2016 Highlights

With another year coming to a close, it only seemed right to reflect on some of the moments that helped make 2016 the year that it was. If I had to sum up this year in three words, they would be challenging, motivating and GROWTH. I spent a lot of time reflecting on who I am as a person, who I want to be and what I want my life to be and this took me on a journey of self discovery and as this year wraps up, if anything I think I’ve gotten to know myself on a deeper level than I ever have which is a deeply satisfying feeling. This year brought with it lots of ups and downs as any period of time does but here are some of my happiest moments to reflect back on:

10.  Getting outside and summiting mountains with friends

mountain.jpg

9. The perfect best friend trip to Victoria, BC

victoria

8. Road Trip to Whistler, BC for The Wanderlust Festival

whistler2

7. Nutrition Lectures for Wymbin Teacher Trainees

wymbin

6. Exploring new cities in Italy

florence3.jpg

5. Connecting with (nearly) all my friends in one spot for Christmas Brunch

brunch.jpg

4. Spontaneous trips to Vancouver with Dan

danvan.jpg

3. Sunrise hikes

sunrisehike

2. My first solo trip to London, UK

london

1. Connecting with new, amazing people and being a part of an amazing community made possible through this blog and social media!

northofbloom

Happy 2017 everyone! I hope your year is already off to an amazing start xx

Planning for The New Year 2017

Like many people, I love the fresh start of a new year and the opportunity it provides to realign myself with my intentions and goals. Yes, I am 100% a New Years Resolution kind of person, and I always have been. Truth be told I love goal setting and intentional living at any point in the year and certainly don’t wait until January 1st to act on all my intentions but I also can’t deny that I spend a bit of extra time reflecting and planning in the last week of December to prepare myself for the New Year.

For those that need it, the internet is full of prompts and sources of inspiration to help you reflect and prepare for the year ahead. Along the way and over the course of the last few years I have discovered a few resources and tools that have helped me hone in on what I want to achieve and come up a plan to turn all those big dreams into a reality.

In an effort to keep things a bit more simple this year, here is what I used as prompts to help me get sorted and discover exactly what I want to focus on in 2017

Marie Forleo is one of my favourite people and she has three questions to help you reflect on your year

Anthony from Break The Twitch on Youtube talks about two short term actions we should be thinking about in order to achieve our ideal lives. I thought this perspective was simple yet genius and it’s made me realize that I am a lot closer than I realized to spending my days exactly how I want to be. I took the time to write down a typical day and what that looks like for me at this point in my life. Beside that, I wrote down my ideal/perfect day in as much detail as I could really think of. How do I want to spend my time? Where am I? What am I eating? When am I waking up? Who am I with? What’s my dream job? I then took two different coloured highlighters: yellow for investment actions and pink for immediate actions. Anything that I had written down on my ideal day that I could start doing immediately, I highlighted pink. Anything that I wanted a part of my ideal day that simply isn’t feasible at this point in time (like that dream job) was highlighted in yellow and I know that is something I need to actively work toward by using investment actions, whatever that may be for that particular aspect. I love the simplicity of this and how it calls on us to be intentional with our daily actions. I’m a big believer that we don’t get where we want to go by chance, we have to work hard and having some semblance of a plan on where to focus our efforts helps us from spinning our tires and getting nowhere. I can’t wait to see how mapping out my ideal day and setting intentional actionables helps me achieve all my big plans and dreams!

Lastly, I wanted to mention something that I have spent a minute or two of each day in 2016 doing each night before bed. This Q&A a day book was a gift from my boyfriend in 2014 and prompts you with the same question on the same day for 5 years. As you go through each day year after year you get to see where you evolve and grow and where you stay the same. I love this book because so often I do my big reflections at the end of the year and never touch them again. This is a great way of keeping track of brief glimpses of yourself and your year without a huge time commitment.

qandabook

Happy dreaming and scheming, I hope 2017 has big, amazing things in store for all of you

What’s your favourite way to get ready for the New Year?

My thoughts on FEAR

Over the last year or so I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the idea of fear and what it means to me.

In this reflection I made a choice that I wanted to reach a point in my life where I operated out of excitement, love, intention but I didn’t want to be a person that always made decisions based on fear.

I’m sure I’m not alone, but I’ve always had a suffocating fear when it comes to what people think of me and failure. There’s been so many things in life I have held myself back from because I was afraid of judgement and I’m terrified of the idea of failure.

