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.

4 Tips to an Abundant, Joy Filled Life

4 Tips to an Abundant Joy Filled Life

We all want to live in a rich, fulfilling and abundant life. But sometimes it feels like it is far out of our reach. We can get bogged down with the daily struggle and sometimes it feels difficult to turn life around and create abundance, health, time freedom, wealth and happiness in our day to day lives. There are several tips that you can follow to create the best version of your life from no matter where you are starting from.

1. Gratitude

The most important aspect of creating an abundant, joy filled life is having an attitude of gratitude. By focusing on the most positive aspects of our lives, we are able to increase what we focus on. Find gratitude for even the most small things in our day – the gift of being able to move our limbs and walk! Or the gift of having food to eat throughout the day or the ability to be connected to everyone we could want simply at the touch of a button on the device in our hand.

If you are struggling to find something to be grateful for, just sit with your breath for a few minutes. Follow the inhalations and exhalations and have gratitude for the rich oxygen flowing into your body to nourish and fuel your cells and brain.

When you are able to focus on small pieces of gratitude, your overall abundance of gratitude grow and spills over to be your main focus during more of your day.

2. Detachment

Detachment from the outcomes that you are hoping for is an essential part of living a life that is balanced and healthy. It is the ability to not focus on how events will play out and how it will affect you, but how you can thrive every day no matter what happens. Things have a way of working themselves out, and by trying to stay neutral to outcomes, both good and bad, it helps you to stay level and not follow the highs and lows of life.

3. Attraction

Use the Law of Attraction to your benefit and use the magnetic attraction of like and like, to draw things into your life that you would like to see. Create space in your life to allow new things to come into your life, but again, stay somewhat detached by knowing that either way, life is good when you are filled with gratitude.

4. Refuel

Take time to refuel your body, mind and spirit and know that the time you spend with yourself, enjoying your own company is a worthwhile investment into your health. Enjoy hobbies that you have long forgotten about and devote a few hours per week to you own mental health and clarity, to clear the way for feelings of gratitude and to become clear on what you would like to attract into your life.

Spend time with your family and friends, those who make you feel good about the world and focus on the positive parts of your life and they are sure to multiply.

How to Detoxify without Retoxifying Your Body

How to Detoxify without Retoxifying Your Body

Everywhere you turn, you hear about detoxifying your body. But what are you not being told?

What do you need to know to detoxify safely without re-toxifying your body?

You can think about it like you would a traffic jam. There are potentially hundreds of cars trying to make their way down the highway but there are only three lanes and when you have so many more vehicles than there is room for on the road, you end up in chaos.

So what happens is that when you are adding in intense detoxification methods, it can sometimes wreak more havoc on your body than if you had just left things alone. So the answer to not re-toxifying your body starts with a very gentle process of a gentle detox.

The main forms of detoxification for your body are through your intestines, kidneys, lungs and skin.

Intestines:

Your intestines rid you of food toxins that you are finished pulling out the nutrients from. This is also a place that bodily toxins are dumped for removal. But often, your digestion can be sluggish from eating too much meat, grains and dairy products. (You should be pooping at least twice per day… if you’re not, you can be sure that you have serious toxic build up in your digestive tract). So the first thing we need to do to start a gentle detoxification is to start moving out those old toxins that are stuck there before we start delivering a whole bunch more toxins for it to process and be overloaded.

Start by increasing your water intake – and add lemon to it to add a bit of a added clean-up assistance. (I love to peel a whole lemon and throw it in my high speed blender with a litre of fresh water, and then strain it to remove the tiny pit pieces that break apart). This will help to start gently encourage movement of toxins out of your intestines.

Then start adding in more fibre to keep your intestines moving. The fibre acts like a broom and sweeps up the toxins and helps to move them out. The best forms of fibre are fruit and vegetables! Eat more than you ever have before!

Kidneys

Your kidneys filter your blood continually, all day long, and never rest. They pull toxins from your blood supply and deliver them to your bladder to be removed from your body in your urine. So yes, you guessed it! More water! 3-4 litres per day and more if you are super active.

Lungs

Your lungs are always delivering fresh oxygen to your body, but they also help to expel toxins on the exhalation. So take a few moments several times through the day to do some deep breathing exercises. AND move that body!! Breathe hard, make it work and make it sweat! We were built to move.

Skin

We chatted about moving that body! Your sweat will help to move toxins out of your body, so try to get some joyful movement into your schedule every day.

