8 Ways to Become the Healthiest Version of Yourself

Hello there friends!

I wanted to write a post based on a question I get asked quite often, “How do I become healthier?”

With all the information on the world wide web these days navigating nutrition can seem impossible. I think the true path to health is the simplest, and involves just a few simple adjustments to your daily routine.

1. Move

It doesn’t matter what form of exercise you choose to participate in, as long as you make a point of being active on a daily basis. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense exercise per week for adults and more for kids.  This includes anything from brisk walking to swimming, weightlifting, or jogging. I love to emphasize variety into my daily exercise routine and I rarely ever do the same workout twice. This I find is key to staying motivated and making exercise fun.

2. Eat real food

Eating healthy is not complicated or boring. Emphasize foods in their whole form, fruits, vegetables, meats and fats from happy animals, whole grains, and a moderate amount of nuts and seeds. Stay away from most things that come in a package or “convenience foods” with unrecognizable ingredients. Treat yourself every once in a while but keep it real for the most part. As you start to eat more whole foods your palate will adjust and you will start to feel good and crave the healthier alternatives.

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3. Surround yourself with like-minded people

Join an online community or make a friend at the gym. Swap healthy recipes with family members or friends. Hold a healthy food potluck. Find people you can turn to for support. The sooner you start to see prioritizing health as a lifestyle, the sooner it becomes routine. People may start to take notice and ask you questions, keep it up, you are inspiring!

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4. Appreciate the little things

At first progress may seem slow, but slow changes in the short term lead to big changes in the long run. This is not a 21-day detox or 2 week quick-fix. Diets don’t work. Consistency does. If you find you are down a dress size or maybe you can run further than you ever thought possible, you are making progress. And progress, no matter how small, is progress. Use these changes to fuel your motivation in the gym and in the kitchen.

5. Find new ways to treat yourself

Instead or rewarding a week of clean eating and exercising with a weekend binge of fast food and alcohol, celebrate with a new cool pair of shoes or a snazzy workout outfit. Call a friend and tell them your progress, or host a family dinner filled with lots of fresh, healthy food. Don’t undo your hard work with bad choices. That being said, don’t completely deprive yourself either. Partake in a small piece of cake at a birthday celebration or some pizza on date night. Be aware of your portions and indulge smartly.

6. Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

Don’t become uptight about your diet or exercise routine. When healthy living becomes an obsession, it is no longer healthy. Don’t feel like you can’t partake in social gatherings because there won’t be any healthy food served or because it entitles missing your workout. Have a relaxed approach to health, and if you have one bad day, forgive yourself and get back on track.

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7. There is no magic formula

This is perhaps the most important one. There are hundreds, probably thousands of diet books and health gurus out there that will convince you that they have found the path to radiant health, better digestion, and the cure to every disease. Any health ailment that you may have, they can cure it. This is a farce and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to health. A balanced diet and exercise routine is all you need to achieve the healthiest version of yourself. No superfoods or magic pills involved.

8. Listen to your body

Learning what works for you in terms of fuel and exercise comes from trial and error. Find foods that you like and that your body responds well to. Find an exercise routine that leaves you feeling energized and strong. Your own intuition is the best guidance for optimal function.

 

Now I want to here from you! Would you add anything to this list? What is something that has helped you on your healthy living journey?

WIAW #14

Howdy and welcome to another rendition of What I Stuffed My Face With Lately!

It’s finally sunny summer here in the Canadian East and that means the arrival of fresh, local produce. I’ve been loving starting my day with a green juice made with fresh produce from the farmers market.

GreenjuiceAround mid morning I love to fill my belly with some chia buckwheat ‘cereal’. I have been kicking myself for not trying chia pudding out earlier. It is thick and creamy and so filling! I  make it with my homemade sesame seed milk (using my Cheater’s Nut Milk recipe with tahini instead of almond butter) and top it with some soaked buckwheat groats, banana, cacao nibs, and hemp seeds.

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Perfect summer breakfast.

Because really who wants to eat hot oatmeal when its 40 degrees outside? Not me!

Keeping with the cooling theme, I’ve really been craving crisp salads for lunch. Lots of fresh organic greens and veggies, with some lentils and sweet potato fries on the side. I can’t really ask for more.

IMG_0132For dinner we have been taking full advantage of the grilling weather and using the BBQ almost exclusively. Besides the usual ribs n’ burgers, we love to grill fish.dinner

Wild caught haddock, broccoli, red quinoa, lemon tahini dressing

I’m really looking forward to harvesting our garden in a few months. This year we have a few varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and raspberries.

