Sunday, 31 March 2013

There's What in My Granola Bar?!

If you are anything like me you grew up with the good old Quaker Oats Chewy Granola Bars always on your lunchbox, the pantry, the picnic my Home growing up they were always thought to be a good healthy snack.  Well guess again!!

Upon further research, and re-reading the ingredients from my old-favourite Quaker Oats Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bar (now knowing how to properly read said ingredients list) I realized that eating one of these snacks was not much better than eating a mass-produced Chocolate Candy Bar!  In the ingredients there are 8 sources of Sugar listed (totaling 7 grams or 2 tsps of refined sugar) and though claiming to be Trans-fat Free, they also contain Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oils (which are in fact trans-fats!).  Trans-fats cause your LDL (bad) Cholesterol levels to raise and your HDL (good) Cholesterol to lower, having an adverse effect on the health of your heart.  These tiny bars of seduction also contain only 1 gram of Fibre even though the manufacturer touts their Greatness for being made with only Whole Grains!  So what is a busy person such as yourself who is always on-the-go and often in need of a quick healthy snack to do??  Keep reading and find out!  

Fortunately my friend Jeremie introduced me to a Delicious, Easy and Healthful alternative to these over-processed convenience foods.  Just make your own!  Jeremie modified a recipe from for 'No-Bake Energy Bites' into delicious homemade Granola Bars that you can even add your own fun, tasty and healthy ingredients too if you like!  You can find the link to the original recipe in the Sources Section below.

Jeremie's No-Bake Granola Bars


4 C Quick Oats (I have also used Spelt Flakes in the past and they worked just as well!)
1 1/3 Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
2 C Natural Peanut Butter/Almond Butter
2 C Ground Flaxseed
1 1/3 C Raw Unpasteurized Honey
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract


Wrap a layer of Cling wrap around a large baking sheet, and set aside.  Stir all ingredients together in a Large Bowl (I use my wok) and mix together till all ingredients are blended well (best to use a pair of clean hands for this because you're likely to break your wooden spoon in the thick of it all!).  Scoop mixture onto baking sheet and spread evenly.  Cling wrap over top of mixture once spread.  Use the roll from your aluminum foil (or something else that is hard and cylindrical) to really press the ingredients down and gel them together...don't be afraid to put your weight into it.  Once the ingredients are compressed well, place sheet in fridge for 30 mins to harden.  After 30 mins remove from fridge, unwrap and cut into bars.  Re-wrap individually with Cling Wrap and store in fridge or freezer until you want a snack.  Will keep for up to a week in the fridge, longer in freezer (though they have never lasted more than 2-3 weeks in my freezer so I can't speak for how long before they get freezer burnt).

Yield: Between 12-20 Bars (depending on how big you cut them)

One thing that I love about this recipe is that you can add in additional ingredients to your hearts content!  Some of the extra ingredients I have added are Walnuts, Goji Berries, Cacao Nibs, Protein Powder (both plain and chocolate-flavoured).  So you can see that this recipe can be as versatile and flexible as you want it to be!  Have fun experimenting with your own combinations and please send along any superb concoctions you come up with..I always Love to try new food adventures!

If the above recipe seems daunting or time-consuming to you, have no fear, there are less processed granola bars on the market now (not like back in the day when I as a young whipper-snapper was eating at least one a day).  When perusing the Granola Bar aisle (yes the options take up almost an entire aisle now!) look for an option that is lower in sugar (10 grams or less), has only a few ingredients (steer clear of those ingredients you can't pronounce), is trans-fat free and contains at least 3-4 grams of Fibre. If you are not sure how your favourite stacks up to other bars on the market, check out this nutritional info website to learn more

Be Happy, Be Healthy! 


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Yoga Show Extravaganza!!!

Another Yoga Conference & Show has come and gone, and of course all too quickly. L I feel like this year it went by SUPER fast.  But I am sure this is because I spent much more of my time this year in Seminars and Workshops then on the Exhibition Floor.  

