Relaxation 101.

April 26, 2011 § 10 Comments

It’s a rare moment when, in the midst of a day filled with such ordinary events as watching the sun rise, bike riding and time spent with family, you stop and realise, it’s a day to remember. It’s not often we preempt nostalgia, actively participating in the memory as it unfolds, but today is going straight to the bank.

We started early at 5am to attend the dawn ANZAC service. I am hardly patriotic and gung-ho wartime rhetoric makes me cringe, but the fact remains, hundreds of thousands of young people of countless nationalities have lost their lives in tragic, barbaric, and senseless conflict, a fact that is certainly worth remembering.

As the sun started to rise, it was a wee bit magical.

Walking back from the park, I got a bit snap-happy. Bear with the whimsical sky/tree shots.

Autumnal magic.

Top way to start the day!

Then we embarked on a cycling jaunt that may or may not have had a particular destination in mind…

Little Creatures brewery!

I don’t even drink beer, but this boutique aussie brewery is way too cool to pass up.

The whole trip from home to Fremantle and back is around 50kms! BAM. So proud of my pedal-pushin’ little thighs right now.

I’d love to say I rode side-saddle, gracefully gliding along on my vintage bicycle with poise and charm, like so:

The reality is a bit more grim.

Rocking the peace symbol, trying not to stack it.

CHEESE!! Audrey would be horrified.

The class doesn’t stop there. My riding ensemble featured a borrowed pair of cycling pants, complete with ultra butt-cushioning that made me feel like I was waddling around in an oversized adult nappy. My crotch was grateful 50kms later.

Mum and I sported Vibrams, of course. The five-fingered love of my life.

We stopped for some mid-morning refreshments and got up close and personal with a very inquisitive black swan.

You say cute, I say…

…KEEP AWAY FROM MY APPLE, BITCH!

This concludes todays presentation; have to start preparing for Ma’s birthday party which is TODAY! Happy Birthday to the raddest mother in the world ❤

Have you had unexpectedly awesome, memorable days recently? Do share!

WARRIOR WORKOUT.

January 25, 2011 § 4 Comments

You’re approaching the base of a steep, perilous incline and are already a lather from a lengthy bout of cardio. This hill separates you from magnificent view of the ocean, or your front door and a stein of icy-cold lemon water, as may also be the case.

Warrior Fodder

You could trudge up it’s face, like a worn-out mutt, feet dragging, the burn of lactic acid slowly dissipating as you amble upwards at snails pace.

Or, you could take stand. Pick a post that marks your imaginary starting line. Suck some fresh air into your deflated lung-sacs and squint with steely conviction at the summit.

Growl.

Louder!

Head down, take it on. Run, push, whatever it takes to get there. Reaching the top, you shed a pain-induced tear or two.

Congratulations, you have passed stage 1 of Warrior initiation. Feel free to beat chest heroically.

You see, ever since I bought my vibrams last year, I’ve been known to sporadically take a flying leap, veer off the footpath, and blaze my own trail. These babies take you places you’ve never been before. Like the park down my street. Who’d have thought?

It’s a glorious thing to wear these flimsy little rubber socks (because that’s essentially what they are), feel every rock and stick underfoot (watch where you’re running!) and connect more with the ground than if you were gliding along on $300 worth of Nike air.

This podiatry freedom combined with other external influences has led me to rethink the basics of how we ‘work out’. How natural is it to head to the gym, spend 30 minutes going nowhere on a big hunk of plastic, alongside another 10, zoned out with earphones in and timing your distance, pace and calories burned, to a hundredth of a percent? How natural is it to knuckle down and run around your neighborhood at a steady pace for 10kms without any bursts of speed, explosive movement, or variation in route? Are we really meant to allocate 1 hour each day for the sole purpose of completing a set fitness regime without an ounce of exertion for the other 23?

