Sheryl Jesin


Race Recap – The Toronto Yonge Street 10k

Sleeping fitfully all night, waking up at 6 am, standing around in 4 degree Celsius weather for 45 minutes, using portapotties, pounding the pavement for 10k from Yonge and Eglinton all the way to Fort York…to normal people, this does not sound fun.   However, to me, and I am assuming to the other 6,000 people that ran the Yonge St. 10k with me today, it was the perfect way to start a Sunday morning.


Race prep for me started a week ago.  It meant being strict with my diet so that I ate no gluten or dairy AT ALL with the goal of having no stomach upset during the race.  I am pleased to say that this goal was met – absolutely no stomach issues during the race.  This is a big deal for me, as I have struggled with IBS for most of my life.

The day before the race, I ate a lot of carbs, and tried to minimize the amount of fibre I ate.  And of course, no dairy and no gluten.  I tried to stay off my feet as much as possible most of the day so that my legs would be fresh, and I drank lots of water so that I would be optimally hydrated.  I attempted to go to bed early, but had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.  Pre-race jitters contributed to this, as did the fact that a friend was in labour and I couldn’t stop thinking about her!  I ended up falling asleep around midnight, was up from 2:30-3:30am, and then was up for good at 6am.  Despite my crappy sleep, I woke up feeling good and ready to go!

Pre-race breakfast was eaten at around 6:45 am.  It consisted of overnight oats, courtesy of Oh She Glow’s Recipe.  It is my go-to breakfast before running.  If I eat it about an hour or two before running, it sits well in my stomach and provides me with lots of energy.  I kept hydrated by drinking Vega’s Electrolyte Hydrator  about an hour before the race.

The starting line was a 5 minute drive from our house, and we arrived there about 45 minutes before race time.   Jake and the boys joined me and it was great to have them there for moral support, and also because I could bundle up before the race started, and then hand off my jacket to them.   It was COLD this morning – about 4 degrees Celsius at the start of the race, and maybe went up to 5 by the end.  I think I actually overhydrated because I had to visit the portapotties a couple of times before the race started to empty my bladder – but there were plenty and lines were short.  That was a relief!

I wasn’t sure what to wear…I didn’t want to be cold, but I also didn’t want to be hot.  In the end, I decided on a pair of Lululemon Inspire Crops, a Swiftly T-shirt, and and thin jacket on top.  I also wore a throwaway sweatshirt for the first mile, and dropped it on the side of the road when I warmed up (clothes were collected and donated to a shelter).  I wore gloves, and two hats – a running hat and a baseball hat.  I got hot about half way through and took off the gloves and hat, but I am glad I had them for the first part of the race.

Bundled up before the race

My brother and law and I are almost ready to start!

Race Time

I lined up in my corral about 15 minutes prior to race time.  The corrals were well organized and didn’t feel too crowded.  I felt happy and excited when it was time to run and it was so amazing to see Yonge Street full of runners.   It was a treat to have the whole street closed off for us!

I tried to get a good shot of the street full of runners...this is the best I could do!

I wanted to start off conservatively but got caught up in the excitement and my first mile was run at a pace of 9:50 minutes/mile.  I had expected to run the race at approximately 10-11 minutes per mile, so 9:50 felt fast.  Well, believe it or not, I kept getting faster!  Here are my splits:

Mile 1 – 9:50

Mile 2 – 9:42

Mile 3 – 9:48

Mile 4 – 9:18

Mile 5 – 9:22

Mile 6 – 9:13

Mile 6.88 – 10:44

I’m not quite sure why my GPS told me that I ran 6.88 miles, when 10k is actually 6.2 miles.  I think I didn’t turn off the GPS right at the finish line, which explains my slow last 0.88 of the race.   Also, I spent a lot of time in the last mile passing people and weaving around them.  That could potentially add to the distance.

My chip time was 1:03:15.  I am absolutely thrilled with that result!  I had expected to finish at around 1:10-1:15 or so.  I felt strong throughout the race, and at no time felt like I had to stop and walk.  I did stop in the first few km briefly to take a few pictures, but that was it.  During the last km, I dug deep and ran as fast as I could.  A friendly stranger  said to me during the last km – we can do this together – and we both gave it all we could until the finish line.  She was so motivating!

There were aid stations at 4km and 7km with water, gatorade and portapotties – I didn’t drink anything during the race (or visit the portapotties, thankfully!).

