Friday Five: FIVE Fabulous Green Juice Recipes

I am linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0! This week the theme is “Healthy Foods” and I am so excited to have my lovely friend Polelo guest blogging for me today! Some of you may remember her last guest post was on her Boot Camp Experience a few months ago. Today she is back and talking about her experience with Green Juice and Five Recipes she absolutely loves! Enjoy ūüôā

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2017 was a remarkable year for me on so many levels. From personal growth and spirituality to family and friends. The most significant quality change was to my health. I ran 10 races including 2 international races, I completed a 3-month Boot Camp and attended a Green Juice Workshop hosted by international nutritionist and health mentor Carla Zaplana. It wasn’t until a month after the workshop that I actually made my first Green Juice, having seen what went into them I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to try one out. Now that I’ve been drinking the juices for close to two months, I wish I had started straight after the workshop!

Why do I enjoy them so much? I found, despite my skepticism, that from day one I felt “clean”, I felt fuller and didn’t need to snack much before lunch. I also found that I had increased energy throughout the day.

So, what exactly are Green Juices? Green Juices are a blend of green leafy vegetables e.g. spinach, kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, parsley, cress, etc with some fruit. The base for most Green Juice recipes is cucumber and celery to which one or more of the leafy vegetables mentioned above are added along with one or more pieces of fruit and other ingredients such as ginger for added kick and added flavour.

As there is so much more to Green Juice than what goes into them; I encourage you to research the most common ingredients of Green Juice and their properties, as well as positive effects of Green Juice, how to prepare them and what equipment to use. Given that you’d be doing this to improve your health, it’s important that you align everything to benefit you in the best way possible so that’s why, I believe, you should consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

With that said, today, I’d like to share 5 Green Juice recipes I love from Carla along with some variations of my own.

1 –¬†Tropical
2 slices of pineapple
0.5 cucumber
2 celery stalks
2 handfuls of spinach
1 green apple
1 thumbnail-sized piece of ginger

Peel cucumber, unless you’re using an organic one, then wash, drain and blend all the ingredients. Drink immediately.

2 –¬†Tropical (my variation 1)
2 slices of pineapple
0.5 cucumber
2 celery stalks
2 handfuls of spinach
2 green apples
1 handful of raspberries or blackberries (for antioxidant properties)
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
125ml and 250ml of pure, unsweetened coconut water

Wash and drain all the ingredients, peel cucumber and apples, unless you’re using organic ones, then blend. Drink immediately.

3 – Tropical (my variation 2)
2 slices of pineapple
0.5 cucumber
2 celery stalks
2 handfuls of spinach
2 green apples
1 banana (for added sweetness)
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
125ml and 250ml of pure, unsweetened coconut water

Wash and drain all the ingredients, peel cucumber and apples, unless you’re using organic ones, then blend. Drink immediately.

4 – Anti-Aging
1 grapefruit
6 carrots
1 handful of spinach
1 thumbnail-sized piece of ginger

Variation: I always add a tablespoon of chia seeds to my juices and a couple of pure, unsweetened coconut water ice cubes. Wash and drain all the ingredients, peel carrots, unless you’re using organic ones, then blend. Drink immediately.

5 – Kiwi Express
2 kiwis
1 apple
2 handfuls of spinach
0.5 lemon

Variation: I always add a tablespoon of chia seeds to my juices and a couple of pure, unsweetened coconut water ice cubes. Wash and drain all the ingredients, peel apple, unless you’re using an organic one. Blend and drink immediately.

To help your body to flush out toxins, remember to drink plenty of water throughout your day. Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I’ve done!

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Thank you so much Polelo for sharing your experience with green juice and for these wonderful recipes. I am really looking forward to trying them out! I know Ditiro is already a huge fan! ūüôā¬†

Friday Five: FIVE Lessons from Running the Berg

I am so excited to be linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0! Please hop over to their blogs and others for some great inspiration.

