Wednesday, 30 December 2015

My 2016 Resolution

If you are on Facebook then you may have noticed their new-ish feature "On This Day". You may have noticed friends sharing those life altering moments from years before - engagements, marriages, births, races, whatever. And this December I found myself reviewing my own "On This Day" posts for fun (*and because I had some time off*).

With each day I started to recognize a consistent theme in my life during this time of year.

December marks the end of year; both on the calendar and for me personally, with my birthday. So I find I spend even more time than usual reflecting on the year that was and the year ahead.

As a self-proclaimed type-A-er, I love the feeling of a clean slate and fresh start. I often spend this time day-dreaming of the year ahead and making plans to ensure that this next year is my best year.

For a variety of reasons - well documented on this little blog - the past few years have tested me and my resolve.

So perhaps as a direct result of those challenges, I typically find myself scheming to create a "perfect" year. The sentiment that this next year is "going to be my year" is reoccurring. I said it in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

So the irony that I have not escaped a single one of the past four years unscathed is not lost on me.

And staring at this reoccurring but completely inaccurate theme, I have found myself wondering if the problem is not the hand I have been dealt, but rather my own perspective and expectations.

Perhaps it is all the yoga and meditation I have been doing lately, but I have found myself looking ahead with different expectations for 2016.

In the past, because of the challenges I have faced, I felt like a peaceful year was owed to me.

I felt like the struggles from the year before meant that the new year should be free of tears, sadness, and battles.

I expected life to go according to plan and for me to be able to tick off my life goals much the same way I tick off my to-do list.

If I worked for it, then I should achieve it.

But life is more nuanced than that.

And while it may sound cynical to some, I am not expecting perfection this year.

In fact, I am not even expecting the year ahead to be easy. There will likely be bumps and challenges this year as there are in every year.

Instead, this year I have gotten to a place where I understand the idea of perfection is not synonymous with life.

Life ebbs and flows.
More and more I have grown comfortable riding those waves.

There are moments of complete bliss and happiness, mixed with moments of devastating sadness, and there are a million simple ordinary moments in between,

That is what life looks like.

And that is the life that I am embracing for 2016.

As always I hope for a year where the moments of bliss outweigh the moments of sadness. But this year I recognize the peace I am searching for does not come from a life that is free of struggles and challenges. It comes from within.

So in 2016 I am simply seeking a grateful heart and peaceful mind.
The rest will unfold as it may.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Friday, 18 December 2015

A Year of Running 2015

For the past few years I have linked up with Miss Zippy for the year end review, and this year it is being hosted by Courtney.

I gave some thought to skipping this blog post this year. Because when I think about running is 2015, I think of it as an After Thought. In the past my running and racing goals have been at the forefront of my mind. Usually by this time I am coming up with new plans to strive for PRs, dreaming of big distances, and putting together a race schedule for the coming year.

This year, I started 2015 recovering from surgery #7, and then promptly switched my focus toward career and family. So running and racing took a backseat.

And as I continue to be gentle with my body with my hopes of a rainbow baby as my primary focus, there are no race plans in place for year ahead.

But reviewing the past year has reminded me that even when I slow down and shift focus - running and racing is always there.

I some how managed to run 7 races this year, including 1 triathlon, and I provide support at 2 other events. I have to be honest, that number surprised me. But it is also shows what an important and constant place running has in my life. It has become a trusty companion.

Best Race Experience:
I think this one has to be my Spontaneous Triathlon at Challenge St. Andrews. I signed up the day before. I had no wetsuit. I borrowed a bike and a helmet. And I basically just winged the whole thing, but had a great time! Often those races that you sign up for just for fun with no expectations are the best possible experience, and this one was no exception.
I often struggle to embrace my defective body. After so many surgeries and our recent loss, the things I lack tend to be the things that come to mind first. So being able to just jump in a Triathlon with unknown/minimal equipment and finish in 1:48:24 was definitely a welcome reminder that my body is strong and capable. Even if I can't always see it.

Best Run:
 
So this was actually not one of my races, instead it was the Toronto Women's Half Marathon. I was there to provide race support to the ladies on course. I covered 17km running with women over the final 5km of their half marathon. For me what was so amazing about the day and the event itself, is that at its very core, it was about Women Supporting Women. We chatted, we cheered, we laughed, we cried, and we ran. It was a living breathing example of why I love this sport so much.

