Go to meal: Chicken Curry

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quick & easy Chicken Curry

Makes 4 (double recipe for 8. math)

  • 1 cup of rice, cooked in the rice cooker

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked how you like - I use the pressure cooker

  • 1 cauliflower, chopped and steamed

  • 1 bunch of kale or spinach

  • 1 can of curry sauce (I like KFI brand)

Mix it all together

Simple meal prep

I love keeping things simple when it comes to meal prep. I have a few go-to recipes that I basically make a giant batch of and i portion them out, freezing a few for future weeks.

This week I’m sharing one of my go-to recipes that is so simple, I could make it in my sleep.

Assess the quality of things

Aim for better quality

The concept of better quality is a general value that I try to apply to a lot of areas of my life: quality food & ingredients, quality movement, quality content, etc. It's something that I try to focus on when I am looking for a new challenge and to see if I can up my standards on something. It is also a coaching concept that I use and encourage with clients to do. This is especially helpful when they either feel stuck or if they feel like they already have a lot of healthy habits in their life and are looking to level up.

Better food

When it comes to quality food, as a general rule of thumb, I recommend starting to paying attention to the ingredient lists and seeing if you know everything that is in something before consuming it. This especially applies to those convenience snacks for on the go, but it also applies to fresh foods such as meat, dairy, breads, etc. You don’t have to know the intimate details of ingredients, but if you can't pronounce something or don’t know what it is, start to question if you should be eating it.

A few quick tips for food:

  • check out organic versions of things - the organic industry has higher standards on the quality of ingredients, but be aware that this doesn’t apply to ALL organic food.

  • look at different brands of the same thing - some brands have higher standards and sometimes it’s as easy at assessing a few different brands for the food you are currently buying. I especially find this helpful when I’m buying sauces such as curry sauce or coconut milk

  • avoid the products that overpromise - products that promise low calorie, low fat, low insert-healthy-topic-of-the-month, tend to be filled with something else to maintain flavour and over all addictiveness

Swaps I’ve made recently to food:

  • Popcorn - air-popped instead of microwave, or bagged popcorn (Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop is my go-go)

  • Meat - organic or grass-fed meats

  • Salad dressings - check out the ones that are in the cooler section versus on the shelf

  • Cereal - swapped to organic

  • Sauces - swapped to KFI brand for curries, Primal Palate ketchup

  • Pasta - swapped to pastas made with chickpeas or lentils

Better skin and beauty products

This one is somewhat of a plug because I swapped to Beauty Counter due to their reputation for quality products and ingredients. Skin and beauty products are full of ingredients that I can’t pronounce so I stick to brands I can trust and who value quality ingredients. Simple as that.

Quality movement

OK so bare with me on this one because do believe that any movement is better than none, so start there. Personally I come from a world where I lift a lot of heavy things and put significant stress on my body through exercise. To avoid injury, I place a high value on quality movement. How do I do this? I give equal opportunity to working on body weight exercises that focus on slow quality foundational movement as I do the high weight, high volume and high intensity movement. Constantly assessing (take a video) or getting coached are ways to help add this to your life.

There are so many ways to add quality, so give it a try if you are looking for a challenge or a change up.

Kale Caesar Salad

Are you a salad person? I go through phases. Sometimes I love them, sometimes they wilt away in my fridge, just like my motivation to eat any and all vegetables. When I am in a salad loving phase, one of my go-to’s is a good Kale Caesar Salad.

Kale offers a lot of benefits including being full of micronutrients and vitamins, but my favourite thing about it is that you can prep it at the start of the week with the dressing included and it doesn’t go all soggy and gross like other leafy greens. It’s the small things!

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KALE CAESAR SALAD

1 bunch of kale, washed & chopped

2-3 tbsp caesar dressing


optional add-ins

1 avocado, sliced

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

sliced cherry tomatoes

cooked chicken slices




Candy Cane Peanut Butter Balls

A some-what healthy holiday treat

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup quick oats

1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder

1/4 cup natural peanut butter

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1 candy cane, crushed up

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix dry ingredients

Add Peanut Butter and Coconut milk

Roll into balls *add extra oats if too liquidy or more coconut milk if too dry

Melt chocolate chips in a separate bowl

Dip balls into chocolate and coat

Sprinkle candy cane pieces on top

Refrigerate

Returning to fitness after having a baby

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When I got back into exercise after my first baby, there were a lot of things I didn’t know or assumed didn’t apply. I jumped back in and really focused on getting my body back. I was athletic and fitness came easy to me. What I didn’t realize was that I had to retrain and embrace a new body that went through a lot of stress and massive changes during pregnancy and delivery. On the outside I actually looked the same relatively quickly, but I didn’t feel very functional. My core was weak, I had trouble maintaining form under load, I had lots of knee and hip pain when running, and I experienced many postpartum symptoms that are common. Once I sought help from a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and learned a lot about how to retrain the body, I saw incredible results and was able to have a second baby and return to fitness without any issues. After going through my experience, I wanted to expand my knowledge as a trainer, especially since I was working with moms. I trained and became certified in postpartum fitness and it is my goal to help women return to fitness and feel empowered.

