Health

Motivation

Ah, motivation.

The elusive force that is holding us all back. If only we could find it and hold on to it long enough to get fit, eat healthily or overhaul all those bad habits. At least that's what many people tell themselves, scrolling social media to get inspired enough by someone to make a salad or hit the gym.

Choosing between what we want now and what we want most.

There’s plenty of articles and blog posts online talking about how to get and stay motivated. What’s missing is that successful people aren't always motivated. Everyone has the days when they are tired and take out is so much more appealing than the cold meal you have waiting for you in the fridge, the same one you’ve eaten the last two days. Or days when we drag out getting to the gym, wandering around the house aimlessly in activewear, procrastinating. But successful people push through not being motivated in the moment because they have a long-term goal in mind. Or have turned these actions into habits so they get done without thinking too much about it.

I don't want to admit how long it took me to do 1 pull up!

I don't want to admit how long it took me to do 1 pull up!

Talk does not cook rice.

Do you know a person who is always talking about wanting to get healthy, or shed a few pounds or take up a new sport but just doesn't do anything about it? “I don’t have time”, they say. Let me challenge that and say that you just aren't prioritising your time. If you are watching one show on Netflix a day or spending 20 minutes on social media that’s time you could have used to cook a healthy meal or do a bodyweight circuit at home to get a sweat going.

Make time or make an excuse

Write out your priorities in order of most important to least important and I will bet that watching TV or scrolling social media isn't at the top, chances are these aren't even on your list. Watching Game of Thrones in its entirety probably isn't a popular life goal.

One last tidbit. Don’t overcomplicate it! When trying to establish that healthy improved lifestyle, start small. When we change one thing at a time, we are much more likely to stick with it and turn it into a habit. Keep it simple and don’t sweat the small stuff. If you miss a scheduled workout or end up ordering pizza for dinner - that’s life. Just make sure you get to your next scheduled workout and your next meal is home cooked. Avoid extreme changes and set yourself up for success.

Food and Comparison

We have the option to compare more than ever before

The upswing in interest in health and eating that has resulted from social media has really made me focus on our obsession with food and comparing ourselves. There are so many people shilling “health” information online, some good and some totally unsubstantiated and some personal opinions. If a celebrity or influencer is doing it, then I can see how it would motivate others to follow the same advice in the hopes of some kind of radical change in their lives.

When I get sucked in by this atmosphere it can be easy to think that if I just follow this smoothie-only program I too can look like that person. When I see the seemingly perfect life in a stylish apartment filled with all the expensive food and beauty products it’s easy to feel jealous or that I need to go out and buy those things. Not acknowledging that maybe they were paid to post about said products or sent them for free to try.

Smoothies all day

I have to admit that seeing beautifully styled bowls of coconut or almond yoghurt, topped with grain-free granola and chia seeds makes me want to go and make that. Totally disregarding that a meal of purely nuts and seeds won’t leave me feeling good. I have to remind myself to keep my eyes on my own plate and eat for my own needs and health goals instead of what’s trending online. I have to listen to my own body, no one else can do that for me and tell me exactly what it needs. I can’t be embarrassed if I have to make an unpopular choice of what my body needs instead of a picture perfect acai bowl that will leave my blood sugar crashing in a couple of hours and my hunger through the roof. We can’t compare what we are eating to others, in real life or online.

Broccoli as a protein source?

The other side of the influx of health and wellness information online is that anyone can post anything. There are so many totally inaccurate claims circulating out there and someone whose idea of a good time isn't reading books and studies on health may find themselves confused and conflicted. Everyone is trying intermittent fasting or keto, should I do that too? Doing a week-long juice cleanse or having smoothies for two meals a day seems popular now, is that right for my goals? It’s easy to get swept up along with the rush of people wanting to try something new.

At least cauliflower and micro greens are finally in the limelight.  

At least cauliflower and micro greens are finally in the limelight.  

