I hope that your holidays have been healthy, happy and full of love!
I hope that your holidays have been healthy, happy and full of love!
I’ve always loved oatmeal. I remember as a kid my Mom making me the Quaker Peaches and Cream oatmeal in the winter as a delicious warming breakfast. As I grew up, I started learning how beneficial oatmeal is to include in your diet but never found the perfect non-sugary recipe. Until now.
Today I’m showing you an amazing winter breakfast recipe. The perfect Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal. (This recipe is written for 1 serving of oatmeal).
Oatmeal is fantastic to add to your diet as it is extremely high in soluble fibre. Fibre is essential to a proper diet by stabilizing blood sugar, preventing the development of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and for keeping you full for longer. Oatmeal is high in the antioxidant avenanthramide, which protects LDL (bad cholesterol) from causing heart disease, prevents free radicals from harming HDL (high cholesterol) and staves off hardening of the arteries.
To make this delicious oatmeal you will need:
– 1/2 cup quick oats
– 1/2 cup water
– 1/2 cup nut milk of your choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)
– 1 banana (the riper, the better)
– 1 tbsp chia seeds
– 10-12 almonds
– 1 tbsp maple syrup
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh) OR other favourite topping
1) Combine oats, water and nut milk into small saucepan and heat according to instructions on oatmeal package. (I warm mine on medium heat, stirring to avoid burning the oatmeal).
2) Once the liquid has been absorbed, cut the banana into pieces and mash into oatmeal.
3) Serve half of the banana/oatmeal mixture into a bowl.
4) Drizzle half (1/2 tbsp) maple syrup onto oats.
5) Serve second half of oatmeal mixture.
6) Top with the rest of the maple syrup, almonds and cinnamon.
7) Add any other additional toppings (if you choose). Though this oatmeal is perfect as is, blueberries are a favourite additional topping of mine!
Let me know how you like to take your oatmeal! Did you enjoy this recipe! Make it on mornings that you need a little bit of heat and comfort to start your day!
Inversions are probably one of the most interesting and difficult types of asana that one can practice in yoga. Thinking about inversions may lead you to think of crazy yogis balancing on their head, hands or forearms, bending into poses that you think are unimaginable! However, not only can you do them but practicing inversions regularly is an extremely beneficial for overall health and wellness.
You may be thinking, “That’s great, but what is an inversion anyway?” Inversions are asanas where the heart is placed higher than the head. They can be gentle such as downward dog, legs up the wall or standing forward bend or they can be heating and advanced like wheel pose, headstand, handstand, forearm stand or shoulder stand.
There are numerous benefits to practicing inversions, both physical and mental. Physically, one of the largest benefits provided by regularly inverting is increasing blood flow back to the heart and giving the heart a break. As you know, the heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body, quite a taxing job! Inverting causes the blood from the lower extremities to flow back into body. Being upside down also improves digestion, drains mucus, benefits the nervous system and increases immunity by reversing the lymphatic system and the movement of lymph in the body (liquid that carries cells that fight infection and disease). The tremendous blood flow to the brain even improves concentration, cognitive function and gives memory a boost all while promoting a calm feeling in the brain. Practicing inversions can strongly benefit the cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous and endocrine systems by encouraging proper flow throughout all four systems.
As previously mentioned there are two types of inversion; energizing/heating inversions (these tend to be more advanced such as head-, forearm- and handstands) and relaxing/cooling inversions (these are more tame, such as downward dog, happy baby, legs up the wall) and they both benefit the body in different ways. As one can imagine, energizing inversions can give you quite the boost! These advanced inversions increase blood flow to the brain at a faster rate than cooling inversions and can be as effective as an afternoon cup of coffee for a pick-me-up! Relaxing inversions do the opposite, not as many muscles are involved which benefits the nervous system and encourages the parasympathetic nervous system to activate, calming the body and mind. Some of these inversions even massage the thyroid (legs up the wall, plow pose, shoulder stand) which boosts metabolism and boosts thyroid function.
Inversions, especially advanced inversions, are fantastic at building strength, lengthening the spine and improving balance. It takes an incredible amount of core strength to lift the legs above the head and balancing with the legs in the air greatly improves upper body strength!
