Full body restart

To thrive in times of transition keeping up a healthy lifestyle is paramount. I would say our bodies need good activity, sleep and nourishment to effectively adapt to a new routine and environment; yet the process of change makes it very challenging. Over these last four weeks I admittedly struggled to balance life change with a whole foods diet. Eating on-the-go quickly became part of my daily routine. Not even two weeks into the new job role, and I had caught a nasty cold. Now in my fourth week things are starting to settle.

photo 4With the realization that my new routine needed some clean-up I decided to take 12 days to cleanse. I use “cleanse” loosely for two reasons. First, the word can evoke negative connotations similarly to ideas associated with diets. Two because cleansing doesn’t have to mean abstaining from food. Really in this context it is simply the dietary lifestyle I aspire to stick to more consistently- that is dairy-free gluten-free whole foods. The other big piece is eliminating toxins, which includes alcoholic beverages.

Why cleanse? There are many theories behind the need to flush out our systems. Reasons can be related to things like cultural beliefs, seasonal change or weight loss. From what I have found everyone has different motivators. Despite being skeptical a few years ago, I have found cleansing very useful for bringing myself back to what feels very best on my digestive system, and that is unprocessed whole foods. Because of the highly modified nature of our food system, I would argue that modern society can benefit from cleansing now more than ever before.

SAM_9901One week into my heightened dietary consciousness and already I’m feeling much lighter. My taste buds have again shifted to more whole food options, which happens pretty quickly when sugar and wheat are off the table. It’s tough to abstain from casual drinks in social settings, but a worth while exercise. This week has also been good for creative lunch making. Turns out pre-cutting veggies and arranging snacks for the whole week makes packing meals a breeze.

SAM_9909Monday to Friday full-time work is a big transition from 3 jobs and shifts. I feel so privileged, especially as it will allow me more consistent free time to get foodie inspired. I think its fair to say I am nearly through transition!

Follow this link to a similar post from last year: Balancing pH with a Spring Cleanse. It has more information on the Wild Rose Cleanse, which is what I am loosely following this time around.

Already feeling the boost in energy! And how about this weather?

to health, happiness & sunshine,

~B

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Holistic Hydration

Hello foodies!

With warmer weather comes drinks! Some with a little alcohol, others of the hydration variety. Before reaching for that can of soda to quench your thirst, try exploring some alternatives. You might just find they taste better.

Juicing fruit and veggies is a  much larger topic for another post. Today I will outline some ideas for flavoured water and iced teas. Pop, juice and sugary blends are a trend of the past. Flip over these products and check out the ingredients… sugar (or some scientific name for sugar) is always the first ingredient.

Bring on the cucumber, ginger and lemon water ~ or perhaps iced herbal tea. Drinks without refined sugar will keep you hydrated longer and contribute to better overall health ~ including healthy weight management.

Sure water seems like a fairly basic subject, however our conventional knowledge of H20 is quite limited. We know we need it, but how much? how often throughout the day? and what kind of water?

The common thread seems to be ‘drink more’, because for a long time we have not been drinking enough. Experts in the realm of holistic nutrition recommend alkaline water, because ionized water should improve the body’s pH balance. Water ionizers can be very expensive, so at home I opt for a pH ion solution that is in powder form and stirred into my glass. Take a look at this pH Ion website for more information on the science and products behind these theories. Good water should invite alkalinity into the body by reducing acids. Making a commitment to drink plenty of water is part of living a health conscious lifestyle. Drink lots!

But what about taste? After giving up pop and juice, water has been my go-to beverage for several years now. At this point I pay very little attention to taste because I am so used to it as the only option. While eating at the Sitka Cafe last week I noticed they had cucumber water. Of course I had to try it… and the difference in really caught my attention. Since then I have been exploring new ways to spruce up basic drinks with a variety of ingredients. Getting creative with water will be a helpful tool for anyone looking to eliminate pop and juice from the fridge.

Inspiration for Flavoured H2O

  • mint
  • lemon
  • ginger
  • cucumber
  • orange
  • lime

*mix, match or by themselves. It’s a very easy process. Simply wash and slice your ingredients of choice before placing them into ice cool water. Give the veggies some time in the water for that flavour to settle in. Then keep the jug in the fridge ready for those who need hydration.

This also might be a fun way to get kids falling in love with water. They can help prepare it and perhaps eat any cucumbers that fall into their drink.

