July Update 

Damn, it feels good to be back!

I know, I know – I only took like, a one week hiatus from blogging. But Standing Strong Wellness is my baby, and not being able to focus on it was rough.

I had a great reason though, and those of you who follow me on Instagram already know: I was working on completing final assignments and studying for my final exam for CSNN!


I wrote the exam two days ago. The intensity leading up to it was such that it took me almost a full 24 hours to come back down from it all. Perhaps it’s an anxiety thing. But I felt so wound up, and I couldn’t unwind myself. I’m happy to report I feel like I’m getting there today.

My plans for the next couple of days include catching up on my house chores, steaming through some Netflix shows, and being outside – as the summers tend to disappear quickly here in Calgary! I’m also getting back into my regular gym routine, which already feels amazing.


And although I am looking forward to some much deserved downtime, I am also eager to jump into the next thing(s). As much as I would love to get my future consulting business up and running, regrettably I do have to wait until after I walk across the stage in September to practice. When I first heard this, I was a little bummed. Then, I realized it is a blessing.

I’ve been working on a couple of projects that could use my full attention for the next couple of months.

The first thing is updating this blog. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been going back into the archives and doing some major house cleaning. I’m also working on adding a few new pages. Being that I am so not a tech-savvy person, I’m glad to have have some extra time to work on it!

I will also be releasing two products in the coming weeks – one sooner rather than later! Stay tuned on it because I don’t want you to miss out, aight?


In sum, exciting upcoming things include: creative projects and more gym sessions. It sounds boring to some, but this is what I live for. Plus, I need time to establish a new routine that will suit me over the coming months, now that I won’t be having so many 12 hour long days away from home anymore!


This next little bit of the adventure is going to be all about passion. Waking up with it. Following it. Living it.

Have you guys had any major routine changes lately? How do you deal with them?

 

June Update ’17

I interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to share with you some really important news: I went to the best. farm. EVER. last weekend. It’s called Kangaroo Creek Farm – nestled in the Okanagan they provided the most hands-on animal experience I’ve ever had. I got up close with a sugarglider, kangaroos, goats, capybaras, chickens, and more. The very best part was holding a baby kangaroo – it was so sweet and calm and squishy and warm!

I’m an animal lover, and being there totally made my year. It was on my list of “must-do”s this past weekend as Matthew and I took the weekend off for some quality time together. It was awesome hitting the road, and we had the pleasure of being hosted by my Grandma who was gracious and as most grandmas do, she fed us well.


Can you guys believe it’s June already? I haven’t had a single picnic. Or made any popsicles. I haven’t even come close to buying new sunglasses and losing them (yet). It just doesn’t feel like summer is here! But maybe it will feel more like it over the next couple weeks. I’ll be finishing classes soon. SUPER SOON. Actually, I’m completing my oral exam tomorrow so if you have a moment – send some positive vibes my way!

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I haven’t mentioned this yet but lately I’ve been going back to old posts – mostly for maintenance reasons – I needed to update some things as well as do some streamlining. I couldn’t help but notice the transition that this blog has gone through, and also what I have gone through. It’s cool to know that I’ve seen this blog through, to almost two years.

It’s not always easy! It’s a commitment. But truly I love it. If nothing else, it’s the perfect excuse to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and talk about the things I’m most passionate about. And it’s all that much cooler that you care enough to listen. So thanks to you, reader.


I’m sorry I don’t have more exciting news to report – but maybe for now that’s good. I’m actually about to enter a season of change. Who knows what my next update might say? I might be certified in holistic nutrition by then! Or maybe I’ll have run away to the Kangaroo Farm. Either way I’ll be happy. Wish me luck tomorrow! 

Plant Based Bars Review

Hello everyone!

How are you guys today?

To be honest, it’s been a whirlwind of a weekend. I’m jumping from one thing to the next without much time to take a breath. But it’s alright – today, the sun is shining and the day is young!

I just wanted to drop in and let you guys know that I just put together a video reviewing some plant-based bars – I would appreciate it so much if you checked it out!

 

 

Until next time!

Grounding Cauliflower Apple Soup 

My instructor was talking just the other day about how she defines foods in two separate categories: “noisy” (inflammatory, irritating, disruptive) and “quiet” (peaceful, nourishing, easy to digest). I love that concept. When life is crazy (often) , I am drawn to the quiet foods. The foods that nourish and give, and hardly ask for anything back. The foods that are easy on my gut, and make my soul feel good.

If that’s what you need today, then this recipe is for you. This Cauliflower Apple Soup is earthy, smooth, and mellow. It also requires very little work to throw together, perfect for those low-energy days.