Of course not. Look at children. They run everywhere. They are playful, energetic, restless. Similarly, before the world was so industrialized, people would have had no need for dedicated workout time. Rather, ploughing, walking miles and miles to deliver goods/communications, lifting, chopping, staving-off bears/gypsies/demons would have provided them with ample exercise, and worthwhile exercise at that. They would have been lean, mean, and mighty keen (if only for the sake of the rhyme).

I know these activities are convenient in a modern world, and we all do them (I obviously go to the gym, run monotonous km’s and participate in disengaged exercise on a regular basis) but perhaps we should rethink how we execute our activity so it is more fun/variable/intense? Because, as I always ask myself, WWBGD?

What would Bear Grylls do, indeed.

The new folk I work with are likewise inspiring me to rethink the way I ‘do’ exercise. These guys are fierce. Like, Tyra-Banks-ain’t-seen-nuttin’-fierce. They throw things around, use giant hunks of metal to perform crazy-ass lifts and swings and tackle perilous obstacle courses (incidentally, if you are competing in the Warrior Dash next month, I’d advise you either forfeit, or at least invest in some protective steel/mithril armour. You’re in danger of being unmercifully shanked!).

Yesterday, I channelled the spirit of spontaneous, warrior-like madness on my run. I included random sprint intervals, diversions in route (ie. launching myself over garden beds and over non-pedestrian-advised areas (soz council)) and used pretty park benches to do step-ups and push-ups. In effect, a much more entertaining and exhausting hour than anything I usually do.

Sorry to Beryl, Sheryl & Meryl who kindly donated this bench in nineteen-dickety-two that was the perfect height for step-ups!

Love. It.

Next time you’re out exercising, or even at the gym, why not see if you can include some spontaneity, fearsome feats of strength, or at the very least a throaty growl to let the universe know it should be AFRAID.

Unleash.

Then break out some downward dog to recover.

What are your thoughts? Do you harbour any crazy or unconventional exercise habits?

Random happy snaps.

December 23, 2010 § 3 Comments

Morning!

Man oh man am I enjoying the sublime relaxation of holidays – no work, no school, no responsibilities. Visiting family makes me want to join the ‘people-over-20-who-live-a-cruisey-life-at-home’ club. Could. So. Do. It.

My days have been filled with leisurely mornings of blogging, jogging and non-egg-nogging. Yoga features heavily, as do jaunts to the park, use of the free-gym facilities and over-jealous photography of each and every mundane object and scene.

Mum chopping vegetables. Don’t miiiiiiind if I do!

How cute is this photo!? I need to get others to hand model for me, due to my chub-scout fingers. If you know me in real life, you would have witnessed the sausage-like appearance of my digits.

More garlic modelling. Looks like it’s on a little stage, no?

Skinned.

Is this post getting stinky from all the garlic action?

There are some beautiful parks in Perth, and although the weather has been a little off i’ve been acting quite the tourist wandering around snapping pictures of the sights. A man asked me the other day if I was from the local paper as I took photos at the growers markets. I said yes, and to check on page 7 for a transcript of our conversation.

I refused to lug my pair of joggers cross country, so brought the Vibrams as my work-out shoe of choice. They pack so easily, and now that i’ve broken them in, feel like I could walk around in them all day.

Baby got butt-ress roots.

So many unique textures and colours of bark.

Sprout!

GRAN?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post when I talk about new habits, respecting your body, and taking responsibility for your health.

Namaste (I will be a yogi yet!)

x

Raw day 4 & 5.

November 15, 2010 § 11 Comments

Hi beauties!

Well, the glorious sunshine lasted a nanosecond, as is Sydney’s temperamental way, and it’s back to dreary, bleary bleak-fest. Summer 2010 is taking a rain check. Oh god, I’m making terrible dad jokes in the presence of company, please forgive me!

The past couple of days have taught me a lot on the raw front. Yesterday, I was quite melancholy, and started to question my motivations for doing this experiment, as well as the validity of the diet itself.

