Meals, miles, books and looks of January!

MEALS 

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January was all about healthy eating and meal prep. Lots of salads and green smoothies were consumed. Also about three weeks ago I started eating gluten free and dairy free, which has been interesting so far for sure. I’ve had a few slip-ups but overall it’s definitely not as hard as I thought it would be. There are SO many substitutes everywhere these days! I was also really hoping for more results from this new eating change but so far haven’t felt that different, though I have been told if I was to eat a big bowl of pasta now after barely eating gluten for three weeks I would feel it! I will keep it up for awhile to see if it helps me feel any better.

Pictured above is also a delicious new breakfast recipe I got off of this website. Here is the recipe via Healthful Pursuit:

Quinoa Cereal (2 servings)

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes.

  • 1 cup raw quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch all spice
  • 1 tbsp molasses

Stir in;

  • 3 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp protein powder
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
I’ve been really enjoying eating this for breakfast and it’s also very filling. Highly recommend!

MILES 

Another terribly low month of miles. Only 36.1 miles / 58 km and I don’t see that increasing anytime soon. Right now I’m doing 3 – 6 mile (5 – 10km) runs twice a week and that’s it. I didn’t track my workouts in January as I’m generally just trying to listen to my body and workout less and rest more BUT one thing I did do in January is nine barre classes! I am definitely loving this new, low-impact, strength training part of my routine!

I also tried a new activity – Cross Country Skiing – in January which was really fun!

BOOKS 

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In January I read five books and listened to one audiobook for a total of six books! A good start on my read 52 books in 2016 challenge. You can find my reviews of all of the above books on my Goodreads Profile here. 

I will say The Royal We was my absolute favourite book of the month. I tore through it in just a couple of days and actually spent five hours straight reading it on my last day of Christmas vacation. It felt like binging on a good netflix show when I was reading it. I’ve recommended it to a couple of people who haven’t loved it as much as me though so I will give you that disclaimer :)

I also really enjoyed We Were Liars. It’s an incredibly quick read with a huge twist at the end I did not see coming. Us was pretty good too and Big Magic was really good especially for a non-fiction book. Elizabeth Gilbert is a great author and it was very conversational and had some really cool and interesting themes and ideas.

The Friday Night Knitting Club I felt meh about and thank goodness I listened to Women Food and God because I never would have got through it if I’d been trying to read it!

LOOKS 

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Pulled out two of my favourite sweater dresses this month!

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I also finally pulled out this dress that I bought at Value Village at least 2 months ago for a big work event! I think it was $14? And it’s a super stretchy and comfy material too.

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Both the jeans and teal top in this photo are also from Value Village! $8 for the jeans and $7 for the top. I seriously don’t think I will ever buy brand new clothes again! I’ve also taken two friends Value Village shopping now and they’ve been successful in finding things too :)

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And that’s January for you! Overall it was kind of a meh month for me but I did try to keep it really relaxed and laid-back which was exactly what I needed. Usually January – March are slower months at work but due to lots of new staff at our office and some new processes being put into place work has still been super super busy this month and won’t be slowing down anytime soon, so I’m focusing even more than ever on quiet weekends and evenings since the days are so busy.

How was your January? What are your meals, miles, books and looks for the month? 

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Spotlight on Italy

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Gondola ride in Venice.

Timehop reminded me yesterday that six years ago we were planning our first ever big vacation together; 3 weeks backpacking through Europe! We visited Amsterdam, Paris and Greece but the main focus of our trip was Italy where we spent 10 days visiting Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, Rome and the Napili Coast. Even with the rich mix of culture throughout Europe, Italy is definitely unique!

I was recently sent an article about how to make the most of your first trip to Italy so I thought I would share a few of those tips here!

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Shopping at a street market in Florence.

