Have you celebrated your accomplishments today?

IMG_5403Everyday I wake up reaching for my phone to check my emails then go through my social media notifications and feeds. Fifteen minutes to half an hour would pass by and I wouldn’t have noticed. Jumping out of bed, literally, to take a quick hot shower trying to make up for the time I lost lying down in bed while on my phone.

As the hot water rain on my skin and steam fill up my bathroom, I start to list the things I need to do today. Shampoo, reply to Mr. X’s email, rinse, make myself lunch for work, soap, catch up on what’s trending on Twitter, lather, think of a new post, rinse, send a message to my sister then do laundry and dry, but wait, don’t I have a workshop tonight? Everyday we go through our lives trying to complete as many tasks as we can from a list that never seems to end. We don’t notice that, hey I got up before my alarm clock today. Or I managed to finish reading my book last night. Or even, I made a new friend at an event last week.

It’s great to have goals and to keep busy with work, friends and family or activities that you feel passionate about. Just don’t beat yourself up when you didn’t get to do everything you wanted to get done in one day. You are human. You’re allowed to take a break once in a while. There will be enough time.

Now take a deep breath, close your eyes and smile. You did well today! I had a chocolate éclair from the infamous bakery at Warden Station for a not so pleasant weekend and finally getting a post written today 🙂

P.S.

For those interested, I found an app called ‘Balanced’. A simple tool that sends you reminders of activities that you have listed to accomplish on the app. The “reminders are built around mindfulness. You get two each day but only if you haven’t checked the app.”

Always,

K

Frozen Banana Ice Cream

Two of my guilty pleasures are chocolates and ice cream, but of course staying healthy and eating well is a priority. Dark choclates are awesome alternatives for milk chocolates because they have less sugar and more antioxidants. It’s totally understandable that dark chocolates can be a little too bitter. If you’re not a fan of bitter dark chocolate, try 60-65% dark chocolate. It’s not as bitter and as delicious!

IMG_4836Now, this is not a new trick or recipe but it’s definitely one of my go-to substitutes for ice cream. It’s easy, affordable and doesn’t have as much sugar as store bought ice creams. You only need 3 ingredients: banana, Greek yogurt (or any kind of yogurt) and milk. You can also add cinnamon, honey, or other frozen fruits for variety.

It’s much harder to freeze the banana with the peel so I froze the banana by peeling it and wrapping the banana with plastic wrap or you can also cut the banana in chunks and put it in a plastic bag and freeze it overnight. Either method works well as long as you peel the banana first. After taking out the frozen banana and placing it in the blender, I added a 1/3 of a cup of Greek yogurt (you can use any kind of yogurt, I just prefer mine to be a little tart) then added 2 tablespoons of skim milk (again you can use any kind od milk, I just had skim milk). Once you have all of the ingredients together, blend away! If you are adding more frozen fruits, add a little bit more yogurt and milk to have a smoother consistency. Then transfer the mixture in a bowl and let it freeze for an hour or two. You can eat the mixture right out of the blender if you like, but I find that it can be a little runny and it melts a lot quicker.

Do you have healthier ice cream alternatives? Tell me about them by commenting below! I’d love to hear from you!

Always,

K

Nutrition Tips from Francis to Help You with Your Summer Bod!

As the summer season rolls around, achieving your summer body and fitness goals might be difficult with all the temptations lurking around. Not to worry, with these tips you can still stay on track to achieve your fitness and nutritional goals!

11326960_10153097235213052_1205787420_nHello! My name is Francis Tungcol, a fitness enthusiast and personal trainer who just recently graduated with a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Toronto. For as long as I could remember, I have always been passionate about living an active and healthy lifestyle. I’m an avid gym goer, dragon boat athlete, and a fitness junkie. I am also an advocate of prescribing exercise and physical activity into one’s daily life as it poses many benefits.

I’m excited to be a guest blogger here, to share my insights on fitness and nutrition. I hope that this post will help you understand the importance of being physically active at the same time give you tips on how to achieve your summer fitness goals through diet and nutrition.

As mentioned, being physically active is beneficial when incorporated into your lifestyle. I enjoy being physically active because I want to reap all the many health benefits it poses. These benefits include: improved physical and mental health, reduced risks of diseases, and increased chances of living longer. Exercise is also a great way to be social. However, exercise is just one part of the equation. Food and nutrition also plays a role.

Food is our source of energy. This energy is broken down into the macronutrients of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Each serves a function in fuelling our bodies to move. Think of food as gasoline for a car. You have to fill the car with the proper gas in order for it to move and maintain the engine. Thus, food plays an important role in living an active lifestyle. Exercise and proper nutrition goes hand in hand in being physically healthy.