I’ve always been incredibly shy and terrified of putting myself out there in any capacity. There’s been points in my life where this fear of judgement and fear of failure has felt completely debilitating to me. In university one of my finals was a presentation I had to give in front of the class. I purposely didn’t show because I couldn’t fathom the idea of speaking in front of 30 people. Naturally, I failed that class and had no one to blame but myself. Of course this is just one example and looking back, I recognize that a lack of passion about what I was learning played a big role in this, but this is a prime example of how I let fear get in the way.

One of the things I love about the internet is the opportunity to connect with some truly beautiful people. Around 4 years ago (actually to the month) I came across Ange Peters, founder of Hol:Fit on youtube and instantly felt a connection with her. Our stories aligned in so many ways (pursuit of a healthy lifestyle after both our fathers had died from Cancer) that I just couldn’t help but reach out to her via email and I’m so glad I did. Ange has been one of my go-to resources for inspiration in my life and the value she has added to my life is immeasurable. Through her I’ve been introduced to many others that continue to inspire me and challenge who I am as a person. I’ve watched her business with essential oils grow right from the very beginning and with her success she somehow continues to just get better and better.

This might seem like this post is turning into a bit of a love letter, but that’s ok, I’m all for sharing gratitude for the great people in my life. I kind of knew it would when I started this post because I had a moment yesterday where all the dots started to line up for me.

mountaintop

Fast forward from the person who would stop dead in their tracks because of fear and felt stuck and stagnant wishing for more to someone who now pushes through their fears because they know it’s always worth it. Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking to a group about nutrition for kids. Despite my nerves I got up and did it anyways because it’s a topic I’m passionate about and I’ve had people like Ange teach me the value of pursuing what matters to you and pushing through your fear.

Yesterday morning before I met the group I was full of anxiety. I put on some of my favourite essential oil blend and put on an old periscope of Ange’s to help ease my nerves and I was overwhelmed by the feeling of gratitude I had for her when I realized all of the tools I have now to push through moments like this.

My definition of both fear and failure have changed considerably and while I still get anxious and full of self doubt, I now recognize that those feelings come to me when I’m dealing with something that truly matters to me and I want to be able to do it justice. I feel so passionate about delivering the message of a healthy lifestyle that yes, it caused me anxiety but it just proves to me how important it is to me. I’ve never been someone with amazing self confidence but I can see now how pushing through these moments of fear play into building that confidence up and why failure is just a part of the journey.

Let’s be honest, I probably sounded like a babbling idiot for the first 10 minutes of my talk, but the point is that I got up there and did it when a few years ago I was too afraid to even start a blog because I wasn’t sure what people would think.

I look back and feel a great sense of sadness for the little girl who was too afraid to try out for soccer and volleyball because she was too afraid of failing and not making the team, and all the other countless moments I held myself back because of fear. However in this moment and this point in my life, I am grateful for the growth that I have experienced and for people like Ange who constantly push boundaries and call on us to be better.

Fear and failure still have their places in my life, but in changing my perspective of them I’ve in turn taken the power away from them and given it back to me. I still have my moments. In fact this very blog post calls on me to make the conscious choice to disregard that “What will people think?” feeling that is so familiar to me and just post anyways because I think it’s a message worth sharing. I think it’s so important to recognize growth and of course to be grateful for those that have supported us along the way.

Check out Ange and learn what she is about: http://www.hol-fit.com

 

 

3 fermented food recipes (for people who don’t like fermented foods)

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of speaking to a group about nutrition and at one point in the conversation, we got on the topic of our microbiome and the importance of fermented foods.

One lady spoke up to say she didn’t like fermented foods. She was totally turned off by kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha etc and I totally get it! They are acquired tastes and despite all of the health benefits, they aren’t going to appeal to everybody. That said, they are such an important addition to our overall health that it’s important to find a way to enjoy them. Our bodies will thank us.

Adding new foods to your diet can seem daunting and overwhelming especially when your first impression of them is not so great. The truth is is that consuming fermented foods is a very traditional way of eating and we need to bring it back

When it comes to our health, our gut and digestion is at the core of it all. The gut has even been nicknamed the second brain because it dictates so many responses in our bodies, right down to the foods we crave! I’ve said this in a previous blog post, but 2000 years ago Hippocrates famously said “All disease begins in the gut”, and all this time later we are finding out just how true that really is. The addition of fermented foods benefit us in so many ways. Here a few of my favourite key benefits:

