Daily Morning Routine

Something to know about me; I love reading (or watching, thanks YouTube!) about people’s routines. I have always been an avid magazine reader and would just devour the little blurbs about how people tackled their day to day, what products they used, what they ate… everything! When I was figure skating, I had a definite morning routine that began at 6am so I could be on the ice by 7 and at school by 8:45 (full disclosure, I was often late). But when I became injured and then high school and university happened, that healthy morning routine fell by the wayside.

Around late-July last year, I decided to start my days with a little yoga. I had been regularly practicing at home in the afternoons, but felt that my mornings needed something that didn’t involve immediately turning on something (whether that be the tv, my phone or the computer). With that small daily yoga change, began a full morning routine that makes me start my day on a positive, excited and happy note!

Since beginning this daily routine I have noticed many changes in my life. I strongly feel that starting the day with enough time to spend time in silence, be introspective and un-rushed changes the state-of-mind. I believe in routines, I think they are important to bookend your day with a sense of groundedness and stability. Don’t get me wrong, spontaneity is important too, but being able to really rely on certain aspects of the day makes everything a bit easier. I also think its so important to try and live without constantly focusing on screens! I know that’s a little unreasonable since we live in 2015 and we literally have them strapped to our wrists now, but I always try to turn my phone on silent and keep my iPad and tv off and away from me at least until I am making breakfast. So without further ado, here’s my daily morning routine!

I enjoy waking up with at least two hours before I have to go anywhere or do anything. I don’t have children so I know this is a bit easier for me to do interrupted, but those two plus hours really help me spend quality time with myself. First thing, I wake up and give my partner a kiss, throw on some leggings and a comfy shirt and drink some water. I sleep with a 500mL glass jar beside my bed and down it before my eyes have even rid themselves of sleep. Next, I cut a lemon, put on the kettle for some delicious and beneficial lemon water and while that is boiling I practice some yoga.

Relaxing Morning Child's Pose

Relaxing Morning Child’s Pose

 My morning yoga routine varies but tends to be under 15 mins and extremely relaxing with a focus on flexibility. I enjoy taking my time, breathing into tight spaces and letting my body slowly and patiently wake up. I’ll either create my own practice or follow a quick morning YouTube video if I don’t feel like thinking (hey, we all have those days!). Once I have finished practicing, I grab a couple pillows from my couch and create a little meditation seat. I open my Insight Timer App and sit quietly for 5 mins. I practice mindfulness meditation because it’s just what is suiting me at the moment, but I love constantly being reminded to come back to my breath. I’m hoping that I can slowly work up to 20 mins a morning of meditation but I’m not quiet there yet, but a little goes a long way!

Once I’ve finished on my mat and the kettle has boiled, I run into the bathroom and wash my face. This is another new (but important) daily habit! I finally began washing my face religiously in the summer of last year and it has done wonders for my skin! Especially after I move from chemical-laden products to more natural choices.

Morning Skincare Routine (Lush Eau Roma Water, Lush Fresh Farmacy, Rose Petal Witch Hazel, Sukin Moisturizer)

Morning Skincare Routine (Lush Eau Roma Water, Lush Fresh Farmacy, Rose Petal Witch Hazel, Sukin Moisturizer)

I have already posted a Natural Morning Skincare Routine and my routine now hasn’t differed much since then. I first wash my face with Lush’s Fresh Farmacy cleanser (It. Is. Incredible. Especially for extra-sensitive skin), then follow up with some sort of toner (99% of the time I use witch hazel but I ran out so have been going back to Lush’s Eau Roma Water which I also really love, it’s just not as inexpensive and does contain methylparaben which I don’t love) and finally use the best facial moisturizer from Sukin.

By the time I’ve done all this the boiling water from the kettle has cooled a bit, but I’ll still pop some ice cubes into my mug with lemon before pouring in the hot water. If you don’t already drink warm lemon water in the morning you are seriously missing out! It is so beneficial for your health, your skin and general well-being!

Lemon Water

Lemon Water

I like to enjoy my lemon water in one of two special places; out on the balcony (if it’s nice outside and I can sit in the shade) or in my favourite comfy chair that smells like my cottage. I will sip and savour my warm water while reading my morning meditation. I have talked about Journey to the Heart before (and likely will again) but I just enjoy following her daily thoughts and stories because they help me focus on the positive and change any negative thinking. My bookmark is just a cue card that I have listed my favourite meditations of hers that just resonate so completely with me so that I can go back to them as much as possible.

Journey to the Heart

Journey to the Heart

Once I’ve finished reading and contemplating my meditation, I’ll pick up another book or magazine and just sit and read for a while. I enjoy reading about nutrition or yoga in the mornings for inspiration, or if I’m feeling like something light, I’ll choose a magazine or the book I’m currently reading!

