drive-thrus are for lazy people.

Living my healthiest and most holistic life, without a drive-thru !


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Swap {THIS} for {THAT}

Hey!

I wanted to give you all a few simple “swaps” that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. By making these switches, you’re detoxing your current routine and moving towards a more healthful approach! Might I add, that these are all quite cost effective as well (save a $ here, spend it somewhere more useful!)

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Why would you want to make these switches, you ask? Read on to find out…

1. Ditch the “table salt” in favour of Himalayan Pink Sea Salt.

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Why?

Sadly, table salt has been processed enough that it no longer contains all the wonderful minerals that salt should – pink salt is rich with 80+ minerals. Your table salt has been enriched with Iodine and often times sugar is added to it – check your labels!

2. Toss out your chemically-laden moisturizer in favour of coconut oil.

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I’ve discussed this in a previous post which can be accessed here!

Once again, I can’t say enough good things about coconut oil. If you haven’t tried it yet, get yourself some next time you’re at the grocery store! It can be found in the health food section.

3. Make your own household cleaners!

Why?

Store-bought cleaners are full of chemicals. These chemicals are harmful to you, and everyone else who lives in or visits your house. These seemingly harmless products can cause skin irritation, allergies, respiratory irritation, hormone disruption… The list goes on and on and on.

You can read more about it on The Organic Consumers website here.

Solution?

D.I.Y – It’s beyond easy once you’ve invested in the supplies (and will save you $ in the long run!!). Get a squirt bottle; vinegar; baking soda; some essential oils… etc.

Living Well Spending Less blog gives you some great links to homemade cleaners for all areas of the house

5. Swap out store bought salad dressings for homemade dressings

Free of additives, preservatives, and nasty gunk – a homemade salad dressing tastes better and is more cost effective. You can keep it simple with this recipe from Vega, or go with something a little more complex!

This dressing is dee-lish, if you’re interested!

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6. Ditch the St. Ives Apricot Scrub (guilty!) and make a DIY facial scrub (2 Tbsp. White Sugar + 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil; just be gentle with it)

David Suzuki has some great resources on homemade cosmetics.

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Why I’ve tossed out the Jergens Moisutrizer in favour of Coconut Oil

Your integumentary system.

It keeps the outside world OUT; and the inside world IN

This organ system has many functions (regulates body temperature, provides cushioning to the body, excretes waste, etc.) —     you want this system to be functioning optimally!

Your skin should be treated like a piece of expensive artwork – not a test canvas, do you get where I’m coming from?

Your bathroom is likely FULL of harmful skincare products, all of which claim to make you “age less” and “look younger” – but I have a feeling that they’re all lying. Last time I checked, our skin wasn’t meant to take on all of these foreign chemical-like substances that provide a ‘temporary’ fix.

Your next detox doesn’t have to start in the kitchen, it can start in the bathroom – and yes, you’ll still notice big benefits!

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Since I began my program studying holistic nutrition, my eyes have opened up to how complicated we have made our world. Food doesn’t have to be difficult, you can eat things grown in your backyard or a chicken raised in the town next to you. Beauty shouldn’t be so difficult either – if you won’t eat your products, why put them on your skin? It all ends up inside of you, leaving your body to detox the bad and eliminate it before it causes harm!

This also goes for those of you with children— their little bodies are sensitive, so choose products that are as pure + natural as possible!

Worried about aging and wondering how to get rid of those black lines under your eyes? Why not start with prevention through a whole foods diet… You eat food all day every day, and what you put down the hatch is going to have an effect on your outside appearance, not just the internal stuff! Just think of how rotten a smokers lungs would be after 50 years of 2 packs per day – and they usually don’t look so hot on the outside (even with a few botox injections)! Same goes for food + internal/external appearance…

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Take yourself back to basics.

1. Read the book Ecoholic Bodyby Adria Vasil. [I’m part way through; it’s great as a reference to flip through whenever you have questions. No need to read start to finish]

2. Check out this chart from MindBodyGreen.com

3. Slowly clear out your bathroom cabinets, and replace with natural shampoo/cleanser/soaps/mascara/moisturizer/etc. I am in the process of doing this right now– it’s unrealistic to think that it will happen overnight, so take it slow. One. thing. at. a. time… The financial burden will be lessened and you can slowly adapt to your new products.

