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Honesty Moment: I didn't like self care until this year. I have been in the game of consulting in healthy holistic lifestyles as a Holistic Nutritionist for 7 years - and it wasn't until

THIS

YEAR

that I realized I wasn't taking good enough care of myself, first.

                                ||photo credit: Damo's Photographs

Pro Insight: When 'practice what you preach' slaps you in the face (really hard) it might get awkward.

Luckily, I'm open to owning my mistakes and taking responsibility (as per the nutrition culture here that also happens to spill into personal life) and so: I here openly admit, I hated self-care.

But then in the summer of last year, I burned out. More awkward, since I had just published this blog about stress a month beforehand. I had panic attacks constantly, I wasn't eating right or exercising and I felt very stressed all of the time. I wanted to just run away from my anxiety; but since it's all in your head there's nowhere to run to.

I worried about everything. It got me nowhere - and I burned out hard. This year, I had big goals in mind for myself.

  • Demand of myself to learn and master the art of self care.
  • Learn self-care as ritual.
  • Every week, do 1 big thing that terrified me.

These goals were two-fold: they were meant to force me to learn to rest, deeply. The last one was for my anxiety.

I had tried everything, except medication. I knew it wasn't for me and I was determined to solve my anxiety problem without resorting to drugs. Medication has a special purpose and I would never ask anyone to come off of their med's. I just knew that I needed to solve this on my own and that for me personally and my story, medications' without first trying everything else wasn't an option. I told myself the only way I would get medicated for my anxiety was if it interfered with my work and I could no longer do what I do for clients now.

That was enough motivation to really get going on it.

Things I have done so far that terrified me, in an (anxious?) attempt to drive the anxiety out of me. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em? I figure if my nervous system is overloaded, then what's more overload for it only to discover that it didn't kill me. That I survived it. That I am strong enough to overcome.

  • sat on a 19-seater airplane and flew to Victoria BC, panicking the entire way
  • ate FISH at a roadside diner on the outskirts of a small town 
  • ate buffalo, wild boar and venison at a fondue restaurant in Banff, AB
  • went barefoot around a campfire at Idleback Lake

All of these choices & experiences would be ones that would have caused me massive anxiety in the past. A plane ride means risk of a crash & dying, eating roadside fish and new meats (new to my body) means risk of food poisoning, barefoot in the woods is risk of ticks and Lyme disease. If you don't suffer from anxiety, you might look at this list and be unimpressed. But when you struggle with an overloaded nervous system, the simplest things are scary. There's never any positive ending to where your head takes you when you are going down the train of anxiety. It always ends in the worst case scenario. For me, it was death. That was always the end of the story created in my head.

What does this have to do with your self-care?

Well, most clients come to me as their last resort. They are fed up with feeling crappy and making excuses about not putting nutrition as a higher priority. I love helping my clients, but I'd also love doing some preventative work. So here it is. If you learn to deeply rest, you can prevent all sorts of issues, especially anxiety. (If you're already dealing with anxiety, I can create you a tailored nutrition plan to help you with digestion and your blood sugar's - 2 key issues with anxiety- and help coach you on lifestyle choices to also support balancing anxiety in your life.) I know how it feels.

5 Self-Care Rituals You Need in your Life Right Now:

1. Walking
Daily exercise has been crucial in maintaining a healthy balance for me and my anxiety. Anxiety attacks are a release of hormones that make you feel panicky and give you those 'fight or flight' abilities. So, flight. Run, walk, give those chemicals a run for their money and start noticing that the number of attacks you have lessens. Make exercise a serious priority in your life. If you're having anxiety in a place where you can't leave to go for a quick run or walk simply imagine you're doing it. Just in your head, visualize yourself running and running. It helps - trust me. Your mind is a powerful thing.

2. Baths
I always loved baths but when I knew I needed to learn to rest deeply, I took baths to another level. Music was always a part of baths. But now it became really relaxing music (like this or this) instead of my typical rock n' roll. Focusing on your breath and your body parts brings your nervous system RIGHT down. Including incense or candles also elevates baths from just 'getting clean' to a beautiful ritual that you should partake in at least once a week. Also include a moment of gratitude that we have the ability here to fill a bath tub with (clean!) water and sit in it. Realize how lucky you are!

3. Sunshine
Vitamin D is one of the nutrients that affects our moods - and most of us are deficient in it. Vitamin D is unique because it can be made in the skin from exposure to sunlight. Free supplements? Yes please! In the Okanagan summer it's easy to get enough Vitamin D - just get your arms or face exposed to the sun for at least 10 minutes a day. It's hard to get enough Vitamin D through food alone, but eating more fish like salmon, mackerel and herring is a good source. Vitamin D is fat soluble and therefore requires some dietary fat in the gut for absorption - another reason to eat good fats and NOT cut fat out of your diet. Here's a way to light therapy yourself in the winter time, if you know you get depressed when there is NO sun.

