Goat Yoga at the Ranch!

Time for some Summer Fun!

It’s that time of year again!  I’m thrilled to once more be part of this fun outdoor yoga series out at Historic O’Keefe Ranch.

 

Upcoming sessions are:  July 11th, 15th, & 25th, and August 8th, 12th, & 29th.  Samantha will be doing the Wednesday classes and I’ll be leading the Saturday classes.  Class size is limited to allow for proper social distancing, so please make sure you contact the ranch (250-542-7868) as soon as possible to save your spot ASAP as the classes fill up quickly.

 

It’s the most fun you’ll have in a yoga class… no kidding!

~ Jennifer Greenwood

RYT200 Yoga Teacher

Dear ‘Vid, (a personal letter from me to you…)

A business letter usually begins with an introduction or reference to the business at hand.  This is not business; its personal.

While I’ve, thankfully, not met you personally, you have been having a profound impact on my life over the past few months. Indeed, not just my life but the lives of my loved ones, my friends, my community, and the world at large. You have made your presence known in a way I’ve never witnessed before.

I’ll admit, I’ve had my fair share of “wake-up, shake-up calls” in my lifetime so far… and in hindsight there has always been something very valuable for me to have learned from each experience, BUT your world-wide-wake-up-call is on a scale I can barely wrap my head around.  It’s as though you arrived to shine a spotlight on everything we’ve let slide, everything we hoped someone else would deal with, or anything we simply couldn’t face for whatever reason we came up with.  All the cracks in our systems are now being illuminated so that we can no longer ignore what needs repairing, rebuilding, or re-imagined anew. I can appreciate this aspect of your arrival, however, I am personally struggling to try to deal with everything all at once.

In my heart, I believe that your appearance ought to be the beginning of a grand unification of humanity. “We are all connected.”  There is nowhere on this beautiful planet of ours that one can hide from you; you’ve encased us in a net of mind-boggling proportions.

This sense of global community is perhaps something you intended.  Maybe you’ve been sitting in a quiet corner of the world, hoping humanity would sort itself out and come to the realization that we really are all in this together, although our experiences may be (and in fact ARE, there’s no denying that) VERY different.  Yet we did not have this epiphany in time and now we strive to band together in the face of a common enemy.  Did you intend to be “the enemy?” Perhaps. It’s possible you actually meant to present yourself as “the teacher,” but we didn’t view you as such, we found it difficult to unite like that.  I don’t know.  As I said, I hope that we will come together as one during this global crisis, and yet I witness daily a spreading  divisiveness… the perpetuation of an Us & Them mentality. It’s hard to watch.  I don’t think it pleases you and yet your survival may depend on it. It’s a messed up situation and my mind goes round in circles trying to make some sense of the never-ending, always-changing information about your travels, visits, and evolution.

It’s Mother’s Day today.  I’ve much to be grateful for and I actually do count my blessings every day.  Your insinuation into my world has made that practice even more poignant. I am safe at home, with my children. We are healthy. We have food, comfy beds, and hot running water.  I will never take those things for granted.  My little backyard is truly an oasis, now more than ever before.  I’ve been laid off from both jobs, but I qualified for some emergency assistance so I do not have to worry about how I will pay my bills this month.  Forced isolation has afforded me some time to study, to write, and to work in my garden at the perfect time as it is springtime, the weather is good and there is much to be done.  I am fortunate to live in a part of the world where we have easy access to the internet so I can stay in contact with those I care about while staying home.  However, I miss a lot of things from the “Before Times.” I can barely believe that refer to our lives before your arrival as The Before Times. It’s surreal and unsettling. That’s quite an achievement on your part.

I miss a lot of little things, like going to the grocery store several times a week for fresh produce and to visit my favourite cashiers.  I miss the sassy repartee with the tellers when I go to my bank.  I miss chatting & collaborating with my coworkers and the volunteers who I work with.  I miss going “treasure hunting”  with my daughter at our local thrift stores.  I miss going dancing at the clubs that host live music in town.  I miss stopping in at a local pub or restaurant on a whim. I miss spontaneous road trips, camping, and family get-togethers.  I miss having my friends over for a girls-night.  I miss, more than anything, spending time with my most-favourite person… we’ve had a few, properly distanced visits over the past few months which I love, but the physical distance we respectfully maintain feels like its miles wide compared to what I’m used to.  Yet, because of you, we do this as we have many in our lives we want to keep safe – many seniors as well as people with compromised immune systems.  We feel perfectly fine, but you’ve made it known that you can hide within the healthy just as easily as in the obviously infected, so we respect the requests from our medical experts (whom you keep on their toes daily if not hourly with your chameleon-like changeability) to keep our physical distance.  It is hard to do.  It sucks. Right now, I really really hate it… but we are doing it to keep others safe.

