Friday Five: Why I’m proud to be Canadian

Today I’m taking a little bit of a different spin on the usual Friday five hosted by Mar, Cynthia and Courtney. As many of you probably heard, there was a gunman at my nation’s capital on Wednesday. I ran my first race along those roads, in front of that memorial, and that building. A young, unarmed Canadian soldier was gunned down while standing ceremonial guard at a statue that honours those who sacrificed themselves for our freedom.

This isn’t something I ever thought I would see happen in my country, at a place I love. My Mom and I have spent many a day in Ottawa celebrating Canada, celebrating our countries birth, celebrating who we are as Canadian. I’ve always felt a strong tie to my nation, and I want to share five reasons why, today.

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1) Our diversity

From sea to sea we have a wide variety of languages, backgrounds, and religions represented, and for the most part – we live rather peacefully. The most popular last names in Canada are Smith, Singh and Ng (Huffington Post), which should tell you everything. In addition, the land itself varies. We have mountains, prairies, arctic, three oceans, a crazy amount of freshwater, and incredible sights to see.

2) Our traditions

We may be known for loving hockey, winter, and skating. We are known for saying “eh” and “aboot” and “zed,” and we eat amazing pastries called beaver tails and smile through (literally) any kind of weather. We have ketchup chips, coffee crisps, and our smarties are not the same as yours. Ours are chocolate, and therefore better. Real Maple Syrup. Ryan Gosling came from here (so did the Biebs, but we won’t talk about that). We also have some of the most walkable cities in the world. These things may not combine into one neat, packaged identity, but it is ours. They are things we do, and we are united in them.

3) Our character

We are a country that respects democracy, personal freedoms, and rule of law. We are (for the most part) a peaceful country. We react (again, for the most part) to tragedy with grace, good sense, and strength. As our national anthem states, “the true north strong and free.” We stand beside our friends and neighbours, and we have a pretty awesome national anthem (special thanks to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the US for standing in solidarity with us Wednesday).

4) Our pride

I have yet to meet a Canadian, from any background, who is not proud, in some respects, of this country. I like to talk about Canada, and as my roommates in Anaheim know, I’m more than open to answering questions. When a Canadian meets a fellow Canadian abroad, hugs and beers are generally exchanged. We are a family, we are united in our pride. The day after this tragedy, #myOttawa emerged. People are proud of where they live – and that pride will respond to any challenge.

5) Our resilience

This is not the first time that we have had to be resilient, as a nation. My heart goes out to those who have lost a loved one. We will react, we will evaluate, we are saddened. We are proud of Kevin Vickers, our Sergeant-At-Arms. We will stand back up. We will continue. We will not yield, and we will carry on.

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Meal prepping can be easy!

A year ago, I attempted meal prepping. I thought to myself, this has to be easy, if everybody is doing it! It’s going to save me so much time, and be wonderful. Well, that was a disaster. I didn’t attempt it again until my fiance suggested it earlier this semester. With school, work, hockey, gym, training and other life things happening for both of us, and with his help, I was ready to tackle it again.

Meal prepping = life changing. Here’s why and how meal prepping can truly be easy.

WHY Meal Prep?

Sometimes I get asked, especially from my friends or retired people I know who have way more time than me, “Why meal prep? Don’t you get bored?” The answer is no! Meal prepping actually gives me so much more time and room for creativity. I will use whatever protein we make and develop meals around it (like this Hungarian spinach my grandma and my Dad used to make for me).

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Here are my top three reasons for meal prepping.

1 // It helps me stay on track.

My exercising has been getting better, but it is always way too easy to reach for a cookie, or a candy, or too much cake or donuts. Meal prepping has helped me stay on track. It helps me meet my macros for proteins and carbs, and because everything is pre-packed and pre-made I rarely over or under eat.

In addition, with my allergies, it keeps me safe. I have a go-to meal, but I don’t have to use it, either. I can chop up the chicken, or turkey, or whatever we have pre-cooked and throw it into a stir-fry, a pasta dish, a salad, or even into a sandwich if I have the craving.

I have also found that since I’m eating less crap, I am craving less crap, and I actually feel WORSE after eating a cookie or chocolate – it doesn’t give me that insta-boost anymore.

2// It saves so much time and energy.

I spend 45 minutes to an hour food prepping on Sundays, and my fiance spends another 45 minutes to an hour food prepping on Wednesdays. We find it easier to break it into two manageable chunks. Sometimes we want to eat different things, or we know we are going out – and we just let the other person know to cook less.

It leads to less dishes, less time spent food prepping, and more quality time for each other. You can cook so much all at once – and if you have a super cool double oven all the power to you!

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3// It saves money

This is such an important reason for any student or anybody living on a budget. Our grocery bill has come down 40-50$ a weekand we spend less time at the grocery store. We also throw out less, because we are eating everything we make. You would think all that meat would get expensive – but we go to MnM meat shops with a discount card, or to a local farmer who raises meat hormone and antibiotic free. It comes to about $2.50 a chicken breast. Our fridge now looks like this: one giant container of carbs, one giant container of protein, and one giant container of veggies – plus some snacks.

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HOW we meal prep

On Sunday, I make 10 chicken breasts, a giant container of vegetables, chop up some raw veggies for snacking on, and make three – four cups of rice.

On Wednesday, my fiance makes 10 turkey breasts, a giant container of different vegetables, chops up more veggies, and makes three – four additional cups of rice.

We really like rice, but you can switch your carbs up. I’ve even started taking my chicken breast to work (where we get fed) and having it on top of a salad or whatever they have to offer at the employee buffet that night.

During the day, we start breakfast with eggs and oatmeal, snack on a piece of fruit, and then have a plate with chicken, 1/4 cup of rice, and double veggies for lunch.

For afternoon snack, we have nuts or trail mix and chopped up raw veggies. We both workout after school/work, and have a protein smoothie (him) or our shakeology (me). Then dinner is similar to lunch, except I usually build mine on top of a salad, or cook something quick like a bowl of pasta or just heat it all up for a stirfry.

I think it works well because we don’t make too much, but we make things that we can combine throughout the week to make multiple combinations.

Tell me all about your meal prepping. Do you meal prep? Do you want to start? What’s stopping you!? 

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