Taiwan Taiwan

Hello! It has been an awfully long time since I last posted something. It was difficult to finally get a somewhat stable internet access, but I don’t want to jinx it.  The past week was crazy busy. A brief recap before I go on to Taiwan.  With a few friends on Friday the 10th, I went to Taste of the Danforth. It is an annual festival in Toronto’s Greek town. I was told spanakopita or spinach phyllo pie was a signature that I could not  miss out on. Continue reading

Books Galore at the Biggest Bookstore

Happy Thursday! The weather is finally clearly up from all the humidity and the heat-alert frenzy. It is so crisp out today and it’s nice to have some gloominess hiding the scorching sun for a change. I have been home-bound since the beginning of the week scrambling together a major essay. Or should I say, procrastinating. Anyhow, I signed up for another 5k in August that will take place in Toronto. I was planning to participate in the Toronto Women’s 10k run prior to the notice but that can be left for another time.

This morning in class the A.C. was colder than usual. Has anyone else heard that decreased body temperature produces more melatonin, and better sleep? I was yawning until class the professor called it an end. In need of something steeeaming hot, I ventured to a new café. The atmosphere is so unique. I love the old-fashioned designs and the classiness.

Continue reading

The Goodlife 5k Marathon and The Larabar recipe

walking to the starting line

On the past Sunday I participated for my first race, the Goodlife 5k. I’m really hoping this will keep me motivated to be involved in more future races. Now, before going on there’s something that needs… begs to be clarified. Is it spelled: marathon or marthon? Maybe it’s Canadian…?

Marthon?

I woke up early and had some overnight oats with a banana for breakfast. I made sure to bring the larabars for a mid-morning snack. I ate it about an hour before the race. Just wanted to mention that Larabars use simple ingredients (no preservatives) , mainly dates. For that reason, it is super easy to make at home.

Here’s a bit about dates:

  • they are considered a super food because of fibre-rich, high vitamin and mineral content.
  • some components are:  natural oils, calcium, B vitamins, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, magnesium, carotenoids &  antioxidants, protein and more
  • they are good for constipation/ indigestion  and sugar cravings
Needless to say, they can be caloric when consumed in large amounts and they do have high sugar content (natural sugar). So…who’s up for Larabars 🙂
Homemade Larabar/ Energy bar
Makes about 3 bars
  • 7 medjool dates
  • 1/8 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • dash of cinnamon  or carob powder (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • about 1 tbsp honey or agave
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  1. Blend together oats, walnuts, almonds, salt and cinnamon.
  2. Remove pit from the dates and add them into the blender.
  3. Microwave honey and coconut oil. Add to blender.
  4. Line a container with plastic wrap, parchment paper or aluminium foil. Pack the batter in the container tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cutting.
    * Use more dates if you want a fudgier texture

Back to the Goodlife 5k. We got there a lot earlier and watched the marathoners and half-marathoners cross the finish lines.

We also took time to stretch and met Raymond who also participated in the 5k.

doing some pre-run yoga

It started at 12:00pm  beside the lake shore. It was a very nice view and definitely a part of the city I need to revisit. When we gathered at the starting line, it was exciting to be standing around so many other runners. The count-down gave me plenty of butterflies.

The anticipation of all the runners dispersing from the starting line had me running at a faster pace. I felt some cramping just before the 2.5k mark. After getting back on my usual pace and breathing deeper the cramp slowly went away. The run itself went by very fast.

The atmosphere established by the cheering spectators and all the volunteers helped a lot 🙂 I want to thank the random woman who screamed “RUN HELEN, RUN!” as we blasted off from the starting line. My watch told me that I finished in 31 minutes, but I’m going to have to check with the website’s results.

After the race, I had no appetite but still grabbed a chocolate milk protein drink, water and protein gummies. There was also a massaging tent with the students from The Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy giving out the services.  Surprise surprise, I jumped at the opportunity for a free massage and it felt great.

We found the Greek yogurt cart just before leaving. I grabbed the pomegranate flavour, yummy!

Goodies from the Expo

Besides the free samples from the Health Expo on Friday such as…

I was intrigued by the Bakd Bar and the proposed “freshly baked dessert” taste. I tried a bite of it, unmicrowaved. And spat it out… and tossed it. The taste was bland but overly sugary too. Sorry Bakd Bar 😦 not for me.

I’ve never tried Redbull and do not intend to. From what the ingredients show, the KickButt Ballz can probably top the energy drink. It tasted like the flavour Cappuccino( aka caffeine amped )and had a soft chewy interior. From the above, I think I only really enjoyed the Larabar. I’m still waiting for another time to try the Quaker bar. My Larabar recipe to share soon!