  1. Remember that there’s no such thing as Italian food in Italy! What we call “Italian restaurants” – places that serve pizza, pasta and calzone – are hard to come by. As a united country, Italy is fairly young. For a large part of its history, it was a collection of individual city states, which are now called regions. Like countries, each of these regions has its own distinct cuisine. You may find places labelled as “Italian restaurants” in areas with a big tourist trade. Many of these places are overpriced, and the quality of the food fluctuates greatly. For a genuine experience of Italian cuisine, keep an open mind when looking to eat out.
  2. For a lot of your trip to Italy, you can leave your credit or debit cards in the suitcase. Most native Italians will pay for everything in their day with cash. This can be a bit of a shock for those of us who live in credit-centred economies. One thing to be aware of is problems with pickpockets, especially in the larger cities like Rome (we actually had our hotel room ransacked and robbed when we were in Rome.) To avoid having any money taken, keep your wallet somewhere secure. Or consider wearing a money belt, that’s what we did and we kept our passports on us at all times. Though I now think staying in the area we did (near the train station in Rome) had a lot to do with us getting robbed.
  3. Finally, choose a villa over a hotel if possible. Air BnB and VRBO weren’t really highly used websites when we went to Europe, but now I would absolutely book little villas/apartments over hostels. Apparently, Italian villas are an extremely popular choice of holiday accommodation in the summer. This may mean a lot of hassle to find one in a good location. Villas offer you much more privacy than a hotel, and often end up cheaper if you’re travelling with the whole family. Although you have to do your own housekeeping, typical Tuscan houses are absolutely stunning. The main set back with villas is finding the right location, so do your research. Tripadvisor is my travel bible – I tripadvisor everything!
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The beautiful Amalfi Coast.

Even though we were lucky to see a large part of Italy during our 10 days there, I’m dying to go back. We never did make it to the Tuscany region and I’d really like to go spend some time wine tasting there. Also, as with most travel, I really do feel like there’s almost never enough time to see it all.

Whatever you hope to get out of the experience, I’m sure you’ll never forget your vacation to this incredible country. I know we didn’t!

Have you ever been to Italy? Any tips for first-time travellers to the country? 

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On cutting back on running

For the last several years I’ve been pretty hardcore with my workouts. Lots of exercise and training is just a huge part of who I am. I’ve trained for half-marathons, and then marathons and then ultra marathons. I’ve done yoga challenges where I go to yoga every day for 30 days, shreds that have me doing 100’s of burpees in a week and more.

But right now I’m really really backing off. I’m trying to do more hiking/walking, yoga/barre and, as I mentioned last week, more resting.

Even though I am technically in the middle of a fitness challenge (the 60 Day Barre Burn Challenge where I go to Barre 3x per week for 8 weeks), it’s definitely not as intense as past challenges I’ve done. Don’t get me wrong, barre is a killer workout, but it’s not high intensity or high impact.

Part of this additional rest means cutting back on running. Since I’m not training for a race right now I decided to cut one run (Tuesday morning) out of my schedule. I wanted the time back to sleep, or read, or even walk Chloe. Also Tuesday morning runs used to just stress me out. It’s on the road so not a particularly enjoyable run and I had to leave my house at 5:50am in order to meet my running partner on time for it so usually I wouldn’t sleep great the night before because I would be anticipating the incredibly early alarm.

Anyways, while it does feel good and like what my body needs right now to be cutting back on things like running and other super high intensity activities, I also definitely have a bit of sadness over it. Yesterday Facebook reminded me it has been exactly three years since I signed up to run my 50km ultra marathon. I can’t even imagine signing up for an ultra marathon right now, I’m so so far away from that place. But, I’ve done it before and one day if I want to I can do it again, but for now I am trying to honour my bodies need for more rest and low impact workouts.

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From our beautiful winter hike around a lake on Saturday! 

Monday 

Rest Day

Tuesday 

75 minute slow flow yoga class (am)

Wednesday 

Teach TRX Bootcamp (am)

45-minute barre class (lunch)

Thursday 

Rest Day

Friday 

3.1 mile / 5km “trail run” – more like a hike because of the ice! (am)

45-minute barre class (lunch)

Saturday 

3.6km hike

Sunday 

5 mile / 8km run

Teach 1 hour bootcamp class

What kind of workouts are you doing a lot of these days? Have you ever had to back off on certain types of workout because your body needed a break? 

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