I understand that it is most likely that at some point, each of us on this beautiful planet we call home will get to know you personally.  For some, the encounter will barely go noticed.  For others, it will be devastating; life altering.  I am not in denial that physical distancing now will prevent you from reaching almost every one of us.  But I am keeping my distance so that the impact will be less overwhelming to those of us in our healthcare system.  With that said, I am desperately tired of all this separation.  I am sorry to have ever heard your name. I am doing my best to learn what I can from your arrival in our collective lives so that I can take something from this experience.  I will not be sorry to see you go.

Don’t let the door hit you on your way out…

Eating… Mediterranean Style

I absolutely adore the Mediterranean diet! So naturally I’m thrilled that it seems that study after study shows that it’s great for health on so many different levels.

 

And it is!

 

But what exactly does it mean? Is adding a glass of red wine to dinner enough? Does it require a cucumber salad every day? Do I have to give up my favourite foods?

 

In this post, I give you a simple list of Mediterranean diet foods to eat, and foods to ditch. And a couple of important lifestyle factors to consider too.

 

And I have a non-salad one-dish dinner recipe for you to try!

 

Mediterranean Diet 101

 

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most studied diets out there.

 

It’s based on the traditional foods that people who lived around the Mediterranean Sea ate about 50 years ago. Back then, in the mid 20th century, researchers noted that people in Spain, Greece, and Italy lived longer and healthier than Americans. And they had lower levels of heart disease, the #1 killer.

 

So, they set out to find what was so healthy in this part of the world. And the research keeps coming in. And it’s pretty impressive.

 

Eating a Mediterranean diet is linked with

  • Less overweight and obesity (it’s better than low-fat diets)
  • Better blood sugar control (for diabetes and metabolic syndrome)
  • Lower risk of heart disease and stroke (and blood markers like cholesterol and triglycerides)
  • Reduced risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases
  • Fewer cancers (breast & colorectal)
  • Less premature death

 

Overall, it’s simply really good for you.

 

PRO TIP: Recent research even links the Mediterranean diet to better gut microbes! This makes sense when you feed your friendly gut microbes their favourite foods including fibre, fruit, and vegetables.

 

Here’s another bonus: Many people who start eating a Mediterranean diet can stick with it long-term.

 

How’s that for a healthy whole-foods health-promoting not-so-restrictive diet?

 

What to eat and drink on a Mediterranean diet

 

The Mediterranean diet is chock full of healthy whole foods.

 

Foods like:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Fish and seafood
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Herbs and spices

 

These foods are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, and fibre. And they’re often eaten in social settings where the food (and the company) is enjoyed.

 

The go-to beverage for the Mediterranean diet is water. Coffee and tea are also regularly consumed (without the addition of lots of cream and/or sugar). And yes, red wine (about 1 glass per day) is very commonly enjoyed.

 

Some foods and drinks that are eaten in moderation include:

  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Cheese and yogurt

Red meat, unfermented dairy (e.g., milk), butter, and salt are rarely consumed, if at all.

 

What to ditch on a Mediterranean diet

 

There are many foods and drinks that are not part of the Mediterranean diet. Not surprisingly, this includes many highly processed and unhealthy foods like:

  • Desserts
  • Processed meats
  • Sauces and gravies
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages or fruit juices
  • Refined grains and oils (including hydrogenated oils)
  • Too much salt
  • Added sugars

 

And if alcohol is a problem, you can also ditch the wine.

 

The Mediterranean diet also incorporates a different lifestyle. Some things to ditch are being too sedentary, eating alone, and being overly stressed.

 

Conclusion

 

The Mediterranean diet is a very healthy way of eating. It is a whole-foods diet based mainly focussed on plant foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains). It also contains fish, olive oil, and herbs and spices.  The Mediterranean diet is high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, and fibre; all of which are health-boosting from your head to your heart… and the rest of your body.

 

Don’t forget that health involves more than just food. The Mediterranean lifestyle also incorporates regular exercise, eating with people whom you care about, and overall enjoyment of life.

 

Do you think you could add or ditch certain foods to get closer to the Mediterranean diet? Do you have a favourite recipe that embodies this way of eating? I’d love to know! Add it to the comments below.

