CLIENT SPOTLIGHT – Training the Vegan Man – With Greg H.

 

CLIENT SPOTLIGHT – Training the Vegan Man – With Greg H.

Greg is a cheery, happy-go-lucky client I met a Vegan event here in Pittsburgh. He is tall, slim and looking to add some mass to his frame. While it’s a lot harder to make gains on a slender frame (naturally) than it is on a medium build, Greg gets to enjoy a lot of healthy, whole foods. I mean a lot, no big time calorie restriction for his body type.

Thanks Greg for participating in this interview!

After understanding a bit more about “generally” eating vegan and eating vegan with a goal (for gains)…what can you say about the differences to you personally where it comes to meal prepping at home?

I’ve been vegan for 7 years now, so eating vegan isn’t an issue for me. I have become more aware of how I spend my time since I have to put time into meal prepping and training on top of work, social matters, and leisure time. Meal prepping has helped with my time management and organizational skills, and has given me an excuse to get more creative in the kitchen.

How does going out to eat meals look now as compared to before your gains goals?

Well, I do not eat out as much since it is easier (and cheaper) to cook for myself. When I do go out with friends or family, I have grown accustomed to gauging portion sizes. It is becoming more and more like an odd super power.

As a vegan who eats mostly whole foods, do you find getting enough protein a challenge?

I do not! I know that there are still people who believe in the myth that vegans do not get enough protein, but that’s all it is: a myth. I have found myself having to cut back on how much protein I consume on a few occasions.

What is your favourite type of protein?

Seitan is my favorite, especially when I fry it up with Korean barbecue sauce and some mushrooms. I usually reward myself with some good seitan at the end of the week.

Do you feel challenged as a man when it comes to cooking/meal prepping?

As a man, I don’t. I love to cook, and meal prepping has made me more efficient in the kitchen.

What meal is your fave/least fave?

My favorite meal must be my protein shake! I use 1 and ½ scoops of chocolate mocha MRM Veggie Elite – Performance Protein, almond milk, flax seeds, a banana, and some peanut butter. It’s like drinking a milkshake, and it’s amazing.

My least favorite is a salad. I have never been a salad fan – they are too boring for me. I have to really stack it up with veggies, seeds, fruit, and a bit of dressing for me to enjoy it, but I am too lazy most of the time to go all out!

 How do you fit in your training with a full time job?

I get up early to train before work, but if I need to catch up on sleep, I will work out as soon as I get home from work.

 When do you do your meal prep?

I meal prep Sunday nights while I make dinner, and I also prep either Wednesday or Thursday night, depending on how much I prepped Sunday night.

 If you could make one thing happen in your life that would liberate you to pursue your fitness goals 100% what would that be?

Work from home! I would love to work out in the morning, get ready, and not have to rush to work. The time I spend driving to and from work is more than enough time to complete a full work out.

 Do you have any advice for Vegan men looking to make gains?

The biggest piece of advice I can give, is to be patient. Noticeable gains do not happen overnight, so you need to stay positive, dedicated, eat right, and bust your ass every day, and you will notice a difference soon enough.

There are people out there who will tell you that you cannot pack on muscle on a vegan diet, but don’t listen to them because you can, and you will!

 What is your meal prep tip for guys with no clue where to start?

Start small. Pick two or three meals that fit your meal plan that don’t use many ingredients. Make a list before you go grocery shopping, and on Sunday night, get everything cut up, portioned, and into containers.

To save more time, buy frozen vegetables when you can: they’re already cut up and ready to be cooked.

 

Carb lovers home workout ~ holiday hacks

Want to make it out of the next week without the overeating, fat storing ho-hums??

This simple article is all about beating the fat away while still enjoying what most folks don’t think twice about on their holiday break ~ FOOD OF MANY SERVINGS AND CALORIE COUNTS!

The goal here is to prepare for carb overload using glycogen depletion. You don’t need to get too fancy with it, basically what you can shoot for is high intensity workouts with a lot of reps and plyometric style movement.

We attempt to use the largest muscle groups in this theory to tap into the areas with the biggest glycogen stores. Deplete…then refill. Make sense?

You can use the methodologies brought to you in the FML Fat Fry by going “low carb” for a few days before any feast….if you haven’t had that awareness / been low carb you can STILL prep using fitness as your weapon before and then the day after a big eating session.

Happiest of the Holiday Season to you all ~ may you nourish your bodies with the food and love they deserve this season and every other.

Let’s roll out the training…………

Choose any movement you wish for intervals – skipping is a GREAT fat burner but mountain climbers, Heisman’s etc…work just as well….Complete the work in a circuit fashion.

Exercise 1 – Intervals – 15 minutes

  • 1 minute work – Fastest cardio work (skipping/squat jacks….)
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 30 sec work – air squats (BIG air)
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 1 minute work- regular squats,
  • 15 secs rest
  • 1 minute work – jump lunges
  • 15 secs rest

Exercise 2 – Intervals – 10 minutes

  • 1 minute work – fastest cardio work (see above)
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 1 minute work – Burpees with jump tuck
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 1 minute work – crunches
  • 15 seconds rest

Exercise 3 – Intervals – 5 minutes

  • 1 minute work – fastest cardio work (see above)
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 1 minute work – elbow to knee crunches
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 1 minute work – push ups (modify if needed)

Bone Health – The skinny on those little props that move us around

Leg press = good for the booty & the bones!

 

While our human experience where health is concerned can vary quite a bit, there is no denying that spinal strength, bone & cardiovascular health should be at the top of every humans list for living a long, elongated and healthy life.

We exercise our heart and build cardiovascular strength by working the heart muscle during vigorous activity. We support spinal strength with strong, long muscles through core stability work and light weight or body weight balance work.

But how do we support the health of our bones? We lose about .5% of our bone mass each year after 40 and this chronic bone loss can lead to low bone mineral density (deteriorated bone tissue) = Osteoporosis. Fractures from Osteoporosis are common and this disease will usually progress without symptoms. Us ladies dramatic bone mass loss during menopause when hormone levels change.

We can increase bone formation though by simply putting strain on the body! This is great news, it means that for most of us, the power is in our hands to keep our bones strong for life with a little help from some of my friends below.

Supplementation

There are a myriad of supplements that we can choose to take in order to try and assist with bone strength and general health. Not all supplements are created equal AND you must note that some just do not work or aren’t bio-available enough to make a great impact. Here are my favourite supplements below:

  • Once daily multivitamin
  • 1000-1200 mg calcium daily
  • 500-600 mg magnesium daily (I take a ZMA every night which includes this)
  • 1000-2000 IU vitamin D3 daily
  • 1 mg Vitamin K daily
  • Daily anti-oxidant
  • Flaxseed meal
  • Probiotics
  • Silicon 10mg daily
  • B12 1000 mcg 2x/week sublingual preferred
  • Creatine – optional, not a lot of study done here

Note: medications used in the treatment of depression, breast cancer, heartburn, ulcers and diabetes can interfere with hormonal signals of bone turnover or they affect mineral use and absorption. Have a look at your medicine cabinet and see if the culprit lies within! To add prolonged use of low dose birth control and prednisone.

