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Natarajasana (Dancer's Pose) - Om Shanti Life

Natarajasana (Dancer’s Pose) – Om Shanti Life

If you’re enjoying what I’ve been posting here maybe you’d like to follow me on social media!

I update my Instagram and Twitter daily and Pinterest weekly.

I’ve been updating my Instagram with lots of yoga poses, yummy food and daily holistic fun! I post inspirational messages, link to interesting natural articles and website. Pinterest has tons of healthy recipes, yoga inspiration and natural DIY.

Let me know what you’d like to see on the blog! What are you liking? What could be improved upon? What do you want to see more of?

Namaste.

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Himalayan Salt Lamps: Purifying the Air You Breathe

Nowadays we are surrounded by screens. Our phones are no longer just phones, they’re lifelines with games, photos and apps. We wake up and watch the news. We read articles on our computers or iPads. These screens and other electronics are essential to our everyday lives, but do we stop to think how they affect the quality of our air?

Computers, phones, televisions, microwaves, even vacuums (!!) are devices that emit positive ions when in use. Thinking back to high school chemistry, we know that positive ions (or cations) occur when electrically charged atoms lose an electron. In our environment, positive ions pose a danger because they can cause feelings of excess stress, nervousness, problems sleeping and concentrating as well as free radical damage (an excess of free radicals can lead to diseases such as cancer). Airborne moulds, infections, allergens and bacterias are known to carry a positive charge!

We know that this cannot be good for our bodies, so how do we prevent positive ions from flooding our space? Himalayan salt lamps!

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Himalayan salt lamps are lamps made from large pieces of himalayan salt! Yes, the same pinkish salt that you may use at the dinner table! Himalayan salt is mined in Pakistan and these large pieces are slightly hollowed out (to allow for a bulb) and used for their incredible healing powers! We know that positive ions are bad for us, so it shouldn’t be surprising then that negative ions are good! Negative ions occur naturally in waterfalls, ocean waves, sunlight, lightning and even wind. Have you ever noticed the feeling of utter calm serenity during a warm summer breeze or on a day at the beach? That would be those negative ions at play.

Himalayan salt lamps are negative ion generators (this is why you want to assure that you have a pure Himalayan salt lamp instead of a cheap imposter), they work to cleanse the air by emitting negative ions that bond to positive ones, effectively neutralizing the air. Salt naturally attracts water to it’s surface (that’s why salt lamps can appear almost wet in moist environments), the light warms the water enough to evaporate off of the salt and this evaporation process is when the production of negative ions occurs.

Himalayan salt lamps are great to have all over your home and office, anywhere you have lots of electronics muddying your air. I like to keep mine by my work space and choose to keep it on all day to maximize the benefits. Another great place to keep a salt lamp is in a bedroom or child’s play room. The great thing about Himalayan salt lamps is their relatively low cost. You can also find Himalayan salt candle holders, which provide the same benefits, with the addition of gentle candlelight. Himalayan salt lamps promote a healthy immune system, improved health and wellness and feelings of calm and renewal. Not only that, but they look like little sculptures! Why not fill your home with them?

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Do you use Himalayan Salt Lamps? Do you enjoy and feel their feelings of renewal and overall wellness?

Namaste.

Want Shiny, Soft Hair? Try Vinegar!

I recently noticed that my hair was lacking a little bit of shine, instead of buying one of the expensive conditioners from the store, I decided to try an apple cider vinegar (ACV) hair rinse! I’ve heard a lot about vinegar hair rinses, seen a lot of YouTube videos about them but was still a little skeptical. After trying it once however, I am hooked! No longer do I need to spend tons of money on conditioners laden with weird chemicals promising to “fix” my hair! The first day that I used my ACV hair rinse I even got asked if my hair was recently cut because it looked so healthy! Best of all, is that all you will need to join me in the land of silky, soft hair is some vinegar (white or apple cider) and water!

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You may be wondering why on earth anyone would use vinegar as a replacement for conditioner? Well the evidence is irrefutable! Vinegar has a similar pH as the ideal pH of your hair. Vinegar also works effectively at removing icky reside from your hair and while removing that build-up will close the hair shaft leaving strands shiny and soft! Not only that but the vinegar rinse can also prevent dandruff, itch and hair loss when rubbed into the scalp!

Now for the fun part! You can choose to use either white or apple cider vinegar, though apple cider vinegar has a slightly better smell. There is no exact science to the ratio of vinegar to water for your rinse. I have mid-length extremely thick hair (and a lot of it) so I filled a mason jar with 1/3 ACV and 2/3 water. Thinner hair would probably do with a few tablespoons of vinegar with a cup of water, however experimenting until you find your perfect ratio is best. Other than the density of your hair, another thing to keep in mind while figuring out your perfect ratio is whether or not your hair is dry or oily. Dry hair enjoys less ACV while oily hair drinks it up more.

Now you can use your rinse! Decide whether or not to shampoo beforehand, but you definitely will not need conditioner. As mentioned, the vinegar will remove gunky build-up from  your hair, which is great for those who don’t like to shampoo. After shampooing (or not) use the vinegar rinse on your hair, pay special attention to ends and roots (especially if you are looking for it to help with dandruff or itchy scalp). Allow the rinse to permeate your strands by putting your hair into a shower cap for 5 minutes. Once that five minutes are up you can choose to rinse the vinegar out of your hair or finish up your shower without further rinsing the vinegar out. Keeping the rinse in is great for longer hair as it prevents tangling. I like to lightly rinse my hair before getting out of the shower and always use lukewarm water. For the vinegar to do it’s best job, it is preferable that you don’t use super hot water, instead go for warm water and perhaps even rinse out your hair with cool water for added shine!

