Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Split Smoothie

When I was a little girl, nothing pleased me more than a chocolate milkshake, I loved how delicious and cool it felt going into my stomach and ordered one every Saturday at lunch with my parents. Another favourite was ice cream, my brother and I used to play with our ice cream, making caves and forests in our bowls, trying to be the last to finish eating so that we could rub it in the other’s face that we still had food left. I loved ice cream so much that I would literally lick the bowl.

As I grew up my sweet tooth sort of faded away, but now and again nothing hits the spot quite like a chocolate milkshake or an ice cream sundae. This smoothie is the best of both worlds!

Enter the Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Split Smoothie!

  IMG_1657

You’ll only need six ingredients for this delicious treat!

1 (or 2) bananas

1 tbsp 100% cocoa

1 tsp vanilla (you can also sub maple syrup)

1 spoonful 100% peanut butter (without added sugars and chemicals is best)

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 cup nut milk of your choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)

ice cubes

IMG_1654

Put all these ingredients into a blender, blend them up and voila! An extremely yummy smoothie for whenever you need a sweet fix!

The chia seeds have a bunch of excellent benefits, read all about them here. 100% cocoa is full of anti-oxidants, flavanoids (which benefit your cardiovascular system, nervous system and mental function) and magnesium (works to create and maintain cell health). As I’m sure you know, bananas are full of potassium which is necessary for heart, kidney and organ health! Not only is this smoothie super delish but healthy too!

IMG_1661

Let me know how you enjoy this smoothie! I hope that you love it as much as I do! It’s great as dessert, after a workout or even for breakfast!

Stay tuned for some more delicious recipes!

Namaste.

Natural Nighttime Skincare Routine

Last week I posted my Natural Morning Skincare Routine and today, as promised, I’ll be sharing with you my Nighttime Skincare Routine!

IMG_1519

If you’ve read about my morning skincare routine, then you know that my main skincare worries are sensitivity, dryness and the occasional pimple. In the morning, I focus on prevention and getting a natural daily “glow” and in the evening, I worry about deeply moisturizing and cleaning my skin. You’ll notice that my nighttime skincare routine isn’t quite as hammered out as my morning skincare routine. I’m still trying out new and different products and brands to find out what best works for my skin. I do feel that it’s best to remove makeup, cleanse, tone and moisturize but I’m definitely open to your suggestions if you’d like to leave a comment below!

Without further ado…

After a long day, one of the best feelings is removing all makeup. To do this, I use Garnier + Nourishing Cleansing Oil for Dry Skin ($9.99 Drugstores).

IMG_1651

This cleansing oil is incredible for removing all makeup and impurities from the skin before continuing on the rest of my routine. This Garnier + Nourishing Cleansing Oil is paraben free and it’s functioning ingredients are jojoba oil and macadamia oil. The combination of oils break down makeup and deeply moisturize then skin. Jojoba (pronounced “ho-ho-ba”) oil is fantastic for sensitive skin as it is gentle and full of vitamin E and antioxidants. Vitamin E is not only nourishing, but is also effective in clearing up scarring, dark spots and even healing blemishes. Macadamia oil is another fantastic ingredient for dry skin. Macadamia oil is a lightweight oil full of fatty acids; oleic acid (moisturizing and regenerating), linoleic acid (stops trans-epidermal water loss thus keeping skin plump and hydrated) and the most important fatty acid in skincare, palmitoleic acid. Palmitoleic acid (Omega-7 fatty acid) is a natural fatty acid found in our skin, it helps treat burns, heal wounds and is extremely important in keeping skin looking fresh and young by delaying skin cell aging. Macadamia oil has contains extremely high percentage of palmitoleic acid (roughly 16-23%) so it helps balance oil production, heals acne scarring, reduces itchiness and inflammation from eczema and other skin irritations and is expert at handling dry skin. Using this Garnier + Nourishing Cleansing Oil to remove makeup in the evening is great because it feels very extravagant. You pump the Cleansing Oil into your palms and warm it up by rubbing your hands together, then gently rubbing it into the skin. This oil is gentle enough to use around the eyes and removes eye makeup easily. Though this oil is paraben free, there are synthetic ingredients and fragrance, which isn’t ideal. If you have any suggestions for a makeup removing oil that is all natural, please do not hesitate to leave a comment, otherwise I intend to purchase jojoba oil and macadamia oil and create a homemade mixture for the same effect.