Nutrition

As in the listing of supplements above, you will be looking for foods high in calcium, vitamin d etc…..our bones keep about 99% of our body’s calcium to rebuild. We also need to make sure that we are not eating foods or taking medications that directly impact our ability to uptake calcium and other minerals. Foods that contain phytates (seeds, grains  & nuts) and oxalates (spinach, rhubard, sweet potatoes & walnuts) are these culprits.

While this doesn’t mean that Spinach is bad for you, this means that Spinach isn’t the most wise choice for our source of calcium due to is oxalate content. A good second choice: broccoli, bok choy & kale.

Percent of calcium absorbed from selected foods. Source: Miller, Gregory D., et al. The importance of meeting calcium needs with foods. J Am Coll Nutr 20 no. 2 (April 2001): 168S-185S.

 

Protein!!! Why am I always nagging you about protein??? Well, it makes up 20-30% of your bone mass. If you’re Vegan like me or even Vegetarian, you might not be getting enough. 20g at each meal 5-6 times per day minimum is a good goal without doing math or over thinking it. Higher protein intake leads to higher calcium absorption. HIgh calcium, high protein is a sure way to maintain bone health.

Good foods: Fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds – flavonoid city which equals oxidation prevention ~ dried plums are huge for this. Foods that are highly alkaline keep the body from becoming too inflamed and bump up our HGH (human growth hormone) levels. Read my article on 12 Steps to Naturally Boost HGH HERE . Good fats also help us to control inflammation but so far there is no one study that can unequivocally prove which is the best. I stick with unrefined coconut oil.

Exercise

Everyone has their own preference for exercise however, there are a few things that we should be doing on a regular basis to ensure we are helping to stimulate bone growth. Plyometric style training and weight training are two of the most important and weight training at the very least should be subscribed to at 2x per week minimum. My “bare minimum” suggestions are below:

  • Jump Squats (weighted or not)
  • HIIT exercise or at minimum jumping jacks
  • Deadlifts (start light and go heavy as you can)
  • Lunges (forward, reverse, side) weighted
  • Step ups (weighted)
  • Yoga
  • Back extensor exercise & good posture – Superman from the floor

Prevention 

Caffeine appears to be harmful for bones so no more than 2 cups per day would be a safe way to go. Unfortunately for me, I’ll have to really amp up the other areas of my life because I typically have at least 2 large coffees per day minimum.

Overdosing on irradiated “traditional” salt is awful, especially if you’re not exerting enough energy to require a large electrolyte replacement. Full spectrum salt on all meals…ONLY if you’re doing the work to earn it ie: sweating.

Totally avoid foods : processed meat, fast food (pizza, burgers, tacos, fries), reduced-calorie frozen meals, canned soups, baked products including bread & breakfast cereal (this is all due to sodium so check your labels, maybe your favourite brand isn’t that bad).

Totally avoid bevvies: soda, diet soda, milk, yogurt drinks.

In summary, it’s important that when we’re approaching life from a Wholistic viewpoint we ensure balance is achieved. For some, eradicating all offensive foods would be easy, for others this simply would create emotional turmoil in their lives. So, as I say to my clients “Here is the goal……and over here is reality. Lets work toward our goals slowly & surely to avoid backsliding”.

To you and your healthy bones!

 

xx – S

Client Spotlight for Careers & Fitness – Shandi B

CLIENT SPOTLIGHT – Careers & Fitness / Family with Shandi

As a single 20 something, how did your “fitlife” look?

(Ha never single, we have been together since High school) I played soccer once a week and the odd practice). Played softball off and on but that was pretty much just drinking and hitting the odd ball! Zero gym. I was actually 12-15 pounds heavier and about 4 sizes larger than I am now.

What do you think were your biggest challenges as a married woman with no children as it relates to fitness?

I put work ahead of almost everything in my life. I never went to the gym as I was always “too busy”. I did make time for soccer at nights but that was more of a way to socialize than anything. We ate out a ton! Probably 3-4x a week. Lot’s of weekend drinking and midnight pizza!

Have you at any time put your career before your health/family and do you think that you learned anything from this if so?

See above! I feel I have learned a better balance of work and family life since having children. My kids basically take top priority…. Work isn’t everything!

When you decided to have children (all occasions) did you have fitness goals that coincided with your pregnancies?

With my first daughter I did try to make time to go to the gym and used the Elliptical machine with a goal of distance or time – whichever I hit first. I tried to eat healthy but honestly not drinking I noticed made a huge difference and I actually lost weight during the first part of my pregnancy.

My second daughter I did try to maintain fitness as I had started to get a good routine going after my first daughter was born. I managed to go to weekly bootcamps (strength training mixed w/ cardio) and used a Fitbit to try and get 12k steps a day. I gained less than 30 pounds throughout each pregnancy.

Once your kids were old enough to be in care and you could return to work, how did you manage to carve out time for yourself and your personal health goals?

This is a daily battle. I find as a mom I am constantly trying to find a balance of “me time”. We live out of town so my commute is an hour each way. I prefer to get ahead of traffic so I was driving in at 5am and would just start working. One day I decided to hit the gym instead and now it is something I crave! I love getting my workouts in and out of the way and I don’t have to make excuses as the day goes on about how I am too busy to find time. It is an hour all to myself.

What is your biggest challenge between work/family/self care?

Balance…. I need like 35hrs in day. As a mom (and I think a lot are like this) I always put my kids, house, hubby ahead of me. For example I put off going to the doctor for at least 11 months for something and as it turns out when I finally went as I couldn’t take it anymore it was quite serious… Side note – listen to your body! It doesn’t lie.

Do you feel like your work is impacted by your personal fitness routines? Ie: If you don’t workout are you as clear/focused?

I believe I am far more productive when I am achieving goals. I feel better, look better and I find I am more productive as I have my time planned out to achieve this.

If you fall off the wagon, why is it and how do you go about starting over again?

Personally daily life and health are almost always why for me. A weekend of camping will turn into poor eating and workout routine for the weekend which will then carry on for the week and it is amazing how fast I will accept this new bad routine. Usually I try not to beat myself up over a bad day or week or whatever the case. I try to get back the good habits as soon as I can. I have come to love a 70/30 lifestyle where I try to keep myself accountable and on track 70% of the time and let myself cheat or miss a day the remainder. I would like to get this closer to 80/20.

