Tag Archives: healthy-living

Motivational Monday!


Three Things Thursday Friday!

Happy Friday everyone!

I hope you had a great week! Here’s what up with me…

1. School finished last Friday! Which would be totally awesome, except that I’ve committed to teaching summer school for the month of July 😦 Its not all bad tho, the paycheck (when it arrives) is pretty sweet and I’m teaching Careers, which is a pretty easy course to get through. All but one of my 32 students is reaching ahead, so they are super keen and very hard working.

I am however, counting down the days…18 to go!


2. My 30 Day Healthy Lifestyle Challenge was super fun, but a lot more work than I had expected! Blogging for 30 days straight is tough! I hope you enjoyed the challenge, any suggestions for my next one?

3. I’m going to my first real Crossfit workout on Saturday! My sister is taking me to her box as a guest – I’m super excited, but very nervous!

Here’s our WOD:

Partner workout – 3 minutes each round per person followed by 3 minute break while the other partner does the work – 5 rounds total each = 30 minutes total

It will be continous so that the partner will take over where the other one leaves off.


12 Thrusters #95/65

8 Knee to Elbow

I will be sure to let you know what I think and how I make out, it’s going to be interesting!

Have a great weekend!

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #29 – Shop Local!

Good Morning, and welcome to our second last Healthy Lifestyle Challenge!


Hit up your local farmers market for local fresh produce.



According to my-market.ca, there are a number of benefits to shopping your local farmers market:

1. Taste Real Flavours: The fruits and vegetables you buy at the farmers’ market are the freshest and tastiest available. Fruits are allowed to ripen in the field and brought directly to you – no long-distance shipping, no gassing to simulate the ripening process, no sitting for weeks in storage. This food is as real as it gets – food fresh from the farm.

2. Enjoy the Season: The food you buy at the farmers’ market is seasonal. It is fresh and delicious and reflects the truest flavours. Shopping and cooking from the farmers market helps you to reconnect with the cycles of nature in your region. As you look forward to asparagus in spring, savour sweet corn in summer, or bake pumpkins in autumn, you reconnect with the earth, the weather, and the turning of the year.

3. Support Family Farmers: Family farmers are becoming increasingly rare as large agribusiness farms steadily take over food production in Canada. Small family farmers have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy.

4. Protect the Environment: Food travels an average of 2500 kms to get to your plate. All this shipping uses large amounts of natural resources (especially fossil fuels), contributes greatly to pollution and creates excess trash with extra packaging. Food at the farmers’ market is transported shorter distances and grown using methods that minimize the impact on the earth.

5. Nourish Yourself: Much food found in grocery stores is highly processed. The fresh produce you do find is often grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. In many cases it has been irradiated, waxed or gassed in transit. All of these practices have potentially damaging effects on the health of those who eat these foods. In contrast, most food found at the farmers’ market is minimally processed, and many of our farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by building their soil’s fertility and giving their crops the nutrients they need to flourish in the ground and nourish those who eat them.

6. Discover the Spice of Life – Variety: At the Farmers’ Market you find an amazing array of produce that you don’t see in your supermarket; red carrots, a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, green garlic, watermelon radishes and much much more. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience first hand the diversity (and biodiversity) of our planet, both cultivated and wild!

7. Know Where Your Food Comes From: A regular trip to a farmers’ market is one of the best ways to reconnect with where your food comes from. Farmers themselves sell their produce at the farm stands. Meeting and talking to farmers is a great opportunity to learn more about how food is grown, where it is grown, when it is grown and why!

8. Learn Cooking Tips, Recipes and Meal Ideas: Few grocery store cashiers or produce stockers will give you tips on how to cook the ingredients you buy, but farmers and vendors at the farmers’ market are often passionate cooks with plenty of free advice about how to cook the foods they are selling. They’ll give you ideas for what to have for supper, hand out recipes, and troubleshoot your culinary conundrums.

9. Connect with your Community: Wouldn’t you rather stroll amidst outdoor stalls of fresh produce on a sunny day than roll your cart around a grocery store with artificial lights and piped in music? Going to the Farmers’ Market makes shopping a pleasure rather than a chore. The Farmers’ Market is a community gathering place – a place to meet up with friends, bring your children or just get a taste of small-town life often in the midst of a City. Go to the farmers’ market and hear the buzz in the air!



Here are some great farmers market shopping tips from EVERYDAY Good Thinking

1. Know what’s in season

It’s important to know what’s in season where you live so you can have confidence what you are buying is local and fresh. You’ll find local, in-season produce tastes much better than their supermarket counterparts, and during peak season, you will see prices drop at the farmers market as more producers have similar products.

2. Take your time

It’s best not to rush at the farmers market. Think of your trip as an experience, not a chore. You can bring the kids (many markets have activities for children and have food vendors or entertainment, plus they can learn about food), or just grab a coffee and a freshly made donut and wander for a while before you shop. We recommend you do a lap of the market before purchasing. You will see many of the same offerings at different stands, so if you are looking for a good deal, it helps to peruse and comparison shop before you purchase.