Book with Raina

                                ||photo credit: Damo's Photographs

4. Meditation
Meditation is now a daily requirement for me. As a yoga teacher I knew that meditation was important, but I never had my own daily practice until 2017. It is now engrained in my daily routine and I feel when I miss it. The key is to allow the initial weirdness to run its course. When you first begin meditating, you feel like it's pointless, like you can't shut your brain off. You'll think "I'm no good at this." And guess what? You can't shut your brain off. The whole point is to notice how busy your mind is - and focus again on your breath. I used Insight Timer on my smartPhone to get myself in the daily habit and now it just happens easily. Meditation is not only incredibly powerful for anxiety, it's also a way to make nutrition changes easier.

5. Vitamin L
According to Dr. Elson Haas, one of the most important nutrients for optimum health is a daily (or more) dose of love. In his book "Staying Healthy with Nutrition" Dr Haas states that Vitamin L is found readily in grandparents, moms and dad's, siblings and in the flowers, trees, plants and in home-cooked food that is cooked consciously with a heaping handful of it. It's digested and absorbed easily and used by the body in its pure state - which makes it unique among all the other vitamins. I'm all for getting your share of Vitamin L however you feel fit - just make sure you find it in some way every day. Daily hugs are a good maintenance, but 3 a day or more is best for growth.

Finding a way to get self-care as ritual into my life was a struggle, I admit.

It's something you have to make time for. There's never the "when I get time...." excuse when it comes to reality. We have to stretch and create time for things that are important. Treat your own self-care as if you were caring for someone else, you don't 'get time' for it, you just make it work because you have to. For those of you dealing with anxiety, know this: in my experience, you may never "heal" or fix yourself of this but you can learn to transform it and bend it in to your new reality. Accept it as a sign that you need to rest, even when it feels like you can't. Accept the challenge to learn to rest properly. Change your perception and see your anxiety as your bodies' way of asking for deep rest. Try some of the above self-care options that I partake in, and see what happens when you start embracing relaxation, instead of pushing it away.

xo,

 

 

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Grilled Chicken Satay recipe. Because [I'm not vegan] I'm sharing a recipe that's all about balance - after the fresh fruit and veggies of the summer some times you may just want grilled meat. And that's okay. I am sharing a chicken recipe today so get your grilled fired up. This grilled chicken goes well with summer salads and red wine. It will leave you Satay-sfied!

                             ||Photo credit DaMo's Photographs

Grilled Chicken Satay

Ingredients:

8 pieces Chicken Thighs/Drums/Legs/Breasts

½ cup Coconut Oil (melted)

¼ cup Peanut Butter (melted)

½ cup Yogurt

1 Lemon (zest & juice)

1 Lime (zest &juice)

¼ cup Soy Sauce (or Tamari)

2 tsp. Sesame Oil

2 Tbsp. Curry Powder

2 tsp. Ground Corriander

1 tsp. Ground Cumin

1Tbsp. Sriracha

1 Tbsp. Salt

Directions:

In a sauce pot, on low heat, warm coconut oil and peanut butter until liquid. Do not boil or over heat.

In a large mixing bowl, pour in oil/peanut butter mixture and combine all other ingredients. Mix until consistent.

Taste and adjust to personal preference. (If you like spicier, add more Sriracha)

Add chicken and mix until it is evenly coated. Cover and leave in fridge for 24 hrs.

When ready to cook the chicken, remove from marinade (don’t scrape off excess) and place on baking sheet or plate and allow them to rest for 1.5 hours. Turn on your grill to high and allow it time to heat up. Make sure your grill is very well cleaned. Just before putting the chicken on the grill, turn flame down to medium-high and wipe the grill surface with some grape seed oil.

Place chicken skin side down on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 5 minutes. Flip chicken over (the skin may stick slightly, give it a little scrape, but don’t be aggressive and don’t tear it. Patience and love are the keys to cooking). Close the lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. You can cook at a lower temperature to have more control and reduce the risk of the marinade burning. Just extend the cook times.

Remove your chicken from the grill and serve with a side salad or veggie kebabs - going camping? Here's some ideas for clean eating while camping.

Enjoy!

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We all go through phases with our food.

When you have that one (or 3) foods that you just can't get enough of at one time. Then you get sick of them. Move on. 

Have you ever had a month where you look back and realize "Wow, I've been eating ______ every single day for what seems like way too long." Then soon after, you no longer want that food? You may even have an aversion to it/be totally sick of it? Perhaps months later you will come back to it, but for now - no thanks. I've had my fill.

