Category Archives: Steps to Healthy Living

My New Waistline Journey

0B86D92D-E0C5-4980-B5C7-E4322ABDAD6E.jpg

I was at a social event last week, the official opening of the Muskoka North Good Food Co-op that I can’t be more proud to be a part of and my favorite place to grocery shop. I was talking with some lovely ladies and one of them said skinny doesn’t mean healthy. I can’t agree more, but your ideal weight will make you feel your best so you can do ALL the things you want to do. This is a journey towards health, which so often leads to weight loss and connecting with your body. There’s 10 years and 30 pounds between my before and after photo. This is my journey.

When I left home for college I didn’t know very much about cooking or what to eat. Grocery shopping was a steep learning curve. My mom did a good job of feeding me, I just never took the interest or time to learn. My roommates were the same. We made a lot of instant food and even got excited about enjoying instant mash potatoes and gravy for dinner. Just instant potatoes and gravy. I gained 20 and then 30 pounds in that first year.

Nothing changed for me for a couple of years, until I got a new roommate who was used to cooking for her family through high school. We were eating proper meals on a regular basis. My weight started going down naturally, but we were still eating lots of junk too between our regular good dinners. My muffin top never went away, I started to realize the power of food.

I learned to really understand the power of food when I started back country camping. I was studying Outdoor Recreation and Leisure, we did a lot of field trips in the form of wilderness camping. We learned the importance of food and food stress in a groups. We spent a lot of time discussing what to eat on these trips and how much to bring, planning everything out for three days in the wilderness. Out there, eating this food is when I felt my best. We put thought into our protein intake and nourishing our bodies while being physically active. I had scraped the surface of wanting to learn about nutrition.

After University I worked in the outdoor education/recreation field, it was physically demanding, and now I knew how to keep fed and how to feed a hungry crowd. I didn’t know how to cook or grocery shop very well yet. I never read ingredients or labels, just the sale prices. Because of how active I was, I was in my best physical shape ever; but I was tired a lot and had lots of crazy cravings. I needed a break, I used my savings and my partner and I traveled the Caribbean for 2 months.

I didn’t want to go back to the exhaustive work I was doing. I wanted to start a business and I wanted to learn about nutrition. I studied nutrition for a year when we returned home. I learned so so much I never knew or thought to ask before. I was so worried about gaining back the 30 pounds I lost by leaving my active lifestyle, but I learned how to fuel my body. I don’t feel exhausted any more, I don’t get the cravings I used. I don’t get “hangry” (hungry + angry) like I used to. I enjoy cooking (most of the time) now after all I have learned. My waistline is as trim as it has ever been. I now wear a smaller pant size then I did when I was in high school. Eating clean and whole food without feeling deprived and still indulging in wine and ice cream has got me feeling and looking my best ever.

I’m so inspired to share everything I’ve learned about nutrition and the food industry. I want all women to feel awesome in their bodies. Life is short, you deserve to feel your best. I want to help you get there. I will be spilling secrets on My New Waistline webinar this week.

Monday Oct 29 at 10:00am
and
Thursday Nov 1 at 8:00pm

Can’t make it? Sign up anyway for the replay to watch at your leisure.

Wishing you your best health and a slim waistline! I’m rooting for you. I feel very vulnerable sharing my story with you, but I know it’s important. I want to support you in your journey. Mine spans 10 years, it is unique and yours will be too. Let me guide you on your weightloss journey, so you can feel your best to do ALL the things you want.

New Waistline Webinar

CLICK TO SIGN UP

 

 

 

Sugar Free Challenge

How do YOU feel in your body, what do you need, what does your body want? Do you know?

I crave sugar a couple times a week, more if I’m being honest, more often than not I give into it with chocolate or ice cream. It feels so good going down, that feeling doesn’t last long until I want more or I feel cramping and gross and ultimately regret it. That could be the dairy in the ice cream, maybe not the sugar. However, maybe like you I know the sugar energy crash all to well. I will yawn all afternoon and feel sluggish, if I fight the craving and don’t give in I don’t get as tired in the afternoon. Just my personal observation. I have learned to take the sugar in small doses. I also know the more sugar you eat the more you crave it also the more your waist line grows, so I’m ready to challenge myself and others to cut it out for a week. We can do it together. It will make for a clearer picture of how sugar really makes you feel and how it is affects your body, including your waist line.

