Why I work out and eat clean

I love working out, I am in no way professional but I like pushing limits of my body. Sometimes I do refer to my body as if it would be something outside me:) I say: “my body needs to work out” and it’s true. Sometimes my mind does not feel like working out, but my body is pushing me yo make at least something. I have to do some type of workout every day, even if it would be walking few kilometers. Anything counts. I do work out not because I would look hotter or more attractive ( my husband finds me beautiful all the time) but because I feel good. I always tend to have at leat two different physical activities at a time, to provide myself mental stimulation and variety. When I was a kid, I used to do swimming (5 times a week) and karate (3 times a week) so my body is used to be under pressure. Then I had period of around 8 years where I was not working out regularly, except physical education classes at school. I still would be in shape. It was not until I started getting really chubby that I decided tk stopall this and get back in shape. I got strong body, so it is a sin not to use it. I started running, swimming and my kilograms melted. Then my ex introduced me to rock climbing. It was love from the first sight. Boyfriend was gone, climbing stayed. It is amazing how much it pushes you mentally and physically – you are never strong enough. Rocks are always stronger than you. And when you think…isn’t it crazy that we climb those rocks that have been there fkr millions of years and feel sense of accomplishent when we top it. Rock doesn’t care…but we do…not just for personal accomplish, but for the connection with nature. Most of my most beautiful moments in life are related to rock climbing: travelling, exploring, being absolutely fulfilled and totally content, feeling happy to be alive and have an opportunity to feel and experience, happy to have this body that can climb, being able to enjoy sun burning my back, taking a moment to look around and enjoy beauty of nature, feeling glad that I fight my inner demons and fears, meeting most amazing people and making friends for life. Since I started to climb, I never got back into state of not working out. I also started doing capoeira (brazilian martial art). Most of the days after work I would go to climb for an hour, then head directly to capoeira for the other hour and go by bike home. After that I would feel so weak and strong at the same time. I love being able to explore possibilities of my body, to make it stronger and stronger. I could not find affordable capoeira group in quebec, so I just stuck with climbing and working out at home (bodyrock.tv and some apps). Then I discovered Crossfit, thanks to Couchsurfers from Washington. That was another love from first sight. I feel challenged every time and I love it. I never worked out with weights in my life, so it is all new to me. But climbing helps a lot: I have super strong back, forearms and fingers, great sense o balance and ability to push myself, and pain endurance ( try to climb wog shoes that are 3 size smaller or hold your body weight on 0.3cm edge and pull up), so I am doing quite great in crossfit.

Around the same time when I started crossfit I also discovered Zone Diet, while I was browsing for some recipe book. So, I decided to take a month clallenge with Zone. That was great, I eliminated gluten and changed my way of eating hy having much less carbs. I was reading a lot about nutrition and more and more I felt inclined towards paleo. I took little steps, trying to understand why we eat as we eat finally took Whole30 challenge. Just went cold turkey. It was challenging at the beginning, but I would never go back to my previous eating. I love my body and I want it to be as healthy as possible. I rlrat quality food and I can’t even think of eating something that contains sth that I can’t pronounce or that is not natural. I want to be able to climb when I will be 70, I want my children to be healthy and I love to be in charge of what I eat and how I look. There is no greater feeling as feeling healthy and strong. It requires effort and is not always easy, but what is? In order to be happy we have to work to achieve it, it is a process and it requires effort, but show me a person who doesn’t want to be happy and healthy, just not everyone is ready to work for it. But this is personal choice and responsibility for your own life and way of living.

