Monthly Archives: December 2013

Clearly Your Standards Are Too High …

Is what a friend told me in October about my being single.

Clearly my standards are too high … why? Because I won’t date YOU!?

A little bit of history on my “love” life:

When I was 18 years old, I moved out of my parents house and away to a smaller town where my Dad and Grandma lived. I moved in with my Grandma until I could get settled and find a job, place, etc.

About 3 or 4 weeks later, I met “R” and we began dating – fast! We spent every non-working waking hour together and we actually became engaged after only 2 weeks. Young love, right!? LOL

“R” and I were together, through thick & thin (money, weight, love) for 2 ½ years and then I had finally had enough. I came to realize that “R”, being 7 years older than me, had no drive, ambition or goals for life. He was content to just call in sick to work, stay home and get stoned. So I told him to move out and POOF! I was single.

This takes me to the age of 20.

Then after having been single for almost 3 years, I decided to make “a list” of what I wanted in a man/partner/husband. In no specific order:

  • Honest
  • Romantic
  • Outdoorsy
  • Athletic
  • Family is important
  • Animal lover
  • Sense of humour
  • Caring
  • Independent
  • Successful
  • Well-off
  • Likes to read
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Non-smoker
  • Social drinker
  • Educated
  • Steady secure employment
  • Helpful
  • Music lover
  • Clean
  • Food lover
  • Enjoys cooking
  • Friends are important
  • Hard worker
  • Wants a family
  • Strong minded
  • Handy
  • Strong
  • Fit
  • Goals
  • Ambitions
  • Smart
  • Stable lifestyle
  • Good fashion sense
  • Attractive
  • Financially stable
  • Hockey lover
  • Football lover

Now, don’t get me wrong – I know this list is detailed and the chances of me finding one guy that fits everything is limited, very! However, I truly believe that when I meet “the one”, I will compromise on some of the less important items.

Skip ahead to summer 2006. I met “P” on an online dating site and we got along really quite great! We spent evenings, not over nights, together for 7 days straight. He was then driving to Saskatchewan (from BC) to visit his family.

While he was gone, we talked on the phone every night for at least an hour (who does that anymore!?) We decided that I would fly up on the last weekend he was going to be there and I’d drive back with him on the Monday. This meant I would meet his family … after dating a mere 2 or 3 weeks!

“P” and I had a great relationship, at first – like most. We moved in together after about 3 months and then after another 4 or 5 months we quit our jobs and moved to Saskatchewan. We got jobs, bought a house (so SO cheap!), a car and a truck so that we could commute to the city for work.

After 6 months things were sliding downhill FAST and our relationship ended – bitterly. I moved back to BC to be near my family and he stayed in Saskatchewan.

That was September 2007. And if you do the math, we’re nearing the end of December 2013. So 6 ½ years now. I have been single the entire time with only a handful of 1st dates in the whole time.

The selection of available men in the town where I live is not large. I’ve gone back to online dating and it has not worked out for me.

I decided to delete my online profile and instead of worrying about when I’ll meet someone worthy enough to spend my time with, I am going to get healthy – inside and out!

Being single for 6 ½ years (and also being almost 32 and having no babies) causes some of my family members to be … uh, let’s say “concerned” for me. I’m tired of hearing “you need to have babies soon” because I’M ONLY (not even) 32 YEARS OLD!!! Maybe in another 10 years, if I don’t have any babies, THEN you can say something (and yes, I do want babies without a doubt) … but give me a break – I am NOT getting too old!

My standards are NOT too high – they are right where I set them! I am not about to settle for some Joe Schmoe who I could end up despising instead of loving. No freaking way!

I am (almost) 32 years old, single and I have no children. I have a list of what I would prefer in a guy, but that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. If that scares you, clearly you’re not the one for me. And if you’re family, then sit back and enjoy the time you have with ME because when I meet the man I am going to marry, you can be almost guaranteed that I’ll be spending time with HIM more so than with you.

