Happy New Year – Free Love


2016 Starts tomorrow! Can you believe it? Now is the time to for us all to forgive our overindulgences and get our health show back on the road. I thought a bundle of healthy tips for nutrition and detox would be useful for you all for a healthy journey in 2016 {tomorrow}.

Check out these food and living facts for a kickstart in 2016 ~ if you need more guidance, check out my discounted services for January sign up:

  • MACRO check/instruction
  • Supplement list
  • 2 week fat shed workout plan
  • $50 toward a 12 week tune up plan

❤ All the best.

S

Water in ~ first thing

Don’t mistake being dehydrated for being hungry. Reset that hunger feeling ASAP with water! You’ll also help your body flush out toxins, provide fuel for your brain and help boost your metabolism.
Magnesium is “the man”

Stressed out from the holidays? A simple snack may do you wonders. Pumpkin seeds or almonds are packed with magnesium, the anti-stress nuts/seeds. I take magnesium supplements nightly about 30 minutes before bed to improve sleep & relaxation – give it a try!
Eat greens

Nutrients that support your liver – and I’m sure you sort of killed your liver this holiday season, didn’t you? Do your best to include dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and arugula to your meals – try to hit the 50% mark.
Avoid diary

They taste delicious but based on the way that they are produced……you may want to think twice about that whack of cheese. Or, maybe you did your research and found something ethical – good for you!!! Even so, your body is not meant to digest dairy past your breastfeeding babe days.

Sadly, dairy is also majorly acidic and really hurts our PH levels. Your body doesn’t do well with inflammation, so try to kick it to the curb and look for alternatives like nut milks and cheeses.

Fiber up!

Why? Regulate your blood sugar and banish toxins at the same time. Need a better reason? Ok, fiber also reduces that bloated feeling as well as hunger. The best kind of fiber comes from fresh fruit, vegetables, brown rice and oats. I start my day off 1/3 cup of quick oats and ½ a banana sliced ~ quick, easy and really gets the system going.
Alkaline all the way

Balance PH & reduce inflammation. If you haven’t included these already, please do: lemons, pears, kale & parsley.

Get the binge over with and get back to your 5-7 {balanced} meals per day. You might find very quickly that you shed 2-10 lbs of bloat in just 1-2 weeks.

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Epsom Salt – Natural moisturizing / hand & body wash

So long late night soaks!

So long late night soaks!

Now that I am done with my regular soaks for competition I have all of this unscented (and putrid scented) Epsom salt I need to get rid of.

The best way (other than bathing in that is) is to create harmless household and body cleaners!

Here is a simple recipe for you to start out with. I like the coconut/vanilla/bergamot combo below, but feel free to try your own. Use as a general moisturizer or wet your body and lather/scrub then rinse!

Ingredients: 

2 tbsp scented or unscented Epsom Salts

1 cup cup scented liquid coconut oil – deep conditioner, vitamin E – even works as a makeup remover!

5 drops vanilla essential oil – aphrodisiac and anti-depressant

2 drops bergamot essential oil – speed healing oil, treats anxiety

Method: 

Heat coconut oil on stove-top on very low heat until melted.

Add remaining ingredients and stir until salt is disintegrated.

Pour liquid into jar and allow to cool.

Keep stored in a room temperature and dark space until needed.

More info on Epsom Salts: 

CLICK HERE FOR A GREAT LINK ON EPSOM SALTS. 

Sexy Maca Protein Pancakes – Vegan Bodybuilding Series

I promised in one of my “Becoming Little Miss Bikini” posts that I would put up my recipe for the hated protein pancake.

I have not learned to love these things however, this recipe turned out the best and I figured if you’re vegan and trying to fight your way to a body-building competition, you might appreciate this recipe and tips.

Maca is a little used superfood in my world but since my sex drive has been put on the back burner – 18 times per month instead of the usual 25 plus – I thought I’d add this little beast to boost the libido. It is also found to balance hormones, boost energy in general, aid with clearing skin and immune system.

