The End of the Smoothie Challenge

20-smoothies

The Smoothie Challenge is over. I can’t believe I got as far as I did! Did I manage to get through the full month? For those of you following on Instagram, you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting smoothies lately. Tuesday of last week we rolled into the in-laws’ place and I just found it a lot harder to put together a smoothie there. I technically ‘won’ if you count a week’s worth of Bolthouse Farms Smoothies, but I’m pretty sure that’s missing the point a bit.

How did it go?

It went like a lot of 30 day challenges do: fun at first, and then around day 10-15 it got hard. Some days I was doing them at 9:30PM just to say I did it for that day. But hey! I managed to get pretty far that way. In the end, I did 22 out of 31 days. Not too bad!

Some days the smoothies were super good. Other days, my concoctions were revolting. I learned I should never put apple or cucumber in my smoothie. It makes it thick and chunky. All in all, I think I had more good smoothies than bad smoothies and I learned some good things about hiding greens in a drink.

What did I learn?

veggies

1. I think I actually felt better when I was having the daily smoothies. This last week my gut has been less happy and a bit stiff. Like I’ve said before, I wouldn’t win the Olympic medal for vegetable consumption. As you can see from my Lift progress, I don’t even eat them every day! So basically I should keep doing smoothies because they’re a good way for me to get fruits and veggies.

2. They’re pretty easy to put together. Spending 5-7 minutes on a smoothie is pretty reasonable when I consider that it’s a pretty easy way to get a range of fruits/veg into my body.

3. It doesn’t take that much planning. Once it becomes normal, you can get it done pretty quickly, especially with an immersion blender which is what I used every day. It makes it easy for clean up. I mostly used spinach, beet greens and kale for my greens and a mixture of fresh oranges and various frozen fruits.

Got recipes?

I managed to save my recipes and pictures as I went on Evernote and early on people started requesting recipes. If I remember correctly, most of them I randomly put together (except for the Sun Kissed Smoothie, which was probably THE BEST. There’s a link in the note) although some of those recipes are so easy to put together there’s no way I can really claim intellectual property on them.

You can get the recipes here. Some of those recipes are not that great. Just a warning.

A Tale of Two Colas

2colas

Cutting out sugar has been a key part of me functioning better in general. I sleep better, my energy is more consistent, and I don’t have random nausea anymore. Cutting out sugar has been harder in certain areas than other. Pop is one of them.

I’m a Pepsi girl. Always have been. Growing up, everyone in my immediate family preferred Pepsi, except my dad. I used to drink so much of it I couldn’t taste it anymore. Since going off sugar a year and a half ago, I was naughty and went through a bit of a diet pepsi binge. I wasn’t supposed to have aspartame, you see, mostly because it’s pretty much edible cancer. BUT I LOVE MY PEPSI. The day before I did this taste-test, I drank the last diet Pepsi in my in-laws’ fridge and, boy, was it good. It didn’t taste watery like I used to think diet Pepsi tasted. It tasted full and juicy.

A few months ago I saw listed on the Krisda sweetner box I buy that they also had pop. I had to try it, but I wasn’t able to find it until this week. Around the same time a friend told me about Zevia. I happened to find it on the same day at Zehrs.

I’m afraid none of these stevia colas taste as luscious as my Pepsi.

For this review, I’m going to do my best to describe the taste and make references to other colas in order to help you figure out what you might like. For some reference (since we tend to compare flavours based on the last similar thing we tried), the last cola I drank was President’s Choice caffeine free diet cola. I had it the day before this test. Earlier that day I had a Caffeine-free diet Pepsi, which tasted like heaven compared to the Krisda I had had the day before. Ok, yes, I drank a lot of pop this week. I’m trying to wean off hence this taste test.

I was really hoping I would love one of these. Verdict? Nope. So without further ado, here it is.

Zevia

Zevia Carbonated Beverage (stevia/erythritol, 60mg caffeine, 45mg vitamin C)

  • Clear, light taste. Stevia flavour very evident.
  • Could be confused with a root beer taste.
  • After awhile it tastes more and more like fizzy root-beery stevia.
  • Not a big fan.

Krisda

Krisda Natural Soda (stevia/erythritol, 20% Daily intake of Vitamin A, C , E, and no caffeine)

  • Tastes more like coke than Zevia.
  • Still, very, very light tasting.
  • The stevia/sweetner flavour is less evident than Zevia.
  • As you drink it, it still keeps the faint cola taste.
  • Mostly just tastes like fizzy semi-sweet water.