Additionally, dry skin brushing is an excellent way to encourage the release of toxins from your skin by using a natural hair bristled brush and very gently brushing your skin from the bottom of your body toward your heart. And from your hands and arms to your heart as well. Use gentle strokes or circles. The keyword is GENTLE – your lymph drainage system is extremely fragile and can only respond and pump the lymph when its movement is gently encouraged.

Put A Little Namaste In Your Life

Namaste in your life yoga

If you are like me, I’ve often been intimidated to go to a public yoga class because of all the yogi terms that I’m not familiar with. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, as I floundered on my mat, attempting to mimic what the teacher was doing.

Instead, I’ve always opted to do yoga in the comfort of my own home. Thankfully, I’ve learned a lot of the “yoga talk” by now and could probably follow along in a public class but I have to admit, the first few times I did yoga, I felt like a fish out of water. There was a whole new vocabulary that I wasn’t familiar with and it made me wonder if others feel the same way. 

Yoga has offered me a new way of life. My online teacher always talks about the healing benefits of yoga, and in the moment, I didn’t really feel like it was doing much for me. But I persevered. After a couple off months of a consistent yoga practice, I started to get what she was talking about. I felt like I was processing my feelings differently, and I was more in tune with my body.

The Sanskrit language is often used in yoga practice to describe the poses or postures that are done. We are going to break down some of the most common terms used, to hopefully make you more comfortable in a yoga class.

Guru: The English language has adopted the use of this Sanskrit word to indicate someone who is an expert in their field of study. For example, he/she is a technology guru.  However, when used in a yoga class, guru refers to a person who is a spiritual mentor or teacher.

Mantra: A mantra is an instrument of the mind, where a sound or phrase is used to enter a state of meditation or intention.

Mudra: During a yoga practice different hand gesture or mudras are used. Two very common mudras are anjali mudra, where the palms are pressed together and are positioned in front of the heart and gyana mudra where the index finger and thumb are touching.

Savasana: This is a yoga pose that is usually performed at the end of the yoga practice. It is also known as the corpse pose, where you are lying flat on your back, legs are extended and palms are at your sides and are facing upwards. This pose is meant to ignite total body relaxation so you can assimilate the benefits of your yoga practice.

Namaste: This is usually said at the end of a yoga practice and it literally means, I bow to you. Much like a prayer is ended with Amen, a yoga class normally ends with Namaste.

Prana: Prana describes the life force in the body.

Pranayama: Yoga utilizes the breath to inspire motion, and pranayama defines the control of the breath. It is a conscious control of breath inhalation, retention, and exhalation.

Now that you are familiar with some common yoga terms, it’s time to put a little Namaste in your life. Roll out your mat and get comfortable with your yoga practice.

Baby Wearing…A Fashion Trend or a Benefit to Your Newborn?

baby wearing

Baby wearing has long been used by our ancestors and many cultures around the world as a means to care for an infant while maintaining existing responsibilities.

After your baby is born, we need to think of the first 6 to 9 months after birth as the fourth trimester. This fourth trimester is a crucially important time for your baby’s growth and development.

The first nine months were spent in the womb, where the baby is warm, comfortable and is feeling and listening to the rhythms of the mother’s heart, breathing, voice and movement. Once the baby is born, their environment changes drastically, so baby wearing is a means to help the baby adapt to their new reality.

Research shows that skin to skin contact between a baby and its mother promotes brain development, helps the baby adapt to the outside world, promotes milk production in the mother and can help promote healthy weight gain for the infant.

Some of the benefits of baby wearing for the baby are:

  • Close contact with mom or dad promotes development
  • Provides baby with contentment and calmness
  • Creates baby attentiveness and allow for faster learning
  • The sensations and sounds the baby hears and feels while being worn reminds them of the womb experience and balances their environment (Sound of heart beat, sound of breathing, the rhythm of the mother’s walking patterns and voice)

Some of the benefits of baby wearing for mom or dad are:

  • Convenience
  • Baby bonding
  • Allows you to perform tasks while you carry your baby or to care for other children
  • Picks up on needs of baby more easily
  • Easier errands – no need for stroller
  • Easier access for breastfeeding

How to choose the right baby wearing attire

This will likely come down to the preference and comfort for the parent using the attire. Some people will prefer a sling style and others will prefer a more structured support. The style of carrier is less important than following the safety protocols of each individual carrier style.

