Hippie Juice

My recipes are ever so often something I saw on Pinterest, mixed with something I have in my house. My Hippie Juice is no exception. Pinterest told me that this mixture (or something similar), was good for “melting belly fat” (I know right, cancel that gym membership, lets order pizza!) but my common sense and nutritional background tells me the following:

Ginger has been used for centuries to relieve cold symptoms. The anti-inflammatory properties have even been shown to kill rhinoviruses.

Lemon is said to help with congestion, they are high in Vit C, help flush the kidneys, enhance the immune system and has antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Apple Cider Vinegar tastes gross, but if the taste can kill your will to live, think what it can do for the virus! Seriously though, drink it, gargle it, sleep with a bottle under your pillow. Do what you must, but this stuff is your ally!

Cucumber is high in Vit A and Vit C and folic acid. But the main reason I add this to my drink is the taste. I find that cucumber (along with mint from my garden) tastes like a spa day. It tastes fresh and healthy and even if it had zero healing qualities, a nice dose of placebo never hurt anyone.

Honey needs basically no introduction. Liquid gold, soothing, beautiful honey. Honey is used in the medical field in wound management, treating coughs, and to stimulate the immune system.

And now the kicker – water! Keeping hydrated is crucial in life and in sickness.

So here’s what I did to make my version of the Pinterest potion.

Cold-busting Hippie Juice

In a large pitcher, combine the following:

  • The juice of three large lemons
  • Two cups of peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger (I bought the biggest ginger roots at Walmart yesterday, seriously the size of my 2-year-old’s arm!)
  • One thinly sliced cucumber
  • Four generous “glugs” of ACV – probably a cup or so
  • Honey to taste (I used probably 2 tablespoons in a 2-litre pitcher)

Just fill with water, stir to combine, let steep in the fridge for a while and start chugging. I finished 3 pitchers yesterday. When I drank the last of the juice, I just added more ACV, more water and put it back in the fridge.

So at the end of the day, I was well hydrated, my symptoms were relieved AND for the first time in forever, I could drink something without having to share with my kids. They both had one sip and decided, in Alice’s words, that they “need some coke or something to taste their mouths better again.”

I still have belly fat though…

Denial

Okay, I concede. This cold is winning. Despite the sunshine, the positive thoughts, the Advil and the no-excuses attitude, I am losing the battle. I have taken all the reasonable natural and pharmaceutical steps to get better, but alas. I need to rest. I pushed through my symptoms and ran 42km in the last 5 days, but as I was struggling through what should have been an easy 5km today, I realized that I should have listened to my doctor-dad, my common sense and Google.

So here it is, I WILL REST UNTIL I FEEL BETTER, (or until Saturday’s race, whichever comes first).

Denial though can be a ridiculous drug. And as with most powerful medications, should be handled with care. Ignoring signs or “powering through” a viral infection (yes, the common cold is a viral infection) can be seriously detrimental to your health. The rule of thumb is that if symptoms are above your neck (sneezing, runny nose, headache etc) you are good to go, but below the neck (sore lungs, diarrhea, body aches, fever, chills etc) you should stay home. Try some gentle yoga, or just a good old-fashioned bath and a good book. Until you feel better.

I still feel pretty uneasy about taking time off running with a half marathon less than 4 weeks away though. But until I have my happy lungs back, it’s yoga, Advil and water for this mother runner.

 

YES! Spring!

I have a cold. Presumably because both my kids had colds and inevitably coughed straight into my mouth. So then I got the cold. Today is day 3, and it might be the Thieves oil in my diffuser, the Advil or the incredible amount of raw garlic I ate yesterday, but I am feeling freaking tip-top! My sinuses are sore still and I occasionally sound like a police dog when I cough, but in general, I feel pretty great today, because today feels like SPRING!

The sun is shining, the snow is melting and I worked in my greenhouse today, cleaning up the remainder of the plants from last year. I even got my first gardening-related injury of the year! (I also slipped on some ice while carrying a huge flower pot filled with potting soil and landed on my left hip, but my winter padding protected me!)

Today is Tuesday, and Tuesdays are for strength training. While I absolutely encourage some quality gym time for strength training, the Occupational Therapist in me also enjoys the more functional activities of daily living. Gardening, especially the digging, tilling and carrying heavy things, is such a great workout! I’m very excited for those activities to be in full swing again in a couple months! Gardening feeds the body and soul. I have already planned out my greenhouse and started sprouting some seeds indoors. Viva fresh garden veggies, Viva!