Resisting the IG vortex

I use social media because I love being inspired, interact and see new ideas and products. But I definitely am the first to notice myself scrolling mindlessly and acknowledging that I need to put the phone down. I’m also quick to unfollow someone who’s content makes me upset, makes me feel like my life isn't enough, makes me feel unhappy with my body. I don’t need those feeling in my life, I don’t want to be triggered into feeling down.

My ultimate reminder to myself is to not spiral down the social media rabbit hole too frequently. Stick to what I know my body needs. Continue educating myself on what is best for me and not via dramatized posts online. I have to walk my own journey, we all do.

Overloading on nuts

Nuts, nuts, nuts

Everywhere I look there are new recipes with some sort of a combination of nuts with nut butter, chopped nuts and seeds. All combined and rolled into one. Or even meal ideas with yoghurt alternatives based on nuts, topped with paleo nut granola and then more nuts or seeds. I feel like we have woken up to the fact that fats are healthy and that nuts are good for us but when does it cross the line into nut overload? A complete meal of just different types of nuts sounds about as balanced as eating only chicken for a meal. It sounds about as extreme as when people assumed Paleo eating meant you just ate only meat for 3 meals a day.

That’s not to say that some people won’t do well on meals based on nuts - we are all bio-individual with different nutritional needs. But I’m definitely not the only one who doesn't feel great after eating more than a handful. Usually bloating and gas follow after I eat too many nuts. Nuts are also extremely easy to overeat so I tend to avoid them mostly, you go from a handful to snack on to having eaten 600 calories in about 1.5 seconds flat. I love a spoonful of almond butter on my toast but basing whole desserts or meals on nuts doesn't agree with me.

Nuts and digestion

Nut’s contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid that can bind to minerals in the GI tract and prevent absorption. Soaking or sprouting nuts reduces this but this makes the nuts very expensive or if done at home is very time-consuming. I have tried soaking and dehydrating to activate nuts and it’s not a quick process. Nuts and seeds also contain mainly Omega 6 oils which we can easily overload on. Ideally, our diet should have a ratio of 1:1 Omega 6 vs Omega 3, and this can already be tough to achieve even if we are avoiding processed vegetable oils like canola, soy, corn etc.

Raw vegan cheesecake made from a whole lot of nuts.

Raw vegan cheesecake made from a whole lot of nuts.

Nut’s can overall be very irritating and allergenic so shouldn't be eating in huge quantities. In nature nuts were never the base of meals. Think about how time consuming it is to shell each individual nut or seed and imagine doing that now just to eat a dessert using two cups of almond butter and topped with more chopped nuts. I remember being young and eating sunflower seeds from the dried head of a huge sunflower, I can’t imagine how long it would take to pick and shell enough sunflower seeds to make a batch of cookies or a raw vegan cheesecake.

Finding balance

I think most people do best with balanced meals based on half the plate being non-starchy vegetables, a quarter plate of protein and quarter something starchy with extra fat added to the plate, be it nuts, seeds, avocado, butter, etc. A meal based on all three macronutrients works best to keep us fueled and satiated between meals. I think the meal based on nuts is just a modern phenomenon with so many new health products on the market it’s easy to go overboard on one thing without realising it. If we had to make everything from scratch including the nut yoghurt, nut milk, nut based granola, nut butter it would be easier to visualise exactly how much nuts are involved in a meal like that and see that it’s not the most balanced option to have very regularly.

Adventures in Matcha

Coffee is my first love

Coffee and I have had an on and off relationship for a while now. I used to drink 2 or more cups a day in my early 20’s, which dwindled to a firm one cup rule and always before 12 pm. But now I really feel it negatively impacts me. I’ve noticed that it can make me jittery, lose my appetite, and worst of all sweat profusely. It sometimes also affects my sleep, even if I drink it in the morning. When I’m on holiday I tend to handle caffeine a lot better than in my usual day to day.

The first cup of matcha

In the past I have just switched to decaf - a swiss water process decaffeinated whole bean option. But on a recent holiday to New Zealand, I finally tried a delicious matcha latte at a vegan restaurant. But it wasn't love at first sip! The first cup I thought just tasted like a grassy powder suspended in nut milk, I had to add a spoonful of coconut sugar to make it more palatable. But strangely the next day I was wanting to have it again. Combine that with being on holiday, catching up with friends and family which resulted in at least two coffees per day, I was overloaded. The rough, acidic taste of my usual cup of bean water just didn't appeal (I drink my coffee black).

