Lifestyle

My Sunday Morning Routine

Sunday

Sunday is my favorite day of the week.

My number one goal every Sunday is to reflect on the week past with gratitude and look to the one ahead with faith.  I love starting my day off relatively early (between the hours of 6am and 7am) so there is a quiet hush over the city.  There is a peacefulness the lies in the city while everyone else is sleeping.
One of the first things I do is open my blinds and patio doors to take a big breath of ocean air!  I am blessed to live right on the water so I wake up and can usually hear the waves and smell the salt.

Coffee.

I love coffee.  I had to eliminate it a while back to make sure that it was not a culprit of my digestive issues, and I missed it every damn day!  Thankfully, it wasn’t having an ill-effect on my tummy, so I could re-introduce it.  Coffee can interfere with balancing my stress levels though.  I know that an excess of coffee is not good for your adrenal glands, and mine are already stressed AF right now, but then again, nothing is good in excess.  I have one (big) cup in the morning and sometimes a second mid-morning, but never after 12:00pm, and never more than 2  in a day.

I use an AreoPress to make my coffee and absolutely love it.  It works similarly to a French Press, however it functions as a vacuum system.  To my taste, it comes out as a more refined cup of coffee.  Sometimes, French Press to me is a bit murky.  The AreoPress was very inexpensive and takes up no counter space- perfect for a city apartment.

In my coffee, I add in almond milk, MCT oil, Maca powder and Collagen powder.  I will do a dedicated post on all my superfoods and supplements next week so come on back for that! I heat up the almond milk and then add in everything else.  My immersion blender is the perfect tool to make it all frothy, creamy and delicious.  I love this coffee so much and it is my favorite way to start my day.  During the week, I head to the gym or SoulCycle quite early and this is my “pre-workout”.  Because I workout before 7am, I don’t really have an appetite that early, but also do not want to go on an empty stomach.  I am someone who does NOT believe in fasted cardio.  You have no energy by morning time and so your body needs fuel.  After burning the glycogen that is stored in your muscles, and the minimal fat it can use right then and there, chances are, your body will burn your MUSCLE to fuel your workout so you are defeating the purpose.  We want to BUILD our muscles, not burn them.  Anyways, back to the frothy coffee! After making it, I love to head to my couch and open my morning Bible Study.  I use the SheReadsTruth app and absolutely love it.  A few times a year I order the hard copy study guide and love how it has deepened my prayer life and understanding of His Word.  As I sip on my coffee, I write a “Gratitude List” for all the things I am grateful for and set that as the tone of my day.  I also look ahead to the week I am about to start and set an intention as to how I want that week to play out.  Heading into Monday with a strong word or theme for my week is a great way to stay on your path of success.  I brainstorm any projects or ideas that I have had for a few minutes before carrying on with my morning.

 

Pancakes.

As I said, Sunday = Pancake day.  Ever since I was a little girl, Sundays have always meant it was pancaked day.  My mom would always cook up pancakes after church ever single Sunday.  Sometimes, she would be making triple or quadruple batches! Now, my pancakes are a little different to hers (protein powder would never have entered mom’s) but they are still pancakes!

Why Protein?

I typically make Protein Pancakes for two reasons.

#1.  Obvious…PROTEIN.  Protein is a key macronutrient (see this post for more info) for muscle growth and development.

#2.  I make one BIG pancake and feel like a BOSS eating it.  There is something so satisfying about a pancake the size of a dinner plate.  This recipe makes one, beautiful serving.

Protein Pancakes are also really easy to mix up.  To watch me whip them out, check out my YouTube video on them! The recipe is also on that page, so you can get your Protein Pancake on as I do 🙂

Rest Day

Sunday is literally the day of rest.  I typically use Sunday afternoons to plan out content for the next week and get organized for the week ahead. I sit, curled up on my couch, and let the inspiration and motivation fly! This is an amazing way to get my creativity sparked.  Inspiration and motivation are like muscles: you need to use them daily in order for them to grow.  Speaking of muscles growing, your muscles will not grow if you don’t give them a chance to rest and repair.  I will say that again, because if you’re like me, you have a hard time taking rest days: your muscles will not grow if you workout every single day and don’t rest.  What helps me create a schedule with rest days, is thinking of them like another “active day”- my muscles are growing and developing as I rest.  I like to do a nice beach walk, slow run, or yoga if I have a lot of energy.  But I ensure to keep it LIGHT and CHILL so that my body has time to recover.

