Thursday, 20 June 2013

Every storm cloud runs out of rain....except in Nanaimo

Today is dull and rainy, as it often is in Nanaimo. Don't get me wrong, I love it here, and it is one of the most beautiful areas of Canada that I have been, but as a result, I'm feeling a little dull myself. Which is a bit of a blow after an amazingly beautiful weekend spent with friends picnicking on the beach, perusing markets and hiking through local parks..... One of my friends was laughing at me as we were collecting shells on the beach, "what's with you today? You're super happy!" and I jokingly replied that I'm like a flower that blossoms in the sunshine. But it wasn't that much of a joke because it had a lot of truth to it! I thrive in the sun, I feel alive and happy and healthy. I guess that's why I dislike winter so much and love to get away to sunny destinations :) 

Why is it that the weather can affect us so much anyways? I think Vitamin D is my favourite vitamin. (I know, who has a favourite vitamin anyways?) But really, its only because of its association with the sun :) My Canadian friends can especially appreciate where I'm coming from. A winter without a get-away is nearly unbearable. Even a week's vacation to Mexico or the likes is enough of that lovely bright yellow thing to get us through the long 6 months of cold, dark days. Really, as my mother often says, winter get-away's should be a tax deduction for us because its saving on health care costs. It actually is. Being in the sun, relaxing, is helping us unwind and de-stress from our crazy lives, and is giving us a big dose of the much needed vitamin D. As a result, we come back healthier (despite a few too many piña coladas) and ready to keep on keeping on until summer arrives. 

That brings me to one of my favourite topics: stress. Stress is a HUGE factor in our health. More than most realize. When we're stressed, our "fight or flight" response kicks in. This means that more blood is pumped to certain organs, over-working them. So where does that extra blood come from? Well, let's say a grizzly is chasing you. Do you really need to digest that banana you just ate, or do you need to run for your life? You need to run! So the blood flow to your digestive system slows right down and increases in your muscles and heart allowing you to run faster and further. When we are under constant stress, our body systems aren't getting the proper blood and nutrient supply they need, so our digestive system slows and suffers, (this is just an example, any system(s) may suffer), thus making us have all sorts of problems. Solution? We need to minimize our stress and cope with the rest in healthy ways such as getting outside in the sunshine and fresh air, exercising, journaling, talking it out, whatever works for you!

Okay, I realize I am a bit off topic from where I started, but my point was, I love the sun, and we should all take advantage of it when its out. It's a great source of vitamin D, and nature's feel-good gift to us!

Thursday, 6 June 2013


There are hundreds of super-foods out there, we've all heard the term. What is a super-food exactly? I just think of it as a food that has a lot of extra special things about it.

My favourites are:

Lemons- high in Vitamin C and antioxidants, and alkalizes your body! I juice half of one every morning into a glass of water and drink that before I have anything else. This is the healthiest way you can start up you body with each day to get everything flushed out, clean, and ready for food to come.

Hemp- hemp seeds are one of the few vegetarian sources of a complete protein.The type of protein in hemp is similar to the protein in our bodies which makes it much easier for your body to digest and absorb than other types of proteins. Not only that, it is high in fiber and contains a good amount of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. It also has heaps of vitamins and minerals too. 

Chia- another favourite seed of mine! Similar to hemp, it's full of protein, fiber, and omegas. Actually, chia is also a complete protein. It has 8x more omega 3 than salmon, 4x the antioxidants than blueberries, 5x more calcium than milk, 7x more Vitamin C than oranges, 3x more iron than spinach, 2x more potassium than a banana... must I go on? One tip with chia, it is best to grind or soak the seed to get the all benefits. 

Quinoa- yet another complete vegetarian protein source. Quinoa is a South American grain (technically a seed) full of essential amino acids, dense with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and calcium, fiber, and again our omegas. Quinoa has anti-inflammatory affects and helps regulate blood sugar. Plus it is gluten-free for anyone who is intolerant! What I also love about quinoa is that you can have it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, as cereal, in salads, or as a grain like rice. You can even eat quinoa raw in its sprouted form!

Kombucha- This is a traditionally fermented drink that is becoming quite popular; I make it myself, but you can buy it in stores as well. (Kombucha is a bit controversial but I will tell you the rundown anyways and you can decide on your own what to think) Basically how it is made is with regular tea and white sugar, with a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast...gross? Kind of, but you get use to it and you don't eat that part!). The SCOBY feeds off the sugar and tea over a week or so and metabolize the most of the sugar (if not all) leaving you with a carbonated drink of fermented tea. The carbonation is part of the natural process unlike pop, which is made by carbon dioxide under high pressure. So why is this strange (but tasty) concoction good for you? 

To name a few reasons:
1. It's filled with probiotics- healthy bacteria that feed off unhealthy bacteria in your body which helps improve digestion
2. It alkalizes your body
3. Detoxes your liver and increases metabolism
4. May reduce kidney stones
5. May prevent cancer
6. Prevents grey hair (who knew?)

The list goes on. If you want to know more, ask me or go to I did mention that kombucha is a controversial drink, so I am providing you with another link that gives some myth busters about it. Personally, I'm still not completely convinced, but I do drink it and think it's a great refreshing drink with some good health benefits, but may not be all what people make it out to be.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

6 Human Needs

There are six needs that we as individuals have. The most fulfilled people are meeting as many as possible, especially the needs of the spirit.

Needs of Personality:
·         Certainty
o   Being assured that particular things will happen. For example, we can be certain that the sun will come up day after day. These are things that we don’t wonder if they will happen, we just know they will. We don’t need to worry whether they will or not.
·         Uncertainty
o   There are other things in life that we are glad are not certain. If we all knew who we were going to marry, or when we were going to die, we would be constantly trying to change things to make them happen sooner, later, or differently. If these things that are meant to be uncertain in our lives became certainties, we would have even more stress added on top of what is already there.
·         Significance
o   Knowing that we are fulfilling an important place in this world and in other people’s lives brings us a sense of satisfaction. People who feel insignificant often become sad, depressed and lonely.
·         Love/connection
o   Loving and feeling loved is vital. It is known that babies who are nurtured and cuddled and are closely connected with their mothers are healthy and thriving. This does not change as we grow older. Our relationships change, we make friends, we fall in love. The more we love and are loved, and connect with others, the happier and more fulfilled we generally are.

Needs of the Spirit:
·         Growth
o   If we did not grow and expand our lives, we would have no sense of achievement. We would not change; we would not learn new things. Our lives would be boring, and non-productive, with nothing to look forward to.
·         Contribution
o   Selfishness brings no joy. We need to contribute in some way to feel fulfilled. Whether this is in your faith, family, friends, community, or career, we all need to give. It is better to give than to receive, it truly gives us a sense of satisfaction.