Sunday, 17 July 2011

The dog days of summer

Yesterday my son and I went for a walk in the Rouge Valley with a friend of ours. Amazing trail! Lots of hills. And it was great being in the woods. I swear the temperature dropped at least 5 degrees just walking under the trees. I definitely want to go back there for a walk.

We went swimming afterward but I got tuckered out and hungry pretty quickly. I figured it was because I donated blood directly before our hike through the Rouge.

Today has been HOT! I didn't get anything done exercise wise other than rearrange our kitchen (including moving the fridge). I'd been thinking of heading out for a walk after breakfast but it was 29C at 10am this morning with a humidex of 35C. Walked out on my balcony to have a breath of cool morning air and, nothing but heat. I'm going to bed early tonight though and heading out for a walk first thing tomorrow when it's not *quite* as hot.

Just looked at The Weather Network and it's calling for a drop in temperature first thing tomorrow (woo hoo) and thunderstorms. Maybe I'll be lucky and there'll be thunderstorms bright and early (or would that be dark and early?) and it'll clear up right after breakfast for my walk.

I went grocery shopping this morning and bought a club pack of no name cream bars. Each bar is 60 calories for a good sized bar and they're yummy too. I also bought a clamshell package of fresh Ontario cherries and had a bowl with dinner.

Wish me luck with my morning walk!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Dave's Strawberry Gelato

Last week we went strawberry picking and I came home with a whole bucket of yummy fresh strawberries. At the end of June we had our final church service for the summer (yes, our church closes for summer vacation LOL) and at the after service potluck one of the members brought homemade strawberry gelato. When I came home with our strawberries I decided that was what I was going to make.

Now we've bought gelato at the grocery store several times and each time I've been thrilled with how little fat and calories there were. So you can imagine my surprise when googling "strawberry gelato recipes" brought back loads of recipes calling for either cups of cream or 6 egg yolks.

I emailed the person who brought the homemade gelato in the first place and got his recipe. Short, sweet, and easy to make. Now I'm sharing it with you :o)

Dave's Strawberry Gelato

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3 cups washed, mashed strawberries

Simmer water and sugar in a saucepan, stirring until sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat, add mashed strawberries, and chill in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream freezer and process according to the manufacturer's instructions.

If you do not have an ice cream freezer, pour the mixture into a shallow pan. A large glass casserole dish works well. Place the pan into the freezer. Every couple of hours, take the pan out of the freezer and use a fork to scrape through the hardening mixture. The purpose of this is to introduce air as it freezes to keep it from forming a solid block of ice.

If it is hard coming out of the freezer, allow it to sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to soften before serving.

When I made the gelato I cut the sugar down by half a cup and it worked just fine. I also cheated and chucked the strawberries into a blender instead of mashing them. I've got leftover pureed strawberries sitting in the fridge that are going to get added to banana muffins soon.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Water retention

I don't think I've retained this much water since I was 9 months pregnant! By bedtime my shins and toes are tight and sore. I bounced up to 176lbs a few days ago and just keep sitting there.

I did some googling today and discovered this:

In the summer, body weight can go up by several pounds due to increased body water. This is accomplished through fluid-conserving hormones such as aldosterone, which allows the kidney to retain more fluid and reduces the amount of salt in sweat, a measure that also aids in water retention. The increase and stabilization of total body water can only be accomplished by continuing to exercise in hot weather and will not occur in people who spend most of their time indoors in air-conditioned environments.

Which makes sense. I have been continuing to exercise and spend very little time in air conditioning. I'm going to keep my feet up this afternoon (and continue drinking water when thirsty... which is often LOL) and I'm going to walk in the evening when it starts to cool down a bit.

I'm figuring when the humidity drops I'm going to have a sudden, rapid weight loss.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Sunshine Days

On the mornings I'm off to work I invariably get there and think "it would be so nice to go for a walk right now". Everything looks so fresh and clean in the morning sunshine. This morning I woke up at 7am on the dot and decided today was the day I'd go for my walk. I got ready quickly, worked out with the Wii and ran out to catch the 8am bus. It was a lovely walk. I saw several bunnies and this industrious muskrat... swimming against the current with a bouquet of grass. I'm not sure if he or she was decorating a den with it or looking for a quiet place to enjoy breakfast.

