The INS & OUTS of being a spin instructor

I am beyond excited to be writing this blog post, becoming a spin instructor was one of the best decisions i’ve ever made, the job itself is incredibly rewarding, fun, exciting and always challenges me to push farther outside of my comfort zone.

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My hopes with this blog post are to shed some light on what it’s actually like being an instructor for anyone who might be interested in pursuing it as a job or to inspire more people to try out a spin class as a new form of exercise. I commonly get asked many questions about what I do, why I do it and if it’s a hard job to do so I thought I would take advantage of these questions and turn it into a blog post filled with my answers and personal experience of instructing for the past few years. I asked for some input on my instagram stories last week for some common questions that come up when talking about spin and got so many great questions which i’ll be answering through this post.

This blog post is EXACTLY what I would have loved to read before becoming an instructor so my hopes are to share all of the good and the bad with you along with my tips for new instructors, new riders and everyone in between who is simply interested in learning what the heck a spin class actually is!

So let’s start from the beginning, how did I get in to it and why did I choose to say yes to being an instructor?

When I was in college studying fitness and health promotion, our first year was heavily dedicated to learning everything there was to know about the human body, anatomy, kinetics, biology, physiology you name it but on top of that we also did a lot of group fitness training and had the chance to become certified after our practical exams. When I first went in to this program I had no interest in group fitness, my goal was to become a personal trainer and focus more on training clients. I wasn’t fully confident in myself, I had no interest in being in front of a crowd and honestly didn’t even know what a spin class was (oh how times have changed)…. After jumping head first into teaching a variety of group fitness classes as part of my program I had to choose somewhere to go for an 8 week placement in group fitness. my teacher knew I liked cycling and suggested I try going to a spin class they had at the college and learning from the instructor there. After my first class I was HOOKED! The loud music, high energy and heart pounding feeling after 45 minutes on the bike was absolutely incredible. It left me wondering where spin had been all my life (although i’m a firm believer that things happen when they are meant to happen so i’m very grateful I found spin at this time in my life).

8 weeks of training and placement went by like a blink and I learned so much about teaching spin during that time, how to coach, plan playlists, encourage and motivate clients and simply talk and bike at the same time (not the easiest thing to learn lol). I knew in my heart this was something I wanted to pursue and call it fate but shortly after my teacher told me a local studio was looking to hire a spin instructor which definitely peaked my interest! I set up a meeting with them and the next day I was hired and working at a job I had been dreaming about for the past few weeks. I was beyond nervous, especially after learning that this studio wasn’t your typical spin studio. The bikes were a lot different to what I was used to, they lean from side to side and offer both a more natural range of motion and greater experience for riders. I was hooked after a few rides and saw the benefits of these bikes compared to others right away. Not only did I feel it more but it was a lot more fun as well.

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My first few classes I was a nervous wreck to say the least, it’s definitely a lot scarier teaching a class for the first time compared to trying a class for the first time. Being in front of a large crowd, making sure everything flows smoothly, making sure class starts and ends on time, coaching different speeds and gears….it’s a lot to think about but thankfully my first few classes were short and I was able to ease my way in to it slowly. It took me YEARS to feel confident on the bike (that’s right! It didn’t happen overnight) but consistency and a lot of practice got me to where I am now. I am nowhere near perfect (no one is) but that’s completely ok, we are all here to simply try our best and that is all we can do. It took me a few good months to master being able to talk and bike at the same time (and to also remember to breathe), how to effectively coach in a way that makes it easy for the class to understand but also encourages them to push themselves beyond what they believe is possible.

I spend and dedicate a lot of my time to watching what other instructors do, learning new ways to coach, new things to say in class, developing my own skills & strength so I can better deliver to my classes, trying out different classes to inspire myself and surrounding myself with other instructors who inspire me to keep going and try new things in class. This forces me to stay inspired and motivated because it’s my job to deliver that exact feeling to others people. Recently I invested in a Peloton bike to not only enhance my own training and strength but to keep me inspired with how the instructors at peloton teach their classes, it’s been amazing seeing how they coach and learning from the best.

There are SO MANY things that go into this job that they don’t tell you about. Is it hard?…..YES…Is it worth it?……100% YES!

Being an instructor is like being a cheerleader but x100 in terms of motivation and encouragement (you are basically a motivational speaker and fitness instructor all in one) I spend hours making playlists, finding the perfect songs and listening to music all for a 30-45 minute playlist that gets used 1-2 times max. I am always trying to think of new drills to do on the bike, new choreography, and new challenges to bring to class which my creative side absolutely LOVES. Although it’s very hard to turn your brain off at night after listening to head banging loud music meant to push you to work harder…haha. Often times I struggle to fall asleep due to teaching late classes and listening to loud music right before bed, I have to dedicate some time to unwind and relax before sleeping so I can get a good night’s rest and do it all again tomorrow.

Being an instructor is VERY physically demanding, it’s basically a constant leg day, every day mixed in with a lot of muscular endurance, intensity and conditioning thrown in to the mix. You have to always be ready to go, full of energy, motivational, positive, uplifting and be able to push yourself 1000% because if you don’t, the class won’t (all about living by example). Spin class is all about the energy in my opinion, the instructor’s job is to fill the room with an upbeat, high energy like no other which at times can be a bit tough but it’s always fun. Even when your sore and tired you have to be ready to deliver an amazing class, at times I question how my legs are even still functioning…haha. Stretching, foam rolling, mobility and recovery are a daily routine that is non-negotiable. If I don’t prioritize my muscle recovery I won’t be able to perform at the best of my ability! I spend a lot of time soaking in epsom salt baths, going for massages, going to the chiropractor, foam rolling and stretching as much as I can in between classes and at night before bed.

I also have to prioritize my nutrition and make sure I am eating ENOUGH each day so I don’t lose weight or negatively affect my performance. I need to eat and fuel my body as if i’m an athlete. I also do my own strength training in my own time so at the end of the day I am burning a lot of calories so I have to eat a lot every single day. FOOD IS FUEL! Teaching multiple classes per day has made my metabolism “lightening speed” so the hunger never stops, which isn’t always a bad thing, haha. I make sure to eat an abundance of whole foods every day (all plants since I’m vegan), snack frequently and prep a whole bunch of food each week to make sure I always have food on hand when I come home from teaching a busy night of classes. My go-to’s are smoothies (easy to pack in nutrients & calories), oatmeal with fruit & nut butter, snacks of nuts/dried fruit, hummus & veggies and dinners consisting of lots of vegetables, lentils/beans, whole grains, avocados and always end the night with some type of healthy dessert.

Music in my opinion is everything! It has the ability to completely transform a room and create a mood to make people feel energized and motivated to get going. The music in a spin class is meant to help push and motivate the riders to perform at their best so it’s important to have a good playlist each time with new songs and catchy tunes. I’m always looking for new music, fun throwbacks, new music themes to try in class and new remixes to keep things interesting. my spotify is (ashleydussault777) if anyone wants some good playlists. The music is the most important aspect of any ride for me, I want to be able to feel the beats pulsing through my body so I’m able to push harder and get lost in the moment. I live for the moments when I turn the music up and see everyone in class getting ready to push their hearts out on the bike. You can just forget every stress of the day and enjoy the present moment which is pretty magical

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TIPS FOR NEW RIDERS

  • Don’t be afraid of the intensity of class, yes it can be intimidating at first but all new riders have the option to modify anything and take it at your own pace, instructors are trained on how to set you up properly on the bike and make you feel safe before getting started. Make sure to arrive early if it’s your first time so you can get set up and learn how to use the bike

  • Don‘t feel bad if you can’t keep up with the instructor or the rest of the class, it takes time to build up the endurance that an instructor has, just keep going and don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 10

  • Go with a friend, this will help you stay committed and motivated

  • Make sure to eat something light beforehand for some energy (fruit is a good option for easy digestion and quick released energy) and bring water!

  • You are going to be moving around a lot on the bike so tighter fitting clothes are always the best option

  • ADD RESISTANCE, every instructor will be able to relate to this but it had to be said. When we tell you to add resistance do it! We can tell when you aren’t adding any on and are spinning your legs so quick they might fall off (what’s the point?)

  • Yes you will get used to sitting on the uncomfortable seat, it takes time

  • Don’t talk during class, it’s not enjoyable going to a class and having to listen to everyone chatting while the class is going on, it’s disrespectful to the instructor as well

  • Say thank you to your instructor after class, we really appreciate it, a lot of work and effort goes into creating a great class so a little thanks goes a long way. It helps us know that what we do matters

  • Try not to show up late, life happens and we get busy but showing up late (especially if your new) can throw off the whole schedule because the instructor has to set you up and get you ready for class while everyone else is waiting

  • Give spin shoes a try, not all studios have clip in shoes but if they do give it a try because it will help generate a more efficient pedal stroke and higher output during class

  • Don’t bring your negativity to class, leave that at home and just enjoy the positive experience

THINGS THAT MAKE OR BREAK A SPIN CLASS

In my opinion and from what i’ve experienced from the past few years of both teaching and taking many different classes while traveling around there are definitely a few key points that make or break a spin class. I’ve been to great ones and also ones that I would never go back to so it’s definitely worth mentioning these points.

  • The instructors energy, this one is a no brainer but still should be mentioned since it can impact the class more than you think. The instructor’s job is to create a high energy, positive environment that makes you feel ALIVE and excited to be in that room. Monotone voices, quiet music and low energy can really bring the class down. I want to feel the music pumping through my body as I go in to a class and I want the instructor to really keep me engaged and motivated so I can get the most out of the experience. Nowadays with social media it’s easy to search up your local studio and see all of the instructors, choose one who most resonates with you and your training style/goals

  • Quiet music, this is one of my pet peeves in spin classes, I don’t want to sit in a class that is playing soft background music, I want to be able to feel it as I push myself through tough intervals, sprints and climbs. I make sure to adjust my music up and down during key points in the ride when I want my class to clear their mind and really commit on pushing themselves. Music has profound capabilities of affecting our mood and this is definitely showcased best in spin class, MUSIC IS EVERYTHING!

  • Variety, it’s important to have a wide variety of drills during class to keep it interesting, no one wants to sprint for 45 minutes straight, add in a warmup, hills, climbs, intervals and fun drills to keep the class guessing and wanting more. Each studio is different in what they offer so don’t be afraid to look around and find one that best suits you

  • Empowerment, I absolutely LOVE when the instructor takes some time to speak words of encouragement, motivation and positivity to remind you of what you are truly capable of. It’s our job to make you believe in yourself so it’s important to find an instructor that really resonates with you. It’s all about providing that HIGH ENERGY environment that makes people forget about their day

  • Lighting, this one depends on the studio but I prefer the class to be dark with the lights off with a few accent lights around the room, this helps the riders feel less self conscious and really forget about everything and just ride. Some of the best spin classes i’e been to have been in dark lit rooms with loud music, the energy is incredible!

