PLANT BASED FOOD GUIDE: WHISTLER

July 8, 2017

FOOD & NUTRITION / TRAVEL & ADVENTURE

Clark and I just spent a few days in Whistler, British Columbia celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary and it was amazing! Amazing weather, great food, and we went ziplining together between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains! So fun! As a plant-based eater, one of the things that makes travelling most enjoyable is when I don’t have to stress about where to find good, nutritious food, and this one of the many reason we love travelling to Whistler! I thought, why not put together a Whistler plant based food guide!

A Plant-Based Food Guide to eating out in Whistler, BC Canada

This is the first time I’ve done a food guide like this here (let me know over on Instagram what you think and maybe I’ll start keeping a diary of all the places I find while I’m travelling and this can become a regular thing! Instagram: @kimberleemoran), but I figured there have to be people like me who would love a stress-free vacation with lots of plant-based food choices!

Splitz Grill

We arrived late afternoon, so after checking into our hotel and a walk through the village we stopped for dinner at Splitz Grill, a little burger place located at the North End of the Whistler stroll, right around the corner from the Olympic Plaza. The menu at Splitz is mostly meat, so if you’re travelling with non-plant-based eaters, they’ll be happy with this choice! 

Spicy Lentil Burgers from Splitz Grill in Whistler

Spicy Lentil Burgers from Splitz Grill in Whistler

 Both Clark and I ordered the Spicy Lentil Burger, which the menu labels as vegetarian, but it’s actually vegan! We both added avocado to ours and then loaded it with salsa, pickles and lettuce! There is a choice of white, whole wheat or gluten free buns, and you can also add things like sauteed onions or mushrooms if you’d like! Clark ordered his with fries (which I may have stole a few of!) and we were both stuffed by the end. We both thought the burger was great and I love that the lentils made it high in protein! 

The Spicy Lentil Burger was huge and packed with protein!

The Spicy Lentil Burger was huge and packed with protein!

Green Moustache

The next morning we were booked to go ziplining at 9am, so I grabbed a smoothie on the way. Hands-down, one of my favourite places in the village is the Green Moustache. They have tons of amazing healthy options including fresh juices, smoothies, soups and bowls. You can’t go wrong with anything from this place. We didn’t try it, but we also saw they have vegan cheesecake! I had the Magnum smoothie for breakfast, which has kale, romaine, banana, orange, spirulina and maca. It was a tad sweet for my taste, but overall a great green smoothie that anyone could enjoy!

La Cantina

Clark is a huge fan of Mexican food, so when I mentioned to him that I had heard there was a taco place called La Cantina that served plant-based dishes, he wouldn’t let me forget about it. They had a few vegetarian dishes, but I don’t eat dairy or soy, so that left me with one option, the Cubano, which was mixed Mexican rice with carrots and corn, topped with cucumber pico de gallo. I ordered 2 and I probably could have eaten 3 because they are quite small. 

Tacos from La Cantina in Whistler Village

Tacos from La Cantina in Whistler Village

Basalt

We wanted to have a nice dinner to celebrate our anniversary, so we settled on Basalt, a great little restaurant with a patio right on the Whistler Stroll. As soon as I saw the menu I knew exactly what I wanted to try! I ordered the Pemberton Farm Plate and it did not disappoint! It was loaded with veggies! Braised hakurei turnips, sauteed swiss chard, roasted beets with toasted farro, grilled corn and olive oil roasted sun chockes, all served over a delicious hummus. I absolutely loved this dish! Actually, the reason only half the plate is in the picture is because I was so excited about this dish, I dug in before taking a picture and half my plate was already eaten! Opps!

The Pemberton Farm Plate from Basalt in Whistler Village

The Pemberton Farm Plate from Basalt in Whistler Village

Moguls Coffee

Our final day in Whistler had a bit of late start so we grabbed a late breakfast at Moguls coffee. They had quite a few vegan options, including 3 different flavours of vegan muffins. I had an almond milk matcha latte and Clark had a vanilla almond milk latte.

An Almond Milk Matcha Latte and Vegan Muffin from Moguls Cofee

An Almond Milk Matcha Latte and Vegan Muffin from Moguls Cofee

We shared a vegan/gluten-free berry muffin, which didn’t taste vegan or gluten-free at all,  and each had a super veggie roll which was stuffed with hummus, quinoa, kale, carrots, and tomato. It was great and the perfect start to a late morning!

A Vegan Berry Muffin and Super Veggie Roll from Moguls Coffee

A Vegan Berry Muffin and Super Veggie Roll from Moguls Coffee

We also visited Mount Currie Coffee Co. for a vegan cookie. They had a few vegan and gluten-free options, like banana bread and little dessert squares. Clark had the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie and gave it a thumbs up. 

