From Our Manitoba Harvest Hearts to Yours....

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Happy Friday everyone! If you’re like me then your mornings are rushed. Between working out, showering, getting ready for work, and trying to get a lunch and snacks packed, you probably have little time left to make a delicious breakfast that will get you through the morning. That’s where overnight oats come in. They’re the perfect breakfast for busy people since you can make a big batch one evening and have breakfasts ready for the whole week!

Now of course you can just make regular old overnight oats but that’s boring. These Banana Split Overnight Oats are way more delicious! They have all the flavour of the classic ice cream sundae but you can eat them for breakfast without feeling bad. Plus this recipe contains our Chocolate Hemp Protein Smoothie and Hemp Hearts so the overnight oats have added protein, omegas, and greens too!

The oats themselves are super easy to make, you just throw everything into a bowl, mix it all together, and store it in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning you transfer it to a container or bowl, top it with some sliced banana, strawberries, coconut flakes, walnuts, chocolate chips, and Hemp Hearts and you’re good to go!

If you’re planning on taking these on the go, then I suggest you divide the oats into a few small containers before you refrigerate them, pre-slice your strawberries, and keep all of the toppings (except the banana) in one container so you can just shake them on your oatmeal once you get to work.

Banana Split Overnight Oats

  • 1 extra ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other non-dairy beverage)
  • 2 tbsp. Hemp Protein Smoothie – Chocolate
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla Greek yogurt (or coconut yogurt if you want it dairy-free)
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • 4 tbsp. Hemp Hearts
  • 2 tbsp. honey (or more if you want it sweeter)

Toppings:

  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 tbsp. coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp. chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. dark chocolate chips (use Enjoy Life if making dairy-free)
  • 1 tbsp. Hemp Hearts

Directions:

  1. Add the almond milk, Hemp Protein Smoothie, and vanilla extract to a shaker cup or mason jar with a lid and shake until will mixed.
  2. Combine the oats, mashed banana, yogurt, chia seeds, Hemp Hearts, and honey in a medium bowl.
  3. Pour the almond milk mixture into the bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  5. In the morning, divide the oats into two bowls and top with banana, sliced strawberries, coconut, walnuts, chocolate chips, and Hemp Hearts and serve.

I hope these Banana Split Overnight Oats help make your mornings less rushed and more delicious! What’s your favourite on-the-go breakfast?

From Our Kitchen to Yours…
Sarah

Banana Split Overnight Oats

Woman-Working-At-Desk

Staying fit and healthy can be hard when you work full time and sit at a desk for most of the day. To help you fight off the negative effects of sitting, we’ve come up with eight easy ways to stay fit even when you’re super busy. 

  1. Work Out in the A.M.

When you come home after a long day at work, the last thing you feel like doing is exerting more energy by working out. That’s why the morning is a great time to squeeze in some fitness. After a morning sweat session you’ll feel great all day knowing that you already completed your workout.

  1. Divide and Conquer

If you just don’t have the time to do a 30-minute or hour-long workout then split it up into smaller workouts throughout the day. Maybe do 15 minutes of yoga in the morning, then go for a 20-minute walk or jog at lunch or after work.

  1. Bike to Work

Biking to work (or walking if you live close enough) is the perfect way to stay fit if you’re busy. You have to get to work somehow, so why not burn calories while you’re commuting? If you can’t commit to biking to work everyday then just pick one or two days a week to do it.

  1. Get Moving at Lunch

The lunch hour is a great time to get moving. If your work offers yoga or fitness classes at lunch then sign up! If not, you can always encourage your co-workers to do a workout video with you in one of the conference rooms or go for a walk if it’s nice outside.

  1. Pack Healthy Snacks

Make lots of healthy snacks to bring to work so you can fight off cravings and not over indulge in those donuts or cupcakes your co-workers bring in. Our favourite work snacks are hummus with veggies, apples with almond butter, and Hemp Heart Bites (they’re great to stash in your desk for hunger emergencies!).

  1. Walk it Out

During the workday, try to walk as much as possible. Easy ways to walk more are taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to your co-worker’s desk instead of just emailing them, and going for walks on your breaks instead of just sipping coffee at your desk.

  1. Drink Water

After you’re done your morning coffee or tea, switch to drinking water for the rest of the day. There are so many health benefits from drinking water and since we tend to drink less in the evening it’s a good idea to get your 8 to 10 glasses in during the day.