Your food phases are unique to you and they are good, safe and OKAY! A lot of clients will tell me the main foods they've been eating recently when they describe their typical daily diet to me. Sometimes they themselves are shocked at the small amount of variety in their diet. This is okay. This is part of the growth in changing your diet!

 Here's a story about that time when I was 21... and became vegetarian. I am tying this story in with 'rules' (flexible ones!) about our food phases. This story is about vegetarianism, you can apply it to any food phase you have been through. I moved to beautiful Kitsilano in Vancouver BC to study Holistic Nutrition. I spent 2010 (and beyond) seriously changing my diet. I learned about nutrition and cravings as I took a microscope to my own diet.  My biggest lesson about freedom in food came in the form of attempting vegetarianism.

Just for the record I was not becoming a vegetarian for animal rights, for hopping on a trend bandwagon or shunning people for eating cows. Instead, I wanted to experiment solely to see how this would affect my health, digestion and overall mood. I wanted to try it because I had never done it before.

Phases Rule #1 - The best way to shift your diet is out of curiosity, not desperation

I just went really slow. I learned to cook things I hadn't cooked before. I kept it simple. I mainly consumed veggie quesadillas (lots of nuts and legumes to replace meat.) I would have a bagel or an egg every now and then as a little treat. The first week of being a vegetarian was honestly, a little bit of hell. I felt 'off' and weak because my body wasn't used to being deprived of meat: on the other hand it also wasn't used to so many veggies. It was a bit of what we know as a "herxheimer reaction" or a cleansing reaction for the body - but a good one, because after that first week I started to feel so good. ALL. THE. TIME. All of the foods and choices I had made up until becoming vegetarian all the way to being a child were being addressed in this detox reaction. That's why some people don't feel great for weeks after upgrading their diet. It takes time for issues to balance. But then I finally got really, really bored with quesadillas (after eating them for months straight.) Yes, months. (I love to simplify!)

Phases Rule #2 - Allow the changes that the food phase brings (ie. physical symptoms or mental discomfort)

This new development forced me to get creative with my meals. I didn't want to acquire the need to have my food tasting the same as steak through meat substitutes or tricking my body into anything. But instead of actually getting creative, I just got simpler. I ate more cut up veggies with hummus. I made my own soups and learned to cook lentils. I made my own tomato sauce for pasta. I learned to make salads that were enticing to look at and eat. I learned how to pit and cut an avocado. (I'd never had them in my diet before.)

Health wise, I felt clean. It was easier for me to sleep and wake up focused. That was wonderful for a student who needed energy for mental cramming.

One uncomfortable aspect was eating with others. I did not want to insult my friends by rejecting their lovely char-broiled burgers and I didn't want to come off as snobby or picky. I often had to explain myself to friends and family about what I can and cannot eat. Everyone got comfortable with my new experiment, and it made me feel safer about it.

Phases Rule #3 - Instead of thinking what I was lacking, I thought about the spaciousness that remained when I removed that one element.

Once I learned how to see my diet void of meat, it created space in my brain to have more focus on grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. It wasn't that I thought meat was BAD - it was just an experiment. 

Eventually, it did not feel good anymore. After many months of feeling good, my initial focus and better sleep wasn't the same. I was tired, I felt weak sometimes, my blood sugars were off and I was also starting to crave meat every day. What took me a while to realize was this was my bodies' way of asking for a bit more balance. We have to listen to our symptoms. Once I added meat back in in small amounts, I adjusted accordingly.

I learned about the moral beliefs around being a meat-eater and I was lucky enough to not be shamed when I did go back on meat. This was the time I learned there is no 'better than you' (among other key foundations) when it comes to nutrition. There can be 'feeling better' - but there is no BETTER. People are allowed to try things on, see how it feels, see if they can incorporate it, see if it works for their body. And if it doesn't - that's fair. You can eat 80% vegan and 20% whatever-the-hell-you-want and if you are still feeling good and improving your self ... you rock. Read more about [The Truths About Going Vegan]

While I thought being a vegetarian was an interesting experience, at the 11 month mark I began to crave a big, juicy steak. I held off on that craving because I did not realize that it was my bodies' way of telling me what I needed. I told myself I only thought about meat because I was 'missing it', or that I was being silly and fantasizing about something I couldn't have. After a meat-free year, I told my friends I had decided to reward myself with one of those delicious char broiled burgers after an entire year without it, and they threw a welcome back to non-vegetarianism party called "Raina's Eating Steak!" [Sympathy for the Devil: Overcoming Cravings] for cravings education.

It was the best steak ever.

and the end of calling myself a vegetarian. 