After luxuriously removing all of the day’s makeup, I wash my face with a daily cleanser. At the moment I am using the Live Clean Foaming Daily Cleanser ($9.99 Drugstores).

IMG_1530

Though I typically use a gentle milk cleanser (Yes to Cucumbers Gentle Milk Cleanser to be exact), I saw this Live Clean Foaming Daily Cleanser at the drugstore and decided to give it a try! Foaming cleansers tend to cater to more oily skin and this one is no exception, however it does contain some great ingredients for dry skin! This Foaming Cleanser contains lavender (read more on lavender in my Morning Skincare Routine), milk thistle (softens skin), mallow (soothes dry skin), aloe and buckthorn (nourishing, restorative and regenerating) among other sensitive skin soothers! Cucumber is present in this cleanser, helping it to fade dark spots, improve and even out the complexion and tighten pores! Our super saviour ingredient in this cleanser is chamomile. You may know of chamomile from the delicious herbal tea that is full of healing properties, an herbal remedy for everything from insomnia to anxiety to stomach upset but it is for more than drinking! Chamomile in our skincare is brilliant at both cleansing and moisturizing the skin, soothing irritations, fighting breakouts and because it is high is antioxidants, the chamomile will protect the skin from harmful and aging free-radicals. Though this Live Clean cleanser has been effective on my dry skin, I would recommend it primarily for oily or combination skin, simply because it can be a little too drying.

Once I’ve finished removing all my makeup and cleansing, I enjoy using a toner. You’ll remember that in the morning I use Lush’s Tea Tree Water and I love Lush’s Eau Roma Water at night (Lush $9.95-21.95).

IMG_1650

Lush’s Eau Roma Water is a super toner made from two incredible sensitive skin saviours, lavender oil and rose oil. I enjoy using this toner at night because it is so good at restoring parched skin, leaving it soft, hydrated and touchable. As mentioned in my Morning Skincare Routine, lavender oil is perfect for sensitive skin! Lavender both fights and treats eczema by adding moisture to the skin and soothing any irritation and itchiness and because lavender is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory it fights bacteria and redness! Finally lavender oil increases circulation of oxygen and nutrients to cells so your skin will be bright and vibrant! Working hand in hand with lavender oil is rose oil! While lavender works hard to help the skin produce sebum (a natural oil-like substance that prevents skin from drying out), the rose oil is working double time to nourish and cool the skin. Rose oil is quite astringent, meaning it evens out skin tone and generally improves the appearance of the skin by refining the skin texture. Rose oil is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic so while it is cooling down redness and irritation on the skin, it is also actively reducing the possibility of a skin infection. One of my personal favourite reasons for using Lush’s Eau Roma water at night is the luxury of using a spray toner and the wonderful smell. Both lavender and rose are used in aromatherapy and have been shown to treat anxiety and depression! Having a spray of these oils before bed calms me down and lessens the anxieties of the day before sleep!

The final step of my evening skincare routine is moisturizing, one of the most important steps in my routine! Without a daily deep moisturizing, my skin can feel tight, lacklustre and unattractive. Enter coconut oil:

IMG_1534

That’s right my favourite moisturizer is simply coconut oil! Coconut oil is gaining a lot of traction in the beauty world at the moment, and for good reason! Coconut oil is an out-of-this-world natural moisturizer that works gently and is more or less a cure-all product! Coconut oil is made up of medium chained fatty acids and saturated fats, which work to repair and strengthen the skin barrier and trap water underneath keeping your skin nice and hydrated! Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial (see a pattern?!) so it will soothe dry, reddened and unhappy skin, and keep the bacteria away! Similar to the vitamin E in our jojoba oil, coconut oil works superbly at evening out dark spots, lessening scarring and stretch marks and improving skin tone. Gentle enough for an eye cream, a dab or two of coconut oil around the eyes will improve dark under-eye circles and prevent wrinkles. Because it can take a bit of time (10 mins) for coconut oil to fully absorb into the skin, I like to use it as a deep moisturizer and night and will use this oil on my entire body, face included. The coconut is sweet and nutty, and smells just like an expensive product, though this organic oil works just as well (if not better), without any weird ingredients, and for a fraction of the price! Coconut oil is not just a great body moisturizer, but you can also use it as a deep conditioner for hair and for cooking! Let me know in the comments if you would like to see a post with all the great uses for coconut oil! You can purchase coconut oil at most grocery stores, though I do want to stress that if you or a family member or loved one have an allergy, do make sure to read the ingredients and ensure that there is no cross contamination! I have used coconut oils that have a peanut/nut warning, and I have used some that say that they were made in a nut free facility, make sure to read your labels!

