Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Read of the Week - The Conundrum

The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions Can Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse

This audiobook recently came on sale as part of an Earth Day Sale, so I decided to give it a shot. I should start by saying I don't normally buy books like this, nor do I agree with every opinion they portray. However, I do find the perspectives and opinions they share thought provoking. I find that books with a bleak outlook on environmental issues often result in people becoming depressed, mourning the loss, and then moving on with their lives as though nothing happened. You must go into the book looking for more than just a solution or explanation; prepare yourself for a different perspective on environmentalism, an unraveling of current solutions to environmental technologies.

This book in particular looks largely as societies downfalls, the barriers to sustainability rather than the solutions. That being said it does have some valuable insight, something we can all take to heart. The main point being increased technology and efficiency is not a sufficient solution; creating greener technologies, building and developing more, will not resolve our issues. Rather, it is a societal shift, a shift in mindsets, and acknowledgment that there is no easy solution the our environmental dilemmas.

Monday, May 14, 2018

First time fitness competitor

After weeks of falling on and off the diet train, my competition finally came and went. I can't imagine how difficult I was to coach, I get anxious and hangry, but thank you to everyone who supported me in CHOOSING to do something that made me for lack of a better term "miserable". Would I have gotten more joy out of the dozen OCR I could've run or the new saddle I could've bought with the time and money put into this competition? Yeah probably, but you can't knock it 'til you try it.

Next time I decide to push myself outside of my comfort zone, which this definitely did, tell me to take a hike Haha. I definitely shook the entire time on stage as I am well aware my stage presence and confidence aren't my defining features 😅. 

Props to all the men and women that take pride and pleasure in prepping and stepping on stage, it take a lot of dedication, discipline, and hard work. Me on the other hand I am going to keep working out and eating fairly healthy because I LIKE to not because I HAVE to. At this point in my life I have a million other things to look forward to and do that I love. Now that I have gotten this out of the way, for the time being I don't want to do a sport that takes away from other things I love. Plus, I stand by the fact I'm happy having that thin layer of chocolate that covers my abs.


The lovely note from bikinilicious that came with my suit rental

Monday, April 30, 2018

Best Kombucha Flavors to Brew at Home

Now I haven't tried every flavor of kombucha out there, but I can say there are a few flavors which I have brewed that consistently beat the rest. These guys are all super simple and come from ingredients you can usually get in your local grocer. In this post I will touch on my top 3 favorites I make on a regular basis, followed by a few I would love to try! But first I wanted to touch on a couple key tricks to making your at home brew the best.

1. Don't over think it
As many times as I have made kombucha I have had several fantastic batches and a few flops. Sticking with your basics and trusted black tea, sugar, and boiling water is always best for your first few batches.

2. The double fermentation process
The  second fermentation is key to getting a bubbly drink. With a single fermentation I find the kombucha often is flat and can easily become more vinegary in flavor. Once you start getting to a decent acidity, removing your scoby and adding your flavoring ingredients for a second fermentation can bring a whole new life to the batch.

3. Don't get discoraged
Jars break, some batches mold, and some just don't turn out. When you start experimenting with flavors make sure you have a bake up scoby and some starter kicking around. I can almost guarentee, even with a solid first few batches you will have at least one flop.

Okay now on to the good stuff.... My top 3 favorite at home flavors!

1. Strawberry
Strawberry is a consistent flavor and the sugars in it make it great for a second fermentation. My method to making strawberry kombucha is add a 1/2 cup of frozen strawberry slices to the jar and leave for a couple extra days, once your scoby is removed of course. I have also had really good luck with strawberry mint, where you add two stalks of fresh mint to the brew as well.

2. Ginger
Ginger is always a safe flavor. It doesn't respond to the second fermentation the same as the strawberry, which really makes a nice effervescent batch. This flavor is more like a ginger-ale or ginger-beer though. I slice rounds of ginger root and at them directly to my batch similar to the strawberry slices, then I wait.

3. Honey
If you find the batch just isn't quite sweet enough adding honey can add more flavor all on it's own. Keep in mind a little bit of raw honey will go a long way so make sure to taste the batches in between.

I have tried other fruits which work very well, careful adding citrus because the acidity in the fruit can alter the pH balance of the brew. Most flavors turn out well but some could use a little refinement as you co along. Herbs also add really nice subtle flavor, adding basil can add a nice twist to some of the sweet fruity flavors. 

Other flavors that I have tasted, but haven't made myself include lavender (which I am hoping to try ASAP), pineapple, and apple cinnamon. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Read of the Week - Calm the F*ck Down

Although most of my "reading" is actually done via audio books I still really enjoy taking the time to start a good book. The most recent book I had the joy of listening to was The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion By Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson. To start with I want to say, this duo does a wonderful job both writing and narrating this book. The book is informative, funny, and catches your attention. There are elements any athlete can relate to no matter how competitive or recreational they are. I personally have a serious issue with eating my feelings. To everyone that knows me I am sure you are thinking "no way!", which is probably just dripping in sarcasm. The book touches on a little bit of everything including binge eating, fears of failure, and over confidence; there is seriously a little bit of everything jam packed into this novel. 
Although the novel is by no mean a psychiatrist, it provides interesting insight into some of the deeper rooted causes associated with some of our habits. I still haven't found a way to cope with my nerves and stress but the novel is a friendly reminder that it shouldn't be the end all be all. The book provides some motivation and seems like a great break to sit down and read or listen to on the go. For anyone who likes podcasts or audiobooks this book is a great listen which is magnified by the authors enthusiasm as they progress through the chapters.

And if anyone out there (who actually reads this blog) has any other good books or podcasts leave a comment as I am always looking for something new! ✨

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Prairie View Lookout Hike

This popular hike offers views of barrier lake extending east as far as Calgary on a clear day. The trail head is located at the barrier lake parking lot off highway 40, outside of Canmore in Kananaskis country. Be prepared that winds coming through the valley are often very strong, making the initial section of the hike and lookout more difficult, than one can expect on a calm day. Even with the winds it is worth the 6 km one way hike to experience the views. The majority of the trail is well marked and highly trafficked, at a gradual grade through established evergreen trees which block the wind. In addition to this lookout the trails around barrier lake connect with several others. Thus, making it important to check the map for those less experienced hikers heading out for the day.

During the winter this hike is equally stunning offering snow shoeing and cross country skiing.

Difficulty: Moderate