To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA)

Love is the movement. You are not alone.

Love is the movement. You are not alone.

Today I’m going to touch upon a more sensitive topic.

Depression.

I’m not ashamed to say that I, myself have suffered though some deep depression of my own. I’ve watched my sister and my best friend both struggle with emotional pain and had to endure the pain of watching them inflict harm on themselves. I’m fortunate that I can support my sister and try to get her the help she needs but in the case of my best friend, there were no signs and I was almost too late, but I did in the end, save his life.

I hate that there is a stigma around metal health. Why is it so hard for people to understand that mental health can affect the human body as much as anything else. Why is it considered weird by some to seek help? We go to the doctors for cuts and bruises but when we go seek help for something deeper, we’re cast off as different.

TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms), Have you heard of them?

They are there to tell you that it is NOT wrong to get the help you need. That you are not alone when you are feeling so. That your life is BEAUTIFUL and worth protecting.

You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you’re part of a bigger story. You need to know that your life matters. – TWLOHA

If you or anyone close to you is suffering from depression, it is important to talk. Talk to your sibling, talk to your friends. Do what it takes, because beautiful days are ahead.

Hi my name is Kathleen, and I’m an emotional and supportive blogger.

Have Spaghetti Dinner without committing Carbicide!

If you’re anything like me, you crave carbs 24 hours a day and actually spend at least 2 hours a day eating them. I love, and I mean looooove pasta and it makes it almost impossible for me to be healthy for a full day. There’s something so heavenly about a plate to stringy goodness, a thick delicious meaty tomato garlic sauce, and a mountain of cheese to top it all off. – Ouf. Now I’m hungry, again.

Fear not my carb loving friends, I’ve found a solution to our hip hugging, love handle enhancing problem! Spaghetti SQUASH!

It’s an incredibly delicious alternative to the carby noodles we’ve come to trust. Did I mention it was healthy, carb-less and low calorie???

A healthy plate of goodness. Hold the guilt.

A healthy plate of goodness. Hold the guilt.

Here we go.

Chunky Spaghetti Squash

For the squash:
1 medium spaghetti squash (3-4 pounds) or two small spaghetti squash
1 cup Parmesan or Cheddar Cheese

For the tomato sauce:
Any flavor of Pasta Tomato Sauce (My favorite one is Garlic flavored sauce)
1 lb. Extra lean ground beef
4 cloves garlic
½ Large onion
salt and pepper (to taste)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard them.
  2. Place the squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet, add water to cover base of baking pan. Bake for 40-45 Minutes.
  3. Finely chop the Garlic and Onion. Add Garlic and Onion to frying pan with a hint of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add extra lean ground beef and cook until brown. Once cooked, add tomato sauce and lower heat.
  4. After 35 minutes, start checking the squash to see if it’s done. The squash is done when the insides can be poked with gently with a fork. The threads of the spaghetti squash should be slightly crunchy and watery, sometimes called “cucumber-like.” If the squash flesh becomes creamy, it is over-cooked. While over-cooked spaghetti squash will still taste fine, it will not separate into its signature spaghetti-like stands.
  5. Allow the squash to cool for five minutes. Then, using a fork, pull the strands of the squash out of the shell. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Place the squash in a serving dish and ladle the sauce on top.
  7. Cheese up that plate and dig in, guilt free!!

There you have it ladies and gents, an alternative to spaghetti. Now you may indulge and conquer your pasta craving!

Calories: 245.2 (per serving) • Fat: 11.9 g • Protein: 14.4 g •
Carb: 21.9 g • Fiber: 5.3 g • Sugar: 4.5 g Sodium: 254.8 mg

Goodbye love handles, we had a good run. See you, NEVER again.

Hello my name is Kathleen, and I’m a Blogger that can cook.

Boxing is Beautiful

I had always found myself judging the sport because I always believed it to be a ridiculous excuse for men to blow off excess amounts of testosterone by inflicting high levels of pain onto another man. It wasn’t until I decided to Google “Victoria’s Secret Workouts” that I drastically changed my views on Boxing. We’ve all heard of Adriana Lima; she’s got a wicked body, dark and fierce piercing eyes and one hell of an upper cut.

I joined a regular gym because they offered boxing classes and fell in love instantly. An hour flew by like seconds, I worked my buns off and not only that, I accomplished something I didn’t think was possible, I felt sexy in my own sweat! Gross right? Wrong. I felt fierce and fearless and it was an incredible boost to my confidence.

According to LiveStrong, Boxing burns a varying number of calories depending on the intensity of training. If you weigh 130 lbs., an hour on the punch bag would burn 354 calories. Not only that, I’ve found that my arms have never looked more toned!

