So what’s with all the panic regarding ticks lately?
It’s hard to even mention a potential hike or picnic without someone piping in about these pesky little creatures.
The reality is blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks) are for real, and they have the potential to carry a very serious illness called Lyme disease. I say potential because not all ticks carry the virus and just because you come in contact with one doesn’t mean you have been infected. That being said, Lyme disease is becoming more and more of a concern so it’s important to be aware of a few things before heading into the grasslands.
Where are Ticks?
Ticks normally prowl in tall grassy fields, usually at the very tip of the grass, waiting for a human or animal to pass by to latch. They can also be found in forests, or bushes, mainly areas that are damp.
Lately ticks have even been spotted in neighborhood parks so keep an eye out.
How to Avoid Tick Bites
Wear long pants tucked into socks when out in areas where ticks may be.
Wear light-coloured clothing to spot them easier.
Use insect repellent containing DEET
Double-check yourself after your walk
Check your pets for ticks and speak to your veterinarian about tick prevention
How to Remove a Tick
If you find a tick attached to you use tweezers to gently grasp it as close to your skin as possible. Do not use your fingers because you will not have a secure grip on the tick.
- Pull the tick straight up, making sure not to squish it.
- You want to make sure that you have removed the entire tick including the head.
- Put the tick in a ziplock bag to send in for Lyme testing.
- Clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Muscle and joint pain
If you come in contact with a tick do not panic because they are not necessarily carrying the virus but make sure to seek medical attention just in case. If Lyme disease is suspected you may be prescribed a round of antibiotics. Early detection is very important.
A great resource is Telehealth Ontario, a free service available 24/7.
Call toll free at 1-866-797-0000
If you are planning a trip by the ocean this summer you are probably really looking forward to some rejuvenating beach days. Sea water is not only an enjoyable way to pass your summer vacation, but it is also incredibly good for you.
Historically, doctors would recommend that people who were ill spend some time by the ocean because of all the great benefits that come from not only swimming in the water, but also from the air.
Soaking up some vitamin D, enjoying the warmth of the sand between your toes, and getting a great tan are basics of a salt water vacation. If you are lucky enough to head to the beach, here are the perks:
You will find that your skin is glowing from exfoliation that happens while swimming in the ocean. For some extra smooth skin, rub some sand all over your body and go for a dip.
Seawater contains amazing minerals and vitamins, amino acids and living microorganisms that have antibacterial properties to help promote a stronger immune system. These are absorbed through the water while swimming, and inhaled through the mist in the air.
Improve circulation by swimming in salt water. Seawater therapy is commonly used for blood circulation by restoring essential minerals; an issue that arises due to a poor diet, poisons in the environment, and stress.
Seawater is rich in magnesium which is essential for common ailments like poor sleep, anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, and various inflammatory diseases. A good dose of ocean life will leave you feeling better, overall.
The squat, also known as “the king of exercises”, is the first exercise you ever did as a child and you probably didn’t even know it. In some countries, people squat well into adulthood, and master their form while the rest of us must relearn it through exercise.
You will have a hard time finding a workout that doesn’t include this versatile exercise.
Commonly used as a leg exercise, the squat is actually a full body workout as it engages the back, core, hips, shoulders and arms, when done properly.
Check out this great video on the History of the Squat.
Benefits of the Squat
- Gain strength
- Lose weight
- Improve posture
- Actively engage all muscles
- Strengthen bones
- Strengthen joints
- Improve balance
- Strengthen entire body and prevent injury
- Increase flexibility
- Improve mobility
Avoid knee and back pain by squatting properly. Here’s how:
- Keep your body balanced and stable
- Back straight and hips mobile
- Squat down until your hips are below your knees, keep back neutral
- Keep knees in line with hips and feet
- Squat back up
Lavender is filled with health benefits and is becoming more and more popular through the use of essential oils (if you haven’t yet, check out aromatherapy boutique Saje), and various other natural healing methods. This beautiful flower not only smells amazing, but it’s a sure way to calm nerves, and give you a good night’s rest.
Mood Boost: Balance your mood through the use of essential oils. Soothe Stress and anxiety by rubbing a few drops of lavender oil on your temples.
Anti-Inflammatory: Have you ever taken a lavender soak? A lavender-infused bath is not only a relaxing way to relieve stress, but an incredible anti-inflammatory for your entire body, which can also soothe sore muscles. Try a natural, lavender bath bomb for an extra treat.
