Monday, January 30, 2012

A new haircut and a recipe for tofu lasanga

I've had a two week hiatus from the gym as I was sick. I never thought I would say this....but I miss it! Its an effort to cram it into my life (I was so busy over the past two weeks I found myself wondering HOW I ever got four workouts a week into my schedule) but its worth the effort!!

 I find that I feel happier when I workout, my energy is better and my average mood is a little more elevated. I also fall asleep faster. I've been trying to stick to the 8 hours sleep a night resolution, but I find myself lying awake for an hour. I think its because Im not physically tired. The gym sure helps with that!

Over the weekend I got a haircut with more layers, and bangs! They are just long, side swept bangs but I something a little different. My stylist also razored the ends, something I've never had done before.

Gosh I look different- this is me two and a half years ago

I also celebrated my friends birthday  with cocktails and cake....

SO good!

I also wante to share this recipe is great for vegan lasagna

I only used one pack of whole wheat lasagna, 1 bottle of organic tomato sauce and baked it in a 9inch square cake pan. I added chopped fresh mushrooms to it too. I've never blended tofu before, but its a great idea! With a little soy milk it becomes very ricotta like! I added in extra spices too, I like a bit of chili, nutritional yeast  and pepper in my tofu.

I really liked it and so did Ty!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sugar makes you sick!

I haven't posted recently because I'm sick with a horrible cold. Its been OVER A YEAR since I was last sick! I had this great streak of good health because I was working out and eating right. Last flu season I went home sick from work several times. This year I had been doing well- co-workers were coughing all around me but I held up!

 My diet and exercises were keeping my immunity high. Then last week I had my braces off (yay!!!) I had tons of candy given to me. My orthodontist gave me a bag of candy I hadn't been able to eat with braces- tootsie rolls, lollipops, gum, chocolate (first time a dentist has ever given me candy LOL). My co-worker gave me amazing toffees from Hawaii. Ty surprised me with a bunch of balloons tethered to little candies all over my room

he knows my love of balloons!

I didnt eat all of it, but I did eat more sugar than I had in forever!! And then I got sick. Days of coughing, fever and lethargy. There is a lot of research out there that says SUGAR LOWERS YOUR IMMUNITY- its true!

There is something called a "phagocytic index" which tells you how rapidly a particular macrophage or lymphocyte can gobble up a virus, bacteria, or cancer cell. It was in the 1970's that Linus Pauling realized that white blood cells need a high dose of vitamin C and that is when he came up with his theory that you need high doses of vitamin Cicon to combat the common cold.
sugar and lymphocytes

We know that glucose and vitamin C have similar chemical structures, so what happens when the sugar levels go up? They compete for one another upon entering the cells. And the thing that mediates the entry of glucose into the cells is the same thing that mediates the entry of vitamin C into the cells. If there is more glucose around, there is going to be less vitamin C allowed into the cell. It doesn't take much: a blood sugar value of 120 reduces the phagocytic index by 75%. So when you eat sugar, think of your immune system slowing down to a crawl.

PS. I also didn't work out that week for the first time in months. I was trying to catch up to school work and work work and house work and all the gazzilion and one things I had to do. I think that was a factor too.

PPS- I also recently read about how sugar FEEDS CANCER CELLS. And a friend of mine told me that when her sister goes in for her MRI they activate the cancer by giving her sugar water. It helps the cancer cells light up in the scan. Wow!

I hope this post helps scare you off sugar. The excessive quantities we have availible to consume if we choose to us are poisonous to our bodies.  

 Check out these stats:
  • In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 2009, more than 50 percent of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar PER DAY—translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year!

A little now and then is OK, but even then I think we underestimate how much sugar is already in our diet. Its in our yogurts, our granola, bread, peanut butter, pasta sauce, and ketchup. I'm an admitted sugarholic, so realizing how unnecessary it is to sustain my body and how it really is just a matter of indulgence is important.

I lost weight funnily enough, even though I ate a ton while sick (lots of micro-nutrient filled soups and smoothies) and did nothing to burn of the energy but sleep! Maybe its because I didnt eat out at all and made my own healthy foods.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


This morning a Groupon offered a great deal: 1 month of unlimited boot camp classes for only $29, (a $129 value!) At first I wasnt sure it would be for me- the boot camp website intimidated me! There are lots of pictures of people carrying tires, doing push ups and looking like they are about to drop dead with exhaustion.

Then I realized the Groupon doesnt expire until July this year and I have time to get fitter (its suggested you are intermediate fitness for this- I feel I am strong enough in my lower body but definitely lacking upper body strength!).

