Category Archives: Healthy Living/Running

Training Week 1: The Bumpy Road to Auckland Half Marathon

So excited to be running the Auckland Half Marathon again! I ran it nearly 4 years ago just before we decided to try for number 2 (who is now Little Miss).  Running over the bridge from Devonport back into the city was exhilarating, I’ve always loved that view. It was my first road race, my first half being an offroad in Hanmer Forest. I then ran my 2 main bucket list races in New York city – the women’s 10K and the MORE Fitness Women’s Half Marathon.

I can only wish that the last few months while I should have been building my base miles would have gone smoother, but they were anything but. I suffered an ankle injury (again!) that kept me off the road for the better part of 2 months. This injury overlapped with a nagging sinus infection – also taking over the better part of 2 months of my life. The 2 combined to zap me of energy and send me into a bit of a downward spiral exercise wise.  I tried Pilates for the first time and integrated stretches into my daily routine to help with my ankle injury. But the pounding sinus headaches and on-again-off-again dizziness associated with the sinusitis made it hard for me to do even the Bikram yoga I had picked up again and was doing religiously 3-4 times per week. I struggled to breathe, bend and spent most of the last class I did on my back in Savasanas rather than getting into pose.

6 Simple Ways I’m Losing Weight

Some of you may know that around this time last year I was finishing up 6 months on the  Shaklee 180 program where I lost 25lbs along with the help of my fellow bloggers. We started out strong as 60 women all looking to lose anywhere from 10 pounds upwards to 50 pounds plus. I originally was aiming for 10, but once I got started the reality of how much more weight I could actually shift and feel stronger and healthier, my goal changed to 20 pounds.

I must have been ready to lose the weight, because I never suffered any major setbacks. I stepped up my running once again and stayed on the program and smashed my goals. I finished off the 6 months feeling confident that I’d be able to keep the weight off, after all I’d gone from 2 smoothies a day, healthy snacks with a sensible dinner to only 1 smoothie a day at the start of month 5. I was even able to go to Disney and Sesame Place without majorly overindulging.  The next year was a little crazy, and I’ve already beaten myself up about not maintaining. But as my sister reminds me, I did live through my husband’s mysteriously illness that had me calling an ambulance in the middle of the night fearing for his life and 2 hospital stays for him in less than a month; a gigantic cross the world move from New York city to New Zealand; settling the family; working nights back to the US for 3 months and then going straight into a job that was not quite what I wanted (can you say high stress?). 

I haven’t actually weighed myself since being here – my trusty scale no longer works. I’m not sure if it broke in the move or whether being in NZ is screwing up the mechanics, you know, like how our toilets swirl the other way downunder 😉 I admit taking measurements and weighing myself were definitely great motivators last year as I shed the pounds. Some weeks the inches melted off my hips, some weeks the pounds fell off at a respectable 2-3 pounds per week. But, I’ve always gone on how I “feel” in my clothes. When my pants are a little tight, when my pooch hangs over my jeans, when I start to tug at my tops, those to me are all signs that the weight is coming back on. Emotionally I start to feel not as fit as well, my mind starts playing games and what I see in the mirror is not necessarily the reality.

What I Love Wednesday: Eyebrows, Hammies and Cosy Toes

Happy Wednesday! What better way to get through hump day and middle of the week slump than to recognize all the great people, spaces and places that are bringing sunshine to an otherwise rainy winter in Auckland. So without further ado, here goes!

Cheap and cheerful ugg boots (fake ones!) to keep my feet warm // Eyebrow threading to rejuvenate my tired eyes // Superfruits tea on a  cold morning // Clipper Organic White Tea with raspberry as a warming afternoon drink // My high powered Optimum 9400 blender is making baking, smoothies and all kinds of healthy treats mega easy to create // #radicalselflovejuly with @galadarling // Joining up to a friendly new gym, setting new fitness goals and finally strengthening up my hammies and glutes with the hopes of less run injuries // Planning fun things to do with Mr P over his school holidays //

An honorable mention for the powerful #LikeAGirl campaign – watch the video below and see what you think. I’m definitely inspired to choose my words wisely especially in front of my son and daughter. After all, actions speak louder than words.

What’s rocking your life at the mo’?

