Posts in Category: Health & Wellness
Now, these tips would be well-suited for any busy, millennial woman who is trying to incorporate daily exercise and healthier eating habits into their day any time of year, but I thought they would be especially helpful over the holidays when everything we’ve committed to seems insurmountable and keeping up with our own self-care quickly falls off the list.
This is my first time, ever …. as a girl, a woman, a mom, a work-at-home coach … anything … that I’ve stuck to a regimen involving elevated self-care and reigned in nutrition for myself over the holidays. So if you and I have a few things in common (as you’ll quickly ascertain as you read through this list of tips), then you’re welcome.
1. All the BB girls say HEY-O!
Particularly when digging into a workout sequence involving plyometrics (which means HELLA jumping), you’re gonna wanna double up on the workout bras. I don’t care how good your brand totes its support strappin’ capabilities. Double up on that shit. Lest you don’t mind the boob-face-slaps. That full-on happens. There are days I tuck into this particular one, the PLYO extreme (included in the 21 Day Fix Extreme which I’m now tackling), that I forget to double up on the full-support workout bras. Crazy things happen and I just go with it because changing once you’re into it just ain’t gonna happen. At least not for me. Next Monday, I swear, I’ll remember.
2. Celebrate Your Milestones
Since we’re talking about burpees, it should be mentioned that there once was a time that I could not rock a single burpee without being extremely shaky and unable to get past a couple unless I wanted to do a face plant. It’s taken me NINE MONTHS (yep, that’s right) do be able to do 2 full reps (30 seconds each, or 1, 60-second rep) of burpees without modifying that action. I persevered by modifying the heck out of those burpees while I slowly built up my stamina and capability. No shame, only PRIDE. I say this to all of you who are afraid (like I was) to begin and stick to a solid/challenging workout program. Today? Burpee tuck jumps were my favourite move of the day! Not because I necessarily love them like I love a dry Grey Goose martini, but because it feels AMAZING to unlock this level of fitness badassery.
3. Use Dry Shampoo Like a BOSS
I get asked all the time if I wash my hair every day with all this sweating I do. NOPE, I do not. For a couple reasons. Ain’t no one got time for that, being front and centre. Secondly, my hair is thick, coarse and prone to being dry and frequent washing would not be my friend. So I embrace the many virtues of dry shampoo. It does exactly what it’s supposed to. It sucks up all that sweat and my trick to not having any residue is to take a few extra minutes to really work it through with a brush, massaging my scalp with the brush after spraying in. I spray my roots before hopping in the shower to let it do its absorbing thang, and then brush my hair, tossing my head upside down. I give it a good go with the blow dryer, concentrating at the roots and my hair comes out so fresh. So clean. Sort of. No shame here either.
4. Recovery Food is KEY
As many of you know, I’m an avid shakeology fan. It’s simple really. Where else can I get 70 superfoods and consume the equivalent to 6 bowls of greens no matter what other craziness I’m up to in a day? It’s a guaranteed way to ensure that my body is getting the fuel that it needs especially when I’m pushing it to extremes with my workouts.
5. Eat Smaller Portions, More Frequently
Over the course of a busy day – I used to skip breakfast more often than not and ended up starving by lunchtime. This resulted in poor lunch choices and depending on my stress or to-do list that day, it could go all downhill from there. I’m not a big weekly meal-planner, but I do keep my fridge and pantry stocked with simple foods that I can grab on the go or make quickly for lunch and snacks. Many of my clients who don’t work from home embrace the food prep action on Sundays so they are well-set up throughout the week. SO IMPORTANT.
6. Don’t Ignore Your Core
I had an ‘AHA’ moment a couple months into this whole life-changing business and that was how essential my core was/is to the whole process in a workout. Most people know that, but in case you haven’t gleaned … fitness guru I am not. I was not maximizing the benefits of my workouts until I engaged my core with EVERY. SINGLE. MOVE.
7. Personal Development Is Essential
DO IT. Not the cheesy stuff – the stuff that resonates with you. There are several authors/speakers/coaches whose particular style and experiences, prose and personal storytelling that speaks to me and I gravitate towards them. There really is something and someone out there for everyone – maybe this list will help! Thinking you have no time for that? Podcasts are all the rage and you can listen to them from anywhere. I like downloading or streaming them from my iPhone when driving in the car. Done, done and INSPIRED.
8. Just Do It
Today I had 50 minutes to press play, get my sweat on, shower and slap on some make-up. Instead of humming and hawing about how I didn’t have time, I just rocked it, did my dry shampoo thing, hopped in the shower, tossed on some clean clothes and boogied through on my 5-minute ‘natural’ make-up routine. And I don’t wear make-up every day, I’m just not that woman. But now and then – I like a little extra joozh.