Sleep Better: Since lavender calms you down, you’ll notice a much better sleep pattern once you introduce it to your self-care routine. Try defusing or sip on a lavender tea before bed. Rub dry lavender leaves on your pillow and indulge in the beautiful scents that surround you while you sleep.
Antiseptic: Lavender has antibacterial properties and can be found in many cleaning solutions for a natural alternative to chemical-infused products. Pick up a big bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap and use it for everything from bathing, to floor cleaning.
Culinary: Cook with it, bake with it, substitute it for rosemary in meat rubs or marinades. We receive the same benefits when we eat this beautiful flower, so get creative. For some really great lavender recipes go here.
Have you noticed all the local farmer’s markets opening up? They are a great resource for berries, because they are fresh, taste extra sweet, and just so happen to be in season—as you know by now, we love that!
If you’re like me, you get home and eat right through your box of strawberries as you’re unpacking groceries. With any luck, you’ve stocked up and have lots to spare for the rest of the family.
Berries are jam-packed with health benefits like antioxidants (great for memory and liver function), and fiber (crucial for proper digestion).
If you have extra berries, here are some great ways to incorporate them into your meals:
- Top them over your cereal
- Make a berry compote. Get a great recipe here
- Add them to your smoothie—mmm, fresh berries first thing in the morning!
- Add them to savoury salads—trust me it’s the best thing you’ll ever eat.
- Bake with them—who doesn’t love a warm blueberry muffin.
- Grilled scewers are a great hit at any bbq- stick some strawberries, pineapple, and grapes on a stick and you are ready to go.
- Add raspberries to plain quinoa with a light drizzle of maple syrup for an energy-boosting snack.
- Fruit salad topped with Greek yogurt.
- Make vinaigrette, it’s easier than you think. Try this recipe.
- If by some miracle you have so many, they are at risk of going bad, freeze them to use later.
You’ve just finished a great workout, you’re feeling amazing, and you’re starving for a snack!!! You’re sort of torn because it’s 8pm and you’re always hearing about how bad it is to eat past 7. Do you go to bed and hope to sleep through the hunger pains, or do you break the no late snack rule?
There is a lot of truth to the claim that eating late will hurt your waistline, but it’s not as black and white as you think. Yes, a bag of chips, or slice of pizza is probably not a good idea, but settling for healthy snacks, in appropriate quantities, can actually benefit you–remember, you keep burning calories for hours after you finish your workout.
Try and eat at least one hour before going to bed to give your body a chance to process the food. Here are some of our go-to snacks for a late night workout:
Greek Yogurt (plain)
This is the perfect healthy snack because it’s great for your heart, bones and muscles. It’s rich and creamy, but won’t harm your fitness/weight goals. Top with hemp hearts for an extra protein boost.
Apple with Nut or Seed Butter
This is always a healthy favourite for post-workout snacks. The apple and nut/seed butter usually go hand in hand as the fiber from the nuts helps to balance the sugar from the apple.
Obviously know your limits when indulging, but a good quality piece of dark chocolate is always a good idea when you want a late night snack, especially when you’re having a sweet craving.
This snack is low carb, high protein, and deliciously satisfying
*Healthy Tip: Don’t be afraid to go for “full fat” cottage cheese. It normally contains less than 6 grams of fat, which will help keep you full longer.
Fermented Coconut Milk
Get your GI track in order with a dose of probiotics with this delicious drink, which contains only 70 calories per serving.
Pain is something we like to remedy quickly, especially the common nuisance ones, like headaches, that can be kicked by simply popping an Advil or Tylenol.
With conditions such as frequent migraines, sore muscles, or gastrointestinal issues, getting to the root of the problem is the best way to beat them naturally. At the root of these problems is usually inflammation of some sort.
Inflammation happens when your immune system senses an injury, unknown bacteria, damaged cells, or virus and reacts before any more damage can be done to your body.
The pain you feel, is your body’s way of fighting. To heal this inflammation, there are some amazing natural ingredients, you may or may not already be using in your diet.
Here is a list of natural painkillers and how they are good for you:
- Salmon is high in omega 3s, which helps reduce inflammation
- Although omegas can be obtained from plant sources, cold-water fish is easiest for your body to absorb
- Reduce your risk of inflammatory-related diseases like arthritis, cancer, and various forms of heart disease
- Healthy fat as it’s monounsaturated
- Reduces inflammation
- Perfectly balanced with healthy fat, fiber, and protein
- An ancient pain remedy
- Rich in sulfur-containing compounds, which helps against inflammation
- Also a great stress reliever
- Ginger can fight pain before it even takes over your body, and can also reverses inflammation once pain has set in.