IMG_1510But the real highlight will be the plum and nectarine bounty (remember last year?).

My precious

My precious

Between summer school, farmer’s markets, work, and sunshine, this summer will be one to remember!

Question: What do you love about summer?

Recipe ~ Chia Buckwheat Breakfast Bowl

Hey guys, guess what?

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Its finally summer!

Man, that was probably the longest winter I’ve seen in 14 years of living in Canada. Thankfully we got back from our trip down South and it was HAWT. I got home and opened a window for the first time in what felt like 10 years of winter.

Freezing cold winter and boiling hot summer, that’s how the weather rolls here in the big North. And I don’t know about you but the last thing I want to do when its 40 degrees outside is turn on the stove or the oven.

Enter no-cook breakfasts.

Creamy chia seed pudding topped with chewy buckwheat, sweet banana, and crunchy cacao nibs. Stove who?

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Raw Breakfast Bowl

Inspired by Angela’s Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl

Serves 1

Ingredients

Chia pudding base:

  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp maca root powder (optional)

Toppings:

  • 1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats, soaked
  • 1/2 medium banana, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp shredded dried coconut (I used Let’s do Organic)
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
  • 1 tbsp raw shelled hemp seeds

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the ingredients for the chia pudding together and set aside to thicken overnight.
  2. In another bowl, place the raw buckwheat groats and add enough filtered water to cover completely. Allow to soak overnight.
  3. In the morning, drain and rinse buckwheat groats and layer them on top of the chia pudding. Top with your sliced banana, shredded coconut, cacao nibs, and hemp seeds.
  4. Grab a spoon and dig in!

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This breakfast is super filling thanks to the 17 g of protein, whole grain carbs, and healthy fats. It is also vegan and properly food combined, if that’s important to you. Either way, it is delicious, nutritious, and totally energizing!

And you didn’t even have to turn on your stove. You’re welcome.

5 Things I’m Loving Abroad

My time here in Colombia is growing shorter and shorter and that’s why I’m making each day count.

1. Today I helped my grandmother make arrowroot flour. ARROWROOT FLOUR. I didn’t even know that was a plant. If you would have asked me before I would have said it was magic fairy dust that fell from the heavens.

My grandfather has over 200 arrowroot tuber plants and my grandmother processes them into starch (lengthy process) in her very own kitchen. She uses the finished starch to make a traditional snack food called achiras.

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These salty butter cracker-type snack is made of arrowroot,  fresh cheese, salt, lard, and butter. They are crunchy and satisfying and gluten-free to boot. I could eat these things allllll day.

2. There are so many stray animals here.

The usual cats and dogs but I’ve also seen goats literally balancing on one small rock on a steep mountain. Agile creatures indeed. The stray dogs also make me feel overwhelmingly homesick for my own pup.

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3. Parque Nacional Chicamocha (National Park Chicamocha)

There is an amazing tourist park nestled in the canyon of Chicamocha, a beautiful part of the Andes mountains. The biggest attraction is the cable cars that go down the mountain into the canyon and come up the other side. The scenery is breathtaking.

panachi2Besides the cable cars we also went to a goat petting zoo and an exotic bird zoo that had ostrich eggs bigger than my entire hand!

 4. Handstand challenge

I must have over 50 pictures of me doing a handstand somewhere in Colombia.

IMG_0829Besides handstands, my workouts here have been almost 100% bodyweight training. I like to do Bodeefit workouts and Purely Fit Life workouts. If you ever thought you couldn’t get a good hard workout in without equipment, these two sites will prove you wrong!

5. The food. 

You didn’t think I’d write a post without mentioning food did you?

Food

I love all the fresh fruit and vegetables here. I saw red bananas and papayas growing in the outskirts of the city where I am staying but my grandfather also cultivates various other crops. The chicken in the picture above is raised and killed by my uncle. You can tell by the colour alone that it is a pastured chicken chock-full of nutrition. It was the best chicken I’ve ever eaten.

Have a great week!

Travels Part 1

Hola from South America!

Yep, I’m up in the air again and enjoying a few weeks in my home country of Colombia. I’ve been soaking up every ray of sunshine which is much appreciated after our deep frozen Canadian winter.

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Other than gym and pool time, I’ve been on a lot of road trips through the gorgeous Andes mountains.

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Sometimes we get are driving so high up in the mountains that we pass through CLOUDS!

IMG_0220But I get antsy on road trips so stops usually involve some yoga…

IMG_0234You aren’t cool until you’ve done crow pose on a rock on a mountain. Just sayin’. When we hop back in the car, we are greeted with sights of mountain sides littered with fields of crops like tobacco, pineapple, papaya, passionfruit, watermelon and more.