Not only are inversions excellent for the physical body, but they’re great for the mind as well because balancing on the head, forearms or hands greatly shifts perspective! You’re literally upside down! Inversions build confidence; nothing feels as good as accomplishing something that you didn’t quite think was possible! Inversions are fun! You’ll fall and struggle, but you’ll find yourself laughing and trying again and again!
Inversions are an important, entertaining practice but it is crucial to go over a few things before jumping into a handstand! Always check with a Doctor and/or your yoga teacher before starting an inversion practice. Inversions should not be practiced if you’re pregnant or menstruating, have glaucoma, a detached retina, high blood pressure, slipped disc, cardiovascular or kidney disease. However, once you have the go-ahead from a professional the fun can start! While you may see some fun shapes to try on Instagram or in class by your favourite yogis, there is absolutely no shame in starting by a wall! (I learned my headstands, and am working on handstands that way!) Work carefully and move within your own body and your own boundaries. Balance is different from day to day so if you’re falling out of headstand, instead of getting upset move onto a different asana and come back to it tomorrow, they’ll always be there! And remember, most importantly to have fun!
Have you practiced inversions? Do you have a favourite pose? Let me know if you’ll be trying to add some inversions to your practice (or if they’re a regular part of your practice) by leaving a comment below!
(Note: Do not add advanced inversions to your practice without first running it by your Doctor first! They’re fun but safety is always first!)
Pasta isn’t very popular in my home, but every so often I get huge cravings and nothing can stop them! I thought that I would share my new favourite Vegetable & Chicken Pasta recipe! It’s delicious, flavourful and healthy!
– Olive Oil
– Chicken Breasts
– Salt & Pepper
– Parmesan Cheese
– Pasta (or Rice)
(Serves 2 larger portions, 4 smaller ones; 20 min prep, 10-15 min cooking time)
1. Begin by heating up olive oil in your pan.
2. Once the olive oil has heated up, begin cooking your chicken. Salt and pepper your chicken. You can either put the entire breast into the pan (as I did) or cut them into cubes for faster cooking.
3. While your chicken is cooking, start cooking your pasta (or rice).
4. Dice your tomatoes, cut your onions & mushrooms.
5. Once the chicken has cooked through, remove it from the element and set aside.
6. Toss the onions into your pan, let them cook until translucent.
7. After the onions have cooked through, throw your mushrooms and tomatoes into the pan as well.
8. Add garlic, parsley & basil (1 tsp ea).
9. After 5 mins, add the cooked and cut up chicken to your pan to allow it to reheat.
10. Once your pasta (or rice) has finished, drain it and add it to the pan with veggies along with a large handful of spinach!
11. Toss and serve with parmesan cheese on top!
I say you can use both pasta or rice as my partner isn’t a pasta fan but loves this recipe on top of some delicious wild rice! Tastes just as amazing!
I hope that you enjoy this simple, quick and healthy meal! Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments below!
I am fortunate enough to have a David’s Tea right across the street from my favourite yoga studio and every so often, I will float into David’s for a teatime treat in my post-savasana bliss. It was on one of these days that I found my favourite tea of the moment, today’s teatime treat; Buddha’s Blend (David’s Tea, $10.50/50g). I normally drink green tea so it must have been fate that I randomly decided upon Buddha’s Blend. To be honest, I partially chose this beautiful tea just because of the name (Buddha’s Blend just sounds so zen!), but after my barista let me smell it, I fell in love.
Buddha’s Blend is an enchanting blend of white tea, green tea, jasmine and white hibiscus. It smells almost tropical and sweet, like a gorgeous perfume! I swear, I would bathe in this scent if I could! Not only does Buddha’s Blend smell captivating, but the tea tastes as incredible as it smells. Buddha’s Blend does not have an overwhelmingly sweet taste, just a gentle flavour from the jasmine pearls. You feel extravagant and opulent drinking this gorgeous tea.
