Countdown to Jamaica…

24 01 2012

There are exactly 3 weeks until my trip to Jamaica, which means I have exactly 3 weeks to make some progress on my weight loss goals!

Day 1

I was in too much of a rush today to take any food pics, but I’m probably going to repeat my meals for the rest of the week so stay tuned. Here’s the run down:
Breakfast: egg whites (scrambled) on naan bread (half)
Snack: Quaker Chewy chocolate chip granola bar
Lunch: Salad with mixed greens, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and tempeh (Turtle Island Foods Sesame Garlic tempeh strips–my new fave protein source. Yummy!) with an Asian inspired homemade dressing (soy sauce, lemon juice, agave nectar, garlic, ginger, shallots, & Vega EFA oil).
Snack: Jell-o Chocolate Indulgence Mousse Temptations
Dinner: Naan Pizza with onions and mushrooms
Dessert: Toffee chip cookies (oops!)

Overall, not too bad a day food-wise. 🙂 I made up for those cookies by working out hard doing this crazy strength training class.

I’ve been wanting to do a review of this really cool women’s only fitness studio I started going to last year called Flirty Girl Fitness, so here’s a quick one. Flirty Girl is well known for being one of the pioneers of the pole dancing exercise classes in Toronto (they also have studios in Chicago), but in addition to the pole dancing classes, they offer a variety of dance, cardio, and strength training classes.

These classes are INTENSE!! And amazing! Most of them are total body circuit training-like workouts. They usually go non-stop for 60 minutes–NO breaks! The instructors are all super fit and very motivating, they really push you so you get a fantastic workout that leaves your muscles feeling like jelly and sore for the next few days. The best kind! 🙂

I haven’t been able to get to the gym in a couple of months because it’s a bit of trek for me (and I’ve been so lazy LOL), but luckily the company came up with an ingenious idea. Flirty Girl films some of their classes and streams them live online at FlirtyGirlFitness LIVE. For $15/month, you can watch and participate in an unlimited number of classes. It’s pretty awesome to not have to travel to the gym and just pull up a class on my laptop, but, of course, that means I have to motivate myself to actually do it haha! 🙂

There are, of course, some drawbacks. Because the classes are streamed live, there are some issues with the sound and sometimes with videos loading properly. Sometimes classes get cut off at the end (I think that usually happens when the studio class is running behind getting started). Also, some of the studio classes use a variety of equipment like weights, medicine balls, foam rollers, resistance bands, stability balls, and Bender balls. If you don’t have the equipment at home, it’s hard to get the full benefits of the workout. However, some instructors do offer suggestions for alternate ways to do the exercises.

Overall, as much as I hate the class while doing it, I love how I feel afterward! I highly recommend both the studio and online classes. They’ve been worth every penny 🙂

Back to today’s workout…I did a 60 min Body Blast class that was killer! My arms and legs are jelly right now…and I love it! I’d say I worked off those cookies 😉

Let’s hope tomorrow goes as smoothly. If I can walk that is.





(belated) HELLO 2012!

22 01 2012

I have been avoiding my blog for quite some time, just as I have been avoiding regularly exercising and eating heathily. Life has been in a state of stagnation for the last few months. I finished teacher’s college and took a few months off to relax while job hunting. Unfortunately, I started the job hunt too late and now must wait to re-apply for teaching positions for Fall 2012. 

I don’t mind that too much because I still work part-time and live at home so I don’t have many expenses, but I hate when people ask me if I’m working and I have to tell them I am unemployed!

Luckily, things started turning around when I started volunteer teaching in a school. It was great to get back into a regular schedule and have a real purpose. So now I am keeping very busy volunteering during the day and working at my part-time job on the weekend. I come home exhausted!