 

Recipe (Mediterranean): One Pan Roasted Dinner

Serves 4

 

4 cod fillets
2 handfuls asparagus, ends removed
1 cup black kalamata olives, drained
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
4 handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved

3 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin2 tsp dried dill2 dashes freshly ground black pepper1 lemon, sliced

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450ºF and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.Place the fillets in the middle of the pan. Add the asparagus, olives, garlic, and tomatoes around the fish.

Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with dill and pepper. Slice lemon and place one onto each fillet. Squeeze juice from the rest of the lemon onto the vegetables.Roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Check if fillets are opaque all the way through and flake easily with a fork. If not, then cook for another few minutes.

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: You can substitute another fish for the cod (e.g., salmon).

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References:

 

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm

 

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000110.htm

 

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mediterranean-diet-meal-plan

 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/5-studies-on-the-mediterranean-diet#section3

 

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801v

 

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/866254

 

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/870593

Nordic Seed Bread

As promised, here is the recipe I use to make this DELICIOUS “bread”.

NORDIC SEED BREAD

I need to preface this by letting you know that I’ve tried a few different recipes and ended up combining them to make my own.  The short summary is that you need 5 1/2 cups of whatever combination of nuts & seeds in this recipe plus the 6 eggs.

Ingredients:
1 C. Almonds (I used some whole and some sliced.)
1 C. Sunflower Seeds
1 C. Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 C. Hazelnuts or chopped Walnuts
1/2 C. Whole Flaxseeds
1/2 C. Sesame Seeds
1/2 C. Poppy Seeds or chopped Pecans
1/2 C. Chia Seeds
6 Whole Large Eggs

 

How To Make It:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.  If you don’t have any, you can lightly coat the inside of a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.  Personally I prefer the parchment paper as it makes clean up a breeze!

Place all of the nuts and seeds together in a large bowl.

Add the eggs and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture out into the prepared loaf pan and place it into the oven to bake for 55-65 minutes.  Remove loaf from the oven and give it a tap – the bread should sound hollow when it is cooked.  Remove the pan from the oven once done and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Turn the pan upside down onto a plate to remove the bread.

Once it has cooled it is easier to slice.  I leave mine whole and just slice off what I need each day.  The loaf will keep up to one week, stored in an airtight container on the counter or in the fridge.

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This recipe is sooooo good!  You can enjoy it “sweet” with cream cheese and jam, or you can enjoy is “savory” with smoked meats & cheese.  You’ll love it!

 

 

Why a Good Shift Matters…

Is it just me, or is “mindset” the new buzzword in the health & wellness sphere lately?  Everyone keeps talking about how we need to shift our mindset to support our health…

 

You may feel like there are so many things that can improve your health and wellness. But, maybe, there is one small and powerful thing you can do to start. That thing is your mindset!

 

And research is showing that having a positive mindset about your health can improve your physical health! The mind-body connection is real.

 

Setting your mindset in a positive direction at the start of your day can be so powerful so I’ve also created a ridiculously simple recipe to shake up your morning lemon water.

 

 

Creating a Mindset for Health

 

So much of health is all about habits and actions, but where do these all stem from? What if we don’t have to make as many changes as we think we do? What if there was one powerful thing that makes a lot of difference?

 

That thing is mindset!

 

Mindset is sometimes called “the story we tell ourselves.” It’s our attitude toward things in our life. And we have control over our mindset.

 

And research is showing that it may be far more powerful than we thought.

 

A Very Interesting Health Mindset Study..

 

Here’s a quick story about a fascinating study.

 

Researchers at Stanford University looked at a bunch of people’s health and wellness lifestyle habits, as well as health markers.

 

What they found was that the people who thought they were a lot less active had a higher risk of death than the general public. And, they also had up to 71% higher risk of death than people who thought they were more active. Even if they actually weren’t less active!

 

How is this even possible that people who simply thought they were less active had higher risks, even if it wasn’t true?

 

There are a couple of ideas why. One is that maybe if we feel like we’re less active, it may make us feel more stressed. And stress isn’t good for our mental or physical health. Second, there may be a bit of a mind-body connection where the body embodies what the mind visualizes.

Researchers don’t know why, but what matters is that there is a good mindset. So, let me give you a couple of strategies to boost your mindset for health.

 

Health Mindset Strategy #1 – Aim for Good Enough.

 

Almost no one eats perfectly seven days a week. It’s inevitable that obsessing over the quality and quantity of everything we eat or drink isn’t necessarily a great mindset to have.