What/who keeps you accountable?

Fantastic coaches 🙂  and results. I am pretty competitive so I like to sign up for bootcamps, 30 day challenges etc where I feel I am letting myself/ coaches/ Instructors down if I am falling behind. Also I feel I need to be a role model for my kids. I wan tthem to see that I am trying to eat healthy and be active.

What are your favourite things to do that keep you fit?

Strength training. I used to do so much cardio and didn’t see much for results. I changed it up and starting utilizing more strength training and the results were amazing in comparison. I also pay a lot more attention to labels (sugar, protein, carbs).

What’s your favourite “quick” recipe for healthy eating/clean macros?

My go-to is scrambled eggs, spinach & hot sauce for breakfast. I used to eat a lot of carbs in the morning and find this keeps me fuller way longer and no crash.

Client Spotlight – Susan M

Something NEW for FML…we are starting to roll out monthly features of our amazing fam.

This month, our Client Spotlight is: Susan … we love her energy….hope you can benefit from the positivity she brings in this mini-interview:

CLIENT SPOTLIGHT – EMBRACING NEW CHALLENGES – SUSAN M.

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**You seem to always radiate positivity & an electric smile, was that always the way you were?

YES! I was lucky enough to have 2 parents who were always this way and raised me to be the same way. I always look for the silver lining, no matter how hard it is to find sometimes. And I honestly enjoy smiling….I have a smiley face tattoo, for goodness sake! 🙂 Smiling makes my heart and soul feel good and that type of feel good creates a feeling of positivity for me and the ability to look at a negative situation and respond rather than react to it! It has saved my butt more times than I can remember!

**You seem to thrive when faced with a challenge, why do you think that is?

I’m a very competitive person, by nature, but not in a ‘me against you’ way. I’m always in competition with myself, to make my heart better, make myself healthier physically, emotionally and mentally, and to do better for myself and others. When faced with a challenge, it’s like a huge shot of adrenaline for me and I love it! I’m like, “come on Sue, show me whatcha got!”

**When you feel like things are “all wrong” do you have a little mantra that helps you get through the tough times?

“….just breathe……” because….I mean, if I’m still breathing, it can’t be all that bad and could certainly be worse, right?!?! Also, taking a few deep breaths allows for responses over reactions and pulls me back into myself and out of my head to just be still. I’ve always said, “if I can’t fix it by taking a few deep breaths, I can’t fix it or it doesn’t need or what to be fixed, so go around it or work with it…..just move on!”

**As someone who moved from carnism over to plant based eating, how did you navigate the challenges you faced ie: friend/family comments, cravings etc…?

My change over from carnism (the English major in me LOVES that word, just not what it stands for) to plant based eating was a very slow, very researched, very “do the best you can right now” and sometimes very “do better next time.” I didn’t get too many challenges from family/friends because if they really know me, they know I’ve never been a fan of food (but thanks to my parents, again, I’ve always loved veggies) and always had better things to do than eat! They also know of my very deep love and compassion for animals and nature, so my moving to plant-based eating wasn’t much of a surprise for them. It does make it interesting sometimes when I’m not in “control” of cooking my own meals. That said, I have loved the challenge of making it work by being creative with what I see on a menu. There have been many times where cravings got the best of me, but instead of beating myself up for it, I told myself, “do better next time” and I find a substitute for whatever it was and I put that in my food arsenal.

**What is it about fitness at this point in your life that you enjoy, what is it’s biggest benefit to you?

I just thrive on feeling good! I’ve been an athlete since I was 5 years old and fitness is my happy place, so to speak. It allows me to be ME, to challenge myself and to grow myself and it’s just plain FUN! I want to be strong, mentally and physically, and fitness is my path to aging well and STAYING strong as I get older. I don’t want to lift cars but I do want to lift myself and others up every chance I can! Supporting others, for me, is sexy. Strong is sexy. Healthy is sexy.

**What is your favourite body part to exercise ie: legs/back/arms…and why?

Ohhh, that’s a good question…..I have always loved shoulder days because delts are seriously responsive to lifting and I love seeing the caps and the progress I make! When my shoulders feel strong, I feel like I could conquer the world! I also am a fan of leg days for the simple fact that leg days allow me to lift heavier and just make me feel like a beast! Some leg days are humbling, but I love them anyway! I live for sore days because I know I did something great even if I have to flop onto the toilet for a day or 2. 🙂

**Do you have any tips for folks who might struggle with being new to weight training / strength training?

I always tell folks who ask me about this, “be kind to yourself during the process.” I say do your best and if you have to stop a workout or a set early or go to a lighter weight, that is OK….be proud of yourself for taking the action to take care of yourself and be healthy! I also tell them to find what works for them and NOT what is trending (I can’t even stand the word, much less whatever is trending) or what is the “workout fad du jour.” What works for them is what they enjoy doing and what lights up their soul, it’s what is a sustainable lifestyle for them. And I remind them to adjust accordingly! This is the quickest path to stick with anything – sustainability and flexibility!

**You simplify your workouts and usually do them from home with your own gym…do you find it hard to get the job done at home or easier? Did you ever workout at a traditional gym? If so, what is the difference to you?

Until the past few years, I was always a gym-goer. I was one of those that would get up when it was still dark out, take care of the pups, then get to the gym, workout, shower, head to work and I loved that and I was very consistent with it. Even on my day’s off, I’d go with my husband at the crack of dawn before he would go to work and I’d head back home to start my day. Now, I greatly prefer working out at home. I work from home now and walk on a treadmill all day. Then I work out after work, so that was a big change, too, from my a.m. workout lifestyle. I do fasted cardio before work some days, but my main workouts are after work. It’s so easy to just take the pups, go to the garage and listen to my music, workout with my equipment and never have to clean anyone else’s sweat from anything! I look forward to working out much more than if I thought I had to drive somewhere and deal with crowds. 🙂 Yes, I have to clean my own gym and maintain my own equipment. Yes, I have to be creative with my small amount of equipment, but I’m good with that, too, and love the challenge. I know my weights are always racked where they belong and plates are on the tree! Also, I painted 1 wall with chalkboard paint, so I keep up with my workouts there as well as inspire myself with quotes, atta girls, etc. I love my “Curly Sue’s gym” and wouldn’t trade it for anything. The other bonus – no gym fees!

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**If there are 3 key pieces of advice you could share with our group to keep the smiles on their faces when they feel like quitting their new programs/nutrition plans etc…what would they be?