Ingredients: 

  • 1 Large Head of Cauliflower, cut into like-size pieces
  • 1 Apple, diced (I leave the skin on)
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 TBSP organic coconut oil
  • 1/4 TSP turmeric
  • 1 container organic chicken broth
  • 1/2 TSP himilayan salt

Optional toppings

  • Chives
  • Sour Coconut Cream – plain coconut yogurt mixed with a squeeze of lemon

Directions:

Warm a large pot on medium-low heat and melt coconut oil. Add onion and stir occasionally as they soften. Once they begin to turn translucent, add garlic and stir for about two minutes. Then add the apple, cauliflower, coconut milk, and chicken broth. Mix in the 1/4 tsp of turmeric and 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt. Allow all the ingredients to slowly simmer as long as you can, ideally an hour or more. When you just cant wait any longer, blend all the ingredients using a hand blender. Top with an easy sour coconut cream (see above) or chives. Green onion or chickpea croutons would also work well.

 

This recipe is great for a couple reasons – one being that your stomach doesn’t have to work too hard to mechanically break it down. The coconut milk supports increased mucus lining in the stomach, and given the stars of the show (cauliflower and apple) there is a generous serving of fiber here as well. From a more mind-body-soul aspect, a hot soup has a way of forcing you to slow down and eat more mindfully. Warm, soft food is especially comforting when you feel the need to be nurtured, or vulnerable.

I hope you guys enjoyed this recipe! If you just can’t get enough of me you can always find me on Instagram (standingstrongwellness) or Youtube (Standing Strong Wellness)

Have a great weekend everyone.

 

Why are you Depressed? 

Like many other things in mental health, depression is multifaceted – there are many signs, symptoms, explanations, and origins behind depression. It cannot be explained simply. It can’t be encompassed simply, and it shouldn’t be treated simply.

So why are you depressed? A lot of the stigma that still has a stronghold on mental health reiterates the narrative that people who struggle with depression are just “mentally weak”. Another common misconception is that it only affects the “have-nots” of society, that is, those of lower economic status. (because what could people with money possibly be sad about?)

What’s interesting is that as a society we still haven’t full acknowledged and absorbed just how prevalent depression is. It’s simply not talked about. Well, let’s put a little dent in that today shall we, and talk about it.

So, what is it? Are depressed people weak? Ungrateful? Poor? Messed up? Under difficult circumstances? Negative? Let’s unravel it a little.

There is no one factor that has been indicated in “causing” depression, in fact, there are several things that could be linked between you and your depression.

For example:

  • Food intolerances or allergies
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Traumatizing experiences/ Grief/ Difficult life circumstances
  • Neurotransmitter malfunctions
  • Hormones

Any single factor or combination thereof could be contributing to your depression. I realize this is a small, albiet generalized list – but the point I’m trying to drive home is that there are any number of reasons why you might be depressed.  

This is why I have such an issue with the fact that we treat depression in such a blanketed way: by suggesting antidepressants to treat depression – for everyone. First and foremost: did you know studies have never definitively found a link between serotonin and depression? Yet SSRI’s , which increase serotonin in the body, are the most often prescribed antidepressant.

So, in essence, people with depression are encouraged to take a drug that has not actually been scientifically supported to work. Some studies do say that SSRI’s do show small improvements in some people; other studies chalk that up to a placebo affect.

I know some people personally who take SSRI’s for depression, and they really feel that these drugs work for them. I can’t argue with another person’s experience. And without definitive answers, it is plausible that these drugs could very well improve symptoms for some. I am not anti-drug , I’m just pro-whatever works. What I worry about treating depression with such a “one-size-fits-all” approach is that people might ignore the other factors that could be contributing.

For example, did you know that depression is a symptom of low testosterone in men? Or that hypothyroidism can look like depression? Or that low dopamine correlates with a decrease in motivation, which is a symptom of depression? Or that untreated food allergies and sensitivities can lead to chronic inflammation, leading to fatigue and a host of other symptoms, all of which could contribute to depression? Or that magnesium deficiency has been linked to depression?

Some depression is also circumstantial, you can be optimally healthy and still struggle with depression (you can also be rich and depressed – myth busted). 

So why are you depressed? If you’re not sure, I encourage you to dig deeper. Emotionally and physically. Get whatever test you need to get done. Get in tune with your body. Talk to your doctor, spiritual adviser, your chiropractor, and figure out what’s getting you. And as always, advocate for yourself.

Lord knows – I’m not saying it’s easy. Having had my own mental health struggles for over ten years, I know it takes a lot of work – sometimes years – to get to a good place. All I want for you is to channel that energy into productive ways of figuring it out – when you’re feeling up to it.

Any comments or questions? Please leave them down below, I would be interested to hear about your experience with depression!

 

Continue reading “Why are you Depressed? “

Favourites Giveaway ! 

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours…

Favourites, that is!