Finally, we also stopped at the Naked Sprout Juice Bar for cold drinks while we strolled through the village. I had a watermelon mint juice and Clark had the vanilla smoothie. Both were great, but I was a little disappointment that my juice was watered down!

Now, hopefully if you’re visiting Whistler you’ll have a few ideas of places to try! I’d love to hear if you’ve tried any of these places! 

Easy Overnight Chia Seed Oats + Health Update

July 11, 2016

FOOD & NUTRITION


ineverything.ca

This past February I finished what I hope is my final round of Lemtrada infusions to treat MS (you can read my whole MS journey here). After I finished my treatment I knew it was time to get serious about getting stronger and healthier, so I signed up for my first half marathon! I gave myself 12 weeks to train for it, and on June 4, 2016 I did it! It didn’t go as well as I hoped (my final time was 2:36, and my goal was 2:15), but I did it! The fact that I can run for 21.1km is a miracle, so I tried not to be too disappointment by the time! 

Whistler Half Marathon - Clark and Kim

I’ve had so many people ask how I’m feeling and if the treatment is working, and to sum it up in one sentence, I hardly feel like I have MS anymore. I feel amazing. Unless I am stressed or overtired, almost all of my symptoms are compleletly gone! The buzzing in my neck and legs is gone, I have very little numbness in my hands, my hearing has completely returned, my eyesight is great, and the biggest thing is that my strength and energy has completely returned. Where I would once struggle to walk up stairs or stand for long periods of time, I can now bound up the stairs two at a time and can go hours without a break to stop and sit. I literally feel like a normal person again, something I wondered if I’d ever feel. 

To top it all off, my last MRI and appointment with my neurologist revealed that I have a healthy looking brain! If you know anything about MS, you know that the damage never goes away; It accumulates and gets worse over time. The fact that the damage to my brain has not only halted (which is what they hoped this treatment would do), but healed, is absolutely amazing! My MS in reversing, something we were told was impossible just a year and a half ago. Amazing, right? 

At my last appointment my neurologist stressed the importance of taking care of myself, so proper rest, stress management, nutrition, and fitness continue to be a priority. I really notice a huge difference in how I feel when I pay attention to these things.

When it comes to my fitness, after the half marathon I felt stronger and healthier, but all of emphasis had been going to cardio and I had completely neglected strengthening my muscles. Since my treatment I had also gained about 10lbs of fat that wouldn’t go away no matter how much I ran or how much I tightened up my nutrition. It’s likely my body’s response to losing such a huge part of its immune system, but still annoying! So, the Monday after the race I decided it was time to start integrating weight training into my routine! 

Now, I know that I can’t be the only one who grew up thinking that if I lifted weights I would look like Arnold Swartzenegger’s twin! I didn’t wanted to be “big”, I just wanted to be “toned”. I convinced myself that cardio and the occasional sit up would be enough keep me strong and lean (Insert eye roll here), but as I’ve learned more about fitness and nutrition, I’ve recognized that most women will never get huge regardless of how much they lift because we just don’t have the same levels of testosterone as the dudes. Praise God. We can lift weights! 

So, all that to say I’ve recently started to incorporate weight training into my fitness routine and I’m being more mindful of nutrition as it relates to my fitness goals. Basically, trying to get a little more protein and paying attention to when I eat my carbs. Until now I’ve just been trying to get good food into my body without thinking too much more about it. 

Overnight oats with berries

My goal is to eat most of my carbs earlier in the day so my body can use them as fuel as the day goes on. My favourite thing to have first thing in the morning, pre-workout, is these super easy overnight chia seed oats. You can quickly whip them up in less than a minute and store them in fridge overnight, or you can toss them together as little as 1/2 hour before you want to eat them. If I forget to make them up the night before I throw them together as soon as I get out of bed. They just need a little time to soak! 

This bowl is about 350 calories, perfect for your first pre-workout meal of the day, and has 15g of protein, 38g of carbs, 1 g of sugar, and 18 grams of good healthy fat! If you want a little extra protein you could mix in protein powder, but 15g grams is enough for my pre-workout meal, especially because I follow my workout with a protein shake. But it’s totally up to you! 

