Monday, January 7, 2019

Epic Life - Good Food Real Results

So - life got busy and my wagon derailed over the past year or so - stress, injury, anxiety an array of excuses that resulted in my slipping into poor eating habits, poor health habits and slipping into a state where I did not have the mental health to be creative or put myself first at all. As a result I have let my blogging fall on the back burner however 2019 is a brand new year and I have begun to pull myself out of the fog of anxiety and depression and back to making myself and my health a priority again! 

 In September I took one small step towards moving back into the light and pushed myself to participate in a #90daychallenge through my good friend Lisa with her  Epicure business - it was an amazing experience at not getting me back on track with clean eating and moving more but to begin to restore my mental health as well!

The program is VERY simply which I love - a focus on clean eating with attention to a balanced plate and 3 balanced meals a day with a 'dessert' option in the evening meal .... I love this way of eating it is something that is backed with loads of science, research and supported by Canada's food guide and unlike other plans such as Atkins or Keto you do not hear the same alarming warnings on the news about the long term effects of balanced cleaning eating on your liver or kidneys and so forth. Unless required for medical reasons no 'food group' is proposed to be omitted in the Good Food Real Results program - just a focus on the balance and proper portion sizes of the foods you eat. So while I am still eating gluten free myself and many days still lean towards grain free eating due to insulin response from grains - there is room in the plan for accommodating a craving for pasta or bread and still seeing amazing results!

To be sustainable a lifestyle change needs to be maintainable and a commitment to being 'totally' grain free for myself was not something I was able to sustain long term because when I succumb to eating something I felt I 'should not' have I felt guilty and a failure and this led to additional self sabotage of my health  goals! With the Epic Life Good Food Real Results plan I am feeling I can balance a wide variety of foods that fuel and sustain me while seeing amazing results!

Another component of the program is the important role of 'planning' .... you create a written 90 day challenge statement of where you plan to be. The statement is written from the perspective of the 90 days have past and what is your life like - so you can envision your outcome as you move through the 90 days! It is wonderful inspiration to have a vision statement and board to reflect on!  You also plan for your WOOP moments of wish, outcome, obstacles, plan using the 'if and then statement's .... this is great for self reflection of knowing in the past what caused me to derail my success and to plan for those obstacles so that I will better succeed this time around!  And most importantly - you MEAL plan and prep to help make success easier! The plan provides 'sample menus' for the first 4 weeks to help those who need inspiration but also has the flexibility of build your own plan with foods and LOADS of amazing recipes on the Epicure website. Just search 'balanced plate' for ideas!  Having a plan for what you will be eating helps you to stay on task and goal as well as prepping easy to grab healthy foods prevents you from grabbing easy junk type foods!

The other component is keeping a gratitude and food, sleep, exercise journal.  Journal writing is something I have always seen a lot of value in - I know from life experience that writing things out - either formally or informally - has so many amazing benefits for the brain and your mental health and yet often it is the first thing I let 'lapse' when things get busy and this has consistently seen me slip back into states of higher anxiety and depression. Hopefully getting back into this amazing habit is the 'third millionth' time is a charm for me to remember to KEEP AT IT!  In addition to the gratitude journal I also love using the My Fitness Pal app to food journal and track exercise with ... it is really great visual for ensuring that while balancing your plate you also keep your caloric intake 'less' than you need for weight loss goals because lets face it not all food is created equally when it comes to calories - half a cup of broccoli has different caloric intake than 1/2 cup of corn so plate might be balanced but the calories are not!
The last component is accountability - taking measurements, weighing in and photos to help to track your progress and reporting them to both your accountability partner and for the 'challenge' via a private portal to be eligible for prizes! 

The program suggestions weighing in and doing measurements and progress photos every two weeks - I LOVE this because the reality is that the SCALE is not always my friend! My body tends to hold onto weight so I can be eating really well, moving my body lots at the gym and the scale will not budge for days on end - weighing myself or measuring too often during these times can lead to disheartening and self sabotage so 'trusting' the program and waiting for the bi-weekly measuring and photos really helped me to not get stuck in that mindset!   

The last challenge which ran from September 10th to December 4th I was able to release 30 pounds and 24 inches total throughout my chest, waist, hips, biceps and thighs ... an amazing result that I am very proud of!

Another challenge is starting TODAY and I am excited to see what the next 90 days will bring me!

If you would like to join me on the Epic Life Good Food Real Results Challenge more info about joining can be found here!

Have an amazing day!

Life Well, Laugh Often, Love Much!  

Monday, November 12, 2018

They are HERE!

