Summer Recap

Since my last post so much has happened. I went to Europe to study and visited some major historical landmarks throughout England – hello Stonehenge at dawn! After the semester was over I took three weeks to explore more of Europe. I flew to Prague, trained it down to Budapest for an amazing music festival, then hopped on another train down to Split, Croatia, spent time on the island of Hvar, took a ferry to Italy and spent 4 days roaming Rome on foot. Then I flew up to meet a good friend in Amsterdam for a few days before making a one day stop in Dublin on my way home. Europe is spectacular and I can’t wait to see more of it. It was an incredible summer and I’m so lucky I was able to experience it all.

I came back to St. John’s pretty worn out and jetlagged however, and I actually had my first seizure in 4.5 years the day after I landed. It was such a bummer but I guess it has helped open my eyes in a way as well. I look back to the only two times in my life when I have had seizures and I have noticed a trend. I used to believe that they happened due to stress and a diet too high in carbs, but maybe there’s another reason. I’m starting to wonder if I can connect not just carbs, but gluten to my seizures. There’s a lot of research out there to support this connection and many epileptics manage their seizures with a gluten-free, ketogenic (high fat, low carb) diet. The last neurologist I saw in 2011 even recommended it. I’m going to try and get testing done soon. I’m currently on a one year waitlist to see a neurologist here – the NL healthcare system sucks compared to AB. When that appointment comes I really hope he is willing to discuss dietary connections, although it’s hard to be hopeful. I do plan on being extra diligent with my diet in the mean time however and hopefully I’ll remain seizure free until then.

In the summer of 2011 when I had my first two seizures I was doing some high millage training for my first half marathon and full marathon and I was eating a ton of glutenous carbs – because that’s what runners are taught to eat. This past summer I ate a lot of cheap pizza and croissants while touring Europe. When in Rome – you eat pizza (pun intended). There seems to be a trend here because I don’t normally eat a lot of wheat products at all, but during both of these periods wheat flour made up a major part my diet.

So in the name of curiosity and proactiveness, I thought I’d give the gluten-free thing a try. It’s been 26 days now and I actually feel amazing. I’ve not only lost about 6 lbs but also I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my attention span and my skin is much clearer. Along with the gluten I cut sugar again and it’s actually been the easiest time I’ve ever had deleting sugar from my diet. I even got through my period with zero pms or cravings whatsoever.

With a recent seizure to basically scare me back on the clean eating wagon, I feel pretty solid this time in making this a permanent lifestyle change. Sometimes it takes a scare like that to help re-prioritize things and I’d personally give up gluten and processed sugar for life if it means I never have another seizure ever again in my entire life. I mean, younger-looking, healthy skin, a clear, focused mind, and fitting back into my size 4 skinny jeans are just a bonus really.

Spring Fever

Whole30 Update: I made it 30 days, I didn’t cheat, but my results weren’t exactly spectacular like I was hoping. Maybe I missed something? Maybe I snacked too much, maybe I should have pushed it to 60 days, or maybe I wasn’t that unhealthy to begin with? I love the concept of the Whole 30 Challenge and really enjoyed the book, It Starts with Food. I highly recommend giving it a try.

newly remodeled bicycleI’m happy to be back to my regular running and gyming routine. Runs are 8-10K and I am loving the grueling Signal Hill trail which takes me from my apartment, down the Rennie’s River trail and all the way around the Signal Hill hiking trail and back home. I also love scooting around town on my sweet newly remodeled bicycle (pic left), Isn’t she pretty? I’m also a fan of running Signal Hill from the gym (7K) and following that up with a weights workout. Lifting progressively heavier weights has become my second love over the last year but and I’ve doubled my upper-body strength! Running is and will always be, my first love tho :)

So life beyond clean eating and workouts is beyond stellar these days. I worked my butt off and managed to finish this semester with an 85% average overall! I am partaking in a study abroad program this summer in Harlow, UK. It involves six weeks of field trips around the UK and France and Belgium and after that’s done I am taking off with my backpack and classmates to explore some more areas of Europe. First up is Budapest! Shit, this is going to be an amazing summer! I also got an awesome job at a new restaurant which is a new venture by some of the finest restauranteurs in the country. Needless to say I’m stoked about this as well.

