Welcome!

Thank you for visiting! Walking the Walk is meant to be a source to assist you in your quest for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Through my own lifestyle, I hope to give you creative ideas that make adopting a healthier, more holistic lifestyle as enjoyable and easy for you as possible!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Things I Love (Part deux)


 Inspirational quotes, written on paper towel

 At-home spa treatments with friends

 Trips to the Royal Ontario Museum

The vegan chocolate cake at Fresh (Sorry, not GF) 

 My Art Gallery of Ontario membership (students get a special discount)




Have a wonderful day!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

T'is the season....


It's almost Christmas and everyone is pretty jolly.  99% of the time, this "jolly" is alcohol induced, so I felt it appropriate to mention some natural ways to deal with the perils of overindulging in mulled wine and spiked eggnog over the Christmas break.

***Please remember that this blog is informative only and is not meant to diagnose medical conditions.  Please contact your holistic health care provider if you would like to try some of the suggested supplements so that they can guide you on their correct dosing and whether the product is right for you***  

How to Naturally Avoid a Hang-over


I didn't have Nux Vomica on hand for a photo op, so Arnica has to do...

1. Take a homeopathic remedy. The homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica is an excellent way to ward off a hangover.  To do this, take a dose of 30CH  Nux vomica after the big Christmas party, right before bed.  You may need to re-dose in the morning, or you may not.  I find the most effective way to take a homeopathic is to either dissolve the tablets in about a tablespoon of filtered water in a glass shot glass, or to put the tablets directly under your tongue from the container, taking care not to touch them with your hands.  Give it a try and see if it works for you.

2. Detox your liver. C'mon, you know you're going to be drinking and I know you're going to be drinking.  You may as well be proactive and begin helping your liver a few days before the Christmas party.  A great product for this is the Livdetox from Douglas Labs (click here for the complete product info).  This product can be taken a few days before the party and also the day after in order to stave off the hangover by supporting your liver's ability to clear the alcohol from your system.  Douglas Labs is a professional line that is not normally sold in regular health food stores, so you may need to consult with your Naturopathic Doctor to get your hands on some of this.

3. Focus on bitters instead of sweet alcohols.  It's unavoidable that you are going to drink during this time of year, so why not try to make it the healthiest choice possible?  Instead of choosing a suger-filled, calorie-laden beverage, try opting for the more bitter drinks.  Gin and Campari are both bitters and can help with digestion.  Mix either with some Perrier and you have a lovely, refreshing drink that will help your body by being somewhat medicinal as well as lower in calories.  Kind of like a homemade tincture...also, red wine is always a great choice, since it has so many health benefits!

I hope some of these suggestions will work for you.  I rarely drink alcohol and felt for the longest time that I was missing out on the fantastic health properties that red wine in particular had to offer-most importantly the Resveratrol, a plant phenol that is a fantastic anti-inflammatory and touted to be responsible for "The French Paradox".   Recently, I found a fantastic product from Pure Encapsulations that provides this phenol in an easy to take form; Resveratrol Extra (pictured below) has been suggested by my colleague to be taken everyday, along with omega-3 fish oils, as a preventative to discourage inflammation in your body.  Since inflammation is responsible for nearly all diseases, I'd say this is some pretty sound advice.

The superhero for fighting inflammation.

Happy Holidays! Enjoy the time with your family and friends and be sure to let them know just how important they are to you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's that time of year again...

That's right...FINAL EXAMS! And also Christmas, I guess :)

I may not be posting for the next week, but I leave you with the following site:

www.8tracks.com

I am listening to a playlist right now called "Songs for an Overwhelmed Student".  It's quite relaxing :)

Wish me luck!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Miraculous Chia Seed, Revisited

I made an earlier post that mentioned chia seeds (you can find it by clicking here) but lately I am so impressed by them that I have to mention them again, this time in a post that is entirely their own.

The Facts
Chia seeds contain a form of protein that is very easy for your body to both digest and assimilate. It has also been said to be the richest vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids (more commonly found in fish oils, these fats help decrease inflammation and make your skin and hair look lovely).  It is also incredibly rich in calcium and it contains boron, another mineral that helps the body absorb that calcium (great for all you people who want to build up strong, healthy bones).