For those of you who have not yet had the opportunity to attend this Show, it is a 3-day Yoga-Extravaganza that this year included 70 workshops, 200 Exhibitors and a huge ‘Yoga Garden’ in the center of the Expo floor with FREE yoga classes happening all day Friday through Sunday!  The Exhibitors included Yoga Clothing Retailers, Natural Health Stores, and Locally-made Healthy Goodies!  There was even a Healthy Food Court with a Juice Bar and SUPER affordable and tasty eats, like Govinda’s Indian Food (which was boasting a heaping combo plate for only $8!).
I had the opportunity to attend a hand-full of the Yoga Garden classes, including some with the likes of Leslie Kaminoff (Yoga-Anatomy Guru) and Sadie Nardini (Yoga Rockstar Extraordinaire!).  I even got to take part in a Havan Practice (or Fire Ceremony) cleansing me of my unwanted uncertainty about the Future.  I enjoyed a sampling of each of the Food options on offer, did a tad bit of shopping and “Hung Around” the Flying Yogi booth for a bit too! (

On Friday I even had the good fortune to run into a fellow Yoga-Teacher Friend, whom I hadn’t seen since moving to Newfoundland!  We enjoyed a Lovely lunch together and had the opportunity to catch up on the comings and goings of the past year.

My Workshops were an eclectic blend this year.  When I received my Workshop Catalog back at the end of 2012 (I was SOOO Excited when it arrived!) I remember I made quite the deliberation trying to decide which ones to take.  And I think I still ended changing my mind a few times before I actually registered for!  Because of the uncertain nature of my Future in Bali (and having never been there before) I had no idea at the time what workshops would be of use to me there, so in the end I decided to focus on my Passions in Yoga and areas I felt I could use some upgrading.  So in the end I registered for a Ayurveda & Yoga seminar with Madhuri Phillips (Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and Yoga Teacher,, a Partner Flow Yoga seminar with Kaelyn Wong and Sebastian Kowalik (of 8 Limbs, 2 Hearts Yoga, and 2 day-long Yoga Anatomy Workshops with Dr. Ray Long (Ortho-surgeon and creator of Bandha Yoga).  Each of these workshops provided me with new knowledge, inspired me to continue growing in that aspect of Yoga and they were all Fun to Boot!  I was particularly inspired by Ray Long’s Anatomy workshops ( and his use of simple tweaks to familiar poses to deepen the stretch and bring a new sense of challenge and muscle memory into play with each hold. 

The great thing about this event (and Yoga events in general I think) is that everyone I encountered was kind, generous and open-hearted and –minded!  My friend, Tiffany and I shared a table on Friday with several Lovely people as the Food Court filled (we even joked that the other two chairs at our table were revolving), I chatted in the Lounge areas with other Yogis about the workshops they were taking, spent a good 45 mins chatting to two Lovely Ladies on the MTCC floor while we ate our lunches and even went out for drinks and nachos post-Yoga show with a few people from my last Workshop.  I even saw Yoga-lebrity Seane Corn sitting on the floor (near the washrooms no less!) eating her lunch! 

One thing is for sure, I feel very blessed not only to have had the opportunity to attend this years’ Yoga Show, but to be a part of this Global Community of Folks with Big, Open-Hearts!
Who knows, maybe I will bump into You next year at the Show!  Save the Date: March 27-30, 2014! ( 

Have you got an inspiring, heart-warming or funny Yogi encounter/event to share?  Please share below in the comments!  And don’t be shy to like, share and subscribe! ;)

Be Healthy, Be Happy!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Travelling Tips for Eating Healthy..Learn from My Mistakes!

