Gentle Ways To Welcome The New Year With Self Care

I have declared that this upcoming year will be the year of self care for myself and my family. So, this year, rather than having a specific resolution (that I’m not likely to stick to) I’ve decided to explore different ways to really improve my personal well-being through self care. I’m going to let my intuition guide me to figure out what I need at any given time to provide myself with the best self care possible.

What Does Self Care Mean To Me?

There are four major themes I’m going to focus on this year, which we’ll explore together below. My intention is to let my self care evolve as I make changes and become more grounded and focused.

Here are my four main focuses for a better me include;

  1. Become more gentle with myself
  2. Move my body in different ways, everyday
  3. Remove ‘junk’ from my diet
  4. Grow my list of hobbies – try new activities and visit new places
read

Become More Gentle With Myself

I have begun by allowing myself time to rest (and I don’t mean sleep). By taking time to;

I am providing myself with valuable time to relax and feel satisfied. My goal is to step away from the chaos in the world and work at keeping my life more tranquil and serene. I am working on pushing out the negative thoughts, media outlets, and interactions to maintain a more positive outlook.

I believe that gentleness is the cornerstone of self-care and my mission is to inject gentleness into my daily life, and routine. Even the mundane tasks, to experience them in a more meaningful way.

best stretches

Move My Body In Different Ways Every Day

My goal is to get off the treadmill (of life) and step into different ways to move my body.  I have already begun by incorporating;

I’ve been mindful to listen to my body and really connect with the sensations that are left behind in my body from a good workout. That also includes listening to my body when it is tired and needs a break from exercise.

best diet

Remove ‘Junk’ From My Diet

Over the holidays we tend to loosen our grip on our normal daily eating habits. This usually means ‘junk’ foods start to creep in and become the new “norm”. So, I have started focusing on removing the simple sugars, and foods high in unhealthy fats. I’ve also been more conscious of my portion sizes and making good food choices that are going to nourish my body and provide me with a clean source of energy.

Click here to read, “How To Find The Best Diet For You”.

Remember to be gentle with yourself here – we are not always going to make good food choices and feeling guilty about our choices is not a means to be gentle with yourself. Work towards a healthy balance that still allows some flexibility in your diet so you feel fulfilled and satisfied.

new hobbies

Grow My List Of Hobbies – Try New Activities And Visit New Places

This one is like a mini bucket list for me. Trying new things is exhilarating and it can help to strengthen relationships with our loved ones as we try new things together. My intention is to feel more free and alive with excitement to have the opportunity for new experiences.

Hopefully during this new year, you too will find ways to improve your self-care and infuse gentleness into your daily life. Let’s make this year more fulfilling, successful, and joyful than the last.

Are You Eating Enough Colour?

Are you Eating Enough Colour

We’ve all heard the phrase “eat your greens”.  But, what we should really be eating is the rainbow.  Phytonutrients come in all different colours—green, yellow-orange, red, blue-purple, and white.  Different colours contain different compounds.  Each of which have unique healing properties.  In order to promote good health eating a variety of colours is crucial.



What Are Phytonutrients?

The term “Phytonutrients” refers to the several thousand healthful, non-nutritive compounds found in plants. These compounds are referred to as “non-nutritive” because they do not supply calories like proteins, carbohydrates, or fats do.

Despite this, they benefit the body in several ways.  Studies show that people who eat more plant foods have reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

In the plant itself, phytonutrients provide many functions.  They protect the plant from pests and environmental stressors, and impart colour and distinctive tastes and smells.

In the human body, phytonutrients;
  • Stimulate enzymes that help the body get rid of toxins
  • Boost the immune system
  • Improve cardiovascular health
  • Promote healthy estrogen metabolism
  • Stimulate the death of cancer cells

This is all pretty powerful stuff!

The Impact Of ‘Colour’

Organic fruits and vegetables are rich sources of phytonutrients.  Same with legumes, herbs/spices, nuts/seeds, and teas.  Aiming for one to two of each colour per day is a healthy goal to strive for.

Darker-coloured plants are generally higher in phytonutrients.  However, fruits and veggies from the white family do have potent contributions to make.