But most importantly, chia seeds can do this:


Before:




After:


So, what's so great about the fact it becomes a gel in liquid? Chia is actually really really high in mucilage, a soluble fiber that is gel-like when combined with water.  This ability for fiber to trap water is fantastic because it allows it to pass through our body easily without sucking up water from our bodies to do so.  Basically, this form of fiber keeps you regular and hydrated.  If that doesn't impress you, perhaps this recipe will:

Vanilla Chai Chia:

1 part chia seeds (2 tbsp)
3 parts almond milk (6 tbsp)
about 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or more, depending how much milk and chia you use)
about 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more, again depending on how much you use)

Beat all the ingredients together in a glass bowl so that none of the chia seeds are clumped together.  Cover with a lid and place in the fridge overnight, or leave on the counter for 30 minutes.  After waiting patiently, give the mixture one last stir to smooth things out and enjoy your Chia pudding.

Enjoy!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Acupuncture is A-OK!

Acupuncture points along the Conception Vessel meridian. Notice the thumbs up, indicating how A-Ok it is :)


I'm always a bit shocked when people say they are frightened of receiving acupuncture.  After a few inquiries, I discovered that most people are not frightened of the needles (they are, after all, very tiny--you can hardly see them in the above photograph!) but they are actually just not sure what to expect.  

Having received quite a few acupuncture treatments in my time, I have come up with some common sensations that should occur as well as some sensations that should not.

What you will feel:

Patients are divided on whether or not they feel the needle go into their skin--this depends on the area being treated as well as the person, but generally it is a light tap or a pinch that is felt for only a second.

Once the needle is in, most patients report feeling the following sensations either for the duration of the treatment or just at the beginning, when the needle is being inserted:
  • aching
  • pressure
  • heaviness
  • warmth
The above sensations are good and mean that the Qi is being stimulated and healing has commenced. 

Under no circumstances should you experience the following:
  • intense pain
  • radiating pain

After receiving an acupuncture treatment, it is advisable to rest/take it easy and forgo vigorous exercise, consumption of alcohol or drugs as well as any sexual activity.  To get the most out of your treatment, you should go home, relax and be sure to get a fantastic sleep so that treatment can be further enhanced.

So, look up some acupuncture schools in your community and stop into their Student Clinic to receive an effective and affordable treatment!

Enjoy!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Give me SOMA that: SOMA Chocolatemaker Rocks!

In Denmark, there is a special word to describe nearly everything cozy.  Hygge (pronounced "hoogga", if we try saying it while forming our mouth to say "ee" instead of "oo") originally meant "well-being" but it has since been used to describe anything comfortable and warm, from something literal like physically sitting by the fire to something more abstract, like a state of mind.  As you know, J was recently in Denmark and she taught me this lovely word when she was describing her new, oversized wool coat:


Very hygge, no?  

Keeping with the hygge theme, on Friday evening M took me somewhere special.  It started out as a little walk around the block but we got closer and closer to King Street West and soon we were peering into the most adorable little chocolate shop I've ever encountered.  SOMA Chocolatemaker just opened their King West location, and I couldn't be more thrilled!  We sat for hours on the bench, letting the glorious smell of fresh chocolate waft over us as we sipped our Mayan Hot Chocolates and shared silly secrets in hushed tones.  Totally hygge!

Mayan Hot Chocolate (veganize by asking for soymilk)

The hot chocolate here is the real deal, being made from a shot of molten dark chocolate that is then mixed with the milk and fresh spices (powder? puh-leez!).  Honestly the best hot chocolate I have had in my life (and I grew up in the mountains where hot chocolate is something of a staple).

But aren't they also a chocolate maker, you ask? SOMA has the most interesting flavour combinations I had ever heard of (8 year old balsamic vinegar, douglas fir, 'Pop rocks'--to name a few) but I have to go all Johnny Depp in Chocolat and claim that I'll take the hot chocolate any day.  

 Les chocolats

Close up of the various gems.  Quit drooling all over your keyboard.

Whether you go alone or with someone special, SOMA Chocolatemaker is a fantastically cozy place that you want to visit at least once, in the name of hygge.


SOMA Chocolatemaker
443 King Street West
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 599-7662



Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bare Beauty: Going Makeup-less


Only just a year ago this was a frightening idea for me.  I had worn make up for the last 7 years and stepping out of the house without it left me feeling, well, naked.

What changed my mind was when I asked the most beautiful woman I know how she maintained skin that didn't look a day over 25 for the past 15 years (Nobody believes she's 40!).  What products did she use?  Turns out the answer is what products she didn't use.  She told me: "I have never worn face make up in my entire life, and I truly believe it has made all the difference."

