what I ate today

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I recently got back from spending a couple of weeks travelling Europe. I got to revisit some places I had been before but never really had the proper time to explore the first go round as well as plenty of new places that had been on my ever growing list of places to visit for quite some time. As much as I love travelling, it’s pretty much a given that by the end of my trip the one thing that is really pulling me home is that I’m eager to get back into my own kitchen and have the ability to eat the way that makes me feel the best.

Don’t get me wrong – as I mentioned in my previous post, I aim to stay consistent with how I eat even while travelling. I think it’s very much possible to have some semblance of health whilst travelling, it just may take a bit more effort to seek out the places that are align with how you want to fuel your body and a bit of preparation in advance. Despite best efforts, it’s never quite the same and given that I am someone who loves to cook and happen to live in a wonderful places with abundant options of health and fresh food, there’s always a piece of me that is ready to come home and get back into my usual routine, no matter how much I may love a place.

Now that I am back, here is a look at what I ate today now that I am back in my routine.

Breakfast: 7 am

 

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I usually like to start my day off with some sort of drink be it a tea or lemon water. Lately my go to has been combining holy basil tea with peppermint. I picked up the holy basil tea from a local super food shop as I’ve heard many people sing praises about it. I liked that it is an adaptogen (anti-stress agents), helps balance hormones and is beneficial for our blood sugar. If you want to learn more about it, Dr. Josh Axe does a great job of talking about the benefits: https://draxe.com/holy-basil-benefits/

While drinking the tea, I whipped up a green smoothie that I had been craving. This is my typical green smoothie: 1/2 avocado, 1 banana, pineapple, leafy greens (I used kale today), cucumber, parsley, fresh squeeze of lemon juice and some chia seeds. I add spirulina which is why the smoothie is a deeper green. Together the chia seeds and spirulina add a bit of protein and therefore this smoothie tides me over a bit longer. I blend with water and ice. It was easy to whip up, nutritious and hit the spot.

Snack: 10:45 am

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These homemade bars have been my go to lately. They include beans in them which may sound totally bizarre, but the beans add lots of fibre and protein to the bars to help stabilize blood sugars and keep me satiated for a long time. Beans themselves are very mild flavoured and it’s likely you’d be none the wiser if you gave these bars a try. I wrote a blog post for Wymbin Yoga for Kids with more information and the recipe. Click here to read

Lunch: 2:00

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Since I returned home I’ve gotten my first batch of produce from the CSA I signed up for which I had been eagerly awaiting since signing up a few months prior. Basically the CSA is  helping fund a farm which allows you to later reap the benefits of when their crops come in and you get a share of their produce. A giant salad is my go to lunch anyways so it was nice to be able to include fresh, organic and local veg directly from my farmer for todays lunch. Todays salad included: Sprouted mixed lentils, green and red leafy lettuce (from CSA), baby cucumbers, fresh dill and parsley, scallions (from CSA).I topped it with a squeeze of fresh lemon, drizzle of cold pressed organic olive oil and a bit of sea salt. I always make homemade salad dressing. It is not something I buy and you won’t find a single bottle of it in my fridge! In my opinion it’s so much tastier (and obviously healthier) to make your own.

Snack: 4:15

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A piece of fruit and a small handful of almonds or walnuts is a very typical snack for me. It takes virtually no time to prepare and is usually just what I need to tie me over between lunch and dinner. Eating the fruit in its whole food form with all of the fibre and nutrients intact as well as pairing the fruit with a healthy fat such as the nuts helps avoid spiking my blood sugar by slowing down the release of sugars from the fruit into the blood stream. The crash that follows a spike as well as well going to long between meals leads to some serious hangriness which is why I always try to have healthy, balanced snacks like this on hand. In the background you may notice my S’well bottle making a guest appearance. Best water bottle ever! I pack a big water bottle every day with me and this is hands down the best bottle I own.

Dinner: 8:00 pm

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Despite what I said at the beginning of this post about loving to cook, it’s inevitable that some days I get home from work and it’s the very last thing I feel like doing. As such tonights dinner felt pretty uninspired but I tried to push through my feelings of laziness and throw something healthy and tasty together without much effort. Using a bed of the same green leafy lettuce I had used in my lunch that I received from my CSA, I topped it with a bunch of shredded carrots, roasted cauliflower and curried chickpeas that I simply just warmed up on the stove with some spices. Typically I would have made a turmeric-lemony-creamy-garlic sauce for this but as I’ve just come back from Europe I haven’t done a proper grocery shop and didn’t have what I needed to throw much of any kind of sauce together.

