You know when you have so much going on that you feel like you’re just barreling through the day to get things done, but with no particular plan in mind, all you’re doing is keeping things going? That’s how I’ve felt for the last few months, maybe even years…But most of all this summer. This summer has been straight-up bananas.
But I’m committing to getting things back on track, and I’ve teamed up with SodaStream to help me do just that — both with hydration, naturally, given it’s SodaStream, but I see it all as being tied into making life easier. To help me do that, for the month of August, SodaStream has hooked me up with a healthy meal plan all month long from Eat Train Live. You probably know that I adore eating and while I do like to cook, when I’m cramming cooking into a hectic day and then have a pile of dishes to wash afterwards, it causes me more stress than anything else. So for this one glorious month, my lunches and dinners are from Eat Train Live (I still make my own breakfasts), and I can then spend just a little time making a bevvie with my SodaStream Power so I can be well hydrated.
I’m about two weeks into my Eat Train Live program and I am a fan: almost all of the meals are very flavourful (one chicken dish I found a bit bland, and I will say there is at least one or two salmon dishes a week, which is not my fave fish). Meal so far included Asian Beef with vermicelli and zucchini slaw, baked chicken with brown rice and broccoli, and 5-spice steak with vegetable fried rice. I must find out how they prep their chicken as it is always juicy (I think they must brine it — I’ve had success with that but am usually much too lazy to add this step!). The meals often feature sweet potatoes, which I feel I may grow tired of, but thus far, the meals are quite varied so I’m not bored. And while they might appear on the small side, I find each meal extremely filling. Seriously filling. I’m satiated for hours. In fact, so much so that this makes me think my diet was too low on protein before this meal plan (I do feel like I’ve never had more chicken and steak regularly ever!) as I feel full pretty much always (and sometimes I find it hard to finish each meal).
Besides being tasty and filling, it’s the convenience of a well-made balanced meal. I honestly get a little giddy each time it’s time to eat and I have all of these well-rounded meals ready in two minutes. It’s given me time to reclaim some time for me. Which I need because I think I forgot that I have no time and added needing to swim regularly because I am maybe doing a try a tri in September (I say maybe because I may panic and back out!).
As for how I’m hydrating with the SodaStream? Well, a bit of background: Although I gave up my habit of keeping a supply of soft drinks at home a few years ago, I do occasionally buy a single one to satisfy a craving (I grew up drinking pop and well, sometimes I just really want a soft drink!). But with my SodaStream Power, it provides me with the bubbles I love, but I can control what’s going into my fizzy drink and I can control how much sugar is in it. Thus far, to go with the meals, I’m keeping things pretty clean and crisp and am adding just add a slice of lime or lemon. Most of the Eat Train Live meals come with a wedge of citrus so I like that my water doesn’t interfere with the flavours of the food. I will start experimenting more though over the next few weeks, though.
The SodaStream Power will be yet another tool to help me hydrate more (I have an arsenal of water bottles, too), which I know is key to my health and fitness. I realized once again how much less I hydrate than others on my recent week-long sailing trip to Greece, during which the other five guests guzzled (well, to me it was guzzling, it was likely a normal human level of hydration…) water every few minutes. I’d bet money I drank at most a single two-litre bottle the entire week. Hydrating regularly (except for when I’m actually running) just hasn’t yet become a habit for me yet.
I’ll be posting about my SodaStream get-back-on-track regimen on Instagram and Twitter in the coming weeks. If you have any recos on how I should flavour my fizzy water, please do drop me a line! Next up is cucumber, and I think I need to do something with peaches…
August 19, 2016
A few weeks ago, I had to opportunity to escape to Langdon Hall (where I’ve been absolutely dying to visit — and it did not disappoint) with one of my friends as guests of Depend. Yes, that Depend, as in the bladder leakage products. We were there as Depend has just launched their new Fit-Flex Underwear, breathable, soft and flexible — which allows men and women who suffer from leakage to reconnect with their lives — getting back to the loved ones and activities they may have been avoiding due to being leaky.
I’d been invited by the brand and encouraged to bring along a friend who suffers from UI (aka urinary incontinence) but I don’t know anyone who does (or maybe I do and just don’t know it…loads of people keep this private since they feel embarrassed about it), so I ended up inviting my friend and running buddy, Shawna. UI is actually pretty common, affecting nearly 10 percent of the Canadian population. Something I learned: there’s not just one type of UI: stress incontinence (when pressure is exerted on the bladder, like when you’re laughing, for example), urge incontinence (the sudden urge to go, followed by leakage), mixed (a mix of stress and urge), overflow (the constant dribble of pee), functional (the inability to make it to the toilet in time), and total (the total and continuous loss of urinary control).
I can see why many people would be embarrassed to share that they suffer from leakage but I think being more open and upfront about it could make it better. When my friend and I arrived at Langdon Hall, we and all of the other guests at the getaway with Depend were asked to take part in an experiment — putting on cold, wet shoes as we ate lunch — which helped illustrate in a way how uncomfortable and distracting it could be to be suffer from bladder leakage.
