Something new has been cooking at My Lighthearted Kitchen: an exercise section!

I have been playing around with this idea for a while now, and I have finally decided to share my training sessions with you. Some of you might know that I have started weight training in January and have been completely obsessed with this sport ever since.

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I have to say that it has been incredible to go back to the gym to take care and put my body to the test with each session. I love the rush of satisfaction I get every time and can up the repetition number or the weight I’m lifting. It really helps me feel better in my own skin while also giving me some “me-time” at the gym. After a back injury that prevented me from seriously exercising and two years of intense work as a teacher, it’s great to sweat and to exercise again.

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Because I love weight training so much, I decided that sharing my work-out plans could be a good way to spread this sport. Too many girls and women are intimidated to go in the weight training section of their gym, and it’s a realy shame. Getting stronger is a great way to build self-confidence at the same time as a great posture and more available muscles.

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Right now, I change my work-out routines every 8 weeks. Each work-out routine is composed of 5 training days: 1 leg day, 2 push days and 2 pull days. I include 2 rest days to let my body rest and my muscles grow and get stronger. I sometimes repeat the led day a second time if I feel like I don’t need the 2 rest days. I like working with the same exercises for 8 weeks because it gives me time to learn the exercises properly and to progress with them. Remember that you need to push yourself every single time you set foot in the gym! As for cardio and abs, I alternate between cardio sessions and ab training sessions each time I go to the gym.

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So, what will you find in this section of the blog? First, a beginner’s training routine to get you started in the gym. This is a whole body routine that you can do 3 to 4 times a week for the first 8 to 12 weeks of your new training regimen. This is to get you used to going to the gym and gently starting to push your body into liking weight training. After that, I will post my work-out routines every 8 weeks. You are welcome to join me in the gym!

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Remember that I’m not a personal trainer, but simply a gym enthousiast. You should always check with a personal trainer, a kinesiologist or your health care practitioner before changing your exercise routine. Be careful and have fun!

Chocolate Cake Protein Balls \\\ Boule Protéinée au chocolat

(version française plus bas!)

In the last few weeks, I have been tracking down how much protein I ate. I started including some protein powder to help me get enough each day, but I have to say that most of them taste like chalk. Well, once incorporated in this recipe, they make everything taste like chocolate cake. Yeah, pretty great.

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup puffed rice cereal
  • 1 tbs raw cocoa powder
  • 4 scoops of vegan chocolate protein powder
  • 4 tbs slivered almonds
  • 1 tbs unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbs peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp marmalade or any other jam you enjoy
  • 3/4 cup almond milk

To roll in: 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes.

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Here is what you do:

  1. Mix the peanut butter, vanilla extract, marmalade and almond milk in a small saucepan. Stire over medium heat until everything is well combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients on top and mix until everything is well combined.
  3. Form balls with 1/2 cup of the mix and roll them in the coconut flakes to avoid them being too sticky. If you have trouble forming balls that hold their shape, add a little bit of milk at a time. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

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These are so good! I made them thinking that they would be great after gym sessions, but I have to say I’m going to have a lot of trouble not eating them all at once. The texture is very soft, and the rice cereal adds a nice touch of crispiness. The protein powder really adds a caky side to these, which really makes them irresistible. With around 13 grams of protein in each ball, this will give you a nice boost of energy. Let me know if you try them out!


Depuis quelques semaines, je note les protéines que je mange. J’ai commencé à inclure des poudres protéinées pour m’aider à atteindre les apports recommendés, mais je dois dire, que la plupart de ces poudres goûtent la craie. Incorporées dans cette recette, elles sont délicieuses et goûtent comme du gateau au chocolat. Ouais, c’est plutôt génial.

