The big 4-0- A decade in review

 

When I thought of turning 40, my inner voice said “I want to be in the best shape of my life”…. And that manifested itself as looking a certain way that meant “the best” to me. What I’ve come to realize in the last 6 months is that what I SHOULD have been aiming for is to be in the best MENTAL shape of my life.

We live so much of our lives online. I do at least. I am there as a mentor, a businessperson, a private citizen, and as a voyeur. We watch others, we watch them watch us…it puts us into places mentally, physically and emotionally that 15 years ago didn’t exist. We compare ourselves, a lot.

In understanding my own struggles with being happy with whom I am, I am dedicating my online efforts to the truth – cool or not. I am dedicating this year of 40 to finding my spiritual, emotional, mental health, whatever you want to call it. Making the stuff between my ears make sense, lighten up and really LIVE.

2008 – I turned 30

October 2008 I turned 30 in Las Vegas. I was a jellyfish. I can clearly (ha ha) remember this.

I was hopeful, but jaded. I had a LOT of friends…who later turned out to be {mostly} horrible people. I was living with my fiancé in a condo in Yaletown, working my job in Commercial Real Estate, making money but working 7 days a week & all hours for people who didn’t really care about anyone really.

I had been moonlighting with my health & wellness business for about a year and was on the fence about where my heart was in terms of going all in or giving up.

My father-in-law was dying of Cancer, my fiancé was goalless, my friends were high or drunk most of the time……so I dove deeper into training & yoga to try and make some sense out of my life.

I started collecting certifications in Thai Yoga massage, Herbalism, Vegan cheffing….I needed to find my way – I was finally NOT a 20 year old anymore and to me that meant it was time to grow up.

2009 – I turned 31

This was a year of happy endings and harsh awakenings.

I was living in a great condo in Yaletown with my 2 Shiba Inu’s and my (then) boyfriend. I was working at a job I mostly hated but I was making a lot of money. And I thought that would make everything better.

I traveled to 100 Mile Ranch for our annual Thanksgiving trip, was also in Toronto Italy, New York and Hawaii to name a few.

I got married, for the second time

2010 – I turned 32

Grown up and ready to take on the world I decided I needed to have the house of my dreams. So, with a lot of searching and fighting with my husband, we found the perfect little blue house on Charles Street off Commercial Drive in East Van.  It was such a gorgeous home. Decorated with the original stained glass windows, interior renovation, yard, white picket fence and a steal at just $1.02MM.

This same year my husbands’ father died and that created a tectonic shift that we couldn’t ever recover from.

In my mourning for the lost family, the lost love I dove into things that could feed my soul. I pursued both my Permaculture & Herbalism certifications that year.

I held the first Halloween/birthday party at Charles street that year. My birthday has always been somewhat of a “thing” for me and I just love being surrounded by happy friends having a good time…with the help of some amazing witches brew that appeared on both years.

I did a great hiking trip to the Kootenays, completed an over night at Golden Ears summit, a snowy summer hike up the Lions, Cypress & the  Stawamus Chief.

I decided that in honour of my husbands father we should travel to China to see where his life began as a doctor.

2011 – I turned 33

This was a transitional year and my marriage was suffering. I thought that a fall trip to Spain & Morocco might ignite some lost feelings of the way life was when it was “good”.

This year was also a holding pattern for me. I didn’t realize that my husband would become a distant drunk. That I would grow to hate him, that everything I thought growing up was, for me, was a lie.

I didn’t have the ability to give anymore of myself to anyone. I didn’t want to work for the sexual predators I had been. I quit my “day job” and went full time into educating on plant-based nutrition and healthy living. I was so happy.

My husband was devastated by my choice to quit a 10 (plus) year career in commercial real estate. “But you used to make so much money”…was one of the last things I can remember him saying to me.  I was gutted by the lack of substance in my life.

2012 – I turned 34

The onset of  2012 was supposed to be great. A family trip to Russia & Scotland…but I knew in the fall of 2011 that my trip was shadowed with my impending split from my husband.

We had spent months living in separate bedrooms, working opposite schedules, having no days off together. Enough was enough after a year of alienation at least. I truly believe to this day I was used as a pawn to gain access to a trust fund. I think our marriage was a show of maturity to his ailing father.

By March I had filed for divorce. It was all too much. We agreed to separate amicably; I’d take less than my share in cash and our dogs. Nothing else. I slept on couches at friends houses on weekends to clear my head.

