Five Food Hacks To Help Bounce Back From Your Thanksgiving Festivities

I hope your weekend has been filled with family, food and festivities, but if you’ve been left feeling as stuffed as the turkey, this is the post for you!

While overindulgence in a feast can leave us tired, bloated and backed up, food in the proper proportions can also be used to counteract these effects. So whether you are opening up a second stomach compartment today for Thanksgiving part 2 (see HERE) or burying the hatchet on yesterday’s soiree, these are 5 holistic life hacks from foods to use.

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FEAST TO FAMINE

  • Think our ancient ancestors wouldn’t have partaken in such a feast? Think again! As meat (turkey or otherwise) wasn’t as easily come by back then, any hunted game was generally cooked and eaten in large quantities and was often followed by longer periods of time before their next full meal.
  • Following a feast, opt for small, easily digestible, plant based meals or partake in intermittent fasting. This provides your body the opportunity to rest, digest, and reset.
  • NOTE: When fasting, it is important to increase your water intake to stay hydrated and help your body in the cleansing process. Also note that this does not, and should not be, be an extended fast. When your natural hunger kicks in, think soups, salads, smoothies and bone broths.

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CHIA SEEDS / STEEL CUT OATS

  • Packed with prebiotic fibre for good digestion, chia seeds and oats (the unprocessed kind) help to flush the excess toxins and sweets from our system and regulate our bowel routines.
  • Craving last night’s pumpkin pie? Opt for my sugar-free Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats.

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FERMENTED FOODS

  • The feast for our gut bacteria! While we may have chosen turkey and gravy, our digestive system prefers foods loaded with probiotics that keep our immune systems strong and our guts happy and healthy.
  • Add kimchi, sauerkraut and/or sparkling kombuchas to your day.

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ABOVE: Fresh pressed cider from our organic apple trees!

SKIP THE SWEETS

  • Offsetting our blood sugar causes us to crave sugary foods or an excess of calories in general. Instead? Alkalinize! Start your morning with lemon water, a shot of blood purifying chlorophyll (one with mint is particularly refreshing), and pack as many veggies as you can into your day!
  • Alkalinizing cuts the cravings for sugar and calories so that you can enjoy your meals in moderation.

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TEA

  • Bloating, distention, indigestion? Both peppermint and ginger tea soothe our internal systems and being herbal, they keep us hydrated while the warmth stimulates movement in our intestines.
  • These two teas are also considered antispasmodics which relaxes the muscles of our digestive tract to reduce digestive distress.

With these holistic life hacks, you can leave the stuffing to the turkey, and whats more? No matter how you felt the following day, you can rest assured that Thanksgiving just made you healthier for the coming celebrations that are on their way!

From a weekend stuffed family festivities,

Suzanne Eden

A Student Survival Guide For Back To School Stress

It’s been a few years since my university days and without hesitation I can say : I miss it!

I loved learning and being surrounded by like-minded thinkers. I loved digging into text books and the sounds of laptop keys furiously clicking through lectures. I loved the in-betweens of classes, sneaking off into the trails, the late nights working away with friends.

And then I happened upon my friend, Denis, here in the streets of Montreal and I too remembered: the once considered mandatory exam coffees (I don’t even like coffee!), the all nighters, the deadlines, the hunched shoulders, the sugar cravings… oh yes! I remember. And while it took me a few years, by my final year I felt I had just about learned the ways of university and the most useful and practical subject I have studied: nutrition.

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Perhaps you are off to school, or simply feeling the stress of the September season. In either case, remember that the psychological key to reducing stress is not in the situation itself, but in your mindset towards it. And as a clean body equates to a clean and clear mind, these are my holistic tips (with the help of our good friend Denis) for a September that’s stress-free!

Refine Your Take On Refined Foods

  • You’re under enough stress as it is, you don’t want food to be another!
  • Refined foods are stressors to the body as they create unsteady blood sugar levels causing you to crash on the school couch, and create a rapid spike in cortisol – our stress hormone! As the icing on the cake, a junk food diet has been shown to affect your brain’s synapses, thereby impairing learning and memory.
  • Instead? Ditch the fried french fries spewed over the bench and burger bag hidden behind Denis’ shoe and opt for fast, fresh and wholesome foods instead!
  • Bananas, for example, are conveniently prepackaged, naturally sweet, and packed with stress busting nutrients such as calming magnesium, energizing vitamin B6, and components that increase the production of serotonin in your brain to promote optimal stress relief.