I drunk coffee for so many years but found it started to negatively affect me more and more.

I drunk coffee for so many years but found it started to negatively affect me more and more.

Apart from that first inaugural cup, I haven't sweetened my matcha since. The homemade fresh nut milk at the restaurant probably played a big part in my new love of matcha. In my opinion, it goes great with a slightly creamy nutty base instead of plain water. So once I arrived back in Canada the experiments started to try and nail a matcha recipe that hit all the marks for me. What’s important to me: taste, dairy free, sugar-free, mouthfeel/creaminess, cost-effective, fast and easy to prepare in the morning. This pretty much ruled out making my own nut milk, I ain't got time for that.

Playing with matcha at home

The first thing I tried was “Let’s do organic Creamed Coconut” - this comes in a hard block but when melted it’s a creamy coconut butter that I usually buy and use in curries. It was a fail, the coconut is definitely not fine enough and the result was really gritty - it was a mouthfeel fail.

The second try was just using coconut milk from a can, these usually have a lot fewer additives than a carton or bottle of nut or coconut milk. I picked up a Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk - the full-fat variety. Before using it has to be re-blended because it separates in the can due to the lack of said additives. This was a solid contender because it was smooth drinking but I just didn't get much of a coconut flavour despite it being just coconut. Maybe the flavour would have been stronger if I just used the solid part of the coconut cream from the can.

Trying this fancy brand of matcha took my home concoction to the next level.

Trying this fancy brand of matcha took my home concoction to the next level.

The next option was inspired by all of the cashew coffee I’ve seen on Instagram. So I blended a handful of raw cashews with hot water into a quick creamy nut milk - no straining required. The first time it was still kind of gritty, the bottom of my mug was a super thick liquid but I did enjoy the nutty taste. Next time I tried the same thing but with two teaks, I soaked the cashews in boiling water for about an hour while I cooked and ate breakfast. Then I blended for a full minute and a half, my new Vitamix has a timer showing so it made this part pretty easy. The result was a much smoother and creamier version, blending for longer definitely makes a big difference. The creamy, nutty flavour was spot on and balances out the grassy teaspoon of matcha.

I also considered but didn’t try regular almond milk from the store or NutPods which could both be solid options. I have also just procured Artisana coconut butter, which has been described as a very smooth and fine blended coconut so that will be my next try - Nutiva also makes a coconut manna that makes a good and slightly cheaper option. The matcha experiments continue. Can you tell I really want to nail a coconutty matcha blend? Have you tried matcha? What’s your opinion on the green, grassy, tea-like taste?

On Vegetables

Broccoli for breakfast. Salad for lunch. Stir fry for dinner.

In the last few months, I have made a more intentional effort to eat two cups of non-starchy veggies with every meal. Sometimes it’s an effort but it has totally become a habit. Now when faced with a meal with little to no veggies I’m befuddled.

This is a great option for people who aren't sure exactly how to balance the macros on their plate. I mean carbohydrates, protein and fat - the macronutrients in our diet. It’s too easy to overeat if your meal is just a starch and protein. But most people tend to get confused about what to actually fill their plate with - enter non-starchy vegetables.

Salad is a sure fire way to eat your vegetable quota for the day.

Salad is a sure fire way to eat your vegetable quota for the day.

Eat all the veggies

I usually form my meal around the protein, which usually needs more planning or defrosting from the freezer. Then I fill half of my plate with non-starchy vegetables. Don’t get caught up in what veggie does what for your health, all vegetables are unique with their own special vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients. Nutrition is a relatively new science so there are factors we don’t yet understand. So stick to a variety of whole vegetables and you will be fine.

Start with ones you know you enjoy, then branch out and try new ones, vary what you buy with the season and what’s on sale. Mix cooked and raw veggies throughout the day and for the advanced, add fermented veggies that you can either easily make yourself or buy at most supermarkets these days - make sure to look for raw on the label and no junky ingredients.