Who wins?

To be honest, they don’t compare very well with even regular diet colas from both brand names and store labels. The taste is so weak in comparison.( I did try the Zevia gingerale once and found it fairly comparable to other gingerales). The Zevia had a taste that endured better, even if the taste wasn’t much like cola, but Krisda has more vitamins and actually tastes like cola.

If I were looking for a soda that has what a regular pop does (ie: caffeine and fizz), then I’d choose Zevia. But if I’m just looking for cola and fizzy refreshment, Krisda would be the one I’d reach for. However, I really don’t like either and will probably choose can of Starbucks Refresher (sweetened with erythritol) instead.

Your turn: What do you count as a goal completed?

 

I barely made it out for a run today. If it weren’t for the Get The File Out principle, there’s no way I would have gone. “I’ll just put my running clothes on” was how it started and it ended when I wanted to barf cause I was running too much!

As I was running and struggling to keep going (it was a hard run!) I wondered something about goal completion. I wanted to ask you because I’m pretty confident what my response is.

When you have a goal in mind, is it enough to complete the goal (say a 1/2 marathon, no matter what your time is) or do you need to complete the goal on your terms (it doesn’t matter if I completed my first 1/2 marathon unless I get in at the average time or better than average time)?

Mistakes in Overthinking Productivity

Now that the long weekend is over and you may be trying to get back into the groove of things after some time off, here are some great tips from TimeManagementNinja: 7 Mistakes You’re Making By Overthinking Your Productivity.

  1. Having Too Many Tools
  2. Waiting for the Perfect Time
  3. Overplanning
  4. Thinking There is Only One Way
  5. Creating Too Complex of a System
  6. Not Making Decisions
  7. Not Starting

Read the rest of the article on his blog to see the details.

Living Simply (Part 2): What do we deserve?

Catch Part 1 here: The Difficulty of Living Simply

Thanks to everyone who left comments and gave feedback regarding my first post. There were some helpful comments practically as well as more theoretically. In the comments, Catherine said the book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger has been helpful for her in reducing her consumption: Je pense qu’une de mes motivations premières à vivre plus simplement, c’est de pouvoir partager avec les pauvres (I think one of my primary motivations in living more simply is to be able to share avec those less fortunate.). Related to this,  Beth wrote a post that hits on the same subject from a similar angle to Catherine. As I pondered, commented, and continued to reflect, I had some insight into myself again.

Beth writes about what struck her about a conversation she had with Amelia (who writes about that same convo here). They were discussing the recent factory collapse in Bangladesh.

“By shopping at these stores, we are basically saying, I deserve to buy a shirt for $10. Instead of saying, I can’t afford so I’ll go without, we say, I deserve a shirt that is affordable, so I’m going to buy this one.”

When I thought about it, this was true of me as well. Not only that, but I feel like I deserve a lot of clothing at a price I can afford in order to fit in in a basic way in society. My price point is determined by how much I want/think I need. “I need 5 pairs of jeans, so I’ll buy $15 jeans instead of more expensive jeans.”

The living simply solution seems fairly simple in my mind if I take it from this angle: if I choose to pay (a lot) more for ethically sourced clothing etc, I will not have a choice in living simply. My budget just cannot withstand 20 pairs of $20 underwear! This seems fairly reasonable, unless you consider further just how difficult it is to find clothes that fit this category.

While this probably wont curb my desire for more it is a helpful restraint in putting that into action. It will help me contemplate at what cost more comes. Do I really want more at the expense of others?

But, as I think more about it I still wonder if having these motivations in living simply will ever completely convince me always. As The Minimalist Mom writes in this post, even when we pair our lives down to the basics and it all seems great at first, we can grow tired of it and find it burdensome. This isn’t a reason not to pursue it but a reason not to look to it to solve any problems.

The problem is in us, not in stuff. Stuff isn’t bad — it has no moral value — it’s how we use it and look to it to give us meaning or value in life.

For those of you thinking about this along with me, do you think there’s value in living more simply? Why or why not? If so, what is a helpful motivation for you. ‘Social justice’? Anti-consumer culture values? Help us keep this thought process going by sharing your perspective in the comments. If you’re interested, check out how many slaves you have.

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