Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer is here!

This morning I managed to sleep til 8, then hit the gym to do the Endurance Training workout from Nike Fit Club(a full body strength training workout), then did some HIIT on the treadmill of 1 minute sprints and 3 minutes rest. I've been using the Seconds Plus app, and it's a dream. I finally sprung for the paid version, and it's definitely a plus being able to save my timers. When you make circuit timers it ever reads out loud what your next move is, and counts down when you have 5/10 seconds left. It's great since I don't have to keep peeking over at it!

Today was  a gorgeous 33 degrees and sunny, and I had a location to check out for an upcoming shoot. We were looking for an old abandoned building to shoot in, and I found one online so Travis and I went to check it out(I was a little creeped out to go alone). After getting on the wrong bus, and then taking a few wrong turns, we managed to find it with the help of a nice lady we kept bumping into while wandering around lost. Sometimes the universe just provides right when you need it! Google maps never hurt either. We managed to find a really beautiful meadow/creek with some gorgeous trees, a little urban oasis! Getting lost is the best thing sometimes.

There's something about abandoned places I just love. You can almost feel the events that have happened there(in this case lots of parties, I imagine). There's such a beauty about decay. This is the second time I've gotten into an abandoned building. I wouldn't really call it breaking in, since the door was wide open. It's strangely peaceful inside.

With that mission completed successfully, we headed back to downtown, and I discovered a cute little grocery store selling organic produce for super cheap. I stocked up on blueberries and grapes, and some coconut water and a Luna Bar. I've never tried Luna Bars before, but I wasn't too excited on this one. It was a little too sweet for my liking!

Since it's been so hot out lately all I wanted to eat was a smoothie, so into the blender went ice, some vegan ice cream I made the other day, lime juice, blueberries, blackberries, half a banana, a ton of kale, spirulina, and some vanilla protein powder. I poured it into a bowl and topped it with some grapes, buckwheat, gojis, and cinnamon. Yum city! Hot weather makes me crave mostly raw food and lots of fruit, without fail.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sweaty Sundays and Vanishing Bees

This morning I finally made it to Yoga in the park, and it was worth every second of the early morning wake up call! The birds were chirping, it was warm with a slight breeze, there was a guy with bongoes, and I pretty much felt any tension melt away in a couple minutes. Something I struggle a lot with is tying my self worth to how busy I am. If I'm not busy, I must be lazy and that must equal I'm useless. And worthless. While I'm aware that's not how it works, it's something I struggle with a lot. Trying to focus on just letting quiet moments happen and enjoy them, not feel compelled to fill every single second with work. This past year has been incredibly challenging to me in that respect(moving across the country, quitting my job to focus on my photography, making my own schedule, decisions, choices). While I am extremely grateful that life has allowed me this opportunity, it comes with it's own challenges. In the end it can only make me stronger but trying to maintain balance throughout it can be frustrating(and rewarding too!). So this yoga class was a nice chance to reset, calm my mind, and just chill. The instructor's assistant was super cute too.

Yesterday was great, I went to the Vegan Expo which was conveniently held down the street from my house. It was quiet small, only taking up the front porch and one room of the building. There was some great granola bar samples from Taste Of Nature, which grows it's ingredients with organic sustainable farming practices. I liked that they only used whole food ingredients in them, and they're sweetened with agave and brown rice syrup. I tried the Brazil nut flavor, which was super delicious and not too sweet. There was also a huge array of free food which I attacked, the hummus was my favorite. My only complaint was that the speaker was held in the same room as a bunch of the booths, so you couldn't really comfortably converse with anyone at the booths. Hopefully next year they'll move into a bigger space!

After my roomate and I hung out in the park, then hit up Fresh for dinner. We munched on some Onion Rings, which were amazing as always, and I went with the Holiday wrap without the wrap.