After two weeks of readjusting after the holidays, I’m finally getting back into a workout routine with 2 main goals in mind:
1. I’m signing up for the Sporting Life 10K run on Sunday, May 13, 2012
I ran so sparsely in the last few months that I’ve lost any running endurance I had built up in the spring. To train for my 10K, I’m following Hal Higdon’s Novice 10K plan.
2. I’ve got to get bikini ready for upcoming vacations!
I’ve got 2 vacations booked and another tentatively planned.
First up is Negril, Jamaica in February! 🙂 I’ve got 3 weeks to get as comfortable in a bathing suit as I can!
Next is my cousin’s wedding reception in California in April.
Finally, a couple of girlfriends and I are trying to plan a trip to Vegas for my birthday weekend in July. That one might not work out, but if it does, I’m hoping to finally be in a bikini!

In the meantime, I’m hoping to start blogging more frequently to keep track of my workouts and meals.

We’ll have to wait and see if I can finally be determined enough to follow through! 🙂





Joining the Twitter bandwagon…

12 09 2011

I’ve created a Twitter account now that I have a smartphone and it’s possible to tweet when something interesting happens. It’s definitely likely I’ll tweet more frequently than I blog!

Follow me if you’d like: @rubysangles
And bare with me as I learn how to use it properly 🙂





Summer Eats

23 08 2011

It’s been a busy and exhausting summer! I’ve been trying to get back on the weight loss wagon and so far so good. I tend to go on pizza kicks in the summers for some reason, but this year it was the Summer of Chickpea Salad!

Our garden has been flourishing this summer, so I’ve had the pleasure of drinking garden kale filled green monsters, making fresh basil pesto, roasted garden tomatoes with basil, fresh dill with lemon on salmon, and of course,chickpea salad with garden fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and parsley!

This summer also marked a landmark birthday. I hit the big 2-5 and am smack dab in my mid-20’s! It’s been over a month but I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one. I guess I’ll always be young at heart. 🙂

Anyway, I decided to treat myself to a cellphone upgrade and got an iPhone, so most of my pics will be not-so-great iPhone pics. On the other hand, I’ve been trying to take regular pics of my meals to keep track of what I’ve been eating. Hasn’t worked out perfectly, but I do have a bunch of pics to share of my summer eats!

Salmon en papillote with dill and lemon, steamed broccoli and spinach, roasted tomatoes with basil and havarti cheese

House Foods Shirataki Tofu noodles (Fettucine shaped) in fresh pesto (basil, garlic, EVOO) with chicken and mushrooms; side of baked bittermelon

Birthday bbq leftovers - spinach & feta stuffed turkey sausage, mango and my awesome chickpea salad

Bento Nouveau Spicy Salmon rolls

Clockwise: Kale chips, microwaved egg with salsa on top, mini pita with avocado, roasted tomatoes with basil and brie on mini pitas

 

Kale salad with (store bought) parisienne potatoes, massaged with basil lemon dressing

Smoked chicken deli meat with lettuce and avocado on whole wheat

salmon en papillote with dill and lemon and a side of chickpea salad

BBQ chicken, egg white topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions, salsa (store bought) and fresh basil

Chickpea salad on mixed greens

Chickpea salad, grilled chicken breast, Pita Gourmet mini pitas

Lunch at Cafe Via Crescent in Montreal, QC - fresh pasta tossed with roasted tomatoes, basil, bacon and grilled chicken - AMAZING!!

Salty caramel chocolate fondant with a scoop of vanilla icecream at Juliette et Chocolat in Montreal - To die for! Rich and delicious!!

Roasted tomatoes with basil on mini pitas, steamed broccoli (overcooked!), salmon en papillote (with dill and lemon) covered in corn

Recipangles: Ruby’s Easy-Peasy Chickpea Salad

The hardest part is the prep because there’s a lot of ‘dicing’ and ‘finely chopping’ to do.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of Chickpeas (or you can soak and boil 1-2 cups of dried chickpeas – depends on how much you want to make)
  • 1.5 cups diced Tomato
  • 1.5 cups diced Cucumber
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup finely diced Red Onion (or any onion)
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup of finely chopped Parsley (curly or flat leafed) – amount depends on personal taste preference
  • Optional: Grab a handful of other herbs (I used Basil and Dill), finely chop and throw in
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a Lemon
  • sprinkle of Garlic powder (about 1/2 tsp)
  • *Secret Ingredient* — pinch of Sugar (about 1/2 tsp)
  • Optional for some added heat: 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper

Directions:
1. Grab a container or bowl. Pour rinsed and drained chickpeas in.
2. Add the finely diced and chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, parsley, and other herbs.
3. Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon, garlic powder, pinch of sugar, salt and pepper (and maybe cayenne).
4. Mix everything together well. Serve and enjoy!