Enjoy! I’ll keep you posted on my weight training progress! I’ve had to temporarily turn off my comments because of spam, but feel free to ask any questions or comment on Instagram or Facebook

Easy Overnight Chia Seed Oats
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  2. 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  3. 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  4. 1 Tbsp hemp hearts
  5. 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  6. 1 cup mixed berries
  7. Maple syrup/honey to sweeten (optional)
Instructions
  1. Mix together almond milk, oats, chia seeds, hemp hearts, flax seed and refrigerate overnight.
  2. In the morning, top with mixed berries, sweetener (optional) and additional almond milk if desired.
Notes
  1. If you want to heat up your oats in the microwave before eating, wait to add flax seed until after your oats are heated.
  2. If you want to top with something other than berries, so for it, but it will change the nutritional info I provided above!
In Everything http://www.ineverything.ca/

You Are So Worth It + Free Tech Download

March 15, 2016

TECH DOWNLOADS

There’s this amazing young woman who I think the world of. She is smart, generous, ridiculously talented, and has a beautiful heart for people. I could go on and on about how amazing I think she is, and I often do when I talk with her, but for some reason, she doesn’t see the same things in herself that I see when I look at her. She regularly questions her ability, doubts whether she’s good enough, and is convinced that she’s not going to get the good things she really wants in her life. She puts up with bad relationships, tolerates unhealthy friendships and shies away from opportunities to step up and do things she’s always wanted to do. I’ve never heard her actually say the words out loud, but her actions, excuses and insecurities scream, “I’m not worth it.” 

you are so worth it - phone lockscreen

But here’s the thing. She is. Not because she’s smart or talented or does the right things, but because she was created by a God who spent time actually knitting her together and designing every part of who she is. I believe He’s proud of the individual He created and desperately wants to see her live a purposeful, fulfilled life. 

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Psalm 139:13-15

You are worth it. Not because you’re smart or talented. Not because you did something right or deserve to be praised. You are worth it because you were created for purpose. Someone spent time on you. You are worth it, and no words, actions, or individual can take that away. 

You are so worth it - dsktop background

People who don’t think they’re worth it live for less than they deserve. They don’t chase after their dreams, they don’t spend time investing in their self, and they let other people dictate how they feel. You deserve a good life; a life you’re proud of. You are worth loving, even if someone convinces you that you’re not. You are worth investing in, so that you are strong, healthy and capable of doing the things you really want to do. You are worth it. So, so worth it. 

you are so worth it - ipad lockscreen

You can go ahead and brush it off as a cliche statement that somehow applies to everyone else except you, but the truth is, you are so worth it, whether you believe it yet or not.

If you want to begin to change your mindset, you need to start filling your mind with truth. Start by putting this little reminder on your tech to remind yourself every day that you are worth it. Worth loving. Worth fighting for. Worth living for. You are so, so worth it. 

You can download this free YOU ARE SO WORTH IT graphic right here:

DESKTOP       IPHONE     IPAD

Plant-Based Meal Plan – Week 1

March 14, 2016

FOOD & NUTRITION

Yesterday I shared that I’m going to be taking the next 12 weeks to intentionally invest in my health, and a huge part of that is meal prep and planning. Every Sunday I plan out our weekly meal plan, get groceries and prep as much as I can beforehand! We eat a plant-based, whole foods diet, which basically means vegetables, fruits, sprouted grains, seeds, and nuts. We also avoid processed and refined foods as much as possible. As a result, my meal plan reflects that! I’m also trying to drink at least one raw juice each day! Wish me luck!

Here’s what we’re eating this week. Maybe some of it will inspire you!

Monday
Breakfast (B): Vega Smoothie – I start every weekday with a VegaOne Smoothie. They are packed with nutrients including: 20g of protein, 6 servings of greens, 50% of daily vitamins and minerals, 26% of fibre, omega-3’s, antioxidants and probiotics. My naturopath recommended it when I was first diagnosed and I can see huge impacts on how I feel when I take it (I’m not getting paid to say that). My favourite flavours are french vanilla or the natural flavour, especially if want to add fruit to your smoothie, but don’t want it too sweet, but you can also get flavours like vanilla chai, chocolate, mocha and coconut almond. It has a slightly powdery texture when it’s blended up, but I honestly don’t mind it at all! I usually blend mine with a cup of ice, half a banana, 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk and enough water to fill up my individual blending cups. If you don’t want to spend the money on a nutritional shake like VegaOne, a green smoothie is a great morning option!

Lunch (L): Salad with cooked buckwheat groats – If you follow me on instagram, you know buckwheat is my new found love! I’m obsessed! My salads usually consist of mixed greens, cucumber, celery, and whatever other veggies I feel inspires to throw in. I almost always add berries of some kind and/or apple or orange. I add 1/2 a cup of buckwheat and usually top it off with a mix of nuts and seeds.  My go-to dressing is Maple Tahini! I’ll usually make a couple days worth at a time.

Dinner (D): Coconut Curry “Noodle Bowl” – This recipe was inspired by this recipe, but we’ve made a few changes and use spaghetti squash instead of rice noodles. It’s AMAZING and packed with tons of veggies! 

