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Sugar-Free Week

Posted on by Susan Posted in Food | Leave a comment

That’s it, friends! I’ve had it.

After a recent faceplant into  a box of Trader Joe’s Sea Salt Brownie Bites, I decided it’s about time to go separate ways. It’s been a little out of control lately. Not sure what happened, but I think Costco had something to do with it (umm, hello 15-pack Häagen-Dazs ice cream bars…) . And then this happened a few times this summer:

Here’s the deal: I can’t ditch the coffee. I need it to function and I’ve already cut way down. But the ice cream has to go!

I also had fitness assessment with my personal trainer a few days ago, and I don’t like what I’ve seen. I gained weight. Quite a bit. It’s time to take charge of my health again, after these months of moving and paperwork stress.

I figured that my little guy loves the gym play care so much, I might as well go a few times per week, but in addition to working out regularly again, I know I must also change my food habits.

So, to kick-start my new challenge to becoming healthier (again!), I’m saying no to sugar for a week. That’s right, folks – 7 long days!

Here’s my plan:

  • No added refined sugar in treats or drinks – replace sweet cravings with a piece of fresh fruit
  • focus on whole, fresh foods, mostly veggies and fruit, and whole grains
  • More green smoothies!
  • more lean protein – I don’t think I’m getting enough protein, which results in my cravings (nutritionist/RD  friends, please correct me if that’s wrong, it’s just a suspicion I have)
  • No weird sauces/condiments that contain sugar – luckily we don’t keep those around, this would be more of an issue when eating out
20120317 - green smoothie

Of course I will write a recap for you to let you know how it went.

So now I need your help! What are some good, easy, refined sugar-free, healthy treats that tame a sweet tooth? I’m thinking: Lärabars, banana and nut butter, smoothies instead of ice cream, but all I want is a Sea Salt Brownie Bite. Good thing I ate them all.

Wanna join me? You can tweet about your #SugarFreeWeek adventures and follow me @susoniadotcom to see how it will work out for me.

Moving to Another Country: Culture Shock?

Posted on by Susan Posted in Life, Travel | Leave a comment

I thought it’s time for an update on our recent move from Canada to the United States, now that we have been here for almost two months. How has it been two months already?

On the one hand, it seems to me that there is so much I could tell you, but on the other hand it’s all details that bother no one except us. But some things have happened in the past few weeks, including a signed lease for our next apartment. :)

Where are we?

Still in San Diego, still close to the office (to cut down on hubby’s commute time). Trader Joe’s in walking distance to the new place. Score!

How do we like it so far?

This is definitely one of the most frequent questions we get. Ok. Let me start.

It’s nice. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome to have sunshine almost every day. I love palm trees. I love the ocean. I love the variety of foodie finds in grocery stores. I love Mexican food. I love burgers, especially the grass-fed beef burgers from Burger Lounge.

There are some things that bug me, but that is to be expected, as with any move to a new place, there are some bumps on the road and challenges ahead. Call it culture shock , if you want. ;)

It’s silly things, really, NBD. Pushy sales people that have NO clue what they’re talking about (I’m talking to you, Stride Rite lady, that’s trying to sell me a shoe for my toddler that’s about an inch too long…). Or people that drive right in my behind. I’ll get over it. But you may hear me talk about it. #sorrynotsorry

How am I feeling?

OK, this one’s tricky.

On the one hand I am incredibly grateful to be able to experience living in such a beautiful place

On the other hand, I am incredibly exhausted. We have so many things to take care of, and as usual (it happened in Canada, and it happened here again), something went wrong during the process (not our fault). Moving to a new country is no piece of cake, especially if you have a family to take care of. If you’re young and single, no problem, you can just go and explore, meet new friends over a glass of beer and get settled. However, if you have a little one, you don’t really get that option. San Diego is very family friendly, but I find that it’s tricky to make new friends if you have a little one in tow. I’m planning to attend a few more meetups, though, to get out of the house and have some social interaction for me and the little guy, once we are in our new neighborhood. Can’t wait to get settled into our new place in T-2 days!