Kick The Coffee

  • As my professor once said “coffee is stress in a cup!”
  • But as a staple of many students’ daily routines, caffeine is often relied on to boost energy and reduce stress. The issue? This boost of energy is only short lived and unsustainable, and the coffee can actually trigger the body’s stress response.
  • Instead? Opt for green tea or matcha (concentrated green tea powder) with the amino acid L-theanine that helps to reduce stress, boost energy and enhance productivity, while promoting a sense of relaxation.
  • NOTE: In either case, caffeine should be used as a boost when needed but not as a crutch. For the everyday, opt for energizing B vitamins (a supplement that supports the adrenals, your body’s “stress glands”), and ginkgo biloba which not only works as an adaptogen to help you cope with stress, but is well known for boosting blood flow to the brain to enhance learning and memory – all without the caffeine jitters!

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Move To Manage Stress

  • While excessive sitting, on city benches or otherwise, has been proclaimed “the new smoking”, exercise has long been known for its stress busting benefits. Movement will instantly refresh and energize you while oxygenating the brain and boosting your feel-good neurotransmitters.
  • While movement is a necessity in health, vigorous exercise is a stress to the physical body, so engage predominately in light to moderate movements on a daily basis. Run the stairs at your breaks, take a hike through campus trails, and participate in group activities in between lectures such as yoga (my favourite way to de-stress on a long day!).

A+ For Denis

  • What Denis did get right? He’s taken it outside! In fact, I have a feeling he spends an awful lot of time here.
  • Fresh air and nature spaces have both been shown to dramatically reduce stress. With the last of our beautiful summer weather and fall on the horizon, it is the perfect time to soak up the sun. Bonus points for removing your shoes to harness the stress relieving benefits of earthing!
  • Can’t get outside? Bring the outdoors in with green plants and open windows.

Study these tips and you are well on your way to a healthy, happy, stress free semester!

From A(+) to Zen,

Suzanne Eden

3 Hacks Of Holistic Independence & Canada Day’s Crowd Pleasing Summer Aspargus Salad

From cooking all of our own meals since we were freshmen, to reading nutrition books over novels and being the ones to eat salads out of mason jars, stick fruit in our BPA-free water bottles and ask for salt lamps and aloe plants for our birthdays, as holistic junkies, we all know a little something about independence!

 

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American or not, independence is something we can all celebrate! And when adopting a unique lifestyle, there’s almost guaranteed to be encounters with some negative feedback from others now and again. HECK, that’s just fine! Anyone else’s opinion has nothing to do with you and whether they keep it to themselves or are overtly open in voicing their opinions, it is your right to choose the lifestyle that suits you! And for the record, I’m behind you 110% 🙂

But it’s also important to mention the other side of the coin. It can be all too easy when you are feeling amazing, to wish this lifestyle on others, but everyone’s path is theirs to follow and they have as much right to live their life as they choose, as we have the right to live ours. So while we wait for our friends and family to all hop aboard the holistic lifestyle with us (or they may never get there and that’s okay too!) celebrations can get tricky. What can we eat when navigating BBQ’s strewn with mayo potato salads, unknown sources of meat burning on the grill, beers over kombuchas and dairy desserts?!

 

Here are 3 hacks to holistic independence:

1. Bring your own holistic swaps that mimic the standard dishes

  • Try to mimic dishes as much as possible which serves several purposes:
    • It allows you to avoid feelings of deprivation. Ever been to a BBQ and watched everyone else savouring a juicy burger and felt the cravings sink in? Bringing your own allows you to feel included in what everyone else is eating while knowing that the quality of your beef is something you can feel good about.
    • I also come with my own condiments such as mustard that are easy to stick in my purse and are free of sugars and food dyes.
    • As for dessert? Dark chocholate is an easy treat to stick in your purse and enjoy later.

2. Know the secret phrase that works for every question

  • This phrase is dynamite. You may have all of the scientific “facts” in the world backing you up but there will always be people who have other ideas. Afterall, nutrition in itself, is always changing and evolving and I’m sure you’ve been lead astray at some point too. But there is one thing that no-one can argue with and that’s how you feel. 
  • So when others question you, simply, happily and firmly state that you eat what you enjoy and what makes you feel good.

3. Share your food

  • Of course, you can pack your own food that may be completely different from others, but I find that this can too often upset the host/hostess. They want everyone to enjoy the food, too! Though I pack my own mustard and bring my own beef, I do so discreetly, explaining ahead of time what I’m doing and quietly sneaking it to them in the kitchen so that it doesn’t draw much attention. Unless someone asks, I certainly don’t feel this the time to make a statement about nutrition. So while I do bring some of my own things, I also bring a large dish that everyone can enjoy! This is usually a salad, and lots of it, to fill up on.
    • Holistic life hacks: worried that there won’t be enough for you to fill up on? Sneak your own serving into your bag. No one will notice but you won’t have to worry about everyone loving it so much that you have nothing to eat.