3 years ago I began feeling sick. I knew something was wrong but couldn’t put a finger on it. As time went on, I got worse. One day I woke up and my legs were balloons and I couldn’t move. I stayed this way for one year, it was devastating. I spent endless hours in the hospital, at the lab and at the doctors. Endless tests and no results. No one could find anything. Finally, one year ago, I found a naturopath who saved my life. The next year would prove to be the most difficult. Treatment made me more sick. Somedays I felt like there was no hope. It made me sad to look at my kids and not be able to play with them. It made me sad to not be able to move and dance or even go to the park. I felt like I was slowly losing myself. Today, I am walking again. I can pick up my children. I can be intimate with my husband. I am starting to feel like myself again. As I look back, the past few years is very fuzzy. There’s a lot of darkness. All of this to say: My husband PLEX has just dropped his first music video from his new album. The song is called Lucky Stars and it is dedicated to me.
“My wife, the love of my life, is the centre of our family, our anchor. Watching her struggle with Lyme Disease has been difficult to say the least. I made this video as a tribute to her. To remind her of all the great moments we have had during this dark time.”
Watching it for the first time was overwhelming. He managed to capture some beautiful moments of our family over the past few years. It is a great reminder for me that even though I FELT like was disappearing, I was very much here and still am. Being loved, feeling loved, is such good medicine. He might think that I am the anchor of the family, but I couldn’t have gotten through any of this without his support and love. I, too, thank my lucky stars.
Please watch and share.
Do you ever dream of becoming more than the limiting self-beliefs you’ve constructed for yourself? Someplace forgiving, honest, limitless and filled with joy? We’ve all overcome obstacles in life. Once, I lived in a reality wherein I never thought I would get unstuck. Unstuck from not being able to take ownership of my relationship with myself. My relationship with food. My confidence. My self-awareness. My turbulent past in struggling with addiction and years of self-medication stemming from a childhood that saw much vitriol, anger and sickness. Those generational cycles of abuse are hard to crack and I know all too well their long-lasting psychological and spiritual impact.
Truth? I thought I wasn’t destined for much in life and while I’ve grown and immersed myself into the love of growing my family and within professions revolving around art and helping others, nothing ever really clicked for me. With as much strength and grace that I can muster, I work hard every single day to steer clear of those systemic cycles. I thought that the residual of all of my life experiences added up to a finite way of being, where I would float between just scraping by: emotionally, financially, physically … to clearer, brighter strands of living healthfully, wild, happy and free. Careening about as if on a roller coaster, to say the least.
It wasn’t until 8 months ago, when I took a giant leap of faith in myself to finally address some of my skeletal stragglers in my closet and recent health diagnoses. I never spoke of having a food disorder before. People were surprised. I sure as hell didn’t talk about my own self-loathing and body-hate. Or my crippling panic attacks in any random social setting. I knew I had to dig deep and DO THE WORK. It started with honesty. I started with embracing the art of storytelling that has released layers of unwanted skin so many times for me in the past. I curled up into digital storytelling like the comfort of a soft and much-coveted blanket. That leap of faith that I took? It entailed so much more than embracing and sticking to an exercise regime or finally addressing of my binge-eating. I was called upon to help others in the very same ways that I had (have) continue to struggle. I was encouraged to believe in myself and share my story, in the hopes that I would inspire others who were struggling immensely on the inside. And on the outside. I was taught to FINALLY believe that I am so much more than my past. Coaching has become a gift that provides me the opportunity to continue to discover who I am, what my unique gifts and strengths are. It has afforded me gifts of jewellery and trips yes. It has also given my family increased financial stability so that I can help provide for my children an enriched life full of love, healthy foods, opportunity and room for emotional, spiritual, artistic and academic growth. Coaching has given me a ferocious community of women who give deeply, intelligently and LIKE A BOSS.
So in case you’ve been wondering, THAT’S what being a Beachbody Coach looks like. It doesn’t take anyone with extra-special-special-ness. We’re not a bunch of women who want to look good in a bathing suit, fluttering about taking selfies and obsessing over our food portioning. We’re all attracted to various types of people in life, those who mentor us, those who we connect to in sisterhood, those who lift us up and teach us things in skilled ways and about love, healthy relationships, finances and trust.
What if I wold you that coaching opens up a gateway to a fusion of all of those things? Where we develop a business mindset and value our family’s prosperity just as much as we do on helping others, giving back and living a holistically charged life of wellness and intention?
Right now I’m gearing up for my BUSIEST season yet: of moving full throttle in this soul-centred business. As much as I may cringe at the notion of New year’s Resolutions, I know that in my industry, January is our busiest time of year. That means I’m looking to mentor 5 other women in the very same ways I have been.
A coach is really someone on their journey inspiring others to do it too. We make it our jobs to discover our greatest selves. So no, it isn’t easy. It’s some of the hardest work you will do with incredible rewards. Ask yourself: could this benefit your life? Could it help you overcome mental blocks or obstacles you’ve had in your life? Could it help you financially? Ask yourself just how much value this opportunity could add to your life.
What else is there to say? All I can do invite you along on this incredible journey. I’m looking for teachable and coachable women, who want to see how coaching can help them. Women who are passionate about helping others. If you already think you have it all together and that this couldn’t benefit you in any of the ways I’ve been talking about, then this opportunity is not for you. We aren’t looking for each other. If you ARE looking for change in these vast and victorious ways then you should comment below or message me.