What Do The Different Colours Mean?

red foods

Red foods contain phytonutrients that may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and protect the brain, heart, liver, and immune system.

Examples of red foods:
  • Beets
  • Bell pepper
  • Blood oranges
  • Cranberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit (pink)
  • Goji berries
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
orange foods

Orange foods help protect the immune system, eyes, and skin.  They also reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Examples of orange foods:
  • Apricots
  • Bell pepper
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Papaya
yellow foods

Yellow foods are beneficial because they contain compounds that are anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory.  They protect the brain, heart and vasculature.  In addition to your eyes, and skin.

Examples of yellow foods:
  • Apples
  • Asian Pears
  • Bananas
  • Bell Peppers
  • Star Fruit
  • Squash
green foods

Green foods contain compounds that are anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory.  They too protect the brain, heart and vasculature, liver, and skin.  In addition, green foods that help with liver function also help balance hormones.

Examples of green foods:
  • Avocados
  • Asparagus
  • Green Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Okra
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Cucumbers
purple foods

Blue/Purple/Black foods contain compounds that are anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory.  They too protect the brain, and heart and vasculature.  It’s interesting to note that out of all the colours, this is the category that most people eat the least of.

Too little blue/purple can result in issues with the brain.  This is because these foods protect the brain from damage.  In addition they also promote healthy cognition and memory.
Examples of blue/purple/black foods:
  • Berries
  • Eggplants
  • Figs
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Raisins

White/Tan/Brown foods – When thinking of white/tan/brown foods, processed foods may come to mind.  Foods such as;

  • Bagels
  • Cereals
  • Breads
  • Pastas
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Crackers

Avoid those and focus on foods that are beneficial to your health such as;

nuts and seeds
  • Nuts
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Spices
  • Seeds

The compounds in these earthy coloured foods are anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory.  Additionally, like green foods, there are certain compounds that can assist with liver and hormone health.

Examples of white/tan/brown foods:
  • Ginger
  • Apples
  • Cacao
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Coffee
  • Coconut
  • Dates
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Tea

Eating by Colour

Easy Ways To Eat Your Colours

Start by observing the colours you eat.  Humans are creatures of habit.  As such we generally tend to eat the same foods over and over again.  This does our body a disservice.

In order to get more phytonutrients into your diet, you are going to have to mix things up!   It has been estimated that 80% of people are missing one or more of the phytonutrient colours in their diet.  Which sounds likely when you think that most people stick to eating processed foods that are brown, yellow, or white.

Think of a typical breakfast menu – waffles, pancakes, ready-to-eat cereal, sausage, and eggs.  This doesn’t provide very many phytonutrients now, does it?  Opting for a fruit smoothie with blueberries, peaches, raspberries and spinach would be way more beneficial. There’s four of the seven colours done for the day.

Click here for “Breakfast On The Go – Mixed Berry Smoothie” recipe.

Note: When implementing this way of eating, keep in mind that fruits contain sugar.  Even though it’s a natural form of sugar, fruits can still spike insulin levels.  As such, be sure to load your cart with heaps of colourful vegetables and just a few fruit.

Click here to read, “Is It Time To Stop Eating Fruit?”

Simple Ways To Jump Start A Phytonutrient Diet

First, make it your goal to try one new plant food (fruit, vegetable, nut, seed or legume) per week.  Explore ethnic stores for greater variety.  Second, stock up on organic frozen vegetables for easy cooking or organic berries as they tend to retain their phytonutrients well.  Third, keep fruits and vegetables where you can see them.  This will help you to remember to eat them.

Next, keep a bowl or container of fresh cut vegetables on the top shelf of refrigerator.  Always within easy reach.  If you must eat something sweet after dinner, choose a fruit for dessert (fruit kabobs, berry compotes, fruit salads, etc.)  Have dishes with lots of vegetable variety (e.g., soups, stir-fry).

Try and choose darker vegetables over lighter to maximize nutrient content.  Make the switch from mashed white potatoes to sliced carrots or mashed cauliflower.  Also, toss in red pepper, tomato sauce, garlic, onions or broccoli to omelets.