As for my diet, I tend to stick with familiar and staple food items (i.e. Food that are familiar and works well for my body). However, don’t get me wrong, I also like to venture out and try a variety of food. These staple food items include complex carbs and high-quality protein. Proper nutrition and diet allows me to perform in my sports, recover from activities, and fend off illnesses.

As the weather gets better, and we get invited to eat out, barbecues, and food festivals. Here are my tips to keep you on track as you venture out with food this summer.

  • Eat Complex Carbs

Complex carbs such as vegetables, brown rice, beans, and whole-wheat products are highly nutritious, contains lots of fiber and limits insulin response.

  • Eat High-Quality Protein

High protein diet helps maintain and/or builds muscle mass. High-quality protein sources mainly come from animal sources such as eggs, chicken, fish, and beef.

  • Stay Hydrated

Drink adequate amounts of water. Limit sugary drinks such as pop, juice, and sports drinks. Tea and coffee can be consumed moderately as they pose health benefits.

  • Portions

Eat a well-balanced diet and control your portions to prevent over-consumption and excess caloric intake. Consume the amount of calories needed to support your lifestyle.

  • Variety

Variety is the spice of life! Eat a variety of food sources from all the food groups. Remember different foods provide different types and amounts of nutrients.

  • Moderation

At the end of the day, everything comes down to moderation. Eat until you are satisfied and satiated instead of over-consuming and starving yourself.

By no means am I an expert nutritionist and a dietitian. These are my tips and recommendation on how to stay on track to accomplish your fitness goals or to change your diet. I hope these tips are helpful and enjoy your summer of food!

-Francis Tungcol

BKin, NSCA-CPT

11268341_10153097234563052_1148100425_nThank you Francis for your tips! I have exciting news everyone! Francis has a Youtube channel for those interested in getting more fitness and exercise tips AND he has been chosen to represent Canada in the U24 Open and Mix National Dragon Boat Team to compete at the 2015 IDBF World Nationals Championships in Welland, Ontario this August! If you can, please help out Francis get to World by following the link below. Thank you so much for your consideration! Let’s help another great athlete reach his dreams!

GoFundMe: http://www.gofundme.com/vuv3n4c

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8eP4Gun5RJasribWTHj23Q

The Food Babe Way, yeah no.

IMG_2929Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I accidentally stumbled upon an article slamming Vani Hari, Food Babe. The article was well written and pointed out that Hari needed to do more research before making slanderous comments about chemicals found in food products, as well as speaking out of terms especially when you don’t have adequate credentials to back it up. I agree, it’s definitely important to do both so naturally, I did my own research on Food Babe’s food blog. Just a disclaimer to Ms. Hari: relax, we’re all doing the same thing you’re doing-writing a post on our food blog and kudos for speaking up for food labels, it is important to know what is in our body. Although, can you tell me which foods are not “processed”?

Studying food culture from multiple perspectives and in different contexts, Food Babe’s food blog exemplifies a lot of problems past not having a complete grasp of chemicals found in food. Hari is also perpetuating a lot of neoliberalist approaches on food choices. I appreciate that she is open about her experiences during her food journey and her weight. However, simplifying food choices as merely looking at food labels at the back of a can or jar is erroneous. There are many factors that contribute to how we make our food choices and why feel the need to make those choices. Not to belittle your weight loss journey, but have you thought about why you felt the need to lose weight to be “healthy”? Healthism in North America portrays a singular slender body as the ‘healthy’ body that, women predominantly, ought to aspire to be. We build ourselves up to maintain a ‘healthy’ lifestyle by cutting out sugar and carbs or excessively going to the gym because we want to get that figure. Yet when we don’t get there we blame ourselves superfluously for it. Why can’t I just love my body the way it is? Isn’t too much of anything just as bad? Keep your balance.

Though, this is what really annoyed me: looking at food in its parts. Learning about food and the influence food makes in our lives individually and collectively, it is difficult to look at food not holistically. I am graduating in June with an Equity Studies and Philosophy background, primarily concentrated on Global Food Equity and Political Philosophy. If I took away anything from my undergraduate experience, it would have to be that everything we do is somehow interconnected in some way, even if we are conscious or of it or not. Food is a great indicator of interconnections. Ms. Hari, it is not only about the choices we make about food, but also acknowledging that the options you have may be vastly different from the choices I have. Whether that difference is because of our socioeconomic status, geographic location, values, ethnicity or merely our personal preferences-there are differences. The best thing about food is that it is something that we can experience intimately and share collectively. So don’t put your subjectivities and preach on it. Wouldn’t you be doing the same thing as those mainstream fast foods? Experience food in its entirety.

Always,

K

P.S. I know the picture of an okra is random, but did you know it grew like that?

Related links:

Here is the original article by Yvette d’Entremont: The “Food Babe” Blogger is Full of Shit