Raw Granola Bars

I love to eat and it’s not a rare sight to see me in our kitchen, scavenging for food. Though for when I only want a small bite to feed boredom, that is something our house lacks. So, I like to make this raw, no-bake granola bars.

a) Ingredients:

1) Oats | 2) Agave Syrup | 3) Almond Butter (Peanut butter could be used too) | 4) Any addition of your preference
DSC03838 b) Mix the dry & wet ingredients separately. The mixture of agave and almond butter needs to reach a certain consistency: balance between sticky, but still malleable. Then, mix everything together.DSC03842 DSC03844 c) Place on a baking sheet & baking pan, cover with plastic and put in the refrigerator. It usually takes a day or two until it’s no longer brittle.

DSC03845 d) Cut into pieces and wrap individually. Keep refrigerated.DSC03849Enjoy~

A plus tard et avec l’amour!

What I Eat in a Day

One of my best friends suggested that I document what I eat in a day. I thought this was a very cool idea to see how much and what I put into my body. So, here it is!

Breakfast

They say breakfast should be your biggest meal, but not being a morning person to start with has gotten me to the habit of a quick fix. I usually eat the ‘typical Filipino’ breakfast of egg and rice but when my mom doesn’t cook it in the morning, I usually make myself oatmeal. I used to eat oatmeal with sugar but since changing my diet, I started using natural foods as sweeteners such as bananas with the addition of goji berries & pumpkin seeds for that extra crunch. I cook it with lactose-free milk as it becomes tastier and has more texture.

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Lunch

My lunch meals are almost never repetitive. I’m usually out for lunch because of meet-ups or since I’ve been busy, I don’t have time to make my food. But today, I was able to make a salad.

When I eat salads, I like to add lots of different textures and tasteful ingredients. I usually opt out from using dressings because they are counterintuitive of the idea of having a salad. They have lots of calories and is processed food.

I found vegetable rotini and wanted to try out. It’s delicious! The addition of chickpeas, cucumber, carrot and greens was what was available in our kitchen so I used these as garnish.
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Contrary to popular belief, I don’t always eat healthy. In times of stress or random cravings, I go out with friends for desserts. In between classes, I went to Analog with a friend to have an almond croissant and soy latte.

It’s a misconception that lactose intolerant people cannot consume dairy products at all. This is false as we actually can, although not to excessive amounts. Personally, I cannot consume heavy, dairy based desserts such as cheesecake, cheese itself and neither milk.

It’s a pity cafés don’t carry lactose-free milk because soy is full of sugars, but what else can a lactose intolerant person have besides soy/almond milk?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES When reading, I like to have tea. My favourite spot is Oolong Tea House!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESDinner:

As good as it would be to eat all things healthy, being Filipino and loving the cuisine, would not allow me to be so. Or rather, I would not allow myself to be so. For dinner, I often have home cooked meals by my awesome chef of a mom!  We always have a main dish and rice to go with it. For tonight, it was chicken in tamarind soup with romaine lettuce.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI hope you liked this post as much as I enjoyed documenting it. It was nice to see what I consumed in a day and how well it has shown me how far I’ve come. If this was years ago, it would be larger proportions, unhealthier choices and lots of junk food. I’m so happy I was able to change my diet, and overall lifestyle, because it feels good at the end of the day.

A plus tard et avec l’amour!

New Hobby: Squash

Having lived in the Middle East, it gave me the opportunity to learn one of the country’s favourite pastime, tennis. But moving to Canada where igloos and polar bears exist, the climate is not exactly tennis friendly. I’ve always been curious of squash and as it seems to be a good alternative to tennis, I finally tried playing it today!
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIn the beginning, I was having difficulty in balancing between power and precision. Relative to the tennis ball, squash’s is infinitely smaller and faster. This made me, and my gym buddy, run around the court like maniacs.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAfter ~15 minutes, I finally got the hang of it and thought it easier than tennis (minus the demanding cardio). I can finally say I’ve played squash and love it too. It’s not only fun, to the point where one loses track of time, it is also a very good workout!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES1) Shirt: Local Store | 2) Shorts: Lululemon (similar here) | 3) Sneakers: Skechers (similar here) | 4) Racquet: HEAD

A plus tard et avec l’amour!

Working Out: Cardio

There are odd days when I just want to get on a treadmill and run. Today was that day.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBut if you don’t get those days and you feel the need to do cardio, watch a show while you’re at it. That way, exercising becomes more bearable and perhaps you might not even realize that you’ve ran longer than you intended.

I forgot to properly set up the treadmill to my preferences that I ended up running at a speed much faster than I usually do. Even if it was difficult, I managed to get through and burned ~230 calories in 20 minutes!

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Personally, I don’t like eating after a workout. What I do is make a protein smoothie instead. One of my favourites is kale smoothie!

