Monday, April 24, 2017

Loving Lately... April 2017 Edition

With our weather finally getting a bit warmer, and the days definitely getting longer, I am somewhat inclined to get out and run more often. So far my runs are not getting any longer but certainly more frequent.  It is harder to get motivated to get out there when not training for a specific event for sure and when I am spending so many hours on my legs with all of the walking I have been doing too... some of that will have to go I think, especially when my tennis season begins.

I am also making an effort to do more yoga. I love Yoga when I am actually doing it. I have been using the Yoga Fix workout from the 21 Day Fix DVD series I bought from Beachbody a few years back. I like that it is only 20 minutes long and has a series of Sun Salutations and balance poses that I am familiar with and comfortable doing. It gives me a good stretch and makes me feel like I am doing something good for myself.   I really appreciate that I can do these sessions in front of my tv, in the privacy of my own surroundings, and have to admit that they are often done in my jammies!

I normally enjoy a protein shake with some blended fruit in it before my morning workouts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Lately I have been keeping a bag of fresh spinach leaves in the freezer, and at least once a week I add some to my smoothie.  If I have a piece of banana, or some berries along with the protein powder and nut milk, it makes a delicious drink... kinda pretty!  And I think it is a great way to get in some vitamins and fibre as well.

I don't do a lot of food prep... but there are a few things I like to make sure to have on hand so will normally take a bit of time on Saturday or Sunday to  make a bit for the week ahead.

I love this Cloud Bread or Revolution Rolls... just egg and Greek yogurt baked into soft buns. I use them for burgers and sandwiches and store them in the freezer. They thaw in minutes, too and the texture doesn't change.

This past weekend I baked a spaghetti squash and will use it for a couple of breakfasts or lunches. I have started cutting them cross-wise before baking as I find the strands separate so much easier this way... and last night when my husband barbecued chicken breasts, I had him cook a few extra... also for lunches. Nice to have that ready to just slice and toss into salads or quick soups.

I love to experiment in the kitchen. Yesterday I made a Zucchini Grilled Cheese Sandwich and used a mixture of grated zucchini and beaten eggs as the bread... delicious!  I made one with ham for The Captain and he loved it... and he is not a zuke fan by any means.

I put a few slices of cheddar on top of the patties to melt and then stacked them.  Kinda messy so I ate it with a knife and fork but really tasty!

We spent some time on Saturday, which just happened to be Earth Day, working on our container garden on our balcony/deck.  Love the little green oasis we are putting together. 

And I am also loving that I am getting this dental work done and behind me. This coming week I will  have 2 old fillings replaced and also prep work done for one more crown. Not loving the $$ it is costing but will be so nice to have it done and behind me and off my mind.

What are you loving lately?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Premier Protein Bars

When I was given the opportunity to try these gluten-free PREMIER PROTEIN bars through my association with FitFluential I eagerly jumped at the chance.

I have been a longtime fan of PREMIER PROTEIN and whenever they begin marketing a new product in Canada I am on board. These new high protein bars are now available at Costco stores throughout the country.  I was really excited when I got my hands on this box last week.


When I opened the box I was happily surprised to find good sized, hefty bars inside.  They weigh about 72g (2-1/2 ounces) each, and at 280 - 290 calories, they are definitely not a snack bar!

These PREMIER PROTEIN bars are meant to be eaten when you have missed a meal, or want a great high-protein refuel after a workout, or need something substantial to tide you over till your next meal.  

Each bar contains 30g of healthy protein and 3 g of fibre and they are also a pretty good source of calcium. And I must repeat... they are gluten-free.  They are also relatively low in fat and carbs.  I am all about the protein these days and I know many of you are as well.

My biggest dilemma was which one to try first... just look at these terrific flavors!


Dark Chocolate Mint

Chocolate Peanut Butter

Yogurt Peanut Crunch

Eventually I chose the Dark Mint Chocolate to try first... and I shared it with The Captain after a recent morning run. We came in and stretched, then drank some water and we both felt like we needed a little something to eat, so I unwrapped a bar and split it in half and we shared it.


