Tuesday, 4 June 2013

JUNE GOALS: Attracting Abundance.

Somehow, its' June already. Time flies!

I am restarting my monthly goals, having gotten through most of the havoc of a long-distance move, I now have regained some balance that will enable me to get back to it!

First off,I want to talk about attracting abundance into our lives. It's something that I've been forgetting to do and want to get back into the groove, so to speak. 

My interpretation of attracting abundance has a lot to do with positive thinking and changing thought patterns into plentiful thoughts instead of lacking thoughts. What I mean by this is to look at a situation from a new perspective,a positive one. As an example, instead of making an expense/income sheet to track your finances, call it an abundance track record. Instead of seeing road blocks, see opportunities for growth. 

Think of what you can do instead of what you can't, and things will start changing.

Now onto this month's goals!

1. This one is twofold, keeping up with my caloric intake (min 2,500 cals) and drinking 3 liters of water a day. Since I've been in Toronto, I've been out and about a lot more and have been having issues keeping up wit both of those. It's something that I really have to constantly keep focusing on or I slip up,especially when my schedule changes.

2. 30 minutes of meditation a day, no exceptions. This is getting easier since my commute is over 30 minutes most days. I find that meditating on the bus, subway or streetcar makes sense since I commute alone and would just be listening to music or an audio book anyways. 

3. Run a minimum of 15 kilometers a week. This means a minimum of 3x a week. Also, on top of this I want to revitalize the rest of my training regiment,which has been more or less consistent, but not organized at all. Rock-climbing, running, lifting and swimming are my focuses right now. 

4. Actually get my YouTube channel going. One video minimum.

5. Always keep up with my to do list. I find that having one that is always up to date keeps me charging forward. This way I can clearly keep all my goals in mind and have a reminder that I wanted to do them. I'm notorious for having not-so great short term memory, this means I have to find means to overcome it to stay on top of my dreams. 

Now hopefully we will actually be having some summer weather this month!

Keep it fruity :) 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Better late than never: April 2013 Review.

Better late than never!

These past few weeks have been quite busy I must say, which is why this post is much later than usual, as well as the reason I haven't been posting much. Having exams and a move to a different city at the same time was crazy, to say the least. Most of everything else kind of stayed on the sidelines, including my April goals.

Let's start with food as usual, I stayed raw for the grand majority of the month, but with so many things changing, I did fall off the 100% raw wagon. I think that I made the right decision for me at the time, beign under a ton of stress, I needed to not have to worry about precise planning for food. That being said I did still stay very high raw, and I kept all my cooked food simple, with a few exceptions, mainly potatoes and rice with steamed vegetables. I am still having some cooked food at the moment, still getting a feel for the the city and getting my rotation and planning organized. I have plans to go back to 100% ASAP though, for that is where I feel at my best! 108 days ain't too shabby considering I had set myself up for 90 and my previous "record" had been 34. I am quite proud of myself, I must say.

Now for the less than great accomplishments, exercise-wise, it was mostly a flop. I did stay generally active, but otherwise didn't keep up with the training that I need to be doing. That is being remedied as we speak, more on that in my (late) May goals.

I have been getting much better with sleep! My days we're spent reading, packing, studying, writing exams and papers, so at the end of the day I was exhausted. Which helped with me keeping up a decent sleeping schedule through exams, so that I could perform at my best. It seems to have stuck too, right now I'm going to bed around 12 and waking up around 8.

Meditation I also kept up with pretty decently, I made sure to always be meditating when commuting and as study breaks. Towards the end of the month I was doing it much less, since deadlines and going away parties kept me constantly distracted.

The biggest fail this month was definitely my YouTube channel. I was silly to think that it would have feasible at that point, but it being something that I really want to accomplish, I thought I might be able to squeeze it in somewhere. Once we are all settled in here, I will have a better setup and no excuses not to.

Looks like I will be writing quite a bit this week though, with May goals ad having just setup up the beginnings of a balcony garden, I have tons to share!