Spring as sprung, I’m feeling fit and healthy again, fun and excitement are on the horizon! #foreveryoung


Whole30 – Day 3

Well its day three of my Whole30 challenge and things are going great! I have been eating what feels like a ton of food but in reality it’s probably much less than before. I feel happy, satiated and content between meals.I haven’t noticed any real cravings at all yet either but the real test will be the week ahead of me as I start PMSing. I’m eating three solid clean meals a day and I’ve had a couple snacks when I needed them. For the most part though the balanced meals have been enough. Breakfasts have been two eggs, grated sweet potato and some avocado, lunches and dinners have been varied but always following the meal planning guidelines. This is basically a stepped up version of the way I ate for most of 2013. Back then I was lenient on the types of oils, minimal gluten and things like natural chips; I also ate rice, legumes and quinoa! I experienced amazing results from just basically quitting sugar, dairy and cutting back on gluten for a few months, so I can only imagine how much the coming days are going to affect me. It feels amazing to be back on track after so long! Before starting this program my anxiety had been really bad. I felt out of control and down on myself for it. I was stressing about every bite I ate and wanted to eat. Over the last few days however, I haven’t experienced any anxiety despite being at the end of another semester, writing huge final papers and looking for a new job. My skin already looks better as well! I’m so happy and I can’t wait to experience how good I’m going to feel on day 30! Here’s a couple examples of my delicious Whole30 meals.


Two over-easy eggs, grated sweet potato and avocado


Spaghetti squash, moose meatballs and a coconut milk, spinach and sun-dried tomato sauce

Whole30 Prep

I have made up my mind and on April 1, I am going to start the Whole30 challenge. That’s 30 days of clean eating – no sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, processed foods, booze or chemicals.

It was two years ago exactly that I started my first sugar-free month challenge and I remember well how much that challenge changed my body and life for the better. For most of 2013 I broke up with sugar. However during 2014 the evil drug found its way back into my life and it’s time to cut it out again – cold turkey.

In April, May, August, September, and November of 2013 and February 2014, I went processed sugar-free and it made a huge difference to my body and my mood. I lost weight, my skin was clearer and brighter and mentally I felt better than ever! This time around the Whole30 plan, calls for cutting ALL grains, refined sugar, dairy, legumes and basically anything processed. It seems like an ambitious challenge, but I know I’ve done this before and it really wasn’t that hard. I have made up my mind – I WILL succeed.

There are a lot more temptations in my present life than there were back in 2013. I am living with my brother, who eats like a “normal person” and calls my challenges “extreme” and “nuts” – yet will eat the delicious clean healthy meals I cook, not even knowing how good they are for him! I am living in the most obese province in Canada where most people I encounter on a daily basis have no idea of what CLEAN EATING is – let alone the benefits.

Learning how to overcome the situational and environmental challenges once and for all will be the backbone to my success this time around. I HATE it when people tell me my challenges to cut sugar are extreme and unnecessary and suggest I just try moderation. How about a little support instead?!?

I have been mulling this over for a couple weeks. I purchased a couple new books and am part-way through, “It Starts With Food”. I also purchased a julienne peeler to make some new fun veggie “pasta” substitute meals. Today I picked up groceries and stocked up on lots of veggies, meat, fruits and nuts. I joined a Facebook Whole30 support group and I even made myself a calendar to check off the days – a little visual motivation of my progress . I got dis!

Here’s a pic of a recent paleo meal I made to try out my new julienne peeler and get my creative juices flowing!

New Books!

Paleo Chicken

Paleo Chicken “Pasta”

Food Frenzy

Since moving back to Newfoundland last spring I’ve had a difficult time with food. Maybe it’s been the stress, maybe it’s because it’s normal in this province to eat like crap, maybe it had something to do with less healthy choices around me and more junk food. I have felt anxious, stressed and downright apathetic at times towards my diet. A couple weeks ago I said to a friend, “I’ve been eating like a normal person”. That statement was an awakening. Why do I see the masses of people around me who eat poorly as normal? Is that a flaw in me or in society? Is it just a Newfoundland epidemic? I honestly do feel like it was more common, at least in my social circle in Calgary, to eat healthier and I don’t feel much local support when it comes to maintaining a clean diet.

Over the years I’ve really enjoyed learning about nutrition and I even know how, and love to, cook and bake super healthy delicious meals! So what gives? I think the problem has mainly been on an emotional level.

This past fall and winter food has been a reward for arduous study sessions and long days on my feet at the restaurant where I work. Food was comfort when I felt stressed or worried. Food was a way to fit in with the people around me. Food was bonding with my brother and family. Food was pleasure when I was bored and let down by an abysmal social scene. Recently I put my health on the back burner and just focused on school work and getting by. It’s been a tough period of transition for sure.

Last night I was reading about Whole30. Its a 30-day whole food eating plan which aims to reset your relationship with food and help you start a clean eating lifestyle. I am seriously considering giving it a try during the month of April to help me get back on track. Due to the blood sugar roller coaster that I experience when I eat sweets and processed carbs, I really suck at moderation. Addicts call it “chasing the dragon” and that’s exactly how it feels for me. This is why I have a better time going cold turkey on junk food versus attempting moderation.