It reminded me that Sport goes so much deeper than speed, distance, or PRs. Sport is a lesson in strength, determination, and the true definition of health. Sport creates a community of positive supportive people all working together to get stronger and be healthier. And Sport teaches us to love ourselves and our bodies for what it can do, not what it looks like. It reminded me why I do this.

Best New Piece of Running Gear:
I have struggled a little bit with shoes this year. I was in love with the Mizuno's Sayonaras, but with the update this year, the new model wasn't quite what I was looking for. So I have switched to the Wave Riders - and I really like them!

Best Running Advice You Have Received this Year:
Trust Your Training and your Fitness will come back faster than you think.
Rebuilding after my surgery and coming back to running after my miscarriage has shown me how quickly your fitness comes back. The rebuilding process can be discouraging, but if you put the time into training, your body will do what you are asking it to. You just have to trust the process.

Favourite Picture from a Run or Race this Year:
I think it has to be this fall running picture. I remember this run being so peaceful. The weather was perfect. I paused half way to simply breathe and just be. And I felt like I was finally starting to find a healing place within my training.

Race Experience You Would Repeat in a Heartbeat:
This one stumped me for a little bit. But I ultimately decided I had to pick the Mississauga Half. With just 11 weeks of training following surgery #7 - I don't think I could have asked for a better race experience.

It wasn't a PR. I was not definitely not in the best shape I have ever been in. But I ran strong and I finished smiling. So I would repeat that experience any day of the week.

If You Could Sum up Your Year in a Couple of Words What Would They Be?
Running - a constant companion
For me running is always there. Sometimes at the forefront with hard training and ambitious times. At other times as just a space to clear my head and bring peace to my heart. Either way, running is something that will always be a part of me and my life.

How was your year?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten
 

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Christmas Cookie Recipe Bonanza


I don't know what Christmas is like around your house, but at my house it tends to be quite busy. And this year is no exception. My sister comes home this Saturday, and just like that Christmas begins. We are heading to the Christmas Pantomime on Saturday night. We have a Christmas Dinner with Jamie's extended family Sunday. I am working Monday and Tuesday. And then our full-on Christmas activities begin.

This year I am hosting a family dinner on the 28th and we are also hosting a group of our friends on New Years Eve. So I spent this weekend getting myself organized. I ordered my roast from the butcher and put together my menu and grocery list for each one. I also spent the bulk of the weekend baking. I made myself a little Christmas Cookie stock pile in the freezer so we are ready for entertaining.

I did a mix of gluten-free and gluten-y recipes, mostly because I wasn't convinced my gluten-free attempts would turn out.

Being gluten-free this year has meant I have had to rethink some of my typical Christmas Comfort Foods, but so far it all seems to be coming together quite nicely. My gluten-free baking was a complete success. So I wanted to share the recipes I used this weekend.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread
Gingerbread is my Christmas Must. My family knows I basically exist solely on Gingerbread and Peanut Butter Balls from December 25-28th. So when I went gluten-free, this was a primary concern for me. How would I be able to achieve my gingerbread quotient for this year. I inevitably went to Pinterest to solve this problem.
 

And I found This Recipe from Gluten-Free on a Shoe String. (<--- click here to see full recipe)


It is AMAZING! You would never know the cookies are gluten-free. And they have a soft/chewy texture which is hard to come by in the gluten-free world. I definitely recommend this one if you are looking for a delicious GF recipe.

Triple Chocolate Reindeer Bites
I saw this idea in Canadian Living and thought they looked so cute. So I modified them to make them gluten-free.

1 box of Glutino Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
2 bags of Glutino Chocolate Covered Pretzels
6 squares of semi-sweet chocolate (melted in a double boil)
48 Candy Eyes
24 chocolate covered cranberries
red icing


1. Mix up the Glutino Brownie mix, scoop into mini muffin tin, and bake at 350 for 20 min.
2. Melt semi-sweet chocolate in a double boil
3. Cut several pretzels in half for antlers
4. Dip 1 pretzel in melted chocolate, fix to bottom of brownie, dip top of brownie in chocolate, add cranberry as nose, 2 pretzel antlers, and 2 candy eyes.
5. Hold each piece until the chocolate starts to harden. Add red dab of icing for nose. And put finished product in the fridge to firm up.