So I have now safely arrived back on the Mainland, and have begun my Whirlwind Tour of Ontario, visiting many friends and family in Southern-Ontario while here.  My last few days in Nfld were bustling with packing the last few items, signing over our vehicle, mailing things back to my In-Laws, etc, etc.  One of the things I had meant to get too but unfortunately fell through the cracks L was popping into my Local Bulk Barn to pick up some travel-friendly, healthy snack-age for my day-long trip from St. John’s, Nfld to Grey County, Ontario (roughly half way between Orangeville and Owen Sound).  This sadly didn’t happen because I just flat ran out of time the day before my departure and left very early on Tuesday morning, leaving no time for that “quick stop on the way to the airport” Bulk Barn trip.  Not making that shopping trip a priority  lead me to feel tired, unsatisfied and generally icky for the better part of my Tuesday or Trip Day (which included 7 hrs on a plane, then a cab, train, bus and car ride to get to my final destination). So I have included for you below “Jess’s Travel Tips for Healthy Eating!” so that the next time you are travelling (whether around the bay to Grandma’s house or on a 26-hour flight to Hanoi) you will arrive feeling refreshed, energized and ready for your next Adventure!

Jess’s Travel Tips for Healthy Eating!
   Make Eating Well while Travelling a Priority - (after reading my above post this may seem like a no brainer) Before travelling make an effort to think about the Journey ahead and pack a few healthy snacks for the trip **Especially if you are Vegetarian, Vegan or have any Diet Restrictions as planes, trains and rest-stop fare may not meet your needs. Some examples of Healthy Easy-to-Pack Snacks are Trail Mix, Dehydrated Fruit, Raw Almonds, Homemade Granola Bars, and I am sure you can think of more ideas too!
2.     Always ALWAYS Remember your Water Bottle – I cannot stress this enough!  Whether you are travelling by car, plane, train or bus the air tends to get very dry and sucks the moisture right out of your skin.  Our skin is the largest organ of the body, so if it feels parched you can only imagine what your other organs are going through!  Also by bringing your own water bottle you are more likely to drink regularly from it throughout your trip, which is not only good for your body (aids in hydration and digestion) but also has a positive impact on your pocket book and the environment too (no need to purchase bottled water for you!).  No matter what I have on the go during the day I never leave Home without my reusable water bottle, it’s a great habit to adopt not only for travel, but the everyday!
3.   Shop Around - When mealtime hits and you find yourself stopped at a Restaurant/Food Court/Chip Truck at the side of the road, take a few minutes and shop your options to find something to eat that is not only Nutritious but Satisfying too!  By taking that few extra minutes (even if you are like me and your stomach has taken over your brain and is crying out for you to fill it as quickly as possible with whatever you can get your hands on) you will usually find healthier items/combinations than if you just automatically ordered what you would normally have when eating at that establishment or choosing the food court stall you eat at most frequently.  Who knows there could be Delectable Quinoa Salad around the next shelf corner which would fuel you so much more completely than those greasy French fries, and all you have to do is look. 
4.   It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask – If you find yourself at a Restaurant/Other Eating Establishment that doesn’t offer many Healthy options or perhaps you are like me and have a Dietary Restriction, don’t be afraid to ask if the cook can whip you up something which isn’t on the menu (like a yummy vegan stir fry!) or ask to have an extra side of veggies or a salad instead of your fries.  Remember you should have at least 1 serving of veggies with every meal, not just when its’ convenient! ;)

These are just a few tips that have been reaffirmed for me in this first leg of my Journey to Bali.  How do you make sure you eat well when travelling?  Please share your comments and experiences below!

Stay tuned for my next blog post on my experience at the Toronto Yoga Show and Conference, taking a quick break at the Show now to write this post and looking forward to sharing my experiences with you all in the next few days!

Eat Healthy, Be Happy!

Monday, 18 March 2013

42 Days of Travel, 42 Days of Yoga!!

As I am wrapping up my time here in St. John's, NL and begin to look ahead towards my new adventure in Bali, Indonesia, I have to remind myself that I still have over a month from the day I leave Newfoundland (early tomorrow morning - March 19th) to arriving in Bali and being reunited with my Husband (hopefully by the April 28th).  In the 'In-Between Time' I will largely be in one continuous transitory holding, travelling first to (and around) Ontario to visit Family & Friends (while there I will also be taking in the Yoga Show..SOO Excited!!) and then to sunny Port Charlotte, Florida to visit my Parents (who since retiring have become Snowbirds hehe) and then onto Koh Tao, Thailand for 7-10 days of visiting with my friends and Yoga Teachers before Finally arriving (hopefully acclimatized to the drastic temp. difference between Nfld and Bali).