Maca is a plant whose root has been used to treat low libido issues for years. Deemed an aphrodisiac and fertility enhancing, why not try it out if you’re “too tired”? Those who have a thyroid condition should avoid this as it could cause goiter. You don’t want that.

The flavour is sort of butterscotch-y over use can destroy smoothies and other recipes. You should consult a professional (me) if you’re wondering what dosages to take regularly.

You can purchase this in a variety of forms. I buy it powdered and bagged.

Ingredients: 

1 large tbsp organic, raw coconut butter ( I use Artisana)

1/2 cup gluten free oats (I use Only Oats)

1 tsp Maca ( I use Organic Traditions)

1 tbsp baking powder

1 scoop Iron Vegan Natural Vanilla Protein

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp homemade vanilla extract

Method: 

Mix all ingredients with hot water in a bowl as well as you can. Allow it to sit for 5 minute for the oats to absorb as much water as possible.

Add more water until you get to a pancake batter consistency.

Preheat a pan on to medium heat – level 4 or 5. Use coconut oil cooking spray to quickly spritz your pan.

Scoop out silver dollar sized dollops and allow to cook for at least 5 minutes. This will not bind like a regular pancake so don’t get too excited to flip them right away. Trust me.

Look for bubbles like with a regular pancake, seriously let them be for 5 minutes.

Flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Plate and allow to cool for 5 minutes or so.

The inside will be slightly gooey and this recipe would be TO  DIE FOR with almond butter.

Nutrition information: 

365 total calories

25g protein

39 grams carbs

10g fibre

3g sugar

14g fat

52g iron

8g calcium

What to plant this spring? Here are some MUST haves for the budding Herbalist.

 

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An old herb garden looking alive and potent.

 

When I first started learning about herbal medicine, I had NO idea about how much medicine we have at our fingertips. I also had no idea how medicinal our food could be if we ate things that weren’t necessarily found on our grocers shelves. Trying to incorporate a little bit of herbalism into your every day, or even better – into your kitchen, helps your body to stay healed and grow stronger as you age. Eventually, your body will be chock full of vitamins, minerals and virus fighting medicines without much effort at all.

Of course, not all plant types are going to be found or thrive in every environment SO take some time to get to know these easy growing fellows below. If you find them to be easy to care for, spread your wings and try growing your own at home.

It’s only February BUT looking forward to spring and looking into my seed stores gets me excited to start planting and reaping the benefits of home-grown medicine. I look forward to adding nettles to my ferments, drying herbs in my dehydrator and making skin salves to pass out to my friends and family. I certainly miss all of the classes and students I had in Vancouver, I might have time to squeeze some teaching in again this spring in Calgary.

As always, when using any type of medication, make sure that you consult with your GP and do your research before ingesting unconsciously. Your body deserves a little curious research before undertaking a new regime.

 

Aloe Vera

You can purchase this plant at nearly every home garden supply store. Even Home Depot. Because you aren’t going to be ingesting this plant I feel that you are ok to be a little less questioning of it’s origin.

Why do you want to keep Aloe Vera around? Simply, there are so many topical benefits that there isn’t a reason NOT to. Snap a sample of a well-grown leaf off and you are on your way to healing cuts, wounds, burns, eczema and inflammation.

Marsh Mallow

You can find seeds or starters for this plant at select growers. I order my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds or Vesey’s. These are pretty hardy plants – but watch out for wet feet!

There are a number of great uses for marshmallow both inside and out. You can take the root internally to help treat inflammation and UT irritations, gastritis or peptic ulcers. Topically, you can use a poultice, salve or cream to treat bruises, sprains, muscle aches, insect bites, slivers or skin inflammation.

Fun food fact: The leaves of the marshmallow plant are edible! Add to salads, boil or fry.

Pot Marigold

These hardy ladies will grown in almost any soil condition. Use a tea consisting of marigold petals to increase circulation and ease varicose viens. A poultice of marigold stems will aid in removing corns and warts.

Camomile

You probably know this as a great fruity tea! Camomile works well in aiding digestive issues and also has a soothing effect in its aroma. This helps reduce stress and induce sleep.