  1. Multitask

Once you’re off work and just want to watch a few of your favourite TV shows, try exercising while you’re watching! We love these two POPSUGAR Fitness workouts that you can do while you’re on the couch.

We hope these tips help you stay fit while you’re at work! What things do you do at work to stay active?

Staying Fit When You're Busy

You may already use Hemp Hearts in your breakfast routine or even add them to your salads for lunch but have you ever tried having them for dinner? Besides just sprinkling Hemp Hearts on your supper for some extra protein and omegas, you can also use them as a breading for chicken or fish, blend them with fresh basil to make a pesto, use them as a topping on Mac & Cheese and so much more! Here are 10 delicious ways to incorporate Hemp Hearts into your dinner.

  1. Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets from The Healthy Maven

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  1. Hemp and Pecorino Crusted Salmon from Eating Bird Food

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  1. Kale and Onion Hemp Pizza from Manitoba Harvest

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  1. Vegan Parmesan Cauliflower Steaks & Hemp Pesto Zoodles from Emilie Eats

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  1. Vegan Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup from Blissful Basil

Vegan Broccoli & Cheese Soup

  1. Hemp Seed Tabouli from Oh She Glows

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  1. Baked Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese from The Healthy Maven

Vegan Mac & Cheese

  1. Low Carb Vegan Seed Loaf from Healthful Pursuit

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  1. Zucchini Hemp Lasagna from Manitoba Harvest

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  1. Creamy Carbonara Pasta With Shiitake Bacon from Blissful Basil

Vegan Carbonara

For more delicious ways to use Hemp Hearts for dinner, check out our Pinterest Board!

Hemp Hearts for Dinner

Health & Wellness Podcasts

Listening to podcasts is a fun and entertaining way to get health, fitness, and wellness tips no matter where you are. We love listening to them while we’re getting work done, driving in the car, or just relaxing at home. There are so many awesome podcasts available and they’re almost all free! Here are our top 10 favourite health and wellness podcasts that you should start listening to now.

Ultmitate health podcast

  1. The Ultimate Health Podcast

Hosts: Dr. Jesse Chappus and Marni Wasserman

Topics: Health, fitness, nutrition, superfoods, meditation, and spirituality.

Why You Should Listen: Jesse and Marni (who you might recognize from our One Minute With Marni videos) share lots of awesome information about current health trends and interview world-class experts.

No Sugar Coating Podcast

  1. The No Sugarcoating Podcast

Hosts: Leanne Vogel and Amber Romaniuk

Topics: Women’s health, keto, hormones, nutrition, and self-love.

Why You Should Listen: Leanne from Healthful Pursuit (one of our favourite blogs) and Amber give lots of great information about the keto diet and share great tips for learning to love the body you have.

Nutrition Diva Podcast

  1. Nutrition Diva

Host: Monica Reinagel

Topic: Nutrition.

Why You Should Listen: Monica gives tons of simple and easy tips for how to eat healthier and live your best life.

Take Out Podcast

  1. Take Out With Ashley and Robin

Hosts: Ashley Koff and Robyn O’Brien

Topics: Nutrition, fitness, and health tips.

Why You Should Listen: Ashley and Robyn interview tons of experts and inspiring people including our very own CEO Mike Fata.

Jess Lively Podcast

  1. The Lively Show

Host: Jess Lively

Topics: Wellness, positivity, relationships, and advice.

Why You Should Listen: Jess shares amazing tips for how to be happy and successful in all areas of your life including your relationships and career.

On Air With Ella Podcast

  1. On Air With Ella

Host: Ella

Topics: Wellness, nutrition, fitness, and confidence.

Why You Should Listen: Ella chats with lots of experts and gives you tips on how to be healthy but still have fun.

Wellness Wonderland Radio Podcast

  1. The Art of Epic Wellness

Host: Nicole Keating

Topics: Alternative health, holistic nutrition, and wellness.

Why You Should Listen: Nicole inspires you to take control of your health journey through her interviews with health gurus, trail blazers, and people who have overcome disease.

Beauty Inside Out Podcast

  1. Beauty Inside & Out

Host: Kimberly Snyder

Topics: Health, beauty, yoga, spirituality, nutrition, and fitness.

Why You Should Listen: Kimberly shares tips from her successful books The Beauty Detox Power, The Beauty Detox Foods, and The Beauty Detox Solution and teaches you how “outer beauty is a reflection of inner health.”

