Feed Your Brain: Healthy Chunk Energy Bites

This year has been all about getting back on track health wise. I’ve made huge improvements beyond even what I’ve done in past years. I’ve embraced the art of cooking healthy consistently and taken up hot yoga. I’m also getting back into lifting weights beyond my comfort zone; I haven’t done so in years…  This is all something I want to blog about more often, which is definitely off my beaten path of start-up marketing posts as of late! 

“Energy bites” are one of my all time favorite healthy snacks. I mentioned it in a blog post long ago when I didn’t like cooking (blasphemy!) This time, I wanted to share how I make it and all the ingredients I use.


Basically, you need to raid your local Bulk Barn. I only get ingredients that are raw, unsalted or unsweetened, including the peanut butter (which I add in when I don’t have enough almond butter). I also like to load up on the “healthy chunks” with raisins, pumpkin seeds, shredded coconuts, cacao nibs, sunflower seeds, ground flax seed or almond meal, and most importantly almond butter.  Missing from the picture above is the rolled oats (toast in oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or until golden brown), which is also a Bulk Barn buy. They didn’t make the picture because they were being toasted in the oven. Also missing is a pinch of sea salt and a tsp of almond or vanilla extract. I throw in all the ingredients using my eyes as a rough measurement of cups, half cups, and handfuls, mixing it all in as I go. It’s what cooking should be based on, no?

photo 5

Ensure the consistency is like cookie dough, the dry seed/nuts pieces shouldn’t overpower the wet ingredients. Once its all mixed, create balls, and place in the fridge. The longer you keep it in the fridge the better it tastes. In fact, place it in the freezer and indulge in a cookie nut snack instead of ice cream.

healthy chunks

My recipe is based on this Pinterest post.

What other ingredients would you recommend? 

Women Wednesday: The Story of my Teeth

After the double root canal debacle from this summer, I thought I would dedicate a whole blog post to my teeth. No, I still haven’t gotten crowns for them yet due to the fact that not only are they insanely expensive, but I decided against getting it done in India. I want to go back to my childhood dentist and pay insurmountable fees for peace of mind. I worry about my teeth everyday, especially right before going to bed after another night of forgetting to floss. I also worry that at 31 years old I don’t have dental insurance and am still paying off the double root canal every month from a maxed out credit card. Perhaps a massage would help, but I don’t have health insurance either. Okay, let’s not go down a rabbit hole of negativity (saving that for another blog post).

It all started when I was 12 and needed braces since my teeth were so mangled my bone structure was affected. So, of course we went through family referrals and found a new orthodontist who had just opened an office and was accepting cash for braces. Normally braces costs $5000, an acceptable price for 3 and a half years of hell, pain and monthly tightening appointments. I saw my dad pay the orthodontist $2000 cold hard cash, it was like out of a mafia movie. “Will work for straight teeth”.

So alas, 3.5 years later I had straight teeth and permanent retainers to remind me forever of the ordeal. But over the years, I’ve had countless cavities probably due to my sour candy phase of life which lasted a few years. During a co-op term in Ottawa working for Health Canada one of my back teeth rotted out and so I had to get it completely pulled. Now, I have one less tooth (not including my 4 wisdom teeth which were also removed). Anyway, good riddance, I barely used that back tooth anyway.

A lot of this could have been avoided if I was ever told to floss my teeth or brush more than once a day. You see, I was never told as a kid to do so. I realized that now, as I watch my barely 2 year old nieces learn to brush on cute little tooth brushes. Obviously, they’re too young to actually brush, but they’re getting into the nightly habit to do so. Of course, something you learn so young will stay with you for life, it’ll just become second nature. It’s one of the things that I wish my mom had told me to do, but I don’t think she even knew to tell me, so I don’t blame her. When I was around 8, my mom began enforcing the nightly brush and floss rule after a stern visit from the dentist but not hard enough as it didn’t stick.

So where does this leave me? Well, I’m still trying really hard to make flossing and brushing at night a habit, which I think comes with living a life of structure and routine which I hope to introduce to my life in the new year. It also makes me realize that healthy teeth and general health are more important than anything. It’s more important than love, relationships, money and work. Because without great health, you have none of these things.


Am I the only one who was never taught to floss and brush at night?