IMG_0201The abundance of fresh, local food is one of the things I love the most about Colombia. I’ve been eating lots of fresh local tropical fruits and vegetables, cheeses, eggs, and meats.IMG_0245The farm animals are so cute! Especially this newborn baby goat.

IMG_0250The mountains are a different world all together. No wifi, no phone service; just nature and lots of it.

IMG_0356And because I’m a CrossFitter I can’t resist taking gymnast-y pictures everywhere…

IMG_0342I surprisingly have no food pictures for you, I know I’m a disgrace to my own blog, but I’ve been really trying to shift the focus away from food for once. I spent too many years fixated on food and have just been enjoying myself and not over-thinking my meals. I promise I’m still eating my fruits and veggies but I’ve also been eating some not-so-regular foods like good bread and sweets. The word moderation has been bouncing around my brain a lot lately.

We still have a few more weeks here so be on the look out for Part 2 and 3 to my travels!

5 Reasons to Eat More Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs are the original superfoods. Not only can they take a dish from bland to mouthwatering with just a finely chopped handful, but they also have numerous health-promoting benefits. From helping to detox heavy metals from the body to providing protection against degenerative diseases, here’s 5 reasons to eat more of what I like to call mini leafy greens!

1. Herbs help remove toxic metals

Chemical compounds in herbs like cilantro and parsley bind to heavy metals and other toxic agents in the body, loosening them from the tissues, blood, and other organs to help them be eliminated from the body. I personally love to add fresh herbs to my smoothies, they add a pleasant (but not strong or bitter) taste.

2. Herbs have antiviral properties

Essential oils extracted from herbs like basil and oregano have shown to have powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antibiotic effects. Basil actually restricts the growth of bacteria like Listeria, E-coli, and other pathogens that become resistant to commonly used antibiotic drugs. Furthermore, studies have shown that washing produce with a few drops of essential basil oil can kill off some food borne illnesses. So add some basil to your next salad!

3. Herbs have anti-inflammatory effects

Herbs like sage have important anti-inflammatory properties that provide healing benefits and symptomatic relief in people suffering from inflammatory diseases like arthritis (high levels of Vitamin K that assist in building bone mass) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

4. Herbs promote sound digestive health.

Numerous digestive health benefits are associated with herbs like peppermint. Peppermint has been used for centuries because of its medicinal properties (it has even been found in some Egyptian tombs!). Peppermint is especially effective in treating IBS, colonic spasms, infantile colic and other digestive disorders. If you have a heavy meal, it is wise to drink some peppermint tea to soothe digestion.

5. Herbs have powerful anti-cancer effects

Most herbs like rosemary have high concentrations of the antioxidant carnosol and studies have proven its benefits in cancer treatments as well as healthy digestion and use of cholesterol. Compounds in rosemary and thyme have also been shown to prevent oxidation in the tissues. Add some to some tomato sauce!

Herbs are super versatile and are great for adding lots of flavour and nutrition to food so make sure to include them in your next meal!

WIAW-Halfway through April Edition!

Happy Hump Day friends!


Does anyone else feel like time is going by wicked fast? We are almost 1/3 of the way through the year. I have an exam (at 7pm….) tomorrow and then I am officially done my first year of university! I can’t say I enjoyed it to be brutally honest, but I did learn a lot and am glad to have had the experience. I won’t be going back next year but more on that in another post.

Let’s get to the food!

Breakfast

I actually had a bowl of sliced apples before this but I didn’t take a picture…..Anyway bacon, egg, sauerkraut, and sauteed veggies.

IMG_0102 Morning snack

Crunchy peanut butter = love

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Lunch

Grass-fed oxtail stew with cauli-rice.

IMG_0126This meal was ah-mazing. I used my grandma’s tried and true recipe for the oxtail which turned out finger-lickin’ good.

Post-WOD smoothie made with banana, hemp protein powder, cinnamon, vanilla and water.

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I’m surprisingly really liking hemp protein in smoothies. I’d read several reviews that it tasted like grass clippings but I don’t find it tastes like anything at all.

Dinner

Red quinoa salad with zucchini, greens, and an avocado-lime dressing.

IMG_9752We shall call this the “kitchen sink” salad. Leftover quinoa, the odd ends of spiralized zucchini, the last of my mixed greens, and an avocado threatening to go brown if I left it one second more.

And of course no day is complete without chocolate…

choI actually prefer the taste of 90% dark chocolate but the store was out. Sacrifices, sacrifices ;)

Have a great week friends!