FIT CHICKS Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my FIT CHICKS giveaway. The winner is…

[drum roll please]

Random which was Meaghan! She gained that entry by following FIT CHICKS on Twitter. Congratulations!! You are the going to be enjoying four weeks of GI JANE boot camp!!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

FIT CHICKS Giveaway

It’s been awhile since I’ve hosted a giveaway and I am so excited for this one!!FIT CHICKSHead over to the Dancing Through Life giveaway page for a chance to win a 4 week GI JANE Boot camp with FIT CHICKS! Be sure to leave your comments here for your chances to win this amazing prize!! Contest closes on Sunday August 29 at 11:59 pm.

Go check it out for your chance to win!

When Life Sends You Lemons, Kiss Goats

Yesterday was not one of my best days. It started off well:
Woke up around 9:00.
Made a smoothie (banana, blueberries, spinach, soy, spirulina)
Biked to the gym.
Went for a 30 minute run & BodyFlow class.
Biked home and prepped lunch for my picnic in the park with
Lindsay.

So far so good, right?

SANY4428 SANY4429 Lunch was brilliant. I made rice paper veggie wraps and carrot slaw with mango chutney dressing. Lindsay brought an amazing quinoa tabbouleh. I wasn’t having a great day emotionally and Lindsay and I had a pretty intense conversation about life, habits, body image and all kinds of good stuff. I love her to death and am so happy to have such a beautiful friend to share my innermost thoughts with.

When I got home, I noticed that there was a piece of mail waiting for me on the dining room table. Something told me it was the letter that I had been waiting for over the last couple of weeks. In June I applied for the UCBeyond Scholarship.

UCB Canada, a division of UCB Inc., is dedicated to creating unique programs and tools to aid Crohn’s disease (CD) patients in reaching above and beyond the boundaries of their disease and fulfilling their educational ambitions. This award is a one-time scholarship of up to $5,000.00 CAN. In 2010, eight (8) scholarships will be awarded to individuals diagnosed with CD.

When I had learned about the scholarship, I was jumping for joy. $5,000 would cover the remainder of my tuition and books for school and would relieve me of a great deal of financial stress. It seemed like an amazing gift from the universe and I was determined to win. It was a fairly extensive application but I gathered all of the necessary components, including 2 fantastic references from 2 trusted, influential people who I have worked with very closely.

Ashley has turned the challenges she faces with Crohn’s into opportunities. She takes a passionate and enthusiastic approach to all that she does, while ensuring that she stays true to a message of ‘Crohn’s won’t get the best of me, I will get the best of me.’ Rather than letting her symptoms slow her down, they have actually helped fuel her interest in nutrition – a subject she is now pursuing with formal education.”

Ashley carries with her a dynamic energy and charisma that is absolutely infectious. Her personal story is one of the most inspiring I have come to know. After overcoming a challenge with her weight, to then be diagnosed with Crohnʼs disease, might be enough to discourage anyone that the path to health could be found through healthy eating. Ashley however, believed that the changes she had already made, only prepared her to go a step further and through her efforts and attitude is living symptoms free.

Simply helping herself, would not fit with Ashleyʼs inherent generosity and giving nature. It took much strength, confidence and bravery to leave her place of full-time employment to embark on her formal nutrition education. She made the transition with, what I have come to know, in her normal fashion- with spark, enthusiasm, dynamism and unwavering commitment.”

I got the information required from my school, gastroenterologist and worked really hard on my one page essay, telling my story of diagnosis, treatment, and new life. I felt confident sending in the application and was anxiously waiting to hear back from the committee sometime in mid August.

Well yesterday was that day. And I didn’t win one of the 8 scholarships. I was speechless.

I had been thinking nothing but positive thoughts about the scholarship; I was so proud of my application; I had so many amazing people supporting me, but alas it was not enough.

After a lot of crying and hugs from Lindsay and my roommates, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and hide from the world for awhile. Sometimes I just need to do that, but instead I remembered that wallowing really isn’t my style and that Lindsay wouldn’t care if I cried for the entire duration of our walk. So we walked and ended up in Riverdale Farm.

SANY4430SANY4434SANY4447SANY4449 As much as I had wanted to hide from the world for a little bit, the walk, sunshine, adorable animals and amazing friendship was exactly what I needed. We continued our walk all the way to the Annex where I met up with other friends and ended up having a great evening, despite how I was feeling on the inside.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t upset about the scholarship. It would have taken away some definite financial stress and enabled me to continue moving forward without having to worry about tuition or books, making my life a little bit easier. That being said, I know that it’s not the end of the world and that I will continue to “keep on keepin’ on”. I was going to go to school without the scholarship so I’m confident that I’ll figure it out. I’m constantly thankful for this amazing life that I’m living, and you really can’t put a monetary value on that.