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Voici ce dont vous avez besoin:

  • 1 tasse de flocons d’avoine à cuisson rapide
  • 1 tass de céréales de riz soufflé
  • 1 c. à soupe de poudre de cacao
  • 4 scoops de poudre protéinée végane au chocolat
  • 4 c. à soupe d’amandes éffilées
  • 1 c. à soupe de flocons de coco non-sucrés
  • 1 c. à soupe de graines de chia
  • 1 c. à thé de cannelle en poudre
  • 2 c. à soupe de beurre d’arachide
  • 1 c. à thé d’extrait de vanille
  • 2 c. à thé de marmelade ou de confiture de votre choix
  • 3/4 de tasse de lait d’amande

Pour rouler: 1/2 tasse de flocons de coco non-sucrés

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Voici ce qu’il faut faire:

  1. Mélanger le beurre d’arachide, la vanille, la marmelade, et le lait d’amande dans une petite casserole. Remuer sur feu doux jusqu’à ce que le tout soit bien mélangé. Réserver.
  2. Dans un grand bol, mélanger le reste des ingrédients. Verser les ingrédients liquides, et mélanger le tout jusqu’à l’obtention d’une pâte homogène.
  3. Former des boules à l’aide d’une demie tasse du mélange et les rouler dans la noix de coco pour les rendre moins collantes. Si votre mélange est trop sec pour se tenir, ajouter un peu de lait. Conserver ces boules dans un contenant hermétique au frigo et savourez!

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C’est tellement bon! J’ai préparé ces collations en me disant qu’elles seraient parfaites pour après les entraînements, mais je dois dire qu’il va être difficile de ne pas les manger toutes d’un coup! La texture est tendre, et les céréales de riz ajoutent un petit croquant très agréable. Le goût de chocolate est intense et gourmant. La poudre de protéine ajoute un côté vraiment «gateau» et irresistible. Avec environs 13 grammes de protéines par boule, ces petites merveilles vous donneront plein d’énergie! Dites-moi si vous les essayez!

I’m a mindfulness instructor!

I feel like I have reached a new level in “hippie-land”!

Joke aside, I have completed my 12 weeks training with Mindful Schools to be a mindfulness instructor this week. How exciting! As an end of training celebration, I’m sharing some thoughts on how this happened.

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Flashback to the beginning of the year: This year, I have been assigned with six groups of 30 to 38 students. I know most of them as I taught them last year too, and I know that many of them have a great potential that is hindered by their anxiety, stress, or strong feelings/emotions.  This is my problem because it makes it difficult for students to learn when their minds are busy processing all kinds of thoughts. It is also a personal problem because teaching is hard! You are dealing with so much more than the curriculum: student meltdowns, administrators, parents, and taking all this personal stress at home because you care for the kids in front of you. Add this to regular-human-being stress, and you are pushed off balance on a daily basis. So, this beginning of the year is hard, and I feel resource-less.

Meeting with Charity Bryant: At a teacher conference, I get to meet Charity Bryant who is a mindfulness instructor who started out as an English teacher. Her presentation is inspiring, and I feel like she is describing my students when she tells us about her own students and experience bringing mindfulness in the classroom. I need to know more so I write to her ,and she tells me about the online training given by Mindful Schools.

Training with Mindful Schools: I start with the six weeks mindfulness fundamentals and follow through with the mindful educator course. I feel very lucky to have received a scholarship because this training is very complete and thorough, but would have been inaccessible to me as I’m paying it on my own.   Not only does this training help my students, it also helps me face difficulties and deal with my emotions better. Things are still hard sometimes, but I feel like I have a better tool set to face them.

Introducting mindfulness at school: To give me courage, I start offering a mindfulness workshop once every two weeks for interested students. As the meetings go by, I gather experience and confidence with this ideal group. I then introduce mindfulness as a daily routine to my different groups. I am amazed by the curiosity and willingness to try that my students are showing. Most importantly, I feel that my most difficult, disturbing students are responding to this very positively. I also welcome their suspicious as to this “voodoo stuff” and discuss research and brain functioning with them. I really like how it creates an open, ready-to-learn environment where the students are taking time to slow down and connect before starting to work. Is it time lost? Not really. Since they are relaxed and available, I don’t need to bring them back to the activities as much, instructions and modelling take less time because their attention is there, and I can tap in to their new capacity to pay attention with a shared and understood vocabulary.

The results of implementing mindfulness in my classroom might sound magical and untrue. And yet, they are real. My students are still teenagers, but somehow, they are more focused, calmer and more available to learning, to their peers and to my interventions. I really love our 15 minutes of practice each class because it gives me a chance to teach them something out of the curriculum that is precious and truly helpful. I am really glad to have done this! Let me know what you think!