As much as April wasn't my best month so far when looking at these posts, I think that I learned a lot though failing, which will help me out next time life gets hectic.

Keep it fruity!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Raw on the Cheap.

Everyone is always yakking on about how expensive it is to eat healthy, most of the time its people who use it as an excuse. I would know, I used to! I think that really, if anyone, at any income level, wants to commit to a healthy lifestyle, they can. I know this because, as a student, I've lived with a very restricted budget and have been able to eat a high crab raw vegan lifestyle with good planning.

So what exactly is it that I do?

First and foremost, set a budget. Knowing exactly how much you can and want to spend on food is really important so that you can plan out your week's worth of food. I've set this as low as $50.00 a week and had more than food t satisfy my minimum of 2500 calories a day. Was it difficult? You could say that is just required much more planning, and more mono eating. But in reality, mono eating is ideal, so that didn't bother me one bit! I would say that my average spending for food would be $50-$100 a week at conventional grocery stores.

Second, do some research. Nowadays electronic sales flyers are really popular and you can get them directly sent to your email every week. With a limited budget, the best way is to buy the fruit that is on sale. Also, on't forget to check the discount rack! I've found masses of perfectly ripe bananas and other fruit and veggies for a fraction of the price. Another good idea that makes living on the cheap even easier is finding a wholesaler, which I hadn't been able to do at the time. Don't forget farmers markets in the warmer months!

Bananas will be your staple, at under $20.00 a case, they are usually the cheapest and most accessible calorie source you will find. Dates, when in season, are also a great idea. This also means that you will be eating with the seasons, since what's in season and abundant, is usually cheaper. As an example, I literally lived on citrus this past winter, it was amazing quality and super affordable.

Living on the cheap also means that unless you find a good wholesaler or farmers market, you will probably have to stick with conventional produce depending where you live and whats available. A great thing to look up for this purpose, are food co-ops. They have great buying power and can usually get you amazing prices if there is one in your area. You could even start up one if there aren't any already!

I also find that when I ate basically the same every other day I could still have variety every week while buying in bulk which saved money. So I'd have a simple salad every night that has almost all the same ingredients, but changing it up with spices or herbs (if you choose). Personally I can eat the same salad for a week and just change it up after wards. As for fruit meals, the bananas usually are always there, unless I'm feeling something else that week, and those are easy to keep interesting. You just have to prepare them in different ways: whole, smoothie, mashed, nice cream... The frozen fruit plays a vital role here as well, providing different flavor combinations. I like having at least 3 types of fruit for the week, always the best quality ones I can find, in season of course! This means oranges, persimmons, dates, pomegranates and other citrus in the winter. Mangoes, pineapples and the last of the citrus in the spring. Melons, stone fruit, berries and cherries in the summer. Grapes, apples, figs, dates and pears in the fall. With some fruit crossing over seasons, transition time is usually easy as well. This isn't even getting into greens and veggies which are amazing and are also something to cycle.

One thing that did take me time to get to this point is knowing how to cycle your fruit to always have ripe fruit ready to eat while avoiding any waste. I very rarely have any fruit go bad so no throwing money to the compost bin. This is something that you have to figure out for yourself, to see what works for you as an individual or a household.

This is an example of what I would buy for a week's worth of food in the winter/spring:

- One case bananas, $18.
- Small case oranges, $12.
- 2 cases Ataulfo mangoes, $14.
- 6 pack romaine hearts, $5.
- 2x 11 oz baby greens, $5.
- Case tomatoes, $10.
- Assorted frozen fruit, $10.
- 4 avocados, $4.
- Lemon, limes, ginger, assorted, $7.