 

It can bring on binge-ing, shame, and guilt – none of these are great ways to get healthy. We want to get healthier by making better choices and building better habits. And these are usually best done incrementally – one step at a time.

 

So, instead of having a black and white approach where everything is good or bad, why not try aiming for good enough to empower ourselves to make better choices, instead of perfect choices.

 

Health Mindset Strategy #2 – Stop Making Tradeoffs

 

When you try to earn a gluttonous weekend by eating clean during the week, you’re making a tradeoff. You’re telling yourself that, as long as you’re good most of the week, you can go wild on the weekend.

 

And that’s not awesome because the mindset is jumping from one extreme to the other. You’re controlling what you do all week, and possibly thinking about how to indulge over the weekend. Just live as though you’re trying to do well every single day. Like you care about your health and wellness. You’re doing your best, and that’s good enough.

 

Conclusion

 

Mindset for health can be a powerful tool for better physical health. There’s a proven mind-body connection that research can measure.

 

Thinking positively, and dropping the black/white and good/bad labels, can help you reach your health goals.

 

How is your mindset for health? Which of these tips resonate with you the most? How are you going to implement them in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Recipe (Morning mindset refresher): Chia Lemon Water

Serves 1

 

1 tbsp chia seeds

½ lemon, sliced

water

 

Instructions

Add the chia seeds & lemon to your favourite water bottle. Fill to top with water.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: Shake before drinking.

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References:

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mind-over-matter-how-fit-you-think-you-are-versus-actual-fitness-2017081412282

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/making-health-decisions-mindsets-numbers-and-stories-201112123946

 

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/weekend-overeating

How About a Lovely Cuppa…?

Tea has some great health benefits. Its antioxidant abilities make it heart-healthy and reduce the risk of developing cancer and diabetes.

 

But, does the type of tea matter? Is green tea that much better than black tea? And what difference does adding milk and/or sweeteners do to it?

 

I give you the goods on the green tea vs. black tea. And the healthiest way to drink your tea.

 

Yup, we’re talking tea today. But I’m not going to give you a recipe to drink tea. Nope, not this week. This week I have a special (and awesome) way to eat your tea.

 

Green Tea vs. Black Tea

 

Tea is said to be the most popular beverage in the world. It’s been consumed for thousands of years by millions, perhaps billions, of people.

 

Tea has also been shown to have many health benefits. And some of these benefits are thought to be related to tea’s antioxidant properties. These properties are from its flavonoids known as “catechins.” Flavonoids are anti-inflammatory and have a range of health benefits that I talk about in this post.

 

Green tea vs. black tea – What’s the difference?

 

What do green and black teas have in common?

 

First of all, they both come from the camellia sinensis shrub that’s native to China and India. Green tea contains slightly more health-promoting flavonoids than black tea. How is this?

The difference lies in how they’re processed.

 

If the leaves are steamed or heated, this keeps them green. The heat stops oxidation from turning them black. Then they’re dried to preserve the colour and flavonoids which are the antioxidants.

 

Hence you have green tea.

 

If the leaves are not heated, and are crushed and rolled, then they continue to oxidize until they’re dry. This oxidation uses up some of the flavonoids’ antioxidant power, so black teas have slightly less ability to combat free radicals than green tea does.

 

PRO TIP: Adding milk to your tea reduces the antioxidant ability.

 

Both green and black teas contain about half of the caffeine in coffee. That translates to about 20-45 mg per 8 oz cup.

 

Green tea vs. black tea – Health Benefits

 

Tea drinking, in general, seems to be associated with good health.

 

Heart health – For one thing, both green and black tea drinkers seem to have high levels of antioxidants in their blood compared with non-tea drinkers. Green and black tea drinkers also have lower risks of heart attacks and stroke. Drinking green tea, in particular, is associated with reduced triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL oxidation, all of which are risk factors for heart conditions.

 

Overall, drinkers of green and black tea seem to have a lower risk of heart problems. Green tea has also been shown to reduce risk factors (i.e., blood lipid levels) a bit more than black tea has.

 

Cancers – Antioxidants also reduce the risk of many cancers. Studies show that both green and black teas can reduce the risk of prostate cancer (the most common cancer in men). Also, green tea drinkers have a lowered risk of breast and colorectal cancers. Black tea is being researched for its potential to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

 

Overall, antioxidant flavonoids in tea seem to help reduce the risk of some different cancers. Green tea may have a slight edge over black tea, but both seem to be associated with lower cancer risk.