Post Race

Jake and the boys met me at the end of the race.  There was a fun party with music and lots of good food.  I enjoyed the apples and bananas, and there was also Chiobani Yogurt, bagels and cookies, which the boys happily ate.  And of course plenty of water and gatorade.  I didn’t use the baggage check, but heard that it was well organized.  I quickly felt chilled after the race and was thankful to have Jake there waiting with my jacket.  We stayed for about 30mins at the party and then went out for lunch.  Then we came home, and everyone napped but me…not quite sure how that makes sense since I was the one that ran 10k!

Feeling proud after I received my finisher's medal

Final Thoughts

I am so pleased with my first 10k experience.  A year ago I couldn’t run for more than a couple minutes at a time, and now I easily ran 10k in just over an hour.  I feel like all of my training paid off and I’m thrilled that the weather co-operated, and that my stomach did too.  I felt a true sense of accomplishment when I crossed the finish line, and it goes far beyond running.   Running gives me the energy to make it through my day.   It lifts my spirits and makes me a happier mom and wife.   I was proud of myself today and it felt great to set an example for my kids.  I hope they grow up valuing exercise and what it can do for your mind and body.  Before bed today, I asked Dylan what his favorite part of the day was, and he said the race!  He also said he was proud of me.

Running is an amazing sport because everyday people can compete alongside Olympic athletes.  I ran today’s race, and so did Canada’s Olympic marathon contender, Reid Coolsaet.  How cool is that?  He won the race in 28 minutes – twice as fast as me!   His talent, determination and speed are truly inspirational.

Elite athletes at the starting line - Reid is in the black outfit in the middle

My first 10k was a phenomenal experience.  Can’t wait for my half-marathon in two weeks!

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Recipe – Mixed berry oat bars

I often find myself looking for a quick snack during the day or just before a run.   Something that doesn’t take any time to prepare and something that I can eat with one hand while I’m holding a toddler or chasing a four year old.

In the past, I used to buy granola bars or other snack bars to have on hand.  One of these bars that I used to purchase is the Nutrigrain bar by Kelloggs.  I haven’t eaten one of these in years, but I decided to look up the ingredients.  I was curious, and here’s what I found:


I cringe now when I look at that list.  A few things stand out – high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavour, Red 40, Blue 1.  I can’t believe I used to regularly ingest such awful ingredients.  And how many times can sugar be listed in the ingredients?  I counted 5.  That is atrocious.

Here is my answer to the Nutrigrain bar.  It is free of refined sugars, refined flours and also free of gluten (if using GF oats), dairy and soy.  It is quick and easy to make and it is something you can feel good about eating.  Oh yeah – it’s also delicious.

Recipe – Mixed berry oat bars 

Adapted from Choosing Raw

Preparation time – 10 minutes

Baking time – 30 mins

Makes 8 squares


1 cup oats, ground into flour using a food processor, magic bullet or Vitamix

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

1 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp. maple syrup

1 medium apple, cored

1 tsp. vanilla

3 tbsp. shredded dried coconut, unsweetened

10 almonds

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. water

1 organic egg

1/4 cup blueberries

1/4 cup raspberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together ground oats, rolled oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Blend the maple syrup, apple, vanilla, coconut, almonds, olive oil, water and egg together in a food processor or Vitamix until smooth.
  4. Mix together wet and dry ingredients.  Stir in berries.
  5. Place in a 8×8 glass baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 350 for 30-35 mins, until edges are turning golden brown.
  7. Cool on a rack and cut into squares or bars.
  8. Eat and enjoy, knowing you are nourishing your body with healthy, whole foods.  Be thankful that you are not eating a Nutrigrain bar.

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Recipe – Baked Oatmeal with Apple and Banana

Had a bit of fun again in the kitchen last night, this time with baked oatmeal.  I’ve been wanting to try a baked oatmeal dish for a while.  I thought it would be a good late night snack and a quick and easy breakfast before Dylan heads off to school in the morning.  (The La Leche League leader in me also thinks that baked oatmeal would be a great dish for a new mom – can be made ahead of time and easily warmed up for a quick breakfast.  Plus, oatmeal is supposed to boost milk supply.)