Peppermint Bark
This one is always a classic. And chocolate is gluten-free! I have shared this recipe before.

Marshmallow Bars
This one was for the hubby so I left this recipe gluten-y! Marshmallows are not my jam, but Jamie is all about the baked goods that include any kind of whipped cream or marshmallow product. And these squares are Marshmallows, Coconut, and a Shortbread Crust. He ate 4 while I was packaging these up - so I think they were a hit.

This recipe is a classic courtesy of the Joy of Baking. (<--- you can find it here)

I often struggle with shortbread. It always sounds easy, because there aren't many ingredients, but it takes some finesse. I recommend keeping the crust thin and lining your baking tin with parchment paper for easy removal.

PB + J Blondies
These were also hubby's pick. They aren't exactly Christmas-y, but they are yummy!

I really love baking, but I don't often set aside specific time to do it. So this weekend was the perfect excuse to make some fan favourites while the Christmas Baking Ball was rolling.

3/4 cup of butter
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup grape jam

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking tin with greased parchment paper - with excess paper hanging over the edge, for easy removal.
2. Stir all ingredients together in large bowl with a spatula. Mixture should be moist. I needed to add an extra egg to this batch.
3. Pour batter into baking tin and ensure the jam is mixed throughout.
4. Bake until toothpick comes out clean - approx. 30-35min.
5. Cut into squares and enjoy!

I hope you guys enjoy!
Let me know if you try any of the recipes!
Merry Christmas!

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten




Sunday, 13 December 2015

Meal Planning + Weekly Workouts + a Great Mail Week

This week ended up being a pretty a epic mail week over in this neck of the woods. Our brand new dining table was delivered on Wednesday. It is actually an Xmas/Birthday gift from my Mom, but we had it delivered before the holidays so we can put it to use good use with all of our upcoming hosting duties. Our Christmas festivities start next weekend when my sister comes home Halifax and basically last until New Years, so we have a lot planned.

It matches our sideboard in the living room and I absolutely love it.

I also came home Friday night to this super sweet care package from Smartwater. I am loving the new colouring book already!


And finally, I won an instagram contest hosted by the adorable Katy over at Fit in Heels for a $100 giftcard for Farm and Forks Organics. (*woohoo! I never win anything!*)

They have prepared meals, produce boxes, meat boxes, or just simply chose-your-own options. I opted to use it for a Meat Box - basically because it was a great way to get a good assortment of local and organic meat.



In the past we have had a both a Produce Box and a Meat box subscription, and I really liked it. I like getting to know and support the local farms we were purchasing from, being more in tune with what grew well or didn't, and knowing that what we are getting is organic. So I think I am going to use these guys regularly starting this spring/summer. The delivery was seamless and so far the stuff we have sampled has been delicious.

Along with having an awesome mail week, it has also been unseasonably warm around here, making running feel like a dream. Usually by this time of year it is well below freezing and there has been some (*if not a lot*) of snow. So far it has stayed above zero and there is no snow in sight, meaning I had to take advantage, and I ran a little more than I have in the last couple of weeks.
I opted to leave my GPS off though and just focused on Heart Rate. I kept my pace easy and my weekly workouts gentle as planned.

This week's workouts included...
Monday - 5km Run
Tuesday - 30 min Yoga
Wednesday - 5km Run
Thursday - 45 min Yoga
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 5km Run

I have been on my gluten-free adventure for about 6 weeks now, and I have been on my Thyroid medication for just over a month, so I am off to get my follow-up blood work tomorrow. I have noticed quite a few changes since I started my plan, but I am curious to take a closer look at the official numbers, so I will keep you posted.

I am also getting the hang of this whole gluten-free business, as you can see from my tasty meals above. I even managed to bake some successful gluten-free Christmas Cookies this weekend. (*I will share the recipe later this week*). Meaning, even though there have been moments where I have really missed gluten, I definitely think is manageable as a long-term lifestyle change.

