One of the simplest ways I stay healthy is my one and only snacking rule;
Replace all snacks with fruits, vegetables, or nuts.
That’s right, Chips, granola bars (even the “healthy” looking ones) and “snacky” like foods are treats, not snacks. These are a once a week food, not a one or twice a day food.
An easy way to stick to this rule is by prepping simple healthy snacks ahead of time. Which is essentially, pre washing your fruit, cutting your produce, and pre-making dips like hummus and guacamole. Then all you have to do is open the fridge and voila- there it is.
It’s also helpful with kids, because I have the same rule for my children. If they want a snack, they can have a fruit, a vegetable, or some nuts. I refuse to give them snacks all damn day too- why? Because then they actually eat their meals and not live off of crackers and granola bars.
They also ask for less snacks because I’m not always shoving them tasty bags of sugar and crunchies their way. They genuinely come to me when they’re hungry, and ask for nuts and dates, or some berries. Which is awesome. Because it also means they’re actually hungry at dinner. And when you’re hungry, you’re more likely to try new things, and everything tastes good. So hooray for less battles at the dinner table.
Some of my favourite preps are,
•Vegan yogurt topped with hemp hearts and berries
•Almonds, cashews, dates trail mix, with peanut butter topped rice cakes
•Hummus and veggies (like carrots, cucumber, celery and peppers)
I just made a delicious hummus recipe for today, sans tahini as I was out. I don’t like to buy hummus because of all the preservatives..and it’s honestly so easy to make, why wouldn’t you?
•1 can of chickpeas
•squeeze of fresh lemon juice
•2 garlic cloves
•dash of salt
•1tsp of cumin
•2 TBSP of water if needed
•Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if you need to.
•top with smoked paprika
What are your favourite snacks to make and most of all EAT?
About this time nearly seven years ago I found myself in the office of a surgeon, discussing an upcoming day surgery to take care of an embarrassing issue; stemming from years of eating poorly, dysfunctional digestion and constipation. I’ll save you the TMI, don’t worry. Anyway, I was nervous, embarrassed, but also determined to not have to deal with this again, and was in full prevention mode.
“So, obviously I don’t ever want to deal with this again, so should I be doing some kind of cleanse or detox periodically to clean out my gut?” I asked.
The Lemonade Diet/Maple Syrup cleanse or whatever was all the rage at this time. I also was working at Shoppers Drug Mart and part of my job was to merchandise the shelves, finding expired products, and putting new product on the shelves. My favourite was the Vitamin section because I liked reading the backs of all the medicines to see what was really in them. It was kind of like one long bathroom break when you forgot reading material, in a time before smart phones. It got me through some rough shifts. Anyway. Herbal Cleanses and Chili detoxes lined the shelves (lets face it, still do) and I was genuinely interested as well as enticed to try them.
The surgeon breathed out deeply running his hand over his cheek. He folded his hands on his desk and looked directly at me.
What he told me was the most important piece of information I think I have ever received from anyone, let alone someone in the medical field, and one that has changed my life forever.
“Don’t bother with the detoxes, the cleanses….its all just,” he waved his hand in the air. “You don’t need pills. You need food.” he cleared his throat. “The only thing you need to do is to Eat from the Earth. You do that, and all of your digestive problems will disappear. Eat as close to the Earth as possible.”
I sat there staring at him, both a bit surprised but mostly confused. Did he just prescribe me plants? A surgeon?
I shook his hand, thanked him and left. I also put the idea of pills to bed.
I went home and began looking at all the things I ate. Everything I merchandised at work I read the back before I put it on the shelf. Was this from the Earth? How did this product become this? How much did it have to go through and change in order to be in this form? What the hell is high-fructose-corn-syrup? Why was there dye in this? How was that even a necessary ingredient? Is dye bad for you? What the hell is this? What the hell is that?
Google became my friend.
His advice also dawned on me more and more.