  • Talking during class, the only one talking during a spin class should be the instructor, it’s both disrespectful to the class and the instructor if you are taking over them during class

  • Make sure to cancel class if you aren’t coming, this helps give the instructor an idea of how many people are coming to class or if it needs to be cancelled. No one likes a close to empty spin class

TIPS FOR NEW INSTRUCTORS

  • Adjust the mic/music volume ratio, no one likes to hear the instructor screaming while playing quiet background music, I like to make sure my music is louder than the mic so the class is more enjoyable

  • Don’t be afraid to be YOU, we are all unique and each instructor offers something different in how they coach and instruct a class so do what feels most authentic to you. People love to see your personality shining through your classes, don’t be afraid to crack jokes, play your favourite songs and speak words of encouragement that resonate with you. Don’t copy what others do, try to find your own unique style. This took me many years to fine tune but it comes with time and practice

  • Be a good problem solver, you never know what can happen in a spin class, people show up late, your phone can die, the power can go out, the mic stops working etc.. (yes these have all happened to me) it’s all about going with the flow and being able to completely change everything last minute and still make the class enjoyable for the riders

  • Make sure to stay inspired, go to classes, learn from other instructors and see what they do and offer their riders. I watch other instructors, ask questions and practice as much as I can

  • Get used to being in a constant state of sweat, I don’t even know how many showers I have per day or how much laundry I have piled up. My tips are to bring a change of clothes and get used to having endless piles of sports bras and leggings everywhere

  • Make sure to prioritize your nutrition and recovery both pre and post workout, drink a lot of water to stay hydrated

  • Feel the fear and do it anyway, I know it’s a cliche saying but its true, you won’t ever grow from staying in your comfort zone, this job is absolutely incredible so just do it if you really want to

  • Get used to having a crazy schedule, I often go back and forth to work a few times per day depending on how many classes I teach or sub for that day. Be ready to cover classes if another instructor can’t do it

  • Remind yourself of why you are doing this, some days are harder than others but knowing your why and realizing how much people appreciate you definitely helps

  • Practice as much as you can, especially at first, get to know how to ride on the beat of the music, count the beats in a song, coach/motivate, talk and bike at the same time, and perfect your classes

  • Ask for feedback on your classes, see what people like and dislike and see how you can improve

  • Adjust the music to the class, if you have a younger or older crowd, adjust accordingly, for example…if you have an older crowd they might not appreciate an entire playlist full of “lil John”

  • Show up early before class to chat with the riders and help the new riders get set up

  • Create a pre class routine, mine includes listening to my playlist, hyping myself up, dancing around, drinking water, eating a snack, taking a few deep breathes and thinking about what message I want to deliver to the class

  • Add in strength training or cross training to avoid any repetitive muscle injuries or muscle imbalances from overuse

  • Follow other instructors both on instagram and Spotify, this is a simple tip but it will help you stay motivated, learn new things and follow some good playlists for ideas

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Even though it’s a challenging job to have I wouldn’t trade it in for the world, it’s taught me so much about myself and has helped me grow in to the person I am today and for that I am forever grateful. My legs always hurt and my head never stops singing songs but at the end of the day I feel so incredibly humbled that I get to be the positive part of so many people’s day. When people come up to me and thank me for a great ride or share with a friend how much they loved it I can’t help but smile from ear to ear.

It definitely takes a high energy, positive, uplifting, music savvy person to fill the shoes of a spin instructor but once you get past the challenges and step out of your comfort zone a whole new world of incredible opportunities and gratitude forms for what the body can do and what can happen from facing your fears. I truly never thought I would ever love group fitness as much as I do, it was a gift that I needed in my life to find a passion I never knew I had. It gives me more happiness than I can even express, the fact that I get to pretty much wake up and have a dance party on the bike while motivating others at the same time is a dream come true.

If your new to spin just do it, what’s the worst that could happen? If you’ve ever thought of becoming an instructor…..DO IT! I couldn’t recommend it more! You get to better your own health while helping others do the exact same, all while listening to your favourite tunes.

As for certifications, if you are wanting to become an instructor there are a few options, depending on your country and local studios you will need to search for spin instructor certifications, group fitness certifications and other health related certifications such as CPR. Many studios will host training programs that you will need to audition for in order to become an instructor but even if you don’t make it the first time never give up because you will always learn each time you do it. It will happen when it’s meant to.

I hope this post was helpful and enjoyable! Let me know if you have any more questions, leave them below!

The Best Granola Recipe

Is there anything better than a sweet, crunchy granola packed full of amazing ingredients?? I didn’t think so…..

I don’t know what it is about granola but for some reason I have always struggled with either always burning it, having the wrong consistency or bland taste every time. However, I never give up so decided to get back in the kitchen and I HAVE FINALLY PERFECTED IT!

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do a happy dance around my kitchen after trying this freshly baked granola! The taste is INCREDIBLE, it’s crunchy, clustered together and didn’t take long to make.

Now on to the recipe….because I know that’s why you are all here anyways…

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Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups large flaked rolled oats

  • 1/2 cup coconut chips (shredded coconut works too)

  • 1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts

  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs

  • 1/2 cup chopped dates

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter (can also use almond butter)

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl

  3. In a small separate bowl combine the peanut butter + coconut oil, melt together until soft

  4. Combine all of the remaining ingredients together and mix well until all of the dry ingredients are covered by the liquid

  5. Spread on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper to avoid sticking

  6. Bake for 15 minutes

  7. Remove from the oven and DONT TOUCH IT! This is crucial to forming the “clusters”, as tempting as it is to eat it fresh from the oven, let it cool for 5-8 minutes on the baking sheet

  8. Break apart and store in a jar or container, stores in the fridge for a week or if your like me and eat it in about 2 days you can keep it in a jar on the counter.

  9. Use it to top smoothie bowls, smoothies, as a snack or dessert

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Sacramento Trip 2019

I know it’s been a while since I wrote a blog post so here it goes, all for good reason though. I just arrived home from a week long business trip to Sacramento California for a conference and it was the most incredible week. I don’t talk a too much about what I do for my business I run online so I thought this blog post would be a good way to talk more about it and also update you all on all of the fun adventures I got up to while exploring California….which by the way is one of my favourite states to visit. Something about the radiating sunshine, good vibes, amazing food and health conscious community always gets me excited to visit. Each and every time I visit I fall in love with it more and more. This was my first time in Sacramento however but I really enjoyed it and would definitely go back in a heartbeat!

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So what is it that I actually do and what kind of business conference was it that I went to see? About two years ago I partnered with a community of women called Babes In Business (more info under the babes in business tab of my website) who’s mission is to inspire healthy living and holistic health across the world. We are partnered with an incredible vegan whole food product called Juice Plus which simply helps people across the globe eat more whole, vine-ripened fruits, vegetables and berries! How amazing is that? The conference was held by Juice Plus and for three days we all gathered and learned more about the benefits of whole food nutrition, preventative health, celebrated our team’s accomplishments, heard from top leaders within the business, heard from professional athletes, did a lot of self development work and came together like a huge family of likeminded, health lovers all wanting to make this world a better place……it’s truly an indescribable experience.

Each and every time I go back to one of these conferences it reminds me of how small we are all playing, how many of us shove aside out dreams and goals in life. We all have the ability to make an impact in this lifetime and live out our deepest passions but so many of us settle. We settle for a mediocre life, a mediocre job that doesn’t light us up, and we begin to push away the things that matter as “life” gets in the way! All for the feeling of “safety”….we work jobs that dont light us up day after day for the majority of our life just so we can enjoy a few years of retirement. Life is NOW, we need to be enjoying the present moment because the future is unpredictable and life is short.

I am so grateful I found a community of people who believe in this so strongly that their mission is to help people across the world better their health, their life, their financial future and overall happiness. It was such a blessing that I stumbled across this opportunity and I have never looked back. I always knew in my heart I was meant for BIG things and I found my way to do this! With a never ending amount of support and guidance to keep me going strong. All while being able to work at it from the comfort of my own home, while traveling and on my own schedule.

Now, back to the rest of the trip….Once I landed in Sacramento it was 1:00am in the morning so I headed off to my hotel to check in and get some rest. I stayed at a small hotel right in downtown Sacramento so it was close to everything that I needed and wanted to do. The next morning I wanted to try and find somewhere to take a spin class within the area to get my body moving and sweating after a full day of travel. I found a local studio called CycleLife which was only a 10 minute drive away and offered classes similar to the ones I teach back home so I gave it a try. The first class I took was a 45 minute Hip Hop ride which was a lot of fun and exactly what I needed. Loud music, lights out and a whole bunch off sweat….I already felt more like myself as soon as I stepped in to that class. I think it’s definitely important to find ways that you LOVE to move your body while on vacation, yes it’s important to also listen to your body and rest when you need it but it definitely feels good to continue with your usual routine if your body is used to it. The dark, loud, energy filled rooms are what originally made me fall in love with spin class in the beginning. You feel so alive both during and after the class, there is truly nothing like it.

A few blocks down from the spin studio was a cute vegan cafe so I took a quick Uber ride over and decided to refuel after class with an açai bowl….I mean you can’t go to California and not have one so it was a must! It definitely did not disappoint. The cafe was called Sun & Soil Juice company and they offered fresh pressed juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls, raw vegan treats and a few prepared meals for lunch or dinner. I got an açai bowl, a tropical fruit bowl and a buddha bowl to go for dinner later in my hotel room. The buddha bowl itself had roasted sweet potato, wild rice, chickpeas, kale, beets, pumpkin seeds and a garlic/tahini dressing that tasted incredible paired with all of the veggies. I was in food heaven that’s for sure!

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The next day I ended up going back to the same studio for one more class before I had to check out of my hotel. It was a great start to my day and probably the last chance I would have to get in a good workout before the conference started in a few days. Its was a different instructor this time but it was just as fun and I enjoyed every second of it, was absolutely drenched in sweat afterwards so that’s a win in my books! I ended up going back to my hotel and just ate a simple breakfast in my room since I had an early check out of my hotel. I had to catch an Uber to my AirBnb which was only about 15 minutes away in the downtown area.

Once I arrived at the AirBnb I tried to open up the door using the code we were given and unfortunately it didn’t work which meant I was stuck outside until my friend arrived a few hours after once her plane landed. I always try to look at the positive side to everything so at least it was a beautiful, sunny day and I had a lot of snacks on hand, haha.

I eventually ended up getting in to the house, the code they gave us was wrong but after it was reset we had no issues. The house itself was very cute yet had many odd problems such as lights that didn’t work, a tv that didn’t work, a microwave that didn’t work and it was lacking in a lot of basic supplies but we made the best of it. I was staying there with a few of the amazing people on my team who I work with online and it was absolutely incredible being able to meet a few of them in person for the first time. It was a dream come true and we had so many wonderful, deep talks about life and our goals which felt really great!

Our first day of conference started the next day which was very exciting. I got to catch up with so many of the amazing women I work with and finally give them all a big hug. This community has become my second family, nothing feels as good as connecting with people who get you on so many levels. I am so grateful I found this community and have a lifetime of even more genuine friendships and connections through this business. We all had to register for the conference and eventually find our seats within the large crowd. The conference brought together about 8000 people overall all dedicated to making this world a healthier place one family at a time which is a very beautiful thing to be apart of. The conference itself was mind blowing, so many inspiring talks, leaders of the business up on stage sharing their business advice, NMD speeches that brought tears to my eyes and self development work that really opened my eyes to how I was holding back in so many ways. We all have the ability to change this world and live a life of passion and purpose and this conference reminded me of that. We are truly capable of anything we set our hearts on and I definitely needed that reminder. It was amazing hearing from so many plant based doctors and nutrition experts and learning more and more about the wonderful product we are partnered with. I am so proud to represent this company and inspire people to hop on the plant based bandwagon to improve their health longterm!

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The second day of conference I was again brought to tears, I got to see my beautiful business mentor up on stage sharing her NMD speech (NMD is the top position within our company) it really hit home for me seeing her up on stage. I made the realization that this is something that I 100% can do if I put my all in to this business. Anything is possible if you decide you want to do it and I am going to do it! The rest of the day was filled with inspiration, goal planning, business workshops and a surprise by Rachel Platten at the end of the day. She came on stage and sang some of her most popular songs and it was a wonderful way to end the day. In between conference and all of the learning I also got to meet up with so many amazing people who I look up to and have been wanting to meet in person for a long time.

A very special friend who I actually met through instagram was in town for the conference as well so I finally got to meet him and spend some time getting to know each other which was pretty magical. It’s rare that you get to meet someone who gets you on so many levels and has so much in common with you so it was definitely a fun few days exploring the city, enjoying some amazing vegan food, dancing on top of empty rooftop parking garages (yea that happened…haha) and talking about inspiring the world to be a better place :) Im beyond grateful for the people that this business has brought in to my life. It blows my mind how many people I have met from finally accepting who I am and being ME. I have spent so many of my past years hiding away or trying to fit in with the crowd but I had to realize that I am absolutely perfect the way I am and the world won’t benefit from me hiding away my gifts. Once you are in alignment with who you truly are you end up attracting others like you and it’s truly a beautiful thing to be surrounded by so many likeminded people who have similar visions and dreams as you.

In the midst of long conference days, I also got to run a 5k that was being put on by the Juice Plus company and it was actually the first one they have ever done so that was pretty exciting. I ended up getting my best time for a 5k run and did it with no training! I guess all of the constant biking and spin classes I teach really helped my overall endurance and speed. That lead up to our last day of conference where we heard from many inspiring leaders and athletes sharing their stories about the products and how they have benefited their performance. The power of whole fruits and vegetables is truly incredible! It was the perfect end to conference and I definitely left feeling ready to change the state of the worlds health!