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No Time Like The Present

I’ve read on more than one occasion that you shouldn’t wait until a specific day to start a change in your life (example: don’t wait until January 1st).

That said, tomorrow will be my Day 1 of 2014!

I have always done things in weeks … and my week begins on Sunday. So why not start tomorrow instead of waiting until Wednesday!

I’m about to head out to Superstore to pick up my groceries (this has been a Saturday morning “tradition” of mine for a long while now).

I started juicing mid-January 2013 and noticed serious changes to my body, health, mind, etc. And while it was great, I neglected juicing for probably the past 3 months or longer. But I do want to get back at it because I will have amazing energy, clear skin and a positive attitude!

So the groceries set to be purchased today include 7 days worth of vegetables & fruit for the week’s juices. I’ll juice for breakfast and then have substance food for lunch and dinner. I am also going to grab the necessary canned ingredients for Rustic Ragout because it’s a delicious meal and I could eat it until I look like a bean!

Wishing you all a Happy Saturday and I’m getting set for a very successful week ahead!

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Playlist – January 2014 … Or For However Long It Stays Interesting!

I spent some time last night listening to the first 5 – 10 seconds of each song in my iTunes (seriously over 1,700 songs) to determine if it was upbeat enough for a gym playlist. I settled on about 100 songs and tonight I reduced it further around 60 songs (3 hours 48 minutes, to be exact).

Here we go:

  1. Trouble Is – Hayden Panettiere
  2. I Just Wanna Live – Good Charlotte
  3. I Kissed A Girl – Katy Perry
  4. Remix To Ignition – R Kelly
  5. Santa Monica – Everclear
  6. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift
  7. Harlem Shake – Baauer
  8. Inner Ninja – Classified
  9. Crazy Bitch – Buck Cherry
  10. U and Dat – E40
  11. One Two Step – Ciara
  12. Cruise – Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly
  13. London Bridges – Fergie
  14. Snapbacks & Tattoos – Driicky Graham
  15. Gold Digger – Kanye West
  16. Tubthumping – Chumbawamba
  17. Smack That – Akon
  18. One More Night – Maroon 5
  19. I Knew You Were Trouble – Taylor Swift
  20. Stompa – Serena Ryder
  21. Rumor Has It – Adele
  22. Roar – Katy Perry
  23. Get Right – Jennifer Lopez
  24. Country Girl – Luke Bryan
  25. Red Solo Cup – Toby Keith
  26. Do What You Want – Lady Gaga
  27. I’m In Miami Bitch – LMFAO
  28. Out Of My Head – Black Eyed Peas
  29. Gossip Folks – Missy Elliott featuring Ludacris
  30. No Scrubs – TLC
  31. Thrift Shop – Macklemore
  32. Just A Lil’ Bit – 50 Cent
  33. Dedication To My Ex – Lloyd
  34. Do It To It – Cherish
  35. Berzerk – Eminem
  36. Touch It – Busta Rhymes
  37. Hit ‘Em Up Style – Blu Cantrell
  38. SexyBack – Justin Timberlake
  39. You Gotta Be – Desree
  40. Get The Party Started – Pink featuring Redman
  41. I’m A Bitch – Meredith Brooks
  42. Good Feeling – Flo Rida
  43. I’m Real – Jennifer Lopez
  44. Imma Be – Black Eyed Peas
  45. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore
  46. Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke
  47. I Wanna F*** You – Akon
  48. Get Naked – Britney Spears
  49. Try Again – Aaliyah
  50. Touch It – Monifah
  51. Paper Planes – M.I.A.
  52. Work It – Missy Elliott
  53. Doo Wop – Lauryn Hill
  54. Get Low – Lil Jon
  55. Settle Down – No Doubt
  56. Get Lucky – Daft Punk
  57. Humpin’ Around – Bobby Brown

I’m not certain how long this playlist will stay “current” … but I plan on watching Netflix (via wifi) at the gym on strictly cardio days and listening to the playlist during my strength sessions.

