My Favourite Podcasts

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I love podcasts. I’ve got a long list of must-listens that I download each week and I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting shows to add to my rotation. My favourites leave me feeling uplifted and inspired — in mind and spirit, as well as overall health and wellness. I wanted to share a few of my favourite podcasts with you here; two that will inspire your mind and three to improve your health!

HappierHappier with Gretchen Rubin
Given how much I loved The Happiness Project it’s no surprise that Gretchen Rubin’s new(ish) podcast is one of my current favourites. Each week she records the show with her sister Elizabeth Craft, sharing “practical, manageable advice about happiness and good habits.” This show is entertaining, candid and full of tips and tricks to make subtle changes to your life to make every day just a little bit better.

onepartpodcastOne Part Podcast
Last summer I was super stoked to learn that Jessica Murnane was launching a podcast of her own – not only do I love her blog, but her interview on The Lively Show was incredibly inspiring and really helped me to focus on changing my diet to improve my health. Well, she did not disappoint and now this podcast is what gets me out of bed on Thursday mornings! Each episode is like sharing an intimate conversation with some of the most inspiring and interesting people I’ve ever heard, with subjects touching on everything from mental health to motherhood, business to plant-based eating.

ultimatehealthlogoThe Ultimate Health Podcast 
This podcast comes with a little hometown pride as it’s produced by fellow Toronto-based health and wellness experts Marni Wasserman and Dr. Jesse Chappus. Each week Jesse and Marni sit down with interesting guests to chat every aspect of ultimate health from food to exercise, sleep to spirituality and everything in between. My favourite part of each episode is hearing about guests’ morning routines — like Jesse I love hearing about how successful people start their day!

nutritiondivalogoThe Nutrition Diva’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Eating Well and Feeling Fabulous
In contrast to The Ultimate Health Podcast, what I love about the Nutrition Diva’s podcast is the fact that it’s short and sweet, with a laser-focus on one specific topic or question from a listener. The show is described as sharing “simple, painless ways to upgrade your eating habits” which sounds great to me! I also appreciate that the Nutrition Diva includes lots of research in each of her podcasts. When it comes to this show I like to save a few episodes up to listen to all at once.

periodpartylogoThe Period Party 
Hormones and women’s health issues are one of my main areas of focus, likely in part because this is where so many of my own health challenges stemmed from. The Period Party podcast is an invaluable resource and I learned so much about rebalancing my own hormones after 13+ years on birth control and managing polycystic ovarian syndrome from this podcast. While there hasn’t been an episode published in awhile now there are tonnes of great episodes to listen to in the archives, perfect for binging!

What are your must-listen to podcasts? I’d love to hear your favourites as I am always looking to expand my podcast library!

iced mocha smoothie

iced mocha dandy blend smoothie

A quick Google search for “is coffee good for you” will bring back hundreds, if not thousands, of results summarizing studies extolling both the health benefits and risks of coffee consumption. Nutrition science can be confusing to say the least — recall that everything we eat both causes and prevents cancer — which is why I think it’s most important that we check in with own selves and health to determine whether or not something is “good” for us.

While I’ve fortunately never been the type of person that needed a cup of java to rev my engine in the morning, there have been periods in my life where I have fallen into the habit of picking up a daily coffee. But it’s never long before I start to feel the side-effects: heightened anxiety, trouble falling and staying asleep at night, and just a general feeling of being stimulated. I do love coffee but now I try to limit my  consumption to the weekends when I can really enjoy a cup of the good stuff from a local roaster.

Regardless of any antioxidant benefits it might provide, coffee is a stimulant which means that it has the capacity to wreak havoc on our nervous system, blood sugar regulation and production of hormones like cortisol (an integral part of our stress response) and insulin. You might want to check in and see how you’re feeling these days — do you need that coffee to get started in the morning? Having trouble sleeping at night? Experiencing energy fluctuations throughout the day? Then it might be time to reconsider that one- or three- or five-a-day coffee habit.

A great alternative to coffee is Dandy Blend — a roasted herbal powder made from chicory, dandelion and beets. It has the rich flavour of coffee but it’s caffeine free, packed with minerals and can help to support the liver. My favourite way to enjoy it is with raw cacao for a mocha flavour, either as a latte or when it’s hot like it’s been in Toronto lately, this smoothie.

iced mocha dandy blend smoothie

ICED MOCA SMOOTHIE

1 banana (preferably frozen)
3 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 heaping Tbsp Dandy Blend
1 Tbsp raw cacao
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maple syrup
1 cup vanilla almond milk (or use plain + 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract)
Handful of ice

Method: Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.