To end the conference we had a wrap up party held at the conference centre which had a fun 80’s theme. We all dressed up in bright colours and danced the night away to fun music and celebrated our last day all together as one big family. I will remember this night for the rest of my life, so many moments of pure happiness and joy being around the people I love.

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It is so important to surround yourself with positive, uplifting people. I am so grateful for the beautiful friendships and connections I have made these past 2 years, they have made such a huge impact in my overall happiness! So many people settle for less but it’s up to us to change that and realize we are worthy of living our best life! How are we supposed to go out and do what we were put on this earth to die if we are settling in so many areas of our lives?

I had an extra day in Sacramento after the conference to explore the city with friends and we ended up going to Old Sacramento to explore and take photos. The town was so cute and set back in the western times which was a fun change of scenery from the rest of the town. After a few hours of walking around and snapping some good photos we ended up heading back to Wholefoods to stock up on some good vegan snacks to bring home with us. Every time I crave to the States it’s mandatory that I visit Wholefoods and restock on my favourite snacks I can’t get back home in Canada. I could honestly spend hours in that store looking at all of the amazing vegan options available nowadays!

After a sad goodbye to one of best friends I headed off to the airport shortly after and checked in for my flight to San Francisco. I had a pretty short layover so was a bit worried abut missing my flight due to delays but after sprinting through the San Francisco airport to catch my flight to Toronto I made it with about 30 seconds to spare! Sprinting with 2 carry on bags was definitely not an easy task! Although experiences like that always make for the best stories and memories, i’m juts happy I made it and everything worked out. The flight home was about 4 hours to Toronto and then due to delays I was stuck in Toronto for half of the day. Once I finally got on a flight back home to Sault Ste. Marie I drove home and slept for a good few hours to recharge.

As soon as I got home I was excited to see my family and vitamix (can’t go a day without my smoothies, haha) but also had this longing to instantly go back. Being around people who inspire me and sunny environments really make me feel like i’m thriving. The cold, damp weather of my small town is hard to handle at times and it definitely makes me think about where I want to live in the future and it will most likely be somewhere a lot warmer than the Sault.

Overall this trip was one that I will remember for life, so many new friendships and connections, so many wonderful memories and experiences that truly make my heart feel so full of love and happiness. I will forever be grateful for Babes In Business for bringing this opportunity to me and for giving me a second family.








Raw Chocolate Peanut butter Cookies

Sometimes (and by sometimes I mean all the time) you need a good cookie to grab when that sweet tooth hits. Thankfully these cookies are a lot healthier than the store bought ones filled with sugar and processed ingredients. They are completely vegan and can be gluten free as well if gluten free oats are used. They are also raw meaning there is no baking required, you just melt the ingredients, mix together, roll into balls and store in the fridge or freezer. HOW PERFECT!

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Now let’s make some cookies….

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats (use GF if needed)

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

  • 4 tbsp hemp seeds

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • pinch of Himalayan salt

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • pinch of cinnamon

Method

  1. Melt coconut oil and combine with peanut butter, vanilla and maple syrup.

  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients together and pour the liquid into the dry ingredients.

  3. Stir together until well combined and roll into small balls

  4. flatten out on a cookie sheet until desired size and store in the freezer for 10 minutes to set

  5. Keep in the fridge for up to a week or store in the freezer for longer.



The Biology Of Food Addiction

The biology of food addiction….this is a topic that has always been of interest to me, we are what we eat and so many people suffer from the ill affects of poor diets and cravings from filling their diets with processed, sugar filled “foods”.

It’s not about your lack of motivation & will power that is causing your diet to fail-> it’s the food we are addicted to!

Obesity isn’t driven by calories but rather the composition of those calories. 

The diet industry convinces us that it all comes down to energy balance (calories in v.s calories out) but its not that simple.

Your metabolic rate, storage of fat, and hunger depend on the composition of your diet. This depends on the quality of the food you are eating (carbs/fats/proteins) and how they affect your hormones, neurotransmitters and your inflammatory cytokines. 

These are the biological factors that are driving changes in your brain function and metabolism with every bite you take.

The diet industry tell us to eat less and exercise more? Moderation is fiction in the face of food addiction, they tell us there are no good/bad calories, they are all equal right?…..WRONG! 

You can’t out exercise a bad diet! We need to be fuelling ourselves properly in order for our bodies to function at their best! Different foods are going to result in different functions within the body. Eating 100 calories of broccoli v.s. 100 calories of cookies are going to be a lot different in regards to how your body uses it as fuel and utilizes the nutrients available. One is going to nourish your body, one is going to cause your blood sugar to spike, crash and lead to fatigue.

Processed foods are all around us nowadays and they are made for us to be ADDICTED to them, these companies hire cravings experts to find the bliss point of foods so that we can easily crave them and become addicted to them! 

We have a sugar economy, one that needs to change, we have to take a stand on what we feed ourselves with. We have to take responsibility for our own health in a world that wants the exact opposite! 

When we eat these foods high in processed ingredients and sugar it releases dopamine in our brains, it creates an addiction due to the pleasure it gives us! Our bodies begin to crave it more and more until its all we can think about until the next time we eat it…sound familiar?

Eating this way changes our microbiome, drives up inflammation, can lead to leaky gut & other digestive issues, causes weight gain, leads to nutritional deficiencies, and many other chronic diseases in the long run.

When we focus on reducing calories to lose weight it will work short term but compensatory mechanisms in the body will override calorie restriction in the long run leading to increased weight gain and an optimized environment for fat storage and a slow metabolism.

Why this theory is faulty....There are many factors that regulate our metabolism: dietary composition, microbiome, toxins, infections, allergens, nutrient status, mitochondrial dysfunction, hormonal & neurotransmitter regulation, its not just the calories!

In the long run this is setting up your body to hold on to fat! You slow your metabolism down, you increase hunger-> not the best situation right? 

Calories are not all the same! In a vacuum yes they are😆 but are we a vacuum...no! Certain calories make your fat cells hungry and cause them to crave more similar foods! 

We have created a culture that is obsessed with food! We constantly think about it, we crave it, we are obsessed with it! 

Take a second and think about these questions...

Do you worry about cutting down on certain foods you eat?

Do you consume certain foods even if you aren’t hungry because of cravings? 

Do you feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating? 

Do you spend time dealing with negative feelings from overeating certain foods? 

Do certain foods control your life? 

Do you need more of the food you crave to bring you pleasure? 


Our bodies go through the process of building up higher tolerances to these processed foods, so we constantly need MORE and MORE!

Our bodies are all different in how they respond to this “stimulus” some people have receptors that need more and have less of a response to high sugar foods yet some need less. The more you eat these highly processed foods your body will begin to adapt and you will begin to need more of it to get that same response or “high”. 

Voluntary control over your food intake is not going to work long term! Counting calories doesn’t work, our bodies are SO smart! They know what to do if we give them the right information or “foods” and eat intuitively after breaking the cycle of food addiction. Intuitive eating is natural to us but when we are bombarded with processed foods or try to manipulate our calorie intake this causes everything to become unbalanced and our bodies’ hunger cues and hormonal responses don’t know what to did anymore which is why it seems SO hard to do at first.

When you eat more processed foods and begin to restrict your calories your fat cells essentially THRIVE, they become hungrier and want more. Your training your cells to crave those foods and store more fat and toxins, all of your food and “fuel” is going to go into fat storage, your going to still be HUNGRY because you aren’t “nourishing” your body you are just feeding your fat cells. Your body thinks you are starving so you begin to store more fat as your metabolism slows 

It’s your biochemistry that is driving your behavior, it’s the fat around your midsection that is making you tired, lazy and crave more processed foods! 

So what do we do about this? 

The availability of fuel within your blood determines your hunger, you want to change that by changing WHAT you eat and the QUALITY of the food you consume 

The key here is insulin, insulin is the fat storage hormone, we need to keep this within balance. 

You have much more control about what you eat vs how much you eat, you can’t change willpower…. you need to change the metabolic state of your fat! 

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If you focus on wholefoods, real foods from the earth, foods rich in fiber, water, antioxidants, phytonutrient rich plant foods you will change your metabolism and how it stores fuel 

What we eat is so important! Food can change the state of your health, prevent chronic disease, it’s information for your body! With every bite it tells your body what to do, bad food is like putting bad information in to your body, you change your gene expression with what you eat, you change your microbiome, change your hormones, you are literally WHAT YOU EAT! 🥭🍑🍒🥬🥒🥑🥦

You want to focus on filling your plate with an abundance of wholefoods everyday, feeding your microbiome with prebiotics and fermented foods, drinking water, eating foods that reduce inflammation......what is this going to do overtime? 

Reduce anabolic drive of visceral fat cells, reset hormonal responses to food, normalize brain chemistry and dopamine receptor status to begin regulating your appetite and decreasing cravings, increase your energy and decrease reliance on certain processed foods.

Your body is going to be nourished not just fed, there is a HUGE difference in the two! 

If you are currently struggling with a food addiction know that’s it’s possible to change and heal your body! It takes time, consistency of flooding your body with good foods, patience and kindness towards your body. Your body loves you and wants you to THRIVE, you just have to believe in that too.









 







Avoiding the Common "Spring-Time Cold"

During the transition of seasons, it’s common that many people get colds or experience cold-like symptoms as the weather is changing. This is completely normal as the weather is warming up the body is going through a period of transition and adaptation and sometimes the immune system ends up being lowered as a result. There are however, many ways to keep your immune system healthy and avoid catching any colds with a few simple tweaks to your diet and lifestyle.

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What you eat is very important to how your body runs, food has a direct impact on our overall health and vitality so if we are fuelling ourselves with processed, sugar filled, chemical filled products we definitely aren’t going to be feeling our best and our body’s won’t be functioning it’s best either.

  • Focus on adding in more whole foods, add more of the good foods in and naturally begin to crowd out the more processed “boxed foods”. Focus on whole fruits and vegetables, potatoes, root veggies, whole grains, beans, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds. Be creative with new recipes of your favourite classic dishes.

  • Add in more fruits and veggies, similar to the point above but it deserves a separate mention. Fruits and vegetables are EXTREMELY important for our immune function. Aim to add in 9-13 servings everyday and more if you are active. Focus on antioxidant and vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables such as dark berries, oranges, strawberries, kiwi, brussel sprouts, broccoli etc.. to help ensure I get the recommended amount of high quality, organic, vine-ripened produce every single day I also add in a whole food supplement called Juice Plus. Link below if you are curious as to how it can help bridges the gap in your nutrition. Plus they are in a capsule (vegan) which makes them easy to take everyday.



  • Add in foods rich in zinc everyday. Zinc is very important for your immune system to function its best! Foods rich in zinc include beans, lentils, cacao, nuts, seeds, more specifically pumpkin seeds. I aim to add in a small handful of pumpkin seeds to my diet daily.

  • Get enough rest, this one should be common sense but so many people push it aside as if it’s not important but let me tell you…IT IS! When your body doesn’t get enough good quality deep sleep it doesn’t have enough time to repair and restore your body from the day before. This directly affects your immune system as well which is why we feel so down sometimes when we dont get enough sleep. Ask for at least 7-8 hours per night, try and create a relaxing bed time ritual and avoid using your phone/looking at any screens before bed if you can.

  • Oregano oil, this stuff is a lifesaver for colds and flus. If you are beginning to feel run down or are around other people who are sick take a few drops of oregano oil a few times per day to keep your immune system healthy and to fight off the germs.

  • If you are beginning to feel run down, dont push yourself with a tough workout. Your body needs rest when it’s feeling down so honour that and let it rest until you feel better.

  • Add in anti-inflammatory foods and immune boosting ingredients such as fresh ginger, turmeric, lemon and garlic. You can juice them, add them to smoothies (I wouldn’t recommend garlic in smoothies however) or add them into hot water as a tea and have frequently.

  • Chaga mushroom tea is a fantastic add in during the transition of the seasons. It’s loaded in antioxidants and is one of the best immune boosters out there! You can add the powder to smoothies or make tea with it.

  • Stay active if you are feeling good, exercise actually helps improve your immune system over time plus it will make you feel good! Do whatever you love to do to keep active and do it consistently.

  • Add in a lot of liquids to stay hydrated if you are beginning to feel run down, simple soups with anti-inflammatory ingredients, tea, water, coconut water, smoothies, fresh pressed juices.