3. Go early (and often)

You’ll find the best selection when the market first opens. The produce won’t be picked over yet, your favorite farm-fresh eggs will still be in stock. You’ll be better able to converse with the farmers without feeling rushed. If you go to the market regularly, you will learn what’s in season and get excited when you see the first local tomatoes hitting the stands. You’ll develop relationships with your food producers and feel even more comfortable asking questions.

4. Bring your own bags

One of the great advantages to shopping at the farmers market is you are supporting the environment through reduced emissions used to transport food. By meeting your farmer at the market directly, you greatly reduce waste. This is especially true if you bring your own reusable shopping bags, a large canvas tote, or a market basket. Many vendors don’t offer plastic bags and the ones that do are usually not very sturdy. You can also recycle your egg cartons or berry crates; just bring them back to the market the next week. Your farmers will be happy to reuse these supplies and grateful for your help.

5. Bring cash

Most farmers market vendors don’t accept credit cards, so bring cash and bring it in small bills if possible. Occasionally, food vendors or suppliers of more expensive products like housewares, wines, meats, or seafood will take cards, but you can play it safe by bringing cash.

6. Know your needs

Sometimes going to the farmers market is almost too much fun! It’s very easy to get caught up in all the beautiful colors and varieties of fruits and vegetables. To reduce the risk of extra food going bad and needing to be thrown out, think ahead about how many nights you plan to cook that week or how many meals you need to prepare. By thinking this through, you’ll have a better idea of how much you should take away from the market. Remember, if there is something you love, you can always buy in bulk (savings!) and preserve the food through one of the many preservation methods, such as canning, pickling or dehydrating.

7. Ask a lot of questions

The farmers at the markets are an underutilized resource for information. Ask as many questions as you can. Ask about how things are grown, ask if they are certified organic, and if they aren’t, ask why not. A lot of certifications are expensive, so farmers don’t get certified even though they may follow organic or natural processes. Feel comfortable asking about how weeds and insects are controlled or where the food is grown. If purchasing meat, you can ask about what the animals are fed and how they are kept. Farmers are often very proud of their work and are happy to answer your questions. Additionally, ask how they like to prepare the foods they sell. Who better to ask for advice than the person who eats, sleeps, and breathes their product!

8. Store foods properly

If you plan on running some other errands after the market or you want to drop off your food and go back to enjoy the festivities, consider bringing a cooler and ice packs along. This will ensure your frozen meats don’t thaw and your herbs don’t wilt. If you aren’t sure how to store your goods, ask the farmers when you buy them. They will be able to give you some tips.

9. Buy ugly stuff

These days, we are so used to how fruits and vegetables look under the bright lights of the grocery store. They are often shiny, plastic-wrapped, or pre-chopped, and there is not a speck of dirt to be found. It is different at the farmers market since many of these foods were picked, pulled, or cut that same morning. Some foods may have had a rudimentary washing, but many will still have some natural leftover dirt from Mother Nature. Weird looking carrots or apples will often taste the best, so don’t pass over an item for minor visual imperfections. The more you shop, the more comfortable you will become with what food looks like directly from the source.

10. Have fun and be flexible

This is the most important tip of all. Farmers markets are all about finding what’s in season, so if you were planning on buying squash and the crop just isn’t in yet, you’ll be out of luck. Keep your shopping plan flexible and make substitutions as necessary. Also, have fun with your purchases. Try new things you’ve never had before and you may just end up with a new favorite food!

Head out to your local farmers market and taste the difference freshness makes!


Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #25 – It’s Getting Hot Out There!

Wow! I can’t believe is is already the 25th of June…crazy!


TODAY’S CHALLENGE is designed to increase your awareness. As temperatures rise it us important to:

learn the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses.

Why and How?

Heat illnesses become more common as the weather gets hotter, especially for children and the elderly. What can start out as simple thirst and fatigue can quickly progress into something much more serious.


It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.


Be prepared, stay cool and stay safe! Enjoy the sunshine!

Motivational Monday – Good, Better, Best!


Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #24 – Workout Your Brain




Your body isn’t the only thing that needs a workout – your brain also needs stimulation to stay in top shape. It is believed that by exercising your brain, you can create a “cognitive reserve” that will help you stay sharp as you age and reduce the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that doing just one brain boosting workout a week can reduce the risk of dementia by 7% – increase the frequency and you can reduce your risk by up to 63%!


It’s easy, do at least one of these brain boosting activates today (and hopefully everyday for the rest of your life!)

  • do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle
  • play a board game
  • play cards
  • read
  • write for pleasure
  • play a musical instrument
  • do the Rubik’s cube for 15 minutes
  • knit
  • garden
  • play chess

Don’t forget, physical activity is also good for the brain so get out there and do your 30 minutes of activity today!

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #22 – Cut Down on Screen Time

This WEEK’S CHALLENGE is to cut down on screen time.


It’s hard to live a healthy lifestyle sitting in front of a screen!

According to Stats Canada, the average Canadian watches 2 hours and 52 minutes of TV a day. Add to that the hour and 24 minutes they spend in front of the computer and the 2 hours and 20 minutes playing online or video games, and you’re spending about 6 hours and 45 minutes in front the a screen each day.