Arugula or rocket is a gateway veggie for breakfast. Buy the washed and bagged variety to save time in the morning. Throw your eggs and preservative free bacon on top of a big handful, or just add reheated leftovers from dinner over the top of a bed of arugula, this versatile green is flavorful and goes well with anything. Be patient because our taste for vegetables will change, I used to hate celery but now I love it, same with fennel. Now I crave more vegetables and that’s a great place to be. After travelling for weeks and plenty of cafe breakfasts with just toast and eggs with a scant green leaf for garnish it’s great to be able to return to the regularly scheduled programming in my own kitchen filled with a variety of fresh produce.

Kale is one of my favourite, it tastes great with nearly everything.

Kale is one of my favourite, it tastes great with nearly everything.

Set yourself up for success

The key here is, stock your fridge with vegetables you enjoy. Make the effort and commit to filling half of your plate with these vegetables even if it means quickly steaming some to throw on - it doesn't have to be fancy or a recipe. Rotate what you buy so you aren't eating the same 3 vegetables over and over. Keep an eye on what you have in the fridge, they can go bad quickly so remember what has to get eaten first.

Final note for the busy folks. Prep a whole bunch of veggies together for several meals, keep a big container ready to go in your fridge to add to your meals. Eg: in a big wok or pan saute a mix of things like broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, kale or cabbage with the seasoning of your choice. Let cool and store in a huge tupperware.

Lasting lifestyle changes

We all know that person who wants to make healthier habits, get more exercise, cook healthy meals but just can’t seem to get there. Is motivation lacking? Maybe they just don’t care. I don’t think anyone should offer unsolicited advice to someone in their life. I like the saying “when the student is ready, the master will appear”. We can’t talk someone into making changes in their lives, but if they decide to want to make changes and need help - be there for them.

What's stopping you?

If making lasting healthy changes in your life are important then what is the roadblock? Everyone has those days that we feel that we have failed too many times. Too slow, too big, not good enough. Take comfort in the fact that every person (yes, even that person who seems to lead an impossibly perfect life) has those same feelings from time to time. It’s just that some people let those feelings stop them from leading their best lives. Others acknowledge those thoughts and then push them aside and say not today.

wellness-balance-lifestyle-habits

 

So how to tackle big lifestyle changes? Just like eating an elephant, one bite at a time.

 

Commit to cooking more meals at home.

Bring your lunch to work.

Prep meal ingredients ahead for the week.

Read ingredient labels.

Add more fresh vegetables.

Savoury breakfasts.

Be more consistent with exercise, walking counts!

Cultivate a morning routine.

Meditate.

In bed by 10 pm.

 

Focus on one thing at a time and make it measurable. What you measure you improve. So put a number on it. You will bring your own lunch 4 days a week to work. You will get active 3 days this week. Set reminders on your phone or calendar. Once you make it a habit and it doesn't take much effort, incorporate something new.

What new healthy habit do you want to incorporate into your life? One of mine is making my bed every morning.

 

 

Supplements 101

How to get a picture liked on Instagram? Show a hand holding a bottle of supplements. If you haven’t noticed, then you haven't been paying attention. Everyone seems obsessed. What’s the latest fix-all? Or what’s the latest brand with a big social media budget?

Magic potions for a quick fix.

I think our obsession with supplements stems from our quick-fix culture. Yes, I have been guilty of this too! The dream is that we don’t have to fix our lifestyle, eating habits, mindset but could just pop a pill or mix a powder into our coffee and get on with our day.

Before you spend your hard earned money and order the latest pill, drink, detox ask yourself if you actually have a problem that may get fixed by this product. Were you already actively seeking out a solution to an issue you have? Or did this product find you and very indirectly told you that you may have an issue that it can fix?

supplements-health-nutrition-wellness.jpg

It's raining pills and powders

Before you purchase - check that there isn't an equal product that you could buy for a lot less because it doesn't have the huge marketing budget. But I do suggest steering well clear of bargain basement cheap supermarket brands that probably don't even contain what it says on the label. Before you buy it, do some reading. Does this product only promise to work if you take it daily for years? Are you willing to commit to the cost of that? Is it worth the cost? Maybe you could spend that same money on grass-fed organic pasture raised meats or local organic produce or eggs that you couldn't afford before and see bigger results in your health.