 

Diabetes – Both green and black teas can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They also reduce diabetes risk factors, like elevated blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. For example, some studies have shown that both green and black teas can help reduce blood sugar levels. Other studies have shown that green tea can also improve insulin sensitivity.

 

Once again, green tea seems to have a slight edge over black tea, but both are blood sugar friendly (just don’t overdo the sweetener).

 

Conclusion

 

Both green and black teas are from the same plant, but are processed differently. Green tea retains more of the beneficial antioxidants than black tea does; but both are associated with better health than non-tea drinkers.

 

Overall, both green and black teas are healthy drinks, and tea drinkers, in general, seem to have fewer health conditions than non-tea drinkers. Green tea seems to have a slight edge over black tea when it comes to measurable risk factors of some common diseases.

 

When you enjoy your tea, try to minimize or even eliminate adding milk and/or sweeteners; these reduce some of the health-promoting properties of tea.

 

I’d love to know: Are you a tea drinker? Which tea is your favourite? How do you like to enjoy it? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Recipe (Green tea): Matcha Energy Bites

Serves 6 (makes 12-18 bites)

 

1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
4 tbsp almond flour
1 tbsp matcha green tea

2 tbsp honey or maple syrup

1 tbsp coconut oil

 

Instructions

Add all ingredients into food processor and pulse until blended.

Shape into 1-1.5″ balls.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: If you use sweetened coconut, then you can eliminate the honey/maple syrup.

 

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References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/brewing-evidence-for-teas-heart-benefits

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/what-you-should-know-about-tea

 

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea

 

http://www.healthline.com/health/know-your-teas-black-tea#benefits3

 

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/matcha-green-tea

 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/caffeine-in-green-tea

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/tea-a-cup-of-good-health

 

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tea

It’s Cold Season! Arrrgh! What Can You Do?

Oh, the dreaded common cold. There are lots of natural ways to keep your body and immune system strong throughout the year. Things like nutrition/foods, lifestyle, and habits.

 

But, getting sick is still a possibility.  I’m living this RIGHT NOW! Everyone around me was sick in December and I did fantastic at following tips 1-5 below to help keep my immune system strong and then… I had 3 consecutive terrible sleeps where I was woken up multiple times (for multiple reasons) and that is likely what did me in.  Something my clients know about me is that I know how much proper sleep affects all aspects of our wellbeing and keeping the common cold at bay is definitely one of them. I’ve been following tips 6 & 7 for the past week and this cold is definitely on its way out!  WooHoo!

 

I wanted to share with you my best tips to help you prevent getting sick, and how to recover quickly… naturally.

 

Plus, I have a recipe for a natural cough remedy, free of drug store medications.

 

I’m Sick.  What Can I Do (Naturally)?

 

Getting a common cold doesn’t have to be so… common. There are things you can do naturally to make getting sick less likely.

 

But, if you do happen to get sick, there are things you can also do to help support your body to fight it off.

 

Good hand hygiene and overall healthy habits can reduce your risk of getting sick in the first place. And good nutrition can help your immune system fight off a cold quicker. Imagine your germ-fighting immune cells all hungry and tired, versus them being nourished and full of energy.

 

And that’s what this post is all about.

 

First I’ll give you some tips to reduce your risk of getting sick in the first place. Then, I’ll let you in on some of my strategies to recover from that cold you may still get from time to time.

 

Natural tips to reduce your risk of sickness

 

Here are some great ideas to incorporate into your daily life to reduce your risk of getting sick.

1 – Wash your hands. A lot. Your hands can trap and transport all kinds of microbes that cause sickness. And I’m not just talking about colds here, but lots of different germs.

 

NOTE: Antibacterial soap is not recommended! Not only is it no more effective than regular soap and water, but it can contribute to antibiotic resistance.

 

2 – Get enough nutrients. I know this is way oversimplified, but I would be remiss to exclude it. Every cell in your body, including your immune cells, need enough of all the essential nutrients. The more nutrition you have, the better and stronger you will be, especially with vitamins A, C, and E. Vitamin A-rich foods include carrots, sweet potato, and organ meats. Vitamin C-rich foods include bell peppers and citrus. Vitamin E-rich foods include nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.

 

3 – Probiotic foods. Helping our health-promoting gut microbes with more of their probiotic friends is in order here to help keep the immune system strong. Try 1-2 servings/day of fermented foods and drinks like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir, and kombucha.

 

4 – Prebiotic foods. Feeding those friendly gut microbes their favourite foods can help them to grow and flourish. They love fibrous foods like onions, asparagus, berries, bananas, sweet potatoes, whole grains, and seeds. Aim for 2-3 servings/day.

