Real Life means many, many research papers and finals in my field of vision. They seem never-ending at this point in the semester. Whether you’re the one tip-tapping away on your keyboard or brandishing your new red pen, the last few weeks of a term are often a low-energy and high-requirements time of year, and it’s easy to get down about it.
Harley is an efficient but very harsh grader. The students hate when I let her grade their essays, but how else is it all going to get done?
Well, up, up, up we go! May is officially my challenge month. I am most productive when I challenge myself, and, since May is my first full month back in Belfast, I’m charging myself with being a new and better me. What am I doing?
1. I’m running my first 5K on 2 June, which means May is hard-core, prove-yourself time for my running shoes. I’m running to support Cancer Research UK and for my friend Neil, who lost his mother last autumn. To find out more about my dedication and my mission to go from lazy-buns to look-at-her-buns-go, visit my JustGiving page. Any support, even the kind that doesn’t involve dollar and pound signs, is very appreciated!
2. I’m doing a month-long squats challenge. By the end of the month, I should be able to do 250 squats in one day — just not all at once! I know it sounds silly, but squats are great for your body. I have to pay close attention to strengthening my knees (especially when it comes to Challenge #1 up there), and squats can also help you acquire better balance. AND (did you need an AND?), this point is going to sound really silly by the time I get to the end of it — just picture it — squats can help your body move things along that need to be moved along. Considering the biggest enemy I have in my body is, ahem, in that area, I could use all the help I could get.
3. Even though I saved this one for last, it’s not much of a surprise if you read the title of the post. I’m following Desi at Unconventional Kitchen in her Love Your Greens 30 Day Challenge. I love this challenge because it’s not a fast. It’s not making you give up your favourite dinner. It’s adding goodness into your diet, and the changes you make will happen organically. I’ve already felt this magic taking place in the past two years, as I crave something green on every plate and my sweet tooth has almost disappeared as my body has healed. It’s not too late to sign up for the program — it’s free, comes with a month’s worth of recipes plus extras, and has a built-in support group via Facebook. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Desi is so sweet and encouraging. (PS. If you get there from here, let me know! Team!)
As Desi has publicized the first recipe from the Love Your Greens Challenge, I thought I’d show you exactly what we had today. Believe me when I say that it was WAY better than I thought it would be. We left the house as soon as we finished them, and I was daydreaming about having more for about a half hour. I followed fairly close to her recipe, but she also permits making it your own, so I didn’t have to feel guilty about my switches. I’ll be posting more about my progress with the challenge, but you’ll have to sign up to get any more of Desi’s great recipes.
Desi’s Basic Green Smoothie (Sydney-style)
1/4 cup pineapple juice
3/4 cup water, divided
1 handful of spinach
1 handful of collard greens (Tesco only labelled them as ‘greens’, but this southern girl knows)
1 banana (fresh or frozen — I went fresh)
1 cup frozen strawberry, pineapple, and mango (mixed to whatever combination you want to make up the cup)
1 tablespoon flax meal
Small cup or bowl
Measuring spoons and cups
Mix together the flax meal and 1/4 cup of water in the small cup/bowl. Let stand to hydrate.
Dump the pineapple juice, remaining water, spinach, and collard greens into your blender. Blend until you don’t see any more big chunks of green. Add the frozen fruit, the banana, and flax-water mixture into the blender. Blend until you reach your desired consistency.
Taste it. If it’s not sweet enough for you, blend in some dates or raw honey. It was plenty sweet for us with the pineapple juice. It’s so tasty and refreshing, you’ll forget it’s good for you.