So ladies, I think it is time to spice up your workout routine. Buy yourself a hot pair of bright pink boxing gloves, meet some friends at the local boxing gym, and amaze yourself with what you can accomplish. Remember, you are a strong beautiful and independent woman; what better place to show that off than in the Boxing ring throwing a wicked cross, hook, uppercut combo?

Signing off till next time,

Rocky aka

Kathleen, Blogger.

Spicy Paleo Drumsticks

This has become one of my favourite weekday dinner recipes because it’s really easy and delicious! All I do is rub the chicken with my ingredients, pop it in the oven and then I usually cook my veggies or make lunches while I wait.

Please note that I am not strong on following recipes, so I make things differently every time. I research recipes to get inspired and then add in extra ingredients or omit others. You can use whichever combination or all of the ingredients mentioned below – it’s all about preference.

Spicy Paleo Drumsticks
Serves 6
(or in our case, it serves the three of us 3 times two days!)

Ingredients
12 chicken or turkey drumsticks
2 tsp olive or coconut oil
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
– Preheat your oven to 400oF
– Lightly grease a baking dish with oil and place your drumsticks in the dish
– Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and rub on drumsticks
– Put in the oven for 40 minutes, flipping half-way through

And there you have it – delicious drumsticks that are crispy on the outside, moist on the inside and with a nice kick!

Enjoy!

C.

Paleo Challenge

Hey everyone!

Some of you might have heard of the “Paleo Diet” or the “Caveman Diet” before, but I feel like it’s been popping up everywhere lately.

My boyfriend and I decided that we were going to take clean eating to the next level and start a new paleo lifestyle.

This “diet” is not so much a diet as a new way of life. It has made such a difference in our lives, that I can’t foresee us ever going back. I will admit that it does take a lot of planning and preparing ahead of time, but we’ve integrated it into our routine and it’s become easy for us to stay healthy.

Benefits of Eating Paleo

We’ve been eating paleo for almost 7 weeks now and here’s what we’ve noticed so far:

Weight Loss
So far I’ve lost 8 lbs. And that includes the last 2 weeks in which I haven’t gone to the gym ONCE… I’m bad I know. I got really sick last week with a bug that affected everyone in my office and was out of commission for a few days. I kind of fell off the paleo and work out wagon, but I am not discouraged. I’m back to eating right and I’m planning on going back to the gym next week and that’s okay. A big part of this lifestyle is learning not to stress about things like this.

No More Bloating/Inflammation
I no longer feel bloated – ever. Not even during “that time of the month”. I swear to it!! I’ve never felt better. My stomach “pooch” has reduced in size and I no longer feel crampy or get an upset stomach. I believe this is due to the removal of gluten from my diet.

More Energy
I feel more energized and don’t need coffee to make it through the work day anymore! (I still drink one cup of coffee a day, 5 times a week, but that’s just because I think it’s nice and warm in the winter J)

Improved Mood
Okay, so I am not an overly grumpy person or anything, but I used to feel stressed and exhausted nearly all the time. But I feel as though I’ve become a very joyous person! A few people have noticed and made comments about how much more I was smiling and seemed happier. I even came home singing a few times… at the end of a full work day… it’s crazy the difference I’ve seen in myself! It’s like all of a sudden, it would take a LOT to upset me. It’s a very good feeling. Who wants to be grumpy anyway?

What My Typical Paleo Days Look Like:

I do allow myself 2-3 “fun meals”, which I tend to reserve for special occasions or even for the weekend. For example, I’ll either allow myself a restaurant meal if we go out to celebrate something, or on weekends I’ll allow myself either some chocolate, ice cream/frozen yogurt, sushi, alcoholic drinks and occasionally even some pizza! How bad can this lifestyle be, right? We’ve reserved our “fun meals” for weekends because it makes our weekends more exciting when we are looking forward to our indulgence. But be careful not to over indulge or else you won’t see the same results – though I think it’s important and I definitely encourage treating yourself once in a while.

This is what I eat in a typical paleo day.