I was perusing through Angela’s Oh She Glows blog and came across a great recipe  – Fruity Baked Oatmeal with Crunchy Almond Topping.  I decided to give it a try, and made a few changes based on what I had on hand at home.  I am truly amazed at how amazingly delicious it turned out!  (Although I shouldn’t be surprised – Angela’s recipes are all outstanding!!)  It is creamy, yet dairy free.  It is satisfying, comforting and so delicious!  I just may have a new favorite breakfast recipe…

Recipe – Baked Oatmeal with Apple and Banana (Vegan, can be gluten free with GF oats, soy free)


2 and 2/3 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup Ruth’s Chia Goodness (I used chocolate because I had some extra on hand.  You can substitute with plain chia seeds if you like!)

2 large bananas, sliced

2 apples, chopped

2 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of sea salt

3 1/2 cups water

4 tbsp maple syrup

1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract


1/2 cup raw walnuts

4 tbsp rolled oats

2 tbsp coconut sugar

2 tsp maple syrup

1 tbsp Earth Balance (can substitute with coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or water)

1/2 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350.  Mix together oats, Chia Goodness, banana, apple, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.  Add water, maple syrup and vanilla.  Stir well.  Pour into a 2L baking dish.  Set aside.

Chop walnuts.  Add in oats, coconut sugar, maple syrup and Earth Balance.  Mix well.  Sprinkle over oatmeal mixture in baking dish.

Bake for 25-30 mins.  It will be done when the water has been absorbed and topping is golden brown.  Serve warm, and ENJOY!  Makes 8 servings.

I had three (small) bowls of this immediately after I took it out of the oven.  I figured why not – it is full of wholesome ingredients, and I with the half-marathon training I am doing, I can use the extra carbs!

Have you ever tried making baked oatmeal?  What are some of your favorite oatmeal toppings?

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Recipe – Banana Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Like many other runners, I love bananas.   We seem to go through so many in our house!   They are an amazing snack before a run, after a run and basically anytime throughout the day!  They are also so versatile when mashed and used in baking, and I adore them sliced in a bowl of oatmeal.  I find them very easy to digest, and they pack a lot of nutrition into 100 calories, including 3 grams of fibre and 12% of your daily requirement of potassium.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the deliciousness of banana soft serve (which is basically frozen bananas processed in a blender).  I was inspired by the Ultimate Vegan Ice Cream over at the (Never) Homemaker blog, and the “Blizzard” recipes over at Angela’s Oh She Glows blog.

So, I decided to come up with own version, made from some of my favorite ingredients – bananas, coconut milk, almond butter and chocolate!   It is so simple to make – I hope you give it a try!

Recipe – Banana Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Vegan, soy free, gluten free)


2 medium bananas

1 tablespoon almond butter

100 mL coconut milk

4 ice cubes

A few squares of dark chocolate, chopped


Slice bananas and place in freezer for an hour until frozen, or overnight.   Place frozen bananas, coconut milk, almond butter and ice cubes in food processor or blender (I used a Vitamix, of course).   Blend until smooth.  Top with chocolate.  ENJOY!

This recipe makes 2 large servings.  You will be so surprised how creamy the bananas get in the blender.  You won’t believe that this ice cream is dairy free!  I used greenish bananas, and the ice cream did not have a strong banana flavour.  I think I like this recipe even more than my previous coconut milk ice cream recipe!  It is a bit lighter, more refreshing, and not quite as rich.

(As an aside, my photography skills can use a bit of work.  I’ve read that pictures of food turn out much better when taken in daylight.  This is a problem for me, since most of my adventures in the kitchen tend to take place once the little ones are in bed for the night.  Oh well…a real first world problem, right?)

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Recipe – The World’s Yummiest Rice (aka Fragrant Indian Brown Rice with Coconut Milk)

As someone who is trying to avoid gluten, I eat a lot of rice.  I eat brown rice cakes, brown rice pasta, and use brown rice flour in baking.  Brown rice is a frequent side dish also!  I like rice – it has quality carbohydrates that give me energy to chase after two kids and helps to fuel my runs.  And it does so without hurting my stomach, as wheat tends to do.

A couple days ago I tried a new rice dish and I have coined it “The World’s Yummiest Rice”.  Both my kids loved it and so did my husband and brother-in-law, so it’s not one of those crazy healthy dishes that I love, but no one else does.   This has mainstream appeal!  I wanted to take a picture of it, but we ate it all up before I had a chance!