Things I didn’t expect:

  • Hills/mountains. For some reason I assumed San Diego would be flat. 8-O
  • The distances to get around. Vancouver was pretty confined, space-wise, so San Diego is definitely much more sprawled out.
  • What you see is NOT what you get. I’m referring mostly to our apartment hunt. Most complexes call themselves “luxury rental homes” or something like that. Yeah, I think I have a different view on that. Don’t get me wrong, our new place will be fine. But it’s just a standard (big for our standards, normal for Americans) apartment. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s all about making a sale.

Favorite spots so far:

  • Old Town (touristy, but yummy food, nice music, and great for shopping gifts and souvenirs) and Embarcadero (a stroll along the water is always nice, isn’t it?)
  • Encinitas: This is my type of town. Has beaches, walkability to restaurants and stores, and it’s outdoorsy and cute! <3
  • La Jolla Shores: fantastically wide and family friendly beach, perfect for long walks in the sand
  • Solana Beach Farmers Market: We picked up the most delicious organic strawberries I’ve had in a very long time. Yum!
We’ve seen a few more places around here, but obviously we have only been in San Diego for 2 short months, so we are still actively exploring.
This whole move to the US has definitely been a challenging and interesting time for us. I have always been interested in the States, and I’ve even majored in US Cultural History, when studying in Germany. I never thought I would be living here one day. And here I am, with a 5 year stopover in beautiful Vancouver, BC, our little family actually ended up in sunny California.

Have you ever moved to a different country? What was the biggest challenge you had? 

Any San Diego blog readers? What are some fun places to check out? Next up on our list is Balboa Park (been there once, but only at a playground) for a hike and a visit to the Zoo, and North Park.

Balancing Acts: Blogging and Life Itself

Posted on by Susan Posted in Random | 1 Comment

As you might know from my previous post, I’ve been feeling a little lost/stressed lately. Our current home is only temporary, so I’m not very motivated to cook and prepare healthy meals with limited gadgets and a different kitchen. I also don’t have the luxury of childcare for taking a random yoga or exercise class. I am however making being healthier a priority again.

As I’m catching up on my favorite blogs, I am seriously wondering just how in the world all these fabulous girls do it all the time.

They’re not only sharing tidbits of their day-to-day life, but also create workouts, recipes or meal plans, photograph their food and shopping trips and entertain their readers with their writing. Most of these bloggers work (either from home or outside), study, and many are full-time mothers to little ones (and/or fur babies). They somehow manage not only to balance their busy lives, but also get their workouts in, cook their own food AND have the time to blog about it.

And here I am, barely managing the basics.

However, here’s what I’ve been loving lately, health-wise:

  • I took my first Barre class yesterday and let me tell you, my entire body is SORE! I wasn’t particularly amazed by the class (I prefer booty-shaking cardio classes like Zumba), but I can already tell that this will bring amazing results.
  • Soups extra servings of veggies ready to slurp down? Yes, please! I’ll take the carton or take-out variety over homemade, because, as I said, limited kitchen tools, no slow cooker, no time, etc.
  • Scheduling more me-time. I’ve been going on walk/runs, doing yoga or the new-to-me Barre class mentioned above
  • Vitamin D: at least there’s no lack of sunshine here in Southern California. Enough to splash around in the pool or get soaked at the water fountain! ;)

Random Thoughts:

I love the contrast of the lush vegetation (these phone pics really don’t do it justice) nestled into the dry, shrubby almost desert-like hills of Southern California. This also fits well with the balance theme of this post. ;)

From our neighborhood:

Although we were at the San Diego Botanic Garden yesterday, I barely managed to snap any pictures. The water fountain at the playground is more fun in the heat anyways. :)

I really love being a part of the healthy living blog community for the past three years. Blogging might have fallen a bit to the wayside lately. However, I am striving to be more consistent in sharing more food, recipes, and my journey to get fit (again) with you all. After all, blogs were what inspired me to get healthy in the first place, more than 4 years ago, and eventually led me to write my own little blog here. Posts might be a little random, as we are looking for a permanent place to live and explore the area, but I have big plans to return to the kitchen and make this a blog mostly about food and healthy living again.

Thanks for hearing me out on this one! I hope you’ll join me!