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Get the bike out and ride

Sunday I was going to climbing gym and I decided to use the bike that we found in Keven’s parents garage. We had it since winter but I was a bit hesitant to try it as the stuff where I usually go are pretty far away and I was scared to get stuck with broken bike. But Sunday I took it out and it was awesome, except the fact that the seat was super low (Keven style) and my knees started complaining in 5mins. I miss my bike back in Lithuania which was super comfortable, I used to go everywhere with bike: university, work, volunteering, climbing, go out…on average I was doing around 50km a day. In Barcelona I was using public bicycle system which is cheap and pretty awesome: you pay like 30euros a year and you can use public bicycles with your magnetic card. Downside: sometimes bikes are broken, sometimes stations are too full and you can’t place a bike (you got 30mins. for free and then you get charged sth. or you place bike and can take the other one in 10mins). So, I used to go around with bike in Barcelona as well. It is such an amazing feeling to ride a bike, it brings me so much joy.
Having all these positive emotions Despite weather forecast (rain) decided to take a bike yesterday to ride to my work. It is 17km from my home, in other words, a bit of a ride in one go. It was raining eventually, but rain was my least concern:) obviously, I managed to get lost, because of my all adventurous spirit to take new routes 🙂 That’s nothing 🙂 what I did not take into account was that 2/3 of my road to work is going up, I had to climb up 3 HUGE hills that were really taking my breath away. So, I did not care about rain, just how to go up that f…ing hill. The only consolation was the though that on the way back I will be going down those hills 🙂 I left home at the same time as I leave for a bus and arrived on time as I did not have to way for transit bus. It took me 1h 15mins. to arrive to my work and to come back was way faster – 57mins and 35km made. Quite a workout of a day :)Still, I would like to make it faster, but the problem is that even with higher seat it really hurted my knees to go with this bike. no idea why as usually I never had problem with knees riding a bike except once when I took spinning class 🙂 Is it problem of bike or of me???
I am thinkin about getting proper bike, as probably we will stay in Canada at least few years, so why not to get a good enjoyable bike? I am also thinking of making some bike rides this summer, don’t plan to get super fast bike for that, but I believe it would be great experience, so should check for that. I would love to make triathlon, but my “love” for running is definitely stopping me. Anyhow, if you got a bike, take it out and go for a ride. Today. Feel the joy of life. Enjoy the wind. Work those muscles. Life is an amazing opportunity for experience and our bodies are incredible instruments given to us to enjoy this life.

Chocolate Frappe Paleo Style

I love coffee…I don’t care if it has caffeine in it or not, because I drink it not to get caffeine but because I like how it tastes. In summer, one of my all time favourite drinks is Frappe Latte along  with a cheesecake. I would probably jump off the Paleo wagon if I would be back in Vilnius and I could have “Coffee Inn” cheesecake. If you will ever be in Vilnius, eat this cake for me :))))

This is the only dessert that I really enjoyed eating in a restaurant (Most of the time I prefer home made desserts and don’t find restaurant desserts that amazing) and that I honestly miss. But, as Lithuania and Canada is separated by the ocean and 8 hours flight, my Paleo diet seems to be far from being in danger 🙂

However, I can still enjoy my frappe by replacing milk with coconut milk and adding some little extras 🙂 Even Keven got hooked up with this recipe (he doesn’t drink coffee at all) by adding couple of tsp of brown sugar to it 🙂

  • Brewed coffee
  • 1/3 coconut milk
  • lots of cubes of ice (at least 10)
  • 1 tsp of cacao
  • 1 tsp of almond butter (optional for extra creaminess)
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Put all ingredients into blender and process until well blended. Pour into tall glass and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Double Layer Fudge

Ok. Now, we come to serious business. I have tried this recipe last week and it was so good that I think that I won’t make it very soon. It is just so good that is hard to stop eating and it is really fat. Though fats are good for us, right? When it comes to desserts, one of my favourite websites is Juli from PaleOMG, this girl goes hardcore and she does it really well. So, I saw this picture on website and just left page open in my iPod browser not to forget that I want to make this dessert (sorry for not having my own picture to upload). I hope Juli will forgive me for using her picture for this post, but I just did not have time to take my own picture and when I had, the fudge was gone 😦

Double Layer Fudge

    • 1 cup coconut oil
    • 1 cup almond butter
    • 1/4-1/3 cup raw honey (Juli offers to add 1/2 cup of honey, but I was scarred that for me it would be too sweet. And it was sweet enough) 
    • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    • 4-5 heaping tbsp of pure cacao (the more cacao you will add, the more bitterness it will bring)
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • pick of salt
    • a handful of semi sweet chocolate chips (though not necessary)
    • extra of shredded coconut for sprinkling