While the separation was happening I reconnected with my (now) husband Jeff. It was just good to talk to someone who actually gave a shit.. We had known each other for 10 years and though he was in Calgary and I was in Vancouver, we always stayed in touch.

I went to visit him at the start of April, with no expectations at all. We were both getting divorced at the same time and needed company we could trust and be ourselves with.

In July, after returning from Russia & Scotland, I moved to Calgary to get out of the sad place that Vancouver had become for me then. We spent my 34thbirthday in Waterton lakes at a cabin, played cards and hung out and hiked with the Sheebs.

2013 – I turned 35

We bought a house, together in Bragg Creek., the Canadian Rockies. We were part of a 100 year flood that devastated the rural Rockies and Calgary. I became a stepmother to Anastacia who was battling Cancer and finished chemo that year. We threw her a big party at an Equestrian Center that I planned.

We took an amazing family trip to Disneyland and California theme park.

We spent my 35thbirthday in the most incredible place – The Resort at Pedregal. We talked about life and goals and I decided on that trip that I definitely would NOT be having children.

We brought Frieda Montgomery Jane our beloved German Shepherd home from up north. My sweet angel Tetsuo was taken by something wild in December of this year.

I felt like a princess in a dream this year – we had everything we wanted.

2014 – I turned 36

We made a LOT of money this year in our business. We spent HEAPS of it on child custody wars. We were busy in business, in court, just really fucking busy and times were going by so fast.

We traveled a bit through Nicaragua, bought a few nice things but mostly worked SUPER hard and tried to spend time together as a family hiking , camping, snowboarding and quadding. Things felt STABLE and I just kind of leaned in and took on that life.

We spent my birthday at Capella resort in Ixtapa, Mexico.

2015 – I turned 37

This was the year I became fired up about bodybuilding contests. We traveled to San Franciso, made our first trip to Pittsburgh for work and we made a final trip down to Cabo to The Resort at Pedregal for my birthday, we spent Christmas in Panama as a family.

This was also the year that we arrived home on December 24th to -25 temperatures and started to let the reality of an economic collapse sink in. Our people were being laid off, we were bailing on an office lease, still embroiled in lawsuits and child custody woes, we were overwhelmed.

I’m still shocked we didn’t implode.

2016 – I turned 38

We really dug deep this year. January we spent 3 weeks traveling through India by motorcycle while trying to cling to what was left of the clients who were surviving the blows being dealt by the oil and gas industry.

We got engaged in Philly that year after a second recon trip to Pittsburgh. We were married in August at home in Bragg Creek  and let everyone know we’d made the decision to move to Pittsburgh Sept 30th.

We spent our Honeymoon driving from Las Vegas to Denver…hitting the “four corners”, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe bend, Aspen…SO many beautiful sites.

There were a lot of lawyers this year, for immigration and child custody. We had been fighting and swimming up hill for going on 5 years.

We drove across Canada. We saw friends along the way, parts of the country we’d never seen and parts we’d not want to see again any time soon. We spent a week in Montreal on an immigration delay that was intensely stressful and costly but, by October 17thwe were crossing the border at Niagara Falls to Pittsburgh.  I celebrated my birthday with no running water in a run down house we rented in the Hill District.

We traveled to Orlando and had a great time being kids at Disneyworld, sat by the sea and got really excited for the future of our business.

2017 – I turned 39

2017 turned out to be a pretty so-so year for business, which is always worrisome but we really pulled through alright.

We still had some major legal battles with custody but those were getting sort of stale and really poisonous and covered in lies. Anastacia contracted another Cancer during the winter of that year.

We traveled to Georgia and Vancouver for bodybuilding contests and to visit friends and family. I spent 7 entire months out of Canada – the longest ever in my life. We ran off to Cozumel for a week to recharge our batteries.

I decided to take a year off from competing that spring and aimed to enjoy my family and all the sights of the tri-state area.  I felt I was coming into my own…and I blogged all about it – which I’m grateful to have to look back on.

We drove my motorcycle 3000 miles from Calgary to Pittsburgh stopping in some pretty amazing places and some really gross places too.  In my opinion, Mt. Rushmore and Deadwood were the best part of that trip.

We went to Chicago for Riot Fest and my parents came to visit us in PGH.

By October we had to wrap up our next pack of legal plans to cross back into Toronto to apply for another Visa – this time for 5 years. Of course, it was a bungle and we were stuck in Toronto with our fur kids for nearly 3 weeks.