REST

Repair

Eat

Sleep

Time

Now go make yourself some pancakes, take a rest day, and make Sunday the best day of YOUR week!

xo

Tia

 

 

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Lifestyle

Failure Vs. Success + SoulCycle Audition #3

Before the Audition

It was the third time I sent off my application email to audition for SoulCycle.  I had re-worked my resume and cover letter, and re-read every word.  There was something different about pressing the little “send” icon this time.  With the first two auditions, I had lingering feelings of uncertainty.  I say uncertainty but I really mean a lack of confidence.  How can you spend hours mastering a craft and yet you still doubt your skills? Anyways, this third time around I had an overarching feeling of contentment. There was a peace that had washed over me.  I owe part of this to my amazing community at SoulCycle Yaletown.  One of my closest friends, Daniela, is an amazing instructor and she had spent many hours with me, prepping, rehearsing, supporting, and riding with me.  My last ride before heading to LA was unbelievably special as the whole room erupted with cheers and well wishes after she told them where I was off to.  Her light was shining so bright and her leadership was so strong, that I went off to LA with all the SoulCycle strength one could ask for.

The Night before LA.

The night before my departure, I packed my RYU Gym Tote (best carry-on ever!) with all the essentials: medications, supplements, BCAAs (a plenty!!), PJs, makeup and toiletries, two outfit options for the audition, sunglasses and a pair of jeans. My passport was ready next to my sneakers and I went to bed feeling calm. 

The next morning I bounced out of bed (typical for me…I like mornings, and I really like my coffee) and headed for one last quick strength session at my gym.  After a short day at work, I headed to the airport and everything was going smoothly.  My flight was easy, I had no luggage so that was a breeze, and hopped in my Uber.  On the way to the Airbnb I asked my driver, Mimi, to stop at Whole Foods so I could pick up some snacks and dinner. With autoimmune disease, my diet is a crucial component to maintaining vitality and wellness.  When planning trips and vacations, my booking and research does not stop at the flight and accommodation: food is even more important to me than where I stay.  I plan ahead of time and know where I can eat, how to get there, prices and options. Whole Foods is a dream as the hot and salad bars are always loaded with safe food options, and I can pick up great snacks for the next day while there.  So there I was, standing in a Whole Foods in LA, hustling around the store as Mimi was waiting.  After loading up a container filled with Roast Chicken, green beans and roasted beets, I ran back to her car and we were back on our way.  Mimi dropped me off at my cute Airbnb and I rang the doorbell. So far so good- this trip was a breeze!  After showering and getting in my PJs, I had my dinner at their cute little kitchen table while calling my parents.  After dinner, I had my favorite snack in bed: coconut milk yogurt, a banana, a handful of purely elizabeth granola and some tahini and honey drizzled on top.  Nothing like my old staple US brands to coble together a tasty treat! At this point I was beyond tired so I turned out my light.  I was so grateful to be safe and sound in LA, well nourished, well hydrated, and feeling peaceful and excited about the next day.

Day Of the Audition

The Morning Of.

The day was here- I made it- it was audition day! I peeled back the covers to check my clock, expecting to have to lie in bed until an appropriate hour (I am not gifted in the sleep department) however, it was 7:30am! By the grace of God, I just scored a 10 hour sleep before the audition and was feeling fantastic.  The pre-audition jitters and nerves had yet to set in (are they going to? What is going on? Where are they?) and instead, I was feeling a huge sense of gratitude, strength and excitement! I had a quick shower and put on my minimal makeup: blush, concealer and waterproof mascara.  With my favorite rose coloured Soul sweatshirt (to match my hair of course) and boyfriend jeans + jacket, I was ready to walk to Culver City to find breakfast and coffee.

Breakfast

I had researched a cute little smoothie shop with bowls and ordered the Pitaya bowl. The hot pink mixture came adorned with bananas and raspberries and had some hemp protein in it for good measure. With a pot of Foragers Cashew milk yogurt along side, I headed to Blue Bottle for the most amazing Oat Milk latte. Oat milk = a revelation for dairy free lattes.  I wanted to fuel my body with easy to digest, non-bloating, tried and true foods and this brekkie could not have been any better.  After a phone call to my parents and Daniela, I sauntered down to the studio to check it out and also surprise my friend and instructor, Madison Lari.  What a treat it was to see such a beautiful and friendly face! There really are few things more reassuring than good chats with friends, even if you haven’t seen each other for over 2 years! By the time Mads and I parted ways, it was 11:15am and I was ready to check in and get changed.