The day has arrived - the girls have joined our home! They arrived home Friday evening - and were a little timid about their new surroundings and jumped out of their travel bags and immediately hid underneath the couch and did not want to come out. We respected their choice and made sure to place food, water and their littler next to the couch over night and gave them their space - while they poked their heads out here and there during the evening they stayed pretty much hidden and we ended up heading to bed and giving them some space! Thankfully sometime during the evening they must have come out to investigate as they ate up some food and water and used the box!

The next morning they were feeling much more inquisitive - both of them LOVED the big bay window and perching on the couch and watching the birds and squirrels outside in the yard.
By this morning they have started to explore their new toys  - the irony  is discovering that fur babies are very much like human children in that we got them two of everything so they can each have their own toys to limit fighting between them and yet here they are both fighting over one mouse the second laying abandoned near by! A huge thank you to my clients the Hare/Ferencz family for the catnip filled mice - they are a huge hit!

 Up in the bedroom they loved the little stairs that they can perch on to look at the big pine tree full of birds and squirrels - even throughout the night I would wake up over the course of the weekend and find the silhouette of both of them watching the animals outside and making tiny little chattering noises to each other!

They got playful to engage with us in chasing string and ball games!

Luna is very inquisitive about outside - here she is giving the neighbors naughty cat a stare down and marking her territory to try to scare the thing off our deck and from using the garden as its littler box!

Luna loves the 'perch' from the cat tree - she spends much of her day up here either sleeping or watching her sister chase her shadow or her tail or something around the livingroom!

 And even here in their new home they both still prefer to spend most of their time together in their bonded little snuggles together! 

Over all we are very please with how quickly they have adjusted and come out of their shell during this transition - we had read that it can take weeks for a new kitten to accept their new home with a lot of time spent in hiding away from their new family members until they feel comfortable but the girls had each other for support and I think that played a big role in how quickly they have made themselves at home this weekend! 

Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Welcome Luna and Lily

We are so very excited to announce the welcoming of Luna and Lilly to our family - they will be joining us formally next weekend after they have been vetted! 

I came across Luna and Lily in my news feed on Facebook when someone I know shared a story from Heavenly Hills Animal Sanctuary!  

The sisters were a strongly bonded pair - all the photos showed photos of the two of them snuggled together loving on one another! As a result of the strong bond the rescue was looking for a furever home that would allow the two to remain together - I mean how can you separate these two darlings???

I spoke with Paul to see if he thought two kitties would be a fit for our family because since the loss of Nevada he'd been wanting a new fur baby to join us and help to fill the hole in our hearts her loss had created but was not sure if two were in the cards for our small home. He took one look at them and he too was heart captured ... we visited them at their foster home and instantly knew they were the two kitties for us and while our home might be small our hearts are huge and we can make room for the two of them here! 

This is Luna - she is a tortoise shell tabby who is full of spunky spirit and energy and has a foot fetish - so beware walking past couches or beds for her hunting prowess!

Her sister Lily she is an amazing soul who is a little more cautious about the world and way more laid back preferring to watch her sisters antics although she occasionally will jump in and participate!

Together they balance each other out perfectly just like Paul and I do and we are so very excited to have them joining the home! 

I cannot thank their foster Mama Angela and her daughter Leda enough for the wonderful start to life that they offered the girls until they were ready to come home with us - it takes a very special person to open their heart to fur babies knowing that they are going to have to say good-bye again in a short time period. Based on all the photos she took of them in her home they were well loved and had an amazing first couple months with her and Leda! 

We cannot wait to have them join us and I am sure that they are going to love being guest bloggers on the blog from time to time! 

Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

UTSPÄDD Popsicle molds ROCK!

Image source IKEA

OK as an early childhood educator for over 25 years I can honestly say I have tried all sorts of homemade Popsicle options over the years with my crew but the UTSPÄDD from IKEA Catalogue is by far my favorite now! 
Image source IKEA

Silk Almond Milk Popsicle's!
Easy to fill - once filled with liquid the cap does not LEAK so you can easily toss in the freezer without worry AND I love that while eating because it is a 'tube' vs 'stick' mold it does not drip all over as it melts so unless your toddler decides to purposefully tip it over and watch his melted portion spill - its virtually mess free! 

Plus homemade allows you to control ingredients - they were just the Silk Almond Milk - Dark Chocolate poured into the molds and frozen and oh so creamy and tasty! 

Get them at your local IKEA

Have an amazing day!

 Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Beat the Heat with this Hygiene tip!

Wee bit of a TMI blog post but it happens to all of us so finding the courage to share! 

Not sure about where you live but it has been a HOT one here these past few weeks. So hot and dry where have water bans and backyard fire pit bans do to the dry conditions! 