For me, years of wearing pore-clogging makeup were not the easiest to reverse and I am still working on getting my skin back to its natural lustre but I can tell you that it has improved dramatically with these techniques that you may find helpful in easing your skin through the transition:

1. If you are a full coverage kind of girl, transition to a tinted moisturizer.  Once you see your natural beauty shine through your makeup, the step to bare skin will be easier.

2. Make sure your skin is squeaky clean but don't be too rough with it!  I make sure to clean my skin every night with a very mild soap and then I use an alcohol free toner with witch hazel and lavender to sooth any inflammation and further tighten my pores (witch hazel is an excellent astringent) without irritating or stripping my skin.

3. Use a mask to help remove any impurities that may have built up from makeup use.  I buy white clay from my health food store and make it into a paste with a bit of water and apply it to my face after a shower.  Wait until the clay is completely dry (about 20 minutes) and then remove it gently with a warm, damp facecloth.  I also use Moor Mud, but it is a bit more difficult to find.

4. Make sure to moisturize!  You want your skin to be able to breath (ie no makeup) but you also want it to be protected from the elements.  The best way is to use a natural moisturizer every morning before you leave the house.  I suggest the Pure + Simple line, but any natural product that is free of chemicals will do.  

5. Eat a clean diet.  The first signs of ill health appear on the skin, so be conscious of your diet as well as drinking enough water to further aid toxin elimination.  

I hope this helps you reveal the naturally beautiful you!

Have a wonderful day!


Seriously: The Most Amazing GF Bread

My amazing colleague is a phenomenal baker and shared with me her fantastic recipe for gluten-free bread that can be found on her blog by clicking here.

Here is a photo of my take on her recipe:


The only difference I made was to substitute sweet sorghum flour in place of the brown rice flour.  I previously made a loaf with the brown rice flour and although both are fantastic, M preferred the sweet sorghum version, so sweet sorghum flour it is!



This bread is truly amazing-not only is it pretty easy to make (if you have baked cookies before, chances are you can bake this too!) but it has a fantastic quality of moistness to it that is simply not present in store-bought brands like O'Doughs or Glutino.

Much cheaper than buying GF bread from the store and a thousand times tastier.  Making and freezing my own bread is a total no-brainer.

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why I Applaude Edible Skincare...


One of my first jobs while I was in university was working as a Cosmetics Demonstrator for a very well-known, luxury cosmetics brand.  My job was to go to the various department stores in my city and demonstrate how to best use a new skincare line or how to best apply a new cosmetic product from this brand.  One of the cosmetic ladies I met told me an interesting story that I will never forget, to this day.  She had 2 daughters: one she carried while she worked in an office building and one she carried while she worked in the fragrance department.  Although both girls are healthy and happy, the one that was carried to term in the fragrance department has unexplained digestive disorders as a baby that no Pediatrician could quite figure out.  Her mom was convinced that it was from inhaling the various molecules present in perfume and I would be inclined to agree.

I found this video by Annie Leonard to teach you a little more about it.

So, what's all this about edible skincare?  Well, I was once told not to put anything on my skin that I wouldn't put in my mouth.  Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it absorbs everything you put on it.  We sometimes forget that, but just think about how the Nicotine patch works....

Just recently I heard about an amazing company called Pure + Simple that makes all natural skincare and I was able to find them at The Whole Life Expo.  I purchased their Cellular Repair Face Cream, after rave reviews, and I would encourage anyone looking to make the switch to healthier skincare products to check out their site.


Also, keep an eye on my blog for an upcoming lesson in edible skincare as I tell you how to make your own body lotion as well as how to convert coconut oil into shaving cream!

Enjoy your day!

Weekend Shopping: Cataloguing My Haul

I'm a self-professed foodie.  Some girls get excited about shopping at department stores; I get excited about shopping at Mark McEwan.  Here is some of my bounty acquired from this past weekend when I stopped at both Mark McEwan and The Whole Life Expo.  Perhaps it will inspire you to try some new (and amazing) products!

Coconut jam from a company called Cocovie. Tastes like nothing I've ever tasted before, and I mean that in a really, really good way.

An olive oil from Greece called Spartan Rolling Hills.  I met the farmer and tasted it for myself: buttery and delightful.  Just what I was looking for in an olive oil!

Hemp Hearts from Manitoba Harvest! Show special: 3 for $20. How could I say no?