You can also add rinds of oranges or lemons to your water.  Try a little bit of every colour at a salad bar.  Be generous with your use of herbs and spice.  Devote some time at the start of your week to prepare your meals and recipes.  This will make eating whole foods throughout the week so much easier!

Make It Easy!

To make things easier for myself, I re-arranged my fridge to emphasize the food colours.  Forget separating fruits and vegetables.  I now separate things by colour.  It’s made preparing my meals and shakes so much easier.  I open the fridge and grab at least one or two items from each group.  It’s a good reminder to add variety to my dishes and it looks pretty!

It is also a great way to teach kids about the importance of healthy, colourful foods.  Make them choose which colours they want to eat.  Try making it into a little game.  Have a colour chart that they can check off each day to make sure that they are eating all the colours of the rainbow.

Now go on, eat the rainbow.  Your cells will thank you for it!

How To Encourage Children To Eat Vegetables

Getting your kids to eat their vegetables can be one of the greatest daily struggles for parents.  Building healthy eating habits takes a lot of effort for parents to sometimes battle it out with their children.

Start Small & Tackle One Meal At A Time

First, start off with breakfast and work on getting sugary cereals, pastries, and dairy off the menu.  Substitute cereals for oatmeal and fruit.  Pastries for homemade muffins (recipe below), and dairy milk for almond or coconut milk to use in smoothies.

First and foremost, parents need to set the example to their children on how to eat properly.

Children easily pick up on the habits of their parents and will gravitate towards the eating style presented at home.  Take a minute and think about the kind of example you are setting for your children.  Ask yourself the following;

  • Do you make meal time a priority?  Preparing regular healthy meals as a family?  Or are you picking up takeout on the way home from work because you are exhausted?
  • What is your attitude towards food and your body image?
  • What messages are you consciously or unconsciously sending your children?
Encouraging your children to take care of their health is one of the greatest acts of love a parent can give their child.

Mindset around meals and snacks can easily be shifted to a more positive experience.  Involve the family in weekly meal planning and grocery shopping for the ingredients that will be needed for those meals.

Older children and teens can also take part in meal prep by washing vegetables and helping to prepare dinner.  Giving children a voice around their meal choices will help with encouraging healthier eating habits.  Provide your children with a choice of what vegetables they are going to eat each day.  In addition, add one wild card vegetable to the menu each week that they may not like, but are willing to try.

Click here to read, “Are You Eating Enough Colour?”

Tips & Tricks To Add Vegetables To Every Day Meals

green pineapple smoothie
  1.  Throw a handful of spinach or kale into smoothies.  Yes, the smoothie will be green, but the flavour and texture of the spinach is masked by all the fruit.

For a a fantastic green pineapple smoothie, click here to read, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day Recipes”.

cauliflower rice

2. Use the food processor to turn cauliflower into the texture of rice.  Sauté the cauliflower “rice” in a tablespoon of olive oil and season to taste.

zucchini noodles

3. Use a spiral slicing tool to turn zucchini into noodles.  It will resemble pasta and can be topped with your favourite sauce and veggies.

Grilled spaghetti squash

4. Use spaghetti squash instead of pasta to make traditional spaghetti with meatballs (remember to use grass fed beef for the meatballs).

Click here for “The Ultimate Guide For How to Cook Spaghetti Squash”.

fruit salad ideas

5. Rather than ice cream for dessert, serve a plate of fresh fruit.

Almond-Berry Muffin Recipe

As promised, below is a recipe for healthy muffins that freeze well and are easy to serve as part of a healthy breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw almonds, ground
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen berries (raspberries, blueberries)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 12 muffin liners

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grind raw almonds until fine.
  3. Mix eggs, coconut oil maple syrup, vanilla and apple cider vinegar in a bowl. Add ground almonds and baking soda. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Fold in berries and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  5. Evenly distribute batter between 12 muffin cups.
  6. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.
  7. ENJOY!!

Also, try this recipe breakfast muffins. It’s another great healthy breakfast idea that you can prepare in advance!

Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes

salad dressings

How is it possible that when you order a salad at many restaurants, you end up eating more fat, calories and preservatives than if you’d just ordered the hamburger?  Think salad dressing from the grocery store are any better?  No way! Most salad dressing are filled with nastiness – so let’s make our own!

