Thursday, 12 April 2012

Friends for Life and your HEALTH!

Are you lucky like me?

Are you surrounded by the most amazing friends who make you laugh, cry and who love you unconditionally?

I often take a step back and look at my life to focus on what I am thankful for. Having my health, an amazing family and being fortunate enough to pursue my dreams are enough to keep me happy - but in addition I have the most amazing group of friends.

It is my belief that great friends are vital for good health.

We should always try and surround ourselves with people that offer support. You choose your friends and they choose you in return. If you are lucky enough to find friends that walk with you through life remember to always cherish them. Sitting around and laughing with friends is enough to create a flush or endorphins in the body to promote happiness and ease pain.

The support and love you feel from your friends creates a positive and happy environment which helps to alleviate everyday stresses and ease anxiety stemming from situations beyond control. Having good people in your life creates a sense of community and support, and enhances all the good that comes your way, and makes the bad more tolerable. Good friends reconnect you with your child-like side, a part of us that can become distorted as time passes.

My friends are always there for me and knowing that I'm supported by them makes me a stronger and better person. This post is just a reminder to take a step back once in a while and be thankful for the good friends in your life. A good friendship offers you happiness and health - and that is something we should all be thankful for.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

A Place of YES!

It is yet another lovely day today and this morning I decided to celebrate with a yoga class. Generally during yoga I try to cleanse my mind of any thoughts whatsoever, and do my best to completely clear my head. However, today the yoga instructor said something that really make me think.

While attempting a really difficult pose today in class, a few people feared they couldn't do it. The instructor told us to come from a place of yes. This meant trying with an open heart and mind - if you fall out of what you want to achieve, then gently place yourself back into it. No judgements and no discouragements. Just come from a place of yes.

This really got me thinking because this is something that I have really been trying to apply to my life lately, and I know many people struggle with this. Many of us fear that we cannot achieve our goals and become discouraged. The discouragement is then followed by acceptance of what we think we "can't" do and we give up, loosing sight of the realization that our failures are merely a stepping stone to success. It is how we deal with failure that determines whether or not we will achieve our goals.

Even in the darkest space of failure, there lies a place of yes. - You just need to be open to it.

In my own life I feel that I have accomplished a great deal. After a year of being ill I brought myself back to health, changed careers and my outlook on life. There is still so much that I hope to achieve  and I have come to understand that although it may take time I know that my passion will lead me to success.

Coming from a place of yes can be applied to any aspect of your life. It's a short little phrase with so much meaning and I hope that when you feel discouraged you remember to come from a place of YES.

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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Shake Your Booty!

Happy hump day everyone!

We are at the mid week point and it is a beautiful day today! I cannot believe how amazing the weather has been and how quickly summer is approaching...well we still have a few more months until it is technically summer but I like to think it's closer than the calender claims.

With the heat on its way, we will soon be peeling off the layers - and now is the time of year most of us frantically try to shed the pounds packed on during the winter months that have kept us warm and cushioned. 

It's time to shake your booty! I must admit, I do enjoy exercising. I enjoy sweating out all kinds of toxins - stress, chemicals from the environment, the chocolate cake I ate the night before...

However, not everyone enjoys working out. Understandable. 

Most of us do not like to feel the discomforts that exercise can cause. After all, it can be so hard to get off your butt and put on your running shoes AND actually get out there and work up a sweat. They don't call it "WORKing" out for nothing!

Here's the thing. Each time you do get off your butt, it not only becomes easier but your body will actually begin to crave it - and in turn, you will begin to find joy and happiness in the process. The work you put into working out benefits your body in more ways than shaping your sexy bod for the summer months.

Exercise benefits your overall health. It will help to stimulate the digestive system, enhance your metabolism, strengthen the immune system and nervous system, rid the body of toxins, aid in more restful sleeps, boost brain function, elevate mood and is a natural pain depressant. It is also one of the greatest stress reducers, if not the BEST STRESS REDUCER. 

This is a great time of year to get out there and start moving! You do not need to be a member of a gym. Putting on a comfortable pair of shoes and taking a walk in the sunshine (or rain - it can be refreshing) is a great form of exercise! There is absolutely no excuse not to allow yourself to feel great. Summer is the best time to move! There are so many activities and ways to get your body in motion.

