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We all have that one friend who walks around leaving trails of earthy aroma in the air. Whether you’re a fan or not, essential oils are everywhere, with more and more people raving about the health benefits they are receiving from simply diffusing a few drops of their favourite blend.

With boutique shops like Saje popping up in every mall, and oil reps overloading you with holistic information at every turn, it’s a wonder that we aren’t all walking around with portable diffusers—not quite sure if that’s a thing, but it probably will be soon.

So what do essential oils do? How do they benefit our overall health? Are some better than others? Are they safe?

The truth is there is a ton of information (some credible, some still to be debated) around aromatherapy and it would be impossible to get it all out in a blog post. So, in the event that you are interested in dabbling in essential oils, here is your quick guide.

Aromatherapy can be used for a wide range of emotional and physical wellness like air purifiers, home cleaners, common ailments such as headaches, skin conditions, and digestive issues. They can be used as a single oil or in a blend depending on the user’s desired benefit.

How to Use

Aromatic

Our sense of smell is incredible and when essential oils are inhaled, it is believed that the brain is stimulated for great health benefits. Diffusing oils is the simplest way, or even placing a few drops in cupped hands, works just as well.

Topical

Essential oils are commonly used topically for various health benefits. The oils are absorbed through the skin, into the bloodstream to promote healing.

Oil cocktails are widely used in the form of a roll on, for easy application.

Popular Oils

 

Lavender

Uses: stress relief, healing aid against colds, flus, and migraines, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory

Tea Tree Oil

Uses: Boost immunity, skin conditions, burns and cuts, respiratory conditions, muscle aches, flu, dandruff

Peppermint

Uses: alertness, energy boost, aids in digestion

Eucalyptus

Uses: respiratory congestion, decongestion, antiseptic, muscle aches and pains

Where to Purchase

With increasing popularity, essential oils are now being mass produced and readily available not only in stores, but through various marketing companies. When using oils, it’s best to find the purest brands and suppliers. Many conventional products are filled with chemicals, defeating the purpose of aromatherapy altogether. Keep in mind these products are either being diffused into your home or put directly onto your skin so quality is key.

 

Image:

  1. www.healthline.com
  2. 3. www.saje.com

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How many times have you vowed to lose the same 10 pounds, or promised yourself you would dedicate more effort to healthier eating habits? Suddenly it’s March and you find yourself in the same spot as you were last December.

You are not the only one!

Studies have shown that a mere 39% of people are successful in keeping their New Year resolutions.

So, why set goals at the beginning of a brand new year if they are doomed to fail?

Let’s talk about why they fail in the first place:

  • They are unrealistic
  • The mindset is all wrong
  • You are setting these goals for the wrong reasons

2018 is Your Year

This is the year you will be more mindful about what you eat, you will keep to your workout schedule, and you will prove to yourself that you are more than just a list that has been thrown to the sidelines.

Here’s how you’ll do it:

Set realistic goals

If you are not a very active person, don’t vow to workout every single day because that likely won’t happen. You will likely do this for a week or two, burn yourself out, get discouraged, and there’s an end to that.

Take a close look at your weekly schedule and fit in a workout here and there. Start with two a week and work your way up to four and then five, but only once you have established a rhythm with two. Exercise is addictive so this is bound to happen if you stick to it.

Rather than going on a diet, gradually change your eating habits and incorporate good, healthy food into every meal. Make it a lifestyle, rather than a diet with an expiration date.

Once you begin to see results there’s nowhere to go but up.

Improve your Mindset

Big results happen when small changes are made so with that in mind take the first little step, which is accepting what you are capable of. When you have a bad day, rather than getting down on yourself say, “tomorrow I will do better.”

Do it For You

When going through your list, be sure they are for you. Identify what it is you want to achieve but make sure it’s because accomplishing this set of goals will make you a better version of you, instead of what is expected.

So throw the lists away and believe in the best version of yourself.

Happy New Year from all of us at Energy Fitbox!

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Brussels Sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes!

That’s a pretty great list of ingredients if you’re hosting a holiday dinner this year. Festive meals should be made up of cozy food like soup, and vegetable roasts so we’ve got all the inspiration for you to wow your guests with a healthy, delicious meal.

Brussels Sprouts

Benefit: Rich in Vitamin C and K

These aren’t on everyone’s love list so it’s important to make an effort with them. With the right seasoning, they can be an unexpected favourite so try Williams Sonoma’s Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad.

