Thirty Days to a Better Me.

It is a bright, sunny morning. As I sip on my warm water and lemon, I reflect upon that which I set out to do this month. I have committed to two challenges: one is to reset my energy through nutrition; and the other is to support my mindfulness and parasympathetic system through a more calming activity. 

Challenge No. 1: The Whole 30. I pride myself in eating quite well. From time to time it is awesome to do a "reset" so-to-speak. In the past I have tried various detoxes, but at times find them difficult to sustain with a busy lifestyle. Last year, I followed the Whole 30 challenge - developed by brother and sister duo Dallas & Mellissa Hartwig. It is a no-nonsense approach to eating well. It involves a paleo type diet. The Whole 30 "rules"  can be summed up as such, as per whole30.com:

  1. Yes: Eat real food.
  2. No: Avoid for 30 Days.
  3. Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial.
  4. Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking.
  5. Do not eat grains.
  6. Do not eat legumes.
  7. Do not eat dairy.
  8. Do not consume carrageenan, Msg or sulfites.
  9. Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with "approved" ingredients.

I invite you to join on this challenge. Several people I love are set to do the Whole 30 with me this month! This link will bring you to their website, wherein you will find a plethora of links to downloadable files specifically created to make the challenge achievable from an explanation of the why and how, to grocery lists, to where sugars and preservatives hide.

If you are just reading this now, don't be shy to embark on this challenge at your own leisure. Review the program and start by string through your cupboards and fridge. Eliminate temptations and pre-packaged food. Fill your kitchen with delectable vegetables, fruits and protein sources. Don't forget to consider some easy-go-to snacks for when you get to "starvation mode". When you are prepared, there are no excuses! Remember that an ounce of preparation will set you up for success overall.

Challenge No. 2: 30 Days Pure One of Ottawa's leading yoga studios, Pure Yoga is holding a 30-day yoga challenge during the month of June. Yes, it is already June! I have enrolled for two reasons: to improve my mindfulness and create an occasion to down-regulate by nourishing my parasympathetic system.

Parasympathetic nervous system: The part of the involuntary nervous system that serves to slow the heart rate, increase intestinal and glandular activity, and relax the sphincter muscles. The parasympathetic nervous system, together with the sympathetic nervous system, constitutes the autonomic nervous system.
— Medicine Net Dot Com

For the past seven or so years, my workouts have involved high-impact plyometrics and circuit training. I have truly plateaued. In addition to the yoga, I will incorporate jogging (can't quite call it running at this stage) as well, since it makes me glow and it helps me organize my thoughts. Also, sunny bike rides will get me outdoors for an occasion to soak up vitamin D right from the source!

This month will be filled with some hurdles, but mostly feel-good vibes and surges in energy and positive shifts in my mindset.

Please share your comments and experiences if you so do please!

Be good to you.

W xo

 

 

Blueberry, Banana, Maca Smoothie.

Good morning! It's time to get cracking with a blueberry, banana, maca smoothie! This recipe is loaded with super-foods and it is easy and quick to whip up for a meal-on-the-go for busy mornings, or to sip slowly as you ease into the day. 

Blueberries are fibre-rich and antioxidant-rich pearls of goodness, and they pair beautifully with bananas - one of my favourite fruits ever! Bananas truly benefit the cardiovascular system with their high levels of potassium, which is essential to blood pressure regulation and heart function. Ohhh, and sexy maca... Maca grows in Peru and has been used for thousands of years for a variety of benefits (including, but not limited to): it is rich in vitamins B, C, E, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc; it sustains energy levels; it improves sexual vitality by boosting libido and stamina; and, it levels out women's moods in relation to menstruation and menopause by alleviating physiological  symptoms and mood symptoms associated with a cycle/ menopause (cramps, hot flashes, anxiety, depression etc.) Note: it is not recommended to take maca while expecting or breastfeeding.

Place the following ingredients into your blender, and blend until your favourite consistency is reached. Add ice if you would like to a) make your smoothie colder and/or b) sharpen your blender's blades.

  • 1/3 cup wild, organic frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • a spoonful of maca powder
  • Garden of Life Raw Protein powder - Beyond Organic Forumula (or your choice of protein)
  • A dash of cinnamon (for its blood sugar-regulating magical powers)
  • Sprinkle with hemp seeds
  • Ice, ice, baby (optional)
  • Love

Yum!

Be good to you.

W xo

Nut Butter: How To.

Nut butter is easy to make. Really easy.

Nuts for nut butter!

Here's what you'll need:

  • A food processor (an ancient one will work just fine, trust me)
  • Nuts
  • Optional nut oil (I used Walnut Oil in this recipe to add an extra flavour profile)
  • Jar (or vessel of some kind to store your nut butter)
  • Oh, an love!
  • And, maybe a little Maldon Salt or Celtic Sea Salt®*

How to:

  1. Set up your food processor
  2. Select nuts of choice - I chose to use raw almonds and some pecans. Notice that I didn't use measurements either. Eyeball about 2 cups worth of nuts in whichever proportion you would like the taste to reflect (take into account the size of the food processor you are using).
  3. Place nuts into food processor.
  4. Add 1/2-1 TBSP of Walnut Oil to get extra creamy nut butter.
  5. Blend until your preferred consistency has been reached. Crunchy? Creamy? Oey-gooey?
  6. Scrape down sides of food processor's container and pulse a wee bit more to incorporate and crunchy bits (if you want it ultra-smooth).
  7. Store in a jar and keep in fridge for up to 1 month**.

Nut butter makes for an excellent blood-sugar-stabilizing snack. Spread onto a rice cracker, or slice up an apple, banana or pear and just dip it into your awesome, tasty creation!

Be good to you.

W xo

*Celtic Sea Salt® is awesome! There are so many benefits to this salt including: it has alkalizing properties, it helps balance electrolytes, and it improves brain function. For more interesting details on salt, following this link to Dr. Axe.

**If you do not plan to devour your nut butter within one month, seal it tightly in a container and freeze it. Bring it to the fridge to thaw a day before you plan to eat it all up.

 

 

A Note on Gratitude (Part II)

gratitude |ˈgratəˌt(y)o͞od| noun the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness: she expressed her gratitude to the committee for their support.ORIGIN late Middle English: from Old Frenchor from medieval Latin gratitudo, from Latin gratus pleasing, thankful.

 

Gratitude. The simple act of reflecting upon that which we are grateful for should be a daily practice - rather than something that is reserved for special occasions, such as Thanksgiving.

When feeling low, thinking of tiny little things and remarkable things that I am grateful for helps me begin to reset my energy. Journalling is reputably one of the most fabulous ways of tracking down things we are grateful for. 

I am grateful for mom's health.   03.08.2015

I am grateful for mom's health. 03.08.2015

I've decided to reserve more than a Moleskine or Rifle & Co. notebook for my gratitude. I am now choosing to fill a blank wall with words and thoughts (on Post-Its because I wouldn't be able to have something permanent on my wall) that represent things in my world for which I am grateful. When or if I slip into sadness, I will remind myself what makes me tick by looking at the wall and adding something new to it, even if it doesn't come easily. 

I encourage you to write down things you are thankful for every single day, as a daily practice. This routine practice will form a new, positive habit. And, when gratitude is a habit, so is love and good energy. In turn, love and good energy boosts our mood. So, overall, it's a win-win.Yay!

Be good to you.

W xo