Coconut Curry Noodle Bowl by Pinch of Yum

Coconut Curry Noodle Bowl by Pinch of Yum

Juice (J): Juice #3 – named after my favourite green juice from Glory Juice Co. in Vancouver. It’s got apple, lemon, kale, cucumber, celery and ginger. So good!

 

Tuesday
B: Vega Smoothie

L: Salad with cooked Quinoa – basically the same idea as Monday’s salad with buckwheat, but sub in quinoa. 

D: Broccoli Quinoa Burritos – It might sound a little odd at first, but these warm “cheesy” burritos will satisfy! You can find them on page 159 of Oh She Glows Cookbook.

J: Juice #14 – named after Clark’s favourite green juice from Glory Juice Co! It’s a lighter flavour with pear, cucumber, fennel, lettuce, spinach, lime and mint. Also, so good!

 

Wednesday
B: Vega Smoothie

L: Salad with buckwheat groats

D: Flex – Because Clark and I work on Wednesday evenings we usually aren’t home long enough to make dinner, also Clark doesn’t like to eat before he preaches, so on those weeks I would be eating solo anyway. On Wednesdays we usually have leftovers or something easy like a veggie sandwich or salad. 

J: Green #3, because it’s my fav. 

 

Thursday
B: Vega Smoothie

L: Salad with quinoa

D: Chickpeas & Lentil Slowcooker Chili – we love slowcooker meals, especially near the end of the week because by the time we get home from work, we’re often tired and feel less like cooking! This chili is delicious and packed with great nutrients from sweet potato, lentils, chickpeas, bell peppers, tomato, mushrooms, and onions! You won’t miss the meat! We’ve modified this recipe a little bit (add mushrooms and peppers and leave out garlic and raisins) and it makes a huge serving!

Slow-Cooker-Chickpea-and-Lentil-Chili 2

J: Beet – We’ve been making this juice for a while: beets, carrots, oranges, apple, ginger. 

 

Friday
B: Vega Smoothie

L: Salad with buckwheat

D: Leftovers – We always have leftovers, so whatever is is left, we’ll eat! This is also the beginning of More 16, a leadership conference we help lead at the college we work out, so we likely be on the go and will eat quickly or pack our dinner to heat up and eat at work!

J: Green #3

 

Weekend
We leave the weekends pretty flexible as we sometimes go out to eat with friends and there is often food left in the fridge that we want to finish up before the next week begins. We often get creative on weekends, experiment, or eat salads and sandwiches!

 

Cost: I know many people think healthy eating is way more expensive, but honestly, if you do the prep and make things yourself, it’s really quite affordable! Clark and I eat at home almost every single meal (with the exception of lunch for Clark) and our grocery bill for the two of us is rarely more than $100/week. This week it was $79.16 for everything but berries and bread, will definitely come in under $100. Now I will say, we do keep a stocked pantry with things like quinoa, buckwheat, nuts and seeds, and other normal pantry items (which we buy in bulk and replenish as we need them), but this cost is most of the groceries we need each week! Let’s say we spend $100/month (which we don’t) on pantry items; that’s still less than $125/week. 

This week’s grocery shop included: Pears (4), Apples (14), Bananas (10), Lemon (6), Lime (4), Broccoli (2), Celery (2), Kale (3), Spinach (2), Carrots (2 lb), Salad Mix, Beets (3), Cabbage, onions (3), avocado (3), sweet potato (2), spaghetti squash (1), cucumber (3), asparagus (1), fennel, mushrooms, zucchini, almond milk, coconut milk, chickpeas

What are you eating this week? I’d love to hear!

My 12 Week Health Challenge

March 13, 2016

HEALTH & FITNESS

12 Week Health Challenge

It’s been 16 days since I finished my final round of Lemtrada infusions to treat my Multiple Sclerosis (you can read more about my MS journey here) and I think my body is finally ready to start really getting healthy again. I can definitely see the toll this treatment has taken on my body. It’s affected my energy, my strength, my skin, my digestive system and who knows what else is going on with my internal organs! I know that if I don’t make being healthy a priority I will never see the full benefits of this treatment in my life. 

So, I am dedicating the next 12 weeks to my own personal physical health and I wouldn’t mind some company along this ride! Anyone want to do this with me? Starting this Monday I’m choosing to be really intentional about regaining my physical health by focusing on three areas: Rest, Nutrition & Fitness. I’m convinced that if I can be really intentional in these three areas, I can be the strongest and healthiest I’ve ever been!

My goal (have grace with me if I miss a week or two!) is to share my plant-based meal plan each week (Sundays), as well as weekly training updates (Mondays – I’m calling this Marathon Monday!). My hope is that it will not only provide me with the accountability I need, but maybe it will help someone else on their journey too! 