My Husband and I have done our fair share of travelling in the 7 years we have spent sharing adventures together (this is a pic of us at the top of a very foggy mountain in Nepal!), and I have noticed in those transitory times of ours that my Yoga Practice has suffered.  Must be the excitement and newness of our ever-changing surroundings, but when we travel I find even when I bring my mat with me that I don't find my way there regularly (or sadly, depending on the length of our trip at all!). Keeping this in mind I have decided to set the intention to practice Yoga (in some form) EVERYDAY of my Journey. I am anticipating roughly 42 days of travel before reaching Bali, my final destination, so that will mean 42 days of Yoga too! Beware I may be posting some comical Airport-Yoga pics in the near future!  ;)

By stepping onto the mat regularly (and this doesn't have to be daily, anywhere from 2-4 times a week will grant you surprising benefits) you will reap a whole host of physical benefits, such as increased strength, flexibility, better posture not to mention better breathing and circulation of the blood too!  But you may also find that you develop some marvelous side effects like an ability to better cope with stress, a calmer mind, better sleep patterns, more balanced emotions and a more mindful approach to your eating habits(I had to fit something food-related in here somehow lol).  When you add up all of these things it's astounding that everyone isn't rolling out their mats once a day! Why with the benefits to practitioners (both physical and mental) isn't every business implementing regular 'Asana-Breaks' (people still get regular smoke breaks after all and Yoga-Breaks are far better for You!)?  Maybe one day we'll get there but for now we have to take responsibility for our own Well-being by getting onto the mat regularly, even if just for a few mins.  Useful Tip: Try leaving your Yoga Mat out and unrolled somewhere that you will pass by a few times during the day, this gives you more incentive to actually use it, can you hear's calling your name! lol
See the links below for more info on how a regular Yoga practice can help you in all aspects of your Life.

And keep your eyes peeled for more posts on my 'Personal Yoga Challenge'! Also stay tuned for a post 'Coming Soon!' on my experiences/adventures at this years' Yoga Conference & Show being held in Toronto, Ontario! (

Eat Healthy, Be Happy!! *And get on your mat! ;)

Sources & Links:,0

Friday, 15 March 2013

I Love Fortuitous Events!!

Yesterday was a very BIG day!  It was my last day of teaching Yoga at Shakti Yoga Studio before leaving Newfoundland for my next Adventure, it marked the completion of my first (of many!) Yoga & Nutrition Courses and my Best Friend got to tag along for the ride too!

Me with My Beautiful Nutrition Yogis!

But something else really cool also happened too!  After a long 'Day in the Life of a Yoga Teacher' my Forever Friend Julie and I arrived back to my apartment, just happened to check the mailbox and what did we find?!  My Vegetarian Nutrition Diploma from Alive Academy!  It was a very fortuitous sign I think that on the very day I my first Yoga/Nutrition Course comes to a close my certificate arrives.  Like a sign from the Universe that this is EXACTLY what I am meant to be doing with my Life.  Helping others live a more happy and healthy Life with Yoga!  And as sad as it was to admit that this stage of my Life's Adventure is coming to a close :(  and though I will miss all of the Positively Lovely People who have shared this Newfoundland Adventure with me, having my diploma arrive when it did has helped me to acknowledge that this is only the Beginning of a whole new chapter in my Life!  So thanks to all of you that have helped me get to this point, I Love Your Faces! :)

Just had to share my Joy and sense of Inner Purpose with all of your Shining faces!!  Do you believe in signs?  Have you ever had a sign occur?  Or an 'Aha!' moment for that matter about your future/destiny?  Please feel free to share in the comments down below!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Potluck Pics and Yummy Recipes!!