Tastes best chilled.

Side note:
-If you add dill, it tends to overpower the other herbs but still gives the salad a nice flavour. I personally love parsley but had to add the dill in because I depleted our garden’s supply!

Disclaimer: I didn’t measure anything so these are all estimates and you should fiddle with the quantities and ingredients to your own personal tastes!

We grew cucumbers and tomatoes (and later onions) in our garden, which is why they are the staple veggies in this dish. Chopped celery and carrots might add a nice crunchy texture to it too, but personally I think cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions are the best combination. I just can’t get enough of this salad! I could eat it at every meal!

Well, after that massive post I’ll probably see you all in another month! 🙂

(Or maybe sooner since I’m unemployed and job hunting now!)





Entertangles – Workout Music

22 06 2011

Hello! Look at me, posting two days in a row! LOL 😀 Just a quick one today to share some tunes. My Eurotrip recap will probably take me a while.

The other day I was talking to a friend about how certain songs can bring back vivid memories, transporting you back to that moment when the song made an impact on you.

I was out for a run in the rain one day and near the end of my route there was a steep hill. Normally I stop running and walk it, but then this awesome upbeat song came on my ipod and I felt a burst of will power to try running it.

Today I was out for a long walk listening to my ipod and the song came on and took me back to that day. It’s just an awesome song by an amazing artist, so I thought I’d share it.

The song is Starry Eyed by Ellie Goulding. I love her whole album ‘Lights.’

I also love to run to her song Guns and Horses.

 





Exercisangles – My 1st 5k Run!

21 06 2011

Finally, after a looong looong time of wanting to, I actually ran my first official 5k race!!

Finisher's medal - sa-weet!

I decided to sign up for the Toronto Women’s Run on a whim a month before the race date and was lucky to nab one of the few remaining spots. My friend tried to sign up a few days later to join me, but the race was completely sold out!

After this last school year where I’ve been very sedentary and haven’t made time for regular exercise, I was hoping signing up for a race would be the kick in the butt I needed to get back into a working out groove. Unfortunately, it was the last month of teacher’s college and I just couldn’t find the energy to train seriously.

I was aiming to finish in 35 minutes or less, which might have been doable if I’d trained 3 times a week for the whole month, but I only managed 2 or 3 runs. 😦

One of those runs was 2 days before the race. I pushed myself to finish in 35 mins and I actually managed it 🙂 Unfortunately, I was sooo sore and stiff the next day.

Not only were my muscles sore, but the weather forecast called for rain on race day. Add to that first race anxiety and a sleepless night–well I was definitely thinking about bailing.

I woke up on race day at 6am to a rising sun. The ground was wet, but there was no rain in sight. I was exhausted and seriously considered just going back to bed, but then I thought, “I’ve already woken up. It’s just a 5k!!! I can do this!”

So, I got up and went there and ran it!!
(Well ran and walked… 🙂 )

There was such a great vibe there! I loved that it was a women’s only run. There was just a lot of positive energy and even though they had chip timing, it just felt like a fun run. Everyone seemed really supportive, clapping and cheering on the half-marathon runners and faster 5k racers. The volunteers were so helpful and also very cheerful which made the run all the more bearable 🙂

I ended up with a time of 40:02.  I can’t say I’m particularly happy about that, but I see it as a starting point from which I can improve my time. And now that I’ve gotten over my first-time racer anxiety, I’m very excited to sign up for more races this summer!