To celebrate reaching 500 followers I’ve decided to do my very FIRST giveaway! When I first started this blog, I had no idea how much I would fall in love with it – and how much I would enjoy connecting with all of you.

I would have to say that the community built with my readers and other bloggers is easily my favourite part of the entire process. So I want to celebrate each and every one of you and YOUR favourites too!

To enter the giveaway, here are the rules: 

First and foremost, follow me! If you do already, awesome. If not, just press the follow button on the side bar and subscribe either through email or through wordpress!

Then in the comments below, send me the link to one of your favourite bloggers, and tell me why you love reading their posts! I will be visiting each and every one – and I can’t wait to be inspired and enlightened by the bloggers that you absolutely love!

And for sharing your favourites, I’ll share my favourites with you:


Included:

  • Iron Vegan Sprouted Protein – Chocolate and Vanilla 
  • Praire Naturals Coconut Seed Snacks
  • Smart Sweets Gummy Bears
  • Lara Bars – Blueberry and Chocolate PB
  • “Dreams are Worth Chasing” mug
  • “Noteworthy” notebook
  • WOW Peppermint Relief Roll-on

I am not associated with or sponsored by any of the pictured companies – these are just items I enjoy day to day, and I wanted to share them with you!

This giveaway is open to Canadian and US Residents. The winner will be drawn on Sunday, April 23rd. One entry per person, but if you want to share more than one blog that you love, please do.

I look forward to seeing your favourites!

 

April Update 

Hey you, how have you been?

Oh me? Oh you know, I’ve just been hanging out here on my beautiful white chair, in this room this pristine decor, hanging out in a body suit. I’m pretty sure that’s what bloggers do.

Jokes aside, it was a pleasure to have my sister take these shots the other day. I am in awe of how well she captured me. I think there is something to be said about being able to be vulnerable around someone. During this shoot, I was able to be and embrace myself,; I felt completely comfortable. And isn’t it interesting how that can come across in a photo? It reminds me that energy transcends everything.

I have been feeling so comfortable in my own skin lately. They say that is something that comes with age, and now at 28 years old I can say I believe it is true. Even when my skin was fresher, or I was smaller, or my eyes were brighter – I never appreciated all that I was. But now I look at myself with the audacity to say “I’m cute” ( I am though).

I wish I could go back and shake the younger me – I wish I could just say STOP! You are beautiful! Stop criticizing yourself! But I guess that it’s all a part of growing up.


So I will do my usual fitness update but first I want to say: even if my cutting season didn’t go very well, I would still rock a swimsuit with pride. My eyes are nice and my butt is round and my stomach is cute… so take that, society!

I’ve been cutting for the last couple months, but only last week since Brittany left have I actually kicked it into high gear. You know how it is #fitfam – less carbs , more cardio. I’ve been doing at least 30 minutes of cardio with each workout – sweater on and sweating up a storm.

I’m trying to keep my carbs under 100g daily for my cut, with refeeds when I really feel I need them. And before you begin to believe that this means I am restricting myself, please remember that I eat in abundance. Ask anyone who has the pleasure of eating near me about the size of my meals. It’s ridiculous…ly awesome. At the same time, in this lifestyle, sacrifices must be made – I know this game. And I love to play it.

Although this is an important part of my lifestyle, I want you guys to know that I do this for me. I’m happy with who I am. No number on a scale can ever change that. And restricting carbs will never make you happy. Being skinny will never make you happy. So I urge you to be at a good place before you put any additional stress on your body. And as always: love yourself first (the rest will follow anyway).

 

 

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If you are wondering what has been on the menu lately, a day in the life of me eating looks something like this…

  • Meal 1 – Breakfast shake (fruit, veg, Iron Vegan protein powder)
  • Meal 2 – A banana and a handful of almonds
  • Meal 3 – A large salad with greens, vegetables, and nuts
  • Meal 4 – A bit of protein and greens (usually tofu or chicken)
  • Meal 5 – Raw fruits or veg with almond butter or a piece of choc, etc…

Does anyone else get mad sweet cravings before bed? I’ve been making my own chocolate with melted coconut oil, raw cacao, nuts and stevia. Then I just pop it in the freezer for a couple minutes – voila!

Oh one more thing – only 3ish months of school left! I can’t wait to begin taking on clients. I’ve learned so much and my passion for health is a fire burning hotter than ever before. We can all be healthy. We can all be happy. And we all deserve it.

 

Stay tuned for my next post – it’s coming up tomorrow and it’s going to be a good one!

I hope everyone’s April is off to a great start, and onto an even better end!

Catch ya later

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog on your way out, if you haven’t already!

Find me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/standingstrongwellness

Watch me on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9XftlyYl711lf0o7MMt8MA/videos

Eating Soy: Don’t Believe the Hype

Over the last couple of years, soy has gotten a pretty bad rep.

