Category Archives: Beauty

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

 

Strengthen and save your shoulders 

Shoulders are so important. They help to create good posture and as the anterior front body muscles get strong fast this isn’t necessarily true for our backs. Strong shoulders can prevent back pain. 


Do you workout or exercise your shoulders? 

xxSerena 

Vegan meat and potato dinner

I made seitan from scratch the other day. I had watched the documentary called “Cowspiracy” and thought it was so motivating! 

So here’s my recipe for chunky potatoes with meat n onions; vegan style! 

Boil diced potatoes and add spinach: 


I wanted Asian flavours so I added Braggs amino acids (soya sauce), rice vinegar, sweet chili sauce and a splash of apple cider vinegar.


I cooked that together covered for about 10 minutes under low heat.


Then I fried my seitan, diced, with diced onions and some all of oil and water. 

The “meat” has a spicy flavor, good meaty consistency and goes well with the potatoes and onions and spinach.

It might not look like much but I’m proud of myself for making it and truly enjoying it! 


I made my meat from scratch! 

Have you ever tried seitan? Do you think you would like it? 

xxSerena 

What I learned from the documentary “Cowspiracy” 

I did not know that animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse emissions damage than all of transportation pollution. 

I didn’t know that livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

I had no idea that methane is 25 to 100 times more destructive than carbon dioxide on a 20 year timeframe. I also didn’t know methane has a global warming potential 86 times that of carbon dioxide!

I had no idea that cows produce 150,000,000,000 (billion) gallons of methane every single day!

Fracking uses up 70-140 billion gallon of water annually. But I had no idea that animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34 to 76,000,000,000,000 (trillion) gallons annually!?!

Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the entire United States of America.

Californians use 1500 gallons of water per person per day. Close to half of that is associated with meat and dairy products. Not showers! Not watering your lawn or brushing your teeth! Eating meat and meat byproducts like milk, eggs and cheese. 

Sigh. 

Why isn’t this on the news?!?? 

Oprah try talking about it on her show. She got sued and had to take the Oprah Winfrey show to Texas for months. Remember that?

This is crazy but 2500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef. 1 pound! 

Livestock covers 45% of the earths total land. Cows! Cows cover 45% of the earths total land. 

Livestock operations on land… On earth… Have created more than 500 nitrogen flooded dead zones around the world in our oceans.

Did you know that a farm with 2500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people?

Sigh. 

Seriously. I had no idea the beef, dairy, eggs and cheese industries were doing this much harm. 

Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of green, 30 ft.² forest, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent and one animals life.

The leading cause of rain forest distraction is lifestock and feed crops.

That’s why being vegan is important! I thought vegans they were just a bunch of artsy hippie kooks who wanted to be different and took animal love to an extreme. Could I have been wrong? Could they have been two steps ahead… 10 steps ahead of us all along?

xxSerena 

How to make seitan and what is it? 

Seitan is a popular meat substitute that you can make easily in your own kitchen. Why would you want to? Because eating meat is taxing on the environment. 

It’s popular with vegans, delicious, and super high in protein. Basically seitan is vital wheat gluten. So it’s all gluten! And what is gluten? It’s flour with all the starch removed. Gluten free flour? It’s flour with only starch and all the protein removed.

It is very low in fat, about 1.9 g per 100 g serving. It is very high in protein, about 75 g out of 100 g serving.

So it has the same make up as a lean protein except meat protein has L lysine and seitan does not. So it’s not considered a complete protein. But no worries. You can get L lysine from a number of different sources, including plant-based sources. Mung bean sprouts and most fruits and vegetables have lots.

How do you make seitan? 

Ingredients: 

1 cup vital gluten flour

1 cup vegetable broth 

2 tablespoons Herbs and spices 

Directions: 

  1. Mix flour with broth. Add herbs. Knead for two minutes. Dough should be puffy and stringy.
  2. Pull apart into three equal sized pieces and flatten out into round patties.
  3. Bring to boil in vegetable broth and herbs. Turn heat down to lowest setting. Cover. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Freeze unused cooled portions in broth for up to six months.
  5. Fry seitan in some oil with onions and use in a recipe as you would meat.

See the next blog on how to eat in a recipe! 

xxSerena 

Flat abs in 5! 

I like this sequence since it’s short and effective. But remember – consistency is key. So this is not a workout to do one time for five minutes.

Try adding this onto your regular work out every day or do this every day for five minutes and feel yourself get stronger as you move through the week!


Will you be trying this today?

xxSerena 

How to lose your love handles fast!

There’s no such thing a spot training-training one part of your body to lose fat in a particular area. But you can strengthen certain muscles. 

So in addition to regular cardio exercise and flexibility training, here are some great muscle conditioning exercises to target your midsection, namely your love handles!


Have you tried these exercises before ? 

xxSerena 

Loving the vegetable pho soup 

It’s filling, gluten free, vegetarian and tastes fresh! It’s vegetable pho and it’s important that you find one that you like. 

Since good authentic pho isn’t easy to make, (often broth takes hours to make and the consistency of noodles can be finicky) I think it is important for you to find a good vegetable broth from a restaurant that you love!

I am so happy to say that I have found one. Other restaurants had broth with too much weird stuff in it, there was salad and cucumbers in my noodle soup, totally unacceptable!

But not this one.


And, did I mention that this restaurant is close to my house?

The broth was clear, delicious and fresh. Vegetables perfectly cooked. Very fresh. And a great selection. I got carrots, onion, broccoli, cabbage, Red peppers, celery … And the noodles were awesome.


Vegetables are nutrient dense foods, this soup filled me up. it was totally satisfying. And the best part? This huge bowl of soup has 300 to 400 cal in total!

What is your favorite dish to order in a Vietnamese restaurant?

xxSerena

Marinated chicken with potatoes 

In accordance with my marination series I will now announce my second marinade! 

It is garlic herb seasoning and extra virgin olive oil. 


It wasn’t bad. I could definitely taste the marinade because I left it on overnight and it was very garlicky.

This time I decided to boil some diced red potatoes to eat with the chicken.


I decided to cook some diced onions, add the chicken and then eat over the boiled potatoes. I did need to add some mustard and sweet chili sauce for chicken. 

I diced the chicken too: 


Turned out pretty good. In the middle of my cooking, I got a very exciting package from FedEx, delivered priority overnight:


But that’s a tale for another day. Let’s get back to that chicken, shall we?!?


So filling. Totally boring compared with all the yummy stuff out there but it’s lean, helps muscle growth and aids fat loss! 

xxSerena