What’s your fitness regime? Are you a runner or a biker? A swimmer, a rower or a bit of all the above? :)
I identify as a runner! No matter what is going on in a day, it’s always easy to lace up the old runners and head out for a jaunt around the neighbourhood. There’s something so freeing about the ability to just leave everything behind and get up and go! I don’t know why, but I also love the solo time a long run provides. Once I get lost in the rhythms of my iPhone and the steady tempo of my footsteps, I find that I have a clarity to my thoughts that only comes with exercise. Do you ever feel like that too?
This past October, I decided to switch things up a notch with fitness. As much as I loved running, I found that I wasn’t getting out for enough runs in Vancouver’s dark and rainy winter months. It was too depressing to venture outdoors! I wanted to find something that was going to challenge me, help me get stronger and easily become a part of my routine in all seasons. Signing up for a gym membership seemed a bit drab, so when a friend mentioned crossfit group classes I was instantly curious. Crossfit. What was that?
I had no clue what crossfit entailed, but had heard the word a ton and noticed that crossfit gyms were popping up around Vancouver like little jack-in-the-boxes. I did my research, and learned that crossfit involved cardio, core-strengthening and weight lifting (the last of which was something I had never attempted in my life and was very nervous about.) Despite my inhibitions I decided to give it a try, and checked out my local gym “Crossfit Optimum Performance” on 6th and Ash. I bit the bullet, joined, and needless to say, I loved it!
I’ve now been at “COP” for 9 months! Every workout is exerting, but with the support of the awesome coaches Mitch and Brad, along with the close friendships I’ve made in the small morning group classes, I look forward to every work out! It’s such a great change to be stronger, fitter and part of an athletic community that gets me feeling healthy and challenged.
What’s your favourite regime? Have you had any lightbulb moments yourself that have made you feel healthier and happier? A friend of mine recently began spin classes, and is absolutely hooked!
Recently, I thought it would be a nice touch to bring in some Blue Owl baked goods for the crossfit morning crew. It was a challenge figuring out what to bake since all of the athletes are extremely healthy people who don’t dip into the cookie jar so often! To top it off, the Palaeolithic or “caveman” diet is popular with crossfitters. Paleo consists mainly of a fish, grass-fed/pasture raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit diet, excluding grains, legumes, dairy products, refined salt, refined sugar. Wow, tough for a baker! How do you bake without butter and flour?
Well thank goodness for word-of-mouth. My friend Justin from COP ended up recommending a banana bread recipe that used coconut flour. He had tried the bread at the Crossfit Regionals and had a hankering for some more! After a quick stop off at Whole Foods, I had all the supplies I needed to put my tools to work. The banana bread turned out to be richly flavourful, moist, with a full nutty crunch. I loved it and I am not a gluten-free-baker by choice! Here it is for you:
Caveman Banana Bread
Yield: 1 loaf. Supplies: 1 standard loaf pan. Time: 1 hour 15. Bake Time: 45-60 mins. Temp: 350 degrees.
Ingredients 4 bananas (ripe! Frozen works too) 4 eggs (we used ours! Try to get free range) 1/2 cup apple butter or almond butter* 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted 1 tbsp vanilla 1/2 cup coconut flour 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder pinch of salt 1 cup whole walnuts1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 2. In a mixer or large bowl, blend together bananas, eggs, apple butter/almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla. 3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt with a whisk or fork. 4. Slowly blend dry ingredients into wets, stirring only until just combined. Don’t add walnuts yet. 5. Grease loaf pan with a little coconut oil and pour in banana mixture until almost full. Sprinkle walnuts ontop of loaf. 6. Bake in preheated oven for45-55 minutes or until wooden skewer comes out clean from centre. (shish kabob skewers work well). 7. Cool loaf in pan for 10 minutes, then scrape a butter knife along the edges of the pan. With oven mitts in hand gently shake pan back and forth to remove it from bottom and sides. Place one oven mitt on top of pan and turn pan upside-down. Loaf should fall out of pan into your oven mitt. Have cooling rack ready, and cool loaf on pan for about 20 minutes. Don’t cut right away to serve or else the loaf will break apart. *I used homemade apple butter in place of almond butter because I didn’t have any almond butter on hand. Apple butter is condensed apple sauce and you can buy it at most grocery stores. The apple butter ended up being a great substitute for the almond butter and made for a lovely moist loaf. Also, I think using the apple helped isolate the walnut as the main nut on the scene! We don’t want no competition Almonds. ;)
Recipe Credit: civilized caveman
And there you have it! This is a great recipe for those experimenting with gluten free and paleo diets. My friend Justin swears that this banana bread tastes as good as the real thing! I laughed when he said that. So if you’re craving coming back “to the dark side” aka to good-old-fashioned-baking-land, this banana bread is a satisfying wanna-be. Perfect for a post-WOD, light breakfast, or afternoon snack! Bring on the yummy healthy baking, I say.
PS: On the exercise theme..I’m curious- have you ever been lost on a run? I had to share.. One time I was visiting my brother in Chelsea, London and got totally turned around amidst the white marbled streets. I was so utterly lost and it was terrifying! I ended up finding a corner pub and facebooked him from my ipod touch.(Thank goodness for wifi!)
I hope you have a wonderful week full of your favourite exercise in whatever form it may be!