1 – just breathe!!! As bad as you feel now, you will feel so much better if you don’t give up! There are always days when you just don’t want to and some of those days, you shouldn’t and that’s OK!!! Don’t beat yourself up if you have to skip a day – take a rest! You’ll come back stronger and smilier, trust me!

2 – Always remember why you started in the first place and keep reminding yourself that you are doing amazing things for your life, your body, your mind, your heart and your soul. A healthier you is a happier you!

3 – Sometimes, even when you don’t want to, smile anyway!!! You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel and how easier that next set will be with a smile on your face!

Healthy Fats ~ Your introduction to MCT Oils

 

Putting a spotlight on a health food product that some of you may not be aware of ~ MCT Oil. It’s pretty tiring to live with low fat dogma, so many folks who are misled have an utter lack of healthy saturated fats in their diets.

I said HEALTHY FATS, not the deep-fried, cancer-causing stuff!

MCT can be found in coconuts, coconut oil and palm kernel oil, small amounts of MCT can be found in butter and other high-fat dairy products from grass-fed cows and goats.

DO NOT CONFUSE extremely unhealthy industrial versions of coconut & palm oil (hydrogenated) with organic, virgin and unrefined oils available as “health foods.”

MCTs are medium chain triglycerides & can be turned into ketones, which are an excellent source of energy for your body — (better than glucose).Ketones produce less reactive oxygen species (ROS) when metabolized to produce ATP.Ketone supps are still under development so your best bet is to use MCTs found in foods and supplements.

My favourite (more costly) type of MCT is straight C8 (caprylic acid). It converts ketones faster than C10 fats & digests well.

Coconut oil provides a mix of all the medium-chain fats, including C6, C8, C10 and C12.When it comes to curbing hunger you want C8 and C10.Ketones aid in suppressing the hunger hormone.

MCT oil can be consumed every day. If just starting; 1 teaspoon of MCT oil per day with a handful of nuts, with creamer in your coffee or as one of the oils in your salad dressing. Once your tolerance increases, increase that amount to 4 tbsp per day. One of the ways you can improve your tolerance is by using the powdered form in shakes or home baked keto muffins or breads.MCT oil is more easily digested by those struggling to digest other types of fats ie; sufferers of malabsorption, leaky gut, Crohn’s disease or gallbladder infections/removals.

MCTs enhance thermogenesis and fat oxidation, thereby suppressing the deposition and accumulation of body fat.In other words, they have a heating effect, and your body can readily use ketones as fuel for energy in lieu of carbs. When you burn fat and produce more ketones using MCT, you are provided with effects that are very similar to the keto diet without having to reduce your net carbs as drastically.

MCTs Are Part of a Healthy Diet — They’re Not a Miracle Cure

If you are interested in trying this oil out for yourself, start slow and mind your guts! As always, a clean diet and regular exercise come first in maintaining a healthy weight, strong bones and low stress life.

xx – S

Becoming Little Miss Bikini – Season 3 Episode 3 Coming to America

Here we go!
Here we go!

 

How to start off a blog post for one of the longest and most stressful road trips  of my life? I guess by saying – WE MADE IT – nearly malnourished at times but we made it.

Canada is a gigantic country and quite small really, such a low population. This translates to a lot of things; lack of lodgings, lack of amenities like gyms and lack of real good food.

We have all been there before but for me, 2.5 weeks trapped in a jeep dragging a 4×8′ trailer behind us with 2 dogs and no idea when we would get home, all the lacking pissed me off even more.

We started off on a straight shot from Calgary to Regina, then Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Montreal, Toronto and finally, Buffalo NY where we would immigrate.

A few days in it became apparent that our immigration lawyer had gone on an (unannounced) vacation which left us stranded on the road for another week. Not good when you’re paying rent in the US and also paying for hotels every night. Add to this that you can’t cook for yourself and most Canadian small towns not catering to Vegans and, well, I become a psycho.

We decided to stay in Montreal for nearly a week instead of rushing off to Toronto – great food and a downtown parking spot plus a dog-friendly walk in apartment in the middle of the coolest (culinary) part of town? WWBD? (What would Broccoli do?).

I managed to make a list of cool things to eat/do/see or crappy stuff to avoid along the way so please, fill your boots. Watch this Vlog to tie up all the loose ends.

 

Entertainment:

Bands –

Thunder Bay – Pub – Solo acoustic artist at The Foundry was alright

North Bay Ontario – Jazz Band at Raven and Republic made for a good night

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Hotel Lounges

Travelodge East Winnipeg – Ok, it’s gross but the bar maid there Melissa was wonderful. There are TV’s and a tonne of pretty great people watching if you like that sort of thing. The wifi was alright and we managed to get our duelling laptops out and get some work done on our immigration application.

Gyms: 

Montreal – M Fitness St. Laurent – we hadn’t worked out in quite a few days and this space was virtually empty of people and full of equipment just steps from our door. Had 3 great sessions here. Thank you!

Port Colborne – G&M Fitness – Again, 3 great sessions, friendly staff and all the equipment you need when you’re trapped Canada-side waiting for your immigration paperwork to go through. Thanks guys!

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Food: 

Regina – we shacked up with our great pal Steve here and decided to stay 2 nights instead of one so we got to just about every decent restaurant worth mentioning in Regina.

Orange – Part Japanese, part Korean (I know these hybrids are usually my least favourite but I had no choice) and very veg-friendly. Check them out. Great social scene and pretty damn busy all the time.

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Hunter Gatherer – Sweet little spot we hit up after a sunny walk around Wascana Park. Met up with friends I hadn’t seen in over 10 years there. Great antique-y feel, nice enough staff, bike parking, decent menu. I think we were given a limited menu by accident which I didn’t notice until after so I am looking forward to a return trip one day (if I’m ever back in SK) to see what else they have going on. Try the vegan Caesar – it was great.

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La Bodega – Only putting this up because there were Vegan options. Poor service, pretty pricey and they forgot an entire order. Decent enough staff and busy but totally not worth it in my mind.

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Breakfast Bistro Regina – A little sleeper on the outside of town which was perfect because we were headed for Winnipeg. Not TOO vegan friendly but you can get along well enough. The meat eaters were totally happy. Decent pricing, nice staff, clean.

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Winnipeg

Boon Burger – Sad sad sad face. Wanted to try this out for years. Finally got the chance and well, SO disappointed with it. For the price and quality it was a loss. The buns were the biggest disappointment because they’re really just bread and fall apart. The taste was ok, but definitely over priced. Super busy and so-so staff in terms of attitude. We went to the one on Sherbrook if that makes a difference.