I will be leaving Beautiful St. John's, NL just one short week from now and before leaving I wanted the opportunity  to bring together all of the Shiny, Happy People who have played a role in my Life here.  So I decided to throw a Vegetarian Potluck in my half empty (okay mostly) apartment!  This past Saturday we all gathered, to sit on the floor of my Home Yoga Studio  (I did instruct guests to bring their own cushion, as furniture is now in short supply around my place haha) and eat an assortment of Delicious and Healthy Vegetarian items.  Not all the guests in attendance are strictly 'Veggies' AKA Vegetarian but because I am and some of the other guests were as well I thought it would be easiest to just keep all the fare 'Veggie' Guest-Friendly.  And other than the odd question about what they should bring none of the Omnivores attending put up much of a fuss about eating 'Meat-free' for the evening.

Sharing a meal or 'Breaking Bread' (as it was called in Biblical times) has long been a form of celebration, a time used to connect and share news about Life and also to embrace a shared sense of Gratitude for the food we share together!  FUN FACT: Eating together has even been found to be a sign of trust amongst the people with which you share the meal!  Many studies have been done linking shared meals among Families with more positive outcomes for their offspring, such as reduced drug use, reduced occurrence of Eating Disorders and overall healthier lifestyle and habits for children and their parents alike.  See the links below for more info on these studies.

A Great time was had by all and it was SO Lovely to have all of my Fav St. Johnians (or at least most of them, a few sadly couldn't attend) in my Home all at the same time!  It left such Beautiful Energy here for me to enjoy in my last few days in town(I plan to pack some to take on my travels too!).

Below is a collection of pics and some of the recipes of the dishes that were brought and happily devoured!  Enjoy!

Ayla's Delish Salad    


Toasted Pine Nuts
Tofu cooked with coconut oil
Ginger and garlic to taste

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (or balsamic if you prefer)
2 tsp Honey
2 tsp fresh grated Ginger, fresh garlic to preference
1 tsp Sesame Oil

The Inspiration - Yam and Chickpea Salad
~from Slice Cookbook

2 medium yams/sweet potatoes
2 cups water or veggie stock
1 cup quinoa
4 green onions, diced
2 cups chickpeas, cooked (19oz can)
1/2 cup soft goat cheese or feta, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2/3 cup olive oil or flax oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon each:
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Preheat oven to 425 F
2. Prick yams several times with a fork and roast with skins on, in an uncovered casserole dish for approx 45 to 60 minutes.  Cool, peel, and cut in 1/2 inch cubes. 
3. Meanwhile, cook quinoa.  Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool. 
4. In a large bowl, combine green onions, chickpeas, feta, basil, yams and cooled quinoa. 
5. In a jar fitted with a secure lid, combine oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and shake well.  Pour dressing over mixture and toss to coat. 
*This salad can be made a day in advance. Serves 6.

Sweet Milk and Coconut Cookies


2 cups graham wafer crumbs
1/2 cup margarine (melted)
Mix together in pan measuring approximately 13" x 9".  Spread evenly.
2 eggs, beaten
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1  1/2 cups coconut (unsweetened if it's available, otherwise sweetened).
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together and spread over crumb mixture in pan.
Bake at 350 degrees until firm (about 25 minutes).
Ice with chocolate frosting while hot.

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Coconut Cookies

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (3.25 oz)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (3 ½ oz)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup applesauce, drained on a paper towel
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins, plumped and patted dry
  • Walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with Silpats.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Mix both sugars, maple syrup, apple sauce, oil and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Add the flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in the oats, followed by raisins.
  4. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool for about 5-8 minutes on cookie sheets then carefully scoop up onto a wire rack.
 ** I used Spelt Flakes rather than Rolled Oats, regular old Whole Wheat Flour instead of Pastry Flour and  added shaved unsweetened coconut and left out the Walnuts.

Sources & Links:

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Support Leads to Success!

This week in the Yoga/Nutrition Course which I am currently teaching at Shakti Yoga Studio in St. John's, NL (, we covered 'Supporting Our Health Goals'.  Through the course of our evening we discussed ways we ourselves can support our intentions to eat healthier (if we don't work to set ourselves up for success who else will?)  and also the importance of having a Support Network (or several!) in place...and then of course finished things off with a SUPER Fun Partner Yoga Practice, in honour of the weeks' topic. ;)

Some of the techniques we discussed that we can implement ourselves to ensure we eat happily and healthily are: Menu-Planning for the Week, Stocking Healthy Snack Items ie. trail mix, fresh fruit, greek yogurt, etc. and keeping them in various places to stave off turning to junk foods, and no longer using food as a reward for a job well done, even Journaling has been proven to have positive effects on overall Health!