I celebrated my birthday in Toronto, downed a bottle of champagne at George restaurant. We got our Visa approval on November 1stor 2ndand were right back in the jeep heading home to Pittsburgh.

2018 – I turned 40

 Ahhh, this year.

This year we gave up the fighting. We had conceded to the child custody war, our legal tangles with the government for Visas was on pause for almost 5 years and there was some breathing room created.

Our renters moved out of the house in the spring and we decided to sell our house to cut down on liability and free up our cash. It was such an emotional undertaking but needed to happen.

We got in the jeep and did a two week family trip down to Hilton Head, SC and the Outer banks in NC while work had died down. We really fell in love with the countryside we were getting to explore. America is so vast and multi-dimensional I’m sure you’d never see it all in one lifetime.

In the spring my Granny died and we raced down to New Mexico via El Paso Tx, to try and sort out her affairs. It was sudden and she planned for nothing. That made for five days of sheer confusion. But New Mexico is absolutely stunning and we were happy to see a new side of life – the full time RV community. Wow what a shocking eye opener. You see, my Granny had been living in an RV for nearly 10 years I think – at first we were appalled, but then intrigued.

We went to Maui for a couple of weeks to meet up with my parents for a get away.

We headed back to PGH, put the pedal to the metal and started to win US clients over, not as quickly or as many as we would have liked, but there was real progress that we could measure.

Our friends came to visit in the Spring which was exciting. We went boating, sent a container of all our things across the border from Canada, sold our house, sold our things in Canada and started the importation process of our Jeep.

My parents came again in the summer and we went to D.C. to check out the city and catch the Stanley Cup parade.

After a summer trip back to Calgary and Vancouver we talked a lot about what our future was going to be. We felt locked down in PGH as a lot of our potential clients offices were located in Texas, Kansas, etc…we knew the cost of doing business development by plane was going to be far too costly to commit to.

We had to make some clear business and life decisions with the 4 years we had left on our visa as there are benchmarks we need to meet in order to be eligible for another 5 years.

After a few months of research, planning, consideration and dreaming, we decided to move into an RV. Since we had stopped the insanity of child custody we were free to travel full time to see clients, staff, complete field trips and adventure when we weren’t working.

In August we purchased an RV, we headed to Lisbon for our anniversary to celebrate and when we came back we headed down to Maryland (more than we wanted to) to pick up “Evgeny” our new home.

Now, here I sit,  on my 40thbirthday on the beaches of  the Dominican Republic reflecting on all that I’ve done over the last decade.

A LOT. By anyone’s standards, even my own. I’m totally uncertain how everything in life will roll out. I’m not entirely sure I haven’t lost my mind. But as death creeps closer every year I AM sure that I am living my life, balls to the wall and (mostly) loving every minute of it.

 

 

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.

To flake…or not to flake

Frosted flakes….nuff said.

 

Here I sit crafting this particular post because lately the theme around the wellness industry has been FLAKES. Loads of ’em. Making alliances and bailing at the last moment, looking to get something for nothing, failing to understand business relationships…the list goes on and on.

In being a part of so many of these {negative} experiences I realize that being direct may be difficult and I know that I’ve definitely been judged for it however, it’s all in the delivery – so make your decisions count and always make them from the heart.

“There are no regrets born of telling the truth – truthfully.” – Mark these words. 

I would like to share with you all some thoughts on when and how to flake (or not to flake), and what said flaking may be interpreted as by those who are the beflaken.

I also tend to make up my own words as they suit me……kind of like those people who say things like: Nucular, irregardless, expresso, expecially,excetera.

#1 – If you’re not feeling it – don’t do it. Don’t kid yourself, take one for the team or whatever you want to call it. Go with your gut, feel your feelings, be real. Letting people down is so much worse because then you know you’ve doubted yourself, leading to MEGA second guessing in the future which then leads to an emotional = Ugh. Don’t agree to meet someone for a coffee when you know you’re going to bail later. This usually leads to making up a lie or just NOT showing up. Not cool. Pull up your big girl/boy panties and decline gracefully from the start.

#2 – If you have questions – ask em. Just like your teachers (hopefully) taught you, there are NO STUPID QUESTIONS. If you are getting into something you’re unsure of, clarify it. Don’t join a movement, a fitness class or a congo line without knowing that you’re into it at least 100% of the way.