I had a big green smoothie for breakfast, as well as some hot lemon tea and an apple. (FYI – hot drinks are not technically ‘raw’, and many choose to forego them on a 100% raw diet. I don’t see the harm in things such as ginger tea, or hot water and lemon but am drawing the line at caffeine for this experiment – no green tea for this little hippie! Funny though, because I usually gravitate towards steaming teas, but I have little desire for them right now.)

My stomach was still pouting at me, in the form of cramps, bloating and reflux-like symptoms. I decided to ignore it, and try for a run. Needless to say, I got halfway down the street and turned back. My gut was not feeling good, and I don’t believe in pushing yourself if your body is giving you signals it wants to stop. Instead, I packed up some chopped vegetables & fruit, and took myself to the beach to make the most of the sensational Sunday skies.

As I said, I was feeling quite flat today – not so much energetically lacking, but mentally a little gloomy. I started to wonder if I had done the right thing in jumping into this experiment all carrots blazing, without a proper transition period. The article Kate sent me in the comments section last week, cautions us against plunging into a serious detox without adequate preparation, as too many toxins are stored up for your body to cope with. Instead of being able to eliminate them effectively, it is overwhelmed, and thus the detox is ineffective as the toxins remain in your system, unable to be expelled. It suggests that worsening symptoms of bloating, nausea, headaches etc are actually the body trying to tell us to slow down, and quit with the cleansing barrage. You can read it here.

This was playing on my mind as I considered the gas-baby I was now housing in my abdomen; could I be thwarting my body’s attempts at detoxification by coming on too strong? Was I trying to get to 3rd base with raw, when really, we were only ready for 1st?

I decided to keep monitoring my symptoms, and quit if I kept feeling lousy. (That being said, I’ve experienced no headaches, save a tiny one on day 2, or any other major symptoms apart from belly expansion & discomfort. By my reckoning, I am lucky…for now.)

Advice received to keep melons separate was respected, as I ate this gigantic piece as a mid-afternoon snack. With SMH good weekend, of course.

Oh, and most important news of the day, CHECK MY VIBRAMS TAN! Do you see it? Are you jealous? I bet! I have this weird array of terrible tan-lines that zig-zag across my back (lululemon sports-bra outline), form patterns on my feet, and abruptly stop mid-thigh. A pox on you exercise short-shorts! It’s too far gone to actually go to the beach and actively try to even out the damage. Oh, and of course, it’s wrong to tan (ahem).

So anyhoo, day #4 was not too hot. I felt a little better after driving to work and listening to Cloud Control, and customers cheered me up by making inquiries about my green smoothie in a jar that I was eating behind the counter with a spoon. I told them it was a sludge-shake with added algae and spinach. They laughed like I was joking.

I slept badly, with this strange reflux thing happening where it was like I had a permanent cramp right across the top of my stomach. It kept waking me up and I was a little worried.

This morning it was still there somewhat, so I decided to eat a really simple meal of bananas and mango for breakfast, for better digestion.

I did feel better in class, like my stomach was actually getting it’s shit together and breaking the food down. I came home, ate 2 dates, and whacked on my vibrams for a run. I decided that although my gut was achey, maybe I needed to move in order to feel better. Like yesterday, starting out was uncomfortable, and much of the run I was preoccupied by cramps and bloating. But I had a hunch it was what I needed, and sloshing about in the pouring rain in my vibrams by the sea, I started to feel better. I was amazed that due to my stomach woes, I had failed to realise that I was not actually tired and felt extremely fit & energetic along the way. Hills that usually wind me were less than threatening, and I felt extremely alive and happy. There were few people because of the drizzle, and the 8km route flew by. In vibrams and everything! I think i’m really starting to break these suckers in.