Some of the best things about Buddha’s Blend are all the incredible health benefits that come along from drinking it! You may know that green tea is fantastic for you, but did you also know that white tea is full of antioxidants as well? Both white and green tea come from the camellia sinensis plant, they are just processed differently to get the different tastes. White tea is the least processed of all the different types of tea, and contains the highest level of antioxidants, including flavanoids and other polyphenols. Flavanoids are important as they inhibit the growth of cancer cells and stop the development of new ones. White tea is very good at lowering blood pressure, effectively guarding against stroke, protecting the heart and protecting the circulatory system. Another type of polyphenol that white tea is full of are catechins, which work to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. Finally, white tea works to improve the immune system, protecting the body against the common cold, as well as reducing stress and improving energy.
Now that we know about all the benefits of white tea, let’s take a quick refresher of all the good things green tea can do for you. Green tea is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat pretty much anything you can imagine! It’s no surprise then that green tea is full of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) an extremely powerful antioxidant that has been linked to the treatment of various diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Like white tea, green tea is full of polyphenols (flavanoids and catechins) and with all these antioxidants, green tea is amazing at keeping skin clear and fresh from the inside out as well as keeping free radicals at bay. There have been many studies on green tea linking its frequent consumption to a lowered cancer risk, increased metabolic rate, improved brain function, better mood, quicker reaction time and stronger memory. Because green tea and white tea come from the same plant, it should be of no surprise that green tea has all the same benefits of lowering heart disease, lowering bad cholesterol and lowering blood pressure that white tea has. Finally, green tea has been shown to kill bacteria, lowering the possibility of infection in the body and tooth decay in the mouth. It has been said that green tea can help you live longer and with all these incredible benefits that claim is hard to dispute!
Jasmine and white hibiscus bring much more than just flavour to the tea, they contain multiple health benefits themselves! Many of jasmine’s benefits come from it’s alluring scent. In aromatherapy, jasmine promotes the feeling of calm, fighting feelings of depression and enhances mood by promoting the release of serotonin in the brain. White hibiscus on the other hand, has been used for years in Ayurvedic practice (an ancient and traditional Indian system of medicine) as it is believed to contain medicinal properties. White hibiscus is full of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that also helps prevent heart problems, aids immune function, promotes healthy eyes and keeps skin plump and young-looking. White hibiscus lowers blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol, keeping arteries clean and improving blood flow through the body. It is also a natural diuretic keeping the elimination systems in the body clean, healthy and regular. White hibiscus is chock full of bioflavonoids, potent antioxidants that treat and protect the body from multiple diseases.
It should be clear now why I adore this tea! It’s a fantastic companion to a nice relaxing night with a book, or for a pre-yoga pick me up! The health benefits hooked me, and the incredible taste have me enjoying it every morning! I had never tried white tea before, but now that I know how great it is for the body and mind and know that it can taste so delicious, I will definitely be trying more in the future! Do you have a recommendation for a great white tea? Have you tried Buddha’s Blend? Do you have a favourite tea from David’s for me to try next time? Let me know what you think! Enjoy your teatime treat!
(Note: I do not work for/with David’s tea. I was not asked and am not being compensated for making this review. Buddha’s Blend is just that fantastic!)
If you’ve read my Natural Morning or Nighttime Skincare Routines, then you may already know that I don’t often deal with breakouts. However, much like any other human being in times of highs stress, or if I haven’t been eating the right foods, I can suffer the occasional pimply nightmare. I don’t know if it is because my skin is often clear, but I swear when I get a pimple they are larger, redder and more obvious than one would expect. Luckily I have found my dream product, Grease Lightning by Lush ($13.95).
Grease Lightning is honestly a miracle product, and I do not say this lightly. When I feel a breakout coming, I will wash my face and apply a thin layer of this clear spot cleansing gel onto the site of the potential pimple and in the morning my skin will be clear. Acne avoided!
The amazing results are the product of the natural ingredients inside of the cleanser. Most notably, we have tea tree oil. Again, you may be familiar with the benefits of tea tree oil as I have mentioned them before, but it’s worth repeating; tea tree oil is nature’s cure-all. Tea tree is naturally antiseptic, antibacterial and a disinfectant, meaning that the oil will prevent the growth of microbes and bacteria while cleaning the skin. Because tea tree is natural, it won’t strip the skin of it’s natural oils leaving skin dry or flaky. Tea tree is especially great for acne because it gets into the skin to unblock pores and dry out pimples. It works fantastically on both whitehead and blackhead pimples!