#3 – If you’re only in it for the money – get ready for some let downs. I don’t know how many times I get asked – “so how do I get paid?” or “what’s my share?” when talking about new business co-ventures like retreats or special events. I get it, we all like to make money. You need it for things like food, shelter, entertainment and other necessities. But if the first thought in your head on any collaboration is “when do I get mine?” you may be in for some rude awakenings. Money isn’t everything – there are experiences in life that may cost YOU physically, emotionally or financially…but in the end, you’re better {AND RICHER} for it.

#4 – If you are working in the health industry (or looking for a mentor who is)- be sure you (they) practice what you preach. Nearly every one of the health, wellness and fitness elitists I meet can’t keep up with their own labels let alone be a “guru” to people who are looking for a leader. A leader should be a shining example of a well rounded and functional person (faults and all). How can you truly provide knowledge, understanding and empowerment to others when you don’t empower yourself with those same things? Be aware. There is nothing more false than a person who stands on a soapbox professing to be the next best thing since sliced Ezekiel bread by day,  who secretly hates themselves in masked Facebook/Twitter posts by night.

Be true to you. Warts and all. It is more motivational for the world to see you as a real whole person than someone who is trying to be the next Ghandi and failing miserably. Be a leader, be a living being with feelings, failures and fears.

Summarizing, if you are about to get involved in a life journey that doesn’t feel right. Stop and ask yourself a few questions before giving the big thumbs up and flaking later. The last thing anyone (including you) needs to question is your own integrity, truth and self-awareness.

Harness your power to be real, and leave the flakes to the nasty breakfast cereals of the 80’s.

NAMASTE!

Summer fruit salad – packaging free

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All of our ingredients being added by the class. Hemp hearts next!

Another visit to Earl Grey School in Calgary, this time to talk about how we get around the grocery store. We touched on Organics, packaging, marketing and a bit of advertising to children. We reviewed a lot of sometimes foods and what areas they can be found in and studied a map of a typical grocery store.

Again, some of these kids knew their stuff, and applying the “sometimes treats” lesson a few sessions ago is really sticking. I’m so happy with their progress and I love walking into the class and having all their faces light up wondering what it is we will be making that day.

April 22 2016 Import 4695
Getting all the wiggles out before our session. Kids need to move!

I create these simple one-dish recipes so that the kids and their families have an opportunity to make simple, low-cost and healthy food at home in an environment where the kids are able to teach their parents. This one is sweet, which always goes over well. It’s a perfect summer snack, breakfast or dessert.

 

 

Ingredients:

*2 large oranges peeled and chopped

*2 large apples cored and chopped

*2 cups sliced strawberries

*1 cup sliced melons

*2 large bananas cored and chopped

*3-4 Kiwi fruit peeled and sliced

*3 cups seedless grapes

*1 cup chopped mint

*Juice of 1 lemon

*Juice of 1 lime

*Light coating of agave or maple syrup

*A few tablespoons of hemp hearts

*1 pint of Vegan vanilla yogurt

 

Method:

Mix all ingredients in bowl and serve chilled with yogurt.

Serves 15

 

April 22 2016 Import 4698
Not the best looking in this shot, but the kids devoured it.

Becoming Little Miss Bikini – S2 Ep 7 * 1 down, 2 to go

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There I am, blurry in pink!

Hello there everyone!

I’m writing you from 3 sleeps out to the NPAA contest in Calgary May 22. I’ve successfully completed one competition with the INBF in Vancouver and have brought home a gold in Open Womens Bikini Tall and a Silver in Masters Bikini.

This weekend I’ll be competing in 2 Pro Card qualifying categories – wish me luck – and the show is scheduled to run the evening only!! So to update, all 3 shows now will be a 6-7 hour day as opposed to the last one in the fall that ran 14 hours. Talk about wanting to die midday.

Flying home I think I caught some serious nastiness from some spewing dude which is pissing me off because I woke up for fasted cardio today and felt like I was hit by a train. I’ve still got a pretty long workout this afternoon AND a training session with a new client in the PM. “Resting” now by working on the computer.

I will wrap up this season with some insight into some of the politics I’ve been experiencing this go round. I am quite disappointed to say the least and the more I share my story, the more folks agree and share theirs as well. Quite a dirty and uphill business this bodybuilding.

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Last comp in green, this comp in pink.

