Product Review: The Vitamix

DISCLAIMER: I am in NO way sponsored or affiliated with Vitamix. I made this blog post/YT video because I had many questions on my experience with the blender/was it worth the $$.

Over on the Youtube channel I had a few subscribers ask about what I thought about my Vitamix/is it worth the money. I decided to make a video showing a few of my favorite go to recipes and explain what I thought about it. Click the link above to check out my channel if you wish.

350-346931-894__1

Generally, the Vitamix is pretty pricey. Matt and I ordered off the Costco website and had it shipped to our door. We went with the “Nutritional Centre ULTIMATE” package that retailed for $699.99. This package included:

– A DVD
– 3 different blending containers (2- 4 cup containers- one for wet ingredients, one for dry.. and 1 8 cup container for wet ingredients)
– 3 skinny spatulas
– chopping mats (each identifies poultry, fish, beef, veggies/fruit to avoid cross contamination)
– chefs knife
– plunger like devices to guide ingredients to the blades

What you can do with it:

-make homemade flour
– grind coffee beans
– make smoothies, juices or shakes
– nut butters HELLO!
– sauces, dressings
– have a picky eater on your hands? you can liquify veggies into your sauces to sneakily hide the nutrients into your dinners!

Downfalls:

1) The shape of the containers

There are lots of little grooves in the container that can make you lose product. If you took the time to scrape everything out? well good on ya! Personally I find it overly time consuming. May not be a big deal for some, but when working with expensive ingredients like pine nuts? everything counts!

2) The size/heaviness of base

If you are like me, I like a clean kitchen area. The base of most of the vitamix models are a bit heavy and chunky.

3) The noise

I do find the blender to be louder than most blenders, but it is due to the size of the motor in these bad boys.

What I LOVE

1) Versatility

It seriously replaces SO many appliances. I don’t need a blender, mixer, coffee grinder, food processor, juicer! The list goes on!

2) Save money

I make so many things from scratch now! I make my own almond flour, quinoa flour, almond butter, pesto sauce, tomato sauce, etc.

3) The Warranty

Vitamix holds a 7 year warranty! Not too shabby if you ask me!

All in all, I TOTALLY recommend this blender to EVERYONE. It is amazing and I use it pretty much 2 times a day or more. However, if the price tag is a bit more than you would like. The Blendtec is a great substitute as well!

The Importance of Passion

DSCN2230

Monday morning I laced up my Mizuno Waveriders, zipped up my 2010 Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon windbreaker and hit the pavement for my first “carefree” run in a very long time. This was the first workout since the start of 2013 that I felt genuinely happy throughout the entire workout! Sounds silly, but I didn’t really realize how much I missed running without a plan or route in mind. Just hitting the road and taking turns where ever my feet wanted to go. I also was extremely happy to run outside rather than on a treadmill! Or should I say, dreadmill UGH!

If you have followed my journey on Youtube since 2009, you will know that running has been a huge part of my identity since starting my 50 lb weight loss. Running truly has shown me so much of the world and myself. It started as a weight loss effort and soon bloomed into something much more beautiful. Running is a constant in my life and helps me deal with a lot of emotions and situations. I run when I am angry, sad, frustrated, stressed, and happy. I feel it? I run it!

It was hard to read the words written on my month one plan from the coach I was working with. They read that I would have to stop running distance…uh, what? I realized I would have to take it down a notch, but stop? Oi. The only type of running I was doing during that time was during intervals on a treadmill that were no more than a mile. It wasn’t until the 4th month that I was allowed to run 4 miles. It was then that I was really realizing that I was sacrificing a part of ME and apart of what I LOVE to do! My passion.

I am not saying that every run I have ever run was perfect, happy and easy for me to get out there and go. Definitely not! But you know that feeling you get when you think of something or see something you love? That “AH I want to do that right now!” feeling? That never went away for me. This may sound silly to my readers that do not run, but I sometimes will see a street or a trail and think “that would be perfect on a beautiful fall day!” or “I should hill train here!” Or I would see a runner and be slightly jealous of them. I know deep down that running will be apart of me for the rest of my life.

I am glad it took this for me to realize how much running is apart of my life. I am very lucky that this is the reason I stopped, rather than a serious injury. I still love weight lifting. I am a trainer and I encourage my clients to lift heavy! But I also encourage my clients to find passion in what they do. Sure you can drag yourself day in and day out to do a form of exercise you really don’t enjoy and see results. But is it worth the boredom and frustration? Not at all. Healthy living does not only mean eating well and working out. To me, healthy living includes quality of life.