Other than prime gardening time, spring also brings with it cleaner roads for easier runs. I’m pretty excited about running in my first official race of 2018 on Saturday. It’s just a 5K, but I’m pumped about getting out and seeing over 100 runners BEAMING with excitement for the 2018 running reason!

Today was Perfect

Today really was.  I was the perfect mom, my kids were the perfect kids. I made the perfect tzatziki and marinated the perfect piece of fresh salmon.

Perfect!

Obviously, this isn’t true. A 24-hour day is rarely perfect! But there was a moment today when I was cuddling both my girls in the warm afternoon sun on my bed, (following a mid-day bath due to a nosebleed) where I thought to myself, THIS is perfection. So why not call it a perfect day? We do the opposite, don’t we? You bump your toe, spill your coffee or fight with your kids and suddenly those few moments are summed up as a bad day! Why don’t we flip it around?

So while I did let Alice play about 2 hours of Mario today, and Caroline watched Max and Ruby the entire time I was prepping food, (bad, bad mom!), I was awesome too. When I held them and told them how much I loved them. When I made them delicious sugar-free popsicles in the middle of winter because they’ve been asking for it for a week. When I tasted the bathwater tea, just to make them happy, even though there was an 87% chance one of them had peed in it… Yes, I did lose my cool in the truck this morning when they fought over the car seats and Caroline pulled hair, but in that perfect moment on my bed, I didn’t care. I chose to focus on the perfect, and for me, ignoring the imperfect IS perfect. <3

So excuse me as I go upstairs to ignore dust bunnies under furniture and handprints on the window, while I go enjoy my kids. Perfect!

Foot Note: While being the perfect mom and wife today was just fleeting, my tzatziki and the marinated salmon was, however, ACTUAL perfection. I’ll post a recipe later.

 

Not all days are Great days

In eating, living, running and parenting. And this is a universal truth. Even when you’ve got it all together. Even when you’re super fit. Even when your Instagram photos reflect it differently. Not all days CAN be great. Some days are just… Blah.

Today is a blah day for me. I’ve been doing a lot of meditating lately, and as is usually the case with being left alone, unattended with one’s thoughts, some garbage tends to creep back from the emotional dump you thought you dropped it at. It’s not that I’m sad or depressed or angry, I’m just distracted today. Instead of living and running in the moment, my thoughts are elsewhere.

But here’s the thing. While I turn to my support system in times of self-doubt and internal weirdness, there’s another strategy that is actually scientifically proven to WORK.

This means, you slap on the smile, get dressed and tell yourself “you’ve got this”. You don’t have to believe it, you just have to pretend you do. A smile, especially, can do a lot for improving your mood. I think it has a negative connotation, as “fakeness” should have, but this isn’t that! It’s not being a fake person, it’s just tricking your mind into believing in yourself again. And it’s not a lifestyle choice – well, it shouldn’t be. It’s a temporary fix for a moment of doubt or anxiety.

So, while I am a happy person with a magically blessed and rich life, a healthy body and mind, a wonderful family and magnificent friends, I am also a complex human being with emotions and thoughts, past experiences, hurt, anger and an unquenchable hunger for Cadbury’s mini eggs. Maybe writing this blog it therapy in itself today. Giving me a taste of my own medicine and some much-needed perspective. So here I go, coffee in hand, ready to face the world – or at least the easy 5km run I’m dreading after doing Tuesday’s killer squats.

One day at a time. We’ve got this.

 

Spring Gear

My first half marathon of the year is just under 6 weeks away. So now more than ever, I need a no-excuses kind of attitude. The weather is still pretty atrocious, the roads and sidewalks vary from decent to life-threatening, and as I learned yesterday, after a week of warmer temperatures and mixed rain and snow, the trails are still pretty unrunnable. But Thursday is the first day of March (and Friday is -13, but I’m not focussing on that right now). Spring HAS to be on the way! And with spring comes so much to look forward to:

  • I have new runners that I’ve been saving for spring roads – running the last life out of my current ones on the sh*tty roads.
  • I found a great deal on compression shorts! 7-inch shorts that don’t ride up, has a high rise and is sweat wicking. Also, it has a POCKET that fits my phone! Exercise clothes take a beating. All that stretching and sweating and washing and drying… I have always found it hard to buy pricy active wear. These are GREAT. And I’m kinda loving running in shorts!
  • Another pocketed item of clothing I found, was a great new running bra. I am very picky about sports bras. It needs to have tons of support but still allow me to breathe.
  • I have also been a fan of Bluetooth headphones lately. Maybe I just have weird shaped ears, but I can’t seem to find an in-ear earphone that stays put without a headband over my ears, keeping it in. And another thing I like about over-ear headphones is that you can wear it around your neck and still hear it. (Some highway runs don’t allow headphones due to safety issues.)