Later last night I watch the documentary 'Vanishing Of The Bees'. After reading all the bee talk on Gena's blog, I was curious to find out more on CCD(Colony Collapse Disorder). It's a phenomenon that's been happening around the world, where bees just seem to vanish from their hives, yet very few bodies are being found. Bees play an integral part of our food chain, pollinating numerous plants which grow into the food we eat. Without bees, the majority of our food and vegetable supply would disappear, which would cause dire circumstances for the entire earth. Speculation about the causes have pointed towards pesticide use and GMO crops, as well as the lack of biodiversity in most farms in the States. In strong doses it appears that the pesticides poison the bees, disrupting their sense of direction and navigation, therefore making it impossible for them to find their way home.

Some beekeepers are taking up a more holistic, biodynamic approach to caring for their bees, and this seems to have a positive effect on them. Yet another reason that I believe farming needs to go back to it's roots and employ organic, biodiverse methods. This would cut down on pests' ability to flourish, as well as enable bees to have a wide variety of crops to pollinate and feed off of for longer periods of time,as opposed to fields of entirely one crop which bloom and die all at once. This type of farming forces beekeepers to move their groups(hives? herds? I don't know what you call them) to different fields all over, disrupting the bees and probably confusing them as well.

The documentary is as fascinating as it is disturbing, you can find it here:

I've never really been sure of where I stand on honey consumption as a vegan. I don't eat a lot of it generally, but after watching the documentary I think I'm going to make a conscious effort to exclude it from my diet, perhaps unless I know where it is coming from, and how the bees are treated. Treatment of bees may sound a little ridiculous, but after watching the documentary and seeing how colonies are treated in larger scale factory farm bee situations, it's not something I'm really comfortable with, or that aligns with my beliefs.

Bees live in colonies each with a Queen, the rest are worker bees(all female), and drones(males, whose sole purpose is to mate with the Queen). In factory farm bee operations, the Queen is generally artificially inseminated after been drugged, and then after a short period of time being Queen she is killed to make room for a younger replacement. If left to their own devices, bee Queens in the wild may live for up to 5 years. As a vegan a principle I try to live by a Sanskrit phrase 'Ahimsa', which translate to 'avoid violence', or 'do no harm'. In my life I try to practice non-violence, whether towards animals, myself, or others. Bees are included as animals, and I just don't find myself comfortable with farming practices which kill needlessly or cause harm.

I'm aware that not all beekeepers run their hives this way, some take a more holistic approach to it, and maybe it would be a different situation if I knew how the bees were treated. Maybe not, though, since the same argument can be made for cattle that are grass fed, antibiotic free, and the like. It's a slippery slope when you start justifying some means of animal farming.

Anyone else have any thoughts on bees and beekeeping? On whether vegans should eat honey or not?

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I'd say it's probably been about 3 months since I've made a real, honest to God attempt at recovery from my ED and ED behaviours. It's been ups and downs, doing the things that scare you can be, well, terrifying. Letting go of old patterns of behaviour that were comfortable before, your go-to reactions when you're stressed. Restricting, then binging when you can't anymore, than the immense guilt that accompanies it. Day by day I feel like I'm figuring out what works for me now, and it's the best feeling.

A moment I can recall feeling like I was actually letting go of my fear of food was a couple months ago, eating a veggie burger at Fresh. This probably doesn't sounds like a huge deal, but for me being able to eat an entire burger and not beat myself up about it or dash to the nearest treadmill was a huge milestone. Another one I'm super excited about was yesterday I was shopping for shorts, and sizes used to be a big deal. The closer I was to 0 or 24 I was, the better. Didn't matter if they actually fit right, I just wanted to be there. Yesterday I just grabbed a bunch of random sizes, then bought whatever fit. Didn't really look at the labels, didn't care. At all!! If it fit it fit, and the number is just a number. Sizes of pants/shorts are so inconsistent, even within the same make. So my butt is no longer a 00. It doesn't really bother me, I've been working out hard and it's kind of getting bigger, but is more toned and muscular. I can do squats and lunges and run in ways I never could before. Now the number is just that, a number. I won't let it dictate my happiness or how I feel about myself. Sometimes I feel like pinching myself that I feel that way now, I never really thought I would get to this point! Recovery is grand. And my bum looks great.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fridays and Fitness Apps

