Thoughts in a moment: mindful discussion book club


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:

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!


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.


“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.”




“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.”


“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.”


“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!”


“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.”


“#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”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


The one skin care product I cannot live without


I am a pretty low maintenance person. I don’t like to make too much of a fuss and generally value sleep more… (I really need a hair cut though…) But, I am also extremely cautious when it comes to what types of products I put on my skin and therefore into my body (the skin is the largest organ). I have talked about this company on Thoughts in a Moment before and, I still cannot get enough of this product line!

While there are a tonne of products I love from Eminence Organic Skin Care, the Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer takes the cake. If I have nothing else, I will have this on-hand. I discovered it after going for regular skin-maintenance facials at The Natural Art of Skincare in Calgary. They sell the lot of Eminence products, use them in their skin treatments and are experts! I have always had skin issues and in particular, I have been plagued by clogged pores and blackheads. This stuff has done wonders for those issues! I use it every other day after my Eminence routine (i’ve been slacking lately) but this stuff seriously saves my skin!

According to the Eminence Organic Skin Care web description:

Use this ultra-light daily moisturizer to detoxify and clear the appearance of problem skin, while leaving behind the appearance of irritation or clogged pores. Cucumber and tea tree help prevent the appearance of blemishes and reduce the appearance of inflammation while probiotics exfoliate and soothe the complexion.

The best thing is, it is made with all natural and organic ingredients, as are all Eminence products! It smells amazing, like fresh cucumber water, and my skin quite literally feels like it is able to breathe better after I use it. This moisturizer works to sooth and moisturize your skin while detoxifying your pores! It is so amazing! Some of the ingredients include; cucumber juice, willow bark, calendula, and Eminence’s own BioComplex™ which is a booster of antioxidants, vitamins, Coenzyme Q10, and Alpha Lipoic Acid.

So, if you are looking for that added boost to your skin care routine, I highly recommend adding this product! It also works great for me with the Eucalyptus Cleansing Concentrate and the Lime Refresh Tonique, both Eminence products.

I’ve added a photo below of me without make-up. I am a bit freckly from the sun and I look tired #momlife but, I am happy with how much Eminence has helped my skin. And while I do have some insecurities, I go in public without makeup and I don’t stress too much about it. I still have some scarring and small blemishes but Eminence and the Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer have really improved my skin’s overall appearance.





Toxic pads, tampons and even diapers. Do you know what’s lurking in your products?


There are many things in life that we just have to deal with. As women this list includes periods, and if you are a parent, poopy diapers.

So, as humans, over centuries we have found ways to make these products better, more absorbent, cheaper, and nice smelling. But, at what cost to our health?

This is something that I have questioned for some time now and have found others looking into the same things.

According to, most feminine care products have chemicals and ingredients that can be harmful to our health.

Tampons: Hazardous ingredients may include dioxins and furans (from the chlorine bleaching process), pesticide residues and unknown fragrance chemicals. Exposure concerns include cancer, reproductive harm, endocrine disruption, and allergic rash.
Pads: Hazardous ingredients may include dioxins and furans, pesticide residues, unknown fragrance chemicals, and adhesive chemicals such as methyldibromo glutaronitrile. Exposure concerns include cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption. Studies link pad use to allergic rash.
Feminine Wipes: Hazardous ingredients may include methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, parabens, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, Triclosan and unknown fragrance chemicals. Exposure concerns include cancer and endocrine disruption. Studies link wipe use to allergic rash.
Feminine Wash: Hazardous ingredients may include unknown fragrance chemicals, parabens, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, DMDM hydantoin, D&C Red No.33, Ext D&C Violet #2, and FD&C Yellow #5. Exposure concerns include endocrine disruption, allergic rash, and asthma.
Douche: Hazardous ingredients may include unknown fragrance chemicals and the spermicide octoxynol-9. Studies link douche use to bacterial vaginosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical cancer, low-birth weight, preterm birth, HIV transmission, sexually transmitted diseases, ectopic pregnancy, chronic yeast infections, and infertility.
Feminine Deodorant (sprays, powders and suppositories): Hazardous ingredients may include unknown fragrance chemicals, parabens, and benzethonium chloride. Exposure concerns include reproductive harm, endocrine disruption and allergic rash.

Feminine Anti-Itch Creams: Hazardous ingredients may include unknown fragrance chemicals, parabens, methylisothiazolinone and an active ingredient, benzocaine, a mild anesthetic. Exposure concerns include endocrine disruption, allergic rash, and unresolved itch.


Here are my top alternative brands to traditional organizations:

1. Naty – I love this company! They have a wide variety of products and I don’t feel like the quality is compromised. The company was started in Sweden by a mother who wanted to have safe products for her sons. They started of with baby products but now they include feminine hygiene products as well. Their feminine hygiene products are made of a GM-free corn product and are all chlorine and fragrance free.

