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Fall is finally in the air. Can’t you just smell it when you walk outdoors, into the crisp, neutral world? It’s a beautiful time of year but can be a real drag on our skin, leaving us with some not so beautiful issues like itchy dryness, chapped lips, and tired eyes. Any time there is a change in the weather we are forced to change up our beauty regime a bit and it takes a bit of practice to really figure out what works.

A few things to note before plunging into new products and regimes are:

Skin type

It’s really important you don’t just buy a new product on a whim, even if it’s been recommended to you. Determining what skin type you are (oily, dry, etc.) will help you get the best product for you. It could even be that your skin type doesn’t require you change your products at all so speak with a consultant before you throw everything away.

Skin problems

It may be that you have never faced any face problems … lucky you!!! Most of us have suffered issues in the past whether it was acne or dry, cracked skin. Be sure to take note of these problems before changing anything.

Product Lines

Sticking to products that you are comfortable with already is a great way to keep your skin healthy. One beauty line will work for some but might not work for others. Take some time to speak with consultants at beauty counters; you may be surprised by their wealth of knowledge.

Once you have a clear understanding of what works for your skin you can make the necessary changes from summer to fall/winter with little risk of running into major issues.

Some simple beauty tips for fall:

Exfoliate with oil-based scrubs. You will really need the extra moisture once the cold hits. Exfoliating with a good quality exfoliant twice a week should do the trick in knocking off all that dead skin.

Protect your lips with a really nice lip butter. Look for natural ones containing ingredients such as jojoba oil, or shea butter. 

Moisturize your hands often with plant-based creams. These can be found at your local health food store with limited ingredients to keep the products really healthy. Remember, anything you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body through your pores.

SPF! Yes, even in the winter. The sun still shines down on your pores during the cooler months so don’t even think of ditching the sunscreen with the cold weather. Find a moisturizer that contains SPF.

Fast forward to 10 years from now… you’re welcome!

 

Images:

http://www.readersdigest.ca/

 

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Hello, sweater weather… also known as the beginning of the end of the summer health binge (it’ll be back with a vengeance on January 1st), when some of us take comfort in knowing that we can hide the stomach pouch under all that cozy clothing.

When you eat poorly, your workouts suffer. You feel sluggish and possibly even discouraged when you see the winter pounds pile on. Let’s face it. There isn’t much pressure to stay fit during the winter months, unless you’re planning a getaway down south, and even then, a few extra pounds seem to be acceptable. Mmm, pumpkin everything!!

I’m going to challenge you not to hop off the summer health food rhythm you have become used to. I know it’s harder to get really fresh produce, and picnic food can be so light and airy while holiday food is so amazingly rich, and dense.

Fueling your workouts with healthy food is just as important (if not more) as the actual workout. Fall is actually a great time of year to fill your plate with nutrient dense harvest food like squash of all kinds, sweet potatoes, apples, cranberries, beets, cabbage and so much more.

Here are some of my personal favourite fall recipes all from the wonderful food blog, Oh She Glows. It’s an amazing source for really nutritious vegan meals, especially if you get stumped on your meatless Mondays.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Mouth Watering Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Sweet Potato Casserole

 

Image:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/

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Thanksgiving marks the opening of holiday season and with it comes feast after feast of delicious, not so waistline-friendly foods.

Well… that’s what New Year resolutions are for, right?

Believe it or not, there are ways to control how much you eat so you don’t leave the dinner table full of regret, pun intended.

Eat Before Dinner

Arriving at the turkey table starving is a sure way to overeat, and enter the stage of the dreaded food coma. Make sure to have a big, and nutritious breakfast the morning of, followed by some healthy snacks before going to lunch or dinner. If you get there too hungry, you are far more likely to eat mindlessly, with so regard for how full you are getting.

If you are the one cooking the meal, try not to snack too much as you go but do be sure to eat before getting started.

Drink A Lot of Water

Thirst is usually mistaken for hunger so drink more water than you normally would throughout the day leading up to your Thanksgiving meal. At dinner, avoid drinks that might make you bloated like pop, or juice. The added sugar will only make you feel more sluggish as the night progresses.

Fill Your Plate with Veggies

This tip is a great way to help you get full on the healthy stuff, but watch out for the starchy vegetables, and load up on greens instead. It’s very tempting to go for more carbs, and turkey, but if you fill your plate first with vegetables and then add everything else, you are less likely to overindulge on the heavy food. Make sure to get a raw salad in as well to help with digestion.