So what next?

I have been pondering what my next goal race and distance will be. Originally I thought of running a half in spring to slowly bring myself around to training again. That would mean starting training Mid to late January. However, I am debating on running a full in the spring. Still not 100% sure, but I do miss that distance a lot. Yes. I am crazy. We should know this by now.. I will let you all know when I figure out what I want to do!

One of my big goals that has been in my head for a while now is to BQ by 30 (Boston Qualify). For my age group, that would mean a 3:35:00 finish. Holy mackerel. My best finishing time has been a 3:58:59. Since running my first marathon I have taken off over 30 minutes within the 2 years. I am pretty proud of that. So yes, this will be a very hard goal but I don’t think it is impossible.

I plan on sitting down in the upcoming weeks to really sit down and construct a plan. I want to see how my body will respond to a slightly different progression plan with my milage, speed, and hill work. But first I will have to pick a distance and race ;).

So the moral of the story? If you love something, do it! Passion, in my opinion, is part of the equation to creating success. Like I said, it doesn’t mean if you are passionate about something that it will come easy to you. It will just make it more enjoyable. I am so very excited to be documenting my running AND cross training again with you all on and off Youtube/the blog!

Change of Plans

Gosh I miss having wifi! It is being installed on Friday though, thank goodness. I want to blog from the comfort of my sweatpants, no makeup and messy hair! Is that too much to ask?

Anyway, I wanted to do an update in regards to a big move I decided to make with my meal plan and training plan. As seen here on blog, I have been working with my coach Michelle for about 4 months now. I will just say it, I have decided to stop working with her. It is nothing against her. She is great and people see amazing results with her! But I want to explain why I have made this choice. It is due to something that I haven’t mentioned too much on my blog or Youtube because, quite honestly, I have felt rather embarrassed and nervous to talk about it. I have come to the realization that many people struggle this situation and I thought it would be good to address it.

If you have seen my bio, either on my blog or through my videos, you will have seen that I was always an athlete. Exercise is something I have always been very passionate about and that is still true today. However, I was overweight and matters only got worse after my first year at university. I have always explained it was because “I didn’t know much about healthy eating,” but only part of that statement was true. Really I struggled with binge eating. I now know what situations bring out the “I wanna binge” feeling and this is the main reason why I stopped working with Michelle (again, its not because of her!). Personally, the planned out concise meal plan did not work for me. It brought out the binge eating tendencies. Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t gained weight from the many binges I experienced in the past four months. I have maintained part of the weight I lost in month 1. I just feel this was the best step for me.

What I needed was balance. The one cheat every two weeks was not cutting it for me. Also, the fact it was suppose to be a clean cheat. After having beef flank every single day for a month, the last thing I was craving was a beef steak! Again, nothing against this way of eating, it is just not for me.

As a certified trainer and coach, I believe self development is extremely important. I have been studying, reading and learning more about weight lifting, gaining muscle, fat loss, nutrition, and so on. I have come to the realization that much of what I want to accomplish I can do on my own for the time being. I may hire someone, locally, when I get into show prep (because lets be honest, AWKWARD Jenn posing for her show needs to be slightly less awkward!). For now, I am okay to do my own thing.

Also, I am working on my fitness business to get it up and running in the next year or so. I have many big ideas and dreams but the main plan on is to train clients locally as well as online. So I am planning on being a guinea pig for the workouts I am putting together as well as trying out a new way of eating.

As you may have noticed, I am an Instagram-aholic! I had noticed the hash tag #IIFYM all over the place and thought… “what is it with people and acronyms?!” ….just kidding. I was actually very curious and did a fair bit of research. IIFYM stands for “If it fits your macros.” This is my “new way of eating” that I found.

A basic rundown of what IIFYM (click to learn more) is:
Not all calories are created equal. 4 calories per gram of protein, 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates and 9 calories per gram of fat. This is why there is a shift of focus from calorie counting to macronutrient counting. The understanding is that if you want to have treats like frozen yogurt, sushi, pizza, or “insert food of choice here,” you can as long as you have the fat, carbohydrate, protein grams that allow for that. IIFYM is also known as “flexible dieting.” It reminds me a lot of the Weight Watchers “points plus” system that came out when I was working as a leader and receptionist! Like IIFYM, Weight Watchers focus was now on the macronutrients. Why? because not all calories are EQUAL. *light bulb turns on*

I have been using this method of eating and honestly, I am eating clean 90% of the time and still enjoying food I love! I am finally feeling BALANCE again and have no urge to binge. What else? I am seeing improvements in my energy levels, more power in my workouts and changes in my body! Not too shabby if you ask me!

