The Calm After The Storm : Harnessing The Positive Power Of Negative Ions

“It’s not the light we need, but fire.

It’s not the gentle shower, but thunder.

We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.”

~ Frederick Douglas ~

FullSizeRender(3)

Yesterday morning, everything was lit up.

Just as Sunday’s concert was twinkling with illuminated cell phones in the air, yesterday the skies were lit with lightning.

And while these moody skies may look anguished and turbulent, they are charged with negative ions and laced with the potential to uplift even the stormiest of moods and calm the most overactive of nervous systems.

Electrical Beings

  • Just as lightning is an electrical spark that bursts through the sky, electricity courses continuously throughout our bodies and is vital to our well-being. Electrical and chemical impulses (otherwise known as synapses) are how our cells communicate and send messages from our nervous systems to brains (and vice versa) that control our heartbeats, our movements etc. Without electricity, we couldn’t survive, but optimizing these synapses is what allows us to thrive.

“We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Expect your life to be full and beautiful. Magnify your own qualities of light and love. You will break free of your own stuckness, with the energetic voltage to electrify possibilities all around you.”

-Marianne Williamson

Positive Feelings With Negative Ions

  •  When it comes to our health, negative ions are anything but negative. These molecules promote a sense of clarity and well-being, have both a stimulating and calming physiological effect, decrease inflammation for pain reduction and increase the oxygen flow to our brains for mental alertness.
  • Think of how you feel near the ocean or standing beneath a waterfall. This same effect can be experienced after a heavy rainfall as negative ions are present in abundance where air molecules are being manipulated in intense circumstances.

Harnessing The Healing

It has been estimated that one in three people are sensitive to the concentrations of negative ions (myself included!). How can you tell? A good indicator is that you feel instantly refreshed and energized upon opening a window or stepping outside and find that spending too much time in enclosed spaces can make you feel sluggish.

But whether you are a particularly ion sensitive individual or not, we can all reap the benefits of these negatively charged molecules and these are a few great ways to do so:

  • Take a walk after the storm
    • Fresh after a heavy rainfall, the concentration of negative ions in the air is at its peak, making it the ideal time to submerse yourself in it.
  • Earthing
    • If you can walk barefoot comfortably, so much the better! Having direct contact between the soles of our feet and the earth allows for the transfer of negative ions from the ground.
  • Open your windows
    • This allows the negative ions to flow into your home (a space with a higher concentration of positive ions) to boost your mood.
  • Meditate
    • With the calming negative ions, meditating during or just after a storm has the potential to heighten our experience.
  • Invest in a salt lamp
    • No storm? No problem! Authentic Himalayan salt lamps produce these negative ions and can be left on all the time to add a continuous flow (and glow) of mood enhancing negative ions.

In light of the lightning,

Suzanne Eden

Five Holistic Reasons To Eat Your Way To Japan

If you ever needed an excuse to lust over the majestic forests and cultural  wonders of Japan, the cuisine would be your golden ticket!

We are getting so excited for our upcoming trip, but in the meantime I have heard and read and seen Japan everywhere lately. Though this isn’t where we are jetting off to, luckily for us, we don’t need to venture far to reap the benefits of these Japanese staples in our diet. If you needed an excuse, “feast” your eyes on my top five!

1. Matcha is to the Japanese what coffee & bacon are to North Americans

  • The Japanese loooove their matcha! It finds its way into just about everything and it’s a good thing too, as this brilliant green powder packs a big nutritional punch.
  • Matcha offers moderate amounts of caffeine balanced with calming l-theanine for an energizing boost without the coffee crash. Utilizing the whole tea leaves by grinding them into a powder, it’s a more potent source of catechins (an antioxidant compound known as polyphenols) than your standard green tea.
matcha latte
|| Above : Unsweetened matcha tea latte with almond milk||

2. Get cultured

  • Fermented foods such as kimchi are staples in Japan and should ideally be features of every culture. Why? Fermented/cultured foods are rich in wholefood sourced probiotics, energizing B-vitamins and natural enzymes to enhance digestion and promote mental, physical and emotional well-being – no “zen garden” necessary!
cultured

