(201)6+ Gifts For Every Wellness Enthusiast On Our List

‘Tis the season of giving!

And for your holistically savvy minded, it’s a season bursting with stockings of fresh fruit, wrappings of recycled newspaper with handcrafted bows, and unwrappings of superfoods, salt lamps and Spoonks! With us, we are all for unveiling an extra dose of “health” knowing that these are the gifts that just keep giving.

So in honor of the wellness enthusiasts in our lives, this is our 2016 Holistic Gift Guide!

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For The Eco-conscious Collector

This is the individual who knows the holidays are for giving back to the environment as much as each other.

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  • Earthy materials– the lure to all of us who crave the wilderness. For us, we bring the great outdoors in! You could give a plant/terrarium (doubling as decor and air filtration), or gifts made of earthly/refurbished materials such as a burlap pillow. Embellished with an inspirational message..? So much the better!

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  • Eco Food Finds:
    •  Grocery bags:
      • Forget purses! These are the obsessions of every nutritionist. Nowadays these cute, reusable shopping bags come with compartments,  insulation to maintain fresh produce, and some look like a shoulder bag you may sport to your next nutrition workshop. It’s the gift you know will be put to good use!
    • Glass/Stainless steel lunch containers
      • If your friend-in-mind sports a glass mason jar wherever they go, this is a guaranteed hit! Gifting for kids or the clumsy? Opt for the stainless steel lunch set below.
    • Radius “Source” Toothbrushes
      • made of recycled paper/wood/currency and equipped with a disposable “head,” it reduces waste by 93% and makes an ideal stocking stuffer.
      • Shop HERE.

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The Mad Scientist

Ah yes. Here in their kitchen you will find mason jars of fermenting kimchi in the cupboards and bubbling kombuchas on the counter-tops. This is the person who makes you think twice before assuming that something moldy-looking isn’t a super-food concoction in creation!

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Kombucha brewing jar / SCOBY / Kefir Grains

  • A large glass jar will do too, but new and improved Kombucha brewing units have been surfacing as this popular drink has become the wellness world’s newest DIY. SCOBY’s can be purchased online or potentially at a local health food store. *Tip: even if they don’t sell them, some health food stores can order them in for you.
  • New to the fermenting forum? Opt for kefir grains which are much easier to start!

 The ACTIVEist

This is for the individual who can’t sit still. The hopeless fidgeter, the yoga frequenter, the “always on the go.” They know the value of movement and RLS seems to be their steady state. Sound familiar? Well, have I got a gift for you…

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The Zenergy Chair!

  • Allow me to explain… these chairs BOUNCE! 😀 This was my favourite find at The Alexander Grand Bell Museum in Cape Breton – who knew? And I have been obsessed with them ever since!
  • These office chair substitutes offer the detoxifying benefits of a rebounder and work your core to improve your posture. They also boost productivity by increasing blood flow to the brain.
    • For my favourite (the Zenergy chair) shop HERE.
    • For a more affordable option, look for the Gaiam chair.

 

The Curator Of Creature Comforts

This is for all things cozy! For the relaxation, the rejuvenation and nights nuzzled in by a burning fire.

Matcha

  • This concentrated green tea powder is to a wellness enthusiast what festive lattes are to a coffee lover. We adore this stuff! Being on the pricer side, it makes a great treat to give as a gift, ideal for those who desire the companion of calming L-theanine for their lounging.

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Notebooks

  • In my philosophy: one can never have too many notebooks! As an avid journaler, I have a real obsession for cute notebooks. The ones that inspire you to grab your pen and crack the pages before bed. The cuter, the brighter, the more recycled, the better!

From Us To You

  • For the soundtracks of the season! This has quickly become one of our favourite albums of the year and I had the pleasure of seeing my friends perform it on stage this week.
  • Delivering both a festive cover and the feature of local talents, you can have a listen and purchase your copy HERE.

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 Looking for more? Check out last year’s Wellness Wish List.

Wether by Zenergy chair (*winkwink) or otherwise, I hope this list keeps everyone bouncing for joy on Christmas morn! 😉

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

Three Healthy Minded Restaurants On The Streets Of Montreal

Home to smoked meat sandwiches and french poutine, Montreal is fit for a foodie. But how does a wellness enthusiast navigate the city of cultural cuisine?