I’m running a FREE, no-obligation ‘sneak peek into coaching’ event beginning November 18 for 3 days. I’ll be answering any and all questions like:
“What does it cost and How do I earn an income without being salsey?”
“How do I find people to help when I’m still working on myself? “What makes a good coach?”
“Can I really do this at home, part-time, while working another job or being home with my kids?”
Come take a peek at what it would be like to immerse yourself in the #32 coach-led up-line team in all of Team Beachbody. Why wait for New Years to try exciting, bold, and promising new things?
If you’re ready to learn more, email me at email@example.com, shoot me a message or comment on this post and I’ll get you all the info. Seriously, why not you? Why not me? Why not all of us?
Those of us in the Paleo world know about the controversy that is whether or not to include white potatoes into one’s diet. On the one hand, they are a delicious, nutrient dense whole food. A fabulous starchy tuber in fact! Unprocessed, versatile and satisfying. And yet, they sit quite high on the glycemic index and as someone who has chosen to try and stick to a Paleo diet because I’m pre-diabetic … then obviously I am going to avoid sugar spiking foods.
I’m especially NOT going to deny myself of delicious foods however, when it comes to any holiday spread I might be hosting this time of year. I double especially love surprising my doubting guests when it comes to Paleo food substitutions. Because they’re definitely not all a win. (Sad face apple pie.)
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock with nary a Buzzfeed food video or heady list touting the many wondrous virtues of eating cauliflower (instead of carbs) crossing your path, then I’m sorry. This is one of those rare times you’ve been missing out on what the internet has to toss your way. Cauliflower is a splendiferous thing indeed. I’ve tried it out in bread, soup and to make faux ‘cauli-rice’ and pizza crust already. Perhaps you’ve already been served, or have tried mashed cauliflower as a mashed potato substitute. It’s pretty good (no, it doesn’t taste exactly the same so let’s just lay that inquisition to rest), but I’ve found that the addition of parsnips really adds the taste a texture needed to make it a damn good combo of a sub needed to mimic the cloudy peaks of buttery, creamy goodness that is mashed potatoes. Cauliflower is a part of the cabbage family, which means it’s a vegetable and we know that vegetables are a good thing, yes? Particularly rich in vitamin C and B vitamins, cauliflower also has a significant amount of vitamin K, manganese, phosphorous, and potassium! As if all of that weren’t enough, noshing on cauliflower also gives you a good dose of sulfur. And until I read Mark Sisson’s article on why eating sulfur-rich foods is a grand idea, I had no clue about why I should care about that either. It’s a damn good, eye-opening article about vegetables in general!
Pumped up with various B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin K, parsnips and turnips are a great source of trace minerals, including manganese, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc! While they may be moderately high in natural sugars, parsnips are also comprised of both soluble and insoluble fiber. (Which slows the body’s digestion of carbs and prevents a spike in blood sugar and makes food easier to digest!) When accompanied with the cauliflower, one really is bestowed with the great satisfaction of eating mashed potatoes without the dense insulin spike.
I’m straight up gonna tell you that using a blender will issue you a gluey mass. Which you might be going for if you wanted to make a vegan cheese sauce sub; say for mac and cheese. But that’s not the texture we’re going for here. I myself am a fan of the rustic hand-held mashing or using a food processor.
- 2 heads cauliflower
- 4 parsnips, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 1 small turnip, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 5-6 tbsp. grass-fed butter or ghee
- 1¼ tsp. pink sea salt
- Remove the cauliflower florets from their bases of stems and leaves. Wash and add to a water-filled pot, along with
yourwashed, peeled and chopped parsnips and turnip.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer until all is tender.
- (You can cook the veg in two separate pots if you don't have a big enough one.)
- Drain the cauliflower, turnips and parsnips into a colander and topple them all into a food processor (or back into the pot if you are hand-mashing.)
- Add the butter and whizz/mash until well creamed! If you like it rustic then by hand is the best way to go.
- Season with sea salt to taste, eat it, love it and gloat all about it.
Fridge and pantry staples. I’m all about them! I’m wrapping up a Free 5 Day Sugar Detox and Intro Into Clean Eating Group on Facebook today and as I was compiling some of my favourite, simple, refined sugar and processed-crap-free recipes I wanted to able to include this little gooder in the list for the group members. We were out of strawberry jam anyways and since it only takes a few minutes to make, I decided to whip some up, take some pics and shoot off a recipe post. I also have a strawberry, chia seed and lavender infused jam recipe here on They Roar, by way of the traditional canning method if you’d like to give that a whirl for a longer shelf life or to gift this holiday season!
- 600 grams bag of frozen strawberries (could use fresh too, approximately 2½ cups)
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 - 3 tbsp. ground chia seeds (depending on how thick you like your jam)
- 4 tbsp. raw honey
- Simmer berries until soft and easy to mash
- Mash it up, adding in the honey, lemon juice, and ground chia
- Scoop into a mason jar, chill and ENJOY!
- (last up to about 2 weeks, if it's not devoured by then!)
