I’ve had a rough week — I got sick with a bit of a cold. I normally don’t get sick too often, so one bout of strep throat in late November and a cold this past week has made me feel a little crazy. But of course, my system is in a bit of shock. It’s recently gotten very cold here in Toronto, and with my partner, my boss and virtually everyone around me being sick, it was only natural that it get to me too (grumble grumble).
I’m really lucky, however, that I have a job which allows me to work from home as much as I need, so that I can be productive and get my work done without having to go into the office. Sometimes staying still for too long drives me nuts. My roommate actually made fun of me because on two “sick days” I drove to my office (in Markham!) to pick up my laptop, did all my work duties from home, cooked a bunch of food, did three loads of laundry, worked out and did some writing for fun.
Yeah, relaxing, you know?
Anyway, one thing I’ve been more conscious of this past week is eating foods that don’t make me feel weighed down. I’ve been having increasingly amazing results with lowering my gluten intake. Not only am I not nearly as flatulent (sorry, TMI!) but I have more energy! I’m just scurrying up the walls!
I’ll post a bit about my favourite breakfasts later this week, but I want to talk about these amazing crackers that I actually made by total accident. Initially I was looking for a buckwheat pizza crust recipe. When my yeast mixture failed, I then tried to make a more cracker-like crust. The result was a pretty cool, if not unconventional pizza. Then I re-adapted the recipe and, well, the rest is history! You can make these crackers sweet or savoury (I kept it neutral) to go with any topping. They’re high in fibre, gluten-free, and amazingly crunchy and tasty.
Gluten-free flax and buckwheat crackers (makes 12 large rectangular crackers)
- 1/2 cup whole flax seeds, one tablespoon set aside and ground into a meal
- 1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats (or sub with GF rolled oats if you can’t find buckwheat groats), processed into a flour
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup walnuts, processed to coarse crumbs
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of cinnamon (1 tsp if going for a “sweeter” recipe)
- 1/2 tbsp coconut nectar or other liquid sweetener (only if going for a “sweeter” recipe)
- Pepper, to taste (only if going for a more “savoury” recipe)
- Any other savoury spices of your choice
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the whole flax seeds, the flax seed meal, the buckwheat groats, the salt and the cinnamon (and any other spices).
- Add the water and stir to combine.
- Let sit for about 20 minutes until the mixture is thicker and more gel-like.
- Add the processed walnuts and sweetener, if using.
- Spread onto the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
- After 35-40 minutes, remove from heat. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing (they are super crispy)!
Enjoy these with any toppings you like. As you can see, I went with mashed avocado, salsa, grape tomatoes and hemp seeds for a savoury combo, and peanut butter, cacao nibs, coconut nectar and goji berries on the others. Maybe a fun challenge would be to show me what you top your crackers with!
I also wanted to share the routine I’ve been doing lately for climbing. This includes my full warm-up, body conditioning, climbing regimen and cool-down. It’s pretty intense. It all centres around what your peak grade is (for example, my peak grade for top rope is 5.11-) and working toward that before a nice, relaxing cool-down, while incorporating core conditioning and hand workouts.
- Five minutes mixed hangboard hangs (whatever you need that day)
- Five slow, continuous cycles through the following poses: Downward dog, plank, half-plank, upward dog. Hold each pose for four to five seconds each.
- 10 reps of the same cycle holding for two seconds each.
- 10 leg lifts
- 10 (each side!) right and left leg drops (oblique twists)
- 10 chest flies
- 10 lower back flies
- Two-minute cobra stretch
Climbing (top-rope only version) — adjust so that your peak grade is #9
- Short break for more ab conditioning — do about 5 sets, 10 reps of your favourite Pilates or similar exercises followed by a 60-to-90-second plank)
Climbing (top rope and lead version) — adjust so your peak lead grade is #9
- 5.9, top rope
- 5.8, lead
- Same 5.9 as #1, on lead
- 5.9, lead
- 5.10-, lead
- Short break for more ab conditioning (see top-rope only version)
- 5.10-, lead
- 5.10, lead
- 5.10+, lead
- 5.10, top rope
- Hamstring stretch (standing), 60 seconds
- Hamstring stretch (seated), 60 seconds
- Pyramid pose, 30 seconds each leg
- Wide-legged hamstring stretch, 30 seconds
- Butterfly stretch, 30 seconds
- Froggy stretch, 60 seconds
- 10 (each side!) right and left standing oblique drops