Dump this…

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4. Use what’s in your fridge to make cleaning products, face masks, and moisturizers! An example of something I’ve done for a while now is to make a hair mask out of a mashed avocado + olive oil.

Put it on before bed// tie your hair into a bun// sleep on an old towel (it stains!) // wash it out in the a.m. – MAKE SURE YOU SET YOUR ALARM WITH TIME FOR THIS, or you’ll look extra greasy all day 😉

Now this makes for healthy hair!

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5. Do some of your own research! I’m not the expert on all of this (not yet anyway) so be an informed consumer! Check out the Environmental Working Group [EWG] website, especially their consumer guides!

Never look back.

Start reversing your aging process.

Make smarter choices =)

Feel and look fabulous!

Have a happy weekend, friends.

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Indian + Orange Kale Salad

This. salad. is. SO. good.

Not a salad person? Stop reading… (Sorry, but maybe this recipe isn’t for you)

Trust me, you won’t be disappointed – the secret is to “marinatethe kale overnight in the dressing. It soaks up the flavour so wonderfully, and the taste just ends up being more intense the longer you let it sit.

(Don’t leave it for TOO long though, a few days max.)

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What you’ll need.

(i.e. Ingredient List)

Mix together;

  • Kale Leaves
  • Beet Leaves (optional)
  • Shredded Red Cabbage
  • Shredded Carrot
  • Diced Avocado

Dressing

  • EVOO
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Sesame Oil (optional)
  • Finely diced blood orange
  • Zest from blood orange
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Almond Milk (to thin it out a bit)

Coat the salad mix with the dressing. Let it marinate! This is KEY!

When you’re ready to eat – sprinkle with nutritional yeast (it adds a yummy flavour)

Top with Tofu Strips sauteed in coconut oil, and chickpeas grilled with Garam Masala Indian Spice.

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I know, this recipe is all over the place – but that’s how I cook!

-YUM-


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Vega One Product Review

A product that I can’t get enough of and fully support is the topic for this post.

I’ve been meaning to write up a post about Vega Plant-Based Nutrition for quite some time now, but my writers block has been getting the best of me (does this happen to all bloggers?)

Over the past 6 months, I’ve been playing around with my diet to try and find what works best for my body. Whether it be an omnivore type diet, vegetarian, vegan – I was open to experimentation, and still am. I naturally have moved away from eating all meats (except for the occasional free-range/organic/antibiotic free bit). I’ve also started to shy away from much dairy, unless it’s all natural as well. I do feel strongly about these choices, but take into account that I live in a society that eats anything and everything. I am only human, and it’s useless to pick a title for my dietary habits because they are always changing. I may not fall under the label of veg/vegan etc. but I do now call myself an informed consumer who makes a conscious effort to know what’s going in to my body.

Ever since I’ve made these changes in my diet, I’ve noticed a few things…

  • Ensuring that I have enough protein in a day can be HARD (especially when avoiding meat/dairy and teaching exercise classes 2x/day)
  • I don’t miss meat, at all…
  • Dairy + Sugar upsets my stomach
  • I feel my best when I eat a fruit and vegetable based diet
  • I am not bloated/cramped/gassy when I eat clean/raw foods

And much more, but those are a few that came to mind.

Without diving too far into my personal eating habits today, I’m really here to express my thankfulness for a 100% natural plant-based protein powder called Vega.

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They have so graciously sent me a whole whack of their new (and old) products, and I am happy to endorse them because I use these products myself in everyday, busy/crazy/chaotic  life.