How I Overcame Obsessive Calorie Counting & Food Fear

This has probably been one of the most highly requested blog posts I have ever received and for good reason. So many of us have at some point in our lives struggled with obsessing over food, calories, portions, macros, our own body weight, self worth and so on. Its extremely unfortunate that it is so common but it doesn’t surprise me. Society, the media and everything in between preys on our insecurities to convince us we aren’t good enough, we aren’t thin enough, that we should look a certain way to be “valued” which is ridiculous. We are told what foods are “good” and that foods are ”bad”, there is a new diet coming out every 10 seconds, poor carbohydrates have taken most of the blame over the years so I don’t blame everyone for being extremely confused about what, how much or when to eat throughout the day. This is an area I have struggled with for many years and has recently become a strong passion of mine to spread the message that food is FUEL and NOURISHMENT, it’s not a bad thing or anything we should fear. We should be embracing all that to can do for us and all that it provides our bodies with.

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On top of that we have completely become out of tune within our own bodies. Did you know we actually have signals that tell us when and how much to eat and when to stop eating?……yeah it’s called hunger! There are two main hormones that control when our bodies need more fuel (food) and when we are full. These are called Leptin and Ghrelin. Leptin is essentially a mediator of long term regulation of energy balance, suppressing our hunger signals when we have had enough to eat and when our body is fully nourished. Ghrelin (I like to remember this one by thinking of the old movie Gremlins), on the other hand is a fast paced hormone that tells our body when it needs more fuel from food, essentially increasing our appetite when needed. Overtime, unfortunately our bodies have built up a resistance to these hormones due to increasing rates of obesity, high amounts of processed, sugar, salt, chemical filled “food products” and environmental toxins.

Our bodies are confused and so are our hunger signals, we need to focus on getting back to whole, real foods from the earth to begin to regulate them and to help restore our body weight to one that is natural and healthy for all of us. Intuitive eating is a powerful thing once you learn how to do it. It took me many years to understand when I was hungry and when I no longer needed food but with patience you CAN successfully get there and leave the calorie counting days in your past. It is 100% possible to get to a point where you eat until you are fully satisfied and don’t have to worry about how much you are eating. Your body will take care of the rest, that’s what it was designed for.

A little backstory on me…..


I personally struggled with under eating, obsessive calorie counting and over exercising for many of my teen years. I have always lived a healthy lifestyle (or so I thought) but I ended up taking it to the extremes and it lead me down a dark path. After a few years of restricting the amount of carbohydrates/calories I ate per day, avoiding anything with fat in it, of punishing myself with intense workouts after eating something I perceived as “bad” I eventually reached a breaking point and had enough. I knew I wasn’t meant to feel this way for the rest of my life, I knew deep down I needed to change for both my mental and physical health. I began researching one night “ways to heal your body, ways to healthily gain weight” and all of a sudden came across an article talking about the affects of whole plant foods on your mental, emotional and physical health. This article went in depth about how food is so much more than calories, but instead a way of nourishing our bodies so we can live better lives, so we can have the energy to do more, so that our cells can truly thrive. Immediately after reading this article something clicked. For the first time of my life I realized that food wasn’t just a source of calories, it wasn’t just a number! It was SO much more than that. I felt so bad after that for depriving my body of so many years off proper nourishment.

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I loved the idea of nourishing my body with an abundance of whole plant foods everyday, I had a feeling deep down that this is what I needed to do to help my body heal from what it had been through so I did it. The next day I committed to never again count another calorie, to never again restrict myself from eating, to focus on how food made me feel, the energy it gave me and to focus on truly nourishing my body and giving it what it needed to function its best. The benefits from this were IMMEDIATE, I was blown away. I felt absolutely incredible every single day. I would wake up and eat colourful bowls of oatmeal with lots of fruit and nuts, smoothies filled with nourishing ingredients, smoothie bowls, chia pudding, quinoa with berries, plant based pancakes, waffles and so much more, all made from healthy whole foods. Throughout the day I would listen to my body and what it told me, if I was hungry I ATE and until I was full. I was finally eating carbohydrates again which felt amazing, I actually had energy and wanted to do more. I would eat large plates of whole grains, beans, lentils, potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables, avocado, homemade soups, chilli, stews, stir fries and so much more.

After consistently eating and living this way my weight was beginning to restore itself and balance out. My skin began to glow, people started asking me what I was doing because I began to feel like a different person. This made me think of that article I first found that started it all. Our mental health is so connected to what we are feeding our bodies with. How can we expect to truly thrive if we aren’t giving our brains what it needs to optimally function. How can we expect to perform at work, school and so on if we aren’t giving our brains proper nourishment? I felt like I was an entirely new person, more confident, more open, more ME for the first time in so many years. I was so happy and grateful for all that I had been through because it lead me to living this lifestyle and finding a passion I never knew I had. I never looked back, I only grew more and more appreciation for the human body, for educating others on proper whole food nutrition and nourishment and I could finally openly say that I loved myself, every single part of me. It takes time to build that relationship with yourself but it’s a crucial step in recovery and living your healthiest life. At this point my body was actually craving exercise and movement (while gaining weight I stopped all exercise except yoga/walking to help my body heal). I actually wanted to move because I had so much energy and this time it was from a much healthier mental state. I wanted to feel stronger and do it as a celebration for what my body was capable of.

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Food is FUEL, it’s a source of physical nourishment that literally provides us with the ability to live. To be able to wake up energized and take on our day, to live out our greatest passions, to feel amazing, to love, to laugh and to embrace our most authentic selves. I used to be so caught up in worrying about what to eat, how much I should eat and tried to schedule in time to make sure I could “burn off” the calories I had eaten. How crazy is that! I wasn’t giving my body what it needed whatsoever and I was punishing it for any food that I did eat. We need to be properly fuelling our bodies so that we can deliver nutrients to our cells, so we can give our body antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and so much more. Most people nowadays fill up on low calorie snacks, processed foods and items that essentially make our bodies work so much harder at giving us energy and vitality. We do this and then wonder why we are chronically fatigued, bloated, have poor skin, can’t sleep, have cravings and hate working out! It’s all in the fuel we are providing our bodies with. We need to realize that food and calories aren’t a bad thing. We need to shift our focus and mindset on nutrition and realize that it’s here to make us better, healthier, stronger and live a higher quality of life. We need to realize that yes an apple has sugar in it but its a REAL, WHOLE FOOD! Nothing to be afraid of! I am sick and tired of diets that demonize healthy whole foods because of their calorie content or because they have “too many carbohydrates” in them, that’s RIDICULOUS! No macro nutrient is bad, we need all three (protein, carbs and fats) to truly thrive. Fruit doesn’t have too much sugar, we need it to heal our bodies and provide us with antioxidants, enzymes, fibre, minerals and so much more. Its time we get back to listening to our bodies, eating when we are hungry, stopping when we are full and to stop being afraid of food because society says we need to eat “diet foods” instead to maintain our weight.

I now look at food for it’s ability to make me a happier, more energized, more productive person. I strive to include as many nutrient dense foods and colour in my diet every single day. I no longer punish myself with workouts, I workout because I love my body and I nourish it so that I can increase my workout output, so I can lift heavier and feel stronger throughout. Food is here to NOURISH us, its nothing to fear. Our bodies are very smart if we let them be. Once you get back to eating whole, real foods and ‘cleanse” your body of the junk and artificial chemicals your cravings will subside, you're natural hunger cues will begin to regulate and balance will restore within. There is a reason you crave salty, oily, sugary foods-its because that is your fuel of choice but once you begin to fill your plate with real foods you will begin to crave them too, trust me. It takes time and patience but it’s possible.

It’s also important to realize that eating this way doesn’t mean being 100% strict with yourself. Yes I live a plant based lifestyle but I also enjoy vegan treats when I feel like it. Its all about balance and finding peace within so you can enjoy your life and feel your best in all aspects, mind, body and soul. Please know you are worthy of feeling your best, of feeling your body and of being the best version of you possible.

My Morning Routine

This blog post was highly requested so I hope you all enjoy a little insight into what my mornings look like. Each and every day changes for me, being that I am an instructor and teach classes or train clients at all different times every day my schedule never really stays the same. Personally I love it since I like staying active and busy, especially in the morning. However, there are a few things that I have consistently added into my routine every morning that have made a huge difference in my overall happiness, energy and outlook for the day ahead. They are all super simple yet highly effective.

First of all I wanted to mention the book called Miracle Morning, if any of you haven’t already read it I highly suggest it. This book was an absolute game changer for me and my morning routine. It made me actually fall in love with early mornings, I know…. crazy right!?

Once you create a routine that you actually enjoy and look forward to each morning it makes the whole process a lot easier and more enjoyable. You have to know WHY you want to do it first, and then the HOW just seems to happen naturally. It’s going to take time, consistency, patience and kindness towards yourself to find what works but you will.

Now to my routine….

Each morning I am usually up at either at 4:45, 5:00 or 6:00 am depending on the day, usually a bit later on the weekends depending on which classes i’m teaching. This may seem super early to some but I have always been a morning person so for me I look forward to getting my day started early before most of the world is even awake. I also go to bed pretty early so that definitely helps with the early morning wakeup. I make sure to leave my phone on airplane mode for an hour after I get up to avoid checking it first thing.

After I wake up, I roll out of bed and stretch or get moving in some way, we spend so much time in the same position overnight so it helps you wake up if you encourage some blood flow to your muscles. Some days this will look like me doing some yoga, simple stretches, foam rolling or even dancing around, because why not :)

I then go and drink a lot of water, we get very dehydrated as we sleep overnight so making sure to rehydrate first thing in the morning will help you wake up and feel energized. Sometimes I’ll also have some warm tea if it’s cold out.

As i’m drinking my water I like to spend some time journaling/reading and devoting some time for self development, gratitude and daily affirmations. This has been absolutely life changing for me, even just 10-15 minutes per day of positive self talk and reading from whatever inspires you whether that be your own faith, self development books, or positive quotes it helps start your day in a more positive way. Instead of grabbing your phone first thing in the morning, try doing this instead and see how much calmer and happier your overall attitude is for the day.

After this, depending on the day, I like to fit in a quick workout, I will either have something small to eat before like a piece of fruit or if i’m doing any heavy training ill make sure to eat a good breakfast an hour before working out to keep my energy up.

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After I get my body moving I will have breakfast, depending on wether or not I ate before working out i’ll have something small afterwards to refuel my muscles.

My breakfast and supplement routine in the morning……

My go-to breakfast is usually a smoothie bowl or smoothie, they are super simple and such an easy way to pack in a lot of nutrition first thing in the morning. I always make sure to have all 3 macronutrients (carbs/fats/protein) included in my smoothies for long lasting energy and to help avoid any blood sugar spikes and crashes afterwards.

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My go-to usually includes frozen banana, frozen berries, vegan protein, coconut water, chia/hemp or ground flax, some greens and then sometimes i’ll add in some fun extras like fresh ginger, almond butter or some superfood powders. Then I top it off with some more fruit, nuts/seeds or coconut.

As for my daily supplement routine, I take a vegan vitamin D spray everyday since I live in the north with little sun exposure, I take a b12 supplement once a week and then I take my JuicePlus capsules every morning. Adding in the JuicePlus capsules a year and a half ago was a game changer for my energy levels, clear skin, hair/nail health, digestion, immune system and hormonal balance. They aren’t a multivitamin, just simply a blend of 30+ whole, vine-ripened fruits, vegetables and berries in a vegan capsule, doesn’t get simpler than that! They make it SO much easier to make sure i’m flooding my body with all of the plant nutrition it needs daily to thrive, even though Im 100% plant based I still don’t eat as many whole, organic veggies as I should. I also take the vegan omega blend from JuicePlus as well which is great for skin/hair/nail health, brain health and post workout recovery.

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After I have breakfast I get to work, for those who don’t know, I also work online with a team of women who run an online 16 week holistic health and wellness program, I have clients that I catch up with weekly, emails to respond to, social media work to do, content creation, editing, client consultations and team trainings to do all throughout my day but I absolutely LOVE it because I get to do it at home on my own schedule. I talk to new clients about our program and vegan whole food products, I encourage current clients wherever they are in their health journey and inspire healthy living as best as I can.

After I make my way through my inbox I get to planning playlists and classes for later in the day, most of my classes are during the evening so it gives me time to create a great class and a fun playlist for each one. Most of the time I end up dancing around my house from listening to so much music but that’s just part of the fun of having a job that revolves around music and creating good vibes.

