(More) Thoughts On Running a 10K


Today on the podcast Laura and I are discussing our experiences running a 10K race. I know I covered the topic fairly thoroughly already but in case you missed it/were curious/want to learn more, it was a lot of fun to discuss on the show. The episode doesn’t have a lot of practical tips (I’m working on pulling together a post full of my tips and lessons learned soon!) but it shows two different approaches to running the same length of race.

We also talk about our fitness goals for the fall – I first shared mine for October here. I’m failing at the running distance goal, but my nightly walks are becoming a lovely part of my daily routine. Every time I start to feel too hunched over and anxious in the evenings at my computer, I go out to finish my 10,000 steps for the day and I always feel better when I get home. It’s a goal I think I’m going to roll over to next month for sure.

You can find the episode here or subscribe to us on iTunes here. Thanks for listening!

My Favourite Healthy Foods

DSC_2814-2Since moving to Korea, I’ve had to build a pantry totally from scratch! I’ve also had to learn how to feed myself in a foreign country, since some of my favourite foods aren’t available in grocery stores here. This has been a great experience for a lot of reasons.

First, it’s showed me that I am capable of eating well wherever I am in the world, so long as I have a few basic staple foods. It’s also taught me new skills, like how to make dried beans from scratch! Invaluable knowledge to take back to Canada with me, for sure. And of course it’s also forced me to re-evaluate what my staple foods really are! If I want specialty health foods like quinoa and flax seeds, I have to order them online through iHerb, which means I have to be mindful and consider what I actually need and am going to use.

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 presetTurns out, I really don’t need anything special to eat happily and healthfully. As appealing as ordering from iHerb is (it’s like being a kid in a very healthy candy store), most of the time my staples are easily found, even in Korea. Below is the list of the usual suspects in my kitchen – no real surprises here, folks!

Peanut butter: My current favourite is Earth Balance’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter with Flaxseed. Another favourite is Maranatha’s No-Stir. Only within the last year have I started liking crunchy peanut butter, but I still won’t usually buy it myself.

DSC_2103Avocados: These are hard to find in Korea, but they do sell bags of 5 at Costco, so that’s a treat. Sometimes they have them at my grocery store for the low, low price of $3.50 a pop, and usually when they do I just go for it. Treat yoself, right?

Sweet potatoes: Happily, I think almost every culture on earth eats sweet potatoes so these are everywhere here. They’re a slightly different variety from what we have back home – they’re yellower, sweeter and smaller.

DSC_2645Spinach: Leafy green love. I will never again take for granted the amazing convenience of pre-washed organic spinach. Here it comes still dirty and attached to its stems, which is kind of refreshing but a little more work.

Garlic: In Korea, garlic is sold pre-peeled which is so great. I love the convenience of having the cloves ready to go! Plus I pay about $1.50 for 30+ cloves.

DSC_2804Eggs: It was easy to continue my 30 Days to Vegan diet in Canada, but much harder in a country where the word vegetarian is often not even comprehended. That being said, the only animal product I’ve really re-introduced is eggs since cheese is incredibly scarce and expensive here and soy milk is very cheap. Who knows what my eating habits will look like when I get home, but for now I’m happy to eat eggs a few times a week.

Bananas: Of course. Always and forever. Mainly I put them in my smoothies or use them to make banana ice cream, my new favourite thing.

Almonds & cashews: My two favourite kinds of nuts. I mostly just eat these raw, as a snack.

DSC_0463Tofu & tempeh: No tempeh in Korea, but there’s lots of tofu. I find tempeh has a nicer, heartier texture, but both products are kind of magical. I love panfrying tofu until it’s nice and crispy and then glazing it with some kind of sauce. BBQ sauce if I’m getting my way.

Chickpeas: I have to order these on iHerb, dried. Unfortunately I can’t just pop open a can of them! I’m getting a new bag in a few days and I can’t wait to make some hummus.


This week on the podcast, Laura and I discuss this exact subject. We’re talking about our top staple foods for building a healthy pantry. Most of mine are listed above, but the episode is also full of interesting tips about freezing food and lots of ideas for how to use healthy ingredients in your meals. You can find the show over at our blog here or by subscribing to us on iTunes!

PS. If you want to get $10 off your first iHerb order, you can use my code LWW752.

Healthy Changes

Since it’s January, I’m joining in with the masses and making some decisions that I hope will better my health. Actually I should say decisions that WILL better my health, because they already have – I’ve seen changes. Today, I wanted to share some of the systems that have been working for me, mostly because I find them either accessible, easy, or helpful (not necessarily all three!).


Note: cupcakes were eaten on cheat day! :)

First, my diet. This I would not put under the “accessible” category, because it is pretty difficult and requires quite a bit of willpower (for me, at least). But it is definitely helpful and I have seen results after only 2 weeks.

I am following the “slow-carb diet”, written about by Timothy Ferris in his book The 4-Hour Body. You can click the link to see a full explanation of the diet, but the gist of it is: you eat solely protein and vegetables 6 days a week, with a free-for-all day 1 day per week. No carbs (including fruit), nothing that could be considered “white”, no rice even if it’s brown (!), no dairy. Basically your meals should consist of protein and vegetables, and that’s it.