Week 2 of peak week really isn’t so bad. I’m liking my physique this round better than last. I felt REALLY fat last round. I stacked a new fat burner with my Carnitine at night so I’m hoping that’s part of it because I’m happy with the results.

Low carb Mon-Weds and maybe a change-up for today. I may start depleting a bit earlier as well because I feel like I didn’t have enough abs for the last show……which I made the promo poster for! Baby steps.

I am not sure how I feel about fall competitions yet – I don’t know if I want to leave the totally subjective world and follow in the footsteps of my coach trying out figure? I like the category and shape for bikini, but the rules are so all over the place. More about that once I finish off these comps.

My tan has been coming off ok. I’ve really been scrubbing and moisturizing like crazy so that the next tan won’t be speckled, it’s working out pretty well. I’m using regular epsom salts, a coffee/vanilla scrub by Good North here in Calgary and a few different coconutty natural moisturizers from the health food store. If you want more details on the actual products, let me know.

I did a little demo with my Believe Fit famjam as well last night at the Goodlife in Canyon Meadows. Great turn out and some great folks that were really jazzed by the products we brought in – yay!

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Check out a couple videos below for some musings.

Kickin ass and eating my veggies every day until tomorrow I think.

XX – S

 

 

Becoming Little Miss Bikini – Episode 4 – Life Changes & Coping

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WOAH.

That’s how I feel I need to start this post off because a lot of what I’ve been going through I did NOT expect. Especially getting emotionally attached to even just the idea of food.

By this point in my journey I’ve gotten 3 solid weeks into training, eating and adapting to my new life as a bodybuilder/fitness competitor. Do not mistake this adventure for light and fluffy. Your world changes and if you’re lucky (as I am) you will have a partner to be there for you.

Jeff started in on his own program about a week after me. His is of course to gain a bunch of muscle mass and lose fat. Needless to say, there are nights when I go to bed hungry while he’s struggling to shove a bunch of oatmeal down his throat. I’m sure I’ll be able to laugh at that soon enough, right?

Remember. It’s no drinking, no sugar, all vegan and pushing yourself to your physical and psychological limits – every day.

Workouts

I am weight training 5 days per week. I have one rest day on Saturday where I still have to get in 1 hour of movement from hiking/yoga/biking or something as well as Fasted Cardio on Sunday mornings.

The longest workout time I have is about 1.5 hours – you have to move through them all quickly. Weight is heavy on top especially which I find challenging on the wrists. I ordered these WRIST WRAPS to keep me from hurting myself.

Weight training is broken up into body specific areas, I don’t skip any areas at all. With my weight training on Monday/Weds/Friday I also do 30 minutes of pretty intense cardio and Abs.

Legs twice per week PLUS some leg related cardio that makes me cry. No, really, I cry.

Sleep patterns

The new work out program is intense. I left myself only 12 weeks to get into competition shape and I’ve had to observe some pretty BIG workouts in my mind. I have heard of a lot tougher regimes and had I been in bad shape, I don’t think I would have attempted to get past week one let alone getting totally ripped in 12 weeks time.

With this being said, I’m tired. A lot. Not the kind of tired where I think I may have contracted mono, but the type of tired that you get when you go mountaineering for a week or when you work out 7 days a week as hard as you can.

I sleep at least 7 hours per night and aside from getting up to pee a couple of times, I’m out like  a light.

Water intake

This part is easy – for now. I’m taking in about 4 litres of water from my Nalgene and then having tea/coffee/shakes as well so I’m actually over what my requirement is. This has been a piece of cake BUT I’m a big water drinker and it was common for me to drink at least 2-3 litres per day prior to this.

Food

For a foodie. I am bored as all hell. I really need to start pepping up my meals because a third week of tempeh and spinach might put me over the edge.

Very few protein shakes which is surprising but decent because I’m not sure I like the flavour of my new Iron Vegan protein. I’ll have to get back to you all on that. So far it doesn’t mix very well and kind of gets to the consistency of chia pudding when used in smoothies. I was taken off of Vega and told that the pea protein has too many carbs but is ok in the off season.

For a vegan you’re eating a lot of tempeh, garbanzos, navy beans, quinoa, lentils etc…the spices I purchased from Flavor God help, but they’re no replacement for greater diversity in the kitchen.

I’m getting 1 reload meal per week which means I can having something delicious and filling to look forward to. That doesn’t mean fast food or crap food. Still whole foods with a tonne of nutrients, just no measuring cups and scales.