Enjoy!

Biting off more than you can chew?

shareasimage (51)

I have a confession to make. When I sat down to write the healthy habits I presented in my recent Optimize Your Digestion workshop I realized that I too had been slacking on a few of them – particularly the habit that topped the list: CHEWING!

While it seems obvious that we need to chew our food, the fact of the matter is many of us aren’t doing as much chewing as we should be. When life gets busy finding even just a few minutes to eat can feel like a triumph and the thought of taking a full hour break to relax, enjoy and savour our food seems like a luxury. But how you eat is just as important as what you are eating, especially when it comes to chewing.

Digestion begins in our mouths. When we take a bite of food we use our teeth to mechanically break it down into smaller parts. The saliva produced by our salivary glands acts as a solvent and enzymes are released to start breaking down carbohydrates. Swallowing large chunks of food means more work for our stomach, which will need to do more churning, and use more stomach acid and enzymes to digest before moving the food along to our small intestines. Not chewing our food completely could mean low stomach acid, depleted enzymes, developing allergies and nutrient malabsorption… just to name a few side effects.

The good news is we all learned how to chew when we were little, so it’s an easy habit to improve upon! The trick is bringing a little mindfulness to how much we are chewing each bite. Here are a few tips that you can employ the next time you eat that will help you chew and instantly improve your digestion!

Sit down to eat: Even if it’s just 10 minutes, taking dedicated time to eat meals and snacks free of distractions will allow you to pay attention to how you are eating. And no, sitting in the car doesn’t count!

Don’t bite off more than you can chew: Avoid shovelling food into your mouth; you don’t want to bite off so much your cheeks are puffed up like a chipmunk. If you feel like you have to push your food down with liquids, it’s a sure sign you’re taking in too much at one time and you need to chew that food more!

Put your fork down: Once the food is in your mouth, put that fork or spoon down!

Chew 40-50 times. That’s per bite, not meal! By the time you’re ready to swallow your food should be almost liquid.

If you didn’t get a chance to join me and Debra Black at our workshop, we’ll be running it again in Toronto this June! Sign up for my mailing list to make sure you don’t miss out on early bird registration.

WORKSHOP: Optimize Your Digestion

blog_no-diet-dayI love comedian Louis C.K. and one of my favourite bits that he does is about the 48 hour diarrhea window. At any given moment Louis says he is 48 hours away from diarrhea, having had it or will be having it soon. It always makes me laugh, but it also got me thinking about what we consider “normal” when it comes to digestion.

Register now for Optimize Your Digestion – Nutrition & Yoga Workshop

For as long as I can remember digestion has been one of my greatest health challenges. I have been intimately acquainted with that 48-hour window Louis jokes about, along with its close cousin constipated for days – which my doctor assured me was nothing to worry about! Making changes to my diet and lifestyle helped with those symptoms, but you can imagine my shock when I learned that digestion was also the culprit for the painful and itchy — not to mention unsightly — rashes covering my body.

Think about it — we literally are what we eat. Every cell in our body relies on nutrients from our food to function and if we’re not breaking down the vitamins, minerals and other good things in our food how are we fuelling our bodies? And if we’re not eliminating the waste  efficiently… Well, you know what happens when you forget to empty your green bin before you go on vacation!

After a lot of changes and a lot of hard work, my digestion is on track today and it’s now the greatest barometer of my health. While I eat well and exercise, I am certainly not without my indulgences. When I’ve been indulging a little too often my digestion will soon let me know it’s time to get back on track.

If you struggle with the 48 hour diarrhea window, gas, bloating, constipation, skin troubles, inflammatory conditions or just not seeing results even though you’re eating healthy, it’s time to think about optimizing your digestion. When it comes to digestion there’s always room for improvement.

Join me on March 28 in Toronto to learn how improving your digestion can help you look and feel your best. I’ll be talking about the role nutrition plays in healthy digestion and registered yoga teacher Debra Black will teach a gentle, one-hour yin yoga class designed to get those pipes moving.

REGISTER NOW, space is limited and you’ll enjoy my favourite healthy treats and snacks from Earth + City and Kewaza Energy!

Thank you to our workshop sponsors:

10357441_322835387841490_302400342806244983_n logo-rhub-web