TOTAL: $80.00

I also always have backup dates or raisins, which I buy about once a month (about $20 worth) so that I always have available calories around. I always eat at least 2500 calories a day with this, looks like something like this:

Breakfast: 10 large bananas with 2 cups frozen strawberries (1300 cals)
Lunch: 1L OJ with 4 mangoes, blended. (900 cals)
Dinner: Large Salad (500cals)
TOTAL: 2700 calories

Basically, if you really want to do this, you can. There are very little barriers to it. Even transitioning in with rice and potatoes as evening staples keeps it very inexpensive. I spend MUCH less money now eating raw than I used to being a cooked vegan before I found 80/10/10. I'd say that high carb cooked raw vegan is comparable though and depending on what you eat, can even be more inexpensive.

People who spend a ton of money being "healthy" are usually the ones going after super-foods and supplements including specialty foods. These things can run up your grocery bill in no time at all and quite frankly, for most people, they are not essentials. All fruits and veggies are super foods in their own right, labeling one as such and selling it for high prices is nothing but marketing ploys from corporations looking for profit. That being said, if you want to live off expensive imported fruit, then yes, it makes for a more expensive lifestyle.

Keep in mind, this is also in Canada. In the summer, I spend less. In countries that grow their own fruit, this lifestyle can be even easier to live on with a restricted budget including the US.

This is just a guideline. Those who need to eat more or have a bit more to spend can definitely find more variety. Buying with others is also a great idea because you can get half cases of different fruit, if that's what you need to succeed. The bottom line, it doesn't take much to be able to do this. Period. You just have to want it badly enough to commit to planning.

Keep it fruity!

Monday, 1 April 2013

April 2013 Goals.

Ahhh the start of a new month...

This monthly goals series is fast becoming one of my favorite ever blog ideas. It's keeping me consistent in not only setting goals, but also achieving them. So moving forwards and upwards is just that much easier!

This month, I want to set some higher and more intense goals, but not so much that I struggle a lot to achieve them. I need to find much more balance in my everyday life, while still making positive changes. This means that setting goals is a bit more difficult because it's requiring a bit more thought into the specifics of it all.

Starting with food as usual, I want to maintain what I've already achieved  while still keeping my attitude about cooked food that I've had in the past month, I have no expectations as to staying raw or not. I'm going to go with the flow and explore it a little. I also have some financial restrictions, since I'm moving at the end of the month to another city, I need to make sure that I can keep on budget this month. I still haven't 100% decided on a green juice feast, which I would want to do for 14 days. I think I might do a short one (3-4 days) this week to re-balance my digestion and then do a 14 day one when spring is truly here and the prices for produce has gone down around here.

This being said, with keeping in mind pushing myself to new levels, I am curious to see how long I can keep up with raw. The way I feel now is that it's become my new normal, even though I live in a cooked vegan household where I see and smell all the healthy cooked vegan foods I used to eat on a regular basis. While I've been tempted a few times, it hasn't been overwhelming to any degree.

Exercise time! Keeping in line with the goals I posted here, I've already started an 8 week 10k training plan, which has me running 3 times a week. Rock climbing has taken a backseat until after the move, so I'm going to be doing more body weight routines to round out my running schedule, concentrating on upper body strength  I also want to start the 100 squats a day challenge again, it was seriously awesome when I was doing it and now is the time to get back into it. This means working out at least 5 times a week and keeping up with it. I can't keep being wonky about this if I really want to get to a half-marathon and Tough Mudder in the fall. Water intake has been consistent enough that I'm happy with saying that I've accomplished it for now.

Sleep. That pesky thing. I'll definitely be striving to achieve the goal I set last month of a minimum of 8 hours a night. Earlier mornings would also be a good goal, since it always translates to me being more organized when I have more time to organize my day.

Spiritually, meditation is my biggest goal right now. I want to be meditating twice a day for at least 15 mins each time. I have had awesome experiences when I do this, even pushing it to 60 minute meditations on weekends. Having a clear mind is essential to moving forward towards your dreams. Yoga is also something that I've been struggling with, so I'm going to set a goal of 20 mins every other day at the minimum. I used to do that everyday on top of a much more strenuous workout routine, so this really should not be a problem. Bonus is that it will help with running!