For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, you know who Tapiwa is. She has featured in several training and race recaps! We often start our races together, have a good chat before she pushes off for her powerhouse finishes. We have a great running partnership and if I am to define it, I would say we bring out the best in each other. We have had some great adventures and mishaps – getting mugged in one race and spending half the time thinking we were lost in another. But we always come out stronger… and laughing! Tapiwa was a top athlete at school, excelling in the 100 and 200 metre sprints. In her adult years she has made the transition to longer distances. She mostly does road races but her heart is most content when she is out in the wilderness on some mountain trails. In September 2017, she did the Runtheberg¬†which is¬†a 2-day stage race in the Drakensberg, Africa‚Äôs premier mountain range, stretching from the Western Cape to the Limpopo in South Africa. This challenge was in the Northern Berg, between the Highveld and the Indian Ocean, 300 km out of Durban. There are two options for the race, the ‚ÄúChallenge‚ÄĚ which is 15 km per day and the ‚ÄúExtreme‚ÄĚ which is 25 km per day. Tapiwa did the Challenge and for this¬† post I asked her:¬†What FIVE things did you learn from Running the Berg?¬†This is her phenomenal answer.

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1 – When anxious I find ways of calming myself

I don‚Äôt usually get a good night‚Äôs rest the day before a trail race. I lay awake, trying to convince myself that it is going to be fun. Even after completing the first 15 km on Day 1, I have to prepare myself psychologically for the next 15 km the following day. I tell myself I am going to complete the race. I tell myself that if all else fails I will just walk to the end. Waking up is not a problem. That weekend the mornings were clear, sun was out but it was cold. Looking up into the majestic mountains simply takes one’s breath away. Looking up, it was CALMING.

2 – I am privileged to have a healthy body and sound mind

Day 1, the first 6 km is uphill. This is when my ability to zone out kicks in. I take in the views and listen to my breathing. Weaving between forest trees and climbing rocky cliffs. At this point in the race I tell myself to just keep running, just run this minute, just clamber up the next rock outcrop, just don’t stop. On Day 2, it’s harder to keep running when your toes hurt. But that pain was not enough to hurt my race. I just kept going.

3 – The Power of the Human Spirit

On Day 2 the terrain changes from the first days of rocky cliffs to an open savannah type of grassland. With 5 km left to completing my 30 km challenge, I had a mantra, I DON‚ÄôT HAVE TO DO THIS; I GET TO DO THIS. I was among the slower trail runners and I connected with other people who needed encouragement. We were all helping each other. We were just those ordinary people being extraordinarily courageous. We were not elite athletes. We just didn‚Äôt want to fail. The amazing power of the human spirit…

4 – No one reaches their full potential without learning from others

On both days there was a lady out on the trail, Mbali. For the last 2 km of Day 2, she helped me find ways to keep moving at a decent pace. I actually ran fastest in those last 2 km! I could even jump and pose for a picture. I wanted to live up to the role I had set myself – that I had the audacity to try something great and inspire people in the process. In doing so, I faced my own fears, I faced the fear of pain.

5 – I just don’t quit and I am always up for a challenge

No matter how much things hurt, not once during the race did I feel like quitting. The only person I was racing against was myself. The goal Рto finish. And I finished what I had started. After crossing that finish line, 30 km completed through such treacherous terrain, there was no big clock to remind me that I was slow. There were only cheers, a beer truck and wors rolls. I met up with my crew of Zulu maidens and we planned our next trail. We were all ready for an ULTRA TRAIL. And indeed, the Cape Town Ultra Trail in December was our next race….but that is a story for another day.

Thank you Tapiwa for taking the time to reflect on your journey and some of the lessons you took away. I think we often forget what great things we are capable of, what phenomenal challenges we can accomplish, and what obstacles we can overcome if we put our minds to it. The resilience of the human spirit. I for one have always been inspired by your determination to get the job done. My daughter Kaia reminds me of you Рyou face each challenge with a quiet confidence and formidable strength. It leaves the rest of us wanting to push ourselves even more. 

Friday Five: FIVE Things Kaia Loved About Her First 5k (#15/17)

Once again I am excited to be linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0! Please hop over to their blogs and others for some great inspiration.

