The search for home-made bread substitutes

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I have been successful in avoiding bread for quite some time now (for the most part). Occasionally I will have a whole wheat wrap but that is only if I am out and there a very few options to choose from. Finding substitutes for bread however can be somewhat difficult.

Previously I have tried the lettuce leaf wrap and it worked alright but ripped easily. I suppose this depends on the type of lettuce so I won’t rule it out completely.

I have also tried seaweed as a wrap. I used the large nori sheets and found them to also be alright but they got soggy quickly if anything in the wrap was moist. I suppose you could use more than one sheet to prevent sogginess.

I have also tried to make pita “bread” from chickpea flour. That worked nicely but I have to prefect the ingredient measurements. It was more of a taco shape than a wrap as sometimes the wrap would rip if folded too much. But as I mentioned, I’m sure it is just a matter of tweaking the ingredient proportions.

My current endeavour is to attempt to make a bun out of predominantly cauliflower. I am optimistic and excited about this one. And I shall begin this process right now and let you know the outcome.

…Some time later…

Cauliflower buns complete! While I was making them, I felt as though they needed more of an adhering substance as they were not sticking together very well. However once they were cooked, while a tad crumbly, they maintained their shape pretty well. But alas, it is another ingredient proportion issue that can eventually be worked out. As far as taste goes, when eaten alone, they had a strong cauliflower taste, obviously. However when used in a sandwich bun situation, the cauliflower taste was masked by the flavour of the contents within the sandwich. I would call this a success. It was a bit labour intensive because I had to use a grater to get the cauliflower to the desired consistency. It would have been a lot less work if I had access to a food process.

In summation, I would ideally find a bread substitute that was less work to make. I think while quite nutritious, the cauliflower bun will not be made on the regular. I think the next step is to retry the chickpea flour pita and perhaps add different flour to the mix (coconut flour possibly). When I get that recipe just right, I will report back.

The Win That Almost Wasn’t

sprayHave you ever tried so hard to accomplish something and then due to someone else’s actions, what you worked so hard for was almost ruined? Well, remember when I told you that I won 1st place the November contest…? Well it almost didn’t happen.

Normally, shows begin around 9 or 10am which means I usually get my spray tan done the day before the show. It is a pain in the ass because you can’t wear anything tight, no one can touch you and you have to sleep like a starfish. Perhaps some skin types take the tan better, but my skin is notorious for repelling the tan.

Things were a little different for the November show. The show was to begin at 6pm so I figured I had plenty of time to get my tan done the day of. I scheduled the tan for 11am and when the time came, off I went. Here is where the trouble began…

The lady who owns the spray tan salon and who normally does my tan was on maternity leave. This is of course perfectly acceptable. However, if you are going to continue to take my business, I expect that I will receive the same service. I don’t know where the owner found this girl but she must have been still in high school and clearly had never done a competition spray tan before. Let me stress that a competition spray tan is very different than a regular spray tan.

Feeling scepticism yet hopefully optimistic, I stripped down and prayed for a good outcome. I was right to feel scepticism… I kept telling her that the tan needed to be darker, darker, darker. She called the owner several times yet the result was not what I needed it to be. Clearly this girl was missing a step. I can’t necessarily blame her as the owner left her ill prepared. She lathered me with coat after coat and it got to a point where if she put anymore on, it would just be dripping.

As I stood naked in the room to dry, the lack of heat was almost unbearable. I asked if there was anything that could be done to warm the space but junior mint told replied with a “no”. As the tan dries and I begin to freeze to death, I look at myself in the mirror and almost shit a brick. This is not acceptable.

When dry, I went to the front desk. Not only am I extremely unhappy with the tan but I also find out that the rates have been raised. I tell her to call the owner and demand a reduced rate as I am extremely unhappy. The owner tells junior mint that the spray tan costs more and the full balance is due. Thinking back, I should have fought harder because I paid for a spray tan but did NOT receive one.

By the time I got home, the tan around my hips was smudged terribly and it was way too light to step on stage. I began to ball my eyes out and proceeded to create racoon eyes as the tan around my eyes was washed away. Keep in mind that she show is just hours away at this point.

I call a different salon that tells me to shower the previous tan off and then they will redo it. Feeling somewhat less stressed, I shower and rush over.

I strip down and the tanning process begins. And ends… Oops there is not enough formula. What…the…hell…am…I…supposed…to…do?

Feeling bad for me, this new salon calls another salon and makes an emergency appointment for me. I rush over and finally I am at ease. The tan is dark, the tan is even, the tan is competition worthy!

As I stand drying in a nice warm room, I am excited about my great tan but that is not the only thing to consider. As it approaches 4pm, I still have not done my hair or makeup and we still have to consider driving time… F.