Note: Please be mindful of guests who may have a nut allergy

 

Cauliflower

Benefit: High in protein, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber

This is a vegetarian’s dream food because it’s packed with vitamins, and a hearty addition to any meal. It’s great as a starter (think creamy leak and cauliflower soup) or as a side (bread crumb crusted cauliflower steaks mmm). Chatelaine recently put out a whole list of things to do with cauliflower so have a read.

Broccoli

Benefit: Rich in Vitamins K, C, and folic acid

Broccoli doesn’t have to be boring so don’t boil it and serve with a dash of salt, because you’ll have leftovers all week. Like Brussels sprouts, you’ll have at least a couple people at your dinner table take a pass on the green stuff so lure them in with a well-seasoned roast. Delish has all the tips you’ll need this holiday season.

Sweet Potatoes

Benefit: Vitamins A, C, and magnesium

Aside from amazing health benefits, sweet potatoes are a definite crowd pleaser so be sure to make a big batch. This nutrient rich root is also great as a roast, but even better in unexpected ways like a creamy mash. Check out some great inspiration here.

 

Happy Holidays!

 

Images

 

www.williams-sonoma.com

 

http://www.chatelaine.com/recipe/dinner/roasted-cauliflower-soup/

 

http://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/christmas/g3619/roasted-broccoli/?slide=4

 

http://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g877/sweet-potato-recipes-1009/

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‘Tis the season to fall off track with not only fitness, but your health too.

Not you! You’ve worked too hard to get where you are, so don’t be that person. You can definitely have your latke, eat it, and walk out of the season in shape.

This time of year, the temptations are rampant. It’s so tempting to skip that workout, have that extra cookie, or drink that extra cocktail, and why shouldn’t you?

Here are five ways to have it all:

Stay Active

By all means, skip the workout when there’s a party, but make up for it somehow. Take a morning class, walk to work, or do some burpees before getting in the shower, just don’t avoid getting in a sweat altogether. Tomorrow’s workout belongs to tomorrow, so make sure you get today’s.

Stay Calm

Be extra mindful of your moods during these few weeks. If you feel yourself overly tired, or overly irritable you may be taking on too much. Hosting dinner parties, purchasing gifts, attending dinner parties, can all contribute to a burn out by the end of it so take it slow. Make sure to squeeze in some quiet time, either early in the morning before anyone wakes up or in the evening once the house is quiet.

Cyber Shop

This may seem impersonal, but gone are the days when you can have a pleasant stroll through a quaint street, window-shopping for the perfect gift. The malls are busy, the parking lots are even worse, and people are frantic to the point of being unpleasant so do as much buying as possible online.

Enjoy the Food

Don’t deprive yourself of festive treats, after all it’s only once a year. That being said, try not to eat a dozen jelly doughnuts in one sitting you’ll just end up feeling awful about yourself. Be aware of your alcohol intake as the calories can really pile up as you sip those peppermint cocktails.

 

Image:

http://www.womansday.com/

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There is something to be said about a season that’s made up of peppermint and sugar cookies, gift giving and receiving, tinsel and mistletoe… okay maybe no one uses tinsel anymore, but you catch my drift—it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s killing our planet.

The other 11 months of the year do their fair share in harming the environment, but December sees an immense increase in waste each year. Think about it:

  • Wrapping paper
  • Artificial trees
  • Excess food
  • Unwanted gifts
  • Broken Christmas lights

A million tons of holiday waste will be created this season, and landfills will be exploding, come January. Over the years some improvements have been made to reduce garbage like LED lights and cutting your own tree—I mean what’s more Instagram-worthy than that?

So how can you help make the holidays a bit more environment-friendly?

Get a Real Tree

This has made a come-back in a big way and although it might seem like old news, chopping down your own tree is actually quite trendy. Artificial trees might seem like the better option because they can be reused year after year, but no one keeps a tree longer than 6-10 years at which point they end up in a landfill, where they stay forever. Support a local tree farm and at the end of the season your tree will go back to the earth.

Wrap Smart

Beautiful gift-wrap doesn’t need to be from a roll. If it must be try and look for recycled paper, or at least one that can be recycled. Alternatively, wrap with pretty fabric, a nice tea towel, or a reusable canvas bag.