Baby Wearing Safety Tips

  1. Ensure clear airway. Think of your baby’s airway as a straw that when pinched either slows or restricts completely its effectiveness. When your baby’s chin drops to their chest the airway is being pinched off. Ensure that the baby’s head is positioned in a slightly upward direction to allow for a clear passageway. Also, be sure to provide support to your baby’s neck and back.
  2. Check your baby carrier regularly for wear and tear and to ensure that the it will securely hold the weight of your baby.
  3. Test the baby wearing device using a weight similar to that of your baby before using with your baby. The first time you use the device with your child, use a spotter or do it over a bed or couch to ensure safety.
  4. If you have questions or concerns about baby wearing, speak to your chiropractor, midwife, or other natural health practitioner who is familiar with your family.

With Sources from:

http://www.becomingmamas.com/babywearing/

Are Toxins Making You Fat?

Are Toxins Making You Fat?

Every day we are bombarded by thousands of chemicals in our environments and lifestyles that have the potential to accumulate in our bodies.

From the cosmetics that are loaded with chemicals that you use on a daily basis, to the pesticides on our produce, various preservatives and lab created additives in any processed food you consume, toxins you are exposed to at work, environmental smog and car fumes on your way to work, cleaning chemicals used at your office or you choose to use at home, the laundry detergent residue touching you all day, and finally the smelly candle you light in the evening to relax after a hectic toxin-filled day can all contribute to weight gain.

How on earth can toxins affect your weight?

Our bodies are brilliant. Every single thing about them is designed to survive. No matter what we put in or on our bodies, the stress we put them under and the activities we motor through in a day, our bodies are continually evolving and adapting to keep us alive.

When toxins find their way into our bodies, we deal with them very systematically. We process them through our liver, kidneys and intestines and move them out! But those that can not be moved out so easily, or if there is a back up in our detox systems, these toxins can be swiftly moved to the outer regions of our body, simply to protect our organs. And these toxins are stored in fat cells.

So, in a way, we can thank our bodies for moving these potentially life-threatening toxins to our hips instead of letting them build up in our hearts. However, those toxins shouldn’t be allowed to stay there forever, so we have to safely move them out, without detoxifying and recycling the toxins through our bodies.

How do we safely detoxify?

1. The first thing to start to detoxify is to stop toxifying yourself in the first place!
• buy organic produce
• swap your cosmetics for natural options from health food store
use vinegar and baking soda to clean (no more harsh chemicals! Really, how dirty can we be?)
• avoid processed foods
• stop using products with lots of fragrance

2. Drink warm water with lemon every morning when you wake up.
This helps to gently stimulate your detox organs and start the detox process of the toxins that built up overnight.

3. Drink more water throughout the day. This loosens up the cells and moves digestion through – a major detox system.

4. Exercise daily! Movement helps everything move. Especially your lymph system which can not move by itself. It needs gravity and our movement to help things run.

5. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables – as organically as possible
These foods contain immense quantities of antioxidants to help fight against free radicals and other toxins that build up.

6. Talk to your natural health practitioner about herbs, tinctures and essential oils that would be helpful for your personal situation. There are wonderful, natural options to help to gently support your detoxification protocols without releasing all of the toxins at once and causing a RE-toxification situation.

Could Your Boy Belly Cause a Heart Attack?

Could Your Boy Belly Cause a Heart Attack?

Do you carry extra weight around your abdominal area? Research is telling us that people of normal weight who have extra central body fat are at an elevated risk of dying of heart disease.

Central obesity it extra fat around your midsection, and there is an easy way to calculate if you may fall into this category.

1. Measure your waist at your belly button.
2. Measure your hips at the widest part of your buttocks.
3. Divide the first number by the second number.

For men, your waist-to-hip ratio should be no greater than 1.0 and for women it should be no greater than 0.9.

If your numbers are higher than the suggested ratio, there are simple changes that you can implement to reduce your ratio and improve your health.

The first thing that you need to do is to add more fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet. It’s very difficult to make a massive diet and lifestyle change all at once and be able to sustain it long term. So the most important thing you can do is eat more fruit and veggies and these foods will begin to crowd out the bad foods.

I also want you to moderate your meat intake. A serving of meat is the size of a card deck. Which does not mean 8 decks stacked on top of each other!! When was the last time you ate a steak that fit in your hand? I bet it’s been awhile.

Over the years, our portion sizes have grown and grown into rather ridiculous quantities of food. Our bodies don’t need that much food and literally can not digest that much protein in one sitting. This extra protein ends up being stored as fat and can contribute to central obesity, putting you at risk for heart disease.

Avoid fast food, processed food and packaged food.

Eat real food!! Learn to make a few delicious recipes that you enjoy. Check out our blog of recipe ideas here.

And of course, move your body more often. Add some gentle cardio to your routine, go for a power walk at lunch, hit the gym and sweat it out.