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While I’ve always been one to plan vacations around food, this travel tour was packed with sightseeing and left little in the way of food planning. Thus posing the presumptuous predicament of where a holistic foodie can eat in a city populated by fried potatoes, gravy, and cheese curds.

You can image my relief in happening upon a hub of holistically tailored dinning options in every city that we visited. And for the two days that we spent in the metropolis of Montreal, this is where and what we ate!

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 1. Pizzeria Bros

Location: 13 Rue Notre-Dame O, Montréal, QC

In our quest for lunch, we wandered the streets of local shops and stumbled upon the menu of this popular pizzeria.

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  • This humble nook of Old Montreal has a little something for everyone. Kneading the traditional dough by hand, they also offer gluten-free pizza crusts, homemade tomato sauce, the option to forgo the cheese, and a whole host of unique toppings including anchovies and capers, making this the perfect stop for conventional and holistic foodies alike.

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How to make it holistic:

  • 1) Opt for gluten-free crust:
    • Bypassing the uncomfortable side effects many experience from gluten, this thin crust doesn’t overpower the toppings which enhances the flavour of your pizza.
    • NOTE: Do be aware that there is an additional charge of $1 to do so. For those with celiac disease, there may be a chance of cross-contamination, though the man who made mine was exceptionally careful and diligent not to touch the dough with his floured gloves. Merci monsieur! 🙂
  • 2) Omit the cheese:
    • Cheese stimulates our opiate receptors which induces the post-lunch sleepy sensation. Because it is so difficult for our bodies to breakdown, your energy is directed to digestion and leaves little for you to carry on with your day.
    • NOTE: You can substitute the cheese for an additional topping of your choosing!

Follow these two rules and your delicious pizza will leave you satiated and energized for your adventures ahead!

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2. Délices Érable et Cie

Location: 84 Rue Saint Paul E, Montréal, QC

  • A quaint cafe along one of my favourite streets of Montreal that sings of Europe with its unique french flair. As it was rainy and overcast, I sought after a warm tea.
  • Initially drawn in by the samples, this cute cafe is teaming with the maple syrup staple of Quebec. You can sample it in tapioca balls, crystals, or my personal favourite of whipped maple butter with course sea salt!
  • They also serve dairy-free gelato which I tasted but left for a warmer day. Opting for a peppermint green tea as an antioxidant boost and sweetened with maple syrup crystals. Come rain or shine, this is a must stop shop for all maple syrup enthusiasts!

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3. Reubens Deli

Location : 1116 Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC

 How to feel like a fish in a fish bowl: take a window seat at Reubens on the inner city strip with a smoked meat sandwich (hold the bread), vinegar based coleslaw and substitute the french fries for an alkalizing salad with balsamic vinaigrette on the side. A MUST!

This was one of my favourite meals on the trip. So much so that I hardly noticed the attention we drew of passersby through the window. Shy? Ask for an inner table as I guarantee you will have intrigued and envious eyes upon you.

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How to make it holistic:

  • They have an array of salads but if you want to experience Montreal’s staple smoked meat, ask for the basic smoked meat sandwich without the bread. It will come in a stacked pile and is so tender, it disintegrates as you transfer it to garnish your salad.
  • The coleslaw is not based in mayo, but rather vinegar which makes an ideal side.
  • Omit the fried french fries and opt for the salad. This is at an additional cost but well worth it! A light salad balances the meal leaving you feeling full without feeling stuffed.

NOTE: It is a popular joint and for good reason, so check in and enjoy a walk through the neighboring shops while you anticipate a delicious meal.

Bon appeptit,

Suzanne Eden

August Abroad : The World Of Wellness Coastal Tour

Happy August friends!!

I am absolutely thrilled to share that this month, we’re going on a little adventure!

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This August, hold tight as we explore the cuisine of the coast, the wilderness of the east and the World of Wellness abroad!

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~ Coastal Callings ~

I remember our road trips to the East Coast as a child. I remember making friends with the chipmunks of the campgrounds, the little jellyfish that swam up my brother’s swim trunks and stung him (I’m willing to bet he remembers that too!). I remember wading through giant tadpoles to capture frogs with our bare hands, creating motels for the hermit crabs on the beach and naming our lobsters as pets before we ate them. Note to self: never name your dinner.
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I remember coming to face to face with the biggest moose we ever encountered (we saw 14 that trip), whale watching, the endless treks through the forests, the freshest fish for supper, but most importantly : I remember the feeling, that magical feeling that only the East can elicit.