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(I am not being compensated to write this post – all opinions are my own from personal experiences)

What I love about their products is that they have abseloutly nothing to hide. No fillers, no chemicals, no artificial colours or flavours. These products are built for the athlete, but usable by ANYONE. One scoop of their Nutritional Shake provides you with 50% of your daily vitamins and minerals (covering MANY key nutrients that you may otherwise be lacking through your diet), and their products can help you achieve the energy levels necessary for optimal sports performance (or even just for feeling better in your every day life)

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That being said, as a student studying Holistic Nutrition – I always look to FOOD as my first source of daily nutrients. Again though, I am only human and often lack the time to whip up the type of nutrient rich meals that I need to teach a high energy spin class. These shakes are especially good to me at 6a.m. when I can barely even think about cooking breakkie. So, shake it is…

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(Pictured above: Vega One All-in-one Nutritional Shake in Berry flavour)

A scoop of this stuff offers you…

  1. 15 grams of protein (the same as 2.7 eggs)
  2. 1.5 grams of Omega-3 (same as 2.3 servings of salmon)
  3. 1 billion Probiotics (same as 1 cup of yogurt)
  4. 6 grams of Fiber
  5. 3 servings of Greens (same as 3 servings of veggies)
  6. 2.7 cups of Antioxidants (same as 2.7 cups of blueberries)
  7. 50% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamins & Minerals

Not bad, huh?

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All kinds that I have tried have tasted great. I normally don’t like ‘fake’ flavours, so I was hesitant to try these ones – but the natural flavoring is bang-on. Not to sweet, just subtle enough to be enjoyed.

Call me boring though, I  still like the ‘Natural’ Nutritional Shake the best. The rich yet mild taste goes perfectly into a banana + kale smoothie.

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Protein powders are not for everyone, so do your research before you go drop $ on a tub of this.

Those of you with soy/gluten/dairy/sugar allergies – not to worry… Vega One is free of all of them. You’re good to go!

Other goodies that you should try from VEGA!…blog 069

Sacha Inchi Seeds.

Never heard of them? Well listen up!

These bad boys are the richest plant-based source of Omega-3’s on the planet! What a perfect healthy indulgence. They come in Karmalized, Natural or Choc-o-lot flavours.

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Vibrancy Bars.

A combo of raw and sprouted ingredients and 180 calories, these make a great on the go snack. In fact, I chowed down on Chocolate Decadence one today after my workout.

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Maca Chocolate.

Eat it sparingly, and enjoy it. Yes, there are health benefits to eating this organic chocolate bar.

Maca is a root plant native to the Andean mountains which has a whole lotta benefits which I won’t even try to explain better than Vega does, right here.

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Truth be told, I could write a whole lot more – but I know you’ve heard enough for one blog post!

If you have any questions, you can always send me an e-mail or respond to this post in the ‘comments’ section =) I love hearing from you guys.

If you’re interested in Vega products, check out their website

In addition, you can explore Brendan Braziers (the creative mind behind Vega) ‘Thrive Forward” program which introduces you to plant-based eating, and cleaning up your diet. Heck, even if you’re not interested in the program it’s still a pretty website with some fabulous recipes.

Have you tried Vega products? Which are your favourite?

How do you like your Protein? Food sources or supplement sources?


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The many benefits of… TURMERIC

It’s a Turmeric kind of day !

This little spice (with BIG health benefits) seems to be popping up everywhere over the last 24 hours!

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It made an appearance in my dinner last night/lunch today…

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(Not so photogenic food – Moroccan Spiced Veggie & Rice Stew topped with Parsley Pesto)

And it also came up in class today, while learning about inflammation

If that’s not enough, I flipped on the T.V. this afternoon and go figure the guest-speaker was talking about the health benefits of Turmeric !

New info that I learned about Turmeric today is that it is one of the ONLY foods that influences EVERY SINGLE chemical involved in inflammation in the body. It is literally an inflammation SUPER FOOD.

You’ve likely had Turmeric in the past, but some of you may not even know what it tastes/looks like. It’s an orangey-yellow coloured spice that’s used in many curry dishes, making it a staple in a traditional Indian diet.

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….From plant… to useable spice!

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Curcumin is the active and powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient in Turmeric, but it also contains a small amount of Iron, Dietary Fiber, and Vitamin B6! The benefits are endless!

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Since INFLAMMATION is your bodies way of telling you that something is wrong (with signs such as redness, swelling, water retention, constipation) – you want to keep inflammation to a minimum – and one way to do this is through the consumption of anti-inflammatory foods/herbs/spices.

Ex. Turmeric, Ginger, Broccoli, Red Cabbage & Omega 3’s – and many more…

Not concerned about inflammation in yourself? Why not take a hands on and active approach and reduce inflammation before it starts!