 

5 – Get enough sleep. Did you know that our immune system cycles with our circadian system? When we sleep our immune cells produce antibodies to fight infections. Try to get at least 7 hours every single night, even when you’re feeling great.

 

 

Natural tips to recover from that sickness

 

When you do get an infection, not only do you need more nutrients to fight it off, but your body also has a harder time absorbing and using the nutrients you take in. Sometimes this is because of reduced hunger, sometimes due to gastrointestinal reasons. Either way, nourishing your body is even more important. When you do get sick, make sure you are implementing tips 1-5 plus the tips below that are crucial for getting over a common cold.

 

6 – Drink lots of fluids. Being sick can be dehydrating. Fluids like water, chicken soup, and green tea are warm, hydrating comfort drinks. Chicken soup is a source of electrolytes, especially if homemade from a real chicken with lots of vegetables. Green tea has been shown to boost some of our immune cells, and this can help to better fight off the invading germ.

 

7 – Rest and recover. When your body is fighting an infection, it’s busy working hard for your health. Give it a break and relax while you’re feeling under the weather.

 

Conclusion

 

There are lots of things we can do to stay healthy and reduce infections naturally. Washing your hands is a proven way to reduce your risk. And staying healthy in all other ways helps a lot. Getting enough nutrition, eating probiotic and prebiotic foods, and getting enough sleep are key year round.

 

If you do get sick, keep up all of your good habits above, and make sure to add some warm, healthy fluids, and extra rest.

 

What do you do when you get sick? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Recipe (Throat soothing): Honey Lemon Ginger Cough Drops

½ cup honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp freshly grated ginger root

Instructions

Put ingredients into a small saucepan.

 

Stir frequently until it becomes foamy. Be careful because the honey can burn easily.

 

Remove from heat and continue to stir until the foam reduces.

 

Put the saucepan back on the heat.

 

Repeat this until a candy thermometer reads 300F.

 

Drop a bit into a glass of ice water. If the mixture forms a hard, crunchy ball, it’s ready! If not, keep stirring and heating for another minute or two and try with the ice water again.

 

Once a hard ball forms from a drop into the ice water, let the saucepan cool until the foam has reduced.

 

Drizzle the candy into a candy mold or onto oiled parchment paper.

 

Let cool at room temperature until the cough drops are hard.

 

Pop out of the mold or break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

Tip: You can sprinkle them with vitamin C powder to keep them from sticking together.

 

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References:

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/what-to-eat-when-sick

 

https://www.thepaleomom.com/natural-approaches-to-cold-flu-season/

 

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-the-common-cold-with-probiotics/

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dExiRwh-DQ

 

http://www.who.int/gpsc/clean_hands_protection/en/

When did I know…?

Recently I was asked “When did you know you wanted to be a wellness coach?” Hmmm, well I’ve always loved helping others, both my grandmas taught me about herbs & healing, I’ve practiced yoga since I was 9 and realized at an early age how our bodies, minds, and emotions are connected and all play a part in our overall health… but WHEN did I know I wanted to do this as my vocation? It took me awhile to remember, I’ve been a yoga teacher for 6 years now, I’ve practiced various healing arts for much longer but the calling to tie my knowledge together as a wellness coach came just a couple years ago. What prompted me to do this was something I didn’t think much of at the time but having been asked the question I realize now how important it was.

I’d gone to a new studio to take a yoga class where the students didn’t know I was a teacher. It was a challenging class but there were all levels of students there including some beginners. As everyone was leaving, I overheard a mom say to her friend “I thought yoga would help me relax after dealing with the kids all day, but I really suck at it so I guess I can’t do it.”

I didn’t know her, and still being a relatively new teacher I didn’t feel confident in approaching her but now I wish I had. She absolutely could’ve done yoga to help her stress levels, to help strengthen & relax her body, but she hadn’t found the right class for her (she likely went along because her friend was going) and it discouraged her and made her feel as though she wasn’t good at it. I realized that as much as I could help my yoga students in class, there were many others who might not get to a class where we could connect. I realized that as a wellness coach, I might have the opportunity to help someone, like that mom, with mindset challenges & setting goals. That was my “when” moment!

Now as a yoga teacher, my students are very familiar with my insistence that “there is a form of yoga for everybody AND every body,” and I take the same approach towards my wellness coaching. There are basic foundations of wellness that we can put in place and build from, taking into consideration what someone’s goals are. I never want someone to feel like they can’t do it simply because they couldn’t do something they read about or that their friend did. I want everyone to realize that they can always take actions that will move them towards their wellness goals. Mindset matters!