I also think I need to seriously start working on starting a YouTube channel, I have it all set up, but I haven't uploaded any videos as of yet. This is something I've been wanting to do for far too long and just keep putting it off for too many reasons that just aren't valid. Fear is a powerful thing, and putting myself out there in that way is going to be my new goal towards getting over insecurities. This is a big step for me and I'll probably try a few test runs to see the way I want to set this up. I think just setting the goal of one video before the end of the month is a low end and trying for 2 or 3 is goal accomplished.

Blog wise, I want to talk about doing raw on the cheap, juice feasting, fitness regiment and meditation practice. I also want to finish up my anxiety post and get it published on here in the next few days.

Here comes April!! Have a fruitastic month everyone!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

March Assessment and 90 days!!

90 days COMPLETE. WOO!! *dances*

So that's one of my new years resolutions crossed off. Which in all honesty, when I decided on it, I actually laughed at myself, thinking that I was not going to make it that far, I mean I had done 34 days as my longest stint before this one. There is nothing more awesome feeling than accomplishing a goal you thought you wouldn't actually achieve (at least on the first try). This makes me feel so great, and validates my year's goal of pushing myself to heights that I sometimes believe impossible (give new meaning to the whole I'm possible line).

I'm planning on continuing with it, but I do have an attitude of not depriving myself of something that I really want, as long as it stays in live with the whole high carb vibe. I think that having a all or nothing attitude has not contributed to my success in the past, and even with this 90 days I was going in with this attitude, and it has served me very well. I think that not telling myself I can't have something makes much easier, even if I don't really want it that much. This whole 90 days, every time I had a craving, I would ask myself two questions:
How bad do I want this?
Am I okay with feeling how this food will make feel?
Most of the time, the answer to the first question wasn't bad enough to warrant me even asking myself the second question. I think that this is how I am going to continue on, as long as I can budget it reasonably.

Okay, onto my March Goals assessment:

Food wise, I absolutely held up my goal of keeping raw and adding in more juicing. I juiced almost everyday of the month and I certainly felt the difference. I plan on doing another green juice fast soon, maybe even staring this week. I've had a few digestion issues, which I attribute mostly to the tons of stress I've been under because of my semester ending and the ton of work associated with it. Green juice usually fixes me up and I've made sure to have at least a liter everyday this past week.

I've kept up pretty decently with my calorie intake, keeping it over 2500 cals basically every day, with many 3000 calorie days. I established a new system where I almost always bring 2000 calories with me when I leave the house, that way I never get caught without food and I can easily achieve my goals. I just have to make sure I eat a 500 cal breakfast and a 500 cal salad and I'm set.

My exercise system worked really well for about half the month, the other half being overwhelmed by 60 hours school work weeks and too little of any thing else. I'm just reallyyyy happy this is the last week of classes, I have no issues finding balance during exams because my study breaks become exercise/meditation time.

As for my sleep schedule, I am getting up earlier and getting more done, but I have been having issues falling asleep, which resulted in most nights being under 7 hours. I think that the days I didn't exercise definitely contributed to the problem on top of stress.

Meditation has become a bigger part of my daily schedule, where I often find myself meditating during my commute and before bed. Yoga on the other hand, I'm still having difficulty implementing on a consistent basis.

I think that my blogging goals were relatively well attained. I'm going to keep the juicing post for during my juice feast. The anxiety post is proving a tad bit difficult to write, more so to get the right wording for what I want to express in it.

All in all, with the added workload from school, I feel like I've done decently in regards to this months goals. I am hoping to push harder in certain areas next month.

Much fruit and love! <3

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder and New Fitness Goals

This year seems to be all about setting high goals and achieving them. I think that my fitness regiment, although improving consistently from the beginning of the year, needs a shake-up.

I've been thinking for quite a while about doing those crazy intense obstacle course designed by ex-military. They look crazy intense and hard as hell. They scare the heck out of me to be honest. On the other hand, they get my heart pumping with excitement! I want to push myself to levels that I still think are basically impossible.