Knowing this, I still eat the ice cream a couple of times a week. My day job I’m the Assistant Manager at a local marina and we serve ice cream. I love ice cream and when I’m serving ice cream a lot I can’t help eating it. SO I do, I don’t feel guilty for it, I am aware of the trade off of the short sugar high for the sluggish afternoon. I just try to not eat it everyday until my pants get tight. Everything in moderation.

This challenge is about tuning in to your body and understanding how you feel related to what you eat. Taking notice of the effects of food on your body. We are all so busy all the time, how often do you check in with yourself? Before it’s too late and you are sick and have to slow down and take care of yourself.

Being in tune with your body and knowing how to fuel it to keep a slim waist line and feel vibrant is so wonderful. That is what I want to help you with.

The Sugar Free Challenge kit will provide you with options for meals and snacks so if you are wondering what the heck you’ll be able to eat. If you want to feel your best in your body getting aware of hidden sugar and what it does to you is the best place to start. Let’s do this free challenge together.

Join me Monday! CLICK HERE

sugarlips

What is Eating Clean?

Eating clean has become a trendy term. You may have heard me talk about how I’ve cleaned up my diet. Not quite sure what it means? Let me share.

The food industry has become a filthy place, believe it or not, we expect all food put onto the shelves in grocery stores to be good or at least safe for us. I also used to think it wouldn’t or couldn’t be there if it were dangerous. Sadly money talks in all areas of the world, including the food industry. Our food has been changing in the last 50 or so years, and most of us have been unaware of it. I know I was until I started studying nutrition.

There is little research done on the long term effects of chemicals in our bodies, which get there from the food we eat. The most harmful ones are the chemicals not on the label; sprayed on the vegetables, or given as medication to the animals we eat, or genetically modified right into the seeds.

I should warn you now…the more you learn about this, the harder it becomes to grocery shop and choose food you want to eat. But the better you will feel.

Do you know what a GMO is? A Genetically Modified Organism has been changed at the seed level to withstand the heavy spraying of pesticides, and it is not required to be labeled. It has come to the point that if produce is not organic or Non-GMO it is covered in chemicals that are now grown into the food. 

Our bodies do not digest chemicals well, more often than not the body will become inflamed, will bloat, and spend lots of energy fighting or doing its best to digest these chemicals. You feel sore, achy, and tired. 

This is why when possible, buy organic, or look for the Non-GMO label. Consider where your food is coming from and how it’s been treated, whenever possible buy local from a trusted source.

Grocery Shopping Tips:
1. The clean food is found around the perimeter (the outside aisles) of the grocery store. The isles are full of processed junk.  
2. Read the ingredients: how many are there, do you know what they are.
3. Buy organic or non-GMO, or a trusted local source
4. Play detective; where did the food come from, do you trust it, what’s in it?

Eating clean is simplifying the food you eat.

Look at the ingredients of everything you eat.

Can you pronounce them? Do you know what they are?

Eating clean is eating products with 3 or no more than 5 ingredients that are not chemicals.

 

This is one of the things I talk about in my Feel Better Webinar. Sign Up to learn more ways to feel vibrant and shed unwanted weight.
CLICK HERE.

Feel BetterWebinar

_DSC0364

 

Healthy Tips to Hold onto when your Routine is Gone

Have the holidays messed up your routines?

Just like in nature we go through seasons in our lives. Through periods of change it can be hard to hold on to what makes you feel good. You lose focus on yourself and draw your attention to the change in your life. Yourself often seems like the easiest thing to shift your priorities away from.

When your routine fades and your busy keeping up, start with baby steps to get back on track.

Carry around a water bottle, sip on it all through the day. This is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Hydrate! There’s nothing more important and where you will feel the biggest difference. Never get into the car without a water bottle.

Rest. Sorry to say it, because you might be thinking “yeah right!?” who has time for that. Make time, go to bed early, don’t worry about your messy house, have a bath. You can’t give from an empty cup. What self care practices recharge your battery? Do it.

