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.)

 

 

2015 : Reflection on 2014 and goals for 2015!

2015

Once again I’ve put together my list of New Years resolutions goals for 2015 and below have done some reflection on 2014.

It was quite the year. I like to think of it as one that helped me grow into the person I am today.  Life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan, and sometimes the universe has its own plan for you. 2014 did not really turn out to be the “Year of Bexx” as I had hoped in my post from last year, but like I said, sometimes it’s within those lovely things that are unplanned and unexpected that you truly find happiness with who you are, and what you have to offer this world!

TOP 10 OUTSTANDING MOMENTS OF 2014…

  1. Flo Coe does TO.  My mom finally came to Toronto to visit me.  I’ve been here for like seven years! She took a bus, streetcar and subway, visited the Christmas market with me, had an amazing time at Absolute Comedy and put herself outside of her comfort zone to come and see me!! I’m so proud of her, and excited that she came!
  2. Cincinnati baseball trip this summer, and hockey road trips to Detroit and Buffalo.  To teaching people how to shot-guns beers, Chicago PD’ing door opens, getting ‘by the glass’ seats to see the Wings, to touring CinCity with some of my fav travel pals, Nick, Anj and Kristi – epic roadies are in store for 2015 too!
  3. Being maid of honour, limo (truck) driver, and MC at my cousin Melissa’s wedding. One of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been too, great guest list, and amazing bride and groom.
  4. Running the Sporting Life 10k in the Spring for Hilary’s first race! So many epic races set for this year with this lovely lady!!! 5k, 10K and a half marathon! Bring it on 2015!!! Hilary – you inspire me!
  5. Summer ciders, day drinks with the ladies, and a surprise birthday party hosted by some of the best friends I’ve ever had! Thank you, you guys mean so much to me!!!
  6. Thanksgiving in the Kawarthas.  I spent it with a great family, and friends! What an honour. Thanks for the invite, Kristi!
  7. Cruising around in a new Chevy Camaro via a perk from Klout! What a slick and amazing ride.  I’d buy two if it were in my budget 😉
  8. Having a wonderful Valentine’s date with my friend Darryl and Alex.  Thanks for letting me borrow him Em! We always have so much fun!
  9. Canada’s Wonderland on a not so sunny day with Hilary.  We had so much fun, and learned that we’re ‘too old’ for some things hahah
  10. Hallowe’en 2014 – dressed as lawn gnomes, filled with jello shots, and friends who never let me down for a good time.  We may have drank a bit much like we were eleventeen, but I’m so thankful to have all of you in my life.
TOP 5 DISAPPOINTMENTS IN 2014
  1. Getting laid off from my job at Corby.  Being unemployed for six months taught me a lot about myself, my friends and family (who relentlessly never give upremind me that I’m awesome no matter what,) that it doesn’t just happen to me, and sometimes things are just out of your own control 😉
  2. I have still yet to find my Romeo.  I think that is more so a result of me not always being happy with who I am.  I’m going to try to work on this in 2015.
  3. Applying to ten million jobs, getting interviews, thinking they went great and not getting the jobs. It’s a way more competitive job market than I’ve ever seen out there. I’ve realized through all this that work culture plays a huge role in determining where you want to work, and who you want to work for. Sometimes you learn later that some of the ‘rejection’ was blessing in disguise.
  4. Not getting to see Eminem live in Squamish.
  5. Getting a text message from someone who meant to send it to someone else. Sometimes technology is the devil. You learn a lot about other people though, and yourself.
Richard Branson5 Goals for 2015
  1. To run a half marathon in under 2h30 minutes.
  2. Get a raise at my new job, and rock their socks off as their new Project Manager on an awesome account!!
  3. Run a 5K in less than 30 minutes, and a 10K in less than 58 minutes.
  4. Keep up with blogging.  I said this one last year, but I need to stay more true to it! It’s a great way to talk out loud, without saying anything 😉
  5. Lose 40 lbs.  I’m well on my way! 🙂

3 Best New People of the Year-

  1. Erin MacIntyre– I met this girl in university through a great friend of mine, but only got to really know her this summer. This girl is a gem. She makes me laugh, has a genuine heart, and is an overall amazing friend! Thanks, for being my Snapchat animal drawing pal, and the best holiday party date ever!
  2. Brit Smith – I met this lovely lady at a friend’s b day party. Sometimes you just meet a person you know you’ll be friends with them after the party – and it’s this girl! She’s an inspiration when it comes to the gym, and healthy eats. She’s always my biggest motivator and fan! Can’t wait for more ikea trips, dinner parties and workout seshs!
  3. Don Laitinen– childhood forced friends (by our parents), thank you Facebook and Fitbit for reconnecting us. This dude always listens even though he is all the way in Ottawa to my crazy tales, makes me laugh when I want to punch people, and his dedication to the gym and healthy eats keeps me on my toes.  You inspire me to be better! #besties

2014, ahhhhh, good-fricken-bye.  It was a slice, but I’m moving on to 2015 – which started with a new job as a project manager, started an awesome 30 day cleanse, a new roomie moving in that I am really excited about and a car purchase happening in the Spring! (If anyone has recos, let me know :))

Happy training, and cheers to 2015!

-Bexx

My *high-yah* Ninja Professional Blender!