3. Soba Your Pasta

  • Soba buckwheat noodles are roughly the size of your standard spaghetti and made of buckwheat flour. They are commonly used in Japanese pasta dishes, piled high with fresh vegetables and drizzled with a light sauce (as opposed to smothered – the Western way).
  • I LOVE these and you can experiment with traditional pasta sauce, or enjoy the flavour when tossed simply with coconut oil, sea salt and loaded with vegetables or as a tahini based pad Thai as featured below. When savoring Soba at a restaurant, be sure to ask if they are gluten-free.

soba

4. Authentic sushi (of course!)

  • This goes without saying; you just can’t have a Japanese cuisine post without the mention of sushi. BUT! And this is a big but ; for all of us sushi lovers, we need to be adamant about sourcing. The seafood commonly used in restaurants is high in toxins (particularly mercury), can be contaminated with parasites and utilize inhumane fishing practices. Think: “The Greatest Catch,” documentary.
sushi plate
  • In Japan (and everywhere), look not to the big sushi houses but small, intimate dinning experiences, often more expensive and not “all-you-can-eat,” that offer sustainably caught seafood and quality sushi. The REAL sushi you deserve to experience!
And on the subject of anti- “all-you-can-eat…”

5. Hara Hashi Bu

  • This is not a food per se, but a WAY to eat that will skip the sushi coma conundrum and keep you feeling healthy, vibrant, and ready for your next meal. Read more here.
To our future Japanese journeys,
Suzanne Eden

The Best Holistic Health Advice Our Mothers Ever Gave Us

Moms, we love you!

And though the celebratory Mother’s day is behind us, we know that your duties have you working around the clock, 365 (or 366) days a year and for that, we appreciate you everyday!

sprouted quinoa burgers

Whether it’s sharing sprouted quinoa burgers amongst the dandelions, binge watching Will And Grace with you on Sunday mornings, or dancing through the kitchen to the likes of Prince while roasting vegetable dishes from chef Micheal Smith’s cookbook. Yes, everyday is an adventure (and on the rare occasion, one that may even find us at the Eiffel Tower)!

mothers advice

And though not all of your adventurous advice may be tried and true, with these, you were onto a good thing.

In other words, these are 3 reasons (of millions) we thank you!

ADVICE #1: An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

  • My personal favourite! Thank you moms for solidifying our love of nature’s perfect, nutritious snack on the go.
    • Benefits: Contains immune boosting vitamin C and soluble fibre in the form of pectin for stable blood sugar levels and a healthy digestive system.
    • What mom didn’t tell you: fruit needs to be consumed on an empty stomach, away from most other foods, for proper digestion. Otherwise you may be going to your doctor with complaints of excessive bloating and indigestion. Pairing this fruit with a little spread of pure almond butter, however, is both digestion friendly and equipped with satiating fats and protein to make this a well-rounded snack.

ADVICE #2: Eat Your Carrots For Good Eye Sight

  • Not just an old wives tale! As a part of the doctrine of signatures, a sliced carrot’s resemblance to the human eye, including the pupil and iris, is an indicator of one of its primary functions. How so?
    • Benefits: Carrots are packed with beta-carotene (the component which also gives them their bright colour). This antioxidant is converted into vitamin A in the body and according to The World’s Healthiest Foods, 1 cup of raw carrots translates to 113% of our daily recommended intake of vitamin A!
    • What mom didn’t tell you: Though eating an abundance of carrots may not restore your vision to 20/20, a deficiency of vitamin A may cause symptoms such as: dry/itchy eyes, blurred vision, and difficulty seeing at night. Tip: dip your carrots in avocado for a strangely delicious combo!

