5-ingredient Peppermint Chocolate Fudge

Stole this delish healthy chocolate fudge recipe from @healthfood and added a christmas twist to it.

Peppermint chocolate fudge

Recipe 
2 cups dark unsweetened chocolate for melting (dairy-free) (if using semisweet chocolate omit the sugar)
1 cup almond or cashew butter
3/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp peppermint extract
Crushed mint candies for garnish

Melt all ingredients together in a glass bowl over a pot of hot water. Not boiling. Pour into a baking pan lined with parchment. Garnish with candies. Refrigerate for 1 hour and cut into squares.

Working Out High - 5 Tips on How to Workout High Safely

Working Out High 

5 Tips on How to Workout High Safely

 By: Sumera Quadri 

Now that recreational Cannabis is legal in Ontario, it is critical for gyms, fitness professionals, and those involved in sport and recreation, like me, to first educate ourselves about the new law, second, acknowledge that our class participants may be using while in our programs, and lastly, provide some tips on how to workout safely while high.

Currently, there seems to be a lack of research online exploring the connection between Cannabis and exercise. Many articles and blogs focus on how the drug impacts male workout and sports performance, with little on female performance. I’d say this is a start to a larger discussion that needs to happen.

Based on available findings, many report that getting high before a workout can make the workout more enjoyable. A blogger, Sam Smith, found that he had the best workout experience while being high. He noted his ability to exercise for a longer period of time and complete more repetitions. Lea, the owner of, Break the Stigma Fitness, the first cannabis-friendly-fitness facility in the world, has been offering Cannabis-infused fitness classes including Yoga and Kickboxing. She mentions that she herself has been using Cannabis to treat her chronic pain brought about by a connective tissue disease. While exercising high may bring about better results for some, the drug has been noted to in fact reduce performance, mental capacity (i.e. paranoia and hallucinations) and slow down one’s reaction time and coordination which can lead to an increased risk of injury.

On a personal note, my grandmother, who had a stroke last year, and my aunt, who was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and experiences Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms, a condition that caused her to leave her job and masters program and instead become bedridden, have both reported that the use of Cannabis on occasion has helped them alleviate their pain and become more physically active.

Here are my 5 tips on how to workout high safely:

  1. Before using Cannabis for exercise, speak to your doctor or nurse about the risks and benefits of doing so. For those using medicinal marijuana to alleviate any pain symptoms preventing them for living a healthy active lifestyle, ask how much of a dose you need and what options are best for exercising with your condition. According to men’s health CBD (cannabidiol), is a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana that many athletes claim enhances recovery.

Do note, if you’re new to working out or are just getting back into it after a pregnancy, injury, or health condition, you are always encouraged to fill out PARQ forms to assess your readiness and to speak to your doctor.

2. Let your gym, facility and/or instructor know ahead of time that you’re working out high. Let them know you’ve discussed this with your doctor and are aware of the risks. It’s important to let those in charge know as they will feel liable if anything happens to you while you’re on their premises. In case of an emergency, they will also be able to share your drug usages with the right parties, similar to those taking heart medications.

 3. Stick to a workout you know and are comfortable doing. If you do weights, try doing them sitting or lying down in case you become dizzy and light headed. If you prefer low impact cardio, do a class you already know and with an instructor, you know. It’s best not to try any new exercises, high impact workouts, or enhance the exercise (making it longer or adding more weight) in case the drug causes a negative effect. According to the Government of Canada, “cannabis can slow reaction times, lower your ability to pay attention, harm coordination, and can lead to disorganized thoughts.”

 4. Workout around others. In case your high turns bad during a workout, (i.e. causing hallucinations, paranoia, and/or lower blood pressure which can make you feel light-headed) you can reach out for help instantly. If you’re at home alone, have your phone nearby in case of an emergency.

5. If you experience any pain, STOP! You cannot gain if you’re in pain.

The goal of a workout is to enhance one’s mind, body, and spirit. If you’re achieving this while high, then that’s worth noting and maybe even sticking to unless it causes long-term health concerns.

 Wishing you a healthy active lifestyle this winter season.

