As some of you may be aware, I spent the first two weeks of September eating my way through Italy. I travelled from Florence to the province of Umbria (between around 5 different towns) and eventually ended in Rome. Most days were fairly balanced but I did indulge in more sugar, gluten, dairy, and alcohol than I do on a regular basis. If you read my last two blog posts, you got an understanding of the steps I took to stay balanced while on vacation. It was my second time visiting Italy and I did notice that even though I ate more on an average day, my body processes the food more efficiently (especially in regards to gluten and dairy). I find that these foods along with their vegetables are a lot closer to the source with less GMOs and added ingredients. With all that being said, even though I react differently to Italians foods, my body was definitely ready for a detox when I got back and I was eager to get back into my routine. I am also getting married in just over 5 weeks and I want to feel as best as humanly possible for my big day. I do not just mean externally, I mean internally too. The weeks leading up to a wedding can be stressful (so I hear + have seen) so I want to be in the healthiest frame of mind too. When I am eating clean and exercising every day, I feel better equipped to handle curve balls, have more energy and quite frankly, get $#*& done!
Here is what I am currently doing to get back into my regular routine and feeling 110%:
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): I do this 5-6x/week for 30 minutes. This helps get my heart rate up as well as get me stronger (both mentally and physically)!
- Running: I run 2-3 times per week for 30 minutes. Although bootcamp gets my heart rate up, I find the combination of both HIIT and cardio gets me in the best shape and improves my energy and sleep too!
- Yoga: I try and go to yoga once every week (sometimes its every two weeks) for a good sweat and stretch. My favourite are Moksha classes that are heated!
- Diet: the trick here is to help out your body + digestive system as much as possible by limiting inflammatory foods and adding in important nutrients. This allows your body to work harder at getting your energy levels up and your body back into homeostasis.
- Limit (inflammatory foods) : gluten, dairy, sugar, and alcohol
- Add in: fibre, healthy fats, clean protein + lots of fresh, local and organic vegetables. The cleaner the food the better!
- Food for thought: on the first few days after a vacation (or if I just feel like I am in need of a quick fix), I have two smoothies per day + one meal. These smoothies will be high in protein, healthy fats, fibre, and green vegetables. There is minimal sugar as I want to balance my blood sugar. For my meal, I will keep it low carb and high in greens, proteins, and healthy fats (ex. quinoa bowl with avocado, broccoli, various vegetables, and healthy seeds).
- AM or PM rituals: to help myself feel even better, I will have chia water or lemon water in the mornings and digestive teas such as peppermint or fennel at night!
- Just think of supplements as getting a specific boost in areas where needed. This can be different for everybody, but for me it is about getting my digestive system and energy levels back to optimal state. Here is what I take:
- Chlorella: I talk about green algae a lot (spirulina and chlorella) because I LOVE THEM! These superfood supplements give me life and are great for your digestive system, adrenals, and entire body! I take them for my energy and to promote detox within my body.
- Probiotics: I also talk about these bad boys quite often. Probiotics help build up your gut flora, remove the bad bacteria + replace it with good. After travelling I find it extra important to focus on your gut health.
- Adaptogens: I take these (specifically holy basil and rhodiola) to get my hormones back in line. Adaptogens quite literally adapt to each person's body differently and give you what you need. There are many different types but since I find that travelling and flying impacts my internal stress levels in my body, I take ones that are more geared towards lowering cortisol levels. Rhodiola and holy basil are both great for that!
- On a daily basis I get anywhere between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. I love my sleep and put a high priority on getting a good one each night. When I was in Italy, I would average between 5-7 hours a night (thank you FitBit for the insight) and I definitely felt it. I was in 6 different hotels within 2 weeks so there was a lot of moving around, adjusting to new environments, late evenings, and of course my body was still getting regulated. Now that I am back home, I am back to my 8-9 hours/night and feel great. On the first night back to help myself get into a routine I took a melatonin. After night 1, I was back to sleeping easily and regularly and find myself exhausted at 9pm each night and I love it (said no 29 year old ever?)
5. My 5 Day Detox!
- Finally, from September 25-29th, I am hosting a 5 day detox for people who live in Toronto! It consists of 3 meals and 2 snacks per day and all the meals are ones that I eat myself to feel cleansed and energized. Join me next week and sign up here!
Arrivederci from Italy!
I have spent the last week traveling Italy and I will be here for another week. My last blog post touched on my packing essentials and what I did to fight jet lag. I am happy to report that I really did not get jet lag. I will admit I got tired (and cranky) during my adventure to Italy (15 hours of travel, delayed + cancelled flights, broken luggage + a temporaily lost garment bag) but after a good night's sleep, lots of water, and some green juices + smoothies, I felt back to normal!
