Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My last summer as a 20-something year old

A couple of weekends ago, Makoto planned a day of fun to celebrate my 29.5 birthday.  I'm turning 30 in the new year which means I am now enjoying my last summer as a 20 something year old.  Suddenly I feel this cheesy urge to start clubbing again to "get it out of my system".  When does the transition happen when we go from dancing all night to amazing (and sometimes even not-so-amazing) music at clubs to drinking $20 cocktails at posh hotel lounges for fun?  I told Makoto this and he was right there for me, even finding his old university backpack that would secretly house a 12-pak and has secret built in compartments for attaching straws.

Then we remembered our last outing to some random club and how our conversation upon arrival went a little something like this:

Makoto:  I think the air quality in here is pretty poor.
Me:  Whoa....the music is so you think this is bad for my ears?
Makoto: least we'll be getting our cardio in tonight.

As my 16yo cousin would say, LAME-SAUCE!  We still have a great time going dancing and ending the night with a mandatory 3am meal in Chinatown from time to time but we realize that our gong show clubbing days are behind us.  I must say that my favorite nights are the ones I spend talking and laughing the night away with Makoto and our beloved family and friends no matter where we are. 

As much as I loved my 20s, I am incredibly excited to move into my 30s and leave behind certain insecurities, self doubt and certainly some bad fashion choices (listen up Asian girls...we should NEVER streak our hair blonde...ever).

One thing I am much more in tune with is my health and my body.  I'm not sure if it's because I'm just "getting older" and more sensitive to things that I use to be able to easily overcome or whether I'm just not tolerating certain discomforts any longer.  Either way, I know it feels good to take care of myself and I'm a much more happier and peaceful person when I do.

I know I still have a lot to learn....but I'm looking forward to it.....and I will forever be the first girl on the dance floor at any good party!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ending Our Detox - aka. Weekend Niagara Winery Tour

Well, our midsummer detox came to an end last weekend thanks to a tour of the Niagara wineries. The detox went quite smoothly, and we felt great in terms of energy, no cravings and fantastic internal plumbing, but it definitely was nice to end it with some wine tastings in the company of good friends.

We took the Niagara Wine Route to try out a few wineries, including Frog Pond Farm, which is small, but is the only certified organic winery in Ontario and uses green electricity. They have a selection of organic reds and whites, a Riesling icewine, as well as pure organic grape juices.

Two other amazing wineries we visited used a gravity-fed process, which, as far as I understand, prevents oxygen from being introduced during the more conventional pumping, leading to a better quality wine. Flat Rock Cellars was incredible as was Tawse Winery. Flat Rock had amazing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer. Tawse wines have a higher price point, but many of them are not only organic, but also biodynamic wines, such that they are chemical-free and incorporate sustainable farming methods. Definitely worth mentioning the very nice Sketches Chardonnay and the full-bodied Meritage from Tawse.

I am definitely no sommelier (but am a seasoned beerelier) but I think almost everyone leaves Niagara with a renewed appreciation for wines and the uncanny ability to pick up notes of tobacco, mushrooms, and butter in their next glass of wine.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chocolate Makes Me Very Happy - Where to Find Healthy Chocolate in Toronto

I loooooooooooooooove chocolate.  Makoto, on the otherhand, is an alien from Pluto and thinks that chocolate is "just okay". 

I vividly remember how on one of our earliest dates, Makoto made me dinner.  After enjoying his delicious Thai curry and mango salad, I excitedly anticipated dessert.  He came out of the kitchen with two big bowls....of organic blueberries topped with organic amber maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon.  I watched him grin at me between big bites of blueberries and wondered when he would bring out the big piece of chocolate cake that these blueberries were suppose to top.  It never happened.

It was then and there that I realized that it was up to me to teach him about the bliss that chocolate is and I knew exactly how to do it.  One trip to Soma Chocolatemaker in the Distillery is all it tooked to get Makoto hooked.

Soma is an artisan chocolate maker that makes small batches of chocolate directly from the cocoa bean.  They have several dairy free, organic and fair trade chocolate items.  You can find anything from 100% chocolate bars (Arcana - no sugar added allowing us to taste what chocolate is in it's true form) to the best chocolate covered raisins EVER (tumbled in 40% cocoalatte). 

If you do visit, you MUST try:
1.  Mayan Hot Chocolate - AAAAAAAAAMAZING.  It seriously cured my winter blues.
2.  Dairy free Sorbets - The Strawberry Mint and Blueberry Basil are To. Die. For.
3.  Chocolate dipped Orange Peels.  Too deelish.