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Kawaii Crepe- Thanks to my cousin Tammy for this one. Though I’m sad I didn’t get to visit any of my MB family in the quick trip through I’m glad that social media put me on to this spot for breakfast Vis-a-Vis my cuz. Cute little spot, super Japanese (with anglo servers lol) tonnes of foods to choose from for vegans, vegetarians and omni’s.

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Kenora

Cornerstone – I would not recommend this to vegans for a few reasons…you’ve probably had enough veggie burgers in your life and that’s the only thing on the menu. There’s a great outdoor patio that we sat on and admired the view of the lake which is a must do if you are ever rolling through Kenora.

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Thunder Bay

Bean Fiend – So friendly. Great coffee. Not a lot of food selection but they’re getting an honourable mention because the man behind the counter was a sweetheart  who shared a lot of cool stories. We even sent them a postcard when we got to Pittsburgh.

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Terrace Bay

Nothing absolutely nothing and do NOT stop by Drifters. I won’t even link to them because the service was so bad (40 minutes to put in an order) and the food was so gross, it’s not worth even remembering. Hated it.

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Sault Ste. Marie

Want the WORST Thai food you’ve had in your life. Look no further than Lychee Thai  dirty, bars on the windows, weird folks all around….not to mention the fact that you cannot call a can of coconut milk dumped over canned mushrooms and broccoli an entree. You just can’t.

Iron Bridge

Nowhere. Nothing & pass through if you can. We stayed at a little pet-friendly motel that was out of the way and literally melting full of mould. But they were pet friendly and we got the hell out as soon as we could.

Sudbury

Tucos Tacos – I would have spent one more day in Sudbury to visit close friends and go back to Tucos for sure. Great staff, great location, great ambiance, great food, great menu….well, you just can’t go wrong here. If you are in Sudbury ever avoid rush hour and stop in for a few libations and a taco here. They have a stunning little patio and the best part of this veg joint is that they took over from a KFC and you can still see a bit of the old Colonel poking out through the outdoor signage. Yessssss. One for the green guys.

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North Bay

Raven & Republic – there’s some great marinated tofu on the menu here that hits the spot.

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Twiggs – great coffee, alright food selection, busy as all get out. We had bagels and hit the road.

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The Chip Pit – Cobden Ontario – I saw so many of these that ranged from real store front to converted camper, to this. This one looked cute and clean and had toilets, a park and a lake view. We stopped for fries in a cone. It was really no big whoop but I think that it’s a Canadian right of passage out East so we did it. Hot and crisp, I can see how you’d screw these up if you couldn’t blanch a french fry. They also do poutine with vegetarian gravy.

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Ottawa

Pure Kitchen – Jeff was feeling under the weather and we were feeling super hungry. This space (and the street it’s located on) should be visited for a day or two or three. We were literally breezing through and only popped in for Juice and some nutrient rich vegan food. And maybe a dessert – maybe. Definitely a must stop, a little on the pricey end but well worth it for the quality and friendly service.

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Montreal

Copper Branch – if you’re in a pinch and have a lot of dough to spare – try these guys. Perfected fast food recipe but very costly. $9 solo burger? No sides? C’mon guys, we know it’s Montreal but that was a bit of a squeeze.

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La Panthere Verte – great walkable option in a great neighbourhood. Good local beers, nice outdoor seating, good cooler to go selection. Friendly enough staff and vibrant space/large menu. Vegan/Vegetarian and organic!

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Omnivore- Went in here expecting to have a full on sit down experience and were slightly robbed. I would put a few grand into this place and expand to less counter service. There are some great options here but it’s a bit cramped in there to have too great of a dine-in experience. Like the big windows that open right on to the street. Not all veg, but a lot of options.

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Mange Moi – Poutine / Beer – great Vegetarian poutine option. Good beer selections. Very loud, very busy.

Patati Patata – Another tiny cute Montreal diner style place with Veg options. They cook on the same grill as meat so beware. Across from a park, people watching on the main drag and friendly staff.

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Nutri Mania – Counter service but you can eat in. High Raw, Vegan and clean. Nice staff and again, at a great location. Prices were ok, nothing outrageous but the portions did feel a little small when you look at the bill while eating.

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Aux Vivres – went back twice because it was easy. Menu’s in english and french, sit down service and quite the selection. Jeff had the pancakes and liked them a lot. Nothing too fancy, clean honest food served very quickly.

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L’escalier – what a weird find. Upstairs musical joint that looks like it’s out of a teenagers nightmare/twin peaks. Very quick vegan food with not too much pizzaz but it hits the spot late at night when you get robbed for a couple of pricey beers in Old Montreal. They have live entertainment which was a trip that night. Wish I could have remembered what the performer was called.

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Trip de Boueff – What do you do when everything is closed and you’re starved and need coffee? You walk. The weather finally turned a little crisp that day so we were a bit chilled walking about and found a door that was open. Lebanese sandwiches and other delights, Veg friendly and great coffee. Nice folks here as well.

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Santropol – A hugely long wait at an apparent Montreal staple around since the 70’s. Terrible service, so-so food at a pretty high cost considering the first two items I mentioned. Very cool space with an awesome outdoor seating area right next to Mont Royal Parc…I wouldn’t go back. Honestly the chilli/chip combo was stale and the sandwiches were lack lustre. Not to mention completely arrogant staff.

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Lola Rosa – Saved the best for last on Canadian Thanksgiving. It was the last walkable place we hadn’t tried in the neighbourhood. Great wine, great desserts, good service. Jeff’s mac n cheese was good – with jalapenos. I had a burger that was alright…bun was a little dry. Salad was good and so was the dressing. The food wasn’t THE TITS but it was good and everything else about the space and the employees made the 7/10 food rating worth it. Romantic, busy, cozy – we wished we would have gone sooner.

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Brampton

Zen Gardens – Well played. Traditional Chinese food done Vegan and Vegetarian. Totally a twice a year type of food stop but they did a great job with it. Good quality for fried food for sure. Lots of food for the price – we walked out with leftovers and could have fed 4 people with what we ordered for two.

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Port Colborne

Smokin’ Buddha – nice to see that there was a little place for vegetarians to go in this small border town. Cute spot, great service….food was pretty terrible. Over salted, over sauced, soggy. It was busy but I’d rather stay home. Maybe in time it will improve??

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Canalside – this isn’t the greatest stop for food. Fries – yes. Food in general no. It’s a greasy spoon located right next to one of the locks on the great lake so it’s nice to sit with the doors open on the patio and watch the big ships come in and out. Service was good. Staff was friendly, food was meh but the views made up for it.

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Niagara Falls 

Nowhere. Holy Broccoli this was BAD. Honestly. I won’t even name the overpriced pasta place we got this muck below served to us at. Avoid it at all costs unless you can afford to go to somewhere that has 5 stars plus. It’s a tourist trap rat hole. Bowtie pasta and tomato sauce – bland, unsalted and soggy $20!!!

