REVIEW: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

hempA few weeks ago I received the opportunity to review Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts through being a #sweatpink ambassador with Fit Approach.

I had heard about Hemp Hearts, but I hadn’t really tried any, nor was I really sure what I was supposed to do with them.

Luckily the Manitoba Harvest website features a whole bunch of awesome recipes and ideas that you can use to get you started!

A few quick facts about Hemp Hearts that I didn’t know:

i) Hemp Hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein per 30g serving and 10 grams of Omegas.
ii) They taste great on a salad, in oatmeal, in a shake or smoothie and also add extra awesome to your baking.  They also taste great straight out of the bag (I did try this…..then tried again, because they actually tasted so great!)
iii) Hemp hearts have more protein and omegas than the same serving of chia or flax, and less carbs (bonus!!)

I tried them on my salads, in my shakes, and in some of my baking.  In each instance, they actually added a great nutty flavour that I thoroughly enjoyed. (They’re often compared to a pine nut, or sunflower seed in taste.)  They’re great for vegetarians who want to add more protein to their diet.  I love the idea of a plant-based protein as an alternative to meat choices.  I still love meat and the protein that it gives me, but it’s important to have a variety of protein types in your diet.

I would recommend that you check out the Hemp Hearts for sure!

For one lucky reader out there, you have a chance to win yourself your very own bag of Hemp Hearts.  Simply, follow Manitoba Harvest on Instagram and Twitter,  and RT/reply to one of my tweets about this blog post using the hashtag #HempHearts telling me why you want some Hemp Hearts from Manitoba Harvest for your chance to win or leave a comment on this post of why you think you should win!

Good luck!

-Bexx

(Although asked to do this review, this is my honest opinion. Winner of the giveaway must be a resident of the US or Canada.)

 

 

Running is my therapy

I’m angry at the snow preventing me from running my best pace outside on the non-icy sidewalks.

I’m angry at my legs for being too short to fit the regular lengthed lulu winter running pants.

I’m angry because I just stubbed my toe while trying to find my running shoes.

I’m angry because I missed my running group tonight because I had to stay late at work.

photo: http://www.popsugar.com
photo: http://www.popsugar.com

Today is one of those days that you just want to crawl into a ball and hide from the world.  I want to eat a giant chocolate cake, topped with whipped cream, and then finish off a bag of jalapeno cheddar Doritos for my dessert.  There are no rules when you’re angry, apparently – dessert can be chips, and dinner can be cake.

Regardless, today I am a little ball of anger, and that’s not usually the case.  If I ever drank coffee and experienced that caffeine high people claim to need to get their day going, I’d probably bounce off the walls and have no friends left because the pain-in-the-butt sunny disposition that I already possess, would result in people wanting to punch me out.  However, today I’m just angry.

I don’t usually talk about negative things, but I think it’s important to acknowledge when you’ve just had a terrible day, and it’s okay to feel sorry for yourself for a little bit – provided of course that you’re not using your anger to punch someone out etc. Anger is healthy.  My life is not perfect.  It is okay to be angry at so many different reasons that it don’t make sense.

Today is that day.

No one did anything particularly mean or bad to me today.  I just have an issue with letting two hundred things go, without getting angry about them at the time, or speaking up about my feelings. Where a normal person would say something while these two hundred things were happening at the very time they were happening, I just let things go, and process internally.  It’s something I’ve been working on for a while and every now and again, I still have an angry day. I’m having less of them and I’m getting better at telling people how I really feel about things that happen to me, but I’m not perfect by any means.

