I hope you have had a wonderful summer! I am sorry I have been MIA. It has been crazy busy these past 2 months! We had an amazing family holiday at the beginning of the summer in Penticton, and these past 2 weeks we were back in BC. Charley and I had the most amazing mommy daughter vacation! While we were living it up in Vancouver enjoying the water slides, Stanley Park, the Aquarium, Granville Island, and White Rock my amazing hubby was conquering the West Coast Trail! I am so proud of him, this is an amazing accomplishment.
ARVC has not only impacted myself it has also created struggles for those close to me. Jordan has felt guilty about working out since I was told to stop all exercise. To the point that he has almost stopped all exercise himself. It was always our plan to hike the West Coast Trail together. Unfortunately that is no longer in the cards for me. When the opportunity came up for Jord to hike the trail I encouraged him to go. Jordan felt bad going without me, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t struggle as he trained, but I don’t want to ever hold him back or make him feel guilty from accomplishing his fitness goals .
It was also the first Summer Olympics since my diagnosis. I normally count down the days until the Olympics, they usually provide me such tremendous joy! I never miss a single swim or medal presentation. It is 16 days of being inspired to get out and push your body past the limits you thought it was capable of. As Audrey Roloff says there is Always More. I highly recommend you check out the link to her site and blog. Audrey’s perspective with these two simple words is wonderfully encouraging. However, from a physical perspective I am in a position that my body is not capable of more. I couldn’t even watch the Olympics this year. I hate that this disease has stolen my love of Olympic binge watching. I hate feeling fragile. I hate the emotional rollercoaster that is this journey. One day I am content with my new reality and the next I struggle to cope. I find the journey of grief is unique in that it forever remains unresolved. You never get over the loss, but you slowly learn to move through it. Along the journey there are numerous desultory triggers that bring your grief back to the surface. I realize that I have not experienced a loss in the traditional sense, but life as I knew it has forever changed due to my illness.
One of the ways I coped with Jordan heading for the West Coast Trail was to make the most of the time he was away. I decided that Charley and I would make some of our own memories. We ended up having the most wonderful week! We had a sleep over every single night, we went exploring each day, we consumed an impressive amount of ice cream, and we just enjoyed spending time with each other! When I tucked Charley into bed after our long drive back home she said to me “mommy you are my best friend ever!!!!” All of my struggles of missing out on the West Coast were instantly gone!
I took a break from the blog this summer and I am really looking forward to getting back to meal plans this week. It is time to refocus!
For those of you in the Calgary area, I will be providing a free talk on meal planning and nutrition. I had the opportunity to speak for the Running Room a few months ago and it was an amazing experience. As a result I am going to be providing another presentation this September. Details are provided below. I hope to see you there.
With my health I have not been allowed to leave the country for the past 3 years. It has been difficult, yet another reason to hate this disease and become bitter. However, we decided as a family that we needed to embrace this limitation and start enjoying travel around Canada.
Last year we went to Penticton for the first time and we fell in love!!! It is now our favourite place to go. We were just there for 2 weeks and it was glorious! We even tented for the entire time and loved every minute of it. I know right?!!! That says a lot. It is like Canada’s Maui! Okay obviously not quite Maui, but I have to work with what I have. There may not be a Mama’s Fish House in Penticton, but there is a Gasthaus in Peachland and it is phenomal. They serve all you can eat schnitzel on Thursday evenings! I only ever have one, but knowing you can have as many as you want is the best! It also includes all you can eat dessert. All great variables when you can’t exercise anymore. Aside from the most delicious menu the ambiance is simply spectacular. If you go you must ask to sit on the patio.
Charley loved swimming and making sandcastles. We even went to The Kangaroo Farm this time! I highly recommend stopping in for a visit if you are out that way, it is so worth the trip. Just be aware that the park closes at 2 pm so the animals can have a rest, but it reopens at 6. It is also cash only. Two important bits of information we overlooked!
Until next year Penticton!
There is nothing better than fresh seasonal fruit, especially at this time of the year! I have been eating peaches and cherries like candy! Most of the recipes this week are inspired by all of the fresh fruit we brought back with us from our trip to Penticton.
Peaches & Cream Cinnamon Vanilla Crepes
Thoughts: I really feel this doesn’t need much of an explanation. This was delicious!!! I made a few changes. I left the peaches fresh and did not peel them. I also used vanilla sugar from The Silk Road Spice Merchant . I also used whipped coconut cream instead of cool whip or whipped cream. 5/5
For the whipped coconut cream, refrigerate coconut milk over night. Carefully separate the coconut cream in a metal bowl. Do not add liquid. Whisk cream on medium speed for 30 seconds to a minute. Then whisk on high for 7-8 minutes until stiff peaks form. Whisk in vanilla for another few seconds and serve.