2. NatraCare – This one is the most readily available. They offer good options and the quality is pretty good. Sometimes I find they aren’t as absorbent and I have to use more pads, thus costing more money. Unlike Naty, NatraCare’s foucs is on feminine hygiene. Their products are all made of organic cotton, and are chlorine, plastic and fragrance-free.

Other products that are good are the Diva Cup or a sea sponge. I have not tried either of these but I have heard they are really great alternatives and way, way less wasteful.

Also, if you are interested in more eco-friendly options – check out this article, Have an eco-friendly period, which discusses reusable options.

Now, on to diapers…

This is something that everyone should be aware of. Much like feminine hygiene products, diapers contain similar ingredients that can be very harmful to children. Disposable diapers can contain chemicals such as Dioxins, VOC’s and Sodium Polyacrylate. This article explains the dangers. 

My opinion is, babies don’t have the ability to choose what they wear day in and day out so it is important to make sure they are wearing the best options. The best for them and for the earth is cloth diapers and there are some great products on the market that can help to make this easier. Using cloth diapers isn’t only good for the earth, it is good for your wallet as well. Some estimates put the cost of diapers at $3,000 over the 2-3 years your child spends in diapers, where cloth diapering costs around $300.

Here are some great brands to check out:

My personal favourite, Omaiki, I find their fit and style (all in one) is the most like a disposable. IMG_4744.JPG

Some of my other favourite cloth diapers include:

Apple Cheeks 


They all have good qualities it’s just about what works best for your baby! It has been a lot of trial and error but for us the Omaiki seem to work the best!


Also, if you are in Calgary, I highly recommend checking out Babes in Arms, in Bridgeland for cloth diapers and all your eco-frieldly needs. They are a great resource and have great products!

But, there are many times when disposable diapers are a handier option.

Here is a great resource for non-toxic options:

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I personally really like the performance of Naty diapers but, the Seventh Generation baby and Earth’s Best diapers are more readily available in my area and at a better price point.

Favourite foodie spots in Calgary


So, I love food, I mean who doesn’t? Really? In recent years, Calgary or, yyc as it is now more readily referred to as, has become quite the culinary hub. There are so many fantastic places to eat and I thought that I would share a few of my favourites.

From top to bottom:

Village Ice Cream, a local ice cream shop with a great story and even better ice cream! It doesn’t get much better than this folks! I dream about their salted caramel flavour, pictured above. All of the flavours are extremely accurate and true and are perfectly presented in this creamy, locally made ice cream. They even have a great selection of sorbets! I highly recommend stopping in here whenever you get the chance!

Wild and Raw is a superfood and juice bar located in the inner city community of Kensginton. They have a jam-packed menu of superfood filled elixirs and smoothies. They also have healthy snacks and meals to go! Check out this article for more information on this awesome Calgary superfood stop! Pictured is the “chaggacino” – my personal favourite!

The Coup, an amazing vegetarian restaurant located in the heart of Calgary serves up healthy, mouth-watering vegetarian meals. Organic, ethical and locally sourced ingredients go into these amazing dishes and I challenge anyone to find a dish they don’t like, even if they are a carnivore. They also offer take-out! I have a few favourites here, including the tempeh shawarma (pictured above) or the bun-me Vietnamese inspired sub, but, everything is amazing!

Sidewalk Citizen Bakery  is absolute perfection. I can say nothing bad about this place, well, except the fact that it’s not in the same area of the city as me so I can’t eat it daily (probably a good thing). When I lived in Sunnyside, I was a regular customer. Every baked good from Sidewalk Citizen is to die for. My favourites have to be their cinnamon rolls and the cheese sticks! I also recently tried the pizza (you can order it!) and omg, I have dreams about how good this pizza was (pictured above). Like, I can’t even describe the goodness of these baked goods without my mouth salivating and my stomach rumbling. My inner glutton comes out when it comes to Sidewalk Citizen, and I think it would be hard for anyone to refrain from buying copious amounts of baked treats from this place!

Last but not least, Analog Coffee is on my list as one of the best coffee shops in Calgary. I could probably drink 10 of their lattes in a row because the coffee is that smooth. Their array of treats is also super tempting. If you are looking for a Starbucks alternative and want high-end specialty coffee, I highly recommend this place!




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.


Makes 2 glasses

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

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? 

Wild & Raw Superfood + Juice Bar: reigniting YYC’s body, mind and spirit

One woman’s passion turned into a blossoming family business

**post was written almost a year ago but I still love this place so much! Go and get a juice cleanse to start 2016 off right!


Wild & Raw is a new superfood and juice bar located centrally, in Kensington. The modern yet welcoming space offers organic fresh-pressed juices, superfood smoothies and elixirs as well as some prepared raw gluten free, vegan meals and treats to take away or to eat in their café space. With 24 permanent drink offerings, they have an extensive menu ranging from hot elixirs with turmeric and chaga to fresh-pressed juices with kale, spirulina and coconut water.