Life-is-ten-percent-Holtz

“You cannot change the things that happens to you, but you can change how you react to them.”  I read that quote somewhere once, and I try to remember it when something bad does happen, or when someone is a big enough jerk to me that they warrant a flying drop-kick.  (Note: I don’t want you to try to picture me doing one of these, because it will take away from the non-hilarity of this blog post ;))

That being said, I’m not going to eat the cake or Doritos (Sorry, guyssssss!)  I’m going to lace up my shoes and run a long run solo, on the wintery streets of Toronto, in my too long for me winter lulu pants, with my tunes cranked up, and a slight grin on my face, because the anger will dissipate as I run my very first steps out the door.  Running is my therapy.  Anger get out of here 😉

Summer Gym Bag Essentials : Hilary Jack

gym bag
I am sure most of you are familiar with my friend Hilary who I originally featured a while back in my NOT SO AMATEUR section (if not you can read the post here.)  Since she is an avid athlete – running and doing some sort of workout or activity each day – she has agreed to share her Summer Gym Bag Essentials with us!

nike shorts1) Nike Circuit 2-IN-1 Woven Shorts for Women ($44.99 CAD)  “These shorts are my go to in hot weather. They help with the inevitable chafing with any leg size  with a comfortable spandex short sewn in. When I’m running in hot weather sometimes a little fresh air is nice up the shorts, but you don’t have to worry about bearing your bottom with the spandex. The drawstring waist is great too, so they don’t ride up or fall down while you bounce!”
Under Armour Studio Rave & Flow Support Tank Top 2) Under Armour Studio Rave & Flow Support Tank Top  “This top was a gift to me from my kickboxing partner, and it is was an immediate favourite. The support isn’t great for us busty chicks to go without a bra if you’re doing high impact sports like running or other aerobics, so I double up with a bra. However no bra needed for a nice leisure walk on a hot day. This baby lets the breeze move in and around your body, which is cooling on the sunny hot run days.”

bugg

3) Original Buff  “I wear my buffs instead of a hat. I’m not a hat person, and these buffs offer full UV protection AND have a variety of ways to wear them from headband to bandana or in the winter as a full balaclava! I love that they protect my noggin and look pretty darn stylish as well. Highly recommend for you outdoor activity types if you’re like me and don’t like hats.”

Thanks for sharing your Summer Gym Bag Essentials with us, Hilary!

Do you have some Summer Gym Bag Essentials that you’d like to share on http://www.missbexx.com?  Email me at rebecca.p.yanyk@gmail.com with your top three and I may feature them here! 🙂

Happy Training! Stay Cool!

-Bexx

Northern Summer


I think sometimes we all need a vacation.  From the hustle and bustle of our lives, from our own over-analyzing minds – an escapism where we are sometimes only able to find solace in the familiar – our childhood home.

Lately I’ve had some time to reflect on my life, what I do, who I am, and numerous other soul-searching endeavors that could easily leave ones head spinning.  Something that we should all undoubtedly do at certain points to evaluate our lives.

I remember a friend telling me once that once you hit your thirties, you will stop reading books like the Alchemist and just face reality that life isn’t all inspiration and aspiration.  I hope that I never stop dreaming, and envisioning bigger and better goals for myself and those that I choose to surround myself with. Thirty or not, I refuse to believe this.

I think that facing yourself, what you’re good at, and what you’re not good at (let’s call these the ‘works in progress’) are some of the hardest things that you can do.  It’s easy to sit there and say I’m really good at ‘x’ and ignore that perhaps you have done things to yourself and other people that are the result of those things that you’re not so good at.  Perhaps insecurity is at the forefront of some of these things, like it is with me.  Heck, I didn’t even really want to start this blog for years because I didn’t want to look silly, or have people thinking ‘what gives her the right to write about these things? What does she know?”

I struggle with the idea that ‘it doesn’t really matter what other people think’, because in some ways it does.  There are people out there who read and see what you do, they judge your work, your credentials based on a small amount of interaction and evaluate who you are, what you have to offer, whether you have influence or ‘klout’.

The key is to have enough confidence to know who you are, the values that you represent, the person that you are and the work that you do. (A friend’s father told him that recently and he was kind enough to share this wisdom with me.)  Keep your head held high, and believe in you.