In 2017 I have had ONE mission and that is to run 17 races! My fifteenth was so special. I ran with my five year old daughter Kaia. Kaia has been asking to run with me since I brought home my first medal in February. My friends and I then decided to bring all our kids along for the Airport Junction Race on the 12th November 2017. It was a lovely experience and we have decided to make it an annual event.

Instead of the usual Race Recap, I thought it would be really fun to ask Kaia:

What five things did you love about running your first 5k race?

1 – I loved getting my medal and winning the race:¬†I was not surprised that this was her first response! Every time I come home from a race, Kaia asks me if I won. And each time I tell her that I didn’t come first or second or even third. In fact, I am usually at the other end of the spectrum. But because I do my best out there, I get a medal and that makes me a winner. I think she finally got what I meant when she sprinted through that finish line! She was ecstatic about her medal and “winning the race”. With very little training (just school PE, swimming and tennis), Kaia did her first 5k (which turned out to be 5.9 km) in 1:04:39 hours. What a champion!¬†¬†

2 – I loved seeing Daddy and hearing people shouting Kaia:¬†Kaia’s dad managed to catch us out on the course. She was absolutely overjoyed to see him and her younger brother Thiwa.

He was also at the end of the race and saw us as we came sprinting through. She also had a phenomenal welcome from some¬†Peace Corps volunteers¬†who started cheering for her as she came down the final stretch,¬†“Go Kaia! Go Kaia! Go Kaia!”

3 – I loved that they made us run longer:¬†Okay, this one had me stumped. In my first year of running I have been so disappointed at how often the courses are too long! Recently, I have complained about it here and here. When I asked Kaia why she loved the course being longer, she said, “Because it’s fun”. LOL. I guess that answer is good enough for me and maybe I should adopt that mantra the next time my race is too long!

4 – I loved running with my friends and playing afterwards:¬†What really surprised us all was the energy these kids had after the race – they were jumping all over the place and when we had breakfast at Cappuccino’s we couldn’t get them off the playground to come and eat! I am so knackered after my races that all I want to do is relax! Just looking at them playing had us tired!

5 – I loved wearing our purple outfits:¬†Yes, she is my daughter! Something that has motivated me on this running journey has been all the running outfits! I love planning my race outfits and weeks before Kaia’s race, we chose our outfits together! She decided on the purple and it was so much fun to share that with her. I have my very own partner in crime now as my hubby stubbornly insists on wearing his ONE orange race shirt for each race. LOL!

Number 15!

Thank you my little Kaia – it was an absolute honour and privilege to run this race with you. Looking forward to a lifetime of running together.

What age did your kids start running? Have you ever run with your son or daughter? What do you love most about running with your kids?

Friday Five: FIVE Things I Gained from BOOT CAMP 

I am so excited to be linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0! Please hop over to their blogs and others for some great inspiration.

My dear friend Polelo is no stranger to this blog! She has been right beside me, physically and emotionally on my journey to fitness and on my mission to conquer 17 races this year. She has encouraged me when I have felt down and she has held me accountable for getting my workouts done. I might be in the slower half of the races but according to Polelo I am just a few seconds from qualifying for the next Olympics! Of the 12 races I have already done, she has joined me for seven – the Jack’s Gym Trail Run, the Gabs 1/2 Marathon, the Lady Khama Trail Run, the Palapye Race, the Diacore Gaborone Race, the Gaborone City Mayor’s Race and the Botswana Independence Race!

For many of these races she has brought her mother, husband, niece and nephew along for the ride and their smiles as they cross that finish line have quite simply been heart-warming. A few months ago she signed up for an intense Boot Camp. This is her story, in her own words. Enjoy the read and BE INSPIRED

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Three months ago I made the decision to do my first ever Boot Camp.¬†I had reached a point where I decided my mental health was the most important thing to me; I wanted to feel less tired, I wanted to have more energy in my life and to finally find some work-life-balance. I knew to achieve this, I needed to make a mental shift. I’m a planner by nature and I started to realise that over the years I had begun to be more “relaxed” in my approach to life and as a result I had started to let things slide a bit. In some aspects it was the best decision I ever made; I was less uptight, a lot more willing to go with the flow but on the other hand I became less accountable to myself. Upon realising how far from myself I had strayed, I decided I needed to make a change and that’s when I joined Boot Camp.