FullSizeRender(17)In just a few weeks, we’ll be cruising our way through the East Coast of North America and taking the World of Wellness Tour with us! Sailing the St. Lawrence through Montreal and Quebec (the Paris of Canada), cruising alongside Nova Scotia and PEI, down to Maine in the US  & disembarking in Boston.

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We’ll be discovering all the health hubs, tasting the provincial super-foods, exploring the health practices and landscapes and oceans and doing all of this in the healthiest, tastiest, and most holistic way possible.

 

The biggest difference: this time I get to take you all along for the ride 🙂
Setting sail to the world of wellness,
Suzanne Eden

Your Holistic, Explorative Guide To Downtown Burlington, ON

At the time, looking out onto the waterfront with our dairy-free ice cream and being shielded in the shade of the willow tree, my friend and I declared it a great idea to hop on our bikes and ride the three-hour trek from home to downtown Burlington. Fast forward a week or two, sitting with another friend on the pier, roasting in the heat of the sun and burning on the scorching black bench which stung as it stuck to our thighs, it struck my mind that the idea may, perhaps, be an ambitious adventure better left for fall.

In contrast to biking, this Tuesday we found ourselves taking a slow and leisurely stroll through the area to scout out the holistic haven that resides here. From secretive village squares, to plant-based eateries, authentic olive oil sampling and waterfront views, this is your holistic explorative guide for a day trip to Burlington.
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TASTE

 1) Kelly’s Bake Shoppe

401 Brant St

Conventional Diner (CD) approved

lettuce love
2) Lettuce Love Cafe
399 John Street
  • Holistic Highlights: gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, plant-based
  • The sister store to Kelly’s Bake Shoppe, run by the same two passionate women. I had the pleasure of eating here with my family upon graduating last year. The curry bowl with chick peas and split avocado fries were both good dishes.
  • What to watch for;
    • Though vegan, many of the items on the menu are soy based, so make sure to converse with your server. It may also be a good idea to call ahead and make reservations as it is a small venue and was very busy the night we stopped by. Though not a favourite amongst my non-health-nut family, I enjoyed my meal.
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3) Rawlicious 
496 Brant Street
  • Holistic Highlights: 100% raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, plant-based
  • A cozy location tucked in amongst the stores, Rawlicious is 100% raw food, desserts and all. Definitely geared towards health enthusiasts. I tried this back in Toronto where my friend and I both thoroughly enjoyed and raved about our raw sandwiches on dehydrated garlic bread with coleslaw and Thai dipping sauce for the raw spring rolls!
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4) The Olive Oil Dispensary
2003 Lakeshore Rd
CD Approved
  • We savoured mini samples of fig balsamic vinegar paired with infused bergamot olive oil as we stumbled upon this nook nuzzled amongst the surrounding shops. Walk in to find large barrels equipped with spouts specifically for taste testing as you please. Skip the white bread samples and drink directly from the mini cup, mixing together a balsamic and high quality oil of choice, the flavours stand out on their own.
  • Holistic Highlights:
    • Each, unflavored, olive oil is certified “extra virgin” meeting the highest standards of quality and taste. All olive oil we use in our everyday kitchens should be extra virgin to help ensure its potent health benefits.
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5) SPENCERS!
1340 Lakeshore Rd
CD approved
    • Just to see this sleek, black building with its balcony overlooking the water and pool of model sail boats, brings back fond memories of our special meals here. Featuring sustainable seafood and an earth to table menu with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, it is a semi formal venue geared to be high quality and an affordable dinning experience.
    • On my birthday a few years ago, I was thrilled to have a tour of the kitchen and back rooms by the executive chef, and could personally attest to the cleanliness and care of this restaurant. Though we no longer know the head chef who left to pursue his cider business, and I have not been back since, I still highly recommend this restaurant for fine dinning and exquisite views.
    • What to watch for:
      • The menu is often revamped based on the ingredients available at that time of year and to keep the experience fresh each time you visit. However, this makes it hard for me to pinpoint one dish for you to enjoy. Don’t be discouraged by the gluten or dairy, you still have plenty of fresh choices to choose from and cater around. Holistic Life Hacks;  Check out the menu online or call ahead of time to discover your options!