What does your morning routine look like? Often times we think we don't have time for a good morning routine but if you commit to it and make it a priority you can definitely make it work, even by waking up 10-15 minutes earlier you can get a lot done. It will most likely give you more pep in your step everyday and a more positive attitude.





My Guide To Travel

Ever since I was a little girl the thought of traveling the world and experiencing all that life has to offer had me intrigued. It’s an opportunity to see new places, get immersed in different cultures and enjoy all of the incredible foods available around the world. I began traveling when I was pretty young so you could say the travel bug was planted right from the get go and it hasn’t left since. That being said, travel can be very expensive and difficult to fit into a bust work/school and life schedule if not planned out. I wanted to share this blog post with all of you so that maybe it would either inspire you to travel again, give you some tips on easier, more affordable travel and to share an insight into the type of work that I do that allows me to take it on the road wherever I go.

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Traveling really helped open my eyes to so many things, it helped me become more confident, more independent and helped me truly fall in love with life…yes I know that sounds cheesy but its true. I gained a huge sense of purpose from experiencing what the world had to offer and I still do to this day. From new friendships, new stories, new experiences and more, it ignited that flame deep down within that I didn’t even know was there.

My first trip was to Jamaica when I was pretty young, I remember being so excited just to be up in the air, flying across the ocean just to land on a small island and soak up the sunshine. it made me realize how big the world is and how much of it was still left to explore. I then went on to travel across to Europe and got to immerse myself in the Irish culture, for those of you who don’t know, i’m part Irish so being able to see where my ancestors lived was pretty incredible. We traveled over to London, saw Big Ben and walked around the busy city. We ended the trip in France looking up at the Eiffel Tower. That was definitely one of the most incredible days of my entire life. We walked through The louvre and saw the Mona Lisa hanging along with some of the world’s most famous paintings, walked over to The Arc De Triomphe and enjoyed all of the wonderful French food. Europe definitely captured my heart, its definitely somewhere I am not done exploring.

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My very first solo trip was a 3 week volunteer trip to Ecuador, I have an entire blog post about this trip that I wrote so feel free to check that one out if you want all of the crazy details. It was thrilling being on my own, navigating my way through airports, getting lost but I didn’t care one bit. I thrive off of adventure and spontaneity, in fact most of my biggest life lessons have been in situations like this, where you have to stop and think of what to do next. I spent 3 weeks traveling through Ecuador volunteering my time building bathrooms, teaching English and then driving up to the city of Banos with our group. This city was one of the funnest cities i’ve ever been to, rich in culture, incredible people, amazing food and endless opportunities to explore. We drove up to view an active volcano, swung off the “end of the world” on one of the largest swings, jumped off a bridge (still can’t believe I did this) and I ended the night getting my first tattoo to commemorate the experience (sorry mom).

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Shortly after returning home, the travel bug was still going strong, I decided to sign up for a week long vegan retreat in Hawaii and it was 1000% worth it. Again, I didn’t know one single person on this trip but something about a group of likeminded people getting together always makes me excited for new friendships and experiences. We spent time at the beach, did workouts everyday, ate some incredible vegan food made fresh by our live in chef and explored local waterfalls, volcanos and hiked all over the island. It definitely made me fall in love with Hawaii and I know I am bound to head back soon.

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Other than those larger trips I have also traveled a bit throughout Canada and across the USA as well. I go to quite a few conferences in the USA with the wonderful group of ladies I work with through Babes In Business. I mentioned above that I would explain a bit about the work I do and why I chose to partner with them to help me live out my dreams of traveling and still being able to make an income. You all know by now that I love to travel….I always knew the typical 9-5 wasn’t for me, working all day everyday for someone else’s dreams and then only having 1-2 weeks off per year for travel just didn’t appeal to me, if its something you love to do thats great but for me it just wasn’t an option. I am so incredibly thankful I also work at a fitness studio part time and teach classes that allows me to work from home while Im not at the studio, its the absolute perfect combination. As for working at home, I work with a group of ladies online who run an online holistic health and wellness program for women, we encourage healthy living through whole food nutrition, self love and sustainable changes for longterm health. We have created a business mentoring program called babes in business that helps entrepreneurial women who want the opportunity to work in the health/wellness industry a chance to live out their dreams and make an income at home or on the road like me :) When I first came across the opportunity it honestly sounded too good to be true but it has been everything I have ever wanted, yes its hard work but its at my own pace and its something that truly lights me up everyday. I get to help women thrive both with their health and by starting their own business at home. If this resinates with you feel free to message me at anytime, i’m always happy to chat.

Babes In Business has helped me finally travel more throughout the USA as well, last year I got to finally meet some of the ladies I work with while traveling through Los Angeles and then road tripping to Phoenix for a conference. It was more fun than I could’ve ever imagined. when you get to meet someone who who connect with on so many levels it’s an incredibly magical experience.

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Our second trip was for another conference in Vegas. Going to Vegas has never really appealed to me before but I can honestly say it was so much fun. Seeing the Vegas Strip all lit up, going to shows and spending some quality time with my girls working on self development was like a dream come true. Safe to say you can never judge a book (or place) for its cover or reputation.


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Now that you all know more about what I do I thought id finish this blog post by sharing some tips I have learned along the way for cheaper, easier travel.

Travel doesn’t have to be as expensive and complicated as everyone makes it out to be, yes if you want five star resorts with perfect locations you might be paying a little extra but if you are open to a change of pace these tips could save you a lot of money.

Accommodation, instead of going to resorts or hotels try Air BnB for a change, this way you can save a lot of money and you get a house to yourself, or even just a room if your budget is on the lower end. There are also hostels popping up all over the place nowadays and are always incredibly cheap, some even include breakfast and a chance to meet some other likeminded travellers as well. I stayed in many hostels in Ecuador and they were all very nice.
Try shopping at markets/grocery stores and cooking for own food, yes its fun to go out to eat but after a while the price can add up quickly so buy a few stroke items and get cooking! I like to buy oats, some fruit, and simple things too snack on throughout the day.

Book Flights in advance and use different websites to compare prices, always make sure to clear your cookies because if google knows you are searching for flights it will show you higher prices!

Save Money by making small swaps in your everyday life, don’t get a coffee everyday, instead put that money in a travel jar, sell old items that don’t serve you anymore.

Book a place that is close to town so you can walk everywhere, this will save you money on transit and also its a good way to explore and see new places.

Make it a priority, sometimes this can be tough, saying no to things in the moment that you might want to do but having that long term vision of why you are doing this will help keep that travel vision alive.

Hopefully these tips helped some of you, traveling has been one of the highlights of my life and I want as many people as possible to experience that feeling of the unknown. That feeling of inspiration and love for all that this world has to offer. Travel is a life changing experience, you will bring home a greater sence of purpose and stories that you will never forget, it’s worth it 100%.

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What has travel done for you?

Veggie Filled Stuffed Peppers

This has to be one of my go-to quick and easy dinner recipes. Its simple to modify with whatever ingredients you have on hand and it’s a great meal to prep ahead of time if you have a busy week. I make these probably once a week minimum. This recipe makes anywhere from 6-8 stuffed peppers depending on the size of your peppers. I used small ones for this recipe.

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What you will need….

Ingredients

  • 6-8 peppers with the tops cut off

  • 1.5 cups uncooked brown rice or quinoa

  • 1 can unsalted mixed beans or lentils

  • 1 can unsalted cherry tomatoes or regular crushed tomatoes

  • 1 cup finely chopped broccoli

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cauliflower

  • 1 red onion

  • 1 large chopped carrot

  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

  • 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, chilli powder

  • 1/4 cup frozen corn

  • Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste

  • your favourite salsa to top it off

  • juice of 1 small lime

Method

  1. Begin cooking the rice according to package instructions

  2. water sauté the onion, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower until fragrant (roughly 5 minutes)

  3. Add in the can of beans, spices, tomatoes, corn, cooked brown rice, lime juice, salt and pepper and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes until combined

  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  5. Line a pan with parchment paper and fill all of the peppers with the rice mixture, top with a tbsp of salsa on each and place in the oven

  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the peppers are soft

  7. Serve with guacamole, more salsa, nutritional yeast and hot sauce if you like.


My Fitness Journey

This is something I have been wanting to share more about for a long time because I know exactly how it feels to be new to fitness and the feeling of overwhelm, comparison and fear that comes with it.

I have always been active most of my life, I grew up in the country so I was always outside or being active in some way but the thought of fitness or training was never of interest to me. Fast forward to high school when my issues around food started to rise and I started to gain interest in working out, at this point it was all for the wrong reasons and unfortunately lead to a pretty unhealthy relationship with my body and exercise.

I was obsessed with cardio, I wanted to simply lose weight and the thought of gaining muscle or putting on any weight whatsoever was the last thing on my mind. I would wake up extremely early, force myself to exercise even though I hated every minute of it and then wouldn’t eat very much throughout the day. It seemed like a never-ending cycle and it honestly made me hate all forms of exercise. I would refer to it as a punishment for eating too much or I would make sure to eat less on days where I didn’t exercise. It was a feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Fast forward a few years, I finally decided enough was enough, I needed to take back control of my health and regain my happiness. After stumbling upon a blog post talking about plant based nutrition and the effects of food on our mental and emotional health it was the first time that everything clicked for me. It was the first time I had ever thought about food as more than a calorie source. In that exact moment I made a commitment to better my health and transition into a fully abundant plant based lifestyle. Within a few weeks I felt amazing, I actually had energy again and my happiness was resurfacing. I no longer worried about carbs or how much I was eating, I listened to my body and gave it what it needed to thrive.

At this time I was actually starting to crave some sort of movement in my life, I knew deep down that I needed fitness in my life, call it fate but I decided to go with my gut and study fitness and health promotion for 2 years at my local college. It was there that my love and passion for fitness truly developed. I ditched the mentality that exercise was a form of punishment and realized that it instead was a form of love for our bodies. We should be exercising to better ourselves, to get stronger and to become healthier not just to lose weight but to better our mind and body as a whole. The more I learned about the human body and it’s capabilities the more I fell in love with fitness, we all have incredible capabilities and being able to help people realize that through fitness and healthy living is an incredible feeling.

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I became a spin instructor and a personal trainer after graduating and I jumped right into teaching classes and training clients. I fell in LOVE with being able to push people, inspire people and hold them accountable to their fitness goals. Seeing the look in people’s eyes when they are just about to give up but instead they push through and rise up fills me up with so much gratitude and happiness. I completely fell in love with training, with getting stronger and realizing that fitness truly is a lifestyle. It’s not a fad or a quick challenge, it’s something that you will have to commit to for life. The key is to find something that you LOVE doing, for me I love getting stronger so I began weight lifting to build my strength and finally gain back some weight on my tiny frame, it felt amazing to see my own progress and actually begin to get stronger as time went on. Not just for the physical benefits but for the mental health benefits it provides as well. I fell in love with the high energy and intensity of teaching spin classes, something about being in a room full of people, with loud music, good vibes and a ton of sweat is absolutely perfect. I not only get to show up for myself but I get to show up for those who need it, for those who need that hour to dedicate to themselves and forget about their worries. I am always so grateful after class being able to be that motivation that so many people need in their day.

I have been teaching classes for a few years now and my love for fitness has only grown. I’ve learned to accept my body and embrace all that to can do for me each day and I have finally found the confidence in myself that was lost for so many years of my life. I aspire to inspire others to learn to love their bodies too, no matter where they are at in their fitness journey, I want everyone to come from a place of love when working out, do it because you love yourself, do it because you can! In saying that, it’s also important to strive for balance, you need to ensure you are giving your body proper rest when it needs it.

My current fitness routine includes teaching spin anywhere from 7-12 times per week, 3-4 days of heavy strength training, 1 recovery day spent doing yoga/stretching and mobility work. This changes all of the time but the important thing is I enjoy each and every single minute I am training, I look forward to getting stronger or increasing my endurance on the bike, it has become a lifestyle that I love more than anything and finally now have the energy for thanks to a fully abundant plant based diet, and yes….. I get enough protein!