Roasted Cherry & Tomato Salad
Thoughts: This worked spectacularly!!! I highly recommend trying this recipe! 5/5
Spread 1/2 tbsp of Nutella on each crepe. Evenly top with cherries and roll.
Drizzle with Nutella and milk mixture and enjoy.
Spicy tuna sandwich
Thoughts: A yummy twist on a classic. 5/5
1 can tuna, drained
2 tbsp mayo
1/2 tsp sriracha
2 green onions, chopped
2 slices whole grain bread
In a small bowl combine all the ingredients together (except bread, of course).
Spread evenly on bread on serve.
Lettuce wraps (I had 3)
Thoughts: I kept these lettuce wraps really simple. I used a pre-made teriyaki sauce from Costco and a rotisserie chicken. I made a simple red cabbage slaw and whole grain couscous. I was fast and yummy! 4/5
1 tbsp basil pesto (I actually had avocado pesto leftover so I used that instead basil pesto)
10 g feta cheese
handful fresh basil leaves
Evenly spread pesto on toasted bun.
Top with feta, chicken, tomatoes and fresh basil. Serve.
Himalayan salt block white fish with french onion baked quinoa
Thoughts: This was my first time using a salt block so my technique was terribly unrefined. I ended up breaking apart the beautiful filet, but man did it ever taste amazing!!! The salt block adds such amazing flavour! You can pretty much cook anything on the salt block, veggies, steak, chicken, etc! I am very excited to use the salt block again soon. 5/5
1 filet of fish, any white fish will work
1 tsp grapeseed oil
juice of half a lemon
Himalayan salt block
Place salt block on grill. Then warm BBQ to high heat. I aimed for 450 degrees C.
Brush filet with oil and drizzle with lemon juice.
Once BBQ and salt block are heated carefully add filet to block. Close BBQ and cook 2-3 minutes. (Cooking will go very fast)
Flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes on the opposite side until fish is opaque and flaky.
Baked French Onion Quinoa
Thoughts: I was craving french onion soup and had this crazy idea to make a french onion quinoa casserole….you’re welcome!!! I loved this side dish sooooooo YUMMY! The one negative that I do have to say about this dish is it can be a bit on the salty side. But honestly French Onion Quinoa!!!! 5/5
It has been way too long! Still trying to get caught up and reorganized from my 8 week hiatus, so there are only 3 days. If there are any recipes you would like to know the diet analysis for please let me know. I hope you enjoy!
Pumpkin cinnamon sugar donuts
Thoughts: These were amazing! I shared these with my neighbours and they LOVED them! The kids asked for seconds! They were definitely a hit, I will be making them again. I made the traditional version, there is also a vegan version 5/5
Thoughts: This takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and is very satisfying. The saltiness of the feta, the creaminess of the avocado, the sweetness of the balsamic, and the freshness of the tomato work all perfectly together. 5/5
Layer avocado, tomato, and feta on a quinoa thin cake.
Drizzle with balsamic reduction and enjoy!
Coconut crusted chicken strips with avocado mango quinoa
Coconut crusted chicken strips
Thoughts: This was delicious, but honestly a lot of work. While it was delicious I will not likely make it again just because it was quite a bit of work.
Portion: I had 3 chicken strips with 1 cup quinoa and 1/4 cup avocado dressing from quinoa.
3 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 can coconut milk
zest of 1 lime, divided
juice of 1 lime
1 cup coconut flour
1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1 tbsp coconut oil
Warm oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl mix together coconut milk, 1/2 the amount of lime zest, and lime juice.
Add chicken strips to coconut milk mixture and marinate for 1 hour.
In a large shallow dish add coconut flour, in a separate bowl add eggs and whisk, and finally in another large shallow bowl mix together the shredded coconut and remaining lime zest.
Coat chicken strip in coconut flour, then eggs, and finally in shredded coconut mixture.
Repeat step 5 until all chicken strips are coated.
Place tbsp coconut oil on baking sheet and melt in oven. Place chicken strips on baking sheet with hot oil and place in oven.
Cook for 10-15 minutes on each side, until chicken strips are fully cooked through (no longer pink and juices run clear).
Avocado mango quinoa
Thoughts: I expected this to taste ‘healthy,’ but this was surprisingly good. I made a few changes to the original recipe, I used quinoa instead of rice and plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. The dressing made a lot so I only used half and used the extra as a dip for the chicken strips 4/5
Thoughts: This worked surprisingly well. I would probably just use a more durable crust the next time I make it. I used a whole wheat tortilla, which was not quite durable enough for tomato sauce. I ran out of tomato paste so I had to use a pasta sauce which is runnier than tomato paste. So either use tomato paste or a more durable crust. 5/5
Ingredients (my portion)
1 whole wheat tortilla
2 tbsp tomato sauce
5 cocktail bocconcini balls, halved
5 cherry tomatoes, halved
handful fresh basil
1 tsp balsamic reduction
Warm oven to 375 degrees F.
