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.

Beach Yoga & Choco Energy Balls

Throwing it back this Thursday to last summer’s beach yoga. Practicing barefoot in the mud during low tide took me right back to happily playing in the mud when I was a child.

And what is summer all about if not keeping your inner child happy?

Another thing that keeps my inner child happy is chocolate. Here’s a grown-up, healthy and vegan chocolate snack that will make your inner child smile and do your body good:

Choco Energy Balls

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

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Watermelon Smoothies

When I feel like practicing yoga in a place where I can sink into the lush green beauty of nature; a place filled with towering trees, pretty pink lily pads, ribbiting frogs, still herons focused on catching a fish for their lunch and ducks gliding through the forest of lilies, I stroll through Stanley Park’s tree lined trails to a little hidden oasis called Beaver Lake.

Beaver Lake is a stunning and serene setting to meditate and practice yoga.

Bird chirps fill the air, frogs ribit happily from their watery home and the calm, peaceful lake is bursting with fuchsia lily pads.

I can easily spend an afternoon soaking up the beauty of the lake, meditating and practicing poses.

And after a few hours of practice, peace and meditation, I head home to replenish and rehydrate with a sweetly simple watermelon smoothie.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups watermelon, cubed
  • 1 T fresh mint
  • Big squeeze of lime

Place all ingredients in a blender, blend thoroughly and enjoy the hydrating and antioxidant ingredients that will do your body good.

Waterfalls and Berries

A hike up a mountain is one of my favourite things to do. Especially if there is a waterfall involved.

As I get a bit older though, I realize that how I fuel my body before, during and after a hike becomes more and more important.

I’ve found the hydrating qualities of fruit and veggies to be the perfect fuel for an active body, especially during the hot summer months.

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One of my favourite pre~hike recipes is my berry smoothie bowl. This powerhouse recipe has hydrating, antioxidant and fibre filled berries (did you know that raspberries have the most fibre of any fruit?) and creamy coconut milk to provide the kind of fat that will do your body good.

Add a couple of dates for iron and healthy sugars to fuel my body as I trek up that mountain and I’ve got a body loving bowl of goodness.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1cup strawberries
  • I banana
  • 2 dates

Blend together, top with fresh raspberries and unsweetened coconut and you have a beautiful, nourishing smoothie bowl.

Hiking and Appies

I love a trek to St. Mark’s Summit on a misty fall day.

Being surrounded by nature’s beauty makes my soul sing.

And, after a chilly excursion to the mountaintop, this dish helps to fill your hunger and warm your soul:

Savoury Puff Pastry

The Pastry:

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 14 T butter, frozen
  • pinch salt
  • 10 T chilled water
  • 1 T lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Place butter in the freezer overnight
  2. In a jug, mix together water and lemon juice and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Everything should be cold so you can put the bowl in the fridge to chill.
  4. Grate the frozen butter directly into the flour mix. Stir the frozen butter into the flour with a knife.
  5. Add the liquid, holding a little back just in case you don’t need it all. Add just enough water to keep the pastry together.
  6. Bring the dough together to form a ball, then place in fridge for at least one hour.

The Recipe:

Form puff pastry into little boats. Int the centre, add sliced cherry tomatoes and a layer of bocconcini and top with a fresh basil leaf.

Bake at 250 degrees for half and hour. Serve. Warm your soul.

Sunset Yoga

Yoga is not just repetition of few postures – it is more about the exploration and discovery of the subtle energies of life. ~ Amit Ray

Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame. ~ B.K.S lyenga

Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self. ~ The Bhagavad Gita

Namaste

Spreading a little Love

My little dog and I were on a long, meandering Sunday beach walk when I came across a fellow neighbourhood dog owner sitting with a friend. She is a large, elderly Eastern European woman and I can never remember her name. I always remember her dog’s name though and, in my mind, refer to her as her dog’s mom.

I waved to her, smiled and asked where her dog was. Her face crunched into a funny look and, in her thick European accent, she told me that she had given her dog up for adoption. I stared at her. He needed an operation she couldn’t afford she continued, so now he’s living with a family up the street. I was shocked. She and her pup seemed inseparable. Do you get to see him, I asked. Before she could answer, her friend piped up “The last time he saw her he looked at her like you’re my mama. Why did you give me to these people?”

I looked back at the former dog mama and saw her eyes well up with tears. In that second, I realized that the last thing this lady needed was my judgement. Everything about her energy told me that she had not had an easy life and her friend was, right now, attempting to pile more guilt on an already heartbreaking situation. I moved towards her, looked her in the eyes and said “You did the right thing” and gave her a big hug.

Did I really think she did the right thing? It doesn’t matter. She needed a little love and compassion and I was honoured to give it to her.

Sometimes we all let our egos and big opinions get in the way of just being there for another person. But when we just let the ego and opinions go and allow ourselves to support someone else without judging, it feels beautiful…for both people.

A world without empathy and compassion would be a horrible thing so I thank my neighbor for reminding me of this today and allowing me to let my better self shine through.

Earth Day Meditation & Mermaid Smoothie Bowl

I’m doing a chakra clearing meditation today. And any meditation is better when you’re getting a little healing tree energy at the same time.

Here’s what you do to clear and balance your first chakra:

Get grounded into nature ~ actually being in nature is best but you can do this at home too.

Tune into your 1st chakra at the base of your tailbone and imagine the bottom of your chakra opening up and a cord going deep into the earth from your 1st chakra. Now take a deep breath and think about all the old, stagnant energy that may be around this chakra that needs to go.

The first chakra is all about safety and security, so think of all of your fears around these areas, along with any old memories or painful feelings that surface, and imagine them leaving your body and going into the beautiful earth to be transformed. Keep going, imagining all of this old energy and old fear and sadness draining out of your body.

Make sure to honour any memories that come up in this process and stay with them as long as you need to. Don’t rush it. Let everything flow, knowing you can come back to this another day if you’re feeling a lot of emotion.

When the meditation is done, imagine the cord filling you up with energy from the earth. Then imagine closing the chakra and take three deep breaths to close the meditation, breathing in the new and sighing out the old.

This meditation could be done once or could be done every day for months, depending on how many issues come up for you. Repeat the meditation daily until there is nothing left to clear and then move on to do the same meditation with your second chakra, then third, then fourth etc. Expect amazing things to happen along the way.

And, after the meditation, I made a vegan, earth friendly snack that’s nutritious and delicious.

Mermaid bowl

  • 4 bananas
  • 1 avocado
  • pinch spirulina
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk

Blend together and top everything with coconut dusted blackberries.

This rich, yummy bowl is full of good fat from the avo, anti-aging antioxidants from the berries and good carbs, minerals and vitamins from the bananas.

Happy Earth Day