I have a feeling I’m not going to be perfect. There may be weeks I struggle more than others, but I know that if I want to move forward and really regain my health, I need to have a plan! So here’s what I’m thinking, I’m putting my own plan in place, but I would love to have a few people to do this alongside! We can share our challenges and triumphs together and really have success in this! 

1. Rest
My personal commitment is to try to get 8 hours of sleep a night. I find that my MS symptoms are significantly better when my body is well rested, so I know this needs to be a priority for me! That means my goal is lights out at 10:00pm and rising in the morning by 6:00am. I know a 6am-10pm sleep may not be realistic for everyone, so you need to figure out what’s the best time to rest for you!

I tend to try to fill every day as full as I can so my goal is also to take time every week to read and do at least one thing that focuses on resting, like taking a bath.  

2. Nutrition
I am going to be very intentional about eating a plant-based diet, complete with protein, carbs and healthy fats. The majority of my daily food intake will come from fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, seeds and sprouted grains. I am going to be intentionally try to avoid processed foods including refined sugars and flours. My diet already mostly aligns with this, but there are definitely days when I get lazy and eat cereal for dinner instead of vegetables! Since I’m also a sucker for vegan pastries and ice cream, for the next 12 weeks I’m going to try to add those things in as a bonus to my healthy diet, not as a staple. I’m also going to try to juice every day, even though I loathe cleaning the machine. 

Now, I know my diet may seem extreme to some, but it works for me and for my own health goals and needs. You need to do what works for you! I do promise though, if you meal plan you will eat healthier and waste less! Check out this post if you’re not sure where to start!

3. Fitness
This is the area I’m most excited/nervous about! On Saturday, June 4th 2016 Clark & I will be running in the Whistler Half-Marathon in beautiful Whistler, BC! I actually set a goal last year to run a half-marathon, but a decline in my health sadly made it unattainable for me in 2015. I realize it’s going to be a huge undertaking, but I’ve set up a 12 week training schedule to help regain my strength and get back running again!

You obviously don’t have to run a half-marathon (although you might be surprised that you actually could!) but it’s important to set some kind of goal for yourself. Maybe you want to try to run 5 or 10km. Maybe you want to try to work out 3 days a week. Whatever your fitness goals looks like, let’s do them together!

 

So, here’s what I’ve learned: Health goals are so much easier to achieve when you’re not doing in on your own! Let’s take this journey together. We can motivate one another, keep each other accountable and even provide tips and recipes to keep moving forward. Maybe it’s just me, but I could really use the help!

If you’d like to join me on this 12 week journey take a few minutes to think about some realistic goals and comment below on the 3 areas I mentioned: Rest, Nutrition & Fitness. What are you going to strive for? Maybe you made some resolutions in the new year that need to be kickstarted or maybe you just want to continue your progress.

Every week I’ll post about my progress and you can fill me in on yours! I can’t wait to get started! Let me know what your goals are! 

 

What I’d Do For A Good Body

March 2, 2016

ENCOURAGEMENT

My eyes darted across the room to my reflection in the mirror. My head turned away, frustrated, disgusted by the figure I saw, but I couldn’t help but glance back. I was tormented by the imperfections that overwhelmed me, but I couldn’t stop examining them. I pinched at any skin I could get my hands on and sucked in as I angled sideways. I just wanted a good body. A hot body. Thin thighs and a concave stomach. And I was willing to do anything to get it. 

At 14 I was terrified to be fat. Terrified. At less than 100 lbs it should have been the last thing on my mind, but I didn’t stop thinking about it. I skipped breakfast, avoided lunch, and purged my dinner the moment I could find time alone. I wanted a good body, and I was willing to starve myself to get it. 

By 16 I realized that avoiding food meant dodging too many questions, so I ate. I ate and I purged in secret. Anything I felt was too much for what my body needed, I got rid of the moment I could find a bathroom. I wanted a good body, a hot body, and I was willing to secretly haul nutrients out to get it. 

What I'd Do For A Good Body

For years I struggled with my body image. Hating my body, wishing I could change it. Coveting girls with smaller breasts and thin thighs. I swung drastically from an unhealthy preoccupation with food to not caring at all what I put in my body (believing that if I concerned myself with food I would fall back into old habits). All of my understanding of what it meant to have a good body was purely visual. Good bodies = hot bodies. 

It took time, but I eventually learned how to love myself and treat my body better. Although, I still had some pretty skewed ideas about body that I didn’t even realize were there. I was happy with who I was and content with how I looked, but deep down, I still craved a good body. Who doesn’t want to be hot?

