Let’s Talk About Hemp, Baby.

Boy was I disappointed to learn that there is no THC in hemp seeds, but I was thrilled to learn that they contain all 9 essential fatty acids. High in easily digestible protein (11 g in 1 oz of seeds), omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids,gluten-free, and low-carb, hemp seeds are a very near perfectly balanced food.

The light flavour of hemp seeds is conducive to mixing it into a shake, oatmeal, yogurt, or sprinkling it into a stir-fry or salad. 

Sure, it’s a cousin of the same plant-family that pot comes from, which is why the US banned hemp crops in 1970, but don’t let that fool you into smoking that hemp bracelet you bought from that hippie commune. You don’t want none of that, Dewey Cox. Seriously, it’s a waste of a bracelet.


Chia: Not Just for Heads and Pets

I went crazy this week and splurged on some foods that we have wanted to stock up on, but can be pricey at the outset: coconut oil, hemp hearts, chia seeds. Let’s talk about chia seeds, shall we?

Chia is a member of the mint family; it’s high in essential fatty acids (really, really high), protein, soluble fibre (nearly 40% of the recommended daily dose in 1/4 cup of seeds), calcium, magnesium, and a whack of other good-for-you things. No wonder it has been getting a lot of press! When placed in liquid, chia absorbs up to 9 times its weight and forms a gelatinous goo that is amazingly good for you (and can be turned into a lot of different things, for instance: a vegan egg replacer).

Grown in Central America (Mexico and Guatemala), Chia crops date back to pre-Colombian times.

3 Popular Ways to Ingest Chia Seeds

1. Chia Fresca: A drink of water and chia seeds, perhaps with citrus or other fruits for flavour.  I’m drinking this as I write this post…I’m not really sure how I feel about it, just yet. It’s like bubble tea, but different. I like the weird texture and the very light flavour (I added some lemon, too), but I’m not sure I could make this a regular thing. 

2. Chia On Yogurt: Yes. This is a great choice. I take 2 tbsp and put it on my greek yogurt in the morning, along with some hemp hearts.

3. Chia Pudding. I haven’t tried it, but I suppose you can take the goo and turn it into a tapioca-like pudding. 


Working 9 to 5 and My Big Fat Ass

Last time I was working in an office environment, I ballooned from a size 6 to a size 14 in less than a year. There was a lot of snacking and not a lot of moving. I invested in a heavy-duty cable package and a comfortable couch. Then one day I looked at my old-lady ass and could not believe it belonged to me…at 25-years old.

Since then (4 years later) I’ve been busting my butt to stay active and eat well. Lately, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, if you’ve read any posts since October, I’ve been slacking. 

In an attempt to avoid the downfalls of office life, I’ve stocked my desk with the following acceptable munchies (I also have a mini-fridge, so that’s an amazing help):

1. Cocoa roasted almonds (not chocolate-covered)
2. Walnuts
3. Water
4. Cottage cheese
5. Dark chocolate squares (70% cocoa)
6. Holy Crap! Cereal (non-GMO, organic, lactose and gluten free, high protein)
7. Yogurt
8. Rice cakes and natural peanut butter
9. Bananas
10. Pink grapefruit cups (Kirkland brand; Del Monte is too high in sugar)
11. Protein shakes 

I always have something to snack on and I’m never hungry. 

Update: Delaying the Competition

As usual, my life is hectic. I know it sounds like an excuse, but it’s really not. I am going to compete, but I’ve had trouble nailing down a reasonable workout schedule: I got a new 9 to 5 job, but I’m still working at the bar (my partner is still underemployed, so we have to make ends meet). As of Friday, May 24th, I’ll have worked 19 days straight. It seems that every spare second is eaten up by having something on-the-go, lately.

My game plan: Wake up at 5am and get to the gym from 5:30 – 6:30. This will give me enough time that I can leave for work by 7 and be there by 7:45, so I can leave by 4:15. I’ve also signed up for Monday and Thursday night weight training classes, so even if I can just get two good weight lifting sessions and a couple of cardio sessions in on my own, I’ll be back to golden in no-time.

Group Training

I am not a fan of group exercise–I find the adherents more annoying and more persistent than religious canvassers.

Reasons you won’t catch me at a group exercise class:
1. They are tailored for all fitness levels: Isn’t that great? I am doing the same workout as a 70 year-old woman and a morbidly obese man–everyone’s invited and everyone can participate. No. That’s not great–I prefer to have my strengths and weaknesses evaluated and exercise proscribed based on my current fitness needs and goals.

2. Coordination is key: I am not one who easily follows instructions. I get lost easily and I flail my limbs wildly during most choreographed movements. I am too focused on getting the damned steps right and not focused on the muscle groups or the intensity…I’m just worried about looking foolish–which I do.

3. I find the instructors annoying, not motivating. This is self explanatory.

4. Territoriality: some people get down-right zealous about their class…they like a particular piece of equipment or spot in the studio…and they can make it unfriendly and intimidating for others. Likewise, if a smaller group exists within the larger group, it can seem unwelcoming and cliquey. That is completely demotivating for me.

5. I’m going to hurt myself. Some of the classes that I have deigned to attend have really focused on volume…not form. I’m a form fanatic. If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right or not at all. Doing 50 light-weight bench-presses is great…well, unless you’ve got your grip wrong or you have positioned the bar too high or too low to hit your target area…too bad you didn’t get help with your form before you wasted those reps and that time. I’d rather be able to focus on my form and not worry about keeping up with the class. 

Now, all that being said, I have joined a group weight-training class. I’ll tell you why though: this class is 2 – 8 people; you are paired with someone of like fitness level (or by yourself if no such person is in your group) and the trainer monitors you at each exercise station. Not everyone is doing the same circuit, it is customized weekly, based on your fitness goals and needs. You will be shown proper technique if you are unfamiliar with an exercise and you will be given a set number of reps and sets, relevant to your program.

Other group fitness I don’t have a problem with: yoga, spin class, running in groups (yeah, I know, it’s not really a class, but I’m counting it).