I looked at weather charts for Florida for the year and decided that May is a good date to aim to join the boot camp - heights of 87 degrees (rather than the 90's of June/July), and lower rainfall than usual too.

 So I bought the Groupon and now have three and a half months to get fit enough to handle a boot camp! Eeeeek!!

So how am I going to get there? Currently I can do ONE push-up (sad but true!!)

*Focus on weights at the gym. I do 15 minute weight sessions each time I go then go to the cardio machines, but I will probably need to get a little more serious about this and actually make myself a 'set' of exercises to do and actually research proper lifting technique...and do push-ups!

*Do Jillian's 30 Day Shred at Least twice a week- or P90X - I own both. I assume boot camp workouts would be similar to these DVDs as you dont use a lot of weights/etc.  Its all about using the weight of your own body.

I'm kind of excited about this. I get into workout ruts and maybe a month of boot camp will be JUST what I need this year to push me into super star fitness

Each 60-minute boot-camp session targets a different muscle group with high-intensity, nontraditional exercises that incorporate cardio, strength training, and resistance miming. Coupling calisthenics such as sit-ups, squats, and lunges with nutrition advice, the boot-camp classes transmogrify chub-ridden bodies into lean, healthy machines

Bootcamp inspiration :)
In other news- I've been keeping to my sleep goal and feeling great! :) WOW, its amazing how different I feel with 7.5-8 hrs! My body seems to go for that rather than 9- if I try to get 9 I just lay there for a while :( Haven't had to have soda or coffee or tea (except for one cup of green tea a day, after lunch)  Unlike last week! Im controlling my snacking more (even healthy snacking eg. almonds- can get outta control!!) and feel more alert :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Paynes Prairie hike with Alligators and Bison

As I promised, here is my post with pics of  of the bison we came across on the prairie! (If you like wildlife....if you don't, move on, move on...)

 On Saturday we were blessed with sunny 70 degree weather. So rather than running like a rats on the treadmill at the gym, Ty and I decided to drive to Hawthorne trail (about 20 minutes from town) with our bikes in the back of his 4X4. (Tip- if you want to keep your work out motivation up, try scheduling workouts outdoors whenever the weather permits. The outdoors has a possibility for adventure- the gym- not so much :)

Hawthorne is a beautiful area to bike, as its paved road (which means you arent constantly looking out for tree roots and rocks in your way like you would have to on a dirt trail) but it runs through  pine cone forest and hills. Midway on Hawthorne trail, a footpath called La Chua Trail branches off.

La Chua Trail
 La Chua is basically a raised board walkway that ends by a large lake infested with alligators, and continues as a dirt path across the prairie.  When we got to the dirt path a lady walking back to the Hawthorne entrance told us a BISON was out in a ditch!

I was pretty excited, because this is one of the last opportunities to actually see one out in the wild here in Florida. Council authorities have passed plans to cull the herd. When we eventually found the bison, munching on some weeds in the water, I was also excited to realize it was a male! There are going to be NO males left when they cull the herd (and I hope they don't all end up on peoples plates- I've seen bison in the local restaurants before I saw one in real life!)

He has a weird green tongue

We also saw a little alligator in the grass, he wasnt scared of us until I got really close

And a BIG alligator, which I was scared of!
Uh Oh, is he looking at me! Time to go LOL
I wish I could do this everyday instead of the gym! But I'd have to be a lady of leisure without the need for a job - I doubt my boss would appreciate me taking off for several hours to get to the prairie in the daylight (and you really wouldn't want to be on this trail after dark!!!)

( All images copyrighted to this blog)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Vegan potuluck, and how to get more sleep!

/hihi Can you believe that fresh strawberries are cheap in Florida right now?  Its the middle of winter and they in every health food store and supermarket. I made this delicious whole wheat strawberry waffle before hitting up the trails on the weekend (where I saw a BISON- not kidding- pics to come in my next post!!)

In my last post I laid out my resolutions for the year. There is something else I want to try out for a few weeks and see if it changes anything- more sleep. Or specifically:
 9 hours of sleep a night.

 Most work nights I only get 6-7 max and Im drinking waaaaay to much green tea and even the occasional soda (not good- not after last years battle to wean myself off the stuff!)

