Sunday Smoothie

This luscious smoothie is full of vitamins, antioxidants and enzymes to nourish and energize.

Serves 2 smoothie-loving people.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 cups cashew milk
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 4 romaine leaves
  • 1 orange
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp of fresh ginger
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 1 scoop Vega greens plus protein powder
DIRECTIONS
  1. Toss everything in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass (so you can see the beautiful shade of green) and enjoy!
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Intuitive Eating

I’m thinking about Intuitive Eating this morning. Many people, including myself when I first heard the term, thought it meant breaking every diet/healthy eating plan rule and stuffing your face with cake, candy, donuts, a bottle of wine or any other food or drink that you’ve been denying yourself for years. So, that may happen at the beginning, especially if you’ve been strictly limiting the food you eat (low carb, low fat etc.) for a while. But, the beautiful thing about intuitive eating is that, once you’ve let go of all of your eating restrictions, once you’ve let go of believing an outside force knows your body better than you do, something magical happens. You start to listen to your body and really allow yourself to sink into and feel your body. And that’s when your intuition will kick in. When your intuition kicks in, you are able to receive signals from your body regarding what it needs to nourish itself. Sometimes that may be a grilled cheese sandwich with pickles and lots of ketchup and other times that may be a fresh, crisp green salad like the one in this photo. It can feel scary to trust yourself and your body’s signals, especially after many years of diet doctors telling us that we shouldn’t. But, if you can move past the fear and the initial craving of everything you’ve been denying yourself, there is a beautiful place of self-awareness and self-love waiting for you.

Earth Day Meditation & Mermaid Smoothie Bowl

I’m doing a chakra clearing meditation today. And any meditation is better when you’re getting a little healing tree energy at the same time.

Here’s what you do to clear and balance your first chakra:

Get grounded into nature ~ actually being in nature is best but you can do this at home too.

Tune into your 1st chakra at the base of your tailbone and imagine the bottom of your chakra opening up and a cord going deep into the earth from your 1st chakra. Now take a deep breath and think about all the old, stagnant energy that may be around this chakra that needs to go.

The first chakra is all about safety and security, so think of all of your fears around these areas, along with any old memories or painful feelings that surface, and imagine them leaving your body and going into the beautiful earth to be transformed. Keep going, imagining all of this old energy and old fear and sadness draining out of your body.

Make sure to honour any memories that come up in this process and stay with them as long as you need to. Don’t rush it. Let everything flow, knowing you can come back to this another day if you’re feeling a lot of emotion.

When the meditation is done, imagine the cord filling you up with energy from the earth. Then imagine closing the chakra and take three deep breaths to close the meditation, breathing in the new and sighing out the old.

This meditation could be done once or could be done every day for months, depending on how many issues come up for you. Repeat the meditation daily until there is nothing left to clear and then move on to do the same meditation with your second chakra, then third, then fourth etc. Expect amazing things to happen along the way.

And, after the meditation, I made a vegan, earth friendly snack that’s nutritious and delicious.

Mermaid bowl

  • 4 bananas
  • 1 avocado
  • pinch spirulina
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk

Blend together and top everything with coconut dusted blackberries.

This rich, yummy bowl is full of good fat from the avo, anti-aging antioxidants from the berries and good carbs, minerals and vitamins from the bananas.

Happy Earth Day

Tulip Festivals & Fat Bombs

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival started this week and, lured by online photos of gorgeous rows of brilliantly coloured tulips, a friend and I journeyed out to the country to tour wineries and walk through rows of pretty tulips. When we finally arrived at our destination we were sad to find out that vineyard bistros are only open a few days a week this time of year. Then, when we got to the tulip festival, well, only one flower had braved the weeks of rain and actually managed to kind of bloom.

As my friend and I drove around searching for a place to have lunch I said to her “isn’t it crazy how different real life is from the perfect images we see online?”

The reality though, is that although real life isn’t perfect, in a lot of ways it’s way better. Ok, we didn’t get to hang out at a fancy winery but we did find an amazing little bistro with reasonable, delicious food and funny, friendly servers. We laughed a lot and swore a lot at our misadventures (dropping a bunch of f~bombs can be incredibly therapeutic) and, although we didn’t have any social media worthy photo~ops of rows and rows of breathtaking flowers, that one little pink tulip that was almost blooming looked incredibly beautiful in the endless green fields.

So, I guess that our trip to the tulip festival was a fun reminder that the imperfections and surprises in life are actually where all of the sweet moments live.

So don’t fight it when things aren’t quite what you expected. Go with the flow and enjoy every single moment. Everything is probably going to turn out way better than you could have imagined anyway.

