Thursday, January 27, 2011

My favourite wellness and nutrition blogs

Recently I've come across some excellent blogs that deal with nutrition and wellness. I find them to be inspiring and chock full of great ideas and recipes. If you're interested, take a peek!

Oh She Glows
I only found this site yesterday, but I'm in love. Angela is so inspiring and has a great ideas and recipes. Her recipes are all vegan, but if you're not vegan (like me), you won't care! She claims to have a sweet tooth so there is lots of dessert-y stuff.

Making Love in the Kitchen
Megan is passionate about food and living a healthy lifestyle. I find her writing to be quirky, but I enjoy it very much. She's made me think a lot about how I live my life from her daily entries.

Whole Story
This blog is by Whole Foods, the American natural food chain. Makes me wish we had one in Ottawa... I heard rumors that there might be one going in with the Landsdowne revamp – but that will be many years in the future at the rate it's going. We are lucky enough to have lots of independent natural food stores that I'd rather support anyway. This blog includes great ideas for entertaining and lots of recipes too!

Elana's Pantry
Amazing gluten-free recipes. I've been lucky enough so far to tolerate gluten, but my god, even if I couldn't I think life would be just fine so long as I have access to Elana's site! Mmm, mmm, goodness.

Jamie's Nourishing Bites 
Jamie is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist in the Greater Toronto Area. Her postings aren't daily, but she has really simple good ideas to make everyday recipes that much more full of goodness.

I hope you find some inspiration to make your everyday meals even more nutritious!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Finding passions

So for the last few weeks, but really for the last few years, I've been thinking that I'm working in a field that doesn't energize and excite me. I wrote a little more about how I got to this point last week. But after some serious thinking and talking to a few people I trust completely, my plan is to enroll in the Registered Holistic Nutrition program at the Canada School for Natural Nutrition.

I know what you're thinking. What? Holy crap Raeanne, that seems totally out of left-field. But, actually if you know me well enough, it isn't so out in left-field and actually much closer to my heart. It actually fits quite well with my personality traits where I would be best-suited to be an educator or help people in some way. Over the last ten years I've become increasingly interested in holistic health practices to prevent and cure long term disease and food allergies/intolerance. Recently I've read stories about people who have cured themselves of digestive disorders through what they put into their mouths. I find this incredibly fascinating.

So with some Google searches and some testimonials from recent grads, I found the Canada School of Natural Nutrition which has schools all across the country, including one in Ottawa. However, they also offer distance education. The program is either one year or two depending on how much time you have, I suppose. So now the only decision I have to make is whether to do distance ed (which I've heard good reviews) or whether I'd want to go to school in person one evening per week. I guess I have to decide what learning style best fits me. If all goes as planned I hope to begin my studies in March, part-time while continuing to work at my full-time job.

I can't express how pumped I am about all this. I hope that I have found my passion.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New things - Received!

So the purchases I ordered on the weekend are here! That's some super-duper shipping in my mind.

The Chapters-Indigo order arrived on Tuesday. Given the stellar online prices I think I'll be ordering all my books online from now on. The Gordon Ramsay cookbook looks like it has some great recipes for sure. Lots of flavour, which will make the bf happy. And the book by Dr. Joey is very inspiring, can't wait to put it into practice when I've finished.

And the Lands' End arrived yesterday (Wednesday). Three days for an order from the good ole U-S of A. Maybe this isn't as impressive as I find it to be. But given that when I mail something to good ole PEI it takes a minimum of a week. So you'll understand my excitement over 2-3 days. But that's not the best part, the best part is that they bathing suits fit! And I don't have the easiest body to conform to, but I followed the sizing chart very closely and it worked!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Over the last, maybe 4-5 years, I've looked at my career and asked myself, how on earth did I get here? I'm at that crossroads once again. What to do, what to do? I don't think I'm really and truly happy with my career, but what would I be happy doing?

Some background:
  • High school (1995-1998): Totally excelled at math, business courses, etc. Love all aspects of money, investments, etc. Logical choice – apply to business school for university.
  • University (1998-2002): Enrolled in the Bachelor of Business Administration program at UPEI. Love it, start to come out of my shell and see the real me.
  • Co-op placement at CIDA (2002): By some randomness and my ability to answer a question in French, I land a co-op placement in Ottawa (well Hull specifically) doing communications for an IM/IT branch. First delve into communications (and government for that matter). Enjoy it. Not 100% comfortable, but that's to be expected, it's new to me. But I think I did alright, my then boss didn't hate me, she kept me for a second term!
  • Contract with CIDA (2003): In fact I'm sure she loved me so much that she hired me the second I finished my degree! (ok I may be embellishing the love, but the fact is, she did hire me back!). So I'm back at CIDA, off in communications la-la-land. Telling people how to use new IM tools etc. It's fun! But I'm also fresh out of school and happy to have landed a well paying job, if not completely in my field, in a related field that I liked!
  • Multiple Communications positions at CIDA (2003-2008): So contract is only for so long, but turns out I'm able to be "bridged" into a full-time position without a competition because of my previous student status. Bonus!! Still working with CIDA but this time in the actual Communications Branch. Blah blah blah, this goes on for several years, by the end of it (2008), I'm sick of it!
  • Communications Community Office (2008-2010): But lo and behold, as my head is doing circles at my desk one day, the phone rings. A secondment offer! To work with a old colleague in a tiny office doing cool things. YAY! I'm there as fast as I could get my director to let me go for two years. This turns out to be the only position that I truly enjoy. I did a lot of writing (not what I would say is my forte, but hey, the bosses loved it) and a lot of event planning and outreach – talking to people about something I cared about (key phrase, I think).
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (2010-Present): Realized I had to move on from CCO. Needed to progress up the food chain. Won a competition and landed at AAFC. Love the people here. Atmosphere is the most positive I've seen or heard about in a government comms shop. Work is familiar to me, as it is similar to what I had done at CIDA. But here again I'm stuck. Bored, I think is more the word. 
I'm doing a job where the work doesn't energize me, doesn't excite me. So my dilemma, is it this specific job? Is it communications? Is it government?