Now? I balance my food this way. I eat a vegetarian diet. I eat a vegan diet.

I eat a meat-eating diet.

          |||    Photo Credit Damos Photographs

I eat raw. I eat cooked. I eat mindfully.

I eat a "flexible" diet.

I eat what I need.... when I need it.

I do not over eat.

Book with Raina

I listen to my body.

I let my body be in charge. I follow the Consciousness Over Calories "diet."

It's simple, it's easy and it works.

 

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Sourdough bread is one of the finest foods around. While I could sit here and elicit memories of eating San Francisco sourdough (and taking some home with me on the plane ride, too) all that would do is make you jealous.

.... but also incredibly excited about the powerhouse that is sourdough! So, I'll cut to the chase.

Sourdough bread reflects the traditional preparation of grains. It is slow-fermentation. It takes time, it takes patience. It's a huge slice of the food movement.

Go back to days of old (and your digestion will thank you!) Sourdough and the it's process removes phytic acid present in the grain, these are enzyme inhibitors and other anti-nutrients present in the bran.

Whole grains are actually harder to digest than white refined grains. But if they are prepared properly and traditionally like sourdough fermentation, whole grains are more nutritious, because you will actually be able to absorb the nutrients and minerals in the grains as you make them available during the soaking time.

When grains are not properly prepared, as in most commercial bread products, the phytic acid in the grains binds up all the minerals and blocks their absorption in the intestines.

Sourdough is a dough containing a Lactobacillus culture, usually in symbiotic combination with yeasts. However, the lactobacillus is much greater in proportion to the yeast.

This doesn't mean the bread has active probiotics in it once it's been in the heat of the oven - it's not the same as popping a probiotic supplement, drinking traditionally brewed kombucha or kefir - but the process of using a starter makes the bread more digestible, meaning that even folks with difficulty digesting bread can usually handle a rightly-done sourdough. The bacteria and yeast in the sourdough culture work to predigest the starches in the grains, thus making it more easily digestible for you! Plus, our starter being inoculated with Okanagan yeasts gives it a terroir-feel. Fancy.

On with it.

Here's the scoop.

Traditional Sourdough Bread ~ yields 2 Standard Loaves

Ingredients

2 1/3 cups fresh sourdough starter (you can purchase through the shop for pick up in Penticton or Kelowna, or make your own)
3 1/3 cup flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups water
Scant tablespoon salt

Instructions:

Mix sourdough starter, flour, and salt together. Add 1 cup water, then more as needed to make a moist bread dough.
Knead dough until it passes the “window pane test.” This test means stretching a thin window of dough between four fingers - is it thin enough to allow light to pass through without breaking?

Split the dough in half. Shape each half into a loaf.

Place in a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inches) or bowl and cover lightly with a towel, proof 4-24 hours. While a second proofing period is not required, some folks like to punch the dough down after 4-12 hours, reshape, and proof again.

Slice any shape you like in the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife or razor blade to allow the loaf to expand during baking without splitting in unexpected places.
Bake at 400°F for 30-45 minutes, depending on loaf size, or until you smell it - and then give it 10 more minutes. If you're really worried, you can absolutely use an instant-read thermometer in the side of the loaf until the internal temperature reaches 190° to 210°F.  Cool before slicing. 

Key Notes: 

Wake it up! If your sourdough starter has been stored in the refrigerator, it has been living in a dormant state. Plan to remove the starter from the refrigerator 1 to 2 days in advance and feed it at least three times prior to baking using 2 parts flour to 1 part water.

Adequate Kneading! Thorough kneading of the dough is a critical step to allow the gluten to fully develop. You'll also want to make sure you've mixed your bread dough properly prior to kneading. If kneading by hand, plan for at least 20 minutes of kneading, taking breaks if needed. 
If using a mixer, take care that the dough does not overheat, which can damage the yeast. Always knead the last 5 minutes by hand. When the dough passes the window pane test, it has been kneaded sufficiently. If it breaks before being stretched thin, continue kneading. 

Plan for a Long Proofing (Rise) Period! As a natural yeast, sourdough tends to take significantly longer to rise than dough made with commercial yeast. Timing depends on the specific starter and conditions in your home, and may vary widely. Plan for a 4 to 12-hour rise period. 

I'm no bread master. But with a healthy starter and the drive to do it yourself, you'll love playing with your new pet - your bread making, wild, living microbial sourdough! You can find a healthy, local sourdough starter to get started on the right foot here in the shop.

Enjoy.

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The mother of all diets. When we think of diets we think of short term to lose weight. We think of the next fad we can try ... maybe THIS ONE will be THE ONE that actually helps me!

It's my mission to change this mentality. There is no one-size-fits-all diet and there never will be. You can stop searching.

