Category Archives: get healthy

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

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

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 

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 

Marinating organic chicken breasts meal prep

I finally found a pack of organic chicken breasts at Costco. 


I decided to divide the pack into three. Two chicken breasts per freezer ziplock bags. 

I washed them, dried them and marinated the first two in freshly dried basil, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 


Chicken breasts are versatile since you can eat them or cook them so many different ways. I will share with you the other two marinades in future blog posts.

For the basil, extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar marinade I decided to pan fry the breasts after marinating for eight hours.

Then I served over chopped greens and a quinoa kale mixture.


I made an extra serving for lunch at work the next day.


It was good. Next time I will add half an avocado and a extra drizzle of balsamic for more healthy fat and flavour. 

What’s your favourite marinade for chicken breasts? Look for future blogs to see how I marinated the other two servings! 

xxSerena 

3 Day Juice Cleanse: what, why and results!

After a two of decadent vacations in NYC and Montreal, fiancé and I both felt we needed to give our digestive systems a break.

So we had our fill of black-and-white cookies, donuts, ice cream, poutine, Burgers and fries after midnight, donairs, chips, milkshakes, the odd salad here and there, bottles of wine in the park and desserts galore.

But after it was all said and done, summer officially wrapped up, the leaves started turning yellow, we both decided on a three day juice cleanse each.

Perfect way to start the fall season!

I decided to try the three day juice cleanse at Freshii, because I’m Canadian, and there was a convenient location on the way to work.

Here are some things that I had going for me before the juice cleanse that I recommend:

1. I had a partner to do it with. This helps with morale, motivation and understanding for both of you! It’s a great advantage.

2. I did some research about different juice cleanses in my area.

3. I researched what others had gone through on their cleanses.

So I called the Freshii located on the way to work the day before I wanted to pick up my juices. So exciting!

This cleanse is comprised of four juices, which you drink about 2 to 3 hours apart, water in between and then finally a metaboost salad.

Day one:

  • I drank my juice is in the order that I was supposed to. She had each juice numbered. I didn’t like any of the juices so I drink them quickly, rinsed out the glass with filtered water, drink that quickly and just kept peeing the whole day!
  • After my third juice my head started throbbing, I was getting irritated, hungry, a little slow, and experienced a foggy brain.
  • I drank as much water as I could, went shopping with a supportive girlfriend, and ate my first metaboost salad while she ordered a delicious beef udon soup from the food court!
  • She felt bad, but I told her not to! I knew what I was getting into, and I agreed to do this!
  • I really enjoyed the salad. It had field greens, kale, edamame, mango, goat cheese, almonds, carrots and a balsamic vinegrette.
  • I went to sleep fully hydrated but kind of hungry, wondering what I had gotten myself into.
drink juices every 2 1/2 to 3 hours apart in this order: green energy, carrots zinger, mighty detox, then red power. Photography by Serena Alibhai
approximately 600 cal, spinach, kale and field greens, goat cheese, mango, almonds, carrots, edamame, balsamic vinaigrette
Yes I used ALL the dressing! Salad was very good. Also it satisfied my hunger! 


Day two: 

  • I didn’t wake up feeling hungry. That was odd I thought. I sipped some water and waited a little longer to drink my first juice.
  • I was peeing more today. A lot. Like every two hours for sure. Maybe every hour and a half.
  • I continue to supplement my juices with a cool filtered water immediately after.
  • And then the miracle happens. My eyes become clear. I feel happy. There is extra energy in my step. The words come easy. No more brain fog. No more headaches.
  • The juices are tasting better now. Not like day one, where they were gross.
  • I eat the salad that evening with vigor. I love it.
I didn’t enjoy the juices enough to sip. I gulped them down! 
After drinking each juice, I filled up each container with cold filtered water, gave it a swish and drank that too! 


Day three:

  • I was very impressed with the way my waist looked and felt this morning!
  • I’m dreaming about what I’m going to eat tomorrow. I’m imagining vegetables in a clear broth with rice noodles.
  • For the third night in a row, I’ve had very vivid dreams, complex storylines, a lot of color, vibrancy, and I wake up feeling refreshed. My dreams are interesting movies that I even remember after I wake up!
  • At night I dream about cheating. I dream about eating real food. But instead, I drink water.

Final conclusions and realizations: 

  • Again? Yes, I would do this again. My body felt lighter, clean, better than before.
  • Vivid dreams? First, two days after, explained that one of the symptoms of a juice cleanse is a detoxification of the penial gland, deep inside the brain. This results in vivid clear dreams.
  • Weight loss? I lost five pounds, and so did my fiancée, on a different juice cleanse. But I don’t expect to keep that weight loss. What I loved though: I kept two pounds off a week later.
  • Cost? Was it worth it? This juice cleanse cost $80 for three days. Totally worth it. Convenient. Simple. Worked for me.

Feel free to ask questions you guys!!

xxSerena