So that is a not so brief run down of where I am at now! I still have plans to compete and gain muscle, I just will be working towards those goals with my own knowledge and planning.

Learning to love yourself

3632049182_5991f7bde5

Sometimes the negativity monster bites the best of us. Sometimes we dig ourselves a huge pit of self loathing which sometimes feels impossible to crawl out of. Ever since starting my journey, I learned the importance of learning to love yourself for what you are and who you are. The only thing in life that we can be our absolute BEST at is ourselves. So what happens when you aren’t cheering on your own side? Everything is an uphill fight. Everything seems way harder than it should. That spark and spice for life seems dull and dim.

We all need that reminder from time to time. Even the most positive and uplifting people have those times of doubt, worry and self consciousness. I want to share with you some of my tips on how I crawl myself out of my own pit of negative self-talk!

Tip #1: Learning not to compare yourself to others

This tip is super difficult at times. We are constantly bombarded by media outlets on what the “perfect body” is and what it should look like. But you know what? We were only given one body. This body carries you from point A to point B and beyond. This body has been through the tough time and the best times! Why not feed it love and peace? Work with what you have and love it for what it is! There is no such thing as an ugly body! Every body is a beautiful body, feed off of that and work yourself the best your body can allow for you! Every one is different. Every one comes in different shapes and sizes as we learned back in our preschool days! So how can one compare their body to another that is a foot taller and of totally different proportions? you just can’t! Do with what you have and love every moment of it.

Tip #2: Don’t play victim. Take control of your life!

My life is so tough! I will never be able to catch my dreams! I can’t do ____ because of ______. I’ve heard these time and time again and you know what? No one has ever been dealt the perfect cards. No one has ever had the easy path carved out for them. You can’t complain about something you don’t like if you haven’t put the effort in to take control of the situation. You want to lose weight? change something and make it happen! You want to run a marathon? well, find a run group or a program to slowly progress your way to that goal! Nothing is impossible with some time and effort! Now go get ’em tiger!

Tip #3: Surround yourself with supportive and positive people

I have learned over the years how contagious other peoples behaviors and attitudes can be. I have also learned not to put up with other peoples negativity. If you have someone in your life that has caused you pain or stress. Talk to them! If they refuse to take responsibility or talk it out, it may not even be worth the time so move on. Surround yourself with people who compliment your goals and your attitudes. These people will raise you up and you will raise them up as well. Positive relationships are a total game changer.

Tip #4: Smile and compliment people

This may sound silly, but saying something nice and smiling at someone can make someones day. Not only will it make their day but it will lighten up your day as well. Pass the positivity on!

Tip #5: Gratitude

Write down 5 things right now that you are grateful for. It may be that you are grateful for your spouse, your health, your children, mobility, anything! Gratitude shows us what we have in our lives and opens our eyes up to what we do love about ourselves.

Tip #6: Pep talk time/ Pamper yourself

This one may sound cheesy to some, but I often will take myself onto the sidelines for a little self pep talk. I run myself a hot bath, or make myself a big cup of tea and take out my journal. I ask: Why do I feel this way? What can I do to fix this feeling of negativity towards myself? What can I do right now that will change my mindset around? What things do I love about my inner self and my physical self? Why being positive and open will benefit me? Sometimes this is all we need. We need to step back and take a look at the broader picture! A little “me time” is always good to have. Sometimes a little pampering is in order too! Hot bath, face masque, Tea, a book and an hour alone. Gives you time to relax and take your mind off things. Heck! Maybe book yourself a massage!

Tip #7: Take a look at the past

Think about all the things that have changed for the better over the years. Maybe you have picked up running, you’ve lost weight, you have stopped smoking. If you have a journal you kept from those years or photos, look at these as a reminder. Sometimes we forget the leaps and bounds we have made because we get too stuck up in things not happening fast enough and looking to the future. Remember the importance of celebrating your past and current accomplishments. You need to be your biggest cheerleader!

Tip #8: Move it!

Are you really surprised that this is a tip? WORKOUT. The high after a workout is the best for your mindset. Have you really ever worked out and went “GOSH I WISH I DIDN’T DO THAT. I SHOULD HAVE JUST SAT ON THE COUCH ALL DAY INSTEAD!” I highly doubt it. Working out gives you confidence, clears the mind, gives you energy, and creates a mind-body connection that I feel sometimes is lost when we are in these times of self-loathing and self consciousness.

Tip #9: Motivate and Inspire yourself!

