“Did Not Start”: Choosing not to the run the Huffin Puffin Half-Marathon.

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I shared much of journey training for the Huffin Puffin half-marathon on here, so I thought I should explain why I never actually ran it this morning. Making the decision not to run was not easy. Even last night I found myself still going back and forth in my head: to run or not to run? But the answer was ultimately no. 

I would be lying if I said I didn’t shed tears this morning as I watch the competitors run by my house this morning. I worked SO hard this summer to be able to be one of those runners. But it just wasn’t meant to be. You may remember 5 or so weeks I sustained a strain to my lower quad muscle. I thought for sure I would be healed and back running within a week, but every time I tried to run, it hurt. It hurt in weird ways and in all sorts of different places between my hips and my knee, during a run and long after I had finished. Running was not going to help anything, so I thought if I just stopped running altogether, it would heal in time for me to run a slow and easy half-marathon.

However, last Sunday I attempted an easy 3 miles to test out how it was feeling, and it became apparent to me that if I ran 13.1 miles I would likely end up in worse shape than when I first got hurt. That’s when I came to realize that my half-marathon dreams were not going to come true. Not this time anyway. I have no idea when I will be able to run again. My body is resistant to healing and demanding rest right now, so that’s what I’m going to give it. 

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Whole30 Thick and Smoky BBQ Sauce

I haven’t really mentioned it, but Mark and I are in the middle (literally, day 16!) of another round of Whole30! We jumped on the September Whole30 bandwagon just two days after arriving back in Newfoundland. Starting immediately really sets the stage for making good choices through the rest of our time here. This Whole30 has been fairly similar to last one… that is, it has been easy. Now, this comes after four other not-so-easy Whole30s (and several more unsuccessful attempts), so if you are rolling your eyes at me as you struggle to forgo the bread, trust me when I say, I’ve been there! At this point though, it is much more natural. Honestly, I think life after Whole30 is much harder than doing the actual 30 days. So perhaps that will be my next goal… dealing with things better in life after.

So Mark and I have gone wild for these BBQ Bacon Onion Bombs from Fed and Fit and have been making them regularly. After starting our Whole30 though, we’ve had to tweak them a bit to make them compliant. First we had to ditch the bacon, because compliant bacon does not exist in Newfoundland (I still check every time at the grocery store though… you never know…) Then we had to come up with a compliant barbeque sauce. That is another very tricky thing to find, so I just decided to make my own! 

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Now, I’m typically a sweet barbeque sauce kind of gal, and unfortunately that is a bit hard to achieve when you’re cutting out sugar. Luckily I was able to add a touch of sweetness using dates and I think I made up for the rest by adding in delicious smoky hint, thanks to smoked paprika and chipotle chili powder. I hope you enjoy it too!

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Whole30 Thick and Smoky BBQ Sauce
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: ~3 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • ¾ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tbls ghee
  • 4 large pitted dates
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1½ tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp all-spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Begin by placing the dates in a small bowl or cup and covering with ½ cup very hot water. Cover the dish with a lid, allowing the dates to soak for 10 minutes.
  2. While the dates are soaking, add the remaining ingredients to a medium sauce pan under medium heat. Whisk the ingredients together then bring to a simmer.
  3. After the dates have finished soaking, the outer skin should have started to separate from the date. Peel this off. You do not have to get every last bit, but getting most of the skin helps contribute to a smooth consistency once they are blended.
  4. After peeling, place dates and the water they were soaked in in a blender and blend on high until a smooth, pourable paste forms. More water may be added as needed.
  5. Transfer this date paste to the sauce simmering on the stovetop and combine.
  6. The sauce can be used immediately, or it can be cooled and placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator for future use.

 

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Small Steps to Sustainability: Personal Hygiene

I talk a lot about food on here. I love food. Talking about it, making it, eating it… it all makes me happy. But as it turns out, there are a few things other than food that are worth my attention. Once I started paying attention to what I was putting into my body and how the food I purchase affects my community, the environment, and the world, I started thinking about what I put ON my body too. It’s been a real eye-opening journey realizing how many hundreds of toxic chemicals are in a basic body care products. These toxins are not only absorbed directly into our body, but also make their way into the environment when we wash them down the sink or throw away that mostly empty bottle of shampoo. 

I’m still working on making changes to less harmful products, but I thought I would share some of the basic personal hygiene areas where I have made changes and the products that I use and love! And if you looking for more information check out the Environmental Working Group’s consumer guides, especially their Skin Deep database, which allows you to search different products to see how safe they are!