It contains delicious Indian spices and the secret ingredient is coconut milk.  The coconut milk makes it creamy and satisfying.   You’ve got to try this!

Recipe – The World’s Yummiest Rice – Fragrant Indian Brown Rice with Coconut Milk (based on Marni Wasserman’s recipe)

Makes 8-10 servings, 15 minutes prep time, 45 minutes cook time


2 cups brown rice

1.5 tsp cumin

2 tbsp grapeseed or coconut oil

2 medium onions, diced

4 large cloves garlic, sliced

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp whole cloves

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 tsp salt

1 tsp tumeric

1.5 tbsp garam msala

1 can coconut milk (398 mL)

3.5 cups water

1/2 cup raisins (optional)


1.  Add oil, onion, garlic, cumin, cloves and ginger to a large pot.   Set heat to medium.  Stir.  Add in the tumeric and garam masala, and saute until onions become soft and translucent.   Stir often.

2.  Add the rice, water and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and simmer covered over low heat for 45 minutes.

3.  When the rice is cooked and liquid has been absorbed, add the raisins.   Stir well.   Remove cinnamon stick.  Serve and enjoy!

Note about amount of liquid – different rice may require different amounts of liquid.  Follow the directions on your bag if they differ from what mentioned above.  Factor in the coconut milk and reduce water as necessary.  For example, the rice I had said 2 cups of rice and 5 cups of water.  So I used just under 3.5 cups of water and 1 can (or 1.5 cups) of coconut milk. Check the rice at around 35 or 40 minutes to see if you need to add more liquid.


Recipe – Coconut Milk Ice Cream

I’ve been avoiding cow’s milk dairy for the past few months for a variety of different reasons.  Does that mean I have to give up ice cream?  Nope!

I discovered an amazing brand of vegan, soy free ice cream called Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss.   It is made with coconut milk and it is truly blissful!  It is creamy and delicious and even if you eat dairy, you should give it a try.   Why?  It’s made from amazing ingredients – in particular, coconut milk.   Coconut milk is is super creamy and delicious but its fats are actually good for you!  Unlike the cholesterol-laden artery-clogging fats in cream, coconut fats are high in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).   These MCTs are identical to those fats found in human breast milk, and contain similar antimicrobial and heart protective qualities.   The breastfeeding advocate in me just loves this!!

Fat in coconut is used differently by your body than other fats.  MCTs don’t need to be broken down – instead they can be used by your body immediately as energy.  In fact, coconut fat provides easily digestible energy that is ideal to consume before physical activity such as running, cycling or hiking.   Coconut fat stimulates your metabolism!

I buy Luna and Larry’s at Whole Foods or Noah’s Natural Foods here in Toronto and I definitely recommend that you try it.   If you can’t find it in a store near you,  I recently discovered that it is pretty simple to make your own coconut milk ice cream using the Vitamix.

Recipe – Coconut Milk Ice Cream


One 14oz or 400 ml can of coconut milk – (I used full fat, not the light versions)

Sweetener – maple syrup, agave syrup or honey to taste

Vanilla to taste

Mix your coconut milk, sweetener of choice and vanilla in a bowl.  I didn’t list amounts because the amount you use is really personal preference.   Start with 1 tablespoon of sweetener and 1/2 tsp of vanilla.   Give it a taste and add more if necessary.

Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray.   Freeze for a few hours until solid.

Place the frozen ice cube mixture into your Vitamix and blend!   It will become creamy and delicious and take on an ice cream texture within seconds.   Serve right away and ENJOY!


Recipe – Chocolate chip coconut oatmeal cookies

Yesterday I discovered a delicious blog – Chocolate Covered Katie.   Katie blogs about vegan healthy desserts.   Can you say right up my alley?  How have I not heard of her site until now?

I like to eat healthy, but there is still room for dessert made from satisfying and nutritious whole foods.   Katie’s blog has so many creative dessert recipes that I just can’t wait to try.