Audition Time

Now the interesting thing about the audition is that you have no idea where you are going to ride in the room and in what order you will be up. I didn’t want to be first or last, and didn’t want to be in the second row. My “blessing trip” continued as I was on bike #10! The anxious energy became palpable in the studio as more and more candidates arrived.  It was buzzing! The nerves were high and the butterflies were flying! We poured into the studio, saying a slightly awkward “hi my name is…” to our neighbor auditionee as we set up our bikes.  The awesome thing is that we had about 30 mins to freestyle ride before the second part of the audition.  Getting the chance to just freestyle and ride with no limits or pre-determined choreography is a dream! Interpreting the beat of the music and the rhythm is one of the best aspects to SoulCycle.  Now it wasn’t totally stress free as the audition team walked around the studio with clip-boards in hand, analyzing our form, rhythm, energy and presence.  Nothing like having someone whom you admire standing 6 inches from your face, looking at your every move, to make your heart beat a little stronger!

After the group ride, we were excused from the room as they deliberated who would be called back in the studio for the second part.  It is amazing how 10 mins can feel like 40 when your fate is being decided. The numbers started to be called and #10 was fourth up!  This was it- my third audition- and I was standing, ready to do the damn thing.  I had rehearsed my two 30-second song clips countless times and prayed through countless moments.  When my turn came, my mic-pack was turned on and it was show time: the moment I had been practicing for what felt like years.  My message was simple and clear: turn up your wheel! Resistance on the bike is what grounds you and supports you; it is what builds your mental strength, not just physical.  I love my resistance and wanted the room to take the opportunity to ground themselves to this amazing opportunity we had at hand, rather than just rushing through it.

“Hey y’all! My name is Tia and I have come all the way down from Vancouver BC to be with you! Fun fact: if I had a spirit animal I would be a pixie.”

With my intro done and bike set up, there was nothing left but to hop on the bike, clip in and go! Every second of the first song was passing as I had intended…until it kept on going.  I had planed out 30 seconds exactly.  Not 41, not 26, but 30.  And my song kept playing…it wasn’t being switched.  Now when you are not anticipating any more music to be played, every second feels like 10.  “Just keep talking…keep the room engaged…keep the room lifted…keep shining your light.” 60 seconds of the song pass and I feel a little off my game, and the song is finally switched.

Ok. Drop it in the saddle.

With nerves floating in my chest, the second song starts flying by. I take a pulse check of the room and decide the choreo I wanted to do would not fly, so I kept it super simple.  I was feeling good and the 30 seconds had come and gone…and again, the song kept on playing.  My song eventually ended and my audition was done.

Those few minutes of life had whizzed by and I did everything I could do.  As I took of the mic-pack belt and got back onto bike #10, I had a slightly underwhelming wave wash over me.  I was feeling like my audition was anti-climactic.  I wanted to go back and do it again, or at the very least, go over it in my head…but I couldn’t.  I had to clip in, show up, and ride through everyone else’s audition.  I promised myself that I would shine my light and give my joyful pixie-dust no matter how I felt after my own audition. One-by-one, everyone went up and went through the same motions.  1 hour and 14 minutes later the audition was done.  Add that to the 30 minutes we rode before and we had just spent over 1 hour and 40 minutes spinning our legs and hearts out.  My third audition was done.

Did I Succeed and pass?

Yes.  And no.

Yes: I passed.  I had a FaceTime chat with the Talent crew and it was determined that my audition was successful.

No.  I was not going to the Intensive Training Program.

Yes.  I would *probably* be going to the next full 10-week Training Program.

Yes.  I would have to audition again.

No. I did not fail.  I didn’t earn the end result I had wanted right in that moment.  I didn’t make it straight through to training; BUT, I was not going to give up.

Failure Vs. Success

You see, life is not linear.  Life would be fairly boring without the failures and successes in our life to punctuate time.  I did technically fall down, but I was not going to stay down.  I was not going to let another “No” prevent my from pursuing my passion.  We have the choice in life to turn failure inward, or outward. If we turn it outward, failure becomes success.  If we keep it inward, it remains a failure and prevents us from seeking and achieving our higher dreams and goals.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas A. Edison

Don’t give up on your dreams.  Don’t stop living your life because of failure.  You are so damn close to your finish line of success.

Keep. On. Going.

Xo

Tia

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Lifestyle

My fridge: The keeper of my goods

A well organized fridge is a thing of beauty.  I mean, what else is a perfect indicator of preparation and success for your coming week? I like to tackle my groceries every Saturday morning, when the stores are not too busy.  With my grocery list in hand (you made a list, right?) and while everyone else is sleeping, I get in and get out, in no time flat.  Now, because I follow a paleo(ish) diet- I really don’t like labels but for ease in communication, it works– most of my groceries are on the perimeter of the store.  Veggies + fruit, dairy (for almond milk and coconut milk yogurt) eggs, meats and seafood can all be found along the outer edges of the store.  This makes it a super simple shop.

Organize

I like to tidy and re-organize my fridge every week. This ensures that no food has fallen to the back and is lurking…forming questionable fuzzy substances on the surface.  Once home from the grocery store, I lay out all my things on the counter so I can put it away, as organized as possible.