Earn Your Happy Podcast

  1. Earn Your Happy

Host: Lori Harder

Topics: Motivation, self-love, entrepreneurship, confidence, fitness, and life coaching.

Why You Should Listen: Lori interviews inspirational guests, shares motivational stories, and teaches you how to elevate your life.

Art of Epic Wellness Podcast

  1. The Wellness Wonderland Radio

Host: Katie Dalebout

Topics: Holistic living, body image, and spirituality.

Why You Should Listen: Katie chats with bloggers, authors, yogis, entrepreneurs and coaches who share their journeys and leave you feeling motivated.

Healthy Podcasts

MH_Bar-ApplePie_OLD-WEB_2016-05-13

Happy Friday everyone! If you thought the fact that it’s Friday is reason enough to celebrate well wait till you find out what holiday today is… it’s National Apple Pie Day!

Everyone on the Manitoba Harvest team loves partaking in fun food holidays and when they land on a #FoodieFriday then it’s even better! To go with today’s tasty theme, I whipped up a batch of Apple Pie Bars. They have the flavour of a big slice of fresh baked apple pie except they contain no butter or sugar and they only take 10 minutes to make!

The Medjool dates make these bars deliciously sweet and the Hemp Hearts, walnuts, and almonds add a nice crunch. Plus the dried apples and cinnamon give them that apple pie flavour we all love.

These bars are great to pack in your (or your kid’s) lunches and they make the perfect on-the-go snack. If you want these to be nut-free, just use more Hemp Hearts in place of the almonds and walnuts.

I recommend making two batches of these bars so you can have lots of extras stored in the freezer for when you need a quick and healthy snack in a hurry.

Apple Pie Bars
Ingredients:

  • 9 large Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup raisins, packed
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened apples
  • 1 cup raw almonds, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup Hemp Hearts
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts, unsalted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor in the order they are listed and blend until the mixture is finely chopped and sticks together.
  2. Transfer the mixture into an 8×8” pan lined with wax paper or parchment paper.
  3. Use a spatula to press down the mixture until it’s packed down and smooth.
  4. Lift the edges of the wax paper up to get the mixture out of the pan and cut into 8 or 10 equal bars.
  5. You can enjoy the bars immediately or store them individually wrapped or in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

I hope you have a wonderful National Apple Pie Day and make a big batch of these bars!

From Our Kitchen to Yours…

Apple Pie Bars with Hemp Hearts

Rocket Fuel by Matt Kadey

There’s nothing we like better than a tasty afternoon snack to help fuel us through our busy days. These Granola Bites are packed with lots of delicious ingredients like Hemp Hearts, cranberries, pecans, and coconut and they make the perfect pick-me-up. The recipe is an excerpt from ROCKET FUEL: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure by Matt Kadey, RD, whip it up and let us know what you think!

Granola Bites
Who says granola has to be served from a bowl? These little bundles of nutrients are an on-the-go way to carry your beloved hippie food. You will be perfectly happy getting lost in the woods or stuck on the steepest of inclines if you have these nearby.

You can also make these in regular-sized muffin cups for a more substantial post-workout nosh or a take-and-go breakfast option. Just increase cooking time by about 5 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups quick-cook oats
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or almonds
  • ¼ cup Hemp Hearts
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup honey or brown rice syrup
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, stir together oats, wheat germ, pecans or almonds, Hemp Hearts, cranberries, apricots, coconut, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg and stir in honey or brown rice syrup and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until everything is moist.
  1. Divide mixture among 24 greased or paper-lined mini-muffin cups and make sure to pack it down tightly to help hold everything together. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Let cool several minutes before unmolding. Chill in the refrigerator for up to one week and transport in a small zip-top bag.

Republished with permission of VeloPress from Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure by Matt Kadey, RD. See more recipes at www.rocketfuelfoods.net.

It’s almost Mother’s Day which means it’s time to start thinking of ways to spoil your mama and show her how much you love and appreciate her! Making her a delicious brunch is one way to do just that!

To make the brunch extra special, fill champagne glasses with orange juice, put on a fresh pot of coffee, and get some fancy napkins to set the table with. Plus buy your mom a nice bouquet of flowers and add them to the table as the centrepiece.

Now for the tasty part! We’ve rounded up some of our favourite brunch recipes that your mom is sure to love! You can also check out our website for more delicious ideas.

