Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Journey Bar Review

I have eaten a few bars over the years as a way to fuel my human wheels in the woods.  If you are reading this blog you probably know that I am constantly testing and trying new recipes for my own home made, healthy versions of mobile fuel as well.  You may even have a copy of my NRG: Foods that will move you cookbook.  If not, you can get one from the ELM online store in a matter of minutes hint hint;).  This winter I hit a wall with sweet stuff after years of sickly sweet stuff during my rides and runs and so I came up with a few new savory energy bar options for the recent edition of NRG.  They were trail tested and approved by my training buddies who also enjoyed a break from the tiring sweetness of most packaged energy bars, balls, bites, chews, bits and the like. Too be honest of my favorite un-sweet energy snacks is actually left over sushi with a bit of soy sauce - OMG, they even come wrapped in their own little packages:). Pure energy to go!

I searched and searched for savory bars online, in stores and well, everywhere... You would think with half of people being 'savory' and half being 'sweet' that there would be a lot more of them...hello producers!  Huge market to fill out there! 

I did find one brand online with a solid line up of flavors to choose from-Journey Bars.  I ordered a box that included a variety of flavors and forced my friends to eat them during rides and runs:)  Some were definitely better than others- but we all had different personal tastes of course.  Some of the bars were hard and some were chewy- to be honest the hard ones were really dry and it was like eating biscotti. Just imagine trying that during a run or ride...cough cough.  But the chewy ones were the perfect texture for eating on the go and went down easy.  They were also very light which made them easy to digest.  There are a range of flavors that you can check out on their site- again personal preference.  But I really enjoyed the Sesame Ginger flavor the best.

Would I buy them again?  Yes!  The chewy style in the Sesame Ginger & Sea Salt flavors for sure.  No to Rosemary and Curry- but depends on your taste buds!  I always prefer to make my own homemade bars but I would keep a box of these in the cupboard as a 'plan b' for sure!  Tasty and very wholesome for packaged fuel.

They are gluten free, non-gmo, vegan and soy free and don't contain any crazy preservatives. Check out the ingredients list and let me know what you think! Would you eat these?  Have you ever come across any other savory energy bars?  Have a favorite home made recipe?  Please share!

inspired by the healthy cuisines of japan, toasted sesame is blended with whole grains to create a mild and warm flavor, while a hint of ginger is used to add freshness. you’ll find this flavor truly delightful!

ingredients: whole grain and seed blend (gluten-free oats, organic buckwheat, sesame seeds), organic tapioca syrup, almonds, whole ancient grain crisps (amaranth, quinoa, brown rice), pea protein isolate, vegetable glycerin, non-gmo canola oil, plum puree, water, pumpkin, chicory root, sea salt, natural flavor, baking soda, onion powder, garlic powder, citric acid, spices.  CONTAINS: almonds, sesame

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spider Bites, Molasses and the Universe...

 I hope I sucked you in with that header.  Sounds funny, but really, it does sum up my 2013.  It's been a long time since my last personal update on the old blog so for anyone interested in what the heck I've been up to over the last few months here goes...

2013 has been a real ... let's just say 'interesting' one so far;).  There have been some very sweet moments so I might as well create a bit of a s*%t sandwich with them lol:

I got a new ride!  The boys at Mountain City Cycles finally got me on the 'big wheels' and I haven't looked back since:)  I have only had a handful of rides on my new Anthem 29er but I am already head-over-wheels so to speak.  BIG thank you to MCC for fueling my passion with such amazing service and support:).  Not sure what I love new ride or my new seat poster dropper thingy (not in the pic below yet)!  Um HELLO if you don't have one of these yet (and are a late adopter like me) then you best get to your local bike shop asap and pick one up.  Best $ I have spent in a loooooong time!  I ended up getting the women's model of the Anthem - simply because of the lower stand over height with the top tube design.  I am too short to stand over the regular 29er frame comfortably!  Oh and I was NEVER going to ride a 29er by the way;)  So if that is what you are thinking right now then my guess is you haven't ridden one go out and try a few different models and call me in the morning...

 My sweet ride...what shall I call her?  Black Beauty?

Another awesome thing was a trip out to Tofino to celebrate Brad's birthday and catch some waves:).  We stayed at my favourite 'home away from home', Middle Beach Lodge.  They took amazing care of us, we got an awesome winter deal and had another great experience.  If you haven't stayed at MBL you are really missing out!  Be sure to go there next time you are in Tofino!

 Me just after my best session ever!  The stars lined up and I caught more waves then I could count.  Well...ok I caught 10!!! but who's counting?  I am a terrible surfer so this was my moment!

I have also been to the beautiful Caribbean!  What a spoiled brat I am!  For the past 5 years my Grandpa has generously taken his 5 grandaughters and 3 great-grandchildren on a special family cruise...this year we went to the Caribbean for the first time!  OMG!  It was such a wonderful experience and I have so many new memories with Gramps, my sisters and our cousins because of it:) 

 Can you believe this water?  It didn't even look real!  St Marten.  There are people on that beach right now enjoying a cool breeze and 30 degree sunshine.  And they are probably too tired to even get off of their lawn chairs to go into the water.  It really is amazing how tiring beach laying;)  Did you know that West Jet flies there?  You could be there in 9 hours...yup...

 And then there was the not so good stuff. 

I sprained my ankle badly just before Christmas and it took a good 6 weeks to heal enough to get back running.  I was feeling great and running strong just when it happened, of course.  I was in ramp up mode for my first A race of the season- the Diez Vistas 50k in Port Moody.  

