Thoughts in a moment: mindful discussion book club

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I have decided to create a thoughtful book club! The reason is two-fold: I want to read more and engage in constructive conversation! There are no hard and fast rules to this book club and you don’t have to read every single book to participate! If there are a select few books you’d like to jump in on the discussion for, by all means! We are meeting here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/399791290395171/

I made this selection of books because I believe these are all issues that are affecting our present day and also issues that relate to the intentions of this blog — some are little known. I believe we will generate positive dialogue and perhaps learn something about the world, ourselves, and each other! Happy reading!

April

For April, I decided to choose two books. The first, The Little Book of Hygge – The Danish Way to Live Well is a quick read about this Danish way of life that you may already be partaking in without even knowing it!

The second book, In Defense of Food, discusses the industrialization of food as it relates to the decline of the environment. Pollan looks at food from a health perspective and discusses the multi-billion dollar food industry with facts.

May

“When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true.

Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules—about work, about love, and about womanhood.”

June

TBD

July

“Trayvon Martin’s parents take readers beyond the news cycle with an account only they could give: the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement.”

August

“It started with a harmless quest for perfect wash-and-go hair. Every girl wants it, and Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt finally found it in a fancy salon treatment. They were thrilled—until they discovered that the magic ingredient was formaldehyde.”

September

“Your toddler throws a tantrum in the middle of a store. Your preschooler refuses to get dressed. Your fifth-grader sulks on the bench instead of playing on the field. Do children conspire to make their parents’ lives endlessly challenging? No―it’s just their developing brain calling the shots!”

October

“Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.”

November

“#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed”

December

“From the star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills comes an emotional and eye opening behind-the-scenes look at her descent into uncovering the mystery of chronic Lyme disease.”

January

“Even as seas rise against the shores, another great tide is beginning to rise – a tide of outrage against the pillage of the planet, a tide of commitment to justice and human rights, a swelling affirmation of moral responsibility to the future and to Earth’s fullness of life.”

February

“Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.”

 

Introducing Beautycounter +

As you all know I am obsessed with Beautycounter! I haven’t found anything this good and made with safe ingredients, ever. When I decided to become a consultant I was happy to share with others because I just loved the products so much! Many of the people I have been sharing the products with love them too.

It is always exciting when Beautycounter comes out with new products! Beautycounter + is no exception. I was excited to get my hands on these items as they are treatment products designed to complement the already amazing skincare lineup.

Each collection is wonderful but, my favourite one is the Brightening + vitamin c. This collection uses vitamin c complex and enhances dull skin while boosting radiance. Great for age spots and good to create an all-around brighter complexion! The mask smells divine and the mist is so refreshing!

The balancing + charcoal is familiar but the addition of the mist takes it up a notch. The Beautycounter charcoal products are definitely items you want to have on hand weather you need help with acne or just want to keep blemishes at bay. These charcoal products have been incredible helpful to my combination skin.

My Tuesday night “me time” routine

Having an extremely busy eight month old has proven way more draining for me than a newborn. These last couple months have been a battle of wills. They are learning so, so much every single day and my child is easily frustrated. Couple that with fighting sleep and I am in dire need of some quality alone time. This brings me to my Tuesday night routine. I have started being way more regimented with bed time lately because he was starting to stay up until all hours and, while I loved the cuddles – it was a little bit much.

Recently, I have been watching the new show on NBC called This Is Us. It is so great and I think everyone should check it out – a very raw and real show that is extremely heart-felt and relatable. So, I decided to carve that time out for me! While I am watching my show, I ensure I get in some of my other favourite self-care activities into the mix.

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Firstly, I grab my favourite hot beverage, or… wine. Usually ends up being a latte, or a cacao elixir. I also get a snack of some sort, typically Theo Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups or something salty like Hard Bite Chips. I also could eat avocado toast with feta cheese for every meal so sometimes it looks a lot like that. Another thing that helps me to relax is to diffuse some DoTerra essential oils. My favourite diffusion is the serenity blend for relaxation – a nice subtle and lavender smell really helps to mellow me out!

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And last but not least! I do my Beautycounter charcoal routine – cleanse my face with the charcoal bar and then sit and watch the show with the purifying mask! Super relaxing and a nice little routine to take care of myself!

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What are some of your self-care routines!? 

Local Spotlight: Made Foods

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I love to cook but, there are definitely some days where I just don’t have the time or the desire to figure out what to eat. I’ve recently stumbled-upon Made Foods, a local Calgary company offering restaurant worthy meals, to-go! When I find a great new company, especially a local one, I have to talk about it!  This service is really great because you are able to pick-up a variety of pre-made (fresh) meals from one of their eight Calgary and area locations and, they’re not all downtown! They are not only a local company but they source their ingredients locally as well. I absolutely love everything this company stands for.

So far, I have tried the Quinoa Crusted Chicken, Squishy Squash Mac & Cheese and the Hummus Chicken Wrap, plus their Made Honeyed Apple Smoothie. Everything I’ve tried so far has been fresh and delicious. I was so happy I was able to try their Squishy Squash Mac & Cheese because I think it is quite the popular dish (it’s actually on the kids menu).