I can’t tell you how much it sucks to have your reload meal thwarted.  I nearly broke down this weekend when I was forgotten about at a wedding and there was nothing for me to eat but dry white pan bread and craisins. I can’t have sugar. The only thing I was looking forward to was taken away from me – I felt like my whole world crumbled. 2 days later and I’m still lamenting. Yeesh.

Personal Care Regime

Each morning before I eat I take in some warm water and lemon followed by an assortment of vitamin supplements. My favourite vitamins are Mega Food and I’ve always taken D, C, B Complex and Blood Builder religiously.

I’ve also added: BCAA’s, Glutamine, L-Carnitine and Greens/Spirulina and DIM daily.

This is taking a little getting used to. I have to shower, scrub and moisturize twice per day. I HATE the feeling of being greasy but I still do it. I slipped a bit while travelling over the weekend but I definitely moisturize at least once.

I use this LOTION I picked up at Community Health.

Then there is dry brushing. I had one of these energy brushes in my possession already so I didn’t have to pick it up. I think you can still buy them at Shoppers or London Drugs / Walgreens etc… I never really liked the idea of dry brushing because it’s very scratchy. I do this 2-3 times per week as well after showering on dry skin.

All of this stuff in the hopes that my spray tan will apply better and more evenly etc…

My Federation this go round

The federation that I am competing in is the INBF Canada.  This is a natural bodybuilding federation – that means no artificial ANYTHING. We get tested and put through lie detector testing.

Each federation has their own unique posing requirements. You really need to get to know this – something I am finding a bit frustrating as my coach is a BCABBA/Arnold competitor so she isn’t 100% on it herself. I’ve sent an email to the federation asking for instructions as their website is still leaving me with question marks over my head. Do not be afraid to ask questions of your federation!!!

Here are the basics of what my posing/routine is to look like:

You will execute poses at four locations:

  • 1st Location: Rear Center stage-(front pose)
  • 2nd Location: Front Right side of stage – (side pose facing center stage)
  • 3rd Location: Front Center stage-(front & rear pose)
  • 4th Location: Front Left Side of stage-(side pose facing center stage)

Return to end of line….

I’ve been practicing posing and let me tell you…IT HURTS! Yes, it hurts. You’re holding your breath, half flexing, half sucking in…it’s a hot mess (if you’re doing in right). These are some of my first posing attempts while camping.

I practice every day – at least 5 to 10 minutes per day. Getting the feeling of what the right pose is will be the most important thing for my big  day.

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Tattoo cover ups

As you all know, I am full of tattoos. This means that my body can look uneven on stage. I have opted to purchase some tattoo cover up cream and have the lady I am using for a spray tan apply this before my tan. I was recommended a product by my coach. I will be posting this up if it arrives successfully to my door!

New shoes

The shoes for these shows are all standard Lucite 5″ heels unless otherwise directed. Luckily, I’ve been dancing and walking in mega heels for years so they do not scare me off.

My first pair were ordered online and delivered quickly however, their measurement system was completely off so I had to rush out and buy new ones. Luckily a local adult/sex shop had the same shoes but with straps. I opted for THESE. I ended up paying about 35% more than if I ordered online so be aware of that  and order online if you have time to wait for delivery.

Other garments

I’ve adopted wearing a waist trainer all day as well as during workouts. I’ve had to purchase a second waist trainer for daily wear. They are made of latex and neoprene and are pretty comfortable and don’t leave marks.

The first one I bought from Make Me Heal and it ended up being great and fast however about $30 more than the others I ordered from Squeem directly. I purchased a 34/small and within a week could close up to the second row. I’m on and off the row because it gives me a bit of a headache.

Training in them is not for the faint of heart at first but you will get used to it. I have to add that the actual Squeem brand isn’t lined as nicely as the other one I bought, so you may need to buy an additional wrap to stop the unit from marking up your skin. Pain in the butt.

The other not-so-sexy addition to my life has been these horrible neoprene shorts that are supposed to be good for reducing cellulite etc… I also got these from Make Me Heal. Ugh. I wear them nightly to bed as well as during at least 1 cardio session per week – usually my fasted cardio on the weekend. These are UGLY but also comical.

Neoprene sexiness
Neoprene sexiness

Progress pics update

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So HERE I am 2 full weeks going onto 3 weeks in.  Day 2 of my period and not at all feeling like taking semi-nude pictures. I am not sure if all the training has brought on my period early or what, but it showed up 1.5 weeks early as well. Something to note and keep track of.