As a holistic wellness coach, I can see the pressure such things as ‘before and after’ selfies can put on people. Especially women. You can be anyone on the internet. Pop a hip, wear a proper fitting swimsuit or bra and underwear, use complimentary lighting, work that camera angle, apply a filter … the list goes on how one can make themselves look better in pictures. I’m not necessarily sure what’s WRONG with any of those things. Wearing clothes that fit? Yes, I do that. Do I choose complimentary camera angles when taking selfies? Yup, I do that too. I have a weak chin that I’m fairly self-conscious about, but I’m learning to embrace it. Maybe. As in, I rock that camera angle when I want. No camera angle, including vaulting a tripod from the ceiling to shoot from, will disguise the visual proof that my face has indeed slimmed down from all the ass-kicking workouts I’ve been doing the past 7 months. Do I use filters for my progress shots (which is what I prefer to call them)? Yes indeedy, high contrast, muted black and white is my fave for the side by side action. Does it carve out definition that isn’t there? Don’t think so. Isn’t that what photoshop is for? Do I jut out my hip, twist my torso and suck it in? Yes and no. I stand tall. I stand proud. I stand strong. I get my swerve on. Shoulders back, head held high and I let go of all those years of shame and embarrassment. I rock the self-inflicted photo-shoot, sure … but I don’t go to extremes. I like my curves, I like keeping it real and my tummy is soft in it’s its newly anchored relationship with its core. Sucking it all in would only add to my inner conflict on self-image, self-worth and how I share my story.
Our bodies are diverse. Not flawless. I’m choosing to embrace that instead of portraying an image of perfection. I’d rather portray an image of health. Of being strong over skinny. I’m not afraid to admit anymore that I’m damn proud of how far I’ve come and no amount of filters or hip poppin’ is going to fake it for me.
Are Before and After Selfies Demoralizing? Shame-Inducing?
It’s all in how it’s done. Am I fisting a bottle of hyped up energy drink, held next to my SWOLL ass while bent over a bathroom sink? No. Am I now living the jet-set life because I workout? Uhm, nope. Before and after pics can be especially annoying when one struggles with eating disorders, emotional eating and/or food addiction, to have someone’s pictures in your social feeds showing you how they’re apparently winning at life more than you. I get it. It took me far too long to admit to myself that I had to make a change. It was easier to snicker and make assumptions about ‘those type of women,’ than to actually get to know them or their stories; or even be real with myself about my own struggles. The truth is, I was overweight and spent way too much time trying to fit someone else’s vision of what healthy should look like most of my life. My relationship with my body will be constantly evolving. I share that unraveling publicly because I know there are other women who struggle in some of the same ways I do. I put myself out there with visuals and in how I articulate myself, because it’s a part of the work that I do in building relationships, gaining new clients and helping other women, just like me. It’s also deeply liberating on a personal level. If you’re not a fan of what I do or what I share, there’s always that little unfollow button you can hit or you know, you can even ‘unfriend’ me! No hard feelings. To tackle the discourse that’s happening in how the fitness industry is perceived is a challenge I meet with gusto. I work in an industry designed to capitalize on the insecurities of many women. And yet, there are exceptions to this ‘norm’ as within ANY industry. The landscape of health and wellness professionals is evolving and growing; and women, in particular, are taking the reigns. We’re aligning ourselves, teaching and supporting each other and taking back gatekeeper status on our body ideals, healthy body image and body positivity.
Fitness Lifestyle IS NOT Anti-Feminist
Feminism and the female body have long been linked. There is absolutely NOTHING anti-feminist about wanting to be healthy. (Let’s just cut straight to the point about that.) Healthy in body, mind and soul. Not all of us can have all three of those things, but it doesn’t mean we can’t work damn hard to attain our best version of that golden trifecta of living the good life, right on into our old age. True long-term healthy living does not mean punishing and denying oneself, to live up to media’s fucked up portrayal of what women (young and old), should look like. That’s a manipulative and unrealistic set of ideas that have been thrust upon us for decades. It means working hard for the health of our minds and bodies, just like we work hard in our relationships, our parenting, or careers; to achieve financial stability, intellectual satisfaction, and enriching, rewarding life experiences. For a long time and in many ways still, women are seen as failing in their duty to be visually pleasing, (while walking the fine line between ‘ladylike’ and titillating), to an audience used to viewing them as public property. From a young age, we … that is all of us — men and women — internalize the idea that women have an obligation to be attractive, particularly if they plan on making a habit of speaking in public or venturing into places where people can see them. When I post before and after pics or progress pics … I am indeed being seen. By more people than I have a clue about. This means, perhaps, that my message is being heard to and that I am contributing to the movement of women who are taking back their natural bodies.
Exercise Is About Much More Than Looking Good
Endorphins are real. Exercising for half an hour does not make me feel worse. In fact, after a workout I feel joyful, strong and ready to tackle my day. So. The haters gonna hate, but I soldier on. If you’re the type of person who is like, ‘I love my body the way it is and I don’t need to fucking exercise,’ then fabulous! Imma keep rollin’ the way I do, as you do yours. I like feeling happy and healthy. I like (more than) helping others get that same quality of life too. There are a plethora of reasons why healthy eating and exercise is important. I’ve found what my WHYS are and showing those reasons to the world via the internets enables me to help others figure that out too.