I loved this bar! It is a nice, dark chocolate with a light mint flavor. Not too sweet. And I really like the crunch.  Made me feel like I was eating something substantial... and even with sharing it I was still getting in 15g of protein.

The next bar I tasted was the Yogurt Peanut Crunch.  The Captain and I hit a local mall to do some shopping late one morning so I tossed a bar into my purse  before we left home as I know The Captain's penchant for mall Chinese food at lunchtime... me not so much.  The Yogurt Peanut Crunch bar made a good filling lunch for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed nibbling it,  along with a cup of steaming hot chai tea.  I had something slightly sweet and crunchy to enjoy and was not the least tempted by any of the mall fast food outlets.  


The Yogurt Peanut Cruch bar has a white yogurty coating and a very light peanut flavor.  Nice. And it kept me satisfied for several hours, too.  That is important.

So, that left the Chocolate Peanut Butter bar... did I leave the best for last?  Mmmm.  Yup, I think so! We like to walk to the beach, and from our place, we can go three different directions and be on a lovely beach in about 20 minutes so it is one of our favorite activities on a nice day.  I tucked a bar into my pocket before we left on our walk... it made a lovely snack to share as we sat on a log and relaxed in the sunshine while soaking up the fresh salt air.  Mmmm.


Definitely a good combination of chocolate and peanut butter - if that is your jam, then THIS is your bar!

I have since discovered that these PREMIER PROTEIN bars also work for me very nicely when I want a little taste of something sweet... I just cut a bar into 4 pieces and nibble on one of them, putting the rest away for another time.  I get to enjoy a crunchy and delicious treat, knowing that I am giving myself something that is not packed full of fat or sugar, and has lots of protein to keep me satisfied... no sugar rush and ensuing crash!

So, whether having a bar as a meal replacement, or an after-workout refuelling snack, or even as a bit of sweet-tasting treat, these PREMIER PROTEIN bars do fit into my lifestyle very easily.

Remember, if you are in Canada, you can now purchase these PREMIER PROTEIN bars at Costco locations across the country.

Which of the three flavors sounds the yummiest to you?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Nanami Green Tea #7daydrinkgreen Challenge

I was recently given an opportunity to sample Nanami  Green Tea through my association with FitFluential.  These are organic geen teas from the Kyoto region in Japan.

I was given the Nanami Zen Set, made up of 4 different organic green teas, along with a tea brewing guide, and asked to take part in a #7daydrinkgreen challenge.  This challenge involves giving up soda and sugary drinks in favor of water and the Nanami Green Teas for 7 days.  I eagerly accepted.  I never drink sugary drinks anyway and knew I could easily forego soda in favor of green tea for at least the required 7 days.


My experience with green tea is very limited.  I do occasionally enjoy Matcha powder and have done a bit of experimenting with it.  But I admit... most of the green tea I have drunk has come in the form of a tea bag, so all of these exotic looking tea leaves seemed a bit intimidating.

I started the #7daydrinkgreen challenge on Sunday, April 9th.  The first thing I did was to read throught the brewing guide from start to finish, and learned about the 4 different teas in the Nanami Zen Set and when and how to brew and enjoy them.

The first tea I decided to try is called SENCHA.  Nanami Green Tea says that it is high in caffeine with a fesh, lively flavor.  They suggest you use it for pre/post workouts because it provides an energy burst.  I chose to have it mid-morning when I might normally go for a cup of coffee.  I was quite surprised at the lovely bright green color of the leaves.


And the taste? It is very refreshing... and it tastes and smells green, too.

I chose to try the MATCHA for my second tea sampling. I am familiar with Matcha tea so I decided to make a Matcha Latte to enjoy in the afternoon as a snack.


I put just less than a teaspoonful of the Matcha tea powder into a mug, and added about an ounce of very hot water and stirred it to make a paste.  Then I added about a cup of  unsweetened almond milk that I had heated to steaming in the microwave oven... a bit of stevia and it was done.

This is definitely going to become an afternoon favorite and The Captain really liked it too. There is more caffein in this variety.  It is a versatile powder that can be added to smoothies or nice cream or even just stirred into yogurt. And I understand that some people like to stir Matcha tea powder into sauces and baked goods, too.  And it is high in antioxidants.