Before we turned 30, Clark and I were both determined to be in the best shape of our lives. We loved running and working out together and had made a pledge to be at our peak physical fitness by our 30th birthdays. We wanted to be healthy, sure, but there was some visual motivation to look good too!

That year leading up to my 30th birthday brought on challenges I could have never imagined. I was determined to work hard for that killer bod, but something was going wrong. I just couldn’t keep up. My body wasn’t working the way it was supposed to.

2 days before my 30th birthday, instead of celebrating my new rock hard abs, I sat in a neurologists office and learned that I had Multiple Sclerosis. My body was failing.  I struggled to climb a set of stairs. Some days I could hardly hold my body weight upright. I had lost muscle mass and my body was failing me. I was thin, but I didn’t care. That didn’t matter anymore. I can remember turning to Clark and uttering the words, “I’d do anything for a good body.”

Not thin thighs. I needed strong legs that could carry me. 
Not sculpted abs. I needed a frame that could hold me.
Not limited food. I needed nutrition that would fuel me.
I just wanted a good body. Like, an actual good body. 

Today my eyes darted across the room to my reflection in the mirror. The edge of my lips turned up into a smile as I looked confidently at my reflection. I was unbothered by the imperfections reflected back at me. Today I was determined to find strength. Strength to walk. Strength to live. Strength to be. I want a good body. A strong, capable body that won’t fail me. A nourished, healthy body that will carry me through the day. I’ll do anything for a good body, but that’s means something completely different to me today than it once did. 

There are so many days now I wish I could go back to that 14 year old girl who abused and destroyed the body she had. I wish I could go back and help her see how awesome she could feel, and even look, if she fuelled her body for the life she really wanted to live. I wish the years I had with a good body were better used. If only I knew then what I know now.  

Let’s change what a “good body” means and do whatever it takes to keep our bodies good for as long as we can. You in?

TREATMENT – MY LEMTRADA STORY – ROUND 2 | DAY 3

February 25, 2016

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

On November 10th 2014 my neurologist at the UBC Centre for Brain Health confirmed the diagnosis given by my GP few months earlier that I did, in fact, have multiple sclerosis (If you haven’t read my diagnosis story yet, you should totally read it here. I promise it’s worth the read!). After looking over my MRI images and chatting with me about my disease progression he recommended a brand new treatment called Lemtrada as a first line treatment, a treatment that would hopefully halt the progression of the disease for 10-15 years. The drug had just been approved in Canada (even before it was approved in the US) and I would be one of the first to undergo the treatment outside of the clinical trial patients.

Lemtrada Day 3 - Round 2

I read every piece of information I could get my hands on and after much consideration and prayer, I decided the benefits outweighed the risks and on March 2, 2015 I went for my first of 8 infusions (you can read about my first infusion here.) 

My first round of treatment (March 2 – March 6, 2015) was 5 consecutive days and began the process that would protect my malfunctioning immune system from attacking the myelin (the outer coating on the nerves  – kind of like the outer coating on an electrical wire) in my brain and spinal cord. 12 months later I would have to return to finish the process off by doing 3 more days of infusions. Well, today I finished my last one!! All 8 infusions are complete and I will hopefully not need any more treatment for 15 years! 

5:00am – I had a great night’s sleep last night and woke up ready to take on my final day! I started the day off with a quick shower, wrapping my IV in plastic wrap to protect it from the moisture, got myself ready, and once again started my day with a VegaOne smoothie to give me some extra nutrients to start the day!

Lemtrada Day 3 - Round 2

7:30am – When we arrived back at the clinic I was still experiencing some heaviness in my chest, making it difficult to breathe deep. My vision was also blurry with little floaters. Besides that I felt pretty good! My IV line wasn’t working as well as needed so my nurse switched it up to another vein and I was ready to go!

8:00am – Before I get the Lemtrada each day I get an hour of steroids (prednisone) to combat some of the side affects that come with an intense treatment like Lemtrada. I also take benydryl and gravol to fight off nausea and rashes/itchiness, which induces what I like to call my drug coma because that stuff knocks me right out!

9:30am – As soon as a doctor is in the building I can start my last round of Lemtrada! Yay! It takes about 4 hours to run through completely, most of which I sleep through because of the other medication they give me. 

Lemtrada Day 3 - Round 2

1:30pm – Once the Lemtrada is finished dripping I was observed for 2 hours to make sure my heart, blood pressure and temperature were okay. Clark and I passed the time with a game of cards, which I totally let him win. That’s not true, I never let anyone win. I love winning. 

3:30pm – After my 2 hour observation was up I had my IV removed and I was cleared to go home!!! Peace out Lemtrada! Time to make some new memories!