Echinacea

 If you’re living without it, you probably shouldn’t be. This beautiful flower has amazing antibiotic properties that relieve allergies and help prevent viral and bacterial infections. The roots, beneficial in treating sores, wounds and burns when applied as a poultice, salve or cream. She grows well in well-drained soil with a lot of sunlight.

Lemon Balm

By far, the easiest herb I have ever unintentionally grown. The leaves give off a lovely lemony mint scent that cannot be mistaken. Crushed leaves used as a poultice help relieve pain from herpes, sores, gout and bug bites. The leaves infused with hot water can treat colds, fevers, indigestion, depression, headaches and insomnia.

I grew this herb for years in the wet wet wetness that is Vancouver BC!

Peppermint

Nearly another weed, as easy to grown and impossible to kill as Lemon Balm. peppermint is high in manganese, vitamin A and vitamin C. Leaves ground into a salve or cream help to sooth and relax muscles.

Sage

Another herb that is nearly impossible to kill is Sage. When consumed it can help to ease indigestion, flatulence, anxiety and excessive sweating.

 

Here’s to spring, and happy plantings. Stay tuned for my inevitable posts containing the trials and tribulations of trying to sustain plant life in the Rocky Mountains.

 

Sasha

 

 

 

Inflammatory foods & speed healing for an active summer

Happy Monday everyone!!

 

The weather is so much nicer out now and this means (hopefully) that you are all out getting some sunshine and exercise. With movement comes fitness and inevitably, injury. Here are some foods to consume/avoid should you become injured or suffer from chronic pain. Get lots of rest and see a doctor if any pain persists longer than a week or two.

 

Do your best to minimize inflammation in your body for a speedy recovery. As a general rule avoid the “Three P’s” Processed, packaged or prepared foods. If that’s all you remember, you’re ahead of the pack.

 

Inflammatory foods to avoid/speed up healing:

 

Hydrogenated / trans fats – margarine, shortening, lard (foods like cookies/pies/buns that are made with them)

 

Meat & poultry – avoid while injured, seek out lean & clean proteins like fish, beans and legumes.

 

Fried foods

 

White sugar, pop, juices

 

Synthetic sweeteners – Splenda/aspartame

 

Additives – sulfites/benzoates and colourings like F/D/C #100 etc…

 

Dairy

 

Wheat

 

Alcohol

 

Nightshades – tomato, potato, eggplant, peppers (their alkaloid levels increase inflammation)

 

 

Eat lots of:

 

Blueberries

Grapes

Apples

Cayenne Pepper

Turmeric

Celery

Cherries

Dark green veggies (kale/spinach/broccoli)

Drink lots of water

Raw Olive Oil

Almonds – raw

Organic soy beans

Fennel

Fish/Omega 3’s

Hemp hearts/seeds

 

 

The art of the juice cleanse

 

Melon Juice

Melon Juice

Many times have I committed to a juice cleanse and never have I managed to document any of the experience for clientele or the general public. Because I have embarked on yet another cleanse I feel that I had the time and space to do this – because I’m not leading a group cleanse or making juices myself.

This time, I decided to go with a commercially purchased cleanse. I looked at several options before taking the plunge and took several items into consideration:

– what was the company selling the cleanse all about

– where were they located

– price & value

– ease of starting/receiving juice

I had initially chosen a company out of Calgary as this would be a place to pick up from that was easily accessible and had nearly 0 carbon footprint. Unfortunately, they took more than forever to return emails (terrible, spoiled Albertan vendors with no idea of the rest of the worlds customer service initiatives *steam*, this province is so alienated by the oil and gas industry) and when then did, they were not helpful, or cheery, with getting a cleanse to me outside of their prescribed days and times – even though I said I would pick up.

So, as it has been going lately, I decided to look out of province. Why? Well, their markets aren’t as inflated and their vendors generally care about having paying customers.

Enter “Raw Raw” Cleanse: http://www.rawrawcleanse.com.

It took me just 2 days and $200 per person for a 6 day cleanse to arrive via courier to my office. Tina, the proprietor was very helpful. We had a bit of a hiccup with juice types and after sending an email, I was assured the additional juice would arrive next-day (today hopefully) to get the sequencing of juices done right. Wow.