Listen to your body

So, you bought the thing? Cool, cool. Consume it, but pay attention. Is it doing what it said it would? Are you seeing or feeling marked changes? Do you have any evidence that it’s doing something? Don’t keep buying it out of habit when it maybe isn't doing anything for you. Also maybe it worked for your sister, coworker, second cousin. That doesn't mean that it’s going to work for you. We are all bio-individual with different needs. If someone else praises the product for moving mountains but you saw no changes then it’s simple, don’t buy it again.

Stress

Stress Stress Stress

So everywhere I look these days the big talk is stress in regards to adrenal burn out and chronic illness. But What can contribute to stress? When I mention it to most people the response is “I’m not stressed”. The natural preconception about stress is that the person is sitting at their desk overwhelmed by worry or under a heavy workload. Stress can definitely be those things but it is also so much more.

Common triggers for stress on the body

Refined sugars and a high glycemic diet are a major factor for most people

Coffee, alcohol, energy drinks

Dehydration

Rushed mornings, commute

Suboptimal digestion

Emotions

Nutritional deficiencies

Sickness, allergies, disease, food sensitivities

Environmental toxins, mould

The key here is chronic stress which produces a chronic output of cortisol, day in day out. Humans were meant to handle high stress for a short period of time and be relaxed in between. In our modern lives, we now live with moderate stress all of the time, and it is this constant that depletes the adrenals.

Flowers-health-wellness-nutrition-fit-stress.jpg

 

Emotions

Another important note on emotional stress and dwelling on negative emotions. When I’m sad I think sad thoughts. When I’m anxious I continue to worry about random things that will never happen or are totally out of my control when I’m angry I replay the anger in my thoughts. Some of us tend to prolong these emotions longer than what is necessary. I think it’s ok to feel those emotions, it’s totally healthy. But when we drag them out for longer than is necessary, it’s like scratching at a cut and not letting it heal. This kind of mindset is extremely detrimental to the stress load on our body. Negative, overwhelming feelings and emotions are a hard habit to kick for people like me but it’s imperative that we let them go as soon as possible. The first step is acknowledging the thought pattern. Meditation really helps here, mental exercises like visualization, repeating mantras or something like the emotional freedom technique I think are a must for anyone who experiences negative emotions on loop in their head.

Drink your greens

Greens Greens Greens

I’ve been taking this green powdered drink on and off for probably 5 years. I recently got another bottle and remember why I love it and go back to it over and over. It really helps with digestion and energy. It's a great booster for days I'm lacking on green vegetables, especially in the winter months when there are fewer greens available or they have to be trucked in from far away so may not be as nutritionally dense as when they were first harvested.

 It contains powdered greens, sea vegetables, probiotics and digestive enzymes. What it doesn’t have are fillers that many other powdered greens companies add like fruit, grains or seeds. There’s nothing wrong with those things but when I am paying for a quality product I don’t want it diluted, I want a potent combination of greens, superfoods and nothing extra.

vita-mineral-green-drink-alkaline-nutrition-jam.jpg

 

Alkalising, Energising, Nutrient Dense

 I really love this product so I always end up going back to it since I trust the quality. I just mix it in shaker bottle of water and drink up.

Taste is important too!

 A note on taste, when I gave it to my sister she said it tastes like dirt but I love this earthy drink. If you're not accustomed to vegetable only juices or not-sweet smoothies I suggest blending it with water into a smoothie with cucumber, peeled lemon chunks and half an apple, preferably granny smith. Add any other additional greens if you want. To the ingredients listed, I have added spinach, lettuce, parsley and cilantro to the mix, depending what I have had on hand. This blend is great if you don’t like the taste of greens on their own.