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Healthy & Chewy Chocolate Black Bean Brownies

I’ve seen recipes for healthy black bean brownies all over the internet. I have a sweet tooth, so I have been wanting to try my hand at making them. Now that I have a high powered Optimum 9400 blender, they were easy peasy to whip up! The one problem that people talk about is the dryness of some of the black bean brownie recipes. So, I decided to mash up a few different recipes and come up with what is undoubtedly the chewiest black bean brownie recipe. These are beyond decadent, and you won’t even know that the only chocolate in the ingredients are just 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips.

Chocolatey and tasty, these bad boys are a triple threat, packed full of fibre, protein and anti-oxidants. A cup of black beans is equivalent to two 8 ounces glasses of milk, plus the added benefit of fibre.

Easy to make in an Optimum blender, healthy profile and a nice snack to satisfy your sweet tooth, I bet you want the recipe, right?

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The chewy texture and sweetness comes from the medjool dates – also a fiber filled powerhouse. Applesauce keeps them moist and the cocoa powder and chocolate chips give that authentic chocolate flavour. I chose to make them into little brownie bites to keep myself from eating an entire brownie pan. Be warned that your kids will love these, Mr P polished off 3 with a glass of milk in no time – he would’ve eaten more if I’d let him (side note: these are fibre filled, so its to your benefit to NOT go overboard…if you know what I mean!).

And if you want to make it even that much more healthier, its super easy to blend up your own applesauce with a hint of cinnamon.

(Mouseover the top right hand corner and pin the recipe for later!)



  • 400g can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 + 1/4 of chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce
  • 12 Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Recipe makes 36 mini bites using a miniature muffin tray.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Use coconut oil to grease the muffin tray.

Mix all the ingredients together in the Optimum blender except for the chocolate chips. Blend until smooth. Once blended, add the chocolate chips and mix by hand. Scoop the mixture out by the tablespoon, I added 3 chips to the top of each mini bite before sliding the tray into the oven.

Let bake for 20-25 minutes. You don’t want the bites to get too hard, just a bit crunchy on the top. Let cool for 5 minutes then pour a glass of milk and enjoy!

I made this recipe again, this time opting to make it in a brownie pan. I also did not have applesauce so used a small banana instead. Needless to say equally chocolatey moist taste!

Have you tried black bean brownies before? Let me know how you go with this recipe.

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First Impressions of the Optimum 9400 Blender

The Optimum 9400 blender has been recognized as the No.1 Vitamix rival. So I was excited to be invited as a Friend of Froothie by the New Zealand distributor of the Optimum 9400 to put this powerful blender to the test. In just a few days I have created so much more than just smoothies – everything from black bean brownies, to sauces, soups and desserts.

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I’ve only had it for about a week, but this is what I’m digging about the Optimum 9400 Blender so far:

  • The BPA Free 2L jug, big enough to create large batches of healthy soups, desserts and smoothies for the whole family
  • The tamper tool
  • Everyone’s fruit and veggie intake is up, its easy to blend anything from spinach to beetroot right into a smoothie
  • The amount of time saved, a soup takes about 10-15 minutes from start to finish and it comes up smooth, creamy and warm
  • The simple to use variable speed control
  • Easy to clean, just whizz on variable setting 8 with 1L of water and a drop of soap
  • How easy and quick it is to create healthy and tasty snacks, meals and smoothies
  • The free book of inspirational smoothies, soups and desserts that comes free with every blender
  • This blender is crushing ice like a boss! Many blenders claim to do this, but not all truly do!

To find out what else I’m digging about the Optimum 9400 blender and to hear my first impressions, check out the video below. Hint: I loooove this blender – it’s changing our entire family’s lives!

The Newbies Guide to Bikram Yoga

If you’ve never been to Bikram Yoga, you may be wondering what to expect. You’ve heard it is a 90 minute yoga class in intense sweat inducing heat, so why do people either love it or loathe it?? I’m on the love it side of the fence for so many reasons…The most obvious reasons being the physical – increased flexibility, weight loss and strength, and the mental benefits – have you ever experienced a yoga high? No? Try any yoga for this euphoric sense of lightness and peace.

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I met the owner of Christchurch’s only Bikram Studio about 10 years ago at a Women’s Lifestyle Expo. She offered me a pass to come as often as I wanted over the course of a week. She said if I made it to the studio at least 2 times I would have made my my money back. If I made it to the studio within 3 times in 7 days, she promised I would be hooked and my body would love me for it. My husband happened to be away on business that week, so I made it in for a class 4 times that week and I was instantly hooked. The weight dropped drastically at the beginning, sugar cravings lessened, my skin looked great and at night I slept like a baby while by day I had a ton of energy.