But the real interesting facts come into play when we look at the impact Social Support Networks have on overall health.  In a report completed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, they found that access to Health Services and the quality of care provided did not contribute to the overall health of the General Public as much as Social Support Networks (it was ranked #2 in the list of Key Determinants).  This report made references to a study done in California that found that for both men and women the more social contacts an individual has the lower their premature death rate was.  Social Environments was listed as Key Determinant to Overall Health as #5, and this factor alluded to the Community at large which we belong to (and its' social mores and values) playing a strong role in our Overall Health too.  Personal Health Practices & Coping Skills were also listed as #7 on the list of top determinants for Health of Canadians (Health Services was ranked #10 right before Gender and Culture!), which demonstrates our need to support our own goals too!
For more info from this report please refer to this link:

So how can you build more Support Networks, if you find your current ones lacking or (God forbid!) non-existent?  Here are a few things you can try, (though I am sure you can come up with some neat ideas of your very own too), you can involve your family and friends in healthy menu-planning and food preparation, join or start a walking/exercise group or Healthy Living group (with other like-minded folks), or invite some friends over for a Healthy Potluck Night (maybe even make a regular event!).  Stay tuned for pics and recipes from my own Vegetarian Potluck coming in the next post!  Or if you have a budding Yoga practice, invite a few friends to join you in a 'Yoga Studio Tour', and that way even if you don't end up with one of your existing friends becoming your 'Yoga Accountability Partner' you will hopefully find a studio that suits your needs and also meet others who could become your new 'Yoga Buddy'!

Establishing bonds with people who are like-minded or have similar long-term goals for their own Health will help to motivate you, inspire you and these people will build you up when you need it most AKA those dark times when you are feeling blue and want to hoover an entire bag of Potato Chips..instead of doing that you can call up someone from your new Support System and go for a brisk walk together in the Sunshine to boost your Spirits!

 I am so Grateful for all the Yogis, Yoginis, Friends and Co-workers that I have had the pleasure of having in my Life this past year spent in Newfoundland, you have inspired me, encouraged me and helped me over my hurdles (with food and otherwise) and I believe I have a new found respect for the importance of these supports in any goal you are wishing to achieve (whether it be trying to give up sugar, coming into headstand, or any other goal large or small).

Eat Healthy, Be Happy!!

Sources & Links:

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Help! I'm Stressed and I Want to Eat Everything in My Cupboards!!

Wowzaa! There is a lot going on for me right now! My Husband is overseas setting up a new Life for us in (what I hope will be) our new Long-term Home, in Bali, Indonesia and I am busily trying to wrap up our Life in St. John's, Canada.  I leave in a little under 2 weeks and there are still boxes to pack, a Passport to renew and Goodbyes to be said.  I'm sure you can all remember back to a time of great upheaval in your lives where you were super-stressed or maybe plans for the future were uncertain, usually the very first thing to go flying out the window is Self-Care.  And if you are anything like me, when you are going through a period of Transition you are prone to Stress-eat like a Mad-Fiend, regular sleep patterns disappear and you feel this tightness in your chest that won't go away until you get one more thing from your To-Do List done..sound familiar?

