It was just last month I said in passing; “I miss performing in musicals, I just want to go back and do it all over again.” And just like that, I found myself back in highschool!
Photo by Nick Mirka of Mitchell Reilly Pictures
I was nostalgically cast away on stage for an alumni number with fellow leads from previous years in the musical theatre performance of “Anything Goes.” And what a surreal experience it was!
Did you SEA it?
Whether you had front row seats or are just catching word of this now, a cheeky post had to follow and in the spirit of World Water Day, what better way than to hit on the high notes of sea veggies?
Rich in iodine for thyroid health, containing nearly all of the minerals present in the ocean (many of the same minerals found in human blood), and potent in antioxidants, if these aren’t yet a part of your daily diet, they should be!
Here is everything you need to know to incorporate my 3 favourite veggies of the sea:
- We first stumbled upon this on our road trip to the Grand Manan Islands in New Brunswick. Fresh dulse was spread over tarps in long rows across the ground to dry out. There was a local gift shop where I purchased this dulse in dried strips, flakes, and even made into hard candy.
- What it is: Dulce is technically a red seaweed though it can appear purple and resembles red, leafy lettuce.
- How To Use It: With a salty taste, and a sea-like flavour, it creates a wonderful seasoning to dishes, particularly those with elements of seafood. Due to its natural salty qualities, it is often used as a replacement to sea salt. I sprinkle it liberally on salads, stirfrys, omelets and the Arctic Char fish dish we enjoy every Sunday. Though an acquired taste, perhaps, I can’t get enough!
- What it is: If you’re a sushi lover, you’re already well acquainted with the thin, paper like sheets of nori that wrap around your favourite sushi roll. These sheets come raw (for the maximum health benefits) or the traditional toasted. Raw wraps will be most commonly located at your local health food store.
- How to use it: Fill them up with any number of combinations such as tahini with avocado and veggies or make sushi rolls with quinoa/millet and your favourite additions. It works best if what you are putting in the wraps is warm as this allows the sheets to soften and adhere.
~ Above: Home-rolled avocado & mango quinoa sushi ~
- What it is: Kelp is a brown sea algae which standard “green” chlorophyl colour is masked by a reddish, brownish hue. Brown sea veggies contain higher levels of iodine and therefore, a little goes a long way when boosting thyroid health.
- How to use it: Soak it and slice it into strips to use on salads, stirfrys or lightly saute it in a frying pan for wraps.
As they are derived from the sea, toxicity is a concern but these veggies are highly beneficial when sourced organically and sustainably. It is also important to note that for the biggest boost of benefits, they should not be cooked as much of the iodine will leach into the water.
From sushi to salads, give seaveggies a shot and get creative. Afterall, in the world of seaweeds: Anything Goes!
March break is upon us, and though tropical trips are usually associated with excessive drinking and dining that will have you dozing in your lounge chair by the end of the week….
When a holistic wellness enthusiasts goes, it’s a whole other basket of coconuts!
From the sandy beaches of sunny Cuba, these are my top 3 must have foods to try on your tropical vacay away;
1) Coco For Coconuts
- Fresh coconuts! I spotted these being sold by the beach bar, but as it was my first day on the resort, I reasoned I would wait to grab one. Can’t have too much excitement all in one day, right?! Big mistake as they were never sold there again the rest of the trip. To my luck, however, I ran into a friendly resort worker chopping them down on our last day and he was more than happy to cut one up for me to enjoy! 🙂
Why coconut water is your holistic must have:
- MEDICINAL : Coconut water is your secret weapon for anything from exhaustion to dehydration to food poisoning. All of these require proper hydration and fresh coconut water is a pure source with added potassium, magnesium (to prevent muscle cramps) and anti-oxidants.
- REFRESH – When dehydrated, pure water is often insufficient as an imbalance of our electrolytes will make it difficult for water to properly penetrate our cells. It is easy to become dehydrated in the hot and humid climates where you are prone to sweat, and the consumption of alcohol/caffeine or becoming ill will further exasperate this issue. The electrolytes from coconuts, however, allow water to fully hydrate at a cellular level and reduces bloating due to water retention.
- DIGESTION: Rich in enzymes, coconut water enhances the digestion of our food and contributes to a healthy gut flora to boost our immunity.
2) Road Side Bananas!
- I love resorts for convenience and a stress-free trip, but exploration is always my favourite part of any vacation. This particular venture into the city was accompanied by a pit-stop at a roadside fruit stand to pick up these local mini bananas. Not only adorable, they were sweet, flavourful and tasted unlike any conventional store-bought banana (there are, in fact, hundreds of different varieties). With prime seats on the bus behind our tour guide, we ate our weight and snatched a few for our families too.
Why they are your holistic must have:
- Fresh bananas are high in vitamin C to boost your immunity while traveling, are packed with fibre for good digestion, vitamin B6 for energy, magnesium for increased relaxation and make for the perfect, filling snack food!
3) Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
- I think this has got to be my favourite thing in the world. The first time I ever indulged in freshly squeezed orange juice was in Cuba (several years before this last trip) and I have never been able to drink organic OJ without the thought. Even though I juice oranges from home, they never taste the same as those picked fresh and ripe right off the tree and squeezed by a hand-crank. If you get the chance, this is a must!
Why fresh squeezed OJ is your holistic must have:
- Fresh oranges are packed with vitamin C to boost your immunity along with polyphenols to protect against viral infections, beta-carotene to help protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun, and are alkalinizing to the body to reduce internal inflammation.