Personally I use social media to motivate and inspire myself. I follow so many amazing men and women on Instagram that work so hard for their goals. I also read blogs, watch YouTube videos and Pinterest! Find what inspires you for whatever your goals are and work with those. But remember not to compare yourself to whatever is inspiring you.

Tip #10: Breathe

Why yes, Jenn, I breathe almost ALL THE TIME. Yes Yes, I know. But taking a few deep breaths can open up your mind and give you a second to calm yourself. I will often give myself 3-5 minutes to sit down comfortably, sit up tall, and just focus on my breathing in and out. That can be all we need when we are having a moment!

2013 Resolutions? Nah, 2013 GOALS!

Hey everyone!

2012 gone in a flash! Am I right?! So I don’t know about you all, but I am a HUGE goal setter. I set goals for the year, the month, the week, and even every day. (post-it notes and highlighters are my best friends….yeah I don’t get out much. HUSH!) So why is it that when January 1st hits goals are now named “resolutions”? (I googled the history of New Year’s Resolutions, if you are interested here is a neato article!) I think what baffles me most is the idea of “I will start on January 1st.” Kind of like my old excuse of “I’ll start my diet on Monday” since it was the start of the work/school week. The final time I joined Weight Watchers and began my weight loss journey it was NOT a Monday, it was a WEDNESDAY *gasp*..yet I was successful?! CRAZY TALK! 😉 Why start later when you can start now? everyone has to start somewhere right? (I am all about the tough love if you can’t tell).

Image

So in my “catch all” journal I decided to start writing out my resolutions 2013 goals. (My “catch all” journal is my everything journal. I write down my thoughts, feelings, ideas for blog/business/videos/wedding/recipes and notes for fitness and so on…can you say SUPER UNorganized?!)  Last year I achieved all the fitness type goals I set out for. Here they are:

Jenn’s 2012 Fitness Resolutions Goals

1. PB the half marathon distance  ✓

2. Sub 4 hours on the marathon distance  ✓

3. Fund raise and run the marathon with Team Diabetes in Reykjavik, Iceland 

4. Run the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon

5. Become a Can Fit Pro Certified Personal Trainer 

Why was my 2012 so successful? I personally believe that you should write your goals down in a place you can reference. My daily goals? (HELLO POST IT NOTES!) I stick them in my planner! Sometimes I will even post them to my bathroom mirror if I need a SPECIAL reminder (ie: Be kind to Jenn today – sounds corny but I can be my worst critic!) I also categorize goals into things like Fitness, Self/Well being, Relationships, Financial, School, Business and so on. Not only should you write them down, but write down what your first step of action will be for that goal! I am not saying write an entire game plan, just write down your first step. Once that is done cross it off and write down your next step.

example:

“Lose 5 lbs in the month of January”

Step One: I vow to do cardio for at least 30 minutes four times a week and add more colour to my plate (AKA veggies/fruit).

Step Two: ??? (eg: incorporate in a weight routine!)

So yes. I believe goal setting is one of the most important keys to success. I am sure we have ALL heard of the S.M.A.R.T acronym (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-targeted) and I believe this is important. It is so easy to get overwhelmed, especially when it comes to weight loss, muscle gains, training for a race, ANYTHING. Don’t be one of those people who are going hard at the gym and then we don’t see you once March has come. This is a lifestyle. Your body was meant to move and be nourished. If you are having a day where you are finding it hard to get to the gym or go for a run make a mini-goal for yourself. This was a tactic I used on myself when I was just beginning to get active again. “Jenn, move for at least 30 minutes..if you STILL don’t want to do this you can stop.” If you think about 30 minutes is really not that long, in fact most of our favorite TV shows are that long! Why not do jumping jacks/burpees/pushups/squats/lunges/WHATEVER while you watch your TV show? Pretty manageable if you ask me!

Don’t wait for January 1st or Monday. Start now. If you really want this, you will put everything aside and WORK for what you want. Don’t have that goal be just a wish. Make it happen! Believe me, I had a few too many treats on Christmas but once boxing day hit it was on it like Donkey Kong (uhh that is a saying right?). I popped in my Insanity DVD after a day of shopping in terrible boxing day crowds (that’s agility training on its own!) even when I was completely exhausted, I ate completely clean and stuck to my caloric goal! (Hey follow me on My Fitness Pal!) You will make time for fitness and you will make the effort to eat clean if you really want to achieve your resolution of “being healthy” in the year of 2013. (Told ya! Tough love!)

Happy New Year everyone! Let’s make this one the best year yet!! I challenge you to write down your goals and course of action!