Some Favourite Yoga & Nutrition Books

Some Favourite Yoga & Nutrition Books

Now my lemon water is all gone and I’m likely starting to feel hungry so I’ll prepare a smoothie. I drink a smoothie every single morning! If I know that I have the time and want to eat a real breakfast I’ll make a really simple spinach and berry smoothie to drink beforehand, however, if I’m running late or just don’t feel like cooking, I’ll prepare a real smoothie with avocado, peanut butter and lots of fruits to keep me charged through the day. Usually I opt for the quick smoothie (like today)! It’s seriously super simple, throw some spinach and frozen berries into a blender, add water and go!

Simple Morning Smoothie

Simple Morning Smoothie

The reason for the super simple smoothie is to be able to start the day on a healthy note, to be able to have my fruits before eating solid food (proper food combining) and because it just stars me off on a healthy foot. I find myself making healthier choices throughout the day when the first one I make is a good one or if I do go out for dinner or have something special to eat, there is literally no guilt.

So while I’m drinking my smoothie, I’ll go back to my spot and keep reading! Once I finish my smoothie, I allow for half an hour before preparing more food (on days that I want to actually eat breakfast) so that the fruit can digest so that I’m not creating a problem for my digestion (if you would like to know more about food combining, leave a comment below, I’d love to talk about it!)

Light Morning Reading

Light Morning Reading

Now that my smoothie is done and my stomach is really wanting more food, I’ll make breakfast. Here’s also the time that I put on sunscreen if I know that I’ll be leaving the house shortly after breakfast (it takes about 30 minutes for sunscreen to do it’s job and begin protecting you!) Lately my favourite go-to breakfast has been mashed avocado, red pepper flakes and a fried egg on ezekiel toast but today we didn’t have eggs (sad) so I tried something new!

“French” Toast

Behold my delicious “French” Toast breakfast. This recipe is totally kudos to Tara Stiles and her book “Make Your Own Rules Diet”. It is 2 slices of ezekiel bread, 1 banana smashed with 1/2 unsweetened almond milk, “fried” in coconut oil with a little bit of cinnamon and maple syrup on top. This was incredible and tasted just like real French Toast!

I paired my breakfast with some yummy tea (as always) and today’s was just plain ol’ organic green tea!

Green Tea

Green Tea

 Now’s the time that I’ll probably turn something on to watch (I know you’re not supposed to watch tv while eating, but it’s my weakness!) I’ll usually choose YouTube videos or some trashy reality tv show (another weakness, but they make me happy!)

Lastly, after washing the dishes, I’ll put on some happy music and some makeup! I don’t wear a lot day-to-day but if I’m feeling a pick-me-up or have somewhere (other than the yoga studio) to go, I like makeup! I always wear a BB cream, concealer under my eyes, brow gel, mascara and a lip something and will add blush, bronzer, setting powder and eyeliner if I have somewhere special to be! I finish up with a spritz of Saje Namaste Aromatherapy mist as a setting spray and to give me a little aromatherapy jolt.

Now that I’m done eating, reading, yoga-ing and meditating, my morning routine is over and it’s time to start the day!

The View from My Reading Chair (featuring Princess Peach)

The View from My Reading Chair (featuring Princess Peach)

Now that you know my morning routine, I would absolutely love to hear about yours! Is there something that you swear by in the mornings? Also, if you have any recommendations of all natural makeup and sunscreen brands please let me know! Finally, if there is anything that I mentioned that you would like more information about (ie food combining, etc) please let me know! I would love to make a post for you!

Namaste.

(Note: Nothing in this post was sponsored or asked to be mentioned. All thoughts and opinions are my own! Enjoy!)

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Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

It’s finally becoming spring here in Toronto, which means naturally we’re craving more and more fresh foods but eating salads day in and day out can get tiring. Enter Summer Rolls! Summer Rolls are delicious way of eating lots of raw veggies and they’re creative because you can always switch up the ingredients that you use based on individual taste and craving! Today I’m sharing with you my personal favourite combination and the best part; the Spicy Peanut Sauce for dipping!

Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

I love including raw red, yellow and orange peppers, carrots, spinach, avocado and seaweed into my Summer Rolls. While vegetables are important to include in your diet regardless if they are cooked or raw, it’s important to have variety. If you eat primarily cooked veggies, it’s even more important to slowly introduce raw back into your diet. Some fruits and veggies (such as asparagus and tomatoes) are excellent cooked, the vitamin C in the peppers featured here actually breaks down once they’re cooked heated over 375 degrees. In the spring and summer while the weather is heating up, it is also great to include raw foods into the diet as they will cool down the body and keep you more hydrated.

As mentioned, peppers are high in vitamin C. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that peppers contain more vitamin C than oranges! Vitamin C is crucial for keeping the immune system healthy, the heart healthy and is excellent for beautiful skin. Spinach is extremely high in calcium, vitamin K, folate, the list goes on and on! Spinach contains dietary fibre that is going to keep your blood sugar regular and hunger in control. Carrots contain beta-carotene an antioxidant and vitamin A. Beta-carotene is essential for optimal eye health and will also give you beautiful skin! Avocado is chock-full of hearth healthy fats, that will keep your skin, hair and nails healthy, beautiful and strong! Seaweed, our final super veggie, is not only delicious but fantastic for your health! Seaweed helps purify the blood, is highly anti-oxidizing and detoxifying, contains more bone-building calcium than milk and on top of all this, seaweed (not surprisingly) alkalizes the body!

Summer Rolls: Raw Veggies

Summer Rolls: Raw Veggies

Now that you know why I like to include these veggies you may want to make similar rolls or choose favourite veggies of you own! All you need to make delicious summer rolls are the veggies of your choosing and rice paper. Rice paper can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores (if not, at health food stores). I found mine in the aisle that also contains Asian condiments which will be helpful to know for the Spicy Peanut Sauce.

Summer Rolls: Rice Paper

Summer Rolls: Rice Paper

To make Summer Rolls you will need; rice paper, veggies and a large bowl of warm water (to soak the rice paper for rolling). That’s it!

1. Cut all your veggies into matchstick pieces.

2. Put one sheet of rice paper into the warm water (read instructions on package for how long rice paper should be immersed). Remove rice paper.

3. Arrange veggies into the centre of the rice paper.

4. Neatly roll veggies into paper (as you would a burrito or wrap).

You’re done!

Summer Rolls: Rolling the Veggies

Summer Rolls: Rolling the Veggies

If I could give a couple hints, they would be to arrange your leafy greens before your peppers and carrots and to not over-stuff your rolls. The more veggies you have loaded up on your rice paper, the harder it’s going to be to neatly keep the rolls together!

Next, let’s learn how to make our Spicy Peanut Sauce.

Spicy Peanut Sauce: Ingredients

Spicy Peanut Sauce: Ingredients

Remember that I mentioned the rice paper was found with the Asian condiments? You may want to add these to your grocery list as well if you don’t already have them in your cupboard!

– 1tbsp 100% Pure Sesame Oil

– 1tbsp Rice Vinegar

– 1tbsp Reduced-Sodium Tamari (or Soy Sauce)

– 1tsp Sriracha (or other highly spicy hot sauce)

– 2tbsp 100% Peanuts Peanut Butter

All you need to do is add all these ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together. You can add more peanut butter to get a thicker consistency (which is what I like to do) or start with 1tbsp peanut butter and slowly add if you prefer a more watery consistency!

Summer Rolls

Summer Rolls

Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Now all you have to do is enjoy! Let me know how you like to prepare your Summer Rolls! Do you have any favourite recipes for spring and summer? Let me know!

Namaste.

Quick Healthy Tip: Soak Your Food

For proper digestion (and easier blending) always remember to soak your nuts before consuming them. Nuts have a high number of enzyme inhibitors making them difficult to digest. Enzyme inhibitors are what allow nuts to remain in your cupboard for months without becoming spoiled, not exactly something you want in your digestive tract. When you soak nuts before eating them, the enzymes become neutralized making them much easier on digestion. Soaking your nuts (or seeds or grains) before eating them will also make their proteins readily available as well as important nutrients and vitamins.

Soaking nuts is extremely simple, you take purified or distilled water, pour it over the nuts (about 2:1 ratio water to nuts) and allow to soak for a few hours to overnight. Cover your class container with cheesecloth and keep at room temperature until you’re ready to use them. Obviously the harder or larger the nut, the longer it will take to soak. Small grains and seeds will take much less time. Once you’re ready to use the nuts, rinse them to assure they are clean and you’re ready to go! You can always buy a dehydrator (unless you have one already) if you want to eat the nuts nice and crispy, instead of blending them.

Another great thing to soak are dates! Many healthy smoothies use dates as sweetener in delicious desserts. I enjoy blending dates with banana, 100% cocoa powder, peanut butter and soaked almonds with water for a delicious dessert smoothie. Without soaking the dates beforehand, they rarely blend unless you have a strong high-speed blender, leaving large date chunks behind.