So there you have it! My Natural Nighttime Skincare Routine to go along with last week’s Natural Morning Skincare Routine! I intend to update this as I find proper replacements for my makeup removing oil and moisturizing cleanser, but this is an accurate representation of my Nighttime Skincare from the past few months!

Let me know, have you tried any of these products? Is there anything that you would recommend to me? Anything you’d like me to suggest to you? And stay tuned, next week I’m uploading my Occasional Skin Saviours, products that I don’t need everyday but are in my bathroom cabinets at all times in case of an emergency!

Namaste.

(Note: I do not work for any of the brands mentioned, nor am I being paid for or asked to speak about them. I adore Lush and am having fun trying out new products to add to my arsenal!)

Tea Time Treats – Peppermint Tea

Something you should definitely know about me: I am obsessed with tea. My tea collection rivals Carrie’s shoe collection in Sex and the City and if you saw it, you would probably deem me insane! Living two blocks from a DAVIDs Tea definitely didn’t help my little problem but I figured I could use this blog to let you guys know what I’ve been loving lately! Enter Tea Time Treats; a new series on this blog where I will occasionally let you know what teas I’ve been loving and why.

Lately I’ve been craving Peppermint Tea to end my day.

IMG_1608

While I drink Green Tea and water though out my day, I love wrapping my hands around a warm mug of Peppermint Tea and watching a movie or reading a book when winding down after a long and busy day.

Peppermint Tea is made from the leaves of the peppermint plant, a hybrid mint that is a cross between spearmint and water mint. Peppermint in it’s many forms (oils, herbs, teas) are used for a variety of reasons in holistic and ancient medicine including soothing nausea, preventing vomiting, easing stomach pain and discomfort from indigestion and bloating.

IMG_1581

Peppermint Tea is a naturally caffeine free, herbal tea that is phenomenal for aiding stress relief and relaxation. Peppermint Tea is amazing to drink before bed as it is a natural muscle relaxant because it is high in menthol. Menthol is also great for helping clear out your sinuses, making Peppermint Tea a great choice when you have a chest cold, sinus problems or allergies. Inhaling Peppermint not only immediately clears out the sinuses but also can enhance memory and alertness! You don’t need to have coffee in the morning or before a high pressure event to feel awake, a good inhale of peppermint will do the trick!

Back to actually drinking the tea…

I enjoy a nice mug as part of my evening routine because not only does the peppermint act as an excellent stress reliever, but it is also very cooling and helps aid in digestion by having a soothing effect on the stomach muscles.

Not only that, but my tea bags give me happy messages!

IMG_1576

Do you enjoy Peppermint Tea? Or do you have another favourite nighttime or cold season beverage?

I’ll be here with my mug waiting to hear from you!

Namaste.

Natural Morning Skincare Routine

IMG_1518

Let’s talk skincare!

Living consciously isn’t just about consuming healthy foods, it’s also about taking care of your skin naturally which is what I try to do with my daily morning skincare routine.

A little history…

I have to be honest. It took me to almost 24 before I developed any sort of “real” skincare routine. I used to just wash my face in the shower and lazily take my makeup off with a wipe before bed. This really wasn’t cutting it. As I started taking care of my health from the inside with food and yoga, I realized that I was going to need to start taking care of myself on the outside too.

There are two main issues that I need to treat with my daily routine. I have very sensitive and dry skin that acts up quickly and viciously if I use a product that it doesn’t like. I’m prone to eczema on my neck, chin and eyelids and general dryness on my forehead nose and cheeks. Depending on what I eat or if I’m in a high stress period, I can get whopping pimples on my cheeks right where you would apply bronzer. Because of this, I work on different problems at different times of the day. In the morning I tend to focus on keeping breakouts at bay and bringing a “glow” to my skin, whereas in the evening (Natural Nighttime Skincare Routine coming soon!) I focus a lot more on moisturizing.