Summer9

The people who matter the most will know you, stick around even when you’re a bit of a sh*t-head, hug you when you’re down, and become the biggest cheerleaders that you didn’t even realize or appreciate that you had.  They’ll encourage you to blog more, talk to people more, and shine that light that is you regardless of how dim you may feel it is at the moment.

Part of it is just recharging – hanging out with people who make you laugh, who sign you up for dragon boat races when you don’t even know how, those who remind you that writing is for the soul and is one of the hardest things we do sometimes – “it is ultimately spilling your guts out in text form.”

-Bexx

The sharpest pencil in the box….

pencil

I think I’ve learned a lot in my short 30 years.  Part of me always wishes I could go back with the knowledge that I have now (like in 13 going on 30) and tell my teenaged self that everything will be just fine and not to worry so much – chill out, enjoy things and most importantly learn all that you can.  I still tell myself these days to chill out and to stop worrying so much about life, and just take it all in.  I’ve taken up yoga and meditation.  I try to slow myself down and appreciate what is around me.  I forget all this and resort back to my old thoughts sometimes.  I’m far from perfect.  Life is a learning process after all!

I did my first podcast the other day (Bexx plug here)  and even though I did it over the phone I was more nervous than I’ve been in a long time, and was super glad that the podcast was not in person. (I probably would have sweat all over the equipment and short-circuited everything, thereby sabotaging my very first podcast of history heh) I’m not sure why I was so nervous – I can’t really explain it, but I was. I never really pictured or thought that I would ever be featured on a podcast or have a blog that anyone read (besides my family and closest friends.) For me most of the things that are happening lately are a bit surreal and makes me feel kind of funny.

In the midst of all these recent happenings in my life – whether it be work, volunteering or just overall every day life events, have made me realize that we all have dr seusssomething special to offer. I think it’s good to accept what you are good at and realize that you have something to offer the world, that other people don’t.  No one is exactly like you, no one thinks exactly the way you do, or does things the way that you would.  Based on all your previous life experiences, you walk through the world sometimes giving yourself less credit than you deserve.  Maybe you think no one would listen or read if you wrote a blog, or maybe you’re afraid that people will judge you or already know the things you do.  They don’t always.  Sometimes people can share in what you write and connect with it through their experiences, but yours are still unique.

Use what you’re good at.  Don’t be afraid to tell your stories and share your thoughts.  I have always worried so much about what people think, and hesitated in a lot of ways in my life.  Say what you want to say. You’re important.

Play on playas,

-Bexx

Review: Fitbit vs Nike Fuel

fbnfseBexx Note (03/19/14):  Since posting this review I have stopped using my Fitbit, as it has burned my wrists and left permanent scarring.  Reports are saying it is a chemical burn or skin reaction.  I am not currently allergic to anything at all, and from the looks of the burn it appears to be chemical.  The fitbit Flex is still fine according to reports, but the Force should be recalled.  I still saw it in stores last week in Ontario, Canada, so be careful.

My friend Hilary got a Fitbit and when I was working out with her one Friday she told me all about it.  I went out the very next day and purchased one myself.  I had heard about the Fitbit before, but I was curious, and intrigued.  I also wanted to see if something like this could help me be more conscious of my every day activity levels, and overall fitness.  Her husband had the regular Fitbit Flex, which offers more colour options, but less in terms of display.  This ultimately made my decision easier – I’m all about the visual so I went with the Fitbit Force.

That week my friend Lawrence who works with Nike provided me with a Nike FuelBand SE so that I could test it out.  He swore it was better than the Fitbit.  I must admit that for my purposes, I am still in love with the Fitbit Force.