The very first sign of heart disease is erectile dysfunction. Your arteries and capillaries are very active and sensitive in that area, and can be the first to indicate that there is hardening of the arteries or plaque building up in your blood vessels.

Obviously not a topic that you want on your radar, but heading to the doctor for a prescription to help in this area is one of the worst things you can do. It puts added stress on your cardiovascular system and masks an important symptom that is telling you that your body is in distress.

This is the time to make healthy diet and lifestyle changes to let your body naturally heal and return to abundant health.

With Sources from:
http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/research-were-watching-belly-fat-boosts-risk-of-dying-of-heart-disease

Sitting Too Much is the New Smoking

sitting

The amount of sitting that we do in a day has quickly become a concern for our health and longevity.  Studies reveal that the health impact of sitting for too many hours a day can be compared to the effects that smoking has on our health.

A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to;
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Weakened immune system.

Let’s explore some ways to ensure that you don’t fall symptom to these diseases.

Shocking!  How Many Hours Of Sitting We Do In A Day

There is the time in the car on the way to and from work.  The 8 hours at the office.  All in addition to spending time each night on the couch in front of the television, computer or on your phone.

The winter months in Canada can be particularly difficult to get motivated to work out or to be more active.  But there are some simple things that you can add to your daily routine to increase your activity level without having to brave the elements of winter.

Set A Goal To Be Active 10 Minutes Each Hour That You Are Awake!

If you wake up at 6 am and go to bed at 10 pm, then you have 160 minutes to fill with activity.  Don’t panic.  Activity doesn’t mean that you have to be actively exercising.

Activity could be as simple as;
  • Standing at your desk while you make phone calls
  • Tidying your house
  • Preparing dinner
  • Walking to the car (I suggest parking at the far end of the parking lot at work and the grocery store to increase your activity) 
  • Taking a walk on your lunch break
  • Taking a yoga or pilates class, or any other form of exercise that you enjoy

Click here to read, “10 Desk Exercises You Should Be Doing Every Day”.

If you are pressed for time to fit in exercise, try multitasking.

When you drop the kids off at their extracurricular activities, rather than sitting and waiting for them to be finished, use this time to do an impromptu workout.  Walk around the block or if the weather isn’t nice, go to a nearby shopping centre and do a quick lap around the store.

If you are prone to watching a lot of television during the winter, then during the commercial breaks, get up and do a small work out.

Do three reps of 15 squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, or go through a quick yoga flow of stretches.

Get a fitness tracker and aim to hit around 10,000 steps per day.

Especially if you are the type of person that needs to visually see your progress throughout the day.

The benefits of an active lifestyle are far reaching and include;
  • Higher energy levels
  • More restful sleep
  • Lower body mass index
  • Detoxification
  • Better mental clarity

By bringing awareness to our level of activity we can easily make adjustments to our lifestyle.  All this to ensure that we are taking care good of our health and maximizing our longevity.

With Sources From:

http://www.nchpad.org/403/2216/Sedentary~Lifestyle~is~Dangerous~to~Your~Health

5 Tips You Must Know to Destroy Stress Today!

What are you doing to manage your stress? It seems like every day we are inundated by more and more triggers, and the world just seems to be speeding up.

If you can’t keep up, what if you just stopped? What if you just turned off the pace of the rest of the world and went inside for a bit?

The thing is, most of the daily stresses in our lives will not matter in five years. Maybe not even in 5 days! But they are serious triggers in a moment-by-moment day.

Obviously, there are the major stresses, such as the passing of a loved one, major life decisions, new career opportunities, relationships ending and children arriving into your life, but for the daily stresses, how can we manage that better?

Most of us are on the clock.

The majority of stress is because we have way too many things to complete in a day, than the clock gives us time to do!

It’s always speeding up and the to-do list tends to continue to grow.

Between responsibilities at home, at work, at your children’s school, caring for aging parents, creating healthy meals, working on your relationships and squeezing in a little social time, it is really hard to balance everything that life demands of us.

Here are some tips that will sound crazy, and your stressed-out brain will say “ABSOLUTELY NOT! I HAVE NO MORE TIME IN THE DAY FOR ANYTHING!”

But I promise you, that after just a couple weeks, (and in some cases just a couple of days) your life will feel more put together than you could ever imagine in this moment.

1. Quit Sugar, Quit Caffeine, Quit Smoking, Quit Drinking (Yes, you read that right!)

All of these substances wreak havoc on your adrenals and your stress response system. Your body does not need any other external stresses to deal with, and sugar, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol are all very serious triggers for your body. It sends your body out of equilibrium by introducing external substances that are meant to excite or depress you. Your body must fight to expel these substances and adds an extra burden to your health.