LED

If you invest in LEDs you’ll be saving a whole lot of garbage, and money in the long run. These can be found for both indoor and outdoor lighting.

Gift Giving

Do you ever look around your house and wonder how you got so knee deep in stuff? Do you ever get the urge to grab a garbage bag and ransack your children’s play spaces? This year try and keep gifts to a minimum. Remember that less is more, especially when it comes to your kids. Opt for experiences rather than material gifts.

Food Waste

The issue around food waste is a problem all year round, so just imagine during an entire month centered around parties. Buy local, organic food as much as possible. Support your local farmers and plan your meals so that you aren’t left with an excess amount of food to throw away.

 

image:

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It’s Cyber Monday, and that means you’re probably getting a head start on your holiday gift shopping.

This time of year, which is centred around giving, can become incredibly stressful with overpacked malls, chaotic parking lots, and impatient shoppers. Finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list, however, is the ultimate challenge. The art of gift giving involves really thinking about each individual person’s interests, and doing a bit of research.

So what does the healthy, fitness junkie in your life really want this year? We have some great ideas, check them out!

S’well Water Bottle

This one is probably on everyone’s list because they just look so cool. Plastic water bottles are a thing of the past so make sure your fitness buddy is equipped with a really neat reusable water bottle.

Lolē bra

A good sports bra is always a welcome gift, just make sure you know their size as undergarments can be tricky to return. The Lolē brand is not only beautiful but incredibly versatile, and comfortable. Extra points; it’s Canadian!

Joyous Rejuvenate Tea

Who doesn’t love a warm cup of rejuvenating tea, especially after all the holiday craze. This blend of anti-inflammatory and detoxifying herbs will be the perfect gift for anyone on your list, but especially your health nuts.

Gaiam Hot and Cold Foot Roller

Well your loved one’s feet are in for a real treat. This foot roller is great for achey feet and to promote proper circulation.

Spiralizer

A veggie spiralizer is one of those things you don’t really miss if you don’t have it but definitely something you’ll use if you do. The small hand held ones make great stocking stuffers.

Massage

Splurge on someone you really love with a relaxing trip to the spa. Toronto has some great spa spots and it’s a good time to snag some great deals.

Image:

http://www.dustymars.net/loose-leaf-tea/

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Vitamin D is always important, but it’s during the cold winter months that it gets neglected, mainly because we don’t see the sun as much. When we are deficient in vitamin D, we become more susceptible to infection, which is a big reason why we get sick more often.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced in your skin from exposure to the sun.

Although it is best known for promoting healthy bones and teeth, it is more recently being acknowledged for it’s ability to fight infection, reduce heart disease risk, and prevent some types of cancer as well as diabetes.

Aside from basking in the sun, some other great ways to increase your vitamin D intake are, a good quality supplement (kid versions available as well), and foods such as salmon, eggs, and mushrooms.

Vitamin D is vital for optimal health. It is important for:

  • Preventing disease and illness, including the common cold
  • Regulating mood
  • Reducing depression
  • Supporting immunity
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Preventing viral or bacterial upper respiratory infections
  • Eczema *especially in kids
  • Supporting healthy bones and teeth

How do you know if you are vitamin D deficient?

  • Fatigue
  • Frequently sick
  • Skin conditions
  • Depression
  • Hair and bone loss
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia

Be sure to visit your doctor if you are finding yourself suffering from some of these ailments, especially during the winter months.

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The liver is the second largest organ in your body and works really hard for you, day in and day out. It is responsible for cleaning up all the toxins that enter your body through food, and environment.

A healthy liver will protect you from awful health conditions, assists in digestion, and detoxify your blood from carcinogens, the toxic properties of alcohol, and other harmful things that make their way in.

This is an organ with a really big responsibility, but it can’t work if you don’t take care of it.

A healthy liver will:

  • Increase energy levels
  • Promote healthy skin
  • Boost your mood
  • Strengthen immunity
  • Improve digestion

Here’s how to love your liver!

Eat well

This one is obvious. Eating liver-friendly foods like beets, onions and leafy greens is the best way to keep your liver strong. Any foods that are high in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants do a great job in nourishing your liver.