Eat Breakfast. Whatever you can manage. Something with protein in it to start your day is best. Eggs, nuts and seeds, peanut butter, almond butter, or greek yoghurt. Oats have a little protein in them and you can add lots of things that do.

If you don’t eat breakfast your body goes into survival mode and will use as little energy as it can get by with and store the rest. This storage becomes fat. Your body gets concerned when you don’t eat and enters the survival mode not knowing when you will eat next and when you do it will continue to store energy instead of use it. Humans are capable of living without food for three weeks. To get your body out of survival mode you need to eat consistently, especially breakfast.

Here a couple of recipes to help.

Power Oats

Don’t use quick oats, they have been stripped of fibre and nutrients in the processing. Regular oats or steel cut oats are best. 1/2 cup per person works well and double the amount of water. (1 cup of oats add 2 cups of water) Let simmer on medium heat until  it becomes the consistency you like best.

Ingredients you could add:
hemp seeds
maple syrup
honey
cinnamon
pumpkin seeds
any nuts and seeds (I really like walnuts in my oats)
dried cranberries
fruit of any kind
greek yoghurt

Get creative try new things.

IMG_2244

Smoothies

Ingredients:
frozen strawberries
frozen blueberries
frozen mixed berries
celery
kale or any leafy green
unsweetened coconut milk
unsweetened almond milk
cinnamon
lemon
any fruit

Most Important Ingredients contain protein:

chia seeds
pumpkin seeds
hemp hearts
soft tofu (non GMO)
almond butter
any nuts or nut butter
walnuts
plant based protein powder

Strawberry Almond Smoothie
Serves 1

2 tablespoons unsalted almond butter
3/4 cup light unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup frozen organic strawberries
2 tablespoon help hearts
2 tablespoon chia seeds

Blend together until smooth. Enjoy.

smoothietogo

Strawberry Green Smoothie
Serves 1

1 cup of Kale
1/2 cup of strawberries
1/2 banana
1/2 lime wedge (peeled)
1 cup almond milk
small hand full of walnuts

Do you want to feel better than you do now? More energy, less fatigue, and more vibrant.

Click to get my FREE 3 Day Fatigue Fighting Meal Plan.

IMG_2330

Meal Worthy Smoothies To Go

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, because it sets up your digestive system to burn calories or store them. If you skip breakfast your body will think it needs to store calories for a famine, instead of burn what you consume throughout the entire day. Your body will function on LOW and you’re going to feel tired.

Smoothies take 5 minutes to make and you can take them to go. I find even when my belly doesn’t feel like eating breakfast, because it’s too early and I’m too tired. I can still drink a smoothie, maybe even in the car on my way to work, or at work.

When you make smoothies, the most important part is for it to contain protein, to increase your energy. I always aim for a minimum of 10g of protein per person.


smoothietogo

CREATE YOUR OWN SMOOTHIE RECIPE

Ingredients:
frozen strawberries frozen blueberries
frozen mixed berries celery
kale or any leafy green
unsweetened coconut milk
unsweetened almond milk cinnamon
lemon
any fruit

Most Important Ingredients contain protein:
chia seeds
pumpkin seeds
hemp hearts
soft tofu (non GMO)
almond butter any nuts or nut butter
walnuts
plant based protein powder

Strawberry Almond Smoothie
Serves 1

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted almond butter
3/4 cup light unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup frozen organic strawberries
2 tablespoon hemp hearts
2 tablespoon chia seeds

Directions:
With a blender mix everything together until smooth. Enjoy!

Mixed Berry Green Smoothie
Serves 1

Ingredients:
1 cup of Kale
1/2 cup of mixed berried
1/2 banana
1/2 lime wedge (peeled)
1 cup almond milk
small hand full of walnuts

Directions:
Mix everything together with a blender until smooth. Enjoy!

Want more easy and good for you recipes? You will love my 3 day fatigue fighting meal plan. Click Below.

IMG_2330

3 Ways to Cook Kale

When I first decided to clean up my diet I knew I had to add more greens. Kale has built up a reputation of being a “super” green. So I knew I should start eating kale.

I was most intrigued by kale chips, which is now my favourite way to eat kale, but there are many ways to eat kale.