Sources:

  1. https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/optimal-strain-can-smoking-weed-improve-your-workout/

  2. https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/health/a14426770/marijuana-workout-tips-benefits/

  3. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/heres-why-working-out-while-high-is-probably-a-bad-idea

  4. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a19520865/workout-exercise-marijuana-weed/

  5. https://www.ontario.ca/page/cannabis-legalization

  6. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/health/campaigns/cannabis/health-effects.html

  7. https://wgntv.com/2018/03/14/exercise-and-cannabis-combine-at-colorado-gym/

  8. https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19871657/effects-of-marijuana-before-workout/

  9. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476

  10. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cbd-oil-benefits#section1

5  Fun and Affordable Ways To Stay Active This Fall  

5  Fun and Affordable Ways To Stay Active This Fall

By: Sumera Q, Fusion Cardio Toronto

 High Park Trails

High Park Trails

Fall is one of my favourite seasons in Canada. Maybe its because of the cooler weather conditions and the beautiful colours of the leaves. Or maybe, it has to do with its nutritious and yummy produce like pumpkins, apples, and corn all of which I love using to make delicious soups, protein shakes, and low-fat desserts. Whatever it is that has me hooked, here are 5 ways to stay active this season:

1.      Workout In High Park (Cost: Free to $30)

High Park is a beautiful place to enjoy a free hike, bike ride or walk. It’s trails and Zoo are totally free. If you go in the day, you can take a tour of Colborne Lodge, one of Toronto's oldest historical homesm for around $8 per person. In October, it has a Halloween Spooky trail walk which sold out fairly quickly last year so definitely try and give this activity a go.

2.      Visit a Pumpkin/Corn Maze Farm (Cost: $10 to $15 for admission)

These attractions are typically out of the city and a fun activity for larger groups and families. The farms offer corn maze walks, playground areas, and scary barns allowing for some low impact exercise.

3.      Go Apple Picking (Cost: $20 and up)

Also located outside of the city, apple farms allow the public to come in, pick their own apples for a set price, and to connect with food in a way that they don’t normally get too. Apple picking is also a great upper body workout. While this festivity falls on the higher end of the scale, you can always pickle, puree and freeze apples for smoothies and pies for up to a few months.

4. Attend Fall Events (Cost: Free) 

Many organizations across Toronto will be hosting free Fall events to promote their programs and services. The Bloor West often hosts a festivals with free crafts for kids, pumpkin carving, and prizes. The City of Toronto (link) has a list of free events for the public too.

5.   Weekly Coffee Walks (Cost: $2 and up)

Turn coffee time it into a weekly form of exercise. Ask a friend to meet you at a cafe and get your favorite tea or coffee (healthier options here) and take it for a walk. To achieve the benefits of low impact cardio, try and make your walk at least 30-minutes long. 

Hope these suggestions help.

 Sources:

  1. https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/13-ways-to-stay-fit-this-fall/slide-2

  2. https://www.care2.com/greenliving/7-creative-ways-to-stay-active-this-fall.html

  3. https://sunwarrior.com/healthhub/11-ways-to-stay-outside-and-active-this-fall

  4. http://www.athletico.com/2016/10/07/5-fun-ways-stay-active-fall/

  5. https://www.toronto.com/things-to-do/10-things-toronto-fall/

  6. https://www.blogto.com/eat_drink/2016/08/12_orchards_for_apple_picking_near_toronto/

  7. https://www.downeysfarm.com/downeys-farm-market-admission.htm

  8. https://www.brooksfarms.com/fallfunfestival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delicious Pumpkin Pie Square Recipe - Healthy, Low-Carb, Gluten and Dairy-free

Pumpkin Pie Recipe - Gluten-free, Keto-friendly, healthy.jpg

Bringing in my favorite season with a delicious Pumpkin Pie Square Recipe!

Healthy, low-carb and dairy and gluten-free. Desserts don't have to be bad for you when made nutritiously, are low in sugar and fat, and consumed moderately.

