Thursday, October 27, 2011

First Day of School, Part 2

Back in March I wrote here about my first day of school after enrolling at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition's Ottawa Branch. I was so pumped to get started learning about this wonderful world of holistic nutrition. And then I had to stop for a bit -- not my choice. It's a long story and completely uninteresting. But to summarize, I got to complete two courses (about 24 hours worth of class time) and since then I've been on a hiatus.

Until today, that is! Today I start back. And I'm as pumped as I was on the first day. In fact, possibly more excited as my feet got wet during the spring and I know with all my being that this is going to be the right field of work for me. I'm beyond passionate about it.

But you probably know that already too, because if you've been reading along with me here, here and here, oh and here and here too, you'll have realized my passion for yourselves.

P.S. I'm a crazy organizer, I spend a lot of time organizing my life. School, to me, is just as fun to organize. Staples is my friend. As is the coolest bright green laptop bag/brief case-y thing I found this summer. And so is Microsoft's One Note. I got a new computer earlier this year and once I found One Note as part of the Microsoft Office package, I fell in love. It's an organizing, school-going girl's dream come true!

P.P.S. I know I'm crazy and a big nerd. I've come to terms with it. You should too. ;)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What is this dry skin brushing you speak of?

I recently have become aware of a technique called dry skin brushing. Maybe this is widely known, but I didn't know about it, so maybe you don't either. If this is new to you, read on!

So the skin as you all know is our largest organ and it has so many roles in keeping us alive and healthy. The skin eliminates between a good chunk of our bodily waste. And we can help our body out a little bit by giving our skin 5 minutes of our attention everyday before we shower.

The benefits of dry skin brushing are simple. First, it eliminates dry skin from your body and encourages new skin growth and second, it stimulates blood circulation and the lymphatic system, which in turn eliminates waste (including toxins) from our body. And given that this is Breast Cancer Awareness month and next month we'll be focusing on the ole prostate, let's think about PREVENTION (I think we're all very aware of cancer) -- and this practice is a great cancer prevention habit.

All you need to do this is a dry skin brush or a loofah. I bought my brush at Rainbow Natural Foods here in Ottawa for only $6.50! It has a nice long handle to easily reach all those harder to reach spots.

Here's Joy McCarthy, a Toronto-area Holistic Nutritionist, to show you how to get this little gem of a healthy habit into your routine! You can read more about dry skin brushing and it's many, many benefits on her blog.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The perfect cup of (David's) tea

I've never been a coffee drinker. I can honestly say I've never drunk a cup in my life -- save for a few sips while being hosted in Bolivia at a displacement camp; I had to be polite and eat/drink what was offered to me! I can't even say that I like the smell of coffee. Ohh, I know that one hurt some of you who cannot live without your daily cuppa joe.

A few years back (not very many), I realized that flavour infused herbal, green and yes even black teas (but don't think you'll find me drinking an orange pekoe any time soon) can be oh so delicious. Fast forward to maybe about a year or so ago. I come to learn about David's Tea -- which is fairly new to town. It took me a while, but now I know why this place is so special. Their tea doesn't come close to comparing to anything you'll find in a box in your local supermarket. This tea is special.

I was first introduced to it by my manager at work. She lives close by to one of their Ottawa locations (Glebe and Westboro, for those in Ottawa) and she got stuck on it last fall. She even gave me two flavours for my birthday in January. I tried them at home. But the thing is, I'm not much of a tea drinker at home. I drink teas at the office, but I didn't have the right cup for it at work and didn't want to have to have a tea ball at work. But then enters this:


Genius! Perfect for work. Beautiful mug with a cover and an infuser (the infuser sits perfectly in the lid when you're ready to drink so no drips). I got the purple one -- I like purple. They have a great travel mug too which houses a little compartment for extra tea!

Currently in my cupboard you'll find:

Organic Silk Jasmine (Green)
Toasted Walnut (Green)
Super Chocolate - Organic (Green)
Three Wishes Tea (Black)

I am a lover of green teas and the Three Wishes Tea is actually a blend of black and green teas. In fact many of their teas are blends; the Super Chocolate is a blend of green and rooibos (and is currently my most favourite -- it has chocolate it in!). And those are real pieces of walnut in the Toasted Walnut.

