prepare for winter now

We’re only just entering Fall but before you know it, Winter will descend upon us and I want to make sure you are good and ready! For my Canadian friends, you understand that Winter here means sub-zero temperatures, days without sunshine and getting hit by the common cold. If you’re like me Fall and Winter means dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder, an often times incapacitating condition.

Instead of waiting for Winter to hit and potentially struggling through it, I say prepare now – create habits that will help you get through the cold season in a healthy and happy way.

prepare for winter now

Ways to prepare for Winter now:

Vitamin D – We obtain vitamin D from certain foods, supplements and sun exposure. It helps our bodies absorb calcium, remodel our bones, improve our mood and enhance our immune system among a host of other amazing functions. Throughout Spring and Summer, your body makes vitamin D through contact with your skin but during the Winter, the sun’s rays are not strong enough to synthesize vitamin D. Eating vitamin D rich foods and supplementing are a good idea to help prevent deficiency and can have positive effects on Seasonal Affective Disorder. As always, please contact your health practitioner before using supplements.

Exercise – One of the easiest ways to improve our moods is through exercise. Maybe you join a bootcamp or attend a yoga class a few times a week to get yourself into a routine now so that you will carry this through the Winter months. This will keep your spirits high and help to keep Winter weight off.

Detox – A whole food, plant-based detox (such as my Fall ReBoot Detox) is great to do post-Summer and pre-Winter. Maybe you had one too many beers or dairy-free gelato or perhaps there is some disconnect between your mind and body. A safe and gentle detox can help to boost your immune system, improve your mood, lower inflammation and improve digestion – all things that are helpful before Winter.

Water – Such a simple thing but keeping hydrated through the cooler months is important to: flush out toxins, help with the digestion of food and many other biochemical reactions, carry nutrients to all of our cells and regulate our body temperature.

Stock-up – Purchasing in-season fruits and veggies to make meals to freeze will be helpful when you get home from work and it’s dark and you are tired and don’t want to cook. You can simply take a soup or stew out of the freezer to thaw and you’ll have something ready by the time you’re home.

And if at all possible, book yourself a relaxing vacation to a hot destination. There are tons of great yoga and eco-retreats available. Personally, I’d like to visit California, I’m pretty sure I’m destined to live there!

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chai-spiced no-oatmeal

Today marks the first day of Fall! I have to say that despite being a warm weather girlĀ  at heart, there’s something about the crisp Fall air that I love. Not to mention, seasonally it is such a wonderful time for fresh, local produce. Apples, squash and grapes, specifically Coronation grapes, have you tried these? Do so!

My breakfasts for Fall generally consist of something warming like oatmeal. But with my recently launched Fall ReBoot Detox ebook, we will be avoiding grains for 7 days which is why I have included the Chai-Spiced No-Oatmeal recipe found below. It is perfect for breakfast and is nourishing, fibre-rich and detoxifying!

chai spiced no oatmeal

CHAI-SPICED NO-OATMEAL

1 medium acorn squash
1/2 can coconut milk
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 apple, diced
raw honey, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut acorn squash in half. Fill a roasting pan with 1 inch of water and place squash flesh-side down. Roast for 45 mins or until very soft. Scrape out seeds and discard. Spoon squash into a food processor. Add coconut milk, coconut flakes, chia and spices. Blend until smooth and top with diced apple, sweeten with raw honey.

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heal from the inside out

My dear friend and fellow holistic healer, Natalia Ria and I are thrilled to be launching our Heal From the Inside Out program at Moksha Uptown this month!

We have been asked some questions about the program so we’ve created a Q+A to share a bit about our backgrounds and how we came to heal.

heal from the inside out

A little bit about us…

Natalia (N): About 7 years ago I stepped on the path of transformation following a plunge into darkness-I was depressed, struggling with eating disorders, substance abuse, in a dysfunctional relationship and in a job I hated. I had no sense of who I was nor why I was here. So I embarked on a journey to India where I lived for 3 months at an ashram, exposing myself to as many alternative healing methods and spiritual practices as I could. When I returned home, I dedicated my life to healing myself and pursuing studies in holistic therapies. What I discovered along the way is that no matter which path I took, the destination was one and the same: the heart and the love inherent within myself. Today, my life is filled with ease, co-creative manifestation, freedom and joy. My journey out of darkness gave birth to the belief that self love and compassion are the greatest healing gems hidden within ourselves.