As a result I have spent a lot of time in my bathing suit at local splash pads keeping cool with the kiddies and well that combination of extreme heat and sweat and wearing bathing suit material all day has resulted in me not feeling so 'fresh'!

So just wanted to share a little 'DIY Spray' that I have been enjoying to help combat the summer phenomena! 

DIY Feminine Hygiene Spray!

What You Need

  • 8 oz amber glass or stainless steel bottle ideally with a 'spritz' style top.
  • 4 oz witch hazel
  • 4 oz distilled water
  • 2 drops Rose Oil (or Geranium if cannot source Rose)
  • 2 drops Lavender oil
  • 2 drops Melaluca / Tea Tree Oil

What You Do

  • Add all ingredients in to the bottle and shake well to mix.
  • Spritz bikini area after bathing or as needed to refresh and reduce unwanted odors. If you cannot source a spray bottle using cotton balls to apply mixture to your bikini area to help freshen works well too!
  • Shake well before each use to ensure well mixed.
  • Helps control unwanted orders and reduce ingrown hair.

Now you can enjoy the heat AND feel fresh as a flower!

Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Never too old to play in the MUD!

Aloette’s Muddy Up Detoxifying Masque isn’t just fun to wear.  This exfoliating formula, featuring soothing cucumber extract and pore purifying Calcium Bentonite, deep cleans to reveal brighter, tighter looking skin in just one application!
You apply Muddy Up to clean skin and allow to dry until cracks appear.  Rinse thoroughly with warm water and follow with desired serums and moisturizer in your normal skincare regime! 
This is my favorite Saturday night self care ... yes I am a lame home body who looks forward to spending Saturday night at home in my PJ's pampering myself! 

Bentonite Clay is an AWESOME  - I love what they have to say about it over at Naturally Living Ideas

Clay unclogs the skin pores and shrinks them

Whether you have oily skin or not, your pores will undoubtedly become clogged at some point. Shrinking the size of your pores can help tremendously with keeping your face clean and blemishes as bay. Apply to your face and neck and leave it on for about thirty minutes to help with this challenge. You will feel your face tighten slightly as the mask dries. Rinse with warm tap water and pat dry with a clean towel. Repeat this twice a week to reduce the size of your pores and leave your skin feeling vital and fresh.

Clay helps control the overproduction of sebum

Too much oil on the skin, abnormal shedding of dead skin cells and excess bacteria generally results in acne. You may also be prone to outbreaks if you take certain medication, produce too much sebum (a natural oil) or have a family history of acne. Blackheads or whiteheads are produced due to an excess of sebum, which cause blocks within the hair follicles on the skin. Oily skin with too much sebum encourages the production of bacteria which irritates the skin. This can result in acne. To keep your skin soft, supple and blemish-free, use a dab of Muddy directly on blemishes. Leave on overnight and repeat until blemish is gone.

Clay draws out the toxins from the skin

Bentonite clay has a very strong negative electrical charge. Since many toxins have a positive charge, the clay bonds to them. When it comes in contact with a toxin, heavy metal, chemical, or other impurity, the clay will gobble up the toxin and release its minerals for the body to use. In addition, Bentonite clay also pulls hydrogen from cells, allowing room for oxygen. This helps with circulation, and overall skin tone and health.

Clay makes skin softer

Bentonite clay is loaded with silica, a trace mineral that strengthens connective tissue including muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bone. In addition, it makes your skin super soft. Silica is the most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust and is the name for the chemical compound silicon dioxide. Glass, quartz, and sand are all comprised of oxygen and silicon.  Using bentonite clay on your skin means you reap all of its benefits as it is readily absorbed. If you want more of its benefits, eat foods high in this mineral including garbanzo beans, cucumbers, mangos, asparagus, leeks, green beans, strawberries, and celery.

Clay gives a definite glow to your face

Bentonite clay conditions and nourishes one’s skin by removing the dead cells and also extracting the extra oils and impurities from the surface of the skin. For a “glow” you should apply the clay mask regularly.Keep the mask for at least five minutes and rinse with lukewarm water. The aftermath of this is an instant glow on the face. Many use the mask just a few times a week or once a week and have great results.

Clay exfoliates

Exfoliating is a very important part of any skincare regime. It not only removes dead cells but also unclogs the dirt and oil in your pores that can cause breakouts. Although you can find many exfoliating products in the store, they often contain harsh ingredients. These ingredients include plastics, irritating fragrances, glycerin, parabens, phthalates and other questionable substances.

Clay helps reduce the appearance of scars

If you are one of the millions who suffer from acne, you not only have to deal with the acne itself but also the scars that remain from it.  The use of bentonite clay is one among the few effective home remedies to remove the scar tissues. As mentioned, this clay helps to remove toxins from your pores, allows skin to heal and reduces inflammation.