This vacation for me is all about balance. This is a relatively new concept for me as I am an extremist and tend to be all in or all out! It is a work in progress but I have realized that a good portion of healthy living is the mentality and attitude you have towards food.
Here are my tips for staying balanced while on vacation:
- FitBit. I will admit, I was very late to jump on the Fitbit bandwagon. But I am fully on board now! My Fitbit has truly changed my life and has been an eye opener. This is my first vacation while having a Fitbit and I love it! I love tracking my sleep quality, calories burned, steps taken + heart rate. I aim to take 10-15K steps in a day and often find that motivates me to take the stairs instead of the escalator or walk instead of cab.
- Packed Snacks. If you read my last blog post, you might have seen that I packed some healthy snacks on my trip. I find these very helpful for eating on the go, adding sustenance and keeping that blood sugar balanced! I packed: hemp seed, chia seed, Lara bars, healthy teas such as peppermint and licorice (both for aiding digestion), Vega green water mixers, and spirulina/ginseng energy balls. I add the hemp seed and chia seed to foods at meals such as yogurt, fruit, eggs, sandwiches, etc. The younger me would have been very insecure to do such a thing in public out of concern for what people may say to me but current me gives 0 f's. My advice to anyone who has trouble with this concept: YOU DO YOU. If you are worried what people will think or say, do not. These people should be supporting you and encouraging you to feel your best. I have realized that often when people have something to say about this, it is coming from their own insecurities. Like I said, YOU DO YOU SHORTY!
- Vitamins + Supplements. These are another reason why I did not get jet lag. Flying can be very hard on your body so I made sure to take supplements on the plane as well as every single day here. I take chlorella/spirulina (for detox, digestion, and energy), shelf stable probiotics i.e. ones that do not need to be put in the fridge (for digestion and help assimilating your body to local bacteria), maca (for energy + hormone balance which can often get disrupted during travel), and finally Holy Basil which is an adaptogen that helps decrease cortisol levels in your body (i.e. stress levels)
- Take Advantage of the Natural Landscapes + Scenery. What I mean by this is, if you are in Jamaica take advantage of their gorgeous beaches, swimming, water sports. When I was in Florence, we walked everywhere. The past two days I was in Assisi which is a town in the mountains. As you can imagine, everything is uphill so even walking to dinner was a nice little workout. I also ran every morning which I find is a great way to start the day as well as explore the city and scope out any places you would like to see later.
- Indulge (during the day). Sometimes this is not doable and that is okay! When I indulge, I try to have those meals or sweets during the day so it gives my body time to digest and break down rather than sitting in my stomach and going right to bed. If I eat indulgences late at night, I take some digestive enzymes or have peppermint tea to help with digestion.
- Pick up Groceries. Although I packed some snacks and supplements, I could not pack produce! Try and find a grocery store and pick up staples along the way. For example, I found a grocery store and picked up avocados that I could cut up and add to the breakfast included with my hotels such as eggs or toast. Sprinkle with some hemp seed and you are good to go! I also found some pumpkin seeds, quinoa, and lots of Greek yogurt!
- Healthy Local Restaurants. Do some research beforehand, ask your hotel, or reach out to your community on social media for tips on where to eat. If any of you saw my Instagram stories or post, I found an amazing place called Shake Cafe in Florence and became obsessed with their green juice, ginger shots, and avocado spinach smoothie. I visited this place every day during my stay which I can definitely say helped with my lack of jet lag and energy levels.
- Chill Out + NO GUILT. There are going to be days where you eat/drink a lot and that is okay! The whole point of vacation is to relax and let go a little. Do not be too hard on yourself.
Here are my travel essentials to ensure that I feel as good as possible when I land:
- Reading material. I am obsessed with personal development books but usually do not find the time to read books during my regular day to day life (I listen to audio books on a daily basis though), so I take advantage of my down time on planes and bring a book I have been looking to read!
- iPad + bluetooth keyboard. I rarely bring my laptop as I find it too heavy in my carry on so I bring my iPad with a bluetooth keyboard instead. It also props up the iPad which makes it perfect for viewing pre-downloaded movies or Netflix shows
- Healthy snacks. I opt for snacks with not too much sugar and all natural ingredients so that I can avoid most airplane foods and salty snacks that will just make me end up feeling bloated and hangry.
- Hemp seed. I put that $&*# on everything. No seriously, I usually bring hemp seed with me everywhere and then embarrassingly add them on my meals in public. I love the taste, texture and more importantly, the health benefits!
- Chlorella. A pick me up and also a great way to cleanse your liver so if you plan on going on a wilder type of trip, make sure to take this superfood!