If you are interested in the juices I have been drinking you can find them HERE. 

 

DAY 1

The juice arrived at 10 am to our offices. It came packaged in a styrofoam cooler with cooling gel packs above and below the juice. The package also contained a juicing reusable bag, a note on the expiry, a 25% off coupon and a quick reference card for consuming the juices in the right order.

 

3 day juice cleansing

3 day juice cleansing

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The "how to"

Because I was ravenous, I opened up the cooler and immediately (took pics for all of you) then shook and guzzled my first “Clean Greens”. I’ll just put it out there, green smoothies are NOT my favourite, never will be. I understand their vital importance in balancing our vitamins and minerals, but they are sour, and so was this one.

Next, on my way to a meeting I grabbed the ginger berry. WAY more my style and super easy to drink with a lovely ginger taste – can’t complain.

I did a couple random circles around the office looking at trail mix and bananas, but I did not partake. Win. Next, Cool melon. This is where I learned I didn’t have any cool melon but double the almond milk variety. So I drank an almond milk one…it was great – a little extra nut fiber in there, but it was good. Cool melon – for real – on the way home I snaked a cool melon out of my boyfriends order. Simple, sweet and minty – I actually use the same recipe for watermelon martinis in the summer.

On the way home, I was feeling like I needed a nap. By the time I got home, I completely thought I would have one – except work got in the way a bit. I felt SUPER agro for about 1 hour, so I ate a handful of cashew nuts – raw ones. By the time I walked the dogs and puttered around with small chores, I realized I might as well just get on with it and do my day 8 of 21 Day HIIT challenge. During this 20 minute super workout I felt like I had OK energy and could cope with all the exercises without utter exhaustion.

I then used the next Clean Greens as a post-workout drink – it still tasted bad. I was in bed reading by 8:30pm and sipped away at the final Citrus beverage until I fell asleep. I LOVE this one. Spicy, citrus-y, deliciousness. At this point, I was feeling full and so far haven’t felt starving. I don’t think Jeff can say the same.

I fell asleep and was probably up around 3am. Not sure if the lack of sleep ability was the dogs or what, but it was a tough night.

DAY 2

Waking up was a bit hellish. I managed to get back to sleep by 6 am and slept until about 7:45.

Got out of bed, guzzled some water and had my first Clean Greens. I didn’t feel hungry at all, and I still don’t.

As I sit and write this I miss coffee. The smell, the taste and the buzz. Hoping that getting through my errands and a big dog walk will pull me into the land of the living by 11 am.

Stay tuned……………………….

I headed out of the house just after 10 am with my second (and favourite) juice in-hand to have a scoot through the country with my pups.  I took the dogs out for a walk in the woods and nearly left them there – woah nelly, settle down. A little bit more easily aggravated these days I have to admit. Hangry. By 1130 am I was still tired and now annoyed at my dogs.  Again, I drove home and thought I was going to crash heavily, and didn’t. Instead, I had a handful of cashews, brewed up an herbal peppermint tea and hunkered down to watch a very disturbing movie on Netflix. I hopped up for one of the many million pee’s during the movie and grabbed by third juice of the day for “lunch”. I have just taken the dogs out for another walk, wrote a letter and am now going to attempt my HIIT for the day: WORK OUT .

It is currently 7 pm. I made it through a HIIT and 12 minutes of a 20 minute spin – legs were far too tired – I also managed a bit of Yoga without issue.

I lapped up half a clean green for a recovery drink, with a small handful of cashews.

Literally a handful of cashews.

Literally a handful of cashews.

Let me tell you , my stomach was grumbling, so I had another cup of herbal mint tea and did some laundry. I think I may pay heed to the recommendation of “moderate” exercise. I don’t even listen to my own good advice.

I currently have two juices left and am feeling quite alert. Not aggravated, that was definitely a morning thing. Though, I have been fantasizing about food for the last couple of hours. Poor Jeff, went to his grandmas and she ordered a pizza. Ruthless day for him.

I would call day 2 a success……nighty night until tomorrow!