I have found my Yoga practice to be a Great Resource when I have a lot on my plate (proverbial or otherwise).  When I am feeling stressed in other areas of my Life I often feel a strong desire to take a more Peaceful practice, opting for a Restorative class or a quiet Yin practice at Home over a crowded Vinyasa class with tons of Sun Salutations and challenging arm balances and inversions.  When everything else is going at warped speed in Life it is natural to feel a desire to slow-down in your Practice.  My Yoga Practice has helped me grow in my Awareness of where I am emotionally, mentally and physically and what it is I need when I come to my mat.  You generally always get what you need from your time spent on your mat, even if when you if when you come to the mat you have no idea what that is.  And an Uber-hectic days (isn't Uber such a lovely phrase!) it what you need may be to just lie in Savasana for 10, 20 or 30 minutes and decompress (if you haven't tried this please do as it is Glorious!).
My Journey with Yoga has also taught me about Eating to Aid a Calm & Easeful Mind (or at the very least to be more aware of when I am not doing so).  In the teachings of Ayurveda (the Sister Science to Yoga) they discuss 3 Qualities that make up the way we eat and the effects they have on the Body, Mind and Spirit.  The ancient yogis were typically Lacto-Vegetarians (meaning their Veggie diet would have included Dairy but not Eggs).  These 3 Categories of Foods or 'Gunas' as they were called ('Gunas' means Qualities in Sanskrit) are Sattva (Purifying Quality), Rajas (Stimulating Quality) and Tamas (Sedating Quality).  Sattvic foods are those that have a calming effect on the mind and body, cause no harm to other living things and are fueling for the physical body, some examples are fresh fruit and veg, whole grains, nuts and seeds, unpasteurized milk products and natural sweeteners like unpasteurized honey.  Rajasic foods are that which incite mental and physical unrest, some examples (a few of which I am sure you have felt the stimulating effects of yourselves) are coffee, black/green tea, spicy foods, energy drinks, chocolate, refined sugar and processed foods.  Tamasic foods can have a sedating effect on the body and/or mind, they make us feel lethargic and lazy, but any foods that are harmful to the body/mind fall under this category, some examples include meat, fish, eggs, mushrooms, alcohol, and anything stale/decaying.


So what does this ancient yogic philosophy have to do with our lives in the Here and Now?  I personally have found in times of stress/struggle that sticking to these principles (even loosely) helps me to keep a well-balanced Body and Mind. Whether you are dealing with the logistics of moving across the globe or trying to potty train your toddler the 3 Gunas can be surprisingly relevant to maintaining health in body, mind and spirit.  By consuming Sattvic foods,  in combination with practicing other Self-Care techniques (ample rest, exercise and meditation), it allows the mind and body to function at an optimal level so that we can work more effectively to tick things off that lengthy To-Do List (can you tell I am a list-oriented person haha) without experiencing the twitchy mind, elevated blood pressure, over-stimulated adrenals and general sense of fatigue that comes with prolonged stress.

When you think about it, with exception to a few of the items Ayurveda deems as negative influences on us, the 3 Gunas aren't that far from our regular old Canadian Food Guide or the health messages you see in the media, with its' emphasis on eating fresh whole foods, like whole grains and fresh produce. Ironically with all of our advancement as a species the foods we have been relying on for thousands of years are still the ones which sustain us best.  This is not to say that you can never have soft drinks (Rajasic food) or onions (Tamasic food) again, only that your consumption of them should be limited and that when you are feeling Super-duper 'I am going to pull all of my hair out!' Stressed that you should have a nice big delicious salad rather than stuffing your face with chocolate ice cream and potato chips (like we sometimes want to do, but regret after). Essentially we already know this, but it can be affirming to hear it from another (more ancient and wise) source. ;)  And whatever you do, don't resort to actually pulling out all of your hair or you might have to wear your Sattvic food as a hat like this Lady! LOL

If you are interested in learning more about eating a Sattvic Diet, please see Wikipedia (or any of the other links I have listed below in the Sources), or you can ask your local Yoga Teacher if they have any Traditional Yogic Texts that make references to the Gunas.  Having now said all this I think I will finish the day with a hearty mixture of Quinoa & Veggies, finish my taxes (one less thing on the list!) and do some 'Before Bed, Wind-Down Yoga', before Hitting the Hay.

Eat Healthy, Be Happy!  

Sivananda Vedanta Teacher Training Manual

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Kale - A Superb Super Food!

Kale, Kale the Magical Food!!  For those of you who are newer to the Natural Health scene or perhaps stuck in a bit of a 'Veggie-Rut' you may be unfamiliar with this wonderful Veggie or maybe it is just starting to hit your Food-Radar.