Raw Honey with Royal Jelly! This is notoriously difficult to find in my health food store, so I stocked up. 

Yum, tastes good and good for you!

Have a wonderful day!



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review: The Hormone Diet


In my undergrad I was constantly meeting people (usually gym rats) who claimed that effective weight loss through exercise and slight diet modifications alone was possible.  I'm a huge fan of both exercise and diet modifications (hello, have you seen my blog?) but I always felt that there was another part of the equation that we were missing.  It seemed that everyone I knew knew someone (or a few someones) who were diligently exercising and eating healthy meals and yet were struggling with weight loss.  What was the missing link?

Luckily, my colleague Dr. Natasha Turner discovered the winning equation and wrote a fantastic book about it!  As it turns out:
diet + exercise + HORMONES = weight loss
The idea is balance your hormones with personalized lifestyle changes,  supplements and dietary changes and you will see lasting weight loss.  My favorite part of the book is that you can evaluate the areas of your body that are prone to weight gain (abdomen, back of the arms, hips etc.) and gauge which hormones you are deficient in or in excess of and go from there.  Another cool thing? She has a website, in case you can't wait to get your hands on a copy.

Not only could I not put this book down, I now have a great gift idea for Christmas....

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Importance of Self Care

The Vancouver coastline

Yes, we all have obligations to people and tasks in our lives.  Far too often, we put ourselves last in an effort to appease everyone else and we find ourselves constantly saying "yes" to everything that is asked of us.  Consider this quote provided by one of my favorite professors:
"When you never say 'no', your 'yes' isn't worth very much."
In this world we value the rare, so ration your "yes"'s and spend the rest of your time doing some (or all) of the following:

  • read a book
  • take a long, relaxing bath
  • meditate (or just close your eyes and take deep breaths in and out)
  • go to your _____ (insert any sport here) league to play a game
  • go for a long walk, taking lots of detours to meander through public parks
  • go to a pottery class
  • write in your journal 
  • make something (knitting, sewing, woodwork, painting) 
  • take a nap
  • crank your ipod and have a one-person dance party in your apartment
  • spend all day in a used book store
  • spend all day in a cozy cafe with your sketchbook
  • make music with anything from a piano to an empty ice cream tub
Fostering your creative side and honouring your self care regime will add balance to your life and ensure that you enjoy life and don't feel burnt out.  

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies: I Can't Believe It's Gluten-Free!


One of my favorite past times is perusing through my Gluten-Free Cookbook from Babycakes Bakery in NYC.  Usually I just imagine myself walking up Fifth Avenue, on my way to the Met, with an infamous Babycakes Cupcake in hand but yesterday I decided to come down to earth long enough to make some cookies!

Normally these cookies call for Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour mix, but I was feeling inspired and decided I would make my own Gluten Free flour mixture.  Here's the recipe:

2 1/2 c. brown rice flour
1 c. potato starch
1 c. arrowroot powder
1/4 c. Bob's Red Mill Coconut Flour
1/4 c. Bob's Red Mill Garbanzo-Fava Bean Flour
2 tbsp xantham gum

Mix all the ingredients well and the mixture is ready immediately to use in your recipes.  Store all remaining flour in a plastic bag in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw for 15 minutes before using.


GF Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 c. coconut oil
6 tbsp. applesauce
1 tsp. Himalayan salt
2 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. evaporated cane juice
2 c. GF Flour Mixture (above recipe)
1/4 c. ground flax meal
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp xantham gum
1 c. vegan chocolate chips

Oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, mix first 5 ingredients together well.  In a smaller bowl, sift the remaining ingredients together (except the chocolate chips). Add the contents of the smaller bowl slowly to the large bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until a grainy dough is formed.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Place heaped teaspoonfuls of dough about 1 inch apart on parchment paper and squish flat with your palm.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes, turing 180 degrees after 9 minutes.  Let the cookies stand 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack until completely cooled. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Chances are, these guys won't last 3 days.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

No, You Shouldn't Order that Taco Salad: A Lesson in Food Combining

Allow me to introduce the Taco Salad:


Yes, Taco Salad may look darn tasty but did you know that it may actually be wreaking havoc on your digestive system and contributing to that lower abdominal bulge?  Yes, sorry to say, Taco Salad is a food combination nightmare!