“good habits are as addictive as bad habits but much more rewarding”- The Live Fit Girls

Top Shelf

The top shelf is for my eggs, coffee things, jams/jellies/small containers.  My mum makes homemade jam and other preserved goodies every summer so that is the jam I use.  If my jam stash is finally through- please mum, send more!- I typically make my own with frozen berries, chia seeds and maple syrup. Along with the jams, I keep my coconut cream and MCT oil for my coffee.  I blend both of these into my coffee for healthy fats first thing in the morning.  Next to the coffee superstars is my miso paste!  I look for a light colored miso that has a base of rice or soybeans to keep it gluten free.  Miso is a great addition to marinades and rice dishes as it adds a background salty-funky taste and is packed with tummy friendly bacteria.  The eggs I buy are always organic and free-range, with yolks that are beautifully orange.  I typically buy 1/2 dozen at a time and a container of liquid egg whites so I don’t waste the precious yolks when making my protein pancakes.

 

 

Middle Shelf

My middle shelf is for my yogurts, taller containers and meat/seafood (placed on a plate in case of leaks).  I love yogurt and have switched to a non-dairy variety to clear up my skin.  I often reach for the Yoso almond/cashew yogurts or the Silk coconut yogurt.  Both are UNSWEETENED.  I like the ones with no added sugar so I can control how much sugar and what kind of sugar I eat.  I usually will have a few meal-prep containers made and ready to go on this shelf too.  Overnight oats are a staple, along with bone broth, pickled veg and fruit.  Also, I usually have a container of cooked brown or black rice so I have a few building blocks ready that I can assemble for a quick dinner.  This is especially clutch (does anyone still use that term? I think I will bring it back…the clutch comeback…stay tuned) on Tuesday nights.  Why Tuesday you ask? Well that is the night when I get home from SoulCycle around 8pm and I.  Am.  Ravenous.  I finish class and then think, “where is all the food at people!?”  Being able to come home, shower and whip up a dinner in under 20 minutes is key…or clutch, whichever you prefer 🙂 .  It is also super important to have enough protein and carbs for dinner to repair my muscles so I am ready to go with my sparkle back for the Wednesday 6am classes.  On the topic of protein, I also will keep my fish and chicken (or ground meat) on a plate in in the fridge just in case of leaks.  No one wants fish juice pooling on a glass shelf.  Gross.  Tempeh is another source of protein I have started to add in again and really enjoy.  It is a plant based protein that is nutty in taste and has a dense texture but doesn’t sit too heavy in my stomach.  Perfect when you are eating dinner at 8:30/8:45pm.  Note, I never skip dinner after a late class, because I want to make sure my bod has enough calories and nutrition for a good night sleep.

Bottom Shelf + Drawers

The bottom shelf is for my containers of soft herbs/veggies and salad fixings.  Here is a fun tip for you: next time you finish a clamshell of greens, wash and keep the container, as it makes for a great vessel to keep soft herbs and sliced veggies. I have one container that I keep all the elements I throw in my salads: green onions, cilantro or parsley, cucumber, radish, half-used avocado…the list rotates each week but you get the idea!  This makes it not only super handy when assembling my salads, but keeps all the little bits and bobs from spoiling.

The drawers are full of sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, apples and other basics I always reach for on a weekly basis. I always have a variety of sweet potatoes on hand: purple, white, orange, garnet…If I could eat one food every day it would be sweet potatoes.  Roasted, mashed, grilled, steamed, baked as fries- they are my favorite! I also have a drawer of green veg.  Staples for me include broccoli, zucchini, fennel and asparagus or brussel sprouts.

 

Fridge Door

Now for the fridge door! Oh the fridge door, how I do love thee.  Other stray condiments are kept here (I’m looking at you mayo and mustard) along with a few beers and tonic waters.  No, the beer and tonic is not for me, but for guests (hi mum.  beer= my thank you for jam).  I stick to cider or wine…rosé for the summer. I will also always have a container of Califia almond milk and sparkling water.  Now for two clutch (oops 🙂 I did it again) but totally random items: probiotics and my face mask.  I know you’re asking, why on earth do I keep my face mask in the fridge? When kept there, it has a wonderful cooling and soothing property for the skin.  It feels like heaven when I put it on! As for the probiotics, I take a strong dose every morning and evening as a part of my autoimmune wellness plan.

So there you have it! My fridge staples and essentials! Stay tuned for a look into my pantry including the different superfood and protein powders I use and other pantry goodies!

As always,

xo

Tia

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Lifestyle

Food Stripped Down: your Nutrition Game

Let’s have a brief chat about nutrition.

Food, stripped down to its skivvies, is fuel for your body.  

