31 Days Later

31 days ago I committed to drinking at least one smoothie a day for the month of August. I’ll admit that I was primarily motivated by Charissa’s Colourful Smoothie contest. I wasn’t even sure I’d be stick to my goal because I was going away for 11 days and blenders aren’t exactly easy to pack in a suitcase, but after just a few short days of drinking colourful smoothies I found myself craving these produce creations. The challenge quickly turned from hoping to win prizes to wanting to improve my eating habits such as incorporating bigger breakfasts into my diet. I can tell a difference in my energy levels, sugar balance and overall well-being since starting to drink liquid nutrition.Colourful-Smoothie-August-2013-Challenge-Copy-510x253While smoothies can easy pack in unnecessary calories or added sugars, if you stick to a 40:60 ratio of greens to fruit you’ll be sure to have a nutrient dense and tasty beverage. If you ever find spinach to be overpowering, add a banana, more milk or chocolate to mask the flavour! I found myself drinking smoothies for breakfasts and snacks because those were the times I needed to prepare meals that were not only easy to make but quick to clean up. What’s great about smoothies is that they can keep in a refrigerator for up to 3 days so you can make them in advance for times when you are hungry but in a pinch. When I wasn’t in the kitchen I opted to snack on a Starbuck’s Strawberry Vivanno (1/2 the protein, non-fat milk) or the Raspberry Rapture blend from Booster Juice. Charissa also had a lot of low-sugar variations, my favourites being the Wild Blueberry Shake, Lemon Meringue Smoothie and Dark Chocolate Protein Shake.Smoothies 1Most of my combinations included a banana, spinach, skim milk, vanilla protein powder, ice and another fruit such as strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, mango, orange or kiwi! I enjoyed switching it up with the addition of frozen cucumber/peaches instead of ice, cinnamon, cacao powder, shredded coconut, instant coffee granules, vanilla, cottage cheese, silken tofu or even tea (chai or green). For “how-to” breakdown of making smoothies be sure to check out my WIAW: Smoothie Edition post.

Smoothies 3So even though I learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work (complimenting flavours, the ripeness of fruit and blending techniques) I still haven’t quite mastered photographing my creations. Even nice bowls or unique garnishes (fruit sections, oats, cereal, seeds) don’t mask the weird colours created using the most flavourful combinations.

Smoothies 2I really enjoyed this challenge and I hope Charissa makes it an annual event. I can only imagine how much work Charissa put into tracking everyone’s consumption and for that I am truly grateful. ♥ Molly

“Those who think they have no time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley

Color Me Rad

This past Sunday I participated in my first ever colour run! Words cannot even begin to describe how much fun I had! I was reunited with a friend that I hadn’t seen in over a year which made this “first” experience even more memorable. I also ran into some unexpected acquaintances which was coincidental and neat.

Color Me Rad1

While it was 5km (A decent length for “newbies”), it wasn’t a race to set a PR at. The layout was designed to challenge beginners, but for the more advanced you had the flexibility of setting your own pace. The race was definitely less about speed than it was about colour and amusement. In fact, a lot of parents brought their children as those under 7 ran for free. I was impressed at how many little kids were successfully running the full 5km. Sometimes I forget how much energy I had when I was younger!

Color Me Rad5

Color Me Rad is an organization that hosts races throughout Canada and the United States and the moment I heard they were coming to Toronto, Ontario, I signed up (It sold out so fast)! Downsview Park was an ideal location, as it is accessible by foot, car, bus and subway. It was a fairly flat course (Hooray!) and was mostly paved. The event was very hot as the trail was not shaded and the sun beamed at 40 degrees . In compensation I stayed extra hydrated even though I am not a fan of having much liquid (heavy) in my stomach when I run.

Color Me Rad4

Our location was sponsored by Larabar so they were handing our “Cashew Cookies” following the race. Unfortunately I am allergic to nuts, but I did manage to score a Vitamin Water that they were handing out. There was also the opportunity to participate in a “Pepsi Taste Challenge” or get free Red bull. For some reason those beverages never really appeal to me, especially pre or post-workout!

Color Me Rad3

For those of you still wondering what a “colour run” is, let me explain. The idea is that you start out very clean, wearing mostly white (for effect). We were provided with sunglasses that are designed to protect your eyes from sun and colour. I went as far as making white tutus for my friend and I to wear (they absorbed the cornstarch too) as the idea was to be “rad”. Many sported high socks, side pony-tails and white shorts as well. Throughout the run (in my situation it was each kilometer) you are coated with non-toxic, dry, coloured cornstarch. I was sprayed by wet coloured cornstarch at kilometers 2 and 4 which definitely helped to cool me down. At the end of the race I got my own “Colour Bomb”. This was similar to a ziploc baggy filled with a coloured cornstarch. We got our cameras ready and popped the bag for an ultimate explosion. My friend captured most of our memories, as I was too scared to ruin my phone! The organization also had photographers situated throughout the course and there was a photo booth at the end of it all. I can’t wait to see how those pictures turned out.

Color Me Rad2

Today I am still living a “rad” life as some of the colours have yet to come off of my stomach. Similarly, I got a mild sunburn on my arms and back so there is an outline from my black “rad” tattoo. I guess it protected my skin from the sun but I am hoping that the tan line soon fades. I am already looking into running another “themed” race, as “Color Me Rad” was very enjoyable. Thank you again to all that volunteered or helped organize Toronto’s event. From the Zumba warm-up class, to the colour bomb squad, every detail was well thought out and planned. It is a race I would recommend to anyone provided they aren’t allergic to cornstarch and don’t have severe asthma. There is really nothing I would change about the race, except maybe spelling “color” with a U since it was a Canadian location! I am so grateful for having been provided with this opportunity. ♥ Molly