Healthy Swellness: Making sleep a priority

Endy - Product Shot

Although I’ve gone through periods of insomnia, for the most part, I”m a pretty good sleeper. I fall asleep quickly, and generally stay asleep through the night. My main issue is that I don’t make sleep a priority. I’m naturally a night owl and spoke to sleep experts a couple of years ago about this, and one doctor noted that my main problem is just not valuing sleep enough.

And he is right about that. I always see more things to get done on my to-do list, or there’s another TV show I want to watch, or maybe there’s something super, super important someone posted on Instagram that I must see ASAP (PSA: there never is). And yet I continue to struggle with making sleep a priority, and that’s even knowing that my body needs that downtime to recuperate. Knowing that it’d help with my running. And knowing it’d help me feel refreshed for the day instead of like I need an IV of coffee to get me feeling human.

And so, this year I’m looking to make sleep more of a priority. Self care is so important and I need to make that my focus. My goal is to get a good eight-hours of sleep a night, on a regular schedule. This will not be an easy task; I’ve been struggling with this ever since writing that article about being a night owl.

But I’m going to approach it with a plan now. I’m going to set an alarm to remind me to start winding my night down with taking Billie Jean for her evening walk, doing my nighttime beauty routine, etc. And I’m going to make my bedroom a sleeping haven with a new mattress and pillows. My current mattress is probably about a decade old and there’s definitely at least one spring out of place.

To replace it, I’m welcoming an Endy mattress and pillows into my home. Why Endy? To start, I like that there’s a 100-day trial period; I’ve always found it hard to judge from a quick lie-down in a store. This Canadian company (another selling point!) also features three layers of foam, which I hear are medium firm (I tend to prefer a decent level of firmness). Another standout feature? I run really warm; I’m not a furnace like I used to be (that was thanks to my overactive thyroid) but still warmer than most folks.So Endy’s top layer, infused with cooling gel, is designed to release body heat. Plus, its foam is non-temperature-sensitive—so while other foam mattresses sink in the summer and feel like a rock in the winter, Endy retains the same firmness year-round.

Stay tuned for updates on how it goes with my new soon-to-arrive Endy and whether I become the sleeping beauty I aim to become.

The Sleep Shirt_BlueOx_ShortSleepShirt_HangerFrontOpen

Also, this probably calls for some cute new pyjamas, too, don’t you think? I’ve been coveting the Sleep Shirt for more than a  year now…

Disclosure: I am an Endy partner and am receiving Endy products for review.

1 Comment January 22, 2018

Fitness Swellness: Sweat for Good at the YMCA GTA

Sweat for Good 2

Well, this year’s off to a fun start! I’ve been trying to make an effort to try more new things, such as the crystals 101 session I attended the other night, and now I just got to participate in the breaking of a Guinness World Record!

How fun is that?! Yesterday at the YMCA, I was one of the 454 participants in the world’s largest exercise ball class, and we broke the record by merely one person! The energy in the room was great and the half-hour class flew by. We were lead by none other than Eva Redpath, who I’ve known for some while now, and as always she made it an engaging workout that had us all bouncing, lifting and sweating it out early in the morning. I expected nothing less when I heard she was leading the class.

Sweat for Good towel and bottle

 

Why the attempt at breaking the world record? We were there as part of the YMCA GTA’s Sweat for Good campaign. No matter where and how you exercise, we all sweat. Same same, right? But when you exercise at the YMCA, you sweat for good. The YMCA GTA offers programs and services dedicated to the physical, mental and social health of Torontonians of all ages. And by choosing to make the YMCA GTA your gym, you become a part of this community that helps strengthen Toronto as a vibrant, healthy society.

YMCA running track

Although I haven’t had a gym membership in a while (I typically run outside and then mix in a variety of other workouts here and there), I do have really fond memories of the YMCA. I used to go swimming as a kid there, and I remember meeting up with friends every weekend to walk there and the smell of chlorine always takes me right back to those fun times in the pool. I remember we would also use the sauna afterwards, just to warm up afterwards (I bet that the women weren’t too fond of us kids in there now that I think about it, but we were pretty well-behaved kids).

YMCA bike

I also took gymnastics and dance lessons at the Y. Practicing roundoffs and cartwheels and headstands on the mat, learning jazz ballet choreography—so much of my fun as a kid took place at the Y.

YMCA rowing

And having been to the YMCA a couple of times recently, I love seeing that it’s still thriving with members of all ages. It’s easy to see why, though; the facilities are top notch. From the wide variety of gym equipment to the awesome running track (although I think it was the badminton players I saw in the gym that was most envious of—so fun!), to sweat for good in such a welcoming community is a great thing.

Sweat for Good 1

 

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1 Comment January 12, 2018

Foodie Swellness: The ultimate hibernation meal, homemade “Hamburger Helper”

Homemade hamburger helper

Is this dish full of veggies and fibre? Nope. Paleo? Nuh-uh. A rainbow of ingredients chockfull of vitamins and minerals? Not really. It’s pretty beige. But sometimes, like when it’s colder than -30C out and a bomb cyclone is hitting the east coast, you just crave plain old comfort food.

I didn’t grow up eating Hamburger Helper. I actually am not sure if I’ve ever had it. I have always thought it looks delicious in commercials, though. Meaty, creamy, carby. So I suppose I should state that I am not sure if this tastes at all like the boxed HH.

In any case, my recipe is inspired by this one from Dinner Then Dessert, except I added milk to make it creamier and some spices. And the result is everything I wanted for my winter dinner (warm and hearty), eaten tucked under a blanket all cozy, while watching The Mindy Project. It’s the ultimate winter hibernation meal.

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Homemade Hamburger Helper

  • 1 pound large elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (depending on how cheesy you want it!)
  1. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, brown the beef in a large skillet.  Remove beef from skillet.
  3. Add butter to the beef fat in the skillet and saute onion and bell pepper for about five minutes.
  4. Add beef back to the skillet.
  5. In a bowl, mix the beef broth, milk and cornstarch together.
  6. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika and beef broth mixture into the skillet.
  7. Cook about three minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
  8. Add the macaroni to the skillet and mix together gently.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in grated mozzarella.

I’d love to hear from HH fans if this is at all what the boxed variety tastes like. I like the idea of making it from scratch versus using the powdered ingredients and am so pleased with this stick-to-your-hones results of this meal. I rounded out my dinner with a glass of Cabernet but a nice crisp green salad would be a nice side (I just didn’t have anything for a salad in my refrigerator at the time).

Happy hibernating!

4 Comments January 5, 2018

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