DAY 3 

Day three arrived. My sleep wasn’t nearly as interrupted as last night however, I still woke up a little tired. Getting the ball rolling on the day seemed a little less painless and I had no desire to eat or any hunger.

The work day was 10 hours long with no breaks, a few times I had to run to Jeff’s office to scarf down some almonds & cashews. Probably ate at least 3/4 of a cup of each throughout the day.

I thought about food all day. When I wasn’t stressing about something, I literally only thought about food. I had to plan a luncheon for tomorrow and ordered about twice as much pizza for 15 people as I should have. I could taste it.

I think today was the hardest day by far. Knowing it’s nearly over and hearing a little voice inside your head say “c’mon, just have a snack”……I’ve been beating that voice back all day.

There is one more drink to go before bed. I know I can make it, I think Jeff has at least 5 meals prepared for us to eat tomorrow – which is SUCH a bad idea when you’re coming off of a cleanse. Honestly – ease into it with soup and salads….or suffer the wrath.

The dirty bits: bowel movements still occurring however, not at the mass and frequency expected. I didn’t go at all yesterday, no urge either. Jeff wont let me talk about his poops in public. Sissy.

Overall, today I felt the most spacey I have and the most weak. I opted for a longer walk with the dogs instead of exercising at full out capacity.

Ok, I lied. I'm a workout addict.

Ok, I lied. I’m a workout addict.

I will say that removing meals does remove a sense of community and that is one part of the human culture that I quite enjoy. There is a certain void left in a day where there is no communion with others, a sharp empty space that only cooking and enjoying a meal can fill. That, is what I truly craved most in this cleanse.

My love affair with my pantry

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Last year we moved into a house that actually has a pantry. Everywhere else I have owned or rented has had the obligatory kitchen cupboard that could only house plates, cups and kitchen appliances at best. If you love to cook, you end up having a large collection of gadgets, appliances, pots, pans, ramekins, specialty dishes you name it. My dishwasher, oven and microwave have at one time or another become additional cupboard space. There was never a quest to find a home with a pantry. On the contrary, the wish list exists below. Amazingly enough, we were able to manifest all of this goodness:

 

Manifested 100%

Manifested 100%

 

We were presented with a relatively small kitchen with a relatively large pantry. At first, I had no idea what to do with it. There were so many shelves and I knew then that pre-packaged food would seldom-if-never grace those shelves, canned goods are also a novelty in my food world, that only left me with one option….herbs and spices.

Ahhhh spices and herbs. Never have I had such an open and torrid love affair with so many things at once, and publicly. Romances that span this continent and cross oceans and seas to find L’Amour in exotic lands. Weekly. I feel like I should be blushing in openly sharing all of this with you, but I can assure you I am not.

Each time I turn the light on inside and the glass door illuminates, I can see the shadows of reds, blacks, whites, greens and oranges through the frosting. I am immediately excited to adventure into territory unknown, and sometimes territory well-known and loved, with the herb and spice path to heaven inside.

Once the door is fully ajar, sometimes I stand back and marvel at the glorious glass collection containing the aromatic treasures of far off places. I’ll look each one over, examining its contents and deciding whether it should be replenished in the near future or not. I lift and sort all the jars separating the various salts and peppers, flours, beans, teas and spices by colour or ethnicity. Sometimes opening a jar here and there to see if (without looking at the label) I can accurately identify the inhabitant inside by smell alone.

I carefully lift each glass bottle of oil, checking to see if I have enough to cook with as well as enough to use in salves and infusions. Hopping over to the smaller experimental bottles to shake or smell or taste progress on each of my newest tinctures. Smiling in delight when success is achieved, grumbling inconsolably when mould or rot has appeared.

I spend hours each week peering in and making lists, wish lists of new and amazing spices I’ve heard of in my travels and while studying new recipes. There is a great feeling of overwhelming delight each time I bring home a new salt or pepper from a great vacation, I carefully give the new arrival its own new home and label and a place on the shelf.

Soon spring will be here and foraging and collecting wild edibles will once again have the dehydrator inside humming away and drying out new herbal medicinals and teas to try……if only the snow would melt.