Breakfast
2 hard-boiled eggs
Fruit (usually ½ cup blueberries)
1 cup coffee, black
8oz of water

Snack
1 fruit (pear, apple, plum, banana, etc.)
8oz of water

Lunch
1 serving (about 4oz) of protein (chicken, salmon or beef)
2 cups vegetables
16oz of water

Snack
1 oz of nuts (my favourites are: almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, pistachios)
1 cup of green tea, black

Dinner
6-8oz of protein (chicken, salmon or beef)
2 cups vegetables (I usually do 1 cup orange and 1 cup green! I like carrots or sweet potatoes with broccoli or asparagus… but there are so many vegetables that are good for you and delicious!)
16oz of water

Dessert
Mango (this is the only fruit I buy frozen… I take out a cup and let it thaw. They are delicious and cold and this snack really curbs my sweet cravings)
8oz of water

OR

1 square dark chocolate (70%)
8oz of water

I find that I am never starving and never “stuffed”. I’m always satisfied and if I’m hungry, I eat! I don’t regulate it by time or count calories or worry about it. I know what I can eat and I eat it whenever. I have however made a point not to eat after 8pm, which I find has helped me sleep better. No more tossing and turning or waking up 5 times a night!

Do Some Research

I did a LOT of research before and during this whole change. I wanted to know WHAT exactly the paleo diet entailed, understand WHY I was doing what I was doing, HOW it was going to benefit me, etc. Also, I got a lot of negative comments about my new eating habits, mostly from people who saw this as another fad diet and who don’t understand it, or even care to understand it. If any of you experience this, I would say to just ignore them! I honestly have never felt this good and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to be genuinely healthy.

I also researched how to make a lot of things from scratch such as soups, sauces, dressings, etc. I’m a big fan of food and I wouldn’t be able to eat like a caveman if I didn’t add flavour to my food. We like to throw spices on all our food and we look up recipes when we feel as though we need something new. It’s important to switch things up – variety is key or else you’ll get bored so quickly!

WARNING: First week crash!

I have to admit that the first week was BRUTAL.

During the first week of eating paleo, I went into withdrawal. Yeah, I said it – WITHDRAWAL (from sugar, gluten, dairy, etc.) I felt dizzy, nauseous, weak, exhausted… you name it, I felt it. It was truly awful. I thought I was maybe not getting enough of something, so I did a lot of research and found out that this was normal. Apparently this crash only happens to about 30% of people who go gluten-free, but I’ve heard that a lot of people who go paleo feel this to some extent. I was unlucky and got hit hard. But I decided to stick to it and I made it through. I definitely feel as though it was worth it!

A book worth reading: Wheat Belly by William David, MD

This book has helped me understand what gluten does to your body and I feel like it has motivated me to start this whole lifestyle change. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about it.

Wheat Belly by William David, MD. (Click here to see the Wheat Belly blog)

To anyone interested in learning more about the paleo diet, here are some links that helped me get started:

Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain (Found of Paleo Movement)
Paleo Diet Lifestyle
Paleo Plan (Recipes)

Good luck and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to discuss this further!

Love,

C.

Recipe – Healthy Peanut Sauce

I made this recipe last night and oh. my. YUM. I just had to share it with you guys.

As usual, I looked up a few different recipes to get some inspiration for dinner and then I just winged it, so please keep in mind that all of the measurements are estimates. I never follow a recipe exactly and I probably have never made two dishes the exact same… that’s probably part of the reason why I’m so terrible at baking! Haha

This recipe is really simple – all you need is one pot to make this sauce. You can vary the amount of water to get your desired consistency. I made mine a little thicker, just because, but I think I will add a bit more water next time. I also used a real lemon for the juice, but you can use the store-bought kind too. They both work the same, I just prefer the natural way.

Ingredients:
1/4 c natural peanut butter
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp reduced sodium soya sauce
3 tbsp skim milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
chili powder

To make the sauce:
Turn your element on to medium-low.
Add your peanut butter and let it melt, stirring frequently to ensure it doesn’t burn or stick.
Add water, which will instantly make it more liquid.
Stir until the sauce has an even consistency.
While stirring, add your soya sauce, milk and lemon juice. (Here’s where I taste it to determine whether I need more of something. Last night, I found it was very delicious and peanut-y so I left it as it).
Add a dash of chili powder, stir once more and then pour over your dinner!

Makes enough sauce for about 2-3 servings.

I poured the sauce over some chicken, bean sprouts, mushrooms, carrots and celery, mixed all of that up and then served it on a bed of brown rice. I think it would be delicious for Pad Thai or in any kind of stir-fry, with shrimp or tofu. Delicious!

Enjoy,

C
xoxo

Getting Healthy #3

Third step to a healthier me was drinking more water.

This is very easy to do. I just had to change my habits a little and taaadaaaa!! I’m drinking more water.

#3 – Drinking Water
Water. It’s essential to life. Almost everyone needs to drink more water.

I noticed that I will drink more water if it’s in a cup or a mug, rather than in a bottle. This seemed very lazy, because the fact that I had to untwist a tiny cap somehow stopped me from drinking water… silly, right!? But it’s true! If I pour myself a cup of water, I will down it so fast. So that’s what I started doing at the office.

