Weightlifting While Pregnant? Heck Yeah!

Just read a great post for moms, people with mothers, and people who may one day be pregnant.

I think that whether women should weight lift while pregnant speaks volumes about preconceived notions of femininity, motherhood, the female body, and feelings about women and weight lifting. I think it’s kind of shitty to express concern for another woman’s fetus–I feel like that takes power and agency away from the pregnant woman and it implies that she hasn’t evaluated or fully comprehended her situation or the situation of her near-baby; let’s give pregnant women some credit and stop telling them how they should and shouldn’t be living…would we share these pearls of wisdom with them if they weren’t pregnant? If the answer is no, then you should probably just keep quiet.

Weightlifting While Pregnant Debate.

via Weightlifting While Pregnant Debate.

The Mind Amazing and a Half-Baked Thought on Karma

I haven’t forgotten about my post regarding food politics, but I’m distracted with other things that have been happening…which brings me to this post.

The power of positive thinking. We’ve all heard that seemingly trite phrase used by so-called new age gurus and self-help quacks. In some people, that sort of phrase brings out pure rancor–I posted a tweet (when I still had Twitter) that basically said “If you want it, go get it; you are the only thing that is stopping you.” I got some comments talking about how wrong I was, listing institutional discrimination, white privilege, and a bunch of other woes that we all learned about in first-year women’s and cultural studies. I went to Trent–I get it. But let’s stop being dogmatic and actually give people some agency to choose their own paths, rather than telling them they probably won’t succeed, given their socio-economic, racial, level of ability, or gendered backgrounds. It’s exactly why the power of positive thinking is actually a wonderful philosophy–it doesn’t discriminate: any person with a thinking mind can think positively. And even if you don’t believe in this particular approach of mind over matter, you can be a pragmatist and admit that it won’t hurt.

Stress can be a killer. Literally. The Mayo Clinic lists positive thinking as a way to increase longevity, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, greater immune system function, and lower rates of depression. Can we argue that positive thinking may not be a cure-all, but it could be a key step in preventing major health problems? Deepak Chopra (Oh, that Deepak…) offers up the recommendation that if thinking positive all the time is too much work, the next-best alternative could be relaxation through meditation. Here is an article he wrote for CNN on this very topic.

Also, I’m of the belief that we get back what we put in (to the universe). That is not to say that we get what we deserve–I wouldn’t say any child has incurred enough karmic wrath that they should go hungry or that people who are very sick have necessarily done something to get that way, sometimes it is a matter of luck and geography. However, if you are thinking and doing positive things–without trying to profit or having selfish motives–I do believe that you are more apt to have good things happen to you. Even in the case of someone who is terminally ill, let’s say they put out positive thoughts and did good deeds, unselfishly, before they got sick…I imagine they will have a different experience with illness than someone who has always pointed fingers, been a Debbie downer, and has always felt sorry for themselves. The last days, actions, thoughts of those two people in the same situation are likely going to be very different for them and those that love them.

I watched “The Secret” the other day. Some of it, I found inspiring…some of it, I found to be ludicrous. One moment, in particular, where this guy says that he concentrates on being positive while he’s parking his car and he never has to wait more than a few seconds to get a primo spot. Really, buddy? You’ve discovered how to harness the laws of attraction and that’s what you use it for? Parking near the entrance at Wal-Mart? Wow. But there were some great examples of people who use vision-boards to focus on their aspirations and self-image they wish to cultivate. I don’t think it’s as “ask and ye shall receive” as parking space guy made it out to be, I think it’s more like making karmic investments and getting a return (maybe a physiological return, too!).

Here’s one of my favourite TED talks about happiness, by Shawn Achor:

I especially like the recipe for retraining your brain to be positive. Amazing.

Kale salad with Lemon vinaigrette

This looks amazing; kale is my new favourite leafy green.

Superfoodista

If you have read some of my earlier posts already, you might have realized by now that I have sort of a small obsession of re-creating recipes I ate in restaurants and really loved😉 In Miami, there is this beautiful hotel (The Standard), located just at the Bay, and it features a really good restaurant (Lido) that actually offers a variety of healthy food options – in fact, they use plenty of Superfoods for their cooking, such as Quinoa, Kale, etc. And they have a really nice Kale salad with goat cheese that I tried a few weeks back, sitting at a table facing the bay…oh yes, it was wonderful…

Kale-at-Standard

My version is not exactly the same as theirs, as I added some of my personal note, such as the vinaigrette for example. I thought that lemon would go really well with Kale, also to help balance out its…

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Jennifer Sygo: Fruit for thought

I just read a blogger’s journey into a 30-day raw food diet; his diet for that month was full of fruit. For breakfast, he would have up to 3 or 4 bananas! There were snacks where he had 2 apples, some berries, a mango, and some other type of fruit. He reported to change to his blood-sugar levels. It is important to keep in mind that an ideal raw food pyramid is leafy-greens occupying the bottom of the pyramid and fruit being closer to the top of the pyramid. I still think to curb a sweet tooth, fruit is the best choice.