The smoothie was tasty but a little chunky and not so smooth, but it could have been the particular bottle and I would be willing to try it again to see if there was a difference because I did enjoy the flavour. IMG_6208

One of the great things about Made Foods is that they deliver! YES, I KNOW RIGHT!? Healthy food right to your doorstep! When I first discovered Made I had a few thoughts about how it could be used and, it really is for anyone! If you are having a dinner party, it would easily suffice to buy four of the same entrees, or, if you have different dietary requirements for your guests you could select a few different entrees. It is also great for busy families and even elderly people, like my grandma, who might not be able to get to the grocery store or able to easily make healthy meals.

The price point isn’t terrible. It is a bit pricey but, if you look at what ingredients go into each meal, it makes sense and it’s probably not much different than if you were to make  these meals yourself. As a family, I won’t be able to regularly purchase from here but, if in a pinch, or for a treat, they have awesome options!

IMG_6210In addition to being local, having great ingredients and being fairly affordable, Made also offers a points program. 2o points gets you a free meal and each meal you purchase is worth two points with other items being worth one point.
I am thrilled to have a great local company supplying local, healthy and most importantly, TASTY meals!

Check out www.madefoods.com for all of their additional services, including a nutrition program!

 

What is your favourite meal from Made Foods?

Recipe: probiotic smoothie

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I am always looking for quick and simple ways to add probiotics to my diet. Gut health is extremely important but people don’t always think about it. Also, recently, I have been trying to incorporate more dates into my life as they are supposed to help with duration and pain in labour by thinning the cervix and potentially strengthening the uterus. You’re supposed to eat around six per day in the last weeks of pregnancy so, I have found the easiest way to get them in is adding them to blended beverages.

I thought I would share this great smoothie recipe that I found recently. It incorporates kefir which is a great source of probiotics as well as helps me to get my allotted dates in.

Source: www.veggiesutra.com

Makes 2 glasses

Ingredients:
1 cup kefir (if store-bought, look for unsweetened plain kefir with live cultures)
1 cup water or unsweetened almond milk
Half an orange, peeled and cut in to sections
4-5 dates, pitted
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder

Method:
Throw all the ingredients in to the blender and blend till smooth.  If the consistency is too thick for you, add half a cup of water or almond milk and blend.

How do you get your probiotics in? 

Bump Day: Prenatal Yoga, do it!

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While I have been super lucky with this pregnancy being relatively uneventful (Thank God), I have been doing my best to take the best care of my body. As I am entering my third trimester I have noticed a shift in aches and pains. My back is starting to hurt a bit (I thought it would a lot more as I have minor scoliosis but pregnancy has seemed to help with that).

Something that I have found to help me a lot is prenatal yoga. I go to classes at the Holistic Institute of Health and Fertility and I really, I really try my best to go at least once a week, though sometimes my tiredness gets the better of me. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is pregnant and to start right at 12 weeks and continue with it right through. I have no idea if or how much it will help my labour but the instructor always gives a lot of great tips on good postures to help in early labour and to help the baby into the optimal birth position.

Even when I can’t make it to yoga class I love that I can do some of the postures at home to help with back pain and to stretch out. I really do notice a huge difference in body + mind after just a few poses.

Cat – Cows 

I have found these to help immensely with stretching out my back and they are so simple to do.

On  a yoga mat or a towel get onto all fours. Inhale right down to your baby while tipping your tail bone up and your bellow lowers.

As you exhale round your back and tuck in your chin, this is the cat position.

Repeat for a few breaths.

You can view the position in more detail, here.

Deep Squats 

Deep hip opening sitting squats not only feel great and help to release tension in hips and back, they can help to get baby in an optimal position as well. I usually sit on a foam block as I find that more comfortable.

All you have to do is get into a squatting position with your feet about hip distance apart. It helps me to interlock my fingers and gently press my thumbs against my forehead as a hold the squat. Hold for about 45 seconds.

Click here to read more about this posture.

Child’s Pose

As simple as it sounds, this pose has been so great for my spine in pregnancy. It’s relaxing and helps me go to sleep. It is so simple to do and can be done virtually anywhere.

Kneel down with you knees a little bit wider than hip distance and sit down on your heels. Slowly lean forward and stretch or walk your arms out straight ahead. Bow your head down and make sure you are breathing deeply throughout this pose.

To see this pose in more detail click, here.

And lastly, while not totally a yoga pose, something that feels really great and really gets the blood flowing is doing legs up the wall. This pose has so many great benefits and I highly recommend trying it out. It can be quite awkward to get into and don’t do it after 36 weeks! Check out more information on the benefits of laying down with your legs up the wall, here.

There are countless other poses that have done wonders for me this pregnancy but these are just a few of my favourites.

For further resources on prenatal yoga poses that you can do at home check out babymed.com

What is your favourite yoga pose in pregnancy? 

**Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, yoga instructor or chiropractor. Please consult with a professional if you have any questions or concerns. 

Mom’s recipe: turkey noodle soup

I love soup! It’s such an easy and delicious way to have a nutritious meal and is great to make ahead. With it recently being Canadian Thanksgiving, my mom always uses the leftovers for turkey soup! This year, we added a bit of a twist!

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This recipe could easily be adapted for chicken as well!

Simply boil bones all day with celery sticks, carrots, onion and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Then, remove broth and separate meat from the bones and cut up larger pieces of meat.

Add all ingredients back into pot and add about 1 1/2 cups of carrots, one chopped onion, a few celery sticks thinly chopped, and 1 cup of organic quinoa. Finish with some organic kale, heat and serve.

So simple, yet so delicious and makes amazing leftovers!

Feel free to change this recipe as you see fit. It would work great with spinach and other veggies added!