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Eat your Turmeric in many ways.

  1. Take 2 Tbsp. in warm water and drink it ‘straight up’
  2. Add it to your favourite recipe (stews, soups and casseroles are perfect for this)
  3. Make your own capsules of it, or buy it from the health foods store
  4. Add it to condiments such as mustard or salad dressing

Whatever way you choose, up your intake starting ASAP!


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five short-term goals…

Daily Blab: Keeping up with my goals

February is almost over, and with that – most people have totally lost their ‘New Years Resolutions’. Not me though, because I didn’t make any! Well I sort of did, but instead of calling them New Years Resolutions, I wrote up a simple list of goals. Things that I’d like to accomplish, almost like a 2013 bucket list.

Knowing that my preferences and lifestyle changes from day to day and month to month, I didn’t feel like setting myself up for failure with a New Years Resolution.

For me, the likelihood of sticking to a short-term goal is much more probable than long-term ones – most of us naturally lose site of what we set as our targets and then end up forgetting them all together. So, today I’m writing out 5 short-term goals for the month of March. Ideally, I will achieve all 5 – but if not, I won’t beat myself up over it! I’ll reward myself for the ones I did have success with, and try a second time to accomplish any that didn’t go so well.

Here we go..

  1. Keep my food diary, so that I can ditch the unnecessary snacking.Mindless eating is one of my worst habits, and I do it every single day. This week, I’m writing down everything that goes into my mouth – In hopes that that enough will deter me from mindless munching.FoodLog

2. Read before bed. Every night!

I do it once or twice a week, but normally I’m too exhausted by the end of the day. That being said, there’s always time for a couple pages of reading – no excuses! Look at this stack of books that I have to choose from!

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Top 3 books to finish in the month of March = Blog inc., The 4 Agreements, and Eating Alive.

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3. Make sure that I’m getting enough protein.

Without much meat and fish in my diet, it’s been more of a conscious effort to get enough protein in my daily eats. I’ve got to start cooking up more beans and legumes! Hummus, anyone?

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4. Use my spare time wisely.

Time is valuable, we all know that! Free time should be spent doing things I love, things that make me happy, and being productive! That’s it, that’s all.

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5. And finally, guzzle down more h2o! Especially lemon water.

More lemon water = healthier skin, more detox, stronger immune system (lots of Vitamin C in lemons), gets your system moving in the morning so that you can get all that ‘shit’ out of your body! Great, eh!?

Of course, I have a million other goals in mind – but I started with the basics. Cleansing doesn’t have to be a MAJOR life shift – it can be something so simple as eating more vegetables or cutting back on caffeine.

What are your goals of March? Leave me a comment below and I promise to help keep you on track, if you do the same for me!

Find me on TWITTER as well – for more regular updates =)


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Eat Your Way Through Valentines– Without the GUILT!

If you’re like me – you look for any reason under the sun to do some baking.

Cooking, I’m not so fond of. But baking is different…  I’ve always felt a sense of comfort in baking, maybe because it reminds me of home and happiness.

With Valentines Day coming up tomorrow, are you planning to bake anything for your “Valentine”/Friend/Family/Roommate/Etc… ?

It will likely make their day a bit brighter – so pick one of these “healthier” cookie recipes to whip up before tomorrow.

Happy Valentines!

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(This photo is from the “Love Your Body Campaign” that I put on during my undergrad)

Recipe # 1

From the blog, “The Healing Kitchen”

RAW VEGAN VALENTINES COOKIES

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They are dairy free, gluten free, mostly raw, sugar free, vegan, vegetarian – you name it!

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Recipe # 2

This recipe comes from the blog Squirrelly Minds…

These are Peanut Butter and Oat bites: Vegan Approved!

I have made a very similar recipe to these before, and I love them because they are SIMPLE. Quick, not too time consuming, and tons of taste!

PB & Oat Bites Recipe from Squirrelly Minds

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Recipe # 3

For the raw-foodie – this recipe from Ravishing Raw looks SO good.

(Click the link to see the photo)

I love that they’ve used avocado and carob as opposed to traditional ingredients found in mousse. Much healthier!

The options are really endless!

Happy Healthy Baking !