So that’s the happenings of today. I am now feeling decidedly better, in all respects. Oh and Jarad said my eyes were really ‘blue’ the other day – they’re not blue at all, but hey, i’ll take it! Must be extra sparkly due to the living foods. And also, my skin feels really nice. I believe it may be glowing! However I am waiting for the detox break-out…anytime now.

I also wanted to mention that I’m getting very excited about continuing down the raw path after this experiment (which doesn’t have a specific time-frame by the way). I believe that yesterday’s slight depression was in part due to the fact that I’m not eating food like I used to any more. I love all the fresh fruit & vegetables, but it’s not the emotionally-fuelled love-affair I had with baked vegan sweets and elaborate new dinner ideas. In this way, I think that i’m going to try and be more creative with my meals, because I don’t want to lose that appetite I have for trying new things, and using imagination in the kitchen. That’s important to me, and a big part of my life. (Yes, gluttony!)

This amazing blog called Golubka that I stalked from Green & Juicy’s blogroll encapsulates that passion for culinary creativity with amazing flair and originality. It may just be the most beautiful blog I’ve ever come across – recommended reading/viewing.

That’s it for now! Any comments/questions, please feel free to share!

How to improve your running; spoken by a non-runner.

October 31, 2010 § 4 Comments

Afternoon fellarinos,

Happy Halloween to you! I’ve never been a fan of this all-American affair, however the last couple of years I’ve gotten down off my mangy Aussie camel and conceded that it is actually quite the groovy celebration. All things spooky, kooky and slightly wrong? Yes please! 

(source)

Last night the bf and I attended a fairly rockin’ Halloween shindig after a full day of wedding festivities (p.s NOT OURS you fiends, Jarad’s band mate). We were those awkward and somewhat disappointing guests that come late and fail to adhere to the gruesome & grizzly dress code. Luckily we are scary enough as is, being a pair of genetically-compromised ranga’s and all (FYI: Ranga definition).

Highlights included a girl dressed as Medusa with snakes made of her own hair,  a terminator-robot from the future whose best friend was a talking piece of pie (Simpsons reference – I dearly hope I got that right, after the pains taken to explain it to me! ha) and people trying to summon the ghosts of dead rock stars who turned out to be still alive and kicking. Seance fail. Wish I’d had my camera, but unfortunately you’ll just have to imagine the Halloween obscenities!

What did you all get up to?

I also promised running tips!

(source)

While it’s true i’m by no means a born runner, and have taken an age to get to where I am now, there are a few things that have helped me along the way:

  • Running with a friendThis used to intimidate the bollocks off me, but it is really the best thing you can do for your distance & time. You need to pick someone who is preferably faster than you, and who scares you enough that you won’t drop the pace! I never would have thought to attempt certain hills, routes or distances without the incentive from my awesome running buddy Chels, and whaddya know? You are always stronger than you think.

 

  • Give yourself ‘pep talks’It may sound cheezy, it may feel corny, however come crunch time when you are halfway up a murderous  incline, your heart is in your throat and you are contemplating sliding back down on your steely backside, it’s great to give yourself some motivational love. I like pain is temporary, quitting is forever! Sounds very Arnold Schwarzenegger, no? Added bonus if you say it in a creepy Austrian accent. The other day I was pushing it to the extreme up a monster hill and found myself running a dialogue in my head ofGreat work! You’re almost there! I am so proud of you! You are gonna feel AWESOME when you reach the top! Push through the pain!”  Again, I was as surprised as you about my inner cheese-ball, but it really did work!

 

  • Use visualisationSimilarly to the peppy pep-talk tactics, visualising yourself reaching your goal destination is a handy trick to keep the fire alive. Back to this dreaded hill, I always picture myself as I reach the peak, giving myself a goofy self-five and experiencing the exhilaration of sweet sweet cardio carnage.