Danielle (D): I experienced depression, anxiety and binge eating disorder for a long time to copy with several negative events in my life. I came to learn and appreciate the value of life and changed my diet and lifestyle to one that creates positivity and balance between my mind and body. My about my story here.

What does the idea of “healing from the inside out” mean to you?

N: It is the courageous and beautiful process of turning within and meeting the most vulnerable and hurt parts of ourselves with compassion, presence and love.

D: It is using mindfulness as a way to heal both emotionally and physically. Adjusting your think to living day by day and moment to moment is very therapeutic and helpful in the process.

How does our emotional health affect our physical health and vice versa?

N: Our emotions cause many chemicals to be released by the brain into the body-we’ve got happy chemicals and not so happy chemicals. They are responsible for our moods and how we feel in general. Prolonged periods of distressing emotions and emotional states produce a chemistry within the body, mainly through stress hormones, that leads to the breakdown of the vital systems that maintain health and balance. This is followed by thought patterns that support those emotional states and the stress cycle between the mind and body is formed.

D: How we feel directly affects our physical health – for example, when you are stressed out you will not digest food as well, long-term this can create a lot of digestive issues. Constant stress weakens the immune system. If you binge or emotional eat, this can cause weight gain, low self esteem and poor overall health.

What do you want participants to take away from the program?

N: The most important things I intend to pass on are the knowledge and tools that made it possible for me to walk the journey of conscious transformation. My intention is to empower participants with a thorough understanding of the mind-body connection, the power latent within to transform whatever is no longer serving them and practical and incredibly powerful tools to make it all possible. The shorter answer would be: self love.

D: The foundation of nutrition and how to create positive changes in your body, mind and essentially life through optimal nutrition and mindful living. An understanding of self love and self compassion and the ability to believe in themselves as agents of positive change.

What are your favourite 3 ways to restore and centre yourself?

N: Connecting with nature, mindfulness & relaxation and gratitude

D: Vinyasa yoga, long walks through the forest and drinking green juice

We hope you will join us for this exciting program!

N:

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pumpkin pie smoothie

I’m excited to announce my upcoming Fall ReBoot Detox launching on September 25th! Have you ever wanted to detox but don’t know where to start? Join me at 8:30pm on Thursday, September 26th for a FREE webinar on the how and why of detoxing. Register HERE.

Included in my Fall ReBoot Detox ebook is my Pumpkin Pie Smoothie. With Fall just around the corner, a pumpkin pie smoothie seems like the perfect transition food between the warm summer days and crisp, Autumn nights. I used canned organic pumpkin for this because it’s fast and easy, about half of the can is enough.

pumpkin pie smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

2 cups coconut, rice, hemp or almond milk
1 cup pumpkin puree (home-made or canned)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
Ice (optional)

Put all ingredients into a blender until smooth. Pour into a mug and enjoy!

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healthy living favourites: toronto edition

Every day I wake up and feel grateful to live in (my opinion) the best city in the world; Toronto. It is here where I find peace, friendship, love, happiness and everything I need. With the ever expanding sector that is healthy living, I want to showcase some of my favourite places, products and people that help to keep me happy and healthy in this beautiful city I call home.

healthy living favourites: toronto edition

1. Favourite brunch spot: Live Food Bar

It’s no secret I love Live. From their quirky staff, to the cozy interior and of course, the food is great! Sunday yoga followed by brunch is cone of a 30-something lady’s favourite activities and Live is the perfect spot to go with girlfriends after a calming yoga class.
My favourite: the chocolate crepes

2. Favouite date place: It’s a Tie! The Beet and Lola’s Kitchen

I cannot say enough good things about The Beet. Firstly it’s owned by a Holistic Nutritionist and a Homeopathic Doctor so they have your health in mind! Secondly, the food is organic and local and the restaurant has a lovely, homey vibe. This is a omnivore-friendly restaurant too so if you or your date has dietary restrictions, you will be able to find something delicious here. Perfect for date night or with family who are not quite on board with healthy living and want comfort food (that’s secretly healthy)
My favourite: Mushroom, Walnut and Quinoa Burger

When I first went to Lola’s Kitchen I was skeptical; the interior was a bit dark and lackluster. But my server was super friendly and the menu was adorable and had nice font so I thought I’d give it a chance. Never judge a restaurant based on its interior, while Lola’s wasn’t anything fancy or fussy, it certainly makes up for it with the food which is literally my favourite in Toronto. I’ve been back a few times and each time is amazing and I’m never disappointed. The Enlightened Boyfriend loves it as well and they have lots of vegan, meat and gluten-free options.
My favourite: Quinoa Risotto