-Supports our immune system. Did you know 2/3’s of our bodies immune system lives in the gut?
-Supports healthy and proper digestion. A friend of mine recently said in a blog “you are what you absorb, not what you eat” which is so true! We want our bodies to efficiently be breaking foods down so we can actually make use of their nutritional benefits. The healthy bacteria release enzymes that in turn help us break down our foods much easier.
-Helps us stay regular. No it’s not glamorous, but what goes on in the bathroom is a huge indication of our health! If you are irregular, try the addition of these foods and chances are they’ll help you out.
-The gut is where we synthesize various different vitamins including mood supporting B Vitamins, the healthy bacteria in our system play a key role in this
-Help combat leaky gut and maintains the integrity of the gut lining.
-Help combat chronic inflammation which is thought to be at the root of most disease

On the Go Gut Loving Smoothie:

When I need something quick, whether its for breakfast, a snack or even a late night dinner, a smoothie is my go to and I am loving this good-for-my-gut combo:

gutlovingsmoothie

This smoothie features two fermented good for your gut ingredients: Genuine Health’s Fermented Vanilla Protein powder and organic kefir. The fermentation of the protein powder and dairy are much easier for digestion as compared to an unfermented protein powder and dairy product.

To recreate this smoothie: Genuine Health’s Fermented Vanilla Protein, organic kefir, organic blueberries, banana 1 tbsp milled flax seed, cinnamon, optional topping of extra berries and bee pollen!

Tempeh Brunch Bowl:

This can be thrown together so quickly as tempeh is super easy to cook. This is a perfect addition to a brunch spread or for a satisfying lunch.

tempehbowl

Tempeh is a complete protein source made from fermented soy beans. (When it comes to soy foods in general, I recommend they’re consumed fermented for easier digestion) It’s a great source of plant based protein and a great alternative for meat.

To recreate this bowl: organic roasted sweet potato, baked marinated organic tempeh, avocado and hardboiled or poached egg. Top with black pepper, sea salt and chopped green onion

Creamy Coconut Miso Veggie Soup:

It’s grey and dreary out today where I’m from and I can’t wait to warm some of this up for dinner. I’m always mindful not to bring miso to a full boil, just gently warm it to maintain full benefits.

creamymiso

A while back I was in Victoria, BC with one of my best friends and went to Bliss Cafe. I had theeee most amazing coconut miso veggie soup that I have been dreaming of ever since. It was incredibly delicious. I did my best to pull from memory what this soup consisted of and fortunately I was completely happy with how this turned out. Miso is fermented paste of soybeans. Most people know it as a soup but it’s actually fairly versatile! There are many different varieties which have different flavours and lend to different things: you can create sauces, soups, salad dressings, dips etc with it.

To recreate this soup: Genmai miso, full fat coconut milk, organic low sodium vegetable broth, veggies of choice: I used radish, green bean, portobello mushroom, carrot, zucchini. Top with seaweeds: I used a blend of wakame, dulse and sea lettuce and nori. This addition may be easily overlooked if you choose to recreate this recipe but I highly recommend adding them! They are a fantastic source of vitamin and minerals.

There are plenty of different foods and ways to the enjoy the incredible powerful fermented foods. They may take some time to get used to but keep at it. They are amazingly flavourful but most importantly so vital to our overall health. In fact, the bacteria in our body outnumber the amount of human cells we have! Have you tried fermented foods?

Peach Quinoa Mint Summer Salad

Peach has always been one of my favourite flavours. Without fail every summer they become one of most reached for items at the grocery store. It wasn’t until this summer however that I discovered just how delicious this sweet addition is in my salad. This makes an ordinary boring salad burst with summer flavour and I especially love the flavour combo of the mint and peach. I’ve wanted to share this delicious salad combo for a while now but overtime I make it I end up eating it before I can take a good photo of it to share with you.

What I love about salads (beyond how nutritious they are) is how they’re so easy and require very little time and effort. There’s no real recipe required, just throw together a bunch of good quality healthy foods and you’ve got yourself an easy lunch or dinner. They’re the ultimate opportunity to get creative. You may just stumble upon a combination of flavours that you LOVE and keep coming back to over and over again, kind of like what’s happened to me with this salad.

summersalad1

I love this salad when it’s hot out and I don’t feel like standing around in a hot kitchen and cooking. I can whip this salad up in hardly any time at all and then sit on my balcony and enjoy the evening sun.

With a base of spinach, I created this salad using quinoa, roughly chopped almonds, roughly chopped mint, one chopped up fig, a bit of crumbled goat feta and 3/4 of a peach, sliced. I saved the remaining 1/4 of the peach to create the easiest peach vinaigrette:

Easy Peach Vinaigrette:
Chop up the remaining 1/4 of the peach
In a blender, add a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and cold pressed organic extra virgin olive oil. I typically aim for a 1:2 ratio of vinegar to oil
Add a bit of water. Don’t add too much water, but enough to thin out the dressing to a nice consistency and to help blend it all together

If you want to make it a bit fancier, throw in a fig or add a tiny bit of ginger

summersalad3

I always make my own salad dressings. Like anything, once you’ve done it enough times it becomes second nature and doesn’t take much time or effort at all. I find them way more delicious and satisfying this way. And of course, it goes without mentioning that creating your own is the healthier route too. Bottled store bought dressings are often full of junk and added sugars which just isn’t necessary when they are so easy to make

summersalad2

What’s your go to meal when it’s too hot to cook?