Easy on the fats…

…Even the healthy fats. Although good fats like avocado and coconut oil are essential to a well balanced diet, they need to be consumed in moderation just like everything else. Too

Consume minimal alcohol

Keep this one in mind as we enter holiday season. No need to ditch your occasional glass of wine, but regular consumption of alcohol can have a negative impact on your liver.

H2O

Many find it difficult to drink water all the time but this is one of the best ways to flush your liver of all the toxins that accumulate while it’s at work.

Image:

https://naturalon.com

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It’s the day after Halloween and the kids seem totally run down! They had a rough sleep, whined all the way to school, and will probably come home moody and sluggish.

Every so often we feel like a nice detox is in order. It might be after a big holiday meal, or just a fun-filled weekend of poor food and partying. Kids need it too, especially after binging on bite-sized snack bars all evening.

No, I am definitely not suggesting you have your child live off carrot juice and sunflower seeds for seven days. The kind of cleanse I am referring to is a few consecutive days of whole foods, and overall healthy living.

Here are the basics:

Clear the House of Junk

I know it’s the day after Halloween but try not to leave bowls of candy out as a free for all. Out of sight, out of mind so put it away for special treats. While you’re at it, rid the house of any other refined sugar there may be lying around. This includes things like white bread and other packaged, starchy goods you may have on hand.

Smoothies

This is the best way to get kids their necessary nutrients. Hide some kale (I find the taste hides better than spinach but try both), add some citrus, a great detox aid, and feel free to give them 2-3 glasses a day. Here’s a great source for kid-friendly smoothies: Super Healthy Kids

NO Sugar

I know I hinted at this already but it can’t be stressed enough. We are trying to rid those little bodies of all the sugar from Halloween so a few days of no refined sugar will do them a world of good. Here are a few common items with tons of sugar:

  • Breakfast cereals
  • Flavoured yogurt
  • Granola bars
  • Muffins
  • Cookies
  • Juice boxes

Sleep

Make sleep a priority. Their little bodies are going through a lot of work trying to get rid of all that sugar so give them the extra rest they need. Try and limit screen time and encourage calming activities like a walk outside, meditation, or some good reading.

Pre-packaged food

Preservatives along with too much sugar make for a really poor immune system and will leave your child feeling awfully rundown. Cook well-balanced meals, and avoid anything that is pre-made or comes out of a package.

 

Image: www.today.com

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Halloween is all about dressing up, having fun, and CANDY!!

If you’re the type of parent that let’s your kid binge on sugar after trick-or-treating, we aren’t judging but just keep in mind, that’s A LOT of sugar, and will take some work getting it out of their system.

If you’re the “mean parent” who takes it all away (to binge on yourself) that also has some negative effects since what’s the fun in going door to door knowing there will be no fruit to your labour?

As a nation we eat way too much sugar per year, and Halloween is a big part of that. For at least two weeks leading up to the holiday you’ll find those little irresistible, one-bite chocolate bars everywhere. After you’ll eat the candy your kids bring home, then probably venture out to pick up all the goodies that are inevitably on sale. Your pancreas is under some major stress at this time.

The best way to a healthier Halloween is to set an example and provide better options for kids in your neighbourhood. Most parents will appreciate your efforts so why not try out these alternatives to sugar-loaded treats.

Raisins

What kid doesn’t love raisins? These are always a hit so add the little boxes to your mix.

Chocolate Chips

Your local health food store is bound to sell these individually packaged chocolate chips at Halloween. These are a great dairy and nut free option!

Salty Snacks

Okay they aren’t healthy but, definitely better than candy and a lot of boxed stores will sell pretzels, and goldfish in small packaging, specifically to hand out at Halloween.

Non-edible treats

Play doh, stickers, erasers and other little toys can easily be found at the dollar store and are always a great favourite.

When the kids get home with all their loot try these quick tips to help them go easy on the sugar:

  • Sort through and have them pick their favourites (donate the rest)
  • Pick up a big jar and fill it for an occasional treat
  • If you’re really against halloween candy, a great option is Switch Witch*

Be sure to explain your reasoning with your children. It’s tough to have all that goodness taken away, but if they understand why it’s important to keep a balanced diet, you’ll be surprised at how accepting they can be (do not hold me to this)!

Tune in next week for some kid-friendly detox tips!

Happy Halloween!!!

*Switch Witch is a nice witch who comes to your house late at night while the children are sleeping, takes all their candy and swaps it for a toy.