I fully intend to sign up for the next race in the Toronto Women’s Run series. They have a 10k/5k coming up in August. If I actually start training, I might just attempt a 10k this time around. Also, one of the draws of the T.O. Women’s run is they have firefighters volunteering at the water station. Pictures of past races showed hot, shirtless firemen!! But they weren’t there this time around so I’m definitely keeping an eye out in August 😉

I have to say, participating in the race really inspired me to continue to train and improve my running. It gave me that kick in the ass I needed! 🙂

Next post: a recap of my whirlwind Euro trip to London and Amsterdam!





Back to blogging…?

30 05 2011

Well, I did it. I survived the crazy, intense year at teacher’s college and now I’m finally done! In 3 weeks I’ll be a bachelor of education graduate and a fully certified teacher!

I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone by. As soon as I got used to the new hours, workload, people, it was over. But it was great! As I mentioned before, I feel so lucky to have found the career path that suits me perfectly. Now if only I could find a job…

I figure, now that I’m done, I can use this free time to job hunt and refocus on my health and weight loss journey.  And so I will re-attempt to be a blogger!

This past month, I’ve been trying to return to a health conscious way of living, which for me means I’ve begun exercising regularly and cooking my own meals again.

I finally tried hot yoga last year and fell in love with Moksha Yoga. I’ve been going to classes sporadically all year, but have started attending more regularly over the last few weeks.  Right now I go about 2-3 times a week. I’d like to try a 30 day challenge sometime this summer.

I also started swimming and running again. I signed up for the Toronto Women’s Run and ran my first real 5k race!! That was one of my biggest goals for the year and I’m so proud I followed through and accomplished it. I’ll have a recap of that coming up soon.

I really miss photo-documenting my meals. It was a great way to be accountable and forced me to cook. With more time on my hands, I’m looking forward to trying out new recipes and using fresh veggies and herbs from my garden.

Reader beware: I’ve never been a consistent blogger, but I do have good intentions. Let’s see what happens…!





Busy little bumble bee

15 11 2010

Yikes, it’s been awhile! I can’t believe how quickly time is flying by. Crazy, crazy!

As you may recall from an earlier post, I got into teacher’s college in the spring and started the program in September. It’s just been go, go, go since.The hours have been a huge adjustment for a night owl like me.

For the last 6 years, I’ve always tried to schedule my classes to be in the afternoon or evening. When I had classes before noon, I would eventually stop attending them because I just couldn’t wake up for them after going to bed at 4 a.m.

Now, my classes start at 8:30 a.m. and I have no choice but to attend. They do attendance! And it’s hard to be inconspicuously absent when there are only 30 other people in your class…

So that’s how my September and October went, adjusting to the early days and working on assignment after assignment. The important thing is that I’m absolutely loving my program!!

I finally found the career path I was meant to be in. When I started, it was like a light switch went off. Literally. I never really believed anyone who said that until I experienced it for myself. So have hope!

November is when we’re placed in an actual school to practice what we’ve learned and teach real classes for ourselves. I got really lucky and was placed at a school nearby my house and teaching my specialty–marketing. It’s like for the first time in my life things are lining up perfectly 🙂 It’s exhilarating. And exhausting.

Although I’m ecstatic that my school/work life is finally on track, my health is not doing so well.

In the summer I developed some strange foot and ankle pains that flared up during and after running. A trip to a sports doctor diagnosed the foot pain as plantar fasciitis. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to diagnose the ankle pain except chalk it up to tight muscles.

He told me to take it easy with the running depending on the pain level, so I did, but the ankle pain (a sharp pain that felt like a muscle or ligament in my ankle had twisted suddenly) would flare up mid-stride every time I went out.  I, of course, took the lazy route and stopped running altogether.

In fact, I completely fell off the wagon (again) for the last few months. I haven’t been swimming either. Every once in awhile I’ll do an exercise video. I just got a bunch of Core Fusion dvds and I’m loving them.  But the lack of cardio and the not-so-great eating has meant I’m at an impasse with my weight loss and it’s been more maintenance or weight gain than anything.

