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 ~

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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 2016 Summer Wellness Bucket List

“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.”
—Jenny Han

solstice

This year, I’m on a mission! One that finally conquers every last item on my summer bucket list. And what better time to set forth on our ambitious adventures than with the summer solstice? Only this time, it comes with a twist…

A holistic spin of all the weird and wonderful things nutritionists do that you should try too (if only just for fun!).

So whether you’re already out basking in the sun, or summer vacation is just around the corner; this is the countdown of my top 6 tips to incorporate into your Wellness Summer Bucket List:

  1. Brew your own ginger beer (AKA: kefir water)

  • Like a hybrid of a ginger beer tasting beverage with the fizz and health boosting benefits of kombucha, this drink is refreshing and super simple to make. All you need are the grains (bought from a local health food store or schmoozed off a friend – if you’re local, I have plenty to share!), and some organic sucanat (a type of sugar).
  • After fermenting it the first time, simply add candied ginger for another 2-3 days and it tastes just like ginger beer!

P.S.: if you haven’t made kefir before, the grains in the drink you see below are strained out and used for the next batch!

kefir

2. Berry picking

  • Just in time for strawberry season but any fruit/berry will do! Hunt down an organic farm, if you can, so that you can eat the berries straight from the patch.
  • You do the manual labour and in return, leave with a very inexpensive array of berries (we towered 3 pints for $10) and a full lunch from the all-you-can-eat buffet of sun-ripened fruit.

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3. Gogo Geocaching

  • My fellow lovers of hiking and adventuring, this is the perfect way to exercise your navigational skills, refine your eyesight, and spend hours in hot pursuit of a mystery package tucked into the most ludicrous places. Simply download the app to a device with a built in GPS and go explore!

4. Crack a young coconut

  • Doubling as a refreshing drink and filling snack, young coconuts are bursting with electrolyte balancing coconut water and flesh that you can scoop with a spoon. Just add beach!

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5. Roast pineapple

6. Invent a whole new banana ice-cream flavour

  • Banana ice-cream is simply (and deliciously) frozen banana blended until soft and creamy. And being that easy, there are loads of ways to transform it! So take your favourite conventional ice cream flavour and see if you can make the healthified version of it.
  • On the top of my list? Tiger tail, rocky road and the strawberry shortcake version below.

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There we have it! Six nutritionist-approved items for the bucket list to boost your health this summer. Have any ideas for me? Let me know below 🙂

Happy summer solstice wellness enthusiasts,

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

My Top 10 Effortless Ways To Embrace Your Daily ACTIVE-ist

“Natural selection shaped the human genome not to run marathons or exclusively lift extremely heavy weights but rather to survive and thrive as very active outdoor generalists in the wild.”

-Mercola

daily ACTIVEist

In sequel to yesterdays post, these are my top ten ways to take your daily ACTIVE-ist by stride:

1. Consistent Movement

  • This is the staple of an ACTIVE-ist: to simply be active all day, every day!

2. Step It Up

  • There may not be 1776 of them, but any amount of stairs over elevators will carry you closer to your goal.
  • In an office building? Running up and down the stairs on break is the perfect way to boost the oxygen to your brain for energy and mental clarity.

3. Take Your Pedometer For A Test Run

  • Handy and inexpensive, having a pedometer routinely secured to your pant pockets will help you to track your progress through the day and keep you accountable and motivated.
  • Start slow by setting the goal to achieve 500-1000 more steps each day to gradually work your way up to 10,000.

garden berries

4. Plant Your Plants!

  • The exact opposite of everything this month’s book is about! But considering the fact that I feel my recommendations to forage the woods for food would fall flat, instead I recommend rummaging through the bushes for berries of your local trails and planting your own vegetable garden.
  • Not only does this bring you more in touch with your food and the natural cultivation of plants, but it’s a great activity for arms, legs and stress reduction. Just watch your posture!

5. Walk For Groceries

  • When you do need groceries, walk there!
  • It is the ultimate portion control as you will be conscious of how much food you have to haul home, thus minimising impulse purchases and the dreaded waste of spoiled produce.

WWF bag

7. But When You Do Drive: Park Like My Mother

  • Always parking in the farthest possible space from the desired door, this has helped us to reap the benefits of additional pedometer steps and the added arm strength from hauling heavy grocery bags.

8. COOK!

  • A no brainer to anyone skilled in the kitchen! The act of chopping and stirring etc. works the upper body and stairs are incorporated every time you inevitably forget something in the cellar.
  • Bonus points for kitchen tangos a la Modern Family.

9.  Pace While You Talk On The Phone

  •  All the better if you do so outdoors for fresh air, sunshine and the added benefit of “earthing” of course!

