Thursday, March 31, 2016

When it's Springtime in the Rockies...

That is a phrase from an old song that I recall from my chilhood.... and last week we spent several days in Lake Louise and Banff, in Banff National Park... and it is definitely Springtime in the Rockies!

We flew to Calgary on Friday morning, picked up our lovely little Toyotal Carolla at the rental car agency and headed just West of the city to spend the evening and night with my sister and brother in law. Was wonderful to see them again!  And even though I have not lived in Calgary for many, many years, I did grow up there and still feel like I am coming home every time I visit.

On Saturday morning we woke up to a beautiful sunny but frosty morning... after slathering ourselves with lotion cause the air is so much drier than we are used to we enjoyed a family breakfast and then we waived goodbye and started the car... and discovered, much to our delight, that our rental car had heated seats. YAY!

We headed West and drove for about an hour before we found our first adventure site... A helicopter ride that included an hour of snow-shoeing through the woods on a mountain near Kananaskis.  It was truly fabulous.  The owner of the company was our pilot and there were 4 other guests... another couple, and 2 delightful and funny young woman from the Phillipines.

The pefect day!  Soft, pillowy snow and good company.  The Bailey's laced hot chocolate at midpoint  on the side of the mountain overlooking a river valley was a nice touch too.

Then we carried on West, heading into Banff National Park, and stopping at the town of Banff to pick up our tri-area lift tickets before carrying on another 35 miles to Lake Louise and our home for 2 nights... the fabulous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

Looking to hotel from mid-lake with Lake Louse Ski area behind.

Before we bought the sailboat and moved South, we were avid skiers and spent many lovely Christmases at the Chateau.  She is still a beautiful and grand old hotel and it is fun to visit when the lake is frozen over.  There are lots of activities to enjoy... skating on the lake, hiking, ice climbing, and there are also horse-drawn sleigh rides and dog-sled rides as well.  There was a lake-side ice bar and also fire pits... and of course the trees are lit up at night and the mood is very festive.

Morning breaks above the lake and Victoria Glacier... this was the view from our room.

We enjoyed a day at Ski Louise... the nearby ski resort.  Breathtaking views and fabulous snow conditions.

On Monday we left Lake Louise and drove back to Banff.... our home for the next 3 nights was the Rimrock Hotel, high above town on the side of Sulphur Mountain.  Lovely.

We spent one day at Sunshine Village ski area... and it was Heavenly! I had forgotten how beautiful it was there and so busy, too!

Just outside the hotel in Sunshine Village.

And we also checked out Mount Norquay ski area as well... the snow was definitely getting worn out there on the lower runs... Spring for sure.  Much smaller and fewer people. I see why those who are fans do love it, though.  Beautiful.  I have never skiied Norquay but did toboggan there as a there is a huge tube park on a bottom slope.

We really enjoyed our time in Banff... and we did lots of exploring the nearby sites... Bow River Falls, Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack Lake, Vermillion Lakes, and the Hoodoos on Tunnel Mountain. We also drove the Bow Valley Parkway and picknicked along the way.  Was so fun to be back in my own 'backyard'.

There are several sets of these red chairs at different viewpoints around the park now.  Nice place to take a break and just enjoy!

Above the Hoodoos on Tunnel Mountain.

We also enjoyed the Rimrock Fitness area, particularly the swimming pool and hot pools and the sauna.

We headed back to Calgary on Thursday around noon, in the middle of a bit of a snow squall.  Light and dry flakes, but a bit unnverving to this girl who never drives in the snow anymore!

We spent two more nights with my sister and brother in law, and on Good Friday, their kids and grandkids joined us for a raucous family dinner/evening. Was so fun to get everyone together and catch up.

Saturday we said our goodbyes and headed to the airport.  We had a short flight home and arrived tired and happy... just the way you should feel when getting home from a wonderful vacation!

Have you ever visited Banff or Lake Louise?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My High Protein Puck and Variations

This is something that  am so excited to share with you!  I like to make sure I get lots of protein into my day.  I know it helps keep me fuelled and satisfied.  I often use protein powder throughout the day for meals and snacks... but not always in smoothies or shakes. I like to make 'sludges' and I also like to bake with various powders.

I am a big fan of these high protein cakes that I can cook up quicky in my microwave oven.  I stir up a few ingredients,  then pop into the mike for a couple of minutes, top and enjoy.  The Captain calls my little creations pucks.  So High Protein Puck it is...

That name would imply that they are hard... however they are anything BUT!  They are cake-like but not crumbly.  And, they are filling and nutritious. Depending on the ingredients I use, they work nicely into a low carb/high fat day or a high carb/low fat day on my eating plan.  They are gluten free and Paleo.

Here are a few that I have been making lately.  I thought I would share them here first, instead of on my food blog, We can begin to feed..., because my fitness friends are more likely to benefit than my regular foodie friends from these little goodies.

They work for breakfast or for an afterworkout or afternoon snack, and they are very portable, too. Pop one into a ziplock bag and off you go!

The basic recipe is:
  • 2 Tbs of protein powder (about 20g in weight)
  • 2 Tbs mashed fruit
  • 3 Tbs liquid egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
Mix together and cook in microwave safe dish that has been coated with a non-stick spray or coconut oil, for 3 minutes. (Mine is about 4-1/2 inches across)

Very simple. Very quick. Very tasty and satisfying!  And the possibilities for variations are limited.

I started out by using a vanilla pea protein powder, but have also used a hemp powder too.  I am sure you could use any favorite of your own.

Here are some ideas...