Here are the Five Things I Gained From Boot Camp:

1 – The mind is a powerful thing:¬†It’s not about the amount of time one puts in at gym, it’s about one’s attitude. Boot Camp started in the dead of winter and getting up at 4am three mornings a week wasn’t easy but my attitude kept me committed.¬†¬†I made a commitment to being prepared for the week ahead and that meant having to prep days in advance to make sure my work clothes, gym kit and meals were all sorted because being disorganised had the potential to set each day off course and affect how my whole week turned out.¬†Everyone wants to start the day right!

2 – Form is everything:¬†This cannot be understated. I walked into the gym on Day 1 of Boot Camp totally pumped!¬† It had been years since I stepped into the gym and I was beyond ready.¬† I could not wait to get stuck in and boy, was I disappointed.¬† The first 6 sessions, that’s two weeks, were just about form.¬†¬†Everything from how to use the spinning bike, to how to do lunges correctly, to how to lift weights properly.¬† Those first two weeks turned out to be critical to our fitness journey. Our personal trainer was clear, knowledge is power, it’s about getting the basics right.¬†We are not about getting injuries!

3 – Teamwork makes the dream work:¬†I’ve had the privilege of getting to know eight incredible women on this journey, all of us in it for different reasons but for one hour three times a week we were each other’s greatest fans.

As the weeks went by our camaraderie extended beyond the gym.¬† We had each other’s backs in and outside the gym. We posted on our group to check on those who were off sick, we shared our meal plans and encouraged each other to resist the junk food cravings during the tough times.¬† We are in this thing together!

4 – The secret is to keep going:¬†The exercise is the easy part, understanding food is the nightmare…

I haven’t dropped the weight I expected to.¬† It’s been three months and I was certain I’d be back to my 27 year old self but I’m not 7 kg lighter than I expected and I had beat myself up over it for some time.¬† I’ve had to counsel myself and remember why I started this journey in the first place.¬† The truth is I didn’t get here in 3 months, I got here over 7 long years.¬† My life has changed drastically since then and I’ve picked up bad habits along the way. My mission was to feel better, have more energy and boy, do I ever!

5 – Forgive thyself:¬†A lot has happened over the last 3 months.¬† I’ve had moments of pure triumph along with major setbacks but the difference is that I now have a very different conversation with myself.¬† Ordinarily, if I was doing well, I’d get comfortable and quickly slip into my old bad habits then subsequently beat myself up over it. And when life dragged me through it, I’d wobble and start slipping back into my bad habits and yes, you guessed it, I’d beat myself up over it. I’ve learned from Boot Camp that the choices we make outside the gym are the most important.¬† 70% nutrition, 20% attitude and 10% exercise.

I could spend my entire life in the gym and go home to eat and drink all wrong things, binge on other people’s successful weight loss stories on Instagram and Pinterest and so goes the vicious cycle. But now, since Boot Camp, my good times are celebrated and I know how to deal with the challenging times better.¬† I forgive myself for the slip ups and I don’t dwell on them long enough to wallow any further.¬†¬†I simply get up, dust myself off and carry on; tomorrow is a new day. How lovely is that?

What I do know, unreservedly, is that it’s been an education and it feels marvelous to be where I am right now!

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Thank you Polelo – thanks for being so authentic, vulnerable and honest in describing your challenges but also in sharing these beautiful lessons! I for one look forward to seeing you a lot more on the Friday Five ūüėČ

Friday Five: FIVE times I didn’t QUIT

I am so excited to be linking up for the first time with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0! Please hop over to their blogs and others for some great inspiration.

For those of you who are new to my blog, I am a newbie runner from Gaborone, Botswana. To keep me going, I (bravely or stupidly) set myself the challenge of running 17 races in 2017! So far I have done four of them (a 5k trail run; the Mini-Monster 10k in South Africa; a 10k race in Gaborone where I set my current PB; and a 10k trail run in fancy dress)! I am having so much fun doing this but there are days when it seems easier to quit! So to keep me motivated, I decided to look back at FIVE TIMES I DID NOT QUIT! 