This week's dinner's included...
Monday - Quinoa Salad
Tuesday - Chicken Salad
Wednesday - Tuna Salad and Green Juice
Thursday - Shrimp Teriyaki (*on the road*)
Friday - Gluten-Free Margherita Pizza from Scaddabush with blogging buddies (*Hi Girls!!*)
Saturday - Smoke Pork Chop + Salad
Sunday - Beef Burger on Rudi's Spinach Tortilla with Salad

And Congrats to Salma Sebastian and Sarah Abbot you won my Birthday Mizuno Breath Thermo Giveaway! I sent you an email this morning with all the details. Thanks so much to everyone who entered. Don't despair if you didn't win, I am putting together again great fitness giveaway for you all in the New Year.

I hope you all had a great week!
Love your favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Meal Planning + Weekly Workouts + Celebrating

Well, as per usual I am late sharing my weekly meal plan and workout post.

I wanted to get my Mizuno Breath Thermo Giveaway posted first thing. And then admittedly, I had every intention of writing this post yesterday, because the husband was away for the night with work. But instead I opted to wrap Christmas presents, hike with Clark, and then watch some documentaries on Netflix.


I watched several episodes of Frontline. And then settled in with E-Team - which is about a group who investigate crimes against humanity - and excellent if you are interested in global politics. I had every intention of watching something dreadfully girlie, but couldn't really find anything.

**Any Must-Watch girlie TV shows I should put on my Netflix list?**

Needless to say my laziness felt good. And after a weekend with family and friends, I find myself feeling much more relaxed than I have been for the past few months.

This week's menu is not exactly what "health and wellness" blogs are made of... This week was all about celebrating, and when I celebrate I often celebrate with food. Nothing quite like laughing with friends over a good meal and enjoying some dessert too boot!


I had dessert 4 nights in a row . And my Gluten-Free Carrot Cake was a dream. Plus Candy Cane Ice Cream is basically a holiday MUST.

It was all delicious, but my stomach was not super pleased with all my indulging. I had way more dairy than I have had in a couple of months. And I definitely required acupuncture in my left arm on Tuesday for a flare-up in inflammation - likely from all the sugar. It was worth it, but the side effects were a good reminder why I can't do that all the time.

This week's dinners included...
Monday - Gluten-Free/ Dairy-Free Veggie Pizza
Tuesday - Chicken Salad
Wednesday - Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free Tuna Casserole
Thursday - Whole Foods Buffet - Madras Chicken, Coconut Rice, and Eggplant
Friday - Chicken and Squash Risotto
Saturday - Squash Soup, Chicken, Green Beans, and Rice (I also ate way more than my fair share of the jalapeƱo cheese bake with gluten-free crackers pre-dinner)
Sunday - Ham, Salad, and Potatoes

My gosh, that is an awful lot of chicken this week. I really need to switch up my proteins this week.

And this week's workouts continue to center around yoga and gentle exercise. With a little bit of laziness thrown in for good measure. I opted to not workout this weekend and just relax instead. But based on how I feel today, I would say it was the right choice.


Monday - 30min Yoga + 60min Spin at 3Sports
Tuesday - 40min Yoga
Wednesday - 5km Run
Thursday - 60min Yin Yoga
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - Rest

I hope you are all having a great week!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Monday, 7 December 2015

A Birthday Mizuno Giveaway

Happy Monday Friends!

Saturday was my Birthday, and I basically spent the whole weekend celebrating.

On Friday night after work Jamie and I drove down to Niagara-On-The-Lake to meet up with my besties and their respective hubbies as well. It is not always easy to get all 10 of us together, so when it happens I am usually left smiling from ear-to-ear and with a sore stomach from laughing so hard.

3 of us have birthdays in December - in fact we were all born on the same week in the same hospital. I was joking with my friend Jess (we are just one day apart) that we probably met for the first time on my birthday in our cribs at the nursery, and we have basically been friends ever since. The older I get, the more I recognize how special it is to have these friendships. And I honestly don't know what I would do without these girls in my life.

I spent Saturday visiting with family. I visited my cousin Amber and her 3 little boys. And then we had dinner at Mom's house with my Papa and Jamie's Parents. It was a really relaxing couple of days. And I left with a full heart.


I cannot describe myself as lucky very often. Generally "hot mess" is a better description. But LOVE is something I have been extremely lucky in. I spent the weekend surrounded by friends and family, love, support, and laughs - and I don't think it gets much better than that.