I have the equivalent of about 1-2 glasses of water at the gym in the morning. Then at work, I’ve made a habit of getting myself a cup of water each time I grab a cup of coffee, which is only once a day now. I fill another one at lunch time and another in the afternoon. It helps that I will also take my vitamins, usually with my breakfast and that helps me drink more water as well. That’s about 4-5 glasses of water. Then when I get home, I pour myself a tall glass of water (equivalent of another 2 glasses of water) to go with dinner and for before bed. I also leave the cup on my nightstand and if there is any left, I will usually down it first thing in the morning.

Although 8 glasses of water a day may sound like a lot, it really isn’t. What I found is that replacing other drinks with water will help you achieve that goal while eliminating sugary drinks and additional calories. I only drink black coffee, skim milk and water. I don’t drink fruit juices or fruit concoctions or soda anymore. If you like fruity drinks, make yourself a smoothie! Beware of buying them, though – I always prefer to make my own so I know what’s going in it. Throw in some fresh or frozen fruit, a bit of Greek yogurt or skim milk and blend. Much better than a store-bought mystery smoothie filled with needless calories and sugar!

Water is so important for your body. It helps make you feel fuller, helps you digest and cleanse, helps your skin… it does wonders for you! It will also help prevent your lips from chapping, your skin from itching, and of course against dehydration. (Every time I have a headache, I drink more water rather than take anything for it, because it’s usually due to dehydration. I haven’t suffered from any headaches since drinking more water!)

I think everyone should drink more water! It’s  delicious and refreshing 🙂

 

How many glasses of water do you drink a day?

 

Love,

C.

Getting Healthy #2

The second step to getting healthier was to begin exercising more regularly. Last year, I went on a trip to Hawaii and that served as my biggest motivation to get myself in shape. I exercised and went on a meal plan and managed to lose 10 lbs before the trip. I was content with that, but unfortunately I gained half of it back only a few weeks after returning home. I have managed to keep off 6 lbs though!

This time, I’m aiming to lose the weight gradually, perhaps a little more slowly, but hopefully permanently.

#2 – Exercising Regularly
This part, for me was even harder than quitting smoking. I’m not even kidding…

To try and find time to squeeze in a workout at least 3 times a week was NOT an easy task. Between a full-time job, 2 evening classes, homework, house cleaning, cooking and a social life… who has time to exercise?! Well, I will find the time!!

I worked out steadily during the summer, but once this semester started, I didn’t have any energy left in me to wake up at 5:45 every morning. But lately, my boyfriend and I have been making it to the gym about twice a week. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing.

Our goal is to make it 4-5 times a week, every week. No excuses. I know that once I graduate in April, I will have so much more free time… can’t wait!!

Exercise is so important. I personally prefer to work out in the morning, because after work I’m usually way too exhausted. By the time I get home, I’ve spent about an hour on the bus unwinding and I am completely demotivated. But if I go in the morning, I get to start off my day in the best way! It energizes me and keeps me alert throughout the day and I’ve noticed that I’m generally a much happier person when I make it to the gym in the morning.

Exercising has also helped me to sleep better. By the time my head hits the pillow at night, I am out cold until 5:45 the next morning. I’ve also noticed that I’ve been having a lot less nightmares since going to the gym again (I’d been having way too many unpleasant dreams lately). It just feels great and though it takes a while to get into a routine, it is SO worth it.

Exercising has so many benefits and even if you don’t like the gym, you should make an effort to take the dog for more walks, go for a jog, do an at-home workout – any little change helps! Any exercise contributes to a healthier lifestyle.

My goal is to lose another 4 lbs. and to strengthen my core, tone all over and increase my endurance. I’ve already noticed a difference in my endurance and I can last a lot longer on the treadmill, but I usually don’t stay on too long because I do speed intervals, which helps burn a lot more calories.

To me, one of the most important things to remember is to not stress about it. Missed the gym one day? Oh well, make it up the next day. But do! Don’t just postpone it. Just don’t stress about it too much. You’ll be happier and healthier.

If you guys want to share some of your workout routines or transformations, I’d love to hear about them! Support and motivation are great factors in success.

Love,

C.

Getting Healthy #1

Hello lovelies!

In my most recent years, I’ve become more and more interested in healthy living and exercise. I look at my parents’ generation and what they eat and all of the disease and I know that there is no way to escape these things – especially since there will always be something else.

BUT, I tell myself that I can definitely prolong my life by being as healthy as I can, and taking care of myself, both body and mind.