EXPLORE

 

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1) Walk the store fronts of Brant street, especially Centro
437 Brant Street
  • You wont find many of your conventional, commercial stores here. Instead you are whisked into whimsical gardens, vintage boutiques, kitchen stores and rustic home decor.
  • My personal favourite store to browse is Centro. Grabbing your attention with a green garden setting in the alleyway beside the boutique with mosses, cacti and herbs. Venture inside to find all of your future home inspiration from rustic wooden dishes and platters, hanging cactus planters, fresh food cookbooks and plenty of trinkets.
  • I stopped in this last time, to pick up a beautiful copy of Pure Green Magazine.
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2) Stroll the pier and waterfront
  • Watch for festivals! I have been here when it was bustling with beer festivals, tranquil in the mid afternoon’s heat (when everyone else was wisely taking shelter in the air-conditioned shops), and even caught wedding photos being taken; the clear sign of a beautiful backdrop! And to my fellow rock enthusiasts, they host the annual Sound of Music concert coming again June 11th-19th 2016 (the lineup is released in May).
3) Take a walk into the mansion neighbourhoods 
  • Ah Burlington, you sure know how to build them. Though many of us may be looking for houses with geothermal heating, lush vegetable gardens, and moderate sized homes, the surrounding mansions are quite something to feast your eyes on! When facing the waterfront, walk left along Lakeshore Road and keep walking until you know you’ve come to the right houses. Feel free to stroll the subdivisions that jut off to the side, it is usually well worth it!
4) Locate the Artists Walk Village Square
  • I have been to Downton Burlington a handful of times over the years and never had I stumbled upon this. Tucked away along an alleyway amidst the strip of pubs and bars, you’ll find a 19th century inspired inner village. Much of it is dedicated to business services but there is a gazebo and Parisian inspired restaurant that gives it a European feeling in the heart of Canadian culture.
 I have to admit that now, as I am sitting, writing to you in the comforts of  an air conditioned home, the summer bike trip seems rather appealing once again. But whether you take the day to bike your way to Burlington (there are many beautiful bike paths through the area!) or take the high road, do be sure to experience all it has to offer. It really is a special little destination for a mini road trip and afternoon ACTIVEists stroll.
In a series of explorative events,
Suzanne Eden

Manifest Monday // Lost In Textlation – The 5 Perks of Living Unplugged

3am.
 The time I arrived home one morning, following a night of getting lost in an epic tour of Toronto with a friend I had just met (in all fairness, I did forewarn her of my direction impairment), attending a business premier, eating copious amounts of delicious plant-based food (and a couple of squares of Giddy Yoyo dark chocolate), going to one of my favourite places (I know where you’ve guessed but it was, in fact, not the beach this time); the airport, and sharing a vegan burrito & very cozy ride home with a nomadic traveler & six-foot tall surfboard.
So naturally, the first thing I wanted to do was to snuggle into bed to check my Instagram, lurk his surf & travel photos (videography being what he does for a living) and “follow” the freedom project, a not-for-profit organization of which I’d just gabbed about with the founder and CEO over cauliflower & beet salads.
That, however, proved more difficult with the loss of my wi-fi reception, and what good is a phone without Internet and iMsg?? Now, I wasn’t particularly disgruntled on the matter until I found out our wi-fi was working, it was my phone that wasn’t and a quick call to Telus unveiled their cynical plan to ruin my lurking escapades : their system was down.
Stranded without a phone, gasping for reception, clinging desperately to my every last hope of vicarious traveling through mini photos on an instant feed, I gave in, put my cell down and vowed to spend the remainder of the day without it.
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Even cell phones have their limits and so should you! While your cell may disconnect you from web surfing now and again, life may connect you with a new friend and surfer. While your cell phone may lose service for texting, life gives you the service of personable phone calling. And though your phone may, at some point, limit you from fixating on a screen, life will have you transfixed on the world around you. We would all do well to stick limits on our phones before they teach us this lesson on their own merit and these are 5 Holistic perks that emerged from being lost in textlation:
 

Perk #1: Mastering the art of communication beyond the 7%

  • What happened when I solemnly swore to stay off my phone? I actually had to call people! Now I for one, love talking on the phone, I adore it, and this was the perfect excuse. As social beings, we need to actually hear people’s intonations and their “LOLs.” Laughter, after all, is intoxicating and stimulates our feel good endorphins when we hear it in person. Reading the abbreviation “LOL” doesn’t do it justice. In fact, through our personal lives, social lives, right down to our business lives, communication is everything, but a measly 7% of communication comes through the content of the message. What accounts for the remaining 93%? UCLA professor AlbertMehrabian found that 58% of communication is through body language, and 35% through vocal tone, pitch, and emphasis.
    • Prescription For Wellness; when discussing important news or attempting to resolve an issue, refrain from the temptation to do so over text message. Calling is an upgrade but to reap the benefits of the 58% body language communication, you want to do so in person.