ACTIVEism

10. Embrace Your Wild Side

  • Optimising vitamin D levels, oxygen and the release of mood enhancing endorphins, rough terrain engages muscles we are not accustomed to working and improves our balance and co-ordination.

Activating our daily ACTIVEists,

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!

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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!

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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

 

A “Rabbit Food” Guide To Easter

My diet has been attributed to just about any animal imaginable.

… a bird, my guinea pig (rather accurate really), and of course, a rabbit!

So! What does one eat on Easter when one eats like the Easter bunny? And how can you implement this lifestyle for you and your children too? These are your Holistic Life Hacks inspired from yesterday’s Easter escapades!

Easter basket

A “Fruitful” Easter Basket

It was the sweetest surprise Easter morning to find this basket loaded with exotic fruits, vegan dark chocolate, and candied ginger from NOW (the best I’ve had!).

  • HLH: With an estimated 70% of easter candy coming from chocolate, be sure to look for dark chocolate, free from dairy, soy and additives. For the full health benefits of cacao, look for a raw bar, such as raspberry Giddy Yoyo.

Don’t like dark chocolate? Especially for children, there are now sneaky  bars using coconut milk to get a creamy, milk chocolate flavour without the acidifying dairy, with Zozubean’s “Sassy” bar with pomegranate and hazelnut being my favourite!

Easter breakfast

Brunch Fit For A Bunny

When asked what I wanted for Easter brunch, there was just one thing… FRUIT!

  • HLH: Fruit is my top pick when preparing for heavier foods to follow. Being light, easily digestible and high in fibre to reduce blood sugar spikes, it makes for the perfect breakfast.

My shake was an antioxidant rich green smoothie with blueberries, spinach, lemon and avocado to make it extra creamy and filling, and sprinkled with chia seeds for added fibre.

 

Country bound

Country Bound

Never one to travel unprepared, these were my Easter essentials:

  • Digestive Enzymes:
    • Reduce the burden of dinner buffets on our digestive system, helping to minimise bloating and obtain the most nutrients from our meal.
  • Almond cookie:
    • A sweet and gluten-free treat in substitute for the dessert cake.
  • St. Johns Wort:
    • I’ve been experiencing Sciatica (a pinched nerve) these past few weeks and this herbal supplement has assisted me in managing the pain while I search for a fix.
    • As it turned out, I didn’t have to use this even once after my Bowen treatment from my aunt and was able to last the whole dinner without the dire need to stand up for a stretch. More on this in another post!

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On The Hunt

Skip the mini chocolate eggs!

Instead? Fill plastic eggs for your Easter egg hunt and mark them with the initials of your child’s name to reuse them each year.

My grandmother has always done this and filled them with dates, dark chocolate, nuts and seeds, a few health food store jelly beans, etc. And as I found out this year, even more exciting than hunting Easter eggs is hiding them for the kids in the bird feeders… the branches of the spruce trees.. and my personal favourite: alongside the real eggs in the chicken coop!

Filling your own Easter eggs allows you to control what treats, and how much, to give your children/grandchildren and this tradition keeps Easter indulgent while exercising moderation… and on their large property, it really is exercise!

At The Tail End

easter buffet

Lastly: my top tips from dinner:

We had a sandwich buffet with selections of egg salad, BPA-free atlantic canned salmon, nitrate-free cold cuts and fresh turkey breast with cucumbers, lettuce, pickles and tomatoes.

Cold cuts should be a special treat as they are highly processed and often high in sodium and should only be eaten if nitrate-free and from a good source. Generally, I would recommend sticking to the fresh turkey or egg salad.

dipping

For the bread for the sandwich, I brought a gluten-free loaf that I sliced extra thin and used just half the bun. I’m not a big fan of bread as I find that it masks the flavours of the sandwich and my favourite ended up being the lettuce wraps that I made with the egg salad and salmon. HLH: This is the perfect solution if you dont want to bring your own bread as lettuce is almost always available and being light, you can fill up on seconds!

Easter dinner

For the spreads, I passed on the butter and mayo and went straight for the stone ground mustard and fresh tomato. Veggie dips, such as hummus, would make ideal spreads too.

nicecream

And dessert?

Turns out my grandparents had bought us creamy vanilla coconut ice cream with a dark chocolate sauce (coconut oil, cacao butter, maple syrup and raw cacao) to drizzle overtop. There was no need for more and so that cookie I packed is now safely tucked into the freezer for our next family gathering!

Aussies

This week’s Prescription For Wellness: eat what rabbits eat! (or Aussie’s work too 😉 )

Happy Easter Wellness Enthusiasts,

Suzanne Eden