So the plan is to stop obsessing and feeling guilty about the junk food I ate this past winter. it’s behind me and it’s not like I’ve let my health and fitness go, I’ve just indulged a few too many times and let it bother me too much. Priorities shift and that’s ok. It’s in the past now, today is a new day. It’s time to focus on fitness and putting healthy foods into my body and stop stressing about everything else.

Goodbye apathetic winter, hello motivated spring!

21K Whim

I could barely remember my WordPress login information this time. Haha

I was recently reminiscing about my first marathon training days when I started this blog and felt like looking it up and reading some old posts. They made me smile. I’m so glad I picked up running when I did – it truly changed my life forever.

Yesterday I ran the longest run I’ve done since my last marathon in October 2012. I just randomly decided the day before and for no other reason then the runner’s high and to soak up some vitamin D I tagged along with a friend who is training for his first marathon. I felt amazing during the run and the buzz has lasted into today as well. For the last couple years I’ve been sticking to shorter runs; usually 8-10k a couple times a week and a couple 10 mile races. My focus has been on building strength. I was motivated to do more strength training after hitting the wall at 35k during both of my marathons and the second time I just decided to shelve the marathons for a while and get stronger. That and I started taking university classes on the side. One big life goal at a time!

This last year was a difficult transition for me. I went from a professional career and lifestyle to being a student in a classroom with kids who are ten years younger than me and working in a restaurant as a server again! I moved across the country (for the 6th time) and went from a young, fun, big city to a small city with very few friends. As tough as it was I’m so glad I took the plunge and went for this. I just can’t believe I put it off for so long! I realize now that this has been what’s missing all of these years. It fills me with joy to be in an academic environment and challenge my brain. I have even decided that I will move on from this degree to pursue a masters. Its already been about seven years of post-secondary for me but I feel like I’m just scratching the surface.

It makes sense that I put long distance running on the back burner and it’s not like I’ve totally abandoned it. I don’t even think becoming a student again would have been possible if not for the confidence that I gained from running. I think back to where I was last year at this time, and then the year before (late February is when I like to break up with my boyfriends apparently). I knew I needed to do this for a few years but was afraid to go for it. Spring always makes me feel restless and this spring I have no one to dump! I actually just recently celebrated my one year of singledom anniversary. All of my dating experiences in the last year have been completely terrible! I’m so used to lily padding from one serious relationship to another and as strange as it may seem, I think I needed a year of dating disasters to put somethings into perspective and truly appreciate being alone. I had a boyfriend for 12 of the last 15 years and honestly cannot fathom being in a relationship right now.

But back to running. Yesterday’s run motivated me soooo much and the fact that I randomly decided to go run a half marathon on a whim, with no real training and completed it in 1:56 with zero soreness makes me feel kind of incredible. All of the strength training this year has paid off and I was in the mood to write about it again. I have missed this blog – it really motivated me stay focused on a healthy lifestyle. I’ll post again soon!


I just spent the last hour re-reading the first few months of posts in this blog and reminiscing on some really great and some really tough times. I was truly moved by my memories and even shed a few tears. I also realized that I used to eat like shit and think it was healthy! I cringe at the amount of sugar, processed food, gluten and dairy I once ate!

So much has changed since my last post. I decided to leave Calgary and move home to Newfoundland to pursue educational goals and I am currently a full-time University student. It was time to get my credentials caught up to my ambition and stop complaining about crappy career opportunities and being under employed. I am also single for the first time in what feels like a million years and I’m taking this time to concentrate on me and what I really want in life. I FINALLY broke through some serious health and fitness barriers in the last year. I cut out 95% of the dairy and sugar and gluten that I used to eat. I lost 10lbsĀ  and changing my diet helped me get fitter and faster than any amount of junk runs ever did.

Quitting sugar for a few months last year was the very best thing I ever did for myself. I always failed at moderation. What’s that anyway? Cold turkey was the only thing that worked for me. Even after a sugarless month I might indulge a little for a day or two, but as I cycled through five or six sugar free months last year I eventually changed my relationship with sugar. I think overall I overcame a serious addiction. I am lighter, fitter, and my skin is healthier than ever.

I am now training for my favorite 10 mile race again. This year will be my five year anniversary of my first Tely Ten. Last year I finally broke 80 minutes and finished at 79:23 – a long-time goal of mine. I am nervous that I won’t PR again this year. Training has been ok, but it hasn’t been stellar. I have three weeks left and I have to be ok with the possibility of being slower than last year. It might be a lesson in self-love and acceptance. Running has taken a back seat to school and settling into a new (old) city and new job and lifestyle.

Summer is here, the days are hot and sunny, runs are sweaty and giving me the best runner’s high. I am reacquainted with my old friends Signal Hill and Quidi Vidi Lake. Life is good!