National Post | Life

If you packed someone’s lunch this morning, there’s a pretty good chance that you added an apple or popped in a peach to make the most of this season’s best fruit fly fodder. Makes sense, yet in a nutrition world where no food is entirely safe from scrutiny, you might have heard rumours that eating fruit does us more harm than good. Fruit, it is argued, is a sugary food that can be fattening, sending us on a blood sugar roller coaster that is both uncomfortable and unhealthy. And that’s not to mention the fructose, one of the more prevalent sugars in fruit, which may play a disproportionately significant role in the development of fatty livers and elevated triglycerides, the latter of which is a risk factor for heart disease.

First, the bad news for fruit: Despite earlier studies suggesting that fruit is protective against cancers, more recent research suggests…

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Burritos: The Other Love of My Life

This recipe is a healthier, equally-as-satisfying version of my favourite take-out:

2 cups cooked brown rice (I use soup stock instead of plain water, but you can do what you like)
1 cup cooked black beans
2 avocados, smashed
12 slices Henry’s tempeh
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1 diced tomato
1 sweet onion
1 red onion
2 sweet peppers (pick your favourite colour–I chose orange)
1 cup grated Daiya grated cheddar/cheddar/pepper jack cheese
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 pinch crushed red chili flakes
Chipotle peppers, diced (as many as you like, or none)
Cilantro (optional)
Sriracha (optional)
Large tortilla wraps (I use flax/ancient grain)
1 tbsp olive oil
1. Heat pan on med-high heat, add olive oil.
2. Add onions, chipotle peppers, and spices; stir occasionally; cook until onions are translucent.
3. Add sweet peppers and tempeh strips to pan. Stir.
4. Turn down heat to low. Cook for about 5 minutes or until peppers reach desired doneness.

Building the Perfect Burrito

Layer 1: Tortilla. Obviously, but make sure your tortilla is fresh and pliable. Sometimes it helps to heat them up a touch.
Layer 2: Smashed avocados. These will not only give you a dose of healthy fats, they will hold your cheese in place–let’s get our priorities straight. Put them in the centre of the tortilla.
Layer 3: Cheese/Cheese-like product. Place in the middle of the tortilla, atop the avocado.
Layer 4: Rice. Hot rice + Cheese = gooey deliciousness.
Layer 5: Beans. Not only are they the magical fruit (according to my dad), but they are full of protein, fibre, and other good-for-you nutrients.
Layer 6: Place tempeh, onions, and peppers on top of beans. I like to try and get an even distribution, so each bite will have a little bit of each ingredient…but that’s kind of crazy.
Layer 7: Shredded lettuce.
Layer 8: Diced tomato.
Layer 9: Cilantro.
Layer 10: Sriracha. A lot. (But I’m saucy like that, you can mellow it out by doing something cooler, like tziki sauce or a low-fat Catalina dressing.)

Wrapping It Up

I found a quaint video to show you how to wrap a burrito like a pro:

 

Vegan Tofu Brown Rice Wrap

I’m starting to get very…granola in my approach to nutrition. This recipe is so tasty, I had to go back for seconds!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Sauce

2 tbsp natural, creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp vegetarian hoisin sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chili flakes
1/3 cup water

1 tbsp lime juice

Filling
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 pkg firm tofu, crumbled and drained
1/2 red cabbage, cut for cole slaw*
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks*
1 cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks *
1/2 red onion, cut into straws*
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger
2 tsp sriracha
1 tbsp dark sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
4 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

*feel free to substitute for other vegetables or ingredients that better suit your tastes; I recommend red, yellow, or orange peppers, sprouts, green cabbage, green onions, jicama, mango.

Directions – Sauce
Combine all ingredients, except lime juice, into a sauce pan. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated throughout (about 10 minutes). Add lime juice. Stir. Set aside.

Directions – Filling
Add sesame oil to pre-heated pan (medium heat); add crumbled tofu to pan and stir. Cook for about 4 minutes. Add soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sriracha, sugar, and a pinch of cilantro to the tofu mixture. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside.

Using lettuce leaves, rice paper wraps, or tortilla wraps, put 1 tbsp of the sauce on the wrap/lettuce leaf; put 1/3 c. brown rice on top of sauce; place tofu mixture on top of rice; top with cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and a pinch of cilantro; add extra sriracha if you are feeling spicy.

Yum.

Working on something.

I am writing a post that I love so much I can’t publish it just yet. It’s about the political nature of food choices. Stay tuned. Any links on the topic, please feel free to share.

Thrive Across America in Canada

So my work is participating in this challenge called Thrive Across America. You make teams with your coworkers and then log exercise minutes; the minutes translate into miles across a virtual path that goes from coast-to-coast and everywhere in between. Needless to say, my team is in the top place and I’m second overall. It’s kind of annoying that the only person who is beating me is my boss and I’m the one who logs his progress–we’re now having a friendly competition of our own.

I’m not really sure if I find the contest more motivating than usual. I don’t like that it only focuses on active minutes, rather than intensity and I don’t like that there are no points deducted for days missed or junk food consumed. I’d probably give people points for making healthy food choices, too. 

Here’s to being in the top spot and perhaps overthrowing my boss sometime in the not-so-distant future.