We have all heard it a thousand times before: you wouldn’t put cheap gas in your car, so why fill your body with junk? Food is more than the calories you take in.  Food should be celebrated and should leave you feeling absolutely vibrant.  When you fill your body with the right nutrition for your specific needs, your body glows from the inside-out.

 

A lot of people ask me what I eat on a daily basis that enables me to train hard and feel as vibrant as I do.  To be totally real with you, because honesty is the name of my game, it has taken me a few years to figure out what works for my body. I can promise that it will take time to dial into your nutrition game, and it is vital to do so.  A nutrition game plan is designed for LIFE.  It becomes your lifestyle.  You need to be willing to put in the work, dedication and TIME in order to reap the benefits.  I promise that it is worth it and you will feel amazing.

 

#1: Log your nutrition for one week.

MyFitnessPal is a great app that is super user friendly and allows you to track your food. You can enter the ingredients manually, or by scanning barcodes, or by inputting recipes.  Track everything you eat and drink.  The most important part to this log is documenting how the food you eat makes you feel.  Are you getting headaches, or a foggy brain? Are you bloated or feeling irritable? Is your skin breaking out? Are you muscles tired? Are you tired? For example, when I eat dairy, I can take a digestive enzyme that eliminates my tummy trouble; however, my back and back-of-legs break out.  This is definitely not cute.  I can try and fake it, but my body is telling me that it doesn’t appreciate it.

You don’t have to go crazy on getting your food tracked down to the gram…go as accurate as you can, but don’t stress.  You don’t need more stress in your life.

 

#2. Find your needs.

You need to find how many calories your body needs on a day-to-day basis.  Basically, you need to know the amount of energy your body requires to meet your life head on.  Breathing, blinking, scratching your back, walking, sleeping, standing…it all requires energy and burns calories.

Go to www.tdeecalculator.netand plug in your statistics.  This calculator will tell you a number of things including your maintenance calories, what you need to consume to cut/bulk, and a few macro split options.

MACROS= Macronutrients…Protein, Carbs and Fats. These are your body’s predominant sources of energy.  YOU NEED THEM ALL.

Please, oh please oh please, do not eliminate a macronutrient.  They are all vital to your body.  I will do a dedicated post onmacrosso stay tuned, but just remember this one thing…Protein, Carbs and Fats are all GOOD things that your body NEEDS.  Forget the fad diets that tell you to cut one food group.  That is ridiculous and harmful information.

 

#3. Follow your TDEE data.

I now want you to follow the guidance of the TDEE calculator has generated for you based on the information YOU put in.  This is where I am trusting you to have entered your information correctly. Please don’t underestimate your energy output just so you can have a lower number and eat fewer calories.  The higher your calorie ceiling, the better. What do I mean by this? The higher your “maintenance calorie” number is, the more efficient your body functions.  Your body burns calories by digesting food.

Win-win: eat more + burn more.

CATCH 22: You need to be eating the right types of foods my friend 😉

The majority of you that have asked me for this post have been undereating.  This is scary.  So use this tool, get great information, and track your new “diet” guidelines for a week.  If you have been undereating, you will notice that your energy is better, your lightheadedness is gone, you are less irritable (your significant other is thanking me right now) and your overall mood is higher.  Try eating a balanced diet, making sure that every meal has a serving of protein, a serving a fats, a serving of carbs, and then filled out by vegetables.

A rough guideline of servings:

  • The size of your palm= a serving of protein
  • The size of your thumb= a serving of fats
  • The size of your closed fist= a serving of carbs

 

#4.  Trust the process.

Give your body time to adapt to your nutrition game.  Give yourself space to adjust to your new routine.  Choose whole foods where possible.  Think about the food you choose to eat and how it will make you feel.  Is it going to make you feel vibrant and full of energy? Is it fueling your muscles and your brain so you can be the best version of you? Sometimes, ice cream does make your brain happy! But for the most part, it is the whole foods, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nutrient dense protein, and healthy fats that will make you feel fantastic.

 

Here is a snap shot of what I eat in a day:

Calorie goal: 2500-2800

Macro Split: 30-25-45 (protein-fat-carb)

Breakfast

My version of “bulletproof” coffee! I train first thing in the morning (anytime between 6-7am) and I do not like to train on a full stomach BUT I need some energy.  I love the ritual of coffee: it is quiet in the morning, I grind the beans, brew, blend, sip and ease into my day.

1 big mug of coffee

1/4 C almond milk, heated up

2 Tbs coconut cream

1/2 tsp MCT oil

1 Tbs collagen

1/4 tsp maca powder

Blend and enjoy!

 

After training is when I eat my first big meal.  Usually I have a smoothie + two of my pixie power muffins, a GF English muffin with PB or some GF Overnight oats.