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For all of you who are new to working out, know that it is completely ok to feel overwhelmed, the best thing you can do is start small, just find an activity you love or want to try and get moving. Ask a friend to go with you or to keep you accountable, check out your local gym and the personal trainers they have available to help you get started or simply try out a group fitness class, you may even meet some new likeminded friends. It’s so important to find your WHY, especially when it comes to training. Why do you want to do this, is it for your mental health, your physical health, to get stronger, to train for a competition or to simply better your life, once that becomes clear the actionable steps that follow become easier and will keep you going in times of doubt. Fitness is an amazing thing, it can help you tap into a potential that you never thought you had, it can help you become stronger and more resilient in life, what more could you want.

How has fitness changed your life?





Carrot Ginger Squash Soup

This soup right here will give you all the cozy winter vibes after making it. I actually created this recipe on a whim by throwing together whatever I had left in my fridge and it turned out so well that I wanted to share it with all of you.

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Not only is this soup delicious but it boasts a pretty decent nutritional profile as well. Jam packed full of fibre, plant based protein and anti-inflammatory ingredients such as ginger and turmeric, what’s not to love! I used my pressure cooker for this recipe but it can be easily adapted to cook on the stove as well. Just cook until all of the ingredients are cooked through (20-30 minutes). Here’s how to make it!

Recipe

  • 1 red onion

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • small piece of fresh ginger

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

  • 1 cup mushrooms

  • 1/2 cup red lentils

  • juice and zest of 1 lemon (preferably organic if using zest)

  • 1 small butternut squash peeled and chopped into small cubes

  • 4-5 large chopped carrots (leave them in large chunks)

  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 can light coconut milk (can sub for 3 tbsp of coconut butter)

  • pinch of Himalayan salt

  • black pepper to taste

Method

  1. If using a pressure cooker, turn on the sauté function and sauté the onions ,mushrooms, chopped garlic, ginger and spices with some water until soft and fragrant.

  2. Add in the remaining ingredients except the lemon juice, lemon zest and salt (save for the end)

  3. Put on the lid and turn to manual, high pressure for 10 minutes

  4. Once cooked, let the steam release slowly for 10 minutes

  5. Add in the juice and zest of the lemon and salt to taste

  6. Enjoy!

This soup is also great with some added greens such as kale or spinach cooked into it. Feel free to change it up and add in your winter favourites. If you give it a try, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @plantlythriving


Vegan Blueberry Ginger Protein Waffles

I am so excited for this recipe to finally be perfected, took three days of eating waffles to get the recipe just right but I enjoyed every second of it :)

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This was my first time using @unicornsuperfoods Ocean Blend Blue spirulina powder in a recipe and I absolutely loved it, not just for the bright blue colour but for the incredible health benefits it has. Paired with ginger, blueberries and vanilla protein, these waffles have everything you could ever want.

These waffles are packed full of protein and fibre making them a perfect post workout meal or breakfast option to keep you full and energized throughout your day, it’s so easy to make meals such as pancakes and waffles healthier with simple, wholesome ingredient swaps so you can enjoy the foods you love on a daily basis while on a plant based diet.

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Now to the recipe….

You will need

  • 1 ripe mashed banana

  • 1 cup oat flour (you can grind your own rolled oats at home for a cheaper option)

  • 1 & 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used my homemade almond milk but any plant based milk works)

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder

  • 1 tsp @unicornsuperfoods ocean blend powder (optional)

  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries

  • 1 scoop vegan vanilla plant based protein (I use the Juice Plus Complete protein)

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into a high speed blender except the blueberries (I used a Vitamix blender)

  2. Blend until a smooth batter forms, it should be pretty thick, feel free to adjust the consistency by adding in more milk or oat flour to your liking

  3. Preheat your waffle iron (I used a non-stick iron, you may need to add some oil if your iron isn’t non-stick)

  4. Once the batter is blended, stir through the frozen blueberries

  5. Pour the batter into your waffle iron and cook for roughly 3-5 minutes depending on yo0ur waffle iron

  6. This recipe makes 2-3 waffles depending on the size, for me this was 1 serving, adjust to suit your serving size

  7. Enjoy with some warmed up frozen berries, maple syrup, nut butter or any of your other favourite waffle toppings

I hope you enjoy the recipe, if you try it out tag me on instagram @plantlythriving so I can see all of your beautiful waffle creations!

The Secrets To A New Year's Resolution That Lasts + My Personal Goals

I’m sure we have all been here time and time again, it comes to the end of the year and you begin thinking about all that you have accomplished and also a few things that have managed to slip by. This time of year is known for setting new intentions and resolutions but close to 95% of all resolutions are already out the window by the end of January! How crazy is that?

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The reason being that most people set goals or resolutions that aren’t realistic, are specific enough and simply focus on the end goal instead of the action steps needed to actually get there. Thankfully this can be easily corrected and you CAN successfully accomplish your New Years resolutions this year. I see a few common mistakes again and again when talking with clients, they want to accomplish a years worth of goals within 1-2 months and end up being frustrated after minimal results happen, no one wants to feel overwhelmed, nervous and unhopeful going into a new resolution or intension, I say we flip that and focus on small sustainable steps that create a plan of action for longterm success.

Below are some of my top tips for staying on track with your resolutions or intensions this year.

  1. Make your goals SMART! This isn’t a new concept but one that has proven time and time again to always set you up for the most success. I began practicing this way of setting goals back when I was studying to become a personal trainer. We had to help our clients create a goal that was broken down enough and easy to stick to, hence where SMART goals come in. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic and Timely. What you want to do is create a goal that you can break down into smaller steps so that you don’t end up overwhelmed and frustrated but rather have a specific schedule to follow along with. An example of this would be weight loss, instead of saying you want to lose weight, try instead saying “I would like to lose 2lbs per week for 1 month by going to the gym 4 times per week and adding in more vegetables with each meal. This gives you a schedule to follow, a number to measure, and action steps to get there. The more specific you get the better, think about how that goal will make you feel, what types of workouts you want to do and even call on an accountability buddy to keep you consistent. These types of goals can work with anything and are proven to help with success and commitment. I like to write down my goals and physically check them off one by one as I go along, there is just something so satisfying with checking off a goal or step towards your goal. Be creative with this, write out your monthly intensions, create a vision board or do something else creative that you personally love.

  2. Don’t make a New Years resolution just for the sake of making a resolution, if new year’s resolutions aren’t your cup of tea don’t make them! There are a lot of different ways of having and successfully achieving goals. New Years Resolution’s tend to bring up feelings of stress, overwhelm, comparison and judgment for many which won’t help you get into a good head space for the new year. Instead, simply focus on creating a different way of setting or tracking goals such as monthly intensions that you would personally love to work on or create a daily habit tracker as a way of ticking off your daily to-do list or set of actionable goals. Some people prefer short term goals and that’s completely fine, as long as it works for you that’s what is important.

  3. Don’t compare your step 1 to someone else’s step 10. It is SO EASY to get trapped in the comparison game. With social media nowadays, it’s easy to forget that it’s showing off a highlight reel of everyone’s lives. No one’s life is perfect, we all struggle and we are all at a different point in our OWN JOURNEY. It’s crucial to remember that you are exactly where you need to be at this point of your life, if your business is just starting up, be proud of that, don’t compare it to your friends business that has successfully been growing for 5 years. If you find yourself comparing your body to that of an athlete, unfollow them and move on. If you aren’t taking their inspiration as INSPIRATION then unfollow and move on, you need to be able to be YOUR OWN inspiration and be PROUD of where you are at in your life journey, own it.

  4. Separate your goals Into categories, this may be my type-A personality coming through but having categories and lists helps me stay organized and tracking forward with my action steps. For example, I personally divide my goals into Health, Fitness, Business and Life Goals. That way I am able to break my goals down even further which provides more commitment and more success in the long run. When I feel unorganized with my thoughts, goals never seem to go as planned but by breaking them down it helps me set up a daily action plan for each area to make sure I am staying consistent.

  5. Do something to keep you accountable! Accountability is KEY when it comes to making your goals a reality. This could be many things, having a friend to go to the gym with, sharing your goals with supportive family, writing down a list of daily actions, using your phone reminders to drink more water, creating a health and fitness instagram account, meeting likeminded people to share your goals with and keep you inspired, start a blog to share your journey with others, give yourself a gift after achieving certain milestones of your goal. Have fun with this one.

  6. BOSS UP! I recently hopped on the Peloton train and purchased one of their at home bikes that come with access to live and on demand spin classes everyday. The instructors are world class and it has been one of the best investments of my life so far. The reason I am mentioning this is because one of my favourite instructors, Ally Love has a philosophy of bossing up that really hit home with me. There are always going to be days or weeks where we don’t want to do the work, where we don’t want to go train in the morning, where it would be SO much easier to stop in for takeout or push projects aside but the difference between people who achieve success and those who don’t are the ones who do the work and do it consistently. You set the standard of your own life, your daily actions are what create your reality so why wouldn’t you want to give it your all. It’s time you finally stand up for yourself and create the life you want.

  7. Don’t strive for perfection, being that I am a perfectionist at heart, this is something that proved to be both a blessing and a curse. I’m here to tell you there is no such thing as perfection so why are we all so obsessed with achieving it? Perfection leads to unhealthy obsession and unrealistic expectations in my opinion, yes its good to dream and so important to believe that you are capable of anything but there is a point where it gets pushed too far. Remember that life is about balance, not about having the perfect diet, or the perfect workout routine. I like to strive for the 80/20 lifestyle. 80% of my time is spent on activities that nourish my body and create a healthy lifestyle while 20% of my time is spent on nourishing my soul with good food and time spent doing things I love and never have to stress over. Creating unrealistic health goals and then feeling guilty for not sticking to them 100% ends up just causing more stress in the long run so embrace health as a longterm lifestyle and don’t push yourself too hard.

  8. Be grateful this year. Gratitude is such a powerful tool, it has the ability to change your brain chemistry and create a more positive, grateful mind and life for you. I say it’s time to ditch the mindset of feeling like we are lacking something or spending our time playing the victim and instead be so grateful for this beautiful life we all get to be apart of. Start small, every single morning or evening before you go to bed, write down 3-5 things you are grateful for and place it in a jar beside your bed, do this for an entire year and you will have filled the jar with 365 things to be grateful and happy for in your life. This will automatically change the way you think, you will feel instantly happier and you will begin to appreciate the small things in life.

  9. Exercise! Yes even if fitness or health isn’t part of your New Years goals, try including physical activity of some sort into your life this year, here’s why…exercise has the power to lift your mood, help create more focus throughout your day, boost your metabolism (especially after weight training), pump your lymphatic system which helps your body naturally detox through sweat, boosts your energy and overall just makes you a better, stronger, healthier person. Who doesn’t want that? Exercise doesn’t have to be going to the gym, it’s important to find something you love to do everyday, this could be going for a walk, run, bike ride, dancing in your kitchen, taking the stairs, doing some yoga, trying out a workout app or visiting some local fitness studios in your town for something new.

  10. Realize that YOU are the only one that is going to make a change in your life. You can hire all of the health coaches, personal trainers, life coaches or healers that you want but ultimately It’s YOU and only YOU that has to put in the work and show up for yourself. Every single obstacle in your life was created to make you stronger and bring you to the next level, it’s up to you to see that as either a step forewords or backwards. Be proud of where you are at and realize that you are worthy of being unbelievably happy, successful and thriving, it’s a CHOICE you have to make for yourself. Love yourself enough to show up and be your best every single day and the rest will follow.

  11. Use I AM statements. I absolutely LOVE this concept of goal setting. This ties into the law of attraction and manifestation. Saying a goal out loud as if it already is true tricks your brain into actually believing it with consistency. Instead of saying I want to lose 10 pounds, write an affirmation saying, I am feeling so energized after losing 10 pounds, I am the healthiest I have ever been. Say it daily and include actions steps on how you are going to get there, think about how these statements make you feel everyday when you say them. These have helped sky rocket my self belief!

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I hope that the tips above help you create an action plan into your best self in 2019, personally I have quite a few goals this year both big and small so I thought I would share them with you as a way to keep myself accountable on this journey.

  • HEALTH- last year was all about hormonal balance for me and tweaking my diet around to find more balance and thankfully I was able to achieve this (more posts to come about this topic) so my goal is to maintain that balance with my diet. I will continue to create more plant based whole food recipes to share with you all and also expand the variety of foods I eat. Lastly I will drink more water everyday.

  • FITNESS- I will work on building strength and staying consistent with it, alongside more stretching and focus on recovery in between workouts. I will bring more variation into my fitness routine to switch it up.