Proper food combining is the technique of placing together certain food groups for maximum digestion that allows the foods to be broken up as quickly as possible so that they can make a speedy exit through your system and not sit in your bowels, fermenting for days.  Fermentation of lingering food not only causes you to be uncomfortable (think bloating, flatulence and constipation) but it also feeds that annoying Candida and contributes to its overgrowth in the body.

I know this all seems very bleak, but there is some good news here! Food combining is actually incredibly, astronomically, magnificently EASY!  It all boils down to this simple rule: flesh with vegetables or starch with vegetables.  Since Taco Salad combines ground beef (flesh) with refried beans (starch) and rice (starch) and vegetables it is not proper food combining (see previous paragraph).


So, if you want a chicken breast (flesh) you can enjoy it with steamed broccoli and a mixed greens salad (vegetables).  Or, if you happen to feel like a pizza (starch), you can enjoy it with all the vegetable toppings you'd like, you just have to hold the meat.  You see, when meat and starch are present at the same meal they will bind to each other and slow both of their passage through your GI tract, contributing to your feeling of abdominal discomfort.  But when they are kept well away from each other, things will continue along swimmingly.  Please note though, that cow dairy is bad no matter which way you combine it so you're best giving it up in favor of a non-dairy alternative (click here to see my almond mylk recipe).  Fruit should always be eaten on its own, far away from meals (first thing in the morning is best).

Here is a handy chart to give you a basic understanding:


Flesh
Starches
Neutral
Organic Chicken breast

Baked Sweet potato
All raw vegetables
Organic Fish/seafood
Baked squashes (butternut, acorn, spaghetti)

All cooked vegetables (that are not starches)
Organic, cage-free eggs
Baked Yams

Lemons
Grass-fed, hormone-free, organic meat
Millet, Quinoa or Buckwheat (all GF)

Himalayan Rock Salt

Avocados
Almond Milk


 Beans
Raw Chocolate


So, you can choose either a flesh or a starch and combine them with any neutral ingredients to make up a meal that leaves both your stomach and your waist-line happy!

Happy combining!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Raw Foods


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a modality used by Naturopathic Doctors in clinical practice.  It combines acupuncture, herbs and nutrition to bring balance to individual patients and thus expel disease (which is said to be caused by an imbalance).

TCM has often promoted the idea of cooked foods and often links eating too many raw foods to certain disease patterns.  Because I study TCM, I was always fascinated with this take on the raw foods diet, considering I found raw foods to be the only protocol that was able to bring about healing in my life.

My professor at school informed us that the reason a predominately raw food diet is not preferred is because the foods carry so much water and 'cold' in them, they are often hard on the Spleen and Stomach TCM systems that need to digest them.  Cooking was seen to pre-digest the food and allow the Spleen and Stomach an easier task.

That being said, I took this information to another TCM practitioner (who happens to be a raw foodist) and asked their opinion on this topic.  The TCM practitioner agreed that most raw foods are 'cold' for the body, but he also rationalized that they can be easily warmed with certain herbs and spices.  For example, adding freshly squeezed ginger to your juices and sprinkling cinnamon in your smoothies and desserts. Another option is adding cayenne, black pepper or turmeric to your entrees. These spices 'warm' the food without cooking it and make it suitable from a TCM standpoint for your Spleen and Stomach.

That being said, the best scenario I found in the winter is to eat raw foods for breakfast, lunch and snacks and then to come home and enjoy a nice cooked dinner.  Just because you eat raw foods for health doesn't mean you have to be 100% all the time.  In the summer it may be easy to be 100% raw, but in the winter you may need to make adjustments.  Just listen to your body and you can never go wrong!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Gathering Conference: A meeting of minds


The Gathering Conference is happening right now at the CCNM!

If you'd like more information on what it's all about, click here: .http://www.naturopathicgathering.com/

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Most Colourful Salad

I look forward to my weekly excursions to 4 Life Natural Foods in Kensington Market.  After much shopping around, I have come to realize that this place has the best tasting greens in the city.  And, of course, everything is organic.

After I came home from buying it, I couldn't remember the name of Radicchio at first but thanks to this incredible post on Epicurious, I was able to identify it!