This summer I have joined a baseball league with a bunch of my friends and I can't wait to get started! Playing sports is a wonderful way to exercise and make it fun at the same time!

So let's go! 
Shake your booty, sweat, feel good, feel happy and be healthy - mentally, physically, inside and out.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Sunshine Vitamin

Ahhhhhh yes!

Today it is FINALLY nice and warm outside. The sun is shining and everyone is coming out of winter hibernation.

Have you ever noticed how different you feel when the sun is out? Everything is warmer and happier - overall life just feels better. Perhaps its because the sun is generating vitamin D that you're feeling so good!

Vitamin D3 "cholecalciferol" - also known as the "sunshine vitamin", is my most suggested vitamin to clients (although I don't like to pick favorites) because it plays such a huge part in keeping us healthy.
Proper intake of vitamin D is so important as it is needed for many functions in the body.

Vitamin D helps to regulate blood pressure in order to maintain cardiovascular health, regulates insulin levels needed to maintain blood sugar,  helps to regulate phosphorus and calcium levels in the body, AND aids in muscle function and bone health.

Furthermore, studies have shown that vitamin D lowers depression, enhances immunity, reduces inflammation, protects against skin conditions, increases energy levels and helps to prevent cancer.

With all of the benefits that vitamin D has to offer, step outside and take in some sunshine! Another option is to go to your local health food store and pick up a bottle of vitamin D3. I prefer the drops as they are easier to take.

With spring just around the corner and summer a few more blocks away, we have so much sunshine (and vitamin D) to look forward to!

Take in the sunshine vitamin and feel good!

References: Worlds Healthiest Foods
Image from:

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Are You TOO Healthy?

Have you ever heard of someone being too healthy?

What does it mean to be too healthy anyway? 
Personally, I enjoy drinking my greens and have learned to love kombucha - a fermented tea beverage great for feeding the "good bacteria" in the body (Occasionally, I even enjoy the slimy bacterial culture known as the "SCOBY" that sits at the bottom). 

Perhaps it's because I am a nutritionist and have seen the wonder that food as medicine can do that I mostly enjoy food that offers my body health benefits. When I eat a leafy green I can literally feel the green chlorophyl rejuvenating my blood and nourishing my cells.

BUT....I also enjoy a good cup of coffee and a big scoop of creamy chocolate ice cream. 

With that said, as a nutritionist I am not giving you a free pass to pig out on all the ice cream you'd like. However, I will tell you that your health is what you make of it. If allowing yourself to indulge in that ice cream on occasion brings you joy then go for it! 

Health is about finding BALANCE and there is no such thing as being "too healthy". In my opinion, part of being healthy is allowing yourself the occasional indulgence.

I do not believe in deprivation. It's important to understand that we are each responsible for our own health and wellness - as well as associations. If you associate an indulgence with guilt then your body will be fueled with that guilt when you treat yourself - and at the end of the day, the guilt itself is worse for your health than the actual indulgence. 

Again, I am not offering you permission to eat all the junk you can find, but I do hope to relieve you of the guilt we are so often bombarded with through associations that have been branded in our minds. 

Balance is not only about eating well and allowing yourself a treat once in a while, it's about being open to new things that may enhance your well-being. Try things and try them in different ways! If you don't like sliced beets because they are slimy and weird looking and smell weird - or whatever! - try mashing them up and mixing them with sweet potato. Just TRY. 

Take away the guilt and replace it with the art of trying. Who knows, maybe one day you too will get a "scoby" craving. 

So promise yourself this. FOR YOUR HEALTH allow yourself to indulge and take joy in it! Throw away the guilt and fuel your body with happiness. Learn to love the foods that love your body and that work to enhance your health. Find your BALANCE.

Feed the body with your leafy greens and nourish the soul with the joy you get from an indulgence. 

Image from:

Friday, 2 March 2012

Food Fight!

 Happy Friday everyone!

The weekend is finally upon us and as promised I have my good friend, culinary nutrition expert "Alexa Spas" amaaaaazing power muffin recipe for you - the perfect activity for a Sunday afternoon. (see at bottom and ENJOY!)

Recently, I have had a lot of people asking me how to fight off the cold bug that's been going around lately. This is an odd time of year. From snow, to rain to sunshine within the same day, the rise and fall of temperature can take a toll on the body.