Calories no longer mattered to me anymore. What mattered was how long the ingredients list was. I was both terrified and angry at the food in my cupboard, the food that was available in stores that bragged to be a HEALTH PRODUCT or LOW IN FAT, that in all honesty belonged in the chip aisle. And slowly, over the next few weeks it all disappeared or was thrown away and I began asking myself, can I make this myself?
Turns out, yeah, a lot of stuff you can buy in the store is very easily and might I add cheaply made at home. Things like broth and crackers and yogurt. Things that from a store are laced with toxins, dyes, sugar and aspartame.
The snacks foods I ate, such as chocolate covered rice cakes (lets be honest its basically sugared cardboard) for a “Low cal treat” slim fast/whey protein shakes, and Fibre One bars left my cupboards. I ate apples, nuts, or vegetables for snacks instead. Ants on a log, cinnamon covered apples, trail mix and homemade granola became my staple. And the weird thing? The ten pounds I had enticed with slim fast for a time that never budged just melted off me. Despite eating loads more than I had been. It didn’t really matter the amount I ate, it matter what I ate.
Its been a seven year journey for me, but I feel I am finally where I wish to be with how I eat. I’m sure it will evolve over time too, everything does, but my diet is a far cry from how I used to eat.
So as the New Year looms and the dreaded resolutions and shitty pills, commercials and health vultures come out to play, I’d like you to maybe pause for a moment. Pause and ask yourself, Is this from the Earth?
I can promise you, and assure you, that what you need is not a gym membership, or a shake, whey protein, or an herbacleanse. You need a prescription for plants, a pair of boots and the willingness to see whats in your backyard. Be in nature. Its much more exciting that plugging away on a treadmill in a room that smells like onions and probably full of coughed on doorknobs.
And if you don’t believe me, Dear Reader, then ask my surgeon. Or my intestines, which will give you the thumbs up.
Happy New Year and much love.
the “freaky lettuce” has been put to good use.
the other day I was drinking tea on the sofa under the Christmas tree and thought, “wow, the new year is just around the corner. I wonder what my resolution should be this year…” and then I wondered what mine was last year. I thought I knew, but could be wrong so I found my old journal and started reading.
As I read those pages I realized for probably the first time in my life I actually achieved my New Years resolution. Sure, it took me almost all year to get there, but it’s not about how long it takes- it’s about willingness. It’s about trying again.
In the last few months of 2016, I’ve gone sugar free. I noticed since summer I’ve become a way better mother. Moving slower, more intentional, more gentle. My daily practice, while it still needs work, is certainly improving every day.
So I sat back and had a moment of gratitude. A moment of thanks, just to myself. And while my goal of getting rid of my acne once in for all-FOREVER- is still on the to do list I know that achievement is also, just around the corner.
So here’s a sneak peak at my 2017 resolution, to use my blender or juicer once a day for some 🌱💚
What is your resolution for this year??
Kombucha. That delicious fermented, fizzy, slightly sweet, refreshing tea that all the yogi’s seem to drink. You can buy it for a pretty penny in a health food store or some grocery stores, but really it is so easy and cheap to make its a shame if you don’t.
Kombucha is described above, but what exactly is it? It is a fermented tea, using a ‘Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast’ or a SCOBY. The process of fermentation rids the tea of any sugar and creates the fizzy deliciousness associated with the drink. Kombucha has many health benefits; it is rich in antioxidants, probiotics, aids digestion and detoxifies the liver, kidneys and other organs.
My favourite part about Kombucha is how easy and cheap it is to make, the taste, and that it is virtually sugar free. I don’t drink sugar filled drinks, juice or even “zero calorie” drinks because while something might be zero calorie that doesn’t mean its good for you. If there is any residual sugar left over from fermentation I would take that along with the health benefits of kombucha over juice and chemicals. It is refreshing, reminds me a bit of a wine cooler and has completely replaced any alcohol I would normally leisurely drink.
There is a slight alcohol content, this unfortunately isn’t something you can measure with a home brew, but it will likely be less than 1%. So its up to you whether to drink it while pregnant or breastfeeding, or to give to children. I did all three of these things as I stick to only one glass at a time anyway. If you have never had it before I would experiment with one cup first then move on to drinking more at a time- it can “get things working” if you catch my drift.