Grease Lightning has a very pleasant scent thanks to the addition of thyme and rosemary! Yes, these herbs smell great, but they are also fantastic skin saviours! There are numerous benefits to using natural oils versus harmful chemicals; in skincare natural oils are strong enough to combat breakouts, but gentle enough to treat dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema as well! Like tea tree oil, thyme is antibacterial and antiseptic, however thyme has the added bonus of also being an antioxidant. Antioxidants fight free radicals which contribute to sagging and wrinkles in aging skin. Though thyme is comparable to benzoyl peroxide, it is gentle to the skin, considered an anti-inflammatory and can be used to treat eczema, where benzoyl peroxide can be drying. Rosemary is also used as an antiseptic and is extremely antioxidizing! Rosemary oil is often used to rehydrate, rejuvenate and tone the skin. Rosemary has also been known to reduce wrinkles and under-eye bags and even lighten scars and dark spots!
There are three other important ingredients used to treat our breakouts in Grease Lightning. Aloe vera, witch hazel and green grapes. You may be thinking, “Green grapes belong in my wine glass not in my skincare!” but they’re superb in both! An unlikely ingredient, green grapes are rich in vitamin E (to help soften skin) and vitamin C (to promote collagen production)! Green grapes are an antibacterial, an antioxidant and are often used to reduce redness and inflammation, tone skin and protect against sunburn! I’m not suggesting you rub grapes on your face instead of your daily sunscreen, but it’s interesting knowing what grapes can do for our skin! Our next ingredient, aloe vera, is also famous for stepping in where the sun is concerned. You may be familiar with the use of aloe to soothe a bad sunburn, but it is much more than that! Aloe is incredible for sensitive skin, so while tea tree, thyme and rosemary are doing their business cleaning out our pores and saving us from a breakout, aloe is making sure that our sensitive skin doesn’t hurt in the process! Because aloe is notoriously calming, it should be no surprise that it prevents rosacea, eases eczema and psoriasis and can even help heal minor wounds! Finally, we have witch hazel. Witch hazel is naturally astringent, so it tightens pores after the other ingredients have done their work getting all the bacteria out. Witch hazel is full of tannins, which helps lock in moisture and leaves the skin looking young and fresh! Witch hazel is naturally fantastic at healing redness, discomfort, itchiness, scarring and swelling, things that we are definitely worried about when trying to keep a pimple at bay!
It should be obvious now why I think Grease Lightning is such a Skin Saviour! It’s a hard working spot cleanser that is gentle and safe enough for my extremely sensitive skin! If you find yourself with nasty breakouts and gravitating to drugstore products full of nasty chemicals that just aren’t working, I would undoubtably try Grease Lightning! You can use it as both a spot cleanser or apply a thin layer to larger troubled areas. You do not need a lot of product for the ingredients to do their jobs, so though it may seem pricier than drugstore spot treatments you will definitely be getting the most from your dollar! I have been using mine for a few months now and have barely made a dent in the bottle!
Have you tried Grease Lightning before? Do you love it as much as I do? Or have you found your own natural miracle worker? Let me know in the comments I’d love to hear from you!
(Note: I purchased Grease Lightning with my own money. I am not sponsored or working with Lush. I am not being compensated or asked to make a review. I genuinely adore Grease Lightning and think it is a miracle worker!)
We are living in a time when everything is very on the go. People often pride themselves on being busy and having a full schedule, and you can feel lesser than if a friend has a lot going on and you don’t have as much on your plate. I’m sure you’re aware that stress is a huge issue in this day and age because people never just stop and give themselves time to digest what is going on in their lives. People are running around from issue to issue without really understanding or giving 100% to any particular thing.
Often when introducing someone to yoga, they immediately think of the physical aspect of the practice. They can think that it is just an exercise full of weird poses; “You want me to put that leg where?!”, but yoga is much, much more than that. After an individual has been practicing, they will learn that yoga is so much more than just the asanas, it is also a strongly mental practice and is often spiritual as well.