Bite

Veggie Hemp Frittata

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Your mom will love this hearty frittata filled with loads of veggies like mushrooms, potatoes, and broccoli. You can make it in a cast-iron skillet or use muffin tins to make mini frittatas!

Hemp Pancakes

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Drizzle these pancakes with some pure maple syrup and top them with fresh berries and your mom will be very impressed! They’re super satisfying and surprisingly easy to make!

Banana Hemp Granola

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Line up your table with a big bowl of plain Greek yogurt, an assortment of fresh fruits, some superfood toppings like Hemp Hearts, and a mason jar full of this Banana Hemp Granola and have a make-your-own-parfait bar! It’s a scrumptious way to have some fun at brunch.

Sip

Chocolate Covered Raspberries Smoothie

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This chocolaty smoothie is an excellent accompaniment to your brunch menu. You can serve it in wine glasses or divide it into two small glasses as a little smoothie shot!

Savour

Vanilla Cupcakes

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What’s a celebration without a little cake? These Vanilla Cupcakes are the perfect sweet finish to your Mother’s Day brunch. Add some sprinkles in her favourite colour to personalize them and make your mom smile.

We hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day spent with the ones you love!

Mother's Day Brunch Menu

Since we’re passionate about doing our part to help keep this planet a beautiful place, we celebrated Earth Day by cleaning up the neighbourhood around our head office and having a sustainable potluck filled with healthy, local foods served in reusable containers.

It was a very successful event and in just one hour our team collected a total of 390 lbs of garbage and recyclables!

We’re always looking for more ways to be sustainable and Earth-friendly, so if you have any ideas we’d love to hear them. Comment on this post and let us know what you think!

Check out some of the photos from our Earth Day event below!

Picking up Garbage Earth Day 2016 #2

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MH_Pasta-LemonBroccoli_OLD-WEB_2016-04-28

For #FoodieFriday today I whipped up the perfect spring dinner, a quick and easy Lemon Broccoli Pasta sprinkled with a good helping of Hemp Hearts.

This is a great dish to make on those nights when you’re in a rush since it only takes about 30 minutes to put together. Plus it has lots of broccoli and spinach so it’s the perfect way to sneak some extra veggies into your day.

Instead of a heavy sauce, I used a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and garlic to give this pasta a light but delicious flavour. This recipe is vegetarian, but if you’d like to make it vegan just leave out the Parmesan or use a dairy-free cheese.

You can also take the leftovers to work for lunch and heat it up or eat it cold; it tastes great both ways!Quick & Easy (2)

Quick & Easy Lemon Broccoli Pasta
Ingredients:

  • 1 454 g (1 lb) bag of brown rice rotini pasta (or your favourite type of pasta)
  • 1 large head of broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 4 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup Hemp Hearts
  • 1 cup fresh Parmesan, grated (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh lemon wedges, to garnish

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  2. While you’re waiting for the pasta to cook, add broccoli to boiling water and cook until tender.
  3. Add the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes to a pan and cook over medium heat until the garlic is translucent. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and return it to the pot.
  5. After the broccoli is tender, drain it and add it to the pot with the pasta.
  6. Stir in the olive oil mixture, Parmesan cheese, and spinach. Wait a few minutes for the spinach to wilt.
  7. Add more olive oil to the pasta if it looks dry.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and add to serving bowls. Top with extra Parmesan and lemon wedges and enjoy!

I hope you love this recipe and whip it up for your family this weekend!

From Our Kitchen to Yours…

sarah_handwritten

I2P 1

We love supporting our hemp fuelled athletes and hearing all about the amazing things they have accomplished. Keep reading to find out how endurance athlete Jen Segger made it through Arctic 2 Atacama, a unique and challenging expedition that spanned 100 degrees celsius on the thermometer!

How do you resist an invitation to join two of the world’s top adventure athletes on a challenging endurance project? Well naturally, you don’t. When an overly excited Ray Zahab called me on the phone and explained the concept of doing an expedition that would span 100 degrees in temperature difference and asked if I’d be keen to join him, it wasn’t hard to say yes. That was back in August. But first, just a few hundred logistics had to be worked out between then and our departure in February. It would be six months of preparations to bring it all together!