Lemtrada Day 3 - Round 2

I am now in recovery, resting and taking care of myself so my immune system can come back to full health. For the next 4 years I’ll be having monthly blood and urine tests to monitor any side effects that may arise so they can be treated as soon as possible!

I would appreciate your continued prayers as I have so many dreams and goals to look forward to now that this season of treatment is behind me! Thanks for your continued support! I wish I could express my gratitude adequately!!!

I’m so excited for the future!! We have some big things planned coming months and years, which we’re excited to share as the time comes!! The best is yet to come!!! Right? 

TREATMENT – MY LEMTRADA STORY – ROUND 2 | DAY 2

February 24, 2016

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

Another day down and only 1 more to go! If you missed yesterdays update, you can find it here!

Lemtrada Day 2 - Round 2

I decided to support my good friend and fellow MSer (is that really what we’re calling ourselves. I need to think of something cooler), by wearing my I Am Strong t-shirt today! Sarah launched this campaign a couple months ago to encourage others to find their strength as well as to raise funds to pay off her own climbing medical bills (You can read her story and follow her journey here at sarahduron.com). Still shy of paying off her own bills, Sarah made a beautiful and selfless decision to help out another young woman with MS named Anna who’s MS is progressing quickly, making available treatments ineffective. In a last hope effort to find a solution, Anna is pursuing the possibility of a Stem Cell treatment, which cost thousands of dollars. All funds raised from the sale of t-shirts on Sarah’s website will go to helping Anna get the care she needs. Go buy one here

Now for my infusion day 2!

5:00am – Got to sleep in a little later (1/2 hour) and after a quick shower with my IV wrapped in Saran Wrap, I packed my bag, drank my Vega Smoothie and we were on our way! We arrived in New West a little early so we grabbed a hot drink before heading to the clinic for day 2!

7:30am – The nurse flushed my IV line (left in from the day before) and all was well, so no poking around today! It’s the little things that make me happy! Once the line way cleaned and ready, I started an hour of steroids to combat any side effects that might come with the Lemtrada. I also look an anti-viral medication to fight off the viruses that my immune system no longer can, gravol, benydryl, reactine and zantac. All required to keep away side effects! 

9:00am – As soon as a doctor is the building at 9am the Lemtrada can start. The gravol and benydryl knock me out, so I slept for a couple hours in the morning. 

11:00am – A couple awesome young women from the college where I work gave me a gift bag, instructing me to open it when I was bored, so I did! I was blown away at what was inside! A few fabulous little gifts and stacks of letters and cards from the women at the college! So encouraging! The joy and life those words brought me is difficult to describe! It’s such an honour to be able to lead, pastor and teach them!

Lemtrada Day 2 - Round 2

11:30am – I had a few minor side effects today. Floaters in my vision, a heavy chest when I breathe deep and a slight fever. No headache today though! Yay! The fever had subsided by the end of the day, so hoping all is well!

1:30pm – Lemtrada finished and now begins my 2 hours of observation to make sure I’m responding okay to everything. I finished off the afternoon playing cards with Clark! I won, obviously, and he continues to claim that it’s because I’m on performance enhancing drugs. Honestly, he’s been the most supportive, selfless husband through our whole marriage, but weeks like this I get to see his dedication to me in a whole new way. He’s one of kind! 

Lemtrada Day 2 - Round 2

3:30pm – Infusion finished. Observation period is over and by 3:45 we’re in the car on our way home!

Overall, I’m feeling pretty good and I’m in great spirits! The constant outpouring of love makes a difference. I feel so loved and cared for. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for the comments, messages, gifts, cards, letters and everything else you’ve shared with our family this week. I am blown away. We are better in community. I’m honoured to be a part of such a strong one!

Lemtrada Day 2 - Round 2

TREATMENT – MY LEMTRADA STORY – ROUND 2 | DAY 1

February 23, 2016

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

Lemtrada - Round 2 - Day 1

Today I began my second and final round of Lemtrada (alemtuzumab), a drug also used to treat lymphocytic leukemia. The drug is administered by IV for 5 days in row, and 12 months later for 3 days in a row. Since I completed my 5 day infusion a year ago (you can read about my first round here DAY 1  DAY 2  DAY 3  DAY 4  DAY 5), I’m now completing my last round this week! 

Essentially the drug is targeting my malfunctioning immune system (MS is believed to be an autoimmune disease that causes my immune system to attack the myelin coating, or the protective sheath, on the outside of my nerves). The idea is that if they can kill off my malfunctioning immune system, when it heals and comes back, it will come back healthier, no longer attacking my myelin. That’s the goal! 

My hope is to keep people updated on my journey but also to provide a resource for others who are awaiting their treatment, or thinking about the possibility of Lemtrada. I hope you find it helpful!