So, to make Kombucha you will need a few supplies.
1 pot for boiling water that will hold about a gallon of water
Slightly less than 1 gallon of water.
1 cup of starter fluid (plain Kombucha)
1 Gallon glass jar (must be glass)
5 black tea bags
1 Cup of organic sugar
4 pop-top bottles for 2nd fermentation
Fruit of your choice for flavouring
First off, fill your pot with the gallon of water and bring to a boil.
Add your tea bags and 1 cup of sugar and steep for 5 minutes.
Remove tea bags and let it cool completely. If it is too hot it will kill the SCOBY
Place your SCOBY and starter fluid in your gallon glass jar.
Add your cooled down black tea to the glass jar with the SCOBY and starter fluid.
Place cheesecloth or a thin cloth on top and secure with a rubber band to allow air flow.
Put in a dark place thats room temperature, or on top of your kitchen cupboards and let it ferment for 1-2 weeks. Longer the fermentation the stronger the taste. So it depends on your preference.
You might notice a vinegary smell, this is normal its all part of the process. Your SCOBY can double in size, and you will see another baby SCOBY growing off of the mother. This is great! The SCOBY can turn sideways, sit at the top or bottom and this is all fine. You may also see brown strings in the tea, this is also normal.
After a week or two has passed, take your gallon jar out and remove the SCOBY. You can filter out your Kombucha if you wish, but I just leave it and string out any brown bits. Your extra SCOBY can be split and you can give it to your friend, or keep it in another jar as part of a SCOBY hotel. Or compost it, dehydrate it, candy it and eat it, or throw it away. Whatever you want to do.
Next is the 2nd fermentation. This is the process of flavouring your Kombucha and it takes 2-7 days. So bottle your Kombucha into the pop top bottles and add a few tablespoons of fruit. My favourites are lemon ginger, ginger peach, blueberry, strawberry and apple cinnamon. You can add just about anything. You can also add a small tsp of sugar at this point to each bottle to assure it gets that extra fizzy-ness. Make sure you keep a cup of plain kombucha for a starter fluid for your next batch and add your SCOBY back into your glass gallon jar along with this starter fluid.
You can make a new batch right away, or just leave it as is until you’re running low on ‘buch.
Make sure to release the carbonation from the pop-top bottles each day or you will have a bit of a mess. If you forget to, just open it outside and bring a towel. For some reason, strawberries always fizz more for me than blueberries or lemons, most likely because of the sugar content.
I like to ferment mine for 7 and 2 days for each fermentation. After I place in the fridge and this slows down any extra fermentation. However if I don’t get to it right away I will filter out any berries or whatever I used for my 2nd fermentation as I don’t like it to get too fermented. This is simply personal preference.
Pop top bottles aren’t necessary, but they do keep the carbonation in and I like that. If you’re local to me, I got mine at Water Pure and Simple for about $5 a piece, but any wine or beer making store should carry these.
Flu “season” is a drag. But its even worse when you have children. Small children. They don’t really know how to blow their nose that well, they cough everywhere and infect everyone else and they can’t aim when it comes to blowing chunks. For Mila’s first two years of life she was sick less than five times, and only had the stomach flu at age 9 months for about four hours. I wish I could say I had kept her in a bubble, but alas, I was at every available play group several times a week, and was out of the house at least once a day. Last year was particularly awful, as well as the beginning of this one. Fortunately things seemed to have turned a corner and no one has been sick since the beginning of December (knocking on wood because I woke up this morning feeling a cold coming on, but I brought out the big guns and am ready to take this on!)
Below are tried and tested tips for flu fighting!
Thieves Oil as some of you may know it as, or just a clove blend is antiviral. I diffuse it for the kids, and I even ingest it if I am getting sick (I put a drop on a spoonful of my honey&cinnamon and choke it down. Warning, this is powerful stuff, it burns, do not give it to the kids!)