 

Now the question that arises! What does a holistic foodie bring that everyone can enjoy?

SALAD!

Always  a go to, salads are bound to show up at any event, but creative salads are the ones that will be more than just a side dish and asked for time and time again.

crowd pleaser

~*~

Summer Asparagus Salad

Adventure level: 1/5

Serving size: 4 (multiply for the crowd)

Light and fresh with local, in season asparagus, oven roasted for big flavour (as opposed to grilling) and rich in nutrients, this salad was our Canada Day crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 1  1/2 pounds asparagus (cut in half or 3/4s)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil (or more olive oil)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP Balsamic vinegar
  • Himalayan salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small garlic, minced
  • 4 large roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1/3 cup organic olives (green or black), sliced and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 450F.
  • Toss asparagus & onion in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (for higher heat stability) with salt and pepper to taste and roast for 6-8 minutes until they begin to go tender.
  • Remove from oven adding the minced garlic, 2 TBSPs of the balsamic vinegar and return to the oven for 4 minutes or until the vinegar is no longer runny.
  • Toss in a bowl with capers, olives, olive oil, and a little more balsamic if needed.
  • Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Let it chill for 30 minutes in the fridge before serving.

Simple and delicious, this one is sure to go over well and is extremely versatile. You can add soon to be in season cherry tomatoes, quinoa for a more filling salad, mint leaves for additional flavour, chicken so that you can take a pass on the BBQ’d meat, you name it!

With a delicious and nutritious day to celebrate all the glory of your holistic independence,

Suzanne Eden

Manifest Monday // The Brain Hack To Instantly Boost Your Health

If I were to ask you right now, “how are you?,” what would your response be?

Much of the time we tend to answer this question with an “I am” or an “I am feeling,” but is this the most productive way? Our brains respond differently to an “I am” vs an “I feel” response and I am about to show you how to use this to your best advantage to cultivate health!

brain hacks

It is a quick holistic life hack that can instantly give you more health, happiness, feelings of abundance and live everyday this week on an empowered note with this week’s Prescription For Wellness Challenge! Here’s how it works:

 

I think therefore, I AM

  • “I am” is an affirmative statement. It is making a statement about our identity that is then planted in our minds. With repetition, these statements become us. It is saying that “this feeling or this state of health is who I am.” The fact of the matter is that you are not this emotion or feeling, or illness.
  • Much of how our body conducts itself is based largely on our thoughts and beliefs. It is the placebo effect in action. If you are in the healing process, for example, think of this illness as being something other than you. You are not what needs to be healed nor are you your feelings and when you connect to this, they will hold less control over you and you will be better equipped to deal with them.
  • Prescription for wellness: When using an “I am” statement, always and only use it in a positive context. What we say we are, we become.

 

I feel …

  • “I feel” holds less power. Feelings are not permanent. When we express ourselves this way we are stating our feelings in the moment but not trapping them in our psyche. It is okay to express ourselves, no feeling is “wrong” but we want to do so in a productive manner that doesn’t keep us trapped in those feelings.
  • Holistic life hacks: Want to feel instantly more energised? Next time you feel tiredness within you, think to yourself “I am tired.” Sit with this for a moment and observe how you feel. Then change this to the statement “I am energised.” Really feel it. Convince yourself that you are energized. Did you notice a difference? Much of how we feel throughout the day is based largely on what we are telling ourselves and what we believe ourselves to be. So choose to speak of what you want to feel and choose to speak of health!

 

There is ____ within me.

  • I first heard this statement from Eckhart Tolle. It implies neither that we are our feelings or illness nor that we must remain with them. It denounces them. Disempowers them and puts you in control and assists in making you feel empowered with the ability to change your current circumstance. In neuroscience, this statement has been studied as an “I am doing” implying you can simply stop doing that emotion and thereby choose another. Whichever statement works for you, use that! Ultimately, you are in control, but what we feed our minds is equally as important as what we feed our bodies!

 

Brain Fuel Cheat Sheet

  • If you are feeling tired, or are speaking of an illness within you, do so sparingly and use the statement “there is ____ within me” or “I am doing.” You might say something like “there is tiredness with me” or “I am doing fatigue.” These hold the least power, are impermanent and allow you to take control of the situation.

 

  • When expressing positive emotions and health conditions, do so with an “I am” or “I feel” statement to cement these positive aspects into your psyche and attract more of it!

Prescription For Wellness Challenge

  • This week, use these brain hacks every time you think or speak about how you feel or the state of your health. The point here is to become conscious of how we are responding, to direct our responses positively and to make this a habit. Talk to others and tell yourself more of what you want and use these tricks to make yourself feel instantly more energised, motivated, empowered and healthy!

 

I feel that this week is going to be an inspired one,

Suzanne Eden