DIY Bath Bombs

Bath time is practically sacred to me. It’s a part of my night routine nearly every single night and pretty much always has been. They’re my favourite place to go to and relax and wrap up my day. I love the satisfaction that comes with dropping a bath bomb into the water just before I slip in. It’s so satisfying to see the fizziness and what’s even better is that my bath is then transformed into something that feels just slightly more spa like.

bathbomb1.jpg

Of course I realize there are plenty of DIY Bath Bombs already on the internet, but this rendition turned out so well I figured it was worth sharing anyway. I’ve made bath bombs enough times now and experimented with a few different recipes and this one has definitely turned out to be my favourite. I amped up the ingredients a bit because I wanted these to be a bit more luxurious. If you’re after something with simpler ingredients, I am sure there are plenty of options for those floating around the internet too!

Unlike store bought bath bombs, my homemade version have no synthetic fragrances, dyes or other unnecessary chemical additions. I also wanted them to hold together well so I opted for the addition of a bit of shea butter and coconut oil which solidifies at room temperature. They also doubles as incredible moisturizers for the skin. The ingredients are all carefully selected to be nourishing for the skin and body and they are a little more friendly on my wallet than grabbing them at the store. They may not be as vivid or sparkly but I would trade those elements anytime for this DIY version.

These can be a bit tedious to make at first as you have to have the proper ratio between wet and dry ingredients. The goal is to have the mixture moist enough that it sticks together, but dry enough that the fizzing effect of the citric acid and baking soda isn’t triggered by the addition of the wet ingredients.

Ingredients:
1 cup of baking soda
1/2 cup of citric acid
1/2 cup of sea salt or epsom salts
1/4 cup of oats, blended into a fine powder
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
2 teaspoons of shea butter
1 teaspoon of french pink clay
Essential oils of choice – I used a combo bergamot and wild orange
Spray bottle with neroli hydrosol (you can definitely use water, but as I mentioned above I wanted these to be extra luxurious) Hydrosol = fancy word for flower water
Dried flowers to decorate the top (optional)
Mould to form the bath bombs in – I use half of a christmas ball ornament

bathbomb3.jpg

Method:

Mix together all of the dry ingredients. Melt the shea butter or coconut oil until they are fully liquid. Carefully pour over the oil, making sure not to saturate one area too much. Using a fork, work the oil throughout the entire mixture. Add in the essential oils of your choice. I added between 5-10 drops of each of the two oils, scattering the drops across the mixture. Again, use the fork to work the essential oils into the mixture. Your ingredients should start to take on the consistency and feel of damp sand. The goal is for the mixture to be able to hold its shape when formed. Using the spray bottle, mist the mixture with the hydosol (or water) a couple of sprays at a time and then mix it through. Again, try not to saturate the mixture too much or it will trigger the fizzing effect that we are trying to save for the tub! Keep spraying until your mix holds together. With my fine misting spray bottle, I sprayed around 5-6 times before I felt happy with the consistency.

bathbomb4.jpg

Once you have the proper consistency, press the ingredients into your mould. (If you are adding dried flowers or something similar, place these in the mould first) I really took my time with this to ensure I was packing the tightly so they wouldn’t crumble once they were removed from the mould. Carefully turn over the mould. Place on a baking tray or something similar to allow to dry. I like to place mine in the fridge to help speed up this process. (Note some bath bombs will work better if you allow the bath bomb to dry in the mould. This is dependent on what type of mould you are using)

bathbomb2.jpg

After they have set and have dried, they are ready to use! I should mention now because it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t that, like any bath bomb these can leave your bathtub a bit messy. The mess is easily cleaned up though and I personally think the trade off a relaxing bath worth the extra 30 seconds it takes to quickly wipe my bath down afterwards.

bathbomb5

The nice part of making something like this yourself is that once you get the basic idea and formula down, you can begin to experiment with it and put your own twist on it like I’ve done. I love coming up with different combinations and working with different ingredients.

What’s your favourite night time relaxing ritual?

 

 

what I ate today

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

 

IMG_8437

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

snack.jpg

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

lunch

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

snack2snack3

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

dinner

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?