It feels great to be back in the swing of things with my routine and regardless of tired uninspired dinners, I’m happy to be back in my kitchen whipping up healthy dishes again. This was a pretty typical day for me. What do you miss the most when you are on vacation? What does a typical day of eating look like for you?

 

will travel for food: Victoria

I recently got back from Victoria on Vancouver Island where I spent a few days with a good friend of mine. Every time I’m in Victoria I fall in love with it a little bit more. I absolutely love how lush and green everything is and of course that there is an abundance of cute places to grab amazing, nutritious food! Vacation or not I still like to maintain a healthy diet and it’s much more fun when you have plenty of places that deliver on both flavour and health. Eating well is by no means any sort of punishment and I don’t feel like I ever need a break from it the way that some people may justify their vacation diet. To each their own, but personally I love eating well and as such my vacation diet tends to not deviate too much from what I would eat on a regular basis.

Victoria seems to be a bit more progressive than the city I am from when it comes to healthy lifestyles and we definitely took advantage of getting our fill from their plentiful restaurant and cafe options and fortunately we didn’t even make it through them all so there is plenty of reason to go back.

Here are some of the places we indulged in during our trip. If you find yourself in Victoria, make it a point to stop in at one (or all!) of these places!

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Cafe Bliss was the perfect little stop downtown to grab a yummy bowl, drink or treat. We stopped in here twice and I even grabbed something for the plane ride home the night before we left. I’m still craving their food!

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So we may have gone to Be Love 3 times in just over 24 hours. No shame, it’s that good. We both fell in love with their Shawarma which is picture at the top of the above photo. Although it hardly resembles a traditional shawarma, both of us kept craving it over and over again and I had to resist the urge to order it multiple times because I wanted to keep trying something new. One of the first things when I did when I got home was dash to the grocery store to try to come up with something that had a similar feel to it as the yam Shawarma and despite it being totally different in flavours and ingredients, it was a winner and I think we even had it twice in one week. I love that I left this trip feeling inspired to get home and try something new.

Jusu Bar: There are a few locations of Jusu Bar around Victoria. We walked over to the Oak  Bay location and thought we were just grabbing a quick drink on our walk. We both spontaneously ended up getting their Classic Tacos and despite us walking in with zero expectations, we both agreed that they may have just been the yummiest thing we had all trip. The shell of the taco was made from leftover beet pulp from making the juice which was so cool! I loved that they had found a use for the leftover bits from juicing.

Nourish Restaurant and Cafe:

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This place was recommended to us by a friend/my friends sister (Thanks Krista Bear) and I’m so glad we deviated from Be Love for our last breakfast outing to try it out. I loved this atmosphere this place had. It was super quaint and the perfect cozy spot for an overcast morning.

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They had lots of yummy drink options that deviated from the normal latte and teas regularly served, including this delicious drink called Imperial Sunrise which had turmeric, herbal chai tea, steamed almond milk and honey. I definitely need to try to recreate this one at home.

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If you don’t have time to pop in for an actual meal, you can still grab a drink to go from their cafe side. They have plenty of cool take away items including their in house dairy-free hollandaise and their homemade water kefir.

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I love that all of these places offer not only healthy food but are extremely accommodating for people with different food preferences, sensitivities and allergies. It’s always nice to go somewhere where everyone can enjoy the food and doesn’t feel like a pain in the servers butt by having to try and make special requests whilst ordering so they can enjoy the food.

I am always keeping a running list of all a bunch of must try restaurants no matter where they are, so I have to know: What’s your favourite spot to grab a meal that delivers on both flavour and health?

easy ways to get variety in your diet

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I have a lovely little collection of cook books and I love pouring over them and getting inspired by all the amazing, creative dishes the authors/chefs have created.

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One of the best ways for me to get out of my head and ground myself after a long day is to get home and whip up something delicious and nutritious. Not only am I clearing my head and shifting my focus, I am treating myself to yummy food that is nourishing and I deem as an act of self love. Being in the kitchen for me is kind of like food for the soul and food to well… eat. Obviously. Somehow despite all the wonderful cookbooks and blogs and my own creative ability, more often than not I work through the same rotation of recipes. I want to start making better use and getting more creative in the kitchen so I have decided I am going to aim for picking one new recipe a week to give a try.