Here's a new one.

But it's not a diet - it's a lifestyle.

[If you're in the Okanagan and want to work with a nutritionist to get off the diet train, I'd love to be your coach.]

Consciousness over Calories is the mother of all diets and it works because it requires you to take more responsibility than just 'calories in-calories out' - it requires a new consciousness, paying attention, tuning in. How does this food make me feel? How do these drinks make me feel? How are my choices impacting my body and mental health? What would feel better than this? What choice could I have made differently if I didn't like that one? In my 7 years of consulting, I can say definitively that this system works rather than any diet, label or box you can stick yourself, grasping desperately at straws.

Eating intuitively means tuning into your bodies' needs. Maybe you've been craving broccoli but haven't noticed because it wasn't a typical craving like chips or chocolate. Maybe you've been vegetarian for years but now you're body is crying for steak (it happened to me!)

Some will argue: "But if we are always listening to our body, it's like we are tied to our body, like a prisoner or a slave to its' demands."

Pro Insight: You're already tied to your body.  :) 

[How to Cleanse Your Doors of Perception]

But if you aren't tied to your body, who is then in control?

The marketers? The bill boards? The magazines. The TV commercials. The corporations.

I know that I'd rather allow my body to be in control than the system. 

What about you?

xo,

 

 

 

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With the Okanagan summer fires that often come our way, you may not have the awesome bonfire you crave. But this doesn't mean you have to skip out on the fun and experience of camping.

A 'raw' camping trip (no cooked food/no fire) is not only do-able, it's easy and it feels soooo good to wake up not feeling that heaviness from a stomach of questionable hot dogs, sticky s'mores and greasy potato chips.

Here's how to do it. [Eating clean while camping 101]

1. It doesn't take anything special.

You don't need any fancy equipment, in fact you can be even more minimalist (avoiding that HUUUGE job of unpacking when you get home, nice right?) saving you time & money because you'll be bringing less packaged foods and less tools.

2. Whole Foods are your friends.

A beautiful way to eat simply, affordably and well, whole foods are great travel foods - fresh or dried fruit, cut-up veggies and crackers with simple dips, or avocados can be easily cut and mashed into guacamole to eat with organic tortilla chips, added to top salsa or a slice of bread, or just eaten on their own. Avocados can last 2 full days in a good cooler, and with a lot of citrus (lemon or lime juice) it won't go brown on you. There are always ways around things that make you think "that won't work" - you just sometimes have to turn it around & look at it a different way.

3. Think simple - think chips and dip.

Organic tortilla chips are a great camping food that are easily mold-able into breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks with just a few other foods around.

This can also be done with a loaf of bread (or both!) and simply grazing throughout your lazy weekend. The key for packing for a clean-eating camping trip is to not over-do it and not overthink it.

Think 70's appy party. (Quick + Quirky)

Think 60's commune kitchen. (Reuse + Leftovers)

Appetizer foods that also blur the line as easy camping foods and don't require cooking (great for storing in a simple cooler while you enjoy the outdoors) include:

  • rice chips/crackers/bread
  • bliss balls
  • sunflower seeds
  • herb chicken liver pâté
  • sauerkraut
  • trail mix
  • mixed olives
  • salami
  • tomato salsa
  • guacamole
  • granola bars

3. "Let them Eat Cake" she says

Just because you're eating clean while camping doesn't mean you can't have as much fun as you would on a typical hot dog-riddled nature escape. Drink your wine. Drink your beer. Enjoy all of it.

When it comes to nutrition, we must consider balance as in all of life. Eating clean feels great, but there are times when we decide we are going to go for that hot dog, or s'more. As long as we enjoy it happily (without guilt) our body can handle it (digest it) safely.

Sun out, feet up, FOOD. Enjoy your summer times. It really doesn't get any better than this.

xo,

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Did you ever notice how the fruits and vegetables at your grocery store all kind of look the same?

Uniform. Perfect. All in a row... same color... same shape.

"Ideal."

But let's get real. When it comes to nutrition, looks don't really matter — it's what's on the inside that counts. (You know, kind of like with people?)

                   Fixing Hair in the Middle of a Photo Shoot is Real

Something called 'perfection-based marketing' is not something I subscribe to. I love sharing the realities of eating and food, and all it's imperfections, even in my own life.

Our obsession with beauty and perception is pure Hollywood drip - leaking into other areas of our life. This expectation does not belong on our food. Like humans, food is beautiful in any form. Big Box Grocery stores actually believe that we require 'beautiful' or 'perfect' looking produce in order to feel like it's clean and safe. Oddly shaped or off color produce isn't good enough. (And the problem is, we haven't told them they are wrong, so they just keep on thinkin' it.) Let's change that.