Colourful Salad
  • radicchio
  • romain lettuce
  • cucumber
  • grape tomatoes
  • hemp seeds
  • dulse flakes
  • a sweet vinaigrette to balance out  the bitter, salty flavours of the salad

Thai Carrot Coconut Soup (from Uncooking with Raw Rose)
I found that this soup actually tastes a bit better after sitting in the fridge for 24 hours.  I think it has to do with all the flavours being allowed to mingle together.
  • 1 cup water (can be warm or cold)
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots (cut in 2" chunks)
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley 
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/4 of a lemon (peeled)
  • 3 tablespoons dried, unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, diced
  • 1/2 tsp himalayan salt
  • 1 avocado (diced, for topping)
  • 1 tsp hemp seeds (for topping)
Blend all the ingredients, except avocado, in a high speed blender.  Pour into a bowl.  Top with hemp seeds and avocado.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

 Spooky gloves that I get to wear all night long
Gummy eyes make excellent distractions during lecture
 An asparagus, complete with a pat of butter
A tornado, with tiny farm animals dangling everywhere

The best thing about Halloween, other than the fantastic costumes and scary movies, has to be the treats. Don't think I was left out, just because I'm raw-I managed to whip up the most amazing raw cheesecake. No tricks here, this one is all treat.  Please note you need to soak your cashews for 3 hours prior and the recipe below makes a 4" pie, so triple the recipe if you want to make a 9".



Raw Boo-berry Cheesecake
Crust ingredients:
1/2 cups raw pecans
3 medjool dates
1 tbsp dried, unsweetened coconut
sprinkle of Himalayan salt
Cheesecake filling ingredients:
1 cup cashews (soaked for 3 hours in filtered water)
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
Fruit topping ingredients:
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 medjool dates
How to make this raw cheesecake recipe…
1. Throw the pecans and dates into your food processor. (Don’t add the coconut!!) Process nuts and dates until well processed but still airy.
2. Next, get our your springform cheesecake pan and sprinkle the coconut on the bottom as your very first layer. This makes it easier to remove the cheesecake as the coconut stops the crust from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Then press the pecans and dates down into the pan to form the crust.
3. Throw all cheesecake filling ingredients into your high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour it over the crust and smooth it out.
4. Place the above in freezer for an hour or so (so that it will firm up).
5. Meanwhile, throw your blueberries and dates in your high-speed blender. Blend until nice and smooth. Pour this mixture on top of the crust/cheesecake, which was just in the freezer for about an hour. Put back in the freezer for another hour.
6. Defrost this raw cheesecake recipe on the counter for about 30 minutes before digging in. Enjoy!


Friday, October 28, 2011

This Just In: Gratefulness Not Dead


I recently read an article in Tonic magazine that addressed the concept of gratefulness.  The article outlined that with everything being so readily available in our electronic world, gratitude is a less likely practice.
"When we feel that we could possibly have anything we want without having to wait, then what is important about being grateful?"
Apparently there are some nice health benefits associated with gratefulness, like overall improved health and well-being, lowered blood pressure, reduced stress/anxiety and better sleep quality.  I'm not sure about you, but I notice that the people who look at life with a thankful attitude are often the most happy and successful people I know.

So how do we invite gratitude in our daily lives and see these health benefits? The author of the article, Sonia Byrne, said it is as easy as simply listing 3 things from the day that you are grateful for while you are in bed getting ready to sleep for the night.  It turns out that ending the day in gratitude is the ideal way to help gratitude seep into your unconscious mind.

Now, some days finding 3 things will be a breeze and some days it may take a bit of searching but as long as you cultivate awareness of what you can be grateful for, you will automatically seek it out in your daily lives :)

Have a wonderful, grateful day!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Review: Hidden Messages in Water


Book: Hidden Messages in Water, by Masaru Emoto

Having studied and read numerous books and poems, I always have an enormous appreciation for the poetry of Japanese expression.  Not only are their poems (the haiku) beautiful, simplistic yet profound but their prose is also luxuriously poetic.

Recently, as I alluded to in a previous post, I had the pleasure of reading a book called Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto.  Not only did I enjoy the way in which Mr. Emoto wrote (think poetic prose that paints a picture of serenity in your mind) but his experiments with water crystal formation were truly fascinating.  In his book, he includes many pictures of these crystals and I was often showing them to my friends.  We were amazed to find that we all elicited a similar emotional response from the same picture, even if viewed at different times (ie. not standing near one another).  Read his quote below and look at his photos; chances are you'll rush out to grab the book, too!
"The days of believing only that which can be seen by the naked eye have passed, and we are now starting to open our eyes to the importance of the soul"


His work was also featured in the film "What the Bleep Do We Know" directed by William Arntz

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lovely things....