Once dry, I rush home. The makeup ends up looking ok but there is no time for the hair…what? I had wanted to curl the hair but it looks like it is just going to have to stay straight. In a competition where a bad tan, bad makeup or bad hair can cost you the win, I was slightly concerned.

Well, I guess good things come to those who persevere because I ended up winning in the bikini category. The road to success is never straight and easy, I suppose. Adversity will make you stronger and teach you a lot. In the grand scheme of things, if this is the worst thing in the world to ever happen to me, it’s not so bad (especially considering the outcome).

Experimenting With The Paleo Thing…

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As I have a rather curious mind, I decided to look into the increasingly popular paleo diet just for the heck of it. Finding out that the paleo crowd avoids grains/oats, my typical oatmeal breakfast was out of the question. No dairy, no grains… what do these people eat…? Well, the handy dandy Google gave me a quite an extensive list of paleo breakfasts to try. However, to my slight disappointment, they all seemed to require more effort than pouring cereal and milk into a bowl.

I decided to get a little bit crazy and picked a recipe that required some fine motor skills. These motor skills I speak of involved me coring a whole apple. This doesn’t sound too difficult but I don’t have a corer and I have never cored a whole apple before. On top of that, no one seems to trust me with a knife. I’m not sure why that is the case because I have not yet chopped off any of my fingers. Anyway, I ended up using a tool that is supposed to be used for cutting up pumpkins. It worked well enough I guess but let’s just say that I was happy not to be graded on my performance.

After coring the apple, I cut it into thin slices. I then made a mixture of almond milk, egg, coconut oil, almond four, cinnamon, nutmeg and raw honey. I dipped the sliced apples into the mixture and then threw the concoctions onto the frying pan. My first attempt ended up a tad wonky. The batter was not thick enough but once I added more flour that seemed to somewhat fix the issue. The other issue that had was that once the batter was cooked, it didn’t always adhere well to the apple. Perhaps pouring more batter onto the apple would have sealed the sucker in. Or perhaps I should have just followed the recipe as I was supposed to. I tend to see recipes as a suggestion rather than a by the book type thing… I guess that doesn’t always work in my favour.

When all is said and done, they aren’t the prettiest of things but they actually taste decent. They weren’t overly sweet but I have re-trained my taste buds so it wasn’t an issue. The problem was that I made these in the evening so that could have a ready-to-eat breakfast BUT I ended up eating most of them already… I guess that speaks to how much I enjoyed them.

In summation, I will say that my first attempt at a paleo recipe was successful. Wait… I think I cheated. I ran out of almond flour and I didn’t have the coconut flour that the recipe actually called for. So you know when I told you that I added more flour to thicken it… I used chickpea flour. Normally I would have no problem with this however apparently the paleo peeps classify all bean and legumes (including chickpeas) as contraband. I hate you paleo. Thank goodness I am not going to immerse myself in paleo culture because I love hummus too much and I will go on believing that it is healthy. So, long story short, my paleo breakfast ended up being a non paleo breakfast. How anticlimactic.

#1 Bikini and reflection on healthy living

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Hello friends. I have an important update to share… I have finally done it! I have accomplished the greatest feat that anyone on this earth could hope to accomplish! I have won a bikini contest! Sarcasm aside, this is what i have worked for in these past 2 years and I am extremely proud of myself and thankful for all of the support that I have received.
   You all know I have had my difficulties with a certain bodybuilding federation and that I returned to the federation that I began with for this final show of the year. I decided to enter two categories for the show, fitness model and bikini. I ended up placing 3rd in fitness and 1st in bikini. That bikini title is the one I was really craving so it worked out beautifully. Oh and this contest was for my pro card…so I am officially an IDFA bikini pro athlete! FINALLY, my plump backside is appreciated for the mass of glute muscle that it is. Some people love their smile, some love their eyes, call me whatever you like but I love my butt. 
   I guess I waited so long to publish the good news because I wanted to share the professional photos with the post but unfortunately I have not received them yet. I decided that it has been too long and I’ll just show you some of the blurry shots that my posse captured.
   It has been almost a month since the show and I will admit that I have been much less conservative with my diet. However, even through my occasional binging, I have begun to realize that I have truly made a lifestyle change. I no longer want to eat crap for the sake of it. If I eat something that is very sweet, it will turn me right off and I might not even finish eating it. I have chosen to embrace healthy living and I’m excited about it! Nerd alert… oh well, I’ll be spry as a fox when I’m 90.
   I work in a health care field and my patient base is comprised mostly of elderly persons. I cannot tell you how many times a day I have to listen to people tell me, “Don’t get old”, as if I have some sort of choice in the matter. I’m sick of hearing that and I don’t want to dread the inevitable. I want to be optimistic and happy at every stage of life and I am determined never to be that person who tells someone else “Don’t get old.”
   With that being said, I am excited to inform you that I have enrolled in a nutrition course. Lately I have been doing a lot more research on nutrition and how it has an impact on health status. Are you aware that our environment (including nutrition) can have an effect on how our genes are expressed? Isn’t that amazing? It makes a great deal of sense though. For example, someone with a genetic predisposition for lung cancer may never actually develop it. On the other hand, someone with that same predisposition may be a smoker and that activity can turn that cancer gene on. The same goes for those individuals who have a genetic predisposition for weighy gain. Stating it very simply, your environment has the potential to turn some genes on and off… very fascinating. A study of green tea actually showed that it has the ability to turn off cancer cells or turn on cancer fighting cells. I can’t remember the exact details but you get the idea. Another study showed that relaxation/meditation or yoga can contribute to certain genes being turned on and others off. Are you kidding me? That’s so cool. As I said, I work in a health related field and while I definitely believe in the power of medication, I also feel strongly about the adverse side effects of it. If we could reduce our need for medication by changing our lifestyle, what a healthy world we would live in. I am thoroughly enjoying studying this subject matter and I would love to put my knowledge into practice and help others get their nutrition and health on track. Let’s all get excited about healthy living! WOO!