Food that's getting thrown away is completely edible — it just doesn't look perfect. That's because 26% of all produce is thrown away before farmers sell it to grocery stores. Every year, the United States throws away one-third of all the food it produces — 133 billion pounds of food. And grocery stores are responsible for tossing 10% of that food.

Without launching an all-out attack, let's break down some reasons why the corporations feel the need to do this:

//The reality is visual - a better stocked display makes for better sales

//The reality is financial - sales are king. So they'll focus on what sells - and we've been 'telling' them (voting with our fork) that we only like the pretty ones when we buy only the perfect-looking ones, leading grocers' to focus on/selling what works

//The reality is laziness - it's easier to throw away imperfect food rather than risking buying it and having to market it to a questionable audience 

Just like our air-brushed society, our obsession with perfection and unattainable ideals encompasses our food as well. The magazine racks lining the grocery store line-up, enticing you with their distorted reality are displaying the same vein as the impeccably perfect peppers or oranges, all in a row, all the same. If nature wanted all food to be perfectly shaped - it would have made them that way. But Nature Wins. (We lose by culling whats natural but doesn't fit our high standards.) [What You Dont' Know About Expiry Dates]

Fight it Peacefully

// buy the ugly turnip

// check the discount rack - if it's not moldy, it's still good!

// ask your local grocery to offer a discount rack if they don't have one - that you'd rather buy 'not so perfect' veggies and fruit and still give them some money for it

                                         @UglyFruitandVeg Instagram

// shop at your local farmers market and buy the odd-looking ones. Weird is good too.

// support the [Ugly Fruits + Veg Campaign]

If the awareness of this movement grows, not only do more veggies get eaten, and less will go to waste as we work to change the beliefs of the big box guys. We'll also be helping our desperately-in-need-of-a-shift-food-system by communicating our needs more clearly to the people who try to fill them.

Where's your will to be weird?

xo,

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Spring is in the Okanagan air! Can you feel it? In the blink of an eye, it’ll be time for fruit (or its fermented cousin...) on the beach, salads and BBQ's, flip-flops and sunscreen.

Start your spring time with these nutrient-packed foods that come into season in this pre-summer season. The benefits of stocking up on the fruits and veggies that are the first to arrive in your farmers' market or local shop are amazing: They’re sold at optimum freshness—having been grown locally rather than shipped from another continent —which means they'll have a higher nutrient content too! Another bonus? You're now part of the rockin' food movement (when you buy local.)

So stock up on my 7 go-to picks below to help cleanse up before the heat! And to help you along your weight-loss journey, subscribe to my email newsletter for healthy recipes, restaurant/shopping guides, and essential nutrition tips with the motivation you need!


///Radishes
Their bright red hue surely adds aesthetic to a salad, but radishes’ color is responsible for more than just decorative flair. Radishes get their red hue due to a phytochemical that has been shown to burn fat and reduce the risk of diabetes (due to their ability to reduce the accumulation of free radicals, promote glucose uptake and energy metabolism, and reduce glucose absorption in the intestine.) To add them to your spring time diet, try slicing up the spheres and topping them with hummus or feta for an easy, high-fiber snack. Radishes are also easy add-ons to your spring salads.
 

///Asparagus
As one of the very first veggies to make it to the farmer’s market, asparagus is highly regarded in my books. It's rich in calcium, copper, folate, and iron in addition to vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6. A 2010 study by the Department of Pharmacology at Kasturba Medical College found that the diuretic quality in asparagus helps to purge toxins from your system. This means our 'cleansing in the spring' theory is real - and when we follow the cycles of nature, it provides us what we need in each season perfectly. A great mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber, asparagus is great for your gut, too.
 

///Rhubarb
This plant might look like celery, but if you’ve ever been adventurous enough to cook with it, you know that this tart vegetable loves to partner with fruit to become a sweet treat. (Just don’t eat the leaves, because they’re poisonous). I've got just the recipe for those of you who don't like baking (it's super easy!) but trust me on this one - rhubarb needs to be turned into a healthy breakfast/healthy dessert because, well, you just can't have it any other way!


/// Morel Mushrooms
These mushrooms are the third highest vegetable source of vitamin D (only behind two other mushrooms.) This vitamin has many functions beyond its classic role in bone metabolism, one of which is regulating your immune system. So besides climbing out of that dark and dreary hole that you dug yourself into this winter and slipping into some Vitamin-D-producing rays, make sure to grab some morel mushrooms from a Moran!
 