My High Protein Puck with Variatioins
Hemp powder with applesauce, topped with Greek yogurt, banana and berries

Pumpkin, topped with cottage cheese and berries

Pumpkin topped with chocolate PB2 and banana

Applesauce topped with chocolate PB2 and banana

Applesauce topped with Laughing Cow cheese and cinnamon

Applesauce... puck in hand to show the size

Applesauce... made in a smaller dish so I could let it cool a bit and then cute in half to toast

and top with peanut butter

Applesauce topped with banana, berries and cinnamon

Hemp powder with applesauce, topped with Protein Plus peanut flour/water and sugar free syrup

What is your favorite high protein snack?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Govivo Reflective Arm Bands Review

Recently I received a pair of Govivo Reflective Arm Bands to test and review.

Honestly, I am not a fan of running in the dark.  I am lucky enough to have all the time I want to run when it is daytime and so don't have the need to be out running in the dark.  But I do walk a lot at all times of the day and evening.

My biggest concern about walking in the dark is for my safety.  And where I live in the city, with busy streets and lots of traffic, the main threat to my safety is the possibility of getting hit by a vehicle while crossing the street.  My first rule of safety at night... BE SEEN.  You have a much better chance of avoiding being hit if you are visible.

When I drive my car I often see pedestrians and cyclists who are in danger of being hit because they are not very visible, particularly in gloomy weather.

These Govivo Reflective Arm Bands have become a great tool for me. They are small and lightweight and can be tucked easily into a pocket or bag... then taken out and quickly strapped around my arms or my legs when the daylight fades.

I can really attest to how bright the reflective strips are on the bands because I had a terrible time trying to capture a photo of them!  The strips were so reflective, that they ended up looking like big bursts of light on my pictures.

With flash.

Flash off - very very low ambient light

 I urge you to take lots of care when out at night running or walking... make sure you are wearing something bright and reflective.  Carry a light and your cell phone, and be very aware of what is going on around you at all times.

You can check out these Reflective Arm Bands and other Govivo products on Amazon here.

Do you run or walk at night?

What measures do you take to stay safe?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

6 Things to Do Now...

Have you ever fallen overboard when it comes to your eating plan?  That is exactly what has happened to me over the past couple of weeks.

I have not been taking the time to plan my day's meals... and not cooking real meals, but snacking way too much.  I feel like I am drowning and really need to get back on board and make some positive headway.

I have been at this healthy eating game for many, many years and I know that setbacks happen, but I get so annoyed with myself and feel like I should know better... why oh why do I keep making the same mistakes over and over again?  This past year I have gained and lost the same 10 pounds more times than I would care to admit.

I finally sat down and had a little chat with myself about why it's happened... and made some definite plans to set myself a new course of action.  My why's are not likely the same as your why's and so insignificant really in this context... but I know that the things we need to do to climb back in the boat and take command of the helm are really common to us all.

Here are 6 things I am going to do NOW....  today...  They are positive and they give me a sense of control and yes, even hope.  I am sure they will help you, too.

1.  Forgive Yourself

Everyone has setbacks.  Everyone.  What happened is not really important.  But what IS important is that we forgive ourselves and look forward.  Think about progress not perfection.  If you keep berating yourself you are setting yourself up for failure.  Your thoughts become your actions. If you think you are a loser and cannot succeed, believe me... you will not succeed.  Be as kind to yourself as you would be to a dear friend in the same situation.

2. Recognize Your Successes

Think about how far have you come since you first started on this journey.  What positive changes have you made?  Maybe you have given up sugary sodas... maybe you have started eating more colors of the rainbow every day.  You may have even lost some weight.  Pat yourself on the back! Give that beautiful face looking back at you from the mirror a big kiss.  This self-recognition and self-love  is a huge motivator to keep moving forward.

3.  Go Back to Basics with Your Food Plan

It might be low carb. It might be counting calories. It may even be Paleo or even giving up sugar. Right now for me it is carb cycling within my Weight Watchers Smart Points budget.  I have reread my program material and readied my food diary for tracking and journalling. I have also made some plans for meals this next few days and done some shopping. Try to anticipate your next few days' activities and decide how you are going to avoid or navigate through the dangers.

4.  Clean Up/Out Your Refrigerator and Pantry

If you have good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.  Get rid of the things that are not on your food plan. Hide them or donate them or even discard them if you like.  Ask those people that you share spaces with for some help. If your husband loves Hawkins cheesies and you cannot handle being around them, ask him to eat them in another room, or offer him a substitute that he would be happy with. People will usually help if you ask them.

5.  Reach Out

I do belong to Weight Watchers so I can always go to a meeting or sign on to the web site to get support from members or leaders.  But what if you are on your own?  Well, I also join challenge groups on Facebook to help hold me accountable. I have had great success with some of these groups. If you use My Fitness Pal or Sparks People, there are supportive groups there as well. It is a good way to get tips and ideas for staying on track, and you might make some new friends as well. You can also use obvious hashtags on Twitter and Instagram to find like-minded people.  #weightwatchers #paleo #vegan #sugarbusters   are just a few that I know.

6. Learn From Your Mistakes

If you think about why you fell out of the boat in the first place, you may learn some effective ways for preventing it in the future.  For example,  I know that I need to do a lot of planning to stay the course. If I push that aside and don't take the time to do it, I get into trouble. I snack too much, and on the wrong things.  PLANNING is key for me.

So, if you have fallen overboard and find yourself swimming with the sharks... get back in boat and set your sails for success!

Has this ever happened to you?

How do you get re-oriented when you stray from your eating plan?