I like not spending a TON of cash on running gear, because like I said, even great brand name items take a beating on your body and in the washing machine. And as for add-ons, you never know when a belt, hat or headband just starts hurting or annoying (and distracting) you too much to continue wearing it in on a long run and you need to toss it. I also once lost an MP3 player in a tragic post-race Porta Potty incident, so I was really happy it was $30 and not $200!

Happy shopping, saving and running friends!

 

#goals

New inspiration is never far away when you surround yourself with great people.

 – Me. I said that.

I shook myself out of my two-day pity party and with the sunshine, my spirit and smile returned. It was -12 when I got up this morning, and knowing that it was going to warm up considerably, I decided against an early morning run but opted to run after my husband gets home from work. But today, I WANT to run. Why? Because I WANT to be able to run this awesome race a friend of mine is doing at the end of the year. Am I going to run it? Nope. Not unless I win the lottery. So why bother?

See, knowing where I want to be as far as my fitness goes, gives me a measurable goal to work towards. This particular race would literally be a dream come true, and if I have learned anything lately, it is to dream! Dream big! I have been loving the idea of journaling. And it’s not just a running thing (or a teenage “dear diary” thing). Writing your goals down makes them more attainable. It makes it feel more real and makes you work just a tad harder to get there. This particular goal of mine does require a few thousand dollars that I don’t have, but who knows, maybe by some miracle, I DO have the means to travel and participate in this race. Wouldn’t it just be the worst if I wasn’t prepared?

I found a journal on Amazon (and made my husband put it in my Christmas stocking) that I absolutely LOVE. It has regular positive affirmations and mantras and plenty of space for doodling, sketching or jotting down ideas. It’s a guided journal, so you don’t have to think of things to write, it prompts you to think in a certain direction. Journaling also is a good way of “forcing” yourself to focus on YOU for at least a few minutes at the end of the day – something us moms struggle with.

 

 

 

Fighting SADness

Seriously! I know it’s still February, I know it’s technically the heart of winter and I know “back in your day”, the snow was as high as the power lines and you were jumping off the roof into the snow, yada yada yada. But listen Linda, this Game of Thrones backdrop is seriously dampening my outdoorsiness. I like snow – it’s soft and fun and pretty! But when it snows a gazillion feet and never actually warms up enough for the snow to melt, we are left with meters of compacted ice. Mix into that the arctic outflow and you have yourself a very unhappy ex-South African.

My blood runs warm with memories of sunny beaches, swimming pools, wine tastings, amphitheatres, picnics (also crime statistics, unsafe living conditions, political turmoil etc – but that’s beside the point). I miss warmth and sun and bare feet. I miss summer! And in recent years, with my new found love of running, I miss non-slippery surfaces.

But alas. It is what it is, so instead of blogging about my annoyance (oops, too late), I need a few distractions from the less than ideal outside. Here’s what I do:

Puzzles

Let me start by saying, that if you have little kids or cats, this one might not be for you. I have both. But I still attempted it. It wasn’t terrible, but I needed a bag of tricks for when the kids wanted to “help”. Their own puzzle on the table next to me was pretty successful.

Wine

Yes yes, while I don’t recommend guzzling down a bottle of $9 red, I really do love wine. As a child, I remember my dad having a rather impressive cellar at our house. An appreciation for good wine. Then I went to university in the heart of South African wine country where world-famous wine is produced (and consumed). So here’s what I like to do. Have GOOD wine, in a NICE glass. Pairing it with a great steak or a nice dark chocolate is also amazing. All of the above has amazing health benefits too (in small doses!).

Shopping

Kind of wishful thinking, I guess, but I like shopping for summery things to remind me that it is, in fact, coming. Sun hats, new shades, sundresses, bikinis, beach towels etc. Amazon is my go-to because unlike in Winners, I don’t have to tell my kids “no, we’re not buying a lollipop/Paw Patrol backpack/life-size horse stuffy” every 7.8 minutes.

Recipe Research

Planning my meals for the week or planning hypothetical back-yard parties for the summer. Looking at recipes on Pinterest or the occasional food post one of my friends makes on Facebook (especially my Portuguese/Italian/Indian friends – Hmmmmm, spices) gives me the inspiration to make delicious, healthy, budget-friendly meals for my family. Chances are my kids still won’t eat it, but hey, I tried. (Side note: My four-year-old has a new thing where she says: “I’ll be brave and eat my food”… Like I’m trying to poison her! Aggghhh kids!)