This afternoon, I was inspired by Katie’s Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies.   I took her recipe and changed it up a bit.   Here’s what I came up with:

Recipe – Chocolate Chip Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

(Gluten free – if using GF oats, soy free, vegan)


3/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. coconut sugar

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. water

1 tbsp. agave syrup

1 tbsp. almond butter

2 tbsp chocolate chips

Mix oats, baking soda, salt and coconut sugar in a magic bullet or food processor until oats are broken down into an almost flour like powder.  Place in medium sized bowl.   Stir in olive oil, water, almond butter and agave.  Mix well.  Mixture should be moist but still crumbly.  If you pinch the batter, crumbs should stick together.   If not, add a tiny bit more olive oil.  Add in chocolate chips and form batter into 6-8 small cookies.

Bake at 375 degrees for 6 minutes.

These taste absolutely divine warm out of the oven!  Don’t fret if you don’t have coconut sugar – brown sugar will work too, as per Katie’s original recipe!  (Although I personally love the coconut-y flavour of the coconut sugar).  Or you could try 2 tbsp of agave or other liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey) and cut out the water.   I think they would also be amazing with raisins instead of chocolate chips.  Or sunflower seed butter instead of the almond butter.   The possibilities really are endless!  I may have to whip up another batch later…


Recipe – Almond butter tahini oat cookies

I was recently given a lovely assortment of Mum’s Original products to test out from the friendly and passionate team at Borden Communications.  I truly felt like I hit the jackpot when I picked up my package!  It contained:  hemp hearts, chia, goji berries, oats, cacao powder, cacao nibs, coconut flour, coconut sugar, banana powder, rock salt, and quinoa.  Yup – pretty much all of my favorite super foods.

I was in the mood to test out a few of the products, and found a recipe online for Teff Almond Butter cookies.   I decided to swap out a few ingredients with some of the Mum’s Original products I had on hand, and the following recipe was born:

Recipe – Almond butter tahini oat cookies


1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 1/2 tsp. Mum’s Original chia meal

1 cup Mum’s Original oat flour

1/2 cup Mum’s Original coconut flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinammon

1/8 tsp. Mum’s Original Himalayan rock salt

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp. vanilla

2/3 cup almond butter

1/3 cup tahini


Preheat oven to 350 degrees celcius.

Mix apple sauce and chia in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Combine flours, salt, and baking powder in another medium sized bowl, and set aside.

Warm the almond butter and tahini for about 25 seconds in the microwave.  Add to apple sauce mixture.   Stir in honey, and vanilla.

Make a well in the dry ingredients.   Add in the wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Scoop out a small amount of dough with a small spoon and roll into a ball using your hands.   Place on a prepared cookie sheet.  Flatten the ball with the tines of a fork.  Bake for about 10-13 minutes, until set.

The recipe will make approximately 24 cookies.


I decided to stir in some Mum’s Original coconut cacao nibs to half of the dough.  It added a bit of a crunchy texture and some delicious chocolatey flavour!

These cookies will satisfy your sweet tooth, and will also fill you up, since they are full of protein, fibre and healthy fats.   I found that the cookies had a fudge like texture, and a delicate flavour, similar to halvah.

I highly recommend that you hop to the store, pick up some Mum’s Original products and try this recipe out.   You won’t be disappointed!

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Recipe – Avocado spinach banana smoothie

I’ve been a bit obsessed lately with smoothies made in my Vitamix.   I tend to make a smoothie each morning for breakfast – there is no better way to start my day!

I recently made a delicious concoction that I wanted to share with all of you.   Here is the recipe:

Avocado Spinach Smoothie


1 cup cold water

12 almonds

1/2 of a medium sized avocado

1/2 of a medium sized banana

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tbsp almond butter

1/2 tsp cinammon

1 medjool date

honey, to taste (I added 1/2 tablespoon)

1 tsp of chia seeds

1-2 cups of baby spinach leaves

1 scoop of Sunwarrior Protein Powder

6-8 ice cubes


Place all ingredients in a high powered blender, and blend until smooth.   ENJOY!

Creamy healthy deliciousness

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients – experiment, and use what you have on hand.  Customize your smoothie to match your own taste buds!

I should add that every smoothie tastes better in a reusable glass straw.  Get yours here.

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Meal planning Monday

Not feeling in a very bloggy mood today, but I will post our meal plan for the week.

Here it is:

Sunday – out for dinner

Monday – vegetable soup, chili over quinoa topped with guacamole, tabule salad

Tuesday – out for dinner

Wednesday – Spinach almond cakes, kale and carrot salad, roasted brussell sprouts

Thursday – same as Wed

Friday – out for dinner

Saturday – to be determined