Take a Hike!

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After I arrived at Grandpa’s on Christmas morning and the presents had all been opened, Mom, Wayne and I set out for a hike. There’s this mountain up above where Grandpa lives that we’ve hiked to before.

We walked down the neighbourhood and found the first set of stairs … icy stairs! But up we climbed to the next level.

We then cross the street to the second set of (icy) stairs and up we went.

Finally we’re in the upper subdivision and came to realize that a TON of construction and living had occurred since the last time we hiked up there! The houses went on and on and on! We could not find the access point to hike the mountain.

So we kept walking and came to a large driveway … we all felt that it appeared to go far enough up to take us to a spot where we could gain access to the mountain. So up we hiked …

All the way to a locked gate. So we found a way up and around the locked gate and POOF! We’re on the mountain! We continued to hike up to the top and what an amazing view we had (picture above)!

As we were hanging out up top we saw a couple of Does come around but absolutely not bothered by us.

Now for us to make our way down … Wayne decided to be adventurous. We hiked and hiked and came to the fence we saw earlier encompassing the mountain (to keep us out!)

Along the fence we hiked and came to an actual access point! And the access point took us to the neighbourhood where we couldn’t find an access point! We simply overlooked it on our way up!

The whole walk/hike/adventure took us an hour and it was a great day. The weather was nice but the wind was starting to pick up.

When we got back to Grandpa’s the snow started and it did NOT stop! It was blizzard-like outside! It dumped a couple of inches by the time dinner was over and guest were leaving.

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This is a selfie with my parents in the background, taken at the top of the mountain – pretty awesome, if you ask me!!!

 

 

FYI: ⅓ of an Egg is still Egg

95% of the people in my life (family & friends) understand the whole “Vegan Concept”. The other 5% mainly consist of my elders and they don’t fully understand why I would want to give up ‘meat’.

First, I haven’t just given up meat … I don’t eat any animal products (examples: milk, cheese, eggs, etc.)

And it’s ok that some don’t get it – it’s not them who are eating this way, it’s me!

Second, just because there may only be “1 egg used in 3 pie crusts” that still means IT CONTAINS EGG hehe … so no, I won’t be eating the pie. But thank you anyways.

If you invite me for dinner, please expect me to A.) ask, in detail, what will be for dinner … including ingredients in the dishes – just to be certain; or B.) bring my own food. Oh and C.) don’t be offended if I offer to or bring my own food.

As for the title of this post, I received a hand-woven pine needle basket from my Grandma this year for Christmas and inside was a nice mixture of chocolate-coated and non-coated nuts. As I opened the gift, I inquired “is this milk chocolate?” and she replied something like “I’m not sure”. Luckily, I’ve learned to visually decipher between milk & dark chocolate … and yes, they are milk chocolate covered. At least I’ll have snacky food for my guests or can bring with me to another party!

Choosing to become a vegan happened in a matter of a couple of weeks. I watched some documentaries, read some books and decided to cut out animal products beginning January 1, 2013.  There was no “transition” period where I went from eating all regular animal products to become a vegetarian then a vegan – I just did it cold “turkey” LOL! I even threw out (or gave to my parents) foods that I had which contained animal products.

And it’s true, I do miss some animal dishes … a juicy chicken breast barbecued with a fresh slice of pineapple, a nice rack of fall-off-the-bone ribs or my Mom’s Eggs Benedict. But you know what? For the first time in about 17 years, the only prescription I take is birth control. No more meds for high blood pressure. No more meds for depression or anxiety. I manage it all naturally with natures medicine!

Why did I decide to become a vegan – honestly, my health. I had no idea what changes would actually occur, even after watching the documentaries and seeing the changes in the subjects. But since seeing and LIVING my changes, I can’t fathom not being a vegan. I can only chalk up my health changes to my new food lifestyle because fitness hasn’t changed for me – YET!