This website suggests 7.5 to 9 hours, and I think 9 is a safe number to shoot for so that I know I will at least get 8.5 hours by the time I actually fall asleep (it can take me a while sometimes)

This is going to mean timing my workouts earlier (I like to go at 7 or 8 p.m when the gym isnt crowded) Its going to be really weird going to bed at 9:30p.m. but I want to try it out, and see if I feel like a whole new person :D

The website says this about sleep deprivation (I will highlight in purple the ones I feel really apply to myself)

The effects of sleep deprivation and chronic lack of sleep

  • Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Inability to cope with stress
  • Reduced immunity; frequent colds and infections
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Weight gain
  • Impaired motor skills and increased risk of accidents
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems
I bet I will feel more creative, optimistic and passionate about life rather than snarky and bored and clamoring for a nap if I have more sleep under my belt :)

How do you know if you are sleep deprived? Well, according to the website:

You may be sleep deprived if you...

  • Need an alarm clock in order to wake up on time
  • Rely on the snooze button
  • Have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning
  • Feel sluggish in the afternoon
  • Get sleepy in meetings, lectures, or warm rooms
  • Get drowsy after heavy meals or when driving
  • Need to nap to get through the day
  • Fall asleep while watching TV or relaxing in the evening
  • Feel the need to sleep in on weekends
  • Fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed

I got 9 hours a night over the weekend- easy right!!?

On Sunday night I was aiming for 9 but got 8 instead by the time I finally got to bed. I lost my wallet somewhere in the house and it took forever to find it and threw off my schedule (which again, is why 9 is a good number to shoot for cos at LEAST you get in 8 by the time you've dealt with all the random things you remember you need to do before bed!

The website suggests creating a ritual before bed. I've been having a cup of hot Sleepytime tea which has natural sleep herbs in it,

and a hot shower + making sure I dont use bright electronics right before bed + making my room dark to promote melatonin (sleep hormone), and so I easily fell asleep before 10:30 :) This morning I don't feel as tired as I usually would

In other news- I went to a Vegan Potluck this weekend! There is a local group that meets on the first Saturday of every month and everybody brings a vegan/vegetarian dish. It was great! Check out their website for recipes.

These are some pics from their site:

There were about 40 people, and tons of yummy food including desserts! The crowd was mainly older people but there were about 5 people in their 20s there too. It seemed like the elder people were quite excited to see us, I think they really want to pass on their wisdom to the new generation! I made vegan mac and cheese from (which garnered quite a few compliments!) Ty made a dip with corn chips and one of our very pregnant friends came along too (here due date is tomorrow!!), she loved the food as well.

There were lots of conversations about eco-friendly and sustainable ways of eating, as well as a speech from a vegan dietitian about how to eliminate gluten in your diet.

 I dont have any gluten issues, but it did make me think that it might be cool to eliminate various things from my diet for a week at a time and see how I feel. Who knows- maybe I'd feel great after a week without gluten or milk etc? I dont know what if mildly intolerant of certain things or not, without testing! I know a few people who feel congested if they have milk products or get headaches. I'm trying to be more aware of how what I eat affects my skin, hair, energy, mood etc.

With work and school keeping me so busy my community involvement has been kind of lacking, but this is the kind of group I can definitely support and be a part of in the new year!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The beginning of a New Year..resolutions and highlights :)

We rung in the new year with a balloon drop and champagne + a pool game at our local bar. I love balloons so that was the main draw for me :) And I wanted to wear my sparkly gold dress!

I get this excited about balloons!

However- I detest new years in which I have uncool birthdays. This year I'm turning 26...not cool. 25 seemed quite old enough, thank you very much! Ideally I would have liked to stay 25 for a few years and sorted myself out, figured out my career and finished my schooling....but noooo, I just have to turn 26 don't I...darn! Time goes by so fast :(

Before I share my resolutions for this year, I'd like to first share my fitness accomplishments from 2011.

The BIGGEST accomplishment - I reached my weight loss goal! It is the first time I've ever consciously made a weight loss goal, and achieved it AND maintained it! I wanted to get to 135 pounds and I got all the way to 125 pounds! Wow :)

I feel stronger as a person for having done this, and it makes me feel like if I make new resolutions, I can actually achieve them, they aren't just day dreams..

I also discovered Green Monsters - fruit smoothies with spinach in them and used them in my diet

I gave up coffee!! (holy crap..)

Towards the middle of the year, I brown bagged 80% of my work lunches with at home cooking and had several months where I didn't eat out at all!!