  • Business- By April this year I will expand my online business and help 10 passionate, inspired ladies create their own online wellness business within Babes In Business, I will help 15 new personal clients become the healthiest version of themselves, I will stay consistent with blogging every Monday, I will continue to work with brands that align with my values on instagram, I will continue to grow my brand and share my passions with you all, I will focus on organization and consistency this year, I will create more projects and content for you all, travel as much as I can with the amazing team of women I work with.

  • LIFESTYLE- I will go to bed earlier so I can focus on good quality sleep, I will focus on being more grateful and positive, I am committing to 365 days of self development by listening to a daily podcast or reading, I will finish my online course in plant based nutrition, I will step outside of my comfort zone more often and challenge myself.

I know that sounds like a lot, but like I said I like to be thorough and specific, I hope you all enjoyed reading this post, I am SO excited to offer you a lot of exciting content for 2019. What are your new year’s goals? Share them below. Happy New Year!




How To live An Energized life

Do you find yourself constantly reaching for coffee, dreading that morning alarm waking you from your priceless slumber, wishing you could avoid that constant 3pm energy crash everyday?

if so…keep reading, this may be just what you needed to hear!

I too fell into this never-ending energy trap many years ago, I hated waking up early, I felt as if I never had enough energy to make it through my day let alone fit in a workout! This eventually led me into realizing their were many areas of my life that were out of balance and on top of that, my diet wasn’t helping whatsoever. Thankfully I was able to completely flip my lifestyle and adopt one that it now full of energy and passion and I’m going to let you in on some of my secrets to how I did this.

So…how do you live an energized life?

First of all, lets define what energy even is?

Energy is defined as the strength and vitality required for sustained physical and mental activity. It is your most valuable renewable resource.

You have the power to choose activities that either fuel or drain your energy levels. You can choose to surround yourself with people that light you up or suck you dry, you can choose to fuel your body with nourishing foods or foods that leave you feeling exhausted. Once you learn what activities leave you feeling more energized, all areas of your life will become more balanced.

We gain energy by eating foods that nourish us, staying hydrated with high quality water, surrounding ourselves with likeminded people, having career satisfaction and developing a spiritual practice specific to our own beliefs and lifestyle.

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Here are some of my top tips I suggest for implementing more energizing activities into your lifestyle.





  • Dedicate one day per week for YOU: Dedicate one day of your week where your only goal is to relax and recharge. Sleep in, read your favourite book, get a massage, do some cooking or anything else that you love to do.

  • Aim to fill your diet with high quality whole foods: whenever you can choose local, organic, whole plant foods full of antioxidants, fibre, water and minerals. Avoid processed foods that will leave you feeling drained and craving more. Fill your daily diet with as many fruits and vegetables as you can. To make sure I am reaching my daily quota of whole foods in the variety we all need, I include Juice Plus capsules into my diet and have been loving the results of ongoing energy all day for the past year. Click the button below if you’d like to try them out for yourself (if you are not from Canada, you can change the world symbol at the top of the page).

  • make every meal a ritual: sit down, be mindful and grateful for every bite you take. Slow down your chewing and avoid distractions. This will aid in both digestion and energy. 

  • Create a morning routine you love: To set the tone each day, first take some time for a few slow, deep breaths, meditate, do yoga, dance, journal or listen to your favourite song to leave you in a great mood. Make a nourishing breakfast before getting on with your daily tasks. You don’t have to spend hours making your morning routine, its all about dedicating even just a few minutes to you, to leave you feeling energized and productive for the day ahead. 

  • Get a good nights rest: its no secret feeling energized comes from a good night’s rest, get to bed as early as you can, and avoid spending too much time looking at your phone/computer screens before bed. A good tip is to turn your phone on airplane mode one hour before bed and leave it off one hour after waking to feel more positive and energized. 

  • Stay hydrated: first thing in the morning, rehydrate your body with a large glass of water with lemon for a refreshing drink. Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day and drink frequently

  • Exercise: try to fit in some form of movement each day, play around with different times of working out such as in the morning or later in the day to see how your energy levels feel, personally I love a good sweat first thing in the morning to help boost energy. Also try to find a type of workout that feels best to you, their isn’t one type that is best, its very individual and depends on what you enjoy.

It is so important to look at all areas of your life when it comes down to energy. Are you spending time with friends and family that light you up or do they make you feel drained and tired. Are you spending time in a career that doesn’t fulfill you and makes you chronically fatigued. Are you spending time doing workouts that don’t align with you and your goals. Is there a certain area of your life that could use more work or time spent focusing on? It is important to have a think about all of these areas as a lot of the time our energy levels are a direct result of our overall lifestyles not just what we are eating. Keep in mind though, a balanced diet rich in whole foods will definitely help you feel more energized. 

Bio-Individuality plays into energy levels just like anything else, not every one is going to have the same results after eating certain foods but generally speaking, these foods below will help increase and keep energy levels stable, I’ve also included foods to avoid energy crashes throughout the day.

Foods To Boost Energy

  • vegetables

  • fruits, especially berries

  • leafy greens

  • healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds

  • chia, hemp seeds

  • maca powder

  • cacao powder

  • ginger root

  • whole grains (specific to the individual)

  • clean water

Foods That Decrease Energy

  • artificial junk food

  • processed foods

  • sugar

  • dairy

  • processed meats

  • caffeine

  • soft drinks

  • alcohol

  • artificial sweeteners

  • refined grains

  • trans fat

How To Begin Eating An Energized Diet

Start by keeping a journal and writing down how you feel 20 minutes, one hour and 3 hours after a meal to track your energy levels.

Begin crowding out the bad foods by adding in more of the good, don’t focus on removing but rather on adding in more raw fruits and vegetables where you can.

Explore all aspects of your life as a whole, add in more activities that energize you and have a think about the ones that are causing unnecessary fatigue.

Stick to simple meals for breakfast, or give mono-mealing a try (eating only 1 type of fruit for breakfast such as a melon to aid digestion and convert to quickly used energy)

Eat your larger meals earlier in the day such as morning and afternoon for better digestion and energy, the sun is at its fullest at this point which helps your body digest quicker.

Notice what foods give you an immediate sugar high and crash shortly after, slowly begin removing excess sugar from the diet and replacing it with sweet vegetables and fruit. 

Begin to drink more water consistently throughout the day when sugar cravings hit or you are feeling low on energy. 

Hopefully these tips will have you feeling full of energy and ready to tackle your day ahead!




Want to work one on one with me to increase your energy levels, find what foods work best for you and become your healthiest self? Book in a free consultation with me on The Healthstyle Emporium page of my website. I look forward to helping you reach your goals.







Bring On Fall, Recipes To Get You Through The Change Of Seasons

As much as I hate the colder weather creeping in there is still a part of me (deep down), that always looks forward to the crisp mornings, the changing colours and the season of pumpkin spiced everything-yes I admit to being a basic pumpkin loving gal!

The colder weather brings new flavours and produce into season such as apples, squash, root veggies such as sweet potatoes, beets, radishes and spices like cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, allspice and ginger. I think it is so important to eat seasonally and support your local farmers and produce stands when you can, not only will the experience be enjoyable but the produce will be better quality and a lot more nutritionally dense.

The colder weather also means that soup season has arrived. My personal favourite being warm, pureed squash soups filled with hearty ingredients. The opportunities are endless so play around with your locally available produce and see what you can create this fall.

In the meantime, here are a few of my favourite fall treats, snacks and meals. Don’t forget to tag me on instagram @plantlythriving if you make any of these recipes, I would love to see!


Pumpkin Spice Date Cookies

These are probably the easiest and healthiest cookies I have ever made. They could easily be a quick on the go breakfast, snack or even desert.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups quick oats

  • 1 heaping cup of soft pitted dates

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree

  • 1/4 cup pecans

  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth

  • Roll into small balls, flatten with a fork and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

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Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

These muffins are everything you could ever want in a muffin! So sweet and delicious, hard to believe they are healthy and packed full of nutrients.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp water (mixed together)

  • 1 3/4 cups spelt flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp himalayan salt

  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/2 cup apple sauce

  • 1/4 cup almond milk

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

  • 1/2 cup frozen cranberries

  • 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries

    Method

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.

  • Combine flax + water, set aside

  • Mix dry ingredients together

  • Mix liquid ingredients together

  • Combine all ingredients together and mix well

  • Line a muffin tin with liners and evenly fill the tray

  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden on top

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats

  • 3 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

  • 2 tbsp unsweetened pumpkin puree

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

  • 2 chopped dates

Method

  • Mix together all ingredients and place in the fridge overnight

  • The next morning, mix well and top with your favourite toppings

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Sweet Potato Carrot Ginger Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups roasted carrots

  • 1 large roasted sweet potato

  • 1 small piece of fresh grated ginger

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas

  • 1 vegetable stock cube

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup light canned coconut milk

  • 1 tsp curry powder

  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

  • 2 green onions

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  • Rince and chop the sweet potato and carrots, roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until soft

  • Place the vegetable stock cube, chickpeas, water, green onion, grated ginger, coconut milk, lemon juice and all spices into a high powered blender.

  • Once the veggies are soft, remove from oven and place in the blender with the other ingredients

  • Blend until the soup is smooth and creamy

  • Pour back into a large pot and reheat until warm.

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Butternut Peanut Lentil Stew

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large butternut squash chopped and peeled

  • 1/2 large sweet potato chopped

  • 1 large red onion

  • 1/2 cup red lentils

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter

  • 1 can unsalted tomatoes

  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 large carrot chopped

  • 1/4 red pepper chopped

  • 2 leaves of kale

  • 1/2 tsp each of garlic powder, cumin, curry powder and cinnamon

  • salt and black pepper to taste

    Method

  • Finely chop the onion, carrot, red pepper and sweet potato and sauce in a splash of water and the spices until fragrant.

  • Chop up the squash and add in large chunks to the stew.

  • Add in the broth, lentils, and all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

  • Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.

  • Taste and adjust seasoning to your preferences.

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Simply Roasted Squash and Lemon Lentil Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 butternut squash thinly sliced

  • 3/4 cup cooked black lentils

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

  • juice of 1/2 lemon + zest

  • 1 cup greens of choice

  • 2 tbsp tahini

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

  • 1/4 tsp lemon pepper

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • pinch of Himalayan salt

  • pinch of smoked paprika

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  • Thinly slice the squash and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkle with smoked paprika and garlic powder. Place your cherry tomatoes on the same baking sheet to quickly roast them. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

  • Place your cooked lentils in a bowl and top with lemon juice, tahini, maple syrup, lemon zest, lemon pepper and give it a good mix, set aside.

  • Chop up your fresh greens

  • Once the squash and tomatoes are cooked, place in a bowl with the lentil salad, greens and enjoy.

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Vanilla Berry Bowl

This bowl is packed full of everything you could want, a sweet berry flavour, a sneaky serving of vegetables, healthy fats, fibre and antioxidants. Try swapping this hearty yet light breakfast into your morning routine for long lasting energy and glowing skin. 

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For this delicious bowl, you will need the following...

  • 1 large frozen banana (ripe and spotty)
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1.5 cups coconut water
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 scoop vegan vanilla protein (I use the Juice Plus Complete)
  • dash of cinnamon

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender, you may or may not need to add more liquid depending on your blender. 
  2. Once smooth, pour into a bowl and top with your favourite toppings. 
  3. You can also turn this into a smoothie by adding more liquid and taking it to go. 

Whaaa...You Take Supplements??

The short answer is YES, I have done quite a few instagram posts that have been talking about these beauties over this past year but lately I have been receiving a lot of great questions about them so I thought it was time to do a dedicated blog post about why I decided to include them into my daily routine in the first place and why I will be taking them for the rest of my life. Just as a disclaimer, I would never recommend anything to any of you that I didn't personally use or have benefited from, I hope this post inspires you to think more about what you put into your body everyday. 

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First of all, lets back track to about 5 years ago when a few health issues started to arise for me. Around the age of 15/16 years old my skin had started to break out most likely due to hormones and a diet that wasn’t as good as it could have been. Around the same time I was suffering from poor digestion and noticed quite a few food sensitivities that only made healthy eating more difficult and on top of that I simply wasn’t feeling as good as I know I should have been. I had unbalanced hormones, brittle hair & nails, poor immune system, an unhealthy relationship with food, fatigue... you name it. The poor digestion and low energy I could deal with but being at that age and suffering with acne and other skin issues was not fun! I remember trying every product on the market from cleansers, to acne creams which only escalated the problem in the long run. I was feeling hopeless and resorted to a face full of makeup for many years to avoid the problem as much as I could. 