#1 – Quitting Smoking
My first task was clearly to quit smoking. Mission accomplished!

I never smoked as much as the regular smoker, but I started making excuses for myself and had myself convinced I wasn’t even a smoker. That’s when I knew I had to stop. I would have maybe 1 cigarette a day, on the drive home after work. I loved the feeling of having my windows down, blasting the music and having a cigarette. I would smoke a few cigarettes when out with friends on weekends. I could make a pack last weeks, but I still didn’t like the fact that I was a regular smoker, and lying to myself about it.

My main motivation was my check-up with my doctor. I was ashamed that I would have to admit to her that I had been smoking, so I was determined to quit before then. Also, my dad is a smoker and when I was a little girl, I would beg him to stop because he was “stinky”. I thought, hey, I don’t want to be stinky! I would often smell it on my fingers, or feel the grittiness on my teeth and that was the farthest thing from pleasant. Lastly, being a university student with a mortgage, I told myself that I absolutely could not afford this habit. Time to kick it.

So I quit smoking, just like that. I was lucky because it was easy for me, but I know it’s that that easy for everyone, especially those who have had the habit for much longer. I had only been smoking on and off for about 2 years, but decided to quit before it was too late.

Since quitting (about 5 months ago), I have had about 4-5 cigarettes in total, during social outings with friends, but I am starting to not even crave it in those situations anymore. The first few weeks were the toughest, but it gets easier! I don’t think about it now and I tell myself not to stress about it. That’s important too. The more you stress about it, the more you crave it because you’re constantly thinking about not smoking… I told myself that if I had one, it was okay. It was okay, as long as I didn’t make it a habit.

I’m very proud of myself and I just want to recognized all of those who have either quit smoking, or are trying to quit. It’s not easy, but you can do it!

If you guys want help, support or advice, don’t hesitate to message me.

Good luck!

Love,

C.

 

We’re Working Out!

Hi everyone!

Monday began a new month and I thought it would be the perfect timing to get back into my workout routine. For the past 2 years, I have been exercising regularly, but as a new semester begun, I saw my good habits fade away – and fast. I know that my life will ALWAYS be busy and I will always have an excuse, but I believe that being healthy is a big part of being happy. It’s important to make that time and the longer you maintain certain habits, the easier they will become – good OR bad!

Last week, my boyfriend stumbled upon a workout plan from Men’s Health so we decided it was time to get back into our gym routine.

Our Goal – Long-Term
Our goal is ultimately to be healthy. We plan on working out 4-5 times per week and to keep it up for as long as possible.

Our Goal – Short-Term
For me, a trip down south is usually a good motivation. We’re planning to go to the Dominican Republic in February 2013, so I’m aiming to look and feel good about myself for that point. I’m looking to lose about a few pounds and tone my body.

For my boyfriend, I think he is also using the trip as his motivation. He is mostly looking to build his muscle mass and increase his strength and endurance.

First Week
Yesterday we woke up at 5.45am and headed off to the gym, then off to work. This morning, we did it again. I am so proud of us! Tomorrow we decided would be our “rest day” and we start again Thursday. I love the idea of the rest day in the middle of the week because it helps you look forward to it and motivates you to keep going.

The Perks of Morning Workouts
I am such a fan of morning workouts. There are so many benefits to it, too. While I know that it’s not for everyone, I definitely recommend it for those who can. For my boyfriend and I, it fits in with our busy schedules. We both work Monday to Friday, and I take evening classes, so it’s difficult for us to find that spare time. Often, I’ll be really exhausted after work and want nothing more than to go snuggle up in my bed. Working out in the morning gives me that alternative while also making me feel better about myself, and more positive in general. I feel more awake and productive at work, plus it speeds up my metabolism to burn extra calories throughout the day. That, combined with healthier eating habits (which I’ll discuss in a separate post) make for a great health boost!

I love working out. I always feel like I haven’t worked out hard enough unless I’m sore the next day.

What are some of your workout routines? We’d love to know!

Love,

C.

Quitting Smoking

Allo Loves!

So today is my second day of quitting smoking.  It has been a struggle I must say, but it is something that is completely necessary. I don’t think I would have done it if it wasn’t for a special someone in my life *shy face* haha. It’s a team effort, and I feel as though that is making all of the difference. I trust that he’s being strong and he’s doing the same for me, and I don’t want to let him down.

The cravings can get pretty bad at times, but I just think about all the money I’m going to be saving and all of the health benefits – the cravings just magically disappear!

If anyone has any advice to help me quit, that would be PRIMO!

A. xox