Learning to Run & Menu Plan – July 31st to August 6th 2017

Well here we are again! Another week has passed and I must note, the word of my week has been: stamina. 

I have two things on the go: (a) my thesis is going through its finalization process (I’m so f***ing tired. I apologize but seriously, this warrants swearing); and (b) I have begun the process of learning to run.

I have come to realize that writing a thesis is literally like building a baby. It takes months out of your life. You cannot properly be a friend, a family member or a girlfriend because you are so tired building this thing as you devote every. waking. hour. to it. (Trust me, if you want to know who your real friends are, go to graduate school). You laugh and get excited during the milestone triumphs (you know, the “EUREKA!” moments). You cry when you cannot take the process of building the parts to your argument anymore. Heaven forbid you think you have a final product only to be let down because it is not ready yet as it is returned to you with cold-hard edits by your lovely partner.  I am mentally exhausted and realistically, I am fed up. I want it submitted so I no longer need to be that awful friend who ditches every occasion or the crappy aunt whose spider-nephew hangs-up FaceTime on you because he’s pissed off you won’t come over and play (even though you really want to). I am nearing completion at this point and more importantly I am on my role. I realized yesterday that there are only a couple weeks left until I am leaving for my trip to Dublin to attend a conference and that hit me hard. I really need to finish this all up and get some additional work done as well as prepare for my presentation abroad. There is no rest for the weary, I’m afraid.

On another note, I promised myself I would learn to run and this week, I started! My stats obviously were not great. Maciej poked fun at my average of 7:04 min/km (he is half of that!!); however, I saw a quote about running that stuck with me given the challenges I have been facing:

It does not get easier, you just get stronger.

Realistically, this is true for many facets of life in addition to it encouraging me to keep up the physical fitness (something I have not been great about during university if you have read my about page).

With my thesis, at first it completely sucked; however, now that I know what I am doing, I have my role. I got stronger.

With aspects of love in my life, the first time I fell in love, it completely sucked – a whirlwind of poor decision making, really; however, now that I know how to remain true to myself with another person, I am happily in love. I got stronger.

When I started a new job and was thrusted with responsibility that no post-secondary institution can prepare you for, I panicked. I wanted to leave. However, now that I pushed myself to learn from others was humbled to reach out to those who have more experience than I do, I made a very good name for myself and carry a strong reputation. I got stronger.

When I had to bravely stand up for someone who could not stand up for themselves earlier this year and face the wrath that triggered my anxiety beyond anything I had ever experienced to the point I did not want to work again, I pushed through it and I am still ready to stand up for those who need a voice. I got stronger.

Something I have come to learn is that real success is not sheer luck. It is being malleable to your surroundings and willing to be uncomfortable while you push forward for the best version of yourself. And with that, I have this weeks meal plan to keep me fueled as I run as well as keep my mind healthy and nourished as I keep climbing these mountains.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Admittedly, breakfast this week is (albeit delicious) but very monotone. My reason for this is, I find that the iron and protein in the green monster smoothies are keeping me energized and focused while I write. I mean, like, I am totally strong and not snacking out of boredom when I have one in the morning. They are seriously magic. Additionally, I need a quick breakfast because my brain works best in the morning at extensive mental work and I am better at physical work in the evening. As a result, I aim to quickly eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast but get straight to work so I can get the most out of my day. Hence, cereal and smoothies it is!

Additionally, my dinners are very summery. Usually by August, I have no patience for full-on meals and tend to opt for BBQ type meals, fruits and salad. I have not tried the Smoky Vegan Carrot Dogs; however, I have heard about people in the vegan community making these carrot dog things and I figured after smelling the barbeque smell in my neighbourhood that it would be a fun recipe to try. I will definitely let you know how it goes!

While it is not listed in my meal plan, I have been keeping up with my water intake and the results are amazing. I have no idea how I let myself get so dehydrated because the more water I drink, the better I feel. I find I am not snacking as often, my thought processes are clearer, I feel stronger and way healthier both physically and mentally. Honestly, I really suggest everyone to try and increase their water intake because it is difficult to put in words, you just feel amazing when you do. It makes a huge difference. I will be starting up a new challenge this week, so stay tuned for that!