Self Care

Face masks, nail polish, bubble baths – that kind of DIY thing. But also, a message from a professional, lash extensions, nail art. Something that costs money, but is worth it, because you are treating yourself! Have you tried a salt float yet? No? Do it! What about one of those fish pedicures? An audiobook? A real book? Whatever man. Some escape-from-real-life me-time.

Games Night

Especially in winter, I tend to want to be in pajamas and call it a day by 8pm, so I’m grateful for my husband who encourages me to actually spend time with friends after 8pm. I’m also grateful for friends who don’t judge if I am actually in pajamas. The Oatmeal has some hilariously funny board games that we’ve been playing recently. But whatever you choose, board games are SO fun and actually does your brain some good (problem-solving skills, strategy etc.).

I’m still hopeful that an unprecedented amount of rain, followed by a heat wave will take care of the freezer on my doorstep, but in the meantime, I’m going to try a little positivity and alternative indoor fun to make it seem a bit warmer, happier and enjoyable. Oh, and running with my grips. Because Lord knows I need to run to burn off the crazy. 😉

Why I Run

Toddlers thrive on routine! It warms my heart that my daughter enjoys my running. When my 2-year old sees me in my running gear she says with a smile – every time, without exception – “You go running? You come back, right?” Then I smile, tell her that I’ll always come back, and she says: “Okay Bye! Love you too!” And upon returning, she says excitedly: “You back! You wet, right?” (Not a fan of sweaty hugs, I guess…)

Being an example for my girls is my MOST important job. For the most part, children admire and adore their parents. Sometimes, heartbreakingly so. (Abused children, absent parents etc.) Often, it doesn’t matter how much you mess up, your kids will still think you are the world’s best mom! So to me, that means I need to step up and try harder. Little eyes are always watching.

I run for me. I run because it makes me feel good and strong. I run because I can get out of the house and listen to an audiobook. I run because I love being in nature. I run because I never ran before 2015, and ever since I tied up my runners three years ago, I can’t wait to beat my own personal best. So yes, I do run for me.

But I also run for them. I run because I want to teach them that it’s okay to pursue a hobby that doesn’t include anybody else. I want them to see that women can be strong and fast and ambitious. I run because it teaches them from an early age that making time in the day for exercise is totally routine and normal. I run because I want to grow old for my kids, and running keeps me healthier and lowers my risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease by 45%.

Running makes me happy. I’m not even particularly good or fast or strong. But I feel great about what my (mostly tired, kinda flabby) body can achieve. And when I come home, I have two little humans who will grow up to know that they too can achieve anything. Running might not be YOUR happy place but find it. Find it in music, dancing, biking, fitness classes, swimming, yoga or all of the above. But FIND it. And hold on to it.

Some Ramblings and some Food

Again I ask myself, why do I have a blog? When I started this, I felt that I wanted a platform, that I had things to say. And even though I still feel that way, my question is: Why will people want to listen? Who cares?!

But then I get messages from friends and strangers who tried my recipes, fed their kids the aspartame-snow, bought the running grips. I love it! I love that even ONE person feels that my suggestions are worth trying.

Anyway, that was a long intro to a simple recipe. I guess I just wanted to say thanks!

Chimichurri Chickpeas

I first tasted and fell in love with chimichurri, a South American sauce, in Africa in 2014. Easy to make and SO flavorful! Sorry, this recipe is based on my taste and the herbs I have in my garden/freezer, so I freehand the ingredients. Because it’s so green, it tastes like summer and happiness and health!

For the Sauce:

  • SO MUCH parsley. I use tons since I grow it in the summer and fill my freezer with it.
  • Chives
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro
  • Finley chopped garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Juice of 3 limes (I think it traditionally gets its tanginess from vinegar, but I add limes to anything and everything I possibly can.)
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper

Blend it all together, to a sloppy pesto consistency. And you’re done!

For the Chickpeas:

Soak dried chickpeas overnight in water, rinse and cook in different water (with salt) for 30 min. Add chimichurri, stir, cover and refrigerate. As easy as that!

Now, when you want to eat, as the main course or a side, you chop up some avocado, cucumber, tomato, or whatever vegetable you want (as long as you choose avocado), add some chickpeas from the fridge and BAM! So good!