I was suddenly struck with some inspiration today, though, which led me back to the blog world. I hope I can take some of that enthusiasm for work and carry it into healthy eating and exercise.

I’ll try to check back in with my progress, and some of the food pics I’ve taken over the last few months, soon!





Shopangles – Total Cleanse

30 08 2010

I love getting e-mail updates from Canadian website the Sweetspot. They have great columns about the latest trends, all sorts of reviews (products, restaurants, shops, etc.), reminders of the cool events that are happening in your city for the weekend and have a feature called Sweet Deals that compiles contests, giveaways and discounts.

After my spring/graduation vacay, I’m all about embracing thriftiness. I’ve become a bit of a contest-oholic (no luck yet 😦 ) and I’ve been using coupons at the grocery store wherever I can.

While browsing the Sweet Deals section of the Sweetspot website, I came across a 10% discount for a 3-day juice cleanse delivery program by a Toronto-based company, Total Cleanse.

Total Cleanse creates organic, preservative-free fresh juice blends (6 a day for 3 days) and delivers them straight to your door.

Personally, I like the idea of cleanses, as long as they are only for a short period of time. I once attempted to do a 5-day elderberry cleanse that consisted of consuming only water and elderberry juice for the 5 days, but that was too difficult for me to do. I hardly had any energy to do anything after the first day of that cleanse and didn’t have the will power to continue on.

That’s why when I found this 3-day cleanse, I thought I’d give it a try. After eating so poorly these last few months, I thought I’d start the summer off right.

So I ordered the 3-day Total Cleanse which came out to be $110 with the discount.

My juices arrived early Monday morning the week I began my full-time summer job as a camp counselor. This was a big mistake.

I was so eager to try the cleanse and I hoped it would help me shed a little weight before a friend’s wedding I had coming up. I did it, but I should have waited at least a week to allow my body to adjust to a 9-5 work schedule where I’m active all day.

Surprisingly, I followed through with it!

Having to drink 6 juices a day really helped curb any hunger. I think the mental part was most difficult.

My meals and snacks for a day

So each day you have to drink 3 Green Energy juices (made of Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, celery, parsley, kale and spinach). Basically it’s like a green monster but in juice form and it tastes more like cucumber juice.  I loved the juice consistency because the one thing I hate about green monsters is how thick they are. Plus I’ve been using our magic bullet to make my smoothies and it does a bad job of blending the banana in. I hate having to chew on chunks of banana when I’m trying to chug down breakfast before rushing out the door.

Then there are 2 Lemonades (lemons, cayenne pepper, ginger & maple syrup) that are really tasty and the cayenne pepper adds a nice kick (reminiscent of the Master Cleanse). And finally 1 Very Berry (blueberries, apples, pineapples & wheatgrass) juice. It’s like a regular fruit smoothie, sweet and delicious. The “dessert” juice. A perfect way to end the day.

Since the juices are pre-prepared and packaged in a ready-to-travel bottle, it was very convenient for me in the mornings. I just chugged it down before leaving the house and took my “snack,” the lemonade, with me to work.

(I took the labels off the bottles I took to work so co-workers wouldn’t ask me about it or offer their opinions on cleanses because I didn’t want to explain or hear what they had to say on the subject. I was doing this for myself so I didn’t tell anyone about it aside from my parents, sister and two close friends.)

The first day went well. I was so exhausted from work, I finished my last juice and went straight to bed.

The second day was a bit more difficult. Knowing you shouldn’t or can’t eat something really tries your will power. And just being on liquids, I started to get really strong cravings for solid food in general. Again, it really helped that I was so exhausted from work, because I would just go to bed really early and therefore wasn’t tempted to eat anything.

The third day was the most difficult but I really brought it upon myself. It was my sister’s birthday and I couldn’t not go out with her, but I also couldn’t eat or drink anything, so it was really hard just drinking water while everyone else was eating.