Stranded on a dessert island

  • A little effect I like to call: lost in textlation: no matter what you type or how strategically you type it, the true intention (sarcasm, joking, sweet vs flirty, serious..) will never translate in the exact same way to the receiving end (and this is even before considering an accidental autocorrect-desert is a lot less appetizing than dessert).  The other person is bound to read it differently and this just leads to crossed eyes and hair pulling, neither of which are considered healthy practises.

 

Free to a good roam

  • Money, yes. I know the struggle all too well of roaming charges when we grace the border while touring Niagara Falls. My phone, being the adventurous type, loves the thrill of pretending it is in the USA and as a consequence, charges me in the long run. Of course, I weasel my honest way out of roaming fees and so should you! But the roaming I’m referring to here is the constant checking of your cellular device. PEW Research Center found that 67% of cell users check their phone for messages, alerts, and calls even when  their phone isn’t ringing or vibrating.  Phones offer a fantastic modality for distraction and can drain our days of motivation and promote procrastination.
  • Putting my phone down forced me to not look at a tiny screen all day. Without constantly checking my phone and getting aimlessly lost in Instagram “liking” and “foodporn” drooling, I found myself having more time and therefore, being far more productive and active! And an additional perk: there are problems that set in with dry eyes simply because people become transfixed on screens and withhold the autonomic impulse to blink! So I had happy, glossy eyes too 😉
  • Prescription for wellness;
    • Want to kick-start an empowered, energized and productive day? Disconnect from your phone, step outside, create your day’s game plan, read, meditate and go about your morning unplugged for 1 hour first thing each morning!
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Backspace the aches and pains

  • Dry eyes? How about the painful cell phone hunch? We were born with opposable thumbs and with this came our natural stature to walk upright on two legs. And though those nimble thumbs have come in handy for navigating miniature keyboards, they’ve also provoked a real pain the back.  The hunch is the new physical condition evocative of the ever downward tilt of the neck and shoulders from the constant use of our phones. On average we spend 2-4 hours daily in this unnatural angle according to CBS news which also suggests that good posture reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol to help you become more at peace. And speaking of a piece of zen…

Unlimited post-phone presence plans

Presence
  • Yes, presence. When disconnecting with the phone, we connect more to ourselves. There is less comparison to the glorious moments of people’s lives (the only ones we really post after all) and more time to ground and center your thoughts. You become more in tune with your body, your thoughts and emotions. Cellular devices can become coping mechanisms and pretty poor ones at that. Ever been bored or sad and looked through copious amounts of fitness and travel photos posted and felt the comparison creep in?
  • When we disconnect our phones, it forces us to look up and connect to our surroundings and the people around us. In our fast paced technological world, time, energy and awareness are three of the greatest things we could gift another human being with and can create a lasting impact. To have genuine, human, in person interactions where facial expressions come from a face and not an emoji and hearts are felt, not typed ❤
Instead of living vicariously through the adventures of my new friend from her trip to Guatemala or surfing photos of my back seat burrito buddy, I dreamt of my own travels there and made a game plan on how to do it.
And so I leave you with this: a suggestion for this week’s Wellness Weekly Challenge: to one day (or at least half a day) a week, find yourself in a total technology detox. This includes computers, cell phones, TVs, etc. To disconnect to pigmented images on a screen and connect authentically to yourself, to the incredible people you’re with and to the animated and unemoji’d world around you.

Tuning off to tune in for tonight’s family dinner of wild caught cod,

Suzanne Eden

Six Ways To Think Globally By Eating Locally

You’re a car pooler, an HOV lane local, a savvy  navigator of public transportation.

You are fully aware of the impact of gas emissions on our environment and carefully manage your ecological footprint, but did you ever consider the mileage on your plate?

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The average meal now travels around 1500km from farm to table according to David Suzuki. That is one costly road trip for the produce and environment alike. To put this into perspective, from MindBodyGreen, that means the average North American meal composed of some meat, grain, fruits and veggies, uses 4 to 17 times more petroleum if buying conventional versus buying local ingredients.