You’ll notice that I use very few products. Through trial and error (and lots of different brands), I’ve found what works with my skin and I’m pretty stuck to it. I don’t think that loading on product, on product, on product is necessarily the best approach to skincare. I recommend finding one or two things that you know work for you and commit to them! Your skin will thank you!

So without further ado, my morning skincare routine…

I start my day by washing my face with the Angels on Bare Skin facial cleanser from Lush ($13.95-$33.95).

IMG_1529

Angels on Bare Skin is a fantastic cleanser that is vegan, made exclusively of natural ingredients and is paraben free (parabens are nasty little chemical preservatives that may cause cancer and mimic estrogen). Angels on Bare Skin has three main ingredients; kaolin clay, almonds and lavender. Kaolin clay is naturally full of essential nutrients and works as a deep cleanser that is friendly for dry or sensitive skin. The clay detoxifies by pulling impurities and dirt from your pores, creating soft and beautiful skin. Ground almonds work as a natural exfoliator, sloughing away dead skin cells and leaving brighter skin in it’s wake. Almonds are full of antioxidants, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids which helps them in their skincare goals. Almonds are great for evening out discolouration, treating acne and treating skin upset (such as inflammation, eczema and psoriasis). The vitamin E from the almonds is also especially good at fading acne scarring! The final helper is lavender. Lush uses both lavender flower and lavender oil in their Angels cleanser (you can see the petals in the clay). Lavender is famous in the world of aromatherapy for being soothing, purifying and almost sedative-like, in fact simply smelling lavender can bring down stress levels and put you in a more peaceful state of mind. Because lavender is so comforting mentally, it shouldn’t be a shock that lavender is amazing at calming angry and irritated skin. Lavender is great at boosting circulation and bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your cells, leaving a beautiful glow wherever it touches. With these three skin superheroes, Angels on Bare Skin is so great at leaving my sensitive and dry skin super soft, touchable and radiant.

After washing my face, I like to use a facial toner. In the morning I use Lush’s Tea Tree Water ($9.95-$21.95).

IMG_1526

Another Lush favourite, this toner is vegan and alcohol free. Alcohol is definitely an ingredient that you want to avoid in skincare as it is very drying, practically leeching all the water out of your skin and leaving it dull. Because this Tea Tree Water doesn’t contain alcohol, it effectively brightens your complexion, leaving you looking fresh and awake! Exactly what we need in the morning! Tea tree oil is native to Australia and pretty famous for being a skin saviour! Probably most well known for quickly getting rid of acne and pimples, tea tree oil is a skin saviour no matter what your issue. Tea tree oil has antibiotic properties, meaning it is effective at killing or impeding microorganism growth, making it great for healing skin infections, spots or irritations. Our next awesome ingredient is juniper berries, who are fantastic at clearing up eczema and acne (seeing a pattern yet?) Juniper berries are both astringent (tightening pores) and antiseptic (reducing the possibility of infection), they’ll make your face look young and fresh while fighting off the possibility of any breakouts! Perfection!

After applying toner to my face, I like to give my skin some time to digest by having a big mug of hot water with lemon and reading a book. When I finish my water, it’s time for the next step; moisturizing. Moisturizer has always been a difficult one for me. As I mentioned, my skin is so sensitive that any fragrance or weird chemicals will cause my face to burn and immediately break out into a rash, which is why I was so thrilled to have found Sukin’s Sensitive Facial Moisturizer (Rexall, $9.99)

IMG_1531

Sukin is a great Australian brand whose products are cruelty free, carbon neutral and free of all the baddies that we tend to find in most drugstore skincare. I’m talking no parabens, unnatural fragrances, animal products, sulfates… the list goes on and on! I love rubbing it into my face and neck because this moisturizer feels so luxurious and calming, like I’m using a super high-end product. I’ve noticed that my skin is softer and it creates a nice even base for my makeup! Sukin uses shea butter to moisturize and improve all sorts of issues like blemishes, wrinkles and eczema (surprise, surprise!). You’ll also find aloe vera in this moisturizer, which Egyptians called the “plant of immortality”. I’m sure you know that aloe is great at treating burns, so naturally it is gentle and soothing in your everyday routine as well as being fantastic at treating acne! A third miracle ingredient is sesame oil! Not just for cooking, sesame oil is incredible for your skin. First mentioned as skincare in the Vedas (ancient Indian texts), sesame oil was often used to heal skin inflections, which is why it is such a great find in your daily moisturizer!