Grab a dairy free sorbet or an antioxidant packed dark chocolate bar, sit out in the sun and savour.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ladies who Lunch - The Healing Effects of Girl time

On Friday, I was lucky to see two of my most cherished girlfriends for coffee/tea...which turned into lunch...which turned into shopping....and included a 6hr girl talk pow wow.

It's horrible how life takes over and it takes a 10+ email thread to set up lunch for 3 little ladies.  During our girls gone-not-so-wild day together, we covered everything from bra clips to kids (too early/too late?  We decided there is never a perfect time.)

No matter how much I love spending time with Makoto (I've even introduced him to the world of spas), there are some things that only my girlfriends will understand (like how devastating Sex and the City II was....why...WHY did they have to do another sequel?!?!?  It almost ruined the entire series for me!). 

It's easy to take friendships for granted, especially when your girlfriends are so unconditionally loving and supportive.  But there is no replacement for spending time together.  There's something about sharing both laughs and intimate details of tough times with female energy that is so healing and supportive to the soul and completely irreplaceable by any other therapy.

Call your girlfriends today and tell them you love and appreciate them!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mini Detox Check-in... (and sample detox menu)

So Aileen and I are on Day 7 of our midsummer detox...and this is my breakfast (recipe is a variation of the one listed on my protein powder post). We are surviving it better than we were expecting; I think we were both in the right mindset to take a little break from typical summer indulgences.
I incorporate my favourite Thorne Mediclear cleanse powder containing 30g of organic brown rice protein, along with liver, digestion supportive nutrients, and supe it up with L-glutamine (to strengthen the lining of the digestive tract and lean muscle mass) and Organika Spirulina. Aileen prefers her hemp protein powder, and adds a shot of pomegranate juice in her shake...adds a nice bit of flavour.
We are both feeling 'digestively strengthened' (I'll keep it at that to avoid sharing too many details of our bowel improvements), with no cravings for wine (Aileen), beer (me), sweets or dairy, which were our biggest vices in the early part of the summer.
Energy has been fantastic, having great sleeps, and just feeling overall cleaner and less congested. We both agree that this was well-needed and surprisingly easy to incorporate. A bonus is that it is pretty easy to structure meals and menus for the week.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Midsummer Detox - How to successfully complete a mini cleanse

Do you ever get to a point where you actually start to crave healthy food instead of "bad" food?  This is where Makoto and I found ourselves this weekend.

We have been very happily indulging in summer BBQs, amazing local summer fruit pies, pitchers of sangrias, mini kegs of beer (how can you resist that mini keg of Heineken at LCBO?!?!) and endless wine and cheese summer parties.  We've also been slacking on going to the gym as we somehow convinced ourselves that walking and sweating back and forth to work in the sweltering heat counts as a workout.  So we decided that it's time for a much needed week long mini detox.

Detox doesn't have to be complicated.  Just think of it as a rest for your digestive tract and resetting your system.  Makoto opted for his favorite Thorne MediClear Detox using a whole foods and brown rice diet.  I decided to go on a detox heavy on fruits and vegetables with juicing as it's backbone.  Both of us are going vegan this week and also keeping away from common allergens (dairy, wheat, corn and eggs), caffeine and alcohol (whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!).

Here are some of our must-haves and tips to get us through our mini-detox:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What type of Protein Powder should you supplement with?

One of Aileen's GTLs (or habitual necessities) is ensuring adequate protein in your diet. I agree that this is critical to function properly as muscle tissues, enzymes, antibodies and countless cellular components are all comprised of amino acids, which are derived from dietary protein.

Unfortunately, it can be easy for some people to get carried away, thanks to all these "high-protein, zero carb" diets (eg. Atkins), which are actually misleading and inaccurate. Our body absolutely needs carbs to survive, but it's a matter of choosing the right types of carbs in the right quantities (ie. complex carbs = whole grains, fruit/veg, legumes).

Friday, July 2, 2010

What's Your GTL?

I don't watch MTV's Jersey Shore (ok....I've watched the first episode) but I am familiar with their famous saying "GTL" which stands for "Gym, Tan and Laundry."  The personalities on Jersey Shore insist that they must accomplish these three tasks everyday in "order to meet your maximum potential".  Hilarious.

I asked Makoto what his GTL is and without blinking, he replied "Sh*t, Shower and Shave".  So simple and so honest....I envy his uncomplicated thought pattern.

This lead me to think of what my own "GTL" is........and this is what I came up with...SPP.

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