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We didn’t starve, we didn’t freeze and we made the most of a nutritionally challenging situation. It wa sa long road, a hard road and sometimes eating the way we do made it a hungry road. No matter, we didn’t compromise and did our best.

If you find yourself headed through Canada in any of these cities, I hope our list of decent stops helps you on your trip.

xx – S

 

Staying Healthy & Happy On The Road

 

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Prepped for travel ~ do it right!

Usually ~ USUALLY ~ I am a pretty dedicated advocate of disciplined living on the road. Good eats, plenty of exercise with a little fun peppered in. When you’re travelling it can be exceptionally hard to stay healthy and when you’re on the road for an undisclosed amount of time? This is a true challenge. I have found myself on the road now for two weeks, possibly two more weeks ahead and boy has it been rough.

With 8 hour driving days in the first week all I could do was eat right, drink water and try to get sleep as best I could – physical fitness went out the window. Week two however, was a game changer. Rented apartment with full services and an actual neighbourhood to live in equals thriving.

I’m writing this post for my gypsy friends, my workaholic brethren and for those of you who have no choice but to be in a constant state of travel/disarray/busy. You can still do right by your body and mind while taking it easy and staying sane.

Here are my top 5 tips for staying #FitOnTheRoad

  1. Stop Instagramming and get googling. Search out hotels or AirBnB locations with either a gym or yoga/fitness studio in the building or one offsite but close. Ensure they observe drop-ins and find one that fits your budget. In this day and age there is a studio you can visit that will at the very least get your body moving. No options? As in, stranded in a remote village? Make it part of your pre-trip packing to download equipment-free HIIT or Yoga videos to your laptop, tablet or smartphone. Try a couple of the apps below on for size:
  1. Myyogaonline.com
  2. Emily Skye (workout app)
  3. My Road Workout (workout app)
  4. Cody (yoga/pilates app)
  5. Yogify (yoga app)
  6. Daily Workouts FREE (workout app)
  1. Order pre-made meals or grocery delivery. There is nearly no way to get out of making healthy choices these days. You can utilize the services of an athlete meal prep company or “on the go” meal prep company to have your food delivered right to your door OR find an easy pick up location. Grocery stores can have a lot of healthy selection in their deli department as well – be sure to choose hotel rooms or rentals with refrigeration and microwaves if possible. No delivery? No problem. We’ve all been there before. If you’re on a shorter journey you can pack your own healthy meals with you in a well constructed carry-all designed to keep them fresh. My friends at Believe Fit Calgary have an amazing assortment of 6pack meal bags and other to go carriers you should check out as well!

 

My go-to meal delivery companies are:

USA – www.iconmeals.com , www.freshmealplan.com

CANADA – www.fuelfoods.ca , www.fitfood.ca , www.athleteskitchen.ca

 

  1. Cut the booze. Easier said than done sometimes however alcohol can cause us to have uneasy sleeps, rough mornings and also diminishes our ability to burn fat. Try curbing your cravings by flavouring your water with lemon, lime or cucumber, fresh juice with a splash of soda or a hot tea.

 

Try these cool “mocktails” out if you’ve got your own kitchen or a helpful server:

 

http://www.insonnetskitchen.com/healthy-mocktails-for-new-years/

  1. Stay true to your alarm clock. Nothing throws off a traveller more than time-zone changes. What’s worse is when we refuse to acknowledge that time change and remain all over the map with our sleep/work/living patterns. Set your clocks & alarms to get adjusted to your local time zone as quickly as possible. Feel free to cave for a 15-minute catnap as needed but do your best to adjust sooner than later. Major jetlag sufferer? Try a few of these tips:

A: use your flight time to reset – sleep to match your destination time-zone

B: don’t pull any all nighters before you depart

C: arrive in daylight if you can

D: avoid on-board alcohol

E: eat 3 meals for your time-zone – even if you aren’t hungry

F: stretch & exercise

G: get all the daylight you can – nap when you need to

  1. Hydrate & Meditate. You’re hearing it all over the news and in print; yoga and meditation are being recommended (along with plant-based diets) by so many health professionals now. Why? Well, it gets your mind right and without that, your body is sure to fail you. Hydration, or lack thereof is also key to travelling well, staying clear, focused and rested. Take this recommendation on your next travels and see how it works for you:

A: Before you open your eyes each morning use an easy meditation practice of noticing you are away from toe to head. With eyes closed, scan your body from foot to hair acknowledging them with a wriggle or squeeze once or twice as you move up your body.

B: Wake up each morning to a glass of room temperature water (buy a “real lemon” supplement if you have time to and add

C: Complete some easy stretches before hopping into a quick COOL water shower. Hot showers will keep you drowsy ~ we want to promote alertness.

D: Breakfast ~ make it count. Simple oatmeal and a few berries are GREAT and you can find travel sizes too. If not, be sure to pack some dried quick oats, dried berries and stevia as a sweetener. You can add hot water in your hotel room and voila!

E: Stay hydrated allday, use an earth friendly 1 litre/1 quart vessel that you can refill easily anywhere all day. Ensure you have at least 3 litres before bed – BUT not all at once in a rush. Being up all night having to go to the washroom isn’t good for your sleep.

 F: Be mindful and try walking or moving meditation. For example: if you are walking between long blocks to meetings, try breathing in and out to the beat of three paces – three paces breathing in, three breathing out.

Staying healthy and happy on the road takes a lot of effort and genuine desire on our part to achieve successfully. There is no one “way” to stay fit, stay rested or remain cheery while traveling – so do what you can in-part with these time tested suggestions to keep well.

You can follow my journey on Facebook, Instagram or my Blog to keep up with healthy eating, living and lifting tips regularly.

Bon voyage, a la prochaine!

XX-S

Beat the winter blues before they get to you – lets move!

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Every fall, without fail, a slow trickle of sadness comes over me. At first, it’s a tiny leak only the keenest ear could hear. When ignored, sad evolves into a tornado. A formidable monster of frustration, resentment and loathing for pretty much nothing in particular.

Sound familiar? Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. However much like the winter blues, stress, inactivity and the busyness of life can take over who you REALLY need to be and before you know it, you’re someone barely recognizable in the mirror.

While we all need to learn to love ourselves for who we are, there is no excuse for neglecting our basic human needs when the weather turns or, as in the case of so many of us Canadians, when the good weather never quite arrived!

Whether it be the deep bags, new wrinkles or extra 10 pounds, the sure-fire way to get a great sleep, have wonderful relationships and keep a smile on your face this winter is by incorporating movement, nutrition and self care into every day. These are the basic fundamentals of “Food Medicine Life”.