After letting all that settle in, my final step is to use sunscreen! (I currently do not have a favourite, any suggestions are welcome!) I have naturally very fair skin, so I am a fan of SPF50. You should be sure to use sunscreen every single day no matter what kind of weather you’re seeing outside! When looking for a sunscreen it is important that the bottle says that it is a broad spectrum UVA/UVB formula. UVA rays are long wave, meaning that they can go through windows (so you aren’t safe even if you’re inside!). UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB and are the leading cause of aging and wrinkles. UVB rays on the other hand are the short waves that can cause skin cancer! You need to be protected from both!

As you can see, you do not need a fancy skincare routine with hundreds of expensive products to take care of your skin! Find what works and stick with it! If you have trouble that you cannot identify, it always helps to speak to someone at a store who can help pinpoint your problem areas and suggest products to help you out!

So let me know, have you used any of these products? Is there something you would like to recommend for me? And stay tuned because my evening skincare routine will be posted next week!

Namaste.

(Note: I am not sponsored by Lush or Sukin, I am not being paid or asked to review these products or share them with you! I genuinely adore these skincare items and thought you’d like to know about them!)

For the Love of Chia!

IMG_1501

The word “chia” comes from the Mayan word meaning “strength”, which is really fitting when you realize just how amazing these little seeds really are! They are power houses that really do deserve the “superfood” label that so many foods are getting today.

So let’s talk chia…

Chia seeds derive from the plant Salvia Hispanica, a plant native to South America and are of the mint family. You know, the delicious green herb that flavours so many of our teas, toothpastes and jellies.

Chia is great for so many reasons. Not only are chia seeds naturally gluten free, but they are also loaded with antioxidants. But more on that later.

IMG_1498

Let’s consider 1oz (or 2tbsp) of chia. In it you would find 12g carbohydrates (11g of fiber), 4g of protein, 9g of fat (5g of which are heart healthy omega-3s), 18% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium, 30% of your RDA of magnesium, 30% your RDA of manganese, 27% RDA of phosphorus as well as zinc, niacin, iron, B2, thiamine and potassium.

But what does that all mean? Let me help!

Let’s start with the 11g of fiber. Fiber is so so important to include in your diet for multiple reasons and it’s important to include 25-30g into your day! There are two types of fiber; soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Chia contains both. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, ferments in the colon and slows the breakdown of food through your system. This is important because as it slows the breakdown of your food the fiber stops your blood sugar from spiking and instead moderates it’s rise. Insoluble fiber on the other hand does not dissolve in water, instead absorbing it and helping you have regular bowel movements. Not only does fiber help you stay regular and control your blood sugar, but it also maintains healthy bowels (lessening your risk of diverticulitis, haemorrhoids, gallstones and kidney stones), can lower heart disease risk and can even help clear your skin by moving toxins through the digestive system to be expelled instead of letting them leech through the skin causing blemishes.

Chia seeds are great at keeping hunger at bay and keeping you fuller for longer. Because chia seeds can expand to 12x their size with water, they can expand in your stomach taking up more room that you would initially think. Because they are taking up so much room in your stomach, you feel full for a longer period of time, but the high fiber content also helps keep your blood sugar from spiking too quickly (as previously mentioned) and will make sure that you don’t have a blood sugar crash making you crave sugary foods and leading you to overeat!

Now protein. I’m sure by now you know the importance of protein in your diet. In biology you learn that proteins are “the building blocks of life”, I know I heard this from every teacher for years, I’m sure you did too! I’m sure then that you also know that every cell in the body is made up of protein, so it is important to make sure your diet is full of it! Because chia is about 14% protein, it is a great way for people on a vegan or vegetarian diet to get in their proteins! Yes, plants can be full of protein also!

Let’s discuss fats. Fats have gotten a bad rep these past few years but not all fats are created equal and chia seeds are chock full of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, gram for gram, chia seeds contain more omega-3s than salmon! Omega-3s are considered an “essential fatty acid”. “Essential fatty acids” mean that the body cannot produce this fat on its own and must rely on food to acquire it. Because chia seeds’ omega-3s come from plant matter, they have ALA (alpha linolenic acid) a type of short chain fatty acid. Unfortunately, ALA cannot be absorbed by the body before first converting into EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) long chain fatty acids that are found in fish and shellfish. The body is able to convert ALA to EPA and DHA for absorption but because of this conversion, you need to consume much more ALA to benefit from the same amount that you would EPA and DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids are very important for maintaining healthy eyes, a healthy heart and can have even been noticed to lower the risk of certain cancers. Definite reasons to keep getting in your omega-3s!