- Helps with inflammatory ailments such as arthritis, and rheumatism when consumed regularly
If you’re registered for our first ever Fitbox Bootcamp this Friday, you’re in for a real treat… or rather a real sweat!! The first 30 minutes of the class will focus on circuit type training, which when paired with our popular calorie-blasting Fitbox, combines cardio and strength training for optimal results.
If you are unfamiliar with circuit type training, here are some benefits you can look forward to:
Challenges your Entire Body
Although Fitbox is already a full-body workout on its own, incorporating highly intense, bootcamp-style elements such as skipping, and band exercises, guarantees the use of all major and minor muscle groups.
Your first Fitbox class ever probably introduced you to muscles you didn’t even know existed… we are kicking it up a notch or two so that you’ll be rediscovering those muscles and many others. Circuit training gives you maximum results in a short amount of time.
If you’re looking to gain lean muscle and tone, one of the best ways to accomplish this is through strength training. Lifting weights has also been known to help with issues such as high-blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
…but isn’t Fitbox already fun? Somehow we’ve amped up the fun!! See you Friday!
Sodium is the chemical element in salt, which helps bring out the flavours in our food. It is an essential nutrient and we need it to survive, but being mindful of how much we ingest is very important.
The recommended dose of salt per day is 1.5 to 2 teaspoons, and that’s total. The standard North American diet contains much more than this and most of it is hidden in our pre-packaged, store bought food. Diets that are high in sodium are drastically linked to health conditions such as high-blood pressure and heart disease. Knowing how much salt you consume on a daily basis is the first step in learning how to manage quantity. If you determine that your intake is too high, follow these simple steps to a low-sodium life.
- Avoid Prepared Foods and cook as many meals from scratch as possible so you know how much salt is going into them.
- Decrease Gradually so you don’t notice that your meals are getting less and less salty. It can be very difficult to go from plenty of salt to little or none as your food will taste very bland.
- Buy Fresh, Frozen, or Canned vegetables that specify, “no salt added”.
- Keep the Salt Shaker Off the Table, out of sight, out of mind.
- Add Fresh Lemon Juice to foods such as fish, vegetables and rice, then skip the salt altogether.
- Sodium-Rich Condiments like ketchup, mustard and relish should be used in moderation, or look for an organic, home-style brand that uses little or no salt.
- Limit Salty Snacks like potato chips, pretzels and salted nuts.
- Use Plenty of Herbs and Spices to bring out the flavour in your food.
Once you are able to cook meals that are low in sodium you will notice a difference in the way you view food. By limiting salt, which can be so overpowering, you are welcoming the true flavours in food that you didn’t even know existed, and most importantly you are doing your body a service. Your health will thank you.
If you’ve ever been to see a nutritionist, you’ll know they are very gung-ho about their seeds. They’ll tell you to sprinkle them on everything, and you’ll probably decide to brush off this advice…but you shouldn’t! Seeds are tiny but they are fierce, being jam-packed with essential nutrients for a well-balanced lifestyle.
Each seed has a benefit, and each type can be used in a different way. When in doubt, or if you don’t like the taste, toss them in a soup or smoothie, but don’t neglect them.
Here is a list of super seeds to add to your meals on a daily basis.
Believe it or not sesame seeds are a great source of protein, zinc and antioxidants. Sesame oil has been used for ages for its nutritional value and lovely mild taste.
Chia seeds are very high in iron and folate, which are essential nutrients a well balanced diet. They are great for bone strength as they are also high in calcium and magnesium. Add a teaspoon to your smoothie for a great start to your day.
If you have irregular bowl movements you’ll want to hide some fiber-rich flaxseeds into everything you’re eating. Not only do they make you regular but they leave you feeling full longer, are packed with omega fatty acids, and have been known to boost eye health.
Feeling anxious? Pop some pumpkin seeds in your mouth can lower anxiety levels as they are high in the amino acid tryptophan. They are a tasty snack and a great way to up your intake of iron, zinc, magnesium, and B vitamins.
This complete protein, rich in omega fatty acids, promotes healthy hair and skin. Hemp Hearts are quite popular now and can be sprinkled on pretty much everything, from your morning smoothie to your dinner salad. Not only do they add a nice crunch to your meal, they help lower cholesterol as well.
Sunflower seeds are great to help boost immunity, so if you find yourself getting sick often, stock up of these. They are an excellent source of folate, and vitamin E.