After my walk we met up with my Mom and went berry picking for raspberries and strawberries. The raspberries were definitely the easiest of the two for picking... it's a toss up which were the tastiest. I'm currently looking for a strawberry gelato/sorbet recipe. One of the members of our church has a yummy one but when I googled for something similar, everything showed up with a cup of cream or 6 egg yolks. Searching for vegan strawberry gelato just turned the cream into soymilk. Healthier but not what I was looking for. I did find this recipe Strawberry Sorbet by Sunny Vegan and it looks good. I just need to sort out exactly how many berries are in two pounds. My scale is not that sensitive.

I found a really yummy salad dressing at Wal-Mart this week. It's 25 calories per serving (1tbsp) and is creamy with a slightly sweet taste and little mustard seeds. I've been topping my salads with a sprinkle of dill too. Note, when you look at the link, the nutritional facts are for 2tbsp of dressing instead of one. I spent ages looking around for the "right" dressing before noticing that LOL: Bolthouse Farms Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing.

And, this evening, we went back to the Y. I worked on the elliptical for 20 minutes while my son roamed around trying various pieces of equipment. His favourite is one he calls "the elevator". He kneels on it then pushes himself up and down against a stack of weights. Kid only weighs 130lbs and he's pushing against 110lbs and calling it fun! We swam afterward too, diving for pool rings and tossing a ball back and forth.

Tomorrow we're off to a friend's house for a barbecue and party. Should be fun!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

A good day today!

I woke up this morning and exercised with the Wii My Fitness Coach before breakfast only to discover it was my 200th workout with the program. Alas, there were no balloons or confetti. Maya (the computerized fitness coach) said nothing about the milestone. But I thought it was pretty neat and snapped a photo.

After breakfast I decided to go out for a walk. A couple of days ago my son and I headed out for a walk in the park across the street. It's a small park and a bit oddly designed. First you walk around a man-made pond on a gravel trail... which dead ends on a lawn. Walk east across the lawn and you hit a concrete trail and a bridge across the creek. Cross the bridge and walk south and you hit another small bridge then the trail goes in a loop through some woods. The loop can be walked in several minutes; this is not a big trail. If you go north the trail dead ends at a park and a parking lot. Go east across the lawn behind the park and you hit a chain link fence. Go north past that and there's a dirt trail (mostly used by local teens) that goes up and down a couple of hills and ends on top of a dirt cliff overlooking the creek.

It's possible to get a small but decent walk with both the trail and the walk to the cliff. My son and I got to the first bridge and discovered the town is doing repairs on the trail... right in front of the bridge. There was no way across and, as it was pushing 35C with the humidex, we ended up turning around and going home.

Today I decided I was going to take a walk on a trail the next town over, which meant taking the bus. I was standing, waiting for the bus (right beside the park) when I noticed a chill in the breeze. Looked up and clouds were building up in the west. This happened yesterday as well and we had a huge downpour. I hadn't wanted to end up at the back end of the hiking trail with no real shelter in the pouring rain so I decided to go to the local trail again. There is another way to access the park from the south end and walking through an empty lot by the creek. The bus I'd been waiting for came just as I was leaving the road, maybe three meters from the stop.

The trail started out lovely with flowers blooming along both sides. I looped around the path twice then headed toward the cliff trail. The first part of the trail was a bit weedy then I climbed the first hill and discovered it was really overgrown. I got past that and stared in dismay.

The trail is in the bottom middle of the picture. No, really there is a trail in there. And yes, I made it through.

Luckily it was only completely overgrown for a few meters. Of course I spent those meters waiting to be mobbed by every passing spider, waving a stick in front of me hoping to break any and all webs that might be covering what was the path.

The view from the top of the trail was pretty, as usual, but not worth wading through meters of weeds (and who knows how many spiders). This is a trail better saved for spring when the weeds are just sprouting and autumn when they're shriveling up. The other trails all have similar and lovely views... and don't require a machete to traverse them!

Then I came to the final reason I wasn't coming back to this trail any time soon...

That truck is on the east side of the bridge, the side I was walking on and the side they hadn't been working on. As you can see from the state of the path this is much needed work and I'm sure we'll appreciate it come autumn. But when I take my next walk (hopefully tomorrow) it'll be on the trail one town west of us. Ironically the clouds all blew north and we never got rain today.

At least now I know of three trails easily reached by local transit. Two summers ago, if the nearby trail had been closed I would have known of no other place to walk.