Throughout the lunch, Kelowna-based motivational speaker Linda Edgecombe (who was very funny and who I actually found motivational — I can have a low tolerance for a certain style of that motivational-type talk) spoke to us about reclaiming and reconnecting your life and much of it resonated with many of us. I think it’s a good refresher or eye opener for everyone. The points I thought were most valuable:
Get off the busy train. In this day and age we thrive on being so, so busy. We create this cycle of having so much on the go — I’m super guilty of this — and it doesn’t have to be this way. I’m regularly reminding myself to take a step back and slow it down lately. Being so busy shouldn’t be a badge of honour many of us treat it as.
Ask yourself how old your stories are. And if they’re old, create new ones. When is the last time you tried something new, Linda asked us. If your stories are old, it’s time to get some new ones. As in get out there and live! I’d like to think I’m pretty good at trying new things (you can hardly travel as much as I do and not try new things but I also try to aim to do that while at home, too, even if it’s just trying a new restaurant or workout) so I wasn’t worried about this one for me. Although I perhaps try too many things (see point #1 about our culture of busy-ness — guilty as charged).
Get moving. Fitness activities will help boost you mentally and physically and help make you feel more confident. While at this reconnection getaway, we did an awesome yoga class facing the property’s garden. My friend and I also put this tip in action by riding the fat bikes on the 5k trail, which coincidentally is also trying something new (I’d only ever fat biked before in the snow in Michigan). I couldn’t even get started and was actually pretty scared of hurting myself, but I switched to one with a smaller frame and everything was A-OK. I try to keep active in day to day life, too, of course. It’s hard some days, but I feel too sloth-like and heavy when I don’t, and I always remind myself that running helped me get through one of the toughest times of my life six years ago, so if anything, that’ll always be proof for me personally that it’s worth it.
It was enlightening to learn more about how life can be impacted by UI (several people spoke freely about their experience during the session) , and of course, it was incredible to stay at Langdon Hall (Shawna and I lounged by the pool and just enjoyed the gorgeous property as long as we could and were very sad to leave to head back to the city), but we left with inspiration to be more connected with our lives. And that more than anything was the most key thing we took away from this.
August 10, 2016
I had so much fun at WayHome Music & Arts Festival last year that I made sure to get tickets early to this year’s fest, which took place about two weeks ago.
And while I bought tickets months ago, the rest of the trip came together last minute: I’d booked a bed and breakfast near Burl’s Creek (because I just don’t think I’m cut out for music fest camping!) but I had my heart set on Forks in the Trail, which is where we stayed last year but it was all booked when I tried to reserve. But lucky for us, a room opened up about a week prior, huzzah! Tricia and Doug are lovely hosts, the breakfasts are ample and delicious (these pancakes were fluffy and filling, important when fueling for many hours at the fest!), and there’s the gorgeous pool to relax at all morning before driving the 20 minutes to WayHome.
A few days before WayHome, I also was able to firm up test-driving a Chevy Cruze from GM to get us to the Oro-Medonte. I’ve driven one before (in Nashville in April; you can read about that trip here) but my drive time there was brief so it was good to get more time behind the wheel of a Cruze.
The Cruze feels small enough that it doesn’t feel like I’m taking up a ton of room on the road but yet not so small that it’s intimidating to be driving alongside big trucks (I find when in some very tiny cars you can feel like the big cars will take you out!). There’s plenty of space so it’s definitely comfortable in terms of leg room; we were only two people in the car but if I’d been able to drive up other folks to the fest, there was plenty of space for both more passengers and bags. And that’s even with me packing way too many clothes (yes, I manage to over-pack still despite how regularly I travel).
As always, one of my fave features is the wifi in the car. Although I didn’t get to use it much as the designated driver, it gives me peace of mind to have it. There’s also a spot to place your cell phone (and if you’re like me, your smartphone is your most important tool!), so it’s tucked there safely (there’s wireless charging too, except I personally don’t have the type of battery to use it). With Apple Carplay, my iPhone’s maps, music, messages and phone were easily connected to the vehicle. If I’d had time before our road trip, I could’ve loaded my iTunes with the Killers, Major Lazer, Haim and Beirut to get us excited for the weekend of music to come.
Features I also appreciate? Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist (although I certainly don’t rely on it, I like knowing the car has his feature especially on trip’s like this one where I’m the only driver and I may be tired), and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, to name just a few. Again, it’s of course important to practice good, safe driving, but having these features to help us be extra safe when driving is helpful and a comfort, especially for someone like me who isn’t driving very regularly.
The Cruze helped us find our WayHome (and our way home, get it? OK, bad joke) smoothly and safely (and in this brilliant blue, it made it easy to find in the fest’s parking lot).
And there’s more finding new roads coming soon! Later this week, I’ll be Cruze-ing again as I’m doing another road-trip adventure with a Chevy Cruze! Follow on Instagram and Snapchat (my profile is healthswellness) to find out more on Thursday!
August 9, 2016