Other freebies included a magazine, Dove’s men hair wash and coupons. But these babies, I brought home from the exhibitors…

Nature bar flavours: Niagara Apple Country, Brazilian Nut Fiesta and Mediterranean Pistachio

The bars are a major hit 🙂 The Nature bars were 3 for $5.00 and the Fruit &Fruit were 2 for $3.00.  The amount of care that  Taste of Nature and Fruit&Fruit put into making their products  nutritiously healthy and safe is what I appreciate and look for in food products. For that reason, I didn’t mind spending some money to try them out.

Fruit & Fruit bars

The Fruit&Fruit is chewy and naturally sweet but is less flavourful. There are no preservatives or ingredients other than fruit or juice concentrates. Although I would prefer to eat fresh fruit ,  it is still a good product for  convenience and on-the-go commotions.

Today I participated in the GoodLife 5k run in Toronto. I had a blast and will share soon!

“Live it! Share it!” 2.5k run

The weather today is by far one of the best we’ve had in Toronto. This morning I participated in a 2.5 k walk/run fundraiser held by church. It was a little bit chilly when we started at 10 am  but it warmed up by noon.

We began with some stretching and a prayer from Pastor Joe.  That’s me, not stretching. The 2.5 k went by very quickly, I thought about going for another round but I was not motivated enough. I was one of the earlier ones who finished because most people chose to walk. While waiting for everyone to get back, enjoyed catching up with my friend Grace who is like an older sister to me. We were prepping the hot dog buns for the BBQ like robots.

hot dog bun station

One guy announced that he would run another 1 k for every $10 pledge. The donations totalled to $160 for him. Haha his friends even called him while he was still finishing up the extra 16 k just to make sure he didn’t pass out.

Meatball (the dog) and his family were there too.
Baby Jubilee, the dog rider

After the race, I went to the park washroom. Behind me in the photo is a frustrated mother with a daughter who just refused for all reasons to pee. The desperate excuses the girl used were senseless but way too funny.

It was a beautiful day to walk in the park.

Health Expo Toronto

Entrance to the Direct Energy centre

Did anybody else visit the  Health Expo in Toronto today? After picking up the race kit for Sunday’s 5k, I spent a few hours looking around.  The vendors were selling health, fitness and lifestyle products and services.

look at this amazing shirt!

Some included: sports wear, protein bars, energy foods, protein shakes, organic snacks and organic chocolate, energy water, and services for health check-ups.  I appreciated how friendly all the vendors were 🙂

ShaSha Co.
Fruit & Fruit bars
Giddy YoYo

 I was too distracted by the beautiful rainbow of chocolates, I didn’t even notice the cocoa butter beside the arrangement. The next time I see cocoa butter I will definitely pick up a package.

Lara Bar

I was filled up for lunch from the free samples offered. Thank you Health Expo, you fed me well 🙂 I did not eat a lot but the samples were very filling. I had a sample of: chocolate milk protein shake (a post workout drink), Lara bar, Oreo Protein Edge, Vi-Shake drink (protein shake that tasted like cake batter …yuck!), ShaSha Co. lemon snaps and ShaSha Co. gluten-free snacks, Genki bar (lentil based energy bar), Sunrise Soya smoked tofu (tasted like Gouda, yum!), O.N.E. coconut water and probably a few others I forgot by now. Although I’m not convinced by most protein shakes or energy drinks and the health claims they make, I listened to the incredible things the sales people had to share. Smile, nod, pretend to be amazed, then thank them and continue walking around 🙂

Friendly staff of Sunrise Soya

The highlights of the sampling included the smoked tofu, lara bar, ShaSha snacks and the Giddy YoYo organic raw chocolates. The vendors from the coconut water were so sweet and funny.  The tofu vendors were probably easiest ones to talk to and the woman at Giddy YoYo was so generous. She also had a very “organic beauty” that suited her products in a good way.

 I  listened in on was Brad King guest speaking about his topic “how to lose fat for life”. I was very interested in his science behind his topic and how the marketing of the food industry affects the health and eating habits.

Before leaving, I walked through the Giant Colon and learned about colon disease and cancers. The mushroom- looking growths are intestinal polyps that can develop to be cancerous.

I made a stop to the washroom before exiting the exhibition. On my way out,  a guest speaker for the late afternoon, Amanda Russell! I really like your workout videos!

I was digging the Lara Bar in apple flavour and popped 2 samples on my way home. Dinner was a light salad of half an avocado, cherry tomatoes, craisins, raisins and blueberries with lemon juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

My workout today was just walking. Tomorrow morning I will be going to a 2.5k walk/run fundraiser my church is holding at a local park. 2 more days until the 5k race! There are more goodies that I got from the exhibition which I will share a post tomorrow.