Spread tomato sauce over tortilla.
Place cheese and tomatoes evenly over tomato sauce.
Place in oven and cook for 7-10 minutes, until cheese has melted and crust is golden.
While pizza is cooking, cook and scramble egg. Set aside.
When pizza is done top with scrambled egg, fresh basil and balsamic reduction. Enjoy!
Thoughts: Sometimes I just want comfort food. My new favourite dry spaghetti is from Catelli. It is a blend of ancient grains, including quinoa, amaranth, millet, sorghum and teff. I usually feel pretty sick after a bowl of spaghetti or any pasta for that matter (probably all those years of carbo-loading before a swim meet, I remember having bowls of pasta for breakfast at 5 am before a meet. Oh how sport nutrition has changed!!!) but I always feel great after having this pasta.
Ingredients (my portion)
1 1/2 cups cooked spaghetti
1/3 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
Prepare pasta according to directions.
Stir with tomato sauce, top with cheese and serve.
Coconut chicken stir-fry
Thoughts: I used leftover coconut chicken from the night before and made a simple stir-fry. It was fantastic! I used the teriyaki sauce from Costco instead of making one from scratch, but to be sustainable in this journey you need to find some healthy convenient options. 4/5
Thoughts: This was one of the best recipes I have tried so far!!! It easily made my favourite top lunch recipe. I had halloumi but was devastated when I went to use it and it had gone all mouldy! I ended up using bocconcini which was still delicious, but halloumi would really make this dish. The spice of the jalapeño with the freshness of the tomato and saltiness of the parmesan was heavenly. I did not end up using mint in this recipe. I am sure it would be good, I love mint, but I was slightly terrified to add it. Not sure how that would go! I also used the Catelli spaghetti . The texture of the spaghetti with the raw zucchini noodles was outstanding. Yes this recipe did take a while to prepare, but man was it ever worth the wait!!! Try it and you will know why it is number 1 on my top 10 lunch recipes list!!!
Is honesty the best policy? Well we will soon find out. When I started this blog back in February 2015 I made a promise that I would be honest and transparent about the ups and downs of my new reality. I have been dreading this update, but here it goes.
I was feeling overwhelmed with a few projects that were my plate. Between maintaining the blog and meal planning I started to feel burnt out. There is so much work that goes into this blog each week. I spend about 4-6 hours each day preparing the blog. But don’t worry, the actual amount of work from your side of things is not nearly that big of a commitment, I have done all of the work for you except the actual cooking😊. However, the meal planning and diet analysis are a huge undertaking. I do love the blog and do find the process very therapeutic in coping with my disease, I just reached a point that I needed a break.
I decided to take the last few months off of the meal planning portion of the blog. I still ate healthy, but was not strictly controlling my portions. After 8 weeks off I stepped back on the scale and hit probably one of the lowest points of my journey so far.
In only 8 weeks, taking a break from strict meal planning, I have gained everything back. I can’t believe I am about to share this, I now weigh 205 pounds.
One of my biggest hesitations for sharing this update is that I was honoured to be asked to share my success on television and radio. When you reach that level of media you feel like you should be bona fide expert in the weight-loss field. But friends I am just as human as everyone else struggling with a weight-loss journey.
I feel like I have completely let you all down. I have been so touched by the number of you who have told me that I have inspired you. I am hoping that in the midst of my failure I can inspire by being honest with my genuine struggles with this journey.
I guess this set back reveals how VITAL strict meal planning is for weight loss. I cannot afford to take a big break from meal planning. Proper portions are so important to maintain a proper weight. Back to actually measuring out a tablespoon and not estimating. When you estimate, or maybe it is just me, but when I estimate I am usually hungry so a tablespoon turns into a 1/4 cup!
Moving forward I need to find a more sustainable way of maintaining the blog. My recipes may become less elaborate and you will likely see repeats. I believe I have moved away from the original focus of this blog. I have felt like I needed to provide a new beautiful and elaborate recipe for every single meal. No one has put that on me, I have done that to myself. I need to step back, simplify, and refocus on my diet analysis.
I think that one of the most sustainable plans for me to follow is 4 days strict eating and 3 days smart eating. What I mean by that is for 4 days of the week follow a meal plan meticulously with precise portion sizes, and for 3 days don’t worry about following a plan, but still be very conscience about what and how I am eating.
Back to square one and back to a strict meal plan. Meal planning has clearly become a necessary lifeline for me to cope with this disease. I hope you are still interested in following my journey. Thank you so much to everyone for your support throughout my journey of living with ARVC.
Here are my latest pictures: Fitless flavor Journey take 2!