IMG_1500

Getting back to antioxidants… as previously mentioned, chia seeds are very high in antioxidants! Antioxidants are substances that fight cell damage. Chia seeds in particular fight 70% of free radicals! Free radicals are pesky little guys whose whole purpose is to damage cells leading to ageing and even to cancer! Antioxidants find those damaged cells and repair them, killing off free radicals without harming any healthy cells. Antioxidants are super heroes! You may have heard that blueberries, pomegranates and other fruits have excellent antioxidant power and now you can add chia seeds to that list! Yum!

Chia does all these great things and even more! Can you imagine? Because of the high percentage of magnesium, chia seeds are great at keeping cortisol levels low helping you fend off stress. Low magnesium has also been linked to migraines and fatigue, so it’s great knowing that chia has got your back there too! You know how we talked about chia being gram for gram higher in omega-3s than salmon? Well it’s also gram for gram higher in calcium than most dairy products! This means that chia seeds are going to keep your bones super strong, your teeth healthy and your smile brilliant!

Finally, chia seeds are excellent for athletes, people who are active or just people who like to run around and have fun! Chia is great as an energy boost as it improves endurance and strength.

IMG_1479

So now that you know how great chia seeds are, where can you find them? Because chia seeds have become so popular, you can find them at most grocery stores. I find mine in the baking and specialty food isle. They may even be with the gluten free foods, as mine sometimes are. If not, I recommend ordering online or perhaps finding a specialty food store in your area.

Whole seed or ground? While both whole chia seeds and ground have their benefits. I would recommend buying whole seeds (that’s what I do!) They are great for adding into smoothies, using as egg replacers in baking, making puddings for breakfast or dessert, the list goes on and on!

Chia are awesome little seeds that are so much more than the crazy pet from the 90s, they’re so good for you (and yummy too!) Stay tuned for my favourite chia recipes!

Namaste.

(Note: I am not sponsored by Salba Chia. I am not being compensated for writing this, I just liked how they looked in the grocery store!)

Welcome

Hello everyone and welcome to Om Shanti Life, a lifestyle blog focused on living a healthy, natural life.

kait

My name is Kaitlyn, a twenty something Canadian who has always been toying with blogging, starting some but never following through, until now. I guess I’ve never had something that I’m as passionate about as yoga and living a natural, healthy and above all a HAPPY life.

I was born and raised in Canada. Where? One guess:

toronto

I grew up being a very active child. Like most Canadian kids, I was thrown into skating (figure skating in my case) at the tender age of 3. I moved quickly from group classes to begging my parents for my own coach, to finally spending every waking minute on the ice. I woke up at 6am every single morning to skate, went to school and then back to the ice rink at night. I spent my summers at skating camp and was competitive for almost ten years. Figure skating was my passion.

At 13, I started having extremely bad back pain. I never liked to show it, but eventually it read all over my face and my coach pulled my parents aside and told them to go have it checked out. I was told that I had a slipped vertebrae and a pinched nerve in my back. I was then told that if I didn’t stop figure skating then and there that I wouldn’t be walking by the time I was 30. Like the determined kiddo I was, I was told that I was allowed to keep figure skating if I “kept my feet on the ground”, something that seemed totally impossible because of my love of jumping, but I agreed. Two years later, at 16, I was bored and in pain so I finally hung up my boots.

The next three years, were probably the worst of my life. I ended up quitting figure skating while my Grandmother and Grandfather were, for a lack of a better word, dying. They had always been a strong and important presence in my life so seeing them struggling threw me for a loop. Without skating, the main outlet that I had, I feel into a deep depression and the anxiety that I’ve always suffered from became too much to bear. I spent most of my time working on my social life, and didn’t do anything for my own health, mental or otherwise until I was 19.