Stop the sugary foods – pasta, breads, rice, muffins, cereal, and focus on consuming a colourful plant based diet. Limit your caffeine intake to one coffee per day, no more soda and no more energy drinks! Even switching to herbal tea would make a huge impact! Get off the cigarettes and curb your evening wine or drinks. It all interferes with your entire system.

2. Begin a Daily Stress Reduction Practice

Even for 5 minutes a day, sit in a relaxed position and let you mind focus on gratitude. Focus on your breath, the easiest thing you can be grateful for. Follow your breath and feel its powerful rhythm. Enjoy the moment between inhalation and exhalation – the pause – as there is power in the stillness. This little bit of time will help to centre you for your day.

3. Move that Body!

Seriously, for even 15 minutes a day. Turn the music up and dance! Or speed walk around the neighbourhood with your family. Be silly, take turns seeing who can walk the fastest! Get your heart rate up and have fun! Try a class at the gym, do a yoga video on YouTube, or try a high intensity interval training session. Just move it more often and your body will reward you by feeling energized and more alive.

4. Master Your Mind

Decide what demands your attention and what can wait. Prioritize your to-do list and understand that you can only do what you can do. Try to stop focusing on staying ahead of the clock. What are you rushing against anyway? We all end up in the same place, so why rush through life so quickly?

5. Get Adjusted!

Your spine needs to be in alignment to let you function at 100%! Get adjusted regularly and know that the interferences that find their way into your spine via stress, injuries, repetition and toxins are being removed by your Doctor of Chiropractic.

Put Your Phone Down & Go Outside!!

unplugged

How many times have you checked your phone today?  Email?  Facebook?  Instagram? Snapchat?  Linked In?  Text Messages?  Many of us just simply do not make it a priority to get unplugged and spend time outside.  Of course, in the northern hemisphere, the climate has a great deal to do with this.  If we don’t play an outdoor sport, or actively enjoy outdoor activities, we may spend the whole winter on the couch!

Alternatively, during the heat of the summer, many of us stay indoors for the air conditioning!!!  This gives us way too much inside, without the opportunity to get fresh air and movement!   It also gives us a great deal more access to screen time.

When is the last time you unplugged and went outside to ENJOY being outside?  Not just running to your car because you’re late for work?

There are many studies showing that many of us are addicted to our devices.  We are compulsively checking notifications, bells, chimes and rings.  We are tuned in to hear our device from miles away, even if we never let it out of our sight!

This problem is compounded for our children.  The time that they spend with a device is time that they are not interacting with you or other humans.

Technology & The Effects On Children

At a young age, children look to their parents for reassurance and direction.  This is where they need to receive feedback on right and wrong, as well as connecting with you while developing normal attachments.

When young children play games on a screen, win a game or get an answer correct, there is no one there to offer reassurance, so they lack an opportunity for confidence building by connecting with you.

The same is true when the kids are playing without a device.  They look to their parents for reassurance.  If you are not unplugged and busy on your phone, you miss an opportunity for eye contact, a smile or something to let them know you are paying attention to them.  Click here to read, “Is Today’s Technology Destroying Your Health?”

What Is The Answer?

Get unplugged!!  Find a few hobbies that your whole family likes to do, and do them often!  Play board games, go hiking, skiing, or skating.  Learn to dance, go swimming or learn a new healthy recipe to make together.  Put your favourite devices in another room.  Turn off the TV and maybe put on some music instead if you are at home.  For a great family recipe, click here for our Chocolate Bread/Cake Recipe.

It’s so easy to surf the channels for something to watch, browse YouTube, hit Netflix or scroll through your social media feeds and relax.  But don’t forget to actually find some ways to spend time with your family and grow together.  Try learning a new skill, enjoying a new hobby or connecting more frequently with your loved ones.  Click here to discover 50 Fun Things to Do Outside With Kids as a Family.

Additionally, it is really important for you to turn your devices off at least an hour before bed to wind down naturally.  Many of us work on a computer during the day, on top of having our device attached to us.  The artificial light so close to our faces in the evening can wreak havoc on our circadian rhythm.  Evenings are a time to enjoy more dull light, to let our bodies know that it’s time to slow down and ease into sleep.  With having around the clock access to artificial light sources, it can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.  For more information, click here to read, “Ten Tricks To Get The Best Sleep EVER!”

So have fun developing some new hobbies with your family, and put your phone down every once in awhile!!!