These pics are my second set sent to my coach with comments. I’m not seeing any progress in these however, in another couple of weeks I’m sure I’ll have some ability to see change. Patience is NOT my thing, but I know that I’ve made a lot of changes and the benefits are going to start rolling in.

Creamy Vegan Cashew Dressing

 

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Sauces make the greatest accompaniment for salads, sandwiches, toppings, marinades, dips and drizzles. Once you have a good couple of ingredients you know how to work with (how to correct, increase and decrease a basic flavouring) you’re ready to get cracking on some adventurous numbers.

This recipe, is a great starter sauce you can build from this with spices and other interesting oils and flavours once you are comfortable.

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup grapeseed oil

1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp (or more) water – to thin out

1/3 cup cashews

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp miso

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp himalayan salt

cracked black pepper to taste

 

Method: 

 

Mix all ingredients with a hand blender until you reach your desired consistency. Add water as needed to thin out dressing.

Will keep refrigerated for 5 days.

Sundog days of Winter

Winter amazingness
Winter amazingness

Have you ever been lucky enough to see a Sundog or phantom sun? No?

Well, apparently they are easier to find/see in the winter on the Prairies. Lately there have been a few to see while making the drive out from K-Country to the city and I thought I might share a bit of information on them with you because they are SO interesting and quite the beauty sight.

I like to think of them as the guardians of the sun and enjoy reading and hearing about their native roots – not that I’m partial or anything. (wink wink)

However, I know that there are also some very interesting facts  about their occurrences outside of storytelling. Our science-y friends call them parhelions.

A ring of light is sometimes visible around the sun or moon. When this happens, it’s because light is refracted through ice crystals in the atmosphere. Another solar phenomenon is the sundog or mock sun. It also produced by refraction of light through ice crystals. When the sun is near the horizon, a sundog would appear as brightly colored spots on either side of the sun. This means there are more clouds with ice crystals and therefore wetter weather may be on the way!

The Lakota call the sundog Wi’ace’iciti (we-AH-chay EEE-chee-dee), which means the sun makes for itself a campfire. The Plains Indian sign language, a mutually intelligible gesture language in use for communicating among the many tribes, articulates the sundog with the sign for sun (thumb and index finger making nearly a closed circle, tracing the sun’s arc in the sky) and the sign for fire (one hand, back down above the palm of the other, fingers of the top hand wiggling to and fro mimicking dancing flames).

Read the rest of this neato article HERE. 

Keep watching the skies. There have been so many amazing things to see lately out here. In the last while we have seen massive shooting stars, the Northern Lights,  beautiful eagles and hawks and even a few of these Sundogs.

The earth is alive. The skies are a fortune teller.

Sources: About.com, wikipedia

Vegetarian Naan Pizza in 15 minutes

A meal on the fly.
A meal on the fly.

It was another one of those nights when you get home to “nothing” in the fridge or cupboards. I remembered (luckily) that I had a couple of frozen balls of naan bread dough in the freezer & with our recent local and organic fresh food order, we had PIZZA!

By far, Pizza  has to be our favourite fast food meal and if done right, isn’t unhealthy in the least. I opt out of any type of traditional pizza sauce with this one so that the flavour of the bread can be enjoyed.

Enjoy this one.

Ingredients:

1 small yam grated

1 cup spinach packed

1 tomato diced

1.5 cups broccoli florets

1 cup cheese or cheeselike product shredded

1/2 red pepper sliced

1 jalepeno cut into small rings

Naan – enough to roll into a 8-10 inch thin crust for pizza. Follow THIS RECIPE for my homemade Garlic Naan.

Method:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees and let run at this temp while prepping.

Roll out Naan dough on floured surface until SUPER thin.

Layer all ingredients however you wish onto naan. Top with cheese OR top with cheese and finish with jalepenos in case they are too hot for you. This way, the cheese absorbs some flavour and you can still pick off the hot bits before chowing down.

Place on baking sheet or pizza sheet or pre-heated pizza stone.

Cook in oven for 5-7 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

Enjoy.

Serves 2 starving adults or can be sliced up into small squares as an appy.

Health tips: 

Broccoli – full of iron & vitamin Common cold killer.

Spinach – loaded with protein, high in potassium and magnesium. Great for Veg-heads.