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!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Back health

When I was 21 years old, I threw out my lower back while lifting a kayak incorrectly.

The next 3 days were spent lying on the family room couch, completely immobilized from the pain. In other words, they were the worst days of my life.

Since then, I have sought Chiropractic adjustments, therapeutic massage and restorative yoga and I have found them all to be extremely helpful and have not had a back episode for the past 3 years--well, almost.

2 days ago, after a routine yoga class my lower back suddenly gave out in the change room while I was getting out of my yoga gear. Since I'd been so proactive with my back care, it came as a huge shock! Ultimately, I believe my proactive measures helped to lessen the severity of this episode, as I am already nearly recovered and was still fully mobile throughout the ordeal.

I remember my doctor saying that the second time someones back gives out, it is usually much worse than the first. Due to my back strengthening precautions, I was able to ensure that this second time was not as severe and also not as long lived.

If you have ever suffered from back pain, there are steps to lessen the pain and occurrence without taking prescriptive drugs. A little yoga, chiropractic adjustment and massage can go a long way to helping strengthen your back.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Superfood #1: Quinoa

The amazing grain originally from South America known as Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is the darling of the vegetarian world because of its high concentration of protein.

Nearly every lunch I pack contains the grain because it is so nutritious and easy to prepare, not to mention completely tasty (it has a nice nutty flavour). How do you cook it? Add 1 c. of rinsed quinoa (you have to rinse the naturally occuring soapy residue off the grain) to 2 c. boiling water. Cover and turn down to simmer for 30 min. Fluff with a fork and voila! A healthy, versatile whole grain!

I like to make an unconventional Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with my cooked quinoa. I then store it in the fridge for office lunches, as I serve it over sliced spinach.

I found pre-rinsed quinoa at Costco in Calgary and Lethbridge for a very good price, but quinoa is fast making its way into regular grocery stores everywhere.

Unconventional Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad:
-1 garlic clove, lightly crushed but still mostly whole (just to add flavor, not to overpower it!)
-1/4 c. flax oil
-2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
-2 tsp dried parsley (or 1/4 c. fresh)
-salt and pepper to taste
-2 medium tomatoes, diced
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-1 cucumber, diced
-1 19 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-1 1/2 c. cooked quinoa, cooled

Add together the garlic, lemon juice, flax oil, parsley, s+p in a small bowl and set aside. Add all remaining ingredients to a giant, fridge-safe container and mix, then pour the flax oil mixture over top. Allow to chill in the fridge for at least 30 min before you serve. Toss lightly before you serve over a bed of shredded spinach leaves.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Have a (hemp) heart!

Whenever I heard the word 'hemp' I immediately thought of those little stores that often litter tourist areas and deal in paraphernalia dedicated to the enjoyment of a certain herbal relaxant that is usually enjoyed around 4:20 pm.

But did you know that the hemp plant is actually being touted for it's amazing nutritional properties? Enter Hemp Hearts, a seed from the hemp plant that offers many benefits like:
-being high in protein
-being a complete, balanced protein
-being high in omega-3 fatty acids
-providing lots of energy
-easily tolerated by people who have digestive troubles
-great as a weight-loss aid due to its ability to supress appetite
-great for people with diabetes as they are low in carbs and sugar

Being vegan, I am often concerned about getting enough protein and omega-3s in my diet but when I start every morning with 3 tbsp of hemp hearts on my oatmeal or in my green smoothie, I know I'm taking care of my protein and nutritional needs. Plus, with their nutty flavor, I actually enjoy eating them!

I purchase my Hemp Hearts from Acadia Wellness Clinic. It's $15 for 454g, but I've also found them in the organic food aisle in Superstore and, of course, in Community Health and Planet Organic.

For those who are interested, my Hemp Hearts are from a company based in Lethbridge called Rocky Mountain Grain Products and their phone number is (403) 329-1380 if you would like more information. The company is very good about sending little flyers that talk about the benefits of these little seeds.

Give them a try and see what you think, your tummy may thank you!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Don't forget to brush...

Dry Skin Brushing is exactly what it sounds like: brushing the skin without any water. People often forget that the skin is the body's largest organ and that its care and maintenance can contribute to one's overall wellness in a number of ways.

The benefits of Dry Skin Brushing include:
-tightened skin
-better digestion
-improved circulation
-increased cell renewal
-removal of dead skin layers
-stronger immune system
-increased efficiency of all bodily systems

Since Skin Brushing can be done with minimal inconvenience and expense, I highly recommend adding it to your daily regime.

I brush my skin every morning before my shower. One must always shower after brushing to remove the sloughed off skin and bacteria. To begin with, buy a natural brush so that it does not scratch or damage your skin. Begin with the feet and brush upwards towards the heart. Then carry on to the abdomen, brushing in a clockwise direction to mimic the flow of digestion. Continue on to the hands and brush up the arms towards the heart. The sensation felt by the brush should be a satisfying, gently scratch. It should in no way be painful or unpleasant.

If you choose to brush everyday, it is important to clean your brush every week.

For the folks living in Calgary, both Planet Organic and Community Health Food Store sell Dry Skin Brushes in an array of styles and softness.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Business of Food

A fantastic resource for people living in my city as well as savvy Internet users is the site: http://www.reapcalgary.com/.

I love reading their various articles as they encourage a more open minded, earth conscious way of living by offering educated and informed opinions.

I just read one of their articles about a film that I have been meaning to see for some time now called Food, Inc. I strongly believe in the benefits of a whole food, wholesome diet after seeing the positive changes it made in my own life (glowing skin, more energy, bright eyes, faster recover time, more efficient bodily function) and Food, Inc, is certainly bringing to light the great farce of highly processed foods that are marketed to appear more wholesome and good for you than they actually are. We need to demand nutritionally dense food that encourages health, not chemically altered molecules that actually hinder it. The below link takes you to both the article and a preview of the film.

I already placed a hold for my copy at the library and will write a post sharing my thoughts on the film very soon.

Let there be light!

Having just graduated from my Bachelor's degree and feeling the need for a project, I decided to forgo my previous luddite-like stance on technology and write a blog. This blog will focus on my approach to wellness through lifestyle, community and culture as well as mindful diet and exercise. As a prospective student of Naturopathic Medicine, I'm an innate teacher and want to share my knowledge and understanding with all who are eagar and willing to learn.

The great thing about this blog is that I'm relatively new to the ideas and practices of a holistic lifestyle. Because I have actively made the change, I can offer creative and easy solutions tailored for the everyday, health conscious person to make the transition into a more balanced lifestyle. Like most of you, I learnt quite a bit of what I know through self-directed study and did not have the benefit of being raised with holistic principles.

I offer my site as a resource for people who aspire to define their health not as simply absence of disease, but by quality of life.