The adventure was set to begin in Canada’s Arctic mid-February when temperatures plummeted to -50°C. On fat tire bikes, Ray, Steffano Gregoretti, and myself would attempt a first-ever unsupported crossing from the remote Inuit community of Qikiqtarjuaq, through the Akshayuk Pass, and end in the town of Pangritung. From there, we would head directly down to Chile. Switching fat bikes for full-suspension mountain bikes, we would then bike the entire Atacama Desert, 1,200 km in length and 50°C in temperature. A test of endurance as much as a mental challenge, we would without a doubt be testing our limits to the max, while all the while, school groups around the globe would be able to follow along and be a part of the expedition through impossible2Possible’s education program.

And so, I spent all winter training and trying to get myself as strong as possible. Ray and I talked often about our training prep, what was working and what wasn’t. There were so many factors to consider on this expedition, especially for the Arctic leg. Our gear had to be light but efficient and able to withstand the harsh environment of the Arctic. We needed to be warm but still be able to move and not sweat. Then there was the timing of everything… flights, weather windows, snowfall, temperatures, and mechanicals. Pair all that with smooth transitions to Chile and being ready and able to handle heat and days in the saddle, it was a complex trip to say the least.

Ray had crossed the Akshayuk Pass several times before on foot. Steffano had also been there once, and I had done a summer crossing back in 2009 when I’d been apart of i2P’s first youth expedition. It was a trip that I will never forget as Canada’s North is truly one of the world’s most amazing gems. I felt blessed to be able to return again, this time for a winter adventure as Ray’s relationships with so many wonderful people in the North was critical in bringing the Arctic section to life.

THE ADVENTURE – Part 1 – The Arctic

Mid-February and it’s go time! Our team assembled in Ottawa to pack up gear and do final preparations. I had flown out to train with Ray a month earlier and to familiarize myself with my new fat bike (FELTS DD) and all the equipment that we’d be using. From setting up our new tentipi, to lighting stoves, sorting out systems to load all our gear onto our bikes, and most importantly, deciding what we’d be eating and what we’d be wearing, the to-do list had been long. When I arrived in Ottawa, it was finally time for all the excitement to set in. Bikes had been disassembled and were ready for travel in our BikeND cases. Dressed in my Baffin boots, layered in Icebreaker, and wrapped warmly in Canada Goose, we boarded a First Air flight bound for the Arctic.

We had two nights in Qikiqtarjuaq to take care of final preparations. Ray’s good friend and Arctic guide, Billy Arnaquq opened up his home to us and helped with logistics. I won’t forget the initial breath of that cold Arctic air that I took as Ray, Steffano, and I walked around the village buying last-minute supplies, obtaining park permits, and testing our fully loaded bikes. From “wet coast” to “freezing Arctic,” it was more than a shock to the body.

I2P 2

On the morning we set out, it was clear skies and freezing. The sun overhead had never felt so good as we made our way along the ice road and out onto the open fjord. The ice road was an unexpected pleasant surprise. The people of Qik had built a solid road out to their winter fishing camps which we happily took for as long as we could. With some luck on our side it was nicely windswept. Our bikes though, weighed over 80 lbs and it was tough going, especially when we had to deviate away from the road and up the fjord leading to the start of the Akshayuk pass. We passed loads of icebergs along the way, a major highlight for me! I’d never seen such large chunks of ice before and I’d never experienced the cold Arctic winds either. My brain told me to embrace the cold rather than fight it. In the Arctic, the immense highs are usually paired with challenging times. We covered approximately 50 km our first day and I got to experience my first night sleeping on ice in our tentipi. It was a restless night… we were also in polar bear territory! With ice cracking below us, morning couldn’t come fast enough!

I2P 3

It took us two days to reach the head of the Akshayuk Pass. Our final push down the fjord was extremely challenging. With no ice road to follow, the snow was deep in many places and following the snowmobile track of Billy who was taking photographer Jon Golden across the pass, was out of the question. So, it was a mix of pushing and riding. I was very thankful at this point that we had equipped our fat bikes with studded tires. The final few kilometers to where we’d camp for the night was sheer ice and the extra traction was appreciated. The winds still managed to push me over though and all I could do was get up, laugh, and race to catch up with Ray and Steffano.

I2P 4
Mornings were early. We were up at 5:00 a.m. and our way by 8:00 a.m. or so. Three hours seems to be the standard for eating and breaking camp. Boiling water to both warm up and to add to our meals was a process each morning and each night. We had kept our meal plan simple yet extremely nutritious. Breakfast consisted of oatmeal mixed with Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts and Garden of Life’s chocolate raw meal. Calorie dense and warm, it was a great way to start the day. We needed to eat a lot at breakfast time because during the day, stops to eat would be limited due to freezing. We stored Fruit5 bars and Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bites in our pogies for quick eating. They were great choices because neither of them froze and both were extremely palatable.