Add coconut oil, honey, shredded coconut, vanilla extract, almond butter and pinch of salt to a food processor and mix until fully combined. Pour half of the mixture to a bread pan or some other pan and use spoon to make the surface even (I used pyrex, but then it was a bit hard to cut first part as it sticked to the bottom). Place it into the freezer to harden. Meanwhile, add cocoa step by step to the rest of mixture and mix throughly until you get the desired taste and not too bitter. Once cacao is all mixed in add a pinch of salt and mix it well, pour chocolate mixture over hardened light fudge. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, shredded coconut and some salt. I was really surprised about the salt, but it was actually working really nice once the fudge was done and brought up some unexpected nice addition to the sweetness. Place in freezer for 10-15mins. Cut in chunks and try not to eat all the chunks at once. I was keeping them in freezer and it was all gone in couple days. It is amazingly good with coffee. So far, my favorite dessert!

 

Banana pudding aka Paleo Ice Cream

I have been craving for ice cream lately, especially because it was really hot this weekend and everyone around were really enjoying ice creams all around me and it was hard to resist. However, going to the shop and buying one was not working for me as I could not see any organic (not sure if it’s better, should check labels) and when I looked at the consistence of all the other, I just had to put it back. I know it would not kill me, but somehow I really don’t feel like putting ingredients that I don’t know in my body and it would make me feel bad psychologically and remove all the pleasure of eating. I checked on internet for some ice cream recipes and though I could find some, it involved  either ice cream machine that I don’t have or lots of mixing every hour or so. I don’t have patience for that, so simply decided to go with banana pudding recipe from Paleo Comfort Foods book, especially as they even recommended to have it frozen as it reminds ice cream.

Banana Pudding

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 large egg yolks (organic preferably)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 really ripe bananas (very important, because then they are softest and sweetest. If you don’t have, wait until it will ripen or you will miss all the point)
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

Whisk coconut milk, egg yolks and vanilla over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture starts to thicken, then set aside. In small frying pan heat coconut oil over medium heat and add slightly mashed bananas along with cinnamon. Cook until banana will start somewhat caramelize. Pour coconut milk and egg mixture along with bananas into food processor or blender and process until smooth. Pour content into a bowl and place a layer of plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate to serve. As I was experimenting, I divided the mixture into few small bowl added different ingredients:

  • just banana pudding (really good as a pudding and has really nice texture frozen)
  • banana pudding+2 tbsp cacao= chocolate ice cream (same nice texture)
  • banana pudding + mashed raspberries = raspberry ice cream (took much longer to get texture as it was more liquid that just pudding. But after one day in freezer it was really nice)
  • Banana pudding + mashed raspberries + 1 tbsp cacao = raspberry chocolate ice cream or pudding. Actually it was least good, as the texture was more liquify that banana pudding and raspberries brought out the bitterness of cacao. And it tasted much more banana than the plain banana one 🙂

All in all, this is really easy recipe t make and I think we will have it often this summer in our freezer as an ice cream 🙂

Sweet Potato Pie

I have been making quite lots of desserts lately. Well, after my Whole30 challenge I really missed making sweets and especially because Paleo is still new to me I love experimenting and trying out new stuff, especially free from all the inflammatory stuff 🙂 So, I have never made not Paleo sweet potato pie as well as I have never made pumpkin pie before in my life, so for me, this pie tasted amazing. Actually, all Paleo desserts tastes for me amazing, but this one is definitely worth trying, especially if you got couple sweet potatoes laying around.

This recipe is entirely from the book “Paleo Comfort Foods” and it has two parts: Nutty Crust and Sweet potato Pie filling itself.

Nutty Pie Crust:

  • 1 cup almond Flour
  • 1/2 cup pecans (chopped)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 2 tbsp honey (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and all wet in the other. Combine wet with dry until completely mixed. Using fingers  or spoon (for me with spoon was less hassle as it dough is quite sticky) press dough into 24cm pie pan. Bake for 12-14mins. or until browned. Let it cool completely before filling.