Typically when I start working with postpartum clients, I see a very common sequence of events:

  • 9 months of pregnancy done. You feel great because you were able to stay active in some capacity

  • You waited your 6 weeks for your postpartum checkup with your doctor. All clear!

  • Your body feels healed and you feel like you want to exercise again. Woo hoo!

  • Time to shed that baby weight, right? Hold on. Not so fast.

It is important to acknowledge that your body goes through an incredible transformation during pregnancy. It expands and changes to accommodate growing and birthing a tiny human and the core and pelvic floor are weakened through the process. It is an essential, and often missed, step to restore function and strength in the core and pelvic floor after pregnancy, in order to ensure a safer return to exercise. One piece of advice that really stood out for me, was to treat postpartum like an injury. When you are injured, you typically take time away from your sport and/or exercise routine and you follow a rehab program, which involves rest, rehab and restrengthening. You allow your injury to heal and then you get back into it. This can be applied to postpartum as well.

Rest and Recovery

I’m pretty sure no one will tell you that those first few weeks with a newborn are a walk in the park. You are sleep deprived, hormones are all over the place, and you are healing from childbirth. Not to mention you are caring for a newborn at the same time. The main focus for you should be rest and recovery. Take it easy and if you feel like it, walking and light stretching can be beneficial at this stage. Recovery is around 6 weeks*

Rehabilitation: Core and Pelvic Floor

Once you are feeling up to it, you can start to focus on rehabilitation of the Core and Pelvic floor and I suggest following a program for about 8-12 weeks*. You may begin some light and gentle exercises as early as 2 weeks postpartum, but it isn't necessary at this time. When you feel ready, this is where you should start when getting back into exercise.

This would also be a great time to see a Pelvic Floor or Women’s Health Physiotherapist. Even if you don't experience any symptoms, they can assess for things like pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic organ prolapse, alignment, and c-section healing. They can also provide tips and techniques that can help speed up recovery.

Re-strengthen

Once you have established a base, you can begin to build strength and functionality in the body. Resistance training and functional movement exercises can be introduced at this point. It is also important to focus on breathing techniques through movement as well as alignment and form.

The temptation may be to jump back into high intensity, metabolically challenging exercises as soon as possible, but my recommendation is to wait until 3-6 months* postpartum and to go through the above 3 steps first. This may feel like a long time to wait, but it will pay dividends if you play the long game here and focus on building a solid foundation and movement patterns first.  Master the basics and move well in a safe and controlled environment, then layer on intensity.

Common Symptoms 

Once you do make your return to exercise, there are a few symptoms that you should watch out for and require attention:

  • Incontinence of any amount - this could occur during exercise or during everyday life, such as when you cough or sneeze

  • Hip, back, knee pain – during or after exercise

  • A bulging feeling in the pelvic floor or feeling like you are sitting on something

  • The sensation that your pelvic organs are falling out

If you experience any of these symptoms, see a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. Even though many women experience these symptoms, it doesn’t mean they are normal. They can be managed.

A few other considerations are that you may also be managing erratic sleep schedules as well as breastfeeding, both of which can have a huge impact on energy, recovery, and weight loss. Be easy on yourself and constantly ask "should you" be doing something. Even if you can, it may not be the right decision that day. There will always be another day and another workout.

Remember that postpartum is forever, and it is never too late to start this process.

*The above timelines are general timelines. Every body is different and everybody will have a different experience postpartum.

Looking for a postpartum specific strength program? 

Prefer to workout from the comfort of your home or at your own gym? I offer online programming tailored to your specific needs. Drop me a note to get started.

 

 

Salmon with Rice and Broccoli

This recipe is a weekly staple in our house. It is simple, quick and easy to make.

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INGREDIENTS

500g Salmon

2 tsp salt & pepper

1 tsp maple syrup

1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil

1 cup rice

2 cups broccoli, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 Celsius

Cook rice according to instructions

Place broccoli on an oven safe pan and place into the oven

Heat oil in a cast-iron or oven safe pan on the stove top, medium to high heat

Season Salmon with salt, pepper and maple syrup

Once the oil is warm, add the salmon

Cook for 1-2 minutes and flip, cooking for another 1-2 minutes

Place salmon into the oven to finish cooking through, approximately 8-10 minutes depending on thickness

Remove broccoli and salmon from the oven

Dish up and serve

Not a salmon person

You can sub in chicken, pork tenderloin, tofu, or any other fish instead.

Want more?

Looking for more ideas for quick and simple recipes and habits that you can implement into your daily life? Send me a note or check out the Programs page to see if there is a program that interests you.