But first, let’s talk about how to make a real salad as your whole meal. It’s not just a few sad pieces of romaine lettuce with some croutons anymore!

Rainbow Salad

Salads are all about colour. Throw as many colours in there as possible. Start with a huge bowl because you know it’s going to grow outta control!  To learn more about why ‘eating colour’ is so important, click here to read “Are You Eating Enough Colour?”

1/2 head of Red Leaf Lettuce
2 handfuls spinach
1/2 of red, orange and yellow peppers
15 chopped purple grapes
1/3 chopped cucumber
10 chopped cherry tomatoes
and any other colourful ingredients you like! Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and sprouts!

Chunky Mango-Avocado Dream

Into a bowl, chop…

2 roma tomatoes
1 soft, ripe mango
1 soft, ripe avocado
1/2 red onion

Add a few pinches of salt and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Stir it up and pour over your salad. Mmm!! This recipe can also be used as a dip for your vegetables or eaten with a spoon. So delicious!

Caesar Dressing

Soak 1/3 cup raw cashews for 30 minutes
Then add to blender with…
1/4 cup water
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 pinches salt
4 shakes pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard.

Blend and enjoy!

Raspberry Basil Drizzle

To a high speed blender, add…

1/2 cup raspberries (or strawberries)
2 pitted dates
6 leaves fresh basil
splash of water for blending

Vegan Cheesey Sauce

Soak 10 raw cashews for 10 minutes
Then add to blender with…
1 pitted date
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 large red bell pepper
3 tbsp nutritional yeast (Bragg’s is a good brand – find it at Health Food Store)
6 shakes cayenne pepper (more or less if you like it spicy or not!)
pinch salt

Blend this up and pour over your salad. It’s also a delicious dip for your veggies or if you make kale chips.

Easy Fruit Dressing

To a blender, add…
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup strawberries
2 pitted dates
juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch salt

Blend and pour over your rainbow salad.

Sesame Salad Dressing

To a blender, add…
1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 tbsp of organic peanut or almond butter
2 tbsp hulled sesame seeds
splash water

Blend together and then add 1 tbsp of hulled sesame seeds before drizzling over your salad.

If I go to the Chiropractor, do I have to go forever?

Do you have to go to the Chiropractor forever?

Have you ever been adjusted? Or are you terrified of going to a chiropractor because they will make you go forever?

Here, we’re going to break down what chiropractic is, how it can help your body, why you would go in the first place and if there are any legitimate reasons for going ‘forever’.

Let’s start off by explaining what the whole point of chiropractic is.

Your nervous system consists of your brain and spinal cord, which is protected by the bones of your spine. All of the messages that your brain must send to the rest of your body travels through your central nervous system and out to every single cell, tissue and organ in your body to tell it how to function properly and how to heal.

If there are any bones in your spine that have shifted out of position, from injuries, car accidents, falls, sports, stress, sitting on the couch, leaning forward to look at your computer monitor, and any other daily activity that we participate in, the bones put pressure on your nervous system and the messages can’t reach their final destinations to have your body function and heal at 100%.

A chiropractor locates these interferences and adjusts the bones back into place.

So I have to ask you, for how long would you like your nervous system to be free of interference?

Long enough to get you out of pain?
Long enough to allow your body to heal from the flu?
Long enough to prevent cancer, a heart attack, digestive dysfunction?
Or long enough to keep you living a healthy, thriving life through your retirement years?

So you can go to the chiropractor for as long as you’d like to express optimal health. The choice is yours.

[I’m not sure about you, but I’d like my nervous system functioning at 100% forever, so I have a standing appointment with my chiropractor. And I go more often if I ever get sick or run down, to support my nervous system and allow it to help me heal more efficiently and much more quickly.]

But I also have to ask you, how long are you going to brush your teeth for? For as long as you’d like to keep your teeth, right?

You must care for your body or your body begins to degenerate. Your teeth will rot and fall out if you don’t brush them, floss them, visit your dental hygienist for a deep cleaning and get checked by your dentist.