Friday's are do whatever I feel like it for an hour workout days. So I tackled Level 3 of Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. I wish I owned heavier weights since I can't really take my computer to the gym, and had to do it at home with the 8lb ones I have. Exciting thing is that it was easy peasy. 2 months ago this workout killed me, today I breezed right through it, and then did the HIIT The Beach Routine from Tone It Up. Seeing results and feeling myself get stronger each week is super exciting. Hard work pays off!

I've been dying to do hot yoga lately but it doesn't really fit into the budget, but I've managed to come up with a solution! The gym in my building's got a sauna no one uses, so that paired with the All In Yoga app does the trick. The only obstacle is that the sauna is hottest near the ceiling, so I've been balancing precariously on the top bench and hoping I don't fall.

Speaking of apps they've become my new favorite thing for coming up with workouts. The Nike Training Club one has some amazing workouts for pretty much everything you can think of, I did the Gladiator one on Monday and it kicked my butt. There's 4 categories, for getting lean, toned, gaining strength, and 15 minute workouts focused on each body part. Most of the workouts vary from 30-45 minutes, with 3 levels of difficulty. All for 99 cents!!!  It also has a timer that tells you when to switch moves, and videos showing you how to do each move. So it's pretty much a gift from the workout gods.

Another one I've been using is called Jefit, where it has a huge database of moves you can pick from to combine your own routines and log your weights, reps, and sets you've done. You can also make up a routine for each day of the week, and it'll tell you when you've beat your previous weights(it's more of a strength training app).

Dinner today was a vaguely Mexican inspired salad. Mixed greens, topped with Smokey Paprika Tofu, broccoli, 1/2 a sweet potato, onion, avocado, and lots of lime juice and hot sauce. The whole way through I was thinking it'd be better with salsa, but I didn't have any. Lately I've taken to dumping wine onto whatever I've been cooking, and you wouldn't think that white wine and tofu would go together but somehow they do. Don't ask. I also gobbled it up far too quickly to take a photo.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Where does George Washington keep his armies?

In his sleevies! Sorry, bad pun. Anyways, yesterday was arm day so I did this:

Tricep Dips x 15
Alternating Hammer Curls x12
Tricep Dips x 15
Alternating Floor Press x 12
Dumbell Bench Press x 15
Tricep Rows x 15
Deadlifts w Dumbells x15
Bent Over Row x 15
Dumbell Curl x15


and then 20 minutes on random on the elliptical.

I purchased Eat to Live by by Joel Fuhrman recently, cause I can never get enough of books on nutrition. I took it to David's Tea and read and chugged a Swampwater iced tea(which was way tastier than the name or color implied).  I also made a quick trip to Whole Foods for dinner(I was in the 'hood, how could I not?). I made a giant salad consisting of greens, edamame, quinoa, sweet potatoes, tofu cubes and carrots. I've never really been huge on fruit in my salad, but I remembered seeing some sort of quinoa salad on Gena's blog involving grapes, so I figured I'd give it a go. Normally I'm not a huge fan of sweet and salty things, but this tasted pretty good! I frequently get into food ruts and eat the same thing for weeks on end, so it's good to switch things up sometimes.

After I met up with Dani to watch Dark Shadows, it was way better than I expected. The sets/lighting/costumes were stunning, obviously(I adore Tim Burton). I was expecting it to be a little campy, which I wouldn't have minded but it was much better! There are never enough good words to say about Johnny Depp. I can't begin to count the number of movies those two have done together. No complaints though, I love them all.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Shoes shoes shoes

Yesterday I met up with my friend Billie for lunch and some shopping, and I finally picked up some Nikes I've been eyeing up for a little while. Not gonna lie, partly just for the colour. Up until a month ago I was rocking the same Nikes I've had for 6 years, and for some reason they just wouldn't wear out(not a bad thing, really). Although the insides were a little softer than when I first started. While I was in Vancouver I picked up a new pair (New Balances, if you care to know). They weren't the comfiest, and I thought maybe they'd break in a little with a bit of wear. Sadly, I was wrong. The shoelaces were also the most useless pair I've ever encountered, they untied themselves every couple minutes. Even with triple knots.

