse the lighting, it was an extremely sunny spring day.

Despite the sun, however, it was chilly outside and my newly acquired allergies were in full bloom.


My only mistake was I meant to make it bigger for someone else’s head. But it turned out too small. So instead it was a hat for me.


xxSerena

The first scarf I knitted 

I read on Reddit that a good beginner site was Row House and for me it was perfect. 

I chose my first project ever, following a simple pattern. I chose to do the stockinette stitch scarf. 

I chose a cheap acrylic yarn because I was still learning. As I work through this scarf, which took a couple weeks, I learned a little about wools and yarns from a friend of mine who is an experienced knitter. 

Then I did my own research but this exercise for me wasn’t about the quality of the piece. It was purely a learning experience. An opportunity for growth. 


I used what I learned to make this cute little scarf. It has a border.


I made a few mistakes along the way. And I learned a lot during this project. I learned how to correct my mistakes.

And the scarf kept getting longer and longer. The yard is the type that changes from color to color so it became interesting to knit. I was looking forward to seeing what the next color would be and what the finished product would look like. It kept me going.


The yarn was called Bernat pop! In color Ebony and Ivory.


And so after a couple of weeks I completed my very first project. A scarf! I think a scarf is a perfect project for a beginner. Because it helps you to learn the stitches over and over again. And it seals in that knowledge!


xxSerena

My new hobby is knitting! 

I have been a knitter since March 14, 2017!

I started by learning how to knit with two pens by my work neighbor and coworker and dear friend Kathie:


She taught me the knit stitch, which is the basic stitch in knitting. It was not easy for me to learn this! I did still stumble quite a bit. 

But she gave me homework. So I practiced and practiced after I finally got it with just some cheap medium sized yarn and medium sized needles from Walmart:


And I taught myself how to find off, or cast off, make a slipknot, purl, and then began learning how to correct my mistakes.


And this was the beginning of my knitting adventure!

Stay tuned for more posts! 

xxSerena

Zucchini lasagna 

Today I found a bag of small beautiful zucchini for one dollar. Don’t ask me how it was done, this was a blessing and I don’t want to jinx it.

I had some staples cheese, tomato sauce, onion, spices and some turkey sausage so I thought… Zucchini lasagna. No pasta just thinly sliced zucchini as noodles. I put it in the oven for 45 minutes at 350° and it was so good. If you want to keep it vegetarian leave out the turkey and add mushrooms, peppers or corn.

Ingredients:

3 to 4 zucchinis, cut the tips off, slice longitudinally
Half a jar tomato sauce.
Three turkey sausages, casings removed.
One onion, diced
Spices: turmeric, Greek seasoning, garlic aoli granules, pinch hot chili flakes, S&P

Directions:

  1. Clean zucchini, cut off ends and slice longitudinally
  2. Diced onion and cook with turkey sausage under medium heat with turmeric, salt, Greek spices for ten minutes. Add tomato sauce & simmer.
  3. Coat bottom of the glass dish with tomato sauce or half a teaspoon olive oil. Lay slices of zucchini, layer the tomatoes sausage onion mixture, cheese and then another layer of zucchini the opposite way from before. Keep stacking and layering. Topped with tomato sauce and cheese on top.

Zucchini lasagna!!! It was so delicious 🤗👌🏼❤️‼️😁

xxSerena

Turkey muffins

With less than 8% fat, about 22g of protein in a serving of 100g, for my macros, turkey muffins were a perfect lunch idea.

When I made them yesterday I can’t begin to tell you how amazing the aroma was steaming out of the oven. I ate this over spinach and with roasted sweet potato.

Ingredients:

500g (1 package) extra lean ground turkey
1 red bell pepper chopped into tiny squares
1/2 red onion also chopped into tiny squares
1 egg
2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce for chicken
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Maille Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° before preparation
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  3. Drop turkey mixture into silicone molds
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven off and let muffins set for an additional 20 minutes in warm oven.
  5. Serve with steamed vegetables, spinach, sweet potato or rice.


I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed these muffins! Finally, delicious turkey that was moist, flavorful  and a great lean protein that goes with other healthy options.

I will definitely be making these many more times again this year! How do you cook with ground turkey or chicken?

xxserena

Half marathon? Unrelated: does love make you fat?

In my quest to keep running, perhaps to gain more time? To get my physique back? To maintain health and a positive mood? To live longer? Not sure but what I do know is that being in love has made me fat. Since falling in love with the love of my life I’ve gained over ten pounds and even though I’m still skinny, I’m skinny FAT and I’m less bouncy and my brain gets foggy and tired. I miss the days when I used to feel the muscles work through my clothes, when I could flex muscles just to feel them breathing, ALIVE.