I did Jillian's 30 day Shred

I did Dr. Ian Smith's 3 day Diet cleanse + quite a few of the modules from the diet - until I had wisdom teeth out and had to just drink my food LOL

I actually started working out at the gym that I was about to cancel my membership to...and now I go at LEAST three times a week and feel SO much more alive and have less aches and pains from sitting in the office all day - and I maintained the gym visits while working and going to school full time

I completed a nutrition course at college and got an A in it

I watched 'Forks Over Knives' and read 'The Engine 2 Diet' and watched "Fat Sick and Nearly Dead" whichjust reaffirmed my faith in vegetarianism and healthy eating vs. the typical American diet. BTW This is the best speech I have ever heard

I started blogging to keep me on track with my progress. And it REALLY helped! Reading the posts of other healthy minded people is a big motivator too, especially living in Florida where I'm surrounded by a lot of unhealthy people eating the traditional southern diet!

And I didn't get sick once this year! Last year I had a whole week at home with a  cold, and several days I left the office early feeling sick. Im convinced that eating healthy and working out really helped with this- I ate like I did back when I'd feel like I was about to get sick- fruits, smoothies, vitamin C- but all the time :)
In other big news- my braces are coming off in 12 days!!! WOOOOOT! :) Cant wait to chew gum and eat corn on the cob again!

New Years Resolutions:


Lose 5 more pounds to get to my ideal weight of 120 pounds... calculated with this website   Actually, over the past 3 days I've gained TWO pounds from eating out constantly so its going to be lose 7 pounds...

I cant believe how the weight piled on right after NYE and Xmas- I guess I thought I'd gotten past the holidays and relaxed too much- I also ate several tubs of guacamole and LOTS of chocolate + nutella! Oh- and I treated myself to a jar of Marmite which I miss (as a Brit- and I miss Vegemite which is the Australian version too)

 which led to a bit of a bread fest as I took a tasty trip down memory lane with one fresh hot piece of  buttery toast after another.. Its actually kind of shocking to have GAINED weight, its been a year since that last happened!

Develop biceps (which will lead to rock climbing I hope!) I saw a girl out at the club on NYE that had THE biceps I want- defined, but not too bulky- something to work for!

Go to the gym four times a week at least until I achieve the above two goals...if not the gym at least a session of Jillian's 30 Day Shred DVD!

I tracked my workouts over the past 7 months and tallied them all up, and I noticed a pattern. When I went to the gym four times a week I lost weight. Three times a week I maintained my weight. Once I get to my goal of 120 I can go back to the easier to achieve 3 times a week but its going to be 4 a week for now! Which is kind of hard with two evening classes after work, but I can do it! :D


Decluttering- I've been in the USA for over three years now and though I only arrived with a suitcase of stuff, I know have an overflow of clothing in my wardrobe I want to go through my stuff and donate anything not worn in the past 6 months.

Less procrastinating

Get an 'A' in Math this semester  and maintain my 4.0 GPA! I'm scared, this is my first college math class wish me luck! P.S. - Im still pretty proud of myself for actually going to college :D

Get a tattoo. I dont have one, and I wanted to get one 'once I got fit' That time is near people!! Im not a big fan of pain but I love artwork and I'd love to have something done...still need to design it though!

Start Writing again.  I loved writing as a teen, and wrote a whole 70,000 word novel once. I want to get back in touch with my creativity (despite deamind job+essays sapping my imagination) It is something that makes me happy.


Last year I went to Mexico, and Ashevill N.C. as well as trips to various springs/nature parks and beaches in Florida.

Im itching for international travel- such as seeing my family in Australia (its been 4 years) but I feel obliged to actually see more of the USA before I go abroad. I have Australian friends who have been stateside and seen more of the US than I have. What would the point of travelling home be when I've barely covered the 50 states... I want to go to New York, any of the National Parks...and feel free to suggest any other destinations!
I also realize that some of my happiest memories of 2011 are from my trips! Travel is my addiction and right now I'm torn between being 'grown up and responsible' and studying+ holding down a job vs. selling my possesions and moving around like I've done most of my adult life!


Well. This one is a toughie. I feel blessed to have a well paying job with people I like when so many people don't. But two and a half years into the same job and something has got to give. Lets see what opportunities 2012 brings...

Favorite 2011 memories:

Visiting the mountains of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and ziplining + tasting fresh tequila!

finding our way around Mexico, anti-resort style and loving the authenticity of it

Waterfall rappelling despite my fear of it lol

suprise camping trip plus Daytona beach for my birthday!

Ty finally graduating from Paramedic school and getting a job :)

Seeing hundreds of dolphins and whales by our boat, including a baby whale!

Fall foliage in Asheville, North Carolina. This pic is on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Getting an 'A' in my photography class!

Buying a new (secondhand) fun car!