Good morning!

Are you feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed after yesterday’s extra hour of sleep? I have to admit, I didn’t spend my extra hour sleeping. For some reason, my brain was filled with all sorts of thoughts about things I wanted to get done before I joined some friends for a workout – one of which included…. cleaning my apartment. At 4:30am. I spent a while tossing and turning in bed trying to get myself to fall back asleep, but after 15 minutes gave up and got at it. Seriously, sometimes I question my sanity.

Annnyways…. in last month’s reader survey, you guys asked a whole bunch of great questions – many of which included things that I didn’t even think you’d be interested in. I’m committed to answering as many as possible, and have decided to start a monthly Q&A post. If  you’d like to ask a question for next month, you can do so here.

Without further delay, here’s the first batch of my As to your Qs.

Roasted Root Salad with Maple Orange Balsamic Glaze - Eat Spin Run Repeat

“You have so many awesome athletic friends! What’s the best way to meet so many like-minded people?”

I can’t argue there – I’m incredibly thankful for the posse of remarkably talented people in my life and feel honoured to be part of their social circles too. Before we get to how to meet like-minded friends, I have to say that I’m by no means an extrovert – in fact, quite the opposite. However, I think part of my answer can be attributed back to when my family lived in the Middle East.

I remember how, when going out to places like the grocery store, the moment I saw another white person I’d instantly feel this strange bond with them as a fellow expat living in a country where we were clearly the minority. Even though I never actually spoke to most of these people, I think it did make me more the type that strikes up conversations with complete strangers these days.

In addition to not being afraid to talk to people you don’t know (seriously, what’s the worst that could happen?), I think it’s really important to put yourself out there. Everyone has at least one hobby of some sort, and in my case, getting involved in running meant competing on my university’s varsity cross country team, doing a bunch of races outside of that, becoming a fitness instructor, taking group fitness classes and getting to know people at my gym. On the online side of things, I made friends with other bloggers just like they were real-life friends, and many of them have become exactly that. However, it doesn’t have to look this way. You could join a running group, start going to a Crossfit box or try a new fitness studio.

Celebratory post-race photos at Seawheeze 2015

When it comes to meeting people who inspire me, this is something I’d highly encourage anyone to do if you can. A couple of years ago, I sent an email to a pro triathlete who I thought was amazing and lo and behold, ended up meeting her in person and being coached by her husband. When I moved to Vancouver, I heard tons about an extremely talented age group triathlete who just so happened to teach at a local cycling studio. I started going to her classes and told her how inspired I was by everything she’d accomplished. She’s been a mentor to me ever since and if I hadn’t gone to that class, none of that would have happened.

Christina Danielle and I at Vega

I guess this can be summed up in 3 points:

  • Start talking to people. Anybody. Say hi and smile often.
  • Get out and start doing things you enjoy. Check out sites like Meetup where people organize get-togethers around everything from food and fitness to scrabble and sewing. Read blogs written by people who have the same interests as you, comment and treat them like you would a real-life friend. Invite your besties, co-workers and anyone else who’s interested along for sweat dates.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell someone you admire that you think they’re great. Everyone likes receiving compliments and I’m sure it’ll make their day.

“I love the idea of making some of your fall-inspired soup and salad recipes, but beans and lentils make me feel and look bloated. Do you have any alternatives?”

When I transitioned to a very plant-based diet, I found myself experiencing the same situation. The great thing is that (assuming you don’t have a more serious digestive condition), there’s a fix and it’s simple: soak your beans/legumes overnight.

cooked chickpeas and mint

Lots of plant-based foods like beans, legumes, seeds and vegetables contain anti-nutrients that work like defence mechanisms. Without them, the plants would probably be eaten by bugs or other animals and wouldn’t be able to grow. While this is great for the plant, it’s not ideal for us because many anti-nutrients aren’t easily digested in our bodies – hence the gassiness and bloating we often experience after eating them.

The great news is that soaking, sprouting and fermenting are 3 different ways that we can reduce the amount of anti-nutrients in these foods and make them more easily digestible. In the case of beans, it’s phytic acid we’re talking about and getting rid of it by soaking helps to make all the other beneficial nutrients in beans more absorbable during digestion. Less phytic acid also makes it easier for our digestive enzymes to do their thing while breaking foods down.

Smoky Chipotle 3-Bean Chili - Eat Spin Run Repeat

I’ve seen awesome results by soaking beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and gluten-free grains like quinoa prior to cooking them, and an added benefit is that this tends to reduce cooking time too. If you don’t have time to soak overnight, boiling your beans with a piece of kombu (a type of dried seaweed) tossed in the pot also has a similar effect.

Now let’s hear from you!

  • Do you have a lot of friends who inspire you to maintain a healthy lifestyle? How did you meet?