- Maca. Great for energy especially when jet lagged.
- B12. This is also great for energy, especially for vegetarians who may not get enough of this vitamin from food sources. I do not eat much meat so I take this to ensure I am operating at full capacity.
- Water! Our bodies can get super dehydrated at such a high altitude so either opt for water when the attendants come around instead of sugar drinks, pop or caffeine (unless you are trying to stay awake)
- Water enhancers. Whether electrolytes or greens, it is always a good idea to bring some water boosters to give your body as much nourishment as possible.
- Eye mask. Blocking out all the light on the plane always helps me fall asleep or stay asleep longer, which brings me to my next point...
- Melatonin. I have a really hard time falling + staying asleep on planes. My body is also very sensitive so I proceed with caution with supplements so that I am not left feeling groggy the next day. If I am taking a short flight (4 hours or less) I do not take anything and usually stay awake, if it is 4-7 hours I will take half of a 5mg melatonin. If it is 7+ hours I will usually take the full one.
Other important notes:
- Avoid: alcohol, sugar, caffeine + processed food. I am not telling you to not eat this at all, I am saying if you want to feel great when you land and start the trip feeling as best as possible, avoid those stimulants as they will feel great right away but will cause crashes, dehydration + mess with your blood sugar!
- Wear something comfortable. If you are comfortable travelling in heels then travel in heels, if you are comfortable in lulus, wear lulus! I am definitely the latter and also tend to bring a comfortable sweater as I get cold on planes.
- Pack extra clothes. I was taught to bring a change of clothes in case (god forbid) something happens to your checked bag.
- For beauty: I bring make up wipes, eye drops, moisturizer, and saje rollers to help me come alive at the end of the flight!
I am no where close to perfect + don't always follow these rules, but if I want to feel my best, then I have to try my best! I put in a little more determination and effort, and it pays off!
CIAO BELLAS! xo
Being sick SUCKS and I think that is something everyone in the world can agree upon. No one wants to feel sick, lethargic, weak, in pain, and less than 100%.
My job is based around making others feel better + more energized on a daily basis but getting sick is often inevitable and sometimes it is your body's way of telling you to sloooooow down. With that being said, here are my go to's during the winter months (and beyond).
Ginger + Lemon
You can't have one without the other. Well you can, but these to me are like Bert and Ernie, better together (I could have used a more relevant duo but they are quite the pair).
Confession: I do not enjoy the taste of it so lemon makes it taste better for me. Sometimes you have to suck it up to get the health benefits from certain foods. Ginger is one of them for me. It is great for nausea, clearing your sinuses, improving your digestive function and nutrient absorption.
Rich in vitamin c, has antimicrobial properties, full of electrolytes, and alkalizes your body which makes it harder for germs and viruses to thrive in
These are my go to's on a good day! But I find them extra important on days I need some extra energy + assistance
- Maca: just like ginger, I cannot stand the taste of this but it is SO good for you so I take it in pill form. Great for energy, full of antioxidants, great for pain (also cramps and mood swings ladies)
- B12: helps boost energy!
- Chlorella: if I could tell anyone to supplement with one thing it would be chlorella. A green algae that is so powerful I cannot believe its not a household staple. It is so great for detoxifying the body, cognitive function, a digestive aid, an immune booster, packed with protein, fibre + almost every vitamin, and get this... it is one of the most concentrated forms of antioxidants! Stop what you are doing and go buy this (make sure it is "cracked cell" chlorella and if it is mixed with spirulina, that is an even bigger bonus!)
- Vitamin C: vitamin c is a water soluble vitamin which means it flushes through your body and cannot be stored (unlike fat soluble which can be stored in your body for later use). So don't think because you ate that orange 3 weeks ago you are good to go!
Such a powerful source of antioxidants! Some background on antioxidants...
What are antioxidants? They help destroy free radicals in your body and prevent oxidation.
What!? Free radicals are essentially unstable cells that can cause havoc on your body and have a snowball effect creating more unstable cells. Germs, bad bacteria, smoking, chemicals + pollution are some examples of free radicals that enter your body.
What does that have to do with antioxidants? Think of antioxidants as the SWAT team who come in and stabilize the bad guys (i.e. free radicals)
Where can I get antioxidants? Foods that are rich in vitamins A, C + E. Yes it is that simple! Oranges, broccoli, sweet potato, kale (obviously), spinach, strawberries, peppers, and mangoes are my favourite sources!
Add in a little bit of honey and you have a throat soothing, immune boosting, antibacterial cup of goodness. I love the taste of chamomile so I drink it on a regular basis but drink even more when I am not feeling well. My mom got me hooked on it at a young age and instilled the idea in me that it makes everything better! Which is does.