And, after a fun, muddy day running around the raindrop filled fields of Abbottsford, I cocooned in my cozy, little apartment and made these:

Raw Cacao Fat Bombs

Combine:

  • one cup raw cashews
  • one cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 T raw cacao
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • a little bit of water and a teeny tiny drop of honey

Pulse everything in a food processor, roll into balls and refrigerate.

Not super sweet but very chocolatey and coconuty when you’re feeling like a snack. These balls are full of good fat so will fill you up and are also very low in carbs so won’t cause any nasty blood sugar spikes.

Enjoy.

Biohacking

 

What exactly is Biohacking? You may have read about Silicon Valley exec’s biohacking themselves by excessive fasting and compulsively measuring their body states to have a competitive edge. The definition of the word, however, is to make changes to your lifestyle in order to “hack” your body’s biology and feel your best. Everything we put into our bodies – food, thoughts, exercise ­– all affect how we feel and behave. By biohacking yourself, you can transform your body to become more energized, productive and healthy, and you can do this in a very gentle way.

Five Ways to Biohack Yourself

  1. Go Sugar Free

Giving up refined sugar is one of the best things you can do for your body. Overconsuming sugar leads you down an unhealthy path lined with the following:

  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • mood swings
  • increased inflammation in your body (which lead to an array of diseases)
  • lowered energy

Also you don’t have to give up natural sugar in fruit and dairy. Added sugars are the ones to say goodbye to.  Soft drinks, processed foods, desserts, flavored yogurt, condiments (barbecue sauce and ketchup are the worst) and energy drinks will all be off of the menu. Also look for hidden sugar in processed food (ie: anything ending in “ose”). It’s shocking just how many places it turns up.

Giving up sugar can be a pretty tough biohack, but is also the one with the most rewards.

  1. Sleep More

If you’re not sleeping between 7–9 hours a night, you can have a touch of sleep deprivation and be putting yourself at risk for health issues. These issues include a weakened immune system, depression, trouble concentrating, irritability, an increased appetite and out-of-whack hormones.

So, what can you do to sleep more soundly? Keeping electronics out of the bedroom is key. The glowing lights from your smartphone/computer/TV tell your brain it’s time to wake up, not drift off into a deep sleep. Also turning off the TV and computer at least an hour before bed is also important as a way to wind down for a good night’s sleep. Last but not least, try turning your bedroom into a relaxing sanctuary. A pitch black bedroom (blackout blinds) with comfortable bedding and a diffuser filled with lavender essential oils is the ultimate setting for a good night’s sleep.

  1. Meditate

A meditation practice can reduce pain, increase sleep quality, lower inflammation and boost productivity. If you’re suffering from stress or anxiety, meditation can also be a really effective way of naturally dealing with symptoms. Establishing a daily meditation practice is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health – and it’s a great way to get ready for a good night’s sleep.

There are dozens of smartphone apps you can use to learn how to meditate. Some even have specific meditations for different purposes, like starting the day with a clear head or helping you unwind. Headspace is a great app to check out.

  1. Eat Probiotics

Ever wonder if those expensive probiotics at the health food store actually do any good? They might not. Probiotics are only regulated at time of manufacture and may not have any living cultures at the time of purchase.

Since a healthy gut is so important for, well, everything, adding probiotic rich food (sauerkraut, miso, kefir, plain yogurt) can have huge health benefits, especially when cutting down or giving up sugar at the same time, as sugar is an enemy of gut health.

Adding a couple of servings of probiotic rich food every day can help reduce belly fat, keep your skin healthy, improve depression and anxiety and boost your immune system. And it’s as easy as having a cup of yogurt for breakfast, miso soup at lunch and a serving of sauerkraut at dinner.

  1. Move your Body

For some people, an average day looks like this:

  • Sit in a car to drive to work
  • Sit at a desk all day
  • Take the elevator to sit in a restaurant at lunch
  • Sit in the car on the way home
  • Sit in front of a television set all evening

Studies are now showing how all of this sitting is really bad for our bodies.

The fix? Stand more and walk more. Biohack your way to better health by getting up and talking to co-workers instead of sending an email. At lunch or before and after work, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stand up and walk around during long phone calls and set a reminder on your phone for every 60–90 minutes to take a quick lap around the office.

These six changes aren’t huge but they all work together to create a healthier, happier life.

Happy Hacking!

Angels

I receive a daily email from a meditation guru named Light Watkins and one day a few weeks ago, the email that landed in my inbox said this:

“I had a conversation recently with someone who left her job and became a successful (and happy) entrepreneur.