I'm not a photographer.  All of the photos for this blog are taken with my iphone and minimal staging.  So how surprised am I when some photos tumble out that are magazine worthy? A very lovely thing, indeed: 


Both pictures taken at the Allan Gardens Conservatory

 Taken in Yaletown, Vancouver

Taken in the Musee de Beaux-Arts, Montreal 


Have a wonder-filled day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sweet Smell of Victory: How to Make Natural Deodorants Work for You!

For this post, I'm going to address an incredibly important topic that is both fascinating and yet seldom talked about: Natural Body Deodorant.

I bring this up because, at least for me, there was a period of time where I was frustrated with my various natural deodorants because I felt them to be less effective than my previous product (Dove Solid Antiperspirant) BUT I was also unwilling to further risk my health with the possibly carcinogenic ingredients in antiperspirants by continuing to use them.

Yep, I was in a bit of a stink (pardon the pun), but luckily I learnt a few tricks to make Natural Body Deodorants work for me (and hopefully, you too!):

1. Buy high quality products that contain essential oils.  Most essential oils have powerful (yet gentle) antimicrobial properties and if there are no bacteria on your skin, there are no offensive odours to go along with them.  Below are some photos of the products I use and some information on where to find them.

2. Buy a few different types and alternate them every other day.  I'm not sure why but your body may "get used" to one type, making it somehow less effective but if you're constantly changing things up this doesn't seem to happen.  Also, it's fun to add a bit of spice to your life :)

3. Eat a cleaner diet to have a positive effect on your overall body odour.  A cleaner burning fuel means less waste products, right?

These deodorants are from a wonderful company in Vancouver called Saje.  The scent I love is called Exotic and it is offered in both a body powder and an essential oil mist.  Although they have stores out west, they do not yet have a shop in Toronto but all their products can be ordered online and shipped out!  www.saje.ca

I found the Weleda brand in Kensington Market, after reading a glowing magazine review and have been in love ever since!  My favorite scent is the Sage, but I alternate (as per rule #2) with the Citrus scent. You can find this at any local health food store. 


Have a wonderful (smelling) day!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Diwali: The Festival of Lights


Living in Toronto is amazing.  I have constantly been told that it is the most diverse city in the world, with little areas that are dedicated to a particular culture and country.  For example, I live in Little Italy which is surrounded by Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Portugal and Little Poland.

This past Friday was the India celebration of Diwali, also known as The Festival of Lights.  It is a celebration of epic proportions (the Indians I know tell me it's like their Christmas!) and everyone is dressed up in the most beautiful saris and kurtas!

My friend J was invited to a Diwali party and I got to help her wrap her sari.  We watched this fantastic youtube video that shows you how to do it:


Speaking of diversity, this year The 2011 Gathering is being hosted in Toronto (at CCNM!) because the theme fit the city so perfectly: "Diversity of the Vis".  If you are a student of Naturopathic Medicine or Philosophy, you need to check out this site and register for this conference! I'm already so excited for this incredible event where elders and students meet to share their knowledge and passion for Naturopathic principles and philosophies!

Have a wonderful day!

Midnight Snack: Gluten-Free Peanut Buttah Cookies


Now that exams are done, I have a lot more freedom with my time.  At 10 pm last night, I decided to bake some Peanut Butter Cookies for M--the only problem was this was the first batch of gluten-free cookies I have ever baked and I was worried about how they would turn out.  Good news: they were stellar and M liked them even better than their gluten-laden counterparts (and even C gave them the thumbs up)! Here is the recipe (Adapted from the cookbook "Get It Ripe" by Jae Steele):

2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp Xantham Gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup organic, non-hydrogenated, smooth peanut butter
1 cup Canadian pure maple syrup
1/3 cup sunflower oil (or coconut oil)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift together dry ingredients and blend with a spoon.  Add all remaining ingredients and mix until smooth and incorporated.  Drop tablespoon-fuls of dough onto an un-greased baking sheet and flatten slightly with a fork, leaving 2 inches beween each cookie.  Bake for 13 minutes exactly and enjoy warm or cool.

This past Friday, I also had another treat: Me and J visited Vegetarian Haven and had a wonderful time! The staff was hilarious and so friendly and the food was exceptional.  They have plenty of gluten-free options and they are incredibly good about substitutions  (ex. no nightshades? no problem!).  Check out the pics:

My meal!
J's meal, with mine in the background

Vegetarian Haven
17 Baldwin Street
Toronto, ON

P: 416 621-3636