But I wanted to be able share some of my birthday love and happiness with all of you, so today I have Mizuno Breath Thermo Giveaway!
I often get asked what I wear when I train outside in the winter - and Mizuno's Breath Thermo line is it! I literally wear all of their stuff - tights, jackets, base layers, etc. The fabric heats up as you sweat to help regulate your core temperature in the cold, but everything is still lightweight and breathable. It is my favourite winter gear.

I am giving away one Women's and one Men's Breath Thermo Half Zip. I recognize that there is a slight discrepancy between the number of women and the number of men who read my blog. So you can enter each contest separately. Girls are welcome to enter for the Men's Shirt if there is someone you would like to gift it too. And Guys are welcome to enter for the Women's too. There is a lot talk about feelings, boobies, babies, and sparkles around here - making this a slightly more female friendly forum. But my google analytics tell me that there are male readers out there, so first of all BRAVO for being down with all the feelings and sparkles I throw at you. And second, I think you will have a pretty solid chance at the Men's Half Zip - so make sure you enter!

Please note: this contest is only for my Canadian Reader's for shipment reasons (sorry American friends)

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope you all are having a great week!
And good luck!

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Friday, 4 December 2015

A Day In The Life - On The Road

I wrote "A Day in the Life" post a couple months ago, and you all seemed to dig it. So I decided to write another one, sharing what life looks like for me when I am on the road. This was Wednesday for me this week. I tend to be a little all over the place with work, so this is what life looks like when I am out and about.

6:15am - Wake Up
I had a presentation downtown Toronto today and although google maps says it is only 38min away - I know better. Rush Hour traffic means I need to leave about 2 hours to get to my meeting. So I was up early to get my things together, post my Wednesday Blog Post, and spend some time on social media while curling my hair. (*yes, I like to multi-task*).
7:00am - Out the Door
I hate being late or even remotely strapped for time with anything work-related, so I like to be everywhere with 30 minutes to spare. The Panda-Eyes in the above photo illustrate my lack of coffee at this point. I grabbed a protein shake, dropped Jamie off at work, and then hit the highway to slowly crawled into the city.

9:00am - Parked Car and Grabbed a Coffee
Exactly 2 hours later I parked my car. I was visiting a boutique gym that was new to me, so I needed some extra time to find the location. My presentation was at 10am so I grabbed some coffee next door and spent that extra hour getting caught up on my emails.

10:00am - Presentation
I met with a group of personal trainers to discuss how to utilize wearable tech to enhance the services they provide. They asked me to come back following my presentation to present to a wider group of trainers - so I guess it went well!
11:15am - Back in the car
I had a meeting with a Polar Athlete (*Hi Taylor*) up in Caledon to discuss his plans for 2016 and our Ambassador Program, so I had to run back to the car and get on the road again ASAP.

12:00pm - Gabe's Bake Shoppe and Coffee with Taylor
Taylor and I chatted about his season and plan for 2016. He had suggested we meet at Gabe's and as a newly gluten-free gal it was sort of tortuous! It is filled with homemade pasta and shelves of baked goods. I obviously couldn't have any, but it felt almost sacra-religious that I should leave with only a coffee. So purchased a couple buttertarts and cannolis  for my husband - someone should get to eat these!

1:30pm - Back on the Road (again)
At this point I am starving. And because I worked late the night before I did a terrible job of packing gluten-free protein-focused snacks. I did have a Vega One Bar and some Trail Mix in my glove box for just such emergencies, so I used that to tide me over until I made it home.

2:30pm - Home
I have been in the car for a total of 4 hrs already today. Which means that my Polar V800 has said this more times than I would like...

I made myself a quick Chicken Salad (the chicken was from dinner the night before so not a lot of prep was required) and spent another hour and half finishing some paper work I needed to get done.

4:15pm - Walk with Clark
Clark was getting a little impatient about his dinner by this time. And I was getting sick of sitting. So I closed up my computer and headed to our local park for a 40 min hike through the trails. It felt good to get out and move around a bit.


5:15pm - Dinner
I made Dairy-Free Tuna Casserole for Dinner, and the cauliflower "cheese" sauce takes a bit of prep work. I added extra spinach to it to use up some of our veggies, which is why it is green this time around. I cleaned the kitchen, put on a load of laundry, and popped the final product in the oven to bake.

