Community Gardens

Welcome to Eden aka the community garden.

This little green haven has become an incredibly important place to me. It’s where I meditate, play with the dogs, do yoga, jumping jacks, earthing, reading, reiki and plant admiring a few times a week.

I’m so grateful for the peaceful green spaces that give us a beautiful respite from an ever more distressing world. And, because of this, I’ve recently signed up to be a volunteer at the neighboring City Farmer.

I’m excited to be part of the Permaculture movement and have so much to learn about growing things sustainably and organically.

Living Lightly

Sometimes I look around the city and imagine what it would be like if humans started living lightly on the earth. I see the oversized SUV’s and monster trucks go zooming by, the monster houses with two people living in 30 rooms and people eating their way through super-sized meals and the earth’s resources and think “our planet can only handle so much disrespect and abuse before really fighting back”.

Our sedentary lifestyle, stressed out lives and SAD diet has put a massive burden on the medical system, our over-sized houses carry a toxic carbon load as do our vehicles and super-sized meat-centric diets, slowly but surely destroying the health of the lands and seas. We rush around from one appointment to the next, not really enjoying our existence but also apparently not really knowing how to stop living the way we do. We pave over and spill oil on the earth, discard a ton of plastic waste as we careen through our day and yet only really worry about our bank accounts. We buy more, more and even more, making Jeff Bezos a gazillionaire but we are unable to fill that empty longing with our Amazon purchases so we decide that the next purchase will be the one that will make us happy. NO, ok then the one after that.  An endless cycle of “retail therapy” ensues, just making us more broke and more distracted from our real issues. And our planet becomes our personal dumping ground.

Imagine a world of living in harmony with the earth instead of ruthlessly trying to dominate it or mindlessly destroying it. Imagine a world of light living; a world of community and connection. In the spirit of “It’s never too late”, I’m inviting you to join me in a Zero Waste Challenge. Let’s not mindlessly soldier on while our planet and it’s wild creatures are dying around us. Let’s be the change. Think of the good karma of living gently with the earth. Elevate your life and save our home at the same time.

Check out this link for inspiration and tips:

https://www.goingzerowaste.com/blog/101-easy-eco-friendly-zero-waste-tips/

We can do this!

Raw Vegan Cheezecake

I’m in full summer beach bum mode and thoroughly enjoying our current heatwave.

The only negative thing about this weather is that it makes cooking feel like you’re actually in the oven yourself.

Luckily I’ve discovered raw vegan cheesecakes to help cool me down this summer in the most delicious, and healthful way. Here is a recipe for one of my faves:

Raw Vegan Cheezecake

CRUST

  • 1 cup packed pitted dates
  • 1 cup raw walnuts

FILLING

  • 1 1/2 cups soaked raw cashews
  • 1 large lemon (juiced)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)

FLAVOR ADD-INS

  • 2 Tbsp salted natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup wild blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Place crust in food processor, then place on bottom of a springform pan. Next process filling and spoon on top of crust. Freeze for at least 3 hours. Serve.

Mountain Adventures & Black Bean Brownies

Hiking season is here. And after a long trek up a mountainside there’s nothing better than something sweet and delicious to treat yourself with.

This recipe hits both categories and is also really healthy, made with black beans and sweetened with maple syrup.

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup black beans (equals one can)
  • 2 T raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Then add chips and  pour into a greased 8×8 pan.

Easy and delicious.

Earth Day 2020

Thinking about global warming this morning and what it would be like if global warming had covid’s PR team.

Global warming is still the biggest threat to the planet. Imagine if we had PSA’s from our PM regularly telling us to do our part to stop global warming and also telling us exactly what to do? Imagine doctors on TV daily to remind us how deadly the air pollution associated with global warming is for our lungs. Imagine if we immediately shut down businesses that weren’t carbon neutral. Imagine if we were also regularly reminded of the billion animals who horrifically lost their lives in the global warming fuelled Australian bush fires and other monster fires like it.

Why don’t we have those PSA’s? Why aren’t we acting like global warming is the intense and immediate threat that it is?

These are my thoughts on Earth Day 2020

Making Quarantine Work for You

Everywhere I turn, on social media or in real life, I hear people lamenting about how much weight they’ve gained, how much junk food they are eating, how much they are drinking, how slothlike they’ve become and how bored they are. Or, on the flip side, how stressed they are from pushing themselves so hard to keep busy and learn new skills at this time.

Here’s an idea: Make quarantine work for you!

Make this the time that you eat clean, get fit and do the things that you might usually think you don’t have time to do, including practicing self-love, self-acceptance and the fine art of doing nothing.

A few suggestions I have are:

reading that great book you never seem to have time for, going for a solitary walk or run in nature, having a meditation session of just “being” at the beach or another favourite place in nature, learning how to cook new dishes, teaching your pet a new trick, creating structure in your day by taking a number of 15 minute yoga breaks, pampering yourself with a homespa experience, nourishing your body with delicious, nutrient-filled food, reaching out to friends regularly, either online or socially distancing in person, stopping to smell that beautiful spring flower and really seeing that sunset.