So. The Elementary School Milk Program (AHEM: Chocolate Milk MARKETING CAMPAIGN, because their sales go way down without the inclusion of said chocolate milk), is getting rather brazen and authoritative this year.
Did You Know?
“Chocolate milk has no more sugar than ‘100% Fruit Juice!” This is the whole ‘Milk in Schools’ slogan slapped across pamphlets that went home with most public, elementary aged school kids this week. I’m just gonna tweak that nifty little tag-line a bit for a minute here. Amuse me. Come along for the ride. “Chocolate milk has the same (if not more) amount of sugar as ‘100% Fruit Juice!” There. Much better. Let’s break this whole juice is healthy concept down first. It’s not just soda that is full of sugar. Juice can be just as high in sugar as soda. Even the ‘100% fruit juice’ labelled ones, with no extra sugar added. Fruit juice contains no fibre, and the small amounts of vitamins and antioxidants in even the 100 % pure fruit juices do not make up for the large amount of natural sugar content. Read that article linked within. It’s a gooder. I tried to find the chocolate milk pamphlet online to link to, no dice. All I could find was the more generalized (perhaps LESS CONTROVERSIAL, ahem) milk in schools brochure. But as you can see from my picture above – they are blatantly promoting chocolate milk all on its own.
The Truth About Marketing
Unfortunately, food and beverage manufacturers aren’t always honest about what is in their products, keep in mind. The fact is, the fruit juice you find at the supermarket may not be what you think it is… even if it’s labelled as “100% pure” and “not from concentrate. There are 30 grams of sugar in flavoured milk (chocolate, strawberry). Flavoured milk also has other ingredients you won’t find in the plain stuff such as colours, flavours, artificial sweeteners, which definitely don’t make it more nutritious. Yes, chocolate milk is damn tasty and I prefer to give it to my kids occasionally as a treat. It’s not being given to them every single day as a healthy food choice.
About 1 in 3 North American children are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the first generation of kids who are expected to live a shorter life than their parents. By 2050, 1out of every 3 North Americans will have diabetes at the rate we’re going. This is a fundamental problem that no one is talking about. I’m paying attention and not listening to everything being marketed to me as touted being healthy for my kids and we’re teaching our kids about food brands and labels and how what they see on all of the food being marketed towards THEM aren’t honest. With this pamphlet coming home from school, we had to have another talk about chocolate milk being a TREAT, not an everyday healthy drink to consume like the advertising and slogan on the pamphlet would have their sponge-like little minds believe.
So I don’t mind having these talks with my kids. I believe that kids are being told some of the biggest lies they will ever hear in their lives by government and the food industry. It kind of boggles my mind though that we’re the ones who get strange looks at the grocery store say for example, when one on my kids pipes up asking, “look, mama, these gummies say they have vitamins and 100% fruit juice in them! That’s MARKETING right mama?! Is that true?” We’ve taught them to question marketing and to know that they are being sold lies. If we did not teach them this, they would believe what they’re seeing and reading. Kids are so trusting and innocent in this way. Just as we teach them about ‘stranger danger’, we teach them about sneaky marketing. You can think we’re zealots or go overboard with the whole healthy food consumption thing, all that you want. The stats don’t lie. MARKETING DOES. Especially advertising geared towards children. Take for example the chart that I’m looking at right now on my dining room table. It compares the nutrients of white milk and chocolate milk VS. “100 % apple and orange juice.” They list them all, calcium, vitamins D, A and C, including protein, fat and carb content. They don’t say that most of those ‘nutrients’ are injected into the milk and are synthetic. They very conveniently leave out the Bovine growth hormone content that is given to cows in the U.S. to make them mature faster and produce more milk, or the inhumane treatment that happens to cows on non-grass fed dairy farms everywhere.
Canada … Ontario, Get With The Times!
The biggest thing they’ve left out of that pretty little chart? THE SUGAR CONTENT in flavoured milk or 100% fruit juices. How convenient. Kind of sneaky in fact. We as a society are ready to analyze and question what we’re being sold in other areas of our consumption (clothes, cars, houses, etc.) We doubt, we question, we can see when we’re trying to be bamboozled. We do the research to make sure the product we’re buying is legit. Why on EARTH wouldn’t we do that when it comes to the FOOD THAT WE EAT?!
Look, I get it. Milk in schools is an easy, accessible way to help children get trough their day. So let us leave it at that, with plain old milk leaving the flavoured ones out. If the excuse is that kids are more inclined to drink chocolate milk over the plain, well yea! Of course they are. When we give them that choice. When we give them that power over their own nutrition. It’s up to us as parents to begin at home with these teachings.
Advocates like celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and his Food Foundation movement, have stood by his Flavoured Milk campaign. His message is clear: the more sugar we consume, the more we tend to want. If even milk has added sugar, what doesn’t? Part of getting everyone to better eating is getting everyone familiar with more wholesome, less-processed foods. Milk closer to nature is a better choice than milk with added sugar and colourings and flavourings. Every eating occasion is an opportunity to promote health or oppose it. If schools take a lead role in promoting health, there will still be much work to do outside of schools, but school then becomes an important part of the solution, rather than contributing to the problem.