I've set a limit for myself that I have to drink two whole varieties before I buy more -- my incentive to drink up! Otherwise it could get a little out of hand...

So if there's a David's Tea location near you, get yourself there today! If not, you can order online (but you'll miss the opportunity to smell the varieties). You'll be overwhelmed so give yourself some time to smell and enjoy the many varieties. And then go home (or to work!) and drink this goodness up!

Have you been to David's Tea? If so, what is your favourite? My stock is starting to dwindle, so I'll be in there again soon enough!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

21 days (plus a few more) later...

In my last post, I went on raving about Meghan Telpner's 21 Days To Health. Well the 21 days have ended and what have I took away from it? Lots! Let's recap.

So as a refresher the premise of the 21 days is to incorporate one new change each day and build until the 21 days are complete. This is based on the idea that it takes 3 weeks (21 days) to form new habits.

Now it's pretty hard to incorporate all of them, but I'm doing my best and I know many of the changes I have made have stuck so that in itself is something to be proud of. I'm not going to go through the full list of 21 changes, but I will touch upon some of the things I have incorporated and maybe bring a little inspiration to you!

My new habits!
  • Drinking lemon water first thing every morning. This was the very first point in the book. Drinking warm water with a couple tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (i.e. from lemons, not squeeze bottles) is a great cleanse for the liver. Meaning it flushes out the liver and gets rid of all the toxins that the liver works so hard at removing from the body.
  • Meditating or sitting quietly for at least 15 minutes each morning. This is to stop the fidgeting and to bring calm to yourself and just focus on the breath. I was having a hard time at this one, but recently put together a little morning routine so that I made time for it in the morning. I now have put 15 minutes aside each morning to do this. I also drink my lemon water while doing this (always a multitasker!)
  • Flossing - every time I brush my teeth. I've always flossed my teeth, but never with any regularity. I'd be really good for a few days and then slack off. But I can honestly say that in over a month I have flossed each and every day. I'm now working on doing twice per day -- morning and night. My dentist is going to be oh so pleased, I almost can't wait for my next visit!
  • Getting to bed 15 minutes early. My old bedtime was around 11:00 p.m. and now I make sure I'm getting ready for bed by 10:30 so that I'm actually in my bed by 10:45. The extra sleep helps with getting up earlier for my quiet time.
  • Brown bagging. I'm doing a much better job at bringing my lunch to work. I like how this affects my bank account.
  • No more going for seconds. I now make a mental note to not eat a second plate of food no matter how good it is. One serving is all my body needs. The goodness can be saved for my brown bag.
  • Cutting out all the refined sugar. I'm super aware of this now. By making your own food, this is super easy to do.
  • Cutting out some toxic body products. I recently posted about my soap-making endeavours, but I've also recently changed my toothpaste, deodorant and have stopped using body creams and replaced them with edible oils, like coconut oil. Because anything that goes on the skin should also go in the mouth because it's all the same... either way it ends up in the bloodstream.
  • Drink more H2O. I've been making a conscious effort to drink more water and herbal teas. Since doing so, I get a headache in the evenings when I don't drink enough water. Your body tells you everything you need to know if you listen closely enough.
  • Meal planning! So important. But I had a head start on that one, I've been doing it for a while!
  • Cut out the booze. I've drunk alcohol very sparingly for the last year -- just the odd glass of wine or cider here and there -- but it's a treat! And since going gluten-free I haven't had any beer. So check mark here too.
  • Dry skin brushing. This practice is new to me -- I've only become familiar with it recently, but I'm doing it! So good for the skin and for the lymph. More to come on this in a future post, because it's an easy thing to do that I gather most people know nothing about. So stay tuned for that!

I'm pretty proud of what I managed to incorporate in just a few short weeks. Think about how much healthier a society we would be if we all just adopted one or two of these things!

What changes have you made recently to improve your health?