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There are a TONNE of activities that are perfect for this time of year if you are NOT a gym junkie:

– hiking
– biking
– jogging
– canoeing
– rollerblading
– soccer
– racquetball, tennis, badminton

Now, you’re going to say “but these take up so much TIME”. Well, yes, they do but then so do countless episodes of “Netflix and chill”.

If you are ready to bite the bullet but are time conscious, go with an equipment free HIIT workout. You can find them on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and plain old Google. High intensity, low investment, amazing results.

You can also try a 30 minute circuit at your gym in the weight training section or join a fun new spin, surf or rowing class. Group fitness is a great way to stay amped and bring some friends along for the high intensity fun.

Food

Once you’re done burning off the stress, make sure to replenish your mind and body with some great snacks such as bananas, blueberries, lentils or beans.  Protein isn’t everything guys, but it is important to your diet and building muscle.

If you’re looking for cruelty-free protein options that don’t support industrialized farming…try this link:

http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/top-10-vegetarian-sources-of-protein

Water is essential for flushing toxins and fat as well as keeping us hydrated and radiant – drink a minimum of 8 large glasses per day. Start each morning with a warm glass of lemon water before all else.

Sugar cravings getting you down? Try some seasonally fabulous fall treats to keep around the house for you or your family, try this quick easy Vegan Pumpkin Ginger cookie recipe that tastes lovely with or without sugar….but we all need a treat every now and then, it’s all about balance!

CLICK HERE TO LINK TO RECIPE. 

If you’re still suffering from stress related issues, it’s time to try on a bit of herbalism to treat your symptoms.

My top picks are:

  • Chamomile
  • Ashwaganda
  • Passionflower
  • Magnesium
  • Green/Black tea
  • Lavendar
  • Kava

These herbs can be taken in a capsule, pressed pill, tea, essential oil (aromatherapy)or tincture. The easiest to get ahold of being Magnesium which can be taken each night before bed. All of these natural anti-anxiety herbs will aid you in your stress reduction efforts as part of your daily health ritual.

Life

Quick fix junkie? Look no further. Just 5 minutes of meditation each day can restore and invigorate your spirit. If you’re a beginner the easiest time to get this done is upon rising or just before bed.

Set your alarm clock or phone timer for 5-7 minutes.

Next, sit cross legged, in a chair or upright in bed ~ lying down is also an option~ with your hands in a relaxed place in your lap. Get all of your fidgeting out by gently squeezing together all your muscles from head to toe for a couple of seconds, then releasing. Once you have done this a couple of times, you are ready to begin.

You can start to increase the length of your inhales and exhales by counting 1-2-3 as you complete both. You can even add a “Mississippi” in between if you are into a challenge. Fill up your lungs and let your belly expand on the inhale, squeeze all the air out that you can on the exhale.

If your mind tends to wander, that’s ok! It happens to the best of us. Sometimes it can help to picture a soft glowing light in your minds eye that expands and contracts with each inhale and exhale. Just return to your breath/glowing light each time you start to panic about the day that lays ahead.

When your alarm goes off, gently allow yourself to return to the moment and start/end your day.

Give yourself the treatment your mind and body crave. Yes, you do have time. Work can wait, the kids can wait. Start devoting just 15 minutes a day to yourself. Your world will change, promise.

Continue reading “Beat the winter blues before they get to you – lets move!”

Becoming Little Miss Bikini – Season 3 – Ep 3 – The road less travelled

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Honeymoon is over {sort of} and now there are more goals set and training on the horizon. We had an amazing wedding, shared the day with our closest loves and are now married….bizarre for us to think that 14 years ago this thought probably never crossed our minds. 5 years ago, still nada.

Then but for a beautiful night out in Philly {eating Vegan food at the amazing Bar Bom Bon} we decided to make it “official”….2 months later, cue wedding bells…and one month after that, we take this union stateside. Pfew, way to pack it all into one summer Williams’.

In terms of who we are and what we’ve committed to as a couple, that’s easy and hasn’t wavered. We train every day – at least 5/6 times per week. We work hard and play hard and have a great life balance that has taken years to achieve. We decided to save cash and take a road tripping honeymoon to see some amazing sights and bands.

We knew that our latest travels were going to take us to some amazing food, drinks and places we’d never seen. At a time of celebration it’s SO important to not lose sight of real life. Bodybuilding is a passion of ours but living out loud is moreso. Making the decision to not compete again this year was hard BUT the freedom it’s given me/us to have some fun and be playful is worth more than another bikini girl trophy ~ there is life before, during and after competition.

Scroll right to the bottom of this blog post for a list {with links} to all of the Veg/Veg Friendly places we stopped at worth mentioning. 

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Lets get to the good stuff shall we? Checking our egos and our 6 pack abs at the door, we said goodbye to the last of our houseguests and hit the tarmac.

We started off in Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel. This one was $50 which is a steal and is off strip. Their Asian restaurant happened to supply vegan protein and we were stoked. It’s off strip which is great because we were just there 2 months earlier so we didn’t need to do the usual getting pissed on the Vegas Strip. WE also chose this hotel because it has a decent place to workout. If you know Vegas like we do, you’ll be aware that there aren’t a lot of hotels with gyms to speak of at all ~ which is stupid really. We hit the gym both days we were there, ate well, drank minimally and enjoyed the sun.

From there we went on to Arizona. Page, to be exact via Zion National Park {pictured above}. Page is a creepy little place with a literal “God Strip”…no joke, 2-3 miles of churches lining a main drag. There was even “The Lords Gym” which we really wanted to hit up but it was just too janky. Sad face because I didn’t even get a picture of it.

There wasn’t too much to choose from in terms of staying fit BUT we were there for Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and nothing more. We did find a good little gym there called Titanium {below} and fit in another workout on the road. $5 drop in too. Good selections of Apex/Hammer Strength/Cybex with some crossfit stuff/battle ropes as well as some treadmills and one {very hidden} stair master.

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We were up early that morning due to a time change error and spent a couple of hours lazing before we headed for our tour of Antelope Canyon. You have to book this and it’s actually a sad and frustrating experience because it’s PACKED and I’m not sure how I mentioned to pull off a shot with no people in it. Check out my insta for more pics of the nature stuff.

Next we were on to Colorado via Moab Utah. We decided to stop in Moab so that we could take advantage of the most amazing Arches National Park ~ definitely needed 2 days here but we only had two hours so, if you do go, make some serious time for it. It was HOT and once again, crowded. Very sad face.

We ate at The Moab Brewry for dinner. They had salad options…no vegan protein, and mostly deep fry. Great beer though.