Quick Healthy Tip: Olive Oil for Eczema

Today’s Quick Healthy Tip comes from a lifetime of sensitive skin issues. I have suffered from eczema, psoriasis, sensitive and chapped skin for as long as I can remember. Regular drugstore lotions rarely work for me, nor do expensive high-end skincare items. When I’m having bad skin outbreaks and rashes, I turn to regular find-in-your-kitchen olive oil. You may have heard about other oils for skincare (coconut oil works fantastically as well and won’t leave you smelling like a salad), but I love olive oil for healing my skin. I heat up a little bit of olive oil by rubbing it between my palms, then generously lather it like a regular body lotion, focusing on dry, red patches. I find that olive oil is so gentle and absorbs more quickly than other oils (admittedly I have only used olive or coconut oils, but I do use coconut oil to remove makeup at night). Olive oil is also great to have as a treatment bath, just pour a small amount of olive oil in a warm bath and soak (just remember to thoroughly rinse out the tub afterwards). Olive oil also tends to be less expensive than fancy body lotions, and lasts longer. All-in-all it is a great choice for sensitive, angry skin and will do wonders for healing skin maladies!

Healing Crystals

I grew up always being interested by rocks and stones. I vividly remember swimming in the lake at my cottage, putting on goggles and looking for favourite stones. When I was much younger, a friend of mine showed me her “pretty rock” collection and I was immediately enamoured. I know now that they were crystals, but at the time I had no idea how she found such pretty stones at the bottom of the lake or on the side of the street! Once I found my passion for holistic living and yoga, it was only natural that my childhood love for “pretty rocks” would find me again. Earlier this year, a dear friend of mine gave me a beautiful purple-pink stone and so began my new hobby of finding and collecting meaningful crystals.

Crystals

Crystals

Crystals are used in conjunction or as an alternative to less traditional healing remedies. Crystals can be used for a myriad of different reasons and typically are used as some sort of protection or healing. Shamans, healers, even priests have been known to use crystals for their healing powers. Though there is no science behind crystal healing, those who use crystals believe in their benefits. With the huge uptake in natural and holistic living, many people look to crystals to help live their best life.

Though my collection is newly growing, I thought it may be interesting to share with you what I have in my collection. I believe in cleansing the crystals by smudging them with sage to insure that they are pure and fresh. I like to choose a crystal to take with me when I go about my day and need something extra to get me through. I know that there are people who hesitate to believe in the crystal’s healing properties but I feel more in-tune with myself, those around me and the earth when I’m carrying one.

Jasper (Polychrome), Jade & Calcite (Angel Wing) - Clockwise from top.

Jasper (Polychrome), Jade & Calcite (Angel Wing) – Clockwise from top.

There are many types of Jasper (just as there are many types of other crystals), but Polychrome is used to promote stability and a sense of grounding. Though Polychrome Jasper can ignite passion and vitality, it is also used to balance emotions.

Jade is famous for being a gemstone that brings love, attraction, prosperity and good fortune.

One of my favourites, Angel Wing Calcite is used to promote relaxation and is often used in meditation.

Quartz (Rose), Agate and Lepidolite. (Clockwise from top)

Quartz (Rose), Agate and Lepidolite. (Clockwise from top)

Next are the beautiful purple and pink gemstones.

Rose Quartz is very well known as it is a loving stone. Rose Quartz helps you open up your heart to give and receive love.

Agate is one of my absolute favourites, not only because it is beautiful but because it promotes self-confidence, strength, luck and can protect.

Lepidolite is the beautiful stone gifted to me by my beautiful friend. Lepidolite reduces stress and stabilizes mood swings, making it a great choice if you suffer from anxiety.

Jasper (Rainforest), Tourmaline (Black) and Citrine. (Clockwise from top)

Jasper (Rainforest), Tourmaline (Black) and Citrine. (Clockwise from top)

Rainforest Jasper also pairs well with meditation as it promotes change and progress.

Black Tourmaline is a protective gemstone and will stave off negativity and unhealthy external influences.

Finally, we have bright and sunny Citrine. Citrine brings prosperity, joy and abundance!

Box of Crystals

Box of Crystals

In choosing your crystals it’s best to go with your gut feeling. If you are drawn to a certain gemstone, then go for it! There is a reason it is calling to you! I like to keep mine safe in a small box where I can pick them out on my way out the door, or grab them for meditation; somewhere they feel special and secure. Though you may read that certain crystals do certain things, what is important is your belief in what they do for you, perhaps citrine protects you, that is fine! Enjoy them, they’re yours!

If you would love some more information about these beautiful stones, I have a Pinterest Page all about them!

Do you use crystals? Which gemstones are your favourite and when do you like to use them? Let me know in the comments below!

Namaste.