Boiled or Steamed

Wash it, tear it from the stem and throw it in a pot of boiling water. This is the simplest way to eat kale. I will do this with pasta or throw it in with rice as it’s boiling. The kale will take about 5 minutes to cook to be soft and edible. Don’t bother with the stems, they are extremely tough. It’s also good on its own as a side. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with water, bring it to a boil and fill the pan with kale, let it steam until soft, add salt and pepper or any desired seasoning.

IMG_2792

Raw

You have probably noticed how tough kale is, and maybe you’ve tried to eat it raw and thought this doesn’t seem edible. The secret to eating raw kale is once you have rinsed it clean, torn it away from the stem into bite size pieces and put into a bowl, pour a table spoon or so of olive oil and squeeze half a lemon over it. Massage the oil in with your hands, this actually takes the toughness away. You can than add more salad ingredients to it or just eat it on its own.

IMG_2790

Baked

This is my favourite, crispy kale chips. A great snack or side dish.

Kale Chips

Ingredients:
1 bunch of kale
1 table spoons of coconut oil
1 table spoon of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350. Spoon 1 table spoon of coconut oil on a baking sheet and put in oven to melt. Rinse kale and tear into chip size pieces avoiding the hard stem. Bake for 10 minutes, check chips and stir. Bake for 2-5 more minutes. It’s a very fine line between great crispy kale chips and burnt kale chips, watch carefully when returning to the oven.

IMG_2793

For more healthy recipes try my fatigue fighting meal plan!

IMG_2330

Ice Cream Today. 72 Hour Sugar Free Challenge Monday!

We are just a few days from the 72 hour Sugar Free Challenge, are you on the fence? It won’t cost you anything and it’s a great way to listen to your body.

How does it feel in your body, what do you need, what does your body want?

I’m not perfect at eating healthy all the time. I’ve come a long way though and I am so much better at listening to my body. I get sugar cravings almost every day, I can fight it with drinking water and fatty or fruity snacks, or I just give in and eat the ice cream. I’ve eaten quite a bit of ice cream this summer, I love it when I’m eating it than I notice small cramps in my stomach and  then the tiredness. I will yawn all afternoon and feel sluggish, if I fight the craving and don’t give in I don’t get as tired in the afternoon. Just my personal observation.

Ice cream

Knowing this, I still eat the ice cream a couple of times a week. My day job I’m the Assistant Manager at a local marina and we serve ice cream. I love ice cream and when I’m serving ice cream a lot I can’t help eating it. SO I do, I don’t feel guilty for it, I am aware of the trade off of the short sugar high for the sluggish afternoon. I just try to not eat it everyday. Everything in moderation.

This challenge is about tuning in to your body and understanding how you feel related to what you eat. We are all so busy all the time, how often do you check in with yourself? Before it’s too late and you are sick and have to slow down and take care of yourself.

Being in tuned with your body and knowing how to fuel it to feel vibrant is so wonderful. That is what I want to help you with.

The 72 Hour Sugar Free Challenge kit will provide you with options for meals and snacks so if you are wondering what the heck you’ll be able to eat. If you want to feel your best in your body getting aware of hidden sugar and what it does to you is the place to start.

Join me Monday!

72hoursugarfree

How Long Do You Want to Live?

I want to live a long and healthy life, I want to see 100. My grandparents got no where close, it has been a huge motivating factor to get control of my health now and learn how to feel my best.

For centuries people have been seeking out the meaning of life; talking with the people in my life I’ve come up with it is all about feeling good. Of course there is more to it, but simplifying it (which we all need to simplify and slow down) we just want to feel good. 

_DSC0621

 You know what they say, “We are what we eat”. If you are like me, you are not always paying attention to how you feel and relating it to food? I’m coming to find this is very important and contemplating more when I’m getting hungry and in the search of food. How will this food make me feel after I eat it, will it sustain me? 

 These thoughts have led me to a fantastic book by Dan Buettner called the Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for living longer from the people who’ve lived the longest. Dan is an national geographic author who traveled the world to five “blue zones” where communities have a higher than average population to live to be one hundred and older. He went to explore why and has discovered secret trends in his interviews with centenarians to longevity and a happier, healthier life. They really resonated with me and I would like to share them with you. 