The Storm Before The Calm

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A quick catch up before we get into today’s post. My most recent show (beginning of October), has come and gone. I felt that I presented a great physique, maybe my best yet but once again there is something about me that the judges don’t seem to like. I finally bit the bullet and paid for the judge feedback (yes, they make you pay). One hundred sixty dollars later, the first words of the feedback were “Legs are thick…”. Ok, yes. I am aware that my legs are not stick thin however I cannot comprehend how it is possible to place me 5th out of 6 competitors and yet 1st place is awarded to someone who has legs at least as thick as mine and with less definition may I add. See image below.
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I simply cannot comprehend. I know this is coming from a biased perspective but it really makes one question the “business” aspect of this particular organization, if you catch my drift. I make no accusations, it just seems interesting that certain people do quite well despite what they present on the stage… There seems to be a recurring theme here. Every show that I have competed in with this organization, I always rant about the judging afterwards. Finally enough is enough and I am going back to the organization that I started with. With that organization, you can usually spot who is going to place where and it makes it easier to accept a loss if you can see what they are looking for. But, I don’t expect a loss this time.

The storm before the calm. What do you mean? Well I have one more show that I am competing in this year and it happens to be next Saturday. That being said, this week is peak week and a whirlwind is about to ensue. Prepping for a show is not pretty my friends. I have to get the nether regions waxed, de-fur the rest of my body, try to avoid any and all types of body contact to prevent bruising, freak out over the pimple that I can feel is coming, get my shit all packed for the show, prepare my pee cups, make sure that the spray tan lady doesn’t screw up my tan again, make sure that I don’t lose any of my fake nails, and stress about the fact that I will be on my period for the show. Not to mention that I have to perfect my posing routine and ensure that the body is in perfect winning form. Too much information? It’s worth it, believe it or not.

As a side note, you may be wondering what the heck a pee cup is. Well, as us girls have to sit down to urinate, once our tan is applied, this tends to yield streaks. You do not want to be on stage and have pee streaks ruining you tan. Solution…turn a disposable cup into a funnel. Oh the joys of competing.

I feel really confident about this show. Although, I feel confident going into all of my shows so I guess it’s not saying much. Regardless, I am optimistic and I anticipate good things. I look forward to sharing my result of the upcoming competition and to all of you reading this, keep reaching for your goals.
That was cheesy, but it’s still true.

I Spy a Food Snob

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As I delve further and further down this hole of healthy living, I find myself evaluating how others must perceive me. And this very day, I realized that I have become… a food snob.

I have made some alterations to my diet recently which might seem questionable to some. For one, my boyfriend and I have been juicing. Not the steroid kind, but rather the veggie kind. With that being said, if one is to juice, a lot of veggies are needed to get a minimal amount of juice and therefore this can get pricey. In order to pinch some pennies, I downloaded a grocery store flyer app. While trolling through the online flyers, I found what I thought were organic beets on sale. Since I am a beet juice virgin, I was excited by this sale and got amped to try some beets in tonight’s juice. As a side note, I have been growing increasingly worried about all food that is not organic. I can thank my neurotic personality for that. It is for this reason that I pee my pants a little when I see the words organic and sale together.

I walked into the store with organic beets on the brain. After speaking with the grocery store worker, I was informed that I misunderstood the ad and the store didn’t have any organic beets. I proceeded to walk right out of the store. How food snobby can you get? First of all, shouldn’t inorganic be less expensive than organic? Well I wasn’t about to pay for a bundle of inorganic beets when I could get a 10 pound bag (also inorganic) at a different grocery store for much less per pound. So I will unfortunately be purchasing a large quantity of inorganic beets for tonight but at least it will be for a good price. You can’t win ‘em all.