- NOTE: Drink juice away from other foods and be active after doing so, as fruit will spike blood sugar when stripped of its fibre. Don’t let this deter you however, it is a much better option than alcohol (pure, liver taxing sugar) and offers you health benefits when savoured in moderation. Though moderation with fresh squeezed, tropical orange juice is not a thing for me!
Fresh, local food is always the most flavourful food, and when savoured on a sunny vacay, so much the better! But no matter where you find yourself this week, “shake” things up this St. Patrick’s day with last years Rock Your Shamrocks Shake
Soaking up the Canadian sun,
Cuba is one of the top spring break destinations for us Canadians and I rounded out my fourth trip to the tropical island two years ago. Though my vacation is a stay-cation this year, a friend of mine asked for some advice which resulted in nothing shy of a texting novel and it was then that I realized I had plenty to share!
And no, you can’t take a yogi anywhere 😉 …
Tropics bound? Here are my top 15 tips to know!
1) Plane Food Is Plain Food
- Not only loaded with chemicals and preservatives, the packaged food is bland. Bring your own food for traveling such as quinoa tabouli, pesto wraps and homemade trail mixes.
- Note: when you land at your destination, fresh foods will often be discarded by customs. This past trip, however, they completely overlooked my grapes, courteously leaving them for me to enjoy on the long, scenic bus ride to the resort.
- Also note: Not all food travels well. Take my banana, for example, that blackened in my carry on and split open on the plane. Making not only a mess but a very fragrant bag every time I opened it. Next time, I think I’ll stick with apples!
2) Don’t Remove Your Shoes!
- Firstly, not on the flight. For someone who is eternally barefoot, I had to learn this the hard way. The pressure causes your extremities to swell and it won’t be a swell time trying to fit back into your shoes.
- Secondly, not at the hotel. Bring socks and slippers with you. I love to go barefoot as much as the next guy (more so, to be honest) but even I have my limits.
3) Keep Your Bikini In Your Carry-on
- In case of missing luggage, pack all your essentials on your carry-on. A book, a bikini, your yoga mat and you’re set!
4) Be Sun Safe
- Due to the proximity to the equator, the sun is stronger than you think and too many travelers begin their vacation looking like the lobster dished up for dinner.
- Wear a natural sunscreen (without the use of synthetic chemicals which cause cellular damage and are absorbed into your bloodstream), whether you think you need it or not… You do.
- In case you do become dinner… topically apply pure aloe gel which contains glyconutrients and anti-inflammatory agents to increase healing and soothe your sunburn. Apply liberally.
6) Snorkel With Bananas..
- Sneak some bananas from the breakfast buffet. When going snorkeling, this is how to bring the fish out. Do this as an amateur snorkeler along the shore for the pretty little fish, but not in the deep blue where you will likely attract banana loving barracudas (but who could blame them?!).
7) Go On An Excursion
- Resorts are wonderful, but to experience authentic Cuba, you need to venture off the less-than-beaten path into the rustic cities and towns. Do so with structured bus passes, day trips and local market runs (also the way to the freshest produce!).
8) Fresh Coconuts And Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice Are MUSTS!
- This is no exception. If I was to die tomorrow and I got one last thing to eat, it would be freshly squeezed orange juice from the Cuban oranges.
9) Drink Tons And Tons And Tons Of Water
- Tropical climates are incredibly dehydrating, especially if you spend the majority of your days soaking up the sun on the beach. Ease up on the caffeine and swim-up bars and load up on large mason jars of clean water.
10) BUT DON’T EVER USE THEIR WATER
- Not even to brush your teeth. Use bottled water at all times. This is how many travelers fall ill because our body’s microbiome is not used to the foreign strands of bacteria that congregate in the faucets.
- To protect your delicate gut bacteria, load up on your shelf stable travelers probiotics and avoid any ingestion of tap water.
10) Opt Out Of Ice
- Though tempting to refresh yourself with an ice-cold beverage, skip this step! As noted above, ice is an easily forgettable source of tap water.
11) Eat The Right Things
- You know what it’s like to eat at a buffet from the time you’ve spent at all-you-can-eat-shushi. The last thing you want is a food coma when you can be setting sail on the waters, exploring the resort and salsa dancing your way across the stage.
- Skip excessively heavy foods and navigate to your best ability. Always keep snacks on hand for during the day. This means packing food bars, trail mixes etc. into luggage before you go and sneaking some bananas from the buffet, not just for the fish but for you too!
12) But For When You Accidentally Eat The Wrong Thing…
- Come prepared for food poisoning, which can be caused by anything from contamination by E.coli to the bacteria from food preparation.
- The fix? Pack activated charcoal in your holistic arsenal. This chelates toxins in the body to get it out of your system and fast! Do not use it every day as it is non-selective in its chelation meaning that it will remove harmful toxins but also beneficial vitamins and minerals along with it. The key? Use it when it is needed, but not as a preventative.
15) Last But Not Least:
- Talk to the locals! Socialize to your heart’s content but be sure to do so with your servers, and bartenders and the exceptionally nice man who tends the garden outside your room. The locals are full of interesting stories, will give you a great insight into their culture (the highs and lows) and will offer you an incredibly deep appreciation for the luxury of being there (and yes, even a greater appreciation for the snow you may come home to). But the best part; you may just brighten their day!
While I continue to reminisce over our time spent in the sunshine, I will be relishing in the beautiful weather we have here in Canada this year.
Wishing you safe and sunny travels,