On top of being a little boost for extra creativity, variety in our diets is key to ensuring we are getting the full gamete of nutrients needed for optimal health. I read in a book recently that on average people usually rotate through the same 15 core food items and I think that’s totally true, we are all creatures of habit and stick to what we know we like more often than not. I want to start thinking outside the box a bit more and not only challenge myself a little bit when it comes to cooking (which will allow me to shift my focus outside of my own head even more) but also ensure I am switching it up and getting a wider variance of nourishing foods. To me homemade food takes mindful eating to the next level. It really allows for a deep appreciation, your food becomes the result of your hard work and time. There’s a deeper sense of connection when you are hands on with your food and I LOVE that aspect of cooking. Sometimes cooking feels like a pain and a big chore even to me as someone who generally really loves it, but there’s a certain fulfillment that comes from putting in the time and effort to create something beautiful, healthy and delicious.

Another easy way to include variance in your diet is to share dinner with friends! Their go to meals and your go to meals will often differ from each others, and it’s a fun way to connect and deviate from your norm. We all know that food is best when shared with someone you love!

Are you someone who cooks? Share your go to meals in the comments and inspire someone else to try something new!
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3 easy detox practices

For the last year or so I’ve been working on eliminating toxins in my daily life and focusing on lowering my overall toxic body burden. Regardless of me eliminating toxic household cleaners and switching over to clean(er) personal care products, the truth is that much of our exposure to environmental and dietary toxins can be a bit beyond our total control. Our bodies more than ever are exposed to an alarmingly high amount of toxins through our environments, lifestyles and diet. On a daily basis our bodies are infiltrated by toxins that can wreak havoc on our health and oftentimes we don’t even realize this is all happening.

Our bodies have plenty of systems put in place that function to help relieve our body from these toxic burdens (liver, lungs, kidneys, lymphatic system, colon etc) and our primary goal should be to support these systems to work optimally. Here are 3 simples practices that can be added into your daily routine to support these natural systems without a lot of time or effort.

  1. Dry Brushing: This took a little getting used to as the brush is quite rough but now I love it! There are a ton of benefits to this simple method. Not only are you getting rid of dead skin cells that will help keep your skin soft and glowly, you are also helping to stimulate the lymphatic system by brushing in long sweeps and encouraging circulation. I like to add a couple drops of some type of citrusy oil to my brush for a little sneaky aromatherapy too. detox1
  2. Tongue Scrape: Our tongues are supposed to be pink! Not coated in white gunk. I’m not going to lie, I actually cringe a bit when I see someones tongue coated in nasty white gunk. First thing in the morning and before bed at night, I run my scraper over my tongue to get rid of all that nasty. Our bodies do a lot of detoxing over a good nights sleep and I like to help get all of that out. I know a lot of people may feel grossed out by this, but what’s worse? Swallowing that all again?! And I ensure you that it is entirely more effective to scrape rather than just brush. Try it out and see for yourself. A clean, pink tongue is a good sign that your body is how your tongue should be, so if you are noticing that your tongue is always coated it may be time to consider looking into that a little deeper. A coated white tongue can be a sign of inflammation in the body. detox2
  3. Warm Lemon Water: I know that this is old news by now and this has gained a lot of attention in the last while but I add it here because this is something I do on a near everyday basis and despite me not being a morning person, this drink helps pep me up in the morning and helps get my day rolling. In regards to detoxifying, the citrate content helps your body flush out toxins and it has a high vitamin c content that has a whole wealth of benefits including being an antioxidant. Some people tout that it helps stimulate digestion and the liver first thing in the morning and wake your body up – studies definitely have been done to show the benefits of lemon but all I know is that it makes me feel great, especially with some added fresh ginger and a dollop of raw local honey.

Detoxing doesn’t just have to mean juice cleanses and detox teas! You can support your body’s natural systems by cleaning up your diet and lifestyle and encourage a bit of extra action from some of these easy habits that you can slip in pretty much anywhere at anytime!

Enjoy the Holiday weekend with friends and family!

Morning Routine Challenge: Hal Elrod Style

If you get to know me at all on a personal level, it is very quickly known that i struggle with getting an early start to the day. I have never been a good sleeper. The better part of my life has been fuelled by late bedtimes which become broken, interrupted sleeps and groggy mornings. Crappy sleep carries over into a day where I am dragging myself through the day rather than really making use of my time. It’s become a vicious cycle of sleeping till the very last minute – rushing to work without good food for breakfast or lunch and then coming home so hungry and grumpy I devour the first thing in sight (and then some) and pass on exercise because I’m grumpy and tired. It leads to a lot of self resentment.