///GREENS (Baby Spinach/Dandelion Greens/Stinging Nettles)
These bitter-sweet spring greens are bursting with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Nettles are great for our livers.  A recent study found that steaming greens increases antioxidant properties by 67 percent. And studies have found that greens are protective against obesity as well as depression, fatigue and immune system issues. For stinging nettles, by steeping the leaves in water and straining (a French press works great for this), you can avoid being stung by the hairs that coat the leaf stems. This plant has been used for years in the UK as a springtime cleanse to rid the body of toxins after a winter filled with fatty foods!) Let's face it, we can all use more green foods in our diet. If you're new to eating greens, explore the recipe that turns my non-greens-eating clients into where's-my-daily-green freaks!
 

///  Fiddlehead Ferns
These seasonal delicacy's are lovely spirals are packed with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, and omega-3 fatty acids, and they are only around for a few weeks in early spring. Clean your ferns well by removing the papery outer coating and then soaking them briefly in a bath of cold water with a bit of lemon and salt. Drain and then steam them for 5-7 minutes. Add the steamed fiddleheads to a skillet with a few tablespoons of melted butter and cook on each side for a minute or two. They’ll turn golden like asparagus. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!


///  Garlic cloves
Garlic contain the active anti-inflammatory allicin while delivering a boatload of flavor. Garlic isn't for garlic bread. It's for stir-fry, soups, casseroles, eggs, ok..... it's good pretty much everywhere. I'm trying to get everyone on fresh LOCAL garlic right now, as this go-to flavour supports liver enzymes and processes important to your body’s natural cleansing regime. Don't worry about the wafting scent of garlic, if everyone in the house eats it, no one will notice!

 

After adding these foods into your diet, you'll be feelin' more ready for the summer and it's relaxed vibe. Start your spring time off RIGHT with these nutrient-packed foods that come into season in this pre-summer season. 

If you're still in need of a spring kick-in-the-butt, now's a great time to grab my [RESET] (whole-foods, foods-based cleanse) package with recipes and shopping list to get yourself feeling GOOD. Happy Eating!

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In our day and age of hunter-gatherers of information, we don't need more nutrition knowledge.

I've gotten 3 emails this week all saying the same thing.

"I need to know when to eat and exactly what to eat so I know I'm doing it right!"

If you really need all that, you can totally get what you need somewhere online that sells meal plans. 

Following this will help you get somewhere. If you think it'll be a good return on investment for you, maybe it will. But most people find it easier to upgrade the quality of their food (whole foods!) slowly. Slow and steady wins the race. [Read Do You Need a Meal Plan? here]

I don't help people with this anymore, because what I do is more about the whole foods movement and eating clean and organic, supporting local and getting people to take responsibility for their own choices. I want my clients to get really conscious of how their body feels when they eat certain foods so they can more easily make healthier choices based on how they'd prefer to feel. People who want meal plans typically are used to viewing food as complicated (plans, counting calories, etc) and most of my clients are stressed enough about food, so I try my best to un-complicate it for them.

Maybe you spend too much time surfing the web, reading books or talking to friends or coworkers about food or nutrition. Maybe you've been feeling for a long time like you need to follow a meal plan in order to be healthier. Maybe you're a person who looks down on others' for their food choices. Maybe you find yourself stressed and planning and worrying about food each day.

Essentially, food has taken over your life.

Most of the time, the only thing we are missing is the clarity to simplify it. But we think what we need is MORE.

More knowledge.

More time to research.

More diets.

More books.

That's a lot of ... time. When you join the counter-culture of holistic nutrition, you don't need to spend hours researching, planning, prepping and worrying about food every day.

When we enter the arena of food obsession, (which has the potential to grow as harmful as "orthorexia" a medical condition in which the sufferer obsesses about avoiding specific foods) or counting calories or worry about food, we leave our childhood/natural healthy relationship with food behind.

Kids, when given healthy food will choose it when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Then they go back to playing or imagining and move on with their lives. They would never count calories or worry about the amount of food because they are still in touch with their body and it's hunger signals. [See the Neutral/Better/Best Scale Tool here.]

But as we grow and become adults and consumers our head gets filled with the following:

//diets our friends are doing

//trendy diets celebrities are doing

//billboard, magazine and TV advertising

//our families' quirks or beliefs around food

//society's beliefs around food

//generational beliefs that are passed down to us [It's no longer War Time]

These all combine to fill our head with unnecessary worry that clouds our minds.

You need a cleanse! But not quite like our RESET. More like a [Cleansing Your Doors of Perception]  kind of cleanse.

Lose the worry about the proper amounts and the counting and the stress. The simplest way to eat is to eat real food. Take what you know already, add a therapeutic food plan to what you're already doing and be like a happy kid - eat real food, eat till you are full and move on with your life.