Women Wednesday: How to Maintain your Weight

It’s simple really.

For me, its quite difficult though. I don’t wear dress pants and lately have even avoided normal pants. I’m actually embarrassed to even write this post, but it will serve as a wake up call. But, I will give myself some credit, its been a long and stressful year filled with crazy travel. *excuses*

In any case, maintaining your weight works best if you wear the same pants every week. These pants must be tight, and utterly unforgiving. But, at your maintained weight, these pants look great and are comfortable. One week, you may feel that your pants are a bit snug, warning bells will ring and you may have to skip that dessert and do two extra days at the gym. But, that’s it, that’s the big secret! Your pants will serve as a barometer of how you feel about your weight.

Here’s are the skinny jeans I use for my test. This picture was taken 2 weeks after I started the Hourglass Workout (3 month challenge) last March (2012). I currently do fit into these jeans but have a severe case of muffin top.



Do you have any maintaining-your-weight hacks?

Women Wednesday: Daily Skincare

Since I work in menswear, I thought I would add a blogging day dedicated to girl stuff, which will include: beauty, health/wellness and of course, fashion.

After spending 9 months in India, I came back to Toronto and realized I had developed some skin damage from excessive exposure to the harsh Indian sun. Given that all my life, I barely wore moisturizer let alone SPF this was inevitable. Plus, I never had an issue with my skin ever before.

So the skin damage wasn’t insane or anything, I just noticed a few minuscule brown spots on my upper cheeks. It freaked me out a bit and I realized I had to start a proper skincare regime ASAP. Luckily, my sister in law had just started Arbonne so she hooked me up with a day cream with SPF and a night cream that helped with brightening and discoloration. I also included a light scrub from Neutrogena.


I’m definitely a newbie when it comes to skincare. Having never applied relatively expensive cream on my face – I realized you can’t just slap it on. Apparently the skin near your eyes is super sensitive so you have to dab it gently with your pinky finger, its a bit tiresome but it prevents stretching and wrinkles in that area.

I have been using the creams for about a month now and do see a slight difference – my skin is brighter and more even toned. It’s not a drastic difference though, the small brown spots still remain for now. Back in India, I am now in the habit of covering my head with a scarf and wearing big sunglasses when I’m out in the sun. I don’t want anymore sun damage so I am taking every precaution necessary.

After all, you only have one face!


What is your skincare routine?

My get-back-into-it Work out Routine

We all fall off the work out wagon, I tend to fall off and hit myself in the face. I heard people go to SF to get healthy and do yoga, well folks, I went there and got fat. I was super stressed and regardless of my meager food intake and half hour uphill walks a few times a week – I gained weight. It sucks because I spent the previous summer in a boot camp and got into the best shape of my life.

I’m sure we all go through ups and downs when it comes to working out. I just want to maintain a healthy weight and stop all this yo-yoing I constantly go through. Serenity now!

I love Under Armour for working out clothes

Thankfully, I took up jogging last summer, and to my relief its like riding a bike, you never forget. I can still maintain a good pace for 30 minutes. I would recommend this routine for beginners. Its challenging, but if I can do it, anyone can.

But, I needed more cardio and weights, but given my travel schedule, I didn’t want to join a gym. I wanted to do a routine that would get me through a few weeks and something I could continue, with minimal equipment when I couldn’t get to a gym.

Enter the best online invention ever: Pinterest. With the help of Pinterest, I have put together awesome routines. Any work out needs constant adjustment, as you need to continually make it harder – so this particular routine won’t last long for me as it is. Glutamine after weights always helps, since you won’t feel sore the next day. I only have access to 5 pound weights and I found a skipping rope. In any case, this is a good “get-back-into-it” routine.

100 skips

10 pushups

24 bicep burners (8 normal, 8 halfway, 8 normal)

15 shoulder presses

10 pushups

15 tricep dips

15 back rows

15 lateral raises

10 pushups

15 tricep kickbacks

150 skips

1 minute plank

15 bicycle crunches

30 second side plank (right)

15 bicycle crunches

30 second side plan (left)

15 reverse crunches

15 hips up

1 minute v-sit

150 skips

30 walking lunges

30 squats

30 plie squats

150 skips

1 minute wall sit


added: weights to squats, increase skipping, various types of squats (kicking)

Sources: Arms Abs

Check out my Pinterest board for more workouts.