For those occasions where water is not the answer, it might be nice to try some steeped ice tea. One very warm day last week I was in Silk Road and tried their Alchemist’s Brew, ice cold. I quickly became one of those suckers who fell for the sales tactic. Before leaving the store I purchased a tin for home. This blend tastes really wonderful as an iced tea and I recommend you try it! It also looks more like juice, which might help win over younger ones!

It is worth experimenting with many types of tea, herbal or black ~ to see if you can enjoy them hot and cold, year round.

Hydration is essential for optimum health. What we choose to consume really does affect how we look and feel. Your skin, mind and body will thank you for keeping well hydrated with good holistic sources. Good hydration is one of the best ways to achieve a healthy glow.

And of course if you are really trendy you can opt to drink this water from a mason jar. Rachel will forever make fun of me for this, but look around ~ people are doing it.

Comment below if you have other ideas for sprucing up those simple drinks. Or share recommendations for iced teas.

I hope the long weekend was good to all of you. Wishing you a great second half of this one!

Cheers!

~B

Balancing that pH with a Spring Cleanse

Oh the sunshine feels sooooo nice on my shoulders! A welcome change after weeks of rain.

I spent some time this afternoon sitting outside the local coffee shop pondering my healthy and not so healthy choices these last seven days.  Ultimately coming to the conclusion that it is time for a Spring cleanse. Sticking with whole foods has become second nature – but after weeks of casual drinks and the odd hangover its time to reign in my alkalinity. Out with the alcohol and chocolate indulgences – and in with the greens (more and more greens).  In the past I have stuck with Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy 21-Day Cleanse- but I am without a juicer at the moment, and I lent that book to a friend. Instead I’ll take this opportunity to explore other options.

Cleansing is a controversial topic that deserves attention. Like anything else it can be done well – or not so well. There are several ways to approach the process, and just as many theories around its benefits. If we look to religious and cultural rituals in our ancestry we can see that cleansing has been an important part of annual dietary patterns – periods of feasting, fasting and cleansing; in accordance with seasons or holidays. The modern diet looks much different as we have access to all sorts of foods all year round.

Culturally, we have suppressed theories of cleansing because they are associated with starvation and absence. However, our excessive consumption and entitlements to food have given us new problems… chronic disease, processed meals and a malnourished overweight population. In the future, I imagine we will witness more balance between food consumption and cleansing as more of us understand the stress our bodies are under with the standard American diet (SAD).

Just over two years ago I decided to research cleansing a bit more before embarking on a 3 day juice feast (as suggested by those living an alkaline diet). It wasn’t easy – but it helped me find both the mental and physical clarity necessary to ease into the plant-based lifestyle. Looking back that was a turning point to better things, and I would recommend cleansing to anyone looking for tools to transition. Of course everyone is at different stages of their health journey – and should therefore do research before picking what is right for them.

Now that my understandings of food and health have shifted, I am more aware of what to look for in a cleanse. Several friends have just completed the Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox, which is based in minimizing acidic foods and focusing on alkalinity with the help of herbal supplements. Their testimonies are a reminder of how amazing I feel after a juice cleanse~ Lean body, clear skin and mental clarity – refreshing. Now seems like the right time to give this method a shot.

The video below explain this cleanse – how it relates to alkaline/acid forming foods, as well as clearing out the liver and lymphatic systems.

 

Before my cleanse begins I wanted to indulge in a healthy sweet. A friend of mine read about this snack in Women’s Health and then suggested I try it. While very high in natural sugars, and therefore not so alkaline – it is still much healthier than cadbury eggs! This snack will be especially useful after a long workout, when your body benefits from glucose during recovery. Or for young kids looking to make some fun but healthy sweets!

Ingredients

  • Banana
  • Almond Butter
  • Organic Dark Chocolate Chips

Method

  1. slice the bananas in half (long ways)
  2. spread almond butter
  3. add chocolate (shaved coconut and almonds would also be yummy)
  4. freeze overnight
  5. cut into bit size pieces and share

The temperature of this treat reminds me of ice cream – something I miss. Definitely worth a try. And of course be creative – maybe you prefer peanut butter, or coconut, or almonds. Just stick to whole ingredients and in you are in for a healthy treat.

This past week I have found myself very engaged in dietary discussions – as I am always intrigued by opinions on food. Though sometimes difficult, I also recognize that mine is just one perspective of many. I hope that those of you who choose to read also feel comfortable challenging my proposals. For me a great deal of happiness and love is associated with learning more about nutritious food ~ and my objective here is to encourage more chit chat on the topic.

On that note, I am very excited to see how this cleanse works out. Looking forward to sharing the good, the bad and the unexpected with you.

wishing you another week of health and happiness,

~B