Soap/Body Wash

drbronners

Dr. Bronner’s is my all-time favourite soap. I use it as a body wash and for shaving, but it can be used a million other ways (like as shampoo or as a veggie wash). The ingredients are completely natural, with most of them being organic and fair-trade. I feel good using it knowing it’s less harmful to the environment, to those that grow the ingredients, and to my own body. And it actually works really well! Another bonus is the bottle is made from recycled plastic. My favourite scents are peppermint and lavender!

Deodorant

primalpitpaste

Pretty much every conventional antiperspirant or deodorant you can find on you local grocery store’s shelves are chock full of bad stuff, like aluminum, parabens (estrogen mimickers), and triclosan. Antiperspirants of any kind are not the best for you, because sweating is a actually good thing– expelling toxins, cleaning pores, and maintaining optimal body temperature. I’m not looking to mess up the good thing my body has going, so I just stay away from antiperspirants unless I have a big presentation or a job interview.

That leaves me with natural deodorants. I’ve tried quite a few, and most of them didn’t work. That was until I found Primal Pit Paste! I used it all summer, where I worked outside on a farm in 90+ degree heat, and I didn’t send anyone running from my stench. It does take a little time to get used to natural deodorants, and sometimes there is even a short period where you seem to sweat more and stink worse. But if you just hang in there, it’s worth it! Lavender and Jasmine are my favourite Primal Pit Paste scents so far. I have used both the stick and the paste, and I like them both equally, but the stick is a lot more convenient for travel.

Shampoo/Conditioner

jasonshampoo

I tried going totally crunchy and did the no-poo method, using a baking soda wash and apple cider vinegar rinse, for about 5 months. It actually worked quite well, but my hair just didn’t feel as soft or have as much body. So I switched back to store-bought shampoos and conditioners. Instead of going back to Dove or Herbal Essence, I sought out a more natural formula, especially one without parabens and phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors (they mess with your natural hormone system!) Currently, I’m using the Jason line of products and I’m quite happy with it. I have also used Hugo Naturals with success! These brands are typically easy to find and don’t break the bank. 

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Grain-Free Chocolate Covered Espresso Bean Banana Bread

I’m baaaaack! I’ve spent the past two weeks, packing, traveling, then unpacking as Mark and I made the long journey from Kentucky to Newfoundland. The trip itself took 4 full days of driving, plus one overnight ferry ride, but thankfully it is over and we are all moved into our new apartment! I’m pretty excited about our apartment for a few reasons. We lived in a 10×10 room all summer and shared a kitchen and bath with roommates, so this is our first real home together as newlyweds! It’s also in a beautiful neighbourhood and has a large backyard that backs up to a river. Even better, our upstairs neighbours seem to be fairly normal, respectable people, which is a far cry from my previous upstairs neighbours who I’m 99% sure went bowling down their hallway between 11pm and 2am every night. So overall, I’m pretty happy about our current situation.

Unfortunately it is sooooo cold here. We went from temps in the 90s in Kentucky, to the 40s here. It could be worse, I suppose, because at least the wind isn’t blowing 100 km/h (though I know it won’t be long before I get to experience that!). Ah well… as it is my last year in Newfoundland, I am determined to enjoy it– bad weather and all.

On to Chocolate Covered Espresso Bean Banana Bread. Well now that’s a mouthful! Of deliciousness. One night when I was chewing on a banana and Mark was eating some chocolate covered espresso beans, I decided to try the two together. It was pretty awesome, and because I had just gotten a giant bag of cassava flour, I knew I needed to turn it into a banana bread! Guys, if you have never used cassava flour, it will change your grain-free lives! This is the brand I use, and so far I’m pretty happy with it’s texture and taste. I’ve never been wild about the results I get with grain-free baking, but this tastes and feels like the real deal! I used chocolate-covered espresso beans from Trader Joe’s, which have a fairly clean ingredient list. 

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Chocolate Covered Espresso Bean Banana Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cassava flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup chocolate covered espresso beans
  • Wet Ingredients:
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ coconut oil (softened)
  • ¾ cup reduced fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Add the lemon juice to the coconut milk and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. While the coconut milk sits, mash the bananas in a medium bowl until smooth.
  4. Add the coconut milk and remaining wet ingredients (coconut sugar, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla extract) to the bananas and mix well, stirring for 5 minutes.
  5. Mix the dry ingredients (cassava flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, espresso beans) in a separate medium bowl.
  6. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until well combined.
  7. Pour the batter into a lightly greased or parchment paper lined 8"x4" loaf pan.
  8. Bake for ~1 hour.
  9. Once removed from the oven, allow the bread to cool for 15 min, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Eat a slice slathered in butter!

 

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