Apparently this is also good as an iced, cold drink... I have yet to try it but will be doing that soon.

The GENMAICHA tea leaves are blended with roasted organic brown rice.


Nanami Green Tea suggests that the Genmaicha tea can be drunk before meals in order to suppress one's appetite. I admit to enjoying it any time of the day.   It is low in caffeine and so we can also enjoy it in the evening without any concerns about sleep interruption.

And the HOJICHA has become my favorite. 


It is somewhat nutty tasting.  I love that it is lower in caffeine and it brews up into a beautiful carmel color... actually has a slight carmel taste, too.


I have been brewing the Hojicha tea in my French Press so that I can enjoy the color... what I really need, is a set of clear glass tea cups... I think the visual appeal of these teas really adds to the enjoyment of the tea experience.  This tea is lower in caffeine too.

And so my #7daydrinkgreen challenge has come to an end... but not my enjoyment of these Nanami Green Teas.  I plan to keep using them and broaden my green tea horizons and knowledge.

The Nanami Zen Set included four types of organic green designed to power up and support your daily activity.  Organic certified.  Calorie-free.  Sugar-free.  All natural. From Uji Kyoto, Japan.

If you are interested in learning more, and trying Nanami Green Tea yourself, do follow this link to their web site.  And use coupon code EATRUNSAIL15 for a 15% discount on any purchases you make.  This code has been provided by Nanami Green Tea for readers of my blog only. I will not profit in any way from your use of the code.

Are you a tea fan, too? What is your favorite?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Wimp Goes Running... Really!

I admit to being a real wimp when it comes to damp, cool weather.   I really dislike running when it is cold or when it is raining.

Now, I can be cajoled into putting on a fleece jacket under my rain coat, and pulling on some boots, and gloves and an earband, and then heading out for a walk... but run, rarely.  I am pretty sure know this is what keeps me for signing up for a Spring race. I do not want to train in wet and cool weather... and what would I do if it actually rained on race day? Likely Certainly forfeit and stay home.  Just being honest here.

The one Spring half marathon I did actually train for from January to May was took place on a lovely warm May morning, and I was lucky to have trained for it during a particularly mild and dry Winter. Since then, that same race has been rain-soaked every year and I have never been tempted to do it again.  Heck, I don't even go out and spectate!

But this morning I woke up really wanting to run.  It is cool out there, and gloomy, and about 99% humidity - on the VERGE of rain - you can smell it in the air... and I almost talked myself out of it. But I really felt like running... or maybe I just wanted to sample my new nuun flavor...


So I put on a long sleeved Tommie Copper running shirt, and a light hoodie, and a vest, and some gloves, and some full length Tommie Copper tights and off I went.  YAY for me!  I love that my Tommie Copper gear next to my skin makes me feel so toasty and protected.

The Captain opted to come along... I know that the tv will be tuned to the Masters Golf Tournament for the next 4 days so I was quite surprised that he said he wanted to come along. But maybe he felt like getting out there too, so after sharing the nuun, off we went.

It was slow. Slow enough that I did not take any walk breaks. And it was fairly short. But it felt just great to be outside. I love seeing how the neighborhood changes with the weather... flowering fruit trees in full pink and white splendor, bright daffodils in all shades of yellow, and the camelias and azaleas are glorious. That certainly brightens up a gloomy day.  Spring has been very late in coming this year and I am savoring every blossom.

We did a short walk after our run to cool down, and then came inside for a nice long stretch and drank more nuun. Turned out the Citrus Fruit nuun was pretty tasty.  Good thing as I picked up an 8-pack on sale from their site last week.

As a reward for coming along with me today, I selected one of the PREMIER PROTEIN bars that I just received as part of a FitFluential campaign, and cut it in half to share with The Captain. We both really liked the light minty flavor... and the crunch too.  Yum.


I am heading to the shower... quite pleased with my day so far!

Did you run or work out today?

Are you a weather wimp like me or do you just forge ahead and do it anyway?