6:45pm - 5km Run
I set out for a 5km Run along the boardwalk. It was dark but the sky was clear and the weather was awesome for this time of year. The lake was like glass and there was no one else around. It made for a very peaceful little run (*but not great photo quality*). Just me, the lake, the stars, and Christmas Lights to lead me home.

7:20pm - Dinner
My casserole was ready when I got home, so I promptly stuffed my face. Jamie got home from Spinning shortly after me. We chatted over dinner and then took Clark for his second walk of the evening.

8:30 - Shower and Relaxing before Bed
After Clark's walk I jumped in the shower and put on my PJs. We have been watching "River" on Netflix.  Admittedly, it is on the darker side, but I really like it. I often putter around on my phone and social media while I watch TV, but I have been trying to decrease my phone time before bed. So I have been colouring instead. (I mentioned earlier that I am basically always multi-tasking).

Jamie got me a new Game of Thrones colouring book last week, so I have been working on that. For obvious reasons I will not be colouring any of the pictures of Cersei. I just don't need that kind of negativity in my life. She is basically THE WORST.

10:00pm - Meditation/Yoga, Reading, and Bed
I have been trying to practice either regular meditation with my MUSE or a short yoga flow (typically Yin style) before bed. Sometimes I turn out the lights, put on some candles, and just use the Christmas Tree to set the mood. I am not a great sleeper, so this has been helping me unwind a little before I head up for the night.

I read for about 30 minutes and then fell asleep.

Well that about sums up Wednesday and a typical day on the road.
Tell me about your week? Any grand plans for the weekend?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Meal Prep + Weekly Workouts + and Being Vulnerable

I opted to share some of my thoughts after a tough weekend and the shift in my focus on Monday, instead of my usual Meal Prep + Workouts. So today we are playing a bit of catch up.

The month of November was a busy one for me training-wise. Which is not uncommon for me when I am struggling. I often train (*and train hard*) to fill a void and to channel my nervous energy. This month was no exception. I felt like my body let me down (*again...*) so I needed to know that it was strong and capable. My type-A tendencies were in over-drive and training is something I can control when I feel a little lost.






































This month included...
  • Cycling - 9 hrs
  • Running - 59 km
  • Weights - 2 hrs
  • Yoga - 6 hrs
But you can only hide your true feelings away for so long. So despite trying my best to push away my grief and sadness, and hide my feelings behind sweat, all the of the stress and fear I have been carrying around came tumbling out.

I cried on Saturday while shopping for Christmas presents. Because this year we were supposed to be shopping for one more.

I cried on Saturday because family is something I value and want more than anything. But I am scared that it won't happen for me.

I cried on Saturday because this is something I can't control. And surrendering that control leaves me feeling vulnerable and helpless.

All those tears and all that stress, made me realize that this time I need to do things differently.
This time I need to seek stillness, accept my sadness, and give my heart space to heal.

This week's workouts reflect these changes...
Monday - 90min Yoga
Tuesday - 60min Hot Yoga at Goodlife Fitness
Wednesday - 5km trail run with 2x hill scrambles
Thursday - 8km run
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 40min Yoga + 10 min Meditation

I realize this is not the norm for me. So if you are hoping for running and racing motivation, that is not me right now. It has been a difficult transition for me as well. But I am seeking a gentler approach these days, because my goal is something different right now.

I am learning to open my heart, surrender my fears, and offer my hope to the universe.
It is scary. It is hard. But I think that might be why it is so necessary.

I have continued to focus on my nutrition and have been experimenting with more diverse gluten-free options. I have a better handle on finding gluten-free option when I am traveling for work, so that is helping to make life a little bit easier. I have noticed a big difference in my energy levels over the past month, and will likely be heading in for follow-up blood work in a couple of weeks to see how my thyroid levels have changed.

This week's dinners include...
Monday - Conte's Gluten-Free Perogies  and Salad (*definitely recommend these! I found them at Whole Foods and the are music to my Eastern European Heart*)
Tuesday - Freshii Buddha Satay on Quinoa with Chicken
Wednesday - Fresh on Bloor Moroccan Bean Stew, Gluten-Free Corn Bread and Hummus
Thursday - Sol Bean Burgers and Salad
Friday - Chicken Green Curry on Rice Noodles
Saturday - Madras Chicken
Sunday - Pork Tenderloin, 2 baby Sweet Potatoes, and Salad

I hope you are all having an amazing week!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Monday, 30 November 2015

The Art of Surrender

This week was a quieter week for me.