Sweet Potato Pie:

  • 1 Nutty Pie Crust
  • 2 cups (400 g) sweet potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 1 tbsp of butter or coconut butter (melted)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder (I did not use baking powder as the one that I have from old times contains starch, so I just added extra 1/2 tsp of baking soda. I always do that when recipe calls for baking powder. I know that they have different reactions, but I have been lazy to search for appropriate baking powder or simply don’t remember that when I am shopping)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey (it is optional and I actually used maple syrup as I run out of sugar and as Keven still has huge sweet tooth I decided to please him by adding this extra sweetness to dessert)

Preheat the oven to 400F. In large bowl or food processor mix sweet potatoes and butter. Add in eggs and mix until fluffy. Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt in separate bowl. To the sweet potato mixture add coconut milk, vinegar and spices. Mix until fully combined and add honey if desired. Pour content into pie crust and bake for 10mins. at 400F and then reduce heat to 325F and bake for 30mins. or until set. Decorate with pecan halves 🙂
Super nice and everyone will be very pleased with this pie.

WODs 25th and 26th May

I have to put 3 WODs of CF into 4 days and also go for climbing, so usually my weekends instead of being relaxing, becomes quite intense.

Fridays training had two parts and it was:

WOD1:

for time:

3 rounds of:

  • 400m. rowing (I always choose level10 as somehow find it not that hard to do)
  • 20 wall balls (16lbs)
    400m. running

My time was 15:20, I was 1 min. behind the guy that participated in regionals, no idea ow he did there, haven’t seen him before, but he looks really in shape. Anyhow, I felt quite proud of myself, especially when running is involved :)))) I really start getting used to it though, don’t supper mentally anymore that much and take it as it is 🙂

WOD2 was AMRAP of 16mins of:

  • 10 KB lifts (don’t remember the exact name) -35 lbs 
  • 15 KB swings – 35 lbs
  • 20 burpees (my killers…still not used to them)

I made 4+25 rounds.

Todays workout was also 2 parts. Actually, when I was walking down the hill and I saw group outside having a workout and it involved kettlebell and and moving from one point to the other (in my imagination – running), I honestly wanted to turn around an go back home. I did not feel at all like pushing myself, especially because my body did not have 24 hours break between workouts. However, I did not turn around and went to make a workout and was glad that I did, because it wasn’t that hard at all.

WOD1 (AMRAP 14mins):

I used for this WOD 35 lbs KB, but I think next time I will try to switch to 53lbs, as I find 35lbs not that challenging anymore.

  • 15 KB swings
  • 60m. KB carry (right arm)
  • 15 goblet squats
  • 60m. KB carry (left arm)

It was really enjoyable workout, I did not have to catch my breath and all in all did not find difficult, just kept moving all the time. My result: 5+32 rounds.

WOD2 was a bit more challenging and but still quite relaxing (with very much hurting abs 🙂 ) – 14mins. AMRAP:

  • 6 box jumps (29″)
  • 12 ring push ups (that was quite challenging, especially after 4 rounds, to keep arms not going too much on the side )
  • 18 toes to bar. (for this I asked trainer to let me do sty else, as my both hands had almost heeled, but I was pretty realistic that probably after first 18 toes to bar they would be totally destroyed again. Instead of that I did V-sits with 12 lbs wall ball in my arms)

My result was: 6+13 rounds.

Next workout Monday 🙂 I rewarded myself with banana pudding (put in freezer to have an ice cream). Will post a recipe and have for sunday brunch made a sweet potato pie (have no idea how it tastes like). I will post recipes of both dessert probably tomorrow. Enjoy Sunday!

WOD 21st of May

There we two things that I was hoping heading to CF training today: no running (got lucky, only 400m. as part of warm up) and no pull ups, as my hands are still destroyed (not so lucky as you can see from picture of todays WODs.

20120521-231210.jpg

For first WOD we had to make muscle
Ups and I am still really not able to make them all alone, however instead of alternative (3 pull ups& 3 rings rows for 1 muscle up), I decided to train my muscle memory and do muscle ups with elastic band. A guy from gym showed me some time ago when I intended and failed to make full muscle up before training. I have been thinking lately that I should work on my ring dips (still not able make without elastic band), but it just stayed in my head. Anyhow, I managed to pull those muscle ups and was really glad about that, even though it require enormous amount of energy. Obviously, pull ups and toes to bar destroyed my skin even more (for good, I think).

My end result of WOD1 was 20 double unders that I managed to make after completing all exercises and having time left until the end of workout. I really have to work on double unders, because I practised them only once, so was making them one by one, still refused to make singles as I know that I can make them.

