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.

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.

Golden Glow Smoothie

There is nothing better than a walk through the pumpkin patch at the end of October.

And after picking the perfect pumpkin I can’t wait to get home to start making muffins, pies and smoothies.

This smoothie is one of my fall faves. It’s sugar free and full of skin beautifying antioxidants, turmeric and collagen.

Here’s the recipe:

Golden Glow Smoothie

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cashew milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh pumpkin
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp lakanto monk fruit sweetener
  • 1 scoop unsweetened whey protein powder
  • 1 scoop vital proteins collagen
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy this sweet smoothie that will make your skin glow.

Sugar Detox Challenges

I’m on sugar free day 7, feeling amazing and power walking around Vancouver’s beautiful seawall.

The first few days were rough, feeling low energy, foggy thinking and wanting to go home to sleep for most of the day. It truly felt like a typical detox from an addictive substance. Day 4 was better. And now I’m feeling really good and really energized. I’m also spending my spare time researching the effects of sugar on the human body. Did you know that the average North American eats 20 tsp of added sugar per day? 20 teaspoons!! Think about how much that is for a moment. And that’s not fruit sugar.

That’s cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and other refined, processed sugars. 20 teaspoons of sugar is not going to do your body good. That amount will mess with your blood sugar, your hormones and your mood. How can people be eating so much? Try checking the labels of pretty much any packaged food and you’ll find sugar lurking there in some form. Soups, salad dressing, condiments, drinks. There it is. So, before you know it, you’re consuming several teaspoons without even knowing it. I’ve definitely been scrutinizing labels the last week and it’s been an eye~opener.

Step one on a sugar~free journey: Read Labels

Life Lessons from a Terrier Mix

Earlier this afternoon my little Terrier, who had been running wild around a sandy beach at low tide with me, decided to chase after three huge Canadian geese.

Each goose was probably at least 10 pounds heavier than him so it was pretty funny to see him chasing after the large birds. My friend who was watching the shenanigans with me commented “I’m surprised the geese haven’t gone after him. He has no idea how small he is, does he?”

He made a good point since there were more of them, they were heavier than him and Canadian geese have been known to be fierce, hissing at and even chasing people who venture too close to them.

But I knew exactly why the geese ran from my little dog. My dog fully, unwaveringly, 100% believes he is an 80 pound pit bull. And, because of this, he has a huge, confident energy.

I’ve seen him go after large, powerful dog breeds and he never gets hurt. I think he believes so strongly in his power that other beings end up believing he is powerful too.

Imagine if we all had that kind of confidence; if we all believed that we had the power to influence our lives as much as my little pup believes. We would be unstoppable. We wouldn’t stay in less than loving relationships, we wouldn’t let our work be anything other than our passion and we would believe that we are deserving of all good things.

We would be courageous in standing up for others and ourselves and our confidence would shine. Imagine how much happier our existence would be. Add a little empathy and compassion to the mix and imagine how much happier and successful this world would be.

This thought brought to you be a stubborn, confident Terrier mix.

Food Combining

 I’ve recently tried food combining. I’ve been struggling with pesky digestive issues lately, and by lately I mean the past few years. So I decided to see if this method of eating would help my bloated belly feel better.

Spoiler alert! It did.

What is food combining? It is the belief that protein and starches digest at different rates and, if eaten together, cause a sludgy build up of undigested food in the gut. This build up can lead to an unhealthy gut, bad bacteria, disease and allergies.

There are a few major rules around food combining and here they are:

  • Only eat fruit on an empty stomach, especially melons.
  • Don’t combine starches and protein.
  • Don’t combine starches with acidic food.
  • Try not to combine too many different types of protein.
  • Only consume dairy products on an empty stomach.

The last rule is to wait at least three hours ~ preferably four ~ between eating starch and protein.

This may sound like a lot of rules but food combining is relatively easy, and delicious, once you get used to it. And if you’re suffering from gut issues and their symptoms, it’s so worth putting the extra thought into your meal plans.

It can be as easy as eating that burger wrapped in lettuce “paleo style” or having your pasta dish with vegetable only tomato sauces.

The benefits of food combing is so worth the extra effort. Here are a few:

  • Kick ass digestion
  • Improved nutrient absorption
  • Glowing skin
  • In cases of overweight – weight loss

Who doesn’t want at least a few of these benefits?

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.