And I agree. Adding flavourings and sugar to milk offers no nutritional benefit. The harm of the sweetened dairy products, besides the added calories, is that the palate changes so that the drive for sweetness increases. No matter what Oliver’s critics might say. Speaking of which, his flavoured milk campaign is SO 2011. He’s since moved on to lunches that are served in schools and food education for kids, parents and teachers alike.
Socioeconomic and Demographic Accessibility
The hardcore truth of the matter is that some kids go to school without being fed breakfast. Or, if they have been fed breakfast, it was a bunch of sugary crap. Every single day. (Again, I’m talking about consistency here, not the occasional treat). And much the same continues throughout their day when they pull out snacks and lunch. Very little whole-food based food with REAL (not synthetic) vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and protein value. So milk is a simple, accessible (cost effective) choice for many families to jump on board with to supply their kids with at least SOME nutritional food value to keep going throughout their day. I personally know that most of the vitamins touted to be in milk are not naturally sourced. As in they’re synthetic forms of those vitamins and ADDED into milk to make it more marketable. A one stop shop to get a whole fleet of vitamins, minerals and food supplements: vitamin’s A, B6, D, B12, calcium, protein, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous zinc. Healthy carbs and fats. (Questionable, i.e.: skim vs. regular, whole milk vs. 2%, organic vs. regular, etc.)
I realise that our family comes from a place of privilege wherein we (by working our butts off to be able to afford whole foods) can provide our kids a nutrient dense diet every day. There are several reasons that we view this as a high priority in our budget, which stem from cultural beliefs surrounding food and water being sacred, being medicine; core values and health issues that my husband and I have. The truth is that there are a plethora of other ways for even low-income families to feed their kids simple, whole-food based meals and snacks that provide all of the nutrients that milk and flavoured milk are advertised as having. But knowing and understanding this takes LEARNING and education for parents too. Which is why some North American schools have stopped including flavoured milks in the milk programs and have workshops and book informative public speakers to come in and provide hands-on learning tools about how to feed their families on a budget, exposing truths about sugar and industry marketing.
My reasons for writing this post aren’t just to rant and rave. I’m hoping to generate online discourse and proposing that parents who are interested in tackling this issue, DO SO. It is much easier to turn a blind eye to the horrifying statistics on childhood obesity and diabetes and continue on as we were. Buying the hype. At what cost? We need to rally together, support one another, regardless of socio-economic and demographic barriers. Start up a movement in your school. Research speakers and workshop options. Put together your own presentation and make a call-to-action with your school’s principal to present at your next School Council meeting. Share your knowledge with other parents and students in an approachable, helpful way. Make suggested alternatives to flavoured milk easy, price friendly and accessible. Be the motivation. Igniting community awareness and interest in a convenient manner is key. We can’t just TELL parents they’re doing something wrong. How pompous, right? In essence, they aren’t. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have. With what we’ve been
When industry partners up with the government (the Elementary School Program for example, or say – the Canadian Food Guide, which is a whole other bucket of worms, but take a comparitive look at our food guide compared to the Brazilian Food Guide ), the thought of challenging that strong-hold of power is overwhelming. I get it. Writing this post took me nearly two hours and I have many more (hours) ahead of me if I hope to get chocolate milk sales banned from my kids’ school and help other parents and kids understand why this is a GOOD THING. No, I don’t have lots of time on my hands. I work full-time too. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We all have our own daily intricacies, problems and issues to deal with.
Don’t Just Take My Word For It …
Sugar, in and of itself has become a widespread, controversial subject. Please watch the documentary “Fed Up”. It’s a highly (scientific and evidence based) researched (albeit disturbing) look at sugar as the INDUSTRY it really is. Placing private profit ahead of public health. Watch the trailer below.
Learn more, know more.
What You Can Do
➵ Be friendly. DON’T BE PREACHY. Make it fun. Perhaps start off with signing up to have your school celebrate Food Revolution Day 2016 and use The Flavoured Milk campaign a springboard for small steps.
➵ Print and share the easy to read PDFs from Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation, Toolkits for Change under “Flavoured Milk.’ There are 3 sections (The Facts, Find Support and Create a Campaign.) Email my post to begin, if you want, to your school council members and principal. Post it on FB and tag your neighbours, your friends, etc. Find your allies at the school and join together.
➵ Contact your school council chair, your principal, your ministry of education (where the campaign comes from). This might be considered causing a ruckus depending on where you’re at demographically. I guess you need to be comfortable with that. Or be okay with being uncomfortable. I’m going to be communicating with my kids’ school council that I’m already a part of and the principal to make my own presentation.
➵ If you can get your school’s principal and council members on board, call an info night session for all parents to attend and hand out the resources linked above, put them on a overhead and use them as talking points to all parents in attendance. Better yet, make a mini, easy to digest power point presentation using these resources to accompany it. Send the printables home with the kids too, just like that chocolate milk pamphlet was. They may not be printed in colour on fancy heavy weight gloss paper, and that’s okay.