WOD2 was same format and I took 23″ box to jump ( that was a challenge to do box jumps with one leg). Ring dips I made with elastic band, well, at least
I took the thinnest one. However, it makes me frustrated that I am not able to make some thinga without additional help, but everything comes step by step. My final result for WOD2 was 91 v-sits..
With this Crossfit Session I marked my 3 months with Crossfit and decided to take 3 times a week, instead of 2 times a week. Happy 3 months of CF to me!!!

Sunday Breakfast and Sunny Day Climbing Experience

There are two things that really love to eat: goat cheese and spinach…Oh yeah…and prosciutto….these are sooo good that I can die for….So, I decided to combine all that for my breakfast, especially because Keven was asleep after working night shift, so there was no way I would be making my morning smoothie and interrupt his sleep 🙂 Spinach and Goat Cheese Omelet 

  • 1 egg + egg whites (or 2-3 whole eggs) 
  • 1 tsp of ghee (or butter if you are fine with dairy)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • handful of spinach
  • 2 oz of goat cheese
  • sliced tomato
  • 2 slices of prosciutto

Heat ghee in a non stick pan over medium heat. Mix eggs in bowl and season. Pour in skillet and cook until almost set. Place spinach and goat cheese over half of the omelet, and fold the opposite side over top of the filling. Slide the omelet onto your plate, top with prosciutto and sliced tomatoes. Heavenly good. Then later on I decided to make a photo session with Nora as she is growing so fast and I don’t want to miss her still being puppy. Isn’t she gorgeous?   


  

Camera made her crazy excited (I know that from pictures she looks like extremely calm puppy, and usually she is…), so it was time to leave home. There is a huge park in Quebec where lots of people are going there to have picnics, play sport and just shill out. There is also a former defence wall that is made out of rocks, so it is perfect for climbing. Why to go to climb in a gym when you can go to climb outside, especially when it is so warm (27C). So, we took Nora, met with our friend Noemi and went to the park. It is really beautiful there, especially now when spring is blooming and everything is so green. Climbing wall also has an amazing view to the river.

Having in mind my thorn hands from yesterday, I could climb, suprisingly, with no problems as there are no big hold on the wall where I would need to use my palm. And, what is more important, my tendon was not bothering me (probably the hold were not that small at the end 🙂 ). It is such a different experience to climb outdoors, it is definitely weird after climbing indoors to be searching for the holds as they are not obvious and searching for the way to climb, not just following and adapting yourself to the holds. I had a blast today….Climbing outdoors with my lovely husband and my beautiful puppy, while it is super warm and I got really tanned…Could there be any better way to spend Sunday?

   

 

Crispy Spiced Chicken Livers

This recipe is entirely taken from The Clothes Makes The Girl website, but I thought that it would be nice to share it with you, especially because livers are really nutritious, but at the same time not the food that is eaten every day. Anyhow, today I bought some chicken liver, because I saw them in meat section and I already made this recipe once. Keven really likes it and he is all about texture and really hesitant in trying new stuff, so I was pleasantly surprised that he loved them and actually ate almost all of the ones that I just made, before I could take a picture 🙂

Ingredients:

1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken livers
1/2 cup coconut flour (there still will be left quite a lot, but it need to be a lot for proper dusting.  I just reserve it and used it later with some savoury recipes that require coconut flour, such as Zucchini pancakes – nothing to be wasted)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon  garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves (I did not have it, so used all spices mixed with Chinese 5 spices)
2-4 tablespoons coconut oil
garnish: fresh lemon and chopped parsley

Cut chicken livers into 2-inch pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Mix flour and all the spices in a big bowl. Add the livers and mix with flour making sure that the livers are all covered. Meanwhile heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil over medium high heat, let it heat for couple minutes and add livers. I needed two batches to cook them all as they need to have space and not touch each other. Be prepared for lots of some, as high heated oil and flour tends to have such a powerful smokey combination and don’t be too close to the pan. Fry for 2-3 mins. until bottom is browned and crispy.  Flip livers with tongs and brown other side. Put the done ones on paper towel to drain while you make the rest. Serve alone or with squeezed lemon juice.