 Lessons from the Blue Zones:

 1. Move naturally. Incorporate movement in your everyday life. A walk everyday is the best thing you can do for your body. Working out and exercise are not as important as gentle consistent activity. For all the centenarians in Buettner’s book activity was just a part of their everyday life, gardening, walking to town, chopping wood, doing regular household chores. 

 2. Mindful Eating = calorie reduction. The majority of us eat too much, we consume on average 20% more calories than our bodies need and they get stored as fat if we don’t burn them off. One of the Blue Zones is in Okinawa, Japan, and every centenarian interviewed there said Hara Hachi Bu before eating. It means stop eating when the stomach is 80% full. Okinawans stop eating when they no longer feel hungry, typical Americans stop eating when they feel full. There is a time lapse between the stomach communicating with the brain when we are full. There is a big difference between  no longer being hungry and being full, by time we feel full we’ve already overeaten by 20%. The continued over eating is detrimental to our health. None of the centenarians had ever been on a diet, it’s not about controlling your food, but listening to your body. 

 3. Avoid processed food and limit meat. Food processing strips away the natural nutrients and fibre of food, making it less digestable and harder on the body. Meat is not bad for us, it is an excellent source of protein. However it also has a lot of fat and calories, so in the amounts that average Americans eat it in, is not good for us. Adults only need 0.8 grams of protein for every one kilogram or 2.2 pounds of body weight, approximately 50-80 grams of protein per day. There are healthier foods with protein in them. The staple foods of all the blue zones are beans, whole grains, and fresh vegetables. Buettner found that the most impressive of all longevity foods are nuts, 3-7 servings of nuts a week decreases the rate of heart disease. 

 4. Red wine in moderation. Most centenarians of the blue zones had a daily drink of beer, wine, or spirits which may have health benefits, but in moderation is key! It was always part of a social setting and no more than two drinks. The health benefits are only received if it is consistent and small amount, since an excessive amount of alcohol is detrimental to the liver, organs, and brain. Red wine is best because of the artery scrubbing polyphenols. 

 5. Have a life purpose. All the centenarians could articulate why they wake up in the morning. For many it was for their family, others it was obligations to the community, others it was rituals and routines. Cultivate your passions have a mission in life. Get lost is your hobbies and recreation. Something I’ve studied heavily in university is the sense of “flow” coined by Dr. Csikszentmihalyi meaning enjoy what your doing so much that you lose a sense of time and worry and experience enjoyment, freedom, skills, and fulfillment. 

 6. Downshift.  This one is so important, you must be able to relieve stress. Take time for your self, even just moments to appreciate the view. Slow down. Stress causes inflammation in the body and all disease begins with inflammation. The best advice offered from Raffaella at 107 years old, from the Sardinian village of Arzana, an Italian island, “life is short. Don’t run so fast you miss it.” A great way of doing this that I would like to make an effort at is meditation. It’s new to me, we all need to start somewhere, but meditation allows us to see the world as it really is and create clarity in our lives. 

 7. Belong and participate in a spiritual community. All religions allow for scheduled self-reflection, decompression, and stress relief. There is an accountability associated with religious communities, a code of behaviour that leads to positive expectations developing an increased self worth. 

 8. Loved ones first. Make family a priority they are a necessary support system. The young keep the old young. It’s important to cultivate family relationships and strengthen those bonds. Families provide incomparable care. Create rituals with your family, have a meal together everyday, see the grandparents once a week. These relationships are proven to keep the mind sharp. 

 9. Right Tribe. This last secret I find very interesting, it is about the influence the people in your life have on you.”It’s much easier to adopt good habits when everyone around you is already practicing them.” Social connectedness will make you live longer and get the most enjoyment out of life. I find this true in my own life, I met my best friends in college and university. None of us live in the same community but we keep close touch, get together and they challenge me to do things I wouldn’t do on my own. I’m so lucky to have these positive life loving friends to have adventures and many laughs with. Surround your self with the positive.

 We are in control of our lives and have  the choice to determine what kind of lives we live. The Blue Zones present two options, “We can live a shorter life with more years of disability, or we can live the longest possible life with the fewest bad years.”  I’ve been thinking a lot about what is a good life, quality is more important to me than quantity, but Buettner has given us the secrets to have both.