I have been doing some reading on juicing and found out that if you juice too many cruciferous veggies too often, you are at risk of hormone imbalances, specifically the thyroid hormone. Cue the neurotic personality again. I became very anxious when I read this and what then followed was learning that eating foods which contain iodine can help counteract this. Are you curious as to what I ended up with? Well, long story short, I just picked up some organic seaweed from the health food store. Yes, apparently seaweed is a wondrous veggie of the sea. I don’t think you can get more food snob than that. Some of you may be repulsed by the idea of incorporating seaweed into your diet but I sprinkled some atop of my tilapia and I couldn’t even notice it. Hurray for nutrients that you cant taste!

As I continue to eat healthier and somewhat obscure items, I know that others are questioning my sanity. Some may even grow annoyed with me as I refuse to eat certain items that they are shovelling into their food holes. But perhaps it is just because they can’t find it in themselves to try these new ways of looking at food. You don’t have to compromise on taste, but it’s just re-training your taste buds. I feel amazing, and I think I look the best I have ever looked. My next show is only a week and a half away and I feel differently about the body I am presenting. Regardless of all of this, I think the thing I am happiest about is that I have gotten my boyfriend to start trying this healthy lifestyle. And hey, if I can get a manly construction worker to start juicing, you can try it too.

Let me take a selfie, damnit!

Oh the selfie… Instagram, in partnership with the increasingly popular selfie, have taken this world by storm. Just because Kim Kardashian made a sex tape and became (in)famous doesn’t mean that you can slap a few pics up and get to her level of fame. Remember folks, being popular on instagram does not make you famous in real life. That being said, I must admit to having a shameless instagram account. Why, you ask? Initially, I did for search engine optimization purposes, to increase traffic to my blog because I would ideally prefer if my readership would extend beyond just my mother. That being said, I began to like this vehicle of self worship called instagram… I allow myself to post selfies all in the name of “fitness progress tracking”, while in disguise I am simply feeding my inner egotist. It’s brilliant and no one will be the wiser.
Taking selfies in public is acceptable when there are two or more people involved. However, when you are caught publicly taking selfies of just yourself, you tend to come off looking like a bit of a narcissist douche. Well, that’s what I think when I witness someone doing just that. And it is because I feel this way that I do not want to be seen publicly taking a solo selfie.
I tend to work out by myself. This presents a problem if I want gym photos. I cannot afford to hire someone to follow me around and photographically catalog my gym experience for me only to then spend an unspecified amount of time running photos through endless amounts of filters before deciding on the right one so that said photo can then finally be posted to instagram. So since a personal photog is not in the cards, regrettably, I must resort to the gym solo selfie.
Let’s get real. Holding a pose for an extended period of time, while flexing, while possibly even giving duck face or a variety of other stupid facial expressions, is not something that you want others to witness. And here is my problem. Because the gym floor is crowded, there is never really an acceptable time to take the solo gym selfie. Remember the narcissist douche thing? Don’t be that person. It is only acceptable if the gym is dead and this only happens if you attend a shitty gym or you go to the gym at an ungodly hour and I piss on your dedication to the selfie if the latter is the case. So, since taking photos on the gym floor has now been ruled out, selfies are now limited to being taken in the change room. There is only one full length mirror in the change room at my gym and a mirror is necessary to take an instagram worthy gym selfie. Why the hell do all the ladies seem to rush the change room when I want to take my selfie? I can’t very well take my selfie with all of them watching. And on top of that, there are ladies getting naked in the change room…go figure. Bits and bobs are all hanging out and it is not the best time to flaunt my competition ready body. There are a few potentially troubling scenarios if I decide to neglect my hesitations regarding this matter. Scenario 1- Lady or ladies think that I am taking shots of their exposed bits and bobs. Scenario 2 – I unintentionally capture the image of exposed bits and bobs in the background of my selfie rendering it unusable as an instagram submission. Damnit! Would you all just leave me in peace so that I may take the appropriate amount of selfies before I find one that is instagram worthy?! And give me some time because let’s face it, no one gets the perfect selfie on the first shot. And if you do…I hate you. Just take what seems like a thousand photos and hope there is a decent one in the bunch.
After your workout, all the blood is flowing to your muscles and they look bigger. On top of that, you should be sweating like a pig and if you capture this body leakage in your selfie, well then, you are just a total gym boss bad ass. It can’t be…The seas have parted and there is no one in the change room. Quick! Take a flurry of shots before someone notices. Now Slap your sweaty self on the ass in congratulations because you showed them! Whoever they are. The fictitious antagonist of your life, I suppose. You have just taken the perfect after workout, sweaty selfie against all odds. Now Post, my friends, POST! Post that shit to instagram and wait for others to stroke your ego as you obsessively refresh the page to see how many new likes you receive. So, what are you doing still reading this? You have selfies to take!