Ingredients:

1) ~250 mL milk

2)  2 kale leaves per serving

3) Banana

4) 1/2 spoon of hemp protein
IMG_3960After reading about protein powders, I found that some pose health risks because of its ingredients. Wanting an alternative to the usual powders sold at supplement stores, I went ahead and bought Hemp Protein Powder by Manitoba Harvest. I absolutely adore this product because it’s organic, the protein is plant based and it actually tastes good (unlike other ones I’ve tried). I also like to use this on my oatmeal.

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 Then, just blend it all together and voila! When I used to drink this smoothie daily (without the protein, unless I worked out) my skin greatly improved and my appetite was reduced! I hope you’ll be able to try this smoothie out.

A plus tard et avec l’amour!

Losing that Freshman 15

Like most people, I have my share of insecurities and despite being ‘smaller’ in figure than the general population, I had my own struggles with weight. Being surrounded by my much more petite sisters, I always felt insecure relative to their skinnier proportions. 

Entering university in itself is already a daunting task, but the curse of Freshman 15 was also quite the scare. Honestly, I did not believe that I was going to gain any more weight than when I first entered but the load of stressful work, uncontrolled, unhealthy eating, occasional drinking and the absence of mandatory gym class contributed to the reality of becoming victim to such a curse. By the end of first year, I was more insecure than ever. However, I managed to lose the weight by the end of that summer and keep up with maintaining it, if not even better! In two years, I’ve not only gained more confidence, but have slowly built my body and lifestyle to a healthier path. So, what did I do?

1) Change your diet and eating habits

The biggest mistake people make when wanting to lose weight is immediately undergoing change in a short amount of time. Personally, I found that changes should be gradual because it takes time for your body to get accustomed. Eating habits and diet is like exercise: one should not attempt to lift a 45lb weight when their body is only capable of 25lb. I also heavily suggest to not fall for all sorts of questionable diets or supplements. Do what is best suitable for your body and preferences, keeping in mind to treat it with respect.

The first thing I did was eliminate unhealthy foods one by one. Growing up, I had a terrible love for ramen. This tasty, but sodium filled, packaged food is the passage to high blood pressure. Based on our family’s health history, high blood pressure was one to watch out for, as well as diabetes. I admit that eliminating ramen was extremely difficult however, I eventually managed to go for months without it. Though one day, when I had an extreme craving for it, I gave in and ate a bowl of spicy kimchi ramen. But to my surprise, it didn’t taste as good as it used to and my body rejected it. I suppose those few months without it was enough for my body and taste buds to completely put an end to it. Slowly, I also managed to eliminate soft drinks, most juices, candy, chips, most packaged foods, chocolate and sweet pastries (after I’ve become lactose intolerant) from my diet. I trained my body to crave healthier foods and completely forget my old, unhealthy habits.

2) EXERCISE!

Yes, you all saw this coming but exercise is more than just getting on a treadmill. It’s dedication, perseverance and determination. The initial, most difficult obstacle to overcome when it comes to exercising is prevailing over laziness and excuses. It can also be intimidating, most especially in a gym setting. What could be worst than not knowing how to use a machine or be surrounded by preying-eyed, fit individuals? To be honest, I still struggle with all these reasons but I’m gradually improving. Realize that they also had to start somewhere.

Change will not happen if you let this all get into your head. I found that exercise is more of a mental challenge than it is physical. Your body requires and is capable of exercise, you just have to sync your mind with it.

3) Find motivation. Stay realistic. Maintain respect.

I had so many reasons to change my lifestyle into a healthier one: from family history to insecurities to even desiring to look ‘ideal’. As many of you may be well aware, the thigh gap became a thing, long enough to even spark debates and rise in advertisements of embracing oneself. I have always been insecure about the size of my thighs and it should come to no surprise that I found the idea of having a thigh gap to be enticing. This new ‘motivation’ was unrealistic because despite after having lost respect for my body (for which I wish not go in depth), my body did not even come close to ‘achieving’ it. 

From this, it should be gathered that motivation must come from good intentions. One should respect their body and identify its limits. In the unending debate between stereotyping based on size and embracing oneself, I can only contribute by suggesting that people should divert their attention from everyone else and focus on themselves: focus on your own well-being, healthwise and beyond.

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Having cute gear is also a great motivation! 😉

1) Thermo Cool Shirt: Walmart (similar here) | 2) Sports Bra: Lululemon | 3) Running Shorts: Lululemon | 4) Runners: Skechers (similar here)
pizap.com14076539697881(Left to Right): 1) Beginning of university: September 2012 | 2) 1st Semester of university: October 2012 | 3) Almost end of 1st year university: April 2012 | 4) After change of lifestyle: July 2014

pizap.com14076535670291 (Left to Right): 1) End of 1st year: May 2012 | 2 & 3) Months after first year: Summer 2012 | 4) End of 2nd year: May 2014

photo This is my most recent picture of improvement. Since changing my lifestyle two years ago, I’ve not gone to the doctor once, nor taken any medication (as I’ve let my body heal itself), my skin has improved, my mind works faster and I’ve become more confident. I’m still trying to improve all aspects of my health everyday and I hope to never lose it! I hope I have enlightened you at the very least and good luck on your own journey!

A plus tard et avec l’amour!