FitBitForceFitbit Force $130 CAD
Pros:
i)  Clear display.  Measures daily steps, miles, stair flights climbed, active minutes, calories burned, allows you to input weight changes, track sleep patterns, and allows you to track your calories and water intake.
ii)  If you are a fan and user of MyFitnessPal, it links with the Fitbit allowing you to track calories in and calories out, along with all your activity.
iii) Vibrates and lights up once you’ve hit your step goal for the day.
iv) Has a great application for iPhone users and also a great Dashboard for PCs.  You can add your friends to it, and have them cheer you on, or taunt you for fun!

Cons:
i)  Limited wrist bands colours available.  Currently available in grey and black.
ii)  The community for Fitbit is not as large as the Nike community.  If you are big into community engagement, you may want to wait a little longer until this community is built up…or maybe get one and join me!
iii)  If you are into cycling, it doesn’t accurately count your activity.  I’ve heard of people attaching the Fitbit to their shoes to account for their activity, but I haven’t tried that yet myself 😉

Overall: Comfortable wristband,  no flashy branding,  and can blend in with other jewelry accessories.  I love that is links with MyFitnessPal and I find myself making sure that I get my steps in even if that requires that I do some ‘foot-fire’ football running drills to hit my steps in my room before bed.  *Note: My neighbours may not be a fan of this as much as I am haha.   I’m a bit crazy like that.  By far my favourite fitness related tracker thus far.  I usually quit or stop tracking with technological devices like this, but with Fitbit Force I am going on strong  – a month and a half now and down 15 lbs! Fitbit and MyFitnessPal combined really make you aware of what you are  doing and what  you’re not.  Awareness has also been an issue for me, so this is absolutely wonderful.

NikeFuelSENike FuelBand SE Retail: $150 CAD

Pros:
i) Uses motion-sensing technology to capture your movements during the day and converts it to NikeFuel. Tracks the intensity of your workouts, sleep, counts yours steps  and tells time.
ii) Strong community is what Nike is known for – this aspect does not disappoint. You can compete against your friends in some ‘friendly’ competition to see who has earned the most NikeFuel.
ii)  NikeFuel SE  has a coloured meter which allows you to see where you are at in terms of activity for the day.  Also allows you the opportunity to track which hours you have ‘won’ for the day.  (An hour ‘won’ is an hour where you have been active and earned NikeFuel for 6 minutes consecutively within an hour.)  It reminds you to get up and get active, which is especially helpful when you have an office job where you sit a lot.  It sends you a personalized (essentially a Go, Rebecca, Go!) message of encouragement.  If this isn’t for you, you can also shut this option off.

Cons:
i) Heavily branded, and is not as comfortable on the wrist despite having adjustment pieces available.
ii) Display is not as clear as the Fitbit, and it is a little less clear what exactly you’re seeing when you hit the button.
iii)  Battery lasted approximately from Sunday to Wednesday evening vs the Fitbit week-long battery life.

Overall:  I think this is a good option for someone who is heavily into training and measuring the intensity of their training.  Ultimately it depends what you’re trying to track, and what is important to you.  With its sporty sleek look and great community, this device is awesome if you are competitive and want to have that community engagement and support.  It has come a long way from the original NikeFuel that first came out years ago.  The sleep tracker is also an added bonus that a lot of other devices don’t have.  Nike has done a great job in improving this device and I’m interested to see the next model and how they adapt to the needs of the user.

It really depends on you.  I’m a bit biased because I tried my Fitbit first and I think it’s really hard to change my mind when I love something.  Different strokes for different folks.  I think when purchasing you need to keep in mind what exactly you’re wanting the device for.   Overall, these types of devices shine a light on your habits and actual activity level.  I think a lot can be said for something that allows you to see what you’re really up to in a day.  It makes you accountable, aware and allows you to really gauge whether or not you actually want to do something with the results you find.  Maybe you’re a lot more active than you thought, or maybe it’s the opposite.  Either way, knowledge is power, as they say! 😉

Feel free to leave comments below on your experience with Fitbit or NikeFuel.  I’d love to hear your opinions!

Happy Training!
xo
-Bexx