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Merry Vegan Christmas

Merry Vegan Christmas

Merry Vegan Christmas!!!

Today is Christmas Eve and it is the first Christmas Eve in a LONG time that I have been at home alone (with my fur babies). Normally I spend Christmas Eve at my parent’s house so that I am there for Christmas morning.

This year we’re spending the holiday at my Grandpa’s place (Wayne’s Dad) (which is normal to go there after we do our own Christmas morning thing). However, Mom & Wayne (my stepdad who is truly my father and had been in my life since I was 4 years old) have decided to spend tonight through Boxing Day morning at Grandpa’s because it’s the first Christmas since Grandma passed away.

Joining us for dinner tomorrow at Grandpa’s will be Jimmy & Dawn. Jimmy is Wayne’s oldest friend – back from middle school. I consider Jimmy my big brother because even though he’s the same age as my parents, he has moved home to my parents’ house more times than I have! LOL … and Dawn is Jimmy’s girlfriend.

Mom left me her car so that I can drive up Christmas morning (I haven’t owned a vehicle in 11 ½ years). So tomorrow morning I will “sleep in” (until 6:30 am or 7:00 am if possible!), then pack everything up and drive up to Grandpa’s (about 35 minutes.)

Given that this is my first vegan Christmas, I have been doing a LOT of planning for my Christmas dinner because obviously I can’t (won’t) eat the turkey dinner that Mom is making for everyone else.

So today I did my prep work (took me 4 solid hours!):

  • Made Sweet ‘n’ Sour Sauce
  • Made Sweet ‘n’ Sour Bean Balls
    • I still have to cook/”fry” them at Grandpa’s
  • Made Spinach Artichoke Dip
    • I will bake this at Grandpa’s
  • Made Coconut Bacon
    • This will go with the Roasted Brussels Sprouts that I’ll oven-roast at Grandpa’s
  • Prepped Polenta Stuffing
    • Chopped onion, carrot, celery, etc.
    • I will put all the ingredients together and bake it at Grandpa’s
  • Made Mushroom Gravy
    • Just have to reheat at Grandpa’s
  • Made Lentil Loaf
    • I will have to bake this at Grandpa’s

Still tonight I am going to make another batch of Bailey’s Irish Cream so that I can have that when I arrive at Grandpa’s in the morning.

Tomorrow while Mom is making the traditional Christmas fare, I’ll assist with the oven-roasted asparagus … as well as finish making/baking my vegan Christmas fare. Not to mention I’m bringing the necessary ingredients to make Mom and me a vegan Eggs Benedict on Boxing Day morning! Mom will make regular Benny for Wayne and Grandpa, but she has very supportingly agreed to have my vegan version instead!

It’s been such a productive day!

I also spent some time visiting with my good friends Leila & Aaron, as well I stopped by to see my Auntie Corrie (Mom’s sister) and Grandma & Grandpa (Mom’s Mom & stepdad).

Wishing you all a very Merry Vegan Christmas and hope that you are surrounded by loving friends and family this holiday! And if you’re alone this Christmas, drop me a note and I’ll be sure to write back!

Last but not least, after Christmas has come and gone, I’ll be posting pictures (hopefully!) and recipes to my other blog: gonabevegan.wordpress.com

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January 2014 Challenges

January 2014 Challenges:

  • Take the stairs at my condo
    • I’m on the 3rd of 3 floors … and with it being winter, I’m wearing heavier foot ware and clothing.
  • No added sugar/candy
    • This one will be a toughie because candy is my downfall. I admit that I’ve become a “Lazy Vegan” because a LOT of candy is vegan but that does NOT mean it’s healthy, obviously!
  • No alcohol
    • Honestly, this one shouldn’t be hard because I live alone, don’t really go out much and I rarely have alcoholic beverages when I’m alone.
  • Maximum 4 take-out meals
    • I found I was buying groceries but getting take-out more often than not. And by ‘take-out’ I don’t mean McDonalds or Burger King … I would get food from a local Indian restaurant (Lachi) or the vegan restaurant (Wild Scallion) across the street from my office. So this meant I wouldn’t eat the groceries I bought … bad Shannon!