I can admit that I have been struggling with grief, guilt, and a whole lot of self-doubt over the past few weeks. And I have been trying to find a peaceful place to breathe, to relax, and to hope.

The truth is that I am a little a broken.
This a difficult and vulnerable place for me.

I have spent the last four years struggling. I have lost. I have compromised. And I have tried to accept and embrace the changes that have been forced into my life.

With each battle I chose to look for light. I chose to quiet that negative voice and embrace the positive instead.

But that does not mean that the negative voice does not exist.
It does.
And some days it can be extremely loud. Saturday that voice was loud. I cried. A lot.

Life has been hard, the last few years have been dark, the universe has been cruel to me - and I am getting tired.

The way I feel has only a little to do with just this loss, and more to do with the fact that it has come after so many others. I truly believed that this battle was not meant for me. I thought that I was done fighting. So it is hard to face that I was so wrong.

Each new loss makes it harder for me to ignore that negative voice, as I do not have the strength and the resolve I once had.

It has been hard to find a peaceful place this time.

My knee jerk reaction when I am struggling is to do more. I look for places to put my nervous energy. I look for steps I can take to help ease my fears. It is a place of action.

This time is different.
This time is I am seeking stillness.

This is a lesson in the true art of surrender.
This is uncomfortable for me.
This is scary for me.
This is hard for me.

Going forward I will be doing less - less running, less training, and no racing.
I will be doing more yoga.
I will be doing more meditation to help combat that nervous energy.
I will be practicing better self-care, because despite what my negative voice may make me feel, I am worthy of that.

And I am going to surrender all my hope and my fears to the universe, because I have faith in something greater.
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Friday, 27 November 2015

Friday Thoughts and Rambles

It Friday! And today's post has no real theme or serious objective. It is really just a hodgepodge of pictures from my iphone and a glimpse at life around here lately.

I got New Glasses this week. I went for a check up and my prescription has actually decreased...weird right?! I wear my contacts 70% of the time, but picking out new glasses is always fun!

I have spent the last couple of weeks decorating for Christmas. I know a lot of my American Friends feel it is too early because you are celebrating Thanksgiving this week. But we Canadians celebrated our Thanksgiving in October, Remembrance Day (aka our Vetrans Day) was November 11th, and the Toronto Santa Clause Parade was November 15th - so it is officially Christmas in Canada.

 
I tried to get a second projection light for the other side of the house, but they are sold out everywhere! I went to 4 different stores. So apparently I am not the only one who is eager to decorate for the holidays. I would say about 60% of our neighbours have their lights out now.
 
And while we are on the subject of the house, I have recently stumbled upon this little Rug Company - Rug and Weave. They have such gorgeous colours and designs, and they are having a Black Friday Sale...Tell me I need this one for my bedroom (*and tell my husband too*)
 
And lastly, a lot of people have been asking questions about my Acupuncture Treatments. And in hindsight I wish I took proper before pictures. But I am spent much of the last 11 years hiding my swollen left arm, so it didn't occur to me to document it. I was also skeptical about the effectiveness of acupuncture. It was something I wanted to try, but I didn't go in expecting the results that I have experienced.

I took a picture during my second appointment, mostly because my husband was curious what the treatment looked like. I had already noticed some changes in the colouring, but no real lasting results in terms of decreasing the inflammation. So while this isn't a true before shot - you get the idea. My left arms is pretty swollen here and kind looks like a blob.
This next photo is about 2 weeks later at treatment #4, and you can see there is a pretty drastic difference in size and it is starting to have more of a shape.

This photo is about where I am right now after 6 treatments, and after a 4 week break since my last. (I have had 1 more treatment since I took this photo) You can see that my left arm is slightly swollen through the bicep and tricep area. But there is no swelling through the chest or down through the lower half of my arm.
I will likely have to continue with regular treatments to manage the inflammation, but hopefully the frequency of my treatments will decrease as my body begins to adapt.

And that about sums up what has been happening around here.

What have your been up to lately? How has your week been?
Tell me something that made you smile this week?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten