How is it the first day of February today?! I'm so thankful I took some time off and was able to reconnect with friends over the break and during the month of January. I needed time for myself and had put my blog on hold for a little bit. But I'm back and excited to bring back my series of Behind the Chair with you all! Behind the Chair is one of my favorite series on this blog. It's all about introducing you to some incredible people that I've met and are doing amazing things with their, business, blog, fitness journey, you name it! Today's Behind the Chair gal is my friend Jocelynne Flor. We met two years ago, at an NTC event, and she was training for her first 15k race that was held here in Toronto. We were partnered up to do some drills and both felt like curling up into a little ball after the 1,489,203 squats and burpees we were instructed to do! Jocelynne has started a beautiful blog, where she shares some of her favorite recipes and will have an eBook out later this year!
I knew I had to interview Jocelynne, because her journey has been so great to follow, and learn about why she's switched to a plant based diet, and being a vegan, in all areas of her life. I enjoyed having her over, doing her hair and chatting over a delicious cup of matcha, which she taught me to make! (Remember when I told you I'm not a cook, making matcha is super easy and now I'm hooked with making and drinking them.) Well, now it's time to get to know this wonderful blogger and friend of mine.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how it led you to starting your blog:
I used to spend countless hours reading blogs and watching YouTube videos wishing I could be "that person". I started my first blog in grade 10, and it was a super cringe-y fashion blog which I later shut down because I was too embarrassed for anyone else to read it. When it was time for me to apply for university/college, I had NO idea what I wanted to do in life, the only thing certain was that I wanted to help people in one way or another. So I picked a program that looked "good" and went with it. Somewhere between then and now switched I programs three times, gained the freshman 15+, had horrible partying habits, and started documenting my journey online towards a healthier lifestyle. Eventually that led to me to starting the blog I have now, Jocelynne Flor but that's another story that can be told over a cup of matcha ;)
What made you want to try a vegan diet and lifestyle:
My journey started with two things in mind: my health and the environment. Two years ago I started doing Meatless Mondays, which then I started eating a vegetarian diet and making more vegetarian and plant based diets meals. In late 2016 I made the switch to being vegan. A lot of people think that being vegan or vegetarian means eating only salads, it's not that there are SO many recipes out there that have a great balance of everything you need in your body. I enjoy the plant based diet because of the way I feel, I know exactly what I'm putting in my body. Being vegan didn't happen overnight, it was a transition that happened over a couple years, I did a lot of research before making the switch. That's also when I decided to change things on my blog. I wanted to share my love of cooking, but also the importance of a healthy balanced lifestyle.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about switching to a plant based/vegan diet:
If you're thinking of changing your diet, start SLOW and do your research. Whether you're doing it for the health, environmental, or ethical reasons, educate yourself. In terms of nutrition and health (my primary reason for it) I highly recommend the book "How Not To Die" by Dr. Michael Greger or at the very least downloading his app The Daily Dozen.
No one can ever pick just one, so, what are some of your favorite recipes:
My first recipe I put on my blog were the Energy Bites, it's close to my heart so that's at the top of my list. Second, Cheesy Broccoli Shells, this was inspired by my love for K.D (Kraft Dinner) I used to make mac & cheese all the time! Third, would be anything with avocado! Who doesn't like a good avocado toast?! And fourth, I'm obsessed with a GOOD matcha tea!
How does fitness play an important part in your life:
Fitness is important to me because I want to be my best self - not only for me, but for my loved ones. In the immediate moment I want to be able to go through everyday life without feeling aches & pains, or running for the bus without feeling like I'm going to die. Working out is also a chance to get some 'me' time and to forget about everything else for a little while. It has played a huge part of me moving mountains in my mental health, and leaving my comfort zone physically and socially (if that makes sense). In the future I also want to be able to keep up with my kids, but that's a long time from now.
Do you have any fitness goals for 2017:
I'll be running my first HALF MARATHON in the fall. I'll be running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. My best advice is to sign up, because now you cannot back out. I'll be documenting my training journey on my blog and talking about how important it is to have rest days, strength training and cross training days. I learned a lot from the 15k I ran back in 2015 on the island. Another goal for this year is to do a squat of one and a half times of my body weight. I've been attending training sessions with Jenny Thomson of Small but Mighty Fitness, who teaches everything I need for my journey this year.
Of course I'm going to ask, what is your favorite way to wear your hair:
To be honest, I don't make time to do my hair and it's straight, so I just wear it the way it is. Straight. I also don't complain when Aylin does my hair in different styles ;)