Lemtrada - Round 2 - Day 1

DAY 1

4:30am – I got up early to have a nice shower and prepare for the day. I always feel so much better when I have a shower, do my hair, put on makeup etc. When I dress like I’m ready for the day, I think I psychologically come in with a different attitude. I packed my day bag which included: A small knit blanket, a pillow, my Ipad, my phone, earphones, a book (Leadership Pain by Samuel R Chand), candies (to suck on to overpower the metallic taste that comes with steroids), my medication, a water bottle and snacks! 

I also made myself a smoothie with my favourite plant-based protein powder, Vega One in hope that it would kick start my day well! I was ready to go by 6:00am for our short 50 minute drive from Abbotsford to the infusion clinic in New Westminister.

7:00am – We arrived at the infusion clinic right on time and the the nurse began by going over some paper work and questions about my recent health. By 7:30 she started me on Cortisone steroids, given each day before the infusion to help combat some of the side effects that often comes with Lemtrada. The steroids aren’t bad, but they do leave a terrible metallic taste in your mouth!

9:00am – By 9:00am I was given Lemtrada by IV. The actually drug can’t start until 9:00, until a doctor is present and on-call in the building in case something goes wrong. I was also given gravol and benydryl to combat common side effects like nausea and hives/itching. I am super sensitive to things like gravol and benydryl, so with 1/2 hour I was out like a light! I slept like a baby until about 12:30, barely waking up to my blood pressure and temperature being taken every 1/2 hour!  

12:30pm – When I woke up from my nap I have a pretty strong headache behind my eyes, but beside that, no other side effects. I was able to read a little and catch up on all the encouraging messages I received that morning! Thanks friends! During that time our friend, colleague and mentor, Fred Fulford, stopped by to visit! It was so nice to have a familiar face stop by! The afternoon flew by! 

Lemtrada - Round 2 - Day 1

1:30pm – By 1:30 the drug was finished but I had to stay hooked up to the fluid for 2 hours while the nurses continued to monitor my heart, symptoms and side effects, but beside the headache, which refuses to go away, even with medication, I’m all good!

3:30pm – I was discharged 1/2 hour early and was home by 4:30! Yay!

Thanks so much for your unbelievable outpouring of love and support! I am convinced more and more that I really do have an incredible community standing with me! I’m in great spirits and ready to rest tonight and take on the day again tomorrow! 

 

BAKED OATMEAL – VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE

December 16, 2015

FOOD & NUTRITION

Baked Oatmeal - perfect for your family holiday breakfast!

It won’t be long now until family and friends start rolling in for the holidays! With Christmas only 9 days away it’s time to start thinking about you’re going to feed everyone! When you’ve got house guests, you need to think about more than just your Christmas turkey dinner! When you’re feeding the masses, or even just a couple extra mouths, this baked oatmeal is an easy, stress free solution!

Healthy Baked Oatmeal - Gluten-free & Vegan | ineverything.ca

If you’re trying to accommodate special diets this holiday, this bake is a great option that everyone will enjoy! It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, and refined sugar free! That means it’s pretty healthy friends! 

This recipe is so easy! You just mix the ingredients together and bake! Then 35 minutes later you have a warm, nutritious and delicious breakfast. No rushing around. Just a stress free start to your day! Plus, any breakfast that is hassle free and allows me to spend more time with my friends and family is a huge win for me! 

We like to serve our oatmeal bake with coconut whipped cream! If you’ve never made coconut whipped cream before it’s super easy and a total game-changer! Simply refrigerate a can of full fat coconut milk (reduced fat won’t work). When the coconut milk is cooled it will solidify; scoop the hardened coconut milk into your stand mixer (you will have 1/2 can of coconut water left over in the can – just save it for a smoothie!) and add in 2 Tbsp of maple syrup and 1 tsp of vanilla. Whip in stand mixer until you have whipped cream! Then spoon right on top of your oatmeal bake! So good!!

I’d love to hear how your oatmeal bake turns out! 

Baked Oatmeal
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or sub any non-dairy milk)
  2. 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  3. 1/3 cup maple syrup
  4. 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  6. 2 cups of Rolled Oats (or 1 cup rolled oats + 1 cup steel cut oats)
  7. 1 tsp baking powder
  8. 1 tsp cinnamon
  9. 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
  10. 1 cup walnuts
  11. 1 cup raspberries (or other mixed berries)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease 9x9 baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together almond milk, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and flax seed and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl combine oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup raspberries and transfer to greased baking dish.
  5. Pour almond milk mixture over oat mixture.
  6. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts and 1/2 cup of raspberries.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving as oatmeal will set.
  9. Enjoy!
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