I've been thinking lately about doing a complete 180 and going back to school to do something else. Preferably something that wouldn't put me in school for years on end. But maybe an intense 1-year program. On the other hand, maybe I don't have to leave the government, maybe I need to find that perfect spot for me. I mean I was happy...

What do you think? Have you or someone you know ever done this type of 180 career move? Are they happier?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

New things

Earlier this week I finally bought myself a new computer. My old Dell desktop is at least 5 years old. And while it still works, it past its prime a while ago. So the new laptop is a  HP model. And so far I like it a lot. It's not your typical black/silver model either... the colour is called "biscotti". Fun and girlie!

So with new computer comes fun things like more shopping online! Tonight I placed two orders. One at American retailer Lands' End and the other from Chapters-Indigo.

A colleague at work told me about great deals on bathing suits at Lands' End and given that I'm off to the Mayan Riviera in exactly five weeks, I am in need of some new bathing suits. So shopping for bathing suits isn't my cup of tea, trying to find ones that actually fit the girls is a big issue. Bonus is that there are certain suits that come in D-DD-DDD sizes! I followed their sizing chart and measured myself, with some help from the bf. So fingers crossed they will fit! The prices in the "overstock" section are fantastic. Although I had to pay a bit of duty and a small shipping charge, I still think it ended up being a good deal.

Finally, at Chapters-Indigo, I ordered a couple books to keep me motivated on my weight-loss plan this year. A new cookbook and another book by Dr. Joey Shulman, a Canadian weight-loss expert who was highly recommended by my chiropractor/holistic nutritionist.

I'm looking forward to receiving all my goodies!

Friday, January 7, 2011

30th Birthday Extravaganza!

I posted on Facebook earlier this week that I was going to have an "all about me" birthday bonanza week. Some may wonder what that consists of. Well let me tell you how my week shaped/is shaping up:

Wednesday, January 5
Chiropractic adjustment at LiveWell. I've been seeing Dr. Sabrina for just over 7 years now and I'll never turn back. I'm a chiro-believer. It's done so much for me in my 20s, and I know it's going to continue to keep me healthy, alive and vibrant into my 30s and beyond.

Massage appointment with Meg. Ah, what else can I say. Meg is an awesome RMT and I'm lucky to have found her.

Thursday, January 6
My birthday! Dinner with 16 of my besties at Khao Thai in the Byward Market. Best thai food in Ottawa, in one humble girl's opinion.

Friday, January 7
Facial at Hummingbird Spa. Not my first choice for spas, but I've been there before and they do good work. They focus more on the chemical/non-natural stuff (Botox, Laser, etc), which I'm not keen on, but they do regular esthetics too.

Saturday, January 8
Pedicure at Le Spa (would have been my first choice for facial, but alas no appointments available). I love going to Le Spa for pedicures because they let you go home with the bottle of O.P.I. nail polish and the price is on par with other places for a spa pedicure. Sweet deal!

After the pedicure, some friends and I are heading over to Chelsea, Quebec to go to Le Nordik for the rest of the day! I'm so excited. I can't get enough of Le Nordik's nordic baths. Mmmm bliss!

And that, my friends, is how I've done an "all about me" birthday extravaganza. The fun could continue... After all, that was only four days, as opposed to a whole week...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Back on the bandwagon

Ok, ok. I, like I'm sure many of you, was far, far, far away from the bandwagon of eating well and working out for these past couple of weeks. But as of today, I'm  back on it. I hit my calorie goal for the day – probably the first time in a while!

My brother is getting married in a few short weeks in Tulum, Mexico (near Cancun) so I'm determined to use this as ammunition to lose a few pounds prior to going. We're staying at the Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa and I'm so looking forward to it! Have a peek, you'll be jealous :).

So a few things I'm doing:

1) I mentioned in a previous post about using the myfitnesspal IPhone app to help me. The nutritionists aren't lying when they tell you to journalize what you eat. It keeps you honest!

2) Last summer, spurred on by a recent weight gain, I attended a free seminar at my chiropractor's office called "Nutrition for Weight Loss." What an eye opener! I learned so much about how our average North American diet is basically killing us. I got great ideas for substitutions for dairy and wheat, especially. But the biggest and simplest thing I took away from that session was the tip to stop eating after 7pm, or at least 3 hours before bedtime. Doing that alone for about 3 weeks, I lost 5 pounds! So I'm going to keep that habit up. After nearly a month your body develops new habits, so I haven't really craved food in the evening for quite a while. And if I do, a glass of water or a cup of green tea will do just fine.

3) Today, we bought a XBox 360 Kinect! I'm so excited! We got this fitness game and it looks fantastic! I'm excited to get started on it as a complement to the classes I attend at the gym.

I'm pumped and looking forward to what 2011 has in store. Hopefully a smaller me!