We are all made from the same stuff, but we are each of us put together a bit differently.

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Level Up – the Real Benefits of Exercise

 

“Move more” has been a common mantra for health for decades. But, what does that even mean? What kind of exercise counts? How much do I need?

 

Maybe the biggest question here is: “What are the true health benefits, anyway?”

 

I want to share with you the real, proven health benefits of exercise. Because there are some; there actually are lots!

 

Plus, if you do heavy workouts and need a replenishing drink, I’ve included a delicious recipe for you too.

 

The True Health Benefits of Exercise

 

Exercise. It can improve your health on all levels. We’re not just talking about being fitter and stronger. We’re talking about overall health and longevity.

 

Regular exercise improves your heart health, brain health, muscle and bone health, diabetes, and arthritis. Beyond those, it also reduces stress, boosts moods, increases your energy, and can improve your sleep. And exercise prevents death from any cause (“all cause mortality”).

 

Convinced yet?

 

The benefits of exercise come from improving blood flow, and reducing inflammation and blood sugar levels. They come from moving your muscles (including your heart muscle) and pulling on your bones.

 

You don’t need to go overboard on exercise to get these amazing health results. As little as 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days/week is enough.

 

And you don’t have to do a particular kind of exercise. All four types of exercise have health benefits. They are:

  • Endurance (brisk walking, jogging, yard work, dancing, aerobics, cycling, swimming, skiing, hiking)
  • Strength (climbing stairs, carrying groceries, lifting weights, using a resistance band or your body weight, Pilates)
  • Balance (standing on one foot, Tai Chi)
  • Flexibility (stretching, yoga)

 

Don’t forget, all exercise counts, even if it’s not doing a sport or in a gym. Weekend hikes, walking to the store and doing household chores also count towards your weekly exercise goal.

 

Let me take a minute to prove to you how healthy exercise really is. Here are a few key points.

 

Exercise for heart health

 

Exercise reduced cardiac mortality by 31% in middle aged men who previously had a heart attack.

 

Regular exercise reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension (high blood pressure).

 

Exercise for brain health

 

Exercise can improve physical function and quality of life in people with Parkinson’s disease. It also reduces changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Exercise improved mental functions by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is involved in learning and memory. It also increases the size of the part of the brain for memory and learning (the “hippocampus”); this was shown mostly with aerobic exercise.

 

Exercise for muscle and bone health

Regular physical activity can help maintain strong muscles and bones; this is particularly true for strength exercises. As we age, we naturally start to lose muscle mass and bone density. So, to prevent osteoporosis, exercise regularly.

 

PRO TIP: And don’t forget that balance exercises and Tai Chi can help prevent falls.

 

Exercise for diabetes

 

People with diabetes who exercise have better insulin sensitivity and HbA1C values (the marker of glycemic control).

 

Exercise does this because by contracting your muscles, you’re fueling them with sugar in your blood. This helps to manage blood sugar levels better than without exercise.

 

Conclusion

 

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the health benefits of exercise.  By doing just 30 minutes 5 days/week, you can vastly improve your health. Since there are different benefits for different types, try mixing up what you do throughout the week. You don’t even need an “official” workout. Walking to the grocery store or doing household chores can count too.

 

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”  That’s my motto!

 

If you’re just starting, then pick something you enjoy, get some accountability (exercise tracker or a buddy), and start.

 

What’s your favorite exercise and how often do you do it?

 

Recipe (exercise recovery): Coconut Water Refresher

Serves 2

 

1 cup coconut water

2 cups watermelon

½ tsp lime juice

1 dash salt

1 cup ice

2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

 

Instructions

Blend the first four ingredients until well mixed. Add ice and pulse until ice is crushed.

 

Pour into glasses or water bottle and add chia seeds. Shake/stir before drinking.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: The chia seeds add extra fiber, protein, and omega-3s.

 

 

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References:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFBBjynBpSw&t=3s

 

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-benefits-of-exercise/

 

https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/Fracture/prevent_falls_ff.asp

 

http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/exercise-is-good-for-diabetes

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/15-ways-to-lower-blood-sugar/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/healthy-movement

 

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/exercise-physical-activity

Can’t Meditate? Here’s 9 Other Options to Help Lessen Stress

I know! Meditation is the secret sauce to take your wellness up to the status of the elite gurus. It’s the “be all, end all” for the health of your entire mind-body-spirit. It’s the absolute must-do that is the only path to beating the infamous health-buster called “stress.”  Don’t get me wrong; practicing meditation is an excellent approach to optimizing your health and overall well-being.  I totally agree with how much you can benefit from a meditation practice… I am a yoga teacher after all!  Meditation is great for relieving and dealing with stress, and all of the issues that come along with it. But it’s not the only way to get there.