Anyways, I got these babies home and I was super excited to take them for a spin so I ran down to the gym and hopped onto the elliptical on random. They literally had to kick me out of the gym(my habit of loving to work out at night just won't die). These shoes are perfect, like prancing on clouds but you also feel barefoot. And they're so bouncy. I'm in love.  Normally I'm more of a 5 inch platform kind of girl, so these are a bit of a departure from the norm. The colour makes me smile when I look at them though. Which happens a lot, I'm surprised I haven't run into something yet.

Something I've been learning lately is that you need to listen to your body. This is a new thing for me, I feel like I've spent so much of my life just making it do things it's not interested in(hours of cardio, for instance). In general I hate doing things I find boring(don't we all?), and my body seems to tolerate things it hates in the same way. Since completely changing my approach to fitness and working out, I now get so stoked to work out. Hence the double time at the gym yesterday. It kind of scares me sometimes. It reminds me of when I was suffering from an ED and forced myself to attack the exercise bike for hours despite the fact I was exhausted, and hating myself when I didn't. I hated that point in my life. This feels different though. I'm doing it cause I'm genuinely enjoying it. I'm learning more and more that your body is your house you have to live in, you need to work at making it last by taking care of it. It's such a revelation but so simple. But most important things in life are, I think. It usually just takes some living to figure it out.

This morning I tried to make it to the free yoga class at Lululemon, but unfortunately they had switched it over to Trinity Bellwoods park, so there was no way I was going to make it. Next week hopefully! Instead I went to Winners and finally bought a yoga mat to have here(I left my other one in Vancouver). There was also some kind of race going on in downtown Toronto, and it made me unreasonably gleeful to see all these other people working out. Like we were part of a secret society of people who like running around or something. All while I was bouncing around in my new shoes like a baby lamb, grinning from ear to ear, and clutching my new yoga mat. People must have thought I was nuts.

Sunday's my rest day, so I took it easy today and did a bit of gentle yoga to stretch out. Walked to get some groceries, prepped some food for the week, and caught up on Girls. I'm addicted to this show. Although the more I watch, the more it makes me miss NYC!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

2 Lbs is No Joke!!

Up until recently I've been using 8 lb weights, so I decided to switch to 10 lbs this week. Who knew 2 little pounds would make that much of a difference? My biceps were dying for 3 days after. Honestly I'd been kind of intimidated to use weights in our gym, but then I realized no one cares what you're doing, they're just focussed on their own workouts. So now I'm over it. Kind of. This morning I woke up at 9:30(sleeping in is a thing of the past now that the sun has decided to get up nice and early and heat up my room making it impossible to sleep). Went to the gym and did this workout:

Bicep Curl to Arnold Press x 15(10 lb)
Bent over Dumbell Flyes x 15 (10 lb)
Overhead Tricep Extension x 15 (15 lb)
Tricep Kickbacks x 15 (10 lb)
Outward Bicep Curl x 15 (10 lb)
Deadlift with Dumbells x 15 (15lb)
Crunches x 15 (15 lb)
Russian Twists x 15 (15 lb)
x 3

and then did some 2 minute sprints with 2 minutes rest on the Treadmill for 20 minutes!

This week's been a little crazy, I shot the cover for an upcoming issue of Chloe Magazine the other day, which I can't wait to see hit newsstands! Last night for dinner my friend Dani and I hit Whole Foods, where I got a ginormous salad(obviously), and stuffed my face not so secretly with chocolate almonds in the bulk food section. And guzzled Kombucha, which for some reason was super bubbly and made me burp all throughout the night(TMI? Possibly. But it happened.) We watched Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, which was hilarious. I don't think I've ever seen Keanu Reeves so unbrooding and chipper.