What is your work out routine when you don’t have a “routine”?

My 3 Month Challenge – Jogging – Part II

The last time I jogged with earnest was back in grade 6. I remember I had bright blue jogging pants and super long hair I tied back in a low ponytail. I joined the “running club” which meant that we ran everyday at 7am in the hallways in preparation for a larger group run/competition. I did it for a few months but decided that waking up at 7am was not my cup of tea. I missed the group run or competition too, and never ran again.

Since then, I hated any kind of running to the point that my legs screamed with agony only after a minute or two. The treadmill became my sworn enemy.

After deciding on my 3 month challenge, I realized I needed to add in extra cardio on days/weeks I was not working out more than twice a week. So without spending any extra money, I decided that jogging would be the best option but on my own dead slow pace. As long as I was going faster than standing still, I would be okay. It helped that while browsing pinterest, I came across the program below. It was exactly what I needed, something that started super easy and worked up week by week to a final end goal. It was a “SMART” goal. 🙂

Instead of 8 weeks, I pushed it out to 12 (since for 3 weeks I worked out 5 days a week). I got to the 7th week in the program in week 12 by skipping most of week 6. I wasn’t super strict with the program, I tried to do atleast 2 runs a week (on weeks when I worked out twice in the gym). I figure week 7 was like week 8 but with a small break, so its still counted as finishing. 🙂 Of course, now that I can run 30 minutes, I am going to add it to my regular weekly workouts and add in hills plus other interval training.

I found that running outside in a park was the best option. It was secluded, I could be “one” with nature and the grass/dirt allowed for cushion while some challenge with slopes and hills. I tried running downtown  but it was too noisy and I felt like everyone was gawking at me. I quickly abandoned that and opted for the quiet park. I also had to have house music blaring in order to get through the first 2 minutes (which is the hardest) and then keep going. At around 15 minutes, you feel the urge to laugh because of all those glorious endorphins. I also carried my iphone and timed the whole thing so I knew when to take the breaks.

I find my thoughts and self-talk are always positive when jogging. I also find my mind clears itself to the point where things I have been mulling over become clear.

Overall, this was TOUGH. Some days, I would get back and collapse on the floor while dripping with sweat. It only got slightly easier at week 4 when my leg muscles began to get used to it. But, as you go from week to week it does get harder but challenge is always good!

I definitely recommend this program to everyone looking to get into running. I never thought I could do it and ever run 30 minutes, but I did, and its an amazing feeling!

Week 1: Run one minute. Walk 90 seconds. Repeat eight times. Do three times a week. Week 2: Run two minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat seven times. Do three times a week. Week 3: Run three minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat six times. Do three times a week. Week 4: Run five minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat four times. Do three times a week. Week 5: Run eight minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat three times. Do three times a week. Week 6: Run twelve minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat three times. Do three times a week. Week 7: Run fifteen minutes. Walk one minute. Run fifteen minutes. Do three times a week. Week 8: Run thirty


“Abs are made in the kitchen” – My 3 Month Challenge [Part I]

My Top 3 Meals

I definitely can’t take credit for the title – I saw it on pinterest or twitter. Whoever came up with it must be a personal trainer or nutritionist.

Now, I am not a fan of cooking nor am I one of those foodies (although I can act like a foodie if need be) so the food I do end up cooking has to be super easy and fast. On top of that, it has to be healthy. I’m not talking normal healthy, its next level: non-dairy, and gluten-free. At this point, I’m not worried about taste, I am more impressed I can make something fast, easy and next level healthy – I will eat it. Not to say that the following three recipes don’t taste good. These are my current staples, although after 3 months, I got tired of the salad, I can’t look at baby spinach right now.

No Bake Energy balls – http://pinterest.com/pin/239676011389184313/

I recommend the almond butter from bulk barn. Otherwise, the mix is very forgiving, you can put anything in it. In my last batch, I was so lazy, I didn’t put it into balls, just ate it in a bowl with a spoon.

Colourful salad – Baby spinach, chickpeas, cranberries, avocado, tomato mixed with balsamic dressing

Lean turkey balls – http://pinterest.com/pin/138767232237850158/

(picture shows them uncooked)

Once I ate this with apple butter, it was just okay.