If you wish to use it on your kids, either diffuse it, or make a salve for their feet. It can be an irritant when used topically, but I personally have not had any issues, but I am wary. I use one drop per 15 drops of carrier oil, which is enough for one child. I rub it into the soles of their feet before bed, and put socks on for the night. I have had great success with this, and recently I actually blended Thieves and epsom salts for a salt bath.
Other essential oils I use for colds and flus are Peppermint and Eucalyptus. I diffuse these, using 4 drops of peppermint and 8 drops of eucalyptus in the kids bedrooms. My daughter is especially bothered by coughing, and this helps her through the night.
I use a combination of cough suppressants. The Stodal Honey cough syrup as well as the KIDS 0-9 brand of nighttime cough. There are some doubles to the ingredients, but she only gets the one dose of the nighttime syrup. For Asher he can only have the nighttime syrup as I avoid honey for the first 18 months. *Pictured bottom left and bottom right.
The Kids 0-9 all in one sinus has also been quite effective. *Top left
Of course, if I suspect pain, or any inflammation in the sinus cavities, I will give a dose of Tylenol, so they can sleep pain free. *Top right
Another useful remedy is of course Vapo-Rub, which I am sure all of you used as kids and adults. I don’t know why it works to suppress coughing, I have asked health professionals and they didn’t know either, but it helps with coughing if spread on the feet and covered with socks. Don’t ask, just do it. Of course to help with breathing when spread thickly on the back and chest, and I even put a little under my nose if I’m congested. *Pictured in the middle.
Massage and Touch Therapy
These feel so good when you have a sinus cold. When I lie down with Mila before bed and she has the sniffles, I give her a good facial massage to help drain her sinuses. You can apply pressure in a press and hold technique, with your finger tips from the bridge of the nose and then work your way out across the cheeks bones. The same from the bridge of the nose, across the eyebrows to the temples and back. Do a circular motion in these areas and don’t be afraid to use some pressure, of course as long as there is no pain. This is not really something you can do wrong, and it feels good, so just experiment and follow the cues of your child. You’ll be able to tell if the pressure is too deep if they are moving away or flinching or can tell you.
I have tried the Nose Freda a.k.a snot sucker. It has three pieces to it, a mouth piece, a nose piece and a little filter. You place the nose piece at the base of babe’s nose, insert the mouth piece into your mouth and suck. The filter prevents any snot from going through. It is available at Baby’s R US, and although I thought it was a bit pricey, you’ll find it is worth every penny the first runny nose your baby has. (also a super awesome baby gift!)
I wish I had tips for the stomach flu, but its really just survival at that point. Chicken broth, bananas, popsicles, plain potato chips, apple juice mixed with water. Movies. Blankets. Warm baths. Cuddles. And bleach. Anything to survive.
I usually line the floor with towels, or a large blanket. Makes for an easy clean up. Vomiting is terrifying for littles, so instead of shoving their heads in a bucket you can use the tub, or just lean them over the towels/blankets. Swiftly clean with bleach, and wash your hands (duh.)
Serious signs of dehydration are no wet diapers in 24 hours, brown or dark urine, no tears when they cry, and a sticky dry mouth. If your baby or toddler is exhibiting these signs, is listless, and has been vomiting seriously for more than 24 hours, you need to take them in to get fluids and to be assessed. Thankfully I have not had to do this, but in Asher’s first few days home from the NICU, Mila had caught a nasty bug and we were damn close to having to take her in.
These are tried and true techniques, and I wish you all the luck in the world with your Sickies. Good luck Mommas!
**This post is not sponsored in any way by the brands above, I just really love them!
Yesterday was Sunday, which is my favourite day of the week. It is my day to decompress, relax and mentally prepare for the week ahead. In fact, I call it Self-Love Sunday in my house, because I mindfully go about my day, just listening to my body and my soul and nourishing it with whatever it is asking for.