Leave the Table After Dinner

When you finish, as long as it is polite of course, leave the table. Lingering will only tempt you to continue eating, even after you have reached your limit. Suggest that everyone take part in a board game, or even better, go for a walk before dessert, which brings me to my next point…

Easy on Dessert

Thanksgiving isn’t just about the turkey. When those pumpkin spice treats start piling in, it’s almost impossible to stay in control, no matter how full you are. Allow yourself to indulge and don’t feel guilty about it. Try everything you want, but know your limits. Drink a tall glass of water in between slices of pie.

At the end of the it’s one day of overindulge on some pretty great food, so don’t beat yourself up about it if you go overboard, just make sure to get right back on track the next day.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

 

Image: www.williams-sonoma.com

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Hello Fall!

‘Tis the season for more than just pumpkin spice and squash soup! There are so many delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables that come with this coveted season; it’s easy to whip up something new and healthy every night.

When I think apples, beets and blackberries, my brain immediately goes to buttery pies, crunchy salads, and warm crumble. Whether you are dairy free, sugar free, gluten free, nut free, there are cozy fall recipes for everyone.

Apples

  • Apples are incredibly versatile and filled with nutrients. Some health benefits include:
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • High in fiber
  • Reduce risk of diabetes, and heart disease
  • Beats diarrhea and constipation

Apples add a really nice crunch to your fall salad, so here’s a great recipe to inspire tonight’s dinner:

 

Jamie Oliver’s Pecan & Apple Salad

Note: In case of an allergy, skip the nuts.

 Or try them in a pie!

Mrs. Carter’s Skillet Apple Pie

Beets

Beets are great in root veggie roasts, salads, cold-pressed juice, or simply boiled with a dash of salt. Here are some benefits:

  • High in Vitamin C
  • Reduces risk of heart disease
  • Rich in magnesium
  • High in Potassium

 

Colourful Beet Salad with Carrot, Quinoa & Spinach

Roasted beets are like vegetable candy. Try them with a balsamic glaze!

Roasted Beets with Balsamic Glaze

Pears

Pears are often overlooked as a bland, boring fruit but are actually a really versatile, and delicious alternative to your everyday apple. Not only that, they are packed with health benefits like:

  • Anti-Inflammatory Support
  • Waistline friendly (low in calories)
  • High in fiber
  • Rich in antioxidants

Try your hand at a super-fast crumble!

Pear Ginger Crumble Recipe

Or indulge in the sweet union of vanilla and pear in these delicious muffins:

Vanilla and Pear Muffins

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A Cardiovascular activity like Fitbox can leave you gasping for air, and physically exhausted but the benefits that come with giving your lungs and heart such a good workout can be life changing to your overall health.

It is a well-known fact that exercising can have a positive impact on your health, and the way you feel. You workout, you feel good, both physically and emotionally. When you take part in some form of physical activity, you feel energized and happy; proud even, but do you know how amazing a good workout is for two major organs that work together to keep you healthy?

With each class you take, you will build endurance; feel less out of breath, and more in control of your body. This happens because you’re your lungs are getting better at delivering oxygen to your tissues.

When you take a Fitbox class, your working muscles require more oxygen and this gets your heart working harder, makes it stronger and increases blood flow to your muscles.

Cardio helps with a whole list of things to keep you feeling great! Here are just a few:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Aids in weight control
  • Improved resistance
  • Better sleep
  • More energy
  • Increased bone density
  • Reduced stress
  • Gives self-esteem a nice boost
  • A great example for your kids
  • Helps and even slows down the aging process

Our bodies are made to move so when we spend most of our days at a desk, on the couch, or in the car we aren’t working those major organs that keep everything else running. A good cardiovascular workout will get your blood pumping and give you an overall better quality of life.

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With every year back to school kids face different challenges. For some it’s bullies, old or new, for others it’s just fitting in in general,

Babies are born as a blank slate so it’s important to empower them right from the beginning. We as parents give them the tools they need to be confident individuals, because what we tell them they are, is what they will believe. A child who is told they are stupid, or incapable will grow up to believe that this is true. What happens in society is out of our control, and there may be instances where they are put down at school or in a playgroup. If the foundation of empowerment is there, these cases will have little impact on their self-esteem, because guess what?

Mom thinks I’m awesome, so I must be!