This morning I reread my scholarship application, and I’m still really proud of all the work that I put into getting to where I am today:

While there have been moments in my life where my disease has been an issue, it has been more of a blessing than any sort of misfortune. I feel that I have struck a beautiful balance of things in my life that I love (nutrition, helping others and performing), and I now feel healthier than ever. By writing about my experience on my blog and through my role as Honorary Chair, I have been able to share this inspirational and uplifting story of health, balance and happiness with others. My education in holistic nutrition is going to empower me to inspire and help even more people, and this scholarship would allow me to do that without financial concern. My life has changed instrumentally since being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have worked incredibly hard to get to where I am today, and look forward to what the future holds for me.

Scholarship or not, I’m truly excited for the future.

Catching Up on Summer Foodie Goodness

I’ve realized I’ve been hoarding a lot of food photos from the summer…Summer MosiacLots of fruit and veggie goodness… many salads and stir fries and simple things. It’s been too hot to cook anything elaborate so I’ve kept things pretty simple. The summer has also made me pretty social, so there have been meals out at lovely places like Fresh, Live and various sushi restaurants.

This weekend I also made a couple of raw soups as a part of Meghan’s green smoothie weekend. I had a lot of fun with an abundance of green smoothie goodness, but wanted to change things up a little bit. Both recipes were from Natalie Rose’s Raw Food Life Force Energy. The first was pumpkin pie in a bowlSANY4351 I opted for steamed sweet potato since I don’t have a high powered blender and it turned out beautifully. It truly was like pumpkin pie in a bowl and it made me really happy.

The second was the pineapple’s just peachy soup with pineapple, berries, spinach, mint and some sweet Ontario peaches. SANY4356 I fed some of this to one of my roommate’s and he inquired what made it a soup and not a smoothie? I said it was because I opted to eat it out of a bowl with a spoon rather than from a glass. I guess it could be a smoothie too, although I might add some additional liquid. I loved the fresh flavour and really enjoyed the pineapple and peach combo.

I’m hoping to get back to the farmer’s market today to pick up some more delicious summer-y goodies while they’re still fresh and delicious!

What are your summer staple foods? Are you looking forward to any particular fall foods?

Re-Fuelling With A Mini Vacation, Sunshine and Ashley x2 Adventures

I’m still in blissed-out vacation mode, so I’ll let the pictures do the talkingSANY4255 Fuelling up for the bus ride with some scrambled tofu with kaleSANY4259 On the streetcar to the bus station with my bags and food ready to go! I brought veggie burgers, some fruits & veggies, cooked quinoa, soy milk, cereal and some snacks with me. Ashley’s family was so sweet about accommodating me, but I just wanted to be sure I would be okay!  SANY4270The family cottage was in a super cute little resort called Sherkston Shores, located near Fort Erie. Their cottage was adorable and everything we needed was within walking distance (although most of the people there have golf carts which they adorn and soup up like cars… it’s a very strange phenomenon) I ate so much yummy fruit and salad while I was thereSANY4269SANY4280The hardest decision I honestly made on my mini-vacation was the ratio of time spent at the beach vs. time spent at the pool vs. time napping.  SANY4273SANY4277SANY4278We spent our days at the beach and/or pool spending time in the water, chatting, reading, planning our cabaret or just relaxing. We usually followed this up with a nap for good measure and then frolicked around the resort in the evening. There were some pina coladas and daiquiris involved, lots of laughing, trouble and many people knowing us as “the Ashley’s”.

It was Ashley’s mom’s birthday on Tuesday, so we took a trip to nearby Niagara Falls to check out the Maid of the Mist. SANY4294SANY4297SANY4298 SANY4311 It was a lot of fun. They weren’t kidding about it being misty and I was certainly happy to be sporting my super-flattering blue rain poncho. Being back in Niagara Falls reminded me of my vacation last year, but I was so happy to be there with such a good friend and managed to really enjoy myself. SANY4309 We went to Sandstone for dinner, and as I learned last year, Niagara Falls doesn’t really cater to the gluten free vegans in the world. I opted for a margaritaSANY4313 and a Greek salad without fetaSANY4314 and a side order of rice.

Where is the rice you ask? Well, when they brought me the rice, the waiter mentioned something about it being 7-grain. I asked him what else was in it, and soon discovered that it contained barley, which is not gluten free. Argh!! I asked for something to replace it and was served up a plate of French fries. Rice debacle aside, it was a really fun night and Ashley’s mum had a great birthday.

I was sad to say goodbye to the beach on Wednesday, but was able to get in another full day of sunshine, SPF 50 sunscreen and quality time with Ash. SANY4329 SANY4325SANY4337 A vacation was exactly what I needed. Thank you to Ashley and her family for making me feel so welcome!! I came back to the city on Wednesday night feeling rejuvenated and refreshed after lots of rest, sunshine, and beautiful weather without my laptop or cell phone. I am in such a great mood, feeling inspired, motivated and ready to make the most of the last month of summer!!

How was your long weekend? Have you taken any vacation time this summer? How do you feel following a great vacation?

If You Need Me I’ll Be…

Cottaging with this beautiful gal! SANY4240

Definitely looking forward to a little (well-deserved) R&R and quality time with Ashley and her familia. Will be back with a recap of the whole thing (and what I ate) on Thursday or Friday. Also coming up this month:

Have an amazing week!