I start it with a lovely cup of coffee, or tea, or lemon water, whatever it is I need that day. Traditionally, the children and I have my homemade vegan pancakes, maple syrup and a side of fruit. We lounge in our pajamas for the morning; I don’t rush to curl my hair, to do make-up. The laundry gets washed, I tidy the kitchen, candles are burned, muffins are baked, we sit in the sun and later, nap in it.
Mila does a craft and I arrange fresh cut flowers, we watch a movie, we stretch out in mommy’s bed, we cuddle, we eat the muffins we baked. We do yoga, mila plays with my sea shells, and crystals and river stones. We drink tea and do puzzles while supper simmers.
We break bread together when Daddy gets home. Us adults sip wine, we chat about our day, and we eat frozen fruit for dessert. The kid and I have lavender infused baths with Epsom salt. We read books and she asks questions about the Universe and I sing lullabies. Asher nurses and I cuddle him close as he nuzzles his fleece blanket.
And then its over. This restorative, calming, nourishing day. But I feel refreshed and prepared for whatever is to come. I also get to process all that happened since my last day to refresh.
This past week was a big one for me. I finally finished my succulent propagation. They took off and now I have way too many succulents! I ran out of pots to plant them in in fact. It was almost too easy to do, but I plan to use them as little gifts for friends at Christmas this year.
I also happened to book with a psychic and got my reading last Monday. She is from Kelowna B.C and we did it over the phone. It took about an hour, and was very reasonably priced for how accurate she was and for the length. Her contact info is included at the end of this post.
I’ll start this off with- I LOVE going to psychics. We have one that comes to our town every few years with a travelling Carnival and she has been surprisingly accurate for me, and I have seen her on several occasions.
What I loved about my reading with Allyson was, while there were some things that were known to me (I’m not psychic but I have a deep intuition that I tap in to and just KNOW many things before they happen or as they are happening) but there was so much that took me by surprise.
My career and what I am going to do with my career has been very agonizing for me. I love massage therapy, but I want to do something more with it, and branch out. I have this strong compulsion to want to go back to school and just learn everything, but I’m unsure of where to start! I know I would love and be talented in the medical field, but I worry about maybe not loving it as much as I think I will. And eventually feel trapped because all I will have to sacrifice, and the family will sacrifice in order to obtain a bachelors degree. So, I keep going back in forth, and talking myself out of short programs by telling myself I’m more talented and should assert myself to the greater good, to go big or go home.
What stuck out in my mind most with Allyson is she mentioned that I have this desire to self sacrifice in a big way, I wanna save the village!; and it was because I have done it so many times in my past lives; I’ve been the doctor, I’ve been the nurse, I’ve ran the apothecary, and that is why I feel so much desire to do this again and to go back to school for something medical. But she also mentioned that this life isn’t for that. She sees me doing what I always said I wanted to do as a child- Be a Mom. Just be a mom, and enjoy the family life, take things slowly and really let the joys of life sink in.
And in that moment it all made so much sense. I already knew my logical mind was talking myself in to things and out of other things and clouding the answer inside of me, but I just didn’t know how to switch that off! Allyson’s message really helped me tune in and hear what it was that I really wanted.
She encouraged me to call upon Archangel Jophiel- the Angel of Beauty whenever I wanted to search for a career or course option. She spoke that my next career would be creating beauty and showing people the beauty in the world and not the pain.
And so I did. And would you believe it, if I said, one day later I found something that speaks to my soul?
I start November 15th.
Allyson’s webpage can be found at here.
Below is my recipe for Sunday Morning Vegan Pancakes. Feel free to substitute milks, oils or flours for gluten free versions (oat, buckwheat, and other blends have worked well for me.)
I typically double the recipe because they freeze well, you just pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds and then toast for a few minutes and its like you made them fresh. Perfect for those busy mornings with hangry toddlers!
Sunday Morning Vegan Pancakes
Yields 12-15 pancakes
1 1/4th cup Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Baking Soda
1tsp Cinnamon and a dash of Nutmeg
2tbsp Melted coconut oil and extra for the pan
1/3 Cup Warm water
1-1/4 cup Vanilla almond milk