There are many ways to empower your children but we have cherry-picked three of the most important tools you can use in daily life to ensure that your child grows up knowing they are wonderful, they are capable, and they are worth it.

Acknowledge

This point is crucial for empowerment. When we acknowledge even the tiniest achievement we are telling our child that their hard work has paid off. When we acknowledge them when they speak to us, we are letting them know that what they say matters, and that we respect their thoughts. Acknowledging emotions, like a moment of sadness (even if it seems silly to us), we are building the foundation for expression. At the root of most depression is bottled up emotions.

Listen

Listen intently to what they tell you, but more importantly, listen for what they aren’t telling you. It’s easy to tell you about the great day they had but sometimes, even the most empowered child will retain information they may be embarrassed about, think they should ignore, or worry it may be their fault. If they don’t like someone at school or even in the family, listen to how they feel about them, and never force interaction, even if it’s a family member. If they don’t wan to hug uncle John good-bye, suggest a high five instead or simply say, “Maybe next time”— kids have really good instincts, so trust in them.

Encourage

It’s so important for a child to know they can do whatever they put their mind do. Always encourage perseverance, integrity, and resilience. Life can get tough at times, and if they grow up thinking they can crush their obstacles, they will always give any task their all. The best way to do this is to be a great role model so they mirror your approach in life. When you may be failing in something, try and push through, and let them watch you do it. Encourage kindness at all times and do this by being kind yourself. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

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The kids are heading back to school this week and lots of parents have the fear of bullies tugging at the back of their excitement. Returning to school after two months of summer vacation is exciting for most kids but there are always those who are anxious because of bullying. Although schools heavily promote anti-bullying in classrooms and the playground, teasing, social exclusion, and physical forms of assault continue to be an issue.

The sad truth is that mean kids are everywhere and you can only do so much to protect your child. Aggressive behaviour is being seen not only among tweens but as young as preschoolers as well.

Some signs your child is being bullied:

  • Faking illnesses (not wanting to go to school)
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches (signs of stress and anxiety)
  • Lost personal belongings
  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Torn clothing
  • Frequent nightmares/ not wanting to go to sleep
  • Crying spells
  • Withdrawal from family members

Keep an open line of communication between yourself and your child. You want them to have the courage to approach you if they are under attack at school.

Remember, you are their safe place.

Being kind to others starts in the home. As a parent it is your job to promote kindness at all times. Being strong and confident is great but it’s when that confidence is used to put down others that problems arise. Studies have shown that a confident child who bullies may be doing so only to hide their own insecurities so be mindful of where this self-assurance comes from.

How to Prevent your Child from Bullying

  • Choose kindness whenever possible
  • Avoid speaking ill of your friends in front of them
  • Teach and demonstrate respect
  • Encourage your child to include those who are frequently left out

If you suspect that your child is being bullied, here are a few ideas to help the situation:

  • Talk patiently with your child. Be a good listener and have them express all their feelings about what is going on.
  • Get as much information from your child as possible, including bully’s name, date of incident, where it happened, and if it has happened in the past. Make sure your child knows they are not tattling, but rather helping themselves, and others from any further harassment.
  • Never tell your child to shrug off the bullying, but don’t encourage fighting either. The point is to promote peace and kindness so retaliating would only be counterproductive.
  • Make the child’s teacher and principle aware of what is going on but don’t expect them to resolve the issue. They have way too much going on and although efforts are constantly being made, bullying continues to be rampant in schools.
  • Empower your child. This point is the most important and should be taken extremely seriously. Raising a child who is aware that bullying is wrong, and with enough confidence to stand up for themselves, is the best way to ensure that severe damage doesn’t come from the issues they are facing.

Check back next week to learn some great ways to empower your children.

Posted by & filed under Health, Nutrition, wellness, Women's Health.

Summer vacation is coming to a close and parents are scrambling to get their kids back into a routine, preferably before the first day of school. There has been so much going on all summer that things like bedtime, proper meals, and schedules have all taken a backseat. Whether your kids have been off at camp, vacationing abroad with you, or simply bouncing between local activities, they are probably ready for the calm that comes with back to school.

This calm includes a good night’s rest, followed by early rising, all day in class where their brains are getting exercise, some form of extra curricular activity, and finally some down time before it begins all over again. This is called routine and has been proven time and time again, through various studies that it is essential to develop some form of rhythm to each day.