This has always been an issue I have with myself. It goes without saying. Sleep is so important. There is constantly new studies confirming this, and regardless of what all these scientific journals tout, I think everyone on a personal level can testify to it as well.

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I have become somewhat of a personal growth junkie. I’ve been absorbing myself in ways I can better myself, continuously learn, heal, and fill my cup. It’s been really fulfilling to get on track with how I can be at my best self. There is of course one huge road block in my way. I have felt for a long time that starting my day off on the right foot is the missing link to living at my best for myself and others.

As much as I want the shift from being a life long night owl to an early morning bird it sometimes feels like an insurmountable feat.That said I think I’ve reached a point where it just feels necessary and something I really need to devote myself to – I am really tired of not being at my best and feeling rushed and unproductive with my days.

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I am a firm believer that if something is not working, then something needs to change. We can’t expect a different ending if we keep reading the same story over and over. And although that seems easier said than done, I’ve recently stumbled across someone named Hal Elrod who wrote a book about what he calls the Miracle Morning. Hal researched what the most successful people do in the morning, combined the most common practices and fitted them all into a neat little acronym: SAVERS: Silence (for me, this means mediation. For someone else it could mean something like prayer), Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Scribe (journal) and lastly Read. The reading is focused on a book that you will gain something from so no fluffy fiction for this part. Something that will be thought provoking and educate you to some capacity, whether it’s a self help personal growth book or something relevant to what you do or where you want to go. Right now I am reading The Big Leap. I was immediately intrigued behind the concept and since then I have been giving bits and pieces of concept a try. The time spent on each is flexible – but ideally an hour total, 10 minutes per habit. So many of us set the alarm clock till the very last second so we can get ready and fly out the door. Hal makes a strong argument for allotting ourselves at least an extra hour to help start the day with a full cup full of intention, gratitude and a healthy state of mind and body.

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I think it’s really time for me to put all the pieces together and put forward a real attempt at breaking bad habits and creating this shift in my life. I’m fortunate that my job doesn’t start till mid day, however I have so much more that I would love to accomplish in a days time, including this blog, finishing my nutrition certification and side passion projects. And despite my job not starting till mid day, given my sleep issues I have taken to making up for lost hours of sleep in the morning and sleeping until I absolutely had to get up. For the next 30 days, I will be following Hal’s Miracle Morning concept to see how setting the tone first thing in the morning carries through with the rest of my days and nights. Hal says an extra hour is all that is necessary – but I want to push it a step further and wake up with a few extra hours to spare. I know I’ll be able to put them to good use.

I’m posting this because I think putting this out there for a few extra pairs of eyes will help me in some way feel accountable to persevere through bad nights of sleep and impossible-feeling mornings. Whatever the outcome, I will check back on a weekly basis so that if you have a similar story, perhaps you can follow suit and experience the difference a morning routine creates in your life.

Hal Elrod has an incredible story – I highly recommend checking him out. You can learn more about his book here: http://halelrod.com/books/

best essential oil diffusing blend

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Thus far in 2016 I’ve been meditating daily every evening before bed. This wasn’t a direct goal or resolution of mine for the new year, but I’m definitely attributing my success in being able to keep those items that are my New Years resolution to my new night time ritual. It’s really all connected… a few minutes every night to reset, relax and recharge for the day ahead. I’ve been catching lots of quality sleep immediately after and feel ready to take on the next day bright and early.

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My night time routine starts with me diffusing some essential oils to help create a little meditation station in my room. My favourite has been a combination of eucalyptus, lemongrass and peppermint. In fact, I think every single night so far since I have begun this routine I’ve diffused this combo. I was just messing around with different combinations while I was making bath salts with my Mom and this combo was born. I loved it so much I thought it was worthy of sharing. I love how the lemongrass mimics some of the local yoga studios in my area, and the eucalyptus and peppermint really help all that deep breathing that happens during meditation.

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Here’s where I’ve been finding a quick 5-12 minute meditation every night: https://soundcloud.com/lululemon-athletica-1

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I’ve loved the results of my last 15 minutes before bed so much that now I genuinely look forward to the evening whereas before, night time always caused me a lot of anxiety because I would dread laying in bed often for hours at a time not being able to fall asleep. Now I am falling asleep quickly and only waking up once or twice a night, which is huge for me.

Have you tried meditation? What’s your thoughts on it?

goodbye 2015, hello 2016

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I hope you have all had a great start to 2016! I know not everyone is fans of setting resolutions, but I hope at least you all are looking forward to making 2016 exactly what you want it to be.