Unless other obligations/appointments have previously been made:

  • First 2 weeks of January
    • Sunday – rest day
    • Monday – 45 minutes of cardio
    • Tuesday – weights and 20 minutes of cardio
    • Wednesday – 45 minutes of cardio
    • Thursday – weights and 20 minutes of cardio
    • Friday – 45 minutes of cardio
    • Saturday – weights and 20 minutes of cardio
  • Second 2 weeks of January
    • Sunday – rest day
    • Monday – 50 minutes of cardio
    • Tuesday – weights and 20 minutes of cardio
    • Wednesday – 50 minutes of cardio
    • Thursday – weights and 20 minutes of cardio
    • Friday – 50 minutes of cardio
    • Saturday – weights and 20 minutes of cardio

Since my gym has the pool & hot tub, I think I may swim for my cardio on strength days and then have a hot tub to finish off the session.

To some (and to me, honestly) the above workout regimen maybe seem like a lot for the 1st month … but I can NOT sit back and do nothing any longer. I am turning 32 in February, weigh around 200 lbs and need to get happy inside & out!

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Inside & Out …

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Cuba, October 2013

I am 3rd from the right and without a doubt, the “biggest” one in the group.

On January 1, 2013 I changed my eating habits to follow a vegan diet. This change wasn’t excessively difficult because I previously didn’t eat a ton of meat; however, cheese and sour cream were hard to think about NOT having again. Luckily I’ve found some very decent alternatives over this past year.

I was diagnosed in fall 2011 with hypertension (high blood pressure). This was concerning to my doctor because I was only 29 years old. She passed me on to a kidney specialist (because HBP can relate more often than not to they kidneys). The kidney specialist ordered a butt-load of tests for me … all to rule-out various diseases that HBP is a symptom of.

Luckily they all came back negative … meaning my HBP was due to my health, weight, genes, etc.

After 7 weeks of following a vegan diet, my blood pressure had lowered enough that my new doctor wanted to take me off the medication I had been on for 1 ½ years to regulate my blood pressure. After a month of no medication I went back for a follow up … and my blood pressure was 110/70 (which is slightly lower than normal).

In this 7 weeks I had also lost 17 lbs … unfortunately I have gained back 15 lbs.

My blood pressure remains 110/70 with no medication needed to regulate. I was also taken off my antidepressants in June and have noticed NO massive swings up or down as I used to face if I missed even 2 days of antidepressants. I absolutely chalk this up to eating real food and no animal products. My insides are happier – no doubt!

Here I am nearing Christmas 2013 … planning my Christmas dinner (only my foods because the rest of my family is not vegan) and also pondering what my 2014 health challenges will be.

I’ve decided to challenge myself one month at a time rather than an annual challenge.

I will remain vegan as I am clearly healthier on the inside. But I need to focus on my outside health … which brings me to the picture at the top.

I went to Cuba for a week in October with 6 other girls – such a great trip! However I was clearly the largest girl there … even larger than one that was pregnant (only about 18 weeks, but still!!)

I have a gym membership and have been a member at the same gym for almost 6 years. They are not a new gym and the equipment may be older, but it works all the same! One bonus of the gym I am a member is that they have a pool (small – maybe 20 meters) and a hot tub … both included with my monthly membership.

I live a 4 ½ minute walk from my work (bonus since I don’t own a vehicle!) and the gym is maybe a 4 minute walk from work. So it’s not like I live so far away that it’s almost an inconvenience to go … I just need to go!

I have the next 8 days off from work for Christmas and will be putting together meal options and playlists for January. I will be sure to post my choices and any recipes will be linked to my other blog: gonabevegan.wordpress.com

Please feel free to comment, add suggestions, etc. … but I ask you to please keep everything positive!

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