In an article for the Daily Mail in 2013, research does suggest that falling in love makes people fat, especially women!

So I began running November 11. That week I ran 12 miles and on November 30, after about 3 weeks of running (proving it to myself) I joined a running group (a WINTER running group at that) on November 30 and I’ve run about 14 times now.

There’s a half marathon on Feb 11. It’s called the HYPO 1/2 and it takes place in Canada and a bit in the USA.

Am I ready?

I read the most inspiring article today about a great runner!

If I sign up for the half marathon I’ll only have about 6 weeks to train. I’ve been running the past 8 weeks, in a 10K training clinic. Is this possible? The only person I spoke to about it said she doesn’t think that’s enough time to train properly for a half marathon.

What do you all think?

xxserena

 

What is the Glycemic Index?

I’ve been thinking of how to decrease my body fat, and increase my muscle. As always! And as always there were multiple factors that motivated me to do this. Number one, watching the NYC marathon, for the first time in my life, as a spectator at mile 9, cheering on random athletes and screaming out their names (as written on the front of their shirts)!

Watching a marathon is totally motivating. At least it was for me.

Second was the US election. Motivated me to get up and get stronger, get my frustrations out on the pavement and start training. It made me think, as a woman and minority, I have to work harder, be stronger and be disciplined to achieve what I need. Won’t get into details but it was something like this:

Image result for new yorker cartoon workout newsThe caption is:
“I can’t even begin to workout until I find the right news…”

Fuel for the fire that you need to maintain a workout or run!

So I began researching food, exercise and lifestyle. I joined a running club. I bought running clothes so I could run in the cold and I started teaching new and improved ViPR exercises. More on those later. But today, I thought of meal prep. And when thinking of how I was going to prep meals I had a little studying to do and I found a helpful chart I thought would be interesting to share!

It’s an interesting reminder on low glycemic foods, foods that slowly release their carbohydrate fuel as opposed to quickly, which diabetics know raises the blood sugar quickly and consequently can lead to crashes. So choosing low GI foods is a good idea when you want to provide a good solid fuel, when you’re working out and want to lose fat, feel satisfied and gain muscle!

Here you go:

I got this from the WHFoods website online.

 

Low GI Medium GI High GI
0-55 56-69 70 or greater

 

WHFoods Glycemic Index Rating System

Very Low GI Low GI Medium GI High GI
Criteria for Classification No established GI value and an available carbohydrate (avCHO) of less than 5 grams OR an established GI of less than 20 and an avCHO of less than 7 grams Either an established GI value of 55 or less OR an available carbohydrate (avCHO) value greater or more than 5 grams but less than or equal to 12 grams OR a beneficial impact on blood sugar in a preponderance of research studies An established GI vale of 56-69 An established GI value of 70 or greater

 

Food Group Very Low GI Low GI Medium GI High GI
World’s Healthiest Foods
Vegetables asparagus carrots beets potatoes
avocados eggplant corn
beet greens garlic leeks
bell peppers green peas sweet potatoes
bok choy onions
broccoli sea vegetables
Brussels sprouts winter squash
cabbage
cauliflower
celery
collard greens
cucumbers
fennel (bulb)
green beans
kale
mushrooms, crimini
mustard greens
olives
olive oil
Romaine and other lettuce
spinach
summer squash
Swiss chard
tomatoes
turnip greens
Fruits apples apricots
bananas cantaloupe
blueberries figs
cranberries papaya
grapefruit pineapple
grapes watermelon
kiwifruit
lemons/limes
oranges
pears
plums & prunes
raspberries
strawberries
Nuts & Seeds flaxseeds almonds
sesame seeds cashews
peanuts
pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds
walnuts
Beans & Legumes soybeans black beans
tofu dried peas
tempeh garbanzo beans
kidney beans
lentils
lima beans
navy beans
pinto beans
Seafood cod scallops
salmon
sardines
shrimp
tuna
Meats beef, grass-fed
chicken-pasture-raised
lamb, grass-fed
turkey, pasture-raised
Dairy cheese, grass-fed
eggs, pasture-raised
cow’s milk, grass-fed
yogurt, grass-fed
Grains barley millet
brown rice
buckwheat
oats
quinoa
rye
whole wheat
World’s Healthiest Spices and Herbs black pepper
chili pepper
cilantro & coriander seeds
cinnamon
cloves
cumin seeds
dill
ginger
mustard seeds
oregano
parsley
peppermint
rosemary
sage
thyme
turmeric

 

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