I think the body reacts strongly to taste. If you are gulping something down, gagging on a taste you don't find agreeable then your body probably won't do a great job digesting the food or drink. Find a way to make eating and drinking greens work for your tastes. Start small with half a teaspoon in plenty of water and work your way up. It's surprising how quickly you might start to love the taste. 

The serving mentioned on the bottle is quite large, I usually have a big heaped teaspoon of powder in a big glass of water or a shaker bottle.

When to drink it?

 Regarding timing, I don’t drink it close to any caffeinated beverages because it can inhibit the absorption of iron from the sea vegetables and I always need extra iron. Personally I think this drink is great any time of the day as long as you take it! Sure it might be optimal on an empty stomach first thing in the morning but if that doesn't fit your day then why bother? I used to take it first thing in the morning but these days I have it right before lunch or dinner or between meals with lots of water.

Hydration for Digestion

We all want to improve digestion, healing the gut is a hot topic. We might reach for the ginger, apple cider vinegar,  digestive enzymes or HCL supplement. We rarely think that the first thing we should be looking at is water.

Making sure we are hydrated by consuming pure clean water daily - depending on weight, activity and climate should be the first priority. For me, I try to drink at least two litres of plain water daily. Digestion is a water-intensive process. Water is needed for saliva, Hydrochloric acid, bile, pancreatic enzymes. All of these substances that get shuttled to different parts of our GI tract at different times to digest food require water.

More Water.

The mucus lining in our entire GI tract also requires water to be able to protect the sensitive tissue from potent digestive juices and chemicals, the mucus basically stops us digesting ourselves. When we are dehydrated, water in the body may be prioritised away from digestion and the mucus lining may become dry. This can lead to poorly digested food and an inability to absorb nutrition from what we eat. A dried up mucus lining may lead to irritation, GI or stomach pain and even ulcers.

Water is the most common nutritional deficiency.

We spend plenty of time discussing food quality, sourcing and organics. We probably spend too much time discussing the latest supplements. But we can only survive for a couple of days without water. After air, it is our second key nutrient. We are made of water and it is used in countless processes and reactions within the body.

For optimal digestion, it should be the first thing to focus on. Water should be the first thing we have in the morning and then sipped on throughout the day. It is also important to avoid having large amounts of water with meals because it will dilute stomach acid and enzymes. Another point to be mindful of is diuretics, we all love coffee and tea but they may sap water from our bodies. So let’s focus on hydration as the first step in healing our digestion and maybe the outcome will surprise us.

Digestion

In my opinion the digestive tract and its function to be the single most important body component determining health and disease. The food/drinks we consume and make their way through our GI tract are the single sources of the building blocks required by our body for energy, healing, and daily function. Can we take that in to really appreciate what digestion does for us? When body cells repair, organs function, body systems keep us alive it is only from the nutrition we consume daily.

When digestion isn't working optimally the whole body can be affected. Science is still uncovering the impact of impaired digestion, the effects are as varying as there are people on this planet. Mood, fatigue, adrenal health, blood sugar dysregulation, immune system, allergies, hair, skin and nail health, vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

How do you know if you are having digestive issues?

Bloating, belching, gas, heartburn are the obvious signs. Fingernails chipping, peeling or breaking. Experiencing hives, pulse speeds up after eating, chronic stuffy nose, constipation and diarrhoea.

A classic sign I have been seeing recently in the internet sphere are blood tests for allergies. Most people are surprised that the results come back with sensitivities to all of the foods they eat most or at least have been recently. Avocado, chicken, coffee, vegetables. What is left to eat? What a test like this really means is that most likely there are some digestive problems going on. Maybe the gut lining is inflamed and some undigested food particles are squeezing through the intestinal lining causing sensitivities. If we just cut out the foods that registered a sensitivity without addressing digestion we will find ourselves back at that same place but with sensitivities to more or other foods.

Luckily for us, the cells in the GI lining are some of the fastest replaced in the body. So removing the offending foods and then working to heal the gut lining can be relatively fast depending on severity. Working with an NTP or holistic nutritionist can lead to the fastest results.