My bike, due to the frame size, was packed differently than Ray and Steffano’s. I wore my Osprey pack on my back and then attached stuffed sacks to a front racking system. Each day I rigged it slightly different, always trying to find the best balance point for efficient movement as food weight decreased and gas canisters were drained.

Day three we broke camp and watched as Billy’s snowmobile disappeared into the pass with Jon on the back. They were off on a photography mission and the three of us had a major day of biking ahead using the gentle grade of the Owl River for as long as we could. Our hope was that following the river would be faster going than trying to move through snow on the land. It was tricky navigating through all the braids in the river and there was a lot more snow than we had anticipated. Fog set in and the going was anything but fast. A highlight though was seeing a black Arctic fox that was extremely intrigued by us. I suppose seeing fat bikers in the Arctic is not an everyday occurrence.

We didn’t make it to the Rundle Glacier as hoped for on day three. Fog set in and everyone was pretty wiped. Snow started falling and we were dreading what the next day would bring and how that would affect our pace. We had a monster of a climb to go up and bikes were heavy. We set up camp and rested just as it started snowing. Little did we know at that point just how important that rest would be.

I2P 5

Day four was HARD, plain and simple. Up early and on our way to the base of the moraine, we stopped for a quick snack before beginning the extremely slow push-a-bike-slog up to Summit Lake. As a team, we moved one bike at a time. Time ticked by. Once we finally reached the top and set foot on Summit Lake, it was anything but perfect. The snowstorm the night before had made the lake impossible to ride on. It was slow going as we pushed our bikes the majority of the way. Then, as if things couldn’t get worse, THEY DID!!! The fog returned, the wind increased to extreme and the snow started falling again. Conditions went from really bad to a terrible blizzard extremely fast. It started to get dark and the team realized quickly that tonight, we NEEDED To make it to the safety shelter at Windy Lake, however, all our navigation equipment started to die and batteries were empty. We wasted some serious time moving in one big circle on top of the lake and not in the direction that we should have been going. This turned into a critical moment for everyone. We found a massive boulder on the side of the lake, re-collected ourselves, and developed a new plan for navigating. Luckily, Ray had a bit of battery left in his wrist Garmin that helped us to sort out exactly where we were. As he and Steffano navigated us forward in 50 m increments, I kept my eyes peeled on the shoreline for the emergency hut. Hours later, and only covering about 3 or 4 km, I caught glimpse of the hut. Never had I been so happy to escape the blizzard. We huddled inside the shelter and realized that each of us had frostbite on our faces and hands, however, Steffano had it the worst and by morning, it was of much more concern. His entire pinkie finger and side of the hand was frost bitten and we were not sure how bad. It would have to be monitored closely.

I2P 6

The next day was downhill. We left Windy Lake and began the steep descent down the Weasel River. Bikes had to be walked as it was so steep that we couldn’t ride it with all the weight. We pushed our bikes over and around boulders and the entire time I was in complete awe as to how Billy had just passed through there days before on his snowmobile! The terrain was incredibly complex. Many parts of the river had accumulated deep overflow and Ray forged ahead, taking soakers for the team. What would have been funny in any other condition, a freezing cold wet boot in the Arctic is no laughing matter. Ray would later pay the price for that and suffer from frostbite that never returned to normal until near the end of the Atacama section.

The descent down the Weasel River was extremely cool. Massive mountains and peaks towered above us and as the river’s grade eased, we got to ride more and more. It was a stunning day overall. However, by the time we arrived at camp that night, Steffano’s hand was in bad shape. I gave Ray my back up pair of Icebreaker socks to wear so he could try to re-warm as best as possible. We set up the sat phone (Iridium Go) and called into Pang to see about getting Steffano an evacuation out. Gutted to have him not complete this leg, a frostbitten extremity must be taken seriously. Steffano wanted to be able to come to the Atacama with all five fingers intact so he thought it was best to get into Pang and have a medical team look at it. Luckily, just before dark, Billy arrived by sled and took Steffano back to Pang. Ray and I stayed out, eager to finish things up in the morning.