Thankfully our teeth are visible and easily accessible for maintenance.

But our spines are hidden, both on the back side of our body so it’s a little bit ‘out of mind’ but also on the inside of our bodies, where we can’t actually see the bones. This is why it is so important to find a local chiropractor that you are comfortable with and trust, to care for your most important health asset.

Remember, your body can go weeks without eating, days without water, but it can not function for even 1 second without your nervous system. So take care of it… forever!!

I Can’t Believe I’m Sick AGAIN. 5 Things You Need to Do to Stop the Cycle

Annndddd…. you’re sick again. How many times has it been this winter? Oh? You’ve lost count.

Well, between your children bringing who-knows-what kind of germs home from school, your colleague sneezing down the hall and your mother in law stopping in on her way home from the mall, you’ve caught something again. Or it’s just continually circulated through your home for the last 2 weeks.

Either way, it’s time to boost up your immune system and arm yourself with some seriously powerful natural remedies to help heal your cold / flu / sore throat / as-of-yet unidentified virus.

Here are the basics:

Your body wants to be 100% healthy all the time!! You just need to provide it with the means to do so.

1. What are you eating?

Put down the bagel with cream cheese and reach for some fruit and vegetables. Specifically, oranges, grapefruit, apples, clementines, kiwi, cantaloupe and strawberries. And reach for dark leafy greens, bell peppers and and tomatoes!

For example, 1 medium orange has 70mg of Vitamin C, or 116% of your daily recommended intake. So load up. Every day!! Especially considering that the “daily recommended intake” suggestions for vitamin C tend to be just high enough to keep you from getting scurvy!

According to Dr. Andrew Saul, editor of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, if everyone were to take 500 mg of vitamin C per day — the dose required to reach a healthy level of 80 µmol/L — an estimated 216,000 lives could be spared of heart failure each year.

So, eat more fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C – and protect your heart while preventing another cold from circling back to you!

2. What are you popping?

Put down the antibiotics. Antibiotics are scientifically unable to help at all with killing viruses.
Put down the Robitussin. Put down the Advil Cold & Sinus.

Antibiotics destroy the very fragile bacterial ecosystem living in your gut, that actually functions as 90% of your immune system. So while you think you’re killing the virus, you are actually damaging your entire system for many years to come. Just one round of antibiotics kills many of your beneficial bacteria living in your intestines and makes you much more susceptible to getting sick more often.

Every time you take a pharmaceutical, you do damage to your body. Your body must first heal from the illness and then it must heal from the pharmaceutical you ingested.

(Yes there is a time and place for life-saving interventions that require pharmaceuticals, but that time and place, for the great majority of the population, is not from a cold or flu).

3. What should you pop instead?

Nature has created many natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal agents that we can use with much less side effects, if any at all. Colloidal silver can be sprayed under the tongue a few times a day and literally wipes out nasty germs in record time. Oregano oil can be taken as a capsule to kill bacteria and viruses. And you should also supplement with probiotics that have a count into the high billions to help rebalance the immune system promoting bacteria in your gut.

4. I need a miracle remedy now!

Essential oils are that miracle. Get your hands on some therapeutic grade peppermint oil, and mix a couple of drops with a carrier oil (coconut oil) and massage it into your throat, over your sinuses, your chest and under your nose. You will be breathing clearly in seconds!!

5. Sleep, tea and time

Yep, you’ve heard it before. Stay rested and drink a lot of warm liquids to stay hydrated. It takes time for your body to kick the virus and bounce back, but it will be much quicker if you follow these natural steps.

BONUS – Stay healthy!

What are you doing to stay healthy and prevent future illness? Try these tips:
1 – Eat a whole-foods, plant based diet with a great variety of colourful fruits and vegetables.
2 – Exercise every day. Even a little bit of joyful movement – your body was made to move!
3 – Drink lots of water. Stay hydrated and enjoy some fresh lemon in your water.
4 – Get enough sleep.
5 – Take a high quality probiotic every day.
6 – Get adjusted regularly! Your spine needs to be free of interference so that your body can heal and function at 100%!

With Sources From:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/21/vitamin-c-heart-health.aspx