It is a comfortable atmosphere and one that is definitely very unintimidating, even for the new superfood enthusiast. They are knowledgeable about health and wellness of the body and mind and want to share that passion with YYC. You can check out more information about their superfoods here. 

Here is their story.




Jenn Silver has had a love of superfoods for a long time. The 25-year-old, and new mother of one, originally started Wild & Raw in 2012 with a good friend, Ashley Erick. They launched the business selling juices and smoothies out of the juice bar at Samadhi Yoga and Wellness Centre.

“[It] was super grass roots. We just started with $5,000 and launched the company within a month and just kind of went with it,” says Silver. “It was fun, we were only open for six months…we needed to expand and we weren’t really ready for that, and I don’t think Calgary was ready for that either.”

The duo closed down the bar and put Wild & Raw on the back burner and Erick moved to Australia to launch another healthy business.

Always interested in superfoods and their benefits for both body and mind, prior to opening Wild & Raw, Silver attended SAIT studying journalism and found she was always writing about superfoods, health and the holistic lifestyle for her classes.

“Journalism took me traveling some more, and I ended up in Bali and India and I discovered some kombucha bars and the raw cafes that they have there,” Silver says. “I just got so inspired by all the colours and the flavours and the tastes of the raw food world.”

She says the road to Wild & Raw has been a sort of magnification of her own journey into the unlimited world of health and healing. While Silver was going to SAIT she also worked at Planet Organic and learned about vitamins and holistic approaches there as well.

Silver says she was always looking for more information and was also inspired by the Light Cellar, a superfood elixir bar in Calgary that offers workshops on superfoods.

Wild & Raw was reborn in 2014, when Silver’s dad Brian and her brother Matt, read an article about the benefits of cold pressing and juice cleanses. They got so inspired, they decided it was time the family should start thinking about re-opening Wild & Raw.

Photo courtesy of Wild & Raw

The Wild & Raw team. Photo courtesy of Wild & Raw

“My dad and my brother read a magazine article about cold pressing and juice cleansing in MacLean’s Magazine and got really inspired… they came to me and said ‘do you think it’s a good time to start thinking about Wild & Raw again?’ I said ‘well, I’m pregnant but sure, let’s go with it,’” Silver says.

A few months later they had a space leased in Kensington and started working to build the business.

They opened in December 2014.

Wild & Raw is very much a family affair. Silver’s dad Brian and brother Matt are very involved in the business and were heavily involved in the design, equipment ordering and overall business plan development. They play an integral role in planning the direction of the business including growth, accounting and direction for expansion.

Silver has a four month old daughter, Aura Jade, and says it has been chaotic balancing new motherhood and a new business but, she says she’s also really enjoyed it.  Wild & Raw now has an expanded menu from the early days at Samadhi Yoga and Wellness Centre.

They now have bone broth, Bulletproof coffee and draught kombucha on tap and have expanded to include the hot elixir drinks as well as some food items. Silver says people are especially interested in the Bulletproof and kombucha.

For all of the juices, elixirs and shakes, the ingredients are sourced locally as much as possible and are organic without GMO’s.

Photo courtesy of Wild & Raw

Jenn and her daughter Aura Jade. Photo courtesy of Wild & Raw

Some of the drinks on the menu include mushrooms like chaga and reishi, lion’s mane and cordyceps.

Silver says these are just some of the benefits of the different mushrooms:

  • Reishi – great for stress
  • Lions mane – memory and brain boosting
  • Cordyceps – adrenal boosting and energy

“The mushrooms are all around good for immunity, high in antioxidants and have a lot of full spectrum, B vitamins.” Silver really likes mushroom teas, “I’ve been making a ‘mommy brain latte’,” she says, “It’s the only thing that helps me handle the business and my baby at the same time. We use chaga tea as a base in most of our elixirs.”

Silver’s recipe for the Mommy Brain Latte: 
Chaga Tea
Coconut or Almond Mylk (we used in-house made sprouted almond mylk)
Lions Mane Instant Mushroom
Brain Octane Oil
Lions Mane for memory boosting and mental cognition
Chaga tea for bulletproof immunity
Brain Octane oil is 18x strength concentrated medium chain triglycerides for metabolism, mental cognition and enhanced performance.
Medicinal mushrooms in Wild & Raw. Photo by Shannon Galley

Medicinal mushrooms in Wild & Raw. Photo by Shannon Galley

Enza Ward, a local Registered Holistic Nutritionist and owner of Senzable Health agrees that mushrooms have many benefits. She encourages people to add mushrooms to their diet for all around good health and longevity.