1 – Ballroom Dancing Competition¬†(1989):¬†Let’s take it way back! I was 9 years old and my mum had enrolled my sister and I in ballroom dancing classes. I lived in Lobatse, a small town about 72 km from Gaborone. I am not and was never a natural dancer but even at that age I was so determined to work hard and be good. I ended up being chosen for a big Ballroom Dancing Competition held in Gaborone. Going to compete in the “big city” was scary enough, not to mention that the competition was to be aired on TV! The event was scheduled to start at 8 pm, but we only got on at midnight. I was so nervous waiting that I ended up with an awful headache that I had¬†to sleep off before I got on.¬†Don’t ask me how as I still don’t know… but my dancing partner Mompati and I placed FIRST in the Tiny Tots Category! I stopped dancing shortly after that, but I can always claim that victory in ballroom dancing!¬†Lesson: Hard work and a great partnership pays off.¬†

2 – Climbing Table Mountain (2003):¬†I was doing¬†some volunteering work in Cape Town. I was very¬†fit at the time¬†(no running, but lots of gym classes) so I felt ready to conquer¬†Table Mountain. I set off one Saturday with another volunteer¬†Chris. I don’t remember many details but I do remember the number of times I wanted to quit… the climb was like going up a never-ending steep staircase. It was so unbelievably painful and with each step I took I was completely and utterly disappointed that all my fitness classes had not prepared me for this mountain. But we did not quit. I will always be thankful to Chris that he stuck with me¬†the whole way and had several encouraging words even at times when he too was struggling. Lessons, 1) the right kind of preparation is needed for any challenge. Yes, I was fit but I had no experience climbing mountains; 2) taking it step by step will get you there in the end.

3 – Walking the Bibbulmun Track (2005):¬†My boyfriend (now husband Ditiro) was studying in Australia. On one of my visits to him, we decided to walk 120 km of the Bibbulmun Track which runs from Perth to Albany (around 1000 km). We planned to walk 60 km and then back again over 7 days. We carried backpacks each weighing 15 – 20 kg with all our food supplies and camping gear for the week. It¬†rained as soon as we set off and within 5 km we were drenched, tired and wanted to quit. The terrain was torturous, the flies were relentless and doing about 20 km took¬†us the WHOLE day. You couldn’t just stop and set up camp at any time¬†– you had to get to the designated camping spots and preferably before nightfall as there were snakes about! Every day when the sun set and we were still far from camp, I cried.¬†Lessons, 1) Canned food tastes so good after a day of hiking, 2) Don’t pack canned food if you have to carry it for 7 days!; 3) Distraction gets you through physical pain. We did our fastest 20 km when we were in a heated argument!

Notice the natural Nike Sign – just do it?

4 – Victoria Falls Bungee Jump (2010):¬†This was on my Bucket List of¬†“30 things to do before turning 30”. It was actually not my first attempt at bungee jumping. In 2003, I walked the bridge to do the Bloukrans Bungee Jump in South Africa. However, when I saw those guys coming back up with such blood shot eyes, I changed my mind. But 7 years later, I didn’t chicken out even when the big, LOUD, know-it-all guy in front of me did. Would I do it again? No. Do I regret doing it? No. Lesson: It takes leaving your comfort zone to realise what you are truly made of.¬†

5 – Jwaneng 30 km Desert Walk (2016):¬†Shortly after my son turned 2 in May 2016, I was feeling quite frustrated that although I had lost a lot of baby weight, I was no where near fit. I was struggling to balance work, being a mum, and getting fit. When I signed up for this walk, I felt it would force me to get fit¬†again. But as the time drew close, I was terrified as I had not really trained much. Thirty¬†kilometres through thick desert sand is no joke! I did it with Ditiro and my friend Elisa and as people dropped out one by one, we kept putting one foot in front of the other. We completed¬†it in SEVEN hours!¬†Lesson: Setting a goal is always the best starting point. This walk gave me the encouragement and the resolve to¬†reclaim my fitness and ultimately gave birth to the “17 in 2017” Challenge!

So I will NOT quit no matter how hard it gets. 

Thanks for reading! Have you ever really felt like quitting?