At the end of my sprain and my first run back I got the flu.  Yup.  I haven't had the flu since highschool.  And..*bragging* I have only been sick once since 2005.  I pride myself on having a strong immune system and attribute it to eating well...and OK I do go to bed at 8 most nights so I get lot's of sleep:)

So the flu was the real deal and hit me the day before the YETI snowshoe race-  I couldn't even get off the couch so I had my first DNS ever.  Couldn't even go up to cheer on my two ELM teams I was so ill.

Rested up for a few more days and then hit started the training pretty hard to make up for lost time.  It was crunch time.  I remember saying: 'I'm not running anything flat until Diez Vistas' because I was feeling a little time pressure to get up to race pace in less than 6 weeks.  And so, rather than resting and recovering from the flu for a couple of weeks I ramped it up adding mileage, days and vertical to my training.

Suddenly I became absolutely obsessed with molasses.  It was all that I could think about.  I would go to bed thinking how I couldn't wait to wake up and eat molasses.  I made batch after batch of my 'SarahBars' gingersnap flavour with extra molasses.  I put molasses on my oats, in my smoothies and I even considered eating it by the spoonful.  

Around the same time I noticed I couldn't walk up my basement stairs without a burning in my legs and being winded.  Get it?

So it was off to the doctor for blood work and sure enough my iron was low.  Time to double up.  Female, endurance training, non-meat eater is a recipe for low iron and I have had to watch it most of my life.  I take iron year round now to supplement my diet, but normally I increase the dose during my higher volume training...which I had neglected to do.  

But...turns out my immune system was royally suppressed and my white blood cells etc were all VERY low BUT we failed to notice  that on the results.  Just focused in on the iron...  Train train train...push push push...times up...time to go on the cruise and start tapering!

First day on the cruise I got sick.  Again.  Remember, I don't get sick?  I was sick for the entire 2 weeks of the trip with a bad one and my body was done.  I tried a few runs but my calves were super strained and I felt like lead.  And so, I rested and took it easy and rode the spin bike and did yoga and walked on the cruise.  I was toast.  All that training with a suppressed immune system had caught up with me. 

And then it got worse.

I managed to pick up a mighty beast of a bug on my innocent bug bite opened the door for a nasty super staph infection to creep in...heard of MRSA?...yup...I got it...apparently it is everywhere and we come into contact with it all the time body was unable to fight it cuz it was so low...and I got a full blown infection...great doctors caught it in time and got me on some of the only antibiotics that can win against it...they were some serious drugs and a high dose...but it did the trick and it is behind me now.

This all happened the week before the Diez Vistas which I was supposed to run last weekend of course.  And so I had my second DNS ever...that's  2/2 for 2013 due to illness.  

 Looks pretty nasty hey?  You should have seen it when it exploded all over my leg last week.  Let me know and I can message you the photos if you like gore lol.  I thought it was a poisonous spider bite- looks like it right?  Nope, doc says everyone assumes these things are spider bites cuz they're so scary looking.  But she figures it was a blood sucking insect like a mosquito that bit is actually the MRSA staph that caused all the inflammation and drama.  Apparently I am lucky I wasn't in the old hospital.  Be sure to get crazy stuff like this looked at early if it ever happens to you.

Insanity is the definition of doing the same thing over and over and expecting new results right?  And so, I am on rest and recovery mode trying to recover from the drugs, the infection and, well the winter lol.  I have hung up my mountain runners for a while and swapped over to my bike shoes.  It is time to start thinking ahead to my next (and SO exciting) race: The BC Bike Race at the start of July!  I will have a few weeks to wait until my body is recovered from the antibiotics.  In the meantime it is easy gears, conversational pace and long social rides - which is awesome.  Come to think of it, that sounds like the perfect training plan for me this year.  I might just stick with it;)

Oh and what does the Universe have to do with all of this? know...and I'm finally picking up what Miss Universe is putting down;)


Happy Wednesday,

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lasting Change and a New You

Are you ready to change your body composition, reach a healthy weight and move towards a new you?  Once you have made the decision in your mind, you will be unstoppable.  Lasting changes only occur when you are A: ready, B: consistent, C: committed to maintaining changes this time next year...and the year after that...and the year after that.  When you are ready to change I have provided you with a 'to do' list below...for life. 

If you are looking for a little help to get you to the next level, I would love to help you!  The spring ELM Full On Fitness and Nutrition Challenge is kicking off next week and includes a long list of supportive services that will get you to your goal this spring.  Accountability goes a long way in the motivation department and results come from smart program design along with execution.  Check out the Full on Fitness details on the ELM website and contact us asap if you want to join the spring program!

OK now for your Action Plan...
Ready, set go!

Action Plan!

Create, track and follow a 'caloric deficit' budget using an online tracker like or or (most time but most effective) AND

90% of the time all the time choose:
  • Real Food- pick it, hunt it, dig it, catch it etc.  It will keep you satisfied longer and you will not require the same number of calories to meet your nutritional needs.
  • Focus on lean protein paired with fresh fruits and veggies and healthy fats at every meal.  Avoid processed carbohydrates 90% of the time.
  • 3-4 smaller meals rather than 2 big ones to avoid overeating and big highs and lows. 
  • Do not eat until you are stuffed/full.  Save 20% by under eating slightly if you want to live as long as the oldest people in the world (and manage your weight:)...Hara Hachi Bu
  • Limit eating out to 1/week or work very hard to meet all of the above when you do go out.
  • Plan for the week to set yourself up for success: create a 5 day meal plan, boil eggs, cut up piles of veggies, make left overs etc...
Maintain regular cardiovascular exercise on a weekly basis - aim for 250-350 minutes per week.
Maintain regular strength training to keep muscle mass, strength and metabolic rate 2-3/week.

Don't try to do it all at once.  Work on establishing one change at a time, then layering on the rest.  Lasting change takes time, dedication and patience.  

Good luck!