 

The whole purpose of meditating is to calm the mind and emotions and relax our physical body too. And there is always more than one way to get there.

 

Let’s talk about some of the other things to try if meditation is not exactly your thing.

 

Journaling

 

Spending some time every day writing out your thoughts can help to relieve stress. You can use journaling to list the things you’re grateful for, this is known as gratitude journaling. You can use it as a “brain dump” to get all of your thoughts and ideas out of your head to soothe your mind. You can use “ever since” journaling to describe your life after you reach your goals.

 

Reading

 

It’s one thing to read to learn something that you have to learn, or to advance your knowledge. And, you can also read for pure pleasure. To get caught up in a story and just relax.

 

Colouring

 

Adult colouring books are all the rage! Not *that* kind of adult, but colouring pages with lots of detail and tiny areas to colour in. Something that can take you hours. You can always opt for something simple, like kids colouring pages too. The idea is the same. Repeated movements and focusing on the art you’re creating can help to clear your mind.

 

Knitting or crocheting (or other crafts)

 

Knitting, crocheting or other yarn activities are a great way to de-stress; this is a skill that comes in all levels from beginner to advanced. You can choose a quick little rectangular scarf to make, or a detailed sweater. You can choose the pattern, size, and yarn. Once you get into the flow of these skills, they’re great to do when you’re feeling stressed. Not only can they relax your mind to focus on your work, but you can end up warming yourself or others with the products you create.

 

Gentle exercise

Gently moving your body is another great way to de-stress. Activities that are slower and less intensive are ideal. Things like walking, yoga, stretching, or tai chi can all be great ways to relax your mind and improve your strength and balance at the same time.

 

Sleep in or take a nap

 

A common cause of increased stress hormones is lack of sleep. Too little sleep and too much stress go hand-in-hand. So, getting enough good quality sleep is important to help you break free from stress without having to meditate.

 

Pamper Yourself 

 

Maybe you love getting massages or mani/pedi’s? Maybe you love a long bath or lighting candles? Perhaps you can add your favourite relaxing music to the mix for a pampering evening? Spending some time to pamper yourself regularly is great for your mind, body, and spirit.

 

Spend time in nature

 

You don’t have to head away for vacation to relax in nature. While a calm beautiful beach or cabin in the woods may be amazing, you don’t have to go that far. Even spending time on the grass at your local park or playground, or walking on a wooded trail in your neighbourhood can do the trick.

 

Make time for people and pets you love

 

It’s so important to spend time with family, friends, and pets whom you love. New research is coming out about the health issues related to loneliness. Reach out and plan to hang out with your besties, or even offer to take your neighbour’s dog for a walk in the park.

 

Conclusion

 

Stress reduction is the goal. How you do it, be it meditation or otherwise, is not that important. What’s important is that you find what works for you.

 

Try journaling, reading, colouring, knitting/crocheting, gentle exercise, sleep, pampering yourself, spending time in nature, and making time for people and pets you love.

 

Have other great ideas? Let me know what helps you de-stress in the comments below.

 

Recipe (calming): Lavender Essential Oil

Instructions to inhale directly:

 

Add up to 6 drops of undiluted essential oil to a handkerchief/tissue and inhale occasionally. Use up to 3 times per day.

 

Instruction for steam inhalation:

Add 3 – 12 drops of undiluted essential oil to a bowl of steaming water. Inhale slowly and deeply for 5 – 10 minutes. Use up to 3 times per day.

 

Tip: Lavender isn’t the only calming essential oil. You can also use angelica, balsam, benzoin, bitter orange, cedarwood, celery, chamomile, cornmint, cumin, curry, frankincense, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper, labdanum, laurel, lemongrass, marjoram, nutmeg, palmarosa, parsley, patchouli, peppermint, rose, rosewood, sage, sandalwood, scotch pine, spearmint, star anise, sweet basil, sweet orange, thyme, or ylang ylang.

 

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References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/getting-control-stress

 

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-power-and-prevalence-of-loneliness-2017011310977

 

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stress/relaxation.htm

 

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/do-essential-oils-work/

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/

 

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=aromatherap&lang=eng

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