“Mushrooms have been revered for centuries for their nutritional, healing, and supportive qualities and are becoming increasingly popular in North America,” Ward says. “Mushrooms have a long list of health benefits and recent studies have shown they improve weight management, increase vitamin D levels, promote immune function, increase vitamin B levels which help with energy and metabolism, support cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, combat allergies, help balance blood sugar levels, and support the body’s detoxification mechanisms.”

Ward says she adds medicinal mushroom such as, chaga, reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail, lion’s mane, maitake and shiitake to soups, smoothies, protein shakes, coffee, tea and other beverages. She cautions that because mushrooms absorb and concentrate whatever matter they grow from, it is critical to only eat organically grown mushrooms thus avoiding heavy metals and water and air pollutants.

Wild & Raw gets all of the chaga from a direct source harvested in New Brunswick. They also get a lot of berries from the Saskatoon Farm, and a lot of their products come from the Calgary brand New Earth Organics. The kombucha is also made locally by True Buch and organic tea sourced from The Naked Leaf.

Enjoying our freshly-pressed green juices. Alchemical Alkalizer and the PITTA Pacifier. Delish! Photo by Anna Lakatos.

Enjoying our fresh-pressed green juices from Wild & Raw. Alchemical Alkalizer and the PITTA Pacifier. Delish!
Photo by Anna Lakatos

They also offer bulletproof coffee which is made with upgraded coffee beans, grass-fed organic butter and XCT oils. The bulletproof is designed to boost energy and mental performance.

Brittany Andrejcin, a student at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and writer of the wellness blog North of Bloom, lives in the area and is always looking for new health-food spots.

“I feel fortunate to live in Kensington and have easy access to places like Wild & Raw,” Andrejcin says. “I think the location is perfect. This area is starting to feel like a hub for holistic health enthusiasts like myself.”

She started following Wild & Raw on Instagram as soon as she heard they were opening and has stopped in to try some elixirs.

Silver wants people to come in and learn about the products. She says she hopes to educate people about the benefits of superfoods but also wants to keep the atmosphere at Wild & Raw fun and light.

“We want to inspire people to get on their own level with health and food. There are so many avenues to take and there are so many belief systems. We are definitely here to educate but we don’t want to preach to people.”

For more information and to check out the menu, visit

You can also follow them on their social media channels for updates:


Twitter: @Wild&RawYYC

Instagram: @wildandraw

Wild & Raw is located at: 1119 Kensington Rd NW
Open: Monday – Saturday 10am – 8pm
Sunday 11am – 6pm

Natural Cold and Flu Remedies

When I get sick, I find, it usually happens at one of two times. Either I finally have some down time to relax, or, it finds me at one of my busiest moments. Murphy’s law.

For this reason, and well, for the reason that no one likes to get sick anyway, I am always looking for new ways to boost my immune system and in my opinion, prevention is the best medicine. I have never been one to take cough medicine or to run out and get a flu shot and I think that there are many ways from nature that we can boost our immunity.


Now, let me start by saying, I am no expert on these remedies, I just know that they have worked for me. I have come to these personal conclusions by way of research and by not getting sick often or being able to remedy a cold or flu as soon as I feel it. I do believe there is a place for medicine but I prefer to be as holistic as possible.

Here are some of my favourite ways to boost immunity to battle those winter germs:

  • Lemon water (in the morning, especially). I find it can help to fight a cold as soon as I feel a sore throat come on. It’s a great idea to drink it regularly as it helps to flush out toxins and will help your body to always be prepared when germs come to attack. cites 16 reasons to drink lemon water in their article: 16 Health Benefits of Drinking Warm Lemon Water.
  • Turmeric Tea. I love adding turmeric to my smoothies and juices but, turmeric is also great in a tea. Turmeric has many benefits and according to Meghan Telpner on, turmeric tea is “A natural preventative against flu viruses.” I will defer to North of Bloom for her great recipe!
  • Green Juice. There are so many great juice recipes out there and endless yummy combinations. One of my favourites and one that is great when I’m feeling a little under the weather is a combination of kale, half of a lemon, half of a cucumber, 3 apples, 2 stocks of celery, a bit of ginger. At the end, I like to add some powdered or grated turmeric.
  • Nettle tea with honey. I love nettle tea, especially this Pukka Cleanse tea with nettle, fennel and peppermint. According to, nettle tea can keep you hydrated  while removing toxins from the body.
  • Sometimes, I like to make a concoction of warm water, honey, cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, lemon, sometimes apple cider vinegar, and turmeric. This magic potion of sorts has a nice kick to kick the germs from my body, while the honey can help to soothe any sore throat.
  • Vitamins. Cod liver oil, vitamin C and echinacea have always helped me when I am sick. It is important to look for the food grade, organic, non-gmo vitamins.

I do find that these can work for both immune boosting and cold or flu fighting. Let me know some of the ways you like boost immunity!