Here's the Recipe:

Filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c almond milk (homemade)
  • 1/2 c maple syrup or raw orange honey
  • 2 c pumpkin puree (no sugar added)
  • 1 tsp each cinnamon & ginger
  • 1/4 tsp each nutmeg, cloves & cardamom 
  • 2 tbsp vanilla puree (I use clear mexican vanilla)

Crust

  • 3/4 cup ground almonds or almond meal
  • 1/4 cup ground walnuts or oatmeal
  • 1/4 c coconut oil
  • 1tbsp vanilla
  •  

Method:

blend all crust ingredients in a food processor until combined. Pour and press into a non stick 8×8 pan lined with parchment. bake at 350 degrees c for 15 mins or until golden brown. set aside to cool. Mix all wet ingredients in a food processor. then add filling to cool crust. bake at 350 degrees c for 60 to 75 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. I prefer utensils over toothpick tests.

Slice into squares, enjoy with coffee, and eat!

#dessert #pumpkinpie #autumn #healthyeating #healthydesserts #sweet #yummy #delicious #baking #nutrition #fitness #healthyrecipes #pumpkin #vegetarianrecipes #love #lowcarb #lowsugar #glutenfree #dairyfree

5 Reasons To Warm Up Before You Exercise This Winter

5 Reasons To Warm Up Before You Exercise This Winter -

 Geared For Those Who Enjoy Group Exercise Classes and Solo Workouts

By: S. Quadri, Fusion Cardio Toronto

During the winter, many of us will be rushing indoors to avoid the bone-chilling effects of the cold. The winter’s baggage which also includes a lack of sunlight, along with shorter days and longer nights, will make hibernation seem like the best choice of activity. Put simply, the winter climate can make exercising seem like a drag. The good news is that there’s a way to make working out during this time of year easier. The secret is the warm-up.

 Here’s Why

1.    It prepares you both mentally and physically – the music, type of class, instructor, and movements, all help to excite the body’s systems (mind, body, and spirit)

2.    It creates energy for the workout – warm-ups help to circulate the blood and deliver oxygen to cells to create energy (ATP) for the upcoming physical activity

3. It Reduces injuries – the increase in body temperature caused by the body’s systems helps to make the joints and muscles pliable and flexible to performing a broader range of motion

4.    It encourages success – Warm-ups combine the movements that you will see throughout the session which helps to make the workout easy to follow and enjoyable

5.    It creates social opportunities – Joining a group exercise class/physical activity in time for the warm-up gives you the opportunity to choose who you want to workout beside and possibly get to know. If you don’t like working out alone, finding someone like you can help motivate you to return throughout the winter and onward.

If you’re into working out alone, here are some warm-up tips to help you during the season

Tips on How To Warm Up Alone Indoors

  • Use dynamic stretches (stretches with motion) (leg kickbacks, arm crosses/circles, marches, brisk walking, spot jogs)
  • Avoid static stretching as these are used to encourage relaxation
  • Drink lots of water before the workout
  • Show up dressed to workout and dress warm, you can always remove layers later

 Tips on How To Warm Up Alone Outdoors

  • Dress warm - find out what materials are best for the type of workout and are ideal for the cold temperatures that you will be in
  • Drink lots of water before the warm-up
  • Spend more time warming up the body (before a run, walk briskly, or before a skate, do a few laps)
  • Make warm-ups longer to help the body cope with the cold weather
  • Take in long deep breaths that will be used to create energy for the upcoming workout
  • Plan workouts that are during the day when it’s warmer and on days when it’s sunny. You can view 14-day weather trends on most weather websites.

NOTE: If you’re working out in the winter or early morning, the warm-up period should be longer as the body may be stiff due to a lack of movement. New beginners, older adults, and pregnant women need longer warm-up periods. These groups should always consult with a doctor to find out what is safe for them.

To read more about winter warm-ups and workouts, please do feel free to check out the sources listed below.

References

  1. Erickson, Marla, 2014, Components of a Fitness Class, Fitness Instructor Specialist, Canadian Fitness Professionals, p. 109 p. 116.
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-does-cold-weather-affect-your-health
  3. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140107-what-extreme-cold-does-to-human
  4. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/do-your-muscles-hurt-more-when-its-cold-out#1
  5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php
  6. https://www.mensfitness.com/training/seven-tips-winter-running
  7. http://www.nsmi.org.uk/articles/injury-prevention/warming-up.html
  8. https://healthyliving.azcentral.com/five-safety-guidelines-exercising-1339.html
  9. https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/health/conditions/symptoms-of-vitamin-d-deficiency/?page=4
  10. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/stretch-workout
  11. https://www.jillianmichaels.com/blog/health-and-fitness/6-bad-fitness-habits-you-should-break
  12. https://www.mensfitness.com/life/entertainment/heres-why-you-want-sleep-more-winter