I did manage to finish the cleanse and not cheat, but they recommend that you ease your body into the cleanse by adjusting your diet to smaller meals of plain foods and ease your body out of the cleanse on a similar diet. Unfortunately, I thrust my body back into my normal diet.

Overall, I lost mostly about 5-7 lbs, and though it was water weight, it was nice feeling lighter after all the pounds I packed on from exam time stress eating. I think I’m going to try the cleanse again in September before school starts.

For interested Canadians, Total Cleanse delivers throughout the GTA, Montreal and Vancouver and the price for a 3-day cleanse ranges (depending on city) from $144-240. (5-7 day cleanses are also available in certain cities.) Also, their customer service is great. They e-mail out a cleanse preparation guide and were really prompt with their replies back to my questions.

*Obligatory Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with this company whatsoever. I just randomly decided to try their product and liked it so I wanted to share my experience.*

In the spirit of thriftiness, I’ve also become prone to checking other deal-finding sites for exclusive promotions and just scored 20 hot yoga classes for $20 at the Bikram Yoga Centre! You know what that means, right? There’s a yoga post to come (and it is a LONG time coming!).

Check out these sites for daily deals for activities, travel, pampering, food, etc. :

Fab Find – Deals available for Canadian cities.
Groupon – Deals available for cities around the world!
Living Social – Deals available for Canadian, U.S. and a few Europeans cities.

These are the only ones I know of now and check on the regular.

If you know of any other cool websites that specialize in finding deals, let me know!





Recipangles – Summer of Pizza returns

3 08 2010

Pizza is most definitely my favourite food.

I’m a strange Indian girl who is not a huge fan of traditional Indian food. I’ve always been a picky eater and I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve always preferred bland food over intense flavours, the very thing Indian food is known for. Of course, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more adventurous with food, but pizza is still my all-time fave.

Last summer I discovered the deliciousness of Amy’s Kitchen organic pizza and went on a spending spree to indulge my taste buds.

This summer, my bank account can’t support my Amy’s Kitchen or fast food pizza joint pizza habit, so I’ve gotten thrifty and healthy.

Instead I’ve been over indulging on veggie-overloaded naan pizzas.

Red onions, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach and zucchini topped with marble cheese on a whole wheat naan

It’s such a quick and delicious meal. I’ve made pita pizzas in the past using thin whole wheat pitas to cut down on the carbs, but they weren’t as satisfying as these pizzas are. I do enjoy thin crust pizzas, which this is in comparison to traditional store bought or restaurant crusts, but naan bread is a bit more doughy and dense (but in a fluffy way) than pita bread.

Here’s my quick, cheap and easy way of making them:

Saute your veggies for a few minutes to cook and soften first (I used red onions, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini and spinach and cooked them for about 5 mins on medium)

For convenience sake, I bought canned pizza sauce (Unico is my favourite brand with Primo coming in a close second). You need a special tandoori oven to make a proper naan, so that also has to be store bought from either the grocery store or from a restaurant.

Top your naan with pizza sauce and your cooked veggies

My other time-saving trick was to use sliced cheese from the deli section of the grocery store.

1 slice of havarti (this one had jalapeno peppers in it for some added zing) ripped apart to cover the toppings

It obviously doesn’t take long to shred cheese or use already shredded cheese, but the slices pull double duty for sandwiches. (Oftentimes blocks of cheese get moldy in my fridge from infrequent use, so deli slices are a better choice for me.)

Into the toaster oven it goes...

I use the toast function on the toaster oven and set it to between medium and dark. Approximately 3-5 mins.

And out comes the finished product!

Oops, I forgot to mention I added some leftover chicken breast to the above pizza.

Here’s a breakfast pizza I made with turkey bacon, scrambled eggs, spinach, red onions and mushrooms:

Breakfast pizza

As you can tell, red onions and mushrooms are my pizza staples. I can’t eat pizza without them! (Well I can, but it’s never as good!)

What are your favourite pizza toppings?