So I've tentatively chosen two to participate in: The Warrior Dash in Barrie, ON on July 20th 2013, which is a just over 3 mile (5k) race with 10-15 obstacles. It's one of the smaller races, perfect to start with from what I've heard. You can check it out here.

Next, I'm going more hardcore with the Tough Mudder race on September 28th or 29th. It's a much longer 10-12 mile course with 20-25 obstacles. This one seriously has me doubting my sanity. The finish time is around 3-4 hours on average. You can check this one out here.

On top of these two crazy things that I still can't quite believe I'm setting myself up for, I want to complete a 10k and a half-marathon before the end of the fall.

Training for all of this isn't going to be much different from what I'm doing now, although running hasn't been high on my priority list because of less than spectacular weather. I'm going to have to start intensifying upper body and core workouts, which with the help of rock climbing shouldn't be difficult to implement. Basically, I'm going to have to be much more consistent and spend more time training. I'm thinking lot's of HIIT, lots of cardio and more strength training.

Once I've set up a workout regiment I'm happy with, I'll share it here!

*Deep breath*

This is next level stuff.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Ditching the Scale: Why Numbers Don't Matter.

Numbers. The ones that we set some much importance to like they define who we are, our worthiness and our self-value.

When you think about it, weight is just the force that gravity has on an object. It's a simple physics equation. It changes in different environments, it's not even a constant.

Yet, we are influenced all our lives to think of our weight as a very important factor. Society has deemed that there is a norm that we should aspire to. Never mind that it doesn’t take into account the beautiful diversity of ethnicity, body types and lifestyles. Women should all be blonde, blue-eyed, tall and thin. Men should all be tall, dashing and ripped. Wait, this sounds vaguely familiar, eugenics anyone?

I'm going to make a few things clear before I continue. Yes, being healthy and fit is important, not for esthetics but for the wellbeing of the person. I don't agree with the movement that advocates overweight women being "real". But I do think that positive body image is extremely important. Everyone should have access to the same levels of health. A balanced life.

Everywhere we look, we see a new program, a new diet that tells people that they can achieve their weight loss goals in ridiculous amounts of time that just cannot be healthy or sometimes even safe. I've been there, many times. It was not only damaging to my body, but also to my mind because it kept me in the quick fix mindset and always looking for the wrong methods.

What needs to be done is a massive shift in focus.

Focusing on HEALTH. On living well, on abundant, plentiful life.

Focusing on LIFESTYLE shifts, on lasting change that can be maintained without a sense of deprivation.

Social conditioning is hard to break. Let's stop taking the "easy" ways out that never last. A true long lasting change may not always be easy, but it's the only way to get over this crazy idea of one true ideal.I still have massive issues with body image because of many reasons, one of them being that a certain image has been so deeply ingrained in my head that it's difficult to shake.

I also hold myself to very strict ideals. I am very hard on myself and most days  it keeps me from being able to enjoy the successes that I've had so far. This is probably because I've constructed such a strong image of what I want that until I achieve it, I've put massive blinders on myself.

One way that I've found to rip those blinders off, is that I don't weigh myself. Especially when I'm undertaking a bigger change, like I have been in the last few months. The scale is not my friend because I associate so much value to the number that shows up that it hinders my progress because if it's not what I want it to be or what I think it should be, I get demoralized, even if physically I've noticed a difference.

I used to measure myself to keep up with my progress, but then I found that I was transferring my bad number habit to that.

The truth of the matter is, weight fluctuates, throughout the day, throughout the month and throughout different life changes. Muscle is also denser than fat, so if you gain muscle you might lose volume but not weight. So how it a valid tool for your progress if it's so unreliable?

So I say, screw numbers. They do not define you. Your progress should be measured in sweat, in laughter and in feeling.

We are not made of numbers. We are made of experiences, of emotions and of stories. Instead of making yours about a scale, make it about your journey, your story. Because it a much better story to tell than looking at a graph of numbers.