In our busy lives, we often think that if we are not using every moment completing something, then we have failed. Even in the yoga studio, I can find myself pushing through a vinyasa when the option to stay in Downward Dog and rest is right there. This “go-go-go” attitude stresses why restorative yoga is so very important.
There are numerous benefits to restorative yoga and a regular restorative practice is essential to optimal physical and mental health! Unlike Hatha and other Flow practices, restorative yoga involves very little to no muscular effort. You will use a combination of props (blankets, blocks, bolsters and straps) to support you in your asana (pose), where the goal is to be as comfortable as possible to fully immerse yourself in a meditative practice. In restorative yoga, instead of flowing through poses or holding them for a few breaths, you will stay in the deeply supportive asanas for up to 20 minutes. In a recent restorative practice, we stayed in a supported heart opening pose for 30 whole minutes! The goal of restorative yoga is to allow oneself to focus on being receptive and to immerse yourself in being fully in the now.
So why practice restorative yoga? Can you remember the last time that you had time to yourself to do absolutely nothing? Not watching tv or reading a book, but just sitting in a moment and really being there? I bet it’s hard to remember! Even when you are sleeping you are not fully resting and restorative yoga allows the body and mind to 100% let go and relax. Holding the comfortable and supportive asanas for long periods of time allows the relaxation response to kick in which calms the central nervous system. You may not know that the body does not know how to differentiate stress from a work or school deadline from the stress of being in a dangerous situation. So while you may mentally understand that the stress from the daily grind is different from being chased down a dark alleyway, the body does not and can cause a multitude of problems. The relaxation response lowers stress levels and calms the “fight or flight” feeling, which in turn helps emotional healing, enhances resting mood state and improves immune function.
While there are numerous mental benefits, there are even more physical benefits to restorative yoga! We already know that restorative yoga balances the nervous system, but it also helps optimize digestive health and flexibility in the joints, muscles and the spine. Because a restorative yoga practice is so deeply relaxing, it benefits all internal organs, reduces blood pressure, lessens blood sugar levels, increases good cholesterol, aids in regular elimination, decreases muscle tension and improves insomnia and daily fatigue.
In a Hatha or Flow practice we tend to move through poses rather quickly, whereas in a restorative yoga practice you may only move through five asanas by the end of the practice. You never want to push or pull yourself into a pose, especially in a restorative yoga practice As previously mentioned, each asana will be very comfortable and instead of being held by the earth, you “bring” the earth to yourself by padding your pose with as many props are necessary. For example, instead of the standard Savasana, one may choose to place a bolster or two under the knees, and pad the head with a blanket. Each asana is very gentle to promote the optimal comfort and relaxation to increase the amount of benefits.
In restorative yoga, you will move through similar types of asanas as Hatha or Flow classes, such as heart openers and back bends, they are just much more gentle to allow them to be held for 5-10 minutes (or longer)! A favourite restorative yoga asana is legs up the wall (you literally hold your legs up a wall, or pad the bum with a bolster and raise the legs in the air), an excellent inversion! Inversions are especially important because they enhance heart function by allowing the blood to flow back into the heart and stops lymph fluid blood from pooling around the extremities.
In short, restorative yoga is a highly meditative practice that is extremely important for healing both the body and the mind. Restorative yoga is a real treat! It is important to value yourself and to give yourself the time to just “be”. To allow yourself to lay down in a comfortable asana and allow any thoughts that come to your mind to come and go without putting any feeling or investment into them. If you read this post thinking, “There is no way that I can find the time for this!” then you are the ideal candidate to practice restorative yoga! Living without rest is not living at all! Make the time for yourself, make the time to heal your body and your mind. You deserve to take a moment to yourself! You will love how restorative yoga makes you feel!
So after reading this, let me know… Have you ever practiced restorative yoga before? Did you do it at home or go to a studio? If you haven’t, have I convinced you to take the time to practice? I’m sure you’ll love it!
(Note: I am not a certified yoga teacher. I practice Restorative Yoga twice a week and I love it!)