I have lots of projects, goals and just general “things” I want to accomplish this year and I’ve been using this first week of 2016 to hit the ground running and waste no time. (and for the record, I am definitely that person that sets not only resolutions, but intentions, and goals. Lots of them). New Years is one of my favourite time of years because I love a good fresh start and the potential that comes with it. I know I shouldn’t wait for a certain time to act on all those goals and projects I have floating around in my head, but I see no harm in really capitalizing on a New Year and all the ambition that comes with it.

As one last goodbye to 2015, here are my favourite things I made use of or discovered over the course of the last year. There is a bit of everything in here! My top 15 of 2015:

  1. S’well Water Bottle: This is the best water bottle I have ever purchased. The price tag may be a bit steeper than any other water bottle you can get your hands on, but they are so worth it. I used mine nearly everyday for months at a time and it keeps cold drinks cold for your full day and hot drinks so hot you have to wait hours to be able to actually sip them (learnt that the hard way). The quality of this water bottle means I am going to have it for years to come, so I can definitely justify the price on this one. Not only this, the pattern I chose seems to be a conversation starter. I seriously get asked about this water bottle all the time, from all sorts of people. faveof15.1.jpg
  2. Eminence Organics Cuperose-C: I never thought I would have a product made specifically for this form of rosacea that I have. It has always been something I have been self concious of (more so when I was young) and I went to dermatoligists and doctors and tried everything they recommended to me with no avail. Turns out this product (combined with lots of anti inflammatory foods) have given me the best results of anything I have tried and have given me a little bit more confidence about my bare skin.
  3. Eminence Rosehip Whip Moisturizer: I love the scent of this. I add a bit of rose water when using it as it is a moisturizer made without water and is quite thick. Rosehip is meant to be calming for redness and inflammation and I can attest that it definitely lives up to its claims. As I mentioned  above I have cuperose on my cheeks and this moisturizer was recommended to me by a facialist at Art of Natural Skin Care. I think it’s the perfect pairing wit the eminence serum mentioned above faveof15.3.jpg
  4. Voluspa Candles: I love candles but am picky about the type of wax I am burning and try to be mindful of artifical fragrances and perfumes as well. Voluspa has a few candles that are a coconut based wax that are phthalate free (Read about why you should avoid phthalates here). Added bonus is they smell amazing, are pretty and you can find them almost anywhere.
  5. Kari Gran‘s lip whip. LOVE. This is by far the best lip product I tried not only just for 2015, but maybe of all time. You can’t beat the ingredients, texture and luxuriousness of this product. It’s practically perfect.faveof15.2
  6. Favourite Recipe I made over and over on the Joyous Health blog: http://www.joyoushealth.com/blog/2013/10/16/kale-squash-salad-recipe/
  7. Essential Oils: I use oils by DoTerra, and I use them everyday in just about every capacity. You can buy them and check them out by clicking here.
  8. Saying goodbye to toxic cleaning products and using homemade / natural alternatives instead when I moved into my first home! (Which may constitute as my the most exciting part of 2015 / biggest goal I achieved this past year)
  9. Favourite place traveled was definitely Maui, despite a full week of wind and rain. maui
  10. Lemon and Ginger Tea with Honey: My absolute favourite way to start a day. My mornings always get off on the right foot when I start my day with this tea.
  11. Favourite Day: Nihahi Ridge on possibly one of the hottest days this Summer with two amazing girls nihahi
  12. Favourite Book: Eating Alive faveof15.4
  13. Favourite Vlogger: Toss up between Holistic Habits and Niomi Smart. I always look forward to their videos!
  14. Most reached for cook book: Another toss up between Oh She Glows and Against All Grain. Apparently both of them have new books in the works and I cannot wait!
  15. Calia Shampoo and Conditioner. I first learnt about this brand by Sarah from Holistic Habits. When I saw it at my local grocery store (love that it’s accessible) I picked it up and now I don’t want to use any other natural shampoo or conditioner. I think it’s fairly tricky to find natural hair products that give you results you are used to from commercial brands, but this stuff has me hooked and I am unsure I could find anything more accessible/natural and free of chemicals that give me good results. Watch Sarah of Holistic Habits talk about them here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P_mgSLNz7g&list=PL1VRlPPBcCvoutfooJ9E-5VuMSrMF_h4n

What did you love in 2015 that you plan to bring with you throughout 2016?