Fast forward to now, I have been actively studying at The Institute For Integrative Nutrition to become a health coach and through learning more and more about skin health and healing your body from the inside out everything started to make sense. I have been completely plant based for quite a few years now and although I did see an improvement in my skin when switching my diet I did however wonder why I still hadn’t seen a larger improvement. That is when it all clicked, if my body wasn’t properly digesting what I was feeding it then how was my skin and my overall health in general actually going to benefit from it. If anyone is interested in learning more about iIN or how I became a health coach check out the following link.


Call it fate but just over a year ago now I met a friend who had recently graduated from IIN as well to become a health coach and I immediately noticed how vibrant and healthy she looked, she was the definition of glowing so I had to ask. She introduced a product to me that I now can confidently say changed my life, not only was it 100% vegan, gluten free, better than Organic, NSF certified (third party tested for quality), non-GMO, and safe for athletes/pregnant mothers/children, it was also the simplest product I had ever come across. What instantly sold me was the fact that is was 100% derived from whole foods, not isolated nutrients. Yep, crazy! No added anything, no preservatives, no sugar, no fillers, JUST fruit, vegetables and berries. This product carries an ingredient and nutritional label apposed to a supplement label meaning its classified as real, whole food. Something you won’t find on the back of any other supplement label out there. The produce is grown by 2nd and 3rd generation farmers and from farm to capsule is tested for quality 6 times to make sure it is 100% pure and includes exactly what the label says.

A few of us girls from The Healthstyle Emporium repping our glowing skin!

A few of us girls from The Healthstyle Emporium repping our glowing skin!

But I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables everyday, why would I need more?  My thoughts exactly when I first heard of the product. I was eating a strictly plant based diet of whole fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts/seeds and a few superfoods here and there so what could this do for me? That is when I remembered the benefits of juicing and how when consumed it goes directly into your bloodstream apposed to being digested, well it’s the EXACT same with Juice Plus. Within 5 minutes of consuming the trio of capsules, the contents are delivered into your bloodstream and are put to work on creating healthier cells, fighting off free-radicals and reducing oxidative stress within the body. The capsules contain a wide variety of 27 different fruits, vegetables and berries that have all been picked at the peak of ripeness (this was huge for me as 80% of a plant's nutrition is developed within the last few days of ripening on the vine and majority of our produce these days is unfortunately picked far before this stage can occur), then the produce is blended into a large smoothie and dehydrated at a low temperature to ensure all of the enzymes, antioxidants and phytonutrients are still active, then to finish off, the powders are put into a vegan capsule to lock in all of the nutrition. 

After sending out surveys to a large group of people asking what supplements they added into their routine everyday, the company realized that they should be offering an omega blend to replace fish oil supplements. I was extremely excited to finally get my hands on these as it was a fully plant based omega, derived from algae instead of fish. This means no mercury in the product as well as no harmful affects for the ocean life. Our bodies need omegas everyday for skin, hair and nail support, brain & eye health and to help reduce inflammation, being able to source all of the essential fatty acids from plants instantly won me over. 

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All of this sounded too good to be true when I first heard about them and being the investigative, nutrition nerd I am I immediately asked if there was research proving these results and studies backing up the nutritional claims of the product. Ask and you shall receive, the company itself has been around for 50+ years and has 39 peer reviewed, published medical journals and more currently underway which means that it is currently the most researched nutritional product in the WORLD. The studies themselves were unbelievably interesting to read and proved its benefits of working in the body at a cellular level, absorbing nutrients, supporting health, protecting DNA, contributing to cardiovascular wellness, reducing chronic inflammation, reducing oxidative stress, bio-availability & digestion, allergy relief, promoting a healthy weight, hormonal balance, skin health, children’s health and more. The amount of testimonials I read were astounding but without all of this research to back it up, they are simply testimonials. If any of you are interested in reading any of the research studies, let me know and I'll send them over! 

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After diving head first into days of research I decided to give them a go, I could see no harm in trying them out for 4 months (the product ships in 4 month supplies to ensure the cells have time to turn over and generate new healthier cells) and I was pretty excited to experience any changes to my health. 

It was about 3 weeks in, I remember the day exactly as I woke up and my skin was glowing, I remember looking in the mirror first thing in the morning and noticing that all of my blemishes had completely disappeared! I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes, I spent so many years wishing my skin would clear up trying every different diet, different food, positive thinking and every different product I could get my hands on when something so natural and healthy was out there just waiting for me to find it. Within the next few weeks my nails started to grow more than they ever have before and I now have to cut them weekly! 

Me completely makeup free after a few weeks

Me completely makeup free after a few weeks

Within 2 months I began noticing small changes such as my sleep was a lot better, less tossing and turning in the middle of the night, my hair grew noticeably longer to the point of getting daily comments about it, my digestion was 100% better than it had ever been in my entire life, I noticed that even if my diet slipped up a bit while travelling or out of town I had no issues whatsoever with digestion. 

After 4 months of including the product into my daily routine I was blown away at how good I felt both internally and how clear and healthy my skin looked externally. Something I noticed that I wasn’t expecting was my post workout recovery seemed a lot shorter than it once was. I work at a fitness studio as a spin instructor which means I am constantly pushing my body and exercise is a big part of my daily routine, having something that can help with the recovery process was huge for me! While continuing to research about recovery and the stress that exercise puts on the body, what I learned was that even though moderate-high intensity exercise is extremely good for your health, it does cause an increase in oxidative stress which in turn creates free-radicals within the body. Free-radicals are what cause early aging and damage to your skin and can contribute to the development of disease longterm. Knowing that by simply including 27 servings of the best quality fruits, vegetables and berries everyday was actively going to fight off damage within my body and cells made me wish I had found out about this product years ago! Along with that I noticed my cravings for sugar had been significantly reduced and I began to crave a lot more vegetables which for me is a win win as I’ve always had a sweet tooth! 

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Fast forward to now, it has been 1 year and 2 months now that I have been on the product and Im only feeling better with more time. I have completely ditched any face makeup that I used to rely on every single day, I no longer have sugar cravings, I have more energy than I know what to do with (thankfully I work at a fitness studio to burn it off…haha), the whites of my eyes have surprisingly gotten whiter, my hair has grown longer than it has ever been before without even being trimmed, my nails are as hard as rocks, my hormones have completely balanced out and I no longer suffer from hormonal acne and irregular periods, my digestion is flawless, and I now have peace of mind knowing my body is getting the nutrition in needs to truly thrive and prevent disease every single day.

There are endless amounts of environmental toxins in the world today, from our beauty products, conventional produce, contaminated soil, and air so being able to include a simple dietary add in that has been proven to help reduce these toxins and remove them from the body is a no brainer for me. Eating whole fruits and vegetables simply isn’t enough anymore, our health statistics are continuously climbing in the wrong direction and it all starts with what we put into our bodies and what percentage of that we actually absorb. I never thought it was possible to feel as good as I do now which is why I want to share this product with as many people as I can. If I can help even just one family better their health than my job here is done. At the same time, my inbox was being flooded with emails from clients mentioning how their energy levels were finally back, their constant migraines were gone, their inflammation had gone away, their IBS symptoms had vanished…. I couldn’t believe it! This made me even more excited for a lifetime of their benefits.  

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When I decided to join The Healthstyle Emporium as one of their wellness coaches I thought it was absolutely genius that they have partnered with this product and I am beyond proud to represent such an incredible company. This past year of helping families from across the globe achieve greater health has brought be more joy than I can express. We have combined the product with a 16 week holistic health and wellness program to support all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Our clients receive the tremendous health benefits of the products alongside personal coaching, self love/gratitude work, monthly webinars, nutrition support, healthy recipes, fun workouts, yoga challenges and much more to help them achieve an overall healthier lifestyle longterm. If you are interested in joining our incredible program (which comes as a free bonus with the products I might add) you can find more information on The Healthstyle Emporium tab on my website.   

So now that you know what these products are all about, imagine how you could feel adding in over 30 servings of fruits and vegetables to your diet every single day….

imagine if you could finally clear and heal your skin..

imagine if you could finally wake up energized..

imagine no longer having cravings for sugar and processed foods..

imagine being able to get your kids to eat more vegetables.. 

imagine being able to improve your digestion and IBS symptoms..

imagine being able to feel the best you have in years..

imagine being able to perform better in the gym & reduce recovery time..

It's all completely achievable! 

Check out that nail growth!

Check out that nail growth!

 

What are you waiting for, invest in your health today or your sickness tomorrow? What will it be?

Interested in purchasing? Check out the link below. 

 

If you have any questions or would like more information about the products or our program The Healthstyle Emporium feel free to comment below or email me at,

ashleydussault777@gmail.com

 

Sweet & Smoky Sesame Tofu

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is how to make tofu taste good? I can understand why most people think this way, its not the most common food out there to begin with and a lot of recipes out there give it a bad reputation in my opinion. However, over the past few years of dipping my toes in with the strange, white block of soybeans smushed together Im happy to say that it's now one of my favourite go to's. Ive managed to make a few delicious recipes with it, one of them being this sweet and smoky sesame tofu recipe that I'll be sharing with you today.  

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I prefer to use organic tofu when I can to ensure that it's non-GMO soy that I'm consuming so I encourage you to shop around to find one that best suits your preferences. There are a lot of different types of tofu out there but my personal favourite is extra-firm as it makes the crispiest tofu.....no one likes soggy tofu! 

You will need the following...

  • 1 block of organic extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp regular paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tbsp low sodium tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place your tofu on a towel to absorb some of the moisture before slicing, once dried, slice into cubes.
  3. Place chopped tofu into a large bowl and top with all of the spices, maple syrup, tamari, sesame seeds and give it a good mix, save the tahini for later.
  4. Once the tofu is evenly coated with the spices, place on a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly drizzle tofu with the tahini.
  5. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until crispy.
  6. Enjoy!

Let me know if you try this recipe by tagging me on instagram, @plantlythriving or by using the hashtag #plantlythriving 

3 Breakfast Recipes To banish The Monday Blues

Monday isn't always the most welcome or appreciated day of the week but it all comes down to how you start your day and the attitude you carry throughout that can turn it into one of the best days of the week! Trust me when I say I used to dread the upcoming Monday but now it has honestly become my favourite day of the week, it brings new experiences, a fresh start and a chance to have a great week ahead! Starting your day with a healthy breakfast will definitely help with having a more positive day and these following recipes will have you smiling all day long! 

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First one up is no doubt my favourite of the three! Its sweet, creamy and has summer written all over it. 

Peaches & Cream Smoothie

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh sweet peaches
  • 1 scoop vegan vanilla plant protein (I use the Vanilla Juice Plus Complete)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp maca powder (optional but adds a great taste + loads of health benefits)
  • 1 medjool date
  • handful of raw cashews (adds a nice creaminess)
  1. blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth and enjoy!
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The second recipe is a great option for those who have busy mornings and need something quick and easy to go. Its thick, creamy, chocolatey and full of health benefits such as being high in fibre, minerals, whole grains, omega 3's and much more. 

Chocolate Almond Butter Overnight Oats 

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats (use gluten free if needed)
  • 2 cups homemade almond milk or any other unsweetened plant milk
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup 
  • 1 tbsp almond butter to top
  • dash of cinnamon
  • fresh or frozen fruit to top
  1. Mix all ingredients except the frozen fruit and almond butter together in a jar or bowl and set in the fridge overnight or for at least 1-2 hours to thicken 
  2. Remove the next morning, mix well, top with additional almond milk if too thick as well as fruit and almond butter, enjoy! 
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This last recipe is a great make ahead on the weekend for a quick on the go breakfast or mid-day snack. I love to even crumble these on top of my smoothie bowls like a granola, so good!

Raw Chocolate Chia Bars

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2.5 cups soft pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp almond meal
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 tsp spirulina (optional)
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • pinch of himalayan salt
  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until a smooth dough forms, may take a while but be patient, it will come together. Once uniform, press into a square baking dish and place into the freezer for 15-20 minutes to set
  2. Remove from the freezer and cut into granola bar shapes and store back in the freezer once done. 

Hopefully these recipes make your monday and remainder of the week more positive, let me know if any of you try them down below.