The Grind 

The Grouse Grind

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Healthy Happy Hiking Snacks

The Grind is taking up a fair amount of my spare time right now so it’s going to be the subject of another blog post. This one to be exact.

The stairmaster-esque climb, the intense sweating, the checking of the heart rate every few minutes and the unbelievably long time it takes to get to the first quarter mark can make this hike feel like a special form of torture. But, that said, it’s the best and quickest way for me to achieve my summer fitness goals. And, for this reason, in spite of all of my complaining, I kinda love it.

The Grouse GrindHowever, my fitness level is at a point where I definitely have to sit and take a break part way up. I stare into space for a while, gulp down some water and text a few friends the exact same message “I’m in actual hell right now”. Then I usually hear my stomach grumble angrily. The last time this happened I devoured a sugary granola bar but…no more. I’m eating clean and sugar free now. So for my grumbly, half way up the mountain hunger pains I’ve made a yummy, no-sugar alternative. I tried these snacks for the first time a few days ago and my verdict is YUM.

Disclaimer: this recipe is only delicious after you’ve been sugar free for a while and have reset your taste buds.

Here’s my easy as (sugar free) pie recipe:

Workout Cookies

2 ripe, mashed bananas
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
a dash of cinnamon
Mix all ingredients, drop by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

sugar free cookies

There you have it. Take these on your next trek into the woods and your body with thank you.

Cocktail Hour

I did my first Grouse Grind of the season yesterday and, because I actually managed to stagger to the top of the mountain, I feel like I deserve a delicious, chilled cocktail tonight.

I had forgotten just how grueling the infamous, straight-up-the-mountain trek is. My little heart was pounding (feverishly at times), I was covered in sweat for, oh I don’t know, maybe 99% of the climb and my breathing was reminiscent of Darth Vader.

Yep, I definitely deserve a drink.

As you probably know if you’re following me/reading this, my blog is dedicated to healthy living, so I like to keep my drinks as healthy as possible too. My kind of cocktail has to be tasty but also shouldn’t negate my hard work and discipline during the previous week. So that means minimal sugar and all natural ingredients. No high fructose corn syrup, food colouring or sweet liqueurs allowed in the house.

I’m sharing a recipe for one of my summer faves that meets all of the criteria.  It’s naturally sweet, pure and simple, and also full of hydrating, antioxidant watermelon.

If there ever was a guilt free cocktail, this is it:

The Pink Martini

  • 1 – 2 ounces vodka
  • 1/3 cup pureed watermelon
  • Mint
  • Small amount shaved ice

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Blend all ingredients together, pour into one of your favourite glasses, sit back and watch the world go by….

It’s a Grind

Love/hate relationships.

They’re powerful, exciting and endlessly dramatic. The proverbial emotional rollercoaster with dizzying highs and crushing lows. Have I mentioned that I happen to have one with the Grouse Grind? It’s been going on for years and seems to only be getting stronger as time goes by.

On the one hand, I love the forest. The scent of the trees and bright green moss growing along the side of the trail create the sweetest, freshest air to breathe into your hard-working lungs as you huff and puff your way up the mountain. Nature’s aromatherapy. The intense beauty of the forest also never ceases to amaze me. Especially on a misty, foggy afternoon when the path looks exactly like the enchanted forest of my favourite childhood fairy tale. Who wouldn’t love an enchanted forest?

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On the other hand, there’s the actual issue of the climb. I haven’t quite experienced anything like it on any other trail (thank goodness). It’s almost straight up the mountain at times and there is no reprieve. No flat stretch to catch your breathe and psych yourself up for the next punishing climb. Nope, none of that. Just full-on, straight up. Switchbacks are non-existent here. And every time I find myself back on the Grind, I question my sanity as I make my way along what seems like a never-ending vertical trail. “What is wrong with me?” my internal voice shrieks. “There are so many more beautiful, more sane hikes in BC. Why do I keep torturing myself with this one? This is it. I mean it this time. Never again!” I repeat a version of this over and over again as I crawl over rocks and roots on my journey through hell, unfortunately knowing on some level that, like a co-dependant lover, no matter what I say, I’ll probably be back for more.

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I finally emerge from the woods, panting, glistening with sweat and smeared with a good bit of dirt. I plop to the ground, gulp the last of my water, catch my breathe, wipe my brow and, finally, take a look around.

And what I see is magnificent. A beautiful Atlantis sparkles below me. The sun is starting to set and it is stunning to see from the top of Grouse. I also have a sweet sense of accomplishment. I did it. I made it to the top! And, in a flash, all of the nasty, hateful thoughts of the past 1 hour and 20 minutes are gone, and all I’m left with is love.

And the cycle begins again.

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