Take a look at your breakfast this morning. Where did it come from? Was it picked fresh from your garden, plucked from the your local fruit stands, or pulled from the grocery store aisles? Most supermarkets are supplied by global (national and international) farmers, whereas local growers are based right in the region, reducing the cost of gas, while fueling the community.  Buying locally from farmers markets and fruit stands is a simple, nutritious and delicious means to support our environment and our local economies. Here’s how:

  1. Fueling the food systems
  • The global system uses anywhere from 4 to 7 times as much fuel for transportation, and produces 5 to 17 times more CO2 emissions than regional or local food systems, according to Cornell University.
  • The Center for Agricultural Business reported that in California alone, more
    than 485,000 truckloads of fresh fruit and vegetables leave the state
    every year and travel from 100 to 2,100 miles to reach their destinations.
  • What you can do:
    • When buying local, the gas emissions from transportation are dramatically reduced. It is simply you driving, or better yet, walking or biking, and the transport from farm to the fruit stands.

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2. More Nutritional Bang For your Buck

  • Conventional produce is picked before its prime to avoid spoiling on the long distance it travels for distribution to supermarkets.
  • Furthermore, fresh food can lose up to 50% of nutrients 3-5 days after harvest. So if our food is lacking nutrients in the first place, then is losing many of these nutrients on the way to our dinner tables, we’re losing a large portion of what we were wanting in the first place; valuable  vitamins and minerals. Thinking globally, we all know the vast expense of health care and the more we incorporate fruits and vegetables rich with nutrients, the more we access the power of preventative health care!
  • What you can do;
    • When you buy locally, you are getting the full spectrum of nutrients from fresh produce, picked ripe from the vines and sold directly to you to diminish nutrient depletion.

3. The Price Is Right

  • Generally far cheaper, as the money is going directly to the support of your local growers. There is no watering down costs to distribute to drivers, the supermarket sellers etc. This money is most likely recycled back into your community to benefit jobs on a local level.

 

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4. TASTE!

  • I’m willing to bet that the main reason so many people think they don’t like veggies is because they aren’t having the true, flavourful vegetable. Take the taste test yourself, particularly with a tomato. What is hard, flavourless and more reminiscent of a rubber ball than a healthful food sold in supermarkets, is plump, juicy and nutritious when picked ripe. We are absolutely spoiled to live in the fruit belt and have a garden overflowing with heirloom tomatoes, but all you need is a visit to your local grower to reap the real taste.
  • Where does this lack of taste “stem” from? Take a look at the freelance article I wrote for EcoEating here: http://ecoeating.ca/case-of-the-tasteless-tomato/

 

5. Less waste

  • Globally, close to half of all food produced is wasted according to David Suzuki. Take the summer strawberry for instance where the average total loss from harvest to the consumer’s table is estimated to be more than 40%!
  • Holistic life hacks;
    • Ask for “seconds” at your local fruit stand. As the misfits of the fruit stands, seconds don’t look as pretty, may be sporting a few bruise spots that need to be sliced off or have an irregular shape. 30% of fruits and vegetables don’t make it onto North American superstore shelves for this very reason. By purchasing these perfectly good fruits, you will save yourself money and also decrease the waste of them potentially being tossed away.

 

veggie basket

6. Better Biodiversity

  • Smaller run, local farmers are far more likely to utilize the practises of crop rotation for more sustainable agriculture. This means rotating many varieties of crops which makes them more resilient against disease without using pesticides and promotes healthy soil. Conventional produce on the other hand, is often the practise of mono-culture which creates a vast host of issues leading to a need for increased pesticide use.

 

There are SO many perks to going local that extend beyond this list, from developing a greater sense of connection to our food, to getting one on one interactions and making friendships unlike you would in the grocery line. Instead of a quick “hello”, scan through of food, grab your money and go scenario, local farms encourage an open and friendly atmosphere and many of the workers work all week. It’s the ample opportunity to grow friendships while you grab your fresh picked peaches.

Diets rich in nutritious fruits and vegetables are cooperatively the healthiest for ourselves and the environment. This is true plan(e)t powered eating.  Fresher, tastier and better for both the consumer and local communities, you have every reason you need to grab your reusable shopping bags and head out to your local farmers market!

Suzanne Eden