If you are interested enough in living a long happy life to make it to the end of this post I have one more proposal for you. The centurions in the Blue Zones live on a whole foods diet, this is important to how they feel. As North Americans we have developed an addiction to sugar, it is hidden every where, have you looked?

I am hosting a FREE 72 HOUR SUGAR FREE CHALLENGE.

It’s just 3 days with no added sugar, you can handle it, I will help you.

STARTS MONDAY SEPTEMBER 11 click below

72hoursugarfree

I highly recommend The Blue Zones to anyone who has considered what it takes to live a long, healthy, happy life. How long do you want to live? Take the quiz at the blue zones website to find how long you are expected to live. http://apps.bluezones.com/vitality/

Where to Start? Add Greens.

Want to feel better than you do now? Thinking of using nutrition to improve your health? Wondering how to get started?

Add Greens to everyday. Before I became a Health Coach and I was on my own discovery journey to better nutrition I learned the way to start is to add more greens to your life before taking anything away. This alone will make a difference in your energy level. 

So I bought some kale, because everyone was talking about how great it is for you. A SUPER green.

You can cook just about any veggie by baking it, boiling it, steaming it, or frying it. Pick a way give it a try. 

green veggies

My first time trying to cook kale was baking it into kale chips, now I’m hooked and LOVE kale chips.

Add some greens to normal everyday food: By greens the best ones are kale, spinach, collards and swiss chard, but also any green vegetable!

Throw some greens into the pasta water.

Throw some spinach is my favourite to have with fried eggs.

Throw some greens into your rice as it’s boiling.

Saute greens on their own in butter to have on the side of what you normally eat.

Keep it simple, just get some greens and add them into everything you normally eat.

Try my kale chips:

Want more energy for your busy life? Try my Free Fatigue Fighting 3 Day Meal Plan

IMG_2330

What is Eating Clean?

You might be wondering what it means to clean up your diet. It’s a questions I get a lot and when you do it you will feel the results. A clean diet provides energy, weight loss, and an overall vibrant feeling.

_DSC0406

Eating clean at it’s core and most basic concept is not eating chemicals. This might seem like a no brainer, but once you start looking it becomes very surprising how many chemicals and artificial components there are to the food that has been deemed safe for consumption.

Look at the labels before you buy, can you pronounce all the ingredients? Do you know what they are? If not don’t buy it. That is where I started when I chose to clean up my diet.

 

The idea is to simplify what you eat. Pick the stuff that has 3-5 ingredients or less, and you know what the ingredients are.

The other side of eating clean is choosing organic, when you can. I live in a place where organic food is not readily available and I sometimes find it difficult to trust. I don’t trust food that comes from China, organic or not. There is a lot of pollution in China and that will be in the food.

Eating clean is eating whole food, the real deal, the food without the ingredient list. So chopping veggies is a little extra work. You are worth it. Your health and the health of your family is worth it.

Now here’s the downer news when you start looking into cleaning up your diet….

GMO’s are genetically modified organisms, I didn’t really know what that meant. I thought is made the food grow bigger, faster, and brighter. Genetically modified organisms are chemically built to withstand pesticides. So the seeds are covered in pesticides and then when the crop starts growing it is covered in pesticides that will kill everything except for the plant that has been genetically modified to not die.

All food that is not organic is genetically modified and it does not legally need to be labeled.

The chemicals from the pesticides are impossible to remove from the food, it’s in the food, it will not wash off. These chemicals go into our bodies, we are unable to digest them well, the body gets stressed out and starts swelling and creating inflammation trying to fight the intruder. This is why it is important to look for organic when you can. If you want to learn more about GMO’s I watched a great documentary on Netflix called GMO OMG from the perspective of a young family, it was really well done.

gardenJuly2017.JPG

Your very best bet to get clean food is from your local farmers market or grow it yourself.

Start a garden, it is so rewarding eating food fresh from the vine in your own backyard. It has motivated me to start a garden. I’ve been blessed with the space, tools, and resources to do so. Start with a window box on your balcony if it’s all you have.

Ready to Clean Up your diet, here’s a good place to start. Get my Fatigue Fighting 3 Day Meal Plan.IMG_2330