If you missed it last week, the blue items shown in the meal plan are linked to other blog posts (as well as a few non-blue items) which I will list below:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

**Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries from: The Oh She Glows Cookbook – Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out by Angela Liddon p. 203

Snacks:

And there you have it! Very simple, mostly quick and light meals to accommodate my hectic work schedule as well as the warm weather.

Wishing everyone a productive week in hopes that you too, will become stronger no matter what challenges you face!

Menu Plan – July 24th to July 30th 2017

It’s Sunday night, friends!

Weekends are a funny thing to me. On the one hand, I want to sit back and relax, however on the other hand, if I do this, I end up paying for it during the week. Especially Sundays! I did not realize this routine of preparing for the week ahead until I hit my mid-twenties. It feels like overnight that I went from being able to live out of a single outfit and a toothbrush in my backpack at a friend’s house to being completely irritated – protective even – of my Sundays. I think most notably my Sunday routine shift got to me earlier this year when I had to attend a shower on a Sunday and did not prepare in advance. While I was happy to celebrate with friends, I was completely irritated that evening trying to prepare my grocery lists, menus, work distribution and lunches for the week – and failed to do so! I spent the week feeling completed off my roll.

Gone are the days …

Who am I kidding? The young days were fun and I enjoyed the ability to run around without a plan in mind but I am also enjoying this, albeit hectic, but naturally “settling down” transition. And on that note, I present you, my readers, with my very first installment of the Sunday Night Weekly Menu Plan for this week.

To preface, I use a tool called Pepperplate. It is fantastic because you can save all your favourite recipes, generate meal plans and grocery lists on your computer. With the app, it syncs to your phone and iPad. This means you can pull up your grocery list while you are at the grocery store, pull up a recipe from your meal plan in the kitchen on your iPad and many more. Even if you identify as an old-fashioned pen ‘n paper kind of person, there is an easy print option. I am not sponsored by Pepperplate in any way, I just really love the simplicity and design layout. I have been using it consistently for almost 2 years at this point and it has made my life so much easier! It is my hope that by sharing this tool with you, I can help streamline and curate your love for food, recipes and SUNDAY NIGHT SANITY… sorry – got excited. LOL.

Alas, the meal plan de jour:

Click image to enlarge.

A few things you are going to notice right away: 1) I like consistency; 2) leftovers are my homie – I know some people veer away from eating leftovers and such but realistically, I am insanely busy working as a grad student and professional so when I cook, I batch cook. Additionally, I do not believe in throwing food out. Sure, it happens sometimes but I have been to impoverished areas such as Kibera, Kenya (see photo at the end of this post) and my partner has spent years doing work in various countries in East Africa including a recent publication on food assistance. At the end of the day: not being cognizant about where food in my home is going conflicts with my values which is likely why I am so strategic in using tools like Pepperplate. It lowers food cost and waste – something we can all agree on.

Listed above in my menu plan, you will notice some items are blue and some are black. The blue ones are recipes with links to blogs which I will include below:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Snacks

In developing my menus, I consider what I have in my fridge and freezer first and accommodate my meals to those ingredients. For example, the creamy polenta with mushrooms, chickpeas and olives recipe – I have had cornmeal in my pantry for some time and it is driving me crazy because outside of cornbread, I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT TO DO WITH IT!! Although, I have a few ideas for recipe development come the colder weather.

Also note that I have included my water intake in my meal plan as a hope to push me to increase this (if you haven’t seen my 14 day hydration challenge, click here). This weekend with hosting has not been great (why can’t sangria count as water!?); however, Monday starts a fresh week and I am hoping I can get back at it in an effort to report to you guys how it has gone – the successes and the challenges.

Anyway, on the note of protecting my Sundays, I am going to quickly put together my work schedule for tomorrow and get some shut eye! Wishing everyone a productive and delicious week!