My Favorite Smoothie:

5 ice cubes

1/2 banana

1 scoop of Vega Sport Protein or Vega Protein + Greens

1 tsp greens powder or spirulina

Pinch of cinnamon and pink salt

1 C – 1 1/2 C water

BLEND and SIP and ENJOY

 

Lunch

I am such a lucky duck: lunch is provided at my workplace. Our chef is amazing and he cooks me a safe meal that is free of all of my allergies.  It always consists of a few different salads and a solid protein.

 

Dinner

I absolutely adore cooking and making dinner is one way I relax! My meals vary each day.  I always have a big salad with spinach, avocado, orange or cucumber slices, toasted seeds and nuts for crunch, green onion, cilantro or parsley, balsamic reduction or lemon tahini dressing…basically a kitchen sink salad (KSS)! This is how I begin every dinner.  I just love it. 

KSS is followed by whatever I am having for my main: a veggie stir-fry with tempeh; roasted sweet potatoes with salmon and asparagus, pesto green pea pasta…I change it up!

I do love sweet potatoes though- they are one of my favorite foods.  And they come in so many colours!

AND, keeping it real with you guys, I love having a glass of wine as I cook my dinner.  Yes, wine is empty calories.  No, I don’t care.  Yes, I keep it to ONE.  No, I don’t feel side effects.  Yes, I drink 2 glasses of water (at least) with dinner.  Yes, I budget this into my nutrition game plan.  The way I see it, I don’t drink pop or sugary beverages; I don’t eat gluten, dairy, refined sugar, or nightshades; I don’t eat candy or processed food; so a small glass of wine a day is totally fine in my books.

 

Snacks

My favorite snacks include Simply Protein Bars, Terra Chips, beet chips, frozen peas, bananas, apples, oranges, and rice cakes with PB.

I always have a snack before bed.  I need the extra calories through the night because muscles repair when you sleep.  If you don’t have any energy in your tank, your muscles will not recover as fast.

My favorite pre-bed snack goes something like this:

1/2 sliced banana

1 C coconut milk yogurt + 1/2 scoop Vega protein powder mixed in

A drizzle of peanut butter (I used powdered PB) or almond butter

A drizzle of honey

Some GF granola or a handful of toasted coconut smiles for crunch.

 

So there we go: Protein + Carbs + Fats…my body has the nutrition it needs to thrive!

 

Nutshell Takeaways:
  1. Eat WHOLE foods
  2. Eat ENOUGH food
  3. DO choose foods that make you feel fantastic.  We all need to sparkle.
  4. DON’T skip food groups just because a fad diet told you to.
  5. LOVE food.  Food was given to us to enjoy.
  6. LOVE yourself.  Nourish your amazing body…it is the only one you will ever get.
  7. ASK questions if you need help!
  8. FOLLOW along, as I will do more posts like this!
  9. Listen to YOUR body.  I am not you.  You are not me.
  10. Trust the PROCESS.  Life is a journey.  Your nutrition game plan will be too.

 

Xo

Tia.

 

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Recipes

Pixie-Power Muffins

Sundays are my meal prep days.  Every week I rotate through different recipes and staples.  I like to prepare “building blocks” so that I can assemble meals easily- especially at the end of a long work and training day. Breakfasts are usually where I have the biggest time crunch, so I like to make a big batch of granola, muesli, muffins or protein pancakes.

Ready made muffins are often laden with sugar and processed oils, not to mention gluten (no-go zone for this celiac babe) and are not a great choice when eating for performance and health.  I don’t know about you, but I want a breakfast that is going to fuel me with awesome nutrients to power through my day.  I also want my first meal of the day to be quick and efficient because no one has time in the morning from Monday-Friday to putz in the kitchen.  *If you are a rare human and do have time, I still endorse these muffins!*  Enter these Pixie-Power muffins: they come together in a flash, have no added sugar OR oil, and are nutrient dense.  I give them a 10/10 for nutrition and a 10/10 for taste.  So whip up a batch when you are next meal prepping and set yourself up for a successful week ahead!

 

 

Pixie Power Muffins

1 med banana, mashed

1/2 avocado, mashed very well

1/4 C pineapple tidbits

1/4 C date paste

1/2 C chopped frozen, then defrosted cranberries

1/4 C dried fruit of choice, chopped if needed

1 1/2 C grated carrot

1/4 C almond milk + 1 tsp cider vinegar

1 egg

1 1/4 C GF all purpose flour

1/4  C plant based protein powder

1 1/2 TBS Tapioca starch

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp salt

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a glass measuring bowl, combine your almond milk and vinegar to create a faux-buttermilk.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed banana, mashed avocado, pineapple tidbits, date paste, frozen cranberries, dried fruit, grated carrot, egg, and almond milk mixture. Mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, add all your dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Add your dry ingredients to your wet and mix just until you can no longer see streaks of flour.
  6. Note: this mixture will be thick- that is normal.
  7. Portion out into 12 muffin tins that have been lined with parchment paper cups.
  8. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes
  9. Lower the temperature to 375 degrees for another 10-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the muffins spring back when lightly touched.  When in doubt, you can insert a wooden toothpick- if it comes out clean, they are done!