 

  • Fuel properly This aspect includes both pre-run fuel, and general diet in my opinion. I noticed a significant increase in stamina when I started eating foods like Spirulina, bucketloads of Kale and pseudo-grains (quinoa, buckwheat etc) whilst cutting back on dairy & wheat. They really make me feel lighter and more energised! Also, before runs I find I need adequate sustenance otherwise I end up weak and sluggish. I either eat breakfast a couple of hours beforehand, then go, or later in the day if I haven’t eaten for a while, I snag a couple of dates or more spirulina. Obviously, you need specific fuel when doing longer runs, but I only ever do a maximum of 10kms, so don’t feel I need extra food for the road.

 

  • Most of all enjoy your workout – There is simply no point spending hours on the treadmill or running the same monotonous route time and time again if it doesn’t provide some level of enjoyment. I’m super lucky in that I live close to the coast, and have spectacular views on my running excursions that leave me breathless and in awe of the supreme natural beauty of Sydney. But if you’re stuck running around a bleak old industrial estate or the flat streets of suburbia, it may not feel quite so enticing. Change up your route every time, and make the effort to scope out areas that appeal to you, making your jog less of a chore, and more of a meditative, mentally clarifying experience.
  • 

What has helped you go further in your chosen sport? Do you find it hard to get motivated to run/swim/walk/skip?

Have a great remainder of the weekend y’all! x

Blog it to me!

September 21, 2010 § 7 Comments

Hi-oooo!

The phantom blogger (me) has crept out of the shadowy depths (pantry) to say hi to my favourite creepy stalkers interested parties (all of you!). I missed my blog baby; I fear it may be showing signs of malnutrition.

I’ll admit, I have had lacklustre motivation for blogging lately, due to cosmic forces putting a damper on my strength and willpower and youthful vigour (if I had any to begin with) in general. Why must life ebb and flow and cycle with glorious peaks of insight and mysterious troughs of apathy? Yes, you heard it here, the up-and-at-them vegan with a fetish for early morning action and all things wholesome does have her off weeks. This was an orrrfffff week my friends.

But you know what? It’s nothing a good coconut couldn’t fix!

I bow before you, King of nuts.

The i’m-just-about-to-attack-you-with-a-cleaver stare.

I do believe that the promise of a young coconut can lift anyone’s mood,  as well as slogging it out on a good run. Before this photo was taken I was feeling pretty blah/wah/gah, however I made myself get up, hit the pavement, and within minutes I was feeling focused and happy once more. Especially with the allure of a big cacao coconut smoothie to come home to.

Most importantly, this week has featured some delicious kitchen experiments.

I believe in utilising all available left-overs and thus these dregs-of-fridge burgers were born! My my, I do have a way with appetising titles don’t I?

For these little babies, I mashed left-over black beans & chickpeas together with steamed sweet potato, seasonings (S & P, cajun, paprika) & coriander and baked in the senile oven (NOT fan-forced) at around 200 degrees for an unfathomable period of time. Enough to brown & crisp them, obviously.

I ate them with hummus & excessive amounts of lemon juice, and vegetables for Africa. (Poor Africa, all these empty promises).

Let me now introduce you to the most delightful beverage to ever pass my greedy lips; peanut butter sludge shake. (Did I get you with that one?)

It contained handful baby spinach/greens of your choice, rice milk, 1 tbsp natural PB, 1 heaped tbsp carob powder, 1 medium frozen banana. Lord give me strength, for there are no words to describe the gustatory goodness of this smoothie. Please believe me when I tell you that the spinach is undetectable. Really, truly, the only hint of it’s presence is a swamplike tinge and the undeniable chlorophyll high one experiences after downing liquid greens. Have one for breakfast and you can smugly proclaim that your AM eats were RAW (if using raw nut butter/subbing it out) and VEGGIE-FILLED. I aim for every meal to have a leafy-green component. Try it, you will notice the difference in your energy and general raaaaadience darlings.