Bentonite clay helps in the lightening of acne marks on the face. Bentonite clay helps one to get rid of scar tissues and stretch marks easily and effectively. Acne scars often result in red color on the face. Clay can help heal the skin and reduce inflammation and redness.

Clay is safe for all skin types

Bentonite clay is very effective and beneficial for skin and safe, no matter how old you are. Bentonite clay is suitable for all types such as normal, oily or acne-prone skin. As mentioned, clay is packed with useful minerals and it will help detoxify while nourishing your skin.  

Caution: If you react to some metals or have an allergy to some substances in the clay, you may experience itchiness on the skin. It is rarely seen with topical use of bentonite clay on the skin unless you have super sensitive skin. Test the clay on less sensitive areas of your body before using on the face.

Clay can be used to regenerate skin tissue

Bentonite clay can be used to rebuild damaged skin tissue. Activated bentonite clay assists in healing and regenerating skin tissue. The clay also helps to rejuvenate skin naturally and reduce fine lines and wrinkles while fighting bacteria and infection.

Clay gives you an even skin tone

During one’s childhood, one has almost perfect skin with an even tone. But as the time passes, skin damages from common problems such as sun exposure, discoloration of the skin and acne breakouts with most of us ending up with uneven skin tone and skin discoloration on your face.

Although it is not possible to completely recover the baby like skin, by applying bentonite clay on the face you can attain a younger look and improve your skin texture and tone. Dead skin cells, developed over time on the skin surface, give your skin an uneven tone and aged look. By exfoliating your skin you can eliminate such dead skin cells so that newer, younger skin can grow through to give your skin complexion a revitalized appearance.

These are just some of the many ways that this gift from the earth can help you look and feel your best. It is amazing that something so simple as clay can do so much!

Have an amazing day

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much 
Be Totallyawake4-life

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Grain Free Crescent Rolls

We are celebrating a little mans 3rd birthday today - and he requested 'goat cheese pop tarts' is what he calls them but in reality they are a version of grain free stuffed crescent rolls that we adapted to meet his dietary needs! 

 We love these because they are awesome warm out of the oven in the winter months but also just as tasty cold for picnic lunches! 

Grain Free Crescent Rolls

What You Need: Adapted from here
  • 2 tablespoon flax seed 
  • 1 packet Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 4 Large Egg Whites 
  • 1 Large Organic Egg Yolk
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee or Dairy Free Butter Alternative 
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 teaspoon liquid stevia 
  • 2 cups of Soy flour  - plus some extra for rolling
  • 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 generous cup of Coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
What You Do:
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flax seed and yeast.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the almond milk, applesauce, egg whites and extracts. Dump the flax seed/yeast mix on top and quickly whisk together.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the 2 cups of soy flour, the coconut palm sugar , baking powder and salt. Dump the dry over the wet and fold together with a rubber spatula.
  • Shape the sticky dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm area for 1 hour + 20 minute.
  • Measure out your coconut flour. Take about 2 tablespoons out and dust it over the slightly risen dough. Gently fold the mixture until it absorbs the coconut flour, then dust another 2 tablespoon over the dough and fold in again Continue to do this until all the coconut flour is mixed into the dough. Then knead the dough into a ball.
  • Using a cutting board or other smooth flat work surface (this is an awesome option) dust with about 2 tablespoons of of soy flour, place the dough on top, then dust again with same amount of soy flour. Roll the dough into a rectangle, then use a pizza cutter to slice the rectangle into 12 tall triangles.
  • Line a large cookie sheets parchment paper and set aside.
  • Create the crescents by rolling the dough triangle, starting from the widest end and rolling to the triangle point. 
  • Cover the cookie sheet with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for 1 hour 
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and almond milk.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the crescents with the egg wash and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. 
  • Let crescents cool on the pan. Serve warm!

Bakers Addiitonal Notes:
For a savory version: Stuff with heaping teaspoon of Chevre goat cheese and a raspberry jam and roll up and apply the egg wash as normal.

For a Kids will Love you forever: Stuff with a couple slices of pepperoni and shredded cheese and roll up. Sprinkle some  pizza seasoning on top of the egg wash. Serve with a side of marinara sauce 
For the Chocolate Lover: Add 2 teaspoon of Enjoy Life chocolate chips to each crescent as you roll them up. Apple the Egg Wash and than sprinkle some chocolate topper onto them.

For an Apple Pie Version: Dice a Granny Smith apple and marinate in 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoons coconut sugar and 2 teaspoons Apple Pie spice. When the apples are soft, add a spoonful to each crescent as you roll them up. Apple the Egg Wash and sprinkle with a wee bit more Apple pie spice!

 Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much