ADVICE #3: Have Soup For The Soul (And A Common Cold)

  • Turns out, these comforting soups are medicinal bowls beyond just soup for the soul!
    • Benefits: The warmth of soup can ease congestion to reduce blocked sinuses while the liquids help to clear the congestion and bacteria from the body. You simply can’t drink enough when sick and this is the way to boost it!
    • What your mother didn’t tell you: While your body requires nutrients to support the immune system during this time, it also needs easily digestible foods as digestion drains your body’s energy needed to fight the virus. Highly nutritious broths, such as fermented miso or bone broth, offer both nutrients and involves very little digesting, leaving you more energy to heal!

stone house

Whether she’s dishing out health advice, homemade dinners from Michael Smith, or exploiting her love of fine dinning with Mother’s day lunches at the Stone House (for candied pecan & cranberry salad with carmelized mushrooms, toasted leeks & balsamic reduction!), we’re all along for an appetizing ride ❤

 

Moms: for all of your wise and worldly advice, we thank you!

Suzanne Eden

The Ancestral Case To Being An ACTIVEist Over An Exerciser

April was a “wild” month in more ways than one!

Harbour

 

From the CN tower climb in support of the World Wildlife Fund, to the Total Health Show and Green Living Expo in Toronto, week-long 40th anniversary celebrations for our health food store, formal events in Cambridge, family birthday gatherings in Burlington and everything in between… this past month as accurately summarized by breakfast? :

Blended on turbo and packed with Maca!

Maca smoothies

CN Tower climb time: 23:54!

With the mantra of “slow and steady,” I think WWF could use a new mascot, no?

But while we wait for next year’s ambitious trek, how does one go about raking up the optimal 8-10,000+ steps a day in activities without the boost of 1776 steps up a skyscraper? And in accordance with my book of choice this month: Spencer Wells’ Pandora’s Seed; The Unforeseen Cost Of Civilization, why is daily activity so superior to exercise? Do we really need the long runs and fancy Fitbits?

For this, we take a few steps back to our hunter-gatherer roots!

fresh smoothie

The Daily ACTIVE-ist

Have you ever been guilty of working out for an hour and lounging the remainder of the day?

  As human beings, we are designed for consistent movement as opposed to strenuous exercise followed by a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. Think of our ancestors who were habitually active with intermittent periods of demanding exercise when hunting (or being hunted). In this way, even your highly fit individual may very likely be sitting too much as temporary bouts of vigorous exercise simply cannot make up for a day of prolonged sitting.

The trick?

GET MOVING!

maca

 Movement As An Ancestral Superfood

Movement is most definitely a superfood! It charges our body’s energy, detoxification, metabolism, digestion, lymphatic drainage and stimulates our brain.

But if you asked our hunter-gatherer ancestors about their exercise routine, they would have found this concept downright ludicrous!

In fact, their daily goal was to conserve the energy they expended as every calorie utilized had to be replenished by finding more food. Certainly not as easy an endeavor as it is now with Fresh Restaurants scattered conveniently throughout the city!

fresh bowl

As Katy Bowman put it:

“People have not exercised throughout history. Exercise is the modern man’s equivalent to nutritional supplements. In the same way supplements should not be the bulk of your diet, exercise should not be the bulk of your movement profile.”

When it comes to superfoods, opt for sweet potatoes over the household couch potato. But if you think you need fancy Fitbits, expensive trainers and fully equipped gyms? Think again!

An inexpensive pedometer, a good pair of footwear (this is one to invest in), your own body weight and some local trails to hike are all you’ll need to take your daily ACTIVE-ist by stride!

 

Tomorrow I’ll share with you my 10 favourite ways to effortlessly add more ACTIVE-ity to your day and until then, I’m off to enjoy another day of sunshine on the trails 🙂

Happy SUNday wellness enthusiasts,

Suzanne Eden

 

Anything Goes With My 3 Favourite Veggies Of The Sea

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!

Anything goes

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:

dulse

DULSE

  • 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!

Grand Manan

NORI

  • 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.

sushi

~ Above: Home-rolled avocado & mango quinoa sushi ~

KELP

  • 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!

Suzanne Eden

 

 

 

3 Food Favourites You MUST Try When Traveling To The Tropics

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!

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!

mini bananas

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,
Suzanne Eden

15 Tips For A Sunny Vacation To A Tropical Destination

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 😉 …
handstand
Tropics bound? Here are my top 15 tips to know! 

FLIGHT

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!

 DESTINATION

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.

5) ALOE-ha

  • 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!).

trinidada

DINE

 

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.

ENJOY

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,
Suzanne Eden