This troubles me on a personal level, because I love my tofu. And my miso. And soy sauce. And edamame.

But if that’s the truth, then I will except it.

If that’s the truth.

And recently, I’ve come to question that truth. Sure, my personal bias is a little bit invested in this, but hear me out, because this post is strictly about the facts.

Soy has a reputation for being estrogenic – that is, it raises estrogen. This is because it contains phytoestrogens.

Phytoestrogens are xenoestrogens derived from plants. Phytoestrogens can only be consumed through phytoestrogenic plants.

Phytoestrogens bind to estrogen receptors in the body. In this way, it can mimic estrogen. But what it can also do is bind to estrogen receptors and block other more harmful estrogens from getting to the receptor. Long story short and condensed into laymens terms, phytoestrogens can increase or decrease estrogens – so it can be estrogenic, but it can also be an estrogen antagonist.

The results here are a bit wishy-washy, but here it is. Soy could raise your estrogen levels; but it also could not. It is beyond my understanding how this differs person to person, but I think bioindividuality and lifestyle has a lot to do with how any one person is affected.

I know, I know! You aren’t convinced. Because you’ve also heard that soy is one of the highest genetically modified foods – a fact that doesn’t require labeling in North America. It’s true. Some studies link GMOs to cancer and allergies, and most countries outside of North America consider them harmful – at least harmful enough to ensure consumers are aware when they are buying them.

But to be fair, not all soy is created equal. I buy only organic soy products, which are available here at just about any grocery store. Fermented organic soy beans, like miso, is even better, as it also has health benefits for your gut.

There’s a bit more to the story than just “it’s not that bad for you” . In fact, some studies have shown some benefits from consuming soy.

Soy consumption has actually been linked to decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and can reduce symptoms during menopause. Yes, that’s right – it can be protective against breast cancer, not guilty of causing it.

Based on the information available right now, I believe organic soy is completely okay in moderation. Remember: organic only!

Now I can go back to eating my tofu in peace.

Thanks for reading!

 

Continue reading “Eating Soy: Don’t Believe the Hype”

Plant Powered Pizzas – “Sweet Potato w/Balsamic Drizzle” 

For those of you who have been following along for a while, you will remember the series I did last summer on Nicecream. At least I found it pretty unforgettable! Probably because it was so delicious!

I learned a lot from taking on that series, and I felt that by challenging myself I was able to up my game in the kitchen a lot.

Well, it’s a new year, and it’s time for a new creative challenge: Pizza.

Right now you might be asking “Why Pizza?”, to which I would respond “why not?!”. It’s versatile. Who doesn’t love pizza?

So over the coming weeks I plan to bring you 10 Plant Powered Pizzas – because these pizzas are going to offer you so much more than a full tummy. They are going to be full of nutrients that make you feel good and function well.

First up on the line: Sweet Potato w/Balsamic Drizzle 


Gluten free/ Dairy free/ Nut free/ Egg free – Recipe makes 3 Pizzas

Ingredients 

Crust

  • 4 Cups Gluten Free Wheat Flour*
  • 4.5 tsp active yeast
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp coarse salt

Pizza Toppings

  • Oregano
  • 3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1/2 medium sweet potato, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1/4 purple onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Balsamic reduction for drizzling

Directions:

* For this recipe I once again borrowed the recipe from Martha Stewart. It’s just so easy. However I substituted the all-purpose flour for a gluten free all-purpose. The one I used tasted great, however it didn’t rise as much as previous dough batches. It also needed more oil to bind it than Martha’s recipe asks for. 

To make the dough, sprinkle the yeast into 1.5 cups of warm water. After about five minutes it should start to foam. Then you want to mix in the sugar, oil, and salt. Once that is all whisked up, add the flour. Cover the dough and leave in a room temperature area for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Once the dough is ready, split it into 3 pizzas. Top each pizza with 1 tbsp of tomato sauce (or more if you like it saucy!) Follow that by sprinkling oregano over the entire pizza, and then distribute your chopped garlic evenly. Lastly, layer the spinach, sweet potato, and onion.

Bake in the oven at 350 for 25-30 minutes. They are done when the crust begins to brown. Drizzle pizzas with balsamic reduction.

I would describe this pizza as sweet and salty, with just the right amount of softness vs. crunch.

Sweet potato is high in vitamins A and C, both of which are antioxidants and help your body fight against free radical damage. Balsamic helps your body produce pepsin, which improves your metabolism by helping your body breakdown protein. Spinach is high in iron, which works in your body to produce red blood cells. Lets not forget about the onions – onions contain flavanoids that boost your body’s immune system. 

Real food makes me feel so good. After eating this I was full, but still light on my feet.

I will be uploading a new plant powered pizza every week, so stay tuned every Friday for another healthy, nutritious, delicious pizza!