This day I was in a bad mood because we intended on hitting the gym in Moab, a place called South Town Gym. We rolled up at 730 am and realized the office didn’t open for 2 hours for us to pay a drop in. It’s a 24 hour gym for members but it posted threats all over that if we just snuck in people could lose their membership. The doors were unlocked but, ethically, we couldn’t do it. I was fuming.

We packed up and went to this little hippy looking place for breakfast (referenced below) but it was actually not easy to find anything vegan and then when I did suggest a tofu sub it arrived cold and lack lustre. If you must eat in Moab, proceed with caution.

Below, we hit a pretty well known gem in Marble, Colorado called The Crystal Mill {pictured below} which we had to access via a rented side-by-side. The weather turned but we didn’t stop…..great little BBQ spot called Slow Groovin’ had just enough on the menu to feed us…and is the only game in town that serves booze. This town is off the grid – no gym here. We stayed at Beaver Lake Lodge – such a gem and so wish we had two more days there as well.

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A little drenched from the rain, a little sad to be leaving such a magical place {that looked and felt and smelled like home} we hopped in the car and headed on down the road for Denver…..the apex of our honeymoon at Riot Fest – The Misfits & Gogol Bordello headlining day 3 had us at decibel 11 excitement.

The ride up to Vail and past through to Denver is a beautiful one. Twists and turns and fast moving traffic. Days in the car were on average 4.5 hours or so…this day is long, but with beauty weather it wasn’t really a bother.

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Hot weather, good times and some pretty amazing Vegan food had us all in a tizzy. We hadn’t really struck out too much in terms of food the whole trip. Sure, we missed a couple of days at the gym here and there but…we ate well, loved hard and were ear to ear smiles most of the time. Found this little reminder sitting on a park bench after a stellar meal at Vital Root in the Berkley neighbourhood of Denver.

Day 2 of the 3 day festival I woke up in EXTREME neck pain…FML, this old injury on the day we were working out at Armbrusts in Wheat  Ridge. I sucked it up, took a couple of Advils and went anyway to smash out a leg day. The only regret I have here is not buying a souvenir tank. Idiot. Who does that when they’re visiting the “Mile High Mecca”. D’oh.

Jeff convinced me {imagine no neck mobility and full face headache} to find some active release nearby. He located someone and lo-and behold they were an effing chiro. I was terrified…if you know me you know I don’t do back crackers. Check out my happy waiting room face below. So much pain, so happy about our workout.

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I won’t say much about the appointment but Jeff stayed with me through the active release, massage, electro shock & neck cracking ~ I flipped RIGHT OUT when he adjusted my neck. Never again!!

With Denver quieted down after yet another epic Gogol concert {hopping up and down for an hour straight is considered a cardio/calf day, no? } and a so-so Original Misfits show, we went home to bed ready to take on New Mexico. 5 states, 9 days…all adventure. There are far too many cats ass restaurants in Denver to rattle off in one email so again, check out the bottom of this post. We were well fed and there was even a street fair “Taste of Colorado” that we meandered around at…sadly, the food was pretty bad so we didn’t eat there at all.

The road to NM is a pretty boring one. Imagine windy windy windy prairie roads with a tonne of trailers scattered throughout. Not much to shake a stick at.

We arrived at our Motel 6 for the last 3 days of our journey and were outright disgusted. I know you get what you pay for but…well….I won’t go on, it was a homeless, unsecured haven covered in axel grease.

We straight up said HELL NO when we walked into our room, promptly got a refund and headed to old town.

We scored a helluva deal at the Eldorado Hotel & Spa which is close to damn near everything. It’s civilized and what we have become accustomed to over the last few years. We have been spoiled by our successes but not to the point where we won’t stay in a 1 star…as most of our trip has been…we figured we needed to splurge a little for our last few days.

Back to a place with a built in gym, restaurants and clean sheets ~ wheeeee! Downside? Not a helluvalot of vegan options and a breakfast laid out like the one below is about $40 USD. Sickening in my opinion.

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For our last few days we hit the gym every day, walked, hiked and made plans for the future. As I write this I am 1 Lara Bar down and ready for a bit of cardio…then on to see Bandolier National Park, Meow Wolf art installation.

Meow Wolf was an all out win. If you’re ever in Santa Fe, you need to pay homage to this amazing art installation. You’ll need at least 2 hours and then you’ll need to go back at least half a dozen or more times to get the story down. It’s far more epic than I can describe. Picture Disneylands Haunted Mansion meets the Little Mermaids grotto meets a sweet sweet mushroom trip in the woods. Something like 20,000 square feet of brain boggling art and imagination ~ with a side of LIVE music.

Just look at this link and plan accordingly: MEOW WOLF SANTA FE

Finishing up this blog post I wanted to impress how important fun and play are in life. We can all push our hardest 100% of the time but without play, life would just be toil and I have half a mind to think that’s not what it’s all about. You?

Yes, I’m an athlete. Yes, I’m a vegan. Yes, I’m an adult with responsibility. Conversely I am human, playful and imaginative ~ all sides need to be fed in order for this machine to run smoothly.

So, with that being said as I sip black coffee at a train depot of a municipal airport in Santa Fe, I’m starting to dream about the next few months and what they’ll look like. Though we are moving in 2.5 weeks, training for a new season of bodybuilding starts tomorrow. While I didn’t miss too many days of the gym, I still didn’t get in what I thought to be “real” gym time and this neck/back injury is still plaguing me. Time to dig deep and look forward with health and happiness at the forefront of my daily goals.

With all that deep stuff and a bigger need for life budgeting in mind, I think I’ve finally settled on my next contest, via the INBF Canada Crew putting together a little road trip to Savannah Georgia! Hows that for exciting?!!! Of course I can’t stop thinking about gaining weight, being lazy and eating / drinking poorly this trip. But it’s my honeymoon and there’s no way I’m letting that pass by by being a restrictive brat. Living is so much more than beating yourself up about not getting leg day done, it’s about reminding yourself to breathe and maybe take a couple days off because your neck and back are screwed!!

 

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Restaurant Recommendations by State:

Nevada – Las Vegas

Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas – FU *Vegan Protein Options

Utah – Moab

Moab Brewing

Peace Tree Cafe

Colorado – Glenwood Springs (final resting place of Doc Holliday)

Sacred Grounds  – horrible

Colorado – Marble

Slow Groovin *try the okra

Colorado – Denver

City O City

Vital Root

Watercourse

Handy’s

True Food

Hapa Sushi – a chain with shitty service but decent selection

New Mexico – Santa Fe

Agave at Eldorado

Coyote Cafe

Indulge

Sweet Water Harvest Kitchen

Taberna ~ By La Boca

Annapurna