This recipe makes 12 standard muffins, and 1 portion = 2 muffins.  I love to serve my muffins split in half, with a drizzle of nut butter.  Depending on my training, I will also have a smoothie with the muffins, but as you know, I have a HUGE appetite!

Recipes

Smoothie Bowl Love

I love eating things in a bowl.  Soup, stew, salads, rice bowls, oatmeal…I could go on for a long time.  I also love breakfast.  Tia without breakfast would be like putting water in the gas tank of your car: no bueno.

I only drink smoothies in the summer, after a workout and before a meal.  I find drinking my meals not very satisfying.  It does make for a great snack though!

I have been seeing many, many beautiful bowls of sunshine-y goodness pop up on our friend, Instagram, for a while.  Now smoothie bowls interest me because your eat them with a spoon and they usually have an array of textures floating on top.  Also, it is another food in a BOWL! WIN!

The base of my smoothie bowls are consistently the same.  The toppings are where I change it up.

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For the smoothie base, I start with a large handful of baby kale, a few ice cubes, plus 1/2 frozen banana.  Avocado goes in next, along with a scoop of my protein powder.  Then I add either water or coconut milk (depends on what I need that day), a few supplements or powders, and blend it all up in my Ninja Blender

You will notice that I limit my fruit in the smoothie.  I generally add sliced fruit on top and I have to watch my fructose intake as it is a major gut irritant for me.  While I was on the AIP plan, I monitored my sugar levels and noticed a few of my skin and tummy issues subsided.  Although fruit is LOADED with nutrients and all the good-stuff God made, it still has sugar, so I just don’t blend 5 servings in one *bowl*.  I also make sure to add a fat source (thank you wonderful Avocado) because fat is my body’s fuel of choice. I burn it very well and it has helped me regain my health.  For protein, I use collagen powder every morning in my coffee and for my smoothies I use the Vega Sport protein or Tropeaka Lean Vanilla or Chocolate.

My toppings always include toasted coconut flakes, sliced seasonal fruit, and freshly grated turmeric and ginger! Both those superfoods are anti-inflammatory and aid in digestion.  If I am doing a lot of training that day, I will add on a sprinkle of homemade gluten-free granola and some nut butter.

There you have it! My smoothie bowl formula!

Now go blend yourself some deliciousness and fill your body with nutrients!  You can literally hear your cells singing a song of joy when you eat this.

Bless you, little cells. Bless you

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Lifestyle

To Side Hustle, or Not to Side Hustle

Side-Hustle: A secondary job or passion project that one takes on to either generate more income or to fulfill a dream they have.

 

I could argue that I have 2 Side-Hustles: this blog + accompanying YouTube Channel and SoulCycle.  Why in heavens would I take on more in my life when I already have a full time job that I am passionate about? Because I am an over-achiever, and because there is more in life for me than a one-track career.  My health + fitness journey is a full time job in and of itself.  It requires so much dedication and planning. I love where life has taken me, despite the valleys and hills that I have gone through.  I have learned so many tips and tricks along the way: nutrition facts, time-management skills, fitness motivational tips, styling skills, and I wanted to build a platform where I could share them.

You will find recipes, holistic wellness tips, fashion and styling advice, and fitness hacks on my blog and YouTube channel.  I hope that you enjoy these amusing excerpts and stories from my life, and please remember that I am not a doctor or dietician.  All my reviews and thoughts are my opinion, and are based on what has worked for me under the guidance of medical and industry professionals.  Please, always consult with your medical practitioner before following someone else’s diet or fitness plan as we all have unique and beautiful bodies.

xox

Tia

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Lifestyle

My Body’s Change

Hot off the heels of talking about the importance of strength training, I wanted to write on the changes my body has taken over the past 14 months.

By nature, I have a slight frame: I am an ectomorph.  This means that I am a hard gainer and am naturally long and lean.  This is a great thing for modelling, but for being a badass in life, on a bike, or in the mountains, I did not have a lot of muscle strength to lean on.  My endurance was excellent, but asking me to do a push-up was pretty much pointless.  So, I decided I wanted to make some big changes.  This decision also came at the same time when I found out my Osteoporosis diagnosis.  My spine and hips were incredibly weak, and I was told I shouldn’t run, climb or do anything that could cause me to fall and break my back.  I needed to gain muscle in order to compensate for the weakness in my spine and hips.  I started identifying lifting weights with building up protective strength.  I didn’t want to have to live my life in a bubble or give up on the things that I loved to do.