I2P 7

Our final day out was an incredible challenge of mental toughness. Driven to get to the end of the pass but plagued by the snow that had fallen, Ray and I did anything but ride our bikes. On the contrary, we pushed and pushed and pushed our bikes FOR HOURS, all morning in fact. We had to keep moving just to stay warm. The accumulation of so many days taxing our body was catching up. The sun was out but it was epically freezing. Head down though; there was no time for complaining. We were eager to make it to the head of the Pangritung Fjord and make our way to Pang to re-join Steffano.

I2P 8

Late lunch and a warm bed at the Auyuittuq Lodge never felt so good. It was time to start the recovery process and switch gears. The Atacama was waiting and so was 50 degree heat! Steffano had good news to share, his hand would be ok and he would be good to continue on for adventure number two in Chile. We said goodbye to the Arctic and hello to the upcoming heat.

THE ADVENTURE – Part 2 – Chile’s Atacama

Arctic2atacama with Ray Zahab, Stefano Gregoretti, Jenny Segger Mountain biking across Atacama desert from the Peruvian border to Copiapo - 1200km

We flew back through Ottawa for a gear change out and a crew addition. It was Atacama GO TIME and we had a lot of gear and a greatly welcomed support team to assist us with this next leg. By the time we landed in Arica, Chile with over 16 bags of luggage, we were now a team of nine. Photographer Jon Golden remained with us along with the incredibly talented videographer Chris Tran. Co-founder of i2P Bob Cox was heading up the crew team and we had Javier Aguilera and Christian Sieveking from Chile both on board. We knew that our bikes would need constant attention if we were to survive the 1,200+ km crazy terrain awaiting us so we brought along bike mechanic Brian to take on this role.

We flew Air Canada down on a direct flight from Ottawa to Santiago and then onto Chile’s most Northern city, Arica, right on the Peruvian-Chilean border. Seaside for two nights, we rested, fuelled, and put our full suspension mountain bikes together. For this leg of the adventure, we had opted to ride the Felt Decree as we knew that it was a stellar 27.5 bike that would stand up in a harsh desert. Thankfully, all our bags and bikes arrived and before we knew it, Ray, Steffano, and I were back in the saddle and heading South. 1,200 km of incredibly hot and ever changing terrain awaited us.

Arctic2atacama with Ray Zahab, Stefano Gregoretti, Jenny Segger Mountain biking across Atacama desert from the Peruvian border to Copiapo - 1200km

Now, try as I might, I can’t actually recall the day-by-day mileage and terrain. For an epic of this length, days and timeframes blur together. There is only one focus of the day… take care of yourself, take care of your teammates, bike many kilometers, beat the winds, and of course, have fun! You quickly find yourself very much living in the moment and just settling into the routine of expedition life. The Atacama is a long, narrow desert that spans a good part of Chile. To the left was the Andes and to the right was the coastal range that separated the desert from the ocean. What lies in between is an ever-changing, challenging desert.

The first few days of the expedition was mostly on pavement. There was only one way to cross the Northern part of Chile via bike and it was on the Panamerican Highway. While it did allow us to put some distance down, we were eager to get off-road and find some dirt. Contrary to the Arctic, it was really nice to have crew on this leg. Water bottles were always filled and snacks never too far. We made our way through some larger towns over the first few days as we tackled some massive climbs lasting several hours and some insane descents of 20+ km. The views of deep canyons below us were insane.

As Ray, Steffano, and I put hundreds of kilometers behind us, we had transitioned to an amazing part of Chile that very few people ever get to experience. Rich in history, we marvelled at the old ruins, ancient villages, petroglyphs, and abandoned mines that we biked through. There was also an intricate network of current, functioning mines throughout the Atacama that took careful planning to avoid. The heart of the Atacama Desert was amazing. Some days we rode old railway tracks as their lines proved to be the most direct. Other days we were completely off-road, picking our way through dirt, soft sand, and sometimes when got lucky, hard clay-like mud that looked like chocolate. One thing is for certain, there are no two parts of the desert that are the same. As such, everyday was completely unique. I felt like we were a three-person team in an adventure race except for this was not a race at all. It was purely an adventure and it felt awesome to have it be just that!

Arctic2atacama with Ray Zahab, Stefano Gregoretti, Jenny Segger Mountain biking across Atacama desert from the Peruvian border to Copiapo - 1200km

As we biked along, Ray would tell us about the highlights that we’d see and he’d share his stories from his run across various deserts over the years. We’d talk about random races and epics that we’d all done. I’d talk about how much I missed my son Kiel back home. We’d debate nutrition and training topics. Steffano would talk about Italy and the mountains and Ray and I decided that we needed to go to his home area soon to play. And lots of the time, we’d just say nothing at all. Hours could pass and we’d all be lost in our own thoughts or cursing at the wind if it was head on. We did have our share of tail winds though and when the speed picked up, we were flying!

