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!

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.


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....


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.


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:

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

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

Himalayan Rock Salt

Almond Milk

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!