I also picked up a Black Bean Burger from Whole Foods yesterday and crumbled it up and topped a salad with it today. It was pretty tasty, I think I may attempt to make my own. It's hard to get off this tofu kick I've been on lately, I just can't help it!

I recently found out Lululemon has free yoga classes on Sundays, so I'm hitting that up tomorrow! Why didn't anyone tell me this? I feel like everyone's been holding out on me!! FREE YOGA?!!! I can't wait.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Saturday Morning

Today was cardio day, so I did some HIIT on the elliptical.  I love how at 8 in the morning on Saturday I have the gym totally to myself! Probably cause most people aren't nuts and don't get excited about their early morning workout the night before. Good, cause I don't like sharing. I did sprints of 8 seconds followed by 12 seconds of recovery for 20 minutes. I have no clue if you're supposed to sprint on an elliptical, but I did. At level 12 cause who needs to walk comfortably tomorrow? I followed that with 30 second intervals of Burpees, Plank Jacks, Squat Jumps(my nemesis), and Tone It Up Surf Squats, with 15 minutes rest between each move for 20 minutes. For some reason my left forearm hurts. As well as my jello legs, which don't so much hurt as they feel like mush. It's a feeling I'm starting to get used to.

Yesterday my friend Travis and I went to check out the documentary About Face, which featured past super models weighing in on their careers and what they thought beauty meant. It was fascinating to hear all their opinions on how they never really felt beautiful most of the time, and their thoughts on plastic surgery, and ultimately their acceptance of themselves. This is something I wish more importance was placed upon, because if the most beautiful girls in the world don't feel beautiful until they learned to accept themselves, who will? Learning to be at peace with yourself is a much harder, but ultimately rewarding journey. Or like Audrey Hepburn once said, 'Happiest girls are the prettiest girls'. There is really nothing more beautiful than confidence.

Travis and I also stopped by my favorite restaurant, Fresh. It's a fantastic vegan/vegetarian place, and my favorite thing to get is the Holiday wrap minus the wrap, so it's basically a huge salad. That, paired with a Detoxifier juice and I was happy as a clam. Sorry for the lack of photos, I pretty much hoovered it down! Every time I'm in there I steal a take out container of hot sauce, it's made in house and is pretty much crack to me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I'm in love with HIIT

Today I did an hour of strength training for my arms/back this morning, and then a 30 minute HIIT workout on the treadmill tonight. I'm becoming the biggest gym rat but I like it. Prior til today I've never been able to do cardio without listening to music(to keep myself from being bored to tears),  and today was a first. I did 90 seconds at 8MPH, and then 3 minutes recovery at 5MPH. I think the switching keeps me from being bored, and by using a handy app called Seconds Free(my new love) it made it super easy to keep track.

My ankles got a little sore, which was kind of annoying. I always like the idea of being a runner but a lot of the time I find it hurts my knees/joints too much when I do it consecutive days. Is it something I should just push through and hope my legs get stronger? I have no clue. I really would like to not get injured though. Somewhere on my list of things I'd like to do in this life running a 5km race. I was looking up races this summer, but then in hindsight I realized I'd probably prefer to not run outdoors in the heat of summer during the day. So this gives me some time to train and see if I can find one in early fall perhaps?

Lately I've been looking up all these vegan athletes(and raw vegan ones too which excite me even more), and they're all such badasses. One raw vegan in particular has set out to make it his purpose to prove to everyone you can be an elite athlete and do all sorts of crazy things, like stair climbing marathons, and be eating totally raw. None of this eating 5 billion egg whites a day business! He might be my new hero. In veganism I've learned that you can't really prove anything to people by chatting about it, you just have to prove you're awesome through what you do.