Forest Bathing, It’s a Thing

It’s nothing new for you to hear I LOVE being in nature. Anytime I am outdoors is a good day for me whether it’s skiing, hiking, biking, paddling, running (love/hate) or walking. It’s almost turned into a craving now that my body needs to keep it all in check. You’ll often see my #mentalhealth posts as it truly helps manage my anxiety. It’s the movement part as much as the fresh air, it seems to slow the busy pace of our society.

Little did I know that the Japanese actually developed a therapy for this very thing in the 80’s! Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing” has become a big part of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine and is becoming more present in Holistic practice as well. The focus is to use all the senses when in nature to gain healing benefits.

As a society, either in an office job, a stay at home mom or as an entrepreneur we spend a lot of time at desks or in front of screens and we need to consider getting out in nature more. Even in urban areas, you can find a green space that will give your mind a break.  There is a lot of research looking at the main health benefits to being in nature and it’s not just for me! It’s been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce stress and cortisol levels, improve concentration, increase energy, regulate overnight sleep and to better connections in a community. This is why you should try to add even 3o minutes a week, get a little hippy and jump in a “forest bath”. You can thank me later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Recipe: Sous Vide Egg Bites – Bacon & Gruyere

Um so I tried Starbucks egg bites the other day as I was in a rush, hungry and needed something on the go with some protein. They were pretty delicious. Generally I don’t love buying or eating on the go but sometimes it’s just easier and if that is what works go for it! I liked them so much I wanted to try and recreate them so I went recipe searching and found this great version by CopyKat that I worked with and altered a bit into my own version. I honestly had no idea what “Sous Vide” was until I started looking into recipes. It is basically refers to the process of vacuum-sealing food and cooking it in a temperature controlled water bath or steam environment for longer than normal cooking times. Cooking the eggs this way gives them the airy and smooth consistency. There are machines for this and all sorts of ways to try and get this effect but I wanted to use what I had for simplicity sake and I think they came out pretty great. Other than the super long cooking time and that they might be a little heavy on the dairy I love this recipe. When I make them on the weekend it gives us 12 bites to enjoy through the week.

 

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I prefer old white cheddar)
  • 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 pieces of  bacon cooked crisp then chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven at 225 degrees. Prep a muffin tin, a pan of water it can sit in as well as some sort of covering (I used a cookie sheet to lay on top). You could also use small glass canning jars with lids. I would make sure to grease whichever you choose for them to easily pop out after cooking. I used a silicone muffin pan – no need to grease.
  2. Cook bacon until crips and chop into pieces.
  3. Add to blender; eggs, cottage cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, shredded Gruyere cheese, cream and salt. Puree until it is a uniform mixture.
  4. Pour super hot tap water into the water pan then add the muffin tin, make sure to account for the weight of the filled tin as to not overflow the water.
  5. Pour egg mixture into muffin tins evenly (12).
  6. Top with chopped bacon in each.
  7. Add covering to the muffin tin or if using jars close but not too highly as there should be room for air to escape.
  8. Cook for 1 hour and 30mins. Eggs should be firm but still with the airy texture. *May require extra 15 mins.

Note: You can add any additions to these you like; vegetables and herbs are great additions.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Recipe: Nära “Lara” Bar

The snack thing drives me a little crazy as a parent (because it’s constant) and as someone trained in nutrition (because I want it to be healthy). Granola type bars are great for activities, in lunches, family hike or just for the after school grab-and-go snack. They are one thing I don’t normally make, I am thankful for companies like MadeGood and FreeYumm that are my top choices for a packaged bar although I would like to see a bit more protein in them (just sayin’). On a recipe search for my next workshop I was playing with a few that would be power packed, not crumble and are nut free for school lunches. I went off course as I normally do with recipes and created my own version of a LaraBar. Yes, these do have natural sugar in them from the dates but they are packed with powerhouse seeds, fibre and taste good too! Store them in the freezer individually wrapped then you can just toss it in a lunch or purse if needed.

Hope you enjoy.

 

Nära “Lara” Bar 

  • 1 cup crispy brown rice cereal
  • 3 ⁄4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 ⁄2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 ⁄4 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1 ⁄4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp hemp hearts
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sunflower seed butter
  • 12 dates
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 ⁄4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon *optional
  1. Combine the first 8 ingredients together in food processor and pulse.
  2. Add sunflower seed butter, dates, molasses, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract and water, process until fully mixed and starts to clump.
  3. Mix in the mini chocolate chips, you can pulse in or mix by hand.
  4. Line an 9 × 9 baking dish with plastic wrap that extends over the sides for easy grasping to remove later.  Spread mixture into the pan on top of plastic wrap and level with a spatula.
  5. Place another later of plastic wrap on top of the mix and roll with small rolling pin or glass jar to press down firmly.
  6. Refrigerate 30 minutes then remove and place on cutting board to slice. They keep best in the fridge for 1 week. Wrap individually and store in freezer for an easy snack.

 

 

Continue Reading

5 Steps Toward Better Health

1. Eat whole, real, fresh, local or organic, unprocessed food. If it comes in a box, a package, or a can, try to avoid it. If you choose to buy prepackaged foods, read the labels, choose foods with the least ingredients and words you can pronounce.

2. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables with all the colours. Each colour of whole food contains a unique set of nutrients for our body. We need the variety to make sure our bodies are getting the nutrients we need. Plants contain phytonutrients which can help protect the plant and in turn help us stay healthy.

3. Eat foods with plenty of fibre. Fibre helps normalize our digestive function and slows the absorption of sugar and fats into the body. Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and millet, fruits and vegetables like celery, asparagus, and berries. With the increase in fibre we need to increase water as well to keep our elimination regular.

4. Include healthy fats and adequate protein in your diet. Especially foods containing omega3 fats. Healthy fats and protein are essential for building every cell in your body. 60% of the brain is made of fat, it insulates and protects our organs and helps absorb and transport fat soluble vitamins. Protein is a component of every cell; hair, skin, muscle tissue, bone and blood. It is important for growth and development and to perform basic bodily functions as protein makes enzymes that do specific jobs in the body.

5. Be mindful. Make nutrition a priority, don’t skip meals or eat on the run. Chew and enjoy your food. Stress can cause the digestive system to shut down and direct focus elsewhere, the fight or flight response. Continued stress can mean we’re not absorbing nutrients in our food properly and can lead to digestive distress. Even taking 3 breaths before a meal can help our digestive system.

 

Continue Reading

Recipe: Chicken Corn Chowder

Sometimes a girl just wants warm and cozy, especially when one lives in Calgary, AB where it can be a chilly winter…all 5-6 months of it. I’m an Island girl at heart and miss the warmer weather. I choose to make a lot of soup and warm comfort foods through the winter to make up for it. If any of you know me then you know I have a hard time following recipes and in turn I create some new ones! This hit all my needs; warm, cozy, satisfying and with some sustenance. I adapted the recipe from Love & Lemons (www.loveandlemons.comcreamy vegan corn chowder. Delish and family approved.

 

 

Continue Reading

Recipe: Chai Turmeric Tea

Often in the afternoon or evening I need something warm and relaxing that is going to get me past the afternoon lull and taste really good! I created this drink because I am trying to stay away from caffeine after 2pm and wanted something that would have more health benefits. I love the taste of Chai but the concentrated syrups are full of sugar and many of the tea blends are caffeinated. Roobis tea, also called red bush tea, is not caffeinated and is derived from the leaves of the rooibos plant native to regions in South Africa. The tea is high in antioxidants, minerals and has been thought to improve blood circulation and settle the stomach. What’s not to like really? This forms the base of my drink and I combined it with turmeric which is another health powerhouse with it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Don’t forget to add the black pepper as it helps to increase the good benefits of the turmeric and let the body utilize it. The healthy fat of the coconut oil helps to satisfy and is good for the brain. I love the creaminess of the full fat coconut milk, I like to blend it for extra froth. YUM! I hope you like this as much as I do.

Continue Reading

Morning Rituals

Awhile ago I was having trouble focusing, which for a semi-A personality was a challenge. It could have been changing from school, to summer, to being a mom, to building a business and not really knowing where my focus should be. I think it was a little of ‘everything being new and not knowing where to start’. A good friend of mine shared with me her morning ritual which helped to ground and focus her daily. From that I created my own which involved quiet time, reading, drinking my lemon water, some yoga and setting some goals with positive affirmations. This can be done in the morning or in the evening if it works better but I highly recommend it. It sets the stage for the energy you want to have and gets you focused on goals for the day or week. It’s a really important part of self-care and making time for yourself, especially if you are a parent. It’s easy to get sidetracked in our fast-paced world. This is not to say it happens everyday but when it does things seem to be a lot more focused.

Continue Reading

Recipe: Pear & Apple Crisp

Just like mom used to make, accept without the processed sugar and flour! Sorry mom. Love the comfort food from my childhood but I’m just revamping them a bit. This uses seasonal fall fruit; pears and apples but has reduced sugars. Growing up on the farm this would be served warm with fresh cream. Since I don’t have that luxury today I will whip some organic cream or coconut cream for the top.

Continue Reading

Morning Lemon Water

We all know drinking water is good for us but people often take drinking water for granted. Around of 70% of the body is made up of water, it is needed by all cells and organs in the body for them to function properly. It is also used to lubricate joints, protect the spinal cord, regulate body temperature and assist with the passage and elimination of waste in the body. Keeping hydrated can have a huge impact on your overall health! To break it down, here are my top 5 reasons you should drink warm (or room temperature) pure water with a bit of lemon every morning.

  1. Improves Digestion
  2. Immune Booster
  3. Detoxifies
  4. Healthy Skin
  5. Improves Elimination

Continue Reading

Why Eat Organic?

I am asked this question a lot and mostly it’s closely followed by, isn’t it expensive? I want to share why I buy most of my food organic, free range and grass fed. Yes it can be expensive but there are ways to save money by eating as local as possible, buying in season and looking for sales or bulk and then freezing them. We also eat less meat each week to account for buying better quality meat. For my produce I turn to the EWG (Environmental Working Group) for their list of the “Clean Fifteen” and “Dirty Dozen” (link below). These lists refer to the fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated by pesticide use. I keep these lists saved on my phone for easy reference when I’m shopping to help decided organic vs. non-organic purchases. Hopefully they will help you too.

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/index.php

Continue Reading