And let’s not forget about all of the snacking and mindless eating that happens in front of a screen!



Linit screen time to 2 hours per day.

Establish family rules for TV watching and computer use.

Set clear limits.

Plan TV time – turn on the TV when there is a specific show you would like to watch and turn it off when the show is over.

Plan alternate activities – go for a walk or a bike ride, read a book or play a board game as a family.

Remember, this challenge will last the whole week, so, step away from the computer/iPad/iPhone, turn off the TV, and do something productive!

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #21 – Loosen Up!

WooHoo! It’s Friday!


As we approach the end of yet another busy week, I encourage you to take full advantage of TODAY’S CHALLENGE and….



According to the Mayo Clinic (via About.com Physical Therapy) the top five benefits of stretching include:

Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes, or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring. Flexibility tends to diminish as you get older, but you can regain and maintain it.

Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Blood flowing to your muscles brings nourishment and gets rid of waste by-products in the muscle tissue. Improved circulation can help shorten your recovery time if you’ve had any muscle injuries.

Frequent stretching can help keep your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain a proper posture. Good posture can minimize discomfort and keep aches and pains at a minimum.

Stretching relaxes tight, tense muscles that often accompany stress.

Maintaining the full range-of-motion through your joints keeps you in better balance. Coordination and balance will help keep you mobile and less prone to injury from falls, especially as you get older.


It is essential to practice proper stretching techniques. Doing so will allow you to avoid any unnecessary injury. Tips to proper stretching technique include the following:

Stretching muscles when they’re cold increases your risk of pulled muscles. Warm up by walking while gently pumping your arms, or do a favorite exercise (jogging, cycling) at low intensity for five minutes.

It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds — and up to 60 seconds for a really tight muscle or problem area. That can seem like a long time, so wear a watch or keep an eye on the clock to make sure you’re holding your stretches long enough. For most of your muscle groups, if you hold the stretches for at least 30 seconds, you’ll need to do each stretch only once.

Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears (microtears) in the muscle, which leave scar tissue as the muscle heals. The scar tissue tightens the muscle even further, making you even less flexible — and more prone to pain.

If you feel pain as you stretch, you’ve gone too far. Back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain, then hold the stretch.

Don’t hold your breath while you’re stretching

Make sure your joint range of motion is as equal as possible on each side of your body

Light stretching after your warm-up followed by a more thorough stretching regimen after your workout is your best bet

Here are some great stretches you can do everyday to help increase your flexibility for a healthier lifestyle:


Happy Stretching!
Have a great weekend!

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #20 – Put an End to Late Night Snacking

Hey everyone! How’s it going?

How are you making out with these daily challenges?

Are you drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water?

Are you getting 30 minutes if physical activity each day?

What about breakfast – are you eating it daily?

Establishing healthy lifestyle habits takes time and CONSISTENCY. Stick with these healthy behaviours for 3 to 4 weeks and they will (hopefully) become part of your lifestyle!



Stop eating 3 hours before you go to bed.


Although there are differing opinions on eating before bed – most often it’s what you eat as opposed to when you eat that is the problem.

But…Eating too close to bedtime can:

Cause sleep disturbances – high fat or spicy foods can lead to heartburn when you lie down, drinking too much can cause you to wake to go pee and the general too-full feeling just causes discomfort and can make falling asleep difficult.

Increase your body fat stores – Eating too much food, especially carbohydrates, late at night can cause your body to store fat because your body is not moving to burn them off

Increase your insulin levels – eating high glycemic carbs (pasta, white rice, sugar) can cause your insulin levels to spike which stops fat loss and causes weight gain

Stop the production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) – eating high glycemic index foods also causes your body to stop producing HGH – the fat burning and muscle building super-hormone released in your sleep


  • eat breakfast within one hour of waking up 
  • eat every 3 hours during the day
  • eat a healthy and nutritious dinner including protein, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables
  • drink water with your dinner
  • clean up right after dinner and put leftovers away  
  • wipe down the counters and turn off the kitchen lights – close down the kitchen
  • brush your teeth after dinner
  • if you feel the urge to eat – have a glass of water, go for a walk or go to bed and read a book


Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #19 – Are you Getting Enough?

Happy Hump Day everyone!  I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday!

TODAY’S CHALLENGE is to fill up on fiber!



Fiber is fabulous for so many reasons:

  • it aids in weight loss because fiber fills you up so you eat less overall
  • it helps regulate blood sugar levels and thereby decreasing your chances of developing diabetes
  • it helps keep you regular
  • is decreases your risk of heart disease and stroke by helping lower cholesterol levels
  • it helps protect against colon cancer by helping food pass through your system faster preventing harmful substances found in foods from affecting the colon


  • Bite into your favourite fruits and vegetables; choose whole grain bread, cereal, or pasta; or eat some beans!
  • Be sure to eat both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps both your cholesterol and blood glucose levels, while insoluble fiber helps food move through your digestive tract.


  • Women should be getting between 28-32 grams of fiber daily, while men should be getting about 35-40 grams per day.

Here is a list of high fiber foods:


Don’t forget to drink your water – eating fiber without drinking water can have a negative effect on the body 😦

Have a great day!