Long story short, she had always envisioned leaving her office job, but was afraid of the unknown, and it never made sense to give up her stability to follow a dream—until she had multiple run-ins with her new passive-aggressive boss. Then she knew she couldn’t stay another day.

I’ve had similar situations with ex-bosses, ex-landlords, and ex-girlfriends, where the situation became so intolerable that I had no choice but to take a leap of faith into the unknown. And every time it worked out for the best.
I’m now convinced that these people who force us to take a leap of faith by making our lives a living hell are the real angels, sent to help us evolve and grow.
The Universe isn’t stupid. It knows that we don’t grow and evolve as much when we’re comfortable, and most of us aren’t going to leave a comfortable situation on our own accord—not without a “divine” push.”

Very interesting perspective and I thought of times in my life where this kind of dynamic had to happen for me to move forward. A situation literally had to become unbearable before I would take the sometimes painful steps toward growth. And then I sheepishly thought of times that my bad behavior had made me an “angel” to someone in my life.

A humbling thought but also a thought to spark some healthy self awareness and growth.

5 Amazing Reasons to Cut Down on Sugar

Sugar, in its many forms, is everywhere and letting it creep back into your diet can be an easy thing for even the staunchest anti-sugar peeps.

Also winter is around the corner and the change of season often means that we spend more time indoors and, as a result, are less active. And being less active can lead to, well, putting on our “winter coat”.

A great way to reduce the chance of this happening is by drastically reducing your sugar intake. Reducing refined sugar intake isn’t necessarily easy as it’s found in virtually all packaged foods, drinks and food at fast food restaurants are laden with it (a large Big Mac meal deal has 85 grams of sugar–236% of your daily allowance). Although it takes a little effort and planning to avoid sugar, it is very worth it in health and wellness rewards.

Here are 5 pretty amazing benefits of eating less sugar:

1. Improved sleep

Insulin levels are regulated when our blood sugar is balanced and one of the benefits of this is deep, restful sleep. Regulated insulin also has a balancing effect on the rest of our hormones as they all work together. This balance helps to improve our energy levels, brain function and, again, the quality of our sleep. A restful sleep gives us consistent and lasting energy throughout the day, increases our ability to focus and makes us less susceptible to sugary afternoon treats to get through the day, helping us to naturally cut down our sugar consumption.

2. Weight Loss 

Did you know that you can lose weight by cutting down on sugar without even reducing calories? This often happens because sugar spikes our blood sugar levels and insulin levels, as well as disrupting neurotransmitters in our brain. All of this increases fat storage. Eating more protein, fiber, fruit, and vegetables increases our metabolism, which then helps our bodies burn calories more efficiently. Losing or maintaining weight isn’t just about the daily calories consumed, but about the quality of foods we eat and the way our bodies process them.

3. Mental Clarity

Expect to feel more focused and clear-headed when giving up or cutting down on sugar. When our blood-sugar levels are consistent and healthy, our brain is more alert and we don’t feel as sleepy throughout the day. Also, too much fructose from foods containing high-fructose corn syrup (many processed, packaged foods) taxes our liver and pancreas. When this happens, these two organs have to work harder to manage all of the low quality sugar in our systems and remove it from our blood stream. While doing this, they exhaust energy reserves which otherwise should have been used for breaking down fat and converting it to usable energy. This can result in an unpleasant cocktail of moodiness, anxiety and even exhaustion.

4. Anti- Aging

Sugar is a primary contributor to the aging process, says Dr. Robert Lustig, a physician who has extensively researched sugar’s effect on the human body. He says fructose, the sweet molecule in sugar, is seven times more potent than the glucose portion of sugar. Fructose (ie. high fructose corn syrup) forms free radicals in our bodies, leading to higher rates of cell damage and death.

In a way, we “rust” as we age, he says. Oxidative stress turns our tissues brown. Overindulging in excess added sugar will speed up this browning process and speeds along the aging process in general.

5. Heart Health

It’s easy to imagine how having excess fat in our blood stream and arteries can lead to heart problems, but less people know about the role sugar plays in cardiac issues. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories per day from added sugars (6 teaspoons) for women, and 150 calories (9 teaspoons) for men for optimal heart health. Unfortunately people now consume 22 teaspoons per day, on average.

A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association has also shown that people who ate between 17 and 21 percent of their calories from added sugar had a 38 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared with people who consumed 8 percent or less of their calories from added sugar. So less sugar, along with moderate exercise equals a healthy, happy heart.

So, there you have it, some excellent reasons to think about dialing back your sugar habit.

Next post will have a delicious, sugar free dessert to help make living without refined sugar easy and delicious.