My strength program started slowly as the gym intimidated me. I didn’t enjoy lifting because I felt like I looked like a gangly fawn with her knees knocking…so I did a ton of research and asked some friends in the industry for some basic exercise ideas. After a few months of training on my own, I decided to get a trainer to help me with my form. I can’t recommend or stress this enough: it is SO important, especially with chronic illness or injuries, to have a professional help build you a program and make sure your form is excellent.  We worked together to put together a long term plan that would help me reach my goals. It was at this point that I also changed jobs.  I left Aritzia and took some time off to realign on my life and where I was going.

SoulCycle had conveniently opened up and I was building a new community of friends.  I gained a best friend in Daniela and she inspired me so much to keep building strength.  When you surround yourself with positive, strong friends, anything seems possible because you know they are right behind you, willing to back you up when you need it most. And so my training started to pick up intensity as I found so much joy in it. My body composition started to shift as I was putting weight on. Mostly it was muscle, but some fat, which was a good thing for my body.  My skin got better and I was sleeping better.  My hips got bigger, my thighs got bigger, my waist got bigger…all things that would have stressed out a “retired” model.  Yes there were days where I did not feel comfortable and questioned how tight my jeans felt, but I consciously told myself that strength was the best gift I could give my body.  I reminded myself that I was adding years and vitality to my life with every rep I nailed and pound I put on.  I also reminded myself that I was becoming a powerhouse on the bike in class…suddenly I was competing with myself for how many turns of resistance I could put on and push through it.  That feeling of strength was addicting.

After the summer, I joined the team at RYU.  Talk about surrounding yourself with inspiring people…I was now in a company that celebrated and encouraged strength.  Ever since joining the team at RYU, I have an increased well of inspiration. Instead of creating a ceiling for my strength based on numbers, or measurements, or a pant size, I have smashed that ceiling so I have no where to grow but upwards.  I feel so blessed to work for two companies that encourage a healthy, fit, strong lifestyle.  I have loved my fitness and strength journey.  It hasn’t been easy and has required a lot of discipline and dedication. While I may need new jeans, I don’t need a new spine.  I may not be able to fit into my little black dress of modeling days, but I can push through 20+ turns of resistance on the bike.  Most importantly, I am strong enough to lift up others around me, and carry my friends and family when they need the support.

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Lifestyle

Badass is Beautiful

Human tendency is to lean in and repeat things that we are comfortable with.  It is easy for us to repeat the same exercise habits after a few weeks because we have built up our muscle patterns in that motion.  While it is great to have something which you excel at, it is vital to build a well-rounded body and that requires cross-training.  The funny thing is, when you focus on cross-training, your performance all around will increase greatly.  There are three main components to any training plan: endurance (cardio), strength (power), mobility (stretching).  Especially with training to be a SoulCycle Instructor (stay tuned for my audition re-cap!), it is imperative that I invest into a well-rounded performance program.

The common myth, especially for women, is that you will start to get bulky if you lift weights.  “Bulky” is the wrong adjective.  Replace it with “badass”, “strong”, “defined” or “toned” and you’re golden.  You have the choice, based on the volume/weight/repetitions of your weights, to determine the type of muscles you will be developing.  The bottom line is that you will be building muscle and that is not only a GREAT thing, but super important.  A good thing to remember when you are starting to strength train is that you will most likely put on weight or just stay the same weight.  This is not a bad thing.  You WANT to be putting on muscle.  The more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be. So stop focusing on a number on the scale because for the most part, it is quite irrelevant.  Instead, your body composition and blood pressure/heart rate are much better indicators of health.

We also want to build muscle because it protects our bodies.  Our skeletal system can’t be protected if you don’t have any muscle or strength to help you literally “bounce” back after falling.  Think about a china tea cup: placing a fine china tea cup directly in a box and shaking it would cause it to break.  Now, wrap the same tea cup in bubble wrap, then place it in the box, and shake it: 95% chance it would not break.  Your body is the same.  Our muscles not only help us react so that we don’t fall, but in the case that we do, muscles protect your bones.

In addition to incorporating strength training, you also need to add in days of “active recovery” where you focus on stretching and mobility. When you train, you create little tears in your muscles.  When you muscles recover, they build back stronger.  You need to give your muscles time to actually grow. Mobility and stretch work help your muscles stay loose and aligned.

So to sum it up, to be a badass at life you want muscle, so when you are shaken up, you don’t break.  Instead, you will bounce back like the beautiful badass that you are.

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