So as I am sure some of you remember I went on a juicing cleanse awhile back, and drank juice for 7 days straight.  Not only was I tired and down 11 lbs at the end, but I hated juice for the longest time.  Along with that awesomely non-positive attitude toward juice, was a great disdain for the smoothie as well.  I liked my food in solid form, and wasn’t interested in pureeing ‘my anything’, unless it was a nice little steaming butternut squash soup.

ninja blender I got the  Ninja Professional Blender BL660 Series, mostly because I’m a total pro…. at blending…. (a self-proclaimed professional with limited skills, but the ‘want’ to be the best.  Consider me the ‘wax on, wax off’ upcoming master blender of my generation.)  Now, sometimes I get motivated to get certain gadgets, and am not really sure why.  I wanted to like smoothies, and to make protein shakes ‘a thing’ in my morning routine. Enter: The Ninja.

I have to admit, I got this one because it has the capabilities of making a huge batch of something, but also has two individual cups you can blend in, like a Magic Bullet.  I love this blender, and would recommend it to anyone who asked me my opinion about blenders.  I’m not sure when a conversation like this would take place, but just know that if it did – I would not falter from my love of my Ninja.

I like knowing what is going into my smoothies, and the fact that I can make them at home makes me really happy about it! It takes pumpkina quick second for me to blend my morning smoothies, and the noise isn’t overly loud.  The other day a friend and I made some pumpkin spiced lattes in my Ninja, and they were amazing and frothy – so that’s just another idea for you to try.

I’ve blended soups, dips, and fruit with this blender. All results have been amazing.  The soup despite starting off really chunky, pureed really well when Ninja’d for less than a few minutes.

If you’re considering a new blender, this would be my go-to.  I have no affiliation with Ninja Blenders and they haven’t asked me to do this post, I just love it!

I had a few issues of my own following instructions at first when using the large 72 oz pitcher, but I was just putting the lid on wrong. (I felt like less than a professional at that point in my blending career, but it’s only upward and onward from this incident.)  It won’t let you blend until all the pieces are locked into the right spots – which is great for the accident prone like me!  The instructions are great, you just have to follow them.  There are also great online forums for you to Google and hit up if you have any issues 🙂

Happy blending, folks!

-Bexx

 

Running in the Rain: 2 Tips for Running in the Rain!

Rain There is something really refreshing about running in the rain, yet I shy away from actually doing it often, because I’m afraid of getting soaked.  I’m made of sugar you know.. so I will obviously melt 😉 iphonerain

I was running the other day, and I saw the gray cloud looming over my head, and internally I scoffed at Mother Nature’s cloud and was thinking that I’d for sure beat the rain.  I was sure that I could out run the cloud, but in hindsight was very wrong.

I was stuck under a little wooden bridge, mostly stuck there on the premise that I did not in fact have shelter for my iPhone and didn’t want in fact want to risk its functionality on account of a ‘little’ rain.  I watched the rain drops hit the little stream that goes under the bridge and was surveying my options.  It slowed down for a little awhile and as I was about to make my getaway, the sky opened and dropped some buckets onto to Cobalt as I stood there.  I could have phoned a friend I suppose…. like on that show Who Wants to be a Millionaire or Cash Cab, but no one would have felt sorry for me at all… haha

As the rain let up a second time, off I went, hesitantly risking my own melting and demise (Fact: This is not true at all.  I will never melt in rain, unless it’s acid hydrochloric rain?!)  It was a calm rain for a little bit, but then reverted back to torrential.  I put my iPhone inside my two shirts and under my sports bra in hopes of shielding it from the rain and continued on my run.

Tips for running in the rain:

1) Embrace it; laugh about it; dance in puddles – bring out the inner child in yourself that hasn’t done anything super fun in a long time.  You’ll be happy that you did!

2) Try and have a dry place to store your electronics.  Sometimes I even run with a little baggie in my sports capris pocket for occasions like a random rain storm.  As fun as dancing in the rain is, you don’t have to have to shell out hundreds of dollars for a new iPhone 😉 rainsummer

I hadn’t felt that refreshed in a really long time.  I also must have looked a little bit crazy laughing in the rain.  It was just what I needed.

Happy Training,

-Bexx

Summer Gym Bag Essentials a la Bexx

What does your summer gym bag need in it!  Here are 3 of the things that I don’t leave home without!

1- SPFSunscreen-  I must admit that I have tried a few different types of sunscreen, mostly because I burn and turn into a lobster shortly after being in the sun.  If you have ever vacationed with me or played a sport with me, you’ve probably at some point been asked to help me apply sunscreen to my back.  You’re welcome.  My skin thanks you.  Don’t be embarrassed or think it’s not cool to put on the sunscreen.  I’ve been there; I’ve blistered.  Just don’t.  If you’re outdoors for any sport, make sunscreen your best bud! Coppertone SPORT is my absolutely favourite!wahta

2-  Water.. (or Wahta, whichever you prefer really.)  Make sure you bring some with you wherever you go.  You never know when you’ll be stuck outside in the heat, or on a smelly streetcar.  When you’re playing sports or running, make sure you bring some with you in your fuel belt or in a large water bottle.  No sun/heat stroke for you! Sometimes when water feels like it’s  just not enough, grab some Wahta and try it out.  Fun to say and drink, it’s a new one that I love to carry around.

3nuun energyNuun Energy–  I was asked to review these, and I absolutely love these tablets.  I have tried the Cherry Limeade and they’re my favourite so far.  They give me that little boost of energy that I need in the afternoon to keep me on track for my upcoming workouts in the early evenings! I’m must confess I used to have soda in the afternoon, but I’m trying to give it up.  This is a great alternative for me.  I don’t drink coffee, so this is my only source of caffeine.

Happy Summer, guys!  Hope the heat treats you well!

-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