I’ve been doing a lot of running back and forth from yoga class lately and when I’m coming home around dinner time, there is nothing more that I want than a healthy, easy meal. The Buddha Bowl is my new favourite no-brainer! I’m not quite sure where the name came from, but the first time I had a Buddha Bowl was in a vegetarian restaurant and their menu was absolutely packed with wonderful choices! The amazing bowl that I had there inspired me to make some of my own at home! A quick search on Pinterest showed that I wasn’t alone in my love for the simplicity and deliciousness of the meal!
So what is a Buddha Bowl? While I’ll be adding pictures and a recipe for one of my favourites, this post is more of a guide than a real recipe! A Buddha Bowl is any combination of your favourite greens, grains, starches, protein, veggies and toppings! They tend to be vegetarian or vegan, but the beauty of the Buddha Bowl is that you decide what goes in! Don’t like kale? Then use spinach or collard greens instead! Be creative and inspired when making your bowl!
Grab a huge bowl, maybe you have a favourite for soup or salad that would be a good choice for your Buddha Bowl as well.
1. Greens. Throw some greens in your bowl! They can be spinach, kale, arugula, collards… anything your heart desires!
2. Grains and/or starch. Add on a generous scoopful of your favourite grains. Now we’re talking rice, rice noodles, quinoa, millet, etc and once you’re done with that you can also add in some starch if you’d like; sweet potatoes perhaps?
3. Protein. Maybe you immediately think of animal products when you think protein, the Buddha Bowl is a great place for you to try some excellent (and tasty!) sources of plant proteins! Add an abundance of beans, peas, edamame, lentils or if you’d prefer you can go the tofu, tempeh and seitan route! Delicious!
4. Veggies. Pick a bunch of your favourite veggies and add them on top! You can use peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, avocado, mushrooms, any veggie you can think of is great and the more colourful your selection, the more colourful your meal! Cook some veggies and eat others raw, this adds different temperatures to your meal and different textures depending which veggies you choose!
5. Toppings and extras. Your final step will be to add on whatever toppings you think would go nicely with your bowl. These can be nuts, seeds or maybe even some slices of fruit! Another great final addition is some dressing. You can drizzle some olive oil and lemon, vinegar or even make your own dressings with tahini or soy sauce! Again, be creative!
The best part of the Buddha Bowl is that it is 100% customizable. Maybe you have some leftover quinoa in the fridge and some veggies that are on the verge of going bad, instead of throwing them away, make a Buddha Bowl! You may discover that you have a favourite combination, but the most exciting and fun part is trying different things each time! Because you make all the choices, your Buddha Bowl can be vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free or nut-free without any hassle. If you don’t like one ingredient, you can easily substitute it for another! It would even be a fun meal to make with your kids, if you cut up the veggies beforehand, they can choose their favourites and create a nice, well balanced, healthy meal all by themselves!
Buddha Bowls are great because they promote mindful eating. To immerse yourself in the experience of eating the bowl, it’s fun to use chopsticks and really take the time to enjoy each bite, because each one will be different than the last! As previously mentioned, you can keep some of your ingredients raw, and cook others. In doing this, you will get a variety of different textures in your bowl, making mindful eating much easier and more enjoyable. Instead of scarfing down your meal (which I definitely am guilty of), really pay attention to what you’re putting in your mouth!
To give you some inspiration, here is tonight’s Buddha Bowl and tahini dressing recipe!
This bowl was rice noodles, spinach, red pepper, sweet potato, edamame, avocado, tofu and mushrooms.
Raw/Uncooked Ingredients: Spinach, avocado, red bell pepper, mushrooms.
Cooked Ingredients: Edamame (unshelled before adding to bowl), sweet potato, tofu and rice noodles.
Toppings: Sesame seeds and Garlic-Lemon-Tahini Dressing.
After adding all of the ingredients together, my Buddha Bowl looked like this:
To make the Garlic-Lemon-Tahini Dressing, I used four simple ingredients.
Simply mix 1 tbsp olive oil, with 2 tbsp tahini, a clove of garlic (or more depending on taste) and juice from half a lemon. Whisk together the ingredients and adjust according to taste.
Enjoy making your Buddha Bowl!
Once you’ve savoured your creation leave me a comment below letting me know what combination you came up with! I’d love to try it myself!