IMG_1410kaitreversewarrior

At 19, I finally decided to get my act together, I joined a gym and started working with a trainer who was familiar with my injuries. It was great, I was running, lifting weights and feeling pretty good. Until I wasn’t. The back pain that I had been continuing to ignore lead me from chiropractors, to physiotherapists, to orthopaedic surgeons, all who wouldn’t touch me. After a year long wait, I finally stumbled into a specialists office. The specialist took one look at my X-rays and MRIs and told me there was nothing he, or anyone could do, I had 6 slipped discs, degenerative disc disease and nerve damage in my legs. My Mom, partner and I all stared at him, begging him for a suggestion, any suggestion. He told me to join a gym. (Oh, the irony!)

While this was happening, I was also dealing with a general malaise. I woke up every single day with a headache, was taking heavy duty prescription painkillers for my back, I was so depressed that I was sleeping until 6pm and so anxious that I couldn’t leave the house. My skin was sallow, I was constantly tired, my stomach always hurt, my skin always rashy. I felt ugly, not myself. Who was “myself?” My doctor put me on anti anxiety medication after medication which not only didn’t help my emotional health but caused me to completely balloon and develop a whole slew of different insecurities. When people took photos of me, I had no idea who I was looking at. The girl in those photos couldn’t possibly have been me!

I realized that I needed to do something and soon! I started doing yoga almost as a mistake. I bought a yoga dvd because it was on sale for $5 and I thought it would be an easy and fun thing to do. At the beginning, I couldn’t even finish 10 minutes without huffing and puffing and feeling as though I was going to pass out. It was a big discouragement. Over time, I started looking on YouTube for beginner videos that I could do at home, no judgement. My partner bought me a cheapo mat and I would do 20 minutes of yoga once or twice a week. Looking back on it, I suppose that I started yoga strictly hoping that it would help me lose weight, I had developed seriously disturbing eating patterns because of the weight gain from my medication. I realize now, that I was quite literally on the mental path that would save me from my bad habits, and myself.

IMG_0981IMG_1394

I continued doing yoga once or twice a week for about a year or so, until I started thinking, “Hey! This is really amazing, look at what I’m accomplishing, everything that was hard is easy now! Let me keep pushing myself and let me see where it can go!” I started doing intermediate videos, then advanced poses. I would take my mat up to the cottage every weekend and just do flows in the forest with all the animals running around, or I would take it to the lake and listen to the waves lap up against the shore.

cottage

The more I was doing yoga, the healthier I wanted to be in my life. I had toyed with raw veganism as a way to lose weight (it wasn’t for me), but enjoyed being able to eat a rainbow of food and wanted to avoid using chemical laden products that had been tested on animals, I wanted to live naturally. So I did.

IMG_1116IMG_1100IMG_1181

As soon as I began to listen to my body (quite easy to do while practicing yoga) and eating what it needed, when it needed it, everything changed. I was eating fruits and veggies at every single meal and avoiding foods that caused my migraines and eczema to flare. I began eating foods as medicine and went off of all my painkillers and prescription anti-anxiety medication. I was feeling so good! Inside and out! My confidence started coming back. My self worth! Other people had to know about this! I started pouring over books written by nutritionists and felt that every single word was written for me. It wasn’t long until I decided that I would go back to school to become a holistic nutritionist and get my yoga teaching certification so that I could pursue both my passions and help others. Which brings me to this blog.

I write this story (or perhaps overshare) for you to understand that if you have found this blog because you are looking for a way to feel better, I’ve been there and the solution is so simple! I’m here to help you! And if you found this blog because you just crave living naturally, healthfully and true to you, then I’m here to give you a few ideas too!

My goal is for The Om Shanti Life to be a safe space because that is what my mat is to me. I don’t worry about how much I weigh or diets, because when I do yoga, those aren’t the things that I think about. I also will not ever tote a specific “diet” or way of eating. You are the person who knows your body the best. Different bodies need different things. Yoga, eating mindfully and living naturally have completely shifted my perspective! Hopefully they will do the same for you! Instead of looking in the mirror and seeing things I wish that I could change, I look at myself and think about all the amazing ways that my body serves me. I hope that you will feel the same!

The Om Shanti Life is many things. A place for me to post healthy and exciting recipes, share reviews of natural products, suggest practices to improve your life and to talk about all the exciting things in the world of yoga, nutrition and healthy lifestyle that you’re sure to enjoy!

I look forward to sharing this with you!

Namaste.

(Note: I am not currently a registered holistic nutritionist or certified yoga teacher. Those are my goals, however and will definitely keep you updated and discuss my journey to those goals in this blog!)