Once you realize that ALL the beliefs and stuff that you're holding on to is what's causing you stress - and that you can let that all go. Once you realize that everyone elses' food agenda on you isn't yours and you can let it all go. Once you realize that instead of filling your head with MORE more more you instead can leave the stress by clearing and simplifying.

Then you'll truly see - you don't need more nutrition knowledge. (Relax. Free your mind.)

 

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Case Study, July 2017-December 2017  Alias used to protect clients’ confidentiality.

Elizabeth came to me as many of my female clients do: a bit overweight and wanting to feel healthier and stop stressing about food so much. She felt that food had started playing out in her 'perfectionist' mindset, and instead of enjoying cooking like she used to, she was spending way too much time stressing about what to eat.

Elizabeths’ lifestyle then…

  • Works in an office + has hobbies she loves
  • She has a positive attitude about life in general even with a diagnosis of depression
  • Enjoys gardening, cooking and reading
  • She does not sleep well (too stressed to relax)
  • Wished she had the energy to do more physical activities 

Her main concern was her weight, energy levels and worry about food.  When I first met Elizabeth, her overall diet consisted of the following:

  • Smoothies, avocado toast, (whole grain bread from a local bakery) for breakfast
  • Salad or leftovers for lunch (or pasta from a local restaurant)
  • 1-2 coffee a day
  • Steak, salmon, chicken or pork with vegetables for dinner
  • Popcorn, berries, frozen yogurt for snacks

As for liquids she would have 1-2 coffees daily, 1-3 herbal tea's, water, and 1 alcoholic drink per day

In September of 2017, Elizabeth went through Change Makers with education and coaching phone calls.

Elizabeth was determined to leave the stress of food behind and did not give up on making progress and was willing to try new things and foods even when she was unsure.

She started to develop a new relationship with food. She started to understand that food was to nourish her body and wasn't meant to add any stress at all to her life.

At our final coaching call of 2017, Elizabeth:

  • Had completely cut coffee out of her daily diet [HOW to do this]
  • Could feel the effect that sugar had on her body and hadn't had any sugar (not even on Halloween!)
  • Recognized she loved a schedule + planning food and easily got back on the wagon [Get Back on the Wagon]
  • Became aware that she needed 'me time' and began meditating - sleep + stress both improved big time
  • Is happier, started a new career and is feeling excited & accomplished at how far she has come

Elizabeths’s diet hadn't changed incredibly. (It didn't need to.) But her mindset did.

She is no longer sinking into hours of guilt after enjoying treats

She is enjoying teas and has completely eradicated her requirement for coffee

She is dealing with her stress better and using meditation + exercise as a healthy coping mechanism

She has healthier snacks like fruits, pumpkin seeds or popcorn instead of frozen yogurt

She is no longer stressing about making the perfect meal or having the right amount of food - she has the skills to eat intuitively - to a comfortable level, and then stop (stop the overeating train)

She created boundaries with people or situations in her life that were causing her stress (and thus to overeat)

She no longer identifies with the "Perfectionist" label (she knows it is a spiral and doesn't do it anymore)

She could recognize the signs of 'problematic eating' within herself and catch it before it caused her drama & worry

Case Results….

Before working with me, Elizabeth was "obsessing about food all the time.… I know my mindset is not healthy when it comes to good health through proper nutrition”

By increasing her nutrition with more supportive whole foods, having a coach and getting super conscious of her thoughts + choices, Elizabeth's feeling less stressed + more mentally stable - she's losing weight too, and feeling enough energy in her body to do daily physical activities like walking or yoga class, which is helping her lose even more weight without the use of supplements or complicated food programs.

Elizabeth says of the Change Makers program:

I love creating and enjoying food; but it got to the point where I was obsessing about it all the time. Thanks to this program, I’m able to relax and enjoy food again instead of stressing over every bite and/or meal. This program has not just helped me with food and/or diet; these tools are invaluable lifestyle skills that can be applied to everyday life.

Learn More

Raina is an amazing coach and you couldn’t ask for anyone better in your corner to support you through your “Change Maker” journey! If you are really ready to make a change in your life, this program is for you!

How she did it

  • Elizabeth did this with the help and accountability of a nutritionist and coach
  • Elizabeth had the responsibility to dive in herself and take time to make nutrition a priority
  • She obtained guidance in the direction of education with Change Makers' powerful resources 
  • She willingly tried new things: was "coachable" and open to self-care and recognizing patterns in her own behaviour and thoughts
  • She saw her current choices as choices, and was open to shifting them, even if it felt hard at first
Elizabeth is one of our favourite case studies with a fantastic success story!

If you're feeling like her - overweight or depressed and STRESSED about food, just know there is hope, and I'm ready so ready to help you, if you're ready for change. Let's chit-chat.

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