Here are some great ways to wrap up summer and get the kids ready for school:

Be Present

Nothing grounds kids more than the presence of their parents. If you’ve been busy working all summer, try and take a few days off leading up to the first day back at school. Your company will be just what they need to reclaim a daily rhythm.

Bedtime

Do not attempt to insist on an early bedtime the night before school starts up again. Shorten their day little by little over the next few evenings leading up to it so once that first night comes, they aren’t shocked by it. A good night’s rest is critical for proper function during the day.

Study Corner

Get their help setting up a study corner to stir up some excitement for all the learning that is to come with this new school year. This could involve going out to choose a new desk together, buying and setting up some new school supplies, or even just

Cut the Junk Food

Promote healthy brain function with a nutritious diet. Summer is a great time to indulge in endless ice cream, and greasy food (especially if you are winding down at the EX). Go grocery shopping together and let them pick out some healthy snacks. Trying to force a child to eat something they don’t like is counterproductive so work with them to instill healthy eating habits.

Get them Reading Again

Encourage reading without making it a chore. While many kids continue reading throughout the summer, it’s not everyone’s favourite pastime and some kids need a bit of a nudge. Make a trip to the store and choose a new book together.

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Pasta is a national favourite for its versatility, simplicity and downright deliciousness. Really, who doesn’t like pasta?

Apparently, white pasta is quite lacking in nutrition and although it’s filling, it is actually empty carbs that don’t do much for us in the long run. While indulging in a yummy plate of spaghetti is totally fine every so often, it’s best to dig up some alternatives for everyday.

Luckily, the world is going through a bit of a gluten free craze so options are endless not only in stores, but on restaurant menus, in blogs, and cookbooks. Pasta can now be found with healthy main ingredients including chickpeas, black beans, brown rice, amaranth, kamut, lentils, etc. etc.

Vegetable Noodles

If you don’t have a spiralizer you are missing out on some pretty delicious recipes for not only noodle alternatives, but salads as well. Not only are you drastically cutting down on your calorie intake but upping your veggies for the day.

Zucchinis make a great spiralized noodle, and can be paired with anything from tomato sauce to pesto.

*Note: in lieu of a spiralizer, use a vegetable peeler.

Quinoa Pasta

Quinoa everything is extremely popular right now with many people looking to eat less wheat, and turning to more gluten free options, celiac or not. We love this one because it’s jam-packed with healthy things your body craves, especially if you are active, like protein.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is loaded with nutritional value, and can be a great alternative to your everyday pasta dish. The best part about it is that all you need to do is throw it in the oven for a bit, cut it in half, and scoop out the good stuff. Even your kids will love it paired with their favourite sauce.

 

Images:

  1. http://www.mamamia.com.au/
  2. http://www.eatwell101.com/
  3. None
  4. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/

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It’s almost that time of year again… the time when your healthy, sun kissed kids are coming home from the first few days back at school under the weather. It’s inevitable that during the school year, germs and viruses are rampant, but the way in which your child reacts to these germs can be controlled through a few simple steps.

Here are a few ways to boost your child’s immune system and prepare them to battle all the new germs they will encounter when back at school:

Minimize Sugar Consumption

Sugar is always at the top of the list when discussing children’s health and immunity. Sugar attacks the immune system, weakening it and making it unable to properly fight viruses. Eliminating drinks such as juice, energy drinks, lemonade, and pop from your child’s diet is a great start to decreasing the amount of sugar they take in.

Check out our blog post on hidden sugars!

Introduce a Probiotic

Probiotics are friendly bacteria that keep our digestive tract healthy by protecting it against harmful bacteria and viruses. If your gut is healthy, so are you. We naturally produce probiotics, but sometimes our bodies need a top up. Talk to your local health food store about a good quality, child friendly one.

Fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, and miso are also great if you can get them to wrap their tongue around the sour flavour.

Sleep

Nothing does a body good like proper rest. Summer is usually when bedtimes take a backseat and it’s hard to get back into a routine once school starts up again. Try to reintroduce early nights a couple of weeks before going back so once school starts they are well rested to take on the new year.

More Fruits and Vegetables

Farmer’s markets are still bursting with delicious fresh produce so take advantage and keep them on hand at all times. Find out what your kid likes and make it readily available. If they hate broccoli, don’t bother, try something else and keep trying until they are getting sufficient amounts. A healthy, balanced diet is key to a strong immune system.

Your child may very well get sick even with extreme measures but they are sure to do so less often, and will be able to fight sickness much easier if they are strong.