And tonight my son and I went to Boxfit. We're planning on hitting the Y again tomorrow night to work out in the exercise room and have a swim.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Bouncing between 173 and 176 pounds

I have been on the same plateau for about a year now. I bounced down to 170lbs last August for a few days and was really excited... then dipped down to 169lbs about a month or so ago and was thrilled. Of course that dip followed a nasty chest cold where I hadn't been exercising and had barely been eating for a week. I'd bounced back into the 170's by the next day.

This summer I am DETERMINED to break past this plateau and get into the 160's and below. There are so many yummy and nutritious foods at this time of year and plenty of opportunity for exercise.

Today we're going for an hour long hike along the Oshawa Creek Trail to Lakeview Park and having a late lunch picnic there. I'm packing a thermos of soup and a salad for me and a container of sliced fresh strawberries. It's a gorgeous walk and a lovely park.

My son's wanting to go to Dairy Queen on the way home and I'm leafing through the nutritional calculator and having a "holy crap" moment. My favourite dessert, the peanut buster parfait, has 710 calories and 31 grams of fat o.O and the dessert I picked as being more diet friendly, a small hot fudge sundae, has 300 calories and 10 grams of fat. Better than the peanut buster parfait for sure but not exactly diet friendly. I put back *treats* like that at NoFrills.

So far the best treat I've found there is a vanilla orange bar at 60 calories and 0.2 grams of fat. And if they don't have that treat then I'll get a vanilla child's cone at 170 calories and 4.5 grams of fat.

-------------> me heading off to enjoy summer :o)

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Super summer popsicles

One thing I enjoy doing in the summer is keeping a jug of water in the freezer. Not just a plain jug but one filled with slices of fresh fruit (lemon, lime, oranges, strawberries, whole fresh blueberries). It looks pretty in the fridge and tastes clean and refreshing. And, as you can see, makes yummy popsicles too.

I have no idea what the nutritional information is for these popsicles (or a glass of the water). Does it have any calories? I can't see there being enough to worry about. Does it have any nutrition? Judging from the colour and taste it's bound to have some. Either way they're yummy.

My son and I went out last night for Canada Day fireworks with friends. The fireworks were amazing...

... but we didn't get home until around midnight so that's turned into a slow start for the day. I am going to exercise with the My Fitness Coach and have plans of going for a good walk this evening.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Canada Day and is having a good day today too!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Life is a Journey

An overused metaphor no doubt, but one that's overused because it's so true. Life is a journey. You look forward to the experiences, make plans and goals, organize with other people. Sometimes you get the trip you were planning for but most of the time things happen you didn't expect. Maybe you were going to Vancouver and your luggage took an extended vacation in Gander. Maybe you had your heart set on a cruise only to have a hurricane foil your plans. You rearrange your plans and go on.

You've made a plan to drive to Disney World with your child. The car is packed with your clothes, snacks, passports, and ID. You've got hotel reservations and plenty of maps. Camera has several memory cards ready and waiting and plenty of fresh batteries. You are ready and looking forward to your journey and destination.

Driving through farm country, child's been quiet all morning. Then you hear it, a quiet cough and the words "I fink I'm going to frow up". Pull onto the side of the road, pull child out of the car seat and car and hurry to the edge of the field until said child is done. As you're cleaning off child's face you hear your car pull away. All your ID's inside, even your cellphone is tucked away under the stereo. All you have is you, a crying small child, and a wad of dirty kleenexes.

Was this the journey you planned? No way! Now you're stuck in some place you've never heard of (too small to even get on your maps). You're going to meet people who are genuinely helpful and you're going to meet people who look at you with disdain because they would *never* be in your situation. They'd always have their ID on them. They'd have taken the time (with a retching child no less) to turn off the car, take out the keys, and lock the doors behind them. And you bite your tongue knowing you have realized how unrealistic *never* is. Knowing that someday their *never* will happen to them too.

And then, it's up to you. Do you know what's going to happen next? Will you find your car? Will it even work? Will you get to Disney World? All of that is currently out of your hands. You can either look at this as the worst trip of your life or you can look at it as an exciting new experience. Sure it's one you'd never have deliberately chosen but exciting none the less. You'll meet new people. You'll see places you'd have never visited. Maybe you'll make new friendships that will last for the rest of your life. You'd have never met them otherwise... and they wouldn't have become friends if you grumbled the whole time about how horrible it was to be stuck in the place they chose to live. Your journey has changed and it's up to you to make the best of it.

And that is life.