Here are a few things that can help digestion:

Cutting out foods you are sensitive to for at least 30 days

Ginger - has been shown to reduce risk of inflammation in the digestive tract

Apple cider vinegar in water before meals

Digestive enzymes

Betaine HCL

Fennel

Peppermint tea

Bone broth - especially broth that gels

Collagen Peptides or gelatin

Beet juice or beet kvass

Fermented vegetables or fermented vegetable juice

Pre and probiotics - find ones that work for you

Our modern life, unfortunately, is geared towards throwing off our digestion. Excessive sugar and refined foods, antacids, overeating, excess alcohol and one of the biggest ones for me - stress.

Writing this I realise that this information is just scratching the surface of digestion as a topic. There is so much more to cover and I plan to do that. Digestion plays a crucial role in our health and healing overall. There is a growing amount of good and bad information out there so speak to a professional if you are dealing with chronic digestive issues as you may not be aware how much impact they could be having on the body as a whole.

Happy New Year and Meditation

So another year comes to a close and everywhere I look people are talking about their resolutions, intentions, goals. I’m sure my gym will be packed come January so I have really enjoyed the last few peaceful days of December when people are more busy eating Christmas cookies than working up a sweat.

My resolution or whatever you want to label it is meditation. I actually download the headspace app in 2015 but I never turned it into a habit or had it stick despite the app working for others I know. But within the last month, I have been confronted with various signs and information about how important mindset, focus and meditation are to overall health. I know that a negative mindset and thought patterns are completely reversible and meditation is a great way to get me there. So I completed a few more 10 minute sessions and then bit the bullet by signing up for a year of Headspace. I’d like to give credit to my man who bought a year subscription a month or so before me and spurred me further into action.

Have Headspace, will meditate.

So now that I have the subscription how has it been going? Well, the new year hasn't even started but I have been maintaining my one a day session. I don’t want to become obsessive over my streak but it is definitely easier to keep up with a new habit if I do it daily.

Where do I want my meditation practice to be in December 2018? Ideally, I’ll still be meditating if not daily then at least several times a week. But like in yoga, it’s not called “practise” for nothing. I want to keep practising to get better at mediating and like all good things the benefits come with time. Learn, practice, master.

20171118_171458.jpg

Catching a sunset in both photos. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 2017

Let's get personal

Well hello there! My name is Sveta and I have always loved food. I wrote this post so you can get to know me a little better.

I have a twin sister, I was born in Russia and moved to New Zealand when I was 8 years old. I was influenced by two different cultures growing up. I’m lucky to have a palate for traditional foods like sauerkraut, kombucha and liver from my parents but also a love for all things crunchy and salty like chips from being a kiwi. I have a love for all fruit and vegetables that I attribute to seeing my parents grow most of our fresh food for us in my younger years.

I became interested in food, health and fitness in my early 20’s. I read books, blogs and listened to podcasts. I ran marathons, ultra marathons and practised yoga early on and then transitioned to rock climbing, HIIT and lifting weights. My love of being active and the outdoors has led me to climb El Capitan in Yosemite and 5000m mountains in Bolivia’s Cordillera Real.

I believe that food is more than just energy for our bodies. It nourishes us with macro and micronutrients, provides a cultural experience, bonds us together. We celebrate over food and sometimes it helps us get over a tough day. We can have an emotional connection to certain foods and eating something particular can bring back a distant memory. I keep all of this in mind while always trying to sustain a healthy, balanced relationship with food.

PIZZA!

I surprised my partner by admitting my favourite food is pizza. I told him if I could eat it all the time and still be fit and healthy I would. But you won’t find me eating pizza daily, I’m a nutrient seeker. I love finding and eating the most nutritious food and keep my diet varied. But that doesn't mean I never eat pizza, chips or ice cream. I have to live my best life, and those items are part of it.

For years I investigated options for studying nutrition and turning it into a career but something always held me back. Then when I moved to Canada. The experiences I had, showed me that I really could do anything and make it work. If other people were doing it, why couldn't I? It was time to start a new chapter by studying nutrition, writing more and seeing where it takes me.