This member of the Cabbage Family (like Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower and Collard Greens) is rich in Iron, Vitamins' C and K, beta carotene (antioxidant) and Calcium!  It even helps lower your cholesterol levels with its bile acid sequestering resins.  FUN FACT: The Calcium in Kale is actually more easily absorbed by the Body than the Calcium found in Cows' Milk! All of these Vitamins and Minerals help to build strong bones, healthy immune systems and keep us overall healthy and happy!
*Stay tuned for more of a breakdown on Vitamins and Minerals in a future post.

This Wonder-Veggie handles colder climes well so is a perfect crop for our Cold Canadian winters, as Kale actually takes on a bit of a sweeter taste after it has been exposed to a frost. There are both Dark Green (that's how you know there is Vitamin K in there!) and Purple varieties available, but the Dark Green is probably more commonly found.  It can be used to create delicious soups, salads (check below for a delicious recipe I recently tried), stir fries, you can even make your own Kale Chips (a much healthier alternative to Potato Chips, for a quick recipe check out this link!  Add some to your morning Smoothie to get an extra serving of veggies in with a Calcium boost to boot!  Check the Wikipedia link in my Sources for more background on how Kale has been used in dishes from Around the World.

I recently purchased a box of Organic "Freggies" (there's that slang again) from Real Food Market ( here in St. John's, NL and with it came a Lovely Fresh bunch of Kale.  I actually bought a Large Fruit & Veg box and split it with a friend (great idea for those of you in 1 or 2 person households if smaller versions aren't available), so we BOTH got a Lovely bunch of Kale each!

 Kale isn't always readily available here on 'The Rock' so when I get it I am so excited!  I have tended to add it into my Smoothies and lately have been stuck in a bit of Food Rut myself.  The past few weeks have been just so busy getting ready for the Big Move (my Hubby and I are relocating to sunny Bali!) that I haven't been putting much thought into my meals...that being said I have been sticking mostly to Smoothies, Salads and Stir Fries (the 3 S's!) I haven't been experimenting that much with my ingredients. So when I got this fresh batch of Kale I wanted to try a new recipe with it.  I found this delicious recipe for Kale, Apple and Pancetta Salad from

Kale, Apple and Pancetta Salad Recipe (serves 4)


1/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 oz. sliced Pancetta, diced
1/4 C Champagne Vinegar
1/4 C Maple Syrup
1/4 tsp of Salt and fresh ground Black Pepper
1 Small Head of Radicchio, shredded
18 oz. Bunch of Kale, stems discarded, leaves shredded
2 tart yet sweet Apples, sliced into thick matchsticks
3/4 C Pecans


1. Combine olive Oil and Pancetta in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stirring frequently until Pancetta is golden and crispy.  Strain the pan drippings into a small bowl and leave Pancetta to side to cool.  Add Champagne Vinegar, Maple Syrup, Salt and Pepper and whisk well.

2. Combine Radicchio, Kale, Apples and Pecans in large bowl.  Toss while slowly adding dressing little by little.Garnish with Pancetta.

Now of course I made some alterations as I am a Vegetarian so I negated the Pancetta all together.  I also didn't have Radicchio, Pecans or Champagne Vinegar..but No Worries!  I substituted Walnuts, Red Onion (Purple for Purple!) and Apple Cider Vinegar in for those items and the Salad turned out fabulously!!  And it only took like 5 minutes to put my Delicious Salad together too!

So next time you buy something and aren't sure what to do with or you feel like trying something new with an old favourite, I suggest simply googling recipes that contain that item...and don't fret too much if you are missing particular ingredients because you can always sub in something new for a bit of culinary excitement!  If you are looking specificly for something to do with Kale, might I suggest checking out as they had a whole list of recipes for Kale that sounded good!

And if you have any tasty recipes for Kale please feel free to share below in the Comments Section!

Eat Happy, Eat Healthy!

Sources & Links:
Becoming Vegetarian: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Vegetarian Diet, Vesanto Melina & Brenda Davis