The goal each day was to be biking by 8:00 or 8:30 am and to get as far as we could before the afternoon winds kicked in. We could almost put money on it that by 3:00 p.m. each day, the winds would turn on. This made setting up camp a challenge for the crew each day. While Ray, Steffano, and I recovered and re-fuelled under the pop-up tent, our amazing team worked hard to set tents and prepare dinner. Brian worked on the bikes and us riders would try to scrub all the dirt off our legs from the day’s terrain. The deeper we got into the desert, the hotter the temperatures were, so hydration and proper nutrition at the end of long bike hours was essential.

Of the 1,200 km’s we covered, one of the highlights for myself was sleeping under the Atacama sky at night. We’d go to bed with the setting sun. While Jon and Chris typically stayed up to mess around with cameras and time lapses that captured the amazing night time desert, I’d snuggle into my sleeping bag and try to keep my eyes open until I saw five shooting starts. This was not a hard task mind you, the milky way delivers hundreds of shooting stars constantly. Interestingly enough, the desert gets very chilly at night. I was grateful for my Icebreaker base layer and thermal X-ped sleeping mat below me. Oh, and for this trip I even had a travel pillow, something I’ve never owned until now. Good sleep was essential to having good energy the next day.

I2P 9

I found that expedition life quickly became a simple way of living. Everyone found their groove and role very fast. The nine of us became a very efficient team and I’m extremely grateful for our crew who gave their time and energy so that Ray, Steffano, and I could achieve our goal. Crewing is not easy and I will be forever thankful to our amazing team. In total, we were out in the Atacama for 12 days before we arrived at the most Southern point of the desert, the town of Copiopo.

I’m still trying to process this once in a lifetime adventure. How did I get so lucky to experience two drastically different places in one unforgettable adventure. I was challenged, humbled, and inspired. Arctic2Atacama truly was the trip of a lifetime! As with all major challenges in life, we learn a little more about ourselves each time. Hours on the bike and nights under the stars enable me to step back from daily patterns, reflect, think, re-energize, and set new goals. I returned home excited for the next chapter in life and eager to start planning the next adventure.

ONWARDS… thanks to all who followed along, gave their support, and of course to my partner Norm who held the fort while I was away. :)

GEAR SUMMARY
We’ve already gotten loads of questions on what specific gear we used and what we ate. I hope the below helps. A lot of time went into planning for this expedition, as we knew that our equipment choices would be critical to success!

ARCTIC:

Bike: Felt DD
Tires: 45NRTH (studded dillinger 5)

Sleeping: Tentipi, -50 Mountain Hardwear sleeping bag, Xped down sleeping mat

Food: approx 1800 calories a day (approx)
B: coffee, dense oatmeal (with Garden on Life chocolate raw meal, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts and coconut oil).
S: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bites, Fruit 3 bars, PODS gum, almonds.
D: tea, hot chocolate, instant noodle soup, mashed potatoes with coconut oil.

Footwear: Baffin boots

Baselayer: Icebreaker (zone long sleeve and bottoms 200w, ski sock)

Outerlayers: Canada Goose (hybridge lite jacket, tundra jacket, brookvale jacket, parka, puffy pants)
Backpack: Osprey

Goggles: Rudy Project goggles (with face mask sewn on)
Other Key Items: satellite phone (Iridium Go), -50 sleeping bag, Exped down sleeping mat, Lupine headlamp, MSR stove x 3, bike racking system, pogies

ATACAMA:

Bike: Felt Decree

Sleeping: Tentipi, -40 MEC sleeping bag (I sleep cold).
Fuel: Coffee! Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bites, Carpo-pro, Agisko, Fruit 3 bars, chips, rice & beans, eggs.

Hydration System: Osprey Raven 10

Eyewear & Helmet: Rudy Project
Sunscreen: Bioearth

Appreciated Key Items: comfy camp clothes for post ride R&R (Shredly shorts, thermal icebreaker) pillow, aloe cream for skin, toothbrush, a crew, wipes to get the dust off!!!

To read Jen’s bio, visit the hemp fuelled athletes page of our website. Are you an elite athlete in your sport? Apply to be a hemp fuelled athlete today!