3. Favourite cooking class: Marni Wasserman

No one knows plant-based cooking quite like Marni does. Nestled in her intimate midtown cooking studio, Marni shows how whole food, plant-based cooking can be easy and delicious. Having graduated from both the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York, Marni brings a unique and highly specialized skill set for both nutrition and culinary arts. The cooking studio offers a wide variety of classes and workshops and you will leave with knowledge and recipes to create nourishing meals for yourself.
My favourite: Fit and Fabulous cooking class

4. Favourite cupcake: Sweets From the Earth

While I’m typically a chocolate kind of girl, no one does vegan vanilla cupcakes (and especially vegan vanilla frosting) quite like my friends at Sweets From the Earth. I am fortunate enough to know the SFTE team on a personal and professional level and I can attest to the love, kindness and care they put into the business and into their products. Sweets From the Earth offer a multitude of delicious, vegan baked goods as well as vegan gluten-free and vegan nut-free goods. Their products may be purchased at a variety of grocery stores, health food shops and restaurants in the city.
My favourite: Vanilla Cupcake

5. Favourite yoga studio: Moksha Yoga Uptown

In Toronto there is literally a yoga studio on every street corner. But how do you know which one to pick? As a devote yoga lover and someone who has no allegiances to any yoga style or studio, that all changed when I went to Moksha Yoga Uptown. I find this studio to offer a wide array of classes both hot and regular temperature, have great service and teachers and an all round positive environment. That’s exactly why I am a part of their community as their resident Holistic Nutritionist.
My favourite: Danny’s Hot Vinyasa 2 class

6. Favourite cookbook: UnDiet by Meghan Telpner

This cookbook is a long time coming by fellow Torontonian and Nutritionista, Meghan Telpner. Her upbeat and colourful style makes Meghan someone you would be instantly drawn too. She knows how to break things down in a way that make sense and are relative for people to understand and her recipes are easy to follow and taste great. UnDiet is the anti-diet. There’s no calorie-counting, no starvation and certainly no deprivation. Just good whole foods.
My favourite: Wild Berry Crumble

7. Favourite juice bar: Belmonte Raw

If Carole Belmonte, owner of Belmonte Raw invited me to live in the basement of the restaurant I would say yes in a heart beat. Having access to all that gorgeous, organic food and drink would be heaven on Earth. Carol’s heart and soul goes into every food creation and her juices are by far the best in the city as she is known for her popular juice cleanses. While for most it may seem on the expensive side, I say you get what you pay for.
My favourite: Passion Juice with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Thimble

8. Favourite health food store: Herbs and Nutrition

Health food stores are not created equal. Some are small and lacking, others are vast but expensive, most mask themselves as ‘healthy’ but just contain the same crap that groceries stores do under the guise of organic and natural. Herbs and Nutrition is located on Bloor Street West, north side just west of Bathurst Street and has everything you could possibly want in a health food store including an extensive supplement section, a large refrigerator area, lots of bulk products and produce. Oh and the prices are about 20-30% less than what you would pay for at any other health food store which is awesome.
My favourite: the large bulk section and the variety of kombuchas

9. Favourite grab n’ go: Superfood Eateries

As a girl on the go, timing is everything and Superfood Eateries is the perfect spot for a grab and go breakfast or lunch. Working in downtown Toronto it is near impossible to find healthy food that is ready made but Superfood Eateries takes care of this and best part is they use local and organic ingredients and open early so you can pick up something before heading to the office. Bonus points for having super friendly staff.
My favourite: the Warm Hug and the Reboot juice

10. Favourite spa: Pure + Simple

If you want a facial, you go to Pure + Simple. They use natural and gentle products and the staff are well trained and knowledgeable. As someone with problem skin, I’ve struggled with finding a spa that will help me achieve clear skin while using products that are non-toxic and this is why I so love Pure + Simple. The owner, Kristen Ma does her homework and uses high quality ingredients in her line of skincare and cosmetics. I have only the most positive things to say about Pure + Simple spa.
My favourite: Salt Microdermabrasion by Ellen at Pure + Simple Yorkville

What is your favourite healthy hot spot in Toronto?

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