For lunch, I attacked this pre-prepared seaweed salad that was ready and rearing to be taken to college this morning. Ready, before I decided to crawl back under the covers (in keeping with the pervading theme of laziness this week) and study the shitzen out of Chemistry. We have an exam tomorrow (*wee runs down leg*) and I deemed a day of cramming to trump a 5 hour lecture on the importance of workplace professionalism. Good call me.

Ay karumba, never thought i’d be sitting a science exam in my literature-loving lifetime, however times they are a-changin’, and my brain must learn to adapt to these new and vom-inspiring exciting challenges!

(Side note: please eat seaweed salad with chopsticks, it is fabulous. Also, to make this, use rice wine vinegar + sweet mirin + tamari (in order from most, to least amount used) to make a dressing, sprinkled over kale, greens, julienned beetroot/carrot, capsicum, wakame (soaked & sliced), coriander & sesame seeds )

So anyhoo, speaking of brain remodelling, I am now reading this exceptional book.

My awe-inspiring chemistry & anatomy lecturer was telling us the other day about research into neuroplasticity, and the emerging science that is starting to debunk old-school notions as to localized, unchanging brain function. Ie. you damage a part of your noggin’ that controls speech, you’re done-diddly-un for as a conversationalist. Not so according to Norman Doidge, author of ‘The Brain that Changes Itself’, who has demonstrated the mind-blowing (literally) capacity of the brain to re-learn & re-program.

Also FINALLY read ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy, which was bleak, harrowing and brilliant as expected.

With that, I guess I should be off to make good on my promise of studying from dawn til dusk, with the aim proving to myself that my brain IS a malleable, infinitely intelligent organ capable of redirecting thoughts of film, Foucault and food to those of saturated hydrocarbons, cations and anions… (onions? No, bad brain!).

Hope you’re all enjoying your Tooooosday.

xxx

We’ve got the runs.

September 9, 2010 § 2 Comments

Holla!

Exciting news! Replacement found for my usual running buddy The C-bomb; (otherwise known as flatmate Chelsea), who is temporarily out of action with a knee injury. I have roped in another, more pliable victim to keep me company on my neighbourhood jaunts. 

This amazing man was kind enough to set aside his vehement dislike for running, and tag along as I did my jogging/crawling/limping thang. He’s also been out of action for a while due to one gnarly shoulder injury, leaving it with the propensity to pop out at random intervals and generally rendered it a big painful, flaccid excuse for a joint. Anyhoo, a bunch of total-gross-out restorative procedures later, he’s up, and literally running!

Mighty impressed that after being out of the exercise loop for so long, he tackled the incline of death (bane of my running route) sans drama, and skipped along like spritely little fellow all the way home. (In my slipstream perhaps? Mwahah.)

To add to the air of festivity, he also donned this hilarious t-shirt that appealed to my immature sense of humour. Ah, he knows me too well!

For dinner I had the actual, serious, proper, adult version of the sweet-potato-boat, in which I made the effort to roast the SP in the oven as opposed to using the hideous microwave machine of nuclear death. Note that our oven is a temperamental beast and this ‘roasting’ took approx. 3 hours. Luckily I anticipated this delay, and popped it in after lunch.

I stuffed it full of a garlic/onion/tomato/chickpea/paprika/mushroom/basil mix and served alongside some brown rice and raw veg.

And for lunch/dinner today, I resigned myself to eating out in the most nutritious way possible, hitting up IKU WHOLEFOOD for my salad bar fix. So my fridge died, what’s a girl lacking in vital greens supposed to do? (Our new, highly anticipated rent-a-fridge arrives tomorrow – we took the liberty of securing the biggest, most excessive appliance possible, to compensate for months living with a piddly, esky-like gadget that was evidently experiencing menopause. Hot flushes all over the shop.)

I pounced upon some steamed veggies, mixed salads with heavenly tahini dressing, and a sizable rice paper roll that was just dandy smothered in chilli sauce and hoisin.

In fact, it may be time for the leftovers now…!

Later skaters.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Exercise category at Bonne Santé.