➵ Contact ME to use and modify my power point presentation (coming soon!). Sign up for my newsletter to find out when. Or simply use Jamie Oliver’s resources to create your own, that’s what I will be doing, he makes it easy.
This may be one small thing that you do – in eliminating flavoured milk being sold at your kids’ school. With the power to invoke long-term change; in how parents and kids know about and understand nutrition, how neighbourhoods and school districts to come together as a village, recognizing the importance of food education and diet-related diseases that we are facing with this generation.
Are you getting enough water each day? Dehydration can actually cause headaches, muscle fatigue, tiredness and even make you feel hungry when really you are just thirsty! TRUST. Most people aren’t drinking enough of it (pop, tea, those “vitamin” waters, and coffee don’t count!).
To find out a good estimate of how much you should be drinking each day take your current weight and divide it by two. That’s how many ounces you should be aiming for! It’s tough at first but in a few days you’ll notice yourself feel less cravings, feel more radiant and energized. You’ll actually start to crave water! I know I do. It’s a pretty cool thing when you get over the hump of ditching other drinks, to come to the day wherein a simple glass of water refreshes and revitalizes you and lifts your spirits up.
➀ Fluid Balance
Roughly 60 percent of the body is composed of water. Drinking enough H2O maintains the body’s fluid balance, which helps transport nutrients in the body, regulate body temperature, digest food, and more.
➁ Body Fuel
Sweating through exercise causes muscles to lose water. And when the muscles don’t have enough water, they get tired. Hydrating with water helps you push further.
➂ Clearer Skin
Certain toxins in the body can cause the skin to inflame, which results in clogged pores and acne. Water flushes out these toxins and helps reduce blemishes and breakouts.
➃ Kidney Function
Our kidneys process 200 quarts of blood daily, sifting out waste and transporting urine to the bladder! Yet, kidneys need enough fluids to clear away what we don’t need in the body. Cheers to that!
➄ Fatigue Buster
One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is tiredness.
➅ Pain Prevention
A little water can really go a long way. Aching joints and muscle cramps and strains can all occur if the body is dehydrated. Suffering from headaches? Could be that you’re not drinking enough water.
➆ Improved Digestion
Drinking enough each day helps keep the colon happy. Keeping thing moving along smoothly. You pickin’ up what I’m laying down?
➇ Wellness Warrior
Water may help with congestion and dehydration, helping the body bounce back when feeling under the weather.
Water holds the memory of all life. It comes before life, in order to carry life we must have water for our water to break to birth. From gestation to embryo and beyond. We live in water in the womb, in our mothers. Water is akin to the blood that flows through our veins. When we talk about the water in the earth, we talk about the water that flows through Mother Earth. It’s the carrier of spirit (along with air). There is not life without water. It’s the essential ingredient of life and because of this, we shouldn’t separate the importance of it from how it soothes and nurtures our spirit as well as our bodies.
This is why when Indigenous cultures fast out in the bush, we go without water to encounter the intricate state of our mind, body and soul. Essentially water is integral to our well-being and sustaining life. It brings us back to respecting Mother Earth and being so grateful for water!
It was mid-summer, 2012. Spirits were high as Trev (my husband for any new readers) and I were at Dundas Square for a performance he was about to get down in (as the bassist for the band Digging Roots at the time) for Aboriginal Day festivities at Dundas Square in Toronto. About an hour before he was to hit the stage we received a phone call informing us that his/our dear friend, Steve Dennis had been kidnapped. Steve is a humanitarian aid worker, and since 2002 he has been assisting to provide aid in some of the world’s most devastated areas.
At the time of his kidnap, he was deployed with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) to the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. Steve and four of his colleagues were attacked by armed men, shot and taken with force as hostages. One of them did not survive. None of us can begin to fathom what this might have been to go through. I just know on the other side, in receiving this horrible news … that time stood still. We had no control. There was nothing we could do to help Steve. We didn’t know if he would survive. Thankfully, he did. But thousands of other aid workers in similar, tragic events, have not. And yet thousands more who have survived physically, require care and rehabilitation that they are just not receiving.
As anyone could image, the repercussions of this tragedy have had ongoing effects on him that you or I could not imagine. He brought his concerns to the NRC and received next to NO ongoing support. In the years since Steve has made discoveries concerning the NRC’s level of accountability and level of duty of care to it workers as an organization in general. Not just regarding what happened to he and his colleagues. So he hired a lawyer in “pursuit of answers about organizational accountability and support for my injuries” as Steve states in the essay of his Fund Razr campaign. Why is he seeking to raise funds? Steve hopes to help re-shape aid policy and procedures to the level that reducing the risk of violence requires! And to take proper care of those and their familes who are suffering. As one might envision, in knowing what a huge organization that the NRC is … the bevy of high rolling lawyers they have at their disposal. Steve is but one man in his plight for fair and [much needed] call-to-action for change in aid and thus far has used his own resources and time to cover legal fees.
There is so much more to the story and I urge you to read what Steve has to say and watch his video on his Fund Razr page. The change he is trying to manifest will benefit the future of ALL aid workers. He is asking us to share his message … like that of so many other aid workers, and to discuss what duty of care means to you, and make a small donation any way we that we can.