Easy Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oatmeal  (gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free)

I come from a line of Brits. Not heritage wise but I’m a Brit. And Brits love their porridge (what we Canadians call Oatmeal). The great thing about Oatmeal is that it’s packed with iron, fiber, protein and is low in fat and sugar. Huffington Post has noted its impact on reducing high cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar levels. To shake up your oatmeal this fall, try my overnight recipe.

Easy Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oatmeal (gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free)

  •  1/2 cup Oats (can by gluten-free steel cut or rolled oats)
  •  3/4 cup liquid (cashew milk, rice milk, water etc)
  •  1 teaspoon Chia or Flax seeds
  •  1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & cloves)
  •  3 tbsp pumpkin puree (no sugar added)
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup/honey or ½ ripe banana mashed into pulp

Method: place all ingredients together in a jar and seal with a lid. Shake the jar well and place in the fridge overnight. Eat in the morning for breakfast or as a snack.  

 My Tip: I add in crushed vitamin C and D3 capsules to help build my immunity in the winter. Also, I like to sub the pumpkin for dairy-free cocoa powder to make it brownie-like. When it comes to the seeds, while both seeds above are said to be healthy, they should be used carefully as they are high in fat.

Test 2 Prevent - Type 2 Diabetes

According to the International Diabetes Federation, "Intensive lifestyle modification, involving the adoption of healthy diets and increased physical activity, remains the cornerstone for the prevention of type 2 diabetes."

To find out your risk of developing type 2 Diabetes,  take their Test 2 Prevent test here: https://www.idf.org/type-2-diabetes-risk-assessment/

Best Shoes For Dance Workouts and Classes - Under $80

Throughout the last years, I’ve seen my share of shoes. And I’ve worn my share of shoes. Shoes that look great on but aren’t functional for dance workouts/dance classes. I’ve seen some come in with heels, others in winter boots, and some in sandals. I’ve even seen some participants throw off their shoes in the middle of a class because they just aren’t able to move in them as they’d like to. Wearing the wrong shoes in a dance class is like driving a car in the snow with summer tires. You’re getting by until one day, you just can’t.

To help you find the best shoe for your dance workouts/classes, without breaking the bank, I’ve put together a quick list of inexpensive shoes available in Toronto and online. Most of the shoe brands and styles on the list I’ve purchased and really liked wearing.

1) Dance Sneakers (suitable for high impact dance workouts/classes)

Reebok Women's Hayasu (Starting at C$40 Reebok online)

Reebox Women's Pilox Dance Sneaker (C$60 Sears Canada)

RYKA’s Women's 'Grafik' Training/Studio Dance Shoe (C$70 at Sears Canada)

Pastry’s Hip Hop Dance Sneakers (C$70 at Dance Wear Center)

2) Jazz Sneakers (suitable for dance classes)

American Ballet Theatre Women’s Twin Gore (C$30 at Payless Canada)

Capezio DS29 High Top Split Sole Dance Sneakers ($40 at Dance Wear Center)

Canvas Phanton Bloch Jazz Show (C$56 at Malabar Toronto)

3) No to Low-Cost Options

An old walking shoe (with a flat bottom that has minimal grip and allows you to twist and turn easily). Running shoes are not ideal as they are made for forward motion.

Barefoot (jumping and rumbling may have an impact on your knee joints and ankles. If you tend to get sweaty feet, this option may not work well.

Investing in a good pair of shoes will pay off if you’re getting the results you want. And you don’t have to spend over $90 to reach it.

The one thing I wish for all of you is fewer injuries and better performance.

For further reading, check out these articles:

Shape: http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/beauty-style/best-sneakers-crush-your-workout-routines

Elle Magazine: http://www.elle.com/fashion/news/g26198/podiatrist-approved-workout-shoes/?slide=5

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Fusion Cardio Toronto's Summer E-news: Save Now on Fall Classes & more...

This issue includes savings on 14-weeks of women and girls' fall classes, free intro classes, healthy recipes and more!