Special shoutout to peppermint, fennel, and lemon which happen to be in one of my favourite essential oil rollers from Saje, the "Super Detox". This roller can be used after a long weekend (if you catch my drift), before workouts, in the shower or my favourite- when under the weather to get rid of the gunk and clear those lymph nodes!
Oil of Oregano
My in laws got me hooked on this a few years ago and it is life changing. Oil of oregano is antimicrobial and anti fungal which simply put, gets rid of bacteria (kind of like a natural antibiotic). But be careful to not overdo it and have it every day as you would a vitamin, as just like an antibiotic is can reduce the good bacteria in your body as well!
When I was younger a staple in my household was a "heating pad" but fast forward a couple decades and the thought of putting something electronic on my body does not sounds so hot (pun fully intended). Now you can buy ones that come with a clay insert which can be put in the freezer for cold and in the microwave for hot (or boil water and insert). This is great for any pains, aches, or simply for calming down your nervous system and giving it some TLC.
Last but not least, magnesium! So calming, relaxing and can even help with nausea. My favourite is the Magnesium "Calm" powder right before bed as it helps you unwind. Not only does it help you fall asleep, it helps you stay asleep too!
Have any questions for me? Comment below!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
This year I am going to be bringing out the most amazing version of myself and my business. None of this new year, new me bull$%@*. New Year, SAME ME, just refined and improved. Because I am pretty great and so are you! So don't think for one second you need to be a new person to be better. We are going to be bringing you more recipes, new meals on our menu and much, much more. First recipe of the year is our oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I have a serious sweet tooth so I am always playing around with new dessert ideas, and voila...
OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!
Gluten Free + Vegan*
Yields: 12 cookies
- 1.5 cup oats
- 2 bananas
- 8-10 dates
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate or dairy free chocolate* chips
- 1/4 natural nut butter (I suggest almond, cashew or peanut)
- 1 heaping tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or regular pure vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350
- Place dates in food processor and mix until finely chopped
- Add in diced banana followed by the nut butter + mix until well combined and smooth
- Next, mix in the maple syrup and vanilla
- Add in the oats and blend until well combined
- Finally, manually mix in the chocolate chips so that they stay whole
- Form into balls and flatten on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you are finding the dough too sticky, place in fridge for 10 minutes or form patties while hands are wet.
- Cook for 12-15 minutes depending on desired crispness.
My mother in law got me hooked on this amazing recipe! They are great for holiday events, hostess gifts, stocking stuffers, or salad toppers! A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy!
Adapted from Ina Garten's DELICIOUS cashew recipe:
Just with some slightly healthier substitutions.
- 5 cups cashews
- 1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- Cook cashews for 10 minutes at 350 on baking sheets.
- In meantime, mix together remaining ingredients. To make mixture more runny, place in oven for 3-5 minutes.
- Once cashews are toasted and mixture is runny combine the two.
Let cool and enjoy!
Healthy, sweet + perfect for serving at a dinner party this holiday season. Top with frozen yogurt, banana ice cream, or coconut ice cream!
- 1.5 cups chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tsp. vanila bean or vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil (for greasing cookie skillet)
- Preheat oven to 350
- Mix together all ingredients (except the chocolate chips and pecans) until fully combined
- Once mixed, add in pecans and chocolate chips and manually stir
- Spread on greased skillet and pack in evenly
- Cook for 30 minutes, let cool!
The holidays are about balance and so are these little appetizers. They are small + portioned but combine a just the right amount of goodness in each bite!
- 24 x Small Won Ton Wrappers
- Brie Wheel (cut into small cubes)
- Fig Jam (store bought or make your own chia fig jam depending on the time of year!)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (to grease cupcake tin)
- Preheat oven to 350
- Place one won ton wrapper in each greased cupcake tin
- Add 1/2 tbsp of fig jam into each tin, follow with one brie cube
- Once complete, cook for 10-12 minutes depending on desired crispiness
I know you'll love them XOXO gossip girl. Sorry, I had to! These candied pecans are addictive. You have been warned!
- 1 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350
- Mix together all the ingredients and spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Cook for 10-12 minutes (I usually remove from oven and move them around a bit... and eat a couple. There I said it)
Great on a charcuterie board, in salads, yogurt, by themselves, everywhere and anywhere. Enjoy... XO!
YASSSSSS so delicious.
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla bean
Mix all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until fully combined. Pour into a bowl and let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes, stir and place in fridge for at least 2 hours.
Top with candied pecans! Stay tuned for that delicious recipe in tomorrow's post!
HAPPY EATING! XO