There are so many ways to make this a nourishing time for your body, mind and soul while we all wait to see what happens next.

Intermittent Fasting Sleep Benefits

It’s my first week of intermittent fasting and I’ve noticed a few amazing things already. I am sleeping like a baby. Yes, a baby. I used to be a late night snacker. I loved being a late night snacker and most nights would have a peanut butter toast, a big handful of cashews, yogurt or potato chips, depending on my cravings, but then I almost always would have a restless sleep and then awake the next day exhausted. Have you ever eaten right before bed? It’s actually a very uncomfortable feeling. And I all of the work your system is putting into digesting food at night actually gives you an anxious sleep where you might not even go into REM, the restorative stage.

So, my number one exiting benefit of IF this week is sleep. I’m starting to wake up feeling pretty rested for the first time in a long time and it feels amazing.

The second benefit this week is that I’m actually paying more attention to my body and my digestion. It’s a bit shocking how little attention we pay to our bodies on a day to day basis. Especially during times like this were most of us have a baseline of higher anxiety and are prone to a little too much comfier eating.

Intermittent Fasting helps you really tune into your body and your digestion and allows you to nourish your self with our over eating or inducing I’m mindless comfort overeating. Personally, I really like the structure of feeding myself from 11am to 7pm and then just giving my body a break. IF is helping me stay healthy in unsettling times.

Blossoms & Bliss Balls

Every spring I chase cherry blossoms around the city, so if you aren’t a cherry blossom lover, stop reading now.

The insane beauty of the city exploding on petals ranged from soft pink to fuschia fills me with awe every year.

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Chasing all of these blossoms works up an appetite so here is a recipe for delicious little energy balls to take with you when you’re on the go. There’s a lot of high level nutrition packed into these little balls:

Cashew Bliss Balls

  • 1 cup cashews, ground in food processor
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 T raw cacao powder in half
  • Splash filtered water

Mix ingredients together, form into balls, chill, serve.

Staying Healthy during a Pandemic

Panic surrounding the covid-19 virus is spreading every day with the world slowly but surely shutting down, one service at a time. Panic buying of toilet paper, fights in wine stores and general hysteria seem to be prevailing.

In reality though, there are a lot of things you can do to stay safe and healthy and none of them involve stock piling TP in your home.

Staying calm, well rested, connected to friends and family, and nourishing our bodies should be priorities right now. Here are a few more tips to keep you healthy during this anxious time:

  • Eat lots of fresh fruit, veggies and take your vitamins to keep your immune system healthy
  • Don’t panic. Panic and anxiety are huge immune suppressors. Stay calm.
  • Meditate. Do yoga.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
  • Walk in nature. Nature heals.
  • Don’t completely isolate. Being part of a community strengthens our immune system and uplifts our mood.
  • Do something nice for and elderly person or immune compromised person. They are the ones who are truly at risk.
  • Refuse to live your life in fear and greed.

This too shall pass. Be balanced, care about others, wash your hands, do the elbow bump, and we will survive this beautifully.

I’m ending this post with a few photos from my morning nature walk. Nature will always calm, heal and rebalance.

Intermittent Fasting

If you know me you know that I LOVE checking out new health fads and crazes. I recently tried food combing and my verdict was that it’s good for short term digestion issues or weight loss but almost impossible to keep up long term. Then I went totally sugar free. That was tough and didn’t make me feel as healthy as I had hoped so I’m back to using honey and maple syrup as well as treating myself to the odd dark chocolate bar.

Now I’ve decided to see what intermittent fasting is all about. I’ve been doing this few a few days and I swear I feel the effects already.

I’m doing 8/16 or 9/15 depending on the day, meaning that my window of eating every day is 8 or 9 hours and fasting is 15 or 16 hours. During the eating phase of the day you should have 3 balanced meals and try not to binge on unhealthy foods or you’re pretty much shooting yourself in the foot.

Eating this way leaves 16 hours for your body to take a break from digesting and focus on regeneration and healing. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea? Think of our hunter/gatherer ancestors ~ they weren’t bogged down with digestion all day long. They ate, went out to hunt and forage again and, if they were lucky, had another meal. If they weren’t lucky, they were naturally intermittent fasting. This way of eating is so natural for the human body and has a ton of health and anti~aging benefits that I’ll discuss in an upcoming post.

One word of caution though. If you’re active, only schedule activities during eating hours or you’ll be depleting yourself and breaking down muscle as well as fat, doing your body more harm than good.

I truly believe though that in our modern world where we are inundated with unhealthy food choices 24/7, intermittent fasting may be the path back to balance and health.

Happy Fasting.

Photos of a hike to Dog Mountain on Mount Seymour.