It can take time for the body to adjust to change and it is extremely important to take extra care in order to help the body fight off any unwelcome invaders. Here are some of the best ways to pump up your immune army to take down that BIG BAD COLD.

GARLIC: Bring on the garlic! An herb often referred to as the "stinky rose" - your immune system loves it! Garlic is one of the best remedies to beat down the "bad bacteria" in the body responsible for causing infection. Garlic contains a sulfuric compound known as "allicin" that is released when garlic is crushed or bruised and is the component that fights "bad bacteria" in the body to help rid of that annoying cold. Unlike antibiotics, garlic only attacks the bad bacteria and has no affect on the good bacteria needed for protection.

Tip: Crush up 2 -3 cloves of garlic, mix with extra virgin olive oil and toast on your favorite bread. Warning: You will stink - hence "stinky rose".

GINGER: I'm so hot for ginger! Ginger may look funny but it means serious business when it enters your system. Amongst many many benefits ginger can have on the body, it is one of the best remedies to enhance the immune fighting response. When ingested, ginger heats the body and causes sweating to detoxify and stimulate the effect of fighting off infection.
Ginger Root

Tip: Peel a 2 inch piece of ginger, bruise with the back of a spoon and let steep in hot water. Add a dash of cayenne and cinammon to further stimulate the immune enhancing effects of the ginger.

SHITAKE MUSHROOM: Shitake! Sounds like a form of Karate - fitting as this little mushroom fights off infection in a big way. Shitake mushrooms, historically used in Chinese medicine, are still considered one of the greatest immune enhancers today. They work to stimulate the impact of macrophages - immune cells that identify and eat away bacteria that cause infection.
Shitake Mushroom

Tip: Add shitake mushrooms to your favourite soup broth. Let cook until tender and enjoy.

CITRUS: Grapefruit, lemon and orange - all cleansing to the body and are high in vitamin C responsible for increasing the production of white blood cells that fight off infection.

Tip: Add citrus to your water for flavour, on your favorite dish or consume on its own!

Food fight and feel better!

Reference: Worlds Healthiest Foods -\
Images from: -

Power Muffins Recipe:

Power Muffins
Dry Ingredients:
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup ground flax seed
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
Wet Ingredients:
¾ cup honey
¾ cup nut milk
2 chia eggs (2 tbsp ground chia + ½ cup hot water, whisked)
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 cups fruit or veg A
2 cups fruit or veg B
½ cup gogi berries
½ cup chopped nuts, optional
-        Preheat oven to 350. Oil muffin pan with coconut oil or use muffin cups.
-        Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl
-        Mix together all of the wet ingredients in a different bowl.
-        Combine the two mixtures
-        Add fruit/veg A, B, gogi berries, and nuts.
-        Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
-        Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until rich and golden brown in colour.
-        Let cool on cooling rack for about 5 minutes before eating. MMMmmm

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A Work In Progress...and Always Will be.

Today I am writing about something I have been struggling with for the past few years.

I believe we are all a work in progress. Even as a nutritionist I am constantly working on myself - mentally, physically, nutritionally, spiritually...

A question I often asked myself was "if I am not fully healthy, how can I expect to help my clients get healthy"? I still struggle with stress related conditions from time to time, and have been dealing with the occasional bout of acne since I turned 20.

If I can't fix myself, how can I fix others?

Here is what I have learned. It doesn't matter how successful we are, or how much we have accomplished - we are ALWAYS a work in progress. There is always something we can improve on, but that should never stand in the way of your goals.

My goal is to help my clients better their health and happiness - even if I yet to have perfect skin.

I will always be working to better myself and have realized that it's human nature to constantly be learning and improving. If you tell yourself that you are lazy and have no desire to grow - happiness will never find you because true happiness comes from accomplishment whether it's in work, relationships or finally getting to the laundry.

If you have yet to achieve your goals keep going! Don't let anyone or anything stand in your way. It is your human right to dream and grow.

A teacher of mine once told me to push myself to do the one thing I feel most unprepared for because I can only learn from the experience. I can tell you from personal experience that she was right, and I will continue to push myself so that I can grow and fearlessly do all that I can to help my clients better their health, and in turn - fuel my own happiness.

I hope that whatever matters most in your life and whatever you want to accomplish, you push aside anything or anyone standing in your way and allow yourself to flourish!

Being a work in progress aint so bad - it betters us and makes us who we are.