The more you think about this diet, the harder it seems (at first). No fruit! No rice! Unfathomable. And indeed, the meals are a little boring. It’s hard to think of meals that don’t include some kind of carb. But eventually if you think about it creatively enough, you can come up with some food that is yummy and healthy. No joke! Here’s what’s been working for me:

  • Shrimp stirfry, with peppers, onions and broccoli
  • Shrimp + avocado salad
  • Eggs, cottage cheese (allowed in small quantities) and broccoli
  • Black bean burgers (no bun) with guacamole and salsa
  • Panfried Korean-style tofu
  • Sweet potato fries and green salad with edamame, beans or avocado
  • Bean salad with beans, onions and a light dressing
  • Homemade chili with lots of kidney beans and veggies
  • Nuts or spoonfuls of nut butters for snacks
  • Big mug of tea with 1 sugar cube to fend of nightly sugar urges

Now, I’m a (quasi) vegetarian, which makes this diet a little bit harder for me. If you’re a full-fledged carnivore, it should be a breeze! Swap out different proteins with veggies on the side and you’re set. Personally, I love food, so I haven’t been satisfied to eat the exact same thing every day (except for breakfast). So I’ve tried to be really creative with my food without breaking the rules, and I’ve enjoyed most of my meals immensely.

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Ignore Your But(t)

This time of year makes it incredibly easy to be negative.

Think about it, we’re totally in limbo. Past the good parts of Winter – namely Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/awesome time with food, family & friends – and waiting for the beginnings of Spring. We stay inside most of the time, it’s difficult to find motivation to go to class, let alone to see friends. We’re marooned on a snowy island, waiting for a rescue boat! No, this isn’t exactly the time of year we tend to be optimistic and cheery.

Which is why it’s the perfect time for this message I’ve been ruminating on for a couple weeks. (Keep in mind, these ‘advice’ articles are just as much [if not more] written to remind myself of things as they are to ‘advise’ you). And the message is:

Focus on the wells, forget about the buts.

I will give you a few examples:

  • Well, I love most of my body, but my butt is too big”
  • Well, it’s bright and sunny outside, but it’s -20 degrees”
  • Well, my boots keep the slush out, but they’re kind of ugly”
  • Well, I love my boyfriend, but he works too hard”

I’m not saying that ignoring the buts is easy, because it’s not. The buts are the things that stubbornly invade our “otherwise happy” days. They shout out for our attention, distract us from the positive, and seem to constantly take up more of our thoughts than the wells. But I would venture to say that happiness is in the wells. Think of it this way: most of the time, the buts are things we can’t control. They’re constant. You can’t change them. So what’s the point of fixating on them? They’re not going away. You can’t alter the weather, no matter how much you try, and your body will always have the same basic shape, no matter how much you work out. So why waste so much time and energy focusing on the buts and ignoring the wells?

Another way of putting it: practice gratitude. It may sound all hippie and new-agey, but I honestly think one of the very best ways to find happiness is to learn to be grateful for what you have right now. Sure, you may strive to achieve a better life for yourself, more cash money, more clothes, etc, and that’s all well and fine – it’s great to have goals. But the real happiness comes with acknowledging every day how great your life already is. Focusing on the sweet spots of your day, reminding yourself to be positive, diverting your attention from buts to wells.

For a ton of perspective, please read this amazing article from Danielle Laporte on why you’re privileged. Two of my favourite quotes from it:

Really, what’s the worst of your problems?

We have so many rights, must we exercise the right to complain?

As much as possible, we should try to pull ourselves out from under the rubble of negative thoughts that crowd our minds. The way I see it, if the negative things are there to stay, and so are the positive ones, I’d much rather expend my energy stubbornly reminding myself to stay positive, stay grateful, stay happy. And no, I’m not being happy-go-lucky about this, it’s not always going to work, and there’s no such thing as being happy all the time. You can’t have light without dark after all! But in those everyday situations where we have a choice between acting/thinking/speaking negatively or positively, I think we should always try to choose positive.

  • “Well, I love most of my body!”
  • “Well, it’s bright and sunny today!”
  • “Well, my boots keep the slush out!”
  • “Well, I love my boyfriend!”

Some of you are sitting there thinking: “Wow, how naive! She is being so unrealistic. The world is a tough place, after all.” I know it is. We all do. But I don’t think that being realistic (read: pessimistic) about the state of the world is going to help us achieve any happiness. I’m well aware of the dangers, horrors, and terrors of our world. Yet I’m also aware of the wonders, loves, and beauty of it. And when given the choice of what to focus on, I think it will bring me a great deal more happiness to stay positive.

I’d love to know what you think! How often do you find yourself “but-ing” the heck out of your day, getting pulled into a spiral of negative thinking? Or do you try and make a conscious effort to be grateful every day? Any tips or tricks for us newbs about how to stay positive?