You may be wondering about the vinegar smell… Don’t worry it does go away! The odour was something I definitely worried about the first time I tried a vinegar rinse as the smell does linger while the hair is drying, but once your hair is dry the smell vanishes! I promise! However, if the smell is something that really bothers you or that you are worried about, try infusing your vinegar rinse with some essential oils or herbs. To make an herb rinse; choose your herb of choice, boil water and use water to infuse the herb for two or more hours, once your herbal liquid has cooled you can pour it into a jar or container and add your ideal ratio of apple cider vinegar. If you use essential oils, simply add a few drops to your water and vinegar rinse.

The great thing about a vinegar hair rinse is that it is safe to do as often as you like depending on your hair. Remember that everyone has different hair with varying textures, length and damage so do what works for you. I would not, however recommend doing a vinegar rinse every day as it can be drying. Instead start with once every two weeks and work your way down to twice a week once your hair has adjusted to the vinegar rinse! I do my vinegar rinse once a week and my hair looks incredibly healthy and shiny and feels extremely soft!

Have you tried a vinegar hair rinse? Do you find that your hair looks even more beautiful (and your wallet much thicker) after trying the vinegar hair rinse?

Enjoy beautiful hair!

Namaste.

TeaTime Treat: Classic India Spice

In the winter there is nothing better than sipping a hot mug of tea. Today’s TeaTime Treat Yogi’s Classic India Spice is the perfect warming herbal tea for those cool winter days.

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Yogi’s Classic India Spice is a delicious herbal tea blend inspired by traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is a 5000 year old system of natural healing with origins in the Vedic culture in India. Ayurvedic medicine believes that optimal health is when all parts of the body, mind and spirit are balanced. Classic India Spice is a combination of warming spices; ginger, cloves, cinnamon, carob, chicory root, black pepper and more that works to rid the body of toxins while supporting the nervous system.

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There are numerous benefits to drinking Classic India Spice tea due to all the different spices used. Ginger is widely known to decrease feelings of nausea, including discomfort after eating, travel sickness, stomach cramps, bloating and gas. Ginger also boosts circulation, warming you up from the inside! Chicory root has recently become popular as a caffeine-free antioxidant substitute for coffee. It also purifies blood and the liver (supporting good liver health) as well as increases the liver’s production of bile, supporting optimal digestion. Carob also improves digestion, while also lowering cholesterol and fighting osteoporosis (due to high levels of calcium and potassium). Our friend cinnamon works to fight bloat, raise mental awareness, control blood sugar and fight off foreign bacteria! Cinnamon has also been known to improve blood levels of glucose in persons with type 2 diabetes (though it should me mentioned that too much cinnamon could be a bad thing). Like many of the other spices in this tea, clove improves digestion and reduces inflammation. Clove is often used in Ayurvedic medicine as it is antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic. Clove bud is not just used in pies and black pepper isn’t just used to spice your dinner! Black pepper is high in dietary fiber again aiding with digestion. Black pepper is also an Ayurveda star is it is often used to treat cough and colds. Because there are so many spice superstars in Yogi’s Classic India Spice tea, it shouldn’t be shocking that the tea has antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, antioxidant and analgesic properties.

Although Classic India Spice has all these great health benefits, my favourite thing about drinking the tea is how delicious it is! I love winding down after dinner, reading a book and wrapping my hands around a warm delicious mug of tea. The tea smells incredible because of all the lovely spices and I love that it helps my digestion after dinner without riling me up with caffeine!

Have you ever tried Classic India Spice tea? Do you have another favourite you would like to recommend for my next TeaTime Treat? Would you like to read more about Ayurveda? Let me know below and enjoy a cuppa yourself!

Namaste.

(Note: I am not sponsored by Yogi Tea. I was not asked or being compensated to make this post. I purchased the tea with my own money. It is just super yummy!)

Vegetable & Chicken Pasta

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!

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You’ll need;

– Olive Oil

– Chicken Breasts

– Tomatoes

– Onion

– Mushrooms

– Spinach

– Garlic

– Parsley

– Basil

– Salt & Pepper

– Parmesan Cheese

– Pasta (or Rice)

(Serves 2 larger portions, 4 smaller ones; 20 min prep, 10-15 min cooking time)

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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.

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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!

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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!

Namaste.

Occasional Skin Saviour: Grease Lightning

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).

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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!

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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!

Namaste.

(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!)

Five More Deep Breaths

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Namaste.

(Note: I am not a certified yoga teacher. I practice Restorative Yoga twice a week and I love it!)

Anatomy of a Buddha Bowl

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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!

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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!

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This bowl was rice noodles, spinach, red pepper, sweet potato, edamame, avocado, tofu and mushrooms.

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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.

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After adding all of the ingredients together, my Buddha Bowl looked like this:

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YUMMY!

To make the Garlic-Lemon-Tahini Dressing, I used four simple ingredients.

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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!

Namaste.

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!

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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

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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!

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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!

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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:

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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!)