This has been difficult to write as I want to share ALL of the details with you, but I also beseech you to visit his funding page. Get the full scope of how crucial the shift towards safety and accountability for aid workers that Steve is petitioning for. Share his story on your social networks (use the hashtag #ReShapeAid) and get involved in the discussion.
Words From Trevor
When Steve first told me of his decision to start working with Médecins Sans Frontières, I saw immediately what a great fit it was. Steve is a level-headed, fair and pragmatic engineer who brought a talent for making things out of nothing to places that needed them most. His good heart and wisdom was recognized by ex-pats and nationals alike and he earned respect unanimously. He has always had a mind fit for figuring out processes and logistics and MSF, and later the Norwegian Red Cross (NRC), saw that and put it to very good use for a long time. There was always knowledge that working on these front lines brought risk, but there were plans in place to provide a working environment that was as safe as possible. Steve was forthcoming with his thoughts on where he saw weaknesses in security procedures and other safety concerns. Indeed on some assignments, he was the man on point to enforce best practices to ensure the safety of the staff, ex-pat and national, on the project. He had the experience and the ability to disseminate his knowledge to the organizations he was working for. And he did.
In 2012, his camp was stormed by armed men, resulting in the death of his friend and driver, Abdi Ali, and the kidnapping of him and 3 others. The camp was being run by the Norwegian Red Cross (NRC), and they were absolutely negligent in their responsibilities towards the safety of their staff. There were a slew of security measures that had been well discussed and thought out, yet were simply ignored or dropped. And after the kidnapping, the NRC did nothing to take responsibility for their actions nor make reparations in the field for their mistakes.
The kidnapping was a turning point for Steve. I know that he has struggled with PTSD and has not been, and may never be, ready to return to the field. But, Steve is a man who sees justice as a responsibility and he is standing up against the NRC to make them accountable for their failing response to the kidnapping incident. His voice echoes the unheard voices of thousands of aid workers who ask only that true efforts be made towards keeping them safe while they do important and harrowing work in the field.
Steve is one of my oldest and dearest friends. I am grateful that he is and will be around to watch my children grow. And I am proud of him, and absolutely support him, for taking this stand. His actions must have a positive effect and will, in all likelihood, save lives.
You know how Facebook reminds you of your posts from 1 year ago, 2 years ago, 3 years ago, etc? Well, today I was reminded of how 9 years ago I was living the life of a Nomad, fresh out of some heavy detoxing. Embarking on a new life, not knowing where I was going, but committed to living a life free of self-medicating, crippling doubt and self-loathing.
It’s been almost a decade since then that I’ve carved out space in my time in my heart for so much more than I could have imagined for a girl like me, with a past like mine. I’m a mother now and a wife. Back then, I thought I wanted to be a social worker. I knew I wanted to be in a helping profession, but I forgot about my creative side. It’s taken all of those years, out of the haze – to figure out I need to find a way to merge my creative side with my nurturing one. I would never have imagined that a career existed wherein I could also build a stable business, to become financially free too. Everyone I knew in those industries toiled with all of their heart and soul, never truly monetarily matching their worth. Eventually becoming burnt out and maxed out in multiple ways.
After half a year of being a Beachbody coach, I’ve been shown how to (and am currently experiencing,) what it’s like to settle into my skin and feel excited about my future. More importantly, the future I am helping to provide for my family and my community in 3 rather remarkable (to me) ways:
1. I’ve been taught how to motivate myself and others to tackle their innermost demons and crutches that weigh us down, especially the stragglers (which for me, was food) and STICK with a solid health and fitness routine. This alone, has redefined me to my very core.
2. I no longer doubt the power that sharing our stories manifests in this world, and that all it takes is one person to lead a small group of others toward a common goal of greater good. And that greater good starts with oneself. Personal development is something I will no longer scoff at or make snarky remarks about. I don’t want to miss a beat. And when I do? I now have the self-confidence and resilience to pick myself back up again each bright new day, making time for ME. Even as a mother. I can make time for both and it doesn’t mean I’m being selfish. Total guilt-free zone wherein doing so gives me the strength and peace of mind to come back refreshed and pour MORE of me into my mothering, my relationship with my husband and my family as a whole.
3. I’ve become stronger of health AND mind. I’m more organized in co-managing our finances and monthly budget, daily responsibilities in running a household with my husband and general family calendar and to-do lists. I used to abhor talks of finances and would feel overwhelmed with all that was on my plate. I’m not saying everything’s perfect now, but I’ve been given so many practical tools and endless support and resources to really make strides in taking the stress out of ADULTING.
I’m looking for people who have struggled with these 3 things to move forward into hitting the REFRESH button this fall. All it takes is one giant leap of faith in yourself and the courage to believe that YOU are in charge of your future and anything is possible when you have the right community of boss babes to back you up. Email me today to claim your spot. (And let me know if you’re interested in beginning as a client or as BOTH a client and a business builder!) Transformations really are possible when they happen from the inside out. Just as the title of this post says, the sky really is the limit. When you have options, that is.